World class beer scene on the rise in Milton and Georgetown

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Published November 6, 2023 at 10:53 am

Third Moon Brewing
The Third Moon Brewing team. Photo by 2H Media

Opening a brewery in the middle of a world-wide pandemic was probably not the best idea the team behind Third Moon Brewing in Milton had ever made.

Or perhaps it was, as it taught co-founders Steve ‘Bebo’ Pilotto and Chris Steininger and their staff the importance of perseverance as they struggled to make a business thrive amid periodic shutdowns as the world came to grips with the COVID-19 virus.

The hard work paid immediate dividends, with Third Moon earning a fifth place global ranking among breweries that opened their doors in 2020 from prestigious RateBeer.com.

The brewery and its hazy and juicy hop-forward IPAs and big pastry stouts – think dessert-like flavours like maple syrup, chocolate, coconut and coffee – as well as more adventurous styles like fruit-flavoured slushie beers were instant hits locally as well.

“Our goal,” Pilotto and Steininger said on their website, “is to turn each of our beers into a memorable experience.”

The philosophy seemed to have worked, with Third Moon developing a devoted fan base rather quickly, spreading the word that this a must-visit brewery.

Most of the beer names are linked to the occult, such as Bone Tree, All Things Must Die and Mortals Dance in Defiance of the Dark IPAs and Double IPAs; the Each Beast a God and Bestowed series of Imperial Stouts; and the Epoch slushie lineup.

Third Moon Brewery, located at 295 Alliance Road, is a star of the Ontario beer scene but it’s not the only brewery making waves in Milton and Halton Hills.

Just down the street from Third Moon is Orange Snail Brewing, which actually started on Alliance Road in 2015 before moving to a bigger facility right on the town’s main drag on Steeles Avenue.

Founded by Damion Orsi and Kevin Greer, two pals from Milton who are “passionate” about craft beer, Orange Snail has achieved some success of their own, starting with a silver at the Ontario Brewing Awards in 2016 for Rattle ‘N Nemo amber ale and a bronze for mainstay Iron Pig blonde ale in 2017.

That year also saw the brewery win Business of the Year award in the small business category at the Milton Community Awards Gala.

Recent brews include Galley Stout, Yukon Blonde Lager and Hockey Mask Pumpkin Ale, as well as Iron Pig.

Further growth in one of Ontario’s fastest growing towns, continued involvement in the community and more great beer is what’s in the future for Orange Snail.

Halton Hills has just one brewery, but Furnace Room is another brewery that has quickly made a name for itself in the local craft beer scene.

Furnace Room Brewery started exactly where the name suggests – downstairs in the basement of a home in Georgetown, right next to the furnace. That’s where friends Jeff Sandifer and Mike Glockner started experimenting with home brew recipes.

Ten years later, with word of mouth spreading about the product the two were putting out and with some new backers with expertise in the financial, real estate, technical and construction industries, Furnace Room launched its own brick and mortars brewery on Elgin Street in Georgetown.

The names of their beers are nods to local figures and Georgetown history, such as Apricot Astronaut, Barber Dynamo and their flagship beer, Chicken Man Pale Ale, named for a Halton Hills urban legend (that was very much real) named George Chaplin who rode around town with a hen named Cluck Cluck on the back of his bicycle.

Other beers featured by Furnace Room – each inspired by local characters and landmarks – include Beardmore Lagered Ale, Fountain Green IPA, Wright House Red Ale and Hungry Hollow Hazy Pale Ale.

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