Great Canadian Beer Expo

All posts tagged Great Canadian Beer Expo

Happy Friday everyone! After a couple of slow weeks due to the holidays, we are back and bigger than ever! Lots of news this week, so let’s get right to it.

• Last month, we mentioned the Great Canadian Beer Expo, a travelling beer festival, would be coming to six different cities in the Maritimes, starting in late January. While we had never been able to get solid details or a beer list from them (which we had contacted them for several times, in hopes of doing a full write-up), we thought it was worthy of a quick mention on the blog. In the past week, thanks to some detective work begun by members of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club, it has been determined that the event might have been nothing more than a work of fiction dreamed up by a single man, Jonathan Brett. He had previously organized “Mud Immortal“, a fall event in St. John’s, Newfoundland, that came under fire for poor management, dangerous conditions, and not following through on promises of charitable donations. In the last couple of days, the events have “officially” been canceled, and people who have purchased tickets should have received information on how to get refunds.

• On a happier note beer-festival-wise, we are looking forward to two legitimate and ANBL-approved events taking place this spring: the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival being held at the Fredericton Convention Centre March 8th, and the Saint John Beer Fest at Market Square April 5th. Tickets for both are still available, we hope to see you there!

• As the initial launch of Red Rover Brewing Company gets closer, co-owner/brewmaster Adam Clawson has confirmed that the plan is to have up to four varieties of cider available when the Ciderhouse opens towards the end of the month. With a spring, summer, and fall cider pouring, along with a “surprise” variety, there should be plenty to satisfy the palates of cider fans in New Brunswick! Look for their ciders to be available for growler fills at their Ciderhouse location, as well as on tap at various bars/restaurants in the area. Check back here for more details, and keep an eye on the Ciderhouse Twitter page for the latest availability.

• It’s been a busy first two weeks at the Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset, NS. The first customers arrived mid-morning December 31st, eager to pick up the American Pale Ale from Atlantic Canada’s newest brewery, and the visitors haven’t slowed down since (even during the nasty weather last week). As promised, the Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout is being released Saturday, on sale in bottles and growlers at the brewery. This robust beer features a boatload of roast coffee and chocolate flavour and aroma, with a nice hop bitterness to balance it out. It weighs in at 9%ABV and 110 IBUs (calc). Look for it on sale in HRM soon. BAB-branded glasses join t-shirts and decals in the shop. At 20oz, they are a proper glass for a proper beer! Drop by today, the brewery hours are 3-8pm Mon-Thurs and 1-10pm Fri-Sun.

The Lunar Rogue Pub in Fredericton will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. For this special event, Picaroons is brewing up a series of seasonal beers that will be available exclusively on tap at the Rogue; the first beer should be pouring sometime during the week of January 27th. The style of beer has not yet been announced; however, they ARE looking for some help in naming it. If you think you’ve got a catchy title for this new beer, post it to the Facebook page of either Picaroons or the Lunar Rogue – if your entry is selected, you’ll win a Picaroons Draught & Dinner Party for six, valued at $300. Enter as many names as you like; deadline for submissions is next Friday, January 17th. We’ll keep you updated on details of the new beers as they become available!

• The Pump House Brewery just tapped another new beer at their brewpub location in Moncton. Pompier à Vos Garde is in the style of Biere de Garde (meaning “beer which has been kept or lagered”), a farmhouse ale originating in Northern France. The style ranges from blond to brown; Pump House’s take is of the brown variety, and is brewed with 2-row, Crystal, and Carafa dark malts. Described by the brewery as being lightly hopped with “three distinctive hops”, the beer should have some fruity esters noticeable in the taste, and be quite smooth despite the 7% ABV. Get down to the brewpub before it’s gone!

• Tomorrow, Jan. 11th, is Sir John A. MacDonald’s birthday, and the PEI Brewing Co. is celebrating with two separate events. First, there will be free live entertainment and birthday treats available at the brewery from 1 pm – 5 pm, along with brick-oven pizza and beer. At 8 pm that evening, the doors will open for more music, food and beer, with live bands starting to play at 9 pm. Cover for the evening session will be $10 per person. While there are no one-off beers planned for the event, all of the regular PEI Brewing Co./Gahan beers will be pouring, with special emphasis, of course, on their Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale.

