Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards

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Crikey! It looks like the celebrations and shenanigans associated with this past weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Gala and Reception (check the list of winners here) might have finally taken the edge off the local beer scene for a week, allowing your faithful beer bloggers to catch our collective breath. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything exciting going on, just that there’s a little less to talk about this week. Enjoy the relatively short read (only 2000 words!); we don’t figure it’ll stay this way for long!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing reached a milestone this week, finally opening to the public and selling beer! Wednesday and Thursday of this week saw AJ Leadbetter with two of his own beers, Daydreamer Pale Ale and Headliner IPA, available for grunter (900 mL) and Growler (1.89 L) fills. They’ll be open again today from 2 – 6 PM for the same, but do note that until their point-of-sale system arrives it’s cash-only. Grunters are $7 for a fill and Growlers are $12. If you don’t have any to fill, grunters and growlers are both available for purchase, as are a selection of swanky Backstage branded fauncy paunts beer glasses, including the Rastal, the Belgian tulip, the Spiegelau IPA, and the Teku 2.0. Congrats to AJ and Beth and everyone who’s worked so hard to make the brewery a reality! Peep our Profile with AJ for a reminder of their beer and learn more about going Backstage…

2 Crows released one of their coveted small batch brews yesterday, Mountain Sounds, a Hopfenweisse brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop. With a malt grist of Pilsner malt, Wheat malt, and raw Wheat, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain to give the banana and clove notes we all expect in the style. Being a Hopfenweisse, however, demands hops, so Miles dry-hopped the beer “judiciously” with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. The end result features “huge notes of fruit salad, tinned peaches, banana, and pear”, accompanied by a full mouthfeel. Pours only for this one at the tasting room, so get down there quick! And as a bit of a heads up, they will be sporting a new release next Saturday (November 4th), I Love You, a Brett– fermented Saison, infused with lemon verbena, care of Phil Holmans of World Tea House. We’ll have all of the nerdy details next Friday.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has an au courant brew ready for All Hallows’ Eve and, perhaps, reminiscing about classic Halifax haunts from the 80s. GothStout is an American Stout, featuring citrusy Centennial hops added at both the beginning of the boil, for bitterness, and towards the end, for a flavourful hop presence and aroma. The body is dark and roasty from the use of roasted barley, kiln coffee and pale chocolate malts. Said to pair well with Bauhaus or The Cure, we’ll wager it also wouldn’t go amiss with a little Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees either. Head on down to the Tiny Tasting Room and see whether GothStout is really as black as your soul. And while this beer will have come and gone by the time it opens, the TH family have announced that they will be filling the three beer taps at aFrite Restaurant on Lower Water, when it opens in late November.

• Continuing on the popular release of their DDH Luster in late summer, TrailWay is releasing DDH Hu Jon Hops today at the brewery. Their flagship 6.5% ABV American IPA, HJH is typically packed full of hop flavour and aroma, and TW promises an experience at the next level with this double-dry-hopped version. A second dry hop with Citra and Mosaic was added, giving a flavour of “saturated hop juice”, coming across as “very fruity with some dankness”, according to the brewery. Available today at noon at the brewery on tap and in cans, and likely a few kegs will pop up around Fredericton, as is usual for these limited releases.

• Erica and Kelly C. continue their exploits on the Good Robot pilot system with another new BetaBrewsday release next Tuesday. Falling on Halloween, they were reminded of Dia de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”, a multi-day, annual holiday in Mexico; Erica was lucky enough to attend the celebrations in Oaxaca a few years ago, and was introduced to a wide variety of molé sauces, with her favourite being molé negra. With chocolate and spices working so well in certain beer styles, she created (with help from Kelly C. and Maria Josey) Holy Molé, a 5.3% ABV Brown Ale brewed with 2-row, Crystal 120 L, Wheat malt, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Wheat malt. Hopped lightly with East Kent Goldings to just 11 IBUs, of course the ingredients didn’t rest here – a small amount of thyme, cumin, cinnamon, clove, and sesame were added in the boil, with fire-roasted peppers and avocado leaves being thrown into the fermenter.

• Be on the lookout for Sober Island Brewing‘s small (relatively speaking) cans to be hitting the shelves next week. 473 ml cans of their Blonde Ale (renamed Marigold) and Oyster Stout (now known as Beth’s Blackout) will both be found at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar beginning November 2nd. They will be running a tasting that afternoon from 4-6pm, where you can grab a taste before grabbing a can (or two). They are still using the crowler format for on-demand fills, but the smaller format will allow them to have packaged beer more readily available in the HRM area.

• As part of this weekend’s Devour! The Food and Film Fest, the 2017 Taste of Nova Scotia Awards were announced yesterday, with all of the winners sharing close ties to the cider and beer world. Congratulations to Product of the Year Something Different from Annapolis CiderRestaurant of the Year The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, Server of the Year Nicole Raufeisen of Little OakCulinary Ambassador of the Year Chris and Melissa Velden of The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery , and Producer of the Year Benjamin Bridge.

• And a big congratulations to Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills of Port Rexton Brewing, who were recognized with the Trailblazer Award by Newfoundland And Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Opening a brewery in a small town more than 3 hours from the closest city takes a special passion that these two entrepreneurs are demonstrating. Building both their local community in Port Rexton, and the community of breweries opening in other small towns in the province, their win is much-deserved. Celebrate with the entire PR crew this weekend at the brewery, as they celebrate the end of the season. The bar is open 2-10PM today, 1-10PM Saturday, and 11AM-6PM Sunday, for you to enjoy samples, pints, music (Saturday night), and then grab a few growlers to enjoy at home during the week. Costumes are highly encouraged!

We have two exciting developments in “coming soon/not-so-soon” beers in our region:

• In planning for months, a collaboration between artist and breweries will come to fruition next month. Artist Erin McGuire is the man behind “By The Numbers“, a piece of art he created inspired by The Tragically Hip. Being a beer fan from the South Shore, McGuire reached out to Boxing Rock (who in turn wanted to collaborate with Garrison) to turn his art into a beer label, with a portion of proceeds of the beer going to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The collaborative beer, Courage (for Gord Downie), will be a 6.0% Amber Wheat Ale, with a limited run of just 2000 bottles, coming in late November. For those Hip and beer fans looking to pay tribute, and help fund brain tumour research before then, prints of “By The Numbers” are available through McGuire now.

• In the not-so-soon department, the crew from North Brewing took the first steps of a multi-month (multi-year?) journey last weekend. After preparing a low-ABV-potential, high-wheat wort using the turbid mash method (put on your beer goggles, take a deep dive and prepare to lose a few hours while researching!) at their Agricola Street location, they trucked the wort to the vineyard at Benjamin Bridge Winery. At that point, the still-hot wort was pumped into a shallow metal container named a coolship. The vessel’s large surface area and shallow depth allow for a quick cooling (normally requiring lots of water and a heat exchanger). At this point, yeast would normally be added by the brewers, but in taking advantage of the wild yeast and flora growing on the grapes and leaves in the vineyard, the wort was allowed to spontaneously ferment (or innoculate). An overnight process to ensure enough yeast found their way through the cheesecloth (to keep any insects or other nasties out!), the beer was then pumped into Benjamin Bridge barrels, and brought back to HRM. The beer will now ferment and condition over the course of many months, and could potentially lead to a multi-year blend of future brews (think Gueuze, from Brussels). We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with this beer as it develops

In addition to your own Halloween-themed parties this weekend, here a few others to keep in mind in the coming weeks!

Horton Ridge will be hosting a special event for Halloween this year, featuring one of the Gold Medal-winning beers from this year’s ACBAs. Hortonville’s Pumpkin Ale, which we told you about a few weeks ago, was brewed by Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery brewer Stefan Gagliardi using hefty amounts of Horton Ridge organic Vienna and Munich malts as well as home-smoked pumpkin and plenty of spices. The beer will be available for pints and as part of flights on Tuesday Oct 31 from 1 – 9 PM while supplies last. Of course there will be other Horton Ridge-brewed and guest beers on tap for this event.

Lion & Bright will be hosting Charlottetown’s Upstreet for an 8-tap takeover next Thursday, November 2nd. Featuring some of their core beers, plus plenty of special and one-offs, there will be food and drink deals from 5PM. Come and meet the Upstreet crew, jam on some tunes, and have a fun night out!

• Not quite getting your fill of New Brunswick beer? The James Joyce in Fredericton has been a strong supporter of breweries in the province over the past couple of years, but on Friday, November 10th, they’re pushing the envelope – and adding taps! – to try and have beer available from every brewery in New Brunswick. The event is currently unnamed, but they’re doing all they can to ensure every brewery is able to participate, including adding lines, jockey boxes, and kegerators! The last time they attempted this it was a bit easier, with only 18 breweries open in the province; now, it’s over 30. There’s no charge to attend, just show up when they open at 11:30 am, and pay by the pint or flight!

Just a couple more things before we send you off:

Grimross has released Scratch #7: Skinny Pale Ale at their brewery in Fredericton; they’re describing it as a 5.8% ABV mix of a “Belgian meeting a California Pale Ale”. Scratch is available now, and/or drop by on Saturday for a taste, when they’ll also have their Schwarzbier on cask, featuring additions of orange peel and Citra hops.
– We teased a few weeks ago that Rothesay’s Long Bay would be bottling soon, and that day has come! One of their flagship beers, Bantam APA, is the first to be available in bottles, which you can find for sale at the brewery, as well as KV and Saint John ANBL stores (check inventory). Look for their first Belgian beer, Chalice, to follow suit over the next couple of days.
– While Uncle Leo’s mixed 4-pack of German Ales is still available at select NSLC stores in the region, it looks like the next local variety pack will be a 6-pack featuring two bottles each of three different ciders from Bulwark, going on sale as of November 20th.

The 2017 edition of the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards were announced at a Gala earlier this evening, in front of a full house at the Stubborn Goat. 50 breweries and cider houses from across the Atlantic provinces took part, with a total of 321 beer and cider entered for consideration in 14 different categories. 20 judges from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tackled the enormous variety of entries, with the following beers and ciders recognized for their performance. In case you’re wondering how you can get a sweet gig like this, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program, and sign up to be part of the study and exam group, run through the Brewnosers homebrew club. Now, on to our winners!

1) North American & European Style Lager
Gold: Boxing Rock Brewing Co. – Stayin’ Alive Bock
Silver: Moosehead Breweries Ltd. – Moosehead Lager
Bronze: Good Robot Brewing Co. – Extra BIG-ASS Beer

2) German Style Specialty Ales
Gold: Breton Brewing Co. – Stirling Hefeweizen
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – North Shore Lagered Ale
Bronze: North Brewing Company – Little Beast

3) UK Style Specialty Ales
Gold: Pump House Brewery – Barley Wine Ale
Silver: Split Rock Brewing Co. – Alli’s Big Brown Ale
Bronze: Garrison Brewing Co. – Irish Red

4) North American Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Trider’s Craft Beer – Brew-Deau Cream Ale
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Giantess Barleywine
Bronze: Oland Brewery – Keith’s IPA

5) Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Big Spruce Brewing – S’Il Vous Plait
Silver: Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault – Tante Blanche
Bronze: Quidi Vidi Brewing Company – Winter Ale

6) North American Style Amber / Red Ale
Gold: Sea Level Brewing Co. – Blue Heron Extra Special Bitter
Silver: Boxing Rock Brewing Co. – Temptation Red Ale
Bronze: Hammond River Brewing – Red Coat India Red Ale

7) Fruit & Field Beer
Gold: Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Hortonville Pumpkin Ale
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Guava Get Me Some!
Bronze: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Rushton’s Peach

8) Pale Ales
Gold: Breton Brewing Co. – Seven Years Pale Ale
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Kitchen Party Pale Ale
Bronze: North Brewing Company – Priority Pale Ale

9) Stout / Porter
Gold: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Two Rivers Baltic Porter
Silver: 2 Crows Brewing Co. – Midnight Mood American Porter
Bronze: Big Axe Brewery – Shakespeare Stout

10) India Pale Ale
Gold: Roof Hound Brewing Co. Ltd. – Big Stink IPA
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Tim’s Dirty American IPA
Bronze: Nine Locks Brewery – Fathom DIPA

11) Experimental Beer
Gold: North Brewing Company – Oh My Darlin’ Clementine Brett Pale Ale
Silver: Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Nachtical Illusion Schwarzbier
Bronze: Good Robot Brewing Co. – Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie v3.0

12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: Garrison Brewing Co. – Barrel-Aged Ol’ Fog Burner Barleywine
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Wild Wild Wit  
Bronze: 2 Crows Brewing Co. – Bonanza! Calvados-Aged Wheat Wine

13) Standard Cider and Perry
Gold: ChainYard Urban Cidery – Foundation
Silver: Yip Cider – Russett
Bronze: Coastliner Craft Cider – Coastliner Original

14) Specialty Cider and Perry
Gold: Red Rover Craft Cider – Fall Cider
Silver: ShipBuilders Cider Ltd. – Sid’s Chai Apple Cider
Bronze: ChainYard Urban Cidery – Hopped Up

