Happy Friday, beer lovers, and welcome to a warm weekend! Whether it’s freezing out or everything is beginning to thaw, there’s always plenty to report on beer news in our region, and this week has been no exception. Let’s get right to it…

• Starting off with some brewery expansion news, Bruce Barton, owner/brewer of Riverview, New Brunswick’s Celtic Knot Brewing, has confirmed that he will be increasing production, from the current 80 L system to a 3.75 BBL (~435 L) within the next couple of months. The current Celtic Knot brewery is located within Bruce’s home, but the new system will be in a separate location in Riverview, where you will be able to drop by to have growlers filled of your favourite CK beers! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.

Tidehouse will be releasing another of their one-off beers today – Oaked Island is an American Pale Ale, solely and heavily hopped with Centennial, and fermented on French oak (previously soaked in Russian vodka). This unique combination results in flavours of “citrus, pine, and floral notes” from the Centennial, with a “soft, subtle vanilla character” thanks to the oak. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV, it will be available at the TH retail shop on Salter, as well as on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and Water & Bone. Look for future one-offs to be released on Fridays in the future – this is a change from previous releases, which have occurred on Wednesdays. Hey, we definitely benefit from that!

• The gang at Good Robot has some news and new beers for us this coming week, but also slipped a new beer onto the taps the other day. Dubbel Trubbel came about when Kelly Costello and a co-worker were inspired by a recipe in a homebrew magazine that included star anise and dates. Leveraging GR’s unofficial beer knowledge program that allows employees to try out brewing for themselves, they put the recipe into action, albeit minus the star anise and the dates. We’re guessing with that name it’s probably in the Belgian Dubbel style and we’d assume it was brewed on the GR BetaBrew system, meaning there won’t be a lot of it, so you’ll want to act quickly if you’d like to try it.

• The big news for Good Robot this week is that they’ve found themselves an assistant brewer. Jake Charles DeWolfe is now on the scene, and to celebrate there will be a twin pack of new releases in the GR taproom on Tuesday. The first is DeWolfe of Wall Street, in the American Pale Ale style, a complementary beer to brewmaster Doug’s Burban Legend, mirroring the yin Jake will bring to Doug’s yang. We presume. With a simple malt bill of 2-row, Pilsner and Vienna underpinning a hop schedule that includes Cascade for bittering, Mount Hood for dry hop and both for aroma during a whirlpool, this 6.3% ABV pale comes in high and hard with citrus hop flavours and a dry, crisp finish, but only 29 IBU. Joining that beer will be a BetaBrewed Mexican Lager for which a suitably Good Robot name has not yet been determined. At a very light 4.7% ABV and a barely there 14 IBU, it’s built around pale malt, flaked corn and Vienna for a touch of biscuity flavor, and agave nectar, all paired with the noble Tettnang hop variety, and fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast. This one is likely to be dangerously crushable and reminiscent of a summer day at the lake.

• Over in Burnside, Spindrift has some releases in the coming months that they’re teasing on social media. The Killick is labeled as a “session lager” but has been referred to elsewhere as a Munich Helles, a classic German style that is fairly low alcohol, light-bodied, malt-balanced and designed to go down easy. This will be their first packaging in 355ml cans and it will be available in six packs from the brewery sometime around mid-March and then the NSLC later on. Spindrift are also going to have a seasonal single serve slot at the NSLC and the first two offerings will be the Blueberry Chai Pils we mentioned last week from April to June (also available a the brewery in mid-March) and the Blood Orange India Pale Lager from July to September. We’ll surely have more details for you about these beers and their availability as their official release dates approach.

• Digby’s Roof Hound has brewed up an interesting new beer, which will be the first in their upcoming Dive Bar Classic Cocktail series, where all the beers will be inspired by well-known cocktails. This first brew is a Mojito Sour – “partially kettle-soured” (meaning half the batch was soured, and then blended with the non-soured half), it will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial, and also feature the addition of fresh mint, and lime zest and juice. The official launch party for this brew will be held on Saturday, March 4th; we’ll keep you updated on the official stats for this one when they’re confirmed.

• Word hit the street last week that Greg Nash has brought his Russian Imperial Stout, Commissar to Unfiltered. Last seen during his time at the Hart & Thistle, many have lamented that it was on tap when that establishment closed and the last batch was never properly finished. This time around, the beer was aged on oak for months and fortified with J.D. Shore Black Rum from Halifax Distilling Co.. Promising a slightly sweet flavour with lots of dark fruit and hints of bitter chocolate, it is said to be reminiscent of rum cake. It will be available as of noon today at the brewery for growler fills, Charm School for pints, and both the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar for bottles ($16/500ml). This one is likely to get even better with age, so definitely consider grabbing a couple bottles for your cellar when you pop in for your first taste. But be aware, at 11.6% ABV and full of rum, this one is likely to have you throwing rocks at your own house if you’re not careful!

Red Rover has a new, very-limited batch cider pouring at the Cider House in Fredericton. Just released earlier this week, Blood Orange is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider infused with blood orange juice. Tart and crisp, yet balanced by the accompanying sweetness, it’s available for pours only (no flagon fills) due to the limited supply; however, if feedback is quite positive, there’s a good chance a larger batch will be made in the future. Look for it on tap at James Joyce and Graystone, as well.

• Look for a new beer to be released from FirkinStein very soon – Project Orange is described as a “light, easy-drinking ale with a slight orange tang” by the brewery, despite weighing in at a fairly hefty 7% ABV. With a slight citrus hop presence in the background thanks to the addition of Cascade, there was also plenty of orange juice added. It will be making its debut at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, and should also be pouring at Battery Park shortly afterwards.

Big Tide and Picaroons have joined forces to brew a collaboration beer, a Doppelbock named The Uphill Battle. The recipe was concocted between the two breweries, and the beer mashed-in on Big Tide’s system (featuring a grist of Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, CaraMunich and Carafoam). Half of the resultant wort stayed at Big Tide, and the other half was transported to the Picaroons General Store location; both were then boiled, hopped (with Magnum and Perle), and fermented at their respective homes with a dry Lager yeast. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, this malty, toasty brew will be going on tap at the Big Tide brewpub and the General Store tomorrow.

• Big news in Halifax from what will be one of the smallest breweries in the region by design – brought to you by the folks behind Stillwell Beer Bar, Stillwell Brewing will be focused on small-batch mixed-fermentations and oak barrel aging, and might possibly be the first brewery of its kind in Canada. Taking up some space in the back area of Propeller Brewing in the North End of Halifax, expect very small scale, periodic bottle releases, and very rare keg tappings (most of which will happen at SW and their Beer Garden). We’ll keep you updated on this exciting bit of info as it develops! In the meantime, follow Stillwell Brewing on Instagram for some pics on behind the scenes activity.

• The NSLC released their third quarter financial results covering the three months ending December 31st, 2016, and the news for Nova Scotia Craft Beer continues to be good. While overall beer sales were down 0.4%, craft beer sales continued to grow, with a 29.5% increase to $2.5m over the same quarter in the previous year. Though this increase isn’t quite as large as seen in first (48.4%) and second (39.7) quarters, it shows the industry still has room to grow. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Q4 shows a continuation of this trend and also whether additional shelf space for craft beer will carry the trend into the next fiscal year.

There’s a whole whack of events going on over the next few days, especially in the HRM… take your pick from below and be sure to head out over the weekend!

Tonight, the Stubborn Goat will be holding a tap takeover with Charlottetown, PEI’S Upstreet, in the Flight Night at the Goat. Eight Upstreet beers will be on tap, including Smoked Porter from their One Way series. There’s no cover; just show up for plenty of beer, plus food pairings and flight specials! All of the Upstreet crew will be there, anxious to meet you and chat about everything beer!

• Been too long since the last <insert amazing brewery here> tap takeover at Stillwell for ya? Well, it really hasn’t been that long at all, but good news! Tomorrow, February 25th, they’ll be hosting a Le Castor takeover, with 12 amazing beers pouring all day. One of Quebec’s highest-regarded breweries, they’re bringing some real winners, such as Colorado (a “dry-hopped Wild Ale”) and Sanctuaire (a Tripel aged in red wine barrels with Brett). No charge to attend, just show up and pay by the pour!

