Tag Archives: Beer News

Friday Beer News – October 20th

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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 beerwinnipeg@gmail.com

Thanks for following

-Beer Winnipeg

Friday Beer News – October 13

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.

That should get you all caught up for this week.

– Beer Winnipeg

Surly Comes to Manitoba

Surly Logo

So, Surly Brewing has come to Manitoba. I’m sure people have probably heard this as it’s been widely promoted through social media, the liquor marts, and even in the news. Now here I am writing a post about this one brewery making its way to Manitoba. Well, it is a pretty big deal.

Surly Brewing Company was founded in 2004 by Omar Ansari. Omar was an avid homebrewer and decided that he wanted to get involved in the brewing industry. He proposed converting his parents Abrasives factory into a brewery, and with their go ahead, hired accomplished local brewer Todd Haug  and got to work building a brewery.

Omar and Todd - Surly Brewing

In 2005 Surly Brewing Co. brewed it’s first batch of beer. It took over 14 hours as the fermenter controls weren’t working and Todd’s heavy metal music soundtrack made things a big difficult to communicate, but they accomplished the goal and were officially on there way to becoming one of the top breweries in the United States.

It wasn’t until 2006 that Surly sold it’s first kegs of Furious to local bars. Omar had made various sales calls to bars and had bartenders spit out the samples of the beer. Only 16 months after selling the first kegs of Furious, Rate beer named Surly Brewing the best brewery in America and named Surly’s Russian Imperial Stout (Darkness) the best American beer in the world.

In 2011 Surly realized they needed to build a new brewery to meet the demand for their beer. They wanted to be able to sell their own beer on site. They faced a similar problem to Winnipeg where a prohibition-era law prevented breweries from selling pints of their beer at their breweries. Omar set out to change this law and with the help of Surly Nation standing behind him and a heck of a lot of work, they managed to get legislators to make the change. Surly’s Destination brewery is now a fantastic site to visit with food, a huge variety of beers, a state of the art brewing facility and many events for folks to enjoy.

In 2016 Todd Haug left Surly to go work with 3 Floyds Brewing Co in Munster, Indiana. I’m sure he is missed, but he has left the brewhouse in the capable hands of co-lead brewers Jerrod Johnson and Ben Smith.

Surly’s Philosophy: Our philosophy? Make great beerHave funGive a Damn about your community. Be independent. Don’t be a dick.

One of the most amazing things for me is how Surly involves the community and how involved they are in the community as well. Always doing what they can to give back. The annual release of their Russian Imperial Stout, Darkness, has become an event that people travel from across North America to join. There is music, food, beer, and eventually the release of the beer. Only about 10,000 bottles are brewed each year and each person is limited to six. I’ve been lucky enough to get some, but these beers are coveted. Surly partners with artists each year to design the label for Darkness and it’s always super impressive. Surly produces dozens of beers each year from year-rounds to seasonal brews. Every beer I’ve had I’ve enjoyed.

Surly has chosen to expand across the border into Canada and have chose Manitoba as their first foray beyond their own borders. This is a big deal. Surly’s beers are considered top notch in each of the categories they brew. Them coming to Manitoba is not only a huge boon for Manitobans, but it’s a big push to the local brewing community. It can only raise the quality of beer we have access to here in Manitoba. Many of us in the beer community would make treks down to North Dakota to pick up cans of Surly. Now, we can put them in our fridge along side our favorite locals.

While Surly is initially starting with Kegs, they do have plans to start sending cans to Manitoba in the Fall. There is some work to do in getting the cans “Canadianized” (adding milliliters, putting Biére Forte, etc.…) but we will be able to stock our fridges with cans of Todd the Axeman or Furious at some point down the road.

In conversation with Rick and Omar from Surly, Rick shared that Surly is in Manitoba because of the work of Cheryl Thompson at Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries wanted Surly in Manitoba and helped make the logistics side of things work. So, I want to give a big shout out to Cheryl and everyone else who worked so hard to get Surly into Manitoba.

So, check the Liquor Marts website here to see where you can try something from Surly and add them to your list of beers alongside your local and other craft favorites. While I know that I’ll be stocking my fridge with many Surly items, it’s not going to stop me from supporting my favorite local and craft folks. I think everyone in the beer community, including local breweries, would join me in saying “Welcome to Manitoba Surly. We’re glad you’re here”.

Flatlanders Surly Brewing
Surly Crew at Flatlander’s Beer Fest – 2017

-Beer Winnipeg

Flatlander’s Beer Festival – 2017

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Another year and another Flatlander’s Beer Festival has come and gone. Last year I opined that it was the best festival to date. Well, this years was just a smidge better. With the advent of so many new breweries in Winnipeg, more getting close enough that they have beer, and the arrival of Surly (who just raised the bar for beer in this city) it was an awesome festival.

