Happy Friday! Snow continues to fall, temperatures continue to drop… but luckily, the beer news in our region continues to flow in!
• Last weekend, Boxing Rock brewed up a new beer with a special guest – Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks, former head brewer at Picaroons. The Next Chapter is a Rye IPA brewed with New Brunswick-grown malt, and hopped with Columbus, Mosaic, and Simcoe. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it will feature “rich spicy notes” from the rye malt, and a “great dank bitterness with a fruity middle, and dry, citrusy, piney finish” according to Boxing Rock head brewer Henry Pedro. This collaboration is going to be a special Boxing Rock release, as it’s not only their first IPA, but also their first beer intended for release only in New Brunswick! Lucky attendees of this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will be able to sample the beer, which will then have an exclusive tap at the King Street Ale House. In addition, right now the plan is for 650 mL bottles of the beer to be available through ANBL; it’s not confirmed yet, but let’s keep our fingers crossed!
• Don’t worry, Nova Scotia, Boxing Rock has a new beer for you, too! A Bohemian Pilsener, Wild Axe is brewed with all Saaz hops (a spicy and floral European variety), fermented cool in true lager fashion, and then aged cold to give the clean, balanced, crisp flavors expected of the style. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, look for this one to be released on tap at the brewery and at better beer bars/restaurants in Nova Scotia today, and by next Wednesday in 650 mL bottles.
• Propeller has just released their newest One-Hit Wonder, and they couldn’t have timed it any better! 6 More Weeks is an Indian Brown Ale (aka hoppy American Brown, or Brown IPA) that is brewed with dark malts (including Chocolate, Roast, and Black Prinz) to give “a dash of roast character that adds a delicate creaminess”, and is hopped with Warrior, Centennial, Cascade and Ahtanum. These hop varieties lend an earthy, piney, and spicy hop character to the flavor and aroma, as well as “plenty of bitterness that doesn’t linger”. At 5.5% ABV and 82 IBUs, this dark brown beer can be found at both Prop Shop locations for growler fills, and on tap around the city. No groundhogs were harmed in the making of this beer.
• Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Picaroons will be re-releasing their Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale. This 5% ABV, full-bodied dark beer is brewed with chocolate, cayenne, ginseng root, and liquorice root. Look for it on tap at the Brewtique for growler fills next week, and at several restaurants throughout Frederiction. Next week also marks the return of their Beer & Chocolate Dinners, which feature several chocolate-infused courses, each paired with a different Picaroons beer. Taking place on February 10th (7:00 pm) at 540 Kitchen & Bar and February 11th (6:30 pm) at Tide and Boar Gastropub, tickets are on sale through both locations now ($50 + tax/gratuity).
• Living in Saint John? Do you like to run, drink local beer, and support a good cause? Well the Port City Beer Run is for you! Being held on Saturday, May 30th at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, the run will feature your choice of a 3, 5, or 10 km distance (route TBD); afterwards, there will be live music, food from three local restaurants, and beer! There are currently four breweries attending (Big Tide, Grimross, Hammond River, and Moosehead), with an additional 1-2 likely to be announced soon. Each brewery will have two types of beer; you’ll be able to enjoy 1-2 oz samples (to a maximum of 16 oz), and then a full pint of your favourite. Early-bird tickets are $50 and on sale now until April 30th; after that, tickets are $60 each. The price includes the run, food, entertainment and beer, and all funds go to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). The registration page isn’t up quite yet, so keep an eye on their Facebook account; you can also message them your name and email address to reserve a spot.
• We may as well take this opportunity to remind you that tickets are now on sale for the 3rd Annual Fredericton Beer Run! Held this summer on Monday, August 3rd (New Brunswick Day), the 4, 6, or 12 km run features plenty of local beer, cider and mead to be consumed after your hard work – fourteen 4 oz samples of about 30 brands, to be exact! Breweries haven’t been announced yet, but expect a mostly-NB-based turnout. Tickets are on sale now, and are $60 each (a Coach’s ticket can be purchased for $50; you must accompany a runner to buy this ticket).
• Rockbottom Brewpub will have three new beers hitting the taps in the next couple of weeks, starting with their Scottish Export, hitting the taps today. This beer is a Scottish malt-forward beer, with Oatmeal added to the recipe. The colour is Mahogany Red, with tan head and lacing. The beer is very malty, with caramel and toasted notes, reminiscent of stewed plums, and oatmeal raisin cookies. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs. They will be tapping a Double Chocolate Stout on February 11th, just in time for Valentine’s Day. A special day deserves a special beer, and this small batch delivers: Roast Barley and dark crystal malts are enhanced with Belgian dark chocolate and Peruvian Cacao nibs. The beer is served on a nitro tap, which will give the beer a very smooth and silky character This beer clocks in at 7.0% ABV and 50 IBUs. And the following Wednesday, February 18th, will see the return of the Wreckoning Russian Imperial Stout. It was awarded the Gold for Imperial Stout at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards last fall, and we have heard that this is the last batch to be brewed, ever. This beer has incredible complexity, owing to the massive malt bill (the beer is 10.5% ABV and 100 IBUs), with notes of roast, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cherries, caramel, and more. Don’t miss out on these beers, grab a pint at the ‘Bottom.
• Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. is holding an information session at The Wooden Monkey – Alderney Landing, February 11, 7-9 PM. They are in the middle of raising funds through the Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIF) program to open a Malt House in the Annapolis Valley, and will be sharing the malting outlook and market in our region. They have invited local brewers to talk about using local malt and the benefits of a local malt house. Snacks and samples will be served.
• Speaking of malting, later in the month, on February 21st, the CCNB in Edmundston is hosting a day-long seminar, Regional Malts for a Regional Beer. Aimed at brewers, homebrewers, farmers and potential maltsters, the goal of the event is to open dialogue around producing, processing, and brewing with regional malts. From organizer Mike Doucette, “We will give the floor to Jean-Michel Degraux of MaltBroue, who will talk about the possibility of malt house franchises across Eastern Canada. We’ll also talk about the Biorefinery Technology Scale-up Center at CCNB, and the services we offer. I will give a short presentation on Barley field trials in eastern Canada. In the afternoon, Jean-Michel Degraux will give a presentation pertaining to malt varieties and brewing. There will then be a panel discussion around using local malts for brewing local beers. We hope to answer some questions and to extinguish some of the major concerns around using local malts for brewing.” Tickets are available online now, and should prove to be an informative day to those in the beer business.
• There are a couple of events happening in Halifax on February 14th to tie in with your love of beer, no date required! The Le Trou du Diable Tap Takeover Event at Bar Stillwell is almost sold out, however there are a handful of tickets left for the noon-3pm session. More than a twelve draft and bottled beers will make their Atlantic Canadian debut. Plus, visit and chat with the brewers, and grab some TdD schwag/swag. Email them to secure your spot. After that, head on by the Stubborn Goat, to take part in their Speed Dating event. The event kicks off at 6pm, and there will be prizes (plus lots of great local beer)! Check out the details here, and be sure to register with Evan before the 13th.
• The Ladies Beer League crew have another great event coming soon, a Charity Curling-Board Game-Dance Party… with Local Beer! On February 21st at 8pm, the LBL will be taking over the Mayflower Curling Club, and hosting curling lessons and giant games from the Board Room Game Cafe. And then a dance party, supported by CKDU. There will be local beer flowing, and the Food Wolf will be serving up their creations. Entry to the event is free, and all proceeds from the activities go to Stepping Stone.
• Big Axe has been brewing some new beers again, after their brief hiatus due to a much-needed vacation in December. First up is their Big Axe Blonde, a light-bodied, golden-colored ale. An easy-drinking style that is perfect for introducing craft beer to those who haven’t made the leap yet, this beer was “modestly hopped” with Cascade and Saaz, and showcases a smooth malt character; it comes in at 5.1% ABV. Next up is a Chocolate Orange Stout; this is their Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (6.5% ABV), but with orange added to the boil. Both beers should be making their debut at 540 Kitchen & Bar this weekend, during Fredericton’s Winterfesthiver 2015. Big Axe has also tweaked their Double Bit IPA; according to brewer Peter Cole, the hop profile has been changed to give a “clean, crisp finish” to the beer.
• Homebrewer Jason McDougall visited Garrison Brewing yesterday, to brew up his 2014 Home Brew-Off-winning Hefeweizen on their system. No word on the exact recipe details quite yet, but we do know that it will be released at this year’s Brew-Off Gala, being held March 5th at the brewery. And a reminder to homebrewers, you must drop off your Robust Porter entries for this year’s competition by Thursday, February 12th.
• The Certified Cicerone® Exam is coming to Halifax, July 14th, at Bar Stillwell. While it might be five months away, it is never too early to get studying! We interviewed Mirella Amato (the first non-US resident to achieve Master Cicerone® status, and the person who will be administering the exam) and Mike Buhler (the first Certified Cicerone® in the Atlantic Provinces) previously about the program; their responses may help you decide whether the program is worth pursuing. For those interested, be sure to take the Certified Beer Server online exam, and then sign up for the exam. There is also a Facebook study group for Canadian Examinees.
Have a great weekend, and stay warm! TrailWay Brewing has added a new account in Fredericton, as their Whitney Coffee Stout (Kenyan) is now available on tap at the James Joyce Irish Pub. Petit-Sault‘s new Cappuccino Stout, Canon Franchetti, will be hitting all four ANBL growler stations next week, so make sure to drop the one closest to you and give it a try, if you haven’t already! And as a final note, if you’re looking to purchase some Hammond River swag, they now have an online store up and running; toques and glassware are currently available, with more merchandise being added soon!