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by Stephen Beaumont

When I first began writing about beer almost three decades ago, the Canadian craft beer scene, what we still referred to then as ‘microbrewing,’ was for all of its revolutionary appeal a fairly straight-laced movement. Beer styles were largely limited to the European classics – pilsners and best bitters and pale ales, plus the occasional stout or porter – while properly strong beers were as rare as hen’s teeth, hoppy ales were only slightly more commonplace, and if you wanted something even vaguely Belgian in style, you’d better have been looking in Québec.

This, of course, has change considerable over the years since, but it took some time. Travelling south of the border as I did frequently back then, I was able to see all that was going on in the U.S. and return home quite envious of the variety and experimentalism our neighbours put on display in all but a couple of regions of the country, the mountain states outside of Colorado and the deep south being particularly slow developers. In contrast, for most English Canadian brewers, ‘conservatism’ was the watchword and ‘tried and true’ the mantra.

It took until the twenty-first century for IPAs to become more commonplace, and a few years after that for brewers to begin playing around with barrels and bugs, Brettanomyces not making much of an appearance until well into the second decade of the century. Speaking generously, it was about 20 years after the founding of Granville Island Brewing that Canadian brewers got serious about creative brewing.

Contrast that with some of the markets I’ve seen develop over the past fifteen years or less, dating back to the now-wildly successful Italian craft beer marketplace.

Although craft brewing came to the country in the 1990s with the opening of Birrificio Italiano and Baladin, as recently as a dozen years ago drinking beer in Italy was very much a hit-or-miss proposition, with mediocre or poor beers outnumbering the impressive ones by a considerable margin. By the time of the first edition of The World Atlas of Beer in 2012, however, I was touting the Italian scene as “one of the most innovative and intriguing” in the world.

That progress over the course of a mere six years was amazing enough, but little did I then know how that pace would soon appear positively laggardly.

I began watching the slow build of Brazil’s youthful craft beer culture in 2011, yet only scant years later was touting it as the market leader in South America and one of the most exciting young craft beer markets in the world. I then shifted my gaze northwest and arrived at a Mexican movement that was developing so quickly that a gap of two years between visits saw substantial improvements in all the major brewing regions, from the Baja California to the capital district and Guadalajara.

And early this spring I returned to Catalonia in Spain after last visiting three years prior. During that earlier visit, roughly one in every three or four beers sampled was fundamentally flawed in some way, while very few beers recommended by those ‘in the know’ could excite this beer taster. In 2018, on the other hand, brewery after brewery impressed and of some 140 beers sampled the number that seriously disappointed could be counted on the fingers of one hand, with a couple of digits left over!

Of course, comparing Canada of 1995 with Spain of 2018 is hardly fair, since knowledge and available resources are far more plentiful today than they were a quarter century ago. But that the pace of beer improvement around the world is increasing at such a remarkable rate is cause for celebration for any beer-savvy drinker, and especially so for those who enjoy travelling and would like access to a fine ale or lager or two when they do. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Short Sips with Stephen Beaumont

A corner dedicated to bringing you insight from industry author and beer connoisseur, Stephen Beaumont.

Twitter: @BeaumontDrinks

 

 

 

 

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Les Brasseurs Du Petit Sault is the only brewery on the East Coast that was apart of the Pink Boots Collab Brew this year. It is also their fourth year partaking in this brew and this year they joined up with head brewer, Wendy Papadopoulos from Big Tide Brewing. The joint decision was to take one of their signature ales, the Phemie-la-Bootlegger and elevate it a notch for this brew.

LUNDY DALE

“PHEMIE – LA-BOOTLEGGER”

STYLE: Chocolate Porter

ABV: 5.3% IBU: 23 SRM: 31 OG: 12 Plato

A collaboration beer between Wendy Papadopoulos from Big Tide in Saint John and Petit Sault brewery in Edmundston, in French-speaking northwest New Brunswick, near the Quebec border.  Brewed by women, this porter was named after Edmundston’s infamous Phémie, a mother who supplemented her income by bootlegging. It pours dark brown, with a thin brown head that’s easy to rouse, but dissipates quickly. The nose is forward, with chocolate/mocha notes. The palate is clean, repeating the chocolate from the nose, with a hint of sweetness. It is smooth, easy drinking and medium bodied, with low bitterness and a dryish finish. It’s not complicated, but it is well made and tasty. As the label says, “…elle est tellement bonne que c’en est presque illegal.”

