Good day, and welcome to another beautiful Friday! Before diving headfirst into your long weekend, there is a ton of beer news to get through, so sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy!
• With expansion soon underway at Hammond River, brewing – luckily for fans of their beer – hasn’t slowed down a bit! Two favourites were rebrewed earlier this week: White Walker White Stout (a pale-coloured Stout brewed with Java Moose Foghorn coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cacoa nibs) was brewed on Tuesday, and Imperial Breakfast Stout (featuring more local coffee and cacao nibs, along with Applewood home-smoked bacon) yesterday. Owner/brewer Shane Steeves also has two new beers in the pipeline, to be brewed very soon. First up will be a new Imperial IPA that will be hopped continuously with Simcoe during the 90-minute boil (with a large dry-hop addition as well, of course). With a grist composed of Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Vienna malt, along with some Carapils, expect this 9.2% ABV, 101 IBUs DIPA to be very hop-forward, as expected. Shortly after, Steeves will be brewing a new take on his The Vegas SMaSH, with this iteration featuring the extremely-popular Citra hop variety. We’ll keep you updated as to the release of all four of these beers in the future.
• The beer keeps flowing at Mama’s Brew Pub, as yet another couple of new brews became available on tap earlier this week. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout features a grist of 2-row and Medium Crystal, with some Carafa III and Chocolate malt to darken the colour and add some roasted notes to the beer. Hopped lightly with Goldings to 20 IBUs, dehydrated chocolate peanut butter powder was added to both the boil and secondary to add the eponymous flavours; it weighs in at 7.1% ABV. Next up is Pumpkin Patch IPA, an interesting take on the love-it-or-hate-it Pumpkin Ale. This 6.7% ABV beer uses 2-row as the only malt, but gains colour from the addition of pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, and molasses. “Generously spiced with brown baking spices”, and hopping with Cascade, Amarillo and Summit to 37 IBUs, it’s available just in time for the holiday weekend, as it will be released today. Finally, good news for those of you unable to make frequent trips to the Northside brewpub – Mama’s is currently installing three new 3 BBL (350 L) fermentors, and a crowler machine. This means more beer of course, but more importantly, some of this beer will be available for off-site sales at local beer bars/restaurants in Fredericton.
• Celtic Knot has released Murky Depths, a new take on their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout. Featuring the addition of the meat and water from local wild oysters, it’s a great beer to pair with a variety of salty cheeses. Still quite drinkable at 5% ABV, it’s been pouring at a few select locations throughout Moncton; look for it to hit the taps at Tide & Boar very soon (if it’s not on already). If you missed out, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed that a new batch has just been brewed, and will be available on tap, soon. And in other Celtic Knot beer news, their 7.5% ABV Toque and Mitts Barleywine should be released this coming December. Perfect for sipping on cold winter nights, this will mark the third year for the annual release of this full-bodied ale.
• Graystone Brewing hasn’t had any trouble breaking in their new brewing equipment – they’ve got several beers in the pipeline, one of which – the first “new” beer brewed on their in-house system – is being released today. Base Camp Idaho is their newest India Session Ale (aka Session IPA), brewed entirely with Idaho 7 (to 60 IBUs), a new experimental hop variety. Described as displaying characters of tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus and pine, this could very likely be the first time this variety has been used by a brewery in Atlantic Canada. Supremely sessionable at 4.1% ABV, look for it at the brewery for pints and growler fills.
• The bigwigs at Good Robot are a sentimental bunch, and with the departure of Liam, a beloved employee who has returned home to Australia, they’re releasing Chazzwazzers, an “Oceanian Ale” today. Yellow-coloured thanks to a fairly-simple grist of Maritime, Vienna, and Golden Promise malt, plenty of New Zealand and Australian hop varieties were added: Ella and Rakau as whirlpool additions, and Dr. Rudi, Kohatu, and Wakatu in the dry-hop. Expect big aromas and flavours of tropical and stone fruit. Fermented with an American Ale strain to keep the hops front and center, the beer comes in at 7.2% ABV and 46 IBUs. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and at better beer establishments across the HRM.
