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All posts for the month June, 2014

Happy Friday everyone! As we quickly approach Canada Day, remember to grab a local craft beer and celebrate!

Propeller Brewing Co has released their latest One-Hit Wonder Beer, Rye IPA. Brewed at the Gottingen Street brewhouse, this beer features 2-Row, Crystal, and Rye malt, and significant bitterness and citrus nose from the Falconers Flight hop. This beer weighs in at 6.7% ABV and 68 IBUs, and 15 SRM. Don’t look for this one in bottles, it is only available in growlers at the Halifax and Dartmouth Prop Shop locations, as well as on tap at Field Guide, Freeman’s Pizza, The Henry House, Stillwell and Stubborn Goat. As with all of their One-Hit Wonder brews, this beer won’t last long, so seek it out today! And don’t forget that the Cheese Gypsy Food Truck will be at the Dartmouth brewery today from 11:30-2:30, to round out your lunch.

Uncle Leo’s Brewing Co has released a new beer, Vohs Weizenbier. This German Wheat beer is brewed with approximately 50% wheat malt for a very light colour, and a characteristic hazy appearance. More of a showcase of the yeast aromas than hops, this beer weighs in at 5% ABV and 14 IBUs. The beer was brewed as a tribute to the Whiffen’s friends Matt and Brenda Vohs, who own Piper’s Landing Restaurant, neighbours to the Brewery. Matt previously brewed at a brewery in Cologne, Germany, and Piper’s was the first spot to have Uncle Leo’s on tap. With two new 10 bbl fermenters in the brewery, we’re looking forward to more tributes and collaborations in the future! And be sure to pop your growlers in a special bag, designed by local craftsperson Charlotte MacCuish, made from Uncle Leo’s empty grain sacks, also available at the New Glasgow Farmers Market.

• As we mentioned last week, Bad Apple Brewhouse will be taking over the taps and casks at Stillwell on July 5th. We are able to release the full tap list now, so begin salivating!
Apple Cider (weighing in at 7.7%), Summer Slurper (a 5.0% session beer), Dry-hopped APA (5.7% ABV), East Coast Beer (Sea Salt and Caramel, 6.0% ABV, brewed with dulse and aged on cedar), Mother Pucker Sour Ale (4.8% ABV),  That’s Falcon Teamwork IPA (6.7% ABV, a second release of the very popular beer brewed with Greg Nash and the Stillwell crew), White Side Up White IPA (6.5%), the last keg of Mosaic Double IPA (8.0% ABV, full story here), Impresser DIPA (10.2%), Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout (9% ABV),  Hopscotch Barrel-aged DIPA (10%ABV), Barrel-aged RIS (11.6%), Smokehouse Lager (6.7% ABV, brewed with 100% smoked malt), and APA (5.7% ABV).
Tickets for the three sessions (noon-3pm, 4-7, and 8-11, with a DJ spinning records) have been selling fast, so be sure to grab your tickets at Stillwell today.

• Another new Hefeweizen has hit Nova Scotia, as Rogues Roost also has one on tap at the brewpub. Coming in at 5.4% ABV and 15 IBUs, the brewpub describes the ester and phenolic notes as moderate, smelling “of fresh white bread, with a lemon pith tartness”, which should make for an enjoyable, refreshing beer for the hot weather. Look for a German Pilsner to be coming down the line soon, as they plan on brewing one up next week! More on that in the near future.

• After a busy couple of weeks at their Main Street storefront, Tatamagouche Brewing will be setting up shop at the Truro Farmers’ Market tomorrow. They will be debuting their 650mL bottle format, and both the Hippie Dippie Pale Ale and Butcher Block Red will be available.

• Only a year after moving to their new location at 96 Kensington Rd. in Charlottetown, the PEI Brewing Co. has added some new equipment. They just installed a 150 bbl (4,650 U.S. gallons, or ~175 hL) fermentor in their brewery. The addition comes at just the right time, as they’ve recently increased their availability across Alberta, with over 75 beer stores/restaurants/bars now carrying their beers in that province.

BarNone has rebrewed their RedEye PA, a hoppy Amber that was originally brewed a few months ago for the 150-hour music festival held in Charlottetown, and in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference. This time, the 6% ABV, 150 IBU beer was brewed for the upcoming Summerside Lobster Festival, being held from July 14th to 19th. No word on whether there have been any changes to the recipe, so we assume it involves the same specs as last time (check our original post for more info).

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery recently announced that they’re now licensed to sell their beers by the glass, at the brewery/B&B. Now you can stop by 519 Otis Dr. to try out what they have on tap; they are, of course, still filling growlers for takeaway as well.

• If you weren’t able to get tickets to the now sold-out PicaroonsBrewer’s Bash on July 12th, they’re currently holding a contest on Facebook. All you have to do is post your favorite Canadian craft beer, and you’ll be entered in their random draw to win two tickets. Hurry over, the contest ends today at 2 pm. And a final reminder that there’s still a few spots open for volunteers; if you’re interested, don’t wait any longer! Send them an email while you still can.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the fine weather!

Happy Friday! As we’re about ready to officially begin summer, the beer news is coming in fast and furious!

• We are thrilled to welcome the newest brewery to the Atlantic Canada region, Tatamagouche Brewery. Located at 235 Main Street in Tatamagouche, NS, this former butcher shop has been converted to a state-of-the-art brewery. We’ve been following along with their progress for almost a year now, made a visit ourselves at the beginning of the month, and are excited to see their successful opening this week. They have launched with their Hippie Dippie Pale Ale, weighing in at 5% ABV and brewed exclusively with Ahtanum hops. Their Butcher Block Red Ale is a bit higher test at 6% ABV, and uses higher hopping levels of the El Dorado varietal, including the use of a hopback, which sits between the kettle and the chiller, for an extra dose of hops post-boil. We’ll have a full profile with them shortly, but in the meantime, grab a growler at the brewery (open 10-6 daily), or on tap at the Train Station Inn and Stirling Room in Tatamagouche, or the Nook and Cranny in Truro. Welcome aboard the Craft Beer Train!

