Good morning, and welcome to your weekly infusion of what’s new in Atlantic Canada in terms of craft beer! Let’s get started…

• Last Saturday’s third annual Fredericton Poutine Festival was yet another success, with close to 500 people showing up between the two sessions. The event had sold out very quickly after tickets went on sale last August, and with ~25 beers, ciders and mead pouring from 11 different breweries, and more than 12 types of poutine being served from four establishments, bellies were full and happy by the end of it all! The Doghut Canteen took home the Best of the Fest award for the second year in a row, thanks to various styles of poutine featuring donair meat and sauce. Organizer Lloyd Chambers has confirmed that they are planning another event soon, with a tentative date of Saturday, April 2nd. Look for this Poutine Festival to feature beer garden-style seating, all new varieties of poutine, and even more varieties of craft beer… stay tuned! Finally, a reminder that tickets for the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just went on sale; with two sessions (afternoon and evening) this time around, and several days of events leading up to the festival, it’ll likely sell out even faster than last year, so don’t wait… in fact, 250 tickets were sold today in the first five minutes after going on sale! For more info, check out yesterday’s post.

BarNone will soon be releasing a new beer to select bars and restaurants in PEI. The Big O is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) beer that features 100% organic 2-row base malt and Galaxy, an Australian hop variety that provides lots of tropical fruit characteristics. With plenty of late additions of this hop in this brew, expect this light-coloured ale to be extremely aromatic and flavourful, without much in the way of accompanying bitterness. It comes in at a very-drinkable 5% ABV, and should be hitting taps soon. Also, note that BarNone will continue to offer growlers at the Charlottetown Farmers Market every Saturday. Look for future iterations of The Big O to feature different hop varieties, with Vic Secret possibly following soon.

• There’s a new beer launching today at Unfiltered in Halifax, and it’s a big one. Flat Black Jesus is described as an American-style stout that has been brewed with locally-harvested wet hops, and further dry-hopped with several “new” Australian hop varieties. Brewed back in September, it was one of the Maritime beers featured at Toronto’s Cask Days, but the local version was further conditioned on oak until its release. With an ABV of 7%, and 100+ calculated IBUs, this jet-black beer is not for the faint of heart (but really, were you expecting any less?). Look for it at the brewery for growler fills starting at noon today, and on tap shortly.

• Also releasing today at noon is Breton Brewing’s fourth core beer, Red Coat Irish Red Ale. Featuring Pilsner and a touch of Roasted malt for colour and aroma, this 5% ABV Red Ale comes in at 25 IBUs for a nice balance to the toast and malt flavours and aromas. Look for it on tap at the brewery today, and at their accounts this weekend.

• There’s lots going on at Tatamagouche Brewing these days! Their latest specialty brew is out today: Smorter, a S’mores-inspired porter! This 6.5% ABV porter was brewed with the addition of chocolate malt, cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, and molasses right in the mash tun. During the boil, more cinnamon, as well as honey and vanilla beans, was also added. After the boil, the wort travelled through a hop back loaded with local Willamette hops. To further S’more it up, the beer was conditioned with additional vanilla beans. From brewer Christiane Jost, “A beer reminiscent of a summer’s night bonfire, but high enough in alcohol to help you forget it’s not.” Smorter is available today at the brewery in growler fills and cans, and on tap around the province shortly.

• Coming next week from Tata is another special brew, Full Circle. This American Wheat was brewed with a special visitor/collaborator in the brewery, Ceilidh Sutherland. A native of Tatamagouche, Ceilidh is co-owner of Halifax’s Field Guide restaurant, specializing in locally-sourced and -inspired plates. The beer features local Cascade hops from Northport’s Wymsykal Farms in both the mash and through a hopback, and Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria hops at the end of the boil for citrus aromatics. The 4.9% Full Circle will be released next Thursday, December 3rd, and will be making its debut during a Tata Tap Takeover at Field Guide, and subsequently in kegs, growlers and cans.

• And finally in Tata news, their Deception Bay IPA is back on tap and cans at the brewery today. The Silver Medal winning IPA at this year’s ACBAs, it is brewed with Frontenac Organic Pilsner Malt, bittered with Magnum, and late-hopped with Citra, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, for more juicy flavour and aromas. And they brewed up their next seasonal this week, Maple Squash Ale. Look for it to be released mid-December.

• The end of November also marks the end of Movember, the hairiest month of the year. That also means that Quidi Vidi’s extremely popular Fogtown Lager will soon be no more. But fear not, YYT beer fans, as they will be releasing the last 35 dozen of the beer this Saturday at 1pm. They’ll also be hosting the end-of-month Mo’ judging Sunday afternoon at 2pm, complete with live music, food, and of course, beer! And there are plenty of prizes and perks left to be won by those who donate and/or raise a few mo’ bucks for the cause… check out their Movember page for more details. Congratulations to QV, the top-raising brewery world-wide! This week also saw the release of Quid Vidi’s Christmas seasonal, Mummer’s Brew. Named after the practice of dressing up and visiting friends and neighbours, to sing, tell stories, or jokes, this Amber Ale weighs in at 5% ABV; it should be available at the brewery now.

Gahan Halifax has a pair of new brews on tap this week at their waterfront location. First up is a Gingerbread Beer. Light in alcohol, at 4.3%, the beer features lots of cinnamon, ginger, and clove character, reminiscent of the popular baked goods. Lightly hopped to 35 IBUs, it works especially well in a glass with a cinnamon/sugar rim! Also on tap is an English Mild. Served at a medium-low carbonation, as it would be across the pond, this is a malt forward beer with a great roast character, and supremely sessionable at 3.7% ABV. A higher bitterness, around 50 IBUs, helps to keep you wanting more. Both beers are also available to take home in growlers, along with Gahan’s other locally- and Island-brewed offerings.

• The Pump House has re-released their Schwarzbier, a German-style Black Lager. While black in colour, traditional Schwarzbiers are brewed to have only subtle hints of chocolate and coffee, with a clean finish to make the very drinkable. The Pump House beer comes in higher than most beers in this style, at 7.5% ABV. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, and is available at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend.

• Speaking of beer re-releases, Boxing Rock U-889 is back again! This popular Russian Imperial Stout is big and bold, featuring over 600 kg of malt, a two hour boil, and plenty of hops to help balance all that sweetness. In addition, 22 gallons of “strong, cold-brewed coffee” from Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op was thrown in, along with 20 pounds of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, for over two weeks. The result? An 8.89% ABV, 65 IBUs black monster of a beer, with lots of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel aromas and flavours. As the brewery aptly puts it, think of it as a “dessert in a glass”. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private stores in Halifax, and select bars and restaurants. As always, supplies are limited, so pick it up while you can!

Bulwark Cider will be releasing their latest product late next week. Their Oak-Aged Cider is 7% ABV, starting from a clean base of Annapolis Valley apples, and aged on American oak for six months. The wood added some toast, vanilla, and caramel-like qualities, without any residual sugar to the dry cider. The cider is packaged in clear 750 mL flip-top bottles, with a beautiful etching designed by Meredith Bangay, and voted on by the public at Stillwell during Nocturne. This very limited run will be only available at the NSLC, with one sole keg available at Stillwell in the near future. We also have a bit of information some of Bulwark’s future releases. Making a return, will be their Ice Apple cider (previously named Northern Compass), a higher ABV cider, as well as the very popular Sour Cherry cider, that was released in the summer. We’ll fill you in when they become available!

AB-InBev has announced that they will be brewing once again in their Keith’s Brewery Market/Lower Water Street location in the new year. The brewery space, which has not produced beer for several years, will be undergoing major brewery upgrades, to the tune of $1.5M, and the hiring of a new brewmaster for the location. Due to customer demand, and perhaps feeling the heat from the expansion of local craft breweries (both in number and market share), they are promising to produce “small-batch, innovative brews” in this location, available at local bars and the NSLC. At their planned 2,000 hectolitre capacity, this would certainly put them on the big side of “small”. The new facility should be putting out beer in mid-Spring 2016.

• Tickets for the 2016 Saint John Beer Fest are now on sale. As always, they expect to have plenty of craft beer available to sample, along with options for food to purchase from local establishments, and live entertainment throughout the festival. Once again taking place within the atrium of Market Square, the festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th. There are two ticket options: general admission from 7:30-9:30 pm for $63.96 per ticket, and a VIP ticket for $74.52, which gets you in at 7 pm to sample some “limited specialty brews”. We’ll have more info on the Fest for you as it gets closer!

Have a fantastic weekend! If you’re in the Moncton area tonight, the Moncton Beer League still has some tickets left for their Flights ‘n Bites: Whisky & Beer Edition; taking place at the Alma City Club from 7-10 pm, there will be several pairings of various scotch and whiskies, Pump House beer, and food items. If you’re in Sackville, be sure to drop by your ANBL growler station this weekend, as Flying Boats will have a small amount of their Dixie Clipper IPA pouring once one of the taps is freed up; look for that to occur around Saturday or Sunday. Maybee Brewing has officially brewed their first batch of beer (their American Amber, Roseway Red) on their new DME system; those of you in Fredericton can expect to see it on tap and in cans sometime in December, around their official launch. Upstreet Brewing‘s bottled beer (Commons, Do-Gooder, and Rhuby Social) are now available for purchase outside of the brewery, at select PEILCC locations. And a reminder that Garrison’s Spruce Beer will be released today at the brewery, and tomorrow at NSLC stores. And to celebrate they are tapping casks of it and their Winter Warmer (along with mulled cider and hot chocolate) tomorrow beginning at 11am at the brewery, with all proceeds going to the Christmas Daddies Charity.

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The fourth annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (FCBF) will take place on Saturday, March 12th, 2016. While this is the fourth consecutive year for the event, this will be the first time for the Fredericton Craft Beer Week, a six day celebration of craft beer in the city, from March 8th-13th. Lloyd Chambers started the original festival back in 2013, and has continued to offer many different beer-related events in Fredericton (and beyond) in the years since, including the Fredericton Poutine Festival, Fredericton Beer Run, Fredericton Cider Festival, Burgers n’ Beer, and the upcoming Christmas Beer Garden on December 20th. With tickets for the 2016 FCBF going on sale this Friday at 11 am, we decided to sit down with Lloyd and discuss what he has planned for the festivities next March…

Can you give us a little background on how you first decided to create the FCBF?

The idea for the event first came about over the sharing of several beers with Doug Williams (owner of the King Street Ale House). After talking about what we’d like to see in a beer festival, I went home and immediately created a Facebook page. It took off like crazy, with the event selling out before we even had our first brewery confirmed! Things have definitely changed since then, as we now have a full slate of breweries confirmed to be attending, before the actual ticket launch.

Can you give us an idea about what to expect from this year’s festival? What has changed, what has stayed the same, etc.

As in past years, the festival will continue to strongly focus on craft beer brewed in Atlantic Canada. We hope to have all 20 breweries from New Brunswick attending, plus at least 9 more from PEI and Nova Scotia; as you can see, the majority of breweries present will be from our region. For the third straight year, the event will be held at the Fredericton Convention Centre, which is a perfect fit for us. It really is the best venue in the city, in terms of both size and service.


Fredericton Convention Centre

A lot has changed, however. This is the first year that we will be holding an afternoon session on Saturday, along with the evening session. With about 1000 tickets for each session, more people will be able to attend overall, with slightly less in the evening than previous years. And while we’ll have about 45 different breweries attending (similar to last year’s event), there will be slightly fewer beers, ciders and meads overall (~170 vs. 200 last year); we’re looking for quality over quantity, which will mean more local craft products, as opposed to the big brands.

What are the options for tickets for both festival sessions?

The afternoon session will take place from 2:00 – 4:30 pm, and will include a custom tasting glass and unlimited 4 oz samples. The regular admission for the evening session includes the same, and takes place from 7:00 – 9:30 pm. As usual, there will also be a limited number – 200 – of VIP tickets for sale, for the evening session only. These allow early admission at 6:00 pm, and include a different tasting glass. Regular tickets are $55 + fee, while VIP tickets are $65 + fee. We will also be offering a Designated Driver option, where admission is $15 + fee (must be purchased with a regular or VIP ticket) and includes unlimited non-alcoholic beverages.


2014 FCBF – Photo courtesy of Ahmed Dassouki

Tell us what you have planned for the days leading up to the festival.

Starting Tuesday, March 8th, there will be several different “mini beer events” held each day at different venues in Fredericton. Depending on the event, there will either be a charge to attend, or simply pay-as-you-drink. We’re still confirming the total list of what we’ll be putting on, but here’s a sneak preview of some of the events you can expect to see:

• March 8th (Tuesday) will kick off the week with a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament at the KSAH; this one will be pay-as-you-drink, with a $5 winner-takes-all entry into the tournament. There will also be several cask ales from Garrison Brewing available.

• On Wednesday, the Crowne Plaza will be putting on their “Offaly Good Evening of Food and Craft Beer” from 7:00 – 10:00 pm, which will feature five courses of “lesser known cuts” from various all-New Brunswick-raised produce. Each course will be served with a different 12-oz craft beer; tickets are $70 + tax and gratuity.

• A tap-takeover from Garrison Brewing at the King Street Ale House will happen on Thursday night. No charge to attend (just pay-as-you-drink); with up to 24 different beers pouring, this could possibly be the largest-ever tap takeover in the province.

• There will be a couple of private events for brewers only, as a “thank you” for attending the festival and other events through the week. Right now we’re looking at a meet-and-greet Friday night, followed by a Brewers Brunch at the KSAH Saturday morning before the festival sessions begin.

• On Sunday morning, we’ll be holding “Down the Keg”, a short 3 km run, leaving from the KSAH, to help burn off the calories put on over the preceding days! Following this, there will be a Brewers Jazz Brunch (open to the public) at the KSAH (to add some calories back on).

More events will be announced as we confirm them, including something in the works at Grimross Brewing, and a special event hosted by Andrew Estabrooks. We’re hoping to have everything basically set in stone by the beginning of the New Year. We also plan on offering a Beer Passport for the week, which will act as basically an event guide. You’ll earn stamps for each event that you attend, which you can collect to enter into draws to win some cool prizes.

Do you currently have any sponsors lined up?

