Brewery Journeys: 2) Freddy’s Brew Pub

After a short hiatus, I’m continuing my Brewery Journeys around the Okanagan. From one of the newest breweries in the Valley to one of the oldest, I made a recent stop at Freddy’s!

The New Freddy’s Patio …

With an amazing facelift and a renewed emphasis on craft beer, Freddy’s is changing the idea on what defines the neighbourhood bar. With a lovely patio area and live music thrown in, they have moved beyond just the bowling alley brewery! However, don’t make any mistakes, one of their main focuses is still providing excellent beer and food for the bowling alley’s clientele.

They have a great space, inside and out, and it’s definitely worth a visit! I rolled in on a weekday afternoon and I had the pleasure of speaking with Don McLachlan, the Brewpub Manager. He gave me a little historical rundown of the place (while we were enjoying a few samples!) Their longest running brewer, Jack Clark, retired in the last couple of years and Keith Bennett took over as the head brewer. Along with a refresh of the bar/patio, they also took the time to make some improvements in the brewery.

They raised the roof in the brewery and expanded outward, giving the brewery more space to work. As usual, there’s always slight modifications and improvements to make, but the end result is an excellent layout. The proof is in the beer — Keith is turning out some nice ones — his Sandbagger Brown Ale won a Silver Medal at the 2022 Canadian Beer Awards.

Don drew me up a flight of beers to try while we were chatting!

From Right to Left, I started with the 1) Chill Pill, a Czech-style Pilsner; 2) Triple J, an International-style Amber Lager; 3) the Harkrider, a Red Lager; 4) Night Danger, a Schwarzbier on Nitro; and 5) (not pictured) Funky Brewster, a Farmhouse Saison-style beer.

They have a nice selection of beers on tap — 5 lagers and 8 ales. The Chill Pill had an excellent floral hop nose/flavor and a nice bitter finish. Very clean fermentation character–definitely a winner to me.

The Triple J also had a very nice and clean lager profile. There was a medium level of malt (bready) flavor up front supported quite well by a med-low bitterness into a slightly dry finish.

The Harkrider may be one of their longest running beers. I didn’t know this, but the term “Harkrider” is used in bowling to describe a delivery in which the bowler seems to bounce his ball at the foul line upon release, as in dribbling a basketball. Probably two or three bounces on its way down the lane. They created this beer 15 years ago and it was so popular they left it on the menu. Another clean lager beer with a low bready malt character — medium bodied — a slightly off-dry finish.

Night Danger is a German-style Schwarzbier with a twist–they serve it on Nitro. This roasty/toasty malt-driven beer seems to be full-bodied due to the Nitro but leads to a nice dry finish. Very pleasant to drink!

Funky Brewster, the Saison, was right on target for the style. The nose had floral notes, black pepper and a light coriander character in the background. This hazy, light-orange colored beer was easy drinking. The med body supported the med-low bitterness and the Belgian-style fermentation characteristics. Highly recommend.

Here are the favorite beers (at the moment) of the Bar Manager, the Brewer, and me:

Don McLachlan: Reason – I have always been a big fan of Pilsners!Chill Pill (Czech-style Pilsner)
Keith Bennett: Reason – Two reasons: 1) because it is light, flavourful and easy drinkin; and 2) because I don’t get out much. 🙂Night Danger (German-style Schwarzbier)
Beer Mentor (me): Reason – Of the ones I tried, I really liked that Schwarzbier character supported with the Nitro. I need to go back to give it another go and to try the others on tap!Night Danger (German-style Schwarzbier)
Favorite Beers (at the moment)

I really like what they are doing at Freddy’s and I look forward to going back and enjoying a few more beverages … and maybe getting in a couple of games of Bowling, too!

Enjoy,

Beer Mentor

Brewery Journeys: 1) North Basin Brewing

Starting my brewery tours through the Okanagan, we have, ironically, the most Southern Brewery to begin — North Basin Brewing in Osoyoos.

Centrally located in Osoyoos, they have a wonderful view out of their tap room of the lake and the mountains beyond. Whether driving, riding, or hiking, you can definitely find your way here to enjoy several different beverages on tap.

When I stopped through, both Wes Greve, the founder, and Kody Rosentreter, the head brewer, were there getting set up for the day. Chatting with both Wes and Kody, we got right down to business … sampling the available beers!

Although not my greatest picture (sorry guys!) you can see that I had a nice selection of beers from which to choose!

A key goal of Wes and Kody is to use either locally-sourced ingredients (when possible) or sourced through a Canadian-owned business otherwise. For instance, if they need Saaz hops for a Czech-style Pilsner, they get their hops through Hops Connect out of Vancouver. Their primary yeast provider is Escarpment Labs in Guelph, Ontario. All their base malt is grown in Canada!

Looking at the photo above, the tap room is through the door with the “Open” sign–the brewery is situated in the room to the left of the center pillar. Kody is working on a 5 Hectoliter system with a nice “hot side / cold side” setup. As with most new Craft Breweries, he’s packed in a little tight and has to maneuver around a bit, but he’s definitely making it work!