This year I had the opportunity to act as a Beer Geek once again. I love this role and had a fantastic time. Helping people find their way to beers, encouraging going outside of their comfort zone, running into friends and being able to help expand horizons are just some of the fun things you get to do as a beer geek.

Flatlanders Floor Plan
One of the starkest differences I found between last years’ festival and this years as a beer geek was the number of people who knew stuff about beer. While I commented about this last year, I found that many of the people at the matinee were clear on what they wanted to try, what they liked, and had a good base knowledge about beer. Into the evening, chatting with folks about what they enjoyed, I found the same thing. That’s awesome.

This year’s festival grew just slightly over last years with about 88 booths and over 250 beers and ciders from around the world. From what I’ve heard, there were ~2000 in attendance at the Friday night session, ~1500 at the Saturday afternoon matinee and ~2500 at the Saturday night sessions. This is a huge growth from last year that saw just over 4000 for the whole event. Seeing a ~2000 person increase from the previous year’s festival is huge.

Flatlanders 2017 Bowl

The highlights of the festival for me were mostly found at ice level. While there were certainly some good breweries and beers up in the concourse, all the local breweries were on the ice level along with Surly and Lake of the Woods.  Surly was my best in show brewery. I have nothing bad to say about their beers and the Todd the Axeman IPA was by far one of my favourite beers.

Flatlanders Surly Brewing
The Surly crew

My best in show beer for this festival came from Jeff Stacey who brewed a gold medal winning “Intergalactic Blonde” for the Winnipeg Brew Bombers Pro/Am competition. It was the Brew Bombers booth and was just stellar. A huge shout out to all the other local breweries. A lot of good stuff on tap and it was great to see Nonsuch there with their beer. I could take a lot of time just listing the breweries and beers I enjoyed, but with them being local I’ll just encourage you to go out and try beer.

Flatlanders Pro Am Booth

Finally, I had someone ask me what Flatlander’s gives that going to taprooms and the liquor mart doesn’t. For me, Flatlander’s is about giving people the opportunity to expand their beer horizons with the “fear” of not liking something or wasting money. It gives people the chance to try that beer they’ve seen at the Liquor Marts but have been unsure if they want to try it. They can find new beers they love, new styles they enjoy, and learn about these beers and styles.

Besides raising money for a fantastic cause, Flatlander’s Beer Festival gives beer geeks and beer novices an opportunity to learn something new about beer, and find new beers that they love. I’m going to give a big shout out to Steve Beauchesne, co-founder of Beau’s All Natural Brewing, for the awesome talk on an under represented style, the Gruit. Great talk, and great beer. Also to Aaron and Amanda from the Liquor Marts for their efforts during the night. Thanks to you both.

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I can’t wait for next year’s festival. This summer is a great opportunity to get out and try the local beers/new beers coming to Winnipeg. So do it, and keep following along with me. I’ve got more write-ups on the way including a Welcome to Manitoba Surly post, my write-up of my chat with Oxus, and another Get to know a brewer on deck.

-Beer Winnipeg

Brew News

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It’s been awhile since I had the opportunity to sit down and write. As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I’ve been travelling for the past 4 weeks. While I certainly had a fantastic trip – enjoying a variety of interesting and fantastic beers – I felt a bit disconnected from what was happening back in Winnipeg.  While I still have breweries from back east to write about in my “second dispatch” I want to write about some of what happened in the ‘Peg while I was away.

One of the most exciting things involves the guys from Torque. Over a year ago when I first sat down with these guys I was excited, curious and a hesitant about their plan. They wanted to be big, and can right from the get go. I thought this was ambitious and wasn’t sure if they would be able to do it. I should never have doubted! Not only has this team hit their production mark, but they’ve done it while producing some really fantastic beers.

You can get Diesel Fitter American Stout, Witty Belgian Wit, and Red Line IPA at a variety of places around town including King’s Head, Barley Brothers, and The Common at The Forks to name a few. The only place you can get their beer to take home is the Quality Inn Craft Beer Market  who have Torque’s, as well as other local beers, available on growler/howler and in cans. They are the first place in the city to have Torque’s cans in stock. This place has made a name for itself as one of the best spots for craft beer in the city. Along with Barn Hammer, Fort Garry and Half Pints, we can now add Torque to the list of local breweries pumping out beer.

Speaking of which, the second piece of exciting news is that Peg Beer Company has all of its permits and is working on producing this week. According to their Twitter account, 100% this week. I’m pretty excited about that and I’m anxiously awaiting a chance to try their beers.  With Le Burger Week underway, now is the best time to get out to places around the city and try some of this new local beer while enjoying some fantastic eats.

One Great City continues to progress forward and have started on the renovation work in their space. This will be a lot of hard work for the folks behind OGC, but with the posts they’ve been putting on twitter, they seem up for it. With an initial hope of being open in October, I’ll be working to follow up with them again soon.

