If you’re in NS, we hope you’ve been either resting your liver up or have had it in training, because it’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is kicking off today and will be in full swing this weekend. It’s every NS beer geek’s favorite 11-day week, although for some it will no doubt feel like 14 (or more!). There’s a ton of beers to tell you about, a ton of events we’ll point you towards, as well as all the other beer-related news going on in the other three Atlantic provinces, so let’s start there…
• It may not really feel like patio season yet, but trust us, it’s coming (maybe?)! In preparation, TrailWay released a new beer – of sorts – yesterday in cans at the brewery. Beyond Reality is a “juiced up” version of their popular summer seasonal, Raspberry Wheat. Even more raspberries were added in this beer (as well as a different technique of getting that raspberry character into the beer), but that’s not all! TrailWay being TrailWay, they decided to go ahead and dry-hop the beer, with the wonderful El Dorado variety. The result? A 4% ABV brew with a “unique, crazy, juicy berry/raspberry character, while remaining dry and crisp”. The cans dropped yesterday at the brewery only; this, like all first batches at TW, is a limited release, so whether it’s sunny or pouring, drop by to pick a few up today!
• There’s a new beer hitting taps from Moncton’s Beckwith Road, that originally appeared at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March. Care Package is best described as a New England APA, brewed to be hazy, hoppy, and juicy! Hopped entirely with Citra, this 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs, downright-cloudy ale has a big aroma of citrus and tropical fruit, with a dry, not-too-bitter finish. It recently made an appearance at the Tide & Boar, and you may still be able to get it at the James Joyce in Fredericton.
• Tide & Boar Brewing, another member of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective, are holding another Growler Day today, offering up three new beers: Robot Food IPA (a hazy NEIPA), a Double-Dry-Hopped version of their Forum Pale Ale featuring Nelson Sauvin, and Layback Lager. Drop by right now to get your fill of these three beers, only available at T&B.
• Hammond River Brewing is still picking away at their major expansion, and with construction being completed, equipment arriving and being installed, things are looking great! In the meantime, owner/brewer Shane Steeves doesn’t want to let his loyal fans go thirsty, so there’s not one, but *two* new beers that were brewed earlier this week! First up is Naval Daze, a kettle-soured Berliner Weisse with real peaches added in secondary. Tart, light and refreshing, it comes in at a supremely-drinkable 3.2% ABV and 4 IBUs. Next is yet another iteration of the Vegas SMaSH IPA, with this one featuring the fantastic Galaxy hop, an Australian variety. With aromas of citrus and passion fruit, this 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs brew should satisfy all of you hopheads out there. Look for both of these newbies at your local HRB account within the next couple of weeks.
• In other nearing-expansion NB news, Celtic Knot is getting closer to receiving their 3.75 bbl (~435 L) brewhouse at their new location, which will also mark the beginning of growler sales from the brewery! Not to be outdone by Hammond River, they’ve also announced the upcoming release of two new beers: Summer Daze is a 5% ABV “lightly hopped” American Pale Ale, brewed with the intention of welcoming non-craft drinkers into the fold; and Ryetious is a 6% ABV, 60 IBUs Rye IPA featuring 18% Rye malt in the grist, and hop additions of Nugget and Simcoe in the boil, as well as Amarillo in the dry-hop. Look for these two to appear at CK accounts very soon!
• As mentioned briefly last week, PEI’s Gahan House Restaurant and Brewery (a subsidiary of sorts of the PEI Brewing Co.) are adding yet another brewpub to join their locations in Charlottetown and Halifax, as well as the upcoming Moncton location. The latest location will open in Saint John on Prince William St. in September, 2017. It will house a 7 bbl (~800 L) DME brewhouse, as well as a 120-seat dining room and 30-seat seasonal outdoor patio. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on its development, but no doubt you can expect to see PEIBC/Gahan favourites on tap, as well as one-offs brewed specifically at the Saint John location.
• The New Brunswick craft beer documentary, Beerocracy, hasn’t been officially released in its entirety yet, but if you have Bell Aliant, you can watch it as a four episode series! Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff have been hard at work over the last 12+ months putting the final touches on their production baby, so be sure to tune in and check it out! Here’s how to find it: “The series can be viewed on Bell Media TV1 Atlantic – Channels 1 and 401 on Fibe TV cable in the ‘Lifestyle’ folder of the VOD store”. If that confuses you as much as it did me, push your On Demand button and search for Beerocracy. There it is! A launch party and screenings of the documentary in full will be coming soon, and if you were one of the many backers on the production’s successful Indiegogo campaign, you’ll be receiving your DVD/digital copy as well.