Fermenters Number 1 to 4 … getting after it!

His equipment is made by Specific Mechanical Systems out of Victoria, BC. Here’s a look at his Mash Tun … I really like the chute built under the opening to help clean out the spent grain.

It looks like a great design and I hope to make it back to down to see Kody in action!

Ok, this was a slight detour — I did mention above that we were getting right to the tasting. haha. We were discussing all of these things while Wes was setting me up with a flight. The beer flight is well presented with a set of four wide-mouth glasses to help release the aroma and give you a good presentation.

I went with 1) Stonewell, the Pilsner (second from the left), 2) The Ditch, a west coast-style IPA (first on the left), 3) Rouge Your Daddy, a red Saison (third from the left), and 4) Big hAir, called a Burton (fourth from left).

Kody told me that the Pilsner was a mixed-style of Pils leaning toward a Czech Pilsner. He reduced the bitterness slightly to make it more “sessionable.” Using Saaz hops rounds it out. My impression was a definite pilsner malt character in the aroma and flavor followed closely by a light floral hop aroma (and a low lemon character too). With a medium-low body, it was definitely an easy drinking pils.

The next beer I sampled was The Ditch. This west-coast style IPA was brewed using Cascade and Huell Melon hops. Kody’s approach was similar on this as with the Pilsner and he has reduced the bitterness slightly. Although it makes the beer definitely more approachable, I found that the hop aroma (citrus/pine) was lower than I expected for a traditional IPA … and the bitterness could be bumped up slightly. Overall, a really nice drinking beer! I know the aroma was probably affected somewhat by the colder serving temperature. I find most Okanagan Craft Breweries serve their beers really cold — and I’m in the minority (I’m sure) of folks who would like their beer served slightly warmer!

The third beer I had was the Rouge Your Daddy, a “Red” Saison. In this beer, Kody mixed it up from your traditional Saison and augmented his hop bill with a few darker malts, to include Rye. Hopping it with Galaxy and Enigma, he has struck a nice balance between the ingredients. Using the JÖTUNN yeast blend from Escarpment, the aroma comes across as peppery/spicy … and the same in the flavor. With medium bitterness and a medium body, this Saison will be an excellent summer refresher.

The fourth beer was Big hAir, a Burton beer. Once again, Kody is mixing up his styles to create some unique offerings in Osoyoos!

This beer is called a Burton, because Kody uses Reverse Osmosis water (which has all mineral content removed) and then uses “Burtonisation.” The name comes from the town of Burton upon Trent which had several very successful breweries due to the chemical composition of the local water. Burtonisation is the act of adding sulphate, often in the form of gypsum, to the water used for the brewing of beer, to bring out the flavour of the hops.

Typically, Burtonisation is used when a brewer wishes to accent the hops in a pale beer–it’s not ordinarily used in a darker beer. However, Kody has brewed a brown ale using Sasquatch and Fuggles hops. The profile definitely accentuated the hops, but I found that the dark malt character and the hops were a little in conflict and it finished with an interesting flavor.

I asked each of them their favorite beers (their responses (and mine) are in the table below).

1) Wes – Reason: “Really feeling it right now!”G’Duff (Australian Lager) … brewed with Vic’s Secret and Galaxy Hops … easy drinking lager.
2) Kody – Reason: “The length of time it took to get it out in the world and there’s always a sense of the unknown when you stick something in a barrel for a while. It ended up being tasty and pretty spot on from a style standpoint I think, at least all the points I wanted it to hit are there.” Barely Beer (Barrel-aged Barley Wine).
3) Beer Mentor (me) – Reason: “Great example of the style!Barely Beer (Barrell-aged Barley Wine). (* See description below)
Favorite Beers (at the Moment)

Once Kody mentioned the Barely Beer (great play on words), I knew I had to try it. Having opened in 2020, this Barley Wine is their one-year Anniversary celebration-beer. A big beer (12% ABV) aged in a Mayhem Red Wine Barrel for approximately 9.5 months, it has aroma and flavor to match! A great malt character (toasted nut bread) balanced with just the right hop bitterness and a good representation of dark fruits (raisin). This one is worth a sample when you get a chance!

Wes and Kody have a very nice thing going here!

If you are in Osoyoos and are looking for some refreshing beverages, this would be a great place to stop in. And if you really like what you are drinking, feel free to take home a Crowler or two!!

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

An Okanagan Beer Odyssey

Good day! Here’s a small blog focused on beers throughout the Okanagan Valley. It will encompass the area from Osoyoos (with a little geographical license) up to Salmon Arm.

I intend to have reviews of each of the breweries through the valley with an honest look at the different beers.

I will also include other establishments that promote or sell equipment and supplies for making beer.

My intent is to provide useful information and to encourage the continual development and advancement of great beers throughout the Okanagan! I hope you will join me on the journey.

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor (James Clark)

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