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Yukon Brewing-5

Imagine the serendipity of being able to tweet about craft beer taps while lunching at a popular Whitehorse restaurant and not an hour later, being approached at Yukon Brewing with a “that was YOUR tweet?”. I arrived just in time for the 2 pm tour, a 45-minute look behind the scenes of Yukon’s most celebrated (and only) brewery.

65% of all beer sold in the Yukon is produced by Yukon Brewing, with Yukon Gold the particular favourite of the bunch. The newest in the collection is Bonanza Brown (currently only available in mixed packs).

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Yukon Brewery opened its doors in 1997, at the time calling itself Chilkoot Brewing Company. The company was conceived on a canoe trip, when owners Alan and Bob brainstormed at the campfire.

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16 years later, Yukon Brewing is known across the province and beyond. Eight of its beers are available in both Alberta and BC, and according to the website, a few have made their way to Germany’s Hannover Zoo. Yes, a zoo halfway around the world.

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A display of taps in the sales room brings a continual flow (pardon the pun) of growler-toting locals, who go for the flavours currently offered in Baktun 14, Pitchfork Saison, Blokes Poke ESB, Boreal Forest Cream Ale, Bonanza Brown, and Double Trouble IPA. Through the doors to the plant, you’re walked to the back of the room where Canadian whisky has been aging for the past three years.

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The barrels have been getting a lot of attention, with locals asking “when will it be ready?” on a regular basis. The vodka is brought to the brewery as alcohol; Yukon Brewing infuses the vodka with additional ingredients.

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Everything from eco-friendly cans with pull tops to re-using bottles–other brands’ bottles as well–keeps the brewery’s costs down while being kind to the environment. Bottles are sanitized, labels removed, and the glass inspected for potential cracks, before being sent down the production line.

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Spent grain is taken off the brewery’s hands and given to a local pig farmer for food. A great win-win as pick-up and removal costs are eliminated. I’m betting the pig farmer fills up a few growlers on his visits.

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[The Mash Tun is used to drain starch out of the grain]

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At the end of the tour, several samples are poured, including Chilkoot, Deadman Creek (cranberry wheat ale), Yukon Gold English Pale Ale (with more body than a lager), Discovery — Honey ESB (the first beer in the collection), Yukon Red Amber Ale, Ice Fog IPA (with 44 IBU’s – international bitter units), Lead Dog Olde English Ale, and Midnight Sun Espresso Stout (using local coffee brewers Midnight’s Sun’s espresso beans).

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A range of products to take home includes shirts, hoodies, and beer-infused soaps, something I’m seriously regretting not having brought home with me on this journey. Favourite beer hands-down is the Double Trouble IPA. It’s incredibly good. I hope it will find its way down to Vancouver.

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The tour costs $5, with proceeds donated to a local charity. The brewery also supports several Yukon events and causes each year. Check the Yukon Brewing website for the current tour schedule and where to buy their craft beers near you.

2 Comments

  • Pingback by A Boreal Feast with Tourism Yukon and Edible Canada | Vancouverscape — February 6, 2015 @ 11:01 am

    […] ‘balmy’ city for the evening. The menu was forage-themed and included several pours of Yukon Brewing craft beer, a Haskap Royale, and Edible Canada’s own Market Red wine, a gamay, syrah, pinot noir […]

  • Comment by Barry — August 13, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

    My son got me hooked on your great beers over the last couple of years as we would visit them in Faro from time to time. in June of this year we helped them move so while in Whitehorse we both stopped into your brewery and sampled all that you had to offer and were treated very well, as with all that day by your staff. Really nice folks. we teased the girls about wanting to buy an umbrella with your smart slogan “Beer worth freezing for”. Well thought out for a great beer. We had purchased as much beer as we had room for in our vehicles and away we went heading for Campbell River B.C. on Vancouver Island, enjoying the Yukon Gold along the way as well as our three growlers of Red, Ice Fog and Lead Dog. So now they are moved in,somewhat settled and still working in the Yukon. Yesterday (Aug.12/15) was a sad but memorable day as my two sons and I drank the last 3 YUKON GOLD IPA that we owned whitch has now started us on a quest for the bronzie liquid. I’ve just returned from our local Metro Loquor specialtry store and they said they hadn’t heard of you untill after I left
    there but did say they would look you up and see if they can bring some in for us, hopefully they will do so. Cheers to all and keep up your fine brewing……

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