Happy Friday, Craft Beer Fans!
• Following very successful sales in Fredericton (on tap at the King Street Ale House and growlers sales at the Brewtique) and Moncton (on tap at the Tide and Boar Gastropub), Grimross Brewing recently began selling their beer in Halifax. Earlier this week, both the Ben’s Pale Ale and Belgian Rye IPA appeared on tap at Stillwell to great enthusiasm from their customers. If you’re in the Halifax area and missed out on your chance to try these beers, follow Stillwell on Twitter to see when they make an appearance there again! And don’t worry, Fredericton-local fans, they’ve just stocked the Brewtique fridge with more Rye IPA.
• Spruce fans, rejoice! Today’s the day that Garrison Brewing is releasing their highly-anticipated Spruce Beer. Brewed using a truck-load of spruce and fir harvested from Meander River Farms, and blackstrap molasses from Crosby’s in Saint John, the beer weighs in at 7.5% ABV. The brewery doors opened at 9 this morning, and folks were picking up the beer shortly thereafter. For us working stiffs unable to visit the brewery this morning, a cask of the beer will be tapped at 4pm, so you can sip it while you buy a bottle (or case). The beer will also be available at the local private beer stores, NSLC, and also at select ANBL stores beginning next week. Also look for a cask of it to be available at Stillwell soon.
• Meanwhile, Garrison Brewing has expanded distribution of their beers outside of Atlantic Canada – their Imperial IPA is now available in Ontario at select LCBO stores. If the beer proves popular with Ontario beer fans, it could become a regular product at the LCBO. Along with Garrison’s Mixed 6 recently becoming available in Alberta, this shows that the brewery is slowly starting to expand… hopefully we’ll see further growth in the not-too-distant future!
• Shiretown Beer has a previously-available brew returning for growler fills at the brewery. Big Brown Ale is an English-style Brown Ale that has a “complex bill of specialty malts, leaving well-balanced hints of roast and chocolate”. It is lightly-hopped to 20 IBUs, and clocks in at 4.5% ABV. Drop by to get some of this beer before its gone!
• Just an update concerning Picaroons‘ 12 Beers of Christmas event, which started yesterday (with the return of the popular “Dunkel Wisemen”, their Dark & Stormy Night brewed with dark chocolate and orange peel, which sold out in a little under an hour) – the time of the daily growler release for the Christmas beers at the Brewtique has been changed to 4 pm. Remember, each day’s beer will be announced on Picaroons’ Twitter feed around noon, and there is a 2 growler-per-person limit.
• Speaking of Picaroons, they’ve released an online survey for those of you who enjoy their beers. Check it out here; it should only take a minute or two to complete. They’re looking to learn a little more about drinking habits of Picaroons fans, so help them out and fill out the survey!
• Rogues Roost has released their popular Russian Imperial Stout seasonal beer this week. Brewed with tons of dark roasted malt, the beer starts with liquorice and treacle flavours, and ends with roast and coffee flavour and aroma. The beer weighs in at 9% ABV and 50 IBUs. This black beauty will not be available in growlers, so pull up a stool at the bar, and have a pint or two!
• Hell Bay has released their newest seasonal, Black Fog Oatmeal Stout. This dark beer features lots of roasted aroma and flavour with hints of chocolate and coffee and weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 36 IBUs. It is currently available in kegs and growlers at the brewery, and will shortly be released in bottles as well. Look for it at your favourite bar or private beer store soon!
• Boxing Rock has also released a new seasonal, the U-889 Russian Imperial Stout. We do not have many details on the beer , but do know that it weighs in at 8.89% ABV and a hefty 65 IBUs, and that vanilla was used during the brewing process, so this will be an interesting RIS! It is currently available in bottles and growlers at the brewery, and at Bishop’s Cellar and the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market this weekend. Look for it on tap and cask at Stillwell soon as well!
• For those of you attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 8th, 2014 (if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, there’s still some available), the Crowne Plaza-Lord Beaverbrook downtown (right across from the Fredericton Convention Centre, where the event is being held) has a special rate of $109/night for ticket-holders. Check out this link to reserve your room now. Also, if you would be interested in volunteering for the Fest, contact FCBF on Twitter or by their website. It will be a fun night!
• As we mentioned previously, Big Spruce held their homebrew competition last Friday. The winning brew was Tim Gregory’s Dirty Grain IPA, which beat out 16 other entries for the best American IPA. We chatted with Tim about his win, and he had this to say, “The name comes from me being a very disorganized brewer and rushing to get my grain crushed while the strike water is heating and dumping them all over the basement floor, and then sweeping them up and back into the mill (hey, it’s all pre-boil right?). I was really shocked and excited when I found out [I’d won]. Just before bed I logged onto wifi on my phone and it immediately buzzed and said that like 13 people had mentioned me on facebook. I logged on and saw the post that I’d won. I was pretty surprised, I didn’t even know the judging was going down that night.” He will be heading up to Nyanza next Friday to brew his beer with Jeremy on the big system, and it will be released at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration January 14th at the Halifax Club. Congratulations, Tim!
• St John’s YellowBelly Brewpub is holding a customer appreciation event next Wednesday (Dec 18th). Free hors d’oeuvres and music from 4-9pm, and sample Brewmaster Liam McKenna’s great beers (including the recently released Mummer’s Brew winter seasonal). All of YB’s friends and fans are invited, just be sure to RSVP via email before Monday.
• The Beerthief is holding another tasting next week, this time it is beer and olive oil. An interesting combination, to say the least, but we think it will work quite well. They are partnering with O’Leva Oils and Vins for the event. There will be five beers and oils tasted, each chosen to pair with each other. Attendees will also leave with a 60mL bottle of their favourite oil of the evening. The beers to be tasted are de Koninck, Liefmans Goudenband, and three beers from The Bruery. To take part, please email Tom Beckett to reserve your spot.
• Tickets for the Saint John Beer Fest are now on sale! The event will be taking place 7-9:30pm, Saturday April 5th, 2014, once again at Market Square downtown. The list of attending breweries is not yet available, but we have been assured that it will be even bigger and better than last year, complete with more unique and interesting entertainment (remember last year’s Atlantic Cirque performers?). Tickets are available at Harbour Station (online, by phone or in person). VIP tickets are also available, which will allow early access to the event.
• The Great Canadian Beer Expo is coming to your town! Well, if you live in Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, and Charlottetown, it is. The multi-city Expo will offer attendees the chance to taste and enjoy 120+ different beers. The ticket format is slightly different than most others in our region: entrance is $25, and then beer sample tickets are purchased for $1 per 4oz pour. Tickets are now on sale, and we will release more details as they become available. The Expo’s first stop is two nights in Sydney, NS, January 24th and 25th, at the Centre 200. And a lucky attendee from each stop on the tour will win a trip for two to Munich for Oktoberfest!
• Be sure to check out PEI Brewing Company’s Facebook page for their great twelve days of Christmas gift ideas and specials. There’s a new feature every day, so check back often.
That’s all for this morning, but stay tuned, as we’re working on several more posts for next week, it’s going to be a busy one! Here’s a teaser: we’ll have a full profile on Nova Scotia’s newest brewery, Bad Apple Brewhouse.