Brewer's Blog

Coming Soon: Saison De La Ceinture Flechee

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hey all,
Here's the label for the new Saison we've been working on.  It seems to have hit the Twitterverse this afternoon and everyone's a' buzz.

For those of you unfamiliar with the style check out the wiki page for further info.

We've brewed our Saison De La Ceinture Flechee with a heavy dose of nose thumbing towards the winter season, striking a balance between drinkability and full flavour that you won't find in other beers of similar alcohol contents.

The yeast was sourced from two different farmhouse breweries (one Belgian, one French - yes! It is possible for the wine snobs to make good beer).  So far it has shown aromas and flavours of apple, peach and cloves.

We've also chosen a mixed bag of malt barley and malted wheat for a full fruity flavour.  The beer will be bottled unfiltered so expect the yeast to drop to the bottom of the bottle and leave a skiff behind as well as some cloudiness from the protein in the wheat.

This beer is similar to the farmhouse beers that were at one time very popular in Belgium and France - certainly long before the skunky european lagers that are prevalent throughout the region these days.

A note to those who have asked: No this beer will not be served at the local celebration of French/Metis culture.  Their sponsor this year is a brewery with their head offices in Golden, Colorado - I'm making no judgement call here at all since the arts and festivals of Manitoba need as many supporters as they can possibly muster.  We wish them both a long and fruitful relationship.

I will pose this question though:  If you canoed/portaged your way clear across Canada, would you accept a glass of lite beer, or would you appreciate a full flavoured, locally brewed ale that reminds you of home?

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Tuesday's Friday Beer Break

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Here's a shot of the Friday Beer Break from last week.  These beers were all picked up at Bridgeview Liquors in Moorehead, MN.

You can probably sense a theme since were towards the end of our brew day with the Saison De La Ceinture Flechee.

We opened the St. Feuillien Saison first and it was full, with sweet notes and flavour not unlike a lighter Belgian Dubbel.  No real spicy notes or the dryness typically associated with the style.

The Dupont was next, and it had a skunk aroma, with a apple cider dryness to the body.  Good spicy notes but not a fave since the skunk immediately tells us this beer off.

The Sierra Nevada Ovila was good with a fuller body, crystal clear (it's obviously been filtered) and missing a little of the spiciness associated with the style - partly due to the missing yeast.  This was the favourite though, as it hit all the notes without being overtly one character over another.

The Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere was just OK.  I think this example had a little too long for the brewery's natural bugs to work on the beer within.  There was a sharp lactic sourness that almost had a fake, chemical addition flavour to it.  I'm sure if the example was a little closer to the brewery it would be better.  I've had this one before and it wasn't nearly as rank as this bottle.  Last time, it was a nice peppery, lightly tart, smooth malted Saison - very drinkable and made me seek out this bottle.  Better luck next time.

Oh yeah, as you can see, the bottling line staff are not to be trifled with.  Consider yourself warned.

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Inspiration is where you find it...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jimi Hendrix in a 1969 interview shortly after Woodstock:


Interviewer: So Jimi, what's it like to be the best guitarist in the world?

Jimi: I dunno, ask Rory Gallagher.


I've been thinking a lot about this quote lately.  It's been an odd year, with Half Pints growing and really showing no signs of slowing down, it's easy to lose the inspiration that makes the brewing aspect of the business fun and simply get bogged down in daily routines.

Jimi's honest answer to the "greatest guitar player in the world" got me thinking about the people and breweries that I originally drew inspiration from.

One of those folks was Michael Jackson.  No, not the glove wearing, burning hairspray Pepsi commercial guy.

The Beer Hunter: the REAL Michael Jackson (as far as I'm concerned).

I wonder sometimes who Michael looked up to when he wrote his first book about beer way back in the day.  Was he crazy for some wine writer or was it the poetry of a drunken bar fly with his belt lashed to the brass that inspired him to inspire so many brewers to plainly be better at what they do?

Lo and behold, up pops a thread over on Beer Advocate about helping to fund a documentary about Michael and his work as the world's foremost beer writer, before his untimely death in 2007.

When I think about his writing style (pre-internet and its associated buffoonery) I'd have to say it was a simpler time.  He gave breweries and brewers a chance regardless of preconceived notions or personal opinions.  He was a JOURNALIST after all.  Just the facts: here's what the beer tastes like to me.  Was it good, yes.  Was he interested in who was the "greatest brewer or brewery in the world", I dare say no.  In his world, it seems that there was room for everyone, regardless of hype, marketing or rarity.

I never met the man, my only claim to Michael fame being the fact that he sat not less that 20 feet from my current brewing equipment when it was still installed at Brandywine Brewing back in Wilmington, Delaware.  Having said that, you still end up with a sense of the man through his writing that makes you think he'd be an interesting guy to have over for Sunday dinner with your mom.

If I had met him, I suppose the feeling would have been a little odd, much like my meeting with another beer writer at the Great Canadian Beer Festival a few years back.  I treated him like I knew him, even though we'd never met.

To me, that's the sign of a good writer!  Small glimpses of personal anecdotes peppered with liberal additions of actual FACTS tend to make people pay more attention than the "this is crap cause I don't like +/or understand it" mentality of beer knurds around the interwebs.

So what's the point of all this rambling?

Inspiration truly is where you find it.

Be it in the sweeping curve of an old guitar or the blue sky over an ancient canyon:

1919 Gibson Style O at AJ's in Henerson, NV

Red Rock Canyon, NV


For the beer we'll brew tomorrow, it was the history of our province, the background of its people and the weave of a sash.  Simple, yes but the challenge is there and we're inspired enough to overcome it.

In a few weeks, you can try it for yourself and see if we hit the target or need to get back to the range.




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Obligatory New Years Post

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chris inspects the Friday Beer Break beers.
This is the Obligatory New Year's Post with wispy looks back at the year that was...

Nope, you can search thru the last year's worth of posts if you want.  We're moving on.

Coming Soon:
Black Galaxy - A slightly different take on the Black Scrapper we put out a while back.  It's a hoppy, dark beer with boatloads of Galaxy hops in the finish.  The tagline is "...and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space...".  I'm sure you can figure out the reference if you look hard enough.

Saison De La Ceinture Flechee - An amber Winter Saison brewed with malted wheat, barley, goldings hops and a special blend of farmhouse yeast from France.

The ETA's are flexible, depending on when the labels come from the printer.  If they're late, you'll see the Saison first, if they're early, you'll see the Galaxy first.  We'll keep you posted, but just wanted to make sure you knew we weren't just slacking around here.

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