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Spring Has Sprung Us Some Beer

toolshed_uniteredaleIt really is starting to feel like spring. We have had our requisite May snowfall, the trees are budding and the grass is turning green. Sounds like a good time for a beer.

And that thought had me realizing it has been a while since I have done a news roundup. In fact it has been a good seven weeks or so. What? I’ve been busy.

So, I guess it is about time. I am not entirely sure I have captured all the latest comings and goings, but this is what I have on my list (with the usual disclaimers):

  • On the government front (no, not Alberta’s), Manitoba announced last week that the province’s breweries can now operate tasting rooms associated with their production facility. No question this is a positive step forward for craft beer in Manitoba, and somewhat overdue. To my eye it looks similar to rules recently passed in Alberta with requirements for basic food, a cap on capacity and flexibility in operating hours.
  • The king of the news this week is unquestionably Half Pints, with a frightening number of releases in the coming weeks. This Saturday is the glorious return of the Trinity Series after a six-year absence. What makes the series noteworthy is the yeast process. They start with a Belgian monastery yeast to produce The Father (a Dubbel). The yeast is then harvested to create The Son (A dark Belgian Ale) and then finally used one more time to brew The Holy Spirit (Witbier). It will be available in mixed six-packs. They are also doing their Queer Beer again for Winnipeg’s Gay Pride festival next month. Also returning sometime in June is Black Galaxy, their Cascadian Dark Ale. Half Pints Dave tells me on the on-deck circle are Heiðrún’s Sweet Mead (a self-explanatory name), a new batch of Le Temps Noir and an aged Old Red Barn (for two years!), their sour ale. They also note an upcoming collaboration brew with the folks from Black Bridge Brewing from Swift Current. Rumours have it that it might be some kind of SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer. Whew!!
  • Staying in Winnipeg, Fort Garry released Belgian Witbier this week as their summer seasonal. A light (4%) wheat beer that will be released only in cans.
  • Calgary is the next big site for news. Young upstart Tool Shed participated in the International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day in March. This is a project of the Pink Boots Society, a group created to promote women in the beer industry. The product of that effort is being released later this month. Called Unite Red Ale, the same beer was brewed across the world in conjunction with women brewers. Proceeds of the sale of Tool Shed’s version will go to establish a scholarship at Olds College Brewmaster Program for women students.
  • ribstonegreatwhiteBig Rock has announced its latest Brewmaster’s is Hefehöpper, an unfiltered version of their popular Grasshöpper. I have also noticed they quietly have launched the Pull Tab Series (I saw no release or statement about it – it just showed up on the website) which marks the return of AGD (Alberta Genuine Draft) and AGD Light as can-only product. The return of AGD is a deviation from their renewed focus on craft in the past couple years. I must also wave a dis-approving finger at their choice to spell it d-r-a-f-t, instead of the more proper d-r-a-u-g-h-t. Tut-tut.
  • Still in Calgary, Village Brewing’s latest seasonal, in time for summer, is Village Triplet Three Berry Kolsch. A light-bodied, light-alcohol blonde ale, Triplet is made with blueberry, blackberry and saskatoonberry to create a fruity flavour and a distinctive pink hue.
  • Two Sargeant’s had their official launch a couple weeks ago. Their inaugural Bangalore Torpedo IPA is now available on tap in select locations.
  • Ribstone Creek is about to release their summer seasonal. Great White Combine is a White IPA named after what area farmers call large hailstorms that create significant crop damage. It will be available in cans and on tap around Alberta.
  • And, as usual, the folks at Yukon Brewing are being their busy selves. Just out is Belgian Gothic Saison in fairly limited quantities. Another limited distribution beer is the return of Longest Night Black IPA. They also have coming bombers of Yukon Holiday Kolsch and Secret Service Imperial IPA, both also comebacks.

That is all I have heard of during my rounds, but there may be more out there. Enjoy the burgeoning spring and whatever beer may come across your path as a result.




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