Happy Friday everyone! Lots of new beers and taproom openings to tell you about today, so let’s dive right in.
• Petit-Sault just released their newest brew, Maxime Albert, a Belgian Tripel. Winner of the bronze medal in the Belgian-Style Specialty Ale category in the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, it iss named after one of New Brunswick’s most famous bootleggers. The beer features a relatively simple recipe of Pilsner malt and Belgian candi sugar to boost the alcohol level (all the way to 9.3% ABV) and give a drier finish, both of which are indicative to the style. Hopped with Hallertau and Saaz to 35 IBUs, it was also lightly spiced with a “secret mix” of spices. Pouring with a “rich, golden honey” appearance, it has an aroma of sweet malt, spicy alcohol, and “light floral notes”, according to the brewery. Expect complex flavours of “malt, pepper, citrus, floral and herbal”, followed by a smooth alcohol warmth. The beer is currently on tap at the brewery and at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend, and should follow in bottles within the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled at your favourite beer bars/restaurant in the province, as it may turn up at these locations as well.
• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing opened their adjacent taproom late last week, Charm School. In addition to the three core beers, and handful of seasonals now pouring (Daytimer Berliner Weisse, Hop Riot IRA, Flat Black Jesus American Stout, Double Orange Ale DIPA), they are also featuring a special collaboration release with Jeff Saunders of Bad Apple Brewhouse. Smokeshow is an “Imperial Rauchbier” brewed with 100% Smoked malt; the beer was then aged on hickory for an entire year. It’s a big beer, coming in at a massive 11.2% ABV! The only way to grab this beer, for now, is on tap at 6041 North Street, so be sure to drop by for a pint. Charm School is open daily (except Monday) from 4pm.
• We now have more details on this year’s first batch of Yellowbelly‘s Mummer’s Ale. The grist is quite complex, with 2-row, light Carastan, Munich, Flaked Barley, Pale Chocolate malt and Black malt. Two different types of sugar (Belgian candi and turbinado) were also added, as well as local honey from Murray Meadows Farm. Including further additions of cacao nibs from the Newfoundland Chocolate Factory, and fresh-pressed cranberry juice from Rodrigues Winery. Weighing in at ~6.5% ABV, expect a warming, very complex brew! The Mummer’s will be released at the brewery mid-next week, and should also be available in bottles shortly thereafter.
• There’s a new beer pouring at the Rockbottom Brewpub these days, a special German-style brew. Sticke Alt is an Altbier, traditional to the German city of Dusseldorf. The name translates as “Secret Old”: Secret, as the breweries/pubs would keep this special brew on a hidden or unmarked tap handle, and only pour it for the regular patrons; Old, because this beer is closer to an ale than a lager (the refrigeration required for lager brewing is a relatively new development in beer’s history). The good news is, anyone can enjoy this brew at the ‘bottom! The grain bill features mostly Pilsner malt with a bit of German specialty malts for colour and body (and was brewed using the traditional Hochkurz step-mash schedule), and the hop bill is great Eastern European and Noble hops, featuring plenty of Dana, Magnum, and Saaz, for an American IPA feel from Continental European malts and hops. The final product comes in at 5.8% ABV and a hefty 50 IBUs, and is available now for pints as well as growler fills.
• Big Tide has brought back a seasonal favourite, their Santa’s Chocolate Porter. Brewed with 2-row, CaraMunich, and Chocolate malt, the beer is lightly hopped to 25 IBUs. Coming in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, it features additions during secondary fermentation of vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon, making it a flavorful, spicy beer for the holidays. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub, and will be available for growler fills at all four ANBL stores at the end of next week (Dec 18th weekend).
• Also on tap now at Big Tide is Unbegrentz Lager, a Munich Helles. Featuring a Pilsner malt base, and generously hopped with Columbus and Hallertau, this beer features an addition of Labrador Tea for a twist on this traditional German style. The beer features 4.8% ABV.
• There’s plenty going on this month with Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery! First up is a “bottle takeover” at the James Joyce Pub tonight. This Mead Your Maker event will feature several of their still meads, including THOR, Arthur’s Mischief, Hunt, Appily Married and the “Honey Cones” Dry Hopped Meads. The latter will be available as a set of eight 1 oz pours (featuring single hopped versions with Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Fuggle, Galena, Nugget, Magnum and Willamette, as well as a 2 oz pour of each of their Multi-Hop and unhopped base versions. In addition, if you try this sampler ($20), you will be given the opportunity to buy a case of “Honey Cones” (this weekend marks the second release of these meads, which sold out at the first release in October) before they officially go on sale online. And keep an eye on the Pollen Angels store on the weekend, as a limited number of these expressions will be available for home delivery.
