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All posts for the month January, 2016

Good morning! Once again, things are really hopping this week with beer news in Atlantic Canada. We might as well get used to it, as it’s only going to continue to rise!

• Attention South Shore residents, we’ve got details of a new brewery heading your way! Saltbox Brewing will be opening this summer at 363 Main Street in Mahone Bay. The 12 hectolitre brewhouse will be producing beer for restaurants and pubs, Farmers’ Markets in Lunenburg County, and with distribution into HRM as well. While they haven’t settled on exact recipes yet, they expect to launch with a Wheat Ale, Pale Ale, and IPA. Renovations continue at their location, which will include retail sales and a taproom. We’ll keep you up-to-date on their progress.

Grimross has brewed up a new beer in their Maritime series, which should be released soon. Maritime Black IPA will feature “lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose and palate”, thanks to the addition of dark, roasted malts to the grist. Hopped and dry-hopped with all-New Brunswick-grown Cascade and Chinook (from Moose Mountain Hops), expect some serious fruitiness on the nose with this beer! Like the other beers in this series, it was fermented with a neutral American Ale yeast strain, to let the malt and hops shine through. Weighing in at 6.7% ABV and 61 IBUs, it should be available on tap and for growler fills by next week or so. Grimross also announced that they have just brewed their popular Rye IPA this week, after a hiatus of over a year; look for that one to return sometime in February.

• After some feedback from customers and tap accounts, Flying Boats will be bringing back their Kissing Rock Blonde Ale, their self-described “almost-session-like” beer at 5.3% ABV. With a grist made up mostly of Canadian 2-row base malt (and a little specialty malt for a bit of complexity), the beer is hopped to 32 IBUs with Centennial. A “clean” and easy-drinking beer, it’s meant to please craft beer lovers, while easing beginners out of mass-produced light Lagers. It will be pouring tomorrow at Fredericton’s NB HopSpiel, and will be available at select accounts soon as well.

First City continues to test the waters with new styles, as they released another new beer earlier in the week. Rye Pale Ale was brewed with a “significant amount” of Rye malt to give the beer its characteristic spiciness, and was hopped with Mt. Hood and Columbus throughout the boil, resulting in a “citrusy/floral aroma”, according to the brewery. It comes in at 6.8% ABV, and was first tapped at the James Joyce in Fredericton. Look for kegs to be tapped at Bourbon Quarter and the R-Bar in Saint John any day now.

• The winning entry for this year’s Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is now available. Czech Out Eric, a Czech Dark Lager brewed with competition winners Eric Gautier and Justin Clarke, was step-mashed and fermented cool (the historically-correct approach to brewing this style), and then lagered for a period to allow the flavours to smooth out even more. A malt-forward beer, it’s easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV and 25 IBUs. You can find it at the brewery now for growler fills, and it should be hitting taps soon/now at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Good Robot taproom.

• The PEI Brewing Co. brewed up a Russian Imperial Stout a while back; this is the beer that went into barrels a couple of months ago. While that portion of beer is still taking in barrel character, the un-barreled version – named Tide She RISes – has been released at select locations on tap (at PEIBC and Gahan House in Charlottetown, as well as Stillwell in Halifax, and the Saint John Ale House and Lemongrass in Saint John). It weighs in at a hefty 8% ABV and 70 IBUs. They plan on emptying the barrels and bottling that version in 4-6 weeks, which will be released as this year’s Ice Boat. Also, keep an eye out for the return of Black Banks, which was canned this week and will be shipping to the PEILCC and ANBL shortly. This 5.2% ABV, 50 IBUs Black IPA/India Black Ale was hopped with AmarilloNelson Sauvin, and Galaxy.

• One of the brewers from PEI Brewing Co posted a great introduction on some of the Quality Control steps the beers at PEIBC go through before it leaves their brewery. With even a small lab, they are able to confirm proper carbonation, ensure low dissolved oxygen (to prevent oxidization), and make sure that the beer contains no spoiling yeasts and bacteria, via plating. Sending out a proper product is important to the brewery, and drinkers, to be sure you are enjoying the beer the way the brewery intended! Check it out here.

• Speaking of PEI breweries, drop by The Alley this Saturday, where BarNone, Gahan, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet will be facing off in a winner-take-all battle for bowling domination. Each brewery will have a team or two, and there will several lanes available for the public to take part in the fun. They will be pouring beer from all of the local breweries, and after the bowling is done, there will be live entertainment from Adam MacGregor and The Foes. The fun kicks off at 7:30 pm; check out the details here.

• Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has brewed up a pair of new beers that are out now/hitting the taps soon. Sassy Blonde Ale is a 3.9% ABV, 20 IBUs Blonde Ale, with a slightly sweet, biscuity character from the malt, and light fruit character from hops. This beer has been spotted on tap at the James Joyce. The second new beer is Viking Ale. Brewed in the spirit of the style of ale brewed by Vikings centuries ago, this amber-coloured beer features additions of Heather tips, mugwort, and unpasteurized honey for spicy aromas and flavours. Backed up by “earthy, aromatic hops”, this one should be available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe by mid-February.

• Quite similarly, Pump House will be releasing Gruit on International Gruit Day this Monday, February 1st. Gruit is a centuries-old style that features the addition of multiple plants to add variety of aromas and flavours. Pump House brewed up a very small batch (one keg only) for release only at their brewpub in Moncton. This beer has had Sweetgale, Woodruff, Mugwort and Wormwood added. It won’t last long in such a limited supply, so be sure to drop by the brewpub this Monday if you’d like a taste!

