Welcome to the last Friday Wrap-Up of January. Plenty of new beers to tell you about, and a slew of events coming up too. Let’s get right to it!
• The judging the first annual TrailWay Homebrew Competition took place last weekend; close to 30 entries in the American IPA category were evaluated by six judges (including our very own acbbshawn). The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, but in the meantime, TW’s newest DIPA, Hop Stains, will be released at the brewery today at 4 pm. Hopped heavily with Azacca, Citra, and El Dorado (with the emphasis, of course, on whirlpool and dry hop additions), expect a smooth IPA with a creamy mouthfeel, with lots of fruit throughout, and a bit of bubblegum. Not too bitter at ~60 IBUs, it clocks in at 8% ABV. A limited number of cans (40 cases) will be available, with the rest going into kegs for lucky tap accounts.
• There’s a brand new beer available now from Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing – Callahan’s Crosstime Irish Ale. The brewery is calling it a “malt-forward, smooth Irish Ale”, but it takes a different direction than the norm, thanks to the addition of Galaxy hops (to 30 IBUs), giving a “sublime, tropical fruit aroma”. Horton Ridge Pale Malt is included in the grist, with the beer coming in higher than your typical Irish Ale, at 7.3% ABV. Available in cans, 1-L growlers, and on tap at select accounts across the province.
• After a tease last Saturday at Ducky’s, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest addition to their Giant Beer series. Barrel Aged Barley Wine features a recipe variation from last year’s Giantess Barley Wine, as it now uses Horton Ridge malt as the majority of the grist. According to Brewmaster Matt Kenny, “This change adds some spice and a little more body, which we felt worked well with the spirit and barrel character”. Speaking of which, the beer was aged in freshly-emptied Single Malt barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery, picking up plenty of complexity during the process. The 10.5% ABV beer is well-balanced and ready to drink now, or will age gracefully for a new experience. Available exclusively in bottles at their Main Street Tatamagouche location, drop by today to grab a couple (one to enjoy now, and another to enjoy in a few months or a year, if you can keep it that long!). And while you’re there, you’ll be able to spy the expansion underway, as Kenny and Co look to double their fermentation and conditioning capacity to keep up with demand, and have a more permanent solution for their canning line. The building, and resultant improvements, will be online to help with the upcoming summer rush.
• Those in attendance at Stillwell for the debut of Tidehouse Brewing back in December know very well that the India Saison made specifically for that event was a banger and have been eagerly awaiting any hint that it might come back into production. Those people have not been waiting in vain, as that beer has returned with a shiny new name: Enigmatic (“it’s kinda weird”). Dryer than the original version, leading to a significant bump in ABV up to 6.8%, there’s a whole lot of hops in there, specifically the Ahtanum, Azacca and Amarillo varieties. You’re encouraged to consider an IPA crossed with a Belgian/French yeast profile. If that sounds like something you’d like, or even just something you might like to try, you’re further encouraged to get yourself down to Tidehouse and get some while it’s still around (hint: it won’t be for long!). Shean and Peter also remind us that they’ll fill any size of (clean!) growler you care to bring them. And be sure to grab their interview with the 902 BrewCast guys that dropped earlier this week. Learn about some crazy beer experiments and punny beer names that maybe coming your way soon…
• Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax saw two beers hit the taps this week. Monday was the release of a new beer, the English Golden Ale that features ingredients sourced entirely from the UK. Technically a SMaSH (but not simply for the sake of being a SMaSH), the eminently British Maris Otter is the lone malt, providing a doughy character with honey overtones, while the hops are all Fuggles, a classic for British styles, bringing herbal and floral notes. At only 16 IBU and a fairly light 4.5% this should be an extremely easy-drinking ale with a fairly full flavour profile that belies its weight.
