Happy 2016 everyone! We are starting off the year with one of the longest posts to date, with a new brewery announcement, new inter-provincial beer launches, more than a half-dozen new beers, and the return of some old favourite beers and events. It just goes to show that there is no slowing down the Atlantic Canadian Beer news, and we are sure to stay busy this year, bringing you the scoop!
• We start off this week with the announcement of a new brewery, to open this summer in Smith’s Cove, Digby County, NS. Lazy Bear Brewing is the brainchild of Andy and Erin Norman, a husband and wife team of local homebrewers. They will be focusing on brewing English and American ales on a 3 barrel brewhouse. Both Erin and Andy have been homebrewing for years, Erin’s love of which was sparked during university, while taking a Food Science degree. “That’s where I started to learn about what beer really was. I really got into home brewing a few years ago when I had the space to do so and it has become quite a hobby.” They initially plan to offer direct growler sales, and at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market. Lazy Bear’s name borrows from their proximity to the Bear River and nearby Bear Island, and just taking time to relax, enjoy a beer and your surroundings, and being lazy! Keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages, where they have been posting pictures of their brewery build progress. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Lazy Bear!
• From new brewery to new beer, Propeller has released their newest One-Hit Wonder, an American Amber that showcases a new Australian hop variety, Vic Secret. Vic’s Resolution was brewed with a Pale malt base, along with specialty malts including Crystal, Victory and Chocolate to target an amber colour and provide some malty, caramel sweetness to the beer. Moderately-hopped to 23 IBUs, the late additions of Vic Secret give the beer an aroma of pineapple and pine. Easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV, it’s available for growler fills at both Prop Shop locations, and will be popping up on tap at better beer establishments across HRM. And drop by the Windmill location today from 11-3 to grab some jerk chicken and other island treats from the Jamaica Lee food truck.
• In other Propeller news, they’ve announced the date of their next Prop’r Cask Night; it will be held on Friday, January 29th at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. from 6-9 pm. While the ticket price includes samples of several Propeller beers, the real star of the show is, of course, the cask. This event will feature a Coffee Porter, which will be tapped at 6:30 pm by one of Propeller’s brewers. Along with the beers, a selection of appetizers from chef Ray Bear of Studio East will be on-hand for sampling. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.
• After officially launching with their Coastal Lager several months ago, Spindrift is releasing two new beers over the next week. First up is La Niña, a golden, unfiltered Wheat Lager that was sour mashed before being fermented by their house Lager yeast strain. A very small batch (50 L) brewed on their Blichmann pilot system, it’s meant to be a slightly acidic, easy-drinking (4.5% ABV) and refreshing Lager. Dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for “floral and grassy notes” without a lot of bitterness (less than 10 IBUs), it’s the first of their planned weekly series of pilot batches that will be available only at the Spindrift Taproom for growler fills, for a very short time; it will be released this afternoon. The second new beer is The Abyss, a Schwarzbier. A German-style Black Lager, it features “toasted grains, coffee, and chocolate” in the aroma and flavour, leading to an “elegantly smooth finish”, according to the brewery. Hopped with Magnum and German Hersbrucker to 25 IBUs, it was conditioned for 6 weeks to smooth out the flavours even more, and at just 4.2% ABV, should be another easy-drinking beer. The Abyss will be available on tap only at the Taproom and select bars and restaurants Friday, with a sneak peek available during the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration Thursday. Look for a barrel-aged version of The Abyss in the coming months, which was amped up with a dosing of Coldstream Clear Distillery’s Classic Coffee spirit to enhance the beers character.
• Upstreet has announced some exciting news for beer lovers not living on PEI: they will soon be available in Nova Scotia! Their four bottled beer offerings will be for sale at Bishop’s Cellar next week, including the Commons Pilsner, Rhuby Social, Do-Gooder, and White Noize, and kegs available to licensees through Bishop’s distribution. To celebrate, they’re planning several events to kick off their NS launch:
– Thursday (Jan 14), they’re holding a release party at Stubborn Goat at 10pm. Come meet and greet the Upstreet crew, and learn all about their beer. PEI’sDylan Menzie playing tunes.
– Friday, 12-10pm they will be holding tastings at Bishop’s Cellar. In addition to bottles, Upstreet’s Black Tie Affair Vanilla Cranberry Stout will be available on the growler filling station.
Later on, drop by Stillwell for more pints and fun with the crew, from 7pm to close.
– Saturday, 12-10pm they will be doing more tastings at Bishop’s Cellar.
They will also be taking over the guest taps at Good Robot’s Tap Room, and taking part in a GoodStreet Feats of Strength Mini-Olympics between the two breweries, 2-6pm. Be sure to drop by for this one, as you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to watch brewers make fools of themselves! If you’re interested in joining a team contact Mikey Woz or Joshua Counsil at the event link above.
– Sunday, they will be holding a beer pairing brunch at Stubborn Goat at 3pm, tickets are now available. Upstreet’s Joey and Hogie will lead a pairing of their four flagship beers with some special food prepared by the Goat’s kitchen.
Keep an eye on their Event Page for further details as they are released.
