Tree Beer – Kelowna, BC

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“In the end, making beer…is like producing a piece of art” – Dave Gorkiet

I had the opportunity to visit Kelowna this past week.  While I was there I took the made my way over to Tree Beer’s Brewing Institute on Water Street as well as their main brewery on Richter.  Kelowna itself is a really nice location with low rain falls and high temperatures.  Once known for growing fruits it has become a bastion of wineries and while wine is good, beer is better.

The first Keg was sold by Tree Brewing in 1996 and the brewery was named Tree to represent the beauty of nature that exists in British Columbia.  I had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with Dave Gorkiet, the brew master at Tree.

Tree Beer is a fairly good sized brewery.  The exact production numbers are something not distributed but based on some quick math, the tanks hold about 130 hectolitres each and with me counting 13 of them that’s about 1690 hectolitres. Pretty good brewing capacity.  They are a combination of canning and bottling as well as the kegs and the test batch casks.  They also have the tap room at the main brewery as well as their beer institute which tends to carry some different options.

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Inside Tree Beer’s production area

Dave himself is a really interesting guy.  Having gotten a degree in Chemistry he felt that he wanted to do something a bit more hands on.  The combination of science, hands on work, and a little bit of creativity allows Dave to do something that he loves, create beer works of art.  Dave described that the process feels a bit to him like he is in fact creating art, and I think that is really a good definition of brewing.

Dave started brewing at Tree in the spring of 1997 and has been there ever since.  It’s been his only brewing experience at a major brewery and based on what he said about his team it makes sense, why leave somewhere you love to work. Overall there are 25+ people who work as employees as well some sales reps scattered about. Being the brewmaster and not on the marketing side he said it was hard to give a solid number.

I’m always curious what keeps people brewing and what challenges they find with the industry.  Dave stays in the industry because of the people as much as the work.  Loving what he does combined with the fact that craft brewers a great bunch of people are some of the reasons why he sticks with it.  The biggest challenge, as I think many would agree, is being innovative.  Making sure that you don’t stagnate.  Dave said that it can be tough keeping up because people’s tastes develop and change and with the number of breweries in BC, the bar just keeps getting raised.

British Columbia has been just blowing up with craft breweries.  Dave said there is around 100 of them in the province and that the industry just keeps booming.  With really open liquor laws surrounding tap rooms and growlers, it’s easy to get the beer out there and for breweries to open up.  Some follow the model of taproom only and don’t distribute beyond their four walls.

Tree Beer opened a second location in September of 2014, a beer institute.  Part of this was to give a chance to be more creative.  With a smaller 10 hectolitre brewing capacity they sell beer by the pint or growler, although only stainless steel ones (really nice, but a bit pricey), and it’s fully from tank to tap.  Unfiltered and as beer is intended, straight up.  Dave said that this also gives them the chance to test out new beers to see what they might want to do on a larger scale and also lets him and his 5 other brewers come up with new recipes.

Dave and his team also have a small 50 litre franken brew system that they will do small batch recipes in, cask them, and then have them tapped at the beer institute every Thursday.

Tree has about 5 to 6 main beers on their brewing line but they also have some seasonals and some 650ml bombers that they will put out as well.  The beers tend to change beyond their main line which helps keep the selection fresh while still maintaining the stables.  Dave’s philosophy is to always have something in the hopper.  People’s tastes change and so you want to give yourself an opportunity to put out something new.  One of his biggest surprise hits was a Pineapple Heffeweizen that just seemed to explode in popularity, a pleasant surprise but not something that they had expected.

The main lines are distributed as far as Ontario but with various other beers making it different locations.  Dave isn’t involved in the distribution but I know here in Winnpeg the Liquormart currently stocks Hophead, Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, Cutthroat Ale, their Dopplebock, Stout and Grapefruit Radler.  This year they modified their bottle line-up to do an Raw series of unfiltered beers.  They’ve got HopHead, Knox dry-hopped Brown Ale, and Monkey Pod Rye Pale Ale.  All three are strong beers and I certainly enjoyed them all. The main line of beers are the Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, Cutthroat Ale, and Kelowna Pilsner along with the Raw Series.

