Wednesday November 26, 2014

Festival label on Sask. craft beer

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In a province born from the efforts of pioneers, Paddock Wood Breweries is following that tradition in bringing new beer tastes to palettes here.

Started a decade ago, initially doing beer kits for home brewers, Paddock Wood Breweries, took the step to commercial production five years ago, explained Rob Kapronczai, regional accounts manager for the company.

“It was the next step,” he said, adding the logical question when doing the beer kits was “why don’t we make beer for people and sell it.”

The step was one which meant forging some new roads in terms of brewing in the province in term of being a microbrewery.

“Saskatchewan had never seen that,” said Kapronczai. “It was Saskatchewan’s first microbrewery.”

Microbreweries are basically smaller volume facilities, with PWB remaining the only one in the province, although Kapronczai said others may pop up as craft beers are gaining in popularity.

While not synonymous, Kapronczai said “microbreweries tend to be craft breweries,” and that is the case with PWB.

So what is a craft beer?

Kapronczai said in many respects it is a way to make beers that was used centuries ago.

“Craft beers use only natural ingredients,” he said, adding there are dozens of varieties being created in small breweries across North America these days.

“Craft beer making is an art.”

In terms of beer flavours Kapronczai said “it’s a beautiful new world,” thanks to craft beers, then added “it’s actually the old world and we’re bringing it back.”

In the case of PWB they produce some 13 different beers, some available all the time, and others brewed for specific events, or times of year.

“There’s truly a beer for everyone,” said Kapronczai.

Kapronczai added craft beers are something of an acquired taste, or at least one requiring some adjustment by the taste buds. He likened mass produced beers to a hotdog, and craft beers being like homemade sausage. The craft beers are made with natural ingredients and the recipes being much more varied to offer a wide range of tastes.

So at first taste people shouldn’t turn off craft beers, but instead investigate different ones, suggested Kapronczai. It doesn’t mean you don’t like the beers “it means your palette isn’t ready for it yet,” he suggested.

Kapronczai said craft beers are also great to cook with.

“The exciting thing about craft beers you can cook with them,” he said, suggesting you get the natural flavors when marinating meat, or using for barbecue rather than the chemicals of mass-produced beer.

With the varieties available matching craft beers to a meal is more like matching wines, he added.

In the case of PWB they launched their line with Black Cat, a black lager.

While Black Cat remains one of their line Kapronczai said 606, an India Pale Ale is now their most popular brew.

Kapronczai said seasonal beers are a big part of what PWB does.

“We use the seasons wisely,” he said, adding they do things the old way. “It’s how beer was brewed 200 years ago in Europe,” and that means using ingredients available at different times of year, and creating flavours tied to the weather.

For example a spring beer “warms you a little bit because the sun’s not out yet,” said Kapronczai.

Summer is a time for a lighter wheat beer. Fall takes you back to a darker ale, and winter is the time for heavier, darker, stout ales.

It is a lighter offering Kapronczai was delivering to Yorkton last Wednesday, one where the first thousand bottles being specialty labeled to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Yorkton Film Festival.

“It’s a summer ale,” he said.

In many cases PWB also looks to use Saskatchewan products, said Kapronczai. He said they have used sour cherry juice produced in the province to add flavour to a porter, and the company is working on developing a gluten free beer based on using quinoa flour, again produced here.

For anyone interested in PWB beers, Kapronczai said to ask local liquor board stores to stock them, adding they are available from Saskatchewan west, and soon Manitoba in many stores already.

that length of title reign will be beat for a long, long time,” he said.

“Another is a match from Moose Jaw where I won the tag titles with Cannonball (Kelly). When we won the roof blew off the place in what was the loudest pop of my entire career. When I watch the footage it gives me goosebumps.

“More recently winning the Central Canadian Heavyweight Title this past February.”

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