Geaghan Bros Brewing

All posts tagged Geaghan Bros Brewing

Happy Friday, everyone! While we have your attention, would any of you be opposed to us renaming this weekly post the “Almost-Saturday Wrap Up”? No? Great, we didn’t think so!

And now, beer.

We’ve got the news on the latest bottle release from Halifax’s Tide House, which was just released yesterday. Turtles All the Way Down (<brain explodes>) is a Saison with a grist made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat, with some Flaked Oats and Acid malt thrown in for good measure. Hopped with Ahtanum, the wort was fermented with the Old World Saison blend (made up of two “classic” Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs, giving a light-bodied beer with notes of “pepper, lemon, honey and spice”. It’s an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, so when you’re at the brewery to pick up your stock, you might as well grab a few, no?

For the second year in a row, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has paired up with Bangor’s Geaghan Brothers Brewing for a collaboration beer, which will be released in Fredericton today. A Lot in Common is a California Common which was brewed at Maybee, with several of the Geaghan Brothers team making the short trip north to participate in the brew day. With a grist featuring a blend of Canadian, German, and British malts, it was hopped with Cluster to 38 IBUs. Fermented at cool ale temperatures to keep the production of fruity esters to a minimum, this 5.6% ABV amber-coloured “hybrid” has aromas of “raison, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and Baker’s chocolate” with more of the same in the flavour, followed by an assertive bitterness in the finish. This one will be available on tap and in cans, both of which can be found at the Maybee taproom right now; it’ll also be on tap at many Maybee accounts, as well as the ANBL growler program as of March 7th. And of course at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, where both breweries (and many, many more) will be pouring the best and newest beers. More details below.

If you’re eating and drinking in Dartmouth this weekend, you may want to swing by North and/or Battery Park (and if you’re doing your eating and drinking there, even better!). Why, you ask? Well, North is releasing Into the Aether today, an Imperial Stout that has a lot more than just roast character going for it. This 5 bbl batch of beer has additions of 5-6 lbs of toasted cocoa nibs and 12 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as vanilla and sea salt to top it all off. They’re aiming for a beer with a balanced blend of all of these flavours, so that no single one of them overshadows the others. You can grab cans at both retail shops, with the only kegs being poured at Battery Park on their nitro tap.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a brand new sour hitting the taps over the next few days, Ginger Spur. This 4.7% ABV beer started with a grist of Pilsner, 2-Row, Munich and Wheat malts, and was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, before being boiled and lightly hopped with Amarillo (to 6 IBU… like we said, “lightly hopped”, mainly to ensure the Lacto cannot survive). After fermentation is when the fun began, as the beer was conditioned on fresh lemon zest and a mixture of fresh and powdered ginger, for a complementary blend of citrus aroma and ginger flavour and zip, on top of the lightly sour base beer. Kegs of Ginger Spur will be delivered to a few restaurants in Fredericton and Saint John next week, and will be available to Niche fans in Nova Scotia, pouring at HopYard Halifax before the end of the weekend.

TrailWay has got their hop-oil-soaked hands on a popular new American hop variety, Sabro, which they’ve used in their latest American IPA, Urban Sabrero. Sabro is an odd variety in that it doesn’t have a European heritage (like most hops do); it actually comes from a sub-species that has been growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years (according to the Washington Beer Blog). Many sources have described Sabro as very unique, featuring flavours of tangerine, tropical fruit, citrus, coconut, and even hints of “cedar, mint and cream”. In TW’s beer, they also added some other hop varieties they deemed showing similarities to these descriptors, resulting in a 6% ABV brew with aromas and flavours of “coconut, pina colada, tangerine citrus, and vanilla”. Urban Sabrero is releasing today on tap and in cans at the brewery.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has released a mixed four-pack of cans this week, the winning beers of their collaborative contest with the Newfermenters Home Brew Club. The homebrew competition was held in the Fall of 2018, and saw the top 4 brewers drop into QV for a brewday. The winning beers are: Uncle Fred’s Kolsch (4.5% ABV), Iron Cherry Sour (5.5% ABV), Milky Way NEIPA (5.9% ABV), and Perfect Storm Dunkelweizen (6.0% ABV). Four-packs flew off the shelves at QVBC yesterday, but they assure us that there will be more available soon. They are also available at a few NLCs today, so be sure to ask at your local one!

We think that maybe Good Robot is mad at us or something, because instead of making us report on their usual weekly Beta Brew release, they had to go and make FOUR of them! To be fair, they *are* pretty psyched about celebrating FemmeBot, so it may actually have more to do with that than actually messing with our heads. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt! So, let’s get right to these beers, shall we? All were brewed with local ladies who are keen on the beer scene in Halifax.

  • #yololager – A 4.8% ABV “light and crushable lager” made by local real estate agent Jess Tasker (March 5th release)
  • The Ploughwind – A 6.7% ABV “big, rich stout” made by Missy Searl (March 6th release)
  • Aunty Fukkup’s Blueberry Pie-PA – A 4.4% ABV light Pale Ale hopped with Saphir, with a generous addition of blueberries, brewed with Dalhousie nursing student Leslie Langille (March 7th release)
  • Imposter’s Syndrome – A 4.1% ABV Dark Wheat Ale brewed with Whitney Moran, co-author of East Coast Crafted (March 9th release)

Actually, that wasn’t so bad. Sorry for complaining! Finally, next week’s Alpha beer will be this year’s official FemmeBot brew, Big Witch Energy. Brewed with Golden Promise malt, Summer hops, and sweet orange peel (which was added with the dry hop), it sounds like a refreshing break from some of the other big beers out there this time of year.

