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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/12/2015 (1782 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
I’ve known Wolff for four years now, when I first reviewed Fort Garry’s Munich Eisbock, stating that it was the first Fort Garry beer I ever actually enjoyed. He was one of my very first supporters on my blog at BeerCrank.ca. Every time I meet up with him, he’s always excited to tell me about what he’s working on — even if the beer turns out to be a dud and doesn’t make it to market.
Torque Brewing just announced it is going to be brewing at 830 King Edward St. in Winnipeg, right off Route 90 — a short drive from the airport, Polo Park or Half Pints Brewery. Torque Brewing is hoping to open up in the spring, and I certainly can’t wait!
Replacing Wolff as brewmaster at Fort Garry is Dan Geddes, a young man who is incredibly passionate about his work and is always up to do the hard work when others aren’t. He’s the image of a true farm boy.
Last time I visited Fort Garry, Geddes was telling Matt and me that he had been working since 5 a.m. and didn’t want to go home yet because he still had some things he would prefer to finish now rather than the next day. This was around 6 p.m. While Dan has big shoes to fill, he’s going to do an amazing job over at Fort Garry!
If you’re ever in Winnipeg on a Saturday afternoon, the city’s best tour is free! Half Pints Brewery offers free tours every Saturday at 1 p.m. at 550 Roseberry St. in St James. I recommend arriving a bit early because the brewery can only accommodate so many people at once.
During the tour, you get to learn about how beer is made while enjoying liberal samples of Half Pints’ most popular beers and some of their rarest treats. Last weekend, I was brewmaster Dave’s hero as I was apparently the only person in the brewhouse that had a bottle opener — that happened to be on my hat. My hat bottle opener opened up a bunch of bottles of sweet mead and everyone was happy.
This week, I’m trying out Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale by Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. If it were up to me, Kenora would be part of Manitoba, making Lake of the Woods Manitoba’s very first brewpub since 2003. Unfortunately, politics can be frustrating, so Lake of the Woods is still one of the closest brewpubs to Brandon other than Minot’s Souris River Brewing and Regina’s Bushwakker’s.
I’ve had mixed reviews when dealing with blueberry ales in the past. Generally they’re overly sweet with a syrupy aftertaste, there’s a burnt plastic taste or the beer tastes nothing like fruit.
For Forgotten Lake, they use wild blueberries that the brewers found in the backwoods of Northern Ontario. In pouring the ale, the first thing I notice is how thick and heavy it is. When I envision a blueberry ale, it’s more of a medium blonde-honey colour, but this beer is a thick orange to brown that’s certainly unfiltered as it gives off a very cloudy wheat ale appearance.
I don’t notice any carbonation, but it does have has a nice amount of light beige head sticking to the very top — that’s a good thing.
The aroma is certainly blueberry ale as I find it smelling sweet and fruity, with a light floral hoppy scent. There’s also a whiff of a yeasty bread that makes me think it might be great in a "blueberry ale bread" recipe.
The flavour has a light tartiness from the blueberries, followed by the blueberry sweetness. The fruit flavour itself is pretty low to moderate, but this has more of a blueberry flavour than most other blueberry ales I’ve had in the past. It’s very yeasty and heavy on wheat malt, so it gives off lots of bready notes.
This ale would be amazing on a hot day in the summer more than in December. What surprises me is that this ale is 7.5 per cent ABV.
Thanks to Megan, my "favourite sister in the entire world," I’ve been able to try a few Lake of the Woods ales in the past. I rank Forgotten Lake the best of their beers I’ve tried so far.
I’m happy that the blueberry flavours and aromas are natural and somewhat subtle rather than fake and syrupy. This is something I would suggest bringing to beer potluck Christmas parties this December.
You can find Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale at the 10th and Victoria, Corral Centre and south-end Liquor Marts in Brandon for $3.85 per 473 ml can.
• Pint Rating: 3 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.
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