Friday, August 12, 2011

Askim's Beer and Wine Emporium

Address: 1125 Haultain St.
Phone: (250) 361-3627
Price: $70 for a small batch of beer
Notes: Sage & friendly advice abounds at askims!

It took us way, way too long to get into Askim's. It has been on our walk to the grocery store for the past five years we have probably walked or driven by hundreds of times - plus we are CAMRA members we the fact that it took us so long to actually brew beer instead of just getting Beerfest tickets from him is pretty ridiculous. Pretty much every single time we walked by my partner-in-food-and-life couldn't resist but read out the full title of the place (extra emphasis on EMPORIUM!). Also, since I'm a child of the 80s I have a fondness for things called "emporium"s because of Puttnam's Prairie Emporium.

We haven't done more than brew on-site, but I know plenty of people seek him out for brewing knowledge, supplies and brew kits. While some u-brew places have lots of ingredients and recipes to follow I was kind of surprised to find that Ken has pre-mixed kits that involve just adding yeast, but I've done both and I have to say, I do like his stuff better by far! Comparing the ingredients between the two it makes sense - there were a rather lot of random things in the beer we made 'from scratch' that aren't in his kits. More research needed... by far.

Ken is a pretty awesome guy. At first I wasn't sure if he was too sure about me (I kind of get the feeling his customer base is more gentlemen than ladies) but once I whipped out my CAMRA card and made friends with his dog Kiwi I seemed to be in. Now I can't walk by with my dog without stopping to say hi. One of these days I want to pick ups brain about my bizzarre dream of someday opening a u-brew business (as you can tell from above, I know nothing about brewing beer. Yet.) but I'm kind of afraid it might be too easy to talk me into doing it sooner rather than later. He also put up with us being too busy to come bottle our beer for several weeks before just telling us to drop off our bottles and come pick them up the next day. What a star!

August, 2011
First batch of beer picked up - a bock although we're both blanking on the exact name of it at the moment. First taste it was pretty room temperature and I wasn't too sure. Second taste after a few days of relaxing in the bottle and getting some in the fridge and I was sold. We are normally not super-regular beer drinkers, but we went through an astonishing amount of beer because it's so darn good!! Glad we put another batch on relatively promptly (this time a wheat beer).

Also was excited that he sold us half a batch of mead he had kicking around. I have come to discover mead fairly recently and my good friend & her partner-in-food-and-life are getting married in the fall and I wanted to make some mead for a present but was worried I wouldn't have time. As it turned out, another customer had purchased the other half and he was looking for someone to pick up the other and things worked out perfectly! Haven't gotten to try it yet (saving it for the special occasion) but the sips we had to test if it was ready or not were fantastic!


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