Many people travel to the Yukon for the outdoor adventure, the chance to see amazing wildlife up close, and perhaps the opportunity to strike it rich panning for gold. Few go up there to try one of Canada’s most northern microbrews; Yukon Brewing. Thankfully their beer is so good it’s available at most liquor stores in Alberta and British Columbia. But if you really want the full experience you’ll have to go to a local pub in The Yukon.
Brought to the Yukon for the many job opportunities, Ontarians Alan and Bob started the company as Chilkoot Brewing Co in 1997. Today they are proud to serve a growing local economy, promoting quality craft beer in the territory and jobs for locals. Along those lines they are adamant supporters of recycling other brands bottles and even go as far as taking their used grain and giving it to local farmers.
Let’s take a look at a few of their famous craft beers.
Chilkoot is their basic lager that tackles the problem so many commercially available lagers have: that nasty chemical taste. This beer is that go-to standard for just about every situation. It’s clean, refreshing, smooth and predictable. Local rave about how predictable it is, that each bottle will be remembered as fondly as the last. The name is a homage to the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway Alaska down to the Yukon, famously used during the Yukon Gold Rush Days. It’s a great pair with home cooked proteins like lamb, pork and beef as well as typical bar food like wings and burgers. Unfortunately though it is a local favorite and rarely available outside the territory.
Yukon Red is a bit of a puzzling amber ale. Yukon Brewing Co. has deemed it one of their flagship brands but recognizes its unique flavour as a red is not for everyone. Amber reds are one of my favorite beers so I am anxious to try this beer which is available in bottles throughout British Columbia and Alberta. Although you may want to go visit the brewery or a Yukon pub to take advantage of this craft beers legendary mousse. Fruity craft beers are often mistaken as simply sweet. The Yukon Red is fruity but perplexingly strong, not sweet and has a sharp bitter. I challenge you to find the perfect food to pair with this gorgeous red; maybe some seafood pasta or roasted lamb will do the trick.
Longest Night is a craft beer that tries to capture the essence of the brands slogan: “beer worth freezing for.” This Cascadian Dark Ale doesn’t look the part. Perhaps the dictomy at work. The owners wanted to project an image of the Yukon that allow it can have elements of the extreme it is down to Earth wholesome and welcoming. The scent of this one has a great amount of complexity but remains only a subtle foundation. Expect roasted and toasted scents of coffee and bitters yet a refreshingly mild citrus element. It will begin heavy but smooth out very nicely. For those that appreciate something hoppy – but with drinkability – this is a great candidate.
If you get a chance to taste one of the Yukon Brewing Company beers and fall in love I suggest you make a visit to the brewer. Besides getting to take advantage of all of the great outdoors activities up there you can rest and relax as the locals do, having a draught of Yukon Gold, the flagship beer.