Happy Friday the 13th! We don’t want to jinx anyone right before Love Day, so let’s get to the beer news…
• Hammond River has released the commercial version of the winning entry of their 1st Annual Homebrew Competition. First-place winners Mike Hebert and Jason Dobbelsteyn brewed the beer – a Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer appropriately named F@#K Winter – with owner/brewer Shane Steeves; it was released late last week at Bourbon Quarter Restaurant & Bar… and quickly sold out in less than a day! A Winter Warmer brewed with 2-row, two different Crystal malts, Special B, and Roasted Barley, it was also spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and all-spice. A big beer at 7% ABV and 38 IBUs, it’s back on tap now at Bourbon Quarter and the Saint John Ale House, and should follow soon at the Barrel’s Head. Sounds delicious… if not a bit awkward to order! And this weekend, Hammond River’s award-winning American IPA, Hopflash, is available for growler fills for the first time at the Kennebecasis Valley ANBL.
• Red Rover is celebrating their 1st Anniversary by serving up some new and aged ciders at the Cider House! Starting yesterday and continuing into today, they’ll be pouring one-year-aged versions of their Spring, Summer, and Scrumpy, as well as their FROSTival-inspired brew, Fire Cider. Also pouring is the return of Dark Cider, a 7% ABV, 3-month-aged Black Velvet featuring a blend of Spring cider and Picaroons‘ Stout, Timber Hog. As well, a special “surprise” cider will be tapped at 4 pm; details are slim, but we can tell you that a certain black, curranty berry may be featured! With new ciders and an expansion planned for the future, we can’t wait to see where Red Rover takes us in their second year!
• In sad news, Railcar Brewing announced yesterday that they are currently undergoing a hiatus in brewing and are now closed until further notice. Due to “production problems”, at least one current batch of beer had to be disposed of. As brewer/owner Mitch Biggar stated on Railcar’s Facebook page, “We want to make sure our product is top-notch, and if it isn’t, we won’t serve it; our latest batch did not meet quality guidelines”. On the BRIGHT side, however, Biggar has confirmed that Railcar will be moving to a new location just across the street from the current spot, to 2 Curtis Rd (below A.C. Sharkey’s Pub), where a grand re-opening is planned for March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day). The new, 2500-square-foot area will feature a bar, couches, and tables for a total seating capacity of 25; full pints will be able to be served in this environment. With the brewery behind glass, patrons will be able to view the brewing process while enjoying their beer! They’re also expecting some new equipment, specifically five additional 50-gallon fermentors, two 100-gallon fermentors, and a new brite tank. This will all make it much easier to keep up with demand when they re-open; we’ll keep you updated on their progress!
• Attention, Fredericton! As the James Joyce Irish Pub continues to add new local craft beer to their expanded tap selection, Celtic Knot is now pouring for the first time in the city since a brief appearance at last year’s Burgers n’ Beer event. Their Black IPA, Dubh Loki, was just tapped yesterday; there’s also a keg each of the Hopicide IPA and Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout waiting in the wings! In addition, Grimross Pugnacious Porter and Shiretown Big Brown Ale are now pouring, making a grand total of EIGHT New Brunswick breweries currently on tap! Also, Red Rover cider and Sunset Heights Meadery are on tap, making for a fantastic local selection!
• PEI Homebrewers, take note: The Gahan House in Charlottetown has opened entry for their second Annual Home Brewer’s Challenge. Registration for the brewing is open until February 27th, brewers must email Gahan (or drop by the Pub) to sign up to receive their entry forms. Brewers must submit their beer by 5pm on May 15th, after which it will be judged by a panel of experts. The winner will have the opportunity to brew their beer with Gahan Brewmaster Trent Hayes, and see their beer on tap at the Gahan House. This year’s style is “Summer Seasonal Fruit Beer”, which leaves the door wide open for a lot of creativity… perhaps a Lime Wheat Beer, or Orange Cream Ale, or Strawberry IPA? The competition is for PEI-based Homebrewers only, and doesn’t cost a dime, so register today!
• From one Island to Another, the Newfoundland Artisanal and Craft Beer Club (aka Beerthief) will be hosting a Dieu du Ciel! tasting Thursday, February 26th, at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Folks will get to enjoy a QV beer of their choosing t begin, and then 100 ml each of Blanche du Paradis, Route des épices, Aphrodisiaque, Disco Soleil, and Moralité. Snacks will also be provided. Mike Buhler, the Beerthief and Certified Cicerone, will lead the tasting of the five beer. The event starts at 7:30pm, and tickets must be reserved by emailing Mike.
• Speaking of Newfoundland, Garrison Brewing has sent over another shipment of beer on the Beer Dory, scheduled to be on the shelves this weekend. It includes the Chocolate Imperial Stout, brewed specifically for the Beerthief crew. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will go to a fund for the family of Sarah Turpin, a member of the Beerthief group, who passed away in the fall.
• If you’re taking in the second (and last) weekend of Fredericton’s Winterfesthiver tomorrow, be sure to check out the Craft Beer Bar at the Rocks the Night concert in the evening. Several NB breweries will be pouring: Grimross (Cheval D’Or and Pugnacious Porter), Big Axe (Big Axe Blonde and Chocolate Orange Stout), Picaroons (Blonde Ale and Irish Red), Red Rover (Fire Cider), and Sunset Heights Meadery (Cozy and Shipwreck). Featuring live music from Angry Candy, it’s a great combination of local beer and entertainment!
• Rudder’s Brewpub has just released Blonde Rock, a Blonde Ale brewed with a malt bill consisting of Canadian 2 Row barley, Wheat, and Munich Malt. They used Cascade hops, which shine through in the aroma. Head on down to the brewpub soon to test it out!
Have a fantastic Valentine’s Day weekend! Look out for the return of Tatamagouche’s Dreadnot India Black Ale, available in growlers at the brewery and RockHead in Halifax, and bottles as well. Boxing Rock has also re-released their Cascadian Dark Ale, The Darkness, also in growlers and bottles. And good news for fans of Schoolhouse Brewery – they’re looking to expand their production, and are soon expecting the delivery of a four hectolitre fermentor, which will allow them to brew and ferment double batches.