Good morning, and welcome to the weekend! Lots going on in beer news as usual, so let’s get started. First off, some local award winners!
• Big congratulations to the winners in our region at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards in Vancouver, BC, last weekend.
– PEI Brewing was the big winner, taking four Gold medals at the blindly-judged competition. They earned the most medals (of any colour, let alone Gold) of any brewery in the country: Gold in English Style India Pale Ale, Rogues Roost IPA; Gold in Wheat Beer – North American Style, Gahan Sir John A. Honey Wheat Ale; Gold in Session India Pale Ale, Gahan Vic Park APA; Gold in Session Ale, Setting Day Saison.
– Tatamagouche had an excellent showing, with three medals awarded. Gold in Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout; Gold in Barley Wine-Style Ale – American-Style, Giantess; Bronze in Baltic Porter, Two Rivers Baltic Porter. Clearly they know their big beers, as these brews are all above 8.0% ABV!
– Saint John’s Moosehead Brewery also earned a trio of medals for a few of their lager offerings: Gold in North American Style Lager, Alpine Lager; Silver in North American Style Amber Lager, Barking Squirrel Lager; Silver in Light (Calorie-Reduced) Lager, Cracked Canoe.
– Garrison: Silver in American-Style Black Ale, Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA.
– Stillwell: Silver in Belgian-Style Brett Beer, Two, their Second Anniversary mixed fermentation Saison (brewed at North Brewing).
– Red Rover: Silver in Cider with Herbs/Spices, Fall.
– Pump House: Bronze in Barley Wine-Style Ale – English-Style, Barley Wine.
Be sure to visit your local brewery and grab a bottle, can, and/or pint of these award-winning beers, and show them some love! The full list of winners can be found on the CBA website.
• A new brewery, slated to open in Halifax this fall, has just been announced this week. 2 Crows Brewing will set up shop on Brunswick Street, between Cogswell and Duke. Co-owner and Brewer Jeremy Taylor is an avid homebrewer, and after graduating with an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, has brewed professionally in British Columbia for several years before making the transition eastward. 2 Crows will feature a core lineup of four beers, with a bevvy of rotating seasonals and one-offs, all brewed on their 20 bbl (23 hL) brewhouse. Keep up-to-date with their progress by following their Twitter and Facebook pages.
• Beerocracy, a documentary about the brewing industry in New Brunswick, is in its final stages and getting closer to its planned release in July. In the meantime, directors/producers Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff have started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help raise some final funds to pay for post-production costs such as audio mastering, translation and French subtitling, graphic design, and more. They’re already about 40% of the way to their $10,000 goal, which ends Thursday, June 16th. If you’d like to donate to the cause, there are plenty of perks available; based on donation, they range from beer glasses, posters, and digital downloads of the film to VIP screenings and even having your name in the credits! Don’t hesitate on your chance to be involved in a piece of NB beer history, and donate today!
• Only 3 weeks after releasing a pair of new brews, North has released yet another two new beers this week. First up is Gestalt, a blend of two different beers. One of the beers is a “Farmhouse Brown Ale” that was fermented with a specialty blend of yeasts, Fruit Bomb Saison (a Saison strain, an “enigmatic” Saccharomyces strain, and a Brettanomyces strain) from Escarpment Labs; the beer was then aged in stainless for over three months. Meanwhile, another batch with a “very simple malt bill” was fermented with another Escarpment blend, Old World Saison (two Saison strains). Both batches were ultimately blended at differing ratios until those at North were happiest with the outcome: a barnyard aroma, with “notes of cherry, tamarind, cola, subtle hay, and a lime zest finish”. Weighing in at 5.4% ABV, it’s available for growler fills now at the brewery, and is on tap at select accounts. Next up is version 2.0 of their Grisette, which comes in slightly stronger at 3.8% ABV, but still remains supremely sessionable. Some Torrified Wheat was added to the grist, and the hops were changed to Rakau and Ahtanum; also available now at the brewery, so pick them both up while you’re there!
• Fresh off their CBA win, Stillwell released a new beer yesterday that they brewed with the staff at Toronto institution Bar Volo‘s House Ales (a 150 L pilot brewery) earlier in the winter. Pekkolo is a Farmhouse Table Beer named after the hop variety, Pekko, used generously within. This American varietal gives the beer notes of lemon, thyme and mint in the aroma, “all of which dovetail nicely with our funky ‘house’ Saison culture’s flavour profile”, according to Stillwell. Hoppy, with a “soft tartness”, it weighs in at only 3.8% ABV (which allows it to live up to its Table – read: consumable in quantity – status), yet still exhibits a good amount of body, due in part to the sizeable addition of Flaked Barley to the grist. Only a small amount of this beer is available, so it will be available only on tap at Stillwell (with a simultaneous release in Toronto), and won’t last long!
• York County has a new cider on tap for growler fills, Sidra. Inspired by traditional ciders made in northern Spain, York County describes it as “very tart, with notes of unripe fruits”; slightly sour, with a cloudy appearance, it is quite still (very minimal carbonation). Intended on being poured from a height “of at least a yard” to give it a bit of froth upon consumption, it clocks in at 6.7% ABV. Drop by today to give this new “Spanish cider” a try!
• Federation of Beer is releasing a new beer today, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series. Star Trek 50th Golden Anniversary Ale was brewed at Garrison, using Pale and Wheat malts, and a light touch of Hallertau hops. This 5.0% ABV and 20 IBUs beer features a brilliant golden liquid with light frothy head, light malt body, and a slight fruity aroma, to go along with the spicy character of the noble hops. The bottles will feature one of twelve collectible labels, and are available at the brewery now in six-packs. It joins their Vulcan Red Session Ale and Klingon Warnog Roggenbier in the Star Trek licensed releases.
• Sydney’s Breton Brewing will be celebrating their First Anniversary later this month, and they are marking the occasion by expanding their reach across the province. Beginning Monday, June 6, cans of their Red Coat Irish Red and Black Angus IPA will be available at NSLC locations throughout the province, as well as Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines. From Yarmouth, to Amherst, Halifax, and Sydney, the 473ml cans mean that grabbing a pint at the beach or on a hike will be that much easier. This also means that restaurants and other licencees will be able to stock them, so be sure to request them at your local public house. And be sure to drop by the brewery today from noon for the return of Food Truck Friday, with Little Rollin’ Bistro joining them until 7pm. There will be music starting at 4pm, and there is no cover for the entertainment.
• Shifting gears to another Island, the Newfermenters, Newfoundland’s Homebrew Club, are once again hosting a Brew-Off competition. Open to any amateur brewer on the island, entries can be made in the 21A: American IPA, or 21B: Specialty IPA (consult the BJCP 2015 style guidelines for more details). The beers will be judged by Liam McKenna, brewmaster of YellowBelly, and Raymond Feltham, BJCP-certified judge and owner of BrewCraft homebrew shop. The Best-Of-Show winning brewer will have the chance to visit Port Rexton Brewing after they open this summer, and brew up a full-sized batch for commercial release in the fall! Entrants must fill out a form and send it via email to the group before Monday June 6th, and the judging will take place July 3rd. Further details can be found on the Newfermenters Facebook page (or via email).
• Big Spruce has sent a new batch of their flagship Kitchen Party Pale Ale to Halifax tap accounts this week; this batch marks the first time in modern Nova Scotia history that a beer has been brewed entirely with 2-row malted in NS, by Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. According to the brewery, this newest batch differs from previous ones, as the malt lends the beer a “slight bitter orange flavour”. If you’re in Halifax, best track it down to give it a try for yourself!
• Moosehead has announced that they will be opening a second location in Saint John, in order to brew smaller batches of beer. Aiming to open in 2017, during their 150th anniversary, the brewery is aiming to produce 5000-6000 hL of beer annually, with a brewhouse somewhere in the range of 25 hL, along with a 1 hL pilot batch system. Karen Cousins, Moosehead’s Director of Communications, says that the major objective of this new brewery is to experiment with new styles, in order to keep up with the growing demand from craft beer drinkers in Atlantic Canada.
There’s a couple of events occurring over the next week that still have space for attendance…
• Tomorrow – Saturday, June 4th – is the first Burgers n’ Beer event to occur in Fredericton in some time, and there’s still a few tickets available! The first time the event will be held at the King Street Ale House, it will feature four different handcrafted sliders, each paired with a different Fredericton-brewed cask ale. Pouring will be TrailWay American Stout, Maybee Birdseye Pale Ale dry-hopped with NB Hop Hash, Picaroons ESB, and a TBD cask from Grimross. The event runs from 2-5 pm, and there are still a few tickets available (only $21 each)!
• Next Saturday, June 11th, Garrison is hosting their Backlot Bash!, in support of the Ecology Action Centre. Held in the parking lot of their new production brewery on Marginal Rd (about 100 metres from their retail and storefront location), the event features headliner July Talk, joined by Alert the Medic, The Brood and Three Sheet as amazing local opening bands. Tickets are still available, and Garrison beer, as well as local cider, will be served, with food trucks keeping people satisfied.
Have a great weekend! And before we leave you for good…
– TrailWay is re-releasing their Whitney Coffee Stout this weekend, marking the first time this popular dark ale has been brewed on their new system. Featuring the addition of cold-brewed coffee from local Whitney Coffee Company, it clocks in at 6.2% ABV, and is available now at their brand-spanking-new taproom, and should follow at select tap accounts sometime next week.
– BarNone has just released a new iteration of their IPA; no real details on what’s changed, but it should be popping up at tap accounts across PEI, and may make an appearance for growler fills at tomorrow’s Charlottetown Farmers Market, so best seek it out and judge for yourselves!
– Grimross has a “2nd generation” of their Brett Saison on tap at the brewery; slightly higher in ABV (6.2% vs. 6%), the brewery describes it with the words “crisp, bubblegum, and dry”. The original is also still on tap, allowing side-by-side comparisons to be made.
– Just a note that due to overwhelming response, Lazy Bear will not be attending this week’s Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market. The good news is that the next batch of their Gut View Amber is *just* about ready, and should be back on June 11th. And keep an eye out for their retail hours at the brewery in Smiths Cove, starting later this month.
– Upstreet was bottling up something special this week, to be released in a few weeks. They will be celebrating their First Anniversary with a weekend of events June 24-26 at their taproom, as well as favourite restaurants and bars across the Island.
– Propeller is now serving flights of samples at their Gottingen St location. These are always a great way to taste through a brewery’s offerings, so that you can then grab a growler (or three) of your favourites!