Pengo Pally Saison – Bush Pilot Brewing

From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Pengo Pally Saison” a beer brewed with Arctic Herbs.  The beer pours a hazy yellow colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of citrus, yeast, grain, wheat and spices.  The flavour is of citrus, almost tropical fruit, yeast, spices, grain, wheat, sweetness and an almost herbal, flowery finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5%.  This is a an enjoyable saison made by some great Gypsy Brewers.

Commercial Description: Our third bottled release is a beer inspired by legendary Inuit pilot Johnny May. “Pengo Pally” means “I miss you” in the Inuktitut language and this message (in English and Inuktitut) was stencilled on the fuselage of Johnny May’s De Havilland Beaver, as a personal note to his wife Louisa.   Johnny May, was born in 1947 in Kangiqsualujjuaq to Bob Martin May of Manitoba and an Inuk mother named Nancy. Johnny decided to become a pilot when his was six years old, during a flight to his father’s fishing camp when the pilot let Johnny briefly take the controls. Right on the spot, little Johnny knew he wanted to fly for a living. He flew his first solo flight at age 16 and has since embarked on a career that spanned well over five decades.  For most of his career, Johnny May flew in areas where topographical maps didn’t exist, and where the conditions were hostile and filled with danger. It was a vast and uncharted frontier where he landed on tundra or ice, depending on the time of year and the weather.   You can learn a lot more about Johnny May and his adventures by viewing a full feature documentary called “The Wings of Johnny May” which is available for download at the National Film Board.  This film not only depicts Johnny’s adventures, it brings out so much more… the harsh beauty of the Nunavik territory, history of the the Inuit people going through dramatic“ends of the world” events such as the arrival of the snowmobiles which lead to a change from a traditional to a more sedentary lifestyle and more recently, the dramatic effects of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem.  Interestingly, despite ample stories and adventures, the makers of the film said it was difficult to convince the very modest Johnny May to agree to a film about his life.  We are eternally thankful to this humble and brave man for letting us tell his story.   The Arctic herbs for this brew were hand picked in the Nunavik region. After obtaining a small sample batch of several herbs (Labrador, Small Labrador, Crowberry, Ground Juniper and Cloudberry, we experimented with different combinations and ratios. In the end, we settled on three herbs: Labrador tea (Rhododendron Groenlandicum), Small Labrador tea (Rhododendron Tomentosum) and Crowberry leaves (Empetrum Nigrum).  Our long-time collaborator, brewmaster Ryan Morrow brewed a balanced yet complex saison-style beer infused with these exotic herbs. Sip Pengo Pally on its own, or with  a nice summery meal of cedar-planked salmon, served over wild rice or mushroom risotto and steamed fiddle heads.  We sincerely hope you will enjoy both the beer and the story behind it. Cheers!

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