• We have the details on today’s weekly 7th Wave Series from Spindrift: Signal Fire is described by the brewery as a “Rauch Pils” (think: smoky-Pilsner). Smoked cherry malt was used in the grist to give the light-amber-coloured beer a “distinct smoky flavour” to go along with the sweet and fruity characteristics. It’s 5.7% ABV and 25 IBUs, and – as usual – won’t last long due to the small quantity brewed (last week’s Knotty Buoy sold out before 5pm); drop by the brewery today for a growler fill. And a note for our readers in PEI and New Brunswick: Spindrift will soon be available in your local LCs. No exact dates just yet, but we do know that a shipment was made to the Island, and that the same will be done shortly for New Brunswick. And, in case you didn’t know, their flagship Coastal Lager is already available province-wide in Newfoundland and Labrador.

• Uncle Leo’s is releasing a new beer today, an American Pale Ale named Jam Session. Bittered with Magnum, it features Cascade in both the late additions and the dry-hop, for lots of fruit and citrus in the nose. Quite sessionable at 5% ABV and 35 IBUs, you can find it in bottles at the brewery in Pictou, and at all four private liquor stores in Halifax this weekend. It will also be available at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at better beer establishments in Halifax.

• There’s been lots going on at Paddy’s Irish Brewpub recently, so let’s get you up to speed! There are several new beers available on tap at both their Kentville and Wolfville locations, and Head Brewer Kirsten MacDonald is sharing the details with us:
– Mocha Stout, which was brewed with four pounds of cold-pressed coffee (sourced from local roaster Just Us!). Big roasty coffee flavours are balanced by subtle dark chocolate notes from the addition of chocolate malt. This 5.1% ABV, 25 IBUs ale also has a slight sweetness from the addition of lactose.
– Pilsner is a classic German-style lager. Hopped with Saaz, a noble European variety, to balance its light maltiness, making for a “pleasing and approachable brew”. 5.8% ABV, 30 IBUs.
Extra Special Bitter, Paddy’s latest hoppy beer, is amber-coloured and showcases earthy, piney, and light citrusy hop flavours and a robust bitterness, all of which “complement the caramel malt notes”. 5.5% ABV, 50 IBUs.
– Weizenbock is their seasonal feature this time of year, a hearty, dark German wheat beer. With aromas and flavours of clove and banana to pair with the rich chocolate and caramel maltiness, it’s a great style to be drinking this time of year. This one comes in a bit stronger at 6.8% ABV, and 25 IBUs.

• In more news from Paddy’s, they are holding a Brewer’s Dinner next Wednesday, Feb 2nd. From 7-9pm, upstairs in the Brewer’s Hall at their Wolfville location, the talented chefs have worked directly with Head Brewer MacDonald to create a four-course meal prepared with and to pair with their beers. As MacDonald is vegetarian, those are options for each course as well. Choices of mussels or cheddar ale soup to start, Parmesan risotto as an appetizer, pork tenderloin or marinated seitan with sweet potato puree as an entree, and carrot cake to finish, all paired with different Paddy’s beers. Tickets are only $30+tax and in limited numbers, available at Paddy’s and by phone (902-542-0059).

• Over at Halifax’s Gahan, we can expect to see an upcoming batch of their Kellerbier on tap soon. This malty-sweet beer has a hazy appearance thanks to large, late additions of the Hersbrucker hop, giving the aroma some herbal and floral notes. Carbonation will be low, as the beer was brewed in the traditional sense. It was also infused with oak, “to mimic the wooden barrels it would have been served in back in the day”, according to brewer Karen Allen. It should come in at 5% ABV and 30-35 IBUs.

• After a very popular event earlier this month, the crew at Good Robot are holding another quiet reading event at their Tap Room next week. Drop by The Imbibrary on Tuesday, Feb 2, from 6-8pm, where the music will be turned down, cellphones are to be powered off, and books and beer are the focus. Be sure to arrive early, as the first event ended up being a packed house! While there, or even sooner, grab a pint of their Burban Legend American Pale Ale, back again from a brief hiatus. This version 3.0 features Cascade and Citra used prominently in the brew and dry-hopping, for a big citrus aroma.

• Tickets are now available for the next Beer Tasting at Bishop’s Cellar. Being held next Friday, Feb 5, this informal tasting will give a nice overview of the beers currently available on their shelves. They will be tasting both local and imported beer, for a great variety of tastes and styles. Ever wanted to try one of the neat beers on their shelves before committing to a full bottle? Now’s your chance! As always, these are catered events with snacks to keep you happy. Grab your tickets today!

Stillwell Beer Bar has released their plans for Valentine’s Day, and we’re all invited. They’re sharing the love with Tatamagouche Brewing, who are taking over their taps with a dozen draft beers and three casks. In addition to Tata’s core brands, the expected list will include brews from their Giant Beer series (Giantess Barley Wine, Two Rivers Baltic PorterRussian Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, and both 2014 and 2015 vintages of Barrel Aged Dreadnot), and their recent hoppier beers, Full Circle American Wheat, Deception Bay IPA, and Deadeye DIPA. In addition to these, they will be debuting a SW x Tata collaboration, a hoppy, West Coast version of an English Golden Ale. We’ll share the intimate details of that brew ahead of the party. One of Stillwell’s events would not be complete without some great food, so keep an eye out for some sexy food for “Lovers” and a tongue-in-cheek take on “Loners” food… think solo-sized bucket of chicken, and a tub of cookie-dough ice cream. Tickets are on sale now, for a single session beginning at 4 pm, and the price will include a custom event t-shirt.

• They have also shared their plans for Péché Mortel Day. The famous Coffee Stout from Montreal’s Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is being released Feb 27, and local bars Stillwell (and Moncton’s Tide and Boar) are taking part. In Halifax, they will be pouring the 9.5% ABV original beer, plus five variants (Péché Mortel Dry, a drier-finishing and higher ABV (10%) version; Péché Mortel Special, with a different type of coffee in the brew; Péché Mortel Bourbon 2015, last year’s release aged for at least 6 months in Bourbon barrels; Péché Veniel, a 6.5% ABV lighter version of the original; Péché aux pêches, the original brew with peaches added to the brews). The party kicks off at noon, no tickets are required, and small pours are available to make it easier to try them all.

