Well, this is definitely a different week than usual on the blog. First off, for those of you in health care and other essential businesses, keeping us and our family and friends safe, the lights on and trucks moving, a massive thank you from the ACBB family.
For many, beer is a happy diversion from work, while for others, it is their work! Kudos to those who are still able to support the brewers and cidermakers by ordering beer for delivery and pickup safely, but most important at this time is to keep everyone safe and healthy.
A logistical note: to keep from having to update multiple pages several times per day as the situation and the way breweries are dealing with it changes, we’re going to stick to one: last week’s Wrap-Up will be our itemization of what breweries and cideries across the region are doing in light of the current situation. It will be our reference for what’s open and closed, how to safely pick up product from their location, and order beer delivery at home. It’s been updated a ton since we sent it out last week, so do take a look for the latest details. And if there is anything missing or out of date, we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, Fb often gets missed).
Let’s start our day in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where Church Brewing calls home. They are shining a light through the darkness this week with Illuminate Kveik Pale Ale. Light-coloured and -tasting malts offer a base for the bounty of hops used in this beer, starting from a light bittering addition of Magnum, before massive dry-hopping of Mosaic and Vic Secret. These offer big flavour and aroma of citrus, tropical notes of mango and papaya, which are only enhanced thanks to the kveik yeast employed. As a refresher, this family of yeasts originated in Norway, and after thousands of generations of use (yeast, not people), has become something totally distinct from other brewer’s yeast: very high temperature tolerant (traditional ale yeasts tend to give off some unpleasant flavours when fermented too warm, whereas as kveik thrives in it), with some lovely fruity characteristics presented, thanks to its production of esters. This particular yeast was sourced through Guelph’s Escarpment Labs, who have been researching the history and microbiology of this family for a while, and have the
nerdy ahem important information on it. This beer used their Voss Kveik which gave them plenty of those juicy characteristics, and stays a bit hazy. At 5.0% ABV, and low bitterness, this is a beer you can use to light your way in these uncertain times… Available at their retail shop for
Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom brewery likes to celebrate spring with a saison they call Better Weather. Although they’re not able to celebrate the coming season in the same way as usual this year, they’re still bringing that farmhouse ale to market for folks to enjoy. This year, they went with a French Saison yeast for a very crisp and dry beer, highlighting their use of Shoreline Malting 2-row. With some fruity esters completing the picture, expect this 5% ABV and 25 IBU beer to be refreshing but still interesting on the palate. You can get it from them via their webstore for pickup as well as via walk-in (social distancing enforced) at their retail location. You can also get it via delivery island-wide from their delivery service (check their Fb page for details on that!). And when this whole mess blows over, you can safely expect it to be on the shelves at select PEILC stores too.
In Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing has a new beer available for delivery in the tri-county area. They took their Blueberry Grunt, a lightly sour blueberry ale they released last fall, and replaced a portion of blueberries with cranberries, to give us Cranberry/Blueberry Sour Wheat. A mix of lightly tart and lightly sweet (but tipping more towards tart, thanks to the cranberry addition), this 5% ABV brew is refreshing and light, just the thing to get you into the Spring mood as you sip it on your deck. Check out our details from last week on how you can get some of this brew delivered to your door; their taproom is also open for retail sales.
Sea Level’s Port Williams location may be closed, but they are still working hard to produce great beer at their Millstone Harvest location in nearby Sheffield Mills. The latest to be released is also one of the first that features the sole us of their own malt and hops, grown right onsite. Millstone Harvest Pale Ale uses their own farm grown barley, malted at nearby Horton Ridge malt, to create Pilsner, Pale, and Honey malts. And from their hopfield comes Cashmere, Cascade, and Glacier hops, coming together for a “light, refreshing, everyday beer”. While they will be sending cans to NSLC locations across the province soon, you can grab growler fills at Millstone Harvest at 9146 Hwy 221 in Sheffield Mills today. Just remember to call (902-582-2337), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM them on their social media accounts in advance, and take advantage of their “Card in the Yard” pickup option. Hit them up the same way for more details on their delivery options.
For those of you in Sussex, you may already be taking advantage of the beer-to-go option at Sussex Ale Works. If so, great! If not, we encourage you to do so, and want to take the opportunity to also point out that they are still brewing new beers, and have just released their latest, a Belgian Dubbel named 13 Fathoms. Details on this brew are extremely light; however, we can tell you that they’re describing it as “sweet and smooth”. We wish we had more, but maybe it’s enough to pique your interest? Who doesn’t love a good Dubbel, right? Anyhoo, it’s 7.8% ABV and can be ordered online and picked up at the brewpub; check out last week’s post for further details on making your order.
Back to Nova Scotia, where Backstage Brewing has launched Photograph, what was supposed to be a new beer for the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival. An American IPA hopped entirely with Mosaic, at least those of you in the Stellarton area may be able to give it a try! At 6.6% ABV and 60 IBUs, expect lots of delightful Mosaic character – tropical and stone fruit, citrus, mango, etc. – available for growler exchange at the brewery, 12-6 pm Monday to Saturday. They also hope to have bottles in the near future.
Nothing brand-spanking-new from TrailWay this week, but we will mention that their very popular DIPA, Sensible Nonsense, has been freshly-canned and is now available for delivery to anywhere in Fredericton, or pick-up at the brewery (and further distro across the province soon). Citrusy and dank, 7.6% ABV, and all sorts of hoppy.
In Halifax, 2 Crows Brewing has brought back one of their more subtle beers, the Refresh Lager. This delicate 4.8% ABV lager is a full two month process, starting from Shoreline Malting Pilsner (along with a lil bit of chit malt and flaked rice), dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc, then krausened (using new beer to give the yeast some reinforcements), before lagering for 8 weeks. Like great BBQ, this one is done low and slow. And like great BBQ, it’s worth the wait! It’s available now at their retail shop with click-and-collect, as well as online delivery within HRM, as well as province-wide, and also elsewhere in Canada (yup!). And for those homebrewers looking to try and recreate this at home, there are no secrets when Jeremy Taylor is behind the wheel, here are all the details you need. Maybe drop him off a bottle/growler when it’s safe to do so, wouldja? Oh, and if you’re looking for a fun way to spend your afternoon, listen to Jeremy and Nick who appeared on the latest episode of Rival & Queen, getting hosts Ashley and Sarah up to speed on all things beer.
Speaking of podcasts, our favourite local beer podcast 902 BrewCast may be respecting the social distancing order, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still releasing episodes! Their March 2020 Tasting Episode is a great summary of how breweries are dealing with the shutdown of their licensee customers, closure of their own taprooms, and change in buying options for customers. Plus, they chatted about dipping into their beer cellars to enjoy something solo or with pals (you know, sometime in the future). You can stream it on their website, or check your favourite podcast app this morning, because you already subscribe to it, right? Right?!?
During all this craziness, expect to see a serious drop in collaboration brews, for obvious reasons! On the bright side, a collab brewed before the sh*t really hit the fan, will be available over the next week. Scotia Lager was brewed as a collaboration between Off Track, Propeller, and Spindrift at Propeller’s brewery. Featuring a simple malt bill of Superior Pilsner and a little bit of Crystal, it was hopped throughout the boil with Loral and Tettnang, to 38 IBUs. Fermented with a classic German lager strain, and then lagered for a period of time, it weighs in at 5% ABV. Expect some spicy, floral, and herbal notes thanks to the hop varieties used, all in an approachable and easy-drinking package. This beer was submitted as the annual Made Here By Us beer for the province; it didn’t get selected, but the breweries decided to brew it anyway, and now you get to try it! It will be available in cans at all three breweries over the next few days (whether for delivery or pickup, however they’re operating), and will be popping up at NSLCs as well, with the official launch coming Monday!
We at the ACBB had been planning to hold a big Trivia Night at the Auction House next Friday, in part to help kick off Nova Scotia Craft Beer Month, but with restaurants and bars closed, we obviously won’t be doing that! However, we still want to get together with all of you, share some beers, give away a ton of prizes, and have a fun time. Sooooo, we’re going to give online trivia a shot! Next Wednesday, April 1st, at 8 PM, we will be holding the trivia remotely/virtually! We’ll have plenty of head scratching questions, of course plenty of amazing prizes from our brewery pals. For those, we’ll mostly be connecting you with the brewery directly, to ensure no contact. OK, the way to win is to sign your team up in advance, and that way we can keep track of everyone. Click the link here! Plus there’s more info on the FB page for the event. We can’t wait to see you Wednesday!