Hello and welcome to another brew blog! It has been a while since our last post and we have been through a lot including multiple exciting new beer releases. Our goal remains to be producing high quality delicious brews for everyone to enjoy and the fall/winter season has given us lots of opportunities to do this!
September saw us linking up again with our friends at Barn Owl Brewing, this time for a fresh hop beer!
Fresh hop beers are a seasonal specialty that are only produced around the time of the hop harvest. Hops are a crop that spoils very quickly once they are picked, so normally the hops are dried and pelletized for future use. The idea with a fresh hop beer is to brew with the hops on the same day that they are picked. That way they do not need to be dried and can impart the freshest flavours and aromas to the beer.
For our brew, I fired up the brewhouse as if it were a regular day and sent Colin (Barn Owl’s Brewer) off to Abbotsford to our friends at Bredenhof Hop Farm. After collecting hops that had been picked that morning, Colin drove back to KBC and arrived just in time for us to throw the hops into our brew. Fresh hops occupy a much bigger volume than their dried counterparts so we improvised and used our mash tun to hold the hops and circulated the hot wort over the top. The aromas that filled the brewhouse were out of this world! We released the beer a few weeks later on tap in both locations and in cans at KBC. The finished beer has a powerful tropical and stone fruit aroma and drinks super smooth with a light bitterness up front and a tropical zesty finish. The beer is sold out at the Barn but we still have a small amount left at KBC so swing by before it’s all gone if you want to try it!
Another big release in September was our Oktoberfest lager. We wanted to brew something special to celebrate the most famous beer festival in the world and this was the result. I won’t dwell on it for too long here because we quickly sold out of this beer, but rest assured we will bring it back for next year, and fingers crossed we can get together and celebrate with a small festival of our own!
As the nights grew longer and the days became excruciatingly short, we started the rollout of our winter seasonals. Our flagship winter beer is our Winter Ale which clocks in at a hearty 7.5% and is brewed with molasses and roasted grains to give it a rich, full flavour. We first brewed this beer in 2020 and found that we sold out of it very fast so for this year we brewed a double batch. We are very happy with how this year’s batch turned out and you can still find it on tap at the pub and in cans. We were even able to dig up a couple of cans left over from the 2020 brew and doing a side-by-side comparison is something I would truly recommend! We made enough of this beer to package some and let it age for next year so keep an eye out for some mixed 4-packs next winter for your own taste test comparisons.
December also saw the release of a couple of other new brews that have proved to be extremely popular. We followed up on the success of our Oktoberfest lager with a lighter Helles style lager which we have called the “Pony Boy Stay Golden Lager” in an homage to one of our favourite childhood reads. For now it is only available on tap but we will have it in cans soon.
We also released a special edition of our Hazy Pale Ale where we mixed up our hops a little bit and spiced it up even further with a splash of coconut. The resulting beer drinks like a Pina Colada cocktail, but it’s actually a beer! This has been a big hit with people looking to escape from the wintery conditions outside and has us all looking forward to summertime by the pool. Originally a special release, this beer will likely become a mainstay of our tap-list so come on in for a taste!
Our final special release to mention in this post is one that might be a totally new style for a lot of you reading! Belgium has a fascinating history of brewing and along with it offers some distinctive styles and flavours that you don't regularly find in North America. Our newest release is our St Hommel Belgian Single. Singles are some of the less commonly found Belgian beers out there. When most people think of Belgian beers they imagine an enrobed monk sipping from a goblet of strong dark beer and the single is a beer that emerged from these monastic traditions. Abbey beers are often designated dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels and these are the styles that most people would be familiar with. The single is a lighter and weaker version of these same beers. Anyone who has drunk a few quads will tell you that it is not inducive to getting a lot of work done, so the monks would make a single to have as their daily beverage! Our single is light, fruity and definitely very drinkable. It still comes in at 6.9% but you'd never know it. I brewed this beer in conjunction with a good friend of mine, James, who has a little more experience with this style than me and i think the results are outstanding!
The brews mentioned above are not the only new things to have graced our brewery recently. We have added a couple of new members to our brewing team so if you see some unfamiliar faces in the brew house, don't panic!
Sam is an experienced brewer who has previous experience at Anderson Craft Ales in Ontario and Lakesider in West Kelowna. Sam has already knocked it out of the park here by brewing some of our old favourites as well as being responsible for our Pony Boy lager.
Kodi is a passionate homebrewer who started making beer as a hobby during lockdown but has made several hundred batches since then. Luckily he has a lot of friends and family to help him drink his creations! Brewing on a small scale has allowed him to experiment with recipes and ingredients that wouldn't normally be considered by a large commercial brewery but we are hoping to bring some of his ideas to life here!
January came and went fast (thankfully!) but one highlight was the release of a brand new guidebook to all the craft breweries in the Okanagan. The Okanagan Craft Beer Guide is a project that Josh has been working on since last year and it’s great to see it finally realized and available in taprooms throughout the valley! The guidebook is free and should give you a bit of inspiration to get out and explore all the amazing breweries that we are lucky to have in our local area. If you’re ever looking for a copy, KBC is a great place to come and grab one from!
We are now deep into February and are looking towards fewer COVID restrictions and rising temperatures so we have some exciting brews on the docket! Expect the old favourites to continue to be available, with a few new ideas and surprises thrown in for good measure!