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All posts for the month November, 2013

Another last Friday! Here’s your Atlantic Canadian beer news for the week:

• Propeller Brewing’s Revolution Russian Imperial Stout hits shelves today. Brewed to 8% and 60 IBUs, it features Roasted, Crystal and Chocolate Malts for a full bodied mouthfeel and great flavour and aroma, and Warrior and Cascade hops for bittering and aroma. It will be available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries in 1 and 1.89L growlers, and in 500mL bottles at the breweries, NSLC and private beer stores.

• Also available today is the Pump House Premium Pilsner mentioned in last week’s Wrap-Up. This initial launch of the beer will be in the form of a gift box, containing one 750 mL swing-top bottle. Only 2000 bottles will be available to the public, and can be purchased at ANBL and NSLC stores, as well as at the brewery locations in Moncton (Mill Road and Orange Lange). Look for Premium Pilsner to be available in May or June of 2014 as one of Pump House’s seasonal beers, in the standard 12-oz bottle size.

• Brewmaster Nash at Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax has released a new batch of an old favourite beer, the Wreckoning Russian Imperial Stout. It features loads of dark malts, including Crystal 150, Black Patent and Chocolate Malt, and is hopped fairly aggressively to 2 lbs/barrel. Some of the beer was then aged in Glenora 12-yr barrels, and fortified with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, and blended back to give you loads of chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit aromas to complement the oak and bourbon. Weighing in at 10%ABV and 132 IBUs (calc), this is a big black beauty of a beer, and only available on tap. And remember to drop by Saturday afternoon for their weekly Firkin, where Nash serves up a special small batch of beer from a gravity fed cask.

Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax also has a favourite beer back on tap, their Raspberry Wheat. The beer clocks in at 4.6% and 15IBUs, and features loads of raspberry aroma and flavour. While it isn’t currently available in growlers, their IPA and Red Ale are, but that list is always expanding. Check their Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute news, and food and beer specials.

Last week we posted info on Big Spruce‘s new collaboration beer with Crannóg Ale, Left Breton Organic Conspiracy Imperial IPA; well, the beer went on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell shortly thereafter! It probably won’t last long, but it may be back soon… keep an eye on Stillwell’s Twitter feed for tap list updates! Note that the beer is still available at the brewery.

• We also mentioned last week that Garrison Brewing had their employees working hard to harvest all the spruce tips needed to brew their extremely popular Spruce Beer. Well, the beer was brewed last weekend, and will be bottled next Friday! The expected released date is a week later, Friday, December 13th. This year, they plan on sending some Spruce Beer to New Brunswick; look for it to arrive at ANBL stores by December 16th or so. For more details on how they brew this beer, keep your eyes on CBC’s The National after the 13th!

• The final judging for entries in the New Brunswick Homebrew Challenge is winding down, and the winner will be selected and announced from the top 5 entries at the gala this Sunday, December 1st. The homebrewer of the best-judged Standard/Ordinary Bitter will get to brew their beer on a commercial-sized scale with Picaroons‘ head brewer Andrew Estabrooks, for release at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. Good luck, finalists!

• And don’t forget that tickets for the March 8th 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival go on sale today! In addition to the regular and VIP tickets ($50 and $60, respectively), there will be a limited number of “Ladies VIP” tickets sponsored by the Ladies Beer League. For ladies only (obviously), these tickets will give the ticket-holder early entry (90 minutes) into the festival, along with Beer 101 with Garrison brewer Kellye Robertson, and guest presentations from local beer celebrities, or “beerlebrities” (unfortunately, I did not come up with that clever word, but… I like it!).  Priced the same as regular VIP tickets, with $10 going to a local women’s charity, we’ll have more details on these tickets and the rest of the festival in the near future. Buy your tickets here; don’t wait, last year’s event sold out quickly!

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In advance of the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration being held January 16 at the Halifax Club, we reached out to Alex Henden of Local Connections Halifax for more information.

Alex is the brains and visionary behind Local Connections Halifax, a quarterly print and online magazine that highlights the best of Halifax, in all categories (shops, food, beer, crafts, everything!). In addition to the magazine, Alexander also hosts and helps promote events all over the HRM (remember Sausage Fest?). The Autumn edition of the magazine has a wonderful feature on The Golden Age of Craft Beer in Nova Scotia.

ACBB: Please tell us a little about yourself and Local Connections Halifax.

Alex: My background at Local Connections Halifax is that I started the magazine about 1.5 years ago with no experience, and have begun doing events right from the get go. At this point in our brief history, we have accumulated a lot of data/experience doing events successfully, and are now looking to apply our findings to what we do to make our events even better. There hasn’t been any outward pressure to improve, but we simply roll this way.

Reception from local businesses and the general public has been similar. We have developed a solid group of readers and supporters. We are close to sustainability with the magazine and have forged a fairly solid reputation as an event host. With this is mind, we are keen to deliver big on January 16 and move up a notch or two in terms of public expectation and demand. We want to be one of the top dogs.
You certainly appear to be a fan of craft beer and local food, tell us about how you got into it.

My interest in beer comes from my first bottle of craft beer which was Shaftebury’s Rainforest (in BC). From there I just started liking beer and began to try others. I am not in any way a beer expert, but I do enjoy drinking craft beers on regular basis and have tried quite a few. On the food end, I probably began a slow transition towards good food, which is often local, probably as far back as 20 years ago. At some point, you have to concede that not all food is equal, and at some point, realize that some of it really isn’t food in the first place. Obviously having a name like Local Connections Halifax implies a support-local mandate, but the truth is, we have a quality-first mandate which is then supported by a support-local one. I think this differentiates us most other buy-local groups.

Please tell us about the January 16 event.

The previous event (Meet Your Local Spring Gala), from the public’s perspective, was that it was a great event, and the format of having 7 themed rooms is something we are keen to continue. The Gala actually showcased the most local producers in the Halifax Club’s 150 year history, and to my knowledge, no one has ever has 7 differently themed rooms, or host the diversity of people entering the building. As event organizers, we enjoyed ourselves, but have instead choose to look at where we can improve. With a bunch of people having told us that the Gala was one of the best events they’ve ever been to makes us very happy because we know we can do much better.

So, the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration will be more refined in terms of quality and experience. Obviously the focus will be the beer, but we will have cider, entertainment, contests at the event, and lots to eat. Our goal is to have an event which exceeds even our own expectations. This might sound odd, but what we’ve learned is that when you surround yourself with like-minded folks and let them run with it, you end up with something pretty amazing. We saw this firsthand at 3 of the pop-up events during Sausage Fest.

At the moment, for the most part, what you see on the website is pretty much where we are right now. On the breweries end, we are aiming to have as much of the complete product line-up as possible, and in the cases of most breweries, have them make a cask or two for the Cask Room. Jeremy at Big Spruce is keen on doing a home brewers contest prior to the event. We’ll also be requesting that the breweries do some sort of collaboration on their casks. As an example, I have asked Boxing Rock to work with Avondale Sky Winery. We will also have the chefs and dessert makers cook and bake with beer, with the exception of the Stubborn Goat who will be using apples and cider with pork.

Thank you to Alex for the additional details. We can also tell you that almost every packaging brewery and cidermaker in Nova Scotia will be in attendance, as well as all three HRM brewpubs. As he mentioned, they have been encouraged to collaborate with the excellent chefs in attendance, so the pairings will be effortless (no need to scoot from the beer room to the food room, food and beer will be right beside each other). One of the most intriguing room is the Cask Room, where many brewers will have a special one-off beer pouring, and there will be Beer Ambassadors roaming around to chat about the brewing process, suggest beer and food pairings, and just chat beer.

Some other details on the evening: the event is all inclusive, and there are only a handful of tickets still available, even with the event two months away. They are expected to sell out this week, so act now if you are on the fence! More details on the “Seven Rooms, Seven Experiences” can be found on the event page. Be sure to follow Local Connections on Facebook and Twitter as more details and sneak peeks are released. We’ve been told that there are still lots of fun details that will be released leading up to the event. And look for the magazine online or at your favourite restaurant, bar or shop.

Happy Friday! What better way to warm up the end of your week (after all this cool weather) than with some beer news?

• As we mentioned in our post on Wednesday, the members of the Board of Directors at Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault (the new Belgian-style brewery opening in Edmundston, NB next year) are looking to hire two brewers. They just posted the official job listing here; looks like it is for a start date of around March 1st, 2014. Check it out/pass it along if you’re interested; the deadline for résumés is December 22nd.

Picaroons is introducing a new type of growler for fills of their on-tap beers at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. An unbreakable, food-grade stainless steel Hydroflask, it keeps beer cold for many hours! It still holds the same amount of beer (1.89 L) as the old growlers, and can be brought back to the Brewtique for refills, of course. Each growler costs $50 to purchase; they’re available now at the Brewtique.

• Next Friday, November 29th, tickets for the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will go on sale. With already more breweries and beers (with heavy emphasis on New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) than last year’s festival, it’s sure to be a great event! Like last year, tickets are $50 for regular admission, and $60 for VIP (which gets you entry into the festival an hour earlier). The festival will be held at the Fredericton Convention Centre on Saturday, March 8th. We’ll be posting more details on the breweries/beers offered in the future!

• The Beerthief Newfoundland and Labrador’s Artisanal and Craft Beer Club has partnered with a local manufacturer to offer etched glassware with their logo. At $8.50, one can choose a mug, pilsner, stemmed or tall “bar” glass. Contact Mike Buhler to order these.

Hell Bay Brewing has released a special one-off beer, “Latzenbier”. This German Altbier is full-bodied with slight toffee/malt sweetness, and roasted aromas, and bittered with German hops. It weighs in a 5.5% ABV and 45 IBUs, and is only available in growlers at the brewery in Liverpool. Hell Bay has been sending more of their beer to bars and restaurants in the HRM, so if you don’t see it on tap at your favourite watering hole, be sure to request it!

• The Pump House Brewery is releasing a new lager – Premium Pilsner is listed as a German-style Pilsner brewed with Saaz hops. Clocking in at 5.7% ABV with 30 IBUs, Pump House describes the beer as very pale straw-colored; the beer is unfiltered, so some haziness will be present. With a flowery, slightly spicy and grassy aroma from the Saaz hops, the beer finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. It will first be available in gift-box form, in 750 mL swing-top bottles. We haven’t received confirmation as to when the beer will be available, but it should be very soon.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has re-released their Mummer’s Brew, just in time for the holiday season. An “Amber Ale” with an ABV of 6%, it’s described as being “full of caramel malt flavors and aromas”. Only a small amount has been brewed, and it’s only available at the brewery and NLC stores. Once it’s gone, it won’t be back until next year, so don’t wait to pick some up!

Big Spruce Brewing now has their Left Breton Organic Conspiracy Imperial IPA available at the brewery. This is the beer that saw BC’s Crannóg Ale brewers visit the brewery, bringing with them hops from Left Fields farm in Sorrento, BC (to complement the hops grown at Big Spruce’s Breton Fields hop farm). All of the hops used in the beer were grown organically on these two fields: Galena for bittering, along with tons of Centennial and Cascade at the end of the boil, and dry-hopped with Cascade and Willamette. The final stats on this beer are 7.4%ABV and 81 IBUs. Pick some up now at the brewery (it won’t last long); it should also be available at the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market in Sydney this weekend (along with some spent-grain granola). It may also be available at one exclusive tap in the province soon, keep your eyes open on their Facebook and Twitter feeds for that launch information. In addition to the Glenora-infused cask that Big Spruce had at the LBL Cask Fest, we were lucky enough to try the Bowmore 12-year-infused cask at Stillwell in Halifax. It’s gone now, but is another great indication of things brewing on Cape Breton.

Paddys Irish Brewpub has brewed up their newest eagerly-anticipated seasonal beer,  “Frost Biter” Winter Warmer. It has a chestnut colour, bolder body with notes of holiday chocolate, subdued bitterness at 10 IBUs, and a pleasant warming due to the slightly higher 6% Abv. Available at either their Kentville or Wolfville location on tap and in 2 liter Growlers in early December.

• Fans of Garrison‘s Spruce Beer, rejoice! The gang is at Meander River Farms today, collecting spruce tips and branches for their popular seasonal. This means the beer will be hitting shelves within a few weeks. Check back here for details, and their Facebook page for pictures of today’s hunt.

Field Guide, a great new restaurant on Halifax’s Gottingen Street has opened this past week. We went by for a great visit Wednesday, and will have a profile on them next week. They want to highlight the importance of the kitchen to the dining experience (you can watch the entire process of food preparation, from stove to plate and even the dish pit where the plate is cleaned after), and are passionate about local and seasonal food. Needless to say, they are big fans of local craft beer, and will be carrying NS beer exclusively.

