4th Annual Hammond River Homebrew Competition

All posts tagged 4th Annual Hammond River Homebrew Competition

Well, we knew crowing last week about how much it had slowed down would come back to haunt us… and haunt us, it has (just think how much more clever that would have sounded if Halloween was today instead of earlier in the week)! With news and events bringing us into the world of 4,000+ words again, there’s a lot for all of you to get caught up with, including news on two breweries opening their doors. Get comfortable, grab something to sip on, and let’s get to it!

• The Gahan House has officially opened their newest location, Gahan Port City, in Saint John, NB. Located at 87 Prince William St., the 7 bbl (~800 L) brewhouse came to the city from the now-closed Rogues Roost brewpub in Halifax. With three 7 bbl fermenters and three direct draw serving tanks, the aim for the brewery is to have three seasonal taps pouring, with a wide variety of brews available, to complement the standard PEIBC/Gahan brews. While the brewhouse is not yet online, we expect the SJ-brewed beers to be available in December. Experimentation will be key! Expect collaborations with local businesses and other breweries as well. We’ll keep you up to date on all of their future endeavours, including a Q&A with Head Brewer Spencer Gallant once his beer is flowing.

• In more newly-opened news, Copper Bottom Brewing, located on Main Street Montague, PEI, officially opens today at 4 pm! Their beautiful new taproom will be open for growler fills and pints, with their first two core beers pouring: Centennial Stock Blonde Ale and Broadside APA. Centennial Stock is a 4.9% ABV, entry-level beer brewed with a simple grist of equal parts 2-row and Maris Otter, and hopped with some late-addition Centennial to just 13 IBUs. Broadside is heavily-hopped after the boil is complete, and dry-hopped, to lend some “citrus, grapefruit, and pine” flavours. From Saturday on, Copper Bottom will be open daily from noon to midnight, with live music playing a central role every Saturday. Their first musical event will start tomorrow, with musician Dave Gunning performing at 7:30 pm (get your tickets here). Look for their official grand-opening party to occur later this month. More news to come, but in the meantime, you can check out our Profile of Copper Bottom!

• Those who’ve been waiting with bated breath for news of the first mixed fermentation release from Stillwell Brewing got a pleasant surprise yesterday when it was announced via Instagram that the upcoming Bar Stillwell 4th Birthday Party on November 18th would feature the first pours of Stillwell Four, a tart and effervescent 6.2% ABV farmhouse ale that was matured in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. Even better, the day after that party you’ll be able to head down to the brewery (located at the back of Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location) and purchase bottles to go. And even more better than that, the following weeks will see three additional bottle releases. The Four isn’t expected to be available anywhere outside of the bar and the brewery, so you’ll maybe want to make some plans to head to Gottingen Street on November 19th. And meanwhile, if you’re looking for a feast for your craft beer curiosity, look for East Coast Crafted, a book written by Bar Stillwell and Stillwell Brewing guy Christopher Reynolds and Halifax-based editor, journalist and craft beer fanatic Whitney Moran, to make the city on or about November 28th. We’ll have more details as that official availability date approaches.

• A lot has changed for Hammond River Brewing since they opened almost four years ago, but their homebrew competition continues! The Fourth Annual Homebrew Competition is now open to all homebrewers in the Maritimes, and they’re looking for your best European beer. That’s right, any European style can be entered, ranging from Continental Pilsner to English IPA, Berliner Weisse to Altbier, and beyond! With a registration fee of just $10, you can enter up to three different beers for judging by certified BJCP judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three beers, with the gold-winning beer being brewed on HR’s new 15 bbl (~1750 L) brewhouse (with you assisting, of course!). Full competition details can be viewed here; if you’re interested, fill out your form and have your beers sent in by February 2nd; judging will take place on February 4th. And speaking of competition winners, last year’s winning beer in the HR comp is now available on tap at the brewery. Black River Milk Stout is a 6.8% ABV Milk Stout that was originally brewed by Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, who recently helped owner/brewer Shane Steeves replicate the recipe on his system. Drop by the brewery today to give it a try!

