THE WAKKER WEEKLY - Issue #1294 - Posted on: 16-Nov-2015

Bushwakker News

Our November premium red wine feature is Pelee Island Reserve Baco Noir VQA from Ontario. The white is Seven Daughters Crisp White (7 varietal blend) from California. Both are $8.50 for a glass and $24.95 for a half litre.

Our guest draught tap is currently pouring the Nokomis IRA, an India Red Ale from Nokomis, Saskatchewan. $7.95 for a pint. Next up is the Dieu du Ciel L'Herbe a Detourne. Scores 99 points on Ratebeer.com. A Citra hopped Abbey Tripel from Quebec.  

Bushwakker Events

Nov. 16: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. Billy & Karen. Veteran Regina bluesman, Billy Hughes is joined by Karen Runge for an evening of acoustic blues and other appropriate songs befitting this talented duo. 8:00 PM.

Nov. 18: Wednesday Night Folk. Ron Loos. Talented guitar plucker and humorous storyteller presents acoustic versions of many classics and original material too. 9:00 PM.

Nov. 23: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. The Jazz Band-Its. Over 20 members comprise this very big band who play very big band jazz. 8:00 PM.

Nov. 25: Wednesday Night Folk. The Katie Miller Duo. Folk Rock singer songwriter, prairie soul storyteller, influenced by Neil Young, Katie expresses her life through song. katiemiller.ca

Nov. 28: The 27th Single Malt Scotch Tasting.  SOLD OUT. One of our most popular events of the year. Evaluate six special order single malt Scottish whiskies including: Edradour Caledonia, Signatory Vintage Glen Scotia 1991 22 year old, Benromach Chateau Hermitage Finish, Adelphi Glenrothes 2007, Adephi Fascadale Batch #8 and Kilchoman Machir Bay. Performances from The Regina Highland Dancing Association as well as The Regina Police Services Pipes & Drums. An optional Scottish-themed dinner feature will be available prior to the tasting featuring Bowmore 15 Year Braised Lamb Shanks with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Root Vegetables. Starts with a bowl of Split Pea and Ham Soup. A Bite-Sized Glenmorangie Sticky Toffee Pudding will also be available.

Nov. 30: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. Jordan Welbourne Trio. Saskatoon blues rock trio on a western Canadian tour make a one night stop in Regina. www.jordanwelbourne.com 8:00 PM.

Can beer save bees?

By Tim Devaney - 10/20/15

A key ingredient in beer will be used to protect honeybees from extinction.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday approved the widespread use of a pesticide known as potassium salts of hops beta acids (HBAs) around honeycombs. These hops will be used to target certain parasites that attack honeybees. 

These hops are “generally recognized as safe” for human consumption, according to the EPA, because they are commonly used to flavor beer and preserve meat.

“There is a long history of safe use of HBAs via the oral and dietary exposure to humans from its use as a preservative on meats and its presence in the beer brewing process,” the EPA wrote.

The EPA is lifting previous limits on the use of HBAs. 

The rule goes into effect immediately.



Massachusetts monks start brewing beer to make ends meet

by Michelle O’Berg-Figueroa - 10/8/15

As huge crowds gathered to see Pope Francis last month, with loud cheers, cell phone pictures and hashtags, the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, celebrated in silence with no Wi-Fi connection.

These monks don’t usually watch TV or use the internet, but an exception was made for the Pontifice. Their celebration wasn’t very lively, though: Trappists rarely exchange words. But they do brew one helluva beer, and get to enjoy some of it during an hour of levity and relaxation every Sunday.

St. Joseph’s decided to begin brewing a few years ago to finance the monastery, when costs rose beyond income from selling jams, jellies, liturgical vestments and tourist swag.

“When we put it to a vote, we had the biggest majority of any vote we’ve ever had—87% were in favor,” said Father Isaac Keeley, Director of Spencer Brewery, who forgoes the vow of silence to act as a spokesman for the organization. “The brew house lends itself to quiet, to a certain amount of mindfulness and prayerful atmosphere. There’s a point when liquid has to come to a rest … so there’s even a contemplative moment in the process.”

Luckily, the day-to-day life of a monk in the middle of Massachusetts is not all that expensive. Food is pretty basic and robes, which can be worn for years, run $125 apiece. But like other ordained Catholics, these monks are also getting older. As such, their health-care costs are pretty high.

Shelter can also be expensive. The 55 monks at St. Joseph’s live in an aging monastery, which sits on 2,000 acres of land. It was built, originally as a farm, in the early 1900s, so maintenance is pricey. There’s also the cost of running the brewery itself. It required loans to build, which now have monthly payments. Then there are regular costs of packaging, equipment maintenance, paying brew masters and other overhead.

Father Keeley would not provide revenue and expense figures for the monastery or the brewery, nor would other representatives. Because it’s a tax-exempt organization, St. Joseph’s finances aren’t public.

“Imagine what health insurance costs for a family of four and multiply that out to 55 monks and add a really large monastery building to maintain and you get a sense of some of the expenses,” Father Keeley said.

Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, Spencer Brewery produces roughly 36,600 bottles of beer each year. At $3.50 a bottle, that amounts to about $128,100 in annual revenue, which isn’t much.

