Happy Friday folks! Before you bolt out the door to don your costume and drink beer straight from a pumpkin, check out the latest beers and events in our region this week.
• Good Robot released a new beer earlier this week, the name of which is almost as hard to type as it is to say – HFXtraterrestrials StankoniAle (God bless copy and paste!). Described by the brewery as a “fruity wheat with southern heat”, think of it as a spicy Berliner Weisse. The grist is composed simply of Wheat and Pilsner malt, with a bit of Acidulated malt thrown in to lower the pH. Hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace, further additions of lemon zest, orange zest, and red Thai chilies help round out both the aroma and flavour with more fruit characteristics, as well as heat. This golden, hazy, effervescent beer was launched on Wednesday during their Player’s Ball event, accompanied by music, soul food, and classic cars. Super-sessionable at just 4% ABV, it’s still on tap now at the brewery taproom; you’ll likely see it across the HRM this weekend as well. Be sure to check our Events listing below for GR’s busy weekend.
• There’s a brand new beer on tap at the Big Tide brewpub, ALTar MatrimoniAle, which was brewed with Uncorked Tours‘ own Gilliane Nadeau earlier this month. Launched at Nadeau’s engagement party at the brewpub, it’s an Altbier that was lagered for a short while, in order to mimic how the beer style was originally brewed when it originated in Germany. Amber-coloured, and drinkable in quantity at 4.8% ABV and 42 IBUs, featuring Pale Ale and Caramunich malts, with Noble hops for a well-balanced brew. The beer is available for pints and growlers now, and will be making a return next summer to celebrate Nadeau’s wedding.
• TrailWay has brought back Good Aura, hitting taps earlier this week. This hoppy Amber Ale was originally brewed in honour of Aura, the beloved dog of Dan Mason, TrailWay’s co-brewer and co-owner, a rescue pup from the Fredericton SPCA. The beer has a grist with multiple malts, including Crystal, Munich and Rye, giving it an amber-coloured (and, of course, hazy!) appearance. Hopped with plenty of Mosaic and Summit, this 7% ale combines the best-of-both-worlds from both the American Amber and American IPA styles. Every time Good Aura is brewed, TrailWay will make a donation to the Fredericton SPCA.
• Up on the Rock this week, YellowBelly Brewery has released a variation on their tried and true namesake Pale Ale. Normally kettle hopped with Nugget, Cluster, and Super Styrians and then dry-hopped with Ahtanum to accentuate piney, floral and citrus notes, this batch is solely smashed with Mosaic (HBC 369) hops from start to finish, yielding heavy resinous, piney, tropical and citrusy flavours. Beautifully described by Brewmaster Liam McKenna himself with the note, “Smells like a frisky ocelot in a pine forest eating a massive tropical and citrus fruit salad,” it has all the hallmarks of the original (a sessionable 4.5% and a reasonable 40 IBU). Speaking of the original, we are assured that the standard YellowBelly Pale Ale will continue to be served alongside this batch, but for those with a nose for the modern, dank, citrus and tropical mashup that is Mosaic, it’s available now in the pub and hopefully next week in bottles.
• The new, experimental beers continue to roll out of the General Store, the Picaroons Saint John headquarters. Now on tap is The Power’s Out Pumpkin Ale, brewed in “honour” of the frequent power issues the location has experienced since opening. Brewed with real pumpkin and “healthy, though not overwhelming” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, this is quite-sessionable take on the Pumpkin Ale style, weighing in at just 4.7% ABV. As with their other special releases, this is available on tap only at the General Store, and for a very limited time, so drop by for your taste ASAP!
• As we mentioned last week, check the taps, and shelves, for a bevvy of returning favourites from Tatamagouche this week: Blue Bales, their Blueberry Wheat returns with the harvest berries, resulting in a softer and sweeter finish than the earlier batch; Full Circle American Wheat, first brewed last year with help from the crew at Field Guide, featuring Tata’s own Cascade hops, aided by some late Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria for a big candied citrus aroma; and Ging’ Sync: Rye, Rye, Rye, brewed with more than 5 kg of ginger in the kettle and hopback to complement the Horton Ridge Malt Rye used in the grain bill. Growler fills and cans of all three are available now at the brewery, and these will be showing up on the taps around HRM this weekend.
• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery has released a new beer this weekend, a Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout. Modeled after the favourite Hallowe’en (and year-round) peanut butter and chocolate cup treat, this 5.2% ABV beer has a lighter body than their Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, with a nice caramel malt and ligth roast, with the addition of lactose gives a slightly sweeter flavour, giving a nice base to the significant PB aroma and flavour. Actual Reese cups were added to the brew, as well as dark chocolate. It will be available in Fredericton at Isaac’s Way and the James Joyce pub, and a single keg heading to Cask and Kettle in Saint John. And for those who make the trip to Nackawic, those who show up in costume this weekend will receive a 10% discount on pints.
• Garrison Brewing is launching a pair of beers this weekend. Returning for the season, just in time for International Stout Day on Nov 3, is Martello Stout. Weighing in at 5.0% ABV and 30 IBUs, it features lots of roast, chocolate and coffee characteristics. Available at the brewery now, and at the NSLC and private stores shortly. The second launch of the day is Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy. This 8.0% Double IPA features a tons of Citra, Ella, and Mosaic hops, to the tune of 75 IBUs, for a floral and fruity blast from these special varietals. This test batch is only available in 650 ml bottles at the brewery now.
• And in upcoming brewery news, Half Cocked Brewing has jumped onto the scene in North Grant, NS, near Antigonish. Local brothers Dave and Greg Oicle, together with partners Matt Thomson and Ryan MacPherson, will set up on an old chicken farm (hence the name…), which they have already prepped to begin growing hops in the spring. Long time homebrewers, they are currently working with a Sabco Brew-Magic system, a favourite for small and pilot breweries in our region. Follow along on their progress toward opening in the spring on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we’ll grab the full scoop from them closer to launch.
Check out these events happening this weekend, and in the near future:
• Happening right now, is the inaugural brewday for the Gander Homebrew Club. Spearheaded by Sam Newman, one of the principals of the in-development Scudrunner Brewing, and David Jerrett, the group and event are a way for local beer enthusiasts to get together and share their love of the hobby. Brewers, and fans, of all skill and interest level are encouraged to drop by to meet, lend a hand, and make plans for future brewdays (and the beer nights that follow). More details can be found at their FB event page, and you can reach out via Twitter to find the location details. And look for Scudrunner to launch their brewery in Gander in Spring 2017.
• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has an exciting new addition to their 20+ tap lines – cask ale! They’re officially launching the option of purchasing “cask ale” – beer that is packaged in a pin or firkin before fermentation is complete, allowing it to finish and carbonate in the cask from which it will be served. It is usually less-carbed than kegged beer, and served via hand pump. To celebrate the addition to their lineup, they are holding an event tonight, starting at 5:00 pm. A couple of special Maybee Brewing casks will be on, their Work Horse IPA and Stone House Tripel, both of which have been aging with Brettanomyces yeast. The pub plans to run casks on a daily basis, once a steady supply starts trickling in. There’s no cover to attend tonight, just show up and pay by the glass! And be sure to drop by Maybee’s spot Saturday after 6:00 pm for live music, and the launch of their Top Secret Hallowe’en beer, Give up the Gose, a 4.5 % ABV German-style sour, brewed with coriander and sea salt, with a unique twist of Chocolate Wheat malt for an unexpected dark appearance.
• After a busy inaugural summer season, the Port Rexton Brewing tap room will closing this weekend. To ensure they cap the season in style, they are holding a Hallowe’en Bash October 29th. Show up in your best costume at 7pm, and party the night away at your friendly local taproom. And for those making the trip from Town, there are a pair of nearby spots still open for the season, where you can rest your head. Fishers’ Loft (with whom they brewed the Gardener’s Gose) is nearby for your accommodation needs, as is Sherwood Suites. And fear not, PR fans, with the tap room closing, that just means more opportunities to grab a pint in town. Keep an eye on their social media to see when and where their next kegs will drop!
• Halifax’s Good Robot are holding a series of events this weekend to celebrate Hallowe’en as well.
Friday: Electric Circuit Party, 10:00 pm. Retro dance party to kick off the weekend.
Saturday: Jack-o-Lantern Contest, 12:00 to 6:00 pm. Drop by with your pre-carved pumpkins (or other gourd, veggie, or fruits) between noon and 6 for your chance at some prizes.
