Category Archives: General Post

Beau’s – Haters Gonna Hate

I’ve got a few more Beau’s Beers that have been sent my way for review. I feel lucky to be able to get these beers in advance from Beau’s so that I can taste them and give my thoughts. I’ve got three beers on the way this week, but I’m gonna do each as a separate post as I drink the beer. Today’s will be Beau’s Imperial Koslch – Haters Gonna Hate.

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.

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

Haters Gonna Hate – Imperial Kolsch

A Kolsch is a style of beer originating in Cologne, Germany. It is a top fermenting beer that has been brewed since the middle-ages. The “koslch” that we drink today wasn’t produced until the 1800s to combat the bottom-fermenting pale lagers which were being produced in other regions of Germany and Europe.

Kolschs are clean, crisp and delicately balanced with subtle fruit notes and subdued hoppiness. As this is an Imperialized version of Lug Tread, it has a higher ABV and is much hoppier than a typically kolsch, on purpose.

When we talk about “imperializing” a beer, we really mean that we’ve amped it up. More malt and hop provide a higher ABV and more robust beer than it’s counterpart. The term Imperial tends to come from the Russian Imperial Stout, a style of strong stout that was originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court. Today we use Imperial, or Double, to denote a beer that is a stronger version of the named style.

Beau’s describes the creation of this imperial Kolsch as such:

“Though first brewed by in 2015, the history of Haters Gonna Hate goes way back to 2006 and the very first batch of Lug Tread, Beau’s flagship lagered ale (a.k.a. Kölsch). Due to some faulty beer-making equipment, it ended up “imperialized” – that is, brewed to higher strength and intensity than intended. With the release of Haters Gonna Hate, Beau’s has opted to recreate this happy accident on purpose. In fact, the name of the beer is a bit of a cheeky tribute to those events as well.”.

 

So, let’s get into the beer and see what it’s like.

ABV – 7.1%
Appearance – Pours a golden-orange colour with a good 2” head that retains well
Smell – Hop notes are apparent right up front with a crisp fruity note which is likely from the nelson sauvignon hops.
Taste – Hop notes come through right away with a pop. It’s a surprise in fact and quite pleasant. The fruit notes are reminiscent of passion fruit and mango with a nice crisp bitter finish.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with nice bubbles and a bitter crisp finish.
Overall Thoughts – While certainly not at all like Lug Tread, this beer is crisp with a noticeable bitterness and great flavours from the hops.
Do I like it? – I really liked this beer. The hop notes weren’t overly prominent and it certainly wasn’t reminiscent of an IPA. It had a nice hop kick to it that complimented the crisp underlying beer well. It was clean with great flavours and was easy to drink. I’d love to have this beer again.

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. This beer will be making it’s way to Manitoba in the near future, so keeps your eyes peeled.

Next up I’ll be writing about Beau’s Patersbier. I just should drink it first.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

One Great City – Revisited

I can’t believe that it’s already almost April, man time flies. There have been several interesting changes that have happened in the past month in the beer community. I want to take a moment to highlight a few before getting to the write-up about One Great City.

First, the government has extended the hours of operation for tap rooms. This is a welcome change and allows taprooms to now be open until 11 pm. There are still some issues with the legislation – capacity limit and beer offerings to be specific – but this time change is a step in the right direction.

Second, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has lifted some of the restrictions placed on the growler bar program as it applies to beer vendors. They have allowed more control for beer vendors to choose what beers they will list on their growler bar. This is a fantastic move that will allow for some more flexibility in what gets listed. Places like the Quality Craft Beer Store and the Econolodge will now be able to offer more variety. That’s a good thing.

Finally, as I noted, Brazen Hall opens today to the public. Another brewery opening its doors, this one with food. This makes Brazen Hall the second Brew Pub in the city.

Now, to the focus. One Great City and the progress they’ve made since we last checked in.

