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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.

  • Granville Island offers solid Scottish ale

    @Saturday Tab Brown=[C] For this week’s edition of First Draught, I’m taking on Auld Skool Scottish Ale by Vancouver’s Granville Island Brewing (Molson).
  • Hop to it! Don't lose this Illusion

    Early last week, I was excited as heck. Half Pints was going to be sending Brandon some cases of their 2.0 edition of Le Temps Noir barrel-aged imperial stout. The last time they brewed Le Temps Noir was back in 2013 and it sold out within days here in the Wheat City. In fact, it was considered the No. 1 Canadian beer brewed outside of Quebec back in RateBeer.com’s Best Beers of Canada for 2014.
  • Gold med-ale-ist

    On Feb. 19, 2010, one of the best moments of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games took place — Russell’s own Jon Montgomery won the gold medal in men’s skeleton. Montgomery winning the gold was an amazing moment — but when a fan gave him a fresh pitcher of beer to drink, that was one of the highlights of the Olympic Games. This typical Canadian hoser from rural Manitoba, chugging down a pitcher of beer, became one of the most popular athletes at the Olympics.
  • Brewery visit highlight of beercation

    I find that when you usually think about a vacation in the middle of January, you think of California, Mexico, Jamaica or Australia. For me, on the other hand, I think of places that are just outside Manitoba — especially places that have a very broad brewing and pub scene. As some of you may already know, I like to take an annual beer-based vacation to Quebec. This time, one of my buddies decided that we should do a January beer vacation, with a twist — this one would include Vermont.
  • Warm up to Maui's tropical Mana Wheat

    Remember back when everyone was predicting that this would be a warmer than average winter? Yeah, so did I. Well, at least we haven’t had any full-on -40 C days yet. Winters in Manitoba are cold, long and even depressing and gloomy — but hey, we’re Manitoba! That being said, every winter I crave a nice hot vacation or a strong heavy Belgian ale that tops out at around 12 per cent ABV. Unfortunately I’m too broke for a hot vacation — even though I’m heading to Montreal and Vermont on Monday for poutine, smoked meat sandwiches, beer and iced cider.
  • Cloudy Amber Ale good stepping stone

    What styles do I think will become the beer trend setters for 2016? Honestly, I can’t even predict what will be popular in the next 12 months because the beer scene keeps changing. That being said, I expect breweries to start putting more effort into pilsners and amber ales, as those are two popular styles that have seen a lot of neglect over the past few years thanks to the booming popularity of IPAs and Belgian-style wheat ales. Many breweries will go back to the basics and push for classic styles — with a twist. On the other side of the spectrum, we will see breweries experimenting with weird ingredients more and more ... how does a dill pickle saison sound?
  • Charles Henri ale welcoming in the winter

    Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s already 2016. The end of January will mark the second anniversary of First Draught in The Brandon Sun. I can’t believe it has been that long already. Back in April, I went to Montreal for my annual bièrcation. While I was there, I checked out Marché Jean Talon, a large indoor farmers market featuring fresh-baked goods, fresh meat, squeaky cheese curds and even maple syrup. Across the street from the Marché was a small dépanneur (convenience store) that mainly sold beer and cheese. I noticed a bottle of Le Trou du Diable’s Shawinigan Handshake with a label featuring former prime minister Jean Chrétien choking hockey commentator Don Cherry. Next to it was a beer called Charles Henri Blanche by Brasserie Les 2 Frères out of Terrebonne.
  • Red Racer IPA: Hop on and enjoy the ride

    This has been a crazy year for craft beer in Canada. Here in Manitoba, we had several groups announcing that they intend to open up breweries in the province by the end of 2016. Nationally, we’ve seen a few breweries bought up by Labatt’s owners AB-InBev, including Mill Street Brewing and Mark Anthony Group, the makers of Stanley Park Beer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
  • Cody's top 5 beers of the year

    I can’t believe Christmas is a week away and 2016 will be here before you know it. If you are still looking for stocking stuffer suggestions for friends or family beer geeks, there’s a few products at the Liquor Mart that will please the snobbiest of them all. While Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye is still impossible to find, I suggest checking out Wisers Hopped Whisky by Hiram Walker & Sons. At $27.99 per 750 ml bottle, this Canadian whisky with notes of dark ale and hops is something that won’t break the bank for those who like whisky and beer.
  • Granville's tasty, twisted take on a Dunkelweizen

    I’m generally not a fan of the larger breweries like Labatt, Molson and Sleeman (Sapporo), but all three of them have subsidiary breweries that make good beer. Labatt recently acquired Mill Street, Molson has Granville Island and Sleeman has Unibroue. Knowing that the big breweries have such a dominant share of the beer market, I try to avoid their beer at all costs — especially Labatt.
  • Lake of the Woods offers tasty blueberry beer

    Last week, Matt Wolff, brewmaster of Fort Garry Brewing, was named as Torque Brewing’s brewmaster and vice-president of brewing operations. Wolff has been at Fort Garry for almost 15 years, when the original owner, Richard Hoeschen, was still around, along with brewing employees who worked at the old Molson, Labatt and Carling O’Keefe breweries.
  • Rye makes for interesting brew