• There’s a head-to-head Gose competition underway on PEI, featuring brewers from the PEI Brewing Co. and the Gahan House brewpub, who split up and developed two brand new Gose recipes for draught release only. Let’s start with the PEIBC version, Spiced Gose – brewed with Pilsner malt and a blend of malted and torrefied wheat, it was kettle-soured before being boiled with toasted coriander and a portion of PEI seawater. Hopped-to-style – that is, extremely lightly, to 7 IBUs – with the German Saphir variety, the resulting 3.5% ABV beer is described as “malt-forward, with a balanced salinity and acidity; very drinkable”. A very limited supply will be pouring at the PEIBC taproom and a few regional beer bars, with the rest heading to New Brunswick, where it will be available this weekend at all five ANBL growler stations. Unfortunately, we do not have much information on Gahan’s entry to this friendly competition, but will be sure to share it next week!
• Railcar Brewing brewed a special seasonal batch on October 5th that will be hitting the taps in a couple of weeks: Smoked Apple Ale features 25 pounds of locally picked apples added to the mash, a little smoked malt, and a touch of brown sugar at the end of the boil. Look for more details as its release approaches!
• Don’t be surprised if you see a lineup Friday at noon at Unfiltered Brewing, as they bring us another entry in their SMaSH series this week. Spec’d very much like its siblings DOA and Deity, and made with brewmaster Greg Nash’s unique SMaSH technique, the new RSMA is 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU, and features Mosaic hops. This variety, also known as HBC 369, was released in 2012 by the Hop Breeding Company and has become a favourite in hop-forward beers across North America. It’s known to provide a complex combination of floral, fruity, earthy, and especially tropical flavours. If you’re lucky enough to be going to Cask Days in Toronto later this month, you’ll find this one alongside Unfiltered’s Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and a bevy of other Maritime brews. If you’re not so fortunate, you can head on over to the brewery or Charm School Pub for a pint or a growler fill. Get on it!
• Savoie’s Brewhouse, way up north in River Charlo, New Brunswick, has two items of interest for us this week. The first is the impending release of their new Fall Fair Harvest Ale, containing selected malts from their four main brews into one. This year it uses Chinook, Magnum, Palisade and Cascade (all of which are also featured in their regular line), but going forward it will feature locally grown hops. It is amber in colour and has a slight bitterness. The second piece of news is a move of the brewhouse just down the road to the Heron’s Nest Cottages, home of the Heron’s Nest Pub, where Savoie’s brews are exclusively on tap (where you’ll also find a wide selection of craft and imported beers). This move has also given them the opportunity to follow a welcome trend in the region by expanding their brewhouse capacity from 80 gallons to 160.
• Sea Level Brewing is extremely excited to announce the arrival of a true farm-to-glass Nova Scotian beer this weekend. Brewmaster Randy Lawrence has been dreaming of a beer made solely of locally-sourced ingredients since he began growing his own hops in 1983, and the new Indigenous Pale Ale sees his dream become reality. The barley was grown in Port Williams at TapRoot Farms and malted at Horton Ridge Malting Company. The bulk of the hops are of the Cascade variety and were harvested from Sea Level’s own hop farm, while the small remainder comes from other Nova Scotia growers. The beer is 5% ABV, with a smooth malt flavour that allows the floral and citrus notes from the wet-hopped Cascade to shine. A pre-release took place on Thursday at the Port Pub in Port Williams, with cans and 1L growlers available at the brewery today. If you’re in HRM you’ll be able to find this truly Nova Scotian Ale this weekend at Bishop’s Cellar and at select tap accounts around the city.
