Ever since he got into brewing, Matt Tweedy, co-owner of Tooth and Nail Brewing Company, knew he wanted to win an award at the World Beer Cup, the world’s biggest and most prestigious beer competition.
This year, Tweedy’s dream came true: his Hintonburg-based brewery received a bronze award for its beer, Valor, at the 2023 event held in Nashville, Tenn. A fruity, spicy, farmhouse-style ale, Valor made it past the scrutiny of an international panel of 272 beer judges, beating out more than 10,000 beer entries from 51 countries.
Valor’s beer style originates in Belgium, where it was brewed to give farmhands a refreshment back in the days when beer was safer to drink than water.
When local dentist Dr. Luc Ducharme first saw the ground floor space at 230 Beechwood Ave., he immediately knew it was the perfect location for his growing dental practice.
“It’s incredibly dry,” Tweedy says. “A lot of people believe that the yeast used for that beer was imported from the Burgundy region of France, where you get really fruity, spicy and dry pinot noir wine.”
Tweedy put a month of research into Valor, learning how to brew it authentically. “It’s probably the most research I ever put into a recipe,” Tweedy says. And it paid off: the first time he and his team brewed it, Valor won gold at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
For Tweedy, the World Beer Cup award means his team should be proud of the work they do at Tooth and Nail.
“Ottawa has got many fantastic beers and to be recognized really helps the industry and really helps our brewery,” he says.
Located in a century-old building on Irving Avenue, Tooth and Nail specializes in ales and lagers, with a pub at the front and the brewery at the back. Tweedy opened the brewery with his wife, Dayna, in September 2015.
“It’s a very labour-intensive job,” Tweedy says. “You get your hands very dirty and very wet a lot of the time. The romantic notion of standing above a kettle making this wonderful beverage is about two per cent of what we do as a brewery.”
Despite that, Tweedy’s been committed to his calling for years. Raised in Ottawa, he moved to Toronto and worked at a beer-focused restaurant, “trying to figure out what to do with my life, because that was running its course.”
Deciding to shake it up, Tweedy took a week-long volunteer apprenticeship at three different breweries throughout the world. “I fell in love with it instantly,” he says. One thing led to another, including Tweedy meeting Dayna in Toronto.
“I was able to twist her arm and convince her to move to Ottawa,” Tweedy says. “Actually, Tooth and Nail is in the neighbourhood where I went to school.”
Tooth and Nail went through a tumultuous time during the pandemic, causing Tweedy to look at different business models, including selling his beers to bars and restaurants and creating a partnership with LCBO.
Tweedy says that the team’s biggest goal now is getting the brew pub back to where it was before the pandemic.
“We’re getting closer and closer all the time,” he says. “It’s so incredible to walk through this place when it’s full and just see smiling faces. That’s why we do what we do.”
The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success. This column is presented by Star Motors, Ottawa’s original Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes Van dealer. Since 1957, Star Motors has provided its customers with the Mercedes-Benz “The Best or Nothing” standard in vehicle selection, service, genuine parts and certified collision repair. For your convenience, you may shop, research, chat and compare vehicles online at starmotors.ca, visit the 400 West Hunt Club location or call (613) 737-7827 for the very best in personal service.