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All posts for the month February, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone! Today also marks the last day of February. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun/beer! Lots of beer news for you this week, so let’s dive right in!

• As part of next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, there is a separate fundraiser going on, to benefit the Fest’s charity, Team Diabetes. Check out the Golden Growler Auction! There are only twenty of these snazzy Golden Growlers available, screenprinted with the list of breweries and suppliers attending the 2014 FCBF. To win one, you must put in your bid before 11:59PM on Friday, March 7th. The twenty highest bids will get a growler (sorry, not full, but it can be filled down the street at the Picaroons Brewtique), as well as a charitable donation receipt. What a no-brainer! If you’re not on Facebook, you can also submit your bids via Twitter and email. Right now, the minimum bid to win is somewhere around $30, so don’t be shy! Be sure to mention how many growlers you’d like, as you can bid in multiples, as well. If you won’t be able to pick up the growler at the Fest, they will make arrangements to get it to you.

• After a little break for the holidays and New Year, the Ladies Beer League is back with another great event! They will be hosting a screening of Beer Hunter: the movie, about the life of Michael Jackson, at Lion & Bright Cafe & Wine Bar in Halifax, 7pm March 25th. Your $15 movie ticket also gets you some tasty popcorn, and a pint of a special cask of Uncle Leo’s beer (unsure which of their beers it is, yet). Tickets are only available online, and in short supply, so buy yours today! The movie will actually be introduced and attended by some people who had the opportunity to meet and work with Michael during his career. Sounds like a great date night to me, and there will also be a limited number of copies of the film for sale after, for future viewings. As with all LBL events, everyone is welcome! And be sure to check out LBL’s new website, with an FAQ, and the future possibility of purchasing a membership, which will give discounts at local establishments.

• The Parcel of Rogues that Picaroons brewed up for the 25th Anniversary of the Lunar Rogue is back. This time, in addition to being on tap at the Rogue, it will also be available for growler fills at the Brewtique. And don’t forget, if you’re in the Fredericton area tomorrow (March 1), Picaroons is having the official launch of their Maple Cream Ale at the York St. Train Station, with free food, beer samples, and music, from 11 am – 3 pm.

• As their official launch date gets ever closer, the people over at Les Brasseurs du Petit Sault have started a countdown to opening, estimating at about 95 days. They’re making leeway in the process, as they’ve already chosen the names of their flagship beers (a Belgian Blonde and Witbier… no, they’re not revealing the names yet!), are testing brewing recipes at the NBCC in Grand-Sault, and preparing to have some tastings of their first batch within the next few weeks. Their building is also taking shape quite nicely, with their brewing equipment expected within a month.

• The Pump House Brewery in Moncton is looking to add to their brewing team! They’ve posted a job listing here, looking for someone to fill the position of Head Brewer and add to their brewing talent. Check out the link for the full job requirements; they are looking for someone with 5-15 years of brewing experience. If you’re interested in responding to the posting, you can send them an email.

• For those of you living on PEI who are entering the 1st Annual Homebrewer’s Challenge (we originally posted on the event here), those at the Gahan House have decided to change some of the dates in order to give homebrewers sufficient time to brew their beer. The registration deadline was last Friday, but those registered now have until 5:00 pm, Friday April 4th to pass in their six-pack to the Gahan House. The preliminary judging and other events noted in our post will then be held over the next week, with the judging of the top 5 entries taking place on Saturday, April 12th.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza is hosting a special guest brewer in the brewhouse today: Aaron Spinney, head brewer at Sawdust City, in Gravenhurst, ON. They are brewing a big Wheat IPA (You Spin Me White Round Wheat IPA), weighing in around 6.5-7% ABV and with 70 IBUs, and will have loads of dry hopping. The big wheat component will give a different mouthfeel and head from normal IPAs; the beer should be a great addition to the lineup. Aaron has some connections to the Bras d’Or Lake area, so brewing with Jeremy and crew at Big Spruce was a no-brainer! Be sure to follow along with the fun on Big Spruce’s and Aaron’s Twitter accounts for up-to-the-minute details.

• More great news for Big Spruce: In order to keep up with the growing demand for their beer both on and off Cape Breton Island, they got several fermentors and conditioning tanks on the way from DME in PEI. Two 10 bbl fermentors are scheduled to arrive within the next week, and a third will be through the doors shortly thereafter. And then in late spring, they will be adding two more conditioning tanks to the brewery. This will allow them to increase production by about 70%, in order to keep their head above water during the busy summer to come. This will mean some shuffling of things around the brewery, and construction of the Sprucetique, where visitors will be able to sit and enjoy a paddle of samples while deciding which to purchase in a growler, while enjoying their beautiful view of the Bras d’Or lake. All this after just one year of brewing and selling beer! Congrats to Jeremy and the Big Spruce crew, and thanks to you for drinking it!

