Welp, we’re definitely in the thick of winter now, with all four provinces in the region now officially getting snowfall this week. We suggest putting off the inevitable hard work and hellish drive home for just a few more minutes and join us in getting up-to-date with the important beer news in the region. Here we go!
Time flies when you’re having fun, and this weekend the good folks at Stillwell are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary in style. Their celebratory annual beer release continues with Stillwell Five, produced at their sister Stillwell Brewing on Gottingen. The beer started with a grist of Vienna and Pilsner malts, with Oats and Wheat added, and hopped with primarily Tettnang in the kettle. Brewed in Summer 2017, it was fermented in a puncheon (700 litres) that had recently been emptied of Pineau de Charentes, a french appertif/vin de liquor. The wort was fortified with honey as it was transferred, and the Stilly House Blend™ was pitched, giving rise to a light, dry, and tart final beer. After 10+ months in the first-use-post-spirit wood, it has picked up some serious wine and spirit notes, as well as light notes of honey, rounding out the full drinking experience. Since fermentation completed this spring, it has been bottle conditioning for six months, and is ready to enjoy now. As with all of the Stillwell Brewing releases, the best way to get a bottle is by visiting the brewery around back of 2015 Gottingen Street, during their weekly bottle sale tomorrow, 12 – 4 PM. You can pick up 500 mL bottles of the 6.9% ABV at that time, and then scoot on over to Barrington St to put your name in a hat to win the opportunity to buy one of the few magnums (1.5 litre) of Five that were prepared.
So, about the party… Also kicking off at noon tomorrow, the Stillwell crew is celebrating with a full complement of beer from some of their favourite breweries and ciderhouses across the province, country, and world, with options that will satisfy lovers-of-good-drinks of all stripes. Plus free cake! Local DIPA, funky stuff, Quebec Saisons, perhaps the world’s best Gueuze (Cantillon), Pet Nat Applewine, etc, etc. You get the idea: when Stillwell throws a party it’s definitely not half-assed. If you must, here is the opening taplist. There will no doubt be some fun and cool beers on the handpump and flowing from bottles as well, plus Chef Ruppel and crew will be busy out back with some special accompaniments. We’ll see you there to toast this major driving force to the enjoyment and promotion of Good Beer.
The celebratin’ continues as Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing is turning one this week! And is there a better way to celebrate an anniversary/birthday than with a new beer? Apparently not, because they’re launching two of them this week! First is Ken’s Stout, the brewery’s latest seasonal. Co-owner/head brewer Ken Spears had dreamed up and brewed this Oatmeal Stout back in the very early stages of the brewery (as in, pre-opening), and apparently couldn’t be happier with the final result, so now gets to share it with the rest of us. Brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate malt, Munich, Flaked Oats, and Roasted Barley, the 5% ABV beer was hopped lightly with Columbus (to 25 IBUs). Dark, rich, and full-bodied, with “notes of chocolate and lightly-roasted coffee”, the oats add a silky mouthfeel, increasing the beer’s drinkability. This one will be available all winter long; look for it in cans, growlers, and on tap around the Island over the next couple of weeks.
Next up from Copper Bottom is Birthday Beer, which we assume needs no explanation as to its intentions! This one is a Brut IPA, brewed entirely with Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops. As with many beers in this ever-growing-in-popularity style, amylase enzyme was added in order to dry the beer out even further. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer is “ultra pale and effervescent, with big notes of blueberries, stone fruit, and a bit of mango”. It’ll have a limited run in cans, and will join Ken’s Stout on tap at the brewery’s big birthday party – 1 Year of Beer – happening tomorrow, November 17th, in Montague. It’s a full-day party, with live music, a food truck on-site, tarot card reading, and beer by the boatload! Be sure to drop by and raise a pint to the fine folks at Copper Bottom!
