Happy Friday, everyone. It’s too beautiful of a day to be stuck reading some hilarious and insightful introduction paragraph, so let’s get right to the beer news, and get you on your way out the door for a beer!
• This week saw the launch of FirkinStein Brewing, a small brewery based in Bridgewater, NS. While not available on tap in bars or restaurants just yet, they have begun direct delivery of growlers to the public in their region. They currently have their Nor’easter Ale on offer, a 7.5% ABV Strong Ale, with lots of citrus aroma and flavour from Cascade hops (to about 55 IBUs). To take part in the fun, visit their Facebook page and send them a message with your name, address, and request. And yes, direct growler deliveries ARE legal, don’t worry! Growler fills are $12, with a growler cost of $8. Look for more details on the brewery and the folks behind it very soon, and welcome to the neighbourhood, FirkinStein!
• Despite the warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately, October is just around the corner, which can only mean… pumpkin beers! Petit-Sault has just released their Bonhomme Sept-Heures (roughly translated as “Bogeyman”), and as pumpkin beers go, it’s a big one! Weighing in at a whopping 8.6% ABV, the batch included the addition of more than 60 lbs of fresh pumpkin and squash, and 2 lbs of spices. Described by the brewery as having a “hint of caramel, with a slight biscuit sweetness” to go along with the pumpkin and spice flavours, it features a “warm finish” from the deceptively-hidden alcohol. It’s available now for growler fills at the brewery, on tap at select locations, and will also be at ANBL growler stations by next Thursday, Sept. 24th. And for those of you in PEI, Petit-Sault is now selling several of their beers at select PEILCC locations!
• Things are hopping over at Tatamagouche Brewing, as there’s lots of beer news to report! First off, their Russian Imperial Stout (the next beer in their Giant Beer Series) is now available; a monster of a beer at 8.5% ABV and over 100 IBUs, it was brewed with Frontenac Organic Pale Malt, Munich, Chocolate malt, and Roasted Barley to provide lots of dark colour and roasted flavours, and a bit of Flaked Barley to boost the body and head retention. Hopped with Pacific Gem and Chinook, it’s available in 650ml bottles now at the brewery, and at the Truro Farmers Market Saturdays.
• Tatabrew is also releasing a brand new IPA next Thursday, Sept. 24th: Deception Bay IPA is a 6.2% ABV “West Coast-inspired IPA” that was bittered with Magnum, and features large late-hop additions of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria and Citra for intense juiciness in both the aroma and flavour, and a big 63 IBUs. This beer will be available in growlers and cans, and on tap as well, so be sure to grab a pint when you spot it in the wild!
• AND, Tatabrew will soon be re-releasing a couple of old favourites; their seasonal Oktoberfest, Lagerhosen, will be released on Sept. 24th. Brewed specifically for the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest (Sept. 25th-26th), it was hopped solely with Hallertau, and weighs in at a very-drinkable 4.5% ABV. And their DIPA, Horns Over Hooves, was brewed earlier this week; it should be available for release around Oct. 8th.
• It’s Harvest Jazz & Blues week in Fredericton, so there’s plenty going on in the city. In terms of beer, the Capital Complex is holding a Saturday Matinee tomorrow, from 12-4 pm, at Wilser’s Room. Tickets are $15 each at the door, and get you a plate of BBQ (roast pig, while available), live music (starting at 1 pm), and a pint of craft beer. Both TrailWay and Gray Stone will be pouring; while not yet officially open, this will be Gray Stone’s second official appearance on the scene, with another preview of some of the beers they should be releasing when construction is completed on their brewery. They will have their American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, American Stout, and Brown Ale on hand, and will be pouring at Wilser’s Room for the rest of the day until the beer is gone! TrailWay will be bringing their Primetime APA, and a new version of their D’Under – this batch was hopped entirely with a fairly new (and hard to come by!) Australian variety, Vic Secret (known for giving plenty of pineapple and pine characteristics). We hope to see you there!
• In other Harvest news, Red Rover is re-releasing their Blueberry Cider under the name The Blues. This batch features a change in the apple blend, but with the same 7% ABV. The name, flavour, and colour come from the addition of 55 kg local wild blueberries to the batch. Grab a growler at the Ciderhouse, and look for it on tap at bars and restaurants around Fredericton. And keep your eyes open for the return of their popular Fall in a couple of weeks.
• The crew at Good Robot in Halifax have announced the release of a new beer, so of course they will be holding a party to celebrate it! On October 4th, they will be releasing Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn Beer, their take on the Kentucky Common pre-prohibition style beer. Brewed with corn and rye, this beer will be another departure from the mainstream for GR. The Sowr Soul party looks to be a fun one, featuring Southern-inspired food, music, and, of course, the beer. Joe Martin of Bar Stillwell will be preparing a feast, centering around a roasted pig (raised by Moo Nay Farms and fed GR spent grain!), with corn on the cob, mac & cheese, collard greens and more. Big Country Ramblers will be playing bluegrass music to keep the party going into the evening. Check the FB Event page for a few more details.
• Uncle Leo’s in Lyons Brook, NS are releasing their ode to the hop harvest today, a wet-hopped Pale Ale. The Pictou County Harvest Ale is 5.7% and at 35 IBU beer thanks to 23 kg of Centennial and Cascade fresh hops from local grower Bramble Hill Farm. Grab a growler at the brewery, and look for it on tap at their accounts shortly.
• Distillerie Fils du Roy brewed up a one-off beer specifically for the Oktoberfest des Acadiens in Bertrand, NB earlier this month. While it is named Oktoberfest Bieretrand, the beer was actually brewed in the German Hefeweizen style. Exhibiting the banana and clove aromas and flavours expected from this style (thanks to the Weizen yeast strain), this cloudy and light gold-coloured ale has low hop character, and a smooth and creamy texture. Easy-drinking at 5% ABV, expect to see some light bubblegum and candy-like qualities in the taste as well. The leftover kegs are currently at all four ANBL growler stations for growler fills this weekend.
• Big Spruce Brewing has brought back the very popular Gimme Citra this week. Brewed in conspiracy with the Bar Stillwell crew, this 4.7% ABV Pale Ale features loads of late hopping exclusively from the Citra varietal, showcasing more in the aroma and flavour than in bitterness (calculated at 36 IBUs). Look for it on tap for growler fills at the brewery and around Cape Breton and Halifax (including tomorrow’s Sausage Fest Sasuage Throwdown and Sausage O’ The Night). Drop by the brewery today for lunch for their Food Truck Friday to grab the assortment of sandwiches prepared with/built to pair with beer, and enjoy some music from their house band, The Asaphs, who go on at 3pm.
• The Antigonish Townhouse recently released a new beer, Old & Bitter. Brewed in the style of an Old Ale, it’s maltier and has a higher bitterness than their regular Best Bitter, which is often pouring at the pub. Also slightly higher in ABV at 5.7%, it was hopped with a higher alpha-acid variety, giving it “more complex, slightly spicy notes” according to the brewery. It ran out just recently, but will be returning in the near future. And next Friday, Sept. 25th, they will be releasing a new experimental beer to celebrate the Antigonight Art After Dark Festival. Incorporating elements of their Best Bitter and the Old & Bitter, expect it to be slightly darker than the two beers on their own, as the Chocolate malt has been increased in the recipe.
• For those looking to expand their knowledge of beer brewing, serving beer, and pairing food with beer, the Atlantic Chapter of CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) is offering training centered around the Cicerone certification program. Local Certified Cicerone Angeline MacLennan (along with formerly-local Certified Cicerone Tracy Phillippi) developed two courses to prepare students to take and pass the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone exams. Consisting of 4- and 10-week courses, respectively, the course includes information on the history of beer styles, recipe development, caring for draft and bottled beer, and pairing food with beer. The first course launches Tuesday, October 13th, so check out the details and sign up today!
A few parting shots this week: If you haven’t filled your growler with Unfiltered Brewing’s Double Orange Ale yet (or even if you have, and need more), best get down to the brewery *now* to grab it, as it will be out before the end of the day Friday. And look for a special tapping of their core lineup of beers at the James Joyce in Fredericton later in the weekend. The Little Rollin’ Bistro Food Truck set up at Breton Brewing 12-8pm today, who are now also running events throughout the week (Wednesday night 7-11pm is Game Night; Thursday 7-9pm is Trivia Night with wings made with Great Breton sauce, including Sons of Hector Brown Ale). Or, if you are on the other island, drop by Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing for food and music: the Thai Pad Food Truck is set up all day, and drop by after work for free and live music from Al Tuck during their Quittin’ Time Sessions, beginning at 6pm. Don’t forget to check out the Sausage Fest kick-off events at the Olympic Centre tomorrow; check last week’s post for more details. With nine breweries and lots of great food all under one roof, it will sure to be a blast! And be sure to check out the Sausage and Beer Patio Party at Scanway on Wednesday the 23rd. Picaroons’s Harvest Ale series will be hitting the shelves next week. Check their Meet Your Farmer website for information on the folks behind the wet hops used in the seven different beers. And speaking of Picaroons, the latest release of Half Cut‘s Alter Ego (brewed on Picaroons’ pilot system at the Brewtique) is out now, and available at bars around Fredericton. Sea Level has released their 6.5% ABV Hopfazupfa IPA at the brewery today, brewed with local wet hops. And congratulations to North Brewing, who have taken possession of their new 12 hl DME-built brewhouse late last week. The doubling of their brewery capacity is also part of their moving a pilot brewing system into the Battery Park Beer Bar, whose crowdfunding is entering its last couple of weeks. Now, put down your phone, laptop, or raven-delivered scroll, and get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts!