The Brewnosers

All posts tagged The Brewnosers

Another wild week in the region, with snow bringing the mainland to a full-stop/crawl, but thankfully we’ve got loads of great beer news to share this week. And in case you missed it, Timber Ship Brewing, which we featured in a Profile on the blog yesterday, did in fact have their launch last night at The Piping Plover Gastropub in Miramichi, pouring their Dungarvon Hopper IPA and Broken Paddle Pale Ale. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest news on where to grab a pint. Congratulations again! Let’s get to the other new news in the region…

Brut IPAs… love ‘em, or hate ‘em? No matter how you feel, it looks like the style is here to stay, at least for awhile. To give you some further food for thought on the subject, Lunn’s Mill is throwing their hat in the ring with their latest beer, And You. Their take on a Brut IPA was hopped with late additions of Galaxy and Mosaic, which combine to provide “an intense grapefruit character”. The bitterness lingers despite its relatively low 33 IBUs (likely due to the high dryness thanks to a low finishing gravity), and its alcohol level isn’t too high either, at 5.5% ABV. You should be able to still find this one at the Lunn’s Mill taproom for pints and growlers, and quite possibly at your favourite drinking spot in the HRM.

If you were lucky enough to attend Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event last night, you probably noticed a few new beers making their way around the room. One of them is the Brut IPA from Lunn’s Mill we just mentioned. Not to be outdone, Tatamagouche Brewing brought two new beers, one of which was a special sneak peek of their latest barrel-aged brew. The first beer is Kitty Clyde, a DIPA hopped with two of our favourite Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. Thanks to plenty of both in the recipe, expect “Five Alive-type citrus flavours, along with the usual tropical and mandarin” in this 7.8% ABV, 40 IBUs hop bomb. Kegs are already being delivered to various Tata licensees, and they’re also canning it today, so expect some of those next week! Their other preview was a beer brewed two years ago that finally got to see the light of day (before being lost to the darkness of mouths and stomachs) – Kiskadee. This beer started off as a clean Porter, before being racked into second-use Glenora Whisky barrels, where it sat for 18 months. The Tata elves then added a hop-tolerant mixed culture from Escarpment Labs to help the beer develop some acidity; it was then racked onto organic NS strawberries for a second fermentation, for another four months. The final, much-awaited result, is a hefty 9.8% ABV, and has notes of “chocolate, spirits, and tart strawberries”. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to taste it last night; it’s been packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles, and should be released in a couple of weeks.  

We’ve got another 2 Crows bottle release for you this weekend… or, more accurately, they do (the big glory hogs!). Those of you from Newfoundland may be particularly excited for Cloud 9, as it features the addition of the highly-coveted bakeapple. Sometimes referred to as cloudberry, bakeapple is a tart, flavourful, golden-coloured berry that is very difficult to forage, and even harder to find. In Newfoundland, some locals have places they know to find them, but keep it a closely-guarded secret since they’re so rare. Cloud 9 has been brewed on a smaller scale in the past, for release on tap at the brewery’s launch, and 1st anniversary party. As for this batch, it was brewed last March with a grain bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was soured first with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces cultures. After spending four months in the barrel, the bakeapple was added (about 50 lbs of it, the result of several days of foraging by Paul Smith, a friend of 2C who we think is owed a major favour!) to the barrel. The 5.2% ABV beer then conditioned for another two months, before packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast. Five months later, it’s finally ready and is described by 2C as “tart, lively, bright, with a distinct funk and bakeapple character”. Don’t worry, there’s some of that barrel goodness in there as well! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon; with about 900 bottles available, it’ll go pretty quickly, so don’t delay in getting down to grab yours (a few bottles will also be available on the 2C web store, for shipping in NS).

Up in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing continues to pump out small batches of lovely beers with two releases since last we mentioned them. Last week saw Enkel, their take on the traditional Patersbier style. Designed by Trappist monks to be light enough to drink during the workday, “enkel” is the Dutch word for “single” leading to the beer also being known as a “singel” for maximum confusion in the marketplace. Dark candy syrup provides some light sweetness and dark fruit to this one, contrasting with a spicy and fruity character from a typical Belgian yeast strain. At 5.5% ABV it’s probably a little higher on the scale than a more traditional example, but you can still expect it to be light and refreshing. And as is their wont, the boys of Niche are putting out a hoppier style this week to balance the Euro stylings of the Enkel. A Hazy Shade of Winter is a NEIPA with a lightish 5.6% ABV and a heavy hopping of tropical fruity Galaxy and dank and piney Simcoe. Look for a low bitterness and plenty of passion fruit flavor in this easy drinker along with some yeast character generated by their own blend of haze-encouraging yeast strains. Look for both of these beers to be available at tap accounts in New Brunswick.

There’s an appropriately-named new addition to the Something Different lineup at Annapolis Cider CompanyStorm Cider (sorry, but we’ve got to mention the weather at least once a week, right?)! Starting off as a dry cider made from the juice of handpicked Gravenstein apples, it was fermented at cool temperatures and then blended with local blueberry, strawberry, arctic kiwi, rhubarb, and blackcurrant juices. The final rose-coloured product has “vibrant notes of fresh berries, and a crisp finish”, and comes in at 7.3% ABV. The charity recipient for this cider is The Red Door, a youth health and support centre; they will receive $0.50 from each refill.

Sticking with cider, Chain Yard has their own new release now available, Scoby Blu. The latest entry in their Kombucha series, it started with the base of their Foundation cider, and then features the addition of Kombucha from local Sòlas Kombucha (New Ross, NS), as well as homemade blueberry wine and matured lavender from Meander River Farm. As you might expect, the resulting 6.4% ABV cider has some of that wonderful Kombucha funk, as well as floral and fruit notes. You can find it on tap right now at their retail store.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company has a new beer on tap and in cans, a 4.3% ABV Session IPA. Light in body, with plenty of hops on the nose and palate, but light on bitterness, reminiscent of tropical fruit and melon. They have packaged it in a limited release can, featuring the logo of the South Shore Lumberjacks hockey team. Purchasing the can helps support the Lumberjack players and personnel. Saltbox is also currently pouring Backyard Cider, made with local heirloom Gravenstein apples. This 6.5% ABV single varietal cider is crisp and dry, with floral notes on the nose.

Newly-opened Sussex Ale Works has released their latest brew to be poured at their taproom in Sussex, Holstein Milk Stout. Brewed for those who love stouts, and for those who maybe don’t think they like stouts, some malt and lactose sweetness comes through on the palate, along with chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee. Complemented by some floral character from a light addition of East Kent Golding hops, it finishes clean, and is quite drinkable at just 4.8% ABV. Described by the brewery as “adult chocolate milk”, make sure to drop by if you’re in the Sussex area before it’s gone.

In St. John’s, YellowBelly continues to experiment with cider, releasing a new “Winter Series” entry on tap, Raspberry Cranberry Apple Cider. This deep pink beverage features the addition of 60 kg of seedless berries in about 800 L of cider; it was then back-sweetened with more cider, to round things out. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, and is tasting “floral, jammy, and very tart”. While you can currently grab it on tap at the brew pub, there’s a chance that it’ll pop up in bottles, soon.

If you like hanging out at Good Robot, and you like NEIPAs, they’ve got some happy news for you – next week’s Beta release is, yes, a NEIPA named Tri-Sarah-Hops. Co-brewed with Sarah Gallant, it was heavily late-hopped and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (see, the beer name is more clever now, right?). Not too too much bitterness (42 IBUs), and a whole lotta grapefruit and mango flavours, it comes in pretty low in the ABV department for an IPA, at just 5.2%. As for next Thursday’s Alpha, it’s a new one named Chäir Beer. Loosely-based on their Leave Me Blue, the grist contains 2-row, flaked corn, and Rye malt. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Sorachi Ace and Perle, they added some Lingonberry juice to the 4.9% ABV resulting beer. What’s a Lingonberry? Well, it’s a small, red, slightly tart berry that is also known as a partridgeberry in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Hey, the more you know! The final product is easy-drinking and a touch tart, but you’ll have to taste it for yourself! Again, at the taproom, next Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Tusket Falls has put a couple of new beers on tap in recent days. The first is Wild Sour, a beer with a subtle tartness and a lot of lemon citrus notes. Dry-hopped with Amarillo for a hoppy presence, at 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking and refreshing number that will likely make you wish that little bit more for warmer weather. The other new beer is in the Northeast/New England IPA style, this one paradoxically called The Nameless Juicy New England Pale Ale. We don’t know much more about it except that it’s 5.8% ABV, but we suspect you’re familiar enough with the style at this point to take a guess. Also, stacks of kegs were seen recently on Tusket’s Instagram story, we hope this implies that Tusket Falls beers will soon be seen more frequently outside their taproom so that the rest of the Province (and perhaps the region) can get a taste of the beery things going on near Yarmouth.

Sticking to the Southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Roof Hound has put together a three-headed beer that may also have you thinking of warm summer days. Triple Threat Brown is being called a “Neapolitan” beer, bringing together the classic flavors of the original three-flavor ice cream. Featuring chocolate malt, vanilla, and strawberry puree, you can expect all three flavors to be well-represented. At 5.4% ABV it’s light enough for you to have a couple. Look for it on tap at Roof Hound’s taproom and other select locations, but if you’re not in the area, stay tuned as this one is scheduled to be put in bottles as well.

Over on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a couple of new beers on the go, both seeing fairly wide release. Black Banks is a black IPA, brewed with light toasty malts, but also with a good portion of debittered black malt to provide some mild roasty notes and a deep dark color. Hopped both in the kettle and via dry hop with lots of modern tropical varieties, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a sturdy 60 IBU. Also on the go is a new beer in the After Hours series, a big one that should be perfect for the depths of winter. Barrel-aged Barleywine tips the scales at a massive 10.5% ABV, with a mild carbonation, a slightly sweet palate and a balanced bitterness. Herbal English hop varieties and some fruity yeast character are complemented by vanilla and wood flavors from an extended aging period in Kentucky bourbon barrels. You’ll find both of these beers at several Gahan locations, including the original Gahan House in Charlottetown, Gahan Riverside in the Fredericton area, and Gahan Port City in Saint John as well as at the PEIBC Taproom and select PEILCC locations.

And a quick hop back to Yarmouth for this week’s entry in the “shamefully late email” sweepstakes, this one from Heritage Brewing, who have a couple of interesting things on the taps of late. The first is their Angry Blonde Jalapeño Ale. Based on their light and refreshing standard blonde, they’ve added some additional interest through the addition of fresh Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. With a solid hot pepper flavor and a not-so-mild spice, you’ll only be able to get this one at the brewery. Also only at the brewery is their Vanilla Cream Ale, which is also a variant on a base beer, this time their usual cream ale, but conditioned on vanilla beans for a soft and creamy flavor profile. Next up is a re-release of their Norseman NEIPA which they’ve fermented with the Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs and tweaked the hop profile of slightly. Slightly more sessionable than previous versions, they’ve been quite generous with the late and dry hop additions for a classic NEIPA juiciness. And keep your eyes out in the near future for another re-release, this time their Blueberry Grunt Sour, a very popular brew that they’re also making some minor changes to.

A note for all amateur and professional brewers, those who work in the industry, or looking to learn more, the next Beer Judge Certification Program Tasting Exam for our region will be taking place in Halifax on May 10th. If you are interested in sitting it, learning more about the BJCP, or taking part in the tastings the examinees will be running before then, hop over to the Brewnosers Forum and say Hi.

What’s on the go in our region over the next few weeks? We’ve got the goods for you today!

A quick reminder that tomorrow will see one of Halifax’s premier imported beer events when Belgian Fest goes live at Stillwell on Barrington at noon. Featuring beers you very well may not have had the chance to try before, especially in this region, or that if you have, you’re likely eager to taste again. With rare Lambics by the glass, bottles that say Westvleteren and other hard to pronounce words, and plenty of other tasty treats on tap, this is an opportunity to expand your palate and see what all the fuss over Belgian beer is about. As always, the kitchen will be putting out some well-considered thematically consistent foods, and we’re sure there will be plenty of folks around (both employed by Stillwell and not) to help guide your exploration of some of the best that Belgium has to offer.

