Good morning, and welcome to what feels like the first official Friday of fall! We’re a little late getting your weekly dose of beer news to you, but sometimes life outside of beer gets in the way of beer, so we’re quite sure you’ll understand. So, with that being said, let’s get right to it!
• Annapolis Brewing Company, located in historic Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, is now open and selling growlers to the public. Brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litres) system in a historic building at 438 George Street, they currently have four beers available for purchase: McCormick’s Blonde, Acadian Honey Brown, King George Porter, and Ceasefire IPA. We’ll have a full profile of with the ABC crew next week, and in the meantime watch their FB and Twitter pages for updates. Welcome to the local beer scene, Annapolis Brewing!
• And in the “Coming Soon” category for breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House will be opening in Lower Sackville, NS, in the coming weeks. Owner and brewer Keith Forbes has been involved in the homebrewing community for almost a decade, an avid member of the Brewnosers club. Forbes is currently brewing on a 120 litre home-built system in his basement, and eyeing expansion next year. Kegs at local bars and restaurants will be the primary way to try the OBB beer for this year, with growlers thereafter. We’ll have a full Profile with Forbes closer to launch date, with all of the details on his history, beers he’ll have available, and his journey to opening. Cheers!
• Up by the Isthmus of Chignecto, Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has joined the ranks of the pumpkin pushers with their Pumpkin Ale-ixer an ostensibly amber ale with a seasonal twist. Make no mistake about its provenance, however, this is a true-blue pumpkin beer featuring freshly harvested pumpkin that were hand-roasted with just the right amount of brown sugar before being added to the boil. Hopped entirely, but lightly, with UK variety Fuggles for an earthy, herby hop character, and then dosed with a secret tincture of fresh organic spices, this beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 10 IBU. It’s available now from the brewery in 500 mL bottles and there are twenty or so kegs that will make their way to tap accounts around the region. Cheers to Samhain!
• Returning for the season is Roof Hound Brewery‘s KelticDevil Pumpkin-Spiced Latte Strong Porter (say that 3 times fast!). Featuring pumpkin, vanilla beans, 2 kg of coffee from local roaster Sissiboo Coffee, and lactose (milk sugar) for that full PSL appeal, the tongue in cheek name is an ode to local beer-tographer and -fan Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and his dis-love of all things pumpkin. Roof Hound will be celebrating the release tonight with a showing of the cult classic “Friday the 13th” from 1980. The beer launches today, with the movie starting at 9PM. And speaking of KelticDevil and his co-horts Kyle and Tony, their 902 BrewCast October Tasting episode was released this morning. This month’s episode features a chat on all things glassware with visiting Certified Cicerone® Crystal Luxmore. Grab it here, or check your favourite podcasting app.
• After opening their brewery back in August, the folks behind Half Cocked Brewing are introducing their first new brew. Appropriately named First Harvest, it’s a DIPA that was first-wort-hopped (a process where hops are added as the wort runs off from the mash, before the boil has begun) with Columbus and Warrior, with “massive” late and whirlpool additions of freshly-picked Cascade, along with some Centennial, Chinook, and Galena. Double-dry-hopped with more Columbus, the resulting 8.3% ABV beer is dank and grassy, and should be on tap at the brewery for growler fills any time now (if it’s not already!).
• Big Spruce released two new beers last Friday, literally minutes after our post went out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t update you on them now! First up is Guava Get Me Some IPA, an American IPA featuring lots of late hop additions (we tried to find out which ones, but they ain’t tellin’!), as well as organic guava, expect plenty of tropical aromas and flavours in this one. Secondly is Wild Wild Wit, a Farmhouse Ale fermented with Big Spruce’s proprietary wild yeast. After the yeast completed their job, the beer was racked into Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay barrels for 2 months. “Smooth, floral, and easy-drinking” at just 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, drop by the brewery for a taste of this one (and the other!), or search around Halifax, where some lucky spots have them on tap.
• Attesting to the growing popularity of the style, there’s more and more New England IPAs being brewed across the Maritimes, and Big Axe has just released their take, Roll in the Hay IPA. Brewed with Pale malt and Flaked Oats, it was hopped-heavily with Lemondrop, a new-ish variety that boasts the character that you’re probably expecting from the name! Along with the lemon aroma, the brewery says a big blast of papaya, creating the classic juicy characteristics of an NEIPA. Weighing in low for the style at 5.2% ABV, drop by the brewery in Nackawic for a taste or growler (and check out their expansion progress!), and seek it out at your favourite Big Axe account.
• And speaking of Lemondrop, let’s move over to Yarmouth, NS, where Heritage Brewing is releasing a test batch of a Lemondrop single-hopped beer, Lemondrop Pale Ale. With a simple malt profile, the Lemondrop hops come through perfectly with a “subtle, lemony-citrusy-floral aroma”. Quite drinkable at 5% ABV and only 18 IBUs, it is available at the brewery now for samples and growler fills. It joins their other recent release, Zero Kilometre Cream Ale, a 5.4% ABV quaffer. A light and refreshing complement to their Blonde, it features a mild hop character and light malt profile. Also available now at the brewery, it was also pouring at friendly-brewery-friend Hell Bay in Liverpool earlier this week. Speaking of which …
• Hell Bay has announced that for their Oktoberfest, happening next Saturday, Oct 21, they will be launching a special one-off beer. A dark Witbier, it is brewed in the style of a traditional Belgian Wit (think half Wheat malt, orange peel and coriander added), but with an addition of Chocolate malt for a darker colour and light chocolate and roast flavours. The best way to guarantee a taste of the Fest-bier is to head to the brewery from noon to midnight on Saturday, though there may be some left for those of you unable to attend. There will be plenty of beers pouring, as well as special food available all day, with music throughout the day. The event is indoors and out, with a big tent to keep everyone dry in case of inclement weather.
• We hinted at a new fruit beer coming from TrailWay last Friday, and that beer has now been released. It’s the latest iteration of their 3.8% ABV fruited kettle-sour, El Generico, with this batch featuring the addition of almost 200 lbs of blackberries and rhubarb. It just dropped yesterday in cans, growlers, and pints at the brewery, and as always with this brand, it’s a limited release, so drop by soon to make your purchase. A few kegs will also likely pop up at licensees around Fredericton.
• Picaroons has brought back their seasonal pumpkin-spiced brew, Gourd Browny, featuring a “new and improved recipe”. A medium-bodied, 5.6% ABV Brown Ale, it was spiced with “modest” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Released late last week just in time to pair with Thanksgiving meals, it should still be on tap at both Picaroons locations in Fredericton, as well as bars and restaurants in the city.
• If you’re in St. John’s, keep your eyes open for an upcoming new beer from YellowBelly. An IPA brewed to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Crow’s Nest, a formerly-private club in the city that has been transformed into a military museum, it was brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan, and hopped with East Kent Golding and Bramling Cross. With one dry-hop down, and presumably another to go, look for this one – currently unnamed – to pop up on tap at the brewpub within a couple of weeks.
• Halifax’s 2 Crows has a couple things on the go this week, in both large and small batch formats. First, on the small side, brewery assistant Nick Ogden devised a cunning beer called Oceanspray, a saison that features a couple of locally-foraged ingredients. Starting a fairly standard (for 2 Crows, anyway) malt bill of Pilsner, wheat, rye and, of course, oats, the beer was fermented with their house saison culture, before conditioning on pineapple weed and juniper berries. Keg conditioning took place with champagne yeast for extra effervescence. Now, you probably know what juniper berries are, but we’re guessing you might be wondering what pineapple weed is. Google image search it, folks, and consider how many times you’ve stomped on it growing between the cracks on a sidewalk. It certainly earns its name as you’ll discover if you try this beer. Pineapple-y, slightly earthy, and featuring some pine and resinous notes, this is a tasty little beer at 5.4% ABV and 21 IBU. Only two 50 L kegs were produced and it’s only available by the glass at 2 Crows.
• And on the large side, tomorrow marks the release of Bonanza, a massive beer in the wheatwine style that’s been aged 3 months in one of the locally-famous 2 Crows Calvados foedres. At 11.4% and 64 IBU, this is not a beer for the faint of heart. The grist was largely composed of (a lot of) wheat malt, with Pilsner, Vienna and oat malt (of course) providing interest. It was hopped during the boil with modern European Hallertau Blanc and classic American Centennial and initially fermented with an English yeast before being fed both a wild yeast and a wine yeast to finish. Dry-hopping included more Hallertauer Bland along with Simcoe and a touch of Citra. It features a sweet and round nose, with fruity esters, a mouth-filling and velvety body, and barrel character that presents on both the nose and the palate. Warmth and patience bring out the hops. It will be available in cans tomorrow at the brewery; we suggest grabbing at least two: one for now and one to put away for a little while to see how it mellows; we suspect the answer will be, “quite nicely.”
• Time for your weekly update on next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday from Good Robot: Don’t Call Me Wit was brewed by Matt Chapple and Kelly C., with a grist of 2-row, Wheat, Black Patent, and Midnight Wheat. Bittered with Galaxy, Summit, and Vic Secret to 35 IBUs, it was dry-hopped with more Summit and Vic Secret. Obviously not your typical Witbier (the two dark malts alone should give that away!), expect a “piney, fruit flavour and aroma, with a clean Wit body”.
• Are you ready to rumble? Upstreet is releasing their third collaboration with Boxing Rock just in time for the weekend, as Rumble in the Alley III is hitting tap accounts in PEI and Halifax. For this iteration, they’ve brewed up a SMaSH Belgian IPA, with Pilsner malt and Azacca hops being the stars of the show, along with “a newly available Belgian yeast” that is new to breweries in our region, according to Upstreet. With a ripe stone fruit hop profile, some fruity esters from the yeast, and a very dry finish, this 6% ABV, 30 IBUs brew is the perfect way to celebrate two local breweries working together. Look for it at the breweries and growler stations in both the HRM and PEI.
