All posts for the month April, 2014

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another dose of Atlantic Canadian beer news to finish off the last Friday of the month…

Bad Apple Brewhouse has released a new beer, Smokehouse Lager, a Rauchbier brewed with 100% beechwood-smoked malt. This copper-colored beer comes in at 6.7% ABV with about 27 IBUs, and is described as “smoky, slightly spicy, and malty” by BAB owner/brewer Jeff Saunders. The beer is available in growlers and squealers at the brewery, and might be on tap at your local soon.

• Staying in the Annapolis Valley, Sea Level has released their latest beer, Southern Cross IPA. Inspired by the New Zealand hop, and the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, the beer weighs in at 6.5% and 78.8 IBUs (calc). The Southern Cross hops lend a resiny spiciness and citrus and pine aromas. Available on tap now at The Port Pub, in growlers and cans at the brewery, and this weekend in cans at the private beer stores in Halifax.

• Finally in Valley news this week, both Meander River Farm and Brewery and Schoolhouse Brewery are in the final stretches before opening their doors very soon. At Meander River, they have brewed their inaugural batch of Lunchbox Pale Ale on their 3 barrel system, and are looking forward to opening in the next few weeks. At Schoolhouse, they were going through their inspection for Excise License this week, and are also looking forward to opening in the next little while. Look for profiles from both of these great breweries very soon.

• In the big city, Propeller Brewing has released their latest seasonal beer, Black IPA. Weighing in at 6.7%ABV and 83 IBUs, this unfiltered beer features a healthy amount of bittering, flavour and aroma hops, and is then dry-hopped for an even more explosive nose. The most prominent hop used in the beer is Ahtanum, which gives a great citrusy nose, with a bit of earthy note as well, which fits well with the style. To give the beer its distinctive black colour, Blackprinz and CARAFA malts were used. These choices were very specific, as both are very dark in Lovibond, so that a small percentage in the recipe goes a long way in the colour, but do not transfer any astringency or husky bitterness to the flavour. Pick up 1.89l and 1l growlers of this latest release at both the Gottingen St and Windmill Rd Propeller locations, and look for it on tap around the city (including Henry House, where it was tapped last night).

Big Tide Brewing continues to remain busy in Saint John, as they’ve added two new one-off brews to their tap selection at the brewpub. A single batch was brewed with a base of Canadian Wheat malt, a selection of special Crystal malts, and UK hops, and was then fermented with a dry ale yeast. After fermentation was complete, the beer was split into two vessels. One of these, Ale Mary, was filtered, while the other, Sunset Raspberry Wheat, was not. We think it’s safe to assume that the unfiltered beer also has had some raspberries or raspberry extract added at some point of the brewing process! Both beers are meant to bridge the gap for Big Tide’s return to brewing summer beers; they clock in at 4.5% ABV.

• New Brunswick’s newest brewery, Big Axe, may have just opened last week, but they’ve already added a seasonal beer to their line-up, which is available for growler fills at the brewery now. The beer is named Maple Wheat Amber Ale; specific details on the beer are unknown at the moment, but we’ll be sure to update when we know more.

• We mentioned recently that Ducky’s Bar in Sackville was expanding their tap selection, and would be featuring local breweries. Well, they’ve released their opening tap selection, and it’s looking great! As previously mentioned, two taps will be dedicated to Celtic Knot, starting with their Not Joe Average Pale Ale and Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout. Also pouring will be Hammond River‘s award-winning Hop Flash IPA, PEI Brewing Co. Cole’s Cream Ale and Beach Chair Lager, and Garrison Raspberry Wheat and Nut Brown, with Picaroons Dooryard joining them soon. Kegs will rotate as they empty, so look for more offerings from these breweries, as well as others in our region!

• Tickets are now on sale for the Atlantic Beer Festival, in Moncton, Saturday May 31st. There are two sessions, 2:30-5pm, and 7:30-10pm. Free buses are available to the downtown area after each session of the festival. Tickets are available online, at the Pump House brewpub and Barnyard BBQ, and are priced at $49 (taxes and fees included). We hope to have a full brewery/beer list for you soon.

