Hey y’all! We’re back with another behind the scenes look at the goings-ons at PEI Brew Co. This time we have Spencer Gallant, one of our brewers and QC masters. Let’s take a look…
Quality control is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to beer and continues to gain importance as the industry grows. Every brewer wants their best work to be poured from the taps or purchased from the shelves. Running certain QC procedures can help assure that their best work is reaching the consumer. At PEIBC our lab is small, but allows us to conduct vital tests/measurements and continues to grow. I will describe what I consider the most important tests a brewery can carry out to obtain great quality beer.
1) CO2: being able to carbonate beer to the level that corresponds to its style is important to add to the thirst quenching experience. It also helps for packaging; too high of a CO2 level can make it disastrous to pour a pint and too low of CO2 will leave you with no foam to get caught in your moustache. We use a Zahm & Nagel CO2 tester which takes a pressure reading of the beer in the Bright Beer Tank or Serving Tank (where filtered beer goes to be carbonated and packaged) and matches it with the temperature of the beer. From there, we use those two numbers to find the level of CO2!
2) Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Oxygen is on the list of beer’s worst nemesis. Oxygen can cause beer to oxidize which yields a paper/cardboard flavour over time, especially if beer is kept warm. So, always store your beer cool! After fermentation, beer can pick up oxygen during filtration, transferring, and packaging, therefore it is important to check for oxygen pick-up in the beer before it hits the market. We use a DO meter where beer is pressed through a membrane which measures the level of oxygen and gives a digital reading in ppb (parts per billion). This can be measured right from the tank, or out of a bottle/can. If the DO is too high, there are different procedures that can be carried out to lower the DO and get the beer in spec.
3) Microbiology: Handling yeast is one of the most difficult tasks in the brewery. Sanitary procedures are very important to not contaminate your yeast with wild yeast or bacteria. Wild yeast (any type of yeast other than the desired yeast strain used by the brewer) can be found everywhere; wood, a brewer’s beard, or even dust particles! These unwanted organisms can throw unwanted flavours into your precious beer and are a real hassle to be rid of if a contamination occurs. After each yeast pitch into a brew, we plate a sample of the beer in various media that promote growth of certain yeasts/bacteria. Therefore if there are any of the unwanted organisms in our beer we will know after a few days by looking at the plated samples. If the beer is clean, the plates will not show any colonies of growth and we carry on laughing and brewing. An example of a bacteria you may find in your beer is lactobacillus. This is an anaerobic bacteria that produces lactic acid which will make the beer sour. If it were to grow in the media after being plated, it would appear as long skinny rods under a microscope.
These are only a few of the simple QC procedures we conduct at PEIBC but are all very important to help us produce great beer. As our lab grows we hope to add more and more QC procedures to master the beer game. Beer is filled with science – a very enjoyable and delicious science.
Art Battle 342 took place over the weekend and was an incredible showing of art from local painters! Lyndsey Paynter, Jason Johnston, John Dohe and Dawn Smith made it to the final round in front of a crowd of 300 onlookers, with Lyndsey Paynter taking home the win and the crowd favorite! Her painting is attached up top ^^^.
Next Art Battle is coming up on January 16th – hope to see you there! Tickets are available now on our events page.
SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT RETURNS TO THE PEI BREWING COMPANY IN 2016
CHARLOTTETOWN (December 21, 2015) – PEI Brewing Company is proud to announce that Lennie Gallant will be bringing his acclaimed musical-theatre show SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT back to the PEI Brewing Company Culinary Event Space for the 2016 season.“Last year was an incredibly successful season and we are thrilled to be working again with Lennie on bringing SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT to the next level in the PEI Brewing Company space,” said Jeff Squires, President of the PEI Brewing Company. “Lennie’s songs and stories are a perfect fit for the PEI Brewing Company – with over 80 sold out shows, it’s truly a must-see Island affair.”
Lennie Gallant adds, “We had received so many requests to run the show again this summer, from those who missed it and those who want to return with friends and family, that we decided to go with the flow! SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT will sail again this summer! We had an amazing run last year – the energy never lagged and the production seemed to evolve and become stronger with each performance as we discovered new ways to showcase the songs and stories. Myself and the band are really looking forward to another season at the PEI Brewing Company working with the fabulous staff and presenting our show to Islanders and visitors alike!”
Described as the “must see show of the summer” in 2014 by G! Magazine, SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT showcases the Island songs and stories of Lennie Gallant, Canadian Folk Artist of the Year and well-known singer/songwriter from Prince Edward Island. Also available is the recently-released double album of songs from the 2015 performance of SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT which is available at the PEI Brewing Company and at lenniegallant.com.
Advance tickets for the 2016 season of SEARCHING FOR ABEGWEIT will be available at peibrewingcompany.com and at the PEI Brewing Company taproom (96 Kensington Road) beginning January 6th, 2016.
Our (gold-winning) Vic Park Pale Ale is now available at select ANBL stores – which ones, you ask? Well, you can find that info on their website at ANBL.com or you can take a look at our handy list right below. Quantities are included on the ANBL site so that’ll be your most reliable, but these stores should be reliable for the next few days:
The PEI Brewing Company is a ticket outlet for the 2016 LOTTO MAX presents Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July 8-10th, 2016. Available outlet hours are Monday- Saturday 11AM – 5PM. We are not authorized to sell tickets over the phone. If you need to purchase tickets with credit card over the phone or have additional questions that can not be answered on www.cavendishbeachmusic.com, please contact the Cavendish Beach Music Festival directly at 1-844-521-CBMF (2263).
Working in a brewery isn’t always sunshine and lollipops; often enough the beer mines rip you away from reality and place you in a havoc of beer production. As a result, a gateway is needed to bring us back to reality. Since slamming back endless IPAs isn’t always an option, cranking up the brewery speakers is the next best thing! Whether it’s Kev belting out a tune by the Bahamas or Dan head-banging to some of that new EDM the kids are always raving about these days, it gets the job done.
Sometimes a certain task calls for a certain tune. A sluggish filter can be paired with a depressing Beatles song such as “Here Comes the Sun” from their Abbey Road album. When mashing in our Pumpkin Ale, I’d be lying if the “Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” by the Crash Test Dummies wasn’t echoing off the fermentors that day. Tidying up on a Friday usually calls for some Black Keys in preparation for the weekend while enjoying a Vic Park APA.
A case of the Mondays can be cured by blasting some NWA or checking out each of our Discover Weekly playlists from our Spotify accounts which leads me to share some of our favorite artists.
Spencer: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Jack White, The Presidents of the United States of America
Dan: Danny Brown, Real Estate, Porter Robinson
Chris: Rolling Stones, Sam and Dave, Talking Heads, Deerhoof
With all those artists listed, I think it’s appropriate to list some music that will never grace our ears within the brewery’s walls. Pitbull, whose lyrics are believed to assist spoilage in beer and Nickleback who makes hops go stale. Two of the many groups that may leave us jobless if they get played.
Now you have it – an idea of what is played on our brewery speakers to get the crew in the zone so we can continue to pump out our delicious brews.
We love to brew new beers here at the PEI Brew Co and when we found out that we had become the stewards of the now-closed Rogues Roost brew pub, we wanted the chance to brew up a traditional English IPA that would reflect the pub traditions that the Roost was a part of.
English IPA is a bit of a moving target. There are the IPA’s of old that were exported to India and other English colonies which were often brewed with a single malt and dosed heavily with hops at every stage. Unfortunately, the hops in those days would not have tasted nearly as fresh as those that brewers have access to today. There are the English IPA’s of recent memory that have been very close cousins of Pale Ales and Bitters with low alcohol and a mild hoppiness. Then there is the new wave of English brewers that are mimicking the IPA’s that are coming from the Americas.
