Granite Brewery

All posts tagged Granite Brewery

With Fredericton Craft Beer Fest now almost a week in the past, we suspect some of the hangovers it generated are finally starting to ease, just in time to figure out where the next hangover might come from. We’re willing to bet that for many the phrase “St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday” might figure heavily into that calculation. Here’s the latest in beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events for the week that Spring, uh, springs (sprungs? sprongs? steens?) in 2018!

Quidi Vidi Brewery, located Northwest of downtown St John’s, has seen a lot of change in the past several months. With the end of their legal issues, they are back to focusing on what should be most important in a brewery: beer! With the explosion of small breweries on the island, the reach of well-made flavourful beers is expanding across the province. Recent releases like the Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian (both award winners at last weekend’s Down East Brewing Awards) signal a sea change in the company, ready to provide exciting beers beyond their traditional offerings. With a 3 BBL (450 litre) pilot brewing system to complement their 20 BBL (2400 litre) brewhouse, and serious renovations happening to accommodate their new taproom, they are looking to expand the width and breadth of their offerings, while not disappointing their loyal fans. With this refocusing, they are looking to hire an assistant brewer, with an attitude on the same wavelength as their Brewmaster Einar Holtet. Check out the job listing here, and be sure to drop them a note soon!

• We’re not sure how much of this will be left, given that it was released last Friday, but Annapolis Cider has a new entry in their Something Different series. Arctic Kiwi combines the juice of locally-harvested Arctic Kiwis with a dry cider made up of McIntosh, Cortland, and Hyslop Crab apples. Unfiltered and sparkling, the resulting cider is quite aromatic, with “bright, tangy notes of fresh kiwi, with a crisp finish”. Best to check with Annapolis to make sure they still have some left! If they do, $0.50 from each refill will go to support Acadia’s S.M.I.L.E. program.

• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom launched a new beer last week – their first sour – just in time to pour off-Island at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Citra SMaSH Kettle Sour is just what you’d expect it to be – a single-malt (2-row), single-hop (Citra, obviously!) beer that was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus. With a firm tartness that is balanced/complemented very well by the fruity and citrus characters from the Citra, it weighs in at 5.4% ABV. FCBF is over (boo!), but you can still find this one on tap at the brewery, and possible still at HopYard, in Charlottetown.

• Speaking of PEI, there’s puh-lenty going on over at Upstreet these days. Let’s start with new beer… first up is the release of the third beer in their Flipside series, Belgian Pale Ale. This one is definitely a different take on the classic Belgian style, with a light malt bill (including some Flaked Oats), and a dry-hop of Cashmere and Citra. Fermented with a Belgian Witbier yeast, this hazy beer has a light bready character, with notes of “citrus, melon, and coconut” in the aroma and flavour. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, it’s available now in bottles and on tap. Their other new beer is the first in yet ANOTHER series, Neon Friday, a bi-weekly (hopefully!) release that will focus on hops – more specifically, IPAs – in beers that will be released on tap only. Today will see the release of DDH IPA with Azacca (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs) which was, yes, double-dry-hopped with the wonderful Azacca, giving high levels of mango in this particular beer. Look for it on tap at the Upstreet taproom, and the Craft Beer Corner. That’s right, the latest Upstreet venture should be opening today in downtown Charlottetown on the corner of Great George St. and Kent St. This beer destination will feature 24 taps (12 Upstreet, 5 for other Island breweries, 4 sodas, 2 Heart Beet Organics Kombuchas, and one Receiver cold brew coffee), with all Upstreet and non-alcoholic options available for growler and crowler fills (the first on the Island?). Food will also be available… think munchies like calzones, pretzels, jerky, etc. that will be prepared at Upstreet and cooked to order onsite. Be sure to check it out over the weekend!

• The FCBF saw all kinds of new beers pouring and we did our best to give you a preview of each in our post last week so you’d know what to look for. Some breweries, however, didn’t release the entire list of what they’d have until after last week’s post, with some beers ending up as a partial surprise. Niche Brewing’s Bruges Afternoon fit one of these descriptions, but it also fits another, that of a hybrid Belgian style that can best be described as a Belgian-American Pale Ale. Starting with a rather Belgian grist of Pils, Aromatic and Wheat, almost all the hops were added after the boil, namely lots of Azacca and Mosaic. It was back to Belgium for a Trappist style yeast to promote fruity esters and then, post-fermentation, back across the pond for a large dry hop of more Azacca and Mosaic. Fruity esters, tropical hops, and a medium mouthfeel in a 5.2% ABV package. As always you’ll find it at Niche tap accounts where you might also bump into their Mines of Wallonia, their lovely light Grisette hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc, which should see its re-release early next week.

