All posts for the month February, 2014

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The second annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (FCBF) will be taking place on March 8th at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown. With about 1000 tickets being sold, the event will see almost twice as many beer lovers as last year’s festival. I was able to sit down with Lloyd Chambers, organizer of the FCBF, to discuss what will be offered at this year’s event.

What brought on the change in venue this year [last year’s festival was held at the Delta Fredericton]?

With about 550 people attending last year’s festival, the Delta Fredericton’s space worked out perfect. This year, however, we’ll see almost twice that many, so we needed to move to something bigger. The Convention Centre was able to provide us with that space, and also has the advantage of being right downtown, close to other beer-friendly spots such as the King Street Ale House.


Fredericton Convention Centre

Do you have any sponsors for this year’s festival?

Yes; major sponsors include the King Street Ale House, Massive Graphics, and The Pub Magazine (Atlantic Canada edition).

Tell me about the different ticket offerings you’ve been selling.

There’s about 700 “regular” admission tickets that JUST sold out yesterday. These $50 tickets include a custom tasting glass, and unlimited 2 oz samples of the beers at the festival from 7:30-10:00 pm.

We also sold 250 “VIP” tickets this year; for $60, you get entry into the festival an hour earlier. They were extremely popular when they went on sale in late November; they sold out in about 4 hours!

In recognition of March 8th also being International Women’s Day, we decided to partner with the Ladies Beer League in Halifax and offer “Women’s-only VIP” tickets. These 50 tickets (also sold out) were a great deal, giving ticket-holders 90-minute early entry into the festival, with a larger, custom tasting glass, “Beer 101” with Garrison Brewer Kellye Robertson and Pam Crouse (Co-Executive director of the LBL), samples from local “beerlebrities” Stephen Dixon of Grimross Brewing and Adam Clawson of Red Rover Brewing, and an extra beer sample from Quebec brewery Unibroue. Investors Group will make a donation on behalf of the FCBF to a local women’s charity.

Any options for Designated Drivers?

Yes, there are $15 tickets available, which include unlimited bottled water and soda (and the snacks below), including a Root Beer made by Garrison Brewing Co.

Are there any food options available during the festival?

There will be a few different food samples available, such as popcorn from Magzy’s Kettle Korn, and salmon from Miramichi Smoked Salmon; there may be one or two other options as well. I should also note that on Saturday, before the festival begins, The Lunar Rogue will be offering 15% off food when you show your FCBF ticket.

Are any hotels in the city offering discounted rates for the festival?

Yes, the Crowne Plaza Fredericton/Lord Beaverbrook is currently offering a festival rate of $109/night for both Friday and Saturday, March 7th and 8th. [note: the link for the discounted rate is here]

It looks like you’re expecting more breweries and beer for this year’s festival, compared to last year?

Absolutely. Last year we had 18 breweries and 91 beers; this year, we have a combination of 28 brewers and distributors, with about 150 different beers being poured. Specifically, we’ve got a larger showing from the Maritimes this year, including newer breweries such as Grimross Brewing, Red Rover Brewing, and Sunset Heights Meadery from New Brunswick; Bad Apple Brewhouse, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bridge Brewing, and Uncle Leo’s from Nova Scotia, and Barnone Brewing from PEI. We’ve got a couple of non-Maritime breweries coming – Saskatchewan’s Bushwakker will be returning this year (including owner Bev Robertson), and Le Naufrageur from Quebec will be making their first appearance.

Will there be many brewers and/or representatives from each brewery to provide information about their beers, answer questions, etc.?

Luckily, just about every brewery (except one or two) will have brewers or brewery reps coming to the festival, pouring their beers and providing info. We’ll also have about 35-40 volunteers helping out.

Before we get to the most important information – the brewers/beer list – anything else you’d like to add?

Just that we’re really happy to be able to build on the success of last year’s festival by opening the event to even more people, and bringing even more beers than before. As our tagline says, “It’s all about the beer. Pure. Simple.”

