(WINDSOR, ON) – Bryan Datoc says the easiest way to get vendors to deliver orders to 89 University Avenue West is to remind them that the building is the former Aardvark Blues Cafe. Now occupying the famous landmark is Windsor’s newest craft brewery, Craft Heads Brewing Company.
Although we arrived a bit early for the lunch period, after descending the stairs into Craft Heads, we met with Ron and Joe, two well educated staff members on duty. The two were more than willing to explain the various house-made brews and the processes behind their production.
Ron also runs the coffee concession that is available from 8:00 am daily, except Sundays. Craft Heads is the only location in Windsor that provides the best of Australian coffee culture, learned during Ron’s four years down under.
Food is also available at the brewery, with orders catered in from Terra Cotta Pizzeria, next door. There are plans in the works to widen the offerings from other local eateries, as well.
Craft Heads opened in February and they have now settled into the daily routine after the initial buzz. There is a spartan vibe to the space which is commanded by a bar with 30 taps along the south wall with tables occupying the remaining real estate. The east side of the tap room provides access to the brewing area and patrons can get a behind the scenes look into the inner workings of the brewery.
Today there were nine varieties of beers available and it was decided to try a small sampling of different brews.
First up was the Hefeweizen Wheat, a very pleasant and refreshing light-coloured German style of top-fermenting beer. The suspended yeast is not for everyone, but I can’t think of a better brew for a hot Windsor summer afternoon. And Craft Heads’ version is as good as any from the Fatherland. (Craft Heads Hefeweizen Wheat, 4.9%, 11 IBU)
The second sample was the Aardvark Blonde. Named for the former live music venue, the smooth beer with just a hint of carbonation does its namesake proud. The Aardvark was the preeminent destination to catch the best local entertainers and the beer will soon become a favourite as well. (Craft Heads Aardvark Blonde, 5.3%, 18 IBU)
If you’re a fan of Coffee Crisp candy bars, you’ll want to try Craft Heads’ Next On Stage Amber. Again with a nod to the musical traditions of the locale, Next On Stage is a sipping beer that puts on display only the best nuances of a quality craft beer. The dusky scent gives way to a hint of chocolate and coffee with a negligible after taste. (Craft Heads Next On Stage Amber, 5.4%, 33 IBU)
Datoc and business partner Steven Fabischek offer house-made brews from the lightest of ales to the darkest of stouts with always a variety available no matter your preference. Growlers are also an option for those who want to take the goodness of Craft Heads home.
As the new kids on the Windsor craft beer block, Craft Heads has its work cut out for them. However, with the downtown location and top notch offerings, Datoc and Fabishek will soon be rightly recognized as leaders in the industry.