• Last night, PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing held a tap takeover at Battery Park; along with a bunch of goodies, they debuted a very limited brew, Strawberry Banana Milkshake IPA. This one is their White Noize White IPA, but with additions of lactose powder and vanilla, to help give that light sweetness and extra body indicative to the Milkshake IPA “style”, along with the character from the flavours of banana and strawberry. If you’re in PEI and disappointed you missed out, fear not – there are two additional kegs in existence, both of which soon be pouring at the Upstreet taproom. And for you New Brunswick Upstreet fans, good news! Bottles of their White Noize and Do-Gooder APA are on their way to ANBL stores, and should be selling within the next couple of weeks. Look for the Commons Pilsner to appear by the end of the month.
• You may notice some new Shiretown beers popping up at select NBLC stores, with a generic, green label. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you sort this out a bit! The same label is being used for Shiretown’s latest seasonal releases; look closely, and you can see that several beers are listed on the side of the label, with the corresponding beer checked off. In addition, each seasonal has a colour-coded bottlecap. Two new ones have been released: La Vie Continue (yellow cap) is a 4.5% ABV “Summer Wheat Ale” lightly hopped to 9 IBUs, and Cartier’s Columbus (green cap) is a 6.5% ABV, 38 IBUs “hop-forward Golden Ale” hopped entirely with, you guessed it, Columbus. Look for up to four more seasonal releases from Shiretown in the near future.
• There’s a new beer from Foghorn that should be popping up any day (minute?) now at the brewery’s taproom. Raiders of the Night is a Black IPA that could be the brewery’s most heavily-hopped beer yet! Brewed as a classic Black IPA, meaning enough black malts to give some roasted, coffee aromas and flavours (but not too much!), it was hopped with Comet and Azacca in the boil, and dry-hopped with copious amounts of Citra, and even more Azacca. When you’re talking high amounts of those two varieties, you can definitely expect lots of citrus, tropical fruit, and basically lots of other fruit characteristics in the beer! It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs; this batch will likely be available at the brewery only, for pints and growlers.
• Nackawic’s Big Axe just released their newest kettle-soured beer, Partridgeberry Sour. Thanks to the addition of plenty of local Patridgeberries (which the beer was aged on for four weeks), this 4.5% ABV beer has a beautiful pinkish-red hue, and plenty of fruit flavour, along with a refreshing tartness from the Lactobacillus souring effect. You should be able to find it on tap at the usual Big Axe accounts, as well as at the brewery during their retail hours.
• Also released right about now from Big Axe is Florganic Pale Ale, the brewery’s first 100% organic brew. Brewed with Horton Ridge malt and Centennial hops from Southan Farms, organic lavendar and several types of locally-foraged flowers were added to the beer during the brewing process, including Queen Anne’s lace. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it should be popping up on tap in Fredericton at 540 and the James Joyce.
• A reminder the Port Rexton Brewing is opening their tap room for the season today! They are open from 2-10pm today and tomorrow, and 2-6pm Sunday. With the new season, it’s the perfect time to launch a new beer, which they’ve done, to the tune of Mixed Opportunity. The mixed fermentation saison features a special blend from Escarpment Labs in Guelph, featuring both Scchromyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. Drop by for that and plenty more beers to kick off the season, and stay a while!
OK, we’ve put it off long enough, time to hit Nova Scotia for the rest of the news this week!
• Let’s start our tour of Nova Scotia with one of the first small local breweries, opened 20 years ago, who have big news this week. Propeller Brewing has completed renovations at their Gottingen Street location, and are now set up to serve samples in their newly opened taproom. Featuring more than a dozen taps, they are looking forward to inviting folks to sit down for a drink before grabbing a sixpack or growler, in addition to holding tasting events, educational sessions, and more in the new space. Last night also saw the rollout of their new branding, their first major one in 20 years in business. That also has spilled over to their labels, which now sport the same look, with a different colour for each beer. Learn more about both (and their future plans) in this week’s 902 BrewCast, when owner John Allen, and marketing guy Aaron Emery sat down with Kyle, Phil, and Tony.
• New taproom and brand, new beer! Also debuting last night was the latest One-Hit Wonder, MoppleBock. Using Horton Ridge Malt as the base, the Propeller crew brewed up an Imperial Maibock, their take on the German style. Medium-bodied, and malt-heavy, the beer features the iconic Noble hop peppery/spicy hop flavour and aroma. At 7.5% ABV and 50 IBUs, this is well beyond what may be expected in Bavaria, but still a nod to the original brews in character.
