Happy April y’all! We’ve seen all of the weather in the region this past week, with rain, snow, sunshine and patio weather, and everything in between. That may mean switching up your beer of choice from an Imperial Stout to a Witbier, and back to a Pale Ale, or if you’re like us, you’ll just drink whatever’s put in front of you! We’ve got a bit of everything in today’s post, so put down that burger (so many burgers in our region right now!), grab a pint, and take a quick read. Cheers to the weekend!
We know (from lots of tasting experience!) that the hard workers behind Tatamagouche Brewing love to experiment with brewing, in addition to releasing a super-solid lineup of flagship beers. They’ve got a couple new beers coming out this week on the experimentation side, both featuring the ISAR Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, a strain known to accentuate malt character in beers that TataBrew originally used in their exceedingly sessionable Dekorum Light Lager (released a month or so ago). First up is Dusk, a 4.9% ABV Schwarzbier brewed with a base of Pilsner and Munich malt, plus some Carafa III, Chocolate Wheat, and Rye malt. Hopped lightly with Tettnanger, it’s crisp and dry, with a mild bitterness, and notes of “light coffee and subtle caramel”. Next is Eager, a 4.8% ABV Dry-hopped Lager featuring a grist of mostly Pilsner malt, plus a little Munich and Oats. Hopped and dry-hopped with Tettnanger and Jarrylo, expect “lots of spice, herbal tea, and a grassy bitterness”. Both beers are available on tap now at the brewery, and should be following in cans (and on tap at select account) by the weekend. These beers sound too light for you? Stop that! But oh yeah, we should also tell you that this year’s batch of Tata’s Russian Imperial Stout (8.5% ABV) will also be available this weekend at the brewery for sale in 650 mL bottles. Head to Tata ASAP for the best of both worlds!
Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a brand new take on their 5.4% ABV Cream Ale, Kilometer 0. They conditioned the base beer on a light roast Ethiopian coffee from local Cafe x Clark, resulting in a beer they’re calling Coffee Cream. The result has “an unmistakable roasted coffee aroma and flavour, without being overpowering or changing the colour”. Definitely a bit of a different take on your classic Cream Ale, you can find it right now at Heritage, and we’re pretty sure it’ll pop up on tap at some of your favourite HRM watering holes as well.
Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill crew took over the taps at Battery Park yesterday, bringing their A-game in the form of 14 beer, including the possibility of a side-by-side of their Pub Ale on both cask and draught, and the return to the city of their Soma, their 6.9% ABV double-dry-hopped SMaSH of Marris Otter and Mosaic. If you’re lucky, there will still be a few of their gems pouring today at lunch.
This week also marks the announcement of Lunn’s Mill’s first Homebrew competition. They’re calling on homebrewers in the region to brew their best Summer Patio Beer. What style is that, now? Any style you think might pair well with hot weather, big umbrellas, impermanent seating, and the smell of freshly mown grass and barbecue. Some suggested styles include Munich Helles, Kölsch and Hefeweizen, but creative brewers will no doubt have additional ideas. One imposed limitation is that it must come in under 5% ABV. It’s $10 to enter, with a limit of 25 entries, and you have to be able to get your beer to Lunn’s Mill by May 15th. To enter, send an email to get an official entry form and then get on with concocting the perfect summer crusher! The winner will receive a trophy, a t-shirt, and see a production batch of their beer made at the brewery.
And speaking of Battery Park, they are recovering from the madness of Halifax Burger Week to close the bar and restaurant Sunday April 7th until Wednesday April 10th. During that time, they will be doing some renovations in the kitchen and bar. And from Thursday April 11th until Wednesday April 17th, the bar will be open from 4 PM daily, with the taps a-flowing, but will continue renovations and work in the kitchen, and therefore no food service will be available. During that time, however, they will be teaming up with a neighborly kitchen to keep your snacking bases covered. Fear not, North Brewing’s retail shop at BPBB will remain open for their regular hours throughout the entire period.
Conception Bay South’s Ninepenny Brewing launched a new beer yesterday, Belgian Witbier. This 5.3% ABV beer features plenty of wheat and oats in the grist, in order to smooth out the mouthfeel and give that classic haziness expected in the style. Hopped “gently” with Centennial and Tettnang, the brew was fermented with Ardennes yeast from Escarpment Labs, which the brewery says is that star of the beer (as is so often the case with a multitude of styles!). With flavours of “spice and a hint of banana”, the beer is easy-drinking and refreshing, exactly as a Witbier is supposed to be. Scout it out on tap if you’re able!
We can say with just about 100% certainty that those of you who have had beers from Stillwell Brewing are consistently impressed with their quality. The one complaint you may have, however, is that availability is sometimes lacking in our area. Aside from finding the odd keg on tap at Stillwell, the only way to get the beer in the HRM is to land at the brewery’s location on scheduled Saturdays during a scant few hours. Luckily for everyone, that is soon about to change! They announced yesterday that they’ve finally got the ok to start selling bottles-to-go directly out of Stillwell, starting next Saturday, April 13th. Stick with their social media thingies for details on which bottles will be available to begin with; they’re also going to be having a launch party on that date to celebrate (more on that next week). Congrats, guys!
Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released the details on their project in downtown Bridgewater. King Street Beer will be located at 463 King Street, the former site of Bavarian Restaurant. This 150 seat taproom, patio, and sidewalk seating will feature 16 taps, including Saltbox’s own beers, as well as guest cider and wine. They will also be launching their “LaHave River Beer” series, where they will be inviting local homebrewers and beer fans in to brew on their on-site pilot system (30 to 50 litre batches), with assistance from Saltbox’s new Brewmaster, Mike Gripp (formerly of Hell’s Basement in Medicine Hat, AB). The most popular amongst these beers could be brewed at their 1200 litre (10 BBL) system at Saltbox in Mahone Bay. Opening Day for King Street Beer is May 3rd, and they are hosting Hollow Twin band from BC in their space.
A quick note to let you know that Everwood Ave Brew Shop is holding their first Homebrew Competition. The allotted spots have already filled up (that was damn fast!), with entries required to be themed around Escarpment’s Voss Kveik yeast strain. The style is open, but entrants are do have to use that strain in their brew. The winner will be brewing their beer on Propeller’s pilot system, to be released at their taprooms. All awards and prizes will be given out at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom on May 31st. Good luck to all of you who were lucky enough to successfully enter! We should mention that Everwood is working on getting more of that yeast strain in stock, so that they can open the contest to more entries. Stay tuned to the link above if you’re itching to squeeze in an entry.
Here’s a few upcoming events you may or may not have already been aware of (but now you can’t say nobody told you about):
In celebration of this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival in their fine city, Corner Brook’s Bootleg BrewCo is hosting an all-Newfoundland Tap Takeover in their taproom today. From 2 PM, they’ll have taps from Baccalieu Trail, Dildo Brewing, Landwash, Ninepenny, Port Rexton, Split Rock, and Storm pouring, and we imagine you’ll see brewers and employees of some of these in the taproom pre-gaming for the weekend ahead. On tap from host Bootleg may be their latest release, 100, named in celebration of their 100th batch brewed onsite. A “sour spring saison”, this 5.5% ABV beer sports a zesty and bright fruit aromatics thanks to the generous dry-hopping, and that character follows into the beer, thanks to the medium acidity, finishing with a funky character thanks to the Saison yeast used. For those who won’t be able to make it to BBC, keep an eye out at TOSLOW and Seto Kitchen in St. John’s, as they’ve been sent some bottles for enjoyment onsite.
And for those who haven’t yet grabbed their tickets for the NCBF, there are still a few available for tomorrow night’s show at the Civic Centre, so grab them now. You definitely don’t want to miss out, as all Newfoundland breweries will be in attendance, as well as some killer beer from the mainland. And for those on the East Coast, the Friday, April 12th, NCBF at the Legion at Quidi Vidi Lake still has a few tickets available. Snap those up right now!
Halifax restaurant The Carleton is celebrating their latest Craft Draught Showdown on April 11th. In these dinners, Chef Michael Dolente puts together a Five Course Meal, and two competing breweries choose the best beer to pair with the food. In April’s edition, Brightwood Brewery will be going head to head with Sober Island Brewing to see who can complement the food best. Tickets are just $69 (tax and tip included) for the meal and two 120 mL glasses per course. The chef and brewers will be onsite to present their wares, and there will be live music from Almasy (Michael Dalton) as well. Grab your tickets here before they sell out!
Events are trickling in for the 2019 edition of Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, the celebration of all things Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Officially launched this week is their annual Made Here By Us, the “Community Brew” that helps fund CBANS. Brewed at Saltbox in Mahone Bay with brewers from several CBANS member breweries in attendance, this “Nova Scotia Pale Ale” has certainly evoked some reactions from the beer drinking community already, as is evident from a quick skim through social media or the April tasting episode from 902BrewCast. Described as a “dark red/amber pale ale with a medium body,” the tasting notes suggest caramel and toffee notes and a roasty malt finish, along with fresh hop flavors of citrus and papaya. The yeast used is one of 14 isolated as part of the NSBI-funded partnership between Saltbox and Acadia University that we told you about back in October, and which was propagated just in time for pitching into the batch, making it a game-time decision. We encourage folks to try it before they comment, but certainly to voice their opinions, whether positive or negative. As with every beer, we’re absolutely sure this one will have its fans as well as its detractors and healthy discussion is part of a positive path forward. You’ll find the beer at NSLC stores around the Province as well as most, if not all, of the private stores.
We’ll have more information about additional NSCBW events in the coming weeks, including our hand-dandy Calendar and Map. In the meantime, if you run a brewery, restaurant, or drive-in movie theatre, submit your NSCBW events to be included in the official list of events!!
Residents of Prince Edward Island have a fairly-long history of being discouraged with the number of beer festivals available to them throughout the year… there’s one! We won’t get into all that right now, but we do have some good news, as the first PEI Craft Beer Week has been announced for June 1st-8th. Details are slim/non-existent right now, but it looks like all seven Island breweries will be participating, include not-yet-open Bogside Brewing (Montague). Expect collaboration brews, new beers, tap-takeovers, open brewery days, and more. Keep an eye on the event’s social media pages and their website for more details and a calendar of events, which they assure us will be posted in the near future.
And a few last items before you go enjoy your weekend:
Grimross has taken one of the more popular beers in their Scratch series, Hop Blonde, and brewed it again to be released in cans all on its own. With even more hops (specifically, Citra and Calypso, as well as a double-dry-hop of both) compared to the first batch, this 6% ABV brew has notes of “lime, citrus, and tropical fruit”. On tap and in cans as of right now.
Southwest of Fredericton in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing has brought back their Red IPA, Chromatic by Design. Still featuring a bit of caramel/toffee flavor, it’s got a slightly different hopping this time around, but you’ll still find plenty of fruity hop presence and a bit of dankness. Coming in at 6% ABV, you’ll find it at Niche tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John and at HopYard in Charlottetown.
Off Track has their Session IPA, Born Ready For You (4.5% ABV), back on tap; hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra, expect plenty of tropical juiciness, in an easy-drinking package.
Upstreet has brought back their Top Stamp Honey Brown lager this week, just in time for cheque day. Brewed in collaboration with the crew behind Just Passing Through, this 5.0% ABV beer features hops and malt from the Maritimes, and is sure to help pass your time on Pogey Beach. Bottles on the Island (including PEILCC) and on tap at all Upstreet locations.