• Tickets for the evening session of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March are officially sold out! Luckily, there are some tickets still left for the afternoon session, so if you missed out on evening tickets, now’s your chance to still get in to sample a huge amount of local, craft beer! Events for the days leading up to the festival (making up the first Fredericton Craft Beer Week) are coming together; click here to start planning! We’ve created a calendar to make planning for the week a little easier. It can be added to your own calendar (desktop or on your phone) by clicking the “+ Google Calendar” link in the lower right.

• And in other FCBF news, remember that the first NB HopSpiel takes place tonight/tomorrow in Fredericton. While team registration for the curling is closed, there are still tickets available for the FROSTival Beer Garden tomorrow from 12-6 pm, featuring six different local breweries pouring various samples of beer, cider and mead.

• A reminder that NS Craft Beer Week is coming back in May. One of the events we took part in last year was the Science of Beer event at the Discovery Centre. Good news, the event is back, bigger than ever, and tickets are now on sale! Taking over the DC on May 12 will be six breweries (Boxing Rock, Garrison, Propeller, Sea Level, Spindrift, and Tatamagouche), each giving presentations on different parts of the brewing – and drinking – process. Angeline MacLennan will be joined by our own Chris McDonald to give an introduction/overview talk, and wander around the space causing trouble. Grab your tickets today, it was a fun time last year! We’ve set up a calendar for NS Craft Beer Week as well, and will be sharing more details on the events as we receive them.

A few parting shots this week:
– On the ANBL Growler fills this week: the return of Caraquet Flyer Eisbock from Distillierie Fils du Roy.
BarNone Brewery has a pair of hoppy beers coming our way soon: Vic’s Citra Secrets and Proud Warrior IPA were brewed up this week, and will be released in early March.
Unfiltered has just re-released their extremely popular Double Orange Ale, their SMaSH ale brewed with 2-row and boatloads of the delicious Citra hop.
– Garrison has both their Pucker Up and Pear Hug back on tap at the brewery for growler fills. And don’t forget, homebrewers, that your entries for the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off are soon due; bottles of your Experimental IPA need to be dropped off by Thursday, Feb. 11th.

Beer time! Have a great weekend!

Happy Friday, loyal beer fans! Grab a pint and get your weekend started with some light beer reading.

• After receiving their license to brew just a few weeks ago, Bore City Brewing in Moncton have sold their first kegs. One of their first three flagship beers, Marécage (a 7% ABV Belgian Saison), will be on tap tonight at the James Joyce in Fredericton, just in time for the Joyce’s One Year Anniversary of their expanded keg fridge! For those of you in Moncton, fear not… the beer will also be on tap this weekend at Les Brumes du Coude, with other tap accounts following in the near future. We’ll have a Q&A post on this 1/2 BBL brewery for you very soon!

• More details on James Joyce’s event: It is the one year anniversary of their expanded keg fridge (allowing them to carry beer from every brewery in New Brunswick), and they will be fully stocked tonight – with Happy Hour pricing on Fredericton breweries’ beers – serving birthday cake, and having a grand time! New Saint John brewery First City will have their Chocolate Coffee Stout available. Drop by for the fun, beginning at 5pm. And keep an eye out for their Wassailing event February 6th with Red Rover, similar to their “Meet Your Maker” event, where they will be pouring multiple ciders during the evening. Red Rover’s Bee Cider, made with honey from the hives on James Joyce’s roof, is currently available in the pub.

• And speaking of Red Rover, their cider is now available at the ANBL Growler filling stations for the first time this weekend. After a very successful launch of their bottles last week, their Fire Cider is on tap at the Dieppe, Fredericton, Sackville and Saint John growler stations while supplies last. And check out ANBL’s page for availability of their bottles.

Meander River recently released their newest seasonal, Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout. Featuring 20% rolled oats in the grain bill, the 5% ABV Stout features an aromatic coffee and cocoa profile. As the brewery puts it, “The breakfast of champions!” On tap now at the brewery and the Flying Apron Cookery, kegs were also sent to Battery Park.

• Also out this week from Meander River is their latest seasonal cider, Winterlude.  This unique blend features McIntosh, Northern Spy, Russet, and GoldRush apples, all sourced from Davison Farms in Falmouth. The 5.5% ABV cider has a semi-dry finish, crisp character, is cleanly fermented, and lightly carbonated. As with all of their ciders, the recipe blend changes with the seasons and apple availability, so if you’re a cider fan, it’s always a good idea to try the latest release.

• The new beer from Grimross that we mentioned a few weeks ago is now available on tap at the brewery. Ryes-N-Shine was brewed with approximately 40 kg of Tangelos (both the fruit and zest were used) and a “significant amount” of Rye malt. Fermented with two yeast strains (one a Belgian Saison strain, one American), this light-coloured ale comes in at 4.9% ABV and 23 IBUs. Owner/brewer Stephen Dixon describes the beer as “light and crisp, with a clean palate”, with the rye and citrus being subtle, but present. Look for it on tap at Grimross tap accounts in the province as well.

• Judging for the Hammond River 2nd Annual Home Brew Competition took place last Sunday at the Saint John Ale House. The style was Strong Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy); judges were impressed with the quality of the entries received, but ultimately a winner had to be selected. Nova Scotia homebrewers Keith Forbes and Mike Orr received the top prize with their Tilted Kilt, and actually came in second with their other entry, Kilted Tilt! Third place went to Newfoundland’s Mark McGraw, with his More Than Just a Wee Heavy. Both Forbes and Orr will be travelling to Hammond River soon, to brew a full-sized batch of their beer with owner/brewer Shane Steeves, to be released at select HR accounts. Congratulations to the winners!

Spindrift is continuing their series of weekly brews on their Pilot system (their 7th Wave series), with this week’s new beer being released today at the brewery at noon. Knotty Buoy is another interesting one: it’s a sour mashed Wheat Lager that has been aged on chopped rhubarb, cranberries, and hibiscus tea. Described by the brewery as “pouring ruby red, with a clean tartness complimented by bright fruit aromatics”, it comes in at a sessionable 4.3% ABV (and 10 IBUs). As always with the 7th Wave beers, there will be a very limited amount available when released, and only for growler fills, so get there quickly to fill up!

