Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/9/2015 (2205 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
I’m the very last person in Manitoba to be told when there’s a new brewery opening up or expanding. I don’t know why, but I’m more likely to hear about brewery news in North Dakota than I am here in my home province.
So, I’m excited that western Manitoba will be getting its very first brewery in 80-plus years.
Now technically, an "estate brewery" means the beer is brewed on the same plot of land where the barley, wheat and hops are grown — not in a town a half-hour away. So, while Farmery Estate Brewery may not fit the definition exactly, they’ve shown more interest in marketing in beer vendors, bars and restaurants throughout southwestern Manitoba than Fort Garry and Half Pints combined — it’s no wonder that they’re the de-facto local beer now.
Serious props go to the Warwaruk brothers. Thanks to them, I’ve tried beers from Yukon, Ontario and New Brunswick that were previously never available in Manitoba, and now with their Farmery brewery hopefully opening up in Neepawa, it will employ local people who want to brew the best beer in Manitoba!
Next time, I just wish breweries would let me know they were opening up a brewery instead of finding out through my mom, who prefers Molson 67. Hi, Loree!
This week we’re tasting Hennepin Farmhouse Saison by Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, N.Y. I raved about Ommegang’s beer back in April when I reviewed their Game of Thrones’ Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale.
Since then, Ommegang’s beers have disappeared from and slowly reappeared on Liquor Mart shelves, and now their Hennepin Farmhouse Saison is back and as good as ever. I’ve enjoyed the Hennepin for the past year or so — it’s a great summertime treat worth savouring after a long day of harvesting.
Hennepin pours a hazy yet bright golden straw, with a hint of orange hue, cloudy and unfiltered. The head is a thick and frothy snow white, almost two fingers thick.
The aroma has notes reminiscent of shovelling wheat in a grain bin, so it’s fairly grainy and musky. There are notes of lemon, pizza dough, a light amount of sourness and a spiciness coming from coriander, so for the most part, this is your typical Belgian-style saison.
The taste gives a strong boozy burning sensation on the very first sip, with a bit of lemon peel and a hint of bubble gum, thanks to the Belgian yeasts. There are also notes of black pepper, and a light leafy hop bitterness that leaves a hint of a metallic aftertaste. I’m also finding a good amount of fruity notes popping up, such as apple, pear and lemon.
Hennepin is a bit sweeter and more sugary than most saisons I’ve tried. They’re usually earthy, yeasty and lemon zesty, while this one has flavours popping up all over the place.
Best share this brew with friends and family as it packs a 7.7-per-cent ABV, stronger than your typical saison which usually tops out at 5.5 per cent. Plus, with the warm booze notes I’m getting, this is a beer best shared and savoured for its complexity rather than gulped down.
Another thing about this saison is the possibility for aging as the live yeast is still fermenting in the bottle as it sits on the Liquor Mart shelves or in your fridge or beer cellar. I recommend trying to age it for a year and see how it has changed in flavour and aroma compared to a fresh bottle.
The only downside I have about Hennepin is the price — it’s $9.77 for a 750mL bottle, so it’s more expensive than Unibroue’s Blonde de Chambly or Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. But sometimes you just have to splurge, right?
You can only find this at Liquor Marts in Brandon for now, but hopefully it will expand to rural Liquor Marts in the future.
Saisons/farmhouse ales were created as a beverage for farmers during harvesting season. So if you’re still harvesting right now, this is the perfect saison to savour after a long day in the field.
• Half Pints Eastmount ESB — $5.97/650mL bottle. Available at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart.
• Fort Garry Oak Aged Dark Ale — $10.50/1.89L growler fill (plus $4 for growler if you do not have one). Available at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart and possibly also at the Keystone Motor Inn. Also, Fort Garry’s popular Happy Jack Pumpkin beer will soon be available at local growler bars within the next few weeks, so look out!
• Crazy Beard Mad Ginger Beer — a new ginger beer on the market! Available at 10th and Victoria and South End Liquor Marts for $3.28/473mL can.
• Rating: 4 pints out of 5
Cody Lobreau is a Canadian 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.