• Another busy week at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, punctuated with a home brewing flavour: Last Saturday, the first round of judging was performed in this year’s Home Brew Off competition. Seventy-six homebrewed Weizens were judged by a panel of 10 BJCP-certified judges (acbbchris was among them), narrowing down the field to a top 13 best beers. This week, that lucky thirteen was further reduced down to a final four of beer awesomeness, by Brewmaster Daniel Girard and his crew. Those four beers will be further tasted and tested (again by certified judges), and the winning beer will be crowned the 2014 Home Brew Off Winner! 2013’s Home Brew Off winner, Peter Welton, was in the brewery for a long day Monday, in order to brew his Belgian Blonde. This beer will be released at the Gala event, March 13th. The beer name is a closely guarded secret (only revealed at the Gala), but we can tell you that the beer will weigh in at 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs.

The Stubborn Goat in Halifax is inviting Propeller Brewing for today’s Firkin Friday, and Propeller has answered the call with a cask of Black IPA, dry hopped with Simcoe! They brewed up a special batch of this beer specially for the Goat, and will be releasing a full batch in the spring, so be sure to grab a pint. As always, the casks are tapped at 4pm, and once it’s gone, it’s gone, so best to get there promptly.

• A quick reminder that Beerthief Offering #10 from Brooklyn Brewery closes Sunday, March 2nd. Check the full details here, but the quick summary is that members can order East India Pale Ale, Brooklyn Pennant, Local 1, Local 2 or Sorachi Ace beers, to be delivered at their local NLC. As always, contact Tom to place your order.

• In other Beerthief news, on Sunday March 16, there will be a combination tasting and presentation about their March 2015 River Cruise to the Netherlands and Belgium. There will be an assortment of excellent Belgian beers served (including Saison Dupont to start), and the presentation will go over the itinerary and beer specifics of the cruise. Mike Buhler will be part of the planning process of the cruise, and will be leading the tasting (both on the 16th, and during the cruise). Seating for the presentation/tasting is very limited, so reserve your spot with Tom today!

Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax has released their latest seasonal, a Porter. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all of the recipe details before press time, but we can assure you it will be worth a visit!

• And finally, coming back to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, we’re having a contest for you to win two VIP tickets to the sold-out event! Starting today, take a picture of a beer brewed by any of the breweries that will be at the festival (check out the full list here), and tweet it or share it to the FCBF Facebook page, with the hashtag #FCBF14. The contest will run until next Thursday, March 6th, at 11:59 pm; the lucky winner will be announced in next week’s Friday Wrap-Up. Extra points for creativity! And if you already have tickets to the fest, feel free to still participate; the FCBF will refund the cost of your 2 VIP tickets if you win!

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Good morning, everyone! Lots of craft beer news to get into this week; unfortunately, we have to start with some sad news…

• Earlier this week, owner Bruce Keith announced the closure of the Hart & Thistle Brewpub in Halifax. Unfortunately, their beautiful waterfront location sees a drastic slowdown outside of the summer months, and that was not enough to sustain the business year-round. It’s also unfortunate that we are losing a place where Brewmaster Greg Nash was given free reign to put together some experimental and wild beers, including the Hop Mess Monster (and her annual offspring) and Commissar RIS (which was still on tap upon closing, the beer’s fate is sad to think about). Thank you for five great years, H&T!

• Bringing us one step closer to tasting their beer, Railcar Brewing is opening their merchandise section, located at the brewery at 9172 (Unit 6) Main St. in Florenceville-Bristol, NB. Stop by to check out the renovated location, and pick up a variety of Railcar merchandise for sale – including four different logoed glasses, men and women’s shirts, hats, railway spike bottle openers, and six-pack craft beer holders. The hours will be Tuesday – Friday, 5:30 pm – 8 pm, and Saturdays 9 am – 5 pm.

• Last September, we posted about reLiSH (a popular gourmet hamburger franchise that originated in Fredericton) planning on opening a new restaurant that featured craft beer. Well, after a few delays, it looks like that restaurant will finally be opening tomorrow in the Knowledge Park complex of Fredericton! They plan on having 9 beers on tap, up to eight of which will be craft beers from Atlantic Canadian breweries (including Picaroons, Pump House, and PEI Brewing Co. when they first open). One of these beers is going to be designated as “people’s choice”; the next keg tapped will be chosen by popular vote through reLiSH’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. They also plan on having multiple bottled craft beer choices available.

• We mentioned last week that Picaroons would soon be releasing their seasonal Maple Cream Ale, a 5% ABV beer brewed with local maple syrup from Briggs Maples. Details for the official launch party are now available: it will be held on Saturday, March 1st at the York St. Train Station, from 11 am – 3 pm. Featuring all maple, all the time, there will be samples of the beer available, as well as maple food and “maple music” (no, I’m not exactly sure what that means). The beer will then be available at the ANBL, Brewtique, and restaurants/bars in the area.