Halifax stalwart Garrison, now rocking their third decade of production in the city, have all kinds of new beer news to share with us this week. First up is the return of Sour to the People, brewed in conjunction with the folks from The Carleton restaurant on Argyle Street. Originally brewed in Summer of 2017, this will be an excellent beer to help get you through the last dregs of winter and help remind you that better weather is (maybe!) just around the corner. With lots of notes of peach, lemon and green apple sour notes balanced against pineapple, citrus and pine notes from new hop Denali, the beer is 6.1% ABV and, as is often the case with sour beers, 0 IBU. Available in cans and on draft at the brewery (and we suspect both cans and kegs will make it to other places in the city).

Next up, as is traditional with Garrison, the winning beer from last year’s Garrison Home Brew-off is being released at the same time as the winners of this year’s competition are announced. Kölsch 1149, a 5.2% ABV Kölsch by Dave Martin and Kent Brooks was on tap last night at this year’s awards gala and will continue to be available at the brewery, including cans. As for the 2019 competition results, this year’s category was another European style that was perhaps a little difficult for local brewers to wrap their heads around, with no commercial examples readily available. A fairly sweet and full-bodied lager balanced very much towards the malt side (“a sandwich in a glass”), it also generally packs a punch, in the 6.3 – 7.5% ABV range. Four beers won accolades this year, starting with an honorable mention for Kevin Sweezey’s entry. The top three were Jeramy Slaunwhite in 3rd place, Scott MacLean in 2nd and David Pepper winning the competition. Pepper and Slaunwhite are no strangers to the winners’ circle in local homebrew competitions; the two were category winners in the 2016 Big Spruce competition where Pepper’s Risky Biscuits Dark Mild also took Best of Show. Look for the winning beer to be brewed in time for next year’s awards gala where the category has already been announced: New England IPA!! Garrison also made sure to include a shoutout to local homebrew supplier Noble Grape who every year help immensely with the logistics of this competition.

And in still more Garrison news, this coming week also marks the release of the first beer they’ve ever produced by an all-female team. Starting with brewer Kellye Robertson, Susannah is a collaboration with East Coast Wild Foods, who provided wild-foraged sumac and sea buckthorn to this all-German malt Imperial Pale Lager that was heavily hopped with Topaz and Hallertau Blanc. Look for elements of sweet grain complemented by elements from the hops and fruit, including notes of lychee, grapefruit and pineapple. Proceeds from the beer, which is being packaged in 473 mL cans will support women in trades in Nova Scotia through the NSCC Foundation. A launch party for the beer will take place next Friday, March 8th, at the Garrison Brewery. Starting at 7 PM, it will feature live music from Halifax rockers Like a Motorcycle beginning at 8:30 PM. Meanwhile Ray Brisson, the artist who designed the label, will be present, Birdie’s Bread Co. will have food available for purchase, and East Coast Wild Foods will be on site to talk about foraging and the workshops that they run. No tickets are required for entry, but donations will be taken at the door in support of the NSCC Foundation.

Propeller Brewing, also in their third decade of operation, has plenty of news for us this week as well, including the launch of a pair of new beers for us to enjoy. First up is the return of their Irish Red, just in time for that *big celebration of all things Irish* later in the month. While the recipe for this 5.0% ABV, 25 IBU beer has not changed, this year’s version has been left unfiltered, letting more flavour molecules through to your sniffer and taster. Look for sweetness and light roast from the malt, with an earthy hoppiness from the traditional UK hops.

Debuting today at their Gottingen taproom is an experiment months in the making: they took their ESB and aged it for 4 months in the barrels that previously held their Baltic Porter. The light malt in the base beer, along with the light barrel and dark malt notes from the porter, make this a wonderful beer to enjoy lightly carbed, so they will be featuring this beer on their bartop at the taproom for the entire month of March (or as long as the casks last!). Pop by today at 5 PM for the tapping of the first Barrel Aged ESB, and enjoy a pint. Paired with the Propeller Arcade downstairs, and/or today’s Cask Night snack, Vandal Doughnuts, you can kick your weekend off right!

Also hitting the taps today is the release of a beer Propeller brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, Call Me Blondie. Brewed with the fine crew of the Ladies Beer League, CMB is a Blonde Ale with a twist, as it is dry-hopped with Simcoe, featuring a melon and cantaloupe aroma, complementing the citrus flavour and light and crisp body. This draught-only beer debuts at today’s Cask Friday event as well, and will be pouring at LBL’s big International Women’s Day event at Halifax’s Timber Lounge on March 8, Axe the Patriarchy. From 7 – 10 PM, drop in to enjoy the beer, live music, craft corner, and meet your fellow local beer enthusiasts! There is no fee to attend, though a portion of axe throwing costs, and donations, are being collected to support Alice House.

