Happy Friday everyone! We hope you’re able to stay dry and warm today, as some wet weather hits our region. Perhaps this toasty beer news will help a bit!
• Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset, NS is releasing their newest beer this weekend, Boxcutter IPA. A light coloured ale, weighing in at 6.92% ABV and light-bodied, this IPA is hop-forward without being too bitter. The IBUs are calculated at 45, however most of the secret hop blend was added in a massive charge at flame-out (in the kettle, after the burner is turned off), and then another boost as a dry-hop in the fermenter/conditioning tank. This beer will be making its debut at Stillwell Sunday during their First Anniversary party, and available on tap around the city thereafter, as well as growler fills at the brewery.
• Another beer debuting at Stillwell’s party Sunday is Merci Bière, from Shelburne’s Boxing Rock. The Stillwell crew visited Boxing Rock, and brewed alongside Emily and Henry last month. Their beer is a very special Saison, weighing in at 8.4% ABV and 20 IBUs. However, the numbers definitely do not tell the whole story, as the crew used some Beechwood smoked malt for a smokey hint, and used noble UK Goldings and Czech Saaz hops to complement. And with a French farmhouse yeast to ferment this beer, they were blessed with spicy notes, including clove, allspice, and black pepper. After its release at Stillwell Sunday, it will be available in growler fills at the brewery and Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and in bottles at the private wine shops.
• Yet another new beer debuting Sunday will be Stillwell’s very own beer, Nuppeppo. Contract brewed at North Brewing, the grain bill reads like that of an Imperial Stout, with lots of oats and flaked barley, chocolate malt for colour and flavour, and some sugar to help achieve terminal gravity. The beer takes a left turn from the style in the choice of hops: UK Goldings for bittering and Czech Saaz for flavour and aroma. And another turn (onto a ramp?) when you realize this is a Saison, and was fermented with a Farmhouse yeast. The main event (or the 24 buses jumped, in this over-stretched analogy) are the 900 grams of spices added in the last minutes of the boil. Chef Graeme used his signature Tokyo Steak Spice mixture (featuring black and Szechuan peppercorns, chilis, and a few other secret ingredients) to complete the notes of heat, chocolate, pepper, and mint on the nose and tongue. While nervous during the process, the beer has turned out even better than the Stillwellers could have expected! This beer will only be on tap at Stillwell, and there are not many kegs, so be sure to drop by Sunday to ensure happiness.
• As if you needed more reasons to visit on Sunday, the SW crew is bringing in some more heavy hitters, including lovingly cellared kegs of Acadie-Broue Kiebitz Coti Berliner Weisse, Grimross Chantelope (100% Brett fermented), Garrison Brewing Grand Baltic Porter (2013), Dieu du Ciel! Bourbon Barrel-aged Péché Mortel (2013), and casks from Boxing Rock (U-889  and the Merci Bière collaboration), North Brewing (Saison de L’Acadie), and Bulwark (Cask-Conditioned Original Cider). Plus they will have some special bottles pouring by the glass for that day only (Propeller’s Lambic-Style Framboise, The Bruery’s Sour in the Rye, and the Merci Bière collaboration. In addition to the great beers, they’ll be serving cake, and the favourite food menu items from the past year. It will be quite the party, don’t miss it! Full tap/cask/bottle list is available here.
• Already on tap in the city and at the brewery is Big Spruce’s Statler & Waldorf Proprietary IPA. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it is their first ever beer brewed using 100% of their own farm-grown hops (located just behind the brewery building). Cascade, Centennial, Nugget, Chinook and Mt Hood were the 5 varietals used, dried in their own oast house, and stored until brewday late last month. It is a tannin rich, hop forward beer with deep citrus flavour and character. While Statler & Waldorf are famous for their heckles and puns on the Muppet Show, we don’t think anyone will be complaining about this beer and its #MuppetLevelHops! The beer will be on tap at Stillwell, The Stubborn Goat, and Lion & Bright in Halifax, and the Townhouse in Antigonish. While the IPA is not scheduled to be on tap for the Anniversary party, Big Spruce’s The Whole 9 Yards (their own First Anniversary beer) will be pouring Sunday afternoon at Stillwell. And don’t forget to submit your registration information for their Second Annual Home Brew Competition before the 21st. Beers are due at the end of the month, and the winner will be brewing their beer in Nyanza for release at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, Jan 15, 2015.
