“I know I want to do a sour and an oyster stout,” 12 Gates Brewing Co. brewer Scott Shuler said, but “this can very well change soon.” (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

There's nothing like a good draft.

Except maybe two.

Or 34.

In advance of the NFL Draft Thursday night, 34 craft breweries – half from southern Ontario, half from Western New York – joined forces in Niagara Falls on Wednesday to begin the process of making 34 collaborative beers for the first CanAm Craft Beer Festival next year.

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and Ontario Craft Brewers got the barrels rolling by holding a "draft" that paired 17 American and 17 Canadian breweries to brew batches together for the festival. Each brewery will create a collaborative batch on its own turf, as well as one in their neighboring country.

Resurgence Brewing Co. on the West Side, for instance, was chosen to host Niagara Brewing Co., of Niagara Falls, Ont., and travel to Block Three Brewing Co., in St. Jacobs, Ont.

Niagara College Teaching Brewery – where Resurgence brewer Dave Collins and other Western New York brewers learned their trade – will visit West Shore Brewery in Clarence, which is expected to open later this year. Buffalo Brewing Co. brewer John Domres Jr. will visit the Niagara-on-the-Lake teaching brewery to craft a collaborative batch.

[RELATED STORY: Craft beer boom takes hold in southern Ontario]

The draft took place at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y.; the festival will take place at the same venue on April 7, 2018.

"While the festival is not taking place until next April, it’s going to take some time for the breweries to collaborate to make unique craft beers for our first CanAm and the upcoming NFL draft allowed us to do something fun with our draft,” said Willard Brooks, president of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association.

“It was a tremendous event and just a prelude to what will be a great festival next April as I am sure the competitive juices of the breweries will be flowing to make what will be some really exquisite craft beers.”

Dignitaries and tourism officials pulled logos of the participating breweries from oak barrels and matched up the collaborators on a draft board.

Student Karen Belfry pours one of Niagara College Teaching Brewery’s house brands in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., which include the flagship Butler’s Bitters, at the brewery’s retail outlet, run by students.

The collaborators expect to make a wide assortment of unique craft beers, Brooks said.

Scott Shuler, brewer at 12 Gates Brewing Co. in Amherst, called the gathering "a great afternoon and the beginning of some great relationships."

Shuler – who will visit Grand River Brewing Co. in Cambridge, Ont., to brew one beer, and host Nickel Brook Brewing Co., of Burlington, Ont., to make another – said he expects to wait until December to start seriously considering the styles of beer he'll collaborate to make. Meanwhile, he expressed delight that the tight-knit Western New York brewing community will extend friendships beyond the border.

"I know I want to do a sour and an oyster stout," Shuler said. "This can very well change soon."

The pairings are as follows:

Home American Visitor Canadian
12 Gates Brewing Company (Williamsville, NY) Nickel Brook Brewing Company (Burlington, ON)
Resurgence Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY) Niagara Brewing Company (Niagara Falls, ON)
Thin Man Brewery (Buffalo, NY) Block Three Brewing Company (St. Jacobs, ON)
West Shore Brewing Company (Clarence, NY) Niagara College Teaching Brewery (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
Big Ditch Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY) Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON)
Woodcock Brothers Brewery (Wilson, NY) Cowbell Brewing Company (Blyth, ON)
Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. (West Seneca, NY) Lock Street Brewing Company (St. Catharines, ON)
Hamburg Brewing Company (Hamburg, NY) Brimstone Brewery (Ridgeway, ON)
42 North Brewing Company (East Aurora, NY) Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. (Dundas, ON)
Ellicottville Brewing Company – EBC (Ellicottville, NY) Flying Monkey’s Craft Brewery (Barrie, ON)
Flying Bison Brewing Co. (Buffalo, NY) Great Lakes Brewery (Etobicoke, ON)
Four Mile Brewing, LLC (Olean, NY) Grand River Brewing (Cambridge, ON)
New York Beer Project (Lockport, NY) Royal City Brewery Company (Guelph, ON)
Community Beer Works (Buffalo, NY) Redline Brewhouse (Barrie, ON)
Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing (Westfield, NY) Niagara Oast House Brewers (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
Buffalo Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY) Railway City Brewing Co. (St. Thomas, ON)
Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, NY) Wellington Brewery (Guelph, ON)

 

Home (Canadian) Visitor (American)
Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON) Flying Bison Brewing Co. (Buffalo, NY)
Block Three Brewing Company (St. Jacobs, ON) Resurgence Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY)
Brimstone Brewery (Ridgeway, ON) Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. (West Seneca, NY)
Cowbell Brewing Company (Blyth, ON) New York Beer Project (Lockport, NY)
Grand River Brewing (Cambridge, ON) 12 Gates Brewing Company (Williamsville, NY)
Niagara College Teaching Brewery (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) Buffalo Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY)
Niagara Oast House Brewers (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, NY)
Royal City Brewery Company (Guelph, ON) 42 North Brewing Company (East Aurora, NY)
Redline Brewhouse (Barrie, ON) Thin Man Brewery (Buffalo, NY)
Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. (Dundas, ON) Community Beer Works (Buffalo, NY)
Wellington Brewery (Guelph, ON) Four Mile Brewing, LLC (Olean, NY)
Lock Street Brewing Company (St. Catharines, ON) Five and 20 Spirits and Brewing (Westfield, NY)
Great Lakes Brewery (Etobicoke, ON) Hamburg Brewing Company (Hamburg, NY)
Niagara Brewing Company (Niagara Falls, ON) Big Ditch Brewing Company (Buffalo, NY)
Nickel Brook Brewing Company (Burlington, ON) Ellicottville Brewing Company – EBC (Ellicottville, NY)
Flying Monkey’s Craft Brewery (Barrie, ON) Woodcock Brothers Brewery (Wilson, NY)
Railway City Brewing Co. (St. Thomas, ON) West Shore Brewing Company (Clarence, NY)

 

 

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