Happy Friday folks! If you’re anything like us, you’re nursing a headache/prepping your liver for the fun happening in New Brunswick’s capital city this weekend, as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival celebrates its 7th year. There are still a few tickets available for Saturday afternoon session (grab ‘em here), and be sure to say hi if you see us with a beer in our hand (or waiting for one). We’ve got lots of great news and new beers to kick off the weekend, including a whole bunch of awesome beers and events celebrating women in the industry, as today is International Women’s Day. So raise a pint to all of the brewsters and other women and femme-identifying folks working in the industry around the region, and let’s dive right in!
Port Rexton is among the breweries who have brewed up a special beer in honor of International Women’s Day. Designed and brewed by the women of PR, Early Rise is an American Pale Ale with a twist, namely all the Earl Grey Tea that could be procured from the Bulk Barns in the St. John’s area (or at least 1.5 KG)! Every other ingredient in this beer was selected specifically to complement the special ingredient, from the malt to the hops. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, look for a light and spicy malt sweetness and a lingering orangey hop character. You can grab this one starting today at the taproom during their IWD Celebration starting at 4 PM (including IWD-themed trivia at 8 PM with registration at 7:30). It’ll also be on the taps at the Port Rexton St. John’s Retail Shop while supplies last.
2 Crows is focusing solely on the hops with their latest release, Perfect Recreation, the newest in their series of NEIPAS. Like the other entries, the grist has been kept fairly simple (Golden Promise, Wheat malt, and flaked oats), to allow the huge amount of hops to come through nicely, while at the same time keeping the mouthfeel of the beer smooth and pillowy. Plenty of Citra and Simcoe were thrown into a hopback addition (after the boil, on the way to the chiller and fermenter), with the beer then being fermented with a “super juicy yeast strain”. Of course, there were more hops added after fermentation, with two dry hop additions – both including more Simcoe and Citra, as well as Vic Secret and a bit of Centennial. The result is a 6.1% ABV beer described by 2C as “super lush, soft, and absolutely exploding with tropical hop aromas of mango, passionfruit, and guava.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery today (cans and on tap), and at select 2C tap accounts over the weekend… and maybe it’ll even pop up at tomorrow’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Finally, a big congratulations to head brewer/co-owner Jeremy Taylor and his wife, Elaine, on the birth of their new baby girl!
Speaking of NEIPAs, straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes the latest in that style from Niche Brewing, one they’re calling Make it So. Also built on a grist of primarily Golden Promise and also featuring wheat (flaked), oats (also flaked) and chit malt, it’s almost enough to make you wonder if Niche and 2 Crows brewers occasionally might talk a little bit… or at least read the same blogs 🙂 Hops in this one include Citra, Chinook, and Columbus as very late kettle additions, with more Citra and Galaxy comprising the massive dry hop. Fermented, per their usual, with one of their favorite NEIPA-geared strains, it’s described as “super fruity and juicy,” while displaying the characteristic haziness and medium bitterness one would expect. You’ll find this one pouring at Niche’s usual tap accounts, at Halifax’s Stillwell in the near-ish future, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, at the evening session of the FCBF tomorrow night!
New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk, a beer they’ve been conditioning for awhile now. Overdosse (rough English translation would be “idiot” or “loser”… note that the FB post for this beer was accompanied by a picture of the current U.S. president) is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt. Hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the wonderful Duvel yeast strain (with temperatures allowed to rise as high as they could go). Conditioned in the fermentor for a few months, it’s now ready for you, and is exhibiting lots of Belgian phenolic and ester characteristics on the nose and palate. Look for it on tap at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole, at the ANBL Vaughan Harvey growler station, and at FCBF.
