Posts in New Beer Releases

Stone in Ontario: A Sign of the ‘Taps’?

February 17th, 2015 Posted by Beer Events, Beer Store Releases, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

footer-logo Next week marks the official launch of famed California brewery Stone into the Ontario market, with a pair of beers arriving on draught: Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale. Not only are these beers a great addition to the Ontario beer scene, but they continue a recent new strategy with a few U.S. breweries, namely to debut via draught versus bottles.

The draught importation business in Ontario is a web of stickiness, as the LCBO has granted and maintained distribution rights exclusively to three private companies (Premier Brands, Premium Beer & Diageo), all of whom are importers themselves. The Beer Store, by nature of their overarching beer presence in Ontario, also has rights to distribute draught. So that means that any draught beer not made in Ontario must pass through the hands of one of these entities. This makes importing draught beers very complex, challenging and costly – and is a major reason that many of your favourite beers you find on draught elsewhere are not available here.

However, importers and brewers are persevering. As evidenced by the debut of Stone, along with the recent debuts of Sierra Nevada, Atwater and Redhook, these brands are hitting the street first by way of draught, as opposed to a seasonal release at the LCBO, which has usually been the case for the past few years.

Let’s hope this strategy pays off, as it means better beers for Ontario consumers, and hopefully more awareness of how the draught importation game is played in this province. (Side note: we’ll have more to say about the draught game in the future, but for now let’s enjoy some tasty Stone.)

Stone is launching with multiple events across Ontario – see below for details.  More information and times can be found on Stone’s Ontario event page.


  • Monday, February 23rd: Launch Party at Bier Markt Esplanade
  • Tuesday, February 24th: Meet the Brewer at beerbistro
  • Wednesday, February 25th: Beer Feature Menu at Indie Alehouse
  • Friday, February 27th: “Cut Out of Work with Stone” at Bar Hop
  • Friday, February 27th: Beer Dinner at Amsterdam BrewHouse


  • Wednesday, February 25th: Meet the Brewer at Winking Judge


  • Wednesday, February 25th: “Look Who’s Rolling into KTown” at The Brooklyn


  • Tuesday, February 24th: Introduction Party at The Bent Elbow


  • Thursday, February 26th: Meet the Brewer at Hungry Brew Hops


  • Monday, February 23rd: Launch Party at Bier Markt Ottawa
  • Tuesday, February 24th: Introduction Party at Brother’s Beer Bistro

Amsterdam Brewery & Great Lakes Brewery Collaboration a First in The LCBO

April 24th, 2013 Posted by Beer In The Press, Brewery News, LCBO Releases, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Maverick and Gose_bottle


Amsterdam Brewery and Great Lakes Brewery Collaboration a First in The LCBO

(Toronto, ON, April 24, 2013) – The Amsterdam Brewery and Great Lakes Brewery, two of Toronto’s oldest independently owned and operated craft breweries, are set to release their award winning collaboration beer – “Maverick & Gose” in the LCBO later this month.

Maverick & Gose is a Leipziger Gose Beer that has been aged in Ontario Chardonnay barrels for 4 months prior to packaging. A rare German brew of medieval origin, this 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards Silver Medalist beer is brewed with a mostly malted wheat base, pink Himalayan salt, and spices. Notes of lemon, herbs and a slight saltiness make this collaboration truly unique to Ontario.

What is even more unique about this beer is that it is the first all-Ontario collaboration to be released in the LCBO. Brewers Iain Mcoustra of Amsterdam and Mike Lackey of Great Lakes first developed the recipe for Maverick & Gose in early 2012.

“We came up with the idea whilst playing shirtless, greased up beach volleyball, you know, like in the movie Top Gun, and we thought it would be fitting to collab on this one of a kind beer,” says Lackey. “I’m super pumped to be part of the first Canadian craft beer collaboration that will grace the shelves at the LCBO. It was a pleasure creating this beer with Iain and the Amsterdam crew.”

“We wanted to take an old world style and put our own twist on it by using local Chardonnay barrels” says Mcoustra. “We didn’t want to go over the top with any of the flavours and it’s easy for a spiced beer to get away from you. The barrel brought everything together in the end, balancing out the spices with the salt giving a nice roundness to the finish.”

“It’s always a blast brewing with Lackey and Great Lakes” says Mcoustra of the collaboration. “They’re a big reason why there has been so much collaboration and innovation in Ontario recently and it’s an honour to brew and release this beer with them.”

Maverick & Gose is available for sale in 500mL bottles from select LCBOs starting April 29, 2013 ($6.95) and the Amsterdam Brewery Retail Store (45 Esandar Dr., 416-504-6882).