• While lots of breweries do up special beers for St. Patrick’s day, and many of them involve food colouring or wild and wonderful green-tinged ingredients, we suspect that a new beer from Horton Ridge has got to be the greenest green beer that ever greened. Excepting that it’s not green. In colour, anyway. Horton Ridge has made a beer using green malt directly off the malt floor, with no kilning step to remove all the water added to germinate the grain and with the protein-rich rootlets left intact. The only other ingredient in the grist was a few pound of their own malted oats. Trading traditional toasty and malty flavors for fruity ones, this beer has notes of peach and fresh cantaloupe with a red apple nose. More brown than beer made from kilned malt, it’s also quite hazy from the additional protein. Hopped with Saaz, Hallertau, Cascade and Perle, Green Malt Beer weighs in a quaffable 5.5% ABV and a gentle 22 IBU that lets the malt shine. Not green enough for you? Consider this: the barley was grown in the region (Winsloe, PEI), so transport was minimized. Not kilning means 90% of the energy normally put into the malting process was saved. And with so much water left in the grain, much less was needed for the mash! Served on-site (no additional transportation), the environmental footprint of this beer is likely to be amongst the smallest of any in Canada. Now is it green enough?! Launched yesterday at the brewery, it will be flowing freely tomorrow starting at noon for Paddy’s Day at the Malt House and also available in growlers (pre-filled, we believe). Keeping with the theme, you’ll also fine Granite Brewery Greenman Pale Ale along with offerings from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing. Traditional Irish music from Space Bog Paddy People round out the event starting at 8 PM (tickets for the evening are $5). And we’ve been told to keep our eyes out for more beers from Horton Ridge featuring green malt in the future!

• On the East side of Newfoundland Port Rexton have a new beer out that invokes both St. Patrick’s Day and meteorology. In Newfoundland, the name Sheila (or Sheelah) is associated with St. Patrick as his wife, and cagey Newfoundlanders caught still tippling on March 18th may claim to be continuing the celebration in the name of Sheelah. Meanwhile, weather-wise, it is extremely common for one last big snow to come through Newfoundland in the back half of March following Paddy’s Day and those storms have come to be known as “Sheila’s Brush.” Enter Port Rexton and their desire for something hoppy and crushable to welcome Spring. Featuring Magnum, Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria in the kettle and Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra in the dry hop, Sheila’s Crush still only tips the scales at 4.4% ABV, making it a very sessionable IPA. Look for this light and citrusy brew at the brewery’s retail location on Torbay Road just in time for Sheila’s Day.

• Are you a fan of big, boozy Barleywines? Well, we have great news for you, then! Boxing Rock‘s newest beer, Fisticuffs, is just that, and is available now! Weighing in at a monstrous 11% ABV, the beer was aged for four months in Chardonnay barrels, it exhibits “hints of stone fruits such as prunes, plums and figs, melded with a smooth, biscuit malt flavour and hint of vanilla”. With a fruity finish and “soft” carbonation, it’s smooth enough to be enjoyed now, and big enough to be cellared! Bottles are currently on sale at Boxing Rock’s retail show in Shelburne, with some also on their way to select NSLC stores (and perhaps to the private stores in HRM as well). And keep your eyes open next week for their Juniper Saison, April May Juniper, which was originally brewed as a collaboration with Lunn’s Mill last year. This batch was fermented with a different Saison yeast, and the beer will be a rotating seasonal in the NSLC, so you should be seeing bottles very soon. And mark your calendars for March 29th, when Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion & Bright from 5PM, pouring a wide variety of suds to make your long weekend brighter.

TrailWay is bringing back their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, today at the brewery. This latest release is a new iteration on the same vanilla/lactose-driven IPA – hopped with a “generous amount” of Idaho 7 and El Dorado, it was conditioned on both strawberry and mango puree. Expect plenty of fruitiness thanks to all additions, with a “massive, rich, creamy body” to help support the 6.5% ABV. Available today on tap and in cans at the brewery only.

• We have a couple of pieces from Fredericton’s Picaroons news this week. First up, with the warmer weather approaching (right??), the brewing team at Pics turn their thoughts to one of their most fun and popular seasonals, Melonhead, their Watermelon Ale. And every year, a new cat will get the opportunity to grab the spotlight on the front of the label. If you think your kitty is the next WhiskeySir Winston Snaggletooth, or Ruby, send their picture vial email before March 27th for a chance at fame, fortune, and unlimited catnip. The winning cat, and the beer, will be available June 1st. Picaroons is also looking to hire a Retail Beer Store Manager, who will oversee the operation of the various retail locations, taproom operations, and designing tour information. To learn more, check out Pics’ Facebook page, and apply for the position via email here.

• The Gahan Pub in Charlottetown is hosting their Fourth Home Brewer’s Challenge, inviting eager Aleanders to brew up their best recipe, for a chance to see their beer pouring at the Sydney Street Pub. There are no style requirements/guideline this year, so entrants are free to choose whichever they like. Fire an email to gahan@murphyrestaurants.ca before April 13th to register, and you have until May 28th to brew and deliver your beer to Gahan. The winner will brew their recipe with Gahan Brew Master Trent Hayes, for release in the summer.

• We have more on the latest release from Garrison we teased last week, plus a tease of another new one dropping this weekend. Debuting at the Craft Beer Cottage Party at the end of February, Wicked Good is a North East- / New England- style American Pale Ale (aka, full of hops and haze for dayz). Pale Ale Malt is kicked up with Oats and Wheat (for mouthfeel, head retention, and lending a bit of haze) in the grain bill, resulting in a 5.8% ABV. The star of the show is the hop bill, featuring loads of Idaho 7 and Mosaic early-, late-, and post-boil, plus some super-secret hops that Brewmaster Daniel Girard is keeping under wraps. Currently available on draft only, but will eventually be packaged, grab it at the brewery for samples and growlers, and around town at finer drinking establishments.

