As we enter the first day of fall, and head into the end of September, the breweries in Atlantic Canada haven’t slowed down a bit! After one heck of a crazy week last week (as you may have noticed from our 4500+ word Wrap-Up last Friday), we have almost as much news to share with you today. So enough with the chit chat; let’s get to the beer!
• For those of you who were fans of the fourth in the Scratch series of beers from Fredericton’s Grimross, we have some good news… Vienna Lager is back as of today. Brewed with a grist that consists of 80% Vienna malt, and hopped with German noble varieties, it’s a copper-coloured beer with “floral and spicy notes from the hops to complement the yeast and malt bill”, coming in at a drinkable 5.1% ABV. Available on tap now at Grimross, as well as local accounts, look for this one to quite possibly be re-brewed periodically.
• If you’ve noticed a new beer popping up on tap around Saint John last week from Loyalist City, you’re not crazy! Rustic Ryed is the latest release from the brewery; a reddish-amber-hued Rye IPA brewed with Maris Otter and Rye malt, it was hopped with “copious amounts” of Cascade, Equinox and Simcoe. Expect an “intense aroma of citrus and pine, complemented by a hint of peppery malt”. More Cascade and Equinox were used in a whirlpool addition, to up the citrus flavour even more. With high carbonation and a moderate bitterness in the finish, you can find this 6% ABV, 55 IBUs brew on tap at your favourite LC account. And if they don’t have it… ask for it!
• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing just released their latest beer, a special one created to recognize the traditions of Maritime sailors of the past. They took their Old Foundry Stout, a 6.3% ABV, chocolatey beer, and aged it in rum casks from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery, for five months. The result was Fog Bank, a big (9% ABV), rich beer boasting notes of vanilla and dark fruit, all thanks to the rum casks. While high in alcohol, the aging helps bring a “smooth, mellow finish” to the beer, to give you a pleasant sipping experience. It’s available now (as of 10 AM) on tap at the brewery only, as well as in 750 mL bottles for you to take away (wouldn’t hurt to age one or two for later, right?).
• Tatamagouche Brewing has been busy lately (ok, they’re always busy!), as they have two returning favourites hitting shelves and taprooms this week. First up is their Pale Euro Lager, Lagerhosen, a 4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs brew that’s perfect for the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest, happening this weekend. Just the type of beer you want to drink in quantity (hey, it IS Oktoberfest), the grain bill and yeast are the same as the batches for the last couple of years, but the hops have changed, with Hallertau Mittlefruh and Hersbrucker being used this time around. Look for it on tap at select licensees this weekend; it’s also available for growler fills and in cans at the brewery now. Next is their New England IPA, Fog Lights, a 6.4% ABV, 50 IBUs hop bomb featuring large additions of Azacca, Huell Melon, and Mosaic. With a mix of Pale and Pilsner malt as the base of the grist, along with some Spelt and Oats to make up the difference, it’s enough to keep the colour light, yet the mouthfeel slightly fuller and soft, for the perfect NEIPA experience! Releasing today at the brewery (growlers and cans), a couple of kegs should be in Halifax this weekend, with the rest shipping next week. Finally, their Ace of Lace Witbier was re-released last week; not your typical Wit, it features the addition of Queen Anne’s lace (aka wild carrot), Indian plum berries, and orange peel in the hop back, followed by a big dry-hop of Sorachi Ace; also available on tap and in cans.
• 2 Crows continues to make good use of their foedres, with the release of yet another beer in the “series” tomorrow at noon. Chaos Ghost is a Calvados Foedre-aged Belgian Tripel brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt and Belgian candi sugar. Hopped with Goldings, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling to 31 IBUs, it was fermented with an Abbey yeast strain to give some of the spicy/peppery phenolics and fruity esters expected in the style. The foedre adds, of course, some of its own character, including “a hint of oaky tannins, and an apple brandy sweetness”. Drop by the brewery tomorrow for cans or pours of this 9.3% ABV beauty, and keep your eyes peeled for it on tap at other establishments in the HRM.
• And while you’re at 2 Crows checking out that barrel-aged goodness, and assuming it’s not all gone, you can also grab a taste of another big beer, this one a Russian Imperial Stout released earlier this week. Brewed with a variety of crystal and roasted malts, Black Magik is big, at 10.4%, but not at all cloying and pushing a potent 80 IBU. A touch of peated malt brings a smoky flavor to the palate as it warms, while the nose features a prominent anise note that also manifests in the flavor. Roasted malt flavors round out the overall impression. Only three kegs of this one were made, with two staying in the brewery for pints only (no fills) and one going to the 2 Crows/Tata takeover at Jamieson’s Irish Pub this weekend.
• TrailWay has released yet another new hop-bomb one-off, Off-Topic. Featuring both an American hop variety (Idaho 7) and an Australian one (Vic Secret), the blend of these two gives the beer a flavour profile of “banana, pineapple, orange/citrus, and bubblegum”, according to the brewery. The hops may be the star, as usual for a TW beer, but “some experimental techniques” were used in brewing it, so if you notice a change, it may not be entirely due to the two hops that were used! Available in a limited supply on tap and in cans, at the brewery only, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs. And to get off-topic a little bit (ha! I kill me), TW’s summer seasonal Dunder, their APA heavily hopped with South Pacific varieties, is now a regular-release beer, so you can pick up cans and growlers all year round!
• Good Robot has been working on a new beer, and it definitely follows along the “weird” vein that the brewery started long ago! Golden Goomba is a mixed fermentation sour beer; originally brewed as an attempt to recreate their “Sake beer”, Koji Kondo, that was originally released in May, the Sake yeast used for fermentation stalled out before completing its important job. After a second brew to give it another shot, the yeast stalled again, so they decided to add some Lactobacillus bacteria; after souring, a Lager yeast was pitched and the temperature brought down, to dry the beer our further. Think they stopped there? Nope! Yuzu juice was finally added, to “boost the extra Japanese citrus flair”. Hopped with Sorachi Ace for a little more lemon and citrus character, it’s also tart thanks to the lower pH, and features some “floral and yogurt notes”. No word yet on the exact release date (it was to be today), but we’ll keep you in the loop when we hear.
• And while we have you in a Good Robot state of mind (our favourite Billy Joel song), we also have the details for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday: Uncle Schmengie Bohemian Pilsner was brewed by Brent Braaten, Kenneth Persson, and Kelly C.; described as “very pale and very light”, it’s only 4.3% ABV, and was hopped with Czech Saaz to 29 IBUs. And for an insight into what your fellow Robots are thinking and drinking, check out their latest blog post with anonymous survey results.
• You may recall that in the early days of Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing they had something called the 7th Wave series. Named for the myth that waves travel in sets of seven and the seventh one is the big’un, these were small batch beers made on the pilot system that let the brewing team expand their horizons a little bit. Although the series has not “officially” returned, last week we saw the first brew in a long time come off that pilot system (American Pale Lager) and this week we’re seeing two more. First we have Wizard of Aus, an Australian Pale Ale featuring Ella and Vic Secret hops, considered younger siblings of the mighty Galaxy variety that has become so popular in the last year or so. Look for citrus fruit, pine, and floral notes, with lemon curd and mango coming through in particular. The grist is light to highlight the late kettle additions and dry hop. At 4.9% ABV and 30 IBU, this is a sessionable and surely hoppy taste of the summer just past. Second is Dancing Shoes, also on the lighter side at 4.8% ABV (they’re calling it a Session Pale Ale), but boasting quite a bit more bitterness at 40 IBU. It also features a more complex grist: to a base of Pilsner, some rye, wheat and light Munich were added to provide character. And the hops in this one are distinctly North American, traversing a continuum from the dank Simcoe through piney and fruity Mosaic and into the stone fruit and tropical El Dorado. Both of these beers are available in severely limited quantities at the brewery only for tasters and growler fills. Get there or miss out.
