Happy Friday! We hope that those of you in Nova Scotia have been participating in the many excellent events this past week for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, with more scheduled for the coming weekend (Brews Cruise tonight, Full House tomorrow, Cape Breton Kitchen Party Sunday)! Once we get our act in gear, we’ll post some pictures and thoughts on the week. In the meantime, it’s time to get caught up with beer news in our area, including the announcement of more breweries for New Brunswick…
• Attention, residents of Harvey, NB… there’s not just one, but two new breweries planning to open in your area in the near future! Longtime homebrewers Scott MacLean and Randy Rowe have been brewing weekly 1/2 BBL (~60 L) batches together for the past two years, and work is underway on both sides to open small-batch breweries at their homes in Harvey:
Randy Rowe and his wife, Denise, plan to open Off Grid Ales sometime this coming summer. Specializing in “full-bodied ales”, including a Honey-infused Double IPA, the 3 BBL (~360 L) brewery will be solar- and wind-powered, and housed in a barn located on the couples’ property. The brewhouse equipment from Stout Tanks and Kettles arrived last week, with work progressing on set-up for commercial production. The brewery now has an active Twitter account, and will be launching their official website soon.
Scott and Denise MacLean’s 1 BBL (~120 L) brewery, Think Brewing, will also be housed within a barn (over 100 years old) on his property. Scott recently purchased the brewhouse equipment from TrailWay (who have now moved to a 10 BBL system). Hoping to open sometime mid-summer, the brewery will initially focus on English and American style ales. Stay tuned to Think’s Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates; of course, we’ll also be providing more info on both breweries as they progress further!
• North Brewing and Stillwell have teamed up to release their latest collaboration beer, Gose. The Gose style is growing ever-more-popular… tart and refreshing, the North/Stillwell take was brewed with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat, and Acid malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus to provide a slight acidic character, with “wet hay and lemon aromas”. Hand-harvested Black Whale Salt from PEI and toasted coriander were also added. Hopped with the new New Zealand variety, Wai-Iti (which reportedly provides “fresh peach and apricot character”), and Mandarina Bavaria, it’s easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV and 10 IBUs. Just released yesterday, it’s available for growler fills at North, and is on tap at Stillwell and other better beer establishments across the HRM.
• North is also releasing another new beer, Grisette. Historically brewed for the mining class in Belgium, it’s another low-ABV style (but not sour/tart), intended on being light and crisp, and able to be consumed in quantity. Similar to the Gose grist, and hopped again with Wai-Iti, as well as the Australian Summer variety, it weighs in at a supremely-sessionable 3.5% ABV and 15 IBUs. Dry and citrusy, with a light peppery finish, according to the brewery. Available today in growlers at both North locations (Agricola and Ochterloney), it will also be out in the wild very shortly.
• Continuing the new beer releases for #NSCBW, Boxing Rock has released 4 (four!) new beers this week, and we’ve got the scoop direct from the brewery:
Mutiny! (Subversive Amber Ale, 5% ABV). This amber ale is a collaboration with Garrison, Hell Bay, Propeller, and Schoolhouse and forms the base for the Grog raced to Gahan House for Race the Kegs on May 8. This is an English style Pale Ale, amber in colour with a bold malt backbone and moderate hoppiness… lots of spicy and citrus hop aroma and very smooth and drinkable.
Over the Top (Sour Mash Cranberry Wheat Ale, 4% ABV). This beer is a collaboration with Karen Allen from Gahan House and we believe it is the first sour mash beer to be brewed and packaged in NS. Refreshingly tart and awesomely sessionable, this beer began with a 48-hour sour mash, in which our lactobacillus friends thrived, partied and arm wrestled. A late hop addition imparts a fruity aroma to balance the sour malt base. Nova Scotia cranberries dry out the finish and add a subtle depth of flavour and give it an amazing colour.
Carbon-14 (Strong Dark Belgian Ale, 8.2% ABV). Runner-up in our Homebrew Competition, the Black Box Challenge, this beer is as rare as the C-14 isotope. A strong, dark, Belgian ale made in the classic style, this beer is altogether perfectly balanced with that unmistakable Belgian character. It will have a very short half-life, so get it while you can. Carbon-14 was brewed in collaboration with Professor Jason McDougall.
Where There’s Smoke (Smoked Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV). Winner of the Black Box Challenge, our first homebrew competition. This beer is made with copious quantities of beech smoked malt, hops and steeped on cinnamon. The result is a beer that is bold, unexpected, in your face, and totally crushable. Brewed in collaboration with Black Box Challenge winner, Brian Harvey.
Try many of these, and several more (including a few past favourite from the archives) at Lion & Bright tonight, when the Boxing Rock crew drop by for a Tap Takeover starting at 5pm. And be sure to try many (all?) of what’s available, as $1 from each pint sold will be going to Red Cross Canada, in support of people affected by the fires in Fort McMurray.
• Another NS launch is a new/old beer from Good Robot. Awesome Beer, Great Job! is their own take on a Fall Saison, featuring darker malt CaraMunich 120 and Rye, spicing up the underlying Wheat and Pilsner malts. Lightly hopped with Mt Hood, it was fermented with Old World Blend from new yeast producer Escarpment Labs. The resulting beer is a hazy orange, with notes of plum, banana, and phenolic spice from both the rye and yeast character. Originally to be released in Fall 2015, due to difficulties with the beer, it was re-brewed, then re-re-brewed, and is now on tap! Check out their honest reporting of the ordeal. And keep an eye out for the launch of their American Wheat, Pryor Offences, this weekend, featuring lots of Amarillo and Mandarina Bavaria hops. And a new version of Burban Legend APA, dry-hopped with Cascade and Citra.
• There’s a new beer hitting taps from Riverview’s Celtic Knot Brewing – Monkeytown Mango Ale is a 4.5% ABV “light-drinking ale” that features the addition of real, frozen mangoes to the beer after primary fermentation was completed. Lightly-hopped with Cascade to add a bit more fruit character, kegs were delivered earlier this week to Plan B and Ducky’s. Look for Celtic Knot’s other accounts to be pouring this beer in the near future.
• YellowBelly has a brand new seasonal on tap at the brewpub, Tilt Cove Golden Nugget Ale. This APA was brewed with a mix of Canadian and West Yorkshire Pale Ale malts, along with some Scottish Carastan. Hopped entirely with the Nugget variety (including two dry-hop additions), the resulting “earthy, herbal, leafy character” comes through nicely. Clocking in at 6% ABV and 50 IBUs, this slightly-hazy beer will also be pouring at NLC Beer Expo this weekend, with a limited supply of bottles following shortly at the brewpub. In other YB news, they’ve rebrewed their East Coast Cream Ale, which should be available in about three weeks, and plan on brewing a “Summer Wheat Ale” dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace in the near future. As always, we’ll keep you updated!
• Sad news in Saint John this week, as it has been announced that Bourbon Quarter Restaurant, a true friend to local craft beer, is closing. On the bright side, BQ owner Shawn Verner is teaming up with Mike McPartland to open the Cask and Kettle Irish Pub, which they assure us will continue the BQ tradition of supporting craft beer. Located in the same space on Prince William, construction is underway now, with an opening expected in the next 4-6 weeks.
• After a year of construction and many test batches, Horton Ridge Malt is now open for business in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Specializing in floor-malted organic malts, their first product deliveries were made earlier this week, and Cape Breton’s Big Spruce brewed up a batch of the Kitchen Party Pale Ale with the 2-Row pale malt. Look for more breweries to use the local malt very soon, including Tatamagouche Brewing. In addition to selling to breweries, Horton Ridge will also be available to home brewers looking for a local organic product. As locally-grown organic grain suitable for malting is not yet available in large enough quantity, HR has sourced the initial deliveries from outside of the province, but hopes to achieve a truly Nova Scotian-grown and -produced malt very soon. In addition to lighter barley-based malts, look for specialty and rye malts to be available in the future. For those commercial and amateur brewers attending tomorrow’s Full House beer fest, be sure to drop by their table for samples and to learn more.
A few more events worth checking out in the next little while:
• Tonight, the PEI Brewing Co. is holding Fortnight: Fundraiser for Fort McMurray at the brewery. Starting at 7 pm, it will feature “music, fun, and fundraising”, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross (and being matched by the Federal Government). One of the items up for auction is a chance to brew a full-size batch of beer with Upstreet‘s Mike “Hogie” Hogan, on the Upstreet system. Homebrewer or not, the lucky winner will be able to pick the beer style, help develop the recipe and take part in the brewing, name the beer, and ever pour the first pint at the Upstreet taproom! This is for a great cause, so get out your wallets and dig deep!
• Tom’s Little Havana is hosting a Tap Takeover today (and all weekend) by friends Bad Apple Brewhouse and Unfiltered Brewing. Featuring seven beers between the two breweries, look for some old favourites, as well as some new … well, favourites too! Look for a new collaboration American Wheat, and a pair of iterations of the Tom’s Smoked Porter, including a barrel-aged version, today through Sunday.
• A reminder from last week, tonight‘s Meet Your Maker event at the James Joyce will feature Big Tide; four BT beers will be available on tap, and brewmaster Wendy Papadopoulos will be on hand to chat about our favourite beverage!
• This year’s Inspire Arts Festival (June 15th-19th, in Moncton) will be holding their first beer-themed event, the Picaroons Craft Beer Village, on Saturday, June 18th. Taking place at the Riverfront Park in downtown Moncton, it will all start at 12 pm with the opening of the Picaroons Beer Tent; later in the afternoon, at 4 pm, the rest of the craft beer village will open, with NB breweries Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, and Maybee also pouring their beers. Entrance is free, just pay for your beer as you go, and enjoy the live music, circus performances, fire spinning, and more that’s going on during the festival!
• The Fredericton Beer Run is returning on Monday, August 1st (New Brunswick Day)! The fourth year for the event, it will once again feature three options of either a 4, 6, or 12 km distance. Your ticket will get you much more than just another run, however! Including a custom-designed beer glass and 14 x 4 oz beer tickets, there will be over 20 breweries present with plenty of beer to choose from! This year’s run will start at the Lighthouse on the Green, at 10 am, with the beer sampling occurring afterwards at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Tickets are $60 (tax included) and are available now.