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a Big Spruce tap takeover tomorrow, February 25th, which should last all weekend. Their collaboration with Bishop’s, Anaphylactic Choc – a 5.5% ABV “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” that features Nutsmith organic peanut butter added in the boil and that was aged on organic cocao nibs – will be pouring. Drop by in the afternoon between 1-4 pm, and don’t forget to bring your growlers! In addition to the new brew, they’ll be have Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Liquid James Brown Milkshake IPA available for fills, with samples of some special one-offs while your jugs are being filled.

• Also tomorrow, February 25thHell Bay is holding Cocoa & Malt, a special pairing of dark beer and hand-crafted chocolate desserts and sweets. Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, it had to be postponed due to weather… and luckily, there’s still some spots left! It’s $25+tax per person; reserve your spot by calling 902-356-3556.

• Halifax’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is currently holding a Bad Apple Brewhouse and Propeller tap takeover, which will continue until this Sunday, February 25th. With eight beers from BAB (including their wonderful Mosaic DIPA), and seven from Propeller (including a cask of their ESB), it’s pay-as-you-drink all weekend. BAB’s owner/brewery Jeff Saunders will be on hand for beer questions/chatting tonight, and Propeller’s brewer/sales manager Pat Robichaud will be available on Saturday night. Check out the full tap list here.

• It’s another busy week coming up for Good Robot, starting with their participation at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow night, followed by an after-party luau featuring beers and buddies from Upstreet Brewing back at the taproom, with Koconut Kings providing musical entertainment. As mentioned above, Tuesday, February 28th, will see the debut of beers from Jake DeWolfe, Assistant Brewer, paired with a Mardi Gras Cajun menu from Black Sheep and a soul playlist on vinyl from Black Buffalo spun by a live DJ. Thursday, March 2nd sees a tap takeover at the taproom by North Brewing, with 8 taps, possibly the most ever for that brewery in a North end pub. The favour is returned the next night, on Friday, March 3rd when 14, count’em 14 Good Robot brews go up at Battery Park in Dartmouth. The most. Ever. Anywhere. We expect to hear more about that this week, so look for more details in next week’s wrap-up.​

That’s the news we’ve got to share this week! Have a great weekend, and be sure to enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having! Before we head out for good…

– Last night was the first Brew Ha-Ha at the Company House, featuring Tidehouse Brewing and the comedy of Andrew Vaughan, Dan Hendrickson and Frank Russo. We’ll find out more about what sounds like it might be a regular event, and let you know.
– The Craft Beer Cottage Party is tomorrow night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market at 7pm. Although the VIP passes have sold out it looks like there are still some general tickets available. Come on out to dream of summer and sample the wares of 30 breweries from the region.
– Today, Garrison is welcoming Dave Martin, winner of the 2016 Home Brew-Off, to brew his Chamomile IPA on the Garrison system; the beer will be released at this year’s gala on March 23rd. Judging for this year’s competition is actually happening tomorrow, with almost 40 entries for the Wee Heavy style.
Grimross now has their Pugnacious Porter (6.2% ABV) available in cans; joining their Maritime Pale Ale, it’s available at the brewery and should be following in ANBL stores, soon.
– The Hammond River Blackberry Berliner Weisse we reported on earlier this month is now available on tap; Ram Jam comes in at 3.2% ABV and is circulating on tap around HR accounts.
– March 1st marks one year for Nine Locks Brewing. They’ll be celebrating with draws and in-store specials. If you haven’t been out to see them, it’s probably a good time to rectify that.

 

The little town of Montague, PEI (located on the eastern end of the Island) is going to be getting a lot bigger this coming summer… at least, beer-wise! Husband and wife team Ken Spears and Ashley Condon announced early this month that they plan on opening Copper Bottom Brewing sometime by mid-summer. This is one of two breweries scheduled to open in Montague in 2017 (the other being Montague Brewing), with Ken and Ashley planning to focus on live music, as well as beer, in the brewery’s accompanying tap room. We’ve recently exchanged emails with Ken to find out what the couple have in store for when the brewery launches this summer…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
I am a Red Seal electrician turned brewer originally from Nova Scotia. My wife, Ashley Condon, is an award-winning songwriter and touring musician originally from Murray Harbour North, PEI. We live in the woods in rural PEI just outside of Montague and have a cat named Fiona. We enjoy hiking, the beach, and Ashley does yoga in the upper part of the “Brewdio” (the barn on our property that houses the “nanobrewery” and yoga/music studio)

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
I fell in love with craft beer in 2003 when I landed a job at Propeller Brewing in Halifax. The owner, John Allen, became a mentor to me, offering advice and inspiring me to follow my passion. Ashley fell in love with craft beer by proxy and by travelling around North America as a musician visiting local microbreweries. When we travel together we spend lots of time visiting local breweries as well, and have grown to love the whole craft beer scene together which is pretty cool.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Ashley and I moved to PEI in 2011. The move inspired change and I quickly realized PEI was the perfect place to open a microbrewery. I also realized that PEI needed more options for craft beer. Having been exposed to the thriving craft beer scene in Nova Scotia, I was excited to see how PEI’s craft beer scene could grow as well. I also felt like my love of brewing could be an asset to the community and allow me to follow my passion.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I love experimenting with new beer styles and playing with the flavours. The brewhouse is currently a converted 50 litre keg, propane-fired nano brewery. As mentioned previously, we call our barn the “Brewdio” because it’s a brewery and music/yoga studio in one.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
We are aiming so serve our first pint mid-summer 2017.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a DME 10 BBL (~1170 L) system that has 7000 L cellar capacity to start with, and room to grow.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
We will have several tap accounts across the Island with growler fills from the brewery, and eventually cans distributed to PEILCC stores. Our tap room – which overlooks the Montague river – will be set up for pints served daily.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Stay tuned!

Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genres (Belgian, English, etc), of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
We are committed to a wide variety of styles to keep our options open for experimenting. We will have flagships and we have planned for exciting one-off brews and smaller batches. Keep up-to-date on our Brews News blog on our website. We will be documenting the entire building process as well.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have been in touch with several brewers across the country and everyone has been really helpful. In particular, John Allen (Propeller Brewing in Halifax), Jeremy White (Big Spruce in Cape Breton), Don Campbell (Barnone in PEI), Simon Livingston (L’Espace Public in Montreal) and Mitch Cobb and Mike Hogan (Upstreet in PEI).

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We will be distributing across PEI and collaborating with other breweries. We also hope to be a hub in our community, hosting monthly events and growing our networks within the artistic and brewing communities.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I love dark, malty beers as well as light and hoppy… and sour beers are changing my life!

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I love brewing with the American “C” hops and Maris Otter malt.

It’s fantastic to see yet another craft brewery planned to open in PEI, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from Ken and Ashley over the coming months, with updates on their progress! Be sure to follow along on their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and of course we’ll be sure to include any news in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.

Happy Friday everyone! What a week of weather for our region! Snow and power outages and cancellations have plagued the region for the past while, but thankfully our local brewers haven’t rested to get us the great beer we all crave. Check out the latest news, and stay warm!

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, responsible for producing malt used in breweries across the province, has announced that they will begin operating a small brewery onsite, slated to open this summer. The 120 litre (1 BBL) system would serve as a testing ground for the different malt varieties they have on offer, in order to give commercial brewers and visitors to the Malt House the chance to taste the different characteristics of their offerings. The beers would be available on-site only, in their tasting room and facility outside of Wolfville, along with other breweries’ offerings showcasing their malts. We’ll have much more on the details of the brewery closer to launch in July. You can learn more in person yourself with a visit to the Malt House for an Open House tomorrow, 2:30-4:00pm.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn recently hosted Patrick Dionne, head brewer at Petit-Sault, for a collaboration brew on their system. Well, that beer is now available on tap, and we’ve got some details to share! Epic Fume is a 5.7% ABV Smoked Porter, featuring beech-smoked malt in the grist to give gentle smoke characteristics in both the aroma and flavour. It’s currently pouring at the Foghorn taproom, and is on tap at the Five and Dime in Saint John. For those of you in the Edmundston area, look for it to start pouring at Petit-Sault sometime next week.

