Apple of their eye

Dead Horse Cider Co. opens its indoor/outdoor taproom near Winkler next weekend


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Set aside some precious gas money now, cider lovers, as next weekend you might want to make the trek to the Morden-Winkler area of the province when Dead Horse Cider Co. opens its indoor/outdoor taproom to the public for the first time on Saturday, May 21.

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Set aside some precious gas money now, cider lovers, as next weekend you might want to make the trek to the Morden-Winkler area of the province when Dead Horse Cider Co. opens its indoor/outdoor taproom to the public for the first time on Saturday, May 21.

Dead Horse is one of many local producers now making cider, including Next Friend Cider (out of Barn Hammer’s facilities), Shrugging Doctor, Stone Angel Brewing Co. and Little Brown Jug in Winnipeg, as well as Wooden Gate, located near Pilot Mound. Some producers are focusing on local apples, while others are importing fruit from Ontario and/or British Columbia.

For more information on Dead Horse’s taproom, including how to get there, see

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Two new drinks projects launched earlier this month, bringing new beers (plus, eventually, some wine) to the Manitoba market.

FullGeek BrewLab is now up and running, making beers out of Stone Angel’s Pembina Highway taproom, and on May 4 celebrated its official launch. The contract brewer’s current regular lineup includes the Helios hazy IPA (see review in box), Elysium pale ale and Stained black IPA, all of which are available at Liquor Marts, the brewery (in person or online via Stone Angel’s website) and beer vendors in 473ml cans. FullGeek also released a small batch of 650ml bottles of its double IPA, The Blip, in celebration of the launch. For more, see

Low Life Barrel House, meanwhile, opened its doors to the public on May 3, with a lineup of eight beers and a couple of piquettes (a fizzy/boozy drink made of water and grape pomace). It plans on rolling out a line of wines made from organic Ontario fruit, bringing Next Friend Cider under its roof and serving up its barrel-aged brews once they’re finished aging.

For more see, or check out the recent piece in the Free Press on how the facility came to be at

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Torque Brewing Co. recently nabbed some hardware at one of the world’s biggest beer competitions.

The World Beer Cup awards saw 10,542 entries from 57 countries into 103 different categories, with breweries from 17 different countries winning gold, silver or bronze. Among the winners, announced May 5, was Torque’s Red Line, which took home the bronze medal in the American-style amber/red ale category. Not bad considering the category had a whopping 137 entries.

The winner of that category also came from not too far away — Regina’s Rebellion Brewing took gold for its amber ale, which is available locally at select beer vendors. For a full list of winners, see

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After recently rolling out its Queer Beer in conjunction with the Pride Winnipeg festival, Little Brown Jug just unveiled the lager it has created specially for the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

The Folk Fest lager launched on May 13, with a can designed by Roberta Landreth. Expect it to land at Liquor Marts and vendors soon; if you can’t wait, you can always pop by the brewery at 336 William Ave.

Twitter: @bensigurdson


Beers of the week

All the beers reviewed this week are available at the brewery at which they were made (noted below for contract brewers), Liquor Marts (check the website for which stores stock the beers) and better beer vendors…

Maxwell Smart photo
Dead Horse Cider Co. will open an indoor/outdoor taproom on May 21.

Vessel Beer Earth Day West Coast IPA (Winnipeg — $4.29/473ml can)

A collaboration with Arts Junktion, which sees 10 cents from every can donated to the organization, this West Coast IPA is medium straw in colour and clear. The up-front malty notes work well aromatically with the subtle tropical fruit notes, the modest hoppiness and an almost-earthy note. Light-plus-bodied and dry, the earth/pine notes pick up the hoppier components, while secondary citrus-peel and tropical-fruit flavours come through with almost-sweet malts. Not whopping bitterness here and a manageable six per cent alcohol. Brewed at Nonsuch. 3/5

Fort Garry Brewing Co. White IPA (Winnipeg — $3.99/473ml can)

Medium gold in colour and slightly hazy, Fort Garry has combined elements of both an IPA and a wheat beer here (including orange peel and coriander). There’s some apple, wheat and subtle orange/spices aromas that work with the subtle hoppy notes. It’s mainly dry and medium-bodied, bringing up-front malty and resinous hoppy flavours with orange peel and spice elements. The seven per cent alcohol is fairly subtle. 3/5

Helios Hazy IPA (Winnipeg — $4.35/473ml can)

Medium straw in colour and, yes, hazy, there are lovely floral, grapefruit juice, grassy and herbal notes that emerge aromatically. It’s dry, crisp and light-plus-bodied, with very subtle malt notes underneath peppery, spicy flavours, resinous hops, loads of tart citrus and secondary juicy tropical fruit flavours that all work brilliantly together. At a modest 5.6 per cent alcohol, it’s also quite approachable. A very good start here; brewed at Stone Angel. 4.5/5

Oxus Brewing Co. IO DIPA (Winnipeg — $4.50/473ml can, brewery, Liquor Marts, beer vendors)

This California-style double IPA features no fewer than six different types of hops. It’s bright gold and hazy in appearance, with resinous, almost-grassy, grapefruit pith aromas coming from the hops, along with rounder underlying malty notes. It’s dry and lighter-bodied than expected, but the bitterness (think pine, grapefruit zest, herbal notes) builds as the beer lingers on the palate, with the malty note emerging before the stiff 8.5 per cent alcohol keeps the finish going. For the extreme IPA fan. 4/5

Bookstore Brewing Co. A Brighter Shade of Doom black NEIPA (Winnipeg – $4.25/473ml can)

Coffee brown in appearance and with an off-white head, this contract brew combines takes the New England IPA style and goes dark. Roasted malt, dried fruit, mocha and a hint of meaty spice are most prevalent aromatically. There’s just a hint of sweetness on the medium-bodied palate, with cocoa, roasted malt and dried fruit flavours showing well, soft effervescence and a well-hidden 6.5 per cent alcohol on the finish. Brewed at Oxus. 3.5/5

Stone Angel Brewing Co. Angels’ Share Black IPA (Winnipeg — $4.50/473ml can)

Brewed in support of the West Central Women’s Resource Centre, with 50 cents from each can going to the organization, Stone Angel’s black IPA is cola-coffee brown in colour, and aromatically delivers Tootsie Roll, roasted malt, flaked oat and milk chocolate aromas with just a touch of bitterness. That hoppy component comes through more prominently on the medium-bodied and dry palate, ramped up by zippier effervescence, while roasted malt notes offer weight, that chocolate/toffee note sits in the background and the 6.2 per cent alcohol provides a medium-length finish. 4/5

Ben Sigurdson

Ben Sigurdson
Literary editor, drinks writer

Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.

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