• Good news, Lazy Bear fans! They’ve just released a brand new beer, Carolina, a Belgian Saison. With a simple grist of Pilsner malt and wheat, it was fermented with a special Farmhouse yeast strain that was isolated from South Carolina blueberries by Southyeast Labs. Producing “notes of straw and spice”, there is also a subtle tartness thanks to the light production of acid by the yeast. It was also hopped with Hallertau, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It was pouring at Good Robot‘s Femmebot event earlier this week, as well as in growlers at the brewery; it may pop up at other tap accounts in the near future. In other Lazy Bear news, we’ll be seeing another beer from them soon, also featuring a wild yeast from South Carolina, but in the IPA style. We’ll definitely have more on that one once it has an official name and full details are available.
• Breweries around the region are using more and more Horton Ridge Malt these days and the Paddy’s Pub locations in Kentville and Wolfville just up Highway #1 are no exception. Horton Ridge Rye IPA was brewed using not only barley malted at Horton Ridge, but Rye that was grown, malted and brewed within a 7 kilometre radius. “A juicy, fruity IPA with a light rye spiciness,” according to brewer Kirsten MacDonald, the Horton Ridge malt provides an aromatic element not as present with other malts. The hops are a mixture of the classic American Cascade, the recent new world favourite Amarillo, and relative newcomers El Dorado and Triple Pearl, all blending together for a citrusy nose and flavour. It comes in at 7.2% ABV and a healthy, but not overpowering, 65 IBU.
• Halifax nano Tidehouse wanted to head up to Fredericton to enjoy the FCBF, but when you’re a 3-person show and everyone’s hitting the road, how do you keep the shop open and not miss a weekend of sales? Enter local home brewer and friend of Tidehouse, Ian Wheatley, and his pal Nick Snell. They’ll be minding the store on Salter Street starting today, providing growler fills to thirsty patrons. To sweeten the deal, Ian was offered the opportunity to do production runs of two of his own beers on the Tidehouse system and sell them alongside two regular TH offerings. You may even see Ian’s beers available on taps around town in the coming weeks; if we hear anything more on that we’ll be sure to let you know.
• The first brew from Lil’Wheatey is The Bellhop, a classic American IPA. This beer took a bronze medal in Hamilton, Ontario, at the Because Beer National Homebrew Competition this past summer. With a restrained malt bill to showcase the hops, and featuring prominent stone fruit and citrus flavorus, the beer weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a reasonable 60ish IBU.
• Ian’s other contribution to the lineup, Tic Lac Toe, is a kettle sour based on a Belgian wheat beer recipe that traditionally uses spice and fruit additions. Blueberries provide a characteristic pink colour and provide a complement to the sourness of the style. A pure strain of Lactobacillus buchneri was used to achieve a very clean sourness. Additional fermentables were added post-souring to bring the ABV into the 5% range, while maintaining a low final gravity for a crisp finish. As with many examples of the style, some spicy hops were added, but with a light hand, resulting in a very mild 7-8 IBU.
• A brand new beer will be available at the PEI Brewing Company today with a solid slate of events to mark the occasion. Big Don Coffee Belgian Blonde juxtaposes a pale, yeast-forward style with coffee flavours more commonly associated with darker brews. The PEIBC team worked with their friends at Receiver Coffee Co to select a bean and roast that would accentuate the fruity and spicy notes of the beer while adding chocolate and citrus elements to the finish. This 7.5% ABV brew will be available in cans from the brewery and, to celebrate the release, Receiver will be running a pop-up shop in house from 11am to 5pm, followed by a sampling of Big Don and a Songwriter’s Circle from 5-7pm. And keep an eye on local PEILCCs for the return of cans of their 8 Cord Double IPA this week, and a special new release coming in a couple of weeks (hint, this required quite a bit of Patience to put together).
• There’s two brand new beers coming out of TrailWay Brewing this week, both of which will be appearing at FCBF. First up is Maple Drip, a 9% ABV “Maple Imperial Stout” released a couple of days ago. We initially mentioned this beer in an earlier post, in conjunction with the NB government providing benefits to breweries that produce beer made with local maple syrup. TW used approximately 60 L of syrup from Briggs Maples, and also added some bourbon-soaked oak chips to complement to give “subtle maple, oak and bourbon undertones”. Next up is a new American IPA, Green Island. It weighs in at 6% ABV and features large additions of three relatively-new-to-TW hop varieties: Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7. Based on this, we can likely expect citrus, melon, and candy-like notes in the beer, but we won’t know for sure till we try it! In addition to being at FCBF (where they’ll also have Hoppy McHazy and Hu Jon Hops) and tap accounts across Fredericton, both beers are available in cans (Green Island is releasing today).
• There’s a new beer out from Saint John’s Loyalist City, and it should still be pouring in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Fittingly, Black 47 is an “Irish Coffee Stout” that was brewed with Maris Otter and Flaked Barley; the sweet wort from this mash was then blended with wort from another mash of Roasted Barley and black-kilned malt. A small portion of Chocolate malt was added as well, with the resulting blend receiving hop additions of both East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, to 35 IBUs. Fermented cool with an Irish yeast strain, the beer then had some freshly-ground, dark roasted coffee beans added in secondary, along with some cacao nibs. The result of all this work? A jet-black, “medium-bodied dry Stout with a pronounced roasted flavor, reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate that complements a moderate bitterness and a hint of sweetness on the finish”. Easy-drinking at 4.7% ABV, look for it on tap at the Cask & Kettle, as well as at the Uptown, Eastpoint, and KV ANBL growler stations next week for fills.
• There are two new small batch beers available at 2 Crows Brewing this week, available only on tap at the taproom on Brunswick Street. Neon Nights is an 8.5% ABV Brettanomyces-conditioned beer, featuring some funky and tart characteristics, which was conditioned on burnt orange peel. (Luckily for you FCBF-folks, they will be pouring this one tomorrow) The next truly taproom-only release (can we coin the Attempted Murder Beer Series??) is Panhandle Slim, a Grisette. Grisette is the little sister to Farmhouse Saisons, originally brewed to satisfy miner’s thirst after a long day working underground. Panhandle Slim features a variety of grains in the malt bill, including spelt, wheat, oats and rye, and has been conditioning for 7 months on Brettanomyces, resulting in a refreshing beer with a light body and funkiness. With only one small keg available, this beer will be sure to kick this weekend.
• Does your palate and/or nose like to be challenged when drinking beer? If so, Boxing Rock‘s latest beer, My Mate, may be what you’re looking for! Billed as a “Secret Recipe Stout”, this was brewed as a collaboration with former Gahan/Rogue’s Roost head brewer Karen Allen. As advertised, it contains a secret ingredient; your job is to identify it. Tweet a picture of the beer with your guess of the secret ingredient, and you win a – of course – “secret” prize! The contest closes this Monday at noon. This “savoury, sweet, and well-seasoned” Stout is available at the brewery, and should also be available in bottles today at Rockhead, Bishop’s Cellar today or tomorrow, and on tap this weekend at the Henry House, Battery Park, and Stillwell. (We’re pretty sure they won’t mind you bringing in a box of oranges or rolls of cinnamon or bushel of cucumbers to capture that pic 😉 )
• Upstreet will be at the FCBF this weekend, pouring their latest collaboration beer, Rye’D On, brewed in conjunction with Picaroons. That beer will be released next week in PEI, and we can also expect another new one at the end of the month. Go Devil is an American IPA that was brewed with a single malt, Maritime Pale, and generously hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, the brewery promises that it packs a “juicy, tropical, piney, and citrus punch”; with those hop varieties, we’re not surprised! Islanders can expect this one to be released at the end of the month, on March 30th.
• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing is also releasing a brand new beer at this weekend’s FredCraftBeerFest, Patagonia IPA. Based on their Patagonia Pale Ale, they boosted the body, bitterness, and alcohol to bring it up to what they look for in an IPA style. Featuring plenty of tropical fruit and piney resin from the hops, the full-bodied 6.6% ABV, 80 IBU beer is launching tomorrow, with it hitting draft lines at the taproom shortly as well.