That’s it for this week… enjoy your weekend!

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Nous ne nous lassons pas d’écrire ces mots: encore une nouvelle brasserie qui ouvrira bientôt ses portes au Canada atlantique! Une «entreprise appartenant à la collectivité», dans laquelle de nombreux actionnaires ont déjà investi, la microbrasserie Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault sera située à Edmundston, dans le Nord-Ouest du Nouveau-Brunswick. La brasserie est dirigée par un conseil d’administration composé de trois membres: André Léger, président, est propriétaire d’une entreprise de développement web à Edmundston; André Morneault, un consultant en architecture de logiciels d’entreprise, sera en charge de l’équipement brassicole et Mychèle Poitras, directrice des communications pour la Ville d’Edmundston, sera en charge de la communication et des relations publiques pour la brasserie. De plus, la brasserie dispose maintenant d’un nouveau directeur général, André P. Leblanc, un véritable passionné de bière depuis plus de 30 ans, qui a travaillé dans l’industrie partout en Europe et au Canada (y compris pour Cantillon et Unibroue). Nous avons échangé des courriels récemment avec Mychèle afin d’obtenir plus d’informations sur cette nouvelle brasserie …

ACBB: Vous avez, chacun des membres du conseil d’administration, des antécédents professionnels différents. Qu’est-ce qui vous a décidé d’ouvrir une brasserie?

Mychèle Poitras: Nous aimons la bière! Nous sommes aussi passionnés par notre communauté et avons trouvé dans la microbrasserie le projet parfait pour «étancher notre soif» pour le développement de notre communauté, et pour obtenir une bonne bière brassée localement.

Quelles mesures avez-vous prises jusqu’à présent?

Nous sommes en train de finaliser notre structure financière. Comme nous voulions vraiment que ce soit un projet de communauté, nous avons pris le temps nécessaire pour réunir un groupe d’investisseurs. Mais maintenant, nous arrivons aux choses sérieuses. Notre site est actuellement en construction dans le vieux poste de police au centre-ville d’Edmundston. L’équipement a été commandé et nous travaillons au développement des recettes de nos premières bières.

Sur quel type de système allez-vous brasser?

Nous utiliserons un nouveau système 15 BBL [465 gallons américains, soit 17,5 hectolitres] de DME.

Avez-vous un brasseur employée à la brasserie à ce moment?

Nous n’avons pas de brasseur encore, mais venons tout juste de publier une offre d’emploi sur notre site Internet.

Quels sont vos plans pour la distribution?

Nous passerons évidemment à travers les magasins d’ANBL et nous ferons la vente sur place grâce à notre “brouetique” pour une consommation hors-lieu. Un “brouepub” n’est pas dans nos plans, puisque nous voulons vraiment travailler en étroite collaboration avec les établissements et les pubs de chez nous.

Avez-vous des plans pour les “growlers”, l’embouteillage, etc?

Oui, nous comptons absolument faire la vente de growlers, et bien sûr, des bouteilles et en fût. Les réactions du marché nous aideront à adapter notre stratégie d’emballage au besoin.

Envisagez-vous d’offrir un style spécifique de bière?

Oui, nous misons les bières d’inspiration belge, ce qui nous distinguera de la plupart des bières de la région.

Pouvez-vous me parler des bières que vous prévoyez offrir initialement?

Nous prévoyons offrir deux bières dès le début – une bière blonde belge et un Witbier. En quelques années, nous devrions avoir entre 7 et 10 bières sur le marché.

Est-ce que les bières de saison font partie de vos plans? Ou des bières uniques?

Les bières de saison feront en effet partie de notre palette, afin de compléter notre gamme régulière.

Avez-vous eu l’assistance d’autres brasseries au Canada atlantique?

D’un point de vue technique, non. Mais nous partageons la même philosophie que nos collègues comme Picaroons (Sean Dunbar) et Acadie-Broue (Patrice Godin), c’est-à-dire de développer l’industrie dans son ensemble. Nous avons eu un certain nombre de discussions avec Sean et Patrice et nous avons trouvé en eux des collègues avec une véritable volonté de collaborer sur un certain nombre d’aspects, en particulier quand il s’agit de promouvoir les fournisseurs locaux et les identités culturelles propres à notre coin de pays.

