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First Draught

About Cody Lobreau:

Cody Lobreau is a Brandon-based beer blogger who reviews every beer he can get his hands on as he believes that he should try every beer twice to get an understanding if it’s truly good or bad. You can catch his blog over at BeerCrank.ca.

  • Winnipeg's Oxus Brewing offers tropical IPA

    The trend of juicy, cloudy, overly tropical New England IPAs was heating up three years ago in Vermont and Massachusetts and ended up becoming a style that nearly every brewery on the continent ended up brewing. In Manitoba alone, at least eight of Manitoba’s breweries have dabbled with the overly juicy hopped style of ale.
  • Half Pints Brewing offers some of the best craft brew

    The craft brewery boom only started two and a half years ago here in Manitoba but there was one brewery that has been brewing some of the best beer Canada has to offer since 2006 — Half Pints Brewing. I’ve been a big fan of their beer ever since I first tried their “Little Scrapper IPA” back in 2007 or 2008. I was the first “hoppy” India Pale Ale that I ever enjoyed.
  • Pivo Pils a crisp, light pilsner

    Rating: 3.5/5 Pints … use graphic  
  • Fruity Unibroue ale compliments harvest season

    With rating graphic: 3.5/5 Pints I went to a wine festival for the very first time in my last weekend — the Brandon Wine Fest. While I felt a bit weirded out that I was going to a wine fest rather than Vine Lines’ Diane Nelson, I made sure to try as many different styles of wines that I could.
  • Collaboration worth a look

    One of my favourite things about the craft beer industry is when breweries team up to work on special collaboration beers. Recently, Torque teamed up with Minnesota’s Surly Brewing on a delicious Rye IPA called Callahan (available at Dauphin Liquor Mart), while last year Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing teamed up with a bunch of breweries across Canada for Canada’s 150 — including a collaboration with Half Pints for a beer brewed with rye bread called Killer Kvass.
  • Gloomy autumn is also fresh hop season

    It may be “Prairie Winter” with all the gloominess and cold weather we’ve been experiencing lately, but it’s fresh hop season! I was in Winnipeg with a good friend for a MBLL Oktoberfest put on by Beau’s All Natural Brewing at Regent Casino, featuring a lot of great breweries ranging from well.. yeah, Beau’s to Surly, and a good deal of international beers in the mix. During my visit to Winnipeg, we stopped at Stone Angel Brewery, which I feel should be a brewery in Neepawa rather than Winnipeg, as I think it might be named after the Margaret Lawrence book of the same name. Stone Angel is also home to two of the newest breweries in Manitoba — Devil May Care Brewing and Kilter Brewing.
  • Thanksgiving is short on pumpkin beer

    In this week’s edition of First Draught, I was preparing to review a pumpkin spiced ale. So, when I went to both the Corral Centre and 10th & Victoria Liquor Marts to pick up some pumpkin spiced beers, I was shocked to see that there were none in stock. Actually, there hasn’t been a single pumpkin spiced beer released to Liquor Marts in Brandon yet, which is odd considering we’re well into the “season” already. Usually we’ll see a pumpkin beer or two out by early September, but this year there hasn’t really been anything so far. Fort Garry’s Happy Jack, which is generally the first pumpkin beer to pop up on my radar every year, hasn’t even made its way to Brandon yet.
  • La Fin du Monde began my beer journey

    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”
  • Check out these Oktoberfest beers

    Oktoberfest is becoming much more of a popular event here on the Prairies, so I’ve decided to review three beers from three breweries out of three provinces that happen to be brewing an Oktoberfest style lager or ale. I hope you enjoy the three selections I’ve specially chosen for my personal Oktoberfest. If not, maybe you’ll enjoy next week’s selection! •Beau’s All Natural Brewing’s Märzen Oktoberfest Lager (Vankleek Hill, Ont.) — This weekend marks the 10th annual Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill. I wish I was able to visit, but unfortunately I’ve done too many beercations this year, it seems.
  • Manitoba brewers unveil new beers

    I’ve been writing about beer for a few years now, and I’ve seen the local beer scene go from simply just Fort Garry and Half Pints to around 15 breweries! In this week’s column, I’m concentrating on two breweries that only started selling their beer in the past few weeks. First off, we have Winnipeg Brew Werks. I’ve talked about Winnipeg Brew Werks before — the owners of the brewery are Darren & Zoe Wanless and Bernie Wieland. Darren grew up in the Belmont and Wawanesa areas, while Bernie grew up in Brandon and Neepawa areas. Many of you will be familiar with Bernie’s work already as he created a lot of the beer recipes for Lake of the Woods Brewing out of Kenora, Ont., and Little Brown Jug (1919) out of Winnipeg.
  • First Draught -- Denali Single Hop IPA more bitter than tropical

