TORONTO, ON – Two veterans of Ontario’s brewing industry have announced the launch of a new project that has just released its debut beer.
High Road Brewing is a partnership between Curtis Bentley and Rob Doyle, two brewers who had worked at different Ontario breweries – Bentley at King Brewery, and Doyle at Sleeman – before they met in 2007 while enrolled in the Masters Brewing & Distilling program at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Upon completion of the program, Doyle returned to Ontario to work for Magnotta Brewery and later Mill Street Brewery, while Bentley worked with a small brewery in New Zealand before coming back to Canada and also ending up at Mill Street. After working there together for several years, the duo decided to form their own brewing company, and High Road was born.
The first beer to be released by High Road is Bronan IPA, a 7.1% and 70 IBU ale that is described as a “Vermont style IPA.” In an email to CBN, Bentley explained both this odd style classification, and the name of the beer:
Although there isn’t really a Vermont IPA subcategory, it is definitely distinguishable from West Coast IPAs. On a trip to Vermont last year we were really blown away by some of the IPAs they had. Heady Topper and offerings from both Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s Finest Liquids were all outstanding and not like IPAs we’d had before. So we decided to try to produce our interpretation of a Vermont IPA. The yeast used by a few of the brewers up there is not a secret and is known informally as Conan. We got our hands on some Conan and we were brewing a batch and having a few homebrews and someone said “Bronan” and it stuck. Some may think its an odd name but after making several versions and always sticking with “Bronan” on the brewsheets it grew on us and we decided to stick with it because it had developed value to us.
High Road is currently brewing under contract on a 5 barrel system at Niagara College Brewery, where Doyle has held a position as teaching brewer since leaving Mill Street last year. This has allowed the pair to produce enough beer to enter the Ontario market, although opening their own facility is something they hope to do as soon as its feasible.
The partners also plan to release additional beers under the High Road name, with several candidates being tested on a small pilot system:
We are currently tweaking a summer beer which is a hoppy American wheat but with more of a Witbier grist and also summer saison. We have several others we have worked on for quite some time, anything from an ordinary German pils to a brown ale with Australian bush spice to Belgian lambic. We currently have an altbier in the US National homebrew competition that has made it the the final round which goes next month.
High Road Bronan IPA is now on tap at a number of craft beer bars in the GTA and Southern Ontario. For more details, see the High Road Facebook page.