Posted by: ShawnC | July 1, 2009

Battleaxe Brewery — for the love of ale

Charles Maclean has found a labour of love, and that love is making beer. Ale, to be exact.
An experienced and well-respected brewer, Mr. Maclean has transformed his Barleymow Farm into a productive craft brewery. The Battleaxe Brewery is nestled in a quiet corner along the baseline of Normanby Township, and plans are underway to have a range of quality ales available by year’s end.
Beer lovers are no stranger to Mr. Maclean, who spent the past 12 years making beer for the F&M Brewery in Guelph. He trained as a brewer in England at the end of the 1970s, and always wanted to brew heavier ales, and the beers he enjoys most.
That wish has been granted with his new home brewery in West Grey, where Maclean’s Ales expects to produce an India pale ale by August, brown ale by October, porter by November, Scotch ale by December, and an oatmeal stout by the time next January rolls around.
“I wanted to do some interesting styles, pay the bills, have fun and make great beer,” Mr. Maclean told the Confederate over a pint of his finest.
At the brewery’s grand opening last month, Mr. Maclean invited friends, family and guests to tour his fledgling operation, and enjoy what the newest local craft brewery has to offer. And local is the operative word when it comes to the Farmhouse Ale, an enjoyable and drinkable beer made with locally-grown hops and barley. Mr. Maclean hopes to one day make the beer an entirely local product.
Battleaxe Brewery currently has the capacity to produce only 600 half-litre bottles per week, plus a few small kegs, yet some pubs in Toronto are already taking notice. With construction and start-up filling the better part of the past two years, Mr. Maclean is pleased to finally be able to produce a wide range of beers that people will love.
John Hay, the president of Ontario Craft Brewers, was on hand for the brewery’s launch, and was a genuine fan of the Farmhouse Ale from his first sip. He had high praise for Mr. Maclean’s brewing pedigree, and for his beers as well.
“The beer is great. I love it,” Mr. Hay said during his visit to Normanby. “Charles is highly respected among all his peers in the craft brewing industry. A place like this deserves a beer this beautiful.”
Mr. Hay also said the Ontario Craft Brewers, including nearby award-winning Neustadt Springs Brewery, are happy with how they are being received by consumers, and how the craft brewery taste is finally being brought to everybody in Ontario.
For more information, or to arrange a visit to the brewery, email or call 519-369-5061. He plans to operate a retail outlet at the brewery, open Saturday afternoons, and from noon to 8 p.m. during the summer.


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