Lake of the Woods Brewing Company gains a lot of its inspiration from the region it calls home. The smells of damp moss in the boreal forest, the taste of juniper on the tip of the tongue, the stories of lost lakes, paper mills and gold mines. This spirit of inspiration that drives our brewery is shared with a folk band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are called Red Moon Road, and we get along great. So, this October, we figured we’d team up on a seasonal release, just in time for our Oktoberfest celebrations.
The relationship between LOWBrewCo and Red Moon Road goes back to 2014, when the brewery came on board as the main sponsor at the Moose n’ Fiddle Festival, and Red Moon Road was one of only four acts to perform. Everyone on the LOWBrewCo team had an immediate appreciation for the trio’s songwriting and musicianship, not to mention the ease of their company, so we started getting them out for events, again and again. They have headlined our Starry Starry Night event, graced our taproom stage with the Live at LOWBrewCo series, and (earning extreme hero points) Red Moon Road even jumped on stage to perform acoustically at our BPM event when the power went out and Royal Canoe could no longer do their show! Every time we bring Red Moon Road back, a little bit more of Kenora joins the fan club hike, down the windy, Red Moon Road…
Red Moon Road is made up of three members; Sheena Ratti, Daniel Jordan, and Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner, and a couple weeks back, the three of them came to our Kenora brewery to lend a hand in the production of what would be their featured seasonal, the Sorrow and Glory Smoked Irish Red Ale. The name comes from the title of their most recent album, which, like all their albums, is worth more than just a quick listen. I know first hand, that a lot of the songs on their albums are written while spending time by the lake, in the forest, or even in a wood-fired hot tub. Fun fact, one of said songs, Craigs Reel, is actually about my father! Anyways, when they came to Kenora a few weeks back, Head Brewer Josh Manzie did an excellent job welcoming them (and a few tagalongs, such as myself) into the brewhouse to lend a hand in getting this collaboration beer rolling. Certainly, a huge part of what Red Moon Road contributed was the inspiration. They gave Josh feelings and words to work with, an important and often undervalued part of the direction and expression of any craft.
“Morning dew on the pine needles, musty fall leaves, campfire on woollen sweaters, Islay whiskey and cedar frame construction, red wine in a hot bath on a cold night” -Red Moon Road
In making their words into beer, Josh also contemplated the title, Sorrows and Glories, and found appreciation in the harmony of dichotomy expressed. “Made me think of your ying-yang pairings… up and down, left and right, sweet and smoky, sorrow and glory!” -Josh Manzie
They set to work with a Smoked Irish Red Ale in mind, to get the smokiness of the feel of campfires on woollen sweaters, and Islay whiskeys, as requested in the bands poetic tasting notes. Using the smoker on site, Josh and the other brewers smoked their own pale malt for the mash, as well as their own cherry wood for ageing the beer. The choice to do a Red Ale was, of course, a bit of a play on the name of the band, but also it was a decision based on the fall time feel of Red Moon Roads words. They seemed to be gravitating toward a warm you up beer, so a Smoked Irish Red Ale it was.
The Sorrow and Glory Smoked Irish Red Ale has gone through its brewing stages and is perfectly timed to be released this evening, Friday October 19th during our Oktoberfest celebrations. Red Moon Road will be playing a sold-out show in our Taproom and joining patrons in taking the first sips of this fall seasonal they helped inspire. Lake of the Woods Brewing Company and Red Moon Road was a natural pairing of creative forces. It is exciting to imagine what crafty folks could be next to inspire the direction of brews by Lake of the Woods!
Have some ideas? Drop me an e-mail or comment, and you just might lend a hand in discovering our next featured artist!