Posts Tagged ‘ribstone creek

Small Alberta brewery catching up on success

- July 4th, 2013

Picture 2Sometimes a dilemma can be a good thing.

That’s exactly the case for a small east-central Alberta brewery based in the tiny village of Edgerton — about 240 km southeast of Edmonton and 37 km southeast of Wainwright.

After establishing the Ribstone Creek Brewery in 2009, president Don Paré said the team and the staff have upped its production of its tasty lager this summer to keep up with the sudden demand.

A handful of liquor stores — including Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton, say staff there — have had a hard time keeping the brew, the Ribstone Creek Lager, on its shelves.

“It’s so surreal,” said Paré about the brewery’s sudden success.

Paré — a third-generation farmer close to nearby Chauvin — and three of his friends (also longtime farmers) in the area had an idea to do something about a big building in Edgerton that was used “to store junk in it.”

“That’s when one of them thought, lets turn it into a brewery,” said Paré who is among five founders of the three-year-old brewery that includes David Beardsell, a beer-master who studied brewing in Germany.

Beardsell — who started the successful B.C.-based Bear Brewing Company in 1994 — was called by the farmers to lend a hand with the brewery named after a scenic nearby creek that flows into the Battle River.

sQjAzFZ8vs3yMpb4hJY5CgaYVK_lbtXjZYGATpoDKgk“We’ve all seen in our small towns that they (shrink) and disappear,” said Paré.

“The idea behind this was to do something to bring in some business and get a few people employed. The brewery seems to fit this bill.”

And now the brewery hasn’t had time to enjoy its success in 2013 as the team are trying figure out “how (it) is going to get more beer out there,” said Paré.

The company just purchased two new fermenters, however, that will see its production double within the next six weeks.

“We want to maintain the quality of our product — we don’t want to rush it, we don’t want to give people something they don’t like, said Paré.

The German-style lager is simple, refreshing and tasty and all of it is brewed with Alberta-based ingredients.

The company is also working an an IPA, dubbed Buckin’ Bronco IPA.

For those thirsty beer drinkers in Edmonton looking to do a roadtrip in Edgerton to try the beer, Paré says the brewery — located at 4924 51 St. — is open every Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.


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Celebrate craft beer in Edmonton this weekend

- June 12th, 2013

Edmonton_Craft2013_POS_11x17_WEBBeer connoisseurs, you’ve been warned.

After thousands of thirsty beer fans packed into Calgary’s BMO Centre at Stampede Park last May for the Calgary International Beerfest, organizers are expecting 10,000 thirsty Edmonton residents to pack the Expo Centre this weekend.

Edmonton beer drinkers will have a chance to sample 525 different varieties of beer representing 44 countries Friday and Saturday at the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival, as well as sampling food from some of the city’s best eateries.

And local craft beer fans have a chance to meet some beer masters from a handful of local and nearby breweries that include Yellowhead, Alley Kat, the Hog’s Head Brewing Company in St. Albert and Edgerton, Alta.-based Ribstone Creek Brewery.

“We’ve been asked for the last four or five years to do one in Edmonton,” said organizer Mark Kondrat, a University of Alberta alumni.

“Having an event in Edmonton felt right. We wanted to do something a little unique and do something that was a little more craft focused.”

And, as some Albertans already know, demand for craft beer is growing, according to Kondrat.

More people want better quality beer and they want to learn more about what it takes to make a really good brew, according to Kondrat.

“There are no frat parties here,” said Kondrat about the event.

“People want to know about the brew masters and the beer they represent.”

The festival will also give thirsty beer drinkers a chance to learn about proper food pairings with beer, along with how to cook with beer as an ingredient.

Thirsty beer drinkers also have a chance to help Edmonton’s Food Bank as they are being urged to bring a non-perrishable food item.

The event starts Friday at 4 p.m. for regular admission. Regular admission weekend passes are $29.

For more info, check out edmontoncraftbeerfest.com

BeerFest 2012

- May 5th, 2012

If I had one bad thing to say about BeerFest is that there’s more than one person can handle, unless he wants to be carted out in a wheelbarrow. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Even avoiding beers I’d tried before, save for the delicious Blacksmith IBA from Village Brewery, because it’s so good, I feel I barely made a dent.

Which is the same with any of these shows, I guess. Though this is the first one where I WANTED to try them all. When I go to a wine show, the whites and sparkling wines are usually a second choice for me, but there’s not really a type of beer I don’t want a taste of.

The people who put on events like BeerFest, Winefest or the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival generally know how to put a really good show. A variety of products, a variety of food and not too crowded, at least until the end of the evening, when people start showing up pre-bar.

The crowd is definitely a mix of people who are out to explore beer and people out to get loaded. Which is fine, I suppose, considering no one seemed unruly, nor did police/security on- hand seem to have to deal with anyone out of hand.

Highlights
Okanagan Spring Summer Weizen: peach is unmistakable on this unfiltered wheat offering out of Vernon that I wrote about in my recent post about spring releases.

Village Brewery Witbier: This new release from the makers of the above-mentioned Blacksmith tastes as if its from a neighbouring orchard as the Okanagan Spring. Not as fruit-forward as the Weizen, more like slight hints of apricot, which I imagine would be beneficial if you were eyeing enjoying multiple beer on a hot day, or pouring a whole growler to yourself.

Scuttlebutt Hefeweizen, brewed for Hudson’s Tap House by Big Rock: This was one of two hefeweizens I tried, the other being the Granville Island Robston St. Both were very good, but I’m giving the edge to the version on tap at Hudson’s, for being a little less sweet, with enough spice notes to balance out the banana. Yes, banana.

Big Rock Rye & Ginger Ale: It was nice to get reacquainted with this Big Rock offering, after trying it 6 months ago at the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival. I’m torn on whether this makes a great patio beer, but the hint of ginger in the rye-based ale is really tasty, and would go well with Asian-inspired barbecue items.

Pleasant surprises
Ribstone Creek: This is Alberta’s newest brewery, based way out in Edgerton, near the Saskatchewan border. Right now they’re just producing a lager, which isn’t yet available in cans, just kegs. But it is a decent entry to the market, and anytime Albertans want to enter the beer industry, it benefits everyone. Hopefully we’ll have more on them in this space soon.

Sea Cider Rumrunner: Yes, it’s not all beer at BeerFest, and this cider was a nice palate cleanser from all the suds. Fermented with Champagne yeast and aged in rum barrels made this dark and sweet, but not cloying.

Coors Light Iced T: While I stand by what I wrote when Molson-Coors announced this flavoured light beer – that I was curious to try it – I really wanted to dislike it. I do like flavoured beer, but previous light offerings didn’t really grab me. And I don’t tend to drink light beer anyway. So I was pleasantly surprised that the Coors entry on the market was a) not too sweet and b) still tasted like beer. Many of my beer-loving friends have suggested I try the Mill St. Lemon Tea beer, but it’s really not a great comparison. On it’s merits, the Mill St. is a good beer. But if I was picking between the two, I would probably lean toward Coors. I just found the tea finish on the Mill St., while more authentically “tea” than the coors, more bitter. And before any beer snobs turn up their noses, this is coming from a Mill St. fan.

Minhas Craft Brewery Mystical Jack Traditional Ale and Imperial Jack Double IPA: I have used this space to detail how I’m not a huge fan of the Uptown Girl Light Beer. And when I tried the brewery’s Chocolate Bunny Stout last fall, I found it a touch too sweet for my tastes. Admittedly, both the Traditional and the Double IPA are on the sweeter end of things, but in both cases I think it works. The Double IPA is had notes of caramel and molasses, but with a hoppy finish, and the Traditional had dark coffee characteristics. Moving forward, as the company launches its Calgary brewery and pizza restaurant in the northeast, I’m curious to see what else they may roll out, but I’d be happier seeing more like this and less girly drinks. But, as I’ve previously stated, those products are definitely not aimed at me.

Misses
Rogue Ales Dead Guy Ale: I know that they are popular among craft brew fans, but I still have yet to try some of the more fun selections, like the Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale. When I approached the Rogue counter and saw the phrase “Dead Guy”, it jumped out at me. The beer’s aroma jumped out at me for all the wrong reasons. A little too reminiscent of what it was named after. The beer itself tasted better than the smell, but the aroma of it while trying to drink it didn’t make for a good combination.

The Big Rock Brewmaster’s Series Trial Brew: I’m a big booster of the Big Rock Brewmaster’s Series. Breweries that focus on trying new recipes and giving customers new tastes to try get big props from the likes of me. That said, not everything is a hit. The “Trial Brew” on offer at BeerFest may have been a first crack at a new idea or a work in progress, but while light and fizzy, it didn’t have the flavourful oomph of the Rye & Ginger, Dunkleweizen, or Scottish Heavy, all new favourites of mine.

Amber’s Australian Mountain Pepper Berry Lager: I should have gone with the Zombie Apocalypse or the Chai Stout. But, being a fan of Edmonton-based Amber’s Maple lager, I thought I would give their Pepper Berry lager a try. After all, it won best domestic lager at Calgary BeerFest two years ago. With the nice scent of berries on the nose and the peppery finish, this was a tasty beer. My only beef with it, and why it gets a miss, is I like my lagers a little more crisp, and definitely more effervescent. Not saying I won’t give it a try again, but I may explore the Amber’s lineup a little more before returning to this one.