Another weekend approacheth, which normally means new 2 Crows beer… among other things. And don’t worry, they’re not letting us down this week! Two new beers are about to reach your eager little hands, one a “big” release, and the other a limited, draught-only beauty. The full-batch beer is Lil’ Miguel, a 5.6% ABV, 39 IBUs “Aztec Stout”. Inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate, this isn’t your grandpappy’s Stout – it includes additions of lactose, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and a “blend of various hot peppers”. Not only does this one sound really tasty, they’ve canned it…. in 355 mL cans! Say it ain’t so! Wait, that’s not it… it was canned ON NITRO. Beer nerds, you may commence squealing. Cans and nitro draught pours will be available at the brewery today at noon; it’ll also pop up on tap around the HRM with regular CO2 carbonation (pfft!).
As for that draught-only beer, it’s a NEIPA named Maybe Tomorrow, concocted by Assistant Brewer Grant. With a grist comprised of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats, the wort was very-lightly-bittered with Columbus at first wort, followed later by a heavy addition of Galaxy, Simcoe, and Azacca in the whirlpool. These same hops were then used for two separate dry-hop additions, giving a final beer with “a touch of grapefruity bitterness, washed away by bright tropical and citrus notes”. Only 40 L of this one exist, so grab a pint at the 2C taproom today (assuming it’s lasted this long) when you’re picking up your Lil’ Miguel cans!
Big congratulations are in order for the winner’s of Gahan’s Maritime Home Brew Challenge, announced last Saturday. From a field of 50 entrants, the top beers in the Lager/ Pilsner, Hoppy, and Saison categories, as well as Best Name, Bravest Beer, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Rookie of the Year were crowned, plus an overall winner, whose beer will be scaled up and canned for enjoyment across the Maritimes, was announced. The full results are available here, but kudos to Brathair Brewing, the Orange Tub Brewing Collective, and Derek Wood for taking top honours for their beers. Look for Wood’s D-Rocks Dunkel to be in wide release, including cans!, in the coming months.
And while you’re in a Gahan type of mood, grab their Shortest Day Spiced Milk Stout, now available across the region in cans and on tap. This 4.3% ABV beer features vanilla, coffee, lactose, and a variety of spices to keep you warm in these colder months. For some, it came just in time for this week’s first snowfall! Available at Gahan locations, as well as the liquor stores in PEI, NB, and NS.
Speaking of homebrew competitions, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has released the full details and registration forms for their upcoming Home Brew-Off. This year’s style is Dunkles Bock, a malty German style originating in Einbeck, and later brought back to life in Munich. Check out the BJCP Guidelines for 6C here for more details on recipe development and final tasting notes, plus the Brewnosers Home Brew Club has started a thread for folks to share ideas on how to tackle the recipe.
Plus we have two new beers from Garrison to tell you about. Last week saw the full release of their Lucky Punk Sour IPA. First debuting in the Summer, this 5.5% ABV, 50 IBU hybrid of the hazy IPA and kettle sour is now also available in bottles around the region. Featuring “aromas of grass, peaches, and tart pineapple”, the kettle souring technique provides a refreshing mouthfeel and zing to complement the beer.
And new on shelves from Garrison today is All Lit Up, a Festive Strong Ale. Clocking in at 7.0% ABV, and a relatively low 20 IBU, the star of the show is the malt (2-Row, Munich, Caramel with a touch of Roasted Barley) and spicing, courtesy of Cinnamon, Cloves, and Demerara sugar. Grab your cans (which glow in the dark!) from the brewery today, and from your local good beer emporium soon.
Looks like Propeller Brewing has another of their Gottingen Small Batch beers coming out today. Saison is named after the style it emulates, naturally, and has a range of flavour characteristics, including “subtle, spicy tones of clove and black pepper than complement citrus peel and subtle fruit characteristics”. Carbonated high as the style demands, it finishes moderately dry and refreshing. It’s pretty drinkable at 5.5% ABV, and is available at the Gottingen taproom for pints and growlers. And for those of you who love their Cask Fridays, today’s cask will be their Pilsener with peach and hibiscus, enhancing the base beer with stonefruit, floral, and a lovely pink hue. Drop by from 5 PM for a pour!
Following up on releases earlier in the month, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has released a pair of bottles from their barrel-aging program, both of which were many months in the making. The first is Golden Brett Beer – Dry Hopped, a variation on one of previous debuts. As a reminder, this 6.2% ABV beer was finished with Brett Brux Vrai in a red wine French oak barrel, with this portion of the beer dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. An extremely limited run of just 100 bottles of this beer were released at the brewery yesterday, and we don’t expect them to last very long. Joining this beer is Champagner Hell, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles beer, with some light dry-hopping from Czech Saaz. Bottle conditioned to a very high carbonation level, akin to Champagne, just 220 bottles of this beer were released yesterday. And returning after a hiatus is their Riptide IPL, a 6.5% ABV India Pale Lager. Borrowing the high hopping from the IPA style (using Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hell Melon late in the kettle and again with two rounds of dry-hopping), the fermentation was done low and slow with a lager yeast to keep other characteristics in check. Cans are available at the brewery and private stores in NS, with growler fills at the ANBL this weekend.
TrailWay Brewing has another new hoppy brew releasing today, one that tips its hat to “the hop that started a beer revolution”, Cascade. Veja Du was hopped entirely with this classic American varietal, this 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with the intention of giving a medium-bodied, and slightly-drier beer, compared to most of the other hoppy releases from TW. With “notes of juicy citrus, and floral”, you can grab some cans or growlers at the brewery when they open at noon; it’ll also be making its way to other tap accounts, including the Stillwell 5th Anniversary party we talked about earlier. We should also mention that Parallel, the brewery’s “winter hoppy session ale” is back for the season. This 4% ABV Session IPA has a “sweet and slightly toasty male profile”, with a “hop-forward, tropical fruit and berry hop character” to follow along the TW line.
If you happen to be travelling around the Moncton area over the weekend, you’ll have a good opportunity to pick up some of Grand Monk’s latest beer, Hop Fin Vice. For those of you more familiar with German beer styles (and their pronunciation), it may be fairly obvious that this beer is the brewery’s take on a Hopfenweisse. Pilsner and Vienna malts were used in the grist, along with a large portion of Wheat malt. Hopped in the boil with Czech Saaz, and then moving over the Atlantic with some Cascade and Columbus at knockout, the wort was fermented with a Kolsch yeast strain (as opposed to the regular use of a Weizen strain). Dry-hopped with more Cascade and Columbus, the final clean, “lager-like” 6.6% ABV beer is “very citrus-forward in aroma, with a bit of breadiness from the wheat”. It’s currently on tap at the Pump House Fill Station for growler and crowler fills, and if it isn’t on at the Laundromat already… it should be very soon!
Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing has a new beer available from their pilot system. Test Pilot No. 2 Winter Warmer is a rich and malty beer with additions of seasonal spices, including cloves, ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. Tipping the scales at a healthy 7.0% ABV and a gentle 18 IBU, it’s no doubt the kind of beer that would be very welcoming on a wintry day (oh look, you’re in luck!). Being a small batch, it’s only available at the tap room.
Halifax’s littlest brewery that could has another bottle release for us this week on Salter Street. Tidehouse is releasing In on the Kill Taker today at 2 PM. A double-dry hopped black IPA, it’s extremely bitter, almost discordantly so, and a reminder of the days when craft breweries routinely engaged in IBU wars. Described by 902BrewCast’s Tony as, “like licking a beer tree,” you would be well-advised not to look for balance in this one. Built on a base of flaked grains, 2-row, Carafa II and Midnight Wheat, the hops in the kettle included Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe so look for a dank, piney, and resinous presence underlying the 100+ IBUs worth of bitterness. A thoroughly irresponsible double dry hop using Cryo hops completed the process, although there’s some question amongst the brewers as to whether it was Simcoe or Ekuanot that was used. Coming in at 7.3% ABV, it’ll kill your straight edge cred, and it’s a minor threat to burn out your tastebuds, but it ain’t no fugazi — this one’s the real, bitter, deal. You can learn more about this beer, plus listen to the ranting of 4 madmen and one sane woman, in today’s 902 BrewCast release, which sees the East Coast craft beer podcast celebrating their second anniversary. Congratulations, buds!