For Dave, making balanced beers is the holy grail of beer making.  He has managed produce some very solid and balanced beers that were really impressive.  I got a chance to try all 8 beers that they had on tap at the main brewery.  They covered a great range including the grapefruit radler.  I got to taste Cutthroat, Thirsty Beaver, Kelowna Pilsner, Hop Head, Knox Brown Ale, Pineapple Heffe, Monkey Pod Rye Pale Ale, and the Grapefruit Radler.  Overall I wasn’t dissappointed with anything I tasted.

the Amber and the Pilsner (Thirsty Beaver and Kelowna) were really tasty with the Hophead and the Monkey Pod ranking as my favourites.  The Grapefruit Radler was a big surprise for me, being 50/50 grapefruit juice and beer I wasn’t really sure what I’d think. It was really nice, fresh and a great summer option that won’t bog you down.

The pineapple heffe and the cutthroat ale would be on the low end for me, but this wasn’t because of the quality but because I don’t like pineapple and I’m not a fan of lighter beers, so it was hard to get past that for me. These beers were good, still, but not ones I would typically choose to drink. The brown ale was incredibly nice with a good malt/hoppy balance and I really enjoyed the dry-hop nature to it.

The eight beers I got to try.
The eight beers I got to try.

I’m not going to rate all of the beers individually here. I had a chance to basically run the gambit of the beers available for consumption and gave many of my thoughts on the beers in the comments above.  Based on the creativity of the beers, the passion that is obvious from Dave, and the fact he let me sit down with him and fed me beer (that’s how you get a good rating folks…not really), I’d give the brewery a rating of 90/100.  A really top shelf brewery for me with some strong entries into the various craft beer categories.

There wasn’t a bad beer that I tasted.  It was all good.

Inside the taproom at Tree Beer
Inside the taproom at Tree Beer

In Kelowna – Tree Brewing


I’m in Kelowna and had the opportunity to stop in at Tree Brewing’s Beer institute. The “beer geeks” there explained to me that this small craft brew pub is a tank to glass operation. No filtration, no kegs, just pure beer. Awesome. 

Brewing about 10 hectolitres there on site they have a variety of beer options. I tried the hophead IPA, a 65 ibu nice hoppy beer. 

This isn’t my standard post. I haven’t posted in a while and so am easing my way back in. I hope to get to the main brewery on Tuesday and see if I can’t get more details on the operation. It will also give me a chance to try out more of the beers. 

We get a variety of Tree Brewing’s beers in Winnipeg which indicates a fairly good distribution setup. 

The HopHead is a dry-hopped IPA using perle, centennial, cascade, Columbus and crystal hops. The malts are pale, light Munich, Vienna and crystal. 

Overall it’s a nice bitter beer that tastes really crisp on the finish. It’s refreshing, which is nice, with that really good dry hop tannin finish that I personally enjoy. 

I wanted to post this quick update and I’ll be starting to post more regularly once again. I’ll post a more full review of tree brewing when I get back to Winnipeg. Until then some small posts to wet the appetite. 

Thanks for following along

– Beer Winnipeg

Interview with David Rudge

I had the opportunity to visit Half Pints and speak with the president and head brewer David Rudge.  I had been curious about the brewery itself, their plans for this upcoming year as well as how the growler bar and his appointment to the provincial “Craft Breweries Initiative” were going.  He was kind enough to give me his time and for the entire visit I did not feel rushed or as if he had somewhere else to be – quite nice from someone who has grown such a successful brewery, not what I expected.

About the Brewery

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Image of the brewing room at Half Pints. Casks are available at the Grove Pub!

I have already given a rundown of the history of Half Pints in my review of the Doc Emmett Brown Ale. I won’t go over all that again.  Rather, I was able to learn about where the brewery stands today.