Dartmouth’s Battery Park is continuing their series of Tap Takeover events from local breweries on January 17th, when they are inviting Nyanza’s Big Spruce back in house. They’ll have more than a dozen beer pouring that day, including a handful of reserve kegs from the cellar, lots of new/favourite seasonals, plus the return of their BP/BS collaboration beer, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with donair meat and aged on raspberries. The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day and night, so pop by for a pint!

Also on January 17th, which could make for a fun 1-2 punch of a beery day, Garrison Brewing is holding an event they’ve dubbed “A Thief in the Night”. This ticketed event will have Brewmaster Daniel Girard leading a tasting of several beers before they are released. They include five brand new beers drawn straight from the barrel, a taste of their upcoming Wintervention 2019 with cocoa nibs, a pre-release bottle of Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Wintervention, a Cellar Series Teku glass, plus more perks. Tickets ($50) can be reserved in person or over the phone (Veronika at (902) 453-5343 ext. 222). This is sure to be a fun and enlightening event!

Roof Hound Brewery is hosting the Second Annual South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night on Wednesday, January 23rd. From 7 – 10 PM, there will be ten different beers from a handful of the region’s breweries, namely Heritage Brewing, Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, and Tusket Falls join the host Roof Hound on tap. Your $35+tax ticket includes your first 4oz sample of each beer and an appetizer, while live music by David Chamberland, and the brewers themselves will be on hand for entertainment and learning more about the beer. Grab your ticket at Roof Hound, or via email before they sell out!

Tickets are now on sale for the Pasadena Brew-Fest, being held Friday February 15th. From 7 – 10 PM, Pasadena Place will be full of great local beer, thanks to Bootleg Brew Co, Crooked Feeder, and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Your $50 ticket is available online through the e-Service account, or in person at Pasadena Place.

Not so fast, here are a few final beer and release notes to get you fully up to date!

Montague, PEI’s, Copper Bottom Brewing has a new Dry-Hopped Sour on tap at the brewery these days, this one featuring Ekuanot hops. Tart and refreshing, this 5.0% ABV beer features notes of tangerine, papaya, and orange peel. Grab it as part of a flight, a full pint, or a growler to take home. Plus look out for cans of Ken’s Stout and Parkman Ave DIPA at your local PEILCC this weekend!

FirkinStein Brewing in Bridgewater welcomed two hoppy beers to the taps this week: one a returning favourite, and one brand new. Set Sail Pale Ale is a 6.0% American Pale Ale, generously hopped late and after the boil, it features loads of citrus aroma and flavour, and low bitterness. And debuting yesterday was King Street, a 7.7% ABV IPA generously hopped with Cascade and Mosaic. Catch both of them at their taproom (on King Street, of course) for pints and growlers.

A note that today’s Cask Friday release at Propeller’s Gottingen Street location will be their London Porter, cask conditioned and served by a gravity tap. Food from Alteregos, including Mac and Cheese, will be available for pairing to your heart’s content. And for those of us eagerly awaiting word, the very-limited El Dorado Brett IPA that we mentioned last week is pouring today at the taproom. May as well stick around for two then, eh?

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has a new beer pouring for you this week, as they continue to explore the wide variety of ale styles available. Newkirk is a 3.4% ABV and 15 IBU English Mild, known for their lower ABV (perfect for a full afternoon session), with notes of toast/bread crust, toffee, and dark sugars. Using iconic Fuggles for the hops completes the ode to the style. Pop by for a growler fill today or tomorrow, if it lasts that long, as these small batches sell out quite quickly.

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is looking to hire someone to support their brewing operations. From Brewmaster Matt Vincent, “Brewing experience is an asset, but training will be provided.” Send them a message or email Matt to learn more and to apply.