Grimross Brewing is just about one year away from the date that they sold their first beer (July 1st, 2013), and they’ve got some big news just in time to celebrate! Owner/brewer Stephen Dixon has confirmed that they will be expanding, and moving to a new location in Fredericton. They’ve already ordered their brewing system; the move likely won’t occur for another six months. In the meantime, they will continue brewing their regular line-up of beers at the Picaroons’ Brewtique downtown. We’ll have more details soon, but for now we can say we’re very happy to hear this news!

• In other Grimross news, they’re releasing a new beer, Ben’s Country Cousin, at the Brewtique sometime tomorrow afternoon. This beer has the same grain bill as Ben’s Bitter Pale Ale, a regular-release Grimross beer; however, it is hopped differently during the boil, and is dry-hopped, unlike the original recipe. As well, the beer is fermented with a Farmhouse Ale yeast, so overall look for it to taste quite different from Ben’s Pale. It has an ABV of about 6%, like it’s relative. Keep an eye on Grimross’ Twitter account for exact details on what time the beer is released.

Rockbottom Brewpub has announced the return of their very popular Insidious IBA. This 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards medal-winner is an American West Coast-style India Black Ale. Dark roasted barley gives the beer its signature colour, but the flavour and aroma showcase the Columbus, Citra, Simcoe, Summit, Centennial, and German Magnum hops. Weighing in at 6.9% and 70 IBUs, this will be a popular beer for the start of summer. For those of you who want one more taste of the now sold-out Intergalatic SMaSH’d Lager, you’ll have to grab a ticket to the Brewer’s Dinner on June 24th to get it. We’ll see you there!

• Halifax’s Granite Brewery will soon be re-releasing their summer seasonal, Honey Ginger Ale. Brewed with honey and ginger root, the ginger addition adds a natural bitterness to the beer, so no hops are used at any stage of the brewing process. A light-drinking beer at 4.6% ABV, it should be available for growler fills at the brewery’s beer store soon (hopefully by next weekend); keep an eye on Granite’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for the exact release date.

• We have some details on Shiretown‘s newest beer, an IPA, Hops on for Nowhere. This 75 IBU beer is hopped with three different varieties: Waimea, Green Bullet, and Amarillo, that according to the brewery provide a “comforting, earthy orange finish”. Coming in at ~5.5% ABV, the first batch sold out for growler fills at the brewery; the next batch should be available late next week. They’ve also brewed up their Honey Wheat Ale (made with local buckwheat honey) again; it’s available now at the brewery for growler fills.

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the new lager that was brewed by the PEI Brewing Co. Just to update, this 4% ABV light lager (hopped with two New Zealand varieties, Kohatu and Motueka) has been named Landing Day Lager, and is now on tap at the Gahan House, in addition to at the brewery itself (96 Kensington Rd).

• It’s back! The Rare Bird Pub in Guysborough, NS, is opening today for the season. While they are brewing their Rare Bird Pale Ale and Full Steam Stout year-round, the Pub is only seasonal. Open 11:30-8pm Wed-Sun, drop by for a pint of their two year-round beers, as well as seasonals as they are released. Rare Bird growlers are also available for purchase at the Pub.

Bigtide Brewpub in Saint John, NB has a couple of new beers on tap lately, so let’s get you caught up on their details. Tin Can Porter is a brand new release, based on their Chocolate Porter, but incorporating fresh brewed Java Moose coffee at flame-out. The beer is hopped to 45 IBUs using Nugget and Willamette hops, and is 5% ABV. The addition of vanilla smooths out any bitterness from the coffee. The beer is named after Tin Can Beach, to celebrate the work that ACAP Saint John is doing to clean up this area of the downtown.

• Also on tap at Bigtide is Princess Street IPA. This unfiltered IPA was brewed using Nugget hops exclusively throughout the 90-minute boil. The theoretical IBUs are up over 100, however the 7.5% ABV and slight residual sweetness help to round out any harsh bitterness. Canadian 2-Row and German Pale Ale are the major base malts, as well as a small amount of Caramunich and Carafoam for colour. Grab a pint at the bar, or a growler to go.

Stillwell has been teasing us with the beers they will be pouring tomorrow at the Garrison Brewing Cask Takeover. Here’s the complete cask list:
Spiceman’s Session Saison (with Wild Voatsiperifery Peppers)
Christmas in June (Meander River Lunchbox Pale Ale and Garrison Spruce Beer blend)
Summit Buzz (Vanilla Espresso Brown Ale)
Peanut Butter Jelly Time (peanut butter and fresh raspberries on their Brown Ale)
Some Like it Hot (Tall Ship Amber Michelada)
Blueberry Raj (Spiced American Wheat with blueberry juice and masala chai)
Brand New and Already Bitter (IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo)
Makin’ Bacon (Maple Bacon Ale, using Chef Graeme’s homemade bacon rum)
Imperial Mystery (your guess is as good as ours, though we’re guessing it’s based on their Imperial Pale Ale)
Lovers Quarrel (Belgian-style Wit with rosehips and chamomile)
My Thai Wheat (American Wheat with pineapple mint and kaffir lime leaves)
La Moreno Loco (Chocolate Chili Brown Ale, with homegrown chilis and dark chocolate and cocoa nibs)
For those without noon “First Sips” tickets, the doors open again at 2pm for first-come, first-served pours. $10 gets you a glass to keep, and your first drink.

• Come out to the Wooden Monkey Dartmouth tonight, starting at 7:30, to help celebrate the Ladies Beer League First Anniversary. In addition to Wooden Monkey’s regular local beer rotation, there will be three special casks pouring: Big Spruce All Night Kitchen Party (double dry-hopped Pale Ale), Garrison Sticky Toffee Pudding Birthday Cake (based on the Sugar Moon Maple), and North Brewing Farmhouse Ale. No tickets necessary (it’s pay-as-you-enjoy), just show up to have a celebratory pint or two.