Newly-opened 3Flip Brewing out of Douglas, NB has a one-off, limited release that should be hitting a couple of taps soon, and will also be pouring at the FCBF Nano Night next Friday. The beer is Sassy Cow, a 5% ABV “Root Beer Milk Stout” that showcases a “sweet malt/lactose flavour with hints of roasted coffee”. Complemented by aromas and flavours of root beer (thanks to the addition of a special extract), the finishing bitterness is low. If you don’t have tickets to next week’s Nano Night, and still want to try the beer, both The Joyce and Saint John Ale House will be receiving a keg over the next few days.

After an extremely busy couple of weeks after opening in mid-January, Hill Top Hops Brewhouse in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, had to re-fill their fermenters and build up some product. They are scheduled to reopen today, Friday March 1st starting at noon and going ‘til 10 PM. The full lineup of taps will be available, including their Cream Ale, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale, and Porter. Fans of their IPA will have to wait one more week. Be sure to check out their Fb page for updates to their hours for the winter season.

New Scotland in Dartmouth has a brand new beer on the go, one they’re calling Eastbound Brown. An American Brown Ale, a somewhat surprisingly uncommon style in our region, it’s big and malty, but hard-hitting in the bitterness department with 64 IBU and in terms of ABV at 6.8%. Look for some hints of chocolate paired with malty sweetness underlying a very firm bitterness and an aroma characteristic of American ‘C’ hops. You’ll find it at their taproom this week for sure, with the potential for a few kegs to make it to other locations about town.

Also in Dartmouth, Nine Locks is celebrating their 3rd Anniversary with the release of Champagne IPA. Combining lots of hop aroma (leaning on citrus and Juicy Fruit) with high, downright spritzy carbonation, it finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. Nothing says “celebrate” like Champagne, ya know? It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 38 IBUs, and can be picked up at the taproom as we speak.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing continues to crank out beers in their more experimental First Sail series. This week’s entry, Dark Cherry Blonde was based on their Kölsch from a malt and mash perspective, but fermented with clean American yeast and with some dark cherries added towards the end of fermentation. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, expect something akin to a rosé wine, with a light body and a slight sweetness balanced by some tartness from the cherries. Only at the brewery and in very limited quantities, it’s available for pints or crowlers to go. And if that weren’t enough to get you there, the Midnight Oil milk stout is back by popular demand. A blend of six malts, it’s a medium-bodied milk stout with bit of nuttiness sitting on top of a base of cacao, coffee and vanilla flavors, with a sweetness from an addition of lactose. Coming in at 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU, you can sit down for a pint, bring a growler for a fill, or grab a crowler to go!

New beer coming at you from 2 Crows when they open today at noon (although by the way things are going, I’m going to assume when this post is actually published, noon has already come and gone). Livewire is a hoppy Brett Saison brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as some Wheat, Rye and Oats. Hopped lightly with Calypso and Azacca, a portion of the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then blended back in with the rest of the beer when the acidity reached the level they were looking for. The entire batch was fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, and finally dry-hopped with the delicious Enigma variety. Expect a very dry beer with funk, light pith, and “notes of Pinot Gris, lemon zest, and rock melon, with a firm minerality and a touch of tartness”, according to 2C. It weighs in at 4.6% ABV and 17 IBUs, and can be found (probably now!) at the brewery in cans and on tap.

In yet more beer competition news (well, sorta), this time from Spindrift, the winning beer from their first (annual, we hope) homebrew competition is once again available, this time with a twist. Brian Whalen’s Naughtius Maximus v2.0: Naughtier Maximumus has a slightly different grist from the original recipe due to some crystal malt left at the bottom of the grain mill, but it’s also been cellared since 2018. Perfectly balanced between bitter and crisp this 7.3% ABV and 22 IBU Belgian Saison is on tap at the brewery now, though only 40 L were made, so you’ll want to move fast if you want in on this.

In what could be seen as sad news, Naughtier Maximus also marks the end of Spindrift’s Seventh Wave Series, those growler-fill-at-the-brewery-only small batch, often experimental brews that would taunt those who couldn’t get over to Burnside before they were gone. But weep not, gentle reader, as is often the case, as one door closes, another opens. Coming March 7th is the first beer in an all new series designed and curated by Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer, called Future Thoughts. Designed to be like Seventh Wave in being somewhat experimental, and notably exploring contemporary styles, flavours and brewing techniques, Future Thoughts batches are scheduled to be larger, allowing for more customers to have a chance to try them and at a somewhat more leisurely pace versus the old mad dash to Dartmouth. Look for the first beer in this series, Lemon to a Knife Fight Blueberry Imperial Wit to be released this coming Thursday, March 7th. We’ll no doubt have the full details on that beer next week.

For those of you interested in keeping track of the going-ons in the Town of Wolfville, the first reading of the amendments to their Municipal Planning Strategy and Land-Use Bylaws happened Feb 4, and we were in attendance to take in the action. The issue at hand is whether to make changes to the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Usage By-laws (LUB) to (a) have a clear policy statement on alcohol producers, (b) specifically allow off-site sales of product, and (c) forbid contract brewing. With the legality of contract brewing already decided (as far as we can tell, it’s illegal in Nova Scotia), the second amendment is where the rubber meets the road. Last week’s meeting was the first reading of the amendments, and was crammed with members of the public wanting to be heard, mostly expressing their objection to the changes. Video of Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here, or, if you prefer to just listen instead, you can find an audio version here (loud audio warning at 8:20).

