The Exchange Brewery is in a compact historical building right downtown in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Despite the size constraints, they packed a lot of space into the area, with two floors of service, brewing and some barreling on-site, and a very chic look that tied it all together.
The set-up was unique, and the stories were less focused on an ephemeral “how beer is made”, and more about how this brewery chooses to make their beer. The operators had even purchase different sets of much of their apparatus for sours vs non-sours, which was something we hadn’t seen before.
But the most impressive part of it all was how efficiently they used such a small space. In a room where you could barely squeeze 20 people in, everything was tightly packed with perfectly organized hoses running the liquid up and down and back and forth.
They had about 15 different beers on offer, including a couple on cask as a special anniversary weekend event. Some of our top hits were:
- & Oud Bruin Barrel Aged Sour – Our winner of the night, a complex sour with a dark brown/red colour – sour, malty, with a sort of dried cherry taste. A bit of everything.
- 71 White IPA – An interesting mashup, with the coriander and orange peel of a witbier combined with the hoppy bitterness of an IPA, but without too much of either. This blend worked very well for us.
- Black Saison – A very surprising beer. Sour, malty, even a bit of toasty oak at the end. Quite diverse in its taste profile, and unique among saisons.
- ∞ Belgian Stout – Medium-bodied, with a flavour reminiscent of those fancy cherry chocolates. Quite a pleasant cool-weather brew.
- Flanders Red – Another complex, rich sour, with a light, slightly nutty flavour; stays quite true to its roots.