Posts Tagged ‘big rock

Best picks for 5 a.m. Olympic hockey action

- February 21st, 2014

So, you’re overjoyed at the notion of heading to your local bar before dawn to watch Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team take on Sweden in the gold medal game.

The province made the wise choice, IMHO, to allow bars to open and serve alcohol in time for the game Sunday morning.

Previously, the earliest bars would be allowed to serve, had they applied for special permission, was 8 a.m.

But now, what to drink at that hour? Even if you’re staying at home and watching the game, other than a nice coffee and Bailey’s or a vodka and OJ (not my first choice), what makes a good early morning quaff that won’t get you too loopy?

Here are some helpful suggestions to get you through your morning. (They’re all Canadian too, eh.)

Sessionable: The notion of a sessionable ale is simple, whether it’s when you’re settling in for the long haul, or, in this case, starting really early, something with a lower alcohol content, but still really flavourful, may be the way to go. Both the Village Troubadour and the Big Rock Warthog would fit the bill here.

Maple: What is more Canadian (and breakfast friendly) than a nice maple beer? And there are a number of good Canadian maple beers. Cannery Brewing makes a good maple stout, Fernie does their Sap Sucker maple porter, and Granville Island does a maple cream ale. The latter may be easier to find at your local bar, but all three are good. Even the Rickard’s Dark is quite tasty, and has a distinct maple flavour. Though not maple flavoured, the Mill St. Vanilla Porter is also a good pairing with pancakes.

Fruit beers: Beer made with fruit tend to go really well with breakfast. While I know a lot of people like raspberry ales, and there are a few in Canada, they aren’t so much my taste. Not at breakfast, anyway. My preference would be something with grapefruit like the Alley Kat Main Squeeze, or a blueberry ale, like the one from Pumphouse in New Brunswick.

Coffee: If you’re not going to have a cuppa joe, why not go for the next best thing — coffee beer? Mill St. out of Toronto makes a tasty Coffee Porter, and Yukon Brewing features the Midnight Sun Espresso Stout. Either of these would give you a jolt to your day.

I get that not all of these are going to be carried by your local bars. Some bars may have them. But you can always buy them and enjoy them with the game in the comfort of your own home.

Go Canada Go!

Big Rock freshens up their look with spiffy new labels

- February 3rd, 2014

You may have noticed something different the last time you picked up some Big Rock at your local liquor store.

The beer inside the bottle is still delicious, and the rooster still adorns the neck, but the Calgary brewing mainstay has updated its labelling for all of its beers.

“Our new packaging is as artfully crafted as the wonderful beer that goes in it. The new packaging was inspired by original artwork done by a local artist commissioned by our brewery”, said Bob Sartor President and CEO.

And, I must say, the results are quite fresh looking.

The packaging was designed by Calgary artist Dean McKenzie, and I think he has done well to give Big Rock a fresh look while keeping with the spirit of the beers we all know and love.

Of the redesign, my favourite is the Scottish Heavy. I love the beer, but never cared for the plain plaid label. I think the castle looks really good.

On the whole, Big Rock was due for this kind of new look. With new breweries in the Calgary scene employing fresh design on their packaging, the more established breweries need an update.

It looks like Wild Rose is also launching new packaging as well, if this tweet is to be believed. I look forward to seeing what they have in store.


Calgary’s Big Rock gets Fowl with new ESB

- January 20th, 2014

Big Rock has kicked off its brewing calendar with Fowl Mouth ESB.

Extra Special Bitter may not be a style that many Alberta  beer drinkers are familiar with.

There are a handful available on the market here — including Propeller, La Vache Folle and Fuller’s, which many people I know consider the standard for a good ESB.

And while Alley Kat out of Edmonton has produced an ESB, and Calgary’s Wild Rose makes their Special Old Bitter (S.O.B.), the British Bitter (Pale Ale) isn’t exactly a household name round these parts.

Big Rock, which has long made beers in the English tradition (Trad, Warthog, and they even had the Big Rock Bitter back in the early years), kicks of its 2014 brewing calendar with the Fowl Mouth ESB, the latest addition to the Brewmaster’s Edition.

The label for this colourfully named Bitter casts Big Rock’s iconic rooster cursing a blue streak, but it’s certainly not the beer itself that has him in a bad mood — this a tasty ale, with good hints of spice, blackcurrant and citrus.

While I do mention hints of citrus, this isn’t like a North American pale ale, this is characteristic of the hops used in this style, East Kent Golding and U.K. Fuggles.

“To create a true ESB like Fowl Mouth we had to source traditional British ingredients,” Big Rock’s brewmaster Paul Gautreau said.

“The earthy hop character of this beer is a departure from the more citrusy flavours we normally experience in our higher hopped beers.”

Big Rock suggests pairing this with traditional British staples of meat and potatoes, curry and fish and chips, but also says it goes with a wide variety of foods. And it does.

The Fowl Mouth ESB (5.5% abv) is available for a limited time, in liquor stores and on tap from B.C. to Manitoba. get it while you can.

Calgary’s Big Rock sets ambitious brewing agenda for 2014

- January 9th, 2014
BR-19 2014 Brewmasters Mind Map_Illustration_v2

Big Rock has a wide variety of beers on tap for 2014.

Last year was a big year for Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery, with an ambitious agenda that saw more than a dozen original beers hit the market.

And that doesn’t slow down in 2014 either.

In addition to rebranded packaging for its signature beers (more on that in a separate post), 2014 will continue to see the Calgary beer mainstay push its boundaries with 14 new brews hitting shelves.

Brewmaster Paul Gautreau has concocted an interesting list for the year, featuring a twist on a Big Rock classic, some international favourites, and some beer you’ve likely never had before.

The brewing calendar kicks off with a classic British Extra Special Bitter, the Fowl Mouth ESB (again, more on that in a separate post).

The lineup features some interesting offerings, including a Braggot (a blend of mead, beer and spices) a Kvass (Russian rye beer) and a Druid Gruit (beer flavoured with an ancient blend of aromatic herbs, instead of hops).

I’m looking forward to trying all of them, but I think I’m most excited to try the ESB (which is a tasty sessionable ale), the Oatmeal Raisin Stout, and the Rad Trad. The inclusion of the Juniper Gin Pale Ale is a nice extension of both last summers Rosmarinus ale, which included rosemary, and the winter’s Hibernation Ale, which featured a host of berries and other wild plants.

I’m also glad to see Big Rock doing their own barley-to-bottle beer (farm-to-table)? The Harvest Ale will feature barley and hops from their own “grow-op.” It doesn’t get more locally sourced than that.

Whatever your taste, Big Rock will have something for you in 2014.


Big Rock Brewery gets classy with Cuvée Bru

- November 19th, 2013

Big Rock’s latest in the Alchemist Edition, a beer made with malt and Pinot Gris grapes, is available in this fancy bottle for a limited time.

Have you caught up with Big Rock’s busy fall yet?

Made it through Life of Chai, Anthea Wet Hop Ale, Monkey’s Fist, Gerstemeister Marzen, Hibernation Ale, Spruce Goose AND Twisted Antler?

If you’re a craft beer fan in Alberta, you have likely taken note of the push by Big Rock to get creative in 2013. It’s led to some interesting results.

And they cap off the year on a classy note, with the Champagne-bottle stylings of the new Cuvée Bru, where grape and grain meet.

This Druivenbier blends a trio of Big Rock malts with Pinot Gris grapes from Therapy Vineyard, an award-winning winery from B.C.

From Big Rock’s website:

The playful bubbles will tickle your soft palate, while the scent of sweet grape and gentle hints of honey float by your nose. Your ears will still be glowing from the celebratory pop of the exuberant cork bidding adieu to the imported Italian bottle. The golden-amber tint of this diaphanous delight may pique your thirsty eyes, but it is your taste buds that will be truly pampered with that first sip. This is true refined style, with the unmistakable splash of Big Rock refreshment.

The Cuvée Bru is available now, but, as with other releases in the Alchemist Edition, it is in very limited quantities. Only 5,300 numbered bottles are being released.