Secret Cove Brewing

All posts tagged Secret Cove Brewing

Howdy howdy folks, and welcome to another ACBeerBlog Friday Wrap-up where we blather on at length about as many of the beer happenings in Atlantic Canada as we were able to get details about. This week we’ve got a new brewery announcement, some collabs, the usual fresh releases, and a couple of events to tell you about, so grab a beer and get ready. But before you read further, we’d like to give you a heads-up that next week we’ll be taking one of our (ultra-)rare weeks off from the blog, so you’ll have to do your own social media mining for beer news on Friday, July 19. We’ll be back on the 26th, refreshed and ready to bring you our usual high quality reportage.

While details are a bit light at the moment, we are thrilled to share news of a soon-to-open brewery coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Delta Force Brewing is the culmination of well over a decade of recipe development and perfection of techniques by decorated homebrewers Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart. Concentrating on “farmshed” beers (think “farmhouse”, but smaller and with a local bent), Delta Force will serve the Valley and HRM before fall. Follow along on their social mediums for progress ( Fb / Ig / Tw ), and we’ll have a full Profile with Keddy and Stewart (aka Alexander and McCoy) closer to opening, with background on their beer, brewhouse, and plans. 

Lake City Cider celebrated their Anniversary this week, marking their cidery and taproom’s first year of operation with a tap takeover at fellow downtown Dartmouth business Battery Park. One of the ciders ahem beverages debuting yesterday was Hometown Hybrid, a collaborative graf brewed with North Brewing. Graf (or graff) is the melding of beer and cider, with the starting wort and juices fermented together for the best of both styles. Hometown Hybrid is a 5.0% ABV bevvie, and is available on tap and in cans today at both host fermentories, with kegs being sent out to licensees as well. And if you’re lucky, there may still be a few ciders on tap at BP to quench your thirst today.

Speaking of downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood Brewery shares a space with Lake City at 35 Portland Street, and is releasing a new beer today, a hybrid in its own way. Pineapple Crushable is a Sour Wheat Beer, but arrived at in a unique way. Using techniques developed a couple of years ago, the Brightwood crew used a SCoBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)  from Pop Culture Kombucha to first sour the wheat-heavy wort, before halting the process by boiling (and killing all bacteria and yeast). Yeast is then used to complete fermentation, generating alcohol instead of lactic acid as in the first step. After fermentation, loads of fresh pureed pineapple and Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops were added to the fermenter to round out the beer. Pick up this tart, fruity, and refreshing 4.7% ABV beer at the brewery’s taproom today for pints and growler fills, with cans to follow next week.

Last weekend’s Beer on the Bridge festival in Fredericton saw the debut of several new beers, one of which was the latest to come out of Harvey’s Think Brewing. Train of Thought is an American IPA brewed with a grist that includes flaked oats, and malted and flaked wheat, giving the beer a smooth body and slight haziness. Hopped with Citra and Amarillo, expect juicy and tropical aromas and flavours. No need to be upset if you missed this 6.9% ABV, 43 IBUs beer last weekend – it’ll be popping up at regular Think tap accounts across the province.

Tatamagouche Brewing, conveniently located located on Main Street Tatamagouche (that was good planning!), has a new brew out this week. Holiday Honeycomb is a 5.5% ABV Blonde Ale with all malts originating from the Valley’s Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. Featuring the addition of 60 lbs of honey (20 lbs in the kettle, 40 lbs in secondary) from Holiday Inn Truro’s hives, the beer was hopped with Saaz to 25 IBUs. Grab this one on tap at the brewery, partner hotel, and at better beer spots around the province (including Horton Ridge, Battery Park, Stillwell, and HopYard Halifax).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has spent the last few months releasing new and interesting things for you to drink and they’re continuing that trend this week with their Brut Rosé Sparkling Ale. This one has been inspired by classic light and easy summery rosé wines, perfect for this time of year. A “sparkling ale” (which we assume means more highly carbonated than your average ale), it carries the brut designation, implying a very dry body and finish, and a blush color provided by pinot noir grapes and hibiscus. Very light and refreshing at 4.4% ABV and a mere 8 IBU, limited kegs have been filled for Propeller’s own locations and, most likely, licensees around the city, but it’s also been packaged in 473 mL cans, which you can pick up at both Prop shops and hopefully the private stores in the city.

