Over the past few months, we’ve been working on a recipe for a rye coffee porter, and finally our brewery version will be out Saturday. We’ve always found coffee beers can be hit or miss and wanted to take up the challenge of brewing a version we could be proud of.
The fun part in developing a recipe is making the beer at home on our basement homebrew system (for personal taste-testing purposes of course). This coffee porter recipe had gone through two iterations at home. We tried different grain bills as well as different methods for using even the coffee. Then the recipe was scaled up and skillfully brewed by our brewers.
Playing around with recipes on the home brewery 'pilot system'.
Coffee can be added to beer in so many ways. You can throw in some coffee beans just like you would hops later in the boil kettle, you can put the beans in the fermenter following primary fermentation like a dry hop, or you can add beans or brewed coffee (from a coffee maker, French press or espresso machine) to the beer prior to packaging. We decided on the later method of adding the coffee before packaging to keep the coffee flavour as fresh as possible. Not only that, but we used the cold brew coffee method so that we didn’t get as much of the acidity or any of the harsh, astringent characters from the roasted beans.
Prepping the freshly ground beans for the cold brew addition.
Also the whole point of making a coffee beer was to be able to showcase the coffee from one of our favourite local roasters, Firebean Coffee Roasters. We are lucky in Whitehorse to have such a great selection of local roasters, including Midnight Sun and Bean North, which are both very well established. Firebean is new to the scene and Mike makes very small batches, by pedaling a stationary bike to turn the roasting drum over a birchwood fire. We’ve been inspired by Mike and his wife Sarah’s micro start-up business, which has taken Whitehorse by storm.
Coffee soldiers! Ready! Aim! Fire!
So we are excited to bring you Firebean Rye Coffee Porter (6.8%). It’s a smooth and chocolatey porter with a hint of roast and a light fruity and spiciness from the malted barley and rye. The dark roasted Guatemalan (fair trade organic) coffee beans lend some of the complex chocolate, roast and fruit flavours in the beer.
Your first chance to try this beer will be the Friday installment of the 4th Annual Yukon Beer Festival (October 13-14, 2017), in Whitehorse at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. Bottles and draft will be available at our Tasting Room starting Saturday!
**** WARNING: It may seem obvious but there is coffee in this beer, so if caffeine affects you, maybe don’t drink this one right before bed! On the other hand if you need a pick-me-up in the evening, this could do the trick! ****
We’re surprising you today with a special release, barrel-aged barleywine, Tragic Vision (9.5%)!
This was an impromptu brew made many, many months ago as we needed another beer to put into our Port Chilkoot whiskey barrels. These barrels previously held our Divine Intervention Belgian Tripel and Terror Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. This is also the last beer to grace these particular barrels before they are retired.
Where the barleywine sleeps (barrels from Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines, AK).
Tragic Vision is an English-style barleywine, not to be confused with our other barleywine offering that comes out in December, Guilt Trip, which is a hopped-up American version. Tragic Vision is graced with both English ale yeast and East Kent Goldings hops. This strong ale starts off with an explosion of toffee and dark fruit flavours (think raisin and prune), ending with a super smooth whiskey finish. It’s sure to warm you up this fall and winter, making it an excellent dessert beer or nightcap.
This special release will be available starting today in bottles only. Tragically, it will not be available for growler fills or pints.
Just in time for our Tasting Room’s 1-year anniversary party this Thursday, October 5th, we will be able to call ourselves a true Yukon bar, as we’ll have the bell to prove it.
It’s a common sight in the Yukon and Alaska to see a bell in every bar and if you’ve been around long enough maybe you’ve been lucky to be in a bar when one has been rung (meaning you got a free drink along with everyone else).
The rule with the bell originates from the old mining days, when miners used to celebrate their gold discoveries by ringing the bell and buying everyone in the bar a drink.
Our particular bell is from the old Curling Rink in Elsa, YT that was given to Marko’s dad, Anto (aka Tony), in 1980 when he left the community, after decades of working in the silver mines around Elsa and Keno. The story goes that Tony rang the bell the most of anyone for rounds on him over the years, and was always ringing the bell for anyone’s birthday. When we moved to the Yukon nearly 10 years ago, Tony gifted us the bell. Little did we know we would own our own bar someday!
Community of Elsa, YT circa 1958 (Photo Credit: Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, © Estate of George Hunter R.C.A).
Starting October 5th, you can ring the bell to your hearts content. If the Tasting Room is at capacity, buying each and every person a pint would be around $300, requiring some decent pay dirt. That being said, not everyone is ready and willing to take you up on a free beer at the end of the night. We get that, and have made that mistake before! So, we’ve got some sweet wooden beer tokens so that you can save your free drink for another time.
If you haven’t made friends at Winterlong yet, I’m sure you will if you ring the bell. And when that bell tolls, order a Pingo Pale Ale, Tony’s favourite WL brew.
Hand-crafted wooden beer tokens, so you can save your 'free pint' for later.
Our last batch of Spruce Tip is currently on tap, which signals the beginning of fall and the return of a few fall seasonal beers.
