Valonray Farmhouse Brewery

All posts tagged Valonray Farmhouse Brewery

Here we are one week into December and the breweries of Atlantic Canada decided to drop a veritable cornucopia of new beer releases on us. There’s lots of big-ass winter sippers, some holiday-themed beers, along with some less season-focused fare. It’s all a reminder that our scene is burgeoning and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. You’re not going to get through this in a trip to the can (not without risking nerve damage anyway), so we encourage you to pour yourself a beer, sit down somewhere quiet, and take some time to go through it all.

Let’s kick off with a reminder that Landwash Brewery is now officially open, pouring their first pints to the public yesterday. Drop by their taproom at 181 Commonwealth in Mount Pearl this weekend for samples, pints, and then grab some cans/growlers of their four core beer and first seasonal. Available now are One Wave Blonde Ale, That Much Ocean NEIPA, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout (with oats and coffee), Brackish Gose, and Home and Away Pale Ale. The taproom and retail spot is open Thursday and Friday 4 – 10 PM, Saturday 12 – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM. To get you thirsty for this evening’s visit, check out the Profile of Landwash we published earlier this week.

Hey, if you happen to be checking out Landwash over the next couple of days for their opening weekend, you may notice a brand-spanking-new beer from Port Rexton Brewing, which should be pouring on one of their guest taps. Long Trek is the brewery’s first lager, a clean, refreshing, crisp, 5% ABV Munich Helles. Fermented with Isar Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer has a “grainy-sweet, malty backbone” with “subtle, earthy, herbal hop notes”. It took about 6 weeks for this brew to be ready for packaging, and it sounds like the wait was probably worth it! If you can’t quite make it out to Mount Pearl, fear not… Long Trek is also available at PR’s taproom for growler fills, as well as at the brewery’s retail shop in St. John’s starting tomorrow. And cans will be showing themselves over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open for those.

A couple of tasty new releases from our friends at North Brewing this week, along with a big announcement! Let’s start with the beers, shall we? Yesterday brought us Blanc, a 4.5% ABV Grisette that was fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge vineyards (located in the Gaspereau Valley on the Bay of Fundy). Buying cans of this beer won’t just satisfy your need for delicious beer, but will also go towards supporting the new North Brewing Conservation Initiative, “a fundraising effort to acquire ecologically significant land in Nova Scotia in partnership with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust”, with $0.50 from each can (available at the North bottle shops only) going towards the NSNT. How’s it tasting, you ask? Well, the brewery is describing it as “very vinous, tart, light, and with a little lemon and funk”.

Not to be satisfied with only one new beer this week, today they’re also releasing MR. Funky Time. This 5.2% ABV brew was fermented and aged in a single neutral oak barrel (with some grown-up bottle dregs) before being filtered through a blend of mango and raspberry black tea from local World Tea House. As you may have guessed, the mango and raspberry teas really come through with this beer, to complement the touch of funk and tartness from the fermentation character. A limited release of only 220 bottles, you’ll be able to grab yours starting today at both North bottle shops.

Finally, in other North news, they’ve announced that they’re going all-in on Dartmouth, and will be taking over a larger production space located at 899 Portland St. They’re not giving us too many details yet, but it’s safe to say that this move means more North beer, and their very own taproom to boot! Congrats to the entire North team, and we look forward to what 2019 will bring!

Those who pay close attention to branding will know that the logo for Tatamagouche Brewing features a two-headed bull symbolic of a two-headed calf that once came to the town (its skull is in a local museum!). Their latest beer, Polycephaly, makes further reference to this, as it means, “more than one head.” The beer itself is a milkshake IPA at 6.7% ABV and 40 IBU, starting simply with a grist of 2-row barley and oats, then heavily hopped with a world-ranging variety of hops: German Huell Melon, American Azacca, and Australian Galaxy. Add to that the requisite lactose for some sweetness, and fruit in the form of strawberry and plum purees added in the secondary, and you’ve got a hoppy, fruity, somewhat sweet beer with additional hop aroma from dry-hopping with more Galaxy and Huell Melon. A final conditioning on vanilla beans ties it all together with a characteristic smoothness. Growlers and pints are available now at the brewery, with kegs going out to select licensees in the near future and cans expected to be available at the brewery and the private stores in Halifax sometime next week.

If you just so happen to be in the area of MacDougall Settlement, NB (that’s just outside Shediac, btw), this weekend, you might consider stopping in at Valonray Farmhouse Brewery who have a couple of limited releases available as well as a sale on some of their previous releases. The limited releases are two Belgian styles, a Belgian Quad and a Belgian Dubbel, both aged on Brettanomyces for 6 months. The Quad is 10% ABV, with a prominent stone fruit character, and the Dubbel a lighter 7% ABV, with notes of caramel. Both of these are in extremely limited release (less than 100 bottles each). If you head over to get your hands on these, you can also pick up bottles of their earlier batches of Farmhouse Ale, Terroir, and 100% Brett IPA at 2 bottles for $15, and you’ll also be able to grab their latest Farmhouse Ale (batch #3, dry-hopped with Hallertau) and Terroir (batch #2, dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc). Bear in mind they’re only open on Saturdays throughout the Winter.

Nearby, in Dieppe, O’Creek Brewing has their latest NEIPA pouring, following on the heels of Route 117 IPA, their first beer. This new one is named I.P.Address, and, like the style dictates, is yellow-coloured and very hazy, thanks to copious amounts of after-boil and dry-hop additions with the emphasis on Vic Secret, as well as some Mosaic and Centennial. Expect lots of tropical fruit aromas and flavours, as well as a bit of dank in this 6.1% ABV, 60 IBUs beer. The grain bill was kept relatively simple (2-row, Wheat malt and flaked wheat, and Carapils) to really allow all that hop goodness to come through. The beer is pouring on tap right now at the Flying Boats taproom, and should be on the board very shortly at CAVOK Brewing.

