Moody Ales

GUEST TAP #6 – Watermelon “Redwheat” IPA

Our Guest Tap features rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our sixth Guest Tap, we will be pouring a watermelon wheat IPA brewed by home brewers Vince and Julio and our head brewer Dan.

Vince and Julio are local home brewers and long-time craft beer lovers. They’ve been brewing seriously for about 3 years with all grain and dabbled with a few beer kits before that. “We wanted to replicate what was being done in craft breweries at home and also try and make unique beers that we dream up.”

Best home brew to date? A “black evil midnight” Hefeweizen. Be sure to ask them about the story behind that one if you see them in the lounge. Worst brew? A chocolate coconut porter that they’ve since tweaked after learning a lot from the first one!

What was the inspiration for this guest brew? “We love this beer, it’s a summer beer with a hoppy kick. It’s what we like to have on the patio after a brew day in the summer heat. The inspiration was the love of wheat IPAs and the love of watermelon on a hot summer day!”

The beer itself has quite a bit of hops for a wheat IPA. It’s also a little unique as it uses a substantial amount of caramel/crystal wheat which gives it more body and colour than a typical wheat IPA. “We really had to test a lot to get the watermelon to come through enough to taste it. Dry hopping it at the end gives it a nice floral essence that works perfect with the watermelon.”

For this 62 IBU, 6.5% ABV recipe, the guys started with an early addition of Bravo and followed up with Citra and Centennial as finishing hops. They also included a healthy dose of dry hopping with Cascade hops. The unique combination caramel wheat malt, hop character, and essence of watermelon make this beer a must-try!

We’ll be launching the Watermelon “Redwheat” IPA on Friday, August 7th. There are only 100L of this brew, so don’t wait too long! Vince and Julio will be around the lounge to enjoy their brew with others and chat about beer!

– Dan

Dampfbier: The original “steam beer”. Another entry in our Forgotten Beer series.

Dampfbier is a centuries-old style from the region of the Bavarian Forest, in the southeastern portion of Bavaria, near the Czech border. Dampfbier literally translates to “steam beer”. But don’t confuse this with the other historical “steam beer” (aka California Common) which was produced in California from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. While it is widely believed that the California “steam beer” got it’s name from the bins of cooling beer on the brewery roof, the Dampfbier got its name from the visual effect of its fermentation. As a warm-fermented ale, the brew produces copious amounts of foam and bubbles on the surface in the vat. As these surface bubbles burst, they give the appearance — at least to the non-brewer — that the ferment is boiling, even “steaming.”

During the industrial revolution, the Bavarian Forest was regarded as one of the poorer regions of Bavaria. Back then brewers were limited to whatever local ingredients they could get their hands on and this contributed to the combination of ingredients that make up the style.

Dampfbier was fermented with ale yeast. Lager-making required careful and expensive temperature control that was just not available to brewers in the region at the time. Instead, they traveled to the nearest thriving Weissbier (wheat beer) brewery, where they scrounged for surplus yeast that could be fermented at warmer temperatures.

So Dampfbier is a wheat beer? Well not exactly! In the Bavarian Forest, wheat was held too precious at the time to be squandered on beer making. The brewers, therefore, used only barley for their malt.

This set the stage for the emergence of a poor man’s Hefeweizen — a “Hefe-Barley” so to speak. Dampfbier appears to be the only barley ale in the world brewed with a wheat beer yeast.

– Dan

Guest Tap #5 – Todd’s ISA

Our Guest Tap features rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our fifth Guest Tap, we will be pouring Todd’s India Session Ale (ISA) brewed at Moody Ales by Todd and our head brewer Dan. Todd is a regular in the Moody Ales tasting room, one of Dan’s original homebrewing partners, and Dan’s brother in law.

Todd has been homebrewing for about three years brewed an array of different beers.  Best brew to date?  “Super Socco Special. It has a big citrus finish, and reminds you of playing soccer when you’re 8 years old. Only way more beer.”  Worst Brew?  His first wheat beer, it tasted like “failure”.  Not a good taste for a beer.