Brazen Hall continues to progress forward. They’ve got a nice big sign up in front of their space on Pembina and the count-down on the website continues to tick downwards. They also hope to being opening in October and so I’ll be following up with them again soon as well.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned before Beau’s All Natural is distributing cross Canada and it seems like we may be seeing a few more beers arriving in Manitoba before too long.  With Tom Green coming to perform at Rumors Comedy Club from September 22-24, it seems he might be bringing some beer with him.  I’ve heard The Tom Green Beer (Milk Stout) will be the next to show up in Manitoba with their Oktoberfest Mix Pack next on the list.  Watch the Liquor Marts website and Twitter to see when they arrive.  As well, watch this site for some write-ups about the beers as I try them.

It’s an exciting time in Manitoba right now with a number of other breweries on their way to opening. I’ll be meeting with Trans Canada brewing soon, I hope, and following up with Little Brown Jug.  Follow me on Twitter and follow the blog for updates.

-Beer Winnipeg

Barn Hammer Open

Barn Hammer

Yesterday was a pretty special day for the craft beer community here in Manitoba.  Barn Hammer became the first brewery to open since the government changed the regulations.  I’ve been following Barn Hammer since I first heard about them over a year ago and to see this accomplishment is truly awesome.

I went down there for the first day and was surprised that even though I was arriving at 12:50, there were already quite a few people there.  Tyler told me that it had been pretty steady since they opened at noon and from what I heard it got pretty busy there as the day went on.

BH Taproom

They are serving beer in 10oz or 16oz for you to enjoy in the taproom, and then they have their 32oz and 64oz growlers that you can take home.  They have a few baked goods and snacks available and have been working with local food trucks to try and have something available to eat.  The Walleye Wagon was there yesterday serving up some delicious food.

While there have certainly been challenges along the way, delays, and even a few hiccups, it was good to see Tyler and Sable Birch behind the bar seeing their hard work come to fruition.  Brian and assistant brewer Adrian were in the back brewing up a storm to keep up with the demand.

So, get down there to 595 wall street, they are open from noon-9pm again today. Let’s do our best to support local.

Craft Beer Events – June 2016

It has been a little while since I’ve posted anything, it’s been a crazy time of year. Luckily things are returning to a bit of normalcy, just in time for some really fun craft beer opportunities here in the city.

First off is the Coast to Coaster event put on at the Liquor Marts across the city.  This year they are doing 4 separate flights about 2 weeks apart.  Beers from across Canada will be brought into the liquor marts for people to try.  These are beers that we do not normally have and are brought in special for this event.  Some of these are ones we can expect to see on the shelves (hopefully) while others we may not see again.  This event will be running from June 1st – July 31st.

I’m a little disappointed in this years Coast to Coaster. The majority of the beers coming in on the “flights” are lagers, blondes, or pale ales.  I understand that these are great summer beers, but they don’t give an opportunity for Manitobans to try a variety of styles and experiment with what they might or might not like.  There are some interesting beers coming in, and I’m certainly going to try a number of them, but it’d be nice to see a bit more of an adventurous nature in the lists rather than the “safe” choice.  In any case, See the image below for all the beers coming out and which week they will be available.

Coast to Coaster Beers

Second up, The Manitoba Brewers Association is hosting a “meet your local craft brewer” event at Fort Garry Brewing Company on June 22nd. The event is from 5:30pm-8:00pm. This is a great opportunity to sample a few of the beers from these local breweries before getting to try them all at Flatlanders’.  More so, it’s a great opportunity to chat with the breweries who are on their way to opening or still in the planning process.

Tickets are for sale right now and are quite limited.  They are $25 a piece and you can get them here.  I’d really recommend going if you are interested in having a chance to speak with some of the new breweries and find out a bit more of what you can expect.  I’ll be there for sure and you can expect a write-up of all that I learn.

Finally, the big one, Flatlanders’ Beer Festival is coming up on June 24th and 25th (afternoon/evening). Three opportunities to get in and try out some of the new beers coming to Manitoba, especially those from local breweries not yet open.

With over 160 beers from around the globe for people to try, it’s a great opportunity to taste something you’ve never had and to venture out beyond your comfort zone and try something new.  It’s especially great that this year we will see a large number of the new local breweries (Torque, One Great City, Nonsuch, Barn Hammer, and more) offering a chance to try their beer for the first time.

Tickets are still available and I recommend going to this event. In addition to the opportunity to try some local brews no one else has had, there will be beer geeks (I get to be one!) on hand who will be there to answer questions you may have about beers and styles.  As well, there will be education sessions put on by members of the Manitoba Brewers Association, and there will be a lot of beer to try.  You can get tickets here and you can check out the full list of featured beers here.

Hopefully you get the chance to check these events out. I’m certainly going to be enjoying all the opportunities I get to enjoy some craft beer (especially the local stuff).  Also, watch here, as I am going to posting an update on Barn Hammer soon.