Nonsuch – Saison

Nonsuch-Logo-on-Water

Local beer business is booming. We are seeing more in the way of beers being brewed, distributed and consumed. So, I’m pretty excited that Nonsuch has gotten their first beer into their beautiful bottles.

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.

Saison’s are a sturdy farmhouse style of beer. Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, it was a beer brewed at the end of the cool season to last through the warmer months before refrigeration was common.  It had to be sturdy enough to be able to last but also not too strong so it would quench your thirst in the summer months.

This style of beer is very complex with a lot fruit notes, spices, and earthy yeast notes to the beer. They tend to combine nice fruity notes with spice and a subtle sourness or tartness. Usually lots of spice with mild bitterness and a dry crisp finish and only a hint of sweetness. At one point in time Saison’s were an almost extinct beer style but they have seen a great resurgence and are commonly brewed by a number of craft breweries across Canada.

Nonsuch has brewed what could easily be called an “Imperial” or “Double” saison in that it comes in at a whopping 8.5%. While the style traditionally was one to have on nice summer day to refresh and quench your thirst, I wouldn’t recommend drinking many of these or your day probably won’t be very productive. I’d also forewarn folks that their beer is highly carbonated. The two bottles I’ve opened immediately started foaming from the top and so I’d suggest opening them in the kitchen sink so as not to make a mess.

Nonsuch - Saison

ABV – 8.5%
Appearance – Pours a hazy straw coloured with an incredibly active and vibrant carbonation. The head filled 90% of my glass did not dissipate. Pour slowly or let it expend some of its excess energy before pouring.
Smell – Nice fruity esters, notes of bubblegum and dried fruit.
Taste –It has a very nice fruity character to it with yeast esters coming through nicely and bringing a bubblegum note along with some pleasant sweetness. Alcohol is noticeable and has a warming character.
Mouth Feel – Highly carbonated, light bodied, alcohol warm on a dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – While I certainly don’t feel that this is what you’d expect in buying a saison (more a dubbel or a Belgian strong) it did bring some typical saison notes in the smell and taste. If you typically like other lower alcohol saisons, this is not like those.
Do I like it? – Yes. I like this quite a lot. Whatever you choose to call it, or however you choose to try and classify it, it’s a solid beer. The two bottles I opened, despite having ridiculous carbonation, were tasty and I enjoyed them both.

I’m really excited that Nonsuch has started bottling their beer. Not only does it mean they are moving forward, it also means that I can now start drinking it. The bottles are beautiful and I’m excited to see what else they come out with. They’ve got a Tripel on down at the Forks, and their Oud Bruin was stellar.

Congratulations Nonsuch. Well done.

Friday Beer News – November 17th

Here are some things that have happened or will be soon happening in beer

  • Torque’s Rabbit Punch Black IPA seasonal is rolling out to Liquor Marts and Beer Vendors around town. Also, they’ve got a number of interesting small batch releases at their taproom. As that fast approaches be sure to follow them on twitter for specifics on release dates.
  • Nonsuch is going to be selling some Bottles (yes!). On November 17th from 4-10pm they will be selling limited quantities of their Saison in bottles at Barn Hammer (595 Wall Street). Details here. They also will have an Oud Brun on tap. Nonsuch has also put a new Tripel on at the Common at the Forks.
  • Surly is sending their Abrasive double IPA to Winnipeg. It is available at Quality Inn, Park West, and the Canad Inns Winnipeg locations. As well, the second of four “Embrace the Darkness” beers came out today. Furious Black IPA is available at select liquor marts and Quality Inn. Write-up here.
  • Finally from Surly we’ve got the latest from the Embrace the Darkness campaign. On November 18th Damien, son of darkness, will be at Liquor Marts and some beer vendors around town.

Scotch Dinner .jpg

  • An awesome sounding pop-up dinner, teeming with delicious craft cocktails, educational demonstrations, and of course, a specially crafted 3-course dinner for will be taking place at the Delta hotel downtown, 6:30 pmFriday November 24. Get your tickets at www.winnipegtastingtours.ca and hurry, we can only seat so many folks around our dinner table!  at the downtown Delta. Alex Weiss from TransCanada Brewing will be there giving a demonstration and pouring a beer cocktail.
  • Finally, so there is plenty of notice, Half Pints will be releasing it’s Barley Wine (Burlywine) for the first time since 2014. This will be on December 2nd and if you like Barley Wines, put it in your calendar.