CRAIG PINHEY

There is a distinct chocolatey sweetness to the nose of this black porter, which an examination of the label reveals to have come from a combination of cacao and local maple syrup. And on a return sniff, the maple does indeed become apparent, although if you weren’t looking for it you might not notice.

In the body, however, the beer shows notably greater sweetness than it does in its more balanced aroma. Something like cocoa syrup greets the taster at the outset, with a moderately sugary mix of molasses and maple notes backed by weak coffee defining the mid-palate. Credit where credit is deserved, however, there is a nice, and frankly unexpected, drying and mild bittering on the finish. With slightly greater strength, I think this would suit me a lot more, but as it stands it seems overly sweet for its weight.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT

CRAIG PINHEY

One of the all-too-common sins in the beer world these days is the release of Brettanomyces-affected beers too early, since such brews require months to condition properly, without which they become simply odd-smelling ales. Magic Touch, I’m pleased to note, is not such a sinner, with a lovely complexity integrated into the aroma of this hazy golden beer: Imagine a perfumey bowl of slightly overripe fruit – mandarin oranges, peaches and pears – coupled with slightly musty wood and accents of hay and black pepper. On the palate, that aforementioned wood comes across a trifle too forcefully, but gets support and moderation from a mildly tart peach, apricot and orange fruitiness and considerable peppery spice, all of which starts lightly sweet and dries to a mildly bitter and yes, woody finish. I suspect that the strong wood notes are due to the youth of the foeder (large wooden tun) in which this has been conditioned, and that will ease as more brews make their way through the barrel, resulting in even better Magic Touches to come.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT

 

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This was year one for Bomber Brewing hosting the Pink Boots Society’s “Pink Boots Collaboration Brew” and year four for me being a part of the team in Vancouver. Every aspect of this brew was a true collaboration, with Claire Wilson, head brewer of Dogwood Brewing (and also our Pink Boots host in 2015 & 2016), alongside Ashley Brooks from Four Winds (last year’s host) with lead brewer Rachel Young of Bomber. Ashley also provided some special Four Winds yeast that upped the juiciness factor to complement the beer style. Several other women were there to help with the grunt work (have you seen how much grain needs to be shovelled out of a mashtun) and collectively coming up with the name, “Pink Haze”. It was such a great time and a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow women in the industry. Looking forward to next brew!

LUNDY DALE

“PINK HAZE”

Style: New England India Pale Ale

ABV: 7.2% IBU: 48 SRM: 8.5

I knew that the “Pink” in this beer’s name referred to the Pink Boots Society, but was nevertheless relieved when it poured a hazy – not turbid – medium gold rather than something resembling a rosé. The real “pink,” it would seem, was reserved for the aroma, which boldly proclaims red fruit like strawberry, red currant and even a hint of pomegranate.

If the “New England” in the name of this beer is a reference to the style known as New England IPA, or ‘neepa,’ then Bomber and Pink Boots missed the memo on the aroma-forward nature of the style, because this offers both aromatics and bitterness, as do all-too-few neepas. The front delivers some more berry fruitiness, but I believe most of that to be retro-olfactory. There is also a good deal of herbal and even slightly piney bitterness lurking behind the fruit, flourishing in the mid-palate. The fruit theme continues satisfyingly into the quite dry finish, though, with very soft hints of dried strawberry and currant completing the profile of this balanced and flavourful west coast take on a “north east” beer.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT

Bursting with fruity hop character, this ale exemplifies the increasingly popular New England IPA style. Citrus hop aromas of grapefruit and tangerine mingle with passion fruit, papaya and apricot topped with a floral hint of roses. A sweet, bready malt flavour with notes of honey sets the stage for the juicy hop flavours which mirror the fruity aromas. Unlike traditional IPA styles, the balance of this beer is fairly even with hop bitterness supporting the sweetness of the malt and hop flavours. The finish is slightly dry, with a subtle piney bitterness lingering on the palate. The beer is hazy as expected for this style with a straw colour and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Juicy and refreshing, this hop forward ale makes a great patio companion.

