We believe that to make great beer, you need to start with great ingredients
Our barley malt comes from a variety of companies and locations to ensure we get the best malt possible for our beers.
Base malt makes up the largest percentage of the grain bill. We use traditional, premium-grade, Canadian 2-row barley for a strong foundation in all our beers. We source our base malts from Canada Malting Co.
These types of malt add sweet caramel and toffee flavours while also contributing a significant amount of colour. Crystal malts add layers of complexity and body. They are offered in many degrees of colour and flavour. We use a wide range of crystal malts sourced from Patagonia Malts in Chile, and from Briess Malt and Ingredients Co. and Great Western Malting, both in the USA.
These malts are used sparingly due to their intensity. Our dark and roasted malts come from Bairds Malt in the United Kingdom. Each adds an ample amount of colour with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Our smoked malt comes from Best Malz in Germany. The malt is smoked over beechwood to lend a pleasant and mellow smokiness to beer.
Wheat is the most common grain used in beer other than barley. Wheat adds light grainy and fruity notes while contributing greatly to body and a creamy head. Similar to rye, wheat does not have a husk. Rice hulls can be used as an additive to increase wort extraction and decrease lautering time for brews with a high percentage of wheat. We source our malted wheat from Canada Malting Co. and our raw wheat comes for Great Western Malting in the USA. We use a blend of malted and raw wheat in our #Witbier for a more grainy and earthy flavours in our beer. We also use raw wheat for our traditional turbid mashing process on all of our Spontaneous Ale brews.
We source our rye from Canada Malting Co. Rye is similar to wheat but has a distinctive spicy quality. Rye can be very difficult to brew with in large quantities because it does not have a husk. The glucans present in the grain gum up and cause much longer lautering times. Rice hulls can be added to the mash to act as a filtering aid and speed up the transfer of wort from the mash tun to the kettle.
There are hundreds of varieties of hops grown around the world. Each hop varietal has a very complex and aromatic quality to offer. We use an array of hops sourced from multiple growing regions.
Although European hops are often referred to as “noble hops,” there are only four noble hop varieties: Tettnanger, Spalt, Hallertauer Mittelfruh, and Saaz. While other varieties share the same qualities, they cannot be called a true noble hop. European hops have low levels of bittering compounds, but make up for it with high levels essential oils. They are commonly described as gentle, earthy, woody, spicy, and floral.
*The delicate characteristics of European hops are fully utilized in our Amber Ale and Foreign Exchange Stout. They allow the malt to take the stage while supporting the toffee and roasted flavours in each with a mild hop aroma. The spicy attributes in Saaz hops contribute to a complex hop experience in the Session IPA.
In 1971, the USDA breeding program at Oregon State University developed a new and intense hop: Cascade. Many have said Cascade was the hop that started the American craft revolution with its pungent grapefruit notes. Centennial, Columbus, and Chinook were developed and released soon after. High bittering compounds with citrus and pine-like aromas are famous characteristics of these hops. Since they were developed, the West Coast has become a leading growing region where most go when looking for the next big hop.
*These bold, intense and citrusy hops give our Session IPA, Pale Ale, and No. 7 IPA a real punch of flavour and bitterness. Citra and Mosaic hops are added for their tropical fruit and berry flavours. These hops are showcased in our Session IPA.
Although New Zealand and Australia are relatively new to the hop industry, they have proven to fill a small void in American IPA styles. These nations’ hops are tropical-fruit forward, juicy, and bright. They are recognized as dual-purpose hops, having both high bitter compounds and a pungent aroma. Notes of gooseberry, lychee, melon, and kiwi are just a few mouth-watering flavours these hops contribute.
*The intricate hop profile of our Bill NyePA, Grapefruit Pale Ale, Super Saison and Peach Pi is achieved by adding varieties of Australian hops throughout the brewing process (Galaxy or Australian Summer). They play a large part in the final product with notes of lush tropical fruits.
We use aged hops in our Lambic beers. When hops are aged, the bittering and flavour compounds in a hop-cone degrade while the microbial properties linger. The aged hops are used solely as a preservative during the long maturation process in the barrel.
“Wet hopping” refers to adding hops that are fresh off the vine late in the boil or after fermentation. Wet hops impart a grassier and more resinous flavour and aroma compared to hops that have been dried for long-term use and storage.
We use a small collection of carefully selected yeast from White Labs Inc. based in California. White Labs has been active in the American and Canadian craft brewing movement since the 1990s. The company supplies professional breweries, wineries, distilleries, and homebrew shops with the highest quality pure liquid yeast cultures.
Cultured yeast contains only one pure strain of brewer’s yeast called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. There are a number of different classifications of this yeast and each one has its own characteristics and effects on the beer. They are easier to control and are selected depending on the desired outcome.
These cultures of yeast contain a mixture of different strains and bacteria, including Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and pediococcus, to name a few. The wild yeast used in our Spontaneous Ale series is harvested from the skins of fruit growing right here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During fermentation, multiple yeast strains will compete with each other and some will grow at a quicker pace. It is unknown which strain will reproduce faster; therefore the outcome of the beer is completely different each time. These wild yeasts and bacteria are traditionally used together but can be used individually for better control over the product.
It may surprise you that Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all and contains no gluten. It is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. Buckwheat is also referred to as a pseudocereal because its seeds are edible and rich in complex carbohydrates. Buckwheat seeds are black in colour and a triangular in shape, they have a earthy and nutty flavour in their raw form. We use buckwheat in our Gluten Free Saison adding complexity and earthy flavours to the beer.
Used in food production for hundreds of years, Sorghum is a flowering grass native to many parts of the world. The grain-producing variety native to Africa is used to make syrups and molasses for food production. Naturally gluten free, we use sorghum to provide the majority of the sugars and base flavours to our Gluten Free Saison.
At the Exchange, we believe a subtle spicing of select brews can add a level of complexity beyond the four traditional brewing ingredients. We have a wide variety of herbs and spices, some locally-grown here in Ontario and from around the globe. We use fresh fruits grown in Ontario whenever possible and never use fruit concentrates in our beer.
We brew with the following spices and herbs:
This spice is traditionally used in the witbier style. We use coriander in our #Witbier, White IPA, Grand Cru and Framboise.
Used in our Winter Warmer Belgian Ale
This spice is traditionally used in the witbier style. We use orange peel in our #Witbier and White IPA.
Used in our White IPA and Thai Basil Saison.
We use fresh peeled and juiced red grapefruits in our Grapefruit Pale Ale.
Used in our Black Saison.
Used in our Peach Pi.
Used in our Peach Pi and Winter Warmer.
Used in our Peach Pi.
Used in our Apricot Berliner Weisse.
Used in our Plum Berliner Weisse.
Local raspberries grown in Niagara-on-the-Lake make our Framboise an annual favorite.
Sour cherries are used in our Spontaneous Kriek.
Black, Pink, Green and White Peppercorns are used in our Peppercorn Rye Saison.
We source freshly pressed pinot noir grapes from our friends at Pearl Morissette Estate Winery in Jordan for our annual Grand Cru brews.
Fresh Thai basil is steeped in our boil kettle to infuse the delicate aromas in our Thai Basil Saison.
Our Breakfast Stout features cold brewed coffee, freshly roasted by our staff.
Our Belgian Pumpkin Ale is made with lots of fancy pumpkin puree and love.
A small dose of this spice in our Belgian Pumpkin Ale brings out smells of autumn.