We’re firmly into 2017 and we’ll all hopefully be able to stop typing 2016 any day now. Though the we haven’t quite reached the dead of winter, the beer scene in the region is still showing plenty of signs of life and it’s not looking like that will slow down any time soon. Read on for all the news on new beers, re-releases, and beer- and brewery-related events throughout our corner of the country. And don’t forget, the first kegs from Harvey, NB’s Think Brewing will be available this weekend. We have confirmation that they will be on tap at the James Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen in the next day or two. To learn more, check out Tuesday’s Profile with Think. And now on to the rest of the beer news!
• A little over a year ago, Flying Boats released Double Oatmeal Stout, an easy-drinking beer with plenty of oatmeal and roast character. Recently, owner/brewer Marc Melanson has changed the recipe, with the result being Station Master Stout. Over 10% of rolled oats, along with specialty malts including Chocolate and Roasted varieties, makes up the grist, giving “slight chocolate, coffee, and roastiness” in the flavour, along with a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, expect this one to weigh in at approximately 5.2% ABV; look for it at Flying Boats tap accounts sometime within the next couple of weeks.
• Saint John’s newest brewery, Loyalist City, released another of their flagship beers for the first time late last week. An American Pale Ale, Three Sisters Pale Ale (6% ABV, 60 IBUs) features a blend of three popular American hop varieties – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – to give “an assertive mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma”. The high majority of the hops were added in the whirlpool, after the boil was complete, to maximize the deliciousness of these varieties, without adding too much bitterness in the finish. The grist was kept simple, with a mix of two base malts, to complement the hops but not overpower them. Fermented clean with an American Ale yeast strain, more Mosaic was included in not one, but two, dry-hop additions, resulting in even more tropical fruit in the aroma. For historians, the beer was named after the Three Sisters Lamp, which was erected in 1842 at the end of Prince William Street “to welcome visitors to the Saint John Harbour by guiding them safely into port”. Look for Three Sisters on tap at select accounts in the city, including Cask & Kettle and Five & Dime, and at the ANBL Growler program starting Jan 26 at the three SJ-region locations. Details are thin, but look for LCBC’s Extra Special Bitter to hit the taps this weekend, we’ll share more details when we have them.
• YellowBelly Brewpub in downtown St John’s has released a new cider this week, featuring partridge berries. Twenty kilograms of the extremely ripe fruit were used for a subtle sweetness and tannic tartness. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “It’s like our regular cider with a bit of pink lemonade and the merest hint of wintergreen, methinks.” Grab a pint at the pub, and look for bottles at a few St. John’s NLCs next week.
• Still on the Rock, Mill Street Brewpub has been serving a beer since late 2016 that we seem to have missed the boat on. St. John’s ESB is in the English Pale Ale family, with a balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness enhancing its drinkability. It comes in at a very reasonable 4.8% ABV and 27 IBU with biscuit, caramel and lightly toasted malt notes and floral and earthy hop flavours. Look for it the next time you’re by for a pint or a growler fill.
• Fans of Moncton’s Bore City Brewing can look forward to their first new beer release in a while, a currently-unnamed “lower-ABV Belgian style Ale” (think roughly along the lines of an Abbey Single or Table Beer). With a grist of mainly Pilsner malt and Munich II, it was hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, White Labs’ Belgian Golden Ale. This one should come in around 5.6% ABV; it won’t be ready for another few weeks, according to the brewery, but we’ll have more information to release before then!
• Graystone Brewing has their first Lager on tap at their taproom and elsewhere in Fredericton. The North is a Pilsner that was “amply hopped” with two varieties, German Perle and Czech Saaz, giving distinctive floral and spicy notes to the beer. Fermented cool at 13 C with a European Lager yeast, the beer was further lagered at cold temperatures for six weeks. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, and is available now for pints, and crowler/growler fills.
• Graystone also released another new beer yesterday, Shiver Stout, to coincide with this year’s Shivering Songs Festival. With an addition of a cold-brewed medium roast blend from Whitney Coffee Company added directly to the beer, there’s plenty of smooth coffee flavour (without any harshness) in this one. On the lighter-ABV end for a stout (4.7%), it clocks in at 30 IBUs; while exploring around Fredericton for the festival, be sure to seek this one out!
• Continuing with Fredericton, Bogtrotter has a new beer popping up around the city. Drunken Newt Red Rye Ale was brewed with Rye malt in the grist, with nutmeg added late in the boil. This deep red-coloured beer comes in at 5% ABV, and features “aromas of fresh rye bread, caramel malt and hops”, according to the brewery. Expect flavours of caramel, toffee, and a hint of, naturally, nutmeg. It’s available on tap around Fredericton, and is also in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL locations.
• Now firmly in the middle of winter, it’s time for the return of one of last year’s favourites, Big Spruce Brewing‘s Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, an ode to local meteorologist Peter Coade, who retired in September 2016, after a record-breaking 54 year career. This Winter Warmer is 7.4% ABV, and features Gila Squash grown at their brewery farm. It was oven roasted with organic cane sugar before being added to the mash, extracting some extra sweetness and complexity. After primary fermentation, the beer was conditioned with a dark rum tincture of local ginger with organic cinnamon and vanilla. This release is draft/growler only, while the next release will be aged in barrels and will be available on draft, and in bottles.
• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released their first Double IPA, Make and Break. Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, the beer features Amarillo and Millennium hops, to the tune of 60 IBUs, balancing the sweet, malty aroma. Grab a pint or growler fill at the brewery, and look for it at their tap accounts shortly.
• Be sure to grab today’s episode of the 902 BrewCast, with Kyle, Phil, and Tony tasting through a selection of Nova Scotian and New Brunswick IPAs (including a look at the medal winners of the 2016 ACBAs). They even invited along our very own acbbchris for a nerdier approach to the whole thing. Be sure to share your feedback on their social media feeds, or in a comment below.
• Attention large AtlCan breweries! The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is taking a handful of Canadian breweries on a tour of five US cities next month, and the opportunity to sign-up is now open. Visiting Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami Feb 27 – Mar 2, brewers will have the chance to meet local vendors, check out the potential markets, and learn about the benefits (and potential) drawbacks to doing business abroad. More details can be found here, including contacts on how to sign up before the application window closes January 25th.
A few events have popped up on our radar; check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods:
• Moncton’s Tide & Boar are holding another Growler Pop-Up today, 10-6pm (or when the beer runs dry). Look for the return of Herbies Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, Sour Otis Fruit Cake Kettle Sour, as well as two new IPAs: Calling Method IPA (featuring Citra) and Nelson IPA, single-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The first few folks through the door will receive a free T&B growler (empty) – the early birds get the worm!
• A reminder of tomorrow’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Ducky’s in Sackville. In addition to their core lineup, and special beers that they’ve been saving, it will serve also as the sneak preview of their Barrel-aged Barleywine, being released next Thursday. We’ll have more details on that beer next week. In the meantime, learn more about the evening, and live music, on the FB Event page.
• Join Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL next weekend, January 27th and 28th, for Eat the Hill. Pairing their beers with plates from several different chefs, there will be plenty of food, beer, and cheer to go around after a day on the slopes. Tickets are available now.
• Mill Street is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner at the brewpub on February 8th. Hosted by Joel Manning, Head Brewmaster for the Mill Street family, and Dan Boldrini, Head Brewer at the St. John’s location, it will feature five of beers paired with five courses from the kitchen. The event will take place the evening of Wednesday, February 8; tickets are $60 and are apparently going fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait.
• Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors next Saturday, January 28th, for a soft launch of their beers and tap room. Featuring their core line-up on tap, as well as several special tap-room-only beer produced on their pilot system, the fun kicks off at noon. Take a gander at this week’s The Coast newspaper for an article with Kelly, Mark, and Jeremy, and we’ll have a full profile with the crew early next week, to whet your whistle.
• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be holding a Nano Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring four of Nova Scotia’s smallest craft breweries, on Thursday, February 9th. All sixteen taps will be dedicated to beer from Brightwood, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tidehouse. Drop by from 2:00 pm to taste the beers from these small operations, including a few special one-offs casks, and meet the folks behind the beers.
• On February 16th, Battery Park is hosting Pop-Up Love Party, an event with live performers expounding on love, paired with local beer and a menu designed by Daniel Burns. It also serves as the launch of just the second beer brewed at North‘s Dartmouth location (in BP’s foyer), Zuppa Symposium. It is a Milk Stout aged on local blackberries and cherry wood, and will be available on tap (both standard and nitro versions), and in bottles. More details are available here, and tickets here.
• Like to drink beer and curl? Or even just drink beer and slide around on the ice with a broom? Well, good news! Good Robot is holding their 1st Annual Tournament of Broken Hearts on Saturday, February 18th at the Mayflower Curling Club. Teams of four can sign up here ($80 per team), with all participants receiving GR toques, plenty of GR beer on tap, prizes to the winners, and an after-party. The fun starts at 1 pm and will continue all day and evening.
• It’s a ways away on May 27th, but early bird tickets are already on sale for the first annual Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at the Rodd Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, it will feature breweries from around Nova Scotia. There will be two tastings, in the afternoon at 2:30pm and in the evening at 7:30pm. The $30 package includes a commemorative glass and 5 sampling tickets, with additional sampling tickets available both online when you register and at the event itself. VIP and Designated Driver packages are also available: the VIP is priced at $45 and includes 10 sampling tickets, access to a VIP lounge and early access (30 minutes) to the tasting; the DD package gives 5 sampling tickets for food and non-alcoholic drinks and access to the VIP lounge and is priced at $15. Early bird registrants (until February 15th) save $5 on any package, while late registrations will see prices $5 higher. More information, including participating breweries will be available as the event gets closer.
• The YBF will also feature the first annual Hop Run. This event marries drinking beer and running and features both individual and relay formats. Individuals will run between 1 and 3 miles, with a beer at the starting gun and another after each mile completed to a maximum of three laps and four beers per person. The relay will see teams of three each running one lap and drinking 4 beers. Included in all registrations is a Hop Run pint glass and a finisher’s medal for each runner. Pricing for individuals is based on number of miles ($45/50/55 for 1, 2 and 3 miles, respectively), while relay pricing is $150 for the team. Again, early bird and latecomer pricing is in effect. So if you know you’re interested, get your registration in early and save a few dollars.
And finally today:
– Big Tide currently has an “extra-strong” batch of their Karnival Kölsch on tap at the brewpub; weighing in at 6.3% ABV (vs. its usual 4.5%), it also features Hallertau hops from Darlings Island Farm.
– Boxing Rock Carbon-14 is back, Professor Jason MacDougall’s second-place winner from the first Boxing Rock Black Box challenge last year is available once again. It’s a big beer, a strong dark Belgian that should be perfect for a cold winter night.
– Unfiltered: Deity SMaSH DIPA is back! The same blast of hoppy juiciness with spicy, herbal notes from the Columbus hops as the first time ’round. 7.5% ABV 100+ IBU 10 SRM
– Johnny Jacks Brewery in Oromocto has a new beer headed to local ANBL shelves soon, Pond Hockey Winter Ale. The 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU beer will be released in 750 ml bottles.
– Hammond River S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout is kegged and will be popping up at local tap accounts this weekend.