• While on the topic of Picaroons, they’re going to be having a tap takeover at Bar Stillwell in Halifax on Saturday, March 15th from noon – 5 pm. Details on specific beers are still being kept under wraps, but we know that there’ll be 12 taps and 3 casks devoted entirely to Picaroons, so rest assured they’ll be bringing something special! Brewmaster Andrew Estabrooks will be on hand to answer questions and talk beer. Tickets are $10 each, and include a one-off glassware for the event and your first taste. Reserve your tickets at the bar, or email tix<at>barstillwell.com.

• On July 1st, 2013, Grimross Brewing released their first beer, Cheval D’Or, a ~5.2% ABV Saison. Brewer/owner Stephen Dixon has confirmed that he has recently re-brewed this beer; equipment upgrades have provided better temperature control while brewing, so that recipe targets have been hit more efficiently. He also mentions that the carbonation of the beer has been improved over the first batch. Look for this beer to be available soon on tap at the King Street Ale House, and in 750 mL re-fillable growlers at the Brewtique. It will also be making an appearance at the sold-out Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in two weeks!

• This week, Garrison Brewing released their popular seasonal Black IPA. Weighing in at 6.2% and 48 IBUs, this beer is the best of their hoppy and bitter IPAs, together with the roast character of their Martello Stout. This beer won gold at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards, and is available at the private beer stores in the HRM, as well as at the brewery.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams, NS is releasing their El Rojo Diablo Double IPA late next week. Brewmaster Randy Lawrence chose a New Zealand hop as the centrepiece of this bold, hoppy brew. Its bitterness is balanced with a tropical fruit sweetness and the levels of taste boasts crushed black pepper. The beer weighs in at 7.666% ABV and 88 IBUs, and will be available in the Halifax private stores, as well as on tap at the Port Pub. It may also make it to Stillwell in Halifax.

• Congratulations to Paddys Irish Brewpub & Rosie’s Restaurant, who won Best Bar/Lounge at the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce “Valley’s Best” event earlier this week. Well done! Their Fitz’s Belgian Dubbel is still on tap, but is going fast, so now is the time to enjoy it – the flavours are really nicely matured now. They also have an IPA in the works, so stay tuned for more details on that.

• The German Bock we mentioned previously is now on tap at Rogues Roost, and is tasting great. The final specs are 6.8% ABV and 24 IBUs, with lots of malt backbone, and some dark fruit notes. Their Pilsner will be released next week, as well as a new batch of their Porter.

• The folks at North Brewing (formerly Bridge) had a busy first week under their new moniker. Using their new fermenters and modifications to their original Psycho Brew system, they were able to push through a massive brew day: 1330 litres of their Saison! Congratulations, and we’re sure this will mean more access to their beer on tap and in growlers at the brewery and Alderney Market.

• CTV Atlantic highlighted the explosion of interest in Cask-conditioned and Real Ale in Halifax this week with a piece on their news hour. Lots of familiar faces and places are highlighted in the piece; just remember that Kevin Keefe at Granite Brewery has been brewing Cask Conditioned beer in our city for 30 years. Cheers to great beers!

• While the specific conference talk/presentation/gala schedule has yet to be released, we have confirmation that the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards are being held May 29th-31st. This is the first time the CBAs have been held in the Atlantic Provinces, and will be at the Fredericton Convention Centre. While the conference may not be open to everyone, there will certainly be some events in town that will highlight the great brewers and beers from our area, as well as around the country. As the event gets closer, we’ll be posting more information on what they have planned for this year.

Happy Friday and Valentine’s Day to everyone! We’ve got another busy week’s worth of beer news from our area, so grab a pint and your sweetie, and enjoy.

Garrison Brewing is doing a special event/tasting today, and you can take part! You may have seen the flurry of #3447 or #TestBatch hashtags on Twitter, this is it: Brewmaster Daniel Girard is putting out a small batch of a new IPA, and they want you to give them feedback. From 4-5:30 today, the new beer will be available at Stillwell, Lion & Bright, HMCS King’s Wardroom and the brewery. Garrison crew will be sharing samples of the new beer, in order to get your feedback. Tracy Philippi of Garrison shared some recipe details with us: It clocks in at 51 IBUs and 6.5% ABV, and is a very tropical IPA with hops like Cascade & Citra. Be sure to drop by & let them know what you think! Psst… you could even win a prize for your feedback! The Test Batch will also be available in 650 ml bombers at their retail store, as well as the four private beer stores in HRM.

• Garrison brewer Kellye Robertson had a crazy idea for a Valentine’s Day beer, so the crew has brewed it up, and we all get to enjoy it: Love Potion #9. The base of this elixir is an amber ale (4.6% and 21 IBUs), but it is infused with cranberries & hibiscus, among other cheeky ingredients. It will also be available for growler fills at Garrison today, and will also appear on tap around Halifax (Kings Ward Room, Dalhousie Grad House, Mothers Pizza, Freeman’s Quinpool, Wooden Monkey (Halifax), Lion and Bright, Stillwell, Stubborn Goat and The Argyle).

