Happy Friday, and the beginning of a long weekend (maybe… depending on your job I guess?)! Unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking too hot for celebrating Canada’s big 150, but don’t let that stop you from getting out and (responsibly) enjoying some of the fine local beer in your area. And speaking of fine, local beer, we’ve got some news to report on just that very subject…
• Bathurst, New Brunswick will soon be the home to its first craft brewery, as Four Rivers Brewing Co. is planning to open their doors this December. Family-owned and operated, the four owners are currently renovating an entire building to house the 15 bbl (1750 L) DME brewhouse, which will also be home to a taproom. Likely launching with a Pale Ale and Amber Ale, with plenty of seasonals and one-offs to follow, beers will available in growlers, cans, and on tap at licensees across the province. We’ll keep you up to date with Four Rivers’ progress, and will be posting a Q&A with the owners in the future!
• The kind folks at Tatamagouche Brewing don’t want us beer lovers going thirsty, so they’re releasing plenty of brews this week! Let’s get right to it by starting with the brand new ones. First up is Main St. Mayhem, a 6.3% ABV, 65 IBU American IPA brewed with Pale and Pilsner malt, and a bit of Wheat and Rye malt for some extra character. Hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Huell Melon and Mosaic, it was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast to boost that juicy character that we all love even more. Growlers are now available at the brewery, and kegs are in the wild… a limited number of cans will be released next week.
• Moving right along, Tata Brew’s latest kettle-soured Berliner Weisse is next, and they’re calling it Guava Heist. With a base of Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a touch of rolled oats, this beer was aged on organic guava purée. At a super-sessionable 3.6% ABV and 4 IBUs, look for this one to be released next week in kegs, growlers and cans. Curious what the base beer itself tastes like? Well, luckily the brewery racked off some of the “lemony, bright citrus” base beer so visitors to the tasting room could do a side-by-side with the fruited version; a few kegs have also been released to select accounts. Be sure to seek out both!
• Finally, a couple of Tata favourites are returning as well. Their RR#2, a 4.9% ABV, 18 IBU light Lager brewed with Malagash-grown hops, is out now in kegs, growlers, and cans. This time around, the beer was hopped entirely with Mt. Hood – small amounts in the kettle, but with very large hopback additions, giving “very earthy, grassy, and floral” aromas. And Sunrise Trail ISA, one of the brewery’s Session IPAs, is also back for summer, with a slightly-tweaked recipe. The grist still features 2-row and Pilsner malt, but the Wheat has been replaced with Spelt. Hopped with lots of Azacca, as well as some Falconer’s Flight, Hallertau Blanc, and Simcoe (to 30 IBUs), this one will be around all summer at the brewery, bars, and private stores, with cans even hitting the NSLC by August!
• The latest cider in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider is now available, for a limited time only. Strawberry Rhubarb is a delicious-sounding blend of the cidery’s cool-fermented dry apple cider with the juice of local, hand-picked ruby red rhubarb and garden strawberries, along with a bit of fresh-pressed apple juice to finish it all off. The final 6.3% ABV, pale-red, cider exhibits “bright notes of juicy strawberries paired with the bold zing of tart rhubarb”, with a crisp and refreshing finish that’s perfect for summer. The Blue Route will be the recipient of the 50 cents-from-every-fill donation for this release. Drop by the cidery today to get your fill!
• Garrison Brewing released another sour beer yesterday at the brewery. Sour to the People is a “Strong Sour Ale”, brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, no hops were added at any point in the brewing process. While the majority of kettle-soured beers tend to be in the sub-5% ABV range, this new brew comes in at 6.5% ABV, and has aromas of green apple, peach, and sweet malt, and more green apple and lemon on the palate. Drop by the brewery for a sample and growler fill, and look for this one to pop up on tap around the HRM.
• Spindrift has a new beer they just launched yesterday at the brewery, Blood Orange India Pale Lager. With a grist of Heidelburg (a very-light coloured malt), Light Munich, and Vienna, the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with El Dorado, Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe. Aged on 900 lbs of pure blood oranges, it was then dry-hopped with more Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria… needless to say, we can expect lots of tropical and stone fruit notes to complement the citrus and red berry characteristics of the blood orange. This 5.5% ABV Lager is available now in cans and growlers at the brewery, with the cans likely trickling into private stores over the weekend.
• It’s Friday, which (usually) means that 2 Crows is releasing another small batch brew at the brewery! Crystal Rhythm is a “Brett Session Ale”, a 3.9% ABV, 35 IBUs beer fermented with Amalgamation, an increasingly-popular pitch made up of six different strains of Brettanomyces. With late boil additions of Azacca, Citra and Galaxy, the beer was dry-hopped with Simcoe and a touch of Calypso, and conditioned on lime zest. Described as “dry, crushable, citrusy, and a bit funky”, if all that isn’t enough to make you non-Haligonians want to move to Halifax, here’s something else – like the other small batch releases, it’s only available for pours at the taproom. Dang.