• Around this time every year Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewery has been known to collect locally grown hops (and other ingredients) and do a collaboration beer with their friends from North Brewing in HRM. This year is no different, as they’ve reached their fifth iteration and they’re calling it Many Hands MK-5. Taking inspiration from Gruit, a blend of herbs and other plants used to bitter a flavour beer before hops were adopted for the purpose, this beer contains sweet fern leaves, bayberry leaves and berries, and sweet gale (bog myrtle) berries. They did, however, continue the tradition of using fresh Nova Scotia grown hops in their brew, including Crystal, Cascade, Willamette and Mount Hood. The grist was largely also largely comprised of Nova Scotia products, with organic 2-row and Munich malts from Horton Ridge along with a small amount of German Vienna malt. You can read more about the brew day and see some pictures of both the ingredients and the participants on Boxing Rock’s blog. We’ll be sure to let you know when the beer is finished, packaged and ready for release to the wild.
• In the wake of last weekend’s Oktoberfest celebrations you’d think Halifax’s Garrison might slow it down just a touch. But no, there’s plenty of doings going on in there this week, with three new beers on the go. First we have Lemondrop, part of the kettle sour series brewmaster Daniel Girard has been whipping up at the old plant. It features aromas and flavours reminiscent of lemons and lemon meringue pie, with a peppery finish. Part of that lemon aroma no doubt comes from a dry hop with the Lemondrop variety. It’s 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU and is a draft-only release, currently available for tasters (with growler fills hopefully to come) at Garrison’s Seaport location and on the way to licensees across the province.
• Next up is a collaboration brew done with Sawdust City Brewing Co. from Gravenhurst, ON, a big ol’ beer in the rarely seen Imperial Brown category. Leroy is big and bad, weighing in at 10% ABV and carrying a solid 41 IBU. Brewed to celebrate the naming of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Beer Awards, it boasts aromas of molasses bread and milk chocolate, with a palate that features coffee and molasses before yielding to a finish that’s full of dark chocolate. A great beer for the impending fall weather, it will pair as well with sweet as with savoury dishes, especially if they’re brown! Think beef stew or roasted lamb, chocolate cake or molasses bread. This one is currently available through ANBL’s growler program and is expected to be bottled in the coming weeks for a very limited release in Nova Scotia.
• And lastly, Garrison is once again bringing a brew sanctioned by the Federation of Beer to this weekend’s Hal-Con (where they’ll also be serving up their non-alcoholic Sweet Nelson Raspberry Ginger Ale). Borg Ale is “the most advanced black ale in the entire Delta Quadrant,” with a grist of Munich, Dark Munich, Pale Ale and Black Malts and hopped solely with German Hallertauer Tradition hops. It’s 5.6% ABV and 25 IBU, and is available for samples at the con before being bottled next week for regular release at the brewery and in the private liquor stores in Halifax.
• But wait, there’s more! Though we’ve reached the end of their beer releases for the week, Garrison has one more piece of news to share: they’ve implemented the Kegshoe system to track their kegs and you can now visit a handy interactive map to find out who has which Garrison brews on tap throughout Atlantic Canada. So if you’ve got a hankering for a Juicy or just want to know the closest spot to grab something from Garrison, they’ve got you covered.
• The new beers continue to trickle in for tomorrow’s BEE-r Garden in Fredericton, with Picaroons weighing in with their Little Honey. A one-off, 3000 L batch, the brewery is describing it as a brown-coloured, full-bodied ale brewed with a “generous amount” of Rye malt, and a bit of honey from local Sunset U-Pick. Featuring a “lingering sweetness” backed up by toasted, graham cracker-like notes, it’s quite sessionable at just 4.5% ABV. Aside from pouring at the BEE-r Garden tomorrow, you can find this one on tap at all Picaroons locations in New Brunswick. And speaking of tomorrow’s event, there are still tickets available online, as well as at the door when it kicks off at 10 am.
