Brewer's Blog

mmmm... burgers....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This week is Le Burger Week in Winnipeg and Zach and Dot have been busy little bees in getting the bars, pubs and restaurants that we deal with to pair their burgers with our beer in some cases.  Click here to see the creative minds at work!

This Saturday and Sunday we're brewing the Simcoe Spruce Ale with 2013 Half Pints Pro/Am Best of Show winner, Dean Kelly.  We're super excited for Dean to get his hands on the brewhouse and make his beer for everyone to enjoy during the 2014 Pro/Am week - September 29 - October 4th.  The organizing committee has events planned for just about every night that week and we're going to make sure we've got lots of the spruce pale ale on hand so that everyone can have a taste.  Full details to follow.

The brewery staff is busy this week with events at both universities for the first week shenanigans.  Look for them on Friday, but don't neglect your studies in favour of beer, please.  You have a whole year ahead of you and you need to pace yourselves, folks!

September 13th, Dot and I will be out in Dauphin for the Beer & Cash Event at the Watson Arts Center.  We'll get to discuss beery things, have a tasting with some delicious food, then rock the night away with the Johnny Cash cover band:

"Don't miss Beer & Cash on Sat Sept 13 at the Watson Art Center in Dauphin. Johnny Cash fans don't miss the ultimate tribute show , featuring several local performers all covering some of Johnny's all time classics.  Also enjoy some fine Manitoba Craft Beer and Paired food. This Big Ask event will highlight the Man in Black, some tasty exotic beers, and also feature some amazing music. Tickets are $64 each and available at the WAC Ticket Office, The Fiddleore Store, Dauphin Music & Electronics, or by calling 638-6231."

There will be a special order of Half Pints beer sent out to the Dauphin Liquor Mart so the locals can enjoy the brewery's wares post event or if they were unable to attend.

Did you know:

The original name for Little Scrapper IPA was going to be Sucker Punch IPA?
  • We found out that Sucker Punch was taken though, so Little Scrapper was chosen instead.  Also, Little Scrapper was only supposed to be a one time seasonal beer.  Imagine a world without fulltime Scrapper?  Unthinkable!
The original name for St. James Pale Ale was Peg City Draught?
  • The original goal for the beer that would become St. James Pale Ale was to only offer it on draught, because at the time, we were still bottling by hand and knew we couldn't keep up with a beer like it by hand.  When we finally did brew the first test batch at the new brewery on Roseberry we had a new (used) bottling line and it sold out so quickly on draught, we scrambled to make more.  In that time, the decision was made to honour our new home with naming the beer St. James Pale Ale, but it will always be Peg City Draught to me.
We used to deliver beer in a GMC Safari minivan?
  • Not many remember the good old days of delivering our beer in the back of the Safari, that rusted, beer soaked floor served us well for the years we had it.  The drive train dropped out on the way to it being traded in for the current delivery cube van.  Soon, the brewery will have a schnazzy new decaled out delivery truck with an actual loading dock height, and a proper railgate lift for quick delivery turnarounds rather than hand bombing beers into our customer's locations.

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Get ready to Growl

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's no surprise that Growlers are on the horizon for breweries in Manitoba.  The papers have been all over this good news lately.  The MLLC is on a mission to get their pilot program up and running with a tentative starting date in late September.  We're busy working at the brewery trying to get the hardware in place so we're ready to go when we're given the word.  We're looking forward to having an in house outlet for our test batches and direct feedback from the beer folks with their craft beer noses to the ground searching out good stuff.

I'm most excited about not having to explain to our out of town visitors that growlers are not technically legal to fill here.  This happens about 4 times a week, most recently with a lovely couple from Portland, where it seems the beer flows down the streets in open ditches and people can basically bathe in the stuff.  While not true, it is a closer estimation of how craft beer is treated in a responsible modern society with proper access to public and personal modes of transportation.

Jason Foster of was recently extolling the advancement of Portland and Oregon in general when he was talking about the Beer Trucks that can set up at designated food truck areas around the city.  With Winnipeg just starting to get with the times, I can picture a future where we're going to be able to call up the trucks and have a parking lot shindig with beer on tap.  To get there faster, we may need a DeLorean and a flux capacitor.

Or we could simply continue brewing great beer and being vocal about the proper service and treatment thereof.  This approach seems to be working as more craft beer fans realize that their voice does matter and can result in positive change.  Hopefully with the new addition of growlers, other potential breweries realize the benefits of brewing and employing people in Manitoba so the industry can grow as a whole.

And that's something we can all raise a growler to.

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Say it ain't so!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer is winding down by the looks of things.  The Humulus Ludicrous is making its triumphant return to the shelves, so we're in planning mode for September already and gearing up for another brewing of our Oktoberfest.

The big fun news is that Dean Kelly will be in town on September 6/7th to brew his Best of Show winning Simcoe Spruce Ale at the brewery.  This is the beer that beat out 420+ beers from around Canada to earn the Best of Show bragging rights at last year's Half Pints/Winnipeg Brew Bombers Pro/Am.  Good news is that we're brewing a full 3000 liters and the beer will be available all around town at this year's Pro/Am competition during the first week of October.

We've got some sweet new schwag ordered in the form of belt buckles with an integrated bottle opener.  Now when someone comes at you with a beer bottle, you'll know it's for a good reason.  We've even got some more of the fancy marble tile coasters on their way.

The folks at the Cyclocross Nationals are busy putting together a label for the Dead Ringer Belgo-IPA that will be on tap at the race site in late October.  We can't wait to see how cool it will look on a t-shirt.

His Mudder was a Mudder

Monday, July 21, 2014

There's lots of fun stuff happening around the brewery in next few weeks:

We're sponsoring the Mud Hero race - July 26th @ Hill Top Resort. There will be a beer & food tent on site serving delicious Half Pints beer and tasty nibbles from Stella's.

While we're on the subject of racing, we've been working diligently on a beer for the Canadian National Cyclocross Championship being held in Winnipeg at the Forks.  If you'd like to sample the test batch of Belgian IPA, come on down to The Yellow Dog on Tuesday night (July 22nd) for a taste.

Humulus Ludicrous is perking away as you read this.  The 8th Anniversary batch will be unleashed on the public August 9th at the brewery.  Zach is in the midst of planning an Anniversary party for the brewery with a date that is still TBD.

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Rainy day weekends...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Winnipeg weather as of late makes me wish I had a slate of plus 7% abv. beer in the works.  Its like the sky knows I want to ride my motorcycle and then when I do, it slaps me with gale force winds and hail!

So, a bit of a bump in my mental deadline for blog updates here.  I forgot that vacations don't count.  My family headed out to Airdrie week before last, and we did the rounds of Calgary, Banff, and even took in a day at Stampede.

I had the chance to sneak off one afternoon and go see the guys over at Tool Shed Brewing.  They're busy dudes and at the time were still waiting for their brew system to be delivered.  We're looking forward to hooking up with them in the future for a collaboration or two.

I tend to do very little in the way of beer anything while away, but I did get the chance to drop in on the folks at Trackside Liquors in Medicine Hat.  Its always cool to see craft beer treated in a sane manner with refrigeration, knowledgeable staff, and excellent selection.  I came home with a sixer of various sized bottles for our regular Friday Beer Break.  Details to follow.

So despite our best efforts, there seemed to be some confusion as to when this year's Weizen Heimer was to arrive.  I may have had a part in this, as I thought (for some unknown reason) that the date was the 5th.  Turns out it was the 12th all along.  Either way, the beer is delicious, I enjoyed my customary first bottle off the line (Heimer is the only one I insist on this - usually I just sample from the tank).

Let me re-iterate for those of you who haven't taken our flavour training course yet.  The day the Weizen Heimer goes into the bottle is the best that beer will ever taste.  Due to the nature of the esters in wheat beer, the flavours fade quickly, and as such the beer should be consumed very fresh.  If Winnipeg were a warmer climate, I might re-think our brewery strategy and simply brew wheat beers year round.  But alas, it is not, so "Heimer time" is fleeting.  Enjoy yours quickly so the next taste you have (next year) will be the sweeter for it.

Fun stuff coming down the pipeline in the test brew system:

  • another batch of Jeremy's Eastmount ESB which was well received even though his favourite World Cup team didn't make it very far in the tourney.
  • Chris has a wild rice beer of some sort on the go
  • A test batch of Belgian IPA was brewed up for a prelude to the Clyclocross Nationals being held in Winnipeg this year.
  • Jeff the brew student from Niagara College has a Northern English Brown he's working on today for future release.
The next seasonal beer to be brewed is the Humulus Ludicrous, as the brewery's 8th anniversary is coming up fast on August 9th.

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