But let’s back up for a second. Why the fuss? The public are concerned that Church Brewing (who have recently opened their restaurant, but whose brewery is still under construction) will increase truck traffic as much as 10-fold on Main Street, take up many parking spaces, and have 24/7 noise and brewing smells. These concerns seem to be largely based on a preponderance of poor information, some of which has a particular odor of its own, and the most dubious of which is the notion that Church Brewing will somehow reach 15,000 hectoliters of production, the legal limit for a craft brewery in this province, in the near future. We noted above that both Garrison and Propeller have passed the 20 year mark in their respective lifespans. Both have spent over two decades working to extend their distribution footprint from Halifax to not just beyond Nova Scotia but beyond Atlantic Canada as well. And both fall well short of 15,000 hL per year in production. To suggest that Church could attain even greater success in any kind of short time is either a massive nod to Church’s business plan and leadership or fearmongering at its worst. Most of the doom and gloom scenarios being proffered as dissent are heavily anchored in this number as a realistic estimate of production.

We encourage everyone with an interest to educate themselves; there is plenty of material available online thanks to the Town of Wolfville and interested parties such as the 902BrewCast. While we understand some of the consternation and concern about how things have been done, we believe that, as in so many communities in our region, having Church open and producing quality beer will benefit the town and its citizens. You can find the agenda for the next town council session regarding the MPS and LUB changes here. We hope that these meetings lead to us writing a profile of Church after their successful opening as a brewery in the near future.

A few things coming up events-wise:

Secret Cove Brewing Co. has been celebrating their Grand Opening the past couple of days, but don’t worry if you missed it! They’re continuing with more events throughout this weekend. Tonight they’re launching a brand new beer (which they’re not sharing details on yet… sorry!) to go with their open mic night, and while closed some of tomorrow for a private event, they’ll be reopening their doors to the public at 6 PM, with live music starting at 7 PM. Finally, Sunday will feature a Kitchen Party from 2 – 6 PM; they’ve also hinted at a “special announcement” sometime throughout the weekend. Congrats to all of the Secret Cove crew!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is turning one, and in true Newfoundland fashion, they’re celebratin’ (ok, most breweries celebrate their anniversaries, but it’s NL so maybe it’ll be even more fun?) at the taproom today. Starting at 4 pm when they open, there will be snacks throughout the day, plenty of beer from both Bootleg and local guest breweries, and live music starting at 10 PM tonight. No cover!

We mentioned the big Belgian beer drop at Moncton’s Tide & Boar two weeks ago, but wanted to remind you all since the event officially happens tomorrow, March 2nd. Check out the link for all the details, but rest assured if you love Belgian beer, you want to be going to this. They open at 11 am; it’ll be going on all day, but we’re pretty positive that some of these bottles will be gone quickly, so best that you get there early!

As we’ve mentioned earlier in the post, the annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is next week, with the main event – the beer festival! – happening next Saturday, March 9th. While tickets for the evening session are sold out, there ARE still a few regular-entry afternoon session ones available (grab them here). There are also events going on throughout the week, leading up to Saturday, including our Trivia Night at The Joyce on Thursday, March 7th, which is also happening at the same time as a Hammond River tap takeover. There’s some educational seminars as well, including Distilling School and Home Brewing School on Thursday, and Beer School on Friday, March 8th, which is a day-long event that focuses on several aspects of the brewing process. As for the main event on Saturday, you know what to expect… hope to see you there!

And our usual last mentions on our way out the door (where? To get BEER):

Picaroons has released CBA, a 7.5% ABV “Canadian Black Ale”; described as “big, dark, and hoppy”, we think it’s pretty safe for you to put this in the Black IPA category. You can currently find it at all Picaroons locations, and it should be hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Port Rexton has their newest American Pale Ale exclusively on tap, Pith and Substance (5.9% ABV). Featuring “grapefruit pith vibes and a delicate strawberry aroma”, it has a medium bitterness in the finish; look for it at the PR taproom and retail shop, as well as on tap at Bootleg Brew Co. for tonight’s One Year Anniversary Tap Takeover that we mentioned earlier.

Happy Fredericton Beer Week! We’ve been waiting for months, and the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival finally happens tomorrow. There’s been a few events so far this week (with one unfortunately being cancelled due to weather), and tomorrow’s big event promises to be even bigger and better than the past five years! With plenty of breweries making their way to Fredericton, there’s naturally quite a few new beers being released… maybe even more so than normal. We’ve been busy getting ready for FCBF, but we’ve done our usual best to summarize all the beer news in our region, so let’s get right to it!

