Incredible dreams can be conjured over a boiling pot outdoors. When Mike Hogan, affectionately known as Hogie, began brewing beer with friends in the early 2000’s he never anticipated where this new found passion would take him. Over the past few years he has come a long way from backyard homebrewing with friends, to creating one of PEI’s best established beverage brands.
Hogie learned the ins and outs of brewing in 2006, when he and a group of friends decided that they should start making their own beer. Initially results were mixed. Over time these beers got better and better, Hogie continued to pursue his passion for making beer at home and by 2009 he had outfitted his own home brewing system. An old repurposed cooler as a mash tun to steep grains in hot water; two large pots to act as a boil kettle and one to provide hot water to the brewing process; an array of carboys and buckets to ferment; and eventually he got his hands on a couple of oak barrels that required homebrewers from across the Maritimes to fill.
Brewing at home provided Hogie with a sense of satisfaction, but travelling abroad further fanned the flames of pursuing beer as a career. Travelling through Europe, Hogie was fortunate to visit breweries and beer bars through Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. One notable stop in the Czech Republic had Hogie visit the hallowed cellars of Pilsner Urquell, the brewery that developed pale lager. Drinking fresh lager from pitch lined wood vats in the labyrinth of caves under the famous Czech brewery, changed the course of Hogie’s life.
He began having serious conversations with friends in the early 2010’s about opening a new brewery in Charlottetown. Ideas bounced back and forth for a period, and ultimately they landed on establishing Upstreet Craft Brewing, which opened its doors in 2015 and launched with three core beers—Do-gooder Pale Ale, Rhuby Social Strawberry-Rhubarb Wit and Commons Czech Style Pilsner. Hogie was able to revisit the early inspiration he experienced visiting Pilsner Urquell with the creation of Commons.
Since its opening Upstreet has continued to develop a wide range of beers. In early 2019 Hogie began developing low alcohol and non-alcoholic beers for the company. This eventually led to the official launch of Libra in October 2020. The Libra family of products look to provide drinkers with a selection of non-alcoholic beers that showcase flavours that are found in many types of craft beer. Alongside Libra, Upstreet has also seen great uptake in its popular seltzer line, Rewind. The Rewind seltzers come in a wide range of fruit-focused flavours.
All of Hogie’s creations can be found in Charlottetown at the original Upstreet location on Allen Street and at Craft Beer Corner on the corner of Kent and Great George Streets, as well as PEI Liquor Stores.