Daily, at 2 pm, the Yukon Brewing Company has a free tour and beer sampling. Naturally,
as the words free and beer were used in the same sentence we attended. The facility,
located on the north end of Whitehorse produces 100% of the Yukon Brewing Companies'
The tour took place during production hours so we were able to see employees at work
packaging and labelling beer. This small producer does not have automated packaging
so the process is very manually intensive. We were also shown an unusual piece of
equipment, a fifty year old Coca Cola company bottle cleaning machine. The Yukon
Brewing Co. buys only used bottles collected at recycling centers, cleans, inspects
and re-uses them for all of their brews. This saves them the cost of shipping empty
new bottles to this relatively remote location. We were also shown the oak barrels
where the first batch of their whiskey awaits a release party still several years
Now, for the brews:
Cranberry Wheat Ale - Unlike most fruit infused beers this one was not particularly
sweet. The cranberry flavor is so subtle that only the tartness really makes it
through at the finish. However, I have to say that really disguises the flavor of
the wheat in an strange way, making it seem more like a lager with a cranberry nose.
Yukon Red Amber - This formula was good enough to win the 2009 Canadian Beer of
the Year, which the brewery is not shy about mentioning. As a real fan of ambers
I have tried it a couple of times so far here in the Yukon and I wouldn’t rate it
particularly high on my list.
Chilkoot Lager - This lager, unlike some large brand name lagers, is brewed without
the use of any rice. This means it is a bit smoother than it’s corporate brethren.
This could be a plus or a minus for you, I appreciate this style of lager more.
Discovery Ale - My favorite of their products. I frequently see honey wheat beers,
but a honey ale is a bit more rare. Add to that the unique flavour of fireweed honey
and you have a really distinct flavor. It is sweet, delicate, but still tastes like
a beer. Try this one out, if you can find it.
Yukon Gold - This beer was not particularly memorable. As an Ale it is average.
It is worth trying if you are in the area but I would not pay the price it would
probably go for outside of Canada.
Lead Dog Strong Ale - As far as IPA’s go this is not a particularly hoppy but that
is intentional. I spoke with Amos, the brewmaster who developed this particular
recipe. He understands the hop heavy tastes down in the USA but wasn’t aiming to
please them specifically. The beer does have a strong good taste, healthy head,
and whopping 7% alcohol so I would say he has found a good spot with this one.
Midnight Sun Espresso Stout - As it happens Jess and I had a cup of Midnight Sun
the day before our tour. They are a local roaster located in the same building as
Icycle Sport where I fixed up my Kona. The coffee was great and the flavoring it
imparted on this otherwise smooth stout was impossible to ignore. This thing is
perfect for a cold night with a warm fire.