• Good news for our Garrison fans on The Rock! Their Spruce Beer has hit the shelves across the province. Check out the NLC page for availability close to you. Tracy has let us know that this is only the first of many Garrison beers that they’ll be sending to Newfoundland, so keep your eyes and ears open for that, likely in the spring.

• Even more Garrison news, their very popular Grand Baltic Porter was brewed earlier this week. We don’t have all of the details yet, but previous years’ batches have weighed in around 9%, and the style is very rich with chocolate and roast characters. This is a bigger beer, so the turnaround is usually a bit longer, so the release will probably be early- to-mid-March.

• And finally in Garrison news, a final reminder that entries for the Home Brew-off are due Thursday, Feb 20th. As we’ve mentioned previously, there has been a big improvement to the judging, in that the first round of judging will be done by BJCP-certified judges, and every entrant will receive a full scoresheet back (rather than just the final four). The gala will be taking place March 13th at the brewery, where the top four beers will be sampled, and last year’s winning Belgian Blonde will be released. It’s always a great time!

• The winning beer brewed by Joe Goodine of Moncton for the 1st Annual New Brunswick Home-Brew Challenge will soon be on tap in Fredericton. This beer, a Standard/Ordinary Bitter, was selected out of 42 entries for the style as the winner at a gala at the King Street Ale House in December. Joe brewed the beer at Picaroons with their head brewer, Andrew Estabrooks. While details of the beer are slim, look for it on tap for growler fills at the Brewtique, and possibly at Marky’s Laundromat in Moncton. You can read more on the contest and gala in our previous post.

• Due to the popularity of the Ember Ale (a smoked Porter) brewed by Picaroons for the opening of the King Street Ale House last November, they’ve decided to brew the beer again! While it was originally for exclusive sale at the KSAH, it will be also be available on tap elsewhere, and at the Brewtique for growler fills.

• And, in other returning-beers-from-Picaroons news, look for their Maple Cream Ale to hit shelves/taps around March 1st. Keep following this blog for news on a launch party for that date; also, stay tuned to Picaroon’s Twitter feed for updates as well.

• Over in PEI, the Gahan House has decided to connect with local homebrewers by holding the 1st Annual Home Brewer’s Challenge. Residents of PEI that are 19 and older are invited to submit a home brewed beer of their own for a chance to brew a full-sized batch of their beer with brewmaster Trent Hayes, to be released on tap as a Gahan seasonal! The beer must be brewed as an all-grain beer (no kits or extract allowed), and the style “must complement the regular line-up of Gahan beers”. There is no charge to enter; just fill out the registration and recipe sheets provided, and send in a 6-pack of your beer to the Gahan House (125 Sydney St., Charlottetown) by 5:00 pm, Friday, March 21st. The judges (including Hayes, another brewer, and others TBD) will narrow the beers down to the top 5; these will then be tasted live on a local radio station over that next week, Monday to Friday, with a different beer featured each day. Finally, on Saturday at Gahan House, there will be a 2:00 pm tasting panel to select the winner. Entrants will be invited to join the event to watch the proceedings. If you want to sign up, send an email to gahan@murphysrestaurants.ca, and they’ll get the forms to you; the deadline to sign up is one week from today, Feb. 21st. Get brewing, Islanders!

• PEI’s other brewery has some news: Barnone Brewing is now offering a new growler for purchase to fill with their three regular beers. This Hydroflask growler is becoming quite popular; made of durable, food-grade stainless steel, it’s capable of keeping beer (and other liquids, of course) cold for up to 24 hours. It’s your typical 1.89 L (64 oz) growler size, and can be purchased for $50 at the brewery. Pick one up during their weekly growler night – Thursdays from 6-8 pm – and fill it with either the Summer Sessions, Pale Ale, or IPA.

• Speaking of Barnone, they’ve added a new account to their growing list in Charlottetown. The Olde Dublin Pub on Sydney Street will now be serving Barnone’s Pale Ale.

• The Antigonish Townhouse is going on hiatus for awhile – the brewpub is closing for a mid-winter break from Feb 17th to March 3rd. After allowing their staff this period of rejuvenation, they plan on being back better than ever, with fresh beer and food flowing! Check out their announcement here. Terry has brewed up a Northern English Brown for sale at the pub, to complement the Bitter, so be sure to try that next time you’re in.

