Quidi Vidi Brewery

All posts tagged Quidi Vidi Brewery

Happy Friday, beer enthusiasts! The weekend is upon us, and we’ve got a slew of new beers to share with you today. For those of you in and visiting the Fredericton region, we’ll see you at this weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (*ahem* Saturday afternoon tickets are still available), and the accompanying events. Be sure to say hi to Shawn and Chris, especially if you see them at the “Drink Like a Judge” table during the afternoon session. And be sure to bring some non-perishable food items (and/or cash) to the Propeller table, as they are collecting donations for Greener Village. For your donations, you’ll get some great Prop merchandise. And again, thanks for all of you who came out for our ACBB Trivia / NS Tap Takeover at the KSAH last night; we had a blast, and thanks to those breweries who generously contributed prizes!

• Good news, Lazy Bear fans! They’ve just released a brand new beer, Carolina, a Belgian Saison. With a simple grist of Pilsner malt and wheat, it was fermented with a special Farmhouse yeast strain that was isolated from South Carolina blueberries by Southyeast Labs. Producing “notes of straw and spice”, there is also a subtle tartness thanks to the light production of acid by the yeast. It was also hopped with Hallertau, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It was pouring at Good Robot‘s Femmebot event earlier this week, as well as in growlers at the brewery; it may pop up at other tap accounts in the near future. In other Lazy Bear news, we’ll be seeing another beer from them soon, also featuring a wild yeast from South Carolina, but in the IPA style. We’ll definitely have more on that one once it has an official name and full details are available.

• Breweries around the region are using more and more Horton Ridge Malt these days and the Paddy’s Pub locations in Kentville and Wolfville just up Highway #1 are no exception. Horton Ridge Rye IPA was brewed using not only barley malted at Horton Ridge, but Rye that was grown, malted and brewed within a 7 kilometre radius. “A juicy, fruity IPA with a light rye spiciness,” according to brewer Kirsten MacDonald, the Horton Ridge malt provides an aromatic element not as present with other malts. The hops are a mixture of the classic American Cascade, the recent new world favourite Amarillo, and relative newcomers El Dorado and Triple Pearl, all blending together for a citrusy nose and flavour. It comes in at 7.2% ABV and a healthy, but not overpowering, 65 IBU.

• Halifax nano Tidehouse wanted to head up to Fredericton to enjoy the FCBF, but when you’re a 3-person show and everyone’s hitting the road, how do you keep the shop open and not miss a weekend of sales? Enter local home brewer and friend of Tidehouse, Ian Wheatley, and his pal Nick Snell. They’ll be minding the store on Salter Street starting today, providing growler fills to thirsty patrons. To sweeten the deal, Ian was offered the opportunity to do production runs of two of his own beers on the Tidehouse system and sell them alongside two regular TH offerings. You may even see Ian’s beers available on taps around town in the coming weeks; if we hear anything more on that we’ll be sure to let you know.

• The first brew from Lil’Wheatey is The Bellhop, a classic American IPA. This beer took a bronze medal in Hamilton, Ontario, at the Because Beer National Homebrew Competition this past summer. With a restrained malt bill to showcase the hops, and featuring prominent stone fruit and citrus flavorus, the beer weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a reasonable 60ish IBU.

• Ian’s other contribution to the lineup, Tic Lac Toe, is a kettle sour based on a Belgian wheat beer recipe that traditionally uses spice and fruit additions. Blueberries provide a characteristic pink colour and provide a complement to the sourness of the style. A pure strain of Lactobacillus buchneri was used to achieve a very clean sourness. Additional fermentables were added post-souring to bring the ABV into the 5% range, while maintaining a low final gravity for a crisp finish. As with many examples of the style, some spicy hops were added, but with a light hand, resulting in a very mild 7-8 IBU.

• A brand new beer will be available at the PEI Brewing Company today with a solid slate of events to mark the occasion. Big Don Coffee Belgian Blonde juxtaposes a pale, yeast-forward style with coffee flavours more commonly associated with darker brews. The PEIBC team worked with their friends at Receiver Coffee Co to select a bean and roast that would accentuate the fruity and spicy notes of the beer while adding chocolate and citrus elements to the finish. This 7.5% ABV brew will be available in cans from the brewery and, to celebrate the release, Receiver will be running a pop-up shop in house from 11am to 5pm, followed by a sampling of Big Don and a Songwriter’s Circle from 5-7pm. And keep an eye on local PEILCCs for the return of cans of their 8 Cord Double IPA this week, and a special new release coming in a couple of weeks (hint, this required quite a bit of Patience to put together).

• There’s two brand new beers coming out of TrailWay Brewing this week, both of which will be appearing at FCBF. First up is Maple Drip, a 9% ABV “Maple Imperial Stout” released a couple of days ago. We initially mentioned this beer in an earlier post, in conjunction with the NB government providing benefits to breweries that produce beer made with local maple syrup. TW used approximately 60 L of syrup from Briggs Maples, and also added some bourbon-soaked oak chips to complement to give “subtle maple, oak and bourbon undertones”. Next up is a new American IPA, Green Island. It weighs in at 6% ABV and features large additions of three relatively-new-to-TW hop varieties: Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7. Based on this, we can likely expect citrus, melon, and candy-like notes in the beer, but we won’t know for sure till we try it! In addition to being at FCBF (where they’ll also have Hoppy McHazy and Hu Jon Hops) and tap accounts across Fredericton, both beers are available in cans (Green Island is releasing today).

• There’s a new beer out from Saint John’s Loyalist City, and it should still be pouring in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Fittingly, Black 47 is an “Irish Coffee Stout” that was brewed with Maris Otter and Flaked Barley; the sweet wort from this mash was then blended with wort from another mash of Roasted Barley and black-kilned malt. A small portion of Chocolate malt was added as well, with the resulting blend receiving hop additions of both East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, to 35 IBUs. Fermented cool with an Irish yeast strain, the beer then had some freshly-ground, dark roasted coffee beans added in secondary, along with some cacao nibs. The result of all this work? A jet-black, “medium-bodied dry Stout with a pronounced roasted flavor, reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate that complements a moderate bitterness and a hint of sweetness on the finish”. Easy-drinking at 4.7% ABV, look for it on tap at the Cask & Kettle, as well as at the Uptown, Eastpoint, and KV ANBL growler stations next week for fills.

• There are two new small batch beers available at 2 Crows Brewing this week, available only on tap at the taproom on Brunswick Street. Neon Nights is an 8.5% ABV Brettanomyces-conditioned beer, featuring some funky and tart characteristics, which was conditioned on burnt orange peel. (Luckily for you FCBF-folks, they will be pouring this one tomorrow) The next truly taproom-only release (can we coin the Attempted Murder Beer Series??) is Panhandle Slim, a Grisette. Grisette is the little sister to Farmhouse Saisons, originally brewed to satisfy miner’s thirst after a long day working underground. Panhandle Slim features a variety of grains in the malt bill, including spelt, wheat, oats and rye, and has been conditioning for 7 months on Brettanomyces, resulting in a refreshing beer with a light body and funkiness. With only one small keg available, this beer will be sure to kick this weekend.

• Does your palate and/or nose like to be challenged when drinking beer? If so, Boxing Rock‘s latest beer, My Mate, may be what you’re looking for! Billed as a “Secret Recipe Stout”, this was brewed as a collaboration with former Gahan/Rogue’s Roost head brewer Karen Allen. As advertised, it contains a secret ingredient; your job is to identify it. Tweet a picture of the beer with your guess of the secret ingredient, and you win a – of course – “secret” prize! The contest closes this Monday at noon. This “savoury, sweet, and well-seasoned” Stout is available at the brewery, and should also be available in bottles today at Rockhead, Bishop’s Cellar today or tomorrow, and on tap this weekend at the Henry House, Battery Park, and Stillwell. (We’re pretty sure they won’t mind you bringing in a box of oranges or rolls of cinnamon or bushel of cucumbers to capture that pic 😉  )

Upstreet will be at the FCBF this weekend, pouring their latest collaboration beer, Rye’D On, brewed in conjunction with Picaroons. That beer will be released next week in PEI, and we can also expect another new one at the end of the month. Go Devil is an American IPA that was brewed with a single malt, Maritime Pale, and generously hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, the brewery promises that it packs a “juicy, tropical, piney, and citrus punch”; with those hop varieties, we’re not surprised! Islanders can expect this one to be released at the end of the month, on March 30th.

