Welcome to another Friday, and another dose of the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog! After an extremely busy week last week (close to 4,000 words of news to share), things have quieted down a little this week, as the build up to Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week continues. But there’s still some stuff going on in the beer world, so let’s get to it!
• On the Halifax waterfront, Gahan Halifax has a couple of new brews coming to tell you about. The first is a Kettle Soured Brown Ale called Impatience based on their Iron Bridge Brown and brewed with a visiting Spencer Gallant from PEI Beer Company. Soured with Lactobacillus, hopped to 20 IBU, fermented, and then aged on raspberries, Morello cherries and strawberries, it features fruit flavours mingling with chocolate notes from the darker malts along with a lactic bite, so expect this 5.3% ABV brown to be thirst-quenching, yet complex. A very limited release will see a couple of kegs served at Gahan and the rest being distributed to licensees. Keep your eyes peeled for it to show up on the wall at Stillwell and potentially other locations.
• And to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style, Gahan will be cracking their first kegs of Cerveza Maritimo, a Mexican Lager, next Friday on May 5th. Featuring a characteristic element of flaked yellow corn to the tune of 20% of the grist, it was fermented using the White Labs Mexican Lager strain, yielding a very dry and clean beer, perfect for patio season. It’s an extremely sessionable 4.5% ABV and a very light 12 IBU. Only two batches of this are planned, so if you see yourself sitting at a waterfront patio on a Halifax summer day with a well-made crisp light lager in hand, Gahan will have your hookup. You can get yourself a (weather-dependant) preview next Friday from opening!
• And in very preliminary news from Gahan this week, they’ve just announced that they will be opening a location on Prince William Street in Saint John, NB, this fall. We’ll have more details on this as we gather them, of course. This will be the second (or first, actually) Gahan House location in New Brunswick, as the Murphy Group is developing a location in downtown Moncton to be opened in the next twelve months, inside of a boutique hotel.
• Red Rover was in attendance at the 12th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry (GLINTCAP) competition last weekend in Grand Rapids, MI, and won two major awards, a first for the Maritimes! Their Summer took home 1st Best in Class (Modern-Dry), and their Barrel Reserve #2 (which will be released publicly this coming summer) won 2nd Best in Class (Specialty). With over 1200 entries, GLINTCAP is the world’s largest cider awards, so winning two awards is definitely no small feat! Congratulations! A little birdy also told us that Red Rover has some kegs going to PEI this week for the first time ever — if you’re a cider fan on the Island, keep your eyes peeled to see where those might turn up!
• Good news for fans of Grimross‘ Scratch beers, their ongoing series of one-offs – they’ve brewed up Scratch #4 and released it earlier this week at the brewery taproom. A Vienna Lager brewed with 80% Vienna malt in the grist, it was lightly hopped with Magnum and Saaz. With a light amber colour, and a malty sweetness nicely balanced by a low bitterness in the finish, this 5.1% ABV, cool-fermented beer is meant to be easy-drinking and consumed in quantity. Drop by the taproom for a pint and growler fill today!
• Downtown Halifax’s littlest brewery Tidehouse is releasing a brand new beer today at their Salter Street brewery/retail location, and at tomorrow’s Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market. Red Right Return is a 6.0% Red IPA, featuring a base of 2-Row, Mild and Red X malts, with a touch of Munich and Chocolate malts for colour and flavour, and Wheat malt for body. The hops chosen for this darker IPA were Cascade and Falconers Flight, added late in the boil and post-fermentation, for lots of citrus and pine and tropical fruit notes, but still sporting a healthy 55 IBUs. The name is a nod to the marine mnemonic to keep right of red marker buoys as you navigate your vessel home. As with all of the TH releases, these are small batches, so best to grab a growler today to avoid disappointment! It *might* show up on tap around Halifax, but better to be safe than sorry!
• The folks at Fredericton’s Graystone went down to Rothesay to pay Foghorn Brewing a visit and collaborate on a new beer. Roxie is an American Wheat Ale hopped with Huell Melon and Simcoe that comes in at a very easy drinking 4.5% ABV. Hopped to 35 IBU for a medium bitterness to balance the wheat, it also features mild notes of melon and strawberry. Definitely a summer sipper for the patio! You’ll find it on tap at both breweries and stay tuned, as Graystone is planning to brew a second version in the near future.
