You may have heard us talk about the new kid on the block over Twitter and Facebook over the last few months and yes my friends, they most definitely have the right stuff. The fine folks over at Dominion City are finally opening their doors this coming Saturday at noon. After a couple years of plotting, planning, scheming... wait, maybe not scheming, they haven't announced intentions to take over the world... they're finally here! They'll be hitting the scene in a big way with a brewery, tasting room and bottle shop on Canotek Rd (5510, unit 15 to be precise.) YES! You heard me right Ottawa-Eastenders, we finally have a brewery to stop at on the way home to suburbia, and it's only seconds off the highway.
If you absolutely can't wait until Saturday, there will be four bars in town that you can visit on Friday after 5:30. Those bars are Brothers Beer Bistro, The Wellington Gastro Pub, Bowman's Bar and Grill, and Union Local 613.
While I didn't take pictures (I didn't want to spoil it for you when you make your way out there, or I'm too lazy, you pick) I did get a chance to stop by the brewery this week and get a tour of the facilities. All I can say is wow! Awesome set up. And to those of you who backed them in their recent Kickstarter campaign (like we did,) I can assure you the money went to good use. The tasting bar is just beautiful.
And the people behind the brewery? Incredible. We had a chance to meet up with them a couple times this summer and their passion, enthusiasm and genuine excitement over the craft is nothing short of infectious. Spend five minutes with Josh and tell me with a straight face that he doesn't love what he does. I dare you. You can tell these guys are in the right field, because they've inspired a legion of friends to help them get this project up and running. The craft beer scene is all about community, you've heard me say it time and again, and it really feels like Dominion City has captured that in a very real and organic way.
So I've sang my praises for the facility and the people who operate it. I already know what you're going to ask me: What about the beer? After an initial tasting at a pre-launch party this week at Brothers Beer Bistro, the lads at Dominion City were ever so kind as to grant me the honour of reviewing the two beers that they will have available on Saturday: their Earl Grey Marmalade Saison and their Town & Country Blonde Ale. Their third flagship, Two Flags IPA, will be available shortly after they open. Let's have a look at the EGM and T&C today in anticipation of what you'll be able to find this coming Saturday.
First up, Earl Grey Marmalade Saison:
Look at that colour. A beautiful hazy coppery orange with a very fine thin head. There's lots to smell here, a complex mix of heavy orange citrus with light herbal, spice and ester notes. The first thing that jumps out at me in my first few sips is actually the mouthfeel; very juicy, smooth yet crisp, with mild carbonation. In all that, the flavours are very well blended with a combination of fruity and zesty citrus, mild spices, and herbal notes. You've heard me say it before: balance is key for me. This, my friends, is very well balanced. Nothing overpowers anything else. It all works very, very well together. This is so light and refreshing, every sip just makes me come back for more. It truly is an incredible and unique take on a saison.
Next up, Town and Country Blonde Ale:
Very traditional looking blonde ale, yellow straw with a golden tinge, slightly hazy, fine white head. Light citrus notes hit the nose, followed by some sweet maltiness and dry grain. There's also a bit of nice floral and ester mixed in underneath it all. My first sip told me I was in for a treat, there was very little of the harsh grain bitterness that I've come to expect from blonde ales. Instead, the cross between the sweet malt profile and lightly bitter citrus hoppiness really works well together. Again, there's a nice balance here, so I'm starting to see a trend in Dominion City's beers (which also holds true for their IPA, of which I'll post a review up as soon as it becomes available.) The mouthfeel has a nice crispy snap that really accentuates the sweetness and citrus. Overall, this is a solid blonde ale that keeps you coming back for more. Could that be an other trend? The simple answer is yes.
There you have it: two great beers from a brand new brewery. Both definitely worth checking out.
Something else that I feel is worth mentioning is their bottling. What you've seen in the pictures are 750mL grumblers. These styles of beer are perfect for that size: enough to enjoy on your own while grilling a steak, but also enough to split with a friend while soaking up the rays on the back porch. They'll also have your standard 2L growlers in case you wanted to share with a few friends.
To recap: Dominion City opens this Saturday at noon. They'll have their Earl Grey Marmalade Saison and Town & Country Blonde Ale available immediately, and their Two Flags IPA will follow shortly thereafter. If you can't wait until Saturday, select bars will be carrying their product Friday after 5pm. That's it. A great new brewery opening up here in Ottawa's east end, fueled by a fantastic community and making great beer. What's not to love? We'll be there this Saturday celebrating their opening and we hope to see you all there!
If you haven't done so already, here are a few different ways to keep an eye on what's happening with these up-and-comers: