Bar at PEG Beer Co. Open

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I had the opportunity to attend the soft opening of PEG Beer Co this past Thursday (March 31st, 2016). To be able to be in the completed space was pretty surreal. After my visits to the space and seeing it in progress, it has been quite a transformation. Given that the team at PEG had spent a year in the planning, a year in the building, and now the doors to the one of first of the new craft breweries in Winnipeg is on its way to being open.

Right now only half of PEG Beer Co has opened its doors to the public. I say half because the brewery is still not operational. Nicole said that they hope to be able to start brewing in the next 3 weeks. All of this is dependent on the permits and getting the official go ahead to start brewing. Once they do, they should have their first beers ready in 4-6 weeks. These I am looking forward to tasting and reviewing.

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There were certainly some hiccups at the soft opening. The servers are still getting a hang of everything going on, they were working incredibly hard, and there is no PEG beer to enjoy. Instead, the brew pub has a list of beers that it is getting from the Liquor Marts and selling. They are certainly choosing some great beers which is nice, but I am much more anxious to get into the space to enjoy the beer that they will be producing themselves. Their guest beer list is here. It seems to be changing as they get new product into the Liquor Marts.

The food menu is quite diverse and provides some interesting options for patrons. From charcuterie, house-made bread and jams and flatbreads all the way to whole chickens, stuffed trout and ham served family style, there is an eclectic selection of food.  For me, I think I’ll be mostly sticking to the smaller fare. You can, of course, check out their menu here and decide what you think you might most enjoy.

For now, PEG is open Tuesday-Saturday from 4pm-11pm. I’d encourage you to get out and support them. It isn’t easy to open a new restaurant, let alone a brew pub. For all of us Winnipeggers clamoring for new craft beer, we need to make sure that we put our money where out mouth is and support these new breweries as they open. I know PEG doesn’t have beer yet, but they will, and I for one will do my best to support all the new breweries.

Craft Beer Events

Hey folks. Wanted to take a moment to write about a few craft beer related events coming up in the immediate and near future.  This won’t be a long post but I hope that people will take advantage of the opportunities to get out and try some new craft beer/support local establishments.

First, tonight (March 31st, 2016) at 7pm, PEG Beer Co. will officially open its doors to the public.

This has been a long time coming and it is so satisfying to see them open their doors.  Almost a year ago I first wrote about the plans behind this brewpub and more recently gave an update on where they are at. With all the delays and all of the hard work put in by the team, to have them open is very exciting indeed.

I hope that this will just be the start and we will be welcoming Barn Hammer, Torque, Oxus Brewing and others over the next year. As I’ve said before, I’ll say again, Winnipeg’s craft beer scene is going to be vastly different next year at this time.

Second, on April 18th at Barley Brothers Stadium, The Parallel 49 Brews Bros Vol. 2 Launch Party is happening

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 Liquor Mart locations will be coming on the Liquor Mart website as we get closer to the date.

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If you’re wondering, “what beers are going to be in this 12 pack?” 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%

This is just the start of the beers that we will be seeing come into Liquor Marts from the 49th Parallel group.

They’ve got Rogue 4 hop coming out later this week and it looks like it might be getting bulletined as one of their new core products.  As well, waiting to come into Manitoba is Phillips Sax (Dark Sour Brown Ale aged on grape musts), Rogue Sriracha Stout, Rogue Brutal IPA as well as a taste of my home town, Picaroon’s Timberhog Stout.  Not sure on the date these will be coming out, so watch the Liquor Marts new listing section.

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.

Finally, for those who homebrew, there is a Pros vs Schmoes competition coming up on May 28th.

This is put on by Grain to Glass and Le Beau Café.  The best of show beer will have their beer brewed at Barnhammer after it opens.  There will be some great prizes and it’s a great opportunity to get your beer judged by certified BJCP judges.  It’s a great way to get some feedback on your homebrew and to have an opportunity to win some great prizes.

Not all beer styles are being judged.  According to the website only the follow styles will be judged:

1(D) American Wheat beer, 10 German wheat beer, 18 Pale American Ale, 19 Amber and brown beer, 20 Porter and stout, 21(B) Specialty IPA, 25(B) Saison, and 34(C) Experimental/other

You can get all the details you need by clicking here.  You can also register by clicking here.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

-Beer Winnipeg

Growler Bar Listing

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Around twitter this past week there was some conversation over the fact that new breweries opening here in Manitoba will not be able to list any product which is packaged and sold at Liquor Marts on growler bars at Liquor Marts or Beer Vendors.  There was quite a bit of concern raised over this matter and so I figured I’d ask Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) about it.

When the pilot project for growler bars launched, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries had no idea it would be as popular as it was.  Luckily this had been taken this into consideration and was part of the reason behind only listing Half Pints and Fort Garry.  Should the growler bar prove to be popular,  they could easily get access to more beer.

During this pilot they allowed both the core and seasonal beers from Half Pints and Fort Garry to be listed.  When the MBLL started making plans for the future of the growler bars they reviewed all the feedback they had received during the pilot run of the growler bars. One thing that I was told they had heard time and time again that people want fresh, unique and interesting beers. If a listed beer did extremely well on the growler bar it is then possible that they may be able to get it listed as a packaged product at the Liquor Marts.

“We have consistently heard from customers that they were looking for fresh, unique and seasonal beers, so this was an opportunity to provide customers with a selection of products that they would not be able to necessarily get in another format.”

In response to this desire, they made a choice to only allow beers not already available in the Liquor Marts to be listed on the growler bar. This would allow for consumers to be able to have access to something that they normally don’t. What I did learn was that this rule only applies to the Liquor Marts and the Beer Vendors and that brew pubs and microbreweries can sell whatever they want at their own growler stations.” So, those breweries that are opening and will have growler stations will be able to have any of their core brands, core brands of other breweries as well as seasonal beers on their growler stations. To be honest, I believe that once the brew pubs and breweries start opening we will see many more people trying to get it from the source.

The other concern that I know I and others have had is that a number of breweries owned by AB In-Bev have been listed. The MBLL is required under trade agreements to follow a non-discriminatory practice in their listing process. What this means is that if a brewery meets the criteria set the MBLL to fit within the “craft-style beer” category (This includes the type of ingredients used, brewing methods, the use of adjuncts, batch size, etc.) that they are required to consider them for listing, “ownership does not matter.”

“As long as their product meets the criteria, the listing application offers a fair process for all eligible suppliers to compete for participation; ownership does not matter.”

While the growler bars at the Liquor Marts and Beer Vendors have been our only real opportunity to get access to beer in this way, with the coming opening of Peg Beer Co. (Hopefully next week! Please!), Barn Hammer, Torque and the number of other projects on the go, I think we will see a great deal more variety available to us in the near future.  So, while the new breweries in the city may not be able to list any of their packaged beers at the Liquor Marts, it will allow for them to diversify, come up with something fun and unique for the Liquor Marts and still have whatever they choose on at their taprooms.

Whether you agree with this practice or not, feel free to contact your MLA and the MBLL directly with your concerns.  I’m looking forward to continuing to support the growing local craft beer industry.

One Year In

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It has been just over a year since I started blogging about the beer scene here in Manitoba. It’s been a really interesting and informative year. I’ve met so many passionate people who – while we don’t always agree – I’ve grown to respect immensely.

There are a few key things I didn’t know I’d learn when I started blogging; a journey that’s only made me more interested in beer, brewing and the future of beer in Manitoba.

Home Brewing

Since I’ve begun blogging about beer I’ve also expanded my knowledge around home brewing with the assistance of a great many FANTASTIC home brewers.  I’ve gone from brewing from kits, to using extract, to all-grain brewing (a focus of an upcoming blog post). It’s been incredibly challenging and exciting at the same time. Having the opportunity to attend the Winnipeg Brew Bombers’ meetings, learn from those who have been brewing a lot longer than me, and get feedback on my beers has been such a boon.

