Happy April, everyone! Welcome to your guaranteed April-Fool’s-Day-joke-free beer news post!
• After the very successful launch of their first bottled product, Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, Nyanza’s Big Spruce is releasing another big beer this week: Barrel-Aged Coade Word: Snowmageddon Winter Warmer. The original Coade Word spent a couple of months in Glenora Single Malt Whisky barrels, and has taken on lots of barrel flavour (and a bit of alcohol, bringing it from 8.8% to 10.2% ABV). Bottles of BACW:S are now available for purchase, and like the RRR, *only* available at the brewery. And, in the spirit of keeping good things coming, a 9.0% Baltic Porter has been put into those barrels Glenora barrels, as well as a pair of and Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, for a couple of months of aging and a release in the spring/summer. And keep an eye out for their Spruce Bringstein, a 6.3% ABV, 23 IBUs Amber hopped with Magnum and Tettnang, which should be pouring at BS tap accounts now/soon.
• Big Spruce is teaming up with Lion & Bright to celebrate Earth Day for the next three weeks. Starting today, and until April 21st, Big Spruce and Lion & Bright will donate $0.50 each per pint of Big Spruce beer served, to Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre. On Earth Day itself, April 22nd, there will be a big celebration at Lion & Bright, with a whole bushel-full of Big Spruce beers flowing, and some locally-grown food to pair. Be sure to drop by Lion & Bright all month to show your support for the EAC!
• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing a beauty today at noon, Front Line Rocker Double IPA. Fermented using Vermont Ale yeast, and loaded with tons of hops, it is a super hoppy and juicy delight in your glass. Boasting 8% ABV and over 100 IBUs, this beer is big, bold, yet balanced. Grab a growler at Unfiltered starting at noon, or a glass at Charm School next door when it opens at 4pm.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is bringing back a cult favourite from the archives today… Jalapeno Ale! This 5.0% ABV pale ale features not just one, but four different peppers in the brew: Jalapeño, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, and Jamaican Hot Pepper, for a unique contrast of big heat, with a refreshing beer backbone. In addition to the bold taste and aroma available when drinking the beer, it is a wiz in the kitchen, where it can be the base for a wicked marinade, or intense broth or beer cheese soup. The beer is available now at the brewery in bottles only, in a very limited supply.
• You may have also noticed a new Garrison beer on the shelves at both the brewery, and NSLC recently, Hoppy Buoy IPA. This 6.5% ABV American IPA features loads of Citra, Columbus, and Galaxy hops for a robust 50 IBU bitterness to build on the Maritime Malt and 2-Row malt bill. The hop-derived citrus and tropical aromas and flavours are enhanced by the addition of Mango juice to the beer, for a great juicy brew. This beer is replacing Garrison’s India Pale Ale in stores and on tap, so grab it today!
• And to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pro Skates, Garrison has released a new non-alcoholic soda, called Pro Cola. Made with 100% natural cane sugar, it features real cola ingredients for a refreshing and tasty ode to this local business. Grab a bottle at the brewery today.
• YellowBelly Brewpub has brought back an old favourite brew this week: Black Gold. This 4.5% ABV black ale features a large portion of Midnight Wheat in the malt bill (with the rest being pilsner malt), which imparts the dark colour, but without a lot of roast character. Brewer’s Gold hops were used in the boil, and the beer was dry-hopped with Cascade and Topaz, for high-30s IBUs and a blackcurrant-like character. Black Gold is on tap at the brewery now, with a limited bottle supply available there and at NLC stores starting today.
• Bulwark has announced details of their newest creation, Bulwark Uprooted. This 7.0% ABV cider features beets on top of their signature cider blend, for a bright red colour, and interesting earthy yet clean and crisp meld in flavour and aroma. This unique blend is the official cider of East Coast Music Week 2016, being held in Sydney, NS, April 13-17. Featuring plenty of live music all weekend, and the East Coast Music Awards show on Thursday the 14th, there will be lots to do, and drink, while in the area. Look for the blend to be released soon, and will be on tap at some of the ECMW events, as well as wider release to the rest of the province.
• Last weekend, the Picaroons General Store opened in uptown Saint John, located at 32 Canterbury St. Open Monday-Wednesday 10am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-11pm, and Sunday 12-8 pm, all the usual Picaroons products will be sold at this location (plus a new Canterbury Pale on tap), including growlers and fills, bottles, and swag. There’s also seating available if you’d like to relax with a pint, and food can be purchased and brought in from the Real Food Connections next door. Patrons can also expect to see some other local beverages on tap in the future. Check out the East Point ANBL growler station for a tap takeover this weekend, plus a visit from Picaroons’ Ian Covey today from 4-8pm.
