It’s Friday again! Things aren’t slowing down much in the way of beer news this month, so we might as well get right to it!
This year’s Halifax Sausage Fest is fast approaching, and as a handful of special beers and a cider are being released in its celebration, we want to share the details:
• Boxing Rock Brewing has released Kerfuffle APA, a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale. It features Magnum, Willamette, and Centennial hop for a bright and fresh hop bitterness and aroma. The hops were sourced from Canadian hop farm Clear Valley Hops, just outside of Collingwood, ON. It is available in growlers now at the brewery, their market stalls at the The Halifax Seaport Market and Alderney Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at a few spots in Halifax and Lunenburg.
• Bulwark Cider is releasing Hopped Citrus Cider this weekend. The first of its kind in the province, this 6.0% ABV cider uses a special blend of Annapolis Valley apples to complement the hops, and the resultant brew has a distinct citrus character. Cascade and Comet hops make up the majority of the dry-hopping, with some Summit and Hersbrucker as well. The cider is being launched at the Stubborn Goat‘s Sausage & Cider event Sunday (tickets are still available, and will include a pour of the very last keg of Bulwark’s very popular, and long gone, Sour Cherry Cider). Like the Sour Cherry, this will be a limited, draft only release., however, it may return later in the fall in bottles at the NSLC.
• Garrison Brewing is bringing back their Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale today, a collaboration with Beau’s All Natural Brewing. Brewed with Munich, Wheat, Rye, and Pale Malt, this copper-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV, and 40 IBUs, thanks to Citra, Cascade, and Columbus hops. The fine folks at Beau’s sent down a special ingredient for the brew: bog myrtle (Beau’s uses this in a couple of their beers). Thanks to this plant, which is a very common ingredient in the bittering of gruits, a more herbaceous and spiced character comes through. Catch this Sweet Rye’d at the brewery, private stores, and the NSLC very soon.
• Propeller Brewing has released Wind Swell Wheat, an American-style Wheat Ale. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, the beer features Cascade hops for a floral, citrus, and spice notes, and the wheat offers a smooth, approachable finish. The beer is available in 650 ml bottles and growler fills at the brewery, and will be on tap around the city as well.
• The co-flagship events for the Sausage Fest are the Sausage Throwdown (11:00 am – 3:00 pm) and Sausage O’ The Night (5:30-10:00pm), next Saturday, Sept 19th. The $51.75 ticket price includes 12 four ounce samples (with more being available for purchase for $2), a Belgian glass to keep, plus $20 in food allowance to spend at the many great food vendors on-site (including T DOGS, Obladee, Getaway Farm and several more). Breweries taking part are: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Garrison, Good Robot, North Brewing, Propeller, Sea Level (afternoon only), and Tatamagouche (evening only).
• During the week, Local Tasting Tours will be running a Sausage Crawl each day (2-4pm, Sunday-Friday, Sept 20-25), visiting multiple stops in the downtown area, with plenty of sausages and/or beer at every stop. Tickets are still available.
• The Sausage Fun continues with the Hops ‘n’ Brats event taking place Friday September 25th, as the kick-off to the Halifax Oktoberfest weekend. For the first time, multiple breweries will be taking part in the German fun: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Good Robot, Meander River, Propeller, and Rare Bird. The Brats will be courtesy of Harbourstone, Scanway and T-Dogs. The event is from 5-11pm at the Sands on Salter location on the Halifax Waterfront, with tickets now available. Your $16 entry includes a sampling cup to keep and five drink tickets (with additional samples available at $2 each). We know of a couple special casks being put together for this event, including a pin of dry-hopped-wet-hops Hefeweizen from Garrison.
• In other new brews from the above breweries, look for the Boxing Rock & North Brewing collaboration Many Hands Pale Ale (version 3.0) out this week. This annual celebration of local wet hops was brewed with this year’s harvest from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres farm in the Valley. More than 35 kilos of fresh-picked Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette organic hops went in at all stages of the brewday, for a floral aroma and mild bitterness. This 5.6% ABV beer is available at the Boxing Rock brewery, as well as both Boxing Rock and North’s market booths, and on tap around Halifax, but for a limited time only.
• Propeller Brewing has released this year’s Nocturne Lager, in celebration of the Nocturne: Art at Night event, scheduled for October 17. A 4.8% Munich Dunkel (Dark Lager), it features rich and malty flavours, balanced with traditional German Noble hops. It is available now at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries, as well as the private stores shortly.
• Switching gears from the Sausage Fest, Big Axe has just released a new IPA at their brewery/taproom in Nackawic. Therapy Session IPA comes in at an easy-drinking 5.2% ABV, and is single-hopped with Topaz, an Australian variety that can exhibit characteristics of lychee, tangerine, citrus, and resin. The calculated IBUs are about 50, so expect a firm bitterness in the finish of this deep gold-coloured beer. It should also be on tap at the Saint John Ale House soon, and likely at the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton shortly.
• Over in Cape Breton, Big Spruce announced the release of a new beer… sort of. Ivana Drinkalot is an American IPA that came into existence quite accidentally, during a planned brew day of Big Spruce’s Crazy Ivan DIPA. Due to a slight miscalculation when scaling up the batch size, the beer came in at a lower OG (original gravity). A bag of Munich malt was also missed in the batch, so owner/brewer Jeremy White decided to roll with it, and completely changed the dry-hop! Details on WHICH hop(s) was/were used here are being kept a secret, but the brewery describes the new beer as “deeply aromatic”, with “lots of gooey hop flavour”. It weighs in at 7.1% ABV and 89 IBUs; it’s available now at the brewery, and should follow soon at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell and the Stubborn Goat.
• Picaroons will soon be releasing their annual Harvest Ale, their 5.5%-ABV British-style Pale Ale that features several batches, all hopped with a different, locally-harvested variety. This year, there are six different batches, all single-hopped with one of the following varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, Goldings, or Nugget. When the beer is released later this month, each bottle will have a four-digit code that signifies which hop was used, and where the hop was cultivated (farms include three from NB, two from NS, and one from PEI); that info can be obtained online. Look for the beer to be released in 2-3 weeks!
• The PEI Beer Fest begins tonight with a 6:30-9:30pm session, continuing with an afternoon (2-4:30pm) and evening (6:30-9:30pm) session tomorrow. The Fest will feature more than 75 beers from around the world, including several Atlantic Canadian breweries. The beer list can be viewed on their site, and they have encouraged special one-off casks from the local breweries. Upstreet Craft Brewing will be pouring a pair of them: Friday evening, they will be serving Do-Wooder, a cask of their Do-Gooder American Pale Ale, aged with oak cubes for 1 month and double dry-hopped with Amarillo. Citrusy and malty but with a dry finish from the oak. Saturday, they will be serving Poppa Haskap, a pin of their Commons Pilsner, refermented with 5lbs of local Haskap berries. A refreshing, tart beer, but with the colour of a red wine. PEI Brewing Company will also be pouring a few casks during the fest, though the details on those are not yet available.
• There’s a new event coming soon from the Moncton Beer League – the Urban Beer Hike will take place on Saturday, September 26th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. Featuring a walking tour of several of Moncton’s beer-drinking locations (including Marky’s, Plan b, St. James’ Gate, The Old Triangle, and the Pump House Brewpub), each stop will include two or three 4 oz beer samples, as well as various food items. Tickets ($49 each) are available now on the event page; attendees will be meeting at 2:15 pm at Marky’s to begin the tour.
• In other tasting news, the Ladies Beer League is partnering with Bishop’s Cellar to hold a craft beer and food pairing on Friday, Sept. 25th from 5-7 pm. Tickets are $20 each and are available online. They will be pairing a wide variety of beers with chef-prepared bites.
• The ANBL is marking the one-year anniversary of their growler program this weekend. While they have been hinting at expanded locations for months, it is still only in four locations: Dieppe, Fredericton, Kennebecasis Valley and Sackville. To celebrate, they will be giving away free growlers to the first 100 customers looking for a fill at each of the locations tomorrow. While most brewers we’ve spoken to have had positive experiences with the program, there is much room for improvement. The fact that this week’s offerings at the fill stations are not from New Brunswick, and two of the three are from multi-national brewing conglomerates, illustrate the fact that there are many improvements still needed to the program. Be sure to let the ANBL know your feelings and suggestions for improvement.
Be sure to grab some of the other great new beers out this week. Upstreet and Boxing Rock’s Rumble in the Alley: Round 1 is available now in Charlottetown, as well as the last few kegs of Upstreet’s White Noize White IPA (but don’t worry, there’s more on its way, as it was rebrewed last week). PEI Brewing has released their Vic Park Pale Ale, Citra version in cans, now at the brewery, and at the PEILCC shortly. Coming soon will also be the Rogues Roost IPA in cans, and Hell Street Barrel-aged Doppelbock. Savoie’s Brewhouse is already looking to expand from their 20 gallon system; they’ve built a new fermentation room to increase space, and are hoping to more than double their capacity soon (to 45 gallons). Finally, the James Joyce in Fredericton will soon be expanding their tap selection, as they’re adding another 6 lines to their system, bringing the total to 24! Look for even more NB beers (and beyond) to be available at the Joyce within the next week. And watch this spot for details on the many other wet-hop and harvest beers brewed around our region, including BarNone, Big Tide, Uncle Leo’s, and Unfiltered.