Welcome to June, loyal beer readers and drinkers! It’s already been a busy week, with the announcement of the winners at the Canadian Brewing Awards, and the opening of Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company’s taproom and pilot brewery. We’ve got plenty more news to share with you today, so grab that coffee stout and take a few minutes to get up to speed. Look for our take on the ANBL domestic beer price reduction shortly.
• Kicking off the beer release news is FirkinStein, located just outside Bridgewater in Mount Pleasant, who have released a new beer this week, called Tempus Fugit IPA. At 8.0% ABV, many would consider it a Double IPA (and it is packed to the gills with hops like one), including Cascade, Citra, Perle, Saaz, and Mosaic! It’s got a strong bitterness and prominent hop aroma, and is a touch drier and quite a bit lighter in colour than their flagship IPA, Cut of Our Jib. Tempus Fugit will only be available at the brewery and their market stalls. Meanwhile, Bishops Cellar in Halifax has been carrying the first bottled offerings from FirkinStein and have sold out of the Rock Your Boat Oatmeal Coffee Stout. But fear not, you should see their Amber, Nor’Easter appear there sometime in the coming week. And watch this space in the coming weeks for news of a new retail space for the brewery.
• Over to New Brunswick, where Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewing is releasing the first in a series of beers for the summer. Galaxy Session IPA kicks off the lineup by featuring a very popular hop of late, the Australian variety Galaxy, which is known for a blast of tropical passion fruit and citrus characteristics. The beer comes in at a very sessionable 4.7% ABV, which should make for easy drinking in the summer sun. This one will appear on tap at the James Joyce Pub in Fredericton as well as at ANBL growler stations (probably Dieppe and/or Moncton). Keep an eye on Facebook for Growler Alerts to find out when it’s coming up in rotation! Brewer Marc Melanson will be introducing more beers in this series as the summer goes on featuring either single hop varietals or blends, and we’ll try to let you know about every one of them!
• And moving across the Northumberland Strait to the Island, we told you last week about the North Brewing Taproom Takeover this afternoon at Upstreet. One of the beers you’ll find if you’re lucky enough to be at that event in Charlottetown is a beer co-brewed by Upstreet’s Mike Hogan when he was in Halifax a month or two back. Holiday Island is an IPA in the session range, at 5.1% ABV, with pale, honey, and kiln amber malts making up the grain bill. It was hopped to 35 IBU with Azacca, Belma, and Pekko, three recently released American varietals that promise to provide a big hop character. And if you happen to see the gang from North at this event or back in the HRM, be sure to congratulate them on their twin gold medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards!
• Saint John’s Loyalist City released their latest single-hop IPA to the wild this week, El Dorado. Ther El Dorado hop varietal lends an intense tropical fruit aroma of mango and stone fruit, and a light tweak to the base recipe gives a lighter body and slight sweetness to match the hop character. The beer is available now at Cask & Kettle, and a few other spots in the Uptown area.
• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks released a new one earlier this week, a red ale they’re calling Brewer’s Choice Ginger Rye. This is a dusky red ale that is full-bodied and features subtle caramel notes and hints of ginger on the palate. It’s got a long finish enabled by the astringency of the rye and wheat malts used and an assertive spiciness that we suspect comes from both the rye and the ginger. It’s not a big beer at 5.6% ABV and certainly not overly bitter at 15 IBU, so expect it to be on the malty side of the spectrum. This is a limited release, so you’ll only find it at the brewery for now and possibly appearing at licensed taps around the city over the coming weeks.
• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider has a special small-batch this week, made with oft-overlooked apple varietals. Geneva Crab Rosé is an 8.6% ABV blend made with a blend of dry cider from 100% hand-picked local Golden Hyslop crabapples, with fresh-pressed juice from Geneva Red crabapples added post-ferment for a brilliant colour and tannic character. The resulting cider has a significant tart finish, and is only available at their cidery on Main Street for a limited time.
• In addition, Annapolis has released their latest Something Different, Sangria Cider. The 7.0% abv Sparkling Cider was created by blending cool-fermented dry cider with a dry red wine from locally sourced Frontenac Red grapes. This blend was then finished with fresh-pressed apple juice, as well as juice from oranges, lemons and limes. From Annapolis, “With aromatic notes of citrus and crisp apple and the characteristic hints of cherry, blackcurrant and plum from the wine, this lively and refreshing rosé-hued cider is the perfect patio sipper.” As with all of their Something Different releases, $0.50 will be donated to a local charity. This releases beneficiary is L’Arche Homefires in Wolfville, who provide meaningful work opportunities for adults with special needs.
