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Beau’s kicks off Ottawa 2017 collaborative beer series with 49° 54°

Eastern Ontario craft brewery Beau’s has released the first collaborative creation in a year-long series of limited-edition beers that will celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, and Beau’s role as the official brewery of Ottawa 2017. The name of the first of Beau’s twelve Ottawa 2017 beers is based on the coordinates of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Fogo Island: 49° 54°. It is a myrrh-smoked gose and was made collaboratively with Fogo Island Inn.

To create this unique beer, a team from Beau’s travelled to Fogo Island to brainstorm recipe ideas with chefs from Fogo Island Inn, and to see what locally foraged ingredients would be suited to brewing. Hand-picked partridgeberries (a tart berry native to the island) went into the brew, along with torrified bark from Fogo Island paper birch trees. The wheat malt used in the 49° 54° beer was smoked using Island myrrh (hardened tree sap collected from local fir, spruce and pine). And finally, a touch of brine comes courtesy of sea salt harvested by chefs at Fogo Island Inn and shared with the Beau’s brewing team.

Recipe creation was led by Beau’s head brewer Brian O’Donnell. “The base style of the beer is a strong gose. From there, we tried to capture the essence of Fogo Island in wintertime. The conifer myrrh and birch bark are from local timber of the island, and are associated with fire and warmth. The partridgeberries are a winter-long food source, and are suited to freezing – in fact, they actually become more flavourful,” O’Donnell says.

Adds Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne: “The recipe development in its most basic form came together very quickly. But then we took time to learn about the culture and the tastes of Fogo Island. This is a beer that’s going to exist because we’ve been able to make connections with the people who live there. We could never have created this beer over Skype.” A video chronicle of the creative process behind the beer is available online.

The limited edition 49° 54° pours a hazy orange. Aromas are earthy and woody, mingled with mild fruitiness from the Newfoundland partridgeberries. Flavours are of smoky incense and brine, mildly tart berry, along with earthy, woody elements and evergreen sap. The finish is of lingering incense, with nicely balanced sweetness.

All Ottawa 2017 series beers will have a charitable component chosen by the collaborative partner. A portion of sales from 49° 54° will benefit Shorefast Foundation, a charity engaged in strengthening the communities, cultural heritage and local economy of Fogo Island.

“At Shorefast, we are focused on community engagement to help create cultural and economic resilience for Fogo Island,” says Diane Hodgins, CFO of Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Inn. “We reached out to Beau’s with the idea of working together on a project like this because we saw people who share the same values, in terms of getting the community engaged with the growth of the business, and doing business a little bit differently.”

49° 54° will be available to guests of Fogo Island Inn on February 5, 2017. Limited quantities will also be available by the bottle from the Vankleek Hill brewery beginning January 5, and in January at select restaurants and pubs in Ontario. Next up in the Ottawa 2017 series is a collaboration with Montréal’s Brasserie Oshlag, an oak-aged Vidal pale ale. It will be available on draught at hundreds of craft-friendly establishments across Ontario and Québec as part of Beau’s FeBREWary offerings.