Brewer's Blog

So... How are you REALLY doing?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This seems to be the overly-concerned look from some customers lately regarding the state of affairs at Half Pints. Answer: We've been busy! That's a good thing. Our Phil's Pils is rated as one of the top Pilsners in the world by users. And, our Burly Wine recently made the list of the top 10 English style Barleywines in the world over at Yep, we brew world class beer, thanks for noticing.

The boys have had a bit of a struggle to keep up with the bottling for the busy summer season. After all, we are still bottling one at a time by hand, and hand labeling each one. This has lead to the odd day at the most popular Liquor Marts here in Winnipeg where there may be a few scant bottles of our beer left on the shelf until the van shows up and loads in the beer. Note: we've always got beer at the brewery, AND you get the bonus of seeing our smiling faces. Why don't you come here and introduce yourselves?

Possibly some of the concerns come from people who are slightly confused as to the future of Half Pints. We've heard rumours about us being bought out by Fort Garry - which is totally incomprehensible from our point of view. In case you haven't heard, it's Fort Garry being bought out (amalgamated, if you will) by Russell Brewing Company. You can read about it here. Basically, the guys from Russell recently got the contract to supply the beer to BC Place Stadium. Congrats to them for working the deal, but they didn't have enough capacity in their draught only brewery to supply the deal, so they were looking in Canada for a brewery with excess capacity. Low and behold, here sits Fort Garry with tons of extra space, a fancy bottling line, and a new canning line to boot. As long as their shareholders accept the deal, we'll soon see Russell beers in Manitoba, and Fort Garry in BC. Back to the salt mines, boys.

Speaking of Russell, Half Pints was at the Great Canadian Beer Festival recently and we were tent mates with Heads Up, Dead Frog and Russell. All great guys and we had a fun time serving the thirsty throngs on what someone told me was the nicest weekend Victoria had seen all summer long. I didn't really get to taste much beer, as I was working in the booth for the whole weekend, but what I did have at Phillip's Brewing on the Friday night, was a chocolaty dry Longboat Porter, and the ever-tasty ESB. I even got to see some old friends - Dave Neilly, who's now the top beer dog at Wild Rose in Calgary.

My Saturday night was less adventurous, but I did end up at Canoe Brewpub by the harbour for a perfectly done steak and many glasses of ice tea to ward off the heat stroke from my newly acquired sunburn. Note to self: when in Victoria, prepare for everything - cold rain or burning heat. A simple note to brewpub owners in general. Canoe has it right, we could all learn a thing or two. Efficient, friendly, clean, reasonably priced, & a fantastic location. You can see why people rave about this place. It instantly felt like home.

While I was playing Canadian traveler Chris, Zach, and Nicole were serving many small glasses of brew to the crowds at the Flatlander's Beer Festival here in Winnipeg. Supposedly, the Vanilla Stout was a hit and we'll continue to offer up these specialty casks of real ale to keep our fans intrigued. It kind of makes the ticket worth while if you're guaranteed at least a few new beers to wet your whistle.

The Humulus Ludicrous has some of you puckering up with a hoppy face. We like it like that. In case you didn't know, it now holds the record as our fastest selling beer. We moved through the first tank in less than a four days. That's a heck of a lot of bottling for an 8% a/v beer with a ludicrous amount of hops. We're sold out at the brewery now for 660ml. bottles, but still have a few 2 liters here. Perhaps the naysayers will think twice next time they say that Manitobans aren't fans of beer with balls. If you fall into the latter camp, I'd suggest you look what Canada's premier beer writer had to say.

So to summarize: we're as passionate as ever about making world class beer in Winnipeg.

That's how we're REALLY doing.