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St. Paddy’s Day and shit we guess?

Last Friday (a little too late to make the blog, sorry!), Maybee Brewing announced the details of their latest collaboration beer, Chai Carumba! Released on International Women’s Day, it was brewed with the female staff members of Maybee, Wendy Papadopoulos of Big Tide Brewing, and several members of a local “Feminist Books and Beers Club”. A “chai-inspired Porter”, this dark beer was hopped with local Sterling and Goldings, and fermented with an English ale yeast. A chai spice blend was added in the mash and in the whirlpool, with a final helping of pure vanilla extract thrown in once fermentation was complete. The final 5.2% ABV, 19 IBUs beer has an aroma of “chai, earth, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla”, and flavours of the same (with the vanilla lingering in the background). The official launch involved a party at Maybee last Friday (sorry if you missed it!); the proceeds of this beer will go towards the Outward Bound, East Coast: Women of Courage program. It’s still available on tap at Maybee and select accounts if you missed it last weekend.

Elsewhere in Fredericton, Grimross is debuting their latest Scratch series beer, Scratch #18: Session Sour. Hitting taps and Grimross shelves today, this is the brewery’s first leap into the world of sour beer. Soured with Lactobacillus in the kettle, the wort was then boiled, cooled, and fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces strains. With flavours of “stonefruit, citrus, peppercorn and berries”, it is indeed sessionable, at 3.7% ABV. Only a single batch was brewed, with some going into kegs (popping up around Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton), and the rest into cans for sale at the brewery and a few ANBL stores.

Might as well stay in the area, as TrailWay has a new beer of their own coming out today. Motherlode is their latest “Hoppy Session Ale” (Session IPA?), this one was hopped with Galaxy and Eureka, giving the beer “massive, pungent and robust aromatics”… they’re even claiming it’s the most aromatic Session beer they’ve brewed yet! “Dank character blending with tropical fruit and grapefruit rind, finishing with a resinous, earthy component”. Only one way to find out… get your butts to TW today when they open and grab a pint, growler, or some cans of this 4% ABV brew. It’ll also show up at a few of the local beer-drinking thingies in the near future.

Montague, PEI’s sole brewery (for now), Copper Bottom Brewing, launched a new beer late last week, just in time for Saturday’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Saaz Pils is a Bohemian Pilsner brewed with all Czech malt and hops (Saaz, we’re guessing? Just a hunch), giving a 5.3% ABV crisp, refreshing beer “with a soft malt backbone, featuring notes of toasted biscuit and an earthy, floral aroma”. The beer was inspired by a trip to the Czech Republic that Brewer Ken Spears took earlier in the winter, drinking some of the iconic beers of the country at the source, made with their locally-grown and -sourced hops and malt. No worries if you missed it at the festival; it’s available at the brewery’s tasting room in pints, growlers, and cans.

If you follow Big Spruce on social media, no doubt you’ve noticed that they’re taking part in the Vermont Brewers Festival on Saturday, March 23rd. As you may have expected, they’ve brewed up a couple of new beers for the event, and while they may be “officially” debuting there, us lucky Maritimers may have an opportunity to grab a sneak peek. First up is Death Cookies, Big Spruce’s ode to the New England IPA, a style brewed to perfection at many breweries in the state of Vermont. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra, this 7.1% ABV downright opaque beer is “pillow soft, and dripping with tropical fruit aromas”. Next up is The Hour of Sour, a beer that may excite those Silver Tart fans that are reading this blog. It’s a “Wild-fermented sour on raspberries”; the wort had Lactobacillus pitched into it, where it was kept warm until the pH hit the desired level. A blend of wild yeasts were then pitched, and the beer was fermented out to 6.3% ABV. Finally, it was conditioned on organic raspberry puree before kegging for draught (the only format you’ll be able to try these two). Big Spruce understands that most of us won’t be making it to Killington, Vermont for the festival, so they’re currently pouring both beers (for pints and growler fills) at their taproom in Cape Breton. After the big event in VT, you’ll be likely to see these beers pouring in the HRM and other Big Spruce tap accounts in the province, assuming those Vermonters don’t drink it all!

