Ontario: Pilsner, Steam Whistle Brewing, Metro Toronto

Every once in a while I have a lager and then I remember that I don’t like lagers much. You may have noticed this in the reviews set out here. But I have been meaning to try Steam Whistle for sometime to make sure I am not missing something good and local.

Good thing as this is my kind of lager. It pours a medium straw and fades to a white rim. While the body is quite watery – without being thin – there are lots of grainy malt as in a quality pale ale but it is a notch sweeter and rounder. That roundness is accentuated by a creamy lager malt strain with a concession to the style in the metallic hops that cut the cloy. But the hop additions come from a measured hand and there is a freshness to them that compliments the sweet malt rather than fights it. This is the one beer the brewery brews and it is quite worthy.

It would be interesting to see what these folks could do with a pale ale. Oddly – the BAers are brutal with over one third saying no way.

One thought on “Ontario: Pilsner, Steam Whistle Brewing, Metro Toronto”

  1. [Origial comments…]

    Alan [3:15 PM November 30, 2005]
    I got a press release today…
    Media Release
    November 29, 2005

    Steam Whistle stays the course with a singular focus
    TORONTO, ONTARIO…..November 29, 2005: The oft-asked question “When will you launch another beer?” has been answered today by Steam Whistle Brewing, Ontario’s fastest-growing, premium Independent Brewer, with one word: “Never!”. Steam Whistle is embracing a business strategy that few companies anywhere have the courage to take on: to remain a single brand producer.

    Founding partners, Cam Heaps and Greg Taylor, take to the airwaves today with new radio advertising committing Steam Whistle to live by this bold promise. The commercial sums up this focused approach with the statement:

    Do one thing really, really well

    The brewing industry has seen plenty of splashy launches and often short-lived success in “new” categories over the years. There was Dry beer, Extra Dry beer, Cold-filtered beer, Ice beer, Strong beer, “Bottled Draft” beer, Low-carb Beer, Flavoured beer, “Spiked” beer, Strong beer, Low-alcohol beer and more recently Clear beer, as brewing giants struggled to deliver the ‘next big thing’ to thirsty beer drinkers and shareholders alike. Steam Whistle has avoided the temptation to launch new products in their five-year history. “Being an independent company we have the patience to operate this way. We are not fixated on quarterly performance so we do not live and die by “big ideas” or drastic cost cutting measures. We are entrepreneurs who love coming to work to make great beer and are devoted to this brand for the long haul. We simply want to brew one beer and do it well,” says Greg Taylor, co-founder and operating partner in Steam Whistle.

    Ted Matthews, Brand Coach to many Fortune 500 companies [www.instinctbrandequity.com] uses Steam Whistle Brewing as an example of a company that has got it right by focusing in on quality in their product. “Here is a brand that has been built through careful attention to detail that reinforces their retro-quality positioning. The 12-packs are a handsome presentation with a beautiful briefcase handle that actually works and feels solid in the hand. Their bottles, which are 30% heavier than the industry norm, feel substantial. The graphics are beautiful raised-letter printing right on the glass. The closure is the old style pry-off cap that presents a rounded, soft on the mouth opening. The beer tastes good. Customers talk about the quality of Steam Whistle unaided [and] they defend the premium price as understandable and worth it. All of this perception [customers] have drawn from their actual experience with the product.”

    “We don’t believe in taking short-cuts”, says Cam Heaps, 31-year old President of the company. “Our commitment to quality ingredients and time-honoured brewing techniques ensures our position as Canada’s Premium Pilsner.” Steam Whistle’s singular focus is to make only one beer of exceptional quality that Canadians can be proud of. They brew their Premium Pilsner using only four, all natural ingredients (of the 108 ingredients, chemicals and additives allowed in beer by Food Canada). They are dedicated to traditional craftsmanship, which does not include pasteurization or high-gravity brewing (brewing a high alcohol, condensed beer which is diluted with carbonated water at bottling, standard practice at most of the world’s commercial breweries).

    Steam Whistle Pilsner, voted Ontario’s Best, is sold through most Beer Stores and LCBO outlets in the province, and in hundreds of Licensed Establishments. Their brewery is housed in Toronto’s historic John St. Roundhouse, just south of the CN Tower and is open daily for tours. To learn more about Steam Whistle Brewing and what they do really, really well, visit http://www.steamwhistle.ca

    Darcy [10:40 AM January 6, 2006]
    For anyone in the Toronto area, definately take a tour of the Steam Whistle brewery. The people there are awesome, as well as the beer. This, for some reason makes the beer drinking experience better. Good memories I guess.
    I’m happy that Steam Whislte is focusing on one beer, but it also makes me wonder what they could do with other styles. For now, if I want unique styles there are plenty of breweries.

    Mill Street Coffee Porter is a good beer, you should do a review of it sometime.

    Alan [11:25 AM January 6, 2006]
    Thanks Darcy. Have a look at the archives – there is a search engine way down to the left. I covered the Coffee Porter last February. I seem to have liked it.
    Diego Guerrero (Chile) [10:26 AM May 23, 2006]
    Hi, my name is Diego, I am a chilean student from the Universidad de Santiago. I have a question about the beer… What’s the price of beer?… Please answerme. Thank you. Bye
    sorry for my english… (:

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