All posts for the month January, 2016

Good morning! Once again, things are really hopping this week with beer news in Atlantic Canada. We might as well get used to it, as it’s only going to continue to rise!

• Attention South Shore residents, we’ve got details of a new brewery heading your way! Saltbox Brewing will be opening this summer at 363 Main Street in Mahone Bay. The 12 hectolitre brewhouse will be producing beer for restaurants and pubs, Farmers’ Markets in Lunenburg County, and with distribution into HRM as well. While they haven’t settled on exact recipes yet, they expect to launch with a Wheat Ale, Pale Ale, and IPA. Renovations continue at their location, which will include retail sales and a taproom. We’ll keep you up-to-date on their progress.

Grimross has brewed up a new beer in their Maritime series, which should be released soon. Maritime Black IPA will feature “lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose and palate”, thanks to the addition of dark, roasted malts to the grist. Hopped and dry-hopped with all-New Brunswick-grown Cascade and Chinook (from Moose Mountain Hops), expect some serious fruitiness on the nose with this beer! Like the other beers in this series, it was fermented with a neutral American Ale yeast strain, to let the malt and hops shine through. Weighing in at 6.7% ABV and 61 IBUs, it should be available on tap and for growler fills by next week or so. Grimross also announced that they have just brewed their popular Rye IPA this week, after a hiatus of over a year; look for that one to return sometime in February.

• After some feedback from customers and tap accounts, Flying Boats will be bringing back their Kissing Rock Blonde Ale, their self-described “almost-session-like” beer at 5.3% ABV. With a grist made up mostly of Canadian 2-row base malt (and a little specialty malt for a bit of complexity), the beer is hopped to 32 IBUs with Centennial. A “clean” and easy-drinking beer, it’s meant to please craft beer lovers, while easing beginners out of mass-produced light Lagers. It will be pouring tomorrow at Fredericton’s NB HopSpiel, and will be available at select accounts soon as well.

First City continues to test the waters with new styles, as they released another new beer earlier in the week. Rye Pale Ale was brewed with a “significant amount” of Rye malt to give the beer its characteristic spiciness, and was hopped with Mt. Hood and Columbus throughout the boil, resulting in a “citrusy/floral aroma”, according to the brewery. It comes in at 6.8% ABV, and was first tapped at the James Joyce in Fredericton. Look for kegs to be tapped at Bourbon Quarter and the R-Bar in Saint John any day now.

• The winning entry for this year’s Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is now available. Czech Out Eric, a Czech Dark Lager brewed with competition winners Eric Gautier and Justin Clarke, was step-mashed and fermented cool (the historically-correct approach to brewing this style), and then lagered for a period to allow the flavours to smooth out even more. A malt-forward beer, it’s easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV and 25 IBUs. You can find it at the brewery now for growler fills, and it should be hitting taps soon/now at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Good Robot taproom.

• The PEI Brewing Co. brewed up a Russian Imperial Stout a while back; this is the beer that went into barrels a couple of months ago. While that portion of beer is still taking in barrel character, the un-barreled version – named Tide She RISes – has been released at select locations on tap (at PEIBC and Gahan House in Charlottetown, as well as Stillwell in Halifax, and the Saint John Ale House and Lemongrass in Saint John). It weighs in at a hefty 8% ABV and 70 IBUs. They plan on emptying the barrels and bottling that version in 4-6 weeks, which will be released as this year’s Ice Boat. Also, keep an eye out for the return of Black Banks, which was canned this week and will be shipping to the PEILCC and ANBL shortly. This 5.2% ABV, 50 IBUs Black IPA/India Black Ale was hopped with AmarilloNelson Sauvin, and Galaxy.

• One of the brewers from PEI Brewing Co posted a great introduction on some of the Quality Control steps the beers at PEIBC go through before it leaves their brewery. With even a small lab, they are able to confirm proper carbonation, ensure low dissolved oxygen (to prevent oxidization), and make sure that the beer contains no spoiling yeasts and bacteria, via plating. Sending out a proper product is important to the brewery, and drinkers, to be sure you are enjoying the beer the way the brewery intended! Check it out here.