• With the bottles available at Bishop’s Cellar, this also means beer fans from Yarmouth to Sydney to Amherst can also enjoy bottles of Upstreet. For those who did not know, Bishop’s Cellar offers province-wide shipping on all of their products, and is free for orders over $150 of any combination of beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Keep an eye on their Beer page for the latest new arrivals and the current list of beers on tap for growler fills.
• After a soft launch at the Christmas Beer Garden on December 20th, and a “Meet Your Maker” event at the James Joyce on December 30th, Maybee Brewing now has their initial two beers – Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA – on tap at three locations in Fredericton: the James Joyce, King Street Ale House, and 540 Kitchen & Bar. No official announcement has yet been made as to when the brewery’s taproom will be opening at its location at 559 Wilsey Rd, but the brewery has stated on their Facebook page that both of their initial beers should be available for sale in cans at select ANBL locations by next weekend.
• It’s been just about a year since the James Joyce greatly expanded their tap list and seriously embraced local craft beer, and they’re holding a birthday party to celebrate! Starting at 5 pm on Friday, January 22nd, they will be welcoming everyone to drop in for some birthday cake and happy hour prices on select craft beers. As usual, there will be plenty of beers on tap, with a large emphasis on those produced in New Brunswick, with a strong possibility of a new brewery being present. Cheers to year one, and to many more to come!
• And speaking of the Joyce, they will be welcoming their first kegs from Saint John’s newest brewery, First City, this weekend. Two new beers are being sent for the brewery’s first appearance outside of Saint John: a Chocolate Coffee Stout and DIPA. While both are currently unnamed, we do have the details on each! The Chocolate Coffee Stout was brewed with cocoa powder and Jamaican Rum Butter coffee from Java Moose, and comes in at 6% ABV. The DIPA, while of course a lighter-coloured beer, weighs in at 8% ABV and 112 calculated IBUs; hopped with plenty of locally-grown organic Nugget (from Lunahops in NB) as well as Columbus and Mosaic, expect aromas and flavours that are fruity, earthy, resinous, and herbal. Don’t worry, loyal fans in Saint John – Bourbon Quarter, Lemongrass, and the R Bar are each receiving a keg of the Chocolate Coffee Stout; the R Bar also purchased a keg of the DIPA.
• After some unfortunate delays, Fredericton’s newest cidery, York County Cider, is making more progress towards opening in the near future. All of their brewing, fermenting, and storage equipment arrived shortly before Christmas, and set-up is underway! A juice delivery is planned for the end of this month; product should be following sometime later in the winter. We’ll continue to keep you updated on their progress.
• Unfiltered is releasing another hoppy one-off beer today at noon: REALLY Falc’d Up is a bigger version of their All Falc’d Up, an already-pretty-big beer that was released last October. Like that beer, this one features the fruity and tropical Falconer’s Flight, a West Coast variety actually made up of several different hops. It weighs in at a calculated 100+ IBUs, and is even stronger than the last beer, at 9% ABV. Drop by the brewery today for growler fills or a pint next door at Charm School.
• Good Robot is continuing their Experimental releases this weekend with the release of Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale (David Lynch tribute), version 2.0. First released in October, 5.8% ABV, 38 IBUs beer features Pilsner and Red X malt to enhance sweetness, and Rye malt for a bit of spiciness. They used the same hops as their Burban Legend APA, for a pleasant citrus, floral, and grapefruit character. To add roast character, this new batch features an addition of two litres of cold-brewed Java Blend Sidamo Guji coffee to the conditioning beer (2lbs of beans in 2.5 litres of water). This technique allows the bean flavour and aromatics to be extracted, without any bitterness or harsh coffee character. As with their other Experimental brews, this will be for on-premise enjoyment at their Tap Room only, and will be out in the next day or two. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the announcement.
• The Robots also held their first Tap Room event Wednesday evening, Silent Reading. The idea was to encourage folks to put down their cell phones, cut out the din of loud music and talking, and enjoy some quiet time with their favourite tome. The event was extremely popular, filling the bar to capacity. Look for future Silent Reading events in the future, as it may become a monthly event due to the great community adoption. Again, stay tuned to their social media pages for more events.
• For those in Nova Scotia, Big Spruce will be debuting their newest conspiracy Thursday. JAC the SIPA is a Sour IPA, brewed with homebrewers Justin Clarke and Eric Gautier in early December. The beer was made sour using a kettle sour technique, during which natural Lactobacillus produces lactic acid from the wort in the warm (not hot) kettle; the wort is then boiled to kill the beasts, and then fermented using an ale yeast. This Sour IPA (the province’s first?) weighs in at 6.6% ABV and 55 IBUs, with big Amarillo and Simcoe late-, whirlpool-, and dry-hopping additions for tons of aroma. The beer will debut at the Local Connections event, and be available on tap and for growler fills after.
