Some of Canada’s best are teaming up to save, study and celebrate Lake Erie wildlife (consider us here in Cleveland big fans). Ottawa’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. has recruited award-winning Canadian scribes and longtime environmental activists Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson to create an inspired new gruit. Oh yes, and that limited-edition gruit will raise funds for the Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO), the bird reserve on the largest island in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Gibson chairs PIBO’s board of directors, and Atwood is an adviser to the board.
The new beer’s recipe is inspired by many of the botanicals noted in Atwood’s latest novel MaddAddam, the third book in her trilogy of speculative fiction that includes Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Within the context of MaddAddam there is much foraging and harvesting of plants and botanicals, which conjured up the idea of a themed gruit ale. Gruits are beers brewed with herbs and other botanicals in lieu of hops.
“We are super-honored to have Ms. Atwood and Mr. Gibson’s collaboration in creating this beer,” said Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “Involving PIBO was personally important to them, and for Beau’s it fits with our commitment to brewing interesting, tasty beer that at the same time is creating sustainable, positive change in our local communities.”
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996) and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than 40 languages, and she is a companion of the Order of Canada.
Graeme Gibson is the acclaimed author of Five Legs, Perpetual Motion and Gentleman Death. He is a past president of PEN Canada and the recipient of both the Harbourfront Festival Prize and the Toronto Arts Award, and is a member of the Order of Canada. He has been a council member of World Wildlife Fund Canada and is chairman of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory.
PIBO is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to collect and contribute information about migratory birds and their populations. Pelee Island is the southernmost populated point in Canada, and has a unique micro-climate that sustains a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. A significant stopover site for many species of migratory birds, it has been designated a globally Important Bird Area by the Canadian partners of Birdlife International.
Beau’s All Natural will officially release the new gruit ale at Session Toronto Craft Beer Festival June 13-14, where it will be a part of the Collaboration Nation competition. Beau’s was the 2013 winner of Collaboration Nation with The Tom Green Beer. The beer will also be available in limited quantities on tap at select restaurants and pubs across Ontario, and in 600-millimeter bottles directly from the brewery this June.