Category Archives: Beer News

Flatlander’s 2016

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This years’ Flatlander’s Beer Festival was by far the best one to date. With 72 booths and over 240 beers, it was the largest beer festival we’ve held in Manitoba.  The number of beers isn’t always important, but the quality, variety and style variations made this year pretty darn awesome. Not only that, the local breweries were out in force and brought their A-game, giving every single one of us a reason to be proud.

I had a unique opportunity this year. I attended all three sessions of Flatlander’s in different capacities. On Friday night I had the joy of being a patron, enjoying around 70 unique beers. On Saturday I participated in the “ask a beer geek” initiative and had a great time answering questions and helping guide people towards beers. Then, on Saturday night, I had the opportunity to pour for Brewsters’ Brewing Company.  Each of these experiences brought a different perspective of the festival and dang, it was fun.

As a patron, I was incredibly impressed with how well organized the beer festival was this year. They had multiple entrances that split up the crowd, they used the concourse as well as the ice, which helped spread the crowd out to make the beers more accessible, and they had fantastic volunteers who did an awesome job helping guide people where they wanted to go.

For me, the most exciting part was the fact the first 9 booths were all local.  Barn Hammer, Farmery, Fort Garry, Half Pints, Brazen Hall, Nonsuch, Torque, One Great City and the Winnipeg Brew Bombers were there with a lot of fantastic beer.

As I said above, these local breweries brought their A-game and provided a fantastic opportunity to not only try a huge number of delicious beers, but also connect with the brewers and breweries.  The local booths were packed all night long with patrons drinking, chatting, and buying the merchandise.  I got me a Torque hat, a Barn Hammer hat and a One Great City shirt… eventually I’ll collect them all!

I can’t wait to try more of the local stuff as it starts to trickle into the market. From what I had the opportunity to taste (every single one) I am excited to continue to support local brewers. This is what I was writing about last year, what I’ve been writing about since I started this blog: We are finally seeing the craft beer community in Manitoba grow…and it’s good.

As a beer geek, I had the opportunity to answer questions people had about beers, hand out some cool swag to patrons and help guide people who didn’t really have a plan. It was a great opportunity to use some of the knowledge I’ve gathered to help others better understand and enjoy beer. I found many people are becoming really well-educated themselves, and that people were just as excited about the local beer as I was.

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While I didn’t have many questions besides “Where is the local stuff” or “Where am I?”, I did have some fun ones. One group had tried a few beers and asked “What is it about these beers I don’t like?” which was a fun one to answer. Others were curious about the use of nitro in One Great City’s Milk Stout, or what a Randall was. Overall, I was working with some really smart people and had a great time getting to meet a lot of new folks, help them enjoy their beer, and learn a little bit more myself from talking with brewers.

As a pourer for Brewsters’, I had the opportunity to stand still while the festival crowd flowed around me.  It was hectic; the first hour flew past in what felt like five minutes. I spent the first bit getting to know the beers as best I could – tasting them on Friday night helped – and talking to Don about Brewsters’. We poured four beers: River City Raspberry Wheat, Honest Paul IPA, Hammerhead Red Ale, and the Hawaiian Coconut Porter. The night ended up being a lot of fun with me repeatedly saying things such as “this is a traditional English porter, finished with real coconut. It has chocolate and coffee notes in it as well” or “this is a big 70 IBU IPA with mosaic, Citra and cascade hops with a big late hop addition that bring big grapefruit and passion fruit notes.”

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This gave me a good barometer for people who knew something about beer and those who did not.  While two years ago Flatlander’s seemed to have a large number of people asking “what’s an IPA?” this year I didn’t have a single person ask that. There will certainly always be room for people to learn more about beer, but the amount of knowledge people showed Saturday night was great to witness. I’m so happy Manitobans are increasingly embracing craft beer, are excited about new beers and local beers, and want to try something they’ve never had.

