Our next stop in the craft brewing community takes us to another brewery in Embrun Ontario, Tuque de Broue, a family owned independent brewery. There I met with Nicolas Malboeuf, owner of Tuque de Broue and he told me how the brewery started and what Tuque de Broue is all about. First off, why is the brewery named Tuque de Broue? Tuque de Broue is a play on words that refers to the head or foam of the beer when it is poured. Like a Tuque on your head keeps in the body heat on a cold winter day, Tuque de Broue keeps in the effervescence and aromas in the glass until you’re ready to take a drink. This is important because our sense of smell plays a large part in our sense of taste and the foam helps in delivering the carefully crafted aromatics that give us the full flavour of the beer. Also, foam provides a good mouth feel and lends to the quality of the brew.
The beginning of any craft brewery is often the same, the dream of making great beer. From there, the differences begin and the character of the brewery forms. Nicolas, unlike a lot of craft brewery owners who have a background in experimenting with home brewing brings a different background to the table. Nicolas came from a background of fine wine sales and promotions and wanted to apply that experience and start his own business. He learned everything he needed to start a brewery and with the help of a few friends had some contract brews to create his flagship beer Tuque Dorée. After a successful launch of the brand, the search for his own location began and being from Embrun, there was no other community he wanted to start his business in. He hired Zach as his brewmaster, a graduate from Niagara College with an experienced background in brewing. Nicolas has hopes to one day fully utilize the area’s strong agricultural foundations to create a beer with 100% locally produced ingredients. Currently, spent grain from the brewery goes to a local farm as feed for animals. Then the manure produced by those animals goes to a local hop farm to fertilize the crops. Nicolas sees opportunities everywhere, including in his challenges. One of the challenges with the location of the brewery is that it’s currently on a well and septic system. Spent water from the brewing process is stored in holding tanks and Nicolas makes the most of this. The water, that is nutrient rich is then picked up by local farmers and mixed into manure for fertilizer. The design of the closed system has caught the attention of local institutions because of it’s low impact on the environment and ability to isolate elements from the process for recycling. Tuque de Broue is brewing for the future, with the aim of low emissions and minimal environmental impact, supporting the local community with jobs and providing a legacy for Nicolas’ family. It has been only 3 months since Tuque de Broue opened its doors in Embrun and they’ve already had to activate their 3 year plan by purchasing fermentors and planning far ahead with inventory in order to keep up with demand.
As for what beers Tuque de Broue produces. They have four beers currently available. Tuque Dorée, their flagship beer, a Canadian Pale ale that is light, clear and crisp. Gougounes Rousses, a red/amber ale with a subtle caramel flavour and light hoppiness. Barbe Blanche, a white beer (not quite a wheat beer) that is 20% wheat with a citrus and spice flavour. Lastly, La Cavalerie, their take on everyone’s craft favourite the IPA, a light IPA with a smooth finish. As with all of their beers, I found they had a nice clean taste and light hop flavour that wasn’t an overpowering bitterness which some craft beers have. It’s a flavour that is easy to approach for non-connoisseurs and connoisseurs alike. You can find Toque De Broue at many restaurants and LCBO’s in the Ottawa area. Click here to find the nearest location you can enjoy one responsibly. I also recommend checking out their store location, where you can sample the brews and buy some to take home. Be sure to mark September 17, 2016, in your calendar, as Toque De Broue will be holding a release party for their brand new Pumpkin Beer from 11:00am-5:00 pm at their brewery located at 189 Bay st in Embrun. There will be entertainment, a food truck and an opportunity to meet the passionate people behind the beer!