• Charlottetown’s Gahan House has released a new dark lager this week. Cast Iron is 5% ABV and 36 IBUs. Dark brown in colour thanks to Blackprinz malt on top of a 2-Row, Munich, and Cara60 grain bill. The beer features a moderate malt and slight roast character, leads into a medium hop bitterness, making this an easy to drink take on the European style. It is on tap at the brewery now, and can be taken away in growler fills as well.

• Over in Nyanza, Big Spruce is releasing their latest “Conspiracy” beer; this one is being described as a “Pine Needle IPA” that was brewed in collaboration with Ontario’s Sawdust City Brewing. Read Between the Pines has a “deep pine needle complexity”, with plenty of tropical fruit and pine thanks to large, late additions (and a dry hop) of both Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe, and a “big splash” of Galaxy as a second dry hop. Weighing in at 7.2% ABV and 48 IBUs, this sounds like a great one! It’s available for growler fills at the brewery right now, and show follow at select accounts very soon. And keep your eyes peeled for the 3rd Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Competition-winning Czech Dark Lager, brewed by Eric Gautier and Justin Clarke at the brewery, to be released next week. Finally, the 2016 version of Coade Word: Snowmaggedon was brewed earlier this week, and will be popping up on tap sometime in February.

• Speaking of embracing homebrewers, Boxing Rock has released a beer brewed with homebrewer Jason MacDougall. MacDougall visited Shelburne in December, and brewed up a Scottish Ale featuring a healthy portion of Peat Malt, and 35 kilos(!) of Heather flowers. To offset the floral kick, local wildflower honey and a light dose of Fuggles was added to the mix. Professor McDougall’s Oban Heather Scottish Ale weighs in at 5% ABV and will be available this weekend at the brewery, Alderney and Seaport Farmers’ Markets, private beer stores, and on tap in Halifax and Antigonish.

• Also released this weekend is their collaboration with Charlottetown’s Upstreet, Rumble in the Alley 2. This SMaSH IPA was brewed with Dark German Munich malt and Ontario-grown Santiam hops from Clear Valley Hops in Ontario. The resultant IPA features malt notes of biscuit and honey, and hop notes of spice and citrus. Rumble in the Alley 2 will be available this weekend at the brewery, and at the private stores, Farmers’ Markets, and on tap, next week.

Good Robot is releasing a new beer today that is definitely on the “different” side. When homebrewing last summer, they discovered a currently-unidentified microbe in the brewery that “generates a lemon-like, funky character” when added to their beers. They’ve investigated with a bit of microscopic viewing, and know that it’s neither Brettanomyces (a wild yeast) or Lactobacillus (a bacteria); they plan on sending it to the professionals for some thorough work. In the meantime, they’ve added it to a batch of their corn beer, and then dry-hopped it with Falconer’s Fight and Cascade to add even more citrus character to the aroma. The final product, Bank of Azealia, should be available at the taproom later today for pints and growler fills.

• Next Tuesday, January 26th, is Australia Day. Needing only the flimsiest of reasons to throw a party (OK, OK, their head bartender is Australian), the crew at Good Robot will be going all out to celebrate. Starting at 4pm, they’ll be blasting the Triple J Hottest 100, playing Australian movies on the projector, and serving kangaroo sausages, meat pies, and holding a meat raffle. While they won’t have Toohey’s or VB, they will have tinnies of Foster’s in the fridge in case their lineup of brews doesn’t quite quench your thirst after your walkabout. For the rest of the details, check out the Event page. And drop by this Sunday at 4pm for some vinyl love, courtesy of Black Buffalo Records, for an event called The Spins.

• The latest season of CTV’s MasterChef Canada begins February 14th, and Digby resident Les Barr will be among the competitors. Les is also the man behind Roof Hound Brewing, a mid-sized brewery slated to open in Digby County later this year. We expect to see Les cooking with beer whenever possible, and flexing his homebrewing muscles during the competition. We wish Les lots of luck, and look forward to following along with the progress of his cooking, and brewing.

• Thinking about opening or expanding a brewery or other beverage business? Springboard Atlantic is hosting a Liquid Courage event Feb 18 at Acadia University. Featuring keynotes from Greg Taylor of Steam Whistle Brewing and Dominic Rivard of Muwin Estate Wines and Bulwark, the seminar will feature presentations on how to build brands, do consumer research, quality testing, and exporting beyond provincial and national borders. More details can be found here. The seminar runs 8:30-4:30, and registration is now open.

• Details on the Craft Beer Cottage Party, part of Savour Food and Wine Festival, are emerging. Being held 7-9:30pm, Feb 27th in the Halifax Seaport Market location, the event will feature twenty local breweries, plus a few others from outside the region. Already lined up, with a list growing daily, are: Bad Apple, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark, Gahan, Garrison, Good Robot, Hell Bay, Meander River, Nine Locks, North, PEI Brewing, Picaroons, Propeller, Rare Bird, Spindrift, Tatmagouche, Uncle Leo’s, Upstreet. Also in attendance will be Innovative Beverages Agency (representing Muskoka and Central City), Goose Island, and Mill Street. Your $50+HST (or $65+tax to skip the line and take home a gift bag) ticket offers unlimited tasting during the evening. There will be food vendors onsite, including The Stubborn Goat. Entertainment includes live bands, and cottage party games. Tickets are available online now.

• There are good things coming this spring to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Currently a craft beer wasteland, a new store carrying Nova Scotia liquor, wine, cider, and beer will be opening in April. Liquid Assets is a subsidiary of Ironworks Distillery, and will be located post-security, on the domestic/international departures level. It will mean being able to grab a bottle before getting on a flight, without having to worry about breakage in checked luggage, or having forgotten a gift while visiting the area. Look for more details on selection and exact opening date soon.

• LATE ADDITON: Propeller has released their latest One Hit Wonder Friday afternoon, Fog City Coffee Porter. This 5.5% ABV, 30 IBUs, Porter was brewed with whole bean coffee from Java Blend in both the boil, as well as “dry-beaned” during fermentation and conditioning. As with all OHW brews, this is a growler- and draft-only release, with it on tap now for growler fills at the Windmill location, and later Friday evening on Gottingen St. And don’t forget to pick up tickets to their returning Prop’r Cask Night, next Friday, Jan 29, 6-9pm. This edition will feature the food catering of friend-to-beer Studio East, and a special cask of Fog City, cask conditioned with even more coffee beans. Tickets are a steal at $30 (all in), which offers unlimited samples of both food and beer at the Gottingen St. Brewery, and lots of fun mingling with fellow food and beer nuts. Tickets are available now!

A few more notes for this week: Breton Brewing has put together a new dark beer, to be released next month. They are staying tight-lipped for now, but we understand this is a Porter to be released around the 14th. We’ll have more details closer to its release. Be sure to drop by The Auction House on Wednesday for their monthly Beer School, where the beers from a particular brewery are paired with special dishes from their kitchen. January’s brewery is Picaroons, with head brewer Myles MacKenzie making the trip himself to share some knowledge. Tickets are now on sale for a pair of Beer and Chocolate Dinner, hosted by Picaroons. Both are being held at 7pm on February 10th, with one at BrewBakers in Fredericton, and the other at Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay. This three course meal will feature chocolate-infused dishes, paired with beer.

Good morning, beer fans! After the beer news overload we experienced last week, things have slowed down a bit… maybe the snow and colder weather has something to do with it? Either way, there’s still some news to share for this week!

• Hammond River has a couple of new beers in their pipeline… first up is a revamp of one of their first flagship brews, Hop Flash IPA. Brewer Shane Steeves simplified the grain bill to contain 2-row as the base malt, plus some CaraRed (the original beer also had Munich and Melanoidin malt in the grist). The hops have changed slightly: Warrior is used for bittering, with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial added during the boil for flavour, and Amarillo in the dry-hop (as opposed to Cascade in version 1). It still comes in at 66 IBUs and 6.6% ABV, but as Steeves explains, “The goal is to show how a different grain bill and slightly different hop profile can affect the taste profile of a beer”. Look for Hop Flash 2 to appear within a few weeks. HR will also be brewing a new beer soon, inspired by several Nut Brown Ales that Steeves brewed in his homebrewing days. This one is being categorized as a “Nut Red” Ale (“a cross between an American Amber and Irish Red”, says Steeves), with “lots of toasty, biscuity, and nutty flavours”. The recipe is still being hashed out, but we can expect it to come in at approximately 5.5% ABV. Finally, their Imperial Vanilla Porter is available once again at most HR accounts, with a lucky two (James Joyce and the Barrel’s Head) receiving the 9.2% ABV Bourbon version!

Sea Level has just released their first Belgian-style beer, a Farmhouse Ale named New Moon. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain to give the beer some spicy phenolics and fruity esters, there was also some Chinese rock sugar and dried orange peel added in the fermentor, with more orange peel added in the brite tank for further conditioning. A strong beer at 9% ABV, it is currently available in cans at the brewery retail store, and should also be at Harvest Wines & Spirits and Bishop’s Cellar today. Look for it to also pop up on tap at select accounts.

Last Friday, we hinted at a big announcement coming from Red Rover, and they confirmed earlier this week that one of their goals has finally been reached! As of Tuesday, 750 mL bottles of their ciders are now available for sale at select ANBL stores. The initial launch includes their Spring, Fall, and Fire ciders, which are available at all four Fredericton ANBL locations, with most stores in Saint John following shortly, along with Dieppe (Regis St.); check online for updates on stock and locations. We can likely expect new seasonal releases to hit stores as well. RR’s Adam Clawson had this to say about the announcement: “We are really excited; it is a major milestone in creating a craft cider industry in New Brunswick. We would really like to thank all of our customers for their continued support, as this will now enable Red Rover to reach people unable to get to our farmers market and The Ciderhouse.”

• While we’re on the topic of new, local releases at the ANBL, both Railcar and Maybee Brewing announced this week that some of their beers should be on shelves very soon. Railcar’s first beers will be their Artisan Brown and Café Buzz Porter; both will be available in 500 mL bottles, and should be for sale by this weekend. Look for Railcar Red to follow in another two weeks. The Perth-Andover and Woodstock stores will likely be stocked first, with stores between Grand Falls and Fredericton hopefully following in the near future before further expansion to Saint John and Moncton by summer. Maybee Brewing will start off with their Work Horse IPA (one of their first two flagship beers), which will be available in 500 mL cans sometime next week. As above, be sure to check online for exact info on stock and locations. While not showing up at publishing time, check out these links for the ANBL’s current inventory of Railcar and Maybee beers.

• Tickets are now on sale for the Fredericton Poutine Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. This is the first time the event has been scheduled outside of the fall season, but after the continuing popularity of recent festivals, it was decided to have another one! April’s event will be very familiar to the most recent one on November 21st: it will take place at the Crowne Plaza, and will feature three different sessions, two of which offer various ticket options for anywhere from 4 to 16 beer tickets for 4-oz samples of a selection of over 20 local craft beer. And, of course, unlimited samples of approximately 15 different types of poutine, even more than last time! The brewery list is still being finalized, but this year’s festival will feature a majority of breweries located in Fredericton. Check out the ticket link for more details, and be sure to buy yours quickly – previous events have sold out quickly, and more than 40% of tickets have already been sold since going on sale yesterday morning at 11 am!

