Get To Know A Brewer – Berhard Wieland

lbj-1
Kevin Selch (L) and  Bernhard Wieland (R)

The speed at which things to be progressing in our brewing community is fantastic. We are seeing more breweries begin to reach that final point in their construction. Brazen Hall and One Great City seem to be almost ready to open their doors and Nonsuch recently brewed their first batch. I can’t wait to see what things look like at this year’s Flatlanders’ Beer Festival.

I sat down with Bernhard Wieland, Brewmaster at Little Brown Jug, for my continuing “Get to know a brewer” series. Bernie is a really interesting guy who has traveled all around the world and has a passion and drive for making high quality consistently delicious beer.

Born in Brandon, Bernhard lived in Neepawa until Grade 6. This was when his first big move occurred and his family came into the big city of Winnipeg. Bernie attended various schools including St. Paul’s and St. John’s Ravenscourt before finally graduating from Vincent Massey. Rugby was a big part of Bernie’s time in school and would continue to be a big part of his adult life.

After graduating, Bernie attended the University of Manitoba where he received his B.Sc. Not wanting to work in a lab, Bernie decided to travel around the United States playing Rugby and trying out a lot of different beers. Rugby took him all the way over to South Africa where he met some friends who had jobs in marketing at South African breweries. Seeing this, something clicked. Bernie found something he could do that he loved.

gilde-braurei

He came back to North America where he attended the Siebel institute in Chicago to receive his brewers certificate. While there, Bernie hooked up with a Rugby team and ended up playing Semi-Pro. This opportunity took him to Germany where the rugby team got him his first brewing job at Gilde Braurei in Hanover, Germany. This gave Bernie the opportunity to work in various roles from delivery to brewer and get his first experience working at a brewery under his belt. Bernie stayed in this role for 6 months, or about the length of the rugby season.

Upon returning to Winnipeg, Bernie had the opportunity to work with Richard Hoeschen at Fort Garry. Initially starting off as the filter operator, he worked at Fort Garry for 3 ½ years and held the position of head brewer by the time he left. Bernie also had the chance to work with the founders of Two Rivers, including someone Bernie considers a mentor, Doug Seville. Doug was the last brew master at the Molson brewery here in Winnipeg.

After 3 ½ years at Fort Garry, Bernie headed west to Vancouver Island Brewing in 2005. As head brewer he had the opportunity to work alongside a German Brewmaster who oversaw the brewing process. Over the next 2 ½ years, Bernie honed his skills even more and learned new processes.

Bernie had always wanted to maximize his education, especially when it came to brewing, and so he returned to school, attending UC Davis where he completed the Master Brewers Program and received his master’s diploma. Having completed this, Bernie had hoped to work in the US, but given the tough climate he wasn’t able to secure a position at any of the breweries to whom he applied. So, Bernie returned to Canada to Vancouver Island where he began exploring the possibility of opening his own brewery. The timing for this wasn’t right and so Bernie moved on to his next adventure in Kenora.

lake-of-the-woods-brewing

In 2012, Bernie took the position of Head Brewer at the soon to be open Lake of the Woods. Bernie had the opportunity to be there for the construction of the brewery which gave the opportunity to be involved from the ground up. This was also the first opportunity Bernie had to develop recipes. The other breweries he worked at were not interested in seasonal beers, only brewing what was already brewed. This was Bernie’s first opportunity to explore the creative aspects of brewing beer rather than simply the technical ones. Bernie created over 20 recipes before moving on in 2014.

Bernie’s final position before arriving at Little Brown Jug was working for Half Pints. Bernie spoke with many of the new breweries looking to open here in Winnipeg but felt that working with Kevin at Little Brown Jug was the best fit for him.

In Kenora, Bernie had the opportunity to get into the Krausening process and fell in love with it. He had also had his fill of constantly working on recipe development and wanted to focus his skills on perfecting one beer and getting that recipe just right. Working at Little Brown Jug gave him the opportunity to do both of these things and to be involved in building a brewery from the ground up.

Bernie got into brewing because it was a job that combined all of the skills he had from his education and other jobs he’s held over the years. Really having to be well-rounded and getting the opportunity to do something that you love every day.

