Happy Friday, everyone! Yet another chock-full of beer news in our region. Pour your favourite pint and check out the latest info.
• Fredericton, your wait for locally-brewed hard cider is over – Red Rover Brewing has announced that they will be opening their Ciderhouse next Thursday, Feb 13th! Located at 880 Hanwell Rd, Suite 305, the Ciderhouse will have up to four varieties of cider on tap (the “Spring” and “Summer” to start, soon followed by “Fall” and a currently unrevealed style), and lots of merchandise for sale. Refillable, 1-L flagons can be purchased for $6.50; fills of each flagon will cost $12 (prices include tax). The Ciderhouse will be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4-11 pm. For those of you who are supporters of the brewery, or “Red Roverlutionaries”, there is a special event tonight at the Ciderhouse from 6-10 pm, where you will be able to purchase flagons and fills of the Summer cider.
• And throughout next week, Red Rover is having an online contest for supporters to win a free flagon. Take a picture of yourself “in an interesting location”, wearing your Red Rover t-shirt, and post it on Twitter (#redsciderhouse and #redroverbrew) or Facebook (share to their page).
• For those of you in the Saint John area, don’t forget that Hammond River Brewing will be holding their launch party at the Saint John Ale House on Thursday, Feb. 13th as well! All four of their flagship beers will be on tap – Hop Flash IPA (6.6% ABV), Red Coat India Red Ale (6.5% ABV), Covered Bridge ESB (5.5% ABV), and Back in Black Oatmeal Stout (5.2% ABV). Tickets are $10, and include four samples of the beers; appetizers will also be served. Get down to the SJAH for your ticket, and be one of the first to try some great, new beers!
• Edmundston’s new up-and-coming brewery, Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, has been looking for two brewers over the last few months. They recently put out a press release saying that they’ve chosen two gentlemen for the positions. Jason Dionne, a Madawaska, Maine native, comes from a brewing position at Kichesippi Beer, a microbrewery in Ottawa. Gavin Anderson is a former scientist with a doctorate in plant pathology. Both Jason and Gavin have a history of homebrewing and – naturally – a passion for beer! With the first beers scheduled to arrive on the market this June, we’re happy to see that the brewery is one step closer to their goal! For more info on Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, check out our Q&A with Marketing Director Mychèle Poitras that we posted in November (French version here).
• With Valentine’s Day fast approaching (that’s right, you only have one week), Picaroons is bringing back their Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale. A dark beer that is brewed with chocolate, ginseng, liquorice root, and a hint of cayenne, it clocks in at 5% ABV. It should be available by February 11th/12th for growler fills at the Brewtique; look for it on tap at certain beer bars/restaurants in the region shortly after.
• On another note, the Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale will also be featured as a “welcome beer” at the two Beer & Chocolate Dinners being put on by Picaroons. Both dinners are four courses, “chocolate-infused”; each course will be paired with a different Picaroons beer. The first dinner will be at 6:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 13th at the ANBL Train Station on York St., and will feature Real Food Connections. The second will be two days later, Feb 15th, at The Schnitzel Parlour, also at 6:30 (hosted by local Sommelier Craig Pinhey). Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the Brewtique.
• Good news for folks looking for more Uncle Leo’s in their life: earlier this week, they sent out 360 six-packs of their IPA to the NSLC! The shipment is part of a trial at 35 NSLC locations, and should reach larger stores all over the province (except Pictou, you’ll have to keep visiting the store in Lyons Brook). Plans are also in the works for their Red to be available through the NSLC in April, in 650mL bottles. Be sure to show your Leo’s Love, and grab the beers from your local NSLC. We had a wonderful visit at Uncle Leo’s last week while they were filling the palette-plus order, 2 bottles at a time!! What dedication from the folks at the brewery! And we loved the sausages from The Pork Shop available at the brewery, made with Uncle Leo’s IPA and Smoke Porter (our favourite).