Bridge Brewing Co. in Halifax has recently changed their name to North Brewing Co. According to owner Peter Burbridge, this was done to avoid confusion with Bridge Brewing Co. in Vancouver, B.C.: “… we felt it was best to claim a name that was all our own. North is such a strong word with a lot of meaning for us. We brew and sell our beer in the North End of Halifax and we also have a strong sense of the direction we want to take North Brewing Company and so the word ‘North’ really resonates with us.” The brewery has graciously offered to exchange any Bridge merchandise for newer North merchandise; or, you can choose to keep the Bridge swag as collector’s items! The very popular brewery is currently undergoing an expansion… look for them to soon double and then quadruple their capacity!

• A few weeks ago, the crew from Stillwell Beer Bar made a visit to Bad Apple Brewing in Somerset, and brewed up a batch of beer with Brewmaster Jeff Saunders. A little birdie has told me the beer should be available starting this weekend, on tap only at Stillwell. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled to their twitter feeds (@BadAppleBrewing and @BarStillwell), as you don’t want to miss this little stunner!

Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax is getting ready to release a Bock in the next week or so. Brewer Jake gave us an insight into the recipe: It was brewed with a Munich malt base with a bit of Vienna; also Melanoidin, Cara 80, and a touch of Black malt. Bittered with mostly Tettnanger hops, O.G. 1.068 F.G. 1.016, for an ABV of 6.8%. Jake also let us know that he’s got a Pilsner in the works as well. It is a Czech Pils insofar as water and gravity (soft water with low mineral content, ABV around 4.5-5%) are concerned, but hopped using Hersbrucker (a German hop as opposed to Czech Saaz),  because, as Jake put it, “Hersbruckers are awesome”. Sounds like a good enough reason to us!

• The Beerthief Newfoundland and Labrador Artisanal and Craft Beer Club have published a Club Status Report this week, giving details on their membership base, current and upcoming beer offerings. With over 2400 all across Newfoundland and Labrador, they are having a measurable impact on the beers offered and available at the NLC. The province has recognized that the local beer lovers were being under-served, and by partnering with Mike and Tom of the Club, are making changes to the selection. We encourage you to read the report to get an idea of how YOU can influence the beer selection in your neck of the woods. Congratulations!

• Chris had a great time at the Saint John Ale House last night, celebrating the launch of Hammond River Brewing. Despite the poor weather, the restaurant was packed with folks trying (and then buying) Shane’s four beers. SJAH will have two Hammond River beers on permanently, and the beers can also be found at the Bourbon Quarter, The Barrel’s Head, and Shiretown Publicans. Shane was also featured in a few interviews this wee; go check them out for more information on HRB: SJAH TV, CBC Information Morning, CBC TV. Congratulations once again, Shane!

• The Moncton Beer League is having their first event at the Pump House Brewery (131 Mill Rd.) next Friday, Feb. 21st. The first meeting will include a brewery tour of the Pump House, followed by tasting samples of five beers on tap, plus a special barrel-aged or cask-conditioned beer brewed specifically for the League. Tickets can be bought in advance here for $15 per person, or purchased at the door for $20 when the event begins. It all begins at 7 pm, and should continue until 10 pm.

• And, to close things off, just a quick note to officially welcome The Pub Magazine – Atlantic Canadian Edition to the beer world! They’ve been very active over the past few months on Twitter and Facebook, but just published their first edition online a few days ago (and the magazine will be in your favourite pub and bar soon). We look forward to seeing what Troy and company do next!

That’s it for now, you bunch of romantics… see you next week!

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The second annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (FCBF) will be taking place on March 8th at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown. With about 1000 tickets being sold, the event will see almost twice as many beer lovers as last year’s festival. I was able to sit down with Lloyd Chambers, organizer of the FCBF, to discuss what will be offered at this year’s event.

What brought on the change in venue this year [last year’s festival was held at the Delta Fredericton]?

With about 550 people attending last year’s festival, the Delta Fredericton’s space worked out perfect. This year, however, we’ll see almost twice that many, so we needed to move to something bigger. The Convention Centre was able to provide us with that space, and also has the advantage of being right downtown, close to other beer-friendly spots such as the King Street Ale House.

convention

Fredericton Convention Centre

Do you have any sponsors for this year’s festival?

Yes; major sponsors include the King Street Ale House, Massive Graphics, and The Pub Magazine (Atlantic Canada edition).

Tell me about the different ticket offerings you’ve been selling.

There’s about 700 “regular” admission tickets that JUST sold out yesterday. These $50 tickets include a custom tasting glass, and unlimited 2 oz samples of the beers at the festival from 7:30-10:00 pm.

We also sold 250 “VIP” tickets this year; for $60, you get entry into the festival an hour earlier. They were extremely popular when they went on sale in late November; they sold out in about 4 hours!

In recognition of March 8th also being International Women’s Day, we decided to partner with the Ladies Beer League in Halifax and offer “Women’s-only VIP” tickets. These 50 tickets (also sold out) were a great deal, giving ticket-holders 90-minute early entry into the festival, with a larger, custom tasting glass, “Beer 101” with Garrison Brewer Kellye Robertson and Pam Crouse (Co-Executive director of the LBL), samples from local “beerlebrities” Stephen Dixon of Grimross Brewing and Adam Clawson of Red Rover Brewing, and an extra beer sample from Quebec brewery Unibroue. Investors Group will make a donation on behalf of the FCBF to a local women’s charity.

