All posts for the month May, 2023

Party Time Brewing Logo

After years of development and planning, Party Time Brewing has opened its (garage) doors to the public. Owner, brewer, cleaner, delivery driver, social media manager, and camera operator James Marshall has been documenting his progress in brewing through his YouTube Channel, amassing a couple thousand subscribers who have followed along for the ride. After a soft launch on the weekend, we were able to catch up with Marshall to hear more about Party Time, and most importantly, how the public can get their hands on his beer!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Mount Uniacke, NS next door to the brewery. I went to University for an accounting degree and after a year of doing some super exciting mutual fund accounting, I joined the military as a pilot, and have been doing that for the last 17 years. I have three kids; three, five and ten years old, so tons of free time. When I’m not at the day job, I’m running around with the kids or brewing.

How did you get into the world of beer?
I think my first foray into the craft beer world would have been during university back in the days where you could visit Garrison’s location on Lady Hammond Rd for a “brewery tour”, which included about two hours of all you could drink. Back then, it may have been mostly for the effect, but I did love how different an IPA tasted at the time (at least for my super refined palate which was used to mostly Colt 45 and Keiths). From there, I enjoyed trying out new beers during my travels and decided to start homebrewing somewhere around 2010. I started out with the Festabrew kits from Noble Grape for the first few times, then moved on to partial mash kits. It wasn’t until 2020 that I got into all grain brewing. From there it was on! After my first few kits and watching a few YouTube videos, I decided to start my own YouTube Channel to make some not-so-serious but somewhat useful videos about homebrewing. I shared pretty much all of my brewing wins and losses for the past two years.

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
I’ve always loved sharing the beer and opening the brewery is just a much better way to get the product out there. My other reason might be a bit selfish, but I wanted to open a brewery so that I could brew more. Brewing more batches means getting better at brewing as long as you listen to people and work on learning more about the process. The plan until retirement from my day job is to brew as much as I can with the goal of continually improving my product offerings. 

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
The culture can be summed up in the name. Party Time Brewing is all about having a good time! It’s all about not taking ourselves too seriously and learning what works and what doesn’t. Beer is fun! 

Party Time Blonde Can and Glass

Can you tell us about the first beers you’ve released?
The first batches are the good ol’ easy drinkers. Out now are Garage Party Blonde, Helluva Party Belgian White, Polar Dip Cold IPA, and Day Thinker Oatmeal Stout. I’ll have a Lager coming soon, and looking at adding something along the lines of German Pils to get things going. Once I’m a bit closer to packaging those, I’ll post an update on YouTube and Instagram.

What are your plans for distribution?
As of now, it is a really boring plan. I’m in a residential area, so that means no taproom or retail store. All of the distribution for now will be home delivery. I plan on doing a delivery run Fridays to the local area [B0N 1Z0] and hopefully expand that soon to include a drop-off/meetup spot for folks from outside Mt. Uniacke. Folks can buy and exchange growler fills of their favourite beers, with many of them in cans as well, thanks to a small canner.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
I am looking forward to having a couple of local spots carrying my beer. I’ve been concentrating more on the beer for now, so I haven’t really started going after any accounts. Now that I have samples ready to go, I’ll start visiting a few spots, but I don’t really have the capacity to have too many accounts. The local pizza spot, Uniacke Pizza, has been extremely helpful in my progression. They gave me a 3 basin sink and even offered to give me some space if brewing in the residential area didn’t work out. They are licensed and I will send some cans their way, and in the future, I’m hoping to have some sort of event there or get them set up with a kegerator to sell draft beer. They have great donairs, so I’m hoping to have people hammering down donairs and drinking a Party Time brew there soon!  

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
I am amazed at the willingness to help that the local brewing community has. Just about every person I’ve talked to in the industry will answer questions and has helped me get to where I am today. Keith from Ol’ Biddy’s was super helpful talking about the garage or “neighbourhood” brewery as well as Laura from Hardisty Brewing Co. who I’ve bugged more than once at the Alderney Market asking all types of questions about running a small brewery. On the YouTube side of things, I’ve done a few livestreams and had the chance to talk with many brewery owners and people who love brewing, they have been a great inspiration as well.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I’d like to keep expanding to eventually get somewhere in the 2-3 barrel range for the brewing system. All sales will go back into the production line to get away from the Frankensystem I’m using now!