• And leading us into the rest of Nova Scotia is the return of their tri-brewery Organic release, Cerberus Double IPA. With collaboration and assistance from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche, the 7.9% ABV Double IPA features lots of late-addition hops for a solid 60 IBUs, from Amarillo, Centennial, Simcoe and Zythos hops in the boil, and a serious dose of dry-hopping of Citra. The beer debuted on tap at Propeller yesterday, will see wider release today (including kegs at all three participating breweries for growler fills), with a portion of it also rolling out in bottles at the private stores this weekend.
• After a bit of a quiet period during their expansion and the installation of their canning line, Nyanza’s Big Spruce is back with a vengeance just in time for Craft Beer Week. First, they’ve advised us that all deliveries of their 3 wide-release canned brands have been made to the NSLC and to all four private stores in the HRM (Bishop’s Cellar, Cristall Wine Merchants, Harvest Wines & Spirits, and Rockhead Wine & Beer Market); that’s the Tim’s Dirty IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and the Bitter Get’er Black IPA. You can start looking for them on the shelves as soon as today, although the scheduled date for the 35 participating NSLC stores is May 8th.
• Jeremy White and the gang also have 4 (count ‘em, four!) beers coming out this week. First we have Un Tabou, a collaboration with Harvest Wines. Fermented using The Escarpment Labs Old World Saison strain, it has copious late additions of tropical New World hop varieties El Dorado and Mosaic along with a healthy dry hop of both. We expect to see this one on tap at Harvest for sure, but as with other Big Spruce collabs, you may well see it appear elsewhere, especially with Craft Beer Week coming up.
• Next we’ve got Tiger Lilly, a session IPL (India Pale Lager) with 70% Horton Ridge malt in the grain bill and single-hopped with “massive” amounts of Mosaic both in the kettle and as a dry hop. This one will make its debut at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park tomorrow, and hopefully after that at NSCBW events, with tap accounts also a possibility.
• This week marks the return of She’s Maibock, brought out this time every year, made with 100% imported German malt and noble hops it comes in at 6.1% ABV and 26 IBU. This style is a harbinger of spring in Germany and its heavier hop presence and lighter malt balance are heralded as a bit of a relief from the heavier bock styles of the lenten season. The not-so-traditional infusion of lemon zest during both the boil and the lagering process, should accentuate the refreshing nature of the style.
• Last, but not least, Silver Tart, the Raspberry Sour beer that was found on many patios and beergardens last year. Fermented on more than a hundred kilos of local raspberries, the refreshing sour finish keeps you wanting more. Well, want no more, as the 4.5% ABV beer hits the taps in HRM this week. They’ve also ordered the cans for their first canning run in the summer; we’ll keep you posted on where you might expect those to start popping up.
• Keeping the new beers flowing is a full-time job for the folks at Tatamagouche, too! Cellar Slammer, their Session IPA collaboration with Bishop’s Cellar, will be debuting tomorrow at their Tap Takeover (drop by from noon to meet the Tata crew and get first tastes and growler fills of it), with cans of the beer going on sale Sunday at BC. For those in Tata, samples, cans, and fills will be available all weekend.
• Hitting the taps and shelves next week is a brand new one from Tata, Flat Liner English IPA. Inspired by the traditional English hop East Kent Golding, this 5.6% ABV beer features a healthy base of local Horton Ridge Malt, with some Caramel 60 for colour and malt flavour. All EKG throughout the boil, to about 50 IBUs, with another dosing of them in the secondary for a redoubling of the aromatics. This release will no be canned, so be sure to seek it out at the brewery, or at their licensees across the province, starting mid-next-week.
• And also hitting the shelves next week will be the latest in their Giant Beer series, Baltic Porter. The 8.0% ABV full-bodied beer was fermented with a lager strain of yeast, and conditioned (lagered, even) for several weeks before release. Featuring Czech Saaz hops, bottles will be released on Thursday at the brewery.
• Ashdale’s Meander River Farm and Brewery released a new beer recently, Seeing Double IPA. The 8.0% ABV beer features all Citra hops throughout the boil, for a firm bitterness and plenty of citrus and refreshing aroma. Grab it at the brewery this weekend, as well as their Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market table. And for someone in the area looking for a job that will have you working both inside and out of a brewery this summer, they are filling a full-time position assisting in the brewery and retail space, as well as working on the adjacent farm doing landscaping and gardening work. Check out the full details here.