• Fredericton’s Red Rover Craft Cider released a “very limited” batch of a special treat yesterday. Wyld is a cider that will appeal to those who are drawn to farmhouse funk and sour styles. Fermented with wild yeast, this is a still cider, which should accentuate the yeast character, and also quite dry, weighing in at 7% ABV. This small batch is only available at their cider house for pints or flagon fills to go, so get it before it’s gone. Meanwhile, Red Rover has plans for some more special treats in the next month that we’ll be sure to tell you about as their respective releases approach.
• And in even more cider news, Muwin Estate Wines in the Annapolis Valley, the folks who bring you Bulwark Ciders, are launching a new line of fruit-forward ciders under the label 7 Shores that will appeal to both regular cider drinkers and those who are new to cider. Like their Bulwark products, these are built on a base of freshly-pressed 100% Annapolis Valley apples, but one with slightly less tannins for a smoother palate. They also sport a significantly lower ABV, at a very quaffable 4.8%. Two flavours are available out of the gate, Peach Vanilla Bean and Strawberry Lime; look for them to appear soon at NSLC stores around the province.
• It’s been almost six months since we’ve had a new SMaSH from Greg Nash at Unfiltered Brewing, when the Simcoe-laden Danko was released back in November; so today’s release of Hops & Dreams is a special day. This one features Amarillo, one of the brewing industry darling hops of the 2010s and a varietal known for imparting a juicy orange, grapefruit, and stone-fruit character. In short, a perfect hop for another East Coast/West Coast DIPA marriage that no doubt features the magic of Mr. Nash’s proprietary SMaSH technique. It’s 8% ABV and 100+ IBU, but like its five brethren, it probably drinks a whole lot easier than the numbers would suggest. So as you wobble back to the fridge for glass number 4 from that growler, don’t say we didn’t warn you! It’ll be available for pints and fills from noon today on North Street at the brewery and Charm School Pub.
• Those who attended the Friday session of the CBANS Full House event earlier this month had a chance to try a brand new collaboration beer from 2 Crows and 2/3 of the motley crew from 902 BrewCast (1/3 had his beard caught in a rocking chair). And those folks liked it so much that they drained the keg that night, leaving none for the Saturday attendees, who are clearly not bitter about it. In ACBB exclusive news, there’s good news afoot: 2 Crows is releasing a limited run of cans of that beer, In Theory, a Galaxy and Azacca dry-hopped sour fermented with wild yeast, this coming Tuesday! Bright, tart, tropical, juicy and eminently crushable at 5.1% ABV and 18 IBU, you’ll also find it on tap at the brewery the day cans are released. So plan to grab a pint and see what all the fuss was about before you grab some cans to go!
• And speaking of the 902 BrewDudes, they released the fifth of their May #902sday episodes earlier this week, featuring a sitdown with Brian Titus, Daniel Girard, and Jeff Green of Garrison Brewing. At over 2 hours in length, there is plenty to digest about their 20 years in operation, including false starts, the lean years, and their expansion(s) to the Halifax Seaport. Grab the podcast, and a can of the much-lauded JUICY! Double IPA, which is now available at the brewery, and releasing shortly at the private stores (and NSLC in a couple of weeks). From the brewery, “Dank, hazy, and lushly tropical. This double IPA delivers waves of mango, tangerine and pineapple without the bitter hit.”
• One of the Annapolis Valley’s small breweries is fixing to get bigger. After opening in February of this year with a 1.5bbl system, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill is already planning an upgrade to 5bbl; their new equipment should be on the way from the West Coast by the time you read this. They’re not waiting on delivery to increase their presence, though, as starting today you’ll see them opening Fridays from 12-6pm in addition to their previously established Thursday hours of 3:30-6:30pm. They’ve got growler and grunter fills available, or feel free to try a flight of 5 beers for $10. And if that’s not enough to draw you in, they’ve also got a limited quantity of their Stillwell Open category-winning collaboration with Boxing Rock, April May and Juniper pouring!
• As first reported by local blog Halifax Retales, Cristall Wine Merchants in Bedford has confirmed that it will be closing, and re-opening under a new name, this summer. “WestSide Beer Wine Spirits” will be opening at 287 Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park, in the former Brewdabaker’s location. The larger location will allow for bigger selection, expanded cold storage, 8 growlers taps, and the ability to control their opening hours. Stayed tuned for more details and dates.
There’s lots going on in our region this weekend and the next few weeks…
• Stillwell is holding a pair of mini-tap takeovers this weekend at both their Beergarden and Mothership on Barrington. Today at BGonSG, there are three West Avenue ciders pouring now, with a Beausoleil Oyster pop-up starting this afternoon. Tomorrow from noon on Barrington, there will be 3 kegs and 5 different bottles from Toronto’s Bellwoods available for enjoyment.
• PEI Brewing Company has been quietly releasing small pilot brews and special beers through casks and kegs at their brewery taproom and Halifax’s Stillwell for a couple of years, but they are now naming, and officially launching, this line of beers as the After Hours series. According to PEIBC’s Brewmaster Chris Long, “This series is a way for the brewers to scale up ideas that we’ve had for new beers without committing to 50 hectoliters of it. Some start on a pilot system, and we’ll have a 20 litre keg to put out there. Others are lower risk and start out on the 5 or 7 bbl system at one of the Gahan locations. These beers will be available on tap at the PEI Brewing Company taproom, select bars and restaurants in the Maritimes and through the growler programs at your local liquor stores.” In celebration of this, PEIBC is taking over the taps today at the new bar.1911 at 113 Longworth in Charlottetown. From 4 PM, there will be twenty different pilot- or small-batch beers, including favourites like Impatience Sour Brown and Milk Stout, as well as brand new offerings, such as Scimitar Black IPA, Strawberry Pale Ale, and Barrel-Aged Brett Pale Ale. The brewers will be onsite to answer your questions (and hear your suggestions for the next brews!), and music will be provided by Bridgette Blanchard, Nudie, and Alex Madsen of The Divorcees. Check out the details on their Facebook page.
• The BrewHopper app has launched in Fredericton, and they are holding their first tours this weekend. Starting today, thirsty visitors can hop on and off the BrewHopper bus as it takes them to the busiest beer spots on both the North and Southside. The app allows all ticketing/tracking to be done electronically, akin to ride-sharing apps available in other areas. Using the BrewHopper App (for iPhone and Android), you can track the bus’ route and exact location, use it to warn you when the bus is getting close, and take care of your payment, too. The River Hop will run every Friday through the summer (including today) 6:00 PM-12:15 AM, and take folks to both North and Southside locations (DJ Purdy’s, GrayStone, King Street Ale House, James Joyce, Picaroons Roadhouse, Mama’s Brew Pub, and Trailway Brewing), while the Hill Hop runs Saturdays 4:00-11:30 PM, and stays on the Southside (DJ Purdy’s, GrayStone, Grimross Brewing, Maybee Brewing , James Joyce, and Red Rover Ciderhouse). There are more maps, and details on the Fredericton page. Even if you will not be going on the tour this weekend, grab the free app to learn more about the stops, and to watch the bus icon scoot around the city. And if all goes well, the BrewHopper will be expanding to other cities, including Halifax and Ottawa. You can learn some more on the BrewHopper Facebook page as well.
• A reminder that the launch of the St. John’s Beer Tours is this weekend as well, with their Scuff & Scoff tour running today, the Ultimate Townie Brew Tour tomorrow, and the Hoppy Highlights Tour Sunday. Check out their calendar page for ticket details and purchase, and we’ll see you out on a tour soon enough! Check out our previous mention of it for more details.
• Drop by the Tide & Boar tomorrow for the launch of a unique beer they brewed onsite. Joined by members of the Moncton Beer League, this Pale Ale features Green Bullet and Pacifica hops, on a Pale and Vienna Malt base, with additions of local Chaga throughout the brew. The flavour of the Chaga comes through as earthy and woody. Pouring from opening at 10AM, visitors can grab a pint in a special Moncton Beer League glass (to keep), do pay-as-you-drink, or grab a growler to go. Speaking of growlers, in addition to Chaga Pale Ale, their Robot Food IPA and Killington IPA will also be available for sale to take away.
• The ANBL is celebrating the new Craft Beer Room at their York Street location with its Grand Opening this Saturday, June 3rd. From 11 AM-3 PM, drop by for free tastings, food pairings, prizes, and drop-bys from local brewery employees. The room is unique within the ANBL system, and features some beers available nowhere else in the province (or the rest of Atlantic Canada, for that matter!). The York Street inventory is available online, skip to the Beer section to spot beers from across the Maritimes, as well as from Dunham, Epic, Evil Twin, FiftyFifty, and more.
