Good morning! Welcome to your weekly dose of beer news, let’s kick it off with some new beers and events coming soon…
• Over the past little while, there have been several new beers brewed to be released at the upcoming Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 12th. First off is a collaboration brew devised by Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks that included representation from almost every brewery in Fredericton: Grimross, Maybee, Picaroons, TrailWay, Mama’s Pub, soon-to-open Gray Stone, as well as Red Rover Cider House and Sunset Heights Meadery. The beer brewed was Johnny Be Good, a 5.4% ABV, 21 IBU Nut Brown Ale, in support of local brewer John Evans, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer over the past few months. The brewers teamed up at Grimross to produce the beer; when finished, it will be split between all taking part, and will then be free to put their own individual spin on it. To celebrate the release, a special Pub Crawl (open to the public) will be held next Saturday, March 5th at 6 pm. Starting at the King Street Ale House, attendees will visit several bars, and enjoy the different variations of the beer at each stop. Tickets are $45 + fee and include six 9 oz pours of different variants; proceeds from the pub crawl and sales of the beer will go to Evans.
• Next up, BarNone has brewed up a new iteration of their Little DIPA for the festival. Described as darker than the original version, it was heavily hopped with Cascade and Columbus in the boil, with a large late addition of Amarillo, Cascade, and a bit of Citra. It will, of course, be dry-hopped when fermentation is complete, with an as-yet-undetermined variety. It should clock in around 7% ABV. No need to worry for Islanders not able to attend the festival – while the beer is being released as FCBF, there will be some available at select accounts in PEI afterwards.
• Local Fredericton brewery Picaroons will be taking up permanent residence at Vault 29 in the week leading up the FCBF, March 8-12th. Pics will be taking over half of their 32 taps with a variety of seasonal, specialty, and core brand beers. On the 12th, V29 hosts the official FCBF “Afternoon Session After-Party”, with music from The Hypochondriacs, and food and beer specials starting at 3:30pm. Entry to the event is free, and more details can be found on Facebook.
• Finally, TrailWay teamed up with our local homebrewer and our own Shawn Meek to brew their first Belgian IPA. Currently unnamed, it features a grist made up mainly of Pilsner malt, with some CaraRed, Aromatic, and Wheat malt to bump up the malt character. Hopped in the boil with large whirlpool additions of Galaxy, Mosaic and Vic Secret, it will be further dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy for plenty of tropical fruit character. It was fermented with two yeast strains, one Belgian and one American, and should weigh in at ~6.5% ABV. While this one will make its official debut at the fest, look for a possible sneak peak at our ACBB Trivia Night at the King Street Ale House on Thursday, March 10th at 8 pm!
• Back to regular releases, Moncton’s Bore City will be releasing their first Black IPA, Night and Day, in the near future. Described as a very hop-forward version of the style, it was hopped with Cascade, Summit, and Zythos in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Cascade and Summit. Clocking in at 6.4% ABV and 63 IBUs, look for this one to pop up on tap at Marky’s Laundromat any day now. And keep your eyes peeled for the latest version of their Mondo IPA, which should be hitting tap accounts, soon.
• Spindrift will be releasing Riptide, their first India Pale Lager, today on tap at the brewery. Described as a Northeast-style hoppy Lager, it has a simple, light grist, complemented by a blend of American and German hop varieties, giving the beer “aromas of pine, prefacing hop flavours of stone fruits and citrus”. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, Riptide is joining Coastal Lager and Abyss as a core brand, with this initial release on draft at the brewery and accounts now, and in cans by mid-April.
• There’s an interesting new brew available now from North Brewing: Sauer Sagen Hat is a kettle-soured SMaSH beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Sorachi Ace hops. From North owner Peter Burbridge, “When we asked our four-year-old son Noah what we should call this beer, he yelled: ‘Sauer Sagen Hat! It means sour super hero hat!’ … It actually means “has to say sour” in German, but we like Noah’s translation better.” And so do we! Combining the grapefruit- and pineapple-like acidity/tartness from the bacteria-souring process with the lemongrass characteristics from the hops, it comes in at 4% ABV and 15 IBUs. It’s currently available at both store locations on Agricola and Ochterloney in both bottles and growlers, and will be on tap around HRM, including in rotation on their new nitrogenated tap at Battery Park.
