Manitoulin Brewing Company introduces new small batch brews

Manitoulin Brewing Company’s two new small batch brews, the cream ale (left) and porter. Both beers were created by collaborating with Island businesses. photo by Robin Burridge

LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Brewing Company (MBC) has been busy over the winter collaborating with Manitoulin businesses on two new small batch brews.

Recently, MBC introduced a porter, containing dark chocolate from Manitoulin Chocolate Works in Kagawong, and a cream ale, featuring Isleaway honey from Lake Manitou. Kendra Edwards Design of Little Current designed the small batch brew labels.

“The porter is a dark ale,” explained Blair Hagman of the MBC. “We sourced dark chocolate from Manitoulin Chocolate Works. We mixed the chocolate and malt together and the flavour really comes through in the finished taste—there are subtle notes of chocolate and coffee.”

Louise McKeen of Manitoulin Chocolate Works said she enjoyed collaborating with MBC.

“This is the first time we have collaborated with a brewery,” said Ms. McKeen. “I had never thought about it before. Blair (Hagman) told me about the flavour he was looking for and we prepared a 53/70 dark chocolate blend. I’m in Perth for the winter (at the other Chocolate Works location), we haven’t had a chance to try it, but we are looking forward to it.”

Ms. McKeen said that her daughter Heather, who operates the Perth location, has been speaking with a local brewery in their area who approached her about making a chocolate with its mocha stout.

With the new MBC golden cream ale, honey from Isleaway was added during the boil when creating the beer.

“We connected with Isleaway in Mindemoya and used 6 kg in the creation of the cream ale,” explained Mr. Hagman. “There are subtle notes of honey in the taste and aroma with a balanced crisp malt finish. The golden colour comes from the malt and the honey mixing together during the boil.”

MBC Cream Ale

“We were very pleased when we were contacted regarding the possibility of using our Isleaway honey as an ingredient in one of their new brews,” said owners Dave and Nancy Kains. “We appreciate MBC’s efforts to shop local, including the sourcing of ingredients. The results have proven themselves as we have sampled the new cream ale and are encouraged with the results. It was outstanding.”

Mr. Hagman said that the MBC team was excited to try some of their original recipes and create small batches for the retail shop in Little Current.

“We just created 2,000 litres of each small batch and are just selling it from the retail shop at the brewery (in Little Current),” explained fellow MBC founder Nishin Meawasige. “We want Islanders to be the first to try them and we want to hear their feedback.”

The pair revealed that they have a third small batch brew in the tank but were closed lips about what type.

“We will be announcing the third beer soon,” said Mr. Hagman.

“We really want locals to try these new beers and let us know what they think,” added Mr. Hagman. “Based on the feedback we get one could become part of our core brand and be branched out to LCBO and licenced establishments.”

“I was pleased to work with another local business on designing the small batch labels,” said Kendra Edwards of Kendra Edwards Design. “It was also great getting to taste test the new products.”

MBC brand ambassador John Kift has been travelling over the winter across Ontario, expanding MBC’s reach.

MBC Porter

“The Cup and Saucer English Ale is now in over 200 LCBO stores,” said Mr. Hagman. “It was also recently added on tap at the Craft Brasserie in Liberty Village in Toronto, which has 120 beers on tap. We have also been in discussions with other Northern Ontario breweries about another six pack (similar to the one that MBC collaborated on before Christmas last year).”

Manitoulin Brewing Company is located at 43 Manitowaning Road in Little Current. The retail shop is currently open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm. For more information visit