No one has ever accused Big Spruce Brewing of a lack of experimentation… or, if they have, they likely received a well-deserved smack! But with their latest beer, Slam Dunkel, they’ve even got us admitting that the “style” is one that likely hasn’t been seen before: a “Jamaican rum-barrel-aged Dunkel Wit”. This 7.3% ABV brew has a Dunkelweizen-type grist, fermented with a Witbier yeast strain. Aged for five months in dark rum barrels from Jamaica, the final beer has an aroma of chocolate-spiced rum cake, with lots of dried fruit and spice on the palate… and more rum! A touch warming in the finish, as you may expect, this dark beer is meant to be sipped on during these fine summer evenings. It’s available in kegs only, so look for it on tap at the brewery and a select few tap accounts in Nova Scotia. And in returning beer news for Big Spruce, their organic guava IPA, Guava Get Me Some (6.4% ABV), is back on tap and in cans, so grab some tropical goodness wherever you see it.

Moving westward to Amherst, where Trider’s has a brand new beer for you fans of American Wheat Ales out there. American Orange in Paris isn’t your typical wheat beer, however, as it was dry-hopped with the French variety, Triskel. While this hop is known for imparting citrus and floral character when used, the brewery decided to add a bit more punch with an addition of sweet orange peel. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it was fermented with a neutral American ale yeast to allow the hop and orange peel additions to shine. It’s draught-only for now, at the brewery tap room and maybe one or two lucky licensees.

Up in Fredericton, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go this week, the first to be designed and brewed solo by Matt Scott, secret squirrel member of the Niche team for the past few months (but not anymore!). Westfalia is a straight-up, classic Hefeweizen built on a grist of Pilsner and lots of malted and flaked wheat and fermented on Niche’s favorite Weizen yeast strain. Look for plenty of banana and clove presence from the yeast and a classic wheat-driven body in this 4.5% ABV refresher. Kegs of this are going out to The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peppers Pub, Brasseux BrouePub, and Graystone Brewing in New Brunswick, and folks in Halifax will also get a chance at this one thanks to Stillwell and The Auction House.

While it kinda feels like Port Rexton Brewing just opened yesterday, it also feels like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably just old age talking, but regardless of that, they’re turning the big 0-3 this Saturday, and you’re probably not too surprised to hear that they’ve got some celebratin’ planned! With four new beers, new glassware, and free cake – at both the taproom AND St. John’s retail shop – it’s fun times for all, guaranteed! Let’s dive into these beers and get started…

John Jacob Lichtenhainer Schmidt – Brewed with a portion of smoked malt, this is a 4.1% ABV sour beer that has “a limeade tartness” to contrast all of that delightful, smoky BBQ character

Dry-Hopped Baycation Blonde – Name gives it away, this is their regular Baycation Blonde that has been dry-hopped with Cascade and Azacca. The 5.2% ABV base beer is showing plenty of “grapefruit, peach, stone fruit and pineapple” thanks to that dry-hop addition, along with a little more bitterness than the non-dry-hopped version. 

Continuum w/ Mandarina Bavaria – The latest in the Continuum series, a whole whack of Mandarina Bavaria (along with some Simcoe) was added in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry hop additions. Hazy, bitter, and 5.6% ABV, this IPA has notes of mandarin orange and wildflower in the aroma, along with “tropical mango/pineapple, apricot and rose” on the palate. 

2019 High Fives – Some of you may recall that for their 2nd birthday bash, PRB released High Fives as a tribute to their customers (that’s you!); this year’s batch is another “thank you” to the people they love and appreciate! A mixed-fermentation Farmhouse Ale that was aged for 11 months in their Calvados foeder on their Brett-packed house culture, it’s finally ready, just in time! Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it’s showing lots of Brett character, with “undertones of oak, apple brandy, and pear” in the aroma. Expect a dry cider-like experience in the flavour, with “Champagne-esque vibes backed up by green apple Jolly Rancher/kiwi/green grape skin”.  

All of these birthday beers will be available on tap, and will be sold as 12 oz pours only… at a discount! If you get there nice and early, however (i.e. you’re one of the first 40 people through the door), you’ll be given a special 16 oz PRB birthday mason jar, which you’ll not only be allowed to take home, but you’ll also have filled at the 12 oz price all day! When the birthday brews sell out, there’ll be other PRB flagships ready to go on, to ensure the beer/fun keeps flowing. Happy birthday, PRB!

Earlier this week, Maybee Brewing released the second beer in their barrel-aged series, Maple Bourbon Elevensies. As you may have guessed from the name, this beer is their regular Espresso Stout, Elevensies, aged in Maple Bourbon barrels (more specifically, Kentucky Bourbon barrels which previously held Vermont maple syrup). The beer was fermented in stainless, then moved into barrels where it went through a brief, secondary fermentation, and then was allowed to age in the barrels for seven months. Carbonated before packaging, this dark brew has aromas of maple syrup, Bourbon, and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate and caramel, all supported by notes of oak. Both the oak and maple carry through to the flavour, with a low level of carbonation allowing the barrel character to be more prevalent. At 6% ABV and 41 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery right now in 750 mL cork & cage bottles, and is also pouring on one of their nitro taps. Look for kegs to make their way to select tap accounts across NB over the coming weeks.

Brand new bottle release from Halifax’s Tidehouse this week, a 7.5% ABV Double IPA named It Was All A Dream. A tropical, juicy brew hopped heavily with El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Ella, it’s available exclusively at the brewery. You can purchase some 650 mL bottles to go, or stay for a visit in the taproom and sip on a glass. Growler fills are available as well, but limited to the 1 L size.

Congratulations are in order, as homebrewer Derek Woods’ winning D Rock Dunkel has been released. Gahan House in Charlottetown hosted Woods as he won the Maritime Home Brew Challenge in the fall, with his 5.7% ABV Dunkel taking top honours. Woods reports that the experience was great, and “Brewmaster Trent Hayes let me get my hands dirty on brew day and the Gahan team gave me a healthy dose of Island hospitality”. Cans of the brew are currently available at the host brewery in Charlottetown, as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, and the three Gahan locations in New Brunswick (Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton). Fingers crossed that it will also be available at the Nova Centre location soon. And if you want the chance to brew up a full batch with Hayes in 2020, check out the details of this year’s Challenge, submitting your best IPA (any style), Mixed Fermented/Sour, or Stout by October 27th. Check out their website for more information.

And speaking of homebrewers, and those looking to transition away from amateur brewing and making it a career, The Capital Complex in Fredericton is adding a 4 BBL (500 litre) brewhouse to their portfolio. Take a look at their Assistant Brewer job posting on Indeed, package up some of your homebrews to share. They are focusing on easy-drinking Pale Ales to start, with expansion of the offerings to come later.

We don’t have a whole lot of events to report on this week, or at least we didn’t manage to find out about a whole lot, but as always, check your favorite breweries’ social media pages to see what they’ve got going on.

We’re a little late to be mentioning this one, as online ticket sales have ended, but this weekend marks the 3rd edition of the Big Axe Beer Festival in Nackawic, NB. Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in Atlantica Canada, it’s taking place near the World’s Biggest Axe on the shores of the Saint John River. Taking place tomorrow, July 13th, from 4 PM (gates open at 2 PM), attendees are welcome to roll on up via the river, by car, or by one of the several buses they’ve got running from Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John/Quispamsis, and Moncton. More than 35 producers, mostly of beer and cider, but with some mead as well, will be pouring, with representation from all Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the State of Maine. Tickets are still available for the Friday Night Kickoff Party featuring Denum tonight starting at 6 PM.

Thanks to the brewers in our region, we in Atlantic Canada can celebrate the IPA style all year round, but as some may know, there has been a movement, started by Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. in 2011, to designate the first Thursday in August as International IPA Day. This year #IPADay falls on August 1 and Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has decided to celebrate it in style at The Carleton in Halifax. Chef Dolente will be on-hand introducing his five-course dinner menu paired with five unique beers in the India Pale Ale style from Propeller, with beer sommelier Pat Robichaud providing insight into the pairings. Only 20 tickets are available for this intimate dinner, so if you’re interested it’s best that you act quickly; cost is $60 per person plus tax (gratuity included) and tickets can be purchased online on The Carleton website.

And, as is our wont, we end with a few final items to inform and possibly influence your beer buying this weekend:

Good Robot is pouring Nova Scoby at their taproom this weekend, which is a blend of Pale Ale with Goodmore’s Black Sage Lavender Kombucha. At 4% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s refreshing and easy-drinking… and maybe good for your belly!

Grimross has brought back Grimdonk (6.5% ABV, 17 IBUs), their award-winning (from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards) Belgian Blonde. “Golden, crisp and dry, with balanced fruity and spicy notes”, it’s available now on draft and in cans at the brewery, with cans heading out to ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future. 

As a follow-up to last week’s mention of Dream Time, the DIPA collaboration between Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl, Landwash is pleased to announce the release of the version of that beer that they brewed on their system, packaged in cans. Look for it at the brewery as soon as they can get the labels on to ‘em!

And on the West Coast of the Rock, Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Newfoundland Light & Sour, a 3.8% ABV Berliner Weisse with loads of local Marsh Berries. Grab a pint or fill at the brewery in Port Au Port, and you may be lucky enough to see it in Central or the Avalon too!

What a difference a week makes! From dreary drizzly weather, to beautiful 20C+ weather in all 4 Atlantic provinces, this is definitely the weekend to get outside and enjoy it. Whether that means hitting a local taproom patio, or grabbing cans, bottles, or growler fills from your local brewery and hitting the lake, we hope you have an awesome safe beer-filled weekend!

Gahan’s Halifax location opened on the weekend, in the downtown Nova Centre at Argyle/Prince/Market/Sackville streets. After closing their Harbourfront location in the spring, they upgraded the brewing equipment with some sweet new brewhouse gear (increasing capacity from their former cramped location), as well as some 1,000 litre foeders from PEI’s own New World Foeders. While the ‘fax-brewed-beers haven’t hit the taps quite yet, they are pouring the full complement of Island beers from their core lineup, beers from the other Gahan locations in PEI and New Brunswick, as well as guest taps. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / Ig / Tw ) and here, of course, for updates on their next big releases brewed by roving Gahan Brewer Spencer Gallant. One of those releases is the return of Sin Bin, their 4.4% ABV German Kolsch in celebration of the PEI Mudmen Rugby Team, of which Gallant is a member. Look for the beer on tap and in cans at the PEIBC locations on the Island, and further afield soon, no doubt.

Speaking of Mr. Gallant, we have great news to share on his plans to branch out (pun intended). Gallant is teaming up with friends and business partners Jared Murphy and Dillon Wight to bring another Island brewery to life later this year. Lone Oak Brewing Company will have its home base in Borden-Carlton, at 103 Abegweit Blvd in the Gateway Village, with a brewery, taproom, and retail location opening in the fall. As their name implies, wood will be a big component of the beers available, with their barrel-aged line set to be released in Spring 2020. In the meantime, peep their progress on all of the media (Fb / Ig / Tw ) and ready yourselves to a new place to stop on your way to, or from, the Island.

It’s pretty grand cider weather out there lately, and Annapolis Cider Company has released the latest entry in their Something Different series, just in the nick of time! This latest cider is Cherry & Coriander, which is made from a blend of their flagship Crisp & Dry (featuring fresh-pressed juice from Northern Spy, McIntosh, and Cortland apples) and the juice of Montmorency cherries (a sour cherry variety). This 7.3% ABV blend was then cold-steeped with crushed coriander seeds, contributing “lemony citrus aromas” to the final product, which also has notes of tart cherry, citrus, and spice. And as with all Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill goes towards a local charitable recipient; this cider’s contribution will support the Wolfville School Activity Park

Attention, Milkshake IPA fanatics! Big Spruce Brewing is pouring fresh samples of their latest, I Scream, You Screamsicle, a 7.2% ABV IPA sweetened with lactose in the boil, hopped and dry-hopped with high levels of Nugget, Mosaic and El Dorado, and featuring an addition of vanilla and organic blood orange concentrate. Swing on by the taproom this weekend while touring beautiful Cape Breton, grab yourself a pint of this silky smooth brew, and take in the citrus and vanilla flavours… and the view! If you can’t make it to the brewery, we kinda sorta understand, and fear not: kegs will also be making their way to some of your favourite Big Spruce licensees. Also, good news for those of you who missed the limited run of The Hour of Sour when it was released back in March, as this mixed-fermentation sour conditioned on organic raspberries is back on tap. At 6.3% ABV, they like to describe it as The Silver Tart’s “cool grown-up Aunt” – funky, lots of raspberry, with a subtle lavender presence.

Now that it’s finally getting hot out there, you’ll probably notice an increase in fruity, refreshing, “summery” beers from the breweries in our region, and Dartmouth’s North Brewing is no exception. Today sees the release of Nordic Tea Saison, an interesting-sounding beer that was brewed with a small amount of honey, and fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik Blend from Escarpment Labs. The finished beer was also conditioned on fresh lemon and grapefruit zest (with the emphasis on lemon), and received an addition of an Earl Gray tincture, made with tea from the World Tea House. Coming in at 5.4% ABV, you can grab cans at the North bottle shops, and seek it out on tap at several North accounts, including Battery Park, Stillwell, and the Board Room Game Cafe.

St. John’s, Newfoundland’s new brewery on the block, Bannerman Brewing, has wasted no time getting into the collaboration game with a beer coming out this week that they brewed with the fine folks from Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery. Dream Time is being called a Lactose DIPA, no doubt thanks to an addition of lactic sugar. Hops-wise this one features a “healthy amount” of Galaxy and Sabro, which should provide aromas and flavors of tropical fruit and coconut, a perfect complement to the sweetness of the sugar. They celebrated the release of this one at the brewery by inviting the gang from Landwash down for a tap takeover last night with 6 Landwash brews and 6 of Bannerman’s own taps running, and some Brackish cask action. Hopefully, if you were in the St. John’s area yesterday evening you took advantage of an awesome chance to try some beer from two of Newfoundland’s newest! Otherwise, maybe think about heading down today and seeing what leftovers might be pouring! And for those looking for even more, Landwash will be releasing their version of this home-and-home collaboration shortly, with a full can release to boot.

On the other side of the Rock, in Port au Port East, Secret Cove Brewing also has a new beer on tap this week. Described in style as a “Devoted Pale Ale,” Oat to Newfoundland is inspired by Newfoundland’s official anthem, which is usually publicly performed by singing the first verse and the last; this beer is intended to be delicious from the first sip to the last. At 4.9% ABV you’ll be able to have a few and still sing clearly. It’s got a smooth and silky mouthfeel, a distinctive orange color, and has been triple dry hopped with classic American varieties perfect for a light and hoppy summer ale. You’ll find it on tap at the brewery now alongside the return of their Hard Case in Your Face DIPA.

In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing has announced that their bottle program will officially kick off today with the release of El Tipico. Similar to their draught/can beer El Generico, El Tipico will be an ever-changing sour beer series. Unlike EG, however, ET is not a kettle-soured brew, meaning that while it was indeed soured with Lactobacillus (in this case, a blend from Escarpment Labs), the wort was not boiled afterward in order to kill the Lactobacillus before fermentation. Instead, it was fermented with the brewery’s house ale yeast, and then allowed to age on tart cherries for four weeks. The beer was then carbonated via CO2 (although it did pick up some natural carb thanks to the refermentation from the fruit addition) and packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles. The final product exhibits “an increased complexity and softer acidity”, compared to EG, according to the brewery, along with plenty of citrus fruit on the nose and palate, with a “refreshing, smooth sour/tartness” in the finish. Bottles are available at the brewery as of 11 am this morning, and it’ll also be pouring on tap for pints (no growler fills). 

Hold on, TW isn’t content to stop there this week! They’re also bringing us a brand new canned beer to help you through these hot summer days, Fandango. It’s a 4% ABV brew that was dry-hopped with a new-to-TW hop combo (including a new hop that they’re keeping a secret for now… although we have a good guess!), and then hit with an addition of mango puree. Showing notes of “coconut, tangerine, mango and papaya”, it’s hitting taps/shelves at the brewery at the same time as El Tipico. Finally, TW’s Citra-only American IPA, Seeing Citra, is also freshly available, so you’ve got a wide variety to keep you interested when you drop in this weekend. 

Hopping back over to Nova Scotia, or more specifically, Stellarton, where Backstage Brewing Co. has a new Session IPA out to help you beat the summer heat. Stiff Hopper Lip was brewed with a hefty portion of oats in the grist, helpful in low ABV beers (in this case, 4.3%) to boost the mouthfeel and add a silkiness that demands another sip or six. Hopped in the whirlpool with Centennial, Columbus, Citra and Simcoe, it was then dry-hopped with all four varieties, as well as some Amarillo. Fermented with two different IPA yeast strains, you can probably expect all sorts of fruit/citrus flavours, and maybe even some dank in there, too. If you’re out for a drive this weekend and passing by the brewery, we suggest dropping in to pick some of this one up!

