Saint John Beer Fest

All posts tagged Saint John Beer Fest

Good morning, and welcome to another Friday… as usual, chock-full of news on beer releases, events, and more! Let’s skip the chit chat and dive right in:

• It’s another week, which means at least one new 2 Crows beer is being released! Tomorrow at noon, they’ll be tapping Sunny Days, a “Sunflower seed Brett Saison”. Brewed with home-malted sunflower seeds (which made up 20% of the grist) as well as Pilsner, Vienna, Acid, and Wheat malts, the beer was fermented with a combination of Brettanomyces bruxellensis and a “funky Saison yeast”, bringing it to 7.1% ABV (and hopped to 27 IBUs). We’re not sure what exactly to expect with this one, but as usual for many 2 Crows special releases, you can’t deny that it sounds interesting! There’ll only be one keg of this beauty pouring, so get down to the taproom to give it a try. In addition, two kegs of a new, “slightly spicier” batch of Lil’ Miguel Aztec Stout will be tapped next Friday (April 14th), followed by a keg of Crosswired – a beer fermented with a mixture of a “wild” yeast strain and a wine yeast strain – on Thursday, April 20th; look for some Crosswired to also appear at the 2 Crows Battery Park Tap Takeover on April 13th.

• This week in Smith’s Cove, Lazy Bear Brewing made two new brews available. The Folly IPA with wild yeast that we wrote about two weeks ago has finally meandered its way through the system and was released last night at the brewery during their weekly growler night. This tropical fruity delight may not make it to the city so you’ll have to head down to the brewery or catch it at the Annapolis Farmers and Traders Market or one of the brewery’s regular tap accounts. Earlier in the week, as they waited for the Folly to finish, The Once-Over was released. This is a version of their Bear Bones IPA that was different enough to justify a new moniker. Still brewed with Wild Turkey hops from Ontario, this 5.9% ABV brew was dry-hopped with that variety along with classic American Cascade and Chinook that are sure to bring citrus and pine to the aroma. Like the Folly, this one is available in the usual places, but some apparently also made its way to Battery Park in Dartmouth, so keep your eyes out for it to appear there.

Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has been busy, with a few new beers on tap now, or coming very soon. Lukey’s Bock is a traditional-style German Helles/Mai Bock, meaning light in colour with Munich malt-derived sweetness and aromatics. Named after the ship in the harbour of the same name, the 6.5% ABV Bock is on tap at their Mill Street/Bier Markt location only. Coming very soon from them is Right Off the Hop, a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) featuring El Dorado hops. This Double IPA took more than 6 kilograms of hops in their 8 hL system, for big bitterness and a massive pineapple aroma and flavour.

• Debuting next Wednesday, April 12, is a collaboration that Mill Street did with the Port Rexton Brewing Crew. Planned months ago during a trip to Port Rexton, and brewed in mid-March when PR made the return trip, the cross-province Dunkelweizen will be launched in a big way. At 5.2% ABV, 22 IBUs, the Dark German Wheat beer features the iconic banans and clove aromatics, reminiscent of banana bread. The debut is a ticketed event, which gets you a pint of Port Rexton new IPA, a pint of Mill Street’s Black Bart’s, plus a celebratory pint of their collaboration. A Mac & Cheese bar, featuring the wares of St. John’s own Five Brothers Cheese, will be set up to keep your stomach from growling, and going all night. Tickets are available by phone (709-383-7070), and are selling quickly, so be sure to grab them today!

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing recently launched their second Lager, an India Pale Lager named Alpen IPL. Described by the brewery as an “earthy, amber IPL with amble bitterness and a clean, soft mouthfeel”, the grist contains Crystal and Munich malt to achieve the beer’s colour and malt character. Hopped with Columbus and Centennial to 70 IBUs, it was fermented with a dry German Lager yeast, and then lagered at cool temperatures for 5 weeks before packaging. Coming in at 6% ABV, it’s on tap now at the brewery for pints and growlers/crowlers, and is likely showing up at licensees across the city.

• Sticking with Fredericton beers, TrailWay released their Porter a couple nights ago, a one-off that will only be available on tap at the brewery’s tasting room for the first week. Sessionable at only 4.7% ABV, it shows off some roast and chocolate character, with a medium-bodied mouthfeel and a dry, slightly bitter finish from the use of dark malts. Look for it to pop up around New Brunswick for next weekend’s ANBL growler program. And be sure to grab some cans of Luster, which has just returned and is as fresh as you can get it right now!

• And not to be left out, Maybee Brewing also has a new beer available! Tailwind is a “New England Session IPA” (read: cloudy/hazy with big hop aromas and flavours, but not big bitterness) that was hopped heavily with Mosaic, as well as additions of Amarillo, Cascade, and Chinook. Fermented with a Vermont Ale strain from Escarpment Labs to give even more tropical, citrusy, stone fruit characteristics, it all comes together in a highly drinkable 4.8% ABV, 45 IBUs package. And speaking of packaging, it’s available now in 16 oz cans at the brewery (and soon at other brewery stores in NB), and on tap at Maybee accounts.

• And even more Fredericton news, as Red Rover is releasing a very special cider next week. They’ve “carefully chosen the best apples New Brunswick has to offer,” including their favourite heritage Russet and Crab apples, to bring a very limited, 400 bottle production of Orchard Reserve 2016. An English Extra Dry cider that clocks in at 7.2% ABV, this one involved a slow fermentation process, followed by an additional 6 months of aging, enhancing the “subtle spice and delicate honey notes”. These 750 mL bottles ($16.50 each) will be sold only at the Ciderhouse and participating Farmers’ Markets, so be sure to grab a couple before they’re gone! They’ll be officially released next Wednesday at noon.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing should have a brand new one-off popping up today or through the weekend, a Saison named Pied de Lapin. Described by the brewery as a dry, “French/Belgian Saison”, it was hopped predominantly with Wakatu (WHACK-a-tu? wah-KA-tu?), a New Zealand variety, as well as some Centennial. The Wakatu comes through with “prominent notes of lime zest, backed by subtle melon”. Highly drinkable at 5.6% ABV, look for it on tap at Stillwell and Battery Park, as well as available for growler fills at the brewery retail store, and Halifax Forum Farmers Market.

• In Saint John, Loyalist City is bringing out a new beer in their One Hop Series, but let us know there’s been some changes to the recipe for that series. First, they’ve found a supplier for the yeast made famous by John Kimmich’s Alchemist Brewery in Vermont and have decided to ferment all their One Hop beers with it. Known in brewing circles as Conan, this yeast is known for producing an ester profile featuring stone fruit and light citrus notes that is very complimentary to modern American and New World hop varieties. It’s also known for producing a hazy final product consistent with the New England IPA style. Second, they’ve tweaked the recipe to give the beer a little more body and increased hop flavour and aroma. The first beer to be made with the new recipe is Summer named, as always, after the single hop used in producing it. Summer hops are an Australian variety known for imparting citrus and stone fruit flavours and aromas. Look for melon and apricot on the nose and for the hops and yeast to complement each other nicely. Summer comes in at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU. It will be available at the Cask & Kettle and other local tap accounts this week.

