All posts for the month February, 2016

Good morning! Welcome to your weekly dose of beer news, let’s kick it off with some new beers and events coming soon…

• Over the past little while, there have been several new beers brewed to be released at the upcoming Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 12th. First off is a collaboration brew devised by Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks that included representation from almost every brewery in Fredericton: Grimross, Maybee, Picaroons, TrailWayMama’s Pub, soon-to-open Gray Stone, as well as Red Rover Cider House and Sunset Heights Meadery. The beer brewed was Johnny Be Good, a 5.4% ABV, 21 IBU Nut Brown Ale, in support of local brewer John Evans, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer over the past few months. The brewers teamed up at Grimross to produce the beer; when finished, it will be split between all taking part, and will then be free to put their own individual spin on it. To celebrate the release, a special Pub Crawl (open to the public) will be held next Saturday, March 5th at 6 pm. Starting at the King Street Ale House, attendees will visit several bars, and enjoy the different variations of the beer at each stop. Tickets are $45 + fee and include six 9 oz pours of different variants; proceeds from the pub crawl and sales of the beer will go to Evans.

• Next up, BarNone has brewed up a new iteration of their Little DIPA for the festival. Described as darker than the original version, it was heavily hopped with Cascade and Columbus in the boil, with a large late addition of Amarillo, Cascade, and a bit of Citra. It will, of course, be dry-hopped when fermentation is complete, with an as-yet-undetermined variety. It should clock in around 7% ABV. No need to worry for Islanders not able to attend the festival – while the beer is being released as FCBF, there will be some available at select accounts in PEI afterwards.

• Local Fredericton brewery Picaroons will be taking up permanent residence at Vault 29 in the week leading up the FCBF, March 8-12th. Pics will be taking over half of their 32 taps with a variety of seasonal, specialty, and core brand beers. On the 12th, V29 hosts the official FCBF “Afternoon Session After-Party”, with music from The Hypochondriacs, and food and beer specials starting at 3:30pm. Entry to the event is free, and more details can be found on Facebook.

• Finally, TrailWay teamed up with our local homebrewer and our own Shawn Meek to brew their first Belgian IPA. Currently unnamed, it features a grist made up mainly of Pilsner malt, with some CaraRed, Aromatic, and Wheat malt to bump up the malt character. Hopped in the boil with large whirlpool additions of GalaxyMosaic and Vic Secret, it will be further dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy for plenty of tropical fruit character. It was fermented with two yeast strains, one Belgian and one American, and should weigh in at ~6.5% ABV. While this one will make its official debut at the fest, look for a possible sneak peak at our ACBB Trivia Night at the King Street Ale House on Thursday, March 10th at 8 pm!

• Back to regular releases, Moncton’s Bore City will be releasing their first Black IPA, Night and Day, in the near future. Described as a very hop-forward version of the style, it was hopped with Cascade, Summit, and Zythos in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Cascade and Summit. Clocking in at 6.4% ABV and 63 IBUs, look for this one to pop up on tap at Marky’s Laundromat any day now. And keep your eyes peeled for the latest version of their Mondo IPA, which should be hitting tap accounts, soon.

Spindrift will be releasing Riptide, their first India Pale Lager, today on tap at the brewery. Described as a Northeast-style hoppy Lager, it has a simple, light grist, complemented by a blend of American and German hop varieties, giving the beer “aromas of pine, prefacing hop flavours of stone fruits and citrus”. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, Riptide is joining Coastal Lager and Abyss as a core brand, with this initial release on draft at the brewery and accounts now, and in cans by mid-April.

• There’s an interesting new brew available now from North Brewing: Sauer Sagen Hat is a kettle-soured SMaSH beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Sorachi Ace hops. From North owner Peter Burbridge, “When we asked our four-year-old son Noah what we should call this beer, he yelled: ‘Sauer Sagen Hat! It means sour super hero hat!’ … It actually means “has to say sour” in German, but we like Noah’s translation better.” And so do we! Combining the grapefruit- and pineapple-like acidity/tartness from the bacteria-souring process with the lemongrass characteristics from the hops, it comes in at 4% ABV and 15 IBUs. It’s currently available at both store locations on Agricola and Ochterloney in both bottles and growlers, and will be on tap around HRM, including in rotation on their new nitrogenated tap at Battery Park.

• Over in St. John’s, NL, YellowBelly Brewpub has a couple of returning favourites to talk about. First off, Top Shed Cream Ale is back on tap at the brewpub. An interesting take on the style, it was originally brewed as a collaboration with Top Shed, a brewery in Australia, late last year. The recent brew was tweaked slightly, with a lighter malt grist and shorter dry-hop period. Still with a light body, and brewed with plenty of corn and wheat (as per the style), it was lightly hopped with Pacific Gem and Mosaic, with a “gentle” dry-hop of more Mosaic. This batch will also be available in bottles in a limited run, which should be at YellowBelly and the NLC within a week or so. Second, their Paddy’s Pale Ale – a 5.7% ABV, ~45 IBUs American Pale Ale – will be returning soon. Hopped entirely with Cascade – including multiple dry-hop additions – it should be kegged sometime next week, with bottles following shortly after. And in other bottle news, YB’s cider, Crooked as Sin, should be available for purchase any day now, at NLC stores only.

• Last month, Big Spruce brewed a “simultaneous collaboration” with Stone City Ales out of Kingston, ON. Well, that beer is now available, and it sounds delicious! Watchtower Conspiracy DIPA is a big beer (9% ABV, 85 IBUs) featuring “piles” of late addition AmarilloGalaxy, and Waimea hops, giving lots of tropical fruit character in the aroma and flavours. In addition, the beer was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs. Better known as “Conan” to homebrewers everywhere, it’s a strain well-known for accentuating hop flavours. Available for growler fills now, and on tap at select locations, it will also be pouring at FCBF.

Last week, we reported that this year’s edition of Ice Boat, PEI Brewing Co.‘s barrel-aged stout, would be released this week. However, after some tasting sessions with staff, they’ve determined that the beer is not yet ready for release, and will be allowed to age in whiskey barrels for a longer period (approximately 6-8 months). Kudos to the PEIBC for allowing the beer to reach its greatness with more time! We’ll keep you updated as to its eventual release. Luckily, the next round of Transmitter Coffee Stout will be released March 1st (including a release in Nova Scotia), ReAnimator (their Doppelbock) will be released shortly thereafter, and a new Saison is in the works. Stay tuned!

• There’s a new beer joining the lineup at Maybee Brewing, an “Espresso Stout” named Elevensies. Brewed with lots of organic Italian Roast coffee from Just Us!, a coffee roasters co-op, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 41 IBUs. You can find it on tap now for growler fills at the brewery.

• Good news if you’re nearby Unfiltered Brewing today: they’re releasing two beers at noon! The first is the return of the popular SMaSH DIPA, Double Orange Ale, brewed with all Citra hops (7.5% ABV). Next is an oak-aged version of their regular-release DIPA, Twelve Years to Zion. Coming in at 8% ABV, it was aged on oak for 6 weeks to bring out lots of oak flavour. Drop by the brewery and/or Charm School today to fill up your growlers, and then yourself.

• Looking to expand your beer knowledge? The Atlantic Chapter of CAPS is running a training course, designed to prepare you to take the Certified Beer Server exam, which is part of the Cicerone certification program. Running on four subsequent Thursdays, beginning March 10th, the classes are designed to introduce students to the ingredients involved in beer making, style guidelines, history of brewing, and flavour profiles. Class size is limited, so sign up today.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is releasing the second in their Cellar Series of beers today, Grand Baltic Porter. Black in colour, this lager has a complex body aided by the addition of blackstrap molasses and whole dates, and is balanced with German hops. Like last week’s Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine, and next week’s unnamed release, the Baltic Porter’s robust 9.5% ABV will allow it to be set aside for cellaring and enjoyment for years to come. It is only available in bottles, launched at the brewery today.