• And finally, we are very excited to announce the next big event scheduled at Stillwell Beer Bar. Jeff at Bad Apple Brewhouse has been brewing like crazy since opening just a few months ago, and will be taking over the taps (and casks) at Stillwell all day July 5th. Featuring twelve taps and two casks, there will be something for everyone that day: the much-anticipated return of That’s Falcon Teamwork (brewed with the Stillwell gang), barrel-aged versions of the Impresser DIPA and Black and Tackle RIS (as well as their non-barrel-aged versions), and the last keg of Mosaic DIPA. Among the six (SIX!) new beers debuting at the takeover, folks will have first crack at the Smokehouse Lager (brewed with 100% Smoked Malt), Apple Cider, the Summer Slurper Session Ale, and a few more special beers that will blow people’s socks off. So, how do you get in on the madness? Tickets for the noon (First Sips), afternoon, and evening sessions are on sale today at Stillwell. Unlike other events, you will need a ticket to get into the afternoon and evening sessions, so plan accordingly. As with other Takeovers, your $10 ticket gets you a glass and your first pour. We’ll definitely see you there!

• And as a late addition, we just wanted to include the exciting news that Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has confirmed that they’re in the process of brewing their first full batch of beer! This morning, brewers Jason Dionne and Gavin Anderson started brewing Bob LeBouef, their Blonde Ale. Look for the beer (and others) to be available sometime early next month!

Good morning! There’s lots of Atlantic Canadian Beer News this week, so let’s get right to it!

Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing their newest beer today, Mosaic Double IPA. Brewer Jeff Saunders chose to brew this beer as both a way to showcase the uncommon Mosaic hop, and to raise awareness of Mosaic Down Syndrome, as his son is living with this affliction. The beer weighs in at 8%ABV and 120IBU (calc), and the aroma and flavour is full of floral, tropical, and fruity notes from the Mosaic hops. All of the proceeds from the sale of this beer will be going to the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society and Camp Brigadoon, who hold camps for kids (and families) with various special needs throughout the summer. Grab it today starting at 1pm at the Brewhouse in Somerset, and look for it on tap in the Valley and HRM shortly.

Bulwark Cider has released their Blush this week. Made with the same Annapolis Valley fresh-pressed apples as their Original, they then blend in local cranberries, raspberries and blueberries  for something completely different. This is all done pre-fermentation, with no extra juice added later. Though it only makes up a small percentage of the fruits, the blueberry really shines through in the aroma, complementing the apples’ crisp character. The cider weighs in at 4.5%, and is available in bottles and on tap at bars and restaurants around the Maritimes, and will also be in the NSLC soon.

Sea Level Brewing announced late last week that they’ve launched their Summer Blonde Pilsner, just in time for the nicer weather! Brewed with 100% Pilsner malt, the beer also incorporates the Summer hop, an Australian variety that is known for exhibiting “light apricot and melon fruit notes”. The beer is also fermented with a Czech Pilsner yeast; it has 40 IBUs and an easy-drinking ABV of 4.8%. It’s available now at the brewery in cans and for growler fills, and on tap at The Port Pub and Luckett Vineyards. Look for it in the HRM very soon.

• While on the topic of Sea Level, they’ve also re-released their Southern Cross IPA. Originally launched in April, this 6.5% ABV IPA sold quickly in Nova Scotia, so the brewery decided to brew up some more, just in time for Father’s Day! For more info on this beer, check out our post from April.

• And speaking of returning beers, Boxing Rock is bringing back their Crafty Jack, an English Brown Ale. Featuring a “rich, roasty malt profile, and classic English hops”, it comes in at a very sessionable 4.2% ABV, and 29 IBUs. It should be available now at the brewery in 650 mL “bombers” and for growler fills, and at private liquor stores in Halifax. Also, this release marks the first time the beer will be available at NSLC stores across the province.

• Even more! Garrison Brewing has re-released their seasonal Sugar Moon Maple Ale this week. Brewed with local syrup from Sugar Moon Farm in Tatamagouche, this full bodied and sweet-tasting beer clocks in at 6.3% ABV and 17IBUs. It is available at the brewery now, in the private stores and NSLC soon, and will be on tap at select bars around the HRM.

Big Spruce has a new cask heading to Stillwell in the near future… Mr. IncREDible is a “heavily dry-hopped” version of their Regatta Red. With the citrusy Amarillo used exclusively in the dry-hop, this 5.1% ABV, 26 IBU Irish Red Ale may not fit your standard definition of the style, but it sounds tasty! Keep an eye on Stillwell’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for news on when the beer is tapped.

• Tickets are now on sale for the 8th Annual Halifax Seaport Beerfest, to be held August 8th & 9th at the Cunard Centre. Atlantic Canada’s largest beer festival, this year’s fest will highlight “exclusively craft beers, premium imports and ciders”, with over 275 unique brands from more than 110 participating breweries, as well as a Cask Beer Pavilion. There will be three sessions (Friday 7:00 – 9:30 pm, and Saturday 2:00 – 4:30 pm and 7:00 – 9:30 pm); tickets for each are $45 in advance. In addition, this year’s event will feature a limited number of VIP tickets for sale, for both Saturday sessions. At $65 each, they include a souvenir glass and bottle opener, a guided one-hour tasting prior to the session, and a Q&A panel with special guests, including beer author Nick Pashley, and Stephen Clinch, co-founder and co-owner of Trouble Brewing, from Ireland. Both ticket types can be purchased through Ticket Atlantic; regular-admission tickets can also be found at select NSLC stores. We’ll have more information on the festival in the near future!

• After just reporting that they’ve added two new 10 barrel (310 U.S. gallons, or ~1160 L) fermentors from DME, Halifax’s North Brewing is pairing with the harbourstone sea grill & pour house to put on a beer pairing dinner on Thursday, July 10th from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Tickets are currently on sale (you can purchase them online) for $50 each, and include six courses, each paired with a different North beer. Courses include coriander-crusted scallops and blueberry salad paired with a North Saison, cast iron-seared flank steak with grapefruit and blue cheese crust paired with a Belgian IPA, and chocolate-covered cherries with Mexican Pot au Creme, with a Strong Dark Belgian Ale.

