Friday, May 30, 2014

Maritime Beer Report - May 30, 2014

Hello and welcome to the May 30, 2014 edition of the Maritime Beer Report.

Tonight we start in northwestern New Brunswick where the Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault launched their new beers recently, a blonde ale, named Bob LeBoeuf and a white, named Tante Blanche. The company’s Communications Director Mychèle Poitras explains that the group always had two goals in mind in the development of their new beers. "We always said we absolutely wanted to create quality beers that people would ask for time and again. We also said that our beers should tell a story… the story of our area. After much discussion and brainstorming, we quickly reached a consensus when we decided to honour our area’s legendary characters… people who, in some way, captured the imagination of local residents.
Bob LeBoeuf was a bit of an excentric and a legendary prospector in Edmundston, who spent his life digging for precious metals in the mountains surrounding Edmundston. Tante (Aunt) Blanche saved her colony from a famine at the end of the 18th century by ordering that the rich should share with the poor in such desperate times and even delivered food to the poor in snowshoes."
They go on to say "The characters on the two labels were created by local artists from Baker-Brook, Luc Cyr and Paula Lentz. Luc sculpted the characters, and Paula, with her paintbrushes, gave them their vivid colours. Edmundston graphic artist Sandi Émond packaged the work and created the labels.
To stay in tune with the nostalgic fantasy of the beers’ branding, Petit-Sault Brewers will be bringing back the old "stubby" bottle for their beers. The “stubby” disappeared from the beer world in the early 80s. “We wanted to stand out yet again and this bottle seemed appropriate for our beers and our branding,” says Mychèle Poitras. The beers should be available in local NB Liquor stores as well as in the brewtique for off-site consumption. Beers will be available in single bottles, six-packs and 1.9 litre growlers that people will be able to have refilled at the brewery."
They hope to be open in the old police station in Edmunston for the tourist season in June.

A little down river Big Axe Brewery has its Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout on tap. They say it is a full and silky body stout, dark chocolate in colour. Aroma is rich with caramel malts, chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Very low citrus, earthy, roasty, charred bitterness herb hop character that makes this stout complex and original. This stouts weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

Garrison Brewing Company asks if "Cornbread with Imperial IPA braised walnut + homemade queso fresco tickle your taste buds" If it does there is a beer dinner with Seasons by Atlantica Hotel Halifax on June 4th. For reservations call 490-3366. They are also looking for a passionate and qualified Sales Representative to join their team. If you want to check it out visit the Garrison website.

A brewery I don't mention much is Keith’s Brewery, but the had an interesting news release this week. They say "Nova Scotia’s original local beer, Alexander Keith’s, is tapping into a growing trend. Labatt Breweries of Canada announced Tuesday that the 1.89-litre jugs known as growlers will be available at the Keith’s retail store in the Historic Farmers’ Market in downtown Halifax starting Sunday." 
“This is an exciting move for Alexander Keith’s beer,” Labatt corporate affairs director Wade Keller said in a release.“Growlers are becoming more popular among consumers so it makes sense that the most popular beer in Nova Scotia would be available in this kind of packaging.”
The Keith’s retail store is open seven days a week; empty jugs and refills will each sell for $10.

Meander River Farm has been busy since selling out on opening day and they say to get your growlers ready. The next batch of Lunchbox Pale Ale is ready and they will be open this weekend both Saturday and Sunday from 11-5.

Propeller Brewing has yet another one off today with its Smoked Ale. This is a pale ale has 2 types of smoked malt, warrior and columbus, for bittering and willamette for flavour and aroma. They describe it as Malt forward with a light smokey flavour & aroma.

"It's Lager time!" says the Rock Bottom brewpub as Hali-Lager hits the taps this week. From their brewers blog "This is our big little lager, with flavour. The perfect lawnmower brew, perhaps?! Brewed with North American malts to 4.5% ABV and 17 IBU worth of Hallertau Hersbrucker with a twist of Cascade hops in the finish; a fun little continental hybrid." 

Schoolhouse Brewery is pleased to announce that their beer will soon be on tap in pubs. They will be on tap June 6th at the Library pub and June 7th at the Spitfire. Their initial beers are the "Principal Ale" a dry hoped pale ale and the "Chequers Ale", a robust porter. I am anxious to try these for sure.

Uncle Leos Brewing are working on a new beer coming out in a few weeks, they tell me they are leaning towards a German Wheat. Stay tuned for developments.

The Celtic Oktoberfest in Port Hawkesbury launched their website this week. They say "We’re proud to be Cape Breton’s first ever craft beer and local foods celebration, and we can’t wait to share the experience with you on October 25th! And what better way to celebrate than by a taste testing of our Island’s best food and craft beer." So far they are showcasing 10 Nova Scotian microbreweries; Big Spruce, Propeller, Uncle Leo’s, Authentic Seacoast, Boxing Rock, Rock Bottom, Townhouse Brewpub, Garrison, Sea level and Hell Bay and 8 Cape Breton food establishments as well as live Celtic music. Looks like a blast.

Thanks for joining me again this week, enjoy responsibly and to those at Atlantic Beer Fest tomorrow afternoon be on the look out for me and say hi.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beer Review - Pumphouse Premium Pilsner

This time we go to my hometown of Moncton New Brunswick to the Pumphouse Brewery. I got a special gift box last Christmas and it contained the Premium Pilsner in a latch-top bottle. This one comes in at 5.7% ABV.

Appearance - The beer is a light color, a straw, it is crystal clear and has lots of carbonation and a thin white head that dissipates fairly quickly

Aroma - It has has the aroma best described as sour with a little sweetness.

Taste - The taste I didn't get the malt and perhaps a small amount of hops. What I got was some spiciness almost like a peppery taste. 

Mouthfeel - It is pretty well carbonated with a light mouth feel. 

Overall - This beer is easy a drinking beer that isn't strong in flavor despite being a 5.7% ABV.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Walking, eating and drinking - Halifax North Craft Beer and Food Tour

Many of you that know me personally know that I am huge fan of hiking, food and good beer, not necessarily in the order. I can usually enjoy one or two but rarely can I indulge in all three and because of this the new tour that started this month at Local Tasting Tours (LTT) really excited me and I knew I had to try it.

LTT started a few years ago here in Halifax and has since expanded to four tours covering downtown, Quinpool Road and now one of the most exciting parts on the city, Halifax North.

I met the guide and owner Emily Forrest at the newly renovated Prince George Hotel in the lobby with the other tour members, Emily gave us name tags (how drunk does she think were getting?) as well as a rundown on her bio, how she came to create LTT and how the tour will work.

The first stop on the tour was just a quick shuffle down a hallway to the uber-classy Gio. There we were met and seated for our first sample, it was a smoked mussel, it was very good. From there began the longest segment of the 2 kilometre tour with stops to relate some local history which I found very interesting even as a local.

After some zigging and zagging through local streets we arrived at Charcuterie Ratinaud. This was not the first time that I visited the great food shop snug in the heart of the Gottingen Street business district. Tom treated us to some coppa and chorizo which is all made on site. The coppa was rich and buttery and the chorizo a spicy delight.

A hop, skip and a jump took us to our next stop on Gottingen, The Nook on Gottingen . This eclectic cafe serves coffee, tea, food and intoxicants as well as being a neighborhood meeting spot and some nights a dance hall. Here we were served a mason jar of Propeller Brewing's, whose original brewery is nearby, IPA and a Beets & Rhymes breakfast wrap. Beer for breakfast? Ok I am in. The Nook is one of many new eateries and businesses opening in this economically depressed area quickly making into a sought after community.

For our next stop we were rewarded with a very sweet treat of mint chocolate chip ice cream at Dee Dee's. This business started about ten years ago and has been at this location since 2010. They  
make their ice cream in small batches with quality ingredients and it sure reflects in their delicious concoctions.

Shortly after leaving Dee Dee's we reached Agricola Street, another area transfoming, and again head north stopping at the Hali Deli. Stepping in here felt a bit like stepping back in time to when chains didn't exist and families were the backbone of the restaurant scene. Surrounded by family pictures and stylish fixtures we were given a cup of borscht that was sweet and delicious.