On to Halifax for the time-being, where Tidehouse Brewing has their latest bottle-release, Wolfberry Parade, available as of yesterday at the brewery. An American Pale Ale at its heart, the wort was fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, one of the family of unique Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated in Norway and used in traditional farmhouse brewing. Hopped with Azacca and Hallertau Blanc, and then conditioned with goji berries (aka wolfberries). The 5.0% ABV beer features bright citrus and tropical notes, including lemon pith, berry (think gooseberry), and tangerine/grapefruit. This is a bottle-only release, and the only spot you’ll be able to grab those bottles are at their Tiny Tap Room on Salter Street.

Tidehouse also has two draught-only releases out this week as well, more in the European-inspired vein. Phil Yer Boots is a continuation of their line of hoppy Saisons (think Enigmatic), featuring a light-coloured base of Pilsner, Vienna, and Flaked Oats, and only-late-hopped with Falconer’s Flight. Named after a Saison-loving fan who was in the right place at the right time, this 5.5% ABV French Saison is available on tap for samples, pints, and phils.

Also on tap on Salter is Beacon In The Sun, a 5.1% ABV Belgian Ale, with Pils/2-Row/Wheat/Flaked Wheat and Oats/Vienna in the malt bill, and fermented with a traditional Belgian Ale yeast. It takes a turn to the New World with the use of Cashmere and Mosaic hops, exhibiting citrus and melon notes. Grab it today!

Let’s head down the South Shore to Lunenburg (yes, Lunenburg, sorry about the faux pas two weeks ago!), and pop into Shipwright Brewing. Located upstairs from the great Grand Banker Bar & Grill, Shipwright has a new beer out this week. Night Watch Coffee Porter started life as a 5.0% ABV English Porter, thanks to traditional Maris Otter, Brown and Chocolate malts, and was lightly hopped with Perle (to 23 IBU). The addition of Laughing Whale coffee beans (Grand Banker’s own blend, even!) kicks the beer up a notch, leveraging the medium roast Mexican and dark roast Mexican, Sumatran, Ethiopian, and Nicaraguan beans. Chocolate, cocoa, and coffee on the nose and palate, and a little bit of bitterness from the beans, extending into lovely coffee and chocolate finish. Grab it on tap at the brewery for pints, growler and crowler fills, and downstairs at Grand Banker with a meal.

After last week’s FemmeBot Festivities, Halifax’s Good Robot had a fairly quiet week to catch their collective breath before the craziness begins anew next week. Speaking of FemmeBot, though, the aforementioned festivities included the announcement of the winners of this year’s 2nd annual FemmeBrew Competition. As you may recall, the style was Saison (both light and dark) and a wide variety of high quality entries were submitted for judging this year. An Honorable Mention went to Krista Collier-Jarvis, Bronze went to Therese Donnelly, Silver to Cassie Gilroy, and the big winner was Brittany McAloney! Congrats to all the winners as well as those who took the time and made the effort to enter!

Carrying on with Good Robot news, next up is this week’s BetaBrewsday, which will see Poddle’s Porter, a 5.2% ABV and 23 IBU “very rich” black porter made with Joe Connelly hit the taps in the usual way at the usual time on Tuesday. With that comes a bit of bad news, though. This will be the last BetaBrewsday for a while, as the SABCO BrewMagic system on which the BetaBrews are made has decided it’s been overworked and is taken a (hopefully!) short hiatus for repairs. This means that if you’re already on the list to do a BetaBrew with Kelly you’re probably going to be waiting a little longer than you thought. And if you’re not yet on the list but were planning on putting yourself there, you now have fair warning that things aren’t moving right now.

As is traditional, there’s also an Alpha batch to tell you about, although its release is not exactly this week: FlavaBot: Rake ‘n Scrape is a “very tropical” double IPA made with mango and pomegranate. Brewed by Giovanni and the Limestone Group, this juicy and frutiy number comes in at 6.9% ABV and a hefty 70 IBU. If you’re wondering what that “FlavaBot” qualifier in the name is all about, it’s about the FlavaBot event they’re holding on March 24th where this beer will be released. With authentic Caribbean food, island music, and, yes, beer, you can dream pleasant dreams of warmer places while giving your booty a shake. There will also be three BetaBrews with Bahamian roots hitting the taps that day:

  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – a reference to the island’s tradition of piracy, this one has plenty of berry character paired with a rich malt backbone and an assertive tartness. Hop bitterness plays a supporting role to those bold flavors and keeps things from getting cloying. This one’s a very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU.
  • Pineapples & Coconuts…Bro – If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain?) you’ll want to check this one out. A wheat ale with lots of tropical fruit and coconut character that weighs anchor at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs.
  • Passion Bliss – Yet another fruit-infused beer (I mean, if you’ve got fruit year round you’re going to use eat it aren’t you?), this one a refreshing passionfruit pale ale with distinct orange flavors and some resinous undertones leading to tart and juicy passionfruit, this one’s 5.5% ABV and 50 IBU.

As always, BetaBrews are small batches, so if you want to try any of these Caribbean-themed treats you’d best get yourself to GR close to the opening of festivities at 10 AM.

Let’s pop over to Newfoundland for a brand new release this week. Baccalieu Trail, Bootleg BrewCo, Crooked Feeder, and Landwash Brewery all celebrated their openings in 2018, part of the cohort to double the number of breweries on the Island. And as it tradition, Port Rexton Brewing invited the Class of 2018 into their brewery earlier this winter for the brewing of Next Gen 2019. The crew put together Newfoundland’s first Brut IPA, and has named it, not surprisingly, The Next Gen Brut IPA. This 6.2% ABV beer features an extremely dry body and high carbonation, and notes of melon, white grapes, and banana, thanks to big additions and dry-hopping of Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. On tap at the brewery now, it is also available in cans at their St John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road. Grab a pint or can and celebrate the great history and future of craft beer in Newfoundland! And big congratulations to the PRBC crew who were awarded major repayable funding to help fuel their expansion to a second facility in Port Rexton, to allow them to better serve their thirsty fans across (and off) the Rock. More details here!

Newfoundland’s Class of 2019 is not slacking either, as the recently-opened Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a new beer available today. Taking a hint from this weekend’s holiday, they’re releasing an Irish Red. Leveraging 2-row and light caramel malt, with a little bit of roasted barley for color and flavour, it tips the scales at 5.7% ABV and joins their White IPA, English Pale Ale, English Porter, and Blonde on their taps (the former three also available for growler fills). And they’ll be celebrating with Happy Hour pricing all day Sunday! Still in their Soft Opening hours, pop by Thursdays and Fridays 4 – 10 PM, Saturdays 12 -10 PM, and Sundays 2 – 8 PM (but later this week to celebrate the day).

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has a new beer on tap, an English Porter carrying the very British-sounding name William Windsor. Who is William Windsor, you might ask? A member of the royal family maybe? An inventor? An explorer? A military hero? That last one is closest, we suppose, as William Windsor was, in fact, a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh. He’s also a Cashmere Goat. Retired from active duty, we’re sure “Billy” would love to relax with a pint of this one. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and 25 IBU, it features aromas reminiscent of chocolate-espresso torte and woody and minty hops and flavours of toasted bread and dark chocolate. Moderately carbonated, with a smooth and lightly creamy body and a bitter finish to cap it all off. You’ll find it in bottles in Charlottetown and at Upstreet Barbecue Brewhouse in Burnside as well as on tap. Also available from Upstreet this week is the latest in their series of hop-heavy one-off brews. This edition, #14 by our count, features some Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, namely Rakau, Pacific Jade, and Nelson Sauvin. Golden orange in color, the grist is a combination of Pilsner and English malts, with oats for body and mouthfeel and a little rye, which no doubt lends a touch of spiciness. With aromas of peach and lychee, with black pepper spice and honey rounding it out, you’ll find this 6.0% ABV and 40 IBU pillow-soft beer in cans in Charlottetown and on tap in both Charlottetown and Burnside.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has something new to share starting tomorrow. An American IPA weighing in at 50 IBU and 6.3% ABV, it’s made with barley, wheat and oats and hopped with lots of classic American hop varieties that start with “C” (maybe some Cascade, and/or Centennial, and/or Columbus, and/or Chinook, etc.) before finished with a dry hopping with Mosaic Cryo hops. This one was a brewing adventure for the team that included a stuck mash, two broken pumps, and a clogged heat exchanger (you can bet any brewers reading this just winced); in short, the beer threw so much shade as they were making it, that they felt they had no choice but to call it Shade. With a strong fruity aroma and tropical, piney and some dank and “catty” flavours, it’s available in the tasting room tomorrow and some kegs will go out to tap accounts around town as well.

Last but not least in today’s new beer news, is another of the many that debuted at last weekend’s Freddy Beer Fest, from almost-hometown Niche Brewing. The pride of Hanwell, they’ve cooked up another “Best of Both Worlds” Belgian-New England hybrid, Coalition. This 5.4% ABV beer has light- and pale-coloured malts at its base, hopped generously with Citra and Ekuanot, and was fermented with a blend of Belgian and hazy/low-flocculating yeasts, for a combination of juicy and tropical notes (lots of dry-hopping didn’t hurt that either!) with some Belgian phenolic to spice it up. Now that the rest of us can give it a try, ask for it at your local watering hole in New Brunswick, and it will be making an appearance on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth and Stillwell in Halifax as well.

You’ve barely had one week for your liver to recover after Fredericton’s fun last weekend, but keep your eyes peeled for more celebrations this weekend thanks to St. Paddy’s Day (not Patty’s!). Here are a few coming at you…

Propeller’s Gottingen Street Taproom will be celebrating Sunday with an extra cask on the bartop. Already celebrating their Barrel-Aged ESB on hand pump all month long, they will be adding a firkin of their Irish Red for the day. Pair that with Irish Stew made with their Russian Imperial Stout (both beef and veggie options available), and the Propeller Arcade downstairs, we figure this will be a perfect spot to keep the good times rolling that day.

Sad, but happy news from the Halifax waterfront, as Gahan House Harbourfront is closing its doors Sunday. They are going out in style, however, as they’re holding a Last Hurrah with live music and everything-must-go-priced pints. The party kicks off at 7 PM, and more details are available on the FB Event page. Good news in the works, however, as the Gahan location will actually be moving into the Nova Centre in spring, with an expanded brewhouse (and room for foeders!). They’ll be re-branding at Gahan House Nova Centre when that happens. And for those fans of the current location on the water, it will be staying in the Murphy Restaurant family, and re-opening in April as Pickford & Black. Think seafood and craft beer with a great view of the harbour.

Once you dry out from the weekend’s festivities, it will be the perfect time to drop by the Agricola Street Brasserie on Tuesday, March 19th, for a Beer Dinner with Garrison Brewing. Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be on-hand to speak of the beers and pairing choices made with ASB’s specially-created menu. And it will be the debut of their collaborative Milk Stout, which the Brasserie crew helped develop and brew in late February. Check out the menu here, and grab your tickets via email or phone (902-446-7664).

And a couple last wee mentions on your way out the door to buy beer for the weekend:

Savvy folks in the beer industry know that lots can go wrong between the keg and the glass, so they do their best to make sure that quality lines are installed and cleaned on a regular basis. How does one arrange that? Through a company like BeerTech, of course. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the “last mile” of beer delivery, BeerTech has a position open for a line cleaner/service technician. If you’re interested in seeing a wide variety of brewery taprooms and bars in the region and helping them make sure that their beer is pouring in the best possible way, maybe send an email to info@beertech.ca; perks include hands-on training, competitive salary, uniforms and the use of a company vehicle.

As is their wont, Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a special brew for St. Patrick’s Day again this year, a session pale ale in honor of Padraig himself. Patrick’s Pale Ale is 4.5% ABV and on tap now, with growler fills available at the Takeaway shop and bottles heading to the NLC. Slàinte mhath.

And a final reminder for the week: the Town of Wolfville is holding the Public Hearing on the amendment of their Land-Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to specifically allow breweries, distilleries, and cider producers to operate and sell off-site on Monday, March 18th. If you can make your way to the KC Irving Centre at 6:30 PM, you can have your voice heard ahead of the vote the next day. Not only impacting the in-development brewery(ies), these could greatly affect those operating in town today. Here is the agenda and information package for that hearing, and a bit of a summary we had two weeks ago. As always, the gents from 902BrewCast are on the case, and we encourage you to lend them your ears. This week’s episode is with Sean Dunbar of Picaroons, so listen in for a quick history of their brewery, and in effect, the entire New Brunswick Craft Beer scene!