Brews News: Sarnia brewer's latest vehicle packs a punch

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A small-batch beer with a punch gives a tip of the hat to an old-school car design in Sarnia.

Beaver Wagon, the first Baltic porter brewed by Refined Fool, is a nostalgic homage to cars with faux wood-panelled exteriors and the days when, like spotting “punch buggy” Volkswagen Beetles, inspired siblings and school bus mates to slug each other in the arm.

“Growing up, I only ever knew vehicles adorned in wood as ‘Beaver Wagons,’ ” Refined Fools’ moniker master Brandon Huybers wrote in an email.

“If you saw one, you would try to be the first one to punch your buddy in the shoulder and shout, ‘Beaver Wagon’! It sucked because I’m not very observant and would get punched often (luckily there aren’t many on the road anymore). I have recently learned that they are more commonly referred to as ‘Woodys,’ but we really liked the way Beaver Wagon looked on a label (and the bonus of a Canadian feel to it).”

Refined Fool needed a wood-panel station wagon or van, not commonly seen on the road for decades, for its marketing campaign and sent out a call that had a happy ending 25 kilometres away in Brigden.

“None of us had any idea where to find one, so we decided a post to utilize our followers would be the best way to track one down,” Huybers said. “It didn’t take long to get some good leads, and the best one you can see in the photo. It is a 1969 Ford Country Squire, located in Brigden.”

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A ’69 Beaver Wagon might be old school, but Refined Fool’s foray into a Baltic porter is all new for the popular brewery.

“Baltic porters typically use a lager strain of yeast,” Huybers said. “This Krispy variety of Kveik that we used in Beaver Wagon is known to be able to produce a clean fermentation profile much like a lager, so we thought we would experiment with it.”

While this is the first time Refined Fool has used the Krispy Kveik yeast, it’s used the Hordinal strain in several IPAs.

Two types of hops were used, Magnum for bittering and Hallertauer for aroma.

The higher 8.7 per cent alcohol content may deter some craft beer fans, but entice others.

“If you are into dark, complex beers, then we are confident you are going to like it,” Huybers said. “ It shares some common characteristics with other high ABV (alcohol by volume) porters, but goes down significantly smoother.”

Flavours are dark fruit, chocolate and coffee. Recommended glasses are a Nonic pint, Guinness pint or tulip.

Beaver Wagon is the latest in Refined Fool’s Tiny Batch series brewed on the original 300-litre pilot system at the Davis Drive brewery. Past series offerings have included a whiskey sour blonde called Lazy Duck Nights and Pyramid Scheme, a Toblerone chocolate ale.

Because the batches are so small, they’ve sold out in less than two weeks and as little as three days.

“We have always loved brewing many different styles of beer, testing out new ingredients, etc., so it lets us really get experimental without having to worry about moving 3,000L of product,” Huybers said. “Our brewers love it, and so far customers have really been enjoying the new options as well.”

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Beaver Wagon, sold in sharable bottles, is $10 and expected to sell out by month’s end. Act fast.

Refined Fool ships Ontario-wide.

Director’s Cut, a chocolate and caramel porter from Bayfield Brewing, is a nod to the movie Trigger Points that was filmed in the village in 2020. (Supplied)
Director’s Cut, a chocolate and caramel porter from Bayfield Brewing, is a nod to the movie Trigger Points that was filmed in the village in 2020. (Supplied)

BEER AND A MOVIE

They’ll soon be yelling “cut” for the new porter from Bayfield Brewing.

Director’s Cut, available as a seasonal through February, rolls credits for a movie filmed on Main Street in the charming Lake Huron village. Trigger Points, the movie, was directed by Brad Turner and produced by wife Jessica Petelle. They’re seasonal residents.

“We always try to tie the names of our brews to the history of Bayfield and Huron County in some form,” brewery manager Tanya McNicol said. “When our master brewer came up with this new brew, a chocolate, caramel porter, we sat down to brainstorm new names. We knew right away that the filming of a motion picture in Bayfield was a part of the new history of the town, and being that the director and producer were residents, that the name had to link to this.”

It’s sold online and at the brewery’s lockdown takeout window.

Not into porters? Order their Woolen Shop Brown Ale.

All Together, a New England-style IPA from Black Swan of Stratford, is a fundraiser for hospitality workers whose income has been hurt by the pandemic lockdown. (Supplied)
All Together, a New England-style IPA from Black Swan of Stratford, is a fundraiser for hospitality workers whose income has been hurt by the pandemic lockdown. (Supplied)

NEW AND NOTED

  • Mexican Porter is back at Anderson Craft Ales. Spicy, chocolatey, yummy.
  • Spring came early in Blyth with a new seasonal from Cowbell Brewing, Sea Salt Grapefruit Sour. It features notes of grapefruit and incorporates Canadian sea salt, eh.
  • Black Swan in Stratford has a New England IPA, All Together, that’s also a fundraiser for hospitality workers whose incomes have been hurt by the lockdown. Brewed with local hops.

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.

wayne.newton@bell.net

Twitter.com/WayneWriteOn

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