All posts for the month October, 2013

It’s the last Friday of the week, which means it’s time for more Atlantic Canada Beer news!

• This Saturday, October 26th, the PEI Brewing Co. is holding their Oktoberfest celebration at their location in Charlottetown, from 1-6 pm. With no charge for admission, there will be live entertainment and lots of food and beer for purchase; they will also be providing tours of the brewery for half-price. In addition, they will be holding their 1st Annual Growler Challenge! For $10, entrants will have a growler filled with the beer of their choice. All contestants will then hold the full growler at arm’s length, parallel to the ground; the person who holds out the longest without bending their arm wins a $100 gift card from the Murphy Hospitality Group (which can be used at the brewery). All contestants get to keep the growler afterwards, of course!

• Speaking of the PEI Brewing Co., it looks like their popular Lobster Ale from this summer is going to continue to be available through the coming months. While this Saison will still be found in bottles, it will likely start turning up on tap at the brewery and other restaurants/bars in the Maritimes. It’s currently available at many ANBL stores in New Brunswick as well.

• Tonight, Picaroons will be hosting a tap-takeover at Wilser’s Room in downtown Fredericton. Starting at 5 pm, all twelve taps will be dedicated to Picaroons beers, including their latest seasonal release, Harvest Ale, as well as special releases Plaid to the Bone and 104th Regiment. Live music by Nick Ferrio starts at 9 pm.

• And while we’re on the subject of Picaroons, they’ll be releasing their very popular Winter Warmer seasonal on November 1st. Based on the English Barleywine style, it clocks in at 7.3% ABV. No events are planned for the official release as of yet; follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated!

• If you missed Big Tide Brewing‘s Pumpkin Ale brewed with fresh hops last month, good news! Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos has confirmed that a second batch has been brewed, again with locally-grown pumpkins that have been roasted in maple syrup and spices. While there were no more “fresh” hops left to use in the brewing process, Cascade and Hallertau hops were added to the boil; the 5% ABV beer also has cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and ginger added in the brewing process. Get it at the brewpub (available on tap and for growler fills) before it’s gone!

Garrison Brewing have released two fall favourites this week: their Martello Stout and Winter Warmer. With notes of chocolate and coffee, the Stout will be available for growler fills and bottles. The Winter Warmer, brewed with cinnamon and clove, and with notes of plums and dark fruit from the dark demerara sugar used, and a little more warming at 7.0% ABV, will be available in bottles only. Both are available now at the brewery, and bottles will be filtering out to the private stores shortly.

• Sea Level has released their fourth wet-hopped beer of the season, their Punkin’ Grinner Ale. This is a new creation for brewmaster Randy Lawrence, clocking in at 5% ABV and amber in colour with a unique balance of spicy and sweet. It features all local ingredients with roasted baby pam pie pumpkins from Sea Level’s own gardens, honey from Cosman & Whidden and Cascade hops grown on the Annapolis Valley floor. It is available now on tap at the Port Pub and in 1 Litre refillable growlers at Sea Level Brewing. Cans should be on their way to Halifax for this coming weekend, at Harvest Wines and Spirits, Cristall Wine Merchants and Bishop’s Cellar. Also take note that this will be the last Sunday that the brewery will be open for the year, so take advantage of the nice fall weather and go for a drive to the Valley this weekend.

Uncle Leo’s Brewery and Big Spruce Brewing are both taking part in the Swine & Stein event at Pictou’s Palace Theatre this Saturday, 5-10pm. Your ticket ($15 in advance from Uncle Leo’s or Stone Soup Cafe, $20 at the door) gets you inside for a massive pig roast and great entertainment from local artists. The beer is extra, but we know you won’t mind paying for these two excellent breweries’ beers.

• The Hart & Thistle Gastropub will be celebrating brewmaster Greg Nash‘s 29th (again!) birthday in style tomorrow. Starting at 11am, they will be serving up a special burger, pork belly sliders and smoked brisket sandwiches. Oh, and beer too: the currently available Dank & Stormy DIPA, as well as a special 2012 keg of Commissar RIS. It will also mark the tapping of the 2013 edition of Hop Mess Monster, Nash’s ode to hops. This year’s beer clocks in at 11.5% ABV and 533 IBUs (calc), and features hops anywhere and everywhere throughout the brewing, fermenting and conditioning period. The ACBB will be in attendance, so come say hi!

• It looks like Railcar Brewing has finally found a new location for their brewery! After plans fell through to open in Railcar 3 at the Shogomoc site, owner/brewer Mitch Biggar recently announced on his Facebook site that the brewery will be located in the rear unit at 9172 Main St. in Florenceville-Bristol. With 1800 square feet available, Mitch plans on opening the retail store and tasting area by the end of the year, with the brewery hopefully producing beer sometime in early 2014.

Bridge Brewing will be releasing their fall seasonal tomorrow, a Belgian IPA. The beer clocks in at 6.5% and 60 IBU, from the Centennial, Chinook and Brewers Gold hops. This is a very interesting style, with the spice and fruit character of the yeast blending very well with the hops. And don’t forget that they’ve extended their hours: Open Monday to Thursday 12-7pm, and until 9pm Friday and Saturday, and open 12-6pm Sundays.

• If events in Charlottetown, Fredericton, Pictou, or Halifax aren’t enough to satisfy you, don’t forget about Boxing Rock‘s Grand Opening Saturday in Shelburne. There are still spots available on their free tours, and there will be lots of fun activities, food and beer to celebrate their opening. Check last week’s post for more details.

• Premier Wine & Spirits in Halifax, purveyors of great beer, wine and spirits in Halifax, is looking for part-time clerk people. They are looking for folks to work 15-20 hours a week, and of course a knowledge (or love!) of beer and wine is a big plus. Drop off your resume at the store at 1535 Dresden Row between 10-8.

• The latest offering from the Newfoundland Artisanal and Craft Beer Club (aka Beerthief) is closing this Sunday. The brewery being highlighted this go-around is Muskoka Brewery, after a very successful offering in the summer. Their Dark Ale, Craft Lager, Twice As Mad Tom IPA and Winter Jack (Tennessee whisky barrel-aged Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) are all up for grabs. To sign up and/or put in a request, contact Tom Beckett.

• Late addition to Friday Wrap-up: A reminder that signup to the Picaroons and New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association Homebrew Challenge is due November 1st. Beers can be dropped off Nov 1-15 at the Picaroons Brewtique on Queen Street. More info is available in our previous post. Good luck to all NB Homebrewers!

Another week with lots going on! Have a good weekend…


Atlantic Canada continues to bring on the beer, as another new brewery is scheduled to open soon in New Brunswick! Shane Steeves, a longtime homebrewer, plans on opening his nanobrewery, named Hammond River Brewing, later this fall at his home in Quispamsis. We recently exchanged emails with Shane to get a little more information on what he has planned for his brewery in the near future…

ACBB: Tell me a little about your homebrewing history.

Shane Steeves: I’ve been homebrewing for approximately 23 years now. I switched over to all grain a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. I am also one of the brewers at Big Tide Brewing Co. in Saint John.

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

Basically, there were two things that made me take the leap into brewing professionally. The first was that I enjoy brewing immensely, and I feel great satisfaction tasting a great beer that I’ve made from scratch. The second thing is that I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from friends and family which has encouraged me to open my own brewery.

What steps have you taken so far getting everything up and running? Do you have any partners with the whole project?

So far, I have my Federal Brewing license and the vast majority of my equipment. I have also applied for my provincial license, and when the construction of my brewery is finished (which will be soon), that will be finalized as well. I am doing this solo and do not have any partners involved in my brewery.

What type of system will you be brewing on?

I’m brewing on an all-electric 1 bbl (31 U.S. gallons) HERMS system. I’ll be capable of brewing approximately 115 litres of beer with each batch. I have a 45 gallon boil kettle, 40 gallon hot liquor tank, 40 gallon mash tun, two 40 gallon conical fermenters, and a 37 gallon brite tank.


What are your plans for distribution? Any plans for growlers, bottling, etc.?

