Good day, craft beer fans! With the beautiful, hot weather upon us over the last week, things have actually slowed down – slightly, and temporarily we’re sure – in the world of local beer… but we’re not complaining! With only about 2,000 words to read this morning – we’ll have you back to reality in no time! Let’s get started…
• Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce has released a beer that’s only been seen once before. Consigliere debuted at the Stillwell Open during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week back in May, where we seem to recall it placed second in the Pale category. Brewed in collaboration with Brian Harvey, it’s a Rustic Farmhouse Saison that comes in at 4.5% ABV. Aged in Chardonnay barrels from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, it’s been bottled in 650 mL bombers. With a characterful yeast and barrel character, you might consider buying a couple, one to enjoy now and one to set down for a little bit of aging. It’s officially only available at the brewery at this point, but hints on social media suggest that it may make an appearance in Halifax as well, at the private stores, we assume.
• For those who have been eager to see what Chris Reynolds and Kyle Jeppesen have been getting up to in their secret North End Halifax lab for Stillwell Brewing Co, the time is nigh! And for their first release to the public, they’re coming with a Pilsner?! We can hear it now, “But…but…barrels? But…but…Brett?!” but fear not, gentle beer drinker, those beers will come with time. For now they’re bringing us a different sort of different. Inspired by several beers, but most of all Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils, Stilly Pils is a deep, rugged and unfiltered Pilsner that will stand in contrast to the craft Pilsners we know and love in our region. Continental Pilsner and the tiniest touch of Melanoidin in the grist provide a clean and classic base into which copious amounts of Noble Saaz and German Hersbrucker hops were poured, first bittering to the tune of 38 IBU, then a “wallop” in the whirlpool, and finally a “hefty” dry hopping. Brewed three months ago, after primary fermentation, it underwent a long maturation process at 6°C, with a final cold lagering period before packaging. We’re told that it’s very crisp and dry, with a prominent spicy and herbaceous hop presence and just a bit of lemony citrus. This one will be a true “House Beer”, being poured only at Stillwell and Stillwell Beer Garden starting at open this coming Tuesday, July 25th and on tap just until its gone! We have no idea how much of it they have, so maybe put a push on to get out on Tuesday! We will have a full interview and profile with Chris and Kyle next week, but until then, learn more about Stillwell Brewing, and get Chris’ take on Cellaring beers (what, how, why, etc) in the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, which dropped this morning.
• The rising trend that is the NEIPA (North East IPA, or New England IPA) continues on, with Tatamagouche Brewing throwing their hat in the ring with Fog Lights. Their very first stab at the cloudy, juicy, super-hoppy style involves a grist of 2-row, Horton Ridge Pale malt, oats and spelt, and hopped (at the end of the boil) with copious amounts of Amarillo, Azacca and Huell Melon. Fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer was dry-hopped with all three varieties during and after active fermentation, giving aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and dankness, with a smooth, soft mouthfeel. Sound good? Well, if you want some, it’ll be on tap only at the brewery and their regular accounts, with deliveries hitting Halifax yesterday. Go out and find some quickly!
• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery will soon be releasing their special collaboration beer – Le Tigre – that they brewed recently with the Ladies Beer League. Brewed with Midnight Wheat malt to darken the color and add some roastiness (but, being a dehusked malt, it doesn’t add much in the way of acrid flavors), the beer was hopped with Galaxy, Green Bullet, and Mandarina Bavaria to around 40 IBUs. Blood orange peel was also added to the beer, making it taste like, according to the brewery, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (yeah, like you really needed that link!). At 5.5% ABV, look for this one to be kegged and released to select accounts sometime next week.
• Next week is the PEI Pride Festival, and Charlottetown’s Upstreet is releasing a new beer to celebrate. Brewed in collaboration with Pride PEI, Rainbrew is a “Strawberry Lavendar Saison” that was brewed with a multitude of ingredients, each representing a color in the Pride flag: red (freshly-picked and pureed PEI strawberries), orange (malt), yellow (French Saison yeast), green (hops), blue (water) and purple (lavendar). Only a very limited amount of this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs Saison will be available; it will officially be released at this Monday’s Upstreet Pride Beer Launch at the brewery, from 7-10 pm. On tap at the taproom will be the only way to get it, so make sure to stop by for a pint!
• And in other Upstreet news, after a brief delay their 2nd anniversary beer, De Novo II, is now available on tap at the taproom, and for takeaway in 750 mL bottles (perfect for aging). For more info on this beer, check out our post from last month. And for you non-beer drinkers out there (wait, why are you reading this?), Upstreet has launched a line of non-alcoholic soda, Day Drift Craft Sodas. Available in three flavours: Strawberry Rhubarb Basil, Apple Ginger Elderflower, and Spiced Malt Cola, they can be purchased at the brewery, and at restaurants and retailers across the Island.
• During last weekend’s hugely successful Big Axe Craft Beer Festival, host brewery Big Axe launched two new beers, both of which include an interesting ingredient – glitter. Co-owner Tatiana Cole did some research and located a source of edible glitter, and incorporated it into both beers. First was Northern Lights Glitter Stout (5.8% ABV), which is their flagship Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout without the chocolate; the goal was to create a fun beer for the festival that would look good in the sun. Next is the Firefly Pale Ale, an APA brewed with Maris Otter and Light Munich and hopped with Amarillo. At 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, the addition of glitter certainly helps this one live up to its name. If you missed out on the festival, you can still find both beers on tap at the taproom in Nackawic; there is the possibility that they will be available on tap elsewhere in the future.
• We’ve got your weekly Good Robot updates right here (do these people actually sleep?)! They now have a third iteration of their Shocking Pink on tap at the brewery: while still a Radler version of their Goseface Killah (with pink lemonade and organic teas added), this new batch also incorporates another pink ingredient: unsprayed beets (shredded and cold-steeped) from Elmridge Farm. Drop by the brewery for a taste, pint, or growler. For next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday, Dominique Jure and Kelly C. have brewed up Wit’s Up Doc?, a Witbier with Pilsner, Wheat malt, Flaked Oats. Hopped lightly with Tettnang to 14 IBUs, this super-sessionable (3% ABV) Belgian-style ale also features… carrots! Grated and added at the end of the boil, the brewery guarantees your vision will actually be improved by the time you leave the brewery.* And finally, today’s Cask in the Sun will be Rhubarb Elderberry Goseface Killah – no description is necessary.
* Not a guarantee
• Back in late May we put out the word that Garrison was looking for folks to bring in their rhubarb in exchange for future considerations at the brewery. The response was excellent and once again a beer has been made to feature all those lovely tart stalks. It’s Rhubarb Saison! is in the Saison style, weighing in at 5.1% ABV and absolutely no IBUs. It’s got “a pale orange hazy colour and juicy acidity” that should match nicely with hot weather. You’ll find it at the brewery today for samples and fills, and hopefully you’ll also be seeing it at some licensees as early as this weekend.
• Nine Locks launched a brand new beer at their Battery Park Tap Takeover yesterday, SMaSH and Grab. The Wheat (Single Malt) and Amarillo (Single Hop) beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and features a hazy blonde appearance and a nose of citrus and grapefruit, with a light characteristic wheat note. If you were not able to Grab the beer on tap yesterday, fear not, as it is available at the brewery currently, and will see release to licensees and private beer stores.
• Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) has a pair of new beers available on tap today, courtesy of Brewmaster Kyle Jeppesen: Belgian Tripel is a 9.4% ABV golden beer, brewed in the traditional Belgian style, using Pilsner and Wheat malts, and a characteristic yeast. Lightly hopped to under 40 IBUs, this beer may be high in alcohol, but because of the high carbonation and lighter body, it is quite refreshing. The second beer to hit the taps may have a familiar name, but is a brand new beer. Today’s release of Crosscurrent Pale Ale was fermented using a Belgian Ale strain of yeast, offering a lower finishing gravity (and drier finish) and iconic yeast spiciness. The base recipe, consisting of pale malts with flaked oats and wheat, and hopped to 32 IBUs with Magnum and lots of New Zealand hop Dr. Rudi, remains the same, but the difference between the two versions is certainly apparent. Both the Tripel and Crosscurrent are available on tap at Gahan today, with the CC on tap at their outdoor Beer Bar patio, and both are also available to take away in 0.95l crowlers (can X growler cross).
What’s happening in our region this weekend? Check it out!
• This weekend is Port Rexton Days, with a slew of events taking place Friday to Sunday in the Bonavista town. Part of that celebration is to mark Port Rexton Brewing’s First Anniversary! The brewery will be open all weekend, and taking part in events Saturday, namely an all-ages Street Fair adjacent to the brewery from 1-5pm, live music at the brewery from 5pm, plus axe throwing, a new beer release or two, and plenty of other fun. There may even be a few tickets available on the Axes & Ales Tour Bus, organized by St. John’s Beer Tours, leaving from the big city that morning.
• A reminder that Sociable! is being shown at Digby’s Roof Hound brewery and restaurant tomorrow evening at 9:00, with filmmakers Helen and Chris on hand to chat about the NS Craft Beer scene, as well as filmmaking. To celebrate, Roof Hound has invited the brewers from Heritage Brewing, Lunn’s Mill, and Schoolhouse Brewery to take part in the fun, and pour a keg of their beer. Your $5 cover fee will go directly to the filmmakers, so support local beer and art in a fun night!
• Earlier in the year, we told you about a new series of events where craft beer meets comedy. Brew Ha-Ha! has taken place at The Company House in Halifax a few times now, each time featuring the beers of a different local brewery. Now they’re taking the show on the road, with comedian Frank Russo and his special guests doing three nights in a row in the Annapolis Valley, first at Schoolhouse Brewery next Friday, July 28th at 8:00 PM, the following night, Saturday, July 29th at 8:00 PM, at the Port Pub & Bistro in Port Williams, and Sunday, July 30th at 3:00 PM, at L’Acadie Vineyards in Wolfville. Ticketing and specifics vary for each, so check the Facebook event pages for more details. Brew Ha-Ha! will also be returning to The Company House a week later, Saturday, August 5th, to feature Schoolhouse beers and a night of comedy in Halifax. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (DD tickets available for $10), and include 3 8oz pours of Schoolhouse beers and a chocolate pairing along with the show.
Just a pair of news bites to leave you with this week…
– Long Bay, Rothesay’s newest brewery, has only been open for a few weeks, but look for bottles of their first two beers – Bantam APA and Chalice Belgian Ale – to be available at local ANBL stores hopefully by sometime next month.
– Picaroons has released the latest beer in their Pivot DIPA series, Pivot #4 (8% ABV); this batch features Citra and Simcoe hops. It can be found both on tap and in bottles.
– We have more details on Pump House Brewery’s Growler Fill station that we first mentioned last week. Their 131 Mill Road location has a retail store now open from noon to midnight daily, filling 1.89L growlers and 0.95L crowlers of any and all of their current offerings, plus 6- and variety-packs of the bottled and canned offerings.