• With this year’s Nocture: Art at Night set to kick off tomorrow, Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is once again releasing a beer to celebrate. Taking a slight detour from the Dark Lager of old, this year’s batch is a Black IPA. Nocturne Black IPA is a 6.7% ABV, 78 IBU, featuring a rich chocolate and coffee flavour, with the generous dry-hopping of Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight for plenty of tropical fruit and pine aromatics. The beer is available on tap for pints and samples at their Gottingen location, with growlers and 650 ml bottles available in both Halifax and Dartmouth. 100% of the profits from Nocturne Black IPA are donated directly to the festival. From Propeller, “So buy more beer and help bring art to the masses”. Looking to plan your tour of Nocturne, check out their interactive map (good on both desktop and mobile).
• This evening’s Cask Night at Gottingen Street will be tapped at 5PM, and is their Pumpkin Ale, aged on cedar wood. The fun kicks off at 5PM, and the folks from Humble Pie Kitchen will be onsite to keep you well fed while you enjoy a pint of two. HPK will be partnering with Propeller for future Cask Nights as well.
• And finally in Propeller news this week, they will be releasing their latest Gottingen Small Batch beer tomorrow, to coincide with Nocturne. It will be the first release of their Propeller Hop Collection, “an experimental series designed to showcase unique hop varieties from around the world.” The initial beer is Citra IPA, a Brown IPA (colour thanks to Blackprinz and Munich Malts), generous dosing of Citra gives citrus and tropical aromatics, which complement the pine and earth notes from Simcoe, also found in the brew. Launching Saturday, this small batch will only be available on tap for growlers, pints and samples at Gottingen, and for growler fills at Windmill next week.
• And grab your taste’s of Sober Island’s first release in the Foraged Series, their Chanterelle Mild Ale this weekend as well. The Forest Festival at Memory Lane Heritage Village will be hosting the Sober Island beer trailer and many more visitors, including axe throwing hosted by Timber Lounge Halifaxe.
• For those of you professional brewers out there that are currently packaging your beer in kegs and growlers only, we have some great news – Craft Coast Canning is about ready to open! Located in Fredericton, the company offers the rental of their mobile canning unit to breweries throughout the Maritimes. When hired, they bring the canning unit to your brewery, along with the pre-labelled cans (you can work with them beforehand to get your design on the shrink sleeve; they even offer graphic design services if needed), and two technicians. With a single-phase, 5-head filler, they can churn out 35 cans/minute (both 12 and 16 oz cans are available), and are able to can up to 6000 L/day. All operations are completed by the technicians; your only job at the brewery is to receive the cans at the end of the line, and package them as you see fit. The business will officially open this Monday, so if you’d like to have your beer canned, now is the time to reach out to them!
• This past Wednesday it was announced on social media that Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, in partnership with the Biology Department at Acadia University, has been awarded a research and innovation grant by Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) towards the “creation of specialized yeast strains to make unique Nova Scotia craft beers.” In the release Saltbox also pledged their intent to share this research with other NS breweries through the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Given the success achieved locally by Big Spruce with the yeasts they’ve isolated and developed in Cape Breton as well as the work being done by small yeast labs throughout North America, this is a welcome development that will hopefully help Saltbox and other Nova Scotia breweries further develop one of the essential components of a terroir for beer in our province.
• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is hosting their The People’s Cider event tomorrow. From 10 AM to 4 PM. Drop by their New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 with your own home-grown apples to be pressed and made into a cider to be released later this year. If you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.
• The New Brunswick-produced beer documentary, Beerocracy, is having another screening on Thursday, October 19th at Big Tide Brewing in Saint John, at 6 pm. Entry is by donation, and Big Tide will have beer and food specials on as well. Look for more screening dates and locations to be announced soon.
One last thing(s):
– North Brewing‘s Malternate Reality New England-style IPA is now available in cans at both of their retail locations (and may be headed to the private stores as well).
– Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cask this Friday is actually a cider, dreamed up by brewer Leigh. Valley Apple Cider is made from all local apples, and like all of these releases, will not last long!
– Sea Level has brought back their New Scotland Heather Ale, and it is currently available in cans and growlers at the brewery, and on tap from the Valley to Halifax. This 5.0% ABV beer features local heather and hops.
– After their launch last week, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing will once again have growler fills available at the brewery. Drop by from 11AM-4PM for fills of their Chai Stout and Roggenbier, as well as the new Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 20 IBU) and Hefeweizenish (5.5%, 12 IBU). Learn more about them in last week’s Profile.
– And all great things must come to an end… We’ve heard that the Stillwell Beergarden will be closing for the season at the end of service Saturday. So get out and see some art, grab a pint and sausage, see some art, drink, art, repeat.