Good morning, and welcome to a rainy weekend! We can’t really complain too much, considering the beautiful weather we’ve had over the last several months… but if you’d like something to take your mind off the all the wet, why not dive into some of the latest beer news?
• Big Spruce is releasing a very special beer this week, fermented using yeast harvested from a Pin Cherry on the brewery’s property. Big Grandma’s Wild uses Horton Ridge malt for the grain bill, and the yeast was isolated, investigated and propagated by the folks at Escarpment Labs out of Guelph, Ontario. Featuring some spicy phenolic notes, thanks to both the malt and yeast choices, this is a big step in creating a true “beer from here”. The 7.4% ABV, 24 IBU beer is named in celebration of Thelma MacLellan of St. Patrick’s Channel, one of Big Spruce’s earliest supporters, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Congratulations to both Big Grandma and Big Spruce on their important accomplishments! Look for the beer at the brewery now, with bars around HRM tapping it this weekend. Also keep your eyes open for Craig Goes Yard, their own Harvest Beer, featuring hops grown right at the brewery. It is on tap at the brewery now, and will be pouring around the province very soon, including Battery Park, Stillwell, and growler fills at Bishop’s Cellar.
• Celebrating the advancement of Canada’s Team to the AL Finals, Halifax’s Propeller Brewing released a new One Hit Wonder brew late last week. Mahogany in colour, it is best described as a maltly Fest-style beer. A hybrid fermentation technique was used, employing both ale and lager yeast strains, for an easy-drinking beer. Using NB-grown Cascade from Moose Mountain Hop Farm, as well as Northern Brewer, the . At 6.0% ABV and 16 IBUs, this malt-forward beer is still around, although the Jays are not. 🙁 Formerly known as Go Jays Go, it has been renamed to Maybe Next Year, and is available for growler fills at both the Gottingen and Windmill brewery locations now, and will be found on tap at select spots around HRM. And we’ve gotten word that they’ve brewed up a brand new winter seasonal yesterday.
• Tatamagouche Brewery has released another in their Giant Beer Series this week, Russian Imperial Stout with Cherries. This 8.5% ABV beer spent a month in an Ironworks Distillery barrel, on top of a healthy assortment of dark cherries. After some conditioning and carbonating, it made its way into their large-format 650 ml bottles. As with their other recent GBS beers, these are in short supply and high demand, so be sure to drop by the brewery today to avoid disappointment. And while at the brewery, be sure to grab batch number 3 of Tata’s collab with Bishop’s Cellar, Cellar Slammer India Session Ale, their 4.4% ABV ode to hops. And keep an eye out for the return of Blue Bales Blueberry Wheat next week, this time brewed with berries from the end of the season, lending a juicier and sweeter profile than the tart character of the early harvest berries.
• Tide and Boar Brewing is releasing their small batch beers at a break-neck pace. Late last week they tapped a new version of their Sour Otis Sour Beer series, brewed with Field Grapes and Lemon Zest. While still available, it’s sure to sell out quickly, and will be replaced with Sour Otis Plum, featuring local plums from Memramcook, probably on the weekend. In hoppy beer news, keep an eye out for Amarillo, Citra, and Summit Pale Ale to hit the taps any minute now, with a return of their JEENYUS IPA next week.
• Garrison Brewing is releasing a new beer today, New Ross Sucker Punch IPA. This 6.9% ABV brew features loads of Cascade and Willamette hops grown at Ross Farm Museum (plus some whole leaf Amarillo and Columbus), to the tune of 65 IBUs. The grain bill builds on a base of Maritime Malt, with some Wheat Malt for additional foam retention. This beer is only available at the brewery for tasters and growler fills, so be sure to drop by for a taste. They will be celebrating City Harvest tomorrow at the brewery with some special visitors. In addition to the new beer, they are inviting Halifax Press to their space to serve up some inspired grilled cheeses, 11-3.
• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has been busy lately! Their beers are now available at several spots in HRM, including Battery Park and The Board Room Game Cafe (both pouring the Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spice Latte Strong Porter), as well as Rooftop Rye-It for growler fills at Bishop’s Cellar (they’ll be pouring the KDPSLSP when that’s through). Lunenburg’s Grand Banker will be pouring their beer very shortly, too. Look for a new version of their Little Pup Pale Ale to hit the taps very soon. Fermented with a different yeast, it finishes a little drier, with a lighter body to allow the hops to shine through. It weighs in at 4.8% ABV and 28 IBUs. And after a very successful Harvest Supper Club last night, tickets are on sale for a Festive Supper Club, being held December 1st. Tickets for the two seatings (5:00 and 7:30) are available now via email, and take a sneak peek at the menu here.
• Upstreet Brewing announced this week the beginning of their One Way Series, a chance for them to explore and experiment with new styles and recipes. The first release under the One Way banner comes this Friday in the form of the new Black IPA. Described as a middle ground where the dark and roasty chocolate and malt flavours of a porter meet with the resinous citrus blast of an American IPA, this burly brew comes in at 6.5% and a solid 60 IBU. It’s a departure from what Upstreet has released to date and they’re excited to know what folks think. It will be available at the brewery as of today, so if you’ve got a chance to get down and try it out, do so, and be sure to let Hogie and the gang know what you think.