• Sticking with Petit-Sault, they’ll be brewing this year’s Big Boots Brew tomorrow, an annual event sponsored by the Pink Boots Society. This one will actually be a collaboration brew, as Wendy Papadopoulos, head brewer at Big Tide, will be participating, along with four other women from the area. The theme for this year’s international brew is Ancient/Historical Beer, with Petit-Sault and Big Tide deciding on a Gruit for their brew, an un-hopped style of beer that relies on the use of herbs for flavouring and bittering. The collaboration beer will be named Malobiannah Gruit, after a local legend involving a young Malecite woman who sacrified herself to save her people during an Iroquois invasion in the Grand Falls area. The grist will feature 2-row, Pilsner, and Honey malt, and a carefully-chosen mix of herbs that includes yarrow, goldenrod, sweet gale, bayberry and lavender. Some local maple syrup will also be added to the brew, which should come in at 5.2% ABV. The beer will be released on International Women’s Day on March 8th, and we can confirm that it will be making an appearance at this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 11th.

• Although they don’t have anything truly new for us this week, we’re told that Good Robot in Halifax has a batch of their Burban Legend APA coming to the taps, this one of the v2.0 variety (that’s the one dry hopped with citrussy Cascade and stone fruit Amarillo). Knowing they’d have to sweeten the pot to get us to mention that, they also spilled the beans on a special batch brewed up just yesterday with their staff. Red Moon Rising was brewed for their Women’s Day event, FemmeBot, coming up in March. It’s a Red IPA leaning heavily on Bestmalz Red X, a base malt known for imparting a deep red color. Also in the malt bill are Vienna for some toasty/biscuity notes and flaked barley for mouthfeel and body. Hops include their own “GR Blend” (think Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Good Robot-style) at bittering time and Equinox during whirlpool and the planned dry-hop for a tropical and fruity presence. It’s fermenting now on the classic Cal Ale yeast. Look for release details in the coming weeks (we’d bet somewhere around March 8th…).

• Meanwhile in Fredericton, Grimross has already released the second entry in their new Scratch series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA. This 6.7% ABV, 65 IBUs brew was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, Herkules and Amarillo, most of which were grown in New Brunswick. The brewery describes it as having “a pleasant, citrus hop profile on the nose and palate, and finishes clean and dry”. Fermented, of course, with a Belgian yeast strain to add some classic fruity esters and spicy phenolics to blend with the hop characteristics, it’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills; you may see it pop up around the city, as well. Grimross has also just brewed a collaboration with Dumfries Maples, featuring a large addition of maple syrup from the Dumfries, NB sugarbush. Details on Dumfries Maples Brown Ale are being kept a secret for now… stay tuned!

• Speaking of beers brewed with maple syrup, TrailWay also has one fermenting right now. No, this isn’t actually a coincidence – the New Brunswick government has been encouraging breweries in the province to collaborate with local maple producers to brew these beers. While we’re not sure of the exact details of this arrangement, we’ve been told there are benefits provided to breweries who do so. TW has brewed an Imperial Stout with maple syrup from Briggs Maples; expect it to come in around 9% ABV. TW has also confirmed that the beer will be packaged in cans, as well as kegs.

• The new DIPA from Maybee Brewing that we teased about a couple of weeks ago is officially being released today. Look Off DIPA is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was hopped mainly with Amarillo and Chinook (to 105 calculated IBUs). Described by the brewery as “super juicy”, it’ll be available at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and at better beer establishments in Fredericton (including the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar later today). Look for it to also be released in cans sometime next week, and be sure to take note of the updated label designs for Maybee cans at the same time.

Spindrift teased a new beer on Instagram that they’ve just brewed, based on popular casks they have brought to beer festivals in the past: Blueberry Chai Pilsner (featuring Rooibus Chai tea from World Tea House). They’re keeping quiet on the exact specs and details for now, but don’t worry, we’ll have more, soon! In the meantime, they’re taking their Abyss Schwarzbier to the next level, and bottling a batch of it that sat in barrels, on cherries, next week. It should be available for purchase sometime in mid-March.

• The taps at Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax will see a special brew this week as Erebos Porter makes its debut. Starting its life as a batch of Night Vision American Porter, it was aged extensively on figs in Hungarian oak barrels that formerly held Merlot at Bear River Vineyards. According to brewmaster Kyle, the wood and the fruit have rounded out the beer, which is normally quite dry, providing a nice dark fruit character without astringency. With only two barrels (110 litres each) available, this one’s not likely to be available for fills, so plan to hang around the pub and enjoy a pint. And this is the last call for homebrewers interested in taking part in the Home Brewer’s Challenge must contact Kyle to sign up.

Garrison Brewing has released the latest in their test batch series, with Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy 2 today. This hazy East Coast Double IPA comes in at 8.0% ABV and 65 IBU, featuring loads of late hopping featuring CitraCometEkuanot, and Mosaic, for citrus, pineapple and tropical aromatics and flavour, resulting in a, you guessed it, juicy beer. Compared to the first test batch, this one features a softer mouthfeel, suitable for an extended session of enjoyment. Juicy 2 is available now for growler fills and bottles at the brewery, on tap at select bars around town this weekend, and early next week in bottles at the private stores.

• As was reported this week by a legitimate news source (as opposed to three guys with a blog), Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyon’s Brook is the latest brewery in the region to purchase a canning line. Citing their existing bottling setup as a source of inefficiency in their system, the line from Calgary (no doubt from the fine folks at Cask Brewing Systems) is expected to help them output an additional 1,000 litres per week and take the packaging process from 2-3 days down to a couple of hours. The installation of the line in May will allow them to meet orders for two new listings with the NSLC in addition to their IPA, namely their Sunburst Pale Ale and a rotating slot. One item in the article of particular note is the comment by co-owner Rebecca Whiffen that the funds to lease the line are to some extent coming from the savings seen in the reduction of the RSMA this year by the Provincial government. While the overall validity of the RSMA can still be debated (or serve as the basis for a lawsuit), it is certainly telling to see how quickly its reduction has made a positive difference to at least one brewery in the province.​ We won’t be surprised if it’s not the only one.

• Cunning schemers that they are, those crazy kids at Stillwell are already planning for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. As they announced on twitter Valentine’s Day (feel the love, people), they’re committing to pouring the best NS Craft Beer Taplist possible all week long during Craft Beer Week. What’s “the best NS Craft Beer Taplist” you ask? Why, it’s the one assembled from YOUR votes! Fling your interweeb device over to this page right here and cast your votes in the four categories provided. Stillwell will apply patented algorithms and serious business to generate a top 12 which will grace the wall at the start of the week. From there cult favourites will rotate in. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what that wall looks like come May.

For those of you fully shovelled out, we’ve got a few events on the go that are worthwhile checking out:

• This Sunday, February 19th, up in Nyanza, Big Spruce will be hosting an information session for FarmWorks, an Investment Co-operative founded in 2011 that operates as a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). The time has come for another round of investment and this is a chance for you to learn how the organization works to support food-related businesses in the region. Meanwhile, beer samples and snacks will be served and you’ll have the opportunity to tour the new Big Spruce Brewery! More information is available here.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has scheduled their next event for Wednesday, March 8th. This one will be held at Grimross Brewing from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a brewery tour, a discussion on Grimross and the beers they brew, and of course a tasting flight, with additional pours available for purchase afterwards. It only costs $8.75 to attend; send an email to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot.

• Good Robot has a couple events on the go this week. Thursday, February 23rd sees the latest in the Good Robot Tiny Pub Concerts series, with Villages, Kim Harris, and Daniel Walker (of Owen Meany’s Batting Stance) coming out to give you an intimate night of Celtic, folk, soul and banter. “Less of a kitchen party and more of a Saturday night at home with friends.” Then on Saturday, February 25th, look for the GR gang at the Craft Beer Cottage Party and consider heading down to the taproom afterwards for their luau after-party with the fine folks from Upstreet Brewing and the dulcet tones of Hawaiian-influenced steel guitar swing band Kokonut Kings.

And before we head out for the weekend…
– There is a new beer from Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery, Nor’Easter Cascadian Dark Ale. At 7.7% ABV and 100 IBUs, it features Cascade and Chinook hops from Moose Mountain and Columbus from Southan Farms, both located along the Saint John River in New Brunswick. It is available at the brewery on Lower Water Street. And look out for a Nitro version of their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout, available at Lower Deck locations across the province.
– Although we reported on the release of Fathom from Nine Locks last week, it only showed up on tap and for growler fills, not in the promised cans. But keen eyes noticed the good word on Facebook this week that Fathom hit the canning line. Look for it at the private liquor stores around HRM in the near future.
– We previously mentioned a new blackberry Milk Stout from North Brewing being released for Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party that started last night and goes until Sunday. The 5.7% ABV beer was aged in the tank at Battery Park and will be available in 650ml bottles at both North bottle shops and the private stores in Halifax. Look for in on tap as well at Battery Park, including two nitro kegs.

Happy Friday folks, we hope that digging out wasn’t too much of an ordeal for those of you who got snowed on last night. We’ll warn you now that this is a ridiculously long post; you may want to plan a second lunch to finish reading it. Possibly one that includes a beer. We’ve got some suggestions below as to how you might make that happen along with some new brewery news and some options for those who might want to center their Valentine’s Day around their love for beer. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

• South Shore’s FirkinStein Brewing has released their first foray into the Double IPA style, with Cut of Our Jib. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, it was hopped exclusively with Cascade and Citra throughout the boil, and into the dry-hop, for a solid 100 IBU bitterness, but with plenty of citrus aroma and flavour. Grab the beer at their Farmers’ Market stall in Lunenburg on Thursdays, and by appointment at the brewery in the evenings (but be sure to reach out via Facebook or Twitter first). It may even make it on tap on the South Shore or HRM; keep an eye on their social media feeds for the latest information.

• Heads up west-island Newfoundland beer drinkers: a pair of fellow beer fans are looking to open a brewery this summer, and would love to get you involved! Bootleg Brew Co has announced that they are in the process of getting their licensing and brewing system, with the plan to open a location in Corner Brook in the next six months. While working in the food industry, Matt Tilley and Morgan Turner tried their hand at homebrewing, and were extremely pleased with the results, and after encouragement from family and friends, are looking to turn it into a business. Planning on a 3.5 hl (3BBL) system, they have turned to crowdfunding to assist with some of the costs. Check out more details in a recent CBC article, and check out their IGG campaign, on until March 1st. We’ll share updates as they progress in their transition to professional beer producers.

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is releasing a brand new beer today, Fathom Double IPA. The name may sound a bit familiar, but it is a brand new beer, based loosely on Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2016 ACBAs in the IPA category. The hazy orange Double IPA clocks in at 8.0% ABV, and has a hefty 90 IBU, derived from Centennial, Citra, El Dorado, and Summit added throughout the brewing and conditioning, for notes of citrus and melon on the nose, and orange and stone fruit flavour. Grab it in growlers and cans at the brewery at noon, and in cans at the private stores, including at Cristall Wine, where they will be pouring samples of it today from 4-6pm.

Moth Lane Brewing, in Ellerslie, PEI, has recently released a Hefeweizen, the iconic unfiltered wheat beer, originating in the Bavarian region of Germany. Refreshing and juicy thanks to the yeast clove and banana characteristics, Weizen Up B’ye is 5.0% ABV, with a light 11 IBU bitterness. Grab a pint or growler this weekend at the brewery, including tomorrow evening, when The Galley Food Truck will be set up slinging food, and there will be an open mic/jam session in the brewery taproom.

• There’s a new Belgian Dubbel available from Petit-Sault, Colonel John Baker. This is a different beer altogether from their first Dubbel, Simone Hébert, which was originally released in the fall of 2015. Brewed with lots of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to give the classic-Dubbel notes of “dark fruit and mild chocolate”, some Chocolate malt was also used in the grist to accentuate these characteristics. Described as “rich, malty, and fruity, with a surprisingly-dry finish”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. It’s available for pints and growler fills at the brewery in Edmundston, and should be available at all ANBL growler stations this weekend. Look for it to pop up in bottles, soon!

• Fredericton’s Grimross has just released the first beer in their new Scratch series, which will be a realm for the brewery to experiment with new recipes and one-offs. Scratch #1: Lager is the brewery’s first venture into Lager territory, with a “simple, clean-yet-flavourful Lager”. With all-Pilsner malt in the grist, it was hopped with Magnum, Saaz, and New Brunswick-grown Cascade, and fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain. It pours with a pale straw colour, and a “slightly grainy and honey aroma with a crisp, dry finish”, according to owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. Supremely drinkable at 4.7% ABV, it’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom. Expect to see their next release in this series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA, soon!

• Staying with Fredericton, there’s a couple of new beers out from Graystone this week, and we have a few details on both of them. First up is Bushwhack Bitter, their take on the sessionable English style, Ordinary Bitter (aka Standard Bitter). Ordinary in name only, this is meant to be an easy-drinking, fairly-bitter beer with some pleasant malt complexity. Bushwhack Bitter was hopped to 30 IBUs with U.K. Fuggles and New Brunswick Goldings, and comes in at 3.9% ABV. Next is their Single Track Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped primarily with Citra, an American variety well known to beer geeks everywhere. Described by the brewery as “light, refreshing, and flavourful with citrus and peach flavours”, it’s available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and crowlers, along with the new Bitter.

• Graystone is also re-releasing their White IPA, Mont Blanc, today. This collaboration with soon-to-open Gore Farm Brewery (out of St. Stephen), was originally released in late December, and is returning due to popular demand. Check out our previous post here for more details on the beer, and the Gore Farm link above for a Q&A we published with the brewery, yesterday.

• Over in Moncton, Tide & Boar Brewing continues to experiment with new beers. They have just tapped Mute Saison, their first take on the classic Saison, a wonderful Belgian style that is open for multiple interpretations by brewers. Hopped with New Zealand Wakatu and U.S. Lemondrop, it finishes very dry, with “floral and lemon notes”, and at 6.8% ABV may sneak up on you, so sip wisely! T&B have also released version 2 of their Lemondrop IPA, an American IPA hopped entirely with, yes, Lemondrop. Look for both on tap at the brewpub. And if you’re in Saint John and are aching to try some T&B beer, good news – the Cask & Kettle has a keg of their Forum Pale Ale, a new version fermented with a Vermont yeast strain.

• Meanwhile, at the Université de Moncton’s Bar Le Coude, Acadie-Broue has two beers that were just tapped last night. Let’s start with Tricole – a Belgian Tripel, it was named after the Acadian term to describe someone who staggers/stumbles from having too much alcohol. Fittingly, it’s a strong beer at 8% ABV, which is typical for the Tripel style. Made with all Pilsner malt (many Tripels are brewed with the addition of sugar) and hopped with German Hersbrucker, it was fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast, resulting in a very dry beer with “candy-like and pepper” qualities, and is quite drinkable despite it’s high ABV.

• Next up from Acadie-Broue is another strong one, Kazakh, inspired by the Russian Imperial Stout style. Named after another Acadian expression, synonymous to “daredevil”, it was brewed with plenty of specialty malts, including Chocolate, Crystal 120 L, Victory, Midnight Wheat, and Oats, to give a dark, roasty beer that will leave you plenty warm, thanks to its 8% ABV. Hopped with Magnum for a bittering charge only (to 50 IBUs), it was fermented with a neutral American yeast strain. This is actually the 3rd batch for this beer, as demand has greatly exceeded the brewery’s expectations!

Roof Hound Brewing and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for their first collaboration brew, Chocolate Sauced, brewed at Roof Hound a couple of weeks ago. This is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was brewed with four different types of chocolate (!): dark Chocolate malt, Chocolate Rye, and Chocolate Wheat in the mash, and cocoa added in the kettle (along with some lactose powder and Dark Candi Sugar). Both RH and TataBrew will be releasing the beer at their breweries tomorrow, with both holding special launch parties featuring live music to celebrate this “Chocolate Imperial Stout”.

• Speaking of Tatamagouche, they released the latest of their Giant Beer Series this week, Quad.  Their take on the Belgian Quadrupel style, this 10.3% ABV beer features a base of Pilsner malt, with Vienna, CaraAroma, and Chocolate for some complexity, with Dark Candi Syrup for the iconic colour and dark fruit component to the aroma and flavour. A modest 35 IBU (for the ABV) is achieved using Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfruh, to partially offset the high alcohol and body. The beer was bottle conditioned in 650mL bottles, and is available exclusively at the brewery now (with a very small part of the batch available in kegs soon). They will be pouring a special casked version of the Quad, aged on Muscat grape skins Saturday, during the Chocolate Sauced launch event.

• Tata has also released Deadeye Double IPA, with a few tweaks since last year’s release. It now features Vermont Ale yeast, resulting in a slightly hazy beer. It still showcases lots of Hallertau Blanc hops, for a light grape and passionfruit and pineapple aromatics, with Cascade and Chinook lending their hand to the recipe. Kegs have been delivered to their HRM accounts, and the beer will be available on tap and in cans beginning today at the brewery, and at the private stores very shortly.

TrailWay has released their Black IPA in cans for the first time. Black Hops (yes, the “1” has been dropped from the name) has been changed slightly from its last release, with an adjustment to the grain bill to allow for a “softer chocolate flavour”, as well as… more hops! Lots of Citra and Mosaic were added to boost the citrus and tropical flavours and aromas, it comes in at 7% ABV. Available at the brewery now, and in select ANBL stores soon.

• And while on the topic of TrailWay, we forgot to mention the results of their 1st annual Homebrew Challenge last Friday… sorry ’bout that! Local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon took the top spot in the American IPA contest, with his Hoppy McHazy winning out among close to 30 entries. This 7% ABV IPA is hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe; Pierre will be brewing his beer on TW’s system next week. When released, a portion of the beer will be available in cans, so be prepared to stock up! Congrats, Pierre!

Flying Boats will be releasing this year’s take on their Lover’s Quarrel IPA next week… a little later than planned, thanks to one of the lovely ice storms we’ve been receiving. With a grist that includes some Flaked Wheat to boost the mouthfeel of the beer, several late boil additions of both Galaxy and Citra hops provide a “floral, citrusy aroma”. This should come in at 6% ABV and close to 60 IBUs; look for it to be released late next week, with 16 kegs being sent to the Dieppe ANBL growler station for Thursday… just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. With beer, as with love, better late than never!

• Today, Garrison is launching their newest Star Trek/CBS release at the brewery. Red Shirt Ale is an American Red brewed in honour of the many Star Trek crew members unlucky enough to be fitted in a red tunic… usually a good sign that they would be meeting an untimely, violent death. With a “deep copper colour and rich malt flavour”, the beer was hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Millenium. You’ll be able to find Red Shirt Ale at Garrison and Halifax’s private liquor stores as of this weekend, and NSLC stores later this month. It will also be popping up at ANBL growler stations in two weeks’ time. And for our homebrewing readers, be sure to submit your Wee Heavy this weekend!

• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax put a new beer on tap this week. Captain Falcon’s IPA is a SMaSH brew that sees big citrus hop flavor from generous late boil and whirlpool additions of Falconer’s Flight meet the fruit flavor of real blackberries added in the secondary. It’s got a hazy, purplish pink color and is a very dry brew with a fairly light bitterness (for an IPA) at 40 IBU and a very reasonable 6% ABV – the Falcon Punch is in the flavor, not the weight.

• In the valley, a new cider in the Something Different series became available this week at Annapolis Cider Company. Muscat Infusion weds apples and grapes to produce a 7.1% ABV sparkling cider with a copper colour, apple tartness, and tropical and floral aromas from Nova Scotia’s most aromatic grape variety. The skins of Muscat grapes were added during active fermentation, and a technique known as “punching down” commonly used in red wine fermentations ensured flavor, color, aroma and tannin extraction. Finished with freshly-pressed apple juice to balance it before packaging, it is available at the cidery in Wolfville where $0.50 of each bottle fill will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Annapolis Valley.

• What do you do when one of your business neighbours leaves your street for a newer, bigger spot a few blocks away? If you’re North Brewing you celebrate your friend’s achievement with a special beer. White Lightning is the nickname of Renée Lavallée, chef of The Canteen, formerly a lunch counter on Ochterloney Street and now a restaurant on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. It is now also a kettle sour from North that’s been dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo, coming in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBU. The label received North’s Artist Series treatment with Renée’s likeness rendered in comic book style by Rob Hansen. White Lightning is available in 650ml bottles from the North bottle shops and private liquor stores in HRM and you should expect to see kegs of it appear in bars and restaurants in the coming days and weeks.

• North is also joining with another neighbour this week, this time on the Halifax side, where they’ve lent their expertise with Belgian styles to a new Tripel from the gang at Good Robot. Moo Nay is a tribute to the farm that reuses Good Robot’s post-brewing spent grain, Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie. Although the body is well in line with the style, with Pale and Pilsner malts and some sugar to dry it out, the twist this time is the use of a very non-traditional hop, namely the New Zealand variety Nelson Sauvin, known for its fruity, white wine-like character. Big and boozy at 8.5% ABV, but not overly bitter at 30 IBU, late hop additions bring a New World aspect to a decidedly Old World beer. Moo Nay will be available at Good Robot as of today, both in the tap room and the store for growler fills.

• Those who don’t remember the days before NASH started slinging hop bombs at Unfiltered might not be aware that he’s got a full slate of styles at his disposal, but this week’s release should make that abundantly clear to all and sundry. Play with Fire is a Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier, featuring tons of dark fruit, roasted malt and smokey phenols. At only 34 IBU, it’s not a bitter bomb, but it will certainly pack a wallop at 8% ABV. Growler fills and pints will be available as of noon today at the brewery and Charm School Pub, respectively. As they say down on North Street, get on it!

• The latest episode of the 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, where the beer chums sat down with Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cam Hartley. They went into the history of Schoolhouse, where it is now, and where it’s heading next. Learn all about it by downloading and listening to the episode today!

Port Rexton Brewing on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula will be releasing their first bottled offering next week. Named the Ten Eighty Series, the annual small run of bottles will make their debut in winter, and lean toward higher ABV, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. The inaugural release is Belgian Tripel, an 8.2% ABV beer featuring the iconic clove aromatics and light spiciness, with a dry finish. This run of only 800 bottles will be available exclusively at the brewery, so reach out to them today to pre-order and get yourself on the list!

Check out these events for the weekend…

• As mentioned above, both Roof Hound and Tatamagouche are celebrating the release of their collaboration Chocolate Sauced tomorrow, February 11th. In Digby, drop by at 9pm for the first pours of the new beer, and at 10pm, enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wright and Tide and Timbre ($6 cover). In Tatamagouche, the fun kicks off at 7pm, with Eric Fresia playing while you enjoy the new beers they are featuring, with chocolates paired with CS, shucking oysters to pair with Oyster Cloister, and that special cask of Quad. Your $5 cover gets you your first sample of Chocolate Sauced for free.

• Good Robot has a fairly full slate planned for the taproom next week, with three events in the works. Monday will see another Goodwill Bot event, where $1 of every beer sold goes to a local non-profit cause. This week it will be Halifax Cycling Coalition, who will be celebrating Winter Bike Week and crafting Valentine’s Day cards. On Tuesday you’ll find Blue Valentine , “a sad and sexy Valentine’s Day event.” Get there before 6:30pm and enjoy $5 pints and a Tom Waits playlist. After that, enjoy local artists and businesses as they take the floor to talk about sex. Look for participation from Ballonicorns , Turn Me On Podcast , Venus Envy and The Coast. And on Wednesday grab a book, head on down to Good Robot, grab a beer and shut the hell up for the return of Silent Reading. As always, no phones, no talking.