Lets get nerdy! Tell us about your brewing system!
I’m brewing on a Grainfather based system. With this, I can produce 60L batches at a time and so far I’ve been doing way too many double brew days to fill up the fermenters. I basically brew on a Grainfather G70 and heat up the sparge water on a G30. For the fermenters, I have a mix of Grainfather, Spike and Speidel fermenters for a total fermenting capacity of 600 litres or so. On the packaging side, I’ll be initially focusing on canning, with about 60% of production going to that, the rest I will put into kegs for growler or keg sales. 

Party Time Brewery

Tell us more about your brewing experience.
I mentioned it above a bit, but I’ve been home brewing for almost 13 years now and (apparently) professional brewing for a few days. I’ve been a bit obsessed with brewing for the past two years, searching for information about brewing, researching styles, and just basically finding any education that is available and affordable without quitting my day job.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I don’t have a very groundbreaking answer for this one. If I had to choose, it would probably just be a great Double IPA. When done right, they are amazing. Some breweries are doing a lot of fun stuff with pilsners now and I’ll never say no to an interesting Pils! I love stopping by any of the breweries to see what they have on tap. Tapestry Beer Bar in Sackville is a great place to stop by to try out a bunch of different beers.   

How about your favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I’ll probably rock another generic answer, but brewing up IPAs is pretty fun. It’s great to play with the hopping schedules and different types of fun hops. I’m brewing at such a small scale that it’s pretty easy to try many different recipes in a pretty short period of time. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the lighter beers and they are also great for seeing how the more traditional hops in much smaller amounts can still bring out some great flavors. At the end of the day, each style has its own parts to master and I love a challenge!

After a slowdown in brewery openings in the past 3 years, we are thrilled to hear that folks are once again seeing the possibility of following their passion and making the leap to go pro. Keep up with all of Party Time’s antics through their IG, Fb, and YouTube pages, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Mount Uniacke, submit your orders through their website. Congratulations to Marshall on the launch!

Party Time Growler

Happy May, everyone! Flowers are pushing through the dirt and winter debris, migrating birds are returning (hello cardinals!), and patios are opening! As we shed the winter coats (and work towards shedding the winter pounds), there are plenty of new beers and events to encourage us out from hibernation! Let’s get you up to speed with what you could be imbibing this weekend…

Congratulations to the Shipwright Brewing team, as they celebrate the opening of their brand new Taproom + Pizza location at 80 Montague Street in Lunenburg. Located right next door to their original brewery and bar, the Taproom features 25 beers on tap, and a full menu with appetizers, bao buns, and both Detroit and New York style pizzas. For visitors to the OG taproom spot, they will be impressed with the 10-fold increase in the seating, so no more waiting for a spot at the bar or patio during busy summer evenings. The retail fridge is full of beer options to take away, during their 11 AM – 10 PM (or later), seven days a week, opening hours. Just a note that they are only doing dine-in during the first week of operation, and great news for those looking for a more intimate Shipwright experience, the original taproom in the brewery at 82 Montague remains open and ready to serve all visitors!

News from our PEI friends Lone Oak brings the announcement of their new restaurant, Lone Oak Fox Meadow! Opening today (Friday May 5th), this is a full-service, year-round restaurant and events centre at the Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, PEI. They’ll be open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and drinks and will offer a brunch on the weekends. The full website will launch next week, so for now, keep an eye on Lone Oak’s main socials for any updates, or just go check it out from 11am-10pm any day of the week (open for brunch at 9 AM on the weekends)! Congratulations to the LO Crew!

And in the spirit of new beginnings, we have news on changes to a brewery who has been around since 2015… Same brewery, new name! Spindrift Brewing is no more and now Burnside Brewing Company rises from its ashes. Keeping all of the same lineup of beers like Toller and Killick, some of you may be familiar with Spindrift in the US and their beverage products. Our local Spindrift took an enquiry from the unaffiliated RTD brand as a chance to ground where they are and go through a rebranding process. They’re trying to make beer in Burnside that isn’t fancy, is about the beer first, and celebrates working hard, having fun, and making great beer; hence they chose the name of the area in which they feel most at home. Both the Antigonish and Dartmouth locations will remain unchanged and things will continue as normal, except for the new branding and packaging. Their new website is expected to go live shortly, and their socials have changed over to the new moniker.

