Here are some things that have happened or will be soon happening in beer:
There will be an Introduction to Off-Flavours course on Tuesday, November 14th at 595 Wall Street (Hosted by Barn Hammer) with guest – BJCP certified judge and Cicerone Chris Miller (he’s awesome). More details and tickets can be found here.
The “Hunt for the Red October” featuring Nonsuch, Stone Angel, Half-Pints and Torque will be held on Monday October 23rd, 2017. This event brings together these four breweries in friend competition to see who has the best red/amber ale. More details and tickets can be found here.
Trans Canada Brewing Company is official open. Regular hours will be from 4-11pm Wednesday-Sunday. They’ve released a number of new beers and will have more on the way. Keep up to date with them here.
The Pro/Am brewing competition wraps up this weekend. With over 400 entries it is a large competition of home brewers and pros. The awards ceremony is open to the public and will be held tomorrow, October 21st, at the King’s Head Pub. It begins at 7pm.
One Great City has a new seasonal beer, a Baltic Porter, that is available at their Brew Pub now. Torque will also announced they were brewing a Belgian Quadruple which will be coming out in the future. Be sure to check their websites and twitter accounts for up to date info on the beers they have on tap.
The Craft Beer Advent Calendars will be coming out on October 27th. For quantities and locations check here.
That’s all I have for this week. I’d like to request your help. If you become aware of any cool beer news, events, or upcoming items that you think are worth sending out, please send them to me at email@example.com
It’s been a great time to be a beer lover in Winnipeg and Manitoba once again. We’ve had Surly come out with their incredibly delicious Imperial stout, Darkness (write-up soon), Stone Angel is ramping up and releasing new beers including a smokey autumn ale called a Samhain. This past weekend saw the official opening of Trans Canada Brewing (regular hours Wed-Sunday 4-11pm) and the anniversary party for PEG Beer Co.
I had the chance to sit down and talk with Colin Enquist, Sales and Marketing Manager for PEG and one of the hosts for the podcast “Pub Chat”, about PEG’s first year. Colin describes it as being a really busy first year. I think this is an understatement given the amount of beer that PEG has produced. They’ve been relishing in the opportunity to introduce a lot of people to craft beer. Given their location, they’ve become a hotspot for theatre and concert goers. Located right in the midst of the Manitoba Theatre Company, the Orchestra and Ballet hall, and the Tom Hendry Warehouse, they’ve become a go to for pre- and post-event drinks.
There were some matters beyond their control that did provide for some annoyance. There was a significant amount of construction happening during PEG’s first year. This caused numerous disruptions, reduced foot and car traffic, and a loss of parking. The construction is complete and has provided a beautiful new field house for the Sport Manitoba building as well as a parkade which is accessible after 5pm.
PEG also opened their restaurant before having their brewery ready to brew. This allowed for them to get the food and kitchen staff trained on the restaurant side before introducing them to the beers. Overall this initial delay, while annoying, worked out for the best. It resulted in a better trained staff and gave the leadership team an opportunity to work on the floor with customers.
I also asked both Colin and owner Nicole Barry whether there is anything they would change looking back on their first year. Both had pretty much the same response. There are always things that could have been done differently in hindsight. That said, they both believe that things worked out the way they needed to. They could respond to the bumps in the road and they came out on the other side better for it. I guess, in a sense, they wouldn’t do anything differently.
As far as the future, PEG is looking to expand by adding more tanks to the brewery and working to make their beer more available. To do so they are looking at packaging options. There haven’t been any decisions made as to whether they package in Cans or in Bottles, however those discussions are happening. There will be new beers and old favorites (like Iron Horse Russian Imperial Stout) coming back and continuing to connect with community through hosting events such as Shakespeare in the Pub via Bravura theatre company, trivia nights, and a variety of other community events.
PEG continues to be a space in the exchange where you can go have a good beer, a good bite to eat, and enjoy. I am looking forward to what PEG has to offer moving forward.
If you want to learn more about who brews the beer at PEG, check out my write-up with head brewer Jeff Wiebe here.
I got a suggestion from a friend to do a quick weekly update on Friday’s about stuff happening in the beer world. I liked the idea and figured I’d give it a go. This will just be brief news tidbits about stuff happening around the brew scene.
Trans Canada Brewing officially opens this weekend. October 14th and 15th. Check out tcb.beer for more details. They’ve also started listing the beers they will have available here if you are curious.
Stone Angel has released a new beer. Their Kaiser Bill IPA is available now at their taproom. They also have a Samhain autumn ale coming soon.
Peg Beer Company is celebrating one year of brewing beer this weekend. October 14th will see a number of specialty beers available including a Ginger Gose, Gooseberry Gose, and a Coconut Belgian Stout to name a few.
Barn Hammer’s monthly Barn Raising event will be happening on Wednesday, October 18th. Get out for some beer at their taproom and support a local charity.
Torque Brewing has launched a new website. It provides all kinds of information including beers available in the taproom.
Surly has sent some more beer to Manitoba. This time they’ve sent the first of their “embrace the darkness” series. The 2016 bottles of their Russian imperial stout Darkness are available at Liquor Marts and Quality Beer Store now. Watch for my write-up of this beer next week.
