Happy Friday everyone! Sadly, this marks the last Wrap-Up of August, but that doesn’t mean that the beer news is slowing down at all.
• TrailWay released a new beer yesterday – this one was actually brewed by Catherine Saunders and Alex Sorenson under the watchful-eye of their significant others, Jake Saunders and Dan Mason (owners and brewers of TrailWay). Appropriately-named Better Half, it’s a Blueberry-Lime Fruit Beer that had real lime zest and 35 lbs of local blueberries added after fermentation was complete. With a simple grain bill consisting of mostly Pilsner malt, and very minimal hopping, it’s a refreshing and easy-drinking (at 4.5% ABV) end-of-summer beer, with some sweetness and tartness from the fruit. You can find it on tap now (or very soon) at the King Street Ale House, James Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Vault 29.
• In other TrailWay news, they should be releasing a new Double IPA (currently unnamed) sometime next week. Clocking in at about 8.1%, it was hopped heavily (to ~75 IBUs) with Centennial, Comet, Galaxy and Mosaic, so expect plenty of tropical, citrus, and dank notes in this beer! Like most of their hoppy beers, the malt bill was kept relatively simple to allow the hops to shine through.
• PEI’s newest craft brewery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, is holding a Block Party on Saturday, September 5th. This free event will be held outdoors in the Upstreet parking lot, and will feature local food vendors, live music (including Wrong Planet Band), lawn games, activities (big and small, for kids and adults), and a “pop-up barber shop” for all your hair-trimming needs; guided brewery tours will also be going on throughout the day. It’s family-friendly, so bring the kids! The party will continue inside the taproom after 8 pm. They’ll be releasing their highly-anticipated Boxing Rock collaboration beer, Rumble in the Alley: Round 1, a SMaSH India Pale Lager, and there MAY be a special guest or two on hand for the tapping! And in other good news, brewmaster Mike Hogan has confirmed that he will be brewing another batch of their Wheat IPA, White Noize in the next few days; look for that one to be released again in September.
• It’s Hop Harvest time in our region! Yesterday, the crew from North Brewing made the trek to Shelburne to visit Boxing Rock Brewing for their own harvest collaboration brew. Many Hands 3.0 features loads of freshly-harvested Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette, all from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres hop farm. This Pale Ale will weigh in just shy of 6% ABV, and be available at both breweries and their market and restaurant accounts in September.
• Several other breweries have/will be brewing up wet hopped beers. Hammond River will be brewing up some with their own home-grown hops next week, Rockbottom Brewpub is brewing up a Pale Ale today with some Annapolis Valley fresh hops, and Picaroons has started the brewing of their multiple Harvest Ales, sourced from hop farms across the Maritimes. Big Spruce will be harvesting their own farm-grown hops Wednesday, September 2nd, and Meander River will be harvesting theirs Saturday September, 5th, with brews to follow quickly thereafter (if you’re able to help pick in Nyanza or Ashdale, keep an eye on their respective social media feeds for details and rain dates, if necessary).
• Meander River has a few new beers on tap recently, and we wanted to keep y’all up-to-date with their releases. Summer Solstice IPA is a 4.5% ABV Session IPA featuring a balanced hoppy flavour and aroma thanks to Amarillo and Citra; it was further dry-hopped with Cascade. A lower alcohol, but full-flavoured beer, perfect for summer afternoons and evenings. Gristmill Wheat Beer is an unfiltered wheat beer, featuring a forward bitterness with lots of citrus and strawberry, with a characteristic banana aroma. This is a lighter 3.8% ABV. Their Dusty Road Hard Apple Cider is a bit bigger, at 5.5% ABV, but just as refreshing, as it finishes quite dry and crisp. This is a different blend of Annapolis Valley apples than their Shack Wacky release in the spring, and as such will have a different profile. Their 5.2% ABV Ashdale Honey Brown is also available now, featuring honey harvested right on the farm, and added to the lightly-hopped Brown Ale, for a slightly sweeter finish and notes of toffee. Look for these beers at the brewery, or their accounts around the province.
• YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s, NL has released an alcoholic Apple Cider this week. Weighing in at 7% ABV, it is an off-dry cider, featuring some perceived bitterness from the high tannin content of the apples. It was fermented with champagne yeasts for a crisp and acidic bite. It is now on tap at the brewery and public house, and will be available in bottles next week.
