Community centre or craft beer market? Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell them apart as many of today’s community-focused craft breweries put the accent on becoming gathering places as much as purveyors of beer.
And one place where this is very true is Railway City Brewing, which has hosted a staggering number of events since relocating to a larger venue a few years ago.
One of Southwestern Ontario’s pioneering craft breweries, Railway City hosts at least 12 events a month, ranging from dart nights and euchre to yoga and, the piece de resistance, paint nights.
That’s not counting beer release parties, blind tasting events, art shows, live music nights and events from outside organizations.
“Paint Nites at Railway City have been very well received since we started them,” said Tandi Chabwa, marketing assistant. “The events resonate well with our attendees because it’s something that breaks up regular routine. You get to come out to the brewery for an evening with friends and take home a one-of-a-kind painting as a reminder – and also, there’s beer! It’s an approachable and low-key way to get creative and try something new in a welcoming environment.”
On 16 November, beer-loving artists will swap canvasses for pint glasses. Winter and Christmas scenes will undoubtedly dominate with the only true question being whether the glasses are kept by the artists or placed under the tree on Christmas Day.
“Paint Nite’s glassware events are a relatively new addition, so this is our first Paint Your Pint event at the brewery,” Chabwa said. “We’re really excited to be able to offer a fun spin on the Paint Nite experience just in time for the holidays, as it would be a very unique gift to give.”
“Special events are key to building our brand as they are a way to reach consumers who aren’t necessarily in our typical market,” Chabwa said. “Events like Paint Nite bring attendees into our brewery where they are able to see our processes and products, try something new and interact with the faces behind the Railway City Brewing name.”
Events draw a few dozen up to packed houses for release parties. Some, like Paint Nite and yoga, are capped at 30 people.
Quite kindly, many are linked to fundraising, including on Nov. 29 when MOga and Beer for men and women will raise money for the Movember Foundation.
And what of those pint glasses Railway City patrons will be turning into works of art?
Also known as shaker glasses, the pint perhaps more so than a traditional beer mug is the most versatile glass in the cupboard, albeit not the be-all, end-all for taste-savvy craft beer drinkers.
“Every craft beer drinker should have a good pint glass at home as it is well-suited to many styles of beer, specifically the beers that are found in most craft breweries’ mainline offerings,” said Railway City brewer Taylor McBain. “Also, these glasses are typically more durable and easy to clean, so they are considered to be a dependable go-to drinking glass. No beer lover should consume their beer straight from the package!”
Some beer styles, including a few of Railway City’s most popular, are better suited to other styles of glasses.
“Black Coal Stout, Iron Spike Copper, Iron Spike Amber and Honey Elixir would be better suited for an English pint/ Nonic glass or an Irish pint/tulip pint glass,” McBain said. “The Witty Traveller is best served in a Weissbier glass, which is tapered at the base to trap yeast. The glass is also tall and slender, encouraging light to come through the glass and really make the beer ‘pop’ visually. It tapers out again at the rim to allow the aromas to escape the glass as they filter through the dense head.”
And the pint glass? Let’s fill that with the likes of Iron Spike Blonde, Crew Craft Lager, Express India Session Lager and, of course, Dead Elephant.