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing is also releasing a brand new beer at this weekend’s FredCraftBeerFest, Patagonia IPA. Based on their Patagonia Pale Ale, they boosted the body, bitterness, and alcohol to bring it up to what they look for in an IPA style. Featuring plenty of tropical fruit and piney resin from the hops, the full-bodied 6.6% ABV, 80 IBU beer is launching tomorrow, with it hitting draft lines at the taproom shortly as well.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has been very busy lately! They have four new beers, all of which that will be debuting at FCBF tomorrow. First up is their Sumac Sour (4.8% ABV), a kettle-soured beer that has locally-harvested sumac berries added after fermentation was complete. Dark amber with a crimson hue, this tart beer was also dry-hopped to add some fruity hop notes on the nose.

• Let’s move on to their first Lager. Currently unnamed, this is an amber-coloured beer that was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain, before being lagered at cold temperatures for a period. With a light maltiness in the flavour, it has more hop flavour than expected, thanks to a dry-hop addition. It still comes out with very good clarity, and is quite refreshing at 5% ABV and 25 IBUs.

• The third beer Big Axe will be pouring is a variation on a special one-off brew they poured at last year’s festival, Bootlegger v 2.0 Imperial Stout. The 8.0% ABV beer was brewed with molasses and bitter orange peel, to complement the big body and roast character from the underlying Stout. A pair of casks have been further aged on American oak chips, with those being tapped at the James Joyce Saturday as well.

•  Last, but not least from B.A., is Oatmeal Cream Ale, featuring Extra Pale malt and Oats for a light straw colour, notes of hazelnuts, and a full, silky mouthfeel thanks to the oats. Extremely drinkable, with nice character to keep you wanting more. After the Festival, all four beer will be available at their taproom in Nackawic, and at their tap accounts in Fredericton.

• In important news for Nova Scotia breweries, the lawyer representing Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing appeared in court earlier this week, following up on their challenge of the legality of the Retail Sales Markup Allowance (RSMA) collected by the NSLC. Arguing that the NSLC (a) does not take part in the production, packaging, or delivery of the beer that Unfiltered (and many other breweries in the province) brews, and (b) does not have the authority to collect what is effectively a tax, lawyer Richard Norman requested the refund of more than $35,000 in funds that had been paid, and that the RSMA be declared invalid. The judge has yet to render a decision, and will do so within the next six months. You can rest assured we’ll pass along information as we receive it, as this will affect all breweries and beer drinkers in the province! You can read more about the original filing, and this week’s hearing online.

Here’s what’s going on this weekend in our region:

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

• After tomorrow’s Beer Fest at the Convention Centre in Fredericton, stumble over to The Snooty Fox for a Tap Takeover by PEI Brewing/Gahan, with live music by The Hypochondriacs starting at 9:30pm. They’ll be bringing ten different beers, including some special releases, so there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Before we leave you for this week, here are a few parting shots:

– British Columbia’s Central City Brewers and Distillers is releasing a special 12-pack of collaborative brews in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. Atlantic Canadian breweries Quidi Vidi, Garrison, Picaroons, and PEI Brewing are all part of the Red Racer Across The Nation Collaboration, which we expect to be available at local LCs in the spring. We’ll have details on the four local beers when available, in the meantime here’s a bit more information.
Good Robot managed to get a keg of Red Moon Landing on tap for their FemmeBot event on Wednesday, but due to a chiller issue, the remainder of that AlphaBrew batch won’t be available until this coming Wednesday. Meanwhile, you can enjoy their March Madness Cribbage Tournament on Sunday, March 12, with 32 players and a potential $150 pot, or this month’s Silent Reading event on Thursday the 16th.
– For those of you in the Annapolis Valley, be sure to request your Lunn’s Mill Growler Delivery ASAP, and ask for their brand new Eclipse Black IPA. Hoppy, roasty, and with plenty of bitterness, it’ll get you warmed up after shovelling out from the snow that may be coming our way this weekend.
– Mil Street St John’s has released their Black Bart Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
– If you love the DOA from Unfiltered Brewing, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s back at the brewery and next door at Charm School as of today at noon. Same 100+ IBU. Same 7.5% ABV. Double Orange Apocalypse.

We’re firmly into 2017 and we’ll all hopefully be able to stop typing 2016 any day now. Though the we haven’t quite reached the dead of winter, the beer scene in the region is still showing plenty of signs of life and it’s not looking like that will slow down any time soon. Read on for all the news on new beers, re-releases, and beer- and brewery-related events throughout our corner of the country. And don’t forget, the first kegs from Harvey, NB’s Think Brewing will be available this weekend. We have confirmation that they will be on tap at the James Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen in the next day or two. To learn more, check out Tuesday’s Profile with Think. And now on to the rest of the beer news!

• A little over a year ago, Flying Boats released Double Oatmeal Stout, an easy-drinking beer with plenty of oatmeal and roast character. Recently, owner/brewer Marc Melanson has changed the recipe, with the result being Station Master Stout. Over 10% of rolled oats, along with specialty malts including Chocolate and Roasted varieties, makes up the grist, giving “slight chocolate, coffee, and roastiness” in the flavour, along with a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, expect this one to weigh in at approximately 5.2% ABV; look for it at Flying Boats tap accounts sometime within the next couple of weeks.

• Saint John’s newest brewery, Loyalist City, released another of their flagship beers for the first time late last week. An American Pale Ale, Three Sisters Pale Ale (6% ABV, 60 IBUs) features a blend of three popular American hop varieties – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – to give “an assertive mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma”. The high majority of the hops were added in the whirlpool, after the boil was complete, to maximize the deliciousness of these varieties, without adding too much bitterness in the finish. The grist was kept simple, with a mix of two base malts, to complement the hops but not overpower them. Fermented clean with an American Ale yeast strain, more Mosaic was included in not one, but two, dry-hop additions, resulting in even more tropical fruit in the aroma. For historians, the beer was named after the Three Sisters Lamp, which was erected in 1842 at the end of Prince William Street “to welcome visitors to the Saint John Harbour by guiding them safely into port”. Look for Three Sisters on tap at select accounts in the city, including Cask & Kettle and Five & Dime, and at the ANBL Growler program starting Jan 26 at the three SJ-region locations. Details are thin, but look for LCBC’s Extra Special Bitter to hit the taps this weekend, we’ll share more details when we have them.

YellowBelly Brewpub in downtown St John’s has released a new cider this week, featuring partridge berries. Twenty kilograms of the extremely ripe fruit were used for a subtle sweetness and tannic tartness. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “It’s like our regular cider with a bit of pink lemonade and the merest hint of wintergreen, methinks.” Grab a pint at the pub, and look for bottles at a few St. John’s NLCs next week.

• Still on the Rock, Mill Street Brewpub has been serving a beer since late 2016 that we seem to have missed the boat on. St. John’s ESB is in the English Pale Ale family, with a balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness enhancing its drinkability. It comes in at a very reasonable 4.8% ABV and 27 IBU with biscuit, caramel and lightly toasted malt notes and floral and earthy hop flavours. Look for it the next time you’re by for a pint or a growler fill.​

• Fans of Moncton’s Bore City Brewing can look forward to their first new beer release in a while, a currently-unnamed “lower-ABV Belgian style Ale” (think roughly along the lines of an Abbey Single or Table Beer). With a grist of mainly Pilsner malt and Munich II, it was hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, White Labs’ Belgian Golden Ale. This one should come in around 5.6% ABV; it won’t be ready for another few weeks, according to the brewery, but we’ll have more information to release before then!

