Welcome to the first ACBB post of 2017! Today’s post marks the start of our sixth year writing the blog, keeping you up to date with all of the craft beer goings-ons in the region. When we started in 2012, there were fewer than 20 breweries in Atlantic Canada; in 2017 we may surpass 100! It just goes to show the level of interest in great beer has exploded in our region, and drinking and supporting local breweries, brewpubs, and cider houses by enjoying their products and visiting their premises is becoming a popular pastime, while also supporting local economies. Hopefully 2017 will see the continuation of some of the trends we’ve seen in the past twelve months: breweries opening in small communities to serve their local population, wider range of styles and experimentation to broadening our horizons, a measurable impact on tourism by the craft beer sector, expansions to larger brewhouses as small breweries realize financial success, and continued reform by provincial governments. Now on to today’s news!
• Shane Steeves, owner/brewer of Hammond River Brewing, is once again harkening back to his homebrew days, as he just recently brewed up a batch of S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout. This is a big beer with plenty of ingredients: six types of malt, a hefty amount of crushed graham crackers in the mash, plus honey, molasses, cacao nibs, and cinnamon in the boil. Nope, we’re not done yet – toasted marshmallows and vanilla bean were also added to the beer (in primary and secondary, respectively) to boost the aroma and flavour even more. Bittered to ~50 IBUs with Willamette, this very dark beer should come in at about 8.3% ABV; expect it to hit taps by the end of the month. Also, HR’s new Russian Imperial Stout, Quicksand Jesus, is now available (with the barrel-aged version coming out in about a month), as well as their Java Moose Coffee Porter (after a several-month hiatus) and Too Hop to Handle (with this batch featuring Hop Hash from Southan Farms).
• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has some great news for their thirsty fans: now that their 8 hl (7 BBL) brew system from Charlottetown’s DME is up and running, they’ve been able to better keep up with demand, and fully opened their retail location at 46 Anson Avenue (Unit 3). Hours are Wed 4-8pm, Thurs and Fri 4-9pm, and Sat 12-9. If you can’t make it in then, fear not! They are now on tap full-time in the region, including Duncan’s Pub in Amherst, and Sociables Pub in Springhill, and that list will continue to expand this winter. Keep an eye out for the Rod’s Red (Irish Red Ale that took Silver at the ACBAs), Scotian Pale Ale (an English Golden Ale), and brand new Justin Brew-deau, a Canadian Cream Ale. Their Yellow Beer’d Blonde Ale will be returning at the end of the month, along with some seasonals.
• After the highly-successful launch of their first beer, Lupulus Interruptus, Saint John’s Loyalist City has brewed their second beer, which will be released at tap accounts within the next couple of weeks. Parrtown Pale Ale is best described as an English Bitter, a malt-forward style also known as an English Pale Ale. With a grist that includes Simpson’s Maris Otter malt (imported from England), expect the beer to have a “rich, full-bodied, biscuity malt flavour characteristic to the style”. The malt is balanced with a “firm bitterness” from the addition of East Kent Golding, a popular U.K. hop variety that exhibits spicy, herbal aromas and flavours. This beer holds a special place in the heart of brewer/co-owner Mark McGraw, as it was the first recipe he entered in a competition as a homebrewer in 2013, and consequently his first medal… with many to follow!
• Annapolis Cider Company has a new release in their “Something Different” series, Cranberry Clementine. This is an unfiltered, sparkling beverage that combines a dry cider with fresh-pressed, local cranberry and apple juices. This blend was then infused with clementine zest, giving a 6.3% ABV cider with a deep-blush hue and a “freshing cranberry tartness augmented with aromatic notes of citrus”. It’s available now in refillable bottles at the cidery; as always with this series, $0.50 from each sale is donated to a local charity. This time, the recipient is SMILE, a Wolfville-based volunteer-driven program “that provides persons with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience in order to improve their total development”.
• Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has released their first collaboration beer, with Big Tide Brewpub’s Head Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos (and consulting assistance from local beer, wine, and spirits writer, Craig Pinhey). Humbuggery Best Bitter is a 5.1% ABV English Ale, hopped with Golding and Jester, a little-known UK hop with tropical fruit and citrus notes, distinguishing it from most other in that region. It is available at both the Foghorn and Big Tide brewery spaces, as well as Uptown Saint John’s Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub. But be sure to drop by soon, as there’s not much of the 8hl batch left!
• For the first time in a year, Unfiltered has brewed up a batch of their Hyper-Galactic SMaSH (single malt and single hop) India Pale Lager. With specs spot-on with NASH’s other SMaSH beers (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU and a color of 4.1 SRM) this beer features Topaz hops, a variety from Australia known for bringing a palette of tropical flavours including lychee and passionfruit along with some spicy and resiny notes. The use of a bottom-fermenting lager yeast and, no doubt, a low-temperature lagering period, should make for a crisp and clean finish to compliment a huge hop flavor. Available for fills and pints today at noon, you are encouraged, as always, to get on it!
• Mama’s Brew Pub has brewed up a couple of batches of their first stout served on nitrogen. Fittingly named Nitro Stout, the grist is made up of Maris Otter, Crystal 70 L, Carafa III, and Chocolate and Wheat malt, giving lots of roasted flavours and aromas. Hopped with Golding and Cascade (both sourced from Southan Farms) to 22 IBUs, this sessionable ale (4.4% ABV) fermented with a neutral British Ale yeast, before being slowly nitrogenated over 5 days.
• Yesterday saw the release of a collaboration between the fine folks at Good Robot and the gentlemen of Sickboy Podcast, a media company that promotes and celebrates open and honest discussion of sickness and disability. Cystic Fibrewsis is described as a Strong American Bitter, essentially an ESB, the favourite style of Sickboy, but more highly attenuated and brewed with American breeds of European hop varieties (Perle, Tettnang and the Fuggle-descended Willamette). The grist is based on the classic British malt Maris Otter, but there’s also some Simpson’s DRC (double-roasted crystal) for caramel flavor and body, a touch of smoked malt and some demerara sugar to encourage a drier finish. It carries some weight at 5.8% ABV, supported by roughly 30 IBU. Good Robot will be donating $10 for each keg sold to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, an organization near and dear to Sickboy’s Jeremie. The guys recorded a live podcast at the Good Robot taproom last night; look for it to be posted to their usual podcast sites (SoundCloud and the iTunes) in the near future.
• PEI Brewing Co. has a new variation on an existing beer coming next week to the ANBL’s growler program and a few select tap accounts: Mango Lassi DIPA takes PEIBC’s 8 Cord to North India with fermentation having taken place on ripe mango and green cardamom pods. This will give the beer a big mango flavor along with the distinctive spicy aroma of cardamom. The hops used – Azacca, Mosaic and Simcoe – should complement the fresh mango flavor with citrus, piney and dank notes. The bitterness is a solid 70 IBU and the ABV gets a boost from the fresh fruit to a hefty 9.3%. If you’re craving the original, 8 Cord will also be available in cans (in New Brunswick and PEI) and kegs (maritime-wide) in a couple of weeks.
• Halifax’s Rockbottom Brewpub released a new lager yesterday, Dortmunder Export Helles. At 5.3% ABV and 27 IBUs, this pale-coloured lager features light Noble bittering to complement the faint grain aromatics, with a medium body and crisp finish. Grab a pint today, or in a growler to go (let’s be honest, it’s best to do both!).
• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery will be debuting a brand new beer at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market tomorrow morning. Portland Porter is a 5.3% ABV, 31 IBU Porter, featuring Roast, Chocolate, and Honey Malts, along with a small percentage of Smoked Malt, culminating in a rich coffee aroma and flavour. Drop by 8am – 1pm to try a sample, and get a fill of your growler to enjoy more at home. Keep your eyes peeled for possible tap accounts in the near future.
• Last September, we reported that Moosehead was not only planning on opening a new small-batch brewery to coincide with their 150th Anniversary, but that they had also settled on the location on Water St. in downtown Saint John. However, this week they confirmed that they will not be proceeding with these plans, due to costs being “more than anticipated”, according to the announcement on their website. They do insist that developing a location to brew small batches of beer, and “build [their] relationship with [their] customers in a more personal way” is still something they intend on doing.
