THUNDER BAY - It likely won’t end the confusion for the alarmingly high number of people who mix up Thunder Bay and North Bay.
But, local craft brewing company Sleeping Giant is teaming up with North Bay’s New Ontario Brewing Company to create the appropriately titled collaboration beer ‘Bay to Bay.’
New Ontario confirmed their attendance in this weekend’s BrewHa! Festival some months ago, and the two breweries figured it would be a better time than ever to brew together.
“New Ontario, they came up we like did. [They] saw a need in their community, started brewing from home, and they're very passionate about beer.” Sleeping Giant co-owner Kyle Mulligan said.
Brewmaster Mike Harrison started New Ontario in 2015, and has enjoyed success in the North Ontario market since.
“Northern Ontario as a whole has been very receptive, it’s actually one of our largest market for sales,” he said. “Plus, the breweries up here make some of the best products in the province as far as I’m concerned.”
In that sense, the collaboration was a no-brainer.
“I think we have much of the same background, so when we did the recipe development, we thought in the same ways,” Harrison said. “We both brought our unique hop choices. It’s a collaboration of products, ideas, and it really ties a region together.”
Harrison described the beer as a “big, juicy, hoppy,” India Pale Ale with a lot of flavour and a hazy colour.
‘Bay to Bay’ is expected to hit the market at the end of September.
Both Sleeping Giant and New Ontario will have their own tent set up at this weekend’s BrewHa! Festival.
Harrison said he considers it a marquee event for craft beer breweries in the region.
“We only go two of these festivals a year, and BrewHa! Is one of them,” he continued. “Thunder Bay is a great city, and much like North Bay it’s built around its waterfront. We plan on putting BrewHa! For our permanent calendar.”
Although the collaboration beer won’t be ready in time for the festival, New Ontario will feature their flagship blonde ale, a radler, and “a few other surprises,” while Sleeping Giant will have a chai milk stout, a French farmhouse ale, and a kettle sour, among others.