Initially, it was going to be cancelled. But, on Sept. 13 the 18th annual Canadian Brewing Awards were held virtually and four months late.
Lacombe’s own Blindman Brewing won three awards at the online ceremony. The brewery won two silvers and a bronze.
“To get any awards at this awards banquet is a really big honour because it’s the most prestigious awards for Canada for beer,” said Hans Doef, co-founder of Blindman Brewing.
The brewery won a silver for their Cascadian Dark Ale in the American Style Black Ale category. The ale is what Doef calls a core beer at the brewery and one he drinks the most of because of its low alcohol content and availability. It’s a draft-only beer and isn’t available in a can, yet. Doef describes it as “a hopped malty dark beer. It has some grassy notes, some citrus – but in roast – all balancing together.”
In the Barley Wine-style Ale category, they won a silver for their Perepllut Barley Wine, which isn’t wine but a beer with 10 per cent alcohol.
“A barley wine is high alcohol kind of brown, malty, toffee kind of caramel rich beer with still really good balance,” Doef explains. “To get a silver in that is really, a really proud moment for us.”
The Dwarf Sour Cherry Saison won bronze for the brewery in the Fruit/Fruit Wheat/Field/Pumpkin Beer category.
“It has great colour, great aromatics, great balance and that’s one we’re very proud of,” said Doef. “That’s one of our accomplishments. In a brewery to get a beer like that out into the world because of the steps that it takes – it’s pretty complex and for us beer geeks that’s a really big feat.”
The Belgian-style fruited beer took three years to make and is no longer available. It sold out this spring. But hope is not lost for those who want to try the Dwarf Sour Cherry Saison.
“We actually do have some more Saison that’s aging on sour cherries right now. That will hopefully be available in the next half-year,” said Doef.
Doef enjoys choosing beer for the competition but doesn’t make beer strictly to win awards.
“That’s always the fun part of the job, deciding what to submit and like they’re all blind judging’s so nobody knows anything, and it means a lot when you get asked,” he said. “Our goal isn’t to win awards our goal is to always get the beer we want to drink and that we think people will like to drink and awards are kind of a good offshoot of those types of things.”
Blindman Brewing has been in the industry for five years and will be celebrating their anniversary with “COVID-style safe distanced gathering” on Oct. 3 and 4.
Despite only being in the industry for five years, Blindman Brewing was the 20th brewery in Alberta. Today there are 126 licensed breweries in Alberta, according to the AGLC website.
“It’s crazy that we’re seen as kind of like this ‘hold steady.’ We’re the experienced people on the block and that’s always weird to think. In this short of time with this much growth … we’ve talked to a lot of new start-ups and tried to give them advice,” he said. “It doesn’t feel that long ago that we were asking for that advice too.”