Welcome to the last Atlantic Canada Beer Blog Friday Wrap-Up for 2014! There’s lots of new beers (many of which are Christmas-themed) and other news this week, before the true craziness of the holidays really begins, so let’s get cracking…
• Fredericton, your wait is over: TrailWay Brewing will be officially releasing their beers to the public this weekend! Beginning with a launch party at the King Street Ale House tomorrow at 7:00 pm (open to all), their beers will then be on tap regularly at the KSAH and 540 Kitchen & Bar. They will be bringing four beers to the launch party on Saturday: a 6% ABV hoppy Amber Ale with lots of finishing hops to boost the aroma; an American Pale Ale that is also heavily hopped, with Cascade and Apollo, and dry-hopped twice; another APA hopped entirely with Comet; and a Coffee Stout brewed in the American Stout style, but with less Roasted Barley than is typical, in order to let the added coffee (from Fredericton’s Whitney Coffee Co.) shine. Sounds like some tasty beverages! They’ll have two of these beers available for sampling, and all four can be purchased as full pours. Hope to see you there! For more on TrailWay, check out our original post.
• Last week, we reported on a collaboration beer being brewed at Tatamagouche Brewing with the folks from The Stubborn Goat in Halifax, for the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration on January 15th. We know now that the beer in question is an 8% ABV Imperial IPA, featuring large amounts of Centennial, Columbus, and Chinook hops. It is also dry-hopped with a new variety called Azacca (which is very difficult to obtain), which features notes of citrus, melon, orchard fruit, and pine. The beer hasn’t been named yet, and they’re looking for your help! Head to Tata Brew’s Facebook page and submit your goat-themed beer name by commenting on their contest status; if your name is chosen, you’ll win a free party keg rental and a $100 gift card to the Stubborn Goat! The contest closes on December 22nd.
• And don’t forget that the winning entry in the Big Spruce 2nd Annual Homebrew Competition will also be making its debut at the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. Homebrewer Eric Gautier just brewed his American Wheat Ale, Bráthair Éric, on the Big Spruce system; along with Simcoe and Cascade hops as late additions in the boil, Eric has also chosen to dry-hop the beer with the Wakatu variety, from New Zealand. Sounds delicious!
• While on the topic of Big Spruce, they just brewed up a new beer to be released in the New Year. The style is Winter Warmer, and it features an interesting ingredient – Gila Squash. This is a type of squash not grown commercially in Canada; however, Michelle Smith of North Wind Farm in Skye Glen, Cape Breton was lucky enough to obtain 21 Gila seeds from the National Seed Bank, according to Big Spruce. After successfully growing over 30 mature squash this summer, Michelle passed on 7 to Big Spruce, where owner/brewer Jeremy White sugar-roasted the flesh and added it to the mash on brewday. This beer also features local hops from Southan Farms, the Doyle Family farm in Nova Scotia, and the farm at the brewery. White plans on adding black strap molasses as well, bringing this monster of a beer to about 9% ABV. Stay tuned for info on the beer’s release over the new few weeks. And look for their Spruce Bringstein to be released today!
• Bad Apple Brewhouse has brewed up another batch of their Barrel-Aged Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout, with a different twist. For this batch, the beer spent some time in barrels from Planters Ridge, a winery in Port Williams, giving it a sherry-like finish. This big beer (10.5% ABV) will be on tap only at the brewhouse, and may show up at one or two BAB accounts in Halifax. Owner/brewer Jeff Saunders has also brewed the second version of his Box Cutter IPA, and has assured us it’s even hoppier than the first beer! Look for this one to be available on Boxing Day (just a coincidence). Also, if you happen to see a beer from BAB named Winter Whistler on tap, it’s their Summer Slurper, renamed.
• And speaking of BAB, they’re holding their one-year Anniversary party on December 31st! There’ll be lots going on, including door prizes, gift giveaways, food… and most importantly, a special beer on tap (details TBA in the near future)! Keep your eyes on BAB’s social media pages for more details on the party, soon.
• Railcar Brewing will have two new beers on tap for growler fills starting tomorrow. Both beers were brewed in collaboration with and designed by homebrewer Justin Tompkins of Basset Hound Brewing in Perth-Andover; Justin hopes to go pro sometime in the not-too-distant future, so this is a great opportunity to get a feel for his brewing style early! First up is the Blonde Ale, brewed with the purpose of transitioning Light Beer drinkers into the world of craft beer. It features a grist of Pale malt and Carafoam, and is lightly hopped with Centennial and Hallertauer. Fermented with an English ale yeast, it clocks in at 5% ABV. The Cherry Chocolate Stout is at the other end of the spectrum – featuring Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts, lactose sugar, Fuggles and Cascade hops from Southan Farms, “various forms of cocoa” in the mash and secondary fermentation, along with real sweet cherries, this will definitely not be a light-tasting beer (but is still quite sessionable at 4.5% ABV)! Get down to the brewery if you can, these beers won’t be around for long!