We’re putting some extra energy in attracting sponsors this year, with a “sponsor structure” that goes through different levels, from “growler”, to “keg”, to “barrel”. Founding sponsors King Street Ale House and Massive Graphics are returning this year, and Investors Group is a barrel sponsor. We should be announcing a presenting sponsor sometime in the near future. Also, the Crowne Plaza is the official hotel of the festival; they offer reduced rates for festival-goers every year.

Sounds like everything is shaping up nicely! Anything you’d like to add?

As always, the focus of this festival (and all of the events surrounding it) can be brought back to our tagline: “It’s all about the beer. Pure. Simple.”

We’re already looking forward to March! Thanks to Lloyd for answering our questions and giving us a taste of what’s to come. Keep following FCBF on social media for more updates, as well as this blog, as we’ll be sure to post more on the fest as the dates get closer. Remember that tickets to the festival go on sale tomorrow at 11 am; be sure to get yours early, as they sold out quite quickly last year!

G’day! Along with your weekly dose of regional beer news comes the announcement of yet another new brewery in Atlantic Canada. Let’s get to it!

• Fredericton will soon be seeing the launch of the city’s very first brewpub, as Mama’s Pub (a local establishment that has been operating on Fredericton’s North Side for 23 years) plans to start brewing on a 2 BBL (~225 L) system in the near future. Manager Ryan Kingston will be the brewer, and has developed several “flagship beer” recipes with the help of brewer/consultant Andrew ‘Esty’ Estabrooks. They plan on launching their first three beers – an American Pale Ale, Brown Ale, and Session IPA – by Christmas, with Estabrooks staying on as consultant to see the brewery through its initial developing stages. All beers will be available on tap at Mama’s only, with four seasonal rotating beers to follow in 2016. Plans currently include growler fills onsite sometime in the future, and there will be 15 other taps in addition to the Mama’s beers. We’ll have a Q&A posted in the near future; stay tuned!

Picaroons has announced future plans to open a brewery and retail space in downtown St. Stephen. Located at 5 King St., the establishment will be in collaboration with an “experienced chef”, who will run a co-joined but separately-operated brewpub. Still in the development phase, the current working name is The Five Kings. We’ll have more details in the future as they become available!

• We also have details on the opening date plans for Battery Park Beer Bar in Dartmouth. This joint venture between Brooklyn Warehouse and North Brewing will be opening their doors December 10th. Why December 10th? Owner Leo Christakos is a board member of the Slow Food NS association, and their annual Terra Madre Day is on that date, celebrating the founding of Slow Food in 1989. The Terra Madre initiative is a celebration of local food (including beer) through community events, including meals, festivals, workshops and more. BPBB’s opening will be a culmination of their months of preparation, and so it is fitting to hold it on that date. They will be pouring several new beers and current favourites, both brewed onsite and at North’s Agricola Street location. As the exact timing and beer details are announced, we’ll be sure to share them. And drop by North today after noon to pick up a bottle of Two, the beer brewed in celebration of Stillwell’s second anniversary.

• Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has released the 2015 edition of their Stonefire Ale. It was brewed using the Steinbier technique, which involves heating the wort not by heating a kettle, but by super-heating rocks to 700C and dropping them directly into the wort. This leads to lots of sugar caramelization, and even a faint hint of smokiness in the final product. The bitterness of the beer is very low, under 10 IBUs, leaving lots of room for the 6.5% ABV, with the beer coming through slightly sweet. It is widely available at the ANBL in bottles now. Pump House has also brought back their Bière de Garde seasonal, a 6.5% ABV amber beer with Belgian yeast character spiciness, and balancing hop bitterness from Chinook and Golding.

Garrison Brewing is coming to Sackville, New Brunswick in the form of a massive tap-takeover at Ducky’s Bar! Starting tomorrow, November 21st, at 7 pm, there will be 18 taps pouring various Garrison beers, many of which are special releases such as Not So Gentle Tickle IPA, Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, 3 Fields Harvest, Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale, and their Proud Rose-Mary, the “Gastronome IPA” normally exclusive to the harbourstone sea grill & pour house in Halifax. There is no cover charge, but if you purchase a ticket for $10, you will receive a specially-branded Belgian-style glass and five 5 oz drink tickets; sign up in advance at the bar, and you get an additional two drink tickets. Those with the branded glass will be able to purchase additional 5 oz pours for the special price of $2.25.

• In additional Garrison news, their seasonal Winter Warmer is back, starting today. Just in time for colder temperatures, this 7% ABV dark beer is perfect for sipping, and, new this year, is available in 6-packs, perfect for sharing (or not!). And next Saturday, the 28th, will see the launch of this year’s Spruce Beer, with a cask of both the Spruce Beer and Winter Warmer, as well as mulled cider, on at the brewery.

PEI Brewing Co. has officially set the date for this year’s Transmitter Coffee Stout release. A delicious beer that was brewed in collaboration with local Receiver Coffee Co., last year’s batch featured plenty of roasted coffee flavour and aroma, and was more than worth the Herculean task of getting the wax off the bottle cap! The 750 mL bottles will be available for purchase at the brewery starting at 5 pm next Tuesday (November 24th); there will be live music from Dave Woodside until 7pm, and both PEIBC brewers and Receiver employees will be on hand to answer questions about the beer and coffee (with samples of both available for sampling). Like last year’s batch, supplies will be limited, so load up while you have the chance! And for you procrastinators, there are still a few bottles available of Hell Street, their barrel-aged Doppelbock, at both the brewery and PEILCC.

• The seasonal beer re-release news doesn’t stop there, as Propeller‘s very popular Russian Imperial Stout, Revolution, is back for another year. Already in bottles and on tap at their Halifax and Dartmouth brewery shops, it will also be popping up soon at NSLC stores in the next few weeks. This dark, strong (8% ABV), complex ale features plenty of roasted and chocolate notes, along with a smooth, warming finish from the higher alcohol. For the first time, it will also be available at select ANBL locations by early 2016.

Big Spruce has just released Gimme Simcoe, the latest in the “Gimme” line of single-hop Pale Ales, with Bar Stillwell as conspirators. Weighing in at 5.0% ABV, this light-bodied brew showcases the Simcoe hop, added especially late in the process to magnify the hop’s aroma and flavour over bitterness. On tap now at the brewery, and shortly at Stillwell and elsewhere in our region. And one final reminder, entry forms for the Home Brew Challenge are due via email Nov 23rd, and beers must be submitted to the brewery, or the Halifax drop-point, no later than Friday the 27th.

• The Nook and Cranny in Truro has a new beer on tap at the pub. Their first dark beer is a 4.7% ABV Milk Stout, brewed on-site on their SmartBrew system. Smooth-drinking, with a bit of roast and sweetness, it should be a great beer for the cooler months. Like the rest of their beers, it’s currently available at the pub for pints and growler fills.

• The Ladies Beer League is holding a Holiday Brunch at Stillwell on December 6th. The party starts at noon with the launching of the Boxing Rock/Big Spruce collaboration Triskaidekaphobia, plus some great brunch food from Chef Graeme Ruppel, including Eggs Benedict, Frittata, and Biscuits & Gravy. Tickets are $32.40, and include food and first pour of Tris, and LBL members receive a $5 discount. Doors open at 4pm to the public.

