All posts for the month December, 2015

Welcome to another early-post week! Things have slowed down, understandably, over the last week, but there’s still some action in the beer world that we wanted to be sure you were all updated on…

• Moncton’s newest brewery, Bore City Brewing, has announced that they have received their license to brew, and hope to have beer flowing by mid-to-late January, 2016. Founders Jamie Melanson, Stéphane Cormier (head brewer), and Denis Babineau (assistant brewer) plan on releasing three initial beers: Mondo, a 6.8% ABV American IPA; Spacetime Odyssey, a 6% ABV American Porter brewed with Galaxy hops; and Marécage, a 7% ABV Belgian-style Saison that features clove and pepper in the aroma and flavour. We’ll be talking with them soon for a Q&A; in the meantime, follow them on their Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates!

Boxing Rock welcomed some of the crew from Upstreet to their home in Shelburne on Tuesday for a special storm-day brew. The second collaboration beer for these two breweries, Rumble in the Alley: Round II, is described as a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) Extra Special Bitter. The grist was made up entirely of Munich malt (one of the very few “specialty malts” that can be used on its own, it provides an enjoyable bready character to beer), with the Santiam hop being featured. Chosen for the floral and lemon qualities it imparts, according to Upstreet brewer Mike Hogan, it should nicely complement the fruity esters that will likely be found in the beer as well, thanks to the English yeast strain chosen for fermentation. Round II should come in at about 6% ABV and 45 IBUs; this one will be released by Boxing Rock, and should hit regular tap accounts in the near future (with the possibility of a bottle release as well).

• Sticking with news from Shelburne, Boxing Rock has released Porter this week, Sunken Ledge. Named after a shoal in Shelburne Harbour, this 5% ABV, 21 IBUs beer’s grain bill uses a Scottish Golden Promise base with darker malts for colour and flavour of chocolate, coffee and molasses. The beer features a medium body, smooth mouthfeel, and light carbonation for a truly inviting drink. It is available on tap and in bottles at the brewery now, at the Seaport and Alderney Landing Farmers’ Markets this weekend (including today’s NYE market), and at the NSLC and private stores next week.

Grimross brewed up a new experimental beer earlier this week. This currently unnamed “Rye Session Ale” was an excuse for brewmaster/owner Stephen Dixon to use two boxes of recently-purchased Tangelos. Similar in taste to a tangerine, the juice was added to the wort at the end of the boil, with the zest added during secondary fermentation for extra aroma and flavour. With a light grist containing a percentage of Rye malt, the beer was fermented with two yeast strains, a neutral American strain and a Belgian Saison strain. Hopped lightly to 23 IBUs with Waimea (a New Zealand variety chosen by Dixon due to its rumoured Tangelo character that it adds), the beer should come in at a sessionable 4.5% ABV. We’ll keep you updated on its release over the next few weeks.

• PEI Brewing Co. has a few re-brews coming down the pipeline this winter. They recently brewed up another batch of their Black Banks Cascadian Dark Ale which should be available on tap and in cans by late January; this batch was hopped with AmarilloNelson Sauvin, and Galaxy, all of which provide plenty of tropical aromas and flavours. The very popular ReAnimator Doppelbock will be brewed very soon, and available after an appropriate lagering phase. This beer is also the base to the Hell Street Barrel-Aged Doppelbock, so good news for lovers of that seasonal, which will return in the fall. Late winter/early spring will see the next release of their large-scale barrel program, currently aging in Jack Daniels barrels in the brewery. All of these (and many more!) are part of PEIBC’s ambitious goal of releasing a new beer every month at the brewery and Gahan House in Charlottetown. Some will be test brews for future wide-release and packaged beers, so be sure to follow along on their Social Media pages for those details, and give them feedback as to which you would like to see again in wider release.

• And staying on the Island, Murphy’s Community Centre at 200 Richmond St has recently totally renovated their lounge and bowling centre. Now called The Alley – 200 Richmond, is now serving up craft beer from all three island craft breweries; BarNone, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. To celebrate, they will be hosting a Brewer’s Ball: Balls Unleashed on January 30th. Beginning at 8pm, brewers, owners, supporters, and employees from each of the three breweries will be competing in a friendly tournament. The professionals will also be joined by members of the PEI Aleanders, the PEI homebrewing and beer appreciation group. There is room for the public to join in the fun as well, as all three local breweries’ beers will be flowing, food service available, with entertainment that evening. Be sure to drop by 200 Richmond Street for a great night of bowling and brews!

