Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve been swept up in the fun and excitement that is #NSCraftBeerWeek, with lots of great events, dinners, and tap takeovers. There are still a few events this weekend, including tonight’s Brews Cruise on the tall ship Silva and Tap Takeover at Windsor’s Spitfire Arms (featuring Meander River, Schoolhouse and Sea Level), tomorrow’s sold out Full House Craft Beer Fest, and Sunday’s Brewer’s Brunch at the Stubborn Goat, so be sure to take them in.
• The Race the Kegs event will take place tonight at the Gahan House Harbourfront. Racing in from the Bedford Yacht Squadron on 24-foot sailboats, the North and South teams will be competing to see who can get their kegs tapped and pouring first. The event kicks off around 6:30pm. The “South” team (Boxing Rock, Gahan House, Hell Bay and Sea Level) are releasing Rule 42 – brewed with all English hops (Challenger, Phoenix, and Bramling Cross), the beer was named after the the boat-racing rule (stating that only the wind and water can be used to increased, decrease, or maintain a craft’s speed). It clocks in at 5.3% and 50 IBUs. As for the “North” team (Big Spruce, Good Robot, North Brewing, and Uncle Leo’s), their Northern Bight was brewed with plenty of Crystal 120 L for colour, and to boost the “spicy body”. Hopped entirely with UK Goldings in the boil, and dry-hopped with… well, that’s a secret, and we can’t tell you! This 6.3% ABV, 60 IBUs ale was fermented with Nottingham, a dry English yeast. May the best beer win! No tickets are necessary to come take part in the fun, and there will be plenty of other NS Craft Beer on tap as well to celebrate the event. These two beers will then be available for growler fills at their participant breweries, and on tap at bars around the province.
• With their opening day getting closer and closer, Upstreet Craft Brewing has announced details on their first three beer releases. The first is Commons Pilsner; brewed in the Bohemian style, the beer was named after its birthplace – in the 18th century, the brewery location used to be known as the “Commons”, or the outskirts of Charlottetown proper. Fermented with a lager yeast strain, this Czech-style beer is brewed with real Czech ingredients, including Bohemian floor-malted pilsner malt, and lots of Czech Saaz hops (with plenty being added late in the boil to increase the spicy aroma/flavour indicative to the style). Coming in at 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, this “balanced and crisp” Lager is the perfect style for summer-drinking!
• Next up is an American Pale Ale named in honor of all those who helped the brewery come to fruition… Do-Gooder APA. Proudly brewed using 50% Maritime Malt, it features a malty backbone and medium bitterness, with a blast of citrus and fruitness in the aroma, thanks to hop bursting (adding most of the hops very late in the boil). Something to satisfy the hopheads but also accessible for those who don’t think they like hoppy or bitter beers. The Do-Gooder weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 45 IBUs. And we’ve heard a rumour about a Belgian-inspired fruit beer to be revealed shortly!
• Sea Level has released their returning summer seasonal, Summer Blonde Pilsner. Brewed with 100% Maritime Malt, this “crisp, refreshing” Lager is hopped with the aptly-named Australian variety, Summer. Coming in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the beer finishes with a fairly-firm bitterness, at 40 IBUs. You can find it at the brewery now for growler fills and can purchases; look for it at private liquor stores across Halifax, soon.
• The folks behind Lake of Bays, a craft brewery from Baysville, ON, are coming to New Brunswick, and there will be a a series of beer dinners to celebrate:
In Fredericton, the Lake of Bays’ owners will be dropping by the King Street Ale House on May 27th, and Chef Aaron Fraser will be putting together a four course meal to pair with their offerings. The beers will be Rock Cut Lager, Crosswind Pale Ale, Spark House Red Ale, 10 Point IPA, Old North Mocha Porter, and a special Cask beer brewed for the event. Tickets will be going on sale very soon, keep on eye on the KSAH Facebook and Twitter feeds for details.
In Moncton, they are partnering with the Moncton Beer League and local Chefs Dan & Cheryl McLenaghan for an event at La Teraz, on May 28th. A four course menu will be paired with four different Lake of Bays beer, plus a few others, and a souvenir glass. The dinner begins at 7:30 (doors at 6:30), and tickets are available now. The last Moncton Beer League dinner sold out well before the event, so don’t delay! Early bird tickets are available until May 20th for a $10 savings, ticket sales close May 23rd. Sales from this event will help support the Humanity Project. Keep up with the event on Facebook or Twitter.
• The Brewnettes and Beerthief Artisanal and Craft Beer Club are putting on a tasting of Evil Twin beers next Thursday at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Starting at 7:30, attendees will have a chance to taste four beers from this Danish gypsy brewery: Low Life Pilsner, Freudian Slip Barleywine, I Love You With My Stout Imperial Stout, and Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA. Pretzels and hummus will be provided, and the Quidi Vidi bar will be open throughout the event. To reserve your spot, please do so via email before Tuesday. This is a members only event, but membership is free, and open to all beer-loving women in Newfoundland.
• Sunday’s Stillwell Open was a great event, with a dozen breweries and homebrewers competing in a blind tasting, with attendees voting on their favourite Backyard BBQ beers. The competition was fierce, with the winning beer revealed around 7pm. And, believe it or not, our very own Chris McDonald was the winner! He brewed a Lemon & Ginger Witbier on the pilot system at Good Robot, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the combination of lemon aroma with ginger spice and “snap”. Tatamagouche’s Sunrise Trail Session Ale, Boxing Rock’s Sessionista, and Big Spruce’s Silver Tart all finished extremely close in the voting, with less than 0.5 points (out of 40) separating the top four. We’re looking forward to next year’s event already!
• The event also served as the launching pad for a few new beers in our region, Propeller Brewing’s latest One Hit Wonder, The S’Wheat Life. This 4.5% ABV Wheat Beer is light in bitterness, at 10 IBUs, and is available now at both the Dartmouth and Gottingen breweries for growler fills. Garrison Brewing released Le Saison Froide, a Saison brewed with Mint, Japanese Tea, and Lime, weighing in at 4.2% ABV, and will be available shortly at the brewery for growler fills. They have also released the next in their “Pucker Up” series, Apricot Saison, and their Sugar Moon Maple will be available at the brewery this weekend. And as mentioned above, Big Spruce’s Silver Tart is now available for growler fills, and select bars across the province. They used 125 pounds of raspberries to achieve the wonderful flavour and striking colour, and used Lactobacillus bacteria to achieve the acidic character of the beer. A little more on the background here.
Have a fabulous long weekend… it’s looking like some nice weather, so get out there and enjoy it with some local craft beer! The seasonal Pump House Weizen (~5.2% ABV) is back on tap at the brewpub, and is also available for growler fills at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend. The Bad Apple Brewhouse Tap Takeover continues into the weekend at Tom’s Little Havana, and includes two brand new beers, Honey Wagon Honey Pale Ale, Tom’s Smoked Porter, and returning favourites Mosaic DIPA, Box Cutter IPA and APA. The Grimross Maritime Pale Ale (more info here) is now pouring at the brewery for both growler fills and on-site consumption. Those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have been hinting at an upcoming Canada Day event; all we know at the moment is that it will be a smaller, exclusive event, but we’ll have more info on that (and other plans up their sleeves) very soon! The SmartBrew system at the Nook & Cranny is in place, and they are fermenting their Wheat Ale, IPA and Pale Ale now. And homebrewers, today is the last day to register and drop off your entries for the Brewnosers Homebrew Competition at your local Noble Grape.