• Speaking of PEI breweries, drop by The Alley this Saturday, where BarNone, Gahan, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet will be facing off in a winner-take-all battle for bowling domination. Each brewery will have a team or two, and there will several lanes available for the public to take part in the fun. They will be pouring beer from all of the local breweries, and after the bowling is done, there will be live entertainment from Adam MacGregor and The Foes. The fun kicks off at 7:30 pm; check out the details here.

• Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has brewed up a pair of new beers that are out now/hitting the taps soon. Sassy Blonde Ale is a 3.9% ABV, 20 IBUs Blonde Ale, with a slightly sweet, biscuity character from the malt, and light fruit character from hops. This beer has been spotted on tap at the James Joyce. The second new beer is Viking Ale. Brewed in the spirit of the style of ale brewed by Vikings centuries ago, this amber-coloured beer features additions of Heather tips, mugwort, and unpasteurized honey for spicy aromas and flavours. Backed up by “earthy, aromatic hops”, this one should be available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe by mid-February.

• Quite similarly, Pump House will be releasing Gruit on International Gruit Day this Monday, February 1st. Gruit is a centuries-old style that features the addition of multiple plants to add variety of aromas and flavours. Pump House brewed up a very small batch (one keg only) for release only at their brewpub in Moncton. This beer has had Sweetgale, Woodruff, Mugwort and Wormwood added. It won’t last long in such a limited supply, so be sure to drop by the brewpub this Monday if you’d like a taste!

• We have the details on today’s weekly 7th Wave Series from Spindrift: Signal Fire is described by the brewery as a “Rauch Pils” (think: smoky-Pilsner). Smoked cherry malt was used in the grist to give the light-amber-coloured beer a “distinct smoky flavour” to go along with the sweet and fruity characteristics. It’s 5.7% ABV and 25 IBUs, and – as usual – won’t last long due to the small quantity brewed (last week’s Knotty Buoy sold out before 5pm); drop by the brewery today for a growler fill. And a note for our readers in PEI and New Brunswick: Spindrift will soon be available in your local LCs. No exact dates just yet, but we do know that a shipment was made to the Island, and that the same will be done shortly for New Brunswick. And, in case you didn’t know, their flagship Coastal Lager is already available province-wide in Newfoundland and Labrador.

• Uncle Leo’s is releasing a new beer today, an American Pale Ale named Jam Session. Bittered with Magnum, it features Cascade in both the late additions and the dry-hop, for lots of fruit and citrus in the nose. Quite sessionable at 5% ABV and 35 IBUs, you can find it in bottles at the brewery in Pictou, and at all four private liquor stores in Halifax this weekend. It will also be available at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at better beer establishments in Halifax.

• There’s been lots going on at Paddy’s Irish Brewpub recently, so let’s get you up to speed! There are several new beers available on tap at both their Kentville and Wolfville locations, and Head Brewer Kirsten MacDonald is sharing the details with us:
– Mocha Stout, which was brewed with four pounds of cold-pressed coffee (sourced from local roaster Just Us!). Big roasty coffee flavours are balanced by subtle dark chocolate notes from the addition of chocolate malt. This 5.1% ABV, 25 IBUs ale also has a slight sweetness from the addition of lactose.
– Pilsner is a classic German-style lager. Hopped with Saaz, a noble European variety, to balance its light maltiness, making for a “pleasing and approachable brew”. 5.8% ABV, 30 IBUs.
Extra Special Bitter, Paddy’s latest hoppy beer, is amber-coloured and showcases earthy, piney, and light citrusy hop flavours and a robust bitterness, all of which “complement the caramel malt notes”. 5.5% ABV, 50 IBUs.
– Weizenbock is their seasonal feature this time of year, a hearty, dark German wheat beer. With aromas and flavours of clove and banana to pair with the rich chocolate and caramel maltiness, it’s a great style to be drinking this time of year. This one comes in a bit stronger at 6.8% ABV, and 25 IBUs.

