A happy Bon Jovi Friday to all our readers who are working today. The holiday tomorrow has breweries and taprooms around the region all going their own way in terms of opening or not or adjusting or not adjusting their hours, and we’re getting out in front of the madness by posting today. So read on for the usual coverage of beers, events and other beer-related items in Atlantic Canada this week.
• The annual Saint John Beer Fest had another successful run last Saturday, and now that the dust has settled, one of the special one-offs brewed for the event is available for those of us not able to attend. Big Tide brewed Crystal One FifTEA with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and added both Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey tea, from New Brunswick’s King Cole Tea, in the boil. These tea additions complement the 5.9% ABV light-golden ale with “delicate and citrusy flavours”. Late-hopped to 12 IBUs with Crystal and Saaz from Darlings Island Farm, this “light and refreshing” beer is currently on tap at the brewpub for a limited time.
• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a delicious-sounding beer newly released in the province. Chasing Sun falls into the ever-growing-in-popularity style category of a New England IPA (hazy, wonderfully hoppy, smooth, lower bitterness). With a grist featuring a “healthy dose of wheat and oats” to provide a smooth mouthfeel and soft finish, plenty of hops – Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook – were added late in the boil, to help boost those fruity, juicy aromas and flavours, while cutting back on the higher bitterness expected in your typical (but not so typical anymore?) American IPAs. Fermented with the Vermont Ale yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, even more hops were added in the dry-hop, to turn the hop experience up to 11. It should be on tap at PRB accounts in St. John’s soon, as well as at the brewery’s seasonal taproom when it re-opens in the near future. And why not drop by this weekend? They’ll be open this Friday 4-10pm, and Saturday from 2pm, and Oh My Cheeses serving up grilled cheese sammies both days.
• In other hazy, hoppy beer news, North Brewing released their own take on the “style” yesterday, Malternate Reality. Brewed with spelt, oats, and wheat to really guarantee haziness/cloudiness and a smooth mouthfeel, the beer was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Funktown Pale Ale, a blend of a Vermont Ale yeast strain and a “wild” Saccharomyces strain. Dry-hopped with Azacca, Belma, and Columbus, expect a juicy-tasting beer with notes of peach, pineapple, and passion fruit. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 51 IBUs, you can find it at both bottle shops in swing tops and growlers, and will likely pop up on tap at Battery Park and other licensees over the weekend. And next time you’re at your local NSLC store, keep your eyes open for North’s Gus’ 65m (available in bottles the last couple of weeks) and Priority Pale Ale (coming to NSLC shelves soon).
• Scudrunner Brewing, a brewery in development in Gander, NL, provided a progress update this week. They’ve secured a location and will be taking possession on June 1 and, fortunately, are not expecting to have to do a whole lot with the space to turn it into a brewery and taproom. They’ve got their equipment picked out and their suppliers set up, and they’re working on getting their design and branding completed. As they wait for their home to be ready they’re continuing to brew test batches and believe they’ve nailed down their selection for launch day, but they invite folks to continue to provide feedback on their Facebook page and let the team know what styles the public would like to see. We’ll keep you posted with further updates and we’ll look to do a complete profile as their opening day approaches.
• In Truro, the Nook & Cranny is rebranding the brewery part of the operation to Salty Dog Brewing Company. While the beer will still be brewed on the system in the brew pub, it will now bear the new name in house, for local licensees, and at the brand new retail location they’re building next door. Soon, hopefully by mid-to-late May, you’ll be able to taste their offerings and purchase cans or have your growlers filled. They’re also taking advantage of this opportunity to provide a wider lineup, including Vanilla Porter, White IPA, Coffee Stout and Cider, as well as a couple of house favourites like the Blueberry Wheat and the Pale Ale.
• Those fine gents over at 902 BrewCast have done a public service by releasing their monthly tasting episode a day early. Available as of this morning, this podcast will take you through the line of beers being poured for the 2 Crows Tap Takeover at Battery Park this afternoon. And who better to do that with than Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor, the special guest for the session? Have a listen through the day and plan your flight(s) ahead of time! Rumour has it you might (MIGHT) hear news of an upcoming 902 BrewCast/2 Crows collaboration beer. And mark your calendars for next nine-oh-Tuesday (April 18) when the guys sit down with local brewing legend Greg Nash and his non-silent partner at Unfiltered Brewing, Andrew Murphy! We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that headphones may be in order when you’re listening to that one.