When breweries collide, sometimes fine things can happen, and the brewing minds behind Hammond River and Maybee Brewing are hoping that has happened with their first collaboration! They’re officially releasing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice today at Maybee, and despite the name (am I the only one that thinks Mickey Mouse?), this ain’t no little beer. It’s a “Double Belgian Stout with Salted Caramel”, which was brewed at both breweries (yep, same recipe). This very dark beer is a firm 9% ABV for the Maybee version, and even a bit higher (10%) for Hammond River’s. With aromas of “salted caramel, toffee, and clove”, as well as “plum, raisin, and some malt sweetness and general spice”. Medium-bodied, with high carbonation, expect “raisin, plum, and prune, along with toffee and caramel, with a hint of salinity” on the palate. The beer debuts at Maybee today at noon, on tap,
with the Hammond River brewers on hand (thank you, weather!) for a release party starting at 4 pm. Drop on by for a pour and a chat! If you plan on doing more than sampling, it may not hurt to plan ahead for a drive home, know what I mean? The beer will be hitting other tap accounts across New Brunswick over the next week. As for the Hammond River version, which is named Sultans of Sweet, you’ll be able to grab it on tap at their taproom, as well as local accounts in the province. They plan on bottling some of their batch next week as well, and there’s even about 450 L currently aging in whiskey barrels!
Annapolis Cider Co. is following up their successful tap takeover at Stillwell from a couple weeks ago with a brand new entry in their Something Different series, Wine & Blackcurrant. Fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice with blended with the juice of two grape varieties – Leon Millot and L’Acadie Blanc – to undergo a “co-fermentation”, creating what Annapolis is calling a “unique cider-and-wine blend”. Blackcurrant juice was added afterwards to give a deep, red hue, along with some tannin presence. Finally, the blend was infused with bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and winter savoury, giving a medium-bodied cider “with subtle herbal aromatics and bright notes of tart blackcurrants”. As always, this 7.2% ABV cider is available at the cidery; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Enactus Acadia University.
The guys and gals at Upstreet in Charlottetown have been churning out the hoppy beers in their Neon Friday releases for several months now, and they’ve decided to release a “VIP pack” of their four favourites. Hitting shelves today, the collection includes DDH IPA with Azacca, West Coast Session IPA, NEIPA with Simcoe, and DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7; you’ll be able to purchase the packs at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner), as well as select PEILCC stores. These will also be on tap at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse! They’re also planning to celebrate with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight at the Upstreet taproom, from 10pm-2am. The fun will include a Neon Friday tap takeover, DJs, neon lights (of course!), and lots of other neon-themed decorations! No charge to attend, just pick out your brightest clothes and drop in to cut a rug (kids still say that, right?).
The weekly, shaming, last-minute-entry award for November 16th goes to… Good Robot! Rather than scold, however, we’ll just tell you about their latest beers (we’re good like that!). Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Frostenweizen, a hoppy Hefeweizen brewed with Rockbottom’s Ian Kean. Cryo hops were used in this brew, including Mosaic, Simcoe, and Loral (as well as a tasty dry-hop addition of Citra), giving a beer that they describe as “like floating away on a tangerine cloud, while snacking on mango and peach” (gotta admit, probably more eloquent than we could have done). It’s 4.3% ABV and 22 IBUs; seek it out early next week. As for next week’s Alpha Brew, it’s a special collaboration for the upcoming FemmeBot celebrations. Jana and Meg from Tatamagouche Brewing made the trip to Halifax to help brew The Witching Hour, a red ale with cranberry and lemon. The ABV and IBUs are still MIA, but rest assured it will be released next Thursday, with its Tata counterpart coming out sometime in the next few months.
Here’s what’s happening around our region over the next few weeks!
Don’t forget to drop by Maritime Express Cider tomorrow evening to help celebrate their Grand Opening. While they’re open all day, the fun kicks off at 8 PM with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest taps devoted to beer)! More details on their Facebook Event page above, including special stuff on the go by their neighbours in the railway hotel.
Do you live in/near Moncton? Are you a fan of The Bruery, from Orange County, California? If you’re both of these things, the Tide & Boar has some very good news for you – they’re holding a Bruery Tap Takeover on Saturday, November 24th. We probably don’t need to tell you this, but this is a brewery who have been releasing tasty, fascinating beers for quite some time, and to have 15 different ones on tap – yes, 15! – at one time, in New Brunswick, is kind of a big deal. Check out the event link for the full taplist; it’s going to include several barrel-aged options, as well as sours, hoppy beers, and more. Oh, and definitely plan on cabbing/walking/whatever-that-isn’t-driving home… a lot of these beers are 8% ABV and higher! The T&B will also be serving up food from a special “Californian-inspired” menu (eating is a good idea; did we mention many of these beers are strong?). They open at 11 am sharp, and the beer will be flowing all day. There’s also a concert that night, at 10 pm, which will require a cover charge if you plan on heading there late.
Quidi Vidi Brewery is launching a truly Newfoundland Beer project later this month, with some very special partners. Bog and Barrens is a true collaboration between QV’s Brewmaster Einer Holtet, and local chefs and restaurateurs Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia, of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern. Foraging wild ingredients from across the Newfoundland and Labrador, Holtet has created a trio of unique beers: Imperial Bake Apple Gose, Pineapple Weed NEIPA, and Smoked Alderberry Porter. The Gose features sea salt from Bonavista Bay, and bakeapples from Labrador, and is set for release in cans in a fortnight. The other two beers are in extremely low quantity, and will only be available on draught. To celebrate these releases, there will be three beer pairing events held at Raymond’s and Merchant Tavern, paired with other ingredients and game who forage on these iconic plants and herbs. On Tuesday November 27th, Raymond’s is hosting a five-course meal to pair with these beers. Tickets are now available by calling Raymond’s at 709-579-5800, only 60 available. At The Merchant Tavern, there will be a special tasting menu to pair with these beers from November 28-30th, available while supplies last. No tickets required, but we strongly suggest making resos to guarantee your seat at the table. Call 709.722.5050 or visit OpenTable. More details on the beers and pairing are available here. And we’ll remind you about the Bake Apple Gose when it’s released in cans!
Winter may be approaching/already here, but don’t let that make you think the beer festivals have dried up in our region. In fact, the 3rd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is coming up fast, happening on Saturday, December 1st, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. There’s over 15 breweries that will be on-site pouring their tasty beverages, from 7:00-9:30 pm (VIP ticket holders get entry at 6:00 pm); check out the current list of vendors here. There are still general admission tickets available, for $55 + tax; you can purchase them online.
A few more things to leave you with before you break out the shovel today…
Start making your list, and check it twice… Big Spruce will once again be doing its Holiday Delivery mid-December, where you can receive to-the-door delivery of your favourite bottles and/or cans. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for ordering and delivery details.
Hell Bay has brought back the seasonal Tannen Bomb (yep, it’s time for Christmas-pun beers!), a 5% ABV, 19 IBUs Blonde Ale infused with honey and balsam fir. It’s currently available at the brewery, and select NSLC stores.
In other seasonal beer news, Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has re-released their Holiday Cheer, a Red IPA. Described by the brewery as “malt-flavoured, and full-bodied”, it should be available in bottles now at the Oromocto ANBL, with other select stores in New Brunswick receiving stock over the coming weeks.
Lazy Bear Brewing wants to remind you that the seasons shouldn’t necessarily dictate what you drink (and they’re right!), and they released a new beer last week to doubly remind you! Louis is a 5.4% Wheat Beer, brewed in celebration of Louis, their “beer loving helper” from Trinidad who spent the summer in Smiths Cove. It is available at their regular Thursday night growler/pint nights, as well as the Annapolis Royal Market tomorrow.
Hanwell’s Niche Brewery has sent out another wave of their Single Origin Coffee Stout to the local bars and restaurants, so fans of the dark stuff will soon get their fix again. And keep an eye out at these same spots for a brand new kettle-soured beer to be hitting the taps late next week. Moonage Daydream features a nice level of dry-hopping, and with the addition of hibiscus, a lovely floral note and beautiful pink hue. Keep an eye on their Social Media for when it’s tapped, it may even be available for growler fills!