Graystone Brewing has their first Lager on tap at their taproom and elsewhere in Fredericton. The North is a Pilsner that was “amply hopped” with two varieties, German Perle and Czech Saaz, giving distinctive floral and spicy notes to the beer. Fermented cool at 13 C with a European Lager yeast, the beer was further lagered at cold temperatures for six weeks. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, and is available now for pints, and crowler/growler fills.

• Graystone also released another new beer yesterday, Shiver Stout, to coincide with this year’s Shivering Songs Festival. With an addition of a cold-brewed medium roast blend from Whitney Coffee Company added directly to the beer, there’s plenty of smooth coffee flavour (without any harshness) in this one. On the lighter-ABV end for a stout (4.7%), it clocks in at 30 IBUs; while exploring around Fredericton for the festival, be sure to seek this one out!

• Continuing with Fredericton, Bogtrotter has a new beer popping up around the city. Drunken Newt Red Rye Ale was brewed with Rye malt in the grist, with nutmeg added late in the boil. This deep red-coloured beer comes in at 5% ABV, and features “aromas of fresh rye bread, caramel malt and hops”, according to the brewery. Expect flavours of caramel, toffee, and a hint of, naturally, nutmeg. It’s available on tap around Fredericton, and is also in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL locations.

• Now firmly in the middle of winter, it’s time for the return of one of last year’s favourites, Big Spruce Brewing‘s Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, an ode to local meteorologist Peter Coade, who retired in September 2016, after a record-breaking 54 year career. This Winter Warmer is 7.4% ABV, and features Gila Squash grown at their brewery farm. It was oven roasted with organic cane sugar before being added to the mash, extracting some extra sweetness and complexity. After primary fermentation, the beer was conditioned with a dark rum tincture of local ginger with organic cinnamon and vanilla. This release is draft/growler only, while the next release will be aged in barrels and will be available on draft, and in bottles.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released their first Double IPA, Make and Break. Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, the beer features Amarillo and Millennium hops, to the tune of 60 IBUs, balancing the sweet, malty aroma. Grab a pint or growler fill at the brewery, and look for it at their tap accounts shortly.

• Be sure to grab today’s episode of the 902 BrewCast, with Kyle, Phil, and Tony tasting through a selection of Nova Scotian and New Brunswick IPAs (including a look at the medal winners of the 2016 ACBAs). They even invited along our very own acbbchris for a nerdier approach to the whole thing. Be sure to share your feedback on their social media feeds, or in a comment below.

• Attention large AtlCan breweries! The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is taking a handful of Canadian breweries on a tour of five US cities next month, and the opportunity to sign-up is now open. Visiting Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami Feb 27 – Mar 2, brewers will have the chance to meet local vendors, check out the potential markets, and learn about the benefits (and potential) drawbacks to doing business abroad. More details can be found here, including contacts on how to sign up before the application window closes January 25th.

A few events have popped up on our radar; check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods:

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar are holding another Growler Pop-Up today, 10-6pm (or when the beer runs dry). Look for the return of Herbies Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, Sour Otis Fruit Cake Kettle Sour, as well as two new IPAs: Calling Method IPA (featuring Citra) and Nelson IPA, single-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The first few folks through the door will receive a free T&B growler (empty) – the early birds get the worm!

• A reminder of tomorrow’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Ducky’s in Sackville. In addition to their core lineup, and special beers that they’ve been saving, it will serve also as the sneak preview of their Barrel-aged Barleywine, being released next Thursday. We’ll have more details on that beer next week. In the meantime, learn more about the evening, and live music, on the FB Event page.

• Join Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL next weekend, January 27th and 28th, for Eat the Hill. Pairing their beers with plates from several different chefs, there will be plenty of food, beer, and cheer to go around after a day on the slopes. Tickets are available now.

Mill Street is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner at the brewpub on February 8th. Hosted by Joel Manning, Head Brewmaster for the Mill Street family, and Dan Boldrini, Head Brewer at the St. John’s location, it will feature five of beers paired with five courses from the kitchen. The event will take place the evening of Wednesday, February 8; tickets are $60 and are apparently going fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors next Saturday, January 28th, for a soft launch of their beers and tap room. Featuring their core line-up on tap, as well as several special tap-room-only beer produced on their pilot system, the fun kicks off at noon. Take a gander at this week’s The Coast newspaper for an article with Kelly, Mark, and Jeremy, and we’ll have a full profile with the crew early next week, to whet your whistle.

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be holding a Nano Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring four of Nova Scotia’s smallest craft breweries, on Thursday, February 9th. All sixteen taps will be dedicated to beer from Brightwood, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tidehouse. Drop by from 2:00 pm to taste the beers from these small operations, including a few special one-offs casks, and meet the folks behind the beers.

• On February 16th, Battery Park is hosting Pop-Up Love Party, an event with live performers expounding on love, paired with local beer and a menu designed by Daniel Burns. It also serves as the launch of just the second beer brewed at North‘s Dartmouth location (in BP’s foyer), Zuppa Symposium. It is a Milk Stout aged on local blackberries and cherry wood, and will be available on tap (both standard and nitro versions), and in bottles. More details are available here, and tickets here.

 • Like to drink beer and curl? Or even just drink beer and slide around on the ice with a broom? Well, good news! Good Robot is holding their 1st Annual Tournament of Broken Hearts on Saturday, February 18th at the Mayflower Curling Club. Teams of four can sign up here ($80 per team), with all participants receiving GR toques, plenty of GR beer on tap, prizes to the winners, and an after-party. The fun starts at 1 pm and will continue all day and evening.

• It’s a ways away on May 27th, but early bird tickets are already on sale for the first annual Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at the Rodd Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, it will feature breweries from around Nova Scotia. There will be two tastings, in the afternoon at 2:30pm and in the evening at 7:30pm. The $30 package includes a commemorative glass and 5 sampling tickets, with additional sampling tickets available both online when you register and at the event itself. VIP and Designated Driver packages are also available: the VIP is priced at $45 and includes 10 sampling tickets, access to a VIP lounge and early access (30 minutes) to the tasting; the DD package gives 5 sampling tickets for food and non-alcoholic drinks and access to the VIP lounge and is priced at $15. Early bird registrants (until February 15th) save $5 on any package, while late registrations will see prices $5 higher. More information, including participating breweries will be available as the event gets closer.

• The YBF will also feature the first annual Hop Run. This event marries drinking beer and running and features both individual and relay formats. Individuals will run between 1 and 3 miles, with a beer at the starting gun and another after each mile completed to a maximum of three laps and four beers per person. The relay will see teams of three each running one lap and drinking 4 beers. Included in all registrations is a Hop Run pint glass and a finisher’s medal for each runner. Pricing for individuals is based on number of miles ($45/50/55 for 1, 2 and 3 miles, respectively), while relay pricing is $150 for the team. Again, early bird and latecomer pricing is in effect. So if you know you’re interested, get your registration in early and save a few dollars.​

And finally today:

Big Tide currently has an “extra-strong” batch of their Karnival Kölsch on tap at the brewpub; weighing in at 6.3% ABV (vs. its usual 4.5%), it also features Hallertau hops from Darlings Island Farm.
Boxing Rock Carbon-14 is back, Professor Jason MacDougall’s second-place winner from the first Boxing Rock Black Box challenge last year is available once again. It’s a big beer, a strong dark Belgian that should be perfect for a cold winter night.
Unfiltered: Deity SMaSH DIPA is back! The same blast of hoppy juiciness with spicy, herbal notes from the Columbus hops as the first time ’round. 7.5% ABV 100+ IBU 10 SRM
– Johnny Jacks Brewery in Oromocto has a new beer headed to local ANBL shelves soon, Pond Hockey Winter Ale. The 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU beer will be released in 750 ml bottles.
Hammond River S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout is kegged and will be popping up at local tap accounts this weekend.

