Despite the cooler temperatures and extensive snow our region received this week, the brewers are still hard at work releasing new beers and brewing up some special winter seasonals. Take a look at what’s new on tap and in bottles in Atlantic Canada!
• Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has released the first truly Made In Nova Scotia beer this week, One Hundred. Brewed with 100% Organic ingredients grown in the province, the beer’s grain bill features barley from TapRoot Farms in Port Williams and 25% rye from nearby Stewart’s Organic Farm, both malted at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. The Golding and Willamette hops used are from Big Spruce’s very own Breton Fields organic hop farm (adjacent the brewery), and the unique yeast used to ferment it all was isolated from a wild Eastern Canadian Pin Cherry on the property. The resulting beer has an unmistakable Belgian character, with yeast aromas and flavours enhancing the spiciness from the rye malt. The 4.9% ABV, 24 IBU beer is available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and in rotation in HRM at Battery Park, Brooklyn Warehouse, Lion & Bright, and Stillwell.
• Big Spruce and frequent co-conspirator Boxing Rock have brought back their Shame on You IPA, a 6.0% ABV beer standing up to the pseudo-“small batch” and craft-y beers that can be found amidst the beers from locally owned and operated breweries. This beer is all about the hops, featuring Bravo for a hefty bittering charge, Centennial and El Dorado for flavour, and Chinook and Citra dry-hopping for lots of aroma. A special 1.0l bottle (courtesy of local supplier Jym Line Glassware) will be available at the four private beer stores in HRM, as well as the two brewery locations in Shelburne and Nyanza. Growler fills are available as well at the Farmers’ Market locations.
• And keep an eye out for two other returning favourites from Boxing Rock – the U-889 Russian Imperial Stout will be available in bottles this weekend at the four private stores and Farmers’ Market locations, as well as a very limited run at the NSLC’s The Port location on Clyde Street in Halifax. And Over the Top!, their Sour Cranberry beer first brewed in May with local brewer Karen Allen, has made its return, also available in bottles at the private stores, and in Shelburne.
• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is starting up, and looking for women interested in diving into the world of craft beer! This is a group focused on building a community for women in the Fredericton area to come together to drink and learn all about the world’s finest beverage. All are welcome, regardless of your knowledge level and experience with beer. The initial plan is to have monthly meetings at TBD locations, on the second Wednesday of every month, with the first meeting occurring January 11th at TrailWay. More details will follow (be sure to check out their link above), and at the moment there is no membership fee required to attend; we’ll keep you updated, but be sure to reach out on their Facebook page if you’re interested.
• Garrison is launching a new beer this week with a tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps extended at the world) name. Miley Citrus is a hazy New England-style Double IPA in a similar vein to their recent test batch Code Name: Juicy. Packed with flavour from all late and whirlpool additions of the unsubtly-named Citra hop variety, this time it was married to the dank and piney Simcoe and the also dank, but predominantly fruity Australian variety Topaz. Coming in on the lower end for a DIPA, but still a plenty dangerous 7.6% ABV and 66 IBU, this one shouldn’t be a wrecking ball to your palate with bitterness, but may well be with hop flavor. Described as “citrus-forward”, it features matched aromas and flavours of fresh-peeled orange, tangerine and sweet orange marmalade with a grapefruit pith finish. It’s only available on draft at the brewery, at least for now, but keep your eyes peeled as you may very well see it appear at finer establishments around the city.
• Christmas is right around the corner, and fittingly, Big Tide has brought back a couple of their seasonal favourites. First up is Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale, which is their standard Confederation Cream Ale that has been “made festive” with the addition of local cranberry and raspberry juices, providing a pleasant contrast of fruity and tart flavours. Brewed with a light grist of 2-row and Pilsner malts, it’s lightly-hopped with Magnum and Perle, and comes in at 5.6% ABV and 23 IBUs. Also back on tap is Santa’s Chocolate Porter (5.4% ABV, 25 IBUs), which features both 2-row and Chocolate malt, as well as the addition of Madagascar vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa, resulting in a brew with plenty of rich, chocolatey, and spicy flavours. Drop by the brewpub to celebrate Christmas with a pint (or growler) of both brews!
• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a new beer out that beets the competition hands down! Beet This Ale is based on their Anchors Aweigh Pale, featuring a load of beets to give it a brilliant red colour and unique flavour profile. The 6.0% ABV beer features a modest Citra dry hop and bitter finish to underline the unique vegetable addition. Grab the beer at the Hubbards Farmers Market tomorrow, and the Bridgewater Farmers’ Market at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre on Sunday.
• Down on the Halifax waterfront Gahan House Halifax has a new beer slated for release next week, a Christmas Ale called Santa’s Little Helper. We’re told it’s on an Altbier base (presumably similar to the one currently pouring that we reported on last week) but with an addition of mulling spices and aged in a Hungarian oak barrel previously used to age merlot at Bear River Vineyards. The beer is currently conditioning but is expected to be put on tap as a limited release on December 20th.
