All posts for the month October, 2015

Good morning! We’ve got a bit of beer news for you this week (as usual), just in time to end off your October…

• Today, Garrison Brewing is releasing the second beer in their Star Trek-themed series, just in time for this weekend’s Halifax sci-fi convention, Hal-Con. Vulcan Ale – Genesis Effect is a “Red Session IPA” that has been hopped with Comet, Galaxy and Warrior. Described as “hoppy and spicy” by brewmaster Daniel Girard, this 5.4% ABV beer will be jointly released in the U.S. by Shmaltz Brewing (out of upstate New York), in the Federation of Beer line of officially licensed Star Trek beers. It’s available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private liquor stores in the city, and select NSLC stores. Also out in celebration of Hal-Con is Raspberry Ginger Ale, hitting the shelves today as well.

• In other Garrison news, we have some more details on the Gastronome IPA they brewed as an exclusive release at harbourstone sea grill & pour house. Proud Rose-Mary was inspired by the restaurant’s Chef Trevor Simms’ approach to food, and features the addition of fresh orange juice and rosemary. It comes in at an ABV of 6.5%; you can find it on tap now at the harbourstone. Look for the Gastronome beer to change quarterly, in conjunction with the menu changes at the restaurant.

Movember starts Sunday, and Quidi Vidi Brewing in St. John’s are releasing a special beer in collaboration with Fogtown Barber, to celebrate the hairiest of months. Fogtown Lager will be released 2pm Sunday afternoon at Quidi Vidi, during a “Shave Down” event to kick off the month, complete with food from Mallard Cottage and live music. For those that sign up to the QV Mo Team before Sunday, they’ll receive a free Fogtown Lager t-shirt (while supplies last), and if they raise more than $250 before the end of Movember, a free hat, in addition to other great perks. Check out the details on their Facebook page. The beer itself is a 5% ABV pale lager featuring Crystal hops, and will be hitting the shelves and taps in St John’s and region beginning Monday.

• The PEI Brewing Co. is getting ready to release their next barrel-aged beer. The beer is named Hell Street, and is their Reanimator Doppelbock that has spent some time in the PEIBC barrels. It has been bottled, capped, and wax-sealed, and is all ready for its official release next Thursday at the brewery. PEIBC also tapped Scared Wit-Less earlier this week, their latest cask at their tasting room; it’s described as a 7.5% ABV Pale Ale that has had coriander and chamomile added, to boost the spicy and flowery aromas and flavours.

Picaroons released a new beer of sorts yesterday at the Brewtique – Gourd Browny is a reiteration of their Connell Stamp, an English Brown Ale. Hopped with Fuggles and Goldings, and infused with a “special blend” of pumpkin pie spices from local bakery/cafe the Chess Piece, this one is available only for growler fills at the Brewtique, while supplies last. And Picaroons is looking to hire a manager to run their Uptown Saint John location, which will be opening in 2016. Send along resumes to

• Good news for Upstreet fans – they’re now officially selling some of their beers in bottles! Both their Commons (Bohemian Pilsner) and Do-Gooder (American Pale Ale) are available for purchase in a 500 mL format at the brewery (starting today at noon) for takeaway, and should follow at PEILCC stores later next month. Look for their Rhuby Social and White Noize to follow in the near future, along with other seasonals to be brewed over time.

Spindrift Brewing will be opening the doors at their storefront at 21 Frazee Drive in Dartmouth this Wednesday. From 11am-6pm, they will be celebrating their grand opening with schwag, samples, cans, and growler fills of their Coastal Lager. Drop by to meet the gang, and get a peek inside the brewery. Going forward, their storefront will be open Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm for all of your Spindrift needs.

• The crew at Halifax’s Good Robot may have been assimilated and replaced by actual robots after their acquisition by AB InBev-SAB Miller, but at least they’ve been keeping busy in the brewhouse! There are a pair of experimental brews available now, only on tap at the brewery. Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale is a light-bodied and -hopped beer, with loads of cherry character in a golden package. The second beer is de la Rocha, a habanero dark ale, with intense chile heat, again with a light body, and no discernible hop character. Both brews are Beta versions, so be sure to drop by and give the beers a try, and share your feedback with the ‘bots. For those with young ones (or young-at-heart), the brewery will be decorated for Halloween tomorrow, and there will be tricks and treats for visitors of all ages.*

• There is a new brewery in the development and licensing process coming to Port Rexton, Newfoundland. Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills had been working towards opening a brewery in Truro, NS, but while visiting Mills’ family in Newfoundland, they fell in love with the area and possibilities for a brewery. There is still much to be done, including an environmental assessment of their location and securing final funding, but we are looking forward to trying Port Rexton Brewing Co. beer in their brewhouse next summer.

• There will soon be a pair of different Craft Beer Advent Calendars available in our region. Much like a traditional chocolate or gift advent calendar, the idea is to get a new surprise every day during the first few weeks of December. The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar will feature 24 craft beers from across Canada and the US. Though the beer list is secret (no spoilers, please!), we do know that none of the beers are otherwise for sale in our region, and many of them were brewed specifically for the Calendar. Craft Beer fans are sure to find some new favourites in the box. The calendar will be available at select NSLC locations and NLC locations in the next couple of days, so be sure to drop by your local store to grab one.

• And if one new brew a day isn’t enough for you, some of the private beer stores in Halifax are putting together their own Advent Calendar. Drop by Cristall Wine, Harvest Wines, or RockHead Wine and Beer Market before November 20th to reserve your calendar, for pickup November 30th. The 24 beer in these are a mix of local, domestic, and international beers for a true taste of the World of Beer.

Hammond River has confirmed that they will be holding their Second Annual Homebrew Competition on January 17th, 2016. This BJCP-certified event will focus on Strong Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy), a full-bodied, deeply malty, strong Scottish beer style. Brewers will be limited to two entries each (two 12 or 16 oz bottles for each entry required), and entries will be due on January 15th; they can be shipped or dropped off to Hammond River in Quispamsis. Prizes will be given to the top three beers, and the winning entry will also be brewed as a full-size batch on HR’s system; of course, the winning homebrewer will be invited to assist with brewing this batch! Each entry costs $10; get brewing, homebrewers!

That’s just about all we’ve got this week… have a fun (and safe) Halloween tomorrow! Look for North Brewing’s Strong Dark Belgian to make its return shortly. Karl Whiffen from Uncle Leo’s dropped by Halifax brewery Unfiltered this week; we’ll let you know what they brewed up shortly. Boxing Rock underwent an expansion this week, to make room for more capacity in the brewhouse. Celtic Knot’s Caledonia 70/- seasonal is back on tap in the region. Look for it in Moncton and Saint John at your favourite watering hole. And a reminder to drop by Port City Royal tomorrow at 2pm for the tapping of an aged cask of Hammond River’s Sterke Monnik, their 10.3% Belgian Quad.

*The folks at Good Robot were not replaced by actual robots.



FirkinStein Brewing opened recently just outside of Bridgewater, N.S. Co-owned by friends, and Michelin Tire co-workers, Devin Fraser and Adam Sarty, they have started brewing with some self-built and self-improved gear (think Frankenstein’s Monster), and their beer is available in the Bridgewater region. Devin was kind enough to answer a few questions about FirkinStein’s past, present, and future.

ACBB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Devin: Adam and I both work at Michelin Tire Ltd. in Bridgewater, N.S. We work there as troubleshooters in the plant.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?

While I was taking my electronics course about 15 years ago, I was introduced to craft brew by my teacher Ken Wilson (a local homebrew legend). Ten years later, I met Adam. He and I were always talking about making our own beer. He invited me over to show me his “beer in a bottle kit”. When I saw it, I laughed and said if we were to make home brew we need to do it right! So I looked Ken up in the phone book and sure enough he remembered me! He showed us how all grain was done. I am forever grateful to him.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?

Home brewing blossomed for us and got friendly-competitive. We have an old ugly mash paddle that we painted gold and have handed it back and forth to whom ever made the best beer. Not that I want to admit it… but it stayed at his house more then mine.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?

We had always dreamed of starting our own business, and brewing seemed to fit. Talk is just talk, however, and little progress came out of it. Then, unfortunately, a colleague of ours became very sick. This changed our perspectives a little bit, and we went for it.

mash tun

What size/manufacturer/type of system are you brewing on?

We brew on a system unlike most. We built and found and modified everything here, it truly is built from the ground up! We are using reclaimed dairy tanks for our mash tun and kettle, modified to use steam in their jackets with electrical elements inside. Our mash tun uses a crazy food-grade mixer to help stir. We also filter all our water using slow sand filtering. The entire brewery is covered in wash down plastic. We gutted my garage and did everything ourselves. Adam is a very handy builder, I lack there. 🙂 We have a capacity of 1000l but are limited now, as we only have two 1300l fermenters. We maintain temperatures by using A/C units and temperature controllers.

What are your plans for distribution?

As of now we are doing local growler deliveries. People can send us a message on Facebook or Twitter to place their order. We usually do the deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though that may change due to customer demand. We are also attending a pair of local markets: Lunenburg Farmers’ Market on Thursdays and Hubbards Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. At the markets, we can both fill and exchange growlers, in 0.95 and 1.89l formats.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?

That is in the works: The Grand Banker, in Lunenburg, is making space, and we will be on tap very shortly at Local Public House in Bridgewater.


Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially?

Our beer now is the Nor’Easter Red Ale, a a 7.5% ABV Strong Ale, with lots of citrus aroma and flavour from Cascade hops. We plan on three stable varieties and many fun/one-off batches. Belgians are not on our list.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?

In addition to Ken, we asked lots of questions, and received lots of info from Mark at Hell Bay, he was/is a big help. Cam at SchoolHouse Brewery also helped in the early going.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?

Well… Adam is a dreamer, I am a little more “less” positive.. So odds are somewhere in the middle. 🙂

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?

I enjoy many… but right now I tip my hat to Temptation Red by Boxing Rock.


How can people keep up to date on the latest FirkinStein news?

Facebook and Twitter are the best ways to get the latest info.

Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along.

Just a cheers to you!

Thanks to Devin and Adam for spending some time answering our questions. Stay up to date with their licensee expansion and new beers here and on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Cheers!



Fredericton will soon be welcoming their fifth brewery to the area, as Maybee Brewing Co. plans to open in the city before the end of this year. Originally announced back in August, progress is coming along nicely, as owner/brewer Paul Maybee is currently working hard at the brewery’s location (559 Wilsey Rd., Unit 4) to finish up construction in time to open before Christmas. Originally from Rose Bay, Nova Scotia, Paul has been living in Fredericton for the past 8 years with his wife, Mikey, and their two young boys. He currently has his own business, Kingfisher Distributing, which imports low-level laser therapy equipment for acupuncture, wound healing, etc. A homebrewer for the past decade, Paul is now ready to focus his efforts on his true passion! Now that the opening date is getting closer, we touched based with Paul to get some details on what he has planned for his brewery…

Is there something specific that got you into the world of craft beer?

I think I got my appreciation of craft beer from my brother, Dave. He would always bring over IPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts when I was drinking Oland’s. He made me realize there was more to beer than that, and we could sit down and talk about the beer we were drinking.

Tell me a little about your homebrewing history.

I’ve been homebrewing for 10 years. I started – like most people – doing Festa Brew kits, and that did the trick for me for a while. It was cheaper, better beer and I was young and poor, so it did the trick.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?

My wife, Mikey, really encouraged me to do it. It became a passion that took over most of my free time, and I have experience starting and running a business. So Mikey put the idea in my head and she put a lot of faith in me. I would also credit the beer club here (NBCBA) for making me want to start a brewery. I had always wanted to do it, but never thought I could. I gained a lot of knowledge and confidence being in the club.

What steps have you taken so far getting everything up and running?

It’s been 2 years already, and most of that time is fundraising, paperwork, applications, applications, re-doing applications. You have to prove yourself to a lot of people before you get anywhere, and that can be discouraging. Now that the ball is rolling, we’ve got a fair bit of the construction done, plumbing, floor drains, our walk-in cooler was installed last week, the tanks are here, and now we’re just waiting for the epoxy floors and finishing touches before they can be placed and connected. I’m hoping to be brewing on November 15th.

Do you have any partners in the brewery?

Mikey and I are running the brewery together, with the very important help of our two boys (ages 4 years and 7 weeks). Mikey does all the artwork for the cans, glassware, and website, and will be in charge of our Quality Assurance lab; I’ll be making the beer.

What size/type of system will you be brewing on?

We’re brewing on a 10 barrel DME system. We’re double batching into our 20bbl fermentors, which allows us to do back-to-back brews without the wait. DME is based in Charlottetown, so we were happy that the best system for us was also an Atlantic Canadian company that we could feel good about supporting.


Do you know when your beers will be available to the public?

We’re aiming for a December 1st opening, with a grand-opening party sometime mid-December.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.?

An important aspect of our plan is having packaged beer in 16 oz cans. This will allow us to distribute through the ANBL stores, as well as exporting our beer to Nova Scotia, PEI, and also hopefully on to Ontario, Quebec and the US markets eventually. We will also have a taproom at our location where customers can fill growlers, buy cans, and enjoy a pint of our beer with a view of the brewery. We will be organizing regular brewery tours, too.

Do you have any beer bars/restaurants in the area lined up to serve your beers?

So far, we are going to be on tap at the James Joyce, King Street Ale House, and 540 Kitchen & Bar.

Can you tell me about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genres (German, English, etc), of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?

We plan on having two beers in cans, initially: Roseway Red (6% ABV, 70 IBUs), a crisp and refreshing American Amber, and Workhorse IPA (7.2% ABV, 70 IBUs), an American IPA. They will also be available in the taproom, along with two other rotating beers. Rotating beers will include Birdseye Pale Ale (6% ABV, 55 IBUs), an easy-drinking APA; Elevensies Espresso Stout (5% ABV, 43 IBUs), made with Fair Trade Organic espresso beans; Rye IPA (~7% ABV, 75 IBUs), made with Rye malted in Atlantic Canada; Belgian Tripel (9.2% ABV, 25 IBUs), a golden Belgian ale with a dry, complex, fruity taste; and Belgian Quadrupel (11.5% ABV), which has a very complex flavour, and is a real sipper that should appeal to wine drinkers… I hope to have this one ready by Christmas.

Like with any brewery just getting started, our lineup will change over time. We like to say we are style agnostic, but I really like American and Belgian style beers, and you can expect some sours and Brett (Brettanomyces) beers down the line too.


Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?

Too many to mention really. When I decided to jump into this project two years ago and approached a few breweries to ask questions, I was blown away by how much they wanted to help. I’ve made a lot of good friends in the industry already. I’ve even visited breweries in British Columbia, Oregon, D.C., and Germany, and everyone has been very helpful.

With the recent increase in the number of new breweries in Atlantic Canada, what will make Maybee Brewing different from the rest?

This is an interesting question. It’s impossible not to be different, really. Every brewery has its own style, and that’s what makes it so interesting for beer fans. We’re offering a wide variety to people with a huge range of preferences. I don’t need my beer to be everyone’s favorite, but it is my favorite, and that’s a quality standard I’ll hold every beer that leaves our brewery to.

Where do you hope to see Maybee Brewing in the next 2-3 years?

Honestly, I want this to be fun for us, our staff, and anyone who drinks our beer. Once I’m satisfied everyone is having fun with it and the quality is there, I will take a very close look at our environmental impact. Maybe not in 2-3 years, but I plan to have a carbon neutral brewery, running solely on renewable energy. This is attainable and something that is very important to us as a family. We will always be expanding our lineup of beers as well, introducing sours (as I’ve mentioned before), barrel-aged beers, and more interesting styles that aren’t easy to get in New Brunswick.


Do you personally have a favorite beer style? Beer? Brewery?

I’d say right now my favorite beer is Orval.  I love Brett beers done well, and the Trappist monks have perfected the craft.

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with? E.g. a specific malt and/or hop variety?

I really like brewing with local ingredients. One of my current favourites are sumac berries. They have a very tart flavour that goes well with a Witbier. It’s a summery beer, so I’ll probably introduce that as a seasonal next summer.

From what/where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?

The people in the NBCBA have a wealth of knowledge and are willing to share it with anyone. For anyone interested in brewing, even just for fun, join the club. It’s the second best thing that ever happened to my brewing.

We’re excited to welcome yet another new brewery to Fredericton; we’ll be keeping you up-to-date over the coming weeks as Maybee Brewing gets closer to their opening day. And stay tuned for news on their Grand Opening party as well! In the meantime, follow the brewery’s progress through their FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts for constant updates.