Just a few new events to let you know about this week, as we prep our May 5-14 NS Craft Beer Week Event Calendar for a near-future release:
• Tonight at 7pm, Upstreet is hosting Art + Craft, a roof-top rock show, plus walk through an art installation. Perched on top of Confederation Centre Mall on Grafton Street, Stabbing Joy will be playing a set, before attendees will grab their flashlights and walk The Goblin Path to Upstreet, keeping an eye out for monsters along the way. Assuming everyone makes it there safely, they’ll be able to celebrate with Upstreet’s latest release, Go Devil IPA.
• Late addition to the blog, today: Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing are holding another Growler Day tomorrow at 11, featuring the return of their Peach Shake Ale, the Milkshake IPA (lots of late hops with lactose and vanilla) with 10 kg! of peaches added to the brew, and Method IPA, their hazy Citra bomb. Joining those are two new beer: Stowe IPA, featuring their standard grain bill but with Amarillo, Columbus, and Simcoe; and Porter, featuring lots of roast and chocolate character from the dark malts used in the grain bill.
• Good Robot has a new Beta Brew in the works for next weekend’s Earth Day celebration. They’ll be doing a Day of Beer & Vinyl event on actual Earth Day, April 22nd, and this beer will be tapped the next day at their Earth Day Hangover event on April 23rd. A gruit-style ale that features only organic summer and winter pale 2-row malt from Horton Ridge and only Nova Scotia hops (Centennial and Chinook from Fundy Hops). It’s also packed full of other ingredients foraged by GR’s own Eri Mycelia, including red maple sap and buds and white and yellow birch bark (both toasted). Scottish Heather tips round out the mix. While you’re sipping on a pint of this wholesome brew, you’ll be able to pet goats brought in by Moo Nay Farms, experience the magic of charging your phone with a solar charger from If You Build It, take part in a plant exchange, and more! Check the event out on Facebook for a complete list of activities and the day’s schedule.
• Down in Windsor, Schoolhouse Brewery is finally ready for their Graduation! They will be opening the doors to their new location at 40 Water Street in Windsor later this month, on April 29th. Regular retail hours will be 3:20pm (when school lets out) to 8pm on weekdays (closed Mondays) and 11am-8pm on weekends. Expect to find their regular offerings like the Principal Ale Pale Ale, Chequers Ale Robust Porter and Scotian Export Scottish Export to be available for growler fills and 650ml bombers. You might also find Skratch Plaskett Electric Tambourine Ale (developed as a collaboration with Good Robot last summer) available for growler fills, and Big Red Schoolhouse in bombers. There will be a soft opening of the retail store on April 26th and 27th from 7-9pm. And stay tuned for an announcement of the opening of Schoolhouse’s brand new tap room, where you’ll be able to sit and have pints of your favorites and no doubt some new brews, come May! Keep your eyes on Schoolhouse’s Facebook Page for events to be posted in the next few days that you can slot into your calendar.
• On April 29th, the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre is hosting an East Coast Dinner Party, featuring a 3-course meal prepared by Son of a Sea Cook, paired with Nova Scotia beers, chosen by brewer Karen Allen, formerly of Gahan House Harbourfront, and frequent collaborator with Boxing Rock. Warren MacIntyre will provide some musical entertainment to enhance the evening. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to grab yours today, either online or at MacKeigan’s Pharmacy.
A few more mentions from around the region:
– Big Spruce is buttressing their forces for the upcoming busy season, and looking for full-time Sales Desk staff from May to September. It’s always busy on Yankee Line Road in the summer, so consider getting in on the fun! Drop them a note with your résumé to apply and/or learn more.
– Good Robot has new batches of both their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn beer available now at the brewery, and to enjoy on their Gastroturf.
– Hoping to kickstart spring, Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde Ale, a 5.0% light-bodied and crisp Blonde Ale, dosed with lots of deconstructed (aka smashed) fresh watermelons added in the mash, as well as after primary fermentation, for a pleasant hint of aroma and flavour to the warm weather style. Look for it at the brewery in Dartmouth, at the private stores, as well as select NSLC locations now. And for our readers on The Rock, 9L has just sent over a pallet of beer to the NLC, so expect it to hit shelves of the core locations around the end of the month.
And a final public service announcement: Some breweries and taprooms will be closed or running with modified hours tomorrow and/or Sunday due to Easter weekend, so be sure to check before venturing out. And others will be opening their patios (Saturday is looking particularly nice), so a quick scan of social media will set you up for a good day out.