Welcome to the first day of spring! How about some beer news to read while you sit back and watch all of the snow melt away today?
• Hammond River will be brewing a brand new beer early next week to celebrate the return of spring. A Rye IPA, the grist will consist of 2-row, Chocolate and Crystal malts, and roughly 15% rye malt to provide some spicy notes to the beer. Hopped entirely with the El Dorado variety, expect citrus and fruity qualities in the aroma and flavors, along with the classic orange-candy character expected from this hop. The beer should come in at around 55 IBUs and 6.5% ABV. It’s currently unnamed; with the way this weather has been lately, we’d like to suggest (in homage to Hammond River’s recent Winter Warmer): F@#K Spring! Look for this beer to be released at next month’s Saint John Beer Fest.
• There’s been a new beer from TrailWay Brewing on tap at the King Street Ale House – West Coast Wheat – to get you in the summer mood. Brewed with warmer days in mind, it involves a grist of equal parts 2-row and Wheat malt, with a touch of light Crystal thrown in as well. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Cascade and Chinook, this light, easy-drinking beer (~4.5% ABV) won’t be around much longer (they’re on their last keg already), but no worries… Jake and Dan have confirmed that they will be brewing more in the future! In the meantime, get down to the KSAH if you’d like to try the first iteration of this beer.
• In other TrailWay news, they’ve brewed up another version of their popular Session IPA. This time around, they’ve upped the late hopping (for more flavor and aroma) with Amarillo, Comet and Cascade, and the ABV is slightly higher, at 4.5% ABV. Still a hoppy, sessionable ale, look for this one on tap by next weekend. And they’re brewing their first Black IPA this weekend; look for more info on that one, soon!
• The votes have been counted for the Best of the Fest from the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival two weeks ago, and the winner is… Hammond River Brewing! The People’s Choice awards were also announced: Fredericton’s own TrailWay Brewing came in first, with Hammond River and Boxing Rock following very closely behind in second and third place, respectively. Congratulations to the winners… with the real winners being us festival attendees, who had so many great beers available to them in one room!
• Speaking of Boxing Rock, they brewed up the Cinnamon Challenge Robust Porter on the weekend. Unfortunately, due to the nasty weather in Nova Scotia, the brewing crew from the Ladies Beer League were unable to make the trek. However, the boys from Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing were in town for some stick time on their DME system, and pitched in with the brewday. Look for the beer to be released in early April. And to all of you Boxing Rock fans living in New Brunswick, The Next Chapter Rye IPA will be on the shelves early next week! Check the ANBL site for availability.
• Sea Level Brewing has released a second version of their El Diablo Rojo DIPA this week. This version is a slight departure from the previous, with the Australian hop Ella being used throughout the brew (including a double-dose of dry-hopping!). A different yeast was also chosen: a pitch of Ringwood from the fine folks at Propeller. The beer weighs in at 7.666% ABV, and 88 IBUs, and is available in growlers and cans at the Port Williams brewery, and on tap at the Port Pub. The cans will be available later next week at the HRM private stores (they currently have the previous version released a few weeks ago, featuring the New Zealand hop Waimea).
• Speaking of Sea Level, they will be doing a Tap Takeover at the Board Room Game Cafe from March 25-28. They will be pouring seven different Sea Level beers, including this newest batch of El Diablo Rojo, Blooberry Pail Ale, Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Blue Heron ESB, Planters Pale Ale, Rojo Mojo Red Ale, and Port in the Storm Porter.
• Back in early January, we reported that PEI Brewing Co. had brewed up their second “big” beer, a Doppelbock, once the PEI liquor laws had allowed the release of beers with an ABV higher than 6.5%. The idea was to lager the beer for several months to allow the flavors to smooth out (typical – and recommended – for this style of beer). Well, the initial release of the beer is now here – Re-Animator is now on tap at the brewery and Gahan House Pub in Charlottetown (for both pints and growlers), and has been spotted at Halifax’s Stillwell. Brewed with 2-row, Pale, and Munich malts, along with two varieties of CaraMunich to give the beer its deep red color and “sweet malt aromas”, it has a very low bitterness (25 IBUs from the Tettnang varietal), and a little warmth from the high alcohol (8.2% ABV). Fear not if you are not able to make it to have it on tap, as most of the batch has been canned, and will be released in the first week of April at the brewery and into the PEILCC. We have also heard a rumour that some of the batch was barrel-aged; we’ll be sure to share when that is released.
• The Nook and Cranny in Truro is adding on-site beer to their location! Beginning in May, they will be installing a SmartBrew system from DME and Brian Watson in the Nook, which will allow them to sell their own beer on tap and in growlers. The compact footprint of the four 5 BBL (~600 litre) fermenters will allow them to offer three of their own brews, to complement the other local craft beers they currently pour (including Garrison, Propeller, Tatamagouche, Hell Bay and Uncle Leo’s). While they have not decided on the exact recipes yet, they intend on keeping a light, crisp beer, and a second dark beer on permanently, with a third being a wheat beer with local fruit added. Suppliers for strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, watermelon and apples have already been secured, to ensure this is a versatile and interesting option for local craft beer drinkers. We will be sure to share more details closer to their launch date. Cheers!
• The Beerthief Newfoundland Artisanal and Craft Beer Club is holding a tasting of Evil Twin Beer on Wednesday, March 25th at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Visitors will be greeted with a bottle or half pint of QV beer, and then 3-4 ounces each of Low Life, Freudian Slip, I Love You with my Stout, and Molotov Cocktail. Tickets are $25, and can be secured by emailing Tom Beckett.
• In conjunction with the annual conference of the Canadian Archaeology Association, the Artisanal and Craft Beer Club will also host a tasting of a locally brewed Midas Touch under the direction of Dr. Patrick McGovern on Saturday, May 2. The tasting will start at 7:00 pm. We will share more details on the tasting and beer when available.
• There are several new beers on at the Gahan House Halifax that are worth checking out! Low Ryder IPA is a rye IPA that was dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace hops, for a unique combination of rye spiciness and Sorachi Ace lemon aroma and flavour. This beer weighs in at 6.8% ABV and 73 IBUs. Ahnold Schwartz Bier is, you guessed it, a Schwarzbier, a dark German lager. This 4.9% ABV and 36 IBU beer is clean and easy drinking, with some nice milk chocolate and roast characteristics that are crowd pleasers. And being released this afternoon is an English IPA, weighing in at 5.8% and 55 IBUs. This brew was dry-hopped with the Falconers Flight hop blend, for a bit of tropical and citrus aroma. And if you get down early today, you may also be able to enjoy the last pints of For Bitter Or Worse ESB (5% ABV), before it runs out. As always, their beer can be enjoyed at the bar, and you can then take away a growler fill to enjoy after yet another round of shovelling.
• Bulwark Cider is releasing a Hopped Cider! While a new phenomenon in our region, dry-hopped ciders are very popular in the Pacific Northwest. Chinook, Cascade, Comet, and Hersbruker were used for this particular blend, for a lovely citrus aroma and flavour, and offer something different than in beer. On tap only at a few spots now (we’ve spotted it at Bar Stillwell), it will also be making it into bottles at the NSLC shortly. And Bulwark Blush is now available to licensees in 355 ml bottles, so be sure to ask for this fruit blend cider at your favourite restaurant the next time you visit.
We’re sure you don’t need reminding, but make sure to enjoy some tasty, local craft beer this weekend! The new El Dorado IPA from Celtic Knot, Terminus, has been kegged and delivered to the Tide & Boar in Moncton, so look for that one to start flowing soon (if it hasn’t already). And the Golden Ale, Colonel Tuckers, brewed by Hammond River for UNB-SJ’s 50th anniversary was unveiled last night at Beaverbrook House; look for it on tap at HR’s Saint John accounts next week. And the brewery tanks destined for Wrought Iron Brewing Company have been delivered, despite the 10-foot snowbanks lining Robie Street; great news!