Happy Friday everyone! Let’s hope that was the absolute last throes of winter this week, and we can proceed into spring now.
• Red Rover recently launched a new hopped cider, Hop to It, that is currently available in a very limited supply. Similar to their Hop Back in Time cask cider which was released at last fall’s Fredericton Cider Festival, this batch was “hopped with English varieties, blended to enhance the apple aromas, providing a slight citrus taste in the flavour”. As mentioned, only a very small amount of this 7% ABV cider was produced (400 L total); you can find it available for flagon fills at the Ciderhouse (at their new location at The Abbey on Queen St.) and at Red Rover market accounts, with one keg going to both the James Joyce and Saint John Ale House. If feedback is good, there’s a good chance we’ll see this pop up again, in bottles at ANBL stores.
• Big Spruce recently filled some Glenora Single Malt whisky barrels with their Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, and that beer is ready for the world. Available exclusively at the Nyanza brewery, the stout features great aromas from the barrel on a base of the lovely coffee and chocolate stout, with a big of an alcohol jump to 5.5% ABV. Growlers and samples are available at the brewery now.
• A sure sign of warmer weather to come is Big Spruce’s other release this week, Silver Tart! This 4.5% ABV sour ale features loads of raspberries, for a great combination of aroma, flavour, and an acidic kick. Available on tap at the brewery, it will also be on tap at Battery Park, Good Robot, Primal, and Stillwell in the coming days. And keep an eye on Bishop’s Cellar’s Beer Page to see when they tap their shipment for growler fills.
• Picaroons has released the first beer in their Staff series in over a year, Iain’s CanadIain Stout. Brewed by Iain Brannigan (one of the brewery’s cellarmen), this 7% ABV ale is “assertively roasty, with a well-balanced hop bitterness which goes down quite smooth due to the velvety nature of the generous helping of oats in the recipe”, according to the brewery. It will be available for growler fills only at both the Brewtique and General Store.
• Over on the Island, the PEI Brewing Co. has a new cask tapped at the brewery taproom; Way She Gose is, yes, a Gose, a slightly tart/sour ale brewed with coriander, and sea salt made by their own Al Douglas, from sea water off the north shore of the Island. If there’s any of this 4.5% ABV beer left, it won’t last long, so get down to the brewery to give it a try! Also, later today the brewery will be officially releasing their latest seasonal, Setting Day Saison, in cans. Light-bodied and golden-coloured, with high carbonation, this 3.5% ABV Belgian ale exhibits aromas and flavours of spicy phenolics and fruity esters. Feel free to show up at the brewery between 5-7 pm to celebrate its release with cans, taps, and music! It will also be popping up on tap at select PEIBC accounts.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a pair of new beers out this week. Their Sugar Moon Maple Ale is made with maple syrup from Sugar Moon Farm, adding to a base of Maritime Malt and some darker malts, for a toast and caramel character from this amber-coloured beer, lightly hopped with Millenium and Willamette. It is available at the brewery in bottles now.
• Returning today is Garrison’s Klignon Warnog Roggen Dunkel, a Dunkelweizen (German dark wheat) featuring a healthy addition of rye malt. This is an official Star Trek beer, brewed under the Federation of Beer name, featuring clove and banana aromas and flavours, along with a light sweetness from Munich malt. Available at the brewery in bottles beginning today.
• Guysborough’s Rare Bird has brought back their Maple Ale this week. Brewed not with water, but exclusively with maple sap as the base liquid, the beer celebrates the running of the sap with the cool evenings and warm days. Additions of syrup bump up the flavour (and alcohol, slightly, to 6.5%), and hops offset the sweet character, for a well balanced brew. It is currently available at the brewery, and will be at Harvest Wines & Spirits this weekend.
• There’s lots going on at Halifax’s Rockbottom: they recently launched their latest new beer, Rye Pale Ale. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, the beer feature rye malt in the grain bill, for a light spicy character, and experimental hop ADHA-529, for flavours of orange and black tea. It is available on tap, and in growler fills to take away. Look for a pair of new beers in the coming weeks, with Japanese Lager debuting next week. This 4.5% ABV beer was brewed with rice, and the lagering process leaves the beer with a clean, crisp, and snappy character, with notes of peach and lemon in the finish. Mid-May will usher in their Maibock, a higher ABV blonde lager, coming in at 7.2% ABV. The pilsner base malt shines through, as well as some toasty/caramel character, from light specialty malts. And for fans of their Fathom IPA, look for a variation in the hops used, which will alter the flavour profile slightly. The batch on tap now features massive amounts of Amarillo hops at flameout and dry-hop, lending a big citrus aroma. The next batch will feature Summit for a dank resinous base, with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight for grapefruit hop blast, and finshing “with a huge El Dorado/Mandrina Bavaria fruit-loop dance party”, according to Brewmaster Jake Saunders. All of these late- and dry-hop additions preserve the volatile essential oils in the hops, promoting flavour above bitterness (enhanced by the isomerization of the alpha acids in the boil). Be sure to get on both batches to get the full experience!
• Soon-to-open Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay has launched their Pioneers Club. For your $40 enrollment fee ($10 per year subsequent), you will receive an exclusive t-shirt, early notification of new beer releases, invitations to educational seminars, and a 10% discount on merchandise (beer excluded). Also this week, Sb announced that their brewmaster has been hired, Jeremy Fehr, a graduate of the Niagara College Brewmaster program. Also a highly-decorated homebrewer, he was most recently brewing at Neustadt Springs Brewery in Neustadt, Ontario. Look for the brewery to launch on Main Street Mahone Bay this summer.
• In a story with repercussions for beer lovers nation-wide, the judge is ruling today in the case of Gerard Comeau, the man charged in 2012 when he brought a dozen cases of beer into New Brunswick from Quebec. CBC had a reporter in the courtoom, live-tweeting the proceedings. He had been charged under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act, limiting the amount of alcohol to “liquor not in excess of one bottle or beer not in excess of twelve pints “. He pleaded not guilty, and went to court to fight the law, which is in opposition to the Constitution Act of 1867. Section 121 of the Act states, “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.” In the judge’s ruling, he concluded that the Fathers of Confederation intended inter-provincial free trade, and that evidence presented in the trial has altered the nature of the debate on the term “admitted free”. The announcement was just made, and the charges against Comeau have been dismissed.
As for what’s going on in the world of beer events in the coming weeks…
• There will be a special announcement at Breton Brewing today at 1pm. Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria will be making the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. In the spirit of local cooperation, beers from Big Spruce will also be available, taking over half of Breton’s taps. After the announcement, stick around for music from Angelo Spinazzola until 4:30pm, and come back for their Music on Tap! event with Robert White, 6-9pm. UPDATE: The event was an announcement that ACOA will be investing $436,000 in Big Spruce and Breton, to aid in their growth. Big Spruce is constructing a 5000 square foot building to expand their production facilities, while Breton will be purchasing a pair of fermentors, and a canning line. Full details here.
• Propeller’s next Prop’r Cask Night, featuring Krave Burgers, scheduled for tonight at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. from 6-9 pm. There are still tickets available ($30 each, online or at the brewery), which include appetizers from Krave paired with several samples of Propeller beers, including a sneak-peek cask of their three-way Organic Collaboration DIPA Cerberus (with Big Spruce and Tatamagouche) their special cask ale that will be tapped at approximately 6:30 pm.
• The first in Stillwell‘s Rare American Beer Weekend Series is happening this weekend (April 30th and May 1st); this no-tickets-required event will feature Alaska’s Anchorage Brewing Company, with bottles of several of their “bright, funky, layered beers” being poured. In addition, several kegs of sour beers from Quebec breweries Dunham and Trou du Diable will be pouring.
• It’s not Father’s Day yet, but attention all Dads looking for a day off! Good Robot is holding their first Dad Day Afternoon this Sunday, May 1st at the brewery on Robie St. Featuring lawn games, a MarioKart tournament, haircuts and trims, and BBQ from Black Sheep Restaurant, it’s the perfect excuse for fathers to get together, drink some beers, and enjoy themselves… because they never do that any other time, right? 🙂
• Ducky’s Bar is holding a Beer and Food Pairing Dinner on Sunday, May 1st, from 5-7:30 pm. Hosted by Craig Pinhey, there will be four courses paired with four beers from different New Brunswick breweries, including Petit-Sault, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, and Fils du Roy. Tickets are $45 each and are available at Ducky’s and Napul’è, with sales ending tomorrow night.
• Next Thursday, May 5th, Upstreet Brewing will be holding their Charlottetown Invasion tap takeover at Halifax’s Seahorse Tavern. Five Upstreet beers will be pouring from 10 pm to close, paired with live music from Charlottetown bands Sorrey, Raccoon Bandit, Coyote, and Whaleskin.
• Next Friday, May 6th, is the start of NS Craft Beer Week. Kicking off the week on Friday is the Cape Breton Kitchen Party, hosted by Big Spruce and Breton Brewing, they have invited 10 NS breweries to Sydney for a right good Kitchen Party. Food and live music round out the beers, and the party is sure to keep going elsewhere in town once the event is over! Also on the 6th (and on Saturday, the 7th, too) Beer and Beethoven is returning again this year. With special guests The Irish Descendants, the event will have 6 different breweries in attendance each night, pouring their wares during a sampling period at the beginning of the night, and continuing for sales for the rest of the evening. Saturday the 7th is also Open Brewery Day, where breweries across the province will be opening their doors, holding brewery tours and events all day, to celebrate the local craft. Look for a full post and update to our NS Craft Beer Week Calendar and Map early next week.
A few parting shots this week:
– Bore City has been busy brewing, and will be re-releasing three of their beers – Night and Day Black IPA, Equilux APA, and Marécage Belgian Saison – at the Tide & Boar very soon, with both Night and Day and Marécage also pouring at Marky’s Laundromat in the near future. And for our Fredericton readers, look for the return of Equilux APA and Spacetime Odyssey Porter at the James Joyce this weekend.
– TrailWay has finished installing their new brewhouse, and will be brewing on the new system for the first time this weekend. Congrats! Look for the brewery and taproom to officially open sometime next month.
– We can expect more Petit-Sault beer to be hitting the market soon, as they’ve recently added two more 60 bbl (~70 hL) fermentors to their brewhouse. These additions will allow the brewery to brew more of their extremely-popular La Kedgwick, a Pilsner that undergoes a 6-week lagering period; meeting this demand will free up space for brewing their other flagship beers, as well as new one-off releases.