You wouldn’t know it by the weather in much of the region, but winter is theoretically on its way and we’re starting to see some seasonal brews in that vein released here on the East Coast. At the same time, there’s plenty of non-seasonal action in the ten-plus brand new beers announced, the craft scene continues grow with another brewery opening it’s doors in New Brunswick, and there’s lots of beer-related news to share and events in the offing. Here’s this week’s attempt to tell you everything you need to know about craft beer in Atlantic Canada.
• Congratulations are in order as Foghorn Brewing in Rothesay officially opens their doors today. Located at 47 Clark Road, immediately adjacent to the CrossFit gym, Foghorn is serving samples, pints, and growlers of five brand new beers, including The Yellow Dart Session IPA (3.9% ABV), Golden Grover British Golden Ale (5.0% ABV), Brian Stout (5.0% ABV), Constable Winchester IPA (6.5%), and Old Forte Winter Warmer (6.5%). Their opening hours are 10-10 daily. For those who want to sit and enjoy a few pints, outside food is welcome, and can be ordered for delivery on-site (using the authentic restored 1950s era payphone). For those in NB, but not *quite* close enough to visit, look for kegs to hit local bars and restaurants late next week. For the latest news, be sure to follow their Facebook and Twitter pages. Check out our Profile of them, published in October.
• Following the maxim that when opportunity knocks one should open the door wide, Boxing Rock recently found themselves saying yes to a batch of malt from local malthouse Horton Ridge that hadn’t proceeded as scheduled due to a power interruption. Assessing this malt as reminiscent of a more rustic, homegrown Pilsner, the next step was to source hops to compliment its biscuity, bready flavour. Enter Clear Valley Hops with both Wild Turkey, a native Ontario variety and Crystal, an American hop with noble German lineage through the Hallertauer family tree. The Wild Turkey brings a smooth bittering profile along with an herbal and floral aroma that matches well with the fruit from this Ontario-grown Crystal. The resultant beer, dubbed Kilnus Interruptus was brewed in the American Pale Ale style at 5.5% ABV. It will be available on tap at select accounts in Halifax, in bottles at all of the private liquor stores in Halifax, in growlers at Boxing Rock’s stalls at the Halifax and Dartmouth farmers markets and, of course, at the brewery retail store in Shelburne. Only one batch of this irreproducible brew has been made, so you’ll want to act fast if you’d like a taste!
• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is releasing a new beer this weekend, branching out the variety of their offerings. Grumpy Cranberry Orange Sour is a 3.8% Kettle Sour beer, featuring loads of orange zest in the boil, and further aged on home-made cranberry sauce. To get you up to speed, Kettle Sours are a style of beer heavily inspired by the Berliner Weisse of Northern Germany. Usually featuring wheat malt as a significant portion of the grist, the low ABV and light-bodied beer features a distinctive acidic character from lactic acid. Lactobacillus bacteria are responsible for producing the acid, and are added to the wort in one of several ways: as a pure pitch from a yeast company; via un-mashed grain added to the wort (Lacto is commonly found on raw barley grain); or through Lacto-containing cultures, including yogurt. After addition of the bacteria, the wort is kept warm while the pH lowers, usually to 3.5 or lower (standard beer is in the pH 5 range). Once complete, the beer is heated/boiled to kill the Lacto, and then cooled and further fermented with a more traditional ale or lager yeast. For more beer learnin’, check out Milk the Funk, a resource for commercial and homebrewers alike. Drop by Roof Hound on Saturday, November 19th for the release, with the beer flowing at 9pm, and Tide & Timbre playing a set starting at 10pm.
• PEI’s BarNone has a couple of new beers in the pipeline: first up is SMaSH Ella, a single-malt-and-single-hop beer featuring – you guessed it – Ella, an Australian hop varietal. This relatively-new hop is known for “distinct tropical flavours”, especially when used in the dry-hop, which it definitely was with this brew. Very pale-coloured, it’s easy-drinking at just 4.2% ABV and 23 IBUs; look for it on tap around the Island this weekend. Next is BarNone’s first take on the Extra Special Bitter style, which has been a frequent request by fans of the brewery. Bitter Winter ESB features a grist made up mainly of floor-malted barley from Nova Scotia’s Horton Ridge, and was hopped with U.K. varieties. Fermented, interestingly enough, with an Abbey-style yeast strain, the beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 36 IBUs. This one was just brewed recently, so look for it on tap in a couple of weeks.
• The winter beers continue to trickle in, as Flying Boats is releasing their newest seasonal, Fireside Friend, which is their take on the Winter Warmer style. A full-bodied ale exhibiting plenty of malt character, expect flavours of caramel, nuts, and molasses. Further-complemented with the additional of spices such as cinnamon sticks, grated nutmeg, cloves, and peeled ginger, this is naturally a bigger beer, weighing in at 7.1% ABV and 32 IBUs. This one is going to be available on tap only; expect to see it any day now at the following locations: the Tide & Boar, James Joyce Irish Pub, Graystone, Saint John Ale House, and Ducky’s Pub.
• Taking a left-turn from the winter beers, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has released Langered Stook, a “Hoppy Half Wit”. Brewed in the Hopfenweisse style (which originated between a collaboration between Schneider and Brooklyn Brewery), it features Belgian Witbier and German Hefeweizen characteristics, with a healthy dose of hops. In this case, lots of late and dry-hop additions of Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado, and Mandarina Bavaria, which themselves display notes of fruit and citrus, are enhanced by fermentation using the Fruity Witbier yeast from Escarpment Labs. At 4.8% ABV and 43 IBUs, this isn’t your Uncle Dieter’s Hefe! Look for it on tap in HRM at Battery Park, Lion & Bright and Stillwell, as well as at the Big Spruce and Breton Brewing co-Tap Takeover at Governor’s Pub after Saturday’s Cape Breton Beer Fest.
• Picaroons has announced the details on their latest one-off release at their General Store in Saint John – Cranberry Wheat is just as the name suggests, an American Wheat Ale brewed with real cranberries, sourced from Sunberry Cranberry Producers out of Maugerville, NB. Described by the brewery as “sweet, smooth, and just a tiny bit of tart”, it’s quite sessionable at 4.2% ABV. Available on tap now, for a limited time.
• Tuesday of this week saw a new beer available on tap at Yellowbelly Brewery in St. John’s. On the face of it, Labrador Lager is vaguely reminiscent of last year’s Oktoberfest, the brewery’s first lager, which was a festbier made with Pilsen, Munich and Vienna malts and Styrian Goldings and Saphir hops. The Labrador replaces the Vienna with Caramunich, which will bring additional body and some sweetness, and substitutes Super Styrian hops for the Styrian Goldings while featuring “a ton” of the Saphir to bring a sweet citrus character. Billed as 6.5% ABV and in the Helles Bock style, it’s been lagering for weeks now and should be well-balanced and integrated.
• Hot on the heels of last week’s Danko SMaSH comes another new offering from Unfiltered Brewing, this time a devious-sounding DIPA with specs that may very well give prospective hop-lovers a slight pause. Listed at a massive 10% ABV and a typically NASH-ian 100+ IBU, this beer has been aged on white oak for 8 weeks or so and apparently displays none of the warning signs you’d normally detect from such a powerful brew, so they put it in the name. Warning Label is available starting today at the brewery and next door at Charm School for pints and growler fills. Whatever happens, you will not be able to say that you were not warned.
• Those crazy kids at Good Robot Brewing Company are releasing a new beer today: Extra BIG-ASS Beer – Camacho Lager is an amber malty lager in the European style, somewhere in the vicinity of a Märzen or Oktoberfest. The malt bill features Vienna, 2-row, coffee and smoked malts, with some flaked oats to enhance the mouthfeel. On the hops side it marries two varieties developed and released in the 1970s, the German Perle, known for a floral and spicy character, and the American Willamette, which features fruity and floral notes. A true lager, it is bready on the nose and the palate, with prominent roasted flavours, some lingering spice, and a crisp, dry finish. At 5.2% ABV and 24 IBU, it’s gluten-reduced and should be quite crushable. You’ll be able to find its ample hindquarters today at the Good Robot taproom.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is releasing the latest in their Cellar Series today, a Rum Barrel-Aged version of their Honey Lavender. The base beer, produced with lavender grown at Meander River, and wildflower honey, spent several months in Ironworks Distillery barrels, taking on loads of rum and wood character, as well as a few points of alcohol, with this version weighing in at 11.0% ABV (the non-barrelled is 6.5% ABV). Grab a bottle or two (this beer is perfect for aging) at the brewery today, as it is in high demand and short supply!
• Today is the release of Episode 1 of the 902 BrewCast podcast. Kyle, Phil and Tony sit down with Peter Burbridge and Josh Herbin of North Brewing to learn more about how they got to where they are, and what’s next for the brewery. Sharing some beers and chatting beer, sounds like a great way to spend your hour commute home today. Subscribe to the podcast here, iTunes and Google Play links are coming shortly. *Maybe wait until you’re home to crack open that Wiley Boys II.*
As we pass the half-way point of the month, there are plenty of great events coming up on our radar. Here are a select few that we can cram in today:
• New Brunswick-based band (and hop farmers) Earthbound Trio are embarking on a Maritimes Brewery tour today. Starting at Upstreet Nov 18, they will be at the Big Spruce/Breton Brewing after-party November 19th, and Roof Hound Brewing Nov 22nd. There are a few more stops during and after these dates, be sure to check their Facebook page for the latest information.
• Cape Breton Beer Fest is tomorrow November 19th, at the Sydney Cruise Terminal (aka The Big Fiddle). It will serve as the official launch of Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. Pours of their Table Beer, Wild NE IPA, and 100% Brett Fermented Golden Ale, all produced on their pilot system, will be available to thirsty attendees. Sober Island Brewing will be debuting their British IPA at the Fest, as well as a cask of their Mild Ale, plus a bevvy of brand new beers mentioned here (and not)… Tickets are still available, and check out the brewery list here.
• Salvatore’s Pizza is hosting a two-day tap (and kitchen) takeover by Unfiltered Brewing November 22 and 23, the Garlic & Hops Tastebud Take-Down. Featuring a handful of Unfiltered taps, as well as Greg Nash-smoked brisket, NashBomb sausages from Getaway Butcher Shop, plus plenty of treats and surprises. Be sure to drop by to take part in the fun!
• Uncle Leo‘s will be launching a brand new beer November 23rd, Sunburst Pale Ale. The 5.5% ABV golden amber brew is reminiscent of a Sunburst guitar, and hits “all of the right notes”, according to the collaborators Dave Gunning, JP Cormier & Jamie Robinson. Drop by Piper’s for a glass of the beer (from a special cask double dry-hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe) and appetizers. Tickets are $20, and available at Uncle Leo’s (by phone or in person), and are limited to only 60, so act today! Find out more on their FB page.
• Next weekend, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers -Atlantic Chapter is offering the first module of their Certified Beer Professional Program. November 26 and 27, 10:00-3:00 on both days at the Prince George Hotel. Garrison Brewing’s Brewmaster Daniel Girard will lead attendees through lectures laying out the history, production, styles and service of beer, giving students the knowledge base necessary to take and pass the Certified Beer Server exam from Cicerone. The course includes a textbook, tour of Garrison, tasting of several beers, and the cost and facilitation of the exam. Find out more details, and sign up today!
• A reminder that next weekend is the Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge, where homebrewers from across the Maritimes are competing to produce the best Dark Mild, Double IPA, and Experimental Sour. For those entrants who haven’t already mailed in their registration form, or dropped off their beer (at Big Spruce, or with Chris), be sure to reach out today to organize that! And we’ll see you at Wooden Monkey on November 27th for the party and announcement.
• After a brilliantly successful BrewBot takeover by Keith Forbes on Tuesday, the fine folks at Good Robot have invited the next homebrew crew to invade. On December 2nd, Bráthair Brewing will be taking over the taps with six beers, including their Stillwell Open-winning Kissed by Elvis Double IPA, 3 Scots & a Frenchman Scottish ale with Saison yeast, and Daughter of Sin Double IPA with only whirlpool hops. Check out the video to learn a bit more about the Brothers in (Beer) Arms, and drop by that Friday for some well-crafted beer.
• One of the first brewery Christmas parties was announced earlier this week, with Maybee Brewing confirming theirs to take place on Saturday, December 10th. Shake the Shivers will be a semi-formal event, and should begin around 7 pm. Lots of beer will be on tap for purchase, live music will start at 8pm and will be playing throughout the night, and Milda’s Pizzas & More will be on-hand to make sure you don’t go hungry. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $12, and will also be available at the door for $20; this price includes the use of a shuttle from 12:30-1:30 am, which will take you downtown to the Tannery, where you can continue your party!
• Details are now available for Stillwell’s Mikkeller Tap Takeover. With two dozen beers coming, it is far too epic for just one weekend (or month!), so they will be holding Part 1 of the Danish Invasion December 17th, and Part 2 January 14th. Mark your calendars now for a blast of innovative collaborative beers coming your way. And in the meantime, drop by this Sunday, November 20th for their Third Anniversary Party, and December 10th for the Bissell Brothers/Orono Brewing Tap Takeover.
– Truro’s Nook and Cranny has a new Pale Ale hitting the taps, one dry-hopped with New Zealand’s Motueka. The crisp and clean beer is 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs.
– Sea Level has released the 2016 version of Crossing Muddy Waters Brown Ale. This year’s batch features Horton Ridge Malt in the grist, and weighs in at 5.5% ABV. Available now in cans and growler fills.
– Congratulations to Tidehouse Brewing on their inaugural brews last weekend! Look for these to be available to the public late this month/early December.
– TrailWay‘s Rype (5% ABV) – a rye-APA hopped with lots of Citra, Comet, and Mosaic – will be featured in this weekend’s ANBL growler program, where it will be available for fills at all five non-Fredericton growler locations (hey, it’s only fair that they spread the love a little!).
– Uncle Leo’s is looking for a part-time production worker, involved in all aspects of the brewing and packaging process, as well as retail customer service. Usual operating hours are Tuesday to Saturday, with the highest need being Thursday through Saturday. Previous brewery experience will be given preference, but is not necessary. Reach out to them on Facebook, or via email.
– Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing has debuted a new beer this week, Burning Rock Red. This 4.5% ABV & 25 IBU is available at the brewery and tap room for pints, and crowler fills to go.
– The family of private beer stores Cristall Wine Merchants, Harvest Wines and Spirits, and RockHead Wine and Beer Market are releasing the “Merry Maritimer’s Christmas Craft Beer Countdown”. Featuring 24 beer and cider from across the Maritimes, with products from Breton, Boxing Rock, Bulwark Cider, Garrison, Nine Locks, Picaroons, Propeller, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, and Upstreet. Pre-order your $125 now, for pick up November 25th.