Garrison 2013 Home Brew-Off Challenge

All posts tagged Garrison 2013 Home Brew-Off Challenge

Happy Friday, and end of March! Don’t worry, the snow has to start melting sometime soon… right? Regardless, here’s what’s new for craft beer in our region this week:

• Despite just wrapping up the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival earlier this month, organizer Lloyd Chambers is bringing another beer idea of his to fruition… Burgers n’ Beer! Partnering with reLiSH Gourmet Burgers, there will be three small events throughout New Brunswick. The first will be held on Tuesday, April 15th in Fredericton from 8-10 pm (at the new uptown location), and will include six reLiSH sliders paired with six 8 oz pours of craft beer and cider. The tentative brewery list includes Grimross Brewing, Red Rover, B.C.’s Central City Brewing (with their Red Racer IPA representing), and Celtic Knot and Hammond River Brewing, both in Fredericton for the first time for this event! A custom 8 oz tasting glass is also included, and Adam Clawson of Red Rover will be doing a small presentation on all three of his ciders pouring at the event. Tickets are $45, taxes and fees included, and can be purchased online here. Future events are also planned for reLiSH locations in Moncton (April 29th) and Saint John (tentatively May 9th).

• Garrison Brewing has just released last year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off winner. Saint Peter’s Belgian-Style Strong Ale, a Belgian Blond Ale, was brewed with the winner of 2013’s competition, homebrewer Peter Welton. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs, the beer is described as having a “hazy but vibrant orange color and a fluffy white head”, and exhibits a “smooth, spicy, and fresh aroma with notes of vanilla and banana, with the juicy flavor matching the aroma and finishing with a lingering warmth”. Look for the beer in bottles at the Garrison retail store, and at private liquor stores and NSLC stores throughout the province.

• Returning this week from Propeller Brewing is their popular Double IPA. A “heavily dry-hopped” Imperial IPA, it packs a punch at 8.2% ABV, with 85 IBUs. The brewery describes the beer as having “a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavors, balanced by sweet malt flavors”. You can find the beer in bottles and growlers at the Halifax and Dartmouth Prop Shop locations, and in bottles only at NSLC and private liquor stores in the province.

• Hot off the recent release of their El Rojo Diable Double IPA (which is just about gone, by the way), Sea Level Brewing is releasing another new beer. New World Alt is a Düsseldorf Altbier brewed from a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence from a brewer friend of his in Düsseldorf, Germany. Described as a “clean, medium-bodied ale” with a background hop presence provided by the Hersbrucker hop, the beer is lagered for three weeks at zero degrees before packaging; it comes in at a very drinkable 4.8% ABV. New World Alt should be available at the brewery sometime next week, and will follow shortly afterwards at their regular outlets.

The Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax recently provided details on their next beer dinner on their Brewer’s Blog. Starting at 6 pm on Monday, March 31st, the three-course meal looks spectacular as usual, and features beers from brewer Greg Nash that includes Balticus, Fathom IPA, and Wreckoning RIS. Tickets are $35 and can be reserved by calling the brewpub.

• Meanwhile at Rockbottom, Nash has released some early details on two new beers that he’s brewed recently. The first is a Double IPA that is fermented with “Conan”, a well-known yeast strain in the brewing world as it is the one used by The Alchemist brewery in Vermont in their world-famous Heady Topper DIPA. The original yeast was cultured from a can of Heady Topper by one of the members of the Brewnosers, and Nash continued to grow this yeast until he had enough for a full-sized batch. Dry-hopped multiple times, the beer’s ABV will come in around 8% with 130 IBUs (calculated). The other beer is a SMaSH (single malt and single hop) India Pale Lager. Brewed with Pale Ale malt and Galaxy hops, the beer is fermented on lager yeast at cool temps, and then lagered and dry-hopped with more Galaxy. Look for this one to finish somewhere between 6.5-7% ABV, and with 80 IBUs. Both beers should be available at the brewpub sometime in the near future!

• Details are still very slim, but we can report that Bad Apple Brewhouse has brewed a new DIPA. Supposedly bigger and hoppier than the crowd-pleasing Conception DIPA that was pouring at the FCBF this month, this should be one heck of a beer! Stay tuned for more details as the beer approaches completion/packaging.

The PEI Brewing Co. has started a new “Cask Program” run by brewer Karen Allen. We’ll have some more details in the near future, but for now they’re sending three pin casks to Halifax early next week to be tapped at Stillwell sometime soon. The first cask, Cherry Blaster, is the same sour, barrelled Saison that’s been served before, but instead of dry-hopping this one, they’ve added a tart cherry concentrate. The second cask is Business Lunch IPA, a “sessionable pale ale” dry-hopped with Mosaic and Cascade. Finally, Spray Tan Imperial IPA is a DIPA that has been double dry-hopped; first with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, and then with Centennial in the cask. Keep up-to-date with Stillwell’s tap list on their Twitter feed.

