After a brief lull in the new beer releases last week (we figure the brewers in Atlantic Canada may have needed time to fully recover from the holiday festivities), we are back with a full complement of news in the region, ready to fill your growlers and glasses with the best beer going.
• Fredericton’s Grimross has the ninth entry in their Scratch series available for pints and growlers at their taproom on Bishop Drive. Scratch #9: Golden Ale is “light, earthy, and dry”, and was hopped with all-Maritime-grown hops. Dry-hopped with Chinook to give some spice and pine to go with the floral notes, the brewery describes the beer as well-balanced between malt and hop flavours. Coming in at just 4.7% ABV, like all Golden Ales it’s meant to be enjoyed in quantity.
• Halifax’s Ladies Beer League has teamed up with Lunn’s Mill to add yet another collaboration beer to their ever-growing list. Hopper’s Bazaar is a Belgian Dubbel brewed with Pilsner, Amber, Dark Munich, Special B, and Chocolate Wheat malt, with an addition of Dark Belgian Candi sugar. Hopped lightly with Saaz and Tettnang, they even threw in a late addition of Garam Masala, an Indian blend of spices, for good measure. This very dark Belgian Ale comes across as “rich, semi-sweet, and spicy, with hints of cumin and cardamom”, and weighs in at 6.7% ABV. It’s available right now at the brewery, and select licensees for pints.
• While it may feel a heck of a lot warmer now than it did a few days ago, no mistake, it’s still winter! Which means you can still enjoy Trider’s newest beer, an 8.5% ABV Winter Warmer called Hibrrnation. Described as a “deep chestnut brown”, the beer was brewed with demerara sugar and unfiltered local honey, to give it extra sweetness to go with the warmth from the alcohol. Hopped with earthy Willamette to prevent it from getting too sweet, this is a one-batch wonder until next year, so grab it while you can!
• We have a new beer alert for this week for Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House, as they will be releasing their Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red. Brewed with Pale malt, Melanoiden, Crystal 30 and 60 L, and a bit of Black Malt for colour adjustment, the beer was hopped to 28 IBUs with Columbus and Willamette to help balance the sweetness from the malts. Coming in at 4.0% ABV, this reddish-coloured brew is medium-bodied with a “caramel, biscuit, and light roast finish”. Look for it to hit the taps at Battery Park and Stillwell very, very soon. New batches of Orange American Bastard and Funktown APA will also be popping up at local tap accounts, as well as Disco Inferno Red IPA and Saturday Night Fever IPA within a couple of weeks. And for OBB fans in Halifax, look for them to be available at another location before the end of January, we’re hoping to reveal exactly where that is next week.
• Your favourite Halifax brewery named after a duet of birds (that would make a great trivia question) is releasing a brand new beer tomorrow. That’s right, 2 Crows launches Forever Young on Saturday, a beer brewed with Pilsner, Wheat and Vienna malt. Hopped in the boil with Sterling and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in their cognac foedre with their house Saison culture, along with TYB 207, an experimental Brettanomyces strain. Further conditioned for 3 months on local rosehips, the beer was then transferred back to stainless for further conditioning on a small amount of rosewater, and then finally carbonated and packaged. Cans of this 8.5% ABV, 29 IBUs beauty will be available at the brewery and private stores, and a few kegs will be popping up at Stillwell (and probably a couple other lucky places). Described by the brewery as “earthy, floral, lightly funky and dry”, don’t miss out on your chance to try this one!
• Hanwell, NB’s recently opened Niche Brewing is releasing their third beer today, but actually the first one they brewed, and one of their expected flagship brews. Called Something Different, the name acknowledges that this isn’t a style we see a lot of in our region: the table beer. Low in ABV and considered excellent for accompanying a meal, this is a classically Belgian style that is usually balanced towards the malty side. Niche’s offering takes the style in a slightly different direction, using the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains from the Yeast Bay to provide a citrus and slightly funky character to a fairly dry beer accented by Hallertauer Blanc in the kettle and a small dry hop of Amarillo. At 3.6% ABV and 20 IBU you’ll be able to have a few without too many effects, which should give you plenty of opportunity to savour the interesting combination of yeast and hop characters. It’s available to Niche licensees as of today, with the Saint John Ale House already confirming that they’ll be taking a keg.