The Overcast is an arts and culture newspaper based out of Newfoundland. They have an excellent interview with Liam McKenna, brewmaster at Yellowbelly Brewpub in St. John’s. For those of you who do not know Liam’s brewing history (including a time in Dublin), it is a great insight into what makes Liam tick. We hope to share a profile on Liam and the Yellowbelly soon, as we caught up with him on a visit to Newfoundland earlier in the year.

• Don’t forget to pick up bottles of Alewife’s Revenge, the collaboration between Boxing Rock Brewing and the Ladies Beer League. It is now on sale at the private beer stores in Halifax and Dartmouth, on tap around the province (including Antigonish Townhouse), and a special cask of it starting at 4pm for Cask Friday at the Stubborn Goat.

• Speaking of the Ladies Beer League, they’re teaming up with Noble Grape to present an Intro to Beer & Brewing session on Sunday, May 25th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This is an introductory course meant to cover the basics of home brewing for beginners and enhance the knowledge of intermediate home brewers, while allowing those interested a chance to also connect with Halifax’s home brewing community. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here; the course will be held at the Noble Grape location on 95 Akerley Blvd in Darmouth. Another session is currently scheduled for Saturday, June 14th.

Stillwell Beer Bar is following up on their first Bellwoods beer releases earlier this month with another deadly trio this weekend. They will be pouring Brettal Head All Brett Pale AleLost River Baltic Porter, and Hellwoods Russian Imperial Stout, beginning at noon Sunday. Be sure to drop by for great beer, food, and company. We might just see you there!

That’s it for now… have a great weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! We hope you’re reading this while sipping a nice coffee stout or citrusy IPA to start your long weekend off right.

Lion & Bright is hosting a Spruce up the Planet! Earth Day Celebration this Tuesday, April 22nd, in support of the Ecology Action Centre. It will feature a tap takeover by Big Spruce Brewing, featuring Bitter Get’er India Black IPA,  The Whole 9 Yards, Cereal Killer, Kitchen Party, Regatta Red, You Spin Me White Round White IPA will all be on tap, and a cask of Cereal Killer Sideways, infused with Glenmorangie, will also be pouring. Jeremy and the rest of Big Spruce Nation will be in attendance, so drop by and say hello. There are no tickets required for the event, but show up promptly at 6pm to get a packet of seeds to help green up Halifax and to enjoy the music and food. $1/per pint of beer sold goes to the EAC.

• In more Big Spruce news, they kicked off the Roving Canadian Craft Beer Bag this week. Born out of receiving the bag with their Organic Conspiracy from Brian and Rebecca at Crannóg Ales, they want to keep the Canadian Beer Love going! The first recipient will be Aaron Spinney at Sawdust City, with a growler of their collaboration You Spin Me White Round White IPA and The Whole 9 Yards. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this fantastic new tradition as it criss-crosses the country by bus.

• Finally in Big Spruce news, they recently received the second part of their expanded brewhouse, two 10 barrel unitanks, allowing them to ferment, condition and carbonate all in one vessel, allowing for an efficient way to make use of their space. As an aside, they are brewing up another batch of their White IPA today, so all of us fans will have another chances to get our hands on it. For folks lucky enough to be in the area to purchase growlers, they are very short on The Whole 9 Yards First Anniversary Scotch Ale, so be sure to drop by now to avoid disappointment. Like many breweries and the private beer stores, they are open today and Sunday, even if the provincial stores are not.

• Tuesday’s Burgers n’ Beer in Fredericton was a great success; the sold-out event was a dual effort from the Fredericton Beer Festival and reLiSH Gourmet Burgers, and featured six specialty sliders paired with six different craft beers, including first-timers to Fredericton Celtic Knot Dubh Loki Black IPA and Hammond River Brewing Red Coat India Red Ale. Along with ciders from Red Rover, and more beer from Grimross, Shiretown and Central City (Red Racer IPA), the quality of all was top-notch! The next event takes place in Moncton at reLiSH on Tuesday, April 29th from 8 pm – 10 pm. The tentative brewery list includes the brand new Big Axe, Celtic Knot, Grimross, Hammond River, Red Rover, and Shiretown. Tickets ($45, taxes and fees included) can be purchased here.

• Last Saturday featured the judging of the five finalists for the 1st Annual Gahan Home Brewer’s Challenge, which took place at the Gahan House in Charlottetown. The winning beer came from the brewing team of Ryan Palmer and Lee Nicholson with their PEI Cranberry Wit, a sessionable ale at 4.3% ABV brewed with coriander and orange peel, with cranberries added during secondary fermentation. Ryan and Lee will get to brew a full-sized batch of their beer on the Gahan system with brewmaster Trent Hayes, to be served on tap at the Gahan House in a couple of weeks. Congratulations, Ryan and Lee!

Rogues Roost Brewpub now has their Oatmeal Stout on tap, for the first time in six years. It joins the Brown Ale, IPA, Red Ale, Blueberry Wheat, and Cream Ale on tap (and most are also available in growlers). Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the up-to-date growler list, as well as their continuing Brewmasters events.

• We forgot to mention this last week, but better late than never, especially when it involves great beer! At this year’s Saint John Beer Fest (held on Saturday, April 5th), the crowd selected the Best of Show beer for the event… the winner was Hammond River Brewing Hop Flash IPA! Owner/brewer Shane Steeves was surprised, yet extremely grateful, at being singled out among other great beers. Congratulations, Shane!

• We mentioned in a previous Friday post that Picaroons was holding a Prohibition Repeal Party at the Capital Complex in Fredericton tomorrow, featuring a tap-takeover of their 12 draught lines. They’ve released which beers will be present – many of their regular releases will be there, along with their Yippee IPA dry-hopped with Cascade, Amarillo and Willamette, and their Best Bitter infused with Fuggle hops (thanks to the use of Randall the Enamel Animal). Check out our previous post and the event page for more info!

• Continuing with Picaroons reminders, if you still plan on sending in a picture of your kitty for their Melonhead Cat Contest, deadline for the hi-res pictures to be emailed is next Thursday, April 24th. More details in our earlier post here.

• The next Rockbottom Beer Dinner is scheduled for April 29th at 6pm. Featuring three courses paired with three beers, it’s a great opportunity to chat with Brewmaster Greg Nash about beer, food, and life in general. This month’s dinner will be Sweet Potato Gnocchi paired with their Bigwater Brown, Stout Braised Lamb Shank (Jacktar Stout), and Unbaked Peanut Butter Cheesecake (Fathom IPA). Call the pub for tickets, but act quickly, as its already half sold-out. While there, you can try their Thulsa Doom DIPA, and their Galaxy India Pale Lager SMaSH should be on tap by then as well.

• A friendly reminder that the Beerthief Private Beer Order for Wold Top and Orkney is closing this Sunday, be sure to email in your requests before then to take part. Mike Buhler will also be leading a Beer and Tulip River Cruise in March of 2015, visiting Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and more. Check out this flyer for more details.

• Finally, in case you missed yesterday’s post on the recently-opened Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic… well, they’re now open! You can stop by the brewery/B&B on 519 Otis Dr. for growler fills of their first two beers, Chantarelle Cream Ale and Double Bit IPA, Mondays to Saturdays from 12 pm – 8 pm. You should also see their beers popping up in bars/restaurants in the area, including the King Street Ale House in Fredericton, in the near future. We’ll keep you updated on their development!

• Tickets are now on sale for the Inaugural Pictou County Pizza Competition, Saturday, April 26th, Glasgow Square, New Glasgow. Along with the chance to try six different Pictou County-style pizzas (from Cafe Italia, Crown Pizza Pictou, East Side Pizza, Sam’s Pizza (Stellarton), Sam’s Pizza (Trenton), Ted’s Pizza), attendees will receive two glasses of Uncle Leo’s beer. Tickets are available at various outlets in New Glasgow and Pictou. Also, look for Uncle Leo’s at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market Friday (today included) and Sunday. They will have their IPA and Smoked Porter available in growlers.