Any options for Designated Drivers?

Yes, there are $15 tickets available, which include unlimited bottled water and soda (and the snacks below), including a Root Beer made by Garrison Brewing Co.

Are there any food options available during the festival?

There will be a few different food samples available, such as popcorn from Magzy’s Kettle Korn, and salmon from Miramichi Smoked Salmon; there may be one or two other options as well. I should also note that on Saturday, before the festival begins, The Lunar Rogue will be offering 15% off food when you show your FCBF ticket.

Are any hotels in the city offering discounted rates for the festival?

Yes, the Crowne Plaza Fredericton/Lord Beaverbrook is currently offering a festival rate of $109/night for both Friday and Saturday, March 7th and 8th. [note: the link for the discounted rate is here]

It looks like you’re expecting more breweries and beer for this year’s festival, compared to last year?

Absolutely. Last year we had 18 breweries and 91 beers; this year, we have a combination of 28 brewers and distributors, with about 150 different beers being poured. Specifically, we’ve got a larger showing from the Maritimes this year, including newer breweries such as Grimross Brewing, Red Rover Brewing, and Sunset Heights Meadery from New Brunswick; Bad Apple Brewhouse, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bridge Brewing, and Uncle Leo’s from Nova Scotia, and Barnone Brewing from PEI. We’ve got a couple of non-Maritime breweries coming – Saskatchewan’s Bushwakker will be returning this year (including owner Bev Robertson), and Le Naufrageur from Quebec will be making their first appearance.

Will there be many brewers and/or representatives from each brewery to provide information about their beers, answer questions, etc.?

Luckily, just about every brewery (except one or two) will have brewers or brewery reps coming to the festival, pouring their beers and providing info. We’ll also have about 35-40 volunteers helping out.

Before we get to the most important information – the brewers/beer list – anything else you’d like to add?

Just that we’re really happy to be able to build on the success of last year’s festival by opening the event to even more people, and bringing even more beers than before. As our tagline says, “It’s all about the beer. Pure. Simple.”

The following is a list of the breweries and distributors that will be attending the festival, along with the products they have indicated that they are bringing. Keep in mind these products are subject to change, and some have not been announced yet. We will continue to update this list as we find out more information:

Atlantic Spirits &Wines (Dartmouth, NS) – Somersby Cider, Carlsberg, Kronenbourg 1664, Mill Street Organic, Lake of Bays Brewing Old North Mocha Porter

Bad Apple Brewhouse (Berwick, NS) – Barrel-Aged Black and Tackle RIS, Double IPA

Barnone Brewing (Rose Valley, PEI) – IPA, Pale Ale, Summer Sessions

Big Spruce Brewing (Nyanza, NS) – Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout

Big Tide Brewing Company (Saint John, NB) – Simms Pale Ale, Whistlepig Stout

Boxing Rock Brewing (Shelburne, NS) – Temptation Red Ale, Hunky Dory Pale Ale, The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA

Bruce Ashley Group (Markham, ON) – Faxe Premium, Chechvar Bitburger, Tiger Beer, Belhaven Best, Greene King Abbot Ale, Wells Banana Bread Beer, Duchy Original Organic Ale, Bitburger Wernesgruner Pils, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Central City Red Racer IPA

Bushwakker Brewing Company (Regina, SK) – Missiletow Ale, Stubblejumper Pilsner, Palliser Porter

Churchill Cellars (Toronto, ON) – Bavaria 8.6 (Original), Bavaria 8.6 Red

Creemore Springs Brewery (Creemore, ON) – Creemore Springs Premium Lager, Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner, Mad & Noisy Hops & Bolts, Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale

Fuller’s Brewery (Chiswick, London, UK) – ESB, London Porter, London Pride, Organic Honey Dew

Garrison Brewing Co. (Halifax, NS) – Hop Yard, Nut Brown, Irish Red, Raspberry Wheat, Imperial IPA, Martello Stout, Glutenberg American Pale Ale, Glutenberg Blonde

Grimross Brewing Company (Fredericton, NB) – Cheval D’Or, Ben’s Bitter Pale Ale, Belgian Rye IPA

Innis and Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Lager, Original Oak Aged Beer, Toasted Oak IPA, Melville’s Ginger Beer

McAuslan Brewery (Montreal, QC) – St. Ambroise Pale Ale, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat

McClelland Premium Imports (Mississauga, ON) – Erdinger Weissbier, Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel, Affligem Blond, Fruli Strawberry, Stiegl Lager, Stiegl Radler, Mort Subite Kriek, Mongozo Premium Pilsner, Palm Speciale, Delirium Tremens

