Some crafty women got together earlier this month to brew our annual Witch Craft IPA, a celebration of women in beer! Read on below for more about the brew day, the beer itself and the release details and fundraising events!
This is our 5th annual brew as part of the Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day, a global beer collaboration to celebrate and uplift women and non-binary individuals in the fermented beverage industries. We didn't have pink boots this year, but instead opted for pink tie dye coveralls and tshirts!
We had 10 witches on the floor for the full day, helping with all aspects of the brew, as well as some other witchy friends and family that floated in to sprinkle some magical hop dust into the brew kettle.
These witches know how to work it!
Enjoying our 'Brewers Breakfast' - some hot wort from the first runnings and a good splash of Canadian Whiskey (a special bottle from Newfoundland Distillery).
So nice to have all hands on deck! Can you tell we had fun?
Each year we brew our Witch Craft IPA, the same base recipe with a malt bill of mostly 2-row barley, some wheat and a touch of oats, but we use the annual Pink Boots Hop Blend which changes each year.
About this year's Hop Blend from Yakima Cheif Hops:
An ode to the witches that came before us, and to all the original brewers, the women of the world!
We are releasing the beer on Monday, March 4th to kick off Women's History Month, followed by an event on International Women's Day on Friday, March 8th!
The beer will be sold from the Tasting Room and this year will also be availble through YLC, so see if your local Yukon Liquor Store can bring it in to your community!
We are excited that two local partners will also be serving Witch Craft from cans, at Gather and Woodcutter's Blanket on IWD March 8th. Thanks to Shanta and Jess for helping out on the brew this year!
We are riding high after the success of our first Beer & Cheese Pairing Event! Thanks to all of you that were able to join us on Feb 14th for this little flavour adventure, we hope you enjoyed it.
A big thanks goes to Cultured Fine Cheese for all their cheese knowledge, passion and for just being the nicest people! We are so lucky in Whitehorse to have this amazing ‘little’ shop that brings our community such joy!
Don’t get us wrong, we mostly enjoy a good beer on its own; but we also know that good beer and good food can bring out the best in each other. With the right beer pairing, the meal can be transformed and elevated to a whole new level of flavour experiences. Some beers provide a nice contrast to the dish with a balancing or cleansing effect. While others may serve to enhance or highlight certain elements in the food and vice versa.
We wanted to share the pairings from the event and encourage you to seek out the cheeses and the beers to try at home!
Cultured Fine Cheese has provided great little write ups on each cheese, and we’ve followed up with why the chosen beer ‘works’ with the cheese. Try it and let us know what you think! Spoiler alert, the Reckless Abandon Double IPA with the clothbound cheddar was the favourite by far!
TIPS FOR TASTING:
1. Buchette aux Fleurs
Loire Valley, France
Milk/Animal: Pasteurized/Goat & Non-animal rennet
Cheese Notes: This bright little gem of delicate fresh goat’s milk, sprinkled with edible flowers, will charm, delight and entice! Light, lactic, crumbly yet creamy, the undertone of floral married with the mild goat notes, hits the perfect note!
Beer Pairing: Ptarmageddon Witbier 5.5%
This herbal and citrusy wheat beer complements the tangy acidity of the goat cheese. The higher carbonation or ‘effervescence’ of this beer also helps cut through the dense, creamy cheese like a knife.
2. Thea Clothbound Cheddar
Milk/Animal: Pasteurized/Sheep & Non-animal rennet
Cheese Notes: Thea is made in the old-world way by wrapping the cheddar wheel with cheesecloth. Aged 9 months, Thea yields a woodsy and buttery aroma, and a sharp nutty profile with subtle caramel undertones. It has the sought-after crystallization of a well-aged cheddar with a firm but creamy texture.
Beer Pairing: Reckless Abandon DIPA 8.5% Our boisterous double IPA packs a punch on its own, and can stand up to this robust, aged cheddar. The earthy clothbound cheese helps tease out the tropical hop notes in the beer, which pair beautifully with the subtle caramel sweetness of the cheese. The alcohol and carbonation in turn help cut through the rich flavours and creamy texture.
3. Old Amsterdam Gouda
Milk/Animal: Pasteurized/Cow & Traditional rennet
Cheese Notes: Rich and sweet, salty and savoury, with assertive flavour notes of toasted caramel and a long-balanced finish. Dotted with plenty of small nuggets of protein crystals, which you know you love!
Beer Pairing: Erebus Imperial Stout 8.5%
Make sure to let this beer warm up to cellar temperatue ~12 C to get the most flavour (take it out the fridge 30 minutes before serving). The sweet and salty gouda helps to tame the bitterness from this roasty stout, and in turn lets the sweeter notes shine in both the beer and cheese, rounding out the sharp edges.
4. Cows Creamery Blue Moo
Milk/Animal: Pasteurized/Cow & Non-animal rennet
Cheese Notes: This is an easy to love triple cream blue cheese. A perfect introductory blue to woo, and certainly for those true to blue, you will not be disappointed! Rich, and tangy, dense and creamy, it has a smooth pleasing mouthfeel, almost melting.