Get ready for more beer, New Brunswick! Big Axe Brewery has just become the latest new brewery in the province. Located at 519 Otis Dr., in Nackawic, the brewery will be located with the recently-opened Bed & Breakfast of the same name, owned by Peter Cole and his wife, Tatiana. I recently exchanged emails with Peter to find out some more information and what he has planned for the brewery in the near future…

ACBB: Tell me a little bit about the build-up of the brewery.

Peter Cole: My wife and I moved to Nackawic about 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the area – a place to relax after a long work week! Nackawic is New Brunswick’s best kept secret, we think, providing many nature trails, as well as the beautiful Saint John River. Tatiana would cook special meals in the evening, and I would cook breakfast. We always wondered why no one started a business on the river for the locals, as well as the many tourists that visit.

We finally decided that we would give it a try, and started extensive renovations on this beautiful, large home in January of 2013, converting it into a 3-bedroom B&B on the second floor. Renovations for the B&B were complete in September and we opened for business! The brewery was a longer process – started by having this location approved for commercial zoning, various permits for the extensive renovations, many inspections, more permits and licences, etc. Tuesday, April 15th, our first two beers were approved by the ANBL, so we’re now officially open for business! My friends Simon and Michelle Popowich have joined our brew team and are investors in the Big Axe Brewery… their support will help us be successful.

What type of system are brewing on?

After a lot of research, I decided on a 1BBL (31 U.S. gallons, or 116 L) system from Stout Tanks and Kettles.

You spent some time earlier in the year brewing with some other breweries in the province… can you tell me a little about that?

We were first invited to Shiretown in Charlo where brewer Derek Leslie let us brew with him, so we could learn more about the commercial brewing process. Hands-on experience is the best you can get! We later brewed with Stephen Dixon of Grimross Brewing; great to see how brewing is done on different equipment by different brewers. Very educational, to say the least. Most recently, we were invited to brew with Shane Steeves of Hammond River Brewing. Shane has the same brewing equipment as we do, so it was amazing to see our equipment at work!

What are your plans for distribution? Any plans for growlers, bottling, etc.?

We will be selling to licensed establishments and serving our guests. We are selling our own growlers onsite, as well as filling them once they are empty!

Do you have any beer bars/restaurants in the area lined up to serve your beers?

We hope to be on tap soon at the King Street Ale House in Fredericton. I have had verbal confirmations from a few other establishments that are interested and eager to sell our beer. We will keep everyone posted when the time draws near.

Can you tell me about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or styles, of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?

We now have two beers listed: Chantarelle Cream Ale and Double Bit IPA. We will be releasing our Maple Ale soon as part of our “Seasonal Selection”.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?

The support we’ve received from local breweries has been overwhelming. But we would like to highlight the support from Picaroons, Grimross, Shiretown and Hammond River Brewing!

What will make your brewery different from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?

Besides our “kick-axe” name, we hope our beer will be distinct from the local ingredients we add that grow naturally in NB! We also pride ourselves on having a beautiful location on the Saint John River. We are accessible by boat, ATV, snowmobile and we are only 3 minutes from the TransCanada Highway!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?

I would like to see Big Axe Brewery expand to the point of distribution, hiring of employees and a local craft beer pub/bistro.

Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?

A favourite beer? I am a craft beer enthusiast. I enjoy trying different beer from different breweries. The type of beer really depends on the mood, atmosphere and even the weather! But if I had to pick one… I would pick an IPA.

From whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?

I learned from a combination of people over the years, starting with my grandfather, but learned the most from the brewers mentioned earlier who we can now call friends. Sean Dunbar from Picaroons has also been very helpful and supportive.

Is there something specific that got you into the world of craft beer?

My wife and I have travelled extensively throughout Europe, Central America and the UK. We prefer going to local establishments so we can get the true sense of the atmosphere and culture. We make a point in trying a local brew from each place we visit. I have always dreamed of having my own business… and what better business to have than a brewery!

We’re happy to welcome Big Axe into the Atlantic Canada brewery fold! We’ll be updating regularly as they continue to increase production and availability; also, follow their Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, be sure to drop by the brewery for growler fills, which are currently available Mondays-Saturdays, 12 pm – 8 pm.