Molson Coors (Toronto, ON) – Rickard’s Red, Rickard’s White, Rickard’s Blonde, Rickard’s Dark

Moosehead (Saint John, NB) – Moosehead Boundary Ale, Moosehead Cask, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Latitude 48, Sam Adams Cold Snap, Hop City Barking Squirrel, Hop City Big Mouth Pale Ale, Magners Irish Cider, Magners Irish Pear Cider, Blackthorn Cider

Le Naufrageur (Carleton-sur-mer, QC) – Leonne, La Malauze, Colborne, Corte-Real, Saint-Barnabe, Swordfish, Carrick, Penelope, Ale Amerindienne, Ale Amerindienne Double Blanche (Tanaisie)

North Brewing Company (formerly Bridge Brewing, Halifax, NS) – Belgian IPA, Saison, Strong Dark Belgian

Northampton Brewing Company/Picaroons (Fredericton, NB) – Maple Cream Ale, A Parcel of Rogues, Ember Ale, Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, Best Bitter, Dark & Stormy Night, Man’s Best Friend

PEI Brewing Company (Charlottetown, PEI) – Sir John A’s Honey Wheat, Sydney Street Stout, 1772 IPA, Island Red, Iron Bridge Brown, Beach Chair Lager, Blueberry Ale, and a TBD cask

Pump House Brewery (Moncton, NB) – Fire Chief’s Red Ale, Scotch Ale, S.O.B., Cadian Cream Ale, Premium Lager

Red Rover Brewing (Fredericton, NB) – Spring Cider, Summer Cider, Fall Cider

Shiretown Beer (Rover Charlo, NB) – Blonde du Quai, Big Brown Ale, Siren’s T’Ale

Sleeman Breweries Ltd (Guelph, ON) – Sleeman Cream Ale, Sleeman Silver Creek Lager, Unibroue Maudite, Unibroue Ephemere Pomme, Okanagan Mild Winter Ale

Sunset Heights Meadery (Fredericton, NB) – Queen’s Nectar Sparkling Mead, Pollen Angels (four flavors: Blueberry-Apple, Raspberry-Kiwi, Iced Tea, and likely Cranberry-Maple)

Uncle Leo’s Brewery (Lyons Brook, NS) – Red, IPA, Smoked Porter

Windward Imports (Halifax, NS) – Grolsch Lager, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale, Shipyard Export Ale, Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA

For those of you lucky enough to have tickets, you’re in for a great time! We’ll be there representing the ACBB. Stay tuned over the next few weeks leading up to the festival – we’ll be holding a contest to win two VIP tickets. Look for that sometime during the first week of March.

Happy Friday, everyone! Yet another chock-full of beer news in our region. Pour your favourite pint and check out the latest info.

• Fredericton, your wait for locally-brewed hard cider is over – Red Rover Brewing has announced that they will be opening their Ciderhouse next Thursday, Feb 13th! Located at 880 Hanwell Rd, Suite 305, the Ciderhouse will have up to four varieties of cider on tap (the “Spring” and “Summer” to start, soon followed by “Fall” and a currently unrevealed style), and lots of merchandise for sale. Refillable, 1-L flagons can be purchased for $6.50; fills of each flagon will cost $12 (prices include tax). The Ciderhouse will be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4-11 pm. For those of you who are supporters of the brewery, or “Red Roverlutionaries”, there is a special event tonight at the Ciderhouse from 6-10 pm, where you will be able to purchase flagons and fills of the Summer cider.

• And throughout next week, Red Rover is having an online contest for supporters to win a free flagon. Take a picture of yourself “in an interesting location”, wearing your Red Rover t-shirt, and post it on Twitter (#redsciderhouse and #redroverbrew) or Facebook (share to their page).

• For those of you in the Saint John area, don’t forget that Hammond River Brewing will be holding their launch party at the Saint John Ale House on Thursday, Feb. 13th as well! All four of their flagship beers will be on tap – Hop Flash IPA (6.6% ABV), Red Coat India Red Ale (6.5% ABV), Covered Bridge ESB (5.5% ABV), and Back in Black Oatmeal Stout (5.2% ABV). Tickets are $10, and include four samples of the beers; appetizers will also be served. Get down to the SJAH for your ticket, and be one of the first to try some great, new beers!

• Edmundston’s new up-and-coming brewery, Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, has been looking for two brewers over the last few months. They recently put out a press release saying that they’ve chosen two gentlemen for the positions. Jason Dionne, a Madawaska, Maine native, comes from a brewing position at Kichesippi Beer, a microbrewery in Ottawa. Gavin Anderson is a former scientist with a doctorate in plant pathology. Both Jason and Gavin have a history of homebrewing and – naturally – a passion for beer! With the first beers scheduled to arrive on the market this June, we’re happy to see that the brewery is one step closer to their goal! For more info on Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, check out our Q&A with Marketing Director Mychèle Poitras that we posted in November (French version here).

