Dundas, Ontario looks like a prosperous town. It has a high-end grocery, an excellent cheese shop, a thriving coffee house and one of the best restaurants in the Hamilton area. But, it doesn’t have a brewery, yet. Ed Madronich wants to change that. Back when he was in university with his pal Shawn Till, the duo dreamed of opening one. But, until five years ago the fantasy brewery just nagged at the back of their minds. By then Ed was the owner of the successful Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, Ontario. He decided to get the dream out of his head and onto the street.
The street he picked was Hatt Street in Dundas. Back in the 18th century Hatt was home to some of the great factories and foundries that fuelled Canada’s growth. A rail line ran through it. One of those factories is now the home of Shawn & Ed Brewing Co.
The red brick building is long, narrow and sports a high ceiling of thick timbers, still a touch darkened by a long-extinguished fire. Inside a small hamlet of stainless steel cylinders, pumps, carbouys and filters dominates the middle space. They’re lit by LED light clusters that hang overhead like UFOs.
Dozens of stout oak barrels, from Ed’s winery are stacked against a far wall. They’re waiting to hold the brewery’s beer and give it subtle vanilla and fruit hints as the liquid sleeps for a few weeks inside. Off to one side a long, angular bar, made from 2X4s, extracted from the building, waits for customers who will finally, after five years of work, be able to sample the brewery’s unique ales and lagers just a few feet from the polished steel of the brew kettles and extractors. That bar will be manned by Krys Hines, who formerly ran Cafe Domestique, a popular bike-themed coffeehouse in the valley town. The brewery plans to open its doors at the beginning of April. “I can’t walk down the street without someone stopping me and asking when we’ll be ready,” says brew master, Rob Creighton. “Everyone has been waiting som;one for this.”