THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1722 – Posted on: 29-Jan-2024
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Bushwakker co-founder, Elaine Robertson, on Wednesday, January 17th. After a sudden and rapid entanglement with cancer, Elaine stayed true to her spirit and made her exit with dignity and grace. Despite the loss of our matriarch, your Bushwakker will continue its 33-year tradition of operating as a fiercely independent, family-owned and operated public gathering place. Elaine’s daughter Kelly will continue to run a tight ship as general manager. Elaine’s son-in-law, Mike Monette, will continue to lead his talented kitchen team. Elaine’s granddaughter, Kristen Welisch, will continue her detailed work as office manager. Elaine’s grandson, Michael Gaetz, will continue brewing the national award-winning beers developed by his late grandfather, Bev Robertson. Longtime bar manager, Grant Frew, and floor manager, Rayna Hart, will continue their duties ensuring the quality of event programming and customer service match the high quality standards of the kitchen and brewery. Like her late husband and Bushwakker co-founder, Bev Robertson, Elaine taught her team well and had full confidence in their abilities.
Elaine worked at The Bushwakker before its doors were even open. She served as general manager and then general manager emeritus. After retirement, her continued presence in weekly management meetings and daily check-ins with her daughter created a sense of continuity for her management team. Elaine often served as a sounding board and even “dropped the hammer” on occasion. She demonstrated plenty of fire when tough decisions needed to be made. It will indeed be interesting to see how future deadlocks will be resolved without her input to serve as a tie-breaker.
Many consider the late Bev Robertson to be Saskatchewan’s craft beer pioneer. While it is true that Bev formulated a number of the signature national award-winning Bushwakker beer recipes and also worked closely with the government back in the late 1980s to pave the way for craft brewing to legally exist in this province, it was Elaine who served as the main driver to elevate craft brewing out of the Robertson’s home kitchen and thrust it to the commercial level where it was quickly embraced by the public’s taste buds. For it was Elaine’s fiery nature which would not stand for “all those men traipsing around my kitchen and going through my drawers” looking for the various utensils needed during the many homebrewing days that took place in her Whitmore Park abode.
Elaine was certainly the strong woman behind her successful man. Bev was quick to acknowledge his brewpub dream would not have been possible without his wife serving as contractor manager during its construction and human resources manager during employee recruitment. Elaine was also responsible for overseeing all employee activity as general manager and was also a bartender for well over a decade. In addition to pouring pints, Elaine also served as the go-to bouncer when things got interesting. She often diffused tense situations with great efficiency by presenting only her calm voice and unimposing stature. Elaine was never perceived as being a threat or a physical challenge, but any unruly behaviour was quickly met with shame and self-consciousness when demonstrating such childish behaviour. Even the hardest frown would soften when it was accepted that Elaine had a genuine sense of caring for the safety of everyone present in her brewpub including the identified culprit. She often noted that her education as a special needs teacher served her well when dealing with patrons who imbibed too deeply in her husband’s brewing talents or with employees who simply refused to see things eye to eye.
Beyond overseeing the smooth and consistent operation of her brewpub, Elaine was instrumental in the creation of the front staff dress code. She felt her staff should not wear uniforms and that they should be permitted to wear clothing which allowed them to feel comfortable and express their personalities while still adhering to a clean and conservative appearance. Bar manager Grant, was particularly grateful that Elaine allowed him to keep his long wavy locks for 15 years before he decided to abandon the ponytail and vast assortment of hair control products for a shorter style. Elaine did not want her staff being pestered by overly-forward customers and she certainly did not want female customers to ever be made to feel uncomfortable in her establishment. Unwelcomed table visits from suitors were quickly extinguished for it was paramount to Elaine that Bushwakker would be a place where a group of women or more importantly, a single woman could come for a nice meal and a nice drink free of unwanted solicitation. This core Bushwakker value is still held in very high regard today.
Elaine was also extremely supportive of her staff when they needed a shoulder to cry on. Again and again, she demonstrated a willingness to listen and offered direction and advice from her calm perspective. She had an uncanny ability to cut through the emotional noise and reveal the true source of an employee’s dilemma and provide clarity to the area of concern. She set many employees back on the right path by acting as a mirror to show them what they truly valued, who they were, and what they were meant to be. Elaine was particularly moved when a former Bushwakker server was one of her attending nurses in palliative care.
