Hello folks! Our final Friday of April is shaping up to be another busy week in beer news… maybe a bit lighter than the past couple of weeks, but there’s still lots to report!
• Hammond River and Big Axe are pairing for their first collaboration beer, which is being brewed today! Big Axe owner/brewer Peter Cole will be joining Shane Steeves at his brewery, where they will be brewing up a currently-unnamed India Black Ale (aka Black IPA). The grist will be made up of several malts, including Pale Ale, Crystal, Black Patent, Melanoidin, and a little CaraAroma; the wort will then be bittered with the Columbus hop variety to 77 IBUs, with heavy additions of Citra later in the boil (and likely a dry-hop as well). It should clock in at about 7% ABV; we can likely expect a melding of roasted, coffee and chocolate flavors with the tropical fruitiness from the Citra! Next week, both brewers will be re-brewing the beer at Big Axe in Nackawic, so expect distribution of the beer throughout Fredericton and Saint John/Quispamsis when it’s ready.
• Last week, Tatamagouche Brewing released a new beer, Little Giant, on tap at Stillwell. A parti-gyle brew (brewed from the second runnings of a “bigger” beer), it’s an ESB that has been hopped with El Dorado and Ella to about 35 IBUs, and weighs in at 5.2% ABV. The first, bigger beer was an American Barleywine, brewed in preparation of Tatabrew’s Giant Beer Series in May, just in time for NS Craft Beer Week! Here are some details on the three beers in this series, just to get you excited…
Giantess Barleywine (11% ABV, 90 IBUs) – Named after Anna Swan, Tatamagouche’s famous Giantess, an American Barleywine hopped with Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus.
Two Rivers Baltic Porter (8% ABV, 36 IBUs) – Fermented with Lager yeast and cold-conditioned, and hopped with Czech Saaz, expect this one to be full-bodied, and “very smooth with hints of chocolate”, according to the brewery.
Rum Barrel-Aged Dreadnot IBA (11.5% ABV, 52 IBUs) – Their standard Dreadnot IBA, but aged in fresh Ironworks rum barrels for an additional 4 months. Jumping from its original 7% ABV after the barrel aging, it’s currently exhibiting lots of rum presence, including vanilla. Hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, and Cascade.
• And in more Tatabrew news, their Sunrise Trail ISA (India Session Ale) has been released this week. Weighing in at a modest 4.1% ABV, the beer packs a solid hop punch from the Azacca and Ahtanum varietals, and will be perfect for our ever-improving weather. It is available at the brewery for growler fills and in 650ml bottles.
• BarNone is releasing a new beer, and has a previous favourite returning! First, FarmAle Saison was brewed with the historic ‘Table’ Saison in mind; that is, a low-alcohol, refreshing, dry beer for consumption during the warmer months in Belgium, when farmers would be outside, working for hours on end. Hazy-gold in colour, it exhibits a “peppery flavour with an ever-so-slight funk”, according to the brewery. Definitely easy-drinking at 4.9%, it just became available at the brewery yesterday for their weekly growler night. Also on last night was their La Vaca Loca, a Sweet Stout (aka Milk Stout) that debuted months ago and was an immediate hit. Nicely balanced between roasted and coffee flavors, along with a slight lingering sweetness from the addition of lactose powder in the boil, this fan-favourite should now be available regularly on tap at the Pilot House in Charlottetown.
• Not stopping there, BarNone has just brewed yet another brand-new beer that falls on the “light side of an American Pale Ale”. Conceived by co-owner/brewer Don Campbell on his drive back to PEI after brewing Island Conspiracy at Big Spruce in Cape Breton. Listening to a CD by singer/songwriter Keith Mullins, Campbell was inspired by the song “Island Sol” to book Mullins for a gig at the brewery, as well as brew up a beer for the event. Next Saturday, May 2nd at 8 pm, Mullins will be performing at BarNone along with Christine Campbell to kick off the season’s events at the brewery; tickets are $15. The beer, Island Sol, is “summery and fruity, aromatic while lacking bitterness… encapsulating the Island soul” says Campbell. Light gold in colour, it weighs in at 5% ABV and ~25 IBUs, and will be launched during the event.
• Good news, Weizen fans! Uncle Leo’s is bringing back Vohs Weizenbier, their take on the German Hefeweizen style that they first introduced last year. The recipe is the same as before, featuring a grist of roughly equal amounts of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Hopped lightly to 14 IBUs, it’s fermented with a German yeast strain and comes in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV. A fantastic style for warmer-weather drinking, it should be available for growler fills at the brewery any day now, as well as in 650 mL bottles at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines and on tap at select bars/restaurants in Halifax.
• The Ladies Beer League is looking for a couple of people to join their Board of Directors. This volunteer position will require 3-5 hours per week of engagement with fellow board members, organizing and promoting events. You must be of legal drinking age, a current member of the LBL, and of course, be passionate about beer! Check out more details here, and fire them an email to apply for the position. The posting closes next Thursday. And be sure to pick up a bottle of the Cinnamon Spin collaboration beer, brewed by Boxing Rock.
It was a big week for several soon-to-be-open breweries in our region:
• On Tuesday, Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown took delivery of their 15BBL (~17hl) brewhouse and fermentors from Charlottetown’s own DME Brewing Solutions. acbbchris was in town for work, and managed to snap a few pictures during the 12-hour day, while all of the 11 brewing vessels were unloaded and put upright inside their facility. There was a tired yet immensely satisfying feeling in the brewery when everything was complete at 9:30pm!
• On Wednesday, Wrought Iron Brewing Company announced that they were changing their name and rebranding as Good Robot Brewing Company. The new name is a better fit with the founders’ attitudes and fun direction (while paying homage to their engineering roots), rather than the rigid or medieval connotation of their previous name. They have been brewing up a storm on Robie St, and will be launching in earnest during the NS Craft Beer Week, taking part in many of the events, including the Open Brewery Day, when visitors will be welcome to take a look around their digs.
• Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth has been taking delivery of their fermentors this week as well, with at least one 80BBL fermenter (good for multi-batch brewdays) being installed. They are expecting delivery of their 20BBL brewhouse (also from DME) early next week. This week they also launched their logo and Facebook page, with their full website on the way shortly. While their launch date has not yet been released, they have confirmed that they will be taking part in next month’s NS Craft Beer Week, including the Full House Craft Beer Fest.
• Breton Brewing in Sydney has also taken delivery of the last of their brewing vessels for their 15BBL steam-fired system from Criveller in Niagara Falls. Their location next to the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market is taking shape quite nicely; while they won’t be officially taking part in any events during NS Craft Beer Week, they are on track for having beer ready for consumption in June!
That’s all of the news fit to print for today. A warning that tomorrow’s launch party at Stillwell for Propeller’s Lambic-style beer has been postponed, as the beer is not quite ready yet. We promise this isn’t just a scheme to somehow allow us to drink more of it! Once the new date is released, we’ll pass it along, we swear! And homebrewers, don’t forget that beers for the inaugural Brewnosers Homebrew Competition are due May 15th. With three weeks left to submit them, time is running out to put together your brewday. They have received over 250 entries from across the country, so it will be a true judge of local talent on the national stage.