• Just in time for Christmas, Boxing Rock is releasing a new beer today that’s perfect for pairing with “Christmas cake and holiday cheer”. Blue Toboggan is a Spiced Winter Ale; the spices in question include ginger and cinnamon that were added in the brewing process. As well, a little Haskap juice – provided by Haskapa, out of Blockhouse, NS – was added to give this pale-straw beer a slight red-blue color (Haskaps are small blue berries, sometimes referred to as “Blue Honeysuckle”). The ginger and cinnamon, combined with the tartness from the Haskap, are supported by the malt backbone, as well as a “mild bitterness and smooth finish”. Sounds like a great take on a Christmas beer! Look for it on tap at the brewery, select bars/restaurants in Halifax, and in 650 mL bottles at the private liquor stores in the HRM starting today; it should also be available at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market tomorrow.
• The newest One Hit Wonder from Propeller is out this weekend. Snowblower Winter Ale is described by the brewery as a “Darkish British-style brew”, a 6.2% ABV malt-forward beer brewed with Melanoidin, Munich and Roast to complement the base malts. English hop varieties, including Fuggles, are used to balance and enhance the flavour and aroma, to 31 IBUs. On tap now at Gottingen, and soon at the Windmill location, this beer is only available in growlers, with a limited number of kegs around the city.
• A reminder that Propeller’s second Lambic release, Blackberry, is being released Monday, Dec 21st. To celebrate, the launch party will be taking place at Stillwell tomorrow, starting at noon. You’ll be able to buy the beer by the glass or bottle, and from 1-3pm will have the chance to sign up for a pre-release bottle to be picked up Sunday (limit one per person). The beer goes on sale Monday at opening at Gottingen (10am) and Windmill Rd (noon), with a strict one-bottle per person limit. Show up early to avoid disappointment, the Framboise sold out within minutes of opening!
• Jake Saunders just took over the role of Brewmaster at Rockbottom in Halifax, and his first creation is already on tap at the brewpub! An Extra Special Bitter, The Loyalist ESB weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 35 IBUs, and was hopped heavily (~8.5 kg) with East Kent Goldings. Copper-colored with an aroma of “toast, honey and pears”, this malty beer features flavors of coffee, toffee, and an earthy, balanced bitter finish. Get down there to give this new beer a try, before it’s gone!
• Grimross Brewing has announced that, inspection and licence-pending, their new location at 600 Bishop Dr. in Fredericton will be open this coming Monday, December 22nd, from noon – 10:00 pm. There should be two beers on tap on opening day: a Belgian Blonde Ale test batch, and one of their popular flagship beers, the Saison Cheval D’or; both will be available for growler fills (750 mL and 1.89 L), and samples or full pours! They’ve also just brewed a batch of their popular Belgian Rye IPA, which has been renamed Grimross Rye IPA. For the most up-to-date status on their opening, keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday morning.
• The 2015 Garrison Home Brew-Off site is now live! This is the 7th year for this homebrew competition, with this year’s style being a Robust Porter, a “substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character”. Entries are due by February 12th, and will consist of six bottles of homebrew and a $15 registration fee. Taking part gets you entry to the gala and awards ceremony on March 5th, along with a souvenir glass, a Growlito and your first fill. Your homebrew will be evaluated by BJCP-certified judges, and the winning brewer will get to brew a full batch of his or her beer on the Garrison system with brewmaster Daniel Girard. Get brewing!
• Speaking of homebrew competitions, we’re down to the last month before entries are due for the 1st Annual Hammond River Brewing Homebrew Competition. Your Christmas / Winter Specialty Beer entries are due by January 16th. For more info, check out the link above, and our previous post.
• Are you having a big party at your house on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Or, maybe you’re just going to be in the mood for some cider and snacks one of those nights, and don’t feel like leaving the house? Well, Red Rover is pairing with Real Food Connections to offer delivery to your home (within Fredericton only). Just follow the directions on this link to make your order; delivery charge will be only $5, and if your order is over $100, delivery is free!
In closing, if you happen to be out skiing at Mont Farlagne this weekend, all three flagship beers from Petit-Sault are now available on tap and/or in bottles at the bar! A reminder that their event at Le Deck on Saturday will feature several special one-offs (check out our previous post for more info). And look for their Louis XVII to be available in bottles in early 2015! Picaroons finally broke ground on their new brewery this week, so they’re on their way to another expansion! For those not able to make it to the Brewtique every day at 4pm to be enjoying their 12 Beers of Christmas, be sure to visit Stillwell on the 23rd to have your pick of them all!
As hinted at above, we will be taking next week off for the holidays. We’ll still be updating our Twitter account with new beer releases and interesting events during the next couple of weeks, but we’ll be sharing the full details with you all when we return in the New Year. In the meantime, drink local… and have a safe, happy, and beer-filled Christmas!