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Having the opportunity to learn new techniques, brew with experienced brewers and try new things has helped me become more passionate about beer. Before I started blogging I was a huge Hophead, mostly leaning toward IPAs. Since I’ve started brewing more on my own and experimenting I’ve had what Dave Rudge calls “epiphany beers” that sparked a desire to brew new tasty treats, like a Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout (Coffee and spice infused milk stout) and now my first Gose (a salty sour beer).

Thank you to those of you who have helped me expand my beer horizons. There are many of you and I appreciate all the opportunities you’ve given me.

Beer Geeks

When I started writing, I had no idea how many beer geeks there are here in Manitoba. While we may be a small community compared to other provinces, the “craft beer enthusiasts” in Manitoba are certainly passionate. I’ve very much enjoyed the opportunity to engage with them in conversations about brewing beer, tasting beer, judging beer and straight up drinking beer.

Within this group of people are some certified BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judges whose abilities I’ve grown to deeply respect. I’m openly envious of their talents and hope one day to join their ranks.

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Our beer community has some of the best people I’ve met and for that, I’m thankful.

Growth

I had hoped for – but did not expect to see – an exponential growth of demand in Manitoba for good beer. Well it arrived in force! Not only have we seen a massive growth in the number of craft beers being brought into the Liquor Marts, we’ve seen a surge of people looking to open breweries or brewpubs. At last count there are 16 people at the Manitoba Brewers Association meetings looking to open a new home for craft beers.

I’ve heard some people opine that beer is becoming “the new wine” with the variety of styles, breweries, and quality growing. The options available to Manitobans have become more diverse and with the expected openings of Peg Beer, Barn Hammer and Torque rapidly approaching, this Manitoba summer will feature a significant leap of local craft beer in our market.

What to expect from year two

One year into this blog and I’ve already had the opportunity to be involved in a lot of exciting growth in our beer scene. I’m very thankful for that.

But blog readers – you’re the ones I’m most thankful for. Without you, I’d be writing a diary of blog posts for myself to read. I appreciate your readership. Thank you.

So, what can you expect in the coming year?

  • I’ll continue to bring you information about new breweries: those that are nearly open, and those on the horizon
  • I’ll deliver details of special events and beer releases.
  • I’ll share my experiments in home brewing: things I learn, the mistakes I make…
  • I’ll tweet and blog about wider beer trends in general

This upcoming year will be exciting. When I began we were a year away from new breweries in Manitoba; now we are weeks or months away. I look forward to continuing to bring you all the best Manitoba brews news.

-Beer Winnipeg

Peg Beer Co. Revisited

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Remember how I’ve been talking about all these new breweries and how they are going to be opening soon and we will be able to, finally, see our craft beer community grow? Well, we are getting REALLY close to that time.

This past week I had the chance to stop into Peg Beer Company and take a look at the progress they’ve made. While it’s still a work in progress, things are getting really close to completion.  You’ll need to imagine a little bit as there is a lot of construction material still in the space, but man, it’s exciting.

Nicole said that they hope to be open by March 14th.  This will be a soft opening given that they won’t have any of their own beer brewed yet. Instead, they will have special beers on tap at the pub from other breweries. Hopefully some fun stuff.

As many of you know, Peg has already announced the beers they plan to launch with. These include a Berliner Weisse, Stout, ISA, Saison and a Kettle Sour. Nicole says that they will certainly have some more beers coming down the pipe but that she can’t spoil the surprise. Though I imagine we will see an Imperial Stout and given one of the brew team, Scott Sawatzky, loves sours, we will likely see more of those. Apparently he makes a mean Black Berliner Weisse.

