Posts tagged saskatchewan breweries
Beer 101: What is Malt?
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Have you ever looked at a pint of beer and wondered, how did the beer get to be that color? 

The answer is Malt. What exactly is malt? It’s short for malted grain. When it comes to brewing beer, all kinds of grain can be used to produce different results. Brewers typically use rye, oats, rice, corn, and barley. Barley being the most common malt of all. Each of these malts will change the flavor, mouthfeel, and sweetness of the beer. However, it’s most important job is to color the beer. 

Malt is made by taking the grain of choice, spreading it out over a wide area, and slowly soaking it for about a month and a half. By soaking the grain, it allows it to germinate, which is just a fancy term for growing. Malt producers stop the germination process by blasting the grain with some heat or roasting it. 

This is where things start to get interesting.

The color of the beer depends on how much you roast the malt. When malt is roasted for a short period of time, you will get a pale ale or lager, depending on what kind of yeast is used. These kinds of malts can be found in beers like the Rebellion Lentil Cream, Nokomis Golden Ale, and District Pilsner. 

When the malt is roasted for a bit longer, the beer turns more golden because it starts to extract the color from the gain. At this point, beer will go from golden in color to more of an amber or red-like color. The Rebellion Amber Ale, Cannery Brewing Anarchist, and Parallel 49 Salty Scott would use these kinds of malts. 

The longer malt is roasted, the darker the color they’ll produce. After the amber stage, malt will start to give more of a brown color like the Nokomis Brown Ale or the Fernie First Trax before turning into a dark beer like the Black Bridge Milk Stout or the Pile O’ Bones Peanut Butter Milk Stout.

You could say that malt is a really important ingredient in beer. In fact, most of the world’s malt is produced to make beer. However, malt is also a key ingredient in whiskey too. Between beer and whiskey, their ingredients are quite similar and that's why some people say that whiskey is just a grown-up version of beer.

So, cheers to malt! Without it, all of our favorite pints would just look like sparkling water. 

What's your favorite color of beer? Light, amber, brown or dark? 

Lentils Help Rebellion Take Brewery To The Next Level
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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.

Saskatchewan's Craft Beer Industry Ready For Take Off
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The Saskatchewan craft beer business is in the middle of some big and exciting changes as a lot is happening at Rebellion, Pile O’ Bones and Black Bridge.

We’ll start in Regina with Rebellion. The Dewdney Avenue based brewery’s third anniversary is quickly approaching and the new year could be the biggest one yet for Mark Heise and the gang. Recently, the brewery received a $330,000 grant from the federal and provincial governments through the Saskatchewan Lean Improvements to Manufacturing program. Rebellion will be using this money to not only install an exterior grain bin, which is great, but it will also help them install a canning system.

For us at Happy Hour, that means we’ll soon be able to carry even more Rebellion products. Whether you want to fill a growler, buy one of their specialty bottled products or just want a grab a can or two. We’ll have it all. We don’t have an official landing date for the new canned products (which will include their gluten-free Lentil Cream, as we get plenty of requests to carry it) but we imagine it will be in the next few months.

Before that, Rebellion also installed a fancy new filtration called a centrifuge. What this means is they can now produce cleaner, crisper beers. Who doesn’t love that?

In the heart of downtown Regina, Pile O’ Bones is taking their game to the next level. Over the weekend, Glenn Valgardson and the guys had the tricky task of getting some new huge tanks into their brewery. This would be difficult enough for most local brewers, but it’s an even bigger challenge for Pile O’ Bones since they are in the basement at O’Hanlons, so getting giant objects down there isn’t exactly the easiest process. They have plenty of pictures on their Facebook page to prove it.

The work will be worth it though as Regina’s youngest brewery will be able to increase their production to volumes they haven’t seen before. That means more beer will be available not only to us at Happy Hour but bars and restaurants across the area.

Last but certainly not least, Black Bridge in Swift Current is making a big change in how they sell their beer. Black Bridge has decided to make the switch from 355ml cans to 473ml, also known as the tall can. If you’ve ever checked out craft beer in other provinces, you already know that this is the most popular vehicle for bringing craft beer home. You’ve already seen it at Happy Hour too with our ever growing selection of individual tall cans so you can make your own pack of beer.

This change also means we’re going to change how you can buy Black Bridge from us. For the first time, we’ll be offering their cans for individual sale.

As they change cans, Black Bridge has also made a change to their core. Joining the Milk Stout, IPA! and Pseudo Lager in the variety pack will be their Wheat Burst.

It’s an exciting time to be a craft beer drinker in Saskatchewan as the relatively new scene continues to evolve. As it does, our promise to you is we’ll always have the best Saskatchewan brewers have to offer whether it’s on tap or in the fridge.