• Good Robot has announced that they will be opening their taproom at 2736 Robie very soon, and have released a video sneak peak at the space and plans. They will be pouring 12 taps, featuring their core lineup of brews, special casks/blends, and small batch experimental brews from homebrewers and friends of the Robots. As such, they will be temporarily pulling the Crown on the Ground Steam Beer from the brewing rotation, so fans should stock up now (they will still have it in kegs for a while, fear not!). Look for new brews like Marzen, Saison (which will be joining the regular lineup shortly), Session IPA (our own Chris was invited to help brew this collaboration), Smoked Molasses Porter, and many more as time goes on. Have a cool idea for a small-batch brew? Get in touch! The taproom will also feature food from some great local providers, including Food Noise, Halifax Press, and Salvatore’s Pizza.
• New Brunswick’s newest brewery, First City Brewery, has quietly made their debut in Saint John! Owned and operated by Adam McQueen and Jeff Gibbons, three initial beers are now listed through ANBL for beers bars and restaurants to order for kegs: their Extra Special Bitter, IPA, and Rhuberry Blonde Ale, with the IPA currently at the R-Bar in downtown Saint John. Plans are to be pouring at the Peel Pub and Bourbon Quarter in the very near future, with other accounts to follow shortly after. They will also have their beers at both the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and Saint John Beer Fest in 2016. Welcome, First City! We’ll have more info on the brewery and beers very soon.
• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has expanded their storefront hours to include Saturday hours (now M-F, 11-6, Sat 12-4pm). Drop by for samples and growler fills of their flagship Coastal Lager, which is also available in an unfiltered variant only at the brewery. Spindrift has also expanded their territory East, to Newfoundland. Coastal Lager hit the shelves of the NLC this week, and can be found from Labrador City to St John’s. Check the NLC site for locations near you.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has put together a new take on their Weizen beer. Pear Hug Weisse is a 5.2% Hefeweizen with an addition of pear juice to the brew. Bringing in a sweet character and characteristic fruit flavour and aroma, it is a unique take on this old style. This limited-time beer is on tap at the brewery for samples and growler fills now, and will make it to local bars as well. The brewery has expanded their taps to pour 11 beers for growler fills, or onsite tasting. Joining the Pear Hug and their 5 core brands currently are Imperial IPA, Martello Stout, Risin’ Stein Weisse, Spruce Beer, and Winter Warmer. And remember, the Home Brew-Off entries are due February 11th, just two months away. Homebrewers from across the Maritimes are encouraged to take an American IPA, and make it something more, by adding herbs, fruit, different yeasts, etc. Details and forms are available on their site.
• Residents and visitors of Florenceville-Bristol in New Brunswick have a pair of new brews to look forward to this weekend. Railcar Brewing has released a pair of beers to keep you warm: Raspberry Stout is a 7.7% ABV American Stout, with raspberries added for a lovely fruit flavour and aroma, to offset the hefty 55 IBUs; Christmas Spiced Ale is a 5.5% ABV beer featuring spices reminiscent of gingerbread and mulled wine and keeping warm around the fire. Both beers are on tap at the brewery taproom now, along with their Artisan Brown, Cafe Buzz, Orange Rye, Trainwreck IPA; the taproom will be open daily until Christmas for growler and schwag sales, as well as rental for parties.
• Battery Park Beer Bar at 62 Ochterloney in Dartmouth opened yesterday, with a full complement of brews and food for thirsty patrons. Pouring beers (and wine and house-made soda) from across the province, the downstairs space also serves as North Brewing’s second storefront, offering growler fills and bottles to go. Debuting this week is Dartmouth Dark, a 4.5% dark lager with cold-brewed coffee from neighbours Anchored Coffee added to the brew. And just released today are bottles of Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian, available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth storefronts. North is open daily from noon, and Battery Park from 2pm (both are closed Tuesdays).
• A bit of an update concerning the upcoming Christmas Beer Garden at the Market in Fredericton, scheduled for Sunday, December 20th: due to overwhelming interest, tickets for the event have been sold out. Originally, a small handful of “early bird” tickets were made available, and included a special glass and four 20 oz beer tickets. More tickets were sold than originally planned; unfortunately, due to a limited number of people allowed to enter the market area, dropping in to the event is no longer an option. Luckily, organizers behind the market event already have bigger plans for next year’s holiday season, to allow more people to partake in the celebrations!
Just a few more notes for this week: The Grimross Dubbel Noel was just kegged, so look for that one to be popping up for growler fills at the brewery, and on tap in the area, any day now. The new hoppy Amber from TrailWay has been named – Good Aura – and is now pouring in Fredericton; more info on that beer in last week’s post. Hammond River just announced that their beers will now be available on tap at Moncton’s Tide & Boar; also, their new Foghorn Coffee Porter is on tap at Bourbon Quarter, Saint John Ale House, and The Barrel’s Head. Upstreet is holding a tap takeover at the Water’s Edge upcoming Ugly Sweater party on Friday, December 18th at 8 pm; along with their regular line-up, look for a special cask of their new stout, Black Tie Affair, featuring the addition of coconut and cocoa nib tea. Phewf! Have a great weekend!