• Good Robot comes screaming into Craft Beer Week with their collective hair on fire, bringing out 3 beta brews thanks to Kelly Costello, who brought a different guest assistant brewer along for each batch. Strangely Black, brewed with Brent Braaten, is a Black IPA with cold-steeped grains that will be released at the Good Robot Taproom today. Later Gator is a White IPA brewed with Dani Alarie that was dry-hopped with Amarillo hops and that will be released on Sunday, May 7. And lastly, Klezmer Kölsch was brewed with members of 2b Theatre Company. This one will be released on Wednesday, May 10, for the company’s Ambassador Night, featuring cast members of Old Stock, A Refugee Love Story, currently running (until May 14) at The Waiting Room. And if that wasn’t enough, this weekend will also see the return of DeWolfe of Wall Street, GR’s other pale ale, this one less bitter, less malty and definitely boozier than their flagship Burban Legend. It’s very crisp, gluten-reduced and comes in at 6.4% ABV.
• In Dartmouth, Spindrift is once again playing, “anything you can do we can do lager,” with their latest release, Plimsoll. Brewmaster Kellye Robertson enlisted a helping hand from former colleague Kyle Jeppesen and the pair took the summer crusher Berliner Weisse style and gently tweaked it into a lager. Featuring a grist of local Horton Ridge Pilsner and German Pale Wheat malts, the mash was soured for three days to achieve a complex fruity, tart and citrusy palate before fermenting and then finishing with a light dry hop of the modern German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc. This 3.6% ABV beer should go down extremely easily, a very light 5 IBU of bitterness mingling with tartness and hop character, leading to a crisp lager finish. Available since at the brewery, it’s available for growler fills there and is likely to turn up at licensee taps as well. Given the malt bill it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that it might also be Spindrift’s entry at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Saturday.
• Staying on the Dark Side with another member of #teamdartmouth in this Sunday’s Stillwell Open, Brightwood Brewery is releasing a new beer this weekend. The cleverly-named Halifornia Commons is a California Common-style beer, a style that dates back to the turn of the 20th century and one of the two styles widely held to be truly American. Brightwood went with a grist of 97% Horton Ridge malt and fermented the beer with the classic San Francisco yeast, a lager strain that tolerates ale temperatures. Clean and crisp, it was late- and dry-hopped with Green Bullet hops from New Zealand to provide fruity aromas that complement those coming from yeast esters, and at 6.0% ABV and 49 IBU, it should be a solid, flavourful brew for summer. Available tomorrow at Alderney Market, you’ll also find it on tap at Battery Park if you attend the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover!
• Across the harbour, or not, as the case may be (we note they’re #teamdartmouth in the Stillwell Open…), North Brewing has a new beer that they’re releasing this week. Made with wheat malt from Horton Ridge, it’s a dry-hopped American Wheat they’re calling Reverend Horton Wheat (cue psychobilly riff). Though low in bitterness at 13 IBU, the Simcoe and Cascade used in the dry hop should give this 5.9% ABV beer a noticable hop character. It was also fermented using the same Yeast Bay Funktown Ale blend that was used in their recent Malternate Reality brew, providing a hazy appearance and accentuating the hop presence. If you guessed that this one will be part of the Horton Ridge takeover at Battery Park, go ahead and reward yourself with a beer. It will also be available for growler fills, at least on the Dartmouth side.
• Next Wednesday, on May 10, you’ll also see two bottle releases from North. First is a version of their Midnight Glenora Barrel-aged Strong Dark also aged with the Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain known as Brett Q, which is known to impart a subtle Brett character with ripe fruit notes and underlying funk. You’ll also see their Milk Stout that’s been aged in Glenora Barrels. Both beers will be available in 650ml bottles; expect to see them at the North bottle shops and more than likely at select private liquor stores in the HRM.
• Halifax’s 2 Crows is releasing a brand new pilot batch brew (we like to call it their Attempted Murder Series, can that catch on?) in their taproom tomorrow to celebrate Open Brewery Day. Promiseland is a super-juicy 8.3% ABV Double IPA, featuring a next-load of late- and dry-hopping, for a nose- and mouth-full of hoppy goodness, beyond its 64 IBUs datasheet. With all of these releases, they are *only* available at the brewery, so don’t delay in dropping by tomorrow. During OBD, be sure to drop by and have a chat with the Brewery Crew and take a tour of their location. And early next week will mark the release of two of their draft-only beers in cans: Fantacity Witbier and Midnight Mood Dry-Hopped American Porter. Look for those to be on sale at the brewery Tuesday or Wednesday.