• Speaking of the PEI Brewing Co., they’re partnering with PEI 2014 to help celebrate the province’s 150th anniversary, or sesquicentennial (and yes, I did have to re-check the spelling on that word). The brewery is releasing a Fathers Commemorative Beer Pack, a 4-pack of some of their regular-release beers that have been re-branded and re-labelled for this packaging. Included will be Blueberry Ale (re-named 1864), Coles Cream Ale (Premier George Coles; note that this beer was previously only available on tap), Iron Bridge Brown Ale (Colonel John Hamilton Gray), and, of course, Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale. Four-packs should be available at PEILCC stores and at the brewery today; look for them in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Ontario in the coming weeks.

• Today, the Stubborn Goat Gastropub is starting up a new series, Cask Fridays. They want to showcase this special way of  serving beer that is especially friendly to one-off or unique twists on regular beer (sometimes with added fruit, whisky, oak, or other interesting ingredients). Today’s first event will feature Garrison Brewing, with cask-conditioned versions of their Winter Warmer and Spruce Beer, tapped at 4pm. The Goat has also put out the call for other breweries interested in taking part in the first of many events; contact Geir to be a part of it!

• Speaking of Garrison, were you considering entering the 2014 Garrison Home Brew Off? If you need a little push, Steven Haynes from Noble Grape will be at Garrison from 10am-2pm on Saturday the 18th doing an all-grain brewing demonstration of a Weizen (this year’s competition style). It’s the perfect opportunity for home brewers of all experience levels to drop by and learn about brewing this style of beer. Entries are due Feb 20th, plenty of time to brew, but don’t wait much longer! Entries can be dropped off at Garrison or your local Noble Grape.

• Also in Garrison news, they are partnering with a University of King’s College professor to bring the students of his Brewing Science course some special experiences this term. They will be hosting lectures (at the brewery) and leading some short seminars (Cask Ale and sensory workshops), ensuring a new generation of good beer lovers. Where were these courses when we were in school!? I wonder if I could audit it?

• Next Saturday, January 18, Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting a tap/cask takeover featuring Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing. It is a closed event, from 12-5pm, requiring a ticket (available at the bar or by email), after which the bar is open to all. Your $10 will get you first crack at some great beer and food, a special glass to take home, and a drink ticket. From Boxing Rock: Many Hands Pale Ale (their collaboration with Halifax’s Bridge Brewing, and the last keg around!), Hunky Dory Pale Ale, Temptation Red Ale, Crafty Jack English Brown, U-889 RIS with Vanilla beans, Vicar’s Cross IIPA. From Big Spruce: Tim’s Dirty (recent homebrew competition-winning IPA), Blackout Conundrum (brewed over two days when the power went out at the brewery), Organic Conspiracy IIPA (collaboration with Crannóg), Regatta Red (first time on tap at Stillwell), Bitter Get’r India Black IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout. And the brewers from both breweries will be there to talk shop and answer all of your questions.

• Monday, January 13th, Halifax brewpub Rogues Roost is hosting their second Brewmaster Monday event. For $15, attendees will receive a sample of all six beers currently on tap (including their Blueberry Wheat, just released this week), and have a chance to chat with brewer Jake Saunders about the process of brewing, from recipe development to brewday to serving. These events serve as a great way to introduce folks to the art and great taste of craft beer. Contact Husky Communications on Twitter or Facebook to grab tickets. This edition of the event is almost sold out, but have no fear, they will be doing it again on January 27th!

• And if you’re looking for even MORE beer events in Halifax, the Rockbottom Brewpub is planning a series of monthly beer dinners, with the first being held on January 27th. Starting at 6 pm, the meal will consists of three courses, paired with three separate Nash beers. Tickets are $30; the menu and beer list will be posted on Rockbottom’s Facebook and Twitter pages soon.

Happy Monday! We hope that everyone stayed safe and warm over the weekend. With the first real snow falling in the Atlantic Provinces, our thoughts turn to Christmas and other reasons to get together with friends and family. Why not get the beer-lover on your list something special from your local brewery? We’ve compiled a list of fun and interesting brewery- and beer-related gifts, to make any Cerevisaphile happy on December 25th (or any other day of the year!).

