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All posts for the month June, 2012

Rockbottom’s cask ale for today at 1pm  its Big Water Brown Ale.

Rockbottom is also looking for some volunteers to pick spruce tips after sampling some of today’s cask offering.  The harvesting is scheduled to start after leaving the pub around 1:30 and will take place near Dartmouth Crossing.  Volunteers will be rewarded with a couple of complementary pints from brewer Greg Nash.  Anyone interested is asked to be by the pub today around 1pm.

As noted on their website, and Canadian Beer News, Quidi Vidi Brewing’s Continental Pilsener is now available in NLC stores as a limited edition seasonal beer.  The beer is described on the label as

“brewed in the Bohemian tradition, this pilsener is the grandfather of today’s lighter style lagers.” Made with no additives and no preservatives, Quidi Vidi beers are brewed the way beer should be – with water, malt, yeast and hops.

June 22nd – I’ve changed the picture for this post from a generic Garrison picture to the label for the new brew.

Editor’s Note:  Here’s a press release I received from Garrison Brewing advising of the first of two new special 15th Anniversary beers they will be releasing.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Garrison celebrates 15 years of brewing-outside-the-box with the first of two anniversary brews

HALIFAX, NS – June 21, 2012 – One of Halifax’s original microbreweries, Garrison Brewing Co. is celebrating 15 years of independently crafting award-winning, all-natural beer.  To commemorate this milestone, Garrison will release the first of two unique, specialty brews this Saturday.

“This brew embodies how dynamic and exciting the local craft beer market has become over the past 15 years,” says brewery President, Brian Titus. “Starting in 1997 with an Irish Red and Nut Brown ale, we now brew 21 brands, five craft sodas, barrel-age and cask-condition ales, and distribute in eight provinces – staggering really!”

The theme for this first release is a celebration of a key brewing ingredient – hops!  A whopping 15 distinct hop varieties have been added to the boil along with loads of real mango’s and fresh, shaved ginger.

“This hazy, unfiltered brew has a dizzying blend of aromas and flavours such as pine, sweet tropical fruit and citrus. It really covers the full spectrum of what hops can deliver,” says Garrison Brewmaster, Daniel Girard.

15th Anniversary Hops, Mango & Ginger” is sold in 500ml single-serve bottles and will officially go on sale Saturday, June 23rd, at the brewery store and all four private stores (while supplies last).

About Garrison Brewing

Garrison Brewing Company is an award-winning independent microbrewery located in the Halifax Seaport. They produce distinctive, unpasteurized, all-natural ales in small batches. Now in its 15th year, Garrison distributes craft beer throughout the Maritimes and beyond in bottled and draught format.

June 21st update – My contact at Innis & Gunn followed up with me today to let me know that they initially sent me the availability for another Innis & Gunn brew.    Canada Day 2012 is available in all provinces other than Newfoundland, PEI and Quebec.

Editor’s Note:  I recently had a representative from Innis & Gunn send me a press release regarding a limited edition Canada Day Beer.  In a follow up email they confirmed that the new beer is expected to be available in all provinces other than PEI including some of the N.S. Private Liquor Stores. 

INNIS & GUNN TO RELEASE CANADA DAY 2012 BEER SHOWCASING CANADIAN ARTWORK

ARTIST GARY WHITLEY CHOSEN AS FEATURED ARTIST ON SCOTTISH BREWER’S MAY 2012 RELEASE OF THE LIMITED EDITION ‘CANADA DAY 2012’ BEER PACKAGING

Toronto: Innis & Gunn, brewers of Canada’s favourite Scottish beer, today announced that each bottle of its Limited Edition‘Canada Day 2012’ beer will be packaged in cartons featuring original artwork by British Columbia-based artist, Gary Whitley.Released every May to celebrate Canada’s birthday and to recognize the country’s special contribution to the Innis & Gunn story, the Canada Day brews are available by the bottle at fine beer, wine and spirits retailers across the country in very limited quantities.This is the second release from Innis & Gunn to feature original Canadian artwork.

“When I received word that Innis & Gunn was searching for artwork for its Canada Day Beer packaging, it was instantly clear that I had to submit Emblems – a painting of sugar maple saplings I created years ago and had kept at home,” said artist Gary Whitley, AFCA, SCA. “As a born and raised Canadian, I couldn’t think of a more iconic symbol of this fine country.”

Gary’s design was chosen from a group of over 60 members from the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) by a judging panel that included 2011-featured artist, Deborah Colvin. In December 2011, members of the non-profit artists’ organization dedicated to expanding the visibility and stature of visual arts in Canada were asked to submit original artwork that best reflected the country’s rich tapestry.

“We were very delighted to once again receive so many beautiful pieces of artwork from the members of the Society of Canadian Artists,” said Innis & Gunn international brand manager Nicol Rennie. “Gary’s design garnered the most votes for our ‘Canada Day 2012’ packaging and captures a scene so prevalent across the country that Canadians can truly connect with.”

“We are very proud to again spotlight a member of the extremely talented Canadian art community,” said Innis & Gunn owner and brewer Dougal Sharp. “We feel Gary Whitley’s work perfectly reflects the pride and spirit of Canadians and we are excited to share this specially crafted, oak-aged brew with our largest export market,” concluded Sharp.

Editor’s Notes:

The Innis & Gunn bottled beer range, available in liquor stores all year with prices dependant on region, is comprised of the below:

Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012 Beer 330ml, 7.7% alc./vol. – $4.95-$6.49, widely available across Canada
Innis & Gunn Original 330ml, 6.6% alc./vol. – $3.00-$3.75, widely available across Canada
Innis & Gunn Rum Finish 330ml, 6.6% alc./vol. – $3.25-$3.75, available in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick
Innis & Gunn Original 750ml, 6.6% alc./vol. – $6.50-$7.35, available in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta

About Innis & Gunn

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer was accidentally discovered and developed by Dougal Sharp in 2003. Initially approached by a Scotch whisky distillery to make a beer-finished whisky, the brewery recognized the exceptional quality of the special beer they created and poured away after seasoning their oak barrels. Using this revolutionary technique of aging beers, the American white oak barrels infuse Innis & Gunn’s Original Oak Aged Beer with toffee and vanilla flavours and aromas during a special maturation process. This new category has managed to attract many new drinkers to beer both in the UK and across its six major export markets (Canada, USA, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Finland). Early 2010, Innis & Gunn was named ‘Business of the Year’ at the annual Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards and also became the first Scottish beer company in 22 years to be handed the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. Represented by Peter Mielzysnski Agencies Ltd., Innis & Gunn brews are available at fine wine, beer and spirit retailers across Canada.

Propeller Brewing Company will host their first Prop’r Cask Night on Friday July 27, from 6pm – 8 pm.  They’ll be pairing a surprise one-off brew alongside some fine local food courtesy of Harbour City Bar and Grill.

Tickets are sold on a first come/first serve basis are are limited to a total of 40.  To reserve tickets, email Tracy at Promotions@drinkpropeller.ca and stop by the brewery to purchase prepaid tickets. Tickets cost $15.00 in advance, or $20.00 at the door.

Cask Night includes a sampling Propeller brands, a taste of the Cask and an appetizer selection from a great local restaurant.

One of the Propeller brewers will unveil and lead the ceremonious tapping of the cask at approximately 6:30pm and will be around to answer all questions about unfiltered, unpasteurized cask-conditioned beer.

As per the Picaroons Facebook Page, the newest brew they have added to their portfolio is 506 Logger.  The brew is described as:

Brewed in Fredericton, New Brunswick (a far cry away from Cologne, Germany), this crisp, LIGHT and refreshing ale is by most definitions a “Kölsch”.
Golden in color, and modestly hopped with traditional German hops; this well balanced nectar rings in at about 4.5% ABV. A great companion to a sunny summer day in the ‘506’ if you ask us…

For the non-New Brunswickers reading this, 506 is N.B.’s area code.

There is also a note on the page saying that it is available while supplies last at the Brewtique in growlers… for now.  Here’s hoping that’s a sign it’ll be popping up in 500ml bottles in the near future.

The story of the Pump House Brewery is the story of a dream come true.  The husband and wife team of Shaun and Lilia Fraser opened the Pump House in September 1999 fulfilling Shaun’s long term dream of opening his own brewery.  Shaun actually appeared on the “Thrill of a Lifetime” television show in the 1980s when he was given the chance to brew beer at a Labatt’s plant after his inability to land a job with any of the big breweries.  While in didn’t turn into a full time gig (Shaun didn’t have the food science or chemical engineering background required to be a brew master at the plant;  his education is as a Geologist) it started him off on his journey to owning his own brewery and eventually winning Canadian Brewery of the Year.   I sat down with Shaun for a conversation at the brewery on Mill Road in Moncton to complete this post.

Background
As is often the case, Shaun spent a few years homebrewing before brewing commercially.  Over the three to four years he was homebrewing before getting his first chance to brew professionally, he completed 100s of batches. His first professional brewing job was with HansHaus Brewery in Dieppe, N.B. in the late 1980s.  The German who hired Shaun had received his Doctorate of Brewing Science at one of the best brewing schools in the world.  After a couple of years working with the brewery (it closed shortly after Shaun left), he started to brew at Fat Tuesday’s in Moncton.

After a couple of years of all malt brewing, Shaun moved into the equipment side of things and worked for Charlottetown Metal Products (now known as DME).  He eventually went to work for another company in the U.S. where he successfully gained over 50% market share of the craft beer equipment market in New England.  He eventually moved into foreign and difficult installations world wide and helped open breweries in Ireland, England, Palestine, Israel and Kazakhstan.  It was while setting up a brewery in Kazakhstan, that Shaun met his future wife Lilia.  Lilia came to Moncton with Shaun on a 3 month vacation and decided to stay.  Shaun showed her the beer industry and Lilia did all of the financials for the business plan for Pump House Brewery (Lilia had worked as both a Manufacturing Engineer and Undercover Policy Officer in Kazakhstan).  Shaun is the idea guy and Lilia looks after the details.

The name Pump House was chosen to reflect Shaun’s role as a fireman.  Shaun retired from his role as a Captain this past November after 27 and a half years of service as a fireman.

Expansion
In 2004, a new brewery on Mill Road in Moncton with accompanying restaurant, the Barnyard BBQ, was opened.  Lilia was responsible for the design of the location and overseas all operations at both restaurants while Shaun looks after the brewery.

The original Pump House location at 5 Orange Lane focuses on the smaller batches, creating 8 HLs at a time.  The larger brewery located on Mill Road in Moncton produces 24 HL / batch.  Annual volume is approximately 5000 HL.

The brewery on Mill Road is as advanced as you’ll see for a brewery this size in North America.  It has a bottle washer, tunnel pasteurizer, flash pasteurizer, an EBI, and a FT50 to name a few of the features you likely won’t see in comparable breweries.

Future Plans
There are no immediate expansion plans for the brewery other than the addition of outdoor fermenters.  This is due in large part to the much longer conditioning time required for the Premium Lager that came out late last year (the lager takes 8 weeks as opposed to 2 to 3 weeks for the ales).

Shaun and Lilia planted a vineyard three years ago near Magnetic Hill and are planning on producing wine within the next three years.  They are also planning on getting into distilling within the next two years.

Distribution
Pump House beer is currently available in all provinces other than Quebec (due to inflated fees charged to protect local breweries).  By province, New Brunswick accounts for the largest percentage of sales followed by Alberta and Nova Scotia.

Blueberry is the top selling beer followed by Cadian Cream Ale and Fire Chief’s Red Ale while the still relatively new Premium Lager is gaining in sales.  Approximately 70% of their sales is in bottled beer as opposed to draft accounts.

Shaun and Lilia are looking to expand their premium line and also to start offering different seasonal beers in either bottles or cans.     Pump House does have a canning line in place but it has not gone into production as of yet (the machine they have can package 150 cans / minute).  They are planning on offering Blueberry and Thai Wheat in cans by this Fall.    They also plan to offer a variety 12 pack in the foreseeable future.

Pump House currently has over 100 draft accounts and kegs can also be ordered for special events and delivered to various parts of New Brunswick.

The Beer
Here’s a description of each beer taken directly from the Pump House website:

Year Round Beers:

Blueberry Ale – Blonde coloured ale with the wonderful essence of fresh blueberries. Sweet flavours of peppery blueberries, malts and spicy hops make this one a winner all the way. A one-of-a-kind refresher.

Cadian Cream Ale – A golden coloured ale lending itself to the wonderful malty aromas layered with just a kiss of spicy hops for a clean, smooth finish that will keep you coming back for more.

Fire Chief’s Red Ale – A deep tawny reddish hued Irish-inspired ale with a lingering nut-like maltiness. Very lightly hopped with a pleasant estery fruitiness expiring to wonderfully smooth finish. Slainte!

Scotch Ale – Deep brown-amber coloured with a rich smokey aroma. Flavours of caramel, chocolate and peated malts. With it’s silky smooth, lightly smokey, roasty character it is a fantastic gold medal winning example of the style.

S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter) – A deep honey-coloured unfiltered west coast style session beer with the classic fresh aromatic hop bouquet mingling with malty undertones for excellent balance finishing with a pleasant lingering bitterness. A great thirst quencher or the perfect buffer with spicy foods!

Pump House Premium Lager – A tribute to the Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) of 1516, brewed using just barley, hops, yeast and water. Cold aged and matured for more than six weeks, there are no adjuncts, or artificial carbonation – resulting in a 100% natural lager.

Seasonal Beers:

Biere de Garde (January)
A Belgian/French ale style, chestnut brown in colour. Low bitterness but characterized by complex fruity esters and alcohol can be evident. 7.5% ABV

RPA – Rye Pale Ale (February)
Our Belgian style RPA has an inviting deep tawny copper colour and a spicy nose from the hefty quantity of malted rye married with the estery profile of the imported Belgian yeast. Light bodied, fruity and spicy with a lingering crisp finish. 5.0% ABV

Amber Ale (March)
Deep amber in colour with malty flavours of caramel and toffee, medium bitterness. Easing off winter’s stranger brews and into spring’s smoother ales. 5.5%-6.0% ABV

Maple Ale (April)
A malty amber ale with a twist – it’s brewed with fenugreek seeds and locally produced dark maple syrup lending a pleasant complexity with hints of maple to the brew. Medium mouthfeel with a smooth, clean finish. You know spring is here at last when this beer hits the taps! 5.0% ABV

IRA – India Red Ale (May)
Deep amber/red coloured ale dry hopped with Cascade, balanced with flavours of dark malts which give away to a smooth aftertaste. 5.7% ABV

Weizen (May, July, September)
A classic unfiltered German style wheat beer with a spicy clove-like, banana bouquet and flavour from the Weinstephan yeast strain. Malty and lightly acidic making this one very refreshing. Garnish with lemon. Prosit! 5.0% ABV

Thai-Wheat (June, August)
A blonde thirst-quenching wheat beer with the aromatic bouquet and flavours of spices, lemongrass and ginger. Lightly acidic and tart with a very clean finish. Pair it up with your favorite seafood dish or some spicy wings! 5.0 – 5.5% ABV

Raspberry Weizen (July)
A German style wheat beer bombarded with 40 kg of raspberries! This is a beer for the raspberry connoisseur – delectably tart and refreshing. Are we insane? Definitely not! 5% ABV

Oktoberfest (October)
Reflective of the season Oktoberfest has a rich amber hue, medium body and malty bouquet. Blending together 3 roasts of barley to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavours including caramel and toffee. The elegant bitterness imparted by the German Noble hops keeps it perfectly balanced and provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the winter’s heartier brews. Prosit! 5.5% ABV.

Schwarzbier (November)
Schwarzbier or “black beer” is a traditional German Style black lager. As the name implies it is black in colour yet very drinkable with subtle hints of chocolate and coffee leading into a light-bodied, clean finish. 6.5-7.5% ABV.

Winter Warmer (December)
Winter Warmer is a traditional malty-sweet English style that is brewed in the winter months and spiced with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Deep dark amber coloured with a big malt presence and lingering spicy notes. Comfort food at it’s best! 7.0% ABV

Other season brews

Anise Brown
A fantastic English style brown ale laced with star anise! Strong bouquet of licorice and mint meld beautifully with the malt complexities and fruity undertones of this inviting but off-centered ale. Not your average brown ale! 5.0% ABV

Maltitude RIS
A big Russian Imperial Stout married with fresh locally roasted espresso beans, peated malt and demerara sugar. Dark and velvety with hints of spice, fruit, smoke, chocolate, raisins, roasted malts and espresso in the finish. Full bodied with a smooth warming finish. Think globally – drink locally! 10.0% ABV

Baltic Storm
Our Baltic Porter has a light roastiness with hints of fruit, smoke, plums, and chocolate. Medium bodied with a smooth and warm lingering finish. A perfect sipper to counter the cold New Brunswick winter. 8.2% ABV

Dementia Double IPA
This is pure hop bliss brewed with insane quantities of west coast hops! Every sip of this beer is akin to diving into a truck load of freshly picked hops, directly before the hefty kick of alcohol begins to numb your brain. The insanity sauce is brewed with Cascade, Amarillo, Tomahawk, Northern Brewer and Columbus Hops. Big, bold and sticky! 8.2% ABV. 100+ IBU’s

Hop Mess – Harvest Ale
An all organic wet-hopped imperial red harvest ale. Brewed with over 50kg of fresh, locally grown hand picked organic hops which are in the brew kettle within 24 hours of being harvested. 7% ABV.

Jumpers’ Freefall Ale
Copper coloured with good malty aroma, hints of honey and almond. Medium bodied with a well balanced crisp finish. This unique style is dedicated to all beer loving Canadian skydivers. 5.2% ABV

Dunkel Weizen
A dark unfiltered German style wheat beer with a spicy clove-like, banana bouquet and flavour from the Weinstephan yeast strain. Malty with a touch of roastiness, chocolate undertones and a lightly acidic finish. Prosit. 5.0% ABV.

Mug Club
The Pump House offers a mug club.  To join, you pay $20 for the mug and then $24 for the year (or pro-rated based on when you join). Joining the mug club entitles you to a larger mug for the cost of a regular pint and is in the shape of a fire hydrant.  There is a also free Christmas dinner for members at the Barnyard BBQ which also includes a tour of the brewery.  Mug club members were also recently given the chance to sample some hope heavy brews as part of an event in collaboration with the Atlantic Beer Festival.

Brewery Tours
Tours are available with a charge of $2 per person with a minimum of 10 people.  The tour includes samples of Pump House beer and should be scheduled in advance.

Awards
Pump House beers have won numerous awards over the years including 2005 Canadian Brewery of the Year.  They have been nominated three times for the Ernest & Young Entrepreneurs of the year and have been finalists for the awards twice.  Lilia has been named to the Profit Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs four years running and has gone up in the rankings each year.

Beer Festivals
Shaun continues to serve as co-chair for the Atlantic Beer Festival.  Pump House recently attended the recent Saint John Beer Fest and are planning to attend the Seaport Beer Festival and PEI Beer Festival.