It’s another busy beer week in the region, with summer literally just around the corner and the weather taking a predictable step or two backwards into spring after a couple of scorchers. This week saw the official opening of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth and we’ve got a bunch more beer news and events to tell you about, so let’s get you right to what you came here for.
• Although the cat has been out of the bag since late May, an official announcement took place in Halifax this week that the 16th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards & Conference are coming to Halifax in May, 2018. This is the culmination of significant effort on behalf of CBANS and Brian Titus of Garrison Brewing. Part of the announcement is that the event will take place at the brand new Halifax Convention Centre where some 500 delegates are expected to descend to attend the event. This will be the first time the awards have taken place in Nova Scotia, which now leads the nation in craft breweries per capita! It’s a perfect chance to show off both our beautiful province, the quality of our beer and local support for our breweries.
• The Biorefinery Technology Scale-up Center at CCNB Grand-Falls is putting out a call for beer samples as part of a project with the National Research Council Canada. The BTSC has the methodologies for testing and doing Quality Assurance on hops, malt, water, yeast, and finished beer, using their state-of-the-art instruments. From Jared Christenson of CCNB, “Free chemical and microbiological testing! The CCNB-BTSC is collecting finished craft beer samples for an NRC study on beer biochemical quality and local ingredients. This is for licensed craft breweries only. The testing includes: %ABV, SRM, IBU, sugars, organic acids, pH, anaerobic/aerobic lactobacillus strains, etc. Selection will be done on a first come first serve basis, so contact us as quickly as possible, as we are collecting a limited amount of samples. If you are interested in participating in the study and getting some free beer analysis and data interpretations that could help optimize your product and/or your brewing process, please contact Jared via email or phone (506-475-4029) to get filled in on the specifics of the project.”
• Taste of Nova Scotia has launched the Good Cheer Trail again this summer. Featuring more than 60 alcohol producers from across the province, your passport (both paper and virtual) is your key to a great time touring the province for the best in beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Pick up a copy of the passport at any of the participating locations, and get started on filling it out today! To take part digitally, you’ll need to Register, and then follow this link on your device (this link shows all of the locations if your device can’t see where you are), check into the location you’re visiting, share a photo, and you’re done! After 10 stamps, you’ll be able to send in or apply online for your free t-shirt, when they become available in July.
• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing Company has a a pair of new beers flowing at their brewery this weekend, giving you yet another reason to visit their beautiful location. First up is Hop Bill IPA, a 6.5% ABV American IPA, with a touch of honey malt for some sweetness to balance out its solid 60 IBUs of bitterness (in addition to tons of whirlpool- dry-hopping for lots of juicy aromas). Hop Bill‘s origin is from the Newfermenters‘ 2016 Home Brew-Off competition, won by Bill Burton, which we wrote up here. The 2017 Home Brew-Off is taking place Sunday at the Lions Club Chalet on Newtown Rd in St. John’s. In addition to live judging of the entries vying for top Kolsch in the region, there will be talks and demonstrations on how to keg beer, the latest and greatest homebrew gadgets, and hang with your fellow homebrewers and professional brewers alike. The event starts at 7PM, be sure to check out the Facebook Event or email the Newfermenters for more details. Grab Hop Bill shortly at PR’s tap accounts around St. John’s.
• Port Rexton has also been putting Assistant Brewer Jane Tucker to work developing some new beers, and she has come through in spades with a line of small batch beers, available exclusively at the brewery in Port Rexton. The latest beer currently available from this series is Sasscot, a 5.6% ABV & 19 IBUs Scottish Ale. A complex malt bill, including Biscuit and Smoked Malts, it features a light smokiness with sweet caramel and rich mouthfeel. And waiting in the wings, possibly on tap this weekend, or early next week, is Metric Heavy Hefeweizen, a true-to-origins German Weissbier with the iconic yeast-derived banana and clove aroma and flavour, with malt-derived soft bready notes. This beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and a light 16 IBUs.
• Have you been missing the Propeller One Hit Wonder series of the past? Well, good news! It’s undergone an evolution of sorts, and the Gottingen Small Batch series is the result! The brewery’s intention is to roll out a new style on a monthly basis, while “bringing forward a greater variety of true-to-style (but rarely seen) beers”. The first beer in the series, Gratitude, is a 4.5% ABV, 56 IBUs India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) brewed with 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, and Wheat malt. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo, the melon and citrus notes from the Amarillo come through front and center, followed by a “forward bitterness” in the finish. It’s on tap now at the Gottingen taproom.
• Speaking of new beer series, the PEI Brewing Co. has released the first in their After Hours series, after an initial launch of pilot brews two weeks ago. U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale was brewed at the Gahan Charlottetown location (their 7 bbl system will be responsible for most entries in the After Hours series) with Vienna malt, bittered to 50 IBUs, and conditioned for a couple of weeks on puréed strawberries. It was then dry-hopped with Comet and Simcoe, resulting in an APA with citrus and tropical fruit on the nose, and “finishing with a hint of strawberry flavour, adding another dimension to a Pale Ale”, according to head brewer Chris Long. Look for it at select tap accounts across the Maritimes, including the PEIBC taproom and all Gahan locations.
• Months ago, we reported that Maybee Brewing had just finished brewing up a Belgian Quad (aka Belgian Dark Strong Ale). Big beers like these often take a lot of extra time to finish fermenting, and to allow the high alcohol levels to smooth out. Well, we’re happy to report that half of the double batch of this beer, named Orion, is being packaged in kegs today! This half includes the addition of maple syrup from Briggs Maples, and clocks in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. Expect flavours of caramel, brown sugar, and a bit of molasses and maple, to accompany the warming sensation from the high alcohol. With a medium bitterness in the finish, this malty-sweet ale may not taste like it’s 11.5%, but you’ve been fairly warned! Watch for this one to be show up at your favourite Maybee tap accounts over the next few days; of course, it will also be on tap at the brewery for pours and growler fills. A portion will eventually be packaged in corked-and-caged bottles in the near future.
• We mentioned last week that The Shocking Pink, Good Robot‘s Gose-Radler hybrid, was being re-released yesterday for the OUTeast Film Festival. On top of that, they now have two new brews on the horizon, both of which will be released mid-next week. First up is a new Beta Brew, Cream Team, a Cream Ale brewed by Kelly Costello and Doug Kehoe. Coming in at 6.56%, slightly higher than your typical Cream Ale, it features an aroma of honey and straw, and a “slightly lemony flavour, and grassy aftertaste”. Lightly hopped with Tettnang, Warrior, and Willamette to 15 IBUs. Next up is the second in their series of SMaSH Pale Ales, Pacifica. Named after the solely-featured hop in the brew, Pacifica is a New Zealand variety known for its orange marmalade character. Featuring a grist of Maris Otter malt, the beer was fermented with the East Coast Ale strain. Flavours of citrus, spice, and resin accompany the orange marmalade notes; it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, and 24 IBUs. And finally, drop by the brewery today for the beginning of Cask Fridays, starting with a series of Goseface Killah re-fermented with a variety of organic fruit purées!
• If you’ve been sad to see all of those entries in the Annapolis Cider Company Something Different series come and go, good news! The cidery has listened to the calls from the public, and have brought back three of the most popular entries to re-release in their new Creative Series. Rhubarb Ginger, Hopped Pear, and Sour Cherry are all now available again, this time in 750 mL bottles, for you to take home and enjoy. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, for a limited time!
• Summer is right around the corner, and Fredericton’s Graystone has you covered with their latest release, Wild Child. The brewery’s first Radler (a mixture of beer and juice, or fruit soda), it’s light and refreshing, with notes of “subtle citrus” from the addition of both grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Also, the puréed flesh of 50 grapefruits was added, to up your grapefruit love even more! Completely crushable at 4.5% ABV, it’s available now at the brewery for pints, crowlers, and growlers. You’ll also likely see it on tap across the city very soon.
• Halifax’s “Littlest Brewery That Could”, Tidehouse Brewing at Salter and Barrington, has another new beer on tap today. Birthday Sauce IPA is their modern take on a classic American IPA; weighing in at 6.5% ABV, the beer features a solid bitterness (hovering around 60 IBUs), with lots of citrus and pine notes from the Cascade, Pacific Jade, and Simcoe hops used throughout. Grab a growler at their downtown location today 2-9PM (tomorrow, too), or visit their Market locations at Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market every Saturday, Tantallon Village Farmers’ Market every Tuesday 2-6PM, and the fortnightly Spryfield & District Community Market, next held June 25th. Happy Birthday Shean!
• St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub has launched their latest beer this week, The 150 S’EH!son!. It was brewed in collaboration with Mill Street Ottawa’s Head Brewer Tim Hulley, during his visit earlier this month. A partial sour mash brings a bright acidity to this Saison, along with notes of Fuzzy Peaches and citrus. The unfiltered straw-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV and 25 IBUs, and is available on tap at the brewery, and to take home in growlers today. And keep an eye on social media for details of their First Anniversary Celebration, happening June 28th. Live music, plenty of special beers and casks, and lots of fun.
• We have some excellent news for those of you that have been patiently waiting for the Hammond River expansion to be complete… owner/brewer Shane Steeves has confirmed that the first two beers were brewed on the new, 15 bbl (~1700 L) system earlier this week! Both Gammie (a California Common) and Hop Flash IPA are currently fermenting, and will be released to bars and restaurants in kegs within a few weeks. All of the first batches brewed at the new brewery will be packaged in kegs only, to fill all of the tap accounts across New Brunswick; subsequent batches will have a portion bottled as well. Look for the brewery taproom to open within the next month, where you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite HR beers by the pint and/or growler! Congratulations, Shane!
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is gearing up for a big weekend, or at least a big Saturday (followed by a mighty hangover on Sunday, no doubt). Tomorrow afternoon the gang from Central City will be on the Garrison patio from 1 – 4 PM as part of their tour across the country to celebrate their Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration for Canada 150. Central City’s Daryn Medwid, Gary Lohin and James Hume will be pouring samples of their Central City x Garrison Collaboration alongside the Garrison gang. Speaking of which, that beer, ”New” Scottish Ale, is available at the brewery now for pints and growler fills. It’s a 5.7% ABV beer with a moderate bitterness at 38 IBU. It features a smoky aroma from peat malt with some berry notes, and a smooth caramel palate accentuated by a smoky character and balanced against a slightly bitter finish.
• But the big event is tomorrow night, namely Garrison’s third annual Backlot Bash event starting at 5:30 PM. This year’s version is an extra-special, super spectacular edition, as it’s also part of Garrison’s 20th Birthday Celebrations. The event supports the Ecology Action Centre and features musical acts The Sheepdogs, Port Cities, the Garrett Mason Band and The Royal Volts. A plethora of Food Trucks will also be on hand, including The Gecko Bus, Halifax Press, Asado Wood Fired Grill, Cheese Curds and Ol’ School Donuts. There will also be demos and fun from Proskates and Timber Lounge. Tickets are $35 in advance via Ticket Halifax or $40 at the door. A note to those planning to attend: the event was always advertised as rain or shine, and due to the expected weather tomorrow night, the concert has officially been moved indoors to the Cunard Centre, so don’t be shocked if things aren’t where you expected them to be upon your arrival tomorrow night!
• Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax has tapped the final keg of their Barrel Aged Golden Ale with Brett, a beer that features Brettanomyces for a distinct yeast character. It was also aged for 8 months in Hungarian Oak, which should give it some barrel notes as well; it weighs in at 5%. They’ve also just released their second batch of Impatience Sour Brown Ale, which was aged on Morello cherries and raspberries, a darker, but still refreshing drink thanks to the fruit. And lastly, they’re also at the end of their Mexican Lager, Cerveza Maritimo, having tapped the last keg this week. You might still find it on the Island later this summer, as The Gahan House in Charlottetown will have some of this light thirst quencher available.
• After an official announcement and press release from Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy, we have more information on the Acadian Nut Brown style we mentioned last week. Several Acadian breweries united to create a “100% Acadian beer” to mark the 170th anniversary of the poem “Evangeline”, by Henry Longfellow. The style has many descriptors, including “caramel, light coffee, hazelnut, chocolate, fruity, molasses, and licorice”. We already wrote up Petit-Sault‘s entry, La Madoueska, last week, but there’s others to mention as well, as several breweries in Atlantic Canada are participating. Fils du Roy has released their Evangeline (7% ABV), Flying Boats their General’s Armada (5.5% ABV, 23 IBUs), and Savoie’s has a Nut-Brown Ale. As well, Acadie-Broue is including their previously-released La Bringue.
• Big Spruce has their Consiglière Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Saison back on tap at the brewery, first released as part of the Stillwell Open during NS Craft Beer Week. They’ve also released another batch of their One Hundred recently, their all-Nova Scotia beer, featuring Organic malt, hops, and yeast harvested from a Pin Cherry on their farm. Their Food Truck weekends have started for the summer, drop by the brewery for fresh food from Cruisin’ Cuisine from noon Thursday through Saturday until mid-September. And with Beer + Yoga each Saturday from 11AM, there are plenty of reasons to stop in Nyanza this summer.
• This morning both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons mashed in on a very special beer that will celebrate both Canada 150 and the legacy of the great Peter Austin, who was responsible for the creation of the system in use at both breweries, the Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brewing System. Breweries based on this system, over 140 of which have been installed around the world over the last 30+ years, are also known as “Ringwood” Breweries both after Austin’s original Ringwood Brewery and the yeast strain that they generally favour. These two breweries from our region are joining 5 others from across the country, Golden Lion Brewery in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Granite Brewery in Toronto, Ashton Brew Pub and Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa and 4 Mile Brewing Co in Victoria, BC. These breweries have come together under the name “The Fathers of Fermentation” to brew Sir John’s Special Eh’le based on a recipe by Alan Pugsley of Pugsley Brewing International, Peter Austin’s good friend and former partner, who was responsible for the design and setup at all of the participating breweries. Everyone is brewing their batch today; the beer will be fermented and then delicately aged and released on July 1st. As you anticipate the final product you can read more about this special collaboration and see some video of the cross country brew days on the The Fathers of Fermentation Facebook page.
• Chill Street Fresh Beer and Cider Market opened this week in the Elmsdale Sobey’s at Exit 8 of the 102 Highway. Featuring a SmartBrew Ferment-on-Premise system, they are offering cans and growlers of their beer and cider now. Look for their Eh? Light Lager, Hants Down Light Ale, Honey I’m Home Honey Brown, Life’s a Beach Grapefruit Radler Out of the Blue Blueberry Wheat, Skinny Dipping Cider, Storm Day White IPA, and Unplugged Pale Ale. Chill Street is the first grocery store-based brewery in Canada, a business model that could catch on, given the compact size of the SmartBrew system.
• Truro’s Salty Dog Brewing (beer brewed on the system at the Nook and Cranny next door) has released a new beer this week, HOME Brew Session Ale. The 3.5% ABV beer is a collaboration with nearby My HOME Apparel, makers of NS-inspired clothing and merchandise. Drop by the brewery Saturday for a My HOME pop-up, and grab a sampler, enjoy some music, and take home a half-priced branded growler (which gets you a discount off a fill of the Session Ale). And keep your eyes peeled as Salty Dog will soon be canning their offerings.
