All posts for the month November, 2013

Another last Friday! Here’s your Atlantic Canadian beer news for the week:

• Propeller Brewing’s Revolution Russian Imperial Stout hits shelves today. Brewed to 8% and 60 IBUs, it features Roasted, Crystal and Chocolate Malts for a full bodied mouthfeel and great flavour and aroma, and Warrior and Cascade hops for bittering and aroma. It will be available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries in 1 and 1.89L growlers, and in 500mL bottles at the breweries, NSLC and private beer stores.

• Also available today is the Pump House Premium Pilsner mentioned in last week’s Wrap-Up. This initial launch of the beer will be in the form of a gift box, containing one 750 mL swing-top bottle. Only 2000 bottles will be available to the public, and can be purchased at ANBL and NSLC stores, as well as at the brewery locations in Moncton (Mill Road and Orange Lange). Look for Premium Pilsner to be available in May or June of 2014 as one of Pump House’s seasonal beers, in the standard 12-oz bottle size.

• Brewmaster Nash at Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax has released a new batch of an old favourite beer, the Wreckoning Russian Imperial Stout. It features loads of dark malts, including Crystal 150, Black Patent and Chocolate Malt, and is hopped fairly aggressively to 2 lbs/barrel. Some of the beer was then aged in Glenora 12-yr barrels, and fortified with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, and blended back to give you loads of chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit aromas to complement the oak and bourbon. Weighing in at 10%ABV and 132 IBUs (calc), this is a big black beauty of a beer, and only available on tap. And remember to drop by Saturday afternoon for their weekly Firkin, where Nash serves up a special small batch of beer from a gravity fed cask.

Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax also has a favourite beer back on tap, their Raspberry Wheat. The beer clocks in at 4.6% and 15IBUs, and features loads of raspberry aroma and flavour. While it isn’t currently available in growlers, their IPA and Red Ale are, but that list is always expanding. Check their Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute news, and food and beer specials.

Last week we posted info on Big Spruce‘s new collaboration beer with Crannóg Ale, Left Breton Organic Conspiracy Imperial IPA; well, the beer went on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell shortly thereafter! It probably won’t last long, but it may be back soon… keep an eye on Stillwell’s Twitter feed for tap list updates! Note that the beer is still available at the brewery.

• We also mentioned last week that Garrison Brewing had their employees working hard to harvest all the spruce tips needed to brew their extremely popular Spruce Beer. Well, the beer was brewed last weekend, and will be bottled next Friday! The expected released date is a week later, Friday, December 13th. This year, they plan on sending some Spruce Beer to New Brunswick; look for it to arrive at ANBL stores by December 16th or so. For more details on how they brew this beer, keep your eyes on CBC’s The National after the 13th!

• The final judging for entries in the New Brunswick Homebrew Challenge is winding down, and the winner will be selected and announced from the top 5 entries at the gala this Sunday, December 1st. The homebrewer of the best-judged Standard/Ordinary Bitter will get to brew their beer on a commercial-sized scale with Picaroons‘ head brewer Andrew Estabrooks, for release at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. Good luck, finalists!

• And don’t forget that tickets for the March 8th 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival go on sale today! In addition to the regular and VIP tickets ($50 and $60, respectively), there will be a limited number of “Ladies VIP” tickets sponsored by the Ladies Beer League. For ladies only (obviously), these tickets will give the ticket-holder early entry (90 minutes) into the festival, along with Beer 101 with Garrison brewer Kellye Robertson, and guest presentations from local beer celebrities, or “beerlebrities” (unfortunately, I did not come up with that clever word, but… I like it!).  Priced the same as regular VIP tickets, with $10 going to a local women’s charity, we’ll have more details on these tickets and the rest of the festival in the near future. Buy your tickets here; don’t wait, last year’s event sold out quickly!


In advance of the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration being held January 16 at the Halifax Club, we reached out to Alex Henden of Local Connections Halifax for more information.

Alex is the brains and visionary behind Local Connections Halifax, a quarterly print and online magazine that highlights the best of Halifax, in all categories (shops, food, beer, crafts, everything!). In addition to the magazine, Alexander also hosts and helps promote events all over the HRM (remember Sausage Fest?). The Autumn edition of the magazine has a wonderful feature on The Golden Age of Craft Beer in Nova Scotia.

ACBB: Please tell us a little about yourself and Local Connections Halifax.