• Launched during their epic takeover of Battery Park’s taps last night, there’s a brand new Tatamagouche brew now flowing this week. Batattery Pale Ale has all the hop character of a West Coast IPA, but in a smaller ABV-delivery system, at 60 IBUs and 5.6% ABV. Battery Park’s head bartender Marc Wilson, a native of the West Coast, and BP/North Brewing’s Peter Burbridge made a trip to Tatamagouche to brew up a special collaboration in September. Featuring Malagash-grown Cascade hops added during the mash, with loads more hops added during the boil (namely Cascade, Chinook, and Simcoe), and through even more of the local Cascade in a hopback, then with extra dosing of Cascade and Chinook dry hops. Though an ode to hops, the use of Horton Ridge Pale Malt helps to complete the local twist on a West Coast-inspired beer. The beer is available now at Tatamagouche for samples, growler fills, and cans, and will be available at licensees within the next week.
• Attendees to the Tata Takeover were also treated to a sneak peek of their next Berliner Weisse release, Philomenaroma. This 4.0% ABV kettle sour features dark cherries, for a brilliant colour and bright fresh cherry aroma. Look for the full release of this beer next week, on tap and in growlers only. Also launching this coming week is Tata’s collaboration with the crew from Bishop’s Cellar, Cellar Slammer Session IPA; at 4.4% ABV, it features the same light malt recipe from the first release, but is further enhanced, aromatically, with a pass through the hopback with some of their own home-grown whole leaf Cascade. Grab the beer at the brewery in growlers and cans, rotating through the growler station at Bishop’s, and on tap at favourite bars in HRM.
• And speaking of North Brewing, they are releasing a brand new beer today, Headline Milk Stout. It features big chocolate flavour from three different chocolate malts (including debittered chocolate malt), complemented with toasted nut and coffee notes. The addition of lactose lends a creamy and lightly sweet finish to the beer, for a full 360° experience. This 5.5% ABV beer is lightly bittered to just under 30 IBUs for balance. It is available now at their Ochterloney and Agricola locations in 650 mL bottles and 750 mL swing tops, growler fills, and sure to be available at your local watering hole shortly.
• A cross-harbour collaboration was released late last week, between Halifax’s Gahan House and Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing. Yser is a 20 IBU, 5.9% ABV Saison, featuring light amounts of both flaked rye and flaked wheat in the grist for a light spiciness and haze, and persistent head retention. Lemondrop and Meridian hops lend a bright lemon citrus aroma, which is offset with an addition of pink peppercorns late in the boil. With the yeast drying the beer out (taking the final gravity quite low), the wheat and rye help to maintain a pleasant full body mouthfeel. This is one complex beer, perfect for pairing with oysters (the beer was released in celebration of last weekend’s Oysterfest), or your favourite cheese. Grab it on tap at Gahan and Spindrift for growler fills, and there are a few kegs in the wild around the HRM, too.
• There are a pair of other new beers flowing on the Halifax side of the harbour at Gahan as well. Dead Drift Double IPA is definitely American in inspiration and execution, featuring Chinook, Palisade, and Simcoe hops for pine, citrus, and stonefruit flavours and aromatics, but with a restrained 45 IBUs. At 8.2% ABV, the grist is made up solely of 2-Row malt. A light heat does come through, but only serves to deliver more of the hop aromatics directly to the nose.
• The third new beer is Tommy’s Chocolate Orange, a 4.0% ABV Hefeweizen brewed in collaboration with Gahan’s Chef, Thomas Hulford. The aim was to achieve a blonde-coloured beer reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, featuring notes of chocolate, citrus, and maybe some banana. The German weizen yeast helps to bring in the banana, while aging on fresh orange zest and cacao nibs bring in the other flavour and aromatic notes. From head brewer Kyle Jesspsen: “While the aromatics are big, the flavour is still very light, quenching and approachable.” Grab all three new beers, as well as core beers Maritime Brine Gose and Night Vision American Porter on tap and in growler fills now, and keep an eye open for a new version of Crosscurrent Pale Ale (this time with Centennial and Comet) releasing Monday.