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To begin Nicole says they will be packaging two different beers and trying to make sure they leave room in their brew house for creativity. She wants to see specialty beers and one-offs as well as rotating taps in the pub side.  She’s put together a team of brewers with their different expertise and she will be drawing on them a lot. The team is made up of the aforementioned Scott Sawatzky, Jeff Weibe, Dan Simpson and Kevin Rempel. All of them were at the brewery working hard to get things ready to go. I think I may need to hire them; I’ve got some drywall I’d like to fix up in my house.  One thing Nicole mentioned about the work the guys have been doing is the love they put into it. They are spending time making sure the corners on the drywall is perfect and really taking to heart the task of building a brewpub.

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Nicole echoed the sentiment we heard from Torque last week, that when people come into the brewpub she wants them to feel the love the employees have for what they do and have that spill over into their experience.  With the brewing community continuing to grow Nicole really wants to see that comradery that she sees in other jurisdictions. Places like Toronto where brew masters from places like Amsterdam, Steam Whistle, and other breweries who come together to just brew for fun at a little homebrew club. Having a close knit community in which the breweries work together and promote one another. Something I really am hoping to see. Collaboration pack anyone?

Nicole has also run into some of the same issues as Torque. The communication between the province and the city, who issues the permits, has resulted in delays across the board. This is the third time Nicole has acted as a General Contractor for a Brewery and there are certainly some hiccups that arise along the way. Nicole is positive about it all and working with the inspectors and permit department to get things moving forward. Still, I think it is important that if we want to have breweries open we don’t put up roadblocks. Communication between Provincial and Municipal governments to clarify rules would likely go a long way.

Nicole also told me that they have just brought Shannon Burns, formerly from Diversity, on as the Assistant Manager for Front of House. Shannon will also have a big focus on special events. With her background in catering from diversity she is a good addition to the Peg team. Not only that, Nicole said that she wants to have a big focus on special events. Without giving too much away she said that she wants to give people more reasons to come to the exchange and try to work with the already existing local business in the exchange to do some fun stuff.

At the end of the day, Nicole told me that this has been a really creative project. After all: “Food and Beer are huge creative outlets.” I for one am excited to see what she cooks up. I know I’ll be doing my best to support the craft beer industry in Manitoba, one beer at a time.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Torque Brewing

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It’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to post a new entry and I’m happy to be back at it. This past week I had a chance to sit down with Matt Wolff, Adam Olson and John Heim from Torque Brewing and get an update on how things are going.  Since the last time I spoke with them there have been some changes and a whole lot of progression forward.  They are getting closer and closer to opening and so it was good to catch up and hear all the news.

The team behind Torque is a quite a solid one. I got to spend a lot of time chatting with Adam, Matt and John so I can give some more details on what they bring to the team, but the other two members whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting, are: Phil Bernadin, a home brewer and mechanical engineer and Gilles Pinette, an entrepreneur and Torque’s VP of Business affairs.

Matt brings 15 years of commercial brewing experience to the Torque team. Having the knowledge and skill to run the plant and the day to day operations allows for Torque to hit the ground running.  He is anticipating being able to have a similar output to Fort Garry and is excited about the ability to ramp up their brew house and expand in the future as need be.

Adam Olson has only been home brewing for 3 years but in that time he has developed a name for himself and his award winning recipes. He came 5th overall in the brewer of the year competition and is excited to have Matt take these recipes and ramp them up to full brew scale.  As a microbiologist by trade he has a good understanding of yeast strains and is really excited to use this knowledge to start a sour program at Torque. He wants to experiment with barrel souring and wild strains.  Adam is also taking his CPA, as he will be the secretary treasurer for Torque.

John Heim is the vision man. He has the overall picture of where Torque is moving and the skill to help direct it to where the team wants it to go. With his PR expertise and sales background he is already ramping up excitement and anticipation for Torque. They have a full line of merchandise that they will be getting up on their website for sale soon and he has been working with restaurants already to help build that anticipation and is doing all the right social media things.