Our main fall seasonal is our Log Splitter Smoked Porter, which should be returning to our regular bottle line-up and tap list, mid-October. This beer is available all fall and most of the winter. If you enjoy that smoky, meaty flavour, this is the beer for you. It’s also amazing to cook with, so add it to chilis, stews, or homemade BBQ sauces.
These seasonal beers will soon be switching places, out with the Spruce Tip (on tap till it runs out) and in with the Log Splitter Smoked Porter.
While our summery High Noon Hefeweizen ran out last weekend, our fall version, Sundown Dunkelweizen, will take its place in late-September as our German-style wheat beer offering on draught (only).
We’ve also been sitting on an English-style barleywine (Tragic Vision) that’s been ageing in Port Chilkoot Distillery (Haines, AK) whiskey barrels for many months. This beer will deserve its own blog, but you should expect to see it early-October. Tragic Vision will be available in limited bottles and on draught.
In time for the Yukon Beer Festival (mid-October), we’ve teamed up with the fine, pedal-powered folks at Firebean Coffee Roasters, to bring you a Rye Coffee Porter. We will tell you more on the development of this beer recipe later.
You’ll also be seeing the return of some crowd favourites this fall:
- Sullen Riot Rye Pale Ale (end of Sept)
- Easy Listening ESB (next week)
- HazySexyCool NEIPA (late Sept)
Other than some changes in the fall tap and bottle list this fall, we’ve also had a few changes in the brewery and Tasting Room staff. You’ll see a couple new faces at the bar starting this month. We’ve hired a new part-time Tasting Room Ambassador named Robert, along with two new casual ambassadors, Veronica and Jen. And Kevin who started in our Tasting Room this past May has now moved back to the Brewery side of things, to join Matt and Alex, as an Assistant Brewer.
We’ll soon be increasing our capacity for the fourth time in 2.5 years! This time we’re adding 50% more cellaring capacity resulting in 50% more beer. The new equipment will arrive late September, when a mad game of tetris will ensue as we try to make space for everything in the brewery. Along with two new 15 bbl tanks, an additional 7 bbl brite tank, and larger chilling unit, we’ve invested in a new bottling machine and keg washer to hopefully help out with the beer load.
We'll make room somehow, right?!
October 5: This date marks our 1 year anniversary of opening the Tasting Room at the brewery, and we’d like to ‘ring’ in this milestone with some special treats (stay tuned).
October 13/14: 4th Annual Yukon Beer Festival – We’ll be serving at both nights of the festival, and will also be open all weekend long at the Tasting Room for your beer tasting enjoyment. Tickets are on sale now.
October 22: 2nd Annual - Pumpkins & Pints - Back by popular demand, we’ll have our pumpkin carving contest on the Sunday before Halloween. Stay tuned for details.
Most Saturdays: Beer & Bivalves, courtesy of the Wayfarer Oyster Bar every Saturday (unless otherwise specified) from 3-6 pm on Saturdays.
The winning pumpkin from the 2016 Pumpkin Carving Contest.
One of our favourite beers is returning this coming Monday! HazySexyCool, our New England Style IPA (NEIPA) will be hitting our taps July 24th. Released back in March 2017 for the first time, this beer only lasted 5 days. Thankfully this second batch was made on our newer, bigger 7 barrel brewhouse so we hope it lasts a little longer.
In case you’re wondering what the heck a NEIPA is and how it is different from a ‘regular’ American IPA we’ll break it down for you.
For the past few decades, American IPAs have typically been clear, crisp and dry, with an assertive bitterness from the copious amounts of West Coast hops. It was the West Coast breweries that made the IPA style so popular.
While the NEIPA style certainly doesn’t shy away from hops, the bitterness is not in your face like in a typical West Coast IPA. NEIPAs are characterized as being hazy, having a creamier mouthfeel, with the hops lending an extremely juicy citrus or tropical character, while overall having a softer, more rounded bitterness. It all boils down to an IPA that is a little more approachable with a higher drinkability factor (cha-ching!).
The differences in the two styles of IPAs comes right down to the malt bill and yeast, as well as how the hops are used. Don’t get us wrong though, we are huge fans of both styles of IPAs, we just want to make sure no one misses out on this latest craze for hazy, juicy IPAs.
We used flaked oats and wheat malt in addition to our regular 2-row pale malt, to provide that thicker mouthfeel as well as contribute to that hazy, unfiltered look and feel. Instead of our regular yeast, we used a yeast strain that contributes more of a fruity character. For hops, we used first wort hopping to provide a nice rounded bitterness, and then everything else went in at the end of the boil, the whirlpool or dry hop to focus on the aroma and flavour of the Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hops.
Finally, the name HazySexyCool is a jab at how popular this style has gotten lately, because all the cool kids are brewing it, not to mention the TLC reference we couldn't resit. The haze craze has taken the craft brewing world by storm and the Yukon shouldn’t miss out. That's why we are here! The popularity of this newish beer style is no hype, this is truly a very enjoyable style of IPA, best enjoyed as fresh as possible. So get it while you can straight from the source, in a growler to go or a pint to stay at the Tasting Room, starting July 24th.