Good morning, beer fans! After the beer news overload we experienced last week, things have slowed down a bit… maybe the snow and colder weather has something to do with it? Either way, there’s still some news to share for this week!
• Hammond River has a couple of new beers in their pipeline… first up is a revamp of one of their first flagship brews, Hop Flash IPA. Brewer Shane Steeves simplified the grain bill to contain 2-row as the base malt, plus some CaraRed (the original beer also had Munich and Melanoidin malt in the grist). The hops have changed slightly: Warrior is used for bittering, with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial added during the boil for flavour, and Amarillo in the dry-hop (as opposed to Cascade in version 1). It still comes in at 66 IBUs and 6.6% ABV, but as Steeves explains, “The goal is to show how a different grain bill and slightly different hop profile can affect the taste profile of a beer”. Look for Hop Flash 2 to appear within a few weeks. HR will also be brewing a new beer soon, inspired by several Nut Brown Ales that Steeves brewed in his homebrewing days. This one is being categorized as a “Nut Red” Ale (“a cross between an American Amber and Irish Red”, says Steeves), with “lots of toasty, biscuity, and nutty flavours”. The recipe is still being hashed out, but we can expect it to come in at approximately 5.5% ABV. Finally, their Imperial Vanilla Porter is available once again at most HR accounts, with a lucky two (James Joyce and the Barrel’s Head) receiving the 9.2% ABV Bourbon version!
• Sea Level has just released their first Belgian-style beer, a Farmhouse Ale named New Moon. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain to give the beer some spicy phenolics and fruity esters, there was also some Chinese rock sugar and dried orange peel added in the fermentor, with more orange peel added in the brite tank for further conditioning. A strong beer at 9% ABV, it is currently available in cans at the brewery retail store, and should also be at Harvest Wines & Spirits and Bishop’s Cellar today. Look for it to also pop up on tap at select accounts.
• Last Friday, we hinted at a big announcement coming from Red Rover, and they confirmed earlier this week that one of their goals has finally been reached! As of Tuesday, 750 mL bottles of their ciders are now available for sale at select ANBL stores. The initial launch includes their Spring, Fall, and Fire ciders, which are available at all four Fredericton ANBL locations, with most stores in Saint John following shortly, along with Dieppe (Regis St.); check online for updates on stock and locations. We can likely expect new seasonal releases to hit stores as well. RR’s Adam Clawson had this to say about the announcement: “We are really excited; it is a major milestone in creating a craft cider industry in New Brunswick. We would really like to thank all of our customers for their continued support, as this will now enable Red Rover to reach people unable to get to our farmers market and The Ciderhouse.”
• While we’re on the topic of new, local releases at the ANBL, both Railcar and Maybee Brewing announced this week that some of their beers should be on shelves very soon. Railcar’s first beers will be their Artisan Brown and Café Buzz Porter; both will be available in 500 mL bottles, and should be for sale by this weekend. Look for Railcar Red to follow in another two weeks. The Perth-Andover and Woodstock stores will likely be stocked first, with stores between Grand Falls and Fredericton hopefully following in the near future before further expansion to Saint John and Moncton by summer. Maybee Brewing will start off with their Work Horse IPA (one of their first two flagship beers), which will be available in 500 mL cans sometime next week. As above, be sure to check online for exact info on stock and locations. While not showing up at publishing time, check out these links for the ANBL’s current inventory of Railcar and Maybee beers.
• Tickets are now on sale for the Fredericton Poutine Festival on Saturday, April 2nd. This is the first time the event has been scheduled outside of the fall season, but after the continuing popularity of recent festivals, it was decided to have another one! April’s event will be very familiar to the most recent one on November 21st: it will take place at the Crowne Plaza, and will feature three different sessions, two of which offer various ticket options for anywhere from 4 to 16 beer tickets for 4-oz samples of a selection of over 20 local craft beer. And, of course, unlimited samples of approximately 15 different types of poutine, even more than last time! The brewery list is still being finalized, but this year’s festival will feature a majority of breweries located in Fredericton. Check out the ticket link for more details, and be sure to buy yours quickly – previous events have sold out quickly, and more than 40% of tickets have already been sold since going on sale yesterday morning at 11 am!
• Boxing Rock has released details on the Black Box Challenge, their first homebrew competition… with a twist. After paying a $45+HST entry fee, entrants will pick up their Black Box, which contains eight different malts, five hop varieties, and two yeast strains. Using any or all of these ingredients, you can brew any style that you want (under 9% ABV)… but you can’t use any outside ingredients (well, except water of course!). Each Black Box is identical, and contains enough ingredients to brew a 1-gallon test batch and two 5-gallon batches (depending on the style). Only one entry per person, and the number of entrants is being limited to twenty (you can register and pay online). Judging will take place at Stillwell on Sunday, March 6th; all entrants are required to make a short (<5 min) presentation on their entry for judges, highlighting their recipe planning, the brewday, and your final product. That presentation, along with the beer, will be judged, and the winning entry and brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe at Boxing Rock in Shelburne. The beer will be released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. Half of the entry fees and proceeds from the full-scale batch will be donated to the Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank. Sign up today (there are only a few boxes left!) and pick up your Box from Stillwell starting Jan 23rd. Good luck!
• We’ve spotted several other new beers in the wild this week, but haven’t been able to gather too much information for you just yet. Rest assured, we’re on the case! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the newest beers from Hell Bay (the return of their very popular R.I.P. (A), their 7.3%, 120 IBU, IPA), Meander River (Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout), and a pair of new German-inspired beers from Paddys Irish Brewpub (Decem-beer Bock coming in at 6.1% and 15 IBUs, and a 6.8% Weizenbock).
Don’t forget to pick up a growler or pint of Spindrift‘s The Abyss Schwarzbier, being released today (with a special coffee-infused cask debuting last night at the Craft Beer and Local Food event). Check out the fun as Upstreet visits Halifax this weekend, with tickets for their Sunday Beer Pairing Luncheon at Stubborn Goat now on sale. And grab a pint of Johnny Jacks’ latest creation, Showshoe Winter Ale, at Sour Grape Cafe, and now on tap at the James Joyce. Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have re-brewed their Canon Franchetti Cappuccino Stout, and it should be available by mid-February; this batch is also going to be bottled this time around. And look for a trio of AlphaBrews (large scale Experimental batches) from the mind of Good Robot Brewmaster Doug Kehoe: their “Märzen“, a traditional Festbier with a cherrywood-smoked malt twist; a “Saison“, with a chewy plum spice character; and v3.0 of Burban Legend APA, dry-hopped with El Dorado for a citrus and watermelon aroma.