Jon Johnson

As a graphic designer and screenprinter, writing about beer may be new to me, but getting excited about, and talking about beer is not.


As a thirtysomething beer enthusiast who has lived in Kitchener-Waterloo his whole life, it may surprise some that I have only been to one Oktoberfest festhall event. The organizers of Craftoberfest would not be surprised at all.

Since KW Oktoberfest is sponsored by Molson-Coors, their offerings are the only beers found in festhalls, Oktoberfest offers little of interest to a guy like me. Craftoberfest is looking to change that.

Craftoberfest is a series of events that are being presented as an alternative to the Molson-Coors sponsored main event, and way to highlight the growing number of craft brewers in the region, and Ontario as a whole. The goal is to get us “back in touch with the region’s rich heritage” and to be “a space for our community to come together.”

There will likely be a number of specialty beers and one-offs to make appearances at these unique events, which is a far better reason to leave the house than drinking generic, mass-produced beers in giant tents, if you ask me.

I can’t wait to see what comes out of Craftoberfest this year and in the future. Craftoberfest runs September 27 to October 17.

The Pumpkins are Coming!

Some may say the pumpkin spiced trend has jumped the shark, but I still get pretty excited when pumpkin beers come back. If you like the flavours of autumn, I highly recommend picking one up. Since they can vary a fair bit in style, here are some quick notes about ones you may run into:

Grand River Brewing – Highballer Pumpkin Ale, 5.2% – Cambridge, ON
This brew is a great introduction to pumpkin beers. Not too much pumpkin, not too little, this gets it just right.

Shipyard Brewing – Pugsley’s Smashed Pumpkin, 9.0% – Portland, ME
My personal favourite. Pugsley’s Smashed Pumpkin is a perfect late fall beer, warming you from the inside out, with high alcohol content and a flavour reminiscent of a mix of pumpkin and apple pie spices.

Great Lakes Brewing – Saison DuPump, 5.2% – Etobicoke, ON
The Saison DuPump is an interesting mash up with Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale qualities with pumpkin spicing. It’s very much worth