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Uncle Leo’s wins gold medal for German specialty beer

LYONS BROOK – Das ist gut.

Uncle Leo’s Fine Ale owner Karl Whiffen stands with his award-winning wheat beer Vohs Weizenbier at the brewery in Lyons Brook. The beer won the gold medal for German specialty beer category at the first annual Atlantic Canada Beer Awards. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS

That’s what judges at the first annual Atlantic Canada Beer Awards had to say about a German wheat beer crafted by Uncle Leo’s Fine Ales in Lyons Brook.

The beer, named Vohs Weizenbier, was awarded a gold medal in the category of German specialty beers and was selected over Paddy's Brewpub’s Dom Arthur in Wolfville.

Karl Whiffen of Uncle Leo’s said the he was surprised to hear his beer took the top honours in the category.

“We didn’t know we had won before it was announced then and there,” he said. “We went because everyone in the craft community is pretty friendly and it’s great to see everyone in one place celebrating craft beer.”

Tracy Phillippi, the organizer of the competition, is a passionate beer aficionado who also organizes the Canadian Brewing Awards. She noted that over the past several years, the Atlantic Canadian beer scene has experienced overwhelming growth as new breweries have opened and consumers have developed a taste and passion for trying new styles of beer.  

“The team was so pleased with the brewery enthusiasm – our goal was 70 submissions and we received 170 entries from breweries and brewpubs of all sizes,” she said. “Brewery feedback and social media participation also exceeded our expectations, and we're looking forward to growing the competition further in 2015.”

Phillippi noted that while it’s officially called a competition, the beers and micropubs aren’t necessarily competing against each other.

“They are competing against the style guidelines. Beers win the competition by meeting all the marks set out in the style guidelines.”

Within the guidelines for German specialty beer, like the yeast in its wheat beer, Uncle Leo’s rose to the top.

For Whiffen, he’s both honoured and flattered to receive the award and more importantly, peer recognition from fellow beer craftspersons.

“It’s an affirmation that we’re on the right track.”

He said the idea for the Vohs Weizenbier was to pay tribute to his neighbours Matt and Brenda Vohs, who hail from Cologne, Germany. The couple owns Pipers Landing and were the first to put Uncle Leo’s beer on tap.

Stories like this from Uncle Leo’s have caught the attention of Phillippi, who noted the Lyons Brook brewer is a leader in the craft beer community.

“As a beer judge, I tend to overanalyze each pint, but I have never observed a single flaw or off flavour in anything produced by Karl. Their quality control is exceptional, and they are a true leader in the craft beer community.”

The German wheat beer is an unfiltered brew consisting of at least 50 per cent wheat. It gives the beer, according to Whiffen, a banana and clove-like taste. A Belgian beer might be a close comparison to the wheat ale.

The Atlantic Canada Beer Awards have also provided special seal or label indicating the gold award for the wheat ale. Whiffen noted these will be affixed in the next label order for the beer.

While Vohs Weizenbier production will likely be paused until next spring or summer, Whiffen noted that he is working on a new winter brew for this Christmas, possibly a stout.

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn




North American & European Style Lagers

Gold: Hop City Brewing Company Barking Squirrel

Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing Company Lagerhosen

Bronze: Propeller Bohemian Style Pilsner


German Specialty Beers

Gold: Uncle Leo's Vohs Weizenbier

Silver: Paddy's Brewpub Dom Arthur


UK Specialty Beers

Gold: PEI Brewing Company Iron Bridge Brown

Silver: Gahan House Iron Bridge Brown

Bronze: Paddy's Brewpub Raven Ale


North American Specialty Ales

Gold: BarNone Black Eye Pale Ale

Silver: Boxing Rock Hunky Dory Pale Ale

Bronze: BarNone Sessions Ale


Belgian Style Specialty Ales

Gold: Pumphouse Pompiers a Vous Garde

Silver: North Brewing Summer Saison

Bronze: Grimross Chantelope


North American Amber & Red Ales

Gold: Boxing Rock Temptation Red

Silver: BarNone Substanchel

Bronze: Garrison Sweet Rye'd Harvest Wheat Ale


Fruit & Field Beers

Gold: Rare Bird Pumpkin Ale

Silver: Rogue's Roost Raspberry Wheat

Bronze: Bad Apple Operation Green Ring


Pale Ales

Gold: Bad Apple American Pale Ale

Silver: Boundary Ale

Bronze: Garrison Hop Yard Pale Ale


Stout & Porter

Gold: Rogue's Roost Oatmeal Stout

Silver: Big Axe Shakes Beer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Bronze: Pumphouse Muddy River Stout


Strong Stout & Porter

Gold: Propeller Brewery Revolution Russian Imperial Stout

Silver: Bad Apple Black & Tackle

Bronze: Rogue's Roost Imperial Stout


India Pale Ale

Gold: Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA

Silver: Big Spruce Tim's Dirty American IPA

Bronze: BarNone IPA BarNone


Imperial IPA

Gold: Bad Apple Mosaic Double IPA

Silver: Boxing Rock The Vicar's Cross Double IPA

Bronze: Garrison Brewery Imperial IPA


Strong Ale

Gold: Pumphouse Barley Wine

Silver: North Brewing Strong Belgian Dark

Bronze: Petit­‐Sault Bob Le Beouf


Experimental Beers

Gold: Boxing Rock U-­‐889 Russian Imperial Stout

Silver: Garrison Brewery Honey Lavendar Ale

Bronze: Big Spruce Hoppucino Coffee IPA


Wood & Barrel Aged Beers

Gold: Propeller Lambic

Silver: Garrison Brewery Barrel-‐Aged Grand Baltic Porter

Bronze: Bad Apple Barrel-­‐Aged Black & Tackle


Brewery Of the Year:  

Bad Apple


Brewpub of the Year:

Rockbottom Brew Pub


Beer of the Year:

Pumphouse Barley Wine


Stillwell's People's Choice Award:

Big Spruce Cereal Killer 

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