We were very excited and proud to be the first Canadian brewery to go down to Sierra Nevada's beer camp and brew a collaboration beer with them and a few of our friends from Canada!
January 4th, 2016, TORONTO, ON — The first ever Canadian-made beer at legendary U.S. craft brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., has arrived back home just in time to toast the New Year.
The farmhouse saison, spiced with red and white peppercorns, and fermented with a saison yeast strain created by Ontario’s Escarpment Labs, was brewed by a team of Canadians at Sierra Nevada’s brewery last August.
A team of 14 craft brewers, bar owners and beer experts from Ontario and Vancouver were the first group of Canucks invited to participate in Sierra Nevada’s famous onsite brewing program — a three-day intensive visit to the Mills River, NC, brewery where participants tour the state-of-the-art brewery, design their own beer recipe, and brew their own beer with Sierra Nevada’s brewmaster.
“It was an inspiring trip,” says Jeff Broeders, head brewer at Indie Alehouse, and Beer Camper. “Sierra Nevada’s Mills River brewery just has that “why not” factor — they built that brewery right —it’s perfect.”
The team decided to put a homegrown twist on the beer but avoid the gimmicky ingredients, (so they left the maple syrup for the pancakes). Instead, they asked Canada’s first company dedicated to producing unique, liquid yeast cultures for beer, Guelph-based Escarpment Labs, for their unique Old World Saison Blend, and added a touch of spice (and Canadian colour) by throwing white and red (or rather pink) peppercorns into the brew. The result is a bubbly and dry farmhouse saison with delicate herbal and floral notes that clocks in at 7% ABV.
But was it difficult to make a beer with 14 Canadian cooks in the kitchen? “When we were creating the recipe, everyone was so quiet and polite that it made the whole process really easy,” says beer writer and participant, Crystal Luxmore.
Following tradition, the small batch brew is only pouring at Sierra Nevada’s Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, brewpubs, and by the participants’ themselves, at their bars and brewpubs back home. Ontarians can try it beginning January 3rd at the County Canteen in Picton, Red House’s two locations in Kingston, and in Toronto at Beer Bistro, Birreria Volo, Bar Hop
and Indie Ale House.