Looks like Spindrift is moving forward with more experimentation in brewing, with the introduction of the first entry in their latest series, Future Thoughts. Lemon to a Knife Fight falls in the Witbier style, and is more-specifically billed as an “Imperial Blueberry Lemon Witbier”, if you’re picky (which we are!). The grist is made up in the traditional sense for a Witbier – with Pilsen malt and a blend of both malted and flaked wheat – but at a grander scale, resulting in a 7.5% ABV beer. Hopped lightly with Herkules and Cascade to 18 IBUs, fresh lemon zest (from 200 lemons!) was added, along with a dose of Indian coriander. As for the blueberry portion, puree was added during fermentation, as well as a bit of blueberry extract after fermentation was complete. The finished beer is tasting estery, slightly boozy, with aromas of blueberry mixed with lemon. This one is a draught-only release, with most of it available exclusively at Spindrift (although a keg or two may make it to a couple of local licensees). Future entries in this series may be bottled; only time will tell.
We think we’ve got the details on that special beer from Secret Cove Brewing we briefly mentioned last week, which was brewed for their Grand Opening party. Hop a Ryed in My Dory is a different take on your traditional DIPA; while at first this 7.4% ABV brew seems fairly typical, featuring late hop additions to give flavours of “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”, they threw in an addition of Canadian Rye malt to give the beer a “spicy complexity”. by the brewery in Port au Port East, Newfoundland to grab a pint and judge for yourself.
Is the high alcohol in all of those DIPAs, Winter Warmers, etc. getting you down these days? If it is, Tatamagouche Brewing has the cure for what ails ya with Dekorum (English translation: “behaviour in keeping with good taste”). Truly keeping the “light” in Light Lager, this 2.9% ABV beer still manages to pack in some crisp, refreshing flavours, while still allowing you to enjoy a few without having to worry about calling a cab (although that’s subjective, so still, enjoy responsibly!). You can find cans and growlers of this one at Tata, and we know for a fact it’s already popped up on tap in the HRM. Cans will also be hitting shelves at your local NSLC in the not-too-distant future.
It’s been a bit of a spell since we’ve seen a bottle release from Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, but luckily, our wait is over! That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is an extremely-limited release, so you best jump on it if you’re interested. The beer is And You May Find Yourself, a “Pastry Stout” that was brewed with maple syrup and cocoa nibs, all conditioned on an “insane” number of vanilla beans. Billed as low-carbonated and sweet, this is a big beer at 11% ABV, and is meant to sip on as a dessert beer of sorts (they also recommend to consume this one fresh… no aging!). You can buy tickets to purchase this beer here; if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle, you can pick it up at the Duo Cafe next door to T&B (or ask for it directly at T&B); have your idea and ticket with you. And by limited release, we DO mean limited.. only 40 bottles are available for purchase. Though we have it on good authority that if you ask nicely at the FCBF, they may have it pouring from their jockey box. And be sure to pop by their table at the fest tomorrow, as Chad and crew are sure to have something special on the go. Those of us who’ve done that previously got to try their unique Peach Ale Shake, served through by a slushie machine!
If you’re in the area of Tusket Falls Brewing this weekend, and feel like you have a bit of a sour tooth, you may want to drop by the brewery to see if they have any of their latest one-off left, Passionfruit Sour. This 4.5% ABV kettle sour has lots of passionfruit on the nose and palate, according to the brewery, finishing with a “pleasant tartness that complements the juiciness well”. It won’t last long, as their experimental beers tend to move quickly. They’ve also started canning their Beyond the Haze NEIPA (5.8% ABV), so grab some of those while you’re there! Those will also be hitting the shelves of the private stores and NSLC very soon.
The brew crew from St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery took a trip down to New York City last month, to brew up a special beer with Five Boroughs Brewing. Celebrating the Come From Away Broadway show, and the story of town of Gander during September 11, 2001, they lent their hands Newfoundland-style, to brew up a collaboration beer. Come From Away is a 6.0% ABV “Islander Pale Ale”, featuring tons of Amarillo, Cascade, and Cashmere hops added at every step of the brewday and beyond, and has plenty of citrus and tropical fruit character. While this beer is only available in NYC for the time being, a little birdy told us that YB will be brewing the same recipe on their system on Water Street soon, so soon we can all be singing and dancing along to this great beer.