• Let’s keep rolling with the homebrew competition theme with one with a bit of a twist: Noble Grape is once again offering up their annual cider group buy, which gives home makers a bucket of freshly-pressed apples from a local producer. This year, they are partnering with the folks at Bulwark to allow customers a chance to use a special blend designed by Bulwark’s Alexandra Beaulieu. If you follow the included ingredients and instructions, you will end up with a dry sparkling cider. However… the crew from both Noble Grape and Bulwark are encouraging folks to flex your creative muscles and get a bit crafty. For those who take part in the purchase, using some or all of the ingredients provided (and you may add your own), they can choose to be entered in a friendly (but serious) competition for the most creative and unique cider possible. Pre-orders for the cider close Thursday, November 9th, with pickup of the cider November 22-23 (don’t miss this, as this unpasteurized cider may start to ferment if not dealt with promptly). Your entries (no entry fee, by the way!) for the competition are not due until February 2018, so you do have a bit of time to plan and implement your entry. And fret not, if you want to keep all of your cider for yourself, there’s no requirement to enter!

• And finally in homebrew competition news, we have the details on Garrison’s 10th Annual Home Brew-Off Challenge we first mentioned a few weeks ago: the deadline to submit your Kolsch (2015 BJCP 5B) is February 12th, and should be accompanied by the brew sheet and your $15 entry fee (which gets you entry to the March 22nd gala, a commemorative glass, and a Growlito and its first fill). Take a look here at their page for a bit more details.

• There’s plenty going on in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia this week, with TataBrew releasing a new beer, and bringing back a couple of favourites. In the new category, they’ve finally brewed up a dry-hopped Sour to go along with all of their other tart releases over the past months. Jitney is a 4.5% ABV kettle-soured beer brewed with 2-row, Oats, Wheat, and a touch of Acid malt. After bringing the pH down with a pitch of Lactobacillus, the beer was heavily dry-hopped with a combination of El Dorado and Mosaic, as well as a smaller amount of Azacca and Citra. Fermented with Foggy London (a strain suggested for NEIPAs) from Escarpment Labs, it finished off at a quaffable 4.5% ABV, with “lots of lemon and grapefruit upfront, and a sweeter stone fruit character in the background”. Kegs and cans will be distributed out as well, with cans even making an appearance at your local NSLC!

• And over to their re-releases, Tata has brought back their Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter, a 10% ABV monster that was aged for 9 months in second-run Glenora barrels. Brewed with lots of Horton Ridge Pale malt, and some Roasted Barley and Chocolate malt, it was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain to keep the beer as clean as possible, allowing the spirit character from the whiskey barrel to shine through. Warm – but not hot – thanks to the high ABV, expect notes of graham cracker, rich dark chocolate, and dark fruit… a perfect beer for the quickly-approaching colder weather! Available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery only (for now), it’s also on tap there for samples, and a couple of kegs may make appearances elsewhere for special events. And finally, their Blue Bales Blueberry Wheat is being re-released at the brewery this weekend. A 4.6% ABV beer, it’s the same recipe as the last go-around (featuring 250 lbs of organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm), but was fermented with a different yeast strain this time, bringing it closer to a Hefeweizen than an American Wheat. Look for cans and kegs to appear in the HRM next week.

• With quite a bit of beer news coming out of Horton Ridge lately, it’s understandably sometimes easy to forget that first and foremost, their main job is providing malt for other breweries in the Maritimes! They’ve recently begun malting some Newdale 2-row grown by Fred Dollar of Kentdale Farms (Winsloe, PEI), and decided to take some of it and make a new SMaSH brew (hey, what better way to get to know your product?). Fred’s First Ale was hopped entirely with Pacifica, a floral, citrusy varietal from New Zealand; at 6% ABV and 20 IBUs, you can find this malt-forward ale at the HR taproom in growlers and pints.

• Winning all those awards at the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards a couple of weeks ago hasn’t slowed down Big Spruce one bit, as they continue to release new brews. Their latest is Muddled Mule, a Witbier aged on organic strawberries from Wings of Dawn Farm (Masstown, NS). Coming in at a very-approachable 4.3% ABV and 12 IBUs, the beer also features the addition of locally-grown house-candied ginger. On tap at the brewery now, expect it at your usual haunts that pour Big Spruce beer.