Talking with Don, a man who has been in the beer industry for close to 20 years, was fantastic. This guy really knows his beer and his product and I really hope that we see some of it come to Winnipeg. The Honest Paul IPA was delicious and I’m a sucker for a good Coconut Porter.  We’ve already got their Brewmaster Collection in Liquor Marts, but we will also see a Peach Ale coming to town for the final flight of Coast to Coaster.

Overall, I had a fantastic time at the beer festival. It helped build excitement for the local breweries, something I’ve been working hard to do, and gave people their first sampling of what is to come.  Next year’s festival will be even better as the breweries here this year – most with the help of Half Pints – will be open and brewing on their own systems. They will have grown and we will have, hopefully, even more new breweries giving us a first taste side-by-side with those from this year. While we had nine local booths at this year’s festival, I really hope to see us take up 20 booths next year.

So, fellow beer fans, I encourage you to get out and enjoy local beer this summer. Of the new folks, Barn Hammer is already sending beer out the door; you can find it at Fools & Horses and Earls right now, and Torque will hopefully be coming up close behind. Many of us have been clamouring for more craft beer so now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is – and also beer where our mouth is.  It’s time to get out and show these places that we will support them.

Let’s end today’s post with a question.  If you attended Flatlander’s, what was your favourite beer? Answer in the comments below.

Craft Beer Events – June 2016

It has been a little while since I’ve posted anything, it’s been a crazy time of year. Luckily things are returning to a bit of normalcy, just in time for some really fun craft beer opportunities here in the city.

First off is the Coast to Coaster event put on at the Liquor Marts across the city.  This year they are doing 4 separate flights about 2 weeks apart.  Beers from across Canada will be brought into the liquor marts for people to try.  These are beers that we do not normally have and are brought in special for this event.  Some of these are ones we can expect to see on the shelves (hopefully) while others we may not see again.  This event will be running from June 1st – July 31st.

I’m a little disappointed in this years Coast to Coaster. The majority of the beers coming in on the “flights” are lagers, blondes, or pale ales.  I understand that these are great summer beers, but they don’t give an opportunity for Manitobans to try a variety of styles and experiment with what they might or might not like.  There are some interesting beers coming in, and I’m certainly going to try a number of them, but it’d be nice to see a bit more of an adventurous nature in the lists rather than the “safe” choice.  In any case, See the image below for all the beers coming out and which week they will be available.

Coast to Coaster Beers

Second up, The Manitoba Brewers Association is hosting a “meet your local craft brewer” event at Fort Garry Brewing Company on June 22nd. The event is from 5:30pm-8:00pm. This is a great opportunity to sample a few of the beers from these local breweries before getting to try them all at Flatlanders’.  More so, it’s a great opportunity to chat with the breweries who are on their way to opening or still in the planning process.

Tickets are for sale right now and are quite limited.  They are $25 a piece and you can get them here.  I’d really recommend going if you are interested in having a chance to speak with some of the new breweries and find out a bit more of what you can expect.  I’ll be there for sure and you can expect a write-up of all that I learn.

Finally, the big one, Flatlanders’ Beer Festival is coming up on June 24th and 25th (afternoon/evening). Three opportunities to get in and try out some of the new beers coming to Manitoba, especially those from local breweries not yet open.

With over 160 beers from around the globe for people to try, it’s a great opportunity to taste something you’ve never had and to venture out beyond your comfort zone and try something new.  It’s especially great that this year we will see a large number of the new local breweries (Torque, One Great City, Nonsuch, Barn Hammer, and more) offering a chance to try their beer for the first time.

Tickets are still available and I recommend going to this event. In addition to the opportunity to try some local brews no one else has had, there will be beer geeks (I get to be one!) on hand who will be there to answer questions you may have about beers and styles.  As well, there will be education sessions put on by members of the Manitoba Brewers Association, and there will be a lot of beer to try.  You can get tickets here and you can check out the full list of featured beers here.

Hopefully you get the chance to check these events out. I’m certainly going to be enjoying all the opportunities I get to enjoy some craft beer (especially the local stuff).  Also, watch here, as I am going to posting an update on Barn Hammer soon.

