#peopleofcanary: Aviary Brewpub & Longslice Brewery
How long have you been in Canary?
We started construction in 2017, opened the restaurant in 2018 and the brewery opened in 2019.
Is this the first iteration of this brewery or did you move from somewhere?
We were contractors before we got this space, so we rented tanks from different facilities but we didn’t have a bricks and mortar space ourselves. This is our first bricks and mortar space.
When you started, you were at-home brewers, did you ever think that it would be your full time job?
Not at first, but I think at some point we all just kind of jumped in. John, my brother was living in korea and I was living with our other partner Sebastian and, all of our home brew equipment had sort of taken over the house. So one day we just decided hey lets do it, lets start a brewery! The first thing we did was call literally every brewery in Ontario to see if they could brew a batch for us and that’s how we found somebody to work with. We didn’t know we would be here but we knew what we wanted to do, so we just took the steps we needed to get there.
How did you become a brewer?
My brother is one of the owners as well – he and I were homebrewers for a long time. My brother’s got a chemistry background so he has a good sense for working on the brew side of things, there’s a lot of chemistry there.
So this is a bit of a family operation?
Ya! So Sebastian and Veronica are cousins and then theres my brother and I, so were fairly small. And then the bar side of things The Aviary Brewpub is a joint venture between Longslice Brewery and Dock Ellis so the owner of Dock Ellis and one of his brothers is a part owner too.
So are you the one who designs the cans?
Yes that’s me.
How do you come up with the label designs?
It starts with the name first and then I kind of work through it from there. Like with Loose Lips Lager I thought ok “loose lips sink ships”, so I put a ship, that kind of thing. With Princess Clementine, the inspiration is Princess Peach, that’s how that name came about. The idea is that we will eventually have more princesses, like princess pineapple or princess mango and have a whole series.
Do you have an art background then?
Not specifically, Ive always just kind of been dabbling in music and art stuff. Actually our other partner Sebastian and I met in school for music production. When we started the company in 2014 we had to do everything ourselves, and through that process we sort of found our own “hats.” I’ve definitely gotten better at it, you know over the 10,000 hours of designing the labels.
Did you do the Aviary logo then as well?
Yes! So dock Ellis is a pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates, so when we came here to open a restaurant with Dock Ellis we knew we wanted to keep that baseball theme, so that’s the inspiration. It’s almost a sports team logo, like the orioles or the Cardinals or something.
How do you guys come up with your flavours?
Puns and Goses, one of our more unusual flavours has sea salt, citrus peel and coriander, and that just came because we wanted to make a sour, that was kind of a good entry level sour but also something different. Thats a recipe that’s a pretty standard type of recipe for that type of beer but the flavours make it something different. For the Princess Clementine we wanted to do another type of sour and part of it is you look at the suppliers, what kind of fruit are they currently selling and we were like hey, clementines would go good, oranges are already sour!
So youre kind of working with whats in season?
Yes, it’s a bit of that and also what you can get year-round, because you don’t want to brew something that you can only get once and then its never there.
Whats the difference between a regular beer and a sour in terms of the process?
Right away theres different types of sours as well, the way we do it here its called a kettle sour. That’s the more popular way we do it in North America. Basically you start the beer essentially the same way you do a regular beer, you put the barley in the tank and you soak it with hot water and you extracting the sugars. And that’s the same for every beer. So once you extracted all the sugars, you pump it into the kettle. Normally with beer you would boil that for at least an hour and that’s where you add the hops but for the kettle sour, essentially what we do is just let it sour until the PH hits a certain threshold then we turn the kettle back on and that kills the bacteria that’s making it go sour. Then we open one of the doors on the fermenter and right before we fill it with the beer the clementine juice goes in and it ferments with the beer. The juice is flash pasteurized to prevent bacteria from getting in.
How do you make the Mango Manjar Milkshake beer?
Milkshake beer has lactose in it – which is a sugar derived from milk. Normally yeast would ferment sugars, break them apart and create alcohol and carbon dioxide, but lactose they’re just not good at breaking down so that’s why we add it. It can add a subtle sweetness to your beer without it getting fermented out.
And you guys have won a bunch of awards for your beers right?
Yes! Hopsta La Vista has won two golds and a bronze, our lager Loose Lips has won two silvers, and this past year we won three, so we got bronze for Hopsta La Vista and the Old Toronto Haunting of Gibraltar Pt. Red Ale won a gold and our Slickback Stout won a bronze.
Thanks so much Jimmy from Longslice Brewery and Aviary Brewpub for sitting down with us and stay tuned for more #peopleofcanary!