PEI Beer Festival

All posts tagged PEI Beer Festival

Well, it’s official…September is here. Unofficially, summer is over, the days of Pumpkin Ales are upon us, and wet-hopped beers are approaching soon! If you’re not a fan of one of these (or both), don’t worry…while this week may be a bit slower in the new beer department compared to the last few, there’s still some interesting brews newly released or coming soon that we’d love to get you caught up on…

• Charlottetown’s St. Paul’s Church will be celebrating their 250th Anniversary in 2019, and they’ve partnered up with Upstreet to have a special beer brewed as a means of fundraising for this important milestone. Head brewer Mike Hogan decided to brew a beer similar in style to one you’d see in England in the 18th century…hence, Red Stone Stock Ale was born. The grist is made up of English Pale malt, Medium Crystal, and Chocolate malt. A 60 L grain-soured starter was whipped up, and added to half of the 30 BBL (3500 L) batch, resulting in a pH drop that gave some, but not too much, sourness. After boiling the wort and hopping it with English Fuggles, this half was then blended with the other, non-soured half (brewed with the same hop schedule), and the resulting wort was fermented. Afterwards, house-toasted PEI oak cubes were added, with the final product exhibiting an “oaky and sharp finish similar to the aged beers of the time”. This brew will be released on September 17th, on tap at the brewery and a few select accounts, and in bottles, with all proceeds going to St. Paul’s.

• There’s a new beer flowing at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay, an Extra Special Bitter named after its proud brewer, Andrew Estabrooks. Esty Special Bitter is a 5.5% ABV, 38 IBUs beer hopped with three new-to-Foghorn varieties: Challenger, Target, and Olicana. Fermented with, of course, an English yeast strain, expect a dry, slightly fruity brew that goes down easy. Available now for pints and growlers, it’s also popping up at a few tap accounts in Saint John.

• More breweries in our region are working with Escarpment Labs – a company in Guelph, Ontario, that produces liquid yeast cultures for breweries – to develop their own unique cultures for fermenting wort. Tatamagouche Brewing has joined this list, with the release of a new Saison, Edel, yesterday. The grist of this new beer is comprised of 70% Pilsner malt, and 20% raw wheat and 10% raw Rye from Horton Ridge, to 5.2% ABV. Hopped with organic French Strisselspalt to 21 IBUs, the wort was fermented with a special blend of yeast that Tatabrew worked on with Escarpment, that incorporates both a traditional Saison yeast, and a North American Brettanomyces strain. The resulting beer was split into two batches; the first, being released today, was dry-hopped with more Strisselspalt, while the second has moved on into Tempranillo wine barrels and will be getting an addition of wine must this fall (look for this half to be released next spring). Edel is a keg-only beer, so look for it at the brewery for growlers and pints, as well as on tap at both Stillwell locations, and Battery Park. Next spring’s barrelled version, however, will also be released in bottles. We’ll be sure to remind you when it’s available!

Loyalist City Brewing has released a variety of hoppy beers since they opened last fall, and this week they launched their third American IPA, Point Blanc IPA. This is a “New England IPA” brewed with a blend of Maris Otter in the grist, which provides a “light toasted malt presence” to balance the hop character provided from large whirlpool additions of Citra, Centennial, and Mandarina Bavaria, along with a heavy dry hop of CentennialHallertau Blanc, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fermented with the brewery’s Vermont yeast strain, expect lots of citrus and grapefruit, and a high bitterness in the finish. Seek it out on tap at your favourite Loyalist City account!

Good Robot is bringing back version 2.0 of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale today; to remind you, this is the one featuring the addition of Kenyan Nyeri Gatina coffee beans, roasted by Java Blend Coffee Roasters and brewed by Low Point Coffee Co. The resultant cold brew was added to the beer, along with hop additions of Falconer’s Flight and Cascade, giving you interesting flavours of coffee, chocolate, slight fruit, and some acidity. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and, of course, other GR-friendly establishments in the HRM. Also, next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday (brewed by Robyn, Heather, and Kelly C.) will be Low Hanging Fruit Milkshake IPA (6.6% ABV, 54 IBUs)- hopped with Mosaic Cryo hops, as well as pelletized Amarillo, Citra and Columbus. It was then rested on fresh Ontario peaches for a week; the fruity notes from both the hops and fruit help balance the slight sweetness from the addition of lactose powder. And finally, note that there will be no Cask in the Sun release today.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has finally confirmed that they will be expanding their 1 BBL brewery, which has been operating since April, 2014 out of co-owners’ Peter and Tatiana Cole’s Bed and Breakfast under the same name. The Big Axe Brewery and Saloon will be housed in a “wild west-style log home”, built on the banks of the Saint John River in Nackawic. Scheduled to open in April, 2018, the 10 BBL (1150 L) brewhouse is being built by Charlottetown’s DME. With 20 BBL fermentors also being constructed, expect plenty more Big Axe beer, including bottle and can distribution. The two-level saloon will have a wrap-around deck overlooking the Saint John River; food will be served as well. We’ll be sure to update you as their progress continues. Congratulations to the Coles!

• After backing out of their original plan to open a small batch brewery in downtown Saint John early this year, Moosehead has announced that they will indeed be adding a 20 BBL (2300 L) brewhouse and taproom to the company’s original brewery at 89 Main St. West in Saint John. A 3 BBL (350 L) pilot brewery will also be constructed, with the idea behind both smaller brewhouses being experimentation, according to Moosehead. Current plans are for the new location to be up and running in May, 2018.

• And speaking of crafty (and pumpkin ales!), A. Keith’s Historic Brewery has a new batch out of their pilot system. Brewmaster Stefan Gagliardi, a self-proclaimed pumpkin head, perfected this recipe as a home brewer over many iterations and it’s one of his favorites. Ingredients include Vienna and Munich malts from Horton Ridge, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spices including fresh ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Look for malty, toasty and sweet pie crust elements to meet a full body and smooth mouthfeel highlighted by the spices. This is a small batch, with only three kegs going on the growler station at the brewery today.

• Those who have hops growing on their property are surely aware that the time is nigh for harvesting. Hop flowers, or cones, are starting to sound papery when squeezed, are going a little brown around the edges, and smell of the resinous lupulin that contains the essential oils and acids hops are known and loved for. We know that a couple of hop growing breweries in the region, including Meander River and Big Spruce, have already had their picking parties and other producers will no doubt harvest soon if they haven’t already. Most of the hops harvested in our region will no doubt be processed normally: dried with warm, moving air, before being baled or pelletized and stored cold. But some hops are destined for nearly immediate use with a special technique known as “wet hopping”, “fresh hopping” or “green hopping” – adding freshly-picked, undried hops to a batch of beer during the brewing process. For best effect, wet hops have to be as fresh as possible, ideally within hours of picking, so that they do not spoil. Cold storage and shipping, if necessary, should not exceed 48 hours before the hops hit the beer. This gives breweries with their own on-site hop farms a leg up on making wet hopped beers. Using wet hops is much more risky than processed hops; with no laboratory analysis, alpha acid and essential oil levels are completely unknown. Because of this, to keep some control over the result, some breweries will use processed hops with known alpha levels for bittering and will save the fresh hops for flavour and aroma additions. When picked, hops are ideally still roughly 80% water and aren’t nearly as potent as dried, so significantly higher hop amounts must be used in wet hopping, often as much as 5 or 10 times the dried equivalent. Meanwhile, compounds that lose their potency during the drying process are still present and can make significant, and sometimes unwelcome, flavour contributions. Wet hopped beers, at their best, present a different side of hops, earthy and somewhat grassy, with a more subtle presentation of other flavour and aroma characteristics than usual. Look for wet hopped beers, often termed harvest ales to start appearing in the region over the next month or so!

• Speaking of which, if you’ve got hops growing on your property that you’re not planning to use, and you can get them to Fredericton quickly after picking, Graystone Brewing has put out a call for hops to be used in their Harvest Ale. Proceeds from the beer with go towards the United Way of Central New Brunswick’s campaign.

A bit of a quiet week for beer events and event announcements this week:

• A reminder to those in Halifax that Stillwell is bringing one of the big (but little!) guns of American Farmhouse styles for a two-stage takeover this weekend as Maine’s Oxbow Brewing comes to town. Starting at 4 PM today some of the best Belgian-inspired beers you can imagine will be pouring at Stillwell HQ on Barrington Street. And tomorrow starting at noon the party moves on up to The Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road. The full tap and bottle list is now available for this evening’s festivities and chef Graeme Ruppel has put together a burger-focused menu that’ll melt your butter. If you’ve found yourself going into withdrawal after the Stillwell Belgian Takeover two weeks ago, if you’re curious how American Farmhouse compares to the original, or if you just like really great beer, you owe it to yourself to get out today or tomorrow. No tickets required at either session.