• Another friend of PEI beers and breweries is Baba’s Lounge. Beginning Jan 3, PEIBeerGuy will be hosting a Sunday Trivia night at the lounge, from 8-10pm. Enjoy specials on pints, beer (and other) trivia, and the trivia-exclusive $10 Shawarma Nachos, perfect for sharing. There are prizes for the weekly winners, with possibly some giveaways from the breweries for all attendees. A great excuse to shake off the New Year’s hangover, and enjoy some (more) Island craft beer! As we previously mentioned, don’t forget to pick up tickets for their BarNone beer dinner, January 24th at 6pm. Four courses of food and beer pairing, plus a glass to keep, for only $49 (includes tax and tip). And then stick around for that evening’s trivia!

• The experimental beers keep coming from Good Robot. Released this week is a Smoked Molasses Port’r, available only at their Tap Room. Brewed on their Sabco Brew-Magic system, these guest and experimental brews are perfect for testing out new recipes, techniques, and having a bit of fun. Stop by today for a pint!

A reminder that several breweries and bars in the region are holding special events tonight and tomorrow, check last week’s post for more details (and you will want to double check that places are open before going for a drink or to fill your growler). That’s all of the news for this week, and this year! Thanks to all of you for following along and reading this year. The beer scene in our region shows no sign of slowing down, with at least a dozen new breweries and brewpubs opening in 2016. Cheers!

Despite the holiday season, our brewing friends have not slowed down one bit! From new breweries to new beers and holiday events, this week has been a busy one!

• Another new brewery has quietly opened in New Brunswick – Johnny Jacks, located at 281 Restigouche Rd in Oromocto, is the newest nanobrewery in the province. Father and daughter David and Vanessa Foss, along with Young Joo Lee, are sharing the brewing responsibilities on their 100 L Blichmann system. The brewery is named after a colourful homebrewing grandfather in the family, Jack ‘Johnny’ Gullison, and is currently serving two beer styles on tap next door at the Sour Grape Cafe (which is co-owned by David Foss). The first beer is their Smokin’ Amber, a “caramelly, sweet, earthy, rich and warm” beer that weighs in at 5.1% ABV and 29 IBUs. The next, Showshoe Winter Ale, is a darker ale that the brewery describes as “layered chocolate with a whisper of vanilla”; this one is a bit stronger at 5.7% ABV and 32 IBUs. While currently only on tap at the Sour Grape, they hope to be able to expand to other accounts in the near future. We’ll have more details on their venture, soon!

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released a new beer this week, Hyper-Galactic India Pale Lager. The IPL is the cousin of the IPA, featuring assertive hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness, but brewed using lager yeast for a crisp finish, minimizing the characteristic esters and other yeast-derived aromatics from most ale strains. Hyper-Galactic comes in at 7% ABV and around 75 IBUs, with hop aromatics of passionfruit, mango and tangerine dominating. Loads of Australian went into this beer for a taste that’s outta this world! (sorry, I’ll see myself out) Hyper-Galactic is available at the brewery and adjacent Charm School now, and will be on tap at Unfiltered’s other tap accounts shortly. The arrival of the IPL signals the departure (for now) of the very popular DOA (Double Orange Ale), but we understand it will make a return in the New Year. Be sure to grab a pint or snarl of the slightly-modified Exile on North Street IPA, changes to the hopping schedule have this beer exhibiting big hop aroma, while still registering as gluten reduced (less than 5ppm). And for those of you in the The Club, your 2015 edition Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, King of Kings, is ready for pickup. Enjoy this 11.9%, 100 IBU brew during the next few chilly months, or save the bottle for enjoyment later (this style of beer is perfect for aging in a cellar). For those not in the club, you may be SOL.

• On January 1st, Upstreet will be participating in Charlottetown’s New Year’s Day Levee schedule, with a day full of music, food, and (of course) beer! The 2016 Kick-Off will begin at 10 am, and takes place all day until 10 pm. Six different bands will provide live music from 10:30 am on, $4 pints will be pouring in the taproom (as well as various beer cocktails), free brewery tours will be put on, and a special brunch menu will be available from chef John Pritchard. Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to Upstreet’s brand new Do-Good Fund. This charitable program has been set up to support community initiatives throughout the year; a portion of the proceeds from every Do-Gooder APA will go into this fund. And in other Upstreet news, their White Noize White IPA (7% ABV, 70 IBUs) is now available for purchase in bottles at the brewery and select PEILCC stores; be sure to pick some up, they make the perfect last-minute stocking stuffer!

