Fort McMurray wildfire: The Beast gets distilled into whisky
A pallet of peated malt that escaped the Fort McMurray wildfire is set to be distilled into a whisky and christened with the name of the blaze it survived: The Beast.
Wood Buffalo Brewing Co. was struck by the idea of creating a signature spirit after discovering the 1,000 kilograms of malt had developed a new unique flavour thanks to being left on the side patio of the Morrison Street brew pub, absorbing the smoke from the forest fire.
“It was already heavily peated malt destined for whisky, but it absorbed this extra flavour,” head brewer Spike Baker said.
“You can taste the malt, but it also has this smoky campfire taste to it. This is definitely going to be a one-off whisky because these conditions are never going to be repeatable.”
The brew pub approached the Fort McMurray Fire Fighters Association to partner with the organization for a special event Friday that will not only see the distillation process begin, but will be used to raise funds for the Friends of the Fort McMurray Firefighters Charities Association.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come as a community,” Baker said. “In honour of the firefighters saving the city and making this whisky possible, we want to move that legacy forward — that’s where the giveback comes in.
“Our local firefighters have been with us every step of the way and when we shared our initial idea, they jumped in to help brainstorm the name and even wanted to be part of the event.”
Close to 200 bottles will be produced, and five of those will be auctioned off Friday.
Successful bidders will receive an empty bottle and an IOU to be redeemed in five years when The Beast will be ready to drink.
In addition, Wood Buffalo will provide 10 bottles a year for auctions that support victims of the wildfire
“This event is a chance for us to move forward and remember the good things,” Baker said.