That’s all I have for this week. I’d like to request your help. If you become aware of any cool beer news, events, or upcoming items that you think are worth sending out, please send them to me at beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

Thanks for following along

-Beer Winnipeg

Surly – Furious Black IPA

It’s been a busy month, that’s for sure, and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. My daughter turned one, new beers have been pumping out from the local breweries, we are seeing more announce they are looking to open, and it’s almost advent calendar season. I hope you’ve been enjoying my Friday Beer News and if you have anything you’d like included in that, let me know on twitter, in the comments, or via email @ beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

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. What’s more, we are going to be seeing some of their seasonal offerings, including Furious Black IPA, Damien, and both the 2016 and 2017 vintages of their Russian imperial stout Darkness.

The beer I am reviewing today is their Furious Black IPA. This beer is currently available at Liquor Marts and some beer vendors around the city. Furious Black was originally introduced as a Darkness Day beer for the 2015 release. Building on the Furious IPA’s citrusy hops, it also brings a deeper malt character with roasted malt notes and, obviously, the darker colour. Black IPAs aren’t new to the Winnipeg beer scene. Black Galaxy has been a favorite from Half Pints for quite some time and we will be seeing Torque’s Rabbit Punch Black IPA coming to liquor marts this week.

Black IPA is a variation of the American IPA style and was first commercially produced by Greg Noonan as Black watch IPA around the 1990s. It’s become popular around the Pacific northwest and southern California and is also known as a “Cascadian Dark Ale” or CDA. Typically, a drier beer with a hop-forward balance and a darker colour. The roast from the malt is not expected to be overwhelming but rather play a supporting role to the hops. You can read more about the style here or, as always, in the BJCP guidelines located here.

ABV – 6.60%
Appearance – Pours a deep dark colour with a subtle red hue when held up to the light. Nice medium brown head.
Smell – Citrus and pine notes as well as a subtle malt roast. Nice aromatic hop on the nose that stands out from the malty notes.
Taste –The taste if very like the smell. There are good citrus and pine hop notes that are certainly up front and centre. You can certainly taste the malt in this beer, it brings a subtle roasted malt characteristic that is a bit more forward than on the nose but does not detract from the hop characteristics. Less sweet than the regular Furious IPA but still with citrus forward hops.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied with a hop forward front and a bitter finish.
Overall Thoughts – An overall tasty Black IPA. It is not just an IPA that has been darkened using Carafa 3 (although that is a malt in the beer). It brings a nice hop forward character that is supported by a subtle roasted malt character.
Do I like it? – Yes. I like this quite a lot. It’s a strong Black IPA that I rather enjoyed. This is a style that I find to be very tasty when done right, and this certainly was done right.

There are still more beers coming our way from Surly. We’ve Damien, son of Darkness, coming on November 18th and the final beer in the “Embrace the Darkness” run, the 2017 vintage of Darkness on December 2nd. Watch for those.

Thanks again for following along. Beer News is out this Friday.

– Beer Winnipeg

 

Friday Beer News – November 10th

Here are some things that have happened or will be soon happening in beer

  • Torque’s Rabbit Punch Black IPA seasonal is expected soon. Also, they’ve got a number of interesting small batch releases at their taproom. As that fast approaches be sure to follow them on twitter for specifics on release dates.
  • Stone Angel has released Mountjoy X, it’s new Irish Stout. You can get it at their taproom which is open today at 3:30pm.
  • Half-Pints has released their fantastic Double IPA Humulous Ludicrous which is available now at their tap room.
  • Nonsuch is finally going to be selling some Bottles. On November 17th from 4-10pm they will be selling limited quantities of their saison in bottles at Barn Hammer (595 Wall Street). Details here.
  • Surly is sending their Abrasive double IPA to Winnipeg. It should be available at Quality Inn, Park West, and the Canad Inns Winnipeg locations. As well, the second of four “Embrace the Darkness” beers came out today. Furious Black IPA is available at select liquor marts and Quality Inn. Write-up coming soon.
  • It’s almost the 3rd Wednesday of the month which means Barn Hammer‘s monthly Barn Raising is coming up. As well, Barn Hammer has a new Root Beer Stout test batch that is on today. Taproom opens at 4pm.
  • The Parallel 49 and Central City advent calendar – The Great White Wonder – is on sale now. Find it at liquor marts around the city.
  • Restaurants Canada, a non-profit group representing more than 30,000 food service professions, is seeking to level the playing field. They feel it is unfair that hotel vendors and some delivery services can sell booze offsite. Article here.
  • 35 year old Stony Mountain Resident Steve Hupe, is one of eight finalists in Innis and Gunn’s “imagine” beer contest. If his rye-Barrel aged Saskatoon berry saison gets enough votes he’ll travel to Scotland to brew the beer. Story here
  • Finally, so there is plenty of notice, Half Pints will be releasing it’s Barley Wine (Burlywine) for the first time since 2014. This will be on December 2nd and if you like Barley Wines, put it in your calendar.

