Happy Friday, folks! The weather has definitely turned cooler in the region, with some unlucky spots even seeing the first snowfall of the year. Fall was great while it lasted, I guess! Let’s get you warmed up with some beer news from across the region.
• The latest release in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company is now available. Hopped Pear is a dry cider made from different varieties of locally-grown apples, cold-steeped with three hop varieties: Cascade, Mosaic, and Northern Brewer. The cider then went on to be blended with fresh-pressed Flemish Beauty heirloom pear juice, resulting in a “clear and golden cider with the light flavour and aromas of citrusy-hops… balanced out by mellow notes of fresh pear”; it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. The charity recipient of this batch is the Wolfville Area Food Bank, with 50 cents from each refill being donated. And be sure to check out the cidery’s website, as online sales for cases of their Juicy & Sweet and Crisp & Dry ciders have begun, with shipping available throughout Nova Scotia.
• Tatamagouche Brewing has an interesting new beer out, Square One, a dry-hopped Saison. Featuring a grist of mainly Pilsner malt, with a small amount of Rye and Spelt thrown in, the beer was fermented with the New World Saison blend from Escarpment Labs. This blend contains a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains, to give characteristics of fruit, funk, and “rustic charm”, all of which are perfect for a traditional Saison. This 6.1% ABV, 10 IBU brew was then dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc, to give a big boost to the already-present fruit character. It made its debut at Stillwell last week; look for it to pop up at several other tap accounts soon. The remainder of the batch will be bottled (650 mL) and released within the next two weeks.
• The gang at Good Robot Brewing Company apparently didn’t get the memo about it being a quiet week, as they’ve got three beers to talk about (and some events below as well). First off, version 7.0 of their Burban Legend APA hit the taps earlier this week. The grain bill maintains the now-familiar combination of two-row, pilsner, amber, and caramel with a little spicy rye kick, while the hop side still features Cascade but paired now with Falconer’s Flight 7C’s and Amarillo. The big difference this time around is a dry-hop with Mosaic that yields some blueberry, melon and cantaloupe notes. As always, fermented with California Ale yeast for a classic American clean, ester-less profile, you can find it at the taproom and at the brewery for growler fills. Next up, today sees the return of the seasonal Awesome Beer, Great Job! Billed as an “Autumn Saison” and built on a base of Pilsner malt, it also features wheat, dark crystal and rye. Hopping is solely the American Hallertau-descendent Mt. Hood variety to the tune of 22 IBU. The Brewmaster selected the Old World Blend yeast from Escarpment Yeast to do the goo for this brew, yielding roughly 6.4% ABV and aromas of banana, citrus, spice and plum, which also manifest as flavours on the palate. There’s some creamy mouthfeel from the wheat and a sharp finish with a peppery and spicy aftertaste. Lastly on the beer front is a special brew conceived for funky folk groove band Earthbound Trio and available only at their Time Traveller’s Soiree show tonight at The Seahorse Tavern. Dubbed Thyme Hopper, it’s a BetaBrew featuring organic Nugget hops from Lunahop Farm in Cornhill, NB, owned by Earthbound Trio’s bassist, “Big Orange” Bob Fitzgerald. The beer also boasts thyme, grapefruit zest and some additional American hop varieties for a spicy, citrusy kick. The band will also be playing a special sneak peek matinee show this afternoon from 4-6pm at the Good Robot taproom.
• Fredericton’s Bogtrotter has a brand new beer out – Tipsy Toad, an American Pale Ale. Single-hopped with Mosaic – an American variety well-known for having strong characteristics of melon and berries – it’s described by the brewery as a refreshing, easy-drinking, and hoppy brew. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, look for it on tap at select accounts in the city; it should also hit a couple of ANBL stores within a couple of weeks, when it is available in bottles.
• Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing has released a brand new beer this week, in collaboration with the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia. Tannen Bomb is a 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale, with a couple of twists: honey was added to the beer for a light sweetness, and Balsam Fir was added to the end of the boil for a light character of fir flavour and aroma. Lightly hopped to 17 IBUs, the beer is available on tap at the brewery now, and at a couple of spots in HRM this weekend (The Henry House and Downeast Beer Factory). Bottles will be available at the brewery and the Halifax private stores next week (when many of the tree stands will be launching).
• Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has released a new Belgian-inspired beer, Détourné. This 5.8% ABV ale features floral aromatics, bitter citrus flavour, and has a pleasant dry finish. Currently available for growler fills and pints at the brewery, grab it around the city at better beer bars.
• Garrison Brewing is expanding their Cellar Series lineup today with another wood-aged beer: Rum-Barrel Aged Spruce Beer. The 7.5% ABV base beer, featuring loads of molasses and spruce and fir needles and boughs, spent a couple of months in rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery, picking up flavour, aroma, and alcohol from the spirit, ending up at 11.0% ABV. Bottles of this special beer are available exclusively at the brewery now, retailing for $15.95 for a large, shareable, 650 ml bottle.
• In other winter-related beer news, Nine Locks will be releasing Chocolate Stout, a smooth, dark, and full-bodied brew, around the beginning of December. Chocolate is definitely the dominating flavour here (real chocolate was added during the brewing process), with notes of coffee and roasted grain balancing things off. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, to balance the sweetness from the grist, it comes in at 6.1% ABV. In addition, look for the crowd-favourite Cream Ale (4.8% ABV, 15 IBUs) to make a return very soon.
• St John’s Mill Street Brewpub has released a new brew this morning, RDF Hefe. Named after the favourite local weather of Rain, Drizzle, and Fog, this hazy beer is Mill Street’s first hefeweizen, featuring a bright straw colour and long-lasting head from the generous amount of wheat in the grist bill. The iconic banana and clove aromatics are there, thanks to the German Weisse yeast used. Grab the 5.7% ABV, 25 IBU refreshing beer on tap at the brewery now.
Here are some more events coming up in the next few weeks, as promised!
• Tonight‘s the night at Charlottetown’s HopYard, where Hogie, Mitch and the rest of the the Upstreet crew are taking over the taps, kitchen, and music. Drop by for the debut of their 4.5% ABV Mighty Neighbourly SMaTH SIPL (Single Malt and Triple-Hopped Session India Pale Lager), a special keg of their De Novo I Brett Saison, and enjoy Chef Jane’s Upstreet-inspired menu. Check out the full line-up here. See you at 6pm.
• Good Robot gives you the chance to walk the positive karma highway this week with their Toys for Pints + Cookie Decorating Party on Sunday, November 27th, from noon to close at the GR taproom. Bring a new-in-box toy with a $20 (or more) value along with you and you’ll receive a pint on the house while your donation will help support Moms in need through Every Woman’s Centre in Cape Breton. Meanwhile, the fine folks at Rinaldo’s are donating cookies: five bucks buys you two cookies to decorate, with proceeds going to Prescott Group, an organization dedicated to aiding adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s all so simple: bring toy(s), get beer; buy tasty cookies, make them pretty. Either way (or both ways!) you’ll be doing good, having fun and drinking beer. EVERYBODY WINS.
• A reminder of the Big Spruce Tap Takeover of Battery Park, happening next Thursday, December 1. In addition to a solid contingency of BS’s current line-up, this will serve as the launch of the Big Spruce/North/Battery Park conspiracy brew, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with a small quantity of rendered, dried, and powdered house-made donair meat, aged on raspberries. Keep an eye on BP’s Instagram feed, as they are releasing the beer list in spurts over the next few days.