• And dropping today, just in time for tomorrow’s drinking holiday, is Oat and About Stout. This is a Strong Stout brewed with students of the NSCC Continuing Education course that visited the brewery in February. As the name would imply, there are oats in the grain bill to complement the 2-Row Pale malt, plus a blend of Crystal with Roasted Barley. At 6.0% ABV and 32 IBUs, it’s a solid alternative to the macro-stouts often touted at the time of year. Be sure to grab all of the details when you drop by today for a sample or growler fill (and tell them the ACBB sent ya!).

In addition to your regularly scheduled St Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow, keep an eye out for these events this weekend and in the near future:

• As part of their Saint Paddy’s Day fun, Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is hosting a series of tastings in their Stage Head Pub. At 2 PM, 3 PM, and 4 PM tomorrow, try 8 beers from Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Storm Brewing, and YellowBelly and take a tour of the brewery, all while learning about Split Rock’s own offerings, too. In addition to the guided tastings, there will be music in the afternoon and evening (4 – 5 PM, and again at 9 PM), and Irish Stew available 5 – 7 PM. And while you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy their recent addition Flanker, a rich and malty Smoked Porter, weighing in at 5.8% ABV. 30% Beachwood Smoked Malt was used in the grist, but the smoke level is not overpowering. If you’re unable to visit the Stage Head, it may be available in town after the weekend. Saturday will see the release of a pair of new beers as well, with a 3.8% ABV Dry Irish Stout being served on Nitro, and a brand new American Pale Ale with loads of Cascade and Columbus making its debut.

• Feeling hungry and inflexible? Why not come to the King Street Ale House this Sunday, March 18th, for Lazy Yoga n’ Burgers? Starting at 1 PM, there will be 45 minutes of “lighthearted, gentle” yoga (BYO mat), before launching into the main event… food and beer! Over the next two hours, ticketholders will have four gourmet sliders, each paired with a different beer (5 oz) from Niche Brewing. Tickets can be purchased through the event link above; the price is $45.49 for the full experience, but if you just want to go for the burgers and beer, you can purchase a separate ticket for $27.39. Check out the link for more details, and a full beer list.

Big Tide Brewing is hosting a Brunch & Brew event on March 25th starting at 10 AM. Your ticket includes food and coffee/tea, a tour of the brewery with plenty of knowledge and insight into the brewing process, plus the opportunity to take part in a brewday with Head Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos and the folks of Uncorked Tours. Advance tickets are suggested, and are available here.

• The latest edition of the St John’s BrewFest is set to happen April 21, at Club One at 33A Gower Street. Featuring 80+ beer not normally available in the province, the hosts are pushing hard to increase the haze-level on the island by inviting Brooklyn, NYC’s, Other Half Brewing, as well as Half Hours on Earth (Seaforth, ON), Blindman Brewery (Lacombe, AB), Left Field Brewery (Toronto, ON), and Hammond River (Quispamsis, NB). Your $30 ticket gets you in the door, your glass for the evening (and to take home) and your first few pours, after which you can buy tokens to fill her up once again. Tickets are just about sold out, so if you were waiting for a sign to buy, this is it! Check out the beer line-up (they’re adding more to the list daily), and grab your tickets, here.

• We’ve been busy trying to keep up with Escarpment Lab‘s social media over the past week, as co-founder Angus Ross returned to his Nova Scotian roots, brewing up a half-dozen collaboration beers across the province. From Shelburne to Nyanza and points in between, Ross has set a wide variety of yeast-driven beers in motion this week (joining some brewed last summer!), which will culminate in a tap takeover during the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24-26. We’ll share more details on the takeover (and the dozens of other events peripheral to the Conference) closer to the date, but rest assured you’ll want to take a few days off of work to stay focused on the mighty task at hand!

Hell Bay Brewing and Liverpool Adventure Outfitters are hosting a Father’s Day Canoe & Brew event June 16th. It kicks off at 4PM when attendees will go for a paddle along the Mersey River, and then enjoying a beer tasting at Hell Bay. Paddlers of all ages are invited, though the tasting restricted to those of age. The LAO is planning more of these outings, so be sure to sign up to their inaugural event to show that there’s plenty of interest!

Just a few more notes to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has opened their taproom this week, allowing visitors to enjoy pints and flights of their Headliner IPA, Nunmoar Black, or one of their 4 other beer pouring currently. They are also adding in a healthy dose of guest beers to round out the dozen taps, which started with Garrison’s Pucker Up!, Uncle Leo’s Smoked Porter, and Sober Island Chanterelle Mild. Drop by today 12-8PM, and tomorrow 11-5PM for your draft and growler needs!

Good Robot will be re-releasing El Espinazo del Diablo, their International Pale Lager conditioned on lime zest and jalapeño, next week. With a 2-Row and Vienna malt base, flaked corn is also used in the mash for that iconic flavour contribution. At 5.7% ABV, the beer was solely hopped with Tettnang to a light 14 IBU, letting the fruit and chili dominate the flavours.