The next stop on our journey was to be rewarded by three businesses in one building. First was En Vie - A Vegan Kitchen, I figured a vegan kitchen, I can live though this. Well I had to eat my words, the vegan cheese and raw cracker were fantastic. So good in fact I will be returning to learn more. To wash this down our second craft beer we sampled was Garrison Brewing's  Raspberry Wheat Ale. The ale is light and fruity and a great beer for summer.

The next business was Local Source which I was vaguely familiar with but now have a understanding that they are trying to bring good local food directly to the community. We munched through heirloom carrots and tomatoes and cucumbers in a delicious dressing..From here it was a easy transit to Lion & Bright via an archway. This cafe wine bar is large open bright space with customers working in the large central tables with wifi, a coffee bar up the left side and the booze in the back. Here we sampled cheese sandwiches and Big Spruce Brewing Kitchen Party Pale Ale. Kitchen Party is hoppy and very drinkable ale.

After our extended stay at the trio of businesses it was off for our final jaunt up to FRED. For our final stop of the tour we had a cupcake and had the honor to listen to the story of Fred. The owner laid everything on the line to buy a property and start a business in a then marginalized area. The story was inspiring and uplifting and the fact that his success was the areas success even better.

The tour was a lovely two and a half hour walk exploring history, culture, people, food and of course local craft beer. Check out this or one of the other tours on LTT website and explore Halifax with your feet and your tastebuds. One caveat I have to add is the the tour ends a fair distance from the start, so make plans for pick up, jump on a bus or do what I did; walk back soaking up even more of Halifax'x history and culture.

I have a full photo album of my tour here

Friday, May 23, 2014

Maritime Beer Report - May 23, 2014

Hello and welcome to the Maritime Beer Report for May 23, 2014.

PEI Brewing Company has been talking alot about their custom cask program this spring and had an interesting article on their website. From PEI Brewing "We barreled a bit of our wort today. 225 liters of Honey Wheat wort (unfermented beer) went into a former red wine barrel with Belgian Saison yeast. In about 30 days we’ll taste the fruits of our labours and see what we have. We’re expecting to have a dry, light-golden beer with lots of esters and spicy, fruity notes. Undertones of toasted oak and vinousness will add complexity and interest.

Most of this beer will be used for our cask program. It might be dry hopped, aged on fruit, or spiced in a naturally carbonated cask – whatever tickles our fancy! Look for it at special PEIBC events or at our cask-friendly licencees like Stillwell in Halifax."

Big Axe Brewery are on tap at Ducky's in Sackville NB with their Chanterelle Cream Ale. Ducky's tap selection of craft is outstanding, their tweets make me thirsty.

Great news for Celtic Knot Brewing in addition to adding a couple of taps at Ducky's they declared demand requires them to order 3 new fermeters. Celtic Knot is also looking for a used large or medium freezer for the brewery. Pm them if you have one.

Picaroons' Brewers Bash tickets are on sale now. Some details are out including that the ticket includes entry from 11AM-11PM, a custom 5oz tasting cup, and 8 beer tickets with additional tickets costing 1.00 each. There will be lots of food, lots of music and of course there will be lots of beer. More details soon and I will pass them along.

Picaroons also relays that the EASTBOUND & DOWN IPA, their online collab-brew with Great Lakes Brewery, will be ready and on tap in Downtown Fredericton next week. 

Bad Apple Brewhouse now has on tap tomorrow their newest one-off limited edition Double IPA called The Impresser DIPA. It is hammered with hops and weighs in at 300 IBUs and 10.2% ABV. It is fermented on Conan Yeast and that makes this beer unique and definitely a one of a kind. Very limited quantities until it runs out. Coming up near Fathers Day they will have a Mosaic DIPA available. They still have barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout on tap which I had the privilege to help brew.

Garrison Brewing released two beers yesterday. The Nit Wit new IPA in 6-packs. The new IPA has Citra, Columbus and Amarillo featured in this brew and comes in at 6.5% ABV and 50 IBUs. More on Garrison in a moment. 