Not wanting to get too bogged sown in semantics (never a good idea) we decided to brew an IPA with English ingredients but with the same techniques that we would use to brew an American IPA such as kettle hoping late in the boil and dry hopping. We knew we wanted to use a dose of traditional English malt so we brought in some Marris Otter. Marris Otter is a heritage barley that used to be the dominant grain for English beer brewing. It offers a pleasant nuttiness akin to breadcrust or toasted hazelnuts. We also brought in some torrified (or puffed) wheat to lighten the body and add further complexity to the malt bill without overpowering the hops. Some pale English crystal malt rounded out the malt bill.
English hops have a very unique aroma quality that is not often found in Canadian and American IPAs. We chose Goldings as our kettle hop (‘natch) and Target for dry hopping. Goldings are the quintessential English hop and have a very fine earthy herbal aroma. Target hops have a cedar-like woody quality and an underlying licorice aroma that is quite pleasant.
We chose an English yeast from the famous brewing City of Burton-on-Trent that produces the fruity esters and slightly low attenuation that one would expect from and English ale.
Of course we always brew with the music cranked, so you can bet that Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were reverberating off the tanks that day.
Since these photos are from our second RRIPA brew, we finished the day with a taste of whats to come by cracking open a couple of cans of our first batch. Cheers to new beers, cheers to the English brewing traditions that enlighten craft brewing even today, and and cheers to Rogues Roost for carrying the torch of English pub culture to the New World!
Hey folks! We’re back again with another blog from Spencer Gallant – one of our brewers here at PEIBC. A crew recently took a trip to a hop farm in the region to do some R&D. Read below!
“The first week of September, myself and 3 other brew staff traveled to the Cumberland region of Nova Scotia to visit 2 hop yards. Charles at Wysmykal Farms and Jaquie at Wallace Ridge Farms were more than happy to show us their farms.
Charles started into hops 5 years ago and grows about 1/2 an acre. His yard consists mostly of Cascade, but does have some Centennial and Goldings. Jaquie’s hop yard consisted of roughly 2.5 acres and contains varieties such as Cascade, Nugget, Magnum, Crystal, Goldings, and Centennial. She has been growing hops for 6 years. Currently both farms sell their hops to local breweries in New Brunswick (mostly wet hops) but are looking into pelletizing in the future.
When hops are picked they immediately begin to decompose which is why it is important to either dry the hops or put them in beer immediately. Using the hops fresh will add to the aroma and flavor in ways dried hops cannot due to volatile oils being lost in the drying stage. Wet hops can weigh 4-6 times the amount dried hops do, so weights must be taken into consideration.
Charles and Jaquie were both kind enough to allow us to hand-pick a few fresh hops for our cask program. Keep your eyes peeled for wet-hopped casks that could pop up in our retail store or Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax, NS.
Hey folks – this here is the beginning of a weekly thing for us at PEIBC. We’ll be posting up some words from our brewers, our lab staff, our production team, our director of operations – all in the name of keeping y’all up to date on what we’re doing here. First one comes to us from brewer Spencer Gallant – he takes care of our cask program here at PEIBC. Here we go!
Cask ales are a traditional method (popular in Britain) to serve beer from the container or ‘cask’ in which it was conditioned and naturally carbonated. Unfiltered beer is racked into the cask from the primary fermentation vessel which contains residual yeast. Priming sugar (in our case dextrose) is added to the cask to feed the yeast, commencing a secondary fermentation. Carbon dioxide created during this second fermentation is re-absorbed into the beer, and in turn, naturally carbonates the beer. Traditionally, casks have a lower carbonation than draught beer and are served at a slightly warmer temperature.
When creating casks, brewers have the liberty to experiment by adding more hops, spices, wood, liqueurs, and/or other flavours to the beer for an entirely new experience. Past casks I’ve created include: our Island Red Ale with bourbon-soaked oak chips, a wine barrel-aged red with brettanomyces and dried cherries and a Berliner Weisse. These are only some of the new and interesting beers that were created with the cask program. Now that we have a beer engine at the brewery, we are able to dispense casks with ease for everyone to enjoy! Stay tuned for new casks to be tapped!