We’ve got a brand-new beer release today. It’s called ICE BEAR, and is a collab with local photographer, Peter Mather, for his new photo and filmography project on the Yukon’s Ice Bears.
What is an ‘Ice Bear’ you ask? Well you should go see the film, KINGS OF THE NORTH - The Search for the Last of the Ice Bears to find out (see premiere info below).
Ice Bears are essentially Grizzly Bears here in the Yukon that delay hibernation so that they can feed on the late-fall salmon runs of Coho, Chum and Sockeye. While they fish in sub zero temperatures, in freezing cold rivers, they get covered in ice, hence the moniker, ice bear.
Ice bear photographed by Peter Mather in 2020 on the Klukshu River. Credit: Peter Mather 2020
If you can’t make it to the film (which premieres in Whitehorse April 6th and in Haines Junction April 14th), you should follow Peter Mather for all his fantastic photos of ice bears and much more.
AND NOW… MORE ABOUT THE BEER!
We wanted to get creative with a new beer, but how to tie the recipe to ice bears?
As soon as we heard Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) had been experimenting with FROZEN fresh hops, we thought it was a match made in heaven! FROZEN BEARS MEET FROZEN HOPS!
This ‘trial’ hop product out of Washington state, harnesses that raw nature of freshly harvested hops. Brewing with Fresh Hops is tricky otherwise as you ideally want to use them within 24 hours of harvest, not something easy for us to do in the Yukon. So what YCH does is they take those fresh hops and immediately freeze them, preserving the delicate nuances of the freshly harvested hops. They then concentrate the lupulin into pellets with their patented cryogenic hop processing technology (essentially processing them under extremely low temps with low oxygen and high nitrogen).
To really see what these hops can do, we used them in a very low alcohol beer style, a Session Ale (aka Session IPA/India Session Ale) to let the frozen fresh hops shine. We dry hopped the beer with 100% YCH 301 Trial Cryo Hop Pellets – the Trial Blend of Citra®, Mosaic® & Simcoe®.
There were a few tricky logistics to get these hops up here! They had to be kept frozen and arrive within 2 days. So the 44 lbs we ordered, were packed into their shipping boxes with dry ice and shipped from Washington via FedEx to Air North Cargo, and then up to Whitehorse. We were pleased to see the ice still intact when we opened the boxes, and the brewers sure had fun playing with the dry ice that morning.
Fun times with dry ice in the brewery!
Now making a low ABV beer is tricky, as you want to avoid it tasting thin and watery. So we really tried to pull out all the stops to make this a light ABV, aromatic ale that has some body to it.
We are super happy with the result! It has a juicy, medium body (finishing at 1.016 FG) with a light maltiness (think cracker and white bread) and delicate fresh hop character. The aromas and flavours are subtle and blend beautifully together with notes of lemon, orange, pineapple and honeydew melon. Bitterness is on the sublte side too.
Love to hear what you think!
The beer is premiering at Winterlong on March 28th (today) and it will also be available at both premieres in Whitehorse and Haines Junction.
We got a little preview of the film the other night, and it sure is a labour of love for those involved. Big ups to Peter Mather and Peter Zenkl for reaching out to us to support this film!
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER
Ice bear under northern lights, photographed by Peter Mather in 2020 on the Klukshu River. Credit: Peter Mather 2020
Our annual WITCH CRAFT brew is nearly ready! This IPA is brewed every year by the Women of Winterlong as a Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day.
This is our 4th annual release of Witch Craft IPA, and we're always excited to try it, as while the base recipe doesn't change, the Pink Boots hop blend does each year. The 2022 hop blend used in this year's batch is made up of: Loral®, Ekuanot® and HBC 586 - lending floral, citrus and tropical notes. What makes the blend extra special this year, is that last summer we had the honour of helping select what hops would go into the blend.
Sensory Analysis Pink Boots Hop Blend 2022 (from Yakima Chief Hops).
For our collaboration brew day this year, we had a smaller crew, as many folks were away, but that just meant more beer to go around! The broom was set up at the brewery door, like the old medieval brewsters did hundreds of years ago, and we gathered around the wort grant for our usual photo op, uttering a few spells as we transfered wort into the kettle. Everyone pitched in where they could and as usual it's a blast to brew together. Big ups to the crew this year that joined Meghan on the brew day: Joelle, Bhreagh, Meredith, Makisha, Caroline, Ali, and Nicole!
Classic broom outside the brewery door on brew day - an ode to the medieval brewsters that came before us.
Scenes from a day well spent.
The release is happening MARCH 8th, on International Women's Day, and we look forward to celebrating with all of you. We will have discounted pints and draw prizes all day when you purchase a 4-pack of Witch Craft. So come out and enjoy a tasty witches brew and support several great causes!
On March 8th, Winterlong will donate $1 from every pint sold to the Pink Boots Society Canada Chapter. The Pink Boots Society is a global non-profit focused on assiting, inspiring, & encouraging women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry through education.