AMANDA NEALE

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The World of Beer Festivals and Their Advantage of Breweries

By: James Burt

When asked about partaking in beer festivals, Rebellion Brewing Company’s Mark
Heise of Regina, Saskatchewan distinguished between participation and patronage
with slight humour.

“I actually don’t enjoy festivals as an attendee,” he said. “Too crowded. But we built
brand awareness for Rebellion out of taking part in them, so they are important. If
you want people to know about your beer, a festival is an inevitable option.”
Not many months pass on a Canadian calendar that a beer festival isn’t in operation
in some city or public space. Given that so many breweries have risen within the last
decade, Canadian beer festivals are as plentiful as ever. They aren’t just industry
events either—many parlay new and established breweries with musical
showcases, food trucks, and even children’s activities akin to a circus or country fair,
something Heise has witnessed several times.

“A lot of Saskatchewan beer festivals are ‘cabaret’,” he said. “They are held in halls
with music or performances. It’s a great excuse for people to get out, go to a hall, and
try some beer while seeing a show you can’t get anywhere else.”

With many breweries seeing increased number of beer festivals in Canada and the
United States, many have opted to pare down which ones they attend.

“They’re all the ‘liquid-to-lips’ situations, where you have a lot of people under one
roof trying beer. That’s great,” said Red Thread Brewing Company’s managing
partner Carl Milroy of Newmarket, Ontario. “But we’ve been approached by many
festivals to come and take part but there are only so many you can realistically be a
part of.”

Beer and brewery festivals are unquestionably communal, exciting events, but many
breweries, especially newer ones, need to make note of key concepts when
attending them and what strategies to utilize if they wish to simultaneously join the
beer festival circuit to gain attention to their wares while seeing any success for
themselves.

“You’ve got to get the right information down before you even go,” Milroy said. “How
much is it going to cost? How much is the sample size? The festival organizers often
underestimate how many people are going to show up so you should always bring
extra beer. The only other downside is that certain organizers start charging more
to be part of the festivals due to their own increasing popularity year-to-year.”
“The costs can be huge,” added Heise. “In Regina, you’ll likely spend a good two
thousand dollars at a weekend festival and get only five hundred dollars in revenue.

You’ve got to pick festivals case-by-case and be wary of the festival snake oil of,
‘Well, you’ll get exposure of two hundred people if you come to our festival.’ That’s
not always going to pan out as they describe, so you have to choose the festival you
want to be part of. Whichever one fits your needs and budget, you want to
(re)attract loyal fans.”

Increasingly, breweries themselves are hosting their own festivals and giving a stage
for their own local brewing and artistic creativity. This includes being the festival
organizers and/or brewing special beer for that particular festival.

“We put on a cask festival every April,” said Heise. “We’re very proud of that—there
wasn’t much cask culture in Saskatchewan before our festival and we include
breweries from Manitoba and Alberta in attendance. We also host an IPA festival
which we brew a special cask IPA for.”

“We’re launching our own festival in mid-June,” added Milroy. “We’ve got a good
space in Newmarket with a kind of small town feel. We’re expecting a good turn
out.”

A look at upcoming events in a calendar year helps many new breweries create their
own beer festival strategy, even right in their own areas and in terms of how much
preparation to do beforehand.

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Rob Symes

Honey isn’t just for bears, its for beers too, with a long history dating back 15 millennia. Here’s the buzz:

13,000 BC: Our distant ancestors daub primitive paint on the walls of a cave, indicating that early man has started to collect honey from wild bee colonies. Beer has still not been invented (though neither has the wheel).

7,000 BC: The first beehives show up in the Middle East. We know this from beeswax found in broken pottery that dates to this time. Honey = fermentation, so good things are around the corner.