• Not to be outdone, PEI Brewing Co. is also holding their own Levee event on January 1st; with last year’s inaugural event attracting over 500 people, they hope to have even more this year. Full bar service at the brewery will be available, with $2 half-pints featured, along with free chili and gourmet popcorn, and live entertainment. And if you’d like to really enjoy yourself, there will be a free shuttle running throughout downtown to take you to and from the brewery! There’s no charge to attend.

• There’s a new Double IPA on tap Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) this week. Weighing in at 7.8% ABV and about 90 IBU, this big brew features loads of Topaz dry-hopping, for resinous, grassy, and fruit aromas to complement the assertive bitterness. It is on tap for enjoyment on the waterfront now, as well as for growler fills. And look for a pair of lagers from Brewmaster Karen Allen in the new year, including a Schwarzbier in early January.

• The opening of the Good Robot Tap Room in Halifax has allowed the creative juices of Brewmaster Doug Kehoe to flow freely, and as such, he’s put together some experimental brews. The latest to hit the taps is a Märzen. This traditional German Amber beer is given the GR Twist by small additions of Smoked and Rye malt. German hops, in Magnum and Tettnang, were used for a light bitterness and aroma. The 5% Märzen is available on tap at the Tap Room only, and will not last long, so don’t delay. And just a note that the brewery and Tap Room will be open regular hours during the Christmas holiday; check their website for hours.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery released a new beer at their tap room yesterday, Soleil Belgique IPA. This golden-coloured 7.4% Belgian IPA was brewed with floor-malted pilsner malt and toasted wheat, for a medium body and pleasant mouthfeel. Generous amounts of European hops (including Jaryllo) offer a fantastic aroma of pineapple to complement the yeast aromatics of clove and sage. Look for Soleil Belgique on tap at Big Axe’s accounts around Fredericton shortly.

• The James Joyce has tentatively scheduled their next Meet Your Maker event for Wednesday, December 30th, featuring soon-to-open Maybee Brewing. If all goes as planned for licensing, this will be an official launch party for the brewery as well. Two of their flagship beers will be pouring (Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA), and owner/brewer Paul Maybee will be on hand to chat beer and answer questions. For more info on Maybee Brewing and their beers, check out our Q&A with Paul from October.

• Halifax’s Bar Stillwell will be closed for the next few days (Dec 24-26), and again on Dec 31, but they are holding a levee of their own on January 1st. Opening at noon, they will be featuring a load hoppy, sour, wood-aged, and vintage beers from the cellar all day. And of course, they will have some excellent food to complement, including smoked brisket, a special breakfast sandwich, and pajeon. A few more specific details are available here.

• Need some local cider for Christmas or New Year, but don’t have time to pick it up? Red Rover to the rescue! Customers in Fredericton can fill out an online order form and receive (or send) a gift pack of cider to keep them warm during this holiday week. Details are available here. They’re also offering a Christmas Selection Case, which includes twelve 750 mL bottles (four each of their Spring, Fall and Fire) for $108, which saves you $1 per bottle.

• Bottles of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (this year’s release is a Cranberry Chocolate Porter) are flying off the shelves at both the brewery and NLC. Adding to that Christmas feeling is their Cranberry Cider, a 6.5% ABV cider prepared with West-Coast Newfoundland cranberries. It is on tap at the brewery now, and will be available in bottles shortly at select NLCs.

• And in more great news for Newfoundland breweries, the crew at Port Rexton Brewing received word that the environmental assessment for their future location has been approved by the Minister. This was a non-trivial hurdle to overcome in their future home, and it’s very exciting to come through before major construction was to take place. Look for their launch mid-2016.

A few parting notes this morning: Grimross has announced that they’ve officially hired their new brewer, Martin Henderson, a graduate of Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management. Congratulations, Martin! Look for their Dubbel Noel (and Pump House’s Winter Warmer) on the ANBL growler fill stations this week. The barrel-aged version of Tatamagouche’s Ging’ Sync: Rye Rye Rye will be launching very shortly. Look for it in bottles at the brewery store shortly. Halifax’s Granite Brewery has their popular Darkside Black IPA back on tap for growler fills at the brewery, and their tap accounts around HRM. And more good news for Fredericton beer fans, Gray Stone Brewery has found their forever home! The brewery will be opening at 221 King Street in 2016. A reminder that the provincial stores (as well as many private and brewery stores) will be closed Dec 25 & 26, so today may be your last day in a while to pick up some local craft beer. Be sure to check your favourite bars’ and restaurants’ website or social media pages before heading out for a pint over the next few days, just to be sure. Have a safe Christmas, and we’ll hit you with another batch of beer news next week.

