Gahan House Home Brewer’s Challenge

All posts tagged Gahan House Home Brewer’s Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Friday, another busy week in beer news in Atlantic Canada. Grab your coffee, or coffee stout, and get up to speed with the latest info.

• Dartmouth’s newest nano, Brightwood Brewery has added to their lineup this week with their McNabs Pure, a rye IPA. Golden-hued, this 6.3% ABV beer uses rye in combination with Bramling Cross hops to give it an earthy spiciness that should pair nicely with crisp fall air and the scent of fallen leaves. Further additions of the classic noble hop Hallertauer will present with an herbal and spicy but restrained aroma as well as bolstering the flavour and complementing the solid bitterness of 50 IBUs. You’ll find it at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market this weekend along with Brightwood’s other offerings.

Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s is joining in the seasonal fun this fall with Cobbler Path, an unfiltered blueberry wheat ale that’s been cold-aged on 70 pounds of wild Newfoundland blueberries. The aroma features subtle berry, ripe fruit, and melon notes, while on the palate a slight sweetness is balanced by tartness from the berries. A judicious bitterness rounds out this beer through the use of Mosaic hops to the tune of 25 IBUs. At 5% ABV expect it to go down easy, with the creamy, smooth mouthfeel characteristic of a wheat beer and a dry finish that should make this a fine pint to toast an early autumn afternoon or evening.

• There’s a new beer on tap at the Grimross taproom this week – Petite Grim is actually a scaled down version of another fairly-recent Grimross beer, Grimdonk. Categorized by the brewery as a “Belgian Blonde Session Ale”, the grist, hops (Southan Farms Goldings) and Belgian yeast strain are the same, but it comes in at a more-sessionable 4.6% ABV (vs. the 7% ABV of Grimdonk). Available now for growler fills and pints at the brewery. And look for the return of their Abbey Dubbel, on tap at the brewery just this morning, and around the city soon!

• There’s a new small batch beer on tap at Propeller‘s Halifax location these days, E = MC Yummy. This Honey Lager weighs in at 4.8%, and a light 20 IBUs, and features a light dosing of honey on top of a lager base. This beer is only available on Gottingen, so be sure to drop by soon to grab a sample and growler fill. You may be smarter for it! And for all you pumpkin fans, keep your eyes peeled for a special cask of their Double IPA, dosed with pumpkin spicing, that should be tapped soon, either at the Gottingen taproom, or at a local bar.

• After making its debut at last weekend’s Cask Beer Throwdown, North Brewing released Priority Pale Ale yesterday, a 5% American IPA featuring all Belgian malt, fermented with an American yeast, for a light honey character in the base. Upon that, a bevvy of American hops were added to the boil, namely CascadeChinook, and Columbus, for a solid balancing bitterness of 30 IBUs. A further dry-hop with Cascade and Chinook help to bring out the floral and citrus aroma to complement the light sweetness and biscuit from the malt, and deliver notes of apricot and grapefruit. The beer is also meant for people to pause and see where their priorities lie, and the following poem/APA beer description was written in collaboration with Tanya Davis, local singer and songwriter, and former Halifax Poet Laureate.
If your priorities go crooked, dazzled by masses and billboards, remember that balance is yours to restore. Start here. This beer has aroma to wake you, a captivating flavour to encourage sips and contemplation, and a nourishing bitterness, righteous and mild. Find the symmetry your life requires and align your people with your efforts. It’s not more things; it’s more things better

• With their Watermelon Blonde soon to fade into the memories of the summer just past, Nine Locks Brewing is bringing us a new seasonal with a style that is a favourite of many (and a bête noire of some). Pumpkin, a dark amber ale features a full body and residual sweetness from the use of pumpkin, the classic spicing known to anyone who loves pumpkin pie or PSLs, and a malty backbone that completes the palate with a fullness to balance the sweet and spice. The 12 IBUs won’t interfere with the feature flavours and aromas, and coming in at an easy-drinking 5.2% ABV, this one is expected to be available next Tuesday at the brewery. Nine Locks’ social media accounts will surely be the best place to find out the exact timing of this release.