2,700 BC: King Midas is interred with a brew that contains barley, grapes, honey and saffron. Beverage historian, Dr. Patrick McGovern calls this ‘Phrygian grog’ and partners with Sam Calgione of Dogfish Head to recreate it for modern consumers. Midas Touch proves to be popular in the beer community, as does its partner honey brew – Chateau Jiahu, which predates Midas by six thousand years, but arguably is even less beer like due to uncertainty over whether it contained barley.

1000 BC: The Picts begin their ascendancy as Scotlands leading tribe – a position they will hold for centuries. Abetted by plentiful heather, they begin producing braggot, a real cross-over brew that edges the character of honey brews ever so slightly closer to beer.

775: The Vikings are just one of several European cultures who are drinking mead. Predominantly brewed by women, Viking mead is powerful stuff, and predates beer in their civilization. However, as the centuries progress, mead begins to fall out of favour, and beer begins its ascendancy. Honey sticks around as a flavouring, frequently turning up as a sweetener in brews.

1988: Sleeman Brewery returns, having previously lost its license in the 1930s for bootlegging. Once created, their Honey Brown Lager will becoming the leading honey beer brand in Canada. Its not the first modern North American honey beer, but it will be most Canucks intro to the style.

Mid-1990s: The Vaux brewery in England creates Waggle Dance – a beer made with 20 percent honey. Its marketed as “The Original Honey Beer” – a claim throughly debunked by noted beer legend Michael Jackson, who dismisses it as “rather extravagant” given several thousand years of evidence to the contrary.

Post-2000: Honey beers begin to pick up pace as interest in local products and regional flavours grows. Craft brewers had always been pioneers in this space and begin to lay down their marker in style, incorporating honey into every conceivable type of brew.

2006: Colony Collapse Disorder is coined to describe a startling decline in bee populations. It applies whenever half of a colonies worked bees disappear, and it becomes so well-known that the plight of the honey bee enters public consciousness. Unsurprising, this brings out the best in people, and backyard bee-keeping flourishes as part of an informal effort to help pollinators. In turn, this filters into home brewing as honey makes its way from hive to garage.

2011: White House Honey Ale becomes the first beer known to have been brewed in the Whitehouse. Using his own funds, President Obama purchases a home-brew kit and his team of chefs incorporate honey collected from the bee hives on the South Lawns. The ale is the first of four to be brewed and served to celebrities and politicians alike, with a blonde ale, porter and brown all joining the mix – all with added honey.

 

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For a brewery that is not even 1 ½ years old, 2 Crows has become a well-received brewery in the world of barrel-aged sours. The husband and wife team, Mark & Kelly Huizink along with brewer Jeremy Taylor opened in late January of 2017 with an impressive line up of unique beers and already were prepping themselves with a foedre ( a large wooden barrel for long term fermentation or aging) for future beers. Their first foedre-aged release was in July of 2017. The “Magic Touch” Golden ale was one of five beers released in honour of their one year anniversary.

LUNDY DALE

“MAGIC TOUCH”

STYLE: Foedre – aged golden ale

ABV: 6.8% IBU: 22 SRM: 4.4 OG: 1.056 FG: 1.004

This golden ale captures two hot trends in beer these days: wood aging and brettanomyces wild yeast fermentation.  This ale pours hazy gold, with a white, frothy and creamy head that lingers for pretty much the entire duration of drinking. The nose is an intriguing combination of fruit (grapefruit/tropical) and spicy/funky brett, but it isn’t cursed with the unpleasant hospital/used bandaid (or worse) characteristics that can happen with brett. There’s a strong, fresh, citrus undercurrent to the palate, balanced by slightly sour, bretty notes, but they are quite subtle. According to their website they used brett claussenii, a strain that is subtle in terms of brett funk and known for producing pineapple notes. The body is medium, and the higher alcohol is not very noticeable. It finishes dry and clean. What is not evident, however, is significant wood influence. A foedre is a large oak barrel. The one used for this beer is an old one that used to contain Calvados (French apple brandy). It had been used for beer a couple times before this. They don’t use it to add oak character, but because it maintains the wild yeast/bacteria population after making a beer with those cultures. Who knows what will come out of that foedre next?

CRAIG PINHEY

One of the all-too-common sins in the beer world these days is the release of Brettanomyces-affected beers too early, since such brews require months to condition properly, without which they become simply odd-smelling ales. Magic Touch, I’m pleased to note, is not such a sinner, with a lovely complexity integrated into the aroma of this hazy golden beer: Imagine a perfumey bowl of slightly overripe fruit – mandarin oranges, peaches and pears – coupled with slightly musty wood and accents of hay and black pepper. On the palate, that aforementioned wood comes across a trifle too foecrefully, but gets support and moderation from a mildly tart peach, apricot and orange fruitiness and considerable peppery spice, all of which starts lightly sweet and dries to a mildly bitter and, yes, woody finish. I suspect that the strong wood notes are due to the youth of the foeder (large wooden tun) in which this has been conditioned, and that will ease as more brews make their way through the barrel, resulting in even better Magic Touches to come.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT

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The Re-Discovery of Mead and Its Growing Influence in Canadian Beer

By: James Burt

Ancient Elixirs

“Mead’s one more thing that people can add to their basket on a sampling night,” said Trafalgar Brewery co-founder Eric Dornan of Oakville, Ontario. “Sure it’s a niche market but people are starting to dabble in it more and more.”

Trafalgar Brewery has seen growing interest in mead firsthand with its Chai Mead and Mead Braggot releases. Dornan pointed to today’s media as an influence in driving people to discover mead for themselves.

“With all the popularity around Vikings and Game of Thrones on television or in print, fans see the characters drinking mead and want to seek it out for themselves. It’s interesting even how Trafalgar came to mead: fifteen years ago, the former owner was asked to brew it for a renaissance festival—a pumpkin-cranberry mead. We’ve been making it ever since then.”

Dornan’s references to historical fiction are perhaps necessary to understand both the history of mead and its revival in the modern age. Reading on the history of beer, one will inevitably discover mead, the ancient alcoholic drink that dates back to both ancient China and later prominently in Ancient Greece. Unlike beer, a drink based in fermented grain, mead comes from fermented honey. Any party that kept beehives through time, from monasteries to Norse armies, could make mead, flavouring it with fruit and spices.

Today, mead is often a choice product of select wineries.

“Mead has the same base as ice wine, just without bubbles. Something sweet being fermented,” said Planter’s Ridge Winery’s Janine Radul of Port Williams, Nova Scotia. “We add the bubbles later, in a brewery. For some of our drier meads, we stop fermentation early to get the flavour we want.”

Crossover Potential

It’s not surprising that amidst the revival of lost or vintage styles of beers that mead is gaining prominence. What is surprising however is its modern incorporation aspects of beer in its brewing process, resulting in the form of the mead-beer crossover of braggot.

“We are a brewery so we use hops and barley as we have before,” said Dornan. “But with mead, we only use marginal amounts of both to create the braggot. In the end, it’s about fifty-fifty of wild flower honey and barley.”

The mixing of grain and honey to make braggot has paralleled with brewers creating meads the same way session brewers concoct experimental beers. Trafalgar has expanded its product line with mead to include its Chai mead, a mixture of masala chai tea, mead, and barley, plus a Braggot and Peach Mead line.  

“You often have to explain these products to everyone and the public can be a bit suspicious,” said Dornan. “It’s half this and half that, but people are often willing to give it a go once you do.”

Regional Resources and Growth

Just as small batch and independent beer has helped facilitate wheat and hop production, mead has also lent itself to the growth of regional resources that go into mead’s production, allowing even more systemic growth in several offshoots of the beer and beverage industries.

“We source our honey from bee keeper Perry Brant in Wolfville, Nova Scotia,” said Radul. “He’s got ninety-five hives and is working as a sustainable beekeeper. Four hundred pounds of honey yields five hundred litres of mead, so we tend to use quite a bit.”

As Planter’s Ridge’s director of sales, Radul has also concocted unique ideas to promote their mead lines.

“Since people aren’t very familiar with mead, we’ve found that doing meal events where we can present a flight of mead to pair the drinks with the food.”

“There are government hits you have to get over to get meads on the shelves,” added Dornan. “But how different is that from beer today? Mead doesn’t have the same competition level as beer today does so it’s interesting to consider how the future will play out for mead and braggot.”