• Congratulations to the 40+ entries in this year’s Home Brew-Off, in the Experimental IPA category. The Top 10 has been chosen by a team of BJCP and industry judges, with the Garrison crew now having the tough job of choosing the Final Four. The winners will be chosen next Thursday, and announced that evening at a Gala at the brewery. There are a few tickets available to the public who wish to take part in the fun, including tasting the finalists’ beers, and perhaps the first sips of last year’s winning beer, Mr. Robusto, from NS homebrewer Dave Martin. Contact the brewery for more details.

• Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has brought back their Irish Red Ale, and it is available in bottles and growler fills at both Prop Shops now. This 5% ABV, 25 IBU Red Ale features a pleasant toast character from the Crystal and Melanoidin malts, with a light balancing bitterness from Willamette. And the IRA will be the feature cask at tonight’s Prop’r Cask Night at their Gottingen location, featuring  The Other Bean & Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties. The last few tickets just sold this morning, so hopefully you’ve already grabbed yours!

• Halifax’s Good Robot Brewery brewed up a beer to celebrate Nova Scotia’s African Heritage Month, putting their spin on the Ale to the Chief Honey Porter recipe released by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2012. Converting the extract recipe to all-grain, they used Annapolis Valley honey and Maritime malt, with Hallertau and Nugget hops, and switching to the clean-fermenting Cali Ale yeast to allow the malt and hops to shine through. Sadly (for those not in attendance), the beer was so popular that they blew through the entire pilot-system batch during Tuesday’s launch party! That is certainly an ode to the recipe, brewers, and community involvement behind the release. Want another great excuse to visit GR’s Taproom? Their monthly Silent Reading at the Imbibrary event will be happening this Wednesday, March 2nd, from 6-8pm. Previous evenings have been absolutely full, so be sure to arrive before 6pm, put down your cell phones, and pick up a book.

• A reminder that tomorrow is Péché Mortel Day, and two bars in our region will be taking part: Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Halifax’s Stillwell. Starting at 11am in Moncton, and noon in Halifax, both bars will be pouring Dieu du Ciel!’s Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout, plus several variants. Look for other rarities like Péché Mortel Dry (higher ABV due to a lower finishing gravity), Péché Mortel Véniel (lower ABV, with a special coffee blend), Péché Mortel Bourbon 2015 (last year’s batch aged in Bourbon barrels for six months), and Péché aux pêches (the original Péché Mortel with an addition of peaches). No tickets are required, and both locations will be offering small pour sizes, to accommodate the wide variety, and high ABV, of brews on tap. A special food menu will also be available at both locations.

• The NSLC has released stats on the three months of 2015, and it was another period of great growth in the local beer segment. Sales of NS-produced craft beer rose by 25% over the previous quarter, while the overall beer market rose less than 1%. While out-pacing the overall segment is heartening, it does highlight the fact that NS-produced beer accounts for just $2.0M in a $66.2M beer market, or 3.0%. Coupled with the fact that there are only 50-odd listings for the 23 local breweries (many do not sell through the NSLC stores for a variety of reasons), there’s still lots of room for growth in the province! The full details are available here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! As usual, a few parting notes…

– BarNone is currently fermenting a new addition in the ‘Sessions’ line; this one, Summer Sessions, is hopped entirely with Summer, an Australian variety that is light on citrus, melon and apricot.
– Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault is hosting an evening of beer and beer-friendly bites tonight at their location on rue de l’Eglise. Drop by at 6pm for the fun, including a tour of the brewery.
Horton Ridge Malt and Grain are approaching the deadline of their second CEDIF offering. With the first malting rounds to take place in the next month or so, look for their products to be available to brewers (commercial- and home-) soon!
– Details are coming into focus for this year’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, being held May 6-14. Early Bird tickets for the Saturday’s Full House Main Event are on sale now, be sure to snap them up now to avoid disappointment.

Happy Friday beer fans! A nice variety of beer news again this week, so let’s go!

• Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has released their latest beer in the farmhouse style. Millie, described as a “Rustic Saison with Beetroot”, was brewed at North Brewing with real, fresh beetroot, and fermented with Stillwell’s house Saison strain. The 5% ABV beer has a vibrant reddish-pink hue and earthy flavour thanks to the beetroot, countered by a “citrus hop character and some very zingy, lemony fermentation characteristics”, and finishes quite dry. While it’s tasting great fresh, it is a beer that should age well, allowing the yeast characteristics to grow with time as the beetroot and hop aromas/flavours fade. Millie is in rotation on tap at Stillwell, as well as 500mL bottles always available at Stillwell for on-site enjoyment, to go at both North locations, and at the four private liquor stores in HRM shortly.

Big Spruce has brewed up a new beer to be released at next month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Meek Thy Maker is a Red IPA based on the winning beer in that style category in the 2015 Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge, brewed by our own Shawn Meek, who was at the brewery to assist with the brew day. Hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Amarillo, it should come in at ~6.7% ABV and 59 IBUs. Big Spruce has also sent out kegs of their seasonal Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, their 8.8% ABV, 25 IBUs Winter Warmer. Conditioned on rum-soaked vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and locally grown ginger, expect tons of aroma and flavour in this strong beer! It is on tap at better beer bars in Halifax and Cape Breton now. And look for a barrel-aged version to be released in a few months.

PEI Brewing Company will be releasing this year’s edition of Ice Boat, their barrel-aged stout, on Tuesday, February 23rd. Aged in whisky barrels for the past several months, this year’s version is a Russian Imperial Stout, weighing in at 8% ABV (compared to last year’s 5.3%). As before, this will be a limited release, so make sure to drop by the brewery’s taproom on this date to stock up! Follow along with their social media accounts for more details on the launch party. And speaking of returning limited releases, they’re bringing back Transmitter Coffee Stout for a second go-around in the last several months. Blended with a new blend of coffee from Charlottetown’s Receiver Coffee Co., this batch will be released on Tuesday, March 1st, with the brewery promising a “slightly different take” on the beer.

• Tomorrow, February 20th, marks the inaugural voyage of the Halifax Beer Bus, put on by Taste Halifax Food Tours. From 3-6 pm, the bus will take ticketholders to five stops in Halifax (including Gahan House, Garrison, Propeller, Good Robot, and the Stubborn Goat) to sample a total of ten Nova Scotia craft beers. Snacks at two of the stops will be provided, and a guide will be present to educate during the sampling. There will be future tours in the coming months (March 19. Apr. 2, 16, 30); tickets are $59 + tax, and can be reserved here.

• It’s a busy weekend at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing! Today marks the release of Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA, a 6.5%, 52 IBU hybrid with the roast, chocolate, and coffee characteristics of a stout, and citrus hop character of an IPA. Look for it now at the brewery, with delivery to the private stores, NSLC, and ANBL shortly. Also out today is the first of three beers in the Garrison Cellar SeriesOl’ Fog Burner Barley Wine. An English-style Barleywine, this 11.5% ABV, 60 IBU brew is a complex one, with lots of malt character; the higher alcohol content makes it perfect for setting aside in a cellar for enjoyment in years to come. The Cellar Series will continue next week with the release of Grand Baltic Porter, and the third beer will be out March 4th. The first round of judging for this year’s Home Brew-Off will be tomorrow; best of luck to all entrants!

• Tickets are available for February’s of Auction House Beer School. Held on the last Wednesday of the month, this edition features Tatamagouche Brewing. The Tata crew will be on hand to  drop some knowledge about their beers, and share their enthusiasm for their craft. Drop by Auction House to pick up tickets, or call them at 902-431-1726 to secure yours today.

• Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has a job opening for a brewer! From recipe development, brewing, overseeing packaging and quality control, and all things in between, this is a rewarding job in a Belgian-inspired brewery. Folks interested in brewing on their 18 hL system should already have some experience in a brewery, be bilingual, and be prepared to join in to an established working environment. More details are available on their website, and the job posting closes March 4th.