What keeps Bernie brewing is the love of beer, the joy of introducing people to quality beer, being a part of the growth of the craft beer community here in Winnipeg, and the fact that his passion has become a financial success doesn’t hurt.  Bernie also feels that Winnipeg and Manitoba have a strong history of brewing beer. Why the beer is named 1919 and why he uses Brewers Gold is to show the history that we’ve played. Bernie calls Brewer’s Gold the “Grandfather” of modern hops.

I’m always curious what beers brewers enjoy and what they like to have in their fridge. The beer that really got Bernie into beer was a good Czech Pilsner that he enjoyed while in Prague. Today though, he really likes the beer he makes, 1919, and enjoys Jerkface 9000.

It was good to sit down with Bernie and I am looking forward to seeing how Little Brown Jug grows. Thanks again for reading.

-Beer Winnipeg

Beau’s – 80 Schilling Scottish-Style Ale

I was pretty excited to get a package from Beaus with a few more beers to review. They have a number of things coming up for us folks in Manitoba and I’m excited for the future.

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. Led by head brewer Matt O’Hara, the focus at Beau’s is to brew interesting and tasty beers using only quality, certified-organic ingredients and local spring water. While not the only completely organic brewery in Canada, they certainly have made a name for themselves with their business practices: they’ve won over 85 awards for their brewing, packaging design and business practices. This includes two gold medals at Mondial de la Biere (Strasbourg, France, and Montreal Quebec); six gold medals at the Canadian brewing awards, seven times “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and seven times “Best Regularly Produced Beer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards.

Beau’s Brewing Company is the Official Beer Partner of Ottawa 2017 and Beau’s Lug Tread will be the Official Beer for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital As part of this achievement, they are planning to do collaborations across Canada. I had the chance to try the collaboration they did with the Fogo Island Inn located on Fogo Island, one of Canada’ oldest settlements. It was a Myrrh smoked Gose and it was pretty tasty.

Beau’s did confirm with me that they are going to be doing a collaboration brew with a Manitoba brewery. What is still to be confirmed is the brewery and the style of beer. What I do know is that we are getting some beers from Beaus coming our way. In fact, the first one is on the growler bars now and is the focus of this article. Their Farm to Table 80 Schilling Scotch Ale.

The Beer

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

80 Schilling is a Scottish style ale. These beers originated in the 1800s and the “schilling” classification had to do with the alcohol content. Typically, these beers would range from 60 schilling (light) to 90 schilling (wee heavy). The 80 schilling variety was a popular style and was considered to be the “export” of this style of beer.

Scottish exports are typically malt-focused and are generally caramelly with a few esters and occasionally a subtle butterscotch aftertaste. Hop notes are only present to balance the beer and support the malt which is to be the star. Beau’s farm to table series is focused on brewing traditional styles of beers and is a compliment to their more experimental “wild oats” series of beers.

ABV – 4.7%
Appearance – Pours a copper colour with a nice 1” quickly fading white head.
Smell – Smells of caramel with a toasty malt note and some biscuit notes.
Taste – Up front malt sweetness with a crispness to it. The bitterness in this beer is very mild but is present as a compliment to the sweetness and generally caramel notes of the malt.
Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Very good representation of the style of beer as it is described. Malt is the star with a nice caramel and toasted biscuit notes. The hop presence is subtle and compliments the malt sweetness.
Do I like it? – As I’ve been noticing, Beau’s beers are quite on point. While this particular beer is not really one I’d seek out to buy I enjoyed it. If you are looking for a malt-forward yet easy to drink beer, this is worth a growler/howler fill.

Coming soon

While this is the first beer we have coming from Beau’s this year, we can expect more. In March we will see the arrival of “Strong Patrick”, an Irish-style red ale, as well as their Buenos Dias Gruit coming in May. Beau’s has also submitted to bring another seasonal beer, yet unknown, for the Liquor Marts coast to coaster promotion in June. Beau’s will also be at the Flatlander’s beer festival and there will be a seasonal beer coming to Manitoba in July, likely their Wag the Wolf Hopfenweisse. The Tom Green Beer Golden Vox Rye Pale Lagered Ale and Lug Tread are also listed for restaurants to purchase to put on tap.

We are starting to see more and more of Beau’s beers come into Manitoba and complimenting the great selection we are getting locally. I, for one, am very excited to see what the collaboration beer will be. Keep following along as once I know you will too. I’ve also got a follow-up with One Great City on the books coming hopefully later this week.

 

-Beer Winnipeg

 

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

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.

Brew reviews and news