Beer Pairing: Guilt Trip Barleywine 9 %
Make sure to let this beer warm up to cellar temperatue ~12 C (take it out the fridge 30 minutes before serving) for best enjoyment. Barleywines are the beer world’s answer to port and sherry, which classically pair with blue cheeses. The malty and fruity flavours in the beer complement the tangy nature of the cheese. The higher alcohol content warms you up while also helping cut through the saltiness and creaminess. It’s a match made in heaven.
The month of February is the unofficial month to show some love for the flagship beers out in the world of craft beer #FlagshipFebruary. Our beloved flagship beers, are the ones that have been with us since our early days, the ones we brew year round, and the ones you know and love! PINGO, WEEKEND WARRIOR, SWEATER WEATHER, MOUNTAIN HERO, SINISTER ROUGE, & RECKLESS ABANDON.
For the rest of February, we are offering 10% off all Flagship Beers - on tap and in cans. So come on out and enjoy the OGs!
Read on as we delve deeper into the background on how each of these six beers came about. It's also a chance to peruse the awesome photos that Erik Pinkerton Photography took for us!
Pingo was 1 of 3 beers we were perfecting at home before opening the brewery. We re-brewed and tweaked the recipe nearly a dozen times at home before brewing it on our original 3 bbl brewhouse for the first time in 2015.
We’ve always loved this beer and it’s been a gateway into craft beer for many of our customers. It’s also one of our top sellers, in terms of volume.
Pingo is a great showcase of Amarillo hops, which we use in the whirlpool and dry hop additions, bringing those juicy tangerine flavours to the forefront. In the style of American Pale Ale it is crisp and refreshing with a great balance for drinkability.
FUN FACT - Did you know Pingo is named for the street we live on. That’s where it all started, in the basement on our homebrew system.
Maybe one of the biggest reasons we opened a brewery in the first place, was to brew some mighty fine IPAs. In 2014 when we were starting the brewery, the big hoppy hit at the time was Driftwood’s Fat Tug. Living in the Yukon, the quality of craft beer from OUTSIDE was (and still is for the most part) hit or miss. We wanted to recreate that crisp, bitter west coast vibe with our own IPA. So we worked on our homebrew recipe over and over again. Affectionately called IPA #1, #2, #3….#12.
We originally slated Citra hops for the dry hop, but it was so hard to get this sexy hop variety at the time, particularly as a new tiny brewery. So we kept it classic with some Cascade, Columbus and Centennial hops instead. We haven't changed much over the past 8 yrs, aside from simplifying the malt bill to 100% 2-row (i.e. no specialty grains).
It has literally been our go-to since we started this wild ride. Satisfyingly clean and crisp with a nice hit of citrus and floral hop flavours. It’s what we reach for most days after work or a day on the slopes, lakes, or trails.
FUN FACT - When naming this beer, it was the only 'Weekend Warrior' out there, as far as we could tell in our searches. Now you look on Untappd (a popular beer app) and there's too many to count. So hard to be original these days!
Ok, so we couldn’t just brew all IPAs. We wanted to have some variety in our regular lineup. For us that meant having a dark beer on offer all year round! Enter, SWEATER WEATHER, our silky smooth and chocolatey Oatmeal Stout. This was another recipe that we worked on at home before opening the brewery.
It has a great following and has also turned out to be a gateway for many into craft beer. While we personally prefer more roasty, robust, strong stouts, we wanted this year-round offering to be approachable and great for any weather.
FUN FACT - Some people mistake this name and think it’s ‘SWEETER’ weather!? If you’re one of those people, you’ve now been warned.
First off, it’s 'Rouge' (en français) not 'Rogue' (like the famous brewery in Oregon). Believe us, it gets mispronounced regularly.
This is a beer we first brewed in August 2015 with our first employee, Matt (owner/founder/brewer of Deep Dark Wood Brewing). This is one of many recipes we collaborated on with him when he was at Winterlong.
It's a pretty badass beer, with a wicked red-amber colour, some tasty toffee and biscuity malt character and those oh so dank and tropical hop aromas. When we made the switch to cans and had Mary Binsted design all our beer labels, the sly fox was the perfect character for this beer.
There are a few iconic bars around Whitehorse that swear by Sinister Rouge on tap. The Gold Pan Saloon goes through it on heavy rotation, along with the Airport Chalet, who we can't seem to get enough of it to.
FUN FACT - As big Bad Religion fans we could not resist the temptation to name this beer Sinister Rouge, after the second song off ‘The Empire Strikes First’ album. Rock on!
As serious hop heads, of course a Double IPA was something that had to be on our regular lineup. This was another doozy we worked on with Matt, at the time he was at Winterlong. Originally it was a Galaxy and Simcoe hop combo but has since switched to Citra and Simcoe.
The name Reckless Abandon was perfect for our DIPA, not only another punk song reference (à la Blink 182), but also the approach to hopping this beer. Not only that, after a few of these at 8.5% you can get a little reckless, which is NOT a good thing!
The audience for this beer has always been interesting, either it's your first taste of craft beer and it's so interesting you never look back, or you simply crave this dangerously smooth beer with a wicked tropical hop flavour.
