Another weekend, another snow storm! Let’s celebrate the lovely season that is winter with some local news on our favourite beverage…
• Big Spruce recently announced that they have received a bottling machine, and will begin releasing some special beers this way. Their first bottled offering will be a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, Ra Ra Rasputin. This beer started out as an 8.5% Imperial Stout, brewed with loads of black and dark malts, and kicked up with Just Us! organic coffee in the boil to lend some bitterness and roast aroma to the beer. After fermentation, the beer spent two months in 14-year Single Malt Glenora barrels. The finished brew is 10.5% ABV, with some lovely caramel and vanilla notes. Due to the low volume available, it is in very short supply; there are only four kegs of the beer available (one of which will be heading to Battery Park shortly), so be sure to grab a glass if you spot it. For those interested in buying bottles, they will only be available for purchase at the Nyanza brewery, beginning late next week, so keep an eye on social media for the official announcement.
• In other Big Spruce news, Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax will be dedicating all five of their growler taps to them this weekend. Beers pouring will include Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Read Between the Pines, and two surprise beers rotating through (sorry, we can’t tell you what they are!). There will be two free tasting sessions (Saturday 11 am-4 pm, Sunday 12-5 pm) with Big Spruce owner/brewmaster Jeremy White; remember to bring your empty growlers! Bishop’s is also holding a separate tasting event tonight from 5-7 pm; the $20 ticket price (available for purchase online) includes samples of a variety of beers on their shelves, along with several appetizers. And be sure to sign up for BC’s Behind the Tap beer-centric monthly mailing, for the scoop on sales and events.
• After having their beer on sale at the ANBL and on tap around town for a few weeks, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing location will be officially opening their doors today at noon. Growler fills and cans of their Roseway Red and Work Horse IPA will be available, as well as a limited amount of their newest release, Belgian Tripel, an 8.5% ABV Belgian Golden Strong. Drop by their 559 Wilsey Road location for a sample (they are not yet licensed for pint sales) and fill up on their offerings; they’ll be open 12-8 pm both today and tomorrow. Congratulations to the entire Maybee family!
• The “Nut Red Ale” brewed by Hammond River last month is now at select accounts in New Brunswick. Nut Your Everyday Red Ale was brewed with a good portion of specialty malts, to give the beer lots of “toasty, biscuity, and nuttiness both in the flavour and on the nose”, according to the brewery. It was bittered with the Nugget variety, and further hopped throughout the boil with Hallertau. Think of it as an easy-drinking (5.1% ABV, 33 IBUs) English-style Red Ale; sounds like this one may become a regular brew for HR!
• In more HRBrew news, their Imperial Breakfast Stout is currently in the wild in the River Valley: Barrel’s Head, Bourbon Quarter, and the James Joyce in Fredericton. It’s an 8.0% ABV Imperial Stout, with additions of oats, local coffee from Java Moose, cacao nibs, and home-smoked (Applewood) bacon. Look for a special oaked version of the IBS to be pouring at the evening session of the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And the winners from last month’s Wee Heavy Homebrew Competition will be brewing up their winning recipe, Tilted Kilt, on the weekend, which should be making its debut at the FCBF.
• Railcar brewed a new beer this week, their first Red IPA. The grist is made up of several specialty malts (including Crystal 40 and 60 L, Munich, and Chocolate) to go along with the Pale base malt, to provide notes of toffee sweetness and caramel. Hopped in the boil with Northern Brewer and Columbus, the beer will be dry-hopped with Amarillo after fermentation is complete. This amber-coloured ale should come on the higher end of the spectrum for this style, at ~8.5% ABV, and with 62 IBUs. Look for it to show up on tap at the brewery within a few weeks. Also, Fredericton’s Prospect St. ANBL will be launching Railcar’s Artisan Brown Ale in bottles tomorrow, where it will join their previously released Cafe Buzz Porter. The brewery has also announced another expansion, as they will be receiving two additional 50-gallon fermentors within the next two weeks.
