East Coast Beer Tours

All posts tagged East Coast Beer Tours

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!

• The latest Local Connections Halifax Magazine is on its way to the printers, but the digital version is now available for reading. In it, there is an extensive Craft Beer section, featuring Garrison Brewing, Propeller Brewing, Schoolhouse, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, and much more.
• Tickets are still available for this month’s Celtic Oktoberfest, being held in Port Hawkesbury on Saturday, Oct 25th. A nice write-up in the Chronicle Herald highlights many of the local food and beer vendors whose products will be offered that evening. Remember that your ticket includes beer AND food, as well as great local entertainment. And be sure to check out the Pumpkin Launch that afternoon on the Port Hawkesbury marina. If you’ve got a team of like-minded designers and builders, sign up to take part!
Barley, Hops and Mash, a workshop for Craft Brewers, is taking place October 24th at Acadia University in Wolfville. The brainchild of Springboard Atlantic, it seeks to pair brewers with scientific researchers, for mutual benefit. Perhaps a brewery has a question about hops utilization in their system, a lab or research group is available with the tools to perform the experiments and analyze the results. Gary McMullen (President and Founder of Muskoka Brewery) and Joel Alex (Founder and President of Blue Ox Malt House) will give Keynote talks, and then brewers and researchers will give short 3 minute/1 slide presentations on their research needs and abilities, respectively. The seminar is free, and is aimed at established or in-development breweries.
• What a weekend! Chris was thrilled to have been one of the organizers for the inaugural Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards held last weekend. Saturday was a long day of judging, with the 18 judges tackling over 170 different beers, submitted by 28 different breweries. The hard working stewards kept the beer moving and the judges busy, going quite late into the night. Once the dust settled, the results were tallied, and announced at the Stubborn Goat, Sunday evening.
Here are the results, and we offer our sincere congratulations to all entrants. What a great celebration of our brewing community!
Brewery of the Year*: Bad Apple Brewhouse
Brewpub of the Year*: Rockbottom Brewpub
Beer of the Year: Pump House Barleywine
Stillwell‘s People’s Choice Award: Big Spruce Cereal Killer Stout
Category Gold Silver Bronze
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
* Brewery and Brewpub of the year were determined by the number of points earned by four pre-assigned beers (as chosen by the brewery). Both categories were hotly contested!

Good morning! Yet another week full of beer news in Atlantic Canada…

• There’s another new brewery gearing to start up in New Brunswick! Currently unnamed, the brewery’s origins began in the Grand Tracadie-Sheila area of the province; the brewery itself will be located somewhere in the Acadian peninsula. It will be owned under a joint co-op/private enterprise format, the first of its kind in the province. Money is being raised, boards are coming together, and they’re looking for brewery equipment; the goal is to be brewing somewhere in the range of 5-10 bbl (155-310 U.S. gallons, or roughly 6-11 hL). We plan on having a standalone post on the brewery up soon; in the meantime, they’re currently looking for more investors in the project. If you’re interested, contact Dean Roberts for more information.

• There’s a new variation of one of the favorite beers from Hammond River Brewing out on tap – it’s the Back in Black Oatmeal Stout, but brewed with some Smoked malt to give the beer a bit of smoke in the aroma and flavor. You can currently find it on tap at Bourbon Quarter in Saint John, The Barrel’s Head in Rothesay, and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton. And speaking of Fredericton, Hammond River beers are now available on tap at the King Street Ale House; currently pouring is the award-winning American IPA, Hop Flash. And, stop by the ANBL in Kennebecasis Valley to grab a growler of the Gammie California Common, tapped yesterday.

Rockbottom Brewpub has tapped a pair of new beers this week. With the last drop of Thulsa Doom II pouring this week, the Insidious India Black Ale has made a triumphant return. Weighing in at 6.9% and 70 IBUs, this beer features 5.8 pounds of hops per barrel (!!), featuring Columbus, Citra, Simcoe, Summit, Centennial, and German Magnum, sure to keep the hop heads satisfied. Restitution Porter is a brand new brew at the ‘bottom this week, at 5.2% ABV, featuring some nice roast, chocolate and toffee and light caramel notes, and is lightly hopped to 30 IBUs with Centennial and German Magnum hops. A smaller batch, this special brew will only last a few weeks on tap. And be sure to drop by Wednesday afternoons for the latest firkin creation from Brewmaster Nash!

Celtic Knot Brewing has just brewed a new beer, and it’s a style that you don’t usually see in our area: a Scottish Heavy (or 70/), a Scottish session beer that is amber-colored and normally malty with a dry finish, with an optional peaty or earthy character. Owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed that his take on the beer (which he brewed for years as a homebrewer) is brewed with a Maris Otter malt base, several varieties of Crystal malt, and “a wee bit of Chocolate malt”. Named Caledonia, the beer should come in at a very sessionable 3.8% ABV… it should be a great beer to drink several pints of! We’ll let you know when it’s available, which should be later this month.

Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing two new beers this weekend: Operation Green Ring is a 5.0% ABV Cucumber Mint beer, brewed with two members of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club, aka Delta Force Brewery. Terroir is Bad Apple/Greg Nash collaboration Wet-hop beer, weighing in at 7.0% ABV, featuring well over 100 kilos of wet hops used throughout the brew (10 hl). Unique brewing practices have given this beer a very smooth and subtle, yet delicious hoppiness. Kegs will be delivered to Tom’s Little Havana and Stillwell this weekend. It will also be available at the Brewhouse starting today for Growler fills. The Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout is back on tap for a limited time, and they’ve filled two red wine barrels with the beer! Look for this unique combination around Christmas.

North Brewing is once again aging some of their Strong Dark Belgian in Glenora barrels. This beer was a big hit when it was first released; subsequent releases also sold out very quickly. Luckily for all of us, they’ve managed to get their hands on more barrels… four times as many! Look for the beer to be released in December, after an appropriate aging period.

• We have more details on the Hants County Hops Series beers from Schoolhouse Brewery. All of the batches will feature Maritime Malt and English yeast, brewed using open primary fermenters. Batch #1 made its debut last weekend, and featured mostly Golding, with some Cascade hops. Batch #2 features mostly Galena, and will be released shortly. Batch #3 will feature Zeus, and Batch #4 features Zeus and Galena. Check out their Twitter and Facebook pages for information on when/where to grab a pint, we understand that they will all be on tap at Bar Stillwell for an event early November. Also keep an eye out for growler sales in the near future.

Rudder’s Brew Pub in Yarmouth is holding their 9th Annual Brewer’s Dinner tonight. It will feature a four-course meal, prepared with some of their beer, and of course paired with beer to drink. The event kicks off at 7pm, and reservations are required (902-742-7311).

Paddys Irish Brewpub has released their Oktoberfest beer this week. Orange in colour with a medium body and balanced hop bitterness, it was brewed using German malt, hops and yeast. It weighs in at 7% ABV, and is very drinkable, thanks to a month of lagering. It is currently available on tap and in growlers in Wolfville, and will be on shortly at the Kentville location.

Propeller Brewing has released a favourite seasonal beer in the past week, the Nocturne Dark Lager. Weighing in at 4.8%, this Munich Style Dark Lager it is available now at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries, as well as the private stores. Rich and malty flavours are balanced with traditional German Noble hops to balance. It is brewed in support of Nocturne: Art at Night, taking place October 18th. This is a popular event, which sees the Halifax area turn into an indoor and outdoor art gallery for all styles. If you are interested in volunteering, please check here for more details.

• Garrison Brewing is releasing two beers this weekend: Their annual harvest beer, 3 Fields Harvest Ale, is returning, featuring wet hops from Ross Farm, Meander River, and Fiddle Hop Farm. This beer weighs in at 6.3% ABV. They are also releasing a brand new beer, the Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin, a 8.0% ABV darker brew featuring loads of local pumpkins. Both will be available at the brewery and private stores this weekend, and will be pouring at their stop at City Harvest tomorrow.

East Coast Beer Tours has adjusted their Valley tour departing next Saturday, Oct 11th: they have downsized the bus slightly, and as such are able to pass along the savings to you! The price of a ticket is now only $50+HST, and still includes all of the great beer and food visits: Meander River in Ashdale, Paddys Irish Brewpub in Wolfville, and Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset. At each stop you’ll be treated to a brewery tour and beer samples, and you’ll also have some appetizers at Paddys and a BBQ featuring sausages from Meadowbrook Meat Market at Bad Apple. There will also be local musician CDs and other goodies given away during the trip. Tickets are still available, and you could win a pair of tickets by retweeting this post. Give the tour a try, we think you’ll have a great time!

Rogues Roost has released their Oatmeal Stout this week. Available on tap and in growlers, it weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 40 IBUs, and features toasted oats, chocolate and dark crystal malt, and roasted barley.

• Following the release of the Indian Beach Harvest Ale last week, Big Tide has just released another fresh-hopped beer. Indian Beach Pumpkin Ale was brewed with pumpkins grown at Fullerton Farms; they were hand-prepared and roasted for the brew. With a grist featuring Pale, Munich and Carared malts, it is hopped with fresh, local hops from Dunhams Run, similar to the Harvest Ale. Clocking in at about 5.5% ABV, the beer also has cinnamon, orange peel, ginger, nutmeg, clove, molasses and local honey added for more flavor and aroma. It should be on tap at the brewpub now, and won’t last long!

Gahan House Halifax is putting the final touches on their Peach Wit today, for release in the next couple of weeks. Two bushels of peaches from Elderkin’s Farm in Wolfville are being peeled and pitted, and added to the conditioning tank today. To keep you satisfied until then, the Pleasures and Treasures Maple Whiskey Porter and Baby Steps Belgian Ale are still on, and tasting great! Be sure to drop by Tuesday night for their special casks. This week’s will be a Double Dry-hopped IPA, so drop by and chat over a pint with Brewer Karen Allen. And don’t forget that Tuesday is Industry night, where brewery and brewpub staff get a nice discount.

