The last gasps of February have brought some truly awful weather to Atlantic Canada, but as we all know, March can always be counted on to be worse, right?! Well, wetter, for sure. And if that thought leaves you crying a little bit, might we suggest you acquire for yourself a suitable beverage in which to capture your tears? You might not be surprised to learn that for this purpose (and pretty much all others), we favour beer. Fortunately, we’ve got all kinds of breweries kicking out choice liquids in our region, and plenty of them have something new to tell you about today. We’ve even got another all-new brewery and a solid slate of beer-related events! So quit your crying and start reading; but definitely do what you can to get beer involved in your weekend!
Great news for those looking for beer in downtown Truro, you now have a great brewery to visit! Truro Brewing Company, located at 53 Inglis Place, is just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park and the Prince Street main drag. Opening their doors to the public today (and every day except Monday) at 2 PM, you can pop in for pints of their Willow Street Wheat, a 4.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, Hub Town Honey Brown, 5.2% ABV, Cobequid Bay IPA, 6.3% ABV, and Exit 14 Porter, 4.6% ABV. We are also offering Trackside American Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, and then grab growlers of any of those to take away, to keep the good beer vibes humming. To learn more about Jana and Trish, the dynamic duo behind the brewery, check out the Profile we ran on TBC yesterday. Congratulations!
Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a big beer out this week to help us shake off the late-February ice and snow. The name VSOP rightly conjures ideas of spirits, specifically Cognac, with special care taken to the selection and age of the liquor in the bottle. The same goes with Big Spruce’s VSOP, which is a Cognac Barrel Aged Barleywine, their first release of the kind. The deep amber beer features massive aromatics of oak and spirits thanks to the aging process in the freshly-emptied barrel, and follows through on the tongue as well, with a sweet warmth from the 11% ABV, finishing with dark fruit notes. VSOP is available on draught at the brewery, and soon in 330 ml bottles, the perfect size for tackling this big beer solo in front of a cozy fireplace. And yes, Halifax peoples, bottles will be heading your way in the near future.
Brand new big, super-hoppy beer debuting at 2 Crows tomorrow, if you’re into that sort of thing (newsflash: people are!). Bedlam Bridge Double IPA was brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Mash-hopped and first-wort-hopped with Columbus, a “hefty dose” of Azacca was added in the hopback as well. Of COURSE there are dry-hop additions in this beer: first, one with more Azacca during fermentation with Foggy London, a hazy IPA strain from Escarpment Labs, and then two more afterwards, with even more Azacca, along with Citra and Vic Secret. So yeah, triple-dry-hopped, so just get ready to hand over your money. You may be expecting a juicy beer, and you wouldn’t be wrong! Look for notes of “pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit”, and more. It weighs in at 8% ABV, and is on tap and in cans at opening Saturday. They’ll also be hosting a Real Fake Meats popup at 4 pm at the brewery, and live music at 8 pm. Hops = party!
We’ve got a pair of hoppy beauts to tell you about from Propeller Brewing this week. The first is the latest release from their Pilot system, which is soon to be installed at the Quinpool Road location opening this Spring. With their success in the hazy IPA genre with Galaxy and Sabro DIPA, this release is a return to the old school with West Coast IPA. Describes as “crisp, clear, and assertively bitter”, it was hopped early with Simcoe and Amarillo to a hefty 78 IBU, and these hops shine through in both flavour and bitterness, with citrus, pine, and floral notes from later additions of Citra and Centennial. As this is a small batch release, it is on draught only, and currently, the sole point of sale for this 7.2% ABV beer is in the Propeller Arcade in the basement of their Gottingen Street taproom. Old School Beer with Old School Games, sounds like a great match to us! And if you’re visiting the Gottingen Street taproom today, keep an eye open for their weekly cask release, which is Porter with Cardamom added. Brewer Denys used a delicate approach to the addition, but it is still present and shines through, sure to satisfy even the most savage beast.
And in “returning beer news” from Propeller, they polled the audience late last year to find out which beer they should bring back in February, and the winner is Sasquatch Pale Ale! Featuring the first Canadian-patented hop by the same name, Sasquatch is a medium bodied hazy and juicy pale ale featuring plenty of tropical mango and pineapple character, with just a touch of cedar and fresh grapefruit. Catch a can or fill, while you’re able, at both Prop Shops now.
And for those Propeller fans not in HRM, we kindly direct you to visit the Antigonish Townhouse for a Propeller Tap Takeover. From 4 PM, Prop will be pouring 8 different beers on draught, including the aforementioned Galaxy and Sabro, as well as a special cask for the event, Porter aged on rum-soaked oak. Pop in and stay for a while!