• Speaking of new beers hitting the NSLC, Rare Bird Full Steam Stout will be available beginning today at NSLC locations across the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Halifax. It joins the Pale Ale already available at the NSLC. We’ve been enjoying the Stout on tap at Stillwell, which has a healthy dose of Full Steam coffee added to the beer in secondary.
• And in related Rare Bird news, they have released a new seasonal, a Pumpkin Ale! While a bit out of season, they’ve been brewing batches of this beer since November, and are looking to spice things up in their lineup for winter/spring (sorry, that bad pun was all Chris). Doug Anweiler gave us some insight into the beer: The base beer is a 5.5%ABV Pale Ale style (with a bit of CaraMunich malt and molasses) with three different hop varieties. The brewery team picked pumpkins and squash from local fields, which were then spiced and roasted at the Harbour Belle Bakery using traditional pumpkin spices. The pumpkin was added twice during the brewing process, starting in the mash. The beer is cold-conditioned before bottling, and is currently available at the private stores in Halifax, as well as a couple of kegs at Stillwell.
• Great news for fans of Boxing Rock Brewing in Shelburne, NS: they recently received a 34 hL (hectolitre, 100L) fermenter from DME to add to their brewhouse. This will effectively double the possible output of their popular beers. Since their launch in July, they have been going all out to keep up with the demand from their fans. With this double-sized fermenter, they can do a double-brew-day of their Hunky Dory Pale Ale or Temptation Red Ale to fill it up, giving them a bit of breathing room in the brewery. Breathing time they’ll use to come up with more excellent seasonals like the Crafty Jack Brown Ale and U-889 Russian Imperial Stout.
• The very popular beer-rating website, conveniently named RateBeer, has released its annual “Best Of” lists, including the Top Beers, Brewers, and New Brewers by Subregion. Winners are chosen by tallying the results from ratings/reviews by RateBeer users, with particular emphasis placed on those over the last year. The Atlantic Canadian provinces results are the following:
– New Brunswick: Top Beer – Picaroons Yippee IPA; Top Brewer – Pump House
– Nova Scotia: Top Beer – Garrison Imperial IPA; Top Brewer – Propeller; Best New Brewer – Bridge Brewing
– Prince Edward Island: Top Beer – PEI Brewing Co./Gahan House 1772 IPA
Unfortunately, Newfoundland is not listed. This, along with certain awards not given for certain categories, is likely due to a particular number of ratings being required… which means we beer-drinkers have to rate beer more often! Congrats to all the winners!
• Our detailed post on the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will be coming early next week. This is just one more friendly reminder that tickets are now over 90% sold out… last chance to buy yours! There are also a couple of contests going on right now to win VIP tickets (and more); follow the FCBF Twitter feed for details and updates.
• For those of you looking to step up your brewing game from amateur enthusiast to professional brewer, check out this job listing from Yellowbelly Brewery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Brewmaster Liam McKenna is looking for a brewer to help him keep the Brewpub, and NLC fully stocked with their beer. Yellowbelly also has a new seasonal on tap (and soon in bottles), a darker “hodgepodge” beer, with several different malts and hops. We hope to have more info for you next week (after a quick visit to the Brewpub ourselves!).
As much as I enjoy these weekly blog posts, I think it’s time for the beer community to start lobbying for better quality. I’m so sick of reading a glowing review of a local craft, only to find out it’s entirely undrinkable. Picaroons, Sea Level and Rare Bird clearly lead the pack but others have problems too. It’s time for a little honesty.
Thanks for your comment, Jeff. Our main goal at the blog is to share news on breweries and new beers that are available in our region. We aren’t always able to try the beers we report on, so can’t comment on the quality of everything out there, I hope you understand. If we write that we’ve tried and enjoyed a beer, then we stand behind that.
If you have issues with the quality of beers you’re trying, be sure to contact the breweries directly, I’m sure they’d like to hear that their product is not up to snuff.
Chris, I do understand your primary goal is to report the news, but I’m sure you can appreciate my frustration. Contacting the brewery is not always very effective. While some are simply in denial I’m convinced others just don’t know beer.