All posts for the month September, 2014


The second annual Fredericton Poutine Festival will be held on Saturday, November 8th, 2014 at the Delta Fredericton Hotel. After selling out last year’s inaugural event, organizer Lloyd Chambers (also the brains behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival) decided to make this year’s festival even better, by increasing both the number of poutine establishments and beers available.

Like last year, there will be two sessions, one in the afternoon from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm, and a 19+ session in the evening from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (with a VIP starting time of 5:00 pm).

Tickets for the afternoon session are $25 per person, with children 12 years and under being admitted for free. This session will include unlimited samples of poutine, along with free soda, juice and water.

The evening session also includes unlimited poutine and soft drinks, but brings beer, cider and mead into the mix as well! For this session, there are four different ticket options:

“Regular, no beer” – $30, same as the afternoon session

“Regular” – $40 per, includes four 4 oz beer/cider/mead samples, plus a tasting glass

“Beer Experience” – $50 per, includes twelve 4 oz beer/cider/mead samples, plus a tasting glass

“VIP” – $60 per, includes eight 8 oz beer/cider/mead samples, early entry to the festival by one hour, and a special 8 oz tasting glass

This year, five different establishments will be serving up two different types of poutine each. Those participating include James Joyce Irish PubJohnny 5’s Burger and Fries, King Street Ale House, reLiSH Gourmet Burgers, and Smoke’s Poutinerie.

Now, on to the beer (and more)! The tentative list includes no less than ten breweries from New Bunswick, including Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, MooseheadBrasseurs du Petit-Sault, Pump HouseRailcar, Red Rover, Shiretown, and Sunset Heights Meadery. Quebec breweries Unibroue and Le Naufrageur will also be pouring, as well as European beer McClelland Premium Imports, so there will be plenty – over 15 products – available to sample! Note that additional beer tickets will not be sold at the event.

There will be ballots during the event for all ticket-holders to vote on a “Best of Show” for both poutine and beer, cider or mead.

All tickets will go on sale today at 2:00 p.m., and can be purchased online at that time. Like last year’s festival, there will only be a total of 450 tickets sold between the two sessions, so don’t wait to get yours! The Delta Fredericton is offering a reduced-rate for festival-goers; you can make a reservation for Saturday night here.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks, as we’ll try to keep you updated to the finalized list of beers that will be pouring at the festival, as well as a possible ticket giveaway! We hope to see you there!

Hello, beer fans! Another Friday = another helping of beer news from Atlantic Canada. Let’s get started with more hop harvest beers, picking up from last week…

• We have more details on the recently-brewed Harvest Ale from Hammond River Brewing. The beer was wet-hopped (i.e. the hops used are used just after harvesting, instead of being dried in an oast house, or “fresh”) with Cascade hops grown on owner/brewer Shane Steeves’ property. With a grist consisting of 2-row, Carapils, and Crystal 40 L malt, the beer is expected to come in at 6.8% ABV, with about 70 IBUs. Look for it on tap at bars/restaurants in the Saint John area sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.

• The brewers at Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have a new beer on the go; they’ve managed to get their hands on some fresh Cascade and Chinook hops from a local farm in the Grand Falls area (owned by Yan and France Desjardins), which they will incorporate into a “Harvest” Bob LeBoeuf. The beer will be hopped more-heavily than normal, with more hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness (30-40 IBUs vs. the usual 22 for the beer). This new beer should be available for growler fills at the brewery, and at local bars/restaurants, by around September 25th.

• Speaking of Petit-Sault, their two flagship beers (Tante Blanche and Bob LeBoeuf) continue to move across the province – they’re now available at ANBL stores in Dalhousie, Saint-Quentin, Campbellton, Moncton, Dieppe, and Kennebecasis Valley. Check the ANBL Product Page for a location near you! Petit-Sault has also announced that in addition to the 1.89 L Growlers available for fills at the brewery, they are now offering 950 mL “Grunters” for fill ($6.50 for a one-time purchase of the Grunter, plus $5.50 and $5.75 for fills of Bob and Tante, respectively).

Garrison Brewing has teamed up with Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing for a collaboration brew: Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale. Brewed with Munich, Wheat, Rye, and Pale Malt, this copper-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV, and 40 IBUs, thanks to CitraCascade, and Columbus hops. However, Beau’s brought a special ingredient to the collaboration: bog myrtle (Beau’s uses this in a couple of beers in their lineup). Thanks to this plant, which is a very common ingredient in the bittering of gruits, a more herbaceous and spiced character comes through. Catch this Sweet Rye’d at the brewery, private stores, and NSLC very soon.

• Garrison is also brewing up a couple more Harvest-themed beers in the next little while: their popular 3 Fields Harvest Wet-Hopped Ale will be brewed this weekend. Hop picking will take place Saturday, and the beer will be brewed Sunday. Hops will be coming in from Ross Farm Museum, Meander River Farm and Brewery, and Fiddle Hop Farms. If you would like to take part in the fun, volunteers are needed at Meander River in Ashdale to help with the hop picking, starting at 9am. Or, you can help de-bine the hops right at the brewery, from 2-5pm. Come on out for good times and refreshments!

