On January tenth the new year kicked of for the Winnipeg branch with a tour and tasting at The Little Brown Jug brewing company in the historic exchange district. We had the unique opportunity to meet the brew master, see his work and share a pint with the creator.
Housed in Winnipeg’s historical exchange district, the brewery markets directly to consumers with growlers of beer sold in unique package presentation. Needless to say the brewery hosts a tasting area suitable for a sociable and an opportunity to pick up Winnipeg’s most popular brew, fresh from the vats.
While the brew house has prepared a variety of products, on the night we visited the full production was to become Winnipeg’s current most popular beer, “1919”. The beer is made using the traditional German kräusening, or double-fermentation technique, which cleans up beer flavors, naturally carbonates the beer, and gives it better head retention. “1919” is made with premium Canadian malts and specialty Franco-Belges malts to give it unique characteristics, Malts developed in 1919. The beers name is also a homage to the Winnipeg General Strike.
The Little Brown Jug’s Brew master, Bernhard Wieland has worked actively with the engineers, from the early days of their first brew, to build a quality brewing system from the ground up. Bernhard spent some time sharing the process and the unique qualities of their operation with the chefs. The brew house is Canadian-made and engineered and suitably equipped to offer a consistent and quality product. Many of the technologies employed at Little Brown Jug are often found in larger operations, but have been scaled to the 20 hectoliter production with plans to grow into the space and increase production by double and more.
Working together with the building owners, the brewery has developed a modern brewery with unique local flavor and a dedication to doing it right. The roof has been insulated from the outside to allow for the revealed timbers inside. The energy used to boil the beer wort is recaptured to heat city water for the next brew to reduce energy use. The brew house does not vent outside. The Little Brown Jug setup uses a system of louvers to vent heat from the glycol chiller and air compressor outside in the summertime, but direct it inside all winter long. Back up heating runs off of the process boiler for the brew house making for a more sustainable heating system. They seem to be doing it all right.
Most importantly they are making great beer. We sampled an easy drinking Belgian Pale Ale, which would be an excellent accompaniment to almost any food. The event was Sponsored by Mariner Neptune and we had John Alexander introduce a new locally produced chicken wings by “ Little Bones Wings” an operation that has grow from food truck to stand alone restaurant now to frozen prepared wings ready to cook. The “Little Bones “ wings provided an excellent accompaniment to the beer.
The evening had a great turnout consisting of our best new comers as well as some of our industry leaders. Special thanks to Elissa Polkowski , who was the 2017 Provincial Skills Champion for Manitoba who made the long drive to join us from Gull Harbor. We were also joined by longtime member and Order of Canada Recipient, Chef Takashi Murikami, who is soon to retire after a long career at the St. Charles Country Club. Special thanks to Little Brown Jug, Little Wings, and Mariner Neptune for their help in making this event a success.