There’s a new entry in the Million Acres series from Upstreet now out for purchase, Sour Abbey Ale. With a grist made up mostly of Abbey malt, there was also some CaraMunich and Blackprinz thrown in, as well as some house-made invert sugar in the boil (after kettle-souring, of course). Hopped lightly with Mount Rainier from Moose Mountain Hops to 10 IBUs, this beer was actually brewed and bottled back in February, and has been aging ever since for your enjoyment just before Christmas! It weighs in at 5.5% ABV, and is available at both Upstreet locations for purchase. And stay tuned for a future release of the sibling for this beer, which was aged in Cab Sauv barrels, and was just bottled last week.

Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, is getting a little sour and salty with this week’s brand new release. Hitting the taps now is Passion Fruit Gose, which we supposed is self-evident, but we’ve never been known for our brevity, so let us dive a bit deeper… Starting from a kettle-soured beer with lots of Pilsner and Wheat malts, it was boiled with a light addition of sea salt, very similar to the traditional Gose beers that originated in Germany more than 500 years ago. After fermentation with an American Ale yeast, passion fruit purée was added to the final beer, for a blast of tropical fruit aroma and nose, complementing the lightly tart and salty beer. The 4.8% ABV beer is pouring now, or will be soon, at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, Peppers Pub, Eighty3 Bar Arcade, Tide & Boar and Au Bootlegger.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is among the breweries bringing multiple releases this week, starting with a special edition of last year’s U-889 Imperial Stout (2017) that’s been barrel-aged and bottle conditioned. It’s coming out at the perfect time for you to grab a bottle for a share and compare with this year’s version, which is also out very soon. The 2018 vintage features notes of dark fruit, chocolate and mocha, balanced with vanilla, espresso and a rich malt character. At a burly 8.9% ABV, it should pair nicely with desserts, especially those featuring chocolate or Christmassy spices.

And in the “brand new beer” category, BR has two arriving on the shelves. First is their Patricius Irish Stout, a beer named after Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Creamy and well-balanced, and sporting an up-front bitterness with notes of nuts, chocolate and coffee, it’s 4.9% ABV. And if you’re looking for a lighter-bodied beer with some interesting ingredients, look no further than their other new release this week, The Biggest Spruce (no relation) Christmas Tree IPA, a very sessionable 4% ABV beer with lots of American hops that bring aroma and flavor notes reminiscent of spruce. But just to up the ante a little bit, the beer was also treated with a healthy dose of spruce tip-infused Centennial hops! A bit of a “Christmas Tree in a glass” it could well be the perfect accompaniment to trimming your holiday tree. Or Festivus Pole. Look for these releases at the brewery and Local Source, on tap at Boxing Rock accounts throughout the region, and, we presume, possibly at private stores in Halifax.

And if that weren’t already enough, look for some promos from the BR gang happening in December. The bottle shop at Local Source will be featuring 4×650 mL or 2×650 mL and 2 x 16oz glasses for $20; that covers all of their 650 mL stock excepting Fisticuffs and U-889. Quite a deal for stocking up your fridge for the holidays. Meanwhile, they’ve also given us a heads up that they’ve got a mixed-fermentation saison with Brett currently aging in Chardonnay barrels. We’ll give you the full details on that one for its release in 2019.

The new beers just keep chugging this week, and Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is no exception. This week they’re giving us Red Rye Ale, which as you can probably guess, is an American Amber with Rye malt in the grist. Lightly hopped with some American varieties at the end of the boil to provide a bit of fruit/citrus character, the Rye provides the typical spicy notes, to go with the malty sweetness background. You can grab some at the taproom this weekend; 5.5% ABV, 28 IBUs.

If you like supporting animal shelters while you drink beer, we have good news for you (especially if you live in Amherst)! Trider’s has brewed a new Session IPA, Gimme Shelter, whose bottle labels feature four adoptable pets from the Lillian Allbon Animal Shelter. While bound to lead to a home for these four lovable, furry beasts, they’re also donating the proceeds from bottle sales directly back to the shelter! Oh, and back to the beer, it’s 4.9% ABV and hopped with Cascade and Centennial, giving high levels of citrus and grapfruit. Quantities are limited, so drop by and pick up a few bottles… and maybe stop by the shelter on the way home for an early Christmas present to you and your family?

Tidehouse has taken their Winter Warmer and stepped it up a notch, just in time for Christmas! The recipe has a few new ingredients, namely cinnamon, rum, oak, and nutmeg, as well as a “pinch” of lactose powder for balance and body. It’s a big beer at 8.3% ABV, and they’ve bottled it in 640 mL bombers. Speaking of those bombers, they’ve teamed up with local furniture company Jampy for the packaging of this one. Known for their Seaflake ornaments, each bottle of this beer will come with its own unique Seaflake, your very own locally-crafted, wooden Christmas tree ornament! It’s two Christmas gifts in one! Or, drink the beer and gift the ornament, that works, too. Drop by the brewery today at 2 pm to grab yours.

Back in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. has released their very first Stout, Deez Nuts Peanut Butter Stout (trust us, it wasn’t easy typing that). A bit of lactose powder was added to boost the mouthfeel slightly, along with “loads” of peanuts… so suffice it to say, stay away from this one if you have a peanut allergy. They’re describing it as “full-bodied, deep and rich, with a moderate bitterness” balanced by the presence of peanut butter on the palate. It’s pretty easy-drinking at just 4.5% ABV; you can find it pouring at the taproom right now.

