Happy Friday, everyone! Our region was hit with one last hoorah of winter (let’s hope) overnight, so best to stay off the roads and grab your favourite beer and get up to speed on all the beer news in our region.
• Attention good beer fans on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia: there’s a new brewery opening soon in your region! Sober Island Brewing will be opening soon in the Sheet Harbour/Sober Island area. Brewing on a 1/2bbl (~55l) system, they will be supplying beer to local restaurants and Farmers Markets in coming months. Look for their mobile beer bar, made from a converted horse trailer, at the Saltscapes Expo in Halifax, April 22-24. Check out their Twitter page for details on their progress, and we’ll be sure to share the news when they launch this spring. Welcome aboard, Sober Island, nice to have some beer to drink with those oysters!
• Propeller Brewing has released their latest One-Hit Wonder this week, Scarlet Lager. A 5.3% unfiltered amber lager, it boasts 35 IBUs from the addition of lots of Cascade, Falconers Flight and Zythos hops, and is further dry-hopped with more Falconers Flight. As with all of these OHW releases, it is available in growlers at the Gottingen St and Windmill Rd breweries only, and on tap at select locations around the city.
• Propeller has released the details of their next Prop’r Cask Night: on April 1, they are inviting the crew from Black Sheep restaurant to their Gottingen St location for a celebration of local food and beer. In addition to Propeller’s full line-up of beer, they will be tapping a cask of something special that evening, to pair with the great bites prepared by the Black Sheep crew. These are always a fun time, be sure to take part! And FYI, the crazy cats at Black Sheep are giving away free burgers every afternoon 3-6pm, March 11-17, with purchase of beer, wine, or spirits. Be sure to drop by and grab one!
• Sea Level Brewing, in Port Williams, NS, has released a brand new beer this week, Doppelbock. A traditional German style, this “Spring Celebrator” features 7% ABV and a strong malt backbone from the generous use of both light and dark Munich malts. It is available at the Port Pub now, and in growlers and cans at the brewery.
• Lunenburg’s Hell Bay has brought back their popular Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Weighing in at 8% ABV, it is a malt-driven beer, featuring a light smoke and deep caramel flavours, thanks to a long boil and kettle caramelization. It is currently available at the brewery and on tap at select locations in the HRM.
• Judging for the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge was held at Stillwell on Sunday. Eighteen brewers presented their beer, their recipe, and themselves, to the 6 judges (our own Chris was among them). There was a wide variety of excellent beers, but there can be only one winner: “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire“, a cinnamon-infused Rauchbier brewed by Halifax’s Brian Harvey, took first place. Harvey has been invited to brew WTSTF on Boxing Rock’s big system, with the beer to be released during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. Second place went to Mark Reid for his “Hop Springs Eternal” White IPA, and Jason McDougall’s “Carbon 14” Belgian Strong Dark took third place. The Boxing Rock owners and brewers Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton were so impressed with the runner-up beers, that they may also be released as Boxing Rock beers in the coming months.
• This weekend marks the return of the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, and several breweries are releasing beers to celebrate!
– Fredericton’s own TrailWay has released G’day Belgium!, a Belgian IPA brewed with primarily Australian hops for a bitter, piney, and fruity hybrid beer. Featuring Galaxy, Vic Secret, and Mosaic hops, it was brewed with our very own Shawn Meek. Most of this batch will be pouring at the fest, but there IS a single keg on tap now at the King Street Ale House.
– Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is debuting a brand new beer at the Fest, Meek Thy Maker. This beer was Shawn Meek’s winning recipe for the Home Brew Challenge in the Red IPA category. Hopped and dry-hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Amarillo, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 59 IBUs. This one will also be available at several tap accounts across NB, and should be popping up on tap at various beer bars/restaurants in NS as well, any day now.
– Big Spruce is also debuting He Don’t Know JAC, a 7.2% ABV IPA that was brewed with the same grist as their previously-released JAC the SIPA. However, this new beer was not soured with Lactobacillus, but fermented solely with an American yeast strain. It was also hopped completely different varieties – Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, and Waimea – giving the beer notes of grapefruit, citrus and pine. Of course, this beer is available at the brewery, and select tap accounts in Nova Scotia.
– Big Tide is bringing their brand new Valley View, a Farmhouse Ale brewed with all-Pilsner malt, and hopped with Southan Farms Hop Hash and East Kent Goldings. Fermented with T-58, a dry Belgian yeast strain, the brewery describes the 6.1% ABV, 37 IBU beer as “citrusy and spicy”. It’s also currently on tap at the brewpub in Saint John.
