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All posts for the month January, 2017

Welcome to the last Friday Wrap-Up of January. Plenty of new beers to tell you about, and a slew of events coming up too. Let’s get right to it!

• The judging the first annual TrailWay Homebrew Competition took place last weekend; close to 30 entries in the American IPA category were evaluated by six judges (including our very own acbbshawn). The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, but in the meantime, TW’s newest DIPA, Hop Stains, will be released at the brewery today at 4 pm. Hopped heavily with Azacca, Citra, and El Dorado (with the emphasis, of course, on whirlpool and dry hop additions), expect a smooth IPA with a creamy mouthfeel, with lots of fruit throughout, and a bit of bubblegum. Not too bitter at ~60 IBUs, it clocks in at 8% ABV. A limited number of cans (40 cases) will be available, with the rest going into kegs for lucky tap accounts.

• There’s a brand new beer available now from Port Williams’ Sea Level BrewingCallahan’s Crosstime Irish Ale. The brewery is calling it a “malt-forward, smooth Irish Ale”, but it takes a different direction than the norm, thanks to the addition of Galaxy hops (to 30 IBUs), giving a “sublime, tropical fruit aroma”. Horton Ridge Pale Malt is included in the grist, with the beer coming in higher than your typical Irish Ale, at 7.3% ABV. Available in cans, 1-L growlers, and on tap at select accounts across the province.

• After a tease last Saturday at Ducky’s, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest addition to their Giant Beer series. Barrel Aged Barley Wine features a recipe variation from last year’s Giantess Barley Wine, as it now uses Horton Ridge malt as the majority of the grist. According to Brewmaster Matt Kenny, “This change adds some spice and a little more body, which we felt worked well with the spirit and barrel character”. Speaking of which, the beer was aged in freshly-emptied Single Malt barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery, picking up plenty of complexity during the process. The 10.5% ABV beer is well-balanced and ready to drink now, or will age gracefully for a new experience. Available exclusively in bottles at their Main Street Tatamagouche location, drop by today to grab a couple (one to enjoy now, and another to enjoy in a few months or a year, if you can keep it that long!). And while you’re there, you’ll be able to spy the expansion underway, as Kenny and Co look to double their fermentation and conditioning capacity to keep up with demand, and have a more permanent solution for their canning line. The building, and resultant improvements, will be online to help with the upcoming summer rush.

• Those in attendance at Stillwell for the debut of Tidehouse Brewing back in December know very well that the India Saison made specifically for that event was a banger and have been eagerly awaiting any hint that it might come back into production. Those people have not been waiting in vain, as that beer has returned with a shiny new name: Enigmatic (“it’s kinda weird).  Dryer than the original version, leading to a significant bump in ABV up to 6.8%, there’s  a whole lot of hops in there, specifically the Ahtanum, Azacca and Amarillo varieties. You’re encouraged to consider an IPA crossed with a Belgian/French yeast profile. If that sounds like something you’d like, or even just something you might like to try, you’re further encouraged to get yourself down to Tidehouse and get some while it’s still around (hint: it won’t be for long!). Shean and Peter also remind us that they’ll fill any size of (clean!) growler you care to bring them. And be sure to grab their interview with the 902 BrewCast guys that dropped earlier this week. Learn about some crazy beer experiments and punny beer names that maybe coming your way soon…

• Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax saw two beers hit the taps this week. Monday was the release of a new beer, the English Golden Ale that features ingredients sourced entirely from the UK. Technically a SMaSH (but not simply for the sake of being a SMaSH), the eminently British Maris Otter is the lone malt, providing a doughy character with honey overtones, while the hops are all Fuggles, a classic for British styles, bringing herbal and floral notes. At only 16 IBU and a fairly light 4.5% this should be an extremely easy-drinking ale with a fairly full flavour profile that belies its weight.

• And on Wednesday, the latest variation of the Crosscurrent American Pale Ale debuted, this time venturing afield of the all-American hop varieties featured to this point. Using Magnum (largely for bittering, we presume) and “a lot of” Dr. Rudi, a New World variety from New Zealand known for bringing a refreshing combination of pine, dry lime and lemon aromas and flavours. Still clocking in at 5.5% ABV and still featuring a malt bill of primarily pale malt with some flaked oats and flaked wheat, the IBUs are a tad lighter on this batch at 32, but we suspect the hops are much more evident in flavor than in bitterness. Both the English Golden Ale and the new Crosscurrent are available for pints and growler fills. And be sure to sign up for their Home Brewer’s Challenge before the Feb 17 deadline by email; they are looking for your best Trappist Single. Check our previous post for more details.

• Sticking with Gahan (and Homebrewing), but skipping across the Northumberland Strait, Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub has released the winner of the PEI installment of the Home Brewer’s Challenge, Green Willy Solstice, a 7.9% ABV Winter Warmer. The winning team of Jonathan Green, Clayton Harding, Will Panting, and Jaime Venturini joined Brewmaster Trent Haynes for the day, using molasses and a blend of spices for a warming profile to the beer. Grab a pint on tap at Sydney Street now.

• Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing a special beer next week, featuring a unique local ingredient. Bunchberry Orange Kolsch is a 4.5% ABV German hybrid beer (hybrid of ale and lager yeast, more temperature-tolerant), with oranges grown in Nova Scotia. Bunchberry Nurseries were the folks who grew the Poncirus trifoliata, also known as Japanese or Chinese Bitter Orange, a cold-tolerant citrus tree. To celebrate this first for the province, Lazy Bear are holding a public tasting of the beer at Bunchberry in Upper Clements, February 3, 7:00-9:00 pm. To honour the unexpected combination, there will be a beach theme to the evening, and it will feature local food. The beer is in very short supply, so be sure to drop by that evening to avoid disappointment. If there does happen to be any left, it will be available at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market the next morning.

 • Ontario’s Beau’s Brewing is brewing a series of collaboration beers in 2017, to celebrate the 150th birthday of our country. Their first in this series was conceived with the Fogo Island Inn, located on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. Described by the brewery as a “Myrrh-Smoked Gose”, this one is definitely different! Along with Pilsner, Acid, and Carafoam malt in the grist, Wheat malt that was smoked with myrrh collected from the Island’s pine, spruce, and fir trees was added. The saltiness typical to the Gose style was obtained by the addition of island-foraged sea salt, and Newfoundland partridgeberries were added for tartness (as opposed to the usual practice of introducing Lactobacillus bacteria). This is a higher-ABV than usual for a Gose, at 6.7% ABV; it was hopped with Strisselspalt and Simcoe to 35 IBUs, also high for the style. Beau’s describes the beer as hazy orange, with earthy and woody aromas mingled with mild fruitiness, and smoky and tart flavours. Named 49° 54°, it’s going to be available only at the Inn, with $1500 in sales being donated to the Shorefast Foundation. For more info on this beer, check out Beau’s full description. And be sure to follow along with Beau’s future collaborations, as some more Atlantic Canadian terroir beers are sure to pop up!

In terms of events, we’ve also got plenty to tell you about this week, as brewers and restaurants start to get ahead of the snow and ice…

• In case you missed yesterday’s post, Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors at 1932 Brunswick Street tomorrow, from noon. Check out the full details in the Profile, but be sure to drop by for the special tap room-only Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and Mango & Brett IPA, as they will be sure to sell out quickly (and are not available elsewhere).

• After (or before) a stop for that pint and growler fill tomorrow, drop down to Bishop’s Cellar for a co-tap takeover of their growler filling station with Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery and Sheet Harbour’s Sober Island Brewing. The crews from both spots will be on hand from 1:00-3:00pm to chat and pour samples, before you dive in for a growler filling.

• And while you’re in the downtown core tomorrow, be sure to drop by Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington for pours of three special beers from Toronto brewery Bellwoods. The Plum variant of their Jelly King, a dry-hopped Lacto sour; Jutsu, a Vermont-inspired 5.6% ABV Pale Ale; and Farmhouse Saison, fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus. These will be on from noon, when you can also take advantage of their “Bottle of the Day”, where they are offering up a bottle from their cellar for pours from the glass, rather than having to spring for the whole shebang.

Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another of their Beer to Go days tomorrow, January 28th, from 10 am-6 pm. Two beers will be available for growler fills: Killington IPA, a 7.6% ABV Northeast IPA featuring plenty of Citra and Mosaic hops, and a new take on their Sour Otis Grapefruit, which has been rebuilt from the ground up, according to brewer Chad Steeves. Twenty-four grapefruits per barrel were added to the beer, making it more acidic than ever. Only a limited supply of these beers (2 kegs each) will be available, so get over early!

New Brunswick Beer Tours is holding their FROSTival Brewery Tour next Saturday, February 4th, and there’s still a few tickets left! They’ll be following their usual itinerary of four brewery stops (this time around, Graystone, Maybee, Mama’s, and TrailWay), before a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint with Off Grid Ales‘ Randy Rowe; each brewery stop includes four sample pours. Tickets are $68.50 each, and include – of course – transportation between all stops.

• Sick of winter yet? If you’re in the Fredericton area, Maybee Brewing is offering a cure – of sorts – with their Beat the Winter Blues, scheduled for next Saturday, February 4th. A night of live music and beer (from 7 pm-1 am), your $12 advance ticket ($20 at the door) gets you admission to two live bands, The Tortoise The Hare & The Millionaire, and Keith Hallett. Of course, there will be plenty of Maybee beer on tap, as well as a guest brewery or two, for purchase. A food truck will be on site, and a free shuttle to downtown will be available between 12-1:30 am.

• After a wildly successful debut at TrailWay, the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection have got their next event scheduled at Maybee Brewing February 8th at 6:30pm. $14 will get you a flight of beer, tour of the brewery, and insightful chat with fellow beer lovers (and those looking to learn more). Check out the FB Event page, and be sure to RSVP in advance.

• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is scheduled for Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go, but be warned, this is a big beer!

• Speaking of March 11th, the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is fast approaching! While the evening session did sell out quickly, there are still afternoon tickets available, which offers the option of a slightly-more-relaxed experience… and the option of continuing afterwards with Péché Day at the KSAH! If you’re an alumni (have attended the last four festivals) and haven’t yet picked up your tickets, be sure to do so with the special alumni code emailed to you by FCBF organizers – aside from all the great local craft beer, you also get a T-shirt, custom glassware, and more!

A couple more things before we let you go this week:

– The crew from Bishop’s Cellar drove up to Nyanza this week to brew up a collaboration at Big Spruce Brewing. Coming next month will be Anaphylactic Choc, a peanut butter and chocolate porter, featuring organic peanut butter added right to the boil, for a blast of nutty goodness. We’ll share more details when the beer is released on February 25th, at a Takeover of Bishop’s growler filling taps.
Breton Brewing has brought back Crazy Angus Double IPA, the amped up brother to their Black Angus IPA. At 7.4% ABV and 85 IBU, it’s sure to cure that hop itch many of us have! Grab it on tap at their taproom, and accounts around the province.
Gahan Halifax will be hosting their first Brewmaster’s Dinner on February 21st, featuring four courses from the chef specifically paired with beers from Kyle Jeppesen’s brewhouse. More details are in the offing and we’ll bring them to you as they become available.
Garrison Brewing is holding a contest on Instagram, celebrating their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA. Take a picture of why you love the town, and tag @garrisonbrewing and use the #LoveThisDirtyOlTown hashtag. They will regram all entries, and the one with the most likes by February 9th will win a brewery tour for 10 people.

2 Crows Logo

It’s been half a year or more since the first reports of 2 Crows Brewing made the rounds, and excitement has been building steadily ever since. This Saturday, January 28th, at noon, the doors will finally open at 1932 Brunswick Street and everyone will be able to see what the anticipation has been about. Named for a fascination with an old rhyme about crows that begins, “One for sorrow, two for joy,” the spirit of 2 Crows is all about seeing one crow and immediately looking for another, that is, seeking out joy even when faced with sorrow and trying to find the brighter side.

2 Crows brings the husband and wife team of Mark and Kelly Huizink together with brewer Jeremy Taylor in a venture that will bring some unique brews to our scene right out of the gate. Originally from Vancouver, Jeremy and his wife Elaine, who is from Dartmouth, have been looking to come East for some time. Jeremy most recently spent a few years as head brewer at Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver after some time in Scotland where he acquired his formal brewing education and took his first brewhouse job.

After a childhood of travelling from country to country, Mark landed in Halifax for University in the early 2000s where he met Kelly, who is from the area, and they’ve been based here ever since. Mark is half Belgian and half Dutch, and his trips with Kelly to visit family over the years introduced them to many varied styles of beer and gave them an appreciation for the industry on an international scale. Watching the beer trends change at home, with friends becoming more interested in different styles of beer, seeing the local industry grow by leaps and bounds and having always loved the idea of opening a business locally, they decided to take the plunge. Mark leaves behind a 7-year career in accounting to work the business side of the enterprise, while Kelly will run the taproom.

Jeremy and Mark were kind enough to answer our many questions about how the brewery came about, what beers they’ll be introducing on Saturday, and what they’ve got planned for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Jeremy: I am from Vancouver originally. My wife is from Dartmouth, and we have been aiming to move back here for a number of years… I have wanted to be here because of how exciting the NS beer scene is, and how awesome people from NS are. Outside of beer, I do a fair bit of camping, hiking, and fly fishing with my dog and wife. I used to play a lot of rugby when I was younger, and first came to NS in the early 2000s because I played for the Newfoundland provincial team.
Mark and Kelly Huizink are the other part of the brewery. Mark is 1/2 Belgian and 1/2 Dutch, and grew up bouncing around from country to country because of his father’s work. Mark landed in Halifax around 15 years ago for university, and has loved life here ever since. He met Kelly while in university, they have been together ever since. Kelly, having been born and raised here in Halifax, was always excited about the idea of opening up a business locally. They have two kids, both born here in Halifax, and are excited about the idea of raising their kids in such a wonderful place. Being part of the burgeoning craft beer industry here in a place that they love so much has been a dream for both of them, and it’s now starting to look like a reality.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Jeremy: I started off by homebrewing. I was working as a researcher in a biochemistry lab, doing some really neat genetic sequencing work… but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. My wife got me a very simple homebrew kit, and I was sold — it had the perfect combination of geeking out on science, playing with flavours (I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking), plus there’s a beer at the end of the process. I decided to give up the scientist job and go back to school for brewing. I did an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University, worked a little bit helping set up a barrel-ageing program at a Scottish Brewery, then worked in Vancouver as a head brewer for a couple years before ending up in Halifax.
For Kelly and Mark, drinking craft beer started on their many trips to Europe visiting Mark’s family. These travels have opened their eyes to the many different styles of beer available in Europe and the rest of the world. Watching the demand for variety and quality in beer develop over the last few years has made them all the more excited to be living in Nova Scotia and have more and more of their friends get into the appreciation of good beer being produced locally. Their excitement for beer is more on the “consumption” side of things, but with this business we are all hoping to push the envelope and make some exciting new styles of beer.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Jeremy: Since I started getting into brewing, the goal has been to move to Halifax and open a brewery. It is great to have any sort of brewing work, but the idea of being able to call the shots and brew what you love is really the dream. Nova Scotia has such a cool brewing scene that I feel is still just starting to get rolling, and the hope is that we can be part of this wave of high-quality craft beer and keep pushing the levels of quality and craftsmanship. Mark, being an accountant and a beer lover, put together a business plan for a brewery here in Halifax. We were put in touch with each other by a mutual friend, who is also a brewer, and we came to the conclusion that we had very similar ideas of what a successful brewery should look like and that between us we had the skills and resources needed to make it happen. Fast-forward a year and here we are, opening up a brewery and living our dream.

Can you share some info on your homebrewing history?
Jeremy: I think the first brew I ever did was an all-extract kit from Dan’s Homebrewing in Vancouver. After that, I wanted more control over the brew, so I stepped up to doing partial extract, and it all went from there. I stuck to mostly English and North American styles at first, but got a little bit more adventurous as time went on. I haven’t had a chance to homebrew for probably about a year now, but some of my last batches were a lambic-style with aged hops, a no-boil Berliner Weisse with wild lacto and wine yeast, and a Brett IPA.

What system will you be brewing on? What sort of output do you expect?
Jeremy: We are brewing on a 24hl (20bbl) DME brewhouse, and brewing into 48hl (40bbl) unitanks. The brewhouse is a 2 vessel system — a combined mash/lauter tun, and a combined kettle/whirlpool. We will be canning using a Cask canning unit, their 5 head automated filler that is capable of roughly 36 cans/minute. Monthly output will depend on demand. We have oversized our system a little bit, as we heard about a lot of breweries locally that were basically maxed out and looking to expand within a week of opening their doors. If we ever get to max capacity on this system, we would be producing about 310hl (264bbl) per month.

What are your plans for distribution?
Jeremy: We plan on kegging and canning our beer right out of the gate, and we will also be offering growler fills in our tap room. The hope is that we will have our canned beer, and possibly kegs for growler fills, at a few of the private stores — we have been chatting with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar and RockHead, who have both been very supportive. We are also trying to get our canned beer into the NSLC eventually too. We are also aiming to be on tap at bars/restaurants around the city.

Can you tell us about your taproom?
Jeremy: We hope the taproom is going to be a pretty cool experience for people. We wanted customers to feel like they were coming for a drink in a working brewery, so it has been designed to be very open. People will be able to see the brewing process, and chat with me (or just shout profanities at me) as I brew. We will have 12 taps on the go; one of which will be a cider, and the rest will be a combination of our beers and a few guest taps. We have had a local artist, Christian Toth, do up a really impressive mural on the main wall in the tap room, which we think looks pretty cool. People will be able to drink full pints and have tasting flights there. We will be offering a pretty limited, but well-curated selection of food — charcuterie and cheese from Ratinaud — but we also encourage people to bring or order food from elsewhere while they are visiting.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Jeremy:  Our core lineup will consist of three beers: Pecadillo, an Oat Pilsner, 4.8% and 28 IBU; Liesse, a Table Beer, 3.5% and 16 IBU; and Pollyanna, a Wild Northeast IPA, 7.3% and 64 IBU. We will also hope to be brewing lots of seasonals and on-offs, the first of which will be Innisfree, a 7.6% ABV Rustic Saison brewed with spelt, and fermented with yeast we harvested and built up from a bottle from Belgium. Plus a few more tap-room-only releases that you’ll have to drop by Saturday to try!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in the province?
Jeremy: Everyone we have met from the NS brewing scene has been awesome! We have had advice from basically everyone we encountered — many of whom have gone out of their way to track us down or come visit in order to let us know how best to navigate the trials and tribulations of starting a brewery. Nash invited us by Unfiltered a few months back when he heard we were about to install our glycol system, so he could show us what did *(and didn’t) work on his setup, and how to avoid headaches. Daniel at Garrison actually helped me out of a bind with hops that came as a result of miscommunication with our hop supplier. Jeff from Bad Apple came by (bearing gifts of beer) just last week when he heard we were having some trouble with some controllers, to help troubleshoot. Shean and Peter at Tidehouse have been awesome too, offering to help in any way possible, and we have had visits from Big Spruce, Granite, SchoolhouseSpindrift, Tata…. the list goes on. Basically, everyone in NS has been incredible and really supportive.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Jeremy: From a beer standpoint, I am hoping we will have a decent wood ageing and sour program by then, along with a nice selection of seasonal beers. I am hoping we can build a reputation both locally and beyond for brewing modern and complex beers. I would love to see us distributing beer a little further than Nova Scotia, if our production level allows it. Obviously, NS is first priority for us, but I have a few good friends across the country that would love it if they didn’t have to come visit in order to get the beer. I would also like to be seen as good brewery people, friendly and helpful to other breweries and other businesses. I would love to work alongside lots of brewers from around the province, and I also have plans for collaborating with brewers from different parts of the world.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Jeremy: I have been spoiled since moving here because of all the Belgian beer that Mark’s family has been bringing. Obviously, I am a sucker for anything from Cantillon. I also love North American sours a lot too — I recently had a Reynard Oud Bruin by Iain Hill at Strange Fellows brewing that was sublime. The guys at Four Winds in BC also make some exceptional sour and clean beers. I love the juicy/hazy Northeast IPAs too, the stuff by Bissell Brothers is incredible, and I had the good fortune of getting a bunch of Alchemist beers a few months ago too, which was really a treat. I also visited Hill Farmstead… if I could drink nothing but beer from them for the rest of my days, I’d probably be OK with that.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Jeremy:  I love Thomas Fawcett Oat Malt — I feel like it gives a really nice texture, more so than flaked oats do. I tend to sneak it into a lot of the beers I do. There was a recent article by Scott Janish that has done nothing to quell that, basically saying that oats in beer can lead to a lot of improvements. For hops, I really enjoy hops from the Southern Hemisphere, although they can be a challenge to acquire. My favourite is Nelson Sauvin, but I’d probably have to sell my soul a few times over to get it in any sort of decent quantity/price. For styles… that’s a good one. I really enjoy wood ageing and sour beers, probably more into brewing American sours than traditional European sours. They can be very challenging and a little unpredictable, but I think that’s part of why I am so fascinated by it.

Thanks very much to Jeremy, Mark, and Kelly for spending some time with us. Drop by the brewery tap room from noon on Saturday, Jan 28th, and daily going forward noon to eight (noon to ten Thurs-Sat). Drop by to purchase cans of their Pecadillo Oat Pilsner, Liesse  Table Beer, and Pollyanna Wild Northeast IPA to go; growlers of those three, plus the Innisfree Rustic Spelt Saison will be available as well. Those who pull up a stool (or rocking chair) will also have their pick of some draught-only small batch brews from their pilot system, including a Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and a Mango & Brett IPA. Keep your eyes peeled on their social media accounts for more details: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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We’re firmly into 2017 and we’ll all hopefully be able to stop typing 2016 any day now. Though the we haven’t quite reached the dead of winter, the beer scene in the region is still showing plenty of signs of life and it’s not looking like that will slow down any time soon. Read on for all the news on new beers, re-releases, and beer- and brewery-related events throughout our corner of the country. And don’t forget, the first kegs from Harvey, NB’s Think Brewing will be available this weekend. We have confirmation that they will be on tap at the James Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen in the next day or two. To learn more, check out Tuesday’s Profile with Think. And now on to the rest of the beer news!

• A little over a year ago, Flying Boats released Double Oatmeal Stout, an easy-drinking beer with plenty of oatmeal and roast character. Recently, owner/brewer Marc Melanson has changed the recipe, with the result being Station Master Stout. Over 10% of rolled oats, along with specialty malts including Chocolate and Roasted varieties, makes up the grist, giving “slight chocolate, coffee, and roastiness” in the flavour, along with a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, expect this one to weigh in at approximately 5.2% ABV; look for it at Flying Boats tap accounts sometime within the next couple of weeks.

• Saint John’s newest brewery, Loyalist City, released another of their flagship beers for the first time late last week. An American Pale Ale, Three Sisters Pale Ale (6% ABV, 60 IBUs) features a blend of three popular American hop varieties – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – to give “an assertive mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma”. The high majority of the hops were added in the whirlpool, after the boil was complete, to maximize the deliciousness of these varieties, without adding too much bitterness in the finish. The grist was kept simple, with a mix of two base malts, to complement the hops but not overpower them. Fermented clean with an American Ale yeast strain, more Mosaic was included in not one, but two, dry-hop additions, resulting in even more tropical fruit in the aroma. For historians, the beer was named after the Three Sisters Lamp, which was erected in 1842 at the end of Prince William Street “to welcome visitors to the Saint John Harbour by guiding them safely into port”. Look for Three Sisters on tap at select accounts in the city, including Cask & Kettle and Five & Dime, and at the ANBL Growler program starting Jan 26 at the three SJ-region locations. Details are thin, but look for LCBC’s Extra Special Bitter to hit the taps this weekend, we’ll share more details when we have them.

YellowBelly Brewpub in downtown St John’s has released a new cider this week, featuring partridge berries. Twenty kilograms of the extremely ripe fruit were used for a subtle sweetness and tannic tartness. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “It’s like our regular cider with a bit of pink lemonade and the merest hint of wintergreen, methinks.” Grab a pint at the pub, and look for bottles at a few St. John’s NLCs next week.

• Still on the Rock, Mill Street Brewpub has been serving a beer since late 2016 that we seem to have missed the boat on. St. John’s ESB is in the English Pale Ale family, with a balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness enhancing its drinkability. It comes in at a very reasonable 4.8% ABV and 27 IBU with biscuit, caramel and lightly toasted malt notes and floral and earthy hop flavours. Look for it the next time you’re by for a pint or a growler fill.​

• Fans of Moncton’s Bore City Brewing can look forward to their first new beer release in a while, a currently-unnamed “lower-ABV Belgian style Ale” (think roughly along the lines of an Abbey Single or Table Beer). With a grist of mainly Pilsner malt and Munich II, it was hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, White Labs’ Belgian Golden Ale. This one should come in around 5.6% ABV; it won’t be ready for another few weeks, according to the brewery, but we’ll have more information to release before then!

Graystone Brewing has their first Lager on tap at their taproom and elsewhere in Fredericton. The North is a Pilsner that was “amply hopped” with two varieties, German Perle and Czech Saaz, giving distinctive floral and spicy notes to the beer. Fermented cool at 13 C with a European Lager yeast, the beer was further lagered at cold temperatures for six weeks. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, and is available now for pints, and crowler/growler fills.

• Graystone also released another new beer yesterday, Shiver Stout, to coincide with this year’s Shivering Songs Festival. With an addition of a cold-brewed medium roast blend from Whitney Coffee Company added directly to the beer, there’s plenty of smooth coffee flavour (without any harshness) in this one. On the lighter-ABV end for a stout (4.7%), it clocks in at 30 IBUs; while exploring around Fredericton for the festival, be sure to seek this one out!

• Continuing with Fredericton, Bogtrotter has a new beer popping up around the city. Drunken Newt Red Rye Ale was brewed with Rye malt in the grist, with nutmeg added late in the boil. This deep red-coloured beer comes in at 5% ABV, and features “aromas of fresh rye bread, caramel malt and hops”, according to the brewery. Expect flavours of caramel, toffee, and a hint of, naturally, nutmeg. It’s available on tap around Fredericton, and is also in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL locations.

• Now firmly in the middle of winter, it’s time for the return of one of last year’s favourites, Big Spruce Brewing‘s Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, an ode to local meteorologist Peter Coade, who retired in September 2016, after a record-breaking 54 year career. This Winter Warmer is 7.4% ABV, and features Gila Squash grown at their brewery farm. It was oven roasted with organic cane sugar before being added to the mash, extracting some extra sweetness and complexity. After primary fermentation, the beer was conditioned with a dark rum tincture of local ginger with organic cinnamon and vanilla. This release is draft/growler only, while the next release will be aged in barrels and will be available on draft, and in bottles.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released their first Double IPA, Make and Break. Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, the beer features Amarillo and Millennium hops, to the tune of 60 IBUs, balancing the sweet, malty aroma. Grab a pint or growler fill at the brewery, and look for it at their tap accounts shortly.

• Be sure to grab today’s episode of the 902 BrewCast, with Kyle, Phil, and Tony tasting through a selection of Nova Scotian and New Brunswick IPAs (including a look at the medal winners of the 2016 ACBAs). They even invited along our very own acbbchris for a nerdier approach to the whole thing. Be sure to share your feedback on their social media feeds, or in a comment below.

• Attention large AtlCan breweries! The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is taking a handful of Canadian breweries on a tour of five US cities next month, and the opportunity to sign-up is now open. Visiting Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami Feb 27 – Mar 2, brewers will have the chance to meet local vendors, check out the potential markets, and learn about the benefits (and potential) drawbacks to doing business abroad. More details can be found here, including contacts on how to sign up before the application window closes January 25th.

A few events have popped up on our radar; check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods:

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar are holding another Growler Pop-Up today, 10-6pm (or when the beer runs dry). Look for the return of Herbies Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, Sour Otis Fruit Cake Kettle Sour, as well as two new IPAs: Calling Method IPA (featuring Citra) and Nelson IPA, single-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The first few folks through the door will receive a free T&B growler (empty) – the early birds get the worm!

• A reminder of tomorrow’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Ducky’s in Sackville. In addition to their core lineup, and special beers that they’ve been saving, it will serve also as the sneak preview of their Barrel-aged Barleywine, being released next Thursday. We’ll have more details on that beer next week. In the meantime, learn more about the evening, and live music, on the FB Event page.

• Join Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL next weekend, January 27th and 28th, for Eat the Hill. Pairing their beers with plates from several different chefs, there will be plenty of food, beer, and cheer to go around after a day on the slopes. Tickets are available now.

Mill Street is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner at the brewpub on February 8th. Hosted by Joel Manning, Head Brewmaster for the Mill Street family, and Dan Boldrini, Head Brewer at the St. John’s location, it will feature five of beers paired with five courses from the kitchen. The event will take place the evening of Wednesday, February 8; tickets are $60 and are apparently going fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors next Saturday, January 28th, for a soft launch of their beers and tap room. Featuring their core line-up on tap, as well as several special tap-room-only beer produced on their pilot system, the fun kicks off at noon. Take a gander at this week’s The Coast newspaper for an article with Kelly, Mark, and Jeremy, and we’ll have a full profile with the crew early next week, to whet your whistle.

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be holding a Nano Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring four of Nova Scotia’s smallest craft breweries, on Thursday, February 9th. All sixteen taps will be dedicated to beer from Brightwood, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tidehouse. Drop by from 2:00 pm to taste the beers from these small operations, including a few special one-offs casks, and meet the folks behind the beers.

• On February 16th, Battery Park is hosting Pop-Up Love Party, an event with live performers expounding on love, paired with local beer and a menu designed by Daniel Burns. It also serves as the launch of just the second beer brewed at North‘s Dartmouth location (in BP’s foyer), Zuppa Symposium. It is a Milk Stout aged on local blackberries and cherry wood, and will be available on tap (both standard and nitro versions), and in bottles. More details are available here, and tickets here.

 • Like to drink beer and curl? Or even just drink beer and slide around on the ice with a broom? Well, good news! Good Robot is holding their 1st Annual Tournament of Broken Hearts on Saturday, February 18th at the Mayflower Curling Club. Teams of four can sign up here ($80 per team), with all participants receiving GR toques, plenty of GR beer on tap, prizes to the winners, and an after-party. The fun starts at 1 pm and will continue all day and evening.

• It’s a ways away on May 27th, but early bird tickets are already on sale for the first annual Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at the Rodd Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, it will feature breweries from around Nova Scotia. There will be two tastings, in the afternoon at 2:30pm and in the evening at 7:30pm. The $30 package includes a commemorative glass and 5 sampling tickets, with additional sampling tickets available both online when you register and at the event itself. VIP and Designated Driver packages are also available: the VIP is priced at $45 and includes 10 sampling tickets, access to a VIP lounge and early access (30 minutes) to the tasting; the DD package gives 5 sampling tickets for food and non-alcoholic drinks and access to the VIP lounge and is priced at $15. Early bird registrants (until February 15th) save $5 on any package, while late registrations will see prices $5 higher. More information, including participating breweries will be available as the event gets closer.

• The YBF will also feature the first annual Hop Run. This event marries drinking beer and running and features both individual and relay formats. Individuals will run between 1 and 3 miles, with a beer at the starting gun and another after each mile completed to a maximum of three laps and four beers per person. The relay will see teams of three each running one lap and drinking 4 beers. Included in all registrations is a Hop Run pint glass and a finisher’s medal for each runner. Pricing for individuals is based on number of miles ($45/50/55 for 1, 2 and 3 miles, respectively), while relay pricing is $150 for the team. Again, early bird and latecomer pricing is in effect. So if you know you’re interested, get your registration in early and save a few dollars.​

And finally today:

Big Tide currently has an “extra-strong” batch of their Karnival Kölsch on tap at the brewpub; weighing in at 6.3% ABV (vs. its usual 4.5%), it also features Hallertau hops from Darlings Island Farm.
Boxing Rock Carbon-14 is back, Professor Jason MacDougall’s second-place winner from the first Boxing Rock Black Box challenge last year is available once again. It’s a big beer, a strong dark Belgian that should be perfect for a cold winter night.
Unfiltered: Deity SMaSH DIPA is back! The same blast of hoppy juiciness with spicy, herbal notes from the Columbus hops as the first time ’round. 7.5% ABV 100+ IBU 10 SRM
– Johnny Jacks Brewery in Oromocto has a new beer headed to local ANBL shelves soon, Pond Hockey Winter Ale. The 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU beer will be released in 750 ml bottles.
Hammond River S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout is kegged and will be popping up at local tap accounts this weekend.

Last May, Think Brewing announced that they would be opening their nano brewery in Harvey, New Brunswick (approximately 40 km outside of Fredericton). Owned by Scott and Denise MacLean, the brewery is located at the couple’s 150-year-old farmhouse, where they also reside. With Think beers likely coming out any day now, we finally exchanged emails with Scott to get a bit of a preview on plans for the brewery’s launch.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an Engineering Technician and my wife, Denise, is a potter. We have two grown sons and a granddaughter. In the past we were a certified organic farm with a market garden and greenhouses. A month after we were married we bought the 150 year-old farmhouse that we still live in. We have spent many enjoyable years upgrading the house and working on the gardens and land. The original barn has been our most recent project and now houses our brewery. We enjoy travelling, outdoor activities, gardening and cooking.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
We’ve enjoyed drinking craft beer for many years, going back to the early 90’s when we spent a lot of time in Maine and discovered their local beer scene. We’ve always enjoyed “back to the land” type of pursuits: gardening, cooking, preserving, etc., so making beer was a natural fit.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I have homebrewed off and on since the late 80’s and started all-grain brewing in 2014 with friend Randy Rowe (now of Off Grid Ales).

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and with our sons grown, it seemed like the right time. It’s such an optimistic period in the craft beer movement now, and we are looking forward to being part of the New Brunswick craft beer community.

What type of system will you be brewing on? What is your expected output?
We brew on a 1 barrel (115 L), propane- fired system, with the capacity to do around 3 barrels per week.

What are your plans for distribution?
The James Joyce in Fredericton will be carrying our beers on tap by this coming weekend. Our local pub in Harvey, The Loch Pub & Grill, is currently closed for renovations but will have our beers on tap when they re-open. We are not licensed for on-site sales at this time.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?Our initial release will be Revelation IPA (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU), an American style IPA with a bit of English style in the background, and Eureka ESB, (5.9% ABV, 40 IBU). Beyond that we plan to be a bit style diverse. We will have seasonals down the road and a DIPA will be coming soon.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We’ve had a lot of help and support, so many people in fact that I’m afraid to leave someone out. Randy Rowe and I learned so much brewing together weekly on our pilot system. Jake Saunders and Dan Mason of Trailway, and Paul Maybee from Maybee Brewing are always willing to answer questions. Being a member of the New Brunswick Craft Brewer’s Association [a local homebrew club] and going to the Saturday meetings was a huge help. The club has so many knowledgeable and talented brewers; I can’t say enough about them. Finally, we have to thank Philip LeBlanc for designing our logo.

Can you tell us how your brewery got its name?
We have always admired how many craft breweries are socially responsible and that’s one of the things that drew us to the business. Our name “Think Brewing Co.” is based on that – we want to try to do a little good when we can, anything from sourcing local ingredients to giving a portion of sales to charity. Our plans are still being worked out, but we think we will choose a different charity every month. For the first month we will be donating $2 from every keg to a local food bank.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?We have bee hives, fruit trees and gardens, and hope to integrate many local ingredients into our recipes. We plan to develop a hop yard and make use of a native hop vine discovered growing on our property. Our primary goal is to produce interesting beers that people enjoy drinking.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
That’s a tough one to pin down; I love IPAs, but enjoy any well-crafted beer. Denise is a big fan of Belgian-style beers.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Right now I love brewing IPAs and I’m looking forward to incorporating local ingredients into future recipes.

Congratulations to Scott and Denise on the upcoming launch of Think Brewing! Their beer should be released by this weekend; we’ll be sure to keep you notified on our Friday Wrap-Up if this is confirmed by the end of the week. In the meantime, follow along on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more information.

Welcome to the weekend, and another warm Friday! Unfortunately, that looks like it’s going to change quickly and drastically (which seems to be a common trend this winter), so grab a beer and a blanket for later (or now), and get ready for another long read, as there’s lots going on in beer news in our region this week…

• We start today’s post in Newfoundland, where Port Rexton Brewing has released The One with the Citra, an American Pale Ale, hopped with, not surprisingly, Citra (with some assistance from Centennial, too). The resulting 5.2% ABV and 45 IBU beer shows plenty of citrus and tropical fruit goodness. Look for it on tap at PR’s familiar tap accounts shortly, including Adelaide Oyster HouseEVOO, The Fifth Ticket, Mallard Cottage, and Merchant Tavern in  St John’s, and White Hills Ski Resort in Clarenville.

• Let’s stick to The Rock for the next beer, another debut from Mill Street’s St. John’s location. Danimal S.M.A.S.H. is a 6.4% ABV, 63 IBU, Pale Ale, with plenty of character from its Single Malt And Single Hop choice, namely Wild Turkey hops from Clear Valley Hop Farm in Nottawa, Ontario. This unique hop is only available from Clear Valley, as it began life growing wild on their farm, and tested very high in Alpha Acid (useful in the bittering) and is quite aromatic (notes of mango and passionfruit), making it a great dual-purpose crop. Learn more about the hop here, and pick up a pint or growler of the beer at Mill Street’s Harbour Drive location.

• The latest 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, and the gents sat down with Andy, Chris, and Laura from Stillwell Beer Bar. Be sure to give it a listen to learn more about their beginnings, the first three years in business, and what special beers are headed their way to Barrington soon! Case in point, be sure to head to Stilly tomorrow for Part 2 of the Mikkeller Tap Takeover, featuring a dozen taps from the Danish gypsy brewery, plus Copenhagen-inspired snacks. It will be a great showcase of the brewery’s offerings, with a selection of their flavoured Berliner Weisses, Spontan-family, big IPAs, and massive stouts. Back to the podcast, our own acbbchris sat down with the 902 Brew Dudes for an IPA tasting, which will be released January 20th. And learn more about the gents behind the podcast in the latest The Coast weekly newspaper.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has released a pair of beers recently, both in the IPA category. Sweet Little SIPA is a 4.8% Session IPA, a style known for pale colour, light body, and low ABV, but still brimming with hop flavour and aroma. This recipe features lots of Cascade and Columbus, for citrus and floral notes. The bigger brother of the SIPA is the Big Stink IPA, a 6.4% IPA with Columbus and Mosaic hops, added throughout the brewing process for a medium bitterness and plenty of citrus and fruit character. Both beers are available at the brewery now, and can be found on tap in HRM at your favourite beer bar.

• And keep your eyes peeled for a new collaboration beer brewed at Roof Hound with Tatamagouche’s Matt Kenny. A currently-unnamed 9.4% ABV Imperial Chocolate Porter will be released February 11th, complete with launch party and live music from Tide n Timbre. More details on the event and beer in a few weeks.