That’s it for this week! If you’re in Charlottetown, BarNone‘s award-winning Black IPA, Black Eye P.A., has returned; you can find it on tap at Baba’s Lounge and The Old Triangle. And another award-winning beer, La Buckdjeuve from Petit-Sault, is currently pouring at all four ANBL growler stations, is available in bottles at the brewery now and in select ANBL locations starting next week (if you don’t see it, ask for it!), for a limited time only. Grimross has re-released their Maritime Amber Ale, a 5.6% ABV beer hopped towards the British side of the spectrum (earthy instead of fruity/citrusy). Finally, tomorrow is the third annual Fredericton Poutine Festival; the sold-out event will feature 11 breweries pouring approximately 25 different different beers, ciders and mead, served with unlimited samples of over 12 different styles of poutine! Hope to see you there!

Happy Friday, dear readers! We hope your Friday the 13th turns out better than the one in those movies. At least you’ll be drinking great beer if you grab a few of the ones mentioned below!

Propeller Brewing released their latest One Hit Wonder late last week, named Down East North West IPA (DENWIPA). This 6.8% unfiltered IPA is an ode to West Coast IPAs, with a solid bitterness and a full blast of pine and citrus aroma. The orange-hued beer features a creamy white head, and a touch of sweetness to round out the big hopping. As with all of their One Hit Wonders, it is available at both their Gottingen and Windmill locations in growler fills only, and on rotating taps in the city, but not for long!

• Expanding on the popularity of the brew, Propeller’s Rye IPA is now available in six packs, as well as bombers. The 6.8% IPA features a generous addition of rye malt for a spicy character to accentuate the citrus aroma from the Pacific Northwest hops. For when you don’t want to drink a full 650ml of the beer, six packs are available at the Prop Shoppe, and the private beer stores, while the NSLC will continue to carry the bombers.

• And great news for those of us who attended the Prop’r Cask Nights in 2013 and 2014, they will be making a return! Propeller will be partnering with a local kitchen to cater their Gottingen St tasting room for an evening of food and fun, featuring special one-off casks and special blends for the occasion. We’ll let you know once the details are released.

• Big Spruce released their very popular Crazy Ivan Double IPA late last week. Brewed with 100% imported German malts, this orange-hued DIPA comes in at 8% ABV and over 100 IBUs, with a beautiful full hop blast on the nose. Due to the sheer volume of hops in the boil, the yield for this brew is less than standard Big Spruce brews, so don’t delay in grabbing a sample or growler at the brewery, or on tap at their accounts.

• And not shying away from the hoppier branch of beers, they recently brewed their Left Breton Organic Conspiracy IPA. This beer uses their own farm-grown organic hops, showcasing their 2015 harvest Cascade, among others. This brew first made its debut in 2013, when their good friends Brian and Rebecca from Crannóg Ales brought some of their own farm-grown organic hops. While they weren’t able to join them for this brew day, they were there in spirit.

• And look out for another conspiracy beer in the coming weeks and months, as the Big Spruce crew is invading Boxing Rock in Shelburne today for a special brewday. Taking a cue from today’s date, they are scaring up an Imperial Brown Ale named Triskaidekaphobia. This fear-inducing 9% beer will be then be conditioned on cherries and vanilla beans, with both non- and Glenora-barrel-aged versions seeing their release. A few members of the Ladies Beer League are in attendance today; follow along on their Twitter to get a peek at the mayhem.

Distillerie Fils du Roy have released another new beer, North Shore Regiment. The beer was named after the Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army that was founded in Chatham, New Brunswick; they participated in many notable battles of World War II, including the Juno Beach landing on D-Day. The beer is an English Barleywine, a Strong Ale that is rich and malty, with complex flavours that may include toffee, toast, caramel, and molasses. Fils du Roy’s take on the style IS a strong one, clocking in at a whopping 12% ABV! Bittered to 45 IBUs to help balance the strong malt character, it’s available now in 750 mL bottles at the brewery and select ANBL stores; it’s also currently on tap at all four ANBL growler stations.

• Garrison Brewing has announced the style details of their 2016 Home Brew-Off Competition, and it is American IPA with Experimental Feature. This is category is wide open to individual interpretation: as long as it uses an American IPA as its base, and falls within those style guidelines (Style 21A from 2015 BJCP details here), it’s fair game! Novel ingredient additions are encouraged, including fruits, herbs, spices, etc, with your imagination as your only limit, as long as the Am IPA characters still shine through. From the brewery, “If it clearly fits one of the 21B – Specialty IPA sub-styles, then it probably isn’t what we have in mind”. The registration forms will be available shortly (be sure to mark down which special ingredient(s) were used!), and the beers will be due February 11th, with the Awards Gala held March 3rd. So, get brainstorming on recipes, and fire up your kettles for some test batches, Maritime Homebrewers! Post your brewday, and follow along with others as they brew, using the #GHBO16 tag on Twitter.

• And in more Garrison news, their popular seasonal Martello Stout has returned for the cooler months. This year’s batch features a new recipe with a slightly higher 5% ABV, and a higher percentage of oats for a great smooth and creamy character. The chocolate and espresso notes will keep you happy while you curl up by the fire. Look for it on sale in bombers at the brewery and private stores, and on tap in our local market. Also look for their flagship Irish Red in its new branding and large bottle format at the NSLC shortly.

• Bar Stillwell is celebrating their Second Anniversary this weekend, and there will be a ton of great beers and food to celebrate. They will be pouring a full complement of local and regional beers on their taps and beer engines, including Red Rover’s VeRRy PeRRy and White Witch, aged kegs of Grimross Chantelope and Tatamagouche Rum Barrel-Aged Dreadnot, a special one-off cask of Extra Special Bitter from The Brewnosers Homebrew Club (brewed at Good Robot), as well as several great sour Quebec beers, including Trou du Diable Oude Blanche, Ze Blend and L’Ours, and Dunham Tropicale and Assemblage #1. In addition to the taps, they will be popping bottles from Jester King, Dunham, and other beauties they’ve been cellaring. Of course, Chef GR will be serving up some killer food to complement the beers, including smoked brisket poutine and the infamous boatzel.  The event kicks off when the doors open at 6pm Sunday, and there are no tickets required. We’ll see you there!

• The anniversary party will also be the debut of Stillwell’s celebratory brew, Two. Brewed at NorthTwo is a 4.5% “rustic farmhouse” beer, inspired by both traditional saison and modern American farmhouse brewing. It was fermented using a mixed blend of yeasts and bacteria, for waves of funky and tart/acidic characteristics, on an effervescent and light base. It was hopped with Saaz and Sterling, for a peppery and fruity nose. From Stillwell, “It was a very experimental brew but we’re extremely pleased with the results; it turned out just as we’d hoped it would. We’re very grateful to Peter at North Brewing for allowing us to brew this beer at his brewery.” The beer will be available in both draft and bottle-conditioned pours. After the party, bottles will be available for purchase at North, and if you spot it, grab it!, as we don’t expect it to last long.

• There’s a new beer fermenting at Grimross Brewing, and it should be ready in plenty of time for the fast-approaching Christmas season. Dubbel Noel is actually the same recipe as their original Dubbel; however, this time around, the beer will be further conditioned on vanilla beans. Owner/brewer Stephen Dixon expects the vanilla to “add depth and richness to the already great flavours of caramel, candy and malt”, providing a subtle – but still enjoyable – contrast to the original beer. The ABV and IBUs (6.8% and 18, respectively) will not change; look for the new beer to be released by early December.

• Speaking of Christmas, next month will feature the first Christmas-themed beer event from those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. The Christmas Beer Garden at the Market is currently scheduled for Sunday, December 20th, from 10 am – 3 pm. Visitors to the Boyce Farmers Market will be able to take a break from the shopping and enjoy some brews from Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and TrailWay. Both 4oz samples and 12oz pours (9oz for cider and mead) will be available, and there is no ticket required to attend. However, those who buy the Early Bird tickets (available at the link above) will receive a special glass which allows for 16oz pours for the price of 12oz, as well as their first four beer tickets on the house. The event will be cash-only, as are many of the Farmers Market vendors, so plan accordingly. And food from the great vendors at the market can be brought into the Beer Gardens area.

• There are two new seasonal beers soon to be brewed over at Hammond River. First off is an old homebrew favourite of owner/brewer Shane Steeves: Foghorn Coffee Porter. Brewed with a grist containing Maris Otter, Crystal 120 L, Chocolate malt, and Roasted Barley, it also features the addition of Foghorn coffee beans from local roasters Java Moose; it should come in at ~6% ABV. Next up is definitely an interesting new experiment: White Stout is brewed with a grist that includes oats and barley, and also features the addition of Foghorn coffee. The beer is further conditioned on cacao nibs, with the intended result being, you guessed it, a pale beer that smells and tastes roasty and chocolatey, like a stout! This one will be targeted at 7.2% ABV and ~37 IBUs. Stay tuned for release details on both beers over the coming weeks.

TrailWay has brewed up a new Milk Stout, their first since their original “Imperial Coffee Milk Stout”, Double Double, released last March. Similar in some ways to Double Double, this newer “Experimental Milk Stout” made its first appearance last night at the King Street Ale House Cask Night. In fact, future releases of the same batch will continue to be cask-only; while last night’s was served in a standard cask, the beer’s next appearance will likely be served after conditioning on whisky-soaked oak chips. Featuring a higher percentage of lactose powder added in the boil, to boost the beer’s mouthfeel and perception of sweetness, it comes in at ~6.2% ABV. Keep your eyes on TrailWay’s social media pages for future cask releases! And remember that TrailWay is pouring at the Fredericton ANBL growler station this weekend; their Session IPA is on in limited supply, so get over there quickly!

• One of Fredericton’s upcoming breweries, Gray Stone Brewing, has announced recently that their plans to open in the Capital Complex have been cancelled. Instead, they hope to open in another currently-unconfirmed downtown location, where they will still house both a 10 bbl brewery and tasting room. Currently employing three brewers, they still plan on launching with the four beers we’ve reported on before (an American Pale Ale, American IPA, American Stout and Brown Ale), along with several other styles to follow shortly after. We’ll keep you further updated on their progress; right now, plans are to open the brewery and tasting room to the public in May, 2016.

• The James Joyce Irish Pub has announced the third in their series of tap takeovers, Meet Your Makers, for Thursday, November 26th at 7 pm. After initial offerings from Big Axe and Red Rover, the next event will feature Picaroons. We’re not certain on exactly which beers will be pouring, but have been assured that there will be several one-off beers, including at least one cask. It also sounds like several Picaroons staff members will be on hand, eager to chat beer. As always, there is no charge to attend; just pay by the pour!

• Meander River released their Homegrown Wet Hopped Pale Ale a few weeks ago, but we missed announcing it when it happened. Our apologies! Good news, though, as it is currently on tap for growler fills at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines. Using a blend of their own farm-grown Cascade and Zeus, the beer was hopped exclusively using the mash tun as a hopback. This allows the characteristic taste and aroma of wet hops to shine through in the 4.2% beer. And for those heading to the brewery this weekend, look for their First Frost Cider and return of Smokey Chipotle Porter.

A few more things before we sign off this week: Speaking of growler fills, Red Rover will be making their debut on a growler filling station early next week. However, it will be not be in New Brunswick, but in Nova Scotia, with RockHead in Halifax pouring their Fall Cider. Charlottetown’s Upstreet has released their Rhuby Social in bottles, joining their Do-Gooder APA and Commons Pilsner, so now you can take their strawberry and rhubarb witbier home in a smaller format. Bulwark’s Winter Cider is back for the season, and will be available at the NSLC shortly. They have also bottled their Hopped Cider, which will be debuting at the NSLC in the next week or two. Though it’s six months away, tickets for next May’s Full House event as part of NS Craft Beer Week have already gone on sale. The event is May 14th, and once again there will be two sessions, 1:30-4pm and 6:30-9pm, and will feature as many NS breweries as can fit in the same room.

Happy Friday! There’s lots of new beers – and some other beer-related news – out this week for our region; time to start getting caught up…

• Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing released a brand new beer this past weekend. Bockman-Turner Overweiz is a Weizenbock, meaning a dark wheat beer (Dunkelweizen), but brewed to a higher ABV (hence the “bock” moniker). The BTO weighs in at 7.6% ABV, and was brewed with a grain bill of half wheat malt, with the remainder composed of German Munich, Bohemian Pilsner, Crystal and a touch of chocolate malt for colour and roast flavour. Hallertauer hops were used throughout, and a top fermenting German Wheat Ale yeast was used to bring out the characteristic banana and clove aromas to round out the brew. It is available on tap now at the brewpub, and in growler fills to go; it was a small batch, so it won’t last much longer… drop by today!

Big Spruce Brewing has brought back their very popular The Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale. First released in April 2014 as a beer celebrating their First Anniversary, this latest version again features the addition of Glenora Glen Breton Rare 10 year Single Malt Whisky to the batch to enhance the roast, peat, and smoke characteristics of the underlying Scotch Ale. Available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and on tap at better beer bars in the province. And don’t forget, time is quickly running out on Big Spruce’s Third Annual Home Brew Challenge. If you haven’t already brewed up your Red IPA (or Dark Czech Lager or Altbier), you might be able to squeeze it in under the wire this weekend!

• Last night, the second Meet Your Makers tap-takeover event was held at the James Joyce Irish Pub. Red Rover Craft Cider was featured, with a total of ten taps pouring various regular-release and special one-off ciders. Two brand new ciders made their debut at the event: first off is their Tinderbox, a semi-dry cider featuring notes of vanilla, that has been aged with the addition of bourbon and oak (this one was brewed specifically for the Guy Fawkes Day-themed tap takeover). Next up was the Bee for B, another semi-dry blend which was made with honey produced on the roof of the Crowne Plaza hotel; this one will continue to be on tap exclusively at the James Joyce for the foreseeable future. Also, the White Witch made its triumphant return last week and was on tap last night; first released last fall, it features plenty of fresh orange zest and locally-grown cilantro out of Wellwood Farm in Saint John. All three ciders are, as usual for Red Rover, 7% ABV.

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has a few returning favourites on tap at the brewery these days. Their award-winning Mosaic Double IPA is back on tap at the brewery now. This 8% ABV big IPA is brewed to showcase the Mosaic hop, and it does that in spades, featuring big aromas and bitterness. All of the proceeds from Mosaic are donated to attend camp at Brigadoon Village and other community projects, to support families and those living with Mosaic Down Syndrome. This is something very close to the Bad Apple family, as one of owner Jeff Saunder’s children has Mosaic Down Syndrome. In addition to the brewery (where a limited number of bottles will also be available), the beer will be on tap at Lion & Bright, Stubborn Goat, and La Torta Pizzeria in Wolfville, as well as few spots in New Brunswick.

• Also available from Bad Apple is their Operation Green Ring, a 5.0% ABV Cucumber Mint Wheat Ale. It was brewed with Delta Force Brewery, two members of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club. Using fresh local mint and cucumbers, this field beer features lots of mint aroma and cucumber flavour, coming together with a great Wheat base. It is available now at the brewery for growler fills. And keep your eyes peeled for the return of their Russian Imperial Stout, currently conditioning and waiting for release closer to Christmas. As in some previous releases, a good amount of this brew is being barrel aged in Glenora casks.

• There’s a new beer from Flying Boats currently hitting taps; Beach Cruiser DIPA is a test batch of sorts that came in at 7.2% ABV and 72 IBUs. Featuring a “generous” dry hop, it was also hopped at several points throughout the boil with four different varieties: Magnum, Centennial, Amarillo and Chinook. It’s currently on tap at the James Joyce, and should be on a rotating tap at Marky’s Laundromat later this month. The newly-installed pilot system at the brewery is also up and running, with the first test batch currently undergoing active fermentation. More on that beer, soon!

Meander River will be releasing their latest batch of cider this weekend: First Frost Hard Apple Cider is a 5.5% ABV apple blend featuring juice from Fair Acres Farm. “A touch sweeter and juicier” than their original dry cider releases, according to the brewery, it still finishes very crisp. It will be released this weekend at the brewery, and at Christmas at the Forum (Fri-Sun) in Halifax. And speaking of Meander River, the crew from Garrison dropped by yesterday to collect spruce boughs for their Spruce Beer winter seasonal. Look for that beer in the coming weeks.

• Over at Granite Brewery in Halifax, they have a new beer on tap for pints and growler fills. Described as a “Red Ale” by the brewery, Flander’s Fields was brewed with honey and ginger to give it extra aroma and flavour to go with the maltiness from the grist. It weighs in at an easy-drinking 5.3% ABV, and will be available at the brewery until it’s gone (approximately three weeks).

• Fredericton’s Half Cut Brewing (operating out of the brew system located at the Picaroons Brewtique) recently released their second beer, an American Brown Ale named Belligerent Brown. Described as roasty and hoppy with “notes of dark chocolate and dried dark fruit”, it was hopped heavily with Centennial and Chinook. While technically on the higher end of bitter with a calculated 74 IBUs, it comes in at an easy-drinking 5.4% ABV. It’s available for growler fills at the Brewtique, and should be on tap around the city at the King Street Ale House, James Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Snooty Fox.

• It’s getting closer to the official ticket-release for the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and those behind it all have been releasing some sneak peeks for what they have in store for the Fourth Annual event! Organized by Lloyd Chambers, this will be the first time the event has been stretched into Fredericton Craft Beer Week, featuring plenty of beer-related activities from March 9th-12th, finalizing with the beer festival on Saturday. There will be two sessions this time around (afternoon and evening), both of which will feature the largest gathering of Atlantic Canadian craft beer yet – 45 confirmed breweries pouring over 160 different types of beer, cider and mead. We’ll have lots of information as we get closer to the events, but for now, keep in mind that tickets for the festival will go on sale at 11 am on Friday, November 27th through their website. Stay tuned for more!

Rudder’s Brewpub in Yarmouth has released a new beer this week, Runic Stone IPA. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 46 IBUs, it was brewed with a load of late hopping in the boil by Cascade, Columbus, Saaz and Sorachi Ace hops, and was further dry hopped with more Saaz and Sorachi Ace. This hop schedule allows for a big hop aroma, without the beer being too bitter. It is named after the Runic (or Fletcher) Stone in the local museum, thought to be a Norse artifact, discovered in the early 19th century. While the exact origins of the stone are unknown, it is certainly part of Yarmouth’s history. Grab its namesake beer on tap at Rudder’s while it lasts!

TrailWay has brewed up a fresh batch of their popular Session IPA, and next week it’ll be a little easier for those in Fredericton to get their “fill”! As of next Thursday, 250 L of this hoppy, ~4.3% ABV beer will be making its way to the Prospect St. ANBL for growler fills. This will be TrailWay’s first time at the ANBL growler station since last March. And in other TrailWay news, Dan Mason and Jake Saunders of TrailWay Brewing have officially signed the lease on the location for their new brewery when they expand in 2016; located at 280 Main St. on Fredericton’s North Side, they hope to be producing beer on their 10 BBL system by Spring.

Grimross has added two new fermentors to their existing line-up, and with this minor expansion comes the need for more assistance in the brewery! As a result, they are currently looking to hire a full-time brewer. Interested parties can find the full list of requirements here, and resumes should be sent to

We hope everyone has a great weekend! Petit-Sault‘s award-winning La Buckdjeuve has returned; it’s currently on tap at the brewery for growler fills. Picaroons has brought back their popular seasonal, Winter Warmer; you can find it on tap at the Brewtique, at select beer bars/restaurants across the province (and beyond?), and in 500 mL bottles at ANBL stores. PEI Brewing Co. will be re-releasing their Transmitter Coffee Stout later this month; featuring a new blend of beans from Receiver Coffee. And don’t forget to grab a bottle of their Hell Street barrel-aged Doppelbock on sale at the brewery now. While there, grab a pint of their latest cask, SmOAKed Brown, a smoked version of their Iron Bridge Brown, aged on oak chips. Storm Brewing in Newfoundland has brought back their winter seasonal Coffee Porter, available at their usual licensee and retail locations. Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax has released a new seasonal themselves, Strawberry Blonde, a 5.0% ABV fruit beer.

spindrift logo

Spindrift Brewing Co is a new brewery in our region, a partnership between co-founders Andrew Bell, Andy Armstrong, and Rob Green. Their Coastal Lager has been available at NSLC locations across the province since mid-September, and this week they will be celebrating the Grand Opening of their storefront at 21 Frazee Drive in Dartmouth. Kellye Robertson heads up the Brew Team, and brews on a DME Brewing 20bbl (24hl) 3-vessel system.

Co-Founders Andrew Bell, Andy Armstrong, and Rob Green were kind enough to answer some questions about themselves and the brewery.

Can you tell us about yourselves?
Andrew Bell
 – Co-Owner of Spindrift Brewing Company, is the grandson of Charles R. Bell whom championed the St. John’s, NL based Bavarian Brewing Company with the Hickman family back in 1945. Eventually purchased by Labatt Breweries in 1962, The Bavarian Brewing Company aimed to make the best German-type and quality beer for the competitive market of the day. Bavarian produced two of the nostalgic Newfoundland beer brands, Jockey Club Lager and Blue Star Beer Lager, still in market today. For Andrew, there was a longing to pick up the brewing legacy of this grandfather, much as he has with taking over the Charles R. Bell group of companies he is now managing, and get back to his roots of making great local beer.

Andy Armstrong – Co Owner of Spindrift Brewing Company has over 30 years in the beverage alcohol industry, dating back to his university days at Laurentian, where he was both Campus Rep and Summer Rep for Labatt. Ever since those early days, it has been his dream to someday open a brewery of his own… Spindrift is the realization of this dream. Andy brings a tremendous amount of industry expertise to this venture, having worked at field level, management and in an ownership capacity for the last 25 years, in Ontario, the Prairie Provinces and, Atlantic Canada. He has worked with suppliers of spirits, wines, beers and RTD, providing experience across all categories. He has successfully introduced countless brands, providing for a structured and well learned brand launch approach. He resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, allowing for considerable focus and a deep understanding of the Atlantic Canada Craft Brew Marketplace.

Rob Green – Co-Founder and  General Manager of Spindrift was born and raised in St. John’s NL, and has resided here in Nova Scotia for over 25 years. One of the three founders of Spindrift, Rob came to the team in February 2012 after a 26 year career in the Royal Canadian Navy, and began building the dream that you see and taste today. Rob completed his Executive Certification in Brewing Technology through the Siebel Institute in Chicago (World Brewing Academy) in 2013. As General Manager, Rob is responsible for the overall operations of Spindrift, including the coordination of the Production, Accounting and Sales teams.


How did you get into the world of beer/craft beer?
Andrew and Andy have long been fans and followed closely the craft beer scene. They started Atlantic Spirits and Wines (ASW) together, an alcoholic beverage distribution company. After years of development of ASW, the logical next step was into the craft beer market with Spindrift, using ASW as the sales arm for the company. Many years were spend to the lead up of Spindrift. In fact, the idea for the company happened over a few beer in South Carolina with Co-Founder Rob Green back in the early days of 2011. From that moment, Andrew and Rob continued to pursue the venture, carefully laying out the business plan and the style of beer that would be Spindrifts flagship. From there, Rob completed his Executive Certification in Brewing Technology through the Siebel Institute in Chicago (World Brewing Academy) in 2013. Shortly thereafter, the location was determined and a Brewmaster found.

Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genre (German, English, etc), of beer?
Much like Jockey Club lager, Spindrift’s flagship beer is a tip of the hat to his grandfather’s enterprise. Coastal Lager is a German style Fest-bier that is bright amber in colour with a frothy head that lingers to the last drop. It has unique toasted and earthy qualities that are gained by using specialty European and Canadian malts, with noble German hops to create a very clean finish. It has an ABV of 5.0% and an IBU of 30. We’ll take the time to brew a lager the old fashioned “35 days” way. We are not going to stick to making any particular style of beer, only to making great beer that is fills a gap in the market. We’re not going to brew your everyday beer. We’re coming with something different.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.?
Spindrift Coastal Lager is available through the NSLC province-wide, and on tap select licensees. The NSLC will have single 473 ml cans priced right at $3.60 while a 4 pack is $13.99. We’ll also operate via store front at our brewery located at 21 Frazee Ave, Burnside Industrial Park, Dartmouth. Our storefront will also offer growler fills for $11, initial growler purchase of $20 (includes bottle deposit). We’ll also fill other brewery growlers for the same price, but we ain’t cleaning them. They must come in clean to be filled with our tasty brew. In addition to cans and growler fills, we’ve got samples available, as well as kegs for private sales. For licensee distribution, we’ve partnered with Bishop’s Cellar.

sampling counter

Do you have any beer bars/restaurants in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We are currently on tap at The ArgyleAuction House, Moxie’s Bayers Lake Halifax (and Dartmouth Crossing next week), Bar Stillwell, with more licensees signing on to serve our beer constantly.

Will you be releasing any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
Eventually. We are just a few weeks out of the gate. We intend to satisfy the market with Coastal Lager before we embark on multiple brands and seasonal beer. More great things to come from Spindrift, that you can be sure of!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have found that the craft brewery scene in Nova Scotia is one that is very receptive to assisting each other and promoting each other. We have to give big props to John Allen of Propeller Brewery. He has been an excellent resources and mentor for us at Spindrift. John is definitely a class act. Would also like to thank PEI Brewing for hosting us to learn about their packaging system. Also a big shout out to DME in preparing us for the mechanics of our brewing system, which is quite the Cadillac!

Where do you hope to see Spindrift in the next 5 years?
In the hands of many loyal consumers, of course!


We also caught up with Brewmaster Kellye Robertson, who shared some of her background, and more details on the brewhouse.

Did you start out as a homebrewer? Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I did start out homebrewing when I was in university, but it wasn’t until my second year into it, that I started to explore in all-grain brewing. Once that happened, it seemed like endless possibilities of styles and ingredients which really took my interest into discovering more about brewing techniques/brewing literature.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?
I believe it was at the point where I found myself spending more time learning about brewing than what I was actually going to school for, that I needed to find out what my options were. I could have gone the “stage” route, however I really wanted a professional brewing education. Once I found out there was a new program that started in Canada (Niagara College), the rest was history.

Do you have assistance in the Brewhouse?
Absolutely! Every great brewery begins with having a solid team. I’ve got Kyle Jeppesen heading up our QA/QC program and also Assistant Brewer, plus Matthew Daye as our in-house “can-whisperer” aka Packaging Manager.

brewing deck

What type of system will you be brewing on?
We have an all-Canadian DME Three Vessel 20 BBL Brewhouse with their brand new integrated Siemens Braumat Compact automation program. It was built to our exact specifications, all at DME’s Charlottetown facility. This steam-driven system features a mash tun, lauter, and kettle/whirlpool vessels. Using steam jacketing allows for great mash temperature control, very useful for step mashes. There are a few special integrated devices that we incorporated into the Braumat control which make consistency in the brewdays easier. We have 40 barrel and 80 barrel tanks for fermentation, to keep up with demand. We have a small lab where Kyle can do some micro work on our yeast, checking for health and purity, as well as testing pH, off-flavours, and forced fermentation of our brews. Our Cask Canning machine gets a workout on packaging day, with Matt in charge of that lofty task.

From where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?
I had a lot of exceptional teachers from Niagara College that gave me a solid foundation in becoming a brewer. In addition to school, the previous breweries I’ve worked at (Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Oast House Brewers & Garrison Brewing Co) all have had a great impact on my professional career and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

canning line

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with (whether at home or professionally)?
I believe like most brewers, it’s hard for us to have a favorite anything, hah. I do enjoy experimenting with new or unusual raw ingredients, but I also respect revisiting some of the more traditional components and consider if they could be showcased in a new approach.

Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?
Well lately, I have been quite taken with the lager family since it’s a style that isn’t seen as often in the craft beer, however, definitely a growing segment.  My favorite go to beer I’d say is Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale and favorite brewery without a doubt is von Trapp Brewing in Vermont.

Thanks very much to Andrew, Andy, Rob, and Kellye for taking the time to chat with us. Be sure to drop by for their Grand Opening on Wednesday, Nov 4, from 11-6pm to check out the brewery and grab a growler or can to go. Going forward, the storefront will be open weekdays 11-6pm. Keep up with Spindrift on their websiteTwitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages, to find out about their new releases and special events. Cheers!

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Good morning! We’ve got a bit of beer news for you this week (as usual), just in time to end off your October…

• Today, Garrison Brewing is releasing the second beer in their Star Trek-themed series, just in time for this weekend’s Halifax sci-fi convention, Hal-Con. Vulcan Ale – Genesis Effect is a “Red Session IPA” that has been hopped with Comet, Galaxy and Warrior. Described as “hoppy and spicy” by brewmaster Daniel Girard, this 5.4% ABV beer will be jointly released in the U.S. by Shmaltz Brewing (out of upstate New York), in the Federation of Beer line of officially licensed Star Trek beers. It’s available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private liquor stores in the city, and select NSLC stores. Also out in celebration of Hal-Con is Raspberry Ginger Ale, hitting the shelves today as well.

• In other Garrison news, we have some more details on the Gastronome IPA they brewed as an exclusive release at harbourstone sea grill & pour house. Proud Rose-Mary was inspired by the restaurant’s Chef Trevor Simms’ approach to food, and features the addition of fresh orange juice and rosemary. It comes in at an ABV of 6.5%; you can find it on tap now at the harbourstone. Look for the Gastronome beer to change quarterly, in conjunction with the menu changes at the restaurant.

Movember starts Sunday, and Quidi Vidi Brewing in St. John’s are releasing a special beer in collaboration with Fogtown Barber, to celebrate the hairiest of months. Fogtown Lager will be released 2pm Sunday afternoon at Quidi Vidi, during a “Shave Down” event to kick off the month, complete with food from Mallard Cottage and live music. For those that sign up to the QV Mo Team before Sunday, they’ll receive a free Fogtown Lager t-shirt (while supplies last), and if they raise more than $250 before the end of Movember, a free hat, in addition to other great perks. Check out the details on their Facebook page. The beer itself is a 5% ABV pale lager featuring Crystal hops, and will be hitting the shelves and taps in St John’s and region beginning Monday.

• The PEI Brewing Co. is getting ready to release their next barrel-aged beer. The beer is named Hell Street, and is their Reanimator Doppelbock that has spent some time in the PEIBC barrels. It has been bottled, capped, and wax-sealed, and is all ready for its official release next Thursday at the brewery. PEIBC also tapped Scared Wit-Less earlier this week, their latest cask at their tasting room; it’s described as a 7.5% ABV Pale Ale that has had coriander and chamomile added, to boost the spicy and flowery aromas and flavours.

Picaroons released a new beer of sorts yesterday at the Brewtique – Gourd Browny is a reiteration of their Connell Stamp, an English Brown Ale. Hopped with Fuggles and Goldings, and infused with a “special blend” of pumpkin pie spices from local bakery/cafe the Chess Piece, this one is available only for growler fills at the Brewtique, while supplies last. And Picaroons is looking to hire a manager to run their Uptown Saint John location, which will be opening in 2016. Send along resumes to

• Good news for Upstreet fans – they’re now officially selling some of their beers in bottles! Both their Commons (Bohemian Pilsner) and Do-Gooder (American Pale Ale) are available for purchase in a 500 mL format at the brewery (starting today at noon) for takeaway, and should follow at PEILCC stores later next month. Look for their Rhuby Social and White Noize to follow in the near future, along with other seasonals to be brewed over time.

Spindrift Brewing will be opening the doors at their storefront at 21 Frazee Drive in Dartmouth this Wednesday. From 11am-6pm, they will be celebrating their grand opening with schwag, samples, cans, and growler fills of their Coastal Lager. Drop by to meet the gang, and get a peek inside the brewery. Going forward, their storefront will be open Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm for all of your Spindrift needs.

• The crew at Halifax’s Good Robot may have been assimilated and replaced by actual robots after their acquisition by AB InBev-SAB Miller, but at least they’ve been keeping busy in the brewhouse! There are a pair of experimental brews available now, only on tap at the brewery. Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale is a light-bodied and -hopped beer, with loads of cherry character in a golden package. The second beer is de la Rocha, a habanero dark ale, with intense chile heat, again with a light body, and no discernible hop character. Both brews are Beta versions, so be sure to drop by and give the beers a try, and share your feedback with the ‘bots. For those with young ones (or young-at-heart), the brewery will be decorated for Halloween tomorrow, and there will be tricks and treats for visitors of all ages.*

• There is a new brewery in the development and licensing process coming to Port Rexton, Newfoundland. Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills had been working towards opening a brewery in Truro, NS, but while visiting Mills’ family in Newfoundland, they fell in love with the area and possibilities for a brewery. There is still much to be done, including an environmental assessment of their location and securing final funding, but we are looking forward to trying Port Rexton Brewing Co. beer in their brewhouse next summer.

• There will soon be a pair of different Craft Beer Advent Calendars available in our region. Much like a traditional chocolate or gift advent calendar, the idea is to get a new surprise every day during the first few weeks of December. The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar will feature 24 craft beers from across Canada and the US. Though the beer list is secret (no spoilers, please!), we do know that none of the beers are otherwise for sale in our region, and many of them were brewed specifically for the Calendar. Craft Beer fans are sure to find some new favourites in the box. The calendar will be available at select NSLC locations and NLC locations in the next couple of days, so be sure to drop by your local store to grab one.

• And if one new brew a day isn’t enough for you, some of the private beer stores in Halifax are putting together their own Advent Calendar. Drop by Cristall Wine, Harvest Wines, or RockHead Wine and Beer Market before November 20th to reserve your calendar, for pickup November 30th. The 24 beer in these are a mix of local, domestic, and international beers for a true taste of the World of Beer.

Hammond River has confirmed that they will be holding their Second Annual Homebrew Competition on January 17th, 2016. This BJCP-certified event will focus on Strong Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy), a full-bodied, deeply malty, strong Scottish beer style. Brewers will be limited to two entries each (two 12 or 16 oz bottles for each entry required), and entries will be due on January 15th; they can be shipped or dropped off to Hammond River in Quispamsis. Prizes will be given to the top three beers, and the winning entry will also be brewed as a full-size batch on HR’s system; of course, the winning homebrewer will be invited to assist with brewing this batch! Each entry costs $10; get brewing, homebrewers!

That’s just about all we’ve got this week… have a fun (and safe) Halloween tomorrow! Look for North Brewing’s Strong Dark Belgian to make its return shortly. Karl Whiffen from Uncle Leo’s dropped by Halifax brewery Unfiltered this week; we’ll let you know what they brewed up shortly. Boxing Rock underwent an expansion this week, to make room for more capacity in the brewhouse. Celtic Knot’s Caledonia 70/- seasonal is back on tap in the region. Look for it in Moncton and Saint John at your favourite watering hole. And a reminder to drop by Port City Royal tomorrow at 2pm for the tapping of an aged cask of Hammond River’s Sterke Monnik, their 10.3% Belgian Quad.

*The folks at Good Robot were not replaced by actual robots. Nor were they acquired by MegaGloboCorp.