• Let’s start off with Collaboration Pale Ale, a special super-collaboration (yep, just made that word up!) involving the participation of most breweries in New Brunswick, brewed specifically for FCBF. The project was spearheaded by Foghorn‘s own Esty, who sent the recipe out to all those taking part for input, feedback, and good-natured criticism (of which there was actually surprisingly none!). The beer was brewed on Foghorn’s system, with many brewers attending to “help” (i.e. drink beer and watch). Hopped with Magnum from Darlings Island Farm, and Chinook from Moose Mountain, to 45 IBUs, Chinook hop hash from Southan Farms was added at knockout, along with some Enigma. Dry-hopped with more hop hash and Enigma, the result is a 5.5% ABV beer with citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a crisp finish. Craft Coast Canning generously donated their services, with 1000 cans being packaged for sale at various breweries, and a few ANBL locations. There will also be a couple of kegs pop up (including at FCBF, of course!), and it will be for sale (by the pint only) on tap at Foghorn. In addition, $1 of every can sale goes towards diabetes research.

• In more FCBF-special beers, Maybee Brewing is releasing Fahrenheit DIPA, a collaboration brewed with Bangor, Maine’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewing. One of Maine’s first craft breweries (they opened their doors back in 1975), this year is Geaghan’s second at the festival. The beer was brewed with a “generous” amount of locally-grown Centennial and Columbus (from Southan Farms), along with also-large amounts of Amarillo and Mosaic. The result is a “resinous – yet juicy – hop explosion with notes of peach,  mango, apricot and citrus). Weighing in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, it will be pouring at FCBF, with GBB pouring it in keg/draft form, and Maybee opting to serve it on cask. If you miss it there (or can’t wait until tomorrow), it is also available on tap and in cans at Maybee.

• Released yesterday to mark International Women’s Day 2018, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with the Brewnettes to bring you The Riveter. Named after iconic Rosie the Riveter, the beer is a refreshing and easy-drinking Session Ale with plenty of tasty hops. At just 3.9% ABV, this beer will be one you can enjoy all afternoon on the assembly line (or maybe wait until the end-of-day whistle blows). The Brewnettes Newfoundland Beer Collective boasts more than 400 members across Newfoundland and and Labrador, offering new beer drinkers and homebrewers an encouraging environment to meet like-minded folks. The Riveter is available for growler fills at the Port Rexton Retail Shop on Torbay Rd from 4-8PM today (and 12-6PM tomorrow), with Chasing Sun New England IPA also available for growler fills, plus cans of Blazing Sun (Chasing Sun‘s bigger sister), and T-Rex Porter. And today also marks the first day of the BrewSKI weekend at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, with events all weekend (check the schedule here), culminating in tomorrow’s Beer Festival, with Port Rexton joined by: Bootleg Brew CoQuidi Vidi, Split RockStorm, and YellowBelly.

• On our region’s other Island, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new IPA called MOVE on the taps, also released to celebrate IWD2018. Brewed by the women of Upstreet, it’s a hazy New England-style IPA featuring oats and wheat in the grist for a soft mouthfeel and pillowy white head. Hopped in the kettle with super tropical Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Northern Hemisphere Idaho 7, it was triple dry hopped for a sophisticated aroma. Look for notes of pineapple and fresh mango balanced by a slightly grassy scent. A low-lingering bitterness, coupled with a clean and smooth palate give a juicy and refreshing impression. Weighing it at 6.5% ABV, you’ll be doing good work every time you order it: $2 from every pint and growler will be donated to the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.

• Don’t look now, but the scourge of pastry stouts has finally arrived upon the fair shores of our region. “What’s a pastry stout?” you ask, as a naïve drinker of reasonably normal beer? Well, at some point a brewer asked themselves the question, “What other starch sources might I conceivably source for my mash?” Or maybe the question was, “How can I put something absolutely ludicrous in the mash and still make beer?” Either way, as the legend goes, lo, the brewer decided to add donuts to the mash and lo, in the otherwise usual way, beer was made. Then donuts became eclairs. And biscotti. And all kinds of other weird shit. This is the world we live in now; embrace it. Aaaaanyways, to our knowledge, HRM’s North Brewing has announced this week the first pastry stout we’re aware of in the region. Twinkle Pony Cookie Stout was brewed by North cellarperson Brad and sports a delightfully whimsical label by Nicole G. Inspired by the flavour of French macaron cookies, a base stout featuring chocolate malt was adulterated with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, vanilla and, yes, macarons from Le French Fix. It will be available in cans as of today in the North bottle shops on either side of the harbour, and on nitro tap for a limited time (1 keg’s worth) at Battery Park. By all means give it a go and, as you do, feel free to wonder what the world is coming to now that there’s cookies in your beer!

• Earlier this week, Hammond River released their latest beer, Cordelia. An American IPA with a simple grist of 2-row, Carafoam, and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops throughout (to 78 IBUs), giving the beer juicy notes of citrus, tangerine, and passion fruit. Some grapefruit puree was also added in secondary to boost the juiciness a bit more, making this 7% ABV brew just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a nice, aromatic hop bomb. You can find this one on tap at the HR taproom and local tap accounts; it’ll also be pouring at FCBF, for those of you lucky enough to have tickets!