Good morning, all! Whether you’re all finished of your Christmas shopping, or are in the middle of a mad, stressful rush like most of us, it’s time to sit back and relax with a bit of Atlantic Canada beer news…

Breton Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Storm Chaser is described as a Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. Featuring a creamy mouthfeel thanks to the addition of oatmeal in the grist, the beer also has a good amount of vanilla in both the aroma and flavour (vanilla was added during the conditioning phase). Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it is currently on tap at the brewery for growler fills and pints. You’ll be also be able to find it at better beer bars in Halifax and Sydney, and the private beer stores in Halifax for growler fills.

• Over at Tatamagouche Brewing, they’re re-releasing their seasonal holiday brew, Maple Squash Ale. This complex brew features additions of locally grown and roasted Red Kuri Squash from Waldegrave Farms, maple syrup from Sugar Moon, and a mixture of Tatabrew’s “favourite holiday spices”. Hopped with Malagash-grown Golding and Willamette varieties, this 5.1% ABV ale is truly a unique beer, with plenty of local ingredients! Available in growlers and cans at the brewery, and at select beer bars/restaurants in Nova Scotia.

• There’s lots of news coming out of Schoolhouse Brewery in Falmouth this week! A plebiscite to lift the liquor limitations in their area passed, paving the way for expansion beyond their in-home brewery in 2016. They have also announced the launch of their Locally Hopped Series, coming this weekend. Inspired by the hop producers in their region, Brewmaster Tim Burns put together four new beers to showcase the harvest. Look for four new beers out this weekend: Big Red Schoolhouse Imperial Red, 7.5%ABV; DesBarres Reserve Biere de Garde, 6.8%ABV; Scotian Export Scottish Ale, 5.8%ABV; and Kings Row Chequers Strong Porter, 6.5%. Featuring hops from the Schoolhouse farm in Falmouth (Cascade, Goldings), Wentworth Creek Farm in Windsor, (Galena, Newport, Nugget, Zeus), Castle Frederick Farms in Falmouth (Galena, MagnumZeus) and Elleslea Farm in Sheffield Mills (Fuggles, Galena, Newport). These beers will be making their debut in 650ml bottles at the Wolfville Farmers Market this Saturday. Schoolhouse *may* be taking orders for Halifax customers in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the details.

• This weekend marks the biggest movie event of the year, and maybe even the decade… the new Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel! No, of course we’re talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Red Rover has released two ciders to celebrate: the DarkCider and Emperor’s Reserve. The DarkCider is a 7% aged Black Velvet, a blend of stout with their Spring cider, which cuts the body of the beer, while retaining the roast and chocolate character as a complement to the flavour of the cider. It first made its debut at the Brewer’s Bash in 2014, andis brewed in collaboration with Picaroons. Emperor’s Reserve is a brand new cider, crafted using the Empire apple variety. This semi-dry 7% cider starts with a smooth sweetness, and finishes with a crisp, acidic, bite. Both ciders are available today only, beginning at 2pm at the Ciderhouse. And while there, look for the re-release of Jingleberry, a 7% ABV semi-dry featuring the addition of wild blueberries to give the cider a mild tartness and dark-purple colour, just in time for the holidays!

• In other Star Wars news (come on, it’s a major movie event!), Picaroons has re-released a new iteration on their JED-IPA. Originally a hopped-up version of their Yippee IPA released over two years ago, this recent batch was dry-hopped with “an astronomical amount” of Orbit and Galaxy; both are Southern Hemisphere varieties known for giving intense tropical fruit aromas and flavours when used in brewing. It’s available for growler fills now at the Brewtique. Also, if you’re missing out on the daily growler released of their 12 Beers of Christmas, good news! The King Street Ale House has been receiving a keg of each beer to go on tap the day after its release at the Brewtique (Saturday and Sunday’s release will both arrive on the following Monday), which allows you the chance to try the beer if you couldn’t make it to the Brewtique for the 4 pm release. There’s still six days of releases left, so be sure to continue to follow along on social media for announcements on each day’s beer.

Pump House brought their Nor’Easter Beater Winter Warmer back recently, just in time for the nasty weather New Brunswick had to endure earlier this week. This malt-forward English style was brewed with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for a spicy flavour. The 7.0% beer is on tap at the brewery now.

• The much anticipated co-release from Big Spruce and Boxing Rock will be available beginning tomorrow. Triskaidekaphobia is a 9%, 40 IBU Imperial Brown Ale that these two breweries scared together on November 13th. Since brewday, the beer has been aging on cherries and vanilla beans for a brew worthy of wrapping and putting under the tree next week. The beer will be released tomorrow at both breweries (though we understand there may be a sneak peek available today), their market stalls in Shelburne, Halifax, Dartmouth, and Sydney, private stores in Halifax, and on tap around the province. Don’t delay in grabbing some of this beer, and remember that there will be a barrel-aged version of Triska coming in 2016.