N̶o̶t̶ your Granny’s Halloween Party, 7:00pm. Cheesey Costume party and contest, Rinaldo’s sandwiches, and Black Buffalo Records spinning tunes.
Take Sunday off to recover, and then…
Monday: Everything’s Fine: An Interactive Halloween Show, 6:00pm. This ticketed event is sold out, but the doors will be open to the public at 10pm. Black Sheep Restaurant will be serving food onsite.
• Those within striking distance of the Metro Halifax area are reminded of the Battery Park Beer Bar’s second tap takeover, this time featuring Boxing Rock Brewing Co., happening in Dartmouth on Thursday, November 3rd. It will feature familiar favourites, fondly-remembered (or possibly forgotten) brews from seasons past and some brand new bangers. You’ll definitely be seeing the return of Hop Springs Eternal White IPA, created as an entry for this year’s Black Box Challenge competition, Over the Top, the Cranberry Sour from this summer and For the Love of Grimace, the Blueberry Berliner Weiss collaboration with Big Spruce Brewing. Rumor has it you’ll also see a brand new collaboration between Battery Park and Boxing Rock, in the form of an India Brown Ale. Plenty more taps are yet to be announced, keep an eye on social media (especially @BatteryBeerBar and @boxingrockbeer) for more tap reveals as the date approaches.
• Schoolhouse Brewery is continuing their First Thursday Growler Evening next Thursday, November 3rd, 5 to 9 pm. They will be giving tours of their new facility at 40 Water Street in Windsor, adjacent to the TAN Coffee. Check out their progress, and grab a growler while you’re there!
• Next weekend, on Sunday, November 6th, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Dinner & Gala will take place at the Stubborn Goat Gastropub. This is the culmination of the ACBA event and a chance to rub shoulders with both your favourite brewers as well, no doubt, as a few of the region’s beer cognoscenti as they converge for a multi-course dinner expertly paired with some of the region’s award-winning beers. The event starts at 6pm with dinner served at seven. Tickets for the event are $88.50 per person (which includes gratuity, but not taxes and fees, which run about $20 more). Whether you’re up for the gala or not, we’d like to remind everyone of your chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award for the top beer and top cider in the region for 2016. The list has been kept to those beers and ciders entered in the friendly competition, otherwise it would probably top out at 1000 different different offerings.
• The Inaugural Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening November 19th at the Cruise Terminal in Sydney. There will be thirteen breweries and cider houses from around the province in attendance for the Afternoon (2:00 to 4:30 pm) or Evening sessions (7:00 to 9:30 pm, with VIP tickets available for 6:00 pm entry). Grab your tickets online today.
• The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers – Atlantic Canada is holding a few beer courses in Halifax in the coming months. They are holding a Certified Beer Professional Course November 26th and 27th, preparing students to pass the online Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam. An introduction to the history, production, styles, and service of beer. Perfect for professional sales agents, hospitality professionals, or budding enthusiasts. Register online, or email for details. And keep an eye on their Beer Courses page, as they are adding to their portfolio all the time.
A few more parting shots before we sign off this week:
– After a brief hiatus, Unfiltered has once again released their very popular Double Orange Ale (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs), a SMaSH beer featuring 2-row malt and Citra hops; currently on tap for fills and pints at Charm School, and finer beer bars/restaurants in the HRM and beyond.
– ANBL Growler stations are featuring a wide array of beers from Garrison, Pump House and breweries from outside the region this week. And they have recently expanded their growler filling station to include Moncton North, located at 1866 Mountain Rd, bringing the count to six locations. Look for their expansion to continue to more locations, as the growler program has certainly been a hit for the ANBL, breweries, and drinkers alike.
– Sober Island Brewing‘s Kickstarter campaign is entering its final week, giving you just a few more chances to be a part of their expansion, while grabbing some swag for yourself. Be sure to take part today! Keep an eye on their social media pages to keep abreast of their new brewing location at Henley House.
– Local musicians Dave Gunning, JP Cormier & Jamie Robinson dropped by Uncle Leo’s Brewery this week, and brewed up a new Pale Ale, named Sunburst. Look for more details ahead of its launch mid-November.