I had a chance to meet with Tim from One Great City during a period of construction. It was busy, and I am thankful for the time he took to chat with me. The construction is lessening and the majority of the big items are out of the way. I think I’d say they are entering into the “finishing” stages which is really nice to see.

 

The fire shutters that will allow for the brewery to be visible from the restaurant through windows while still meeting the safety requirements have been installed and the brewery area is looking ready for equipment. This will be great as the brewery will be clearly visible from all seats in the restaurant giving that true brew pub feel. The trades have been in for the transformer, a big step, and the equipment schedule is now set. The timeline to opening is becoming more clear with the kitchen installed in the next couple of weeks and the brewery equipment getting installed after that.

The space is starting to flesh out and take shape. The bar top is looking beautiful and is made from reclaimed wood. They’ve got their tables being made in house and they’ve got a funky looking backdrop to the bar. Paint is getting put in, they’ve got the epoxy going down on the floors and they’ve got the multimedia aspects getting organized.

The team is starting to flush out a bit more with the hiring of Diego Carloso as the restaurant manager. People may remember him from working at Barley Brothers Polo. He is working closely with head brewer Josh on their roles. The aim is to their own beer ready when they open the doors. Torque has graciously given some brew space to One Great City so that they can have their own beers on tap when they open to the public. In the meantime, head brewer Josh has brewed a double white IPA over at torque on their test batch system which will be available this week.

The team has also been working on finalizing the beers that they hope to have on tap. They plan to have 12 taps in total. 6 taps will be for their core beers (Pale Ale, Milk Stout, ESB, Witbier, American Blond and Double IPA), 4 taps will be for seasonal beers and 2 taps will be for guest beers. All beers made in house will be served from bright tank to tap, except for their test batches which will be kegged.

They’ve got the menu set and while I can’t share what’s on it (I’ll let Tim and John do that), I can tell you it looks delicious and made me hungry looking over it.  I’m excited to see the space and especially try the beer and food. So when will they open? I am hoping soon but I’d follow them on twitter to get more details as they get closer.

On a final note, I want to give a shout out to something not beer related. I went with some friends to the Portal here in Winnipeg. It’s a virtual reality space that you can rent out and play VR games. It was amazing. The guy who runs the place is brilliant and they are working hard to get this business up and running. They are working on a space in the exchange, but are currently located at 703 Corydon on the second floor. I encourage you all to go.

  • Beer Winnipeg

Brazen Hall Open – March 20th

Brazen Hall Logo

Just a quick update today. While I haven’t been able to get in and follow-up with the folks from Brazen Hall since I did my first interview, they have been holding soft opening events this weekend. They are officially opening their doors to the public tomorrow, March 20th. They are located at 800 Pembina Highway (the old Round Table).

They’ve come quite a long way since the first visit. The place looks great and they’ve got a couple of their own beers ready to go, thanks in large part to Torque. It’s another example of the beer community helping one another. Something we see a lot of these days.

Brazen Hall Menu

They have a smaller opening menu with some fantastic food options. They have their Biere de Garde and their Brazen Blonde ready to go as well as some other local options.

Another brewery is opening it’s doors and we have more on the horizon. I’ll be posting my update from One Great City tomorrow, so watch for that.

Beer Winnipeg

What to Expect in 2017

header

Wow. How time flies. I can’t believe that I’ve been running this blog for just over two years now. To think that all this started with a gift from my wife and began a journey that has taken me deep and far into the craft beer scene here in Winnipeg. A thirst for knowledge that has expanded my appreciation and understanding of beer and a lot of learning from those within the community to whom I owe a great deal and respect even more.

So, where do we go from here. I want to outline for you how I see this blog moving forward. It had started with keeping people informed about breweries opening, beers arriving, and the occasional review. Expect these things to continue in earnest as I continue to follow the breweries working to open and announce craft beer events coming up.
What can you expect from me in this coming year?

