We weren’t exactly sure what would happen if we put Bebo Pilotto, Owner and Brewer at Third Moon Brewery, and Mike Lackey, Head Brewer of Great Lakes Brewery into a room together. All we knew for sure is that it would be wild… and at the end of the day, something amazing would be created. It’s always fascinating to try and get inside the heads of the talisman that create the beer we love.
Here’s our convo with Mike and Bebo…
GLB: Mike, our GLB fans know and love you, but who is Bebo? Please tell us a little about yourself Bebo.
BP: I’m from Chicago, born and raised. I moved to Montreal to go to university and to Ontario shortly after graduating.
GLB: Gents, I’m guessing you both have a vivid memory on what led you down the brewing path. For starters, do you remember your first (legal age) taste of beer?
BP: Not really. But I’m sure it was either Labatt 50 or Molson Stock Ale. I remember in those early days realizing quickly that the macro sh*t was all basically the same beer but people didn’t like 50 or Stock probably because it was their parent’s beer. I could take those guys to a party and nobody would touch them.
ML: I vividly remember the first craft beer I had – Alpha King from 3 Floyd’s. I was completely blown away by the beer, the artwork and everything about 3 Floyd’s and they’re still my favourite brewery to this day.
GLB: Bebo, Introduce the world to Third Moon Brewery…
BP: Chris (my biz partner) and I have been working on Third Moon for about 5 years. We wanted to make a brewery that makes all of the crazy beers we were spending so much of our time and money chasing down from breweries across the world. We specialize in hazy IPAs, pastry stouts that drink like dessert in a glass and slushie sours with a ridiculous amount of fruit!
GLB: Those Slushie sours are something else. Like the best freezie you’ve ever had. Well done. On the topic of inventing something new, when you start the process of creating a beer, where does your mind go first?
BP: I like to start by visualizing how the beer will taste, what aspects I’m trying to highlight or work on (mouthfeel, balance, etc.) and work backwards from there. Brewing is a series of educated guesses where we only know how good the guesses are once the beer is ready!
ML: My brain goes usually gos back to the memory banks. Back to something we’ve brewed before or something I’ve drank before. In the case of this collab with Bebo and the crew at Third Moon, it was easy – we just pulled out the old recipe and went from there.
GLB: For this Collab beer between you two (GLB and TMB), take us through some of your inspiration?
BP: Chris and I have been huge fans of GLB for a long time. It’s such an honour to us personally and professionally to have this collab come together and have Gordie on a Third Moon label – even if it’s his skeleton lol! The beer is a throwback to the beer we brewed at GLB in 2017 when I won a homebrew competition through Short Finger Brewing and we made a 7 barrel batch of IPA! That experience was very impactful to me personally and to Third Moon as a brewery. We wanted to acknowledge that and have some fun with it!
ML: It really does go all the way back to 2017 with Rob Hern (over at Short Finger) and that homebrew contest. He asked us to judge the entries and pick a winner to come scale up their recipe to our 7 barrel system. I remember there was plenty of good beers but Bebo’s definitely stood out – head and shoulders – above the rest. Since he got his brewery going we thought it would be a great idea to revisit the beer and reconnect. The pandemic obviously threw a wrench in those plans for a couple years but he we are.
GLB: Since one beer was brewed at GLB and another one at Third Moon, can you share some info on the beer that will be on offer at your brewery?
BP: We brewed a hazy IPA with a large percentage of oats and dry hopped it with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. For the label we took Gordie and gave him a Third Moon twist! Available soon at Third Moon.
ML: So, Bebo’s original recipe was a New England IPA. While we brewed that up in Milton, we thought we’d put a twist on our version, stay closer to our roots and go West Coast. So we took the same hops (Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe – the holy trinity) and moved around the timing of when we added them in the brewing process. We also changed the yeast from a strain that promotes haziness and used our California Ale yeast which tends to fluctuate more. I would expect the beer to still have a great, big aroma from the Citra, Mosiac and Simcoe hops but maybe not be as “juicy” as the New England version. It will also be distinctly more bitter, typical of the original American IPAs that inspired us at GLB such as Pliny the Elder and Two Hearted. Our is called Lacus Mortis.
GLB: Lacus Mortis. That’s the circle part you can see on the surface of the moon, right. (They both nod in agreement) phew… So, our time is almost up. What’s next for you both? Big Winter plans?
BP: We are finally opening our taproom after only having beer available to-go for the first 19 months of being open! We’re really excited to finally complete that part of our business so the team here at Third Moon can enjoy a pint with our fans!
ML: Looking forward to our brewpub opening sometime early in the new year. It’s been a long time coming and I think it will be both challenging and fun. Also, looking forward to the Leaf’s Stanley Cup party we will be hosting there sometime in June 😉.
GLB: Save my seat in the parade route Lackey. Final question… Make a prediction about the industry and where you think we as an industry are headed in 2022 and beyond?
BP: My bold prediction is by the end of 2022, all beer produced in Ontario will be exclusively slushies. Seriously, I hope we keep seeing innovation, experimentation and hopefully the return of beer festivals!
ML: Boy, hard to predict right now as we look to come out of the pandemic. Hate to sound boring but I think the challenges for us will lie in ensuring a continued supply of raw materials so we can keep brewing, packaging and shipping our beer.
GLB: Thanks Gents. An absolute pleasure to speak with you both. Look for Lacus Mortis in the GLB Retail Store and Online Shop Thursday Dec 9 at 4pm. Cheers for reading!