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Central City and Garrison team up for cross-Canada beer collaboration

Pour yourself a glass of patriotism with this case of beer featuring 12 Canadian craft breweries

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From left: Zak Plowright, head brewer at Central City Brewers and Distillers, Daniel Girard, brewmaster at Garrison Brewing Company, and Gary Lohin, brewmaster at Central City Brewers and Distillers. Photo courtesy of Central City Brewers and Distillers.

From left: Zak Plowright, head brewer at Central City Brewers and Distillers, Daniel Girard, brewmaster at Garrison Brewing Company, and Gary Lohin, brewmaster at Central City Brewers and Distillers. Photo courtesy of Central City Brewers and Distillers.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, British Columbia’s Central City Brewers and Distillers teamed up with 12 breweries across the country to create the ultimate Canadian case of beer. Halifax’s Garrison Brewing Co. will represent Nova Scotia with its “New” Scottish Ale.

“I want people to wake up and understand what different flavours there are in beer. Beer isn’t just a yellow lager,” says Gary Lohin, brewmaster at Central City. “We’ve got hazy stuff in the pack, and some very straightforward beers in the pack. A kellerbier, a German-style young lager. Picaroon’s picked an ESB, that’s traditional for the area. We have one with white spruce tips shipped in from Ontario. I was surprised at a few of the beers myself.”

The 12 pack features one collaboration beer from each province or territory, except for Nunavut, which doesn’t have a brewery (yet). “Thank god,” says Lohin. “That would have been tough to do a 13-pack.” This is the first time for a collaboration box like this in Canada.

Central City is nationally known for its multi-award winning Red Racer brand of beers, most notably its northwestern-style IPA featuring big hits of German Magnum, Centennial, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops.

Lohin says the project started late last year, as he and his team sought out breweries with tenure in the industry. “We have some amazing brewers in Canada that we really wanted to showcase,” he says. “People in Nova Scotia will find out who Fletcher Stevens in the Northwest Territories is, he’s a very passionate gentleman. The country needs to know how passionate these brewers are and how truly high quality Canada’s beers are compared to anywhere in the world.”

Girard and Lohin worked on the recipe via email for a few months, before finally getting together this spring to brew in Surrey. Girard hasn’t tasted his beer yet but, based on his recipe and tasting it on brew day, he expects a smoky, peated flavour with caramel malt notes. “Gary texted me jokingly and said it tastes like caramelized bacon,” he says. “I think it will be one of those beers that will stand out.”

Now before you get too excited about grabbing a box for Canada Day, the NSLC won’t carry this 12 pack. Heather Casavechia, digital communications specialist with NSLC, says the cost of transporting the beer from B.C. would make the beer more expensive than other 12-packs available on NSLC shelves, which already feature an abundance of Garrison’s beers.

You will find it at private liquor stores in Halifax late June or early July. Jenny Gammon, brand, communications, and event manager at Bishop’s Cellar, says it’ll retail for $40. The price tag may seem high, but it’s only a few dollars more than buying a two six-packs of Hell Bay English Ale or two four-packs of Nine Locks IPA. Plus, its an opportunity to try breweries making their first Nova Scotia appearances.

Here’s what you’ll get for $40.

  • British Columbia: Left of the Divide IPA by Four Winds Brewing Company: A massively aromatic and truly West Coast style IPA.
  • Alberta: Berry Light Berliner Weisse by Last Best Brewing & Distilling: Mildly sour, lightly sweet wheat beer featuring raspberries and vanilla.
  • Saskatchewan: Wide Open Spaces Kellerbier by Black Bridge Brewery: A lager honouring the German emigration to Saskatchewan.
  • Manitoba: Land of Rice & Honey Saison by Half Pints Brewing Company: Locally-sourced wild-flower honey and wild rice make this beer distinctly Manitoban.
  • Ontario: Upper Reaches Pale Ale by Beau’s Brewing Company: This brew features Ontario-grown white spruce tips and peaches.
  • Quebec: Bouclier Canadien Pilsner by Le Trou du Diable: A tropical Canadian-hopped twist on pilsner, named for the Canadian Shield.
  • New Brunswick: Restored Hop(e) ESB by Picaroons Traditional Ales: This beer honours the province’s motto Spem reduxit, meaning “Hope is restored.”
  • Prince Edward Island: Bière d’ici Honey Ale (Beer of Here) by PEI Brewing Company: Brewed with P.E.I. honey and Maritime-grown hops, this brew is a lighter take on the Bière de Garde style.
  • Newfoundland: Hop To The East Hefeweizen by Quidi Vidi Brewing Company: A Hefeweizen brewed with new-age tropical hops to give a fruity aromatic twist on the classic German style.
  • Yukon: Swift Currant Dark Ale by Yukon Brewing Company: A warming beer with local black currents.
  • Northwest Territories: Miner’s Refresh Grissette by NWT Brewing Company: Made with spelt, this ancient recipe pays tribute to the mining heritage of Canada’s North.

Girard is one of the lucky few who have tasted most of the beers above because Garrison and Beau’s were the last to brew. “We started to go from tank to tank to try all of the other beers at different stages,” he says. “Some were already in maturation, some others were just in a warm stage, others were at rest.”

Girard hasn’t tried his own recipe yet, but he’s brewing a batch for Garrison’s 2017 Backlot Bash on June 17th featuring musical guests the Sheepdogs, Port Cities, and Garret Mason. Lohin and members of his team will be there. They’re driving across the country celebrating the collaboration brews in June and July. “And I know for sure Nova Scotia is going to have the most kick ass party of all of them,” he says.

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