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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.

  • Ice Fog IPA rolls in from Whitehorse

    It’s been a few weeks since the last time I’ve reviewed an India pale ale. After all, 2015 is the year of fruity beers, and while I do get tired of the apple, raspberry and grapefruit flavoured beers after a while, it’s hard for me to ignore them. When the Coast to Coaster promotion came to Liquor Marts and vendors in Brandon, a few treats we’ve never seen before were available in Manitoba for the first time.
  • Is that an import? Nope, made in Canada

    Last week, Molson Coors Canada announced that they were bringing in their popular American beer Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Ale to Canada, as a way to compete against Labatt’s American Shock Top and Goose Island brands. The thing I don’t like about this is that Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Ale is the exact same beer as Rickard’s White — which has been available in Canada since 2006. The beer was near identical to the point that Americans purchasing Blue Moon would regularly get beers labelled with “Blue Moon Brewing Co. Toronto, Ontario/Montreal Quebec” at the Molson breweries.
  • Fill it up! The state of growlers in Manitoba

    I can’t believe that 64-oz growlers have been available in Manitoba for nearly nine months now. When I first heard the news that Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries was looking to experiment with growlers at a limited number of Liquor Marts and beer vendors around Manitoba, I was sure that it was going to fail.
  • Hacker-Pschorr Weisse sweet and wheaty

    Since the beginning of June, I’ve been wanting to review Driftwood Brewing’s Fat Tug IPA, seeing that it’s now available at Liquor Marts in Winnipeg. Unfortunately, after a month of waiting, I’ve given up on Fat Tug docking here. If you do go to a Winnipeg Liquor Mart and you love hoppy and over-the-top India Pale Ales as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Dieu du Ciel's Chaman full of flavour

    I’m incredibly biased when it comes to Canadian beer — especially Quebec beer. I’m a big fan of the Quebec beer scene. I try to plan vacations in Montreal and Quebec City all around visiting as many brewpubs and depanneurs as I possibly can.
  • Patriotic duty to partake in ales from across the nation

    So it’s Canada Day on Wednesday, and I believe that July 1 is one of the best days of the year to relax with friends, have a few burgers and smokies, watch the fireworks and have a beer or two. For beer, when I think of Canada Day, I don’t think of Witbiers, Brown Ales or IPAs — I think of light golden lagers and ales, the type of beer you can swig down without a noticeable bitter aftertaste.
  • Take a radler for a ride

    Radlers are slowly gaining popularity in Canada, with several breweries across the nation mixing various juices (lemon, grapefruit or blood orange) with a wheat ale or pilsner. Doing this lowers the beer’s alcohol content to 1.5 to 3.5 per cent ABV. It has been said that the creation of the radler dates back some 90 years when leisurely cycling became an increasingly popular pastime in Germany.
  • An exciting time to be a beer geek

    Last week was the Flatlanders Beer Festival in Winnipeg. This and Brandon’s Rotary Club event are the two largest beer festivals in Manitoba. One thing I’ve noticed is that Manitobans are wanting to try new beers more than ever. At the Flatlanders festival, there were more than 150 beers being served, ranging from mead by Winnipeg’s Half Pints Brewing to lagers and India pale ales out of New Zealand.
  • A taste of Africa is just around the corner

    My favourite thing about reviewing beers is trying brews from all over the world. Almost every region has its own styles of beers that make them unique compared to the rest of the world. That should come as no surprise — beer has been brewed around the globe for thousands of years now.
  • A honey lager to beat the heat

    In 2015, lager is still the No. 1 style of beer in Manitoba. Manitobans love their lagers. Lagers have come a long way from the days of Bud Light and Canadian. Nowadays you see lagers brewed with fruits and darker malts to give the beer a more complex personality. Honey lagers have been fairly popular in Manitoba since the early 2000s with the success of Sleeman’s Honey Brown — people bought it up because it had more of a bite to it than your standard lager. The fact that it came in a cool clear bottle with the brewery’s logo embossed on it certainly helped as well.
  • Yippee! There's a new IPA in town

    If I ever review a product and it’s immediately no longer available at the 10th Street and Victoria Avenue LC in Brandon — which is honestly much more often than it should be — the South End Liquor Mart tends to be a hidden gem for one-offs. Their stock doesn’t seem to dwindle as fast as the 10 Street and Victoria location, or else they may order in more product than the Corral Centre or 10th Street locations. I’ve found lots of random gems at that location over the past year, including Dieu du Ciel products, Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve before any other location in the area and various hoppy beers from British Columbia.
  • Pucker up -- this is Belgian sour you can't miss

    This weekend is the big Two-Four weekend, which means that some of us get a three-day weekend! It doesn’t make sense that the Victoria Day long weekend is always called the Two-Four long weekend, seeing that May 24 is the following weekend. That being said, I find this to be one of the biggest weekends of the year for beer consumption. As per usual, never drink and drive, don’t get overly intoxicated — as that will result in a bad hangover. If you are planning to camp, refrain from bringing alcohol to provincial parks this weekend as it is an alcohol-free weekend. And also, stay alert, stay safe!
  • Come on drink the Rye'ze