• There’s a big beer currently fermenting at Maybee Brewing, a currently-unnamed Belgian Quad. The biggest beer brewed yet at the brewery, this style (also known as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale) is a complex, high-alcohol brew that is malty, fruity, phenolic, and warming. The recipe is based on a homebrew that owner/brewer Paul Maybee has brewed in the past; since it will quite likely fall in the 11-12% ABV range, it’s going to require some additional conditioning to allow the flavours to gel and alcohol to smooth out, so don’t expect to see this one until sometime next month. No details on packaging yet, but it will definitely be on tap at the brewery’s taproom and across Fredericton.
• In other Maybee news, they’re sending a cask to the James Joyce to be tapped tonight at around 7 pm. Black Forest Elevensies Stout was fermented on a bad of Vintner’s cherry puree, and then cask-conditioned with roasted cacao nibs and whole vanilla beans soaked in French brandy. Finally, they’ve also brewed up a Best Bitter (5% ABV, 35 IBUs), Slanty Shanty Best Bitter, which will be available on tap only for now. Hopped with New Brunswick Goldings, this one should be available sometime next week.
• Looks like we can expect to see another new Hammond River beer release in the near future, to tide us over until the opening of their new 15 BBL brewery this spring – West Coast Pale Ale is exactly as expected from the name, with lots of fruity and dank aromas and flavours, thanks to heavy late hopping with Summit and Citra, and even more Citra in the dry-hop. Bittered with Chinook to 60 IBUs, it weighs in at a manageable 5.7%. It’s being kegged this weekend, so expect to see it out and about, soon.
• That’s not all that’s new and brewing at Hammond River – Quicksand Jesus is the brewery’s first attempt at the Russian Imperial Stout, a gargantuan, bold style big on roast, mouthfeel, and alcohol. The recipe is one used by owner/brewer Shane Steeves in his homebrewing days, featuring a base of Maris Otter malt, with Roasted Barley, Chocolate malt, Crystal 40 L, and Special B thrown in to bring in those wonderful roast characteristics, and more. Expect this one to come in at a whopping 10.2% ABV and 79 IBUs, with a portion being aged in the brewery’s resident oak barrel. Look for it to be on tap around New Year’s, with the barrel-aged version likely popping up the end of January. And speaking of big beers, HR has also confirmed that their Double IPA, Too Hop to Handle (8.4% ABV, 162 IBUs) has been rebrewed and will be re-released soon, with this batch incorporating a portion of Hop Hash from Southan Farms.
• For those of you in Fredericton who have been itching to try some of the interesting new beers coming out of Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, the James Joyce Irish Pub has some good news! The T&B are sending the JJ four kegs, the first time they’ve sent beer outside of their own location, the first of which – Peach Ale Shake – should be tapped sometime today. They’ve also received Forum Pale Ale, Robot Food IPA, and Sour Otis Cranberry. For more info on these beers, check out last Friday’s post.
• If you didn’t get a chance to contribute to the Beerocracy successful crowdfunding campaign months ago, you still have the opportunity to grab at least one of the featured perks – they’re currently selling their Beerocracy NB Craft Brewery Map in two sizes; it’s available in two sizes, and available for purchase online. And keep your eyes open for screenings, and ways to watch the film online, once the final cut is produced in the New Year.
• Now that we are soundly in the middle of winter, it’s only fitting that local breweries are celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. In New Brunswick, Picaroons are continuing their annual tradition with 12 BEERS of CHRISTMAS, where they are releasing a special one-off beer every day Dec 12-23rd. Available at their Brewtique location in downtown Fredericton (growlers only), Roundhouse location on the Northside (in-house pours only), The 5 Kings Restaurant & Brewhouse in St Stephen (in-house only), and the General Store in Saint John (both growlers and pints). With a new beer every day, you’re sure to find a few that jingle your bells!
• On Prince Edward Island, the PEI Brewing Company is celebrating the 12 Growlers of Christmas in their own right, with a new beer every day until next Friday. Check out their Facebook Event page for details on the day’s beer, and remember that once the beer is gone for the day, it’s gone!
• Digby’s Roof Hound is releasing a new wheat ale at their brewery this weekend. Average Joe is a 5.0%, 17 IBU beer, designed for those folks who want to support their local brewery, but may find stouts, IPAs, and porters a bit too far outside their wheelhouse. Named after owner Les Barr’s maternal grandfather, Joe was the owner of the original Roof Hound, Lady. An ode to Joe, as well as Barr’s first foray into drinking and brewing craft beer, wheat ales are the perfect gateway into small batch, local beers. Grab a pint or growler in Digby this weekend, and keep your eyes open as it may be on tap and for growler fills in HRM soon.
We’ve got another slew of events happening in our region this weekend, and beyond, here are a few of them we can fit in here. Be sure to consult our Calendar (which you can add to your own iCal/Google/Outlook calendar, by the way!) to keep up-to-date with them all. And be sure to let us know if we’ve missed something.
