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Catching Up on the Latest Beer News

yukon saisonI just looked at my watch and realized it has been weeks since I have offered a beer news update. With my life distractions, contests and other goings on around these parts, I simply haven’t thought to put together a collection of what is happening. Plus, my visit to the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival on the weekend (more on that another day) gave me some nice intelligence on what some breweries have coming up.

Let’s get to it, starting with what is already out there:

  • Alley Kat Avenue Whyte IPA, the latest in their Big Bottle Series, came out on June 10. I had a sample of both a cask version and the bottle version at the festival (and what a difference between the two!), and will savour a bottle more slowly in the coming days, but this appears to be a nice example of an exploding style – which is essentially a Witbier with extra hopping. I must admit I have come to appreciate the style so much that I brewed my own version last week.
  • Big Rock’s latest Alchemist Series beer is a keg-only product releases a couple weeks ago. Cherazz is a Belgian-style sour ale brewed with cherries and raspberries. Think Kriek/Framboise blend. I had a sample of this beer at the Fest, too (see the value of such events?). The lambic character is subdued, but the fruits come through quite strongly.
  • As mentioned in an earlier post, Wild Rose’s Gose Rider, a traditional Gose Bier, is now out. A quick taste (yes, at the festival!) suggests it is nicely within style, plus it had more salt character than I was expecting. A delicate saltiness is a feature of Gose, and I suspected that the Wild Rose brewers would tone it down given it is such an unusual flavour in beer.
  • St. Albert’s Hog’s Head has released 2 new beer, both tap only. Clockwort Orange is a witbier with blood oranges added, pluse Hog’s Head usual hoppy bias and will be available at various tap accounts. They also have Whole Lotta Rosie Rosehip Coriander Ale. As the name implies, it is brewed with rosehip and coriander but, surprisingly, is not a Belgian style. Given those ingredients you might expect a twist on Witbier, but they have chosen to make it a North American interpretation. I am told the coriander is roasted to add a toasty character to the beer.
  • Yukon Brewing’s latest A.D.D. Series (#7) is now in stores. This one is a classic Saison called Belgian Gothic. My festival sampling suggested it is a light, fruity interpretation of the style.

pwhefeweizenAnd some stuff coming in the near future:

  • Half Pints Weizenhammer will be released July 6. Their semi-regular summer hefeweizen makes its return this year and will likely wander slowly westward to Alberta beer shelves.
  • Paddock Wood are busy beavers this summer, making it hard to know exactly who can expect what when. No they haven’t suddenly become afflicted with ADD, but instead their new taproom in Saskatoon gives them the ability to fire off many small batches to see how they go over. I am told this summer they are doing a summer Ordinary Bitter, both a hefeweizen, called Saskatcheweizen and a still unnamed dunkelweizen. They may also do a Belgian Wit and are even contemplating re-brewing Yasigi to do popularity. Black Fiars, their robust porter, possibly brewed with Brett this year to give a more traditional 17-th century character. However, to complicate things, I was chatting with the PW Alberta sales rep, who indicates that in the coming months Alberta will see, in addition to some of the above, a Cascadian Dark Ale and Hop Burst II, which is the second version of their ale using the technique called “hop bursting” here all hops are late addition, including those that create the bitterness.
  • Ribstone Creek, freshly off its new brewery and one-time release of an IPA, has told me that they are currently designing a second beer for their line-up. The beer will be a Pale Ale, which is yet unnamed, and should be released in the fall.
  • Returning to Alley Kat, just last week they brewed up a collaborative beer with New Zealand Brewer 8 Wired. I didn’t get much info on the beer, but will update you when I hear (or if someone knows more than me, feel free to comment).

In the news this weekend was a Business Section article examining Alberta’s Ribstone Creek Brewery, which you can find here if the paywall doesn’t stop you. In short, the story examines Ribstone’s early success and their original approach to launching a small brewery on the prairies. It offers some interesting backstory about the men behind the brewery and how they see themselves fitting into the craft beer scene in Alberta.

On the events fron I got word of a charity fundraising event for Room to Read, a charity that works to build literacy among children in developing nations.  Beers for Books Trivia Night will be on June 20th at Yellowhead Brewery on 105 Street in Edmonton (here is their facebook page). Tickets are $10 in advance ($15 at door). Attendees can register teams for a trivia contest and win prizes. Before the trivia free brewery tours will be provided. $2 of every beer sold will go to Room to Read. If you are into pop-culture, interational and beer trivia, consider supporting a good cause, have a couple beer and enjoy the contest.

Also on June 20 at 6:00 pm at Calgary’s Craft Beer Market will be the Alberta Book Launch of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries. The author Joe Wiebe will be on hand to sign copies of the book, which will sell at the event for $19.99 – the price includes a free pint of Central City Red Racer IPA. See the Facebook page for more details.

I have no doubt that I have missed something – as there seems to be a whole heck of a lot going on right now. If I have, feel free to chime in. And, as usual, happy drinking.



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