South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting

All posts tagged South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting

Another wild week in the region, with snow bringing the mainland to a full-stop/crawl, but thankfully we’ve got loads of great beer news to share this week. And in case you missed it, Timber Ship Brewing, which we featured in a Profile on the blog yesterday, did in fact have their launch last night at The Piping Plover Gastropub in Miramichi, pouring their Dungarvon Hopper IPA and Broken Paddle Pale Ale. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest news on where to grab a pint. Congratulations again! Let’s get to the other new news in the region…

Brut IPAs… love ‘em, or hate ‘em? No matter how you feel, it looks like the style is here to stay, at least for awhile. To give you some further food for thought on the subject, Lunn’s Mill is throwing their hat in the ring with their latest beer, And You. Their take on a Brut IPA was hopped with late additions of Galaxy and Mosaic, which combine to provide “an intense grapefruit character”. The bitterness lingers despite its relatively low 33 IBUs (likely due to the high dryness thanks to a low finishing gravity), and its alcohol level isn’t too high either, at 5.5% ABV. You should be able to still find this one at the Lunn’s Mill taproom for pints and growlers, and quite possibly at your favourite drinking spot in the HRM.

If you were lucky enough to attend Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event last night, you probably noticed a few new beers making their way around the room. One of them is the Brut IPA from Lunn’s Mill we just mentioned. Not to be outdone, Tatamagouche Brewing brought two new beers, one of which was a special sneak peek of their latest barrel-aged brew. The first beer is Kitty Clyde, a DIPA hopped with two of our favourite Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. Thanks to plenty of both in the recipe, expect “Five Alive-type citrus flavours, along with the usual tropical and mandarin” in this 7.8% ABV, 40 IBUs hop bomb. Kegs are already being delivered to various Tata licensees, and they’re also canning it today, so expect some of those next week! Their other preview was a beer brewed two years ago that finally got to see the light of day (before being lost to the darkness of mouths and stomachs) – Kiskadee. This beer started off as a clean Porter, before being racked into second-use Glenora Whisky barrels, where it sat for 18 months. The Tata elves then added a hop-tolerant mixed culture from Escarpment Labs to help the beer develop some acidity; it was then racked onto organic NS strawberries for a second fermentation, for another four months. The final, much-awaited result, is a hefty 9.8% ABV, and has notes of “chocolate, spirits, and tart strawberries”. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to taste it last night; it’s been packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles, and should be released in a couple of weeks.  

We’ve got another 2 Crows bottle release for you this weekend… or, more accurately, they do (the big glory hogs!). Those of you from Newfoundland may be particularly excited for Cloud 9, as it features the addition of the highly-coveted bakeapple. Sometimes referred to as cloudberry, bakeapple is a tart, flavourful, golden-coloured berry that is very difficult to forage, and even harder to find. In Newfoundland, some locals have places they know to find them, but keep it a closely-guarded secret since they’re so rare. Cloud 9 has been brewed on a smaller scale in the past, for release on tap at the brewery’s launch, and 1st anniversary party. As for this batch, it was brewed last March with a grain bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was soured first with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces cultures. After spending four months in the barrel, the bakeapple was added (about 50 lbs of it, the result of several days of foraging by Paul Smith, a friend of 2C who we think is owed a major favour!) to the barrel. The 5.2% ABV beer then conditioned for another two months, before packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast. Five months later, it’s finally ready and is described by 2C as “tart, lively, bright, with a distinct funk and bakeapple character”. Don’t worry, there’s some of that barrel goodness in there as well! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon; with about 900 bottles available, it’ll go pretty quickly, so don’t delay in getting down to grab yours (a few bottles will also be available on the 2C web store, for shipping in NS).

