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

In case you’re still looking for Paradise, you’ll find it just east of St. John’s, on Conception Bay. And Paradise can now boast having a brewery of their own, as Banished Brewing has released their first beers, and have just today opened their retail shop, and working toward opening their beer garden, we wanted to get the skinny on the folks behind Banished, their beers, and what you can expect as they enter the busy season. We caught up with co-owner Craig Farewell, no stranger to the Newfoundland and Labrador beer scene, having co-produced the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival since his return home to Newfoundland.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Craig, I grew up in Atlantic Canada (NL, NB, NS) and moved back home to NL in 2015 after a four year stint in Halifax.

How did you get into the world of beer?

I started brewing in 2011, just after moving to Halifax. At the same time the craft beer boom was just hitting Halifax and breweries were starting to open everywhere. Dove in head first and never came back out.

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?

It was the original goal, but mostly blind ambition Haha. I’m a CPA so I had that side of the business looked after and I knew I loved brewing and loved the craft beer community, so it was just a matter of time.

What is the ethos of Banished Brewing?

Beer doesn’t mean anything if you’re not using it to enhance the communities that you operate within. Be great people and brew great beer and use it to do as much good as you can along the way.

You have, just today, opened your retail spot at 9 Maverick Place, in Paradise. How else can folks enjoy your beer?

We currently have the retail space in the brewery, and later on we’ll have the Beer Garden adjacent to the brewery with on-site sales and consumption. We’ve been sending to keg licensees across the province, including Bar Brewdock in East Duck, and even as far as Iron Rock Brewing in Lab City! Most of our product will be canned and sold through retail outlets, including NLCs, Marie’s, Ultramar, and other private shops. Find cans and merch at the retail space, growlers may be coming later.

So, tell us about the beers folks can expect at the retail shop or on draught?

The initial offerings are varied, and there are plenty more brews in the pipeline as we make our way through the summer.

  •  Out The Gate is a 5.3% ABV Belgian Single, light malt and hop character, with a touch of bubblegum on the nose, while remaining refreshing.
  • Space Puffin is a 6.0% ABV New England IPA, juicy, hazy, and full of citrus and tropical goodness for the warmer months ahead. Look for more Puffins coming soon!
  • NO NO NO NO YES NO is a 4.5% ABV EI (Employment Insurance) Pale Ale, light enough in alcohol to warrant having a few in the afternoon while you wait for your check to come in! Check out the label, though all of them are great, thanks to Paul George Hammond.
  • Paradise Town is their 5.5% Fruited Sour, featuring Pink Guava puree added for a tropical kick. Look for more iterations of this beer as they play with the fruit additions throughout the year.
  • An Elaborate Series of Mirrors is a 5.0% American Lager, crushable, quaffable, however you want to put it, this beer is made for easy enjoyment.
  • Tall Trees, with a label reminiscent of the Redwoods in the Pacific Northwest, is a 7.0% West Coast IPA. Piney and citrusy, there is a serious bitterness in here to match the aromatics.

No brewery is an island, someone smarter than me once said. Can you tell us about those who have helped along the way?

I hope I can remember them all because without them I wouldn’t have gotten here! Most important is my wife Katie. Without her embracing my dream and pushing as hard for it as I was, it wouldn’t have happened. She has kept every aspect of our lives in check while I chased this dream and this belongs to her as much as it does me.

Thank you to Tom and Jamie for continuing down this path and toughing out the many obstacles we faced. Big thanks to our head brewer Duncan who packed up his life and brought his family to a place he’d never been, to pursue this dream and turn it into a reality. Thanks to Boxing Rock for putting out The Vicar’s Cross and sending me down the path of Craft Beer. Thanks to Stillwell for showing me what the craft beer community looks like when you bring everybody together. Thanks to Sonja and Alicia from Port Rexton for brining me in after we moved back to NL and really paving the way for the new generation of craft brewers in this province. Thanks to the Landwash crew for giving me experience and always lending a hand. Thanks to Dave and Phil at Bannerman for the knowledge sharing, chats, and unlimited coffee. The craft beer community in this province is awesome and we just want to spread that joy as much as we can.

How about the future of Banished, where do you see it in the next few years?

Looking forward to stable distribution, hopefully exporting to the Atlantic provinces and out west.

Let’s get nerdy! Tell us about your brewery equipment and expected output…

We specced out a 30 barrel system (3500 litres), but after brewing on it a few times, it acts more like a 40 barrel (4800 litre) system. It’s a 3 vessel brewhouse (Hot Liquor Tank, Mash/Boil/Whirlpool, Lauter Tun) from Jenrey, with the option for an additional two vessels for future expansion.

