• International IPA Day is next week (Thursday, Aug. 3rd), and Upstreet will be releasing a brand new beer to celebrate. Island Hopspitality 2017 may share the same name as last year’s release, but this one goes in a completely different direction, as a “Sour IPA”. Kettle-soured via Lactobacillus to ~3.4 pH, plenty of Azacca, Centennial and Sorachi Ace were added in both whirlpool and dry-hop additions, giving lots of citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour to complement the tartness, but minimal bitterness (at only 10 IBUs). As expected, this 4.5% ABV beer won’t be released until next Thursday, where it will be available for pints and growlers at the brewery, and on tap at other Upstreet accounts.
• While on the topic, TrailWay has released a new iteration of their kettle-soured hoppy ale, El Generico. This pale, sessionable (3.8% ABV) brew is constantly-changing, and made it’s first appearance in early May with a Hallertau Blanc dry-hop. This newest release was dry-hopped with El Dorado, an increasingly-popular hop variety at the brewery that has fruity, Jolly Rancher-like qualities. In addition to the hops, Apricot puree was added to the batch (at a rate of ~51 g/L) to boost the taste even more, giving the impression of “Welch’s fruit snacks and sour peach candy”, according to the brewery. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery only, this was a limited batch so won’t last long.
• Plenty of beer news coming from Newfoundland this week! Let’s start with the Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s, who have two new beers for your enjoyment. First up is Townie Triple, a Belgian Tripel which comes in heavy at 8.7% ABV, and was hopped generously with Czech Saaz (to 30 IBUs) for balance. With aromas of “banana, cloves, orange zest, and honey”, and a flavour profile that includes “notes of chai tea, peaches, and pear”, it’s definitely meant to be enjoyed as a sipper, and is available at the Brewpub for pours and grunters.
• Next up from Mill Street is Chocolate Lab, a collaboration with the Newfoundland Chocolate Company. A “dark ale base beer” was brewed up, which then had 8 kg of cacao nibs – provided by the NCC – added and cold-steeped. While dry, light, and easy-drinking, the nibs give “big aromas of dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, a slightly oakey flavour, and a touch of honey”. At 4.5% ABV and 32 IBUs, this one is a bit more sessionable than the first beer! You can find it on tap now at the Brewpub for pints and growlers.
• Let’s move on to Yellowbelly, who have a new beer on tap that is going fast! Big Land Lager is a “Labrador tea rice Lager” that was mashed in birch sap, according to the brewery. While only 4.8% ABV, it’s big on flavour, with subtle notes of pine, spice, and lemon coming through, and a “slight minty vanilla in the finish”. It’s on tap at the brewpub (but on it’s last keg or two, so may not be around when this post is published), with a very small supply also available for purchase in 1 L bottles at the brewpub only. And for those of you attending the Halifax Seaport Beerfest, a couple of kegs were sent over from the Rock, so this will be your chance to give it a try!
• Heading Northwest to the Bonavista Peninsula, you will find yourself at Port Rexton Brewing, who celebrated their first anniversary last weekend, and have released a slew of new beers for visitors to enjoy. Shed Session is a 4.4% ABV Session IPA, featuring a bevvy of late-hopping on a straw-coloured light base. East Meets West is a 5.0% ABV Saison, featuring Honey Dew melon and Black Pepper, and was brewed as a Cross-Country Simultaneous Collaboration with Port Moody, BC’s Moody Ales. And rounding out the newest arrival is Spruce Wayne, a 5.4% ABV amber ale with spruce tips added.
• Let’s finish off our tour of the Rock with a trip to the West Coast, namely Pasadena, home to Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Their small and agile system has been working overtime lately, giving locals and visitors alike plenty of new flavours. The newest beer to be released is Green Gardens Haze, an “Oat Forward Pale Ale”, with flaked oats accounting for one third of the malt bill. The resultant base beer is creamy and hazy, with a nod to the New England IPA style. At 5.0% ABV and 25 IBUs, the late hop additions offering more in terms of flavours and aroma, than bitterness. It is currently on tap at the officially unofficial WNLBC taproom, Galliott Studios in Woody Point, Bonne Bay. And while the pilot batch of Tuckamore Spruce just kicked, we can report that there are several hundred litres of the beer set to be released in the next week or two. Inspired by the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s cartographic survey of Newfoundland, this is their take on a historically-inspired Spruce Beer, a 6.0% Amber with plenty of Munich malt to offset the resinous character of the spruce tips (added near the end of the boil). When released in early August, it will be available at restaurants in Corner Brook and Gros Morne National Park.
• Halifax’s 2 Crows had a few special taproom-only beer on the go this week, with Monday’s release of their collaboration with the fine folks from Everwood Ave Brew Shop , Ever Wood Aged, a Double IPA conditioned on wine-soaked oak. As of the time of printing (posting), this beer is still available, but certainly in short supply. The other new beer of note is Swan Fan Makkum, an American Pale Ale featuring loads of Belma, Citra, Hallertau Blanc, and Simcoe, resulting in a supremely smooth and quaffable 5.0% ABV and 13 IBU hazy beer. Pouring as part of the Tall Sips endeavour, the beer is named after a tall ship that co-owner Mark Huinizink worked on as a teenager. As with all of these small batches, they are only available on tap at the brewery, so drop down on Brunswick St for a pint before (or after) checking out the Tall Ships on the Waterfront. And as a heads up, watch this space for the second of 2C’s Foedre beers, to be released in cans mid-August. Featuring lots of mango and a bit of peach, this beer has us (milk)Shaking in anticipation.
• Breton Brewing brewed up a light, lovely style that’s perfect for summer drinking, a Munich Helles named Island Time Lager. Featuring malty and bready notes, this is a style that is malt-focused, with an underlying hop bitterness that keeps it from being too sweet. And at 4.3% and 14 IBUs, you’ll be able to enjoy a couple of these in the hot sun. It’s only available in the Sydney area at the moment, but look for kegs to hit Halifax in the next couple of weeks.
• In Digby, Roof Hound has a new brew on the go that we should be seeing in the very near future. Hoppy Seconds is an APA that was brewed to showcase Victory, the brewery’s favourite specialty malt. Dry-hopped in heavy amounts with Columbus and Mosaic, expect similar aromas to their previous hoppy release, The Big Stink (which uses the same hop varieties). It should come in at about 5.5% ABV; look for it at the brewpub and local accounts within the next couple weeks.
• What do you do to up the ante when you’re one of Halifax’s littlest breweries? If you’re Tidehouse on Salter Street, you build one of Halifax’s littlest tap rooms and serve beer in little glasses! Seating seven comfortably, and serving only tasting flights (for now), this as-yet unnamed hideaway could easily become a place where everybody knows your name – and your brand of deodorant. Right now they’re pouring Tidehouse favourites, but will shortly be expanding to eight taps and, hopefully, will be mixing it up with some guest beers. There are also plans to have a turntable playing Shean and Peter’s favourites, although patrons are welcome to bring in their own vinyl for everyone’s enjoyment. Right now, in addition to Tidehouse classics like The Copper and Like a MotorcycALE we know they’ve got some Sumac Smack on the go, which we told you about last week, and the Noon Moon, a citrus-driven little number. There’s also the Fuzzy Sun APA (at least what the Stubborn Goat didn’t snap up), a pale with a round malt flavour from Melanoiding and Munich malts and a smooth mouthfeel from Wheat. It features Citra, Cascade and Simcoe for a very tropical hop profile with additional notes of citrus and pine. And today will also see the appearance of a new beer called City Mouse. This is another pale ale, of the juicy persuasion, featuring Citra and Mosaic hops. You should notice apricot and mango with underpinnings of orange citrus. Honey malt in the grist provides a bit of sweetness to this 5.4% ABV and 26.5 IBU beer, which also uses wheat and oats to create a smooth mouthfeel.
• Our friends at Good Robot are having their usual busy week, running the gamut of a new beer, a new variation on an existing beer, and a re-release on the docket. First, this afternoon’s Cask in the Sun (pay no mind to the weather, they’ll pour it inside and point the lights at you if you insist) takes a break from the Goseface Killah base that has served them so well in previous weeks in favour of the Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn Beer, a summer stalwart on their taps. Corn Light Mojito sees that base adulterated (in the nicest possible way!) with organic lime and garden mint grown right there on the Gastroturf! Meanwhile the taproom has seen the return of the Skratch Plaskett Electric Tambourine Ale, originally a collaboration with Schoolhouse Brewery (who’ve lately been serving and bottling their own version of this very same beer). For those who don’t know, it’s an A/APA, or American/Australian Pale Ale coming in at 5.8% ABV and an enough-to-know-it’s-there 25 IBU. The grist side has 2-row malt, some wheat for mouthfeel and vienna for character, while the hops see high-alpha Warrior for bittering, classic American Cascade in the whirlpool and newcomer Australian Summer for the dry-hop. And finally, on Tuesday GR will remind us that Winter is coming when this week’s Beta Brewsday concoction drops. King in the North is a sessionable Black IPA at 4.5% ABV, but with a pronounced 55 IBU. Local Horton Ridge 2-row (we’re going to guess maybe the “winter” variety) and Maris Otter provide the base for the grist and big, bold, dank and piney Simcoe and citrusy Chinook are the hops.
• Boxing Rock, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, has released another in their line of kettle soured beers featuring fruit. Joining Over the Top! (Cranberry), For the Love of Grimace (Blueberries), Grafted (Orange Peel), this week’s release, Turn of Fraise, features strawberries on top of a sour wheat base. Grab the beer in bottles at the brewery now, and look for bottles at their market locations and the private beer stores this weekend.
