Fall 2021 News


The annual Klocktoberfest celebration is coming up on Saturday September 25th at Klockow Brewing.  The Boreal Brewers have traditionally participated in this event, sharing out homebrew from a tent in the parking lot.  For 2021, we need enough homebrewers to make our contribution viable, and someone who is willing to take charge and organize logistics and homebrewers.

If you are willing to take on the task of organizing the Boreal Brewers participation at Klocktoberfest, please contact Steve at spbevets@hotmail.com.  Also contact Steve if you are willing to share homebrew at the event.

So what’s happening with the Boreal Brewers?  We were heavily involved at the outdoor Deer River BBQ and Brewfest in July, and did a tasting at Klockow earlier in the year.  It’s now September, and the Covid variants have changed the picture somewhat.  Itasca Co. public health says we’re in the “High Rate of Transmission” category right now.  We’d like to get a club meeting together, but are watching the local situation for a break.  Hopefully we can get together outside in October.




Deer River BBQ and Brewfest

Don’t forget that the annual Deer River BBQ and Brewfest is coming up Saturday July 17th.  Setup begins around noon, and the public can enter at 3:00 PM.  Because a decision on beer judging had to be made a few months ago before COVID restrictions were listed, there will not be a homebrew competition in 2021.  The question was whether it was safe or to pack a couple dozen beer judges into a room for a couple of hours. Homebrewers are encouraged to serve beer (you must have some overstock piled up from brewing during COVID!).

There’s more info at the Deer River event site.

Earlier email

Boreal Brewers Brew Club Turns 30!

Hey, folks, it’s a birthday year!  The Boreal Brewers Brew Club was formed in the summer of 1991, which puts us at 30 years old this summer.  We’re going to celebrate this occasion at the Deer River BBQ and Brewfest Saturday July 17.

Did you know that the Boreal Brewers came into existence as a result of the live “Brewpot Show” on KAXE radio?

The day before the Brewfest, KAXE will interview the two club founders, Steve Benson and Jerry Bourbonnais.  That interview will be at 08:45 Friday morning July 16th.   We’ll cover some of the tastings, events, accomplishments and humor of the history of the club.  Then we’ll be at Deer River Saturday, giving away beer.  Normal beers and … different beers, like Birch Syrup Ale, and Chocolate Cherry Imperial Stout, ciders, meads and wines.

We’ll publish a written history of the club’s activities here in a few days.  The more we think back, the more we realize how wildly varied and fun our activities have been!  Small tastings, huge tastings, collaborative brewing, community events, live radio, education, brewing advocacy and legislative activities.  And yet somehow beer and people are at the common thread through everything we’ve done.

Birch Wine Discussion

I’ve been researching a lot of birch information this year, and birch wine is an interesting topic.  The 2021 birch sap season is three weeks past, but we’re trying to get together a group of people who have made birch wine or are interested in doing so next year.  If you’re interested, please call Karen at Wine Creations in Grand Rapids, (218) 326-9490 and get on her list so we can set up a meeting and a tasting.

Birch sap is interesting to work with, and the syrup has a unique taste.  There’s a post on the home page of this site covering some of the uses and methods.

But wine has a fairly high alcohol content, and birch sap is extremely low in sugar, with a gravity of about 1.003.  Even if you boil it down at a ratio of 50:1, you still can only get to a few percentage points of alcohol by volume, and it caramelizes the sugar, producing a darker-than-clear product. There are a couple of commercial varieties, over 11% alcohol that are colorless. I made two 5 gallon batches this spring, boiling and concentrating the sap to a “golden” level of color, and an “amber” level of color.  The first tastes a bit like candy and honey, the second a bit more like brown sugar / very light molasses.

So how do people make clear birch wine?  What’s the source of fermentables to get the alcohol levels up?  If you’ve made any or are interested in a discussion, give Karen a call and we’ll try to set up a meeting this summer and discuss methods, materials and other additions that people use.  I’ve got birch mead and birch beer to share.

Boiling birch sap.