Stormy Monday Barley Wine – Bush Pilot Brewing


From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Stormy Monday” a Barley Wine aged in Calvados Barrels.  Unfortunately my bottle was leaking when it arrived and had lost some of its carbonation.  The beer poured a deep cloudy brown colour with a small head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, apple, clove, spices, hint of chocolate and some brown sugars.  The flavour is of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, dried apple, orange peel, orange, cinnamon, clove, spices, brown sugar, syrup, mild coffee, bitterness, vanilla, wood and a hint of what I can only guess is Calvados.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.3% without being super boozy.  This beer was a blend of barrel aged and non barrel aged versions of this beer.  With the unfortunate leakage of the bottle the carbonation was basically lost but the flavour was still really tasty.  I am really enjoying this beer and I hope that if you get a chance to try it you let me know what you think of it with a full carbonation!

Commercial Description:  We started with a clear mission that our first beer had to be a drink that we ourselves would want to seek out and enjoy. See, we are a bit spoiled – an almost decade long background in craft beer importation blessed us with access to some very fine and unique beers. Therefore, when we decided to embark on this long and turbulent journey we knew we had to create something very different. Needless to say though, we had a few Stormy Mondays along the way… With the help of our experienced mentors and collaborators, we managed to pass through some nasty looking clouds.  Our Stormy Monday is a spiced barley wine aged in Calvados barrels. Legendary Danish craft brewer Anders Kissmeyer (of Nørrebro Bryghus fame) created the recipe and supervised the brewing/aging process. We prepared a huge cargo of spices consisting of star anise, bitter orange peel, cocoa, cinnamon, dried fruit (quince, apple, dates, raisins, figs), real vanilla beans, cardamom, juniper berries and the list goes on and on… We also used pure maple syrup from our long time supplier and friend Frank Higgins of Combermere, Ontario. It is fair to say we logged quite a few hours sourcing some of these ingredients all over the world.  The resulting beer was aged for over seven months in Calvados barrels sourced from Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France. A second, non-barrel aged batch was brewed in order to create a rather harmonious presence of oak and Calvados notes. At the end, we settled for the 60:40 blend (barrel vs. non-barrel batches).  Special thanks go to our collaborators Jon Downing, Sam Corbeil, John Romano, Ryan Morrow, Matthew Howell and everyone at Niagara College Teaching Brewery and Nickel Brook Brewery.  Hope you enjoy your bottle of Stormy Monday.

img_20161219_2332055

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!

img_20161007_2119459

Norseman (Barrel Aged Eisbock) – Bush Pilot Brewing (Nickel Brook Brewing) (Nøgne Ø)


From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewers in collaboration with Nickel Brook Brewing in Ontario and Nøgne Ø in Norway comes their “Norseman” a Eisbock aged in Armagnac Barrels and inspired by a Canadian Legend.  The beer pours a cloudy orange colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dried fruits, sweetness, sugar and alcohol.  The flavour is of tons of fruit including dried fruits, citrus, citrus rind, tropical fruits with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, resin, bitterness, wood and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 14.5%.  I am happy I found a bottle of this while in Alberta as it was phenomenal.

Commercial Description: Our second international collaboration is a truly unique journey that takes us back to 1934. A Dutch born airplane designer Robert B.C. Noorduyn, created one of the most successful bush planes of all times, the Noorduyn Norseman in Montreal in 1934. Norseman was produced from 1935 to 1959. Over 900 Norseman were built during this period and known to have been registered and/or operated in 68 countries.  Norseman has starred in several movies, including “Captains of the Clouds” with James Cagney.  With Norseman as an inspiration, we embarked to complete the crew for this mission. In addition to our old collaborator, the highly talented Ryan Morrow of Nickel Brook Brewing, we approached a well known brewer who also happens to be an experienced pilot, Kjetil Jikiun the founder of legendary Norwegian craft brewery Nøgne Ø.   Thus, an international, Canadian-Norwegian crew of Norseman got together and started brainstorming on the type of beer. Being people of the north, the Norseman crew decided that the our beer should be strong and that there should be an element of nature that surrounds us for a good part of the year… ice. Therefore, we decided to brew an eisbock.   The photo you see on the Norseman label was taken by Captain Lang, who as a young pilot on his first commercial assignment, was flying this very same plane from a base at Red Lake, Ontario. Captain Lang was kind enough to share with us his stories, as well as to grant us the privilege of using his photos. Thanks!  Given that the release date of our beer coincides with the 80th anniversary of Norseman’s design, we thought that a special “birthday” treat was in order. After some six months of research, calling and dealing with logistics, customs, and wayward wires of funds we finally acquired eight absolutely amazing Armagnac barrels aged between 19 and 23 years from the south of France.   Our Norseman is fully barrel aged and will be available in limited quantities in late  2014. In the meantime, try to learn more about the Noorduyn Norseman – it is a captivating and compelling story of talent, skill, perseverance and resourcefulness. A gem in the fabric of Canadian history.

img_20160623_2336140