• Just one event to remind you about this week, but it’s a big one! On Thursday, January 12th, Local Connections Halifax is presenting their Fourth Annual Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration at the Marriott Halifax Harbourside. Sixteen breweries (and two cider houses) from across the province are teaming up with sixteen restaurants for an epic showcase of our province’s offerings. It also serves as the release of several special beers in our region, some of which we are able to share with you today:
– Big Spruce Brewing is debuting two beers at the event: Risky Biscuits Dark Mild, the 4.4% ABV winning beer from the Home Brew Challenge held in November, brewed by David Pepper; Liquid James Brown, a 6.1% ABV Milkshake IPA (the first in the province), featuring loads of late hop additions of El Dorado and Mosaic, along with oats, lactose, and vanilla beans, for a smooth mouthfeel bursting with tropical and citrus flavour.
– Good Robot is pouring Daughter of Sin, a Red Double IPA brewed with homebrew collective Brathair Brewing. The 8.1% ABV beer clocks in with 74 IBUs, all introduced post-boil (during the whirlpool while the beer chills) for a flavourful and smooth (but robust!) bitterness with fruitiness from Mosaic hops. This is a CB&LFC exclusive, so be sure to seek it out!
– Propeller Brewing will be pouring Vanilla Porter, their next One Hit Wonder, scheduled to hit the brewery’s taps in the next few days. It will be joined by their IPA or ESB, and Krave Lager, as they are paired up with Krave Burger, who are serving Burger Bombs.
– Spindrift will be debuting Duplicitous Imperial Pilsner, which was mentioned on the latest 902 BrewCast (shoutout). From Kellye Robertson, “Blend of Canadian and German Pilsner malts make this is a deceivingly light looking lager packing a punch of 8.0% ABV and 70 IBU. Aromatics of melon, citrus and passionfruit are led by generous amounts of Hallertau Blanc, El Dorado and Citra hops. ” After next week’s debut, it will be available at the brewery for growler fills, and around town next weekend.
– Tatamagouche will be debuting their Mrs. Magouche American IPA, a collaboration beer brewed the fine people of the Ladies Beer League. They will also be pouring Smorter, their S’mores Porter, and have given a keg of that beer to their partner Primal Kitchen for some epic S’more tarts with beer reduction.
In addition to those mentioned above, check here for the (mostly) full line-up of beer and food. For those who want to enjoy the partying after the event is over, Local Connections has negotiated a rate of $139 at the Marriott, just mention that when booking. There are fewer than 20 tickets remained for the all-inclusive event, so grab your today!
And finally this week:
– Tipsy Toad, the 5% Pale Ale from Fredericton’s Bogtrotter, is available now in 500 mL bottles at both the Oromocto and York St. ANBL locations.
– If you live in Fredericton and have been craving some Toque and Mitts (7.8% ABV), Celtic Knot‘s annual-release Barleywine, it’s now on tap at the James Joyce.
– Today, Garrison is re-releasing their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA (6.2% ABV, 52 IBUs) at their retail store; this Canadian Brewing Award Gold Winner is “dark, deep, toasty and hop-forward”. It will be available in six packs onsite, and at the NSLC and your local private beer store in the near future. And for our New Brunswick readers, look for it to hit the shelves of the ANBL shortly.
– Petit-Sault‘s Canon Franchetti, a “Cappucino Stout” is back; you can find it in bottles and growlers at the brewery in Edmundston, as well as the Picaroons General Store in Saint John. Look for it to be on tap at ANBL Growler stations January 19th (who may also be receiving bottles this month as well).
– Picaroons released a new beer at their Saint John General Store location, a Baltic Porter named The Teleporter. It’s just about gone already, but this 6.5% ABV beer was lagered for close to 6 weeks, to allow the alcohol and roasted characteristics to further blend together. And keep your eyes peeled here for details on a collaboration the SJ Picaroons folks did at Big Tide, which will be released mid-month.