What was the inspiration for this brew? “Hangovers. The inspiration was hangovers. In the summertime, sitting down after work every day and slugging back 5 or 6 IPA’s led to a recurring foggy early morning routine. I wanted to create a beer we could enjoy in plenty while trying to diminish the inevitable punishment to follow.”

For this 59 IBU, 4.9% ABV brew, Todd started with an early addition of Hallertau, followed by multiple additions of Simcoe, Hallertau and Amarillo, and then dry hopped with the same.   Spicy, Piney and Citrusy, this brew delivers on Todd’s goal.

We’ll be launching Todd’s ISA on Friday June 5th around 4pm.  There are only 100L of this brew, so don’t wait to long!  Todd will be around to chat beer and hangover cures.

– Adam

Guest Tap #4 – Robyn’s Gingered Red

Our Guest Tap features rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our fourth Guest Tap, we will be pouring Robyn’s Gingered Red Ale brewed at Moody Ales by Robyn. For those of you who frequent the brewery, you may have seen or met Robyn before, he’s been working in the brewery with Dan for a while now while attending Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Brewery Operations Program.

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Robyn has been homebrewing for just under two years and has tried his hand at a number of stiles.  Best brew to date?  A Kolsch.  Worst brew?  “A Canadian Cream ale, added way too much sugar and was uber sweet beyond drinkable.”

Robyn on why he decide to brew a Gingered Red Ale – “While traveling around the United Kingdom I developed a taste for ginger beer, so when I started homebrewing it was one of those recipes I wanted to try. That was spurred on by my girlfriends love of ginger beer. It’s inspired by Phllips brewings ginger beer, lots of ginger flavour coupled with some malty characteristics.”.

For this 5.5% ABV brew, Robyn used a american red ale as the base for the beer, honey was added during the boil to add sweetness. There are two fresh ginger additions, the first during the boil, and the second added during secondary fermentation.

We’ll be launching Robyn’s Gingered Red Ale on Saturday May 23 around 3pm.  There are only 100L of this brew, so get in and get it while the getting is good.  Robyn will be around Saturday night to chat beer.

– Adam

Guest Tap #3 – Mario and Michael’s Foreign Export Stout

Our Guest Tap features rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our third Guest Tap, we will be pouring a Foreign Export Stout brewed at Moody Ales by Michael and Mario. Michael and Mario recently entered the Tricities Brew Club’s Stout and Porter competition and placed first.  Their prize was to brew their winning recipe with Dan at Moody Ales on our pilot system.

Mario has been brewing at home since early 2014.  After convincing his wife that making their own beer would save them money (my wife fell for this one also), they picked up a starter kit from the local homebrew shop and got hooked.

Michael started brewing after realizing that brewing beer was at the intersection of his love for craft beer, gardening and cooking and has been brewing at home for about 4 years.  He even grows his own hops in his garden.

Here is what they had to say about their inspiration for the beer.

 Our 1880 Stout is based on a historical grain bill dug up from a 1960’s book which quoted an old Guinness brewer’s log by Ronald Pattinson of the ‘Shut Up About Barclay Perkins‘ blog. His final recipe, which he’s published in a guide to vintage beer, turned out fairly different from ours, aside from the grain bill. His is a lot hoppier, where as I prefer to let the malt shine.

Prior to 1880, it was illegal to brew beer with unmalted barley in the UK, as that was where the inevitable tax was levied. This meant that roasted barley, which is used in modern Guinness, could not be used.

It is a simple recipe, which I find makes the best beers. A base of British pale malt, a scoop of Amber malt, with it’s rich chocolate and coffee flavours, and a dash of Black Patent for colour and roastiness.

Worst beers they have made? Their worst beer was made together, it was a stout and involved reducing part of the wort down by half to increase caramelization, cocoa nibs and cold brewed coffee.  It ended up too acidic and bitter.  Michael says “it tasted of sadness.”

Mario mashing out.