In Dartmouth, Spindrift has released the last of their first five beers in their Out of the Hold series of bottle-conditioned beers that we’ve been reporting on over the last month or so. Nanaimo Black Lager was barrel-aged and conditioned on a selection of ingredients that you may recognize as the characteristic elements of Nanaimo dessert bars: cocoa nibs, toasted coconut, almonds and vanilla beans. With some lactose also added to bump up the sweetness a touch, the result is “a sweet, creamy dessert beer with French oak character expressed on the finish.” It’s available sold out at the Spindrift taproom now, but you can most likely expect it to appear at the same private stores that have sold their previous releases in the series, hopefully as early as next week!

It’s not unusual to see breweries releasing a holiday beer this time of year, and Annapolis Brewing decided to go a bit further and release two! The first is a collaboration with Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, a Belgian Tripel named Deep Tripel. With a grist including Pilsner, Wheat and Malted Oats (from Horton Ridge, natch), it may weigh in at a hefty 7.9% ABV and 24 IBUs, but it’s still quite smooth, featuring “banana and apricot notes” with barely a hint of alcohol warmth… so tread lightly! Bottles (660 mL) of this one will be available at both Annapolis Brewing and Horton Ridge taprooms. Next up is Dry Dock, a beer they’re calling a “Brut-style Pale Ale”. Hopped with Mosaic, Vic Secret, Ella, and Motueka (to 20 IBUs), this 6.3% ABV beer is very dry, thanks to the addition of amylase enzymes (just like you’d expect to see in a Brut IPA). Plenty of tropical fruit and citrus, grab some bottles of this at the brewery’s taproom as well.

As if we weren’t busy enough, Nine Locks also had to go and release three new beers this week. Thanks a lot, jerks! There we go again, not using our brain-to-keyboard filter. Ok, let’s get started. The first two beers mark the beginning of the brewery’s barrel-aged program; both beers have been hand-bottled (750 mL) and dipped in wax, and are now available for purchase. The first is Barley Wine, brewed with all Maris Otter malts, and aged for twelve months in Glen Breton whisky barrels. Big and boozy at 11% ABV, it showcases “malty richness, flavours of toast, marmalade, and treacle”, along with some oak presence, and alcohol warmth (well, yeah!), with the 50 IBUs balancing some of the sweetness. The next is another big beer, Russian Imperial Stout. Also aged for twelve months, but in bourbon barrels, expect flavours of “dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dried fruit”, along with the bourbon and oak notes. Almost as strong at 10.5% ABV, it has a slightly-higher bitterness (70 IBUs) as expected for the style. Beers like these are always excellent for aging, and make handsome Christmas gifts. Finally, on the opposite end of the spectrum, their third release is Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs amber-coloured brew, featuring “a bittersweet punch of citrus and spice” thanks to hopping with some West Coast varieties. This one is available in cans, as well as on tap, and joins it’s two older brothers as being available at the brewery for purchase.

Not to be outdone by all the other breweries putting out big beers this week (or, y’know, themselves with the recent release of their Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout), Propeller is in on the fun with the release of their Barrel Aged Baltic Porter. Aged in Bourbon Barrels, this beer is dark and complex, with plenty of toffee and roasted coffee aroma and flavors of vanilla and caramel, it’s all brought together by a distinct bourbon overtone. Bottles are $7 at their locations on Gottingen Street and in Burnside, but they’ve got a deal on where you can get one of these, a Barrel-aged RIS and a bottle of their Coffee Porter for $15! And if you hit the tasting room (Gottingen) for bottles, maybe plan to pause for a little while and try a glass of a special edition of the BA Baltic Porter that’s been further conditioned with Chocolate. This one is only available by the pint; no growler fills. And if your plans are going to take you there this evening (or possibly into the weekend, as supplies last), look for a special cask of Russian Imperial Stout with Coconut to be tapped at 5 PM today.

PEI Brewing Company has joined in on the big beer fun this week as well. A new entry in their After Hours Series, their Barrel-aged Barleywine (#barleywineislife) has been aging for months in Kentucky bourbon barrels and is now ready for general consumption. Already on the shelves as of earlier this week, it features plenty of malt character with sweet and toasty notes, paired with a fruity yeast character and herbal English hops and with vanilla and oak notes from the barrel completing the overall picture. At 10.5% ABV and packaged in 750 mL bottles, we highly recommend you find a friend (or two) to share one with lest you risk a visit by the ghost of hangovers past. You’ll find it at the PEI BC taproom and soon (if not already) at PEI Liquor stores as well. Speaking of the taproom, today will see the release of the second of their Christmas Growler Countdown beers. Island Allspice is a red ale to which ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange were added. Their last CGC beer sold out pretty quickly, so get down to the taproom if you want to try this very holiday-themed beer; it goes on tap at 4 PM for growler fills only.

Good Robot has an IPA twist for us next Tuesday, with Green’s Garden IPA. Brewed by mother and daughter team Keri and Drella, this is a “Rosemary IPA” inspired by North Carolina’s Twin Leaf Brewery. Brewed with rosemary (we’re talking sprigs, seeds, and flowers), and hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Sorachi Ace to 31 IBUs. Light and crisp, with a good amount of rosemary presence, it comes in at 5% ABV; look for it at the taproom on Tuesday. And Thursday brings us a brand new Alpha brew, a collab with Halifax’s Antojo Tacos + Tequila named La Luchadora Catrina. This Stout features the addition of house mole sauce from Chef Francisco Rabelo, and they decided to take that heat and bump it up even further by throwing in “a few more chilis”. Expect a bit of heat, maybe? At least the alcohol isn’t too high (4.7% ABV)!  