Propeller Brewing has brought back their Irish Red this week, just in time for Saturday’s celebration. Available in the 650 mL bomber size, as well as on tap for growler fills and pints at their Gottingen St taproom, it will be available at bars and restaurants around the city shortly.

Unfiltered has brought back their “New England-influenced” American IPA, Riddle of Steel, for release today at Charm School for pints and growler fills (and likely on tap at several Unfiltered accounts, soon).

And before we sign off today, we wanted to once again say thanks to Lloyd Chambers and the whole Fredericton Craft Beer Festival crew of volunteers for a great time last weekend. From the PEI Tap Takeover at the James Joyce, to the Beer School run by Mike Doucette & Co of CCNB Grand Falls, to the breweries who were kind enough to donate goodies for our Trivia Night (which we will re-schedule soon, stupid power outage!), there were plenty of great events surrounding the Friday Night Newbie Session and Saturday Gala Sessions of the Festival. Congratulations to all of the winners in the Down East Brewing Awards, but extra-special Grats to Garrison for winning Brewery of the Year, and 2 Crows for Beer of the Year, for their I Love You Saison with Rosehips. Meeting with the local brewers, bar owners, retailers, hop growers, and beer fans leaves us with no doubt that the Atlantic Canadian Beer Scene is stronger than ever, and the future is looking quite bright!

Fans of great beer in Halifax are no stranger to the name Stillwell. Since 2013 the bar has been pouring the best in local beer, bringing in tasty treats from other parts of the country and beyond, pioneering the modern beer garden concept in HRM, and putting on events that have spoiled our little city for world-class beer. Throughout that time they’ve teamed with local breweries for collaborations and contract brews under the Stillwell brand, including several mixed fermentation beers that have showcased the tastes and interests of Christopher Reynolds, one of the three primary owners of the bar. Back in spring of this year word got out that Chris had decided to take another leap of faith and start Stillwell Brewing in the spirit of some of his own personal favorite breweries. Although we’ve already seen the release of Stilly Pils, a hoppy, rugged and eminently drinkable brew that was a highlight of the late summer season at the Stillwell Beer Garden, we are quickly approaching the first bottle releases from the brewery, the culmination of many months of fermenting, aging and blending, bottling, and aging some more. We caught up with Chris to find out more about who and what his inspirations are, why he (finally!) decided to start the brewery, and what we’re likely to see from Stillwell Brewing in the coming weeks, months and years.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is the team involved in your brewery?
The brewery is mainly a project of mine (Chris), borne out of a desire to create the sorts of beers that I a) really love to drink and b) aren’t available locally. Namely, mixed-fermented, bone-dry beers. De La Senne, Oxbow, Jester King, etc. I am the main brewer, recipe maker, yeast steward and squeegee operator.

I made the first 10 batches with brewer Kyle Jeppesen, but unfortunately he’s had to take a job abroad, kind of an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was very bummed leave SBC, but given the experimental nature of the brewery, it was not (and may never be) in a position to pay anyone a salary, myself included.

Nikki Lockington, my lady, is also a daily contributor to the brewery. She helps me to plan beers and label designs, and takes care of a lot of logistics in terms of materials, and (eventually) sales.

I would say that the staff at Stillwell are officially and unofficially involved, too. Sam Fraser made our logo (from her tap wall handwriting, a ubiquitous feature of the bar), and Graeme, our chef, made a joke suggestion for a beer, which will be one of our first releases (“Sport”). Everyone kind of weighs in and offers support and feedback.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Being lucky enough to drink great stuff around people passionate about great stuff. Bar Volo was a real influence, as were a lot of the great beer books out there (Beaumont, Pashley, etc.), and finally and most importantly, traveling. We opened Stillwell in 2013 and beer has been my full time life ever since.

What made you decide to take the step of opening a brewery?
I’ve always enjoyed making beer. Homebrewing, as you would probably agree, is a wonderfully meditative process, and is something that makes me use a different part of my brain (and body – it is a workout). Personally, I find I’m happiest when I’m making or creating something, and unfortunately making bars and restaurants all the time, though I’ve certainly tried, is incredibly difficult and risky. Brewing a beer, as risky and big a process as it is at the commercial level, allows me a creative outlet. For several years, brewing my beers in other people’s breweries fully scratched the itch, but eventually I found that the beers suffered a little by not being fully in my control (and, mostly, on my timeline). I always said I would never open a brewery, but listening to an episode of The Sour Hour featuring Troy Casey of Colorado’s Casey Brewing and Blending, I realized that his set-up is actually attainable and manageable by me. Basically, a lot of oak, bottles and time, and some years of experience with yeasts and recipes, and it finally clicked that I could – and should – take the leap. In business and in life, if something is a foregone conclusion, like I just know it will work, I have to listen to that and take the leap.