  • Continuing to follow the progress of breweries who have yet to open their doors. Provide updates and profiles as they move towards completion.
  • Check in with breweries who have already opened. Look at special events they are hosting, beers they are producing and how things are going. This will include reviews from time to time.
  • Continue to profile brewers through my “Get to know a brewer” segment. The next on the list is Jeff Wiebe from Peg Beer Company. I’ll be getting this up as soon as I have a chance to meet with him.
  • Highlight special events occurring in the craft beer community. Look for details on the Westvelerten charity raffle occurring on January 29th.
  • Delve into some of the practices of government and impacts on craft beer community. Including liquor laws, funding and initiatives.

I look forward to another fantastic year of growth in the community. Over the past two years’ things have changed substantially. By next year, I expect the changes to be even more profound. I hope you’ll follow along as we explore the changing climate.

-Beer Winnipeg

Day 24 – White Pony – December Flower


So, I want to apologize for the formatting of these write-ups. Being away for holidays means I’m writing on my phone. Transferring from Word to WordPress apparently leaves behind all the formatting. So, I’ll add hyperlinks when I get home. I’ll also be doing the wrap-up once I get back so look for that.
I can’t believe we are on the last beer. It’s been a great calendar this year. What’s been fun is looking back at old posts and realizing how much I’ve learned about beer and beer styles. My old posts seem a bit goofy. Our last beer comes to us from White Pony Microbrewery located in Padova, Italy.

White Pony was founded as an experiment for an Italian son of an Italian-Belgian family. Unable to find a job that would meet his need for experimentation, creativity and knowledge, he decided to create on for himself. They entered their first beer, prophet bourbon réserva, into the Kerst Bier festival in 2013 and placed in the top 10. In 2014 they entered the beer we have today, December Flower, and three others into the same competition that were all rated in the top 50 Italian beers. They’ve continued to win medals and awards for their beers and have continued experimenting and growing their styles.

Now producing 18 beers they continue to experiment with limited release beers and seasonal trying to push their creativity and build their brewing knowledge.

December flower is a Belgian golden strong ale brewed with a lot of candies sugar, orange peel, and two strains of yeast. It is then dry-hopped and a second addition of orange peel and coriander is added. Combined with the yeast waters this beer is meant to bring big fruity flavours and a nice warming quality for the cold winter nights.

Belgian Golden Strong Ales are pale, complex, effervescent and highly attenuated Belgian styles of beer. They bring big fruity notes along with hoppy notes and phenolic from the yeast. Interestingly, there are many references to the devil in he naming of this style of beer. This is due to the high alcohol content and a tribute to the original example of this style (Duvel). The best examples are highly complex and delicate with the carbonation bringing out the flavours. I’m excited as it’s the last beer and I’m hoping it’s a delicious one.

Appearance – Pours a golden effervescent colour with no head.

Smell – Floral notes, orange, yeast, candy sugar and subtle coriander.

Taste – sweet candy, orange, subtle coriander and pepper note with an alcohol warmth.

Mouth feel – effervescent, light bodied with an alcohol warmth on finish.

Overall – Good Belgian style strong ale. Flavours are nice and fruity with a good alcohol warmth. The champagne yeast brings an effervescence which makes some of those fruit notes pop.

Do I like it? – I did. It was nice and fruity and crisp. Good alcohol warmth and nice candied notes. Overall a good finish to the calendar.

Day 23 – Orkney Brewing – Clootie Pudding


Well I’m away on holidays now with family so expect these last two posts to be short. I don’t want to take too much time away from spending with them. That, and, my brother in law brought me some beers from Alberta and those need some attention too.

Today we have a winter warmer style beer from Orkney Brewing, aptly located in Orkney, called Clootie Dumpling.

Located on the ancient Orkney island, inhabited for over 5000 years, comes a brewery steeped in tradition. Using only the finest ingredients, fresh Orkney water and their knowledge and skill, Orkney makes fine crafted ales.

They brew a variety of different beers ranging from their Northern Light Pale Ale to their or Orcadian ale aged in oak casks, they aren’t afraid to stretch tradition and go outside the box.

