It’s been a blazing hot week in our region (remember all of our jokes back in spring about winter never ending and summer never getting started? Haha.), with temperatures that can only be mitigated by proper hydration. Fortunately, our Atlantic Canada beer producers specialize in tasty liquids to help keep your fluids up. With more hot weather in the forecast, we suggest you might want to stock up on your drive home today or at your favorite beer-enabled farmers market in the morning. And if you’re in the HRM region, maybe check on the status of our newest brewery, The Harbour in Musquodoboit Harbour, as their plans were to open this weekend. Either way you can check our profile from yesterday here in anticipation of their grand opening.
Speaking of new breweries, we wanted to get you up to speed with the progress of ShipWright Brewing in Lunenburg. Located in the same building as The Grand Banker on Montague Street, ShipWright will be launching in August, the first brewery in this picturesque South Shore town. With a 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse, and three 400 litre fermentation tanks, they are starting small in their current space, but plans are already in the works to expand to a separate facility on Victoria Road in 2019. With a separate tasting bar located upstairs in the brewery space, the ShipWright beers will add four more taps in the restaurant downstairs, joining the more-than-a-dozen NS Craft Beers currently flowing at Grand Banker. Given their size, production will focus on in-house draught and growler sales, with their expansion offering the possibility of keg sales to licensees and small-format packaging in the future. The brewery is a homecoming for Brewer Kellye Robertson, who grew up in the area before moving to Ontario to take the Niagara Brewmaster’s program, and working at Garrison and launching Spindrift. And for Grand Banker owner Adam Bower, opening a brewery on site is a natural progression of his passion for local beers, as demonstrated in the extensive taplist and events showcasing producers from across the province. Stay up to date with ShipWright’s progress here (including a full profile closer to launch, as well as on their social media pages (FB, IG, Tw).
From a brewery Coming Soon, to one that’s been established for a while, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is celebrating their Third Anniversary this Sunday, July 29th. And to mark the occasion, they are looking to release a beer with a bit of history behind it, thanks to Brewmaster Greg Nash. Dementia is an 8.2% Double IPA with some underlying malt presence, but as the name implies, an insane amount of hops added in the boil, as well as dry-hopped three times during conditioning. Long-time beer fans may remember a Nash beer of the same name brewed elsewhere in the region, so this is sure to stir up some happy memories (or maybe erase them completely!). Grab pints and fills of Dementia from noon today, and then come back from noon Sunday for an all-out bash with $5 pints, bottles of the 2017 Commissar and 2018 Mise en Garde, and Chef Joe Martin working the grill and serving up some great food worthy of pairing.
Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. has brewed up a new beer to celebrate the achievements of one of their local patrons, Danny Frame. Danny recently set the Guinness World Record for most caber tosses in 3 minutes (check out the video on Lunn’s Mill’s Facebook page), and is now aiming to travel to Germany to compete in the Masters World Championships. To help him in his goal, the brewery has released Caber Crusher Stout, a 4.3% ABV, 33 IBUs Dry Stout that they describe as “roasty, rich and smooth”. For every glass sold, Lunn’s Mill will donate $1 to Danny’s fund to compete in Germany. If you’re in the area, drop by and order up a pint to show your support!
While Valonray Farmhouse Brewery, located in MacDougall Settlement, NB, just opened a few months ago, they’ve been busy brewing up a variety of Belgian-style beers. This Saturday, they will be holding another of their bottle releases, from 10am-5pm. This launch will be the first batch (labelled 001) of their Farmhouse Ale, a mixed fermentation Saison. After being brewed, the beer was fermented in stainless for one week with Saccharomyces, before being transferred to a larger stainless tank for an extended aging period, before finally being bottled with a Champagne yeast strain for 3 weeks prior to release. Total time from brewing to your eager hands is about 5 months. Future batches of this Saison will feature rotating yeast strains (both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces), as well as rotating adjuncts (which make up 30% of the grain bill). Coming in at around 6% ABV, batch 001 is showing a tasting profile that includes “funk, slight tropical flavours, and overripe strawberry”. And keep your eyes peeled for another bottle release in August, which will be a limited edition Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel, at over 10% ABV.
Near Fredericton in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing has both a newish release and a re-release to talk about this week. First up is a beer that was initially poured at the Big Axe Craft Beer Festival back on July 14th in Nackawic, NB. The second entry in their one-hop Session IPA series dubbed You Had Me At… Mosaic, this 4.7% ABV light and hoppy beer is packed with, you guessed it, Mosaic hops for a fruity and dank flavor profile with plenty of pineapple character. You’ll find this one on tap at The Joyce Pub, Wilser’s Room, and Buddha Bear Coffee Roaster & Holy Whale Brewing Co. (and also at the Buddha Bear Riverview location). It will also be on tap on August 2nd at the King Street Ale House for their IPA Day celebration. Also coming out of Niche this week is a re-release of their popular Belgian-American Pale Ale that they’ve titled Bruges Afternoon. Marrying a Belgian Trappist yeast to modern American hop varieties Azacca and Mosaic yields a light and refreshing beer at 5.2% ABV with both spicy and fruity notes from the yeast, and stone fruit and a tropical presence from the hops. Look for this one at The Joyce, KSAH, Snooty Fox, Graystone Brewing, Tide & Boar, and the Laundromat Espresso Bar.
Down in Liverpool, Hell Bay Brewing has a brand new draught-only beer to quench your summer thirst. Lime and Black Pepper Ale features two ingredients that we’re pretty darn sure you can guess if you think really hard! With a grist that includes Barley, Corn, Wheat and Oats (to help boost the mouthfeel), the brew was hopped with Jarrylo to 28 IBUs. In addition, lime zest and peppercorns were added late in the boil, to give “a refreshing lime flavour and aroma throughout, followed by a slight black pepper kick”, to accompany the otherwise-light beer. It weighs in at 5.8% ABV and can be found at Hell Bay now, for consumption on their outside deck. There IS a chance this beer will pop up in bottles in the future; keep an ear to the ground for that.
Our North friends have been busy brewing new beers, while keeping up with their regular releases, and this week is no exception! Coming out today is Perseid IPA (named after the Perseid meteor shower currently taking place, and scheduled to peak sometime around August 11th-13th), their latest American IPA. This 7% ABV brew was hopped with Jarrylo, ADHA 529, and Simcoe cryohops and Mosaic cryohops (which are starting to become popular around these parts). With notes of “mango, melon, and pineapple”, it’s a super-refreshing hop bomb for summer drinking, and is available in cans as well as on tap in the HRM. Drop by either of the two North locations to pick up a four-pack!
Staying with North, they’ve teamed up with Propeller to brew Whip It!, a “Lemon Meringue Pie Sour”. A 4% ABV Sour Ale inspired “by diner pies of days gone by”, it had several special additions while brewing, including graham crackers, lactose powder, and lemon zest. It’s going to be released next Thursday, August 2nd, at the Propeller Tap Takeover at Battery Park, where you’ll also find a wide variety of Propeller classics and rare/limited edition beers. Note that Whip It! will also be available in cans on that date.
Big news from Northern New Brunswick this week, so let’s start off with a few beers recently released. Distillerie Fils du Roy in Petit-Paquetville is continuing their line of historically-inspired beers with Grande Barbe, La Beausoleil, and 732.
– Grande Barbe is a 5.5% ABV Wheat Beer, brewed in the Belgian tradition with spicy phenolics and fruit esters, telling the story of Nicolas Denys, a French aristocrat who explored and founded towns and villages throughout New France in the Seventeenth Century.
– La Beausoleil is made in honour of Joseph Broussard, one of many heroes of the Acadian resistance in the Eighteenth Century. Born in Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal), NS, and died in Louisiana, he fought against the British in many skirmishes in what are now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI, alongside fellow Acadians and First Nations fighters. Today, La Beausoleil is a 5.0% ABV Oyster Stout, made with oysters from Néguac’s Maison Beausoleil, located nearby. Bottles are available at the brewery retail shop now, and should soon be available at the ANBL as well.
– 732 is an American Standard Lager, made in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the incorporation of Grande-Anse. In reality, Grande-Anse was founded in 1808 by Acadian Simon Landry, borrowing from the Mi’kmaq name of Walayik (Big Cove or Grande-Anse in French). At just 500 bottles of this 4.5% ABV beer, this release will only be available at the brewery.
And big news for all of the breweries of Fils du Roy’s region, as this week saw the launch of the Northern New Brunswick Beer Trail/ Route de la Bière du nord du Nouveau-Brunswick. Featuring 9 breweries from Edmundston to Tracadie the 320 kilometre route also marks the four tourist information offices and 21 restaurants, cafes, and bars that serve the products made nearby. The breweries are, from West to East, Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, Savoie’s Brewhouse, AKA Beer at Au Bootlegger, Four Rivers Brewing Co, 13 Barrels Brewing (coming this fall), Distillerie Fils du Roy, Brasserie du Village (brewing at Village Historique Acadien with the help of Fils du Roy), Brasserie Retro Brewing, and Brasseux d’la Côte. We have the map here for your perusal or printing, or pick one up at one of the many spots along the way. And you can celebrate the official launch at any one of the breweries next Friday, August 3rd, from 5-7PM, to join your fellow beer travellers.
Over at Quidi Vidi Brewery, just outside of St John’s, they’ve got a pair of new beers on the shelves these days. Three Seasons Saison (playing on the “fact” that Newfoundland celebrates fall, winter, winter again, and then spring… although we’re starting to think this may apply to all of Atlantic Canada) was brewed along the lines of a “classic” Saison. Pale-coloured, dry, crisp, and lightly tart, it comes in at a very manageable 5.1% ABV, and 26 IBUs. Next is Folk’d Up, an American Pale Ale brewed in celebration of the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival (happening August 3-5 in Bannerman Park). Hopped solely with Cascade (to 28 IBUs), it has “subtle malty notes, light citrus aromas, and a slight apricot finish”, and clocks in at 5% ABV. Both of these beers were canned, and are/will be on the shelves of your local NLC, so grab a few before heading out this weekend. And for fans of their Iceberg beer, and its iconic blue bottles, the QV Crew is sending out a friendly, but urgent reminder: they are running low on empties, so please return them to your local depot, or direct to the brewery, ASAP. If you do, they may even give you a peek at their on-site bottle washer/sanitizer, which is a massive engineering feat in its own right.
We’ll stick with Newfoundland, as there’s a couple more interesting beers being released there this weekend. In Twillingate, Split Rock Brewing Co. has a new entry in their kettle sour series with Sour Patch B’ys: Squashberry. The squashberry is a red, tart, clustered berry “with a unique flavour, and their aroma might remind you of a walk in the woods”, according to Split Rock. Difficult to find, and locally picked on a recent family hike, they provide the bulk of the flavour in the latest entry in this series (as well as the bright red colour), balanced by the tartness of the lactic acid produced in the souring process. Only a limited supply of this brew is available; you can find it on tap at the Stage Head Pub.
Let’s finish off the Rock with Port Rexton Brewing, releasing a new beer designed to help beat the heat (yes, apparently Port Rexton has had a heat warning for a whopping two days in a row!). Some Day on Hops (named after a description Newfoundlanders use to describe the weather…? Here’s a video for an explanation) is a 4.3% ABV Session IPA featuring a heavy dry hop of Azacca, Huell Melon, and Mosaic. Thanks to these three wonderful varieties, expect a “super tropical nose with a light, mango, pineapple punch, and a light pine vibe giving a tingly-but-present bitterness”. Drop by the retail shop in town this weekend for a growler; they’ll also be pouring Blue Steel, T-Rex Porter, and Chasing Sun (oh, the irony).
Your favourite Amherst craft brewery – that’s right, Trider’s – has a new, summer-drinkin’ beer out this week, a Belgian Witbier (one of the finest of the hot weather beers). The Wit Rabbit was brewed with a traditional Witbier grist, a 50/50 mix of Barley and Wheat malt, and fermented with a Witbier. Sweet orange peel was added in the boil, along with a light touch of Cascade hops for a low, balancing bitterness. Taken in a non-traditional direction, they then added a dry-hop of Triskel, a floral/herbal/citrusy variety developed in France. Cloudy, light golden, with moderately-high carbonation, it’s light and refreshing, and at just 4.5% ABV, can be enjoyed in quantity. You can find it at the Trider’s taproom for pints and growlers now, with some kegs heading out to local licensees, soon.
Good Robot has a new American Pale Ale scheduled to be released for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew, Agricola Street Ale. Described as “very, very light” thanks to a grist made up of Pilsner malt, corn, and rice, it weighs in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV. Hopped with Polaris and Perle to 25 IBUs, the beer is “lightly floral, and nicely balanced toward hop bitterness”. And look for the return of the brewery’s flagship Gose, Goseface Killah, next Thursday… or, they tell us, it could be something completely new. For the love of God, why won’t someone think of the bloggers??
Today marks a very small bottle release in the Upstreet Million Acres series, Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Apricot Cream Witbier. Brewed and added to a few Chardonnay barrels in January, the recipe includes lactose powder in the boil, and apricot puree in the barrel; the lactose adds a bit of sweetness, while the puree gives plenty of apricot aroma and a “nice tartness in the finish”. It’s been conditioning in bottles since April, and is now ready to be taken home with you. Bottles of this 5% ABV Witbier will be available only at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner (max 2 bottles per customer); it will also be on tap at both locations for pours only (no growlers/crowlers).
Beer things are going on this weekend, and next, and maybe even the week after!
Beer fans in Nova Scotia who have limited access to beers from New Brunswick take notice! A tap takeover of NB craft brews is currently underway at the Auction House on Argyle Street and will continue today and probably into the weekend (while supplies last)!! You can check the Facebook Event Page for the full tap list and details, but the summary is that you’ll find beers from: Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Grimross, Half Cut, Maybee, Niche, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, and Trailway, many of which have never before seen the shores of Nova Scotia. Tapping began last night, so ideally they’ll open with a full slate this afternoon. A few Grimross kegs are en route this afternoon and may not make it on until later tonight, but everything else is in the house and ready to pour. Happy Hour pricing ($5 pints from 4 – 6:30 PM) will be honored all weekend, which we think will make the Auction House an especially popular spot today after work. Come check it out and enjoy some of the high-quality beers that are coming from our neighbors to the west!!
Bar Stillwell returns to their beer-bringing-from-far-flung-fields-ways tomorrow when five selections from Calgary, Alberta’s Dandy Brewing hit the taps at HQ on Barrington Street and at the Beer Garden on Spring Garden. They’re also serving brisket nachos for the occasion (no doubt made with ‘Berta beef) and rumor has it some brewery folk might be in attendance. And as if that wasn’t enough, next weekend, on Sunday, August 5th, you’ll find an event featuring one of the bright lights of farmhouse brewing in North America, Jester King, at the bar. Not seen in these parts since the last time they came to Stillwell in September of 2015 in a joint feature with Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham, this is a reason for beer geeks to get excited. Next week you’ll find 6 taps pouring farmhouse styles and 6 more beers from their SPON series pouring by the glass. As usual, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be serving a topical menu, this time with Texas-inspired snacks on the go. And you might find yourself imbibing elbow-to-elbow with Jester King’s head brewer, Averie Swanson!! Look for more details (we’re thinking tap and bottle lists) to appear on Stillwell social media as next Sunday approaches.
Next Wednesday is Regatta Day in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Well, it should be, but as the only weather-dependent holiday that we’re aware of, we encourage you to play Regatta Day Roulette, and prepare for Wednesday off. Celebrate at Quidi Vidi for another of their Day Boil event, with the Regatta races livestreamed in the taproom, along with music and pints flowing all day. The doors open at 10AM, with music from The Blue Mood, Hot x Proxy, The Daisy Cutters, and Waterfront Fire. May the odds forever be in your favour!
International IPA Day is held on the first Thursday in August every year, which means that it’s crept up on us and is next Thursday, August 2nd! No doubt that there will be celebrations and special beers throughout our region, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House is no exception, with their IPA Day Takeover. All 32 of their taps will be dedicated to hoppy beers, from a number of breweries throughout Atlantic Canada. You can simply show up and sample as many as you’d like, or you can also pre-purchase a ticket for $35 (+tax), which will get you twenty 5 oz samples! The fun starts at 6 pm (although the beers will likely be pouring all day); you can buy your tickets here (just click on the IPA Day tab under reservations).
If you’re in the Fredericton area and haven’t been to The Joyce since their beautiful renovations earlier this summer… well, we’re not really sure why you haven’t. But we have yet another excuse to drop by soon, as they’re holding a PEI and NS Tap Takeover on Saturday, August 11th. All taps will be dedicated to craft breweries from both provinces, with many sending representatives to mingle and chat beer! There’s no cost to attend, just show up when you can and start imbibing!
And a couple more quick mentions before we leave you to another summer weekend full of delightful local beer:
– Our friends at Big Spruce in Nyanza have tapped another new one, an Altbier without a fancy name. Weighing in at 5.9% ABV and 35 IBU, it’s malty, bready, toasty and a touch bitter, in short, everything we look for in an Alt. Check it out now at the Sprucetique and possibly at tap accounts throughout the province.
– Fans of Stillwell Brewing’s blended funky farmhouse styles will no doubt be happy to hear that they’re beginning regular retail hours every Saturday at least until the end of the summer, from 12 – 4 PM at their 2015 Gottingen Street location (rear entrance). This week (that’s tomorrow) will feature their two newest releases, Easy and Merryweather, along with some other previous releases and mercy!
– This week Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing sees the return of their popular Shannon Rockwell-brewed Hibiscus City, a dark pink sour brew featuring flavors of cranberry, pomegranate, field berry and lemon with a pinch of salt. This is Volume 2, Number 2 of this beer and limited quantities are available by the bottle and by the glass at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street.
– TrailWay is bringing back their DDHHJH (that’s Double Dry-Hopped Hu Jon Hops), an extra-hopped version of their flagship IPA, today. This is only the second time this beer has hit the market, due to the amount of delicious, pricey hops that go into a batch. This one is going to be available on tap and in cans at the brewery only, so be sure to drop by ASAP to grab some before it’s gone.
Finally, we have to close with some sad news. New Brunswick’s Bogtrotter, a 1 BBL (120 L) brewery that opened two years ago, is closing. Owner/brewer Rod Croucher made a recent announcement on the brewery’s Facebook page concerning his difficult decision. Bogtrotter beers were available on tap at several locations in Fredericton, with 500 mL bottles available for purchase at select ANBL stores in the area as well. We wish Rod the best of luck in his future endeavours.