    I’ve been told that some of you were looking for last week’s beer, Fort Garry’s Black IPA at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart, but couldn’t find it — it’s there. It’s on one of the bottom shelves in the far end of the single serve beer display, not far from the Growler Bar. It took me a few weeks to notice the beer was even there, as the label seems to be a bit hidden somehow, but once you try it, it’s worth it.
  • An IPA for those who like dark ales

    This may be Fort Garry Brewing’s busiest year yet! With the success of the growler bars at Liquor Marts and vendors in Brandon and Winnipeg, as well as a new lineup of beers being released this summer, it’s crazy to think that only three-and-a-half years ago, the brewery was brewing mainly lagers and lighter ales.
  • Molson's Cider gets thumbs-up

    Our taste buds are evolving at a fast pace — to the point that in order to retain as many of their once loyal beer drinkers, large breweries such as Molson, Labatt and even Big Rock have had to expand their product portfolio, test out new flavours and styles of beer, and even bring out products that aren’t even beer at all. In Canada, cider is slowly gaining drinkers and various breweries are starting to catch on.
  • Top beers you can't get in Manitoba

    I just spent the past week in Montreal for my annual bièrcation. This year, I was hoping to tour breweries, which unfortunately didn’t happen as the folks over at McAuslan Brewery (St-Ambroise) no longer offer tours at the moment, and after contacting Unibroue, I still haven’t heard back. Instead, I met up with some great friends involved in the Quebec beer scene and even met a couple of guys who work for Glutenberg, Quebec’s gluten-free brewing success story.
  • My fave Big Rock seasonal yet

    Cody, what do you fear most? Failure — failure is the scariest thing in my life. I’ve been unemployed for long periods over the years, to the point where I never thought I would ever have an actual job — such as back in 2012.
  • Giving a past beer a second chance

    When you check out the beer section in the local Liquor Mart, you quickly notice there’s an overwhelming selection of beers from nearly every corner of the planet — to the point that you don’t know where to start. Even I sometimes find it hard to choose among the hundreds of options available.
  • Rouge has can-do attitude

    I was planning on reviewing Innis & Gunn’s Irish Whisky Cask Stout with St Patrick’s Day popping up next week. However, seeing as I reviewed that stout last year for St. Paddy’s Day, I needed a backup. Fort Garry came in handy this week as I was worried that I wouldn’t have a beer to review! First of all, I do recommend checking out Innis & Gunn’s Irish Whisky Finish Stout. It has notes of oak, vanilla and Irish whiskey all over the place — quite tasty.
  • My precious ... pilsner

    Late last year, Vancouver’s Central City Brewing announced that they obtained the Canadian rights to brew a series of beers inspired by “The Hobbit.” So far, three beers have been made, including Smaug Stout, a 9.5 per cent ABV Russian Imperial Stout brewed with a hint of Habanero chilies; Gollum Precious Pils, a 5.0 per cent classic Bavarian-style pilsner that uses only the finest two-row barley, Hallertau hops and gives off a dry, crisp finish; and lastly, the Bolg Belgian Tripel, an 8.0 per cent Belgian-style strong beer that’s strong, flavourful and full of citrus zest.
  • At the 100th Meridian: Where the great beers begin

    Toronto’s Mill Street Brewing was one of the first breweries to ship their beer to Manitoba when the craft beer craze was slowly becoming popular back around 2007. For the past eight years, it was fairly easy to find their Coffee Porter, Tankhouse Ale and Organic Lager at just about any local Liquor Mart or beer vendor. However, in that time, Mill Street has branched out into one of Canada’s most popular brands in the beer scene. They have a very popular chain of brewpubs in Ontario and the brewery itself brews more beer than most other breweries in Canada now. They’ve become a Canadian success story.
  • Blonde de Chambly a smooth, satisfying saison

    Belgian ales will always be my favourite. But there are times when I get sick of an entire style of beers, to the point where I won’t drink it for several months. This winter, saisons were replaced with stouts and barley wines — heavier beers to help me deal with the extreme cold.
  • Take Tree's Grapefruit Radler for a ride

    In Germany, they have a beer cocktail called the radler, which translates into English as a “cyclist.” Essentially, a radler is a beverage that is 50 per cent wheat/barley beer and 50 per cent citrus beverage such as grapefruit juice. At the local beer stores, most of the radlers available from Germany and Canada tend to be made with grapefruit juice, so perhaps it has to do with tradition.
  • New gluten-free options available from Quebec

    Last year, I wrote about the various gluten-free beer options available in Manitoba because I had friends who were looking for beer without gluten as they are coeliacs. Frankly, it’s pretty difficult to find gluten-free beer in Manitoba, but it’s going to be easier now thanks to Montreal’s Brasseurs Sans Gluten — or better known to beer geeks who have been to Quebec recently, Glutenberg.
  • A rich brew for both coffee and stout lovers

    Half Pints just announced they are planning to discontinue brewing their once-popular Stir Stick Stout for bottle releases as the sales of the coffee stout have fizzled. That means no more 650mls of Stir Stick and their popular Taster Packs will soon have the stout replaced with a few bottles of a seasonal to kick the pack up a notch.
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