Archives

All posts for the month April, 2015

Hello folks! Our final Friday of April is shaping up to be another busy week in beer news… maybe a bit lighter than the past couple of weeks, but there’s still lots to report!

Hammond River and Big Axe are pairing for their first collaboration beer, which is being brewed today! Big Axe owner/brewer Peter Cole will be joining Shane Steeves at his brewery, where they will be brewing up a currently-unnamed India Black Ale (aka Black IPA). The grist will be made up of several malts, including Pale Ale, Crystal, Black Patent, Melanoidin, and a little CaraAroma; the wort will then be bittered with the Columbus hop variety to 77 IBUs, with heavy additions of Citra later in the boil (and likely a dry-hop as well). It should clock in at about 7% ABV; we can likely expect a melding of roasted, coffee and chocolate flavors with the tropical fruitiness from the Citra! Next week, both brewers will be re-brewing the beer at Big Axe in Nackawic, so expect distribution of the beer throughout Fredericton and Saint John/Quispamsis when it’s ready.

• Last week, Tatamagouche Brewing released a new beer, Little Giant, on tap at Stillwell. A parti-gyle brew (brewed from the second runnings of a “bigger” beer), it’s an ESB that has been hopped with El Dorado and Ella to about 35 IBUs, and weighs in at 5.2% ABV. The first, bigger beer was an American Barleywine, brewed in preparation of Tatabrew’s Giant Beer Series in May, just in time for NS Craft Beer Week! Here are some details on the three beers in this series, just to get you excited…

Giantess Barleywine (11% ABV, 90 IBUs) – Named after Anna Swan, Tatamagouche’s famous Giantess, an American Barleywine hopped with Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus.

Two Rivers Baltic Porter (8% ABV, 36 IBUs) – Fermented with Lager yeast and cold-conditioned, and hopped with Czech Saaz, expect this one to be full-bodied, and “very smooth with hints of chocolate”, according to the brewery.

Rum Barrel-Aged Dreadnot IBA (11.5% ABV, 52 IBUs) – Their standard Dreadnot IBA, but aged in fresh Ironworks rum barrels for an additional 4 months. Jumping from its original 7% ABV after the barrel aging, it’s currently exhibiting lots of rum presence, including vanilla. Hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, and Cascade.

• And in more Tatabrew news, their Sunrise Trail ISA (India Session Ale) has been released this week. Weighing in at a modest 4.1% ABV, the beer packs a solid hop punch from the Azacca and Ahtanum varietals, and will be perfect for our ever-improving weather. It is available at the brewery for growler fills and in 650ml bottles.

BarNone is releasing a new beer, and has a previous favourite returning! First, FarmAle Saison was brewed with the historic ‘Table’ Saison in mind; that is, a low-alcohol, refreshing, dry beer for consumption during the warmer months in Belgium, when farmers would be outside, working for hours on end. Hazy-gold in colour, it exhibits a “peppery flavour with an ever-so-slight funk”, according to the brewery. Definitely easy-drinking at 4.9%, it just became available at the brewery yesterday for their weekly growler night. Also on last night was their La Vaca Loca, a Sweet Stout (aka Milk Stout) that debuted months ago and was an immediate hit. Nicely balanced between roasted and coffee flavors, along with a slight lingering sweetness from the addition of lactose powder in the boil, this fan-favourite should now be available regularly on tap at the Pilot House in Charlottetown.

• Not stopping there, BarNone has just brewed yet another brand-new beer that falls on the “light side of an American Pale Ale”. Conceived by co-owner/brewer Don Campbell on his drive back to PEI after brewing Island Conspiracy at Big Spruce in Cape Breton. Listening to a CD by singer/songwriter Keith Mullins, Campbell was inspired by the song “Island Sol” to book Mullins for a gig at the brewery, as well as brew up a beer for the event. Next Saturday, May 2nd at 8 pm, Mullins will be performing at BarNone along with Christine Campbell to kick off the season’s events at the brewery; tickets are $15. The beer, Island Sol, is “summery and fruity, aromatic while lacking bitterness… encapsulating the Island soul” says Campbell. Light gold in colour, it weighs in at 5% ABV and ~25 IBUs, and will be launched during the event.

• Good news, Weizen fans! Uncle Leo’s is bringing back Vohs Weizenbier, their take on the German Hefeweizen style that they first introduced last year. The recipe is the same as before, featuring a grist of roughly equal amounts of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Hopped lightly to 14 IBUs, it’s fermented with a German yeast strain and comes in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV. A fantastic style for warmer-weather drinking, it should be available for growler fills at the brewery any day now, as well as in 650 mL bottles at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines and on tap at select bars/restaurants in Halifax.

• The Ladies Beer League is looking for a couple of people to join their Board of Directors. This volunteer position will require 3-5 hours per week of engagement with fellow board members, organizing and promoting events. You must be of legal drinking age, a current member of the LBL, and of course, be passionate about beer! Check out more details here, and fire them an email to apply for the position. The posting closes next Thursday. And be sure to pick up a bottle of the Cinnamon Spin collaboration beer, brewed by Boxing Rock.

It was a big week for several soon-to-be-open breweries in our region:

• On Tuesday, Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown took delivery of their 15BBL (~17hl) brewhouse and fermentors from Charlottetown’s own DME Brewing Solutions. acbbchris was in town for work, and managed to snap a few pictures during the 12-hour day, while all of the 11 brewing vessels were unloaded and put upright inside their facility. There was a tired yet immensely satisfying feeling in the brewery when everything was complete at 9:30pm!

• On Wednesday, Wrought Iron Brewing Company announced that they were changing their name and rebranding as Good Robot Brewing Company. The new name is a better fit with the founders’ attitudes and fun direction (while paying homage to their engineering roots), rather than the rigid or medieval connotation of their previous name. They have been brewing up a storm on Robie St, and will be launching in earnest during the NS Craft Beer Week, taking part in many of the events, including the Open Brewery Day, when visitors will be welcome to take a look around their digs.

Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth has been taking delivery of their fermentors this week as well, with at least one 80BBL fermenter (good for multi-batch brewdays) being installed. They are expecting delivery of their 20BBL brewhouse (also from DME) early next week. This week they also launched their logo and Facebook page, with their full website on the way shortly. While their launch date has not yet been released, they have confirmed that they will be taking part in next month’s NS Craft Beer Week, including the Full House Craft Beer Fest.

Breton Brewing in Sydney has also taken delivery of the last of their brewing vessels for their 15BBL steam-fired system from Criveller in Niagara Falls. Their location next to the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market is taking shape quite nicely; while they won’t be officially taking part in any events during NS Craft Beer Week, they are on track for having beer ready for consumption in June!

That’s all of the news fit to print for today. A warning that tomorrow’s launch party at Stillwell for Propeller’s Lambic-style beer has been postponed, as the beer is not quite ready yet. We promise this isn’t just a scheme to somehow allow us to drink more of it! Once the new date is released, we’ll pass it along, we swear! And homebrewers, don’t forget that beers for the inaugural Brewnosers Homebrew Competition are due May 15th. With three weeks left to submit them, time is running out to put together your brewday. They have received over 250 entries from across the country, so it will be a true judge of local talent on the national stage.

Good morning, craft beer fans! It’s another very busy week in the world of Atlantic Canadian beer news, so let’s get cracking…

• New Brunswick, Red Rover Brewing needs your help! As explained by owner/brewer Adam Clawson in a recent CBC interview, the company has had increasing difficulty turning a profit in the province, despite excellent demand for their ciders. Right now, there isn’t a set policy for cider; while there is one for beer, and one for wine, cider falls into a “grey area” where the mark-up set by the ANBL is not pre-determined. As a result, Red Rover has to pay a much higher mark-up for every keg and flagon of cider that they produce. Here’s a few numbers to make it all a bit clearer:

– For a 20 L keg of beer, breweries pay a $0.76/L mark-up, while Red Rover pays $1.29/L

– For bottles at ANBL stores, breweries pay $1.23/L; Red Rover would pay $2.90/L if their ciders were listed (which they are trying to accomplish)

– Many styles of beer can be brewed and packaged within a matter of weeks, while cider takes 2-3 months before it’s ready; during that extended period, temperature control and storage space increase the time, effort, and cost required for the batch

– Depending on the beer, a 20 L keg could be brewed for $20 or less; the cost in ingredients, time, etc. to Red Rover for the equivalent amount is about $50-55

Clawson understands that this is not an easy fix, and respects that there is currently no policy under ANBL for his business. What he’s asking for is that the ANBL temporarily let Red Rover join one of the current policies, or even better, create a new policy specifically geared towards cider, where the mark-ups are fair, and set-in-stone.

We also spoke with Brian Harriman, CEO of the ANBL; he acknowledges that the policy for cider was never clear, and that they had always made it their goal to work with Red Rover to help them (and other ciderhouses) succeed. Harriman went on to say that they currently have a “project team” made up of people from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Tourism, and ANBL, with the goal to “streamline processes and to create a policy that fosters growth of micro producers from all categories in New Brunswick”.

What can you do? Call and make your opinion clear to ANBL and to your MLA. If a new, fair policy is created, Red Rover will be able to expand, which will only be good news for the province. If nothing is done, they may be forced to either a) shut down, or b) leave the province and set up shop elsewhere. Neither is good for New Brunswick. This isn’t just a matter of keeping an excellent product in the province; this is about showing the proper support for a small, local business that is asking for nothing more than the opportunity to grow. Here’s hoping for a quick resolution.

