This past year was truly one for the history books! Who knew we would all collectively go through the huge challenges of a global pandemic together. Thankfully, we’ve never felt more lucky to call the Yukon home!
Still, it has been hard on all of us, many have struggled and some more than others. We’ve all experienced a bit of a roller coaster and let us tell you, owning and running a business sure adds another level to things.
2020 was the year nearly everything was canceled. It started with the Arctic Winter Games that were to be held in Whitehorse, then the Yukon Comedy Festival, then our 5th Anniversary Celebration and the Haines Beer Festival (we miss you Haines). Several brewery collaborations were put on hold, everyones' favourite music festivals were canceled and our local Yukon Craft Beer Festival was canceled as well.
But despite the pandemic, there were many highlights and milestones in 2020 for Winterlong:
We are proud to say we never once turned down the chance to support a local cause in 2020. More than ever, it was (and is) important for us to support our local community as much as they support us. Obviously we couldn't have gotten through the last year without our community and amazing staff!
We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves for 2021, but we can say that the challenges in 2020 have made us all stronger, and we look forward to brewing up a storm as always.
Well we are in for a long winter together now that the borders are closed again. But with winter, comes the return of many beloved brews from the return of seasonal beers, to beers released once a year, to some returning rotating brews. So, you might as well stick around and make the most of it!
Before we get into the tasty business of beer releases, we want to address the current COVID situation. We would all love to continue to keep COVID at bay, so here are some reminders about options you might consider over the next little while:
AND DON’T FORGET… Stay home when sick and wash your hands frequently! We’ll of course keep up with our regular cleaning and disinfecting. Let's do this team!
Next week, we have the return of JAGGED our German Style Pilsner! As many of you know this beer took a bit of a hiatus over the summer, as we could not dedicate a fermenter to lagering with so much demand for our regular beers. Thankfully with our new tanks, we can bring Jagged back into the fold.
We will also have the return of our NIGHTSHADE Black IPA, a seasonal IPA that we bring out each fall/winter. It is a personal favourite for its kick-ass bold flavours – blending a slight roastiness with bitter citrus and earthy hops. This is the first time this beer is in 4-Pack cans too, so enjoy the new label artwork by Mary Binsted.
Right at the end of the month we are bringing back an experimental beer from last year, DIVINE CAFFEINATION Belgian-style Tripel with Coffee. This was a fun experimental beer we brewed a year ago, featuring an experimental barrel-aged coffee collaboration with Firebean Coffee Roasters. Apparently many of you loved it, so we brewed it again. The delicious barrel-aged coffee that was used in the beer, will also be available at Winterlong and through Firebean Coffee Roasters and some of their retailers.
Fall and Winter also bring the return of another seasonal dark beer, of the smoky variety, our LOG SPLITTER Smoked Porter. This beer is brewed using a portion of barley malt that has been smoked, lending it a smooth, smokey almost meaty flavour.
December wouldn’t be complete without the annual release our GUILT TRIP Barleywine. The 2021 vintage will be available before Christmas. It's one of our strongest brews, coming in at a hefty 9%, bursting with rich malty flavours and a robust hop punch. You can age this strong beer for years and see how the flavours transform.
And never fear, we will have the return of two Hazy IPAs before the year is done - TRUCKSTOP POETRY & HAZYSEXYCOOL.
As of today, we have completed our two expansions.
Just in time, the shiny and new Tasting Room space is open! With beer garden weather at a literal end, as the snow flies today, we had to expand our indoor seating ASAP. Over the past two months we have opened up some walls, built a more compact storage room and got to painting, flooring, and trimming things out. The trickiest part was the sound barrier panels for the ceiling.
All the hard work has paid off, as we now have safe space for 26 more people! With approval in hand we are nearly back to our pre-pandemic capacity.
The new space is warm and bright with paint colours and artwork inspired by Mary Binsted’s awesome beer label artwork. It will be a welcome haven for the darker and colder months ahead. Looking forward to welcoming you all to the new space, and rest assured proper spacing and maximum group size rules are still in place.
Paint colours inspired by our Superunknown & Wilderness City beer labels.
Not only have we been working on a Tasting Room expansion but also a brewery expansion. Our new tanks arrived safely a few weeks ago. It was definitely a couple stressful days, 1) getting the tanks off the truck and 2) getting them upright and into the brewery. We learn something new every time we buy new tanks and while we hope we don’t decide to expand again any time soon, we know we can’t say ‘never again’.
Fun with a zoom boom: Forks up, boom out… forks up, boom out… CAREFUL!
So far we’ve filled two of the 21 bbl fermenters with our Moonbase Freedom Hazy IPA and Pingo Pale Ale. For those lager fans, we will be brewing Jagged Pilsner at the end of the month with much more to come. With three new fermenters and one brite tank, we're READY, SET, GO!
New Tanks in their New Home.
We are happy to report, that Growler Fills will be back on the menu starting on September 1st. Thanks again for your patience!
As with everything in this new normal, we take the safety of our staff and customers seriously, so we're putting in place a Growler Exchange Program. This will ensure proper sanitation and stop any cross-contamination.
You will have options to either:
Buy a new growler and fill. OR
Exchange one of your own used Winterlong growlers for another used properly sanitized growler.
What growlers qualify in the exchange program?
We will have a drop box near the counter that staff will handle at a later time, sanitizing each used growler and recirculating them back into distribution. By putting your growler in the drop box, you acknowledge that it is clean and in good condition. Make sure to let the staff know how many growlers you are exchanging to fill.
There may be some beers that aren't available for growler fills, based on stock availability. We apologize if your favourite beer isn't available this time.
DRINK IT FRESH
ALWAYS STORE COLD
KEEP IT CLEAN
There’s no denying it, summer is transitioning into fall, even though this so-called summer never really came. This is the time of year when we start to notice the colours changing, the mornings becoming cooler, the fireweed is going to seed, and the kids are going back to school (for the most part). Thankfully to help with this transition, we’ve got some exciting beer releases and expansions in the works.
The last batch of our Spruce Tip Pale Ale is scheduled to be released next Monday, August 24th. If it is like either of our other spruce release dates this year, it won’t last long. Pre-orders will be available online starting Sunday, August 23rd at 8 pm. Head to our online store here. If you miss out on the pre-orders, get here early on Monday, because when she is gone, she gone!
Our annual limited release, Belgian-style Tripel, is being transferred from bourbon barrels this week and packaged next week (likely Wednesday, August 26). This year's batch was aged in Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Bourbon barrels for 6 months. It will also be the first time we are canning the beer, so it will be available in single cans, like with our other limited release brews. As always, this beer is big and boozy, but oh so smooth.
First time this divine beer will be in cans.
HAZE JUNCTION & TRUCKSTOP POETRY
We’ll have two back to back hazy releases in early September, with the return of both Haze Junction Hazy Pale Ale and Truckstop Poetry Hazy IPA.
We’ve got two expansions in the works. Not only do we have a few bigger tanks arriving in the next couple weeks, we are also working on an expansion of our interior Tasting Room space. While the outdoor beer garden has been a life saver during these COVID times, it is definitely not an all-season option. With the pandemic still part of our lives for the foreseeable future, we need more space to spread out inside. So we'll be taking down some walls! With the brewery expansion we've got three triple tanks coming, meaning we have to brew three times to fill them. We're hoping this means we can keep up with our regular offerings and finally get back to brewing some more specialty brews, like our Jagged Pils and Secret Destroyer Fruit Sour.
We're growing UP! Three new triple fermenters are coming soon.