Tag Archives: New Brunswick

Maritime Dispatch #2

While it’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from my travels out east, I want to make sure I give details on some of the breweries I happened to visit.

Grimross

grimross-front

Originally Grimross was brewing out of Picaroons. It’s where they sold their first beer on July 1, 2013. As their popularity grew, they got their own space on Bishop Drive in Fredericton, New Brunswick. They officially opened their doors in December of 2014 and I happened to visit them on opening day.

The brewery is named for an island in the Saint John River near Grand Lake where owner Stephen Dixon spent a lot of time growing up. Currently, they run a 10-barrel system with five 20 barrel fermenters. They keep four tanks full, plus one empty at present for transfers. Their popularity continues to grow and they are looking to add two new 20 barrel fermenters so they can move forward with plans of canning their beers.

grimross-beer

As a test run, they have been doing a limited can run of their Maritime Pale Ale, which frequently sells out. Along with the goal of expanding their capacity, they are straight up expanding their footprint from 4,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. This will allow them room to install a canning line while also expanding their taproom space.

While Grimross had brewed mostly Belgian style ales they have recently expanded their horizons, adding more American styles to their repertoire. I tried all their beers and enjoyed each one.

grimross-taps

Bonus: If you are looking for a job, they want to hire a new brewer to help keep up with demand. Fredericton’s not a bad place to live, after all…

PEI Brewing Company

pei-brewing-co

PEI Brewing Company has a storied history on Prince Edward Island, beginning in 1997 with the founding of Murphy’s Brewing Company next to the Lone Star restaurant on University Avenue in Charlottetown, PEI. As the popularity of the brewery grew, in November 2000 they moved to a 19th Century building in downtown Charlottetown where, in honour of the original owner of this building, they changed their name to Gahan House Brewery.

In 2008 they expanded to an off-site location that allowed them start bottling beer for sale. With a new 10 hectolitre system they were able to produce more beer, expanding their distribution. They won a gold medal for their Sir John A’s Honey Wheat in 2011 as well as 2012. After running out of beer three summers in a row, owner Kevin Murphy partnered with Jeff Squires and expanded again, this time opening the PEI Brewing Company.

pei-brewing-co-beers

A new brewery was constructed for the PEI Brewing Company, which opened in May 2013 with a 50 hectolitre state-of-the-art brew system built entirely in PEI and a whole new team of brewers. While Kevin Murphy is still involved in PEI Brewing Company, he continues to brew with both the Gahan and PEI Brewing Company labels.

One of the more interesting marketing events they’ve done is partnering with local musicians to offer some unique experiences. I had the opportunity to go and see Lenny Gallant, an Acadian artist, who sang songs and told stories about PEI all while enjoying beer. Overall, the place is well worth a visit, for the tour as well as the brews.

pei-brewing-co-lenny-gallant

Final Thoughts

While I had hoped to get to more breweries, I was ultimately out east to spend time with family. But I do have a few final thoughts on some differences I noticed between Manitoba and New Brunswick.

I understand each province is entitled to its own regulations and laws when it comes to the sale and distribution of alcohol. Still, I think there are some interesting differences. In New Brunswick, there is no requirement to have food at a taproom. In fact, you can sell whatever beer you choose at your taproom. The only restriction is you can only sell growlers of your own beer to take away.

In New Brunswick they do not use the Peagas system for filling growlers. Each site uses its own method, but most seem to fill straight from the tap using a food grade tube. This is after purging the growler with a CO2 tap.

Finally, there seems to be a huge boom of breweries happening in New Brunswick and the surrounding area right now. There are currently seven breweries and three cideries open in a town of roughly 60,000 people, with more on the way. While there may be concern here in Manitoba that we might grow too quickly, I think that if a town of 60,000 people can support a rich local craft beer scene, then we sure can, too.

-Beer Winnipeg

NB Dispatch – #1

I’ve been away from Winnipeg for just over a week now and already it’s been a fantastic trip. I went down through Vermont, got me some Heady Topper and other great beers. Then it was down to Boston with my Dad for his 65th birthday where we saw James Taylor and Jackson Browne live in concert. We drove back up to Canada through Portland, passed through Nova Scotia and are now back in Fredericton. It was a whirlwind, but a good one.

I’ve been doing my best while here in Fredericton to visit some of the breweries that have opened since I was here two years ago. The craft beer scene in New Brunswick has exploded with breweries popping up all over the place. This province of 750,000 people has 25 breweries and more on the way! While I won’t get to visit all of them, here is part one of my NB Breweries Dispatch.

 

Graystone

Graystone exterior

Graystone is the most recent addition to the craft beer landscape in NB.  It opened this Canada Day and has been working hard to make beer since. While they have not received their equipment – they’re using gear at two other local breweries for the time being – they will have a 10 barrel system when it finally arrives.