One Great City

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I can’t believe one year ago I was sitting down and writing about all of what was to come. Last year was one in which the possibility of new breweries seemed a distant hope – a glimmer on the horizon.

One year later we are finally starting to see much of what we hoped take shape.  With PEG halfway open, Barn Hammer and Torque well on their way to opening their doors and Flatlander’s Beer Festival giving us our first chance to taste some of these new beers, it’s a good time to be a beer lover in Manitoba.

One brewery that I’ve known about for some time – but only recently got to sit down with – is One Great City Brewing Company (or “OGC” as they call themselves). Co-Founders Tim Hudek and Jon Burge were kind enough to meet with me and give some details on their brew-pub, progress and, of course, their team.

Tim and Jon are both Winnipeg boys.  Born here, they love this city. Sadly, their career paths took them to other destinations. Tim went to Toronto for law school before opening a practice in the city while Jon went to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts to hone his skills as a chef.

After completing his culinary arts program, Jon worked around Vancouver at a variety of different venues. He worked at high-end restaurants, bistros, and was even responsible for opening one of the first gourmet food trucks in the city.  Eventually he expanded his horizons, travelling up north and further refining his culinary skills. All through this time he hoped to one day return to Winnipeg.

Enter Tim Hudek, a graduate of the Osgoode Hall law school and a fellow Winnipegger. Tim wanted to return to Manitoba as well and saw there was a brilliant opportunity to start a business in the city. He contacted Jon and asked if he wanted to team up to open a brewpub to help fill the gap in Manitoba’s lacking craft beer market. In 2014 the two began planning to open One Great City Brewing (OGC) here in Winnipeg.

While neither of them have a great deal of experience in brewing, they both have a passion for beer and an eye for business. Jon will be the creative mind behind the food at the brew pub and Tim, who hopes to be called to the bar in Manitoba soon, will act as general counsel and business administrator, while also helping in the brewery and with anything else that needs to be done.

Heading up the brewing itself will be Josh Berscheid, a graduate of Olds College who is currently working with Half Pints until the brewery at OGC is ready to go. When it comes to beer preferences, Jon is a Stout and ESB fan who is slowly opening up to IPAs while Tim likes stouts as well as IPAs – the hoppier the better.

“Our goal is to have adventurous yet accessible beer and food”

So why open a brew pub? While living in large metropolises like Toronto and Vancouver, they saw a void existed in Manitoba. They saw this as a great market opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a very underdeveloped market. Tim describes it as “the opportunity of our generation.”

Their brewpub will have three separate areas: a restaurant that seats 123 people inside with room for 50 more out on the patio; a retail space where they will sell merchandise and do growler fills; and a with 10HL brewing system, 20HL fermenters and brite tanks, they have an annual capacity of 3000 HL for the restaurant, growler bar and distribution. All this will be located in a 7,000 sq/ft space at Madison Square Polo Park (1596 Ness Avenue.)

Choosing a location is not an easy feat and a lot went into this decision. You want a space that has high traffic both at lunch and dinner, has the infrastructure in place to support the weight of the brew system at capacity as well as room for parking. They found all this at Madison Square and are in the process of getting the space ready to go. Jon told me we can expect the décor to be “Industrial Chic” with an open concept and the ability to see the brewery exposed behind glass walls.

“We want to be very interactive and develop our beers to fit what Manitobans want to drink.”

While the philosophy of the brewery is to be “adventurous yet accessible” they want to make sure they are listening to their customers. They want to be very present on Twitter and social media, getting feedback on the beers they brew. Tim said they don’t want to “make beer only we want to drink” but they want to “involve their customers and make food, and brew beer that Winnipeg likes”.  The plan is to allow for growler fills at the retail shop right now. They are still deciding whether they will go with 16 ounce cans or if they will do Bombers (650ml) and standard (355ml) bottling.

