Photos: A visit to Beau's All Natural Brewing

Last week, my buddy Hop Citizen (Kaiser) and I decided to do a day trip to Ottawa. My main goal of the trip was to visit Beau's All Natural Brewing in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Beau's has only been available in Manitoba for ten months now and has become well raved after by local beer drinkers to the point that one of the restaurants in Brandon has their beer on tap (craft beer on tap is a rare sight still), and their seasonals sell out quite quickly whenever they make their way to LC or beer vendor shelves. Beau's Jen and Steve Beauschene, as well as Andrew and Patrick treated myself and Hop Citizen to a very VIP Beau's experience at the brewery. I was wanting to stay for lunch with the folks over at Beau's, but Kaiser had other plans for us for the rest of the day! This is the first time I played around with my new Canon EF-S24mm f/2.8 STM lens, it's a decent lens not as good at staying focused as my EF40mm f/2.8 STM. Here's photos from our trip to Beau's last week.

I originally planned this trip months ago to go with my buddy Ryan in Ottawa, but due to work, he was unable to meet up with us - he was the reason why I first tried Beau's back in 2013, and he's such a big Beau's fan that Beau's was the beer that they served at his wedding!

Lastly.. before we get to the photos: I appreciate breweries that put emphasis on rural life and agriculture. Beau's and their old tractor remind me of my childhood when I thought I was going to be a farmer. At least the beer aspect of agriculture I still get giddy about!

The moment you enter Beau's, you see their brewing equipment in action.

Andrew (left) and Patrick (right) being awesome hosts and making sure we get to try what's new at Beau's. Andrew has been working for Beau's for only a month now as Customer Engagement Co-ordinator and you can just tell he's having a blast - he's been a Beau's fan for a long time now and said that working at Beau's was his dream job. He was also featured on Beau's announcement video for their Farm Table Saison.

Kaiser needed to get a closeup of the tap labels

Surly! Founders!

Steve heard I was in town so he stopped by to say hi!

Eh, Steve?! He's less babyfaced now than when I saw him at Flatlander's Beer Festival in Winnipeg the week before
Just your typical every day Hop Citizen

Jen and Andrew!

Jen and the folks over at Beau's happen to be the biggest non-Manitoban fans of Winnipeg's Torque Brewing, so I just had to bring some samples with me! I was planning on bringing a few cans of Foundation Pale ale but unfortunately I couldn't find any until after I got back to Manitoba. One day Beau's and Torque will do a collaboration beer.. seeing that John K Samson & The Winter Wheat are performing at Beau's Oktoberfest this year, a John K Samson "Winter Wheat" themed beer only makes sense.

While I was at the brewery, I had the honour to meet Fina Uwineza, the entrepreneur who is starting up a women-owned craft brewery in Rwanda thanks to an awesome successful kickstarter campaign thanks to Beau's! She told me that municipal laws have been making it hard for her to find the right space to start up a brewery but she's confident she will be finding the right space soon! Here's Fina with Steve.

Myself with Fina and Steve

Steve with Kaiser

Thank you to the folks over at Beau's for taking time out of their schedule to meet with us! We didn't get time to visit Halcyon Barrel House, which is Beau's new startup brewery that's producing exclusively barrel aged beers, but I did briefly meet brewer Bryce while at the brewery, but next time I'll be checking the place out!

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