• Fredericton’s Picaroons has released a returning favourite, Feels Good Imperial Pilsner. Featuring a grain bill of Bohemian Pilsner malt with some malted wheat, this beer usually features traditional Saaz hops, however this release also features hops grown in New Brunswick, specifically Magnum, Nugget and Centennial. As the beer is brewed to support the local arts through Feels Good, it made sense to feature local hops. While the name may imply a lager, this beer was fermented with Picaroons’ house ale yeast, Ringwood. The beer weighs in at 7.0% ABV. Also, big congratulations to Picaroons for achieving B Corporation recognition. To become certified, they must demonstrate “social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency”. They join only a handful of other companies in NB, and one brewery in all of Canada (Beau’s in Vankleek Hill, Ontario)
• Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool, NS has released a brand new beer today, Chocolat. This 6.0% ABV beer is a Chocolate Wheat Ale (ala Brown Porter style), using a malt bill highlighted with wheat, oats, and darker roast and crystal malts. While these malts alone would offer a full chocolate aroma and flavour, cocoa and vanilla beans were extracted with a generous portion of rum to really bring out its namesake characteristics. The hops used in this brew were all local Mt Hood and Challenger varietals, grown at Hightide Hops, in Dayspring. Grab it in a growler at the brewery, or on tap only at your favourite local watering hole.
• Like last year’s event, the 2014 Fredericton Poutine Festival was a great success! With over ten different poutines being served and over twenty different beers pouring, the sold-old evening session was hopping with great food and drink. This year’s “Best of the Fest” award went to the Doghut Canteen; they had three different poutines, including Traditional, Newfoundland, and Donair. Check out the festival’s Facebook page for lots of photos of the fun!
• Celtic Knot announced last week that they would be brewing their first batch of Toque and Mitts, an English Barleywine, for the season. Like last year, it’s a dark and malty beer brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate Malt, Wheat Malt, and Crystal 120 L malts, and is hopped with Willamette, East Kent Golding, and Belma hops to approximately 33 IBUs. This batch has something new, however; Bourbon-soaked oak chips have also been added to the beer. A big beer at 7.5% ABV, it will require a bit of aging, but look for it to pop up on tap at Celtic Knot accounts sometime around Christmas. And, speaking of Celtic Knot accounts, the Old Triangle in Moncton just tapped the Dubh Loki (a Black IPA), their first CK beer!
• Pump House Brewery has released their latest seasonal this week, Schwarzbier. This is a traditional German-style black lager, featuring light hints of chocolate and coffee. Being a lager, it still manages a crisp mouthfeel and light-bodied, clean finish. It is available on tap now at the Brewpub, and at ANBL Dieppe this weekend for growler fills. Readers in NS and PEI should keep their eyes open for Pump House Stonefire Ale, their limited edition Steinbeir, which has been hitting the shelves in those two provinces.
• Tatamagouche Brewing has released North Shore Lagered Ale this week. A light and refreshing brew, it is lightly hopped, and cold conditioned. Available at the brewery in growlers, and on tap at your favourite watering bar. They also brewed up a holiday-themed beer earlier this week that will be out in December. We do not have any details, but gather it will be a “flavourful and festive ale”, out in time for the holidays.
• Bulwark Gold is heading to shelves in NS shortly. This cider is made from fresh-pressed apples and honey. 5.0% ABV. It will be joining Bulwark Winter already on the shelves, their spiced seasonal cider. We will have more details for next week’s write-up.
Finally this week, PEI Brewing has announced that they will be serving light food at their brewery location at 96 Kensington Rd. Enjoy nachos, chicken wings, poutine or pulled pork sandwiches while tipping a pint of their fine beers. Food will be served daily 4-7pm, except Sunday. The full menu is here.