Avec l’augmentation récente du nombre de nouvelles brasseries au Canada atlantique, qu’est-ce qui va différencier Les Brasseurs du Petit Sault des autres brasseries dans cette partie du pays?

Tout d’abord, elle sera située à Edmundston, une partie unique du Nouveau-Brunswick, qui est presque 100 % francophone – nous ne sommes pas certains, mais cela pourrait expliquer l’intérêt pour les bières belges 🙂 . De plus, avec plus de 80 investisseurs et des partenaires à différents niveaux, c’est un véritable projet de communauté.

Où espérez-vous voir votre brasserie dans les 2-3 prochaines années?

D’ici là, nous visons devenir une microbrasserie bien établie et bien réputée, en proposant un produit local de qualité. Nous voulons également appuyer les producteurs locaux et le développement de l’industrie brassicole artisanale dans son ensemble, à travers la production et la vente de bières d’inspiration belge, qui deviendront le choix incontournable pour la population locale et les touristes.

Nous sommes très heureux d’accueillir Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault au mélange des nouvelles brasseries en développement! Attendez-vous à une ouverture en mai / juin 2014. Restez branché ici pour les mises à jour sur les progrès réalisés et suivez-les sur Facebook et Twitter pour plus d’informations. Pour en savoir davantage, jetez un coup d’oeil au blogue écrit par le conseil d’administration cet été, qui offre un peu plus d’information sur leur histoire. Notez qu’ils travaillent actuellement à la mise à jour et à la traduction vers l’anglais de leur site. Merci à Mychèle pour l’aide à la traduction du texte original.

BPS-logo500x525We never get tired of writing these words: yet another new brewery is in the planning stages to open soon in Atlantic Canada! A “community-owned business” where many shareholders have already invested in the business, Brasseurs du Petit Sault will be located in Edmundston, New Brunswick. The brewery is headed by a three-member Board of Directors: André Léger, president, is owner of a web development firm in Edmundston; André Morneault, a consultant in enterprise software architecture, will be in charge of brewery equipment; and Mychèle Poitras, Communications Director for the city, will be in charge of communications and marketing for the brewery. The brewery also has a new General Manager, André P. Leblanc, who has been passionate about beer for over 30 years, and has worked in the industry throughout Europe and Canada (including Cantillon and Unibroue). We exchanged emails recently with Mychèle to get some more information on this new brewery…

ACBB: With the three of you on the Board of Directors having different professional backgrounds, what made you decide to open a brewery?

Mychèle Poitras: We love beer! We’re also passionate about our community and found in the microbrewery the perfect project to “quench our thirst” for community development, and for getting great beer brewed locally.

What steps have you taken so far getting everything up and running?

We are finalizing our financial structure. We really wanted this to be a community project, so getting a group of investors together took a lot of time. But now we’re getting down to business. Our site is currently under construction in Edmundston’s old police station downtown. Brewing equipment has been ordered and we are developing the recipes for our first beers.

What type of system will you be brewing on?

We will be using a 15 BBL [465 U.S. gallons, or 17.5 hectolitres] brand-new DME system.

Do you currently have a brewer, or brewers, employed at the brewery?

We don’t have a brewer yet, but are putting out a job offer next week. Anyone interested should keep an eye on our website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter feed.

What are your plans for distribution?

We will be going through ANBL stores and offering on-premise sale through our brewtique for off-premise consumption. A brewpub is not in our plans, as we will be working closely with the local established bars and pubs instead.

Any plans for growlers, bottling, etc.?

Yes, we absolutely plan on selling growlers, and of course, bottles and kegs. The market’s reactions to these will help us adapt our packaging strategy if need be.

Are you planning on offering a specific style, or styles, of beer?

Yes, all Belgian-inspired beers, which will distinguish us from most beers in the area.

Can you tell me about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially?

We plan to offer two beers from the start – a Belgian Blonde Ale and a Witbier. Within a few years we should have between 7 and 10 beers on offer.

Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?

Seasonals will be part of our offering which will complement our standards.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?

