All posts for the month January, 2014

Another busy news week in our region, including some regulation change in Nova Scotia that will make your life easier. Let’s dive right in!

• Terrific news, New Brunswick! Hammond River Brewing has had their four flagship beers – an Extra Special Bitter, American IPA, India Red Ale, and Oatmeal Stout (infused with Star Anise) – approved by the ANBL, meaning that they can now be sold to thirsty customers! While the beers should start popping up in the Saint John area any day now, the official launch of all four beers will be at the Saint John Ale House on Thursday, Feb. 13th. You will also be able to find Hammond River beers at Bourbon Quarter, The Barrel’s Head, and The Shiretown Publicans.

• If you live in Fredericton, you probably remember the opening of the King Street Ale House in November, and the Smoked Porter, Ember Ale, released by Picaroons exclusively for that location. Well, good news if you’ve been missing it – the KSAH will be tapping a cask of the original brew tomorrow at 3:00 pm. It’s part of their first “Beer, Bourbon and BBQ” event, where they will be featuring exclusive items from their smoker, bourbon, and, of course, beer! Look for future casks to pop up there from time to time; and who knows… Picaroons MAY brew the beer again in the future!

• In other Picaroons news, earlier this week they put a new beer on tap at the Brewtique. A Pale Ale, the beer is the first of four that were brewed before Christmas with different Engineering groups from the University of New Brunswick. Each group paired up with Picaroons Head Brewer Andrew Estabrooks to create a different beer style. Once the Pale Ale is out, look for the three other beers to follow shortly after; they include a Belgian Wheat, a Coffee and Vanilla Bean Stout, and the crowd-favorite, a Maple Wheat.

• And continuing on, the first beer brewed by Picaroons to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Lunar Rogue was tapped on Wednesday night. A Parcel of Rogues has finally been revealed to be an Amber Ale brewed mainly with Mild malt; some Honey malt was also used to add a “delicate sweetness” as described by Marketing Director Dennis Goodwin. A full-bodied beer, the alcohol level of 4.6% ABV keeps it fairly sessionable and easy-drinking. The beer is, of course, limited, so get down to the Rogue to have a pint or two to help them celebrate!

• With only five weeks to go before the 2nd Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 8th, the final breweries are now confirmed, and tickets are over 80% sold out. Looks like there’s going to be a great showing from craft breweries in our region; many of these smaller breweries have limited distribution (for now), so this gives a lot of us a terrific opportunity to sample their beers! We should have a list of breweries/beers being served at the festival in the near future – hopefully next week – so stay tuned here for an update!

• Great news for Nova Scotian beer fans: the NS government announced earlier this week that Brewpubs may now fill growlers during opening hours. This means that the pubs will no longer be forced to fill growlers during off-hours, but are permitted to do so on demand. Forget having to call the day before to request a growler, or worry that the pre-filled supply might run out before you visited after work. Different brewpubs will be handling it differently (some will permit you to bring your own, clean growler to be filled, while others will still be exchanging the bottles), so best to call or tweet your local brewpub to confirm. Rogues Roost and Rockbottom Brewpubs had already been selling growlers under the old regulations, and it looks like Hart & Thistle will use the changed regulations to begin to offer them next week.

Rockbottom Brewpub hosted their first Beer Dinner on Monday, to great praise by those in attendance. Three courses of food paired with three beers, for $30+tax and tip? Seems like a good deal to us! If you enjoyed the first one, or missed out, the next monthly dinner will be held Tuesday Feb 25. Call the pub at 423-2938 to reserve your spot now. Brewmaster Greg Nash will be on hand to chat food and beer. And a reminder that the RB has moved Firkin day to Wednesday, with a pin tapped at 4pm. And, beginning this week, they are whipping up a special dish to pair with the beer. This week’s pairing was Dry-hopped Pale Ale, paired with beer Mac & Cheese. Pop by to see what the mind of Nash has come up with next week!

• The Stubborn Goat is continuing their very popular Cask Friday today, with guest brewery Propeller offering up a pair of special brews. There will be a cask of their IPA, dry-hopped with Citra, as well as a cask of Vanilla Porter. The casks are tapped at 4pm, so get there early to avoid disappointment! Also, congratulations are in order for Propeller, as they celebrated the 100 batch of beer brewed at their new facility in Dartmouth. The expansion more than doubles their potential output, with lots of big fermentation and brite tanks to brew their core brand, and the extra space makes doing special recipes not as much of a drag on the system.