• Though we might be accused of stretching the credulity of “beer-related” on this one, hear us out. If you’ll recall a few months ago, we told you about the magnificent Calvados Foeders brought in by 2 Crows for some barrel-aging projects. As it turns out, beer isn’t the only thing that can benefit from some time in the barrel: a recent trend in coffee is to age green beans in a spirit barrel before roasting them. Dartmouth coffee and cold brew purveyors Low Point Coffee Co. (formerly Bottleneck Coffee) jumped on that train and hit up 2 Crows’ brewmaster Jeremy Taylor for some foeder time for a bean lot from Burundi. Already sporting notes of caramel, candy apple, lemongrass and a faintly floral aroma, it’s now been kissed by decades worth of Calvados which impart toffee and black cherry undertones and some noticeable boozy notes, especially on the nose. The gang at Low Point has brewed a small amount that you can look for to pop up around the city via keg accounts and the remaining roasted beans will be available by the bag. They recommend a one-cup method, be it pour over, siphon, aeropress, cold brew or espresso and would be happy to provide advice to you if you’re lucky enough to lay hands on some of these beans. And here’s where we come back around to beer: one of the popular uses for barrel-aged coffee beans is for flavouring big dark beers known for coffee flavours, such as Russian Imperial Stouts. So if you’re a home brewer with a RIS in the works, maybe consider some barrel-aged beans and making it an extra special batch. Meanwhile everyone else can look forward to the inevitability of a production brewery taking advantage of this new resource in town.
• Newly-opened Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth has already released a new beer, Rusty Truck Red Ale. With lots of malt flavour thanks to a grist of five different types of grain, the 5% ABV beer was generously hopped with Cascade to give a firm bitterness in the finish, as well as some citrus. Available at the brewery for growler fills on Thursdays from 4-8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm, it’s also on tap at Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe. And if you’d like to win a Heritage gift card, share your experience with Heritage beer on their Facebook site and tag it with #HeritageMoment; the contest closes at 11:59 pm on July 1st.
• For those of you who miss having access to certain Red Rover one-offs, we have some good news to share: the cidery has announced a new Summer Series, where they’ll be releasing a different seasonal or Reserve blend every second Friday over the summer. First up this week is VeRRy PeRRy, a bottle-conditioned 7% ABV pear blend, which was packaged last year. All of the Summer Series releases will be exclusive to the Cider House in downtown Fredericton, and the Friday Farmers Markets.
• The menagerie on Halifax’s Robie Street known as Good Robot Brewing has a few things on the go this week, starting with yesterday’s return of their summer favourite Leave Me Blue, an easy-drinker in the pre-prohibition Kentucky Common style that’s much like a cream ale, but with a darker colour and more prominent sweetness. Meanwhile their Friday Cask in the Sun (possibly in-aptly named for today) will be their Goseface Killah with Watermelon and Arctic Kiwis. “But arctic kiwis haven’t come into season yet!” you say, to which the wise folks from GR respond, “yes, but we froze some last year so you could have some tasty beer in June!” Look for it to be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon. The Red IPA originally brewed for International Women’s Day back in March, Red Moon Landing, is returning next week with a minor recipe tweak to the grist (Pilsner replaces Vienna alongside Red X and flaked barley) but the same combo of GR’s proprietary bittering blend, Ekuanot and Perle. And finally, this week’s Beta Brewsday falls on a Wednesday due to GR being closed for a “Staff Appreciation Day” (read: digging another trench) on Tuesday. This week’s offering is called Re:Drella and it’s a 6.5% ABV and 28 IBU SMaSH of Red X malt and the super-versatile Australian hop variety Ella. As always, this Beta Batch was brewed by Kelly Costello, this time joined by Dan Hendricken.
• Deep in the downtown core of Halifax, Salter Street’s Tidehouse Brewing is welcoming back a beer that helped them make a splash when they launched in December of 2016. Enigmatic, an ‘India Saison’ marries the yeast character of a classic Saison to the hop-forward flavour and aroma of a modern IPA. This super hoppy batch was hopped with an alliterative assault of Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo for a heavy grapefruit presence with lime zest and a light floral character. Get it at the brewery while it lasts! Meanwhile, the 3 principals behind the Tidehouse brand are going to be taking a well-deserved vacation from the 7th to the 11th of July. Does that mean you’ll be without tasty beer? Hell no! Once again, local home brewers Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell have stepped up to production batches of some of their beers on the Tidehouse system and will be hosting a tap takeover while Peter, Shean and Shannon get to remember what it’s like to breathe for a few days. Lil’Wheatey is bringing a Northeastern/New England IPA featuring big late additions and a double dry hop of Citra and Amarillo as well as a kettle sour flavoured with raspberries he’s calling The Platinum Tart. We trust that he came up with that name all on his own ಠ_ಠ just like the Lactobacillus culture he grew to do the souring. Nick, on the other hand, will be bringing Smooth Criminal, a crisp Kölsch based on Pilsner and wheat malt that features Tettnanger hops, along with a Saison he’s dubbed Lanky Bastard that was fermented on a Saison yeast blend and hit hard with Mosaic hops. The alternative experience starts next Friday; and fear not, if your hankering is for Tidehouse standbys they’ll be available alongside the guest taps.