Brewery of the Year
Big Spruce Brewing (Nyanza, NS)

Brewpub of the Year
Paddy’s Pub (Wolfville, NS)

Cider House of the Year
ChainYard Urban Cidery (Halifax, NS)

Beer of the Year
Stirling Hefeweizen – Breton Brewing (Sydney, NS)

Cider of the Year
Fall Cider – Red Rover Craft Cider (Fredericton, NB)

People’s Choice Award – Cider
Original – Yip Cider (Long Reach, NB)

People’s Choice Award – Beer
Go Devil – Upstreet Craft Brewing (Charlottetown, PE)

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2017 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards by the numbers:
296 Beer entries from 43 Breweries and Brewpubs
25 Cider entries from 7 Cider Houses
20 BJCP National, Certified, Recognized, and Novice Judges
8 dedicated stewards behind the scenes
18 hours of judging
1100 cups of beer and cider sniffed, swigged and sampled
35,000 steps (23 km) walked by the Judging Organizer over the course of 2 days (acbbchris)

49 Awards

1 Great Industry Worth Celebrating!



What a weekend! From Friday afternoon, until Saturday night, 21 beer judges came together to sample the more than 250 beer and cider entries in this year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards. At the Gala Sunday evening, awards were handed out for the top beers in the region. Here are the winners!

1) North American & European Style Lager
Gold: Moosehead Breweries – Moose Light
Silver: Oland Brewery – Schooner
Bronze: Propeller Brewing – Nocturne Dark Lager

2) German Style Specialty Ales
Gold: Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Altbier
Silver: Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Vohs Weizenbier
Bronze: Garrison Brewing – Rise ‘N’ Stein

3) UK Style Specialty Ales
Gold: Pump House Brewery – Barley Wine Ale
Silver: Garrison Brewing – Irish Red Ale
Bronze: Trider’s Craft Beer – Rod’s Red

4) North American Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Upstreet Craft Brewing – One Way Black IPA
Silver: Spindrift Brewing – Riptide IPL
Bronze: Good Robot Brewing – Leave Me Blue

5) Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Petit-Sault – Tante Blanche
Silver: Upstreet Craft Brewing – De Novo I
Bronze: Tatamagouche Brewing – Tatamagouche Tripel

6) North American Style Amber / Red Ale
Gold: PEI Brewing – Island Red
Silver: Boxing Rock Brewing – Temptation Red Ale
Bronze: Paddy’s Pub – Annapolis Valley Ale (AVA)

7) Fruit & Field Beer
Gold: Lazy Bear Brewing – Braunbär Honey Brown
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – The Silver Tart
Bronze: Petit-Sault – Bonhomme Sept-Heures

8) Pale Ales
Gold: Hell Bay Brewing – English Ale
Silver: Bad Apple Brewhouse – American Pale Ale
Bronze: Big Spruce Brewing – Gimme Citra

9) Stout / Porter
Gold: Alexander Keith’s – Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout
Silver: Breton Brewing – Cocoa Envy Chocolate Robust Porter
Bronze: Tatamagouche Brewing – Two Rivers Baltic Porter

10) India Pale Ale
Gold: Rockbottom Brewpub – Fathom IPA
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing – Deception Bay IPA
Bronze: Bad Apple Brewhouse – Mosaic DIPA

11) Experimental Beer
Gold: Bad Apple Brewhouse –  Smoked Porter
Silver: Good Robot Brewing – Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie v2.0
Bronze: Propeller Brewing – Graceland Too White IPA

12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: Big Spruce – Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Silver: Bad Apple Brewhouse – Smoke Show
Bronze: Big Spruce Brewing – Coade Word: Snowmageddon Barrel-Aged Winter Warmer

13) Standard Cider and Perry
Gold: ShipBuilders Cider – ShipBuilders
Silver: Paddy’s Pub – Fitzgerald Traditional Cider
Bronze: Elderkin’s Cider – Elderkin’s Traditional Hard Cider

14) Specialty Cider and Perry
Gold: Annapolis Cider – Crisp & Dry
Silver: Annapolis Cider – Something Different – Peach & Peppercorn
Bronze: Red Rover Brewhouse – Fall Cider

Brewery of the Year
Bad Apple Brewhouse

Brewpub of the Year
Rockbottom Brewpub

Cider House of the Year
Annapolis Cider Company

Beer of the Year
Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout (Big Spruce)

Cider of the Year
ShipBuilders Cider (ShipBuilders)

People’s Choice Beer
T-Rex Porter (Port Rexton)

People’s Choice Cider
Crisp & Dry (Annapolis Cider Company)

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2016 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards by the numbers:
228 Beer entries from 35 Breweries and Brewpubs
29 Cider entries from 7 Cider Houses
21 BJCP National, Certified, Recognized, and Novice Judges
10 dedicated stewards behind the scenes
12 hours of judging
900 cups of beer and cider sniffed, swigged and sampled
30,000 steps (20 km) walked by the Judging Organizer (acbbchris)

49 Awards

1 Great Industry Worth Celebrating!

Happy Friday! We’ve got a summary of last weekend’s ACBAs, plus lots of new brews, so let’s get right to it!

• Last weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards celebrated the high quality beers and ciders in our region. We reached out to ACBA organizer Mark DeWolf (Manager – Custom Content, Food & Drink at The Chronicle Herald) for his thoughts on the event:

“We were very pleased with the number of entries and overall quality of the beer and ciders entered into this year’s competition. This year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards drew over 200 product submissions from more than 30 breweries and cideries from across Atlantic Canada. With 21 different producers picking up an award, it was clear that there is a high level of brewing and cider making in all corners of the region.  It was great seeing some old favourites and some new surprises take home awards. As an organizer, you can never predict what products and producers will win awards, all we can do is ensure that there is an equal opportunity for all the participants. To that end, the BJCP judges and volunteers should be commended. They were exceptionally professional in the manner with which they carried out their duties. Congratulations, of course, goes out to Garrison Brewing Company for winning their title as Brewery of the Year, Red Rover from New Brunswick for winning our newly created Cidery of the Year award, Rockbottom Brewpub for winning the title of Brewpub of the Year and Bad Apple Brewhouse for collecting the title of Beer of the Year for their exceptional Box Cutter IPA. We look forward to a bigger and better competition in 2016.”

Here are the winners in the individual categories:

#1) N.A. / European Style Lager
Gold Hop City Barking Squirrel Moosehead Breweries Ltd.
Silver Bohemian Style Pilsener Propeller Brewing Company
Bronze Alpine Moosehead Breweries Ltd.

