The beer news keeps coming fast and furious in recent weeks. Must be spring! (And it is finally feeling like it!)
First, a couple of interesting events:
- In what may be one of the more creative and unique approaches to a beer event, on May 17, Cookie Love and Alley Kat Brewing are co-hosting “Cookies and Beer: The Pairings Edition” at the Edmonton Petroleum Club. All proceeds go to Ronald Mcdonald House. Yes, cookies and beer. I will quote from the press release:
“Ticket holders will be treated to savoury dishes from the culinary team at the Edmonton Petroleum Club paired with Alley Kat beers, followed by desserts from Cookie Love and custom Beer Flavoured Ice Cream from Pinnochio Italian Ice Cream Co.”
Pairing cookies and beer may seem odd to you at first, but trust me it works. A few weeks ago I joined the owners of Cookie Love (which is across from Mountain Equipment Coop) and Neil and Charlene from Alley Kat to help work out the appropriate pairings. There were some very intriguing matches (yes, tough life I have – sampling gourmet cookies AND craft beer). And, as I often remind you, it is for charity, so there is no going wrong here. Tickets are $50 and available at Cookie Love and (I think) Alley Kat.
- Continental Treat, the European restaurant on Whyte Avenue, has quietly become a bastion of interesting beer events. I don’t mention it often, but every month they host a beer dinner (sometimes wine) with a different brewery or region. The meals are fancy, elegant and quintessentially eastern European, and they have become very popular. After pursuing me for almost 2 years, the owner of the Treat has finally convinced me to host one of their dinners. I think I picked the perfect event. June 25 I will host a Trappist Beer Dinner. We will have a beer from each of the eight Trappist breweries paired with a four-course meal, plus a cheese reception to start. Don’t ask me which beer yet as I am still working that out. But we guarantee to represent every Trappist brewery and span the range of flavours they offer. Tickets are $100 (GST and gratuity included) and available at the restaurant.
- Many thought that Sherbrooke Liquor’s days of releasing its own beer might be over, but it isn’t the case. A couple weeks ago they released THREE exclusive beer in one day. From right to left (think about looking at a map), they put out Going Dutch Imperial Porter by Brouwerij de Molen, made with licorice and aged in wood barrels. They also officially released the long-awaited Ninkasi Imperial Pilsner, the latest in the Beer Gods Series, made by Saskatoon’s Paddock Wood. Finally, they put out Udderly Vanilla Latte Milk Stout, a milk stout with coffee and vanilla added. The brainchild of Edmonton’s resident mad genius homebrewer Ernie Boffa, it is exactly what is says it is.
- Hot on the heels of its Stein Beer, this week Big Rock is releasing its latest seasonal, Rosemarinus Aromatic Ale, a rosemary-infused beer. I haven’t seen a description yet, but they claim that they use rosemary instead of hops, so it is likely like a heather ale but with the more aromatic and pungent rosemary.
- Wild Rose earlier this week released a limited edition Barrel-Aged Cherry Porter, which obviously is this past winter’s cherry porter aged in bourbon barrels. They indicate they also added an extra dose of sweet and sour cherries to each barrel. Plus, in an interesting innovation, their summer release is going to be Gose Rider (get it? The Wild Rose folks are getting awfully clever lately), a traditional Gose, which is an old German ale known for its lemon character and a noted salitiness (yes due to salt). It is released May 30.
- Alley Kat’s latest Dragon Series beer is being released May 6. Jade Dragon is single-hopped with Citra hops this time. Citra, with distinct citrus and grapefruit character might be an interesting accompaniment to their recently released grapefruit beer.
And finally, while I am talking about these things, I should mention that Sherbrooke Liquor, with support from Vue Weekly, has just released The Beer Guide. The 36-page guide, authored by me (by the way), is a tour around the world of beer, highlighting beer regularly available in Alberta. I agreed to do it because a) it seemed a good opportunity to offer quality beer education; and b) they gave me unfettered editorial control. Which means a couple of things. First, all mistakes, omissions and screw-ups are mine. Second, it is an accessible introduction to beer styles, their origin and their flavour.
That they were willing to not mess with my content meant a lot to me, and a major reason I agreed to do it. Yeah, they sold ads, and I know they are hoping to shore up their reputation as a go-to beer place, using my reputation to facilitate that. I am okay with that. Sherbrooke’s reputation is well-deserved. They don’t need me to convince beer fans of that. I was just glad of the opportunity to spout off about beer for 36 pages.
So that is the news for now. I fully expect to have to do another one of these very soon, as things are moving fast.