Not For Nazis Organic Nut Brown Ale – Boundary Brewing (Crannóg Ales)

From Boundary Brewing in Kelowna and Crannóg Ales in Sorrento comes their “Not For Nazis” Organic Nut Brown Ale.  This beer was born out of a digital attack that threatened the business and life of the brewer Oliver and his children for hanging an Anti Fascist flag in their brewery.  When Sorrento’s Crannóg Ales stepped up to say hey we have been hanging that flag for many months it moved over to them.  From this horrible situation this beer was born.  If you would like to hear more about the situation take a listen to the Pacific Beer Chat episode where we profiled Boundary Brewing.  The beer pours a deep chestnut brown with a brown head.  The aroma consists of a good nutty start with mild roasted malts, caramel and some residual sweetness.  The flavour was of nuts, caramel, roasted malts, some ash or smoke and a mild bitterness in the finish.  This Organic Nut Brown ale is a great example of what I look for in a Brown Ale.  So get off your couch and help fight hate by picking up a bottle of this brew!


Black Strap Boot Strapper Porter – Beau’s All Natural Brewing (Crannóg Ales)

From Beau’s All Natural Brewing in Vankleek Hill Ontario co-operatively brewed with Crannóg Ales of Sorrento BC comes their “Black Strap Boot Strapper Porter”.  The beer pours a deep chestnut colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of molasses, coffee, chocolate and a sweet finish.  The flavour is of molasses, chocolate, ash, roasted malts, plum, burnt coffee resin and mild bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.8% with an IBU of 30.  The body was a bit on the thin side but the flavour was right on point!

Commercial Description:  Blackstrap Bootstrapper is a classic British-style porter brewed with an addition of fairtrade organic blackstrap molasses. The recipe uses Challenger hops harvested from Left Fields, the certified organic farm on which Crannóg Ales stands, located in the sunny Shuswap region of BC.

Food pairing as per brewery:  Beef, oyster and porter pie (British traditional pie), bacon-wrapped scallops on the BBQ, dark chocolate pudding.

Crannóg Ales – Sorrento

I have been drinking beer from Crannóg Ales for a few years now and have always been a big fan of what they produce.  Being in the Okanagan for Thanksgiving I decided it was high time I took a day trip up to Sorrento BC in the Shuswap and visit the brewery.  The brewery has growlers for sale but otherwise you have to schedule your visit with the staff in advance.


When you arrive at the property you won’t find your average brewery.  Not only is there a brewery here as they are also a sustainable farm as well.  Crannóg Ales is a certified organic farmhouse microbrewery and was the first ever to open up in Canada back in 2000.  The farm feeds the brewery and the brewery feeds the farm.  Hops, fruits and or vegetables are grown on site and used in the brewing process.  The spent grains from the brewing process are used to feed the animals on the farm.  From sheep and chickens currently on site to the pigs that they have on occasion.  The animals are used to fertilize the crops instead of adding fertilizers.  The farm and brewery also run on a well.  This means that the brewery and farm are currently at full capacity and will never increase their production.  I really liked the fact that all water used in the brewing process is collected in a tank and redistributed into the fields to water the plants.  Here are some photos of the farm that I took while on the initial stage of my tour of the brewery.

Once the tour of the farm was complete we headed to the brewery building to learn about their brewery itself.  The first piece of information that was passed on is that the brew system and a good portion of their tanks come from the godfather of modern day craft brewing in Canada, John Mitchell.  Mr Mitchell was the first modern day craft brewer in Canada opening up the Horseshoe Bay Brewing Co in 1982.  He went on to help set up both Spinnakers Brewpub and Howe Sound Brewing.  I find it amazing that this piece of Canadian craft brewing history is still being used today!  32 years and still going strong!  The brewery uses open fermentors which is not the norm in Canada.  I love the fact that this brewery sells party pigs also.  A party pig is an 8.5L mini keg of sorts with a tap on it that you keep in your fridge and drink at your leisure.

When the tour of the brewery was done we were taken to a small tasting room that is only used for tours.  It is hidden off to the side of the brewery and you would never know that it was even there unless taken to it.  We were able to try samples of all of their beer that they had on tap.  from here you could choose to buy prefilled growlers of their beer if you would like.  I think they trade old growlers for new if you have Crannóg branded growlers.

We also learned a cool bit of information on why they named the brewery Crannóg Ales.  a Crannóg was a dwelling built on stilts in Ireland and Scotland up until the 17th century in lakes or swamps.  This helped maximize the area of land that could be cultivated or used as grazing land.  Learn more here.  The photo below is a representation of a Crannóg.  This Crannóg  used to be on much higher stilts but was shortened after a large snowfall almost brought it down.


If you have a chance to check out Crannóg Ales in Sorrento I highly recommend it as the tour is highly informative and it is just so different than anything else going on in British Columbia.

Full sized photos can be found here

Crannóg Ales
706 Elson Road
Sorrento, BC V0E 2W1
phone: (250) 675-6847
fax: (250) 675-6849

Fest-Of-Ale Day 1 2014- Penticton

On Friday April 4th, 2014 the Penticton Fest-Of-Ale returned for a the 19th year.  I did not know what to think when I headed out to this festival as it was my first time attending.  I had heard that it was a small event which seemed to make sense as it takes place all the way in the Okanagan.  I was glad to be surprised by the scale of the event though.  The event took place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.  This year the floor layout was rearranged to allow for more amazing craft beer and some cider makers.  35 brewers came out to the event this year including 8 that had not been to the festival before.


Breweries and Cider Makers
Alpine Brewing Company – Oroville Washington
Bad Tatoo Brewing – Penticton (Not Pouring)
Barley Mill Brew Pub – Penticton
Big Rock Brewery – Calgary, Vancouver
Bomber Brewing – Vancouver
Bravo Beer Co – International Imports
Cannery Brewing – Penticton
Central City Brewing – Surrey
Crannog Ales – Sorrento
Creemore Springs – Creemore Ontario
Dead Frog Brewery – Aldergrove
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers – North Vancouver
Driftwood Brewery – Victoria
Fernie Brewing Co – Fernie
Firehall Brewery – Oliver
Four Winds Brewing Company – Delta
Hoyne Brewing – Victoria
Granville Island Brewing – Vancouver
Hoyne Brewing Co – Victoria
Lighthouse Brewing Company – Victoria
McClelland Premium Imports – International Imports
Mill St. Brewery – Toronto Ontario
Mt Begbie Brewing – Revelstoke
Nelson Brewing Company – Nelson
Orchard Hill Cidery – Penticton
Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Vancouver
Phillips Brewing Co – Victoria
Red Truck Beer Company – Vancouver
Stanley Park Brewery – Vancouver
Steamworks Brewing Co – Burnaby, Vancouver
Summerland Heritage Cider Company – Summerland
Tin Whistle Brewery – Penticton
Tree Brewing Co – Kelowna
Vancouver Island Brewery – Victoria
Wards Cider – Kelowna
Whistler Brewing Company – Whisler

I was lucky enough to be given access to the industry event that took place before the doors opened to the public.  This was a chance for industry people to get to the different booths and try the beer before the craziness began.  The Fest-Of-Ale started in earnest at 4pm but the industry was let in at 3pm.  Here are a few photos from this portion of the event.

Once the doors were opened to the public at 4pm the hall really started to fill up!  People were really jacked up to try all of the beer that was being offered.  There was also a bunch of live music on hand including Flashback, Joe’s Garage and Papa Wheeley.  There was also some fantastic food on hand from Barley Mill Brew Pub, Bogner’s, Boston Pizza, Jack Kelly Coffe, La Casa Ouzeria, Murray’s Pizza, Opus Cafe Bistro, Penticton Lakeside Resort, Smoking Hot Donair and Brodo Kitchen.

I think my highlight of the fist day of the event was meeting so many great people from all over the Province from the Owners of the Lions Head Pub in Robson to meeting new Brewmasters and Brewery staff.  My favorite booth and beer of Day one came from Firehall Brewery.  Not only did they have great beer but they also had a really firehall like setup with flashing lights and suspenders.  My favourite food had to be the Meatloaf Sandwich from The Barking Parrot Greasy Spoon.  I drank a bunch of samples during the event although I did not pay close attention as I was more just taking in the event and the people.  I also knew that I was going to have to be up very bright and early to Judge the Beer of the competition.  I kept the beer consumption fairly low.

Here are some photos from Kim who does the Marketing for Cannery Brewing

Day one was a blast and it was only the beginning for me!  I was pretty excited and a bit nervous about day two and being one of the Judges for the event.

Find Full Sized photos of the event here.

Gael’s Blood Potato Ale – Crannog Ales

From Sorrento in the Shuswap area, just north of the Okanagan Valley’s Crannog Ales comes the “Gael’s Blood Potato Ale”.  They grow many of the ingredients for their beer and the spent grains are fed to the animals on the farm. All of their ales are only available on tap in BC pubs and restaurants. Every ale they produce is a Certified Organic Irish style Ale.  This beer pours a clear but deep amber/copper colour with a tan head.  The aroma of this brew is of potatoes, earth, slightly smokey, very malty, caramel and floral hops.  The flavour of the beer is of potatoes up front with earth, bread, caramel and a really strong maltieness and a mild hops bitterness.  This beer has a very nice balance between hops and malts even though the malts are far more obvious.  This is one complex brew  and I can not wait to have my next pint!  The beer has an alcohol content of 5.2% and an IBU of 48.

Commercial Description:  This rich Irish red ale is made with organic potatoes for an exceptionally smooth, rich body. It is extraordinarily rich in malt flavour, with just the right amount of hop finish. It’s an immigrant ale, uniting the staple food of Ireland with plenty of new world hops. (Formerly known as “Hell’s Kitchen”.)

“Best Beer” at the Okanagan Fest-of-Ales 2005; and “Best organic Alcoholic Beverage” at the Organic Harvest Awards, 2006.

crannog ales - gael's blood potato ale  druid