• We don’t have many details on their other harvest beer, but we do know that it features some gourds from the Howard Dill Farm! Also, for our homebrewing readers, they have announced the style for the 2015 Home Brew-Off Challenge, 12B Robust Porter. With the competition judging not taking place until Spring, that gives you plenty of time to do some test batches.

• More Harvest beer news! Not to be outdone, Picaroons is once again releasing their Harvest Ale next Monday, September 15th. This year’s release will feature seven different beers, all hopped with a variety harvested from various local farms. There will be three different Cascade beers, one each of Centennial, Galena, and Goldings, and one “Kitchen Sink” beer that will have a little bit of everything! Check out the special Harvest Ale webpage, and click on the link matching the code on your bottle to find out more about where the hops for that were harvested. Look for it to pop up at bars/restaurants in the area, as well.

Shiretown is taking a slightly-different approach to Harvest beers – they’ve gathered hops from several local sources (including some grown on their own property) to brew up a series of “Harvest Fruit Beers”. Two of these beers will be Strawberry Delight, brewed with local strawberries and two different hop varieties grown on Nature’s Estate Farm, and Wild Blueberry Wheat, brewed with local wild blueberries and another undetermined hop variety. Look for these (and their other Harvest beers) to be released in the near future.

• Finally in Harvest beer news (for this week, at least!), Boxing Rock and North Brewing have brewed up their second annual Many Hands Pale Ale conspiracy. However, this beer is a twist on the traditional Pale Ale, with one hundred pounds of locally-grown buttercup squash added to the mash. Two-row and amber malts make up the grain bill, while the hops are a combination of over ten pounds of Chinook from Boxing Rock’s own fields (in the mash), with Cascade (first-wort), Mount Hood, and Centennial from LaHave Natural Farms. The beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, and will debut later this month.

Propeller Brewing is adding a new beer to their core line up, Organic Ale. This Blonde Ale weighs in at 4.5% and 20 IBUs and is brewed with Certified Organic Pale and Pilsner malt, and Certified Organic Centennial hops. The light-bodied and refreshing beer features a clean finish, and a hint of citrus hop character. The Organic certification comes by way of Atlantic Certified Organic, a nationally-recognized certification cooperative. The Organic Ale is available starting today at both the Halifax and Dartmouth brewery locations in bottles and growlers, and will be in six-packs at the NSLC shortly.

• After recent voting by the public on two different Coffee Stouts released by PEI Brewing Co., they’ve decided on a winner! Transmitter Stout is their Sydney Street Stout blended with 10% locally roasted and brewed coffee from Receiver Coffee Co. in Charlottetown. The 5.6% ABV beer made its debut at last weekend’s PEI Beer Fest, and is currently available on tap at the brewery, and in limited-release, wax-dipped 750 mL bottles at the brewery now, and shortly at the PEILCC. And bumping up their Sydney Street Stout even further, they have filled two Jack Daniels barrels with the beer, for a special release around Christmas.

• The 2nd annual Fredericton Poutine Festival is fast approaching! Held on Saturday, November 8th, it will once again take place at the Delta Fredericton. Featuring all-you-can-eat poutine from several restaurants, there will also be at least 15 different beers from local breweries, tentatively including Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, Petit-Sault, Pump House, Railcar, Red Rover, and Shiretown, as well as Unibroue, Le Naufrageur, and McClelland Premium Imports. Tickets will go on sale this Tuesday, September 16th at 2:00 pm; you’ll be able to purchase them online when the official website goes live that day. We’ll have a standalone post with more info on the festival that day; in the meantime, check out our write-up on last year’s festival here.

Red Rover has some big news for cider fans in Saint John this week – starting this Sunday, Sept. 14th, they will be present at the weekly (until mid-October) Queen Square Farmers Market for 1 L flagon exchanges. From 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, you will be able to exchange empty flagons for full ones ($12), or purchase prefilled flagons for $18.50; the first offerings will be Spring Brew and Summer Brew. And if you’d like to try some Red Rover cider on tap, they’re now available at the Saint John Ale House!

• There’s a new blended beer pouring at the Pump House brewpub in Moncton; Black & Blue is a combination of their Blueberry Ale and Muddy River Stout. It’s on for a limited time, and only at this location, so stop on by for a pint before it’s gone.

Big Spruce Brewing has released Tim’s Dirty IPA this week. Brewed with Chinook, Nugget and Simcoe hops, this beer weighs in at 84 IBU and 6.8% ABV, and we here reports that it’s even better than last time! It is available at the brewery for growler and Yapper fills, and will be on tap at your favourite establishments province-wide. This beer was first brewed in January, as the winner of Inaugural Home Brew Competition, to coincide with the Local Connections Craft Beer and Food Celebration. Good news, as both the Competition and Celebration are returning! The Celebration is taking place January 15th, 2015 and early-bird tickets are now on sale. The competition will be taking place at the beginning of December, and we will be sharing details on how to enter when available.