The style today is a Winter Warmer. While not really a “style” Winter Warmers tend to fall under the British Strong Ale style. Even so, Winter Warmers are malty sweet offerings and tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief “spice” in beer. The “American” varieties have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.

Appearance – Light amber colour with a 1″ white head that fades quickly.

Smell – Smell is light cinnamon, nutmeg, subtle malt and ginger.

Taste – Taste is very light on malt with subtle spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger as advertised. There is a slight tinny note to it as well that isn’t very pleasant.

Mouth feel – Light mouthfeel with good carbonation and a dry metallic finish.

Overall – Light for a winter warmer. The spices are nicely done but the malt backbone of this beer brings little to the table and offers only subtle sweetness.

Do I like it? – Not bad but not my favourite. The metallic aftertaste was off putting and the light body didn’t work for me on this beer.

Day 10 – Biir – Equinox Triple IPA

Well, today was a busy day. Even though it is a Saturday, I still had to get up and go to work. It was busy. On the weekends, I really enjoy getting to spend time with my daughter and wife and relax a bit. Luckily, I get to do that now.

Today’s beer comes to us from a Spanish brewery, Biir, and is a Triple IPA. What’s interesting about the beer is that even though the brewery is in Barcelona, Spain, this beer was brewed in Zichem, Belgium.

I’ve written about Evil Twin last year in the advent calendar and mentioned that he brews beers all over the world in collaboration with other breweries. Today’s brewery, Biir, is similar in many respects. One of their main goals as a brewery is to collaborate with others. Run by three friends, Albert Galan, Gunther Bensch, and Pere Mora, Biir doesn’t produce all of it’s beers in the same brewery. This Triple IPA, as I mentioned, was brewed in Belgium, while others have been brewed in Spain, and another brewed in collaboration with a brewery in Singapore.

While this may be one aspect of the brewery, they are often interested in creating unique and interesting beers. They’ve brewed this Triple IPA, a Belgian Style Dark Ale that’s been hopped up, A sweet and sour beer and an Oude Geuze. Not really sticking to any style in particular, they try different things and expand their horizons. They’ve got some delicious sounding beers and I’d be interested in trying many of them.

The beer we have today is a Triple IPA and is described by the brewery as such:

Inspired by Californian Triple IPA, we have brewed this extreme beer for the most exigent beer lovers, with lots of malts and Equinox hops. Despite it’s alcohol volume and bitterness, it’s a very well balanced beer.

Now, to be fair, a Triple IPA is really a bit of a misnomer. I’d describe it as likely being a top end Imperial IPA and many of the characteristics will be the same. The style of Imperial IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. Craft breweries were trying to “push the envelope” on their beers and appease the hop aficionados who were growing ever more interested in the flavor and variety that this plant can provide. By the 2000s this style had become much more mainstream and provides a way for brewers to experiment and be creative with hops. The adjective “Triple” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA and likely on the upper range of an Imperial IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.

The style should be intensely hoppy and 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. Triple IPAs would be pushing to the upper end of this range and this bee, coming in at 9.4% for a 330ml bottle is certainly close.

Appearance – Hazy, pale amber, with a ridiculous head that just won’t go away.
Smell – Resin, pine notes, pineapple, and grapefruit from the hops, caramel notes come in from the malt at the end.
Taste – Up front, in the face, resinous citrusy hop bitterness that quickly transitions into a nice sweet malty caramel with that lingering resinous/grapefruit bitterness.
Mouth feel – Medium bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel, lingering bitterness, subtle alcohol warmth.
Overall – Very hoppy, good malt balance, alcohol content hardly noticeable for this 9.4% ABV beer. Big hop flavour balanced with good malt backbone is a pretty darn good Imperial IPA.
Do I like it?
– Yes. While I don’t always seek out IPAs these days anymore, I do still enjoy good ones. I’m still interested in trying beers where they’re doing something out of the ordinary. A triple IPA certainly is. Well balanced, great hop bitterness, very much enjoyed day 10s beer.