All posts tagged homebrewing

Happy April to us all! Let’s hope those of us affected by the weather this week will be seeing the last snow and freezing rain to be falling for a few months. It’s looking like our region will be mostly free of cloud cover for this Monday’s eclipse, which is great for viewing, but does come with health risks. Remember to use your safety glasses up until the 2-3 minutes of totality, and immediately after, or else you can damage your eyes. And, just in case you weren’t sure, the difference between 99% coverage and 100% coverage is literally night and day! Those in big cities like St. John’s, Moncton, Charlottetown, and Halifax will want to venture North/West to take in the full eclipse, trust us! The fun kicks off around 4:30pm (5:10pm in Newfoundland), with the partial obscuring beginning about an hour earlier, and ending an hour after totality).

And happy Nova Scotia Craft Beer Month to all of us too. The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is officially kicking off the celebration with their Together We Brew festival at Pavillion 22 at the Halifax Seaport tomorrow, and it looks like there are still tickets together. The beer of the same name, brewed and released by more than three dozen member breweries, is out in the wild and worth picking up. We’ve been told that more events are coming this month, so keep your eyes peeled here and on the CBANS site.

O’Creek Brewing in Moncton is holding a massive event Sunday, to celebrate and support the Ukrainian population here, and back home. Kozak Lager is a 4.7% Pale Lager, brewed with Ukrainian hops, and with proceeds going to support Ukrainian efforts to defend their homeland. From 12 – 6pm, visitors to the brewery will be able to enjoy authentic Ukrainian cuisine, traditional crafts, and live performances all by Ukrainian artists, thanks to the members of the Ukrainian Club of Moncton. There will also be a drawing for beer and artwork, and live music by the Watermen.

While there on Sunday, or if you head to Barker St. now, you’ll be able to enjoy River of Fire, O’Creek’s newest IPA. West Coast in style, the hops are present in both bitterness and flavour, with a smooth flavour and crisp finish. This is actually a recipe co-owner and head brewer Patrice Daigle perfected on his smaller system at home, and has scaled up to a larger scale. Centennial, Columbus, Mosaic, and Simcoe were used in the boil, and again during a whirlpool addition, and then in the fermenter. Citrus, pine, and resiny goodness throughout! This 7.0% beer is on tap at the brewery now, and should be making its way to cans in the near future.

Bay Roberts’ Baccalieu Trail Brewing has a new beer out on draught and in cans this week, with a name tipping its cap to their location next to the Shearstown Estuary. Rare Bird celebrates the ornithological diversity that can be found just off their taproom deck, with local birds often greeting those that are migrating or have been blown off course due to adverse weather. We’re not sure if there’s ever been a sighting of a New Zealand endemic species there, but that hasn’t stopped BTB, as Rare Bird is a New Zealand Pilsner, brewed with three NZ hops, Rakau, Motueka, and Wakatu. Grab your binos and head out to Bay Roberts to see what’s new!

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing has a new double IPA on tap this week, Two Sails. At 8.0%, and about 75 IBU, this is a beast of a bitter beer, with Galaxy, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Vic Secret used throughout. Fermented with Escarpment Labs’ House Ale dry yeast, the citrus on the nose is followed by even more citrus and resin on the palate. You can grab it in a pint to enjoy with your pizza, and then take home a growler or crowler fill to drink later! Also on tap at Grand Banker next door.

Prince Edward Island cidery Red Island Cider has a new entry in their Ghost Ship series to tell you about this week. These are one off and limited edition tipples that are often the result of aging, blending, and experimentation. In this case, Esperance started life as a Cox’s Orange Pippen-based cider that was put into an old oak wine cask several years ago. When rediscovered this past winter, it was blended with another Cox cider from a different oak barrel, and then softened with a younger cider. The result was keg-conditioned and yields citrus peel and grapefruit leading to a rounded finish. The oak is definitely present, providing some smoothing buttery character. Find this one only at the taproom for pints or growler fills.

Chester and Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing is at it again with another European-inspired beer, this time taking a page from the monasteries of Belgium and releasing Belgian Dubbel. A deep amber hue from darker malts and candi syrup, with light hopping to keep the balance in check, a style-appropriate yeast was used to lend some light spicy notes to complete the 8.0% package. Draught kegs are on the move now, and you can grab cans at either Tanner location, or for home delivery in their area.

Now in their 26th year, Propeller Brewing continues to introduce new and interesting beers to the local scene. This time around they’re hitting a style that’s relatively uncommon in the region, the American stout. Although often conflated with black IPA (a.k.a. Cascadian dark ale), the American stout maintains the bigger mouthfeel and smoothness of a more traditional stout and marries it with a kick of traditional West Coast hops that often add piney and citrusy characters. Onyx meets this description, with notes of chocolate, coffee, and a hint of smokiness paired up with pine and citrus from the hops in a 6% ABV and 40 IBU package. Find it in cans at any of the Prop Shops and, likely, other places you tend to find Propeller’s offerings.

One of the few other places that regularly offers an American stout (Flat Black Jesus, natch), is Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax. That said, they’re almost certainly more well known for their slate of IPAs and this week they’ve got a new variation on one of their single-hop DIPAs available. Positively Shocking was first brewed in 2021 and hasn’t been seen since 2022, but it’s back with a few tweaks. Slightly lighter-bodied than the original and somewhat hazy, it’s got the same piney and tropical notes from Idaho 7 hops. Still 7.5% ABV, it’s been packaged in cans and available from noon today at the brewery where you can also slip next door to Charm School for a pint or a growler fill.

If you follow 2 Crows and/or their head brewer Jeremy Taylor on social media, you might know that Jeremy is also an avid apiarist. Last fall his bees produced enough honey that he and his daughters were able to package it and sell it, with all proceeds ($1,200!!) going to the Elizabeth Fry Society. As it turns out there was a little bit of honey set aside and from that Jeremy made some mead. That mead was blended into a light lager base along with some quince, also produced on Jeremy’s property. Only one keg of the result, Linden Lea, was produced, and it’s on tap this Sunday at 2 Crows for pints only. You’ll want to fly in and try it while it lasts!

Burnside Brewing out of ….Burnside in Dartmouth, has recently expanded into a third location, in the food court at The Hub Shopping Centre in Truro. The Common by Burnside has a full taproom and retail location, and they are celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow! From 3 – 6 PM, there will be drink specials, samples, live music from Next Exit, and door prizes and giveaways. Those in the area, or wanting to check out the latest NS Craft Beer location in the province, should definitely drop by for the fun!

As we alluded to last week, the promised purple cans have arrived from Big Spruce, with Cerberus now available at the brewery and, soon, we expect, at other places you go to for your Spruce fix. No doubt you’ll also find kegs out and about in the HRM and beyond as well. Meanwhile the BS team has another returning beer this week, Tripel, which is pretty self-explanatory in terms of style. Featuring all the characteristics you’d expect from a Belgian tripel, including hints of spicy yeast character, some banana notes, and a little bit of citrus, it’s also got a hammer of an ABV at 9.3%, so tread lightly (or don’t, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!).

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a new beer on draught and in cans this week, one sure to be popular with those across the province. How Now Brown Cow? is not just a way to practice your syllables and rhyming, it’s also a 5.0% chocolate milk stout. Dark, chocolatey, and a bit sweet from the addition of lactose, this beer is pouring on a nitro tap at the brewery today, with cans to go shortly, and wider distribution across the island later.

We’re going to end today’s post with word of a brand new competition for all of our Homebrewing readers. BrewHQ is holding their inaugural beer competition next month, and are looking for folks from across the Atlantic provinces Canada to enter! This is a BJCP-certified and -judged competition, with entries welcome in any category. Winners will be decided from the best of IPA/APA entries, and the best of “Everything Else”. There will be prizes for the top three in each category, with the winner of the pale ales seeing their entry brewed on a large scale for release by Arcade Brewing to be enjoyed on tap, as well as in a wort kit release for other amateur brewers to make at home! Your $20 entry fee (per category) will also get you in the door of the gala being held June 1st at Arcade, your first pint of beer, and a sub from Buddy’s Deli. To learn more, check out their FB page, and contact Jeff to grab a form to enter. Good luck to all!

