Rail­way City serves up one-of-a-kind events


Com­mu­nity cen­tre or craft beer mar­ket?

Some­times, it’s tough to tell them apart as many of to­day’s com­mu­nity-fo­cused craft brew­eries put the ac­cent on be­com­ing gath­er­ing places as much as pur­vey­ors of beer.

Seems to me that nowhere is this more true than in St. Thomas, where Rail­way City Brew­ing has hosted a stag­ger­ing num­ber of events since re­lo­cat­ing to larger digs a few years ago.

One of South­west­ern On­tario’s pi­o­neer­ing craft brew­eries, Rail­way City hosts at least 12 events a month, rang­ing from dart nights and euchre to yoga and, the piece de re­sis­tance, paint nights.

That’s not count­ing beer re­lease par­ties, blind tast­ing events, art shows, live mu­sic nights and events from out­side or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“Paint Nites at Rail­way City have been very well re­ceived since we started them,” said Tandi Chabwa, mar­ket­ing as­sis­tant. “The events res­onate well with our at­ten­dees be­cause it’s some­thing that breaks up reg­u­lar rou­tine. You get to come out to the brew­ery for an evening with friends and take home a oneof-a-kind paint­ing as a re­minder — and also, there’s beer! It’s an ap­proach­able and low-key way to get cre­ative and try some­thing new in a wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

Not to men­tion timely. On Nov. 16, beer-lov­ing artists will swap can­vasses for pint glasses. Win­ter and Christ­mas scenes will un­doubt­edly dom­i­nate with the only true ques­tion be­ing whether the glasses are kept by the artists or placed un­der the tree on Dec. 25.

“Paint Nite’s glass­ware events are a rel­a­tively new ad­di­tion, so this is our first Paint Your Pint event at the brew­ery,” Chabwa said. “We’re re­ally ex­cited to be able to of­fer a fun spin on the Paint Nite ex­pe­ri­ence just in time for the hol­i­days, as it would be a very unique gift to give.”

We’ve come a long way from those smoky beer halls.

“Spe­cial events are key to build­ing our brand as they are a way to reach con­sumers who aren’t nec­es­sar­ily in our typ­i­cal mar­ket,” Chabwa said. “Events like Paint Nite bring at­ten­dees into our brew­ery where they are able to see our pro­cesses and prod­ucts, try some­thing new and in­ter­act with the faces be­hind the Rail­way City Brew­ing name.”

Events draw a few dozen up to packed houses for re­lease par­ties. Some, like Paint Nite and yoga, are capped at 30 peo­ple.

Quite kindly, many are linked to fundrais­ing, in­clud­ing on Nov. 29 when MOga and Beer for men and women will raise money for the Movem­ber Foun­da­tion.

And what of those pint glasses Rail­way City pa­trons will be turn­ing into works of art?

Also known as shaker glasses, the pint per­haps more so than a tra­di­tional beer mug is the most ver­sa­tile glass in the cup­board, al­beit not the be-all, end-all for taste-savvy craft beer drinkers.

“Every craft beer drinker should have a good pint glass at home as it is well-suited to many styles of beer, specif­i­cally the beers that are found in most craft brew­eries’ main­line of­fer­ings,” said Rail­way City brewer Tay­lor McBain. “Also, these glasses are typ­i­cally more durable and easy to clean, so they are con­sid­ered to be a de­pend­able go-to drink­ing glass. No beer lover should con­sume their beer straight from the pack­age!”

Some beer styles, in­clud­ing a few of Rail­way City’s most pop­u­lar, are bet­ter suited to other styles of glasses.

“Black Coal Stout, Iron Spike Cop­per, Iron Spike Amber and Honey Elixir would be bet­ter suited for an English pint/ Nonic glass or an Ir­ish pint/tulip pint glass,” McBain said. “The Witty Trav­eller is best served in a Weiss­bier glass, which is ta­pered at the base to trap yeast. The glass is also tall and slen­der, en­cour­ag­ing light to come through the glass and re­ally make the beer ‘pop’ vis­ually. It ta­pers out again at the rim to al­low the aro­mas to es­cape the glass as they fil­ter through the dense head.” And the pint glass?

Let’s fill that with the likes of Iron Spike Blonde, Crew Craft Lager, Ex­press In­dia Ses­sion Lager and, of course, Dead Ele­phant. Wayne New­ton is a free­lance jour­nal­ist based in Lon­don. wayne.new­ton@bell.net Twit­ter.com/WayneWriteOn


Paint Nites at Rail­way City “are an ap­proach­able and low-key way to get cre­ative,” says the brew­ery’s mar­ket­ing as­sis­tant Tandi Chabwa.

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