Amsterdam_logoAbout The Amsterdam Brewery
The Amsterdam Brewery is an independently owned and operated craft brewery that is deeply rooted in the city of Toronto. A pioneer of the craft beer revolution in 1986 and initially called the Amsterdam Brasserie and Brew Pub, The Amsterdam was the first of its kind in Toronto to offer patrons hand crafted lagers and ales that were brewed ‘in-house’. Today they brew over ten different beers including their flagship lager – Amsterdam Natural Blonde, the award winning Big Wheel Deluxe Amber, Boneshaker IPA and multiple year-round and seasonal brews. The Amsterdam Brewing Company uses only traditional brewing methods and their beers are made with four all natural ingredients – malt, hops, yeast, and water. All beers are GMO-free, without preservatives, and never heat pasteurized.

To learn more about the Amsterdam Brewery visit
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GLB-stamp_2About The Great Lakes Brewery
A fiercely independent owned and operated brewery, Great Lakes recently celebrated 25 years in the craft beer business, making them one of the oldest craft breweries in Ontario. Great Lakes specializes in producing flavourful beers that will be sure to tickle your taste buds with each sip. From unique seasonal ales and premium lagers to our Project X and Tank Ten Series beers, we produce a variety of products to be enjoyed by everyone!
Based in Etobicoke, we invite you to visit our brewery for a taste of our award winning beers, including the Canadian Brewing Awards double Gold Medal Winner Crazy Canuck Pale Ale!

To learn more about Great Lakes, visit
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BC Beer: July 2012 Releases

July 23rd, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Whistler Brewing has a new wheat beer for the summer called the Pineapple Express. As many brewers are running at full capacity for the summer months, this seems to be last of the new ‘seasonal’ releases… but there’s still some new products hitting the shelf.

Pacific Western has introduced a new organic lineup called Scandal Brewing. They’ve launched with an Ale and a Lager.

Russell Brewing is celebrating their 17th anniversary with a Barrel Aged Scotch Ale. I’m a huge fan of their award-winning Wee Angry Scotch Ale, so I look forward to trying this one!

Tin Whistle Brewing recently celebrated their 1000th brew. Seventeen years ago they were the only brewery in the South Okanagan, and they’re still going strong. The owner told the Penticton Western News that they were looking for a new location so they can expand and start canning as well.

Molson’s Six Pints Specialty Beer Company has released a “Hand Picked 6 Mixed Craft Pack”. Molson has been strangely silent on the marketing front, but the box says:

Two pioneers in Canadian craft brewing have joined forces to bring you this signature selection of distinctive flavours. HAND-PICKED 6 unites three West Coast-inspired ales from Vancouver’s Granville Island Brewing and three traditional European lagers from small-town Ontario’s Creemore Springs Brewery. It’s a unique collaboration that lets you discover some of our country’s finest award-winning beers.

The “Hand Picked 6” is currently available at the LCBO as well as BC Liquor stores. There’s already some discussion on the Bar Towel Forum. I like it.

BC Beer: June 2012 Releases

June 20th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

The summer solstice is upon us and BC has a brand new lager hitting the shelves: Creemore Springs! That’s right, while Ontario has been enjoying this craft lager for 25 years, British Columbians finally get a taste as well. Creemore was one of my seasonal staples for many years, so I was glad to grab a 6-pack from my local today. Despite the diversity of brews in BC, there still isn’t a whole lot of quality lagers, so hopefully this will fly off the shelves! Like Granville Island Brewing, Creemore is part of Molson’s Six Pints Craft Beer Division, so hopefully we will see some more of their great brews. Speaking of Granville Island, they just released a Cascadian Dark Ale, which is also available at the Government Stores. I think this is one of the best brews to come out of Granville. At 6% abv and 45 IBU it’s loaded with Falconer’s Flight hops with some quality malt to back it up. Really great stuff.

If you’re lucky, you might still find a Rick August Russian Imperial Stout from Russell Brewing. Rick was the 2011 Golden Stag Home Brewing Contest winner and Russell produced 360 cases at the end of May (Rick shares some of the profit). Now as cool as this whole story is, the beer is also REALLY great, so I recommend seeking it out. “The recipe uses more than 10 types of malts, two types of hops, a special yeast strain, juniper berries and licorice root. At 10.8% ABV this strong beer is intensely dark and extremely flavourful”.

The relatively new Hoyne Brewing Company has released yet another brew. The Summer Haze Honey Hefe is brewed with honey from the beehives at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. This one is on-tap at the hotel and also available from the brewery and select liquor stores in Victoria and Vancouver.

