It’s the Hop-Hoppiest season of all!
(sung to the tune of It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year)
It’s Hop Harvest time in the Maritimes, and many breweries are brewing and releasing special brews to commemorate. Here are a few of them:
- Last Friday, Big Spruce in Nyanza brewed up a wet hop beer from their on-farm grown hops. Brewer Jeremy White used their Challenger and Chinook hops at all stages of the brew: in the mash tun, in the first runnings of the wort, in the boil, and even using a hopback (as the beer is cooling from the kettle to the fermenter). The beer should be available at the brewery in about two weeks.
- Earlier this week, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock welcomed the folks from Halifax’s Bridge Brewing for a collaboration brew. They used 30kg of wet hops from Lazy Acres Farm, owned by Bridge brewer Josh Herbin, to brew their 100% Vienna Malt IPA. To get that intense fresh-hop aroma, they did not use any of the fresh cones until 30min left in the 90min boil (which gave an intense colour, as well). This IPA will be more aromatic than bitter, clocking in at about 40IBU. The beer will be ready in a few weeks, in growlers at both breweries.
- Picaroons has started brewing their Harvest series of beers. Details are being kept closely-guarded, but we can confirm that like last year, there will be multiple brews for each hop field, using roughly the same Pale Ale recipe. You will be able to track which hops in your bottle came from which farm, a great idea for farmer, brewery, and informed drinker alike!
- Big Tide Brewing will be brewing at least one Fresh Hopped beer at their Saint John brewpub. The hop harvest at Dunham’s Run Winery will be this weekend, so the beer will not be far behind. Named after the old name for the peninsula the hops are coming from, Indian Beach Nut Brown will be available in a few weeks, and perhaps another of their popular beers will get a wet-hop kick… Stay tuned!
- Garrison Brewing will be brewing their popular 3 Fields Harvest Ale this weekend. Hops from Meander River Farm, FiddleHop Farm and Ross Farm are all being harvested Saturday, and the beer will be brewed Sunday (for a mid-September release). The Fresh Hops include Nugget, Newport, Galena, Cascade, and Brewers Gold, as well as a secret hop.
- Looking to take part in the harvest? Both Meander River Farm (Ashdale, NS) and FiddleHop Farm (in Glenholme, NS) have put a call out for volunteers to help. Contact them via Facebook for more details. We’ve done it previously, and it is a fun time. Bring some long sleeves to reduce the scratches from the hop bines.
In addition to the harvest, we have some more beer news for you:
- Big Spruce now has a bright coat of paint, and they are working on the kitchen above the brewery. Their plan has always been to have a small restaurant, overlooking the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, so it’s great to see this coming together. It will be primarily used for farm-to-table (and -to-glass) events, so stay tuned for those.
- Attention New Brunswick Homebrewers: in case you missed the announcement, Picaroons will be holding a Home-Brew Challenge in the fall. Brew up a Standard/Ordinary Bitter and submit it between Nov. 1 & 15, and you have a chance at brewing the beer on a commercial scale! The $20 entry gets you a shirt, growler (and fill), and tickets to the Awards Gala on December 1. You’ve got two months to brew a test batch or two, so fire up your kettles! All of the details can be found at the NB Craft Brewers Association website. Unfortunately, it is only open to NB homebrewing residents.
- Picaroons has just done the last bottling of their Melonhead Wheat beer for the year, marking a sad end to the summer beer season. But in addition to their Harvest beers, they will have some other seasonals coming through the pipeline soon.
- Shiretown Beer‘s Black Currant Bitter Wheat is now available for growler fills at their Heron’s Nest Cottages location. Along with their Big Brown Ale, it will also be available at the Heron’s Nest Pub. During next weekend’s Charlo Fall Fair, they will have their Honey Wheat available, made with Buckwheat Honey from the Charlo Honeyhouse.
- Unfortunately, it looks like the popular collaboration between Propeller Brewing and Sea Level Brewing, Alpha%Dog, won’t happen this year, due to Propeller’s upcoming expansion. However Propeller will be releasing their popular Nocturne Dark Lager mid-September (in time for the Nocturne Art at Night event in October), and then their Pumpkin Ale in October. Sea Level have received a larger canning machine, which should mean increased availability at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Their Port in the Storm Porter has just been released, and will make it into Halifax shortly.