• Loyalist City has also released another new brew, Württemberg Weissbier. A classic German Hefeweizen, this cloudy, light golden, refreshing ale was brewed with 100% German malt, hops, and yeast. The Wheat and Pilsner malt enjoyed a three-part step mash (three temperature rests) to increase the development of banana and clove flavours expected in the style, which are also produced during fermentation from the Weizen yeast strain. Brewed with soft water in an attempt to replicate the low-mineral-content water of Plzeň, Germany, the resulting 5% ABV beer features a “pleasing banana-clove aroma that is complemented by a moderate bready malt flavour”. And for you history buffs, the beer is named after Württemberg, the historical German territory that was home to the majority of the German-Canadian settlers that helped to colonize the Atlantic Canadian provinces. This highly-carbonated beer should be available now at your favourite LC tap account, and is also at select ANBL growler stations this weekend (check out which ones here).

• In Dartmouth, Spindrift released their highly anticipated Barrel O’ Cherries this week. Winner of the Gold Medal at the DownEast Brewing Awards in Fredericton last month in the Experimental Beer category, this is their Abyss dark lager that was aged in red wine barrels for 12 months and then racked onto sour cherries for further aging before being bottled with help from North Brewing and their bottler. Those who tasted it at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest or the Savour Food & Wine Festival Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax have the inside scoop on this one. At 4.5% ABV it’s not a heavy hitter, but flavour wise you’ll taste big cherry notes married to bold chocolatey and roasty dark malt flavours. Some have likened the overall character to that of a Black Forest Cake. This is a limited edition beer with only 78 cases produced, and you can only get it at the brewery in Burnside.

• Acadie-Broue has brought back a blast-from-the-past, recently releasing La Boloxée, best described as a dark Saison. Brewer Patrice Godin took the base of his Tintamarre Saison and darkened it by steeping a large amount of Midnight Wheat malt, to “stain” the wort. This gives a minimal roast character in the finish, while preserving the Farmhouse flavours of orange and pepper. Expect this beer to finish extremely dry, as a longer-than-usual fermentation brought the final gravity all the way down to 1.000, a reading usually reserved for ciders! The final numbers are 6.6% ABV and 30 IBUs. It’s currently on tap at Le Coude, James Joyce, and should pop up at Marky’s Laundromat, if it isn’t on already.

As always, there’s plenty of beer-related events going on in our region; here’s a few you should be paying particular attention to:

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is tomorrow, April 8th; while tickets are sold out, you can add your name to the waiting list here, just in case! In the meantime, those of you lucky enough to currently have tickets can check out the full beer list here, and plan your attack! Plenty of beer and cider will be pouring, including a few special releases.

• Leading into the Saint John Beer Fest tomorrow, PEI Brewing Company will be taking over the taps this evening starting at 5:00 pm at McGill’s. Pints will be $5 all night, with 8 PEIBC brews on the go, including some new ones. Look for Big Don Belgian Coffee Blonde, Tasman Pale Ale and Black Lager in particular along with some Gahan faves. And if you miss that, rest assured that PEIBC will be in full effect at the beer fest on Saturday.​

• Since opening their doors in July of 2016, Port Rexton Brewing Co. has been inundated with emails and calls asking, “How do I start a brewery in Newfoundland?” In response, they’ve decided to take the amazingly forthcoming step of hosting an open house/open books event on April 14th and 15th. On Friday night there will be a social at the brewery from 1800 – 2200h. Saturday will feature a brewday, with mash in commencing promptly at 0700h after which Port Rexton will open their books and their database to answer as many questions as they can from the group, likely ending around 1400h. On the table are questions about the NLC, suppliers, equipment, funding opportunities, regulatory considerations and provincial requirements. It’s no secret that Newfoundland is a very difficult place to open a brewery and this outreach to the brewing community by Port Rexton less than a year into their operations is commendable. So if you’re very serious about opening a brewery in NL and actively working towards that goal, and you’re interested in hearing from some folks who’ve managed to do it, you can email beer@portrextonbrewing.com to register. Space is limited.

• The Brewnettes, a Ladies Beer League in Newfoundland, has scheduled their April event, a Pizza Party on Thursday, April 20th. The event will take place at Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s and will consist of a brewery tour at 1830h, a tasting at 1900h and finally pizza at 2000h. It’s $15 to attend, and you’ll want to check in on the event’s Facebook page to show your interest. After the highly successful axe-throwing event in March, this is sure to be a blast for everyone involved.

• Not content to limit themselves to the Dark Side of the harbour with their tap takeover at Battery Park next week, 2 Crows will aim for total HRM domination by following that up with another takeover a week later at the Stubborn Goat! On Friday, April 21st, starting at 1900h, you’ll find 8-10 2 Crows beers on tap at the Goat with samples and a special price on flights. No cover and live music round out the package. Buy a flight and you’ll receive a ballot to win tickets to the 2 Crows Brewer’s Brunch. “Brewer’s Brunch?” you ask? Yes, the very next day, Saturday, April 22, from 1300-1500h, you’ll find another 2 Crows event at the Goat where Jeremy Taylor will prove he’s not actually chained to his mash tun by making an appearance. Tickets are $39 per person and entitle you to four 12oz beers, each a 2 Crows offering that’s been paired with a course from the kitchen. You can see which beers and the food they’ve each been paired with on the event’s Facebook page. Space is limited, so if you’re interested you’ll want to email tyler@stubborngoat.ca.

• In Stillwell news, they’ve got another premium European tap takeover in the works for April 22 that’s got fans of forward-thinking beers all a-titter. To Øl is a gypsy brewery from Denmark. Started by students of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller (not just beer-wise, he taught them in high school!), Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther started brewing with their Bjergsø in their school’s kitchen (high school is different in Europe, apparently) in 2005. While he moved on to start Mikkeller, they continued to hone their brewing craft before opening their own brewery in 2010. In addition to their beer, they’ve got Scandinavian brewpubs BRUS in Copenhagen, the recently-opened BRUS Bar Oslo, and, with Mikkeller, are part of the group behind the lambic-focused Koelschip. To quote the gang at Stillwell, “Quality is guaranteed, mind-expansion highly likely.” From Brett-aged Table Beer, Dry-hopped Sours, Gose, to Barrel-Aged Saison and Imperial Coffee Stouts, there is something for everyone pouring on the 22nd. If you liked the Mikkeller takeovers in December and January or are sad you missed them, this is another chance to drink on the leading edge of beermaking.

• It’s too late if you don’t already have a ticket, but Stillwell is hosting a Tastes of the World event on Sunday, April 23. Hosted by Stephen Beaumont, author or co-author of ten books, including The World Atlas of Beer, two editions of The Great Canadian Beer Guide, and The Beer & Food Companion, it will be a guided tasting of eight of the world’s best beers, several of which have never been available in NS. Four of the beers will be paired with thoughtfully selected cheeses. As you sip and munch, Mr. Beaumont will provide tasting notes, some history about the beers, and details on how they were made. Tickets are were $36.50 each – they sold out extremely quickly. If you didn’t get one, but wish you had, maybe let the fine folks at Stillwell know; perhaps if enough additional interest is shown we’ll see another such event scheduled (can you tell none of us acted quickly enough to get tickets?). The good news for those who are missing out on the tasting is that some of the beers that will be served (including Stilly’s last keg of Nectarous from Four Winds Brewing) will be available after the event. And a few new-to-the-province bottles will hit the fridge that day, Blond d’Esquelbeq from Brasserie Thiriez and Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba, classics in the Saison style.

Garrison will be co-hosting a Brew and Bites Dinner with Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House on Thursday, April 27. It will feature an IPA tasting menu that pairs 5 courses from Executive Chef Trevor Simms with beers from Brewmaster Daniel Girard. Tickets are $55 and can be reserved by calling 902.428.7852 or emailing harbourstone@marriott.com. You can see details on the food and beers in this post on Garrison’s Instagram.

A few more things today:

– The ANBL has expanded their Growler Program further recently. When opening their new location at Corbett Centre in Fredericton (after closing the Prospect Street location), they upraded to 4 taps. The ANBL in Newcastle now features a growler station as well.
Flying Boats is releasing their Stagecoach Amber Ale just in time for this weekend’s Saint John Beer Fest. This collaboration with Craig Pinhey features strong caramel and raisin/dark fruit characteristics from the malts, and was bittered using NB-grown Cascade. The 5.5% ABV and 29 IBUs brew is available at the Shediac Beach brewery’s local accounts as well as at the Fest.
Picaroons is looking for the cutest, smartest, or most distinct cat to once again grace the label of their MelonHead Watermelon Wheat beer. Submissions are open until May 2nd, with all of the details available here.
– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing released The Loyalist, a beer they are describing as a “Yorkshire Olde Ale”. At 6.7% ABV, it has notes of biscuit and light herbaceous qualities from the traditional Fuggles hops used in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham for a dry finish.

Happy Friday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day! If being a Friday wasn’t a good enough excuse to drink, now you have two reasons! But before you reach for that beer (stay away from food colouring!), let’s take a few minutes to get caught up with our local beer news…

• The 2017 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival – the 5th year for the fest – was a huge success, and – as we can personally verify – one hell of a good time! With two sessions on Saturday, there were 58 breweries pouring over 220 beers, ciders, and meads, 5200+ L of beer served to ~1,750 people. Thanks to organizer Lloyd Chambers and 50 loyal volunteers, everything went smoothly, proving that the festival does indeed improve with every year. Several other events were also going on through the week (and even into Sunday), with plenty of beer lovers turning out to take part. This was also the first year for the Down East Brewing Awards, which had close to 140 different beers and ciders entered by commercial breweries in Atlantic Canada. The winners were announced at the FCBF afternoon session, and Fredericton’s TrailWay took home Brewery of the Year, thanks to winning three gold medals and Best of Show (check out the link for the full list of winners). Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who helped to make FCBF such a success, and we’ll see you next year, with a date of March 10th already set! And don’t forget to vote for Best of the Fest, rewarding your favourite breweries that attended this year’s event.

• Attention Newfoundland Beer Fans! Split Rock Brewing Company is coming soon to Twillingate, on the island’s Northeast shore. Allison and Matt Vincent are residents of the town, and were living and working away from home for several years. In the mid-2000s, while living in Halifax, they caught the craft beer bug, and began homebrewing. Starting with wine and beer kits, they graduated to brewing All Grain in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. Like many avid homebrewers, the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown was always in the back of their mind, but at that time, just a dream. An opportunity for Allison to move back home in 2014 brought them back to Twillingate, and, as Allison puts it, “with the tourism industry booming and many young people moving home, we knew it needed a microbrewery!” Local businesspeople Tim and Robin Vatcher share their vision to bring a growth industry back to the region, and are helping to bring Split Rock Brewing Co to fruition. Brewmaster Matt will be brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, capable of a full brewday in only four hours, with 3800 litres of fermentation capacity for a wide variety of beers on the go simultaneously. Speaking of which, they are fans of brewing (and drinking) English-style beer, and will be launching with a variety of those, including a Bitter, Red Ale (with Rye), Brown Ale, Stout, and IPA, as well as a Belgian Witbier and Cream Ale. Split Rock will be hitting the local taps late spring; stay tuned to their social media and here for the full scoop!

• Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound has taken taken one of the truly formative steps in the life of a young brewery by hiring an assistant brewer. Magen Powell is a veteran of the restaurant industry where she has worked on and off since she was 19 years of age, serving, bartending and managing. Her stint with Nova Scotia draught and tap experts BeerTech helped her develop a solid technical understanding and the skills needed to install and maintain dispensing systems. This also helps her bring another perspective to brewing in terms of how beer and other carbonated liquids behave and the influence of different gases (CO2, “beer gas”, Nitro, etc.) in dispensing. Magen’s first foray in the brewhouse is the Dive Bar Classics series, beginning with the Mojito Dry-hopped Sour that was released on March 4th. This series reflects her passion for being a “bar chef” and her interest in craft cocktails featuring local ingredients. The next in the series, Fuzzy Navel IPA was brewed this week and you can expect it to debut in April. We’ll be sure to get more details about that one as the release date approaches.

• Meanwhile, Roof Hound is also putting on something special for your St. Patrick’s day celebration today – they’ve taken their Handsome Devil Coffee Milk Porter and jazzed it up with almonds, vanilla bean and Irish Whiskey. The result is 7% ABV and there’s only one keg of it down at the brewery. So if you’re in the Digby area tonight and fixing for something dark, smooth and sweet, this one sounds like a good bet!

• In other St. Paddy’s Day beer news, Fredericton’s Picaroons just released The Leprechaunundrum, a dark, bitter, 6.5% ABV ale that doesn’t appear to fit into any particular style of beer. Described by the brewery as “dry and full-bodied, yet fruity due to the generous amounts of Galaxy hops”, it’s now on tap at all Picaroons locations across New Brunswick, and may pop up at select bars/restaurants in the near future.

Bulwark Cider’s special People’s Cider Project is ready for prime-time! We first mentioned it in October, when they put out the call for folks with hobby orchards, abandoned orchards, or just some apple trees on their property to bring apples to Ross Farm Museum for Cider Days. The original hope was simply that enough cider would be made to share with all the apple-givers who were issued People’s Cider Memberships in exchange for their apples. In the end things went a whole lot better than that and the first community-driven cider project in Nova Scotia (at least in recorded memory) is a great success. The People’s Cider has arrived and was launched this week. A rustic cider coming in at 7.8% ABV, it features aromas of apple blossom, pear, and clover honey and has a crisp, dry finish. Given the many varieties of apples it contains, some of which have surely been all but forgotten, it expresses true terroir; future versions are bound to be different, but this is your chance to taste the very first. Available in 500ml bottles, you’ll be able to find it at the private liquor stores in Halifax as well as the NSLC Port of Wines store. If you’re not in Halifax, or even in Nova Scotia, and you want to get your hands on this special batch, fear not! Bulwark has now launched an online store shipping cider and branded merchandise country-wide. This is great news for both Bulwark and cider fans across the land; now if only breweries were allowed to do the same thing…

• After a brief hiatus, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their Killick Session Lager this week, but in a big way. The 4.7% ABV Munich Helles-style beer, originally released as Kinobier last fall to celebrate Devour! Film Fest, is now available in six-pack format. The Helles (“Bright” or “Pale”) style is a traditional German style of beer, known to be supremely drinkable, and the local version does not disappoint. Featuring Heidelberg Malt as the sole grain, and a light bitterness from Herkules hops (with Huell Melon for aroma and flavour), these ingredients keep the beer authentically German. Six-packs are available now at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront, and debuting at the NSLC Monday, April 3rd. And in an update for you Blueberry Chai Pils fans (or soon-to-be fans), packaging of this beer will be happening early next week, with release mid-next-week at the brewery, and with the standard Spindrift Tall Boy cans debuting at the NSLC April 3rd.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another Growler Day today, with a pair of beers available to go. Method IPA is a hazy and juicy, orange hoppy beer with lots of citrus and peach notes, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 7% ABV, the brewery assures us it’s “new and improved”! T&B’s latest sour beer will also be pouring – Sour Otis Tangelo Oranges features, yes, tangelo, a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. The details stop there, but assuming this beer follows the trend set by the others in the Sour Otis series, it was likely kettle soured to give plenty of tartness to complement the character from the fruit addition.

• We’ve got lots of news to share about Sober Island Brewing, who are putting the final touches on their major expansion at their brewery (new building, and a 820 litre (7BBL) brewhouse, up from 50 litre). They expect to be brewing on the system before the end of the month, which means an April launch. In the meantime, however, they will be adding a brand new beer to their core lineup, a Blonde Ale very soon. Described as a “bread and butter sort of beer” by owner Rebecca Atkinson, the easy drinking brew uses a different yeast than the rest of their year-round offerings, low in hop profile, but with plenty of character. The approachable beer is meant to introduce local drinkers to the wonderful world of small batch beer. First sips and samples will be available at the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

• This week’s edition of The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly, is beer-centric, so be sure to grab it to learn about what local brewers are drinking, an interview with Propeller Brewing’s John Allen, and some suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day drinking from the 902BrewCast guys. Speaking of which, they have released their March Tasting Episode this morning, so be sure to grab that in your favourite podcasting method.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is coming up fast (Saturday, April 8th), and Flying Boats will be attending with a brand new beer in tow. Brewed in collaboration with local beer writer Craig Pinhey, it’s being stylized as a “hybrid Amber Ale” brewed to feature the Special B malt. Known for imparting raisin-like, dark fruit characteristics when used in brewing, Special B is more often seen in dark, Belgian-style ales. Flying Boats’ beer also has NB-grown Cascade hops added for bittering and flavour, and will come in at around 29 IBUs and 5.5% ABV. If you can’t make it to the SJBF – there are a few tickets still on sale, by the way – fear not! This one will also be on tap at Flying Boats accounts.

• The NB maple beers continue to flow, as Foghorn just released their take on the style. Described by the brewery as a “Maple Rye”, Xylem has a subtle maple flavour thanks to the addition of 20 L of maple syrup from local producer Briggs Maples. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Southan Goldings, giving a moderate bitterness in the finish. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and is available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom; keep your eyes peeled, as it may pop up on tap at your favourite Foghorn licensee, soon. And keep an eye out for more Maple Beers, launched as a Tourism NB partnership between maple producers and brewers. Also on the list is Distillerie Fils du Roy‘s Monseigneur Paquet collaboration with their Pacquetville neighbours, Sucrerie Chiasson.

• In Nackawic, you’ll find Big Axe putting out their Maple Bourbon Porter, a 5.4% ABV brown porter with a light to medium body and a mild bitterness. The maple syrup for this beer came from Dumfries Maples across the river. Bourbon-soaked oak chips were added to the secondary along with a second shot of maple syrup. Continuing the maple theme, Big Axe will also be doing their annual Maple Wheat Amber as soon as the sugaring season starts, with their usual partner Stone Family Maple Products providing the syrup for that one. We’ll update you on that one as the season goes on.

• And speaking of Fils du Roy, they will be releasing a new beer next weekend, as part of an event in Bathurst. Capt. Craig Brown Ale is a 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU beer named after famous/infamous Capt Craig, a maurader in the Baie de Chaleur, and whose phantom ship is thought to sail the Baie to this day. Le Soiree Noir & Blanc is a fundraising supper happening in Bathurst Mar 25th, in support of food security and assistance for the region’s youth. After the launch, bottles of the beer will be more widely available at the region’s ANBL locations.

In addition to today’s excuse to grab a few pints at your local, we’ve got a few more reasons to celebrate local: 

• Happy One Year Anniversary to Fredericton’s York County Cider! Drop by their retail location at 418 York Street this afternoon from 4-7pm for free sampling, snacks, and prizes.

• Wolfville’s La Torta Pizzeria will be hosting a very special event tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, their first (we think!) tap takeover, as Tatamagouche Brewing comes in from the North Shore. Twelve, count ’em, 12 taps will be flowing with Tata’s signature brews starting at 2pm. There will be door prizes, swag, live music featuring Steve Lee, and no cover charge. The tap list has been slowly revealed this week via social media, with taps 1-4 showcasing the lighter side and taps 5-8 banging the hops. Taps 8-12 are yet to be revealed; check Tata’s Twitter throughout the day for the announcement. And plan to bring an appetite, as La Torta’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired oven will be in full swing.

PEI Brewing Co. will be holding a special Tap Takeover at HopYard on Saturday, March 25th, where they will be launching their dry-hopped Brett Saison. Aptly named Patience, this beer was brewed almost six months ago. With a grist of 2-row, Munich malt, and wheat, it was fermented with a Saison strain, as well as the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which can continue to develop funky flavours and aromas when given enough time. Once it was about ready, it was then dry-hopped with the tropical Citra and Mosaic varieties, and primed (carbonated) in the bottle for several weeks. This is the first Brett (and bottle-conditioned) beer for PEIBC, so be sure to grab a few bottles when you can! Aside from the PEIBC tap takeover, the event will feature lots of live music, as well as a limited edition menu collaboration with Chef Jane Crawford and Chef Adam Loo. Bring your appetites! It all starts at 4 pm, with no cover.

• On April 2nd (rescheduled from March 25 due to shipping issues), Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting a BC Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring 3 heavy-hitters from the West Coast: Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Four Winds Brewing from Delta, and Dageraad of Burnaby. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Changeling Raspberry Sour, Four Winds’ Featherweight Session IPA, and Dageraad’s Sri Lanka Dubbel. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon. For the full taplist, check out the Brewnosers Forums for the salivating details.

• Now that FCBF is over, it’s time to start planning for the next beer-themed Fredericton event – Poutine Fest! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, like past events it will feature three different sessions, with two of them (late afternoon and evening) pouring over 12 different beers, ciders and meads. There are different ticket options which determine the number of drink tickets you receive (click out the link for details); of course, all tickets include all-you-can-eat poutine, with 12+ different varieties being available! Tickets go on sale today at 11 am; the event has sold out every time since its initial launch, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.