• Just in time for FCBF, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go, their first Brett Pale Ale. Dubbed Across the Universe, it started with a grist of 50/50 2-row and Maris Otter, to which a “healthy portion” of wheat and a touch of dextrine malt were added. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic and then fermented with a Niche favourite, the Amalgamation blend from the Yeast Bay, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV and 36 IBU featuring a nose of citrus and overripe and tropical fruit. And as if that wasn’t enough, watch Niche social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) this afternoon for an announcement of yet another new beer that will debut tomorrow at the fest! (If only we had a connection at the brewery who could have given us the details in time for this post, huh @acbbshawn? Jeeesh.)

• PEI Brewing’s Gahan House Port City in Saint John is now pouring the first beers brewed onsite at their facility. YSJ’aison is a, you guessed it, Saison with a light-coloured malt bill of Pilsner, with a touch of rye and wheat for mouthfeel and to encourage a beautiful head. Lightly hopped in the kettle with Czech Saaz, it was dryhopped with Saphir to bring out some fruitiness. Yeast choice is always important to the overall characteristics of the Saison style, and here they chose a blend of multiple yeasts to encourage tropical fruit, as well as iconic clove and bubblegum notes, as well as spiciness to complement the rye malt. The multiple yeast strains also helped to dry out the beer (ending up at 5.8% ABV) and improve drinkability. The pale and hazy beer is on tap for samples, pints, and growler fills now, and keep your eyes open as future YSJ-brewed beers begin to hit the taps, which include an English Porter brewed with coffee provided by local coffee shop Rogue.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has two items of note this week. First is the return of Fist of God, a fruity, soft, round, and delicious 8% ABV DIPA that will put you on your ass with prejudice. Originally brewed for the release of the feature film Goon: Last of the Enforcers last spring, it will be available for fills and pints and cans at the brewery as of noon today. Yes, we said cans. And FoG isn’t the only beer they’ll have in convenient take-anywhere single-serve packages! The mobile canning line has visited North Street once again and as of noon today you’ll also find Barrel-aged Sour Motherfucker, Exile on North Street IPA, Flat Black Jesus Stout, and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA ready and waiting for your mobile beer needs. All the beer nerds are in Fredericton, here’s your chance to stock up!!

• Just like last year, the Tidehouse braintrust, Peter, Sean, and Shannon, are heading up to Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And just like last year, they’re leaving their brewery and taproom in the hands of Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell, a couple of degenerate home brewers fine young gentlemen who will no doubt bring ruin and shame upon the good name of Tidehouse take excellent care of the place. Starting today you’ll find four guest beers on tap for fills and small pours at the TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street: Cascadian Dark Ale, Tic Lac Toe Blueberry Sour, English Pale, and Amber Ale. You may remember the Tic Lac Toe from last year’s FCBF weekend, a witbier base soured with Lil’ Wheatey’s own Lactobacillus culture (and featuring traditional orange peel and coriander along with two additions of blueberries. The Cascadian Dark Ale is an assertively-hopped dark beer with 60 IBUs worth of bitterness thanks to healthy amounts of Centennial, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. The grist side is based in 2-row and wheat, with caramel, chocolate and midnight wheat specialty malts for character and dark color. All said and done, it comes in a 5.8% ABV with a slightly dry finish. The English Pale falls somewhere in the range of an English Pale and a Golden Ale, with an exceptionally simple malt bill of British pale malt and flaked barley, and an equally uncomplicated hop schedule using only East Kent Goldings. Fermented on London Ale yeast, it’s described as “liquid gold.” And finally, the Amber Ale is a malt-forward beer that combines special roast, aromatic and chocolate malts for a robust and complex malt profile that is balanced against mild bitterness and hop flavour from Warrior, Fuggles, and East Kent Goldings. Though it finished quite dry, look for it to be a bit bigger than the ambers you might be used to. All four of these beers will be poured by Ian and Nick at the Tidehouse today and tomorrow, and will continue to be available while supplies last. You can also watch for the Tic Lac Toe and the Cascadian Dark Ale to make an appearance in limited bottle runs in the near future.

• If you’re into big beers and you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon, consider swinging on down to the Propeller taproom on Gottingen Street for the release of a collaboration brewed with the team from Lower Sackville’s Everwood Avenue Brew Shop. A Baltic Porter coming in at 6.7% ABV and 33 IBU, it boasts aromas of burnt caramel and dark roasted coffee that meld with raisin and vanilla notes in a full-bodied brew where the lager yeast balances a fairly high level of residual sugars. Starting at 6 PM, you’ll find folks from Everwood and Propeller celebrating with pints of the Baltic Porter on special and two special editions on the go as well: one oak cask and one 20L keg that was fermented with Burton on Trent Ale yeast for, we’d imagine, a totally different mouthfeel and body. Swag giveaways and pies available for purchase from Humble Pie complete the package. If you don’t get a chance to attend event but are interested in the beer, it’s already available for growler fills at the brewery and is likely to spring up at a couple other locations around the city.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken another stab at a Lager with their latest beer, Fuzzy Bubbles. This one is an India Pale Lager, a hazy, light-yellow beer that was fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain. Lagered for an additional two weeks at near-freezing temperatures, the beer was then dry-hopped with a “healthy” dose of Citra and Vic Secret. Drinking with “huge tropical fruit, peaches, and cantaloupe” notes, and carbonated higher than normal for TW beers, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. It’s available both in cans and on tap at the brewery today, and should show up at a few tap accounts in the near future.

