Good morning! Thankfully, February is just about over, which means winter has to be ending soon… right? Let’s celebrate with some regional beer news…
• Big Spruce had a special visitor at the brewery earlier this week: Don Campbell, brewer/co-owner of PEI’s BarNone Brewing; luckily for us, the purpose of the visit was to brew! The two brewers conspired – not collaborated – together to develop a currently-unnamed Imperial IPA expected to come in at around 8% ABV and 97 calculated IBUs. Bittered with Magnum, flavored with Bravo, and lots of aroma/flavor additions of both Citra and Cascade, expect plenty of hoppy goodness! When it’s ready, it will be available on tap at the Big Spruce brewery, and at select establishments in Nova Scotia; BarNone may brew it at their brewery for release in PEI. Stay tuned for more info in the near future!
• A couple of days ago, Picaroons released their first of a new series of beers that are “brewed by, brewed for, and named after” their staff. All 30 Picaroons staff members (ranging from brewers to delivery drivers) will have a chance to develop and brew a recipe of their own, with some help from head brewer Myles MacKenzie and owner Sean Dunbar. They’re even being encouraged to incorporate different yeasts other than their house strain, Ringwood. While there’s no exact schedule to each brew, every batch will be brewed on the smaller system located at the Brewtique in downtown Fredericton. The first beer, Griff, was brewed by longtime Picaroons brewer Ryan “Griff” Griffith. An English Pale Ale, it was “moderately hopped” with Willamette and some Fuggles to 20 IBUs, giving the beer a “nice and pleasant earthy tone”. An easy-drinking beer at 4.8% ABV, it became available in limited supply at the Brewtique for growler fills on Tuesday, Feb. 24th; a single keg was also tapped at the Lunar Rogue last night for a Picaroons staff party celebrating the new beer series. We’ll keep you updated on the staff brew series as more beers are developed and released!
• And speaking of Picaroons, their seasonal Maple Cream Ale will be available again this coming Monday, March 2nd. This year, however, the ~5% ABV beer – brewed with real maple syrup from Briggs Maples in Riverview – will be available on tap only, no bottles. Look for it at the Brewtique for growler fills, on tap at select bars and restaurants, and likely at ANBL growler stations in the near future.
• Bad Apple Brewhouse is bringing back one of their most most popular and often-requested beers, Mosaic Double IPA. Winner of the 2014 Atlantic Canada Brewing Award in the Double IPA category, it will see its 2015 launch at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival next week. The beer weighs in at 8% ABV, features a medium body, and of course, showcases the lovely Mosaic hop varietal, which was extensively added late in the brew, at flame out, and during dry-hopping. Due to the popularity, and more access to Mosaic hops, the beer will be brewed again in the Spring and Summer, with the possibility of a limited release in bottles at that time. The beer is also a passion project for Bad Apple owner Jeff Saunders and his wife Kari Smith, who will again be partnering with the Halifax Down Syndrome Society and donating all income (not just profits) from sales of the brew to ensure that all local children (along with their families and caregivers) will be able to attend the Down Syndrome Weekend at Camp Brigadoon, being held June 13-15. Look for the beer at the brewery, and on tap wherever craft beer lovers come together!
• The University of New Brunswick-Saint John will soon be celebrating their 50th Anniversary, and they’ve asked Hammond River to brew up a special beer for a party on March 19th at Beaverbrook House. Owner/brewer Shane Steeves has fittingly chosen a “Golden Ale” (aka Blonde Ale), brewed with 2-row and CaraRed malts, and lightly hopped with Cascade to 20 IBUs. Expect this beer to be smooth and easy-drinking, at ~5.2% ABV. The UNBSJ party starts at 5:30 pm; there’s no charge to attend, and your first pint of Shane’s new beer is free! Head to the party’s FB page to vote on what the beer should be named. Hammond River’s regular accounts will also be receiving kegs of this new beer once it’s ready, so look for it around Saint John around the same time.
• Pump House will soon be releasing their popular Bière de Garde in six-packs; this award-winning beer (it took home a gold medal in the Belgian Style Specialty Ales category in the 2014 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards) has been available on tap periodically at the brewery. A dark-red beer with an aroma of toasted dark bread and hints of spice, juniper berries, and pineapple, it’s allowed time to mature and age to let the flavors develop. Bittered to 15 IBUs with Goldings and Chinook, it’s full-bodied with notes of dark caramel, according to the brewery. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, look for the sixers across NB and NS (and in Alberta!) by the second week of March.
• Red Rover continues to celebrate their 1st Birthday, this time with a party at the UNB Grad House, starting tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 pm. There will be several seasonal ciders available on tap, including their newest brew, Winter Blues, a wild blueberry cider. Head to the event page and vote for which of their ciders you’d most like to see on tap, and you’ll receive an official invite to the party, where there will be live music, free birthday cupcakes… and your first cider pour is on the house (while supplies last). They will also be announcing a special collaboration with Big Axe Brewery that they will be introducing at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival.
• The latest Signature Event of the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, coming May 8-17, has been announced. The Science of Beer will see the CBANS and friends take over the Discovery Centre on Thursday the 14th from 6-9pm, for a night of learning about, and enjoying, our favourite beverage. Seven speakers will be exploring different scientific, and fun, aspects of beer, from the brewing, packaging, and tasting, and many more angles. To keep your tastebuds stimulated while your brain is working, six breweries will be pouring beer (Boxing Rock, Garrison, North, Propeller, Sea Level, and Wrought Iron), and food from Ace Burger, Morris East, and Stubborn Goat. We’ll have more details on the speakers and topics soon, but we can tell you that Chris will be giving a presentation. Tickets are available online now, we hope to see you there! And don’t forget to pick up tickets for the Full House Craft Beer Fest on Saturday the 16th, at the Olympic Community Centre. While there are many left for the 12-3pm session, there are only a few tickets remaining for the 4-7pm session. For $25, you’ll have a chance to sample the wares of CBANS members from one end of the province to the other, all under one roof, for the first time.
• The Moncton Beer League is partnering with Chef Matthew Pennell (Champion of Chopped Canada), for a 4-course beer and food pairing meal at Legends Restaurant (in the Moncton Coliseum) on March 21st. Each course will be paired with a different NB beer, plus an additional welcome beer in a souvenir glass you can take home. Tickets are available online now, and if you purchase them before March 4th, you will save $10.
• The official announcement has been made, and the website launched: Unfiltered Brewing will be coming to Halifax’s North End this Spring! Greg Nash is partnering with long-time friend Andrew Murphy and opening the brewery on North Street, and a sister pub adjacent, opening in the summer. Follow along with the progress on Twitter and their mailing list, where they will be releasing details on becoming a member of their Growler Club when it launches. We’ll have brewhouse and distribution details shortly. Welcome Unfiltered Brewing!
There are a few seasonal and special beers back to our region this week: Tatamagouche Brewing‘s RR#2 Lager, brewed with their own Mt. Hood and Crystal hops is back on at the brewery; Boxing Rock was able to their hands on more Nelson Sauvin hops, and have brought back a second batch of Unobtainium, available at the brewery and private beer stores starting today; Sea Level has released this year’s version of El Rojo Diablo Double IPA, brewed with Waimea hops, and it’s on tap at the Port Pub and will be in the private stores shortly. The James Joyce Irish Pub in Fredericton has added yet another NB brewery to their taplist; they should be pouring Railcar‘s Artisan Brown Ale starting tomorrow.
If you missed out on tickets for next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook is holding a contest on Facebook, giving away a pair of tickets and hotel room. Share this post to enter, and be sure to say Hi to Shawn and Chris on Saturday!