• Making its debut last night at last night’s Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration – alongside a Hop Fritter from Primal Kitchen in which it was featured – was a collaboration IPA from Tatamagouche Brewing and the Ladies Beer League . Mrs. Magouche is a 7.7% ABV brew with 75 IBU worth of bitterness and layers of flavors from dank and juicy Simcoe, El Dorado, and Amarillo hops. This one is quite tropical, with notes of stone fruit and peach owing to both the hops and the choice of Escarpment Labs’ Vermont Ale yeast (a.k.a., the “Conan” strain made famous by the Alchemist brewery in Vermont). Tap accounts will be receiving kegs today, with some availability for growler fills from the source and the remainder being put into cans next week.​

• Also in the works from Tata are the Oyster Cloister, featuring lots of Malagash-grown oysters and the Deadeye DIPA, which was brewed this time on that same Vermont Ale yeast strain as the Mrs. Magouche. Look for more information on these as their releases approach later in the month or into February. They’re also planning a couple of winter bottle releases, namely a Glenora Barrel-aged Barleywine on the 26th of this month and a Belgian Quad (also known as a Belgian Strong Ale) on February 9th. We’ll confirm these dates as the releases approach, and provide more detail on the beers themselves.

• Last night’s event was also the debut of Spindrift’s new Duplicitous Imperial Pilsner; Big Spruce doubled the love with two new beers, Risky Biscuits Dark Mild and Liquid James Brown, a Milkshake IPA. Check out last week’s post for more details on these beers, and they will all be available at your favourite bar or growler filling station starting today!

• Also attending the Celebration was Sober Island, pouring their new British IPA. This 6.3% ABV beer features a blend of four hops: Bramling CrossClusterEast Kent Golding, and Willamette. They come together to give 40 IBU of bitterness, and notes of woodiness, earthiness, and light fruit, to balance the nice malt body from the grain. The British IPA joins the core line-up, along with the Oyster Stout, Golden Rye, and Bitter.

• Sober Island is also releasing a new beer in a couple of weeks, a Winter Rye. This 6.8% ABV beer features a hearty 15% rye in the malt bill, joining Marris Otter, Munich, and Crystal malts, for a spicy kick on a big body and mouthfeel. Hops-wise, Northern Brewer and Tettnang come together for 30 IBU to offset some sweetness and enhance the rye spice character. This beer will be launched during a collaborative Tap Takeover at Bishop’s Cellar January 28th, joined by Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery. Folks from both breweries will be in store 1-3pm to chat beer, their breweries, whatever you’d like! Installation and commission of their big brewing system at Henley House in Sheet Harbour is coming along nicely, and they expect to be brewing on a larger scale in the next 6-8 weeks, with lots of great news coming in Spring.

• There’s three new beers out from Fredericton’s TrailWay since last Friday’s post, and two of these brews have also been released in cans. First up is Ellipse (6.5% ABV, ~50 IBUs), a new IPA featuring heavy additions of Amarillo, Citra and Chinook. As with most of TW’s hoppy beers, this one is light-coloured, very hazy, and extremely juicy! Available only in growlers and pints, it’s hitting all ANBL growler locations this weekend, so you don’t have to come directly to Fredericton to get it!

• Moving on, TW released Mo-Joe, an Imperial Milk Stout (6.3% ABV) earlier this week in both growlers and 16 oz cans. Aside from the addition of lactose powder to slightly increase the sweetness and body of the beer, a special blend of coffee was also added in secondary, in the form of beans. These beans are the new “TrailWay Blend”, from the local Whitney Coffee Company, designed to be “particularly fruity and full of character” (1-lb bags of the beans are available for purchase at the brewery). According to TW, Mo-Joe is “chocolate-forward in flavour”, and is the perfect beer to balance the coffee character from the beans.

• Finally, TW is about to release their latest sour beer, Cerasus. While kettle-soured with Lactobacillus, like their first attempt, Sour 1, Cerasus was hopped only minimally, and was refermented on a “huge amount” of cherries. This “cherry sour” is supremely-sessionable at just 3.6% ABV, with a bright-red colour, and lots of cherry in the aroma and flavour, along with the expected tartness/sourness from the work of the Lactobacillus. Available in 16 oz cans at the brewery tomorrow, along with a small amount that was kegged for growler fills at the same location.

• It’s easy to forget on mild days like today that we’re still in the dead of winter, but there’s been no shortage of well-below-zero temperatures. Luckily, Garrison has brewed up a beer with the aim of helping ease our pain – Wintervention, an Imperial Chocolate Stout. This is a big beer, brewed with lots of Maritime Pale Ale, Chocolate and Munich malt, resulting in a 10.5% ABV beer… making it extremely warming! Hopped exclusively with Millennium to 60 IBUs, the beer was conditioned for a month on cocoa nibs, giving “rich, bittersweet chocolate aromatics, with dark dried fruits and vanilla underneath”, according to the brewery. It’s available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and private liquor stores in the HRM starting today. And for those of you who are keen on barrel-aged beers (and who isn’t?), they are currently aging some Wintervention in barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, but you’ll have to wait a while for that release.

• Celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, Propeller Brewing is looking to spice things up a bit. Their Gottingen location will be undergoing some renovations and upkeep during the next two months, which means events and brewery tours will not be available. Fear not, however, as the Prop Shop will still be open for all of your growler, cans, and bottle needs. During their twentieth, keep an eye out for plenty of special One-Hit-Wonders (like their Vanilla Porter, pouring now), a light branding refresh, plenty of parties, and a whole lotta fun!

• Today sees the return of the v3.0 variant of a Good Robot signature, the Burban Legend APA. This one, with a big Citra dry-hop, is a favourite of Good Robot Josh, who loves the interplay of the layers of fruit from the hops with the malty sweet body. And on Sunday a small batch off the Sabco BrewEasy will be available at the taproom, a BetaBrew from GR’s own Kelly and Erica who call it an ode to their pre-teen red-headed fem inspiration (Ginger Spice) and their ancestral heritage. Scottish Spice Ginger Ale leverages Scottish Ale yeast to enhance a solid malt body that features a touch of rye spiciness and some biscuity notes from Victory malt. Perle and Chinook hops provide the balance along with organic ginger root for additional spice and locally-harvested sumac for a hint of lemony citrus. At 4% ABV and 29 IBU this beer shouldn’t overwhelm, but it may titillate; you’ll have to decide for yourself this weekend.

• PEI Brewing Co.‘s first DIPA, 8 Cord (8.5% ABV, 70 IBUs), is returning in both growler and can form, officially re-releasing at the brewery next Thursday, January 19th. Brewed with 2-row and Wheat malt, it’s hopped with plenty of Azacca, Mosaic, and Simcoe – all hop varieties that are hard to find, but for a good reason, as they impart lots of juicy, tropical fruit characteristics when used. Most of the 16 oz cans will actually be shipping to New Brunswick (where it should be available sometime after the 23rd); there will also be a small amount of kegs going to select locations in both NB and NS. And in other PEIBC DIPA news, be sure to visit your local ANBL growler station this weekend, as all will be carrying the brewery’s new Mango Lassi DIPA that we reported on last Friday.

• With the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and its week of events is fast approaching (March 8th-12th), they have just announced the launch of the Down East Brewing Awards. All licensed breweries in the Maritimes are invited to submit their beers for entry; many awards will be presented at FCBF, including 10 beer awards, one each for cider and mead, and Brewery of the Year and New Brewery of the Year awards. Judging will take place on February 28th among a panel of certified judges, brewers and industry professionals. The winning entries will be showcased at FCBF, where they will be enjoyed by the more than 1700 attending. The details are still being ironed out, so we’ll be sure to keep you updated over the coming weeks.

Gahan Harbourfront Halifax is holding their very first Homebrewer’s Challenge, and the entry period starts today! Open to all amateur homebrewers in the province, they are looking for your best Trappist Single (BJCP Style 26A). You must pre-register by emailing Gahan Brewmaster Kyle Jeppesen before Feb 17, and your four bottles are due March 10th. The winner will get to brew with Jeppesen and have their beer served at Gahan, and will win a dinner and a few beers for their hard work and accomplishment. Check out the information poster for a few more details. Good luck to all entrants!