• The first annual (says Kelly!) Good Robot FemmeBot competition is in the books and the results were announced at a special event at the brewery on Wednesday. An Honorable Mention went to Kelsey Delaney for her “Maybe She’s Born Wit It”, Third Place went to Jill Bernier for her “Bear Cat”, Second was Heather Cameron for “Calm Down Dearest”, and taking first place was Drella Green-Simony with “I Love My Dog”. The winning beer will be brewed on the Sabco system and put on tap at the brewery in the coming months. A hearty congratulations to everyone who entered the competition; some 75% of the registered entrants were first time brewers and hopefully we’ll see more than a few carry on and brew more!

• And in Good Robot beer release news this week are two releases as is their wont. First, on the AlphaBrew system, is an IPA they’re calling All-Inclusive. “Inclusive of what?” you ask? “Inclusive of EVERYTHING!” Like a buffet this 6.8% ABV and 74 IBU brew has a smörgåsbord of flavors, including juicy tropical fruit from Green Bullet, Dr. Rudi, Wakatu, Ella, and Topaz hops, plenty of bitterness, and a slight pepper kick from Grains of Paradise. And on the BetaBrew system, coming out this Tuesday for BetaBrewsday, is a beer that would be very timely if it had anything whatsoever to do with St. Patrick’s day. It’s green. Why’s it green? EVIL GREEN MIST. As generations of wrestlers have taught us, spitting green mist in the eyes of an opponent will cause immediate blindness and absolutely permanent damage to sight, at least until next week’s TV. Green Mist is a super-crushable 4% ABV lager, with just enough bitterness (14 IBU) to be refreshing, and a soupçon of green venom. Or food coloring. One of the two. Enjoy, just don’t mistake it for a St. Patrick’s Day thing!!

There’s lots of Events on the go to tell you about this week!

• Unfortunately, due to an extended power outage in downtown Fredericton, last night’s Down East Tap Takeover (and our Trivia) at the King Street Ale House had to be postponed. The 30+ different beers (most are brand new to the region) are flowing now, and you can head in any time this weekend to have your ticket honoured. As a reminder, that means your first ten 5oz samples of the Nova Scotian and Maine beers are already included.

• And speaking of the FCBF, there are still tickets available for tonight’s Newbie Night, a showcase of a dozen breweries new to the scene. Most of them will not be pouring Saturday night, so if your liver can handle two days of beery fun, we encourage you to check it out! Tickets are available until mid-afternoon.

• For those in NB, be sure to tune your dial to CBC this afternoon, to hear an interview with Josh Mayich of Darlings Island Hop Farm chat with the folks on Shift. Concentrating on his experience as a hop farmer in the Southern NB area, he’ll be sharing stories and what he’s learned in this important side of the beer business.

• Every year in March, Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel brewery celebrates Journée Péché Day at bars in their home province, in the rest of Canada, in the USA, and around the world. This year 50 venues will take part and we’re pleased to report that three of them will be in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House will be serving up the sin on March 24th, with 7 kegs of deep black stain for your soul including the original Péché Mortel Classic Imperial Coffee Stout, Péché Mortel Framboise (with Raspberry), Péché Houblon (with Hops), Péché Termopilas (with a lighter roast coffee), Péché Latté (with lactose, maybe?), and the 2017 and 2018 editions of Péché Mortel Bourbon, which has been aged in Bourbon barrels. With most of these beers tipping the scales at 9% ABV and higher, you can guarantee you won’t escape unmarked. Plan well, and pray for absolution.

A couple more things before we let you go…

– After a short hiatus to refill their kegs, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is back open for your weekend beer fix. Going forward, they’ll be open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4PM-12AM. Drop by today to taste the latest batch of their beery goodies!

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, now has cans available, including their aptly named Nor’easter American Pale Ale, weighing in at 5.0% ABV. Currently only at the brewery, they will be available at local (and further afield) ANBL locations in the coming weeks. And look for their 5.0% Havre St-Pierre Red Ale to be available soon in cans as well.

– Speaking of cans, the Craft Coast made the trip to Lawrencetown, NS, and helped the folks at Lunn’s Mill get their product into tall boys. Lager Driver and Anvil Porter are both available for purchase at the brewery now, for $4.50 (all in). Grab a few when you knock off work today!

– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing Cyd Cerise tomorrow, a version of their Old Foundry Stout, aged on crushed cherries, and in white oak Bourbon barrels.

– Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester, NS has a new beer in their Small Lot Series, where they try out new styles on a smaller batch size. In this case, they’ve opted for Gose, a historic German style beer featuring an acidic kick, low hopping, light salt character, and spicing. For their recipe, they used coriander and sea salt to achieve these flavours, and after souring, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast. Keeping with the refreshing nature of the style, Gose is 4.7% and 5 IBUs. Drop by Tanner this weekend to grab a growler of this and their other offerings.

 

Welcome to our second Maine Beer Weekend post! We hope you enjoyed our first post, focusing on Geaghan’s Pub and Brewery on Main Street in Bangor. Today’s post is a continuation of our evening in Bangor, when we hopped on The Growler Bus and visited three breweries in the Bangor area.

