Kitchen Parties and Boxing Rock Brewery

Posted by Ivy Knight, October 31, 2017
Boxing rock

Emily Tipton is a brewmaster from Nova Scotia where she's concocting incredible beers at Boxing Rock Brewery. She'll be coming to Toronto later this month to host an 86'd Monday East Coast Kitchen Party at The Drake Hotel on November 13. I spoke to her about life in the beer world and what kind of playlist we can expect to hear at her ideal kitchen party.

How long have you been working in the beer industry?
I’ve been working in the beer industry for five years now, since we started Boxing Rock in 2012 and opened the doors in 2013.

What was the first beer you ever tasted and what did you think of it?
I wish that the first beer I ever tasted was a memorable experience. But I’m pretty sure it was Labatt’s Blue, which my parents used to drink. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it! My first memorable beer experience was when I travelled to the UK in my mid 20s, and then went on to live there with my (now) husband who is English. Going to the pub in England and enjoying locally made real ales really opened my eyes to what beer can be. And I had a special affection for Wychwood Dog’s Bollocks, as we lived for several years in my husband’s hometown of Witney, where Wychwood is brewed.

Beer, like much of the F&B world, is pretty male dominated, is that something you have to navigate or does it even affect your day-to-day?
Definitely something I have to navigate. I am also the president of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia so I have to navigate chairing a board of nine, the other eight of which are men. I am used to being in the minority after pursuing a degree and career as an engineer though, so it isn’t foreign to me. My business partner and co-brewer, Henry, is a man…but we have one of the most constructive working relationships I have ever experienced and gender really doesn’t play into it. Our staff at the brewery tends to be quite gender balanced, and we try to encourage women in all roles here. Where I really run into it is in perceptions from the media and consumers, and suppliers - often people make assumptions about me at Boxing Rock here based on my gender…or they make a big deal of the fact that I’m a woman when in fact it really isn’t that big a deal at all. It may be a little unusual but there is nothing about being a brewer that favours one gender over another.

What is the number one thing that people would be surprised to know about the life of a brewmaster?
I think people would be surprised that 80% of making beer is cleaning things. In order to make great beer, you have to make sure everything is spectacularly clean to start with.

Boxing rock

What is the best food and beer pairing you've ever experienced?
I did a fun event this past summer at one of our local restaurants called Winemaker vs. Brewmaster. I went up against Hanspeter Stutz from Grand Pre Wines and in the end it was a tie (the customers got to vote after each course on whether they preferred the wine or the beer pairing). I paired our Over the Top sour cranberry wheat ale with a limoncello cheesecake with graham wafer hazelnut crust. I’m not a beer/food pairing expert, but the acidity of the sour beer and the fruitiness both complimented and contrasted the dessert flavours…and I nailed it against the ice wine.

We're doing an East Coast playlist during the Boxing Rock Kitchen Party, are there some bands that represent Nova Scotia and the East Coast to you? What is your ideal kitchen party soundtrack?
Full disclosure, I’m from London, Ontario originally. However I have lived in Nova Scotia for more than 10 years now and do really like the music scene here.Some favourites are Matt Mays, Ian James, Wintersleep. In Flight Safety, Hey Rosetta, Joel Plaskett, and The Stanfields. I’m also a big fan of Amelia Curran and Rose Cousins. Even growing up in Ontario I was a Sloan fan in their early days…so I'd include them too.

What is your favourite thing about beer?
The versatility of beer is my favourite part. From brewing a simple pale ale in a few weeks to creating complex IPAs or innovative twists on traditional styles, barrel aging and cellaring…you can create so many different beers from basically the same starting ingredients. The magic of yeast fascinates me and I love the ability to be creative and break the rules sometimes.

Emily Tipton will be pouring two of her Boxing Rock beers paired with deep fried clams and beer steamed mussels at 86'd Mondays at The Drake Hotel on NOV 13 @ 8PM_FREE.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: 86'd monday  boxing rock  brewery  ivy knight  the drake hotel