So, when can we get our first taste of their beer? Very soon. They have two beers they will have at the Flatlander’s Beer Festival this year: Tipsy Cow Milk Stout and Monkey Trail Pale Ale. If you needed any reason to go to Flatlander’s, besides all the other beer, take this one – the first opportunity to try some beer from a new brewery and give the team your feedback.

Besides these two beers, they don’t yet have any others to announce. They said they will certainly have a stout, and IPA and a more approachable beer, but nothing is nailed down as of right now.

“Two beers we will be sampling at Flatlander’s are Tipsy Cow Milk Stout and Monkey Trail Pale Ale”

I always am curious about the long-term plan for a brewery and where they see themselves in five years. Both Tim and Jon said they are very fluid with their growth and will move where the market takes them.  If the restaurant is a huge success it might mean opening a second location. If the brewery is taxed to its limit due to demand, it might mean opening a stand-alone brewery. At the end of the day, they want to stay flexible and listen to the market and grow with it.

Overall, the process has been very positive for Jon and Tim.  While they expressed similar concerns around communication between the city and province, they also said how grateful they were for the support from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.  They have a ways to go before they open their doors, but they feel they have had more good days then bad.

What do they hope to accomplish? They want to bring great food and great beer to great people.  Jon and Tim want to build something Manitobans will be proud of. They want Winnipeggers to have civic pride and build an institution that helps show off how great this city is. They are called One Great City because of their love for this town. They want to elevate the community, use local products, build up other local businesses and support local charities. One Great City wants to embody the concept of a community brewery and do what they can to build this city up.

“’I’ve lived in Toronto and the Philippines, traveled throughout Asia and South America, and there is no place I’d rather be then here in Winnipeg.”

The biggest measure of success for Jon and Tim will be opening the doors to their brewpub, which they hope to do by the end of October. I wish them the best of luck and look forward to trying their beer at Flatlander’s and frequenting their brewpub when it opens next year.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

 

Flatlander’s Beer Festival

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Well, it’s that time of year again folks. The Flatlander’s Beer Festival is coming to town.  This year it will be held on June 24th and 25th with two evening entries (7 pm-10 pm) and one matinee (1 pm-4 pm) on June 25th.

So, what is Flatlander’s Beer Festival? Flatlander’s Beer Festival, is just that, an opportunity to try a variety of beers and ciders (over 160 in fact) at over 70 booths.  This is all done in support of the Winnipeg Jets Foundation and is a major fundraiser for this charitable organization.  The event is put on in conjunction with the Manitoba Liquor Marts and provides patrons a chance to try beers that are on their way, or already, onto Liquor Mart shelves.

Having attended this event last year, it was a great opportunity to connect with the reps from the various breweries and distributors, try a variety of interesting beers, and talk with fellow beer lovers.  This year will have an added bonus of giving us the opportunity to try some of the yet to open breweries.  One Great City (watch for my write-up this weekend) has two beers they will be sampling at Flatlander’s.  I expect that this year’s event will give us our first chance to try some of the beers from the new breweries coming to Manitoba.  Watch the website of Flatlander’s as they will be posting the list of beers soon.

There will be a few changes this year, compared to last.  Specifically, the event is bigger.  It is expanding beyond the ice level and up onto the concourse.  The plan this year is to offer educational opportunities for patrons so that they can learn more about beer.  The Manitoba Brewers Association is involved in this year’s festival and we can expect that they will have a role to play in some of these sessions. There will also be 5 food trucks giving you the opportunity to snack on some delicious food while you sample your beers.

While details are still coming on Flatlander’s for this year, hopefully this post will wet your appetite.  I’m certainly going to be there, as last years’ event was great.  I’m excited to give some of the new beers a try, talk to the brewers and reps who are there, and sample some of the beer from the new breweries coming to our great province.

I’ll be posting more details as I get them.

Tickets are on sale now! You can buy Tickets at Ticketmaster or at Liquor Marts.  The cost for the evening events are $44.99 while the matinee on Saturday is $39.95. This includes all samples, a program and a sampling cup.