Boxing Rock has released details on the Black Box Challenge, their first homebrew competition… with a twist. After paying a $45+HST entry fee, entrants will pick up their Black Box, which contains eight different malts, five hop varieties, and two yeast strains. Using any or all of these ingredients, you can brew any style that you want (under 9% ABV)… but you can’t use any outside ingredients (well, except water of course!). Each Black Box is identical, and contains enough ingredients to brew a 1-gallon test batch and two 5-gallon batches (depending on the style). Only one entry per person, and the number of entrants is being limited to twenty (you can register and pay online). Judging will take place at Stillwell on Sunday, March 6th; all entrants are required to make a short (<5 min) presentation on their entry for judges, highlighting their recipe planning, the brewday, and your final product. That presentation, along with the beer, will be judged, and the winning entry and brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe at Boxing Rock in Shelburne. The beer will be released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. Half of the entry fees and proceeds from the full-scale batch will be donated to the Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank. Sign up today (there are only a few boxes left!) and pick up your Box from Stillwell starting Jan 23rd. Good luck!

• We’ve spotted several other new beers in the wild this week, but haven’t been able to gather too much information for you just yet. Rest assured, we’re on the case! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the newest beers from Hell Bay (the return of their very popular R.I.P. (A), their 7.3%, 120 IBU, IPA), Meander River (Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout), and a pair of new German-inspired beers from Paddys Irish Brewpub (Decem-beer Bock coming in at 6.1% and 15 IBUs, and a 6.8% Weizenbock).

Don’t forget to pick up a growler or pint of Spindrift‘s The Abyss Schwarzbier, being released today (with a special coffee-infused cask debuting last night at the Craft Beer and Local Food event). Check out the fun as Upstreet visits Halifax this weekend, with tickets for their Sunday Beer Pairing Luncheon at Stubborn Goat now on sale. And grab a pint of Johnny Jacks’ latest creation, Showshoe Winter Ale, at Sour Grape Cafe, and now on tap at the James Joyce. Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have re-brewed their Canon Franchetti Cappuccino Stout, and it should be available by mid-February; this batch is also going to be bottled this time around. And look for a trio of AlphaBrews (large scale Experimental batches) from the mind of Good Robot Brewmaster Doug Kehoe: their “Märzen“, a traditional Festbier with a cherrywood-smoked malt twist; a “Saison“, with a chewy plum spice character; and v3.0 of Burban Legend APA, dry-hopped with El Dorado for a citrus and watermelon aroma.

Happy 2016 everyone! We are starting off the year with one of the longest posts to date, with a new brewery announcement, new inter-provincial beer launches, more than a half-dozen new beers, and the return of some old favourite beers and events. It just goes to show that there is no slowing down the Atlantic Canadian Beer news, and we are sure to stay busy this year, bringing you the scoop!

• We start off this week with the announcement of a new brewery, to open this summer in Smith’s Cove, Digby County, NS. Lazy Bear Brewing is the brainchild of Andy and Erin Norman, a husband and wife team of local homebrewers. They will be focusing on brewing English and American ales on a 3 barrel brewhouse. Both Erin and Andy have been homebrewing for years, Erin’s love of which was sparked during university, while taking a Food Science degree. “That’s where I started to learn about what beer really was. I really got into home brewing a few years ago when I had the space to do so and it has become quite a hobby.” They initially plan to offer direct growler sales, and at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market. Lazy Bear’s name borrows from their proximity to the Bear River and nearby Bear Island, and just taking time to relax, enjoy a beer and your surroundings, and being lazy! Keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages, where they have been posting pictures of their brewery build progress. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Lazy Bear!

• From new brewery to new beer, Propeller has released their newest One-Hit Wonder, an American Amber that showcases a new Australian hop variety, Vic Secret. Vic’s Resolution was brewed with a Pale malt base, along with specialty malts including Crystal, Victory and Chocolate to target an amber colour and provide some malty, caramel sweetness to the beer. Moderately-hopped to 23 IBUs, the late additions of Vic Secret give the beer an aroma of pineapple and pine. Easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV, it’s available for growler fills at both Prop Shop locations, and will be popping up on tap at better beer establishments across HRM. And drop by the Windmill location today from 11-3 to grab some jerk chicken and other island treats from the Jamaica Lee food truck.

• In other Propeller news, they’ve announced the date of their next Prop’r Cask Night; it will be held on Friday, January 29th at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. from 6-9 pm. While the ticket price includes samples of several Propeller beers, the real star of the show is, of course, the cask. This event will feature a Coffee Porter, which will be tapped at 6:30 pm by one of Propeller’s brewers. Along with the beers, a selection of appetizers from chef Ray Bear of Studio East will be on-hand for sampling. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.

• After officially launching with their Coastal Lager several months ago, Spindrift is releasing two new beers over the next week. First up is La Niña, a golden, unfiltered Wheat Lager that was sour mashed before being fermented by their house Lager yeast strain. A very small batch (50 L) brewed on their Blichmann pilot system, it’s meant to be a slightly acidic, easy-drinking (4.5% ABV) and refreshing Lager. Dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for “floral and grassy notes” without a lot of bitterness (less than 10 IBUs), it’s the first of their planned weekly series of pilot batches that will be available only at the Spindrift Taproom for growler fills, for a very short time; it will be released this afternoon. The second new beer is The Abyss, a Schwarzbier. A German-style Black Lager, it features “toasted grains, coffee, and chocolate” in the aroma and flavour, leading to an “elegantly smooth finish”, according to the brewery. Hopped with Magnum and German Hersbrucker to 25 IBUs, it was conditioned for 6 weeks to smooth out the flavours even more, and at just 4.2% ABV, should be another easy-drinking beer. The Abyss will be available on tap only at the Taproom and select bars and restaurants Friday, with a sneak peek available during the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration Thursday. Look for a barrel-aged version of The Abyss in the coming months, which was amped up with a dosing of Coldstream Clear Distillery’s Classic Coffee spirit to enhance the beers character.

