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.





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!



Ice bear under northern lights, photographed by Peter Mather in 2020 on the Klukshu River.  Credit: Peter Mather 2020