Happy Friday folks, we hope that digging out wasn’t too much of an ordeal for those of you who got snowed on last night. We’ll warn you now that this is a ridiculously long post; you may want to plan a second lunch to finish reading it. Possibly one that includes a beer. We’ve got some suggestions below as to how you might make that happen along with some new brewery news and some options for those who might want to center their Valentine’s Day around their love for beer. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.
• South Shore’s FirkinStein Brewing has released their first foray into the Double IPA style, with Cut of Our Jib. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, it was hopped exclusively with Cascade and Citra throughout the boil, and into the dry-hop, for a solid 100 IBU bitterness, but with plenty of citrus aroma and flavour. Grab the beer at their Farmers’ Market stall in Lunenburg on Thursdays, and by appointment at the brewery in the evenings (but be sure to reach out via Facebook or Twitter first). It may even make it on tap on the South Shore or HRM; keep an eye on their social media feeds for the latest information.
• Heads up west-island Newfoundland beer drinkers: a pair of fellow beer fans are looking to open a brewery this summer, and would love to get you involved! Bootleg Brew Co has announced that they are in the process of getting their licensing and brewing system, with the plan to open a location in Corner Brook in the next six months. While working in the food industry, Matt Tilley and Morgan Turner tried their hand at homebrewing, and were extremely pleased with the results, and after encouragement from family and friends, are looking to turn it into a business. Planning on a 3.5 hl (3BBL) system, they have turned to crowdfunding to assist with some of the costs. Check out more details in a recent CBC article, and check out their IGG campaign, on until March 1st. We’ll share updates as they progress in their transition to professional beer producers.
• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is releasing a brand new beer today, Fathom Double IPA. The name may sound a bit familiar, but it is a brand new beer, based loosely on Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2016 ACBAs in the IPA category. The hazy orange Double IPA clocks in at 8.0% ABV, and has a hefty 90 IBU, derived from Centennial, Citra, El Dorado, and Summit added throughout the brewing and conditioning, for notes of citrus and melon on the nose, and orange and stone fruit flavour. Grab it in growlers and cans at the brewery at noon, and in cans at the private stores, including at Cristall Wine, where they will be pouring samples of it today from 4-6pm.
• Moth Lane Brewing, in Ellerslie, PEI, has recently released a Hefeweizen, the iconic unfiltered wheat beer, originating in the Bavarian region of Germany. Refreshing and juicy thanks to the yeast clove and banana characteristics, Weizen Up B’ye is 5.0% ABV, with a light 11 IBU bitterness. Grab a pint or growler this weekend at the brewery, including tomorrow evening, when The Galley Food Truck will be set up slinging food, and there will be an open mic/jam session in the brewery taproom.
• There’s a new Belgian Dubbel available from Petit-Sault, Colonel John Baker. This is a different beer altogether from their first Dubbel, Simone Hébert, which was originally released in the fall of 2015. Brewed with lots of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to give the classic-Dubbel notes of “dark fruit and mild chocolate”, some Chocolate malt was also used in the grist to accentuate these characteristics. Described as “rich, malty, and fruity, with a surprisingly-dry finish”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. It’s available for pints and growler fills at the brewery in Edmundston, and should be available at all ANBL growler stations this weekend. Look for it to pop up in bottles, soon!
• Fredericton’s Grimross has just released the first beer in their new Scratch series, which will be a realm for the brewery to experiment with new recipes and one-offs. Scratch #1: Lager is the brewery’s first venture into Lager territory, with a “simple, clean-yet-flavourful Lager”. With all-Pilsner malt in the grist, it was hopped with Magnum, Saaz, and New Brunswick-grown Cascade, and fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain. It pours with a pale straw colour, and a “slightly grainy and honey aroma with a crisp, dry finish”, according to owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. Supremely drinkable at 4.7% ABV, it’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom. Expect to see their next release in this series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA, soon!
