All posts for the month September, 2014

Happy Friday, folks! We are now officially into fall, and as such, we have plenty more autumn and harvest-themed beer news this week.

Big Axe Brewery has released their Seasonal Harvest Ale, Rusty Axe Amber Ale. Continuing Big Axe’s theme of using local ingredients in every beer, the Amber Ale was brewed with brown sugar glazed carrots, roasted squash and their own homemade brittle right in the boil. With these unique ingredients, the flavour and aroma is reminiscent of fall, with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, built on top of a soft caramel base. It weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 28 IBUs, and is available at the brewery.

Picaroons Brewery has brewed up a new beer recently, Page Turner Session Ale. The Amber Session beer weighs in at 3.7% ABV, and the recipe features Gooseberries. It was brewed to celebrate the upcoming 60th Anniversary of Goose Lane Edition, a local publishing house. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to Laubach Literacy New Brunswick. They will be holding a launch event at the James Joyce Pub on October 3rd to celebrate its release.

• Picaroons has yet another new beer that they are just releasing today. The Tabulator is described by the brewery as “a conservative Extra Special Bitter, that has been dry-hopped quite liberally with an uncountable amount of green hops”. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and will be served almost-exclusively at the Brewtique for growler fills, with the possibility of being available on tap at a couple of bars/restaurants in Fredericton.

• Indian Beach Harvest Ale from Big Tide Brewpub is on tap now! This is one of their Fresh Hop beers, using hops they picked themselves (with help from friends and family) from local winery Dunhams Run, on the Kingston Peninsula. The malt base is 2 row and caramunich malts, and the hops used were Nugget and Cascade. This 4.8% ABV caramel-coloured beer has a fairly light body, with delicate fresh hopped flavors coming through nicely.

• We have some more details on the new beer, Sub_Stanchel Amber, brewed by BarNone a couple of weeks ago. This is a wet-hopped beer, with two varieties of fresh hops added to the boil: an unknown noble variety picked in Stanchel, PEI, and an equal amount of freshly-harvested Cascade from the BarNone farm. With more hops added as a dry-hop addition, this should be a fairly aromatic brew! It comes in at 5.5% ABV (exact calculated IBUs are unknown).  Look for it soon at bars/restaurants in Charlottetown, and at the weekly growler night (Thursdays) at the brewery.

• We mentioned the details behind the new collaboration beer between Garrison Brewing and Beau’s – Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale – a couple of weeks ago. Well, that beer – brewed with three different hops and the Bog Myrtle herb – has been released today at the Garrison Brewery. Clocking in at 6% ABV and 40 IBUs, the beer is copper-colored and “ripe with aromas of herb and black pepper, melon and citrus fruit” according to Garrison. It should follow for a limited time only at select NSLC stores, all four private liquor stores in Halifax, and at some of the bars/restaurants in the area.

• Garrison will be taking part in City Harvest v3 on October 4th, and will be turning it into a Harvest Launch, as they will be pouring the Sweet Rye’d, as well as their new Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and their 3 Fields Harvest. The Double Jack is on the darker side of the spectrum, and weighs in at 8% ABV, and we’ll have more details on both beers next week.

• Speaking of City Harvest, North Brewing will be getting in on the fun by offering discounts on growler fills and merchandise, Stubborn Goat will be selling Back Door Takeout Mac & Cheese and Cask Beer samples (no word yet on which beers), and Premier Wines will be doing beer tastings.

Piez Bistro in Dartmouth is hosting Sociable for Prostates tomorrow, Sept 27th. During the event, you can purchase a tasting paddle of three different local craft beer, along with three paired pizza or other bites, for $10, with $5 of that donated to Prostate Cancer Canada. They are highlighting local craft beer, and should have a few special beers available. Check out their flyer.

• One of the new beers pouring at the event will be from Schoolhouse Brewery, with a harvest beer, the first in their Hants County Hop Series. Brewed with Maritime Malt, and local hops, this series will highlight the diverse hop varieties available here. Unfortunately, hop and farmer details were not available before publishing time. We can tell you that they’ve been using a hopback at the brewery to get the most aromatics from the hops. This piece sits between the kettle and the wort chiller, and is filled with hops, so the hot wort will extract lots of aromatic compounds, but then be chilled, dissolving them into the liquid before they can volatilize. As the whole leaf hops used are not as concentrated as pellet hops, they may not have very high bitterness, but the beers will be quite aromatic. They also will look to launch growler sales at the Wolfville Farmers Market soon, stay tuned for details.

