Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 23/7/2016 (1280 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Well, I thought I could get all the latest Manitoba brewery news into two neat little columns. Oh, how wrong I was.
Here are updates on almost all of the rest of the new/budding Winnipeg breweries and brew pubs. And I haven’t forgotten Manitoba’s three established breweries — I’ll have updates on upstarts One Great City as well as Fort Garry, Half Pints and Farmery next week to round things out. And no, I haven’t forgotten about wine...
Little Brown Jug
Brewing Co. 336 William Ave.
Among the budding breweries, Little Brown Jug’s been keeping the lowest profile, keeping its head down and focusing on getting the brewery done. The 20-hectolitre Exchange District brewery will include a tap room that will allow those enjoying a pint or filling a growler to see the brewing process in action. "It’s really about the grain-to-glass experience, the transparency in manufacturing," says founder Kevin Selch during a tour of the facility.
Selch was an economist with the federal government in Ottawa who had long wanted to return to Winnipeg. He enjoyed Ottawa’s beer culture and surrounding areas, and saw an opportunity to start something similar in Winnipeg when the provincial government relaxed its laws surrounding breweries and brew pubs.
"It was important for me to be downtown," says Selch of the brewery space, a former bus storage facility. "I wanted to do urban manufacturing and urban brewing. Part of coming back to Winnipeg was being able to benefit from, and contribute to, all the great things that have been happening downtown."
Little Brown Jug will produce just one beer to start — a Belgian pale ale. The recipe was developed by brewmaster Bernhard Wieland, formerly of Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. and Winnipeg’s Half Pints. "It’s kind of the Steam Whistle theory," Wieland says, referring to the downtown Toronto brewery that focuses on Steam Whistle pilsner. "Do one thing and do it perfectly."
Initial plans are to produce kegs for restaurants and bars, hand-bottle four-packs of the brew and offer growler fills at the brewery before hopefully setting up a canning line.
Selch hopes Little Brown Jug will start brewing in September, and to start selling the beer shortly thereafter.
Not much to report on this end as of yet — when asked for an update, the response was "Currently deciding between two locations and finalizing finance for purchase of the brewing setup."
Peg Beer Co.
125 Pacific Ave.
The first of the new wave of breweries and brew pubs to open earlier this year, Peg Beer Co. has been featuring a rotating selection of guest beers with their food menu until they’re able to brew — which founder Nicole Barry says should be this coming week.
The initial wave of beers will include an India pale ale, an India session ale, a red rye ale, a saison, a Berliner weisse with a rhubarb syrup and a stout, all of which thirsty Winnipeggers will be able to enjoy on Peg’s new patio. They’ll be announcing the names of their brews via social media.
Brazen Hall Kitchen
800 Pembina Hwy.
Owner Kristjan Kristjansson indicates the target opening date is mid-October — that story pretty much synch with the countdown clock on their website (brazenhall.ca). Kristjansson also notes they are "waiting for permit approval before starting demolition and construction in three weeks."
Located in the former Round Table/Brogue Gastropub space, equipment for the 10-hectolitre brewery is expected to arrive in mid-August.
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Matthew Sabourin of Nonsuch checked in by email, noting a downtown location should be announced shortly, with architects and engineers currently in the process of checking out the proposed site.
"I really think Manitobans will be surprised and excited about where we will be setting up shop," says Sabourin. "It aligns so well with our vision, our tie to the city’s history and the message we’re trying to communicate with our brand. We felt that placing ourselves in the downtown, particularly the Exchange area, was an important piece for Nonsuch, and we feel absolutely privileged to have found a location where we can bring that vision to life."
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.
Here are some brews from the fourth flight of the Manitoba Liquor Marts’ Coast to Coaster beer promotion…
Amsterdam Brewery Cruiser All Day Pale Ale (Toronto — $3.49/473ml can)Medium gold in colour and with a rich, white head, there are some resinous hops notes that show well on the nose, with some modest malt and citrus notes as well. While it’s got more body and malty notes than a session IPA, in many ways the Cruiser emulates that style — fresh, vibrant hoppy notes without the high levels of alcohol or International Bittering Units (IBU) of a full-throttle IPA. Tasty. ★★★1/2
Waterloo Brewing Co. Blueberry Weizenbier (Kitchener, Ont. — $2.99/473ml can)This wheat beer is infused with Nova Scotia blueberries — certainly an intriguing combo in theory. It’s deep strawberry-copper in colour, and aromatically there’s a blueberry candy/cooked blueberry note that dominates, with wheat notes underneath and almost a mint gum thing going on. There’s a sweet and sour note to the creamy, medium-bodied palate; in the end, the wheat and sweet blueberry flavours combine to produce a beer that tastes like a blueberry muffin. I like blueberries, I like wheat beer and I like blueberry muffins, but I don’t want them together in my glass. Seems a bit disjointed and clunky. ★★
Flying Monkeys 12 Minutes to Destiny Hibiscus Pale Lager (Barrie, Ont. — $2.72/355ml bottle)Hibiscus flowers, rosehips, raspberries and orange peel are added to the mash in this medium pink-coloured lager. Aromatically, it’s quite pretty, with loads of wild raspberry and hibiscus coming through. There’s not really any sweetness here, but the up-front tart raspberry flavours are quite delicious. It’s lower in alcohol (only 4.1 per cent) and would be a killer patio beer. ★★★★