FUN FACT - The name of the 'Reckless Raven' Yukon 50 Mile Ultra (now called the 'Raven 50') was inspired by this beer. We've since enjoyed sponsoring this event every summer. It's almost worth running this race to get the sweet co-branded beer glass at the end.
MOUNTAIN HERO joined the party a little later than our other regular beers. This brew started out as one of our 1st Anniversary beer releases, under a different name in 2016. We also served it at the 2016 Haines Beer Festival.
The reception was great for our first saison, and we were looking for something different (aka not an IPA) to add to our year-round lineup. It's been a hit ever since, not to mention an award-winning beer. We were stoked to win a Silver Medal at the CANADIAN BREWING AWARDS in 2017.
When developing the recipe, it was important to find the right yeast for the type of saison we wanted to make. Our recipe features the Old World Saison blend from Escparment Labs, which is actually a combo of two classic Saison strains, resulting in complex fruit and black pepper character. The grain bill is mostly continental Pilsner malt with a touch of Vienna and Wheat malt for added character. It's also hopped with Amarillo for bittering and aroma.
FUN FACT - Our Mountain Hero is named for the world-famous mountain bike trail on Montana Mountain in Carcross. The name for the trail came from the old mine site on the mountain. The label art that Mary Binsted designed is an ode to both biking and trail building tools as well as old mining tools. Shout out to the crew at Single Track to Success and the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation for making some epic, world-class trails. Consider donating to S2S if you enjoy the trails out that way!
As we slip into a New Year, we enjoy our annual tradition of reflecting on the past year.
We are more grateful than ever for the unwavering support of our community and all the love you send our way. Thank you for including Winterlong in your special moments, weekly rituals, events, and adventures. And big thanks to the bars and restaurants around the Yukon that carry local beer.
We are so thankful for our amazing staff, who every year keep the good beer and times flowing. Their hard work and passion are what keeps us going, and we couldn’t do what we do without each one of them.
Winterlong staff serving at the Haines Beer Fest in Haines, AK May 2023.
With breweries shuttering their doors across the country, we are thankful to be one of the lucky ones. It’s a challenging industry to be in today, with inflation, increased interest rates, staff shortages, a changing climate, and changes in consumer preferences. It's not just craft breweries feeling the squeeze, but other small businesses, even right here in the Yukon. Thankfully we have 8 years of practice overcoming many different challenges, and we promise we are not going anywhere!
Pink Boots Brew Day 2023
Pride Parade Float Crew Extraordinaire!
Into 2024, it is more important than ever to support those businesses you love and can’t live without. We appreciate all the support and look forward to another great year doing what we love.
Cheers to another great year!
It’s nearly December folks! You know what that means… the darkest days are upon us, but our spirits are bright as we dig into winter and the holiday season. One thing we know we’re all excited for is that Mount Sima opens this Friday! Bring on more snow!
Our Giving Tuesday fundraiser for Share the Spirit Yukon via the Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society was a huge success yesterday. We doubled our profits from last year and were able to donate $1,818.89!
Our fundraising for the Queer Yukon Society through our Rainbow Brite beer is going well. We still have some 4-packs left, and $2 from every 4-pack is being donated to the society. Today we made an interim donation of $1,198 to be used in their programs across the territory. Give them a follow on social media to stay up to date on programming, advocacy and education.
$2 from every 4-pack sold is going to support Queer Yukon. We still have some left in store so enjoy it while you can.
Jagged – Our beloved German Pilsner is back in cans. It’s crisp and clean, with a moderate bitterness featuring top notch German malt and hops.
Jagged Pilsner sits in a snowpile below the towering Sawtooth Range along the South Klondike Highway.
The Last Spruce! With a bumper crop of spruce tips this year we’ve been able to brew more batches than ever! Our last batch will be released this Saturday, December 2nd. So come stock up until next spring.
Guilt Trip 2024 – Our honorary Christmas beer is set for release in early December. The barleywine beer-style is a special one with its bold and complex hop and malt character. It’s meant to be enjoyed warmer than most beers and can be aged for many years.
We still have some of the 2023 vintage available, so pick up a mixed pack and see how the flavours change in a big bold beer like this.
Moonbase Freedom – This next hazy IPA up to bat, is our all-time fave! Look for it mid-December.
We’re brewing lots of great beers in late December with later releases into the New Year, from HazySexyCool to Divine Intervention and Available Light.
Get the last batch of Spruce Tip this Saturday, Dec 2nd.
We’ve got lots of new beer swag in store – including YETI Can Coolers, new BUFFS (with our Pingo and Shadow Dancer designs), and Ptarmigan Pottery beer steins coming soon. Not to mention a great selection of glasses, clothing, hats, toques and you guessed it… beer!
Browse the selection on our Online Store with more in the Tasting Room.
Keep your beer cold (and from freezing solid) in these handy YETI can coolers. They fit our 16 oz cans.
Fun toques are in store currently, along with some other great hat options.
We are closing early Dec 15th for our Staff Party! That Friday we'll be closed ot the public at 6 pm as we celebrate with our amazing staff.
During the holidays, we'll be open regular hours, except for: