All posts for the month August, 2015

Recently, we were invited to check out some breweries and beer-centric special events in Maine, and we were thrilled with the opportunity to take part. Chris and his partner Erin made the trip south for an extended weekend of fun, food, and of course beer. We wanted to share our adventures with you, in the hopes of inspiring you to make a visit south to Maine to discover their exciting beer locations and events.


Our three days in Maine kicked off in Bangor. After a leisurely drive in from Fredericton, we checked into our room at Fireside Inn & Suites on Main Street, enjoyed our complimentary whoopie pie, and went directly to our first beer destination. Thankfully, it was in the same building! Geaghan’s Pub is an Irish pub, opened in 1975 by John and Arline Geaghan. In 1983, John passed away, and the business was purchased from Arline by several of their children. In 2011, they added on-site brewing to the pub, focusing on American-style beers with an Irish twist, quickly growing a faithful following. Andrew Geaghan (John’s grandson) and Ryan Power are in charge of the brewing operations, sharing co-head-brewer titles. Both started out as home brewers, and had been working elsewhere in the Pub before taking on these roles. In fact, working at the pub is certainly a family affair, with owners Larry, Pat, and Peter Geaghan all working in the kitchen or bar.


We met up with Lisa Sturgeon, who joined us in a tour of their beers and tasty pub food, including their famous boneless wings. Insider tip: Ask for the “Reserve Sauce” with your wings. You won’t find it on the menu, but the locals have been ordering it for years. It’s hot and sweet, much like a sriracha and brown sugar combination.


In our first flight, we enjoyed their Refueler Unfilitered Wheat, Presque Isle Honey Blonde Ale (made with local honey), Higgins Irish Red Ale, and Smiling Irish Bastard APA. All were very well-made examples of their styles, and quenched our thirst quite nicely on a warm summer afternoon. All of their beers are named in celebration of the local culture, region, and family history of clan Geaghan. The Smiling Irish Bastard, for instance, is named after Police Officer Bernie Welch, a relative of the Geaghans, who was a serious man patrolling the streets of Bangor, but had a dry, Irish sense of humour.


After the great food and drink, Lisa took us on a tour of the on-site brewery. Their Criveller-built brewhouse is a 5BBL (6 hectolitre) system, with four fermenters of the same size. They do well to pack everything in the narrow footprint of the brewery, with enough room to manoeuvre, but without wasted space. The day we visited, they were doing a 24-hour sour mash for an upcoming release. The walls of the brewery are finished in white plastic, perfect for dry erase markers. The brewers use that to their advantage, taking tally of the number of beers brewed (37 different beers so far this year), volume tally (they are well on their way to overtake the 717 barrels [841 hl] they brewed last year), and motivational sayings (“Don’t be that guy”, featuring a picture of the chemical formula for diacetyl). They are brewing three times a week to keep up with demand, serving eight different brews on tap, and for growler fills, at any given time.


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the stellar breakfast we enjoyed at Geaghan’s the next morning before leaving town. Co-owner Larry Geaghan is onsite at 4am every morning baking bread and pastries (we loved the Thick-Cut White and Oatmeal Brown), and Chris couldn’t get enough of the Bacon Cinnamon buns, prepared French Toast style! They also feature “Paddy Cakes”, An Irish potato pancake made with bacon, cheese & onion. And their Oatmeal Stout makes a perfect breakfast beer (so we’ve heard).

Thanks very much to Tom Palmer of the Fireside Inn & Suites, and Lisa Sturgeon of Geaghan Brothers Brewery for having us for a visit, be sure to visit them both at 570 Main Street in Bangor, and stay up to date with new beer releases and Mug Club events on their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Stayed tuned as we continue our adventures to a few more locations in and around Bangor, as we hop on The Growler Bus for a fun Friday night, and then hit the road for the Carrabassett Valley and The Forks for some outdoor adventures (and beer)!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy Friday everyone! Sadly, this marks the last Wrap-Up of August, but that doesn’t mean that the beer news is slowing down at all.

• TrailWay released a new beer yesterday – this one was actually brewed by Catherine Saunders and Alex Sorenson under the watchful-eye of their significant others, Jake Saunders and Dan Mason (owners and brewers of TrailWay). Appropriately-named Better Half, it’s a Blueberry-Lime Fruit Beer that had real lime zest and 35 lbs of local blueberries added after fermentation was complete. With a simple grain bill consisting of mostly Pilsner malt, and very minimal hopping, it’s a refreshing and easy-drinking (at 4.5% ABV) end-of-summer beer, with some sweetness and tartness from the fruit. You can find it on tap now (or very soon) at the King Street Ale House, James Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Vault 29.

• In other TrailWay news, they should be releasing a new Double IPA (currently unnamed) sometime next week. Clocking in at about 8.1%, it was hopped heavily (to ~75 IBUs) with Centennial, Comet, Galaxy and Mosaic, so expect plenty of tropical, citrus, and dank notes in this beer! Like most of their hoppy beers, the malt bill was kept relatively simple to allow the hops to shine through.

• PEI’s newest craft brewery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, is holding a Block Party on Saturday, September 5th. This free event will be held outdoors in the Upstreet parking lot, and will feature local food vendors, live music (including Wrong Planet Band), lawn games, activities (big and small, for kids and adults), and a “pop-up barber shop” for all your hair-trimming needs; guided brewery tours will also be going on throughout the day. It’s family-friendly, so bring the kids! The party will continue inside the taproom after 8 pm. They’ll be releasing their highly-anticipated Boxing Rock collaboration beer, Rumble in the Alley: Round 1, a SMaSH India Pale Lager, and there MAY be a special guest or two on hand for the tapping! And in other good news, brewmaster Mike Hogan has confirmed that he will be brewing another batch of their Wheat IPA, White Noize in the next few days; look for that one to be released again in September.

• It’s Hop Harvest time in our region! Yesterday, the crew from North Brewing made the trek to Shelburne to visit Boxing Rock Brewing for their own harvest collaboration brew. Many Hands 3.0 features loads of freshly-harvested Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette, all from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres hop farm. This Pale Ale will weigh in just shy of 6% ABV, and be available at both breweries and their market and restaurant accounts in September.

• Several other breweries have/will be brewing up wet hopped beers. Hammond River will be brewing up some with their own home-grown hops next week, Rockbottom Brewpub is brewing up a Pale Ale today with some Annapolis Valley fresh hops, and Picaroons has started the brewing of their multiple Harvest Ales, sourced from hop farms across the Maritimes. Big Spruce will be harvesting their own farm-grown hops Wednesday, September 2nd, and Meander River will be harvesting theirs Saturday September, 5th, with brews to follow quickly thereafter (if you’re able to help pick in Nyanza or Ashdale, keep an eye on their respective social media feeds for details and rain dates, if necessary).

• Meander River has a few new beers on tap recently, and we wanted to keep y’all up-to-date with their releases. Summer Solstice IPA is a 4.5% ABV Session IPA featuring a balanced hoppy flavour and aroma thanks to Amarillo and Citra; it was further dry-hopped with Cascade. A lower alcohol, but full-flavoured beer, perfect for summer afternoons and evenings. Gristmill Wheat Beer is an unfiltered wheat beer, featuring a forward bitterness with lots of citrus and strawberry, with a characteristic banana aroma. This is a lighter 3.8% ABV. Their Dusty Road Hard Apple Cider is a bit bigger, at 5.5% ABV, but just as refreshing, as it finishes quite dry and crisp. This is a different blend of Annapolis Valley apples than their Shack Wacky release in the spring, and as such will have a different profile. Their 5.2% ABV Ashdale Honey Brown is also available now, featuring honey harvested right on the farm, and added to the lightly-hopped Brown Ale, for a slightly sweeter finish and notes of toffee. Look for these beers at the brewery, or their accounts around the province.

YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s, NL has released an alcoholic Apple Cider this week. Weighing in at 7% ABV, it is an off-dry cider, featuring some perceived bitterness from the high tannin content of the apples. It was fermented with champagne yeasts for a crisp and acidic bite. It is now on tap at the brewery and public house, and will be available in bottles next week.

Red Rover has brewed up their first Perry; similar to a cider – in that it is an alcoholic beverage from fermented apple juice – it also incorporates juice from pears. Featuring a single variety of pear from Cocagne, NB, it was balanced with juice from Cox’s Orange Pippin apples. The batch has been maturing for the last six months, and is exhibiting a “sweet, floral nose, and softer palate than a cider”, according to co-owner/brewer Adam Clawson; it should come in at around 7% ABV. It will be released at the Cider House next Thursday for flagon fills, and will also make a limited appearance at the Farmer’s Markets that Red Rover frequents.

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Pub has announced details on their Mug Club, the first of its kind in the city. A yearly membership of $59.95 + tax gets you a personally-numbered mug with plenty of entitlements, including 24-oz pours for the price of 20-oz, food discounts, email updates on new beers tapped at the pub, and invitations to Mug Club-exclusive events. Only 30 mugs will be sold; check out the link for more details. The official launch will be October 1st, but you can head into the pub now to reserve your mug.

• Good news for beer fans in New Brunswick: the ANBL has announced that they have over 30 award-winning beers from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards that will be available for sale at select stores this Monday, August 31st. The “Ultimate Beer Run” includes multiple styles from breweries all across the country; check out the full list (and participating ANBL outlets) here. Quantities are limited, so be sure to drop by on Monday if you have particular beers that you would like to try.