Alex: My background at Local Connections Halifax is that I started the magazine about 1.5 years ago with no experience, and have begun doing events right from the get go. At this point in our brief history, we have accumulated a lot of data/experience doing events successfully, and are now looking to apply our findings to what we do to make our events even better. There hasn’t been any outward pressure to improve, but we simply roll this way.

Reception from local businesses and the general public has been similar. We have developed a solid group of readers and supporters. We are close to sustainability with the magazine and have forged a fairly solid reputation as an event host. With this is mind, we are keen to deliver big on January 16 and move up a notch or two in terms of public expectation and demand. We want to be one of the top dogs.
You certainly appear to be a fan of craft beer and local food, tell us about how you got into it.

My interest in beer comes from my first bottle of craft beer which was Shaftebury’s Rainforest (in BC). From there I just started liking beer and began to try others. I am not in any way a beer expert, but I do enjoy drinking craft beers on regular basis and have tried quite a few. On the food end, I probably began a slow transition towards good food, which is often local, probably as far back as 20 years ago. At some point, you have to concede that not all food is equal, and at some point, realize that some of it really isn’t food in the first place. Obviously having a name like Local Connections Halifax implies a support-local mandate, but the truth is, we have a quality-first mandate which is then supported by a support-local one. I think this differentiates us most other buy-local groups.

Please tell us about the January 16 event.

The previous event (Meet Your Local Spring Gala), from the public’s perspective, was that it was a great event, and the format of having 7 themed rooms is something we are keen to continue. The Gala actually showcased the most local producers in the Halifax Club’s 150 year history, and to my knowledge, no one has ever has 7 differently themed rooms, or host the diversity of people entering the building. As event organizers, we enjoyed ourselves, but have instead choose to look at where we can improve. With a bunch of people having told us that the Gala was one of the best events they’ve ever been to makes us very happy because we know we can do much better.

So, the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration will be more refined in terms of quality and experience. Obviously the focus will be the beer, but we will have cider, entertainment, contests at the event, and lots to eat. Our goal is to have an event which exceeds even our own expectations. This might sound odd, but what we’ve learned is that when you surround yourself with like-minded folks and let them run with it, you end up with something pretty amazing. We saw this firsthand at 3 of the pop-up events during Sausage Fest.

At the moment, for the most part, what you see on the website is pretty much where we are right now. On the breweries end, we are aiming to have as much of the complete product line-up as possible, and in the cases of most breweries, have them make a cask or two for the Cask Room. Jeremy at Big Spruce is keen on doing a home brewers contest prior to the event. We’ll also be requesting that the breweries do some sort of collaboration on their casks. As an example, I have asked Boxing Rock to work with Avondale Sky Winery. We will also have the chefs and dessert makers cook and bake with beer, with the exception of the Stubborn Goat who will be using apples and cider with pork.

Thank you to Alex for the additional details. We can also tell you that almost every packaging brewery and cidermaker in Nova Scotia will be in attendance, as well as all three HRM brewpubs. As he mentioned, they have been encouraged to collaborate with the excellent chefs in attendance, so the pairings will be effortless (no need to scoot from the beer room to the food room, food and beer will be right beside each other). One of the most intriguing room is the Cask Room, where many brewers will have a special one-off beer pouring, and there will be Beer Ambassadors roaming around to chat about the brewing process, suggest beer and food pairings, and just chat beer.

Some other details on the evening: the event is all inclusive, and there are only a handful of tickets still available, even with the event two months away. They are expected to sell out this week, so act now if you are on the fence! More details on the “Seven Rooms, Seven Experiences” can be found on the event page. Be sure to follow Local Connections on Facebook and Twitter as more details and sneak peeks are released. We’ve been told that there are still lots of fun details that will be released leading up to the event. And look for the magazine online or at your favourite restaurant, bar or shop.

Happy Friday! What better way to warm up the end of your week (after all this cool weather) than with some beer news?

• As we mentioned in our post on Wednesday, the members of the Board of Directors at Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault (the new Belgian-style brewery opening in Edmundston, NB next year) are looking to hire two brewers. They just posted the official job listing here; looks like it is for a start date of around March 1st, 2014. Check it out/pass it along if you’re interested; the deadline for résumés is December 22nd.