Gift Baskets


Several breweries in our region are doing up gift baskets, including Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS. They have several basket examples in the $30-$80 range, but are also happy to tailor them to your exact specifications. Baskets can include 1.89L growlers, 1L growlers, trucker hats, toques, glassware, t-shirts and long sleeve shirts, books, magazines, cards, bottle trays, magnets and keychains/bottle openers. And of course, beer! Their just-released U-889 Russian Imperial Stout is a great beer to sip beside the fire on a chilly winter night. You can contact them via email or phone (902-494-9233 ext 3, ask for store manager Carmen) to order.


Propeller Brewing in Halifax also has a few gift basket options available. Their $50 Gift Baskets include a sixpack of beer, t-shirt, Two single 650ml or 500ml beer (their Revolution Russian Imperial Stout is a great choice here), 2 bottles of pop (Ginger or Root Beer), two glasses, a bottle opener and 4 pin-back buttons. They are happy to mix and match customer baskets as well, to fit any budget. Drop by their Halifax or Dartmouth locations to check out the options.



There is no shortage of breweries selling tshirts and glassware in our region, so why not choose something a bit unique to put under the tree this season? Garrison Brewing in Halifax has several items that certainly fit that bill: they sell everything from soap to tin signs to put up in your home bar. Plus their Spruce Beer is a great way to get Christmas in a bottle!


Big Spruce Brewing in Cape Breton also has some great items available: how about a forged steel double-growler holder, spent grain granola, or Picante Kitchen Party Pale Ale Pickled Carrots? Drop by their brewery in Nyanza or the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market every Saturday in Sydney River to grab these and more unique gifts.


Another brewery with a variety of gift options is PEI Brewing Company. Every day from Dec 10-21st they have been offering up a different free gift or special price on their gift ideas, including coffee mugs and free tours of the brewery. Check out their retail store for more details. And look for their 6.5 % Bock, infused with vanilla bean, bourbon, and oak chips, available soon in growlers at the brewery and Gahan House Pub.

Specialty Beers

You’ve got a basket/stocking full of  tshirts, hats and glasses, so what about the beer to go with all of that? Well, your local breweries have you covered as well!

As mentioned above, Russian Imperial Stouts are popular this time of year, as well as other darker, more robust beers, or beers using spices not normally chosen in the warmer months. Quidi Vidi brewery outside of St. Johns’s, NL, has brewed up their Winter Ale, a dark rich ale, brewed with coriander, cacao and vanilla. Look for it at the NLCPaddys Irish Brewpub have released their Frost Biter Winter Warmer, with notes of chocolate and weighing in at 6%. Pick up a growler to share! And Sea Level Brewing will have their High Street Wee Heavy available shortly in cans and growlers. Weighing in at 6.3%, it features a complex malt body and slight smokiness in the finish.


Picaroons Brewing in Fredericton is taking it to a whole other level, with their annual 12 Beers of Christmas event. From the 12th to the 23rd of December, they are releasing a new beer daily, only available in growlers at their Queen St Brewtique. Check their Twitter or Facebook pages at noon for the announcement, and be sure to show up promptly at 4pm (or earlier), as they sell out quickly! So far this year they’ve released their Dark & Stormy Night infused with orange and dark chocolate, their Yippee IPA with spruce tips, Timber Hog Stout with vanilla/hazelnut/chocolate coffee beans and their Blonde beer infused with cranberries. Also look for snazzy locally-produced wooden coasters at the Brewtique, great stocking stuffer material!

Event Tickets

If you are looking for more of an event-based gift, why not choose tickets to some of the upcoming beer events or festivals? Over the next few months, there will be several events worthy of your attention. The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is taking place at the Fredericton Convention Centre March 8, 2014, and will feature the festival debut of new ciderhouse and breweries in the region (Red Rover and Hammond River). Less than a month later, on April 5th, the Saint John Beer Fest takes place at Harbour Station, and will help to thaw off some winter freeze. A new festival in the Maritime provinces is the Great Canadian Beer Expo, in its first year. It will be visiting Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Charlottetown, with two nights in each city. Tickets for all of these festivals are on sale now!