Expected output is unknown. Cautiously say 1,500 hectolitres to start. Depends on exporting and level of distribution.

Tell us more about your own brewing history…

I started brewing in 2011 in Halifax. Picked up a Vicar’s Cross from Boxing Rock and wanted to figure out how to make it myself. The same week, my friend sold me his homebrew kit and the spending on brewing equipment never stopped.

Some commercial experience with Port Rexton and Landwash when I moved home, but most of my brewing knowledge came from brewing on my own systems. We brought in Head Brewer Duncan Tennant because he’s wicked and had the commercial knowledge at a scale that we are hoping to get to one day.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking? Or brewing?

I enjoy most styles, but enjoy the complexity of brewing lagers as they’re a white rabbit that you seem to never be able to catch. Don’t mind crushing some hazy IPAs as well. Love brewing lagers because while I know I’ll never win, they at least keep me trying.

Congratulations once again to Craig, Duncan, and the entire Banished family. Check out their retail shop today and tomorrow, 12 – 7 PM at 9 Maverick Place in Paradise, where you’ll also have the first looks at their brewery. Keep your eyes peeled to their Insta and Facebook pages for updates on new beers, distribution, and the Beer Garden opening in the coming weeks. Their website is also kept up-to-date with beers and news.

AWOL Brewery, a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran-owned brewery in the Moncton region, is up and running as of this month, and celebrating its Launch Party at the All Ranks Moncton Mess this weekend. We caught up with owner and brewer, Robert Black, to learn more about his journey to open AWOL, their current and future offerings, and much more!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and AWOL?
My name is Bobby and am the brewer/owner of a new craft brewery located in Moncton, New Brunswick. I am a retired Sgt. from the Army, and started this project after my medical release in 2015. AWOL Brewery is primarily marketed towards serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as first responders, but not exclusively so. We are part of the Buy Veteran movement, and give back to Veteran non-profit organizations, through a percentage of sales from our merchandise and a selection of our seasonal/specialty beers.

Can you tell us about your brewery and plans for distribution?
The brewery is a 3 BBL (~350 litre) electric brewery, powered exclusively by solar energy, thanks to the panels on the roof of our building. While our current brewing location is not open to the public, we are focusing on providing licensees in the region with beer. The focus is on the development of the brand and getting exposure, before we expand into a new space, which could include a taproom. Where to find us on tap is always expanding, so it’s best to check the list on our website for the up-to-date information. Currently pouring at the All Ranks Moncton Mess (ARMM), Laundromat Expresso Bar, Timber Lounge, and Furnace Room in Moncton, and on the rotating taps at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. The ARMM is not normally open to the public, except during special events.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available now, and plans for the future?
Currently, we have an American Pale Ale, Tactical Pause APA, as a regular full-time listed beer. This beer is a 5% ABV hop-forward pale ale, with German Caramel malts to give it some body and help balance out the bitterness of the Warrior and Amarillo hops used to make it 36 IBU.
Throughout the year we will be rotating different beer styles in our seasonal selection. By our second year, we plan on promoting the best performing seasonal beer to a permanent listing. Our first seasonal beer is a Smoked Amber Ale, called The Smoker, named after the (rare) post-military training exercise beer call and BBQ. Lightly smoked using traditional German Beechwood-smoked malt, along with German Caramel malts and American Hops to help balance the flavor. The Smoker Ale is at 5.1% ABV 24 IBU and displays a colour of 15 SRM. This beer pairs nicely with anything from the grill, and the smoke does not overwhelm your sense of taste.
The next seasonal beer is a Red Lager brewed with German lager yeast and German Cara malts. It weighs in at 5.0% ABV. No special for it yet, other than calling it AWOL R.E.D. Lager. All three of these will be available on tap at the Launch Party, and at the other licensees, then it’s hard at work on releasing summer seasonal beers.

What can folks expect at the Launch Party Saturday?
From 6PM on Saturday, at the All Ranks Moncton Mess (Building 47 at 299 Park Street), we are inviting the public to join the active and veteran communities to help us celebrate our launch. We will be onsite pouring our three beers, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, the BBQ will be fired up and we will have burgers and sausages available after 6:30, with merchandise such as shirts, glassware, and stickers available for purchase. And door prizes to say thank you to those who come out to support! We have more details on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

How can we keep up with the latest AWOL Brewery news?
We have Facebook and Instagram pages, and we update our website with new beer releases, merchandise, and licensees. Look for an online store for merch coming soon!

Congratulations to Robert and Julie Black on the launch of AWOL, we know it has been many years in the making!