• Attention Fredericton and surrounding areas – Red Rover wants your apples! During the weekend of October 15th-16th, they’re hosting the 1st Annual Scrumping for a Cause. A special cider will be created from all of the apples brought in, as long as they’re picked from apple trees, as opposed to collecting them from the ground (i.e. no bruised or beaten apples, please). For every two bushels (max 8 per person, dropped off at 880 Hanwell Rd., Unit 305), you’ll receive a 750 mL bottle of the cider that your apples are helping to create! All of the profits of this special release will be donated to the Fredericton Region Museum, and participants can choose to donate their allotted bottle directly to the cause as well. And check in the Events section below for more details on what they are pouring at tomorrow’s Fredericton Cider Festival!

• Over at Maybee Brewing, their Harvest Ale – a wet-hopped SMaSH brewed with Maris Otter malt and Southan Farms Columbus hops – should be available on tap and in cans sometime next week. In the meantime, they’ve brewed up another brand new beer, Forage Rye IPA. The grist features a “Crystal Rye malt” from Quebec, giving the beer a dark, ruby-red colour. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Columbus, expect this one to come in somewhere around 7.2% ABV and 72 IBUs; it should be available on tap and in cans by mid-October.

• And speaking of Harvest Ale, Picaroons has released their series of the annual brew this week. There are three versions of the 5.5% Pale Ale, each featuring hops from a different Maritimes hop field. Batch 144 features Mt. Hood from Nova Scotia’s Wallace Ridge Farm145 was brewed with Willamette from PEI’s My Father’s Farm, and 157 uses ferals hops from Moose Mountain, in Maplehurst, NB. Look for the beer on tap and on shelves in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia now, and learn more about the hop growers at Picaroons’ site. And a fourth batch, brewed with hops from  LunaHop Farm in Cornhill, New Brunswick will be brewed and released in October.

• Picaroons is releasing another special collaboration brew today, Spudnik Potato Stout. Yes, you read that correctly, potatoes! Teaming up with the CCNB and BioNB, the 4.7% ABV beer was brewed with lots of Russet potatoes grown from Toner Farms in Grand Falls. Hopped with Golding and Willamette, the epic 17-hour brewday has resulted in a smooth and full-bodied brew. The beer is now on tap now at the Fredericton Brewtique for growler fills, so drop by today grab one (and a bag of locally-produced chips to complement).

• Drop by Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing for a slew of new wet-hopped suds on the board. Their Indian Beach Pumpkin Ale is on now,  which features additions of real pumpkin, and is wet-hopped with freshly-harvested Cascade from Dunhams Run. As always, the beer also has cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove added to boost the pumpkin pie presence, resulting in an interesting flavour combination for this 5% ABV brew. They have also brewed a wet-hop version of their FogBound Hemp Pale Ale, swapping out Cascade for Dunham Run’s Hallertauer and Nugget. This batch weighs in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs. And a brand new beer is right around the corner! Golden Hawk White IPA was brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malts, and wet-hopped with Super Alpha hops from Darlings Island Farm. The combination Belgian Witbier and IPA features lots of citrus and coriander notes (typical of the wit), and a balancing bitterness and citrus kick of hops of an American IPA. The beer weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 72 IBUs, and is named after the hawk who watch the hopyard from atop his perch all summer.

• Moncton’s Acadie-Broue brought back a pair of favourites at last weekend’s Atlantic Craft Beer Oktoberfest, and will have them also at least one of them pouring at Le Coude shortly. Their Sour Wheat Kiebitz Coti and Gose were both available, using the same base, but the Gose was infused with coriander seeds and sea salt. The Gose was previously brewed in collaboration with Big Tide Brewing in 2015 (called Marée Montante), using Bay of Fundy seawater. The next batch of the Gose will also be brewed with seawater, and will probably be released under the name Reflux. Keep an eye hear for details when it is released. And look for the Valdrague Weizen Wheat Beer, on tap at Le Coude now.

Be sure to head out for some drinking fun this weekend!

