Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brewing Beer: Part Two

A tale of two brewers and a union of North American and European brewing techniques

Chloe Smith and Cedric Dauchot are two young brewmasters who plan to open the Shiny Penny brew pub in Saskatoon in the very near future. They share a passion for beer, but their education and approach to brewing are very different.

Part Two

Cedric’s story
Cedric Dauchot grew up in the French part of Belgium, just south of Brussels. After studying engineering and biochemistry at university for three years, he did an apprenticeship at Interbroue, a large Belgian-based brewing company.

Cedric caught the brewing bug and completed his university degree at Institut Meurice, one of three engineering and brewing schools in Belgium. He obtained a degree in Engineering with a specialization in the fermentation industry, which covered everything to do with yeast (vaccines, beer, cheese, alcohol).

Cedric then moved to London where he worked in a large brewing research lab and completed his thesis on yeast development in small-scale fermentation.

Les Trois Brasseurs, Montreal
Both Chloe and Cedric appreciate the fact that as brewers they can work anywhere in the world. Cedric had hoped to go to Africa, but when those plans didn’t work out, he went to work for Les Trois Brasseurs in northern France. He trained for five months, filled in for people and helped out at various locations before the company sent him to Montreal to open several branches of Les Trois Brasseurs.

Cedric was responsible for supervising the brewing process and solving technical problems. As quality control supervisor, he developed a lab in downtown Montreal to ensure that the beer from each of the branches met company standards.

Complementary approaches
Cedric is an engineer. If there’s a problem, he can solve it. He has a traditional approach to making beer, whereas Chloe is more creative and innovative. “We complement each other and meet in the middle,” says Chloe. “I’ll have an idea for a beer and then we work together to develop it.”

Saskatoon seemed like a good place for them to open their own brew pub. “We want Shiny Penny to be a fun place where people can learn about beer,” says Chloe. “We have a good support network here in Saskatoon and felt we could fill a hole in the market.”

Europe vs. North America
Chloe and Cedric’s individual approaches to brewing mirror the industry as a whole.

Prohibition in North America inhibited the growth of artisan beers. Sugary, fizzy drinks became popular during Prohibition, so breweries made a sweeter beer using corn. It was cheaper and increased the profit margin, so it got copied. “And since then, we’ve been drinking yellow fizzy beer,” says Chloe.

There was a return to artisan beers in the ‘80s, starting with Anchor Steam in San Francisco in the ‘60s. The small-scale breweries copied the European breweries, using them as a base in order to establish their own style.

European breweries had a good thing going for a great many years. Every brewery made a different kind of beer. There was no need to be creative and invent something new when in Belgium alone there were 1200 different kinds of beer.

This has changed. The European breweries are realizing that they’ve become stagnant. Nowadays, it’s North America that is influencing Europe. Several craft breweries are exporting their beer to Europe, and Stone Brewing Co. is planning to open a brewery in Bruges or Berlin.

An article in the Los Angeles Times, The American craft beer scene goes global, provides an interesting look at the shifting dynamics: “James Watt, the 27-year-old co-owner of BrewDog in Fraserburgh, Scotland, credits the absence of longstanding brewing traditions in the United States with encouraging a more creative brewing scene. ‘Beers in the U.K. have become fairly stuffy and old-fashioned, almost as if brewing traditions here have constrained brewers,’ he says. ‘When it comes to beer, we are light-years behind the U.S., and California in particular.’ "

Regina beer and brewers
Cedric and Chloe say that Regina has a big beer culture. Bushwakker Brewing Company is one of the best brew pubs in Canada, and there is a large home brew club (Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan).

Saskatoon beer and brewers
Both Cedric and Chloe are currently enjoying working at Paddock Wood Brewing Co. in Saskatoon. “Steve is very creative. He’s always trying new things, and he asks for our input,” says Chloe. Paddock Wood is a relatively new brewery, so Cedric can help with its development.

Paddock Wood Brewing provides a meeting space and access to expert advice for Headhunters, the Saskatoon home brew club. The club usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm. Their next meeting is on March 9, and they’ll be discussing wet hops and hopping traditions.

Cedric is also working at Cava Wines and Spirits and enjoys talking to customers and educating people about beer. He hosts a beer tasting every Saturday at 11:30 am.

Chloe and Cedric are looking forward to opening the Shiny Penny Brew Pub later in 2011. I look forward to their first brew off when Cedric and Chloe pit their individual recipes against each other and let the public judge which one they prefer.

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