Picaroons is introducing a new type of growler for fills of their on-tap beers at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. An unbreakable, food-grade stainless steel Hydroflask, it keeps beer cold for many hours! It still holds the same amount of beer (1.89 L) as the old growlers, and can be brought back to the Brewtique for refills, of course. Each growler costs $50 to purchase; they’re available now at the Brewtique.

• Next Friday, November 29th, tickets for the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will go on sale. With already more breweries and beers (with heavy emphasis on New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) than last year’s festival, it’s sure to be a great event! Like last year, tickets are $50 for regular admission, and $60 for VIP (which gets you entry into the festival an hour earlier). The festival will be held at the Fredericton Convention Centre on Saturday, March 8th. We’ll be posting more details on the breweries/beers offered in the future!

• The Beerthief Newfoundland and Labrador’s Artisanal and Craft Beer Club has partnered with a local manufacturer to offer etched glassware with their logo. At $8.50, one can choose a mug, pilsner, stemmed or tall “bar” glass. Contact Mike Buhler to order these.

Hell Bay Brewing has released a special one-off beer, “Latzenbier”. This German Altbier is full-bodied with slight toffee/malt sweetness, and roasted aromas, and bittered with German hops. It weighs in a 5.5% ABV and 45 IBUs, and is only available in growlers at the brewery in Liverpool. Hell Bay has been sending more of their beer to bars and restaurants in the HRM, so if you don’t see it on tap at your favourite watering hole, be sure to request it!

• The Pump House Brewery is releasing a new lager – Premium Pilsner is listed as a German-style Pilsner brewed with Saaz hops. Clocking in at 5.7% ABV with 30 IBUs, Pump House describes the beer as very pale straw-colored; the beer is unfiltered, so some haziness will be present. With a flowery, slightly spicy and grassy aroma from the Saaz hops, the beer finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. It will first be available in gift-box form, in 750 mL swing-top bottles. We haven’t received confirmation as to when the beer will be available, but it should be very soon.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has re-released their Mummer’s Brew, just in time for the holiday season. An “Amber Ale” with an ABV of 6%, it’s described as being “full of caramel malt flavors and aromas”. Only a small amount has been brewed, and it’s only available at the brewery and NLC stores. Once it’s gone, it won’t be back until next year, so don’t wait to pick some up!

Big Spruce Brewing now has their Left Breton Organic Conspiracy Imperial IPA available at the brewery. This is the beer that saw BC’s Crannóg Ale brewers visit the brewery, bringing with them hops from Left Fields farm in Sorrento, BC (to complement the hops grown at Big Spruce’s Breton Fields hop farm). All of the hops used in the beer were grown organically on these two fields: Galena for bittering, along with tons of Centennial and Cascade at the end of the boil, and dry-hopped with Cascade and Willamette. The final stats on this beer are 7.4%ABV and 81 IBUs. Pick some up now at the brewery (it won’t last long); it should also be available at the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market in Sydney this weekend (along with some spent-grain granola). It may also be available at one exclusive tap in the province soon, keep your eyes open on their Facebook and Twitter feeds for that launch information. In addition to the Glenora-infused cask that Big Spruce had at the LBL Cask Fest, we were lucky enough to try the Bowmore 12-year-infused cask at Stillwell in Halifax. It’s gone now, but is another great indication of things brewing on Cape Breton.

Paddys Irish Brewpub has brewed up their newest eagerly-anticipated seasonal beer,  “Frost Biter” Winter Warmer. It has a chestnut colour, bolder body with notes of holiday chocolate, subdued bitterness at 10 IBUs, and a pleasant warming due to the slightly higher 6% Abv. Available at either their Kentville or Wolfville location on tap and in 2 liter Growlers in early December.

• Fans of Garrison‘s Spruce Beer, rejoice! The gang is at Meander River Farms today, collecting spruce tips and branches for their popular seasonal. This means the beer will be hitting shelves within a few weeks. Check back here for details, and their Facebook page for pictures of today’s hunt.

Field Guide, a great new restaurant on Halifax’s Gottingen Street has opened this past week. We went by for a great visit Wednesday, and will have a profile on them next week. They want to highlight the importance of the kitchen to the dining experience (you can watch the entire process of food preparation, from stove to plate and even the dish pit where the plate is cleaned after), and are passionate about local and seasonal food. Needless to say, they are big fans of local craft beer, and will be carrying NS beer exclusively.

That’s it for this week… enjoy your weekend!