Review: Collective Arts IPA No. 2 (Collective Project)

I absolutely enjoyed Collective Arts' IPA No. 1 when it came out back in March. In fact, as soon as I reviewed it, I had someone go "IPA No. 1 is garbage.. look out for IPA No. 2, you'll love it!" Well, I didn't think it was garbage.. but what would I know? IPA No 2 is brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe and Waimea hops and comes out at 7.1% ABV.

Appearance: A cloudy orange bodied beer with a massive amount of light-beige head on top. I had to wait around 20 minutes to photograph this beer because the glass was 60% foam initially (not the fault of my pouring, it was just a foamy beer).

Aroma: Sweet and juicy! Notes of oranges, pineapple and a hint of honey. Light graininess to it, a hint of lemon. Light floral notes and just a hint of pine in there. Very juicy IPA!

Taste: The juiciness pops out really well in this beer with pineapple dominating the flavour, followed by orange peel, a bit of lemon and a light graininess to it. Mildly bitter with pine, grapefruit, and floral notes. In every sip I get the fresh squeezed fruitiness in every aspect.. almost like a beer mimosa.

Overall Thoughts: This is a great example of the Juicy or New England-style IPA trend that's exploded this year. I could drink this every day if I had the chance. This makes up for Ransack the Universe not being in stock at my local LC for now.

Review: Beau's Full Time IPA

I'm heading to Montreal in two weeks for Mondial de la bière, one of the largest beer festivals in the world. While at Mondial, I'm doing a day trip to Ontario with Hop Citizen and stopping at Beau's and hopefully a few awesome Ottawa brewpubs and restaurant(s) along the trip. The other day I received a bottle of Full Time IPA: Jack over at Eclectic Beverages has been raving about this beer for MONTHS, just counting down the days until it was available in Manitoba. Full Time IPA is supposed to be a new permanent offering for Beau's for the Manitoba market to compliment Lug Tread, being available in bottles and kegs throughout Manitoba, so you will be seeing this in Winnipeg and Brandon restaurants sometime in the near future. For some reason I keep getting this beer mixed up with Founders' All Day IPA because.. well, sometimes Full Time can be all day long. This is also the first time I get to play around with my Canon 24MM STM pancake lens.

Appearance: Full Time pours a moderately cloudy golden straw, it seems kind of clear but behind the glass all I see is the shadow of whatever is behind the beer glass. There is a good amount of micro-carbonation, giving off a good stream of bubbles in the middle of the glass, but not quite like a lager or pilsner. As for the head, It starts off with a rich, thick frothy white head but quickly diminishes into a half finger's worth of foam on top and some lacing on the side.

Aroma: The aroma is a combination of bitter and tropical, a bit reminiscent of Driftwood's Fat Tug IPA. The first thing that comes to mind is a solid amount of pine and floral bitterness that just makes me want to drink this beer faster. There is also a great deal of tropical hop notes of pineapple, lemon and grapefruit that give it a great summertime patio zestiness to it. It's not as sweet and tropical as the New England IPAs we've been seeing pop up lately but it has exactly what I want in my IPAs - bitter hops complimented by some tropical notes.

Taste: The bitterness of the hops is dominant for the initial tasting, giving off notes of pine and a bit of graininess from the cereals. The next thing I taste is the tropical flavours that consist of pineapple, grapefruit, lemon and green apple. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a lingering apple peel taste to it.

Overall Thoughts: I'm absolutely excited to see this beer launched in Manitoba, especially as a Full Time product. Beau's will be sampling it at Flatlanders Beer Festival at Bell MTS Place next week so I know I'll be trying to get seconds and thirds of this beer if the lines aren't too long (they will be). It's a solid West Coast IPA with a good deal of bitterness and a citrus backing to it. They recommend pairing it with Chipotle & mango salsa with spiced tortilla chips, BBQ beef burgers with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar, ginger-cookie-&-cream-cheese ice cream sandwich, which all sounds delicious (but I'd pair it without the onions).  6.7% ABV

Photos: Flatlanders 2017 Media Kickoff event

Yesterday was the 2017 Flatlanders Beer Festival media kick-off event at Grant Park for next weekend's annual festival. I've been to a few media events in the past but this was the first beer media event I've ever been to in Manitoba. To be honest, I was shocked with the low turnout - I expected a packed room with various media sources but in reality, there were more guys from the various breweries than media/social media at the event. I was hoping that the event was going to announce the beer lineup and I expected to see some (out of province) sample breweries (such as the beers by 49th Parallel Group) showing what they're bringing to the event. (PS - there is a list of beers to expect on Flatlanders' website)

Thankfully, there was a good showing by Winnipeg breweries: Barn Hammer Brewing, Fort Garry Brewing, PEG Beer Co, Nonsuch Brewery, Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery, Half Pints Brewing, Little Brown Jug and Torque Brewing. The room felt a tad empty as Neepawa's Farmery didn't make an appearance at the event.

Here's photos I took of the event in no particular order!

Barn Hammer Brewing

Chris (great product consultant from Portage & Burnell Liquor Mart) chatting with Adam and John at Torque Brewing

Fort Garry

Brazen Hall

Jeremy from Brazen Hall and Adam from Torque Brewing - Manitoba's two smilingest brewers

Nonsuch Brewing

Half Pints' products

Barn Hammer and Fort Garry

Colin and Dot from PEG Beer Co

Fresh from winning Bronze for American Style Amber/Red Ale at the Canadian Brewing Awards - Torque's Red Line Red IPA

Sable from Barn Hammer Brewing with Adam from Torque Brewing

Three Canadian crafty radlers

In my June 19, 2015 edition of First Draught, I stated that Radlers were “slowly gaining popularity in Canada.” Well, it’s at the point now where I’m dubbing 2017 “The Year of the Radler”. Radlers are becoming such a hot commodity that Liquor Marts and beer vendors are having a hard time keeping them in stock. As far as I can count so far, Labatt has three radlers available in Manitoba right now, including Bud Light Radler, with possibly more to come through their Mill Street, Stanley Park or Goose Island operations.

Radlers have been available in Manitoba for as long as I can remember but I recall bypassing them completely because they were simply 50% beer/50% grapefruit juice, and I’m not someone who generally cares about grapefruit juice. Radlers will always be the beer of choice for cyclists, but it’s also the beer of choice for those who want something refreshing, light yet fruity at same time.

This week I’ve chosen three Non-Labatt Canadian craft brewed Radlers that are worth cycling to. (Please drink responsibly)

Pump House Crafty Radler - I’ve been a fan of Moncton's Pump House since back in the day when the pub-based predecessor of Farmery Brewery (Luxalune Gastropub) used to have an interesting selection of craft beers that were only available at their pub and nowhere else in Manitoba, their Blueberry Ale was always a hit in the summer time, while their Scotch Ale was a hit in the winter. Pump House recently brought out a new Radler called Crafty Radler. Crafty Radler is brewed with lager and a mixture of grapefruit and tangerine juices. Crafty Radler pours a cloudy straw beer with a hint of pulp-like sediment throughout the beer. The aroma starts out being reminiscent of 7-UP with a bit of lime and lemon then the notes of grapefruit and tangerine pop up quickly after. The taste starts off with a heavy dose of grapefruit mixed with lime and lemon but the tangerine really helps deal with the tartness of the sour fruits by adding a hint of orangey sweetness, though I wish there was a bit tangerine in there. Incredibly tasty and likely the strongest Radler of the night as it tops out at 4.7% ABV. Available at Liquor Marts in Brandon. Brandon, Minnedosa and virden for $3.49 per 473mL can. 4.5/5 Pints

Waterloo Grapefruit Radler - In my 2015 column, I reviewed Waterloo’s Lemonade Radler as I love lemonade and I wanted to see what the fuss about Radlers was at the time. In my opinion, Waterloo Brewing makes the top selling (non Labatt/Molson/Stiegl) radler in Canada, I see more people buying this beer than Bud Light Radler, but Bud Light just released their Radler days ago so things will change. Waterloo’s Grapefruit Radler pours pale, watery lemon yellow with a bit of sediment. There’s a great deal of carbonation taking place making it a bit fizzy like a soda. The aroma is full of grapefruit as it is tart yet sweet, a good deal of pepper and a hint of lemon. The taste starts out fairly sweet then the tartness of the grapefruit hits. The weird tartness of grapefruits is the main reason why I never liked grapefruits. There’s a hint of peppery spice in there as well but it’s mostly muted compared to the aroma. It’s fairly easy to drink and definitely the most tarty of what I’ve had so far, but I’m not done yet! If you’re a grapefruit fan, this Radler is obviously meant for you! Compared to some grapefruit coolers on the market, this one has a natural taste to it instead of a weird syrupy and sugary taste to it. 3.1% ABV. Available at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Dauphin, Swan River and Virden for $3.25 per 473mL can. It may also be available at the Keystone Motor Inn Beer Vendor. 4/5 Pints