• The folks at Picaroons have released the brewery list for this summer’s Brewer’s Bash on July 12th. The sold-out, all-day event will feature beers from over 60 breweries from across the country; almost 2/3 of those breweries will be from Atlantic Canada! We’ll keep you updated on the expected beer list as it becomes available, especially from the breweries in our region.

• The new seasonal from Yellowbelly Brewery, Downtown Brown, that we reported on last week is already almost gone, on tap at the brewpub. However, they are releasing the beer today in 1L bottles, exclusively at the brewpub, at 4 pm. If you’re in St. John’s, get down there to stock up!

Back in April, we reported on the winning beer of the 1st Annual Gahan Home Brewer’s Challenge in PEI. Earlier this week on Wednesday evening, the winning beer, PEI Cranberry Wit, brewed by Ryan Palmer and Lee Nicholson, made its debut on tap at the Gahan House. As part of their prize, Ryan and Lee joined Gahan brewmaster Trent Hayes in brewing a full-sized batch of their beer, and you can taste the results! It won’t last long, so make sure you get to the brewpub to give the beer a taste.

Big Tide Brewpub in Saint John has released two new beers in the past little while: their popular Blueberry Ale is back on tap, as well as a new beer, the Tin Can Coffee Porter. Unfortunately, details are light on the Porter, but we can tell you it was brewed using coffee from Java Moose, a local roaster.

• This year’s Fredericton Beer Run (Monday, August 4th; check out last week’s post for more details) has added another ticket option for you non-runners out there! Basically, the Coach’s Ticket includes a sampling glass and the same number of beer tickets (fourteen 4-oz samples), but without the 6 or 12 km run. The cost of the ticket is $45 (can be purchased online); you MUST be accompanying a runner to be eligible to buy a ticket. They’re also looking for volunteers; if you’d like to help out for a few hours during the run portion of the event, and then receive access to the beers later, send them an email!

A reminder that there are two special beer events scheduled for next week: on Friday, June 20th, at 7:30pm, the Ladies Beer League is holding their First Anniversary Celebration at Wooden Monkey Dartmouth. No tickets or entry fee required, just show up to pay-as-you-go and enjoy the special beers brewed for them by Garrison, North and Big Spruce. There will also be some LBL swag (glasses, pins, Tshirts) to show your support, and help shape the future of the League. The next day, starting at noon, Garrison Brewing will be invading Stillwell Beer Bar with twelve pins of beer, each made with local ingredients. A couple of the beers have been announced, including Spiceman’s Session Saison, a Belgian-style Saison spiced with Cassia Buds and Wild Voatsiperifery Pepper and Christmas in June, a blend of Meander River’s Lunchbox Pale Ale and Garrison’s Spruce Beer. Tickets for the noon “First Sips” have sold out, but starting at 2pm, the doors will re-open to the public, where $10 will get you a special glass and your first pour of beer. We’ll be there, be sure to say hi!

QUIDI VIDI BREWERY LOGO

 

Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s, Newfoundland was the province’s first craft brewery when it originally opened in 1996. Today, it is also Newfoundland’s largest craft brewery, producing about 7,500 hL (750,000 liters) of beer annually. During a recent trip to The Rock, Chris caught up with Justin Fong and Einer Holtet for a tour of the brewery. They were also kind enough to spend time answering our enquiries.

ACBB: Can you give me a brief history of Quidi Vidi Brewery?

Justin Fong: Quidi Vidi was started by Dave Fong and Dave Rees in 1996, in a small fishing village near downtown St. John’s. The old fish plant was converted into the brewery after the cod industry collapsed in the early 90’s.

What size/manufacturer/type of system is your brewhouse?

Our brewhouse was manufactured by DME; it’s a 20-barrel system (620 U.S. gallons, or about 2,325 L).

QV Brewhouse

20 bbl DME Brewhouse

How big is the staff at Quidi Vidi?

We employ about 20 staff members year-round, with some additional staff in the summer months for tours and events.

How are your beers distributed? On tap at restaurant/bars, bottles at the LC or private stores, growlers, etc.?

We deliver everything ourselves in vans. We’re in the bars, restaurants, brewing agents (convenience stores) and the NLC. Our beers are available in 341 ml bottles (2, 6, and 12 packs) and 30 L kegs.

Can you tell me about the core beer you offer? Do you mainly offer a specific genre, or genres, of beer (English, German, American, Belgian)?

We don’t offer a core mix at all. Newfoundland has an interesting beer market, so we try and cater to different segments without pinning ourselves in one role. Newfoundland’s craft beer segment is still in its early stages (about a 2% market share). When you couple that with our relatively small population, you need to do a few different things. Our Iceberg Beer is an American-style Light Lager (4.5% ABV) which is brewed with iceberg water. This is our biggest seller right now and does extremely well with the light drinkers and tourists. Our 1892 Traditional Ale is an Amber Ale that commemorates The Great Fire of 1892 when most of St. John’s burned down. This was our flagship beer in 1996 and is currently our second best seller. Our newest full time brand is our British IPA, which has been selling exceptionally well on taps in the pubs of downtown St. John’s. It’s a very approachable IPA, and was brewed to help expand the variety of beer flavors available in Newfoundland. As the province’s craft beer market develops, we’ve been pushing the boundaries with our seasonal beer. Our Winter Ale combined roasted cocoa nibs, coriander and vanilla beans. We weren’t sure if it was going to be too bold and adventurous, but the sales spoke for themselves. We did two brews and sold out before our spring seasonal, Continental Pilsener, was ready!

Fermenters

The very busy fermentors at Quidi Vidi

Where do you hope to see Quidi Vidi in the next 2-3 years?

We’re at maximum capacity right now, so expansion is on the agenda. Within a couple years you should see some of our brands in other provinces in the country. We’ve had a ton of interest over the last couples years in markets all over the world for our Iceberg Beer. With a new brewery in place and some capacity, you may see us in some markets that wouldn’t be first choice for most Canadian craft brewers.

Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?

Hah, the answer to that question changes from week to week. We just got back from the Canadian Brewing Awards in Fredericton and had a chance to taste a bunch of great beer. We were at the King Street Ale House and had a couple of beers from Le Trou du Diable which I really enjoyed. A friend of mind was in town about a month ago and brought a nice selection from the U.S.; Heady Topper from The Alchemist definitely stood out.

Is there something specific that got you into the world of craft beer?

For the love of beer, hah. The start is a bit before my time but here’s a quick story on one of the owners and founders, Dave Fong. Dave was from a town called Carboneer about 1 & 1/2 hours outside of St. John’s. While he was studying engineering at Memorial University in St. John’s, he was living in the campus residence. Dave and his friend had a deal worked out with the janitor and were secretly brewing beer in the janitor’s closet. They went back home to Carboneer one weekend and left the janitor in charge of everything. He ended up drinking a ton of the beer and getting hammered on campus. The Memorial campus police picked him up and he ratted on Dave and his friend which led to them getting kicked out of residence! So, I guess you could say they had a deep commitment to beer from a young age.

 

Quidi Vidi Village

A view of Quidi Vidi Village from the brewery

We then spoke with Quidi Vidi Brewmaster Einer Holtet on his history and vision in the brewing business…

Did you start out as a homebrewer? Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?

I started out as what I like to call a “Home Based Craft Brewer”.  There are still a lot of people who attach a negative connotation to the word “homebrew”, especially here in Newfoundland, so I like to make that little distinction. My “homebrew” has consisted of fine, hand-crafted beer from the outset, none of that old-time bathtub swill that some (particularly the older generations) recall as homebrew. There are a lot of people making great homebrewed beers nowadays, and to a great extent this has fueled the North American Craft Brewing revolution over the past 20+ years.

I remember as a teenager helping my Dad with a couple batches of homebrew, and though I didn’t get a chance to indulge in the final product (MUCH!), it did generate a spark of interest. Then after a senior class trip to Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia I gained an appreciation for great, flavourful beer. I knew my dad still had his home brewing equipment, and wasn’t using it, so I pilfered it from his basement and set up shop in my little bachelor suite.  I bought a “middle of the road” beer ingredient kit to start with, but I just couldn’t leave it at that. I bought a couple pounds of specialty malts and some fresh whole hops to bolster the flavour of the kit.  I brewed that first batch of ale in my little bachelor apartment kitchen, had stunning results, and never looked back. That was the last beer ingredient kit I ever bought – from thereon I started formulating all my recipes from scratch.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?

When I first started homebrewing, there was not a whole lot of information online regarding home brewing, so I started collecting and reading every book on brewing I could get my hands on.  I amassed a considerable library, and a considerable amount of brewing knowledge over a few short years. I tried brewing many different styles, many different brewing techniques, and experimented with many different ingredients. I even tried malting my own grains, and to this day still grow my own hops.  Craft brewing grew to be my “passionate hobby”, while I worked away in the Engineering field, always with the fantasy of some day brewing professionally.  Finally after about 16 years of brewing at home I decided that the only way for me to advance in my brewing was to go ahead and take some professional brewing courses, whether I ended up with the opportunity to “go pro” or not, I just wanted it for myself.  So, I enrolled in the brewing program at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. By the time I was finished my coursework at Siebel, I had decided that I was going to leave my Engineering career and pursue brewing as a profession.  I ended up getting hired on here at Quidi Vidi Brewery five years ago, and after a couple years of slugging away doing any and all labour-intensive/menial jobs in the brewery, I finally landed in the brewhouse and was given the opportunity I had been waiting for.  In the past 2-1/2 years I have produced five new brands for the brewery, all of which have been very successful. I am proud to say I’ve taken my “passionate hobby” of 20+ years and turned it into a “passionate career”.

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with? E.g. a specific malt and/or hop variety?

I have always loved my malty ales. Among my favourite ingredients are the “high kilned” malts such as Vienna and Munich, and caramelized malts such as Crystal. I love the robust flavours and colors they add to beer, and I can’t stop munching them by the handful as I’m adding them to the mill!

From what/where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?

I can’t say I learned a lot about brewing from my father, but I guess I should thank him for providing that initial spark of interest back when we brewed together. In the 80’s!

Obligatory iceberg shot, spotted near Cape Spear, NL

Obligatory iceberg shot, spotted by Chris near Cape Spear, NL

Thanks again to Justin and Einer for spending time with us. We had the opportunity to see them in Fredericton for the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards, where they took home Silver for their Premium Lager (North American Style Lager) and Bronze for their Iceberg Beer (North American Style Premium Lager). Congratulations! And the next time you’re in St John’s, be sure to drop by Friday evening for their immensely popular Kitchen Parties: live music and great beer and food, right at the source!

Happy Friday, craft beer fans! Looks like there’s lots going on in the beer scene in Atlantic Canada again this week…

• A couple of weeks ago, we alluded to a new beer being released by BarNone Brewing, and we now have some more details. An American Pale Ale, the beer was brewed in collaboration with Bicycle Craft Brewery, a new brewery opening soon in Ottawa. Owned by husband and wife team Fariborz and Laura Behzadi, they came in contact with BarNone brewer/co-owner Don Campbell when they ordered their brewhouse through DME, which constructed a similar setup to what BarNone brews on. When Don invited Fariborz and Laura to do a test brew on his system, so they’d be familiar with the setup, Fariborz designed a recipe and sent it Don’s way. A few minor changes were made due to ingredient availability, and then the three met at BarNone to brew the beer. Broke Spoke Pale Ale was born! A Pale Ale with a “good amount of malt backbone, so that it balances the hop bittermess”, the beer still has a good amount of hop flavors and aromas coming through. Broke Spoke made its debut last night at BarNone’s weekly growler night; it may pop up on tap at bars/restaurants across the Island in the near future.