    I just got back from Montreal only a few days ago and I’m absolutely exhausted after the trip. It was a great reason to try some of the latest and greatest breweries that were opening up in the region, while also visiting the first Foudres Unis beer festival by Brasserie Dunham, which took place 400 metres from the Vermont border and featured a bunch of the top breweries in the world. All in all, I sampled a lot of beer — not as much as I was hoping as I missed out on some Belgian sours, but I got to sample beers from places such as Vermont, Quebec (of course), B.C., Minnesota and Poland.
  • FIRST DRAUGHT -- Grand Slam a stout worth craving this summer

    The Winnipeg Beer Festival will take place at Fort Gibraltar in St. Boniface on Aug. 12. Unlike Flatlanders’ Beer Festival back in June, this festival only showcases breweries and distilleries from Manitoba. This is a great way to be able to try beers and spirits that are made in Manitoba by Manitobans. This year’s edition features 10 Manitoban breweries and one Manitoban distillery, Capital K Distillery. I won’t be going this year as I’ll be in Montreal during the event, but it will be a great way to meet the people who work hard creating Manitoba’s beers and spirits. Tickets are $45 and more information about the event can be found at WinnipegBeerFestival.com.
  • FIRST DRAUGHT -- Innis & Gunn goes tropical with Mangoes on the Run IPA

    Ten years ago, I was living in Quebec City to improve my horrible French and getting paid to improve it as much as I could. It was an awesome summer. I was already an annoying beer snob by then, but I turned into a poutine snob thanks to their local poutine chain Chez Ashton. In the three months I was there, I went to more concerts than just about any time in my life. I saw local bands such as Les Dales Hawerchuk, Winnipeg’s own The Weakerthans and even bands like Van Halen.
  • FIRST DRAUGHT -- Saison du Tracteur harvests rich medley of rye, barley, wheat

    July 12 marks the final session of beers for this year’s Coast to Coaster event at Manitoba Liquor Marts. In this final batch, Half Pints is releasing a beer in a can for the first time in their 12-year history (Codename: Ghost New England IPA), while we see some old Coast to Coaster breweries making an appearance again this year, including PEI’s Gahan Brewing and New Brunswick’s Picaroons Brewing. This year’s edition of Coast to Coaster showcased more of what was the emerging styles in the Canadian brewing industry more than anything. This year featured several New England IPAs, Milkshake IPAs and Sour Ales, all styles that would have made a beer drinker in Westman confused a few years ago. This year’s Coast to Coaster may have featured the best lineup I’ve seen yet. I feel that Flying Monkeys’ sweet and tropical Live Transmission Milkshake was pure desserty heaven, and I’m likely the one who bought the entire city’s supply of the beer without realizing it.
  • First Draught -- Malty, easy-to-drink Crafty Radler a refreshing option

    Judging by the weather lately, summer must be here, which means it’s Radler season! Over the past few years, Radlers have only gotten more popular with beer drinkers and even people who despise the taste of beer. A Radler is generally a 50/50 mixture of beer and grapefruit juice, but these days Radlers have expanded to lemonade and other types of juices. Radlers are generally only 2.5 to 3.5 per cent ABV, so they’re definitely thirst quenching on a hot summer day.
  • First Draught -- Lamp Lighter is the ideal brew to review in Cummings' honour

    I went on Facebook the other day and found out that Burton Cummings likely won’t be performing the national anthems at Bell MTS Place anytime soon as he got in a serious car accident in LA. To me, he is the personification of the typical Manitoban. So this week’s review is in honour of Brandon University honorary grad himself, Burton Cummings! I hope he gets better real soon. BTW — Go onto YouTube and type the words “The Guess Who Tonight Show” (without quotations), and you will be in for a treat that was done only a few weeks ago — a “Tonight Show” parody of “American Woman” by Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Bacon!
  • First Draught -- New craft brewery serves up tasty IPA

    I’m currently mourning the loss of my favourite India pale ale crystal glass I purchased at Hudson’s Bay for $9.99 back in 2014. As I was moving glasses around only moments before starting this review, my IPA glass fell and shattered into a million pieces at what seemed like 400 frames per second in slow-mo as I saw it happened. My gut sank and now I’m without an amazing IPA glass! If you’re lucky enough to have a nice beer glass (even the nice free ones with a case of your favourite beer), treat them well and don’t put them near the ledge of any table, ever!
  • FIRST DRAUGHT -- Steamworks' red ale worthy of hero worship