• Next Thursday, February 16th, the Cask & Kettle will be hosting a Maybee Brewing Tap Takeover, with all of their taps being turned over to the Fredericton brewery from 4 pm-close, including Maybee’s newest, currently unreleased beer, a DIPA (more on that next week). There will be, of course, food and Irish music to accompany the many beers pouring, with no charge to attend; just show up and pay by the pint!

• The Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to Halifax’s Seaport Farmers’ Market February 25th. With 30 breweries from the Maritimes in attendance, it is sure to be a blast of summer in the dead of winter. Washer Toss, live music, and plenty of chairs to lounge on, the summer vibes will be strong during the event. Tickets are $60 +fees ($75++ for VIP access), and are available now. Check out our Calendar for more details, including the full brewery list.

A few more things this week…

Mil Street St John’s brewed North American Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
Picaroons has re-released their Valentine-themed Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, a 5.2% ABV dark beer brewed with chocolate, chili peppers, ginseng, and licorice root. Look for it at all Picaroons locations, and select establishments throughout NB.
TideHouse Brewing invited in local home brewer Ian Wheatley to brew on their system last week, to be released next month. The brew was a kettle sour, low in ABV, but with plenty of lactic bite. We’ll have much more on the beer closer to its release, around March 10th.

The town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, can expect a new brewery to be opening in the near future in their area. Gore Farm Brewery will be run by Robin and Pierre Heelis, on the family farm where they also grow produce. We recently caught up with Robin via email to talk about the brothers’ plans, as the launch date for the brewery will be happening soon.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
My father and I have been producing high quality, locally grown vegetables, eggs, honey, and meat using organic methods; when my brother moved back to New Brunswick, we decided to combine our homebrewing efforts on the farm. Our brewery was a natural extension of the self-sustainability we espouse on at Gore Farm and is another avenue for Gore Farm to develop interest in local products and to further sustainability and self-sufficiency in our community.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
It all started with a Sierra Nevada… then a Dogfish Head… then an Allagash… soon we were looking to re-create those flavours because we could not find those styles of beer at our local ANBL at the time.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Firstly, as a farm, we are committed to providing local products for local people. Secondly, during participation in the Fredericton Beer Run a few years back we had a look at the brewery map of New Brunswick and noticed our little southwestern corner was remarkably devoid of breweries, so we thought… why not us!?

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Being so close to the border, we were able to try a lot of great craft beer on our frequent trips to Maine and Massachusetts. We just couldn’t find those types of beers locally, so we decided we should start making our own. We reached out to friends with homebrewing experience in Charlotte County and just dove in. We started with wort-in-a-bag kits, which quickly morphed into kit hacking. It wasn’t long before we made the full conversion to all-grain and began developing our own recipes.

What type of system will you be brewing on?
We are truly nano in size. We currently brew on a 1⁄2 barrel (60 L) electric system and hope to ease into the local community and festival scene in early 2017.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
Our initial plan is to sell kegs only.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Brendan Moore of The 5 Kings in St. Stephen has been great, and we look forward to having our beers available there as soon as we can get them out! We also have been working and learning from the guys at Graystone in Fredericton. We have been fortunate enough to have completed a collaboration brew with them called Mont Blanc, a White IPA that has been on tap recently at their taproom in Fredericton (and returns tomorrow), as well as a couple of other establishments in the city.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering?
Gore Farm Brewery produces seasonal ales (and even lagers) with a notably-Belgian influence. We brew with the seasons and are inspired by many of the ingredients that can be found on the family farm. There are three beers that are planned to be the backbone of Gore Farm’s regular production:
Gore Farm Saison – (~6% ABV) a yeast-forward Belgian farmhouse Saison that has the same base recipe, but changes slightly with the seasons based on spices and ingredients available on the farm.
Gore Farm Belgian Blonde – (~6% ABV) a balanced, easy drinking and refreshing Belgian Blonde that is meant to provide an easy introduction to Belgian beers.
Gore Farm Seasonal – (varying ABV) examples include: Gore Farm Pumpkin, Gore Farm Russian Imperial Stout, Gore Farm Black Currant Wheat, and Gore Farm Rhubarb Wheat.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
How much time do we have? The brewing community is amazing, much like the farming community actually – always willing to share and assist wherever possible. One of our great friends, Luke Cook, was our first resource for all things all-grain in our early home brewing days. Through the licensing process we have had support from many people in the community. We would certainly like to thank Sean Dunbar of Picaroons and Shane Steeves of Hammond River. We also really need to single out Wes Ward of Graystone and the whole Tough Guys Brewing gang (Ian DeMerchant, Steve Christie, Mark Budd) for their generosity with their time and advice.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Our desire is to get our beers out there and hope people like them as much as we do!

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
There is no question about our affinity for Belgian beer and Belgian beer styles. Cantillon is a clear favourite. On the East Coast, we are big fans of just about everything they do at Allagash in Portland, Maine. We also are a big fans of German style lagers.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Part of the beautiful thing about beer is that it is much more diverse than most people know. Who was it that said if you don’t like beer, you just haven’t tried enough of them yet? Often, our inspiration is derived from the seasonal offerings available on the farm, like a subtle Pumpkin Ale in the fall and a tart Rhubarb Wheat in the spring.

Be sure to follow along with our Friday Wrap-Ups, as we’ll have more news on Gore Farm soon. They’re currently wrapping up work on their website and social media pages; we’ll be sure to include that info once they’re up and running!

Lunn's Mill

Lunn’s Mill Beer Company will be opening later this month in Lawrencetown, in the heart of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Located almost exactly half-way between Digby and Somerset, the brewery will help to serve the population looking to support a small local brewery. Lunn’s Mill is the original name for Lawrencetown, named after John Lunn, who purchased a wood mill lot there in 1760, before being renamed in honour of Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence in 1822. Mark Reid and Sean Ebert, along with Chantelle Webb and Chad Graves, are the force behind Lunn’s Mill, and brewer Mark sat down with us to answer some questions about their plans for opening, their brewing system, and beers they’ll be offering.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. is a partnership of 4 people who live in the Annapolis Valley. Sean and I have been homebrewing all-grain beer together for a few years now, and have toyed with the idea of opening a real brewery for some time. The time never really seemed right, so we just decided to do it anyway. We partnered with Chantelle to focus on food in the taproom and Chad to help with the business side to form an A-Team for the modern age.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
My interest in craft beer was sparked by a work trip to Belgium which had an unexpected stop at Delirium Cafe in Brussels. That gave me a chance to try a bunch of beer styles I’d never really thought about before, and finding them very enjoyable, I continued branching out and trying different things when I got back home as well. Around 2012, I started brewing all-grain beer, planted a few hop rhizomes in my back yard, and ever since then, brewing and drinking reinforced each other as fun and rewarding activities.
Sean and I met about three years ago and started brewing regularly together a year later. If I recall correctly, the conversation went something like: “Hey, do you want to brew and drink all the things?” “Sure!”
All four of us have been increasingly delighted with the quality and variety of local craft beer over the past couple of years.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
I’d been daydreaming about starting a brewery for several years, and after having the “should we? shouldn’t we?” discussion with Sean enough times we decided that the time would never be better than right now. Craft beer is booming, we’ve got a few recipes dialed in, and our home base is smack in the middle of one of the largest remaining brewery-less areas in the province (Annapolis County).
There’s a very strong “support local” culture, and we want to add an excellent local option for beer.

What are your plans for distribution? Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We’re planning to roll things out in phases. First is growler fills onsite at the brewery at 515 Carleton Rd (Highway 201), with weekly subscription-based home delivery in the immediate area (Annapolis Royal to Greenwood). Shortly after that, we’ll be opening a taproom, and eventually we’d like to start canning beer – all the cool kids are doing it. We have spoken to a few establishments about tap accounts, but haven’t finalized anything yet.