Good morning, and welcome to your weekly infusion of what’s new in Atlantic Canada in terms of craft beer! Let’s get started…

• Last Saturday’s third annual Fredericton Poutine Festival was yet another success, with close to 500 people showing up between the two sessions. The event had sold out very quickly after tickets went on sale last August, and with ~25 beers, ciders and mead pouring from 11 different breweries, and more than 12 types of poutine being served from four establishments, bellies were full and happy by the end of it all! The Doghut Canteen took home the Best of the Fest award for the second year in a row, thanks to various styles of poutine featuring donair meat and sauce. Organizer Lloyd Chambers has confirmed that they are planning another event soon, with a tentative date of Saturday, April 2nd. Look for this Poutine Festival to feature beer garden-style seating, all new varieties of poutine, and even more varieties of craft beer… stay tuned! Finally, a reminder that tickets for the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just went on sale; with two sessions (afternoon and evening) this time around, and several days of events leading up to the festival, it’ll likely sell out even faster than last year, so don’t wait… in fact, 250 tickets were sold today in the first five minutes after going on sale! For more info, check out yesterday’s post.

BarNone will soon be releasing a new beer to select bars and restaurants in PEI. The Big O is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) beer that features 100% organic 2-row base malt and Galaxy, an Australian hop variety that provides lots of tropical fruit characteristics. With plenty of late additions of this hop in this brew, expect this light-coloured ale to be extremely aromatic and flavourful, without much in the way of accompanying bitterness. It comes in at a very-drinkable 5% ABV, and should be hitting taps soon. Also, note that BarNone will continue to offer growlers at the Charlottetown Farmers Market every Saturday. Look for future iterations of The Big O to feature different hop varieties, with Vic Secret possibly following soon.

• There’s a new beer launching today at Unfiltered in Halifax, and it’s a big one. Flat Black Jesus is described as an American-style stout that has been brewed with locally-harvested wet hops, and further dry-hopped with several “new” Australian hop varieties. Brewed back in September, it was one of the Maritime beers featured at Toronto’s Cask Days, but the local version was further conditioned on oak until its release. With an ABV of 7%, and 100+ calculated IBUs, this jet-black beer is not for the faint of heart (but really, were you expecting any less?). Look for it at the brewery for growler fills starting at noon today, and on tap shortly.

• Also releasing today at noon is Breton Brewing’s fourth core beer, Red Coat Irish Red Ale. Featuring Pilsner and a touch of Roasted malt for colour and aroma, this 5% ABV Red Ale comes in at 25 IBUs for a nice balance to the toast and malt flavours and aromas. Look for it on tap at the brewery today, and at their accounts this weekend.

• There’s lots going on at Tatamagouche Brewing these days! Their latest specialty brew is out today: Smorter, a S’mores-inspired porter! This 6.5% ABV porter was brewed with the addition of chocolate malt, cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, and molasses right in the mash tun. During the boil, more cinnamon, as well as honey and vanilla beans, was also added. After the boil, the wort travelled through a hop back loaded with local Willamette hops. To further S’more it up, the beer was conditioned with additional vanilla beans. From brewer Christiane Jost, “A beer reminiscent of a summer’s night bonfire, but high enough in alcohol to help you forget it’s not.” Smorter is available today at the brewery in growler fills and cans, and on tap around the province shortly.

• Coming next week from Tata is another special brew, Full Circle. This American Wheat was brewed with a special visitor/collaborator in the brewery, Ceilidh Sutherland. A native of Tatamagouche, Ceilidh is co-owner of Halifax’s Field Guide restaurant, specializing in locally-sourced and -inspired plates. The beer features local Cascade hops from Northport’s Wymsykal Farms in both the mash and through a hopback, and Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria hops at the end of the boil for citrus aromatics. The 4.9% Full Circle will be released next Thursday, December 3rd, and will be making its debut during a Tata Tap Takeover at Field Guide, and subsequently in kegs, growlers and cans.

• And finally in Tata news, their Deception Bay IPA is back on tap and cans at the brewery today. The Silver Medal winning IPA at this year’s ACBAs, it is brewed with Frontenac Organic Pilsner Malt, bittered with Magnum, and late-hopped with Citra, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, for more juicy flavour and aromas. And they brewed up their next seasonal this week, Maple Squash Ale. Look for it to be released mid-December.

• The end of November also marks the end of Movember, the hairiest month of the year. That also means that Quidi Vidi’s extremely popular Fogtown Lager will soon be no more. But fear not, YYT beer fans, as they will be releasing the last 35 dozen of the beer this Saturday at 1pm. They’ll also be hosting the end-of-month Mo’ judging Sunday afternoon at 2pm, complete with live music, food, and of course, beer! And there are plenty of prizes and perks left to be won by those who donate and/or raise a few mo’ bucks for the cause… check out their Movember page for more details. Congratulations to QV, the top-raising brewery world-wide! This week also saw the release of Quid Vidi’s Christmas seasonal, Mummer’s Brew. Named after the practice of dressing up and visiting friends and neighbours, to sing, tell stories, or jokes, this Amber Ale weighs in at 5% ABV; it should be available at the brewery now.

Gahan Halifax has a pair of new brews on tap this week at their waterfront location. First up is a Gingerbread Beer. Light in alcohol, at 4.3%, the beer features lots of cinnamon, ginger, and clove character, reminiscent of the popular baked goods. Lightly hopped to 35 IBUs, it works especially well in a glass with a cinnamon/sugar rim! Also on tap is an English Mild. Served at a medium-low carbonation, as it would be across the pond, this is a malt forward beer with a great roast character, and supremely sessionable at 3.7% ABV. A higher bitterness, around 50 IBUs, helps to keep you wanting more. Both beers are also available to take home in growlers, along with Gahan’s other locally- and Island-brewed offerings.

• The Pump House has re-released their Schwarzbier, a German-style Black Lager. While black in colour, traditional Schwarzbiers are brewed to have only subtle hints of chocolate and coffee, with a clean finish to make the very drinkable. The Pump House beer comes in higher than most beers in this style, at 7.5% ABV. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, and is available at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend.

• Speaking of beer re-releases, Boxing Rock U-889 is back again! This popular Russian Imperial Stout is big and bold, featuring over 600 kg of malt, a two hour boil, and plenty of hops to help balance all that sweetness. In addition, 22 gallons of “strong, cold-brewed coffee” from Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op was thrown in, along with 20 pounds of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, for over two weeks. The result? An 8.89% ABV, 65 IBUs black monster of a beer, with lots of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel aromas and flavours. As the brewery aptly puts it, think of it as a “dessert in a glass”. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private stores in Halifax, and select bars and restaurants. As always, supplies are limited, so pick it up while you can!

Bulwark Cider will be releasing their latest product late next week. Their Oak-Aged Cider is 7% ABV, starting from a clean base of Annapolis Valley apples, and aged on American oak for six months. The wood added some toast, vanilla, and caramel-like qualities, without any residual sugar to the dry cider. The cider is packaged in clear 750 mL flip-top bottles, with a beautiful etching designed by Meredith Bangay, and voted on by the public at Stillwell during Nocturne. This very limited run will be only available at the NSLC, with one sole keg available at Stillwell in the near future. We also have a bit of information some of Bulwark’s future releases. Making a return, will be their Ice Apple cider (previously named Northern Compass), a higher ABV cider, as well as the very popular Sour Cherry cider, that was released in the summer. We’ll fill you in when they become available!

AB-InBev has announced that they will be brewing once again in their Keith’s Brewery Market/Lower Water Street location in the new year. The brewery space, which has not produced beer for several years, will be undergoing major brewery upgrades, to the tune of $1.5M, and the hiring of a new brewmaster for the location. Due to customer demand, and perhaps feeling the heat from the expansion of local craft breweries (both in number and market share), they are promising to produce “small-batch, innovative brews” in this location, available at local bars and the NSLC. At their planned 2,000 hectolitre capacity, this would certainly put them on the big side of “small”. The new facility should be putting out beer in mid-Spring 2016.