• Also, and in spite of the fact that we’ll no doubt bang this gong again next week to really bring it home, a reminder that a week from today, Friday, December 2, from 5pm, is the second Good Robot BrewBot Takeover, this time with Brathair Brewing. On the heels of a wildly successful event (on a TUESDAY, no less) featuring the brews of award-winning home brewer Keith Forbes, Good Robot once again sees half their taps taken over by home brewers (and members of the BrewNosers). Justin, Eric, Rod and Jason take beer (and brotherhood!) seriously and are bringing their ‘A’ game with the Stillwell Open-winning Kissed by Elvis (IPA), the Monty Python sketch-sounding 3 Scots and a Frenchman (Scottish Ale with Saison yeast), Daughter of Sin (DIPA using only whirlpool hops), IPLish (India Pale Lager, sorta), and two variations on a Berliner Weisse, one with raspberries, one with peaches. You may have experienced other Brathair brews brewed by Big Spruce, as Brathair Eric American Wheat was the 2014 Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge Winner and Czech Yo’self Dark Lager took the prize in the 2015 competition. Come experience what they get up to when they’re not entering competitions and are left to their own devices.
• Unfiltered Brewing‘s tap room Charm School will be celebrating their First Anniversary on December 4th. Stay tuned for details of what’s pouring, which will surely include at least one new beer, as well as the return of many favourites from Unfiltered’s arsenal.
• The Ladies Beer League will be holding their Annual Holiday Brunch at Stillwell December 11th. Your $30 entry includes three 5 ounce pours from a Picaroons Winter Warmer Vertical (2014, 2015, 2016), as well as your first taste of Chef Ruppel’s specially-created brunch menu items. Tickets for the 12:00 to 3:00 event (normal Sunday hours at from 4:00 pm) are on sale now, and if you have any dietary concerns, be sure to let them know ASAP so alternative items can be prepared.
A few more parting shots today…
– The new Hammond River DIPA that we mentioned last month is now available – The Excavator (8.4% ABV, 106 IBUs) is hopped entirely with Simcoe, and joins the re-released Imperial Vanilla Porter at a few lucky HR accounts in New Brunswick.
– PEI Brewing Co. has their barrel-aged Doppelbock, Hell Street (8.1% ABV) returning this Monday at the PEIBC taproom in Charlottetown. Stay tuned to their Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on what they have planned for the release.
– Pump House has re-released their black Lager, Schwarzbier (7% ABV), which has “subtle notes of chocolate and coffee, but with a crisp Lager finish”; it’s available on tap now at the brewpub in Moncton.
– After a brief hiatus, the house-brewed beers have returned at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub. The 5.9% ABV Amarillo, Citra & Summit Pale Ale is back on, featuring predominantly late-addition hops for plenty of aroma and low bitterness.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s Propeller Brewing has released the next in their line of canned beers: Rye IPA. The 6.8% ABV, 68 IBU beer is now in the easy-to-transport 473ml can format, perfect for those winter days on the beach or in your boat. Hmm, well, OK, maybe a nicer format to stick in the snowbank while shoveling (you know it’s coming, folks!). Grab them on Gottingen or Windmill today. Keep your eyes peeled as they continue releasing more in this package format.
– Charlo’s Shiretown Beer has brought back a favourite seasonal today, Venezuelan Express Porter. A first impression of the name would make you think “coffee”, but it actually refers to a type of crude oil produced in Venezuela at the time, that used to come into Dalhousie for the now-closed Dalhousie Generating Station. Grab bottles of the 5.0% ABV beer at the brewery at 363 Chaleur Street.
– After their launch last Friday, Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has begun to sell kegs to local licensees. Fredericton’s Jame Joyce tapped a keg of Brian Stout last night, and more Fh beer will certainly be flowing around the Saint John River Valley soon. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest deliveries.
Have an excellent weekend! And a final reminder that tickets for the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival went on sale this morning at 11 am (online, or through their app), with VIP tickets selling out immediately! Not to worry, there’s still other options (afternoon and evening), but don’t hesitate! And come drink with us at one of the many events happening during the week leading up to the FCBF.