Ottawa Gets Hopped and Confused This Weekend!

Ottawa Gets Hopped and Confused This Weekend!

Summer may be inching toward a close, but the Ottawa festivals are still in full swing. This weekend’s second annual two-day Hopped and Confused festival at the Mill Street Brew Pub is a great way to launch yourself back into the Ottawa music and beer scene before autumn makes an appearance.

Dine Alone Records and Mill Street Brewery have paired up for this wonderful festival, offering up the ultimate trifecta: music, beer and food. On August 25 – 26, between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., they will be featuring over 15 different Mill Street brews (including a few casks!), tasty pub fare, and eight amazingly talented Canadian bands from the Dine Alone roster. Night One (Friday, August 25), will showcase Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs, Yukon Blonde, Said the Whale and The Trews; and Night Two (Saturday, August 26), will feature Dilly Dally, Hollerado, Tokyo Police Club, and New Swears.

If the offer of these eight great bands and so many delicious Mill Street beers somehow weren’t enough to convince you, they take it one step further: a special Milkshake Cream Ale beer released for the festival only (read more on this below), as well as a poutine station. Great Canadian beer, talented Canadian bands, and mouthwatering Canadian food in our Nation’s Capital over the span of two nights: you just can’t go wrong.

To give you a better feel of what to expect at Hopped and Confused, we were lucky enough to get in some fun interview questions with Tim Hulley, Head Brewer at the Ottawa Mill Street Brew Pub. We’ve also managed to get some great Q+A with Ottawa’s power pop/garage punks, New Swears, who will be performing at the fest. Read on to hear about what Hulley has planned for the festival, and the all-around entertaining responses from New Swears.

New Swears Q&A

Q: How did you come to get signed to Dine Alone Records?

It’s kinda like that movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”.  We were the shrunken kids on the front lawn fighting ants, and Dine Alone was Rick Moranis meticulously looking through a magnifying glass.


Q: Out of all of the great artists on the Dine Alone roster, who would you most like to share a stage with that you have not yet played with?

Marilyn Manson, because he seems like a chill guy

Q: You all have nicknames and personas created within the band: how much of your respective personalities are reflected in the personas you’ve created?

We all give each other nicknames to cause chaos and anarchy amongst this rat race from hell we call Earth.

FYI the bands nicknames are: Sammy J. Scorpion, Scru Bar, Nick NoFun, Beej eh.

Q: You seem like guys who like to have a good time, which comes across clearly in your videos. Which of your videos was your favourite to make, and what was your main inspiration?

The most fun we have had making a video just happened this summer.  It features us posing as valet parking characters, and we “drive” cars.  Keep an eye out for video to be released this Fall 2017.

To check out videos from this latest album:

Dance with the Devil:

Halos in Hell:



Q: If you had to pick, what is your favorite track off the new album? And of all the songs in your repertoire, which is your favourite to play live?

“777” kinda the special one for us, as we recorded it in one single take.  It was a bit of a dice roll.  They are all fun to play live but it’s nice to speed up slow songs and give them a new twist.

Q: How has the summer tour been? What has been the highlight so far?                                                            

Dear Diary,

   Tour has been great this year, we made a lot of new friends.  Our sleeping/living quarters are growing increasingly filthy and I worry if we keep this rigorous schedule up we might not make it till Christmas.  So far the highlights have been being stung by a jellyfish in PEI and almost hitting a moose with the truck.

Q: Your new album seems to have a great blend of punk, pop and country, and is a more polished sound from your first. Can you explain your progression as a band?

Genres are a figment of our imagination made up by the government to hold musicians’ third eye hostage.  We try to keep our pineal gland open and progress beyond human consciousness.

Q: What is a favorite memory of the Fun Boys Club House?

There was some good times, but we always remember the stray cat that lived with us, Babonky. Some say he was the guardian of Plymouth Street; some say he never existed…

Q: Have you ever been horseback riding? Have you thought to include any magical horseback riding in future videos for this album?

Yes and yes.

Q: In regards to being beer lovin’ dudes and the upcoming show at the Hopped and Confused music festival what is your favourite Mill Street brew?

I don’t know the names too well, but I sure know the flavours and they are all good.

Q: What part of playing the Hopped and Confused Festival are you most looking forward to?

Probably hanging out on the beautiful Mill Street patio by the river and taking in the strange and mysterious atmosphere in this rat race from hell we call Earth.

Q: Here at Bytown Sound, we try hard to promote local bands and artists, so as a final question, could you tell us a few of your favourite Ottawa bands/musicians?

We could make a list longer than the dictionary but to name a couple quick: check out Buddy Smiles, Warp Lines, Boyhood, Bonnie Doon.


