Tag Archives: Review

Granville Island – Gose with Peach

It’s been fun running this blog for the past 2 ½ years. I’ve learned a lot about beer and about different styles of beer. I also seem to have got a bit of attention from folks as I’ve had people send me beer to try. I’m happy to try beer that people wish to send and I’ll write my honest thoughts about it.  So, I had the opportunity to try out Granville Island’s Small Batch Gose the other day.

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

Granville Island was founded in 1984 by Mitch Taylor. Long-time brewmaster Vern Lambourne joined the brewery in 2002. In 2005, Andrew Peller Wines purchased the brewery from Taylor and renovated the facility beneath Granville Bridge and expanded it into a new larger facility located in Kelowna. In 2009, Molson Coors Canada purchased Granville Island Brewing through its subsidiary, Creemore Springs.

Brewmaster Vern Lambroune stayed with the company until 2015 which led to the hiring of new brewmaster Kevin Emms. Despite the acquisition by Molson Coors, they could keep the original brewery operating on Granville island. This is the facility that develops and produces the small-batch beers which the primary brewing is done at Molson’s Burrard Street plant. What is interesting about this type of setup is that the small-batch brewery has more independence to produce some interesting styles of beers that may not be produced on a large scale.

What I do really like about the brewery is their initiatives towards sustainability and the environment. They are BC’s first Bullfrog Powered brewery and use clean green electricity. They are also part of the Canadian bottle pool which means that their 341 ml bottles are re-used up to 13 times. They also donate their spent grains to farms for animal feed and participate in the Granville Island zero waste initiative.

I’ve learned quite a lot about beer while running this blog and my favorite style to drink and brew is the Gose. While I’m certainly no expert, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on what this style is and how to brew it. I was lucky enough to win a silver a medal for my Strawberry Margarita Gose from the Pro/Am competition here in Winnipeg. So, I love the style and am excited to see more of them being made.

A Gose (GOH-zeh) is a highly carbonated, tart and fruity wheat ale that also has subtle coriander and just a pinch of salt that should come across just at the finish. This style originated in the town of Goslar in the middle-ages. In fact, the name of the beer comes from the Gose river which runs through the town of Goslar. The water from this river had a huge impact on the flavour of the beer and so it’s no surprising it has held this name for so long. This area was known for mining and one of the most abundant minerals present was salt. Some of this salt dissolved into the local groundwater which was used during the brewing of their local beer. Since they didn’t have water softeners or bottled water, they just used what they had and made it work.

After centuries of dominating the beer market in Goslar, the popularity of the style fell. Luckily it was picked up by the German town of Leipzig where it is documented to have been brewed since the 1740s. By chance, the town of Leipzig fell outside of Bavaria where the Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity laws) initially came into effect. Once Germany unified, there were some hoops to jump through, but special considerations were made for this style of beer given its history.

Up until recently, it’s been very hard to find this style of beer. While it started to see a resurgence in the 1980s, it hasn’t been widely available and many people didn’t even know what it was. This is the reason I started brewing it myself, so I could consistently get a good Gose.

Lucky for me and other Gose fans, many breweries seem to be reviving this style. Barn Hammer, Torque and Peg Beer have all brewed Goses recently and we’ve seen breweries from outside Manitoba, Granville included, pick up on the style.

I love this style of beer and the variations that you can play around with. Like a Berliner Weisse, you could even mix a syrup into a straight up Gose, or play on the chracteristics like I did with my Margarita Gose. So, let’s get to this beer.

ABV – 5%
Appearance – Pours a cloudy straw yellow with a nice foamy head that retains well.
Smell – Subtle peach aroma as well as sour, salty notes on the nose.
Taste – Immediate subtle peach sweetness followed by a nice subtle pucker of tartness and a hint of salt on the finish.
Mouth Feel – Light body, high carbonation, nice tart finish with a touch of salt.
Overall Thoughts – Hits on all the points I’d expect to see from a Gose. The sourness was there, likely using lactobacillus, with just a wisp of salt on the finish.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this beer. I felt that it was a good example of a Gose and hit on all the key aspects I like to see in my Goses. The beer has a nice sweetness on front from the peaches that doesn’t mask or take away from any of the other components of this beer.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

Beau’s – Full Time IPA

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Full-Time IPA from Beaus is starting to pop up on shelves in Liquor Marts around the city. So now is the perfect time for a writeup of this beer.

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

Full-Time IPA

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 at this time. 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 showcase 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.

Beau’s has used their skills to bring us a 6.7% abv 60 IBU IPA. This beer has used simcoe, cascade, nelson sauvin and citra hops which will bring out aromas of pine and citrus and tropical fruit. Simcoe and Citra are two of my favorite hops for the profiles they bring. So, how does it taste.

ABV – 6.7%
Appearance – Pours a hazy golden with a nice fluffy white foam that retains well.
Smell – Simcoe hop bringing the pine aroma along with some citrus and tropical fruit notes. Citra has a very distinct smell and comes through nicely.
Taste – Ver similar to the aroma. The pine notes come through from the simcoe on the front followed by the nice citrus juiciness tropical fruit. Finish is a nice dry lingering hop bitterness with those fruit notes hanging around as well.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied, pine and fruit front with a lingering bitterness.
Overall Thoughts – Well balanced IPA bringing good aromas and flavours from the hops. Bitterness is there but not overpowering and the beer is easy to drink.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did like this beer. I don’t always go seeking IPAs these days, but I do enjoy a good one. This is a beer I’d be happy to have in my fridge regularly and I hope I’ll have the chance.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

I’ve got another post coming this week. I had a chance to check in with Stone Angel, so look for that coming tomorrow.

Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

One Great City – Soft Opening

OGC Logo

I had the opportunity to go to One Great City’s invitation opening last night. It was nice to people there enjoying the beer and the food. The space came together nicely and I encourage people to get out and check the place out when they open to the public this Thursday.

Having had the opportunity to visit on a few occasions and see the progress, it was really nice to be able to see the place complete and with everything together. It hasn’t been easy, like with most, to get this place to where it is today. Jon and Tim stuck with it and with the help of their investors and supporters have managed to put together a really nice looking Brew Pub.

They had four of their beers on tap (I’ll get to this in a minute) as well some beer from Half Pints, Torque and Barn Hammer. The bar is made of reclaimed wood and most the furniture in the place was made by the OGC team. While it was a bit hectic and the servers were still working on getting everything figured out, the bartender who served me was knowledgeable and interested in the products that they were selling.

The food that I ordered was the charcuterie plate. I tend to go for this as I enjoy it when I’m tasting beers. It was a plate of meats, crostini and some Dijon mustard. The presentation of the dish was beautiful. The meats were nice and the mustard was really tasty. The rest of the menu looks fantastic and I’m looking forward to trying more food the next time I visit.

(Update June 11, 2017) – I went back for a second visit to try more of the delicious sounding food from the menu. I had the Burger with beer and cheese soup for dinner and the ricotta and brown sugar beignets with maple ice cream for dessert. Everything I had was spot on and absolutely tasty.  I can’t wait to go back and try more.

I tried all four of the beers they had on tap. The flight boards are nice and the overall beer drinking atmosphere was great. The four beers they had were their Monkey Trail Pale Ale, Queen’s Best Bitter, Tipsy Cow Milk Stout and their Belgian Esprit (Wit). They have two other core beers, Falcon Blonde Ale and Mad Scientist Double Eye PA which were not currently available.

The Belgian was quite nice. It was smooth and has an addition of chamomile to it that results in this nice smooth beer with a subtle dry finish. Great traditional wit notes of citrus and pepper. The bitter was good and had that distinct malt sweetness. It was lacking on the bitterness component. It was a bit too malt forward. On the contrary, the Pale Ale was quite hoppy with a good lingering bitterness. The milk stout was very approachable with good lactose sweetness and that creamy characteristic you’d expect. It wasn’t done on nitro, and once it is, I think it will be elevated a bit and bring out the chocolate and roast.

I am interested to see how these beers progress as they’ve been brewed on Torque’s system. As they move over to their own system and work on the scaling I think we might seem some subtle changes in the beers. It also means they’ll get to brew their other core beers and start working on developing seasonal beers to put on tap and sell.

There are plans to do bottles and sell those from the brewery as well as howlers and growlers.

Overall, while there are certainly some opening night hiccups, the beers overall are good. While there will certainly be some modifications made, they’ve got things in a good place. I’m excited to see how things progress and to try future beers from OGC.

One Great City opens to the public for a soft opening from Thursday, June 8th-Saturday June 10th. They will also be at Flatlanders Beer Festival and at the Manitoba Brewers Association Meet a Brewer night tonight at Brazen Hall.

 

Beau’s – Patersbier

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Patersbier from Beaus is starting to pop up on shelves in Liquor Marts around the city. So now is the perfect time for a writeup of this beer.

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

Patersbier (Father’s Beer)

While it might be surprising to some of you, those monks who brew all the delicious Belgian strongs, tripels and quads, do not spend their time drinking these high alcohol beers. If they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t get a whole lot done. Instead, they brew this style of beer, a lighter variety called Patersbier (literally “Father’s Beer” in Dutch). They drink this beer instead of their high ABV products to allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labour while still being able to carry on the tasks of the day.

This style of beer is also known as an Enkel (single in Dutch) a name that likely comes from when the monks do an additional sparge on the grains to extract any remain sugars and then then use this collected sparge water to brew a highly sessionable beer. Singles from Trappist breweries are rarely available outside of the monasteries. So if you want to try one from a true Trappist monastery, you might have to travel.

