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Beer Fest 2013

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Paul and the many staff that participated were very excited to be included in Calgary International Beerfest 2013! We enjoyed seeing and catching up with many of our customers during this two day event. I can’t think of a better place to be to see what is hot on trend and up and coming in the world of craft beer. We had the opportunity to try craft beer equivalents of some of our most popular add-pack recipes – such as Black Pilsners and Belgian Wits – confirming that what we can make at home is on point and on style. We also had the opportunity to try trends that sounded very interesting – some were amazing – some not so much. Here are some of our staff picks:

  • Paul: Sunturnbrew – Nogne O – craftbeerimports. We wanted to try this beer because it was a smoked rye beer. While smoked beers (such as our Tartan Ale add-pack) can be an acquired taste – this beer had lots of interesting things going for it. It is a small limited run – very smoky up front, sweet in the middle, finishing with the unique spiciness that comes with rye and a bitter bite of hops. Very interesting for sure.  Paul also really enjoyed a beer that had hemp in it – bringing a nice nutty profile to the beer.
  • Kellie was on a quest to find Rye offerings – one favorite was the Rocket Dog Rye IPA from Laughing Dog Brewery  (which won Silver). This rye beer started off slightly sweet and not oaky at all,  transitioning with a hint of citrus, before finishing with that unique rye spiciness and the bite of hops. Her other favorite was Rye-Sally-Ryepa from Tamarack Brewing Co – which sadly was not at their booth this year. That particular beer is all about the beauty of what happens when you put a clearly fantastic aromatic hop (Citra) together with the spicy taste of rye. Yum!  At The Home Vintner – Rye add-packs are a recent addition to our recipe collection, with Roggenbier currently available and more choices soon to come.
  • Doug had a few favorites – one being the brewmasters deliberately different beer from Big Rock Brewery – The Rosmarinus Aromatic Ale. This beer was similar to an IPA, but made with Rosemary instead of hops. Who even thinks of things like that? His other favorite was from Tamarack Brewing Co –  Tamarack Old’ Stache Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter. It’s all in the name! Flavour – flavour!
  • Ron sampled – and sampled again – the Minerva Mexican Kraft Beer, Tequila Cask Matured. This was a light and refreshing twist to an oaked beer, with the tequila adding a very interesting spin.
  • Ken: (Home Vintner Guild member  ) has more of a taste leaning towards the West Coast and Montana styles of IPA’s, more IBU’s (more hop bitterness). Trends are reaching for more and more hops. In that category, Ken’s pick was Hog’s Head Brewers Hop Slayer IPA. This beer delivers the hop slaying as advertised LOL.

Also well worth mentioning – our neighbouring booth, Skinners Brewery – Fine Cornish Ales. We very much enjoyed chatting with them, and hearing about their fresh process from field to bottle. We had a chance to taste a Cornish style Golden Ale – and it was significantly different from what we have come to expect in Canada as a golden ale. There was an interesting bready quality to it – that had to come from the secret recipe yeast strain that they use. Congratulations Steve on winning the Gold for People’s Choice.There were many more beers that were fantastic – so many beers – so little time……  We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did, and came away with ideas of beers you would like to achieve at home. We sure came away with a lot of ideas – and now it’s time for recipe development – have to love our jobs!