The Cabot Trail Relay’s newest beer sponsor, Breton Brewing, has lots on the go this week, with a few new releases and a lot of calls for hiring. Let’s start with the beer. First up, Grapefruit IPA is an American IPA with big grapefruit flavours of pine and citrus but also with real grapefruit juice added. It’s bitter, as you’d expect, with a nice punch of that grapefruit kick; it is 6% ABV and 45 IBU. 

Next up is a new member of the Let’s Jam series of sours; Let’s Jam: Raspberry Lemon Sour was brewed with big batches of real raspberry and lemon to mix up the sweet and sour flavours. A nice pink hue captures the eye and the refreshing 4% ABV will leave you wanting more. Both of these are available now at the brewery on tap and in cans, along with their website online. They will also be hitting the shelves of certain NSLC locations across the province. On the HR side of things, Breton has multiple positions for students and full-time work in Halifax and Cape Breton, so head over to their careers page if you’re interested. 

Let’s head to Moncton, where Tire Shack Brewing has a few new releases and fun events they’re hyped about. This week, they have a new experimental sour release on draught, based around the Soursop fruit, also known as guanábana or Brazilian paw paw. Imparting citrus, banana, coconut, and mango to the base sour beer, given the difficulty in sourcing the fruit in our region, there are only a few kegs, and no cans, of this one. And coming later this weekend is another sour beer, this one showcasing Pink Guava, bringing a total of 5 sours on tap, including the recent return of Sun-Kissed Mimosa Sour

Rounding out the recent Tire Shack releases is the return of their Gold medal winning Killed By Death, a 10.0% Triple IPA, chock-full of Citra, Mosaic, and Vic Secret late in the process for tons of great aromatics. Pop by the brewery today, or better yet, in celebration of Moncton Taco Week, Tire Shack is welcoming back Birria Dave’s in the taproom both Saturday and Sunday from noon until sell-out, as he is featuring The 3D Birria Taco. Best not to hesitate, as these always go quick!

It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of NB’s oldest craft breweries, Moncton’s own Pump House, on the blog and we’ve been hoping for some fresh drops from them to share with everyone. Uncommon Kölsch is a low-carb and low-calorie release that is crisp and refreshing. It is 4% and available in 355ml 8 packs at the ANBL, on tap at PH accounts and directly from the brewery. Sort through the dark and light stuff and pick out something clean and new to enjoy from this brewery, as this is available now!

Heading west to Fredericton, Maybee Brew has a new beer to celebrate a big milestone at the brewery. Batch 500 is a brand new IPA celebrating exactly what you think! A New England IPA, this milestone brew is big on tropical, mango, citrus, and grapefruit flavours and is juicy and enjoyable. It’s 6.2% ABV and 30 IBU and available today on tap and in cans from the brewery. Grab one of those cans as the design is gorgeous and true to the milestone celebration! 

Mauzy, the cidery operating adjacent to Banished Brewing in Paradise, NL, has their first release of 2022 fermentations this week with Point Towards Heaven, a spontaneously fermented blend of feral Mcintosh and feral crab apple juices. Transparent yellow, with no finings, filtering, or added sulphites, this one represents their first Pet Nat-style cider. Only 20 cases have been produced, so you’ll want to act quickly to get yourself a bottle. Look for this 5.6% ABV delight only at Banished.

In other cider news, Sourwood may not be slinging cider at their old spot on Cornwallis St. in Halifax but they’re still putting out tasty treats. And wouldn’t you know it, they’ve got a Pet Nat on the go as well! Starting with a base of handpicked L’Acadie Blanc grapes, they bolstered it with Russet apple juice from their secret sheep orchard. Capping the fermentation to preserve the natural carbonation, they have not disgorged the bottles, so you can expect some sediment. You can also expect flavors of elderflower, geranium, and pithy grapefruit. Marked with a vintage of 2021, this one has been sitting and improving for quite some time. Look for L’Acadie + Russet in their online shop for delivery or pickup (note that pickup is now at 115 Chain Lake Drive, Unit 12C), at Ramblers (formerly Sourwood’s own in-town location), and potentially at other fine watering holes.

Those jolly androids from Good Robot are back with their latest Goodwill beer and this one is partnered with the Ecology Action Centre. Dark Saison is the style for this release and it features an addition of cranberries to bring a bit of sweetness and tart flavour to the beer, balancing spice and cocoa notes from the malt and yeast. Each can of Goodwill Saison sold from the brewery or online will contribute 50 cents directly to the environmental charity. This beer comes in at 5.3% and is for an excellent cause, supporting climate change, biodiversity and environmental justice. 

