Wayne Gretzky Estates – A “Hat Trick” of beers


Wayne Gretzky Estates – A “Hat Trick” of beers Review

Every so often a major agency contacts us and wants to send us beers to try and review. These beers are not always the kind of beers we choose to review, but, when the name Wayne Gretzky came up, I was intrigued! A parcel arrived shortly after I replied yes, with a “hat trick” of beers, a pint branded glass and hockey puck-like coasters in a branded wooden box. Great branding!!!

In 2017 Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery opened up in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country. It has become known for its craft wine and whisky and decided to venture into the world of craft beer with the launch of its first beer, No. 99 Rye Lager. This Rye lager is the “signature ” beer that Wayne Gretzky wanted,(and is his favourite), using Canadian Winter rye grain that sets it apart from the mainstream lagers.  The recipe was designed/created by Joshua Beach, Distiller/Brewmaster at the Niagra College Teaching Brewery who along with students from the college ended up brewing the initial batches.

The reason the agency approached us is that they have decided to brew and start distributing Wayne Gretzky’s Craft Brewing in BC. Laura Milukow, a graduate from the Niagra Brewing program was hired by Beach to oversee recipe development as well as product consistency in both Ontario and BC. Ingredients are consistent and minerals are added to ensure the water profiles are the same. Canadian ingredients are used as much as possible,(the malt and the rye), with hops coming from Europe, the USA, and Australia.














Premium Rye Lager, 5% ABV

The  No. 99 Rye Lager, starts off with a traditional Canadian lager recipe, using all Canadian malt, with the addition of Canadian Winter rye (a fast-growing, cool-season grain)to give it an extra layer of flavour.

This beer pours a light golden straw colour with medium carbonation and a moussey head that dissipates slowly. Like a typical lager, there is a sweetness right at the top with a spicy rye breadiness right after. There is also just a hint of grassiness, but it is very light. It’s a very easy drinking lager, light and crisp, with a slight dryness at the end. I would have liked to have had more hops and rye to truly make this lager stand out.














Wayne Gretzky – Pale Ale, 5% ABV

I was looking forward to the Pale Ale but found it kind of blah. The colour is more of a golden amber, with light carbonation and a decent head. Unlike so many of the American pale ales we are used to, it’s not the hops that hit you first in this one, but the sweet caramel malts. With a few swirls, there is a hint of citrus, but it is very light. The mouthfeel is crisp and clean, very much like the lager, but with a hint of bitterness from the hops. Overall, a very simple mainstream pale ale.














Wayne Gretzky Session Ale, 4% ABV

This session ale pours a light golden colour, somewhere between the lager and the pale ale, with light carbonation and a frothy head that disappears quite quickly. Despite the lower alcohol content than the lager or the pale ale, this session ale, has a bit more hop aroma than the others, with tropical and citrus notes. It is very approachable,easy-drinking, crisp and clean with citrus notes and no hint of bitterness.


All three beers are easy-drinking, crisp and clean, and to me, seem to be playing it safe for their BC launch, and catering to the mass market  (or the hockey fans) that want something easy to drink and refreshing. f you are a beer geek like me, you will be a bit disappointed and looking for a whole lot more hop flavour from the pale and session ales and more rye from the lager. The BC market at this time only has the three choices, but Ontario has double that. Here’s hoping that over time and expansion, that the BC brewery, with all the competition that surrounds this Kelowna location, will get a bit more daring with their recipes.






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    Overall Enjoyment

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Yellow
  • Head Size & Retention: Normal head + retention
  • Carbonation: Mild Carbonation
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Balance: More Malty
  • Drinkability: Extremely Crushable
  • Enjoyment: I thought it was fine
  • Malt Characteristics: Light, Biscuity/Bready, Rich/Sweet
  • Hop Characteristics: Grass, Leaves or Hay
  • Palate: Crisp/Dry/Clean


A premium lager brewed with f Canadian Winter rye for an extra depth, smooth malt, some spicy zest, and light German noble hops to create a crisp and clean easy drinking lager.

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