• Good Robot has just released a new beer, a Smoked Ale named Samsquamptch!. At 5.2% ABV and 27 IBUs, the beer features a healthy dose of Cherrywood-Smoked Malt (about 15% of the grain bill), Rye, Caramel and Vienna on a 2-Row base, for a smokey and spicy brew; it was bittered with German Magnum and Tettnang hops. As with most of their beers, it has been gluten reduced to less than 20 ppm. Never ones to hold back from a good idea gone bad, they attempted to reproduce the same effect by smoking hops. As in, pipe smoking hops… Exploiting the quasi-relationship between hops and Cannabis, which are both members of the Cannabinaceae family. Rumoured to share the relaxing properties of Cannabis when smoked, hops do lack the “psychoactive properties” of the drug. You’ll have to watch the video for yourself! As for the beer, it is on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and their adjacent taproom.
• On February 12th, the Good Robot taproom is hosting a New York City food and beer day. Starting at noon, they are hosting Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties for some NY-style sandwiches. In addition to their own taps, they will be pouring bottles of several Brooklyn Brewery beers, including the perennial favourite Lager, as well as Black Chocolate Stout, Local 1, and Sorachi Ace. Grab a lean at the bar, lower (or increase, depending) your expectations for politeness, and bend an elbow or two. More details here.
• Next Monday, Feb. 8th, Picaroons will be re-releasing their Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale. A dark, full-bodied beer featuring the addition of chocolate, cayenne pepper, ginseng root and liquorice root, it’s released every year just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be on tap at the Brewtique, and at better beer bars across New Brunswick. They’re also holding a Winter Warmer Party tomorrow at Crabbe Mountain, where all of their taps will be pouring Picaroons beers, with live music from The Backyard Devils. Finally, the brewery has announced that they’re now hiring for their Picaroons General Store, to open in Saint John. If you’re interested, fire them an email.
• With the explosion in the number of craft breweries in New Brunswick over the last couple of years, it’s no surprise that there’s a documentary currently being filmed on the subject. Produced by Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff, Beerocracy will examine the current craft beer surge in the province through interviews with both brewers and beer event organizers alike. Filming is currently underway (Chase and Vietinghoff have been in Fredericton for interviews with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival‘s Lloyd Chambers and Grimross‘ Stephen Dixon), with a projected completion sometime this Spring. You can follow their progress through their Facebook link above; more news to come!
• Upstreet Brewing will be holding a special event Feb 14th, For the Love of Beer. This Valentine’s Day event will feature a brand new beer release, a Scottish 80/ (aka Scottish Export) named Eighty Bob. An amber-coloured beer that is definitely on the malty side of the spectrum, Upstreet’s take involves a grist made up of Pale Ale malt as the base, with a mixture of Crystal malts and Chocolate malt. Phoenix and EKG hops were used in small amounts to keep the bittering low (20 IBUs) and add just a touch of flavour to the malt character. According to the brewery, the beer has “toffee, caramel, raisins, and a little bit of nuts”, just as a complexly malty brew should! It weighs in at an easy-drinking 4.5% ABV. The launch event, held from 12-4 pm at the brewery, will feature a special brunch menu, live music from Salt Licks, and a special open mic with brewer Mike Hogan, who will be on hand to successfully (?) answer all of your relationship questions! Disclaimer: BYO Divorce Attorney.
• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will also be holding their own Valentine’s Day event. A four course prix-fixe menu (with optional beer pairings) will be on that evening, featuring ceviche, pork loin or lobster bisque, oxtail roulade or seared local halibut, plus gingerbread with spent grain ice cream. Seating is by reservation only (either by phone or email). Full details here. And on the Friday before (Feb 12), they are one of the stops on a Downtown Dartmouth Food Crawl, featuring 15 stops. Running 5-7 pm, people can visit as many of the cafes, restaurants, and bars as they wish, enjoying some locally-sourced and -prepared food and drink. Details are available on their Facebook page.
• Attention readers in the GTA: Thanks to a recent visit from Brewmaster Greg Nash, Bar Volo’s taps will soon be pouring Unfiltered beer! During a recent visit to Toronto, Nash joined together with House Ales brewer Dan Beaudoin, and the rest of the Bar Volo team, to brew a small batch of Twelve Years to Zion DIPA. The beer will be released today at 4pm, so leave work early to get on the good stuff! (We had incorrectly indicated Exile on North Street was being released, apologies for the error)
• The boys at FirkinStein in Mount Pleasant, NS will be releasing their newest beer in the next week. Anchors Aweigh is a big American Pale Ale, very light in colour, and with a nice crisp flavour. Though it weighs in at 8.5% ABV, the hopping is relatively light, with a pleasant Cascade-based citrus aroma shining through. Look for it to be available at their Lunenburg Farmers’ Market stall next week (Thursday the 11th), and for their weekly deliveries, and on tap shortly as well.
• Things are coming along nicely at the Horton Ridge Malt & Grain in the Annapolis Valley. While not quite malting yet, they are getting ever closer to that point, with production launch expected next month. Ahead of that, they have opened up a second round of CEDIF offering, after a very successful first round of almost $400,000 raised in 2015. The goal of round two is $200,000, with the funds planned to be used to pay down the mortgage on the building. Potential investors are welcome to visit the Malt House Feb 13 for an Open House to learn more about the CEDIF offering, and check out the great progress made so far. By investing in a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF), residents may be entitled to an initial 35% Provincial tax credit, in addition to other benefits going forward.
• Another CEDIF offering currently open is from FarmWorks Investment Co-op. They have enabled at least three local microbreweries (Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, and Meander River) and the list of farmers, food producers, restaurants and others keeps growing. In loaning startup funds since its creation in 2011, it currently has over $1 million at work around the province, investing in food production and distribution to increase access to sustainable food. Deadline for investments with this offering is March 15, 2016 and this can be used for RRSP tax deferral.
• Propeller Brewing is releasing their newest One Hit Wonder today. Black Heart is a 6.3% ABV Black IPA, heartily hopped to 90 IBUs. It is on tap now at their Windmill location, Gottingen later today. As always, their OHW releases are growlers and draft only, due to the smaller batch sizes. They have also announced details on their next Cask Night: it will be held on Friday, Feb 26th at 6 pm at the brewery on Gottingen St., and will feature a food “mash-up” from The Other Bean and Rinaldo’s to pair with the multiple beer samples. Tickets are $30, and available now at the link above.
Have a great weekend! Before you move on, here’s a few last blurbs/reminders…
– Bad Apple Brewhouse has released Alternate Ending, a 4.8% ABV Altbier. Brewed with Mike Orr and Keith Forbes, two members of the Brewnosers Homebrew club, it is currently available at the Somerset brewery, as well as on tap at Good Robot’s taproom, Primal Kitchen, and Stillwell (including a special cask). This is a small batch, so be sure to grab it when you spot it on tap!
– Boxing Rock has re-released Unobtainium, a beer best-described as a 5% ABV Red IPA featuring Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo, and Nelson Sauvin (for more info on the beer, click here).
– The Maritime Black IPA, Grimross’s newest beer that we just mentioned last week, is now available. Drop by the brewery for growler fills, and check out their regular accounts to try it by the pint.
– Look out for a new beer from Schoolhouse in Falmouth, their first Lager. An experiment of sorts, they wanted to do a small test batch to test the recipe and technique, before brewing it on their expanded brewhouse later in the year. Look for it on tap at the Spitfire Arms, as well as their Wolfville Farmers’ Market stall Saturday.
– This week’s limited 7th Wave release from Spindrift will feature a cask of The Fix, which is their Schwarzbier (The Abyss) cold-conditioned on Espresso and vanilla beans (4.2% ABV, 25 IBUs); as always, this is a small batch, growler only beer, available today at the brewery at noon.
– Tatamagouche’s Oyster Cloister Stout has returned. A 5.3% stout, brewed with local hops and oysters for a bit of a subtle character. It is on tap at the store right now for growler fills, and will be returning in cans very shortly.