All posts for the month August, 2013

It’s the Hop-Hoppiest season of all!

(sung to the tune of It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year)

It’s Hop Harvest time in the Maritimes, and many breweries are brewing and releasing special brews to commemorate. Here are a few of them:

  • Last Friday, Big Spruce in Nyanza brewed up a wet hop beer from their on-farm grown hops. Brewer Jeremy White used their Challenger and Chinook hops at all stages of the brew: in the mash tun, in the first runnings of the wort, in the boil, and even using a hopback (as the beer is cooling from the kettle to the fermenter). The beer should be available at the brewery in about two weeks.
  • Earlier this week, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock welcomed the folks from Halifax’s Bridge Brewing for a collaboration brew. They used 30kg of wet hops from Lazy Acres Farm, owned by Bridge brewer Josh Herbin, to brew their 100% Vienna Malt IPA. To get that intense fresh-hop aroma, they did not use any of the fresh cones until 30min left in the 90min boil (which gave an intense colour, as well). This IPA will be more aromatic than bitter, clocking in at about 40IBU. The beer will be ready in a few weeks, in growlers at both breweries.
  • Picaroons has started brewing their Harvest series of beers. Details are being kept closely-guarded, but we can confirm that like last year, there will be multiple brews for each hop field, using roughly the same Pale Ale recipe. You will be able to track which hops in your bottle came from which farm, a great idea for farmer, brewery, and informed drinker alike!
  • Big Tide Brewing will be brewing at least one Fresh Hopped beer at their Saint John brewpub. The hop harvest at Dunham’s Run Winery will be this weekend, so the beer will not be far behind. Named after the old name for the peninsula the hops are coming from, Indian Beach Nut Brown will be available in a few weeks, and perhaps another of their popular beers will get a wet-hop kick… Stay tuned!
  • Looking to take part in the harvest? Both Meander River Farm (Ashdale, NS) and FiddleHop Farm (in Glenholme, NS) have put a call out for volunteers to help. Contact them via Facebook for more details. We’ve done it previously, and it is a fun time. Bring some long sleeves to reduce the scratches from the hop bines.

In addition to the harvest, we have some more beer news for you:

  • Big Spruce now has a bright coat of paint, and they are working on the kitchen above the brewery. Their plan has always been to have a small restaurant, overlooking the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, so it’s great to see this coming together. It will be primarily used for farm-to-table (and -to-glass) events, so stay tuned for those.
  • Attention New Brunswick Homebrewers: in case you missed the announcement, Picaroons will be holding a Home-Brew Challenge in the fall. Brew up a Standard/Ordinary Bitter and submit it between Nov. 1 & 15, and you have a chance at brewing the beer on a commercial scale! The $20 entry gets you a shirt, growler (and fill), and tickets to the Awards Gala on December 1. You’ve got two months to brew a test batch or two, so fire up your kettles! All of the details can be found at the NB Craft Brewers Association website. Unfortunately, it is only open to NB homebrewing residents.
  • Picaroons has just done the last bottling of their Melonhead Wheat beer for the year, marking a sad end to the summer beer season. But in addition to their Harvest beers, they will have some other seasonals coming through the pipeline soon.
  • Shiretown Beer‘s Black Currant Bitter Wheat is now available for growler fills at their Heron’s Nest Cottages location. Along with their Big Brown Ale, it will also be available at the Heron’s Nest Pub. During next weekend’s Charlo Fall Fair, they will have their Honey Wheat available, made with Buckwheat Honey from the Charlo Honeyhouse.
  • Unfortunately, it looks like the popular collaboration between Propeller Brewing and Sea Level Brewing, Alpha%Dog, won’t happen this year, due to Propeller’s upcoming expansion. However Propeller will be releasing their popular Nocturne Dark Lager mid-September (in time for the Nocturne Art at Night event in October), and then their Pumpkin Ale in October. Sea Level have received a larger canning machine, which should mean increased availability at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Their Port in the Storm Porter has just been released, and will make it into Halifax shortly.
BarNone Logo
It’s been a few months since the official opening of PEI’s BarNone Brewing, so we wanted to provide a couple of updates. We contacted Brewmaster Don Campbell, and he was able to pass along the following information:
  • Tonight, as part of their regular Growler Thursday (6-8pm at the brewery, located at 4248 Route 225 in Rose Valley), there will be samples of two Pale Ales available, for your tasting and voting pleasure. Don has made a couple of changes to the newest batch, and is looking for feedback from the public, so now’s the time to make a visit to the brewery. He will have anonymous voting cards and a drop box, so don’t worry if you aren’t a Beer Judge, all feedback is welcome! The Summer Session beer will also be available in growler to go.
  • It is almost time for Hop Harvest in Rose Valley, which they plan on doing this weekend. So if you wanted a chance to galavant through the hop fields, tonight’s the night, as they will be gone by next Thursday. We’re unsure what the plans are for the hops, as Don is being quiet with exact details, but I’m sure he’s got something special planned for them, as they’re grown just metres from the brewery.
  • BarNone will the attending the Kegs, Corks, and Oysters festival taking place in Summerside on Sept. 21. It is a celebration of Malpeque oysters, paired with great local beer and wine. In addition to serving beer samples, we understand some of it will be used in a special beef and oyster hand pie.