• Tickets are now on sale for this month’s Beer Dinner (Tuesday, June 24th at 6:00 pm) at the Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax. There are only 30 spots available; each ticket sells for $35, which includes three courses paired with beer. This month’s dinner consists of a pork belly slider paired with their Intergalactic SMaSH’d Lager, beer-marinated, grilled Cornish hen (with newly-tapped Hali-Lager), and a black pepper & strawberry shortcake (Jacktar Stout). You can reserve tickets by calling the brewpub (902-423-2938); act quickly, they usually sell out fast.

• While on the topic of Rockbottom, if you haven’t had a chance to try Wreckoning RIS – their Russian Imperial Stout that recently won Atlantic Canada’s only gold medal at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards – or just want to try it again, they will be pouring the beer next Wednesday, June 11th at 4:00 pm. Get in and get some while you can!

• Also, if you’re anxious to start having lunch at the Rockbottom again (or starting your pub crawl a little earlier), they’ve announced that they’re now open on weekdays starting at noon, with a good possibility of opening at noon on weekends as well, later in the month.

• The 2nd Annual Fredericton Beer Run is being held this summer on Monday, August 4th (New Brunswick Day). Like last year, the event involves a run along Fredericton trails starting at noon, followed by lots of beer! Registration begins at 11 am; participants can choose to run either a 6 or 12 km route. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online; they include a custom-designed running bib and beer stein, water stops, and 14 beer tickets. Each beer ticket is good for a 4 oz sample of beer or cider, with at least 20 different beers/ciders available to sample; this part of the event will be held at the Delta Fredericton). New Brunswick breweries Big Axe, Grimross, Moosehead, Pump House, Railcar, Red Rover, and Shiretown will be pouring; Unibroue and McClelland Premium Imports will also have some beers to sample.

• We hope you’ve purchased your tickets to Picaroons‘ 2nd Annual Brewer’s Bash on Saturday, July 12th in Fredericton, because they’re now officially sold out! Even with an extra 500 tickets being sold this year, they still went very quickly. They’ve also announced the three musical acts that will be playing throughout the day-long event: Zeus, Cyndi Cain, and The Chronos Band. We’ll keep you posted on the breweries that will be attending as the Bash gets closer. And a reminder: they’re still looking for volunteers if you’d like to attend – 4 hours of helping out will allow you 8 free hours to enjoy the festival, so send them an email if you’re interested!

• And speaking of Picaroons, they’ve picked the winning cat for their Melonhead bottle label… the lucky kitty is Ruby, who was entered in the contest by her owner, Madison Sagle. Melonhead is now on tap at the Brewtique, and should be popping up at restaurants and bars in the area, as well as in bottles, over the next couple of weeks.

• The new Imperial IPA from Hammond River, Too Hop to Handle, that we mentioned last month has been kegged and is awaiting ANBL approval, which means it should be on tap in Saint John soon. Brewed almost exclusively with the Zythos hop, we’re looking forward to a fruity and piney hop bomb!

PEI Brewing Co. has a new beer on tap exclusively at the brewery at 96 Kensington Road in Charlottetown. While currently unnamed, the beer is a Light Lager (4% ABV) that has a low bitterness (8 IBUs) from Kohatu, a New Zealand hop variety.  The beer was then “highly dry-hopped” with another NZ variety, Motueka, giving the beer a “tropical and piney” aroma, according to the brewery. Sounds like an interesting cross between a Light Lager and IPA… better get to the brewery to give it a try!

North Brewing in Halifax has released a new seasonal, their Summer Saison. Changed slightly from their standard Saison, it features coriander and orange peel in the beer, to enhance the already vibrant and spritzy character of the base beer. Both ingredients shine through in the aroma as well, complemented by the hop characteristic and yeast spiciness. It weighs in at 5.5%ABV, and is available at the brewery and Alderney Landing Market (Saturday only) in growlers, and on tap around Halifax and Dartmouth, and in Lunenburg at The Grand Banker. When the weather turns colder (let’s hope that’s 6 months from now!), they have plans of switching up the recipe to a Winter Saison, featuring ginger and black pepper.

• In more new beer news, Shiretown just announced today that they have a new beer available for growler fills at the brewery. All we know right now is that it’s an IPA, and is called Hops on for Nowhere. We’ll have more info on this beer for you next week!

• If you’re living in the Sackville area, and are into craft cider, good news! Red Rover Brewing now has their Summer Brew on tap at Ducky’s Bar. Summer is a dry cider, described by Red Rover as a sharp, tangy thirst-quencher; it comes in at 7% ABV. Look for Red Rover’s other two regular releases, Spring Brew and Fall Brew, to follow after the Summer keg has kicked.

• Ducky’s also announced yesterday that they have the new Big Axe summer seasonal, Simon Saaz Summer Ale, on tap. Check out last week’s post for more info on this beer. To follow, they’ll be tapping another Big Axe seasonal, White Birch Porter. A 6.5% ABV Porter brewed with pure white birch sap, owner/brewer Peter Cole describes the beer as dark brown in color, and medium-bodied. Slightly smoky, with an aroma of “dark roasted nuts, rye bread and chocolate”, the bitterness of the birch sap “complements the noble hops nicely”.

Yellowbelly Brewpub is releasing a new brew this weekend. Downtown Brown is an American-style Brown Ale, weighing in at 6.2% ABV and 40 IBUs. The grain bill consists of Canadian Pale, English Maris Otter, Canadian Munich, Scottish Carastan and Scottish Black Malt… a truly international bunch! The beer is hopped in the boil with Nugget and Galena, and then dry-hopped with Chinook and Ahtanum, and then with Topaz. A great blending of the chocolate, caramel, and roast from the grain, spice, herbal, pine and tropical fruit from the hops, will make this a great brew.

• A reminder that the 2014 Newfoundland Liquor Commission Beer Expo is happening at the St. John’s Convention Centre this weekend. Box Office tickets are sold out, however there are lots available online as people’s plans change. For those unable to attend, or want to grab some of their favourites after the fest, check out this thread on the Beerthief forum for a list of special Festival beers that will be showing up at your local NLC this weekend. Cheers!

