THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1710 – Posted on: 06-Nov-2023
BREWERY “HOPP”ENINGS! Bushwakker head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports that our seasonally available BLOOD ORANGE BLONDE ALE , SASKADIAN BLACK IPA, BARON BOCK, GRANNY’S BITTER and KAI’S MUNICH HELLES are currently available. Batches of PREMIUM PALE ALE, FLEK’S CZECH DARK LAGER, BLACKBERRY MEAD and “MISSILE”TOW CHRISTMAS ALE ARE currently working their way through the brewery.
Our BLOOD ORANGE BLONDE features 168 pounds of citrus lovin’ into 800 litres of Cheryl’s Blonde Ale. Now is the time of year for a delicious and quenching vitamin C kick! Available on tap, in our offsale and for growler fills too. Enjoy while quantities last!
We are one month away to the official Bushwakker launch of the 2023 holiday season! This year’s Blackberry Mead launch takes place on Saturday, December 2nd at 11:00 AM sharp! 400 pounds of Lumsden Valley honey and 84 pounds of blackberries in every batch yields a unique beverage coming in at 10.5% abv. Come down early and join the “mead line” or visit our website and place your advance curbside pickup orders and beat the Saskatchewan winter weather.
Our annual Single Malt Scotch Tasting event sold out in just two and half hours this year. For those 150 attendees, we have a special scotch-inspired meal which will be available that evening for your consideration. Please note our full menu will also be available. Anyone wishing to dine prior to the tasting event on Saturday, November 18th should arrive by 5:30 at the latest. Our Arizona Room will be open to the general public that evening. However, food service will be suspended in that room over the supper hour while the kitchen focuses on serving the scotch tasting folks first.
Bushwakker 33rd Single Malt Scotch Tasting Optional Dinner Offering (available Nov. 18th)
Starter: Cardini Caesar Wedge Salad with Laphroaig Caesar dressing, candied bacon and focaccia garlic toast points.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with a Highland Park bacon jam & crème fraiche drizzle and focaccia garlic toast points.
Main: Braised Lamb Shank with Talisker jus, roasted autumn vegetables served on a bed of creamy braised leek aged cheddar risotto.
Dessert: Glenmorangie Brown Butter Apple Tart with Butter Ripple Ice Cream.
This Weekend’s Special Dining Feature for November 3rd and 4th is a CHICKEN POT PIE for $24.95. Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL as well as our Monday and Wednesday WINGS & A PINT SPECIAL and Tuesday PIZZA & A PINT SPECIAL are also great value deals.
Our SASK CRAFT GUEST TAP is currently pouring the HOPPED UP HONEY AMBER ALE from Saskatoon’s Paddock Wood Brewery. Next up is the TREASURE RED IPA from Malty National Brewing. This will be followed by a RYE ALE from Black Bridge Brewery.
NOVEMBER PREMIUM WINE FEATURES: This month’s ORGANIC wine features are from the CONO SUR WINERY in Chile. The red is an organic CABERNET SAUVIGNON/CARMENERE/SYRAH and the white is an organic SAUVIGNON BLANC. Both are $8.95 for a glass and $23.95 for a half litre.
CURRENT HOURS OF OPERATION AND RESERVATIONS NOTES
We are open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. The kitchen closes at 9:00 PM and last call is at 9:15 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are open from 11:00 AM until midnight. The kitchen is open until 11:00 PM and last call is at 11:15 PM. Closed Sundays.
Reservations are accepted and encouraged. We accept a limited number of reservations as late as 6:00 PM every day except Fridays. Fridays we accept reservations as late as 3:00 PM. Call us at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. Our two banquet rooms are also available for private party rentals. Call Kelly at 306-359-7276 to book either our main floor Arizona Room or basement Clubroom.
Plant to Pint: Brewing
Bushwakker Brewpub was one of the first businesses of its kind in Regina. (Peter Mills/CBC)
This is the second piece in a three-part series about Saskatchewan’s craft beer industry, the creative people behind it, and its impact on communities.
Barley, hops, yeast and water: four simple ingredients that blend to create one of the most popular drinks on the planet. Why stop there? Beer can be anything. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Earl grey tea. Ice cream cones. Ginger. Coconut. Coffee.
“What else have we thrown in there?” Malty National Brewery co-owner Adam Smith thought out loud. “Gosh, I always remember the ones that were a pain in the ass.”
Brewers are an interesting breed. They’re creatives. They’re scientists – mad scientists, perhaps. They’re lawyers, massage therapists and rock stars.
“There’s so much art and so much science that goes into it,” said Mark Heise, the KISS-tattooed president and CEO of Rebellion Brewing Company in Regina. “There’s no end to what you can do in beer. And at the end of the day, you get to drink really, really tasty product.”
Beer is big business. But for pretty much every craft brewer in Saskatchewan, it started as a hobby. Eventually, those home brewers found each other, and thanks to a little club that meets in the basement of a brewpub, it created a multimillion-dollar industry.
Brewing a hobby
When Heise started brewing beer in 2004, it wasn’t because of divine intervention. It wasn’t a lifelong dream. And he definitely had no idea his tinkering would turn into an award-winning, world-renowned brewery.
His wife suggested it.
“I guess she figured I needed a hobby – leave her alone for a little bit,” Heise said. “She says she doesn’t regret it. So I think it all turned out for the best.”
Heise had previously made wine kits at home, but something was missing.
“There’s not as much that you really have control over. You basically throw grapes and some yeast and water into a bucket and that’s it,” he said. “When it comes to beer, the brewer has so much control over the final product.”
Over the next few years, Heise continued experimenting at home, producing a wide variety of concoctions. As his passion for brewing grew, so did the collection of kettles, kegs, bottles and other equipment in his home. In 2006, Heise joined the Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan (ALES) club.
“You still had to get together with people to actually say, ‘Hey, try my beer, give me some feedback,’” Heise said. “You can’t get that off the internet.”
A prairie pioneer
Bev Robertson was the godfather of Saskatchewan beer, thanks to cross-country skiing and a trip overseas.
He was a University of Regina physics professor who tasted the future in the mid-1970s when his family was in Stuttgart, Germany.
Bev Robertson, a University of Regina physics professor, was the visionary behind the Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan (ALES) club. (Peter Mills/CBC)
“Drinking some of the best beer on the planet and then coming back to Canada, Bev just was not happy with what the Canadian breweries were producing at the time,” recalled Grant Frew, the bar and marketing manager at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina.
Robertson and some fellow beer lovers started “a little home brewing club” at his house in Regina. Every weekend, they would also go cross-country skiing, breaking fresh trails through the brush.
“So they felt that they would call themselves the Bushwakker Brewers, because they were making new inroads in craft brewing,” Frew said.
Grant Frew is a manager at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina, the business Bev Robertson opened in 1991 when he wanted his passion for beer to go public. (Peter Mills/CBC)
Their hobby would eventually outgrow Roberston’s home and his wife, Elaine, told him that much.
“She said she got sick and tired of all of these men traipsing around her house, going through her drawers looking for pieces of equipment to brew beer,” said Frew.
Home brewers go pro
After a decade of homebrewing, Bev was ready to go public. There was one problem: he had to convince the provincial government.
“Basically he said, ‘Hey, people, do you want to be the last province in Confederation to legalize brewpubs?” Frew said. “So he kept bugging them and bugging them and bugging them.”
The province eventually allowed it, and Bev and Elaine opened Bushwakker on Jan. 25, 1991. More than 30 years later, the brewpub is still a popular spot in Regina, and the ALES club Bev co-founded has been revolutionary in mentoring people like Heise.
Bev Robertson experimented with homebrewing after an inspiring trip to Germany. (Peter Mills/CBC)
“[Bev] pushed it all and he let us stupid homebrewers take up space in his business,” Heise said. “He just believed in it so much and it obviously made an impression on us because we believe in it so much to this day.”
ALES fostered a new generation of craft brewers in Saskatchewan, including Josh Morrison at Pile O’ Bones Brewing in Regina.
“I met a whole bunch of awesome people, including the guys that started this business,” Morrison said. “When we met at the club, we all dreamed of going pro and we all dreamed differently. So I think that’s the cool thing about our industry: you get the different visions of that dream.”
Morrison, far right, was a member of the Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan (ALES) club. (Submitted by Josh Morrison)
Bev died on Nov. 19, 2017, at the age of 78.
The ALES club still meets on the first Wednesday of the month at Bushwakker.
“It is a common story in craft brewing: home brewers going professional,” said Jeff Allport, founder of Nokomis Craft Ales. “But I think it is remarkable how many professional brewers that one club has produced over the years.”
STILL MORE SCOTCH WHISKEY WOES
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whisky is barely enough.” (Mark Twain)
“Don’t cry over spilt milk. It could have been whiskey” (Maverick)
“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.” (Winston Churchill)
“Whisky is liquid sunshine.” (George Bernard Shaw)
“I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other.” (Ava Gardner)
Just one more month until our annual Blackberry Mead Release on Saturday, December 2nd! No need to wait in line anymore now that you can pre-order your mead for advance walk-in pick-up or curbside pick-up. Visit our website homepage and place your order today!