• Both Big Spruce and Boxing Rock had busy weeks, inviting visitors in to their respective brewhouses. On Monday, Big Spruce welcomed Eric Gauthier and Justin Clarke to brew up Eric’s Home Brew Challenge-winning Czech Dark Lager. Look for this beer to be released in late January, after an appropriate lagering period. On Tuesday, Justin and Eric took the reigns with a Sour IPA featuring loads of hops to complement the acidic bite from the lactobacillus. This beer will be available mid-January, and will see its release at the Local Connections Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration January 14th. Finally, Aaron Spinney of Sawdust City in Gravenhurst, ON, came by to brew a Pine Needle IPA, featuring over a kilogram of pine needles (not branches!) from Ontario and Big Spruce’s own farm. And of course, our very own Cold Remedy Lemon Ginger Witbier was released yesterday, and is appearing on taps in Cape Breton and Halifax now.

• In Shelburne, homebrewer Jason McDougall visited Boxing Rock to brew up another batch of his Stillwell Open beer, featuring heather flowers, on a base beer brewed with peated malt. Again, look for this to be released in the New Year.

Good Robot’s Tap Room is officially opening today at noon. In addition to their flagship beers, they will be pouring another 8 on their taps, including a couple of tap room exclusives brewed on their pilot system: an experimental Märzen  and a Session IPA brewed with Chris McDonald. Also on tap at opening: Bad Apple Mosaic DIPA, Big Spruce Cold Remedy Belgian WitUncle Leo’s Cream StoutUnfiltered 12 Years to Zion DIPAShipbuilders Cider, and Stutz Wild Blueberry Cider. Going forward, the Tap Room will be open daily (except Monday) at 4pm, with an earlier noon opening Fri-Sun.

• The Townhouse in Antigonish has announced the details of their NYE Party. They are holding a Brewer’s Bash, and have invited several of the areas brewers to take part: Karen Allen of Halifax’s Gahan House (a native of Antigonish), Tim Burns of Falmouth’s Schoolhouse, Karl Whiffen of Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s, and the Townhouse’s own Terry Piercey. The five-course meal (prepared by chef Jacob Buckley) will feature lobster, oysters, rabbit, pork, and wild chanterelles, each paired with a local beer. The brewers will also talk about the process of brewing, pairing, tasting, and enjoying beer. Tickets are available at the Townhouse now, either in person or over the phone. Previous events have sold out, so be sure to pick them up now!

• Early next year (Saturday, January 30th) will mark the first NB HopSpiel event for Fredericton. Organized by those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, the event will feature a day of outdoor curling in Officer’s Square, along with access to the FROSTival Beer Garden, where approximately seven breweries will be pouring up to 15 different beers, ciders and mead. Teams of four are currently being formed; you can register your team for $200, or $50 per person (don’t worry, if you can’t muster up a team of four, extras will be formed into teams). The registration fee includes a minimum of three games, six 4 oz samples at the beer garden (extra beers will be available for purchase), and a lunch of chili and rolls, plus hot beverages. Participants are invited to attend a social gathering on Friday night from 6-8 pm, where you can “brush” up on your curling skills before the big event. Tickets are available online; remember, BYO broom!

• Montreal’s excellent Dieu du Ciel! has announced that Saturday, February 27th will be the next date for their annual Péché Day, and this year Atlantic Canada will be participating! Celebrating their world class Péché Mortel, a coffee-infused Imperial Stout, the brewery/brewpub releases 13 different variants and vintages of the beer in-house; six of these are also sent to 24 participating beer bars in Canada. This year, Bar Stillwell and Tide and Boar will be receiving six kegs each to be tapped on the 27th. No word yet as to which kegs they will be receiving, but mark this date in your calendars, and make the trip to sample several variants of one of the highest-rated beers brewed in Canada!

Enjoy your weekend! If you’re in the Saint John area, Big Tide has their Three Pages to the Wind “Whiskey Pale Ale” and Bockman-Turner Overweiz (a Weizenbock) back on tap for a limited time. And the Hammond River “White Stout”, White Walker, is now available at select accounts; a 7.2% ABV, pale-coloured beer with the addition of Foghorn coffee, it was further conditioned on cacao nibs to give it a “slight smoky flavour” with the coffee and chocolate. Just a note that next week’s schedule may be altered a bit with the end-of-year holidays. Depending on news (and the number of beer we get into), we may push forward, or back, next Friday’s release.