Yukoner’s beer takes top prize at Haines homebrew competition

Whitehorse resident Lara Lewis’s Flanders Red Ale Session Lite was awarded Best of Show at Beerfest

The Yukon woman who took home the top homebrewing prize at this year’s Haines Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival hasn’t touched a brewing setup in years.

She had also forgotten that the now multi-award-winning beverage had been tucked away in a cellar for about half a decade, until, about six months ago, her ex-partner discovered the stash while cleaning.

Those are among the reasons why Whitehorse resident Lara Lewis said she’s a little abashed that her beer, Flanders Red Ale Session Lite, recently brought home three accolades from the annual Alaskan event, including Best of Show.

“It’s almost embarrassing to win, you know?” Lewis, a Yukon government geologist, said in an interview May 28. “I wasn’t going to enter this beer but my partner, my ex, he found it and he was like, ‘Oh, you should enter this!’”

The Flanders Red Ale Session Lite is, like its name suggests, a take on a Flanders red ale, a style of sour beer originating from Belgium. Lewis said she used a “variety of malts” and a “strange blend of yeast and bacteria” when making it, and, while that style of beer is typically aged in oak barrels, she put oak chips directly into the liquid instead.

The result is a mild sour — far less sour than something you might get from Deep Dark Woods, for example — with what Lewis described as a “fairly thin body” with an “earthiness” from the oak chips that gives the beer “something to lean on.”

Lewis said she’d originally brewed it around five to six years ago, when she was still actively making beer, and had entered it into the Haines homebrew competition when it was fresh but was told it was lacking body and complexity.

She then put the remainder of the batch into a cellar, initially with the intention of letting it age for a bit and then, eventually, kind of forgetting it was even there.

“When we first started, you couldn’t get any interesting craft beer, and especially in the North — it wasn’t really until maybe eight years ago when you started to see a proliferation of craft beers and different styles of beers locally,” she said, adding that homebrewing is also labour-intensive.

“(But the competition) makes me really interested in beer again and the whole brewing process, because it’s just fascinating. It’s science, you know? There’s just so much to learn, it’s never-ending… It definitely triggered this renewed interest in brewing.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

BeerCraft beer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read