Grimross Brewing in Fredericton is looking to hire a Brewtique and Taproom Manager for their Bishop Drive location. They will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of both the Brewtique (with merchandise and growlers to go) and Taproom, where folks enjoy pints onsite. Experience in the recruiting and training of employees, as well as budgeting, customer service, and leadership skills are major assets to the position. Interested candidates should check the full posting, and drop off a resume and cover letter at the brewery.

• Hallelujah! Flat Black Jesus is back! Unfiltered’s American Stout returns at noon today for growler fills, and at 4pm at Charm School next door. This non-oak-aged version features a great melding of assertive bitterness and hop aroma from a Nash-brewed IPA, along with roast and dark malt characters of a robust stout. At 7% ABV and about 100 IBUs, your prayers have been answered.

• After an extended decision period, the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation has announced the successful bid for an outdoor food and beverage venue. Selected from several high quality submissions, Stubborn Goat Gastropub will be setting up shop at the Summit Amphitheatre this spring. They will be serving Nova Scotian wine, beer, and cider exclusively, as well as non-alcoholic sodas from local producers Garrison and Propeller, and their own housemade strawberry lemonade. Food options will be a reflection of their current offerings on Grafton Street, tailored smaller and more outdoor friendly, with a strong emphasis on local growers and producers. The location will offer table- as well as bar-service, to accommodate patrons looking for either a full restaurant experience, or a more casual ambiance. The waterfront location will be opening in May, with expected operation to go until October. This competition was for a three-year period, meaning that it will go to tender again after the 2018 season closes. The HWDC press release also mentions a new area on the waterfront to highlight local businesses in this coveted location, showcasing local food, beverage, tours, and events, to tourists and locals alike, which may mean more opportunities for local breweries. The owners of Stillwell, who had conceived of the outdoor food and beverage venue and ran the very successful Stillwell Beergarden at the Summit Amphitheatre in 2015, are already shopping around different locations for their converted shipping container, and will be returning this spring in a new location.

Another busy week in our region! We had a great time at the Liquid Courage event yesterday at Acadia, look for a summary on that next week. Here are a few more parting shots before you grab a beer and clock out for the week (or the other way around):

– The ANBL Growler program is featuring Petit-Sault’s Canon Franchetti Cappuccino Stout, as well as Spindrift‘s Coastal Lager, at all four locations this weekend.
– Speaking of Spindrift, their Seventh Wave release for today is a Session Saison, available only at the brewery for growler fills today at noon. It features a grist of pilsner and wheat malts, along with flaked rye. At 4.3% ABV and 10 IBUs, it is a light beer worthy of an afternoon and/or evening session.
– Nine Locks have begun brewing at their Waverley Road location. Starting with their ESB and IPA brews, look for their full launch in March.
– Tickets are still available for next Friday’s Prop’r Cask Night at Propeller, featuring food from The Other Bean and Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties. Your ticket gets you pours of the special cask, plus Propeller’s full complement of beer, plus great nourishment from both providers. At just $30, it is a fabulous deal!
– Finally, a reminder that the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is approaching fast; the evening session on Saturday, March 12th, has been sold out for some time, but there are still a few tickets left for the afternoon session. Don’t miss out on a great time, and remember there are plenty of great events in the city scheduled for the days approaching the big festival, including our Trivia Night being held at the King Street Ale House Thursday, featuring prizes from many of the breweries attending the festival.

We had a chance to chat with Les Barr, a farmer from the Digby area, on his upcoming projects. A homebrewer for many years, he is opening Roof Hound Brewing this summer. Brewing is just one side of his creative outlets, as he is an accomplished home cook as well. Anyone following his Instagram feed can attest to that! His passion for preparing meals has led him to the biggest stage for amateur chefs in Canada, MasterChef. With the third season kicking off this weekend, we caught up with Les to talk about his background with cooking and brewing, his experience on the show, and details of Roof Hound Brewing.

