As the chilly Winter air nips at your nose, you may reminisce for the days when you could enjoy a cold beer on a patio on a hot summer day. Us too! But here at Uncorked Tours, we don't just hide inside or migrate south for the Fall and Winter months (not yet anyway!). No, we bundle up in our plaid and sweaters and continue to explore Saint Awesome. Today we're sharing our three favourite Uptown Saint John coffee shops.
1. Marjorie's Cafe - 45 Grannan St
Since 2015 Port City Royal has offered East Coast cuisine and artisan cocktails. Now it offers fine quality coffee, pastries, and breakfast foods as Marjorie's Cafe. The same food philosophy that made Port City Royal one of the top new restaurants in Canada when it first opened up, applies to the new Cafe by day concept. Expect fine quality pasties such as creton-filled croissants and a variety of fine coffee. Classic fresh-brewed coffee, pour over, french press, lattes and cappuccinos are just the beginning. Regardless of what you're after, Marjorie's will surely warm you up!
2. Rogue Coffee - 36 Grannan St
In case you haven't already heard, Grannan Alley or "Quality Block" is home to a pretty awesome coffee shop. Located in the alley off of Grannan sits Rogue Coffee. Opening up in September of 2017, Rogue Coffee utilizes the first Mod Bar in Atlantic Canada to make amazing use of their small space. Beyond some amazing brewed coffee, Rogue also offers, Kombucha and Prosecco on tap, as well as offering some amazing homemade, cakes and treats.
3. Java Moose - 84 Prince William St
A Saint John dynasty, Java Moose was the first true coffee enthusiast alternative to Tim Horton's here in Saint John. Starting as a small Coffee Kiosk at McAllister Place Mall in 1996, the original location still remains and has grown to include 3 others, two in the Uptown Core and one in Quispamsis. JavaMoose has always sought out the best coffee and roasted it to perfection. Their small batch roasting technology ensures that every cup is the most exquisite and flavourful coffee you will ever taste. Their commitment starts with sourcing the raw, green beans of only the very highest quality Arabica beans grown by farmers who take care of their product and who take great care of their land.
With more coffee spots popping up, café culture is definitely starting to take off in Saint John. Of notable mention are:
The Stone Soup Café (139 Prince Edward St), offering a java joint just a few blocks from the busy Uptown and near the up-and-come Waterloo Village neighbourhood, and;
BunkHaus Hostel, Café, and TapRoom (36 Water St), offering java, beer, and a place to rest your head. Check out last month's blog post about BunkHaus for more info.
Once you're warmed up consider joining us on an Uncork Saint John adventure, where you will discover the art, history, and people that make Saint Awesome awesome.
Update January 9: I have updated the blog post to include the link to the Facebook Live videos for each wine just in case you missed them the first time around. Cheers!
12 wines for you to enjoy this holiday season
The 12 Days of Christmas aren't when you think they are
It's hard to believe, with the Christmas hubbub getting going as early as October, that the 12 Days of Christmas actually START on December 25th and continue through to January 5th. For the past few years I've seen people do beer advent calendars and 12 days giveaways leading up to the 25th, but what about the ACTUAL 12 days of Christmas? What about the actual 12 days that I'm hanging out with friends and family?
In Christian theology, the 12 days represent the time between the birth of Jesus on Christmas day and Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the magi bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The 12 Days of Christmas song
The song that you make think of where a "true love" delivers increasingly exorbitant (and costly) gifts has been around for a few hundred years. It was originally a memory game. The leader would begin, and each player would repeat the growing list of gifts. If someone messed up or forgot a word, they would have to offer up a forfeit, usually a kiss of the cheek.
This facebook video makes an appearance every holiday as my 5-year old self delivers on almost-all 364 gifts.
Wine Shopping List
December 25 - Gillis of Belleisle Cranberry Ceilidh
December 26 - Mott's Landing Vineyard Frontenac Gris
December 27 - Richibucto River Estate Marechal Foch
December 28 - Mott's Landing Vineyard Rosé
December 29 - Crooked Pear Wine by Verger Belliveau Orchard
December 30 - Winegarden Estate Port
December 31 - Mott's Landing Vineyard Classic Brut
January 1 - Magnetic Hill Winery Resurgo Rosé
January 2 - Mott's Landing Vineyard Sabrevois
January 3 - Richibucto River Estate Marquette
January 4 - Happy Knight Crème de Cassis
January 5 - Winegarden Estate Maple Wine
There's a new tap room in town courtesy of Ingrid at Bunkhaus Hostel.
For the past couple of years, Loyalist City Brewing has been working away on Water St. making great beer for our drinking pleasure. They've made a name for themselves with beer like their ever-rotating IPA, their Pink Dwarf sour, and Three Sisters pale ale.