• In more news from Paddy’s, they are holding a Brewer’s Dinner next Wednesday, Feb 2nd. From 7-9pm, upstairs in the Brewer’s Hall at their Wolfville location, the talented chefs have worked directly with Head Brewer MacDonald to create a four-course meal prepared with and to pair with their beers. As MacDonald is vegetarian, those are options for each course as well. Choices of mussels or cheddar ale soup to start, Parmesan risotto as an appetizer, pork tenderloin or marinated seitan with sweet potato puree as an entree, and carrot cake to finish, all paired with different Paddy’s beers. Tickets are only $30+tax and in limited numbers, available at Paddy’s and by phone (902-542-0059).

• Over at Halifax’s Gahan, we can expect to see an upcoming batch of their Kellerbier on tap soon. This malty-sweet beer has a hazy appearance thanks to large, late additions of the Hersbrucker hop, giving the aroma some herbal and floral notes. Carbonation will be low, as the beer was brewed in the traditional sense. It was also infused with oak, “to mimic the wooden barrels it would have been served in back in the day”, according to brewer Karen Allen. It should come in at 5% ABV and 30-35 IBUs.

• After a very popular event earlier this month, the crew at Good Robot are holding another quiet reading event at their Tap Room next week. Drop by The Imbibrary on Tuesday, Feb 2, from 6-8pm, where the music will be turned down, cellphones are to be powered off, and books and beer are the focus. Be sure to arrive early, as the first event ended up being a packed house! While there, or even sooner, grab a pint of their Burban Legend American Pale Ale, back again from a brief hiatus. This version 3.0 features Cascade and Citra used prominently in the brew and dry-hopping, for a big citrus aroma.

• Tickets are now available for the next Beer Tasting at Bishop’s Cellar. Being held next Friday, Feb 5, this informal tasting will give a nice overview of the beers currently available on their shelves. They will be tasting both local and imported beer, for a great variety of tastes and styles. Ever wanted to try one of the neat beers on their shelves before committing to a full bottle? Now’s your chance! As always, these are catered events with snacks to keep you happy. Grab your tickets today!

Stillwell Beer Bar has released their plans for Valentine’s Day, and we’re all invited. They’re sharing the love with Tatamagouche Brewing, who are taking over their taps with a dozen draft beers and three casks. In addition to Tata’s core brands, the expected list will include brews from their Giant Beer series (Giantess Barley Wine, Two Rivers Baltic PorterRussian Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, and both 2014 and 2015 vintages of Barrel Aged Dreadnot), and their recent hoppier beers, Full Circle American Wheat, Deception Bay IPA, and Deadeye DIPA. In addition to these, they will be debuting a SW x Tata collaboration, a hoppy, West Coast version of an English Golden Ale. We’ll share the intimate details of that brew ahead of the party. One of Stillwell’s events would not be complete without some great food, so keep an eye out for some sexy food for “Lovers” and a tongue-in-cheek take on “Loners” food… think solo-sized bucket of chicken, and a tub of cookie-dough ice cream. Tickets are on sale now, for a single session beginning at 4 pm, and the price will include a custom event t-shirt.

• They have also shared their plans for Péché Mortel Day. The famous Coffee Stout from Montreal’s Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is being released Feb 27, and local bars Stillwell (and Moncton’s Tide and Boar) are taking part. In Halifax, they will be pouring the 9.5% ABV original beer, plus five variants (Péché Mortel Dry, a drier-finishing and higher ABV (10%) version; Péché Mortel Special, with a different type of coffee in the brew; Péché Mortel Bourbon 2015, last year’s release aged for at least 6 months in Bourbon barrels; Péché Veniel, a 6.5% ABV lighter version of the original; Péché aux pêches, the original brew with peaches added to the brews). The party kicks off at noon, no tickets are required, and small pours are available to make it easier to try them all.