That’s all I have for this week. I’d like to request your help. If you become aware of any cool beer news, events, or upcoming items that you think are worth sending out, please send them to me at beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

Thanks for following along

-Beer Winnipeg

Beau’s/Half-Pints – Killer Kvass

Killer Kvass
Huge thanks to http://www.beercrank.ca for permission to use this SWEET picture.

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s. Luckily, this beer is both! It’s a beer brewed in collaboration with Half-Pints Brewing Co. as part of the nationwide collaboration brews Beau’s is doing for Canada’s 150th.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Killer Kvass from Beaus is starting to pop up on shelves in Liquor Marts and beer vendors around the city. So now is the perfect time for a writeup of this beer.

*Writer’s Note: I did receive this beer review free of charge. This did not influence my write-up. *

Killer Kvass

The Kvass has been a common drink in Europe since the middle-ages. It is comparable with other grain based fermented beverages, like beer, but was invented by the Slavs and became a popular drink among this group. The word “kvass” first appears in 996 C.E. following the Christianization of the Kievan Rus. The first mention of Kvass in an English text wasn’t until 1553. In Russia, under Peter the Great, it was the most common non-alcoholic drink in every class of society. In Russia, the Kvass has been touted as a more “patriotic” alternative to drinks like Coke or Pepsi.

A Kvass is a style that I had never heard of before Beau’s and Half-Pints announced they’d be brewing one. A Kvass is a traditional Slavic beverage that is typically made using Rye Bread. The colour of the chosen bread will affect on the colour of the beer. Much like other fermented beverages like Kombucha, a traditional Kvass is classified as non-alcoholic typically having between 0.5%-1% alcohol content. In many instances, the Kvass is flavoured with fruit or herbs.

This Kvass is a “Killer” Kvass. The folks at Beau’s and Half-Pints have amped it up and produced a whopping 2.5% alcohol. This Kvass was brewed using 70kg of organic rye bread croutons, organic lemon peel and organic raisins. A portion of the sales of this beer will go towards supporting D’Arcy’s Arc in Winnipeg. For that reason alone, I encourage you to give it a try.

Beau’s did a really great video introduction of this beer with Chris from Half-Pints. I’d recommend checking that out if you haven’t seen it already. You can view it here.

ABV – 2.5%
Appearance – Pours a hazy golden colour with a nice amount of head that dissipates quickly leaving on a little bit of foam.
Smell – A nice bready aroma combined with some herbal notes and a hint of citrus. You can certainly tell it was made using rye bread as this comes through on the nose.
Taste – A lot lighter than I had expected but with a good amount of flavour. The rye bread notes come through along with a noticeable yeasty character. There is a nice raisin sweetness and that subtle lemon citrus just at the end.
Mouth Feel – Light bodied, clean drinking, good finish and rather refreshing.
Overall Thoughts – Having never had this drink before, I was rather impressed with it. It is an easy drinking beer that brings a nice punch of flavour for only 2.5%.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this beer. I found that it brought a lot to the table for being only 2.5%. As someone who enjoys drinking Kombucha, a Kvass might be right up my alley.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

Keep following along as I keep doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Kilter Brewing Co.

Kilter
Follow them on twitter and on Instagram

Well happy Halloween to everyone. I hope that folks are going to be scaring up some good beer this evening to go along with any candies they might munch. I know we will be patrolling a bit with our daughter and I promise to tweet out some photos of her in her costume when I take them. I’ve been promising my Killer Kvass review for a little while now, and I will post it tomorrow. The reason why not today is I’ve got some info on a new brewery I want to share with you first.

You may have noticed that former Half-Pints brewer, Miguel Cloutier, has started posting under the twitter handle Kilterbrewing. The reason is that he is opening a brewing and I’ve got the details on what we can expect. Be sure to follow them on twitter and on Instagram

Kilter Brewing Co. is the brain child of brothers, Miguel Cloutier, Julien Cloutier, and Jerik Cloutier who are in their mid-to-late 20s and are deeply engaged and captivated by the lifestyle of beer culture. They’ve had the opportunity to travel quite extensively (if you follow them on twitter you’d know) and have been exposed to a wide array of beer styles from old rustic farmhouse producers in small villages throughout Europe, to inventive modern breweries forging new trends in every corner of the world.

