Our month-long winter beer festival, feBREWary, has attracted the participation of more than 100 restaurants and pubs across the province. The 100+ venues will each tap a new creation weekly from Beau’s Wild Oats Series, beers designed to explore new ingredients and challenge perceptions of what craft beer can be.
Beau’s will kick off the month of feBREWary Saturday Feb. 1 by toasting the 2nd Annual International Gruit Day with St. Luke’s Verse, a brand-new gruit brewed with herbs in place of hops. Copper in colour, St. Luke’s Verse Gruit Ale offers up an aromatic herb-and-spice bouquet of lavender accented by thyme and rosemary. The flavourful, balanced beer is highly nuanced, yet still very approachable.
Thursday Feb. 6 will see the next offering debut: Ellsmere’s Regret, a chocolate-marshmallow-hemp stout. The base milk stout style benefits from the addition of 18 kg of organic chocolate, 10 kg of cocoa nibs, and 20 kg of hemp seeds to achieve chocolatey goodness, restrained nuttiness and a silky mouthfeel. Vanilla and maple syrup used at the end of the process impart further complexity and an exquisite dessert-like decadence.
Week three’s beer is tapped Thursday Feb. 13: Mission Accomplished, an American IPA brewed with a bold hop aroma and assertive bitterness. The combination of organic American and New Zealand hops give the beer sweet, juicy notes of tangerine, tropical fruit and pine. Bready malts provide some backbone but ultimately are no match for the smooth hop bitterness. The American yeast supplies mild, fruity esters that ease back and allow the hops to take their rightful place in the spotlight.
On Thursday Feb. 20 the 2014 incarnation of Beau’s annual feBREWary coffee + beer collaboration with Ottawa’s Bridgehead Roastery returns: Collabrrrewnaut, a coffee-infused classic Bohemian Pilsner. Collabrrrewnaut has an herbal, spicy noble hop aroma, with a subtle yet ever-present espresso note that lingers like the scent of coffee in a busy Czech café. The beer possesses a mild bitterness, with a clean dry finish. Restrained nuances courtesy of the coffee suggest dried figs, nutty richness and chocolate as they intermingle with the classic Pilsner style.
The fifth and final feBREWary beer will hit the draft taps Thursday Feb. 27: hopfenweisse-style beer Wag the Wolf. A test batch of this recipe brewed last year quickly became a fan favourite, so it’s back for feBREWary celebrations, and will move onto LCBO shelves when feBREWary wraps up. Wag the Wolf is a weissbier (wheat beer) that is generously “late-addition” hopped with organic New Zealand varieties to provide abundant aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. Made with 65% wheat and fermented with weissbier yeast, expect pleasant fruit and spice flavours with a restrained bitterness on the finish.
FeBREWary events, both at licensees and at the brewery, also happen throughout the month, including a Tap Takeover at Ottawa’s Wellington Gastro Pub Feb. 9, a 10-Tap Feature at Toronto’s Cloak and Dagger Feb. 14-15, and a “Family Dinner” at Baker St. Station in Guelph Feb. 23 with 4 courses and live music. Beau’s is hosting events every weekend at the brewery’s Vankleek Hill, Ont. location, and is running buses to the brewery from Ottawa every Saturday. Full feBREWary details, including a list of the 100+ participating restaurants and pubs are available at www.beaus.ca/feBREWary.
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