Hops Across the Pond

Back in March, we sent one of our brewers on a jaunt to jolly old England.

Alan went there to participate in a beerfest put on by a group of pubs, J.D. Wetherspoon (JDW). At each beerfest, JDW features 50 different beers in their pubs, most of which come from around England, but some of which come from various points of the globe.

JDW has figured out that it makes more sense – and has much more cache – if they import brewers to whip up a couple of batches at a brewery in England, rather than just ship the beer across.

Beer does not travel particularly well, so the only way to get the best product possible into the mugs of customers is to export the brewer instead of the beer.

So, Alan headed off to Banks Brewery in Wolverhampton, England.

Now, brewing originated at the Banks Brewery in Wolverhampton, in 1875, when it was originally called the Park Brewery. You can imagine the experience for Alan to meander about a brewery that was built over 130 years ago.

Interestingly enough, Wolves (as the brewery is apparently known) is now lead by their Chairman, David Thompson, who is the great-great-grandson of the founder.

Yukon Brewing was proud to be included in this beerfest. After all, we were the first brewery in Canada to be asked to be included. Alan joined brewers from New Zealand, the U.S., Finland, Australia and Holland, whipping up batches of their finest.

One of the most-interesting parts of the festival was to review the list of names and ingredients of the 50 beers that were featured.

Names included Skinners Hunny Trap, Robinsons Nosey Parker, Cairngorm Howler and Hyde’s Spin Doctor, to name a few. Ingredients included nightshade berry, cherry, chocolate and vanilla, plus a plethora of malts and hops, some of which we have never heard of.

There was a competitive aspect to this event, as well. This was handled through online voting, which seems to us to be a strange way to do this.

Beers were given a rating of one to five points and anybody could go online and award points, whether you tried them or not; in fact, you didn’t even have to be in England to vote.

From our perspective, we were genuinely interested in how we would actually place, so we just sat back and watched.

We still can’t say for sure where we finished. The beerfest ended May 4. The day before it ended, Lead Dog Ale was in second place amongst the 50 beers. The next day, it was in seventh place. A strange bit of last-minute voting, for sure.

But, to write this piece, we took one more look at the Results Page. It now shows Lead Dog Ale in second place again with a score of 4.4 out of 5. The winner appears to be St. Peters Golden Ale with a score of 4.5.

Wish we could try some St. Peters!

One final note … most of the promotional material we saw from JDW talked about brewers from New Zealand, Australia, America, Holland – and, the Yukon!

Not Canada, but the Yukon. Who says the Yukon does not have strong global recognition?

This column is courtesy of the Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that shouldered the pride of all Canadians.

Mark Beese is our co-publisher.

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