5e Baron: Art is more imagination than imitation

It has been a very successful two years for 5e Baron, out of Aylmer, Quebec. During their first year they really proved themselves to be the front runners of one of the new best breweries in Quebec. This mantle was also handed to them at the ratebeer awards, snagging the 3rd best new brewer in the world for 2021! So not only are they proving it to us locally with their tasty treats, they are producing beers capable to battle the world stage. They truly have become a force to be reckoned with, and with good reason.

They got inspiration from all corners of the world, but a lot of their inspiration can be tied in the local Quebec market as well as our lovely neighbors down south in Vermont. Its hard to say that locals here wont have some inspiration from down there being one of the capital states for amazing beer as well as sharing similar qualities to Quebec. Plato stated that all artistic creation is a form of imitation, that is to say that all art is an imitation of what already currently exists in the world, or an imitation of nature. In our case we are looking at brewing as art and the art imitating already existing forms such as other beers or breweries. In an easier simpler sense we are saying we look to already existing beer as an inspiration and guide. But not as simple and direct as Plato’s statements. Its more we take that inspiration and we turn it into a move individualistic form. This quote has settled in the art world to the extent that its new meaning becomes one of influence. Because if there is only so much environment that surrounds us, there inevitable has to be a stop to when we can no longer imitate. And thus in modern culture our eyes veer to already existing art which influences us and inspires us to create our own. In the current context I wouldn’t say that we necessarily imitate other works and make it our own, I would say its just a part of the recipe to take that inspiration from previous work, and to expand, build, and introduce our own character, such as how 5e Baron drew their inspiration from Vermont and turned into something more theirs, “I think there’s a 6 degrees of separation thing going on with Vermont and the North American beer scene. For such a small state, it has influenced the industry as a whole, both in how certain beers are made and how breweries operate. For us, we realized some time ago that Aylmer shares a few similarities with the Green Mountain State. It has a smaller village feel, there’s a special synergy between local businesses and its consumers, our main road leads to a large body of water, similar to Burlington, it’s a very welcoming place. So I think it terms of beer, everyone brewing a New England IPA owes a debt of gratitude to John Kimmich, but in terms of our portfolio and direction, we were influenced perhaps more by other breweries.” Jacob one of the co owners elaborates on this idea.

You can certainly taste their inspiration from Vermont as well as Quebec in their beers which come together to culminate into what 5e baron is. More bluntly 5e Baron is three people with a solid team working together. Jacob, Dimitri and Stephen, are the three souls who are behind what can only be describe as a future behemoth of a brewery. They have really steam rolled into the industry mostly due to their abilities of brewing great beer, but also driven by their goals and ideals, ” Our goal is and was always to brew beer for our local market first and foremost, so we’re pleasantly surprised that other markets have embraced us and our approach to beer early on. We’re getting our second additional fermenter since opening, we were named to Ratebeer Best Awards best new breweries in the world, our lagers and west coast IPA’s have really resonated with consumers. These were all things that we thought would be further down the road, if ever. I think our strategy to brew beers we think have merit and to only release a beer if we intended to brew it that way and if it meets our expectations has been appreciated by our consumers. So I think perhaps there’s a sense of reliability when people pick up one of our beers. ” This approach has allowed them to hit the ground running and where I personally think they deserve credit is not only brewing great beer, but brewing a diverse selection of styles to flood the market. This can be traced back to when the idea of the brewery began three years prior to opening, during that time while scouting for locations, Dimitri had the opportunity to really dedicate a lot of time for research and brew early test batches, “Over those 3 years, we held get togethers where friends and family could try our latest test batches. These gatherings were small at first, in a friend’s apartment  with a few people, and by the end of it, we were holding events in backyards with over 125 guests, DJ’s, catering, live music, etc. (pics attached)
We strongly believe you have to understand what it is you’re brewing, where it comes from, how was it brewed originally, what innovations were brought on and finally what innovation can we potentially bring. It’s with a tremendous amount of humility that we approach that last part, in that we know we’re not likely to reinvent the wheel with some of these styles nor are we trying to. We simply try to achieve the best possible results based on our understanding of each style.”

Not only did they open during the heat of the pandemic, they expanded their beers to further include a barrel aged program as well. And that swift progression and having implemented themselves in a very positive light very quickly seems to portray a sense of grand success. It is often said that there is a time and place for everything, and it seems that 5e was meant to open its doors during the global pandemic, and it wouldn’t have occurred any other way, and that’s not certainly a negative thing. It just means that many factors aligned to make it so. And they were not left with many other options at that point, rather than to open and just see if it takes them where their goals had aligned, “We unfortunately didn’t have that luxury. Rent was due, we had sizeable monthly payments like every other brewery, so we had to learn to adapt to a business climate that was far from what we had anticipated when we prepared our business plan. It’s been all adaptation every week ever since. In a way, we haven’t really fully experienced our own brewery yet. I think in some areas the pandemic might’ve strengthen the “Buy Local” factor. I’d say in our case, as a new business, we were lucky to open in an area where people were already extremely supportive of their small, local businesses.” This pandemic gave way to have locals, even myself, focus on local products and anything that seem to hit my radar would end up in my fridge. So the local focus of the pandemic really aided 5e to their heights, not to say they wouldn’t have reached it without a pandemic, but the attention was much more focused due to it.

“I think we were just well prepared and knew who we wanted to be as a brewery and had been working at it for some time. Also, beer is like food in a way; sure, people have different tastes, but most people recognize the difference between well executed and poorly executed dishes. We drink stuff from lots of other breweries and know if we can match or surpass execution. If we can’t offer something of value that people might want to drink, we won’t put it out.
For the BA program, there’s lots happening back there both in terms of experimentation and discussions. We’re also big whisk(e)y enthusiasts where barrel aging is crucial and are learning a lot from that industry as well in terms of barrel selection. Stay tuned ;)”

Not only are they brewing well crafted beers, they have for me by far the most diverse selection of styles and they tend to nail each one. Also YNWA mate! Kudos to Jacob for contributing to sportsnet Magazines top 50 uniforms of all time, an avid uniform collector and kopite (Stevie G was a great Cap!) + much more!

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