• Over in Newfoundland, the Beerthief and Beckett on Wine are hosting a terrific-looking beer tasting on Wednesday, Feb. 12th, featuring the oldest active brewery in the world – Weihenstephaner, from Germany. After a reception beer from Quidi Vidi, the tasting will begin with the excellent Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, followed by their equally-tasty Dunkelweizen and Vitus (Weizenbock). Each sample will be approximately 250 mL. Afterwards, they’ll be pouring each attendant a sample of the Belgian beer Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel – yes, it’s difficult to say, but it’s an excellent beer as well! The beers will be accompanied by fresh baguette and cold, rare, sliced roast beef; Beerthief and Certified Cicerone Mike Buhler will lead the tasting. The event will be held in the Hospitality Room at the Quidi Vidi Brewery at 7:00 pm; tickets are $28 each, with 75 seats available. To reserve your spot, send an email to

Happy Friday, everyone! Let’s start your weekend off with a few news stories from around the Atlantic Region.

Two weeks ago, we mentioned the start of the “Name the Beer!” competition that The Lunar Rogue was having in collaboration with Picaroons to celebrate the Rogue’s 25th Anniversary year. Well, the winner for the first beer has been selected – Duncan MacSporran, with his entry of “Parcel of Rogues”, is the proud owner of a Picaroons Draft & Dinner Party for six, valued at $300. Picaroons has already brewed the beer, but they’re still keeping silent on which style it is. However, you won’t have long to wait – the official launch of Parcel of Rogues will take place at the Rogue next Wednesday, January 29th at 7:00 pm.

• And hey, speaking of Fredericton… have you ever thought about knitting your own growler bag? No? Well, neither have we, but now’s the time to learn! This Sunday, January 26th, Yarns on York is having a 3-hour workshop for all levels of knitters to instruct you on how you can make a handy item to carry your growler around. The $50 fee includes materials and taxes; check here for more information.

Paddys Irish Brewpub has released a new beer at both their Wolfville and Kentville locations. Fitz’s Belgian Dubbel follows the style with a bronze-colored body, fruity and spicy aromas and flavors, light bitterness (with 25 IBUs), and “lively” carbonation. At 7% ABV, the beer has a pleasant warming sensation that is perfect for this time of year! Drop in at either location to try this new beer at the brewpub or get your growler filled.

• Looks like the Hart & Thistle has a new batch of brewmaster Greg Nash’s popular Commissar, a Russian Imperial Stout. A full-bodied stout with “notes of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, raisins and figs”, it’s nicely balanced with enough bitterness at 117 IBUs (calc) to even things out. At 11% ABV, here’s another beer to warm you on these cold winter days and nights!

• Mike Buhler of the Beerthief Artisanal and Craft Beer group is hosting a Chimay Cheese, Beer and Food tasting at Clinched Bistro, January 29th. Pairing both cheese and beer from the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont, will be creations from Clinched’s co-owners Shaun Hussey (winner of 2012 Gold Medal Plates) and renowned pastry check Michelle LeBlanc, including Salt Cod and Lobster Bubbly Bake, Chicken and Waffles, and Chocolate, Cherries and Almonds pastries (actually paired with Liefmans Cuvee Brut). Tickets for the event are $165, and can be reserved by emailing Tom Beckett.

Robbie Burns Day is tomorrow, and Garrison Brewing has brewed up a few casks of Scotch Ale to celebrate. They released them to a few of your friendly neighbourhood bars, so be sure to grab a pint or two to celebrate along with fellow fans of The Bard, while enjoying some haggis. Look for it at Stillwell Beer BarCeilidh’s Pub (tapped at 4:00 pm), and at The Loose Cannon (to be tapped at 11:00 am).

• Speaking of Garrison, a little birdy (aka Twitter) has told us that their very popular Spruce Beer will be taking the ferry over to Newfoundland in the next little while. Look for it on the shelves of NLC stores mid- to late-February.

• Big Congratulations to Bridge Brewing in Halifax. In addition to this week being their one-year anniversary, last night they won the New Business of the Year from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. With expanded capacity, thanks to a few larger fermentation vessels, look for Bridge on tap at more and more establishments around the province in 2014. Well done to Peter, Josh and the whole Bridge family!

That’s all of the news for this week. Just a note that we had a wonderful time at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food event last Thursday. Despite getting sprayed by an over-pressurized cask (not all bad when it’s whiskey-infused Oatmeal Stout), the evening went off without a hitch! Great to see so many craft beer brewers and fans in one place. And then on Saturday, we had a great time for the Stillwell Big Spruce and Boxing Rock tap takeover, and had great conversations again with the brewers and beer fans. Remember that craft beer can be as much about the great people behind the beer, as the beer itself!

