Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
We’re back! Not that anyone noticed that we were away, cause we drop these episodes every two weeks (sneaky, sneaky)…. Buttttttttt, this was the first stop in our four – day adventure out to the Hamilton area! We stopped into Burlington’s Nickel Brook on the way out, and I’ve gotta say, it was one of my favourite episodes yet.
John Romano is a wealth of knowledge, and a true pioneer in the craft beer game. Although Nickel Brook was formed in 2005 (errr, maybe 2004), he was in the game as early as 1992 with a Home Brew store. That’s…. bananas. He was brewing beer when I was still just a lil’ tyke. And now, he’s the owner of one of the leaders of craft beer in Ontario. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to sit and chat with him about how he started, ups and downs, different beer styles, and tons more. I mostly let him just take the reins on this one, cause he was dropping so much knowledge, I didn’t want to interrupt. I could have sat and talked to him for hours longer about craft beer and his thoughts on a number of different topics, but we tried not to take up toooooo much of his time.
Beyond thoroughly enjoying my visit with John, Nickel Brook has a special meaning to me, as it relates to the Crafty Gents, so I was extra excited to finally be able to reach out to them and make an episode happen. We cut it out of the episode, but I told John this story (or background, or whatever you’d call it) when we visited in late October.
A couple years ago, after constantly visiting craft breweries throughout the GTA and beyond, I decided I wanted to create an inventory of craft beers that I really enjoyed. With rotating taps, small batch brews and a veryyyy bad memory, I wanted a place that I could go to refer back to offerings that stuck out amongst the plethora of varieties that we see on a weekly basis in this wildly diverse craft beer scene.
Around the same time, my good friend Alex Neto (who has an unmatched Beard Game – shoutout to Monat), asked me to go to a Craft Beer Tasting event at a really cool spot in Oshawa called Cork & Bean. They have a huge selection of Craft Beer and Wine, and their coffee is next level delicious. I had never been to an official tasting, but I was all for it. I asked my partner in crime, also named Nick (aka Lil’ Nicky, aka Catnip, aka ‘Danger Can’ Extraordinaire), to join us. When we arrived, we learned that Nickel Brook would be hosting the event and leading us through five of their offerings. I can’t remember all of them, but I do remember having Cuvee for the first time – and daaaaamn was that good. Having them walk us through tasting notes and pairings and talking with likeminded people about craft beer really inspired me to continue to learn more about what I was drinking, but most importantly was just so much fun!
Fast forward to the next day…. at work… hungover. It just kind of hit me that I should create an account where I would profile different craft beers that I enjoyed from my favourite breweries. I needed a name. I wanted to be anonymous – I didn’t want the focus to be on me, but on the beer and the breweries. I always loved this band called Gentlemen Husbands. They’re from Cobourg and I’ve seen them play a ton of times. They’re one of the tightest group of musicians, with such a unique sound, that never really got the props they deserve (by that, I mean they should be listened to by everyone and anyone cause they always brought the hits, in my opinion). And that day, while at work, I was shuffling through a few of their ep’s… which isn’t weird, cause they’re typically playing or have been recently played on my phone, and thought The Crafty Gentlemen sounded pretty cool.
The rest, as they say, is history… Tell very few people about The Crafty Gents while I tour around incognito and pick up beers with friends at different breweries, have a drunken night with Chad at my place while we’re hanging up photos of his in my kitchen, tell him about what I’ve been doing, create this great idea together of interviewing breweries and showcasing this incredible community, make episodes, drinks tons of craft beer, home brew, develop a drinking problem, have an intervention, film it cause it’s, “good content for our channel”, rebound, relapse… you get it. All the things you’d want to look forward to in the pursuit of something you value. So thankful.
Anyways, check out this episode with John to learn more about Nickel Brook, and why they’re such a big part of craft beer in the GTA and Ontario. It’s worth the watch if ya askkkk me (speaking as someone with no obvious biases toward the content).
To learn more about Nickel Brook Brewing Co., visit their site here:
To see our full episode with Nickel Brook Brewing Co., click here:
Cheers – T.