• And on Wednesday, the latest variation of the Crosscurrent American Pale Ale debuted, this time venturing afield of the all-American hop varieties featured to this point. Using Magnum (largely for bittering, we presume) and “a lot of” Dr. Rudi, a New World variety from New Zealand known for bringing a refreshing combination of pine, dry lime and lemon aromas and flavours. Still clocking in at 5.5% ABV and still featuring a malt bill of primarily pale malt with some flaked oats and flaked wheat, the IBUs are a tad lighter on this batch at 32, but we suspect the hops are much more evident in flavor than in bitterness. Both the English Golden Ale and the new Crosscurrent are available for pints and growler fills. And be sure to sign up for their Home Brewer’s Challenge before the Feb 17 deadline by email; they are looking for your best Trappist Single. Check our previous post for more details.
• Sticking with Gahan (and Homebrewing), but skipping across the Northumberland Strait, Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub has released the winner of the PEI installment of the Home Brewer’s Challenge, Green Willy Solstice, a 7.9% ABV Winter Warmer. The winning team of Jonathan Green, Clayton Harding, Will Panting, and Jaime Venturini joined Brewmaster Trent Haynes for the day, using molasses and a blend of spices for a warming profile to the beer. Grab a pint on tap at Sydney Street now.
• Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing a special beer next week, featuring a unique local ingredient. Bunchberry Orange Kolsch is a 4.5% ABV German hybrid beer (hybrid of ale and lager yeast, more temperature-tolerant), with oranges grown in Nova Scotia. Bunchberry Nurseries were the folks who grew the Poncirus trifoliata, also known as Japanese or Chinese Bitter Orange, a cold-tolerant citrus tree. To celebrate this first for the province, Lazy Bear are holding a public tasting of the beer at Bunchberry in Upper Clements, February 3, 7:00-9:00 pm. To honour the unexpected combination, there will be a beach theme to the evening, and it will feature local food. The beer is in very short supply, so be sure to drop by that evening to avoid disappointment. If there does happen to be any left, it will be available at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market the next morning.
• Ontario’s Beau’s Brewing is brewing a series of collaboration beers in 2017, to celebrate the 150th birthday of our country. Their first in this series was conceived with the Fogo Island Inn, located on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. Described by the brewery as a “Myrrh-Smoked Gose”, this one is definitely different! Along with Pilsner, Acid, and Carafoam malt in the grist, Wheat malt that was smoked with myrrh collected from the Island’s pine, spruce, and fir trees was added. The saltiness typical to the Gose style was obtained by the addition of island-foraged sea salt, and Newfoundland partridgeberries were added for tartness (as opposed to the usual practice of introducing Lactobacillus bacteria). This is a higher-ABV than usual for a Gose, at 6.7% ABV; it was hopped with Strisselspalt and Simcoe to 35 IBUs, also high for the style. Beau’s describes the beer as hazy orange, with earthy and woody aromas mingled with mild fruitiness, and smoky and tart flavours. Named 49° 54°, it’s going to be available only at the Inn, with $1500 in sales being donated to the Shorefast Foundation. For more info on this beer, check out Beau’s full description. And be sure to follow along with Beau’s future collaborations, as some more Atlantic Canadian terroir beers are sure to pop up!
In terms of events, we’ve also got plenty to tell you about this week, as brewers and restaurants start to get ahead of the snow and ice…
• In case you missed yesterday’s post, Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors at 1932 Brunswick Street tomorrow, from noon. Check out the full details in the Profile, but be sure to drop by for the special tap room-only Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and Mango & Brett IPA, as they will be sure to sell out quickly (and are not available elsewhere).
• After (or before) a stop for that pint and growler fill tomorrow, drop down to Bishop’s Cellar for a co-tap takeover of their growler filling station with Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery and Sheet Harbour’s Sober Island Brewing. The crews from both spots will be on hand from 1:00-3:00pm to chat and pour samples, before you dive in for a growler filling.
• And while you’re in the downtown core tomorrow, be sure to drop by Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington for pours of three special beers from Toronto brewery Bellwoods. The Plum variant of their Jelly King, a dry-hopped Lacto sour; Jutsu, a Vermont-inspired 5.6% ABV Pale Ale; and Farmhouse Saison, fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus. These will be on from noon, when you can also take advantage of their “Bottle of the Day”, where they are offering up a bottle from their cellar for pours from the glass, rather than having to spring for the whole shebang.
• Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another of their Beer to Go days tomorrow, January 28th, from 10 am-6 pm. Two beers will be available for growler fills: Killington IPA, a 7.6% ABV Northeast IPA featuring plenty of Citra and Mosaic hops, and a new take on their Sour Otis Grapefruit, which has been rebuilt from the ground up, according to brewer Chad Steeves. Twenty-four grapefruits per barrel were added to the beer, making it more acidic than ever. Only a limited supply of these beers (2 kegs each) will be available, so get over early!
• New Brunswick Beer Tours is holding their FROSTival Brewery Tour next Saturday, February 4th, and there’s still a few tickets left! They’ll be following their usual itinerary of four brewery stops (this time around, Graystone, Maybee, Mama’s, and TrailWay), before a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint with Off Grid Ales‘ Randy Rowe; each brewery stop includes four sample pours. Tickets are $68.50 each, and include – of course – transportation between all stops.
• Sick of winter yet? If you’re in the Fredericton area, Maybee Brewing is offering a cure – of sorts – with their Beat the Winter Blues, scheduled for next Saturday, February 4th. A night of live music and beer (from 7 pm-1 am), your $12 advance ticket ($20 at the door) gets you admission to two live bands, The Tortoise The Hare & The Millionaire, and Keith Hallett. Of course, there will be plenty of Maybee beer on tap, as well as a guest brewery or two, for purchase. A food truck will be on site, and a free shuttle to downtown will be available between 12-1:30 am.
• After a wildly successful debut at TrailWay, the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection have got their next event scheduled at Maybee Brewing February 8th at 6:30pm. $14 will get you a flight of beer, tour of the brewery, and insightful chat with fellow beer lovers (and those looking to learn more). Check out the FB Event page, and be sure to RSVP in advance.
• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is scheduled for Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go, but be warned, this is a big beer!
• Speaking of March 11th, the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is fast approaching! While the evening session did sell out quickly, there are still afternoon tickets available, which offers the option of a slightly-more-relaxed experience… and the option of continuing afterwards with Péché Day at the KSAH! If you’re an alumni (have attended the last four festivals) and haven’t yet picked up your tickets, be sure to do so with the special alumni code emailed to you by FCBF organizers – aside from all the great local craft beer, you also get a T-shirt, custom glassware, and more!
A couple more things before we let you go this week:
– The crew from Bishop’s Cellar drove up to Nyanza this week to brew up a collaboration at Big Spruce Brewing. Coming next month will be Anaphylactic Choc, a peanut butter and chocolate porter, featuring organic peanut butter added right to the boil, for a blast of nutty goodness. We’ll share more details when the beer is released on February 25th, at a Takeover of Bishop’s growler filling taps.
– Breton Brewing has brought back Crazy Angus Double IPA, the amped up brother to their Black Angus IPA. At 7.4% ABV and 85 IBU, it’s sure to cure that hop itch many of us have! Grab it on tap at their taproom, and accounts around the province.
– Gahan Halifax will be hosting their first Brewmaster’s Dinner on February 21st, featuring four courses from the chef specifically paired with beers from Kyle Jeppesen’s brewhouse. More details are in the offing and we’ll bring them to you as they become available.
– Garrison Brewing is holding a contest on Instagram, celebrating their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA. Take a picture of why you love the town, and tag @garrisonbrewing and use the #LoveThisDirtyOlTown hashtag. They will regram all entries, and the one with the most likes by February 9th will win a brewery tour for 10 people.