What is the ethos of the brewery?
I’m looking for the brewery to be just like the bar, i.e., a “workshop” that will hopefully sustain us long enough to realize some goals in beer. I want to produce beers of character that are super drinkable, but immediately special. I’m very inspired by the family-sized breweries of Belgium, places like Cantillon and De Dolle. I love that they’re run by a small handful of family and friends, they make what they like, sell what they can, and aren’t bound by a group of stakeholders, production schedules and crazy equipment loans looming over their heads. When I hear someone is opening a brewery, I want to know that they have something to say with their beer, and I believe that I and we do, in this case.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
I would say that we’re technically “open” as of April, i.e., we’ve been brewing in our own space since then. We released Stilly Pils in August, which went great, but I was only able to get around to brewing a new batch in mid-September, which, of course, won’t be ready for months. On November 18 and 19 we will finally have a bottle release at the bar and brewery, and once we have bottles out, with the promise of more to follow, I think it’ll feel a little more real.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Stilly Pils is something we want to make over the long haul, with tweaks along the way. A house beer for our bar and beergarden, we’ll try to have it on as much as possible. It’s my quest to make the ultimate pilsner, which, of course, can never end.

Most of the rest of our beers are and will be blends of barrel aged and/or barrel fermented farmhouse ales. We have bitter things, sours things, funky things, pale things, darker things, complex things, clean things, etc., in various stages of fermentation, and from those we’re blending and bottling.

The very first bottle release will be Stillwell Four, this year’s beer to celebrate the birthday of the bar. It’s a tart and effervescent farmhouse ale aged in a single sauvignon blanc barrel. We’ll be pouring it at our 4th Birthday Party before selling bottles the next day from our warehouse location.

Another of the earlier releases is called Sport, a tart barrel fermented farmhouse ale with sea salt and lime zest added. It’s margarita, gatorade and sour beer all in one, with notes of coconut and vanilla, and is bright as all get-out, with a big, rocky, long lasting head. It’s awesome and almost ready.

Possibly released on the same day will be Gosh, a tart red wine barrel aged farmhouse ale heavily dry-hopped with Mosaic. There’s a lovely fruit-meets-dankness of the hops on the nose, with tons of fruit character also showing through from the fermentation. The beer is very sparkly and, near the finish, the grapey, red wine character starts to show itself, and really comes out in the tannic, grippy finish. You immediately want another sip.

In mid-September I brewed a beer which, other than Stilly Pils, might be our first beer that won’t see oak. It’s my quest for Taras Boulba, or even young Stillwell 3. Hops and restrained fermentation character. It may see kegs, but I’m not sure yet.

Everything is a one-off until it’s not!

What are your plans for distribution (aka, how can people try your beer)?
A lot of this will be decided by the reception. If the beers are good and people buy them, then we’ll have a better idea of how this could look. I’ll say we’re making pretty niche beers and we’re not planning to get into the licensee keg game at all. We will likely have to export to sell all of our bottles, and we’ve been speaking to some agents in provinces abroad. We’re predominantly packaging bottles and most kegs will be just for Stillwell and the Beergarden, locally. We will never do growlers. Bottles will be available via our bottle release days (i.e., out of the brewery on certain afternoons), and very possibly available to-go from Stillwell (working on that licensing). We might look at figuring out a separate-from-Stillwell tasting room in a year or three, if that ever makes sense. I have some ideas!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t, but there are some restaurants in the city who I think may carry our beers, mostly pals. We won’t really be on tap anywhere.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries or people along the way?
100%. I owe a debt to North Brewing for hosting a whole slew of contract and collab brews, to Boxing Rock, Big Spruce & Bar Volo for making collabs with me in the early days, and to Propeller for renting me the space on Gottingen to work. Greg Nash from Unfiltered lent me some stuff yesterday. It’s true that we have a very collaborative and friendly industry. In terms of knowledge, there have been many brewers, especially in the U.S. and Belgium who’ve been willing to have a chat and throw me an opinion or two.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I’d love to see us have a solid reputation for great farmhouse-style beer. We kind of have that already, so I guess I just hope we don’t frig that up! I’d like to create a job or two. I’d like to attend some cool festivals. I’d like to be happy drinking our beer!

What type of system are you brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We’re brewing on a very old, very manual 15bbl, two-vessel steam-powered brewhouse. The same kit Propeller brews their one-offs on. We have no expectation of yearly or monthly output.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Sure – I first started with kits in Toronto in 2010ish, then moved to Halifax and started really playing with mixed fermentations. I won something in a Brewnosers home brew competition, which was a real honour. I pretty quickly moved from homebrewing to collab brewing commercially — having a bar to buy the beer is pretty helpful when convincing a brewery to do a collab, and luckily they were all great. Definitely learned lots doing this — anytime one co-brews either at home or in a brewery one learns something, of course.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery whose beers you particularly enjoy drinking?
I like dry beers for the most part. I like hoppy beers and bitter beers. I like drinkability in beer most. Give me De La Senne Taras Boulba, Birrificio Italiano Tipopils and Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet and I’m a very happy man. Granite Ringwood. A good cask bitter or mild. A vintage barleywine. A geuze – any will do. Saisons from the classics to Quebec.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Yeast first, then hops. I like Noble hops primarily, or their hybrid descendants. Saison & Pils.

