Beau’s Brewing Co. has released the first of five brand-new beers brewed for feBREWary, its annual mid-winter craft beer celebration. The beer is called The Astromancer and is a certified organic 5.7% sage gruit. It will be served on tap and sold by the bottle this week at the more than 300 restaurants, pubs, and retailers participating in Beau’s FeBREWary.
Why would a brewery release a brand-new beer for five weeks straight in the middle of winter, when most people are dreaming of spring? Because craft beer shouldn’t have an off-season, according to Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne, who conceived feBREWary eight years ago to counter the notion that no one goes out for a beer when it’s bitter cold and dark. It began in Ontario and has since expanded to include Quebec and for the first time in 2019, locations in Winnipeg and Brandon Manitoba.
The Astromancer is an ale fashioned in the style of gruits, ancient beers that were brewed with herbs and botanicals including sage as a natural preservative, in lieu of hops. It serves as a toast to International Gruit Day on Feb. 1, a movement started by Beau’s to bring increased awareness to this somewhat-rare style of beer. This year, 45 breweries in 11 countries around the world will participate in International Gruit Day, including Canada, USA, New Zealand, The Netherlands, France, Finland, Sweden, England, Germany, China, and Lithuania.
The Astromancer pours mahogany with a tan foam. The aroma bursts with herbal sage. The flavor features sweet caramel malt with peppery spice notes and minty sage. The finish is spicy and dry. “We used a combination of organic whole leaf and rubbed sage in brewing The Astromancer to draw out both herbal character and essential sage flavors. Rye malt adds a peppery spice that complements the herbal component,” explains Beau’s Brewmaster Matthew O’Hara. He suggests pairing it with savory creations such as a sage and sausage gnocchi, or creamy cheeses such as Tilsit.
A list of the 300+ feBREWary partners who will carry The Astromancer can be found at beaus.ca/feBREWary. And it is available by the glass and as a take-home bottle directly from Beau’s in Vankleek Hill, ON. Next week feBREWary participants will be offering a Motueka Pilsner, a clean single-hop brew that showcases this modern hop from New Zealand.