• And a reminder that the 2014 Saint John Beer Fest is fast approaching! This year’s event is once again being held at the Market Square Atrium in downtown Saint John, on Saturday, April 5th. It was just reported this morning that all tickets are now sold out (including regular admission and VIP). The brewery/beer list has recently been posted on their Facebook page linked above. We hope to have a more detailed post on the festival sometime next week!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today also marks the last day of February. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun/beer! Lots of beer news for you this week, so let’s dive right in!

• As part of next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, there is a separate fundraiser going on, to benefit the Fest’s charity, Team Diabetes. Check out the Golden Growler Auction! There are only twenty of these snazzy Golden Growlers available, screenprinted with the list of breweries and suppliers attending the 2014 FCBF. To win one, you must put in your bid before 11:59PM on Friday, March 7th. The twenty highest bids will get a growler (sorry, not full, but it can be filled down the street at the Picaroons Brewtique), as well as a charitable donation receipt. What a no-brainer! If you’re not on Facebook, you can also submit your bids via Twitter and email. Right now, the minimum bid to win is somewhere around $30, so don’t be shy! Be sure to mention how many growlers you’d like, as you can bid in multiples, as well. If you won’t be able to pick up the growler at the Fest, they will make arrangements to get it to you.

• After a little break for the holidays and New Year, the Ladies Beer League is back with another great event! They will be hosting a screening of Beer Hunter: the movie, about the life of Michael Jackson, at Lion & Bright Cafe & Wine Bar in Halifax, 7pm March 25th. Your $15 movie ticket also gets you some tasty popcorn, and a pint of a special cask of Uncle Leo’s beer (unsure which of their beers it is, yet). Tickets are only available online, and in short supply, so buy yours today! The movie will actually be introduced and attended by some people who had the opportunity to meet and work with Michael during his career. Sounds like a great date night to me, and there will also be a limited number of copies of the film for sale after, for future viewings. As with all LBL events, everyone is welcome! And be sure to check out LBL’s new website, with an FAQ, and the future possibility of purchasing a membership, which will give discounts at local establishments.

• The Parcel of Rogues that Picaroons brewed up for the 25th Anniversary of the Lunar Rogue is back. This time, in addition to being on tap at the Rogue, it will also be available for growler fills at the Brewtique. And don’t forget, if you’re in the Fredericton area tomorrow (March 1), Picaroons is having the official launch of their Maple Cream Ale at the York St. Train Station, with free food, beer samples, and music, from 11 am – 3 pm.

• As their official launch date gets ever closer, the people over at Les Brasseurs du Petit Sault have started a countdown to opening, estimating at about 95 days. They’re making leeway in the process, as they’ve already chosen the names of their flagship beers (a Belgian Blonde and Witbier… no, they’re not revealing the names yet!), are testing brewing recipes at the NBCC in Grand-Sault, and preparing to have some tastings of their first batch within the next few weeks. Their building is also taking shape quite nicely, with their brewing equipment expected within a month.

• The Pump House Brewery in Moncton is looking to add to their brewing team! They’ve posted a job listing here, looking for someone to fill the position of Head Brewer and add to their brewing talent. Check out the link for the full job requirements; they are looking for someone with 5-15 years of brewing experience. If you’re interested in responding to the posting, you can send them an email.

• For those of you living on PEI who are entering the 1st Annual Homebrewer’s Challenge (we originally posted on the event here), those at the Gahan House have decided to change some of the dates in order to give homebrewers sufficient time to brew their beer. The registration deadline was last Friday, but those registered now have until 5:00 pm, Friday April 4th to pass in their six-pack to the Gahan House. The preliminary judging and other events noted in our post will then be held over the next week, with the judging of the top 5 entries taking place on Saturday, April 12th.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza is hosting a special guest brewer in the brewhouse today: Aaron Spinney, head brewer at Sawdust City, in Gravenhurst, ON. They are brewing a big Wheat IPA (You Spin Me White Round Wheat IPA), weighing in around 6.5-7% ABV and with 70 IBUs, and will have loads of dry hopping. The big wheat component will give a different mouthfeel and head from normal IPAs; the beer should be a great addition to the lineup. Aaron has some connections to the Bras d’Or Lake area, so brewing with Jeremy and crew at Big Spruce was a no-brainer! Be sure to follow along with the fun on Big Spruce’s and Aaron’s Twitter accounts for up-to-the-minute details.

• More great news for Big Spruce: In order to keep up with the growing demand for their beer both on and off Cape Breton Island, they got several fermentors and conditioning tanks on the way from DME in PEI. Two 10 bbl fermentors are scheduled to arrive within the next week, and a third will be through the doors shortly thereafter. And then in late spring, they will be adding two more conditioning tanks to the brewery. This will allow them to increase production by about 70%, in order to keep their head above water during the busy summer to come. This will mean some shuffling of things around the brewery, and construction of the Sprucetique, where visitors will be able to sit and enjoy a paddle of samples while deciding which to purchase in a growler, while enjoying their beautiful view of the Bras d’Or lake. All this after just one year of brewing and selling beer! Congrats to Jeremy and the Big Spruce crew, and thanks to you for drinking it!