• Tickets for the evening session of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March are officially sold out! Luckily, there are some tickets still left for the afternoon session, so if you missed out on evening tickets, now’s your chance to still get in to sample a huge amount of local, craft beer! Events for the days leading up to the festival (making up the first Fredericton Craft Beer Week) are coming together; click here to start planning! We’ve created a calendar to make planning for the week a little easier. It can be added to your own calendar (desktop or on your phone) by clicking the “+ Google Calendar” link in the lower right.

• And in other FCBF news, remember that the first NB HopSpiel takes place tonight/tomorrow in Fredericton. While team registration for the curling is closed, there are still tickets available for the FROSTival Beer Garden tomorrow from 12-6 pm, featuring six different local breweries pouring various samples of beer, cider and mead.

• A reminder that NS Craft Beer Week is coming back in May. One of the events we took part in last year was the Science of Beer event at the Discovery Centre. Good news, the event is back, bigger than ever, and tickets are now on sale! Taking over the DC on May 12 will be six breweries (Boxing Rock, Garrison, Propeller, Sea Level, Spindrift, and Tatamagouche), each giving presentations on different parts of the brewing – and drinking – process. Angeline MacLennan will be joined by our own Chris McDonald to give an introduction/overview talk, and wander around the space causing trouble. Grab your tickets today, it was a fun time last year! We’ve set up a calendar for NS Craft Beer Week as well, and will be sharing more details on the events as we receive them.

A few parting shots this week:
– On the ANBL Growler fills this week: the return of Caraquet Flyer Eisbock from Distillierie Fils du Roy.
BarNone Brewery has a pair of hoppy beers coming our way soon: Vic’s Citra Secrets and Proud Warrior IPA were brewed up this week, and will be released in early March.
Unfiltered has just re-released their extremely popular Double Orange Ale, their SMaSH ale brewed with 2-row and boatloads of the delicious Citra hop.
– Garrison has both their Pucker Up and Pear Hug back on tap at the brewery for growler fills. And don’t forget, homebrewers, that your entries for the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off are soon due; bottles of your Experimental IPA need to be dropped off by Thursday, Feb. 11th.

Beer time! Have a great weekend!

Happy Friday, loyal beer fans! Grab a pint and get your weekend started with some light beer reading.

• After receiving their license to brew just a few weeks ago, Bore City Brewing in Moncton have sold their first kegs. One of their first three flagship beers, Marécage (a 7% ABV Belgian Saison), will be on tap tonight at the James Joyce in Fredericton, just in time for the Joyce’s One Year Anniversary of their expanded keg fridge! For those of you in Moncton, fear not… the beer will also be on tap this weekend at Les Brumes du Coude, with other tap accounts following in the near future. We’ll have a Q&A post on this 1/2 BBL brewery for you very soon!

• More details on James Joyce’s event: It is the one year anniversary of their expanded keg fridge (allowing them to carry beer from every brewery in New Brunswick), and they will be fully stocked tonight – with Happy Hour pricing on Fredericton breweries’ beers – serving birthday cake, and having a grand time! New Saint John brewery First City will have their Chocolate Coffee Stout available. Drop by for the fun, beginning at 5pm. And keep an eye out for their Wassailing event February 6th with Red Rover, similar to their “Meet Your Maker” event, where they will be pouring multiple ciders during the evening. Red Rover’s Bee Cider, made with honey from the hives on James Joyce’s roof, is currently available in the pub.

• And speaking of Red Rover, their cider is now available at the ANBL Growler filling stations for the first time this weekend. After a very successful launch of their bottles last week, their Fire Cider is on tap at the Dieppe, Fredericton, Sackville and Saint John growler stations while supplies last. And check out ANBL’s page for availability of their bottles.

Meander River recently released their newest seasonal, Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout. Featuring 20% rolled oats in the grain bill, the 5% ABV Stout features an aromatic coffee and cocoa profile. As the brewery puts it, “The breakfast of champions!” On tap now at the brewery and the Flying Apron Cookery, kegs were also sent to Battery Park.