• Red Rover has brewed up their first Perry; similar to a cider – in that it is an alcoholic beverage from fermented apple juice – it also incorporates juice from pears. Featuring a single variety of pear from Cocagne, NB, it was balanced with juice from Cox’s Orange Pippin apples. The batch has been maturing for the last six months, and is exhibiting a “sweet, floral nose, and softer palate than a cider”, according to co-owner/brewer Adam Clawson; it should come in at around 7% ABV. It will be released at the Cider House next Thursday for flagon fills, and will also make a limited appearance at the Farmer’s Markets that Red Rover frequents.
• Fredericton’s James Joyce Pub has announced details on their Mug Club, the first of its kind in the city. A yearly membership of $59.95 + tax gets you a personally-numbered mug with plenty of entitlements, including 24-oz pours for the price of 20-oz, food discounts, email updates on new beers tapped at the pub, and invitations to Mug Club-exclusive events. Only 30 mugs will be sold; check out the link for more details. The official launch will be October 1st, but you can head into the pub now to reserve your mug.
• Good news for beer fans in New Brunswick: the ANBL has announced that they have over 30 award-winning beers from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards that will be available for sale at select stores this Monday, August 31st. The “Ultimate Beer Run” includes multiple styles from breweries all across the country; check out the full list (and participating ANBL outlets) here. Quantities are limited, so be sure to drop by on Monday if you have particular beers that you would like to try.
• La sixième édition de l’Oktoberfest des Acadiens se passe du 3 au 6 Septembre à Bertrand, NB. Avec de la musique et un ambiance bavaroise dans les après midi, et des spectacles avec des artistes de renoms les vendredi et samedi soirs. C’est une fin de semaine de plaisir et de divertissement pour toute la famille. Jeudi soir l’on vous propose une dégustation dirigée par Patrice Godin d’Acadie-Broue, intitulé “Le Tour du Monde avec de la Bière”, mettant en vedette certains accords mets et bières spéciales. La Grande Dégustation se déroule le samedi et le dimanche de 13h à 18h, où les visiteurs pourront déguster une centaine de bières différentes du Nouveau-Brunswick (y compris Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), le Canada (Glutenberg et Red Racer et beaucoup plus), ainsi que l’Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, et Weihenstephan par exemples).
• The Sixth Annual Oktoberfest des Acadiens is happening September 3-6 in Bertrand, NB. Featuring live music daily, and major concerts Friday and Saturday evening, it is a full weekend of family fun and entertainment. Thursday evening features a tasting led by Acadie-Broue‘s Patrice Godin, entitled “Around the World with Beer”, featuring several special beer and food pairings. The beer garden will be open Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm, where visitors can sample from over 100 different beers from New Brunswick (including Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), Canada (Glutenberg and Red Racer and many more), as well as Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, and Weihenstephan for example). Ticket details and the full schedule is available on their website and Facebook page.
• Homebrewers, fire up those kettles, the 3rd Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is back! This year is a bit of a departure from previous competitions, as beers are being accepted in three different styles: Czech Dark Lager (3D), Altbier (7B), and Red IPA (21B). They will be judged using the new 2015 BJCP style guidelines. The top three beers in each category will win prizes, and the Best in Show beer will be brewed at Big Spruce, and released at the Third Annual Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration in January. Homebrewers may enter a beer in one, two, or all three categories for the same $25 entry fee. That fee also entitles entrants to a limited edition t-shirt, and new this year, entry to the post-judging party at the Wooden Monkey Alderney Landing November 28th. To take part, be sure to email Big Spruce for the official entry form before November 23rd, and drop off the beer before the 27th at the brewery or the Halifax drop-point. There are more details on the event’s Facebook page. As there are a couple of lagers in there, best to get brewing soon!
Enjoy your weekend! All four ANBL growler stations are pouring summery beers this week, including Petit-Sault‘s new John Stadig (an “Orange Ginger White ale”), Picaroons Dooryard, and Le Trou du Diable Blanche de Shawi. Be sure to drop by Rockbottom this weekend and next week as they host several acts from the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, and catch their FizzGig Ladies Beer League Imperial Red, and Farmer’s Daughter Farmhouse Ale before they are replaced by an English Brown Ale and a traditionally-brewed Marzen (featuring imported malts and the Hochkurz Double-Decoction mash technique). Cheers!