At this year’s Yukon Beer Festival we are looking forward to releasing our first ever collaboration brew.
Collaboration brews seem so commonplace for craft breweries down south, but for us being so far north it’s not as easy to collaborate on beers with other breweries. It’s something we’ve had on our bucket list, as what could be more fun than getting a bunch of brewers together to come up with a recipe and have a fun day of brewing and drinking beer together.
To mark the 5th anniversary of the Yukon Beer Festival the festival organizers encouraged us to work on a special collaboration beer with an outside brewery. We jumped at the chance! Category 12 Brewing from Victoria, BC was a brewery at the top of our list to work with since we had met the founders, Michael and Karen Kuzyk, last year when they served at the Yukon Beer Festival. We also love every Category 12 beer we've ever tried.
Michael agreed to work with us and we discussed over email on potential brews and flew him up last month. With Michael having a doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry he offered up some options for yeasts to use. We decided to go with something new to us, a Kveik yeast. We took inspiration from Kveik’s Norwegian roots and started researching Norwegian farmhouse ales. We found that many recipes incorporate juniper branches in the brew and we just so happen to have an abundance of juniper in our neighborhood and liked the Yukon-foraged twist we could add to the collaboration. We also had several pounds of spruce tips left over that would go nicely with the juniper.
The star of the show, the Kveik yeast brought up in Michael's suitcase.
Harvesting juniper branches from the local Sima neighbourhood.
Prepping the Spruce Tips.
Michael arrived by plane on a Friday night with his suitcase bursting at the seams with containers of yeast and freshly canned Category 12 Juicy Data IPA (thanks Michael)! The next day we awoke bright and early and met Alex and Kevin (our brewers) at the brewery along with our friend Sean (contributing spruce tips and delicious homebrew). We had soaked a few pounds of juniper branches in our brew water over night but found we wanted a bit more juniper influence so added some more to the boil along with the spruce tips. The malt bill was kept simple with 50/50 pilsner to 2-row barley. Hops were added only for bittering during the boil to let the yeast and locally foraged ingredient take center stage.
Coffee quickly turned to beer followed by BBQ burgers and more beer as the afternoon wore on. We finished off the day with a hike up on Mount McIntyre to soak in the fall colours and dinner at Woodcutter's Blanket.
All hands on deck! You can't just stand around and drink beer, all day!
Adding the finishing touch, the yeast.
A cool thing about Kveik yeast is that it can ferment at really high temperatures and be done within a few days. Most of our beers are fermented at 19-21°C but we pitched the yeast around 25°C and were going to let it free rise up to a max of 35°C. In typical Kveik yeast fashion the fermentation took off by the next morning. It was almost too vigorous that a lot of the yeast might have got pushed up and out of the fermenter! After that it was a sluggish finish to a final gravity we could be content with (not quite as low as we were targeting). Such is life when you are working with a new beast.
Superpowered fermentation leads to a big mess on the brewery floor.
All in all it was a fun brew day all together and the beer turned out great and unlike anything we have made before. The Kveik shines in the beers aroma and flavour with a light spicyness and juicy orange and apple cider character. The spruce blends nicely with the Kveik yeast flavours, while the juniper shows up as an herbal dryness towards the end of the sip.
Get the first taste of Norse Code Norwegian Farmhouse Ale (7.5%) at the Yukon Beer Festival this Friday and Saturday night. After that it will be available at the brewery on draught.
We have quite the exicting beer release line up for September and October. Mark your calendars!
It is that time of year again when our last Spruce Tip Seasonal Pale Ale of the 2018 will be released. For you crazy spruce heads out there, you won't want to miss the release date of Thursday, September 13th. We have 45 cases of bottles and lots on draught for you to celebrate this unique beer. Then it's a long winter until we're able to pick more fresh tips in Spring 2019.
With the return of darker nights, we're bringing back our Nightshade Black IPA! This beer has been out of rotation for several months but was one of the beers in our regular line up in our early years and a favourite for many. Roasty and hoppy all in one, we're looking forward to putting a few of these back over the next few months. It will be available in bottles and on tap starting Thursday, September 13th.
We've got a brand, spanking new beer coming out this weekend (Saturday, September 15). A Double New England Style IPA with rye malt. It's big and bad, with one of the thickest mashes we've ever encountered. The mash tun was stuffed to the brim with 2-row barley, malted rye, flaked rye and oats. We loaded it with Citra and Denali hop pellets and Vic Secret lupulin powder.
At the end of August, we tried our hands at our first fresh hop beer. Fresh Cascade hops were picked the night before at Northwest Hop Farms in Chilliwack and sent up on Air North the next morning. We threw these green beauties into a special rye pale ale. This beer will be ready for sampling on tap hopefully sometime next week!
We're doing our first collaboration brew this weekend, with Michael from Category 12 Brewing out of Victoria, BC. We met Michael and his wife Karen back at the Yukon Beer Festival last fall and have kept in touch ever since. Michael is a mad scientist when it comes to brewing, with a doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry, so he's offered to bring up a cool yeast for us to use. Stay tuned for more info on this brew and be sure to get your tickets for the 5th Annual Yukon Beer Festival where it will be released!
Our next barrel-aged beer release will be our Divine Intervention Tripel, aged many months in Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon barrels. It will be ready late September.
We are currently on our last keg of Surfer Rosa Gose in the Tasting Room and are already sold out of bottles. But we'll be brewing up a batch of dry-hopped kettle sour soon. It will likely be released during the Yukon Beer Festival mid-October.
With fall here, we'll be bringing back our Firebean Rye Coffee Porter as well as Log Splitter Smoked Porter. Look for these in late-October/November.
The Yukon is a place where hiking, biking, paddling, hunting and snow sports are part of everyday life for many of us. Yet, we have not canned any of our beers. That’s about to change, but not quite in the way you think. Introducing, the Crowler!
A Crowler is a can-shaped 1 L aluminum can/growler that is filled on demand with a beer of your choice, then sealed before your eyes, and ready to be taken with you wherever you want to go.
While it’s a canned beer product, it’s not full-on proper packaging where all the oxygen is purged out of the can/bottle to last several months. So in that sense, it’s similar to a growler in that you need to consume it relatively quickly (24 hrs to a week). Fresh is best!
But Crowlers are also not re-usable like a growler. They are however, infinitely recyclable and made from 68% recycled aluminum content, to put your conscience a little at ease.
At the end of the day it is not a replacement for a can nor a growler, but simply another option to add to the various ways you can enjoy Winterlong beer.
All the pieces are here: our Oktober Can-Seamer, our first pallet shipment of empty cans, can lids, and prep table. We’re currently working on some cool Crowler labels, but in the meantime we’re repurposing some blank bottle labels. So come give it a whirl. We are looking forward to see where you take your Crowler of Winterlong beer.
This Thursday, July 26th, we are joining forces with the Yukon Invasive Species Council (YISC) to host a weed pull along the Mount Sima Road. This will be the second annual weed pull they've helped us organize.
We will be focusing on pulling invasive plant species that threaten Yukon's biodiversity, wildlife health, and soil integrity from 5:30-7:30 pm. Afterwards, any weed warriors will have the opportunity to enjoy a complementary cold beverage (Winterlong brew or non-alcoholic option). Participants are also welcome to save their 'free drink' for another time. We will be open till 8 ish with food available and beer-to-go.
What to bring:
YISC will bring some extra gloves and tools along with safety vests. All ages are welcome!
We are finally on our way to recovery after several weekends of celebrating. Over the last month, we won an awesome local award, celebrated our brewery’s birthday and partied in Haines at the Beer Festival. Read more about these events and what beers are coming up in June.
We were honoured to receive the Best New Business Award from the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce on May 16th. It gave us the opportunity to reflect and realize how lucky we are to run a business in this city and territory where people support local and take pride in what we are doing. It’s a big thanks to all of you and our amazing staff!
This year we celebrated our brewery’s 3rd birthday and wanted to thank all that came out to our shindig on May 19th, as well as those who celebrated with us in spirit. The weather cooperated, hooray! The beer garden was a lot of fun with burgers on the grill and lawn games. We gave away $400 worth of door prizes and free doughnuts. Our buds from Wayfarer Oyster Bar shucked their hearts out and the Boys and Girls Club Yukon tired out the kids for their afternoon naps. Thanks to all of you that came out we were able to donate a quarter of our draught sales from the day to the Boys and Girls Club. Success all around!
Crafts with the Boys and Girls Club Yukon.
BBQ Burgers on the grill paired well with sunshine and a pint of Haze Junction NEIPA.
Birthday treats made by Michael.
The next weekend after the birthday party we were off to Haines, Alaska for the 26th Annual Great Alaska Craft Beer & Home Brew Festival. This was our fourth year serving as a brewery and we had Alex, Jen and Robert helping us out. Jeremy, Colin and Kevin stayed behind to keep the brewery and Tasting Room rocking along (thanks guys!).
The weather this year was a little lacklustre, with mostly rain. We quickly learned that we should have sold toques and hoodies versus tshirts this year. But rain or shine, a beer festival is always a great place to be. Our two beers, Acid Jazz and Haze Junction, both ran out right at the end, so perfect timing!
Our Beer Fest Crew (where was Marko?).
Now we’re back to work readying ourselves for the summer ahead. You have likely noticed our beer on draught at more local bars and restaurants around the Yukon now. We keep getting interest from more fine establishments, so always make sure to ask for Winterlong Beer wherever you go!
We just released a new beer, Surfer Rosa (4%). This is our original gose recipe with the addition of rose hips, which provide a subtle floral earthy sweetness to this refreshingly tart ale. We bottled this batch with some also going out the door to YLC.
New Beer Release: Surfer Rosa Gose!
It is also almost that time of year again, when we brew our first batch of Spruce Tip Pale Ale. The anticipated release will be June 20th, with plenty of bottles and kegs for draught and growler fills. We’re also brewing our next batch of HazySexyCool NEIPA next week, to be released around June 25th. Our next batch of our crushable pilsner, Jagged Little Pils will be out at the end of June.
Bring on summer!
The coveted Spruce Tips for our 2018 batches.