Food & Drink
Check Out These 5 Ferment-y Drinks with Bloody Cool Backstory
Available now or soon-ish (until they’re not).
by : Aman Dosanj- Oct 8th, 2021
From a shipwreck wine (minus the shipwreck part) to sake made from the country’s first-ever planted rice field, these small-batch Canadian-makers are providing housing for yeast and bacteria in epic ways.
Chai Wala Milk Stout, North Brewing Company
Since opening their doors in 2013—crafting just 300-litre batches at-a-time—North Brewing has grown to serve their deliciously fun things to fellow Nova Scotians in Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Timberlea. Recently, the community-minded brewery teamed up with The Paisley Notebook (Okanagan Valley) for a limited east-meets-west collaboration (full disclosure: that’s me). Made with a healthy dose of chocolate malt and oats, Chai Wala Milk Stout is kind of like a squishy hug. That is, until it bursts into dance with all the pelvic trust action you’d expect from a retro Bollywood flick. First, the Edible Adventures Chai/Baking Spices are infused hot like masala chai, then steeped cold inside the tank using a giant teabag, essentially. That way, any aromatics that slipped into the supporting role during fermentation come back centre stage with fresh first-generation feels (iconic hip thrust and all).
Coming late October.
Fraser Valley Junmai Renaissance (“Pure”), Artisan Sake Maker
Japanese-born Masa Shiroki believes rice growing is “the glue for our social network.” Fuelled by curiosity, would Canadians take ownership of the traditional Japanese rice wine if produced in a farm-to-glass sort of way? With only one way to find out, the Artisan Sake Maker—aged 50—planted Canada’s first and only sustainable rice field in 2012. Fraser Valley Junmai Renaissance (FVJR) is made with 100 percent B.C.-grown rice from their own Ginpu Sake Rice crop in Abbotsford. Rich, savoury and complex with racy acidity and a touch of sweetness, pair with everything from charcuterie, pizza, seafood chowder and roasted chicken to miso black cod and sushi (according to the Artisan Sake Maker himself). While 80 percent of their current portfolio uses Californian-grown rice, FVJR is the tease until they find their rice-growing stride.
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2020 PB&C (Pinot Blanc & Chardonnay), Bella Wines
Tucked away on Naramata’s gorgeous little bench (Okanagan Valley), Bella Wines is pretty much the textbook definition of a farm-first winery. The idea: to use a holistic, animal-forward approach to build better soils so they can bang out top-notch traditional and ancestral method sparkling for years to come. With the view of wasting nothing, PB&C is a cheeky blend of Pinot Blanc (on-skins for nine days) and “hard-pressings” of Chardonnay, which means the fruit is pressed and re-used for a second time to squeeze out every drop of juice before hitting their compost pile. Amber in colour with solid tannic structure, the PB-in-the-C gives the bubbles a fresh melon and citrusy note on the palate — think of it as a high-five from Mother Nature for a job well done.
2021 Estrella, Revel Cider
Guelph’s Revel Cider (Ontario) treats their sips like natural wine — everything is wild fermented, unfiltered, and sans the unnecessary sugar for a truly dry vibe. For owner Tariq Ahmed (an actual wizard), it’s about letting the organically sourced fruit, funky house-grown botanicals, and wild foraged things sparkle. From solo passion project to 1000 cases guzzled up every month, Revel is hands-down the most exciting cider house in the country. When it comes to Estrella—their nod to the Spanish Sidra cider—you stop and stare. Pouring from a height—using the cork as a spout—it’s like finding the door to a secret speakeasy, except you unlock all the flavours, aromas and textures inside the bottle (there’s no judgment if you spill). A blend of Northern Spy, Red Prince, Cortland and uber tannic wild Crabapples, expect the characteristic lemony, tart Sidra flavours but with an Atlantic minerality.
End of October release date.
2011 Blanc de Noirs Underwater Quest, Benjamin Bridge
Battling strong currents and daily tides, harsh snow-capped winters and even the assault of saltwater on the cork, what would one of those sunken bottles of bubbles taste like if it re-surfaced from a shipwreck? Winemaker Alexandre Morozov and the team at Benjamin Bridge pondered that too, as they embarked on a 1000-bottle, year-long, one-of-a-kind underwater ageing experiment in the Atlantic Ocean. “The best-case scenario: We’ll have a phenomenally balanced wine; very elegant and evolving at a very slow pace. The worst-case scenario: Every bottle will break,” said Morozov. Fortunately, the 2011 Blanc de Noirs Underwater Quest—a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier—lived to tell the tale (with a gentle salinity). As for the stunning bottle art, the Bryozoa (sea critter fossil) tattooed each for the purest, most poetic expression of terroir (ever). The just-released wine is exclusive to the BB Club membership. Who needs a fancy champagne cave when you have the Atlantic Ocean?
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