• Nackawic’s Big Axe has been very busy lately! They have four new beers, all of which that will be debuting at FCBF tomorrow. First up is their Sumac Sour (4.8% ABV), a kettle-soured beer that has locally-harvested sumac berries added after fermentation was complete. Dark amber with a crimson hue, this tart beer was also dry-hopped to add some fruity hop notes on the nose.
• Let’s move on to their first Lager. Currently unnamed, this is an amber-coloured beer that was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain, before being lagered at cold temperatures for a period. With a light maltiness in the flavour, it has more hop flavour than expected, thanks to a dry-hop addition. It still comes out with very good clarity, and is quite refreshing at 5% ABV and 25 IBUs.
• The third beer Big Axe will be pouring is a variation on a special one-off brew they poured at last year’s festival, Bootlegger v 2.0 Imperial Stout. The 8.0% ABV beer was brewed with molasses and bitter orange peel, to complement the big body and roast character from the underlying Stout. A pair of casks have been further aged on American oak chips, with those being tapped at the James Joyce Saturday as well.
• Last, but not least from B.A., is Oatmeal Cream Ale, featuring Extra Pale malt and Oats for a light straw colour, notes of hazelnuts, and a full, silky mouthfeel thanks to the oats. Extremely drinkable, with nice character to keep you wanting more. After the Festival, all four beer will be available at their taproom in Nackawic, and at their tap accounts in Fredericton.
• In important news for Nova Scotia breweries, the lawyer representing Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing appeared in court earlier this week, following up on their challenge of the legality of the Retail Sales Markup Allowance (RSMA) collected by the NSLC. Arguing that the NSLC (a) does not take part in the production, packaging, or delivery of the beer that Unfiltered (and many other breweries in the province) brews, and (b) does not have the authority to collect what is effectively a tax, lawyer Richard Norman requested the refund of more than $35,000 in funds that had been paid, and that the RSMA be declared invalid. The judge has yet to render a decision, and will do so within the next six months. You can rest assured we’ll pass along information as we receive it, as this will affect all breweries and beer drinkers in the province! You can read more about the original filing, and this week’s hearing online.
Here’s what’s going on this weekend in our region:
• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is happening Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go at all three spots, but be warned, this is a big beer!
• After tomorrow’s Beer Fest at the Convention Centre in Fredericton, stumble over to The Snooty Fox for a Tap Takeover by PEI Brewing/Gahan, with live music by The Hypochondriacs starting at 9:30pm. They’ll be bringing ten different beers, including some special releases, so there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
– British Columbia’s Central City Brewers and Distillers is releasing a special 12-pack of collaborative brews in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. Atlantic Canadian breweries Quidi Vidi, Garrison, Picaroons, and PEI Brewing are all part of the Red Racer Across The Nation Collaboration, which we expect to be available at local LCs in the spring. We’ll have details on the four local beers when available, in the meantime here’s a bit more information.
– Good Robot managed to get a keg of Red Moon Landing on tap for their FemmeBot event on Wednesday, but due to a chiller issue, the remainder of that AlphaBrew batch won’t be available until this coming Wednesday. Meanwhile, you can enjoy their March Madness Cribbage Tournament on Sunday, March 12, with 32 players and a potential $150 pot, or this month’s Silent Reading event on Thursday the 16th.
– For those of you in the Annapolis Valley, be sure to request your Lunn’s Mill Growler Delivery ASAP, and ask for their brand new Eclipse Black IPA. Hoppy, roasty, and with plenty of bitterness, it’ll get you warmed up after shovelling out from the snow that may be coming our way this weekend.
– Mil Street St John’s has released their Black Bart 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.
– If you love the DOA from Unfiltered Brewing, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s back at the brewery and next door at Charm School as of today at noon. Same 100+ IBU. Same 7.5% ABV. Double Orange Apocalypse.