Propeller Brewing has two new beers out this week. First up, their next One-Hit Wonder All Tapped Out is an India Pale Ale brewed with 6 different hop varietals, and will take any hophead down for the count. Victory, Wheat, and Crystal malts bump up the 2 Row base malt, lending colour and flavour, while the Warrior, Centennial, Columbus, Cluster, Ahtanum and Cascade hops pack a punch of bitterness and grassy, citrus, and resiny aromas. The beer weighs in at 6.9% ABV and 72 IBUs, for a bit more alcohol than their standard IPA. As with all other One-Hit Wonders, this beer is for growler sales only (on now at both the Gottingen and Windmill locations), with the rare keg sneaking out to friendly HRM bars and restaurants.

• Prop’s second new beer this week is their Spring Seasonal, Rye IPA. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 72 IBUs, the malt bill features a healthy dose of Rye malt to spice up the brew, and a secret blend of hops for bittering and aroma. Released today in bottles at both brewery locations, it will also be available in the NSLC and private beer stores, and on tap for growlers and at HRM bars soon.

TrailWay Brewing just delivered some kegs of their newest beer, a Black IPA named Black Hops One. This particular style of beer is often interpreted differently from brewery to brewery; look for TrailWay’s version to have significant roast and chocolate character (thanks to the addition of both Roasted and Chocolate malts in the mash). Of course, there will also be lots of hop character, as this beer includes Apollo, Centennial, Mosaic, Chinook and Comet. As the style dictates, it comes in fairly bitter at around 90 IBUs, with an ABV of 7.1%. There should be a limited quantity available this weekend at both the King Street Ale House and 540 Kitchen & Bar.

Big Axe is re-releasing their Maple Wheat Amber Ale, first introduced last year. Brewed with both Pale and Caramel malts, it also features maple sap tapped from Big Axe’s very own maple trees, as well as some sourced from Nackawic’s own Stone Family Maple Products. Hopped with the Orbit variety, the beer comes in at 5% ABV and features a light-to-medium body, and lots of sweet, caramel and maple aromas, according to the brewery. Look for it on tap at the brewery and possibly select accounts by this weekend. And stay tuned for more news soon on their 1st Anniversary party, which sill take place at the brewery  in June; they’re planning on lots of live music, beer, and NB cider and mead (from Red Rover and Sunset Heights Meadery). They’ve also announced plans to build a taproom at their location in the future; we’ll keep you updated on their progress!

• There’s a new beer on tap at the Big Tide brewpub in Saint John, an India Pale Lager (read: hoppy Lager) named Sea Legs. Originally brewed for last Saturday’s Saint John Beer Fest (more on that below), a lot of the recipe is similar to their regular-release Seaworthy IPA, except it was fermented – of course – with a Lager yeast. It also followed a step-mash technique (more than one temperature rest during the mashing process), and was aged cool (or “lagered”) for a month before packaging. The beer was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Hallertau, and dry-hopped with Saaz. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and about 60 IBUs, and is on tap for both pints and growler fills. Their Bucht Bock – another festival beer – is still available for pints for a limited time only, so be sure to get to the brewpub to sample both!

• Shortly after last week’s experimental Belgian Scotch Ale, Picaroons has released the “other half” of that beer; that is, the first runnings from the brew day, which were fermented with their house Ringwood yeast to make The Brick ISA, an “Imperial Scotch Ale”. With a grist consisting of Pale malt, Golden Promise, Torrified Wheat, and Roasted and Smoked malts, the beer exhibits plenty of fruity esters, along with a “subtle smokiness” and some expected warmth from the high ABV (11.5%). It was hopped lightly to 28 IBUs with Goldings and Fuggles; as with last week’s beer, it is available only at the Brewtique for growler fills. And stay tuned for the second beer from their “Employee Series”, which should be released in the near future!

• In other Pics news, next week will mark the return of their popular summer seasonal, Dooryard, a 4.5% ABV American Wheat Ale. To celebrate, they’re having a Dooryard Launch Party at the ANBL Train Station next Wednesday, April 22nd (Earth Day). Along with free Dooryard samples, they’ll have food from Isaac’s Way and live music from the Alan Jeffries Duo. There’s no charge to attend; it all starts at 4 pm.

Grimross has re-brewed one of the beers originally brewed shortly after they opened in the summer of 2013. Bayard Blond is a 7% ABV Belgian Blond, a stronger style that exhibits both spiciness and fruitiness, thanks to the expressive Belgian yeast. With “notes of pear and grass”, and a “very fresh character” according to the brewery, it was likely brewed with the warmer temperatures of spring in mind! Stop by the brewery to try this refreshing ale; it’s available for both pints and growler fills now.

• Next Saturday, April 25th, Railcar Brewing is holding a Craft Beer and Cheese Pairing at their newly-opened tasting room. Held from 6 pm – 9 pm, there will be six cheeses from Jolly Farmer, paired with six different craft beers, including two each from Railcar (Irish Red and Chocolate Maple Stout), Picaroons (Yippee IPA and Dark and Stormy Night), and Propeller (ESB and Double IPA). Tickets are $20 each and can be bought at the door, or purchased in advance by contacting owner/brewer Mitch Biggar through the brewery’s Facebook page.

• And coming back to the Saint John Beer Fest, last Saturday’s event was a great success; the festival was sold-out, and featured more breweries and more beer than last year. The People’s Choice votes were tallied, and Hammond River Brewing won first place for the second year in a row! Silver went to Big Tide, and bronze to first-time attendee TrailWay Brewing. Congrats to the winners, and to the SJBF on another successful event!

Rogues Roost has a new Double IPA on tap at the brewpub now. Weighing in at 7.2%, this is a big beer with big hops to balance: 90 IBUs coming from several different hop varietals, finished with a large aroma addition of the Falconer’s Flight blend, lending tropical and citrus characteristics. This is actually the second Double IPA that Brewster Karen Allen has released in recent months, and like the first one, it will probably sell quickly, so be sure to pop down soon!

Rudder’s Brew Pub & Restaurant in Yarmouth has brewed up a lager for the coming warmer months. Lighthouse Lager 2.0 was brewed this week, and will be fermenting and conditioning until June. A lighter lager, the grain bill has changed slightly since the last time it was brewed in 2013. And this batch has been hopped with New Zealand Southern Cross and UK Fuggles varietals.

• For those not able to visit Rudder’s in Yarmouth, look for them in the Yarmouth Town Exhibit at the Saltscapes Expo next weekend at Halifax Exhibition Grounds. They will be sampling a couple of their beers, along with local restaurants and artisans. Other breweries attending the Expo include Propeller and Garrison, and local homebrew/winery shop Noble Grape.

Bar Stillwell in Halifax shared some great news this week: they will be setting up Stillwell Beergarden on the waterfront, set to open in about 6 weeks. Based in a custom-built shipping container, the Stilly Satellite Spot will be located at the Summit Plaza, steps from “The Wave”. The taps will be primarily NS beers (with a Nova Scotian cider and wine also on tap), with a focus on lighter-bodied, more “sessionable” beers. The food will also focus on NS, with chef Graeme Ruppel cooking up homemade sausages, complemented with other local fare, like sausages from Sweet William’s, Rose Lane, and bread and buns from Gingerbread Haus. It will operate into the fall, so that locals and tourists alike will have plenty of chances to drink and taste the best Nova Scotia has to offer. We understand that there are already some exciting events scheduled for the space, including Tap Takeovers that would be seen at both Stillwell HQ and the Beergarden, plus the special beers that show up on a regular basis.

Schoolhouse Brewery has a very cool project in the works, The Southfield Project: One Field, One Beer. They will be using a two-acre plot of land and growing barley and hops for a truely local NS beer. The ingredients will be hand planted and tended to, with the barley malted and hops harvested and dried right at the brewery. Those interested can follow along with the progress of the project on Facebook, and we look forward to taking part and drinking the resulting beer in the fall.

• Several more events for NS Craft Beer Week May 7-18 have been announced, including a series of Brewmaster’s Dinners at Lion & Bright: Boxing Rock vs Big Spruce on Monday, Sea Level vs Propeller on Wednesday, and North Brewing on Thursday. Beer Cocktail Face-Off, The Science of Beer, and Brews Cruise tickets are still available, and new events are being announced daily. Keep up with them using the #NSCraftBeerWeek tag on Twitter.

Enjoy your weekend! BarNone has rebrewed their Milk Stout, La Vaca Loca, and it should be available for their weekly growler night next Thursday at the brewery, and is expected to be on tap at the Pilot House next week as well. And speaking of Milk Stouts, it looks like there’s one being brewed at the Gahan House, too; we’ll have more on that beer for you next week. After a 10-day break the Townhouse Pub in Antigonish re-opened this week, so local beer fans can resume their place at the bar for a pint of Terry’s Bitter. And don’t forget that tomorrow is the launch of the Ladies Beer League and Boxing Rock beer, Cinnamon Spin. The event starts at 6pm at Stillwell, with the official tapping at 6:30. Happy 1st Anniversary to BeerTech Draft System Technologists, keeping many bars, restaurants and breweries’ taps and lines clean! And Happy 30th Anniversary to Granite Brewing, who continue to push the NS beer scene forward!

Happy Friday everyone! In case you thought last week’s busy post was a fluke, fear not! It’s been another busy week in Atlantic Canadian Beer News. And that means more tasty bevvies out now, and cool events coming our way! Let’s get right to the action!