Central City Red Racer Radler - Most of you who are familiar with the name “Red Racer” will immediately think of their popular India Pale Ale in the green cans. The Red Racer line from Surrey BC’s Central City Brewing is actually a wide selection of products from pilsners to pumpkin ales and.. yes, a Radler. Red Racer Radler just popped back at the MLCC two weeks back after an eight month hiatus. The Radler pours a thick and cloudy orange beer but doesn’t have any sort of sediment like the two previous beers. The aroma has notes of grapefruit, lime, lemon, a hint of pepper, and a light grassiness from the hops. The taste starts off with a bit of a Five Alive flavour to it as I’m getting lime and grapefruit popping up at the same time. It’s fairly tart and even has a light taste of crackers to it, which I haven’t seen in any other of the beers. This one is probably the smoothest of the bunch but after drinking three Radlers by myself, I wish I was sharing this with someone or if my portions were only in 4-8oz sampler sizes instead - that’s just too much grapefruit juice for one person! The grapefruit is complimented by lime in this one but it still has the tartiness and peppery bite that I experienced in the rest of the Radlers. 3.5% ABV. You can find this at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for $2.73 per 473mL can. 4/5 Pints

Lastly, two new beer releases: With today being Cinco de Mayo, Vankleek Hill, Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing has launched their Buenos Dias Gruit Ale. If you were at the Brandon Beer Festival last month you got to try it before the rest of the province! Buenos Dias is available at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for $5.30 per 600mL bottle.

Photos: Brasserie Nonsuch Brewery's launch party

I've been writing and reviewing about beer since 2005, but I only started taking it seriously in 2009 when The Cranky Beer Blogger blog was first created. I've seen a lot of changes in the beer industry, especially with Manitoba going from two breweries to I-can't-count amount of breweries. I feel like I'm a character out of the typical Weakerthans song, depressed, moody, a True Manitoban.. but if gotten the chance to go to greener pastures, move away in a heart beat.. only to be a stereotypical Manitoban elsewhere.

I've been lucky enough to go on lots of brewery tours, including a special tour of Unibroue last year, but.. I was never ever invited to a brewery launch party. So, when I got a personal invitation in my mail box by Ben over at Brasserie Nonsuch, I was the happiest I've been in months. I almost wasn't even able to go because on weekdays I have to rely on public transportation (Greyhound is essentially non-existent now), so I seriously thought I wasn't going to be able to go to Brasserie Nonsuch's launch party, I felt the most depressed I've been since I got laid off my previous job in 2015, I was shaking! Thankfully Patrick, someone who has been a bit of a connoisseur of interesting beers lately ended up wanting to be my guest to the event that night - Unfortunately for him he had to deal with my boringness, my anxiety and my desire for more beer (sorry, Patrick!)

I took some photos of the brewery launch party at Cibo Waterfront Café on May 25, 2017. Nonsuch will be starting to sell their beer in corked & caged 750mL bottles as soon as late June at select Winnipeg Liquor Marts (and likely the Quality Inn Beer Store). I'm only going to dream that it reaches Brandon some day! Lastly, Nonsuch still hasn't found a brewery location, so they are brewing out of Barn Hammer for now.

Here are many photos I took at the event, hope you enjoy! These are in (mostly) no particular order!

Pre-event pint of Barn Hammer's Sneak Belgique

Literature en Français!

Matthew Sabourin, President of Nonsuch Brewery

Ben Myers from Nonsuch

First of Nonsuch's beers start to arrive!

Bière de Garde

Bière de Garde pairing - mini baguette with some sort of cheesy garlic glaze

Belgian Strong pairing - mini baguette with mushrooms and some sort of cheese

Belgian Strong

Bière de Garde et Belgian Strong


Old Ale X paring - mini baguette with figs and aged cheese

Our view of Winnipeg from the window



Saison pairing #1 - Moules (Mussels)

Saison pairing #2 - fruits on shortbread

"Young Union Guy"

Dan! He used to work at Half Pints back in the day

Christellar & Colin - they're especially excited for Surly to come to Canada

Nonsuch brewer Mark chatting with Dan

The Birchs! Owners of Barn Hammer - the reason why Nonsuch was able to brew beer so soon in the first place

Mark pouring Old Ale X

Kailey is ecstatic that Ottawa Senators just scored a goal

Old Ale X

Brazen Hall Brewer Jeremy having a chat at our table. Patrick is in deep thought

Nonsuch's Ty, he's originally from Brandon! As is Ben.

L'équipe / the team