At present Half Pints has a brewing capacity of about 6,000 Hectalitres.  They have a number of fermenting drums and numerous storage ones as well and are able to produce a variety of beers at any given time.  Typically their 4 main beers on the go (Little Scrapper, Bulldog Amber, St. James Pale Ale, and Stir Stick Stout.)  As well, they tend to have at least one seasonal in progress with another in the pipe to come up shortly. On top of that, their growler brews for the growler bar and any test batches that they may be working on could be bubbling away.  All in all there are around 8 or 9 different beers on the go in the brewery at any given time.

This year David told me he plans to switch things up a bit.  He doesn’t like doing the same thing over and over again and so this year of the 15 beers that will be produced, 9 will be new beers.  He wants to bring back some of the beers they brewed in their first year (2007) as well as some new ones.

Half Pints is made up of 12 full time staff members who do a variety of tasks from brewing to filling/bottling to repairs and technical work on the equipment.  David told me their bottling technician had souped up their Meenans bottler to be not only fill industry standard bottles, but also to be able to fill the 650ml bottles they use for seasonal beers.

What’s really interesting about their staffing is that in the summer, David will hire a brewing student.  The only requirement is that the student be a Manitoban.  It’s a move that’s really important to David and something he has been doing for a while.  In fact, one of the brewers at Half Pints is a former student who was introduced to the brewery in this way.  David told me that you “don’t go to school to learn what to do right, you go to school to learn what to do when everything goes wrong”.  Giving people the opportunity to work alongside experienced brewers is a great way to build capacity and allow for internal creative growth. He told me the crew at Half Pints are like a family.  I can see from his supportive attitude where this stems from.

Growler Bars and Creativity

One of the main reasons I wanted to sit down with David was because of the introduction of growler bars to Manitoba.  I wanted to find out what sort of impact this had on his ability to be creative with the beers they brew and what overarching impact he felt it might have on brewing in Manitoba.

The growler bar at Half Pints

The implementation of the growler bars has allowed for a different group of people to access the beers from Half Pints.  He told me “It’s a different set of people” who seem to be coming in for the growlers.  It’s giving Half Pints the opportunity to hit a different market than they would hit with their bottled beer. What David had noticed was that there are a lot of younger people coming in to buy growlers.  It is likely a university and young professional crowd who are seeking to get a better bang for their craft beer buck.

The growler bars have also seemed to have had an impact on distribution.  Since the opening of the growler bars, Half Pints has pulled a lot of its export back.  They recently stopped shipping beer to Alberta which, according to David, was a big deal given they had been shipping beer there quite a while.  What was interesting was that the decision wasn’t due to lack of popularity but more due to the fact they don’t have enough extra beer to send.

Along with this ability to reach a different customer group, the growler bars have also allowed Half Pints to venture into more creative territory.  “Before, we would have to be ordering labels 6 months in advance for beers.”  Now, beers do not need to be labelled if they will be sold at growler bars.  Instead, Half Pints just needs to indicate the value of the ingredients to MLCC and then, using a formula, MLCC gives them the price at which they need to sell the beer.  This allows for them to come up with new beer ideas on the fly and gives the opportunity to really let the creative juices flow.

I asked David whether they would be doing things like Test Batch Tuesday or experimenting with beers if the growler bars did not exist.  His response was a resounding “No.”  This creativity is really important to David and the Half Pints crew.  He told me he doesn’t really understand why some breweries will see a beer made somewhere else and try to emulate it.  He thinks that the creativity of a brewery and the ability to come up with their own ideas is really important.

So, what about Test Batch Tuesdays?  

For those who don’t know, this year Half Pints has started a more regular test batch tasting opportunity.  Tuesday mornings a 50L keg (about 25 growlers) will be tapped.  Inside it will contain a test recipe a staff member wanted to try out.  They tweet out when they tap the keg, so if this interests you make sure to follow @halfpintsbrewco and @halfpintsbrucru on twitter.

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Test Batch Tuesday – Rum Soaked Oaked Stout

The idea came from just wanting to try out different things.  Using 50L batches they will either use a Magic Brew System to brew something totally unique from scratch or pull some of an existing beer out during different stages of brewing so they can experiment with it. The idea behind this is not only to give some creative freedom to the brewers but also to actually test out different recipes to see if they might want to take it further to a larger batch in the future to sell at the growler bars or perhaps even bottle.

They started out doing these on Saturdays but ended up with too many people lining up for a taste and being disappointed when the batch ran out.  The shift was made to Tuesday morning’s but a similar issue has arisen.  I asked David if he might try alternating times and he said that in the future they might look at shifting the times to allow for different groups of people to get out and grab some of the test brew.

What was nice to hear is the test batch might not be the last chance to try the beer.  It might show up in a larger batch in the future.

The amount of respect and trust David has for the crew at Half Pints is really admirable. He has really let them go with the creative aspect and opened the door to trying new things.  He told me that when Half Pints opened, the expectations for beer was so low people were fine with the status quo.  Since opening and pushing the creative boundaries, other breweries in the MB market are needing to step up their game and start considering some creative options.  I think we can really see this in action with Fort Garry starting to expand outside their main brews.

Craft Breweries Initiative

As well as all the work that David does at Half Pints to keep the beer flowing, he has also recently been appointed to the Manitoba Governments Craft Breweries Strategy.  As the only brewer on the committee he brings a really unique perspective to the table.  We had a really good conversation around the recent changes to the laws here in Manitoba and how it has opened the doors for new breweries to start up.  In fact, David was one of the people who fought with the MLCC to allow for growlers to be sold.  He didn’t do this just so that he could benefit from them but also so the next person in Manitoba who opens up a brewery doesn’t have to be beholden to bars and contracts for selling beer.

With the laws as they stand today, a small guy could open a brewery tomorrow and not have to worry about bottling, canning, or selling his beer to bars.  He can sell 100% of his beer to growler bars and still be profitable.  He told me the amount of equipment and labour required to run a small brewery requires about 2 people and that given the laws today it can still be profitable.

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Another shot of the brewing room at Half Pints

David hopes in the near future the laws can be further expanded to allow for taprooms to be opened in Manitoba.  For those who don’t know, taprooms would allow for pints of beer to be sold in the same location as growlers.  This would allow for small breweries to essentially sell 100% of their beer at the brewery and not be reliant on any other party for the sale of their beer.  According to David this opportunity for growth is necessary to the survival of the local craft beer industry.

I was curious whether David was concerned about the creation of competition within the province.  His response really told me a lot about his character: he doesn’t consider it competition.  He doesn’t even consider Fort Garry competition.  If he had the choice between getting Fort Garry’s tap at a bar or no tap at all, he’d prefer no tap.  He wants to be taking Molson’s tap or Labatt’s tap and wants to see local craft beer grow and prosper.  Given the growth in demand for craft beer and the government’s willingness to support and grow the industry, I can see this type of shift happening.

Will they ever go to Investor’s Group Field or the MTS centre?  I asked David and he told me that it likely won’t happen in the near future.  Labatt’s and Bud sign contracts with these venues and typically take a hit on cost so that they can advertise at the games.  Given the fact people are willing to pay $9 a beer, he doesn’t think there will be any quick movement on behalf of these venues to swap out brews.

Overall, I’m really excited about the conversation I had with David.  Not only is he a really down to earth guy who loves beer, he has some really solid ideas and a really good plan for the next year.  I’m excited to see what he and the folks at Half Pints come up with this next year and I am going to do my darndest to try as much of the new brew they put out.  Overall, Half Pints is a brewery that makes buying beer in Manitoba not just about the quality but also about the people who brew it.  I for one am proud to support Manitoba craft beer.

Make Beer and Wine in Store

One of the most difficult parts of brewing beer and wine, even from a kit, is having the time, space and the materials to do so.  Well, those people are in luck!

The Manitoba Government has announced that the Liquor and Gaming authority will now be able to authorize businesses to allow brewing on site!  What does this mean?  It means that places like Brewers Direct, Grape and Grain, and Wine Sense, will be able to provide space for home brewers to mix, ferment, and bottle their kit of choice on site.

According to the Backgrounder “In-store brewing facilities provide customers with the ingredients, instructional advice, and equipment to produce wine and beer for off-site personal consumption in private locations. Customers purchase ingredients on-site, mix their wine or beer, and leave it on the premises for fermentation. After a period of time, customers return to bottle their wine or beer and remove the product from the site.

Anyone who has ever made wine or beer, especially beer from scratch, at home knows that there is more to it than mixing, fermenting and bottling.  There are steps that must be followed along the way.

It is still unclear whether the site will be responsible for racking the beer from primary to secondary fermenter, whether their will be the ability to create a beer wort from scratch on site, or if this will essentially be a full service enterprise where it really will be an “add the yeast and bottle” type process.

At present the government has indicated in their backgrounder that a number of exisiting businesses that sell kits have indicated their interest to provide this service.  They have also recognized the new business potential of such an endeavour.  The government has begun looking at best practices from other jurisdicitions and developing regulations and guidelines to be put in place.

The final regulations are expected to be in place by Spring of 2015 according to Minister Chomiak, at which point business will be able to apply for special authorization to allow on-site brewing.  The Minister did say that the business would need to also meet “federal and municipal regulations” and that it will be based on “training and inspection“.

What is certain is that this initiative opens the doors to a variety of business models where, perhaps, some enterprising home brewer might open a place where you can, with advice and materials, create your very own beer from scratch and learn the ins and outs of full scale home brewing.

-Beer Winnipeg

Half Pints – Doc Emmett Brown Ale

Half Pints - Doc Emmett Brown Ale

Today’s review comes to us from a local brewery of which I am very proud to be able to support.  Their creativity and attention to detail allows for some really tasty and unique beers to be produced.  The introduction of growlers in Manitoba has only allowed for this creativity to increase and they have gone so far as to produce 50 litre test batches of a beer that they wanted to try out.  Yes folks, I am talking about Half Pints Brewing Co from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

When I first moved here from the maritimes I felt like there was something missing, a creative craft brewery.  There were two local breweries around when I first arrived, Fort Garry and The Agassiz Brewing Company. Both were good, but they produced their beers and didn’t really stray outside that box.  When Half Pints came along I was incredibly happy.  They brought with them some unique brews as well as a penchant for coming up with some fun and seasonal beers as well as some event specific brews (like Peddle Power for example).  This has continued and increased I’d say and I’m always interested to read what they’ve got coming next.

Now, knowing that I will be talking about Half-Pints more than once, I’ll give a bit of a backer on how they got started.The head brew master/president of Half Pints Brewing is David Rudge.  David started his path towards Half Pints in 2000 when he enrolled in the American Brewer’s Guild Craft Brewing Science and Engineering program.  After finishing this program he began searching for a job as a brewer.  He began he career as the Assistant brewer in BC at Backwood Brewing Company (now Dead Frog) where he started learning the practice of brewing at a full scale brewery.  After finding that the lower mainland didn’t agree with them, he packed up and headed to Regina where he worked for 3.5 years as the head brewer for Bushwakker brewing company.  A variety of twists and turns along life’s road brought him to Winnipeg Manitoba in July of 2005.  Having all this experience under his belt the plunge was taken and after A LOT of work Half Pints Brewing Co opened its doors in February 2006 and started selling their delicious brews that July.

I’m always incredibly impressed with the creativity of the brewing coming out of Half Pints as well as their involvement in the local Home Brew scene and willingness to assist others.  I’m hoping to sit down with Mr. Rudge should I get the chance so I can chat with him a bit more, we shall see if I am lucky enough to snag that chance.  The beer I’ll be reviewing is their most recent 1000 litre growler batch, aptly named for 2015 the Doc Emmett Brown Ale.

Brown ales are a style of beer that get their name from their color, mostly.  The term was first used by brewers in the late 17th century and was used to describe a more mild ale.  This term is rather different than how we use it today, but originally these brews were lightly hopped and brewed with 100% brown malt.  Today these beers are brewed in a variety of different regions and are used to describe a few different flavor profiles from sweet, low alcohol beers, medium strength amber beers of moderate bitterness, and malty but hoppy beers.

They range from deep amber to brown in colour and typically have caramel and chocolate flavours evident in their profiles.  This is a North American Brown Ale differ from their English counterparts.  Instead of using exclusively brown malts, American Brown Ales tend to use American Crystal Malt, which gives a sharper edge to the beer, as well as often roasted chocolate or coffee malts.  They are also often hopped, unlike the English ones, which tend to make them drier than their English counterparts and give a citrus accent and medium body due to the American hop varieties.  Let’s get to this particular beer tho and see what we’ve got!

Appearance:  Luscious dark brown with a nail’s width of head that retains well and provides some rimming around the glass.
Smell: Definite chocolate notes right up front with some almost hickory notes hidden away on the back end likely from roasting or perhaps something added I’m not aware of.  Notes of hop are there as well possibly a cascade or Amarillo.
Taste: That chocolate malty flavor comes through right on the first taste which then flows into a slightly bitter dry finish which is really rather nice.  It cuts the initial sweetness and leaves you wanting more. That hickory smell doesn’t come through in flavor but there are some bitter notes from the hops. Not a ton of complexity in there, but it was solid flavor wise.
Mouth feel: A little heavy on the carbonation with a coarse mouthfeel.
Overall: Excellent example of a North American brown ale that seems to almost draw from the bitterness of some of the English folks while still maintaining that North American dry finish.  Described as being made with 1.21 Jigawatts of deliciousness, this Brown ale does not disappoint. My only complaint really was the higher carbonation, though not a huge detractor for me.
Do I like it: I’m not usually a huge fan of brown ales.  This one was pretty good though and I’m not upset to have an entire growler to consume.  The carbonation was a little bit high for me on this one but overall I was really impressed with the flavours brought out in this one, even if I didn’t find huge complexity, it was nice and well-rounded. The bitterness cutting the sweetness from the malt was good making this a beer that is good for those who may not be huge fans of overtly malty beers.  Overall I like it and I’d buy it again.

Garrison Brewing Co. – Imperial I.P.A.

Garrison - Imperial IPA

I am very happy that when I was in the Maritimes I grabbed some beer to bring back with me.  There are so many out there that are fantastic and the brewery scene is growing every day.  While I was back in Fredericton, NB two new breweries officially launched, Trailway Brewing Co and Grimross Brewing Co.  I had the opportunity to try beers from both of them which I will be blogging about in the near future.  Today though, I’d like to review Garrison Brewing’s Imperial IPA.

Garrison Brewing is located in the largest maritime city, Halifax.  The name comes from the fact that this one was of the major garrison sites for the protection of Canada being the largest eastern port.  As well, Halifax has a long history of brewing with William Steel opening shop as the first brewer in 1754 in order to serve the early settlers and troops who were stationed at Citadel Hill.  By prohibition, Halifax was home to some 20 brewing operations!

Garrison itself tries to follow this concept of independent micro-brewing and set this at their heart when they opened in 1997 with their first brew “Irish Red Ale”.  They have continued to produce and grow serving hand-crafted ales that use the best ingredients available.

After 15 years in business, in 2013 they expanded to develop over 13,000 square feet of industrial space to become their new home. Their setup is made up of tanks and equipment that were designed and fabricated in Charlottetown, PEI (keeping it local, very nice) and consists of a single-step infusion mash tun and a propane-fired kettle and whirlpool.  It takes them an average of 10 days start to finish to ferment and condition.  You can read all about their brewing process here.

The beer from them that I am excited to try is their Imperial IPA.  Launched in 2007 at the Halifax Seaport Beerfest, this unfiltered double IPA comes in at a strong 81 IBU (international bitterness units) and is sold all year round. It uses Cascade, Amarillo and German Magnum hops balanced with 2-row pale, caramel, dextrin and Munich malts.  I received word from Garrison yesterday that they have shipped a pallet to Manitoba, so I’ll be down at the MLCC looking for some soon!

