Happy Friday, beer fans! A brewery launch, plenty of beer launches and events, and the start of Fredericton Craft Beer Week. Let’s go!
• Nine Locks Brewing launched this week in Dartmouth. Located at 219 Waverley Rd, adjacent to the Mic Mac Tavern, they opened their doors Monday afternoon. They are currently selling two beers, an IPA, and an ESB. The India Pale Ale is 6.9% ABV and 70 IBUs, featuring loads of citrus and floral hop character and smooth bitterness, from first wort hopping, hop bursting (adding the majority of hops in the last 20min of the boil, retaining most of the aromatic oils), and dry hopping. The Extra Special Bitter is 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, featuring English East Kent Golding and Fuggles hops for a subtle Noble hop spiciness. The beers are currently available in growlers to go at the brewery (both 1L flip-top and 1.89L), with canning beginning before the end of March. When that happens, look for cans at the private beer stores in HRM, as well as a selection of NSLCs around the province. Also look for the full release of their Dirty Blonde and Porter before the end of March. The storefront is open Mon-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11-9pm, and Sun 12-5pm 12-9. Congratulations to the entire Nine Locks family!
• It’s been a busy week at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing! The Awards Gala for the 8th Annual Home Brew-Off were last night. The 45 entrants, plus family, friends, and members of the public, gathered at Garrison’s tasting room to hear the results in the Experimental American IPA category. This year’s winning beer was Honey Chamomile, brewed by Mark Power. Using honey malt to complement the chamomile herb, it featured nice hop additions to give it the necessary bitterness and aroma the judges were looking for. Rounding out the Final Four were a Toasted Coconut IPA, Earl Grey Tea IPA, and Parmesan & Jalepeno IPA. Congratulations!
• Attendees were able to taste the top 3 winners, as well as get the first pours of last year’s winning beer, Mr. Robusto. Brewed by Dave Martin and the Garrison crew, this Robust Porter is 6.5% ABV and 33 IBUs. Notes of sweet chocolate are prominent, along with vanilla and caramel, but with enough hops to balance. Mr. Robusto is available for purchase in bottles and growler fills at the brewery now, and will be available at the private beer stores and NSLCs shortly.
• Last night also served as the release party for the final beer in the Cellar Series, To Prussia With Love. This big beer is a blend of their Grand Baltic Porter, along with Barrel-Aged Coast to Coastless Imperial ESB (their collaboration with Le Trou du Diable, Flying Monkeys, and Phillips). The barrels were from Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, and had previously held rum. The beer weighs in at 10% ABV and 35 IBUs, and is available for purchase in bottles now at the brewery, as well as previous Cellar Series beers Ol’ Fog Burner and Grand Baltic Porter, the former being available at the private stores soon.
• Garrison Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be facing off against wine maker Pete Luckett March 31st at the Harbourstone Sea Grill and Pourhouse, in a Beer vs Wine Showdown. Five Courses of food are being prepared, with a wine and beer paired with each, with attendees voting on their favourites. Tickets are available through the Harbourstone now, via email or phone (902-428-7852).
• Fredericton’s Mama’s Brew Pub will be releasing their fifth beer early next week, an American Amber Ale. A slightly bigger beer at 6.1% ABV than their other releases, it’s lightly hopped with East Kent Goldings to 15 IBUs. The grist features Maris Otter, Crystal 70 L, Carafa and Wheat malt, lending the beer “toasted malt flavours and a pleasant fruitiness”, according to brewer Ryan Kingston. They’ve also brought back their Session IPA, at 4.2% and 24 IBUs, it features lots of dry-hopping with Citra and Comet for a great blast of citrus hop character.
• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing will be continuing their Seventh Wave release today with Blueberry Phie. This 5.0% ABV Wheat Ale was aged on loose leaf Masala Chai Tea and PEI blueberry puree. Pouring with a thick white head (thanks to the high percentage of wheat in the malt bill), it features notes of blueberries, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla, for an experience like tasting savory blueberry pie. As with all of their Seventh Wave series, this beer is only available at the brewery in growlers, and in extremely limited amounts (they tend to sell out Friday afternoon), so grab some now to avoid disappointment.
• Gahan House Halifax released a brand new beer last night, Cranberry Sour. The beer was produced using a 48 hour sour mash, allowing the Lactobacillus on the grain to produce lactic acid for a sour bite, and then the fermentation was completed with brewer’s yeast. Cranberries were added after fermentation was complete, for a fresh aroma and tart character to complement the 3% ABV base beer. It is available on tap at the brewpub for pints, as well as growler fills.
• Gahan House Charlottetown’s Brewmaster Trent Hayes will be hosting a Brewmaster dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar on Friday, March 11. Beginning at 7pm, Hayes will lead the four course meal of food and beer pairings, featuring local products in a beer-inspired presentation. Tickets are available now at both Fishbones and Gahan House.
• Details on the Cape Breton Beer Fest were announced yesterday. Scheduled for Saturday, November 19th at the Cruise Pavilion on Esplanade in Sydney, there will be both an afternoon and evening session, each 2.5 hours (with evening VIP tickets allowing early entry). Featuring primarily craft breweries, including Cape Breton’s own Big Spruce and Breton Brewing, the organizers are aiming for about 35 breweries in attendance, from Nova Scotia, the Maritimes, and beyond. Food vendors will be onsite to provide sustenance to keep the party going, and other vendors will be invited to set up tables to showcase the best Cape Breton has to offer. Early bird tickets (at a $10 savings) are now available online, and regular-priced tickets will be online, and in NSLCs shortly. We will update you with a brewery list when it is available.
• The ANBL will be opening a new location in Saint John today. Located at East Point Shopping, this location will also be the first expansion of the very popular Growler program since Sackville in late 2014. To celebrate the opening, Big Tide Tidal Wave Double IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA and Hammond River Nut Your Everyday Red Ale will all be available, with the three head brewers onsite. The store is open now, with a celebration at 1pm this afternoon, check out the East Point ANBL’s page for their current inventory and details.
• The Fredericton Craft Beer Fest Week kicks off today with an event at the James Joyce Pub: The 4th Will Be With You! A Star Wars themed evening, attendees are encouraged (but not required) to come in Cosplay, and there may even be members of the 501st Legion in attendance. The fun continues with a Beer and Cheese tasting at ANBL York Saturday afternoon, and the Johnny Be Good Pub Crawl that evening. Keep on top of it all with our Calendar, as well as the FCBF App, available for both Android and iOS. The app will be updated with the floor plan of the festival, in order to plan your afternoon or evening session most efficiently. Don’t forgot to drop by the King Street Ale House next Thursday for our Trivia Night! We’ll be putting your beer, brewing, and general knowledge skills to the test, and handing out great prizes courtesy of the breweries attending the Fest. And there are still a few tickets available for the Afternoon Session of the main Fest March 12, grab them now before they sell out.
A few parting shots this week:
– Distillerie Fils du Roy has brought back their spring seasonal, Stella Maris. This 7.5% ABV Biere de Garde is named in honour of the star in the Acadian flag. Look for it along the East coast of the province, and Fredericton, and check out Fils du Roy’s other offerings through the ANBL.
– North Brewing has brought back their Dartmouth Dark, with v2.0 hitting the shelves and taps today. This batch features Cannon espresso from Anchored Coffee, on top of their dark lagered ale. Look for it at both the Halifax and Dartmouth stores.
– PEI Brewing Company has released their Transmitter Coffee Stout, featuring coffee from Charlottetown’s Receiver Coffee. Available now at the brewery, look for it to hit Nova Scotia in the near future as well.
– Picaroons has released their Maple Cream Ale this week, available now at the Brewtique, and soon at ANBL locations.