Those of you that frequently try Blind Enthusiasm beers may have noticed that we’ve recently been making a lot more lagers. We’re still doing a few of the old favourite ales (ZestyZee, ZüS, and Yen ‘til Two) but by and large we’re mainly putting out lagers. Even some of our barrel-aged beers (Buffalo Meadows) and an upcoming barrel-fermented beer are lager-based. So… what gives? Is this on purpose, and if so, what’s the objective?

The sudden focus on lagers at Blind Enthusiasm is indeed purposeful and reflects a directional shift in our production and commercial goals. I like to call what we’re doing the Lagerization Project. This is a fancy way of saying we’re mainly going to be making lagers going forward.

We’re still going to do some wheat ales, as well as ale-based barrel-aged and fermented beers so it’s not 100% lager brewing, but it will be close. Like many of our directional changes we just started doing it because it felt right. Initially we thought it would be an interesting direction to take and would further differentiate us from the rest of the breweries in Alberta. Now that we’re knee deep in lagers we’ve had some time to think about what subconscious desire drove us to shift this way and we discovered it’s related to our original reason for creating Blind Enthusiasm (the whole thing, including the brewery, restaurant, and buildings where we reside).

We created Blind Enthusiasm because we wanted to capture the amazing things our team has seen in our travels and careers and bring them back to Edmonton. We’ve all traveled the world and immersed ourselves in beer and food, and we want to share all of best of what we’ve experienced with you, the customer, by re-creating it here. This is why we do lagers and barrel-aged beers at the Market, and barrel-fermented beers at the Monolith. This is why we created a unique restaurant like Biera, rather than a standard pub-based tap room. It’s all because we want to avoid the easy and safe route so we can share these unique experiences with you.

A team trip to visit breweries in Belgium in 2018.

So, back to why lagers? We feel lagers have been undermined as a category of beer by generically mass-produced macro producers to make a lowest common denominator beer. Most people don’t appreciate what lagers actually can be. This was true for me as well. My eyes weren’t opened until I went to Bavaria a few years ago and had amazing dry-hopped lagers from young brewers of Germany straining against the German beer purity laws (Rheinheitsgabot) while trying to make aggressive, flavourful beers. They were amazing beers, and unlike anything I’d ever tried in North America. My desire to share my lager awakening is what set me on our current path.

So what does this mean for you? Well, the actual act of Lagerization is the conversion of an existing ale into a lager. The first experiment in this project is Extra Special Monk. It started life as a delightful ale and was one of the first beers we ever brewed. Now it’s appropriate that it’s the first installment in this new direction as Extra Special Monk Lager. It’s super-clean and balanced, with the same citrus and tropical hop character as before. Is it better than the original? A case could certainly be made, but you’ll have to be the judge. We hope you like it.

Extra Special Monk Lager, the lagerization of Extra Special Monk.