And staying in Pictou County, across the causeway from Stellarton (or down the 104 and up Highway 376 if you like the alternative inland scenic route), Uncle Leo’s Brewery has a new beer pouring in Lyon’s Brook that they just tapped yesterday. Although largely known for their classic American and German styles, this one has its roots in another European country. The aptly-named Odin’s Summer Ale is a table beer in the Norwegian style, leveraging the (very) warm-fermenting Kveik yeast that’s been all the rage lately along with some traditional juniper, in ground form. Ultra-light, at just 3.8% ABV, this coppery-colored beer with spicy and fruity notes is a perfect patio beer for this weekend’s heat wave. Come by the brewery and grab a growler (big or little), as it’s not in cans yet, but will be shortly. And while your there, by all means grab a few of Uncle Leo’s other award-winning offerings – their Ceilidh Kolsch and Sunburst Pale Ale are both lovely summer crushers as well and Encore IPA will make any hophead sit up and take notice.

The fine folks behind Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar have been involved in several collaborating brews since they opened sixteen years ago, and today marks yet another notch in their collab cap with a release from Garrison Brewing. Boardwalk Empire is being billed as a hoppy Hefeweizen, and was brewed recently with the staff from Bishop’s. With a classic Weizen grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, it was hopped not-so-classically with decent amounts of German varietals Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, and Mandarina Bavaria (to 14 IBUs). Another great summer sipper, it’s showing aromas of banana, clove, and bubblegum (expected in a Weizen), as well as melon, pear, grapefruit and pine (maybe not expected!), all supported by a “lingering earthy, resinous, and peppery bitterness”. Sound tasty? Well, the 5.5% ABV beer available as of today in 473 mL cans, exclusively at Bishop’s Cellar and Garrison now. 

Down in Lunenburg, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Shipwright Brewing continues to put out new stuff on a fairly frequent basis, especially for a small operation. Slipway Brut IPA is exactly what it says in the name, an IPA brewed to dry out almost completely. For additional interest, though, brewer Kellye Robertson applied two yeasts: first, a primary fermentation with Northwest Ale and then a krausening with the Belgian Ardennes strain, a technique bound to provide some extra complexity in a beer designed to be light in body. Also a hop showcase, it was hopped solely with Hallertau Blanc, known for white wine characteristics that should be complemented nicely by the extra yeast character. With notes of banana, lemongrass, gooseberry and passionfruit, the beer comes in at 6.6% ABV and 30 IBU with a dry finish and a “bright, but balanced bitterness.” Find it on tap at the Grand Banker and for pints or to go (Crowlers & Growlers) from the brewery itself.

Upstreet has teamed up with the Inn at Bay Fortune – a long-running restaurant/inn located in Bay Fortune, PEI – to brew a special beer, FireWorks Farmhouse Saison. Brewed with “fresh flavours from their farm and fires”, it features Herkules and Calypso hops, was fermented with a custom yeast blend of Kveik and French Saison from Escarpment Labs, and was based on a grist of 2-row barley malt and wheat malt from Shoreline Malting along with some Golden Naked Oats and rye malt. But wait, there’s more! Locally foraged elderberries and sumac, sea salt produced at the Inn, and some applewood from the Inn’s property and toasted on-site provide all kinds of complexity to this well-carbonated brew. You might notice any or all of apple, pear, banana, soft black pepper and white bread on the aroma, and flavors of orchard fruit, and zesty black pepper, with hints of vanilla and golden toast rounding out the palate. Hazy, very lightly bitter at only 10 IBU, and boasting a 6% ABV, it will be available in bottles only at the Inn, as well as Upstreet’s taproom and the Craft Beer Corner, starting tomorrow

If you’re of a certain age in Nova Scotia (not sure about the other Atlantic Canadian Provinces), you might have memories of a product called Golden Glow. Well, let’s be really really honest about it, if the name “Golden Glow” means something to you, any associated memories are probably EXTREMELY hazy at best. Originally produced from the 1930s (yes, you read that right) to the 80s by Chipman Wines in Kentville, NS, it was a (very) hard cider coming in at 15.5% ABV. The last pressing took place in 2007 under the banner of Andres, who bought the brand in 1983 and moved production to Truro. We like to think there’s some bottles of the original still out there, immune to the ravages of time and ready to spice up somebody’s evening in a dramatic way. But even if there’s not, Bad Apple Brewhouse has come to the rescue! Claiming to have finally cracked the code and developed an apple blend that is worthy of the name. Somerset’s Golden Glow Revival is a new hard cider with a taste of the past. Available in small and sleek cans from The Core in Wolfville and, we expect, the brewery in Somerset, we don’t have an ABV listing on this, but given the clear reverence they’ve got for the original (and their decision not to provide growler fills), we’d be surprised if it wasn’t in the same neighborhood as its forebearer. Grab a couple and remember what you forgot!!