Even with such a strong team behind Torque Brewing, they still have a lot of work to do. They are still a few months away from having beer and are just in the process of outfitting their space with equipment and getting the test-batch system ready to go. While John didn’t want to confirm any specific beers, other than a Helles (German Lager), the team has a diverse range of beer preferences. Matt likes darker, heavier beers with good maltiness, Adam likes the oft overlooked styles like Dopplebocks, Wee Heavies and of course Sours, and John is liking heavier gravity beers like Russian Imperial Stouts and Barley wines. While this doesn’t tell us much more of the specific beers we can expect, it gives us an idea. John did say that we can expect the Helles, a higher gravity beer like a Barley Wine and of course some Sours.

So, one question I always like to get the answer to is “Why open a brewery?” It’s not an easy task, it costs a lot of money, and there is no guarantee that you’ll ever make any of it back.  Matt saw this a progression. He wanted to evolve. Matt doesn’t like being idle, he wants to keep working on beers and making them better and better. Being the VP of Brewery operations at Torque will give him the opportunity to direct the way the beer production goes, to always be striving to be better and to have more control over the creative aspects of the beers.  For Adam, it was a seed planted in a conversation that he thought about, talked about, and then took the leap. Most homebrewers have a dream to one day take their hobby to the next level, Adam just happened to get that chance.

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Torque will be located at 330-830 King Edward and with Half Pints and Barn Hammer makes a little bit of a beer triangle. They were looking for a place that was as logistically accessible as possible. With plans to put out 1 million litres of beer in year one, they needed a place that could get trucks in and out to take the beer where it needs to go. They were also looking for a high traffic space with a blank slate that would allow them to develop the brewery for their needs. The location they chose gives them all of this as well as the added advantage to being near the airport and a lot of different hotels.

So, 1 million litres of beer, that’s a lot. What they heck are they going to brew this on? Well, they have ordered a 2 vessel 30 HL brewing system that is capable of expanding to a 4 vessel system.  They’ve got mods on it that will allow for step mashing, concoction mashing as well as straight infusion. They’ve got Hot and Cold liquor support and best of all, the system is 100% Canadian made.  John told me that for Torque their motto is “whenever possible source local, then Canadian, and then US.” That’s an exciting notion and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

So, how do we get the beer? They are planning to be canning right off the hop. They are going to be doing 6 and 12 packs in 355ml cans, single 473ml cans, 4 packs in 473ml cans and then for the special occasion beers, 650ml bomber bottles.  As well, they are going to have a rather spacious tap room with growler fills. This is secondary at this point in time as they really want to focus on getting the brewery up and running. They’ve got a good ways to go but they are excited about starting.

The team at Torque wants to be the dominate craft brewer. They would like to be the Surly or Beau’s of Winnipeg. Not just through the production of great beer but as through all their actions. They want to be a respected part of the community and represent how great Winnipeg. They want people to feel their passion for craft beer from the moment they step foot in the brewery and the moment they taste their beer. They want to promote education about craft beer through Torque TV, a series of YouTube videos to help educate the public on various aspects of craft beer, by offering brewing courses and tours, and by generally being open and available to answer questions.  They want to have a team of employees who can be proud of the work that they do. The passion is really there when you talk to these guys. You can tell how excited they are.

Right now they are working with the Architects and Engineers to get the space ready. With the weight of their tanks they need to do some work on the flooring. With 6000L of beer plus the weight of the tank, you need a strong floor.  Once this is done they want to get brewing. Their hope is to have beer ready by the May long weekend as they would like to be able to participate in Flatlanders. The plan after that is to have a soft-opening to get the beer out the door and then start working on finalizing the tap room. As they grow they want to make sure they have beer for every palate and work on eating into the macro share of the market, then to expand to being at festivals, supporting beer gardens and taking an overall multipronged approach.

Since we have so many new breweries working on opening up I am always curious how the changes in legislation have impacted the breweries. What I am learning is that while the province is on board with making things like taprooms legal, they aren’t the ones who issues the permits. The City of Winnipeg and the Province aren’t on the same page as to what a taproom actually is. What rules need to be followed? What needs to be in place?  Having all these ideas and being told that “you can’t do that” has become a bit of a challenge.  As the market grows and the rules begin to get flushed out, it will become easier for breweries to open. John said that now when they call the permit department it’s a lot faster because they’ve been dealing with similar situations.

