Kahnawake: Wake up and smell the coffee

Kahnawake Brewery is the first independently owned brewery in an Indigenous territory in Quebec, and it really makes you wake up and smell the coffee. As a colored individual myself thus being from a minority group, I have felt and noticed within the beer industry even more of a minority status. Although the microbrewery community here and wide is overwhelmingly welcoming and open for the most part, there have been some public cases of discrimination, as well as some might say some sexist artwork. However, in general the community prides itself on openness and acceptance. Current events have shown the world the extent to which racism exists in our world today. However, it is not that these events are new to society, they were simply not extensively covered by larger media in the past. So it is not a new topic, it is just become a more popular one. And more power to that! I tried my best to ignore any political opinions, or discussion here, but I could not ignore this topic whilst talking about an Indigenous territory brewery. A little bit of talk about the struggles and persecutions of Indigenous people as well as other minority groups.

I can’t help but to talk about the discriminatory aspect of the world, past and current. It is very much alive and will certainly affect each and everyone of us not from a majority racial background. The history about the Indigenous people is certainly a very touchy subject, and I definitely do not want to start any debates or step on toes. But the mistreatment and persecutions they have received since their land was dominated can not go ignored. Whether you take part in racism or not or have or haven’t felt the effects, it is a fickle beast either way. (Ha, one of their beers is called Beast). What I do feel very proud of is to see a brewery such as this not only exist but, succeed in the industry. As well as seeing a large group of the majority race, stand hand in hand as one, as I mentioned the beer community in general is full of accepting and welcoming people of all walks of life. But racism is real folks, persecution is real, and it did not stop with the genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire in 1914, it did not stop with world war II, with the persecution of the Jewish communities in Europe, it did not stop with Rwanda, in which the same race persecuted based on caste, or in Kosovo, it did not stop with the persecution of the Muslims after 9/11, it continues to this day with other races, and some which we may only be “Media” aware years from now. There are many examples but to give you three, there is the natives of this land who have been persecuted for centuries and continue to be without much media coverage, but I promise you it is happening still. And currently the Uighur Muslims in China, whose ongoing Genocide boggles my mind. As well as even more locally, reading about something like 8 mosques in the Montreal area being broken into, ransacked, and donation boxes being stolen. The last is one not taking place far from here either, the illegal Mexican immigrants who were forced into inhumane detention centers as they awaited deportation. Placed in extremely unsanitary, unjust and straight up terrible conditions. Many children also separated from their families. So they may be illegally in the country or trying to get in, but the simple concept of humanity should never turn. This may not seem like like discrimination to some, but if a European due to be deported was in a detention center, it certainly would not have looked like that. Its just a shame to see treatment such as this. And all this really makes those who are open, non-racially motivated and inviting to look bad due to their counterparts actions. It is a very complicated cycle.

This brewery settled in an Indigenous territory makes some amazingly solid beer, but its location sits as a reminder and an eye opener of the struggles, persecution, and conquering of the land which belonged to the Indigenous people, and how we have not respected that. And as far as talking about history of persecution, theirs is one that has been ongoing since the 1400/1600s. Now this is not a website about racism rants, so ill stop there, but it was definitely something that would come to mind when speaking about this brewery. With all that negativity behind us, lets look at the positive! The word and the beer industries side of inclusion, acceptance and diversity. That concept of acceptance allows the rest of us to progress towards a move positive living. And we are continuing to evolve and grow as a community. Lets also not forget about the sexism in beer or this world. I may make some jokes about sex and all generally in my articles, but I try to remain within a threshold of respect, if I ever do cross that, ladies, feel free to call me out and I will adjust my words accordingly! Where ever there is diversity, there will certainly be discrimination from those who are less inclusive and progressive than most of us. But I know that if we keep standing as one, we can not only endure, but defeat discrimination!

Now to move on to the thing this is supposed to be about, BEER! The important part is to remember and respect the roots of this brewery, but in no way should that come into play to judge the beer, because in the end that is what they are creating, some damn amazing good beer!

I was welcomed to the brewery with a lot of friendly faces on a very cold February afternoon. Whilst I spent my evening at the brewery a very important football match was taking place. I asked the bar maid, who was very friendly and welcoming, if she could turn the match on. I did proceed to ask her if they have DAZN, the now current streaming service which offers English Premiere League football matches. To which she replied jokingly, “You are on the reserve, we can get all the channels” F**cking Win! And so Liverpool football was on the screen and I was getting lost in it. But as the paddle of tasters came down in front of me, and the aroma tickled my nostrils. I was instantly transfixed to the football match occurring below me. The aromas of these wonderful beers danced and fought my senses and my so called “forwards” or “midfielders” did not know where to pass the ball.

Kahnawake Alright, Alright, Alright!
Pale Ale || ABV: 4.9% || IBU: –

Drew Stevens mentioned to me this beers name was inspired by Hey Ya, the huge hit from Outkast from what seems like ages ago. However, in my head when I hear those three words the first face that comes to mind is Matthew Mcconaughey. At the time of writing this article, the cans were not released, so it seems they followed that thought! I mean who can not think of that guy uttering these words? I had that same feeling within myself when I took a light sniff of this beer. My wife almost thought I was crazy, but then I said Matthew, shrugged, and took a sip. Imagine watching a grown man, sitting on a stool, smelling a beer over the kitchen counter saying to himself “Alright, Alright, Alright.” I was welcomed by a very light juicy, hoppy, and easy going Pale Ale. My upbringing for beer revolved around IPAs and PAs from California and I still to this day I love a Pale Ale over an IPA. Mostly because of its drinkability and ease of drunk factor without compromising on taste. And this right here does all that but more in terms of the new age of what a Pale Ale is and not a west coast Pale Ale. Apart from bitterness and malts it’s a hazy one from the east. I’d say maybe it has left me a bit speechless, but really there are only three words that come to mind. Alright, Alright, Alright.

Kahnawake WIZARD!
NEIPA || ABV: 7.5% || IBU: 47

In continuing the exploration in to very delicious east coast style hazy hops, Wizard comes in bolder with alcohol content, but still displays a very delicate fruity soft side. Just as the previous pale ale, but with a more aggressive hop bite. It is not a shark bite like beast, which I have consumed but not covered here. Rather Wizard displays a soft delicate palate, with a very balanced fruity flavor profile and a clean unwavering finish. As far as wizards go, there ain’t no PETRONAS charm that can contain the fruity kick this one gives off!

Your Ordinary Beer Citizen

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