What’s going on this weekend (and next month)? Here’s the scoop!

St. John’s favourite Inn / Restaurant / Bar, The Guv’nor on Elizabeth Avenue, is hosting a Newfoundland Craft Beer Tap Takeover this weekend, kicking off today at 4 PM. Featuring ten taps from ten Nfld breweries, this is the perfect opportunity to taste your way across the island without leaving home. Find out more details here, including how you can win yourself a stay and breakfast just for supporting your local pub and breweries!

Fredericton’s Beer on the Bridge returns this weekend, and they certainly picked a perfect date for the fun! Tomorrow, Saturday July 6, from 6 – 9 PM, more than 30 Maritime breweries, cideries, and distilleries are taking over the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, pouring their best for you. Tickets are still available here, so grab yours now to avoid disappointment! 

A quick heads up that will have Newfoundland beer fans looking forward even more to next month’s Royal St. John’s Regatta. It was announced that the Newfoundland Craft Brewers Association will be running the beer tent at the Regatta on August 7th. And earlier this week, almost all of the breweries in the province, plus several who are planning on opening later this year, came together at Landwash Brewery to brew up a collaborative beer. This Mexican Lager will be hitting the tents next month, so keep your ears peeled for more details then!

Just a coupla more things today…

Good Robot has re-released their collaboration with the Limestone Group, Flavabot: Pink Flamingo. This watermelon kiwi Radler was originally brewed to honour the national bird of the Bahamas, and at 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, is great for summer sipping.

Hammond River Brewing has just released Enkel Tom’s Cabin, a Patersbier (aka Enkel or Belgian Single) that is basically the Belgian form of a lawnmower beer. This refreshing, pale-coloured, hazy beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 14 IBUs, and was the winning entry in this year’s annual HRB Homebrew Competition. Originally designed by Fredericton’s Matt Stever, who was on hand for the brew day at HRB, you can find it on tap now at the brewery, as well as local tap accounts.

Bridgewater’s King Street Beer Company (a partnership with Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company) are coming through on their promise to invite local homebrewers in to brew a beer on their system under the Lahave River Beers banner. Gillian Crouse and Gillian Varner put together a recipe for a Belgian Blonde Ale infused with Mangoes that they’re calling Man-Goes Wild (see what they did there?). That beer goes on tap tonight at 6:30 PM at the brewery where you can sit on the patio and enjoy this light and refreshing brew. 

Niche Brewing has brought back a lighter beer to beat the heat this weekend, the Grisette they call Mines of Wallonia. At just 3.6% ABV, leaning on a grist of Pilsner, spelt and malted oats, and fairly hoppy thanks to Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the French Saison yeast strain. Look for it on tap wherever you’re used to seeing Niche beers.

Nine Locks released their politest beer yet yesterday, an “East Coast IPA” named Frig Off (6.7% ABV, 30 IBUs). Brewed with oats and wheat in the grist and dry-hopped to “massive” proportions, its hazy, silky, with a light bitterness in the finish, and a whole whack of citrus and tropical hop flavour. Available exclusively at the brewery on tap and in cans. 

Petit-Sault has a brand new brewery-only beer pouring for the weekend, a hazy Session IPA named Rock Ways. Dry-hopped with Ekuanot and Azacca, it comes in at a supremely-sessionable 3.3% ABV. Growlers and pints right now!

Rockbottom has their first new beer on tap in awhile, Nova Anglia. A New England IPA that was hopped with lots of Huell Melon and Ekuanot once the boil was complete, this hazy, bright yellow beverage is tasting very juicy, with lots of that lovely, fruity hop flavour that you’re constantly craving.

Tusket Falls released Watch Me Work Now, a 4.2% ABV Gose brewed with additions of grapefruit rind, in early June. Well, it’s back again, and this time there’s plenty of cans headed out to NSLC stores across the province. Tart and refreshing, there’s tangerine, lime, and grapefruit on the palate.

New beer pouring at Yellowbelly, an Amber Lager named Float Your Boat (5.3% ABV, 30 IBUs). Designed by brewer Dave Hale, it’s available for pints and growlers. 

