Brewing beer isn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill, planning and preparation. It also requires an almost symbiotic relationship with your brewing equipment. Now, imagine brewing in a type of equipment rarely seen in North America and covered in Croatian labelling (which had been placed over German labelling).
It doesn’t sound easy, but that was the situation faced by the determined owners of Together We’re Bitter (TWB) Co-operative Brewing in Kitchener.
I had a chance to visit TWB on their opening day and despite the constant flow of customers, was given an entertaining and insightful tour of their new space. And aside from the beer, the brewery equipment was definitely a highlight.
From “Sputnik”, their aptly named combo mash tun and kettle, to their lay-flat, stacked bright tanks, TWB has one of the most fascinating set-ups I’ve seen. The German made equipment was used in Croatia for some time before being bought for a very reasonable price by TWB. Thanks to the skills of several team members, they were able to retrofit and customize everything to suit their needs. As you’ll see when you visit, the unique design of everything has the added bonus of taking up very little space. So despite the small size of their space, they actually have room to grow!
From outside, you have no idea what to expect from TWB. They occupy the first unit of a small industrial building and can easily be missed (thankfully their roadside signage was really good). Once inside, they’ve designed a very inviting and comfortable environment. The team has added their personal touch to everything. Their bar is made from a reclaimed bowling lane and the pallets used to transport the brewing equipment have been re-purposed as artwork after ageing and weathering outside the brewery for several months. Once you walk in, you want to settle down on a bar stool and spend some time drinking and talking.
When taking advantage of those free samples, you have six beers to choose from. They range from a light and flavourful witbier through to a robust porter. All the beer is sold in one or two litre growlers, plus they’ll fill your own growler if you’d prefer. Take your time to talk with the staff while sampling. They are likely to be the people who brewed it! What I bought:
Maggie’s Farm Pale Ale
Very light and crisp, but not lacking in flavour. This version of Maggie’s Farm is 4.8% which makes it a great growler beer. What I love about this beer is its ability to taste great to both new and experienced craft beer drinkers.
Honourable mention: The Pullman Porter is delicious. Dark chocolate and coffee notes are balanced perfectly with a beautiful smokiness. With the temperature set to drop, you really need to swing by TWB to get some of this!
While researching their unique brewery equipment, the TWB team caught a glimpse of it on Google Street View sitting outside its original home.
In addition to several other excellent breweries, the Kitchener-Waterloo region is loaded down with fun things to see and do.
My personal favourite is Victoria Park, which is also free!
Other free or nearly free things include:
- A variety of walking paths and trails
- Historic Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tour
- Public Art Galleries
- Kitchener Market
It’s a bit further away, but if you’re in the area you should visit St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market (Canada’s largest year-round farmer’s market!)
And find more things to do on Tripadvisor!
The staff at TWB are some of the nicest people you’ll meet, so be sure to stop by today and give them a big craft beer welcome!