Like her husband, Elaine was very proud of the positive reputation her brewpub gained. In the early 90’s she referred to Bushwakker as being her “baby” and then it became her “toddler.” Eventually, her brewpub grew up and took on a personality of its own fueled by the passion and loyalty of a huge legion of devout Bushwakker enthusiasts. They embraced not only its one-of-a-kind beer and quality cuisine but also the welcoming atmosphere created by the staff where everyone from artist to labourer to professional from 19 to 90 felt right at home. This “second home” truly was an extension of Elaine’s own home which gave the “Bushwacker” homebrewers their start so many years ago.
Thank you Elaine for playing an integral part in Bev’s wild dream of creating an iconic public gathering place where its guests could come, just as they are.
At Elaine’s request, there will be no funeral service. However, a celebration of life gathering will be held in the spring.
BREWERY “HOPP”ENINGS! Bushwakker head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports that our seasonally available FLEK’S CZECH DARK LAGER, “MISSILE”TOW CHRISTMAS ALE, and PONCE DE LEON BLACKBERRY-RASPBERRY FRUIT BEER are currently available. Our Bushwakker Frost Festival SNOWPLOW Winter Ale will also be available during the festival. There is also a batch of PREMIUM PALE ALE currently working its way through the brewery.
This Weekend’s Special Dining Feature for January 26th & 27th is CHICKEN & BACON GNOCCHI in a CREAMY SAGE SAUCE for $25.95. 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 a MILK STOUT from Black Bridge Brewery. This will be followed by the AFRICAN QUEEN HEFEWEIZEN from High Key Brewing.
JANUARY PREMIUM WINE FEATURES: This month’s wine features are the HERON BAY WINES from British Columbia. The red is a CABERNET SAUVIGNON and the white wine is a SAUVIGNON BLANC. Both are the nice post-holiday season price of $7.95 for a glass and $21.95 for a half litre.
We will be offering two special creations during the 3rd Annual Frost Winter Festival this year! The first is a HOT FROSTY BIG BEAVER which is a delicious hot chocolate drink made with Outlaw Trails Big Beaver whisky. The second is the BUSHWAKKER SNOWPLOW which is a powerful blend of our English Barleywine and Pickard’s Oatmeal Cream Stout. Both bevies will warm your innards all throughout the festival!
Much thanks to everyone who attended our Bushwakker 33rd and Robbie Burns 265th Combined Birthday Bash last Saturday night. We wouldn’t still be here today if it weren’t for your longstanding and enthusiastic support! Who knew so many people would be so excited about free haggis? Can’t wait to do it again next year!
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 on 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.
From Brewers Journal Canada
Dea Latis, a UK-based women and beer interest group led by Annabel Smith, is leading a vital new study to delve further into women’s attitudes and behaviours relating to the world of beer.
Following their trailblazing 2018 report – The Gender Pint Gap – which ignited industry-wide conversations, Dea Latis’ subsequent research in 2019 highlighted a concerning gender gap in beer consumption and the prevalence of misconceptions about beer.
In 2023 Dea Latis was successful in securing a third tranche of funding from The Brewers’ Research and Education Fund (BREF) to conduct further YouGov research and benchmark attitudes against their previous findings.
So, since 2019, have women’s attitudes and perceptions about beer changed? How has a global pandemic, and factors such as the rise of the #MeToo movement impacted the way women view beer and pubs?
“The previous studies have sparked essential conversations, but our latest research marks a new milestone in understanding the shifts and developments in women’s relationship with beer in the aftermath of the pandemic,” commented Smith, founder and research lead at Dea Latis.
“This fresh data will provide valuable insights to guide the industry towards refocusing on creating a more inclusive and diverse beer culture.”
The findings from this latest study are anticipated to challenge existing assumptions, debunk stereotypes, and offer actionable insights for breweries, marketers, and industry stakeholders to foster an environment that resonates with the diverse tastes and preferences of all beer enthusiasts.
TIME OUT – A Really Short Love Story
A man and a woman who had never met before found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a transcontinental train. Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they were both very tired and fell asleep quickly, he in the upper berth and she in the lower.
At 1:00 AM, the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying,… “Ma’am,
I’m sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket? I’m awfully cold!”
“I have a better idea,” she replied, “Just for tonight, let’s pretend that we’re married.”
“Wow! That’s a great idea,” he exclaimed.
“Good,” she replied, “Get your own f…ing blanket.”
After a moment of silence, he farted.
Enough with the haggis…bring on the real Valentine’s love affair! Stay tuned!