Brewing history at MacAllen

While I was at Macdonald College, I followed a class called fermentation technology. As a ploy to get the students interested, we brewed a beer which demonstrated the chemical reaction that occurs when wet hay is turned into silage. Needless to say, I can now make great silage here on the farm, but the spark was there for me to go on and brew some great ales and lagers as well.

Macallen farm & breweryAfter getting my hands on as many different beers to taste as possible during my time at McGill, I tried my hand at kit brewing and wound up with decent results. After school was over, I joined a home brewers club in Montreal that meets every month and critics and tastes each other’s’ beers. By 2003, I built my first all grain homebrew system out of recycled dairy equipment. Gradually this experimentation grew into a passion and I decided to plant hop plants on the farm, and tried my hand at small batches of homegrown malt. My first couple of batches were not so hot, but I learned fast from my mistakes. Slowly the recipes were modified to take into account the new flavors from these homegrown base ingredients.

During 2006, I had finally gotten a recipe that I was able to replicate and that was a great beer. I had entered a few beers during the march in Montreal homebrew contest of 2006. The Pilsner won best of show, a great accomplishment since there were beers being entered from around the country. That year the prize for best in show was to brew the Macallen pils on a commercial system which would be sold in microbrew stores all around the province. Brewing the MacAllen Pils on a commercial scale was very eye opening, and it showed me that it would be possible to brew commercially on the farm when the time was right.

Since 2006, I have been visiting brewhouses in the States and Quebec and occasionally brewing with friends at their brewhouses. I have made a huge number of friends in the industry and around the world, as well as continuing to make plans for a small brewhouse on the family farm.

As of June 2015, I have been very fortunate to be able to brew our farm beer at Loup Rouge in Sorel, Quebec. One of the many friendships that I developed by wandering the beer world. As for the future of MacAllen farm and brewery, we hope to be able to build our brewery here on the farm in the next few years, surrounded by the hill and valleys of Rawdon and amongst our fields of hops and barley, as always brewing and farming the best products possible.

Cheers, Ryan Allen