• If you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, or planning to be there in the next 24 hours, and you don’t already have your tickets for the PEI Beerfest (part of the Fall Flavours Festival) at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, what are you waiting for?! Tickets are still available for tonight’s 6:30 – 9:30 PM session ($48 + taxes & fees) and Saturday afternoon’s 2:00 – 4:00 PM shift ($36.50 + taxes & fees), but tomorrow evening’s session is now sold out! The brewery list is as up-to-date as it’s going to get and the live entertainment is locked-in. A reminder also that Designated Driver tickets ($13.50 + taxes & fees) are available as well to help you arrange to get home safely.

• The Maritime Honey Festival will be taking place in Fredericton in a couple of weeks, and with beer’s popularity continuing to rise, of course it has to take part! On Saturday, September 23rd, the “Bee-R Garden” will be held between 10 am – 3 pm, at the Capital Exhibit Center. At least seven different local craft breweries will be taking part, each of which has been matched up with a beekeeper, and will be brewing a style of beer different from others attending, featuring, of course, honey. Ranging from a “Brett Honey Saison” from Maybee to an “Imperial Honey Porter” from Foghorn, attendees can expect a wide variety of brews! Be sure to check out the link for the list of styles from breweries who have committed to participate. And what honey-centric festival would be complete without mead? Sunset Heights Meadery will be pouring seven different varieties of mead to satisfy your sweet tooth. Drink tickets can be purchased now – $8 for four 4 oz drink tickets, or $45 for unlimited samples – or at the door, where $11 gets you four drink tickets (no unlimited samples option).

And a few last items before you get on with your weekend…

Garrison‘s Rise ‘n Stein Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV, 13 IBUs) has returned, with this year’s batch being available almost-exclusively in bottles at the brewery and HRM private stores; a limited amount may be available on tap, so keep your eyes open.
– PEI’s Moth Lane has released a new beer, The Gorbine Double Black IPA (8.8% ABV, 85 IBUs), that is available now across the Island at Moth Lane tap accounts, and at the brewery.
Nine Locks Brewing led the pack this year with the release of their Harvest Pumpkin Ale earlier this week. It’s available now in cans at the brewery and will appear at the NSLC in October.
– Bad news for fans of Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night: due to an ongoing legal dispute with “a big name in the spirits world”, the beer has been discontinued and will not be brewed again. It doesn’t appear that it will return under a different name, so if this is a brew you’ve enjoyed in the past, you may want to grab a bottle or two if you can find it.
– In Cask Friday news, the Propeller Organic Blonde on Yuzu we told you about last week is actually going on this evening at 5 PM. Schoolhouse’s cask today is called Oaked Grog Chequers obviously their Chequers Robust Porter aged on Oak, but what’s the “grog” angle? Stop by the brewery this evening and find out!

Good morning, and welcome to another long weekend! Some big news for a couple of breweries in our region, and the usual plethora of new beers, beer events… let’s get started!

• Well, it’s official – Hammond River Brewing is finally expanding! Owner/brewmaster Shane Steeves confirmed in a Facebook post yesterday that the brewery will be moving to a newly-constructed building that will house the DME-constructed 15 BBL (1750 L) system… that’s 15 times the size of Hammond River’s current brewery, making it the largest microbrewery in the Saint John area. The brewery will also be attached to the Barrel’s Head Gastropub & Wine Bar, and will have a tasting room where customers can order pints, have their growlers filled, and purchase bottles of HR beer. A barrel-aging program is currently in the plans as well. Look for the new brewery to open in early 2017, if all goes according to plan, and don’t worry – it will be business as usual for the current brewery until the new location opens, meaning your favourite HR beers will continue to be brewed. Congratulations, Shane!

• Hammond River also has a new brew in the making, a Berliner Weisse named Paisley Park. This is the first foray into sour beer territory for HR; brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt and lightly hopped to only 4 IBUs (as is typical for the style), it was kettle-soured to give it the characteristic tartness of a Berliner Weisse. In addition, 34 lbs of fresh local raspberries from Balemans U-Pick were added in secondary. Keep your eyes open for this 3.2% ABV refreshing sour beer in the near future.

• And speaking of brewery expansions, more details on the currently-underway Big Spruce embiggening are now available! Construction on the brand-new, 5400 sq-ft building has begun on the Big Spruce property, which will eventually house a 3-vessel, 20 BBL (2300 L) brew house – that’s about three times larger than the current brewery. With 40 BBL fermentors and an automated, 30 can-per-minute canning line, we can all expect to see a heck of a lot more Big Spruce beer in the near future! Look for everything to be completed sometime in March, 2017.

• Let’s stick with Big Spruce for a while longer, as they have some new and returning beers on the horizon. In new beers are two collaboration kettle-soured ales, similar to their popular Silver Tart. Both Certified Organic Berliner Weisse/American Sours, soured with the BS in-house Lactobacillus culture, they’re made up of a grist of 50% Pilsner and 50% Wheat malt. One was brewed with Tatamagouche Brewing and will be conditioned on organic ground cherries from Taproot Farms, while the other beer, brewed with Boxing Rock, will feature organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm (the blueberry Berliner Weisse is based on a beer brewed by our own acbbshawn). We’ll have more details on the release dates of these beers as they near completion, and if either of them will be packaged outside of kegs.

• And in even more Big Spruce news, they have released I’m Wit Chris Lemon Ginger Wit this week. This local twist on a Belgian Wit features 6.5 kilograms of locally-grown ginger from Jody Nelson’s LocalMotive Farm and Tim & Estelle Levangie’s Thyme for Ewe Farm. The brew is further spruced up with the zest of 80 lemons, completing the beer with a great citrus aroma, and both a bite and pleasant aroma from the ginger. First available in 2015 as Cold Remedy, accbchris wrote about his experience assisting with the scale-up of his recipe previously. Grab it on tap at the brewery, and around HRM this weekend. And remember to drop by the brewery this weekend for The Big Pig Roast!

• Moncton’s Bore City is releasing a hoppy Wheat Ale, I’d Radler Not. With a grist comprised of ~40% Wheat malt, the beer was hopped with Equinox, Hallertau Blanc, and Vic Secret, giving a big blast of tropical fruit in the aroma and flavours. Described by the brewery as “juicy, light, and refreshing, yet well-balanced”, it comes in at 5.2% ABV and 44 IBUs. Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s no juice or soda in this one! Kegs have been sent to both Marky’s Laundromat and the Tide & Boar in the city.

• Halifax (and Dartmouth’s) North Brewing is releasing a very special beer today at noon. They have taken a funky path with their Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian: they pitched Brettanomyces from Escarpment Labs into one of their Glenora barrels, and allowed their SDB to re-ferment and age in the barrel for seven months over the winter. After a further two month conditioning, the beer is now ready for the public. Both the Brett and barrel aging add their own notes of leather, vanilla, cherry and oak to the already complex 10.5% ABV dark Belgian brew. With the higher ABV and bottle conditioning component, this beer will continue to develop over the months and years to come, so it is certainly advisable to pick up a few bottles. Due to the limited numbers, only one barrel (less than 20 cases), there is a 12-bottle limit per person.

• Two new beers hit the taps at Rockbottom Brewpub this week with a bit of a yin and yang feel that celebrates both the end of the summer and the approaching fall. The first, dubbed Fuzzy Pucker, is an American sour fermented on the last of the summer fruits, peaches. The aroma features stewed peach and pie crust with a touch of floral esters. At only 4 IBUs and carrying 5% ABV, it’s tart on the palate with a drying acidic finish; definitely a late summer sipper. On the other side of the coin, reminding us that cooler weather is just around the corner, the Baltic Porter is a rich, multilayered, lagered beer in the tradition of the Baltic states of Europe. Strong, dark and roasty, with featured flavors of sweet malt, liquorice, and dried fruit, this complex 8% ABV brew comes in at 30 IBU and is a sipper of a different sort. Both beers are available at the pub, either to sit and drink or in growlers to take home.

• Last Friday, Big Tide released Barrelled Life, their first Barleywine. After being brewed on the Big Tide system, the beer was barrel-aged for 6 months by Dunhams Run winery, out of Kingston, NB. According to the brewery, the beer was aged in a Frontenac Reserve barrel, and blended with Black Mamba, a mead made by Dunhams Run. The resulting product is a “silky smooth”, 10.5% ABV monster of a beverage. Available at the brewpub for 12 oz pours only, once it’s gone, it’s gone, so hurry down for a pour!

Wayfarers’ Ale Society has a new beer on tap, One-Eyed River Hog IPA. Featuring a larger malt bill than their EPA, it likely falls in the English IPA category, described by the brewery as having “some wonderful hoppy overtones, with a big body and a little bit of sweetness in the finish”. Brewed as a special-release small batch, this 6.2% ABV beer won’t be brewed again until sometime in November.