Attention Home Brewers! It’s that time of year again, as Boxing Rock has announced that registration for their super-popular Black Box Challenge is now open. As a reminder, this is a different type of brewing competition, as brewers are not aiming for a style, per se, but starting from the same ingredients (and only those ingredients, except water), and the end result is totally in their hands. Previous winners have been a smoked cinnamon beer, a kettle sour with orange peel, and a American Brown Ale with ginger. There are only a few spots left, grab your tickets here, and pop into HopYard in Halifax to pick up your box of ingredients starting today. This year’s competition features a new twist that reflects Hop Yard’s involvement, where each contestant must pair a record (as in vinyl) with their entry. Beers are due mid-April, and the live judging (including a presentation by each finalist explaining why they selected that particular record) and crowning of the winner will be at HopYard April 28th.
The big events that have our attention this weekend (beside the FCBF) are the great Femme-focused events happening at Good Robot in Halifax this weekend.
- Today from 6 PM, Cheers for Lady Beers. Female-brewed beers from across the province (and beyond!) will be taking over their taps, with many of those brewsters on hand to chat and answer questions. Lots of beers we’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks will be pouring, including Good Robot’s own Big Witch Energy, Garrison Brewing’s Susannah IPL, and the Propeller x Ladies Beer League Call Me Blondie collab. The winners of the FemmeBrew competition will be announced during a private party before the public event (4 – 6 PM).
- Tomorrow from 12 PM, Women in Entertainment. A panel of women in the entertainment business will be sharing their knowledge, stories, and advice for those looking to get involved or further their career. Doors open at 10 AM, with food served and beer pouring from that point.
- Tomorrow from 9 PM, Dance Through the Pain-triarchy. A dance party in a safe space, open to everyone!
- Sunday from 7 PM, RobieScope: The Help. A female-strong period drama, BYO-PJs.
And tickets for their Brewster Fest, being held April 27th, are now available. Celebrating women-owned breweries and female-brewed beers, they have breweries from across the province and beyond pouring at the Mayflower Curling Club that day. Click the link to see the brewery list and grab a ticket!
Before we let you go this week….
Boxing Rock has brewed up a beer for the Good Robot Femmebot Tap Takeover taking place today. Catarina Sour is a 5.7% ABV kettle sour brewed with pineapple and mango brewed with their “Femmebot friends”, Jana and Patricia; it’ll also be on tap at Boxing Rock.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Grimross has teamed up with Fredericton’s Ladies Beer Connection to release two special casks – Strawberry Champagne and Pomegranate Cheval D’Or – at tomorrow’s FCBF. One of each cask will be tapped at the beginning of each VIP session.
Up in Village-au-Poirier, NB, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur is happy to let folks know that their Nigogue Pale Ale is now available at several ANBL locations including Bathurst, Miramichi (both locations), Shippagan and Tracadie. You’ll also find their other two beers, Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Winter Beer at the Pleasant Street location in Miramichi.
Hot off their opening late last month (congrats guys!), Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a brand new beer hitting the taps. It’s a 4.6% ABV Blonde Ale, and complements their Porter, Pale Ale, and White IPA already pouring. Pop out for a pint and/or to fill a growler this weekend!
Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is the latest brewery in our region to take on the “mixed drink in a can” market with the introduction this week of Sand Piper Vodka Soda. Zero carbs, zero added sugars, and all-natural flavoring in a convenient pre-mixed format. Look for more info on the dedicated Insta account for the brand and/or pick some up at the Nine Locks Retail Store, select private liquor stores in Halifax and, soon enough, at NSLC locations.
And a quick note to end the post today, thanks again to everyone who came out to take part in our trivia last night at The Joyce, and big thanks to all of the breweries who donated great swag to give away to our winners. We had lots of happy folks last night! For those breweries who missed out, we’ll be doing it all again in Halifax during NS Craft Beer Week, so reach out if you’ve got anything to share!