• Don’t forget to head to the Fredericton Cider Festival tomorrow! Held at Brewbakers downtown, there will be unlimited 4 oz samples of more than 25 different varieties of cider, with local cideries such as Red Rover, York County, Gagetown Cider Company, and Scow being the main stars of the show. We have some advance notice of what Red Rover will be bringing, which includes their regular line-up and old favourites of Fall, Summer, Spring, Fire and Blues along with more recent addition specialty cider, Dragon SlayerHopped, Tinderbox, and the first 2016 White Witch will also be served (although it won’t be available for purchase until later in October). They are also planning on tapping the last keg of 2014 VeRRy Perry in celebration and anticipation of receiving juice to begin our first batches of 2016 Perry. They will also be serving three specialty ciders, to be served from cask. These are: The Matador, a fruity still cider with high acidity reminiscent of Spanish Sidra; Motown, a cider-wine hybrid made from Fredericton grapes, and an oak-aged Scrumpy. From Red Rover, “This will be the largest selection of Red Rover cider that has ever been available at a single location and we’re very excited to be able to share it with everyone tomorrow.” Tickets are still available ($56.50, tax included), which get you a tasting glass and samples from 1:00-3:30 pm; VIP tickets, which allow for early entry at noon, are sold out (though there is a waitlist).

• Also happening October 1 is the Marion Bridge Oktoberfest, running from 3-10pm. As in previous years, Big Spruce has released their specialty beer for the event, Spruce Bringstein. This American Amber is 6.2% ABV and a light 27 IBUs, and will be available at the Oktoberfest, as well as on tap at the brewery now, and at better beer bars around the province. And be sure to drop by Big Spruce this weekend for the last Farm to Fork Food Truck weekend of the season.

A few more beers and news items worth reading about today, before we sign off:

– Two Canadian brewery equipment manufacturers, Charlottetown’s DME Brewing Solutions and Abbottsford, BC’s Newlands Systems, have announced that they are joining forces into one company. While keeping their respective offices and operations, they will be opening a joint 50,000 sqft manufacturing location in South Carolina in the new year. Read more in the official press release.

Unfiltered Brewing has brought back their Flat Black Jesus American Stout today. At 7% ABV and more than 100 IBUs, this black ode to hops is available for growler fills and pints right now, like leave work and head there now, now.

– Sheet Harbour’s Henley House is winding down their season with a big weekend, so be sure to make a trip to this cozy pub soon. That also means that Sober Island Brewing, who usually have two or more of their beers on tap at the Henley, will be able to send more of their beer to thirsty drinkers in HRM. Early next week, look for their Oyster Stout on tap at The Press Gang (what better way to wash down freshly shucked Sober Island oysters?), followed shortly by a tap at Argyle Street’s Lot Six.

– Today is the last day to register for the Gahan House Charlottetown Home Brewer’s Challenge. Fire them an email, then brew up your best Winter Warmer! Details on their Facebook page.

– Congratulations to Downtown Halifax’s two new breweries, 2 Crows and Tidehouse, who both received their brew systems this week. Things are well on track for both breweries to be opening in the next couple of months!

Hello, everyone! It’s been another great week of weather in Atlantic Canada… what better way to end it than with some local news on our favourite beverage?

Boxing Rock has released a new beer that is an interesting twist on the commonly-found Blonde Ale style – it’s a “Blonde Rye Ale” named Bottle Blonde. Brewed with the summer months in mind, the grain bill consists of a whopping 35% Rye Malt (large amounts of Rye can be tricky to brew with due to the sticky consistency it often lends to the mash), complementing the 5% ABV. Hopped mainly with East Kent Goldings and Saaz, it has a fairly-low bitterness at about 20 IBUs. The brewery is describing it as very drinkable, with a nice balance between the spicy notes from the hops and the spicy notes from the Rye. You can find it now at the brewery and on tap at select beer bars/restaurants, and in bottles at several NSLC stores sometime next week. It should be around until September, when the temperatures inevitably start to drop!

• Earlier this week, Grimross released a new beer, Strab Cream Ale. Brewed for the Canadian Association of Optometrists Congress 2015 (held this week in Fredericton), the name comes from the short form of “strabismic”, which refers to double-vision, often resulting from too much drinking! The beer itself is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) ale featuring Pale malt and Centennial. Featuring a low hop bitterness at 18 IBUs, it’s light-bodied and easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV, and is described by the brewery as a “great lawnmower beer, refreshing with a little grassiness”. Stop by the brewery today for a pint and/or growler fill; it is also available at select bars/restaurants in the city.