• If you live in Newfoundland and have been enjoying the recent YellowBelly cider, Yellow Mellow, on tap at the brewpub, good news! It is now available in bottles – 1 L fliptops – at the brewery only. Stop by and pick some up, so you can enjoy some cider goodness in the comfort of your own home.

Big Axe Brewery is now offering 950 mL Grunters (in addition to Growlers) for fills at the brewery in Nackawic. Prices are $5.50 for the purchase of an empty Grunter, and $7.50 for fills. Grab a Chanterelle Cream Ale, Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout or the Simon Saaz Summer Ale before it’s done for the season. Look out for their next seasonal, coming soon!

Meander River Farm and Brewery held their first Shareholder-only cask tapping at the brewery this week. Their Wheat Beer had been dry-hopped with Glacier hops, and the cask infused with peaches and ginger, and primed with local honey. For those who don’t want to miss out on the fun next time, be sure to check out their Community Supported Brewery Program. They are looking for volunteers to help with the hop harvest tomorrow, beginning at 9, so why not drop by for some fun. Refreshments will be provided!

• Celtic Oktoberfest is being held, Saturday, 25 October 2014 from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM, at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. Featuring beer from ten NS craft breweries, and food from some of the best Cape Breton and NS restaurants, this all-inclusive evening will be a great time. A Kitchen Party is nothing without music, so there will be several bands playing that evening as well. We cannot give away too many details just yet, but we are able to announce that a Pumpkin Launch competition will be held that weekend, and is open to groups wishing to take part. We’ll have more information on the Oktoberfest, and surrounding events, next week.

• And in a further update on the progress of the ANBL Growler Program, they now have a webpage where you can check to see what is currently pouring at the three pilot stores. Keep in mind that days and hours when you can get your growler filled are limited to Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and Saturdays from noon – 8:30 pm, though these may change due to customer demand.

East Coast Beer Tours

A new beer-centric business has launched this month: East Coast Beer Tours. It is an idea Scott Olszowiec conceived of after returning from a trip to a Hops Conference that took him through New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The journey included several craft beer explorations with friends in brewpubs, beer cafe’s and beverage warehouses along the way. He has decided to share his enthusiasm for crafted beer and launch what he affectionately calls “experient-ALE tourism”.  The idea is to visit breweries and brewpubs in our region, enjoying what is locally available in craft beer, local music, local food and leaving the driving to someone else! Scott wanted to design something that would be a lot of fun, cover a lot of ground and be affordable. “I really admire the artisanal and entrepreneurial spirit that the craft brewers put into their beer and businesses. East Coast Beer Tours is a way to support craft beer by bringing people to the source right in their backyard and introducing them to good people making good beer.”

The first tour is being held on Saturday, October 11th, Thanksgiving weekend, with a tour to Nova Scotia’s breadbasket, the Annapolis Valley. Departing from the Westin near the Halifax Waterfront, participants will be board a chartered tour bus, make a coffee or tea and will hit the road promptly at 10am (best to show up at 9:30 for introductions and signing in). The first stop is at Meander River Farm and Brewery in Ashdale, where owner and brewer Alan Bailey will take them on a tour of the brewery and guide a tasting of their beer. While onsite, a 10% discount for additional purchases is available. Once back on board, a light lunch of local Valley meat, cheese and bread will be served, to tide you over until your next stop in Wolfville. At Paddys Irish Pub, brewmaster John Fitzgerald will join the group and give a tour of their facilities, while serving up samples of their beer. Additional pints and growlers can be purchased during the hour-long stop. The next stop is the Michelin Sports and Social Club in Cambridge, for a visit with Bad Apple Brewhouse’s Jeff Saunders. Jeff will share Bad Apple’s beers and pair them with local food at the Club, and then the bus will head to Somerset to visit the Brewhouse, to pick up some more beer in bottles or growlers. At 4:30, the bus will head back to Halifax, full of satisfied travellers, and will return to the waterfront for 6pm, still plenty of time to enjoy some additional beers in the downtown core.

You will be riding in style in a modern tour bus complete with entertainment system, restroom and lots of storage space. On board, local musician Mike Aubé will keep travellers entertained with his music and stories. Unfortunately, due to NS laws, no beer can be consumed on the bus. But you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy beer during the stops, so don’t let that put you off!

The tour runs from 9:30-6, and tickets are $99+tax. Considering someone else has to worry about the driving while you listen to some live music and enjoy the complimentary offerings at each stop, that sounds like a great deal to us!

Look for more tours from East Coast Beer Tours in the near future. If you have suggestions for locations to visit, or to put together a private tour, be sure to visit their website, and hit them up on Twitter and Facebook.