• And speaking of brewing awards, the 2017 Canadian Brewing Awards registration opens on Monday. From then until March 10th, breweries can register their beers for judging, with sample delivery to be scheduled March 13-24th. More details on how to enter are here, and the Style Guidelines are available online now. Let’s hope for another strong showing from Atlantic Canadian breweries in 2017!

We’ve got a few events that we’d like to highlight this week:

Right now, Friday morning, the gang at Moncton’s Tide & Boar has set up their Growler Pop-Up Shop, with a pair of beers available: Galaxy Double Dry-Hopped Forum Pale Ale and Sour Otis Fruit Cake (A Kettle Sour brewed with 20lbs of assorted dried fruit). As with their last go of it in December, we suggested getting there early, as these beers are sure to sell out.

• The gang at Good Robot has a busy week ahead, starting with one of their extremely popular Silent Reading nights on Tuesday, and continuing with some ticketed events that are part of the In the Dead of Winter Festival: the Pre-Festival Party on Wednesday, and song circles on Thursday and Friday.​

Upstreet Brewing is re-releasing their Top Stamp Honey Brown Lager, and is holding a talent show (of sorts!) to celebrate. On Thursday, January 19th from 6-10 pm at the brewery, the Top Stamp Gong Show will highlight the “talents” of Islanders, by inviting all those interested to perform their talent on stage, in front of a packed house. There will be two official judges – if they like what you’ve got, you’ll move on to the finals, and if not… you’ll be gonged off stage. No pressure! The event is free to attend; if you are interested in performing, you can fill out the form here.

• New Brunswick has recently been privy to some beers from Tatamagouche Brewing (finally!), but Saturday, January 21st will see a true Tata-celebration at Ducky’s in Sackville, with a Tatabrew tap takeover! Starting at 7 pm, there will be a grand total of 15-20 Tata beers pouring, ranging anywhere from flagship beers, to seasonals, to special one-offs. Tatabrew’s own Christiane Jost and Matt Kenny will be on-hand to chat about the brewery and their beers, and probably just about anything else! Tickets ($15 each) will be available in advance, and will allow you seven 5 oz drink tickets, including a commemorative glass to keep (you can also pay at the door, but you will be limited to five drink tickets); a portion of ticket sales will go to Enactus MtA, out of Mount Allison University. Further 5 oz pours will also be available at a discount price. Contact the bar directly to reserve your tix, which can be picked up before the event at 6:30 pm.

• On Wednesday, January 25th, Liverpool’s Hell Bay will be celebrating Robbie Burns Day in style. Burns Night will be held at the brewery, and will feature poetry, haggie, bagpipes, and – of course – plenty of beer. If you’re going to celebrate the life of Scotland’s most famous poet and lyricist, you might as well show up in a kilt! Those that do will receive discounts on pints, so you’ll have that going for you, too. The brewery will be open at 10 am, with the haggis being served at 6 pm.

• The next Burgers n’ Beer event in Fredericton has been announced, and will take place on Saturday, February 11th at the King Street Ale House. As always, your ticket ($25) will include four different hand-crafted sliders, paired with four different local craft brews (5 oz pours). The event is held from 1:30-3:30 pm, and will also announce details on this year’s YFC Burger Battle (running from March 25th-April 8th).

A few more things before we sign off:

– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has new beer available for pints and growlers, Jeezus Murphy Irish Red. A malt-forward 4.8% ABV brew, it features some roasted notes and subtle fruit character from the hops.
– Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing will be releasing Fathom Double IPA shortly, an 8.0% ABV showcase for plenty of American-grown hops. We’ll have more details when they’re available.
– Beau’s Brewery, from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, is looking to expand their presence in Eastern Canada, and as such, are hiring a Brand Ambassador as a local representative.

Welcome to the first ACBB post of 2017! Today’s post marks the start of our sixth year writing the blog, keeping you up to date with all of the craft beer goings-ons in the region. When we started in 2012, there were fewer than 20 breweries in Atlantic Canada; in 2017 we may surpass 100! It just goes to show the level of interest in great beer has exploded in our region, and drinking and supporting local breweries, brewpubs, and cider houses by enjoying their products and visiting their premises is becoming a popular pastime, while also supporting local economies. Hopefully 2017 will see the continuation of some of the trends we’ve seen in the past twelve months: breweries opening in small communities to serve their local population, wider range of styles and experimentation to broadening our horizons, a measurable impact on tourism by the craft beer sector, expansions to larger brewhouses as small breweries realize financial success, and continued reform by provincial governments. Now on to today’s news!

• Shane Steeves, owner/brewer of Hammond River Brewing, is once again harkening back to his homebrew days, as he just recently brewed up a batch of S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout. This is a big beer with plenty of ingredients: six types of malt, a hefty amount of crushed graham crackers in the mash, plus honey, molasses, cacao nibs, and cinnamon in the boil. Nope, we’re not done yet – toasted marshmallows and vanilla bean were also added to the beer (in primary and secondary, respectively) to boost the aroma and flavour even more. Bittered to ~50 IBUs with Willamette, this very dark beer should come in at about 8.3% ABV; expect it to hit taps by the end of the month. Also, HR’s new Russian Imperial Stout, Quicksand Jesus, is now available (with the barrel-aged version coming out in about a month), as well as their Java Moose Coffee Porter (after a several-month hiatus) and Too Hop to Handle (with this batch featuring Hop Hash from Southan Farms).

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has some great news for their thirsty fans: now that their 8 hl (7 BBL) brew system from Charlottetown’s DME is up and running, they’ve been able to better keep up with demand, and fully opened their retail location at 46 Anson Avenue (Unit 3). Hours are Wed 4-8pm, Thurs and Fri 4-9pm, and Sat 12-9. If you can’t make it in then, fear not! They are now on tap full-time in the region, including Duncan’s Pub in Amherst, and Sociables Pub in Springhill, and that list will continue to expand this winter. Keep an eye out for the Rod’s Red (Irish Red Ale that took Silver at the ACBAs), Scotian Pale Ale (an English Golden Ale), and brand new Justin Brew-deau, a Canadian Cream Ale. Their Yellow Beer’d Blonde Ale will be returning at the end of the month, along with some seasonals.

• After the highly-successful launch of their first beer, Lupulus Interruptus, Saint John’s Loyalist City has brewed their second beer, which will be released at tap accounts within the next couple of weeks. Parrtown Pale Ale is best described as an English Bitter, a malt-forward style also known as an English Pale Ale. With a grist that includes Simpson’s Maris Otter malt (imported from England), expect the beer to have a “rich, full-bodied, biscuity malt flavour characteristic to the style”. The malt is balanced with a “firm bitterness” from the addition of East Kent Golding, a popular U.K. hop variety that exhibits spicy, herbal aromas and flavours. This beer holds a special place in the heart of brewer/co-owner Mark McGraw, as it was the first recipe he entered in a competition as a homebrewer in 2013, and consequently his first medal… with many to follow!

Annapolis Cider Company has a new release in their “Something Different” series, Cranberry Clementine. This is an unfiltered, sparkling beverage that combines a dry cider with fresh-pressed, local cranberry and apple juices. This blend was then infused with clementine zest, giving a 6.3% ABV cider with a deep-blush hue and a “freshing cranberry tartness augmented with aromatic notes of citrus”. It’s available now in refillable bottles at the cidery; as always with this series, $0.50 from each sale is donated to a local charity. This time, the recipient is SMILE, a Wolfville-based volunteer-driven program “that provides persons with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience in order to improve their total development”.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has released their first collaboration beer, with Big Tide Brewpub’s Head Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos (and consulting assistance from local beer, wine, and spirits writer, Craig Pinhey). Humbuggery Best Bitter is a 5.1% ABV English Ale, hopped with Golding and Jester, a little-known UK hop with tropical fruit and citrus notes, distinguishing it from most other in that region. It is available at both the Foghorn and Big Tide brewery spaces, as well as Uptown Saint John’s Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub. But be sure to drop by soon, as there’s not much of the 8hl batch left!

