We’ve got a ton of great beery news to share with you this week, from breweries expanding into new territories, new Beer Gardens opening, as well as at least a dozen new beers to wet your whistle. Let’s do away with the formalities, and get you the good word!
We’ve got big news from Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing, who are making the trek across the Northumberland Strait, and will be partnering with Chef Bill Pratt (of Cheese Curds and Habaneros) to open a restaurant and brewery at 612 Windmill Rd in Dartmouth, NS, as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse. This address may sound familiar to HRM beer fans, as it is the former location of the Sleeman’s Brewery and Down East Beer Factory. Upstreet’s Brewmaster Mike “Hogie” Hogan will be in charge of brewing operations on the mainland, brewing up both full-time Upstreet offerings like Commons, Do Gooder, Rhuby Social, and White Noize, and will also flex his imaginative muscles to bring other new brews to life to pair with the restaurant offerings. Speaking of food, the Upstreet crew is drawing inspiration fact-finding missions to Kansas City, and bringing home some best practices for their own pit crew for an authentic BBQ experience, made with, and to pair with, their beer. They are currently looking to hire a General Manager for the location, and will continue the hiring ahead of their opening in September.
And in more immediate Upstreet news, they have a bevy of new bevvies for us to talk about this week. Out today is the latest in their Neon Friday series, Neon Friday 008: Huell Melon India Pale Lager. Weighing in at 7.0% ABV, this German-malt base was fermented low and slow with lager yeast, but bumped up with a darling of the newer German hops Huell Melon, known for melon (natch), strawberry, and apricot fruit aroma and flavour. Available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner on tap and in growlers and 4-packs of cans to go.
Debuting this Sunday is Upstreet’s ode to Pride PEI 2018, Rainbrew Farmhouse Saison. Featuring ingredients of all colours of the rainbow, including PEI Strawberries (red), PEI-grown 2-Row and Vienna Malts (orange), Yeast (yellow), Belma hops (green), Water (blue), and PEI Lavender (violet). And this beer isn’t just another pretty face, the sale of each pint, growler, or crowler at the Taproom or CBC will mean $1 donated to Pride PEI.
And we may have missed the boat with this beer, released right after publishing last week, but we did want to let you know that they’ve released the first beer aged in their PEI-built foeder. Foeder-aged Sour Saison is 6.5% ABV, and lightly hopped (and then dry-hopped) with Nelson Sauvin to 15 IBUs. Flavours coming through include pineapple, lemon, and white pepper, thanks to the mixed fermentation and wood-aging. If you did miss out on the first iteration from the foeder, fear not, as they’ve filled it with another Saison (not sour this time, though it will almost certainly pick up some of those flavours while it hangs out). And to learn more about foeder production and what projects are next for the Island workshop building them, be sure to follow New World Foeders for the latest scoop.
Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has a new IPA being released today at the brewery. Featuring 48 vanilla beans, 80 kg of raspberry purée, and lactose, Send It! is a fruited milkshake IPA coming in at 5.7% ABV and 46 IBUs. The hops are “mostly Amarillo” but we’ve been advised that there is also some Cascade and Centennial in there. With the current price of vanilla we can understand why this beer is being released draught-only at the brewery for pints. We also suspect it might not last very long, so if it sounds like your jam put Maybee on your itinerary for the weekend!
Tatamagouche continues with new releases this week with their latest Berliner Weisse-style kettle sour, Soaked. Those who have enjoyed previous Tata kettle sours like Jitney and Philaroma should be excited by this one. Starting with a simple and ultra sessionable 3.3% ABV base beer, Hallertau Blanc and Enigma hops were added and the beer was finished with a rest on passion fruit. This one will be packaged into kegs and cans. Look for it on tap at Tata licensees, in cans at the private stores, and, of course, at the brewery.