Can you tell us about the beers you will have at launch?
Our initial lineup consists of four beers:
Charming Molly – Blonde Ale – Nice and light-bodied, this beer has just a hint of hops and a crisp, slightly sweet malty character. 4.7%, 14 IBU
Brickyard Red – Red Ale – Rich and malty with a deep ruby colour. 6.2%, 20 IBU
Lunn’s Pub Ale – English Bitter – Copper colour with low-medium bitterness and mild hop character. True to style, it has relatively low carbonation so you can pour a full glass without all that pesky foam. 4.5%, 37 IBU
XPA #1 – The first iteration of our ever-evolving (x = experimental) IPA – Hop-forward, bright and citrusy. Very pale, slightly hazy. Highly sessionable. 5%, 80 IBU
We also plan on offering seasonals as capacity permits: harvest brews with hops grown here in the valley, some darker beers for the darker months including a Black IPA and a Porter, easy drinking patio beers for the summer.
One thing I’m particularly excited about is what we’re calling the Showcase Series. This is where we hope to offer small batches of a recipe brewed two ways, showcasing one small variation at a time – Cascade vs. Centennial hops, say, or 2-Row vs. Maris Otter, or US-05 yeast vs. Nottingham – one tweak and folks can try them side-by-side to see what difference it makes in the final beer. The potential items to showcase are nearly endless, and our aim is to let people gain a better understanding of the different facets of beer.

Lunn’s Mill is using a BIAC (Brew In A Conical) system, where the wort drains/lauters out through the bottom of a colander. Related to Brew In A Bag, a popular technique for homebrewers.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
You always hear the same answer on this topic – breweries in Nova Scotia are extremely helpful and welcoming – and it’s absolutely true. More specifically though, the folks at Saltbox went above and beyond, giving us a ton of advice early on even when they were extremely busy launching their own business! Boxing Rock graciously invited Sean and I to brew with them after we placed second in last year’s Black Box Challenge (aside: can’t wait to see what this year’s contest brings!) which gave us the bug to take our brewing hobby to the next level. Les Barr at Roof Hound has been great as well with a constant flow of communication, advice, tips and friendly encouragement.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope to see the overall craft beer industry expand and make further inroads with the broader beer-drinking population. As part of that, we hope to contribute to the diversity and quality of local Nova Scotia products by making exciting beers and building an awesome venue to share them! We’d love to experiment with hyper-local brewing, growing ingredients for the beer (and eventually for the kitchen) right at our facility’s 7-acre riverside property.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
Our initial brews are bubbling as we speak! We are aiming for a soft launch later this month (February) for growler fills, ramping up as our production capacity permits. Expect to see us at your favourite craft beer events this spring!

Emptying the colander after the lauter is complete.

Tell us about the brewing system you are using.
Right now we’re brewing on a 1.5 barrel system from BREWHA Equipment in Vancouver. I’m not aware of anyone else in Nova Scotia using their BIAC systems, but we love ours so far. We plan to expand to a 5 barrel system in the future, keeping the current gear as a pilot system and for brewing up the showcase recipes.

Can you share some info on your homebrewing history?
I’ve been home brewing since my university days, though always from those Cooper’s kits. The goal back then was different of course (cheap and tolerable), and things really shifted as I started to drink and enjoy craft beer – I switched to all-grain to see if I could hit a new goal: something delicious that was hard to find locally. I started with the brown ale recipe from John Palmer’s iconic How to Brew book. That very first batch turned out well, and I was hooked. From there I went on to experimenting with different kinds of ingredients, which really sparked the “showcase” idea; brewing up a ton of different SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop beers) to figure out the flavour profiles of different hops; then designing recipes to combine them in interesting ways.
Sean and I started brewing together about three years ago, brewing our first attempt at a Black IPA. We worked hard on consistency and repeatability, designed several new recipes, and joked about starting a brewery one day.
Last year I entered the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, and with Sean’s help came in 2nd place with a White IPA called Hop Springs Eternal. We’d never brewed a White IPA, but it turned out good enough for Henry and Emily to want to brew it at a commercial scale. The experience of brewing there was great (all of the fun, none of the responsibility!) and made Sean and I have some less joking, more serious, discussions about ramping up.

The conical is jacketed, allowing cold water in the double wall to chill the beer during recirculation,

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Between the four of us, we have have quite a broad range of favourite styles. My go-tos are hoppy IPAs and sours. Sean is all over Saisons and IPAs. Chantelle prefers dark beers, but also a good hefeweizen. Chad likes a nice crisp lager or a flavourful pale ale. We are all eager to try a new beer of any style, particularly from here in Nova Scotia.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Hmm, nutmeg? Just kidding, that one’s already taken. We tend to stick with traditional ingredients – hops, barley, yeast and water – keeping adjuncts to a minimum, though we do occasionally use oats or wheat in the grain bill as well. One thing during the harvest season that has been a lot of fun is using fresh hops from a farm that’s within walking distance of my home. It’s very satisfying to go from picking the cones to drinking the result.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to say a big thanks to AIRO – they were a huge early supporter and we wouldn’t have gotten this far without them.
Thanks also to Geordan at Quarrelsome Yeti for the great work designing our logo.

Thanks to Mark and the rest of the Lunn’s Mill crew for spending time with us. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on their progress, and those in the area can sign up now for their soon-to-be-launched Growler Delivery service. We’ll be sure to let you know all of the details on their launch later this month, once announced!

Good afternoon, and welcome to another weekend! Lots of beer news to dive into this week, as per usual, but let’s start off with the announcement of another new brewery opening in PEI later this year…

Copper Bottom Brewing has been announced to open in Montague, a town located on the eastern end of the Island. Owned by husband and wife team Ken Spears and Ashley Condon, the 10 bbl (~1100 L) DME system will be housed in the town’s Eastern Graphic building. Ken has been homebrewing for years on a self-built pilot system at the couple’s home in Sturgeon (just outside Montague), where he has been testing many batches of beer in order to perfect them for commercial production. Details on what types of beers the brewery will be releasing are being kept secret for now, but we do know that the location will also house a taproom for both pint and growler sales, as well as plenty of live music events. Kegs will also be sent to licensees across PEI, with cans following sometime after the initial launch. Copper Bottom should be open sometime this coming summer; we’ll have a full Q&A with Ashley and Ken next week!

• Speaking of Montague, back in May we reported that local businessman David McGuire was planning on opening a brewery in 2017. We’ve recently confirmed that those plans still exist, with Montague Brewing Co. (formerly announced as Beer Island Brewery) slated to launch by late summer. McGuire has recruited a “proper Bavarian brewmaster” for the 15 bbl (1800 L) brewery, which will feature “German and Austrian style beer with a local twist”. As always, we’ll keep you updated!

• In more soon-to-open local brewery news, Half Cocked Brewing have teamed up with the nearby Townhouse Brewpub in Antigonish to release their first beer. X Marks the Spot is a collaborative Extra Pale Ale, finding itself firmly in between an American Pale Ale and India Pale Ale, in both alcohol, at 5.8%, and bitterness, 42 IBU. There’s only one way to try this single keg of beer, and that’s on tap at the Townhouse during a fundraiser for the local Montesorri School. The fun kicks off at 9pm Saturday, with three live acts: Former Ordinary Horse, Rebecca Wild and Jacob Buckley. A $15 suggested donation will get you in the door, more details are available here. We’ll have much more with the HC crew closer to their launch in spring.

• While we continue to patiently wait for Hammond River‘s expansion to be complete, owner/brewer Shane Steeves is still experimenting in his home-based brewery, as he just brewed up another batch of his Berliner Weisse. The first iteration, Paisley Park, featured the addition of fresh raspberries. The more recent batch – still brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, hopped to 4 IBUs, and kettle-soured with Lactobacillus bacteria – will be a blackberry version, so expect a black-blue colour to go along with the tart, blackberry flavours. Currently unnamed, expect this one to pop up on tap within 2-3 weeks.

• Down in Saint John, the newest brewery in town, Loyalist City, has announced a new series of beers that they hope will help their customers learn about new and interesting hop varieties and compare them to classic varietals, all well enjoying a fine ale. All Hop Series beers begin with a hop-forward sessionable IPA recipe that is designed to land at 5.5% ABV and 60 IBU. On Hop Series brew day two batches are made, each featuring a different hop, with additions at 15 minutes remaining in the boil, at flameout, and during a post-boil whirlpool. The batches are be fermented with the same yeast and under the same conditions, with two dry hops taking place along the way before cold crashing and kegging.