Up in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing continues to pump out small batches of lovely beers with two releases since last we mentioned them. Last week saw Enkel, their take on the traditional Patersbier style. Designed by Trappist monks to be light enough to drink during the workday, “enkel” is the Dutch word for “single” leading to the beer also being known as a “singel” for maximum confusion in the marketplace. Dark candy syrup provides some light sweetness and dark fruit to this one, contrasting with a spicy and fruity character from a typical Belgian yeast strain. At 5.5% ABV it’s probably a little higher on the scale than a more traditional example, but you can still expect it to be light and refreshing. And as is their wont, the boys of Niche are putting out a hoppier style this week to balance the Euro stylings of the Enkel. A Hazy Shade of Winter is a NEIPA with a lightish 5.6% ABV and a heavy hopping of tropical fruity Galaxy and dank and piney Simcoe. Look for a low bitterness and plenty of passion fruit flavor in this easy drinker along with some yeast character generated by their own blend of haze-encouraging yeast strains. Look for both of these beers to be available at tap accounts in New Brunswick.

There’s an appropriately-named new addition to the Something Different lineup at Annapolis Cider CompanyStorm Cider (sorry, but we’ve got to mention the weather at least once a week, right?)! Starting off as a dry cider made from the juice of handpicked Gravenstein apples, it was fermented at cool temperatures and then blended with local blueberry, strawberry, arctic kiwi, rhubarb, and blackcurrant juices. The final rose-coloured product has “vibrant notes of fresh berries, and a crisp finish”, and comes in at 7.3% ABV. The charity recipient for this cider is The Red Door, a youth health and support centre; they will receive $0.50 from each refill.

Sticking with cider, Chain Yard has their own new release now available, Scoby Blu. The latest entry in their Kombucha series, it started with the base of their Foundation cider, and then features the addition of Kombucha from local Sòlas Kombucha (New Ross, NS), as well as homemade blueberry wine and matured lavender from Meander River Farm. As you might expect, the resulting 6.4% ABV cider has some of that wonderful Kombucha funk, as well as floral and fruit notes. You can find it on tap right now at their retail store.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company has a new beer on tap and in cans, a 4.3% ABV Session IPA. Light in body, with plenty of hops on the nose and palate, but light on bitterness, reminiscent of tropical fruit and melon. They have packaged it in a limited release can, featuring the logo of the South Shore Lumberjacks hockey team. Purchasing the can helps support the Lumberjack players and personnel. Saltbox is also currently pouring Backyard Cider, made with local heirloom Gravenstein apples. This 6.5% ABV single varietal cider is crisp and dry, with floral notes on the nose.

Newly-opened Sussex Ale Works has released their latest brew to be poured at their taproom in Sussex, Holstein Milk Stout. Brewed for those who love stouts, and for those who maybe don’t think they like stouts, some malt and lactose sweetness comes through on the palate, along with chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee. Complemented by some floral character from a light addition of East Kent Golding hops, it finishes clean, and is quite drinkable at just 4.8% ABV. Described by the brewery as “adult chocolate milk”, make sure to drop by if you’re in the Sussex area before it’s gone.

In St. John’s, YellowBelly continues to experiment with cider, releasing a new “Winter Series” entry on tap, Raspberry Cranberry Apple Cider. This deep pink beverage features the addition of 60 kg of seedless berries in about 800 L of cider; it was then back-sweetened with more cider, to round things out. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, and is tasting “floral, jammy, and very tart”. While you can currently grab it on tap at the brew pub, there’s a chance that it’ll pop up in bottles, soon.

If you like hanging out at Good Robot, and you like NEIPAs, they’ve got some happy news for you – next week’s Beta release is, yes, a NEIPA named Tri-Sarah-Hops. Co-brewed with Sarah Gallant, it was heavily late-hopped and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (see, the beer name is more clever now, right?). Not too too much bitterness (42 IBUs), and a whole lotta grapefruit and mango flavours, it comes in pretty low in the ABV department for an IPA, at just 5.2%. As for next Thursday’s Alpha, it’s a new one named Chäir Beer. Loosely-based on their Leave Me Blue, the grist contains 2-row, flaked corn, and Rye malt. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Sorachi Ace and Perle, they added some Lingonberry juice to the 4.9% ABV resulting beer. What’s a Lingonberry? Well, it’s a small, red, slightly tart berry that is also known as a partridgeberry in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Hey, the more you know! The final product is easy-drinking and a touch tart, but you’ll have to taste it for yourself! Again, at the taproom, next Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Tusket Falls has put a couple of new beers on tap in recent days. The first is Wild Sour, a beer with a subtle tartness and a lot of lemon citrus notes. Dry-hopped with Amarillo for a hoppy presence, at 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking and refreshing number that will likely make you wish that little bit more for warmer weather. The other new beer is in the Northeast/New England IPA style, this one paradoxically called The Nameless Juicy New England Pale Ale. We don’t know much more about it except that it’s 5.8% ABV, but we suspect you’re familiar enough with the style at this point to take a guess. Also, stacks of kegs were seen recently on Tusket’s Instagram story, we hope this implies that Tusket Falls beers will soon be seen more frequently outside their taproom so that the rest of the Province (and perhaps the region) can get a taste of the beery things going on near Yarmouth.

Sticking to the Southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Roof Hound has put together a three-headed beer that may also have you thinking of warm summer days. Triple Threat Brown is being called a “Neapolitan” beer, bringing together the classic flavors of the original three-flavor ice cream. Featuring chocolate malt, vanilla, and strawberry puree, you can expect all three flavors to be well-represented. At 5.4% ABV it’s light enough for you to have a couple. Look for it on tap at Roof Hound’s taproom and other select locations, but if you’re not in the area, stay tuned as this one is scheduled to be put in bottles as well.

Over on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a couple of new beers on the go, both seeing fairly wide release. Black Banks is a black IPA, brewed with light toasty malts, but also with a good portion of debittered black malt to provide some mild roasty notes and a deep dark color. Hopped both in the kettle and via dry hop with lots of modern tropical varieties, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a sturdy 60 IBU. Also on the go is a new beer in the After Hours series, a big one that should be perfect for the depths of winter. Barrel-aged Barleywine tips the scales at a massive 10.5% ABV, with a mild carbonation, a slightly sweet palate and a balanced bitterness. Herbal English hop varieties and some fruity yeast character are complemented by vanilla and wood flavors from an extended aging period in Kentucky bourbon barrels. You’ll find both of these beers at several Gahan locations, including the original Gahan House in Charlottetown, Gahan Riverside in the Fredericton area, and Gahan Port City in Saint John as well as at the PEIBC Taproom and select PEILCC locations.

And a quick hop back to Yarmouth for this week’s entry in the “shamefully late email” sweepstakes, this one from Heritage Brewing, who have a couple of interesting things on the taps of late. The first is their Angry Blonde Jalapeño Ale. Based on their light and refreshing standard blonde, they’ve added some additional interest through the addition of fresh Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. With a solid hot pepper flavor and a not-so-mild spice, you’ll only be able to get this one at the brewery. Also only at the brewery is their Vanilla Cream Ale, which is also a variant on a base beer, this time their usual cream ale, but conditioned on vanilla beans for a soft and creamy flavor profile. Next up is a re-release of their Norseman NEIPA which they’ve fermented with the Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs and tweaked the hop profile of slightly. Slightly more sessionable than previous versions, they’ve been quite generous with the late and dry hop additions for a classic NEIPA juiciness. And keep your eyes out in the near future for another re-release, this time their Blueberry Grunt Sour, a very popular brew that they’re also making some minor changes to.

A note for all amateur and professional brewers, those who work in the industry, or looking to learn more, the next Beer Judge Certification Program Tasting Exam for our region will be taking place in Halifax on May 10th. If you are interested in sitting it, learning more about the BJCP, or taking part in the tastings the examinees will be running before then, hop over to the Brewnosers Forum and say Hi.

What’s on the go in our region over the next few weeks? We’ve got the goods for you today!

A quick reminder that tomorrow will see one of Halifax’s premier imported beer events when Belgian Fest goes live at Stillwell on Barrington at noon. Featuring beers you very well may not have had the chance to try before, especially in this region, or that if you have, you’re likely eager to taste again. With rare Lambics by the glass, bottles that say Westvleteren and other hard to pronounce words, and plenty of other tasty treats on tap, this is an opportunity to expand your palate and see what all the fuss over Belgian beer is about. As always, the kitchen will be putting out some well-considered thematically consistent foods, and we’re sure there will be plenty of folks around (both employed by Stillwell and not) to help guide your exploration of some of the best that Belgium has to offer.

Dartmouth’s Battery Park is continuing their series of Tap Takeover events from local breweries on January 17th, when they are inviting Nyanza’s Big Spruce back in house. They’ll have more than a dozen beer pouring that day, including a handful of reserve kegs from the cellar, lots of new/favourite seasonals, plus the return of their BP/BS collaboration beer, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with donair meat and aged on raspberries. The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day and night, so pop by for a pint!

Also on January 17th, which could make for a fun 1-2 punch of a beery day, Garrison Brewing is holding an event they’ve dubbed “A Thief in the Night”. This ticketed event will have Brewmaster Daniel Girard leading a tasting of several beers before they are released. They include five brand new beers drawn straight from the barrel, a taste of their upcoming Wintervention 2019 with cocoa nibs, a pre-release bottle of Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Wintervention, a Cellar Series Teku glass, plus more perks. Tickets ($50) can be reserved in person or over the phone (Veronika at (902) 453-5343 ext. 222). This is sure to be a fun and enlightening event!

Roof Hound Brewery is hosting the Second Annual South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night on Wednesday, January 23rd. From 7 – 10 PM, there will be ten different beers from a handful of the region’s breweries, namely Heritage Brewing, Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, and Tusket Falls join the host Roof Hound on tap. Your $35+tax ticket includes your first 4oz sample of each beer and an appetizer, while live music by David Chamberland, and the brewers themselves will be on hand for entertainment and learning more about the beer. Grab your ticket at Roof Hound, or via email before they sell out!

Tickets are now on sale for the Pasadena Brew-Fest, being held Friday February 15th. From 7 – 10 PM, Pasadena Place will be full of great local beer, thanks to Bootleg Brew Co, Crooked Feeder, and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Your $50 ticket is available online through the e-Service account, or in person at Pasadena Place.

Not so fast, here are a few final beer and release notes to get you fully up to date!

Montague, PEI’s, Copper Bottom Brewing has a new Dry-Hopped Sour on tap at the brewery these days, this one featuring Ekuanot hops. Tart and refreshing, this 5.0% ABV beer features notes of tangerine, papaya, and orange peel. Grab it as part of a flight, a full pint, or a growler to take home. Plus look out for cans of Ken’s Stout and Parkman Ave DIPA at your local PEILCC this weekend!

FirkinStein Brewing in Bridgewater welcomed two hoppy beers to the taps this week: one a returning favourite, and one brand new. Set Sail Pale Ale is a 6.0% American Pale Ale, generously hopped late and after the boil, it features loads of citrus aroma and flavour, and low bitterness. And debuting yesterday was King Street, a 7.7% ABV IPA generously hopped with Cascade and Mosaic. Catch both of them at their taproom (on King Street, of course) for pints and growlers.

A note that today’s Cask Friday release at Propeller’s Gottingen Street location will be their London Porter, cask conditioned and served by a gravity tap. Food from Alteregos, including Mac and Cheese, will be available for pairing to your heart’s content. And for those of us eagerly awaiting word, the very-limited El Dorado Brett IPA that we mentioned last week is pouring today at the taproom. May as well stick around for two then, eh?

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has a new beer pouring for you this week, as they continue to explore the wide variety of ale styles available. Newkirk is a 3.4% ABV and 15 IBU English Mild, known for their lower ABV (perfect for a full afternoon session), with notes of toast/bread crust, toffee, and dark sugars. Using iconic Fuggles for the hops completes the ode to the style. Pop by for a growler fill today or tomorrow, if it lasts that long, as these small batches sell out quite quickly.

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is looking to hire someone to support their brewing operations. From Brewmaster Matt Vincent, “Brewing experience is an asset, but training will be provided.” Send them a message or email Matt to learn more and to apply.

Two Islands Brewing in Parrsboro, NS has lots of news for us this week. First up is a new batch of their Sailor’s Delight, their 5.0% ABV Irish Red Ale hit the taps, as well as their 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale. And it’s that Blonde Ale that needs your help: it is currently nameless, and they are holding a contest on Facebook to fix that. Check out this link and weigh in. You can also now take away their Irish Red, Blonde, APA and Porter in 240 mL bottles, as well as growler fills. And why not drop in next Thursday, January 17th, for Trivia and Wing Night. Or January 19th, when Mark Raven will be entertaining the tap room with his music.