ACBB: I know you can’t give too much away about MasterChef, but what was the experience like?
LB: Well, first off, it was completely intimidating going to the regional auditions in Halifax. So many great home cooks were there. I really didn’t think I had a chance, but I got the call and was invited to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto to find out that I’m one of only two from Atlantic Canada, and
the only one chosen from NS. This was both very flattering and a lot of pressure knowing I was representing my entire province. Other than that, I can say that it was fast, furious and intense. It’s a lot of pressure. Long, exhausting days on set competing for the MasterChef Canada title and $100K with the best home cooks in the country. It’s very intense, but you either rise up to meet the challenge or buckle under the pressure. It challenges you, and I know I’ve come out on the other side a better cook and stronger person.

Anything that really surprised you?
The most surprising thing was being the only one chosen from NS. I really thought they must have made some sort of mistake. Haha. There were 8 from Atlantic Canada on Season 2 and only two of us in Season 3.

What were the other contestants like?
The other 39 people were great. It was such a rush to be with such talented and interesting people who have the same passions and interests. I think we all learned from each other, and many of us will be friends for many years to come.

roof hound steak and ale pie

From Barr’s Instagram feed, @roofhound

Do you have any allergies, or were there any ingredients you were nervous to work with?
Yes! I’m from Digby, the home of some of the greatest shellfish on earth, and I’m allergic to shellfish. Rubber gloves and allergy meds are your best friends in that situation. I don’t usually cook with shellfish for this reason, so I practiced that a lot before going to MasterChef Canada.

Having seen the show before, were there any challenges you were nervous or were hoping they’d repeat?
I knew they wouldn’t repeat what I had seen on previous seasons, but I practiced much of it anyways just to sharpen my skills. I fried donuts and perfected poached eggs. Both things I had seen on previous seasons. I really was hoping for a cooking with beer challenge. Haha

Do you like cooking and baking equally?
I really do. Most of my creations have some sort of flour like pizza, burgers and crusts. Maybe it’s the brewer in me, but I love grains and yeast. To me, I don’t really draw a line between cooking and baking.

You sometimes use beer as an ingredient. What do you feel it gives to a recipe?
The most common use of beer in my kitchen is for dough. I find that it gives you a long ferment taste in things like pizza dough and bread in a very short short time. You can use half beer and half water to make pizza dough in an hour and it tastes like it’s been fermented much longer.

roofhound cinnamon rolls skillet

From Barr’s Instagram feed, @roofhound

Do you have an all-time favourite recipe you always come back to?
I tweak almost all of my recipes for brewing and cooking in the chase for perfection. There aren’t many recipes that I would say are really done, but are always a work in progress. The only recipe that I don’t really fool with anymore is my recipe for cinnamon rolls in a skillet. I think that it’s as good as I can make it, and my kids wouldn’t be impressed if I changed it. Haha

Speaking of your children, are they interested in cooking as well?
Oh, yes! Our 10-year-old son, especially. He has been sitting on the counter stirring lemon curd for cheesecakes and things like that since he was three. Our oldest daughter is 13, and she loves baking. She totally is the one in the family with the sweet tooth. My wife and I encourage them to cook and learn as long as they are safe and clean the mess. Haha. That’s how I grew up.

What is their favourite dish you make?
Cinnamon rolls in a skillet for weekend brunch, but they also really like my pulled pork shepherd’s pie. Kind of a southern twist on a European classic.

Do you have an all-time favourite beer recipe you make over and over again?
I have three that I make regularly with very few changes: Big Brown Roof Hound, a 7% brown ale with raisins, brown sugar, oats and vanilla bean; Little Pup Pale Ale, your basic intro pale ale; and Big Dog IPA, which is finished in the eyes of some of my friends, but I’m still holding out hope in developing a more juicy character with my hopping techniques.



Turning to your brewery plans: Is there something specific that got you into the world of beer?
I had left a career after 10 years, and I really needed a hobby to focus on. My dad makes wine and was loving that hobby, so he got me my first beer kit. I did two partial mash kits and then jumped straight into all-grain.