Jason Hynes and his wife Sheila Dwyer were marking the third month of operation as I visited Secret Cove Brewing in Port au Port East on a cold and windy March evening. Having just taken a walk on The Gravels Trail at the start of the Port-au-Port Peninsula, I was ready to come in out of the cold and have a pint. Thankfully, there were five Secret Cove beers on tap ready to slake my thirst. With so many to choose from, a flight was in order; but before I even had a chance to take off my coat and put in my request, a local already at the bar had deftly extracted my name, hometown, what I did for a living, and my reason for being there. This is the sort of hospitality I’ve come to love about Newfoundland: folks want to know all about you, so they can make you part of the family. As a CFA (Come From Away), I was well used to it, and happily played along.

Sample Flight

Once I was thoroughly vetted, I got down to the serious business at hand, enjoying this beer from the extreme West Coast of Newfoundland. Pouring that evening were James Blonde 00709Malt Water Joys Brown Ale, When in StoutHop a Ryed in my Dory Double IPA with Rye, and Hard Case In Your Face Double IPA. The taps also showcased a pair of beers from another Newfoundland brewery, Cormack’s Crooked Feeder Western Brook Wheat and White River Wit, but those would have to wait for another evening.

Music Stage

Secret Cove’s tagline is “Where Locals Play” and I soon learned why. A stage is setup near the door, outlined by a stack of kegs, with a backdrop of whale bones (donated by a local) and the last of the St Patrick’s Day decorations (I could only imagine the party that night!). The donated pieces don’t stop there, with the the decor showcasing fishing and navigation with industrial accents, including a dory and lobster trap, Hynes’ father’s fishing jig and reel, plus a chunk of purpleheart wood Dwyer’s father gathered on Chacachacare, while sailing between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. That same wood is used, unstained, as the accent on their locally-crafted tap handles.

Hynes and his father spent 13 months renovating the former Viking Lodge, which had sat empty and unused for several years. Tearing up the original carpet and wood, opting for poured concrete in the brewery and Newfoundland hardwood in the taproom, floor boards became accent walls, former walls became accent door frames. The back rooms, used for dry storage, and soon a kitchen where they will be preparing food for visitors, are still largely untouched, a gentle reminder of the building’s former tenant.

Looking into the brewery

The walls feature pictures of the Vikings hardball team, a throwback to the strong American influence in the area, thanks to the American base in nearby Stephenville, which operated 1941-1966. The airmen were there protecting the Straight of Belle Isle, among other tasks, but still had plenty of time to leave base and interact with the locals, bringing their national pastime to this corner of the world. We can imagine some family in Kentucky enjoying fish and brewis thanks this this cultural exchange.

Brewhouse

The brewery is visible through the windows of the large taproom, and Hynes will often take curious folks back there for a closer look. The brewhouse is a 10 barrel (1200 litre) system from DME Brewing Solutions, which they received just a couple of months before that PEI business went into receivership, meaning the Hynes men were mostly on their own installing and commissioning it (DME’s brewery equipment operation has recently been purchased and is working at getting back to capacity). They also faced a shortage of local tradespeople, as many of those trained were working on the mainland, in the Maritimes, Ontario, or Alberta, which strained the local companies to provide service in a timely manner. This pushed their opening date to later than anticipated, into December, rather than Summer, which is a common refrain heard from local breweries.

Coldroom door

Secret Cove is a Newfoundland good news story in the age-old style, as Hynes grew up in here Port au Port East and left for schooling at Memorial University before leaving the province for work, but has come home to open his brewery. While living in Nova Scotia he witnessed the explosion of craft beer and had taken up brewing as a hobby, amassing a book full of recipes honed during years of practice. After many years away, his line of work was no longer rewarding, so coming back home with his wife meant becoming his own boss, and turning his passion for beer into a professional reality. While the number of hours spent working may not have diminished, being in control and seeing the immediate positive impact his handiwork has had on his community is worth it. The stage has played host to countless musicians since the brewery’s opening on December 19th, with a mix of touring professionals and “kitchen party” fiddlers and guitarists playing their first paid gig, always with a happy audience ready to sing and dance along. Secret Cove truly is a place where locals, and CFAs, play.

Decorations

Secret Cove is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 4 PM (2 PM Sundays). They feature five or six of their own beers (two additional serving tanks are on their way to increase availability), with a few guest Newfoundland craft beers rounding out the offerings. Growler fills are available, with canning a possibility in Fall of this year. Food service is not yet available, but food can be brought along or ordered in. They often host live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, check their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.

Malt Water Joys