Good morning! Today marks the start of the very first Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week; on top of these events and special beers, there’s still plenty of other news happening in our region. Here we go!
• Patrice Godin, owner/brewer of Acadie-Broue, recently travelled to Big Tide in Saint John to re-brew La Gaboteuse, a Belgian IPA. This beer was brewed for the first time as a collaboration between the two breweries on the Big Tide system, back in 2012. Since then, Godin has brewed the recipe several times at his brewery, but this is the first time in three years that the two breweries have come together to brew the beer again. With a simple grist of mostly-Pilsner malt and a bit of Carafoam, it was hopped to about 70 IBUs with an early addition of Warrior, and a later whirlpool addition of Amarillo. The beer will then be dry-hopped for four consecutive days – Amarillo each day for the first two, followed by two days of Simcoe. Expect an intensely hoppy (read: fruity/piney) beer… even hoppier than the previous versions! Fermented with a dry Belgian yeast at not-too-warm temps (to keep the phenolics in check), it should clock in at about 7.5% ABV. Look for it on tap at the Big Tide brewpub within a couple of weeks.
• In other Big Tide news, they’ve been pouring a new beer recently, Chocolate Amaretto Porter. With a recipe similar to their seasonal Santa’s Chocolate Porter, this one was an experimental batch where two bottles of amaretto liqueur were added after fermentation was complete, giving the beer some almond notes to go with the rich chocolate flavours (real cocoa and vanilla were also added to the beer). It weighs in at 5% ABV.
• Late last week, Petit-Sault released another new beer, La Kedgwick. The brewery is referring to it as a “Belgian Pilsner”; brewed to be a light, smooth, easy-drinking beer, it has some spicy and herbal notes from the addition of large amounts of noble German hops (Hersbruck and Tettnang). Featuring a “crisp” bitterness in the finish (IBUs are in the high 30s), this 5% ABV beer was fermented with a Lager yeast, and lagered at cold temperatures for 6 weeks to allow the flavours to meld even more. It’s available at the brewery for growler fills, and is at all four ANBL growler-fill locations this weekend as well! We can also expect to see it in bottles across the province by the end of June. As a side note, their Soeur Catherine (IPA) will be returning on tap and in bottles within the next month.
• Scared Men Brewing is a new brewery in the developmental stage in Southern New Brunswick. While a physical location is still a ways off, they are having a meet & greet and fundraiser at the Pub Down Under in Saint John, on Friday May 15th, starting at 7:00pm. There will be several bands playing that evening, a 50/50 draw, silent auction (donations for that are still welcome), door prizes and much more. A $10 donation at the door is suggested. SMB is based in Grand Bay, and will be striving to sue local ingredients whenever possible.
• After months of waiting for the ANBL to aprrove it (we first mentioned it in December), Distillerie Fils du Roi have officially released their first beer, Caraquet Flyer. It was brewed in the Eisbock style, “distilled” using a method of freezing and removing water to allow the alcohol level to rise to 8.5%, and was refermented in the bottle for natural carbonation. It is now on sale at their distillery in Petit-Paquetville in limited numbers, so be sure to grab a bottle when on the Acadian Peninsula. This beer is the first in a line of seasonal beers to be released quarterly.
• Sunset Heights is releasing a new mead in their Pollen Angels line. Scuttlebutt India Pale Mead is produced exclusively for the Unplugged Board Games Cafe in Fredericton. Developed with the help of the owners and chef of Unplugged, it is “evocative of a time when sail was the main transport for intercontinental travel”. They will be launching the new product at an event Sunday 7-10pm, where the board game of the same name will be played. There will be prizes and other fun things on tap that night, so be sure to drop by!
• And finally in NB Beer News, a sad note: the very popular Picaroons Brewer’s Bash, usually scheduled in July, will not be taking place this year. Due to changes to the ordering process for beers, and concentrating on the construction of Picaroons’ expanded location on the Southside, they were not going to be able to provide the same wide variety of brewery representation that they had previously (breweries from every province and at least one territory!). However, we’ve been assured that they will be back in 2016. In the meantime, stay happy and satisfied with the other summer beer festivals in our region, including the Atlantic Beer Festival May 29-30th in Moncton, and the Seaport Beerfest August 7-8th in Halifax. And don’t forget about the Fredericton Beer Run on August 3rd, as tickets are going fast!
• On to happier things, Rockbottom Brewpub released a new beer this week. Weed Whacker is a big blast of hops in a small package. Weighing in a 4.1% ABV, and 37 IBUs, this is definitely a beer where the numbers don’t tell the whole story. More than 1 kg of hops per hectolitre were added to this beer, for a major West Coast hop flavour and aroma, without bracing bitterness or high alcohol levels. Hops include Amarillo, Cascade, Tomahawk, Falconer’s Flight for a citrus, floral, and tropical fruit aroma.
• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax has a pair of new beers on tap. Murphy Brown Spiced Belgian Brown Ale was released last week. The malt bill brings through nice chocolate malt flavours, while the Belgian yeast comes through in the aroma. The addition of an extracted spice tonic gives rise to clove, anise, allspice and vanilla. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV and a balanced 40 IBUs. Brewmaster Karen Allen has also released For Bitter or Worse English Bitter, version 2.0 this week. This version features a more malt-rich backbone, and Allen believes it is truer to style. The beer is 4.3% ABV and approximately 27 IBUs.
• Rogues Roost Brewpub released a new Red Ale last week, based on customer requests looking for a beer with a little less alcohol and bitterness than their IPA, but with enjoyable flavour and aroma. This beer weighs in at 4.3% and 27 IBUs. Look for a Cascadian Lager (think hoppy) to be released at the end of May, as it is happily fermenting away now.
• Speaking of Rogues, the official announcement was made that the building in which they and Tom’s Little Havana are located will be demolished later this year. According to Metro News, Tom’s will be closing at this location, October 1st, but have definite plans to relocate. They have put together a one-question survey that they encourage their patrons to fill out. As for Rogues Roost, they currently have no plans for relocation, and we’ll keep you abreast of the situation.
• The Newfermenters is a Newfoundland-based Homebrew Club that is a hybrid of an online community and in-person meetups. They are hosting their first homebrew competition, open to all amateur brewers on the Rock. The competition is looking for the best English Pale Ale (ESB), and open to any brewing technique (all-grain, kit, partial mash, etc.). Blind judging from two homebrew shop owners in St John’s will determine the winning beer. Keep an eye on their Facebook event page for the submission forms and exact details. Submissions are due June 7th, with the judging happening that evening. Fire up your brew kettles, folks!
• The installation of the brewing equipment at the Nook & Cranny in Truro is progressing nicely. They received all of their SmartBrew gear from DME, and their technicians have been onsite installing this week. They aim to launch their beer for onsite consumption and growler sales by early June. Their initial offerings will be Prince Street Pale Ale, Black Beer’d Black IPA and a rotating Fruit Wheat Ale (this first batch will feature local blueberries).
• Garrison will be throwing a Backlot Bash June 13th to celebrate the opening of their Seaport brewery expansion. The concert will feature Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS), The Town Heroes, Glory Glory and Like a Motorcycle. Concert attendees will have a chance to walk through their new facility when arriving at the concert, and while there, enjoy Garrison brews (including some special releases and seasonals) and local cider. There will also be food trucks onsite. Tickets are on sale now, and are priced at $25 for early bird, $30 regular price, or $65 for VIP tickets, which include access to a VIP area, souvenir cup, 2 drink tickets, and a bottle of a special four-way collaboration brew to be released later in June. The concert is in support of the Ecology Action Centre.
• Tourism Nova Scotia has announced the creation of the Good Cheer Trail. Officially launching June 1st, the trail will highlight breweries, wineries and distilleries throughout Nova Scotia. A passport (both physical and virtual) will accompany the Trail, and will offer prizes for those collecting stamps as they travel the province. We’ll be sure to pass along the exact details when they’re available.
That’s it for this week! Keep an eye out for Two Rivers India Black Ale, the Hammond River/Big Axe collaboration beer that we mentioned in a previous post, as it should be hitting taps this weekend at Hammond River’s regular accounts; the one brewed on the Big Axe system should be available in the near future. The new PEI Brewing Co. Saison, Setting Day Saison (more info in our previous post) should be hitting taps next week, at the brewery and select accounts in Charlottetown. Don’t forget that the Bad Apple Tap Takeover at Tom’s Little Havana starts next Thursday; details are mum on exactly which beers will be on, but we do know there will be a few new ones, and the return of some favourites. And stay tuned next week, as we’ll have more information on the first YFC Burger Battle Walking Tour in Fredericton next month, where participants will sample different sliders with different craft beers at several establishments in the city.