Growler Bus

The Growler Bus launched earlier this year, as a way to promote and highlight the great breweries and bars in Bangor and the surrounding region. It is owned and operated by One Man Beer Army Gene Beck, the owner of the very popular Nocturnem Draft Haus, and who is also to thank for establishing the outstanding beer variety at Swett’s Hogan Road Deli & Convenience aka That Citgo with the Killer Beer Selection. The Growler Bus is a souped up 14-seater limo bus, complete with a high quality speaker system, comfortable seating, and a knowledgeable driver (tonight, Gene himself was behind the wheel). They operate several tours each week, visiting Bangor region breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Or, the bus is available for private hire for wedding parties, graduations, and any other excuse to get together for a beer road-trip. They are happy to design a custom trip for your group, to accommodate your every Maine beer desire.

Tonight’s tour was the “Local Round Up”, starting at the Nocturnem Draft Haus, heading to Geaghan Brothers’ production brewery, Orono Brewing Company, and Black Bear Brewery. Each brewery visit was about 60 minutes, allowing enough time for a tour of their facilities, a handful of samples (included in the tour price), maybe a game of cornhole (a Maine brewery staple, we’ve noticed!), plus shopping for bottles/growlers and brewery swag.

nocturnem beer list

Nocturnem Draft Haus opened in 2011, bringing a wide variety of local and afar craft beer to Bangor. They feature more than a dozen taps (updating their online draft list daily), a couple hundred bottles, as well as a rotating cask and Lambic-dedicated line. More than half of the taps feature Maine beers, making them a great choice for an out-of-state visitor to try some local craft beers, with the balance of the beers highlighting New England, other US states, and European offerings. They frequently hold tap takeovers of local breweries, and offer food cooked, and to pair, with beer.

GeaghansBigBrewery

After a warm-up beer at Nocturnem, our first stop was the new Geaghan Brothers’ production brewery in Brewer, just across the Penobscot River from Geaghan’s Pub. It was opened earlier this year to keep up with the great demand for their beer at the Pub and external distribution. This 20BBL (23.5 hl) custom-built Tigpro system allows them greater flexibility to sell kegs to accounts outside of Bangor (GBB is now available in bars and restaurants from Calais to Fort Kent), and has also allowed them to bottle product. Their Smiling Irish Bastard APA is available in six-packs, and they have just released a mixed “Queen City Sampler” 12-pack, featuring the Bangor Brown Ale, Lineman Pale AlePresque Isle Honey Blonde Ale, and Smiling Irish Bastard APA. The production brewery also supplies Geaghan’s Pub with their core brands, relieving some pressure, and allowing the smaller brewery to explore new seasonals and unique styles. Assistant Brewer Brian Sturgeon and Cellar Tech Forrest Brown were on hand to tour us around their brewhouse, and answer any questions we had.

OronoBrewhouse

After a handful of samples at Geaghan’s, we hopped back on the bus for the drive to Orono. Thankfully, with a limo license, we were able to enjoy even more local bevvies on our trip north, so it passed by in a flash. Once in town, we stopped by Orono Brewing Company, located at 20 Main Street in a brick building dating from 1848. Opened in December 2014, this young brewery uses a 4 BBL (4.7 hl) Stout brewhouse to produce a wide variety of different brews. Brewmaster Asa Marsh-Sachs has full control of the styles and ingredients used in the beers, with the only limit being his creativity (and we don’t think there is any!).

OronoBeers

Co-owner Abe Furth was on hand to give us a tour of the brewery, while we enjoyed samples of their ten offerings, which included a pair of Saisons, two IPAs (the Habanero Lemon IPA was a personal favourite), and two nitro beers (White Nitro Cream Ale and Woodman’s Nitro Red). The Tap Room is open daily for visitors, and they offer lots of swag, and growlers of their beer to go. OBC’s beers are also available across Main Street at Woodman’s Bar and Grill and a handful of other local bars and restaurants. They recently brewed up their 100th batch of beer, and their Ozone IPA won Best Beer of the Tap Into Summer Beerfest earlier this summer.

BlackBearBrewery

Our next stop was just across Mill Street, to the Black Bear Microbrewery. Their 10BBL (12 hl) brewhouse opened in 2008, and they opened their Tap Room in 2013, where they feature live music and food (including brick oven pizza from the nearby Bear Brew Pub). During our visit, they had nine different beers on tap, including the tasty Lil’ S.I.P.A. Session IPA, and Liquid Sunshine Hefeweizen, both great lighter beers fit for a summer’s night. Black Bear beers are available on tap at bars and restaurants across Maine. Their tap room is open M-W 3-10pm, R-F 3-11pm, and Sat 2-11pm for pints, growlers, and kegs to go.

BlackBearBeers

After enjoying our pizza and beer, it was time to head back home to Bangor. A night cap at Nocturnem marked the end of our first day in Maine, but there was lots more fun to be had during the weekend, as Saturday meant a hike into the Stratton Brook Hut for a Brews & Views pairing thanks to Huts & Trails and Baxter Brewing, and then onto The Forks for a visit to the brewpub and a rafting trip down the Kennebec River with Northern Outdoors.

Thanks to the great hospitality of Gene, Lisa, Abe, and everyone we encountered on the Growler Bus Tour!

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