All posts for the month March, 2014

Happy Friday, and end of March! Don’t worry, the snow has to start melting sometime soon… right? Regardless, here’s what’s new for craft beer in our region this week:

• Despite just wrapping up the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival earlier this month, organizer Lloyd Chambers is bringing another beer idea of his to fruition… Burgers n’ Beer! Partnering with reLiSH Gourmet Burgers, there will be three small events throughout New Brunswick. The first will be held on Tuesday, April 15th in Fredericton from 8-10 pm (at the new uptown location), and will include six reLiSH sliders paired with six 8 oz pours of craft beer and cider. The tentative brewery list includes Grimross Brewing, Red Rover, B.C.’s Central City Brewing (with their Red Racer IPA representing), and Celtic Knot and Hammond River Brewing, both in Fredericton for the first time for this event! A custom 8 oz tasting glass is also included, and Adam Clawson of Red Rover will be doing a small presentation on all three of his ciders pouring at the event. Tickets are $45, taxes and fees included, and can be purchased online here. Future events are also planned for reLiSH locations in Moncton (April 29th) and Saint John (tentatively May 9th).

• Garrison Brewing has just released last year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off winner. Saint Peter’s Belgian-Style Strong Ale, a Belgian Blond Ale, was brewed with the winner of 2013’s competition, homebrewer Peter Welton. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs, the beer is described as having a “hazy but vibrant orange color and a fluffy white head”, and exhibits a “smooth, spicy, and fresh aroma with notes of vanilla and banana, with the juicy flavor matching the aroma and finishing with a lingering warmth”. Look for the beer in bottles at the Garrison retail store, and at private liquor stores and NSLC stores throughout the province.

• Returning this week from Propeller Brewing is their popular Double IPA. A “heavily dry-hopped” Imperial IPA, it packs a punch at 8.2% ABV, with 85 IBUs. The brewery describes the beer as having “a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavors, balanced by sweet malt flavors”. You can find the beer in bottles and growlers at the Halifax and Dartmouth Prop Shop locations, and in bottles only at NSLC and private liquor stores in the province.

• Hot off the recent release of their El Rojo Diable Double IPA (which is just about gone, by the way), Sea Level Brewing is releasing another new beer. New World Alt is a Düsseldorf Altbier brewed from a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence from a brewer friend of his in Düsseldorf, Germany. Described as a “clean, medium-bodied ale” with a background hop presence provided by the Hersbrucker hop, the beer is lagered for three weeks at zero degrees before packaging; it comes in at a very drinkable 4.8% ABV. New World Alt should be available at the brewery sometime next week, and will follow shortly afterwards at their regular outlets.

The Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax recently provided details on their next beer dinner on their Brewer’s Blog. Starting at 6 pm on Monday, March 31st, the three-course meal looks spectacular as usual, and features beers from brewer Greg Nash that includes Balticus, Fathom IPA, and Wreckoning RIS. Tickets are $35 and can be reserved by calling the brewpub.

• Meanwhile at Rockbottom, Nash has released some early details on two new beers that he’s brewed recently. The first is a Double IPA that is fermented with “Conan”, a well-known yeast strain in the brewing world as it is the one used by The Alchemist brewery in Vermont in their world-famous Heady Topper DIPA. The original yeast was cultured from a can of Heady Topper by one of the members of the Brewnosers, and Nash continued to grow this yeast until he had enough for a full-sized batch. Dry-hopped multiple times, the beer’s ABV will come in around 8% with 130 IBUs (calculated). The other beer is a SMaSH (single malt and single hop) India Pale Lager. Brewed with Pale Ale malt and Galaxy hops, the beer is fermented on lager yeast at cool temps, and then lagered and dry-hopped with more Galaxy. Look for this one to finish somewhere between 6.5-7% ABV, and with 80 IBUs. Both beers should be available at the brewpub sometime in the near future!

• Details are still very slim, but we can report that Bad Apple Brewhouse has brewed a new DIPA. Supposedly bigger and hoppier than the crowd-pleasing Conception DIPA that was pouring at the FCBF this month, this should be one heck of a beer! Stay tuned for more details as the beer approaches completion/packaging.

The PEI Brewing Co. has started a new “Cask Program” run by brewer Karen Allen. We’ll have some more details in the near future, but for now they’re sending three pin casks to Halifax early next week to be tapped at Stillwell sometime soon. The first cask, Cherry Blaster, is the same sour, barrelled Saison that’s been served before, but instead of dry-hopping this one, they’ve added a tart cherry concentrate. The second cask is Business Lunch IPA, a “sessionable pale ale” dry-hopped with Mosaic and Cascade. Finally, Spray Tan Imperial IPA is a DIPA that has been double dry-hopped; first with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, and then with Centennial in the cask. Keep up-to-date with Stillwell’s tap list on their Twitter feed.

• And a reminder that the 2014 Saint John Beer Fest is fast approaching! This year’s event is once again being held at the Market Square Atrium in downtown Saint John, on Saturday, April 5th. It was just reported this morning that all tickets are now sold out (including regular admission and VIP). The brewery/beer list has recently been posted on their Facebook page linked above. We hope to have a more detailed post on the festival sometime next week!

