This is not a further post on Kloster Bier, a label of Beck’s Brewery prominent at one time in eastern Asian markets. But those posts are not unconnected, as will appear below.
I visited this week Brunswick Bierworks, a Toronto brewery that includes an event space, pub, patio, and bottle shop. It was set up only in 2016 but at a high level, to function mainly as partner brewery, that is working with contract brewers to perfect and help bring their product to markets local and beyond.
The founders included Mike Laba and Chris Goddard (of Craft Brand Co.) and Christian Riemerschmid von der Heide (now CEO). Bavarian-trained brewmaster Lodewijk Swinkels is head brewer. All have impressive experience and credentials.
Swinkels is described further in a Spirited Magazine profile.
Von der Heide is also a master brewer with lengthy, top-level international experience.
The beers cover a wide range of styles, with many of the partner beers on draft at the bar. Brunswick also bottles and cans labels of its own, e.g. Yasuke, a 5.5% abv IPA.
I drank a flight of beers, being Singha lager, Yemoja IPA Session Dry Hopped, the German pilsener of the house, Black & Bold, and the famous Weihenstephan Dunkel, from Germany, a dark wheat beer. I also tasted a three-year-old, Cognac barrel-aged old ale.
The current tap list may be seen here.
Weihenstephan is the only beer imported currently at the bar or in the shop; the remainder are brewed on site. Singha is brewed for draft only, the bottled Singha sold at LCBO is made in Thailand.
All were excellent and exemplary of their type.
In my Kloster Bier posts, I discussed that both Beck’s and Kloster, a Beck’s label, were brewed before World War II in Singapore and Java (Batavia), from 1931. See confirmation in this AB InBev webpage.
World War II stopped that. I believe Kloster was sent to the region from Bremen after World War II, from the late ’40s when the reconstructed Beck’s plant became operational, until 1975 (but exact sourcing in that period is subject to future research).
From 1975 Kloster was produced in Thailand under license by Thai Amarit until 2001. From 2002 until a few years ago, Boon Rawd Brewery in Thailand, makers of Singha, brewed Kloster, now a defunct brand.
This process of a European brand becoming localized in a distant market continues to this day. I gave the example of Belgian Stella Artois being currently made in Canada, and in the U.S. too.
It also works the other way, where, say, craft Brooklyn Lager, the draft at any rate, is brewed in Europe for that market by Carlsberg in Denmark.
What is less common is a beer that originated in eastern Asia or the Pacific being brewed in the New World, but it is not uncommon today.
Sleeman Brewery in Ontario brews Sapporo Lager, for example. Labatt brews Kirin Michigan of Japan here.
Australian Foster’s, although not quite the same thing, has been brewed for a long time in North America, in Canada by Molson-Coors.
One of the earliest, large-scale examples of the “reverse” process is San Miguel beer, which transplanted to Spain from the Phillipines.
And Brunswick Bierworks in Toronto makes draft Singha lager, for the local market. It’s an excellent version, with a dryish but characteristic taste. German hopping is used, multiple varieties. For more detail see Singha’s entry in the tap list. It is very close to the bottled import in fact.
As a further example of Brunswick’s international accent, from the tap list we see it brews draft Innis & Gunn Scottish Export Ale. As in the Singha case, this is for draft only locally, to my knowledge. Deals have been done with Mikeller and other top international brands.
One advantage of such arrangements in Ontario is, the draft can be made here without going through the cumbersome and restrictive process imposed by the Ontario government to import draft beer here.