• Mill Street Brewery St. John’s has released a new batch of their Capelin Hound, their 4.0% ABV Session IPA. Plenty of hops are used in this small package, to the tune of 50 IBUs, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story of the big grapefruit and melon aromatics, thanks to a boatload of dry-hopping. While originally brewed to enjoy in great volume while awaiting the Capelin to roll, this beer can definitely be enjoyed into fall. They are also releasing Leder-Helles next week, their Oktoberfest-inspired Munich Helles beer. At 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, this golden lager is medium-bodied and malt-forward with a sweet, grainy, and nutty aroma. Light hopping from Hersbruker and Saaz hops give a light spiciness, pairing with the dry finish. Grab these two beers, as well as Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale, on growlers to go, upon release.
• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is releasing a special collaboration brew this Saturday, brewed with the help of local beertographer and beer fan @kelticdevil (aka Phil Church). Kelticdevil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter is an 8.0% Porter, featuring light pumpkin spicing, Sissiboo Coffee Roaster Honduran Coffee, and lactose. The result is more than the sum of its parts, with the cream and coffee coming together with the light spicing for a special seasonal release. To celebrate the release, there will be live music tomorrow night from 10pm, featuring Marc Durkee. Learn more at RHB’s Facebook page. And there are still a few tickets available for their October 20 Supper Club, more details and the menu are here. And keep an eye out in HRM for their Rooftop Rye-It beer, as kegs were delivered yesterday to Battery Park, Good Robot, Stillwell and Bishop’s Cellar for growler fills.
• Attention homebrewers, the style for this year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off has been announced! Wee Heavy (Category 17C of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines) is a Scottish style of beer, 6.5 – 10.0% ABV, malt-forward and low bitterness, with a full mouthfeel from the crystal and caramel malts. The judging will take place in February with the Gala shortly thereafter. More details will be available soon, and Garrison’s Brew-Off page will updated soon after. Get those test batches on the go now!
• Saint John’s First City has been busy lately, with one recent new beer release and two others on the way. Out now at a handful of beer bars is their American Pale Ale, brewed with “four West Coast ‘C’ variety hops”; it comes in at 5.5% ABV and 42 IBUs. In the next few days, look for Spiced Pumpkin Ale (6% ABV, 25 IBUs) to join the flurry of pumpkin beers currently hitting bars. Finally, their Red IPA (7% ABV, 60 IBUs) will be returning within the next week or so as well.
• In celebration of this year’s Celtic Colours Festival (Oct 7-15), Breton Brewing has just released their Celtic Colours Maple Lager. Featuring more than 20 litres of local maple syrup in the batch, this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs Helles is pouring at the brewery and at local bars now. And releasing later today is their Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, featuring more than 100 kg of roasted pumpkin added to the beer. Today, and into the weekend, they are featuring musicians in their taproom, in celebration of the Festival. Check out the listings here.
• Propeller Brewing has brought back their ode to next weekend’s “Art at Night” festival, Nocturne. The 4.8% ABV Nocturne Dark Lager is now available in 500ml bottles and growler fills, and is only available at the Prop Shops on Gottingen and Windmill. And during Nocturne, drop by their Gottingen location from 6 to midnight, when they will be hosting a local artist. A percentage of proceeds of the sale of this beer go to the Nocturne Festival.
• Sober Island Brewing has taken to Kickstarter to help fund the next steps in their expansion on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. With rewards ranging from stickers, cooler backpacks for that perfect picnic, to designing and brewing your own custom brew, there are benefits to everyone who takes part. Be sure to check out their campaign and be a part of their exciting future!