• Tickets for the 2016 Saint John Beer Fest are now on sale. As always, they expect to have plenty of craft beer available to sample, along with options for food to purchase from local establishments, and live entertainment throughout the festival. Once again taking place within the atrium of Market Square, the festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th. There are two ticket options: general admission from 7:30-9:30 pm for $63.96 per ticket, and a VIP ticket for $74.52, which gets you in at 7 pm to sample some “limited specialty brews”. We’ll have more info on the Fest for you as it gets closer!

Have a fantastic weekend! If you’re in the Moncton area tonight, the Moncton Beer League still has some tickets left for their Flights ‘n Bites: Whisky & Beer Edition; taking place at the Alma City Club from 7-10 pm, there will be several pairings of various scotch and whiskies, Pump House beer, and food items. If you’re in Sackville, be sure to drop by your ANBL growler station this weekend, as Flying Boats will have a small amount of their Dixie Clipper IPA pouring once one of the taps is freed up; look for that to occur around Saturday or Sunday. Maybee Brewing has officially brewed their first batch of beer (their American Amber, Roseway Red) on their new DME system; those of you in Fredericton can expect to see it on tap and in cans sometime in December, around their official launch. Upstreet Brewing‘s bottled beer (Commons, Do-Gooder, and Rhuby Social) are now available for purchase outside of the brewery, at select PEILCC locations. And a reminder that Garrison’s Spruce Beer will be released today at the brewery, and tomorrow at NSLC stores. And to celebrate they are tapping casks of it and their Winter Warmer (along with mulled cider and hot chocolate) tomorrow beginning at 11am at the brewery, with all proceeds going to the Christmas Daddies Charity.

Good morning! We’ve got a bit of beer news for you this week (as usual), just in time to end off your October…

• Today, Garrison Brewing is releasing the second beer in their Star Trek-themed series, just in time for this weekend’s Halifax sci-fi convention, Hal-Con. Vulcan Ale – Genesis Effect is a “Red Session IPA” that has been hopped with Comet, Galaxy and Warrior. Described as “hoppy and spicy” by brewmaster Daniel Girard, this 5.4% ABV beer will be jointly released in the U.S. by Shmaltz Brewing (out of upstate New York), in the Federation of Beer line of officially licensed Star Trek beers. It’s available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private liquor stores in the city, and select NSLC stores. Also out in celebration of Hal-Con is Raspberry Ginger Ale, hitting the shelves today as well.

• In other Garrison news, we have some more details on the Gastronome IPA they brewed as an exclusive release at harbourstone sea grill & pour house. Proud Rose-Mary was inspired by the restaurant’s Chef Trevor Simms’ approach to food, and features the addition of fresh orange juice and rosemary. It comes in at an ABV of 6.5%; you can find it on tap now at the harbourstone. Look for the Gastronome beer to change quarterly, in conjunction with the menu changes at the restaurant.

Movember starts Sunday, and Quidi Vidi Brewing in St. John’s are releasing a special beer in collaboration with Fogtown Barber, to celebrate the hairiest of months. Fogtown Lager will be released 2pm Sunday afternoon at Quidi Vidi, during a “Shave Down” event to kick off the month, complete with food from Mallard Cottage and live music. For those that sign up to the QV Mo Team before Sunday, they’ll receive a free Fogtown Lager t-shirt (while supplies last), and if they raise more than $250 before the end of Movember, a free hat, in addition to other great perks. Check out the details on their Facebook page. The beer itself is a 5% ABV pale lager featuring Crystal hops, and will be hitting the shelves and taps in St John’s and region beginning Monday.

• The PEI Brewing Co. is getting ready to release their next barrel-aged beer. The beer is named Hell Street, and is their Reanimator Doppelbock that has spent some time in the PEIBC barrels. It has been bottled, capped, and wax-sealed, and is all ready for its official release next Thursday at the brewery. PEIBC also tapped Scared Wit-Less earlier this week, their latest cask at their tasting room; it’s described as a 7.5% ABV Pale Ale that has had coriander and chamomile added, to boost the spicy and flowery aromas and flavours.

Picaroons released a new beer of sorts yesterday at the Brewtique – Gourd Browny is a reiteration of their Connell Stamp, an English Brown Ale. Hopped with Fuggles and Goldings, and infused with a “special blend” of pumpkin pie spices from local bakery/cafe the Chess Piece, this one is available only for growler fills at the Brewtique, while supplies last. And Picaroons is looking to hire a manager to run their Uptown Saint John location, which will be opening in 2016. Send along resumes to beerguy@picaroons.ca.

• Good news for Upstreet fans – they’re now officially selling some of their beers in bottles! Both their Commons (Bohemian Pilsner) and Do-Gooder (American Pale Ale) are available for purchase in a 500 mL format at the brewery (starting today at noon) for takeaway, and should follow at PEILCC stores later next month. Look for their Rhuby Social and White Noize to follow in the near future, along with other seasonals to be brewed over time.

Spindrift Brewing will be opening the doors at their storefront at 21 Frazee Drive in Dartmouth this Wednesday. From 11am-6pm, they will be celebrating their grand opening with schwag, samples, cans, and growler fills of their Coastal Lager. Drop by to meet the gang, and get a peek inside the brewery. Going forward, their storefront will be open Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm for all of your Spindrift needs.

• The crew at Halifax’s Good Robot may have been assimilated and replaced by actual robots after their acquisition by AB InBev-SAB Miller, but at least they’ve been keeping busy in the brewhouse! There are a pair of experimental brews available now, only on tap at the brewery. Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale is a light-bodied and -hopped beer, with loads of cherry character in a golden package. The second beer is de la Rocha, a habanero dark ale, with intense chile heat, again with a light body, and no discernible hop character. Both brews are Beta versions, so be sure to drop by and give the beers a try, and share your feedback with the ‘bots. For those with young ones (or young-at-heart), the brewery will be decorated for Halloween tomorrow, and there will be tricks and treats for visitors of all ages.*

• There is a new brewery in the development and licensing process coming to Port Rexton, Newfoundland. Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills had been working towards opening a brewery in Truro, NS, but while visiting Mills’ family in Newfoundland, they fell in love with the area and possibilities for a brewery. There is still much to be done, including an environmental assessment of their location and securing final funding, but we are looking forward to trying Port Rexton Brewing Co. beer in their brewhouse next summer.

• There will soon be a pair of different Craft Beer Advent Calendars available in our region. Much like a traditional chocolate or gift advent calendar, the idea is to get a new surprise every day during the first few weeks of December. The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar will feature 24 craft beers from across Canada and the US. Though the beer list is secret (no spoilers, please!), we do know that none of the beers are otherwise for sale in our region, and many of them were brewed specifically for the Calendar. Craft Beer fans are sure to find some new favourites in the box. The calendar will be available at select NSLC locations and NLC locations in the next couple of days, so be sure to drop by your local store to grab one.

• And if one new brew a day isn’t enough for you, some of the private beer stores in Halifax are putting together their own Advent Calendar. Drop by Cristall Wine, Harvest Wines, or RockHead Wine and Beer Market before November 20th to reserve your calendar, for pickup November 30th. The 24 beer in these are a mix of local, domestic, and international beers for a true taste of the World of Beer.

Hammond River has confirmed that they will be holding their Second Annual Homebrew Competition on January 17th, 2016. This BJCP-certified event will focus on Strong Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy), a full-bodied, deeply malty, strong Scottish beer style. Brewers will be limited to two entries each (two 12 or 16 oz bottles for each entry required), and entries will be due on January 15th; they can be shipped or dropped off to Hammond River in Quispamsis. Prizes will be given to the top three beers, and the winning entry will also be brewed as a full-size batch on HR’s system; of course, the winning homebrewer will be invited to assist with brewing this batch! Each entry costs $10; get brewing, homebrewers!

