Category Archives: Winnipeg

Beer Documentary

Local Creative Communications Student and beer lover Clayton Winter has produced a really good 10 minute documentary about the growing craft beer scene in Manitoba.

I had the good fortune of being interviewed for it. This project was for his independent profession project Creative Communications. A year-long project in between semesters three and four in the program.

“I had a lot of fun making this and I hope you have a lot of fun watching this.”

Get to know a brewer – Jeff Wiebe

As I continue to delve into those who are part of the craft beer community, I continue to be curious about why brewers got into brewing in the first place. What is becoming rather clear is that a passion for beer borne from home brewing, consuming and learning seems to be the Launchpad. From here, a desire to do more and to take that passion further resulting in turning it into a career.

This week I had the chance to sit down with another such person, Jeff Wiebe. As lead brewer at PEG Beer Co, Jeff has taken the passion he had for beer and turned into his career. At the age of 27 he has accomplished a lot and has become an integral part of our craft beer community. So, who is Jeff?

Jeff describes himself as pretty random. It’s obvious from talking to Jeff that when he isn’t brewing beer he loves to be out doors. He rides BMX, skateboards, rock climbs, and basically does anything outside that involves hanging out with friends and grabbing a few beers afterwards.  He was born and raised in Manitoba and developed a strong work ethic growing up on a farm. After high school, Jeff spent a year living in the Netherlands on a work-vacation program. It was here that he had the chance to expand his beer consuming horizons. You couldn’t get MGD or Bud. Instead, being so close to Belgium and other fantastic beer brewing countries, Jeff had his fill of excellent beers.

After returning to Manitoba from this experience, Jeff became interested in home brewing. He had read a lot of stuff online but, like most of us, had some concerns about delving into. Luckily for us, Jeff’s friend’s roommate was a n avid homebrewer and took Jeff under his wing. He and Jeff brewed his first beer together, a west coast pale ale, and this gave Jeff the opportunity to connect his read knowledge with the hands on experience and make those connections.

From this point, Jeff couldn’t stop brewing. After 2 ½ years of home brewing, Jeff knew that this was something he wanted to do. He applied to Olds college and Niagara College for their brewing programs. Accepted to both, Jeff took off for Niagara where he spent the next 2 years honing his knowledge of beer and brewing.  Having the opportunity to delve into sensory courses, water chemistry, brewing, and brewery management, Jeff was able to build a knowledge base that was combined with hands on experiences. They’d brew four batches of the same beer making slight variations and then break them down in the sensory courses. Overall, Jeff feels it was a fantastic learning experience and a great learning environment.

Between semesters Jeff had the chance to work for Half Pints in all capacities. From brewing to bottle washing to delivery, Jeff got to try it all. This gave him a taste of what it’s like to be in each of these capacities and helped him get a better idea for the overall brewery operations. This opportunity to put theory into practice and work on a large scale commercial system helped set Jeff up for what would be his first brewing gig, Lake of the Woods. Jeff spent six months working at Lake of the Woods before he got the nod to move over to PEG where he would setup his home.

Being brought on to a brewery in construction was really neat for Jeff. It gave the team an opportunity to put the blood, sweat and tears into actually building a brewery. This experience not only gave a sense of ownership and pride, but it also helped build a strong team dynamic that exists at PEG to this day.

As a question I always want to know what beers a brewer always has in their fridge as well as their favorite style. For Jeff, he always has Muskoka Detour (though he’d love to have Ballast Point’s Sculpin) as it’s an easy drinking, hop forward beer that his girlfriend also enjoys. When it comes to favorite style, Jeff jumps across the pond and chooses Flanders Red Ale. Certainly a tasty style as well but quite different from Muskoka Detour.

Jeff also updated me a bit on what’s happening at PEG. They just got a new shipment of hops come in which means that Life Coach will be coming back onto the menu. It also means that Soundtrack, their shifting IPA, will brewed again with two new hops.

There is also an English Pale Ale in the fermenter that will hopefully be coming on soon and Jeff dropped that they are looking at “having more fun with sours”. Since Peg doesn’t have any barrels, we know this will be Kettle Souring, but it’s exciting to hear.