We are also fundraising for three local Women's Organizations doing important work in the YUKON, where $3 from every 4-pack of Witch Craft will be donated to:
Find out more about International Women's Day, and this year's theme: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme
A few weeks ago, we collaborated on another brew with our friends at Woodcutter’s Brewing. This time their crew made the trek up to the Mount Sima neighbourhood all the way from downtown Whitehorse.
We couldn’t resist the chance to recreate the COLD IPA we brewed together at their brewery back in January 2022. The Cold IPA is a great beer ‘style’ for showcasing big hop flavour, while accentuating a nice clean bitterness, and a crisp, lager-like finish.
This collab recipe includes mostly Pilsner malt with a bag of Chit malt for good measure. We fermented the beer with Kolsch yeast, at a mid-range temperature (16 degrees Celsius). It took off like crazy, finishing fermentation in 5 days and dropping to a final gravity of 1.006! For the hops, we did big whirlpool and dry hop additions of Nelson (a New Zealand hop variety) and the 5th Annual Pink Boots Blend (HBC 630, Idaho Gem®, Loral®, Talus®, Triumph).
All hands on deck!
The aroma and flavour is insane with strong citrus, passionfruit, lychee and orchard fruit vibes. According to plan it finishes dry and ‘snappy’, in the words of Woodcutter’s Brewmaster, Scott!
And we think ‘Snappy’ is just perfect to describe a COLD IPA brewed by northern brewers, in the dead of winter.
In honour of all things northern and cold, we christened this beer SNAG, after the coldest place in North America! It was February 1947, when meteorologists recorded a temperature of - 62.8 C in the small village of Snag, YT. This is the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America, and a record that still holds to this day, 76 years later!
Our SNAG Cold IPA (7%) will be available Thursday, Feb 2nd – on tap at Winterlong Brewing and in cans to go. Order online for easy local pickup. Woodcutter’s will also have some in cans to enjoy at their bar, so stay tuned!
Retro label inspired by RCAF emblems and vintage beer can designs from the 1940s.
The coldest day in Canadian History. This Canadian Heritage Minute is brought to you by…
LIGHTS - CAMERA - ACTION - We are honoured once again to brew the OFFICAL BEER for the Available Light Film Festival. It’s the festivals’ 21st year, and the 5th year in a row that we’ve been able to support the fest with a special beer release.
5 YEARS AND COUNTING!
This year the festival includes both In-Person screenings & Online viewing, running from February 9-19th. For In-Person events, expect over 100 films, as well as live concerts and industry events/workshops. For online viewing, you can expect over 15+ film programs, live events, artists talks, etc.
Get your passes HERE!
Each year we get the chance to sponsor a film screening, and this year our pick was The Empress of Vancouver :
The Empress of Vancouver is a cinematic and intimate collision of drag, queer history, and performance art, a musical and genre bending irreverent documentary that follows trans icon Oliv Howe as she prepares for the 40th anniversary of her coronation.
Be sure to check it out at the YUKON THEATER Feb 12th!
Our Available Light IPA is available today, Thursday, January 26th. Once the festival kicks off in two weeks, it will also be available during screenings at the Yukon Theater!
It’s one of our favourite IPA recipes. This year we brewed it with Hammer Malts' barley and wheat (from Westlock, AB). The light malt body sets the stage for the juicy dinamic duo of Mosaic and Cashmere hops. We love the grassy, ripe tropical fruit, and berry notes of this combo.
Come and get it in 4-packs and growler fills to go, as well as on tap to enjoy in the Tasting Room. Order ONLINE for easy local pickup.
Thank you for another great year! We feel so lucky to get to brew and serve beer here in the Yukon. This community is so amazing, and we are proud to be a part of such a thriving and inspiring business community!
We owe a huge thanks to our amazing team for another fantastic year. We couldn’t do what we do without all of them!
We started this business to follow our passion and share it with others. We had no idea we would get to where we are now!
Our success has allowed us to become a force for good in our community, while creating a workplace that is respectful, supportive, and open. We endeavour to continue to make work easy and fun for our staff, to reduce our environmental impacts where we can, and to continue giving back to our community.
Cheers to more of all that in the future!
Here’s looking at some highlights from 2022:
Pacific Spirit was our west coast collaboration with CONTAINER BREWING (Vancouver, BC). There may still be some 4-packs kicking around in BC!
We were stoked to have Michael from Landed Bakehouse and his team serving up delightful food on our 7th Bday celebration.
Our rooftop solar array harnessed the suns energy for us, starting in mid-April through to mid-October!
As with every NEW YEAR, there is a lot to look forward to from new beers, fun events, celebrations, and of course just enjoying where we live!
To whet your appetite, look for these beers in the next couple months:
Cheers to doing what we love! Be sure to keep in touch and follow along on what’s to come in 2023.