• Speaking of Grimross, they’ve announced their first Grimross Hops Festival, to be held on Saturday, August 22nd. A “celebration of New Brunswick hops, microbreweries, and music”, it will take place in the back lot of the brewery at 600 Bishop Dr. from 3 pm – 11 pm. Details are slim at the moment, but they promise plenty of NB beer, food, and talent! Advance tickets ($30 each) will go on sale soon, and include entry and three 5 oz beer samples, with additional drink tickets available for purchase at the event; the price at the door will be $35. For more details on the bands scheduled, check out the event page. We’ll keep you updated on the breweries/beers pouring as that information is released.

Big Axe has released a new American IPA, Firefly IPA. With a lighter body than their Double Bit IPA, this beer should also be drier and more refreshing, as there are no caramel notes in the aroma or flavour, according to the brewery. Brewed with several hop varieties including Chinook and Galena, it features a “prominent hop aroma, with both floral and citrus notes”. It clocks in at 5.7% ABV and 50 IBUs, and has a “very clean and crisp finish”. You can find it on tap now at the brewery in Nackawic, and at the James Joyce in Fredericton.

The Gahan House – Charlottetown has released the winning entry in this year’s Home Brewer’s Challenge, and it’s on tap now at the brewpub. Summer in New Zealand comes from the homebrewing brains and talent of Ryan Palmer (who also won last year’s inaugural event); an American Wheat Ale hopped with Wakatu, it also features Grains of Paradise and lemon and lime zest. Palmer and Gahan brewmaster Trent Hayes brewed the recipe on the Gahan system; the beer comes in at approximately 5.1% ABV and 30 IBUs. Get to the brewpub and try it while you can!

• In some sad news, the popular Windsor, NS pub and friend to local craft beer, The Spitfire Arms, was severely damaged in a fire on Tuesday morning. Happily, they already have plans to open in a temporary location next week on Gerrish St.; in the meantime, work will begin soon on the original location to have it back up and running ASAP. As well, local musician Hal Bruce is organizing a music event to help raise funds for the Spitfire; the tentative date is currently set for Sunday, August 23rd. Here’s to a speedy recovery for this wonderful establishment!

• Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub recently released an exclusive line-up of highly-rated and hard-to-find American craft beers, featuring breweries such as Allagash, Maine Beer Co., Dogfish Head, and Cascade Brewing, to name a few (the full list is available here). Bottles of these beers are on sale now; they’re available in limited quantities only, so be sure to stop in for a chance to try some excellent beers, complemented by the more than a dozen craft beers on tap from Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

• This year’s PEI Beer Festival has been confirmed for September 11th and 12th at the Delta Prince Edward. This year’s event will once again offer two evening sessions (Friday and Saturday), and one Saturday afternoon session. Full details and a brewery/beer list have not been released yet, but expect live music and food pairings to accompany many samples of beers. Tickets are on sale now; they’re priced at $47.60 for each evening sesson, and $36.20 for the afternoon session.

• The crew from Bar Stillwell made a visit to Big Spruce in Nyanza yesterday, to brew up a conspiracy beer. They put together a Pale Ale, hopped generously (understatement of the year!) with Citra, all late in the boil. This will give the beer a big blast of citrus and melon in aroma and flavour, without an aggressive bitterness. Look for this on tap at the Beergarden by early August.

Distillerie Fils du Roy in Petit-Paquetville, N.B. has brewed up their Summer Seasonal this week, to be released in the coming weeks. La Messe Blanche is named in memory of the Acadians fleeing deportation who would settle in existing communities, and would still hold Sunday Mass, but without a priest overseeing it (thus named Messe Blanche/White Mass). For the label, local artist Raynald Basque was commissioned to paint Alexis Landry, who had built Chapel de Sainte-Anne-du-Bocage in Caraquet, leading one of the Messe Blanches. Fils du Roy will soon be offering their beers in a new format – growlers from local producer Jym Line.

We hope you have a great weekend! A final reminder that Breton Brewing is having their launch party at Flavor on the Water tomorrow, with music, food and beer all night. Tickets are available online. Propeller has another One Hit Wonder on the go: English Mild is now available at both Prop Shop locations, and comes in at 4% ABV and 22 IBUs.