Happy Friday, one and all. We hope you’ve recovered from Monday’s festivities, wherever/however you may have celebrated!

Paddys Irish Brewpub has tapped their latest seasonal release, “Solo Citra”. This Pale Ale beer weighs in a 5.3% ABV and 50 IBUs, with a colour reminiscent of Tangerines and a light body at 1.005 FG. Thanks to the generous dosing of Citra hops, the beer features plenty of citrus flavour and aroma, as well as a significant bitterness, thanks to the light body. It is available now at both the Kentville and Wolfville locations on tap and in growlers.

BarNone Brewing recently announced that they’re brewing a new beer to help celebrate this year’s 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, and tying it in with a special event at Baba’s Lounge. From April 1st-7th, Baba’s is holding a 150-hour long music jam in honor of the sesquicentennial; when Don Campbell (brewer/co-owner at BarNone) asked what type of beer they wanted him to brew for the event, they decided on a Red Ale. Don soon came up with “RedEye”, a hoppy Amber brewed with 150 kg of malt and 150 oz of hops, with a 150 minute boil time. Coming in at – you guessed it – 150 IBUs and a color of 15 SRM, it will be served exclusively at Baba’s for the music jam. After that, it may pop up on tap at other restaurants/bars in the area, and will likely be available for Thursday growler fills at the brewery.

• Shane Steeves of Hammond River Brewing has confirmed that he is planning on brewing a new beer in the near future. While details on the recipe are still slim, we can confirm that it will be an Imperial IPA weighing in at about 8.6% ABV and 100 IBUs. The beer will be brewed soon, after Steeves returns from a much-deserved vacation; we’ll keep you updated as to when and where the beer will be released.

• In other Hammond River news, they’ve recently rebrewed their Hop Flash IPA; this time it’s been dry-hopped with two different hop varieties than previous batches. It should be on tap in the Saint John area in a few days… if you can guess the two hop varieties used, post it on their Facebook page to win a Hammond River ball cap!

• Expansion continues over at PEI Brewing Co., as they recently confirmed that they will soon be shipping their beer to Ontario! The first shipment will consist of their Fathers 2014 Commemorative 4-packs, which include renamed and relabelled bottles of their Blueberry Ale, Coles Cream Ale, Iron Bridge Brown, and Sir John A’s Honey Wheat. More on this Anniversary release in our previous post here.

• The Duo Wine Bar at The Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton is having their second beer dinner next Wednesday, March 26th. Hosted by chef Michael Savoie, there will be five courses, all paired with a different craft beer; some of the beers include a Picaroons cask ale, a “surprise IPA”, and some highly-rated Belgian beers. Accompanied by such courses as lobster crostini and a marinated salmon with hop salad, the event is almost sold out. Tickets are $115 (inc. tax and gratuity); if you’d like to reserve, email Duo.

• As promised a couple of weeks ago, Hell Bay’s R.I.P.(A.) version 2.0 is now available. Featuring the same base recipe, but triple the hops (but still a smooth, non-overwhelming bitterness), it is available at the brewery in growlers, and will be on tap in Halifax very shortly.

• And finally this week, Garrison Brewing is releasing their latest seasonal, the Baltic Porter, today. This dark and rich beer weighs in at 9% ABV and 30 IBUs, featuring lots of roast character. Bottles are available at the brewery, and shortly at the private stores. Also look for it on tap at better beer establishments in our region. The winner of the 2013 Home Brew-off, Saint Peter’s Belgian-Style Strong Ale is being released Monday (not today, as we originally posted), look for it at the brewery and private stores, as well as on tap at a few bars in the city.

Good morning, beer lovers! We hope everyone had a great week… how about some local beer news to lead you into the weekend, and a St. Patrick’s Day Monday?

The YellowBelly Brewery and Public House has re-released their Paddy’s Pale Ale. This 6.2% ABV beer is actually a Rye IPA; brewed with rye malt, Carastan, Munich, and a large percentage of Canadian Pale Ale malt, it is hopped with Galena and Cluster varieties – including two dry-hop additions – to about 60 IBUs. Described by Brewmaster Liam McKenna as having a very fruity aroma, slight peppery rye character in the taste, and a bitter finish, it’s on tap now; bottle availability is still up in the air.

Picaroons is planning a tap takeover at Plan b Lounge in Moncton on Friday evening, March 28th. All of the taps will feature Picaroons beers, one of which should include a special dry-hopped version of their Yippee IPA. Gravity Strike will also provide live music. Just a reminder, too, that the sold-out Picaroons tap takeover at Stillwell is tomorrow, March 15th; more info on that event in our previous post.

• While on the topic of Picaroons, they’re holding a special event at the Saint John Ale House on Saturday, March 22nd. “Maple Mania” starts at 6:30 pm, and features a multiple-course, maple-infused dinner from chef Jesse Vergen (who also took part in Top Chef Canada). There will also be live traditional fiddle music, followed by other entertainment. Of course, there will also be Picaroons Maple Cream Ale pouring… on cask! Tickets are $60 (price includes at least one beer) and can be purchased at the Saint John Ale House; there are a limited number available, and the event is close to sold out.