Lucky for us, Beau’s has used their brewing skills to produce for us a Patersbier we can enjoy. With the weather warming up, these low ABV beers are a godsend for those days toiling away out in the sun on gardens, mowing lawns, or playing your favorite sport. So, how does it taste?

ABV – 4.7%
Appearance – Pours a light yellow with a slight haze, likely from acidulated malt and wheat malt, with a small bit of white foam that dissipates quickly.
Smell – Sweet notes of honey and subtle floral notes as well as some bready notes from the malt.
Taste – Sweetness on the front with a bit of an odd metallic note, as well with notes of lemon, and a touch of clove as well a bit of pepperiness.
Mouth Feel – Light bodied, clean drinking, good finish and rather refreshing.
Overall Thoughts – Overall this beer comes as described. The beer is easy to drink and has some nice flavour notes to it. It is a touch metallic upfront which is a bit odd. Despite that, the beer is as described, a great lawnmower beer that is refreshing and tasty.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this. Despite the somewhat odd metallic note which wasn’t overly noticeable and easy to ignore, the beer was well done. It is refreshing and has some of those same Belgian characteristics that you get from other abbey style beers.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

I’m really looking forward to next week. Not only do we have the Manitoba Brewers’ Event happening down at Brazen Hall on June 6th, we also have Surly arriving in town on June 7th and Flatlanders’ Beer Festival coming up the weekend. It’s a pretty sweet time to love beer in Winnipeg and I’m psyched to partake as much as I can.

Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

Beau’s – Buenos Dias Gruit

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s.

I did a pretty in-depth write-up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Now I know I said I’d do the Patersbier next, but Beau’s Buenos Dias gruit is already here in town. So, I figured I’d write about it first. Hope you don’t mind. On to my review of their Buenos Dias Gruit.

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

Buenos Dias – Gruit

Gruits are an ancient style of beer that finds it origins somewhere around 700 CE. The Gruit reached the height of its consumption between the 9th and 13th centuries. Like many other ancient beer recipes, it was the women from whom this ale was produced. The recipe would be passed down through the generations. As time progressed, it shifted to being a task done within monasteries. The monastic communities gained economic prowess, having the best harvests, the best fabrics, etc… and they soon moved into producing beer.

During this time the gruit was a lot different from what we find today. Being made of an often-top-secret blend of herbs and spices. During the height of its popularity, the Gruitier was held in high regard and often had body guards to help protect the recipe. Holding positions of high regard and often luxurious houses, gruitiers all proclaimed their recipe to be the best and often boasted healing or medicinal properties. The use of the herbs and spices had a more practical reason, to keep the beer from spoiling. As hops were not used, these beers needed some other means of keeping for longer periods.

Today, a Gruit is a top-fermented ale that will still use blends of herbs, spices, or citrus. Most gruits produced today do use some level of hops but do so in a way that it imparts no hop flavour on the beer itself. Rather, these beers focus on being clean and imparting flavours from the use herbs, spices and botanical. The Buenos Dias gruit from Beau’s that we are trying today uses lime, orange, coriander and salt.

ABV – 4.5%
Appearance – Pours a light yellow with a slight haze, likely from acidulated malt and wheat malt, with a small bit of white foam that dissipates quickly.
Smell – Easily identifiable notes of citrus from the lime and orange with subtle notes of coriander.
Taste – A clean drinking beer with a nice lime note, much more pronounced than the orange. There is a bit of a salty note there as well that leaves a dry finish.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with nice bubbles and a dry salt finish.
Overall Thoughts – Having not had many gruits to compare this too, I can’t say. This beer certainly seems to hit the notes for the style and provides a nice clean enjoyable beer. I like the use of salt and think it pairs well with the lime.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did enjoy this beer. Having made a Margarita Gose myself, this is right along those lines minus the sourness. It’s a great warm weather beer and is refreshing.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

I’ll be meeting with Adrienne Johnson from Barn Hammer this week for the next installment of my “Get to know a Brewer” series. So watch for that soon as well as my review of Beau’s Patersbier.

Thanks for following along.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Beau’s – Haters Gonna Hate

I’ve got a few more Beau’s Beers that have been sent my way for review. I feel lucky to be able to get these beers in advance from Beau’s so that I can taste them and give my thoughts. I’ve got three beers on the way this week, but I’m gonna do each as a separate post as I drink the beer. Today’s will be Beau’s Imperial Koslch – Haters Gonna Hate.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

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

Haters Gonna Hate – Imperial Kolsch

A Kolsch is a style of beer originating in Cologne, Germany. It is a top fermenting beer that has been brewed since the middle-ages. The “koslch” that we drink today wasn’t produced until the 1800s to combat the bottom-fermenting pale lagers which were being produced in other regions of Germany and Europe.

