We will be releasing our very first lager, Jagged Little Pils (5.9%), on tap today, January 11th.
We’ve wanted to brew a craft pilsner for quite some time, but being a smaller brewery always trying to keep up, we haven’t had the extra time to lay a lager down. Lagers traditionally take a lot longer to age than ales, as lager yeast likes to work at colder temperatures, which means it takes them a little longer to get the job done. Finally, last month we were able to take a breather and make a lager a reality.
Interestingly the craft beer revolution started out as a backlash to the light, bland lagers that dominated the American beer landscape for decades. Among craft beer drinkers, ‘lager’ was thought of as a dirty word associated with the mass produced light lagers from the big macro-beer brands (you know the ones). Craft brewers revolted and brought us pale ales, stouts, IPAs, etc.
But while IPAs have been all the rage in the craft beer world, lagers are making a comeback of late. On a recent ‘work’ trip to Denver, Colorado last year, we were brought face to face with the growing lager trend. There was a fabulous lager-only brewery a few blocks from where we were staying, Bierstadt Lagerhaus. We came back day after day for their Slow Pour Pils or Dry Hopped Lager. We also saw pilsners and India Pale Lagers (like a lager-style IPA) at other breweries around the city, and found ourselves reaching for a lager versus an IPA. Maybe it had something to do with the dry, relentless heat of summer in Denver?
Enjoying the Slow Pour Pils from Bierstadt Lagerhaus.
We returned inspired and were determined to craft our own lager. As the summer craziness wound down, we finally got around to brewing a pilsner last November. Of course, we don’t have the traditional lagerering tanks, but we gave it our best with what we have. We selected 100% German pilsner malt to provide that characteristic light grainy malt flavour, along with new-age hop varieties developed in Germany for a more modern twist. This is our first time playing around with the Huell (Hüll) Melon and Hallertau Blanc hop varieties, which are not your traditional noble German hops. Huell Melon lends aromatics of melon and strawberry while Hallertau Blanc provides floral and fruity aromatics like pineapple, grape, elderflower and lemongrass.
Available for growler fills, pints and tasters while supplies last!
German Best Pilsner Malt.
Wow, what another busy beer year. Here’s a look back at 2017:
We’ve also said goodbye to our Head Brewer Matt, who has started his own brewery down the road (Deep Dark Wood Brewing). Matt was our first employee and has been through all our growth spurts at Winterlong. We are stoked for his adventure into business on his own and even more stoked for the funky beers he’s producing. Whitehorse is slowly becoming a real craft brewery town!
In 2018, we’re looking forward to continuing to surprise you with new beers as well as bring back some favourites from past years. Coming up this month, we’ve got some exciting beer releases:
And there are more new beers in the works, including more juicy, hazy style ales and kettle sours, as well as a brand new strong dark beer. May you all have another beer happy year!
We might be a little behind in our Christmas decorating, but we promise you’ll start to see a few decorations go up over the next few days (the outdoor lights are already up thanks to this warmer weather). Of course, we’ve been busy with other things, like ensuring we have some special beers out for the holidays and planning some special food to go with the beer. Here are some teasers to whet your appetite.
Our annual Christmas beer, Bitter Elf will be back this holiday season (fingers crossed early next week). This American Strong Ale brewed with all Chinook hops and some darker crystal malts is like a mini, hoppy-barleywine. The ‘Elf’ will only be on draught, and is sure to go fast!
December is also the time of year for our Guilt Trip Barleywine release! This American-style Barleywine (9%) is available once a year in bottles. Drink it fresh for the super hop blast or age it a few months and let the malt flavours of toffee, prune and raisin shine. We will have a limited quantity on tap by the glass, but not for growler fills. The anticipated bottle release date is Wednesday, December 20th. Stay tuned to our social media pages or call the tasting room to ask.
CHEESE BOARDS: As a special treat this holiday season, we’re teaming up Cultured Fine Cheese to bring you holiday cheese and meat boards for sharing. These will include a selection of three delicious cheeses (varieties may change weekly) and a charcuterie option, served with spent grain crackers. These will be offered on three Friday/Saturdays over the month of December: December 15/16, 22/23 and 29/30 (limited numbers available each week). Whether it be a date night, après-ski/hike/bike/skate or pre-party primer, come treat yourself!
