Happy first Friday of Fall! Lots of seasonal beers, ciders, and meads have been released this week, so let’s get right to it!
• TrailWay released Rype, their newest American Pale Ale, earlier this week at the brewery. This pale and hazy hoppy ale was brewed with a portion of Rye malt, giving a “noticeable, yet subtle” rye presence in the background. Hopped with Mosaic, Comet, and Topaz (with the high majority being used in the whirlpool and dry hop additions, keeping the IBUs in the low-20s) for plenty of juicy and tropical aromas and flavours, this one will join the regular lineup at TrailWay, with possible hop substitutions in the future. In addition, look for their kettle-soured hoppy beer, Sour 1, to be tapped later today. Hopped with Citra and Galaxy, this 5.0% ABV beer will be available at the brewery today and at select tap accounts in the region shortly.
• Schoolhouse has released the latest version in their locally-hopped series, Big Red Schoolhouse. This take features Galena and Centennial, harvested from Elleslea Farm out of Sheffield Mills, NS. Both varieties were added to a hopback, which the beer passed through twice, first on the way to the boil kettle from the mashtun, and again from the kettle to the fermentor. At 6.5% ABV and 80 IBUs, the brewery describes the finish as having a “mouth-puckering hop bitterness”. Some of the beer has been kegged, with the rest going into 650 mL bottles. Look for it on tap at a few of Schoolhouse’s tap accounts, and their next growler night, October 6th in downtown Windsor (assuming there’s any left!). As well, a special cask of the beer will be pouring at the first session of tomorrow’s Cask Beer Throwdown (more on that in the events section below).
• Good news for Sunset Heights Meadery fans in Fredericton – many of their brands have been bottled and were available for sale at two ANBL stores (York Street and Brookside Mall) as of last Friday afternoon. Sales have been high over the past week, with different varieties of their Still Meads, Sparkling Queens, and Pollen Angels all being available for purchase; drop in both stores (or check online inventory) to see what’s still available. Luckily, this won’t be the only time bottles are available through ANBL, as more release dates will be scheduled for the near future.
• The latest Boxing Rock / Big Spruce collaboration beer, a blueberry Berliner Weisse – was released this week. For the Love of Grimace is made up of a simple grist of half-and-half Pilsner and Wheat malt, and was kettle-soured with the Big Spruce Lactobacillus in-house culture. After being boiled and fermented, it was aged for two weeks on 250 lbs of wild organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm. Featuring a beautiful purple colour, it weighs in at 3.9% ABV. This beer will only be available on tap and in growlers, but should make it to better bars across the province, as both breweries in Shelburne and Nyanza are sharing the wealth.
• Boxing Rock also teamed up with the crew at North Brewing recently, and are ready to release Year 4 of their Many Hands collaboration beer. This year’s batch once again features locally-grown and freshly-picked hops, namely Cascade, Crystal, Goldings and Willamette from Wallace Ridge Farm in Malagash. The hops were added in the “first wort” (as the kettle is filled with wort after draining from the mash tun), and then not again until just 10 minutes left in the boil, to preserve the essential oils in these freshly-harvested hops. New this year is the use of locally malted barley from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, namely 100% Munich malt, which undergoes a higher kiln temperature than traditional Pale or 2-Row malts, thus displaying enhanced colour and flavour character. This 5.7% ABV celebration of local farmers and producers will be available starting tomorrow at both the Boxing Rock and North breweries for growler fills, and their local accounts and Farmers’ Market tables.
• And look for the re-launch of Boxing Rock’s The Darkness Cascadian Ale shortly, which will be available in 355 ml bottle six-packs at the NSLC beginning next week. The 6.5% black, hoppy ale will also see release on tap and in growlers very soon.
• After months of trials, Big Spruce is now putting their own farm-isolated yeast to the test. What first began as 50 samples collected from in and around the farm brewery, with the help of Guelph’s Escarpment Labs, they narrowed down the yeasts to those that produce, and could tolerate, alcohol. From those, a few mini batches were prepared to check the taste and aroma characteristics, with the ultimate Saccharomyces cerevisiae winner being chosen. Originating from a wild pin cherry on their property, the yeast is currently chugging away on a batch of wort, with the beer seeing wide release in the fall. And there has been lots of development across the road from the brewery, as the location of their 20 barrel (2400 litre) production brewery is being built and assembled now. Follow along on their Facebook page.
• Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove, NS have released their own harvest beer this week, Binecraft Pale Ale. From 40 hand-harvested and -picked bines of Cascade hops grown by the Hudgins family in Aylesford, the wet hops were added late in the boil, preserving the freshly-harvested aroma, plus a dash of citrus. The yeast chosen for this brew, Midwestern Ale from Yeast Bay, lent some subtle esters to the final beer, enhancing the bright fruit experience. Drop by the brewery during their Thursday night Growler Nights to enjoy the fruits of their labours, and look for it on tap in HRM at Battery Park and for fills at Harvest Wines soon.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a pair of beers returning this week and next. Released for Halifax Oktoberfest, Hammerschlagen is also available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills. This ‘Fest-style lager is 5.4% ABV and a light 14 IBUs, highlighting an amber colour from the crystal and caramel malts, and the typical toffee, bready, and dark fruit flavours and aromas from them. Also at the brewery are 650 ml bombers of the Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale, brewed with bog myrtle.
• And returning next week is Garrison’s Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Brewed with loads of Cinderella pumpkins from the Dill Farm, and additions of the spices found in pumpkin pie recipes the world over (allspice, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg). The 8.0% ABV copper-coloured beer is lightly hopped to 30 IBUs to allow the spicing, crystal malts, and light sweetness to shine through. Pair it with your turkey, pumpkin pie, or on its own, this beer is a fun seasonal release for fall. Look for it to be released at the brewery and private stores next Thursday.
• Annapolis Cider Company has released their first Ice Cider, Harvest Gold. This type of cider is typically produced by cryoextraction – the juice is frozen and then allowed to slowly thaw; the “run-off” is, as a result, extremely concentrated and sweet. This is then fermented, and usually results in a high-alcohol cider… in the case of Harvest Gold, 10.5% ABV. The alcohol is hidden quite well, however, as the resulting cider “still retains plenty of sweetness and acidity”; think of this one as a dessert cider, similar to ice wine. It’s available now in 200 mL bottles ($19.95 each), and only at the cidery in Wolfville.
• There’s a brand new cask pouring at the PEI Brewing Co. – The Mayor is described as an easy-drinking, 3.8% ABV Saison that has been spiced with garden-fresh basil. With “lots of fruity esters and a spicy aroma, with notes of black liquorice and fresh-cut grass”, according to the brewery, it won’t last long, as per usual for these special cask releases. Get to the brewery’s taproom now for a taste!
• Moosehead has confirmed that they have secured a location for their new small-batch brewery, scheduled to open in 2017 in conjunction with their 150th anniversary. The new facility will be located on Water Street, adjacent to Pugsley slip at the bottom of Princess St. in Uptown Saint John. Two small-scale brewing systems will be located in the 10,000 square foot space, which will allow the brewery to “explore new product development and new brewing techniques”, according to a recent press release; a tap room and retail area will also be housed in the space. This should mean more beer along the lines of the special releases that have popped up over the last few years, especially at events such as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival.
Another busy weekend; here are a few of the events worth checking out including the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest, depending on where you are in the world:
• A reminder that the Cask Beer Throwdown is happening at Olympic Centre tomorrow, September 24th. Featuring two sessions (12-3 and 5-8), guests will get a chance to try a whole slew of beers served via gravity pins and hand pumps. The entrance fee includes access to the event, a take-home glass, and your first 12 beer sample tickets. Session One (12-3pm) breweries include: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Garrison, Good Robot, Propeller, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tatamagouche. Session Two (5-8pm) breweries include: Big Spruce, Gahan House – Halifax, Garrison, Good Robot, Hell Bay, North, Sober Island, and Spindrift. Food courtesy of Bramoso Gourmet Pizzeria, The Food Wolf, and T DOGS will be available as well. Grab your tickets now!
• Also happening tomorrow is the 2nd annual Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest, at the Moncton Lions Club. Featuring 20 breweries, cider houses and meaderies from Atlantic Canada, there are three ticket types available, each including unlimited samples: regular tickets include a custom tasting glass and entry from 7:30 pm-10 pm; the VIP session, which begins a half hour earlier; and a VVIP session which begins at 6 pm and includes a special glass, industry panel discussion, and guided beer tasting. Tickets can be purchased online ($58, $68, and $75 for regular, VIP, and VVIP, respectively). Proceeds will go to support the United Way.
• And one final reminder for tomorrow – new Fredericton brewery Bogtrotter will be holding their official launch. Their three core beers have been pouring at several establishments over the past week, and are now available in 16 oz bottles at the Oromocto ANBL. Starting with a tasting at the ANBL Train Station from noon – 3 pm, then on to Graystone from 4-6 pm, before finishing off with a Meet the Maker event at the James Joyce from 8-10 pm. There’s no charge to attend any of the events.
We’ve got a few more parting shots this week:
– Bore City has confirmed the name of their new DIPA – Tipsy Giant will be pouring at the Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest, with one keg likely to make it to one of their Moncton licensees, soon. For those of us who are missing out, fret not – Tipsy Giant will most likely be joining the regular Bore City rotation. For more details on the beer, check last week’s post.
– Hell Bay has brought back their Black IPA, Black Flag IPA; brewed with dark malts and Demerara sugar (to add a touch of rum flavour), the beer is hopped with Chinook and Ahtanum to 55 IBUs. Weighing in at 6.1% ABV, it’s available on tap at the brewery now and should pop up at select accounts, soon.
– Propeller Pumpkin Ale is back, in both 6-packs and 500 mL bottles, as well as on tap; brewed with a combination of real pumpkin flesh and spices, it comes in at 5% ABV.