I plan to continue to chat with brewers around the city as I get a chance. I know it’s a long term commitment, but they are interesting folks. I’ve got plans to follow-up with One Great City and Brazen Hall in the near future. I am also planning to check in with Little Brown Jug. Jeremy Grisim, the subject of my first get to know a brewer, has made the move over to Little Brown Jug. I’m excited to follow-up with these folks and to continue to bring you stories from the craft beer community.

Also, a reminder that this Sunday (January 29th) is the charity raffle in support of Winnipeg Harvest. It’s a chance to win some great prizes, including one of five bottles of Westvleteren 12. Hope to see you there.

– Beer Winnipeg

Charity Raffle

Charity Header.jpg

What do you get when you take a really great guy who gets his hands on some really great beer? An opportunity to make some money for charity.

Trevor Lehmann, game publisher and owner of convergent games, had the opportunity to travel to Belgium and visit the world famous Westvleteren Trappist Monastery where he secured five bottles of their Belgian quadruple Westvleteren 12. These highly sought after beers are only sold from the monastery and are limited to six bottle per visit. Many in the beer community make a pilgrimage to the monastery and enjoy their five beers with friends and colleagues. Trevor had a different idea.

Trevor decided that these bottles could be used to help others. So, he organized a charity raffle that will be occurring at Barley Brothers Stadium on January 29th, 2017. Lehmann intends to donate all ticket sales to Winnipeg Harvest, a local charity which moved 13.7 million pounds of food to families in need last year.

Being entrepreneurial, Lehmann got others involved in donating prizes for the event. Fort Garry has donated a full-stocked beer fridge, Grape and Grain has donated a home brewers kit and mix, and there will be other items to be raffled off from Half-Pints and Barley Brothers. There will also be some local brewery representatives in attendance to answer questions, talk beer, and likely try to take a bottle home for themselves.

This is an excellent opportunity for beer-lovers and those who love beer lovers to get out and support a fantastic cause. There is a chance to win some highly sought after beers, enjoy a few drinks from Barley Brothers craft beer line-up, and talk beer with some of the people who know it best.

The drawing for the beers and prizes will begin at 4:45pm. Anyone who is interested in participating should make sure to get down to Barley Brothers and buy their tickets before this time.

What: Beer Raffle in support of Winnipeg Harvest
When: January 29th from 2:30-5:30pm (Ticket deadline is 4:45pm)
Where: Barley Brothers Stadium (2005 Pembina)
Who: Trevor Lehmann of Convergent Games, local brewers and fantastic prizes

I will be there, so I am afraid not all the bottles are up for grabs as I am sure I’ll take home at least one…right? That’s how this works?

Seriously though, please come down, say hello, and help support Trevor Lehmann in his goal to raise money for Winnipeg Harvest.

 

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

One Great City – Follow-up

OGC Logo

It had been a while since I spoke with the guys from One Great City. Given they’ve been working so hard on getting their space prepped, I dropped in to visit for a bit of news and a beer.

Originally, One Great City had hoped to be open by October 2016. Due to some delays, including the installation of a new electrical panel, this was not possible. Thankfully, all the building permits have now come through and Tim and Jon are hard at work getting things ready as quickly as possible.

While covering the rise of craft breweries in Manitoba, I’ve learned to not ask for an opening date; they’re very hard to accurately predict. That said, the One Great City team hopes to have their doors open in the first quarter of 2017. All the equipment has been ordered, the beer development is moving along swimmingly and the food menu has been finalized.

The OGC team has been busy since Flatlanders perfecting the recipes they spotlighted there: Tipsy Cow milk stout and Monkey Trail pale ale. They’ve also been developing other styles of beer, including a Belgian Wit, an extra-special bitter, an American blonde and a double IPA. All of these styles will be served alongside a “gastropub” menu featuring traditional food with updated twists. “Adventurous yet accessible” as the guys say.

Jon and Tim have been doing the lion’s share of the grunt work getting things prepared and organized for the trades-people on the project. New floor has been poured and is being ground down to give a “terrazzo” look. This type of flooring is easy to clean and low maintenance, making it ideal for food preparation and brewing once it’s sealed.