• The first two entries in the series will contrast what has been called the quintessential American aroma hop, Cascade, with a cutting edge variety developed over the past few years in New Zealand, Motueka. Cascade was bred in 1956, but not released to brewers until the 70s and has been the most produced hop in the USA over the past decade. It is the sole hop in Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale, considered by many to be the first post-prohibition IPA, released in 1975. It also features prominently in another American classic, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Cascade brings citrus and floral aromas, often with a significant grapefruit note. It is truly one of the hallmarks of the craft beer revolution in North America. Motueka, on the other hand, is a much newer hop, the result of New Zealand’s burgeoning hop breeding program which has produced some of the most unique hops in the world. Bred from the noble Czech variety Saaz Motueka exemplifies New World hop character with a mingling of crushed lemon and lime citrus flavours with a background tropical note. The Loyalist folks are hoping to have these first two entries in the series available as early as next week at Cask and Kettle; be sure to try them both so you can compare the difference hop variety can make to a beer!

• Halifax’s Tiniest Brewery That Can, Tidehouse Brewing, has released a bigger beer this week. Baltimax is a 6.8% ABV Baltic Porter, sporting a dark brown colour with orange highlights, thanks to a base of Munich malt with some Black malt, and enhanced by darker Crystal malts for dried fruit characteristics and Wheat malt for body and head retention. Named for the maximum dimensions of a ship that can traverse the Danish Straits in and out of the Baltic Sea, this was the fallback name after a Perfect Strangers-inspired name met with some harsh criticism. It is currently available for growler fills at their Salter Street location (one floor down from 2 Doors Down), and at the Seaport Farmers’ Market today and tomorrow (where they fill their own, and other clean growlers on demand), and will be on tap at next Thursday, February 9th‘s, Evolution Nano Tap Takeover at Battery Park, joined by Brightwood, Schoolhouse, and Sober Island.

Boxing Rock has released Henry’s Cream Ale, a light, easy-drinking beer brewed with a grist made up with 100% malt (some Cream Ales are brewed with corn or other adjuncts). Hopped with both Noble and North American varieties, for a light bitterness and mild aroma, and weighs in at 5% ABV. Currently on tap at select locations in Nova Scotia, you can also find it in bottles and growlers at the brewery’s retail store, as well as their market locations and private liquor stores this weekend.

• Attention Home Brewers! Boxing Rock has announced details of the 2017 Black Box Challenge. Open to all amateur brewers in the province, this competition is unique, as it pits brewers against each other to come up with their beer recipe, but all starting from the same list of ingredients. There will be plenty of different hops, malts, and yeasts in the black box (you supply your own water), which you can mix and match (or leave out) to brew a beer worthy to take home the trophy. A blind judging will take place early March, with the top 6 brewers asked to make a short presentation on their beer, inspiration, and brew day on March 19th. Last year’s winning beer, Brian Harvey’s Where There’s Smoke was a dark ale featuring smoked malt and cinnamon. Get in your time machine to grab your entry last Saturday (ie, it is unfortunately sold out), and head to Stillwell to pick up your ingredients today.

• Dartmouth’s Downeast Beer Factory released a new beer late last week, Hibernation Russian Imperial Stout. At 8.5% ABV and 40 IBU, this is one beer that is sure to wake you up from a deep slumber. Featuring loads of roast malt for the iconic black colour, East Kent Golding was used for bittering, with a decent addition of Mosaic in the whirlpool for a blast of fruit aromatics. Also new on tap is Red Dawn, an Imperial Red Ale. The grist is made up up a significant portion of Red X malt, a German malt known for its iconic red colour and ability to be used as 100% of the malt bill. Cascade and El Dorado hops are featured in the boil, with a healthy dry-hopping of Falconers Flight for extra hops on the nose. The ABV is 7.0% and more than 100 IBU. Both beers are available on tap now, for both pints and growlers to go.

• For a few weeks now, the Annapolis Cider Company has been hinting at some big news and today is the day: Heirloom is their new signature cider and it will be available soon at both private liquor stores and the NSLC. This cider will be made from the juice of traditional apple varieties such as Gravenstein, Golden Russet and Northern Spy, fermented cool and then finished with freshly-pressed juice. The exact recipe will vary from batch to batch, with this initial offering having been back sweetened with the heritage variety Cox’s Orange Pippen developed in England in the early 19th century. It arrives at 8.1% ABV, with a golden hue and fresh apple aroma courtesy of the late juice. Although we don’t know exactly when it will appear for wider sale, you can get your fix right away if you visit the cidery on Main Street in Wolfville.​

• In celebration of their 20th year in business, Garrison will be brewing up a series of collaboration beers, with the first one happening today. Using the original 18 hl (15 BBL) equipment from 20 years ago, at their location across from the Seaport Market, this first brew will include Good Robot, North, and Spindrift. No details on the beer have been released yet, but stay tuned for more info over the next few weeks!

Keep an eye open for the following events, in addition to those we’ve already added to our Calendar of Events, including tonight’s launch of Lazy Bear’s Orange Kolsch:

• If you’re in Halifax, be sure to head over to Stillwell tomorrow, February 4th, for some treats on tap from Bad Apple Brewhouse. Three special kegs will be pouring: Smokeshow Imperial Rauchbier (brewed November, 2014; aged on cherrywood for one year; 11.2% ABV), Portified RIS (Black & Tackle aged on cherrywood and fortified with port; 11.5% ABV); and Barrel-Aged Black & Tackle RIS (brewed November, 2015; aged in a 12-year-old Glenora whiskey barrel; 11.6% ABV). They’ll also have some cask-conditioned Black & Tackle and Boxcutter, so make sure to drop by! And, uh, maybe don’t plan on driving, afterwards…

• Starting Monday, February 6th, Upstreet Craft Brewing is partnering with twelve Island restaurants for the Pogey Challenge. Visit one of the participating restaurants (listed here) and order a pint of the brewery’s Top Stamp Honey Brown Lager, and you’ll receive a stamp. Once you’ve collected five stamps (only one stamp per restaurant), you’ll be entered to win a $800 prize pack, which includes $600 in gift cards, a brewery tour and tasting for 10 people, and $100 in Upstreet swag! The contest will run for 3 weeks.

• With this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival happening in just over a month, a couple of more events have been confirmed for the week leading up to the fest. Thursday, March 9th will feature a Nova Scotia Tap Takeover and Trivia Night, at the King Street Ale House. A grand total of 24 taps will be pouring, from a minimum of 10 different breweries. Your $25 ticket gets you a special glass to keep, plus ten 5 oz pours; of course, you’re free to purchases additional beers after that; it all starts at 5 pm. And beginning at 7 pm, there will be beer trivia, hosted be yours truly! Yes, Shawn and Chris are returning for the second straight year, after popular demand… to make the questions easier. We will. We promise. Remember how worthwhile it was last year though, with all those great brewery-swag prizes we gave out? There’ll be lots more of those! No charge for trivia, just show up for some fun, NS beers, and tomato throwing!

• Next is A Day of Beer Education (Friday, March 10th), an all-day event held at the Crowne Plaza downtown, presented by the CCNB. There will be three malt-focused lectures during the Morning Malt Sessions, followed by lunch (provided by the CCNB). The afternoon will consist of sessions on yeast and fermentation, beer off-flavours, and a panel discussion. Everyone will then move to the James Joyce for beer-drinking and… more discussion! Tickets are just $40 each, and can be purchased through the link above (which also has more information on each session). If you’re going to Saturday’s festival (and why wouldn’t you be?), you get $10 off your education ticket… just be sure to use the code FCBF17. And remember, there’s still afternoon tickets available for the big event on Saturday, March 11th.

A couple more beers to keep in your sights:

– It’s that time of year, or perhaps even a little early, for the reappearance of the Irish Red Ale from Propeller. If you make your way one of the two bottle shops this you’ll be able to buy this 5% ABV, 22 IBU beer in 650ml bottles with growler fills available either today or early next week.
– For the third year running, Tatamagouche Brewing has done up their Oyster Cloister oyster stout. This year it features malt from Horton Ridge in addition to 200 salty Malagash & Tatamagouche Bay oysters added during the boil.