This trio of brothers began homebrewing and experimenting in 2008 and from there have each spent the 9+ years since the inception of Kilter to develop a wide range of skills that would help them finally get their dream off the ground.

The brothers are all in on this, and they are 100% in control of the brewery. This leaves them to realize their dream and do so independent of outside influence. In fact, they’ve put it all on the line personally along with hard-earned investment from immediate family, and also sought out bank financing to make this dream a reality.

The roles have been divvied up amongst the brothers, each using their skill sets to bring what is needed to the brewery. Miguel (Head Brewer) will be taking the lead on all beer production aspects, bringing years of commercial brewing and learning experiences both locally at Half Pints and previously on the West Coast in Vancouver, BC.

Julien (President) along with Jerik will be leading the business side of the operation. Altogether, bringing an assortment of backgrounds ranging from real estate, plumbing, and carpentry to accounting, web development, and graphic design. They do hope to welcome a few new key members to the Kilter family once they’re fully operational but have no expectations to grow much beyond a small close-knit crew.

Kilter Brewing Co. is finalizing a lease agreement for a space in West Broadway/Wolsley area in the hopes of brining a laid-back neighbourhood brewery vibe to that community. Given I live reasonably close to this neighbourhood, I’m psyched.

They’ve also just signed a purchase agreement for their brewhouse which is expected to arrive in April 2018. They are partnering with Newlands (NSI) British Columbia to build their custom designed 15 BBL-2 vessel manual brewhouse. They are planning to source their other equipment more economically, but for the brothers, it was important to invest and not compromise in this crucial part of the breweries operation.

So, what about the beer? Well, they plan to brew what they love to drink. Instead of trying to distribute their beers all over, they want to keep tight control and only have a few select accounts around Winnipeg so that they maintain quality and freshness. Their beginning focus will be on fresh, aggressively hopped New-England-inspired IPAs (you may have had some of Miguel’s at Half-Pints in recent past). They do plan to continuously experiment with inventive styles, having fun brewing lots of interesting one-offs and taking risks with their beers. They also hope to setup a small barrel aging program early on to produce big flavourful stouts for the Winnipeg winters as well as some wild sour ales.

They are all very excited to join the growing number of local breweries and, in true community fashion, are grateful for all the assistance, advice, and resources that they’ve received from the local craft community.

On a final note, Miguel did give me some exciting news that I wanted to share. Their first project is already underway. Miguel is in Halifax, Nova Scotia to brew a fun collaboration brew with Jeremy Taylor, head brewer at 2 Crows Brewing. They are working together with them and the MBLL to bring a good portion of this one-time batch to the Winnipeg market to be released in late November. I’ll update you as I hear more and be sure to follow them on twitter and on Instagram (they are a bit more active on Instagram).

That’s it for today folks. Thanks for following and be sure to follow me on twitter and WordPress for all the latest on the brew scene here in Winnipeg.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Friday Beer News – October 27th

Here are some things that have happened or will be soon happening in beer:

  • There will be an Introduction to Off-Flavours course on Tuesday, November 14th at 595 Wall Street (Hosted by Barn Hammer) with guest – BJCP certified judge and Cicerone Chris Miller (he’s awesome). More details and tickets can be found here.
  • The Craft Beer Advent Calendar has official been released. This years theme is “All-Star edition”. I imagine we can expect some of the best beers from the past calendars. I’ll be profiling each beer/brewery again this year so be sure to follow me and follow along starting December 1st. If you want one of your own or want to get one as a gift, quantities and locations are here.
  • Torque’s Rabbit Punch Black IPA seasonal is expect in November. As that fast approaches be sure to follow them on twitter for specifics on release dates.
  • One Great City has a new seasonal beer, a Neapolitan Milk Stout, that is available at their Brew Pub now. Torque, fresh off a variety of Pro/Am medal wins, has brought back their silver medal winning Mangoza! It’s a treat, so be sure to get out and try it. Stone Angel has a new Irish Stout coming soon. Be sure to follow them on twitter for details on release. Be sure to check their websites and twitter accounts for up to date info on the beers they have on tap.
  • Surly is sending their Abrasive double IPA to Winnipeg. It will be available this upcoming week at Quality Inn, Park West, and the Canad Inns Winnipeg locations.
  • The Beaus and Half Pints collaboration – Killer Kvass – launched officially yesterday. My writeup on this interesting beer is coming soon.

That’s all I have for this week. I’d like to request your help. If you become aware of any cool beer news, events, or upcoming items that you think are worth sending out, please send them to me at beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

Thanks for following along

-Beer Winnipeg

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