Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/7/2016 (1114 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OK, here’s the last of a three-part update on local breweries, new and old… for now.
With the changes in tap-room legislation and so many new breweries set to come online, it makes sense that existing breweries change with the times.
There are still questions surrounding other potential breweries and brew pubs — there’s still been no movement on the proposed brewery at The Forks, and there’s a persistent rumour Alberta’s Big Rock brewery has been sniffing around, looking to open a brew pub... perhaps at the Masonic Temple downtown.
For now, here’s the last of what could be confimred on what’s coming down the pipes from Manitoba brewers.
Back before Winnipeg was dubbed the "Heart of the Continent," the signs leading into town proclaimed us "One Great City", a slogan immortalized in the Weakerthans song of the same name.
Tim Hudek and Jon Burge have repurposed that slogan as the moniker for their forthcoming brew pub, to be located in Madison Square near Polo Park.
"Our landlord has almost finished its portion of the buildout, and aims to be finished at the beginning of August. At that point it will turn the building over to us for our buildout," Hudek explains by email.
Contractors will do the work requiring permits while Hudek and Burge, who both have contracting/renovation experience and are looking to reduce labour costs, will take on much of the rest.
"This will be a focus of our pre-opening social media as we want people to get to know Jon and I and see that we are really putting our blood, sweat and tears into this business," Hudek says.
The 7,000-square-foot brew pub will feature seating for around 130 people, and will have an annual capacity of 300,000 litres. One Great City tested a West Coast-style pale ale, nitro stout and an extra special bitter (the latter "the kind of beer found in English pubs," Hudak notes) at the Flatlander’s Beer Festival in June.
On the food side of things, Hudak says the menu is 90 per cent completed, and will be teased out to the public via social media closer to their opening date, which he hopes will be November: "We hope to be able to serve as many people as possible during the holiday season."
Sure, they’re not new, but Half Pints is in the process of building a 30-seat tap room at their existing St. James brewery.
"The total destruction of the space is complete, and there are a few studs up to give us an idea of the shape of things to come," said Half Pints president/CEO David Rudge by email.
Rudge estimates the tap room will be open early to mid-September; meanwhile, brewing continues uninterrupted, including a forthcoming special brew for the Interstellar Rodeo music festival being held at The Forks Aug. 12-14.
While they have no tap room in their plans, the folks at Fort Garry are in the process of setting up a growler bar at the brewery. Brewmaster Dan Geddes said staff have just been trained on the growler-filling station, and expects to get the taps flowing in the next week or so.
Taps at the brewery will pour brews only available at the brewery, and Geddes expects one of the first will be the Smoked Roggenbier they poured at the Flatlander’s Beer Festival.
Progress on Farmery’s 35-hectolitre brewery continues, and co-owner Chris Warwaruk is optimistic they’ll be brewing beer at their Neepawa facility in the first half of August. "We have all the equipment in... just a last little bit of connecting electrical and what have you," he says by phone from the property. They had hoped to launch by early summer, but as is the case with setting up breweries (as I’ve found talking to pretty much everyone), things don’t always go as planned. "We’re thinking like farmers; optimistically," Warwaruk says. "There’s never a bad time to launch a brewery, but summer is definitely the best time to do it."
The focus for now is to get brewing, and Warwaruk said they might contemplate a tap room and/or growler-filling facilities somewhere down the line.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Lug Tread Lagered Ale (Vankleek Hill, Ont. — $4.74/600ml bottle, Liquor Marts and select beer vendors)
Clear and medium gold in colour, this Kölsch-style beer brings doughy, biscuit-like notes on the nose, with light floral and apple notes showing well. It’s a light-plus bodied brew, with oatmeal, corn husk and oat/malt notes and a crisp, clean finish. Very nice. ★★★★
Melipal 2014 Cabernet Franc (Mendoza, Argentina — $17.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
There’s a fair bit of bell pepper and earthy, leafy notes on the nose of this Argentine red as well as blackberry, plum, tart blueberry and dark-chocolate notes. On the rich, full-bodied palate, the blackberry and milk chocolate/bell pepper notes work well together, with some smoke, tar and peppery notes in there thanks to 12 months in French oak barrels. Great balance. ★★★★
Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.