Why not turn your beer-enthused friend or family member onto homebrewing? Getting started is very simple, all you need is a bucket and a kit to make good beer at home. For those looking to do a bit more, Halifax homebrew shop Everwood Ave has everything a new brewer (or seasoned veteran) would need, from grain and hops, to kegging and bottling equipment. For someone who likes to experiment with out-there styles, maybe a one-gallon all-grain kit is the way to go (in case an experiment goes wrong, very little is lost; or for brewers with very limited space)? They will ship anywhere in the region (and beyond), and if you order today it will arrive before the 24th. Home beer and wine makers are both served by Noble Grape, with several locations throughout the HRM, Annapolis Valley and Fredericton, NB, including many that offer onsite winemaking. They also carry the Festa Brew line of wort kits, which is a great way to start onto a path to brewing. The direct them to the Brewnosers forums for great resources from fellow homebrewers, always happy to help out new brewers.

We hope this brief list of gift ideas helps to spark something for you this gift-giving season. Remember to support your local brewery, keeping jobs in our region. Please leave your favourite beer-related gift ideas in the comments!

Happy Friday, Craft Beer Fans!

• Following very successful sales in Fredericton (on tap at the King Street Ale House and growlers sales at the Brewtique) and Moncton (on tap at the Tide and Boar Gastropub), Grimross Brewing recently began selling their beer in Halifax. Earlier this week, both the Ben’s Pale Ale and Belgian Rye IPA appeared on tap at Stillwell to great enthusiasm from their customers. If you’re in the Halifax area and missed out on your chance to try these beers, follow Stillwell on Twitter to see when they make an appearance there again! And don’t worry, Fredericton-local fans, they’ve just stocked the Brewtique fridge with more Rye IPA.

• Spruce fans, rejoice! Today’s the day that Garrison Brewing is releasing their highly-anticipated Spruce Beer. Brewed using a truck-load of spruce and fir harvested from Meander River Farms, and blackstrap molasses from Crosby’s in Saint John, the beer weighs in at 7.5% ABV. The brewery doors opened at 9 this morning, and folks were picking up the beer shortly thereafter. For us working stiffs unable to visit the brewery this morning, a cask of the beer will be tapped at 4pm, so you can sip it while you buy a bottle (or case). The beer will also be available at the local private beer stores, NSLC, and also at select ANBL stores beginning next week. Also look for a cask of it to be available at Stillwell soon.

• Meanwhile, Garrison Brewing has expanded distribution of their beers outside of Atlantic Canada – their Imperial IPA is now available in Ontario at select LCBO stores. If the beer proves popular with Ontario beer fans, it could become a regular product at the LCBO. Along with Garrison’s Mixed 6 recently becoming available in Alberta, this shows that the brewery is slowly starting to expand… hopefully we’ll see further growth in the not-too-distant future!

Shiretown Beer has a previously-available brew returning for growler fills at the brewery. Big Brown Ale is an English-style Brown Ale that has a “complex bill of specialty malts, leaving well-balanced hints of roast and chocolate”. It is lightly-hopped to 20 IBUs, and clocks in at 4.5% ABV. Drop by to get some of this beer before its gone!

• Just an update concerning Picaroons‘ 12 Beers of Christmas event, which started yesterday (with the return of the popular “Dunkel Wisemen”, their Dark & Stormy Night brewed with dark chocolate and orange peel, which sold out in a little under an hour) – the time of the daily growler release for the Christmas beers at the Brewtique has been changed to 4 pm. Remember, each day’s beer will be announced on Picaroons’ Twitter feed around noon, and there is a 2 growler-per-person limit.

• Speaking of Picaroons, they’ve released an online survey for those of you who enjoy their beers. Check it out here; it should only take a minute or two to complete. They’re looking to learn a little more about drinking habits of Picaroons fans, so help them out and fill out the survey!

• Rogues Roost has released their popular Russian Imperial Stout seasonal beer this week. Brewed with tons of dark roasted malt, the beer starts with liquorice and treacle flavours, and ends with roast and coffee flavour and aroma. The beer weighs in at 9% ABV and 50 IBUs. This black beauty will not be available in growlers, so pull up a stool at the bar, and have a pint or two!

• Hell Bay has released their newest seasonal, Black Fog Oatmeal Stout. This dark beer features lots of roasted aroma and flavour with hints of chocolate and coffee and weighs in at  5.5% ABV and 36 IBUs. It is currently available in kegs and growlers at the brewery, and will shortly be released in bottles as well. Look for it at your favourite bar or private beer store soon!

Boxing Rock has also released a new seasonal, the U-889 Russian Imperial Stout. We do not have many details on the beer , but do know that it weighs in at 8.89% ABV and a hefty 65 IBUs, and that vanilla was used during the brewing process, so this will be an interesting RIS! It is currently available in bottles and growlers at the brewery, and at Bishop’s Cellar and the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market this weekend. Look for it on tap and cask at Stillwell soon as well!

Sea Level Brewing has announced their much-loved High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale will be available soon. Brewmaster Randy Lawrence first brewed this beer in the mid-nineties as a tribute to his grandfather who was born and lived on High Street, Inveraray, Scotland. An ale with a complex malty body and a slight hint of smokiness in the finish. Smooth, easy drinking and brewed in time for the longer darker nights. Good and Strong, ABV 6.3%. It will be available soon in growlers and on tap at the Port Pub, and cans at three of the private beer stores in Halifax.

• For those of you attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 8th, 2014 (if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, there’s still some available), the Crowne Plaza-Lord Beaverbrook downtown (right across from the Fredericton Convention Centre, where the event is being held) has a special rate of $109/night for ticket-holders. Check out this link to reserve your room now. Also, if you would be interested in volunteering for the Fest, contact FCBF on Twitter or by their website. It will be a fun night!

• As we mentioned previouslyBig Spruce held their homebrew competition last Friday. The winning brew was Tim Gregory’s Dirty Grain IPA, which beat out 16 other entries for the best American IPA. We chatted with Tim about his win, and he had this to say, “The name comes from me being a very disorganized brewer and rushing to get my grain crushed while the strike water is heating and dumping them all over the basement floor, and then sweeping them up and back into the mill (hey, it’s all pre-boil right?). I was really shocked and excited when I found out [I’d won].  Just before bed I logged onto wifi on my phone and it immediately buzzed and said that like 13 people had mentioned me on facebook.  I logged on and saw the post that I’d won.  I was pretty surprised, I didn’t even know the judging was going down that night.” He will be heading up to Nyanza next Friday to brew his beer with Jeremy on the big system, and it will be released at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration January 14th at the Halifax Club. Congratulations, Tim!

• St John’s YellowBelly Brewpub is holding a customer appreciation event next Wednesday (Dec 18th). Free hors d’oeuvres and music from 4-9pm, and sample Brewmaster Liam McKenna’s great beers (including the recently released Mummer’s Brew winter seasonal). All of YB’s friends and fans are invited, just be sure to RSVP via email before Monday.

• The Beerthief is holding another tasting next week, this time it is beer and olive oil. An interesting combination, to say the least, but we think it will work quite well. They are partnering with O’Leva Oils and Vins for the event. There will be five beers and oils tasted, each chosen to pair with each other. Attendees will also leave with a 60mL bottle of their favourite oil of the evening. The beers to be tasted are de Koninck, Liefmans Goudenband, and three beers from The Bruery. To take part, please email Tom Beckett to reserve your spot.

• Tickets for the Saint John Beer Fest are now on sale! The event will be taking place 7-9:30pm, Saturday April 5th, 2014, once again at Market Square downtown. The list of attending breweries is not yet available, but we have been assured that it will be even bigger and better than last year, complete with more unique and interesting entertainment (remember last year’s Atlantic Cirque performers?). Tickets are available at Harbour Station (online, by phone or in person). VIP tickets are also available, which will allow early access to the event.

• The Great Canadian Beer Expo is coming to your town! Well, if you live in Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, and Charlottetown, it is. The multi-city Expo will offer attendees the chance to taste and enjoy 120+ different beers. The ticket format is slightly different than most others in our region: entrance is $25, and then beer sample tickets are purchased for $1 per 4oz pour. Tickets are now on sale, and we will release more details as they become available. The Expo’s first stop is two nights in Sydney, NS, January 24th and 25th, at the Centre 200. And a lucky attendee from each stop on the tour will win a trip for two to Munich for Oktoberfest!

• Be sure to check out PEI Brewing Company’s Facebook page for their great twelve days of Christmas gift ideas and specials. There’s a new feature every day, so check back often.

That’s all for this morning, but stay tuned, as we’re working on several more posts for next week, it’s going to be a busy one! Here’s a teaser: we’ll have a full profile on Nova Scotia’s newest brewery, Bad Apple Brewhouse.