• Another busy week at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, punctuated with a home brewing flavour: Last Saturday, the first round of judging was performed in this year’s Home Brew Off competition. Seventy-six homebrewed Weizens were judged by a panel of 10 BJCP-certified judges (acbbchris was among them), narrowing down the field to a top 13 best beers. This week, that lucky thirteen was further reduced down to a final four of beer awesomeness, by Brewmaster Daniel Girard and his crew. Those four beers will be further tasted and tested (again by certified judges), and the winning beer will be crowned the 2014 Home Brew Off Winner! 2013’s Home Brew Off winner, Peter Welton, was in the brewery for a long day Monday, in order to brew his Belgian Blonde. This beer will be released at the Gala event, March 13th. The beer name is a closely guarded secret (only revealed at the Gala), but we can tell you that the beer will weigh in at 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs.

The Stubborn Goat in Halifax is inviting Propeller Brewing for today’s Firkin Friday, and Propeller has answered the call with a cask of Black IPA, dry hopped with Simcoe! They brewed up a special batch of this beer specially for the Goat, and will be releasing a full batch in the spring, so be sure to grab a pint. As always, the casks are tapped at 4pm, and once it’s gone, it’s gone, so best to get there promptly.

• A quick reminder that Beerthief Offering #10 from Brooklyn Brewery closes Sunday, March 2nd. Check the full details here, but the quick summary is that members can order East India Pale Ale, Brooklyn Pennant, Local 1, Local 2 or Sorachi Ace beers, to be delivered at their local NLC. As always, contact Tom to place your order.

• In other Beerthief news, on Sunday March 16, there will be a combination tasting and presentation about their March 2015 River Cruise to the Netherlands and Belgium. There will be an assortment of excellent Belgian beers served (including Saison Dupont to start), and the presentation will go over the itinerary and beer specifics of the cruise. Mike Buhler will be part of the planning process of the cruise, and will be leading the tasting (both on the 16th, and during the cruise). Seating for the presentation/tasting is very limited, so reserve your spot with Tom today!

Rogues Roost Brewpub in Halifax has released their latest seasonal, a Porter. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all of the recipe details before press time, but we can assure you it will be worth a visit!

• And finally, coming back to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, we’re having a contest for you to win two VIP tickets to the sold-out event! Starting today, take a picture of a beer brewed by any of the breweries that will be at the festival (check out the full list here), and tweet it or share it to the FCBF Facebook page, with the hashtag #FCBF14. The contest will run until next Thursday, March 6th, at 11:59 pm; the lucky winner will be announced in next week’s Friday Wrap-Up. Extra points for creativity! And if you already have tickets to the fest, feel free to still participate; the FCBF will refund the cost of your 2 VIP tickets if you win!

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Another full week of Atlantic Canadian Beer News, and we’ll focus on the Garrison Brewing Home Brew-Off, whose results were announced last night at a great gala.


Kellye Robertson, with some of her 2012 Home Brew-Off winning beer, Kellye R’s Wild Rye’d IPA

Last year’s Brew-Off winner, Kellye Robertson, was in attendance to help launch “Kellye R’s Wild Rye’d IPA”. The beer was on tap, and the double-dose of Citra she and Brewmaster Daniel Girard used really comes through, and it’s great! I can see this beer selling out quickly, so be sure to pick it up soon, where better beer is sold. Brian Titus also announced that after she finishes her diploma at the Niagara College in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, she will be returning to work at Garrison. Welcome aboard!


Garrison Brewmaster Daniel Girard

Daniel spoke about the challenges of scoring and picking winners from 69 entries. They had to change their plan this year to taste and evaluate the beer in groups of 8, with several folks helping to whittle it down to a final four. The final four were judged the day of the gala, by three BJCP-certified judges, and from them, the winner was chosen. And the winner is… Peter Welton!


2013 Home Brew-Off Winner, Peter Welton. pic courtesy of @NobleGrape

The judges loved the carbonation level and clarity of his beer, and thought it was a great example of the Belgian Blonde style. Peter will be brewing his beer with Daniel in the spring. Congratulations, Peter! Also congratulations to Andrew, Gerald and Dewi for top four finishes. We were fortunate to try all of the beer, and they were all great. Well done!


Former Home Brew-Off winners Brian Harvey, Adam Comeau and Scott Tilford

I was also lucky enough to snap a picture of the 3 previous Brew-Off Winners in front of the trophy now on display at Garrison (only 4 years late). Brian Harvey (2009, Harvey’s Bitter), Adam Comeau (2011, Adam Und Eric’s Neuschottland Schwarz Black Lager), Scott Tilford (2010, Nit-Wit Belgian Wit).

In other important news, next year’s Home Brew-Off style was announced (after much poking and torturing of Mr. Titus), and it is BJCP Style 15A: Weizen/Weissbier. So start your kettles now, homebrewers! This is one of my favourite styles of beer, so I’m looking forward to brewing up a few test batches to perfect a recipe for submission.

In other Garrison news, their next One Hop beer will be released soon, and it will be showcasing the Citra hop. I’ve got word that there might be more than one batch of this made, which means we won’t run into a sold-out situation like we did with the Comet release. As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of Citra, so I can’t wait!