2 Crows just called… to say… I Love You (sorry, the jokes get worse as the day goes on). Really, though, it’s a beer! A Saison brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, Rye, and oats, it was hopped lightly with Bramling Cross and Calypso. Then it starts getting a bit complex: a portion of the wort was actually left unhopped and was inoculated with a Lactobacillus strain (most strains of Lacto are not hop-friendly); once the desired acidity was reached, this portion was blended back in with the rest of the wort. The brewery then used their house Saison strain to ferment the brew, along with an experimental Brettanomyces strain (TYB 207). Once conditioned, the resulting beer was dry-tead (no, I don’t think that’s a word) with Lemon Verbena from Halifax’s World Tea House, and then dry-hopped with Huell Melon. Phewf! Described as “funky, bright, lemony, and tart”, I Love You comes in at 4.9% ABV and 17 IBUs and will be available tomorrow in cans and kegs.

• After several weeks of no new Alpha beer releases, those lazy buggers at Good Robot have got off their collective asses and brewed up Falstaff, a 4.7% ABV, 43 IBUs American Pale Ale being released later today. With a grist of 2-row, Red X, Caramel, Rye malt, and Flaked barley, it was hoped early and late with the “Good Robot blend” hops, as well as more late additions, of Amarillo and Cascade. More hops were thrown in the dry-hop, including more Amarillo and Cascade, as well as Azacca and Jarrylo. Malt presence is low with this one, with plenty of citrus coming through thanks to all those hops, along with a bit of pine. And don’t worry, those of you who tune in weekly just for the BetaBrewsday release news! Next Tuesday will see “Quite an Enigma” Black Ale, brewed by Kim Hart Macneill and Kelly Costello. “Nutty, roasty, and light-bodied”, with some balancing hop bitterness from the Enigma and Summit additions, it weighs in at 4.5% ABV and 51 IBUs.

• In other benign automaton news, they’re also excited to release their first Barrel Aged beer today. You might remember the big old barleywine Mississippi Goddam that they released back in April. Well, there was more where that came from, and it spent the last 6 months or so soaking up the goodness of fresh Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, which have imparted woody, vanilla, toffee and candied fruit flavours to the beer. You’ll find bottles of Barrel-aged Mississippi Goddamon for sale today starting at noon at the Good Robot store, the taproom, and possibly other private retailers in the HRM (check first!). And oh, by the way, for the second year running, Good Robot has won both the Best Brewpub and Best Craft Brewery awards in The Coast’s annual Best Of Halifax, thanks to their loyal (and vocal) fans! Congratulations are in order, we think.

• Edmundston’s Petit-Sault is helping to celebrate the first official activities of the town’s new Jean-Daigle Centre by releasing Snap Dickie, a “Sport Ale” named in honour of the local hockey legend, who played for the Edmundston Eskimos in the 1930s. Actually falling in the Cream Ale style, the beer is available on tap now at the Jean-Daigle Centre and at the brewery taproom, it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV and 15 IBUs. Depending on the response, it could possibly be bottled in the future.

• We have news on the latest hoppy offering from TrailWay2 Jackets, to hit this week. This one is an American IPA hopped with the brewery’s “all-time favourite hops”: Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Mosaic. As expected by anyone familiar with these hop varieties, the beer is full of “citrus, intense juiciness, and some spice”. Releasing today at noon, 2 Jackets will be available in cans at the brewery only, along with pints and growlers. Of course, a few spots in Fredericton will likely have it on tap in the near future as well.

• Alma’s Holy Whale Brewing is releasing a frightfully good beer this weekend, inspired by the changing seasons and cooler weather. Medusa’s Milk Stout is 5.7% ABV, and instead of venemous snakes added to the boil, a tincture of vanilla beans and coca was added post-fermentation. As always, the best place to grab a pour of HW beer is at the brewery taproom in Alma, at the Buddha Bear Cafe. You can try it on nitro, as well as the standard CO2 faucet. And even better, they’ve recently implemented a “Positive Pints” program, where $0.50 from each pint goes to a partnering not-for-profit organization. Check here for more details.