Uncorked Tours will be holding their last beer-tasting cruise for the year on Saturday, October 4th on the Saint John River, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Taking place once again on the Mississippi river boat Voyageur II, the cruise will be Oktoberfest-themed, featuring seasonal and Harvest ales from Picaroons, Big Tide, Hammond River Brewing, and Pump House (brewery list is subject to change), as well as Oktoberfest fare such as pretzels and sausages. Guests will be entitled to a 9-oz pour of each beer (after a short description), along with a refill of their favorite beer after all have been sampled. In between tastings, guests can socialize, enjoy the scenery, and sample the different foods available. Most breweries will have representatives present to answer questions about their beers. Tickets are $75 + HST, and can be purchased online.

• Tickets for the inaugural trip of New Brunswick Beer Tours are now available! We initially reported on the tour last week and it looks like the schedule has been finalized. The all-day bus tour, River Valley Beer Tour, will be held Saturday, November 1st, and will include stops at Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, Railcar, and Big Axe (subject to change), as well as in-trip sampling of ciders from Red Rover; the tour will wrap up at 6:30 pm with more beer sampling at the King Street Ale House. Ticket prices have been confirmed at $75 + fee, and are available online. Fredericton Tourism is currently holding an online contest for two tickets; if you’re over nineteen, make sure you enter to win!

• A final reminder that the next Burgers n’ Beer event in Fredericton will be held soon, and your chance to buy tickets is almost gone! Originally scheduled for September 30th, the event has been bumped a week to Tuesday, October 7th. Pairing six different sliders with six different beers/ciders, it’s held at reLiSH’s uptown location. Tickets are almost sold-out; they’re $45 each and can be purchased online. For more info on the event, check out last month’s post.

• Since publishing our story on the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards this week, another event related to the weekend has been announced: a Local Cheese & Beer Pairing Seminar run by Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato, and Mark DeWolf of By The Glass Tours. Being held Oct 4th from 2-3pm at Westin Halifax, attendees will have the chance to sample pairings of five beers with five cheeses, all from our region. Tickets are $15+fee, and are available online.

• In other ACBA news, keep an eye on Stillwell’s Twitter and Facebook pages today as they open the People’s Choice voting. This is your chance to vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian Beer (from those submitted to the ACBA).

• Big news from our friends in Newfoundland! The Beerthief Special Order Beer Club are having a custom batch of beer brewed for them by Garrison Brewing. The beer will not be released until January 2015, but it will be available uniquely to the Beerthief members through their normal ordering process. In celebration of this upcoming brew, they are holding a naming and label contest, open to all members, until October 10th. Details, and a template for the label, are available here. This is just another in a series of great offerings and events that the Beerthief Mike Buhler and Tom Beckett are bringing to Newfoundland and Labrador. At almost 3000 members, the club is going (and growing) strong! Check out the latest newsletter for more exciting news. Joining the Beerthief Club is free to anyone over 19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and will allow access to beers not otherwise available in the province.

Another busy week! Be sure to drink local this weekend. Grab a pint of the newly-released Tatamagouche Lagerhosen at Lion & Bright and Stubborn Goat in Halifax, and some of the many other craft beers available in your area!


The beer landscape in our region has grown extensively over the past few years, with breweries and brewpubs opening in all four Atlantic provinces. From nano brewers in the owners’ basement or garage, to larger craft breweries undergoing massive expansion, many different paths to great breweries are found in Atlantic Canada. To highlight and celebrate the high quality, diverse flavours and styles of beer from our region, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are being held October 4th and 5th in Halifax.

The brainchild of the Atlantic Chapter of Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS-AC), this BJCP-sanctioned event will see the best beers in our region rewarded for quality, consistency and experimentation. Beers will be judged in 15 main categories, ranging from light lagers to imperial stouts, with many sub-categories encompassing all styles in between. More important than being overly critical of beer flaws, or strictly defining which narrow style a beer must a part of, the judges at the Awards are featuring the diversity and quality of beers brewed in Atlantic Canada. Our region already has several Awards for homebrewers (including the Garrison Brewing Home Brew-Off and Big Spruce Brewing Home Brew Competition), however no local competitions open to commercial brewers. The Canadian Brewing Awards saw over 1000 beers entered in 2014, and highlighted that it was time to hold a competition locally.

In addition to the 15 style category winners, outstanding brews can be nominated by judges to take home Beer of the Year honours. Breweries and Brewpubs with several excellent beers are also in the running Brewery of the Year and Brewpub of the Year, based on the performance of four previously-nominated beers.

The judging will be undertaken Saturday afternoon by BJCP-certified judges and industry members from across the region, as well as special guest Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato. For more information on Amato and the Cicerone® program, please see our previous post. While in town, Amato will also be holding a Beerology seminar Sunday for CAPS-AC members and industry guests.

The Awards weekend isn’t fun for only the judges, however! Once the list of submitted beer is available, Bar Stillwell will be holding a People’s Choice Award poll, where the public can choose their favourite beers from those entered. It will be tallied online, and at the bar, so stay tuned for those details Friday.

What are Beer Awards, without a fun evening of celebrating and enjoying the winning beers? Sunday, October 5th, will see Amato hosting a Gala Dinner at the Stubborn Goat preceded by the awards reception held from 6-7pm. The event is open to participating breweries, as well as those members of the public who will be staying for the Beer Dinner held immediately following, also hosted by Amato, with local beers paired with some great local food from Stubborn Goat’s kitchen. The beer and food menu has been released, and we are looking forward to seeing several exciting beers on the menu that evening: Bad Apple Brewhouse Cucumber Mint paired with a Noggins Farm salad (root vegetables, feta, and gremolata), North Brewing North End Winter Saison Ale paired with scallops and apple butter, Big Spruce Bitter Get’er India Black IPA paired with duck breast and duck confit on spelt risotto, and Garrison Brewing Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale paired with a dessert of Ginger Spice Cake. Tickets for the dinner are $80 (including HST and gratuity), and can be reserved via email.

If you are not able to attend the beer dinner, but would still like to meet and chat with Mirella Amato, the Ladies Beer League is hosting a Book Launch for her book at Lion & Bright Monday, October 6th, from 6-8pm. Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer…Even More, is a multi-faceted approach to beer appreciation, from ideas on improving your tasting techniques, food and beer pairing ideas, and how to hold your own beer-tasting parties. Grab the book, and a pint, and talk beer with Mirella and local beer fans.

For breweries looking to take part, registration for the Awards is open now, and closes this Friday, Sept 26. Beer must be received between Sept 25 and Oct 2. For the latest news and results, stay tuned to the ACBA Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are sponsored by The Stubborn Goat, Bar Stillwell, The Pub MagazineChronicle Herald and Jym Line Glassware. Presented in partnership with Tracy Phillippi (Craft Beer Experiences), Mark DeWolf (By The Glass Tours), The BrewnosersAtlantic Canada Beer Blog.

Happy Friday beer fans! Another busy week in our region, just when we thought things were winding down for the summer!

Tatamagouche Brewing Co has brewed up an Oktoberfest beer for the 35th Annual North Shore Bavarian Society Oktoberfest, being held next Friday and Saturday, Sept 26&27, in Tatamagouche. Dubbed Lagerhosen, this amber lager weighs in at 5% ABV, and uses Hallertau Mittelfruh hops to keep that traditional Noble hop character. The best way to enjoy this brew is during one of the three sessions in the beer tent with one thousand of your closest friends. If you can’t attend (or want more after the weekend), it will be available Wednesday in bottles and growlers at the brewery and on tap shortly. Prosit! Also keep your eyes open for a beer brewed using their home-grown hops. Unlike some breweries in our region, they have dried theirs, thus extending their lifetime. It will be hitting the taps in the fall, and we’ll be sure to share the details when available.

Gahan House Halifax is releasing a pair of new beers this weekend. Today, their Belgian Pale Ale hits the taps. From head brewer Karen Allen, “It is very light and very easy drinking, with subtle Belgian yeast characters of clove, spice and fruity esters, with just a little Mt. Hood dry-hop for added character. 4.8% ABV and 35 IBUs”. Tomorrow is the launch of a very special beer, Maple Whiskey Porter. This beer is a scaled-up version of the beer Allen brewed at Niagara College, and brought to her interview at PEI Brewing Company (there’s a note to all you want-to-be brewers!). The base of the beer is a medium-bodied porter, with NS Maple Syrup and Wiser’s Whiskey added during conditioning. This beer will come in at 5.7% ABV and 50 IBUs. Next up is another batch of the Hippy Cousin IPA (brewed once again with the NZ hop Waimea), and shortly thereafter, a batch of Peach Wit, made with two bushels of Annapolis Valley peaches.

• In other Gahan news, this Tuesday will be the first “Brewster on the Bar”, with Allen tapping a special cask every Tuesday at 6pm. This week’s cask will be Coffee Porter, starting from the same base beer as the Maple Whiskey Porter, but with more coffee aroma and taste. This makes three days/spots in Halifax with weekly Cask Nights: Tuesdays at Gahan House, Wednesdays at Rockbottom Brewpub (tapped at 4pm), and Friday at The Stubborn Goat (4pm). And these spots join Henry House and Bar Stillwell where one can enjoy cask beers all week long.

• Coinciding with Gahan’s Cask tapping is their Brewing Industry Night, where every Tuesday from 5-9pm, folks in the local brewery/brewpub community can enjoy staff-priced pints. Show them your paystub, business card, tattoo, “bottle line hands”, etc to take advantage of this offer. And if you don’t have a job in the brewing community, but want one, Gahan is hiring! They are looking for a General Manager for the bar, hopefully someone with a couple years experience. If you’re the right candidate, send off an email with your resume.

• Also note that the pumpkin beer brewed last month by the PEI Brewing Co. is now available; you can find it at liquor stores across PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia under the name Gahan Pumpkin Ale. For more info on this beer, check out our previous post.

• And in other pumpkin beer news, Propeller‘s Pumpkin Ale is currently on tap at the Prop Shop, and also hits stores today in 6-packs. Go get some!

• Things are staying busy over at Hammond River, as more new beers continue to be brewed. First up is a Pumpkin Ale, La Maitresse, brewed with fresh pumpkin and lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice; it clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 23 IBUs. Look for it on tap in the area in about 2 weeks. And this weekend, owner/brewer Shane Steeves will be brewing an “Imperial Vanilla Porter”, a strong beer targeted at 8.1% ABV and 35 IBUs. Shane also plans on adding Maker’s Mark Bourbon to several kegs of this beer, for a Bourbon version that will be available exclusively at the Saint John Ale House. Stay tuned for updates to its availability.

• In other Hammond River news, after demand from beer-drinkers in the province, they’re going to be participating in the ANBL Growler Program. Their California Common, Gammie, will be available for growler fills at the Kennebecasis Valley ANBL, starting on October 2nd, with other Hammond River beers likely following thereafter.

• To celebrate the recent annual release of their Harvest Ale, Picaroons is holding a Harvest Ale Launch Party later today at the Train Station on York. From 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, there will be several batches of Harvest Ale available for sampling (there were a total of 7 different batches brewed), wood-fired pizza from Milda’s, and some live bluegrass music, courtesy of local musician Alan Jeffries. No charge to attend, just show up and enjoy some beer and atmosphere! For more info on this year’s Harvest Ale, check out last week’s post.

Shiretown has once again rebrewed their Black Currant Wheat, a fuchsia-colored wheat ale brewed with Brewers Gold hops and local black currants. Coming in at a lower ABV this time (4%) and about 20 IBUs, the beer is available now for growler fills at the brewery, and should be on tap this weekend at Isaac’s Way in Fredericton.

• Along with lots of Harvest ales being released lately, keep your eyes open for Oktoberfest beers… one that has recently found shelves again is Pump House Oktoberfest. Coming in at 5.5% ABV and about 12 IBUs, this malty Lager-style beer can be found at ANBL stores across New Brunswick, at the brewery in Moncton, and on tap at select locations.

• We only told you about it last week, but the epic collaboration between Boxing Rock and North Brewing will be hitting the taps tomorrow! Many Hands Pale Ale will be available at both breweries in Shelburne and Halifax, their Market stalls at SeaportAlderney Landing and Shelburne, and on tap around the province. Featuring over one hundred pounds of buttercup squash, and bags and bags of wet hops throughout the brew, this is a special brew! It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and approximately 37 IBUs (wet hops haven’t had their AA measured, so brewers have to use their best guess).

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released their latest much-anticipated seasonal, New Scotland Heather Ale. This hybrid brew features fresh and wet Cascade, Fuggles and Hallertau hops from brewmaster Randy Lawrence’s farm, and 6 kg of locally-grown heather in the boil. It weighs in at 5% ABV, and approximately 20 IBUs. Find it on tap across the Valley, including at the Port Pub, Spitfire Arms, and Luckett Vineyards, and in Halifax at Bar Stillwell, Obladee Wine Bar, Agricola Street Brasserie, and Auction House. Cans are available at the brewery and the Halifax private stores.

• If you’re living in New Brunswick and feeling a bit jealous of the recent launch of East Coast Beer Tours in Nova Scotia, cheer up, and get ready for the River Valley Beer Tour! Organized by the people behind the King Street Ale House, Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and Eat New Brunswick, the inaugural bus tour is scheduled to be held on Saturday, November 1st. The all-day tour will include visits to several breweries in the region; the tentative list includes Railcar, Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, and Picaroons, with sampling of beer at the breweries… and even on the bus! A boxed lunch from the KSAH will also be included. Details are still being ironed out, but expect tickets to go on sale this Monday, with 40 spots available (check for the link that day through the KSAH, FCBF and ENB links above). Organizers are hoping for the tour to happen several times a year, with different breweries being included. We’ll keep you updated on the tour as the date approaches!

• Speaking of Railcar Brewing, they have just received their Brewer’s License from the province yesterday, completing another hurdle towards opening in the coming weeks. And how did brewer Mitch Biggar celebrate? By brewing, of course! He will be brewing up a Harvest Ale and Pumpkin Ale, and working on his Shogomoc Stout, featuring potatoes (Railcar is in Florenceville-Bristol, after all!). Look for those beers and more in October.

• And in other New Brunswick beer-fun news, yet another event is being planned for Fredericton in the future – NB HopSpiel will be feature outdoor curling and a beer garden, and will be held in February of 2015 as part of FROSTival (Atlantic Canada’s largest winter celebration). More details will be available next month; in the meantime, you can reserve your spot now via the link above. Sounds like another great time from the people behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival!

Red Rover has a new cider in the works, a “Weiss Cider” designed to create a craft cider with a profile similar to a German Weiss beer/Belgian Wit, according to co-owner/brewer Adam Clawson. A 7% ABV, semi-dry cider was aged and blended with fresh cilantro (picked from Wellwood Farm in Saint John) and orange zest… sounds tasty! Look for it to be available by mid-October.

• Our friends at Bar Stillwell have been busy, cooking up some exciting events for us all to take in. Firstly, in conjunction with the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards taking place Oct 4-5 in Halifax, they will be holding a People’s Choice vote. The public will have a chance to choose their favourite brew from those registered in the Awards.
In early October, Stillwell will be introducing Brasserie Dunham from Dunham, Quebec (about an hour outside Montreal). Their innovative brews have won awards across the country, and this will be the first time they are available on tap in the Atlantic Provinces.
On October 18th, they will be hosting a New Brunswick Nano Brewery Tap Takeover. Featuring at least six small breweries that have opened in the last few years, the taps and casks will be full of New Brunswick goodness. Acadie-Broue, Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, Petit-Sault, Railcar, and Red Rover are all taking part. Ticket details will be available soon.
On the weekend of October 24th, the entire Stillwell crew will be heading to Toronto to Cask Days. They’ll be bringing with them more than a dozen casks from our favourite Atlantic Canadian breweries, and will be showing folks in the Big Smoke the high quality brews we are making in our region. We’ll be sharing those beer details closer to the event.
November 16th marks the One-Year Anniversary of Bar Stillwell, and they will be pulling out all of the stops to celebrate (and we’re all invited!). They’ve got several special kegs they’ve saved specifically for this event, will be holding a special beer release (yup!), and special by-the-glass beers they’ll be cracking open. As if we needed another reason to visit, amiright?

• If you are looking for more beers and suggestions on what to do this weekend, the Halifax Oktoberfest is taking place Saturday at the Halifax Seaport, in front of Garrison Brewing. Organized by Garrison and the German Canadian Association of Nova Scotia (GCA), the event starts at 9am with the opening of the “Kinderfest” open to kids of all ages to enjoy fun, games, music, and great food. The beer tent opens at 11am, with the ceremonial tapping of Garrison’s casks of Unfiltered Wheat Ale happening at noon. At 7pm, the tent transforms in to a 19+ establishment, with more music and food and fun until midnight. All proceeds from the entry to the festival and tents go to the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre and the GCA.

• And after all that, there’s still several new beers coming from Atlantic Canadian breweries, and more events! We weren’t able to find out details for today’s post, but look for more soon on a new wet-hopped Amber ale – Sub_Stanchel Amber – from BarNone Brewing, a Harvest Ale from Big Axe, a pumpkin beer from Big Spruce, and Port Hawkesbury’s Celtic Oktoberfest. Stay tuned next week for more details!