• Staying with Fredericton, there’s a couple of new beers out from Graystone this week, and we have a few details on both of them. First up is Bushwhack Bitter, their take on the sessionable English style, Ordinary Bitter (aka Standard Bitter). Ordinary in name only, this is meant to be an easy-drinking, fairly-bitter beer with some pleasant malt complexity. Bushwhack Bitter was hopped to 30 IBUs with U.K. Fuggles and New Brunswick Goldings, and comes in at 3.9% ABV. Next is their Single Track Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped primarily with Citra, an American variety well known to beer geeks everywhere. Described by the brewery as “light, refreshing, and flavourful with citrus and peach flavours”, it’s available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and crowlers, along with the new Bitter.
• Graystone is also re-releasing their White IPA, Mont Blanc, today. This collaboration with soon-to-open Gore Farm Brewery (out of St. Stephen), was originally released in late December, and is returning due to popular demand. Check out our previous post here for more details on the beer, and the Gore Farm link above for a Q&A we published with the brewery, yesterday.
• Over in Moncton, Tide & Boar Brewing continues to experiment with new beers. They have just tapped Mute Saison, their first take on the classic Saison, a wonderful Belgian style that is open for multiple interpretations by brewers. Hopped with New Zealand Wakatu and U.S. Lemondrop, it finishes very dry, with “floral and lemon notes”, and at 6.8% ABV may sneak up on you, so sip wisely! T&B have also released version 2 of their Lemondrop IPA, an American IPA hopped entirely with, yes, Lemondrop. Look for both on tap at the brewpub. And if you’re in Saint John and are aching to try some T&B beer, good news – the Cask & Kettle has a keg of their Forum Pale Ale, a new version fermented with a Vermont yeast strain.
• Meanwhile, at the Université de Moncton’s Bar Le Coude, Acadie-Broue has two beers that were just tapped last night. Let’s start with Tricole – a Belgian Tripel, it was named after the Acadian term to describe someone who staggers/stumbles from having too much alcohol. Fittingly, it’s a strong beer at 8% ABV, which is typical for the Tripel style. Made with all Pilsner malt (many Tripels are brewed with the addition of sugar) and hopped with German Hersbrucker, it was fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast, resulting in a very dry beer with “candy-like and pepper” qualities, and is quite drinkable despite it’s high ABV.
• Next up from Acadie-Broue is another strong one, Kazakh, inspired by the Russian Imperial Stout style. Named after another Acadian expression, synonymous to “daredevil”, it was brewed with plenty of specialty malts, including Chocolate, Crystal 120 L, Victory, Midnight Wheat, and Oats, to give a dark, roasty beer that will leave you plenty warm, thanks to its 8% ABV. Hopped with Magnum for a bittering charge only (to 50 IBUs), it was fermented with a neutral American yeast strain. This is actually the 3rd batch for this beer, as demand has greatly exceeded the brewery’s expectations!
• Roof Hound Brewing and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for their first collaboration brew, Chocolate Sauced, brewed at Roof Hound a couple of weeks ago. This is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was brewed with four different types of chocolate (!): dark Chocolate malt, Chocolate Rye, and Chocolate Wheat in the mash, and cocoa added in the kettle (along with some lactose powder and Dark Candi Sugar). Both RH and TataBrew will be releasing the beer at their breweries tomorrow, with both holding special launch parties featuring live music to celebrate this “Chocolate Imperial Stout”.
• Speaking of Tatamagouche, they released the latest of their Giant Beer Series this week, Quad. Their take on the Belgian Quadrupel style, this 10.3% ABV beer features a base of Pilsner malt, with Vienna, CaraAroma, and Chocolate for some complexity, with Dark Candi Syrup for the iconic colour and dark fruit component to the aroma and flavour. A modest 35 IBU (for the ABV) is achieved using Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfruh, to partially offset the high alcohol and body. The beer was bottle conditioned in 650mL bottles, and is available exclusively at the brewery now (with a very small part of the batch available in kegs soon). They will be pouring a special casked version of the Quad, aged on Muscat grape skins Saturday, during the Chocolate Sauced launch event.
• Tata has also released Deadeye Double IPA, with a few tweaks since last year’s release. It now features Vermont Ale yeast, resulting in a slightly hazy beer. It still showcases lots of Hallertau Blanc hops, for a light grape and passionfruit and pineapple aromatics, with Cascade and Chinook lending their hand to the recipe. Kegs have been delivered to their HRM accounts, and the beer will be available on tap and in cans beginning today at the brewery, and at the private stores very shortly.