Father Keeley said the brewery isn’t expected to earn a profit for at least a decade. And, in any case, the International Trappist Association requires all members to abide by rules that limit revenue to the needs of the monastery and its charities.

“There’s an 100 year framework… we’re inventing the base for the economy of the monastery for the century,” he said. “We are really driving down the first block.”

Spencer became the first Trappist brewery outside of Europe only a couple of years ago, but it follows a long line of monk brewers earning money from alcohol.

Over 300 years ago, a French Benedictine monk by the name of Dom Perignon was a pioneer in winemaking. Yes, that same $200 bottle of Dom Perignon popped in music videos is named after a monk. And that Chimay beer you see at the local beer-snob bar has been on tap for 150 years, also thanks to monks.

“Manual labor is actually a part of the Rule of St. Benedict that stresses the importance of ‘ora et labora’—‘pray and work’—and where ‘idleness is the enemy of the soul,’” said Father Keeley.

The monks at St. Joseph’s belong to the most extreme order of ordained Roman Catholics: the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, or Trappists. They take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience like others, but they also follow the rule of St. Benedict (which is actually a whole bunch of rules) very closely.

They pray seven times a day, starting at 3:30 a.m. They know when to eat, when to sleep and when, specifically, to say “Alleluia.” Contrary to popular belief, they are not completely mute, but they do not engage in frivolous banter.

As the monks try to sell more beer, they’re running into a dilemma: with strict observances and limited communications, how can they promote their brew to the outside world?

“Most of us wouldn’t have—what do you call them? Smartphones,” said Father Keeley. “We generally don’t participate in social media. It’s a bit of a liability for brewery.”

They are gradually trying to adapt, though. The brewery itself does have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. They are updated somewhat infrequently, but have gotten some buzz going about the brewery and its marquis product: Spencer Trappist Ale.

It’s a reddish-gold Belgian ale, with 6.5% ABV. The official flavor description details “fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness.” Jason and Todd Alström, who co-founded the beer review web site BeerAdvocate.com, describe Spencer Trappist Ale as “dry, yeast, bubblegum, crackers” and rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Next month, the brewery will release its second beer, a holiday ale, and a Russian stout will follow in 2016.

As a startup brewer with only a couple of beers in production, I asked Father Keeley what he thought about consolidation among big brewers, including the proposed $100 billion-plus merger between beer giants AB Inbev and SABMiller.

“As a small brewer, we’re always in favor of enough diversity so the beer market remains competitive,” he said.

Beer isn’t the only product that monasteries across the U.S. make to earn money: Carmelite monks in Cody, Wyoming, make Mystic Monk Coffee, as well as tea and candy; nuns at Our lady of the Angels in Crozet, Virginia, make cheese; Benedictine monks at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California, make ink and toner for print cartridges, while those in St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana make honey and caskets.

In fact, Jack M. Ruhl, a professor at Western Michigan University who has studied financial reporting at Catholic dioceses, said he had never heard about America’s only monk-brewed beer. But in his visits to monasteries across the country, he has found many that resort to selling goods to make ends meet.

“The monks,” he noted, “are not paid even minimum wage.”


Time Out

MacGregor received a parrot for his birthday. The parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an obscenity. Those that weren't expletives, were to say the least, rude. MacGregor tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of. Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird yelled back. He shocked the bird and the bird just got more angry and more rude. Finally, in a moment of desperation, MacGregor put the bird in the freezer, just for a few moments. He heard the bird squawk and kick and scream-then suddenly, there was quiet. 

MacGregor was frightened that he might have hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'll endeavor at once to correct my behavior. I really am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness." MacGregor was astonished at the bird's change in attitude and was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change when the parrot continued, "May I ask what did the chicken do?"


Our New Autumn Weekend Special is a Prime Rib & Giant Yorkie Dinner (available in two sizes)

Soup & Sandwich Special is $11.95.  All hot specials are $15.95, except where noted, and include a serving of soup du jour, chopped, or Caesar salad.

Soup

Sandwich

Hot Special

Beer Pairing

Fri., Nov. 13

Washington Chowder

Croissant Club

Smokey Pork Chop w/ Yam Mash & Chef’s Veg

Sodbuster Brown Ale

Sat., Nov. 14

Bushwakker

Flank Steak Spinach Salad. $13.95

Steak & a Pint. $17.95

Mon., Nov. 16

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Pizza Sub

Broccoli & Sausage Penne

Granny’s Bitter

Tues., Nov. 17

Sausage & Bean

Beer Braised Chicken Pizza. $13.95

IPA Bassa w/ Lager Potato

Stubblejumper Pilsner

Wed., Nov. 18

Creamy Chicken Mushroom

Monte Cristo

Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ Mushroom Sauce

Regina Pale Ale

Thur., Nov. 19

Curried Red Lentil

Chicken Pecan Salad on French

Beef Ribs w/ Garlic Mashed & Chef’s Veg. $16.95

Sodbuster Brown Ale

Fri., Nov. 20

Beef Barley

Smoked Turkey, Bacon & Roasted Red Pepper on Multi-Grain Ciabatta

Apple Stuffed Porkloin w/ Wild Rice

Last Mountain Lager

Sat., Nov. 21

Bushwakker

Steak & Eggs. $14.95

Steak & a Pint. $17.95