• Over in St. John’s, NL, YellowBelly Brewpub has a couple of returning favourites to talk about. First off, Top Shed Cream Ale is back on tap at the brewpub. An interesting take on the style, it was originally brewed as a collaboration with Top Shed, a brewery in Australia, late last year. The recent brew was tweaked slightly, with a lighter malt grist and shorter dry-hop period. Still with a light body, and brewed with plenty of corn and wheat (as per the style), it was lightly hopped with Pacific Gem and Mosaic, with a “gentle” dry-hop of more Mosaic. This batch will also be available in bottles in a limited run, which should be at YellowBelly and the NLC within a week or so. Second, their Paddy’s Pale Ale – a 5.7% ABV, ~45 IBUs American Pale Ale – will be returning soon. Hopped entirely with Cascade – including multiple dry-hop additions – it should be kegged sometime next week, with bottles following shortly after. And in other bottle news, YB’s cider, Crooked as Sin, should be available for purchase any day now, at NLC stores only.
• Last month, Big Spruce brewed a “simultaneous collaboration” with Stone City Ales out of Kingston, ON. Well, that beer is now available, and it sounds delicious! Watchtower Conspiracy DIPA is a big beer (9% ABV, 85 IBUs) featuring “piles” of late addition Amarillo, Galaxy, and Waimea hops, giving lots of tropical fruit character in the aroma and flavours. In addition, the beer was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs. Better known as “Conan” to homebrewers everywhere, it’s a strain well-known for accentuating hop flavours. Available for growler fills now, and on tap at select locations, it will also be pouring at FCBF.
• Last week, we reported that this year’s edition of Ice Boat, PEI Brewing Co.‘s barrel-aged stout, would be released this week. However, after some tasting sessions with staff, they’ve determined that the beer is not yet ready for release, and will be allowed to age in whiskey barrels for a longer period (approximately 6-8 months). Kudos to the PEIBC for allowing the beer to reach its greatness with more time! We’ll keep you updated as to its eventual release. Luckily, the next round of Transmitter Coffee Stout will be released March 1st (including a release in Nova Scotia), ReAnimator (their Doppelbock) will be released shortly thereafter, and a new Saison is in the works. Stay tuned!
• There’s a new beer joining the lineup at Maybee Brewing, an “Espresso Stout” named Elevensies. Brewed with lots of organic Italian Roast coffee from Just Us!, a coffee roasters co-op, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 41 IBUs. You can find it on tap now for growler fills at the brewery.
• Good news if you’re nearby Unfiltered Brewing today: they’re releasing two beers at noon! The first is the return of the popular SMaSH DIPA, Double Orange Ale, brewed with all Citra hops (7.5% ABV). Next is an oak-aged version of their regular-release DIPA, Twelve Years to Zion. Coming in at 8% ABV, it was aged on oak for 6 weeks to bring out lots of oak flavour. Drop by the brewery and/or Charm School today to fill up your growlers, and then yourself.
• Looking to expand your beer knowledge? The Atlantic Chapter of CAPS is running a training course, designed to prepare you to take the Certified Beer Server exam, which is part of the Cicerone certification program. Running on four subsequent Thursdays, beginning March 10th, the classes are designed to introduce students to the ingredients involved in beer making, style guidelines, history of brewing, and flavour profiles. Class size is limited, so sign up today.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is releasing the second in their Cellar Series of beers today, Grand Baltic Porter. Black in colour, this lager has a complex body aided by the addition of blackstrap molasses and whole dates, and is balanced with German hops. Like last week’s Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine, and next week’s unnamed release, the Baltic Porter’s robust 9.5% ABV will allow it to be set aside for cellaring and enjoyment for years to come. It is only available in bottles, launched at the brewery today.