• Mikkeller Tap Takeover Day 1 is this Saturday at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell. Featuring a variety of styles, ranging from Session IPA to spontaneously-fermented hoppy beer, all the way up to a 9.2% back coffee beer, the Danish brewery is sure to have something for everyone. Check out the full tap list here, and we’ll see you from noon tomorrow. There will be a whole other dozen beers pouring at MTTD2 on January 14th, by the way!
• After a wildly successful Launch Weekend at Stillwell and Good Robot last weekend, Halifax’s newest nano TideHouse Brewing Company is ready to fling wide the doors to their retail location. Located at 5187 Salter Street in downtown Halifax across from the nether regions of the Maritime Center (that great big brutalist mess on Barrington Street we inherited from the 70s), the boys are aiming to help downtown beer lovers scratch the itch for growler fills. As has become de rigueur for TideHouse to this point, the first week of opening will be a somewhat informal affair, promising to be open at 1pm on Saturday and seeing where the rest of the day takes them. Additional hours before Christmas will be on a “do we have beer?” basis so you’ll have to follow along on social media (Facebook | Twitter) or contact the brewery directly for availability information. After the holidays they’re hoping to have regular hours from 2-6pm on Thursdays, 2-9pm on Fridays, 2-6pm on Saturdays and 2-10pm on Sundays. They’ll fill any clean 1.89L growler and will also be selling their own TideHouse branded pre-filled jugs (non-refundable, for now anyway). Come gaze through the glass to see Shean and Peter in their natural environment, grab yourself a couple of liters of tasty brew and help celebrate all the crazy hard work that’s been put into getting this far!
• There has been a lot of development at Schoolhouse‘s expanded location at 40 Water Street in Windsor. With their brewhouse now hooked up, and brewing on it starting early next week, they are opening their doors and saying “Class is in Session!”. Next Thursday and Friday (Dec 22 and 23), they are keeping their doors open from 12:00 to 8:00pm daily for growler fills of their core beers (Principal Ale, Chequers, and Scotian Export), as well as bottles of Big Red Schoolhouse. Flights and food will also be available, so be sure to stick around for a spell!
• Tickets are still available (but won’t be for much longer!) for January 12th’s Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. The premiere event of winter, 16 Nova Scotian breweries (that number may grow, we’ve been told!) will be pouring a wide variety of their beers, including one-offs and launches specially brewed for the event. It’s not only about the beer, however, as each brewery will have a local restaurant/caterer partnered with them, serving up some creations meant for pairing and enjoying. Be sure to grab your tickets today!
• Tickets are available now for next August’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival. From now until Dec 24th, you’ll enjoy a nice $10 discount off the regular price, with tickets only costing $40 (plus taxes and service charges, $51 final price). With an evening session on Friday Aug 11, and afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday the 12th, there’s plenty of opportunity to grab from the more than 300 beers and ciders on offer. Check this link for the reduced price tickets before the deal runs out next Saturday.
A few more things to check out this weekend before you put down your phone and pick up a beer:
– The latest 902 BrewCast went up early this morning, tasting through a handful of holiday-themed beers available at Bishop’s Cellar. Be sure to grab it today, and take a drink for every shout-out they give! And stay tuned to the end for some very cool news.
– The ANBL has once again expanded their growler program, with a new, 6-tap filling station opening up at the Saint John Uptown location. This week, they’re featuring all NB-based breweries, including Big Tide (Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale), First City (Double IPA), Foghorn (Winchester), Hammond River (Gammie), Moosehead (Boundary Ale), and Picaroons (The Vinyl Cut).
– Big Axe has announced that their annual winter take on a flagship, Shakesbeer Chocolate Mint Stout, will be returning to taps (and growler fills at the brewery) in the very near future.
– In other winter seasonal news, Celtic Knot‘s Toque and Mitts is starting to pop up on tap across New Brunswick; this 7.8% ABV Barleywine – infused with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, oak, and bourbon – is currently on tap at the Cask & Kettle and Ducky’s. If you’re not near those two establishments, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed more batches are on the way, so expect to see this beer at other select bars/restaurants, soon.
– Grimross Brewing has started a weekly cask series at the taproom in Fredericton; this week’s limited release is a cask of their flagship Cheval D’or, aged on lemongrass.
– Sea Level Wee Heavy returns to their Port Williams location. Grab it on tap at Port Pub, or in growlers and cans to go.
– Tatamagouche Brewing‘s Smorter S’Mores Porter has returned for another season, with growlers and cans of this graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate creation available now at the brewery, and on tap around HRM next week. A 6.5% ABV S’mores-inspired porter brewed with the addition of cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, molasses, honey, and vanilla beans.
– TrailWay has been keeping up with the canning (luckily for all of us!), with plenty of Hu Jon Hops and Luster available at the brewery and select ANBL stores. Next week, they’ll be releasing a large amount of Good Aura (their hoppy Red ale) in cans; a small number of Rascal (American Stout) cans will also be available.