Two Islands Brewing in Parrsboro, NS has lots of news for us this week. First up is a new batch of their Sailor’s Delight, their 5.0% ABV Irish Red Ale hit the taps, as well as their 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale. And it’s that Blonde Ale that needs your help: it is currently nameless, and they are holding a contest on Facebook to fix that. Check out this link and weigh in. You can also now take away their Irish Red, Blonde, APA and Porter in 240 mL bottles, as well as growler fills. And why not drop in next Thursday, January 17th, for Trivia and Wing Night. Or January 19th, when Mark Raven will be entertaining the tap room with his music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good morning, and welcome to the first Friday of November! The weather is now colder, and winter is around the corner, but the local beer continues to flow…

Propeller recently released a new winter seasonal, Coffee Porter. True to its name, it was brewed with 20 lbs of whole beans and “dry-hopped” (dry-coffeed?) with coffee grounds, also 20 lbs worth. The coffee comes from local roasters Java Blend, and is their Fog City blend – with two roast levels that give a “bold flavour, with sweet, rich tones”, expect plenty of roasted, coffee goodness. At 5.9% and 35 IBUs, it’s available now in growlers and 650 mL bottles. And grab their Russian Imperial Stout, back on tap and in bottles at both Windmill and Gottingen locations.

• Continuing on with coffee beers, FirkinStein Brewing has debuted Rock Your Boat, a Coffee Oatmeal Stout. A smooth beer thanks to the addition of oatmeal, the coffee was provided by Lunenburg’s Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters; the Rock Your Boat coffee is one of their dark roasts, and is described as “a blend of dark, mi-noir, and medium roasted Mexican beans, bolstered by full bodied Sumatra”. While the Hubbard’s Farmers Market has shut down for the season, FirkinStein can be found at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market every Thursday morning.

Big Tide has a brand new beer pouring at their brewpub in Saint John, Barbarossa’s Black IPA. Brewed with Pale Ale, Munich, “dark” CaraMunich, Chocolate Wheat, and Black malts, it was heavily hopped with Hallertau, Magnum, and Citra, to 70 IBUs. A medium-bodied, dark brew exhibiting a “toasty, biscuity malt profile, balanced well with citrusy hop flavours”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. Drop by for a pint and/or growler today! Their Barrelled Life Barley Wine is also currently pouring.

• The Boxing Rock/Battery Park/North collaboration, Battery Rock India Brown Ale, was launched at the epic Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night. For those who missed out, it is available on tap around the HRM now, and in growlers and 650 mL bottles at both Boxing Rock and North, and their Farmers’ Market stalls. With a “dark, complex, creamy malt base with notes of coffee, caramel and smoke”, it brings in the IPA side with notes of tropical fruit and citrus in the aroma. Highly drinkable at 5.7% ABV, look for bottles to appear in the Halifax private liquor stores as well, likely by next week.

• The new beers from Tide & Boar Brewing continue to flow at the brewpub in Moncton; this week has featured Strawberry Ale Shake, a style known simply as “Milkshake IPA” that has been quickly growing in popularity with North American breweries. Featuring the addition of lactose to increase the body and add a touch of lingering sweetness, real strawberries were also added, as well as heavy hop additions in the whirlpool, resulting in a fruity and murky brew. A true Double IPA at 8.1% ABV, only 3 kegs were brewed, so it likely won’t last long… if it’s even still on!

• Yesterday was International Stout Day, and Picaroons released a new one-off at Saint John’s General Store to celebrate. Brewed in conjunction with Brú Brewery Meath, out of County Meath, Ireland, Irish Canadian Stout features the addition of Canadian maple syrup and Irish whiskey oak chips, to combine the best of both worlds. Still exhibiting plenty of roasted characteristics you expect to see in a stout, it comes in at 6.2% ABV and is available on tap at the General Store only.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing will be launching two new beers this Saturday, November 5thRoof Hound IPA is a 6.4% hop-bomb, brewed with guidance and assistance from Bad Apple‘s Jeff Saunders, featuring a boat-load of Columbus and Mosaic hops. Big Brown Rum and Raisin Holiday Edition is a 7.5% Brown Ale with a holiday twist. Both beers will be flowing starting at 9pm, with live music from Tide and Timbre and Hannah Morgan starting at 10:00 PM. And while the 7:30pm seating for their upcoming Festive Supper Club on December 1st is sold out, there are a few spots available for the 5:00 PM seating. Email for more details and to reserve your spot.