    It’s Grey Cup weekend and there are a lot of new treats available in time for the Sunday kickoff from local breweries and distilleries. First off, Half Pints and Fort Garry Brewing teamed up to create a collaboration taster pack called the “Manitoba Social Pack,” featuring the most popular beers by Half Pints and Fort Garry, as well as a joint Route 90 Vienna-style lager. This is the first time the two breweries have worked together to create a beer for public consumption.
  • A more hoppy, bitter Moonlight Kettle

    The other day, I found out that Unibroue came out with a six-litre version of La fin du Monde and 17 Grande Réserve. When I was in Montreal for my last bièrcation in April, they already had six-litre festive bottles of Unibroue’s nine per cent La fin du Monde in stock at Dépanneur Peluso, which is one of the best beer stores in the world, according to beer geeks.
  • If you want a real stout, try Midnight Sun

    It almost feels like wintertime already with the days getting shorter, the weather getting chillier and with beer gift packs popping up at most Liquor Marts. I’m not a fan of this time of year because I prefer long sunny evenings and a lack of wind chill, but wintertime also means that a bunch of new beers will make their way to store shelves. By the time you read this, the third and final beer advent calendar released in Manitoba will be on shelves at the 10th Street and Victoria Avenue Liquor Mart — and will most likely already be sold out.
  • Garrison's Imperial IPA bitter and sweet

    My university education is in politics, but it’s generally a topic I stay away from unless I’m around my closest friends. Last week, the Alberta government announced plans to increase taxes on beer as a plan to help pay off debt in an economy where oil just isn’t cutting it anymore.
  • La Résolution creamy dark ale packs potent, flavourful punch

    One thing I see a lot of on social media from beer snobs is their hatred of pumpkin ales — they love to hate them! Well, a lot of people hate the trend of pumpkin spice in everything. Don’t worry — aside from Fort Garry’s Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale that I reviewed last week, pumpkin beers are on the way out to make room for some new treats.
  • Happy day! Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale is back

    It was one year ago this weekend when growler fill stations were introduced to Manitoba. In Brandon, the Liquor Mart at 10th Street and Victoria Avenue, as well as the Keystone Motor Inn on 18th Street, were part of an experimental beer sales project that turned out to be incredibly successful, introducing Manitobans to local beer — in particular, fresh local beer. Also, a few days later marked the anniversary of when I was physically assaulted and robbed of my growler as some people believed it was actually a jug of moonshine or hard alcohol. To this day, I don’t feel safe in this town as someone who has dealt with severe anxiety for most of my life. However, I don’t really feel any anxiety when I walk down the street with a paper bag containing a few random beer treats anymore — as it should be.
  • Pale Ale perfect for Hockey Night in Westman

    Last week was the Harvest on the Hill event put on by Assiniboine Community College students in hotel and restaurant management, culinary arts and horticultural production studies to showcase great locally sourced food specially paired up with specific beers. To be honest, it was one of the most fun events I’ve ever been to in Brandon! I loved seeing people from Westman come out and not only try new foods, but also try beers that they’ve never had before.
  • Black Bridge Milk Stout sweet and smooth

    This weekend is Thanksgiving — a perfect occasion to give my thanks to beer fans in western Manitoba who keep pushing me to try new beers, to review beers that most people may never want to try. Also, I want to give thanks to Manitoba brewers Half Pints and Fort Garry for bringing out innovative and tasty beers year after year, even though we don’t have access to some of them here in the Wheat City.
  • International awards pour in for Canadian brewers

    Today’s edition of First Draught will not include a review. Instead, I’ll be talking about a few things that are going on in the local and international beer scene. World Beer Awards
  • Sam Adams first out of the blocks with Oktoberfest brew

    I’ve been commenting a lot lately about growlers in First Draught ... well, why not? It’s a fun and convenient way to drink beer — no empties needing to recycle/bring in to the vendor as you own the bottle, plus you get beer that’s fresher than what’s available in regular bottles and cans. I know many of you have been wanting to try growlers but either you found that it was too much beer for one person (share the beer!) or especially that it’s too pricey when you purchase a growler for the first time (apparently $4 for an empty 1.89L refillable jug that doesn’t require a deposit is expensive).
  • Unfortunately, Kona's Big Wave is no big deal

    @Saturday Tab Brown=[C] On Wednesday, I paid a visit to the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart to see what new beers they had in stock. Before I even said a word, staff there told me not to expect Fort Garry’s Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale on tap at the growler bar.
  • Hennepin a sweet and sugary saison

    So, this past weekend my mom asked me about the “big news.” I was confused about what she meant. It turns out, Farmery Estate Brewery announced that they purchased an old farm implements dealership in Neepawa to turn into their estate brewery in 2016.
  • Guiness blonde has sweet, malty taste

    I’m not someone who tends to try beers by the more popular breweries because I feel that First Draught is best suited towards reviews and tidbits related to the craft beer scene — the brands of beers you wouldn’t typically see advertised during “Hockey Night in Canada.” I especially lean more towards the brands of beers where the head brewmaster is likely also the owner of the company.
  • Quebec IPA offers tropical, fruity flavours

    After my annual bièrcation to Montreal in April, I got news that Shawinigan’s Trou du Diable was going to be coming to Manitoba by the end of the spring. Well, it’s nearly the end of August and the brew is finally here. The first time I heard of Trou du Diable was when they first introduced their Shawinigan Handshake beer, a German-style Weizen bock depicting the former prime minister Jean Chretien choking the devil — giving him the ‘Shawinigan Handshake.’
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