Paddys Irish Brewpubs in Kentville and Wolfville have a few new beers on tap that are worth checking out! First up is their Extra Special Bitter, weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs. It’s brewed with a traditional English malt bill and English Ale yeast for a light caramel character, and traditional East Kent Goldings hops exclusively give a light bitterness and a taste of England in the Annapolis Valley. Their Irish Stout is also on tap, an easily sessionable, light-bodied beer, but with a roast-forward character. This beer weighs in at 5% ABV and 33 IBUs, and is a fan favourite. Also keep an eye out for two lagers to be making their debut at the pubs in the next while: a Helles, which incorporated step mashing on their full 7 barrel system (sounds like quite a task!), and a Red Lager. We’ll have more details on both when they are available.

• There’s lots going on at PEI Brewing Co. these days! First off, they just sent over a new cask to Bar Stillwell in Halifax: Rais’n Sais’n is a bit of an experiment, consisting of their Iron Bridge Brown Ale fermented with a Saison yeast (Belle Saison, from Danstar, the same strain used in last year’s Lobster Saison). The beer was then transferred to a cask with a quantity of sultana raisins (a sweet, golden-coloured variety); it comes in at 5.1% ABV. Get down to Stillwell to try a pour before it’s gone!

• Moving on, they’ve also brewed a new Saison. Currently unnamed, it’s a completely different brew from the Lobster Saison. Brewed with all 2-row malt and hopped with Saaz and UK Goldings, it was then fermented “very warm” with the Belgian Dupont yeast strain from White Labs. With this yeast, expect lots of spicy flavors and aromas, accompanied by some fruitiness and a dry finish. The beer should be hitting taps at select locations sometime early next month; we’ll be sure to keep you updated on its release.

• Finally, a bit of a teaser: PEIBC brewmaster Chris Long has confirmed that we can expect to see a series of small batch (8 bbl) single-hop beers this summer at the brewery tasting room, and at Fishbones Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill in Charlottetown. We look forward to hearing more about this series when better weather arrives!

• Moving on to the Gahan side of PEIBC, they’ve released a new beer just in time for the Island’s annual (and extremely popular) PEI Burger Love. Angus Pale is a single-hop APA featuring the fairly-new Belma variety, and fermented with an English yeast strain. The beer is lightly filtered, with a “slight citrus aroma and a fruity/berry-like finish”, according to the brewery,

• It’s time to join the Club! Ahead of their opening later this Spring, Unfiltered Brewing have announced the details of their Club, available at launch. There are three levels available to those able to get in: The first level is an annual membership ($250 for the first year, $175 to resubscribe, plus HST), which gets the member an Unfiltered-branded Stainless Steel growler (full of beer, of course!), plus another free fill on their birthday (and $1 off all subsequent growler fills Mon-Wed), a branded glass and limited edition t-shirt, a pair of bottles of Russian Imperial Stouts (perfect for cellaring), and early access and first right of refusal to subsequent releases and swag. The second level is a lifetime membership in the Club, with all of its benefits, but with an even better growler. The cost to enroll is $1000 (plus tax). The third level is $5000, and is identical to the second level, but will offer the member the opportunity to brew a beer with Brewmaster Greg Nash, and leave with 20 litres of it after your hard day(s) of work. Full details on the Club, including how to sign up, are available here, and we’re happy to report that their brewhouse from DME was delivered this week, which means it won’t be long until the brewing begins!

TrailWay has brewed a new beer, and it’s their first collaboration! Staying true to their roots, they formulated a recipe with two homebrewers from the New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association, Adam Jones and Roger Ringuette. The beer, Sensible Nonsense, is a DIPA hopped with Apollo, Magnum, Orbit, Centennial, and Mosaic, to approximately 95 IBUs. Supported by some malty sweetness thanks to some Vienna and CaraRed malt in the mash, expect this hoppy beer to exhibit lots of fruity, piney, and dank notes. It should come in around 7.5% ABV; look for it to hit taps around Fredericton within the next couple of weeks. They’re also planning on experimenting with some casks of this beer, so stay tuned for that (and remember, their inaugural cask release at the King Street Ale House starts tonight at 6 pm!).

Picaroons released a new experimental beer earlier this week, an unnamed “Belgian Scotch Ale”. Definitely a bit of an orphan beer, think of it as a low-ABV Scotch Ale (featuring Roasted, Crystal, and Smoked malts) fermented with a Belgian Ardennes yeast strain, and hopped with Goldings and Fuggles. The beer came about from two batches of another experiment, a stronger Scotch Ale, where the weaker run-offs of each batch were combined for this release. The stronger batches were combined and are now being aged for a future release (and possibly some barrel-aging). Coming in at around 4.5% ABV, it features lots of clove and banana aromas and flavors, in conjunction with the smokiness and sweetness from the malt, according to the brewery. It’s on tap now, exclusively at the Brewtique for growler fills.