• And if summer doesn’t feel too far away for you, we have news on a new festival coming up! The first Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will be held in downtown Nackawic, NB on Saturday, July 15th from 4-8 pm. Organized by Peter and Tatiana Cole of Big Axe Brewery, exact details are still being ironed out, but there will be 20+ breweries from NB, NS, PEI and Maine on hand, as well as live music (including David in the Dark), and food vendors offering “an assortment of foods grown and sourced in NB”. Tickets are already on sale, and are $50 each; there is also a limited-availability $65 option, which includes a bus ride to and from the festival from Fredericton or Woodstock. Breweries confirmed so far include Grimross, Maybee, Hammond River, Picaroons, Sober Island, Foghorn, Upstreet, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Portland, Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Be sure to buy your tickets ASAP, before they’re gone!

And before we go this week…

Good Robot will have their Dave & Morley Coffee Brown back on tap as of today in version 2.0 form, this time featuring Rwanda Kanzu (from Java Blend, of course) as the coffee component. So pull up a stool, order one up, and maybe lift your glass to the late, great Stuart McLean, who inspired this brew. Meanwhile, the gang has installed their Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels and will shortly be pouring things into them; we’ll let you know what when the appropriate time comes.
Mill Street St John’s has brought back their Jigger’s Delight Cali Common (5% ABV, 14 IBUs), a hybrid between lager and ale that is described as “fresh and zingy, with medium body and toasty caramel notes”.
– Needing a Nine Locks Fathom fix? Good news, it’s back in cans again! This 8% ABV DIPA recently won a medal in the Down East Brewing Awards, so stock up while you can!
– Picaroons has announced that they’re looking to fill two brewing positions, one at the Saint John brewery, and one in St. Stephen. Both breweries are 2.5 hL in size, double-batching into 5 hL. For a full list of qualifications and contact info, check out this link.
– The region’s Homebrewers, especially those in the HRM, will be excited to hear that Everwood Avenue Brewshop is relocating out of owner Dave Gillette’s basement and into a retail space in Lower Sackville. This will mean regular retail hours six days a week, and only closing on Mondays. The space is roughly twice as large and will allow the shop to expand its product lines and better cater to different market segments. We’ll have more details before the expected opening on April 5th, but for now can tell you that they’re looking for a full-time employee for the new space. You can find the details of the position posted on the Brewnoser’s forum.

Happy Friday! Plenty going on in the local beer world this week, so let’s dive right in…

Petit-Sault has released their collaboration with Acadie-Broue‘s Patrice Godin, a Doppelbock named La Renous. Brewed in the traditional German style, using German hops and a base of Munich and 2-Row malts and a touch of chocolate malt for colouring. Lagered for a full four months since the brew on a chilly January weekend, it is supremely drinkable, with a full mouthfeel and balancing bitterness to its 7.5% ABV content. In addition to Petit-Sault’s shop, it is available on tap at Le Coude, Université de Moncton’s student bar, where Acadie-Broue’s brewhouse is now set up. The beer can also be found at ANBL locations across the province, in bottles, and at the five ANBL growler stations this weekend.

• Just in time for this week’s East Coast Music Week, Sydney’s Breton Brewing and Charlottetown’s Upstreet have released a collaboration brew, Island Jams: Vol. 1. This music-themed 5.3% Blonde ale debuted at Breton’s tasting room last night, and will see wider release this weekend. Also tying in with the music theme, there is a downloadable EP of CB- and PE- Island tunes to accompany your drinking. As well, a live showcase of PEI bands will be playing (and beer will be flowing) at Daniel’s in Sydney tonight; more information here. And for visitors to the East Coast Music Week, all four Breton beers will be available at Flavor on the Water’s after parties all weekend.

• Upstreet has brewed up another collab, Top Stamp Honey Brown Lager, with the crew from the PEI comedy series Just Passing Through. An easy-drinking beer at 5% ABV and 15 IBUs, it was brewed with Maritime Malt and New Brunswick-grown Golding hops. A beer that has a sweet beginning and dry finish, it’s like “drizzling honey over lightly-browned toast”, according to the brewery. Scheduled for a release party on Thursday, April 21st at the Upstreet taproom beginning at 6:30, the beer will be bottled and sold at PEILCC locations across the Island by next weekend. Check out the Facebook page for more details on next week’s launch events.

• There’s a new beer fermenting over at Maybee Brewing, Birdseye Pale Ale. A 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale, it was hopped with Cluster and Columbus. Brewed with the intention of being crisp and refreshing for the upcoming summer months, it features floral and spicy notes from the Cluster, which “brightens up the dank, juicy flavours from the Columbus”, according to owner/brewer Paul Maybee. Look for this one to be available in a couple of weeks; it’s going to be canned right out of the gate, and will also be available for growler fills at the brewery. Also, Maybee’s Elevensies Espresso Stout should be available in cans shortly.

North Brewing has just released their newest beer, Golden Stout. Golden-coloured as advertised, it was brewed with 2-row, flaked oats, and Pale Chocolate malt. Despite the lack of dark, roasted malts, it features plenty of chocolate and roasted character thanks to the addition of Sumatran Dark from local Java Blend Coffee Roasters, and cocoa nibs from Rousseau Chocolatier. It weighs in at 6.7% ABV and is available now at the brewery for growler fills, and should be on tap at North accounts as we speak.

Gahan Halifax released a new beer yesterday at the brewpub; Session IPA is a low-alcohol (3.7% ABV), 65 IBUs hop bomb that showcases a “big floral, fruity aroma” from plenty of late-addition Saphir hops. It joins the Kellerbier which was tapped late last week; weighing in at 5% ABV and 36 IBUs, featuring an “oaky, vanilla aroma and flavour”, balanced with a large addition of Hersbrucker hops, a floral and spicy German variety. And though there is just a little bit of their Cranberry Sour left, fear not, this sour-mashed tart beer will return during NS Craft Beer Week with wider distribution under the name Over the Top, a collaboration between Gahan’s Karen Allen and Boxing Rock’s Emily Tipton.

• In other new beer news, Tatamagouche released their newest ale yesterday, Tweed Wolf Brown IPA. This is their second “employee beer”, brewed by cellarman Alex Martin. Featuring a malty backbone and “chocolate-covered strawberries” in the flavour, it was hopped mainly with Simcoe, along with a bit of Cascade and Huell Melon. Available now at the brewery for growlers, kegs have already been delivered to several accounts in Halifax, including Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines for growler fills, so be sure to give it a try when it pops up! And while on the topic of Tatabrew cellar hands, they’re currently looking for someone to fill the role in a part-time capacity, with the possibility of a full-time position in the future. For more details, send an email here.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company officially opens today! Their storefront at 388 Main Street will be open seven days a week from 10 am-7 pm. There are several ciders available now in refillable 750 mL bottles at the cidery: Crisp & Dry (7.7% ABV), Juicy & Sweet (5.6% ABV), and Something Different, an unfiltered cider that is described as “very hazy and yeasty”; it comes in at 6% ABV. There is a tasting bar onsite, where customers can order a small flight of all three ciders, 3 oz each, for $5. Tours will be offered in the near future, and their products should be popping up on tap at various accounts within the next couple of months. For more information on this new cidery, check out our post from last month.

Liquid Assets, the Nova Scotian beer, wine, and spirits store located at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, will be opening this Monday, April 18th. Located at the departures level of the HIAA, they will be selling products from eight craft breweries to start: Bad Apple, Boxing Rock, Garrison, Nine Locks, North, Propeller, Spindrift, and Tatamagouche. They will be selling cans in 4- and 6-packs, and single 500 mL and 650 mL bottles. As they are located past the security checkpoint, you can carry your purchases with you on your flight (provided you do not have to go through security again); they will have boxes for multiple purchases. The store will be open 7am-9pm, daily, and will be launching an online store in the near future, so that customers may pre-order beers for a quick pick-up, and plans for shipping of products within Canada are in the works.

• This weekend’s Saint John Beerfest may be sold out, but several breweries are releasing special brews in celebration of the event, and will be making them available to a wider audience. Among them, Big Tide Brewpub has released a Hard Root Beer, Tool Shed Root Porter. Brewed with 2-row, CaraMunich, and Chocolate Wheat malt, it was bittered lightly with Southan Farms hop hash. Freshly-cut white birch bark was added to the boil, along with sassafras, sarsaparilla, vanilla beans and sweet gale. It should come in at ~6.3% ABV, and will be released tomorrow at the Beer Fest (joining their Karnival Kolsch and Valley View Farmhouse Ale), and on tap at the brewpub.

Lots of events coming up, as usual…

• Other events accompanying this weekend’s Saint John Beerfest are several pop-ups and events around the area today:
– Drop by Lemongrass for leftover pours from Garrison’s 14 line tap takeover held last night.
– Saint John Ale House is hosting a “Spindrift Social” 4-6pm, with Kellye and Matt from Spindrift pouring their Coastal Lager, Riptide IPL and the new Knotty Buoy Pils.
PEI Brewing Co is taking over the taps at McGill’s Restaurant this afternoon at 5pm, featuring $5 pints.

• On April 20th, Good Robot will be releasing another of their “Beta Brew” pilot batch beers at the Taproom. The Pusha Man is a Belgian saison brewed with hemp. To celebrate, there will be dank tunes and special munchies.

• Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has announced a series of Rare Beer events, occurring in subsequent weekends in May. Each weekend will feature bottles (and some will also feature kegs) of beers from outstanding American breweries, not available in the Atlantic provinces. Individual pours will be available for bottled beers, with any bottles not selling out during that weekend available for purchase going forward (by the full bottle).
– April 30 & May 1: Anchorage Brewing, Anchorage, Alaska
– May 7: Mystic Brewing, Chelsea, Massachusetts
– May 14 & 15: Pretty Things, Somerville, Massachusetts
– May 21 & 22: Saint Somewhere, Tarpon Springs, Florida
– May 27 & 28: Upright Brewing, Portland, Oregon

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub is pairing up with Sunset Heights Meadery for their next event, Wenches and Mead, on Saturday, April 23rd. Details are still being ironed out, but we can confirm that they will be offering flights of the three medal-winning meads from the recent Mazer Cup, as well as the 2015 edition of Crowne Jewel, made with honey raised on the roof of the Crowne Plaza hotel. And stay tuned for more details on the Joyce’s next Meet Your Maker event, featuring Big Tide, scheduled for Friday, May 13th.

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smith’s Cove, NS, has announced that they will be attending the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market, when they launch for the year on May 21st. Concentrating on the market at first, they will expand their beers to local bars and restaurants, and open their storefront. Speaking of beers, they have announced one of their launch beers, Gut View Amber Ale. A 4.9% English Amber, it features Canadian-grown English varietal hops for a balancing bitterness, and subtle aromas.

Have a great weekend! Just a few closing notes…

– Boxing Rock has brought back their popular Sessionista “Bold Session Ale”, a beer with the big hop character of an IPA, in a small 4.0% ABV package. It is available province-wide in the NSLC now, and on tap at various beer bars as well.
– Flying Boats is once again pouring at ANBL growler stations this weekend, with all five locations offering their Empress Irish Red Ale, while supplies last. Joining them at all 5 locations is PEI Brewing’s Setting Day, a 3.5% ABV Saison.
– In other ANBL growler news, Pump House will be participating in a tap takeover in Saint John this weekend, at the KV location today from 4-7 pm, and the new East Point location tomorrow from 11 am-2 pm. The brewery’s 4 Alarm IPA and various seasonals will be featured.
Spindrift is releasing their Riptide IPL in cans early next week; as a result, there will be no 7th Wave Series release today. However, look for the Riptide cans to be available at the brewery by no later than next Friday.
– Propeller Brewing has released their wildly popular Hefeweizen this week, and it is available in bottles for the first time in a while. And be sure to grab tickets for their next Prop’r Cask Event, April 29th, with Krave Burger taking care of the food at their Gottingen space.
– There have been no major updates in last week’s story concerning policy changes for breweries in New Brunswick by ANBL; they are still communicating with NBCAPA. We will be sure to provide an update once one is announced.

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, craft beer fans! It’s another very busy week in the world of Atlantic Canadian beer news, so let’s get cracking…

• New Brunswick, Red Rover Brewing needs your help! As explained by owner/brewer Adam Clawson in a recent CBC interview, the company has had increasing difficulty turning a profit in the province, despite excellent demand for their ciders. Right now, there isn’t a set policy for cider; while there is one for beer, and one for wine, cider falls into a “grey area” where the mark-up set by the ANBL is not pre-determined. As a result, Red Rover has to pay a much higher mark-up for every keg and flagon of cider that they produce. Here’s a few numbers to make it all a bit clearer:

– For a 20 L keg of beer, breweries pay a $0.76/L mark-up, while Red Rover pays $1.29/L

– For bottles at ANBL stores, breweries pay $1.23/L; Red Rover would pay $2.90/L if their ciders were listed (which they are trying to accomplish)

– Many styles of beer can be brewed and packaged within a matter of weeks, while cider takes 2-3 months before it’s ready; during that extended period, temperature control and storage space increase the time, effort, and cost required for the batch

– Depending on the beer, a 20 L keg could be brewed for $20 or less; the cost in ingredients, time, etc. to Red Rover for the equivalent amount is about $50-55

Clawson understands that this is not an easy fix, and respects that there is currently no policy under ANBL for his business. What he’s asking for is that the ANBL temporarily let Red Rover join one of the current policies, or even better, create a new policy specifically geared towards cider, where the mark-ups are fair, and set-in-stone.

We also spoke with Brian Harriman, CEO of the ANBL; he acknowledges that the policy for cider was never clear, and that they had always made it their goal to work with Red Rover to help them (and other ciderhouses) succeed. Harriman went on to say that they currently have a “project team” made up of people from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Tourism, and ANBL, with the goal to “streamline processes and to create a policy that fosters growth of micro producers from all categories in New Brunswick”.

What can you do? Call and make your opinion clear to ANBL and to your MLA. If a new, fair policy is created, Red Rover will be able to expand, which will only be good news for the province. If nothing is done, they may be forced to either a) shut down, or b) leave the province and set up shop elsewhere. Neither is good for New Brunswick. This isn’t just a matter of keeping an excellent product in the province; this is about showing the proper support for a small, local business that is asking for nothing more than the opportunity to grow. Here’s hoping for a quick resolution.