At Rogues Roost the Dunkel WeizenBock is on tap. It is described as dark traditional German Wheat style that is rich and bready, with a soft banana and clove finish. 7.5% ABV.

Sea Level Brewing released Apple Blossom Ale yesterday. They tell me it is made with pilsner malt, ale yeast, a New Zealand hop called "Nelson Sauvin" and infused with valley apples and blossoms. Look for it at the brewery and it comes in at 4.8% ABV.

The Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting a Garrison Brewing Cask Takeover on June 21st. There will be 12 casks on the bar in 3s showcasing some exciting and creative one-offs. There will be a a "First sip session from 12 until 2:00 PM with tickets on sale now and a general session starting at 2:00 PM with tickets sold at the door.

One of Canada's most respected breweries, Le Trou du diable, will be taking over the Tide and Boar Gastropub on May 29th. Isaac Tremblay from Le Trou du diable will be on hand to help out with this great event. 

They will be featuring on tap Their McTavish Ale and an assortment of their bottled beer and of course a few surprises.

I went to the Grand Opening of Meander River Farm and Brewery last Saturday. I was there between 10 and 10:30 and the crowds were steady. I wanted to talk to the Baileys but alas it was not to be. I settled to show myself around and drink a glass of the Lunch Box Pale Ale and pick up a growler. The ale is hoppy to be sure, watch for a review soon. I hear they ran out of beer and are dry for another week. When the juice is flowing again I will let you know.

Thanks for joining me again this week and until next time enjoy responsibly.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Maritime Beer Report - May 16, 2014

Hello and welcome to the Maritime Beer Report for May 16th 2014

Hammond River Brewing announced they are brewing two summer seasonals. The first one they are currently working on is a Hawaiian Pale Ale brewed with fresh pineapple and they posted a picture of all the pineapples this week. The other is a Blueberry Ale that will be brewed with fresh blueberries. The Blueberry Ale will be a purple beer since it's brewed with real blueberries, so it won't be your typical Blueberry Ale. I can't wait to try it.

Seems like from now until October there will be a beer festival somewhere in the Maritimes. Picaroons' Brewers Bash tickets will be going on sale starting 10 AM on Tuesday.May 20th at the Cedar Tree Cafe in Downtown Fredericton, or online at Get them fast as they will not last.

Hell Bay Brewing Company released their latest iteration of R.I.P.(A.) ver. 3.0. This one is supposed to be slightly maltier, with biscuit notes, and citrus on the hop end. It weighs in at 7.2% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Meander River Farm and Brewery's big day is tomorrow. Saturday is your chance to grab Nova Scotia's newest microbrew. They will be selling growlers of their Lunch Box Pale Ale and some of your favourite farm products. For tomporrow only, $5 for a MRFB branded growler and $5 for the fill. They'll be open from 10-5 and I will be there to get some. They also say to be sure to share your visit from Saturday's opening on social media and tag them to receive $1 off your next growler.

Uncle Leo's Brewery says that due to the busy summer season approaching this will be their last weekend at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. They go on to say "If you bought a growler from us you can either keep it as a keep sake, return it this weekend at the market or keep it and get it filled at another Brewery (call ahead to make sure they will fill another Brewery's growler)." Don't forget you get your Uncle Leo's fix at Premier Wine & Spirits, Bishop's Cellar, Harvest Wines and Cristall Wines.

Halifax Seaport Beerfest, which is August 8 & 9 this year, said that tickets for the 8th annual event will go on sale beginning June 13th. This Atlantic Canada’s largest gathering of craft beer, imports & cider with over 275 unique products available for sampling and discussion. In addition to the beer there is local music, food and new VIP sessions with guided tastings and early entry.