Also from Victoria for the summer is a variety of cans from Spinnakers! They’ll have the Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale, Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale, Northwest Ale, Original Pale Ale and Ryder Hesjedal’s (2012 Giro d’Italia Champion) Tour de Victoria Summer Ale. Hopefully the canning line will instigate a larger distribution of their excellent brews. They’re working on a couple of new hop bombers as well: Hoptoria (6.8% abv & 80 IBU) and India Session Pale Ale (4.5% abv & 70 IBU).

Need some re-hydration in the summer heat? Or perhaps a Root Beer Float would hit the spot? Well, Cariboo Brewing is making a 0.5% abv. Root Beer!

The next 6-pack from Lighthouse Brewing Company will be TASMAN ALE. According to their facebook page, it’s brewed with “the Tasmanian hop varieties Topaz and Summer along with Motueka and Rakau from the Tasman region of New Zealand. Fresh and crisp, this copper hued ale features distinctive tropical fruit characters, clean and light bittering and a soft malt body. 5% alc/ vol”. New Zealand is becoming a bigger player in the hop market, and I do enjoy their unique regional flavours. With the southern hemisphere’s alternate harvest season, transporting their fresh hops half way around the world does make some practical sense. I’m certainly looking forward to trying this one!

BC Beer: May 2012 Releases

May 17th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, LCBO Releases, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

With the May Two-Four upon us, there’s a couple of unconventional wits to enjoy with the outdoors. First up is the Flying Tanker White IPA, which is a hybrid of the Wit and IPA styles. Vancouver Island Brewing told the Alberni Valley news that “Flying Tanker IPA is the first bottle in our Vancouver Island series to be released — we’ve got a whole series of beers tied to Vancouver Island icons planned”.

Second is Parallel 49 Brewing’s Seedspitter Watermelon Wit. This is their first brew, and they’ve launched it just in time for Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Bottles should be available shortly and they’ve got three other brews that will be available soon.

Tin Whistle Brewing Company has released their new Scorpion Double IPA. They’ve been brewing since 1995, so it’s about time they threw some more hops into the mix… and why not make it a double? This was supposedly a big hit at the Okanagan Fest of Ale, and should be available in BC Liquor stores soon.

Steamworks Brewing Company recently brewed the Copper Roof Ale in honour of the Vancouver Sun’s 100th Anniversary. Check out Randy Shore’s online article and video clip with some good discussion with the brewers.

Speaking of ESBs, Driftwood’s Naughty Hildegard is back. This year they’ve returned to Pacific Northwest hop varieties (the 2011 had UK hops), which I believe make this a truly epic West-Coast ESB. Coincidentally, Pope Benedict has now officially recognized Hildegard von Bingen as a saint.

For those in Ontario, the LCBO’s Tree Brewing feature is starting to hit the shelves. This includes the Hefeweizen, Raspberry Porter, Captivator Doppelbock, Hophead Double IPA and the new Hophead Black IPA. This has already sparked some discussion in the forums. Their Duke’s Cider is on the LCBO shelves as well.

BC Beer: April 2012 Releases

April 19th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

With summer just around the corner, there’s a few new wheat beers cropping up. The Okanagan Spring Brewery has their Hefeweizen, which does have some apricot flavour and a good dose of cloves. The Vancouver Island Brewery has the Beachcomber Summer Ale, which is also a traditional Hefeweizen, fermented with the miraculous Weihenstephan yeast. I’m really looking forward to trying this one!

Tree Brewing released a Hefeweizen last year, and this year they’ve added a Madcap Belgian White Ale. Tropical with a spicy finish, and at only 4.5% it should pair well with the Okanagan sun! In addition to the King Heffy, Howe Sound Brewing has added a draught-only 4 Way Fruit Ale. This wheat beer is brewed with passionfruit, mango, raspberry and pomegranate. At 4.4%, it’s sure to be a hit on the patio’s this summer.

I love traditional wheats and I’ll surely give the 4 Way Fruit a try, but this is the Pacific Northwest. We need something like a 3 Floyd’s Gumballhead or Great Lakes Miami Weisse!

The Nelson Brewing company has bottled their Old Brewery Pale Ale (SKU#198028), and it’ll be in the new mix pack from the BC Craft Brewers Association.

The Firehall Brewery has finally opened in Oliver. They launched with the Stoked Ember Ale, which was quickly followed by the Holy Smoke Stout. For their first appearance at the Okanagan Fest of Ale, they were awarded best booth! Congrats!

Don’t forget that Vancouver Craft Beer Week is coming up (and many tickets are already sold out).