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By: Jesse Reynolds

Beer’s potential is infinite. From a blank slate, you can use a multitude of ingredients to build a recipe to be as complex as you want it to be.

But sometimes you don’t want complex. Sometimes, particularly on a hot day, you just want to sit in the sun and crush a cold beer or six. On such a day, what better to drink than a style commonly nicknamed “lawnmower beer”?

Cream Ale is an excellent style for the homebrewer because it has all the simplicity and drinkability of a lager, but doesn’t require low fermentation temperatures and cuts the time between brewing and drinking in half.

With roots in Canada and the Northeastern United States, this ale variety originated in the 1800s as an alternative to lagers which were becoming more popular at the time. Its light gold colour, somewhat corny malt sweetness and low-medium hopping offers a similar beer to a typical American Lager, but with slightly more character and complexity.

Highly carbonated, highly thirst-quenching and absolutely gorgeous to look at, the speedily-produced Cream Ale is an underrated variety nowadays. Some microbrewers are beginning to pay attention, and as the demand for craft lagers increases we may start seeing more Cream Ales on beer store shelves.

This recipe should produce a clean, crisp, straw gold beer with hints of sweet malt and corn. The balance of the finished beer is fairly even, but the malt and adjuncts do most of the heavy-lifting.

Using a portion of 6-row malt in addition to 2-row helps break down the sugars in the corn and rice, increasing fermentability and lowering the amount of corn flavour to a desirable level. The flaked corn also imparts colour and a slight sweetness, while the flaked rice keeps the beer crisp without adding much else. A bit of Carafoam will increase the body, which could otherwise be thin like a Light Lager, and provide a frothy white head.

The hop selection skews toward American hops, but these varieties were specifically grown to imitate the spicy, floral notes of German noble hops. 20 IBU is the upper limit as per BJCP guidelines, but increasing the amount of flavour and aroma hops at the end of the boil is a great way to achieve more character in this beer without straying too far off the beaten path.

As always, the yeast selection can have a huge effect on the beer, especially one that’s meant to be clean and crisp. A simple but effective US-05 or California Ale will do the trick, although some prefer to use Cream Ale or Kolsch yeast to provide more fruity esters to the finished product. However, the latter yeasts require more fermentation time to drive off sulfur compounds. I recommend brewing with California Ale the first time and taking it a step further if you’d like to have more yeast character.

A word of warning, once this beer starts flowing it doesn’t usually last long!

Cheers!

Cream Ale (BJCP Category 1C)

 

(all-grain, 5.5 gallons)

 

OG: 1.046

 

FG: 1.008

 

ABV: 4.99%

 

IBU: 20

 

SRM: 2.68

 

Water

 

8.5 Gallons Tap Water (Treated w/Campden Tablets) or Spring Water

 

Add ¼ tsp Calcium Chloride to mash

 

Malt

 

4 lbs 2-Row

 

2 lbs 6-Row

 

0.5 lbs Carafoam

 

1.5 lbs Flaked Corn

 

1 lb Flaked Rice

 

Hops

 

1 oz Crystal, 17 IBU (60 mins)

 

1 oz Liberty, 3 IBU, (5 mins)

 

Yeast

 

Safale US-05 Dry Yeast (re-hydrated) or White Labs WLP001 California Ale

 

Brew Day Instructions

 

Mash-in grains with 4.5 gallons of treated water to reach 153F (67C) and hold for 90 minutes. Use direct heat or infuse with boiling water to raise temperature to 168F (76C) and hold for 15 minute mash-out. Drain your wort into your boil kettle and slowly sparge until you have seven gallons of wort.

 

Bring wort to a boil for 90 minutes, adding hops at times directed above. Remove from heat and chill rapidly to 64F (18C), transfer to fermenter, aerate your hopped wort and pitch yeast.

 

Ferment the beer at 64F (18C) for seven days, then free rise to 68F (20C) to encourage complete fermentation. When the beer’s gravity has reached or surpassed FG and holds steady for three days, package, carbonate and enjoy! For best visual results, fine with gelatin or isinglass for several days before packaging.