• Drop by the Brookside Mall location of ANBL this evening from 5 to 8pm for a taste of some seasonal releases from Sunset Heights Meadery. In addition to Queen’s Nectar, Punky Pie and several other expressions and still meads will be available. Tomorrow, drop by the Train Station for their “Saturday Sips” from 11 am until 3 pm. They will be serving Queen’s Nectar, Punky Pie, Latifah, BluePrintz, and a new cocktail they’ve temporarily named “Morphine Dance” in honour of author Shelia McPhee’s book The Naked Wine & Morphine Dance, with whom they are sharing the space. It features Queen’s Nectar, Fils du Roy Absinthe, Egg White and Lemonade.
• In case you missed our post earlier this week, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub is now brewing their own beer onsite. After only a week of availability, they have gone through at least six different flavours, the latest of which, at time of publishing, are: Forum Pale Ale, a 5.8% ABV cloudy hoppy ale with flavors and aromas of melon, lychee and peach; and Amarillo, Citra and Summit Pale Ale, a 5.9% ABV ale featuring loads of the eponymous hops for notes of citrus and apricot.
• Good news for New Brunswickers who are fans of PEI’s Upstreet Brewing – the brewery has confirmed that kegs of several of their beers have been sent to the province for the first time. Look for these to pop up at select bars and restaurants this weekend. If your favourite local watering hole is missing out, be sure to put your request in!
How about some upcoming events to get you inspired?
• The I Love Local Halifax City Harvest is being held October 22nd. This celebration of local businesses is a great excuse to get out and visit the many breweries in our city. Among them, Garrison will be setting up an outdoor bar, sampling some special one-off beers, and will be welcoming Halifax Press to sell grilled cheese sandwiches. Other participants in the event include Bishop’s Cellar and Stubborn Goat.
• November and December are going to be busy for beer and cider fans at Stillwell’s Barrington Street location. On November 5th, they will be hosting their first-ever cider Tap Takeover, featuring West Avenue Cider from Hamilton. Look for a dozen-plus blends to go on tap from opening Saturday. On November 20th, Stillwell will be celebrating their 3rd anniversary with some great blasts from the past, as well as the celebration and release of their latest beer, brewed at North. We now know that the Bissell Brothers / Orono Brewing Co tap takeover will be happening Saturday December 10th, and will be sure to be a Maine-iac of a weekend! And while no date has yet been set, they have announced that Danish gypsy brewery Mikkeller will be sending a full 24 beers to invade their taps during an epic weekend some time in December. Keep your eyes peeled here for the details on this event. And be sure to drop by the Beergarden this weekend, before the outdoor space closes for the year. The crew from Rinaldo’s are serving up some Italian inspired sandwiches and dishes today from 4pm.
Wow, do things seem busier today, or is it just us? Be sure to check ahead on breweries’ and bars’ status over this long weekend, as some may be closed (in addition to the provincial stores). A few more parting shots:
– Bad Apple Brewhouse has released their collaboration with the Delta Force homebrewing collective. Operation Green Ring is a 5.0% Cucumber Mint Wheat beer. Also keep an eye out for their BAB’s Russian Imperial Stout, as the latest batch of this 9.0% ABV roasty beast is hitting local taps shortly. These, as well as a handful of others, are available at their Somerset location now.
– Petit Sault‘s Oktoberfest, La Padrix, is back on tap for a limited time; with a “rich malty taste, and light biscuit notes”, it comes in at 5.6% ABV.
– Speaking of Oktoberfest beer, the Pump House Oktoberfest is back out in six packs. At 5.5% ABV and 12 IBUs, this amber-coloured lager can be found at ANBL stores, and likely on tap at the brewpub in Moncton as well.
– Yellowbelly Brewpub have released a brand new beer, Flatrock Freshie. This 5.6% ABV Saison features loads of locally-grown Blackcurrants, and is available on tap and in bottles to go, at both the brewery and NLC stores shortly.
Sea Levels yeast is locally sourced too. I was told it came from Propeller in Halifax.
Unfortunely, other microbes, like Pedro and Lactobacillis, are all home grow at the brewery. Their infection problem needs to improve before I’ll be back.