Also available at Tata this week is the Fish Hawke double-dry hopped IPA that we told you about last week. This one had an extremely limited canning run, and all the cans will be sold from the brewery directly. While you’re grabbing some of those, you’ll also find the newly-released bottles of Saltwater Cowboy, which was the tequila barrel-fermented gose brewed for Tata’s 4th birthday celebration last month. This 4.4% ABV refreshing easy drinker was packaged in 500 mL bottles of which a few should make it to the private stores in the city this week.
And coming next week to the North shore is something entirely new to our region. You may or may not know that breweries in Nova Scotia are limited to a maximum of 11.9% alcohol by volume (ABV) in any beer product they make and sell. While most beers aren’t even in the ballpark of this limit, bigger, heavier styles like barleywine, Belgian quad and imperial stout can graze it, especially when barrel-aging in spirit barrels comes into play. Further, it turns out that occasionally a brewery will conceive of a beer that doesn’t just bump up against the limit, it shatters it. How can that beerbe sold? It turns out that one answer is for the brewery to get a distiller’s license, which Tatamagouche Brewing has done. And their first beer to take advantage of that drops next week: Man-o-War is an extra strong ale at a staggering (for beer, anyway) 15.2% ABV. Intended to be a sipping beer, it began with an English-style barleywine recipe that was fermented with an extremely alcohol-tolerant Norwegian Kveik yeast strain to create a base beer that clocked in at 13%. From there it went into grape brandy barrels for 4 months of conditioning, where it picked up the additional 2.2%. Look for this one to appear in 500 mL bottles at the brewery next Thursday. Try it as an aperitif before a big meal or share a bottle around and raise a toast to big beers, you might also consider grabbing a second to put down to see how it develops over a few months or years.
Speaking of the North shore of NS, beer lovers in Pictou County now have a new place to enjoy a few malt beverages. The team behind Uncle Leo’s brewery in Lyons Brook have opened up a new Craft Beer Garden in the town of Pictou called Quayside Beer Garden. Next to the replica of the Ship Hector that brought some of the first settlers to our province, the patio is right on the water and has spectacular views of the harbour. The facility sports 8 taps, through which they’ll be rotating a wide variety of beers from regional producers. Their opening list included Unfiltered, North, Garrison, Chain Yard, and red and white wines from Jost Vineyards. Quayside is located at 33 Caladh Avenue in Pictou and has its own social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram) where you’ll find updated info on the current taps and any events that might be in the works.
Mahone Box’s Saltbox Brewing is launching a new beer today, another in their line of charitable beer releases. Dory Racer is a 5.8% ABV Northeast IPA, featuring that iconic hazy appearance, fruity hop aroma, and tropical citrus aroma with low bitterness. Available on tap at the brewery and licensees, as well as for growler fills and in cans, a portion of the proceeds from every can purchase will go to the Canadian Dory Racing Association based in Lunenburg. And drop by brewery tonight at 6 pm to try the new brew and for the presentation of Saltbox’s donation to SHAID, as a result of their previous charity beer, Homeward Bound. And you can use Dory Racer as inspiration to enter the Dory Racing Challenge as part of Mahone Bay Heritage Boatyard Weekend, August 3-5th.
We’ve got two kinda-sorta-brand-new-debut-launch bottle releases from Stillwell Brewing to tell you about this week. The first is Easy, which we’ve told you about previously when it debuted by-the-glass at Stillwell Beer Bar, but it will be for sale “to go” for the first time this weekend. To catch you up, this 4.7% ABV Saison spent a couple of months in their largest foeder, during fermentation with their house blend of yeast and bacteria, for a more sour take on their Stillwell 2 Saison, with a mix of lactic and acetic acid coming though, complemented with some floral and spicy hops. This one will be in 750 mL bottles. This weekend is also the debut of Merryweather, a blend of 10- and 5-month old oak-fermented farmhouse ales, aged with wild rosehips and blue juniper berries, foraged by FD WildFoods & Fine Products, before bottle conditioning for the past four months. It made its debut during SBC’s trip West to Farmhouse Fest in BC, it is now available on the yEast Coast. The Stillwell Brewing retail pop-up, located around the back of 2015 Gottingen Street, will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 12-3PM, with these two, as well as a handful of other recent bottle releases, plus label-inspired t-shirts, and branded hats.
[Ed note: at 5:30PM we learned that Vaquero’s release is being delayed by a month due to THP being detected in the beer. We are leaving the post up, but please note that the beer and Mexi-food pop-up have been delayed until further notice. More details here.]
Hot on the heels of their first bottle release a couple of weeks ago (and there are still bottles of Dandy left, folks!), Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing has another bottle release set for tomorrow. Vaquero is a 5.3% ABV Tequila barrel aged sour, featuring black lime and agave, that has been months in the making. With Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and a bit of Rye malts making up the grist, the beer was lightly hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc. First soured with a blend of Lactobacillus cultures, the beer was co-fermented with Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. After primary fermentation was complete and the beer reached terminal gravity in stainless steel, the beer was transferred to a freshly-emptied Tequila barrel, with fermentation re-started thanks to the addition of several litres of agave nectar. After that, black limes were added for a conditioning phase, adding bright citrus as well as a lightly smoked character. Fresh lime zest was also added to increase that flavour. At bottling, champagne yeast was dosed in order to finish the entire package with bright, light, and spritzy carbonation. As you may have gathered from the description, there was only one Tequila barrel used in the production of this beer, which means this beer is available in short supply, and ONLY in bottles at the brewery. It will be available to takeaway from noon tomorrow, or better yet, grab a bottle pour at the bar and hang out while Chef Joe Martin slings some Mexican-inspired food, including Elote salad, shrimp tacos, grilled quesadillas, and Mexi dogs, from 12-7PM. Full info on 2C’s insta page.
This week at Good Robot in Halifax they’re doing things a little differently, with a beta brew release on MONDAY for a change. Doc Rauch was brewed with Lee MacDonald and his mentor Chris Thomas to celebrate Lee’s dissertation defense, which will take place Monday morning. That afternoon you’ll find the beer, a smoked lager (Rauchbier) reminiscent of beers that Lee and Chris enjoyed in Germany, on tap, during several research-related trips. Smoky, smooth, and balanced, it used Pilsner, Vienna and Smoked malts along with Tettnanger hops. Brewed June 4th, primary fermentation took roughly three and a half weeks before it was transferred into two casks. So if you miss this 4.7% ABV and 29 IBU beer on Monday, you might be able to get in on the second cask due to be tapped on Tuesday afternoon, on their normal Beta Brewsday schedule.
In other GR news, up for release this week is another lager, this one in the Vienna-style, smooth and malty with a touch of sweetness, a nutty smokiness and a touch of herbs and rye. Leveraging both Vienna and dark Munich malts along with Perle, Mandarina Bavaria, and Willamette hops, we don’t know the name of this 5% ABV and 24 IBU beer, but we can tell you it’ll be hitting the taps on Thursday. And if you’re a fan of GR’s Leave me Blue, their pre-prohibition Kentucky Corn Beer, you’ll find it on tap for Halifax Pride Week events including Comedy Night at Spatz on Thursday, the Bump at Garrison Grounds on Friday, and the Pride Parade on Saturday, among others. If the stocks somehow aren’t drunk dry from all of that, anything that remains will likely be put on tap at GR’s own taproom on Robie Street (but if you want to make sure you get some, we highly recommend checking out those Pride events!).
Down on the south shore of NS in Shelburne, Boxing Rock has a new beer out now, a collaboration with Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co called Floor to Shore! Using a grist of 100% Horton Ridge malt, this 4.5% ABV beer is a dry-hopped Hefeweizen which means it no doubt contains a significant portion of wheat. Look for a smooth, possibly almost creamy mouthfeel, and a distinct hop aroma from the dry hopping. This one is in bottles, so look for it at the brewery, possibly the private stores in Halifax, and no doubt in growlers at BR’s usual farmers market locations as well. And look for it to join several other Boxing Rock beers (featuring their malt) at Horton Ridge during a Tap Takeover July 28th from 12-8PM, with live music 3-5PM, and an Open Mic starting at 7PM.
And up towards the Valley in Digby Roof Hound has a new beer they’re calling Lucille. Described as a “Rhubarbed Mojito Sour”, it’s known to have quite a bite. You’ll be able to find it in bottles next week, but for now it’s only on tap at the brewery. Roof Hound was unfortunately broken into this past week, with damage done and things stolen. A new and interesting beer is another great reason to head down and show your support for Les and his hard-working team!!
Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a new beer available now, Breaker Room Grisette. This 4.3% ABV little sister to the Saison was brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, hopped with Strisselspalt, and fermented with New World Saison Yeast from Escarpment Labs. Brewed for French and Belgian miners, looking for a beer after their shifts underground, the style is ideal for delivering flavour and refreshment in a small package. Drop by their 92 West Street location for a pint of this and their other beers this weekend!
In cider news, Halifax’s ChainYard has a new and interesting cider hitting the taps that’s called Drunken Cherry. Featuring both house-made cherry wine and “rhumb” (unaged white rum) from neighboring Compass Distillers, it’s a 9.4% ABV robust and earthy brew with a hint of sour cherry. Fermenting juice to make wine before blending it into cider is a technique that’s fairly unique to Chain Yard and helps encourage a nuanced product that can be quite different from one where juice is added for primary or secondary fermentation. Look for the cherry to have brought cinnamon and nutmeg notes. You can try it for yourself on tap on Agricola Street where it’s pouring now!
Just one event to tell you about this weekend, but it’s a big one!
Port Rexton Brewing is celebrating their Second Anniversary this weekend, with Saturday being an all-day-party-and-new-beer-release-extravaganza! From noon until 12, there will be live music, magic shows, pop-up shops, fresh food, and more, plus the debut of not one, not two, not three, but four new beers!
– New-Foeder-Land is the first foeder-aged beer to be released in Newfoundland (and Canada’s most Easterly), an Imperial Farmhouse Ale
– High Fives is a Foeder-Aged Brettanomyces Kettle Sour
– Oatmeal Stout is a barrel-aged Oatmeal Stout, aged on local Partridgeberries
– Kölsch is the winning beer from the Newfermenters Home Brew Competition, brewed by Bill and Ryan late last month
Congratulations to the entire Port Rexton Family! And due to all hands needed at the brewery, their St John’s retail shop will be closed this weekend. But fear not, they’ll be open again next weekend, Friday 12-8PM and Saturday 12-6PM.
Just a few more Newsbites to tell you about today before we let you go:
Halifax’s North Brewing has brought back their Alloy Champagne IPA, with the second in this series a 6.0% IPA that is fermented extremely dry (low- to -no-residual sugar), thanks to the addition of an enzyme to break down complex sugars, making them more available to the yeast. This version features Callista, Huell Melon, and Vic Secret hops, and is available now at both their Agricola and Ochterloney Street locations. And speaking of their Dartmouth location, it is now open 7 days a week, from noon, for all of your bottle, cans, and growler needs.
Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is releasing their newest IPA today, Inception. Featuring loads of Falconers Flight, this 6.5% ABV IPA features notes of spice, citrus and dank, and is available on tap and in cans to go from the brewery now.
And a final “good news in the right direction” for inter-provincial beer, the provincial leaders agreed to raise the personal exemption limits for bringing beer across provincial borders last night, meaning fans can now move 49 litres of beer between provinces. No changes for breweries looking to ship beyond their provincial borders just yet, even though we’ve seen wineries and cideries in our region who ship country-wide, so maybe it is more of a case of “if no one complains, you can get away with it”. More at CBC News.