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Craft-brewing pioneers

While the latest edition is still at the printer’s, we took a quick look inside: in the 2/15 magazine. And it was well worthwhile! We don’t want to post any spoilers here, but nor did we want to keep what we saw all to ourselves either. For instance, there’s an article about Les Brasseurs RJ, which we found fascinating. We’re reporting the salient facts about it here already, and there’ll be more about it in the next magazine.

Canada’s craft-brewing scene is older than you might think. 25 years ago, the first brew-pubs emerged here, followed by microbreweries in Quebec Province on the east coast. One of the first small breweries was the predecessor of Les Brasseurs RJ in Montreal formed when three microbreweries merged.

At Les Brasseurs RJ, the brewers can now create their specialities at a consistently excellent level of quality and significantly enhanced efficiency based on a high degree of flexibility for many different types, thanks to a Steinecker CombiCube B brewhouse. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary celebrations of Roger Jaar’s original brewery, Les Brasseurs RJ installed the new CombiCube B brewhouse as a four-vessel system, featuring a mash kettle, a lauter tun, a wort copper and a whirlpool. It also incorporates the warm-water system, the wort cooler, a CIP system, and three hop supply vessels. For the first time, the malt is processed by a Variomill wet mill, with a new grain intake system installed as well. A Botec control system controls grain intake, the brewhouse and all auxiliary units. The CombiCube B brewhouse has been dimensioned for up to ten brews a day, with a cast-wort quantity of 80 hectolitres each. This adds up to a theoretically possible annual capacity in three-shift operation of 240,000 hectolitres.

 

Jérôme Denys, the brewmaster, has nothing but praise for the performance of the CombiCube B. “For me, this was like a man walking on the Moon for the first time. A whole new world. The footprint is unbelievably small; the automation gives us a lot more consistency in the brewing process, and we nonetheless remain very flexible. For the first time, too, I’ve been able to work with a wet mill. This technology operates significantly faster than dry milling, you don’t get any dust, and it makes it a whole lot easier to mash the grist,” he explains. “The brewing technology also had a beneficial effect on the beers’ stability. We no longer have any problems with diacetyl, with DMS or with alcohol in the hops.”

After the Steinecker brewhouse, Les Brasseurs RJ also installed a manually controlled TFS filter, with which the output has been increased from its previous 15 hectolitres per hour to its present 70 hectolitres per hour.

Belle Gueule is the principal brand of Les Brasseurs RJ, accounting for about half of total sales, and is distributed solely in the province of Québec – a sixpack for a retail price of ten Canadian dollars plus taxes. The Cheval Blanc yeast wheat beer, by contrast, is also sold outside Québec. At the prestigious “World Beer Cup 2014” the brewery won two silver medals for Cheval Blanc in the “Belgian-Style Witbier” category, and for the wheat beer Belle Gueule Hefeweizen in the “German-Style Pale Wheat Ale” category.

What’s more, for over 15 years now, Les Brasseurs RJ have been importing Bitburger, Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Wernesgrüner, König Pilsener, Grolsch, Carlsberg, Tuborg and Kronenbourg: beers that as imported brands enjoy speciality status in Canada.

Well, are you curious? Then you should request the magazine right here, so as not to miss out on a single issue in the future.

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