• Great news from Picaroons Traditional Ales in Fredericton this week as they’ve not only got a new beer to share with us, they’re joining the ranks of breweries embracing the convenience of cans. The beer is the brewery’s first attempt at an Oktoberfest, and it comes in at 5% ABV… and a month or so late. 😉 Using a well-known true lager yeast strain from VLB Berlin and dosed with Mt Hood, Hallertau, and Saaz for a classic noble hop flavour and aroma, it will be available only while supplies last and only at Picaroons General Store in Saint John. On the canning front, after starting its life as an occasional summer seasonal, then going year-round earlier this summer and becoming the first Picaroons available in 6 packs, 506 Logger will now become the first Picaroons available in cans. It’s still a mix of German Pilsner and domestic 2-row malt that produces a golden coloured, dry and crisp easy-drinking 4.6% ABV beer, tempered with Amarillo hops. But now you can take it all the places that bottles are a pain to bring. As the brewery says – “IT’S JUST BEER. IN CANS.” You can expect to find it at the ANBL real soon now and you can also expect Picaroons to extend the canning to other beers in the lineup.
• As we continue through fall, more and more homebrew competitions are being announced. TrailWay is no exception, as they recently released the details for their 1st Homebrew Challenge! The style to be submitted is American IPA; your homebrew entry (3 x 450-750 mL bottles) can be dropped off/mailed to the brewery in Fredericton between January 11th-20th. Judging will take place between January 21st-25th, with the winner and runner-up being announced on Sunday, January 29th at the brewery. The entry fee is $20, which gets you a t-shirt and glass, a 12-oz pour of a new TW DIPA (at the January 29th event), as well as preferential drink pricing for the remainder of the event. The winning entry will receive a $100 gift card, and will get to brew their beer on the TW 10 BBL system for resale across Fredericton; the runner-up will receive a $50 gift card. For more details, check out their Facebook page. Good luck, homebrewers! And in other TW news, they’ve received their three new 30 BBL (35 hL) fermentors and 30 BBL brite tank, so expect to see more TW beer (and cans) soon!
• Sober Island Brewing continues to spread their offerings across HRM, now appearing on tap at The Press Gang, Primal Kitchen, and Battery Park (on rotation), with a few more spots scheduled. Their Kickstarter campaign rolls on, with just two weeks left to get in on helping to build their brewery in Sheet Harbour. The rewards range from stickers, to insulated backpacks (perfect for picnics on the go), to taking part in a brewday at SIBC. Be sure to check it out. Keep an eye out for new brews from Sober Island to launch in the coming weeks, including a British IPA. Next weekend, be sure to drop by the New Glasgow Farmers Market (Saturday) and/or Musquodoboit Farmers Market (Sunday) to grab crowlers and merchandise from their beer trailer.
• This week, Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has released a new brew, Braunbär, a medium-bodied honey brown ale. Honey was added to the fermentor in order to maintain some of the honey aromatics that would tend to be lost in the boil. For hops, they’ve chosen the Santiam variety, an American hop which brings some classic noble characteristics. The flowery and peppery spice aromas from the hops should play nicely with the roasted and caramel malt flavours, while an undertone of sweetness from some residual sugars from the honey completes the palate. You can find this 5% ABV brew at the brewery, or potentially in Halifax this weekend.
• Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Port Rexton Brewing, tapped a new beer late last week, Sweater Weather Double IPA. This SMaSH beer was brewed entirely with Canadian 2-row malt, and single-hopped quite heavily with Simcoe, a very popular variety well known for its characteristics of citrus, berries, and pine. Very hoppy, but well-balanced, this 7.6% beer is available now at the brewery, and may make an appearance on tap in Town, but why risk it?? And if you’re dropping by the brewery tomorrow (Saturday, October 22nd), they’re hosting a “Yoga, Lunch, Hike & Beer” from 9:30 am – 3 pm; it’s $45 to take part, and you can register by emailing here.
• Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery has launched a brand new beer, hitting the taps this weekend. Hants County Hop on Harvest Ale was brewed using more than 45kg of wet hops from Hill Top Hops in Scotchville, NS. Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus were added late in the boil, to preserve the piney and green notes these fresh hops deliver. The grain bill of Golden Promise, Caramunich III, Vienna and Toasted Wheat lend a golden colour to this Fest/Marzen beer, with biscuit and bready character on a medium-low body. 6.0% ABV and a moderate 35 IBUs. It is on tap now at Stubborn Goat, Red Stag Tavern, and The Lower Deck.
As usual, there are plenty of beer-related events happening in our region; here are some of the bigger ones to take note of:
• Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub is holding their 11th Annual Brewers Dinner tomorrow evening at 6pm. Featuring 4 courses, each paired with a Rudder’s beer, it with be a filling – and fulfilling – evening. Reservations are required, and tickets for the dinner are available at the brewery, or by phone (902-742-7311). More details on the menu and beers on their Facebook page.
• For those on the other end of the province, the Celtic Oktoberfest is being held in Port Hawkesbury this Saturday. Featuring unlimited sampling from nine Nova Scotia breweries, one winery, and ten local restaurants, along with live music all evening, it’s sure to be a great evening out.
• Now that Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing full-size batches from their 10hL DME system (Holy Mackerel, their Pale Ale was released this week, with Nun on the Run Cream Ale to be released next week) they are now also sending kegs of beer out into the wild. Some of the first have gone to Grand Banker in Lunenburg, who will be hosting a Tap Takeover next Friday, October 28th. Featuring their full lineup, and some beer-steamed mussels, the evening is sure to be a fun time. Learn more about Saltbox’s offerings here, and the Tap Takeover here.
• Railcar Brewing will officially have been open for two years on November 1st; to celebrate, they’re holding an Open Brewery Day next Saturday, October 29th. Drop by the brewery’s taproom in Florenceville-Bristol for free samples and brewery tours, and enjoy two-for-one growler fills all day. Happy birthday, Railcar!
• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing Co has released a new beer in celebration of the Devour! Film Festival (running November 2-6 in Wolfville). Kinobier is a 4.7% Munich Helles, a German-style light blonde lager, brewed with 100% German Heidelberg Malt. Lightly hopped to 16 IBUs, it features Herkules and Huell Melon German varieties, for a citrus highlight to the grain profile. The beer will be pouring around Wolfville during the festival, with some spots in the Valley, and HRM, pouring it now, including the brewery.
• Beerocracy will be debuting at the Silver Wave Film Festival, at 7pm November 3rd. Passes for the entire festival are only $40 ($20 for students), which get you into every screening and event, and are available now. For those looking to only attend Beerocracy, there will be limited first-come, first-serve tickets available at the door (cash only). There will be a reception at the James Joyce following the film, for the chance to enjoy beer from the breweries profiled in the film. And look for details after the festival regarding the official opening screening of Beerocracy, and how VIP backers can take advantage of that perk. Congratulations to Shauna and Alex!
• For those in Halifax, there will be an equally beery event to keep you happy on November 3rd: Battery Park is hosting the second in their Nova Scotia Tap Takeover series, featuring more than a baker’s dozen of beers from Shelburne’s Boxing Rock. It will be a mixture of core favourites, blasts from the past, and at least a couple of brand new beers, one of which is the collab between BP and BR, an India Brown Ale, as well as the recently re-released Hop Springs Eternal White IPA. We’ll have more on the beers pouring closer to the date, but in the meantime, book Friday the 4th off so you can full enjoy the evening before.
• Due to quick sales on tickets for their Christmas Brewery Tour this December, New Brunswick Beer Tours have added two additional tours for the month: one on Saturday, December 3rd, and a second tour on Saturday, December 17th. Both events will go from 11:30 am – 4 pm, and feature stops and samples at four different Fredericton breweries. Tickets for both go on sale this weekend. For more details, check out their Facebook page (link above).
That’s it for this week, have a great weekend! And before we go…
– Bulwark‘s Winter Cider has been bottled and has started to make its appearance in stores; this 7% ABV cider is infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, perfect for those nights by a fire (which aren’t too far off).
– A small batch of Toasted Coconut Porter is now available at Gahan House Harbourfront – Halifax, available on cask into the weekend.
– Graystone recently released their Ridgeback IPA, a 5.5% ABV, 94 IBU West Coast IPA that they have described as “full-bodied, with notes of citrus and pine”. This is the first time this beer has been brewed on their new, large system; it’s available now for pints and growlers at the brewery, and like several of their other brands now, should be on tap across Fredericton.
– Hammond River has re-brewed their Black IPA, Two Rivers India Black Ale (7% ABV, 77 IBUs), which should be available on tap by the end of the month. Stay tuned next week, as we’ll have details on their third annual Homebrew Competition, which will feature three different styles this year: Imperial IPA, Sweet Stout, and English Porter.
– The Forage Rye IPA (7% ABV, 70 IBUs) from Maybee that we talked about a few weeks ago is now available; brewed with Crystal Rye Malt and hopped with Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus, you can find it in growlers and cans at the brewery.
– Shiretown Hops On For Nowhere I.P.A is now available for purchase at the brewery in Charlo, marking the first time in over a year that it’s been available. Due to the small batch size, it will only be available in bottles from the source.
– With temperatures cooling, TrailWay has re-released their Black IPA, Black Hops One (7% ABV, 70 IBUs). Hopped with Comet, Mosaic, and Galaxy, it’s got a great balance between fruity, citrusy hops, and dark roasted malt character.
– Details are very slim right now, but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with a special hybrid wine/beer in the works by North Brewing. They visited Benjamin Bridge this week, and managed to leave with a few hundred litres of grape must, and a barrel. We’ll be sure to share the info when available!