Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/10/2017 (1428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Tis the season to buy beer gifts … Fa la la la la la la la!
The first advent calendar of the year, the International beer advent will be coming out today at select Liquor Marts at 9 a.m., mainly at the Dauphin, 10th & Victoria and South End Brandon Liquor Marts. The International advent calendar tends to be the one calendar that people want this year, but unfortunately each location only gets a few of them each year.
This year, 10th & Victoria will be getting in seven advent calendars, South End will be getting in four and Dauphin will be getting in six. I made my frustration known to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries last year because they underestimated how many people would want to buy a calendar. I’ve voiced my disappointment for the lack of calendars again this year, so I likely won’t be buying one until I’m in Winnipeg a few weeks later. If you want to get a calendar, you will have to show up before the store opening (9 a.m.). Otherwise, no advent calendar for you … unless if you make a road trip to one of the many Winnipeg locations that may still have it in stock.
To me, advent calendars have been a Christmas tradition since I was old enough to eat — my mom would always buy me those cardboard box chocolate advent calendars. So now that beer advent calendars exist, I like to try a different beer each day, with trying out beers from places like Norway, Iceland and Australia. Some years I was lucky enough to get one of the six or seven advent calendars from 10th & Victoria, while other years I’ve paid friends to make me a custom-made calendar.
If you’re the creative type, I suggest making a craft beer advent calendar for the beer geek in your life! If you do end up creating a beer advent calendar for the beer geek in your life, make sure you include a bottle of Surly’s Darkness Imperial Stout — sure it’s $30, but it will be a real Christmas treat for them.
Hop fans, rejoice! With hop harvest finishing up last month, the first batches of fresh hopped beers are popping up at Liquor Marts, Half Pints’ Fresh Hopped Harvest Ale is currently on tap at the 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart growler bar featuring hops from Boissevain’s own Prairie Mountain Hops! Farmery just released a Fresh Hop Ale that will be coming to Brandon soon, and Phillips Brewing has released their Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA, which hasn’t been available in Brandon since 2015.
Today, I’m checking out Shrugging Doctor’s Apple Cider. Shrugging Doctor is Manitoba’s newest cider and meadery. Shrugging Doctor has been operating in Winnipeg since the early spring, offering affordable meads, sugar/fruit wines and ciders to Winnipeggers. Now their fruit wines, ciders and sangrias are available here in Brandon. I didn’t realize that they were even available in Brandon until I saw that their Apple Cider was available at the 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart, and since I rarely review ciders here, I knew this had to be reviewed!
Shrugging Doctor’s Apple Cider tops out at 6.1 per cent ABV per 750 ml bottle. The first thing I noticed was that the bottle didn’t have a twist off cap … uh oh. I know that Vine Lines’ Diane Nelson would have more than enough corkscrews to open this cider, but for me — I only have a couple dozen branded beer bottle openers. I tried to open the bottle by sabring the top off with a large sharp knife, like how Brandon Sun alumnus Grant Hamilton taught me to. Unfortunately for that … the lip of the bottle was too minimal to get removed by any knife. So, in the end, I chipped at the cork the old-fashioned way, with a sharp knife.
Eventually the cork fell into the base of the bottle of cider, allowing me to finally pour it into a glass, even if it had some remnants of cork floating in my beverage (that I fished out). The cider pours a clear, crisp, golden orange, minimal to no carbonation, and has a presence reminiscent to some of the heavier white meads I’ve had from breweries over the years.
The aroma reminds me of my mom’s favourite wine in the world — La Scala Spumante. La Scala Spumante is essentially a carbonated fizzy ginger ale/7UP-like wine. I find the aroma is sweet, note of apples, a bit of syrup, notes of sparkling champagne and light amount of tartness. The flavour is a rich, sweet, full-on apple cider. I stopped liking apple juice when I was around seven or eight years old so generally when I taste apple juice, I cringe. This cider isn’t overly apple juicy, it has a good deal of flavour that reminds me of the ice cider farm I visited in Quebec, which gives off a rich, sweet syrup that happens to taste a bit like apples. There’s a tad of bitterness, but for the most part, it’s sweet and syrupy.
I was a bit surprised by the lack of carbonation in Shrugging Doctor’s Apple Cider, but it turned out a sweet, syrupy and fruity concoction that still somehow reminds me of La Scala Spumante, but without that overly carbonated presence. I was going to take off points for the difficulty of how hard it was to open this cider ... but it’s my own fault for not owning a corkscrew that works.
This is a sweet, syrupy cider that considering it’s only 6.1 per cent ABV. It’s going to give quite a bit of a buzz, so I recommend sharing this with friends and family just like as if it was a regular wine. I’ll likely bring a bottle of this to my parents for Christmas because I could see my mom actually liking that, and she’s a pickier person than I am. Available at 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart for $9.99 per 750 ml bottle.
Winnipeg’s Capital K Distillery has been open for only a year now, but it has proven to be an amazing Manitoba-sourced distillery, sourcing all of its ingredients from Manitoba farmers and businesses. They have three new vodkas available at Liquor Marts throughout Westman. Their Dill Pickle Vodka is perfect for the craft Caesar fan, their Espresso Vodka is perfect for a different take on an Irish Cream coffee, and their Strawberry Rhubarb Vodka is perfect for those who want cocktails that taste like memories of summer.
Pint Rating: 3.5/5
» 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.