Good morning, all! Whether you’re all finished of your Christmas shopping, or are in the middle of a mad, stressful rush like most of us, it’s time to sit back and relax with a bit of Atlantic Canada beer news…
• Breton Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Storm Chaser is described as a Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. Featuring a creamy mouthfeel thanks to the addition of oatmeal in the grist, the beer also has a good amount of vanilla in both the aroma and flavour (vanilla was added during the conditioning phase). Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it is currently on tap at the brewery for growler fills and pints. You’ll be also be able to find it at better beer bars in Halifax and Sydney, and the private beer stores in Halifax for growler fills.
• Over at Tatamagouche Brewing, they’re re-releasing their seasonal holiday brew, Maple Squash Ale. This complex brew features additions of locally grown and roasted Red Kuri Squash from Waldegrave Farms, maple syrup from Sugar Moon, and a mixture of Tatabrew’s “favourite holiday spices”. Hopped with Malagash-grown Golding and Willamette varieties, this 5.1% ABV ale is truly a unique beer, with plenty of local ingredients! Available in growlers and cans at the brewery, and at select beer bars/restaurants in Nova Scotia.
• There’s lots of news coming out of Schoolhouse Brewery in Falmouth this week! A plebiscite to lift the liquor limitations in their area passed, paving the way for expansion beyond their in-home brewery in 2016. They have also announced the launch of their Locally Hopped Series, coming this weekend. Inspired by the hop producers in their region, Brewmaster Tim Burns put together four new beers to showcase the harvest. Look for four new beers out this weekend: Big Red Schoolhouse Imperial Red, 7.5%ABV; DesBarres Reserve Biere de Garde, 6.8%ABV; Scotian Export Scottish Ale, 5.8%ABV; and Kings Row Chequers Strong Porter, 6.5%. Featuring hops from the Schoolhouse farm in Falmouth (Cascade, Goldings), Wentworth Creek Farm in Windsor, (Galena, Newport, Nugget, Zeus), Castle Frederick Farms in Falmouth (Galena, Magnum, Zeus) and Elleslea Farm in Sheffield Mills (Fuggles, Galena, Newport). These beers will be making their debut in 650ml bottles at the Wolfville Farmers Market this Saturday. Schoolhouse *may* be taking orders for Halifax customers in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the details.
• This weekend marks the biggest movie event of the year, and maybe even the decade… the new Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel! No, of course we’re talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Red Rover has released two ciders to celebrate: the DarkCider and Emperor’s Reserve. The DarkCider is a 7% aged Black Velvet, a blend of stout with their Spring cider, which cuts the body of the beer, while retaining the roast and chocolate character as a complement to the flavour of the cider. It first made its debut at the Brewer’s Bash in 2014, andis brewed in collaboration with Picaroons. Emperor’s Reserve is a brand new cider, crafted using the Empire apple variety. This semi-dry 7% cider starts with a smooth sweetness, and finishes with a crisp, acidic, bite. Both ciders are available today only, beginning at 2pm at the Ciderhouse. And while there, look for the re-release of Jingleberry, a 7% ABV semi-dry featuring the addition of wild blueberries to give the cider a mild tartness and dark-purple colour, just in time for the holidays!
• In other Star Wars news (come on, it’s a major movie event!), Picaroons has re-released a new iteration on their JED-IPA. Originally a hopped-up version of their Yippee IPA released over two years ago, this recent batch was dry-hopped with “an astronomical amount” of Orbit and Galaxy; both are Southern Hemisphere varieties known for giving intense tropical fruit aromas and flavours when used in brewing. It’s available for growler fills now at the Brewtique. Also, if you’re missing out on the daily growler released of their 12 Beers of Christmas, good news! The King Street Ale House has been receiving a keg of each beer to go on tap the day after its release at the Brewtique (Saturday and Sunday’s release will both arrive on the following Monday), which allows you the chance to try the beer if you couldn’t make it to the Brewtique for the 4 pm release. There’s still six days of releases left, so be sure to continue to follow along on social media for announcements on each day’s beer.
• Pump House brought their Nor’Easter Beater Winter Warmer back recently, just in time for the nasty weather New Brunswick had to endure earlier this week. This malt-forward English style was brewed with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for a spicy flavour. The 7.0% beer is on tap at the brewery now.
• The much anticipated co-release from Big Spruce and Boxing Rock will be available beginning tomorrow. Triskaidekaphobia is a 9%, 40 IBU Imperial Brown Ale that these two breweries scared together on November 13th. Since brewday, the beer has been aging on cherries and vanilla beans for a brew worthy of wrapping and putting under the tree next week. The beer will be released tomorrow at both breweries (though we understand there may be a sneak peek available today), their market stalls in Shelburne, Halifax, Dartmouth, and Sydney, private stores in Halifax, and on tap around the province. Don’t delay in grabbing some of this beer, and remember that there will be a barrel-aged version of Triska coming in 2016.
• Both Big Spruce and Boxing Rock had busy weeks, inviting visitors in to their respective brewhouses. On Monday, Big Spruce welcomed Eric Gauthier and Justin Clarke to brew up Eric’s Home Brew Challenge-winning Czech Dark Lager. Look for this beer to be released in late January, after an appropriate lagering period. On Tuesday, Justin and Eric took the reigns with a Sour IPA featuring loads of hops to complement the acidic bite from the lactobacillus. This beer will be available mid-January, and will see its release at the Local Connections Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration January 14th. Finally, Aaron Spinney of Sawdust City in Gravenhurst, ON, came by to brew a Pine Needle IPA, featuring over a kilogram of pine needles (not branches!) from Ontario and Big Spruce’s own farm. And of course, our very own Cold Remedy Lemon Ginger Witbier was released yesterday, and is appearing on taps in Cape Breton and Halifax now.
• In Shelburne, homebrewer Jason McDougall visited Boxing Rock to brew up another batch of his Stillwell Open beer, featuring heather flowers, on a base beer brewed with peated malt. Again, look for this to be released in the New Year.
• Good Robot’s Tap Room is officially opening today at noon. In addition to their flagship beers, they will be pouring another 8 on their taps, including a couple of tap room exclusives brewed on their pilot system: an experimental Märzen and a Session IPA brewed with Chris McDonald. Also on tap at opening: Bad Apple Mosaic DIPA, Big Spruce Cold Remedy Belgian Wit, Uncle Leo’s Cream Stout, Unfiltered 12 Years to Zion DIPA, Shipbuilders Cider, and Stutz Wild Blueberry Cider. Going forward, the Tap Room will be open daily (except Monday) at 4pm, with an earlier noon opening Fri-Sun.
• The Townhouse in Antigonish has announced the details of their NYE Party. They are holding a Brewer’s Bash, and have invited several of the areas brewers to take part: Karen Allen of Halifax’s Gahan House (a native of Antigonish), Tim Burns of Falmouth’s Schoolhouse, Karl Whiffen of Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s, and the Townhouse’s own Terry Piercey. The five-course meal (prepared by chef Jacob Buckley) will feature lobster, oysters, rabbit, pork, and wild chanterelles, each paired with a local beer. The brewers will also talk about the process of brewing, pairing, tasting, and enjoying beer. Tickets are available at the Townhouse now, either in person or over the phone. Previous events have sold out, so be sure to pick them up now!
• Early next year (Saturday, January 30th) will mark the first NB HopSpiel event for Fredericton. Organized by those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, the event will feature a day of outdoor curling in Officer’s Square, along with access to the FROSTival Beer Garden, where approximately seven breweries will be pouring up to 15 different beers, ciders and mead. Teams of four are currently being formed; you can register your team for $200, or $50 per person (don’t worry, if you can’t muster up a team of four, extras will be formed into teams). The registration fee includes a minimum of three games, six 4 oz samples at the beer garden (extra beers will be available for purchase), and a lunch of chili and rolls, plus hot beverages. Participants are invited to attend a social gathering on Friday night from 6-8 pm, where you can “brush” up on your curling skills before the big event. Tickets are available online; remember, BYO broom!
• Montreal’s excellent Dieu du Ciel! has announced that Saturday, February 27th will be the next date for their annual Péché Day, and this year Atlantic Canada will be participating! Celebrating their world class Péché Mortel, a coffee-infused Imperial Stout, the brewery/brewpub releases 13 different variants and vintages of the beer in-house; six of these are also sent to 24 participating beer bars in Canada. This year, Bar Stillwell and Tide and Boar will be receiving six kegs each to be tapped on the 27th. No word yet as to which kegs they will be receiving, but mark this date in your calendars, and make the trip to sample several variants of one of the highest-rated beers brewed in Canada!
Enjoy your weekend! If you’re in the Saint John area, Big Tide has their Three Pages to the Wind “Whiskey Pale Ale” and Bockman-Turner Overweiz (a Weizenbock) back on tap for a limited time. And the Hammond River “White Stout”, White Walker, is now available at select accounts; a 7.2% ABV, pale-coloured beer with the addition of Foghorn coffee, it was further conditioned on cacao nibs to give it a “slight smoky flavour” with the coffee and chocolate. Just a note that next week’s schedule may be altered a bit with the end-of-year holidays. Depending on news (and the number of beer we get into), we may push forward, or back, next Friday’s release.