Thirst Trap: Toronto’s Craftiest Brewmasters

Image: Pexels

Feeling thirsty? You’re in luck! Our first edition of Thirst Trap is ready at the taps as we round up Toronto’s Hottest brewmasters. While charm and good looks help, we delve deeper into what it really takes to be a brewmaster. All the know-how behind the barley and the brawn – it’s their education, creativity, business sense and raw talent that put these brewmasters on the top of our list. The science of brewing beer is no easy feat but these guys and gals are whipping up concoctions that will make your toes curl and leave your taste buds wanting more. That being said, read on and appreciate why these individuals are Toronto’s most-qualified brewmasters and true pioneers in their “craft”. Take a look at the craftiest brewmasters below:

Image: Instagram/@bigrockbrewery

Dan Ellis
Liberty Commons
Dan Ellis isn’t just a pretty face. In his role at Big Rock Brewery’s new Liberty Commons, he combines his passion for food and drink, his Bachelor of Science, and unyielding creativity making him one qualified individual. When he’s not brewing (which is most of the time) you can find him playing outdoor shinny in the winter, enjoying a good patio beer in the summer, or thinking up possible new brews and pairings.

Image: Instagram/@libertycommons

Connor K. Patrick,
Big Rock Brewery & Liberty Commons
Connor K. Patrick joins Thirst Trap with not only ten years brewing experience with Big Rock Brewery, a Power Engineering Degree from SAIT, a Diploma from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and a Concise Course in Brewing Technology certificate, but also a past career in the CFL. After a career-ending injury, he decided to take the plunge into brewing, something we can all be thankful for – the world of brewing can never have enough burly and highly educated men.

Image: Instagram/@granitebrewery

Mary Beth Keefe
Granite Brewery
Being one of Toronto’s only female brewmasters, Mary Beth Keefe is automatically in a league of her own. Plus this gal was born and bred into a family of brewers not only giving her a wealth of knowledge but also a natural born instinct to create “really good tasting beer,” as quoted from CBC news. Not to mention Keefe has all the authentic pub know-how acquired while working at a pub in a village called Corbridge on the Northern tip of England.

Image: Instagram/@millstreetbrew

Joel Manning
Mill Street Brewery
When it comes to experience, Joel Manning of Mill Street Brewery has it all – the guy’s beer smarts will have you feeling thirssssty. Beginning in 1986, Manning trained with the Amsterdam and Rotterdam brewpubs in Toronto, later receiving a scholarship for brewing courses in England, and then finally landing at Mill Street Brewery where he resides today. Oh, and he was also the President of the Master Brewers Association in Canada in 2004… Like we said, this guy knows his stuff.

Image: Bandit Brewery

Stephane Dubois and Shehzad Hamza
Bandit Brewery   

Bandit Brewery might be one of the best microbreweries in the West end. Led by Stephane Dubois and partner Shehzad Hamza, this duo is a *power-couple* in a non-romantic sense if we’ve seen one. If it weren’t for Dubois’ ten years of home-brewing knowledge in France, Bandit Brewery might not be a thing, but of course, we can’t leave out Hamza – honourable mention goes out to another beer God in the making.

Image: Alex Lee

Mike Clark and Luke Pestl
Bellwoods Brewery
Located in the trendy Ossington neighbourhood, Bellwoods Brewery is backed by Mike Clark and Luke Pestl. But don’t be fooled by charm and good looks, combined these two have a beer education one can only dream of. We’re talking a Biochemistry degree, a Biochemical Engineering degree, 60ish% of a Master’s degree and one-third of a Diploma in Brewing from IBD – the rest we’ll call raw talent.

Image: Blood Brothers Brewery

Brayden & Dustin Jones
Blood Brothers Brewery
The love of beer between Brayden and Dustin Jones runs deep. Blood Brother’s Brewery is an appropriate name we’d say as this one is all in the family. The siblings are not just strength and brawn, but they’re also ingenious. Being former home brewers the creative freedom has never left the brewing process and they were quoted telling NOW Toronto that, “there’s really no focus for us other than brewing what we find captivating.” Sounds like a formula for some out of this world beers if you ask us.

Image: Steam Whistle Brewing

Erica McOustra
Steam Whistle Brewing 

Props go out to the only other lady on our list, Erica McOustra from Steam Whistle Brewing, yet another example that yes, woman know beer too! McOustra began her beer education at Amsterdam Brewing and Magnotta Brewing, joining Steam Whistle Brewing in 2010. Skill-wise she packs a mean punch with a certificate from the prestigious Versuchs-und Lehranstalt fur Brauerei (VLB) in Berlin, continuing on to become an active member of Ontario’s craft brewing industry, a recognized judge of the Beer Judges Certificate Program, and a volunteer on the technical committee of the Master’s Brewing Association of the America’s. This gal lives and breathes beer!

REALTED LINK: The Vibe Guide to Toronto Breweries 

Are there any other brewmasters you think should be included on Thirst Trap? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe