Another Friday, another day chock-full of beer news for Atlantic Canada. The sun has been shining for a few days, and, thankfully, water levels are finally starting to recede across New Brunswick… although, there’s still a ways to go, and a heck of a lot of work ahead. In the meantime, we invite you to take a break from your work day and catch up one what’s going on in the wonderful world of beer… at least, in our region.
• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new blend last week, pairing apples, rhubarb and honey together in a tasty beverage. After arresting (stopping short) the ferment of a rhubarb wine (with fruit from Terra Beata Farms), they blended it with a mead made from honey from Brandt’s Bees in Wolfville. That was then blended with their Intrepid cider, which is created from their Northern Spy apples, and allowed to condition at cold temperature. The resultant cyser (mead/cider blend), Rhubee Cyser, weighs in at 8.0% ABV and features plenty of honey and fruit flavours up front, followed by earthy notes in the middle, with some sweetness and floral flavours on the finish. Grab a glass at their Agricola Street location today, or check the cider and food from Unchained Kitchen tomorrow during Open City (more details below).
• Tanner & Co. in Chester Basin has a brand new beer that should be available at the brewery tomorrow, Sauvage Saison. At 6.3% ABV, this Saison features a light-bodied and -coloured malt bill of predominantly Pilsner with a touch of Wheat and darker malts, and light hopping from traditional English hop East Kent Golding. The wort was fermented with the wild Pin Cherry yeast harvested from Big Spruce‘s farm in Nyanza, Cape Breton, nicknamed Scotian Sauvage. Due to the nature of this experiment, there’s just a single keg of Sauvage Saison available, so be sure to visit Tanner & Co this weekend to enjoy it. And with it being Open Brewery Day in Nova Scotia, we think it’s the perfect time to do so! And keep an eye out over the the next few weeks, as there will be more from the Scotian Sauvage yeast, as well as Tanner’s GSB release, but we’ll tell you more about those next week.
• More barrel goodies are coming our way this weekend, as Stillwell Brewing has two releases – one new, one returning – for us tomorrow. The “returning” beer is the second blend of Gosh, a Mosaic dry-hopped Saison. First released late last fall, the original beer came from a red wine barrel; in contrast, tomorrow’s 6.2% ABV beer is a blend of multiple white wine barrels. With lots of fruity aromatics (from the fermentation character, as well as the Mosaic), it was brewed in May of 2017, and bottled in January, 2018. As for the new beer, Deluxe is a tart Saison that was brewed in April, 2017, and aged in a single white wine barrel. Five months later, over 50 kg of overripe apricots were added, ultimately resulting in a “highly complex, fruity, dry beer with lots of beautiful barrel character” that was bottled in January, and weighs in at just 4.9% ABV. Both will be available for purchase from 12-4 pm tomorrow, at the back of 2015 Gottingen St.; both beers, especially the smaller-batch Deluxe, will go quickly, so don’t be late!
• There’s a whole lotta beer news coming from Spindrift this week, so we should stop wasting time and dive right in! First up is a brand new beer that will be joining the brewery’s core brands – Hurricane IPA is an unfiltered, West Coast-style IPA. The simple grist was boosted slightly with light additions of Crystal 45 L and Munich malt, giving the beer a light orange/copper colour. Hopped extensively with Amarillo and Comet (to a total of 60 IBUs), this 6.2% ABV brew features flavours and aromas of “fresh cut grass, pine, ripe melon, zesty grapefruit, and Tim Horton’s peach juice” (now that’s specific!), with a dry finish. You should be able to find it on tap and in 473 mL cans at the brewery now, and quite possibly at some NSLC stores by publishing as well.
• Spindrift also has two new Seventh Wave releases this week. Let’s start with Just Boats Brown Ale, a 4.9% ABV Brown brewed with Pilsner, Wheat, Chocolate Wheat, double-roasted Crystal, and Roasted Barley. Hopped with Magnum to 31 IBUs, and fermented with an English ESB strain, the beer focuses on the malt character, with notes of light roast and chocolate. Second is Mosaic SMaSH Ale, which debuted at last weekend’s Full House Craft Beer Fest. Focusing solely on Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops, this is a newer batch that the brewery claims has a fuller body, with lots of “berry, tropical, and citrus” packed into a 5.5% ABV, 26 IBUs package. Hopefully both of these are still pouring at Spindrift, so you’d best check it out ASAP to be sure!
• Speaking of busy breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse is yet another one, as we’ve got news on not one, not two, but three new beers hitting taps in the very near future. Honey, I’m Home is a Honey Brown Ale that was brewed in collaboration with Freeman’s Pizza, a frequent supporter of Ol’ Biddy’s. Brewed with Pale, Chocolate, Honey, Carapils, and Crystal 60 L malts, it’s a malt-forward, medium-bodied beer with notes of “chocolate and caramel, with a touch of residual sweetness”. Hopped with Columbus to just 17 IBUs, it’s easy-drinking at 5.1% ABV; look for it to be on tap soon at the Freeman’s Sackville location, as well as Battery Park. Moving into more-hop-friendly territory is Boogie Nights IPA, featuring a simple malt bill and plenty of Columbus, Huell Melon, and Azacca. Slightly bitter in the finish (63 IBUs), expect lots of melon in both the aroma and flavour of this 6.3% ABV beer. Look for this one to be tapped over the next few days at the earliest; keep up with Ol’ Biddy’s social media pages to find out exactly where it lands. Finally, we have a sneak peek at the first beer of a new series for the brewery, Sackvegas SMaSH: Azacca/Pilsen. This one was designed to be an easy-drinking summer beer, and should come in at 4.9% ABV and approximately 27 IBUs. Featuring all Pilsner malt and Azacca hops, it won’t be released until the end of the month, but we’ll remind you when it comes out!
• Today marks the fourth release in Upstreet‘s Neon Friday series of hoppy beers, but this time around they’re taking it a step further, and releasing the beer in cans… the first time any beer from Upstreet has been packaged this way. The beer is NEIPA with Mosaic and Galaxy, which does a pretty darn good job of explaining itself! So, yeah. Hazy, lots of Mosaic and Galaxy tropical, fruity goodness, in a 6.5% ABV, 40 IBU package. Available in four-packs in very limited amounts: 100 packs going to the Upstreet taproom (opens at noon), and 100 going to the Craft Beer Corner (opens at 11 am). They’ll likely go pretty fast, so it would be a good idea to get downtown early!
• Next week’s Good Robot releases are locked and loaded, proving that NSCBW didn’t have quite a serious enough effect on staff. Next Tuesday’s Beta brew is Hands Off Maibock!, a collab with a couple of women that Kelly C. met during her Ladies Beer League days. This Maibock was brewed with Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts, giving it a “toasty finish, and pleasant residual sweetness”. Hopped to 27 IBUs with Hallertau to give some low floral/spice character, it weighs in at a reasonable 5.8% ABV. As for Thursday’s larger-scale release, it’s a new beer named Tiny Tigers. A kinda-lighter-ABV Saison (5.8% ABV), the grist was made up of Pilsner, 2-row, and some Crystal 30L to keep the colour light. Hopped with Columbus and Citra to 31 IBUs, it has a “smooth spice and subtle citrus aroma” thanks in part to the fermentation
• In Fredericton, as the water is finally starting to go back where it belongs, TrailWay Brewing has two releases this week. The first is the return of Good Weather; an American IPA that originally was released in March, it’s now joining the TW regular summer line-up. With a slightly-tweaked hop schedule, it should be otherwise similar to the first batch, with a “bright, tropical, citrus, peach juice” combination of characteristics. Aside from being available at the TW taproom, it should be showing up in cans at ANBL stores as well. Also returning is Hopical Trop, the brewery’s rotating “Fruited DIPA”. This time around, the 8% ABV beer was conditioned on dark cherries, giving “massive, sweet fruit character with a vanilla-like quality”. This one is in cans at TrailWay only, as well as on tap for pints and growlers, with a few kegs likely to be pouring at select licensees.
• Big Spruce has another just-in-time-for-summer beer out for us, which – in our humble opinions – is one of THE best styles for warm weather out there. Hugs Bunny is a Gose – a sour, low-ABV, German style – brewed with sea salt and Indian coriander (both of which are classic additions to the style). The great thing about a Gose is there are a lot of directions you can take it afterwards, and Big Spruce didn’t hesitate to go down one of those roads, dry-hopping it with lots of Citra. Light, slightly-salty, tart, with lots of citrus and tropical fruit on the nose… all at only 3.8% ABV. Get it now on tap at Big Spruce, and at some of the finer tap accounts in Nova Scotia.
• Recently, Annapolis Brewing Company teamed up with Horton Ridge to brew Oatta the Valley Pale Ale, and that beer has just been kegged and ready for tasting this weekend. Brewed with all Maritime-grown malt and hops, the recipe creation was a true collaboration, in a fun and different way. We’ll let the crew from Annapolis describe it, “The makeup of the recipe was somewhat of a card game. The Annapolis Brewing Company started the recipe with the base malt and sent it back to Horton Ridge for the next malt addition. Once they added their malt choice, they, in turn, sent the recipe back to us for the next addition. We did this with the hops as well. It was truly a 50/50 collab from recipe makeup to brewing. We love working with Horton Ridge and most of all…brewing with their malt!” The final grist consisted of 2 Row, Rye, Munich, Vienne, Wheat and Oat malts, and the hop bill, grown at Fundy Hops, were Centennial and Galena. You can find Oatta the Valley on tap at Horton Ridge today! And keep your eyes open for Annapolis’ beers at Liquid Assets, the all-NS private liquor store at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Their Goodwill Amber, Big Shot Black IPA and Acadian Honey Brown are available in 355ml stubby bottles to grab when you go visiting, or when returning from a trip. And we’ve heard that the LA folks will even meet you outside of security if you’re just passing through!
• On the South Shore of NS, in Mahone Bay, Saltbox Brewing has two new styles to share, both on the deeper, darker side of the spectrum. The first is Bette Davis Eisbock, a beer that would have started fairly big in the usual bock style, but which also underwent a freezing process to remove some of the water content yielding a beer with a final ABV of 10.6%. Strong and full-bodied, there’s a moderate bitterness for balance, but a definite sweetness present. This is a traditional German style that would be served from December to April, but we’re getting it a little later here this year, matching our late spring. And somewhat lighter but still nowhere near pale is Lou Keyte’s Brown Ale, a collaboration with Sea Level Brewing up in Port Williams. It’s named after a Chicago conman (the “Bernie Madoff of the Roaring Twenties) who hosted big parties at his hunting lodge near Kejimkujik before being extradited home, where he chose to avoid a long term prison sentence by scarfing a whole box of chocolates (he was diabetic). Happy for us, he inspired this beer, which is deep brown in color, with a creamy tan head, and featuring hints of caramel and chocolate on the palate and a soft roasted finish. Lighter than you might expect from the color, it comes in at 6.2% ABV, perfect for sipping on its own or pairing with food.
• A couple of quick mentions from the Rock today, first, starting way way up in Twilingate, we’ve got news of a new beer from Split Rock, another entry in their IPA family. Reminiscent of their Gateway IPA but featuring Citra hops, Dream of Spring is a 7.1% ABV American-style IPA. Available at the Stage Head Pub, expect a solid body and a firm bitterness. And on the west coast, in Corner Brook, Bootleg Brew Co also has a new beer available as of last night, one they’re referring to as a “summery session ale”. Class Act was designed for day drinking, a crisp, hoppy, refreshing, and sessionable pale ale made with oats. Zesty, with hop-derived notes of orange, pear and lime, it’s 42 IBU and a super quaffable 4.2% ABV.
• We’ve previously mentioned the Cider Club at Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company and for those who missed out and wish they hadn’t, we’ve received word that there’s a very limited number of additional memberships available. If you’re interested in a regular 10% discount, 6 special bottles twice a year, guided tastings of special releases and participation in discussions about future releases, check out the details on their sign-up page. A reminder that you need not be local to Wolfville – you can have your cider shipped to you anywhere in the 10 Provinces of Canada!
• Halifax’s Garrison has released another new hoppy beer, this one taking the New England IPA style down a notch in terms of ABV, but definitely not in flavor. Wicked Good is being called a New England Pale Ale and features a grist of Maritime pale malt, oats and wheat paired with classic Cascade, new hotness Huell Melon, and some other hops that will remain nameless, at least for now. Juicy, hazy and unfiltered, it’s a reasonable 30 IBU and a very sessionable 5.0% ABV, all the better to let stone fruit and citrus aromas and melon and pear flavors to shine through. Look for it in cans at the brewery (and, we expect, the private liquor stores at some point) as well as at Garrison’s Open City / Open Brewery Day Event tomorrow (see below)!
Here’s what’s going on for beer-related events in the region this weekend and over the next week or two:
• Taking a page from I Love Local Halifax, the community of independent Halifax businesses, breweries across the province are holding Open Brewery Day tomorrow, May 12th. From Shelburne to Nyanza taking part, there is sure to be something in your neighbourhood, or worth traveling for, tomorrow, so be sure to get out and visit. To make life a little easier, we’ve put together a map of all the events we could find. If we’ve missed something, let us know and we’ll add it!
2 Crows, Halifax, 2-5PM: Live band from 2-5PM with $1 off pints and growler fills during that time
Big Spruce, Nyanza, 12-6PM: Live music and wood fired pizza!
Boxing Rock, Shelburne, 11AM-7PM: Free tours all day, try your hand at axe throwing, live music from 2-4PM. Samples and flights, and food courtesy of Finest Kind Food.
Chain Yard Cider, Halifax, 11:30-?: Enjoy $2 samples of cider on their patio, plus Unchained Kitchen will offer a $6 shrimp/mussel boil.
Garrison, Halifax, 11AM-6PM: The Cake Lady and The Shuck Stop! will be set up, serving pastries and bivalves to pair with their beer. Plus the release of Wicked Good New England APA in cans.
Meander River, Ashdale, 11AM-5PM: Visit the brewery for a tasting and tour, chat with the brewer and owners, grab some beer, cider, and other farm products to go.
Nine Locks, Dartmouth, 11AM-6PM: Nine Locks will have brewery tours starting at 11 am and run until 4 pm, running at the top of the hour. The tour is limited to 12 people each tour. You can sign up in advance by contacting the brewery directly.
Propeller, Halifax, 10AM-2PM: Drop by all day and see first hand how beer is made. They will be brewing an American Wheat, which will be dry-hopped and released in a few weeks.
Saltbox Brewing, Mahone Bay, 12-9PM: Backoos Korean Food Truck on-site. Prize draws and live entertainment. Staff are avail to sample and discuss their beer.
Schoolhouse Brewery, Windsor, 12-6PM: Drop by at 3:30pm for a brewery tour by owner Cameron Hartley and to meet your local brew crew!
Stubborn Goat, Halifax, 11AM-close: The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden opens for the season, and both locations will be serving up $5 snacks.
Tanner & Co, Chester Basin, 12-5PM: Brewery tours and other fun!
Tatamagouche Brewing, Tatamagouche, 10-5PM: Brewery tours start at 10AM, and run every half-hour. There will be live music in the brewery taproom from 2-5PM. Dogs are welcome/encouraged/required.
• If two wheeled locomotion is more your speed, tomorrow is the inaugural ride of the Nova Scotia chapter of BrewDog Chain Gang. Using Off Track Brewing on Rocky Lake Drive in Bedford as the start and end to the ride, the group will be traveling out to Goffs and back, a 70km ride. A world-wide bike club sponsored by Scottish brewery BrewDog, the goal of Chain Gang to encourage camaraderie with other cyclists, and use breweries and beer bars as the homebase for refreshment and conversation after riding. Look for more rides throughout the summer, and check out the event details for more information.
• May 13th is the inaugural day for the Craft Beer Farmers’ Market, being held at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, 10AM until 2PM. Featuring 8 vendors of beer, cider, spirits, and kombucha, with more expected to join (including wineries), the market will be held every Sunday until October 14th. Bring your empty growler and sample what the following vendors have to offer: Annapolis Brewing Company, Casa Nova Fine Beverages, Horton Ridge, Lunn’s Mill, Meander River, Roof Hound, Solas Kombucha, Still Fired Distilleries, and Wayfarers Ale.
• Saltbox is holding a Soapbox Derby on June 16th from 9 AM – 3 PM in Mahone Bay. Although this is quite a ways away now, registration is due by Friday, June 1st. Further, it’s limited to 40 entries across 4 divisions and is quickly nearing capacity! The four divisions are Kids 6 – 12 (starting halfway down the hill), Ages 13 and Over, Open Class (anything goes except engines), and Corporate. Castle Building Supplies is making cart kits for all divisions except Open available. There are prizes for the race winners, of course, but also for originality, cart decoration and more! If you’re interested you’ll want to move fast (and then you’ll want to move fast on race day!!).
And as usual, a few last mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:
– Liverpool’s Hell Bay has re-released their Privateer Pilsner a little early this year; get this easy-drinking 4.7% ABV lager while it lasts!
– Picaroons is up to entry number 15 in their Pivot DIPA series, this latest featuring the CTZ and Chinook hops from Southan Farms in Wicklow, NB.
– Hammond River has now bottled a batch of their Blueberry Ale, which will be available at the Hammond River Beer Bar and coming to ANBL stores as well!
– Tidehouse did up a special brew featuring local Haskaap Berries for the inaugural AFX: Animation Festival of Halifax. Brewed with local Haskaap berries and hopped with Mosaic, Magical-ale Lantern was a big hit at the opening ceremonies and will re-appear at the event’s wrap party on Saturday. You can find this pinkish/peachish-hued 4.7% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street.