Holiday Inspiration at Big Rock Urban

By Stuart Karol - Tue, Dec 8, 2015

A peek inside the minds of our brewery team - where do they get their inspiration for beers during the holiday season? 

Brewmaster Jody on his Frankincense, Myrrh, & Gold Ale:

Frankincense, Myrrh, & Gold. In the age of antiquity these three items were very highly valued, so much so that they were given as gifts to a very special baby. I have been inspired by these ingredients to bring you a unique offering… A Frankincense & Myrrh beer garnished with gold stars. The story of this beer started a few years ago when I came across an importer of Frankincense based in New York City. She harvests the Frankincense twice a year the old fashioned way - with Bedouins, by hand, close to the “empty quarter” in the deserts of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. She also has connections that harvest, again by hand, Myrrh resin from North Africa (now there is a Customs nightmare story for you, importing from North Africa and Oman into New York City). I paired these two unique ingredients with what I felt would have been grains possibly growing throughout that region 2000 years ago, smoked wheat, barley malt, oats and rye to give this beer a smooth yet distinctive mouth feel, then I asked our bar staff to top it all off with a few sprinkles of gold stars. This unique beer will only be available in-house at BRU for a limited time. 

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.” –Dr. Seuss. All of us here at the BRU wish you a Merry Christmas and Peace this Holiday Season.


Adam on his St. Adam's Holiday Ale:

My favourite time of year is approaching. Friends and family get together to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. However, I still get giddy when I get a present and Newlands has given us an early one. Our pilot brewery is now fully operational! After doing a quick run through pushing some water around the brewhouse, Jody left me in charge of the first brew to see if there was any bugs. Rather than playing it safe and making something simple, I decided to embrace my inner child and take the little guy to its limits.

We had Belgian yeast that was hungry so I ended on a recipe for an amber-coloured Belgian Strong Ale. Instead of using traditional Candi sugar, I added 8 kg of honey at the end of the boil. That still wasn’t festive enough for me so I spiced it with some holiday cheer by adding candied ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, star anise and a blend of peppercorns to the whirlpool. The spices were meant to compliment the character of the yeast instead of overpower it and tend to become more prominent as the beer warms up. This thing is big and jolly like Saint Nick, and best enjoyed slowly and in the company of loved ones. Cheers and enjoy!


Matt on his Chocolate Orange Stout:

The holidays for me are about spending time with your friends and loved ones. I come from a large and loud family, and the get-togethers are always hectic and noisy. It seems that every year our family is expanding by leaps and bounds. Last year there was 1 new addition and there are 2 more on the way within the next months. Space is a premium at my parents place and there’s no quiet to be had – it’s tradition.

When brainstorming casks for the holiday season I knew right away that I wanted to make a Chocolate Orange Stout. Even though it's one of my least favorite flavor combinations, in my brain it's synonymous with the holiday season.  Why? It's become tradition in my house that my Mom gives all her children a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Every year. Without fail. That and socks. The funny thing is all her children hate Chocolate Oranges and she knows it. Every year she ends up with a pile of Chocolate Oranges and a huge smile... That's my family – love you Mom!