#2) German Specialty Ales
Gold Rise ‘n’ Stein Heffewiezen Garrison Brewing Company
Silver Uncle Leo’s Altbier Uncle Leo’s Brewery
Bronze Stirling Hefeweizen Breton Brewing Co.

#3) UK Specialty Style Ales
Gold Bulldog Brown Ale Rockbottom Brewpub
Silver Raven Ale Paddy’s Brewpub
Bronze Uncle Leo’s Red Ale Uncle Leo’s Brewery

#4) N.A. Specialty Ales
Gold Bitter Get’er India Black IPA Big Spruce Brewing
Silver Ol’ Fog Burner Garrison Brewing Company
Bronze Sir John A Honey Wheat PEI Brewing Company

#5) Belgian Style Specialty Ales
Gold Simone et Hebert Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault
Silver La Buckdjeuve Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault
Bronze Maxime Albert Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault

#6) N.A. Amber / Red Ales
Silver Blue Heron Extra Special Bitter Sea Level Brewing Co.

#7) Fruit & Field Beers
Gold Thai Wheat Pump House Brewery
Silver Rhuby Social Upstreet Craft Brewing
Bronze Smashed Pumpkin Paddy’s Brewpub

#8) Pale Ales
Gold Vic Park PEI Brewing Company
Silver English Ale Hell Bay Brewing Co. Ltd.
Bronze Gimme Citra Big Spruce Brewing + Stillwell

# 9) Stout / Porter
Gold La Vaca Loca Barnone Brewing
Silver Revolution Russian Imperial Stout Propeller Brewing Company
Bronze Oatmeal Stout Rockbottom Brewpub

#10) India Pale Ale
Gold Box Cutter IPA Bad Apple Brewhouse
Silver Deception Bay IPA Tatamagouche Brewing Company
Bronze Fathom IPA Rockbottom Brewpub

#11) Experimental
Gold IPA Gastronome Garrison Brewing Company
Silver Surf & Turf Meander River Farm & Brewery
Bronze Uncle Leo’s Smoked Porter Uncle Leo’s Brewery

#12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold Barrel Aged Grand Baltic Porter Garrison Brewing Company
Silver Zirable Acadie-Broue Inc.
Bronze Rum Barrel Aged Dreadnot Tatamagouche Brewing Company

#13) Standard Cider & Perry
Gold Ship Builders Cider Cider House
Silver VeRRy PeRRy Red Rover Craft Cider
Bronze Stutz Original Cider House

#14) Specialty Cider & Perry
Gold Fire Cider Red Rover Craft Cider
Silver The Blues Red Rover Craft Cider
Bronze Stutz Wild Blueberry Cider House
Beer of the Year/Best of Show: Box Cutter IPA – Bad Apple Brewhouse
Brewery of the Year: Garrison Brewing Company
Brewpub of the Year: Rockbottom Brewpub
Cidery of the Year (new): Red Rover Craft Cider

Congratulations once again to the winners, and to all of our local breweries and cider houses for continuing to step up their game and improving the environment for local beer fans. Now on to the rest of our scheduled program…

• We finally have some news on the new IPA from Pump House; SPCA IPA was brewed in support of the Greater Moncton SPCA, and was officially released at the brewery yesterday. Heavily-hopped (with almost four times the amount of hops as their regular-release IPA) with a blend of “atypical hops”, this amber-coloured beer has an aroma of “grapefruit and citrus, paired with subtle hints of dark berries and a touch of phenol”, according to the brewery. The bitterness comes across as intense, yet with a “pleasingly palatable” flavour. Weighing in at 7% ABV and 50 IBUs, it’s available now in 500 mL bottles, exclusively at the brewpub in Moncton; a portion of the proceeds from sales will go to the GMSPCA. And Pump House’s Pumpkin Ale is out again; you can find it on tap at the brewpub, and possibly at select accounts in the province.

• The first annual Fredericton Cider Fest is being held tomorrow at Brewbakers, starting at 12 or 1 pm (depending on your ticket). Featuring approximately 25 different ciders from six producers (including Fredericton’s own Red Rover, winners of Cider House of the Year at last weekend’s ACBAs), the sold-out VIP tickets allow early entry at noon, as well as access to an info session, but there ARE still some regular-entry tickets left, which include unlimited samples and a special tasting glass. Red Rover will have two different cask ciders, one of which is their Hop Back in Time, a 7% ABV semi-dry cider that has been dry-hopped with a secret blend of varieties. With earthy and citrus notes in the nose, including hints of apple, the hops mix perfectly in the flavours to provide a slight bitterness and grassy notes on the finish. This one-off was brewed specifically for Cider Fest, so be sure to get your tickets if you haven’t already, so that you don’t miss out! For more info, check out our earlier post.

Railcar Brewing will be celebrating their 1st Birthday on Saturday, October 31st. Drop by the brewery from 12 – 10 pm for cake and special pricing on pints and pitchers; the first 50 customers will also receive a free growler with purchased fill. Railcar has also just released Shogomac Stout, brewed with plenty of dark, roasted malts for a jet-black colour and coffee/chocolate aromas and flavours. Hopped with two additions of Southan Farms Goldings and one of Fuggles (to a total of 44 IBUs), it comes in at 5.8% ABV; you can find it now at the brewery and the James Joyce in Fredericton.

• Speaking of Railcar, they’ve had a guest brewer drop by and brew up a batch of Pale Ale, which is currently being poured as a guest tap at the brewery. Al Bannister is the owner of River Valley Micro, a homebrew shop in Woodstock, NB, who plans on opening his own brewery sometime in 2016. He recently brewed his Trout Pout Pale Ale on Railcar’s system, a 6.6% ABV and 43 IBUs beer hopped with Amarillo and Centennial. Bannister hopes to brew a Blonde Ale and American IPA (both with hops from Southan Farms) at Railcar in the near future, with other styles to follow. Drop by Railcar if you’re in the area, and get a sneak peek from this upcoming brewery!

• The season’s creeping to a close, but there’s still some Harvest beers hitting the shelves! Hell Bay has just released their High Tide Harvest Ale, hopped entirely with locally-grown hops from High Tide Hops Farm in Dayspring, NS. This 5% ABV ale showcases a “rich, malty body”, and “peppery notes” from the European yeast strain used for fermentation. It’s currently available at the brewery for growler fills, as well as on tap at Stillwell and White Point Beach Resort, and this weekend’s sold out Celtic Oktoberfest.

