Alberta Brews: The Limited Edition...Edition.

14 October 2016
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Category: Beer Stuffs
14 October 2016, Comments: 0

With our Alberta beer section now expanding to three whole shelving units in our cooler, it certainly seems like the local craft beer culture is in full swing. In fact, over the past 6 months, nearly 20,000 craft breweries have opened their doors in the Calgary area alone. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true that it can be overwhelming (and super awesome) at times to keep up with all the fantastic new local beers arriving at our store. To help combat your anxiety, the following is a general guide to some of the freshest new limited edition releases from Alberta breweries to hit our shelves. Admittedly, the following merely scratches the surface, and by the time you read this, we’ll likely have another million new releases to peruse. No exaggeration.

Bent Stick Wakatu Wheat [American Wheat Ale; 5% ABV; $7.50/650ml Bottle]: The newest kids on the block, Bent Stick is comprised of four young gentlemen from Edmonton who first honed their brewing skills while working at Alley Kat. Earlier this year, however, they branched off to start their own small-batch brewery with a focus on rotational seasonal and limited edition releases. Following hits such as Brick is Red (now sold out FOR LIFE), The Crusher ISA, and a lineup of Farmhouse style ales, Wakatu Wheat is a Pale Wheat Ale brewed with, you guessed it, Wakatu hops from New Zealand! Pouring a golden amber colour, the beer features notes of caramel and citrus combined with a refreshing tropical fruit character from the hops to create an impressively balanced and quenching wheat ale.

Brewsters Beer Clouds Anti-Hail Ale [Pale Ale; 5% ABV; $7.30/650ml Bottle]:  For years now, Brewsters has been using Albertan barley in their beer. Indeed, Albertan barley is widely considered to be of the highest quality in the universe, which is naturally why so many brewers, local or otherwise, seek it out. For their latest limited release, Brewsters takes things to the next level and has collaborated with an array of Alberta farmers who are producing AAC Synergy Barley (I don’t have much room for the technical talk here, so please seek out producers such as Eliason Farms, Bruce Farms Ltd., Page Ranches Ltd., Holtman Farms, Gatez and Cissell Farms to learn more. All you need to know now is that this particular barley makes the beer taste, like, super awesome). To round things off, Brewsters also uses the German mandarina bavaria to add a citrusy and fruity component to this immensely tasty Pale Ale.

Fallentimber Honey Kölsch [Braggot; 4.5% ABV; $7.40/500ml Bottle]: Many are now familiar with the stellar lineup of meads produced by this Water Valley based meadery, but you may not know that the fine folks at Fallentimber have also dipped their toes in the beer brewing world recently (if you have tried their Wild Rose and Dandy collaboration, please let me know how it was. I bet it was amazing). Naturally, I figured it was only a matter of time before they released their very own beer. Dubbed their “Cowboy Beer”, this braggot (a style using honey and barley malt) was inspired by the light, easy-drinking Pale Ales of Cologne Germany to create an extremely refreshing brew with just the right amount of honey sweetness.

Village Gardener Basil IPA [Spiced IPA; 6.5% ABV; $9.60/650ml Bottle]: Aligning perfectly with the Calgary brewery’s community-centered ethos, Village Brewery’s Gardener series features unique and inventive brews using ingredients grown at various community gardens in the Calgary area. For this 2016 version, the brewery takes a boatload of locally grown hops to create and IPA base and goes on to add a healthy portion of basil which compliments the herbal and citrusy hop character beautifully. To top it all off, the beer is also brewed using two-row malted barley from Alberta’s own Red Shed Malting to create an exceptional and locally-focused interpretation of a popular style.

Alley Kat Pour Boy Chili Beer [Spiced Beer; 5% ABV; $8.90/650ml Bottle]: Dadeo’s fans rejoice! The chili beer that has been brewed by Alley Kat exclusively for the popular New Orleans themed restaurant on Whyte Avenue for years is finally back in bottles for you to take home and enjoy. Long-time Sherbrooke fans may remember the small bottles of Aaiieeeeeeeeee Caramba way back in the day, but while that version had the long since retired Charlie Flint Lager as the base, this new version is made using a German-style Kölsch whose light body and mild fruitiness are an even better accompaniment to the additions of red chilis. As an added bonus, Pour Boy makes for the ideal pairing with your own homemade po’boy (or in my case bag of jalepeno chips). 

Dandy Brewing Baltus Van Tassel Cherry Sour [American-Style Sour; 7% ABV; $9.90/650ml Bottle]:  Known as one of Alberta’s first nano-breweries, Calgary’s Dandy Brewing continues to impress Alberta beer lovers with their revolving series of brews and are quickly garnering a hoard of diehard and loyal followers as a result. Indeed, the buildup of anticipation for the release of this American style brown sour ale was truly astounding. Beginning with a rich malt base, the beer showcases a unique blend of sour and tart cherry purees to create an immensely flavourful sour Brown Ale with notes of stone fruit, plums, and yes, cherries.  

Grizzly Paw Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin Ale [Pumpkin Ale; 5.5% ABV; $8.00/650ml Bottle]: What would a list of limited edition beers in October be without at least one Pumpkin Beer? Absolutely nothing, that’s what! Received via direct delivery straight from Canmore, Jack O’Lantern is a very popular annual release for Grizzly Paw and is a welcome addition to the Sherbrooke Pumpkin Patch. Brewed using roasted pumpkins and butternut squash along with a blend of four different malts and Northern Brewer & Fuggle hops, this will certainly please all the discerning pumpkin fans out there. Of course, Pumpkin Beer would not be Pumpkin Beer without all the delicious spices, and there is plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to go around. Join the pumpkin party.

–Stephen Bezan [All Beer Stuffs at Sherbrooke Liquor]

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