• Coastliner Craft Cider will be on tap at ANBL stores participating in the growler program this weekend, with a brand new cider, Castaway. Infused with tropical fruit and hibiscus, this 5.4% ABV creation will be pouring through to next Wednesday (depending on availability), and will be following in bottles across New Brunswick later in the year.
• We warned you a few weeks ago that, like winter to Westeros, wet-hopped and pumpkin beers were coming. And the flow is steady now, with two more of each being released this week. At the “far” end of the Annapolis Valley (from a city-dwelling perspective, anyway), both Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill and Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove’s had wet-hopped beers come to the taps this week. Lazy Bear’s is a version of their Once-Over, normally an IPA at 5.8% ABV dry hopped with Cascade, Chinook and Wild Turkey, but this time featuring all the Cascade, Centennial, Galena, Magnum and Nugget grown in their yard. Lunn’s Mill, on the other hand, went the SMaSH route, with a malt side of the classic British barley variety Maris Otter paired with Chinook hops grown down the road at Four Horses Farm. This is a 5.5% ABV offering, with a piney, tropical feel and a mild bitter finish. And at the eleventh hour (literally, the timestamp on the email is 11:14 AM; c’mon guys…) we’ve heard tell of a third harvest ale to complete the trifecta, this one in Halifax at Tidehouse. With a grain bill of 100% Horton Ridge Munich malt, this is a malty ale, bittered with woody and herbal Northern Brewer and then hit hard with fresh picked Cascade hops from the backyard of one of Halifax’s original beer nerds, Jeff Pinhey. Although only 4.7% ABV, expect this to have a hearty body and a rugged hop flavour. And on the gourdian side, Propeller is re-releasing their pumpkin beer for the start of the fall season. A familiar site in the region for the past several years, it’s a gentle 5% ABV and 15 IBU beer featuring Howard Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins and a special blend of spices.
Lots going on this weekend and next, keep an eye on our Calendar, as we update it as often as we hear about new things coming down the pipeline. You can even add it to your phone’s or PC’s calendar app to be constantly reminded of everything on the go in our region. As always, hit us up here or social media if you have the scoop on something cool.
• There are still a few tickets available for this evening and tomorrow‘s Craft Beer Attraction at the St John’s Curling Club. 7-10PM both evenings with a chance to try over a hundred different beers, most of which are not otherwise available at the NLC. Check out the full details here, if you’re still on the fence.
• A reminder that tomorrow, September 23rd will feature the First Town Craft Beer Festival, Woodstock, NB’s first beer fest. There are still some tickets left for both tasting sessions (1:30-4:00 pm, and 7:00-9:30 pm), and it’s looking like the weather will be just about perfect for an indoor/outdoor beer fest. You can read our complete write-up from late July here; in the meantime, grab your $55 tickets at this link (or in person at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Woodstock).
• Remember last year’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Battery Park? Ah… memories. Well, luckily for us, it’s looking like it’s going to be an annual event, as the 2nd Tata Tap Takeover is scheduled for next Thursday, September 28th. We don’t know the full line-up yet, but there’ll be a whopping 19 taps of Tata beers flowing, including at least two new ones, with one of them a collaboration brew with the folks at Battery Park. It all starts when they open at 11:30 am, and you’ll be sure to seem some of the fine people from the brewery on hand anxious to talk beer!
• The spirit of collaboration continues with a pair of “Home and Home” tap takeovers in Halifax and Sydney over the next two weeks. On Friday, September 29th, Breton Brewing and Garrison will be taking over the taps at the Stubborn Goat. From 6PM, the crew from both breweries will be on hand to talk shop, pour a few pints, enjoy live music, and maybe even release a new beer or two. And then both breweries will do it all over again in Sydney on Thursday October 5th, at Governor’s Pub on Esplanade. Learn a bit more here!
• The second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run is happening next Saturday (September 30) at Castle Frederick Farms in Windsor, with both a 5km and 10km option. With beer (rather than/in addition to water) stops along the way, you can enjoy Schoolhouse and Roof Hound beers, as well as cider from Sid’s, Noggins, and Davison Farms. Advance registration is strongly suggested.
• The 2nd Annual Cask Beer Throwdown is happening at the Olympic Centre in Halifax on September 30th. With cask-conditioned and -served beer, breweries will often stray from the norm, willing to be a bit more adventurous with processes and ingredients, and us drinkers will be the beneficiaries of these cool experiments. Learn more about cask beer in a feature in Local Connections. With a dozen breweries and cider houses pouring their wares, plus plenty of food vendors onsite, it is sure to be a great time. Grab your tickets here.
• September 30th also marks this year’s Atlantic Canadian Craft Beer Oktoberfest, being held at the Moncton Lions Club. Doors are open 7:30-10PM (or 6PM with your VVIP ticket), and you’ll be able to enjoy beers from all over the Maritimes, with more than 30 breweries, cideries, and mead houses on hand, topping 100 different products. There will be food onsite as well to keep you going all evening. Tickets are still available, grab yours today!
• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is encouraging anyone who has apples on their property that they don’t know and/or don’t use to contribute them to a special collaborative effort known as The People’s Cider. Since September 8th, they’ve been accepting apples at Muwin Estate’s New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 and they’ll continue to do so until their open house on October 14th, which runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. And if you’ve got a variety that ripens later, arrangements can also be made for later drop-off. If you’ve got too many to transport yourself, they’ll even make arrangements to come pick them up. Many of the apples sought after for cider are varieties that don’t work well for eating. These are often heritage varieties from England and Germany whose names have been lost to time, but whose juice could still make an important contribution to a truly local product. So if you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.
• The NSLC is putting on a series of events designed to showcase local craft beer and cider. Dubbed the Discover Series, there will be four sessions held at The Port by NSLC on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax. Every Wednesday through the month of October you’ll have a chance to hear from local craft beer brewers and cider makers talking about a specific aspect of their craft. In Week 1, on October 4th, wine and cider maker Alex Boivin will talk about the cider-making process at Bulwark Ciders where freshly-pressed juice from Annapolis Valley apples are used at their cidery in New Ross. He’ll also be mixing up some cider cocktails and present some fall food pairings. A week later, on October 11th, Peter Burbridge of North Brewing and Mark Huizink of 2 Crows will present on the topic of barrel-aging beer and how the unique character of wood can be imparted to beer. Session 3, on October 18th will see the founders of Boxing Rock, Emily Tipton and Henry Pedro talking about the seasonal beers of autumn and encourage participants to think outside the box when it comes to beer styles. Finally, on October 25th, Jeremy White of Big Spruce brewing in Nyanza, Cape Breton, will talk about making beer using locally grown hops and mineral-rich water at his certified organic brewery. Each session runs from 7 PM to 10 PM. Tickets are a package deal for all four sessions and run $60 each. They’re available in person at The Port, or online through Eventbrite.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep you busy this week…
– Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider has released a new blend this week. Orange is the New Wild is a new blend, featuring a portion of wild-fermented Baldwin apples and orange blossom, which was then dry-hopped during the conditioning process. Drop by their Agricola Street location for a taste and growler fill today.
– Picaroons in New Brunswick has a new entry in their Pivot series of Imperial IPAs. This time the feature hop is Equinox (now known by the trade name Equanot), but the dry-hop also featured the Azacca, Lemondrop, Calypso, Ella, and Experimental 7270 varieties.
– In Windsor, Schoolhouse continues their Cask Friday tradition this week with a dry-hopped version of their Scotian Export ale. The cask will be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon and is not likely to last the night.
– Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back their Riddle of Steel IPA, one of their best-selling brews. It’s 7% ABV and 80 IBU and is the perfect way to toast your devotion to Crom.