The name for the brewery comes from the owner. His wife’s last name is Gray.  The stone part comes from his “lightbulb moment” for the brewery. The owner, Wes Ward, and a friend were in Patagonia hiking when they came up with the idea for the brewery.  They want all the names of the beer to reflect this origin, including the three beers they’re currently brewing (though I only got to try two): Devil’s Peak Black IPA, Basecamp ISA and their flagship Patagonia Pale Ale.  They have been incredibly successful with their beers since opening, selling 300 L of the pale ale in one day.

Graystone taps

One of the unique things about Graystone is they are the only place in NB doing crowlers.  I love the crowler because of its ability to stay fresh longer and be easier to transport.  Of course the downside is you have to drink it all in one sitting… wait, is that a downside?

Graystone Crowler

The brewery also sells a variety of other local craft beers in flight and pint form. They are unable to sell any beer besides their own in crowler or growler but they have about 18 on tap.  If you are in Fredericton, it’s a great place to go and try out some different brews. It’s also a baby friendly brewery with change tables in each bathroom, so no excuses not to visit.

Recently, there was a story in the local paper that Gray Stone had been contacted by Greg Koch from Stone Brewing about the name.  They are now in the process of changing from Gray Stone to Graystone.  While this certainly isn’t a simple task, Wes was impressed with Greg for calling and working through it with him rather than just sending the lawyers. The process has begun but will take some time.

Maybee

Maybee exterior

Maybee Brewing Company opened in February of 2016 for growler sales only and then opened up their tap room and canning line in June. This brewery is named after the owners, Paul and Mikey Maybee, and produces a variety of beers, from their pale ale to a Brett Red.

They currently employ two brewers with a third joining shortly. Paul is the head brewer and had been homebrewing for nine years before opening Maybee.  He was in the same homebrew club as some of the other owners of breweries in the city and they all got the idea to start breweries around the same time.

Maybee tanks

Maybee runs a 10 barrel system with three 20 barrel fermenters and a 20 barrel bright tank.  They sell in cans, growlers and flagons (1L swing-top bottles) and you can get flights at their tap room. They only sell their own beer at the tap room.

Maybee taps

They currently brew six beer varieties: Belgian Tripel, Birdseye Pale Ale, Elevensies Espresso Stout, Roseway Red, Workhorse IPA and Brett Red. You can get all of these beers, except the Brett Red, in cans at the liquor stores in NB, though you can get the Brett Red in a 750ml corked bottle.

I chose to visit them
But if your travel plan’s crazy
Just visit a liquor store
And grab some… Maybee.

Trailway

 Trailway exterior

When I was last in NB two years ago, Trailway had just started selling beer from the owners’ basement to pubs around the city. They spent their first two years as a brewery operating in this manner and only recently (June, 2016) moved to their location on Fredericton’s north side.

With a 10 barrel system and four 10 barrel fermenters they currently do two brews a week.  They are looking to get three 30 barrel fermenters in the fall and plan to start canning and producing more beers at that point. Currently you can only get their beer at their taproom.

 

Owner Jake Saunders told me they are looking to take a Maine/Vermont approach and only do limited canning with a schedule that’ll keep the product as fresh as possible.  With their focus being on hazy, American-style ales – and wanting to focus on the juicy hops for their beer –  freshness is of key importance. They want to be flexible as well and so will have a three day schedule with some of the beer being sent to liquor stores around the province.

The brewery is co-owned by Jake, a chartered accountant, and Dan Mason, an engineer. Dan does most of the brewing while Jake focuses on the business side of the brewery. Both are solid brewers and Jake is, in fact, the President of the New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association.

As I said, Trailway’s focus is hoppy beers. They really love the Australian hops and use a lot of Topaz and Galaxy. They also love mosaic and citra (in small amounts). They do have a couple of stouts as well; a coffee and an oatmeal stout, and Jake told me they like the two extremes.  They don’t really like sweetness in beers so they go for really hoppy ales or dry stouts. They also have a Raspberry Wheat Ale in production for the summer but will likely move it to the wayside when they start canning.

Trailway flight

I chatted with Jake for about an hour and can say he certainly knows his beer and has a really good mindset for brewing. The beers were all solid and they have some other ideas for beers down the line. Jake really loves sour beers as well and said they are looking to start doing some when they get their new fermenters. Interestingly, the first one will likely be a hoppy Berliner Weisse.

The currently have seven beer on tap: Primetime APA, Patio Session, Luster Session, FanMango APA, Raspberry Wheat, Coffee Stout, and AM Oatmeal Stout.

The brewery is a little hard to see from the road, but throw it into your favourite map app and you’ll find it. They have a nice taproom and lots of space. It’s another stop well worth the visit.

I still have some breweries I’d like to visit around Fredericton, then PEI when I get there. I’ll look to do another post on these breweries next week while I enjoy sand and sun (and lobster) in PEI.

As always, thank you for following along and I hope if you get a chance to come to the East Coast, you’ll make a point to visit breweries along the way.

-Beer Winnipeg