• For the first time in a year, Unfiltered has brewed up a batch of their Hyper-Galactic SMaSH (single malt and single hop) India Pale Lager. With specs spot-on with NASH’s other SMaSH beers (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU and a color of 4.1 SRM) this beer features Topaz hops, a variety from Australia known for bringing a palette of tropical flavours including lychee and passionfruit along with some spicy and resiny notes. The use of a bottom-fermenting lager yeast and, no doubt, a low-temperature lagering period, should make for a crisp and clean finish to compliment a huge hop flavor. Available for fills and pints today at noon, you are encouraged, as always, to get on it!

Mama’s Brew Pub has brewed up a couple of batches of their first stout served on nitrogen. Fittingly named Nitro Stout, the grist is made up of Maris Otter, Crystal 70 L, Carafa III, and Chocolate and Wheat malt, giving lots of roasted flavours and aromas. Hopped with Golding and Cascade (both sourced from Southan Farms) to 22 IBUs, this sessionable ale (4.4% ABV) fermented with a neutral British Ale yeast, before being slowly nitrogenated over 5 days.

• Yesterday saw the release of a collaboration between the fine folks at Good Robot and the gentlemen of Sickboy Podcast, a media company that promotes and celebrates open and honest discussion of sickness and disability. Cystic Fibrewsis is described as a Strong American Bitter, essentially an ESB, the favourite style of Sickboy, but more highly attenuated and brewed with American breeds of European hop varieties (Perle, Tettnang and the Fuggle-descended Willamette). The grist is based on the classic British malt Maris Otter, but there’s also some Simpson’s DRC (double-roasted crystal) for caramel flavor and body, a touch of smoked malt and some demerara sugar to encourage a drier finish. It carries some weight at 5.8% ABV, supported by roughly 30 IBU. Good Robot will be donating $10 for each keg sold to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, an organization near and dear to Sickboy’s Jeremie. The guys recorded a live podcast at the Good Robot taproom last night; look for it to be posted to their usual podcast sites (SoundCloud and the iTunes) in the near future.

• PEI Brewing Co. has a new variation on an existing beer coming next week to the ANBL’s growler program and a few select tap accounts: Mango Lassi DIPA takes PEIBC’s 8 Cord to North India with fermentation having taken place on ripe mango and green cardamom pods. This will give the beer a big mango flavor along with the distinctive spicy aroma of cardamom. The hops used – Azacca, Mosaic and Simcoe – should complement the fresh mango flavor with citrus, piney and dank notes. The bitterness is a solid 70 IBU and the ABV gets a boost from the fresh fruit to a hefty 9.3%. If you’re craving the original, 8 Cord will also be available in cans (in New Brunswick and PEI) and kegs (maritime-wide) in a couple of weeks.

• Halifax’s Rockbottom Brewpub released a new lager yesterday, Dortmunder Export Helles. At 5.3% ABV and 27 IBUs, this pale-coloured lager features light Noble bittering to complement the faint grain aromatics, with a medium body and crisp finish. Grab a pint today, or in a growler to go (let’s be honest, it’s best to do both!).

• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery will be debuting a brand new beer at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market tomorrow morning. Portland Porter is a 5.3% ABV, 31 IBU Porter, featuring Roast, Chocolate, and Honey Malts, along with a small percentage of Smoked Malt, culminating in a rich coffee aroma and flavour. Drop by 8am – 1pm to try a sample, and get a fill of your growler to enjoy more at home. Keep your eyes peeled for possible tap accounts in the near future.

• Last September, we reported that Moosehead was not only planning on opening a new small-batch brewery to coincide with their 150th Anniversary, but that they had also settled on the location on Water St. in downtown Saint John. However, this week they confirmed that they will not be proceeding with these plans, due to costs being “more than anticipated”, according to the announcement on their website. They do insist that developing a location to brew small batches of beer, and “build [their] relationship with [their] customers in a more personal way” is still something they intend on doing.

• Just one event to remind you about this week, but it’s a big one! On Thursday, January 12th, Local Connections Halifax is presenting their Fourth Annual Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration at the Marriott Halifax Harbourside. Sixteen breweries (and two cider houses) from across the province are teaming up with sixteen restaurants for an epic showcase of our province’s offerings. It also serves as the release of several special beers in our region, some of which we are able to share with you today:
Big Spruce Brewing is debuting two beers at the event: Risky Biscuits Dark Mild, the 4.4% ABV winning beer from the Home Brew Challenge held in November, brewed by David Pepper; Liquid James Brown, a 6.1% ABV Milkshake IPA (the first in the province), featuring loads of late hop additions of El Dorado and Mosaic, along with oats, lactose, and vanilla beans, for a smooth mouthfeel bursting with tropical and citrus flavour.
– Good Robot is pouring Daughter of Sin, a Red Double IPA brewed with homebrew collective Brathair Brewing. The 8.1% ABV beer clocks in with 74 IBUs, all introduced post-boil (during the whirlpool while the beer chills) for a flavourful and smooth (but robust!) bitterness with fruitiness from Mosaic hops. This is a CB&LFC exclusive, so be sure to seek it out!
Propeller Brewing will be pouring Vanilla Porter, their next One Hit Wonder, scheduled to hit the brewery’s taps in the next few days. It will be joined by their IPA or ESB, and Krave Lager, as they are paired up with Krave Burger, who are serving Burger Bombs.
Spindrift will be debuting Duplicitous Imperial Pilsner, which was mentioned on the latest 902 BrewCast (shoutout). From Kellye Robertson, “Blend of Canadian and German Pilsner malts make this is a deceivingly light looking lager packing a punch of 8.0% ABV and 70 IBU. Aromatics of melon, citrus and passionfruit are led by generous amounts of Hallertau Blanc, El Dorado and Citra hops. ” After next week’s debut, it will be available at the brewery for growler fills, and around town next weekend.
Tatamagouche will be debuting their Mrs. Magouche American IPA, a collaboration beer brewed the fine people of the Ladies Beer League. They will also be pouring Smorter, their S’mores Porter, and have given a keg of that beer to their partner Primal Kitchen for some epic S’more tarts with beer reduction.
In addition to those mentioned above, check here for the (mostly) full line-up of beer and food. For those who want to enjoy the partying after the event is over, Local Connections has negotiated a rate of $139 at the Marriott, just mention that when booking. There are fewer than 20 tickets remained for the all-inclusive event, so grab your today!

And finally this week:

Tipsy Toad, the 5% Pale Ale from Fredericton’s Bogtrotter, is available now in 500 mL bottles at both the Oromocto and York St. ANBL locations.
– If you live in Fredericton and have been craving some Toque and Mitts (7.8% ABV), Celtic Knot‘s annual-release Barleywine, it’s now on tap at the James Joyce.
– Today, Garrison is re-releasing their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA (6.2% ABV, 52 IBUs) at their retail store; this Canadian Brewing Award Gold Winner is “dark, deep, toasty and hop-forward”. It will be available in six packs onsite, and at the NSLC and your local private beer store in the near future. And for our New Brunswick readers, look for it to hit the shelves of the ANBL shortly.
Petit-Sault‘s Canon Franchetti, a “Cappucino Stout” is back; you can find it in bottles and growlers at the brewery in Edmundston, as well as the Picaroons General Store in Saint John. Look for it to be on tap at ANBL Growler stations January 19th (who may also be receiving bottles this month as well).
Picaroons released a new beer at their Saint John General Store location, a Baltic Porter named The Teleporter. It’s just about gone already, but this 6.5% ABV beer was lagered for close to 6 weeks, to allow the alcohol and roasted characteristics to further blend together. And keep your eyes peeled here for details on a collaboration the SJ Picaroons folks did at Big Tide, which will be released mid-month.