Amherst’s Trider’s has taken their first crack at brewing a lager, a “Japanese Lager” they’ve named Dry Senso. Brewed with a “healthy” amount of rice in the grist, it was hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace. Fermented slowly over a period of a couple weeks with the S23 dry Lager yeast, it was then lagered for two more weeks before packaging. Easy-drinking and fairly dry, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. This one will be available on tap only, both at the brewery (where you can also purchase growlers) and select licensees, this coming Tuesday (Mar 3), and for those attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, they’ll be pouring it next weekend as well!
Speaking of the Capital Region, Niche Brewing has a brand new release they’re touting this week, Kashmir. A new addition to their family of mixed-fermentation beers, Kashmir started life with a base malt blend of Pilsner and 2-Row, along with CaraHell and Wheat malts for fuller body/sweetness, and mouthfeel/head retention, respectively. Lightly hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc, the wort underwent fermentation with their house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. With ferm complete, they dry-hopped with loads of Cashmere, to grab all of that melon, tropical, and citrus character. Paired with the tart and funky base beer, this is a winning combination. Kegs of Kashmir are out in the wild in New Brunswick, and loyal Niche fans in HRM will soon be rewarded for their patience, as we understand that and a couple other kegs will be on the board at Stillwell at some point late next week.
Two of New Brunswick’s breweries have come together to create a collaboration beer to showcase a new, experimental hop variety, HBC 586, that they obtained from Hops Connect. Foghorn and TrailWay developed the recipe together and brewed the same beer at each brewery. A 6.5% ABV American IPA brewed with a majority of 2-row malt and a touch of Munich, Undercover Hop was hopped exclusively with HBC 586, and fermented with an American yeats strain. The beer is exhibiting notes of “mango, mandarin-citrus, beerries, and a white wine-like fruitiness”, according to TW. There will no doubt be one or two minor differences in each brewery’s release, as technique/equipment/etc plays a role, so best that you compare the two, if possible! TW is launching theirs today on tap and in cans at the brewery; look for Foghorn’s version to hit their taps sometime early next week.
And while visiting TW, why not grab cans or fills of their latest batch of Good As? Featuring NZ darling hop Motueka, with a touch of Citra added, this 6.6% ABV beer throws off massive citrus zest and stone fruit character. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, it will also see limited distro to ANBLs in the region next week, so pop in and check/demand it!
Back to Nova Scotia, where Shipwright Brewing has an American Brown Ale on tap. City Bound was brewed with a blend of Golden Promise, raw oats, and roasted malts, to the tune of 5.2% ABV. Hopped with Simcoe and Eureka (to 32 IBUs), the final beer has “aromas of coffee, molasses, and toasted bread”, along with more coffee (and some brown sugar) on the palate, and finishes with a firm bitterness. This beer was originally launched at the Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax a few weeks ago, but it’s now on tap at Shipwright and the Grand Banker in Lunenburg.
Those of you in the Fredericton area can keep your eyes peeled for a newish beer from 3Flip Brewing next weekend; we say “newish” because it did make an appearance at the brewery’s 1-year birthday party at the Joyce a couple of weeks ago, but the rest of the kegs will be popping up next week. Roggen-Roll All Night Long is the brewery’s take on a Roggenbier, a German rye beer. It’s traditional for beers of this style to be brewed with a minimum of 50% rye malt; for those of you who have brewed with rye before, you will know this is not an easy feat, as more rye typically translates to a higher chance of a stuck sparge (basically meaning that your transfer of wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle slows down… or even stops; lots of swearing usually ensues). 3Flip also incorporated 2-row, Munich and some specialty malts into their grist, and lightly hopped the wort with Willamette (to 16 IBUs). Fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain, the final beer has a little sweetness from the malt, some clove and banana, and a “spicy and almost sour-like rye character, with a slightly bitter finish”; it weighs in at 6.3% ABV. 3Flip is also releasing the second batch of their Pilsennial SMaSH IPA, an all-Pilsen malt, all-Centennial hopped, 5.3% ABV brew.
International Women’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday, March 8th), which means we’re starting to see some info trickling in from the annual brewdays to celebrate this day. Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has given us all the deets for their entry, The Bees Knees, a Honey Wheat Ale. Brewed with honey from Meander Farm, this 5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has aromas of “soft, sweet melon, and doughy wheat characters”, accompanied by flavours of honey, melon, wheat, and berries. Finishing with a mixture of light bitterness and honey sweetness, it’s easy-drinking and refreshing. You’ll be able to find it on tap at both Garrison locations in the city starting next Friday, as well as in cans; some cans will also be sold at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines & Spirits. Look for the beer’s official launch to happen on March 8th; they’ll be hosting some local women vendors at their Seaport taproom for a Makers and Vintage market. Garrison will also be donating $0.50 from the sale of every can to create a Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC. And be sure to stop and admire the artwork on your can of beer, as it was designed by local artist Rachel Brisson.
Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing has two new fruited beers for you heading into the weekend, both part of the brewery’s new Petite Pilot Program, allowing them to play a bit and exhibit some fun, small batch beers. First off is A Night at the Raspberry, which was released last night. This is a Raspberry Wheat Ale that features an addition of local wild raspberries; it clocks in at an easy-drinking 5.1% ABV. Next up is CherryOake (rhymes with “karaoke”) a beer that will be dropping at the brewery tonight at 9 pm. This is another wheat ale, however, it’s a little more complex than the first beer we mentioned. The beer was aged briefly in a French Oak barrel, along with dark tart and red sweet cherries that had been soaked in Newfoundland Distillery Company gin. This 5.2% ABV beer is tart and fruity, with a slight touch of oak. This one will be available for pints only at the taproom.
Looks like Petit-Sault is having fun playing with hoppy beers lately, as they just released their latest at the brewery, Oat Saint-Jean IPA. This beer is a collaboration with one of the brewery’s original brewers, Jason Dionne, who is currently working at Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Brewed with very high amounts of both malted and flaked oats (so you know this one is going to be hazy), a whole whack of Citra, Vic Secret, and Simcoe hops were used in the brew. The result is a beer chock-full of fruity goodness, including aromas of “citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit”. You can find it on tap at the brewery today, with bottles following sometime next week.
Quidi Vidi Brewing has a new release this week, just in time for the weekend. Session Lager aims to be what it says on the tin, an easy drinking lighter 3.9% ABV beer that’s going to be refreshing regardless of what you’re doing. Light grain character with a frothy white head, sounds like a killer sipper to us. Don’t think that means they’ve just dashed it out, though, this one has been in development at the brewery for over a year! QVBC has done something new with this release, with the addition of Clarex. This additive serves two purposes in the brewing process, by increasing the clarity of the beer by dropping out gluten-containing molecules. While Quidi Vidi has the lab work back to prove gluten is below the normal threshold for detection (less than 5 ppm), they do caution that as it was made from gluten-containing barley, it cannot be considered gluten-free. This means it’s fine for those of you watching your gluten intake, but those with celiac should take heed (we know mileage varies greatly with this disease). What it does mean, however, is more beer for more people! Look for it in QV’s Hop Shop today and NLC locations as early as tomorrow. The brewery would definitely love if those who try it would provide a little feedback on the beer, which can be done by following this link right here.
And submissions are open for their second year of the Home Chef/Home Brew dinner. They are looking for four amateur chefs to create a small plate to pair with their recently released four-pack of beers chosen in the Newfermenters homebrew competition. These chefs will pair up with the brewers to create plates that will be served at Chinched April 2nd. Submit your recipe entry via email to Chinched, and we’ll remind you of the tasting event closer to the date!
The gang’s all back together again! 902 BrewCast has released their February Tasting Episode this morning, just in time for your commute to/from work this chilly Friday. Catching up on the various ailments and maladies they’ve been feeling the last couple of months, ranting about the impending doom by the name of White Claw hitting the shelves in the region, as well as chatting up their recent foray into beer reviewing. Oh, and they drank some beer on the podcast, too! Listen in to hear what they’re digging, or not, these days, and what’s coming next from them.
Lots of things for beer lovers to do this weekend:
Good news if you’re in Kentville and a big fan of both cider and beer… Maritime Express Cider is hosting a mini-tap-takeover today, with six of their taps going towards beers from Lunn’s Mill. Don’t worry, there will still be Maritime Express cider available, so you’re getting the best of both worlds! They’ll be giving out some prizes as well, so be sure to drop by if you’re in the area.
We’re all for any excuse for a new beer from Tatamagouche Brewing, and with 2020 being a Leap Year, they’ve brewed a new Weird Beer to be released at the brewery tomorrow, February 29th. We have all the info on this newbie, but they don’t want us to give too much away, so too bad! Hmm, let’s see, what to tease… well, it’s big (ABV-wise), it’s barrel-aged, it’s beer… I guess that’s it! You’re just going to have to drop by Tata yourself tomorrow; they’ll launch it at 2 pm and have live music to help celebrate until 5 pm. The official event page is here, but it doesn’t reveal anything more about the beer, so don’t get too excited!
Bar Stillwell in Halifax has a weekend full of fun and cheer, with events both Saturday and Sunday. From noon tomorrow, they are welcoming Toronto’s Blood Brothers Brewing in the house, who will be making their debut on the taps in a big way, bring 9 draught and a handful of bottled offerings. Featuring Blood Light, Inner Eye, and Blood Brotherhood, the wall will also showcase four beers in their Paradise Lost sour series, including Guava, Apricot-Plum, Spiced Cherry, and Blueberry-Vanilla-Spice. And what’s great beer without killer food? In addition to their regularly scheduled menu, Stilly’s Joe Martin will be bringing the heat with a full Southern BBQ feast featuring Briket, Pork Ribs, Crispy Fried Chicken, Cornbread, and more! Check the FB Event for more beer and food detes.
The fun at Stilly continues Sunday, with “Wild West Brunch Bonanza”, the latest event from the Cahoots Cooks Collective. Attendees can expect 6 courses from 6 amazing local chefs who head up or support incredible kitchens in the HRM. Your ticket also includes a bourbon or beer (and then it’s order whatcha’d like from the taps or cocktail menu), plus live music from The Big Country Ramblers. This event is by reservation only, so email Sam to book your seats for the event! Doors open at 12:30, with the food starting at 1 PM.
Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is hosting their second annual Homebrewers Meet & Greet at the brewery tomorrow, Feb 29th. From 2 – 5 PM, it will be a casual drop-in event where you can come chat with other local homebrewers, pick their brains on the latest recipes and gear purchases, as well as see how things are different, and the same, when scaling batches from 20 litres to 2000 litres. Guided brewery tours will take place at 3 and 4 PM, there are door prizes, and no charge for the event.
One final reminder to our pals who live/will be in Fredericton next Thursday. We will be taking over the mics at The Joyce Pub in the Crowne Plaza for everyone’s favourite event, Beer Trivia! Thanks to our amazing brewery friends, we will once again be overflowing with prizes for the brainiest of the bunch of you, and if you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’re sure to do well (hint, hint!). If you are still on the fence, here’s what will definitely get you in the door: Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing is in town, and bringing a dozen beers to pour from the taps that evening, a mix of their core beers, beers from the cellar, as well as at least one brand new release even WE don’t know about yet (shocking)! Peep the FB Event to learn more. And we’ll see you all on Thursday, March 5th! And for those breweries looking to donate swag to this fun event, please hit us up on social media or via email!
And a few last brief (or maybe not so brief) things to mention this week before we leave you to it (whatever “it” may be…):
Though they’ve been hinting at it for a couple of weeks, Boxing Rock made it official this week that they’re getting into the cider game. You’ll find their as-yet-unnamed cider on tap and as growlers to-go at Local Source in the city as well as at the tap room in Shelburne. And about that “as-yet-unnamed” bit, they’d love to have some help giving it a moniker; hit them up on social media with your best ideas! They also released The Publican Bitter to Local Source neighbours, the Stillwell Freehouse, earlier this week. Described as, “a 5% balancing act,” with a hint of sweetness and a lingering bitterness, if you’re lucky it’s still pouring there.
Landwash, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has reached their hundredth mash! Which is different from their hundredth batch in ways that only a brewer would appreciate… Anyways, their Green Nap, a hazy IPA that sees a rotating variety of hops came back just in time for you to toast this milestone along with them. Plenty of orange, mango skin, and apricot notes bloom from a combo of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. We suggest if you’re a hophead and can get your hands on this one you do so with a quickness. And even if you’re not a hophead, you should check out the current offerings, as their Sour and Salty Brackish is also back, and you can also pick up Smiling Land (Kolsch-style Ale), Home and Away (APA), That Much Ocean (NEIPA), Hazures Rock (Breakfast Stout), and Rock and Willow (Rustic Saison) all at the brewery on tap for growler fills and pints and in cans.
With all of the good news of new breweries and new releases, it’s important to keep grounded: the brewery business in the Atlantic Provinces is healthy, but that does not mean there will not be closures. Whether related solely to the business side of things or not, we understand now that Valonray Brewing in MacDougall Settlement has closed. The brewery was an ambitious project that opened in Spring 2018, with the goal of brewing beer in the Belgian tradition with ingredients grown on their farm. We had recently reported on their foray into the Flanders Red style, but with their social media, website, and email no longer functioning, we are not able to update on its availability, nor track the age of these previously released bottles at the ANBL, and whether they are still good. Learn more about their plans in our profile of them from March 2018. We wish the Fontaines all of the best with whatever they choose to do next!