• We have a pair of returning favourites from Halifax’s Rockbottom Brewpub this week. Recently, they brought back their Freudian Sip Vienna Lager, a light and crisp golden lager, featuring toasted malt with spicy and herbal noble hop characteristics. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, and is available on tap for samples, pints and growlers. Also returning after a several month hiatus is Raspberry Sour, their 4.5% ABV kettle sour, featuring loads of raspberry for a refreshing and flavourful tart beer.
• Time flies when you drink this much beer. That must be the case, as the third episode in a month of the 902 BrewCast has just been released. Continuing their tour of the South Shore, the gents dropped into the hometown of the last remaining Arby’s in Nova Scotia, Bridgewater. They met and chatted with Adam and Devin of FirkinStein Brewing, were are celebrating the opening of their retail and second brewery location. Learn all about their start, the mixed origin of their brewhouse, inspiration for beer recipes, and their plans for the future. And be sure to drop by their new spot on Main Street next time you’re in the neighbourhood. Yes, they allow outside food, including roast beef sandwiches, so just head up Dominion Street and take a left on Hight…
• Craft fans on PEI can now join their New Brunswick brethren in sneering at Nova Scotia and the NSLC. The Island’s liquor control commission, PEILCC, has officially joined ANBL in providing growler fills with an 8-tap station installed at their Gateway location (Officially Store #002, in Borden-Carleton). According to spokesperson Mark Carragher, this is part of PEILCC’s overall strategy to help promote local products and expand their craft beer selection at retail. The focus is on local products, but even now the selection includes breweries from other parts of Canada. Carragher notes that growlers have been successful in other markets and customer feedback so far has been very positive, so there’s a chance that additional stations will be added in the future. For now, you can bring any clean 1.89 L growler to them for a fill in Borden-Carleton, or purchase a growler on-site for $5. And if you’re curious what they’re pouring, you can keep an eye on PEILCC’s Twitter for tweets like this one, or you can visit the dedicated growler station page on their website for a full list.
What’s on the go this weekend and beyond?
• Tonight, Propeller is bringing back their bi-weekly Cask Night, where a new beer will be introduced on cask at their Gottingen St. location, every second Friday. Up tonight will be a Cascade American Pale Ale, dry-hopped in the cask with Falconer’s Flight and Nelson Sauvin. As before, the cask will be tapped at 5 pm; there’s only 20 L available, so be sure to show up early so you don’t miss out! What’s coming up at future Cask Nights? Well, we can give you a few teasers: how about a Pilsner hopped with Strisselspalt, followed by a DIPA, then a Porter with American Oak? As always, we’ll continue to keep you updated!
• Taste of Nova Scotia is holding two special events this weekend, on Halifax Harbour’s Georges Island. The Georges Island Dinner Series is running both tonight and tomorrow, with a different theme each evening. Tonight’s event is Nova Scotia Lobster Feast, featuring a feast of local lobster, mussels, oysters, paired with Nova Scotian beer, wine, cider and spirits. Tomorrow’s event is the Good Cheer BBQ, with a more land-based menu with pork and meat pies, and even more breweries in attendance. Your ticket includes your ferry ride to the island, all of the food and drink, and the live music shows from Joel Plasket and Port Cities.
• Saturday marks Unfiltered Brewing‘s Second Anniversary, which means they are inviting the lovers (and the haters) to Charm School for an epic birthday bash to celebrate. With special pricing on all of their beers, as well as the availability of previous favourites (including on- and off-site sales of bottles of their Commissar RIS), there will be plenty to keep folks happy. Their food menu is being expanded for the evening with help from Stillwell’s Joe Martin providing some special plates from 6-9pm.
• Tomorrow, July 29th, Stillwell HQ will be hosting New Brunswick brewery Acadie-Broue, which will be pouring four different sour beers (safe to say probably the highest number of Acadie-Broue sour beers in one place, ever?). Look for the following beers to be on: Kiebitz Coti (Berliner Weisse), Reflux (Gose), Tête de Cochon (Lichtenheiner), and Boudeuse, a 5-year-old Lambic-style beer that has been blended with a Baltic Porter. If you needed an excuse to visit SW on a Saturday (we know, you didn’t), you now have one!
• If you are looking for a good excuse to visit the North Shore on Saturday, a reminder that the first North Shore Craft Brew Expo will be held at the North Shore Rec Centre in Tatamagouche from 6-11:30 pm. Tickets are still available, and your entrance fee get you started with five 4 oz drink tickets, live music from 8pm, and access to lots of local food vendors.