I hope to see you there!

Beer Winnipeg

Barn Hammer’s Beers

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It’s been a while since I’ve followed up with the folks over at Barn Hammer to see how they are doing. They are still in the midst of construction and so I wasn’t able to pop down there to talk to them. I hope to be able to once things have calmed down.  It should mean the space is looking closer to completion, that they are closer to being ready to brew, and that they are less stressed.

One of the things that has happened since I last spoke to Barn Hammer is that they’ve officially announced their core beers.  It’s been a fun time watching them tweet about them over the past weeks and seeing the fantastically designed logos.  So, while this isn’t a full and complete update on Barn Hammer, I wanted to make sure that you are up to date.

While I don’t know much about the particular versions of these beers being produced by Barn Hammer, I’ll give you an idea of the style. Overall I am pretty excited to give them all a try.

BH - Lousy Beatnik

First up we have the Lousy Beatnik Kellerbier. Also known as a Zwickelbier it is a German style that is typically not clarified or pasteurized.  The term Kellerbier literally translates to “Cellar Beer” referring to the cool lagering temperatures.  The origins of this style date back to the Middle Ages.  Compared to more traditional lagers, Kellerbiers tend to contain more of their original yeast. Essentially this is a German Lager.

 

BH - Granpas Sweater

A variation of the Stout style that developed in the late 1800s. Some brewers in England would throw a handful of oatmeal in to their grist and call it a “healthy” oatmeal stout for marketing

Generally, between an Irish Stout and a Sweet Stout on for sweetness, there are numerous varieties which can go from very dry to quite sweet. Level of bitterness also varies in this style.

The use of oatmeal can create a silky mouthfeel and richness of body, while a large amount of oatmeal can result in a fairly intense, almost oily mouthfeel.

BH - Sneak Belgique

A 400-year-old Belgian style of beer that died out in the 1950s and was later reviewed by Hoegaarden. This style has grown in popularity due to its ability to carry some nice spice and fruit notes and its refreshing nature. Typically, a bit of peppery notes, perfumy coriander and citrusy notes.

This style is overall a refreshing, elegant, tasty, moderate strength wheat based ale.

BH - Saturday Night Lumberjack

This fourth beer, which reads Pale Ale, has recently been updated, though not with such a beautiful picture, to be a Double IPA.  Brian, the brewmaster, decided to try making this as a double IPA and it was a hit. So, they decided to make that as their fourth beer instead of this Pale Ale.

The style, a Double IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. The adjective “Double” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.

The style should be intensely hoppy and fairly strong with an IBU (international bitterness unit) range of 60-120, an ABV of between 7.5% and 10% with a lighter colour. Drinkability of the style is important and it should be well balanced with strong malt backbone and residual sweetness.

7th stab red aleThe fifth and final beer has been announced and it is a red ale.  The beer is called “Seventh Stab” red ale because it literally was their seventh stab at making a red ale.  I know in speaking with the brewmaster Brian Westcott, that it was tough to get it tasting how they wanted while still being “red enough.  At the end of the day, they got the right balance and so, 7th try is the charm.

While not indicated, the style is most likely that of an Irish Red Ale.  While Ireland has a strong brewing tradition, the Irish Red Ale is really a variation on the English Bitter with less hopping and a bit more roasted malt added for colour and sweetness.

This style of beer is easy-drinking with subtle flavours of caramel, toffee and a bit of a grainy texture on the palate. There are certain versions of this style that will emphasize the caramel and sweetness of the malt  moreso than others.  It’s important to mention that there are many variations that exist within this style.  While a more traditional style will have less of a hop profile, there is an emerging version in the craft beer scene that is more hop forward with a higher ABV.

To end this post, Barn Hammer also has some Merchandise available should you wish to pick some up and support them as they build their brewery. You can represent a new craft brewery around town in a nice T-shirt or toque.