What steps have you taken so far getting everything up and running?
Most equipment is already in here. Business is registered. Media in place. The financing is in place. Location is set. Just finishing up the license applications, and then construction is all that is left, really.

Where did the name “Roof Hound” originate?
Many years ago, there was a man with many children. Eleven, in fact. He had so many children that he had very little money to spare for recreational drink. So, this man decided to make his own. He put water, raisins, brown sugar and yeast in a bucket, and placed that bucket behind the wood stove where it fermented and turned to alcohol. The man enjoyed his liquid creation, and poured the swollen raisins out in the backyard, where the family hound dog found them. The hound ate those alcohol-plumped raisins, climbed up the woodpile, and onto the roof of the house. There in its drunkenness, the hound moaned and howled throughout the night. The man’s many children found this very entertaining, and henceforth the story became part of the family folklore. Today, the grandson of that man keeps this story alive with Roof Hound Brewing Co. and Big Brown Roof Hound Ale made with raisins and brown sugar. This is the story of the Roof Hound.

What size/type of system will you be brewing on?
I’ll be brewing double batches on a three vessel system built out of a stainless steel scollop bin and two 500 litre wine tanks. All electric.

Roof Hound Brewery

Where will your brewery be located?
Roof Hound Brewing Co. will be in its own building only 4 minutes from exit 26 off highway 101 near Digby. The brewery will be built on an old farm property overlooking Acacia Valley. We are constructing the building out of shipping containers. Once the brewery and restaurant are established, we plan to surround the property with a hop yard.

Do you know when your beers will be available to the public?
We are aiming for June 2016.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.?
The plan is to try to sell the majority of our beer by the pint in our restaurant and in growlers at the brewery and local farmers’ markets. We will concentrate our keg sales in the SouthWest Nova region, but we also hope to be on tap at a couple of the beer bars in HRM. No plans to bottle or can yet.

Do you have any beer bars/restaurants in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Yes, I’ve had some interest already, but we haven’t really pursued keg sales very much. I’ve spoken with some of our NS craft beer friends who say they kinda over committed on the kegs, and then had a hard time supplying themselves for growler sales.

Can you tell me about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
Mostly English-inspired. The three mentioned above, and another regular beer in development called Roof Top Rye-It. It’s an amber-coloured, dry hopped ale with a hint of rye spice. One of the benefits of a small brew system is it gives you more freedom to experiment. There will be many seasonal and experimental one off brews as well as sodas. Roof Hound will open with eight taps.

roof hound keezer

From Roof Hound’s Facebook page

For how long have you been homebrewing?
I’ve been brewing for five years, but I have spent hundreds of hours listening to podcasts and audio books on brewing while working on the farm. That’s helped a lot.

What made you decide to take the step into brewing professionally?
Well, it’s a common homebrewer’s dream, but I got very serious about it when the farming industry kinda took a downturn. That made me take the brewery dream more seriously, and then with the attention of MasterChef Canada, I knew it was now or never.

Do you have a specific ingredient in brewing that you like to brew with? E.g. a specific malt and/or hop variety?
I love grains like oats, wheat and rye. I find that they give you a mouth-feel and body that you just can’t get out of barley alone.

From what/where/whom have you learned the most in respect to brewing?
The Brewing Network has been the single biggest influence in my brewing. Being way down here in Digby, there aren’t many other all-grain brewers around, so it was kind of a long, hard, self-educating process. After that, I’d say the Brewnosers have been a huge help. A few guys like Jeff Saunders, Greg Nash, Chris McDonald, and Jimmy Beaman have been very encouraging. Ed Barkhouse from Noble Grape. Mike Ferguson from Rudder’s. It’s an intimidating thing to get into with all the science and math, but I’ve had cool people help me get through. Thanks!

Thanks very much to Les for taking the time to answer our questions. Follow along on Les’ journey to MasterChef Canada glory starting this Sunday, Feb 14, on CTV. His Instagram feed alone will keep you cheering him on!  Check out Roof Hound’s website and Facebook page to keep abreast of the brewery and restaurant progress in Digby. Go Les!