• Spindrift Brewing’s 7th Wave release today is Ming Tran. A 4.6% ABV Pale Ale, it was fermented with Brettanomyces yeast for a blast of pineapple esters that will kick you right in the face. As with all 7th Wave releases, this one is on tap for growler fills at the brewery only, starting today at noon.
Here’s all the info you need on the many events going on in our region this week:
• Moncton’s Tide & Boar turns five today, and we’re all invited to the party! Featuring some of their most-demanded snacks back on the menu for one day only, Chorizo-stuffed dates, brussel sprouts, and pork belly bites, and plenty of great local and imported beer to wash them down. Drop by today for the celebration, starting at noon.
• Don’t forget that tonight is the latest Meet Your Maker night at the James Joyce in Fredericton, featuring Flying Boats. There’ll be games and five different FB beers on tap; no charge to attend, the fun starts at 8 pm. Check out last week’s post for more details.
• And kicking off today are two days of a Dieu du Ciel! tap takeover at Stillwell. Both today and tomorrow, Stilly will be opening at noon with twelve new, different and rare DDC! beers. The Montreal brewery crew will be in attendance, and Chef Ruppel and team are putting together some tasty Montreal-inspired cuisine, including Tokyo Fries Poutine and Smoked Meat Sandwich.
• Good Robot is holding another of their very popular Silent Reading at the Imbibrary events on Thursday, April 7th. The same rules apply as usual: no phones and no talking for two hours (6-8 pm), just show up with your book(s) and a thirst for craft beer on tap, and go to town! They’re hinting that this may be the last silent reading event of the season, so get down there early!
• Saint John, NB’s Grannan’s Seafood is hosting a Beer Dinner April 14th, featuring Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewery. Seven courses will be prepared by Chef Johnny High, with each paired with a different Picaroons beer. Event starts at 6:30pm. RSVP by phone at 506-634-1555.
• The Grand Banker in Lunenburg has released the details of their next Winemaker vs Brewmaster dinner. Being held April 23rd, it will pit L’Acadie Vineyards’ Bruce Ewert versus Big Spruce’s Jeremy White in an all-out competition to win the hearts, and tastes, of those in attendance. The Grand Banker’s kitchen will be preparing 5 courses, and the drinks producers will be responsible for pairing the best beer and wine to complement each course. Diners will vote with a beer cap or wine cork after each course, with the one amassing the most by the end of the evening being crowned the winner. Tickets are available at the Grand Banker, and by phone (902-634-3300) now.
• Tickets for this year’s NLC Beer Expo are on sale today. Being held May 13&14 at the Delta Hotel in St John’s, the event will feature more than 100 beers and ciders, many of which are not otherwise available in Newfoundland. Both sessions also feature an optional Tasting Panel beforehand, where attendees will have the chance to try several products in a more intimate atmosphere, poured by brewery representatives, and with accompanying food pairings. You ticket also includes a $10 taxi chit, to get you home safe.
• Fredericton’s Burgers n’ Beer will be returning on Saturday, June 4th from 2-5 pm. This event will be a kick-off to Fredericton Burger Battle, and will feature four different sliders paired with four locally-brewed cask ales, all from different breweries. The event will be held at the King Street Ale House; tickets are $21 each and can be purchased online.
• Good news, Moncton poutine fans… the first Moncton Poutine Festival is heading your way this fall! Created by Lloyd Chambers (the brains behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and Fredericton Poutine Festival), planning is well underway for the September 17th event. Tickets will go on sale within the next few weeks, but we can tell you that the format will follow that of the Fredericton festivals: five different establishments serving up several types of poutine each, with five or more breweries present pouring lots of Moncton-area craft beer. The event will take place at the Crowne Plaza on Main St. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the event; in the meantime follow along their Twitter account for more details.
That’s it for this week… have a fantastic weekend! A couple more parting notes before you leave:
– Hammond River has re-released their Pineapple Pale Ale to welcome back the warmer weather; look for it on tap at HR accounts in Saint John and Fredericton shortly.
– Halifax’s North Brewing is doing the same, releasing their Summer Saison today at both their Agricola and Ochterloney locations, and on tap around the HRM.