BH - Merch

Each of the items is $25 including tax and they are accepting cash or cheque right now.  If you’d like something, you can contact them here.

Brews Brothers Vol. 2

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Tonight, April 18th at Barley Brothers Stadium, The Parallel 49 Brews Bros Vol. 2 Launch Party is happening.  This event will be starting at 6 pm. Come down and say hello. I’ll be there.

All 12 beers from this collaboration pack will be on tap down at the Stadium location of Barley Brothers (Pembina Highway location).  As this is a launch party for the collaboration pack, it means we will be seeing this 12 pack show up in liquor marts here in Manitoba.  The list price is $29.99 ($5 cheaper than last year) and more details about quantities at Liquormart locations can be found here. The 12 pack will be arriving on April 20th.

If you’re wondering, “what beers are going to be in this 12 pack?” or “what will I get to try on the 18th?” Well, here is your answer:

Axe and Barrel – Paranoid (Oat Wild Pilsner)
Not your typical beer. Start with an Imperial Pilsner recipe, throw in some rice and Sorachi Ace hops, add Sake yeast and Brettanomyces clausenii, and just for good measure put in some oak spirals aged in Chardonnay and Sake. Don’t forget to finish it with lager yeast. Seem too complicated? No comment.
IBU: 68
ABV: 8.5%
Doan Brothers – Thunderstruck (Sticke Alt)
With origins in Northern Germany, this dark cool fermented ale has been turned up to 11 with some chocolate malt notes and a prominent noble dry hop. Continental Pilsner malt ensures a refined and highly drinkable beer that is deceptively strong.
IBU: 43
ABV: 6.0%
Barkerville – Run for the Hills (Golden Strong Ale)
A traditional Golden Strong Ale. Spicy and fruity yeast derived notes add a rush of Belgian character to this golden elixir. A healthy addition of sugar to the pale malt base results in a deceptively light body for a higher alcohol beer.
IBU: 31
ABV: 8.0%
Fernie Ridge – Spirit in the Sky (Havana Club Stout)
Inspired by Export Stouts and rum, the dark crystal malts and touch of molasses serve to remind the drinker of the later. Oak spirals aged in Havana Club 7-year old rum add another level of complexity to this surprisingly smooth drinking dark tawny ale.
IBU: 30
ABV: 6.5%
Bridge – Bat Outta Hell (Dark Helles Bock)
A Helles Bock that would infuriate any German beer traditionalist. A core of Continental pale malts book-ended with a touch of black malt to give it an imposing colour and a hearty dose of Hallertau Blanc hops to add a bright gooseberry aroma. A fruity malty lager that is surprisingly dark.
IBU: 28
ABV: 6.3%
Four Winds – The Boys Are Back in Town (Nectar-Face)
The love-child of Jerkface 9000 and Nectarous we’ve been waiting for. A wheat malt base kettle soured a la Four Winds, and late hopped with Mosaic and Ahtanum hops in the Parallel 49 style. A true marriage of techniques and ingredients results is a pungent dry-hopped sour.
IBU: 12
ABV: 6.0%
Cannery – Gimme Shelter (Apple IPA)
A snakebite inspired beer, using a witbier base fermented with a Saison yeast. Spicy yeast and floral citrus notes sit atop a light apple tinged wheat malt base. Dry hopped with Motueka and Citra because… well… why not?
IBU: 22
ABV: 7.0%
Hearthstone – Sympathy for the Devil (Black I.P.A.)
A rustic and uncomplicated Black IPA. Simcoe hops are made for a beer like this. A moderate malty base, a touch of Roasted Barley flavour, and a restrained ABV make this a beer you’ll be coming back to again and again.
IBU: 52
ABV: 6.5%
Category 12 – Comfortably Numb (Rye Old Ale)
A rich and malty ale with a substantial rye note was fermented with Brettanomyces lambicus to add a cherry funk. This all-malt beer uses earthy hops to balance. This beer doesn’t hide its alcohol or the spicy cherry character that it developed.
IBU: 44
ABV: 8.9%
Moody Ales – Purple Haze (Black Currant Sour)
Playing off of the woodsy resinous flavour of Black Currants, this American sour wheat ale hints at the summer to come. Brace yourself for this tart fruity treat that has perhaps the most stunning colour of any beer we’ve ever seen.
IBU: 8
ABV: 8.0%
Crannog – Suspect Device (Gruit)
A gruit spiced with organic heather flowers, juniper and dry “hopped” with fresh ginger. This mild rye ale focuses on the spicy ginger and juniper, reserving the heather for a background note to support the rich organic Munich malt base. Maybe hops aren’t necessary in every beer.
IBU: 0
ABV: 5.5%
Strange Fellows – People Are Strange (Hoppy Saison)
A classic Saison with a dose of rye malt to throw in some complexity. Taking advantage of the fruity herbal aroma of Opal hops and the spicy pepper notes from the farmhouse yeast. This is sure to be a thirst quencher.
IBU: 32
ABV: 6.5%

