Happy long-weekend Friday, everyone! After several weeks absolutely chock-full of beer news, it looks like things have slowed down – slightly – as everyone gets ready for Thanksgiving…
• The long wait is almost over… Railcar Brewing should be supplying beer to the thirsty public very soon! They’ve hired their first full-time assistant brewer, and their first commercial brew day will occur this weekend – they’ll be brewing up a batch of their Artisan Brown Ale, a traditional English Brown with an ABV of 5% and 22 IBUs. For every growler of this beer that is sold, Railcar will donate $0.50 to the Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery to support art programs for youth in the community. Their Railcar Red (5% ABV, 23 IBUs) will be brewed several days later; look for their beers to be available for growler fills at the brewery soon, and hitting local restaurants/pubs on tap. They’re also expanding into a space behind the brewery, where they’ll be opening a spin-off company named Brew Offs, where they’ll be selling products made with beer ingredients – e.g. spent grain granola, beer soap, beer barbecue sauce, etc. – to avoid wastage as much as possible.
• Railcar will be at the NB Nano Takeover at Stillwell (with their Railcar Red), being held next Saturday, October 18th. During the two sessions (12-3, 4-7), some of the smallest and most innovative breweries in New Brunswick will be pouring their beers and ciders, most for the first time outside of NB. Acadie-Broue, Big Axe, Grimross, Hammond River, Red Rover, and Petit-Sault will also be pouring that day. Tickets are still available for either session, and your $15 entry will snag you a t-shirt and your first pour. If you haven’t booked them by now, you *may* not get the correct sized t-shirt (be sure to specify in your request), but at least you’ll get in the door! And you definitely don’t want to miss out on this very special day.
• Big Spruce will be holding their Second Annual Home Brew Competition shortly, so NS homebrewers, fire up your kettles! This year’s style is 6D – American Wheat or Rye. Full registration details will open very shortly, however we can tell you that entries will be due November 26th, and the judging will take place November 29th. Once again, the winning brewer will be invited to step up their homebrew recipe on Big Spruce’s 7 bbl system, and the beer will be launched at the Local Connections Halifax Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, January 15, at the Halifax Club. With over 6 weeks of lead time, we can look forward to some great beers being submitted (maybe even a chance for a test brew to fine tune the recipe?). As in last year’s, entry is open to all NS homebrewers, and please email Big Spruce for the registration form.
• Speaking of Big Spruce, they have two new beers in the pipeline; the first one is Das Sprucebier, an Oktoberfest (aka Märzen) brewed with 100% imported German malt, including Vienna, Pilsner, Munich I, and CaraMunich. It clocks in at 5.9% ABV and 23 IBUs, and is hopped with both Magnum and Challenger, the latter of which is grown on-site at the Big Spruce farm. The second beer, Smoking Jack, is their first seasonal Pumpkin ale. Featuring their own farm-grown, organic pumpkins that have been smoked for 5 hours outside the brewery and added to the mash, the beer was then conditioned on cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg… that had been soaked for 72 hours in Flor de Caña Centenario dark rum. And, of course, the rum itself was then added to the beer for good measure! This one weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 22 IBUs. Das Sprucebier is available now, and the Smoking Jack will be released just in time for the Celtic Oktoberfest, being held October 25th in Port Hawkesbury, NS (more on that later in the post). Both beers will be available for growler fills at the brewery, and at select bars/restaurants in the Halifax area as well.
• The PEI Brewing Co. is holding their annual Oktoberfest celebration next weekend on Saturday, October 18th. Like last year, the event will be held throughout the day, with an artisan market, music, and lots of sausages and beer for purchase. Included in the beer offerings is a new cask brewed for the occasion: Big Jimmy Brown is their Iron Bridge Brown Ale aged on bourbon-soaked oak chips, “primed” with Creme de Cacao; it clocks in at 6% ABV and ~30 IBUs. Their popular Growler Challenge (where contestants compete to see who can hold a full growler of beer at arm’s length for the longest period) begins at 2:00 pm, and later in the evening, starting at 8:00 pm, their first Art Battle of the season will be held. This will be followed by live music starting at 10:30 pm, featuring Rich Aucoin and PS I Love You. Entry is free during the afternoon; tickets for the Art Battle and after party are $10 and can be purchased online.
• And while on the topic of the PEI Brewing Co., their popular Sydney Street Stout is now back in liquor stores across the Maritimes, and on tap at select locations.
• Boxing Rock has just brewed a new beer, an Amber Ale fall seasonal hopped with “a very special hop, believed to be unobtainable”. They’re keeping details under wraps for now, but we’ll have more info for you next week! For now, look forward to a beer featuring a hop that “really makes it a special brew”, according to owner/brewer Emily Tipton. They hope to have the beer released before the end of this month. And we see that they are brewing up another batch of U-889 today, which is their ACBA Gold-Medal winning Russian Imperial Stout.
• Shiretown recently brewed a revised batch of their Siren’s T’ale; this one was brewed with a new hop variety, Goldings, from Southan Farms. Owner/brewer Derek Leslie has confirmed that this variety may become a permanent substitute in future brews of this particular beer. In the meantime, when the beer becomes available, if you’d like to try it to compare to previous batches, look for bottles with batch #146 indicated on the label.
• We have some more details on the North Brewing Winter Saison. Their popular Saison will now be a year-round beer (weighing in at 5.5% ABV), however the orange and coriander from the Summer brew is being swapped out for Winter’s ginger and black pepper. We had a chance to try it on the weekend, and quite enjoyed it!
• Sea Level Brewing has released their latest seasonal, Punkin Grinner Ale. Brewed for the first time last year, this beer features local produce, including baby pam pie pumpkins grown on the Sea Level farm. It weighs in at 5% ABV, and features local honey and Annapolis Valley hops. We can also confirm that it’s available now at the Port Pub and brewery, and will be in the Halifax Private Stores this weekend.
• A reminder that the Beerthief Special Brew Label Contest closes today. Be sure to send your entry along to Mike to be entered. Garrison Brewing’s special brew will be released in January, to Beerthief members in Newfoundland and Labrador only.
• Toot toot! Final call for East Coast Beer Tour’s Valley Tour! Check out their bus tour to the Annapolis Valley, scheduled for tomorrow, October 11th. Tickets are now only $25, and include transport, three brewery tours complete with beer tastings, snacks and lunch. Now’s your chance to visit Meander River, Paddys Irish Brewpub, and Bad Apple Brewhouse, and leave the driving to someone else!
Brewpub of the Year*: Rockbottom Brewpub
Beer of the Year: Pump House Barleywine
Stillwell‘s People’s Choice Award: Big Spruce Cereal Killer Stout
|North American & European Style Lagers||Hop City Brewing Co. Barking Squirrel||Tatamagouche Brewing Co. Lagerhosen||Propeller Brewing Co. Bohemian Style Pilsner|
|German Specialty Beers||Uncle Leo’s Vohs Weizenbier||Paddys Irish Brewpub Dom Arthur|
|UK Specialty Beers||PEI Brewing Co. Iron Bridge Brown||Gahan House Iron Bridge Brown||Paddys Irish Brewpub Raven Ale|
|North American Specialty Ales||Barnone Black Eye Pale Ale||Boxing Rock Hunky Dory Pale Ale||Barnone Sessions Ale|
|Belgian Style Specialty Ales||Pump House Pompiers à Vos Garde||North Brewing Summer Saison||Grimross Chantelope|
|North American Amber & Red Ales||Boxing Rock Tempation Red||Barnone Substanchel||Garrison/Beau’s Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale|
|Fruit & Field Beers||Rare Bird Pumpkin Ale||Rogues Roost Raspberry Wheat||Bad Apple Brewhouse Operation Green Ring|
|Pale Ales||Bad Apple Brewhouse American Pale Ale||Moosehead Boundary Ale||Garrison Brewing Hop Yard Pale Ale|
|Stout & Porter||Rogues Roost Oatmeal Stout||Big Axe Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout||Pump House Muddy River Stout|
|Strong Stout & Porter||Propeller Brewing Co. Revolution Russian Imperial Stout||Bad Apple Brewhouse Black & Tackle||Rogues Roost Imperial Stout|
|India Pale Ale||Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA||Big Spruce Tim’s Dirty American IPA||Barnone IPA|
|Imperial IPA||Bad Apple Brewhouse Mosaic Double IPA||Boxing Rock The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA||Garrison Brewing Imperial IPA|
|Strong Ale||Pump House Barleywine||North Brewing Strong Belgian Dark||Petit-Sault Bob Le Boeuf|
|Experimental Beers||Boxing Rock U-889 Russian Imperial Stout||Garrison Brewing Honey Lavendar Ale||Big Spruce Hoppuccino Coffee IPA|
|Wood & Barrel Aged Beers||Propeller Brewing Co. Lambic||Garrison Brewing Barrel-Aged Grand Baltic Porter||Bad Apple Brewhouse Barrel-Aged Black & Tackle|