Winnipeg Beer Festival

Winnipeg Craft Beer Festival

Hey Folks. I had hoped to be able to post this earlier but, I had a Ph.D course begin immediately after the festival,  and, we had some family matters that required our attention.

While this in but an excuse, it did truly prevent me from spending the time I wanted to be able to write about the beer festival.

I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Winnipeg Beer Festival at Fort Gibraltar last weekend. This festival highlights the local craft beer scene by providing an opportunity to local breweries to attend and bring beers they wish to put on display. Being completely focused on local breweries, it’s an opportunity for a patron to sample beers those breweries wish to highlight.

WPG Beer Fest - Fort Gibraltor

The venue for this event, Fort Gibraltor, is a wonderful environment made more so by the presence of voyageur staff and the voyageur games. The “nail-game” is a favorite, especially as people consume more beer and become less accurate at hitting the nail. It’s rather entertaining to watch and even more entertaining to attempt. Shockingly, the blacksmith was active and giving demonstrations even though it was ~30 degrees in the shade. Kudos to that guy for being awesome.

Besides the spectacular venue, while Flatlander’s provides an opportunity for patrons to explore a significant number of beers from all over the world, the laser focus on local is really what makes the Winnipeg Beer Festival special. With so many breweries producing, there was a lot to try. It made for an excellent evening, especially given how darn hot it was.

I’ve said before how I love sours and how I wish there were more. Well, this event was a dream come true. There were a number of sours from Half-Pints, Trans Canada, Kilter, One Great City and Brazen Hall. These complemented the excellent English Bitter from Stone Angel, the Rye IPA Callahan from Torque, and a fantastic redux of Juicii from Kilter. Winnipeg Brew Werks was there showing off their Pilsner and it was my first opportunity to give it a try. It was a solid German pilsner and I look forward to trying it again in a more focused setting.

Another aspect of the Winnipeg Beer Festival that cannot be overlooked is the all you can eat poutine bar. While the fries go quick, the poutine was excellent and made even more spectacular by the toppings provided. From bacon, to blue cheese, to pulled pork, there was a fantastic array of poutine related accouterments to really help replenish the salt lost from the heat.

On the food topic, Mr. Biltong, a South African jerky producer, was present with some really fantastic jerky. What makes it different from typical jerky is that it is air-dried, more like a prosciutto, rather than being cooked until dried out. It was really tasty and if you have a chance to try some, I’d pick some up.

WPG Beer Fest - Wide Crowd

The event this year differed slightly from last years where there were tokens and a “winner” at the end of the night. This year the competition aspect was removed and it allowed for patrons to focus on the beer and the poutine. Overall, I had an excellent time at this event and I really enjoyed seeing some new beers as well as some favorites. This event is becoming a nice local balance with Flatlander’s. With the new Prost! event coming this fall from the Manitoba Brewers’ Association I am really excited about the opportunities for local breweries to highlight what they’ve got to those that might not always buy it in the store.

 

 

Torque/Surly – Callahan Rye IPA

I have been doing a horrible job of writing this summer. I’ve been trying to do more and more with less and less. I’ve been working on Ph.D courses, spending time with my daughter, and while I’m still enjoying beer and getting out when I can, writing is not going well.

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.

Today, I’m going to be talking about three of my favorite things. Beer, Torque and Surly. They got together and brewed a sweet Rye IPA. Ultimate frisbee themed, it is called Callahan. Named after Henry Callahan, one of the early proponents of the sport who was murdered during a robbery in 1982. He is commemorated via the Callahan Award which is given to the best male and female college Ultimate players each year, the Callahan Rules of Ultimate, and a rare move in the game called a Callahan.

But, let’s talk about the beer.

I did receive this beer for free to review. I also bought a bunch of it to drink.

Calahan – Rye IPA

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.

For those of you not familiar with Surly, I did an in-depth write-up of them <here> when they first announced their coming to Manitoba. This is big. They have a waiting list for expansion and have chosen to come to Manitoba. They’ve been actively sending more beers our way and have brought in some fun stuff over the past year. They brew good beer and I’m excited to see what they were able to do with Torque.

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

What makes this IPA different is that rather than using standard malt bill that provides a solid malty backbone, it uses rye. Rye brings a lot of other characteristics to a beer. The most prominent of these characteristics is some peppery notes. Rye’s main contribution to a beer is in its enhancement of the beer overall. Helping bring the different notes to a point and drawing them out. The Rye in an IPA will help accentuate the hops and with enhance the finish.

Let’s get to the beer.

ABV – 6.5%
Appearance – Slightly hazy amber colour with a white head.
Smell – Get some of those peppery notes on the nose along with caramel malt and some grassy hop aroma.
Taste – Smooth front that brings some caramel sweetness from the malt. Then moving into some hoppy bitterness that is accentuated by some of the peppery notes from the rye.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with a coarse mouth feel and a nice lingering finish.
Overall Thoughts – The rye notes accentuated the hops to provide a nice lingering finishing that is bitter and a bit spicy. The caramel malt sweetness works well with this. Overall a good Rye IPA that brings a nice balance between these two components.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did enjoy this beer. I find that I enjoy Rye IPAs quite a lot. I like the use of Rye in a beer. This is certainly something that you should check out. It’s worth a taste.

I can’t guarantee any write-ups. I plan to attend the Winnipeg Beer Festival, so I will be doing a writeup of that. Otherwise, I will do the best I can to post as often as I can. No promises.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Flatlander’s Beer Festival 2018

flatlanders-header-2018.jpg

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.

Flatlanders_2018_Map_v3

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.

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