Kolschs are clean, crisp and delicately balanced with subtle fruit notes and subdued hoppiness. As this is an Imperialized version of Lug Tread, it has a higher ABV and is much hoppier than a typically kolsch, on purpose.

When we talk about “imperializing” a beer, we really mean that we’ve amped it up. More malt and hop provide a higher ABV and more robust beer than it’s counterpart. 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. Today we use Imperial, or Double, to denote a beer that is a stronger version of the named style.

Beau’s describes the creation of this imperial Kolsch as such:

“Though first brewed by in 2015, the history of Haters Gonna Hate goes way back to 2006 and the very first batch of Lug Tread, Beau’s flagship lagered ale (a.k.a. Kölsch). Due to some faulty beer-making equipment, it ended up “imperialized” – that is, brewed to higher strength and intensity than intended. With the release of Haters Gonna Hate, Beau’s has opted to recreate this happy accident on purpose. In fact, the name of the beer is a bit of a cheeky tribute to those events as well.”.

 

So, let’s get into the beer and see what it’s like.

ABV – 7.1%
Appearance – Pours a golden-orange colour with a good 2” head that retains well
Smell – Hop notes are apparent right up front with a crisp fruity note which is likely from the nelson sauvignon hops.
Taste – Hop notes come through right away with a pop. It’s a surprise in fact and quite pleasant. The fruit notes are reminiscent of passion fruit and mango with a nice crisp bitter finish.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation with nice bubbles and a bitter crisp finish.
Overall Thoughts – While certainly not at all like Lug Tread, this beer is crisp with a noticeable bitterness and great flavours from the hops.
Do I like it? – I really liked this beer. The hop notes weren’t overly prominent and it certainly wasn’t reminiscent of an IPA. It had a nice hop kick to it that complimented the crisp underlying beer well. It was clean with great flavours and was easy to drink. I’d love to have this beer again.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate. This beer will be making it’s way to Manitoba in the near future, so keeps your eyes peeled.

Next up I’ll be writing about Beau’s Patersbier. I just should drink it first.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Brazen Hall

Brazen Hall Logo

It’s spring! I just got back a little while ago from a trip to the Maritimes. It’s always fun to see family and spend some time trying the new beers that have come out in that region. While away, there were several happenings and it seems to be getting busier around Manitoba in respect to beers and breweries.

Torque has new beer coming out and have be consistently putting interesting stuff on at the taproom. The MBBA released a social pack containing a collaboration India Pale Lager along with beers from other local breweries. Half Pints has been making great use of their taproom and have consistently been releasing new beers and test batches. Barn Hammer and PEG have been doing much the same with taproom only releases and experimental beers. Frankly, it’s hard to keep up but a lot fun to see everything happening.

I made a short little post about the opening of Brazen Hall a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to make certain to do a more thorough post, so here we are.

Brazen Hall is a new brewery and kitchen located on the site of the old Round Table and Brogue pub on Pembina highway. I had the opportunity to stop in during the construction period and have written about the plans for the Brewpub at that time. I must say that while slightly delayed from their original target, the space is well redesigned. It has some flare connected with the “Brazen” concept and the Viking theme. The door handles at the entrance doors are mock swords which I think is a neat little touch.

When I visited, there were three beers available on tap, an amber ale, experimental bitter and a dark IPA. What was a bit surprising was that the ABV on these beers. While the amber ale came in at a pretty standard 4.9%, the experimental bitter and dark IPA were at 2.8% and 3.2%. These low ABVs seemed a bit off and at first I thought was a mistake. Overall the beers were good. While they weren’t exactly what I was hoping for and I found the IPA to fall a bit flat for me, I enjoyed them all the same.

The food is a pretty eclectic mix of options with some remnants of the old Brogue (candied bacon and a burger with crispy cheese) as well as the star of the round tables menu, prime rib. There were a few menu options not yet available as they are waiting on a smoker. Look at the full beer and food menus.

I spoke with Kristian during my visit and he told me that they are going through about 3000L of beer a week. They are having a tough time keeping up with demand and have ordered another fermenter to try to keep up. This means that until they have their own house taken care of, they won’t be doing any commercial sales of their beers. It’s still early days and they are still nailing down some of what will be their “staples” so this makes sense.

Overall my experience there was enjoyable. The food was great, the beers were good, and the space itself was fantastic. I’ll be visiting again to see how the beer options progress and to try the food again once they get that smoker installed.

I’ll be trying to check in with a few other breweries soon. TransCanada, Oxus, and Nonsuch are on the list. I’m also working to setup my next “Get to know a brewer” interview with Adrienne Johnson from Barn Hammer. So, keep following along. We are entering the Coast to Coaster and Flatlanders seasons before long and I expect we will be seeing some interesting things happening/arriving here in Winnipeg over the coming months.