Sunday 22 May 2011

Manitoba craft beer

Christchurch, with about 400,000 people, has a huge number of really great craft brewers. A short list, with apologies to anyone I've forgotten (it's not because I don't know your beer, it's because I've forgotten you're from Christchurch):
  • Three Boys, whose Oyster Stout is truly excellent; other highlights: IPA, Wheat. I never got a chance to taste Aftershock, the beer that was in the tank when the 7.1 hit. Ah well.
  • Twisted Hop. Their Nobokolov Imperial Porter is probably my current favourite NZ beer. Hopefully they'll be brewing again soon.
  • Casels & Sons. Medicinal particularly nice.
  • Harringtons. Probably produce the best value beers in the country than Wobbly Boot Porter and Clydesdale Stout, though some disagree. Beers that are great for drinking with dinner, but that you don't feel bad about using as base for lamb shanks.
If you expand to the South Island as a whole, with about a million people - roughly as many people as the province of Manitoba, you get to a whole ton more.

I'm in Winnipeg. It's (almost) a craft beer wasteland. Fort Garry is the main local brewer, but honestly, their Fort Garry Dark roughly matches a Speights Old Dark. Not a bad beer - the Old Dark is what I'll get at a Christchurch restaurant that doesn't have proper craft beer - but it doesn't really make the grade. Half-Pints is a recent addition that produces good craft beer - a nice IPA, a fun coffee stout, and a raspberry-tinged beer brewed in support of Winnipeg's Pride 2011 festival. Half-Pints is good. But how can it be that a town almost twice the size of Christchurch and that hasn't had two massive earthquakes has such a bland overall local beer scene?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, in which we'll see how Manitoba's alcohol regulations are more devastating to the Manitoba craft brewing scene than were two massive earthquakes for Christchurch's.


  1. I'm heading to Winnipeg tomorrow for the week and hope to bring my husband back some craft beer. When I was there in December, I bought back some by Half Pint and Fort Garry so hope to find something else.

  2. Good luck. Half Pint is very nice. Please report back if there's anything else there worth drinking.