Yellowbelly Brewery in St John’s is celebrating Oktoberfest with their newest beer … Oktoberfest! This is the first time YB has brewed a lager, taking a detour from their standard ale offerings. Brewed in the traditional Fest Bier style, this 6% ABV grain bill features Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts, and was hopped with Styrian Goldings and Saphir to about 28 IBUs, and then allowed to ferment and condition cold for a month before hitting the taps. The resultant beer is very smooth with a nice noble hop character to complement the malt base, and as such is very easy to drink. And while at the pub, be sure to grab some of their Deep South, now in bottles to take away.

Petite Riviere Vineyards has released a new cider in their Stutz lineup: Stutz Chai Spice. Featuring a special blend of Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Madagascar Vanilla, and Star Anise, steeped in the cider post-fermentation. The base cider is 100% Annapolis Valley pressed apples, and uses the same blend as their standard Stutz, but with a lower residual sugar level. The spicing level is quite present, while allowing the bright apple notes and typical cider crispness to shine through. In addition to the pleasant flavour and aromas from the Chai spice blend, there may also be some relaxation and digestion benefits to the spices. The Chai Spice is available at the NSLC, along with the standard and Blueberry blends, as well as their Farmers’ market booths and shop in Petite Riviere.

Grimross has released their Singel, another beer in their Belgian Abbey series. Brewed as a low-alcohol (4.8% ABV) and easy-drinking, flavourful ale, this beer is along the lines of what the Abbey monks brew for their own consumption, instead of for sale to the public. Very dry, and with a “clean malt aroma and crisp light mouthfeel”, it’s similar to their previously-released Monk’s Choice earlier this year. Look for it on tap at the brewery, and at better beer establishments in New Brunswick.

• There’s been rumours for months now, but TrailWay confirmed late last week that they will be undergoing a move and major expansion over the coming months. They have already ordered their 10 BBL (310 gallons, or ~11 hL) steam-fired system from DME, and will be opening on Fredericton’s north side sometime next spring. We’ll have more info for you as progress continues… cheers to more TW beer 2016!

• Don’t forget today is the first of the Meet Your Makers tap takeovers at the James Joyce; Big Axe will be on hand starting at 7:30 pm with ten taps pouring, including their newest beer, Anaphylactic Ale. Brewed with 3 kg of the rooftop honey produced on top of the Crowne Plaza, it also features the addition of lemon thyme that was picked locally at Big Axe. It comes in at 6.5% ABV and 26 IBUs. After its launch at the James Joyce, it will also be available at the Saint John Ale House and Tide and Boar in Moncton.

• As part of tomorrow’s City Harvest, Garrison has invited the crew from Morris East and their portable wood-fired pizza oven from 10am -4pm to share some great pizza and beer. And to complement that already-winning combination, Miller’s Kettle Corn will also be in the house. To celebrate, Garrison has created a special one-off cask of Sour Cherry Stout. They filled a cask with their Martello Stout, and used the juice from sour cherries to prime/condition the cask. There is only one of these casks, and is therefore only available for onsite consumption. Drop by between 10am to 4pm to enjoy the full pizza, popcorn, and beer experience. And speaking of Garrison, drop by harbourstone sea grill & pour house to get a taste of the Gastronome IPA beer they brewed for them, which debuted last night. Also, check I Love Local’s page (and Twitter) for a full list of City Harvest activities across the HRM, many more of them featuring beer, including a discount on growler fills at North Brewing.

That’s it for this week! Hammond River has just kegged up their latest batch of Too Hop to Handle, their 8.4% ABV and 162 IBUs (calc) DIPA; look for it at their tap accounts any day now. And keep an eye open for a special aged cask of their Sterke Monnik Belgian Quad, being tapped at Port City Royal Saturday, October 31st. Bad Apple Brewhouse teased a picture of them dry-hopping their latest batch of Mosaic Double IPA, we expect it to be released again in November. All of the proceeds from this beer are donated to local support groups for families and those living with Mosaic Down Syndrome, including funding for attendance to Brigadoon VillageFirkinstein Brewing have also begun selling at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market Thursday mornings, in addition to their Hubbards Farmers’ Market stall on Saturdays. While they may not be at this coming week’s market (Oct 29) due to space availability, they will back permanently going forward. Look for them on tap at Bridgewater Local Tap House and the Grand Banker in Lunenburg very soon! Sea Level Brewing has brought back their Port in the Storm Porter for another year, available now at the Port Pub, brewery, and private stores; their Punkin’ Grinner Ale should be out now as well. And Bar Stillwell has announced that their Second Anniversary party will be taking place Sunday, November 15th. No tickets are required, just show up for some special beers they’ve been cellaring, and some great food to match. We’ll have more details on the party once they are available, including a new beer release or two.

Happy long-weekend Friday, everyone! After several weeks absolutely chock-full of beer news, it looks like things have slowed down – slightly – as everyone gets ready for Thanksgiving…

• The long wait is almost over… Railcar Brewing should be supplying beer to the thirsty public very soon! They’ve hired their first full-time assistant brewer, and their first commercial brew day will occur this weekend – they’ll be brewing up a batch of their Artisan Brown Ale, a traditional English Brown with an ABV of 5% and 22 IBUs. For every growler of this beer that is sold, Railcar will donate $0.50 to the Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery to support art programs for youth in the community. Their Railcar Red (5% ABV, 23 IBUs) will be brewed several days later; look for their beers to be available for growler fills at the brewery soon, and hitting local restaurants/pubs on tap. They’re also expanding into a space behind the brewery, where they’ll be opening a spin-off company named Brew Offs, where they’ll be selling products made with beer ingredients – e.g. spent grain granola, beer soap, beer barbecue sauce, etc. – to avoid wastage as much as possible.

• Railcar will be at the NB Nano Takeover at Stillwell (with their Railcar Red), being held next Saturday, October 18th. During the two sessions (12-3, 4-7), some of the smallest and most innovative breweries in New Brunswick will be pouring their beers and ciders, most for the first time outside of NB. Acadie-Broue, Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, Red Rover, and Petit-Sault will also be pouring that day. Tickets are still available for either session, and your $15 entry will snag you a t-shirt and your first pour. If you haven’t booked them by now, you *may* not get the correct sized t-shirt (be sure to specify in your request), but at least you’ll get in the door! And you definitely don’t want to miss out on this very special day.

Big Spruce will be holding their Second Annual Home Brew Competition shortly, so NS homebrewers, fire up your kettles! This year’s style is 6D – American Wheat or Rye. Full registration details will open very shortly, however we can tell you that entries will be due November 26th, and the judging will take place November 29th. Once again, the winning brewer will be invited to step up their homebrew recipe on Big Spruce’s 7 bbl system, and the beer will be launched at the Local Connections Halifax Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, January 15, at the Halifax Club. With over 6 weeks of lead time, we can look forward to some great beers being submitted (maybe even a chance for a test brew to fine tune the recipe?). As in last year’s, entry is open to all NS homebrewers, and please email Big Spruce for the registration form.

