March 23, 2015

And Where Did He Get That Banjo?

roggenbockJust about bang on a year ago, we made a roggenbier, and called it Rapscallion. We liked it a lot, so wanted to bring it back again, but the brewers decided to shake it up a bit. So, we did a bock version, paying homage to the original beer by naming it Rapscallion’s Cousine.

The basic idea of both of these beers is a roggen – which is German for rye. And, both versions of this beer contains malted rye. Rapscallion’s Cousine, however, contains about 50% more than the original roggenbier. Hence, it started to become the ‘cousin’  of the original – or, of course, ‘cousine’ in German. To turn a ‘bier’ into a ‘bock’, we substituted all of the two row pale malt in the bier to Munich malt in the bock. This roasted malt gives the final product a distinctive malty/biscuity/nutty character noted in a bock.

You can see on the label that Rapscallion’s Cousine is a bit of a punk, with the slightly goth look and piercings. That is because the bock version is a bit more out there, compared to the bier version. Lots of rye spiciness as well as the heavy malt body makes a beer that you will stop and notice on the first swallow.

The original beer was strictly hopped with Saaz hops- Rapscallion’s Cousine has some Saaz in there as well, but it supplemented with Sterling for a bit of herbaceous and spicy flavour.

Rapscallion’s Cousine is full of mouthfeel, full of spiciness, full of flavour. It clocks in at 6.5% abv, and is available in 650 bomber bottles in the Yukon and Alberta, as well as the brewery growler bar.

March 10, 2015

Who’s Looking Good Today?

robust porterIt was back in 2011 that our brewers first took a stab at a porter, with our White Pass Porter. Of course, everybody knows the story about where porter got its name. If not, search it…  And, as we all know, a porter is generally a somewhat lighter version of a stout. In fact, the style ‘stout’ originated as a short form of the wordy ‘stout porter’, or bulked up version of a porter.

Now, I am not sure where the idea for this beer came from. My guess is that the brewers had a little spat – make a porter, or make a stout? And, in the true Yukon spirit of compromise (let’s quit arguing and go have a beer), they decided on a Robust Porter, right up the centre. And lo, Buffalo Stance Robust Porter was born.

Not sure where the name came from either. Apparently, it refers to a pose that people take where they stand with their arms tightly crossed, staring somebody down. I guess it came from a Buffalo Bills football player, Bruce Smith. And, furthermore, I understand that, around the brewery, we stand like that often. Apparently whenever we are trying to sort out a tricky decision. I personally beg to differ, you cannot stand like that and sip a beer, and that is always where we end up when a tricky decision is on the table. Those marketers….

But, back to the beer. The two row pale malt base of Buffalo Stance Robust Porter is not so different from our White Pass Porter. However, the specialty malts is where the brewers went to town. In addition to the pale malt, this beer contains Munich 10, chocolate malt, crystal C-60, carafoam malt for head stability, honey malt, medium crystal, roasted barley and, to spice it up, some malted rye. As you might imagine, the result is very layered and complex, full in body and mouthfeel that nudges into the stout category. All of the hopping in this beer is Belma, a pretty new hop in the market. Belma is known for a general fruity character, but the most notable fruit is strawberry. Which goes very nicely, I would say, with the roasted chocolate notes of the beer.

You will find Buffalo Stance Robust Porter here at the brewery, of course, on the growler bar. And, if you are diligent, you will find it on tap at various locations in Alberta, be they bars or be they growler stations in liquor stores. Oh, and if it matters to you, 5.6% abv and tasty as could be…  And, to really get into the right headspace, listen to the song Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry. It will bring you back to another time and place.

February 10, 2015

More Berry Madness

saskatoon kolschOur brewers have been enjoying a couple of approaches lately, it would seem. That would be using berries in beer, and brewing kolsch. So, I guess it was just the next step in the evolution to combine these two approaches – so, here we have Dial K for Kolsch saskatoon berry kolsch.