Upstreet has announced some exciting news for beer lovers not living on PEI: they will soon be available in Nova Scotia! Their four bottled beer offerings will be for sale at Bishop’s Cellar next week, including the Commons Pilsner, Rhuby Social, Do-Gooder, and White Noize, and kegs available to licensees through Bishop’s distribution. To celebrate, they’re planning several events to kick off their NS launch:
– Thursday (Jan 14), they’re holding a release party at Stubborn Goat at 10pm. Come meet and greet the Upstreet crew, and learn all about their beer. PEI’sDylan Menzie playing tunes.
– Friday, 12-10pm they will be holding tastings at Bishop’s Cellar. In addition to bottles, Upstreet’s Black Tie Affair Vanilla Cranberry Stout will be available on the growler filling station.
Later on, drop by Stillwell for more pints and fun with the crew, from 7pm to close.
– Saturday, 12-10pm they will be doing more tastings at Bishop’s Cellar.
They will also be taking over the guest taps at Good Robot’s Tap Room, and taking part in a GoodStreet Feats of Strength Mini-Olympics between the two breweries, 2-6pm. Be sure to drop by for this one, as you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to watch brewers make fools of themselves! If you’re interested in joining a team contact Mikey Woz or Joshua Counsil at the event link above.
– Sunday, they will be holding a beer pairing brunch at Stubborn Goat at 3pm, tickets are now available. Upstreet’s Joey and Hogie will lead a pairing of their four flagship beers with some special food prepared by the Goat’s kitchen.
Keep an eye on their Event Page for further details as they are released.

• With the bottles available at Bishop’s Cellar, this also means beer fans from Yarmouth to Sydney to Amherst can also enjoy bottles of Upstreet. For those who did not know, Bishop’s Cellar offers province-wide shipping on all of their products, and is free for orders over $150 of any combination of beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Keep an eye on their Beer page for the latest new arrivals and the current list of beers on tap for growler fills.

• After a soft launch at the Christmas Beer Garden on December 20th, and a “Meet Your Maker” event at the James Joyce on December 30th, Maybee Brewing now has their initial two beers – Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA – on tap at three locations in Fredericton: the James Joyce, King Street Ale House, and 540 Kitchen & Bar. No official announcement has yet been made as to when the brewery’s taproom will be opening at its location at 559 Wilsey Rd, but the brewery has stated on their Facebook page that both of their initial beers should be available for sale in cans at select ANBL locations by next weekend.

• It’s been just about a year since the James Joyce greatly expanded their tap list and seriously embraced local craft beer, and they’re holding a birthday party to celebrate! Starting at 5 pm on Friday, January 22nd, they will be welcoming everyone to drop in for some birthday cake and happy hour prices on select craft beers. As usual, there will be plenty of beers on tap, with a large emphasis on those produced in New Brunswick, with a strong possibility of a new brewery being present. Cheers to year one, and to many more to come!

• And speaking of the Joyce, they will be welcoming their first kegs from Saint John’s newest brewery, First City, this weekend. Two new beers are being sent for the brewery’s first appearance outside of Saint John: a Chocolate Coffee Stout and DIPA. While both are currently unnamed, we do have the details on each! The Chocolate Coffee Stout was brewed with cocoa powder and Jamaican Rum Butter coffee from Java Moose, and comes in at 6% ABV. The DIPA, while of course a lighter-coloured beer, weighs in at 8% ABV and 112 calculated IBUs; hopped with plenty of locally-grown organic Nugget (from Lunahops in NB) as well as Columbus and Mosaic, expect aromas and flavours that are fruity, earthy, resinous, and herbal. Don’t worry, loyal fans in Saint John – Bourbon Quarter, Lemongrass, and the R Bar are each receiving a keg of the Chocolate Coffee Stout; the R Bar also purchased a keg of the DIPA.

• After some unfortunate delays, Fredericton’s newest cidery, York County Cider, is making more progress towards opening in the near future. All of their brewing, fermenting, and storage equipment arrived shortly before Christmas, and set-up is underway! A juice delivery is planned for the end of this month; product should be following sometime later in the winter. We’ll continue to keep you updated on their progress.

Unfiltered is releasing another hoppy one-off beer today at noon: REALLY Falc’d Up is a bigger version of their All Falc’d Up, an already-pretty-big beer that was released last October. Like that beer, this one features the fruity and tropical Falconer’s Flight, a West Coast variety actually made up of several different hops. It weighs in at a calculated 100+ IBUs, and is even stronger than the last beer, at 9% ABV.  Drop by the brewery today for growler fills or a pint next door at Charm School.

Good Robot is continuing their Experimental releases this weekend with the release of Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale (David Lynch tribute), version 2.0. First released in October, 5.8% ABV, 38 IBUs beer features Pilsner and Red X malt to enhance sweetness, and Rye malt for a bit of spiciness. They used the same hops as their Burban Legend APA, for a pleasant citrus, floral, and grapefruit character. To add roast character, this new batch features an addition of two litres of cold-brewed Java Blend Sidamo Guji coffee to the conditioning beer (2lbs of beans in 2.5 litres of water). This technique allows the bean flavour and aromatics to be extracted, without any bitterness or harsh coffee character. As with their other Experimental brews, this will be for on-premise enjoyment at their Tap Room only, and will be out in the next day or two. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the announcement.

• The Robots also held their first Tap Room event Wednesday evening, Silent Reading. The idea was to encourage folks to put down their cell phones, cut out the din of loud music and talking, and enjoy some quiet time with their favourite tome. The event was extremely popular, filling the bar to capacity. Look for future Silent Reading events in the future, as it may become a monthly event due to the great community adoption. Again, stay tuned to their social media pages for more events.

• Do you live in New Brunswick? Are you a fan of Big Spruce Brewing? Well, great news! The brewery confirmed on Wednesday that they’re sending kegs of their beer to several beer bars/restaurants in the province, including the King Street Ale House in Fredericton, the Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Peppers Pub and Bourbon Quarter in Saint John. Beers being delivered will include some or all of the following favourites: Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, and Regatta Red Ale. They should be available at these locations now (or very soon); welcome to NB, Big Spruce!

