This week is a big week for beer releases, as clearly the prairie breweries are prepping for the long, cold winter ahead, as most of the beer have a distinctly winter warming theme. I am also impressed how many of the breweries are doing multiple releases. In what is supposed to be the “slow” time of year for beer, it is a great sign that a number of breweries feel confident to put out more than one beer for the winter.
But without further blathering on my part, here are the latest releases (starting with those coming this week, but otherwise in no particular order):
- Alley Kat is releasing two beer on Thursday, and both are a return of sorts. The regular seasonal release is Three Bears Oatmeal Stout, the popular stout first launched last winter. The latest Big Bottle Series beer is Darn Tartan Scotch Ale, which is actually the return of Kiltlifter Scotch Ale under a different name (this is because Pike Brewing has long had a Kiltlifter, and Alley Kat politely demurred to their American colleague).
- Half Pints is on Saturday releasing Sweet Nikki Brown once again, but they are also launching Isolator Doppelbock, which should be quite the hearty beer. I suspect we will see Sweet Nikki in Alberta, but no word on Isolator yet.
- Yukon Brewing also offers up two new beer, which should be on shelves sometime this week. The latest in their A.D.D. Series (the fifth) is Longest Night, a hoppy Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA (whichever you prefer that style to be called) using Millenium, Cascade and Glacier hops. On a more quirky note, they are also releasing Jelly Donut Raspberry Ale, a fascinating concoction of a beer – A Vienna-esque base beer with raspberry and orange peel to accent. I think Urban Diner may be the only place outside Yukon Territory where you will be able to try it. And, our northern friends aren’t done yet, as later this month we should also see their latest Winter Spiced Ale on shelves somewhere.
- While no date has been set (or at least told to me), I believe that Paddock Wood will soon be releasing its latest version of their Winter Ale, as they do every year. This sometimes winter warmer, sometimes Belgian dubbel has become an anchor of the Paddock Wood line-up.
- UPDATE!!! Just a couple hours after publishing this post, I received a press release from Village Brewing that they are releasing their first ever seasonal beer on Wednesday. Village Monk is a Chai Winter Porter created in collaboration with The Silk Road Spice Merchant in Calgary. The porter has ginger, cardamom, clove, peppercorn, fennel, cinnamon and mint added to give it a chai-like flavour. Very little has been made, so it will only be in Calgary and for not very long at that. Hence my decision to update you right away.
That is what is coming. While doing a newsy bit, I should also highlight a few beer that have just recently hit shelves:
- Last week, Wild Rose released their annual Cherry Porter to the Alberta market. This beer is always slightly different each year, but a rather popular item from the Calgary folks. I, once again, can be found in the 1-litre flip-top bottles, making it ideal for sharing.
- Also last week, Big Rock put out two new products. The first is a playful mixed six-pack called Paul’s Angels (named after Brewmaster Paul Gautreau). It has a blonde, a red and a dark beer – just like the hair colour of Charlie’s Angels (if you are even old enough to remember that 1970s action show that mostly created opportunity for lots of cleavage and jiggling busoms). The three beer (two of each, obviously) are : Winter Spice Ale, Espresso Stout and a new beer, Autumn Wheat Lager. Each is even wrapped in appropriately coloured foil. At the same time, and more seriously, they also launched the second in their Alchemist Series (the first was only available on tap in Calgary). The new beer is Barghest Barleywine. This 9.5% beer comes in 275 ml bottles, packaged in a black box. Only 3000 bottles were produced, so it is quite a rare product. By the way, a barghest is a nasty black dog from English folklore with an uncanny ability to lead you to a rather unpleasant demise.
Clearly there is enough beer there to keep you sipping for many long and cold nights as our part of the world wends slowly towards the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. You have just over a month, so sample them all and decide which is best to celebrate the return of the sun.