Ask Ken Woods about the craft-brewing process behind Black Oak Brewery’s beer, and he’ll explain it this way: “It’s an art and a science.”
The science is evident in the massive, shiny steel tanks in the Etobicoke brewery. This 20-hectolitre brew house, which has a circular staircase in front and smells like freshly baked bread, is where the malting begins and the hops are added; 40-hectolitre Unitanks and Bright Beer Tanks are where the beer is fermented and aged until it’s ready to be bottled.
But the art comes from the creativity and care Ken and his team bring to their brews. “We use lots of natural ingredients in our beer, and try to source things as locally as possible,” he says. “Whereas say larger breweries ... are big huge manufacturers, they do make a very good product, but it just doesn’t have too much in terms of character and flavour. We’re more about the flavour behind the beer.”