• For those in Nova Scotia, Big Spruce will be debuting their newest conspiracy Thursday. JAC the SIPA is a Sour IPA, brewed with homebrewers Justin Clarke and Eric Gautier in early December. The beer was made sour using a kettle sour technique, during which natural Lactobacillus produces lactic acid from the wort in the warm (not hot) kettle; the wort is then boiled to kill the beasts, and then fermented using an ale yeast. This Sour IPA (the province’s first?) weighs in at 6.6% ABV and 55 IBUs, with big Amarillo and Simcoe late-, whirlpool-, and dry-hopping additions for tons of aroma. The beer will debut at the Local Connections event, and be available on tap and for growler fills after.

Tatamagouche Brewing is in a hoppy mood this month, which is good news for the rest of us! They’re re-releasing two of their more-popular hoppy offerings: Deception Bay IPA was just re-released yesterday, and is available in cans, growlers, and on tap; and Dreadnot India Black Ale will be available again next Thursday, January 14th. This version of Dreadnot will be amped up a bit, as the batch was dry-hopped this time around. Finally, TataBrew is introducing a new beer for the Local Connections event next week: Deadeye DIPA is an Imperial IPA hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, and Hallertau Blanc… and then double-dry hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, for a big blast of “pineapple, grapefruit, and passionfruit”, according to the brewery. Sounds delicious to us! If you can’t make the event, don’t worry; this 91 IBUs, 8% DIPA will be following on tap and in growlers as well, and in cans shortly after. Also pouring at the Local Connections event will be a cask of Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, their 5.5% Rye IPA. This is the barrel aged version of the cask that was sent to Cask Days, conditioned in the cask with caraway seeds and fresh ginger. Look for additional opportunities to grab this Barrel-aged version on tap at better bars and restaurants around the province next week.

• The organizers of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival still have room for more teams at their NB Hopspiel event being held Jan 29-30th at the outdoor rink at Officer’s Square. We have details on the event in our previous post, but as a refresher, your team entry ticket includes lessons and practice Friday night, games Saturday, a lunch of chili and rolls, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (Saturday, 12-6 pm), along with tickets for six 4-oz samples from seven breweries pouring ~15 different beers, ciders and mead. For those not interested in the curling, you can now buy a ticket for entry into the Beer Garden alone. This includes your first five samples (9 oz for beer, 7 oz for cider or mead), and additional tickets can be purchased at the event; food can also be purchased from outside the event and brought in. Note that while children are welcome to observe the curling, the Beer Garden is a 19+ only event, and tickets MUST be purchased in advance through the link above.

• And speaking of the FCBF, evening tickets are more than 90% sold out, so grab them now if you would like to attend the evening session. There are still plenty of afternoon tickets available as well; it will be a bit quieter, and a great way to kick off an evening downtown… or maybe even a return to the evening session!

Garrison Brewing is bringing back their NiT-WiT Belgian Wheat today. This 4.8% ABV, 12 IBUs Belgian Witbier features orange and coriander for an authentic Wit character. First brewed in 2011, it began life as homebrewer Scott Tilford’s winning recipe for Garrison’s Home Brew-Off. Refreshing citrus and tropical aromas meld with a herbal finish. It is available today at the brewery, and will be released to the liquor stores in the coming weeks. And a gentle reminder to homebrewers, the 2016 Home Brew-Off deadline is just one month away, with beers due Feb 11. Be sure to brew your Experimental IPA now, to leave enough time for proper conditioning and carbonating! More details here.

• Garrison is partnering with Board Room Game Cafe, and holding two nights of competitive Catan tournaments at the brewery, Jan 12 & 13. Beginning at 7pm, your $10 admission fee includes entry in the tournament, as well as a sampling of beer. If you are not a Catan person, Board Room will be bringing along lots of other games to play, and their Board Game Bosses to make recommendations and help with the rules. Advance registration is suggested, check their Facebook page for more details.

• We’ve made mention of it several times above, so just a note that there are still a few tickets available for the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, being held at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. There will be 19 breweries and cider houses in attendance, many of which will be serving debuting new beers and/or serving special casks during the event. There are also 17 food vendors to keep you happy. With the expanded space at the hotel, this will be an excellent evening. Tickets are only available online.

• With all of the new beers mentioned today, how about a look back at an older one? In a story that first emerged last year, scuba diver Jon Crouse found an intact bottle of beer while diving in Halifax Harbour. He was able to identify the origin by the cork, noting it was from Alexander Keith’s brewery, circa 1870-90. While his original intent was to allow the beer to evaporate, Christopher Reynolds from Stillwell asked for a chance to test, and possibly taste, the beer first! Fast forward to this week, when Crouse and Reynolds visited the Atlantic Canada Fermented Products Institute at Dalhousie University. There, they met with Andrew MacIntosh who extracted some of the beer in a sterile fashion, and has begun analysis on it. In their lab, as well as a partner lab in Scotland, they hope to determine the recipe and brewing techniques used, and MacIntosh and colleagues will be publishing a paper on it in the future. So, how did it taste? “Like beer!” Be sure to tune into Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet on Jan 12 for a look in the lab, and being science nerds ourselves, we’ll be sure to follow up when the results are in.

Phew, that’s all we can muster for this week! In closing, be sure to drop by your local ANBL growler station this weekend, as two NB breweries will be featured: Hammond River‘s Red Coat India Red Ale will be on tap at the KV store, and Flying Boat‘s S-55 Special Mission Pale Ale will be at the other three (Fredericton, Dieppe, and Sackville), while quantities last! Oromocto’s first brewery, Johnny Jacks, has a new beer available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe; details are slim at the moment, but we can confirm it is a 7.1% ABV American IPA named Trench Fighter. Finally, stay tuned to Red Rover early next week, as they have some big news to announce! Have a great weekend!