• This weekend Garrison Brewing continues their association with Hal-Con, now in its 7th year as the premier sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention in Atlantic Canada, with two adult and one all-ages formulations. First, for the grownups, the Klingon Warnog Roggen Dunkel (Dark Rye) is available at the brewery once again. First brewed for Hal-Con 2014 under license from the Federation of Beer, it is fundamentally in the Dunkelweizen style. On a firm base of Munich and Wheat malts a significant addition of Rye provides spiciness, while dark Crystal malt gives it the characteristic colour of the style. Lightly hopped with Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV brew uses an authentic Weizen yeast to provide clove and banana esters to pair with caramel and chocolate notes from the malt. Also for those of legal age, and making a repeat appearance after being introduced in June of this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the original television series, Star Trek Golden Anniversary Ale has been re-released  just in time for the convention. A light and refreshing, 5% ABV, slightly sweet beer featuring only pale and wheat malts along with 20 IBUs and a spiciness provided by the noble Hallertauer hop, it’s filtered sparkling clear and has a solid, long-lasting white head. It’s available in 650 mL bombers from the brewery and at private liquor stores around the HRM area. Lastly, appropriate for both kids and the kid in all of us, is Sweet Nelson Power Soda, a Raspberry Ginger Ale featuring a suitably fantastic lime-green colour. Brewed under the auspices of Garrison division Dockside Soda Co., it is returning to Hal-Con this year after a tremendously popular introduction at last year’s event.

• If your appetite for pumpkin beers doesn’t quite justify a growler fill, or you’re just curious about how the other half lives, the Nine Locks Brewing fall seasonal Pumpkin Ale is now available in cans at the brewery. Still 5.2% and 12 IBUs and still featuring a malty backbone and full mouthfeel balancing the crisp spicing, this amber ale will surely give way soon to a winter offering, so get it while it lasts. Meanwhile, not resting on their gourds, Nine Locks is also releasing another beer this week, Scotch Ale. Inspired by the Scottish ales of the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s a strong beer at 7.5%, and is dark with ruby highlights, and deeply malty. Typical of the style, it comes in at a fairly low 22 IBUs while dark grains and a crisp finish complete the picture. This one will be available in the next couple of weeks for growler fills and in cans, both at the brewery.

Upstreet has teamed up with Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. for a very worthy cause – to help build the first women-owned and operated brewery in Rwanda. Until November 17th, $2 for every pint and growler sold in the Upstreet taproom will go to help this project. For more information on the Rwanda brewery, and to donate yourself directly, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

• There’s a couple of new beers from Graystone on tap for growler fills and pints: Into the Woods Brown Ale, a 5% ABV, 26 IBUs “medium-bodied ale with caramel and chocolate flavours”, and Pitch Stout, a 4.5% ABV American Oatmeal Stout that is full-bodied, “with notes of chocolate and a moderate roast character”.

• Beer lovers in Sackville, NB (aka Bagtown), will be able to enjoy beer brewed in their town in the new year. The just-announced Bagtown Brewing Company is a student project at Mount Allison University, which sees students go through the steps of investing and opening their own business. While still in the licensing phase, they do have a location for their nano-sized brewery, which will set up in the newly-opened Sackville Commons. Follow along on their progress on Twitter and Instagram, and we’ll be sharing more details shortly.

November is a busy month, with loads of newly-announced events in the next few weeks:

Good Robot was recently voted Best Brewery and Best Brewpub by readers of The Coast, and they’re celebrating with a crazy event – a tap takeover at their own taproom, today. A total of 11 different GR beers will be available, the most they’ve ever had on at one time. Check out the event link for full beer details! This self-serving event – 😉 – will continue all weekend.

Stillwell is holding a special all-cider event tomorrow on Saturday, November 5th, featuring Ontario’s West Avenue Cider Company. A bevy of special ciders will be pouring all day (check out the full list here) starting at noon, with no tickets required to attend. In addition, a special food menu has been put together that will optimally pair with all these tasty beverages; be sure to drop by for an epic sampling!

Red Rover is once again teaming up with the James Joyce for another Guy Fawkes-themed event, Saturday, November 5th. Plenty of Red Rover cider will be pouring, including three special releases, two of which are “James Joyce specialties”, and a mystery cask. It all starts at 8:30 pm; as usual, there is no cover charge.