Lastly but not least the oldest beer fest in the Maritimes, the 9th annual Atlantic Beer Fest, is happening in Moncton two weeks from tomorrow on May 31st. I talked to Scott MacLeod, one of the organizers last week and he offer a few tidbits for me to share with you. There is over 175 beers and ciders coming from eastern Canada and New England. There will also be food vendors to for the expected 3000 people that will attend one of the two sessions on the 31st. Scott also shared several brewers coming but asked me to only share a few as a full list will be in the Moncton Times-Transcript on May 24th. There are several exciting brewers for Quebec and Ontario including 10 offerings from a favorite of mine Le Trou du Diable, Muskoka Brewing from Ontario, all the way from BC Howe Sound Brewing, Belfast Bay Brewing bring a Lobster Ale and most exciting for me Smuttynose Brewing Company. There is also free buses to and from areas to Agrena A sponsored by ANBL to provide a safe ride. Something new this year, The Moncton Area Beer League is offering VIP tickets that provide Tapetizers and a couple special beer at Pumphouse, then limos out to a private entrance where you by-pass the line,after the session you get limoed back downtown. As of this afternoon there are four tickets available for $65 per ticket available from The Moncton Beer League. If you have trouble email me and I will forward it to the organizer.Moncton Area Beer League and the Atlantic Beer Festival will donate all proceeds to Support to Single Parents Inc. ~ Support aux parents uniques inc.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my report again this week, enjoy the long week end for my Canadian fans and until next time enjoy responsibly.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Maritime Beer Report - May 9, 2014

Hello and welcome to the May 9th edition of the Maritime Beer Report

Barnone Brewing was brewing up a new brew call Summer Solstice and was asking facebook fans whether to make it filtered or unfiltered. The concensus was unfilterd making if a little cloudy but leaving more of the Citra hop flavor in.

In celebration of their first anniversary, the PEI Brewing Company is presenting The Taps & Tunes Music Festival from May 14th to 17th. It will feature local artists at 7 of their licensee locations with the 1st Anniversary Songwriters show at the brewery.

Hammond River Brewing mentioned they will be brewing the inaugural batch of Imperial IPA called Too Hop To Handle and they hope to get it listed with ANBL within the next month.

As I mentioned last week the Picaroons Brewers Bash will be returning to Downtown Fredericton on Saturday July 12. Details regarding tickets and beer will be coming at you shortly but they have already put a call out for volunteers. If you want to volunteer email them at

Boxing Rock Brewing Company are releasing their latest seasonal brew called "La Rive du Sud", which they say is Nova Scotia's first Bière de Garde, on Saturday at Stillwell Beer Bar and I expect to see it at the brewery and private stores. From Boxing Rock "Made with simple base malts and dark caramelized sugar this seemingly simple combination of ingredients yields an ale of noteworthy complexity. With notes of biscuit, caramel, toffee, as well as tangerine, peach, nutmeg, clove and allspice. We lagered (well, guarded, actually) this ale for weeks until it was perfect. It's remarkably smooth on the palate and although it has a dry finish, it has a lingering spicy aftertaste that invites you to take another sip. 7.5% ABV".

Garrison Brewing released a new beer today in honor of their sponsorship of the OBEY Convention. The beer, Obey this Brew, is a hopped Pale Ale coming in at 5% ABV. For anyone wondering like me what the convention is, it is a music festival dedicated to experimenting artists. More on Garrison in a moment.

Meander River Farm & Brewery announced great news this week on May 17th, although still a work in progress, they have got product and beer that they will selling from the farm gate. Stay tuned for more information and special offers on their Facebook and Twitter.

Paddys Irish Brewpub Wolfville is holding a Craft Brewery Tour on Saturday at 5:30. the tickets are $10 available at the bar. Price includes guided tour and complimentary 16 oz glass of of one of Paddy's brews.

Rudder's Brew Pub announced that tomorrow they will have squealers and a new brew, Bunkers Island IPA. From Rudder's "Bunkers Island pours black into the glass, with a dark caramel coloured head that doesn't hang around too long. There is a nice balance of malts and hops that blends the sweetness of the malts with the sweet bitterness of the hops. Squealers are $1 off when you fill with the Bunkers Island for the month of May". 

Schoolhouse Brewery were having an after school brew session with with guests Greg Nash and Ken Greer (owner of BeerTech) brewing the first commercial batch of Principal Ale. Schoolhouse  hopes to be open early June.

Ladies Beer League are teaming up with Best Case Beer on May 25th for an epic home brew workshop. You'll learn about beer history, ingredients, process, sensory evaluations & get a sweet little discount from Noble Grape. The cost is 20.00 and tickets are available now on the LBL website.