Miramichi’s Timber Ship is back with a new release this week, one in the “perfect for enjoying with a group of buds” vein, aka, crushable. They looked to Germany for inspiration, and honed in on the Kölsch style from Cologne. Light in body, clean Pils malt backbone with Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, with a crisp and clean finish. Named in celebration of Harley & Hank, find this 4.5% beer on tap at Three Dog Distilling at 279 Newcastle Blvd, or in cans to go from Timber Ship’s Below Deck location on the King George Highway.

Up on The Rock, Port Rexton Brewing has a new collab brew out, this one done with the folks from Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South (you may have heard of this place recently, as it’s iceberg season…). Small Game is a “Tiny” IPA coming in at a paltry 2.6% ABV, but still boasting plenty of aroma and flavor, with gummy candy and tropical fruit on the nose and more fruit and melon undertones on the palate. Perfect for games night, when you want to let loose a little, but still keep your wits about you, you’ll find this one at the taproom, at the PR St. John’s retail shop, and at Ninepenny’s taproom as well.

For those in Halifax, and wanting to delve a bit deeper into what goes into designing and crafting the beer they enjoy, The Discovery Centre is hosting Science of Beer next Saturday, May 13. From 7 – 10:30 PM, ten breweries from the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia will chat up style characteristics, ingredients, processes and more, along with science demonstrations from the DC team, with live music from The Fine Tuners, all while sipping on beer. This 19+ event requires tickets, find out more and grab yours here

Let’s do some quick hits for some craft beer jobs around the region!

Stillwell Beer Bar is looking for a full-time server for the summer with a very likely chance for part-time work in the fall. Email here if interested.

Garrison Brewing is looking for a Head Brewer and this could be a dream job at a big craft brewery for a lot of people. Permanent, full-time, big job! Check out the link here for all the details. 

In other Head Brewer news, Long Bay Brewing in Fredericton is looking for a Head Brewer (with professional experience) or an Assistant Brewer (with all-grain homebrewing experience). With a 15bbl brewhouse and 3.5bbl test batch system, there is room to grow and learn. Send your resume here if you’re interested!

Off Grid (or OG Ales) is hiring a bunch of positions for taproom, grounds keeping and housekeeping. Part-time and full-time positions are available, for summer students as well, with pay around $15/hr. Application deadline is May 19th. Please send your resume here

Plenty more beer to let you know about, let’s get some newsbites in front of you.

Halifax’s own Propeller Brewing has a fun 12 pack featuring some summer crushers all at 5% ABV or less in a 355ml format. The Propeller Patio Pack Craft Beer Mixer is this year’s latest mix of 4 beers to grab and go for the summer. Featuring 3 each of: Tango Lagered Ale (4.8%), Tropic Haze Summer Ale (5.0%), Yutopia Summer Ale (5.0%) and Lime Lite Lager (4.5%), you can get this starting today from the 3 Propeller shops (4 if you include the online store!) and the private stores in Halifax. This will be coming to certain NSLCs as well. And a reminder that the patio at their Gottingen Street taproom is now open, so get out and enjoy some beer!

In Tatamagouche they’re getting all ready for summer sipping with the release of this season’s fruited Dekorum variations. Lime, Mandarin, and Blood Orange are all available in 355ml cans as of today, all coming in at a very sessionable 2.9% ABV. Grab them in any combination (potentially including the non-fruited OG version) from their web shop, with delivery available to all Canadian Provinces!

Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has a new IPA in the fridge and on tap these days. Dinosaur Food is a big 7.0% Hazy IPA, hopped heavily with Motueka and Sabro, resulting in massive notes of ripe mango, fruit cocktail, and a coconutty pina colada vibe. Grab it from either of their Brewery or Gastropub locations on tap or in cans to enjoy outdoors.

It’s that time of year again when Big Spruce brings out their She’s Maibock, a German lager on the heavier side at 6.5% ABV. Brewed with modern Continental hop variety Huëll Melon, look for aromas of strawberries, honeydew melon, and stone fruit that complement malty notes of bread crust and candied orange. May a little reminiscent of toast and jam!

And finally this week, Grimross has brought back their Juicy IPA, and this 6.5% ABV can is available now from them and coming to ANBL and other shops shortly.