Howdy, craft beer fans! What’s going on in the world of good beer in the Atlantic provinces this week?
• Next Thursday, December 12th, Picaroons will begin their 3rd annual “12 Beers of Christmas”. Every day at 3 pm, until December 23rd, a new one-off Christmas beer will be released for growler fills only at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. Picaroons will announce through Twitter and Facebook every day at noon which beer will be released that day; this has been a very popular event the last couple of years, so be sure to get to the Brewtique quickly, as the beers usually sell out within hours. For those of you familiar with this over the past couple of years, you can expect to see most of your favorites returning, along with two to three new experimental Christmas beers!
• In more Picaroons news, their gala for the New Brunswick Home-Brew Challenge (co-sponsored by the New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association) was held Sunday. Twenty-six brewers submitted 42 entries in the Standard/Ordinary Bitter category. The best beer, judged by Picaroons Brewmaster Andrew Estabrooks and Doug and Shane of the King Street Ale House, was brewed by Joe Goodine of Moncton. In addition to a year’s free membership into the NBCBA (which allows taking part in their group buys and access to their yeast library, among other perks), Joe has also won the opportunity to brew a batch of his beer with Estabrooks on the Picaroons system at their Brewtique on Queen Street. This will be happening early in the new year, and will be released shortly thereafter. Some notes from the gala, thanks to NBCBA president Chris Craig: Over fifty people were in attendance to witness the announcement and taste the top beer (and got to judge the beers themselves for the Fan Favourite). Estabrooks mentioned that he had chosen this style of beer because it is difficult to hide mistakes, as a good Bitter has low hop and alcohol character. This resulted in some excellent, but similar, beers to judge between. For this reason, six beers actually advanced to the final (up from the five they had originally planned on). The folks at Picaroons devoted a significant amount of time to the competition, as well as almost all of the prizes and swag given away (including limited-edition growlers, towel and glass to all entrants, complemented by NBCBA glass and voucher for reduced membership fees). The NBCBA was thrilled with the response and the event in general, and excited to work with Picaroons and other breweries in the future, whether it be more competitions, or collaborations. Congratulations to everyone involved from the ACBB!
• Over in Newfoundland, Quidi Vidi Brewing will soon be releasing their QV Winter Ale. Described by the brewery as a “dark, rich ale; smooth and malty with just enough bitterness to balance it out”, it comes in at 6% ABV, and is brewed with coriander, cacao and vanilla. Expect to see the beer at NLC stores shortly before Christmas.
• In other Winter Ale news, Pump House Brewery now has their newest beer, the Nor’easter Beater Winter Warmer, on tap at their brewpub in Moncton. We know that the beer clocks in at 7% ABV, but other details are scarce. If it’s similar to other Winter Warmers, expect the beer to be malty and rich, with little to no hop presence, and a bit of alcohol warmth.
• Shiretown is adding their second beer to their bottled line-up. We first mentioned Siren’s T’Ale – a “bittersweet Red Ale” with 30 IBUs and 5% ABV – early last month; the beer is being released to various ANBL stores today. Check the Products page of the ANBL website to see which stores near you are carrying the beer!
• Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax held their first “Brewmaster Monday” this week. It is a chance to meet and chat with Brewmaster Lorne Romano, and sample what he is cooking up in the brewhouse. It was very successful, and the next event will be held January 13th. Contact them for more details closer to the date. We also received word that their tasty Russian Imperial Stout is currently conditioning in their brite tank, and will be released mid-month. We’ll have more details for you next week.
• Today is the judging of the Big Spruce Homebrew Competition, in advance of their appearance at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration (a few tickets are still available!). The 17 American IPA entries will be judged by nine BJCP judges, and the winning brewer will work with Brewmaster Jeremy White to scale up their beer to a full batch, which will be released in the New Year, and a cask of it will be served at the January 16th event. Good luck to all entrants!
• Unfortunately, Big Spruce ran into some bad luck this week, but have a heck of a story from it. Probably due to the high winds and rain/sleet, the brewery was without power for two days while they were in the middle of mashing their Kitchen Party Pale Ale. Rather than give up, they kept at it (sparged the mash by hand, bucket by bucket!), and once the power did come back, were able to finally get the beer happy. To make it a truly different batch of beer, Jeremy tweaked the recipe, adding chocolate and roast malt, as well as upping the hopping rate like mad. It’ll be a totally different beer, and we’re excited to try it in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to offer suggestions for the name of this unique brew.
• Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be holding a special event this Monday, “Tripel Trouble”. Featuring several Quebec-brewed Tripels (Charlevoix‘s Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus, Dieu Du Ciel!‘s Herbe a Detourne, Unibroue‘s La Fin du Monde and Le Trou du Diable‘s La Buteuse and P’tite Buteuse), on tap for the first time in Nova Scotia. The tap list will be rounded out by Maritime-brewed Belgian-style beers, and chef Graeme Ruppel will be whipping up some great Belgian snacks for the evening. The event starts at 4pm, and runs all evening. Be sure to drop by, as they will also be releasing details and tickets for their New Year’s Eve event.
• Hell Bay Brewing posted some interesting news yesterday: their iconic mine logo will be featured in an upcoming Kevin Smith movie, Tusk. Owner Mark Baillie shared some more details with us: the film features a scene in a bar, and the Hell Bay logo will be seen on glasses, tap handles, bottles, etc. The producers of the film sought out Baillie after discovering the Hell Bay logo. Very cool!
• The Beerthief is at it again! The latest offering from the Newfoundland Artisanal and Craft Beer group is beer from Meduz Brewery in the South of France. They are brewing French beer, with a Belgian twist. The beers available are an Amber, Blanche/Witbier, Blonde, Doree/Golden, and Hiver/Winter beer. The deadline to order is Sunday, Dec 8th. As usual, contact Tom Beckett to order the beer, which is expected to hit the NLC shelves in February 2014. Sunday is also the deadline to order some of the Beerthief-branded glassware, a few more details are available here.
Thanks for checking in… have a great weekend, everyone!