The following is a list of the breweries and distributors that will be attending the festival, along with the products they have indicated that they are bringing. Keep in mind these products are subject to change, and some have not been announced yet. We will continue to update this list as we find out more information:

Atlantic Spirits &Wines (Dartmouth, NS) – Somersby Cider, Carlsberg, Kronenbourg 1664, Mill Street Organic, Lake of Bays Brewing Old North Mocha Porter

Bad Apple Brewhouse (Berwick, NS) – Barrel-Aged Black and Tackle RIS, Double IPA

Barnone Brewing (Rose Valley, PEI) – IPA, Pale Ale, Summer Sessions

Big Spruce Brewing (Nyanza, NS) – Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout

Big Tide Brewing Company (Saint John, NB) – Simms Pale Ale, Whistlepig Stout

Boxing Rock Brewing (Shelburne, NS) – Temptation Red Ale, Hunky Dory Pale Ale, The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA

Bruce Ashley Group (Markham, ON) – Faxe Premium, Chechvar Bitburger, Tiger Beer, Belhaven Best, Greene King Abbot Ale, Wells Banana Bread Beer, Duchy Original Organic Ale, Bitburger Wernesgruner Pils, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Central City Red Racer IPA

Bushwakker Brewing Company (Regina, SK) – Missiletow Ale, Stubblejumper Pilsner, Palliser Porter

Churchill Cellars (Toronto, ON) – Bavaria 8.6 (Original), Bavaria 8.6 Red

Creemore Springs Brewery (Creemore, ON) – Creemore Springs Premium Lager, Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner, Mad & Noisy Hops & Bolts, Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale

Fuller’s Brewery (Chiswick, London, UK) – ESB, London Porter, London Pride, Organic Honey Dew

Garrison Brewing Co. (Halifax, NS) – Hop Yard, Nut Brown, Irish Red, Raspberry Wheat, Imperial IPA, Martello Stout, Glutenberg American Pale Ale, Glutenberg Blonde

Grimross Brewing Company (Fredericton, NB) – Cheval D’Or, Ben’s Bitter Pale Ale, Belgian Rye IPA

Innis and Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Lager, Original Oak Aged Beer, Toasted Oak IPA, Melville’s Ginger Beer

McAuslan Brewery (Montreal, QC) – St. Ambroise Pale Ale, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat

McClelland Premium Imports (Mississauga, ON) – Erdinger Weissbier, Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel, Affligem Blond, Fruli Strawberry, Stiegl Lager, Stiegl Radler, Mort Subite Kriek, Mongozo Premium Pilsner, Palm Speciale, Delirium Tremens

Molson Coors (Toronto, ON) – Rickard’s Red, Rickard’s White, Rickard’s Blonde, Rickard’s Dark

Moosehead (Saint John, NB) – Moosehead Boundary Ale, Moosehead Cask, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Latitude 48, Sam Adams Cold Snap, Hop City Barking Squirrel, Hop City Big Mouth Pale Ale, Magners Irish Cider, Magners Irish Pear Cider, Blackthorn Cider

Le Naufrageur (Carleton-sur-mer, QC) – Leonne, La Malauze, Colborne, Corte-Real, Saint-Barnabe, Swordfish, Carrick, Penelope, Ale Amerindienne, Ale Amerindienne Double Blanche (Tanaisie)

North Brewing Company (formerly Bridge Brewing, Halifax, NS) – Belgian IPA, Saison, Strong Dark Belgian

Northampton Brewing Company/Picaroons (Fredericton, NB) – Maple Cream Ale, A Parcel of Rogues, Ember Ale, Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, Best Bitter, Dark & Stormy Night, Man’s Best Friend

PEI Brewing Company (Charlottetown, PEI) – Sir John A’s Honey Wheat, Sydney Street Stout, 1772 IPA, Island Red, Iron Bridge Brown, Beach Chair Lager, Blueberry Ale, and a TBD cask

Pump House Brewery (Moncton, NB) – Fire Chief’s Red Ale, Scotch Ale, S.O.B., Cadian Cream Ale, Premium Lager

Red Rover Brewing (Fredericton, NB) – Spring Cider, Summer Cider, Fall Cider

Shiretown Beer (Rover Charlo, NB) – Blonde du Quai, Big Brown Ale, Siren’s T’Ale

Sleeman Breweries Ltd (Guelph, ON) – Sleeman Cream Ale, Sleeman Silver Creek Lager, Unibroue Maudite, Unibroue Ephemere Pomme, Okanagan Mild Winter Ale

Sunset Heights Meadery (Fredericton, NB) – Queen’s Nectar Sparkling Mead, Pollen Angels (four flavors: Blueberry-Apple, Raspberry-Kiwi, Iced Tea, and likely Cranberry-Maple)

Uncle Leo’s Brewery (Lyons Brook, NS) – Red, IPA, Smoked Porter

Windward Imports (Halifax, NS) – Grolsch Lager, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale, Shipyard Export Ale, Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA

For those of you lucky enough to have tickets, you’re in for a great time! We’ll be there representing the ACBB. Stay tuned over the next few weeks leading up to the festival – we’ll be holding a contest to win two VIP tickets. Look for that sometime during the first week of March.

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!).