• Also out this week from Meander River is their latest seasonal cider, Winterlude.  This unique blend features McIntosh, Northern Spy, Russet, and GoldRush apples, all sourced from Davison Farms in Falmouth. The 5.5% ABV cider has a semi-dry finish, crisp character, is cleanly fermented, and lightly carbonated. As with all of their ciders, the recipe blend changes with the seasons and apple availability, so if you’re a cider fan, it’s always a good idea to try the latest release.

• The new beer from Grimross that we mentioned a few weeks ago is now available on tap at the brewery. Ryes-N-Shine was brewed with approximately 40 kg of Tangelos (both the fruit and zest were used) and a “significant amount” of Rye malt. Fermented with two yeast strains (one a Belgian Saison strain, one American), this light-coloured ale comes in at 4.9% ABV and 23 IBUs. Owner/brewer Stephen Dixon describes the beer as “light and crisp, with a clean palate”, with the rye and citrus being subtle, but present. Look for it on tap at Grimross tap accounts in the province as well.

• Judging for the Hammond River 2nd Annual Home Brew Competition took place last Sunday at the Saint John Ale House. The style was Strong Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy); judges were impressed with the quality of the entries received, but ultimately a winner had to be selected. Nova Scotia homebrewers Keith Forbes and Mike Orr received the top prize with their Tilted Kilt, and actually came in second with their other entry, Kilted Tilt! Third place went to Newfoundland’s Mark McGraw, with his More Than Just a Wee Heavy. Both Forbes and Orr will be travelling to Hammond River soon, to brew a full-sized batch of their beer with owner/brewer Shane Steeves, to be released at select HR accounts. Congratulations to the winners!

Spindrift is continuing their series of weekly brews on their Pilot system (their 7th Wave series), with this week’s new beer being released today at the brewery at noon. Knotty Buoy is another interesting one: it’s a sour mashed Wheat Lager that has been aged on chopped rhubarb, cranberries, and hibiscus tea. Described by the brewery as “pouring ruby red, with a clean tartness complimented by bright fruit aromatics”, it comes in at a sessionable 4.3% ABV (and 10 IBUs). As always with the 7th Wave beers, there will be a very limited amount available when released, and only for growler fills, so get there quickly to fill up!

• Charlottetown’s Gahan House has released a new dark lager this week. Cast Iron is 5% ABV and 36 IBUs. Dark brown in colour thanks to Blackprinz malt on top of a 2-Row, Munich, and Cara60 grain bill. The beer features a moderate malt and slight roast character, leads into a medium hop bitterness, making this an easy to drink take on the European style. It is on tap at the brewery now, and can be taken away in growler fills as well.

• Over in Nyanza, Big Spruce is releasing their latest “Conspiracy” beer; this one is being described as a “Pine Needle IPA” that was brewed in collaboration with Ontario’s Sawdust City Brewing. Read Between the Pines has a “deep pine needle complexity”, with plenty of tropical fruit and pine thanks to large, late additions (and a dry hop) of both Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe, and a “big splash” of Galaxy as a second dry hop. Weighing in at 7.2% ABV and 48 IBUs, this sounds like a great one! It’s available for growler fills at the brewery right now, and show follow at select accounts very soon. And keep your eyes peeled for the 3rd Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Competition-winning Czech Dark Lager, brewed by Eric Gautier and Justin Clarke at the brewery, to be released next week. Finally, the 2016 version of Coade Word: Snowmaggedon was brewed earlier this week, and will be popping up on tap sometime in February.

• Speaking of embracing homebrewers, Boxing Rock has released a beer brewed with homebrewer Jason MacDougall. MacDougall visited Shelburne in December, and brewed up a Scottish Ale featuring a healthy portion of Peat Malt, and 35 kilos(!) of Heather flowers. To offset the floral kick, local wildflower honey and a light dose of Fuggles was added to the mix. Professor McDougall’s Oban Heather Scottish Ale weighs in at 5% ABV and will be available this weekend at the brewery, Alderney and Seaport Farmers’ Markets, private beer stores, and on tap in Halifax and Antigonish.

