FIRST DRAUGHT — Flatlanders good place to find rare beers6 minute read Friday, Jun. 14, 2019
This year’s edition of Flatlanders Beer Festival is taking place next weekend at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. Tickets start at $42.95 and are available at Winnipeg Liquor Marts and likely at the event as well. This year’s festival will include 95 booths and more than 375 beers from most of the Manitoba breweries as well as many breweries from all over the world.
The beers I’m looking forward to trying most are the one-off beers by Winnipeg’s breweries, but also some of the rarities that I just can’t get in Brandon such as Brasserie Dunham and Le Corsaire out of Quebec, as well as Revelation Ales out of Minnesota.
While I was still in Montreal two weeks ago, I had the honour of interviewing the father of the American craft beer industry, Jim Koch from Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams). In the hour-long discussion I had with him, we had an awesome chat about the Boston Bruins’ success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as a wide variety of topics all about beer. If you were at the Brandon Beer Festival in April, you may have sampled Boston Beer Company’s newest release, Sam Adams ’76. The Brandon Beer Festival was also one of the very first places in all of Canada that showcased the beer.
Much of the discussion I had with Koch was about the new beer. Sam Adams ’76 is a beer that pays tribute to the Sam Adams brand, but it’s also something that most breweries have never experimented with — brewing a beer as both a lager and an ale. Sure, you’ve heard of “lagered ales” (such as Beau’s Lug Tread), but generally “lagered ales” are simply just ales that have a light smoothness comparable to a typical lager.
FIRST DRAUGHT — When you can’t get growlers, Tropic Like It’s Hop8 minute read Preview Friday, May. 17, 2019
FIRST DRAUGHT — So much has changed over last five years11 minute read Preview Friday, Jan. 25, 2019
La Fin du Monde began my beer journey7 minute read Preview Friday, Sep. 28, 2018
In this week’s edition of First Draught, I decided it was time to finally do a full review on the one beer that changed my life more than anything else. This week is all about one beer out of Quebec, a Belgian Tripel ale that at one time I thought tasted like hell, only to end up falling in love with it. This week is all about Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde.
Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde is the entire reason why I write about beer. It was the second beer I ever reviewed on RateBeer.com, the first being Molson Canadian 6.0 Cold Shots. On Sept. 4, 2004, my rating of La Fin du Monde was simply: "I tried this beer back a few months ago hearing that Unibroue makes some of the best beer in Canada, it’s a high percentage beer, but I didn’t really like it, it has a really sweet taste which reminded me of black licorice. It’s easy to get drunk off this beer, but just not my cup of tea, or in this case, glass of beer. 1.9/5”
As you can tell, I didn’t like the beer at all — In fact, I wanted to drain-pour the beer because I absolutely detest the taste of black licorice. Plus there was a hefty amount of “stuff floating” (sediment or possibly dead yeast) in the beer so that really made me cringe. I managed to drink the entire 341 mL bottle of the nine per cent swill and after that decided that the beer wasn’t for me. At the time (2004), Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde was considered to be the gold standard for Belgian-style ales, so for every comment I saw on the internet about how amazing La Fin du Monde was, I’d just shake my head and say how it was a horrible beer that made me want to gag.
The following year, I started drinking Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly because I heard it was a nice, lighter beer that was full on flavour but not aggressive in any sense. The first time I had it, I wasn’t a fan, but then I had it again after an exhausting day at work and the medley of coriander, orange peel and Belgian yeast made it my go-to post work beer on Friday nights. After having one 341 mL bottle I’d feel calm, relaxed and lacking anxiety and ready for sleep. Quick tidbit, Blanche de Chambly predates almost every other North American Belgian-style wheat beer by several years. It came out in 1992, a few years before Coors’ Blue Moon and many years before Shock Top and Rickards White (which is just Blue Moon/Belgian Moon re-branded).
FIRST DRAUGHT — Grand Slam a stout worth craving this summer5 minute read Preview Friday, Aug. 3, 2018
FIRST DRAUGHT — Innis & Gunn goes tropical with Mangoes on the Run IPA5 minute read Preview Friday, Jul. 20, 2018
FIRST DRAUGHT — Saison du Tracteur harvests rich medley of rye, barley, wheat5 minute read Preview Friday, Jul. 13, 2018
First Draught — Malty, easy-to-drink Crafty Radler a refreshing option5 minute read Preview Friday, Jun. 15, 2018
First Draught — Lamp Lighter is the ideal brew to review in Cummings’ honour3 minute read Preview Friday, May. 18, 2018
FIRST DRAUGHT — Steamworks’ red ale worthy of hero worship5 minute read Preview Friday, Mar. 2, 2018
First Draught — Can’t say enough good things about Glutenberg4 minute read Preview Friday, Jan. 26, 2018
First Draught — Burly Wine a holiday delight for brew lovers4 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 8, 2017
First Draught — Kicking off stout season with flavourful Sasquatch3 minute read Preview Friday, Oct. 20, 2017
First Draught — Fuller’s Organic Honeydew Ale is sweet, naturally4 minute read Preview Friday, Oct. 13, 2017