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Two pounds of backyard hops for Michael’s favourite IPA

We’ll be launching Michael and Mario’s Foreign Export Stout on Friday March 13th.  There are only 100L of this brew, so get in and try this tasty stout while it lasts!  Michael and Mario will be around Friday night if you’d like to meet the brewers or ask any questions.

– Adam

Guest Tap Two – Roxy’s Turn On The Red Light Honey Red Ale

Our Guest Tap features rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our second Guest Tap, we will be pouring a Honey Red Ale brewed at Moody Ales by our very own Roxanne Cartwright. For those of you who have not been into our tasting room, Roxanne is the smiling face greeting you when you get here.  On top of serving all of you fine folks your beers with a smile, Roxanne is an avid home brewer.

Roxanne has been homebrewing for about a year and a half and has brewed a number of styles, both from kit and all grain.  Always up for a challenge, Roxanne asked her guests visiting for Christmas what beer they would like her to make.  “They said, ‘Honey Red Ale’ so I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it!'”

So what are the best and worst beers Roxanne has made? She’s most happy with the way this Honey Red Ale turned out. “You’d think that the tin can of ‘Canadian Adventure Ale’ malt extract syrup that I bought from Superstore would be the worst batch of beer I’ve made.  But it sadly was not”.  Her worst brew was a failed attempt at a pumpkin ale which started with roasting way too much pumpkin and finished with a carboy full of a super thick pumpkin beer solution that had to be filtered through a sieve.  “I learned my lesson.  Not that I won’t keep experimenting…”

“To me this beer smells like honey and hops!” says Roxanne. “It’s a blend of American and Canadian ingredients and it falls somewhere between an Irish Red Ale that is malt-focused and an American Red Ale that is more hop-focused.  The malts used are Pale, Munich, Crystal, and Black Patent, which combine to give it a reddish-hue and moderate malt aroma and flavor.  The malts are complemented with American Cascade and Willamette hops which are brought out a lot in the flavor.  Of course there’s honey added and some flaked oats for head retention.”  We think it’s delicious and can’t wait for you all to try it!

 

Roxanne Bottling

Roxanne bottling a batch of her homebrew, we love the use of the cutting board as a bottling platform!

 

We’ll be launching Roxy’s Turn On The Red Light Honey Red Ale on Friday February 20th.  There is only 100L of this batch, so get in and try this awesome beer while you can!  Roxanne will be working in the tasting room so you can ask her all about the beer.  She’s a bit nervous to be serving her own recipe, so come out, support her and show her some love!

– Adam

Guest Tap Launch with Lemon Matcha Saison

Soon we will be launching our Guest Tap at Moody Ales. The Guest Tap will feature rotating brews from collaborators including local brewers (professional and homebrewers), cooks, vintners, distillers, or whoever has a beer recipe that intrigues us. The Guest Tap brews are small test batches available only at our tasting room, so once we announce them, you’ll have to hurry in to try them!

For our first Guest Tap, we will be pouring a Matcha (Green Tea) Saison brewed at Moody Ales by local homebrewer Steve Sheldon. Steve is a member of the Tri-Cities Brew Club with Moody Ales founders Dan and Adam, which is where Dan and Adam first tried this beer and asked Steve to come brew it.

Steve has been homebrewing for three years and has brewed over thirty batches. He has brewed a variety of styles, his favourite being a Cascadian Dark Ale. For the Matcha Saison he was inspired by the earthy bitterness of the tea and thought it would pair well with a saison. According to Steve, “I figured a good dry saison would be good, as the funkiness of it would add to the earthy flavour of the tea.”

Steve’s first few attempts at pairing matcha with beer did not go smoothly (which is half the fun of homebrewing): “I did some initial experiments by adding matcha to Four Winds Saison bottles and after a rather humourous Tri-Cities Brew club meeting where I opened the beer with the powder in it, we all learned about nucleation in carbonated drinks (think Coke + Mentos).” Ultimately, Steve made a vodka matcha infusion to impart the tea flavour to his homebrew and for his Moody Ales brew, a simple hot water tea.