Essentially what we have here in an Imperial IPA is a double IPA.  The names are fairly synonymous.  The term Imperial tends to come from the Russian Imperial Stout, a style of strong stout that was originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court.  Double IPA tends to be the most common/preferred term and essentially indicates that you have an incredibly hoppy beer on your hands with high alcohol content and good robust malty balance.  IBU on these beers tend to range from 50-120 (although 90+ it’s hard to tell the difference) depending on the brewer.  Let’s get to the beer!

Rating: 90/100

Appearance:  Cloudy golden brown coloring with a good 1” head that retains well.
Smell: Hoppy, citrus (lemon, grapefruit and some orange) with some sweetness coming through on the backend from malt (some caramel notes).
Taste: Initial sweetness followed by some extreme hoppy bitterness with the citrus being front and centre.  Good resinous hops that balance with the caramel notes from the malt and the sweetness from the alcohol.  Long dry finish.  Certainly does not disappoint on the hop front as they overpower the malts.
Mouth feel: Good mild carbonation with a smooth mouth feel.
Overall: Very strong double IPA.  The hops chosen for this particular beer balance well together providing some good meshing with the choice of malts.  Alcohol content is at 8% but not noticeable in this beer.  Sweetness is great to start and balances well with the following Hoptacular assault.  Overall a very strong double IPA.
Do I like it: Yep.  Big fan of this one.  I love IPAs and the more bitterness the better for me.  Double IPAs are at the top of my favorite styles when they can be well balanced and don’t tread into the sickly alcohol sweetness neck of the woods.  This one had a strong IBU but was balanced well.  The hops went well together and complimented each other rather than competing for the spotlight.  I’ll be drinking this one again.

A new year, a new blog – What to expect

Welcome to Beer Winnipeg.  I wasn’t sure that I would want to run my blog talking about different styles of beers and reviewing them.  Having had the Craft Beer advent calendar gave me the opportunity and then the confidence to do so.  So, welcome, to Beer Winnipeg.

The goal of this site will be to discuss a variety of things.  First and foremost I will post reviews about beers.  The reviews will contain the following information.

  • Beer name, location, and style of beer.
  • Description of the style, origins and information about the brewery.
  • Rating of the beer based on the following:
    • Appearance (Body, Colour, Head, Retention) (%5)
    • Smell (20%)
    • Taste (45%)
    • Mouth feel (Light, Medium, Heavy, Smooth, Coarse) (10%)
    • Overall (20%)
    • Do I like it (Yes or No) and why.

I like to be detailed and provide information about the brewery as well as the style of beer.  For me, knowing about the brewery allows for me to understand the concept of the beer a bit better and helps me appreciate it a bit more.

The rating scale is not my own, I have taken the scoring system from the site Beer Advocate as I felt it provide the most opportunity to rate beer effectively based on various notes.  I added into the rating the last section of do I like it.  This is completely subjective but I will tell you why I like it or not and hopefully these details will help you decide if it is a beer that you would like.

Secondly, I hope to talk about the state of beer here in Winnipeg and Manitoba.  We are far behind the rest of Canada when it comes to craft beer and the ability for craft breweries to shine.  I will talk about the breweries we have as well as any news that is beer related here in Manitoba.  For example, the Craft Beer action committee created by the Minister of Liquor and Gaming.  I will report on what news comes from this.

Thirdly, I hope to do some profiles on breweries.  Hopefully I can visit them, but I will profile some strong Canadian breweries as well as up and comers in the craft beer world.

Finally, I’ll likely be talking about anything that is craft beer related especially if it happens to be here in Winnipeg!

Beer is one of those beverages that is so simple yet incredibly complex.  The ability to shift ingredients and great a completely unique flavour is amazing to me.  My hope is that by following this blog you will gain an understanding about the many different styles of beer and an appreciation for their complexities.  If you already like beer I hope you would find my reviews useful.

Thanks for following along.

-Beer Winnipeg.

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