• For this year’s Earth Day (April 22nd), the Lion & Bright is once again celebrating with Spruce up the Planet!, a Big Spruce tap takeover. Doors open at 7 pm (the $7 charge will go to the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) to support their Ocean’s Week activities), and there will be live music from The Bluejam Grass Band, as well as “Love Letters to the Ocean”, hosted by Brave Space. For every pint purchased, an additional $1 will be donated to the EAC. Unfortunately, we don’t have a full tap list for you, but we’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed with the selection!

• There’s yet another beer event planned for Fredericton from those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Let Them Eat Cake… and Drink Beer will pair six different La Naufrageur beers (each pour is 8 oz) with six cake varieties from local bakery Fuller Confections. Scheduled for Saturday, April 25th at 2 pm at the King Street Ale House, it’s going to be a small event, with entry being limited to ten people. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased by sending an email. This is the first of several planned small-pairings; stay tuned for more in the near future!

• Now seems like a good time to mention that the fourth Burgers n’ Beer has been planned for Tuesday, June 9th, from 8:00 – 10:30 pm. Held once again at the uptown reLiSH location, this event is taking on a new twist, featuring an “Ales vs. Lagers” approach. Breweries are currently TBD, but count on six beers (8 oz pours) to be paired with six different reLiSH sliders. It’s a great way to kick off the two-week Fredericton Burger Battle (part of Eat New Brunswick), which begins on June 8th.(Tickets are $48 each, and are available online. We’ll have more info on the breweries participating, soon.

Sea Level Brewing is bringing back their latest seasonal, Düssel-port Altbier. This “New World Alt” uses a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence by a brewer friend from Brauerei im Füchschen, in Dusseldorf, home of the Alt style. This medium-bodied ale weighs in at 4.8% ABV. Lawrence used Saphir hops throughout, for an authentic bitterness. It is now available at the brewery in cans, growlers, and kegs, and on tap at the Port Pub and other locations shortly.

• Last month, Boxing Rock brewed up a collaboration brew with the Ladies Beer League: the Cinnamon Spin. While the poor weather kept the LBL crew away, they were there in spirit, and the crew visiting from Upstreet lent a hand in their stead. We now have some information on the beer, and the release details! The base beer is a Robust Porter, weighing in at 6.5% ABV. It featured some first wort hopping, and whole cinnamon sticks added during the boil. Now the important details: how can you taste it? The Ladies Beer League and Boxing Rock folks will be launching the beer April 18th at Bar Stillwell in Halifax. It is an open event, no tickets required, and pay as you enjoy, starting at 6pm. There will be a cask of the Cinnamon Spin tapped at 6:30, and the beer will also be available on tap. There will also be LBL swag and memberships available for purchase that evening. Stillwell will have exclusivity on the kegged beer, but there will be some bottles available at the B.R. brewery, Seaport and Alderney Farmers Markets, and the private beer stores in HRM. As the beer was brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, there are two charities benefiting from sales of the beer: Halifax Sexual Health Center and Shelburne County Women’s Fishnet Bursary Program.

• And speaking of beer launches at Stillwell, the next Saturday, April 25th, will see the launch party of the third in the line of Propeller Brewing’s Lambic-style beers. This release will be different than the earlier two, in that there was no fruit added during the fermentation and maturation process (raspberries and blackberries were featured previously); this will be the straight wheat beer that was inoculated with wild yeast and bacteria and aged in Blomidon Estate oak barrels, to produce a unique beer not otherwise available in our region. Think of it as a 4.2% ABV Gueuze-style beer, though this will be an unblended 4-year old beer. As in previous releases, the beer will be available by the glass and in bottles (for consumption at the bar) beginning at noon. There will be a signup sheet on site for those who would like to purchase one bottle (and one bottle only) from Propeller the next day, ahead of the general sale on Monday. The last release was so popular that none of the beer made it to Monday, all was scooped up in pre-sales, and we imagine the same will happen again this time. More details on the beer can be seen in a previous post on the first release.

• Details for the Beerthief Ancient Ales tasting in St John’s are now available, being held at The Bella Vista, at 5pm Saturday, May 2nd. Dr. Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist,  will be giving a presentation on the fieldwork and research required to develop the Dogfish Head Brewery for their Ancient Ales series. And through some local collaboration with local brewery Storm Brewing in Newfoundland, Brew Craft Homebrew Shop, Sap World, and gypsy brewers Chad Levesque and Stephen Canning, visitors will be able to enjoy two beers based on ancient recipes:  Levesque Midas Touch Collaborative Clone and Canning Kvasir Collaborative Clone. After the presentation and Q&A session, there will be a supper of lamb shank and flank steak paired by Chef Ian Smith. The tasting will continue with several selections from Garrison Brewing, led by Brewmaster Daniel Girard, and from Storm Brewing in Newfoundland, led by owner and brewer Mike McBride, for a full evening of beer, food and fun. Tickets for the event are $90, and are available by emailing Tom Beckett before April 29th.