How can folks keep up to date with the latest news and brews?
@stillwellbrewing on Instagram

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our many questions and hopefully give the uninitiated a good idea of what he’s got planned for Stillwell Brewing. If you like the sounds of what you read here, you should probably mark your calendar for later this month when the first bottled beer, Stillwell Four, becomes available, first for pours during the Stillwell (bar, not brewery) fourth birthday party on the 18th, and then the next day for retail sales at their warehouse location on Gottingen Street (entrance at the rear parking lot of Propeller Brewing). We’re looking forward to sampling not only this release, but the releases of the others Chris mentioned above, as well as those he hasn’t brewed or even dreamt up yet.

Happy Friday, and the beginning of a long weekend (maybe… depending on your job I guess?)! Unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking too hot for celebrating Canada’s big 150, but don’t let that stop you from getting out and (responsibly) enjoying some of the fine local beer in your area. And speaking of fine, local beer, we’ve got some news to report on just that very subject…

• Bathurst, New Brunswick will soon be the home to its first craft brewery, as Four Rivers Brewing Co. is planning to open their doors this December. Family-owned and operated, the four owners are currently renovating an entire building to house the 15 bbl (1750 L) DME brewhouse, which will also be home to a taproom. Likely launching with a Pale Ale and Amber Ale, with plenty of seasonals and one-offs to follow, beers will available in growlers, cans, and on tap at licensees across the province. We’ll keep you up to date with Four Rivers’ progress, and will be posting a Q&A with the owners in the future!

• The kind folks at Tatamagouche Brewing don’t want us beer lovers going thirsty, so they’re releasing plenty of brews this week! Let’s get right to it by starting with the brand new ones. First up is Main St. Mayhem, a 6.3% ABV, 65 IBU American IPA brewed with Pale and Pilsner malt, and a bit of Wheat and Rye malt for some extra character. Hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Huell Melon and Mosaic, it was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast to boost that juicy character that we all love even more. Growlers are now available at the brewery, and kegs are in the wild… a limited number of cans will be released next week.

• Moving right along, Tata Brew’s latest kettle-soured Berliner Weisse is next, and they’re calling it Guava Heist. With a base of Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a touch of rolled oats, this beer was aged on organic guava purée. At a super-sessionable 3.6% ABV and 4 IBUs, look for this one to be released next week in kegs, growlers and cans. Curious what the base beer itself tastes like? Well, luckily the brewery racked off some of the “lemony, bright citrus” base beer so visitors to the tasting room could do a side-by-side with the fruited version; a few kegs have also been released to select accounts. Be sure to seek out both!

• Finally, a couple of Tata favourites are returning as well. Their RR#2, a 4.9% ABV, 18 IBU light Lager brewed with Malagash-grown hops, is out now in kegs, growlers, and cans. This time around, the beer was hopped entirely with Mt. Hood – small amounts in the kettle, but with very large hopback additions, giving “very earthy, grassy, and floral” aromas. And Sunrise Trail ISA, one of the brewery’s Session IPAs, is also back for summer, with a slightly-tweaked recipe. The grist still features 2-row and Pilsner malt, but the Wheat has been replaced with Spelt. Hopped with lots of Azacca, as well as some Falconer’s Flight, Hallertau Blanc, and Simcoe (to 30 IBUs),  this one will be around all summer at the brewery, bars, and private stores, with cans even hitting the NSLC by August!

• The latest cider in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider is now available, for a limited time only. Strawberry Rhubarb is a delicious-sounding blend of the cidery’s cool-fermented dry apple cider with the juice of local, hand-picked ruby red rhubarb and garden strawberries, along with a bit of fresh-pressed apple juice to finish it all off. The final 6.3% ABV, pale-red, cider exhibits “bright notes of juicy strawberries paired with the bold zing of tart rhubarb”, with a crisp and refreshing finish that’s perfect for summer. The Blue Route will be the recipient of the 50 cents-from-every-fill donation for this release. Drop by the cidery today to get your fill!

Garrison Brewing released another sour beer yesterday at the brewery. Sour to the People is a “Strong Sour Ale”, brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, no hops were added at any point in the brewing process. While the majority of kettle-soured beers tend to be in the sub-5% ABV range, this new brew comes in at 6.5% ABV, and has aromas of green apple, peach, and sweet malt, and more green apple and lemon on the palate. Drop by the brewery for a sample and growler fill, and look for this one to pop up on tap around the HRM.

Spindrift has a new beer they just launched yesterday at the brewery, Blood Orange India Pale Lager. With a grist of Heidelburg (a very-light coloured malt), Light Munich, and Vienna, the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with El Dorado, Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe. Aged on 900 lbs of pure blood oranges, it was then dry-hopped with more Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria… needless to say, we can expect lots of tropical and stone fruit notes to complement the citrus and red berry characteristics of the blood orange. This 5.5% ABV Lager is available now in cans and growlers at the brewery, with the cans likely trickling into private stores over the weekend.