Being sick sucks. Being sick with a child sucks even more. You end up in this cycle of everyone getting sick and then no one actually gets better. Luckily, we’ve overcome and I am now well enough to be back writing, working, and enjoying beer.
Just in time too. Peg is celebrating one year of brewing beer, Stone Angel has opened it’s doors and is pumping out some really tasty beers, and Trans Canada Brewing will be opening this week.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Trans Canada brewing I’d invite you to read my write-up of the brewery and the team here. It’s an ambitious project that has invested money in all the right places from equipment to personnel to taproom food. The pizzas are awesome, the team is skilled and experienced and the equipment is the top of the line. They’ve even got French Oak Foeders.
So, here are the details:
While I don’t know what all 12 beers will be, I do know they have a variety of styles available. They have brewed an American Pale Ale, an IPA, a Double IPA, a dark lager, a session lager, a couple of saisons, a wit, a pilsner, and a blonde as well as some others.
I’d encourage everyone to take the opportunity to pop in and check out this new brewery for yourselves. It’s a beautiful space and I’m excited to see what they can do with the team they’ve put together. I’m excited to sit down with their Head Brewer, Morgan Wielgosz, again for my Get to know a brewer series.
Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve got a bunch of stuff to catch-up on. I’ve bought a bottle of Surly Darkness 2016 for review, I’ve got the Beaus/Half-Pints King Kvass for review, I’m sitting down with Colin from Peg tonight for an anniversary post, and I’ll be sitting down with Daivin from North City Growlers this week too. Lots to come, so follow me on WordPress and Twitter for all the latest.
I’ve got another beer from Grainville Island to review today. But before I get to that, I wanted to share some good news. Stone Angel has opened their doors and will now be serving beer Wednesday-Sunday. That is another brewery open to the public and always cause for celebration. TransCanada is inching ever closer as is Oxus and I hope that by the end of October both will be open. Finally, I’ll be sitting down with Oxus, Barn Hammer and Peg in the coming weeks to do write-ups. Oxus about their opening and Peg and Barn Hammer in celebration of hitting the 1-year mark.
But, onto Granville Island and their So Cal Style IPA.
*Note, I did receive this beer from Granville Island free for review. *
I wrote about Granville Island in more detail when I first reviewed their Gose. You can read about them more here. In my previous review of their BC Bitter I also included a bit of a Q and A I had with brewmaster Kevin Emms. You can read about that here.
IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829. At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”. These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.
While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often highlight the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer. Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.
The So Cal IPA is a West-Coast IPA. This variation on the IPA are typically higher on the alcohol range usually coming in between 6.8% and 8%. The reason it is called “west-coast” is largely due to the use of hops available on the west-coast. GIB So Cal IPA comes in at 80 IBUs.
ABV – 7.8% Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy, medium copper colour with a puffy foamy off-white head. Smell – Doughy malt biscuit notes with subtle aroma of grapefruit and citrus bitterness. Taste – Biscuity malt comes through on the taste with a hit of bitterness and slightly astringent alcohol burn on finish. Mouth Feel – Good carbonation and a bitter slightly astringent finish. Overall Thoughts – Overall, I would say that this beer was a bit too malt forward for me. The bitterness was there, but for an IPA it wasn’t bringing the grapefruit and citrus notes I was expecting. Do I like it? – While the expectation didn’t meet the reality, this beer certainly brought a good hop bitterness with a firm malt base.
Thanks for following along. I am meeting up with Oxus today and hope to get some updates for post next week. Lots still to come and lots of exciting beer related stuff happening.
Stone Angel (1875 Pembina Avenue) is a new Winnipeg brewery that is opening up their taproom this Friday (September 22nd, 2017). Patrons will be able to enjoy two of their finely crafted beers starting at 3:30 pm. Their first seasonal – Nocturne, an English Dark Mild and Red-Handed an Irish Red will be available. Following this opening, Stone Angel will then be open from Thursday-Sunday. Be sure to check their website for hours.
With the taproom opening, the focus shifts towards producing beer. While they have two ready to go, they hope to get their other two core beers, an IPA and a stout, ready to go. Luther’s Folly, their Kolschist Blond will also be returning.
They are also diving right into seasonal beers and planning to get a unique seasonal style ready for Halloween. Their Samhain (pronounced “sowen”) is a smokey porter with dried fruit. From what I’ve been told it is inspired by the Halloween traditions in Ireland.
When it comes to beer production, they will currently be reliant on what they can sell at the taproom until they get their canning line in place which they hope will be in the new year.
As for the taproom, the space is beautifully done. Currently taprooms are restricted to 50 people despite the size. Stone Angel boasts a large space and five bathrooms and could easily accommodate twice that. With such a large area, they hope that they might be able to do some renovations in the future and expand the seating. There is some hope from them, and others in the Manitoba Brewers Association, that some changes in how occupancy is determined can be made.
Paul Clerkin from Stone Angel is also hoping to get the website updated. As a web-developer he is quite skilled at putting together websites and wants the Stone Angel website to help people find where they can get their beer and drink it. The idea is to have the website be intuitively designed for use on smartphones so that one can easily find where to get Stone Angel’s beer and get directions.