Over to Cape Breton, where Breton Brewing has teamed up again with the Brathair Brewing homebrew fellas, to brew the first in their barrel-aged Signature Series, Wild Bretton. This is a Belgian Witbier that was brewed with your classic coriander and orange peel additions, and fermented with more than your typical Witbier yeast strain – Amalgamation (that very popular blend of six Brettanomyces strains) was also pitched, before aging the beer in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir barrels. The 500 mL bottles are being released at the brewery today; grab one of each barrel variant… for science! It’s 5% ABV and 14 IBUs, and “conveys a light body and a tart lemony finish, while offering complex yet refreshing characteristics”. Look for the bottles to hit Halifax private stores sometime next week.

The Christmas beers continue (go figure!), as Petit-Sault and Brasseux d’la Côte teamed up in November to brew a “Belgian Amber Christmas Ale”, which was just released last night at both breweries. Named after St. Nick’s evil twin, Père Fouettard was brewed at Brasseux d’la Côte in Tracadie, and is showing flavours and aromas of “clove, fennel seed, orange peel, caramelized malted sugars, and a touch of smoked malt”. Finishing quite dry, it clocks in at 6.4% ABV and 24 IBUs, and is available on tap only, at both breweries.

Those crazy fellas at the 902BrewCast are continuing their roll of New Brunswick-themed episodes (did they even sleep when they were there?), with the latest featuring a visit to Rothesay’s Hammond River Brewing. Download it wherever you normally get your episodes (you’re subscribed, right?), or they’ll get mad at us!

A couple of very beery events are going on in Halifax in the next seven days that you should think twice about missing:

We told you about this 2 weeks ago, and hopheads in the region are no doubt already salivating, but if you missed it or have been living under a rock this is your final notice that Portland, Maine’s hop heroes Bissell Brothers will be doing their second takeover at Stillwell in Halifax tomorrow starting at noon. Instagram has confirmed 8 beers that will be served, including: The Substance, Swish, Lux, Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile, Industry versus Inferiority, Preserve & Protect, big small world, and Umbra. We note, however, that Stillwell has 12 taps (15 if you include the hand pumps), and Bissell has a barrel program, soooo… We (honestly!) don’t know anything that hasn’t been posted publicly, and frankly, that lineup above is obviously full of bangers, but greedy bastards that we are we’re hoping a little that maybe we get to see some additional limited releases on the wall and maybe even a touch of Bissell’s first forays into funk! And while you’re drinking the lovely brews, know that the kitchen will be taken over by another Bissell-related joint, Highroller Lobster Co. Curious how rich shellfish pairs with exquisite hoppy beers? You can find out tomorrow!

Two of Halifax’s oldest craft breweries – Garrison and Propeller – are teaming up for a tap takeover at HopYard Halifax next Thursday, Dec 13th. A Well Crafted Xmas will feature six taps for each brewery, with $1 from each pint going to Saint George’s YouthNet, a local youth organization. Lots of vinyl and beer, and a chance to win a craft beer basket – a $5 donation gets you a ballot, or even better, bring an unwrapped gift (art supplies, board games, sporting equipment, or Lego are preferred) for three ballots! It all starts when they open at 11 am.

Did you really read all the way down to here? Good on you, but we’re not done yet; here’s a few last mentions before we let you go get your beer on:

Bathurst’s Four Rivers is now canning some of their small batch brews, including their latest, British Mild. A light-bodied dark ale, with “notes of pumpernickel and caramel balanced by a slight fruitiness”, it comes in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs. Currently available at the brewery; look for other small batch can releases in the near future.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has completed their first bottling run and are now well-stocked with their core beers. Now you can get some to go without having to purchase (or remember to bring) a growler. Look for Rampant Lion IPA, St. Andrews Cross Pale Ale, and Coat of Arms Scottish Export available now.

Picaroons has been doing their 12 Beers of Christmas growler-only releases for many years now, and they recently announced that two of their regulars in this line-up, The Blitzen Coffee Porter and Xmas Tree IPA, will be bottled for the first time; they’re available now at all Picaroons locations. Also look for the 23rd (!) entry in their PIVOT Imperial IPA series, which features Simcoe and Chinook hops.

Schoolhouse Brewery has just re-released Staffroom Coffee Stout (5.5% ABV), with a few tweaks to the recipe, resulting in a dark brown colour, as opposed to the black of last year’s release (they’re looking for roast character without the astringency). Don’t worry, there’s still coffee in it! Available on tap at the brewery for growlers and pints, and in bombers.

Today, TrailWay is re-releasing Christmas Rascal, their 8.5% ABV Imperial Milk Stout. Brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne pepper, and aged on vanilla beans, you can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery, with a few kegs heading to some local establishments.

Unfiltered has plenty of cans for you to purchase at their retail shop this week, to help you make it through some family visit, family parties… anything family, really. Look for Double Orange Ale, Riddle of Steel, Exile on North St., Play With Fire, and Daytimer; limited quantities are available.

Jiminy Cricket we’re late today! We blame the one who took this week off, the one who barely survived the Tata takeover at Battery Park last night (although the jury’s still out on his dignity), and the one who inexplicably went to bed at 8:30 PM last night and slept clear through until morning. We’ll let y’all try to figure out which one is which. For now, enjoy another 3,000 or so words about beer and beer event news in Atlantic Canada for the last full weekend of summer (*sob*)!!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is re-releasing their Belgian Blonde known as Grimdonk today. Described as, “elegantly crisp and golden, with balanced fruit and spice notes,” you’ll find this dry finishing beer available both on tap and in cans (for the first time, we think) at the brewery. And if you’re out and about in the area this afternoon, they’ll be tapping a special cask of this beer that’s been fortified with blackberries at 2 PM. There’s only 20 L of that version, though, so best hook off work a little early if you want to make sure to get a taste.

Staying in Fredericton with the “other” G brewery, Graystone put a new ESB on the taps late last week. Amber in colour, with a medium mouthfeel and a typically English lower carbonation level, Grizzly ESB is a 5.1% and 42 IBU easy drinker. The aroma is sweet and malty with a subtle hop earthiness, and the flavour favours mild caramel and biscuit notes and a slightly spicy finish from the traditional English hops used. It’s still listed as on tap on the brewery website so you should still be able to find it on tap for pints, crowlers and growler fills at the brewery. And in other Graystone news, one of their flagship beer, Patagonia Pale Ale is now available in 473 mL cans at select ANBL locations. See this Instagram post for the full list of locations where you can grab yourself some for the weekend!

Not to be left out, Fredericton’s lords of lupulin, Trailway Brewing have yet another new and interesting beer on the docket today. Featuring a theoretical IBU rating of 0 due to all the hops being added in the fermenter after the beer was chilled, Days Done is a crushable American Pale Ale coming in at 5% ABV. Leveraging hops from both New Zealand and the United States, it has a slight bubblegum character at the front of the palate and a rounded citrus finish. Check it out this afternoon and/or tomorrow afternoon at the brewery where they’ll also have the Gastrognomes food truck going from 3 – 8 PM. It’ll be an ideal beer for pre-gaming the Harvest Jazz & Blues Fest downtown!

Hanwell’s premier brewery, Niche Brewing, has a brand new beer out this week, the latest in their Persuasion Series (if it’s not a thing yet, maybe it is now?). Grasping hold of the last days of Summer, they have released Boysenberry Persuasion, a 4.2% ABV fruited sour. Using the same base as their Pineapple Persuasion, they added boysenberry puree during secondary fermentation, resulting in big raspberry- and blackberry-like flavour and aroma, all on a tart base. It is available around Fredericton and Moncton, including on tap at Grimross, which means you’ll be able to grab growlers of it (and their Riptide Rye Session IPA). Rejoice the weekend!

Down the road from the capital, outside Moncton in MacDougall Settlement, NB, Valonray Farmhouse Brewery has now achieved their previously stated (and lofty!) goal of producing only mixed fermentation beers! With only about 50 bottles of clean-fermented beer left on hand as of earlier this week, they’ve fully committed to mixing bacteria and yeast to produce tasty beers in the Continental style. They’re also planning six or so releases in the next few months, with some special treats already settled down for some (much) longer term aging. In the near term, though, they’ve got two releases to tell you about this week. The first is Terroir, a farmhouse ale with 70% Horton Ridge pale malt to which wheat, oats, and some sugar were added to round out the grist. The yeast used was from Escarpment Labs (although Valonray’s next fermentation goal is to use only their own yeast) along with Brettanomyces. Described as “unlike any Brett beers we’ve tasted,” it’s earthy, with a honey-like finish and little to no fruit or funk detectable. Their second new release is Farmhouse 2 which started as an experiment but turned out just fine. With 70% pale malt matched with 30% Vienna in the grist, some residual sweetness and malt body is to be expected. Fermentation-wise, this one’s a bit crazy, with 6 Brett strains, including 2 sources of Brett B, one Brett C, one Brett Q, and two wild Bretts from Terroir all in the mix along with Lactobacillus. The result is a beer where the Lacto is not prominent, so it’s not as tart as the first iteration, but there are prominent grapefruit and berry notes. Look for both of these beers to be available at select ANBL locations in the Moncton area soon.

Moving across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia, Annapolis Brewing Co. has a brand new small batch specialty beer available this week. Called Calientide, the key ingredient was 4 pounds of honey provided to the brewery by the Halifax Honey Company. But this wasn’t just any honey, this is what they call “Stingin’ Hot Honey” which is their chili-infused product. Added to the kettle at flameout, it made for a rather spicy wort initially, but ended up producing a subtly spicy and slightly hot beer. The heat and spicy character were also boosted by the addition of the chilis that had been used to infuse the honey to the secondary fermentation vessel along with some roasted jalapeños. The result is a 4.7% ABV beer with 21 IBUs that features light peppers on the nose and a subtle spiciness on the finish. Look for this one at the brewery and very possibly tomorrow morning at their market stall.

From the Valley into the City, we’ll start on North Street with Unfiltered Brewing who have brought back a beer not seen for many months, Play With Fire. At 7.5% ABV, this Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier is jet black, and features smoke flavour and aroma, perfect for the waning warm days and cool nights of late summer. Drop by the brewery and Charm School taproom to grab a pint and growler today.

Around the corner on Robie Street we turn to Good Robot who have their usual two releases this week. Tuesday’s release for Beta Brewsday is the result of a visit from Marci of Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, who, in a shocking turn of events, brought her own malt to the party! Using organic rye and 2-row as the base with a little bit of roasted barley, the intention was to turn out a Rye IPA, but brewer Kelly Costello couldn’t bring herself to mask the lovely rich malt flavours with the planned dry hop. So Pretty Fly for a Rye Guy will be listed as a Rye Pale Ale with an ABV of 4.0% and a low/medium bitterness that still features hop flavors from late additions of Vic Secret, Enigma, and Saphir hops. On the GR Alpha system this week we have the return of their Gose-inspired Goseface Killah, a sour german wheat ale featuring Sorachi Ace hops. At 4.8% ABV and 11 IBU, this tart and refreshing beer with coriander aroma and lemony acidity might be just the thing to help it keep feeling like summer as the temperatures start to drop.