• Fredericton’s Coastliner Cider will be releasing a couple of new ciders in bottles, for sale at some ANBL stores this week. Castaway, a 5.4% ABV cider featuring the addition of Tropical Hibiscus, was originally on the ANBL growler program last month, and Hop on Board, a new cider (5.4% ABV) infused with New Brunswick-grown Goldings hops. As of publishing, they were not yet listed on the new ANBL site, but should be showing up shortly, and will be on the shelves over the next couple of weeks.

Propeller‘s popular Coffee Porter (5.9% ABV, 35 IBUs) – their deep-brown coloured, coffee-forward ale – has returned at both Prop Shop locations in both growlers and 650 mL bottles. Brewed with hefty amounts of specialty malts and Java Blend Fog City coffee beans, it has “subtle hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt” too complement the coffee character. You’ll be seeing it on tap over this weekend, and a cask will be pouring exclusively at Stillwell; more bottles will be available at the NSLC after Remembrance Day. And tonight’s Propeller Cask Night will feature their IPA dry-hopped with Laurel; be there at 5 pm when the cask is tapped!

• Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has a new beer that should be making rounds to Think tap accounts over the weekend. Churchill is a 6.7% ABV, 35 IBUs “British Strong Ale” (likely similar to an ESB) that has some caramel malt character with a touch of sweetness, and a little bit of chocolate in the flavour. Balanced by a moderate bitterness in the finish, it has a little alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove released a special beer/wine hybrid last night during their Thursday Growler Night. First Crush is a 5.9% ABV Saison-base with Pilsner and Wheat malts, fermented with saison yeast from Bootleg Biology. After fermentation was complete, L’Acadie blanc and Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (grown onsite at their own vineyard) were added to the tank. The resultant beer is light and effervescent, finishing quite dry, but with pleasant fruit flavours from both the yeast and grapes. For those who missed out on last night’s release, fear not, it will be available in growlers tomorrow at their table at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, and a limited number of kegs available soon, and half of the batch has gone into French oak barrels (via the Napa Valley) for release at a future date.

• Back over to Newfoundland, St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub is pouring their new Seaside Sparkling Ale, an “Australian version of a Cream Ale, with traditionally higher carbonation”. Available on tap and in growlers, it has “bready malt flavours” upfront, balanced by some “herbal hop bitterness”. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, as always with these one-offs, it’s available only at the brewpub.

• And one more piece of St. John’s new beer news with YellowBelly, who announced that they will soon be releasing a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA”. A NEIPA hopped with plenty of Citra, conditioned on 45 kg of blueberries, and fermented with the wonderful Funktown yeast blend, it should hopefully be kegged by late next week. At last glance, they were still looking for some name suggestions for this beer, so hop on over to their Facebook page and give them your best shot!

It’s not just beer and brewery news that’s heavy this week, as there’s plenty of events going on this weekend, as well as the near (and distant!) future. Get caught up with a large handful of them below:

• St. John’s Quidi Vidi Brewing is bringing back their Fogtown Lager with a Release Party at the brewery tomorrow, November 4th. While the taproom opens at noon, with Fogtown on tap all day, the real party begins at 7 pm, with live music, food, merch for sale, and a Fogtown Barber & Shop pop-up. Only $5 at the door, the event will kick off the weekly Fogtown Fridays at QV, featuring happy hour from 4-7 pm with $5 Fogtown pints… the perfect way to end your work week! A reminder that this beer is brewed every fall as a fundraiser for Movember, raising funds to support men’s mental and physical health research and programs.

Roof Hound is tickled stink (see? I warned you about these bad jokes) by their ACBA Gold medal win for their American IPA, The Big Stink, so they’re hosting a Big Stink Party tomorrow, November 4th to celebrate! Drop by the taproom for some free live music, starting at 9 pm, and order a pint of the winning beer (and some of their other offerings on tap) to toast their win. Kitchen closes at 9, so if you’d like some food, best show up early.

• If you’re participating in tomorrow‘s Run the River in Nackawic, Big Axe will be waiting for you at the finish line! Well, maybe not right at the finish line, but they’ll have warm soup and plenty of beer pouring at their Beers, Soup & Music Jam, the perfect reward for all of your hard work. And if you’re musically-inclined, bring your instruments to jam with your fellow runners and beer-drinkers for the rest of the day; it all starts at 11:30 am at the brewery on Otis Dr.