Tim Hulley, Head Brewer at the Mill Street Ottawa Brew Pub Q&A

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the beer you’ve crafted for this year’s Hopped and Confused festival? What made you decide on the style of beer you’ve chosen for this particular event?

I made the new Mill Street Milkshake Cream Ale specifically for the 2017 Hopped and Confused festival. This unique style of brew has no bitter hops added during the brewing process and came from a time when beer would of had no hops. The simple malt profile using Prairie Pale Malt and some Caramel Malt makes the base of this beer taste like Shreddies. A traditional Cream Ale style, we’ve used the ale and lagering fermentation and finished with a humongous addition of three hop varieties also used in our IPA styles, West Coast, Rodeo Monk and Welter Weight. This gives the beer a fruity aroma and flavour like a fruit smoothy or “Five Alive” 5% abv 10 IBU.

Q:. Is the beer made for this year’s festival a joint effort with other head brewmasters at any of the other Mill Street locations, or is this all your own creation?

Joel Manning is the mastermind and Brew Master at Mill Street Brewery behind most of the beers created by our team. His artistic sense of balancing the flavours and understanding of the ingredients have given all the Mill Street brewers hundreds of new recipe to work with.

Q: Do you use the bands playing Hopped and Confused as inspiration to craft the beer for the festival, is it more about pairing it with the food served at Mill Street, or is it something else altogether?

The Milkshake Cream Ale was designed by Joel and brewed by myself as a unique offering for the festival. Joel’s inspiration is to wow the audience with a balanced brew and to help continue leading the craft industry with new great beer.

Q: Can you tell us more about the casks you will have for the festival?

I will be making a Saison and Portage Cask to be served Friday and Saturday night.

Q: Could you give us a few recommendations on which delicious Mill Street foods would pair best with the beer you are releasing for the Hopped and Confused festival this year?

Hopped and Confused will have a poutine station and I feel this will serve well with the Milkshake Cream Ale. The fruity Milkshake Cream Ale brew is not bitter and pairs well with a wide range of foods: mild cheese, chicken, pork and anything roasted pairs well.

Q: What inspires your ideas for new beers?

While giving tours at the Ottawa Brew Pub, guests make suggestions for new beers that they would love to try. I always feel a need to create new recipes that will fit their request. Additionally, most of my inspiration comes talking to my friends and family.

Q: What is your favourite Mill Street Beer? Which is your favourite to brew?

A current favourite of mine is Welter Weight Session IPA, I have enjoyed many cans in my garden this summer. As season’s change my tastes are curiously evolving, so my favourite beer may not be the same next season.  

I never get bored making my house beer Portage Cream Ale. It is a beautifully balanced beer with local hops from Pontiac. It challenges me to perfect my skills while enjoying the feedback on this popular beer.

Q: Tell me about yourself: how did you come to be a brewmaster, and what inspired you to pursue this line of work?

I would not be the brewer I am today if it was not for my father’s appreciation of a good beer, meeting Joel Manning back in the eighties and him giving me the opportunity to learn under his mentorship. Overall, I wouldn’t be brewing with Mill Street if Joel hadn’t made Tankhouse what it is today and opened the Ottawa Brew Pub back in 2012.

Q: Here at Bytown Sound, we try hard to promote local bands and artists, so as a final question, could you tell us a few of your favourite Ottawa bands/musicians?

I love our local band “The Long Johns” who play at the pub every Thursday; they are very talented and great fun to hang out with.  New Swears and Hollerado are some local Ottawa bands I will also look forward to seeing at this years’ Hopped & Confused Festival.


Thanks a million to VOCAB Communications for arranging the interviews, and of course, to Tim Hulley and New Swears for taking the time to indulge us!

Be sure to get your tickets for Hopped and Confused 2017, which starts tomorrow (August 25)  at 5pm at the Mill Street Brew Pub on Wellington St. You can follow this link here to purchase tickets for one or both nights, and can check out the Mill Street website or Facebook for more details.


  1. […]  Catch these jokers and their larger than life personas, Sammy J Scorpion, Scru Bar, Beej Eh and Nick Nofun hitting the stage at the Hopped and Confused Music Festival, Saturday, August 26 @ Mill Street Brew Pub. It’s gonna be a good one. Upcoming shows include Sept. 5 at The Townehouse, Sudbury, ON, making their way Westward across the country, for a full list of dates visit:, if you haven’t yet checked out our recent Q&A with New Swears (as well as Ottawa’s Mill Street Brew Pub’s Head Brewer Tim Hulley), you can do so here. […]

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