All posts for the month August, 2014

In an announcement just made this afternoon, ANBL has removed the new regulation requiring craft breweries to sell at least 100 hL (10,000 L) of beer through ANBL stores before being allowed to sell beer at the brewery for off-site consumption (e.g. growler fills). That regulation, just announced last month (our reports here and here), would have been a major hurdle for many of the small breweries that have opened or would be opening in the province.

ANBL CEO Brian Harriman had the following to say: “I am pleased that the board of directors has approved these changes and I look forward to working with all brewers in New Brunswick to promote the craft beer industry. This regulation was put into place to ensure product quality, however, after discovering it may be a barrier to new breweries, it was removed.”

In order to meet these quality demands, all new brewers will be required to send a product sample to an independent food inspection lab and undergo Smart Serve training; both of these requirements will be paid for by the ANBL.

This is fantastic news for NB craft brewers; we’re ecstatic to see that ANBL board members have listened to the demands of both brewers and the public. If it wasn’t for fans of small and local businesses voicing their concerns, the regulation may never have been re-evaluated so quickly. We look forward to the continued growth of craft beer in New Brunswick, and the rest of Atlantic Canada!

Good morning beer fans! Thirsty yet? If not, here’s some Atlantic Canadian beer news to get your beer-appetite going…

Propeller Brewing ‏has released their latest One Hit Wonder beer, Summer Blonde Lagered Ale. Their latest growler-only beer is a light bodied beer, thanks to the Wheat, Pale, and Pilsner malts, and weighs in at 4.8%. Hopped with Centennial to 22 IBUs, the beer is well balanced, and very drinkable. Part of the smooth character of the beer is thanks to the particular conditioning process the beer went through: after its one-week primary fermentation, the ale was lagered for three weeks. It is available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth locations, but if it’s anything like previous One Hit Wonders, not for much longer! And there are just a handful of tickets left for tonight’s Prop’r Cask Night featuring a sausage feast from Agricola St Brasserie’s Chef Ludo Eveno. Your ticket gets you in the door for the food and beer, including a special cask prepared for the evening. Also part of Sausage Fest is Tuesday’s Brews & Brats Tap Takeover at Lion & Bright, featuring nothing but One Hit Wonders and other special one-off beer.

• Following their recent announcement concerning their expansion into Halifax at the old Hart & Thistle location on the waterfront, the Gahan House has announced that they’ve chosen their brewmaster for this location. Karen Allen has been brewing at the PEI Brewing Co. in Charlottetown for the past two and a half years, and was part of the first graduating class from the Niagara College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. Karen has confirmed that the Halifax brewhouse will be used solely to brew specialty and seasonal batches, including trial batches for possible future releases from the PEIBC. The grand-opening will take place on September 4th, and will feature Business Lunch IPA, a sessionable, hoppy beer that the PEIBC has brewed in the past, this time dry-hopped heavily with a New Zealand hop variety, and a currently-unnamed high-ABV Belgian beer that “hopefully will be dry, funky, and have an earthy European hop aroma”, according to Allen. With a total of 17 taps on hand, there will be plenty of room to serve all PEIBC/Gahan brands, as well as additional offerings from other Atlantic Canadian breweries, Allen has confirmed. We’ll have more on the grand opening in the near future!

Bad Apple Brewhouse has released their Barrel-aged Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout this week. This beer started out life as the 9% ABV Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout, and then spent a few months in whisky barrels from Glenora Distillery (producers of Glen Breton), picking up lots of vanilla and oak character, and increasing the alcohol to 11.5%. This release marks the first time Bad Apple beers are available in bottles in the four private beer stores in HRM: Bishop’s Cellar, Cristall Wine Merchants, Harvest Wines and Spirits, and Premier Wines & Spirits. Also look for Bad Apple American Pale Ale on tap at The Union Street Cafe/Wick Pub in Berwick, The Kings Arms in Kentville, and Roy’s Lounge at the Westin Halifax. Those that make the trip to Somerset will be rewarded with growler fills of both of these beers, plus the next exciting beer on its way through the brewery.

• Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 PEI Beer Festival, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5th and 6th at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown. Friday will have an evening session from 6:30 – 9:30 pm, while Saturday will have both an afternoon and evening session, from 2:00 – 4:30 pm and 6:30 – 9:30 pm, respectively. With live entertainment, games, and a “Cask Contest”, it should be a great time! Tickets ($40+tax and fee for the evening sessions, $30+tax and fee for the afternoon session) can be purchased online, or in person at the brewery. There are also hotel/ticket packages available through the Delta; designated driver tickets will also be released in the near future. We plan on posting more details on the festival next week in a standalone post.

Hammond River Brewing has re-released their Back in Black Oatmeal Stout. One of the original beers from their launch, this is an Oatmeal Stout with Star Anise added for a subtle licorice flavour, the beer weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 30 IBUs (all from East Kent Goldings). Currently on tap at Bourbon Quarter in Saint John, and the Barrel’s Head in Rothesay. Also keep an eye out for the last round of kegs (for this summer) of Blueberry Ale to hit the taps in the Saint John region (currently at Bourbon Quarter, other spots shortly). This light bodied beer is 5.4% ABV and 14 IBUs, and features loads of real blueberries for lots of flavour and aroma. And in a couple of weeks, locals can look forward to Hammond River’s last summer seasonal, a Watermelon Wheat. We’ll have more details on the beer when it becomes available.

• The PEI Brewing Co. has a new beer on tap only at the brewery – Blood Orange Tangerine IPA has the pure juice of blood oranges and tangerines mixed into their 1772 IPA, resulting in a beer that “brings out a nice juice flavour that slightly masks the bitterness and alcohol of the IPA, making it a bit more refreshing and drinkable”, according to brewmaster Chris Long. It comes in at about 6.2% ABV and 50 IBUs. Their popular Sydney Street Stout (5.3% ABVwas also brewed last week, and therefore should be making its appearance throughout PEI and NB early next month; we’ll keep you updated on future news involving this beer, including special blends planned by the brewery.

• In other PEIBC news, keep your eyes open for a mixed, canned seasonal pack being released in the near future. This 4-pack will include two PEIBC standbys – Sir John A’s Honey Wheat and Blueberry Ale, both in cans for the first time – and two new beers. Black Banks Cascadian Dark is a blend if their 1772 IPA and Sydney Street Stout, and is named after an area in Western PEI where the cliffs appear black due to layers of peat moss. The other beer is Harvest Time Lager, another hoppy, sessionable Lager featuring a New Zealand hop variety for the aroma (their first attempt was Landing Day Lager, earlier in the summer). Expected release for this mixed pack is around September 5th in PEI only, as part of the province’s culinary festival, Fall Flavours. Canned singles will start to show up in the retail fridge at the PEIBC a week or two later.

Brasseurs du Petit-Sault is releasing their collaboration with Patrice Godin of Acadie-BroueL’effrayab’ Tintamarre today at noon. Brewed to celebrate National Acadian Day, this Saison features a spicy and citrus aroma, fruit and a slight tart flavour, and a dry finish (more recipe details in our previous post). It will only be available on tap at the BrewtiqueResto-Bar Le Deck, and Station 127. Look for their Tante Blanche Wheat Beer and Bob LeBoeuf Blonde Ale on tap, and in bottles at the ANBL as well.

• Next month, Burgers n’ Beer – an event organized between the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and reLiSH Gourmet Burgers – is returning to Fredericton! Similar to the first events held in April, it will involve six pairings of different sliders and beers/ciders. For this event, the 8 oz samples will include offerings from Red Rover Brewing, Brasseurs du Petit Sault, and Quebec’s Le Naufrageur, with there likely being two beers/ciders from each. It will be held at reLiSH’s uptown location on Tuesday, Sept. 30th from 8 pm – 10:30 pm; tickets are $45 and can be purchased online. The event sold out last April, and tickets are already 40% gone, so don’t wait to buy yours!

• Following up last summer’s beer tasting cruise, Uncorked Tours has scheduled a New Brews Cruise for Saturday, August 23rd. Like last year, the cruise will take place on the Voyageur II, an authentic Mississippi river boat, and will feature a 3-hour cruise on the Saint John River… with beer and cider! Ticket holders will be entitled to six different beers/ciders, as well as lots of appetizers – NB cheese, charcuterie, condiments, bread, fruit, vegetables, crackers, pretzels, etc. The beer/cider being poured will mostly be from NB breweries that have opened over the last year-and-a-half – Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, and Red Rover – along with Big Tide. Brewers from at least some of the breweries will be present to talk about their products. The ship also has a bar on board for wine, spirits, and commercial beer bottles if guests are interested in additional purchases throughout the cruise. The ship departs from the Saint John Marina at 6:00 pm; tickets are $75 (+HST) and can be purchased online. They also have an Oktoberfest Cruise planned for October 4th; we’ll post more details on this one soon!

• Looking to test your art skills… in the world of beer? Well, soon-to-open Railcar Brewing is holding a contest to design a label for one of their inaugural beers, Railcar Red. Full details are available via a PDF file on the page-link above, but involve submitting original artwork and personal details in-person at the brewery, or via email. The contest is being held until August 30th; the winner will receive bragging rights and a $250 prepaid debit card.

• Speaking of Railcar, they’ve teamed up with The Castle Inn in Perth-Andover to put on an “Oktobeerfest” in the fall. Details are still being finalized, but there will be several NB breweries attending, including Picaroons, Pump House, Shiretown, and of course, Railcar. The event is planned for Saturday, October 18th; you can purchase a general admission ticket (which includes a commemorative glass and 15 beer tickets) for $40, or a VIP ticket for $145, which also includes overnight accommodation at the Inn for you and one guest. Additional beer tickets will be available for $1 each. Get your tickets online; we’ll post more as details become available!

• After having released their new IPA in 6-packs this summer, Pump House is retiring an old favorite from bottle release – S.O.B. will now only be available on tap at the brewpub and through various bars and restaurants in the Maritimes; it may return in bottles as a seasonal release within the next couple of years. Look for the IPA to debut on NSLC shelves next week. They’ve also recently announced that they have their Hefeweizen seasonal on tap again at the brewpub; great style to finish off the warm days of summer, so get down for a pint!

A few final beer notes to end off today: Rogues Roost Brew Pub has their Kolsch summer seasonal on tap (and available in growlers), the Antigonish Townhouse will be tapping another pin of Terry’s Best Bitter today at 5pm, and Big Spruce is brewing up another batch of Tim’s Dirty American IPA, winner of last year’s Home Brew Challenge, look for it in September.

Happy Friday everyone! Let’s kick your weekend off right with lots of new beers, and some special announcements!

• Announced last Friday, just after the Wrap-Up went out, Gahan House in Charlottetown is expanding to the Halifax Waterfront. They are moving into the former site of the Hart & Thistle, and aim to be open at the end of September. They were holding an open call for Hosts, Servers, Bartenders, Line Cooks and Management today from 10-12, and we expect there to be more shortly. PEI Beer Guy has a summary of his thoughts on the matter, and we hope to have some more information on the brewing side of things soon. CBC News has also picked up the story.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza has had a busy week! They have finished off their outdoor tasting room, which is now open to enjoy a few samples of their wares onsite. They have also released Pump Le Mousse, a grapefruit wheat. It weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 23 IBUs, fermented quite dry. The zest of 40 organic grapefruit was used in the last 5 minutes of the boil for a real citrus punch. Look for it in growlers and samples at the brewery, and on tap at your favourite joint soon (confirmed accounts tap are Stillwell, Stubborn Goat, Governor’s and Lion & Bright). And, as we mentioned yesterday in the Seaport Beerfest post, their Tip of the Spear Black Spruce IPA will be making its Halifax debut at the Fest, and also on tap at the brewery and better beer bars very soon.

• In more Big Spruce news, they brewed up an International Coffee Conspiracy this week with help from Bryan Druhan of Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC) and Cafe Milagro (Costa Rica). The as-of-now unnamed beer will weigh in at 6.4% ABV and about 70 IBUs, with loads of late addition Simcoe and Chinook. They used whole bean coffee in muslin bags for last 5 mins of boil, and will add a second infusion of coffee as a cold extraction in the tank post fermentation, in addition to dry-hopping it heavily. The beer will be out at the end of August, and will be on at the brewery and Stillwell.

Picaroons has released a pair of new beers this week. Firstly, a brand new beer to celebrate Fredericton Pride week is being released today. Pride Sally Pride is a 4.5% ABV pale ale brewed with Amarillo hops and natural apricot flavouring, for a great fruit nose and flavour. Look for it at the brewery, and on tap at select bars and restaurants in downtown Fredericton. And be sure to check out the flag raising today at noon at City Hall, and the parade Sunday afternoon through the downtown core.

• Picaroons has also brought back their 506 Logger this week. This Kolsch-style beer is crisp, light and refreshing, and weighs in at 4.5% ABV. Look for it at the Brewtique and on tap around the city.

• Meander River Farm and Brewery has released their second offering, Honey Brown. This 5.2% ABV beer was brewed with toasted malts and local Cosman & Whidden honey. It features notes of coffee, toffee and a smooth honey finish. Stop by the farm today 4-7pm or Saturday and Sunday 11-5 for a taste and growler fill while it lasts!

Grimross Brewing has released a very special beer this week, Chantelope. This beer was fermented solely using Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast, possibly the first commercial 100% Brett beer in Atlantic Canada. This yeast is found naturally occurring in the Senne valley near Brussels, and is a key player in the musty or horse-blanket aromas that are found in Lambic beers. The 6.7% ABV beer started out from a similar grain bill as their Cheval D’Or (with pilsner, rye and wheat malts), and lightly hopped to 20 IBU with Amarillo, Tettnang and Saaz. From brewer Stephen Dixon, “We let the temperature go as high as it wanted to see what compounds our Brett would produce. It has a little less pineapple than expected, but with slightly more phenols, the taste is quite pleasant. It has a slightly musty and rustic nose, not quite barnyard, but close… think flowers, wheat and straw, with a horse over in the corner;-) We’ll call her Gertrude. The taste reminds me of some of our Belgian Farmhouse ales, but with a very slight tart lemon in the background. The hops are subdued and play a supporting role to the yeast and grain. Overall, this beer is not an extreme beer with a good balance with the ABV well hidden. I can imagine having this beer on the deck with pasta and pesto with Manchego cheese.” Sounds great to us! Grab a bottle or two at the Picaroons Brewtique at 422 Queen Street, and look for it on tap at better establishments downtown.

• In more exciting traditional Belgian beer news, Propeller Brewing is starting to release their Lambic-style beers. Brewed over three years ago, Propeller Framboise is an ode to the raspberry lambics made very popular by Cantillon and other breweries in the Senne valley. Keeping in that tradition, the grist used unmalted wheat, and only aged hops were added to the boil (used for their preservation characteristics, rather than bitterness or aroma). The beer was fermented using Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus & Pediococcus, and aged in Blomidon Estate oak barrels for a couple of years, with whole raspberries added. After a year in bottles to further condition and generate high carbonation, the beer is 4.2% ABV, and now ready to be released. Expect a tart, musty and fruit-filled effervescent  beer, it is very special indeed! On August 23rd, Stillwell will be the scene for the launch of this very special beer, years in the making. The beer will be available by the glass or bottle, and they are commissioning a special glass to honour the event. No tickets are necessary to attend, simply show up any time after noon to have a try of the beer. And beginning on Monday the 25th, an extremely limited number of bottles will be available at both Propeller brewery locations to enjoy and age in your own cellar.

Red Rover Cider will now be attending Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market on Saturdays! Starting tomorrow, August 9, they will be set up at the market to allow for flagon purchase and exchange, 7am – 1pm. Unfortunately, due to liquor laws, no tasting is allowed at the market. With the increased exposure at the market, they have changed the hours for their storefront at Red’s Ciderhouse, and it will be open Thursday 4-8pm and Friday 2-8pm.

• Brewmaster Greg Nash is holding his annual Nashfest at the Rockbottom Brewpub this weekend. It marks the return of Thulsa Doom Double IPA, back bigger and stronger than ever! This hop bomb weighs in at 8.8 % ABV (up from 7.8% in version 1.0), and features 6.8 pounds of hops per barrel of Columbus, Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, and Summit. It is being tapped today at 5pm. Joining the Thulsa Doom are some returning champions Balticus Smoked Baltic PorterInsidious India Black AleWreckoning RIS (2014 Gold for Imperial Stout in Canada), and Barrel-Aged Wreckoning RIS. The fun kicks off at 5pm this evening, with the special beers rotating in the lineup as the Nashty One sees fit (check their twitter feed for tapping details). They join the Bloodletter Belgian IPAFathom IPAJacktar StoutDeadwood Wheat and Big Water Brown.

• The King Street Ale House is hosting a beer and cheese tasting this Saturday, 3-5pm. Tickets are just $25 (inc tax and gratuity), you will have a chance to try a handful of great beer and fantastic cheeses. The full list of both was not available, so best to show up and prepare to be wowed by the pairings, tastes and aromas.

• There’s lots going on at Garrison Brewing in Halifax these days. With their expansion, they are still looking to hire several people in the brewery (brewer, bottle line people and packaging supervisor), so be sure to give them a shout if you’re interested. They are also releasing their Honey Lavender beer this week. This unfiltered beer weighs in at 6% ABV and 15 IBU, and is brewed with lavender from Meander River Farms. You can have a first taste of it at the Beerfest this weekend, or else find it in bottles and on tap at the brewery shortly.

Yellowbelly Brewery in St John’s has released their first Cider. It is on tap now at the brewery, and will soon be in bottles. It is a lightly-filtered, off-dry, backsweetened to 3% with unfermented cider, it weighs in at 5.5%ABV. There is no added sugar. It is fermented with a champagne yeast and has a lovely tart base, and is Yellowbelly’s first gluten free product.

• The Second-Annual Fredericton Beer Run went off without a hitch on Monday. Global News was there, and you can enjoy some of the fun through their report.

• Unfortunately, Railcar Brewing will not be open this weekend, as originally planned. In all of the dust-up with the new ANBL regulations, they are still awaiting final approval. However, you can still visit their storefront to join their mug club, merchandise and (empty) growlers. Brewer Mitch Biggar will be leading several events as part of the Festival of Flavour in Florenceville-Bristol next week, so be sure and drop by and say hello.

• Speaking of Railcar and the ANBL, CBC Maritime Noon held a call-in show this week, with special guest Craig Pinhey, regarding supporting local microbreweries. Skip to 9:40 for the pertinent section.

Whether you’re drinking a beer at a festival, local pub or restaurant, or on your deck this weekend, enjoy!