Despite the holiday season, our brewing friends have not slowed down one bit! From new breweries to new beers and holiday events, this week has been a busy one!
• Another new brewery has quietly opened in New Brunswick – Johnny Jacks, located at 281 Restigouche Rd in Oromocto, is the newest nanobrewery in the province. Father and daughter David and Vanessa Foss, along with Young Joo Lee, are sharing the brewing responsibilities on their 100 L Blichmann system. The brewery is named after a colourful homebrewing grandfather in the family, Jack ‘Johnny’ Gullison, and is currently serving two beer styles on tap next door at the Sour Grape Cafe (which is co-owned by David Foss). The first beer is their Smokin’ Amber, a “caramelly, sweet, earthy, rich and warm” beer that weighs in at 5.1% ABV and 29 IBUs. The next, Showshoe Winter Ale, is a darker ale that the brewery describes as “layered chocolate with a whisper of vanilla”; this one is a bit stronger at 5.7% ABV and 32 IBUs. While currently only on tap at the Sour Grape, they hope to be able to expand to other accounts in the near future. We’ll have more details on their venture, soon!
• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released a new beer this week, Hyper-Galactic India Pale Lager. The IPL is the cousin of the IPA, featuring assertive hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness, but brewed using lager yeast for a crisp finish, minimizing the characteristic esters and other yeast-derived aromatics from most ale strains. Hyper-Galactic comes in at 7% ABV and around 75 IBUs, with hop aromatics of passionfruit, mango and tangerine dominating. Loads of Australian went into this beer for a taste that’s outta this world! (sorry, I’ll see myself out) Hyper-Galactic is available at the brewery and adjacent Charm School now, and will be on tap at Unfiltered’s other tap accounts shortly. The arrival of the IPL signals the departure (for now) of the very popular DOA (Double Orange Ale), but we understand it will make a return in the New Year. Be sure to grab a pint or snarl of the slightly-modified Exile on North Street IPA, changes to the hopping schedule have this beer exhibiting big hop aroma, while still registering as gluten reduced (less than 5ppm). And for those of you in the The Club, your 2015 edition Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, King of Kings, is ready for pickup. Enjoy this 11.9%, 100 IBU brew during the next few chilly months, or save the bottle for enjoyment later (this style of beer is perfect for aging in a cellar). For those not in the club, you may be SOL.
• On January 1st, Upstreet will be participating in Charlottetown’s New Year’s Day Levee schedule, with a day full of music, food, and (of course) beer! The 2016 Kick-Off will begin at 10 am, and takes place all day until 10 pm. Six different bands will provide live music from 10:30 am on, $4 pints will be pouring in the taproom (as well as various beer cocktails), free brewery tours will be put on, and a special brunch menu will be available from chef John Pritchard. Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to Upstreet’s brand new Do-Good Fund. This charitable program has been set up to support community initiatives throughout the year; a portion of the proceeds from every Do-Gooder APA will go into this fund. And in other Upstreet news, their White Noize White IPA (7% ABV, 70 IBUs) is now available for purchase in bottles at the brewery and select PEILCC stores; be sure to pick some up, they make the perfect last-minute stocking stuffer!
• Not to be outdone, PEI Brewing Co. is also holding their own Levee event on January 1st; with last year’s inaugural event attracting over 500 people, they hope to have even more this year. Full bar service at the brewery will be available, with $2 half-pints featured, along with free chili and gourmet popcorn, and live entertainment. And if you’d like to really enjoy yourself, there will be a free shuttle running throughout downtown to take you to and from the brewery! There’s no charge to attend.
• There’s a new Double IPA on tap Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) this week. Weighing in at 7.8% ABV and about 90 IBU, this big brew features loads of Topaz dry-hopping, for resinous, grassy, and fruit aromas to complement the assertive bitterness. It is on tap for enjoyment on the waterfront now, as well as for growler fills. And look for a pair of lagers from Brewmaster Karen Allen in the new year, including a Schwarzbier in early January.