Enjoy the weekend, and the (hopefully) warmer temps! While you are out and about this weekend, stop into the ANBL and fill up your growler with Petit-Sault Lancaster KB882 Amber Lager, Picaroons Historical Brown Ale (formerly known as 104th Regiment Ale), and/or (we vote andLe Trou du Diable’s Dubai Pillee Imperial IPA. For the first time, all four fill ANBL filling stations will have the same three beers available. And for those of you in Fredericton, be sure to drop by Grimross to buy a pint and growler of Monk’s Choice, the name chosen from the submissions for their Abbey Ale. In Nova Scotia, Muwin Wines has received a loan from ACOA to expand distribution of Bulwark Cider to the UK, a massive Cider market. The extra funds will go towards additional equipment to expand production, and re-branding their bottled packaged product. Tickets for the Full House Beer Fest, the highlight of the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, are now officially sold out, though there is a waiting list available. Tickets for Beer & Beethoven (May 8th at the Halifax Forum), Science of Beer (May 14th at the Discovery Centre) and Brewer’s Brunch (May 17th at Stubborn Goat) are still available, however. We’ll be sharing details on more of the events in the coming weeks. Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth has taken delivery of their brewhouse recently, and are busy setting it up and preparing for their first brew day in the coming weeks. And finally, in new more brewery news, Trestle Brewing is set to open in Truro in the fall. The brainchild of Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills, it will be located in the downtown area. We’ll share more details when available. And for those of you lucky enough to have tickets to tomorrow’s sold-out Saint John Beer Fest, enjoy the selection of craft beer! With even more breweries and beer than last year, it’s bound to be a great time as usual! And don’t miss their Hair of the Dog Brunch at the Saint John Ale House the next morning.

Happy April everyone! We made it! Old Man Winter is finally fading away, and the melting has begun in earnest. Before long, it will be time to plant those hop rhizomes…

• Late last week, Grimross announced that they were releasing a new beer on tap that day for growler fills and tastings at the brewery. Currently unnamed, it’s described as a “Single Abbey”; this type of beer was traditionally brewed by Belgian monks to be lighter and lower alcohol, specifically for consumption at the Abbey during their down-time. Featuring Pilsner and Munich malt from the Frontenac Malting Co. in Quebec, it was lightly hopped with Bobek to 23 IBUs, and fermented with the Abbaye yeast from Fermentis, a strain that is new to Grimross. This light-copper-coloured beer is described by the brewery as having an aroma of banana and bubblegum, with flavours including earthiness, crabapple and lemon zest. It finishes quite dry, and comes in at 5.1% ABV. They’ve announced that this beer will be the second in their Serendipity series (the first being their Summer Serendipity), and they’re looking for help naming it! Tweet or comment on Facebook your idea with the hashtag, #serendipityseries; if your name is selected, you will win a free growler and fill. The contest ends today at 5 pm.

Propeller Brewing has released their latest One-Hit Wonder this week, Peated Scotch Ale. A very robust, full bodied beer at 7.2% ABV, Peated Malt was used to reinforce the flavour and aroma in their traditional Scotch Ale with greater smoke and peat characteristics. Willamette and Warrior hops were used to balance the body of the beer, and hopped to 19 IBUs. As with all of their One-Hit Wonder releases, these are available for growler fills and samples at the brewery while supplies last (which won’t be long!), and in short supply on tap around HRM, so if you spot it, be sure to grab a pint before it’s gone! This will surely be a winning beer for fans of Islay-region Scotches (Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin, for example), which also use Peated Malt.

Tatamagouche Brewing just brewed up a new beer that will be ready in time for NS Craft Beer Week in May! Sunrise Trail India Session Ale is shaping up to be a highly-sessionable (4.1% ABV), hoppy beer featuring Ahtanum and Azacca (a very new, hard-to-get, extremely tasty variety). Based on what these hops have to offer, expect this easy-drinking beer to have lots of citrus, tropical, and stone fruit flavours and aromas. TataBrew will also be re-releasing their Stubborn Goat collaboration brew, Horns Over Hooves DIPA, during the week as well.

Railcar Brewing should have a new beer on tap tomorrow at their new location for growler fills. Orange Rye IPA is brewed with several types of malt, including – of course – Rye, coming in with a dark copper color. Hopped entirely with Cascade to about 65 IBUs, the beer weighs in at 7.7% ABV. Fresh orange peel was added in secondary to help boost the citrusy flavors and aromas from the hops. Railcar has also confirmed that they’ve had the final inspection of their new tasting room, so look for them to be able to serve pints of their beer very soon!

• We mentioned a few weeks ago that the brewers at TrailWay were experimenting with casks… well, luckily for us, these cask beers will be available to the thirsty public, soon! They plan on having two casks to be tapped at the King Street Ale House on Friday, April 10th; both their Whitney Coffee Stout and Primetime APA will be featured that night. After that, they hope to have a different cask available at the KSAH on a weekly basis.

• Last week, we reported that Hammond River had brewed up their final batch of Breakfast Stout for the season. They’ve since confirmed that a small portion of this batch (approximately 20 L) will be aged for several weeks in a white oak barrel; owner/brewer Shane Steeves will be testing the beer periodically until it develops the character he’s looking for, at which point the beer will be kegged and sent to one lucky location! We’ll keep you updated on its release.

Stillwell Beer Bar has released a beer of their own creation, Crush. Contract-brewed at North Brewing, this is a 6.1% ABV SMaSH lager, featuring pilsner malt and Nelson Sauvin hops. The SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) recipe lets the characteristics of the chosen malt and hop shine through. The pilsner malt (and the fact that it was fermented and conditioned as a lager) is a clean, crisp base upon which to build, and the Nelson Sauvin hops lend a white wine-like flavour, with fruity aromas reminiscent of peach and gooseberry. The lager is unfiltered, and may retain a bit of haze while on tap, allowing more flavour and aroma to come through that would otherwise be filtered out. The beer is available exclusively on tap at the bar (and they’ve blown through two kegs already!), be sure to check their Twitter feed for updates of the next keg tapping.

• Picaroons is ramping up to release one of their summer seasonals, Melon Head, in June… which means they want your cat pictures again! If you think your cat has what it takes to be featured on this year’s label, send in an email with a hi-resolution picture of him/her (no actual melons needed). You have until Friday, April 24th to have a chance at making your cat famous. And take note that the annual Prohibition Repeal Party & Tap Takeover will be Saturday, April 18th at Wilser’s Room, where all 12 taps will feature Picaroons beer; it starts at 7 pm (no cover if you go before 10:30), and features live music, as usual.

• Tickets for the Atlantic Beer Festival are now on sale. Being held at the Moncton Coliseum May 29th-30th, this is the Fest’s Tenth anniversary, and they are celebrating by introducing a Friday evening session (7:30-10pm), in addition to the Saturday afternoon (2:30-5pm) and evening (7:30-10pm) sessions. They are also introducing a Belgian Pavillion, highlighting some beers and breweries not otherwise available in New Brunswick, and Fest-goers will be entered in a contest for a free beer-fueled trip to Belgium. We’ll have more details on the beers and other Fest events available closer to the date, of course. Tickets are $45 for the Saturday afternoon session, and $55 for the evening sessions (taxes and fees included), and available at the Moncton Tickets website.

• Like last year, the Moncton Beer League will be hosting a VIP experience for the Saturday afternoon session. VIPers will meet at the Pump House Restaurant and Brewery on Orange Lane at noon, and enjoy beer and Tapetizers to prepare for the afternoon. A limousine will take people to the Coliseum, where they will skip the line and begin the session right at 2:30pm. After the session, the limos will return people to the downtown area to visit the Old Triangle or other bars. Part of the VIP ticket price will be going to local charity. Tickets are $70, and there is already a waitlist, but email them to be added, just in case more become available.

Horton Ridge Malt have successfully funded their CEDIF, and are now extending the  offering until May 30th. Just shy of $400,000 has been raised toward the Malt House, opening in the fall to process this year’s harvest. Congratulations to Horton Ridge, and soon NS and other Atlantic breweries will be using “Malt Less Travelled”.

• There are still a handful of tickets available for next Saturday’s Sunset Heights Spring Release Party, and they have begun to release details on the expressions to be tasted (and available for purchase), and their food pairings. Here are a few teases: an Elderflower mead paired with strawberry-rhubarb crumble, a Petunia mead paired with brie, and Marigold mead with hot smoked salmon. Attendees will try eight of these pairings, and then have the chance to create their own (or repeat their favourites) from the available offerings. The event is 2:30-5pm April 11 at the Grad House on the UNB campus, and tickets can be purchased online.

Most of our favourite breweries, bars and restaurants are open regular hours this holiday weekend, but be sure to check before heading out, just to be sure. The NSLC, ANBL, PEILCC and NLC are closed Friday and Sunday. The Townhouse in Antigonish is closed for a short break while owners Rose and Terry do some R&D in England. You can follow along with their adventures on Facebook. The Townhouse will be re-opening Tuesday April 14th. The Picaroons Brewtique is hoping your Saturday is Hoppy, and they are helping with four dry-hopped variants on tap tomorrow for your tasting pleasure: Man’s Best Friend dry-hopped with Tettnang, Yippee IPA dry-hopped with Amarillo, their Blonde dry-hopped with Cascade, and Irish Red dry-hopped with Goldings.