• Northern Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing has a couple of new beers to tell you about this week that each feature a different unique ingredient. First is Mussed Up, a Double IPA in the Northeast style. Starting with a grist of pale malt from Horton Ridge and some oats and hopped with Enigma and Hallertau Blanc, this beer was dosed with the must of Petit Milo grapes after two days of fermentation. Although the hop varieties were chosen specifically to drive the wine character of this beer, they also add plenty of pineapple and other tropical notes characteristic of the style. At a hefty 7.9% ABV and 60 IBU, it’ll pack a punch in more ways than one. Look for it at the brewery for pints, fills, and in cans, at tap accounts in NS and some in NB, and next week in the private stores in Halifax. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a ticket, you’ll also find it being served next week at the Halifax Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration!
• Tata’s second new beer announcement this week is on the other end of the spectrum, a “breakfast” Porter called Crack of Dawn. Coming in at 8.4% ABV and 35 IBU, this is a big beer built on a solid base of Horton Ridge pale malt and plenty of oats, with color, character, and mouthfeel provided by chocolate rye and chocolate wheat malts. It was hopped with Chinook and with some lactose added in the kettle for a balancing sweetness, but the feature ingredient of this beer is cold-brewed barrel-aged coffee. The gang took 150 lbs of green Ethiopian coffee beans and aged them in a rye whiskey barrel for 3 months before taking them down the road to Meeting Waters coffee, where they were given a dark and smooth roast. The coffee was then cold-brewed to maximize flavour and smoothness and keep the bitterness under control; this cold brew was added to the finished beer before packaging. The resulting brew is big-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel providing counterpoint to the acidity and roastiness of the coffee and the darker malts, with definite notes of whisky and fruit from the coffee aging process. Our own Chris McDonald and homebrewer extraordinaire Brian Harvey were part of the prototyping process for this beer, assisting with the process of figuring out the coffee dosing level and also helping brew the production batch (ed: no really, we did work!). Look for kegs of this one to start appearing late next week, with 500 mL bottles on their way as well, after its debut along side the Mussed Up at the aforementioned event next week (in cask, with an additional special secret ingredient added for the evening’s festivities).
• Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing just put a new beer up on the board today, a New Zealand Pilsner named Captain Cook’s Goat. A crisp, 5.5% ABV lager hopped with New Zealand (of course) hop varieties including Rakau, Motueka, and Pacific Jade to 20 IBUs. In case you’re wondering about the name, our Foghorn source says it was inspired by the story of a Captain Cook who supposedly brewed the first beer in New Zealand, but more importantly, traveled the world with his beer-drinking (we assume) goat companion. If that’s not worth a beer name, we don’t know what is! It’s on tap at Foghorn right now, and will be at licensees sometime next week.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has brought back a pair of beers this week, at the two ends of the flavour and ABV spectrum. Their Hopyard American Pale Ale has returned, melding the hoppy focus of a West Coast IPA (thanks to Amarillo and Cascade hops in both the boil and dry-hop) with an East Coast/British-influenced sensibility (featuring Maritime Malt with 2 Row and Carastan). The 5.5% ABV beer is available for the next few months in six-packs at the brewery and NSLC stores across the province. And launching today is the next in their Cellar Series (big and bold beers that are usually wood-aged and worthy of enjoyment now or in a few months/years), Rum Barrel-Aged Spruce Beer. Last year’s release of this historically-inspired beer spent 12 months in Ironworks Rum barrels, picking up plenty of spirit character, combining with the bold flavours of spruce, and touch of molasses. This barrel-aged edition also picks up a significant amount of alcohol from the wood, increasing from 7.5% ABV for the standard release, to 11.0% ABV for its bigger sister. 650mL bottles are available today at the brewery, with a $15.95 price tag.
• We’ve got Alpha and Beta news from Good Robot Brewing Company this week. First off, Extra Big-Ass Oktoberfest Camacho Lager is once again available on tap for pints and fills (and, no doubt, making appearances at GR tap accounts). Just remember to order it (respectfully, mind) in ALL-CAPS. This week’s Beta Brewsday, on the other hand, is a feelgood brew dreamt up and brewed by Kelly and Glee Club member Rebecca, along with Rebecca’s brother Joseph. Dubbed Cuddle Up, this coconut porter started with a grain bill of 2-row barley, flaked oats and Vienna malt, with both roasted and black barley for color and deep roasted flavour. Bittered to 26 IBU and very lightly kettle hopped with East Kent Goldings before being fermented with London Ale yeast to preserve a malty character, toasted flaked coconut was added for a lingering coconut flavour. Everything about this 4% ABV beer was designed to be comforting, so if that’s your jam, grab your favourite blankie and head on down to Good Robot this Tuesday when it’s tapped.
• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has announced that they will officially be releasing their third flagship beer, The Rabble Rouser Red, next Thursday. Brewed “with a rich malt profile in mind”, this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs American Amber Ale has a grist made up of five different malts, giving a flavour of slightly-toasted malt, “with a residual sweetness to round out the body”. Check out their Facebook page for the back story on where the name came from, and plan to drop by the taproom on January 18th, from 6 – 10 PM for the launch party, which will feature live fiddle music and Sneaky Cheats BBQ, with a custom-created food menu to pair with the beer.
• Horton Ridge Malt & Grain in Hortonville, NS, has another new beer coming out next weekend, brewed on their small system. Beer of Fundy celebrates the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Valley by being made with malt, hops and water that are all from that region. The barley (75%) and rye (25%) were grown and malted by Horton Ridge and the hops used were Galena and Centennial sourced from Fundy Hops down the road in Berwick. At 6% ABV and 63 IBU, this beer is admittedly the hoppiest to come out of Horton Ridge and treads “perilously close” to IPA territory. This is a nod to Fundy Hops, who will be at the malthouse and brewery to celebrate the launch of this beer a week from tomorrow on Saturday, January 20th from 2 PM, at an event that’s being called Songs and Suds of the Valley. Look for lots of musical entertainment from Space Paddy Bog People and artists featured on This Place, Songs from the Annapolis Valley, along with lots of beer, of course!
• Hammond River Brewing has teamed up with Josh Mayich from Darlings Island Farm to brew their first Bohemian Pilsner. Currently unnamed, it features Bohemian Pilsner malt and Carapils, and was bittered with Magnum to 43 IBUs, followed by three later additions of Saaz. As you likely expected, both hop varieties are from Darlings Island. Look for this one to finish at about 5.6% ABV; since it naturally needs to undergo a lagering period, look for this one to hit taps around mid-February. And meanwhile, HRB’s Shane Steeves and Darlings Island’s Josh Mayich are hosting a “Hop Seminar” to talk hops and beer. Want to know which hops match well with which styles of beer or maybe which hops grow well in our region, but especially New Brunswick? These are just the gentlemen to tell you about that! Look for it to happen at the HRB Beer Bar on Sunday, January 21st, at 1 PM: grab a pint and learn a little about what’s in it and where it came from!
And one last mention before we go, you may have heard that Loblaw’s is giving away $25 gift cards as a measure of “atonement” for their bread price-fixing scandal. You may also have heard that there’s been a groundswell of support for collecting those cards and getting them to organizations who can put them to good use. You may not have heard, though, that our pals at the 902 BrewCast have taken it upon themselves to help this process, calling it the #RobinHoodChallenge. Over the past couple of days they’ve been enlisting breweries from across NS to agree to be drop points for the Loblaw’s gift cards, which will help the process by making it easy for the folks who can afford to do so to donate their gift cards, knowing that those cards will make their way to an important organization like Feed Nova Scotia. Be sure to check the 902BrewCast Instagram and Twitter feeds for more details and information about which breweries are participating. And big kudos to the Kyle, Phil and Tony at 902BC for organizing, the breweries for taking part, and everyone who takes the time and makes the effort to help out with such a worthy initiatve!