Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2018 (1032 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In last week’s edition of First Draught, I reviewed a Winter Warmer by Granville Island — Lions’ Winter Ale, likely the most popular beer of the style in all of Canada. This week, I’m taking a look at a local Winter Warmer, Fur Trader Winter Ale by Barn Hammer Brewing out of Winnipeg.
Fur Trader is the first Barn Hammer seasonal ale to ever make it to Brandon since they started selling here only a few months ago. Fur Trader is described as having notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla, and that it has a subtle dose of warming spices to keep the cold away. I absolutely enjoy Barn Hammer’s beers, so I’m expecting this to be just as good as their main releases.
Fur Trader pours a hefty, near black, molassesy ale with a light burnt caramel/yellowish head on top. So far, this looks nearly identical to their delicious Grandpa’s Sweater Oatmeal Stout, very stout-like.
The aroma is almost over the top — it definitely has a wintery vibe to it. I’m getting a liberal amount of cinnamon, to the point that I can smell it even a foot away from the beer. I also get a heaping amount of brown sugar, a bit of vanilla, clove, and a sprinkling of nutmeg. So far, this beer is bringing me back memories of winter beers of the past.
The flavour starts off tasting quite a bit like their Oatmeal Stout. It’s thick, rich and meal itself. There’s a good combination of cinnamon and nutmeg to give the beer a completely wintery vibe to it. There’s also a good deal of brown sugar for sweetness, a hint of roasted malt to give it a hint of bitterness, and a light amount of vanilla at the end. It’s quite sweet and spiced, so if you are one of those people who happen to enjoy beers like pumpkin spice ales, you will definitely enjoy this one.
This tastes like a winter tradition for me. It has a rich cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness that I could only drink between November and March … any other time of the year this beer would not be appealing. This one actually is quite reminiscent to other spiced beers I’ve had in recent memory, such as Half Pints’ Winter Spiced Ale that’s available for growler fill at 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart, as well as Fort Garry’s popular Naughty n’ Spiced Porter.
If you love dark ales or porters/stouts, you will definitely enjoy this one, but if you dislike cinnamon and nutmeg … you may not enjoy this — but who doesn’t enjoy gingerbread cookies in liquid form? Barn Hammer’s Fur Trader is available at all three Brandon Liquor Marts for $3.95 per 473 mL can. 6.3 per cent ABV/30 IBU 4/5 Pints
Torque Brewing’s Hazy Whaler New England IPA is now back in stock in Brandon after a three and a half month hiatus. Stock is limited, but you can find it at the South End and 10th & Victoria Liquor Marts for $16.99 per six-pack.
If you’re looking for a last-minute gift idea for the wine or beer lover in your family, the Corral Centre Liquor Mart still has a few bottles of Barn Hammer’s Old Friar Mead in stock. The mead is made with honey sourced through downtown Winnipeg’s Beeproject Apiaries. $12.50 per 650 mL bottle.
Also, look out for Torque’s Winter Survival Taster Pack in the near future. Their Winter Survival pack contains six high ABV beers that will help warm you up on the long cold Manitoba nights. The pack contains a Wheat Wine, Wee Heavy, Double IPA, Dunkelweissen, Smoked Coffee Porter and American Stout. $16.71 per six-pack.