We always strive to use local ingredients, which is always a challenge in this part of the country. Now, full disclosure time – saskatoon berries grow well in the Yukon, but are a wee bit sparse in January. So, we needed to purchase these berries from our Vancouver fruit supplier. Rest assured, all natural saskatoon berries, no artificial flavours or colours – but not locally grown.

As we have written before, the kolsch beer style originates in Cologne, Germany, and is pretty much a German version of the British Pale Ale. The word itself is basically an adjective meaning “Cologne-ish”, as in ‘from Cologne’. Seems like the perfect thing to name a beer that is popular in the region.

Traditionally this beer was made with a single pilsner malt. We changed it up a bit by using some Vienna malt, giving a bit of breadiness, and some malted wheat for some citrusy notes. Hopping is light, and done with traditional Czech Saaz hops. And, And, in traditional fashion, while an ale this beer was fermented more like a lager, long and cool. Alcohol content is 5.0% abv, which is pretty much in the middle of the range for the style. Then, of course, is a subtle saskatoon berry flavour complementing the kolsch crispness.

Dial K for Kolsch is available at our growler bar, and in 650 ml bomber bottles in the Yukon and Alberta.

December 17, 2014

Nothing Ordinary Here, Folks, Just Move Along…

ordinary bitter 2014There are three categories of bitter – Special, Extra Special, and Ordinary. Out Of The Ordinary falls into the ordinary bitter category, but it just seems wrong to call it ordinary. In fact, it tastes anything but ordinary.

Ordinary (or standard) bitter is all about the balance. It needs enough malty sweetness to precisely offset the hop bitterness. And, because the alcohol level is low, these flavours shine through brightly.

It almost seems wrong to go there, but Out Of The Ordinary technically falls into the category of light beer, since the alcohol level (at 3.7% abv) is less than 4%. It sure shows that beer that technically is considered a light beer can still have a ton of flavour. Because Out Of The Ordinary definitely has flavour.

This beer is made with 5 malts, including some black malt, some malted wheat, and some unusual carafoam malt. This malt is designed to add dextrin, which is an unfermentable sugar used as a body builder. Carafoam is also designed for head retention.

The hop bill is pretty darn simple. East Kent Golding at the first hop, East Kent Golding at the second hop and (surprise) East Kent Golding at the final hop.

Out Of The Ordinary is available only at the growler bar at the brewery, at least for the time being. There is talk around here about putting it out into the market as a Special Release, so watch for that possibility.

December 17, 2014

The Cow is Back…

milk stoutJust about bang on one year ago we made our first attempt at a milk stout, called Over The Moon. Here is what we said about it then:

“Now, there is no milk in a milk stout, although that was not always the case. A couple of hundred years ago, milk was routinely added to the lunchtime beer enjoyed by many labourers as a fortifier. After a time, brewers began to experiment with adding milk to fermentations. These milk stouts were touted as ‘restorative beverages’.

Well, never let the government miss an opportunity to put the words ‘beer’ and ‘ban’ into the same sentence. In 1946, the British government banned the use of the term ‘milk stout’ in an effort to stem such innuendo that there might actually be a health benefit. The thing was, by the time the government acted, brewers were no longer using milk, but instead were using lactose, or milk sugar.

Lactose is one of those sugars that is not fermentable by brewer’s yeast. Stout produced with lactose are therefore a bit sweeter and creamier, without bitter edge of roasted barley.

Our Over The Moon milk stout uses a combination of black malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley for that distinctive stout flavour, plus oats for body. However, the addition of lactose sugar sweetens it up and rounds it off, resulting in a rich and creamy treat, full of mouthfeel.  Bring your growler to the brewery, and give it a try.”

This year, we released Over The Moon as a 650 ml bomber as well as on our growler system. Also, our brewers upped the lactose content a bit, making the beer a little bit sweeter and giving it a bit more mouthfeel. They did a phenomenal job, give it a whirl if you are a lover of stouts…  And remember, it is a known fact that 92% of those who don’t like stout have never tried it!

November 26, 2014

You’re A Mean One…

black currant ipa

In 2013 we supplied a beer that was included into a 24 pack, called the Advent Calendar. We brewed a Black Currant India Pale Ale, and called it 39 1/2 Foot Pole. If you don’t understand the name, go back and watch that TV show again, the one with the green character in it.

We had lots of amazing feedback about the beer. It really seems that the sweet tartness of black currants and the hoppiness of the beer (from some unusual hops, at least for us) hit the nail on the head.

So, we brought it back again, this time as a stand alone product in both 650 ml bombers and in growlers.

We did change it up a bit, though. In order to hit the timing on last year’s calendar, we had to make the beer before the autumn berries were ready. As such, we had to purchase a puree of black currants, rather than the fresh, whole berries.

This year, we were able to purchase the berries from the Yukon Grain Farm. And, while the only comparison we can do with last year’s beer is via our memory (a sketchy proposition at best), we think that the fresh berries made a difference.

There is definitely a black currant punch at the end of the beer profile.

And, just in case you were wondering, what hops did we use in 39 1/2 Foot Pole? They were Sterling, Galaxy, Calypso, Legacy, and Belma. Quite the hop smorg…

Look for 39 1/2 Foot Pole at the Whitehorse growler station at the brewery, or in bombers in the Yukon and Alberta.

September 12, 2014

Angry Hessian…Is Back Again!

Image

Yes, it is that time of year. Our pumpkin beer is back. For those who don’t know, here is the story from a previous post:

So, what the heck is an Angry Hessian? Well, cast yourself back to the 1819 Washington Irving story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Ichabod Crane competes with Brom Bones Van Brunt for the affections of the comely Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod attends a party at the Van Tassel estate and, upon leaving, is chased by the Headless Horseman. The horseman is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper “whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War”, in the language of Washington Irving. If I had my head carried away by a cannonball, I would be angry, at least for a brief moment.

While the story leaves poor Ichabod’s fate a bit ambiguous, a shattered pumpkin is found beside Ichabod’s abandoned hat. And, according to Yukon Brewing legend, a strain from this very same pumpkin found its way into our beer.

Okay, so we made that part up.

Every fall we produce our pumpkin ale, brewed with 60 kg of pumpkin as well as molasses, demerara sugar, crushed cinnamon sticks, pureed ginger, and crushed whole cloves and whole nutmeg – and oats for body. The result is pretty much pumpkin coloured, and very smooth and creamy. Close your eyes at the nose and you think there is a slice of pie on a plate in front of you, but when you fill your mouth the perception is more like pumpkin cheesecake, full of delicious flavour and mouthfeel.

The Angry Hessian is on tap here at the brewery, in the growlers, now. It is also available in 650 ml bombers both here in the Yukon, and in Alberta (soon). It always goes fast, so don’t snooze…

August 22, 2014

Cruising Out of Summer…

longest nightWe get to that time of the year in the Yukon where the almost endless days of summer start to change in a big hurry. In July, the days are getting darker, but not really at a speed that you notice. By the equinox in September, however, the days are shortening at a frantic pace, a few minutes a day. Seems right about now, as we get into the last third of August, you can notice it. At my house, we were even talking about how we might have to walk the dogs a bit earlier soon, as darkness is closing in. Makes the porcupines harder to spot – and it is definitely a good idea to see the porcupines before the dogs see the porcupines.

But I digress…

This post is all about the longest night in December. That is still 4 months away, but watching the days shorten makes us think about it, just a little bit. Seems like the right time to bring back Longest Night, our Cascadian Dark Ale. The beer just got onto the growler system at the brewery, but this year we are graduating the beer from elementary school to high school.  It will be available full time, in bottles, in our Dark Side Mixed Six Pack, along with Lead Dog Ale and Midnight Sun Espresso Stout.

