Posts tagged saskatchewan craft beer
Growler 101: Everything You Need To Know About Those Little Brown Jugs Of Beer

If you’ve been to Happy Hour, you’ve probably noticed someone walking in or out with a little brown jug.

If you don’t know, those are growlers and they’re one of the most popular ways to bring delicious, fresh, local beer home to enjoy. At Happy Hour, we just so happen to have one of the best systems available for filling growlers and we’re pretty proud of that.

Even though the popularity of the growler has taken off over the past couple years, the growler as we know it today was actually introduced by the Otto Brothers Brewing Company based out of Wyoming back in 1989.

Why are they called growlers? Well, that’s a good question. As the story goes, back in the 19th-century people used to bring fresh beer home from their local pubs using a small pail. Legend has it that carbon dioxide that escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around inside made a noise that sounded a lot like a growl. Hence, the growler. (A 32oz growler is generally known as a “howler” because it’s half a growler.)

Luckily for us today, serious improvements have been made to the growler and we don’t have to worry about CO2 escaping the bottle before we open it. I can’t imagine the beer from the old pails would have tasted all that good by the time people got home.

There are more options than ever when it comes to growlers today if you’re thinking about taking the plunge.

The most popular, and cost-effective, remains the 64oz and 32oz brown jugs with twist on caps. However, you can also pick up insulated growlers, growlers that look like small kegs, clear jugs, there’s even new fancy growlers that come with a tap and hold small CO2 cartridges to keep your beer fresh. Whatever your growler preference may be, there's plenty of them, and we can fill all of them at Happy Hour.

A filled, unopened, growler should generally be consumed within 7 to 10 days depending on how it’s been filled. You’ll get a few extra days if you’ve had a growler filled with our Pegas filling station. If your beer is coming straight from the tap, then you’ll want to drink it much sooner, usually a day or two. Once the seal has been broken, you should enjoy your beer within 24-36 hours.

Now that your growler is empty, it’s time to take care of it so you can fill it up again. The first step is to rinse out the inside of the jug with scorching hot water. The sooner you can do this after the growler is empty the better. No soap is required, and it’s actually recommended that you do not use any dish soap when cleaning out your growler as it can leave a residue and your beer will likely taste funky the next time you fill it.

At Happy Hour, we spray your growler with a food-safe sanitizer before filling it. It’s extremely important that your growler is properly cleaned. If a growler is too gross, we won’t fill it. It’s not good for you or the beer.

After rinsing out your growler, you’ll want to let it dry upside down on a dish rack if possible. Then either bring it back for another fill or store it in a cool, dry place. Humidity is not a growlers best friend.

So, now that you know a little more about growlers, the only question left to be answered is, what will it be?

Happy Resolutions: New Year, Better Us

Every year as the calendar turns to January, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. Here at Happy Hour, we’re no different.

In 2018, we want to make your experience at our store even better. That’s not to say that we think we’ve done a poor job since opening our doors in May. Your feedback, both online and in person has been tremendous. We truly thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for all the kind words. That being said, we know we can still do better and that will only mean bigger and better things for you going forward.

I wanted to write this not only to let you know what we have planned for the next 365 days but so we can also be held accountable and make sure that we follow through on our promises to you this year.

So, without further adieu, here’s what you can look forward to in 2018.

1. Keeping Things Local

If there’s one thing we love at Happy Hour more than anything else, it’s fantastic locally produced products. Since we’ve opened, we’ve seen our selection of homegrown booze grow and this year, we want to put an even bigger emphasis on those that are doing things right here in our own backyard.

Changes are planned for our craft beer section that will see a massive increase in local selections and our growler station will always remain 100 percent Saskatchewan produced.

While we love our craft beer, we love anything produced in Saskatchewan. We want to make sure that as many of the provinces distilleries and wineries are represented at Happy Hour as well. If there’s any we should know about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram to let us know.

As a locally owned and operated store, we want to support local. We think you want to as well.

2. Stocking Up On Speciality Items (That You Can't Get Anywhere Else)

Outside of our provincial borders, we want to continue to source more stuff that you can’t find anywhere else in the greater-Regina area.

That doesn’t mean that we’re going to start cutting some of your favourites to make room. The staples will always be here, but our goal is to be the go-to specialty store. So, we’re scouring the country and the globe for beer, wine, whisky, rum, gin, vodka, and more. We know competition in this business is growing and we’re willing to put in the work to make sure our selection is top notch.

3. Picking Up The Slack On Online Requests

Along those lines, we know we have to do a better job communicating with you, our valued customer.

One of the big reasons we’ve been able to grow our selection in short order has been thanks to wonderful suggestions and requests from you. We’ve done a decent job handling those requests in person, but we can admit we dropped the ball online. If you’ve ever been on our website, you’d know there’s a section to submit inquiries about special order products. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the systems in place at the time to respond to those requests in a timely manner. That won’t be the case going forward. Whether we can get something in or not, you will hear from us. We know there’s nothing worse than not getting an answer either way.

In store, or online, keep those requests coming and we promise you’ll hear from us.

4. Giving You The Best Customer Service

At Happy Hour, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service. Whether it’s finding that perfect bottle of wine for a gift, a funky new craft beer to enjoy or the right ingredients for that new cocktail. We want to help you.

This will never stop being our goal now and in the future.

Happy New Year! See you in the store.

Lentils Help Rebellion Take Brewery To The Next Level

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.