• Speaking of Big Spruce, they have two new beers in the pipeline; the first one is Das Sprucebier, an Oktoberfest (aka Märzen) brewed with 100% imported German malt, including Vienna, Pilsner, Munich I, and CaraMunich. It clocks in at 5.9% ABV and 23 IBUs, and is hopped with both Magnum and Challenger, the latter of which is grown on-site at the Big Spruce farm. The second beer, Smoking Jack, is their first seasonal Pumpkin ale. Featuring their own farm-grown, organic pumpkins that have been smoked for 5 hours outside the brewery  and added to the mash, the beer was then conditioned on cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg… that had been soaked for 72 hours in Flor de Caña Centenario dark rum. And, of course, the rum itself was then added to the beer for good measure! This one weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 22 IBUs. Das Sprucebier is available now, and the Smoking Jack will be released just in time for the Celtic Oktoberfest, being held October 25th in Port Hawkesbury, NS (more on that later in the post). Both beers will be available for growler fills at the brewery, and at select bars/restaurants in the Halifax area as well.

• The PEI Brewing Co. is holding their annual Oktoberfest celebration next weekend on Saturday, October 18th. Like last year, the event will be held throughout the day, with an artisan market, music, and lots of sausages and beer for purchase. Included in the beer offerings is a new cask brewed for the occasion: Big Jimmy Brown is their Iron Bridge Brown Ale aged on bourbon-soaked oak chips, “primed” with Creme de Cacao; it clocks in at 6% ABV and ~30 IBUs. Their popular Growler Challenge (where contestants compete to see who can hold a full growler of beer at arm’s length for the longest period) begins at 2:00 pm, and later in the evening, starting at 8:00 pm, their first Art Battle of the season will be held. This will be followed by live music starting at 10:30 pm, featuring Rich Aucoin and PS I Love You. Entry is free during the afternoon; tickets for the Art Battle and after party are $10 and can be purchased online.

• And while on the topic of the PEI Brewing Co., their popular Sydney Street Stout is now back in liquor stores across the Maritimes, and on tap at select locations.

Boxing Rock has just brewed a new beer, an Amber Ale fall seasonal hopped with “a very special hop, believed to be unobtainable”. They’re keeping details under wraps for now, but we’ll have more info for you next week! For now, look forward to a beer featuring a hop that “really makes it a special brew”, according to owner/brewer Emily Tipton. They hope to have the beer released before the end of this month. And we see that they are brewing up another batch of U-889 today, which is their ACBA Gold-Medal winning Russian Imperial Stout.

Shiretown recently brewed a revised batch of their Siren’s T’ale; this one was brewed with a new hop variety, Goldings, from Southan Farms. Owner/brewer Derek Leslie has confirmed that this variety may become a permanent substitute in future brews of this particular beer. In the meantime, when the beer becomes available, if you’d like to try it to compare to previous batches, look for bottles with batch #146 indicated on the label.

• We have some more details on the North Brewing Winter Saison. Their popular Saison will now be a year-round beer (weighing in at 5.5% ABV), however the orange and coriander from the Summer brew is being swapped out for Winter’s ginger and black pepper. We had a chance to try it on the weekend, and quite enjoyed it!

Sea Level Brewing has released their latest seasonal,  Punkin Grinner Ale. Brewed for the first time last year, this beer features local produce, including baby pam pie pumpkins grown on the Sea Level farm. It weighs in at 5% ABV, and features local honey and Annapolis Valley hops. We can also confirm that it’s available now at the Port Pub and brewery, and will be in the Halifax Private Stores this weekend.

• A reminder that the Beerthief Special Brew Label Contest closes today. Be sure to send your entry along to Mike to be entered. Garrison Brewing’s special brew will be released in January, to Beerthief members in Newfoundland and Labrador only.

• Toot toot! Final call for East Coast Beer Tour’s Valley Tour! Check out their bus tour to the Annapolis Valley, scheduled for tomorrow, October 11th. Tickets are now only $25, and include transport, three brewery tours complete with beer tastings, snacks and lunch. Now’s your chance to visit Meander River, Paddys Irish Brewpub, and Bad Apple Brewhouse, and leave the driving to someone else!

• The latest Local Connections Halifax Magazine is on its way to the printers, but the digital version is now available for reading. In it, there is an extensive Craft Beer section, featuring Garrison Brewing, Propeller Brewing, Schoolhouse, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, and much more.
• Tickets are still available for this month’s Celtic Oktoberfest, being held in Port Hawkesbury on Saturday, Oct 25th. A nice write-up in the Chronicle Herald highlights many of the local food and beer vendors whose products will be offered that evening. Remember that your ticket includes beer AND food, as well as great local entertainment. And be sure to check out the Pumpkin Launch that afternoon on the Port Hawkesbury marina. If you’ve got a team of like-minded designers and builders, sign up to take part!
Barley, Hops and Mash, a workshop for Craft Brewers, is taking place October 24th at Acadia University in Wolfville. The brainchild of Springboard Atlantic, it seeks to pair brewers with scientific researchers, for mutual benefit. Perhaps a brewery has a question about hops utilization in their system, a lab or research group is available with the tools to perform the experiments and analyze the results. Gary McMullen (President and Founder of Muskoka Brewery) and Joel Alex (Founder and President of Blue Ox Malt House) will give Keynote talks, and then brewers and researchers will give short 3 minute/1 slide presentations on their research needs and abilities, respectively. The seminar is free, and is aimed at established or in-development breweries.
• What a weekend! Chris was thrilled to have been one of the organizers for the inaugural Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards held last weekend. Saturday was a long day of judging, with the 18 judges tackling over 170 different beers, submitted by 28 different breweries. The hard working stewards kept the beer moving and the judges busy, going quite late into the night. Once the dust settled, the results were tallied, and announced at the Stubborn Goat, Sunday evening.
Here are the results, and we offer our sincere congratulations to all entrants. What a great celebration of our brewing community!
Brewery of the Year*: Bad Apple Brewhouse
Brewpub of the Year*: Rockbottom Brewpub
Beer of the Year: Pump House Barleywine
Stillwell‘s People’s Choice Award: Big Spruce Cereal Killer Stout
Category Gold Silver Bronze
North American & European Style Lagers Hop City Brewing Co. Barking Squirrel Tatamagouche Brewing Co. Lagerhosen Propeller Brewing Co. Bohemian Style Pilsner
German Specialty Beers Uncle Leo’s Vohs Weizenbier Paddys Irish Brewpub Dom Arthur
UK Specialty Beers PEI Brewing Co. Iron Bridge Brown Gahan House Iron Bridge Brown Paddys Irish Brewpub Raven Ale
North American Specialty Ales Barnone Black Eye Pale Ale Boxing Rock Hunky Dory Pale Ale Barnone Sessions Ale
Belgian Style Specialty Ales Pump House Pompiers à Vos Garde North Brewing Summer Saison Grimross Chantelope
North American Amber & Red Ales Boxing Rock Tempation Red Barnone Substanchel Garrison/Beau’s Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale
Fruit & Field Beers Rare Bird Pumpkin Ale Rogues Roost Raspberry Wheat Bad Apple Brewhouse Operation Green Ring
Pale Ales Bad Apple Brewhouse American Pale Ale Moosehead Boundary Ale Garrison Brewing Hop Yard Pale Ale
Stout & Porter Rogues Roost Oatmeal Stout Big Axe Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout Pump House Muddy River Stout
Strong Stout & Porter Propeller Brewing Co. Revolution Russian Imperial Stout Bad Apple Brewhouse Black & Tackle Rogues Roost Imperial Stout
India Pale Ale Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA Big Spruce Tim’s Dirty American IPA Barnone IPA
Imperial IPA Bad Apple Brewhouse Mosaic Double IPA Boxing Rock The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA Garrison Brewing Imperial IPA
Strong Ale Pump House Barleywine North Brewing Strong Belgian Dark Petit-Sault Bob Le Boeuf
Experimental Beers Boxing Rock U-889 Russian Imperial Stout Garrison Brewing Honey Lavendar Ale Big Spruce Hoppuccino Coffee IPA
Wood & Barrel Aged Beers Propeller Brewing Co. Lambic Garrison Brewing Barrel-Aged Grand Baltic Porter Bad Apple Brewhouse Barrel-Aged Black & Tackle
* Brewery and Brewpub of the year were determined by the number of points earned by four pre-assigned beers (as chosen by the brewery). Both categories were hotly contested!