• The opening of the Good Robot Tap Room in Halifax has allowed the creative juices of Brewmaster Doug Kehoe to flow freely, and as such, he’s put together some experimental brews. The latest to hit the taps is a Märzen. This traditional German Amber beer is given the GR Twist by small additions of Smoked and Rye malt. German hops, in Magnum and Tettnang, were used for a light bitterness and aroma. The 5% Märzen is available on tap at the Tap Room only, and will not last long, so don’t delay. And just a note that the brewery and Tap Room will be open regular hours during the Christmas holiday; check their website for hours.
• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery released a new beer at their tap room yesterday, Soleil Belgique IPA. This golden-coloured 7.4% Belgian IPA was brewed with floor-malted pilsner malt and toasted wheat, for a medium body and pleasant mouthfeel. Generous amounts of European hops (including Jaryllo) offer a fantastic aroma of pineapple to complement the yeast aromatics of clove and sage. Look for Soleil Belgique on tap at Big Axe’s accounts around Fredericton shortly.
• The James Joyce has tentatively scheduled their next Meet Your Maker event for Wednesday, December 30th, featuring soon-to-open Maybee Brewing. If all goes as planned for licensing, this will be an official launch party for the brewery as well. Two of their flagship beers will be pouring (Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA), and owner/brewer Paul Maybee will be on hand to chat beer and answer questions. For more info on Maybee Brewing and their beers, check out our Q&A with Paul from October.
• Halifax’s Bar Stillwell will be closed for the next few days (Dec 24-26), and again on Dec 31, but they are holding a levee of their own on January 1st. Opening at noon, they will be featuring a load hoppy, sour, wood-aged, and vintage beers from the cellar all day. And of course, they will have some excellent food to complement, including smoked brisket, a special breakfast sandwich, and pajeon. A few more specific details are available here.
• Need some local cider for Christmas or New Year, but don’t have time to pick it up? Red Rover to the rescue! Customers in Fredericton can fill out an online order form and receive (or send) a gift pack of cider to keep them warm during this holiday week. Details are available here. They’re also offering a Christmas Selection Case, which includes twelve 750 mL bottles (four each of their Spring, Fall and Fire) for $108, which saves you $1 per bottle.
• Bottles of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (this year’s release is a Cranberry Chocolate Porter) are flying off the shelves at both the brewery and NLC. Adding to that Christmas feeling is their Cranberry Cider, a 6.5% ABV cider prepared with West-Coast Newfoundland cranberries. It is on tap at the brewery now, and will be available in bottles shortly at select NLCs.
• And in more great news for Newfoundland breweries, the crew at Port Rexton Brewing received word that the environmental assessment for their future location has been approved by the Minister. This was a non-trivial hurdle to overcome in their future home, and it’s very exciting to come through before major construction was to take place. Look for their launch mid-2016.
A few parting notes this morning: Grimross has announced that they’ve officially hired their new brewer, Martin Henderson, a graduate of Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management. Congratulations, Martin! Look for their Dubbel Noel (and Pump House’s Winter Warmer) on the ANBL growler fill stations this week. The barrel-aged version of Tatamagouche’s Ging’ Sync: Rye Rye Rye will be launching very shortly. Look for it in bottles at the brewery store shortly. Halifax’s Granite Brewery has their popular Darkside Black IPA back on tap for growler fills at the brewery, and their tap accounts around HRM. And more good news for Fredericton beer fans, Gray Stone Brewery has found their forever home! The brewery will be opening at 221 King Street in 2016. A reminder that the provincial stores (as well as many private and brewery stores) will be closed Dec 25 & 26, so today may be your last day in a while to pick up some local craft beer. Be sure to check your favourite bars’ and restaurants’ website or social media pages before heading out for a pint over the next few days, just to be sure. Have a safe Christmas, and we’ll hit you with another batch of beer news next week.