    Last week, Prairie Firehouse teamed up with Beau’s All Natural Brewing to do a one-night, six-course, six-beer event featuring some amazing dishes by chef Rebekah and team paired up with some interesting beers by Beau’s All Natural Brewing out of Vankleek Hill, Ont. I’m a picky eater, so I gave the dishes I wouldn’t want to eat to my friend Patrick, but I found a lot of dishes that I absolutely loved! Each dish paired well with every specially selected Beau’s beer offering. At the event, I was mostly around people who I knew — a malt barley farmer, Patrick, a home brewer, and a local hop farmer, I was in good company! From the people I didn’t know I heard raving comments about the food and the beer — that’s always a good thing!
  • First Draught -- Alcoholic root beer not for soda fans

    Brandon restaurant Prairie Firehouse has teamed up with Ontario organic brewery Beau’s All Natural for a six-course beer and food pairing on Feb. 22. The dinner will be featuring special organic beers by Beau’s paired up with dishes specially crafted by Prairie Firehouse that match up perfectly with each beer. Proceeds from the event go to Brandon’s Food for Thought Program. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at Prairie Firehouse. Speaking of Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Beau’s own Halcyon Barrel House was rated as the fourth best new brewery in the world, according to the folks over at RateBeer.com. If a small-town rural Ontario barrel-aged brewery can make it onto RateBeer.com’s best new brewery list — it’s possible to see a Prairie brewery on that same list in a few years from now! Halcyon’s Infinity Mirror Brett IPA is now available in Manitoba, but only at the Quality Inn beer store in Winnipeg. I’m hoping to see a beer vendor here in Brandon bring this non-MLCC release beer to beer geeks here in Brandon, but I’m doubtful … so ask your favourite beer vendor to bring their beer in!
  • First Draught -- Can't say enough good things about Glutenberg

    There was a time when I believed there would never be such a thing as a good gluten-free beer available all over Manitoba, but there are now several options available through Glutenberg out of Quebec and Mongozo out of Belgium. I was lucky enough to check out the Glutenberg Brewery back in June thanks to having a friend who was brewing at Glutenberg’s sister brewery. At Glutenberg I saw massive sacks of buckwheat and other various non-gluten grains being used to brew their beer.
  • First Draught -- Burly Wine a holiday delight for brew lovers

    Though Winnipeg’s Nonsuch Brewing may not have a brick and mortar brewery up and running yet, that hasn’t stopped them from releasing their first beer. Nonsuch is currently brewing out of Barn Hammer Brewing and had their first bottle release party a few weeks back. Their first offering is a Belgian-style Saison that tops out at 8.4 per cent ABV. It’s a sweet, yeasty and slightly barnyardy ale that Belgian beer fanatics will absolutely love.
  • First Draught -- Make mine a delicious dubbel

    I went to a bottle share at my Dutch friend Yost’s place back in the summer, I brought a few beers including Unibroue 17 and a couple IPAs, while Yost took beers out of his beer cellar from his trips to Belgium. One of the beers he was sampling was Corsendonk Pater Dubbel Ale. I love trying Belgian dubbels that I can’t get here in Manitoba, so I was absolutely excited that day. Fast forward three months later — I was visiting the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart and noticed a few new random beers, two of them happened to be products by Corsendonk! The delicious Pater Dubbel Ale just happened to be one of the beers brought to Manitoba, the other being a Belgian tripel.
  • First Draught -- Shrugging Doctor cider appealing

    Tis the season to buy beer gifts … Fa la la la la la la la! The first advent calendar of the year, the International beer advent will be coming out today at select Liquor Marts at 9 a.m., mainly at the Dauphin, 10th & Victoria and South End Brandon Liquor Marts. The International advent calendar tends to be the one calendar that people want this year, but unfortunately each location only gets a few of them each year.
  • First Draught -- Kicking off stout season with flavourful Sasquatch

    The beer social networking and rating website Untappd released their list of the top (non-American) international sports venues with the highest amount of beer consumption. Surprisingly, three of the top five venues were Canadian, but what was even more surprising is that Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place was ranked as the stadium with the fifth-most beer checkins in the entire world.
  • First Draught -- Fuller's Organic Honeydew Ale is sweet, naturally

    This week, the beer is all about honey! Honey has been a part of beer for centuries now: macro breweries like Sleeman have their Honey Brown Ale, while many smaller craft breweries will actually make their own meads out of honey! Half Pints created an amazing white honey mead called Sweet Heidrun, which at 10.5 per-cent ABV, which was incredibly heavenly, sweet, syrupy, and may never be available in Brandon at this point. I’ve been looking for a good honey-based beer rather than a mead for the last little while — I’ve tried Unibroue’s Lune de Miel but it is currently out of season, as well I’ve tried Little Brown Jug’s honey-based Golden Ale, but it was lacking the honey, and wasn’t available in Westman yet ... So, I needed to go out and find a honey-forward beer that’s worth savouring post-harvest.
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