• With Valentine’s Day fast approaching (that’s right, you only have one week), Picaroons is bringing back their Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale. A dark beer that is brewed with chocolate, ginseng, liquorice root, and a hint of cayenne, it clocks in at 5% ABV. It should be available by February 11th/12th for growler fills at the Brewtique; look for it on tap at certain beer bars/restaurants in the region shortly after.

• On another note, the Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale will also be featured as a “welcome beer” at the two Beer & Chocolate Dinners being put on by Picaroons. Both dinners are four courses, “chocolate-infused”; each course will be paired with a different Picaroons beer. The first dinner will be at 6:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 13th at the ANBL Train Station on York St., and will feature Real Food Connections. The second will be two days later, Feb 15th, at The Schnitzel Parlour, also at 6:30 (hosted by local Sommelier Craig Pinhey). Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the Brewtique.

• Good news for folks looking for more Uncle Leo’s in their life: earlier this week, they sent out 360 six-packs of their IPA to the NSLC! The shipment is part of a trial at 35 NSLC locations, and should reach larger stores all over the province (except Pictou, you’ll have to keep visiting the store in Lyons Brook). Plans are also in the works for their Red to be available through the NSLC in April, in 650mL bottles. Be sure to show your Leo’s Love, and grab the beers from your local NSLC. We had a wonderful visit at Uncle Leo’s last week while they were filling the palette-plus order, 2 bottles at a time!! What dedication from the folks at the brewery! And we loved the sausages from The Pork Shop available at the brewery, made with Uncle Leo’s IPA and Smoke Porter (our favourite).

• Speaking of new beers hitting the NSLC, Rare Bird Full Steam Stout will be available beginning today at NSLC locations across the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Halifax. It joins the Pale Ale already available at the NSLC. We’ve been enjoying the Stout on tap at Stillwell, which has a healthy dose of Full Steam coffee added to the beer in secondary.

• And in related Rare Bird news, they have released a new seasonal, a Pumpkin Ale! While a bit out of season, they’ve been brewing batches of this beer since November, and are looking to spice things up in their lineup for winter/spring (sorry, that bad pun was all Chris). Doug Anweiler gave us some insight into the beer: The base beer is a 5.5%ABV Pale Ale style (with a bit of CaraMunich malt and molasses) with three different hop varieties. The brewery team picked pumpkins and squash from local fields, which were then spiced and roasted at the Harbour Belle Bakery using traditional pumpkin spices. The pumpkin was added twice during the brewing process, starting in the mash. The beer is cold-conditioned before bottling, and is currently available at the private stores in Halifax, as well as a couple of kegs at Stillwell.

• Great news for fans of Boxing Rock Brewing in Shelburne, NS: they recently received a 34 hL (hectolitre, 100L) fermenter from DME to add to their brewhouse. This will effectively double the possible output of their popular beers. Since their launch in July, they have been going all out to keep up with the demand from their fans. With this double-sized fermenter, they can do a double-brew-day of their Hunky Dory Pale Ale or Temptation Red Ale to fill it up, giving them a bit of breathing room in the brewery. Breathing time they’ll use to come up with more excellent seasonals like the Crafty Jack Brown Ale and U-889 Russian Imperial Stout.

• The very popular beer-rating website, conveniently named RateBeer, has released its annual “Best Of” lists, including the Top Beers, Brewers, and New Brewers by Subregion. Winners are chosen by tallying the results from ratings/reviews by RateBeer users, with particular emphasis placed on those over the last year. The Atlantic Canadian provinces results are the following:

– New Brunswick: Top Beer – Picaroons Yippee IPA; Top Brewer – Pump House

– Nova Scotia: Top Beer – Garrison Imperial IPA; Top Brewer – Propeller; Best New Brewer – Bridge Brewing

– Prince Edward Island: Top Beer – PEI Brewing Co./Gahan House 1772 IPA

Unfortunately, Newfoundland is not listed. This, along with certain awards not given for certain categories, is likely due to a particular number of ratings being required… which means we beer-drinkers have to rate beer more often! Congrats to all the winners!

• Our detailed post on the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will be coming early next week. This is just one more friendly reminder that tickets are now over 90% sold out… last chance to buy yours! There are also a couple of contests going on right now to win VIP tickets (and more); follow the FCBF Twitter feed for details and updates.

• For those of you looking to step up your brewing game from amateur enthusiast to professional brewer, check out this job listing from Yellowbelly Brewery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Brewmaster Liam McKenna is looking for a brewer to help him keep the Brewpub, and NLC fully stocked with their beer. Yellowbelly also has a new seasonal on tap (and soon in bottles), a darker “hodgepodge” beer, with several different malts and hops. We hope to have more info for you next week (after a quick visit to the Brewpub ourselves!).