– Rose Valley, PEI’s BarNone brewery is bringing the latest of their “Session” series: Summer Sessions, while named the same as their original Blonde Ale flagship, has actually been hopped with the Australian Summer variety, as well as some Citra, for some extra fruit and citrus character. They will also have Li’l DIPA, which may or may not be similar to their Little DIPA which was originally released in late 2014.
There are still tickets to the afternoon session available, and with the smaller crowds comes more time to chat with the brewers, cider, and mead makers about their craft. Don’t forget that there are plenty of things going on today: a Hops Seminar at the Crowne Plaza at 12:30 and tastings by Spindrift (at the Capital Complex 4:30-7:30pm) and Garrison (at the Prospect St ANBL this afternoon). After tomorrow’s FCBF Afternoon session, Vault 29 is hosting the Official After-Party with a Picaroons Tap Takeover, and there are even a pair of events Sunday (Down the Keg 3km run to shake off the evening’s festivities, followed by a Jazz Brunch at King Street Ale House). Still lots of fun to be had in the Capital City this weekend, and use their app to stay on top of everything.
• According to a story from the CBC this week, Acadie-Broue, New Brunswick’s smallest brewery, is planning to pair up with the University of Moncton to re-open the school’s student bar, La Coude, as a brewpub on March 17th. Exact details on which beers will be released in the future are currently unknown, but Acadie-Broue owner/brewer Patrice Godin has confirmed to the CBC that he will be open to brewing beer styles based on student and faculty requests, with the goal of campus culture ultimately influencing the beer. Stay tuned for more!
• Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is fast approaching! Being held May 6-15, there are more Signature and official events than last year, in more locations across the province. Kicking off the festivities is the Cape Breton Kitchen Party, being held Friday, May 6th at Centre 200 in Sydney. From 7-10pm, Big Spruce and Breton Brewery are inviting a dozen Mainland breweries for a taste of down home hospitality, featuring live music and local food. Tickets are available now! And keep an eye on our Google Calendar, as we add events to it, to keep you up to speed on all of the goings on for the week.
• The 14th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards will be taking place May 26-28, in Vancouver, BC. Registration for submissions is now open, closing March 25th (and beer delivery by April 4th), with the judging taking place in Toronto April 11-15. The competition is open to all commercial breweries and ciderhouses in Canada, and comprises 55 styles of beer, and 4 of cider. The Awards weekend will include seminars from brewers, vendors, and the Gala crowning the best beers and ciders in the country. The registration form is here, and a primer on how to enter is also available.
• Windsor’s Spitfire Arms is re-opening this weekend. A good friend to local beer, it was heavily damaged in a fire in July 2015 and moved to a temporary home for the past several months, but will be returning to its original location on Water Street. To celebrate, people will be gathering at their Gerrish Street spot, and parade to their upgraded and renovated home on Water. Hal Bruce will be kicking off the day’s events, featuring lots of NS Craft Beer flowing throughout.
• Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has announced the details on a pair of events at the beginning of April. On April 1&2, they are hosting the crew from Dieu du Ciel!, and will be opening at noon both days, with a full complement of a dozen rare and exciting beers from this Montreal brewery, also featuring bites and plates from La Belle Province to get you in the mood. No tickets are required, just drop by to get in on the fun. The next day, April 3rd, they will be hosting F.B.D., an eight course collaborative beer dinner, featuring food by Stillwell, as well as friends of Stilly. Each course will be presented by the chef behind the creation, and paired with a specially-chosen beer to complement. Limited tickets for this event are available now.
• Garrison Brewing has released the details on their 2016 Backlot Bash, in support of Ecology Action Centre. Being held June 11th, the concert will feature July Talk, Alert the Medic, Three Sheet, and The Brood. In addition to the Garrison beers available, they will be featuring local cider, and food trucks to keep you happy. Tickets are available now, with Advance tickets only $25 while they last.
Just a couple of parting shots today:
– Red Rover is hiring for their new storefront, coming soon to Queen Street. Both part- and full-time positions are available, for Sales Advisor, and Sales Manager positions. For more information, check out the job postings here.
– Spindrift’s Seventh Wave release today is Quaf Sess, a light American Wheat with herbal and floral hop character. Like usual, these beers are only available for growler fills at their Burnside location, and sell out very quickly!
Thanks again to everyone who came out to our Trivia Night at the King Street Ale House last night! And a very special thanks to the generous breweries for donating some great schwag and gift cards and goodies! And be sure to say “Hi!” when you see us @ the FCBF events this weekend!