 

Questions or comments? Contact the author at craftbeerjesse@gmail.com

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Rob Symes

The FIFA Soccer World Cup is almost upon us, and its famous bracket could act as inspiration for a beer tournament of your own making. How fun would it be to pit the best beers of each nation against each other to pick a winner?

Here’s why that might be a bit of a problem. Outside of the world’s craft brewing strongholds, you’ll be lucky to find a beer from each country, and when you do it’s likely to be the nation’s leading brand, which would be the equivalent of flooding your field with Labatt Blue and Coors Light. In fact, Group G is the only one that could lay a claim to containing two great beer nations, with England and Belgium meeting on June 28th.

Another problem lies in the sheer quantity of drinks that would need to be consumed. With 64 matches played, there’s no way you could do a head to head for each game without doing yourself some damage.

Fortunately, if you want to join in the fun, there’s a better way to build your World Cup beer bracket.

1)      Pick the best beer you can find to represent a nation. In some cases, you will not have to stray beyond their borders to have a choice of great options – for example, the last World Cup was won by Germany, and a top quality fresh German hefeweizen could be a serious contender.

2)      Accept that a country does not always produce great beer, or if it does, it may not find its way to your fridge. Likely Group A also-rans Saudi Arabia fall into this category. Make your peace with this and sub in a brew of your own choice, with bonus points for a lame tie to that nation. For example, the Saudis could be represented by an export stout because they’re famous for a black liquid which is also exported.

3)      Take your time with the round robin format. You’ll have 32 beers to drink in 2 weeks. It’s a lot, but you simply need to order them from best to worst within their group. It’s probably ideal to tackle each group over a couple days, so your memory and taste buds stay fresh.

4)      Once the round of 16 starts, there are two games a day, which means 4 beers a day. At this point you may want to enlist the help of a friend. Prep yourself for some strange match ups, because you are probably going to get wildly different styles facing off, but that’s no different to the game on the field. This is also where your bracket will diverge from the teams on the field – you’re winning IPA from Group

5)      The time difference between here and Russia means a host of breakfast starts, which is why it’s unlikely your own bracket will happen in real time with the games, but by the final you’ve earned it. What better way to wrap up your bracket (and the world cup) by drinking your final two beers while watching the big game.

The World Cup begins on June 14th and runs until July 15th. Find the official bracket here.

 

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Style: Red Ale Format: 355ml cans

ABV: 6.7% IBU: 30 SRM: 17 OG: 1.064 FG: 1.013

On March 8th, International Women’s day, 11 women from the Blindman Brewing Taproom, wives of the brewery and some local business gathered together to create their version of the Pink Boots Collaboration Brew. A meeting was held with the head brewer Curtis Lawrence-Ross and the decision was made to brew a hoppy red ale, emphasizing the YCH Pink Boots hope blend made especially for the Pink Boots Society® And really, how could you go wrong with a blend of Palisade, Simcoe. Mosaic, Citra and Loral?

This unfiltered, slightly cloudy ale pours a lovely mahogany red with a light tan coloured head that dissipates quickly. With the first pour, there is an aromatic immediate release of toffee from the malts, followed by a hint of pine. The taste is hops, with a blend of citrus, floral and pine and makes for a perfect complement to the sweet toffee and caramel malts. It is hop forward red ale, but it is well balanced making for easy drinking, but at 6.7% it does have a bit of a punch at the end. All I need now is those ruby slippers so I get to Blindman Brewery for another this red ale.

LUNDY DALE

Brown in colour with a hazy appearance, this ale offers a smooth drinkability with layers of flavours and aromas to enjoy. The toasty malt aroma is rich, with a hint of toffee. Hop aromas contribute an earthy, piney character with subtle floral notes. On the flavour, the malt has a grainy character with caramel and a toasty impression. The hop flavour is resin-like and piney. Neither malt nor hop flavours dominate and the beer is well attenuated with a clean fermentation. The balance tips slightly toward the hop bitterness and finishes with a light, yet appealing roasted dryness. The moderately high carbonation makes this ale feel lighter than it is accentuating the drinkability. What stands out about this ale is the fine balance between the malt and hop character, making this a rounded and very tasty beer.

AMANDA NELE


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