Propeller Brewing has two new beers out this week. First up, their next One-Hit Wonder All Tapped Out is an India Pale Ale brewed with 6 different hop varietals, and will take any hophead down for the count. Victory, Wheat, and Crystal malts bump up the 2 Row base malt, lending colour and flavour, while the Warrior, Centennial, Columbus, Cluster, Ahtanum and Cascade hops pack a punch of bitterness and grassy, citrus, and resiny aromas. The beer weighs in at 6.9% ABV and 72 IBUs, for a bit more alcohol than their standard IPA. As with all other One-Hit Wonders, this beer is for growler sales only (on now at both the Gottingen and Windmill locations), with the rare keg sneaking out to friendly HRM bars and restaurants.

• Prop’s second new beer this week is their Spring Seasonal, Rye IPA. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 72 IBUs, the malt bill features a healthy dose of Rye malt to spice up the brew, and a secret blend of hops for bittering and aroma. Released today in bottles at both brewery locations, it will also be available in the NSLC and private beer stores, and on tap for growlers and at HRM bars soon.

TrailWay Brewing just delivered some kegs of their newest beer, a Black IPA named Black Hops One. This particular style of beer is often interpreted differently from brewery to brewery; look for TrailWay’s version to have significant roast and chocolate character (thanks to the addition of both Roasted and Chocolate malts in the mash). Of course, there will also be lots of hop character, as this beer includes Apollo, Centennial, Mosaic, Chinook and Comet. As the style dictates, it comes in fairly bitter at around 90 IBUs, with an ABV of 7.1%. There should be a limited quantity available this weekend at both the King Street Ale House and 540 Kitchen & Bar.

Big Axe is re-releasing their Maple Wheat Amber Ale, first introduced last year. Brewed with both Pale and Caramel malts, it also features maple sap tapped from Big Axe’s very own maple trees, as well as some sourced from Nackawic’s own Stone Family Maple Products. Hopped with the Orbit variety, the beer comes in at 5% ABV and features a light-to-medium body, and lots of sweet, caramel and maple aromas, according to the brewery. Look for it on tap at the brewery and possibly select accounts by this weekend. And stay tuned for more news soon on their 1st Anniversary party, which sill take place at the brewery  in June; they’re planning on lots of live music, beer, and NB cider and mead (from Red Rover and Sunset Heights Meadery). They’ve also announced plans to build a taproom at their location in the future; we’ll keep you updated on their progress!

• There’s a new beer on tap at the Big Tide brewpub in Saint John, an India Pale Lager (read: hoppy Lager) named Sea Legs. Originally brewed for last Saturday’s Saint John Beer Fest (more on that below), a lot of the recipe is similar to their regular-release Seaworthy IPA, except it was fermented – of course – with a Lager yeast. It also followed a step-mash technique (more than one temperature rest during the mashing process), and was aged cool (or “lagered”) for a month before packaging. The beer was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Hallertau, and dry-hopped with Saaz. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and about 60 IBUs, and is on tap for both pints and growler fills. Their Bucht Bock – another festival beer – is still available for pints for a limited time only, so be sure to get to the brewpub to sample both!

• Shortly after last week’s experimental Belgian Scotch Ale, Picaroons has released the “other half” of that beer; that is, the first runnings from the brew day, which were fermented with their house Ringwood yeast to make The Brick ISA, an “Imperial Scotch Ale”. With a grist consisting of Pale malt, Golden Promise, Torrified Wheat, and Roasted and Smoked malts, the beer exhibits plenty of fruity esters, along with a “subtle smokiness” and some expected warmth from the high ABV (11.5%). It was hopped lightly to 28 IBUs with Goldings and Fuggles; as with last week’s beer, it is available only at the Brewtique for growler fills. And stay tuned for the second beer from their “Employee Series”, which should be released in the near future!

• In other Pics news, next week will mark the return of their popular summer seasonal, Dooryard, a 4.5% ABV American Wheat Ale. To celebrate, they’re having a Dooryard Launch Party at the ANBL Train Station next Wednesday, April 22nd (Earth Day). Along with free Dooryard samples, they’ll have food from Isaac’s Way and live music from the Alan Jeffries Duo. There’s no charge to attend; it all starts at 4 pm.

Grimross has re-brewed one of the beers originally brewed shortly after they opened in the summer of 2013. Bayard Blond is a 7% ABV Belgian Blond, a stronger style that exhibits both spiciness and fruitiness, thanks to the expressive Belgian yeast. With “notes of pear and grass”, and a “very fresh character” according to the brewery, it was likely brewed with the warmer temperatures of spring in mind! Stop by the brewery to try this refreshing ale; it’s available for both pints and growler fills now.

• Next Saturday, April 25th, Railcar Brewing is holding a Craft Beer and Cheese Pairing at their newly-opened tasting room. Held from 6 pm – 9 pm, there will be six cheeses from Jolly Farmer, paired with six different craft beers, including two each from Railcar (Irish Red and Chocolate Maple Stout), Picaroons (Yippee IPA and Dark and Stormy Night), and Propeller (ESB and Double IPA). Tickets are $20 each and can be bought at the door, or purchased in advance by contacting owner/brewer Mitch Biggar through the brewery’s Facebook page.

• And coming back to the Saint John Beer Fest, last Saturday’s event was a great success; the festival was sold-out, and featured more breweries and more beer than last year. The People’s Choice votes were tallied, and Hammond River Brewing won first place for the second year in a row! Silver went to Big Tide, and bronze to first-time attendee TrailWay Brewing. Congrats to the winners, and to the SJBF on another successful event!

Rogues Roost has a new Double IPA on tap at the brewpub now. Weighing in at 7.2%, this is a big beer with big hops to balance: 90 IBUs coming from several different hop varietals, finished with a large aroma addition of the Falconer’s Flight blend, lending tropical and citrus characteristics. This is actually the second Double IPA that Brewster Karen Allen has released in recent months, and like the first one, it will probably sell quickly, so be sure to pop down soon!

Rudder’s Brew Pub & Restaurant in Yarmouth has brewed up a lager for the coming warmer months. Lighthouse Lager 2.0 was brewed this week, and will be fermenting and conditioning until June. A lighter lager, the grain bill has changed slightly since the last time it was brewed in 2013. And this batch has been hopped with New Zealand Southern Cross and UK Fuggles varietals.

• For those not able to visit Rudder’s in Yarmouth, look for them in the Yarmouth Town Exhibit at the Saltscapes Expo next weekend at Halifax Exhibition Grounds. They will be sampling a couple of their beers, along with local restaurants and artisans. Other breweries attending the Expo include Propeller and Garrison, and local homebrew/winery shop Noble Grape.

Bar Stillwell in Halifax shared some great news this week: they will be setting up Stillwell Beergarden on the waterfront, set to open in about 6 weeks. Based in a custom-built shipping container, the Stilly Satellite Spot will be located at the Summit Plaza, steps from “The Wave”. The taps will be primarily NS beers (with a Nova Scotian cider and wine also on tap), with a focus on lighter-bodied, more “sessionable” beers. The food will also focus on NS, with chef Graeme Ruppel cooking up homemade sausages, complemented with other local fare, like sausages from Sweet William’s, Rose Lane, and bread and buns from Gingerbread Haus. It will operate into the fall, so that locals and tourists alike will have plenty of chances to drink and taste the best Nova Scotia has to offer. We understand that there are already some exciting events scheduled for the space, including Tap Takeovers that would be seen at both Stillwell HQ and the Beergarden, plus the special beers that show up on a regular basis.