• For those of you living in PEI, there’s some good – albeit, odd – news if you’re looking for bottled beer after the PEILCC has closed their doors for the evening. CBC News reports that restaurants on the Island are now allowed to sell takeaway PEI-brewed beer (after they’ve applied for the appropriate licence, of course), up to 12 bottles per person (or two bottles of wine or spirits). The catch? Well, you have to actually “purchase and consume a full-course meal” before you can take away the beer. Whether this means you have to clean your plate, we’re not sure! And we won’t even get into the whole “Is soup a meal?” argument. Hours of sale are restricted from 9 am to midnight.

The Coast is currently conducting their annual Best of Halifax awards, where readers get to vote for their favorite eating and drinking establishments in Halifax, and more. Make sure you check out the online survey, and vote for your favorite beer-related categories, such as Best Brew Pub, Best Craft Brewery, Best Beer Selection, etc.

• Speaking of The Coast, they’ve just released their annual Beer Guide Edition, highlighting the important place beer plays in the city’s identity. Look for great articles about learning to drink and enjoy beer (hint, try many styles and brewers before deciding you don’t like a certain type of beer), Stillwell Beer Bar, the continued rise of women in the beer industry, a breastfeeding mother’s search for new beers, and much more.

The Pump House Brewery is getting ready to release their seasonal Maple Ale again. Brewer Scott MacLeod says that this year’s batch is very smooth, and a bit less sweet than last year’s; it has an ABV of 5%. All of the maple syrup used in the brew was locally-sourced, from Maritime maple sugar camps. It will be available on tap at the brew pub location, and will be available in bottles across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, within the next two weeks.

• Nyanza Cape Breton’s Big Spruce has brewed up a Scotch Ale to celebrate their first anniversary. Brewmaster Jeremy White has designed it to be a true Scotch Ale, hopped to about 26 IBU with Goldings, with lots of Roast Barley goodness on the palate. From Jeremy, “We intend to cask as much of it as possible, and age/fortify it with Glenora single malt. All Cape Breton, all local.” Once we have details on the beer’s release, we’ll be sure to pass it along.

• Yesterday, Propeller Brewing Company released their newest seasonal beer, Irish Red Ale. Weighing in at 5% ABV, and hopped with Willamette, the beer is meant as  “a tribute to the classic red ales of Ireland”, according to new Brewmaster Josh Adler. It is available now in 650mL bottles and growlers at both Propeller locations, and as well as the private stores. It will also be on tap around Nova Scotia.

• A reminder that the Ladies Beer League will be brewing with Emily Tipton at Boxing Rock tomorrow, taking part in the International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. They’ll be brewing up the “Alewife’s Revenge”, their take on the Unite Pale Ale, featuring local cranberries. The fruits of their labours will be available beginning April 17th in growlers and bottles at the brewery and markets, and in bottles at the private stores, along with a few kegs around the province. The charities benefitting from a portion of the sales will be the Pink Boots Society and Shelburne County Women’s FishNet. The FishNet is a non-profit support network for Shelburne County women, seniors and youth. Its mission is to support women and their families in reaching their full potential as community citizens.

• Last, and certainly not least, the gala for the Garrison Brewing Home Brew-Off was held last night at the brewery. There was a great turn-out for the event, that saw 76 different Weizen’s vie for the title of best in show. This year’s winner was Jason McDougall of Halifax, congratulations! This homebrewer has been brewing for more than ten years, but this was the first time brewing a Weizen (and also the first time entering a contest!). Chris had a chance to try the winning beer, and it was certainly worthy! All of the four finalists’ beers were great, and Kirsten & Keely, Roger, and Ed were very deserving of their Final Four placement. One noted absence was the winning beer from 2013’s Home Brew-Off. Unfortunately, while winning brewer Peter Welton was in attendance, his Saint Peter’s Belgian-Style Strong Ale was not quite ready for primetime. As Brian and Daniel said at the festivities, you cannot rush a beer, so they decided to let the fermentation and conditioning finish in due time. Look for this 7.5% ABV Blonde to hit stores and bars late next week. Brian also spilled the beans that they will be doing their first brews at their new location across the street next week. This 30hL brewhouse will effectively triple their production, and allow for continued expansion across the country. We’ll have more details soon.

• A late addition to the blog: The winners of the “Best of the Fest” for the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have been announced. Several hundred ballots were cast electronically after the fest, and the favourite Breweries of the Fest were Le Naufrageur (Carleton-sur-mer, Quebec), Boxing Rock Brewing (Shelburne, NS), and Bad Apple Brewhouse (Somerset, NS). Congratulations to the winners, and all breweries in attendance!

Have a great weekend, and a great St. Paddy’s Day! Remember, say “no” to died-green beer, and celebrate the holiday by drinking some good, local craft beer!