As you might imagine from the name, Longest Night Cascadian Dark Ale is brewed with plenty of plenty of Cascade hops, both during the brew and in a final dry hop. But the signature hop might just be the Glacier hops we use. We think that Glacier hops are an amazing creature – they were released by Washington State University 14 years ago. They are made up of 9 different hop varietals – a true hybrid. And the flavours that this hop brings are truly as complex as their lineage.

So, Cascade hops plus Glacier hops plus some Millenium and Sterling to boot, plus six different malts…this beer is full of layers. Of course a full roasty body, plus a bouquet of hop aroma, flavours, and balanced bitterness. Come and try some today, 6.0% abv, rich, smooth, and soon to be in the Dark Side Six Pack.

June 13, 2014

From the Heart of the Tree

birch beer up the creekWay back in 2007, we stumbled upon a very unique Yukon product that we thought might make an interesting ingredient in beer. That, of course, was birch sap or syrup. I guess we must have been right, since we have been making it every spring since, 8 versions and counting.

The beer is made by tapping the birch trees from a stand that grows in the general vicinity of Dawson City. There are about 1,500 trees that are tapped in this stand. About 1,000 trees are tapped into buckets, and 500 trees into a tubing system. These buckets need to be emptied every day that the sap is running, an onerous task without doubt. After the sap is collected, it needs to be boiled to drive off some of the water – it takes 80 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup. This is done out in the woods, since the stand is rather remote and it makes little sense to haul out water that you can evaporate on site. The sap/syrup that we use is not fully boiled down to the consistency of table syrup, which is why we are not really sure what to call it, sap or syrup. Really, it is at a midpoint between the two.

We are so lucky to be able to source out this very unique ingredient, and we are pleased beyond words with the flavour that it imparts to the beer. Due to the nature of an ingredient as natural as birch syrup, every year we get slightly different results, flavour-wise.  This year’s version, Up The Creek, is definitely sweeter than last year’s version. This is generally expected, as birch sap is mostly fructose, which is a complex sugar that does not ferment until it is broken down into simpler sugars. Up The Creek is very layered, with pungency shining through the entire swallow, at both the front and the back. Think full bodied honey ale, with a large dose of birch zestiness. Or don’t think – just try some.

Up The Creek is available at the brewery in growlers, as well as in 650 ml bombers in Alberta and at our brewery store. Get it while it lasts, since when it is gone we cannot brew more until the trees yield their bounty next spring.

May 23, 2014

How About a Yukon Holiday This Year?

yukon holiday kolschSummer has definitely sprung in the Yukon, with long days, warm afternoons, and a very active community. Biking, paddling, disc golfing…you name it. And, of course, tourists are beginning to arrive. What a perfect time, we thought, for a Yukon Holiday.

Now, you might remember the movie Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. And, you might think, ‘That kind of looks like them on the artwork’. And who knows, maybe they are. The person here who created the artwork is currently en route to Haines, Alaska, for the amazingly fun Haines Beerfest. If you have never been, put that one on your bucket list, by the way…

But the reason we have no idea where this artwork came from, is that we have nobody to ask! And, we have no idea what Yukon Holiday has to do with kolsch. And, we definitely have no clue where Gregory Peck or Audrey Hepburn fits into this.

But we do know kolsch…this is a pretty tasty rendition, if we do say so ourselves. The beer style originates in Cologne, Germany, and is pretty much a German version of the British Pale Ale. The word itself is basically an adjective meaning “Cologne-ish”, as in ‘from Cologne’. Seems like the perfect thing to name a beer that is popular in the region.

Traditionally this beer was made with a single pilsner malt. We changed it up a bit by using some Vienna malt, giving a bit of breadiness, and some malted wheat for some citrusy notes. Hopping is light, and done with traditional Czech Saaz hops. And, And, in traditional fashion, while an ale this beer was fermented more like a lager, long and cool. Alcohol content is 5.0% abv, which is pretty much in the middle of the range for the style.

Yukon Holiday is available at our growler bar, but it is the first beer that we have put into 650 ml bomber bottles. The bombers are available at the brewery, and throughout Alberta. We plan to have more beers available in bombers in the near future….watch this space!

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