 

The plumbers have completed the underground work and are now running supply lines. A new HVAC unit will be installed in a few weeks, which gives time for the electricians to run conduits. Overall, progress is being made and there are high hopes OGC will be able to meet their goal of opening early next year.

They have developed their tables and stools that will be used in the restaurant portion of the brewpub. They plan to have a nice big patio out by the back parking lot with an entrance from both the front and back to allow for greater parking and accessibility. Overall, the layout looks really good. The next steps for OGC are getting the walls put up, painting, getting the fixtures and bar installed – and then setting up the brewing equipment.

one-great-city-plans

It was good to follow up and see how much progress has been made since we last spoke. Part of what I love about writing this blog is tracking projects as they begin to take shape. When I last spoke with OGC, this whole thing was still in development, but now you can reach out and touch it. Exciting times indeed.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Barn Hammer- Barn Raising

 

Barn Hammer

The beer scene in Winnipeg is starting to reach maturity. Barn Hammer has been open for a while with Torque and Peg Beer Co now joining the fray with their own beer. I expect we will see others join the market in short order. While each is taking a different approach to their production of beer, what seems to be a common thread is giving back to community. This is something that is almost a trademark of craft breweries: not just making beer, but being a part of the community in which you live and serve.

For Barn Hammer, this type of community support comes out through their “Barn Raising” initiative. Drawing on the historical action of a community coming together to literally raise a barn, Barn Hammer hopes to help bring Winnipeggers together to help build up charities. One non-profit is chosen by staff each month and on the third Wednesday of that month, partial proceeds from every regular 16oz, 10oz glass and every growler fill (32oz & 64oz) sold in the taproom will be directly donated to the chosen non-profit organization.

I touched base with Barn Hammer’s Sable Birch for more details about where this idea came from and what the goal is. Sable made it clear it’s important all employees be involved in choosing causes that mean something to them.

“Everyone at Barn Hammer has the opportunity to participate and by changing the chosen charity each month, we are able to spread the funds out to various causes in the community. There are so many worthy causes out there so it’s nice to be able to reach as many as we can.”

Another aspect the team really likes about this program is that there is no middle-man. It’s Barn Hammer writing the cheque and sending it directly to the cause. This is a way for them to know the money is all going to the cause they are supporting. It’s really all about bringing community to join together in their taproom and help raise money for a worthy cause. Not only is it fun – bringing friends out for a pint of beer and conversation – but you get the opportunity to really do something and support something you care about.

Sable said that it’s not just about raising funds, but:

 “we are also helping to raise awareness for the causes. Increase traffic flow to their website or add followers to their social media accounts. Perhaps this way the non-profit also receives more volunteers, donations and attention outside of our Barn Raising Night.”

Obviously this fundraising won’t happen unless there are patrons who step up to support it. If you haven’t had the opportunity to get out to Barn Hammer’s taproom yet, make a plan to go there on the third Wednesday of the month to help raise funds and awareness for community causes.

PEG has beer

For those who haven’t been following PEG Beer Co on twitter (what’s wrong with you!) the time has finally arrived. Yesterday, October 11, PEG Beer officially launched their beers and they are now ready for consumption.

It has been a long time coming. I’ve followed their progress since before their first soft opening. The delays have been numerous and some have anxiously wondered about this day. I can’t speak to the cause of those delays and I think it’s best we set them aside. While many, including the PEG team, had hoped for beer much sooner, let’s focus on celebrating: we can now finally enjoy a pint of PEG beer at the bar!

The beers that are now available include their Lifecoach ISA, Soundtrack IPA, Marlyn Red Rye Ale and the Countess Stout, (they have on their own blog, too) and now that I’ve had my first taste, I’ll be providing some notes in the near future. I hope that all of you will take the opportunity to get down and to give the beers a try.

Winnipeg has clamored for more craft beer and we’ve done a fantastic job of supporting the breweries who have opened so far. As another begins to produce beer, they also will require our support, feedback and comments. It’s through engagement that breweries thrive, grow and learn – and that requires the local beer community to come to the table if we truly want better beer in Winnipeg.

Congratulations once again to the patience, tenacity and effort of all those working at PEG Beer Co. Glad to have your beer.