At first, I plan on dispensing my beer in 20 litre kegs only, and will be distributing them to a few pubs and restaurants in the Saint John and surrounding areas. My intention is to take it slow, so no immediate plans for bottling or growlers at this time.

Do you already have some beer bars/restaurants in the Saint John area lined up to serve your beers?

Yes, I currently have four local establishments that will be serving my beers on tap.  My initial launch will be at the Saint John Ale House, but Bourbon Quarter, The Barrel’s Head, and The Shiretown Publicans will also be serving my beers.
Can you tell me about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or styles, of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
As of now, my intention is to list four different beers with ANBL: an IPA, an American Pale Ale, a West Coast Style Red Ale, and an Extra Special Bitter. I do plan on offering seasonals as well; for example, a Vanilla Porter in the winter months and a Hawaiian Pale Ale in the summer.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?
Greg Nash [of Rockbottom and The Hart & Thistle in Halifax, NS] has been a very valuable source of information and assistance to me along the way.
With the recent increase in the number of new breweries in Atlantic Canada, what will make Hammond River Brewing different from the rest?
Hmmm, that’s a very good question.  There are so many fantastic breweries in Atlantic Canada right now.  What I will say is that I’m a hophead at heart, so I’ll be focusing mainly on West Coast style beers.
Where do you hope to see Hammond River Brewing in two to three years?
To be honest, I really haven’t put too much thought into where I see Hammond River Brewing in a few years.  My biggest goal is to not to grow too big, too fast.  Right now, I am just concentrating on making some fantastic craft beers for beer lovers in the Saint John and surrounding areas.  I’ll see where everything takes me in the future and take it from there.
Do you, personally, have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?
While I generally like most styles of beer, I definitely gravitate towards West Coast style IPAs and APAs. I don’t think that I have a favorite brewery, as there are just so many out there now that are producing such great beers.
Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with? E.g. a specific malt and/or hop variety?
Absolutely.  I’m a HUGE fan of Amarillo hops!  I just love the orange citrusy flavour and aroma that it brings to a nice APA or IPA.  Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy hop to get.
From whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?
That’s another good question. I don’t think that I could single out any one person whom I’ve learned the most from. It was Kellye Robertson (current brewer at Garrison) that first got me into all grain, so I need to thank her for that. But I’ve also learned an extensive amount from others online at Brewnosers, and also speaking to other professionals like Greg Nash.
Is there something specific that got you into the world of craft beer?
I’d say that it was traveling to Europe for the first time that really got me involved in craft beers. It really opened my eyes (and taste buds) to some fantastic beers of all styles. And it’s been virtually all craft beers for me since that first trip to Europe.
We’re happy to welcome Hammond River Brewing to the fold of Atlantic Canadian Breweries, and wish Shane the best of luck in his endeavours! There are lots of beer geeks looking forward to when they can order his hoppy beers, so stay tuned to his Facebook site and this blog for further updates on Shane’s progress! Also, check out the Fundy Area Brewers page for more information on homebrewers in the Saint John area.

Good morning folks! Who feels like some beer news?

• On Sunday, November 10th, the Fredericton Poutine Festival will be held at the Delta Fredericton. Featuring all-you-can-eat poutine (over ten different types from four establishments), there are two sessions: a “Family Session” ($25) from 12pm-3pm, and a “Beer Session” from 6pm-9pm. The Beer Session has two options – a regular ticket ($35) that provides four 4 oz beer samples (in addition to the standard unlimited poutine and non-alcoholic beverages), and a “Beer Experience” ($45) ticket that gives you twelve 4 oz beer samples. At least 15 different beers from local breweries Grimross, Pump House, and Picaroons will be poured, as well as from McAuslan Brewery and McClelland Premium Imports. Tickets can be purchased here; the event is already over 85% sold-out, so don’t wait much longer to get your ticket!

• This evening,  the PEI Beer Guy is hosting a beer tasting at The Landing Oyster House and Pub in Tyne Valley, PEI. It will feature six beers of all different styles, paired with food from The Landing’s kitchen. Stephen was kind enough to give us a preview of the beer: Blanche de Chambly (a Belgian-style Witbier), AffIigem Blond (a Belgian Blond), Gahan’s Pumpkin Ale (a dunkelweizen with pumpkin), St. Ambroise‘s Oatmeal Stout, Barnone‘s IPA, and Mort Subite Kriek (a cherry lambic). As he told us, this is probably the first time a sour beer has been available in a restaurant or bar in PEI. Tickets are a steal at $30, so buy them online here, or call The Landing (902-831-2992) for details.

• Good news for craft beer fans in Moncton: Celtic Knot Brewing now has all four of their beers in rotation at both The Tide and Boar and Marky’s Laundromat. Hopicide, Not-Joe-Average, Dark Passage and Dubh Loki will all be cycling through on tap at both locations, so stay tuned to their Facebook pages to find out when your favorite(s) is/are available!

• A new beer is now available at the Hart & Thistle Gastropub on the Halifax Waterfront. Dank & Stormy is a juicy double IPA, weighing in at 8.2% and 83 IBUs (courtesy of lots of Centennial, Cascade and Columbus varietals). The hopping rate is massive at 6.2lb/barrel (over half a kilo per 23L homebrew batch), which means lots of late and dry hops to live up to its Dank name. The TubberRoe Robust Porter is still on as well, but who knows for how long!

• Also from the mind of Greg Nash, we have further information on his beer to appear at the Cask Days in Toronto this weekend. His IPA was actually brewed on the 10 gallon pilot system at Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyons Brook. An American-style IPA, weighing in at 6.8% and 66 IBUs, and a nice golden colour (7 SRM). That sounds like a great beer for a cask.

• The Belgian Rye IPA from Grimross Brewing that we reported on last week is still available for growler fills at the Picaroons Brewtique, and we now have some more information on the beer from owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. A rye IPA fermented with Belgian yeast, it pours a copper-brown color, and has aromas of orange, floral and candy. Hopped with Cascade, Willamette and Amarillo, and dry-hopped with Amarillo alone, it finishes quite dry, while exhibiting flavors of “rustic rye and spice”. The beer weighs in at 6% ABV.

• Bridge Brewing has extended their retail hours, so it should be easier for Halifax residents to drop by to purchase growlers, party kegs, and brewery swag. They are now open from 12-9 on Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays from 12-6. Wednesday and Thursday hours remain the same, 12-7.

• After a successful soft launch earlier this week, the Stubborn Goat Gastropub will be opening today at 6pm. Reports from the event were very positive, and we hope to have a full report on the beer and food offerings for you shortly. In the meantime, follow along at their Facebook and Twitter pages.

• If you do not already have plans for this evening, there is a Winemaker vs. Brewmaster Dinner taking place at the Halifax Club. Beginning at 6pm, the $89 event allows the two Masters (Propeller‘s Brewmaster Bobby Zacharias and Blomidon Estate Winemaker Simon Rafuse) to show off how well their drinks pair with the five courses of food prepared by the Halifax Club‘s Chef Nelson.

• After an extremely successful summer with no time to breathe, Boxing Rock is finally ready for their Grand Opening! Saturday, October 26, from 12-6pm at their brewery at 78 Ohio Road, Shelburne, NS will be a fun afternoon of celebration, with tours and tastings for adults and face painting for the kids. The official ribbon cutting will take place at 12:15pm, and tours starting at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30. To make reservations for tours please call 494-9233 ext. 3 Tuesday – Saturday from 12-6. Congratulations to Emily and Henry and the entire Boxing Rock Family!

• We received some insider information that this weekend’s Rockbottom Firkin will be a London-style Porter.  Head on down at 1pm Saturday for the tapping of the firkin.

• Today, the folks from Crannóg Ales are visiting Jeremy and the gang at Big Spruce to brew up a collaboration beer. The two Organic breweries (the only in the country) will brew an Imperial IPA, that will feature BC Galena and Cascade hops, grown on Crannóg’s hopfield. Check their Facebook page throughout the day for pics of the action, and then the brewery in a few weeks to buy growlers of this tasty coast-to-coast collab.