• It’s Friday, which (usually) means that 2 Crows is releasing another small batch brew at the brewery! Crystal Rhythm is a “Brett Session Ale”, a 3.9% ABV, 35 IBUs beer fermented with Amalgamation, an increasingly-popular pitch made up of six different strains of Brettanomyces. With late boil additions of Azacca, Citra and Galaxy, the beer was dry-hopped with Simcoe and a touch of Calypso, and conditioned on lime zest. Described as “dry, crushable, citrusy, and a bit funky”, if all that isn’t enough to make you non-Haligonians want to move to Halifax, here’s something else – like the other small batch releases, it’s only available for pours at the taproom. Dang.

• Though we might be accused of stretching the credulity of “beer-related” on this one, hear us out. If you’ll recall a few months ago, we told you about the magnificent Calvados Foeders brought in by 2 Crows for some barrel-aging projects. As it turns out, beer isn’t the only thing that can benefit from some time in the barrel: a recent trend in coffee is to age green beans in a spirit barrel before roasting them. Dartmouth coffee and cold brew purveyors Low Point Coffee Co. (formerly Bottleneck Coffee) jumped on that train and hit up 2 Crows’ brewmaster Jeremy Taylor for some foeder time for a bean lot from Burundi. Already sporting notes of caramel, candy apple, lemongrass and a faintly floral aroma, it’s now been kissed by decades worth of Calvados which impart toffee and black cherry undertones and some noticeable boozy notes, especially on the nose. The gang at Low Point has brewed a small amount that you can look for to pop up around the city via keg accounts and the remaining roasted beans will be available by the bag. They recommend a one-cup method, be it pour over, siphon, aeropress, cold brew or espresso and would be happy to provide advice to you if you’re lucky enough to lay hands on some of these beans. And here’s where we come back around to beer: one of the popular uses for barrel-aged coffee beans is for flavouring big dark beers known for coffee flavours, such as Russian Imperial Stouts. So if you’re a home brewer with a RIS in the works, maybe consider some barrel-aged beans and making it an extra special batch. Meanwhile everyone else can look forward to the inevitability of a production brewery taking advantage of this new resource in town.

• Newly-opened Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth has already released a new beer, Rusty Truck Red Ale. With lots of malt flavour thanks to a grist of five different types of grain, the 5% ABV beer was generously hopped with Cascade to give a firm bitterness in the finish, as well as some citrus. Available at the brewery for growler fills on Thursdays from 4-8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm, it’s also on tap at Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe. And if you’d like to win a Heritage gift card, share your experience with Heritage beer on their Facebook site and tag it with #HeritageMoment; the contest closes at 11:59 pm on July 1st.

• For those of you who miss having access to certain Red Rover one-offs, we have some good news to share: the cidery has announced a new Summer Series, where they’ll be releasing a different seasonal or Reserve blend every second Friday over the summer. First up this week is VeRRy PeRRy, a bottle-conditioned 7% ABV pear blend, which was packaged last year. All of the Summer Series releases will be exclusive to the Cider House in downtown Fredericton, and the Friday Farmers Markets.

• The menagerie on Halifax’s Robie Street known as Good Robot Brewing has a few things on the go this week, starting with yesterday’s return of their summer favourite Leave Me Blue, an easy-drinker in the pre-prohibition Kentucky Common style that’s much like a cream ale, but with a darker colour and more prominent sweetness. Meanwhile their Friday Cask in the Sun (possibly in-aptly named for today) will be their Goseface Killah with Watermelon and Arctic Kiwis. “But arctic kiwis haven’t come into season yet!” you say, to which the wise folks from GR respond, “yes, but we froze some last year so you could have some tasty beer in June!” Look for it to be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon. The Red IPA originally brewed for International Women’s Day back in March, Red Moon Landing, is returning next week with a minor recipe tweak to the grist (Pilsner replaces Vienna alongside Red X and flaked barley) but the same combo of GR’s proprietary bittering blend, Ekuanot and Perle. And finally, this week’s Beta Brewsday falls on a Wednesday due to GR being closed for a “Staff Appreciation Day” (read: digging another trench) on Tuesday. This week’s offering is called Re:Drella and it’s a 6.5% ABV and 28 IBU SMaSH of Red X malt and the super-versatile Australian hop variety Ella. As always, this Beta Batch was brewed by Kelly Costello, this time joined by Dan Hendricken.

• Deep in the downtown core of Halifax, Salter Street’s Tidehouse Brewing is welcoming back a beer that helped them make a splash when they launched in December of 2016. Enigmatic, an ‘India Saison’ marries the yeast character of a classic Saison to the hop-forward flavour and aroma of a modern IPA. This super hoppy batch was hopped with an alliterative assault of Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo for a heavy grapefruit presence with lime zest and a light floral character. Get it at the brewery while it lasts! Meanwhile, the 3 principals behind the Tidehouse brand are going to be taking a well-deserved vacation from the 7th to the 11th of July. Does that mean you’ll be without tasty beer? Hell no! Once again, local home brewers Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell have stepped up to production batches of some of their beers on the Tidehouse system and will be hosting a tap takeover while Peter, Shean and Shannon get to remember what it’s like to breathe for a few days. Lil’Wheatey is bringing a Northeastern/New England IPA featuring big late additions and a double dry hop of Citra and Amarillo  as well as a kettle sour flavoured with raspberries he’s calling The Platinum Tart. We trust that he came up with that name all on his own ಠ_ಠ just like the Lactobacillus culture he grew to do the souring. Nick, on the other hand, will be bringing Smooth Criminal, a crisp Kölsch based on Pilsner and wheat malt that features Tettnanger hops, along with a Saison he’s dubbed Lanky Bastard that was fermented on a Saison yeast blend and hit hard with Mosaic hops. The alternative experience starts next Friday; and fear not, if your hankering is for Tidehouse standbys they’ll be available alongside the guest taps.

