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Random Acts of Beerness: Celebration Time!

benchcreek_troubledwatersI know the Xmas season is soon upon us, but it seems like prairie breweries are getting a head start on the festivities. There seem to be a lot of celebrations of various shapes and sizes happening, along with some fascinating other initiatives. So let me get to highlighting some of the beer news that caught my eye in recent weeks.

  • I discussed Blindman’s first year anniversary last week (read here), but they are not alone in celebrating key birthdays. Troubled Monk and Bench Creek also turn one this fall. And to celebrate the three breweries have gotten together to jointly celebrate by giving consumers a gift. Troubled Waters East Coast Double IPA (get the name?) is what it says it is and is intended to celebrate their mutual success over the first 12 months or so. They gathered to brew it yesterday and it will be available in kegs only a few weeks from now.
  • Speaking of collaborations, Blindman recently spent a day brewing with the guys from Steel & Oak in B.C. The at-the-moment mystery beer will be out in a few weeks.
  • While talking about the trio of toddler breweries, Troubled Monk has released the hilariously named Red Ensign Session Imperial Mild. Rather than having it make my style curmudgeon head explode, I will simply chuckle at the cleverness of the Red Deer brothers. I tip my hat to you, boys!
  • I got a lot of things to talk about The Dandy Brewing Company, so let’s get to it. First, they are celebrating an upcoming expansion, having taken over the bay next to them and ordering a bunch of (non-plastic) brew equipment. It seems the Dandy boys are about to make the next jump in their progression. While talking about them they have also started a very cool initiative to sign up an Artist in Residence. I gotta say I love this announcement. They are going to support a local artist for 6 months with a monthly stipend and cross-promotion to both advance their art and entrench Dandy’s community reputation. The first artist in residence is Kelsey Fraser, who happens to be  responsible for the new artwork on the brewery’s labels. Finally, Dandy has a new seasonal, a Biere de Garde, which will only be available at the brewery taproom.
  • I will file this one under Wild Rose, even though Dandy is involved with it as well. The two breweries have partnered with Fallentimber Meadery to create a collaboration beer to be released next week. Called Fool’s Errand it is a Honey Lime Ginger Sour aged 6 months in tequila barrels. All I can say is whoa!
  • wildrose_dandy_fallentimber_foolserrandAlbertans also get to celebrate a couple of new breweries opening up. Last month Rocky View Brewing opened its doors in Bearspaw, a small town between Calgary and Cochrane. The nano-brewery has modest goals at first, but we will see where things go. I am trying to get in touch with them and will offer a profile when I can. Also, High Line Brewing in Calgary will be officially opening its doors this week in the hip neighbourhood of Inglewood. I recently wrote a profile on the new brewery, which you can read here. More to come – of that I am certain. Also, last week Common Crown’s first beer rolled out of the brewery and into consumers’ glasses (read my profile of them here).
  • Half Pints is also celebrating this month. In their case it is the opening of their recently renovated tap room space. Recent rule changes in Manitoba made operating a full tap room (before it was just a retail sales space) feasible. The refurbished space has opened for growler fills and will start serving pints once they get the needed permits.
  • Edmonton has a new beer organization focusing on bringing beer to women. Much like the Pink Boots society, its goal is to promote craft beer among women. It is called Alberta Beer Girls (not a huge fan of the use of the term “girls”) and its mandate is to create a space for women to appreciate beer. They had their first sold-out event at Situation Brewing last week, and will be announcing future events soon.
  • Yukon has launched their Xmas seasonal beer, 39 1/2 Foot Pole Black Currant IPA. They have released version of this beer in previous holiday seasons. The highlight is the locally sourced, hand-picked black currants.
  • Alley Kat has launched a cluster of seasonals in time for the holidays. Their latest Back Alley series is a Stout made with craft, small batch biscuit malt from Red Shed Malting and hops from Alberta hop farm Northern Girls. At the same time they have put out Tartan Party, a Scottish Export, as their latest seasonal. Both are available in 650 ml bottles. Also out, rather quietly is Pour Boy Chili Beer. For years Alley Kat has made a chili beer for Dadeo’s Restaurant on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. Pour Boy is a one-off packaging of the beer to see if it might have wider appeal. No word on whether they believe it is worth a second try. Another Dragon is coming in the next couple of weeks as well.
  • In general there is lots going on in Manitoba. Peg Beer Co., Barn Hammer and Torque brewing are  now all going full blast, releasing a wide array of beer. I won’t try to list them here, but if you are in Manitoba be sure to seek them out.

I am well aware I am missing stuff, but that will do for now. I will try to do another one before Xmas with an updated list of holiday seasonals – as more will be coming, trust me.








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