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Monday, March 17, 2008

Garrison Winter Weizenbock Unfiltered Ale

It seems that Greg Nash, Garrison Brewery's brew master, is on a mission. Since joining Garrison's after years of brewing away from his native province of Nova Scotia, Nash has brought much needed respect and credibility back to the brewery with his ever changing array of beers.

Over the last seven months we have noticed a difference in Garrison's house beers, like the Nut Brown and the Red Irish Amber. Nash thought each needed just a little tweaking to raise them over the bar and the Nut Brown went on to win a silver and the Red Irish went on to win a bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards. He has created Canada's beer of the year with the Imperial Pale Ale and surprised many beer drinkers with his delicious version of an Imperial Rauch Schwartzbier Black Lager. He is starting to gain a reputation as a brave brewer, brewing things in Halifax that haven't really been done here in Ontario, a province with a population that far exceeds Nova Scotia.

Well, Nash has done it again. He has brewed another beer that is turning heads in the brewing industry.

Back in January, I spoke with Nash over the phone and he promised me something new was in the works at the brewery, but he wouldn't divulge any secrets. But now, after two months of cold conditioning, Garrison has just recently released their newest seasonal - Winter Weizenbock Unfiltered Ale.

"I've been brewing Weizens for a long time since it's one of my favorite
styles, it's unique to this area too, so that made it an easy decision
for our next seasonal," stated Nash upon the release.

The Unfiltered Weizenbock comes in a 500ml bottle with a pop off cap, which is also unique for the Halifax area as 341ml twist off bottles dominate the market. It weighs in at 6.7% with an IBU rating of 23 and pours a lovely dark amber colour with a big, fat, white puffy head that lasts and lasts. As soon as the cap comes off and the beer is poured, the smell of banana and clove seep into the room and attack my senses. Nash states that the Weihenstephan yeast strain he used caused the terrific aroma and also provides the citrusy dry bite.

I always taste bubblegum whenever I drink a German wheat and its no different with the Weizenbock. But joining in on the fun was a clovey, peppery bite with a nice warming alcohol effect and a small sharp hop presence (Fuggles). There is a lot going on in the taste, and with each new sip something else seems to stand-out.

There is something about German wheat beers that I have come to adore and I think its safe to say that Garrison's Weizenbock can now rank amongst my favourites, joining Denison's, Schneider Aventinus, and Hackor-Pschorr Dunkel. This is a beer that would go great with a chinese meal or a nice fat mushroom and egg omelette. I even like this beer with spicy foods as the spritziness acts as a great palate cleanser and seems to numb the spices in the food.

A well rounded beer that stands up to the others Nash has brewed since joining Garrison's. For those lucky enough to get their hands on some, hold on tight, its going fast.


BA said...

It looks fantastic, magnificent head for a weizenbock. Too bad we'll never see it in stores out here in Ontario...

Troy Burtch said...

It is sad. If you visit Beer Advocate and chat with one of the Halifax guys who regularly post, they might be willing to trade up with you.

Jeremy said...

Word out of Halifax is that Nash is no longer with Garrison. Its a shame, hopefully he will find a venue to keep producing great beers. Rumblings about a falling out with the ownership.

Anonymous said...

Yes folks, it is that good (thanks Troy). While Ontario will sadly miss this one, a few lucky Albertans may soon be receiving a limited shipment. As for letting Greg go, it truly was a shame. Alas, the issues were much deeper than personality & the decision was not an easy one. For us, Daniel Girard from Pumphouse (2005 Brewery of the Year) has stepped in & great things will continue. For Greg, his greatest work may yet lie ahead (talent like that doesn't sit idle long).

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the anonymous post, just haven't set-up an ID yet.
Cheers, Brian (Garrison Brewing)

Troy Burtch said...

Thanks for posting Brian. It's good to see that Garrison is willing to continue to brew top quality beers.

And thanks for speaking with me regarding this issue.

I may need more Weizenbock to keep some boys in Toronto happy :)

Take care buddy.

Anonymous said...

Word is that Girard beats our boy Nash about ten-to-one in the temperamental sweepstakes, and that he'll last about a month under Brian's neurotic micro-mis-management.

Anonymous said...

wow, i wonder who that is
feeling insecure...........

Anonymous said...

Insecure? Knowledgeable, perhaps. Did you and the Brain figure out how to work the bottling line yet, by the way?

Anonymous said...

I don't work there.

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