Bad Apple Brewhouse has a brand new beer out this week. Primal Wit is a 5.7% Witbier, featuring kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass, Star Anise, and Ginger, for an Asian-inspired twist on this Belgian style. Bright citrus, light licorice, and ginger lend a savoury theme to this brew. Brewed exclusively for Halifax’s Primal Kitchen, it’s on tap there now, as well as at the brewery in Somerset. Also look out for BA’s Mosaic DIPA, the 8.0% ABV Double IPA featuring loads of Mosaic hops, available at better bars in Halifax now. They recently brewed their APA (American Pale Ale) with a high portion of the grist with Horton Ridge Malt, and the upcoming brew of their Russian Imperial Stout will also feature a healthy dose of the locally-malted grain in the malt bill. And Operation Green Ring, the collaboration with Delta Force Brewery will be brewed on the weekend, featuring loads of cucumbers and fresh mint on top of an American Wheat base.

Schoolhouse Brewery allowed visitors a sneak peek at their new brewery and retail location yesterday, as part of their new monthly Growler Night. Open the first Thursday of the month at their new 40 Water St location in Windsor, customers can purchase growlers of their beer, as well as merchandise, and track their progress as they work towards the opening of their location in December. For now, these nights will replace their delivery schedule, as they work tirelessly towards that opening. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed for the latest developments! And there is still a bit of their collaboration with Good RobotSkratch Plaskett, a 5.8% ABV Pale Ale, brewed for the Evolve Festival.

Annapolis Cider has released the latest entry in their Something Different series of ciders, Citrus and Plum. This unfiltered cider features fresh-pressed juice from Golden Plums that were grown just down the road from the cidery. In addition, a small batch of dry cider was added, that had been infused with the zest of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, giving the final product a “mouth-puckering zing, and a cleansing finish”. Note that this 6.1% ABV cider contains the first apples from the 2016 harvest, including fresh-pressed juice from three different varieties: Vista Bella, Close, and Jersey Mac. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, don’t expect this one to last long (especially with the return of Acadia students!). And as with all of their Something Different blends, a portion will be going to a local group. This batch’s beneficiary is The Flower Cart, empowering local adults with intellectual disabilities through vocational training and job placement assistance.

• This week saw Good Robot bringing out another stylistic mashup that reminds us once again where they stand on the East Coast/West Coast beef. Ol’ Scurvy Bastard, a Marga-RZA and/or Dirt McGirtarita Ale sees an ultimately Belgian style, Witbier, that was brewed with coriander and fermented with the St-Remy Abbey strain from Escarpment Labs, then a-salted Leipzig-style like a Gose, peppered with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops to the tune of 14 IBUs, and finally smacked down with lime zest. Pale gold in colour and hazy with a white head, you’ll find aromas of lemon and lime, vanilla, honey and agave with floral and briny hints. On the palate you’ll be tasting those same citrus and sweet notes along with the salt. Both mildly tart and a touch boozy, it’s 6.2% ABV and carbed right up for a crispness that accentuates the acidity. Protect ya neck!

Mill Street St John’s has released their latest brew, Jigger’s Delight California Common. This 5.7% ABV, 18 IBU hybrid beer uses lager yeast fermented a little bit warmer, allowing some of the aromatics of ale yeast to shine through, while maintaining a smooth finish. Notes of grain and a light honey sweetness sit upon a medium body with toast and caramel flavours. The beer is available on tap now, and will rotate into their growler bar when possible. Mill Street is currently recruiting a Head Brewer for this location, as current Head Brewer Alexis Wagner is heading to the UK to complete her Masters. Click the St. John’s tab here for more information.

• It’s that time of year again – Hop Harvest! Several breweries in our region have wasted no time, and have brewed (or will very shortly) Wet (aka Fresh Hop) beers with locally-grown hops. While hops are usually dried, and possibly pelletized before use to help extend their storage, wet hops can be used immediately after picking, for an extra aromatic blast fresh from the plant.

Big Spruce rounds up plenty of community hop pickers for assistance in harvesting the aromatic varietals grown on their property. Last year they released their wet-hopped Craig Goes Yard; no word on what exactly they have planned for this year’s harvest, but we can definitely expect the style to be another IPA.

Meander River will be brewing several batches of their Home Grown Ale, thanks to the bountiful harvest of eight different hop varietals grown right at the brewery, as well as some grown in a test hopyard in Aylesford.

Schoolhouse Brewery grabbed some 70kg of hops from a local family farm, some of which will be used in a soon-to-be-brewed beer; the rest will be dried for later brews.

Sea Level has been brewing a wet-hopped beer for years; this year, they’ve brewed up a new one, Indigenous Pale Ale (5% ABV). Featuring freshly-harvested Cascade grown on-site, and organically-grown malt from Horton Ridge, it should be available in kegs and cans by mid-September.

Uncle Leo’s brewed their 2nd Annual Harvest Ale with hops from Bramble Hill Farm and malt from Horton Ridge Malt and Grain. Look for it in a couple of weeks; it went fast last year, so watch for updates!

And the fun isn’t only in Nova Scotia – New Brunswick brewery Picaroons will be continuing their Harvest Ale series; we’ll have more details on that series of beer, soon.

• The NSLC released their First Quarter Results this week, and the sales of NS Craft Beer continue to show great growth, rising by almost 50% over last year’s Q1, while overall beer sales grew by only 9.6%. Any concern that the number of small local producers has reached saturation is far from true, as they still only account for less than 4% of the entire beer sales in the province. Massive growth in NS-produced cider continues as well, clocking in at over 80%, still accounting only a small percentage of the overall “Ready-to-Drink” market. The full report can be read here.

There’s a few events coming up that we’d like to mention before signing off:

• The 2016 PEI Beer Festival is being held this weekend at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. There are three sessions: Friday and Saturday, 6:30-9:30, and Saturday 2-4:30. Featuring a wide variety of the PEILCC‘s regular offerings, there will also be some special casks from PEI Brewing Company, as well as new beers from visiting breweries Boxing Rock, Collective Arts, and Propeller. Check out the beer and brewery list here, and grab your tickets online or at the door ($50 for tonight’s session, $40 for tomorrow afternoon’s, Saturday evening session is sold out).

• The Falmouth TrALE Run is scheduled for October 1st. Featuring a challenging 5km route through the woods at Castle Frederick Farms, water stations along the way are amped up with beer from nearby Schoolhouse Brewing. The event will not be timed, so enjoy the view and the beer while you make your way along the route. Your $40 ticket includes beer samples and a souvenir glass. All proceeds from the event are going to support West Hants Ground Search and Rescue, and you can pledge more through the online registration.

• Port Hawkesbury will once again be hosting the Celtic Oktoberfest on October 22nd. An all-inclusive event with live music, food, wine and beer, this is the third year for this great event. Featuring products by Authentic Seacoast, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Eileanan Breagha Vineyards, Garrison, Hell Bay, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s. Check the website for the full food and music run-down, too!

Have a fantastic long weekend! Looks like some mighty decent weather to unofficially end the summer; be sure to enjoy it with your favourite craft beer(s)! And as usual, a few parting notes…

Petit-Sault‘s 8.5% ABV Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures, has been brewed and packaged for release this weekend. This year, however, a portion has been bottled; bottles will be available for purchase at the brewery only, along with growlers. It sold out quickly last year, so don’t wait! A few kegs may make it to licensees.
– Due to great response from customers, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery will be taking this weekend off, but will be open again next Saturday 10-2 for growler fills and merchandise sales, before their full launch mid-September.
York County Cider has announced that their bottle distribution has increased, as several of their brands are now available in bottles at the ANBL on Mountain Road in Moncton.

Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve got a handful of new beers and ciders, and several great events to announce, but let’s start with the return of a small brewery in Northern New Brunswick.

• Rumours have been circulating for several weeks, but we’ve been able to confirm that Shiretown, a nanobrewery in Dalhousie, then Charlo, NB that closed last summer, is planning to re-open this coming August. Owner/brewer Derek Leslie, who had been working as a sales rep for Picaroons in northern NB the past ten months, says that he has upgraded with a new, 2 bbl (230 L) brew system, about twice as large as what he had been using in the past. The new brewery will be located at 363 Chaleur St. in Charlo, with a storefront onsite. Shiretown’s three flagship beers – Blonde du Quai, Siren’s T’ale, and Big Brown Ale – will once again be in the regular lineup, with production focusing on bottles. The brewery’s former website and Facebook page are still currently offline, but their Twitter account still exists. We’ll keep you updated on Shiretown’s progress over the coming weeks!

Big Tide is bringing back a previous favourite, Chocolate Amaretto Porter. Brewed with Pale Ale malt as the base, Chocolate Wheat malt and CaraMunich malts were added to increase complexity. In addition, after primary fermentation was complete, cocoa, vanilla, and Amaretto were added to the beer, resulting in a 5.5% ABV “slightly sweet” ale with a “biscuity flavour and a hint of almond”. Originally released once in 2015, brewmaster Wendy Papadopoulos was inspired by the flavours of biscotti (Italian almond biscuits) when putting together the recipe. Look for this one to be available at the brewpub sometime around the weekend of June 18th.

Bulwark is releasing a new limited-edition cider today, Raspberry Cider. This red-coloured, “crisp and off-dry” beverage features the usual freshly-pressed apples from the Valley, and unites them with fresh raspberries grown on Bulwark’s winery property. Think of it as a follow-up to the cidery’s very popular Sour Cherry Cider from last summer, except this time it will be available in bottle format! Coming in at 7.5% ABV, bottles are available now at their retail shop, and hitting NSLC shelves within the next week, when it will also be available on tap at select accounts around the province.

• Truro’s Nook and Cranny is releasing a new beer at the restaurant today, a Rhubarb Wheat. More than 25 lb of locally-harvested fresh rhubarb was added to a 300 litre batch of wheat ale, for a light acidic bite to complement the smooth base beer. With a low bitterness and 4.7% ABV, this beer will be a hit as the days get a bit warmer, and the evenings even longer. As with all of their beers, they can be enjoyed by the pint, or sampler, at the bar, and in a growler to go.

Good Robot debuted their latest CommuniBrew yesterday: Mikey’s Chocolate Orange IPA was brewed on GR’s pilot system by homebrewer Mike Orr during last month’s Open Brewery Day. The 6.6% ABV and 56 IBU IPA includes several rounds of hopping in the boil, whirlpool, and dry-hop, featuring Amarillo, Cascade, AmarilloCascadeCentennialCrystalMagnum, and Simcoe. During conditioning, a tincture of cacao nibs was added for a healthy chocolate nose and flavour. The result is like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, with the chocolate complementing the citrus characteristics of the hops, on top of a solid beer with a smooth mouthfeel. As with all of the CommuniBrew releases, these are for sale on draught in the taproom only, and they do not last long, so drop by today!

Petit-Sault has expanded their Brewtique and taproom, featuring the addition of a very large communal table that seats up to 24, with additional seating to accommodate 50+ patrons. There are now 12 taps in the taproom, some of which will be used to pour products from other local breweries and cideries. If you’re in the Edmundston area, be sure to stop in for a pint and growler fill! The brewery will be announcing their summer hours soon, allowing more time to visit and enjoy their beer.

• After a very successful release of their Gut View Amber, Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove, NS is ready to release their second beer, Bear Bones IPA. This is a beta version of a bigger batch coming soon, as they dial in the intricacies of their unique brewhouse. Look for a few more details on the beer when they post in their blog later today. Both beers will be available at tomorrow’s Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, 8:00-1:00.

York County Cider has released another batch of their Ginger Snap blend after a brief hiatus. Made with 30 pounds of fresh ginger in a 700 litre batch, the aroma, taste, and zip of the eponymous ingredient complement the 6.5% ABV base apple blend. Blending the Ginger with their Blueberry or Hopped Cider is also a popular occurrence with the cider’s fans. It is available in growler fills and bottles, at their storefront at 418 York St.

• Fredericton’s Lighthouse on the Green re-opened to the public yesterday, in preparation for the summer season. Operated by the Crowne Plaza, the location will once again focus on food and craft beer, similar to when they first opened last summer. They have upgraded their bar to have a total of ten taps pouring, featuring Red Rover cider, Pollen Angels mead, and a rotating selection of beer from various New Brunswick breweries. Now that summer is finally here (kind-of), be sure to drop by and enjoy a local beer on the Lighthouse patio! They are open everyday 11am-sundown, and as it is an outdoor venue, check their Facebook page for closure in case of poor weather.

• And in a late addition to the blog, Maybee Brewing’s retail location has now received their taproom license. Enjoy samples and pints of their beer onsite, before grabbing a growler to go. Open 10-6 Mon-Wed, 10-8 Thurs-Sat, and 12-5 Sundays.

Now, let’s get caught up on events in our region:

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is launching their Food Truck Fridays today at noon, by inviting the crew from Cruisin’ Cuisine to the brewery. As today is Day of Portugal, they are concentrating on famous dishes from that nation, made with local ingredients. Grab some fresh food with your samples and growlers from noon to 6pm, and enjoy the musical stylings of Asaph Deuce starting at 3pm. Big Spruce will keep the Food Trucks coming in for the rest of the summer, Friday through Sunday every weekend until October. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the day’s visiting vendor.

• On Saturday, June 11th, Garrison is hosting their Backlot Bash!, in support of the Ecology Action Centre. Held in the parking lot of their new production brewery on Marginal Rd (about 100 metres from their retail and storefront location), the event features headliner July Talk, joined by Alert the Medic, The Brood and Three Sheet as amazing local opening bands. Tickets are still available, and Garrison beer, as well as local cider, will be served, with food trucks keeping people satisfied.