• Congratulations to the 40+ entries in this year’s Home Brew-Off, in the Experimental IPA category. The Top 10 has been chosen by a team of BJCP and industry judges, with the Garrison crew now having the tough job of choosing the Final Four. The winners will be chosen next Thursday, and announced that evening at a Gala at the brewery. There are a few tickets available to the public who wish to take part in the fun, including tasting the finalists’ beers, and perhaps the first sips of last year’s winning beer, Mr. Robusto, from NS homebrewer Dave Martin. Contact the brewery for more details.
• Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has brought back their Irish Red Ale, and it is available in bottles and growler fills at both Prop Shops now. This 5% ABV, 25 IBU Red Ale features a pleasant toast character from the Crystal and Melanoidin malts, with a light balancing bitterness from Willamette. And the IRA will be the feature cask at tonight’s Prop’r Cask Night at their Gottingen location, featuring The Other Bean & Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties. The last few tickets just sold this morning, so hopefully you’ve already grabbed yours!
• Halifax’s Good Robot Brewery brewed up a beer to celebrate Nova Scotia’s African Heritage Month, putting their spin on the Ale to the Chief Honey Porter recipe released by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2012. Converting the extract recipe to all-grain, they used Annapolis Valley honey and Maritime malt, with Hallertau and Nugget hops, and switching to the clean-fermenting Cali Ale yeast to allow the malt and hops to shine through. Sadly (for those not in attendance), the beer was so popular that they blew through the entire pilot-system batch during Tuesday’s launch party! That is certainly an ode to the recipe, brewers, and community involvement behind the release. Want another great excuse to visit GR’s Taproom? Their monthly Silent Reading at the Imbibrary event will be happening this Wednesday, March 2nd, from 6-8pm. Previous evenings have been absolutely full, so be sure to arrive before 6pm, put down your cell phones, and pick up a book.
• A reminder that tomorrow is Péché Mortel Day, and two bars in our region will be taking part: Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Halifax’s Stillwell. Starting at 11am in Moncton, and noon in Halifax, both bars will be pouring Dieu du Ciel!’s Péché Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout, plus several variants. Look for other rarities like Péché Mortel Dry (higher ABV due to a lower finishing gravity), Péché Mortel Véniel (lower ABV, with a special coffee blend), Péché Mortel Bourbon 2015 (last year’s batch aged in Bourbon barrels for six months), and Péché aux pêches (the original Péché Mortel with an addition of peaches). No tickets are required, and both locations will be offering small pour sizes, to accommodate the wide variety, and high ABV, of brews on tap. A special food menu will also be available at both locations.
• The NSLC has released stats on the three months of 2015, and it was another period of great growth in the local beer segment. Sales of NS-produced craft beer rose by 25% over the previous quarter, while the overall beer market rose less than 1%. While out-pacing the overall segment is heartening, it does highlight the fact that NS-produced beer accounts for just $2.0M in a $66.2M beer market, or 3.0%. Coupled with the fact that there are only 50-odd listings for the 23 local breweries (many do not sell through the NSLC stores for a variety of reasons), there’s still lots of room for growth in the province! The full details are available here.
Thanks, as always, for reading! As usual, a few parting notes…
– BarNone is currently fermenting a new addition in the ‘Sessions’ line; this one, Summer Sessions, is hopped entirely with Summer, an Australian variety that is light on citrus, melon and apricot.
– Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault is hosting an evening of beer and beer-friendly bites tonight at their location on rue de l’Eglise. Drop by at 6pm for the fun, including a tour of the brewery.
– Horton Ridge Malt and Grain are approaching the deadline of their second CEDIF offering. With the first malting rounds to take place in the next month or so, look for their products to be available to brewers (commercial- and home-) soon!
– Details are coming into focus for this year’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, being held May 6-14. Early Bird tickets for the Saturday’s Full House Main Event are on sale now, be sure to snap them up now to avoid disappointment.