• Also released this weekend is their collaboration with Charlottetown’s Upstreet, Rumble in the Alley 2. This SMaSH IPA was brewed with Dark German Munich malt and Ontario-grown Santiam hops from Clear Valley Hops in Ontario. The resultant IPA features malt notes of biscuit and honey, and hop notes of spice and citrus. Rumble in the Alley 2 will be available this weekend at the brewery, and at the private stores, Farmers’ Markets, and on tap, next week.

Good Robot is releasing a new beer today that is definitely on the “different” side. When homebrewing last summer, they discovered a currently-unidentified microbe in the brewery that “generates a lemon-like, funky character” when added to their beers. They’ve investigated with a bit of microscopic viewing, and know that it’s neither Brettanomyces (a wild yeast) or Lactobacillus (a bacteria); they plan on sending it to the professionals for some thorough work. In the meantime, they’ve added it to a batch of their corn beer, and then dry-hopped it with Falconer’s Fight and Cascade to add even more citrus character to the aroma. The final product, Bank of Azealia, should be available at the taproom later today for pints and growler fills.

• Next Tuesday, January 26th, is Australia Day. Needing only the flimsiest of reasons to throw a party (OK, OK, their head bartender is Australian), the crew at Good Robot will be going all out to celebrate. Starting at 4pm, they’ll be blasting the Triple J Hottest 100, playing Australian movies on the projector, and serving kangaroo sausages, meat pies, and holding a meat raffle. While they won’t have Toohey’s or VB, they will have tinnies of Foster’s in the fridge in case their lineup of brews doesn’t quite quench your thirst after your walkabout. For the rest of the details, check out the Event page. And drop by this Sunday at 4pm for some vinyl love, courtesy of Black Buffalo Records, for an event called The Spins.

• The latest season of CTV’s MasterChef Canada begins February 14th, and Digby resident Les Barr will be among the competitors. Les is also the man behind Roof Hound Brewing, a mid-sized brewery slated to open in Digby County later this year. We expect to see Les cooking with beer whenever possible, and flexing his homebrewing muscles during the competition. We wish Les lots of luck, and look forward to following along with the progress of his cooking, and brewing.

• Thinking about opening or expanding a brewery or other beverage business? Springboard Atlantic is hosting a Liquid Courage event Feb 18 at Acadia University. Featuring keynotes from Greg Taylor of Steam Whistle Brewing and Dominic Rivard of Muwin Estate Wines and Bulwark, the seminar will feature presentations on how to build brands, do consumer research, quality testing, and exporting beyond provincial and national borders. More details can be found here. The seminar runs 8:30-4:30, and registration is now open.

• Details on the Craft Beer Cottage Party, part of Savour Food and Wine Festival, are emerging. Being held 7-9:30pm, Feb 27th in the Halifax Seaport Market location, the event will feature twenty local breweries, plus a few others from outside the region. Already lined up, with a list growing daily, are: Bad Apple, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark, Gahan, Garrison, Good Robot, Hell Bay, Meander River, Nine Locks, North, PEI Brewing, Picaroons, Propeller, Rare Bird, Spindrift, Tatmagouche, Uncle Leo’s, Upstreet. Also in attendance will be Innovative Beverages Agency (representing Muskoka and Central City), Goose Island, and Mill Street. Your $50+HST (or $65+tax to skip the line and take home a gift bag) ticket offers unlimited tasting during the evening. There will be food vendors onsite, including The Stubborn Goat. Entertainment includes live bands, and cottage party games. Tickets are available online now.

• There are good things coming this spring to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Currently a craft beer wasteland, a new store carrying Nova Scotia liquor, wine, cider, and beer will be opening in April. Liquid Assets is a subsidiary of Ironworks Distillery, and will be located post-security, on the domestic/international departures level. It will mean being able to grab a bottle before getting on a flight, without having to worry about breakage in checked luggage, or having forgotten a gift while visiting the area. Look for more details on selection and exact opening date soon.

