There are many reasons to celebrate — and in terms of the hospitality industry, Terroir nailed it once again. Bringing together creative minds and skillful hands, Monday was filled with vibrant displays, elevated flavour profiles, like-minded enthusiasts, and inspiring speakers. Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding day. Of course, I had an appreciation for each and every individual who played a key role in making this day possible, but I especially enjoyed my interaction with Gary McMullen and the Muskoka Brewery team.
In its tenth year, Terroir is overly inspiring, bringing together some of the most hardworking and creative individuals in the hospitality industry. Chefs, brewers, culinary experts, business leaders and writers, all met within the Art Gallery of Ontario. For those who are serious about the industry in which they’re so passionate about, the Terroir Symposium provides one opportunity after the other.
As passionate individuals from all backgrounds network, a stronger community is built. Through education and collective resources, each attendee brought home their own unique and memorable experience. Myself, I had a little bit too much energy — the excitement was literally spilling out of me.
Muskoka Brewery partnered with Terroir, adding another dimension to the day. This year, Terroir focused on a plant-based menu, which I adored — it’s important to remind folks just how versatile plant-based ingredients truly are. Each chef’s unique approach to this veg-centric meal was offered in the form of edible art — almost too pretty to eat. After I did my rounds, taking in all the incredible talent that surrounded me, I met up with Gary McMullen, Muskoka Brewery’s founder and president, as well as his enthusiastic team.
For me, Muskoka Brewery has always been easy to support. There’s no point in beating around the bush — their quality beer is brewed with passion and skill. On the surface, that is what Muskoka Brewery is — good beer that tells a story, creating a unique and memorable experience — but this brewery is so much more than that. As you dig a bit deeper, you see how closely McMullen and his team stick to Muskoka’s core values — excellence, learning, creativity, and collaboration.
Excellence is a given, both in terms of the beer they brew and the experience they provide their visitors. Muskoka Brewery is more than a place to pump out delicious beer — it’s a place where both locals and visitors from afar can immerse themselves in all that the brewery has to offer. From the get-go, McMullen was interested in pushing the boundaries, encouraging brewing exploration. Although he took brewing to another level within the Muskoka region, he was always concerned with building a sense of community — and twenty years later, he could not have been more successful.
Learning and collaboration are key areas in which McMullen encourages, helping his team become more versatile, knowledgeable, and passionate. Of course, each and every individual on the Muskoka team is passionate about beer, but there’s more to it than that. In order for you to pick a Legendary Oddity off the shelves, means that everyone played their role. From the initial concept, through to the brewing process, marketing, sales, and everything in between, McMullen encourages each individual team member to explore and strengthen their knowledge — allowing his employees to experiment with varying aspects of the business. This is the basis behind their Moonlight Kettle Series, which in turn, encourages creativity.
Whether you’re a longtime Muskoka fan or a new kid on the Muskoka appreciation block, there’s always more to discover. Stayed tuned in the coming months to learn more about their exciting dockside draft beer service. Also, in honour of their 20th anniversary, a special edition Oak-Aged Cream Ale will be offered in one of their share-worthy 750 ml bottles. There will be a couple of parties to celebrate this exciting milestone — both in Muskoka and Toronto. Before then, everyone is highly encouraged to come take a tour, enjoying both the inviting atmosphere of the brewery and the stunning region of Muskoka.
Here are a few shots from the day — I probably could have got more, if I wasn’t so fixated on Lucy’s Beard… Muskoka’s Irish Red Ale, brewed with Muskoka Roastery’s coffee. DAYUM, it’s TOO good. Cheers!