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Clocktower releases Star Trek-themed beer, celebrates 20 years of brewing

The Clocktower Brew Pub is boldly going where few brewers have gone before by releasing a licensed Star Trek-themed beer just in time for a massive Starfleet Gala to be held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum next month.

The beer will be called The Final Frontier, and just to make sure the unitards of Star Trek fans get bunched up, it will be brewed with the grain triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye. According to Star Trek lore, triticale is genetically modified at some point in the near future to become “quadrotriticale”, the stuff Tribbles feast on in the famous 1967 Star Trek episode, The Trouble With Tribbles.

“I am just a huge Star Trek fan,” said Patrick Fiori, brewery manager at the Clocktower Brew Pub. “When the opportunity for this came up, I contacted my supplier to see if they had it. When the answer was Yes, I was just like, ‘We’re going to brew with that.'”

Branding for the beer’s logo and label (it will be available in cans) is being kept under wraps by CBS Corp. and the museum until closer to the gala. But Fiori promised it will be appealing to Star Trek fans clamouring for a beer brewed with Tribble food.

The beer itself is going to be a Kentucky Common, a popular style of ale from the U.S. Deep South. The style is amber, slightly sweet and easy drinking. It will have an average alcohol content of five per cent.

Tribbles are small puffball-like creatures that multiply at an astounding rate when they feed. A cargo bay full of the fictional quadrotriticale allows them to multiply so quickly they take over the Starship Enterprise, causing major headaches for Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew during the episode.

Capt. Kirk, played by Canadian actor William Shatner, will get to taste the Clocktower’s offering when he appears as a special guest at the Starfleet Gala on May 12.

Fiori said the beer came about as a result of another beer the Clocktower brewed last year for Ottawa Comiccon. That beer was brewed in partnership with Wil Wheaton, who played the role of Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The German-style wheat beer called HefeWheaton was massively successful. When Starfleet Gala organizers wanted their own brew, they knew exactly who to reach out to.

In keeping with last year’s trend, The Final Frontier beer will also be served at this year’s Ottawa Comiccon, which annually draws more than 50,000 people to the EY Centre, and will be available at Clocktower’s locations throughout May.

According to Brett Baigrie, operations manager at Clocktower, providing quirky custom beers for events is more than simply having fun. It’s about reaching out to new facets of the community.

The excitement and anticipation surrounding the Star Trek beer comes at the same time Ottawa’s oldest brew pub, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Baigrie said the one thing that has allowed the brew pub to expand to five locations is its laser focus on the communities it servers.

Head of Brewery Operations, Patrick Fiori, working in the Clocktower Brew Pub, Bank Street location. JULIE OLIVER / OTTAWA CITIZEN

“If you look at each of our locations, they are in separate and distinct neighbourhoods and communities and that’s not by some fluke,” he said. “We’re all working together. A lot of good things are happening.”

Clocktower is heavily involved in Ottawa Capital Pride and Westfest, and is one of the official beer sponsors for the Ottawa Champions baseball team. It employs about 130 people, and plans to see its beer in LCBO and grocery stores across the city. Its first canned offering, the popular Kölsch beer, is already available at The Beer Store in Ottawa.

A key component of the brew pub’s plans for this year is to overhaul its dated Bank Street location, where it got started in 1996. The location will close briefly toward the end of the year to undergo renovations.

What’s a Tribble?

Fictitious creatures which originally appeared in the 1967 Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles, the small furry puffballs are said to hail from the planet Iota Geminorum IV. Their only two purposes in life appear to be eating and reproducing. In fact, it has been noted that Tribbles are born pregnant. A tribble population can go from one (a single Tribble) to 1,771,561 in roughly three days. The creatures are small, slow moving, fur-covered and gentle. Like cats, Tribbles produce a soothing purring sound when stroked. They feed on a number of food sources, but have been known to take a liking to grains. They also appear to be enemies of the race known in Star Trek as Klingons. When a Klingon is near, Tribbles change their soothing purring sounds to terrified shrieking noises. Due to their ability to reproduce at a rapid rate, the transportation of Tribbles is banned by Starfleet.

The Origins of Quadrotriticale

A fictitious grain introduced in The Trouble With Tribbles, which first aired Dec. 29, 1967. It’s supposed to be a genetically engineered hybrid of wheat and rye. Each kernel, blue in colour, possesses four distinct lobes. It’s said to be prized in the future due to its ability to withstand harsh environments. There are differing opinions about where the grain originated, with many believing its origins can be traced back to 20th century Canada. Starship Enterprise officer Pavel Chekov disputes these claims, arguing the grain was in fact “a Russian invention.” The grain is said to originate from triticale, which is also a hybrid wheat-rye grain first bred in the late 19th century in laboratories in Scotland and Sweden. The grain was created to increase the nutrition of various baked goods and cereals as the protein content of triticale is higher than that of wheat.

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