Happy Friday, folks! We are now officially into fall, and as such, we have plenty more autumn and harvest-themed beer news this week.

Big Axe Brewery has released their Seasonal Harvest Ale, Rusty Axe Amber Ale. Continuing Big Axe’s theme of using local ingredients in every beer, the Amber Ale was brewed with brown sugar glazed carrots, roasted squash and their own homemade brittle right in the boil. With these unique ingredients, the flavour and aroma is reminiscent of fall, with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, built on top of a soft caramel base. It weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 28 IBUs, and is available at the brewery.

Picaroons Brewery has brewed up a new beer recently, Page Turner Session Ale. The Amber Session beer weighs in at 3.7% ABV, and the recipe features Gooseberries. It was brewed to celebrate the upcoming 60th Anniversary of Goose Lane Edition, a local publishing house. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to Laubach Literacy New Brunswick. They will be holding a launch event at the James Joyce Pub on October 3rd to celebrate its release.

• Picaroons has yet another new beer that they are just releasing today. The Tabulator is described by the brewery as “a conservative Extra Special Bitter, that has been dry-hopped quite liberally with an uncountable amount of green hops”. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and will be served almost-exclusively at the Brewtique for growler fills, with the possibility of being available on tap at a couple of bars/restaurants in Fredericton.

• Indian Beach Harvest Ale from Big Tide Brewpub is on tap now! This is one of their Fresh Hop beers, using hops they picked themselves (with help from friends and family) from local winery Dunhams Run, on the Kingston Peninsula. The malt base is 2 row and caramunich malts, and the hops used were Nugget and Cascade. This 4.8% ABV caramel-coloured beer has a fairly light body, with delicate fresh hopped flavors coming through nicely.

• We have some more details on the new beer, Sub_Stanchel Amber, brewed by BarNone a couple of weeks ago. This is a wet-hopped beer, with two varieties of fresh hops added to the boil: an unknown noble variety picked in Stanchel, PEI, and an equal amount of freshly-harvested Cascade from the BarNone farm. With more hops added as a dry-hop addition, this should be a fairly aromatic brew! It comes in at 5.5% ABV (exact calculated IBUs are unknown).  Look for it soon at bars/restaurants in Charlottetown, and at the weekly growler night (Thursdays) at the brewery.

• We mentioned the details behind the new collaboration beer between Garrison Brewing and Beau’s – Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale – a couple of weeks ago. Well, that beer – brewed with three different hops and the Bog Myrtle herb – has been released today at the Garrison Brewery. Clocking in at 6% ABV and 40 IBUs, the beer is copper-colored and “ripe with aromas of herb and black pepper, melon and citrus fruit” according to Garrison. It should follow for a limited time only at select NSLC stores, all four private liquor stores in Halifax, and at some of the bars/restaurants in the area.

• Garrison will be taking part in City Harvest v3 on October 4th, and will be turning it into a Harvest Launch, as they will be pouring the Sweet Rye’d, as well as their new Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and their 3 Fields Harvest. The Double Jack is on the darker side of the spectrum, and weighs in at 8% ABV, and we’ll have more details on both beers next week.

• Speaking of City Harvest, North Brewing will be getting in on the fun by offering discounts on growler fills and merchandise, Stubborn Goat will be selling Back Door Takeout Mac & Cheese and Cask Beer samples (no word yet on which beers), and Premier Wines will be doing beer tastings.

Piez Bistro in Dartmouth is hosting Sociable for Prostates tomorrow, Sept 27th. During the event, you can purchase a tasting paddle of three different local craft beer, along with three paired pizza or other bites, for $10, with $5 of that donated to Prostate Cancer Canada. They are highlighting local craft beer, and should have a few special beers available. Check out their flyer.

• One of the new beers pouring at the event will be from Schoolhouse Brewery, with a harvest beer, the first in their Hants County Hop Series. Brewed with Maritime Malt, and local hops, this series will highlight the diverse hop varieties available here. Unfortunately, hop and farmer details were not available before publishing time. We can tell you that they’ve been using a hopback at the brewery to get the most aromatics from the hops. This piece sits between the kettle and the wort chiller, and is filled with hops, so the hot wort will extract lots of aromatic compounds, but then be chilled, dissolving them into the liquid before they can volatilize. As the whole leaf hops used are not as concentrated as pellet hops, they may not have very high bitterness, but the beers will be quite aromatic. They also will look to launch growler sales at the Wolfville Farmers Market soon, stay tuned for details.