Get your butt out the door this long weekend:
• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery is officially launching with a soft opening today! Starting at noon, their first two beers will be pouring and available in growlers at the brewery’s location on 82 Marr Rd. The first beer is Chalice, a tribute to the strong blonde ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium. Pale, dry and refreshing, it’s a 6.5% ABV, 25 IBU ale that has a “classic spicy character” thanks to fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain and a small addition of Grains of Paradise. Secondly, they’ll be pouring Bantam, a 5.5% ABV and 40 IBU American Pale Ale named for the small but mighty chickens known for their attitude. This one is dry-hopped with classic American hops Cascade and Centennial as well as relative newcomer Citra for an unmistakable citrus hop presence to balance the specialty malts in the grist. So if you’re in Rothesay this afternoon, give a thought to stopping by and welcoming the latest addition to New Brunswick’s family of independent breweries and trying some beer! And if you happen by around 6 PM, you’ll find Josh from PEI hop supplier Darlings Island Farm holding forth on the subject of hops.
• With Canada Day this Saturday, a note about the provincial stores: the NSLC is closed, as is the NLC, ANBL stores are open 10-6, and the PEILC is open. In Nova Scotia the private stores are all open, but be sure to check that your local brewery is open. Breton Brewing is holding a Canada Day Party from 1-11pm complete with live music and beer specials, Quidi Vidi is open from noon for Pints in the Gut and selling the last few cases of the Central City Across the Nation Collaboration packs.
• Tomorrow, July 1st, Battery Park is holding a Gold Medal Patio Takeover to celebrate the four Nova Scotia gold-medal winners at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards. Pouring will be Gus’ 65m and Midnight (Glenora Barrel-Aged BSDA) from North Brewing, Stayin’ Alive from Boxing Rock, and Vohs Weizenbier from Uncle Leo’s. The taps open (figuratively and literally) at 11:30 am and will keep pouring (not literally, hopefully) through the weekend, while supplies last).
• The Moncton Craft Brewers Collective is hosting the Canada Day Craft Beer Garden tomorrow, July 1st. Located at Waterfront Park with the other Canada Day celebrations, the tent will be set up in front of the courthouse. Over a dozen beers from the area’s finest craft breweries will be pouring, so pop on down to have a few (or more) and enjoy the fireworks in the evening, along with plenty of games and food.
• Stillwell is showing their love for Canada Day at both HQ on Barrington, and the Beer Garden on Spring Garden with summer-themed taps and bottles from around the Maritimes, plus some goodies from Toronto heavy hitters Bellwoods and Burdock (pretty much the only spot outside of the brewery to feature Motley Cru, for instance). Check out the at-opening taplist here.
• Join the crew from The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish in celebrating their Fifth Anniversary on July 4th. Kick it off 4-6pm with Happy Hour and oysters ($2/shuck), two (2!!) cakes being cut and served at 5:30 and 9:00, with food and beer pairings until 10:00, and live music from OQO. It’s sure to be a heck of a time, with plenty of SUDS Club members and neighbours dropping by to wish them well.
• Drop by Roof Hound Brewing just outside of Digby on Saturday July
8th 22nd, for a screening of “Sociable!“, the ode to Nova Scotia beer and those who make it. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be there to introduce the film and answer any questions about their wild trip around the province filming, and the NS Craft Beer scene.
• Hammond River‘s major expansion from a 1 bbl, in-house brewery to a 15 bbl (1750 L) brewery with attached taproom is almost complete. The brewery will finally open its doors on Monday, July 10th., with the beer bar and attached patio accessible for your HR fix! All four of the first beers brewed on the new system (Gammie, Hopflash IPA, Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Blueberry Ale… and maybe even Paisley Park and the Galaxy version of The Vegas SMaSH IPA) will be pouring for pints and growler fills. In fact, you can drop by The Barrel’s Head now for a preview, as they are featuring the Gammie California Steam Ale on tap now.
Just a few more things this morning…
– Halifax’s Unfiltered has brought back another one of their classic DIPA SMaSH beer, this time the Mosaic-laden RSMA. Don’t remember what RSMA stands for? Don’t worry, a growler of this 7.5% ABV tropical fruit bomb will help you forget that you couldn’t remember. Available for growler fills at the brewery and pints and fills next door at the pub starting at noon today.
– The two local breweries taking part in the “Fathers of Fermentation” project, in celebration of the Peter Austin Brew Systems across the country. Sir John Eh-le is being released at both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewery tomorrow. Check out our previous Wrap-Up for more information on the beer and project.
– Charlottetown’s Gahan House Pub has released a new concoction lately, Daily Dose Hard Root Beer. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, it is available exclusively at the pub for samples, pints, and growler fills.