That’s just about all we’ve got this week… have a fun (and safe) Halloween tomorrow! Look for North Brewing’s Strong Dark Belgian to make its return shortly. Karl Whiffen from Uncle Leo’s dropped by Halifax brewery Unfiltered this week; we’ll let you know what they brewed up shortly. Boxing Rock underwent an expansion this week, to make room for more capacity in the brewhouse. Celtic Knot’s Caledonia 70/- seasonal is back on tap in the region. Look for it in Moncton and Saint John at your favourite watering hole. And a reminder to drop by Port City Royal tomorrow at 2pm for the tapping of an aged cask of Hammond River’s Sterke Monnik, their 10.3% Belgian Quad.

*The folks at Good Robot were not replaced by actual robots.

Happy Friday, everyone! We haven’t quite escaped Old Man Winter’s clutch just yet, so grab a coffee, or coffee stout, and let the beer news warm you up!

• There’s a new beer in the works at Celtic Knot Brewing: Terminus will be the first in a series of one-hop IPAs planned by owner/brewer Bruce Barton. Featuring the El Dorado hop, the beer should come in at 6.5% ABV and approximately 67 IBUs. El Dorado is a fairly new hop variety that exhibits notes of tropical fruit, citrus, and orange candy aromas and flavors. We’ll be sure to let you know more about this beer when it’s released!

• The Ladies Beer League will be brewing up another collaboration with Boxing Rock Brewing this month, and they want you to be a part of it! Open to any & all LBL members, they are holding a draw for a few spots on the brew team for the day. Fire them an email with your name, contact info, LBL Membership number, and answer to the following trivia question, “What was the name of the Ladies Beer League/Boxing Rock 2014 collaboration beer?”. If you are picked, you’ll be joining the crew in Shelburne to help brew the Cinnamon Challenge Robust Porter later this month. Transportation to/from Shelburne and food will be provided. If you’re not a member yet, you can apply online.

• The 7th Annual Garrison Brewing Home Brew-off Gala was last night, and once again many in the local homebrewing and beer appreciation community were in attendance. From a record 84 entries, the judging panel whittled it down to 14. From there, Brewmaster Daniel Girard and his crew picked out the top four, concentrating on adherence to style, drinking pleasure, and carbonation. Yesterday, the final round of judging took place, and a winner picked. acbbchris was one of the judges in the final, and can honestly say that it was quite difficult: all of the finale beers were very well crafted, enjoyable, and great examples of the style. However, there can be only one winner, and David Martin was crowned as this year’s victor. Congratulations to the finalists, and all who entered their beers.

• The Gala also served as the launch party for the 2014 winner, Jason McDougall‘s beer: Professor McDougall’s Weisse-Guy Hefeweizen. Jason talked about his great brew day with Daniel and co., and had this advice for anyone thinking of opening their own brewery, “Be sure to buy a house beside the brewery, because you’ll be spending a lot of time there!” This 5.4% ABV Hefeweizen gives off a powerful banana nose, thanks to the Weihenstephan yeast used to ferment the beer. Low bitterness from Hallertauer hops has the balance slightly sweet, which also plays well in the style, and will go perfectly with the approaching patio weather. Available now at the Brewery store, it will also be in the private stores & NSLC, and on tap shortly. And remember, Beer & Science are Sexy!

• The Beerthief Artisanal Beer Club is hosting a Beer & Food tasting next week. On March 11th, Executive Chef Peter Anthony of Magnum & Steins is putting together a four course meal to pair with Quidi Vidi beer. QV’s Iceberg, 1892 Traditional Ale, British IPA, and Winter Ale will be paired with a great selection of food prepared especially. RSVP by calling  709-576-6500 or emailing Magnum & Steins.

• The event details for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week continue to trickle in. The latest one announced is the 2015 Stillwell Open. The theme is “Backyard BBQ Beer”, and breweries are encouraged to brew a beer in this vein, to pair with Chef Ruppel’s BBQ creations. The unique part of the event is that the entries will be poured blind, without attendees knowing which brewery, or exact style, they are drinking. Folks are encouraged to vote for their favourites, and as beers are eliminated as crowd favourites, their identity will be revealed, until only one beer remains, and is crowned the champion. Tickets are now available to get in on the first pours and food from 12-5, and then the doors will open to the public for the last hour of voting. Starting at 6pm, the beers will be revealed, one per half-hour.

Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has released a new beer they’re describing as a “Session Pale Ale”. Named Lt. Ingall (after British soldier Lieutenant Frederick Lenox Ingall, who led troups from Fredericton to Edmundston in 1837 to defend the territory from the Americans), it was brewed entirely with malt from MaltBroue, a maltser from Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, QC (very close to the brewery). This brew was a sort of “test project” with MaltBroue and the NBCC in Grand Falls; they also had brewing engineer Jean Michel LeGraux, former head brewer for Belgian Trappist brewery Chimay, on hand during the process. Hops used in this beer include Columbus, Chinook, Citra and Willamette; quite drinkable at 4.6% ABV, it’s on tap now at the brewery for growler fils, and at the Sackville, Dieppe, and KV ANBL growler stations this week.

• We have some more details on the new beers now available from Big Axe Brewery. The first one is Partridgeberry Belgian Wheat, a 5.6% ABV Belgian Witbier brewed with “a mixture” of Pale malts, and hopped with Saaz and “other aroma hops”. Featuring the addition of orange peel and coriander – standard for the Witbier style), they also added five pounds of partridgeberries in secondary fermentation, giving the beer a “mild but complex tartness, and a wild berry aroma”, according to the brewery. Beer #2 is Chaga Porter, a 5.4% ABV dark brown ale featuring chaga, a variety of mushroom harvested locally in birch forests by Fiddlehead Heaven Forest Products. Featuring “traditional English aroma hops” and dark malts, the beer has “mild roastiness and a pleasant caramel character”, along with the flavors offered from the chaga. Big Axe has also revised their recent Big Axe Blonde; it’s now hopped with Perle and El Dorado, and the ABV has been decreased slightly to 4.6%. All three beers should be available at the brewery, and will be pouring at the FCBF tomorrow.

• To celebrate this weekend’s sold-out Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, the ANBL growler program is going all New Brunswick! For the first time since its launch, all four of the locations will be pouring only beer produced in the province. It is also the first time that newcomer TrailWay Brewing will be available for growler fills (check out their tasty Primetime APA at the Prospect St Fredericton location). And the price across the board is a very reasonable $10, whether you are buying Grimross’ Cheval D’Or, Railcar’s Artisan Brown Ale, or Pump House’s IPA. We expect them to whip through these beers quite quickly, so be sure to fill up your growler today! And the charity auction for 32oz FCBF-branded growlers is closing at noon today, so be sure to get your bids in now!

And finally today, in case our brewing brothers and sisters missed it, the official call for entries for the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards is open! Last year’s competition saw almost 1000 entries, and they are hoping to break that barrier this year. There were several winning beers from the Atlantic Provinces in 2014, so let’s show the rest of the country that the beer quality continues to be as good as anywhere else in the country. Forms can be downloaded here, and are due April 1st. The beer must be delivered between April 7-18, with the judging taking place at the end of April. This year’s Awards & Conference are taking place June 4-6, 2015 in Niagara Falls, ON.

QUIDI VIDI BREWERY LOGO

 

Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s, Newfoundland was the province’s first craft brewery when it originally opened in 1996. Today, it is also Newfoundland’s largest craft brewery, producing about 7,500 hL (750,000 liters) of beer annually. During a recent trip to The Rock, Chris caught up with Justin Fong and Einer Holtet for a tour of the brewery. They were also kind enough to spend time answering our enquiries.

ACBB: Can you give me a brief history of Quidi Vidi Brewery?