Get your butt out the door this long weekend:

• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery is officially launching with a soft opening today! Starting at noon, their first two beers will be pouring and available in growlers at the brewery’s location on 82 Marr Rd. The first beer is Chalice, a tribute to the strong blonde ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium. Pale, dry and refreshing, it’s a 6.5% ABV, 25 IBU ale that has a “classic spicy character” thanks to fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain and a small addition of Grains of Paradise. Secondly, they’ll be pouring Bantam, a 5.5% ABV and 40 IBU American Pale Ale named for the small but mighty chickens known for their attitude. This one is dry-hopped with classic American hops Cascade and Centennial as well as relative newcomer Citra for an unmistakable citrus hop presence to balance the specialty malts in the grist. So if you’re in Rothesay this afternoon, give a thought to stopping by and welcoming the latest addition to New Brunswick’s family of independent breweries and trying some beer! And if you happen by around 6 PM, you’ll find Josh from PEI hop supplier Darlings Island Farm holding forth on the subject of hops.

• With Canada Day this Saturday, a note about the provincial stores: the NSLC is closed, as is the NLC, ANBL stores are open 10-6, and the PEILC is open. In Nova Scotia the private stores are all open, but be sure to check that your local brewery is open. Breton Brewing is holding a Canada Day Party from 1-11pm complete with live music and beer specials, Quidi Vidi is open from noon for Pints in the Gut and selling the last few cases of the Central City Across the Nation Collaboration packs.

Tomorrow, July 1stBattery Park is holding a Gold Medal Patio Takeover to celebrate the four Nova Scotia gold-medal winners at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards. Pouring will be Gus’ 65m and Midnight (Glenora Barrel-Aged BSDA) from North Brewing, Stayin’ Alive from Boxing Rock, and Vohs Weizenbier from Uncle Leo’s. The taps open (figuratively and literally) at 11:30 am and will keep pouring (not literally, hopefully) through the weekend, while supplies last).

• The Moncton Craft Brewers Collective is hosting the Canada Day Craft Beer Garden tomorrow, July 1st. Located at Waterfront Park with the other Canada Day celebrations, the tent will be set up in front of the courthouse. Over a dozen beers from the area’s finest craft breweries will be pouring, so pop on down to have a few (or more) and enjoy the fireworks in the evening, along with plenty of games and food.

Stillwell is showing their love for Canada Day at both HQ on Barrington, and the Beer Garden on Spring Garden with summer-themed taps and bottles from around the Maritimes, plus some goodies from Toronto heavy hitters Bellwoods and Burdock (pretty much the only spot outside of the brewery to feature Motley Cru, for instance). Check out the at-opening taplist here.

• Join the crew from The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish in celebrating their Fifth Anniversary on July 4th. Kick it off 4-6pm with Happy Hour and oysters ($2/shuck), two (2!!) cakes being cut and served at 5:30 and 9:00, with food and beer pairings until 10:00, and live music from OQO. It’s sure to be a heck of a time, with plenty of SUDS Club members and neighbours dropping by to wish them well.

• Drop by Roof Hound Brewing just outside of Digby on Saturday July 8th 22nd, for a screening of “Sociable!“, the ode to Nova Scotia beer and those who make it. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be there to introduce the film and answer any questions about their wild trip around the province filming, and the NS Craft Beer scene.

Hammond River‘s major expansion from a 1 bbl, in-house brewery to a 15 bbl (1750 L) brewery with attached taproom is almost complete. The brewery will finally open its doors on Monday, July 10th., with the beer bar and attached patio accessible for your HR fix! All four of the first beers brewed on the new system (Gammie, Hopflash IPA, Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Blueberry Ale… and maybe even Paisley Park and the Galaxy version of The Vegas SMaSH IPA) will be pouring for pints and growler fills. In fact, you can drop by The Barrel’s Head now for a preview, as they are featuring the Gammie California Steam Ale on tap now.

Just a few more things this morning…

– Halifax’s Unfiltered has brought back another one of their classic DIPA SMaSH beer, this time the Mosaic-laden RSMA. Don’t remember what RSMA stands for? Don’t worry, a growler of this 7.5% ABV tropical fruit bomb will help you forget that you couldn’t remember. Available for growler fills at the brewery and pints and fills next door at the pub starting at noon today.
– The two local breweries taking part in the “Fathers of Fermentation” project, in celebration of the Peter Austin Brew Systems across the country. Sir John Eh-le is being released at both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewery tomorrow. Check out our previous Wrap-Up for more information on the beer and project.
– Charlottetown’s Gahan House Pub has released a new concoction lately, Daily Dose Hard Root Beer. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, it is available exclusively at the pub for samples, pints, and growler fills.