• This Sunday, June 12th at 12 pm, Good Robot will be hosting Mom Day Afternoon, giving local Moms a chance to have some time to themselves and socialize with other mothers. Massage therapists from Urban Retreat Massage Therapy Ltd. will be on hand, a baby/maternity clothing swap will be going on, and members of the Ladies Beer League will be there to talk all things beer. A late brunch will be served by The Coastal Cafe at 2 pm, and Caesareans – a Good Robot cocktail with Clamato and corn beer – will be pouring. No charge to attend, just pay by the beer/cocktail/massage/brunch.

Upstreet has their first birthday coming up, and they’re putting on the Upstreet Birthday Weekend to celebrate! Held on Friday and Saturday, June 24th & 25th, there’s plenty going on:
Friday, 6 pm: Anniversary Beer Launch & Vinyl Party – featuring the release of a limited-edition, 750 mL, bottle-conditioned anniversary beer, where it will also be available on tap at the brewery; guest DJs are welcome to bring in your favourite party records! Dancing will be welcome, but not necessarily required.
Saturday, 6 pm: The Upstreet Field Trip – a tour of four of Charlottetown’s “finest eating establishments”, with food and Upstreet beer pairings, ending at the fifth stop, The Alley, for bowling and dancing. Your $65 ticket (available at link above) includes all of the above-mentioned, a special edition Upstreet Field Trip t-shirt, and free admission to…
Saturday, 10 pm – Upstreet Birthday Party – happening at The Alley, the official birthday bash will feature live music from Halifax’s Party Boots, as well as a street magician, tarot card reader, silent disco, free bowling, a pinata, party games and more. Cover is $10 (unless you’re lucky enough to be on the Field Trip).

• The Shediac Lobster Festival is hosting their inaugural Ales & Tails event on Friday, July 8th at the Shediac Multi- Functional Centre from 7 PM – 9:30 PM. NB micro and nano breweries will be well represented with Flying Boats Brewing, Celtic Knot Brewing, Bore City Brewing, Acadie-Broue, Beckwith Road (pending license), Pump House, Brasseurs Petit-Sault, Maybee Brewing, Picaroons, Scow Cider and Moosehead Brewery. A lobster half tail and lobster samples will accompany a great evening of craft beer sampling from the breweries in attendance. Tickets (limited to 250) went on sale yesterday at the Shediac Co-Op, Jean Coutu and Sobeys locations. Check out the Festival’s website for more details.

• Tickets for Halifax Seaport Beerfest are on sale today. Being held at the Cunard Centre August 5 & 6th, the Fest will feature beers from producers big and small from around the Maritimes, as well as Quebec and Ontario, that are otherwise not available in the province. Approximately 300 beers and ciders will be available, though the final brewery and product list has not yet been finalized. Friday and Saturday evening sessions run 7:00-9:30, and a Saturday afternoon session runs from 2:00-4:30, with tickets costing $49 plus tax and fees. VIP tickets ($70 plus taxes and fees) will also be available for each session, giving visitors a special tasting glass and opener, as well as early entry to take part in a panel discussion and guided beer tasting. Designated Driver and Group Rates are also available. In addition to online ticket sales, they can be purchased at select NSLC and Ticket Atlantic locations (saving some fees).

• Tickets for the 2016 PEI Beer Festival, September 2 & 3, will also go on sale today. Being held at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, there are three sessions for your tasting enjoyment: Friday 6:30-9:30, and Saturday 2:00PM – 4:30 and 6:30-9:30. Evening tickets are $40 plus tax and fee, while the afternoon session is $30 plus taxes and fee. While the general tickets are on sale today, they will be rolling out Designated Driver tickets shortly, as well as details on the preferred rate to stay at the Fest hotel. Discussion and a few more details are available on Facebook.

A few more beer notes before we sign off today:

Picaroons has re-released their 506 Logger, this time in 6-packs of 12-oz bottles, the first time the brewery has packaged in this format. Coming in at 4.6% ABV and 15 IBUs, bottles are available at both Picaroons locations (Fredericton’s Brewtique and Saint John’s General Store) along with growler fills, with bottles also being found at ANBL stores.
Yellowbelly has re-released their East Coast Cream Ale, an easy-drinking, 5% ABV pale beer that is a popular seasonal during the warmer months. It’s available now at the brewpub only, on tap and with a small amount of bottles, for a limited time.
– PEI Brewing has released a new cask this week: Lactic Soured Apricot Lager. A tart take on their 4.5% ABV lager, using Lactobacillus to sour the wort for a refreshing bite, along with apricot for a pleasant stone fruit character. As with all of their casks, this is for on-site enjoyment in their taproom only.