It’s the weekend of Beer Festivals in towns named Saint John(s)! The Saint John Beer Fest is celebrating their return to the Saint John Trade and Conference Centre with two sessions tomorrow. Tickets are available for the Afternoon session if you haven’t already snapped them up. And in celebration of this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival at the Legion at Quidi Vidi, let’s kick off the week with a round-up of new beers available on the Rock, with a few of them bound to be pouring tonight and tomorrow.
Baccalieu Trail Brewing, out of Bay Roberts, NL, has released a full-size batch (7 bbl) of their latest experimental brew, a New England IPA named No Snow in April (aka “Wishful Thinking”). Hopped heavily late in the boil and in the dry hop with Citra, Cashmere, and Azacca, expect aromas and flavours high in “grapefruit pith, spicy mango, and tangerine”, according to the brewery. They also added some lactose powder to boost the mouthfeel slightly. Currently available at the brewery for pints and growlers, you’ll also see this 5.5% ABV, 30 IBUs brew at this weekend’s NLCBF, if you’re lucky enough to be attending. Check the brewery’s social media page for updates on the possibility of some local restaurants receiving a keg or two, as well.
On the Town side of the Bay, and speaking of New England IPAs, Ninepenny Brewing also has one of their own hitting taps this week. Sticking with their naming scheme “Let’s call it what it is”, they’ve dubbed it NEIPA. The brewery is veering away from their mainly-English/European focus since they launched a six weeks ago, and taking a crack at the popular North American style. Hopped with plenty of El Dorado, Cascade and Mosaic at flameout, and more at a heavy-handed three dry-hop additions, this 7.2% ABV beer is big and juicy, with “aromas and flavours of peaches and grapefruit”. Best swing by the brewery ASAP to give this one a try, as it likely won’t last long.
Ok, there must be some sort of super-secret contest going on between Newfoundland breweries, as Port Rexton also launched a new New England IPA this weekend… sounds like this NEIPA style is finally starting to catch on, no? 😉 Named Azacca NEIPA, you can probably guess which hop variety this particular brew focuses on… that’s right! Azacca! With large additions in the kettle, hop-back, and dry-hop (along with some Simcoe to complement), they’re bracing us for a hazy, smooth-bodied beer low in bitterness, yet “high in pineapple, nectarine, and strawberry”. Sounds great to us! Grab a growler at the brewery’s SJ retail shop this weekend; it’ll also be on tap for fills and pints at the taproom, natch.
Hey look, YellowBelly is releasing a NEIPA, too! Haha, just kidding… we’re hilarious. They ARE releasing a brand new beer, however, Confederation Pale Ale. Billed as a British Pale Ale, it actually has aspects of both sides of the Atlantic. Brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan malt in the grist, it was hopped with Australian Topaz and dry-hopped with American Citra. The juicy and fruit flavours of these hops are balanced nicely by a “solid malt backbone” from the grist. You can grab pints, growlers, and bottles of this 4.5% ABV, 35 IBUs newbie at the brewpub.
You may remember that the fine folks at Qudi Vidi Brewing teamed up with Chef Jeremy Charles of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern for their Bog & Barrens series back in November. If so, you’ll be thrilled to know that one of those collaborations is now available in the wild. The Bog and Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose is a 7.5% ABV beer brewed in the Gose style (albeit a higher ABV than usual), complete with sea salt from Bonavista Bay and bakeapples harvested in Labrador. The beer can be enjoyed on tap at the QV taproom now, and soon at The Merchant Tavern, with cans coming in the next week or two to NLC and corner store locations.
Moving back over to the mainland, we have some more news on Stillwell’s big day tomorrow, when they’re finally able to sell bottles of Stillwell Brewing beers to-go. We won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but rest assured it was a process that too a long time, and a lot of cutting through red tape, but we’re positive it’ll all be worth it! Expect to see plenty of different beers available tomorrow, as they’ve been holding back bottles from several releases over the past year, specifically for a time like this.
We should also take a moment here to discuss Posy, a new beer they’re launching for the occasion. Posy is a wine-beer blend that features a peachy, wine-forward barrel of Saison that the brewery settled on (after much barrel tasting!), blended with about 100 L of an also-peachy, “lees-y” Ortega from Blomidon Estate Winery. Bottle-conditioned for 7 months, it’s finally ready just in time, and is tasting “bright, juicy in the middle, with a dry finish”. Along with bottles-to-go, you’ll also be able to drink this 7.5% ABV beauty on-site at the bar. In addition to this new brew and a whack of older bottles, the brewery will also be debuting a new, fresh batch of Poptones Farmhouse Pale Ale, and the 2019 edition of Glou, both on tap! You’ll notice a difference in Glou this batch, as this time it’s a blend of nine barrels of “old, complex Saison”, many of which were already over a year old at the time of blending. Re-fermented on 1000 lbs of NY Muscat skins from Benjamin Bridge, this batch has “more candy on the colour/nose, but more savoury on the palate”. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to grab bottles of this one, and the new Poptones, in the future.
Sexy bottle releases abound in Halifax, as 2 Crows launches their latest barrel-aged sour, Grace, tomorrow at noon. Described by the brewery as one of their most complex beers so far (and, uh, if you follow 2C, that’s saying something), it’s a blend of three different oak-aged beers, conditioned on over 350 lbs of fresh, whole, red gooseberries (did you know that gooseberries come in many colours? It’s true!). Because we’re sticklers for details, we’re actually going to pass on the specs for each of the beers involved in this undertaking:
Beer 1: Golden Ale conditioned first in one of the brewery’s foedres for 5 months with a single Brett strain, then transferred to a Sauvignon Blanc barrel along with a pitch of multiple Brett strains, as well as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus bacteria. Held there for one year before blending recently. Chosen for “assertive-yet-smooth Sauvingon Blanc notes, depth of oak character, and complex yeast expression”.
Beer 2: Raw (= no boil) sour conditioned in Sauvingon Blanc barrels for five months with the brewery’s house Lacto and Brett cultures. Chosen for its “brightness, exceptionally full mouthfeel, and more delicate Sauvignon Blanc characteristics vs. Beer 1”.
Beer 3: Golden Sour aged in a foedre, then further in oak for four months before blending. Chosen for its “assertive tartness, minerality, and brightness”.
Easy, right? Do it at home! Or, if you’d like, drop by the brewery tomorrow and grab some bottles. The final beer is a “deep, orangey-pink” colour, with a “firm, tannic structure, full mouthfeel, zippy tartness, and smooth gooseberry notes complemented by soft, Sauvingon Blanc undertones”. We’re intrigued! Get in there tomorrow, these babies won’t be around for long. And hey, it’ll be on tap, too! And Buttered Bliss will be on-site for another of their delightful pop-ups. We’re out of “and”s, and you shouldn’t need any more, anyway.
PEI’s Upstreet Brewing continues to bring the new brews with two hitting the shelves this week. First up is Island Jams India Session Lager which is pretty self-describing. Featuring Simcoe and Chinook hops, the latter grown in New Brunswick, this 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU beer aims to be light, crisp, and refreshing with plenty of piney hop character and a slight fruitiness. A collaboration with Sydney’s Breton Brewing, it was brewed in celebration of the upcoming ECMAs, being held May 1 – 5 in Charlottetown. Astute readers will remember that Island Jams was first brewed a few years ago when the ECMAs were in Sydney (though Volume One was a different style). You’ll find it for sure at the Upstreet/Breton tap takeover today at HopYard in Charlottetown, but also at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner, and maybe even at Breton as well. Also coming out of Upstreet this week is the latest iteration of Neon Friday, this one version 2.03, a Pale Ale with Chinook, Sticklebract from New Zealand, and Admiral from the UK. Refreshing, with aromas of lemongrass and pine, it’s got a resiny mouthfeel and a lingering bitterness. Find it in 473 mL cans as well as for pints, fills, and crowlers at Upstreet Brewery and Craft Beer Corner, we’ve been advised it will also make some private stores in Halifax next week.
Nyanza’a Big Spruce Brewing is also riding the, “let’s drink beer that makes us think of better weather,” train with a new sour beer featuring plenty of local fruit. This is Day 6 with Brett Blueberry clearly makes a nod to CBC’s Brett Bambury and his Day 6 show on CBC. It’s a blueberry sour featuring 70 lbs of Cape Breton blueberries and an all-Brett fermentation using a mixed yeast culture that’s apparently been passed around like a bong at a biker rally. But hey, if that yeast made a tasty beer over there, there’s good chance it will make a good beer over here. At a solid 6.3% ABV and a fairly mild 17 IBU, you should find it fruity, refreshing, and funky, with some blueberry jam character. You’ll find it at the brewery, obviously, but kegs have also gone to Battery Park, The Auction House, and Hop Yard. If you’re in Truro, you should know that tonight’s Tap Takeover at Sauced Wood Fired Pizza will also feature this beer. And a keg has been put aside for Mr. Bambury himself; here’s hoping he’s woke enough to NS Craft Beer get his hands on it.
Roof Hound’s newest bottle release is a Pale Ale that is the brewery’s attempt to embody the indie grunge renaissance of the 1990s. Garage Band is an American Pale A that the brewery has been tweaking and perfecting the recipe and technique over the course of a few batches, and it’s ready for its World (Provincial) Tour. This batch is lightly dry-hopped (specifically, “early dry-hopped”) with Northern Brewer and Nugget, giving the hazy final beer some “woodsy and resiny” notes. Brewed to be approachable for craft beer beginners, yet interesting, it’s easy-drinking at only 4.8% ABV. Available on tap at RH and their licensees, it’s also the first of the brewery’s beers to receive a general listing with the NSLC, meaning you should be able to buy bottles across the province later in the month.
While Douglas, NB’s 3Flip Brewing has been mainly focusing on their flagship beers since they opened a couple of months ago, they’re still aiming to release one-off, experimental beers every month or so. The latest of these beers, Plot Twist, should be hitting a few select tap accounts over the next week. Billed as a “Pretzel Ale”, they’re describing it as a blend of a Blonde Ale and a Gose. Brewed with a simple grain bill featuring Maris Otter and Biscuit malt – along with an addition of crushed, unsalted pretzels, a small, bittering addition of Willamette was added to the boil. Salt was added at the end of the boil, and when fermentation was winding down, a mixture of salted and unsalted pretzels were added to the beer. Only 5 kegs of this 6% ABV brew will be available, so keep your eyes on the brewery’s social media pages if you’re curious to try it next week.
Lots of positive news from Annapolis Cider Company this week! Let’s start with a new cider, the latest in their Something Different series. Peach & Sea Salt is a special blend of their Crisp & Dry cider, wild-fermented Northern Spy cider, and peach juice. Atlantic sea salt from the Eastern Shore was smoked over applewood chips, and added to the final blend. This 5.9% ABV, sparkling cider has “bright notes of ripe peaches, a hint of minerality, and a clean finish”. You can grab your refillable bottles now; $0.50 from each sale will support Horton High School’s Safe Grad. And in their other Good News news, they are now able to serve their ciders by the glass, not just in a flight, so you can double-down on your favourite variety on-site at the cidery! Finally, in celebration of turning 3 years old tomorrow, all Signature tastings and glasses will be served for $3; they’ll also be offering free shipping on all online orders for the day. Congratulations!
We’ve got a few things to keep you busy this weekend, check them out!
Last Call for this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival! They are taking over the Pleasantville Royal Canadian Legion by Quidi Vidi Lake tonight and tomorrow. With close to 90 different beers pouring, there is sure to be something for every taste and preference. With all of the Newfoundland breweries in attendance, plus some visiting breweries like 2 Crows, Beyond the Pale, Left Field, and Parallel 49, this is the best opportunity to taste beer from one end of Canada to the other! There are still a few tickets available for this evening’s Session, from 7 – 10 PM. Take a look at this post from the organizers to learn more about the format and layout of the Fest.
And once the fog settles, set your sights on their CiderFest, coming June 7th and 8th, back at the Legion. They’ll have cider from across the country pouring, from a wide variety of producers and apple blends. More details on exactly which cideries are attending will be out next month, so stay tuned!
And Last Call for tomorrow’s Saint John Beerfest as well! Tickets for the Afternoon Session (2 – 4:30 PM) are still available, while the Evening Session (7:30 – 9:30 PM) and VIP (enter at 7 PM) are sold out. Both sessions get you access to over 170 different beer and ciders from across the region, as well as food from Saint John Ale House, Social Steak House, and several other Market Square restaurants. There will be a cheese pairing table and Don Guimond, the NB man who won the Innis & Gunn competition to create a new beer recipe, will be on hand to chat about his beer, Don’s Choice. To better plan your attack, download the Attendify App and search for Saint John Beerfest 2019.
If you can’t make it down to Saint John for the Fest, we highly recommend heading North to Bathurst, and popping by Au Bootlegger tonight. Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur will be having a Tap Showcase today 4 – 8 PM. Get out and try Nigogue Pale Ale for the first time on tap, as well as their Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Witbier! Previously only available in bottles at select ANBLs, the Nigogue is inspired by traditional smelt fishing in the brewery’s hometown of Village-des-Poiriers. Lots of hop flavour and aroma, reminiscent of peach, citrus, pineapple, and blueberry, with a low bitterness and easy-to-drink-and-grab-a-second-pint-ability. Drop by to try all three beers, and you may even go home with some fancy Houblon-Pêcheur goodies!
Just a handful more things before we send you on your way this morning….
Grimross has a new release out today at noon, a Maibock which has been lagering for a couple of months. However, they’ve put their own New Brunswick twist on it by adding maple syrup from Tree Hugger Maple. Maplebock is a celebration of “Sticky Season” when the sap begins to flow, and the crocuses poke through the snow. This is a limited release, on draught and in growlers only, so pop by the brewery today to grab a taste.
Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool has a new beer out this week at their taproom. Ye’Old Ale is a 7.5% ABV beer brewed with blackstrap molasses for caramelized and rich flavours and aromatics. Find it on tap this weekend!
In Fredericton, Niche Brewing has brought back their Ruby Tuesday sour with hibiscus. Expect a refreshing beer that’s bright red in color, tart and fruity, with a crushable 4.4% ABV. It’s heading out to tap accounts in New Brunswick this week.
Spindrift Brewing is celebrating The Masters, and a throw back to the best golf movie ever (well, aside from Dorf on Golf) this week with a golf-themed release. Gopher Light is a 4.0% ABV light beer, concentrating on a clean thirst-quencher to pack in your golf bag while you hit the links. Grab cans at the brewery in Burnside, or at Harvest Wines, RockHead, and WestSide.
Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is also bringing back a favorite, in the form of their Inducement DIPA. Don’t expect your local to have received any swag with this one, because that would clearly be illegal. But if they’ve got this beer on tap, you know they care more about having good beer than getting perks from breweries. Be careful, though, as that 7.5% ABV will sneak up on you in a hurry. Find it as of today at noon at the brewery too for fills, pints, and cans (assuming the labels get there in time!).