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A Pint With...

Garnet Pratt Siddall of Side Launch Brewing Co.

Nestled near Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Side Launch is the brainchild of former investment banker Garnet Pratt Siddall. The small independent, launched in 2014, has become one of Canada’s best-known craft beer makers, winning Brewery of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Brewery Awards.

LCBO: You went from banking to beer. How did that happen?

GARNET PRATT SIDDALL: I moved back to Ontario from New York in 2002 and started spending a lot of time in Collingwood. After working in banking for so long, I wanted to do something more meaningful, in a smaller community. I’ve always loved local craft beer. It’s just more flavourful and interesting. I thought, “Why not brew our own beer right here?”

 

LCBO: So you’d never brewed beer before. Where did the recipes come from?

GPS: Our plan was to lure over Michael Hancock, who was brewing beer at Denison’s, and it worked. He was already a well-respected craft brewer, and we liked his appreciation for making beers that he calls “simply complex.” They’re true to their style and balanced. That’s really what sets us apart. We’re not making anything too crazy. We make beer with wide appeal. It’s drinkable and flavourful, and people like it.

 

LCBO: This focus on flavour seems to be a hallmark of craft brewing. Why do you think it’s happening now?

GPS: It ties in to our awareness of what we’re eating and drinking, and the desire to support local. But it’s also about options. For so long, many of us got used to bland beer. Now it’s about choice, food pairings and flavour. The funny thing is, we’re not doing anything new. Craft brewing is just straight-up, old-fashioned beer making.

 

LCBO: How did you come up with the name Side Launch?

GPS: Collingwood has a long shipbuilding heritage. The shipyards were the heart and engine of the town until the mid-20th century. They made these huge, steel-hulled lakers and other ships, which had to be launched sideways because of the town’s narrow, shallow harbour. It was quite dramatic. My dad and his

family would go down to watch. Kids would get out of school. The ropes would be cut, the whistle blown, a bottle smashed over the bow. Our brewery is tapping in to this sense of pride, in our name and by bringing some industry back to the region.

 

LCBO: Collingwood is known for its skiing and picturesque beauty. What about the food?

GPS: This is a tourist town, so we have plenty of good local options, but I have to give a shout-out to The

Huron Club. The food is always great, there’s live music and, of course, lots of craft beer on tap. The Smoke is where I go for a smoked meat sandwich with a cold beer. Oh, and there’s a new place called Bent Taco. Collingwood had no idea how much it needed a real taco joint, and this is it.

 

SIDE LAUNCH MOUNTAIN LAGER

“This light lager has a delicate malt character and a slightly bitter finish. It’s really food-friendly, and it pairs well with soft cheese and salads.”

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SIDE LAUNCH WHEAT BEER

“This Bavarian-style beer bursts with flavour, featuring tinges of banana, clove and lemon. It goes best with rich, sweet fare like pork, or spicy Mexican.”

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