Happy Friday everyone! Lots of news this week, so let’s get right to it…
• Leading us off today is a story from Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing: they have filed suit against the NSLC, arguing that the “Retail Mark-Up Sales Allocation” the Crown Corporation is unconstitutional. When Unfiltered’s lawyers consulted the legislation to learn more about the mark-up, none could be found, and the NSLC has been unable to provide documents outlining the details. The $0.50/litre mark-up is applied to all NS-made beer that is sold or given away, whether or not it hits any NSLC retail stores. Unfiltered is claiming that the mark-up is in fact a tax, and that the NSLC is not legislated to collect it. They are requesting reimbursement for the more than $25,000 paid to the NSLC over the last 13 months, and that the mark-up be declared unconstitutional. This case has wide-reaching implications, as all of the more than 35 breweries in the province have been paying this fee for years, and would amount to many millions of dollars that could be at dispute. From the NSLC’s own spokesperson, $954,000 was collected in 2015, of which $50,000 was provided to the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia (the association of 25 member breweries, but Unfiltered is not one of them). The scheduling of the suit is to be decided in early September, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with all of the news. The CBC has a good summary of the details of the suit.
• In new beer news, Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has dropped a new take on their fruit wheat beer this week: Haskap Wheat. With a similar base as their Raspberry Wheat, this beer features 40 kilos of locally-grown Haskap berries added after fermentation. The resultant beer is a hazy purple colour, with notes of blueberry, raspberry, and cranberry, on a pleasant wheat base. A very drinkable 4.3% ABV and 20 IBUs Wheat beer. And speaking of drinkable, their South Pacific-hopped Pale Ale D’under is back again, weighing in at 5.5% ABV and approximately 40 IBUs from late addition hops. Lots of tropical aromas come through from the hops, without a big bitter blast.
• Propeller Brewing has released their latest One Hit Wonder this week, and their Brewmaster apparently had a one-track mind when it came to this recipe! 1 Hop IPA is a 6.6% ABV and 56 IBUs beer, featuring nothing but Mandarina Bavaria for the hopping. As the name implies, this hop was developed in Germany, at the Hop Research Institute in Hüll, and is among the recent wave of aromatic hops (higher oil content) coming from Europe. The orange and citrus notes of the hop shine through on top of the robust body and significant bitterness. As with all of their OHW releases, this is only available in draft, or for growler fills at their two brewery locations. And while you’re at the brewery, be sure to check out Prop’s first can release. They have started with their flagship IPA, with cans now available at their retail locations, and will soon be rolling out to the private stores and NSLC shelves.
• North Brewing is releasing a special beer collaboration brew today, Lawrencetown Blonde. This 4.5% ABV beer features 2-Row and Wheat malts, and lightly hopped with Cascade and Saaz to about 20 IBUs. Surfing friends of the brewery, Ian Jackson and Dean Petty (of Anchored Coffee) were also part of the brewday, label design, and recipe development. Ten litres of Ethiopian Yukro cold brew was added to the final beer, courtesy of Anchored, for a light roastiness to complement the peach, citrus, and light ginger aromas. And a nod to the surfers was a little but of Lawrencetown Beach sea water too! Ian’s wife Jill (of Jill+Jack Paper) designed the label, on the bottles which are available on both Agricola and Ochterloney today.
• Yellowbelly Brewpub in St John’s has released a new beer this week, Southern Shore Foggy Porter. This deep-ruby-coloured porter features a big roast character, notes of toast and smoke, and dry finish, thanks to the large percentage of roasted barley used in the recipe. Dry-hopped with Brewer’s Gold, Cascade, and Mosaic to enhance the nose with a touch of spice and fruit. This beer is Brewmaster Liam Mckenna’s tribute to “the finest sort of folks down the Shore who endure weather like no others, [and] will warm the cockles.” The 5.8% ABV, 45 IBUs, beer is on tap at the brewpub now, and may not make it into bottles, so best to drop by for a pint today!
• Garrison Brewing has brought back their popular Honey Lavender Ale today. The 6.5% ABV beer features lavender harvested from Meander River Farms, and its aroma is a pleasant partner to the malt and light honey character. Honey from Shubenacadie’s G.G. Smeltzer & Son helped to bump up the alcohol a bit, aiding the Maritime Malt and Wheat, and does offer a sweet aftertaste. A small dose of Citra hops helps to offset the beer at a light 16 IBUs. Bottles are now available at the brewery and private stores in HRM.
• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has brought back their kettle-soured IPA this week, JAC the SIPA. Featuring loads of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe hops added during a whirlpool after flame-out, this 6.0% ABV beer features a big aromatic blast of hops with a medium 54 IBUs. The acidic nature of the beer gives a pleasant refreshing sharp character, on a hot afternoon.
• Picaroons will be pouring a special beer this weekend, to celebrate The Tragically Hip‘s final concert (and Canada-wide phenomenon). The Tragically Hop’d Pale Ale is a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale with “silly” amounts of some special hops: Galaxy, Saphir, Summit, Topaz, Vic Secret, and Warrior, to 40 IBUs. The beer will be pouring exclusively at the “Fully Completely in the Square” event in Fredericton’s Officer Square, at the Brewtique, and at the General Store in Saint John tomorrow, August 20th.
Speaking of events, there are a whole bunch of them on our radar in the coming weeks. You can check out our Calendar of Events Page for the full listing, and subscribe to it by clicking here. And feel free to let us know about the neat events that we may have missed! We love to hear from you at ACBeerBlog@gmail.com.
• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing will be opening their retail location August 20 for growler and merchandise sales, 10-4. They will be selling their Dark Cream Ale, a flavourful 4.7% golden orange ale featuring notes of biscuit and toast and their IPA, a 5.4% dry-hopped hoppy ale, featuring notes of melon and strawberry. As they are still awaiting their 12 hl brewhouse to come online (much of it was delivered this week!), they will be concentrating on to-go sales, in both their own, or customer-provided (clean), grunters and growlers. Their current schedule is to be open for take away sales for the next few Saturdays until their launch at the end of September.
• The Upstreet Block Party is returning for its second year on Saturday, August 20th. Featuring plenty of activities, live music, food, and tours at the brewery from 12 pm on, they’ll also be unveiling a new “super-sized beer garden”! As the sun goes down, the party will move into the taproom at about 8 pm for more music (from two local DJs), food, and beer. Admission is free, just drop in anytime to join in the fun!
• On August 26th Quebec Belgian-inspired brewery Unibroue is sending their Beer Sommelier (and Certified Cicerone®) Sylvain Bouchard to The Port, NSLC’s new flagship location at 5485 Clyde Street. He will be helping to launch the release of the 6-litre 17 Grand Reserve Belgian Strong, with a food and beer tasting with several of their products (including Éphémère Apple, Blonde de Chambly, La Fin du Monde, Maudite, in addition to the 17) . There are only 32 bottles of this special beer, in a format best suited for sharing at a wedding or other celebration, and those in attendance will have the first chance at trying and purchasing them. There are only 30 tickets available to the 7-8:30pm event (on sale at The Port now), and we are holding a contest for your chance to win a pair of them! Post a picture to our Facebook page, and/or tag us and @Unibroue on Twitter or Instagram, with a picture your favourite beer and food pairing, and we will announce the winner in our Weekly Wrap-Up next Friday morning.
• On August 26 & 27, Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting a tap takeover from Portland Maine’s Liquid Riot Bottling Co. Owned by the awesome beer-focused team behind Novare Res Bier Cafe, Liquid Riot brews a wide variety of beers and spirits on the Portland waterfront, and is bringing a great selection to Halifax. The fun starts Friday night at 6pm on Barrington, with a dozen sours, porters, wheats, and IPAs taking over the taps at the Mothership, and continues Saturday from noon at the Beer Garden on Spring Garden, with ten taps of LR goodness (five of which are exclusive to the BG). There are no tickets required for the fun, and there are only single kegs of many of the beers, so be sure and drop by early to avoid disappointment! Check out their Facebook Event page for the full line-up, because it’s too long and awesome to post it all here.
• On September 16th, Garrison and Local Connections Halifax are hosting Hops ‘n’ Brats, as part of Halifax Oktoberfest. From 6:30 to 11, they will be hosting a handful of NS breweries at the Salter Street parking lot, slinging beers and pairing them with a ton of locally-produced sausages. Your entry fee includes your first 8 samples, a token to take part in the beer-centric games, and a souvenir glass. New this year is the ability to trade 3 tickets for a full pour of your favourite brew. There will be a dozen breweries in attendance, including: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Garrison, Meander River, and Spindrift. Tickets are just $24+tax, and are available now.
• September 17th is the main event for Halifax Oktoberfest, with the party kicking off at 11am with traditional German food, music and games, with the evening session kicking off at 6pm with more food, dancing, and Garrison beer a-plenty. The Swell Guys and Die Brew-misters Oompah Bands will be providing music, and Scanway Catering will be serving up lots of sausages, spaetzle and schnitzel, as well as two whole roasted pigs. From 11AM to 5PM the event will be all-ages, admission is $5/adults and free for children. In the evening, the fun continues as a 19+ event with dancing, food, and games. An evening pass can be purchased for $16 which includes entry and one Garrison beer, or a $20 entry that also includes a commemorative Oktoberfest Halifax Stein. Full details are available here, and tickets are on sale now.
Wow, another big week! A few more notes that came in after our deadline:
– Gahan Pub Charlottetown have brought back Summer in New Zealand, the NZ-hopped beer with grains of paradise and a touch of lemon and lime zest, the winning recipe by Ryan Palmer in last year’s Gahan Homebrew Challenge.
– Congratulations to Breton Brewing on brewing their 100th batch of beer! They celebrated by…. brewing! More Stirling Hefeweizen coming soon.
– Hell Bay has brought a pair of favourites this week, with the O.P.A Oat Pale Ale and R.I.P. (A) IPA.
– After last weekend’s very successful launch, Beckwith Road Brewery has delivered their Campfire Amber at the Tide & Boar in Moncton, and will be going on tap very shortly.
– You can once again pick up Shiretown Beer at the ANBL! Drop by the Dalhousie and Charlo locations to grab bottles of their Blonde Du Quai, Siren’s T’ale and Big Brown Ale.
Apologies for the late posting this week, *someone* decided to take the week off, again! 😉