• If you can’t be on The Rock this weekend, then be sure to make it out to one of the local bars in your area. If you’re in the Annapolis Valley, be sure to drop by the Library Pub in Wolfville tonight, and the Spitfire Arms in Windsor tomorrow, to help celebrate the launch of Schoolhouse Brewery. In Halifax? Drop by Stillwell at noon Saturday to grab a pint of Meander River‘s Lunchbox Pale Ale. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to grab some from the source in Ashdale, it’s definitely worth picking up!

• Garrison Brewing is hiring: a full-time, permanent Brewery Sales Rep and a Seasonal Events & Sales Rep (full-time until September, possible part-time after), send off your resumes today! And even though the noon First Sips (aka Early Bird) tickets for their Cask Takeover June 21 at Stillwell are sold out, there will be lots of beer still flowing once the doors re-open at 2pm that afternoon, so be sure to drop by. We’ll have some more details on the casks available this coming week, but we got word of another one: their popular Peanut Butter & Jelly blend (Nut Brown and Raspberry Wheat), with raspberries from Noggins Corner right in the cask.

SHB Logo Full Color for internet use

Based in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, Schoolhouse Brewery is the passion project of Cameron Hartley and his wife, Jenn. A long-time homebrewer living in an old schoolhouse, Cameron has decided to turn his hobby into a business after years of positive feedback about his beer from friends and family. Between his full-time job as a school teacher, renovating his 150-year old home, and working in the brewery, Cameron even found time to appear on the most recent season of Canada’s Handyman Challenge on HGTV. Cameron was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about Schoolhouse Brewery.

ACBB: How did you get into the world of craft beer?
CH: Homebrewing in an era when everyone thought beer was only supposed to taste like Moosehead.

What steps have you taken so far getting everything up and running?
There’s been so much to do! I’ve put in lots of work on my recipes, registered the brewery name, created a logo, trademarked the name, trademarked the logo, renovated the brewspace to keep things very clean and organized, sourced environmentally-sensitive products for cleaning and sanitizing, changed my ingredients to be either Maritime-grown or organic,  sourced quality merchandise that is in line with our mission, and ordered new fermentors, kettles, and sanke kegs. Of course, there’s also been lots of sampling… my market research group has been very happy.

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Do you have any partners in the brewery?
No, I’m currently trying to recruit another part time brewer/partner. The brewery will remain at its current limited capacity until that happens.

What size/type of system will you be brewing on?
Electric kettle from Stout Tanks. Two 200 L fermentors, 150 L batches.

What are your plans for distribution?
Due to limited production, I will have taps at the Spitfire Arms Pub in Windsor and the Library Pub in Wolfville. I do not think my capacity will allow for much bottling, but I am currently seeking approval for a limited amount of growlers.

What beers will you be offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or styles, of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
Two beers to start: Principal Ale and Chequers Ale. The Principal Ale is an unfiltered, dry-hopped Pale Ale made with Maritime barley and organic specialty malts, 20 IBUs and 5% ABV. The Chequers Ale is a Robust Porter brewed with a generous amount of chocolate malt and Goldings whole leaf hops, 15 IBUs and 4.5% ABV. I also have been experimenting with infusing fresh hops after the boil with success. A Nova Scotia fresh hop beer will eventually make its way into the lineup.

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Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
Yes, I’d like to give special thanks to Greg Nash at Rockbottom, Randy Lawrence at Sea Level, Mark at Hell Bay, Josh at North Brewing, and Jeremy at Big Spruce.

Where do you hope to see Schoolhouse in the next 2-3 years?
Looking into a new location, bigger production, and a possible partnership with a restaurant/pub.

Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?
If I could drink a different beer every day, I would. I like what the craft breweries are doing, how they are running their businesses. For most craft breweries, it is not just about making money but doing it while making positive change. Everyone is doing that in their own way. It makes you feel really satisfied when you drink that beer.

Can you share some of your homebrewing history?
I started in 1994 with homebrew kits. I inherited some all-grain equipment when I returned from teaching overseas in 2005, and in 2008 I registered the name “Schoolhouse Brewery”.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Lots of positive feedback from people drinking my beer. It just became part of “living the dream”.

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with?
I like Kent hops because my Great Great Grandfather was a brewer/pub owner in Kent, England. The Chequers Ale is named after his pub; I use a lot of Kent hops in that beer. I find it hard to beat the refreshment of Cascade in pale ales, although they are getting harder to secure.

From what/where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?
A good friend named John Westphal who I inherited some all-grain equipment from. I am still using a mash tun from him, although it has undergone many modifications.

Congratulations to Schoolhouse Brewery, “The Brewery with Class”, on their upcoming launch. Look for their beer on tap at the Library Pub this Friday, June 6th, and at the Spitfire Arms on Saturday, June 7th. Cam will be there to share a pint and share his great story. The beers will be tapped around 6pm each evening. If you are going to be attending the Evolve Music Festival in July, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer there, poured from the Brew Bus Bar!

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This past weekend, the city of Fredericton welcomed the 12th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference to its fair city. Over the course of three days, attendees took in some excellent presentations, manufacturer and supplier displays, lots of social events, and of course the Awards Gala. We were fortunate enough to be in attendance, and wanted to share our great experience with you.

The weekend kicked off with a Welcome Bonfire along the Saint John River. It was a great time for folks to meet and greet after arriving to town. Attendees had traveled from across the country, so it was a great chance to stretch their legs while enjoying the beautiful weather and surroundings. A couple of kegs of Picaroons were poured while folks enjoyed some slider-sized burgers and live music around the fire.

