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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year to one and all.

We had a great time this holiday season and were thankful to even get some time to relax at home and hang out with the family. It's kind of odd when we get a few days in a row off and you're not really sure what to do with yourself. So I baked some tasty sourdough baguettes which actually had the rank sourness I was looking for - it's taken my culture 2 months to develop right.

On the brewery front, the "Beer Olympics" were held and my lovely assistant brewer Chris took home the 12 year old bottle of Rum. Trash talking the athletes and placing hexes on the beer are strictly encouraged during this event. To achieve this greatness, Chris bottled a case of beer in less than 4 minutes and 33 seconds. However, I believe the hexing worked, as the first bottle I tried to fill blew up all over the place. I think it was rigged, but I'll try to outdo the guys next year in some equally idiotic task like keg hurling or bottle juggling.

This will be the last year we'll be able to have the Case bottling event for our Brewlympics. The guys have been mighty patient and in early December, we bought a used bottle filler for them. We're just in the process of getting the labels, boxes and logistics worked out so we can get down to the real business and start filling bottles automatically. By the time we're finished with the hand bottler, I estimate we'll have filled 210, 000 bottles one at a time by hand. We've had enough 14 hour days, and hope you appreciate the carpal tunnel syndrome we've acquired by keeping you stocked with real craft beer.

Our Burlywine is now sold out at the brewery. You may still find the odd bottle at your local Liquor Mart but I'd suggest you mark December 6, 2008 on your brand new calender right now. That's the day that we will release the new vintage of Burlywine at the brewery. I do think we need to provide some flapjacks and coffee for those in line so we'll try to plan that party well in advance.

Speaking of providing, our fine customers managed to raise a total of $424 for Winnipeg Harvest through the Leg Lamp Draw. The winner, Mike Harris was happy to have the lamp and celebrate the arrival of a new baby girl on the same day. Congratulations Mike!

Chris and I will be heading out to Regina for the Festiv Ale on February 1 & 2nd. We'll be bringing a couple of beers from the upcoming Holy Trinity Series of Belgian inspired ales, plus a couple of our regulars.

The Father is to be release this weekend (January 5th) with the Son following on January 19th, and the Holy Spirit on February 2nd.

FYI for everyone: this year's version of the Father has a slightly revised malt bill for it. Rather than going for a totally Vienna Malt based brew, we mixed it up and used some pale malt, with a larger percentage of Munich malt for the grain. This brings the Father more in line with the traditional flavour of a true Belgian style Dubbel and will let the fruit/spice character of the yeast shine through the glass a bit better. While I was happy with last years version, I do think we needed more balance between the toasted malt character and the alcohol. It looks like some of the online raters agreed so I'll encourage them to give the new version a re-rate, too.

New Year's Resolution:
I hate em' with a passion, but I think I need to lay down the gauntlet for myself by professing in print that I plan on putting out three new beers this year. The first of which, you'll all be seeing in early spring. No hints yet, but suffice to say we'll all get to have a good chuckle and a mighty tasty brew too...