I’m looking forward to visiting Stone Angel once they open and getting to taste more of their beer. It’s always an exciting time when a new brewery opens. The culmination of an incredible amount of hard work, time, and dedication. These events should be celebrated so I hope everyone will head down to Stone Angel at 1875 Pembina Avenue this Friday (September 22nd, 2017) after 3:30 pm for a pint.
When I first started writing this blog we had three breweries in Manitoba. Today, we have nine with more on the way. What’s even more, we are hitting the anniversaries of some of these breweries and I, for one, am interested in looking back.
I sat with John Heim, president of Torque Beer Co. and the new president of the Manitoba Brewers Association to talk about their first year. I wanted to take a minute to look back at their first year and ask him about what they’ve learned, what they would do differently, and where are they going form here.
When they first opened Torque came out of the gate with a large capacity, immediate packaging and selling directly from Liquor Marts and beer vendors. They didn’t focus on getting their taproom open first but getting their beer out the door. This helped them enter the market with a wide reach and bring their beer to a larger group of people.
While starting off strong, Torque had early on made the decision to have a Helles, a lager requiring 8 weeks from brewing to packaging, which meant that it took longer to cycle that beer out into cans reducing the capacity for other beers that require less conditioning. This decision along with the admirable community mindset of Torque meant that they were using their brewery to produce other beers besides their own.
While these decisions ended up both producing a delicious beer and cementing Torque as a stellar community member, it also delayed them finding their stride. With all that said, I think everyone would agree that Torque has managed to produce some tasty, interesting and numerous beers.
As well, John explained that if he could do it again, he’d like to have more man power at the start. They’ve recently added a third brewer to their team, Tyler Sattler (formerly of Fort Garry Brewing) and a full-time tap-room manager named Hannah. While, according to John, they are just now starting to hit their stride, if what they accomplished over the past year was them “finding their stride” I can’t wait for this next year.
In this upcoming year Torque is hoping to expand their space by another 6000 sq/ft to accommodate the multiple dry-good needs they have. They’ve started using superbags of malt which will help them keep up with demand and have a variety of can variations that take up a lot of space.
As they’ve continue with their focus on helping the craft beer community, helping with distribution for PEI brewing company, Dark Horse Wine and Spirits, Craft Beer Imports, and 49th Parallel, they could also use some more cold storage and tanks which means they need more room to store the dry-goods as well. Another 6000 sq/ft would go along way. John also thinks a silo for malt might be in the future.
With the recent hiring’s, it lets John focus on the higher-level thinking and his new role as MBBA president. He is looking at working with other MBBA members to change the occupancy rules for taprooms so that events are easier to hold. With a 50-person max, despite space, it makes it hard to throw a birthday bash. John is also looking at finalizing Torques website, working with their sales manager Raj to get them out to more restaurants and venues, and talking to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority about expanding to SK with their variety packs.
The first year has flown by and John and the team at Torque are trying to focus on looking forward. They are working on getting their website up and running that will provide details on beers, location, merch and where you can find them on tap. They are also hoping to hold more events and connect with other local vendors to bring beer and cuisine together.
Overall, John feels that they’ve really honed in on their production. They’ve implemented efficiencies in their canning line to allow for one person to operate it reducing waste and beer loss. They’ve hired new brewers to help fill the gaps and relieve the pressure that was once there and they’ve really focused on ensuring that the product they sell is something they would be proud of.
I’m excited for this next year and excited to share with you some of the bigger batches of beers we will be seeing from Torque over the next 12 months. Just know that alongside this they’ll have their small batches available at the brewery only. In fact, they are adding more small batch fermenters so that they can do more small batch brews.
September/October 2017 – Witching Hour Dark Pumpkin Ale November 2017 – Rabbit Punch Black IPA December 2017 – Winter Survival Pack (6x355ml – Smoked Coffee Porter, Dunkleweizen, Wee Heavy, Wheat Wine, Diesel Fitter and a Double IPA.) January 2018 – Bumper Shine Winter Ale February 2018 – A Gruit using local botanicals – 500ml Bottle. March 2018 – Konstantine Russian Imperial Stout – 500ml Bottle. April 2018 – Dopplebock – 500ml bottles May 2018 – Czech Pilsner June 2018 – Magnetic North Hefeweizen July/August 2018 – Summer Pack (possible variation on beers) September 2018 – Witching Hour October 2018 – Fest beer (Marzen or Oktoberfest) – 500ml bottle November 2018 – Rabbit Punch Black IPA December 2018 – Winter Survival Pack
I’m pretty excited for a lot of the beers on this list. I encourage everyone to continue to support local beer and to get out and try these beers. Some of them will be quite interesting.
I hope to continue to follow-up with the breweries as they hit milestones. Peg Beer Co. and Barn Hammer Brewing have both also hit their one year anniversaries. I hope to check in with them soon. I’m also going to be checking in with Stone Angel this week as they approach opening and talking to the founder of North City Growlers. So follow me on WordPress and twitter to keep up with the latest.