• Tatamagouche Brewing is in a hoppy mood this month, which is good news for the rest of us! They’re re-releasing two of their more-popular hoppy offerings: Deception Bay IPA was just re-released yesterday, and is available in cans, growlers, and on tap; and Dreadnot India Black Ale will be available again next Thursday, January 14th. This version of Dreadnot will be amped up a bit, as the batch was dry-hopped this time around. Finally, TataBrew is introducing a new beer for the Local Connections event next week: Deadeye DIPA is an Imperial IPA hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, and Hallertau Blanc… and then double-dry hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, for a big blast of “pineapple, grapefruit, and passionfruit”, according to the brewery. Sounds delicious to us! If you can’t make the event, don’t worry; this 91 IBUs, 8% DIPA will be following on tap and in growlers as well, and in cans shortly after. Also pouring at the Local Connections event will be a cask of Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, their 5.5% Rye IPA. This is the barrel aged version of the cask that was sent to Cask Days, conditioned in the cask with caraway seeds and fresh ginger. Look for additional opportunities to grab this Barrel-aged version on tap at better bars and restaurants around the province next week.
• The organizers of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival still have room for more teams at their NB Hopspiel event being held Jan 29-30th at the outdoor rink at Officer’s Square. We have details on the event in our previous post, but as a refresher, your team entry ticket includes lessons and practice Friday night, games Saturday, a lunch of chili and rolls, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (Saturday, 12-6 pm), along with tickets for six 4-oz samples from seven breweries pouring ~15 different beers, ciders and mead. For those not interested in the curling, you can now buy a ticket for entry into the Beer Garden alone. This includes your first five samples (9 oz for beer, 7 oz for cider or mead), and additional tickets can be purchased at the event; food can also be purchased from outside the event and brought in. Note that while children are welcome to observe the curling, the Beer Garden is a 19+ only event, and tickets MUST be purchased in advance through the link above.
• And speaking of the FCBF, evening tickets are more than 90% sold out, so grab them now if you would like to attend the evening session. There are still plenty of afternoon tickets available as well; it will be a bit quieter, and a great way to kick off an evening downtown… or maybe even a return to the evening session!
• Garrison Brewing is bringing back their NiT-WiT Belgian Wheat today. This 4.8% ABV, 12 IBUs Belgian Witbier features orange and coriander for an authentic Wit character. First brewed in 2011, it began life as homebrewer Scott Tilford’s winning recipe for Garrison’s Home Brew-Off. Refreshing citrus and tropical aromas meld with a herbal finish. It is available today at the brewery, and will be released to the liquor stores in the coming weeks. And a gentle reminder to homebrewers, the 2016 Home Brew-Off deadline is just one month away, with beers due Feb 11. Be sure to brew your Experimental IPA now, to leave enough time for proper conditioning and carbonating! More details here.
• Garrison is partnering with Board Room Game Cafe, and holding two nights of competitive Catan tournaments at the brewery, Jan 12 & 13. Beginning at 7pm, your $10 admission fee includes entry in the tournament, as well as a sampling of beer. If you are not a Catan person, Board Room will be bringing along lots of other games to play, and their Board Game Bosses to make recommendations and help with the rules. Advance registration is suggested, check their Facebook page for more details.
• We’ve made mention of it several times above, so just a note that there are still a few tickets available for the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, being held at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. There will be 19 breweries and cider houses in attendance, many of which will be serving debuting new beers and/or serving special casks during the event. There are also 17 food vendors to keep you happy. With the expanded space at the hotel, this will be an excellent evening. Tickets are only available online.
• With all of the new beers mentioned today, how about a look back at an older one? In a story that first emerged last year, scuba diver Jon Crouse found an intact bottle of beer while diving in Halifax Harbour. He was able to identify the origin by the cork, noting it was from Alexander Keith’s brewery, circa 1870-90. While his original intent was to allow the beer to evaporate, Christopher Reynolds from Stillwell asked for a chance to test, and possibly taste, the beer first! Fast forward to this week, when Crouse and Reynolds visited the Atlantic Canada Fermented Products Institute at Dalhousie University. There, they met with Andrew MacIntosh who extracted some of the beer in a sterile fashion, and has begun analysis on it. In their lab, as well as a partner lab in Scotland, they hope to determine the recipe and brewing techniques used, and MacIntosh and colleagues will be publishing a paper on it in the future. So, how did it taste? “Like beer!” Be sure to tune into Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet on Jan 12 for a look in the lab, and being science nerds ourselves, we’ll be sure to follow up when the results are in.
Phew, that’s all we can muster for this week! In closing, be sure to drop by your local ANBL growler station this weekend, as two NB breweries will be featured: Hammond River‘s Red Coat India Red Ale will be on tap at the KV store, and Flying Boat‘s S-55 Special Mission Pale Ale will be at the other three (Fredericton, Dieppe, and Sackville), while quantities last! Oromocto’s first brewery, Johnny Jacks, has a new beer available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe; details are slim at the moment, but we can confirm it is a 7.1% ABV American IPA named Trench Fighter. Finally, stay tuned to Red Rover early next week, as they have some big news to announce! Have a great weekend!
Very thorough article! You guys are obviously working hard to keep up with the exponential craft beer expansion. Looking forward to revisiting the Halifax scene next weekend.
Thanks for the kind words. It is hard work, but we love to keep on top of the local beer news ourselves, so figured we’d share it for others. 🙂
You’re visiting at a great time, lots of new beers available in town, as well as some cool events.