Welcome to November! I hope all of last night’s tricks were fun, and your treats were Atlantic Canadian Craft Beer.
• Big Spruce Brewing is holding a homebrew competition as part of their contribution to the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration event, put on by Local Connections in January (we’ll have a full post on it soon). The full information is available on their Facebook event, but the important details are: The competition is open to all Nova Scotian homebrewers. The style of beer is an American IPA, BJCP style 14B, one entry per brewer. Registration of intent closes November 7th, and beers are due at the brewery by December 2nd. Registration is $25, and that includes a Big Spruce t-shirt. The brewer of the winning beer, as chosen by the judging panel, will brew their beer on the 7 barrel system at Big Spruce, and be released at the event in January. So, homebrewers, start your kettles, and be sure to email Big Spruce to receive and complete the registration form.
Celtic Knot Brewing has a new beer in the pipeline – an English Barleywine, “Toque and Mitts” was brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate Malt, Wheat Malt, and Crystal 120 L. A dark and malty beer coming in at about 7.5% ABV, it has approximately 33 IBUs and is brewed with Willamette, East Kent Golding, and Belma hops. We’ll keep you updated as to when this beer is available; it should be out around the beginning of December, available where other Celtic Knot beers can be found, The Tide & Boar and Marky’s Laundromat.
• Details for the beers being poured at the Fredericton Poutine Festival next weekend are now available on the event’s ticket site. Grimross Brewing will be serving their recently-released Belgian Rye IPA, as well as a new beer, their Belgian Porter (details below). Picaroons will be pouring their Yippee IPA, Blonde Ale, Winter Warmer, and 104th Regiment. McAuslan Brewery will have their Pale Ale, Apricot Wheat, and Oatmeal Stout, and McClelland Premium Imports will be bringing Steigl, Erdinger Dunkelweizen, Affligem Blond, and Fruli. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet as to what beers Pump House will have at the event. There’s still some tickets to the festival available; remember, the regular ticket gets your four 4 oz beer samples, while the “Beer Experience” gives you twelve samples.
• Back to Grimross Brewing, their Belgian Porter is just about finished and ready for release. A dark brown beer best thought of as a Brown Porter fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, it is described by owner/brewer Stephen Dixon as having a roasted aroma with hints of chocolate and dark candy, and flavours that start with roast and finish with chocolate and syrup. As mentioned, it should be pouring at the Fredericton Poutine Festival, and will likely be available in growlers at the Picaroons Brewtique soon!
• And in even more Grimross news, their beers are starting to make their way to Moncton! The Belgian Rye IPA has recently been available on tap at the Tide & Boar, and has reportedly been selling very well. Dixon has confirmed that this beer will continue to be sold at the T&B for the time-being, so if you’re in Moncton and haven’t tried it yet, now’s your chance! Check out their latest blog post for more thoughts from the Grimross Team.
• Continuing with new-beer news, Hell Bay Brewing has released their new seasonal beer, Wee Heavy. A Strong Scotch Ale brewed with six different malts, it’s described by the brewer Mark Baillie as “a slightly sweet, rich and malty beer with caramel flavours and hints of smoke”. Coming it at 8% ABV and just under 20 IBUs, it’s currently available in bottles at the brewery, and should be arriving at Premier Wine & Spirits in Halifax this weekend.
Paddy’s Pub in Wolfville has released their newest seasonal beer, S’Mashed Pumpkin Ale. Weighing in at 5.2% ABV, the beer features a bright orange colour and hints of pumpkin pie spice, backed up by clean malt flavours of pilsner, Vienna and crystal malts. Like their Acadian Cream, Raven Scottish Ale, Annapolis Valley Ale and Blueberry Ale, the S’Mashed is also available in growlers at the pub. Unfortunately, their Chimney Swift Stout is not available in growlers, as it is served on nitrogen, and this technique does not fare well in bottles.
• Meanwhile, it looks like the Gahan House Pub plans on having a new beer to release soon. Details are extremely slim, but it appears to be brewed with locally-grown hops; where exactly the hops are from, however, remains to be revealed. It appears that the beer has been brewed at the pub, and not at the PEI Brewing Co.
• If you’ve been itching to get your hands on one of those hand-crafted Shiretown Beer steins, they’re available again! This is the third release of the mugs, which are made by Monique (Bujold) Brown of Barlicoco Pottery. Only 15 were made; at $35 each, they’re going fast. They can be purchased at the brewery, or check out their Facebook page for availability.
• A reminder that Garrison Brewing is serving up some special beers as part of their King’s Wardroom Wednesday Firkin events. This week’s beer was “Jack’O’Dubbel”, a Belgian Dubbel style Pumpkin Ale. If you are a King’s student, alumni or friend of one, don’t miss out on these special one-off releases, tapped promptly at 4:30pm.
The Antigonish Townhouse is catching up with the great demand for their in-house brewed beer, and Terry’s Best Bitter is in steady supply these days. The beer is treated like a traditional Real Ale and is cask conditioned and on hand-pump, so best drunk fresh, right at the bar, we figure. 🙂 We’ve not had a chance to try it yet, but reports are very favourable.
Stillwell Beer Bar is hiring a couple more people for their soon-to-be-open location. They are looking for both kitchen and front-of-house folks to round out their excellent team. Check their Kijiji ad for more details. Number one requirement: must love beer! There’s been a ton of work done at Stillwell since our visit last month; we’re looking forward to sitting down for a great pint soon!
• Finally this week, tomorrow is Learn to Homebrew Day. Organized by the American Homebrewers Association, this event is aimed at new (or soon-to-be-new) homebrewers looking to learn a bit more about their hobby, but all are welcome to take part. Despite its name, the AHA is an international organization, and there are events taking place in Atlantic Canada. Support your local homebrew shop and ask if they’ll be putting on an event. If not, why not offer to do one to share the great hobby with your friends and family? Sure, they always appreciate that bottle of homebrew you bring to the party/wedding/wake, wouldn’t they like to know how you made it? In Nova Scotia, Noble Grape is showing off a partial mash brewday at their Burnside store beginning at noon, and the Brewnosers are hosting a full mash brewday in Halifax, beginning at 10am (yes, it does take a bit longer to do a full mash, but the results speak for themselves!). Come on by if you are interested in learning more.
And stay tuned early next week, as we’ve got a great interview with a couple of members of the Ladies Beer League regarding the Cask Event taking place at the Stubborn Goat Gastropub November 17th.

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!