• La sixième édition de l’Oktoberfest des Acadiens se passe du 3 au 6 Septembre à Bertrand, NB. Avec de la musique et un ambiance bavaroise dans les après midi, et des spectacles avec des artistes de renoms les vendredi et samedi soirs. C’est une fin de semaine de plaisir et de divertissement pour toute la famille. Jeudi soir l’on vous propose une dégustation dirigée par Patrice Godin d’Acadie-Broue, intitulé “Le Tour du Monde avec de la Bière”, mettant en vedette certains accords mets et bières spéciales. La Grande Dégustation se déroule le samedi et le dimanche de 13h à 18h, où les visiteurs pourront déguster une centaine de bières différentes du Nouveau-Brunswick (y compris Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), le Canada (Glutenberg et Red Racer et beaucoup plus), ainsi que l’Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, et Weihenstephan par exemples). Pour plus de détails sur les billets et l’horaire complet Vous pouvez visiter leur site et leur page Facebook.

• The Sixth Annual Oktoberfest des Acadiens is happening September 3-6 in Bertrand, NB. Featuring live music daily, and major concerts Friday and Saturday evening, it is a full weekend of family fun and entertainment. Thursday evening features a tasting led by Acadie-Broue‘s Patrice Godin, entitled “Around the World with Beer”, featuring several special beer and food pairings. The beer garden will be open Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm, where visitors can sample from over 100 different beers from New Brunswick (including Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), Canada (Glutenberg and Red Racer and many more), as well as Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, and Weihenstephan for example). Ticket details and the full schedule is available on their website and Facebook page.

• Homebrewers, fire up those kettles, the 3rd Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is back! This year is a bit of a departure from previous competitions, as beers are being accepted in three different styles: Czech Dark Lager (3D), Altbier (7B), and Red IPA (21B). They will be judged using the new 2015 BJCP style guidelines. The top three beers in each category will win prizes, and the Best in Show beer will be brewed at Big Spruce, and released at the Third Annual Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration in January. Homebrewers may enter a beer in one, two, or all three categories for the same $25 entry fee. That fee also entitles entrants to a limited edition t-shirt, and new this year, entry to the post-judging party at the Wooden Monkey Alderney Landing November 28th. To take part, be sure to email Big Spruce for the official entry form before November 23rd, and drop off the beer before the 27th at the brewery or the Halifax drop-point. There are more details on the event’s Facebook page. As there are a couple of lagers in there, best to get brewing soon!

Enjoy your weekend! All four ANBL growler stations are pouring summery beers this week, including Petit-Sault‘s new John Stadig (an “Orange Ginger White ale”), Picaroons Dooryard, and Le Trou du Diable Blanche de Shawi. Be sure to drop by Rockbottom this weekend and next week as they host several acts from the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, and catch their FizzGig Ladies Beer League Imperial Red, and Farmer’s Daughter Farmhouse Ale before they are replaced by an English Brown Ale and a traditionally-brewed Marzen (featuring imported malts and the Hochkurz Double-Decoction mash technique). Cheers!

Howdy, beer lovers! Time for your weekly dose of Atlantic Canadian beer news. Unfortunately, we have to lead off with some sad news…

Shiretown Beer, first operating out of Dalhousie, and then Charlo, New Brunswick since 2011, has officially closed their doors. Their regular-release beers (including Blonde du Quai, Big Brown Ale, and Siren’s t’Ale) have been available in bottles at ANBL stores for some time, and have been pouring on tap (along with multiple seasonals and one-offs) at several accounts across the province, including the Heron’s Nest Pub, located next door to the brewery. Graduating from just 40 litre batches up to 1.5 hL, all while using their Sabco Brew-Magic system, Derek and company have been working with local producers (Southan Farms hops, for instance), and promoting the craft beer movement in Northern New Brunswick for many years. On the bright side, we understand that owner/brewer Derek Leslie will still be working in the industry, and we look forward to catching up with him in the near future!

• In good news for New Brunswick, however, there’s a new brewery opening this fall in Fredericton! Maybee Brewing Co. will be owned and operated by Paul Maybee, an avid home brewer (and NBCBA member) based in the city. Construction on the 10 BBL brewery and tasting room (located at 559 Wilsey Rd.) has already begun. The brewery will focus on hoppy American ales and Belgian styles (including an American Amber, American IPA, Pale Ale, and Belgian Tripel as their initial launch beers), and coming up with their own twist on other styles of beers. Along with pints and growler fills at the tasting room, their beers will be available at select beer bars/restaurants throughout Fredericton, and in cans at ANBL stores. You can follow along with the brewery construction progress on their Facebook and Instagram pages, and we will have a Q&A posted in the coming months.

