Great Lakes Beer is one beer you should just judge by it's label. Not only are their cans fun, their beer is also pretty amazing. With varieties such as Robohop, Harry Porter and Octopus Wants To Fight, they don't take themselves too seriously but yet still manage to be leaders in the beer world. "Canadian Brewery of the Year" is no small accomplishment and they've won the title twice!
We're very excited to welcome them as the official beer of Two Islands Weekend 2017! Although this will be Great Lakes first year at camp, with them comes a familiar face, Barry Pletch. He's been behind the bar serving up cold brews at every TIW from the beginning.
So before we eat, drink, camp with Great Lakes, we sat down with Marketing Manager, Troy to get to know Great Lakes a little better and talk beer, camp and why sitting around a campfire with a cold Canuck Pale Ale just makes sense.
Who are you?
TB: My name is Troy Burtch and I’m an … I am the Marketing and Communications Manager for Great Lakes Brewery, a fiercely independent craft brewery producing fresh craft beer! Great Lakes, also known as GLB, makes a number of award-winning beers in the beautiful borough of Etobicoke. We are the producers of brands like Canuck Pale Ale, Pompous Ass English Ale, Karma Citra IPA, Octopus Wants to Fight IPA, Blonde Lager, Harry Porter, Sunnyside Session IPA and on and on we could go. We make over 50 different beers every year and we love each and every one of them.
Where did Great Lakes Brewery start out?
TB: We opened our doors to the public in Brampton, Ontario in 1987 before moving to our present day location here in Etobicoke in 1991/92. Great Lakes is independently owned and operated by Peter Bulut Jr., a man who lives and breaths craft beer. Over the years Great Lakes has gone on to win a number of highly recognized awards, such as the 2013 & 2014 Canadian Brewery of the Year. The brewery was also named 2014, 2015, 2016 Ontario Brewery of the Year our beer has won numerous awards at various competitions over our 30 years in the biz. Our small craft brewery employees approximately 40 passionate people who come to work everyday with a smile on their faces.
What would people be surprised to know about Great Lakes?
TB: The brewery incorporated in 1987 which makes us 30 years old this year. That surprises a lot of people who think Great Lakes is a lot younger. We may be one of the oldest independently owned craft breweries in Canada, but we’re definitely young at heart.
What is GLB doing to make the world a better place?
TB: Great Lakes is proud to support many local charities and community events. Each winter we host “Hops for Hunger” in our retail store where we donate funds to the Daily Bread Food Bank based on the amount of beer we sell between December 1 - 22nd. It’s been running for 8 years now and we’re quite proud of the drive. We also host a charitable BBQ here at the brewery each spring with proceeds of the entire day going to the Franklin Horner Community Centre. These funds help build programming at the centre that benefit local Etobicoke seniors, immigrants and children.
How can we take Great Lakes Beer up a notch?
TB: How can you take our beer up a notch… hmmm, that’s a tough one. First and foremost, pour your #FreshGLB beer into a glass to get the most out of the aroma, mouthfeel and finish. Cooking with our beer is awesome too. Making a fish dish? Add a splash of Canuck Pale Ale or Sunnyside Session IPA to the pan and that hoppy goodness will show itself with each bite. Grilling up a big T-Bone? Pair it with our Pompous Ass English Ale to create a whirlwind of flavour.
Favourite GLB to take on a camping trip or to the cottage and why?
TB: Well, now we’re talking! Speaking on behalf of the whole GLB family, it’s gotta be our Canuck Pale Ale. Gordie Levesque, the colourful character on the front of the can, goes with us where-ever we go! Canuck is everything we love in a beer and everything we love about Canada... a nation without an identity but one that loves their beer.
Did you ever go to summer camp in your youth?
TB: I personally didn’t as I grew up on a farm and that was close enough to camping everyday. I did crash some “camp campfires” in my day though...
Why did Great Lakes want to be part of TIW?
TB: Why wouldn’t we?!? Adult camping. Drinking. Sitting around a campfire with strangers in the great outdoors with a cold can of Canuck Pale Ale in your hand… sounds good to us!
What other sponsors are you most looking forward to at TIW?
TB: Well, because we like to indulge in our own product from time to time (everyday), we like to know that there is great coffee nearby every morning, so, I guess we’ll have to go with Propeller Coffee. Those fresh cups of coffee will get us back up and at it!
Anything else you’d like to add?
TB: Great Lakes is full of amazing employees who love to have fun and we hope that comes through in our product.
Where can we find Great Lakes Beer?
TB: Great Lakes Brewery is located in Etobicoke at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd., just off the Gardiner Expressway in between Royal York and Islington. We have a tap room, retail store and a kick-ass patio for customers to enjoy. Our beers are also available across Ontario in LCBO stores, grocery stores, select Beer Store locations and at bars and restaurants. Our website, www.greatlakesbeer.com contains tasting notes, employee profiles, event listings, videos and much much more. If you’re feeling social (hey, beer does that to you), check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @GreatLakesBeer.
What's your favourite Great Lakes Beer? Let us know in the comments!
"Partner Up" is an opportunity for our campers to get to know some of the amazing brands who partner with Two Islands Weekend. We try to find the best Canadian companies (big and small) to be part of our weekend to enhance the experience for all our campers. These features are not paid for or requested by our sponsors, we just really like them! Please consider supporting these great Canadian businesses outside of camp.