• Two weeks ago, we mentioned the upcoming beer from Big Spruce – Tag! You’re It! – a collaboration with Dalhousie University’s Ocean Tracking Network. Just a note to let you all know that this American IPA will be launched on Thursday, August 3rd at both Stillwell locations in Halifax (HQ and the Beer Garden), so be sure to drop by for a pint!
• Going down at Good Robot on Sunday from 5 PM – 8PM, is Moo Grass, a benefit event for Moo Nay Farms. For those who don’t know, Moo Nay is a family farm near Shubenacadie focusing on, “promoting nature and natural living conditions for both humans and livestock.” They’re also the destination for the spent grain from Good Robot’s brewing endeavours, ensuring that a large amount of brewing by-product doesn’t go to waste. Moo Nay had an unfortunate incident a few weeks back when it was discovered that someone decided to steal some livestock from their property. This event will directly help Moo Nay recover from this utterly despicable incident. Festivities will begin with a comedy set by GR’s own Dan Hendricken, followed by bluegrass, blues, country and folk from Big Country Ramblers. Food will be available, with Antonio Rinaldo of Rinaldo’s Italian-American Specialties serving up pig parts from a Moo Nay-raised Berkshire pig and, of course, plenty of Good Robot craft beer. There will be a pay-by-donation entrance fee for the event, with all proceeds going directly to Moo Nay farms.
• And attention, PEI! If you were just thinking to yourself the other day, “Dammit, I just can’t get enough Good Robot in my life”, we have some good (?) news for you! On Monday, August 7th, Upstreet will be hosting a Good Robot Tap Takeover at 5 pm. We’re not entirely sure yet what beers they’ll be bringing with them from Halifax, but since they seem to be brewing something new every week, rest assured they’ll have some interesting ones with them! Upstreet says there will be no gimmicks or games at the event, but… we just don’t believe you guys. Sorry! No charge to attend, just show up for some beers and some good times.
• August is just around the corner (gah!), which means that the New Brunswick Beer Run group will be having their annual events soon! First up is the Fredericton Beer Run on Monday, August 7th (New Brunswick Day) at 10 am – as usual, there will be three run distances available (4, 6, or 12 km), with beer available at the END of the run (sorry). Tickets are $60 and are available here. And on Friday, August 18th, the Moncton Beer Run will begin at 6 pm. Details on this one are slim at the moment, but they promise us they will be coming soon, along with a ticket link, so save the date!
• There’s a new beer festival coming to New Brunswick this fall, and it’s the first one to hit Woodstock! The First Town Craft Beer Festival will be held on Saturday, September 23rd, at the Best Western Plus Hotel. With two tasting sessions available – 1:30-4:00 pm and 7:00-9:30 pm – and twenty local breweries, cideries, and meaderies confirmed to be attending, there’ll be a wide assortment of products to sample! Your ticket gets you a 4 oz souvenir glass to keep, and unlimited pours for your session. There will be live music at the indoor/outdoor festival, Covered Bridge will be supplying chip samples at each session, and local restaurant/bar The River will be on hand, barbecuing up some tasty eats for purchase. Speaking of The River, everyone attending will be able to vote for their favourite beer of the festival; the winning brewery will have their beer on tap at The River for one year (minimum). Tickets are $55 each (tax included) and are available here (note there are also $15 designated driver tickets available). Finally, if you’re in the Woodstock area and able to drop by the Best Western, you can purchase a VIP ticket at the front desk for $65, which gets you into your session an hour earlier, a larger tasting glass, and a beer education session. Get your tickets now!
• We’re just about two weeks away from the annual Halifax Seaport Beerfest and the list of breweries and beers has been released for public consumption. And what a list it is! There are 370 brands represented with a record 113 producers in the mix! This year they’re also nearly doubling the number of Atlantic Canadian beers, which will represent 43% of the total. They’ve also managed to increase ciders by 68%, which along with beer options, has them at 42 gluten-free options available. A full 56% of the brands are not available through the NSLC, so this is a chance for folks, especially those from more rural parts of the region that don’t have a private liquor store or a happening craft beer bar, to sample a wide range of local and non-local products. And you may be used to seeing local organizations like the Ladies Beer League and the Brewnosers Homebrew Club at their information tables, but this year they’ll be serving at the new TAP LOCAL! booth which will see 8 taps rotating through 24 special one-of kegs over the course of the 3 tasting events. Tickets are still available (and there will be some tickets available at the door), but we suspect once folks start perusing the beer list tickets might start disappearing quickly! (We’re honour-bound to point out that the list is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, but we don’t figure it could change drastically).
Finally, one more thing before you head out for your (late) lunch…
– Scudrunner Brewing, set to open late summer/early fall in Gander, is looking for an Assistant Brewer and Bartenders to join their team in the near future. Reach out to them via email, or in person at the brewery space to let them know you’re interested. We’ll have all of the news fit to print as they get closer to their launch.