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Your Pre-Xmas Beer News

dandy tailorIt has been less than a month since my last news round-up, but with the list of updates and news I have to cover today, you would think it was months since my last news post. And I suspect we haven’t heard all of the Xmas-related announcements yet.

So let me get straight to it lest I waste your reading time. As usual, in no real logical order:

  • Calgary’s Tool Shed has announced the release of its Tool Box Sampler Pack, a six-pack containing their three anchor beer (People Skills, Red Rage and Star Cheek). It will get general distribution immediately.
  • Mill Street (recently acquired by ABInbev) officially announced the planned opening of a Calgary brewpub location. They will be joining the party on 17 Ave SW, in an historic building near 2nd street. Rumours had been flying about this for some time, and I actually got confirmation of the move earlier this fall. No way to know how linked it is to the recent acquisition.
  • Staying in Calgary for the time being, nanobrewers The Dandy Brewing Company have TONS of news this month. First, they have officially opened their tap room which will have 8 taps of various Dandy brands. It will be open Thursday through Sunday. They also released their latest seasonal in November. Tailor Retailored is a Strong Scotch ale. Finally, they have announced expansion plans that will, in stages, triple their fermentation capacity and upgrade other equipment.
  • The latest Unity Brew is now on store shelves. This annual collaboration between all Alberta-based breweries was this year produced at Alley Kat. This year’s beer is a traditional-style ESB. All proceeds to go to help fund the Alberta Small Brewers Association.
  • Speaking of Alley Kat, they and Big Rock have just released a collaboration beer. Big Brown Kat is a brown ale in the Pacific Northwest tradition, meaning it is hoppier than most browns. It will be available at both Alley Kat and Big Rock’s retail stores and in select liquor stores.
  • Speaking of Big Rock, they also announced the release of their two latest seasonals. The first is Dark Cherry Abbey Ale, a 9.5% strong Belgian-style ale infused with cherries, released as part of their Brewmaster’s Edition series. The second is a pretty cool project in my opinion. They call it Harvest Pale Ale and it is a true farm to glass beer. Big Rock contracted a quarter-section from a southern Alberta farmer to grow barley exclusively for them, which was malted as a single batch at Rahr Malting. They also have been growing their own hops for three years which went into the beer. The final ingredient as locally grown honey commissioned by Big Rock. A very cool project, indeed.
  • bigrock_alleykat_bigbrownkatUp in Edmonton, Yellowhead Brewing – a brewery known for producing a single beer – has announced the release of a second beer. Yellowhead Dark Lager has their original beer as its base but adds ingredient to create a fuller, darker character. They also have opened a new growler bar to do fresh growler fills. These latest initiatives complement the work being done by new Yellowhead brewer Bruce Sample, who has been experimenting with cask ales and various other additions to their single beer.
  • Jumping to Manitoba, Winnipeg brewers Half Pints and Fort Garry have released a dobule collaboration. First, they produced a collaborative beer together, Route 90 Vienna Lager, which is a German-style amber lager. Then they decided to combine six bottles of the beer in a collaborative 12-pack. The other six beer are one each of Fort Garry’s Dark Ale, Pale Ale and Rouge Lager, and Half Pint’s Bulldog Amber Ale, Little Scrapper IPA and St. James Pale Ale. The pack is only available in Manitoba.
  • Brauerei Fahr, a planned brewery in Turner Valley, has created a BoostR Crowdsourcing campaign to raise some initial capital for his German-inspired brewery. The campaign (see here)  runs until December 31.
  • Small Whitehorse brewery Winterlong Brewing, who opened 6 months ago as a nanobrewery, has made the jump to bottles. Until now their beer was only available via growler fill at the brewery. Starting this month they are filling in 650-ml bombers and will sell in Yukon government liquor stores as well as at the brewery. Big steps.

That is a lot of updates for one post. I likely have missed stuff, but it will have to wait until the next roundup, which – if prairie breweries keep going at this pace – will be any day now.

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