Parallel 49 will also be sending us Gypsy Tears and Jerkface 9000 in 473ml cans and a dry-hopped sour ale called Bodhisattva. Keep your eyes to the Liquor Marts new listing page.

It also looks like Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be doing the Coast to Coaster again and there are a couple of new breweries on board for this event. Fuggles & Warlock from BC as well as a German Pilsner and a French Schwartz Beer.  Keep your eyes open for this.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Happy New Beers Eve

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Happy New Beers Eve!

If you loved beer, living in the United States between 1920 and 1933 was an incredibly sad time.  During this time prohibition had been in effect and it was illegal for any form of alcohol to be sold or consumed.

While we did have prohibition in Canada, which began in most provinces between 1916-1918, it was more short lived.  Most of the provinces had repealed their prohibition laws to allow for some sort of sale of alcohol by 1923. Many repealed their laws in 1918. Here in Manitoba, we kept the prohibition law on the books until 1923.

In Manitoba after 1923 there remained a fairly restrictive liquor act in effect until 1956. The act allowed only for the purchase of 24 quarts a week or 72 quarts of beer per month. Liquor could only be consumed at home and it was illegal to barter or transport alcohol. 10 rate payers could also stop the establishment of a licensed premise or a beer vendor and as we know Steinbach remained dry until 2008.

You can see a pretty interesting run down of liquor laws in Manitoba here.

Prince Edward Island kept prohibition on the books the longest. Their law remained in effect until 1948!

But why is it New Beers Eve? Well the beginning of the end started with the passing of the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22nd, 1933. This legislation enacted the 21st amendment to the US Constitution which repealed the 18th amendment which had enacted prohibition. The 18th amendment had been in effect since January 17th, 1920.

Take a look at this newspaper page from the Chattanooga News from January 14th, 1920.

The legislation came into effect on April 7th, and so April 6th became an unofficial holiday in the United States, New Beers Eve. It’s said that upon signing the legislation Franklin D. Roosevelt said “I think this would be a good time for beer”.

This act also legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2%(by weight) and wine with a similarly low alcohol content.  With this percentage the argument was that it was too low to be intoxicating. Still it did allow for states to have some control over their sale of alcohol. In fact many states remained dry for years with the last one dropping prohibition in 1966. To this day there are still some dry counties which prohibit the sale of alcohol. You can see where liquor laws stand now in states here.

And so, on the first New Beers Eve, April 6th, 1933, people lined up outside of breweries and taverns, who could legally open their doors at Midnight on April 7th, to enjoy their first legal beer in many years.  Franklin D. Roosevelt even took part in the celebrations and is said to have had a wagon drawn by Clydesdale horses bring beer up to the white house on April 7th, 1933. New Beers Eve also precedes another unofficial holiday, National Beer Day, which of course is every April 7th.

So, enjoy your day and enjoy your eve, let’s help our neighbors to the south celebrate the end of their prohibition. After all, those of us in Manitoba had 10 more years of beer then they did.