• The Moncton Craft Brewer’s Collective is excited to announce that they’ll be hosting their second tap takeover next weekend, Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th. The primary venue will be the Laundromat Espresso Bar and there you’ll find a huge collection of local beers and ciders from Acadie-Broue, Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, Pump House, Scow and Tide & Boar. In addition, they’re partnering with Notre Dame de Parkton on Thursday and Friday to have draught beer available to go with beer-friendly food like wings, nachos and more! So if you’re at the Laundromat and you’re feeling peckish, you can hop a couple doors down for a bite and keep the beer flowing. And if you’re at Notre Dame de Parkton you can order up some tasty local beverages. This is the largest selection of Moncton-local beer and cider products available anywhere! Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe is hosting a Brewer’s Dinner on November 10th, featuring Yarmouth’s own Heritage Brewing. Featuring appetizers, a three course meal, and a pint of beer chosen to accompany each plate, there will also be live music, it is sure to be a fine night out. You can find out the full food and beer pairings here. Reservations are a must, and can be made via email or phone (902-307-2250).

• The Cape Breton Beer Fest is returning December 2nd, and tickets are now available. Featuring twenty breweries and food vendors, the CBBF is taking over the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (aka The Big Fiddle) from 7-9PM (VIP tickets will get you in an hour early) that evening, for plenty of beer, food, and fun. The fest is kicking off their partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation and Families for Families Toy Drive today with an event at Breton Brewing today at 5PM. Learn more about it, and enter for a chance at free Fest tickets by dropping by. And throughout November, the CBBF will be giving away pairs of tickets to the Fest every Friday. All you need to do is tag your friend, and @capebretonbeerfest on IG and Facebook (@beerfestcb on Twitter) and use the hashtag #whodeservesabeer, and you’re entered! Check the full list of breweries here.

• After a hiatus last winter due to some truly weird weather (remember? It went something like this: snow, rain, freeze, repeat), NB HopSpiel is returning to Fredericton in 2018! The all-day event will be held on Saturday, January 27th, and you can start signing up your team now! Tickets are $60/person or $240/team, with each team participating in 2-3 curling games. Tickets also include coffee and other hot beverages, lunch, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (with three complimentary beers). Plenty of prizes will be awarded after the event, and it’s always a great time! Remember, it’s outdoors, so dress accordingly! Grab your tickets here.

A couple more notes today:

– For fans of Dark & Stormy Night (4.8% ABV), Picaroons‘ take on a Dunkelweizen that was discontinued a while back due to an ongoing legal feud, it has returned as Cease & Desist. Still the same recipe as before, it’s on tap now/soon at all three Picaroons locations, and other licensees in the Maritimes. And their Halloween-themed Black IPA, Best BiTer, has been renamed Walk In The Dark, to avoid confusion with their Best Bitter.
PEI Brewing Company has announced the return of a pair of barrel-aged beers. Hell Street is their 8.1% ABV Doppelbock, which is available at the PEIBC and PEI Liquor storesIce Boat is their barrel-aged Imperial Stout, which will be making its return in the coming weeks, as well as the launch of a new beer, Shortest Day, a 5.3% ABV Spiced Milk Stout, coming November 16th. We’ll have more details on those beers when available.
– In Moncton, Pump House once again sees the return of their gourd-filled beer, now named Glenn’s Pumpkin Ale and sporting 5.5% ABV.
– Gander’s Scudrunner Brewing is coming along nicely, with the delivery of their 10 BBL (1200 litre) last week. Take a peek at a few pictures of the progress here. And as they prepare for a late-2017 opening, they are expanding their crew. No brewing experience is required, they’re just looking for some motivated folks to join their team. Contact Sam via email or FB message.
Unfiltered in Halifax has brought back their paean to unfair (illegal?) taxation, the Mosaic-heavy RSMA, a classically NASHian DIPA at 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU and bursting with tropical hop flavors.
– PEI’s Upstreet Brewing‘s Black Tie Affair, the sweet and roasty stout with hints of chocolate, vanilla and tart cranberry, hits the shelves again today in advance of the PEI Symphony Orchestra’s Black Tie Evening featuring Atlantic String Machine.

Easter egg: this post is 4000 words.