• LATE ADDITON: Propeller has released their latest One Hit Wonder Friday afternoon, Fog City Coffee Porter. This 5.5% ABV, 30 IBUs, Porter was brewed with whole bean coffee from Java Blend in both the boil, as well as “dry-beaned” during fermentation and conditioning. As with all OHW brews, this is a growler- and draft-only release, with it on tap now for growler fills at the Windmill location, and later Friday evening on Gottingen St. And don’t forget to pick up tickets to their returning Prop’r Cask Night, next Friday, Jan 29, 6-9pm. This edition will feature the food catering of friend-to-beer Studio East, and a special cask of Fog City, cask conditioned with even more coffee beans. Tickets are a steal at $30 (all in), which offers unlimited samples of both food and beer at the Gottingen St. Brewery, and lots of fun mingling with fellow food and beer nuts. Tickets are available now!

A few more notes for this week: Breton Brewing has put together a new dark beer, to be released next month. They are staying tight-lipped for now, but we understand this is a Porter to be released around the 14th. We’ll have more details closer to its release. Be sure to drop by The Auction House on Wednesday for their monthly Beer School, where the beers from a particular brewery are paired with special dishes from their kitchen. January’s brewery is Picaroons, with head brewer Myles MacKenzie making the trip himself to share some knowledge. Tickets are now on sale for a pair of Beer and Chocolate Dinner, hosted by Picaroons. Both are being held at 7pm on February 10th, with one at BrewBakers in Fredericton, and the other at Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay. This three course meal will feature chocolate-infused dishes, paired with beer.

Good morning, beer fans! After the beer news overload we experienced last week, things have slowed down a bit… maybe the snow and colder weather has something to do with it? Either way, there’s still some news to share for this week!

• Hammond River has a couple of new beers in their pipeline… first up is a revamp of one of their first flagship brews, Hop Flash IPA. Brewer Shane Steeves simplified the grain bill to contain 2-row as the base malt, plus some CaraRed (the original beer also had Munich and Melanoidin malt in the grist). The hops have changed slightly: Warrior is used for bittering, with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial added during the boil for flavour, and Amarillo in the dry-hop (as opposed to Cascade in version 1). It still comes in at 66 IBUs and 6.6% ABV, but as Steeves explains, “The goal is to show how a different grain bill and slightly different hop profile can affect the taste profile of a beer”. Look for Hop Flash 2 to appear within a few weeks. HR will also be brewing a new beer soon, inspired by several Nut Brown Ales that Steeves brewed in his homebrewing days. This one is being categorized as a “Nut Red” Ale (“a cross between an American Amber and Irish Red”, says Steeves), with “lots of toasty, biscuity, and nutty flavours”. The recipe is still being hashed out, but we can expect it to come in at approximately 5.5% ABV. Finally, their Imperial Vanilla Porter is available once again at most HR accounts, with a lucky two (James Joyce and the Barrel’s Head) receiving the 9.2% ABV Bourbon version!

Sea Level has just released their first Belgian-style beer, a Farmhouse Ale named New Moon. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain to give the beer some spicy phenolics and fruity esters, there was also some Chinese rock sugar and dried orange peel added in the fermentor, with more orange peel added in the brite tank for further conditioning. A strong beer at 9% ABV, it is currently available in cans at the brewery retail store, and should also be at Harvest Wines & Spirits and Bishop’s Cellar today. Look for it to also pop up on tap at select accounts.

Last Friday, we hinted at a big announcement coming from Red Rover, and they confirmed earlier this week that one of their goals has finally been reached! As of Tuesday, 750 mL bottles of their ciders are now available for sale at select ANBL stores. The initial launch includes their Spring, Fall, and Fire ciders, which are available at all four Fredericton ANBL locations, with most stores in Saint John following shortly, along with Dieppe (Regis St.); check online for updates on stock and locations. We can likely expect new seasonal releases to hit stores as well. RR’s Adam Clawson had this to say about the announcement: “We are really excited; it is a major milestone in creating a craft cider industry in New Brunswick. We would really like to thank all of our customers for their continued support, as this will now enable Red Rover to reach people unable to get to our farmers market and The Ciderhouse.”