Justin Fong: Quidi Vidi was started by Dave Fong and Dave Rees in 1996, in a small fishing village near downtown St. John’s. The old fish plant was converted into the brewery after the cod industry collapsed in the early 90’s.

What size/manufacturer/type of system is your brewhouse?

Our brewhouse was manufactured by DME; it’s a 20-barrel system (620 U.S. gallons, or about 2,325 L).

QV Brewhouse

20 bbl DME Brewhouse

How big is the staff at Quidi Vidi?

We employ about 20 staff members year-round, with some additional staff in the summer months for tours and events.

How are your beers distributed? On tap at restaurant/bars, bottles at the LC or private stores, growlers, etc.?

We deliver everything ourselves in vans. We’re in the bars, restaurants, brewing agents (convenience stores) and the NLC. Our beers are available in 341 ml bottles (2, 6, and 12 packs) and 30 L kegs.

Can you tell me about the core beer you offer? Do you mainly offer a specific genre, or genres, of beer (English, German, American, Belgian)?

We don’t offer a core mix at all. Newfoundland has an interesting beer market, so we try and cater to different segments without pinning ourselves in one role. Newfoundland’s craft beer segment is still in its early stages (about a 2% market share). When you couple that with our relatively small population, you need to do a few different things. Our Iceberg Beer is an American-style Light Lager (4.5% ABV) which is brewed with iceberg water. This is our biggest seller right now and does extremely well with the light drinkers and tourists. Our 1892 Traditional Ale is an Amber Ale that commemorates The Great Fire of 1892 when most of St. John’s burned down. This was our flagship beer in 1996 and is currently our second best seller. Our newest full time brand is our British IPA, which has been selling exceptionally well on taps in the pubs of downtown St. John’s. It’s a very approachable IPA, and was brewed to help expand the variety of beer flavors available in Newfoundland. As the province’s craft beer market develops, we’ve been pushing the boundaries with our seasonal beer. Our Winter Ale combined roasted cocoa nibs, coriander and vanilla beans. We weren’t sure if it was going to be too bold and adventurous, but the sales spoke for themselves. We did two brews and sold out before our spring seasonal, Continental Pilsener, was ready!

Fermenters

The very busy fermentors at Quidi Vidi

Where do you hope to see Quidi Vidi in the next 2-3 years?

We’re at maximum capacity right now, so expansion is on the agenda. Within a couple years you should see some of our brands in other provinces in the country. We’ve had a ton of interest over the last couples years in markets all over the world for our Iceberg Beer. With a new brewery in place and some capacity, you may see us in some markets that wouldn’t be first choice for most Canadian craft brewers.

Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?

Hah, the answer to that question changes from week to week. We just got back from the Canadian Brewing Awards in Fredericton and had a chance to taste a bunch of great beer. We were at the King Street Ale House and had a couple of beers from Le Trou du Diable which I really enjoyed. A friend of mind was in town about a month ago and brought a nice selection from the U.S.; Heady Topper from The Alchemist definitely stood out.

Is there something specific that got you into the world of craft beer?

For the love of beer, hah. The start is a bit before my time but here’s a quick story on one of the owners and founders, Dave Fong. Dave was from a town called Carboneer about 1 & 1/2 hours outside of St. John’s. While he was studying engineering at Memorial University in St. John’s, he was living in the campus residence. Dave and his friend had a deal worked out with the janitor and were secretly brewing beer in the janitor’s closet. They went back home to Carboneer one weekend and left the janitor in charge of everything. He ended up drinking a ton of the beer and getting hammered on campus. The Memorial campus police picked him up and he ratted on Dave and his friend which led to them getting kicked out of residence! So, I guess you could say they had a deep commitment to beer from a young age.

 

Quidi Vidi Village

A view of Quidi Vidi Village from the brewery

We then spoke with Quidi Vidi Brewmaster Einer Holtet on his history and vision in the brewing business…

Did you start out as a homebrewer? Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?

I started out as what I like to call a “Home Based Craft Brewer”.  There are still a lot of people who attach a negative connotation to the word “homebrew”, especially here in Newfoundland, so I like to make that little distinction. My “homebrew” has consisted of fine, hand-crafted beer from the outset, none of that old-time bathtub swill that some (particularly the older generations) recall as homebrew. There are a lot of people making great homebrewed beers nowadays, and to a great extent this has fueled the North American Craft Brewing revolution over the past 20+ years.

I remember as a teenager helping my Dad with a couple batches of homebrew, and though I didn’t get a chance to indulge in the final product (MUCH!), it did generate a spark of interest. Then after a senior class trip to Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia I gained an appreciation for great, flavourful beer. I knew my dad still had his home brewing equipment, and wasn’t using it, so I pilfered it from his basement and set up shop in my little bachelor suite.  I bought a “middle of the road” beer ingredient kit to start with, but I just couldn’t leave it at that. I bought a couple pounds of specialty malts and some fresh whole hops to bolster the flavour of the kit.  I brewed that first batch of ale in my little bachelor apartment kitchen, had stunning results, and never looked back. That was the last beer ingredient kit I ever bought – from thereon I started formulating all my recipes from scratch.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?

When I first started homebrewing, there was not a whole lot of information online regarding home brewing, so I started collecting and reading every book on brewing I could get my hands on.  I amassed a considerable library, and a considerable amount of brewing knowledge over a few short years. I tried brewing many different styles, many different brewing techniques, and experimented with many different ingredients. I even tried malting my own grains, and to this day still grow my own hops.  Craft brewing grew to be my “passionate hobby”, while I worked away in the Engineering field, always with the fantasy of some day brewing professionally.  Finally after about 16 years of brewing at home I decided that the only way for me to advance in my brewing was to go ahead and take some professional brewing courses, whether I ended up with the opportunity to “go pro” or not, I just wanted it for myself.  So, I enrolled in the brewing program at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. By the time I was finished my coursework at Siebel, I had decided that I was going to leave my Engineering career and pursue brewing as a profession.  I ended up getting hired on here at Quidi Vidi Brewery five years ago, and after a couple years of slugging away doing any and all labour-intensive/menial jobs in the brewery, I finally landed in the brewhouse and was given the opportunity I had been waiting for.  In the past 2-1/2 years I have produced five new brands for the brewery, all of which have been very successful. I am proud to say I’ve taken my “passionate hobby” of 20+ years and turned it into a “passionate career”.

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with? E.g. a specific malt and/or hop variety?

I have always loved my malty ales. Among my favourite ingredients are the “high kilned” malts such as Vienna and Munich, and caramelized malts such as Crystal. I love the robust flavours and colors they add to beer, and I can’t stop munching them by the handful as I’m adding them to the mill!

From what/where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?

I can’t say I learned a lot about brewing from my father, but I guess I should thank him for providing that initial spark of interest back when we brewed together. In the 80’s!

Obligatory iceberg shot, spotted near Cape Spear, NL

Obligatory iceberg shot, spotted by Chris near Cape Spear, NL

Thanks again to Justin and Einer for spending time with us. We had the opportunity to see them in Fredericton for the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards, where they took home Silver for their Premium Lager (North American Style Lager) and Bronze for their Iceberg Beer (North American Style Premium Lager). Congratulations! And the next time you’re in St John’s, be sure to drop by Friday evening for their immensely popular Kitchen Parties: live music and great beer and food, right at the source!

Happy Friday, one and all! Yet another busy week in our region, so let’s get right to it.

• Over the past week, we’ve had a contest going to win two VIP tickets to tomorrow’s sold out Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (FCBF). Thanks to all of you who entered the contest by taking a photo of a beer, there were some very creative ones, and we wish we could give you all prizes. However, the winner (chosen by random chance) is @jacalyn_norrad. Congratulations! Please email/tweet the FCBF to claim your prize!

• A reminder that the Golden Growler fundraising auction is going on until midnight. Submit your bids for one of the twenty limited edition growlers via Facebook, Twitter or email, and if you are a winner, you can pick up your growler at the Fest (or make other arrangements).  You will receive a charitable tax receipt, and the highest bidder will receive their growler filled with Red Rover Cider!

• One of the Nova Scotian contingent to be attending the FCBF is Bad Apple Brewhouse, from Somerset. They recently updated the list of beers they’ll be bringing to the fest: their very popular Russian Imperial Stout, and a new beer, Conception Double IPA. Brewed mid-February to commemorate the future arrival of Jeff’s newest brewery assistant, this beer weighs in at 8.5% ABV, and over 100 IBUs. Thanks to generous hopping from six different hop cultivars, and being very light on crystal malts, it’s been described as “a bouquet of hop juice with a strong finish”. Sounds like a winner to us, congratulations! Besides at the Fest in Fredericton, and on tap very limited at Stillwell in Halifax (who have also been restocked with the “Falcon Teamwork” IPA), the Conception DIPA will mostly be served fresh in growlers from the brewery in Somerset.

• In other Bad Apple Brewhouse news, they are also debuting a special apple cider this weekend. Very dry, and weighing in at 6.7% ABV, the cider was produced using Valley apples from Boates Farm. The cider  has a very effervescent mouthfeel, with a very sharp/dry finish, and like their beer, is unfiltered. It spent three months aging in a 12yr old Glenora Barrel, giving it a unique flavor profile and appearance. Look for it on tap at Stillwell, and at the brewery in multiple refillable options including the new Squealers.

• Finally in BAB news, they are debuting their Squealer today. A 750mL refillable container with standard growler cap, it is the perfect format for some of the higher alcohol brews they’ve got available. The deposit for one of these is $5, and a fill of their Conception DIPA is $7.  In other glassware news, their 20oz English Pub glasses are now in stock, too, perfect for a bottle of their beers or cider.

• Red Rover Brewing Co. has added a third cider to their current line-up: Fall Brew is now pouring for flagon fills at their Ciderhouse location. Coming in at 7% ABV, it is a spiced cider, giving some cinnamon, clove, and other spices in the aroma. Slightly bitter, it has a “warm follow-through” according to brewer/co-owner Adam Clawson. It will also be available for tasting pours at the FCBF tomorrow.

• Interested in supporting one of New Brunswick’s newest up-and-coming breweries? Big Axe Brewery, located in Nackawic, is now selling a few items, including logoed hats ($22 each) and men and women’s T-shirts ($25 each). If you’re interested in purchasing either/both, but don’t live in Nackawic, you can contact the brewery and get a quote for the price of shipping to your area. Look for them at the FCBF tomorrow, as well. Drop by and say hello!

• Less than 4 weeks after their official launch in Saint John, Hammond River Brewing has already purchased some more equipment to allow for an expansion! Owner/brewer Shane Steeves has confirmed that he has doubled fermentation capacity by adding two 40 gallon fermentors to his brewery. Hopefully this means more Hammond River beer in the Saint John area (and beyond?) in the near future!

• Last fall, Shiretown Beer brewed up a Honey Wheat Ale, and they’ve just re-released the beer with a slight change to the hop bill. Coming in at 5% ABV, the beer is brewed with local Buckwheat honey from the Charlo Honeyhouse. It is a light-golden color, and very lightly hopped with little to no bitterness in the finish; an easy-drinking beer. No plans for this beer to be bottled yet; drop by the brewery in Charlo to pick up a growler full!

The Pump House has released a new beer on tap at their brewpub location in Moncton. The “Easy” Amber Ale is a moderate-strength beer at 6% ABV; pouring with a deep amber color, it has “flavors of caramel and toffee”, with a medium bitterness in the finish. Like the other Pump House one-off beers, it probably won’t last too long, so get down to the brewpub for a pint while you can!

• Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Granite Brewery in Halifax has brewed up a batch of their Keefe’s Irish Stout. A Dry Stout with an ABV of 4.6%, the beer is brewed with Roasted Barley malt to give it its black appearance and roasted qualities, and Fuggle hops. With the classic long-lasting, creamy head, the brewery describes it as a “true Irish Stout”. Look for it in growlers at the Granite Beer Store, and on tap at the Henry House, Lion’s Head, Maxwell’s Plum, and the Antigonish Townhouse.

• Speaking of the Antigonish Townhouse, after a short break for some small renovations and a trip to Dublin (jealous!), it is open for business, and ready to keep the town full of great beer, food and cheer! As per usual, their pub is busy every night of the week with guest musicians, their Irish Music Sessions each Sunday, and of course Terry’s Bitter, brewed right above the pub. Be sure to drop by and pull up your regular stool at the bar.

• Looking for a chance to win some extra beer money, AND help support a deserving charity? Well, now’s your chance! Local participants of Team Diabetes are selling tickets ($10 each) for their “Beer for a Year” drawing. The person with the randomly-drawn ticket will receive fifty-two $25 ANBL gift cards to be used at their discretion. You can buy as many tickets as you like; the winning ticket will be drawn on April 10th. Tickets will be sold at the FCBF tomorrow; if you’re not going to be at the festival you can contact Jerri McCallum. All proceeds will be going to Team Diabetes.

Quidi Vidi Brewing is getting ready to re-release a seasonal beer in the near future – their Continental Pilsner should be released sometime over the next couple of weeks. This award-winning beer (it took home a Gold Medal in the Pilsner category from the 2012 World Beer Championships in Chicago) is described as having a “bright golden color”, “vegetal aromas of honeyed artichoke and peppered kale”, and flavors that include “roasted corn and orange sorbet”. This 5% ABV beer will be available in bottles and on tap at all of Quidi Vidi’s seasonal accounts.

Hell Bay Brewing has released a Dunkelweizen this week, which is available at the brewery in growlers, as well as on tap at The Argyle and Stillwell in Halifax. Dunkelweizen is the darker cousin of the Hefeweizen. Well carbonated, with a light body, it is lightly hopped, with hints of banana and clove, and complex malty flavours ranging from chocolate to caramel. This beer is unfiltered and slightly hazy as traditional wheat beers are meant to be, and desirable for the style. The beer weighs in at 6% ABV and 16 IBUs.

• Hell Bay will also be releasing a pair of other beers in the coming weeks, as well. The R.I.P.(A) ver.2.0 has been brewed, and is conditioning now, and should be out by next weekend. This is the same recipe as brewed in January, but with three times the hops! However, it doesn’t have an overwhelming hop bite to it, but a nice clean hop flavour and dryness. They have also brewed up another batch of their very popular Wee Heavy, which will be available in a few weeks.

• Today’s Friday Firkin at The Stubborn Goat will be Boxing Rock’s The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA. “Beer Engineer” Emily Tipton tells us that this is their regular recipe of Vicar’s Cross, however it was cask conditioned for a smoother mouthfeel and finish. Be sure to drop by for a pint, the cask will be tapped at 4pm.

• March 8th marks International Women’s Day. In the UK, a group of brewsters have organized a worldwide collaborative brew for that day, to celebrate women in the beer industry. Our Ladies Beer League proposed a collaboration brew day with Emily from Boxing Rock to take part in the fun, and they will be one of only two Canadian breweries to participate in the event (the other being Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria, BC). There are guidelines for the beer recipe (suggested here), however a lot of wiggle room is allowed for breweries around the world to come up with their own unique take. The Boxing Rock X LBL collaboration, named “Alewife’s Revenge”, will feature local cranberries, and lots and lots of hops (think of it as an India Session Ale).
Due to time constraints, the brew will actually be taking place next weekend, with the LBL Board of Directors visiting Boxing Rock in Shelburne on the 15th. We are able to announce that the release party for the beer will be held at Stillwell in Halifax on April 17th, and part of the proceeds will go towards the Pink Boots Society, and Shelburne County Women’s Fishnet. As an aside, the Pink Boots Society is a great international resource for women in, or looking to get into, the beer industry. If you fit into that category, please check them out!