All posts for the month March, 2014


Let the beer tasting begin!

Along with about 998 other people, acbbchris and acbbshawn were lucky enough to be in attendance at the 2nd Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival at the Fredericton Convention Centre last Saturday, March 8th. With a bigger venue, more ticket-holders, and more brewers and beers than last year, the event was an even bigger success this time around!


To recap, there were 700 “regular” admission ticket-holders, who were allowed unlimited 2 oz samples of the beers available, from 7:30 pm to 10 pm. The 250 VIP ticket-holders were allowed entry an hour earlier, beginning at 6:30 pm. On top of this, there were also about 50 “Women’s VIP” tickets sold; ladies with these tickets had some beer education starting at 6 pm, and they also received a larger keepsake glass.


With a combined 28 brewers and distributors at this year’s festival, there were approximately 150 beers pouring on Saturday night. There were lots of standout beers being served! Representing the Atlantic provinces were Bad Apple Brewhouse, Barnone Brewing, Big Spruce, Big Tide, Boxing Rock, Garrison Brewing, Grimross, Moosehead, North Brewing, PEI Brewing Co., Picaroons, Pump House, Red Rover, Shiretown, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Uncle Leo’s. That’s NINE more Atlantic Canada breweries than last year! Goes to show how much the beer world is changing in our region!


As for food, there were free samples of Magzy’s Kettle Korn, salmon from Miramichi Smoked Salmon, and chili from Good Apple Culinary (using all local products, including Picaroons beer, beef from Yerxa’s Meats, and beans from VanDine’s in Red Bridge).


All proceeds from the festival will be donated to Team Diabetes (who also had a booth at the fest, selling tickets for their Beer for a Year drawing… more details on that in last Friday’s post). Approximately $14,000 was raised for this well-deserving charity, along with an additional $1200 from the Beer for a Year ticket sales!


Steve Dixon of Grimross Brewing

We had a great time at the festival, and were very impressed with the improving quality of beer brewed and available in our region. Stay tuned later in the week, when the crowd-selected Best of the Festival will be announced! Next year’s festival has already been determined to be on Saturday, March 7th, 2015.

And don’t forget, there’s less than a month (April 5th) until the Saint John Beer Festival… tickets are selling fast, so don’t wait much longer to get yours! We’ll have more details on the SJBF soon.

Special thanks to Ahmed Dassouki for providing all of the pictures in this post. You can check out the full album of FCBF 2014 pictures at his Facebook page! Also, head to this link for a special news broadcast on the festival from CTV News.

Happy Friday, one and all! Yet another busy week in our region, so let’s get right to it.

• Over the past week, we’ve had a contest going to win two VIP tickets to tomorrow’s sold out Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (FCBF). Thanks to all of you who entered the contest by taking a photo of a beer, there were some very creative ones, and we wish we could give you all prizes. However, the winner (chosen by random chance) is @jacalyn_norrad. Congratulations! Please email/tweet the FCBF to claim your prize!

• A reminder that the Golden Growler fundraising auction is going on until midnight. Submit your bids for one of the twenty limited edition growlers via Facebook, Twitter or email, and if you are a winner, you can pick up your growler at the Fest (or make other arrangements).  You will receive a charitable tax receipt, and the highest bidder will receive their growler filled with Red Rover Cider!

• One of the Nova Scotian contingent to be attending the FCBF is Bad Apple Brewhouse, from Somerset. They recently updated the list of beers they’ll be bringing to the fest: their very popular Russian Imperial Stout, and a new beer, Conception Double IPA. Brewed mid-February to commemorate the future arrival of Jeff’s newest brewery assistant, this beer weighs in at 8.5% ABV, and over 100 IBUs. Thanks to generous hopping from six different hop cultivars, and being very light on crystal malts, it’s been described as “a bouquet of hop juice with a strong finish”. Sounds like a winner to us, congratulations! Besides at the Fest in Fredericton, and on tap very limited at Stillwell in Halifax (who have also been restocked with the “Falcon Teamwork” IPA), the Conception DIPA will mostly be served fresh in growlers from the brewery in Somerset.

• In other Bad Apple Brewhouse news, they are also debuting a special apple cider this weekend. Very dry, and weighing in at 6.7% ABV, the cider was produced using Valley apples from Boates Farm. The cider  has a very effervescent mouthfeel, with a very sharp/dry finish, and like their beer, is unfiltered. It spent three months aging in a 12yr old Glenora Barrel, giving it a unique flavor profile and appearance. Look for it on tap at Stillwell, and at the brewery in multiple refillable options including the new Squealers.

• Finally in BAB news, they are debuting their Squealer today. A 750mL refillable container with standard growler cap, it is the perfect format for some of the higher alcohol brews they’ve got available. The deposit for one of these is $5, and a fill of their Conception DIPA is $7.  In other glassware news, their 20oz English Pub glasses are now in stock, too, perfect for a bottle of their beers or cider.

• Red Rover Brewing Co. has added a third cider to their current line-up: Fall Brew is now pouring for flagon fills at their Ciderhouse location. Coming in at 7% ABV, it is a spiced cider, giving some cinnamon, clove, and other spices in the aroma. Slightly bitter, it has a “warm follow-through” according to brewer/co-owner Adam Clawson. It will also be available for tasting pours at the FCBF tomorrow.

• Interested in supporting one of New Brunswick’s newest up-and-coming breweries? Big Axe Brewery, located in Nackawic, is now selling a few items, including logoed hats ($22 each) and men and women’s T-shirts ($25 each). If you’re interested in purchasing either/both, but don’t live in Nackawic, you can contact the brewery and get a quote for the price of shipping to your area. Look for them at the FCBF tomorrow, as well. Drop by and say hello!

• Less than 4 weeks after their official launch in Saint John, Hammond River Brewing has already purchased some more equipment to allow for an expansion! Owner/brewer Shane Steeves has confirmed that he has doubled fermentation capacity by adding two 40 gallon fermentors to his brewery. Hopefully this means more Hammond River beer in the Saint John area (and beyond?) in the near future!

• Last fall, Shiretown Beer brewed up a Honey Wheat Ale, and they’ve just re-released the beer with a slight change to the hop bill. Coming in at 5% ABV, the beer is brewed with local Buckwheat honey from the Charlo Honeyhouse. It is a light-golden color, and very lightly hopped with little to no bitterness in the finish; an easy-drinking beer. No plans for this beer to be bottled yet; drop by the brewery in Charlo to pick up a growler full!

The Pump House has released a new beer on tap at their brewpub location in Moncton. The “Easy” Amber Ale is a moderate-strength beer at 6% ABV; pouring with a deep amber color, it has “flavors of caramel and toffee”, with a medium bitterness in the finish. Like the other Pump House one-off beers, it probably won’t last too long, so get down to the brewpub for a pint while you can!

• Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Granite Brewery in Halifax has brewed up a batch of their Keefe’s Irish Stout. A Dry Stout with an ABV of 4.6%, the beer is brewed with Roasted Barley malt to give it its black appearance and roasted qualities, and Fuggle hops. With the classic long-lasting, creamy head, the brewery describes it as a “true Irish Stout”. Look for it in growlers at the Granite Beer Store, and on tap at the Henry House, Lion’s Head, Maxwell’s Plum, and the Antigonish Townhouse.

• Speaking of the Antigonish Townhouse, after a short break for some small renovations and a trip to Dublin (jealous!), it is open for business, and ready to keep the town full of great beer, food and cheer! As per usual, their pub is busy every night of the week with guest musicians, their Irish Music Sessions each Sunday, and of course Terry’s Bitter, brewed right above the pub. Be sure to drop by and pull up your regular stool at the bar.

• Looking for a chance to win some extra beer money, AND help support a deserving charity? Well, now’s your chance! Local participants of Team Diabetes are selling tickets ($10 each) for their “Beer for a Year” drawing. The person with the randomly-drawn ticket will receive fifty-two $25 ANBL gift cards to be used at their discretion. You can buy as many tickets as you like; the winning ticket will be drawn on April 10th. Tickets will be sold at the FCBF tomorrow; if you’re not going to be at the festival you can contact Jerri McCallum. All proceeds will be going to Team Diabetes.

Quidi Vidi Brewing is getting ready to re-release a seasonal beer in the near future – their Continental Pilsner should be released sometime over the next couple of weeks. This award-winning beer (it took home a Gold Medal in the Pilsner category from the 2012 World Beer Championships in Chicago) is described as having a “bright golden color”, “vegetal aromas of honeyed artichoke and peppered kale”, and flavors that include “roasted corn and orange sorbet”. This 5% ABV beer will be available in bottles and on tap at all of Quidi Vidi’s seasonal accounts.

Hell Bay Brewing has released a Dunkelweizen this week, which is available at the brewery in growlers, as well as on tap at The Argyle and Stillwell in Halifax. Dunkelweizen is the darker cousin of the Hefeweizen. Well carbonated, with a light body, it is lightly hopped, with hints of banana and clove, and complex malty flavours ranging from chocolate to caramel. This beer is unfiltered and slightly hazy as traditional wheat beers are meant to be, and desirable for the style. The beer weighs in at 6% ABV and 16 IBUs.

• Hell Bay will also be releasing a pair of other beers in the coming weeks, as well. The R.I.P.(A) ver.2.0 has been brewed, and is conditioning now, and should be out by next weekend. This is the same recipe as brewed in January, but with three times the hops! However, it doesn’t have an overwhelming hop bite to it, but a nice clean hop flavour and dryness. They have also brewed up another batch of their very popular Wee Heavy, which will be available in a few weeks.

• Today’s Friday Firkin at The Stubborn Goat will be Boxing Rock’s The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA. “Beer Engineer” Emily Tipton tells us that this is their regular recipe of Vicar’s Cross, however it was cask conditioned for a smoother mouthfeel and finish. Be sure to drop by for a pint, the cask will be tapped at 4pm.

• March 8th marks International Women’s Day. In the UK, a group of brewsters have organized a worldwide collaborative brew for that day, to celebrate women in the beer industry. Our Ladies Beer League proposed a collaboration brew day with Emily from Boxing Rock to take part in the fun, and they will be one of only two Canadian breweries to participate in the event (the other being Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria, BC). There are guidelines for the beer recipe (suggested here), however a lot of wiggle room is allowed for breweries around the world to come up with their own unique take. The Boxing Rock X LBL collaboration, named “Alewife’s Revenge”, will feature local cranberries, and lots and lots of hops (think of it as an India Session Ale).
Due to time constraints, the brew will actually be taking place next weekend, with the LBL Board of Directors visiting Boxing Rock in Shelburne on the 15th. We are able to announce that the release party for the beer will be held at Stillwell in Halifax on April 17th, and part of the proceeds will go towards the Pink Boots Society, and Shelburne County Women’s Fishnet. As an aside, the Pink Boots Society is a great international resource for women in, or looking to get into, the beer industry. If you fit into that category, please check them out!