This traditional Belgian Saison is crisp with a moderately high level of carbonation, and finished dry giving it a wine-like mouthfeel, a little bit of funkiness in the aroma. Slightly spicy at first giving way to some hop bitterness before the earthiness of the matcha green tea, which leaves a slight lingering bitterness. Refreshing and unique.

We’ll be launching Steve’s Lemon Matcha Saison on Friday February 6th.  There is only 100L of this batch, so get in and try this awesome beer while you can!  I’m having a glass while I write this and it’s fantastic, nice job Steve – we may need to make a larger batch of this. Steve will be at the brewery to chat beer in the evening.

– Adam

International Gruit Day

February 1st is International Gruit day.  What a great excuse to experiment!

On Friday January 31st we’ll be pouring the result of our latest gruit experiment.  Our gruit will be served in tasters and glasses all weekend, or until we run out.  We have two versions of this tart, refreshing ale.  One is the result of our brew with no alterations, the other had an addition of tea made from hibiscus flowers added to it. Both are really tasty, but with only 50L of each, they won’t last long!

What is a gruit? Simply put, a gruit is a beer without any hops that uses other herbs and spices to balance the malt sugars and to flavour the beer.

Beer has not always been the delicious balance between hops and malt that we enjoy today.  Before hops were used in beer, a mix of spices and herbs were the brewer’s secret weapon to crafting a tasty ale.  Ingredients such as wormwood, bog myrtle, dandelion, juniper, yarrow and many other ingredients were used.  Imagine the myriad of awesome ales you could make with all of those flavours!

Having made a dark, smokey and savoury gruit in the past, we decided to try to make something that was lighter, somewhat citrusy that only used a small number of ingredients.  We feel that many gruits would have been tart or even sour due to the fact that they don’t contain hops and their associated antibacterial properties, I personally feel that gruits would have often been dark, smokey and savoury – of course we don’t know for sure.

After experimenting with Wormwood (wow, that is bitter!) we decided to use the following ingredients:

  • Mugwort
  • Dried Woodruff
  • Dried Elderflower

Finally after the beer was finished, we experimented with Hibiscus.  The hibiscus adds aroma, flavour and an amazing colour.

If you’d like to learn more about gruits, or maybe try making one of your own, checkout http://www.gruitale.com/

We hope; you enjoy the results of our experiment, we really had no idea how it would turn out which is what made it so much fun.

-Adam

The Great Grätzer – Oak Smoked Wheat Beer

I can’t remember exactly how we found out about this style of beer, but I do know that once I read about it I had to brew it.  This is a pretty common theme for me–just ask Dan.  I’ll read about a style or try a new kind of beer and inspiration hits!  I then spend hours and days obsessively researching and (if possible) tasting examples of the style and then hopefully find time to brew it!

Grätzer, or “Grodziskie” as the Polish call it, is traditionally brewed with only oak-smoked wheat malt and no barley. When we first brewed this beer on the homebrew scale, we wanted to be as authentic as possible to the traditional grain bill. This presented some difficulty since none of the local homebrew shops carried oak-smoked wheat malt and we weren’t prepared to order a pallet of the stuff since we only needed a few kilograms for a five-gallon batch.  Luckily our friends at Beyond the Grape were able to get us the grain from Weyermann, a malting house in Bamberg, Germany.  It was worth the wait.

Given that this style has not been produced commercially in Poland for over twenty years, there is some debate surrounding what this beer should actually taste like–is it hoppy? Is it smokey? What is the alcohol content? Is it soured?  We had no way of trying an actual bottle of a traditional Grodziskie to know for sure, so we chose what we thought was accurate based on our research: a highly hopped, pale, smokey beer.  We decided to brew ours to end up being about 5.5% alcohol, which arguably is a little higher than it would have been historically, but it was the winter.  Maybe when we do this closer to the summer we’ll reduce the ABV and make it a bit more sessionable.