• TrailWay has released their Black IPA in cans for the first time. Black Hops (yes, the “1” has been dropped from the name) has been changed slightly from its last release, with an adjustment to the grain bill to allow for a “softer chocolate flavour”, as well as… more hops! Lots of Citra and Mosaic were added to boost the citrus and tropical flavours and aromas, it comes in at 7% ABV. Available at the brewery now, and in select ANBL stores soon.
• And while on the topic of TrailWay, we forgot to mention the results of their 1st annual Homebrew Challenge last Friday… sorry ’bout that! Local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon took the top spot in the American IPA contest, with his Hoppy McHazy winning out among close to 30 entries. This 7% ABV IPA is hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe; Pierre will be brewing his beer on TW’s system next week. When released, a portion of the beer will be available in cans, so be prepared to stock up! Congrats, Pierre!
• Flying Boats will be releasing this year’s take on their Lover’s Quarrel IPA next week… a little later than planned, thanks to one of the lovely ice storms we’ve been receiving. With a grist that includes some Flaked Wheat to boost the mouthfeel of the beer, several late boil additions of both Galaxy and Citra hops provide a “floral, citrusy aroma”. This should come in at 6% ABV and close to 60 IBUs; look for it to be released late next week, with 16 kegs being sent to the Dieppe ANBL growler station for Thursday… just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. With beer, as with love, better late than never!
• Today, Garrison is launching their newest Star Trek/CBS release at the brewery. Red Shirt Ale is an American Red brewed in honour of the many Star Trek crew members unlucky enough to be fitted in a red tunic… usually a good sign that they would be meeting an untimely, violent death. With a “deep copper colour and rich malt flavour”, the beer was hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Millenium. You’ll be able to find Red Shirt Ale at Garrison and Halifax’s private liquor stores as of this weekend, and NSLC stores later this month. It will also be popping up at ANBL growler stations in two weeks’ time. And for our homebrewing readers, be sure to submit your Wee Heavy this weekend!
• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax put a new beer on tap this week. Captain Falcon’s IPA is a SMaSH brew that sees big citrus hop flavor from generous late boil and whirlpool additions of Falconer’s Flight meet the fruit flavor of real blackberries added in the secondary. It’s got a hazy, purplish pink color and is a very dry brew with a fairly light bitterness (for an IPA) at 40 IBU and a very reasonable 6% ABV – the Falcon Punch is in the flavor, not the weight.
• In the valley, a new cider in the Something Different series became available this week at Annapolis Cider Company. Muscat Infusion weds apples and grapes to produce a 7.1% ABV sparkling cider with a copper colour, apple tartness, and tropical and floral aromas from Nova Scotia’s most aromatic grape variety. The skins of Muscat grapes were added during active fermentation, and a technique known as “punching down” commonly used in red wine fermentations ensured flavor, color, aroma and tannin extraction. Finished with freshly-pressed apple juice to balance it before packaging, it is available at the cidery in Wolfville where $0.50 of each bottle fill will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Annapolis Valley.
• What do you do when one of your business neighbours leaves your street for a newer, bigger spot a few blocks away? If you’re North Brewing you celebrate your friend’s achievement with a special beer. White Lightning is the nickname of Renée Lavallée, chef of The Canteen, formerly a lunch counter on Ochterloney Street and now a restaurant on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. It is now also a kettle sour from North that’s been dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo, coming in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBU. The label received North’s Artist Series treatment with Renée’s likeness rendered in comic book style by Rob Hansen. White Lightning is available in 650ml bottles from the North bottle shops and private liquor stores in HRM and you should expect to see kegs of it appear in bars and restaurants in the coming days and weeks.
• North is also joining with another neighbour this week, this time on the Halifax side, where they’ve lent their expertise with Belgian styles to a new Tripel from the gang at Good Robot. Moo Nay is a tribute to the farm that reuses Good Robot’s post-brewing spent grain, Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie. Although the body is well in line with the style, with Pale and Pilsner malts and some sugar to dry it out, the twist this time is the use of a very non-traditional hop, namely the New Zealand variety Nelson Sauvin, known for its fruity, white wine-like character. Big and boozy at 8.5% ABV, but not overly bitter at 30 IBU, late hop additions bring a New World aspect to a decidedly Old World beer. Moo Nay will be available at Good Robot as of today, both in the tap room and the store for growler fills.
• Those who don’t remember the days before NASH started slinging hop bombs at Unfiltered might not be aware that he’s got a full slate of styles at his disposal, but this week’s release should make that abundantly clear to all and sundry. Play with Fire is a Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier, featuring tons of dark fruit, roasted malt and smokey phenols. At only 34 IBU, it’s not a bitter bomb, but it will certainly pack a wallop at 8% ABV. Growler fills and pints will be available as of noon today at the brewery and Charm School Pub, respectively. As they say down on North Street, get on it!
• The latest episode of the 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, where the beer chums sat down with Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cam Hartley. They went into the history of Schoolhouse, where it is now, and where it’s heading next. Learn all about it by downloading and listening to the episode today!
• Port Rexton Brewing on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula will be releasing their first bottled offering next week. Named the Ten Eighty Series, the annual small run of bottles will make their debut in winter, and lean toward higher ABV, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. The inaugural release is Belgian Tripel, an 8.2% ABV beer featuring the iconic clove aromatics and light spiciness, with a dry finish. This run of only 800 bottles will be available exclusively at the brewery, so reach out to them today to pre-order and get yourself on the list!
Check out these events for the weekend…
• As mentioned above, both Roof Hound and Tatamagouche are celebrating the release of their collaboration Chocolate Sauced tomorrow, February 11th. In Digby, drop by at 9pm for the first pours of the new beer, and at 10pm, enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wright and Tide and Timbre ($6 cover). In Tatamagouche, the fun kicks off at 7pm, with Eric Fresia playing while you enjoy the new beers they are featuring, with chocolates paired with CS, shucking oysters to pair with Oyster Cloister, and that special cask of Quad. Your $5 cover gets you your first sample of Chocolate Sauced for free.
• Good Robot has a fairly full slate planned for the taproom next week, with three events in the works. Monday will see another Goodwill Bot event, where $1 of every beer sold goes to a local non-profit cause. This week it will be Halifax Cycling Coalition, who will be celebrating Winter Bike Week and crafting Valentine’s Day cards. On Tuesday you’ll find Blue Valentine , “a sad and sexy Valentine’s Day event.” Get there before 6:30pm and enjoy $5 pints and a Tom Waits playlist. After that, enjoy local artists and businesses as they take the floor to talk about sex. Look for participation from Ballonicorns , Turn Me On Podcast , Venus Envy and The Coast. And on Wednesday grab a book, head on down to Good Robot, grab a beer and shut the hell up for the return of Silent Reading. As always, no phones, no talking.
• Next Thursday, February 16th, the Cask & Kettle will be hosting a Maybee Brewing Tap Takeover, with all of their taps being turned over to the Fredericton brewery from 4 pm-close, including Maybee’s newest, currently unreleased beer, a DIPA (more on that next week). There will be, of course, food and Irish music to accompany the many beers pouring, with no charge to attend; just show up and pay by the pint!
• The Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to Halifax’s Seaport Farmers’ Market February 25th. With 30 breweries from the Maritimes in attendance, it is sure to be a blast of summer in the dead of winter. Washer Toss, live music, and plenty of chairs to lounge on, the summer vibes will be strong during the event. Tickets are $60 +fees ($75++ for VIP access), and are available now. Check out our Calendar for more details, including the full brewery list.
A few more things this week…
– Mil Street St John’s brewed North American Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
– Picaroons has re-released their Valentine-themed Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, a 5.2% ABV dark beer brewed with chocolate, chili peppers, ginseng, and licorice root. Look for it at all Picaroons locations, and select establishments throughout NB.
– TideHouse Brewing invited in local home brewer Ian Wheatley to brew on their system last week, to be released next month. The brew was a kettle sour, low in ABV, but with plenty of lactic bite. We’ll have much more on the beer closer to its release, around March 10th.