When the brewery started, they had a plan to add their own taproom and patio so customers could sample and buy beer to go. They're still working on that plan, but in the meantime you can now find their beer on tap next door, at Bunkhaus Hostel + Café.
The Bunkhaus Hostel opened on Water St. earlier this year. It is a modern and trendy hostel featuring a bunk room with 16 custom-made beds, as well as a handful of private rooms for short-term rent. It has been tastefully decorated with a good dose of Scandinavian influence, celebrating the heritage of owner, Ingrid.
Saint John continues to serve up gems when it comes to craft beer at unique venues. There are now 5 craft breweries making beer Uptown. And if you have one too many, you can always book a bunk and spend the night.
You may remember us featuring Loyalist City beer earlier this summer as part of our Spirit of New Brunswick series at Martello Tower. You can check out that video here
Check back often for more ways to Uncork New Brunswick this winter, and if you need a little guidance, join one of our winter walking tours Uptown.
This summer we shared a few posts about things to do on Sundays, see below for links. This has been quite a summer in Saint John. So many amazing festivals like AREA 506, Port City Beer Run, Moonlight Bazaar, Culture Week, Marathon by the Sea and the Fringe Festival.
I wanted to take a minute and share these great weekend activities again. Next time you feel like there's nothing to do, take a minute to glance through this list, I'm sure you'll find something you haven't tried yet!
16. Saint's Rest Beach
Head out to the Irving Nature Park for an afternoon of beach combing. Your best bet is to get there as the tide is receding, that way you can be the first to spot what the tide has washed up. This area is significant geologically. The island you see is the remnants of a morraine, a mountain of debris, that was dropped by a retreating glacier 10,000 years ago.
17. Moosehead Small Batch ($)
In case you didn't know, Moosehead is Canada's oldest independent brewery, and this year they launched their small batch craft brewery. Head "over west" to visit the brewery and enjoy a flight of their craft and classic brews. There's no food on site, but you can bring food with you, or have a West side adventure like Chris and I did earlier this summer.
18. Harbour Passage
Harbour Passage is a great place to spend a few hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon. This 2 mile (approx 3.5km) trail runs from the cruise terminals to the Reversing Falls. Along the way you can stop at several ecological pavilions explaining the history and biology of the Saint John Harbour. Keep an eye out for harbour seals, harbour porpoises, and cormorants. You may see even see fishermen catching gaspereau!
19. Revel in the glory
Saint John is home to several historic churches. Take the time to visit a church for a service, or just to enjoy the acoustics and the beautiful stained glass windows. If you don't want to stay for a service, spend some time walking between churches and admiring the detailed architecture.
20. Laser Tag, Mini Putt & Arcade at The Vegas ($), All-you-can eat Fish & Chips ($)
This is actually a ton of fun! Downstairs they have laser tag and mini putt, and upstairs you'll find an arcade including bowling and bumper cars. This indoor amusement centre is licensed and has a restaurant. On Sundays you can enjoy all-you-can eat Fish & Chips for $10.99.
As the seasons change, so too does our lineup of food and drink tours in Saint John. During October, we still try to match our schedule to visiting cruise ships, but come November we'll be heading into our winter routine. If you visit the TOURS page, you'll see that all your favourite Uncorked Tours continue to be offered through even the coldest months.
November 2018 - April 2019
Uncork Saint John is available on Fridays and Saturdays
Our Saint John Brew Pubs tour is offered Thursdays and Sundays
Fundy Seafood City is offered Thursday through Saturday
Beer-unch is available every Sunday at noon
This time of year there is one brew in particular that we look forward to at Uncorked Tours. The cooling of the season has many breweries turning to darker, spicier flavours in their seasonal offerings so I hope it's not a surprise that the beer I always look forward to is Big Tide Brewing's Pumpkin Ale. An annual treat, only available from Thanksgiving to Hallowe'en, the amber ale takes on a slightly orange-y hue, and the glasses, rimmed with pumpkin pie spice, offer the best complementary aroma.
Receive a special thank you gift and a beer voucher for a complimentary pint of Pumpkin Ale when your batch is ready!
Fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit. Check out Uncorked Tours' list of our favourite Fall festivals here in New Brunswick.
Location : Sussex, NB
Date: September 7-9
It’s a balloon bonanza. Hot air balloons of every shade take to the skies during the Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta. Take a balloon ride, visit the car show or the craft fair, watch the teddy bear parade, or have fun on the amusement rides during Atlantic Canada’s most colourful festival.
Pair With : Northern Comfort from Sussex Distillery
Opened in December 2017, Sussex Distillery produces spirits made from sugar and molasses including unaged rum and Northern Comfort, a spicy liquor with a maple sweetness, perfect when used for a maple mojito.
Location: Fredericton, NB
Date: September 11-16
Get funky and dance the night away. This event features both internationally renowned musicians and up-and-coming artists on the same stage. There is something for every music lover at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
Pair With : Ginger Snap from York County Cider
As the evenings start to cool down, this sweet and spicy cider will keep you feeling great.
Location: Saint Andrews, NB
Date: October 10-14
Calling all foodies. Please your palate and experience a taste of Saint Andrews during Indulge Festival. You’ll get to enjoy delicious, interactive food and wine experiences in a beautiful seaside setting.
Pair With : Blueberry Wine from McKay's Blueberries
Blueberry season hit its peak this week, with fresh berries available in all the markets. McKay's in Pennfield produces a great, off-dry blueberry wine that tastes like New Brunswick.
Date: October 27 - November 3
Expand your knowledge of wine or simply head out for an afternoon or evening of fun at this Moncton expo. A full week of wine-related events includes dinners, wine and food seminars, and the ever-popular Grand Tasting Sessions featuring hundreds of wines from around the world. Think your palate is ready?
Pair With : No pairing suggestion would be adequate, so go find a new favourite wine.
As summer winds down you may feel like all your fun Sunday afternoons are behind you. Well don't let the fun stop yet. Use our list of another 5 awesome Sunday activities to keep you inspired and enjoying all that Sunday has to offer.
1. Spend a Day Watching the Tide.
Visit Fallsview Park at low, slack and high tide. In between, test your courage by walking on the glass platform of the Reversing Falls Skywalk. More information about the tide schedule can be found HERE.
2. Make Your Own Saint John Selfie Album.
Saint John has some of the most beautiful architecture, public art, and historic sites that can be found anywhere in Canada. Take the time to go and visit some of these locations. You could either wander through the Uptown to find all of the stops yourself, or go ahead and download the Saint John Selfie Tour map from the Saint John Walking Tour app.
3. Take a Walk Through Time
Follow three historic walking routes. Download the Saint John Walking Tour app or pick up a brochure at the Visitor Information in City Hall. Along the way you will learn about the history of Uptown Saint John and the beautiful buildings and sites. Perfect for any tourist or local looking to play tourist for the day!
4. Brews Clues ($)
Breakout Saint John offers a wicked Uptown Scavenger hunt for download. One code is good for up to 6 people to play together. After your adventure visit Big Tide, Picaroons, Gahan, or the Saint John Ale House for a flight of beer and to discuss the challenges.
5. Breakout ($)
Speaking of Breakout, try one of their Escape rooms. Breakout Saint John is Saint John's only real life escape room game. Each team has 60 minutes to piece the clues together to solve for their big escape. Think you have what it takes? Plan your escape and find out more information HERE.
Here is a little follow up to our lobster boil post from earlier this summer. This has been an amazing summer so far with record heat and a record number of lobster feeds - 5 lobster boils and lobster BBQ (Thanks Steve!). Living on the East Coast has never been so sweet. Now, on to the matter at hand.
I'm regularly asked where the best place to eat a lobster is in Saint John. I can list off a whole slew of great restaurants (North Market Seafood, Billy's, Grannan's & Steamers) that will cook up a lobster for you, but, I always find that a fresh cooked lobster on the beach is the best. Maybe just because it's so much work.
Back in June we met some friends out on the beach for a lobster boil. I've been cracking into lobster for as long as I can remember (thanks Mom!) and we always use crackers, picks and sometimes even the coveted lobster scissors. Then one day, about 10 years ago in Cape Breton, I learned how to skip the tools entirely. So fret not if you forgot the utensils, this short video will show you how to get all the best meat out of your lobster!
You can book a private lobster boil on the beach with Uncorked Tours, or join us for Fundy Seafood City, an Uptown walking tour making 4 stops for delicious seafood and lots of Saint John stories.
At Uncorked Tours we love our Beer, and so do all of our friends. But what do you do when you have six different people who all like something different? Hoppy beers, balanced beers, drinkable beers, extra special bitter beers, domestic beer and craft beer are just some of the descriptors we use now. It can be hard in this big beer world we live in for a group of people to agree on what they should drink.
The solution is simple, do the Big Flight, at the Saint John Ale House. The Big Flight is exactly what it sounds like. One giant paddle with every single beer the Saint John Ale House has on tap. That's 30 beers! Everything from Moosehead to Loyalist City Pale Ale! Of course, the beer they have on tap is always changing, so chances are you'll never have the exact same flight twice.
The best part is that Thursday is flight night at the Saint John Ale House, where all flights, including the Big Flight, is discounted. So grab your best friends, or 5 of them, and head to the Ale House. Regardless of their preferences in the beer, they will be sure to have something to satisfy their palate.
Prefer a guided Uptown experience? Check out our beer tours below. Cheers!
At Uncorked Tours we're all about sharing the fabulous food, wine, beer & spirits being produced in the Province of New Brunswick.
It is our pleasure to share some of the awesome experiences you can have while living or visiting the province.