Another busy weekend ahead:
• A reminder that Maybee Brewing is holding their Summer Pig Roast tomorrow, June 17th, from 5 pm till late. With plenty of food, beer (including a special cask), and live music from house band Extraordinary Measures, it’s sure to be a great time! Tickets ($29.50 each) are still available.
• Tatamagouche Brewing is turning 3! Be sure to join them at the brewery for celebrations tomorrow, June 17th for face painting, food truck deliciousness courtesy of Route 6 Food Truck Co., and a draw to win a $150 gift bag or Brew Day Package. And if you’re wearing your Tata Brew gear, you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase. Happy Birthday! See if they’ll give you a sneak peek at the freshly-bottled
• It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, June 18th (you forgot to send a card? Too late! Worst son/daughter ever!), and Railcar is holding a special event at their soon-to-officially-open new location in Perth. Father’s Day Flight will feature a guided tasting from Railcar’s very own Mitch Biggar, of six 5 oz beers brewed in the Maritimes. The two hour tasting begins at 2 pm; a selection of appetizers will also be served. Only 30 spaces are available, and tickets are $20, first-come-first-served.
• We told you about the new brewery and taproom at Horton Ridge Malt House a few weeks ago, and the taps have been flowing since June 1st, but on Saturday, June 24th, they’ll be having a proper Grand Opening. From 11 AM to 10 PM they’ll be serving up some of their new beers and others from breweries around the province that feature Horton Ridge Malt. Food will be available from a new food truck in the region, Let’s Eat Beer, recently started by the folks at Draught Pro. This truck serves beer-infused food and donate all proceeds from the events it attends to Atlantic Canadian Charities! There will also be some live music, games like washer toss and Mega Jenga, and tours of the brewery and malt house. So maybe give a thought to stopping in at Exit 10 on the 101 next Saturday and celebrating one of the newest breweries in the region!
• Prince Edward Island’s only beer festival, PEI Beer Fest, is returning this September to the Delta Prince Edward. Part of the month-long Fall Flavors Festival, a culinary celebration of the Island, the dates for this years tastings have been set and tickets are on sale now. There will be three tasting sessions this year, one on the evening of Friday, September 8th, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM, and two on Saturday, September 9th, in the afternoon from 2:00 – 4:00 PM and in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. There will be beer, of course, and some cider options, with live entertainment as well. Tickets for the evening sessions are $40, for Saturday afternoon it’s $30 and they’ve got Designated Driver tickets available as well at $10 each (be aware that various service fees are likely to make those more like $50, $40 and $15 respectively). If you’re interested in attending, don’t delay too long, last year’s event was sold out in advance and no tickets were available at the door! And keep an eye on the web site for news about what breweries will be bringing their wares to the event this year.
And a few more things today:
– Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing has the last keg of their Smoked Cherry India Black Ale on tap now. Brewed in collaboration with the gents at FirkinStein, who actually smoked the malt themselves using Cherrywood, this Black IPA is hopped with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, with cherries added to the fermenter for a hint of fruit flavour. There isn’t much of the 6.8% ABV, 75 IBUs beer, so be sure to get down to the brewery today! And look for the release of their Privateer Pilsner, which will be returning soon to celebrate next weekend’s Privateer Days.
– North Brewing is releasing the Barrel-Aged version of their Milk Stout today. First previewed at the Full House event in May, the Headline Milk Stout spent 5 months in Glenora Whisky Barrels, and has been bottle conditioning for a couple more. The 7.5% ABV special brew is available now at both their Halifax and Dartmouth stores. Insider pro-tip: visitors can show their receipt from Battery Park for a discount at the North store. Tell em ACBB sent ya!
– A quick reminder that the Schoolhouse Graduation and 2017 Grad Party is on tomorrow in Windsor, with the family-oriented Graduation festivities starting at 11am and the ticketed “afterparty” beginning at 8pm (tickets available here).