On a technical point of view, no. But we have the same guiding motif as many of them, such as Picaroons (Sean Dunbar) and Acadie-Broue (Patrice Godin), which is to develop the industry as a whole. We’ve had a number of discussions with Sean and Patrice and have found in them kindred spirits and a true willingness to collaborate on a number of levels, particularly when it comes to promoting local suppliers and cultural identities.

With the recent increase in the number of new breweries in Atlantic Canada, what will make Brasseurs du Petit Sault different from other breweries in this part of the country?

It will be in Edmundston, a unique part of New Brunswick with an almost 100% francophone culture – we’re not sure, but this could explain the Belgian thing :-). With over 80 investors and partners at different levels, it’s a true community project.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?

By then, we aim to be a well-established and well-reputed microbrewery, promoting local products, regional supplies and craft brewing development as a whole through the production and sale of high quality, Belgian-inspired local beers and a firm favourite for locals and tourists alike.

We’re very excited to welcome Brasseurs du Petit Sault to the mix of upcoming breweries! Look for them to be open by late May or early June, 2014. Stay tuned to this blog for updates on their progress, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more information. For those of you fluent in French, head here for a blog written by the Board of Directors this summer, providing a little more info on their story. Note that they are currently working on a new bilingual version of their website. 

Avec l’aide de Mychèle, nous avons traduit cet article en français pour nos lecteurs francophones.

What a busy weekend for good beer in Halifax!

Subway station ambiance

Stillwell’s New York subway station ambiance

Firstly, Stillwell Beer Bar (1672 Barrington) opened its doors officially Saturday. The space has seen many changes since our sneak peek only a month ago. The ten hightop tables give plenty of room to sit while enjoying a pint under the tall ceiling. The well-designed bartop also has plenty of room for people to sit or stand while contemplating their next beer. The 12 taps mounted along the chalkboard wall are arranged from light to dark, as is the beer they are dispensing, and they were turning over quite quickly during the weekend. The well-chosen keg list were from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec (the first time Dieu Du Ciel! and Trou du Diable have been on tap in Nova Scotia, I believe), and about 30 different bottles highlighted the best available in the province. The beer engines at the left of the bar were working overtime on the weekend, dispensing beer from local breweries Granite, Garrison and Propeller.

Twelve taps of great Maritime and Quebec beer

Twelve taps of great Maritime and Quebec beer

To complement the excellent beer, the food has to be world-class as well, and chef Graeme Ruppel has risen to the occasion. All of the food items were created to pair with the beer you are drinking, so the focus is on snacks rather than large meals. Highlights are the excellent fried chicken, Baotzel (sweet potato-filled pretzel) and icing sugar-dusted Beignets. The Sunday morning breakfast sandwich with a runny egg, Oulton’s smoked bacon and spicy “Atari” sauce was a hit as well.

Downstairs to the arcade machines

Downstairs to the arcade machines

The atmosphere downstairs was that of a New York subway station, with tiled walls and benches to match. A small space to chill with friends while awaiting your turn on the pinball machine, which was quite popular all weekend. Be sure to visit this new favourite for craft beer lovers in Halifax. They are open 4pm-2am Mon-Sat (closed Tuesday), and 11-11 Sundays.

On Sunday, the Ladies Beer League held their Cask Event at The Stubborn Goat. We attended the afternoon session, and had a wonderful time catching up with friends from far and wide.

Picaroons, Boxing Rock and Big Spruce Casks

Picaroons, Boxing Rock and Big Spruce Casks

The seven casks brought by the brewers were a great diversity of styles, including the Dark Cream Ale from Hell Bay Brewing, Zythos and Chinook dry-hopped IPA from Propeller, Winter Warmer from Garrison, and Smoked Porter from Picaroons. The standouts for me were the Crafty Jack Brown Ale from Boxing Rock, Belgian Apricot IPA from Bridge Brewing, and the winner of the Ladies Choice, the Glenora Whisky-Infused Stout from Big Spruce Brewing.

Bridge and Garrison casks

Bridge and Garrison casks

The Goat was a great venue, as the upstairs was dedicated to the event, while the downstairs was still open for other patrons (and for a post-fest pint), and the full kitchen was open to bring up some nourishment to keep us going.

Once again, congratulations to Stillwell on their opening. Be sure to check their Twitter feed for up-to-date beer lists. And congrats to the Ladies Beer League and Stubborn Goat for the great cask event.

Good morning, everyone! We’re halfway through November already… here’s some beer news for the week to distract you from the oncoming stress of the Christmas season…

• As mentioned in yesterday’s post concerning the opening of the King Street Ale House in Fredericton, Picaroons has released a new beer. A Smoked Porter called “Ember Ale”, it was brewed with Beech Smoked Malt from Weyermann, and Phoenix hops. Featuring a smokey flavor that “isn’t overpowering”, according to Picaroons Marketing Director Dennis Goodwin, it comes in at about 5% ABV with 15-20 IBUs. It will be served exclusively at the King Street Ale House, only while supplies last. A cask of it will also make an appearance at the sold out Ladies Beer League Cask Event at the Stubborn Goat in Halifax this Sunday.

• Last week, Pump House released a new beer on tap at their brewpub in downtown Moncton. A Schwarzbier (sometimes known as a German black lager), the brewery describes it as having “subtle hints of chocolate and coffee leading into a light-bodied, clean finish”. A great beer style to ease non-dark beer drinkers into, is has an ABV of 7% (higher-than-normal for this style of beer), and will be on tap for a limited time only.

• Over on PEI, the PEI Brewing Co. released a new beer on tap exclusively at the Gahan House. An American Pale Ale brewed at the Gahan brewpub, Long Creek Late Harvest is brewed with locally grown hops. While Gahan has not indicated which variety(ies) of hops were used, they describe the beer as “fully filtered, with a dark orange color”. The ABV clocks in at 6.5%.

• Sea Level Brewing has released their latest seasonal beer, “Crossing Muddy Waters Brown Ale”. From brewmaster Randy Lawrence, we heard that the name originated from playing as a child: when out with friends, crossing one of the many bridges over the Acadia dykelands and tidal rivers, they would always yell, “We’re crossing muddy waters!”. This highly anticipated seasonal beer is a medium bodied ale with medium maltiness provided by chocolate and caramel malts. It is balanced with a subtle hop flavour from the Mosaic hop. A nicely rounded, easy drinking North American style Brown Ale. It clocks in at 5.5% ABV and 40 IBUs. Cans will be traveling to the city today, supplying Bishops Cellar, Cristall Wine Merchants and Harvest Wines and Spirits. At the brewery in Port Williams, there are six pack cans and 1 Litre refillable growlers available. Their very popular Mojo Rojo Red Ale will be back in growlers and cans shortly. Keep up with the latest info on their Twitter page, too.

Rogues Roost Brewpub has their new Cream Ale on tap and available in growlers. Clocking in at 4.5% ABV and 25 IBUs, the Golden ale features quenching and delicate flavour, with the Czech Saaz hops giving it a light body with a hint of floral aroma.

• After previously announcing that they would no longer be attending the Historic Farmers’ Market in Halifax, Bridge Brewing has confirmed that they will be at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market in Dartmouth. The market runs Saturday morning 8am-1pm, and Bridge will have all five of their beer available, as well as glassware. For those afraid to ferry over to the Darkside, the brewery is open weekends 12-9 Saturday, and Sunday from 12 to 6.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is opening this weekend! Beginning Saturday, the much-anticipated craft beer bar will open its doors at 1672 Barrington Street, and delight us with great craft beer from the Maritimes and beyond. Hours are M-S 4pm-2am (closed Tuesday), Sunday 11-11. We’ll see you there! We’ll have a report from opening weekend shortly, feel free to remind yourself how far its come from an earlier post.

• A little ahead of schedule, Rare Bird Pale Ale is showing up in NSLCs across the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Porter’s Lake. We’ll have a full report from the brewery and brewmaster next week, so in the meantime, pick up a bottle and enjoy!

• News from another new brewery, Schoolhouse Brewery, is coming in. They will be opening in April 2014 in West Hants, Nova Scotia. Owner Cam Hartley will be keeping us up to date on their progress over the fall and winter. Right now, however, they are looking for a brewer to join the Schoolhouse team. Check out their Facebook page to get all of the latest info.

Big Spruce Brewing in Cape Breton showed off a very slick forged steel dual-growler holder earlier this week, available at the brewery. It brought to mind that we should put together a holiday gift-giving guide for the favourite beer drinker in your life. Look for that in a couple of weeks, and if you have any suggestions, send them in!