Good morning, and welcome to your weekly infusion of what’s new in Atlantic Canada in terms of craft beer! Let’s get started…
• Last Saturday’s third annual Fredericton Poutine Festival was yet another success, with close to 500 people showing up between the two sessions. The event had sold out very quickly after tickets went on sale last August, and with ~25 beers, ciders and mead pouring from 11 different breweries, and more than 12 types of poutine being served from four establishments, bellies were full and happy by the end of it all! The Doghut Canteen took home the Best of the Fest award for the second year in a row, thanks to various styles of poutine featuring donair meat and sauce. Organizer Lloyd Chambers has confirmed that they are planning another event soon, with a tentative date of Saturday, April 2nd. Look for this Poutine Festival to feature beer garden-style seating, all new varieties of poutine, and even more varieties of craft beer… stay tuned! Finally, a reminder that tickets for the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just went on sale; with two sessions (afternoon and evening) this time around, and several days of events leading up to the festival, it’ll likely sell out even faster than last year, so don’t wait… in fact, 250 tickets were sold today in the first five minutes after going on sale! For more info, check out yesterday’s post.
• BarNone will soon be releasing a new beer to select bars and restaurants in PEI. The Big O is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) beer that features 100% organic 2-row base malt and Galaxy, an Australian hop variety that provides lots of tropical fruit characteristics. With plenty of late additions of this hop in this brew, expect this light-coloured ale to be extremely aromatic and flavourful, without much in the way of accompanying bitterness. It comes in at a very-drinkable 5% ABV, and should be hitting taps soon. Also, note that BarNone will continue to offer growlers at the Charlottetown Farmers Market every Saturday. Look for future iterations of The Big O to feature different hop varieties, with Vic Secret possibly following soon.
• There’s a new beer launching today at Unfiltered in Halifax, and it’s a big one. Flat Black Jesus is described as an American-style stout that has been brewed with locally-harvested wet hops, and further dry-hopped with several “new” Australian hop varieties. Brewed back in September, it was one of the Maritime beers featured at Toronto’s Cask Days, but the local version was further conditioned on oak until its release. With an ABV of 7%, and 100+ calculated IBUs, this jet-black beer is not for the faint of heart (but really, were you expecting any less?). Look for it at the brewery for growler fills starting at noon today, and on tap shortly.
• Also releasing today at noon is Breton Brewing’s fourth core beer, Red Coat Irish Red Ale. Featuring Pilsner and a touch of Roasted malt for colour and aroma, this 5% ABV Red Ale comes in at 25 IBUs for a nice balance to the toast and malt flavours and aromas. Look for it on tap at the brewery today, and at their accounts this weekend.
• There’s lots going on at Tatamagouche Brewing these days! Their latest specialty brew is out today: Smorter, a S’mores-inspired porter! This 6.5% ABV porter was brewed with the addition of chocolate malt, cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, and molasses right in the mash tun. During the boil, more cinnamon, as well as honey and vanilla beans, was also added. After the boil, the wort travelled through a hop back loaded with local Willamette hops. To further S’more it up, the beer was conditioned with additional vanilla beans. From brewer Christiane Jost, “A beer reminiscent of a summer’s night bonfire, but high enough in alcohol to help you forget it’s not.” Smorter is available today at the brewery in growler fills and cans, and on tap around the province shortly.
• Coming next week from Tata is another special brew, Full Circle. This American Wheat was brewed with a special visitor/collaborator in the brewery, Ceilidh Sutherland. A native of Tatamagouche, Ceilidh is co-owner of Halifax’s Field Guide restaurant, specializing in locally-sourced and -inspired plates. The beer features local Cascade hops from Northport’s Wymsykal Farms in both the mash and through a hopback, and Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria hops at the end of the boil for citrus aromatics. The 4.9% Full Circle will be released next Thursday, December 3rd, and will be making its debut during a Tata Tap Takeover at Field Guide, and subsequently in kegs, growlers and cans.
• And finally in Tata news, their Deception Bay IPA is back on tap and cans at the brewery today. The Silver Medal winning IPA at this year’s ACBAs, it is brewed with Frontenac Organic Pilsner Malt, bittered with Magnum, and late-hopped with Citra, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, for more juicy flavour and aromas. And they brewed up their next seasonal this week, Maple Squash Ale. Look for it to be released mid-December.
• The end of November also marks the end of Movember, the hairiest month of the year. That also means that Quidi Vidi’s extremely popular Fogtown Lager will soon be no more. But fear not, YYT beer fans, as they will be releasing the last 35 dozen of the beer this Saturday at 1pm. They’ll also be hosting the end-of-month Mo’ judging Sunday afternoon at 2pm, complete with live music, food, and of course, beer! And there are plenty of prizes and perks left to be won by those who donate and/or raise a few mo’ bucks for the cause… check out their Movember page for more details. Congratulations to QV, the top-raising brewery world-wide! This week also saw the release of Quid Vidi’s Christmas seasonal, Mummer’s Brew. Named after the practice of dressing up and visiting friends and neighbours, to sing, tell stories, or jokes, this Amber Ale weighs in at 5% ABV; it should be available at the brewery now.
• Gahan Halifax has a pair of new brews on tap this week at their waterfront location. First up is a Gingerbread Beer. Light in alcohol, at 4.3%, the beer features lots of cinnamon, ginger, and clove character, reminiscent of the popular baked goods. Lightly hopped to 35 IBUs, it works especially well in a glass with a cinnamon/sugar rim! Also on tap is an English Mild. Served at a medium-low carbonation, as it would be across the pond, this is a malt forward beer with a great roast character, and supremely sessionable at 3.7% ABV. A higher bitterness, around 50 IBUs, helps to keep you wanting more. Both beers are also available to take home in growlers, along with Gahan’s other locally- and Island-brewed offerings.
• The Pump House has re-released their Schwarzbier, a German-style Black Lager. While black in colour, traditional Schwarzbiers are brewed to have only subtle hints of chocolate and coffee, with a clean finish to make the very drinkable. The Pump House beer comes in higher than most beers in this style, at 7.5% ABV. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, and is available at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend.
• Speaking of beer re-releases, Boxing Rock U-889 is back again! This popular Russian Imperial Stout is big and bold, featuring over 600 kg of malt, a two hour boil, and plenty of hops to help balance all that sweetness. In addition, 22 gallons of “strong, cold-brewed coffee” from Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op was thrown in, along with 20 pounds of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, for over two weeks. The result? An 8.89% ABV, 65 IBUs black monster of a beer, with lots of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel aromas and flavours. As the brewery aptly puts it, think of it as a “dessert in a glass”. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, all four private stores in Halifax, and select bars and restaurants. As always, supplies are limited, so pick it up while you can!
• Bulwark Cider will be releasing their latest product late next week. Their Oak-Aged Cider is 7% ABV, starting from a clean base of Annapolis Valley apples, and aged on American oak for six months. The wood added some toast, vanilla, and caramel-like qualities, without any residual sugar to the dry cider. The cider is packaged in clear 750 mL flip-top bottles, with a beautiful etching designed by Meredith Bangay, and voted on by the public at Stillwell during Nocturne. This very limited run will be only available at the NSLC, with one sole keg available at Stillwell in the near future. We also have a bit of information some of Bulwark’s future releases. Making a return, will be their Ice Apple cider (previously named Northern Compass), a higher ABV cider, as well as the very popular Sour Cherry cider, that was released in the summer. We’ll fill you in when they become available!
• AB-InBev has announced that they will be brewing once again in their Keith’s Brewery Market/Lower Water Street location in the new year. The brewery space, which has not produced beer for several years, will be undergoing major brewery upgrades, to the tune of $1.5M, and the hiring of a new brewmaster for the location. Due to customer demand, and perhaps feeling the heat from the expansion of local craft breweries (both in number and market share), they are promising to produce “small-batch, innovative brews” in this location, available at local bars and the NSLC. At their planned 2,000 hectolitre capacity, this would certainly put them on the big side of “small”. The new facility should be putting out beer in mid-Spring 2016.
• Tickets for the 2016 Saint John Beer Fest are now on sale. As always, they expect to have plenty of craft beer available to sample, along with options for food to purchase from local establishments, and live entertainment throughout the festival. Once again taking place within the atrium of Market Square, the festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th. There are two ticket options: general admission from 7:30-9:30 pm for $63.96 per ticket, and a VIP ticket for $74.52, which gets you in at 7 pm to sample some “limited specialty brews”. We’ll have more info on the Fest for you as it gets closer!
Have a fantastic weekend! If you’re in the Moncton area tonight, the Moncton Beer League still has some tickets left for their Flights ‘n Bites: Whisky & Beer Edition; taking place at the Alma City Club from 7-10 pm, there will be several pairings of various scotch and whiskies, Pump House beer, and food items. If you’re in Sackville, be sure to drop by your ANBL growler station this weekend, as Flying Boats will have a small amount of their Dixie Clipper IPA pouring once one of the taps is freed up; look for that to occur around Saturday or Sunday. Maybee Brewing has officially brewed their first batch of beer (their American Amber, Roseway Red) on their new DME system; those of you in Fredericton can expect to see it on tap and in cans sometime in December, around their official launch. Upstreet Brewing‘s bottled beer (Commons, Do-Gooder, and Rhuby Social) are now available for purchase outside of the brewery, at select PEILCC locations. And a reminder that Garrison’s Spruce Beer will be released today at the brewery, and tomorrow at NSLC stores. And to celebrate they are tapping casks of it and their Winter Warmer (along with mulled cider and hot chocolate) tomorrow beginning at 11am at the brewery, with all proceeds going to the Christmas Daddies Charity.