Flatlander’s Beer Festival 2018

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Once again the most anticipated time of the beer year’s calendar has come and gone. The 2018 Flatlander’s Beer Festival was enjoyed by thousands this past weekend and I had the good fortune to attend once again.

For those not familiar with the Flatlander’s Beer Festival, it is the largest beer event in Manitoba. Bringing over 90 booths and over 300 different beers together in one location. This event provides novice and enthusiastic beer fans something to enjoy. It’s also an excellent opportunity for people to try new beers without the “fear” of wasting money, or not liking it. You get to sample so many different styles in an encouraging environment.

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I say this every year, but this was the best festival so far. Not only was Surly back with some fun new beers (including Pentagram, an excellent Dark Sour) but almost the entire ice level was local breweries. They brought their A-Game this year and I want to highlight a few of the standouts for me at this years festival.

My best in show goes to KilterFruit Loopulin. This Milkshake IPA made with a variety of fresh fruits and Lupulin powder was spectacular. I also want to give a shout out to my friends at Devil May Care who brought an excellent first beer to show off their mad brewing skills. When two new breweries show up with this type of stuff, it makes me really excited.

Torque Truck

Overall, the local beers were the highlight for me. Everyone had something fun to try. Torque even had a custom designed Tap Truck with a la cucaracha horn. Their Cuke Em All Cucumber Saison was awesome as were the other beers they had specially available on tap. Get to their Taproom if you want to give some of them a try.

Half Pints was out in force with their Codename: Ghost NE IPA available in Cans. This is the first beer I’ve in a 473ml can from Half Pints and it will be available in Flight 4 of the Coast to Coaster event at Liquor Marts. This is a very good beer, and if you want to see it more often, I’d suggest you get out and buy some when it becomes available. Hint hint.

To all the local breweries I want to give a kudos. There was something at every booth that I loved from the Mega-Wit at Barn Hammer to the Baltic Porter at Nonsuch, the new core Portage Pilsner at Trans Canada and the FANTASTIC homebrew beers at the Pro/Am booth. It was awesome.

For out of town Highlights, Surly again, for sure. They had Pentagram ( a Dark Sour) and Syx available as special pours. They also were highlighting Bender, the first beer Surly Brewed and an Oatmeal stout and Coffee Bender, a coffee infused Bender. Bender will be coming this fall as a core beer and it’s tasty, so look for that.

Beau’s was also pouring some good stuff, as usual. They are in summer mode with a Hopfenlager (write-up soon) as well as the Tom Green Summer Stout. They will also have some of the Halcyon Barrel House stuff coming to Quality Inn, so be sure to check that out. Finally, always, a perennial favorite of mine, Brewsters brought their wonderful Blue Monk Bourbon Barleywine. Something I look forward to getting each time they bring it to town for the festival. Hope to see it on shelves someday.

This event is something I look forward to every year and I really encourage you to check it out when it roles around next year. Be sure to watch your favorite place to buy beer for new products and give them a try. As well, watch for tickets to the Winnipeg Beer Festival which should be coming soon.

I hope everyone had a great festival.

  • Beer Winnipeg

 

MBBA Social Pack

Good Morning Folks. I hope that everyone is as excited as I am for Flatlander’s Beer Festival this week. I will be around at the Saturday Night session this year so if you want to say hello, connect with me on Twitter (@beerwinnipeg).

Before we get into this post, I wanted to encourage you to check out my write-up of last years Festival, as well as visit their website to check-out all the sweet beers. Along with the current local breweries bringing us tasty treats, we will see two new local breweries – Kilter and Devil May Care – bringing us some stuff to try. On top of that, I met with the rep from Surly last week and they’ve got some really fun treats coming our way. Maybe something a little sour? Who knows. If you don’t have tickets yet, get them. I’ll see you there.

I have to start by saying just how incredible it is that there are 10 completely different beers from 10 completely different breweries in this years’ Social Pack. It’s astounding, incredible, and amazing. I never thought we’d be here when I started this blog 3 years ago.

I’m not going to be doing a write-up of every single one of these beers because you should get out there and try them. I just wanted to take the opportunity to let people know that this is available and to encourage people to get out and pick on up. What will you get inside? A huge variety:

1) Door Prize Hefeweizen, a german wheat beer with aromas of bananas and cloves, with a balanced wheat malt character, (2 beers per 12 pack)
2) Torque Red Line IPA,
3) Half Pints Bulldog Amber ale,
4) Fort Garry Brewing Dark ale,
5) Stone Angel Brewing Kaiser Bill IPA,
6) Farmery Estate Brewing Robbie Scotch ale,
7) Barn Hammer Brewing Lousy Beatnik kellerbier,
8) One great City brewing Tipsy Cow Milk Stout,
9) Trans Canada Brewing Lamp Lighter Amber ale,
10) Oxus Brewing Juice of the oats Oatmeal Stout,
11) Brazen Hall Brewing Vakten Belgian OL.

There is a lot of stuff in this pack to try. It’s the perfect opportunity to try a variety of local beers in one stop. This pack is starting to show up around the city. In fact, 96 packs sold out in one day at Quality Inn and more are on the way. It’ll be at various craft focused beer vendors like Quality Inn, Econo Lodge, Tux and the Beer Market in Charleswood.

Hope to see you all this weekend at Flatlander’s.

Friday Beer News – June 15

Hey Folks, been hectic as usual around the ol work and home. The beer community continues on and grows everyday it seems. Be sure to follow all the local breweries on twitter as they do an awesome job of keeping folks in the loop. Here are some highlights.

  • Torque is releasing their Hazy Whaler NEIPA in six packs. It’s showing up in fine beer selling establishments now. So be sure to check your neighbourhood store.
  • Coast to Coaster has begun at Liquor Marts. This is a couple of months of fun new beers. So be sure to check it out. We are into flight 2 already but some stores still have some flight 1 stuff available.
  • Barn Hammer has canned their Strawberry milkshake IPA strawbarian. They’ve got it in cans as well as in tap at their brewery.
  • Devil May Care, the love child of Colin Koop and Steve Gauthier (two super awesome brewers and guys) is open and brewing now out of Stone Angel. Watch for their beer as these guys are talented and fun. Can’t wait to try out some of their beer!
  • Flatlander’s beer festival tickets went on sale. This event is the highlight of my year for beer as it gives an opportunity to try new things from local and non-local breweries alike. Take a look at my writeup from last year and be sure to grab tickets.
  • The MB Brewers Association has released their collaboration pack. It’s an amazing pack with 10 beers from 10 different breweries and two cans of their collaboration “door prize” Hefeweizen. Be sure to pick this pack up and explore some of the beers from our local breweries.
  • Finally, for those who missed the news, Nonsuch is moving into the old space occupied by Peg Beer. It’s bittersweet as it is exciting for them but means Peg is highly unlikely to return and if they do not as they once were. That said I’m super excited and I wish the guys at Nonsuch all the best.

Nonsuch – BU50

photo courtesy of the illustrious beercrank.ca

Every time I sit down to write one of these posts I take an opportunity to reflect on where we are. When I first started this blog, the beer community was in its infancy. Half Pints was the predominate craft brewery, and remain to this day the original. We now have more breweries than I know what to do with. And I love it.

Today I write about an fun partnership with Brandon University. Nonsuch brewmaster, and Brandon University Alumnus, Mark Borowski has brewed a special beer for Brandon University’s 50th anniversary. This “Marzen Style” beer is, like most Nonsuch Beers, a cranked up version of the Marzen style.

For those of you who don’t recall, Nonsuch is a local brewery that is made up of some pretty talented people. Take a read through my write-up on them here. They’ve run into some bad luck along the way and have had a difficult time finding a space of their own. Thanks to the amazing camaraderie of the local beer community, most especially Barn Hammer who has provided Nonsuch with space to brew, they’ve still managed to get beer out the doors. This bottle release represents the first beer they’ve packaged and sold at such a large volume.

It is somewhat auspicious that I am posting this write-up today. NONSUCH HAS A SPACE. They announced it this morning. They will be moving into the old Peg Beer Company site at 125 Pacific Avenue. This is a happy and a sad day. I am happy for Nonsuch to finally have a place to call there own. At the same time, this means there won’t be a return of Peg.

This “Golden Ale” brewed for the “Golden Anniversary” of Brandon University is crafted from a recipe inspired by a Marzen, a German festival beer that is traditionally served at Oktoberfest.  Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.

According to the description, the unique BU50 Anniversary Ale uses a hybrid yeast to brings out more crispness, and further enhanced by the use of Saaz hops. The result is a refreshing and well-balanced strong beer that comes in at 6.8% ABV — intentionally chosen as a nod to 1968, the year the first graduates of Brandon University received their degrees. Previously, graduates from Brandon College received degrees from other institutions.

ABV – 6.8%
Appearance – Pours a clear golden/honey colour with a foamy head.
Smell – There is a biscuit malt character to the nose along with some hints of caramel and a bit of grassy hops.
Taste – This was a rather sweet beer. The sweetness from the malt came through strong and was only slightly cut by some crisp bitterness on the finish.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied with good carbonation and a nice dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Nonsuch is known for making ramped up beers. This was no different. The malt character really shone in this beer and, while I found it to be on the sweet side, it did have a crisp finish. I think that it hit on the characteristics one would expect to find in a Märzen while still maintaining something special that is worthy of the celebration.
Do I like it? – I did like this beer. I found that it brought a nice malt character. I found it to be a bit sweet for me, but I was able to move past that and enjoy it. I think this type of collaboration is really fun and I hope we see some more of it. The price tag on this beer, $19.68, is rather high. But, we know that Nonsuch’s overhead for there beers is already pretty high and if we consider they are donating a portion of this to the Brandon University’s BU Foundation, it makes a bit more sense.

The beer is already sold out in most of Brandon. Luckily, Nonsuch is currently brewing their second batch of the beer which should be ready in about a month. There are hopes it will be sold at rural Liquor Marts in Western Manitoba and eventually Winnipeg Liquor Marts as well.

Friday Beer News – June 1st

Hey folks. Blogging in this day and age is crazy. So much is happening that it is hard to keep up. I’m super happy about that and wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ve been working like crazy and I’m posting this at the dentist office. So it’ll be a shorter one with just a few highlights.

  • Nonsuch has released a special beer in collaboration with Brandon University for their 50th anniversary. It’s a Brandon only release so you’ll have to hit up a friend there and hope there is some left.
  • Torque is releasing their Hazy Whaler NEIPA in six packs soon. Be sure to watch for that.
  • Coast to Coaster has begun at Liquor Marts. This is a couple of months of fun new beers. So be sure to check it out.
  • Barn Hammer has a new NEIPA that is worth checking out. They’ve got it in cans as well as in tap at their brewery.
  • Devil May Care, the love child of Colin Koop and Steve Gauthier (two super awesome brewers and guys) is open and brewing now out of Stone Angel. Watch for their beer as these guys are talented and fun.
  • Flatlander’s beer festival tickets went on sale. This event is the highlight of my year for beer as it gives an opportunity to try new things from local and non-local breweries alike. Take a look at my writeup from last year and be sure to grab tickets.
  • Finally for today I just wanted I congratulate all the MB breweries that won medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards.

I’ve likely missed a lot so be sure to follow the local breweries on twitter and, of course, me. I retweet and tweet about a lot that’s happening as well.

Thanks for following. I’ve got more to come.

Friday Beer News – May 18th

Hey Folks. Been crazy and busy and crazy busy. I’m doing my best to get back into the swing of writing posts and I have a number of things to catch-up on. With so many breweries in the city it’s sometimes hard to keep up with everything that’s happening. So, if I’ve missed something in this update, please either let me know via email <beerwinnipeg@gmail.com> or post a comment about it.

  • Torque Brewing has released this years edition of their Foundation Pale Ale. This year Torque has partnered with the Never Alone Foundation to raise funds in support of those affected by cancer. Torque will be donating $4 from every case of foundation to this worthy cause. The beer is out now, and It’s good.
  • Torque also has two more beers to mention. One is new and one is a seasonal favorite. Czech Please Bohemian Pilsner is out now while their seasonal hefeweizen Magnetic North will be coming out soon. They’ve also got some fun beers at their taproom. Be sure to check their website and follow them on twitter for updates.
  • Half Pints Queer Beer is available now around the city. This is a seasonal favorite. They also have their holy trinity beers coming out this month, so watch for those.
  • Barn Hammer has made my life, and yours, a bit easier to know what sort of fun events they will be hosting/participating in. They’ve launched an events page to keep you up to date.
  • Barn Hammer has also started canning beers and you can find those around town. They’ve also brought back their Old Friar Mead made with honey from Bee Project Apiaries. So be sure to check that out. All their current beers are listed here.
  • Stone Angel is consistently brewing up a storm for their sweet taproom down Pembina Highway. They’ve brewed a collaborative beer with Brazen Hall that is worth giving a try. Also, If you’ve not been, I’d encourage you to go. They were brewing just the other day and will likely have some new beers for June. Follow them on twitter for all the updates (including their 60 glass series) and check out their current beer list here.
  • Oxus has their beer available around town now. I’d encourage you to try it if you haven’t yet. This is the latest brewery to open its doors here in Winnipeg and I’m excited to see what else they come up with. Currently they have three beers.
  • One Great City has some new beers since I last wrote. They’ve got a Kettle Sour and a Scotch Ale that are well worth trying out. They’ve also got a Black IPA that will be coming in the near future and often do Cask Nights. If you are looking for a place to watch the Jets beat Vegas, check them out and try these beers.
  • Finally I wanted to talk about Kilter. They’ve started brewing some prototype beers at One Great City and I’d encourage you to head down and try them out. This is the good news. In really horrible news, they have lost their space. You can read about that here. What I want to say is that if you are a realtor/building owner/anyone that can help them out with a new space, please get in touch with them. It’s really heartbreaking for them and if the community can help, I hope they do.