Saturday in HRM is Open City 3.0 and I will be wandering around the city doing live tweets and instagrams if you want to follow along. A few of the places I am going is Garrison Brewing where Getaway farms are serving up philly cheese steaks, Foggy Goggle for 5.00 Propeller pints, North Brewing and Food Wolf and the highlight of the afternoon will be Local Tasting Tours Craft Beer Tour.

That's all for this week, until next time enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beer Review Keith's Galaxy Hop Ale

Alexander Keiths has started a series of single hop beers. This time I try Galaxy Hop Ale. This one comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Appearance - The beer is a light copper color with a thin head. 

Aroma - It has hoppy aroma with an almost sweet fruitiness.

Taste - It has a bit of sweet fruity flavor with a bit of pine taste and a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel - It is well carbonated with a medium-light mouth feel.

Overall - This beer is pretty good and in my opinion the best of the three that are currently out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Beer Review - Keiths Hallertauer Hop Ale

Alexander Keiths has started a series of single hop beers. This time I try Hallertauer Hop Ale. This one comes in at 5.4% ABV.

Appearance - The beer is a brownish in color with a slight head that disapates quickly. It seems ever so slightly cloudy. 

Aroma - It is more sweeter smelling than I expected with only a slight hoppiness.

Taste - I get sweetness up front and when I expected the hop dryness I got a spicy peppery finish

Mouthfeel - It is pretty well carbonated with a medium mouth feel.

Overall - I found this a very interesting beer although it really doesn't have the hop flavor I expected I enjoyed the beer. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Beer Review - Keiths Cascade Hop Ale

Alexander Keiths has started a series of single hop beers.The first one in the series is Cascade Hop. This one comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Appearance - The beer is a golden clear color with about one finger of head.

Aroma - I get a lot of hop aroma unsurprisingly.

Taste - The is a citrusy or fruity taste and a nice dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - It is a medium mouth feel with a decent amount of carbonization.

Overall - I enjoyed the beer and it was a nice opportunity to highlight the cascade hop

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Maritime Beer Report - May 2, 2014

Hello and welcome to the May 2nd edition of the Maritime Beer Report.

Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault had a big week this week with their tanks arriving at the brewery. Also their own "Hoppy Diva" Mychèle is breaking in her new boots. She's been accepted as a member of the Pink Boots Society which aims at promoting the work of women in breweries. 

Grimross Brewing was bottling Pugnacious Porter this week. Pugnacious is conditioned on pure cocao and whole vanilla beans. They use a Belgian yeast and it attenuates fairly well so is a little more dry than typical Porter. Aroma is faint chocolate - flavour is coffee/dark chocolate with a hint of roastiness - mouthfeel is light, crisp, dry for a porter enjoy a few. It will be at King Street Ale House, Tide & Boar and of course the Brewtique. The Porter weighs in at 5% ABV

Picaroons Traditional Ales said it is HOP time! Citra & SorachiAce hops went into the EASTBOUND & DOWN IPA online collaboration with Great Lakes Brewery. Look out for the EASTBOUND & DOWN IPA to be on tap around Downtown Fredericton during the Canadian Brewing Awards at the end of May.

Rock Bottom Brew Pub released the Intergalactic SMaSH'd Lager on tap on Thursday. It is brewed exclusively with Superior Pale Ale malt and Galaxy hops. From Greg Nash "An intergalactic amped-up lager; hopped to the hilt starting at the mash and finishing with multiple dry-hop additions. The single malt brew coupled with the clean lager fermentation make this an epic canvas for a true taste of this newer Australian hop cultivar." It has a 7.1% ABV and a calculated 70 IBUs.

Rogues Roost is brewing a Dunkel Weizenbock, details are thin now but I will have more on release.

There is a craft beer week end going on at White Point Beach Lodge this week end. There is barbeque, buffet, craft beer and a tap takeover featuring Hell Bay Brewing and Boxing Rock Brewing. Lots going on, check out the website.

That is all for this week so until time enjoy responsibly.