• Congratulations to Big Spruce Brewing who were awarded an Impact Award from Cape Breton Partnership, thanks to their significant impact on the local economy through improvements to local businesses! And speaking of Big Spruce, they are helping to organize the Celtic Oktoberfest, being held Oct 25th. In conjunction with the evening of fun, food and beer, there will be a Pumpkin Launch at the Port Hawkesbury Marina. It’s not too late to sign up your team’s trebuchet or catapult to launch a pumpkin into the Strait!

• In large brewery news, Moosehead has announced that they will be laying off about 70 workers – almost half of their hourly production employees – from their brewery in Saint John at the end of June, 2015. The brewery cites “the loss of a major brewing and packaging contract”, according to a recent story from the CBC, as the reason for the lay-offs.

• A reminder that the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards are this weekend in Halifax, and there are still tickets to take part in the fun, and to meet the special guest, Mirella Amato. She is leading a beer and cheese pairing seminar taking place 2pm Saturday afternoon at the Westin. The Gala Awards are open to everyone on Sunday at 6pm at the Stubborn Goat, followed immediately by a Beer Dinner featuring local food and beer (from North Brewing, Bad Apple and Garrison). Monday night, the Ladies Beer League is hosting a meet and greet with Mirella at Lion & Bright. Purchasing a ticket will get you a copy of her Beerology book and entry at 6pm, and the event is open to all at 7pm. And don’t forget to vote in the Stillwell People’s Choice Award, closing Saturday.

While you’re out and about this weekend, be sure to grab a pint or growler of something local: Meander River Farms has released their Homegrown harvest beer and 540 Kitchen and Bar is pouring Big Axe Rusty Axe Amber Ale.

And just a “behind-the-scenes” note: we expect to be updating the blog address to ACBeerBlog.ca this week. We hope the change will be of minimum impact to our faithful readers, and you can even update your bookmarks to the new address now (currently redirects to the wordpress.com site). Our email subscriber list should follow with us as well. Have a great weekend!

East Coast Beer Tours

A new beer-centric business has launched this month: East Coast Beer Tours. It is an idea Scott Olszowiec conceived of after returning from a trip to a Hops Conference that took him through New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The journey included several craft beer explorations with friends in brewpubs, beer cafe’s and beverage warehouses along the way. He has decided to share his enthusiasm for crafted beer and launch what he affectionately calls “experient-ALE tourism”.  The idea is to visit breweries and brewpubs in our region, enjoying what is locally available in craft beer, local music, local food and leaving the driving to someone else! Scott wanted to design something that would be a lot of fun, cover a lot of ground and be affordable. “I really admire the artisanal and entrepreneurial spirit that the craft brewers put into their beer and businesses. East Coast Beer Tours is a way to support craft beer by bringing people to the source right in their backyard and introducing them to good people making good beer.”

The first tour is being held on Saturday, October 11th, Thanksgiving weekend, with a tour to Nova Scotia’s breadbasket, the Annapolis Valley. Departing from the Westin near the Halifax Waterfront, participants will be board a chartered tour bus, make a coffee or tea and will hit the road promptly at 10am (best to show up at 9:30 for introductions and signing in). The first stop is at Meander River Farm and Brewery in Ashdale, where owner and brewer Alan Bailey will take them on a tour of the brewery and guide a tasting of their beer. While onsite, a 10% discount for additional purchases is available. Once back on board, a light lunch of local Valley meat, cheese and bread will be served, to tide you over until your next stop in Wolfville. At Paddys Irish Pub, brewmaster John Fitzgerald will join the group and give a tour of their facilities, while serving up samples of their beer. Additional pints and growlers can be purchased during the hour-long stop. The next stop is the Michelin Sports and Social Club in Cambridge, for a visit with Bad Apple Brewhouse’s Jeff Saunders. Jeff will share Bad Apple’s beers and pair them with local food at the Club, and then the bus will head to Somerset to visit the Brewhouse, to pick up some more beer in bottles or growlers. At 4:30, the bus will head back to Halifax, full of satisfied travellers, and will return to the waterfront for 6pm, still plenty of time to enjoy some additional beers in the downtown core.

You will be riding in style in a modern tour bus complete with entertainment system, restroom and lots of storage space. On board, local musician Mike Aubé will keep travellers entertained with his music and stories. Unfortunately, due to NS laws, no beer can be consumed on the bus. But you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy beer during the stops, so don’t let that put you off!

The tour runs from 9:30-6, and tickets are $99+tax. Considering someone else has to worry about the driving while you listen to some live music and enjoy the complimentary offerings at each stop, that sounds like a great deal to us!

Look for more tours from East Coast Beer Tours in the near future. If you have suggestions for locations to visit, or to put together a private tour, be sure to visit their website, and hit them up on Twitter and Facebook.