Tatamagouche Brewing released a new beer late last week, Little Russian Parti-gyle Stout. A parti-gyle beer involves running a second (or third) volume of hot water through the grains in the mash tun, and extracting some sugar still left over from the initial mash. The wort is then treated as a completely separate beer, boiled, hopped, and fermented independently from its big sister. In Tata’s case, that initial mash and beer is now fermenting as a Russian Imperial Stout, to be released in September, hence the Little Russian moniker for this beer. The LR is a 3% ABV beer, fairly light in body, but still features some roast flavours thanks to the darker malts used in the grain bill. The beer was hopped with Ahtanum, Centennial, and Magnum. The Little Russian can be purchased in cans and growlers at the brewery, and in growler fills at Harvest Wines and RockHead. Also look for it on tap at Agricola Street BrasserieStillwell, and Stubborn Goat.

• There’s currently a new beer fermenting over at Hammond River, and it’s a big one! Sterke Monnik is the first Belgian-style ale brewed on the HR system. It’s a Belgian Dark Strong Ale that should weigh in at approximately 10.4% ABV. While obviously a strong beer, the goal is one that is smooth, rich, and complex, with lots of malt and dark fruit characteristics, along with some classic Belgian fruity esters and spicy phenolics. Brewed with a Pilsner base malt, some dark Crystal malts, Special B (a specialty malt known for providing raisin and plum characteristics), and plenty of dark Belgian candi syrup, it was hopped with Hallertau to 33 IBUs. Look for this one to pop up at Hammond River’s regular accounts in two to three weeks.

• In other NB Belgian beer news, Grimross just released their Grimross Dubbel. A 6.8% ABV brew that is lightly hopped to 18 IBUs, it exhibits a coppery-brown colour and has notes of dark fruit and caramel, a dry finish, and mild alcohol warmth. Fermented with two yeast strains (a Belgian Abbey strain, and a neutral American strain), the beer had an addition of Demerara sugar, a light-tan, raw sugar with a coarse texture that can add notes of molasses to the final beer. It’s available now for pours and growlers at the brewery, and at better beer establishments across the province.

Petit-Sault released a new seasonal offering earlier this week, and it came just in time for the heat wave we’ve been experiencing! John Stadig is named after a Madawaska counterfeiter who was one of the first civilian inmates at Alcatraz prison, in 1934. An “Orange-Ginger White Beer”, the grist includes 50% Wheat malt that adds a “bready, subtle spiciness, and an almost silky mouthfeel”, according to the brewery. Real, fresh-grated ginger was added at the end of the boil, along with fresh orange peel, to provide lots of aromatics and flavour to the beer; it comes in at a supremely-drinkable 4% ABV. It’s currently available at the brewery for a limited time for growler fills, and will be hitting all four ANBL growler stations next week; you can also find it on tap at the James Joyce in Fredericton. In other Petit-Sault news, their regular-release Witbier (and one of their first two launch beers), Tante Blanche, is now out of circulation until next May; it will be a summer seasonal from this point on.

Sea Level Brewing is looking for a Brewing Assistant at their Port Williams location. Tasks include brewing, running the canning machine, filling growlers, and other tasks in the brewery. Brewing knowledge is preferred, but not required for the position. To apply, drop off a resume to Owner/Brewmaster Randy Lawrence at the brewery, weekdays 10am-4pm.

• Tickets for this year’s Fredericton Poutine Festival, being held Saturday November 21st at the Crowne Plaza, are now on sale, and are going fast! It looks like the evening session is sold out, but there are still some afternoon tickets available (which this year includes beer), as well as the family friendly, 12-2pm session (including free tickets for children under 12). We will have more details next week when the brewery list is finalized, but expect 8 breweries to be pouring, along with at least five establishments serving up more than a dozen styles of Poutine!

Shediac Bay’s Flying Boats Brewing will be holding their Launch Party at the Laundromat Expresso Bar on Thursday, Sept. 3rd, starting at 7 pm. While Flying Boats has been open since early last month, this will be their official launch, and they’re bringing two kegs to be tapped for the event. The first is their S-55 Special Mission Dark Pale Ale, a 5.7% ABV, Cascade-hopped APA that first made its debut during the NB Tap Takeover at the James Joyce during the NB Day long weekend. The other is the Empress Irish Red Ale, a 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beer that “focuses on the maltiness and creaminess of the barley malt and wheat that is used”, according to the brewery, and features a “nice, roasted caramel flavour”.

Thanks for reading this week! In Fredericton, TrailWay has rebrewed their D’Under, an American Pale Ale hopped entirely with Australian Galaxy; this time around, they’ve increased the hop additions, so expect even more tropical fruitiness than before! And in Halifax, Good Robot Brewing are now pouring at two of the city’s markets. Catch them at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market Saturday 8am-1pm, and the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market Sundays.