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(L-R) John Heim, Adam Olson and Matt Wolff of Torque Brewing

To finish, I want to give you all an idea of how Torque sees itself differentiating from the other breweries that are opening in the Province.  First and foremost, the sheer scale of the brewery will set them apart. They plan to have a massive scale equal to Fort Garry and be able to supply good quality beer. They also hope that the culture of the brewery and people first approach will help set them apart. They want people to feel like it is a family where everyone loves their job and the people who come into the space are met with this passion and love for craft beer.  Finally, they want to be a source of partnerships and work with likeminded companies through collaborations with other breweries and local businesses. Overall, the team at Torque are all raving fans of beer.

 

Winnipeg Brew Bombers

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This past week I had the opportunity to attend my second ever Winnipeg Brew Bombers meeting. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the home brewing club, the Winnipeg Brew Bombers have been around for quite some time. Each year they average close to fifty members who have various levels of home brewing experience.  I decided to ask a few questions of their president, Rob Mieth, and do a write up on this really cool club.

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Brew Bombers President Rob Mieth

The meetings of the club take place on the second Tuesday of every month and rotate between being hosted at Half Pints or Fort Garry.  The two meetings that I’ve had the fortune of attending have both been at Half Pints.

While having no official mission statement, the goal the Winnipeg Brew Bombers main goal is to make each one of its members a better brewer and to create more awareness about good craft beer. One of the ways this is done is through sharing of knowledge, tasting of homebrew from members and providing feedback, and talking about craft beer and brewing in general.

My first meeting which I attended back in November, I had the opportunity to learn from some of these homebrewers. The conversation at the meeting was all about answering questions members had about a variety of brewing topics. Some of these were surrounding water chemistry, yeast strains, adjuncts, mashing techniques, basically anything members could think of. The more experienced home brewers stepped up and answered the questions. David Rudge, president and head brewer of Half Pints, was also on hand to add his two cents to the answers. This was a great opportunity to learn from those who have the experience and I found a great deal of value in it.

What was really exciting about this meeting was the announced competition. Each year there are typically 1-2 internal competitions held between the brew bomber members as a way of getting some feedback on a particular style of beer or giving people the opportunity to learn about brewing.  The competition announced in November was the “Supermarket Sweep”.

The competition had two main goals:

  1. Brew with someone you’ve never brewed with before
  2. Get ingredients from a non-traditional grocery store and brew with them

It was a great opportunity for me to learn how to brew from a very good and experienced brewery, Mister Jeremy Koop, and to go through the process of creating a recipe and buying some non-traditional brewing ingredients and trying to find a way to make a beer that tastes good.

This competition, getting people to brew with new people and try new things, is one of the most important parts of the brew bombers for Rob: “The friendship and networking aspect of being involved with a group of people who share the same passion for good beer.” For me, brewing with Jeremy was an opportunity to not only make a new friend but also learn from his experience and build my own personal knowledge for brewing.

So that brings us back full circle to the second meeting I attended. This was the one where we all got to share our different beers and see who’s turned out the best.  There was a huge number of people participating, it was actually very impressive. I’d say abouIMG_4834t 16 teams of two which makes up the better part of 3/5ths of the entire club.  There were a
ton of different styles of beers ranging from IPA, Saison, Stout, Winter Warmer, and Lagers.  Each team was required to give a presentation about their beer and this brought out some pretty funny presentations. The atmosphere of the meeting was incredibly friendly.  Great comradery, friendship, and a lot of laughs.  There were some really good beers that came out of this competition including the winner, a Winter Warmer made with Manitoban wild rice.                           IMG_4833

For me, this club provides a unique opportunity to meet with people who are passionate about beer and who work very hard at brewing for the sake of brewing.  There are people of all ages and levels of experience and it’s a great way for a brand new brewer to learn and grow and become better.

 

For those interested in joining, Rob has a message: “We’d love to have you!”

-Beer Winnipeg

 

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