BC Beer: March 2012 Releases

March 19th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Russell Brewing has released their first barrel-aged beer: Nectar of the Gods Wheat Wine. I tried this at the 2011 VCBW before it hit the barrel, and IMHO, it was the best of show. This brew is 50% wheat malt combined with Pilsner and Munich to create a 10% wheat wine. Columbus hops provide a firm bitterness and create a truly unique flavour when paired with the French Strisselspalt. I can only imagine the additional layers of complexity that the Tennessee Whiskey barrels have added. Available only at the better private liquor stores.

R&B Brewing have just released “Double Devil”, an extra strong version of their Red Devil, aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Phillips just released another batch of their Double Barrel Scotch Ale. This one “was aged in fresh Tennessee Whiskey barrels, then allowed to mature in cabernet sauvignon oak barrels from the sunny Okanagan Valley.”

Tree Brewing has also released Serendipty #4. This one is based on their recent Hophead Black IPA. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about the combination of flavours, but I think this is actually the best thing they have ever brewed. The brewery has already sold out, but if you’re lucky, you might still find it at one of the better private liquor stores. They’ve also just re-released their award-winning Captivator Doppelbock as well.

Whistler Brewing will have a limited-release, Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale for the spring.

Lighthouse Brewing has released a new Dark Chocolate Porter. This 5.5% robust porter is flavoured with cocoa nibs and will be available at both Government and private liquor stores.

Howe Sound has re-released their Gathering Storm Cascadian Dark Ale. Look for 1L bottles at the better private liquor stores.

Fernie Brewing has just launched their newest brew, Lone Wolf IPA. “This IPA has four select malts in combination with four classic hop varieties”. Soon they’ll have 650mL bottles in both BC and Alberta Liquor stores.

BC Beer: February 2012 Releases

February 21st, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Tree Brewing has released a new ‘Occasional Rarity’, Hop Head Black IPA. At 8.8% abv, this one’s bigger than their Double IPA. Although it’s packed full of flavour, the dark malts bring some balance and make it seriously drinkable. You’ll currently find this at private liquor stores in BC, but in a few months it’ll also be part of the LCBO’s Tree Brewery Feature!

Howe Sound Brewing’s Total Eclipse of the Hop and Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout are back on the shelves. Driftwood just released their Singularity again as well. With these two world class stouts, there’s really no reason to be drinking the macro-of-macro’s this St. Paddy’s day… though they’ll probably sell out by then.

The Dead Frog Brewery has introduced a new stout at this seasonal time as well. The French Oaked Stiff Stout is described as a full flavoured, smooth stout combining roasted barley and chocolate malts aged on toasted french oak to create a rich, textured beer with a finish so stiff you’ll never forget it! This one’s in the government stores, but availability seems to be limited.

Lighthouse Brewing is releasing a new IPA at the end of the month (great label!). Unlike their British inspired Beacon IPA, the new Switchback IPA is a serious Pacific Northwest brew with 80 IBU’s coming from Citra, Zythos and Falconer’s Flight hops!

And that Granville Imperial IPA did hit the shelves a few weeks ago. This one’s different than last year… and it’s one bold DIPA!

BC Beer – January 2012 Releases

January 19th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, LCBO Releases, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Last month I mentioned a few new breweries opening this year, but then Hoyne Brewing actually managed to get a few growlers out the door before Christmas! Now they’ve got their Pale Ale and Pilsner bottled, and it’s starting to hit the Private Liquor Store shelves.

Old Yale Brewing has entered into a new partnership and moved to a larger location. Canadian Beer News is reporting that kegs and bottles of the Sasquatch Stout and Sergeant’s IPA are currently available, and we’ll start to see cans of the IPA and Old Yale Pale Ale in February. It’ll certainly be great to have some more hoppy brews available in cans!

Lighthouse Brewing Company has their 6th limited release from their Big Flavour Series. The official press release says this 9% “Belgian Black is fermented with a Belgian Ardennes yeast strain. Enjoy the rich malty features of plum and dark cherry backed with subtle spicy notes”.

Mission Springs Brewing Company is releasing another special brew in bottles on January 30th. “The Strongman Ale” is an 8% Cascadian Strong Ale… this should be interesting.

Phillips has iced a barleywine, pushing the alcohol up to 12%. Thankfully, this so-called Mass Extinction is available in (reasonably-sized) 341 mL bottles.

Granville Island’s Imperial IPA will be on tap next week, and hopefully we’ll start to see some bottles again soon!

Tree Brewing’s Hophead Double IPA is currently available at the brewery. Many Bartowelers will be happy to hear that it just shipped to Ontario as well! You can expect to see it on the LCBO shelves by the end of February. In the mean time, Ontario will have to get their west-coast hop fix from the regular Tree Hop Head, or perhaps Central City’s Red Racer, which just hit the shelves again.