• After several test batches, Garrison has finalized the recipe for their (no longer Code Name:) Juicy! Double IPA. With a grist of 2-row pale malt and flaked oats, this hazy Northeastern-style DIPA is hop-heavy, featuring several varieties including Citra, Comet, Mosaic, Ekuanot and at least one “secret” hop. It’s got aromas of citrus, pineapple and tangerine, with tangerine and citrus flavors on the palate. At 8% ABV it’s firmly in DIPA territory, but with a somewhat tame (for the style) 65 IBU, the soft mouthfeel of the style and the fruit flavors it’s likely to go down pretty easily. It’s being released today on tap at the brewery for tasting and growler fills and will head to select licensees later this weekend or early next week. We’ll have more details packaging plans over the next few weeks.
• Annapolis Cider Co has some exciting news to share this week: they took home no less than SIX medals from the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), the world’s largest cider competition! With 1200 ciders entered, competition was stiff, but ACC took home hardware with every product they entered: Their Heirloom and Toasted Oak and Maple were bronze winners, Old-Fashioned Gravenstein and Sour Cherry garnered silver medals, and Muscat Infusion and Hopped Pear took home gold. Even better, both gold medal winners took Best in Class status in their respective groups! You can purchase the Heirloom at your local NSLC and at the private liquor stores in HRM, but you’ll have to visit the cidery in Wolfville to try the others. For most Nova Scotians, truly World Class cider is only a lovely drive to the Valley away!
A few more events to get you excited for the weekend…
• NS Craft Beer Week is in full swing, with tickets still available for this evening’s Cape Breton Kitchen Party at Centre 200 in Sydney. Henley House and Sober Island are hosting two events tomorrow, so make a trip to the Eastern Shore to check out their new digs, and drink some great cask beer. Drop by Stillwell Sunday for the Stillwell Open, a province-wide competition pitting more than a dozen breweries, plus a handful of homebrewers (our own Aaron and Chris brewed up beers for competing teams!) in the quest to produce some killer brand new/one-off brews. During the week, we are hosting a Trivia Night at Timber Lounge Wednesday evening, and then you can cap it all off with the Full House Craft Beer Festival, during which there will be 32 breweries in attendance. Tickets for Saturday are sold out, but Friday night session is still available!
If all of that is too much to remember, don’t worry! We’ve put together a Calendar of the events happening over the next 9 days to keep you straight, and even mapped them all out, perfect for an epic beery roadtrip across the province. Check that out here, and if we’ve missed anything, let us know!
• With both National Homebrew Day and Nova Scotia Open Brewery Day being celebrated this weekend, one of Halifax’s sources for homebrew supplies is marking the occasion with a homebrewing demo. Maritime Wine & Beer Emporium on Lady Hammond Road will be setting up three different all-grain brewing systems on their front lawn, with three different brewers each doing a different recipe. If you’re at all interested in the hobby, this is an excellent chance to see how it’s done, get a feel for the variety of equipment and techniques that are available to the homebrewer, and to talk to some folks about their passion for the craft. The festivities will start at 9am and are expected to go until 1pm. And if you venture into the store, you’ll find all regular-priced items are 15% off for the duration of the weekend! So stop by and see how water, grain and hops become wort, the first step on the road to beer!
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 words. We suggest you mark this achievement with a beer! Crack one open or order one up and see if you can’t push your brain to the point of being totally brimful of beer stuff – we’ve got a few more quick hits to send you on your way.
– Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider has released their first product to the NSLC, Foundation. The 6.0% ABV cider is available across the province, and they are expecting to open their Agricola Street taproom/tasting bar later this month. We hope to share more information on the ciderhouse and their products soon.
– First City has re-released their award-winning Fruit Beer, Raspberry Wheat (6% ABV); you can find it on tap now at Pepper’s Pub, as well as other accounts in the near future.
– Grimross has added yet another crowd favourite to their available-outside-of-pints-and-growlers lineup, as one of their first beers, Cheval D’Or (5.2% ABV, 18 IBUs), a Saison, is now available in cans.
– In Liverpool, Hell Bay has a new beer available. Sour Apple was kettle soured with organic yogurt before being fermented on Pazzazz apples. At 4.5% ABV it should be a lovely quaffer for the summer patio season. It’s available at the brewery for fills and is on tap at selected licensees, but it’s not (yet) in bottles.
– Loyalist City in Saint John has a new beer coming as soon as the paperwork can wend its way through the labyrinthine ANBL licensing process. Their first DIPA, it is as yet unnamed, but they’re already planning a special small batch with their friends at New England Distilling. Watch this space for more information on this release!
– Wayfarers’ Ale Society has canned up a few of their offerings, and their One-Eyed River Hog IPA is currently available at the NSLC. You can also grab Hellene, their 4.2% ABV Blonde Ale at the private stores.