Friday, 29 July 2011

Take off, to the Great Weiss North, Take Off, It's a Beauty Way to Go....

Wednesday, July 27th was a big day for the Sawdust City Brewing Co., not only did we bottle our first run of test batches at the Niagara College, but we also started our first collaboration brew with the students and staff at the Niagara College.  Great Weiss North which will be a "one-off" brew, exclusively available at the CNE craft beer pavilion, may arguably be the most Canadian beer ever brewed!  A bold and outlandish statement I know, but this is our blog and shameless self promotion is what blogs are all about people.  Ridiculous, unsubstantiated statements and claims are the norm.  So yeah, where was I?  Yes, most Canadian beer ever brewed!  With an ingredient from every province, Great Weiss North is quite literally all of Canada condensed into one easy to drink package.  This was an idea I came up with in an attempt to get some promotion for the College in hopes of giving something back to them for all that they had done for Sawdust City.  Brews with different ingredients from different places and collaborations aren't new, we didn't reinvent the wheel here.  But I think its still a very unique idea and this probably the first time a brew of its kind (an ingredient from every province and territory) has been attempted in Canada.
I approached my brother Jed (he happens to be running the craft beer tent at the CNE) with the idea and he loved it.  I talked to Jon Downing the Brewmaster and Professor at Niagara College and he loved the idea too.  In fact he took the ball and ran with it, creating the recipe and compiling the ingredients as quickly as possible.

Here is the list of said ingredients:
CMC Ontario Malt
La Quebecois Malt
Maritime Malt
CM 6-Row Malt from Manitoba
CMC Superior Pils Malt
Wheat Malt from Saskatchewan
Honey Malt from B.C.
Irish Moss from PEI
Organically grown Bertwell and Tettenanger hops from Ontario
Herbs, Tea and a variety of berries from North West Territories and Nunavut
Maple Syrup from Nova Scotia
Birch Syrup from the Yukon
Partridge Berries from Newfoundland
And 2nd generation Canadian Weissbier Yeast.  Sure it came from Germany, but once it started propagating on Canadian soil, those new cells became a lot like a many of us here in Canada...2nd generation Canadians!
Quite the list I know.  And here it is, all layed out on the floor -

So after we laid out all the ingredients,we starting mashing in.  And here they are, Jordan and Gord, two students from Niagara College starting the first batch of Great Weiss North.

Once the mash was in, we let it rest for 60 min.  Let the waiting begin.


After the mash rest, we ramped the temperature, recirculated the wort, began the lautering process and started collecting the wort in the kettle.  Once we had all the wort collected and the boil started rolling, then came the hops!

 Meanwhile, as all this was going on and the students were busy tending to the brew, Rob and I were busy with our own task of bottling the first test batches we brewed on the Colleges pilot system.

We had been anxiously awaiting this day for a number of weeks and now four different brews were ready to go.  That's a lot of beer so we had our work cut out for us.  Golden Beach Pale Wheat, Lone Pine IPA, Ol'Woody Alt and Skinny Dipping Stout, were all fermented, racked, filtered (well the IPA and the Alt were filtered), carbonated and ready to be put into packaging.  We even had our first labels come in from the printers, take a look below -

We started with the Golden Beach Pale Wheat, a hazy American Wheat Ale with a delicious punch of juicy Amarillo and Sorachi Ace hops.  Dry hopped with Centennial, this beer is the perfect summer slammer! 

Next up was our take on an American West Coast IPA, a style both Rob and I pine for (yes, this pun was intended) on a regular basis.  Sawdust City's Lone Pine IPA will hopefully subdue the hop monster in all of us.

Then came our session beer, Ol'Woody Alt.  Brewed as a Dusseldorf Alt, this style became a favourite of mine while bouncing from brauhaus to brauhaus in the Dusseldorf Altstadt.  Sweeny, Seb, Marcio and Luis, this one's for you...oh and Estobahn.

Last, cut certainly not least came our Skinny Dipping Stout.  Black as pitch and loaded with chocolaty goodness, this one turned out just as I had hoped.  Plus the labels are pretty sweet too!(more shameless self promotion!) Kudos to Shannon for designing them.

So that was our big day.  First collaboration, first bottle run, followed almost immediately by our first drinking session.  All and all it was a pretty fantastic day for the Sawdust City Brewing Co. Yeah us!
So if you want to try a truly unique and 100% Canadian beer, come down to the CNE and visit the craft beer pavilion.  Grab a pint of Great Weiss North and take a sip of Canada.  Also be sure to try some of the other great breweries that are going to be there's another list!

Lake of Bays - Baysville, ON
Muskoka Brewery - Bracebridge, ON
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co - Vankleek Hill, ON
Grand River Brewing Co - Cambridge, ON
Spearhead Brewing Co - Toronto, ON
Great Lakes Brewing Co - Toronto, ON
Camerons Brewing Co - Oakville, ON
Nickelbrook Brewery - Burlington, ON
Mill St Brewery - Toronto, ON
Wellington Brewery - Guelph, ON

That's a pretty fantastic list.  So do yourself a favour and come down to the CNE for some great Canadian Craft beer.
Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

1 comment:

  1. Sam, I'm glad you are writing this blog (great writing). Jon is probably one of the best in the industry right now. He deserves the utmost respect. But, just to play devils advocate I thought the most Canadian beer would be the next best thing to malt liquor in a stubby.
    All the best!