• A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery in downtown Halifax, home of the firm’s small batch beers, will be hosting a Community Party to celebrate the launch of their special edition growlers next Thursday, June 8, 5-10:30 PM at the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery. No tickets are required for the event, which will feature food and 4 special casks from brewer Stefan Gagliardi: a new Pilsner with Motueka hops, an Extra Pale Ale with experimental hops, a Stout with Heart of Africa coffee from Laughing Whale and an Oak-aged Stout with Vanilla Beans. You’ll be able to tour the brewery, play some pub games and enjoy live music.
• The next Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection event has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 14th. From 6:30-8:00 PM, meet with your fellow beer fans at Graystone Brewing for a flight and tour of their facilities. Tickets are $13, and can be reserved by emailing the organizers. Learn more on their FB page.
• The Coast is holding the Summer Launch Food Truck Party on June 15th, at the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street in Halifax. In addition to the 20+ Food Trucks/Vendors, there will be at least six local alcohol producers on-site selling their wares: Chain Yard Cider, Garrison, Good Robot, Meander River, Nine Locks, and Spindrift. The event runs from 4-8 PM, and more details are available here.
• Events celebrating the Central City Across the Nation epic twelve beer collaboration are being finalized, with the Picaroons event happening June 16th, and Garrison’s on the 17th. Look for details on the PEI Brewing Company and Quidi Vidi events next week.
• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing Company is holding a Pig Roast at the brewery June 17th. They are having the Crowne Plaza taking care of that task, while they cover the beer and entertainment for the evening. Exact details are not yet available, but mark your calendar now, and keep an eye on the FB event page for ticket details.
• While over a month away, tickets to the Big Axe Beer Festival are selling fast, so we wanted to be sure you had the inside info. On July 15th, at the base of the World’s Largest Axe, more than twenty breweries/cideries/wineries from the Maritimes, Ontario, and Maine will be pouring beer in Nackawic. Tickets are available that include bus transportation from/to Fredericton or Woodstock, as well as DD options. Check that link for the full list.
Plenty of parting shots this week before we let you get back to your beer:
– In addition to the In Theory release today, 2 Crows tapped the last keg of their wine ‘n wild yeast-fermented Crosswired earlier this week. If you’re lucky, there’s still a few glasses left!
– Halifax’s Good Robot is re-releasing some favorites this week. Their APA Burban Legend will return to the taps in its v2 form (dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo) in the next few days and the Goseface Killah will be back for early summer refreshment as well. We’ll have more news from GR in coming weeks with the second in their SMaSH(mouth?) series and a serious step up in their BetaBrew releases.
– Quispamsis, NB’s Hammond River Brewing is hoping to be brewing in their new expanded brewhouse by the end of next week. Until then, look for the first batch of the season for their Watermelon Wheat on tap at the Barrels’ Head Gastropub & Wine Bar in Rothesay.
– Picaroons is also back with watermelon action, as their Melonhead has returned for another year, this time featuring a cat named Whiskey on the label. On tap and in bottles at the Picaroons Roundhouse and The Brewtique and on it’s way to The General Store in Uptown Saint John, The 5 Kings Restaurant & Picaroons Brewhouse in St. Stephen, and to ANBL locations throughout New Brunswick.
– This past Wednesday marked a new era for Propeller fans in Halifax, after 20 years, their Gottingen location is finally licensed for full pints! We’re not totally sure about their serving hours, so you may wish to check ahead, but if you’re in the area definitely stop in, say hello, and grab a pint!
– Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound is debuting a new menu today, promising to “step things up in every way.” Don’t forget, brewer/owner Les Barr was a finalist on Masterchef Canada, so don’t take that statement lightly. Meanwhile, their non-alcoholic Blueberry Lemonade Soda is once again available for the designated drivers and kids in your crew.
– Eastern Shore’s Sober Island Brewing has announced their next beer to be released in the coming weeks. Kirby’s Canoe is a 5.0% ABV Rye Pale Ale, a light-bodied and -coloured beer featuring floral and citrus aromatics, along with the representative spiciness found in beers featuring rye malt. Look for it to appear on tap at their current home at Henley House, and during the market runs before the end of the month.
– Fredericton hopheads can rejoice that Trailway has a small batch of Green Island available in cans at the brewery, alongside some more of their hoppy wheat ale, Patio. And speaking of patios, they’ve got one at the brewery now and it’s opening today! Drop by Saturday for some beer and wood-fired goodies from Milda’s Pizza.