I am sure I’ve missed something, and if I have, please let me know. Also, if you have something you’d like me to highlight, please send it my way so I can do so.

-Beer Winnipeg

Torque – Czech Please

My most sincere apologies to all of you out there in Winnipeg Beer Land. I’ve had a crazy month and it’s still going to get crazier. Work, family, starting a Ph.D program, all things that require my attention and I’m doing my best to balance.

I love writing this blog and really want to be doing my best here, but sometimes it’s going to take a backburner as I do it for fun.

There have also been some other updates in the beer community but I’ll save those for Beer News this Friday.

On to the Pilsner.

Czech Please! – Bohemian Pilsner

Torque has become a fun brewery here in Winnipeg. From their start they’ve focused on producing a variety of beer options and have always made sure to keep their taproom stocked with some new small batches for people to try out. I’m always excited to see what they’ve got on the menu and they do not disappoint. They recently announced a potential expansion as well, so that means more awesome beer!

For this Czech style Pilsner, they went all out. Not only did they stick with the traditional ingredients, they spent a great deal of time and effort trying to get the water just right. They softened it up so that they could try and match the water that makes this style.

Pilsners are one of the most popular beer styles in the word and originate in the City of Pilzen in 1295.  While Pilsners are considered to be bottom-fermented beers now, they were actually top-fermented until about the mid-1840s.  The taste and standards of this older styles varied widely and in many cases entire barrels of beer were dumped out.  In 1839 the city of Pilsen founded a city owned brewery (now Pilsner Urquell) which was to brew beers and pioneer the Bavarian style.  Brewers had already begun to brew using bottom-fermenting yeasts that were fermented and stored in colder temperatures to be drunk later. This is where the term lager comes from. Lagern is the German word for storing and comes from this process.

Using Pilzen’s soft water, local saaz hops and this Bavarian style of lagering produced a clear, crisp and refreshing beer that became the standard for the style.  With the introduction of modern refrigeration there was no need to use caves for beer storage and this enabled the brewing of bottom-fermenting beers in many new places.  There are three styles of Pilsner:

  • German-style Pilsner – More bitter and earthy in flavour
  • Bohemian (Czech) Pilsners – tend to have lighter flavour
  • Classic American Pilsners – Brewed with more corn and rice as well as native cluster hops along with the noble hops when available.

All modern pilsners are very clear, very light beers that are pale to golden yellow.  All of them have a distinct hop aroma and flavor.  There are also Dutch and Belgian pilsners (not a separate style) which can be slightly sweeter.

ABV – 5%
Appearance – Golden in colour with an effervescent head that dissipates quickly.
Smell – Light malt notes, clean and bready, with light grassy hop notes.
Taste – Light, refreshing, a crisp bite at the finish along with some subtle hop bitterness. It has a semi-sweet malt characteristic to it.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with a coarse mouth feel and a nice lingering finish.
Overall Thoughts – Overall it was a really nice Bohemian Pilsner. I think it hit the highlights for me and over was a nice offering.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did enjoy this beer. I really like pilsners when it comes to the “lighter” beers. I think that they offer something interesting and flavourful. This one was certainly a very nice beer and I really enjoyed it. Just in time for this warm weather.

I’ve got some more posts lined up and look forward to getting them up. Thanks for following along.

-Beer Winnipeg

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