THE WAKKER WEEKLY - Issue #1400 - Posted on: 27-Nov-2017

Regular readers of our Wakker Weekly newsletter will immediately notice this 1400th edition does not contain the regular content features. In light of a significant recent event, we have deemed it appropriate to devote full content focus on Bushwakker co-founder and president, Dr. Beverly Robertson.

It is with profound sadness that we inform you that Bev passed away on the evening of Sunday, November 19th at the Pasqua Hospital in Regina. He was surrounded by close family. Bev had been battling a rare form of cancer called Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for a number of years and had been undergoing various treatments.

Bev was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1939 and was married to Bushwakker co-founder, Elaine Robertson, for 59 years. They have two children, four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Being an independent family-owned and operated business, it should come as no surprise that Bev first had to ensnare many of his family members to assist in creating what has become widely known as one of Canada's foremost brewpubs. Bev's son, Scott Robertson, was the Bushwakker's first brewer, his daughter, Kelly Monette, is the current general manager, his son-in-law, Mike Monette, is the executive chef, his granddaughter, Kristen Welisch, is the office manager, his grandson, Michael Gaetz, is the current head brewer and Elaine is Bushwakker general manager emeritus.

Bev's start in the craft brewing world began in his house as a homebrewer. Upon returning to Canada with his family after a sabbatical in Germany in the mid 1970's, Bev quickly realized the beer being offered by the Canadian breweries at the time could not compare with the German lagers and were, in fact, quite devoid of any flavour. After a short period of malt extract brewing, Bev quickly moved into full mash brewing where he gained more control over the quality of the final product and could formulate his beer recipes to his liking - while always adhering to each beer's individual style guidelines. His enthusiasm for brewing was infectious and soon others began brewing with him. Part of this group also shared Bev's passion for cross-country skiing. They enjoyed breaking fresh trails through the brush which is called, "bushwacking" and decided they would call themselves the Bushwacker brewers for they were breaking fresh trails in their local beer community. This was soon followed by Bev's work to establish the province's first amateur homebrewing club. They called themselves the ALES Club which stands for the Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan. The club has grown immensely in numbers and in status over the years and has been previously recognized as the top homebrewing club in Canada and one of the very best in North America. The club still holds its monthly meetings at the brewpub. Bev continued to hone his brewing skills and brewing knowledge. He wrote the Beer Judge Certification Program exam and became a certified beer judge. Upon winning the Best of Show award for his Palliser Porter at a national homebrewing competition, he had the confidence to take his brewing passion to the commercial level. He then was faced with a number of challenges including his lack of business experience despite being a respected academic, and the fact that there were no provincial laws in place to allow such a brewing venture to operate here. 

Through his work with the health research board, Bev had gained access to various members of the provincial cabinet and was able to convince them that the craft beer wave was coming and Saskatchewan should soon make allowances for it and not be the last province in confederation to do so. He was successful. During his time with the research board, Bev also travelled frequently to the USA where the craft brewing scene was developing rapidly. He quickly learned that the successful brewpubs would often reflect their immediate surroundings in their product branding, celebrate their local uniqueness, utilize local suppliers and ingredients whenever feasible, and most importantly, give back to the community they served. Bev's brewpub was modeled after The Wynkoop Brewpub found in the warehouse district in Denver, Colorado. Bev learned the establishment of a brewpub in this neglected section of the city spawned new business and housing development in the area and it became one of Denver's tourist area destinations.

Now armed with sufficient successful brewpub strategies, a provincial government willing to allow a limited number of brewpubs to operate, and a national brewing award, Bev applied for his brewpub license...but was not successful. This apparent setback had a silver lining for his original proposed brewpub location was what became Presuitti's Tomato and then The Crow's Nest. The building has since been replaced with a parking lot. Bev was successful in his second license application and with co-investment from some of his university colleagues and business contacts, raised enough money to finance his brewpub. The Bushwakker Brewpub opened on January 25, 1991 in a classic Chicago-style warehouse called the Strathdee Building. It has become a Regina destination for locals and tourists alike. Images of Regina's history adorn the walls, the background music features only Saskatchewan artists and live music performances feature local musicians. The Bushwakker is renowned on TripAdvisor as consistently being ranked as one of the city's top restaurants. The scratch-style cooking methods employed in the kitchen have garnered numerous awards. The accolades received by the brewery span from the local, national to international levels. The casual, welcoming atmosphere, combined with quality beer, food and service have been paramount in the success and longevity of the brewpub. Continued success is expected as the immediate family and extended family intend to maintain their focus on these core principals.

The Bushwakker has also served as inspiration to other craft breweries which now operate in the province. Many other operators have expressed their gratitude for the path the Bushwakker Brewpub paved for them. Only a few craft breweries were in existence in the early 1990's and now that number is fast approaching 20. One would be correct in citing Bev Robertson as Saskatchewan's craft beer pioneer.

In addition to Bev's brewpub career he achieved several academic honours and made many civic contributions. This is the short list:


Thank you for everything Bev. You will be missed.

The public is invited to join in a celebration of Bev's life on Monday, November 27 at 2:00 PM at the Jacqui Schumiatcher Room at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.

The celebration of life continues following the formal service at the Bushwakker Brewpub at 5:00 PM. A complimentary firkin of Bev's national award-winning Palliser Porter will be tapped at 6:00 PM. All food and drink proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Bev's name to the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina.

The Bushwakker family wishes to express their sincere gratitude for the large number of heartfelt condolences they have received.

Please note the Bushwakker will be closed on Sunday, November 26 and will re-open at 5:00 PM on Monday, November 27.


Our Weekend Prime Rib & Giant Yorkie Special Returns. 8 oz - $21.95 & 10 oz - $25.95

Soup & Sandwich Special is $12.95.  All hot specials are $15.95, except where noted, & include a serving of soup du jour, house, or Caesar salad.

Soup

Sandwich

Hot Special

Beer Pairing

Fri., Nov. 24

Washington Chowder

Muffuletta

Poached Salmon w/ Wild Rice

Chico IPA

Sat., Nov. 25

Bushwakker

Irish Breakfast. $14.95

Steak & a Pint. $18.95

Sun., Nov. 26

 

CLOSED

 

Mon., Nov. 27

Tomato Basil

Hot Wings & a Pint. $15.95

Pop’s Pizza & a Pint. $17.95

Tues., Nov. 28

Creamy Potato & Cheese

Pop’s Deluxe Pizza. $13.95

BBQ Prime Rib Dip

Palliser Porter

Wed., Nov. 29

Bean & Sausage

Beef & Cheddar on Whole Wheat

Coconut Thai Curry Chicken & Shrimp

Last Mountain Lager

Thur., Nov. 30

Chicken Tortilla

Monte Cristo

Jerk Sausage w/ Caribbean Rum Rice

Regina Pale Ale

Fri., Dec. 1

Smoked Salmon & Corn Chowder

Dagwood Club

Roast Pork Loin w/ Chasseur Sauce

Sodbuster Brown Ale

Sat., Dec. 2

Bushwakker

Bushwakker Breakfast

Steak & a Pint. $18.95

Sun., Dec. 3

Bushwakker

Bushwakker Breakfast

Steak & a Pint. $18.95