• There are a plethora of events at various bars, restaurants, and breweries on Tuesday, November 8th, to “celebrate” Election Day in the U.S., when we can finally say, for better, worse, or worser, that this election has finally (hopefully) come to an end. There’s too many to list, but check out Facebook and you won’t have a problem finding one near you. Beer makes bad things better!

Breton Brewing is holding a tap takeover next Thursday, November 10th, at Halifax’s Lion & Bright. There will also be live music from Dave Sampson and Colin Grant. The boys from Breton will be bringing in a full complement of eight beers to pour for you, and the kitchen at L&B will be whipping up Cape Breton-inspired snacks. Look for their core lineup, as well as seasonals Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, Celtic Colours Maple Lager, and Tart’an Juicy Grapefruit Pale Ale. Plus, a brand new beer, MacAskill’s Revenge Black IPA, which launched last evening. At 7.0% ABV and 80 IBUs, you best stay on MacAskill’s good side!

• Local homebrewer Keith Forbes has been busy brewing up a storm at Good Robot over the past 6 weeks, and will be holding one heck of a party at the GR Tap Room November 15th. The first of their BrewBot – Homebrew Tap Takeover series will feature five beers brewed on GR’s Sabco Brew-Magic system. A very active member of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club, Forbes will be showcasing some award-winning beers, including his Gold Medal-winning Funktown American Pale Ale, and Muddy River Brown, a favourite with family and friends. The party kicks off at 5:00 pm.

• While their beer has been available in Moncton for over a month, Beckwith Road Brewing is taking a breath, and finally holding their Launch Party later this month. Being held at 400 St George St, 7:00 – 11:00 pm, November 26th. Advanced tickets are available now online, or can be purchased in person that evening (subject to availability). Your $10 ticket gets you 2 pints, while the $15 ticket also includes a take-home glass. Additional pints will be available for purchase as well. Keep an eye on the details on their Facebook Event page.

Before we sign off for the day…

– As we mentioned last week, the ANBL new growler station at Moncton North is launching this weekend; be sure to drop by for growler fills of local beers that include Bore City Mondo IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA, and Pump House Scotch Ale, while supplies last.
– Rothesay, New Brunswick’s Foghorn Brewing looks to be launching soon, as they’ve been teasing pictures of filled kegs (we assume!) on social media… if you’re in the area, your wait is almost over!
Hammond River has released the latest iteration of their single-malt-and-single-hop beer, The Vegas SMaSH; this ones features the always-wonderful Citra hop, so be sure to ask your local watering hole if they carry it!
Hell Bay‘s Black IPA, Black Flag IPA (6.1% ABV, 55 IBUs), is now available in 12 oz bottles at the brewery; look for it to pop up at liquor stores in NS in the near future as well.
Meander River is releasing a small run of bottles for events they’ll be attending the next couple weeks. Look out for Homegrown Wet Hop, Shack Wacky Cider, Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout, Smokey Chipotle Porter, Ashdale Honey Brown, and Surf & Turf Scotch Ale in 500 ml bottles. Meander River will be at the Christmas at the Forum this weekend, and The Guy Show and Saltscapes shows next weekend.
– Winter Warmer season is upon us, which is a bittersweet thing. This means, of course, that Petit-Sault‘s Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV, 29 IBUs), is back for the season. You can find it in growlers and six-packs at the brewery now, and in sixers at select ANBL locations.
– Picaroons Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back as well, on tap at both the Brewtique and General Store, select bars/restaurants, and in bottles.
– This year’s edition of the Pump House Stonefire Ale is now available, in a limited number of four thousand 750 mL bottles, at the brewery and soon in ANBL stores. This marks the third year for this 6.5% ABV beer, which was brewed by heating the wort through the addition of extremely hot rocks, as per an ancient German method.
– Saltbox Scottish Ale (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) is back on tap this week, but in a very limited quantity, so be sure to drop by and pick some up!
– Today is the last day for the Sober Island Brewing Kickstarter campaign; be sure to check out the link, and their many options for pledges and rewards!

And finally, best of luck to all entrants in this year’s Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, taking place in Halifax this weekend! We’ll be sure to give the list of winners next week, including the People’s Choice, whose online voting closes tomorrow.