Exciting times are ahead for the Saskatchewan craft beer scene as the industry continues to evolve in our fair province.
Last week, Rebellion Brewing out of Regina pulled off what is considered a “Christmas miracle” when they were able to get cans of their amber ale and the ever popular lentil cream ale on shelves before the big day. This marked the first time that some of Rebellion’s everyday selections were available beyond a growler fill or a pint at the bar.
“It’s a big deal for us, we weren’t sure when we would be able to have cans,” said co-owner Mark Heise.
Like most local brewers, Rebellion started small and has been building up their business ever since. One way they’ve been able to take their business to the next level was taking a chance on a beer that didn’t really exist anywhere before.
A few years ago, Heise was approached by his cousin, who works in the lentil business, wondering if they would able to produce a beer with his pulse.
“I didn’t think that sounded very good. My cousin was persuasive and we gave it a go,” said Heise.
“It’s very unique, it’s very innovative to be using lentils in a beer. It made sense to do it, though. Lentils are of course a big part of the economy here in Saskatchewan. Rebellion is all about being unique and different. (We’re) also trying to walk the walk and talk the talk with the community angle.”
Good thing Heise and his team did as not only did the beer turn out really well, it took off like wildfire in Saskatchewan. The first small batch the brewery ever produced went out the door pretty quick. Since then, the beer has not only been added to the breweries line of core products, it’s actually become their number one selling beer.
“We had literally zero expectations. We brewed 40 litres of this beer to start with. I thought it would be the only 40 litres we would make,” said Heise.
“A lot of craft beer is targeted more to urban markets. It’s been awesome, there’s been an overwhelming response from rural folks, farmers, pulse crop growers. (They’ve) really embraced it.”
Rebellion worked with, among others, AGT Foods to develop the beer and source the lentils. Because the beer has become so popular, AGT has taken the recipe to another place where they do business, Australia, and bottled the beer for consumers there. The beer included a generic version of the Rebellion hop logo on the label.
Rebellion lentil cream and amber ale cans are now available at Happy Hour in four packs and singles. Rebellion is hoping to release their IPA and oatmeal stout in cans later this winter.