• While we’re on the topic of new, local releases at the ANBL, both Railcar and Maybee Brewing announced this week that some of their beers should be on shelves very soon. Railcar’s first beers will be their Artisan Brown and Café Buzz Porter; both will be available in 500 mL bottles, and should be for sale by this weekend. Look for Railcar Red to follow in another two weeks. The Perth-Andover and Woodstock stores will likely be stocked first, with stores between Grand Falls and Fredericton hopefully following in the near future before further expansion to Saint John and Moncton by summer. Maybee Brewing will start off with their Work Horse IPA (one of their first two flagship beers), which will be available in 500 mL cans sometime next week. As above, be sure to check online for exact info on stock and locations. While not showing up at publishing time, check out these links for the ANBL’s current inventory of Railcar and Maybee beers.

• Tickets are now on sale for the Fredericton Poutine Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. This is the first time the event has been scheduled outside of the fall season, but after the continuing popularity of recent festivals, it was decided to have another one! April’s event will be very familiar to the most recent one on November 21st: it will take place at the Crowne Plaza, and will feature three different sessions, two of which offer various ticket options for anywhere from 4 to 16 beer tickets for 4-oz samples of a selection of over 20 local craft beer. And, of course, unlimited samples of approximately 15 different types of poutine, even more than last time! The brewery list is still being finalized, but this year’s festival will feature a majority of breweries located in Fredericton. Check out the ticket link for more details, and be sure to buy yours quickly – previous events have sold out quickly, and more than 40% of tickets have already been sold since going on sale yesterday morning at 11 am!

Boxing Rock has released details on the Black Box Challenge, their first homebrew competition… with a twist. After paying a $45+HST entry fee, entrants will pick up their Black Box, which contains eight different malts, five hop varieties, and two yeast strains. Using any or all of these ingredients, you can brew any style that you want (under 9% ABV)… but you can’t use any outside ingredients (well, except water of course!). Each Black Box is identical, and contains enough ingredients to brew a 1-gallon test batch and two 5-gallon batches (depending on the style). Only one entry per person, and the number of entrants is being limited to twenty (you can register and pay online). Judging will take place at Stillwell on Sunday, March 6th; all entrants are required to make a short (<5 min) presentation on their entry for judges, highlighting their recipe planning, the brewday, and your final product. That presentation, along with the beer, will be judged, and the winning entry and brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe at Boxing Rock in Shelburne. The beer will be released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. Half of the entry fees and proceeds from the full-scale batch will be donated to the Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank. Sign up today (there are only a few boxes left!) and pick up your Box from Stillwell starting Jan 23rd. Good luck!

• We’ve spotted several other new beers in the wild this week, but haven’t been able to gather too much information for you just yet. Rest assured, we’re on the case! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the newest beers from Hell Bay (the return of their very popular R.I.P. (A), their 7.3%, 120 IBU, IPA), Meander River (Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout), and a pair of new German-inspired beers from Paddys Irish Brewpub (Decem-beer Bock coming in at 6.1% and 15 IBUs, and a 6.8% Weizenbock).

Don’t forget to pick up a growler or pint of Spindrift‘s The Abyss Schwarzbier, being released today (with a special coffee-infused cask debuting last night at the Craft Beer and Local Food event). Check out the fun as Upstreet visits Halifax this weekend, with tickets for their Sunday Beer Pairing Luncheon at Stubborn Goat now on sale. And grab a pint of Johnny Jacks’ latest creation, Showshoe Winter Ale, at Sour Grape Cafe, and now on tap at the James Joyce. Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have re-brewed their Canon Franchetti Cappuccino Stout, and it should be available by mid-February; this batch is also going to be bottled this time around. And look for a trio of AlphaBrews (large scale Experimental batches) from the mind of Good Robot Brewmaster Doug Kehoe: their “Märzen“, a traditional Festbier with a cherrywood-smoked malt twist; a “Saison“, with a chewy plum spice character; and v3.0 of Burban Legend APA, dry-hopped with El Dorado for a citrus and watermelon aroma.