Schoolhouse Brewery has a very cool project in the works, The Southfield Project: One Field, One Beer. They will be using a two-acre plot of land and growing barley and hops for a truely local NS beer. The ingredients will be hand planted and tended to, with the barley malted and hops harvested and dried right at the brewery. Those interested can follow along with the progress of the project on Facebook, and we look forward to taking part and drinking the resulting beer in the fall.

• Several more events for NS Craft Beer Week May 7-18 have been announced, including a series of Brewmaster’s Dinners at Lion & Bright: Boxing Rock vs Big Spruce on Monday, Sea Level vs Propeller on Wednesday, and North Brewing on Thursday. Beer Cocktail Face-Off, The Science of Beer, and Brews Cruise tickets are still available, and new events are being announced daily. Keep up with them using the #NSCraftBeerWeek tag on Twitter.

Enjoy your weekend! BarNone has rebrewed their Milk Stout, La Vaca Loca, and it should be available for their weekly growler night next Thursday at the brewery, and is expected to be on tap at the Pilot House next week as well. And speaking of Milk Stouts, it looks like there’s one being brewed at the Gahan House, too; we’ll have more on that beer for you next week. After a 10-day break the Townhouse Pub in Antigonish re-opened this week, so local beer fans can resume their place at the bar for a pint of Terry’s Bitter. And don’t forget that tomorrow is the launch of the Ladies Beer League and Boxing Rock beer, Cinnamon Spin. The event starts at 6pm at Stillwell, with the official tapping at 6:30. Happy 1st Anniversary to BeerTech Draft System Technologists, keeping many bars, restaurants and breweries’ taps and lines clean! And Happy 30th Anniversary to Granite Brewing, who continue to push the NS beer scene forward!

Happy Friday, and end of March! Don’t worry, the snow has to start melting sometime soon… right? Regardless, here’s what’s new for craft beer in our region this week:

• Despite just wrapping up the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival earlier this month, organizer Lloyd Chambers is bringing another beer idea of his to fruition… Burgers n’ Beer! Partnering with reLiSH Gourmet Burgers, there will be three small events throughout New Brunswick. The first will be held on Tuesday, April 15th in Fredericton from 8-10 pm (at the new uptown location), and will include six reLiSH sliders paired with six 8 oz pours of craft beer and cider. The tentative brewery list includes Grimross Brewing, Red Rover, B.C.’s Central City Brewing (with their Red Racer IPA representing), and Celtic Knot and Hammond River Brewing, both in Fredericton for the first time for this event! A custom 8 oz tasting glass is also included, and Adam Clawson of Red Rover will be doing a small presentation on all three of his ciders pouring at the event. Tickets are $45, taxes and fees included, and can be purchased online here. Future events are also planned for reLiSH locations in Moncton (April 29th) and Saint John (tentatively May 9th).

• Garrison Brewing has just released last year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off winner. Saint Peter’s Belgian-Style Strong Ale, a Belgian Blond Ale, was brewed with the winner of 2013’s competition, homebrewer Peter Welton. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs, the beer is described as having a “hazy but vibrant orange color and a fluffy white head”, and exhibits a “smooth, spicy, and fresh aroma with notes of vanilla and banana, with the juicy flavor matching the aroma and finishing with a lingering warmth”. Look for the beer in bottles at the Garrison retail store, and at private liquor stores and NSLC stores throughout the province.

• Returning this week from Propeller Brewing is their popular Double IPA. A “heavily dry-hopped” Imperial IPA, it packs a punch at 8.2% ABV, with 85 IBUs. The brewery describes the beer as having “a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavors, balanced by sweet malt flavors”. You can find the beer in bottles and growlers at the Halifax and Dartmouth Prop Shop locations, and in bottles only at NSLC and private liquor stores in the province.

• Hot off the recent release of their El Rojo Diable Double IPA (which is just about gone, by the way), Sea Level Brewing is releasing another new beer. New World Alt is a Düsseldorf Altbier brewed from a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence from a brewer friend of his in Düsseldorf, Germany. Described as a “clean, medium-bodied ale” with a background hop presence provided by the Hersbrucker hop, the beer is lagered for three weeks at zero degrees before packaging; it comes in at a very drinkable 4.8% ABV. New World Alt should be available at the brewery sometime next week, and will follow shortly afterwards at their regular outlets.

The Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax recently provided details on their next beer dinner on their Brewer’s Blog. Starting at 6 pm on Monday, March 31st, the three-course meal looks spectacular as usual, and features beers from brewer Greg Nash that includes Balticus, Fathom IPA, and Wreckoning RIS. Tickets are $35 and can be reserved by calling the brewpub.

• Meanwhile at Rockbottom, Nash has released some early details on two new beers that he’s brewed recently. The first is a Double IPA that is fermented with “Conan”, a well-known yeast strain in the brewing world as it is the one used by The Alchemist brewery in Vermont in their world-famous Heady Topper DIPA. The original yeast was cultured from a can of Heady Topper by one of the members of the Brewnosers, and Nash continued to grow this yeast until he had enough for a full-sized batch. Dry-hopped multiple times, the beer’s ABV will come in around 8% with 130 IBUs (calculated). The other beer is a SMaSH (single malt and single hop) India Pale Lager. Brewed with Pale Ale malt and Galaxy hops, the beer is fermented on lager yeast at cool temps, and then lagered and dry-hopped with more Galaxy. Look for this one to finish somewhere between 6.5-7% ABV, and with 80 IBUs. Both beers should be available at the brewpub sometime in the near future!

• Details are still very slim, but we can report that Bad Apple Brewhouse has brewed a new DIPA. Supposedly bigger and hoppier than the crowd-pleasing Conception DIPA that was pouring at the FCBF this month, this should be one heck of a beer! Stay tuned for more details as the beer approaches completion/packaging.

The PEI Brewing Co. has started a new “Cask Program” run by brewer Karen Allen. We’ll have some more details in the near future, but for now they’re sending three pin casks to Halifax early next week to be tapped at Stillwell sometime soon. The first cask, Cherry Blaster, is the same sour, barrelled Saison that’s been served before, but instead of dry-hopping this one, they’ve added a tart cherry concentrate. The second cask is Business Lunch IPA, a “sessionable pale ale” dry-hopped with Mosaic and Cascade. Finally, Spray Tan Imperial IPA is a DIPA that has been double dry-hopped; first with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, and then with Centennial in the cask. Keep up-to-date with Stillwell’s tap list on their Twitter feed.

• And a reminder that the 2014 Saint John Beer Fest is fast approaching! This year’s event is once again being held at the Market Square Atrium in downtown Saint John, on Saturday, April 5th. It was just reported this morning that all tickets are now sold out (including regular admission and VIP). The brewery/beer list has recently been posted on their Facebook page linked above. We hope to have a more detailed post on the festival sometime next week!

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

Gift Baskets

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

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

Breweriana

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

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

PEIBrewing

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

Specialty Beers

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

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

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

Event Tickets

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

Homebrewing

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

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