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s what’s going on in our region these days:

• Back in October we posted about a new brewery, Hammond River Brewing, opening in Quispamsis, NB later in the fall. The official launch of the brewery was unfortunately delayed; however, owner/brewer Shane Steeves has indicated that his first beers should be available sometime in February. We’ll keep you updated when we know exactly when Hammond River’s first beers will be pouring at the official launch at the Saint John Ale House!

• Speaking of Saint John, Big Tide Brewing has a couple of new beers; brewer Wendy Papadopoulos has given us some info on both. Currently on tap is the Crasberry Cream Ale, a still-hanging-on-to-the-holidays Cream Ale brewed with cranberry juice and raspberry extract; it clocks in at 5% ABV. They should also be releasing a Winter Warmer this weekend – this currently unnamed beer is brewed with smoked malt and Caramunich, with some bourbon added for extra flavor, and comes in at 7% ABV.

• Halifax’s Bridge Brewing is releasing a new beer today, a collaboration with Java Blend Coffee Roasters. It is a Belgian Coffee Brown Ale, made with 2 kg of Guatemalan El Injerto Pandora del Carmen beans. The folks at Java Blend did a special roast of the beans, and a 24-hour cold brew, before being added to the beer. Look for it at the brewery and Alderney Market this weekend.

• Hell Bay Brewing, from Liverpool, NS, has released a new beer, the R.I.P.(A) IPA. Over the next few months, they will be releasing several IPAs, and asking for feedback on the beers. At the end of the series, they’ll be having a taste-off to determine the winning style. The first version weighs in at 7.2%, is pale and finishes dry, and is moderately hopped (for an IPA). Look for the beer at the brewery, only available in growlers. The next version will feature even more hops, so watch out for that!

• In other Hell Bay news, consumers in more locations around the province will soon be able to purchase their English Ale at the NSLC. We don’t have all of the details yet (which stores will be participating), but will be sure to pass them along when available. It should be on shelves before the end of the month.

• And finally, Hell Bay has been nominated for a Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Award. They are up for the 2013 Small Business Award. The winning announcement will take place February 17th. Best of luck!

• Have you purchased your tickets for the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 8th? Well, they’re currently having a contest on their Facebook page; like and share the link indicated, and you’ll have a chance to win two tickets to the festival AND the 2014 Fredericton Poutine Festival… that’s a $190 value! The winner will be drawn today at approximately 4:00 pm. Just a reminder… last year’s event sold out weeks before it was held. With about 70% of this year’s tickets already gone, and the event promising to be even better than last year, don’t hesitate much longer! And there are still rooms available at the Crowne Plaza just across the street, at the special Beer Fest rate. Check them out here.

The PEI Brewing Co. sent an interesting cask to Bar Stillwell yesterday; the “Dry-Hopped, Barrel-Aged, Farmhouse Saison”! This very tart beer (the wort – what beer is before yeast does its thing – was originally destined to be Sir John A’s Honey Wheat) was initially fermented with a Saison yeast and aged in an oak red wine barrel since last summer. After it finally made its way into the cask, fresh yeast was added, and the beer was dry-hopped with Santiam, a European-type aroma hop that has spicy, herbal and floral qualities. With an ABV of ~5%, this sounds like a very interesting beer!

• Speaking of Stillwell Beer Bar, they are holding the Big Spruce X Boxing Rock Tap Takeover tomorrow. Tickets are sold out, however they will be tweeting during the event if seats become available. You might not be able to score one of the slick glasses created especially for the event, but you will be able to try some of the great beers being poured. Look for Boxing Rock’s U-889 RIS with vanilla beans and Crafty Jack Brown Ale, as well as Big Spruce’s Tim’s Dirty IPA and Cereal Killer Sideways (Oatmeal Stout infused with Bowmore).

• A reminder that the “Name The Beer!” competition, Picaroons‘ new beer to honour The Lunar Rogue Pub‘s 25th anniversary, closes today. Post up your favourite name on their Facebook page, and you might just win a tasty prize package, a Draught and Dinner party for you and five of your worthy friends.

• We’ve got a reminder, and some great news for homebrewers who are thinking of entering the Garrison Home Brew-Off competition this year. Noble Grape will be doing an all-grain brewing demo of a Weizen at Garrison Brewery tomorrow from 10-2pm. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and watch the techniques used by more advanced home brewers (and you’ll see it isn’t so tough to do after all!). The great news is that all of the beers entered into the competition will be tasted and judged by BJCP-certified judges. The judging has always been impartial and blind (the identity of the beer or brewer were never revealed to the judges), but having the BJCP judges whittle down all entries to the finale means that the notes and scoresheets back from the competition should offer some insight not otherwise available. If you were on the fence as to whether to enter or not, hopefully this steers you towards YES!

That’s it for this week… have a great weekend!