We had no idea what to expect from this beer never having even tried a Grätzer–from what we can tell, no brewery in BC had made one before, and we couldn’t find any imported examples. We had also never used this base malt before, but hey, that’s half the fun!  We decided on three ingredients for the brew: 100% of the grain would be Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat, 100% of the hops would be German Saaz, and we would ferment with a German ale yeast. We lagered for a few weeks.  (A quick note: lager comes from the German word lagern which refers to storing something cold. Any beer can be lagered–lager does not mean a light coloured clear beer.)

When the beer was ready we were very happily surprised, not just by the fact that it was quite good, but also by the fact that many people who we didn’t expect to like it did!  We had a hoppy refreshing beer that was unapologetically smokey with some acidity and tartness.  Was it authentic and close to the original of this style?  We have no idea, but those five gallons did not last long and soon after we had sourced enough of the Weyermann product to produce a full batch in the brewery.

Some fun facts about the batch we are serving right now:

  • We used 550 kg of oak-smoked wheat malt special ordered from Germany.
  • There are nearly 44 pounds of hops in this batch.
  • Dan and the boys had an extremely long brew day for this beer: 22 hours!
  • This was the seventh batch we brewed on our brew house.

This is the first of what we hope will be many attempts at brewing historical beers.  It’s a lot of fun for us to explore the history of beer and brewing and hopefully it will be fun for all of you to try them!

Look out for a very limited run of 650 mL bottles of our Grätzer to be available in February.

Adam

We are bringing the Crowler® to Canada!

It’s been a busy couple of months since we opened our doors. You folks are thirsty and are keeping us busy! We’ve been working on new beers, and on getting those beers into bottles. Now we have some really exciting news, we have officially launched Crowlers® in Canada!

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You call that a can? This is a can! A Crowler® is a 946 mL can filled with fresh craft beer and sold within hours, or even minutes, of packaging. The Crowler® will supplement our other forms of packaged product–bottles and growlers. It holds the freshest available beer, but unlike a growler, it has a shelf-life of up to four weeks.

Update December 2015: We have been constantly working at improving the longevity of our Crowlers, we have a new packaging line for these and continue to test them, we can proudly say that our Crowlers will last on shelves just as well as our other packaged products we have tested them months out – of course, keep them cold for maximum shelf life.

Ever find yourself near a brewery but forgot your growler at home?  Can’t decide which of the awesome beers to put in the growler you did bring?  Don’t have room at home to bring home yet another growler? That’s where the Crowler® can help.  You can still get fresh beer, or an extra fill, without having to add a growler to your collection at home.

Only available in our tasting room, the Crowler® is a single use 946 mL can that is filled and seamed one at a time in the brewery. We use a Dixie Canning table top can seamer found at a at a local auction in in Port Coquitlam. In order to to be able to seam the large format cans produced by Ball Corporation, we ordered a conversion kit from Dixie in Athens, Georgia.

Update April 2015: Our Crowlers are now available on store shelves!

How does it work?  We fill cans every morning and throughout the day as needed, right in front of you. After the can is purged of air with carbon dioxide, it is filled with beer directly off our taps. This is where the fun happens,  the seamer is turned on, we push a lever down, the can spins, and after some mechanical clicking and whirring, the the can lid is now permanently attached to the can. We affix the label and it’s ready to go out the door.

Update April 2015: We continue to improve the packaging on our Crowlers, in order to obtain maximum shelf life we no longer package these on demand, or even each morning, they are packaged weekly along with our other packaging formats.

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We first saw these cans when Dan and I were in Denver for the Craft Brewers Conference.  The Crowler® cans were launched by Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado earlier this year and are now popping up at breweries across the United States. The cans contain 68% recycled material and are fully recyclable and returnable like any other beverage container. Their light weight makes them easier to transport and they chill faster than bottles. Unlike bottles, they also block all light which can cause off-flavours in beer. Best of all, due to the quality of the seal, they last much longer than traditional growler fills.

A big thanks goes out to Jeremy at Oskar Blues Brewery for all his help in getting us setup with the cans. Also, Matt Leslie of West Coast Canning for his help in making sure our can seamer was operating within tolerance.

Come get a Crowler®!

Adam