Uncorked Tours will be holding their last beer-tasting cruise for the year on Saturday, October 4th on the Saint John River, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Taking place once again on the Mississippi river boat Voyageur II, the cruise will be Oktoberfest-themed, featuring seasonal and Harvest ales from Picaroons, Big Tide, Hammond River Brewing, and Pump House (brewery list is subject to change), as well as Oktoberfest fare such as pretzels and sausages. Guests will be entitled to a 9-oz pour of each beer (after a short description), along with a refill of their favorite beer after all have been sampled. In between tastings, guests can socialize, enjoy the scenery, and sample the different foods available. Most breweries will have representatives present to answer questions about their beers. Tickets are $75 + HST, and can be purchased online.

• Tickets for the inaugural trip of New Brunswick Beer Tours are now available! We initially reported on the tour last week and it looks like the schedule has been finalized. The all-day bus tour, River Valley Beer Tour, will be held Saturday, November 1st, and will include stops at Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, Railcar, and Big Axe (subject to change), as well as in-trip sampling of ciders from Red Rover; the tour will wrap up at 6:30 pm with more beer sampling at the King Street Ale House. Ticket prices have been confirmed at $75 + fee, and are available online. Fredericton Tourism is currently holding an online contest for two tickets; if you’re over nineteen, make sure you enter to win!

• A final reminder that the next Burgers n’ Beer event in Fredericton will be held soon, and your chance to buy tickets is almost gone! Originally scheduled for September 30th, the event has been bumped a week to Tuesday, October 7th. Pairing six different sliders with six different beers/ciders, it’s held at reLiSH’s uptown location. Tickets are almost sold-out; they’re $45 each and can be purchased online. For more info on the event, check out last month’s post.

• Since publishing our story on the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards this week, another event related to the weekend has been announced: a Local Cheese & Beer Pairing Seminar run by Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato, and Mark DeWolf of By The Glass Tours. Being held Oct 4th from 2-3pm at Westin Halifax, attendees will have the chance to sample pairings of five beers with five cheeses, all from our region. Tickets are $15+fee, and are available online.

• In other ACBA news, keep an eye on Stillwell’s Twitter and Facebook pages today as they open the People’s Choice voting. This is your chance to vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian Beer (from those submitted to the ACBA).

• Big news from our friends in Newfoundland! The Beerthief Special Order Beer Club are having a custom batch of beer brewed for them by Garrison Brewing. The beer will not be released until January 2015, but it will be available uniquely to the Beerthief members through their normal ordering process. In celebration of this upcoming brew, they are holding a naming and label contest, open to all members, until October 10th. Details, and a template for the label, are available here. This is just another in a series of great offerings and events that the Beerthief Mike Buhler and Tom Beckett are bringing to Newfoundland and Labrador. At almost 3000 members, the club is going (and growing) strong! Check out the latest newsletter for more exciting news. Joining the Beerthief Club is free to anyone over 19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and will allow access to beers not otherwise available in the province.

Another busy week! Be sure to drink local this weekend. Grab a pint of the newly-released Tatamagouche Lagerhosen at Lion & Bright and Stubborn Goat in Halifax, and some of the many other craft beers available in your area!


The beer landscape in our region has grown extensively over the past few years, with breweries and brewpubs opening in all four Atlantic provinces. From nano brewers in the owners’ basement or garage, to larger craft breweries undergoing massive expansion, many different paths to great breweries are found in Atlantic Canada. To highlight and celebrate the high quality, diverse flavours and styles of beer from our region, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are being held October 4th and 5th in Halifax.

The brainchild of the Atlantic Chapter of Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS-AC), this BJCP-sanctioned event will see the best beers in our region rewarded for quality, consistency and experimentation. Beers will be judged in 15 main categories, ranging from light lagers to imperial stouts, with many sub-categories encompassing all styles in between. More important than being overly critical of beer flaws, or strictly defining which narrow style a beer must a part of, the judges at the Awards are featuring the diversity and quality of beers brewed in Atlantic Canada. Our region already has several Awards for homebrewers (including the Garrison Brewing Home Brew-Off and Big Spruce Brewing Home Brew Competition), however no local competitions open to commercial brewers. The Canadian Brewing Awards saw over 1000 beers entered in 2014, and highlighted that it was time to hold a competition locally.

In addition to the 15 style category winners, outstanding brews can be nominated by judges to take home Beer of the Year honours. Breweries and Brewpubs with several excellent beers are also in the running Brewery of the Year and Brewpub of the Year, based on the performance of four previously-nominated beers.

The judging will be undertaken Saturday afternoon by BJCP-certified judges and industry members from across the region, as well as special guest Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato. For more information on Amato and the Cicerone® program, please see our previous post. While in town, Amato will also be holding a Beerology seminar Sunday for CAPS-AC members and industry guests.

The Awards weekend isn’t fun for only the judges, however! Once the list of submitted beer is available, Bar Stillwell will be holding a People’s Choice Award poll, where the public can choose their favourite beers from those entered. It will be tallied online, and at the bar, so stay tuned for those details Friday.

What are Beer Awards, without a fun evening of celebrating and enjoying the winning beers? Sunday, October 5th, will see Amato hosting a Gala Dinner at the Stubborn Goat preceded by the awards reception held from 6-7pm. The event is open to participating breweries, as well as those members of the public who will be staying for the Beer Dinner held immediately following, also hosted by Amato, with local beers paired with some great local food from Stubborn Goat’s kitchen. The beer and food menu has been released, and we are looking forward to seeing several exciting beers on the menu that evening: Bad Apple Brewhouse Cucumber Mint paired with a Noggins Farm salad (root vegetables, feta, and gremolata), North Brewing North End Winter Saison Ale paired with scallops and apple butter, Big Spruce Bitter Get’er India Black IPA paired with duck breast and duck confit on spelt risotto, and Garrison Brewing Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale paired with a dessert of Ginger Spice Cake. Tickets for the dinner are $80 (including HST and gratuity), and can be reserved via email.

If you are not able to attend the beer dinner, but would still like to meet and chat with Mirella Amato, the Ladies Beer League is hosting a Book Launch for her book at Lion & Bright Monday, October 6th, from 6-8pm. Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer…Even More, is a multi-faceted approach to beer appreciation, from ideas on improving your tasting techniques, food and beer pairing ideas, and how to hold your own beer-tasting parties. Grab the book, and a pint, and talk beer with Mirella and local beer fans.

For breweries looking to take part, registration for the Awards is open now, and closes this Friday, Sept 26. Beer must be received between Sept 25 and Oct 2. For the latest news and results, stay tuned to the ACBA Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are sponsored by The Stubborn Goat, Bar Stillwell, The Pub MagazineChronicle Herald and Jym Line Glassware. Presented in partnership with Tracy Phillippi (Craft Beer Experiences), Mark DeWolf (By The Glass Tours), The BrewnosersAtlantic Canada Beer Blog.