For all of BarNone’s news right as it happens, follow the brewery on Twitter and Facebook. Tune in tomorrow for more Atlantic Canada Beer info! It’s been another busy week in our region.


The Prince Edward Island Beer Festival, produced by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company, will take place Sept 6-7, 2013 at the New Charlottetown Event Grounds at 360 Grafton St.  This revamped event, kicking off the Fall Flavours Festival, will be focused on educating visitors and Islanders alike on the art and craft of brewing and tasting beer. The festival will feature over 75 beers, VIP packages, food pairings and late night entertainment on the beautiful Charlottetown waterfront.

There are three tasting sessions planned for the festival. The first will be on Friday from 6-9 pm, then two on Saturday: 2-5 pm, and another later session from 6-9 pm. Tickets for the Saturday afternoon session are $30 each, while both of the evening sessions are $40. Keep in mind that tickets for the evening sessions also include admission into the apres-Fest entertainment, also taking place at the Charlottetown Event Grounds.

There are also VIP tickets available for those looking to experience even more at the festival. For $99, ticket-holders will have access to a behind-the-scenes tour at the PEI Brewing Company from 4-6 pm before each evening tasting session, guided by the brewers themselves. Got questions about some of your favorite PEI Brewing Co/Gahan beers, such as recipe and/or brewing technique secrets? The brewers will be there to answer everything you’re anxious to know! There will also be complimentary food and beer-pairing treats, and a merchandise gift pack to take home. A shuttle will take you to the Event Grounds, so you will not miss a minute of the Fest.

Each of the three tasting sessions will feature live acoustic entertainment from local artists, including Ryan Merry, Chris Field, Andrew Waite and Ashley Gorman. As for the late night entertainment, Friday’s session will feature Ten Strings And A Goat Skin and The Chris Dalziel Band, and Saturday’s will showcase More Soul and Some Guys (a Rolling Stones tribute band). The late night shows will run from 9 pm – 1 am; if you’re not attending one of the evening tasting sessions, entertainment tickets can be purchased separately for $20. Even though the Fest will be closed after 9pm each night, there will be a pub set up, serving local and select beer from the Fest to music-lovers.

So, what about the beer? As mentioned above, there will be more than 75 different beers available, from sponsor PEI Brewing Company (including a special Spanish Cedar-aged IPA), Fredericton’s Picaroons, Moncton’s Pumphouse, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing, Toronto’s Mill Street and Amsterdam breweries (both with several beers not available at the PEILC), and Saint John’s Moosehead (including their Cask Ale, usually only available at the Saint John Ale House, and the new Boundary Ale). Other new/interesting/standout beers include Erdinger Weiss and Dunkel Weissbier,  Mort Subite Kriek, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Oatmeal Stout and Pumpkin, and Coors Banquet. The full list can be seen here.

Food will be served by a handful of local restaurants, free tasting bites to Festival goers. There will also be a Designated Drivers area for non-drinkers to still enjoy the music and great ambiance, and will include some comfy chairs and soda pop to keep hydrated while hanging with imbibing friends.

Tickets can be purchased on the PEIBeerFest site, and follow the Fest on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest news, including Fest beers being highlighted, so you can plan your time accordingly.