FESTIVE PIES: Michael is adding a few festive options to the savory pie menu for the holidays, including a Turkey Pie (with cranberry sauce of course) and a Tourtière made with local pork.
FRESH OSYTERS: The guys from Wayfarer Oyster Bar will be shucking oysters every Saturday this December. They typically set up between 2-3 pm and shuck until they sell out.
FUNDRAISER: We have teamed up with Firebean Coffee Roasters, Berry Blue Toes Apothecary and Klondike Kettle Corn on a fundraiser gift pack for SHARE THE SPIRIT YUKON. Help us sponsor a family or two this holiday season! The full $30 value of the gift pack will be donated to the campaign through the Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society! Get some sweet local products while contributing to an amazing local cause.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING: We've got lots of great products for the beer lovers on your Christmas list, aside from the obvious… BEER! From beer soap to glassware, and hoodies to toques there are lots of options for stocking stuffers and presents. Of course if you can't decide, there’s always a gift card.
Last but not least, we will be open our regular hours, 7-days a week, aside from being closed December 25, 26 and January 1.
Over the past few months, we’ve been working on a recipe for a rye coffee porter, and finally our brewery version will be out Saturday. We’ve always found coffee beers can be hit or miss and wanted to take up the challenge of brewing a version we could be proud of.
The fun part in developing a recipe is making the beer at home on our basement homebrew system (for personal taste-testing purposes of course). This coffee porter recipe had gone through two iterations at home. We tried different grain bills as well as different methods for using even the coffee. Then the recipe was scaled up and skillfully brewed by our brewers.
Playing around with recipes on the home brewery 'pilot system'.
Coffee can be added to beer in so many ways. You can throw in some coffee beans just like you would hops later in the boil kettle, you can put the beans in the fermenter following primary fermentation like a dry hop, or you can add beans or brewed coffee (from a coffee maker, French press or espresso machine) to the beer prior to packaging. We decided on the later method of adding the coffee before packaging to keep the coffee flavour as fresh as possible. Not only that, but we used the cold brew coffee method so that we didn’t get as much of the acidity or any of the harsh, astringent characters from the roasted beans.
Prepping the freshly ground beans for the cold brew addition.
Also the whole point of making a coffee beer was to be able to showcase the coffee from one of our favourite local roasters, Firebean Coffee Roasters. We are lucky in Whitehorse to have such a great selection of local roasters, including Midnight Sun and Bean North, which are both very well established. Firebean is new to the scene and Mike makes very small batches, by pedaling a stationary bike to turn the roasting drum over a birchwood fire. We’ve been inspired by Mike and his wife Sarah’s micro start-up business, which has taken Whitehorse by storm.
Coffee soldiers! Ready! Aim! Fire!
So we are excited to bring you Firebean Rye Coffee Porter (6.8%). It’s a smooth and chocolatey porter with a hint of roast and a light fruity and spiciness from the malted barley and rye. The dark roasted Guatemalan (fair trade organic) coffee beans lend some of the complex chocolate, roast and fruit flavours in the beer.
Your first chance to try this beer will be the Friday installment of the 4th Annual Yukon Beer Festival (October 13-14, 2017), in Whitehorse at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. Bottles and draft will be available at our Tasting Room starting Saturday!
**** WARNING: It may seem obvious but there is coffee in this beer, so if caffeine affects you, maybe don’t drink this one right before bed! On the other hand if you need a pick-me-up in the evening, this could do the trick! ****
We’re surprising you today with a special release, barrel-aged barleywine, Tragic Vision (9.5%)!
This was an impromptu brew made many, many months ago as we needed another beer to put into our Port Chilkoot whiskey barrels. These barrels previously held our Divine Intervention Belgian Tripel and Terror Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. This is also the last beer to grace these particular barrels before they are retired.
Where the barleywine sleeps (barrels from Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines, AK).
Tragic Vision is an English-style barleywine, not to be confused with our other barleywine offering that comes out in December, Guilt Trip, which is a hopped-up American version. Tragic Vision is graced with both English ale yeast and East Kent Goldings hops. This strong ale starts off with an explosion of toffee and dark fruit flavours (think raisin and prune), ending with a super smooth whiskey finish. It’s sure to warm you up this fall and winter, making it an excellent dessert beer or nightcap.
This special release will be available starting today in bottles only. Tragically, it will not be available for growler fills or pints.