And two streets over, Propeller has a new Gottingen Small Batch on the go today, to go along with their usual Friday cask. Which isn’t their usual cask. We can explain. The small batch is called Tropical IPA and it features both some very tropical hops in the form of orange-y and grapefruit-y Citra and passionfruit-y and pineapple-y Galaxy, along with additions of real fruit, including peach, apricot and mango. The result is a 6.2% ABV beer with a complex tropical fruit character that still manages to sport a crisp finish. This one is on tap at the brewery for fills and pints and is also already on tap at all ANBL Growler Stations. As for today’s cask, in lieu of a beer they’ll be sporting a Shandy instead! From late afternoon onwards, come down to the brewery and try a take on a classic concoction comprised of beer (Propeller’s classic ESB in this case) blended roughly one-to-one with lemonade (hand-pressed by Assistant Brewer Denys Ploughman). No growler fills of this one, so you’ll have to sit and have a pint. Rough life, wha?

Around back from the Propeller tap room in their small batch brewery / warehouse, Stillwell Brewing is releasing the second batch of Solo tomorrow. With a base recipe of PIlsner, Wheat, and Oats, it was hopped in the kettle and barrel with German hops, and fermented with Stilly’s house blend of yeasts and bacteria. This batch of Solo was brewed at the same time as the first (which was released in February), and has been bottle conditioning for an extra few months. LIke batch 1 (and you could probably guess from the name), Solo b2 is a single-barrel beer, as opposed to a blend of several barrels. The barrel character comes through a bit more in the final beer, as well as a little additional bitterness, as compared to batch 1, but still expresses the delicate and funky yeast character. Drop by the brewery 12 – 4 PM tomorrow to grab your bottles, around the back of 2015 Gottingen Street.

And our last hop (hah!) in Halifax this week is to Tidehouse Brewing downtown on Salter Street where they’ve got a brand new bottled offering. BIG Bruiser IIPA is a double/imperial IPA weighing in at a brawny 10% ABV. Medium to light in body and with a deep orange color, it was hopped entirely with Cryo hops, specifically the Simcoe and Ekuanot varieties. To finish, the Japanese citrus known as Yuzu was added for an extra kick. Dank, boozy, and hoppy, it’s available at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasting Room in 340 mL bottles (maximum 6 to a customer) and 4 oz samples only, no growler fills. Probably for the best, this one’s going to hit like a brick.

Heading down the 102 from Halifax and then swinging onto the 104 at Truro will eventually get you to Stellarton, where Backstage Brewing has put together a couple of variations on a theme. Last week we told you about The Edge, an IPA featuring Simcoe, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops. This week they’ve upped the ante with fruit! The Edge Volume 2 is that same beer after having sat on pineapple for a while and ditto for The Edge Volume 3 except swap in mango. These extra-tropical bad boys are available only by the glass at the Backstage taproom and we suspect that where they were released on Wednesday they may not last much longer; so if you’re lucky enough to be close by, maybe swing by Bridge Ave for a taste!

And lastly for Nova Scotia, following the 104 to Cape Breton and opting for North on the 105 will eventually get you to Nyanza, where Big Spruce Brewing will be waiting with open arms and a brand new beer. Can You C’est Brut IPA is BS’s entry into the 1.000 Final Gravity fray, the defining characteristic of the Brut- or Champagne-style IPA that’s come out of nowhere in the last few months. Featuring “bonkers aromatics” from the use of large amounts of El Dorado hop hash (don’t worry, this hash is legal even before October 17th), it comes in at 7.0% ABV and an almost mild (for an IPA, anyway) 24 IBU. Bone-dry, crisp and effervescent, we remind you that it’s beer, so maybe forego the sipping from a flute and head straight to the swilling from a real glass. Pinky extension is negotiable. If that’s not your thing, with the hop harvest just finishing, you can no doubt expect another new beer from Big Spruce in the coming weeks featuring their homegrown fresh hops, and keep your eyes open as we’ve heard hints that a new batch of all-hyper-local One Hundred is on the way. Or just check back here for news, because, as always, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s hop the ferry to Newfoundland to round out the new beer news of the week! Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a new beer on tap this week, the bigger and hoppier brother to their popular Gateway IPA. Oathkeeper IPA features the same base malt recipe, but fermented on their English yeast strain, leading to a beer with more body and a touch of residual sweetness at the same 6.4% ABV. As is the case with many of our favourite IPAs, though, this one is all about the hops! Cascade, Amarillo, and Citra come together to give you a ton of great hop flavour and aroma, with citrus, specifically grapefruit, shining through.Oathkeeper is on tap at Stage Head Pub in Twilingate now, but we’ve been told it may hit one of the great Nfld-beer-friendly spots in St. John’s as well. Keep an eye on their social media to see.

Port Rexton Brewing has a brand new beer available, and the only place to find it is at their brewery taproom. 9:30 Knockout is a new style for them, a Hopfenweisse. Think of it as a hopped-up of German Weissbier, featuring the iconic wheat and yeast aromas of banana and clove, along with great stone fruit and tropical hop notes, courtesy of Enigma, Mosaic, Chinook, and Simcoe. In case you were wondering, the 9:30 Knockout name comes from the fact that the mash rest of this beer, while typically 60-90 minutes in length, was 5 hours long, pushing their usual knockout time (when the boil is stopped and the wort is cooled and transferred to the fermenter) to 9:30 PM, rather than their usual 4:00. Talk about a full brew day! Get yourselves out to the brewery to toast the hardworking women and men of PRBC. And as summer closes out, please note that their Retail Shop on Torbay Road in town has shifted their hours to Fridays 4 – 8 PM and 12 – 6 PM on Saturdays. Drop by this afternoon for fills of their Horse Chops West Coast IPA, Chasing Sun New England IPA, and T-Rex Porter.

We have big news for those brewers among you who may be looking to move (back to, or within) our region for a job, as we know of several positions that are needing to be filled:

In Montague, PEI, Bogside Brewing will be opening this winter, and are looking to hire a Head Brewer and a Production Brewer for their 1200 litre (10 BBL) system. That team will be responsible for all aspects of the production, testing, inventory, and quality control of the beer and cider they will be making. Check out the full Job Posting here and get in touch with them now!

And in Mahone Bay, Saltbox Brewing is also looking to fill their Head Brewer position. Brewing on a 1200 litre system as well, the Head Brewer will be responsible for all of the ingredient inventory, beer making, and QC at all points in the process. Check out the Job Posting for more details. Drop them a letter/resume to continue your brewing career on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

We’ve got plenty of events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Speaking of Saltbox, drop in tomorrow to help them celebrate their Second Anniversary! Who knew partying in a former service station could be so fun! Open from 10 until 10, they will be doing door prizes every hour for Saltbox gear and gift cards, and they’ll have Curry Express Food Truck onsite to keep you happy. No party is complete without some live music, and they’ve got that in spades, with The Paul Buchanan Band onsite from 3 – 5 PM, followed by Collage from 7 – 9 PM. And!! Guys!!! They are hosting Beer and a Backrub, where folks from South Shore Chair Massage will help you unwind after a long week, and you don’t even have to put down your beer. Congratulations to the Saltbox family!

We have more info on the beer list for the Grand Monk Pokes The Bear, with Grand Monk (formerly known as Bore City) taking over the taps at Buddha Bear’s Riverview location, Wednesday to Sunday (Sept 19-23) of next week. From Grand Monk:
Marécage Belgian Style Saison (7.0% ABV) – We’ve started brewing it again after a bit of a hiatus. Hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc, it has citrus/peppery notes to start and finishes dry. At 7%, it’s surprisingly light!
Vent d’âme Belgian Style Pale Ale (5.9% ABV)  – A light and refreshing ale you would find in a Belgian bar. “Vent d’âme” literally translates to “soul wind” but is an homage to the muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Dirty Black Summer (5.8% ABV)- a well balanced Black IPA with a mix of tropical and piney hops. Tons of Chinook, Vic Secret and Ella, to the tune of 80 IBUs.
Spacetime Odyssey Porter (6.5% ABV) – Our coffee infused porter brewed since the beginning. Chocolatey, roasty, coffee-y.
Koalatee Pale Ale (5.0% ABV) -Our pale ale hopped entirely with Australian varieties – Vic Secret, Ella, Topaz. Lots of hop aroma (pineapple, citrus), light bodied and completely crushable. Summer’s not over!
AND, during the Saturday afternoon party 4 – 8 PM, when the Grand Monk crew will be onsite, they hope to debut a brand new beer; that afternoon/evening, Red Stone Eatery will be onsite with food offerings.

In Halifax, Good Robot is hosting the second of their Hair of the Dog events September 22nd and 23rd. Taking over the Garrison Grounds, dogs and their people are invited to hang out to meet other like-minded individuals, drink a bit of beer, and check out the animal-centric vendors. The party goes 11 – 11 each day, and the proceeds for the event go to the NS SPCA Dartmouth Shelter and Halifax Pop Explosion. Check that first link for the list of vendors who will be onsite.

Garrison Brewing is hosting a three-week Oktoberfest celebration this year, starting next Saturday, September 22nd, and repeating again the next two Saturdays (the 29th and October 6th). They will have Asado Wood Fired Grill onsite from 11AM each day, and have live music from an Oompah band starting at 2PM. The event is free, and their spot is dog and family friendly, so your pup could take you to two events on the 22nd! And on the 6th, they’re cranking it up for Das Big Party, with Dave Sampson playing a live show in the brewery that evening, so stick around!

There are still a few tickets available for the Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, being held at the Moncton Lions Club on September 29th. Featuring more than 40 breweries, cideries, and mead producers, this event also raises funds for the United Way. Many of the producers will be on hand themselves, making it a great opportunity to chat with them and learn more about their products (and bend their ear to talk about new possible ones!). Grab your ticket for the 7:30 – 10 PM session here, and learn more about other events on their website.

Lastly, in Halifax, the Stillwell Beergarden will be getting a big facelift on September 29th, as they host an Oktoberfest event on Spring Garden Road. Open as usual from noon, they’ll be featuring NS-brewed German style beers, as well as some fresh brews from Germany, all to celebrate one of the most influential countries in the beer world. Of course, they will have some great Oktoberfest-inspired food, and a must-have for any Oktoberfest event, a live oompah band from 3:30PM on. There will be a cover charge for the afternoon to pay for the band, which you can pre-pay at either location to be added to the list, $7 in advance or $10 at the door. So grab your dirndl or lederhosen, and we’ll see you there. Prosit!

MacDougall Settlement is a small village located north of Moncton, New Brunswick, about a 30-minute drive away. There, on a 7th generation farm, lies Valonray Farmhouse Brewery. Owned by Philippe Fontaine, this is yet another small craft brewery opening with big dreams… but Valonray’s plans differ significantly from other breweries in the province. As they plan to have beer available to the public in the near future, we thought it was finally time to chat with Phillipe and get some details on what we can expect from Valonray in the coming months…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Philippe (Phil) Fontaine and I’m the owner and brewer at Valonray Farmhouse Brewery. After graduating from university with a degree in electrical engineering, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an Engineering Officer and served in this role for almost 10 years. Since last summer, my wife Allison and I have moved back to south-eastern NB, cleared an overgrown area, and built our farmhouse brewery from scratch next to a planned cherry orchard and hop yard that is still in the works.

How did you get into the world of beer?
While posted at CFB Gagetown in 2012, I became interested in craft beer by being exposed to Fredericton’s vibrant craft beer community and watching the number of breweries explode. Shortly after, I started homebrewing and the hobby quickly became a passion.

Soon after, I was brewing an all grain batch once a week (or more) and reading as many books on the subject as I could find. I went from mostly brewing IPAs to eventually becoming more interested in the myriad Belgian-styles, and started to focus my reading more towards them. Some of the books that had an impact on my brewing style were Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski, Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow and more recently, American Sour Beers by Michael Tonsmeire. I probably read these books 15 times, trying to hone the brewing techniques and recipe development of these types of ales.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
By reading these books, I discovered a facet of the American craft-brewing movement that was lacking in the Canadian one, that of making traditional Belgian-style sour ales and wild fermentations in general, such as the examples of Jolly Pumpkin, The Bruery or New Belgium. When I started the business plan these types of breweries were non-existent in Atlantic Canada and they are still are quite underrepresented to this day.

Being originally from just outside of Moncton, I wanted to settle back on the family farm and I knew there was an opportunity to open a brewery in the area, being the largest population centre in New Brunswick and only having one micro-brewery and a handful of very small nano-breweries.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Our key philosophy is sourcing the raw materials as locally as possible. We are making Belgian Style ales, but all of our ingredients are sourced locally, when it’s possible. All of our malted grain comes from Horton Ridge Malt and Grain from grains grown in the Maritimes. The unmalted grain found in some of our ales comes from a farm 10 km down the road. We currently have 50 beehives on the property, and plan on growing all of our own hops within the next 5 years, as well as having a fruit orchard used for making barrel-aged fruit sour ales. Within the next year, we will release a beer that will be 100% Canadian, including the “Belgian-style” yeast. We believe beer is an agricultural product and this state of mind has a profound impact on how we operate.

Valonray Bottles and Horton Ridge Malt

Valonray Bottles and Horton Ridge Malt

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
We aimed for simpler recipes as an initial release. We did not want to overcomplicate things on a new system, and the beers we really want to make take longer and more tanks on hand to make. Our initial line-up of beers are all open-fermented and bottle-refermented, but they only contain various Saccharomyces strains. We have a Tripel, a Single, a Blonde ale, Pale ale and a Saison. The Tripel and Single have a similar recipe, but the results are quite different because of higher amount of simple sugars in the Tripel. The Blonde is actually closer to a Belgian Golden Strong, but with lower alcohol. The Pale ale was designed to be slightly more malt-forward to highlight our use of craft malts. The Saison is definitely our flagship, and various iterations of this recipe will be released in the future. Our five initial beers will be modified within the next year, as we plan to switch to an all-Brettanomyces production. Our first Brett-inoculated batch was brewed this week, with probable release in September.

The planned Brett lineup will look similar to the current clean beers, but we also want to offer a Saison brewed with wild Ontario yeast and Brett, a Witbier, as well as a Norwegian Kveik style ale.

We are slowly starting production of our sour beer and will eventually offer an Oud Bruin style ale, a Flanders Red style and a Lambic style (including Kriek and Framboise). The Oud Bruin is scheduled for production in 2 weeks and should be ready in a little over a year.

For a seasonal, we have a Bourbon Barrel-aged Tripel planned for the fall.

What are your plans for distribution?
Our beer will be sold solely in 750 mL bottles in our on-site sales room and in select ANBL locations and restaurants. We plan on rolling out some sort of growler program by the summer. It’s a bit of a technical challenge, as we only do bottle-refermentation. What we have planned would be in essence a bottle exchange program, to be re-used for refermentation.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to sell your beers?
We do not have any initial accounts firmly in place at the moment. Our focus has been to get our sales room approved and to get our beers listed for sale in ANBL locations.

Valonray Hop Trial

Valonray Hop Trial

Have you had any assistance from other brewers in Atlantic Canada?
We gathered input from other homebrewers and talked to multiple brewery owners, but had to develop most of our systems and procedures ourselves, as we were definitely going off the beaten path with our fermentation techniques. No breweries in eastern Canada use our methods, so I gathered as much info I could from interviews and articles from the American breweries.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We are hoping to have a sour program established within this time frame and a cherry orchard and hop yard established on the brewery grounds.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
We should have the direct sales room open, and our bottles on ANBL shelves, within 2 weeks. All the approvals are in place and we are just waiting on the paperwork to be finalized.

Valonray Brewhouse from Colorado Systems

Valonray Brewhouse from Colorado Systems

What size/manufacturer/type of system are you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We brew on a 1 BBL (~120 L) Colorado Brewing Systems dual pot system. We do double batches (2 BBL) on our brew days. Our current monthly output is 800 L, and the projected monthly output is 3000 L once we start working at the brewery full time.

Our techniques are quite unique in these parts, as we do open vat fermentation in a warm room at high temperature; we will eventually inoculate all our ales with Brett (some with bacteria). All our beers will be aged in barrels or in stainless wine tanks for a minimum of 4 months, and all our beers are bottle refermented in 750 mL bottles.

Valonray Fermentation Tanks

Valonray Fermentation Tanks

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I enjoy beers that use phenolic/estery yeasts, as well as sour beers, New England IPAs, and occasional British style ales.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I enjoy experimenting with adjuncts (raw oats, buckwheat, rye, different sugars, etc.).

Congratulations to Phillipe on all of his hard work coming to fruition! We look forward to sampling Valonray’s first beers, soon. Follow them along on Facebook and Twitter for updates on when their beers are available, and of course we’ll be sure to mention these details in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.