Food, drink, and music around the bonfire

Food, drink, and music around the bonfire

The Friday morning sessions started early for many, after having enjoyed the city’s great bars (shout out to King Street Ale House and Brewbakers, where many of the visiting brewers seemed to congregate each night). Tony Formby of 2×4 Brewing & Imports gave a talk on exporting Canadian craft beer to the U.S. He spoke of dealing with the three-tier system, and the economics that that entails. From our perspective, while (or perhaps, because) the U.S. is a huge market, it can be difficult to break into, and does not seem to be lucrative for most breweries to send their beer south, at least not until they’ve reached plateaued sales in Canada. The next session was from hop farmer Laurie Thatcher-Craig of Clear Valley Hops. She spoke of the history of small hop farming, especially in the Northeast U.S. Did you know that in 1849, New York state was the largest hop producer in the US? She also described the results of experiments with later harvesting of hops, allowing them to mature further on the bine. When waiting 3 weeks after the AgCan suggested harvest date, she was able to increase oil and alpha acid content by more than 50%, as well as change the aromatic characteristics of the hops to a more orange-like characteristic. The waiting period is not without perils: after the very short ideal harvest window, an oniony character can come through, negating most benefits of the delay period. For those unable to attend, the talks were recorded, and should be available soon on the CBA homepage. Also look there for “Live From the Green Room” interviews, where Rob Engman interviewed several people in the brewing community.

Between the sessions, the Expo Floor was open, with about 20 exhibitors from across the brewing-related world in attendance. Models, videos and literature were available on all beer-related topics, including excise-bond insurance, brewhouse hardware, malt and hops, packaging, glassware and tap handles. From nation-wide to nano, breweries of all sizes benefited from chatting with the companies whose purpose is to make brewing and selling beer an easier task. Lots of connections were made, and we even saw a brewpump being walked down the hallway, bought at a particularily attractive fest-only price.

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Lobster, Beer, and Music in the new Picaroons Brewery (opening 2015)

Friday evening, Picaroons hosted a lobster boil at their new location (opening in 2015), at the former site of the Gibson Roundhouse, located on the Northside of the river, adjacent to the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge. Featuring a ton of great food from local producers, and music from local band Dub Antenna, it was also the first chance that outside brewers had to share any beer they may have brought with them for the weekend. And share they did! From all across the country, bottles, cans, and kegs of stout, pilsner, IPAs and wheat beer were enjoyed, and this social lubricant fueled discussions long into the night.

The Saturday sessions started with a talk on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software trends in the brewing industry, by Milan Jelaca of Deltasco. ERP software allows one to dig into the minutiae of the production costs and sales income of the brewery, as well as resource (both human and material) managements. The current costs of these types of software are definitely outside most brewery’s budgets, but the talk did bring to the forefront that it is important to keep detailed records of every step of the process, to track trends and act accordingly. The afternoon session was the Keynote address by Moosehead CFO Patrick Oland. He shared a history of the Moosehead Brewery and the six generations of the Oland family who own it. The brewery has recently undergone some expansions and improvements to the canning and bottling line, and is now capable of producing one million hectolitres of beer annually. Patrick also answered some questions regarding his company’s alliance with The Beer Store, despite the trouble smaller breweries have getting their beer on its “shelves”. Finally, Patrick let local beer fans know that there are no plans to expand Moosehead’s offerings of packaged products, including the cask beer that is available weekly at the Saint John Ale House, or the ales that were available at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival earlier this year.

Lighthouse on the Green

Lighthouse on the Green

After the keynote, the Lighthouse on the Green was the site of another chance to unwind and meet informally with members of the Canadian brewing community, at a location with beautiful views of the river. We also understand there was a meeting between the brewers in attendance on establishing an Atlantic Canadian Brewing Association, not unlike the newly launched Nova Scotia Craft Brewers Association, or Ontario Craft Brewers group. If there are any updates on this front, we’ll be sure to share them!

Patrice Godin, MC of the evening

Patrice Godin, MC of the evening

And then it was time for the Big Show, the Awards Gala. Patrice Godin of Acadie-Broue was the MC of the night, seamlessly switching between both official languages of New Brunswick in order to make everyone feel welcome. After a brief introduction from TAPS Media President Rob Engman, Patrice got right down to business with the medal announcements. 950 beers from 150 breweries in every province were judged at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto in April. Under the very capable charge of Tracy Phillippi, the team of 42 BJCP-certified judges spent three days picking the winning beers in 38 different categories. Tracy had this to say, “The judges were all quite professional, and there was a good mix between novice & experienced judges. I took over from Grand Master Beer Judge Paul Dickey, who had been organizing the CBAs for 9 years! BIG Shoes to fill, but I’m honoured to take the lead role in Canada’s largest beer competition. I’ve been judging regularly for 5 years & really enjoy the organizational component, but it certainly worked my multitasking ability. Also of note, we had 3 Maritime representatives – Craig and Jeff Pinhey, and myself, more than any other region of Canada (besides Ontario).”

The medals were flying off the stage quickly, and by the end of it, five Atlantic Canadian Breweries went home with some hardware: Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. won silver for their Premium Lager (North American Style Lager), and bronze for their Iceberg Beer (North American Style Premium Lager); Picaroons Brewing Co. won bronze for their Blonde Ale (North American Style Blonde/Golden Ale); PEI Brewing Co. won bronze for their Sir John A Honey Wheat Ale (Wheat Beer – North American Style); Rockbottom Brewpub won the region’s only gold with their Wreckoning RIS (Imperial Stout); Boxing Rock Brewing Co. won bronze for their The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA (Imperial India Pale Ale). Our sincere congratulations to all of the winners, and well done to Great Lakes Brewery who repeated as Brewery of the Year (full winner’s list available here). For those of you not in attendance, check out the streaming link.

Henry Pedro, Andrew Estabrooks, Einer , and Chris Long show off their hardware

Henry Pedro, Andrew Estabrooks, Einer Holtet, and Chris Long show off their hardware

Perhaps the most important part of the CBAs is meeting and talking with fellow members of the Canadian craft beer community. We really enjoyed seeing again (or meeting in person for the first time) our friends in the brewing world from Atlantic Canada and beyond; and for brewers, it was great to catch up and learn of successes across the region and country, what was working (or not) for breweries, and how that could apply for existing, new, or upcoming breweries.

Thanks to Rob Engman and Kristina Santone for giving us the privilege to attend, and a special thanks to the many crew members and volunteers we ran into over the weekend. Without your help, it wouldn’t have been such a memorable time! We hope to see you all in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON next year!