Brewer's Blog

Half Pints Pro/Am Challenge

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Winnipeg Brew Bombers and Half Pints Brewing Company are pleased to present Manitoba’s first, BJCP/AHA sanctioned, Annual Pro/Am beer competition. This event is a  friendly competition between professional and amateur brewers in the name of craft beer.
Amateur and Professional Brewers are invited to send their finest crafted beer to the competition to be judged by professional, certified BJCP judges.
Along with first, second and third professional winners, and gold, silver and bronze amateur winners, a Professional or Amateur will be named winner for each category. At the end of the competition, Best of Show winners will be announced and an overall winner will be named.
Will the Professional brewers triumph over the Amateurs? Can the home brewers pull off an upset?
The Best of Show Winner gets to brew 1,000 litres of the winning batch at the Half Pints Brewery. This special release will be available at the brewery and on tap at select pubs in Winnipeg. (Travel costs are not included.)
Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook  to stay up to date on further developments.

Public Events

Judges’ Pub Night – Thursday, November 28 – Location to be announced
Brewer’s Beer Dinner – Friday, November 29 – Mise Restaurant
Awards Ceremony – Saturday, November 30 – Location to be announced

Competition Judging Dates

November 28 – 30, 2013 (this is a closed, private event)

Competition Registration

Online registration will be available at the beginning of September. Check back here for the entry registration link.


All 23 BJCP categories will be accepted. Mead and Cider/Perry categories 24-28 will be accepted and will be judged by professional wine & mead judges. Complete competition details will be posted shortly but  entries will be due November 15th, 2013 and we will be requesting two 355ml to 500ml bottles for each entry.  Fees will be $8 for each entry for amateur brewers and $15 for professional brewers.
- See more here

Today on Craft Beer Corner...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OK folks, time to put the craft back in craft beer and get your handy crafts on the go in time for summer.  Special thanks to Earth Day for making me think this would be a really great idea.  Send us pictures when you're done your craft mastery.  Here's a few ideas for you to get the ball rolling.

Woo Girl Party Hat
OK, so you've all seen the girls who go "WOO" at concerts in their cheap Corona hats and halter tops.  Now is the time on Craft Beer Corner where you become the envy and delight of every Woo girl on the planet in your Half Pints Beer Case Hat.  Try it out with a 6'er and a 12 pack.

Here's a fellow with some southern charm to show you how!
Next up is a sweet fishing lure you can make at home for summers at the lake:
You've got caps?  Especially our schnazzy new printed caps?  Make this sweet poker table!
Too lazy to do a whole table?  Try this tray!
Everyone knows babies drink from bottles, but beer lovers drink from a glass.
Here's a cool way to stick it to all the beer knurds and still drink a beer from a bottle whilst continuing to respect your favourite craft beer!
Got some cool art to show off from your kid's kindergarten class?
Check out these handy fridge magnets!
Ladies!  How stylish are these crafty earrings?
And finally, for you musically inclined:

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Truth in Beervertising/Faux Craft

Friday, February 22, 2013

The folks at Brekenridge Brewery have a whole media campaign that revolves around the most ridiculous end of the brewing industry: the marketing department.

You can check out their video's on Youtube but here's a quick one that just makes me smile:

What gets me thinking about this is the seeming total lack of respect for beer lovers that some "breweries" have for their customers.  I put the "breweries" in quotes because many of those that fall into the most heinous offenders group don't even own a brewery.

They are simply marketing companies.

They could be selling auto parts, insurance, or even weapons of mass destruction, but instead they have chosen to sell beer.  AND, to add to that point, they have chosen to give over control of their bread & butter product to another company, who for various reasons cannot sell enough of their own beer to keep them busy enough to allow maximization of their investment in equipment and time.

Does this sound like an intelligent business strategy to anyone?

"Let's have a brewery who can't sell enough of their own beer make something for us.  We'll just have to market the beejesus out of it so it will sell".

What some of these marketing companies have figured out is that if you put some lipstick on these pigs, and dress them up in a craft beer disguise, you'll likely be able to sell said beer at a markup above and beyond what standard domestic beer goes for.


Marketing Co's pay a premium for the privilege of having their beer brewed at another facility!  So they can't afford to put out a beer that has any real character - it has to be a safe, predictable, standard yellow beer that 90% of the world buys like sheep, and 99.9% of the advertising world LOVES because the marketing department has to throw thousands, sometimes millions of dollars at them to push it.

So suddenly, in a circle jerk of stupidity, the marketing company is paying a lot more for something that isn't really worth what it's costing them.  Both in product AND marketing.

...And then they realize that craft beer lovers aren't as gullible as they thought.

This begs the question:
Has this scenario ever worked in the craft brewing arena?  And the answer is yes, it works all the time.  Samuel Adams is a great example of a marketing company that worked.  However, they eventually did figure out that to exact a full measure of control, they would need to build their own facility and increase their controlling stake in the companies that brewed for them.

From this example, the real question is if contract brewing works over long periods of time?  The answer is most assuredly, no.

And the worst thing about duping your target market into buying something is that they will remember this when they are standing in the aisles at the store and making a decision.  So the returns are diminishing, since more advertising needs to be spent to push the ever increasingly expensive product.

But what does it matter when you could just as easily call one passe contract brewing company closed and within a week, have the same damn beer out with a new label on the shelf under a different name?

And while I'm at it...
Large, multi-national breweries have figured out that to compete in the ever growing category of better craft beer, they are ill equipped and ill prepared.  So, rather than putting their name proudly on a beer that came from a real brewer's passion, they set up faux companies to market their faux craft beer.

The ill equipped breweries are designed to make beer at a standard alcohol content, with a standard amount of hops, water and yeast.  Any deviation from this norm throws the whole system into chaos, resulting in garbage beer, lost production time, and losses to the bottom line.  And hey, when you're trying to minimize your losses so the boss can continue to drive his Bentley to his million dollar mansion in the suburbs, every cent counts, no?

The ill prepared breweries are used to marketing the beer world's equivalent of Wonder Bread.  The product development panels are made up of yes men, and quite frankly a dying breed of beer drinkers; The Company Loyalists.  Craft beer (being the only growing concern in the brewing world) understands that beer lovers these days are anything but staunch company loyalists.  Nor should they be, because if you can't brew world class beer, you shouldn't expect a pat on the back for a job well done.

Real beer lovers bounce around, trying anything and everything in their path.  There's a huge world out there, so why shouldn't we?  There's plenty of beer in the world and more being made every day, by passionate people who know how to conduct the symphony of ingredients so it comes out tasting like a masterpiece.

So much so, why would you waste your time/money on something less?

Does all this sound like preaching to the converted?  Probably, but you'd be surprised how many times you've been duped into buying something that was crafted by a marketing department rather than someone who had a hand in the actual process of brewing.  Check your labels folks - Canadian labelling laws dictate that where the beer is produced must be on there somewhere.  Read the label, understand it, and know that if it sounds like something is trying to be glossed over or hidden, it probably is.

Edit, February 26:  More info on where your beer comes from!

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Le Temps Noire

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In case you've been away on vacation or living under a rock, we just thought it may be important to let you know about our newest brew, Le Temps Noire.
Snazzy label keeping with the black and white theme of all our barrel aged beers!
The description:
Our Imperial Stout is a decadent ode to the art of brewing.  Malted & roasted barley come together with a heaping dose of crystal and chocolate malts to form the jet black body.  Columbus hops form the bitter backbone and a slow fermentation leads to a smooth finish.  The beer is then aged for 6 months plus in freshly emptied Bourbon barrels.  The barrel aging adds in a complexity of brown sugar and vanilla notes along with a slight interplay of oxygen that would be impossible to achieve without this expensive and time consuming process.  The result is a thick, rich Stout that should be served at 14 C. in a brandy glass with a side of your favourite dark chocolate.  Unfiltered.

Chris empties the barrels with our new Bulldog Pup racking arm

So, we have been keeping this one under our lids for some time, and only started letting people know it was on its way when we started sampling from the barrels to check its progress.  It's tough to know what you'll end up with during the barrel aging process since each barrel has different properties, leaks differently, and takes in oxygen differently.  We're glad everything went cool with this brew.

A few notes for the beer geeks:
  1. Yes, this is a real Imperial Stout.
  2. This is a different recipe from our $ellout $tout.
  3. We did not reuse the barrels from our $ellout to make this beer.
  4. This beer is 100% barrel aged.
  5. We will reuse these barrels for something very interesting.
  6. We will be making this again - not sure when... yet.
As for what we have in store for the leftover barrels, only time will tell.  A beer will be laid down in them for an extended slumber.  Over the next few weeks, you will get a little preview of what that beer will be.  However, we don't even have a name for it yet, or labels, or a release date, so patience will bear out.  Suffice to say, we've been working on it since June 2011.

Next up in the brewing roster is the Pothole Porter (mid-March release), followed by the Queer Beer (mid April release), and we'll be preparing for the early summer onslaught with the Weizen Heimer (mid-June-ish).  Those of you who had said repeatedly that you'd prefer the Heimer closer to summer have been heard, so the Pothole was pushed up to March and the Heimer pushed back to June.

Whoo Hoo! Fresh Weizen Heimer on the deck!!!

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Back to the kitchen! I smell something burning...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

While I was busy doing this:

Female Dorado, caught just off Isla Espiritu Santo (Ballena Island in background), Sea of Cortez

The guys at work have been busy doing this:

Delicious Saison destined for Manitoba and Alberta

Next project is to get the barrels emptied for a release on February 18th.  Then refill them with something for 2014.  Fun, fun, fun!!

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