Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge

All posts tagged Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge

If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

Welcome to the weekend, and it’s looking like a nice one! The start of summer doesn’t appear to have slowed down local beer news in any respect, so let’s get to it…

• Attention Central Newfoundland beer fans, there’s a new brewery scheduled to land in your region very soon! The brainchild of three avid homebrewing pilots, Scudrunner Brewing will be opening soon in Gander. Looking to bring well-made beer to their home base, they will be focusing on brewing flavourful and interesting styles for the local community on a 6hl system. Follow along on their progress on their website, Facebook, and Twitter pages, as they work towards opening before the end of the year.

• Downeast Beer Factory, located at 612 Windmill Rd in Dartmouth, will be launching their house-brewed beers this weekend. While their restaurant and bar have been open for a month and a half, their 18 hl brewhouse took a little bit longer to get up and running. Drop by tomorrow from 11am to grab a pint or growler of their 4.5% ABV Fiddler’s Irish Red Ale, or 6.0% ABV Game Changer IPA. In celebration, Downeast will be donating $5.00 from every bill to the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Mill Street Brewpub’s new St John’s location held their Grand Opening this week, and launched the first of their beers produced onsite. Brewed on a state-of-the-art 10 hl Caspary system, Longshore Porter is the first Mill Street beer produced on the island. Weighing in at 4.8% ABV, this dark amber brew features strong caramel notes from the Carafa and Munich malts (on top of a Pale base), with a balancing bitterness from Clear Valley Hops Cascade and Chinook to 35 IBUs. Burton Ale yeast was used for the fermentation, for a light fruity ester profile and good attenuation, and a dry finish. Their second beer is conditioning now, and will be available late next week. Capelin Session IPA features Cascade, Chinook, and Pacific Gem in the boil, along with lots of Cascade and Mosaic hops added after fermentation. Named after the Capelin fish that can be caught as they swim into shallow water, this Session IPA is the perfect refreshment while waiting for the day’s catch, due to the low ABV despite layers of hops (for about 50 IBUs). The house-brewed beers join the dozen other Mill Street products on tap, a rotating list of which can be purchased to go in growlers. They join the 130+ beers available at the adjacent Bier Markt location.

• Fredericton, your wait is over… Gray Stone Brewing has officially announced the opening date for their brewery/taproom! Next Friday, July 1st, the 10 BBL (~11.5 hL) brewery will open the doors at their 221 King St. location downtown, starting at 11 am and continuing until midnight. Featuring a brewing team of four local brewers (Ian DeMerchant, Mark Budd, Steve Christie, and Ryan Placktis), Gray Stone will be launching with two beers: Patagonia Pale Ale, a light-to-medium-bodied APA with a “bold tropical flavour and aroma”, 5% ABV and 160 theoretical IBUs; and Black IPA, strongly hopped, with “mild roasted malt character and pine/citrus flavours”, and clocking in at 5% ABV and 127 IBUs. The taproom will feature 24 taps; in addition to Gray Stone brews, many other New Brunswick beers will be showcased on a rotating basis. The Canada Day opening will feature plenty of beer, food, and games as a kick-off to summer! After the launch, their regular hours will be Monday-Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-12am, and Sunday 12pm-7pm. They will be filling growlers in the future; details are still TBA.

Boxing Rock has released the third beer from their first homebrew competition, the Black Box Challenge. Hop Springs Eternal, a White IPA, was the first runner-up in the comp, brewed by local homebrewers Mark Reid and Sean Ebert. With a malt bill comprised of over 30% Wheat, and “hopped generously” with Columbus, Cascade, Willamette, and Pacifica, expect plenty of fruity, citrusy character in the aroma and flavour. Fermented with “an obscure yeast strain”, the beer weighs in at 5.4% ABV. You can find it at the brewery, at select tap accounts and all four private liquor stores in Halifax, and in growlers at the Halifax Seaport Market and Alderney Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. And in other Boxing Rock news, they’ve also re-released their Professor McDougall’s Oban Heather Scottish Ale, brewed in collaboration with local homebrewer Jason McDougall, and Bottle Blonde, a Blonde ale featuring a healthy dose of rye malt in the grain bill. Look for more details on all three beers at BR’s blog.

TrailWay has released a new Pale Ale, Summit APA. Hopped entirely with the Summit variety, this 4.7% ABV, light-coloured beer has characteristics of garlic and onion in the aroma and flavour, as is typical for this particular hop. Joining it is a fresh batch of their Primetime APA; both beers can now be enjoyed in the hot sun on their newly-opened patio, or purchased in growlers to go. As usual, food trucks will be serving up delicious treats at the taproom location both today and tomorrow.

Schoolhouse Brewery has announced a major expansion, including a move to 40 Water St. in downtown Windsor, where they will be brewing on a repurposed10 BBL, copper brew house. The new location will feature a retail space and taproom with a patio; with 6 taps dedicated to Schoolhouse beers, and another six to other Nova Scotia craft breweries, the local beer selection in Windsor will definitely see a bump! Renovations are planned to start on July 1st, with brewing commencing hopefully by early November. Plans are for the retail store to open in December, with the taproom following next Spring. Congratulations to the Schoolhouse family, and as always, we’ll keep you updated on their progress! In the meantime, they have announced that their beers are now available on tap at Saint-Famille Wines in Falmouth.

• Petit-Pacquetville’s Distillerie Fils du Roy has launched a pair of new beers recently. Late last week, they launched Lady Chaga, an Acadian Pale Ale (inspired by the English IPA style), featuring the locally-harvested Chaga mushroom. Described by Fils du Roy as being very hoppy and bitter, with notes of citrus and a nutty finish, this amber-coloured beer clocks in at 7% ABV and ~60 IBUs. This beer is available exclusively at La Brokerie, a bar in Caraquet, though there may be a keg available elsewhere very soon (coughJamesJoycecough). In addition, this week saw the launch of Gougou, a cranberry-infused beer. This 7% ABV Fruit Beer was inspired by the writings of Samuel de Champlain, who spoke of the Gougou, a monster who would terrorize the native inhabitants of the Baie des Chaleurs. This special brew is only available at La Terrasse à Steve, a seafood restaurant on Miscou Island. Finally, look for the return of La Messe Blanche, their 7% ABV Weizenbock, which was bottled earlier this week.

Propeller has released the latest beer in their One Hit Wonder series – June Bock. A Maibock (aka Helles Bock), this style is a pale-coloured, malty, strong German Lager. Propeller’s take on this classic style features Two Row, Pilsener, Wheat, Munich malts, and is hopped solely with Hallertauer. The resultant beer is 6.8% ABV and 35 IBUs, and features a moderate bitterness, slight floral hop flavour, and a bright golden colour, according to the brewery. As always, it’s available in a limited supply, so get down to either Prop Shop location to fill your growlers ASAP! It will also likely pop up on tap at a few select locations in Halifax, shortly.

Tatamagouche Brewing just released a new SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) beer, Horton Ridge SMaSH. With a grist made up entirely of Horton Ridge Pale Malt, the 5.4% ABV beer was hopped with Amarillo, a crowd-favourite variety that’s big on grapefruit and citrus. Available at the brewery for growler fills now, and should be following on tap at better beer bars and restaurants any day now.

• Now that the new Authentic Seacoast Distillery and Brewery facility has officially opened at 75 Ferry Lane in Guysborough, we have some more information to share: they have christened their new 35 hl brewhouse, so expect to see product from the new system hitting shelves in the next month or so. The brewhouse will also be creating the mash for their line of GLYNNEVAN whisky. Hours of operation for their tasting room are 11am-6pm daily, with tours running at 2pm throughout the summer.

• Petit-Sault has welcomed a new brewer for the summer – Andrew ‘Esty’ Estabrooks, former brewmaster at Picaroons, will be brewing at the Edmundston brewery over the next couple of months, to help with the transition on the recently-expanded brewery and taproom… which means, more Petit-Sault beer! Speaking of, their beers are now heading to Nova Scotia for the first time, with their Amber Ale, Louis XVII, having the honour of being the first brand! Look for it at NSLC stores across the province shortly.

Lazy Bear Brewing has confirmed that they will be opening their retail location on Thursday, June 30th, from 5-8 pm. Located at 120 West Old Post Rd in Smiths Cove, NS, this will be a “soft opening”, with current plans being to open every Thursday thereafter. Growlers (1 L swing-top) will be available for purchase, and both of their first-release beers will be pouring; of course, they will happily fill clean growlers from other breweries as well! They will also be attending the CD release show for Ramshackle & Scarecrow at the Sissiboo Coffee Bar in Smiths Cove July 2nd, pouring their beer. They are now available in Halifax at the Lord Nelson’s The Arms Public House, and will be on tap at East of Grafton on Argyle when they open June 29th. In the meantime, check out their updated website (link above) for some details on the family behind the beers!

• A for Adventure is holding a contest to raise awareness of the Rogues Roost wilderness area in Nova Scotia. Check out the video, and plan to make a visit this summer. The prize pack is a kayak adventure including lunch from PEI Brewing (including some Rogues Roost IPA), $100 MEC gift card, all guided by the A for Adventure crew.

• Big Spruce and Boxing Rock brewed up a pilot batch of a new Blonde recently, and it is available in Nyanza now. Wigged Out is a 5.0% ABV blonde ale, featuring late addition Cascade hops for a low bitterness, but aromatic character, for an extremely quaffable beer. It is only available on tap at their tasting room this weekend, so be sure to drop by for some, and grab some food from Cruisin’ Cuisine food truck, who are there 12-7pm daily Fri-Sun.

We’ve got a bit on events in the next couple of weeks, including some Canada Day celebrations.

• A couple of final reminders for this weekend: tonight and tomorrow, Upstreet will be celebrating their first birthday with some special parties and an anniversary beer release; check out our previous post for more details. And in Fredericton tomorrow, Maybee Brewing is holding their Grand Opening Party from 6-11 pm, to celebrate the opening of their taproom.

• The second annual Canada Day Bash at the Lighthouse, hosted by the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, will take place at the Lighthouse on the Green from 8pm-11pm. Tickets are $55 each and on sale now, and will get you fourteen 4-oz samples from local breweries TrailWay, Maybee, Red Rover, and Sunset Heights Meadery, as well as a variety of food options served up from the Food at the Crowne. And, of course, you’ll have a prime spot to watch the fireworks when they start after it gets dark!

• The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish is celebrating their 4th Anniversary next weekend. They’ll be releasing the details of the party and events shortly, check their Twitter and Facebook feeds for more details.

Wayfarers’ Ale in Port Williams expects to be opening their doors next weekend as well. Details are slim at the moment, but we’ll share them when we have them!

And a few more things of note this week:
Red Rover has re-released Tinderbox, a 7% ABV cider featuring the addition of bourbon and oak; it’s currently on tap at both the Cider House and James Joyce.
Grimross has launched “Phase One” of a series of expansions; they appear to be embiggening their taproom and retail space currently, and promise that canning of their beers will be commence in the near future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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