• There’s another new Beta Beer release coming from Good Robot, which will be released this Sunday, April 30th during their A Night at the Hog’s Head event. And if you’re in any way a Harry Potter nerd, you probably already know what it’s going to be named, right? Yep! Butterbeer is a “full-bodied and creamy” Scottish Ale brewed with Wheat and Honey malt, and hopped with Saaz and Tettnang to 11 IBUs. Featuring a large addition of lactose powder for some additional sweetness, as well as some nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to attempt to duplicate what those crazy teenage wizards and witches were imbibing… except we don’t think theirs had alcohol, did it? Either way, the Good Robot version is pretty sessionable at just 4.2% ABV. As with all Beta releases, only a small amount (2 x 20 L) will be available in the taproom, so don’t miss out! Check out the event link for more details on other Harry Potter-themed activities that will be going on Sunday.
• And in news that we think will resonate with true brewing geeks in the region, GR’s Erica Fraser is heading to Montreal for the Siebel Institute Brewing Microbiology course. This is an intensive two-week course that is designed to arm those who take it with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to set up an effective quality control/quality assurance program in a brewery. We look forward to seeing the positive impacts of Erica’s newfound knowledge at Good Robot and expect other breweries may look to her for some knowledge sharing as well.
• With Big Spruce getting their increased production and canning line on the go, and with Tweets like this one hitting the wire, it seems like an opportune time to remind everyone of the futility of saying “never”. To celebrate, you might sneak on down to Bishop’s Cellar, where a few cans of Tim’s Dirty IPA made an early appearance yesterday afternoon. Be fast though, what’s left is not likely to last long today! This is the first wave of their canned product to be made available, which will expand to include Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Bitter Get’er India Black IPA (these three will be on the NSLC shelves in May), with Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Silver Tart to be canned shortly and available at the private stores exclusively. Cans of Tim’s Dirty are already at the brewery in Nyanza (and may see Kitchen Party later today), along with bottles of the 2017 release of Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, so we suggest dropping by the brewery to pick them up.
• Propeller Brewing‘s latest One Hit Wonder is Vienna Brown, their own take on the classic Vienna Lager. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, the stats may read the same as traditional VLs, but the Prop Crew left out some of the dark malts that can be found in Continental versions, and opted to use an ale yeast rather than the traditional lager. According to Prop, “the result is a dry, malt-forward, lightly-hopped sessionable beer of substance. Perfect for an early spring day in Nova Scotia”. As with all their OHW releases, you’ll have to go to the brewery (either Gottingen or Windmill) to grab a growler of it, or get lucky and spot it on tap at one of a couple bars.
Just a couple of events to mention this week as we prep out NSCBW post for Monday…
• Schoolhouse Brewery is officially opening the doors of their Windsor location this weekend, with the retail location open 11-8 both Saturday and Sunday. Growlers and bottles are available for purchase, and flights of samples are available as well. Drop by 40 Water St to get schooled!
• As if there weren’t enough events going on during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, kicking off 10 days of beer fun around the province is an Upstreet Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Thursday, May 4th. This all-day, no-charge-to-attend event will feature 14 beers (and 1 soda!) on tap from the crew at Upstreet. The full tap list will be revealed as the week goes on via Battery Park’s Twitter feed, but we’ve heard rumors that you’ll find all the core beers and recent seasonals, at least one cask, a nitro pour and then two very special favorites including a last keg ever; but the crowning glory may very well be a special “dessert” beer that Hogie brewed up special for the occasion. Speaking of Mr. Hogan, while he and the crew are in the province he’ll be brewing with the team at North Brewing something special for an event at the Upstreet Taproom in June.
• The next Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection social is happening May 10th at the Picaroons Roundhouse. Meet other beer fans at Pics’ new brewery location for a tour of their spot and a flight of beers. Find out more details on the FB Events page, and be sure to RSVP via email to secure your spot (these always sell out!).
A couple more things before we sign off this week:
– Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing released Solstice this week, a 5.0% ABV Witbier. Brewed in the traditional style, it is available at the brewery, and James Joyce Pub in Fredericton, now. And keep an eye out for a new sour to be released in the next few days. We’ll have all of the details next week!
– Chill Street have launched their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter this week, ahead of their launch this summer. Located in the Elmsdale Sobey’s, they will be serving beer and cider fermented using a SmartBrew Ferment on Premise system. These allows the retailer to purchase wort made elsewhere, with the final steps of fermenting and packaging done on site. Look for growlers and cans to be available in the coming months at their location, and we’ll keep you up to date with their progress.