Local brew: A look at Saskatchewan’s very own beers

By in Culture

There are some liquors that students are more than familiar with — Smirnoff, Fireball and Original 16 to name a few. However, what a lot of students might not be aware of is that Saskatchewan itself is home to quite a few breweries and distilleries — which are about to be uncovered to all.

Starting us off is Paddock Wood. They take pride in being like Saskatchewan’s first microbrewery, after challenging the provincial government to change the law.

Saskatchewan has a number of local breweries and distilleries worth checking out.

Opened by Stephen Cavan, Paddock Wood makes beers of all types — from India Pale Ales to specialty beers knowns as the Heartstopper. In an article for CKOM, spokesperson Rob Kapronczi once said that “we use only four ingredients, no chemicals, no preservatives, [and] no pasteurization.”

That dedication seems to have paid off, as several of their beers have won awards at the Calgary International BeerFest. Paddock Wood Brewing Co. is located at 103rd Street if you want to pay them a visit or learn more.

If beer isn’t your thing, try some homegrown vodka from Lucky Bastards Distillery.

They take pride in their spirits and liqueurs, brewing them only in small quantities to serve you only the “crème de la crème of distillates.”

LB Distillery was founded by Michael Goldney and Carey Bowman after Bowman was inspired by Europe’s craft spirits. Their crafts are unique, with flavours beyond your imagination. Explore Bowman’s Bacon Bettah Bitters for your next Caesar or add Chai Vodka to your next mug of hot chocolate. Visit them on 47th Street to see Ginger — their copper pot still.

Besides LB Distillers, Saskatoon has another brewer of spirits: Black Fox Farm & Distillery, which is just outside of Saskatoon on Valley Road. They pride themselves on sustainability, which is why they use their own ingredients from their farm or from other personally-known farmers.

Black Fox combines excellent flavours into their liqueurs, such as Honey Ginger, and makes vodka out of triticale for a different taste.

One that may be more well-known is Saskatoon’s Great Western Brewing Company. The brewery, which was originally home to Hub City Brewing Company in 1927, has changed hands many times since then.

The company website tells the story of how Great Western came about when 16 employees from the former O’Keefe Brewery created Great Western to save their jobs. Their hard work in 1989 paid off, as today their beer is world class and holds a great reputation. If you’ve never tried Great Western, give one of their most famous titles, the Original 16, a try.

Much like the prairie sun, beer tends to have a golden yellow colour — maybe that’s what inspired the next brewery’s name.

Prairie Sun Brewery was started by Cameron Ewen and Heather Williams, who decided to build their own brewery after being approached by an entrepreneur.

Ewen and Williams took time to fill their minds with the knowledge that encompasses and surrounds craft brewing before they opened Prairie Sun in 2013. Prairie Sun definitely has some unique flavours, including Moose Tracks — which they describe as a hazelnut espresso stout.

If lager is more your drink of choice, try their Prairie Lily Lager. It’s something a little bit more traditional but still very refreshing.

The next time you’re out to restock on alcohol, try something homegrown and taste the reward. Not only are you supporting local businesses and the local economy, but you’re also indulging in some of the best alcohol around. So gather up your friends, try something new and enjoy the tastes of locally crafted goods!

Kezia Fourie

Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor