Happy Friday everyone! What a week of weather for our region! Snow and power outages and cancellations have plagued the region for the past while, but thankfully our local brewers haven’t rested to get us the great beer we all crave. Check out the latest news, and stay warm!
• Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, responsible for producing malt used in breweries across the province, has announced that they will begin operating a small brewery onsite, slated to open this summer. The 120 litre (1 BBL) system would serve as a testing ground for the different malt varieties they have on offer, in order to give commercial brewers and visitors to the Malt House the chance to taste the different characteristics of their offerings. The beers would be available on-site only, in their tasting room and facility outside of Wolfville, along with other breweries’ offerings showcasing their malts. We’ll have much more on the details of the brewery closer to launch in July. You can learn more in person yourself with a visit to the Malt House for an Open House tomorrow, 2:30-4:00pm.
• Rothesay’s Foghorn recently hosted Patrick Dionne, head brewer at Petit-Sault, for a collaboration brew on their system. Well, that beer is now available on tap, and we’ve got some details to share! Epic Fume is a 5.7% ABV Smoked Porter, featuring beech-smoked malt in the grist to give gentle smoke characteristics in both the aroma and flavour. It’s currently pouring at the Foghorn taproom, and is on tap at the Five and Dime in Saint John. For those of you in the Edmundston area, look for it to start pouring at Petit-Sault sometime next week.
• Sticking with Petit-Sault, they’ll be brewing this year’s Big Boots Brew tomorrow, an annual event sponsored by the Pink Boots Society. This one will actually be a collaboration brew, as Wendy Papadopoulos, head brewer at Big Tide, will be participating, along with four other women from the area. The theme for this year’s international brew is Ancient/Historical Beer, with Petit-Sault and Big Tide deciding on a Gruit for their brew, an un-hopped style of beer that relies on the use of herbs for flavouring and bittering. The collaboration beer will be named Malobiannah Gruit, after a local legend involving a young Malecite woman who sacrified herself to save her people during an Iroquois invasion in the Grand Falls area. The grist will feature 2-row, Pilsner, and Honey malt, and a carefully-chosen mix of herbs that includes yarrow, goldenrod, sweet gale, bayberry and lavender. Some local maple syrup will also be added to the brew, which should come in at 5.2% ABV. The beer will be released on International Women’s Day on March 8th, and we can confirm that it will be making an appearance at this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 11th.
• Although they don’t have anything truly new for us this week, we’re told that Good Robot in Halifax has a batch of their Burban Legend APA coming to the taps, this one of the v2.0 variety (that’s the one dry hopped with citrussy Cascade and stone fruit Amarillo). Knowing they’d have to sweeten the pot to get us to mention that, they also spilled the beans on a special batch brewed up just yesterday with their staff. Red Moon Rising was brewed for their Women’s Day event, FemmeBot, coming up in March. It’s a Red IPA leaning heavily on Bestmalz Red X, a base malt known for imparting a deep red color. Also in the malt bill are Vienna for some toasty/biscuity notes and flaked barley for mouthfeel and body. Hops include their own “GR Blend” (think Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Good Robot-style) at bittering time and Equinox during whirlpool and the planned dry-hop for a tropical and fruity presence. It’s fermenting now on the classic Cal Ale yeast. Look for release details in the coming weeks (we’d bet somewhere around March 8th…).
• Meanwhile in Fredericton, Grimross has already released the second entry in their new Scratch series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA. This 6.7% ABV, 65 IBUs brew was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, Herkules and Amarillo, most of which were grown in New Brunswick. The brewery describes it as having “a pleasant, citrus hop profile on the nose and palate, and finishes clean and dry”. Fermented, of course, with a Belgian yeast strain to add some classic fruity esters and spicy phenolics to blend with the hop characteristics, it’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills; you may see it pop up around the city, as well. Grimross has also just brewed a collaboration with Dumfries Maples, featuring a large addition of maple syrup from the Dumfries, NB sugarbush. Details on Dumfries Maples Brown Ale are being kept a secret for now… stay tuned!
• Speaking of beers brewed with maple syrup, TrailWay also has one fermenting right now. No, this isn’t actually a coincidence – the New Brunswick government has been encouraging breweries in the province to collaborate with local maple producers to brew these beers. While we’re not sure of the exact details of this arrangement, we’ve been told there are benefits provided to breweries who do so. TW has brewed an Imperial Stout with maple syrup from Briggs Maples; expect it to come in around 9% ABV. TW has also confirmed that the beer will be packaged in cans, as well as kegs.
• The new DIPA from Maybee Brewing that we teased about a couple of weeks ago is officially being released today. Look Off DIPA is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was hopped mainly with Amarillo and Chinook (to 105 calculated IBUs). Described by the brewery as “super juicy”, it’ll be available at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and at better beer establishments in Fredericton (including the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar later today). Look for it to also be released in cans sometime next week, and be sure to take note of the updated label designs for Maybee cans at the same time.
• Spindrift teased a new beer on Instagram that they’ve just brewed, based on popular casks they have brought to beer festivals in the past: Blueberry Chai Pilsner (featuring Rooibus Chai tea from World Tea House). They’re keeping quiet on the exact specs and details for now, but don’t worry, we’ll have more, soon! In the meantime, they’re taking their Abyss Schwarzbier to the next level, and bottling a batch of it that sat in barrels, on cherries, next week. It should be available for purchase sometime in mid-March.
• The taps at Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax will see a special brew this week as Erebos Porter makes its debut. Starting its life as a batch of Night Vision American Porter, it was aged extensively on figs in Hungarian oak barrels that formerly held Merlot at Bear River Vineyards. According to brewmaster Kyle, the wood and the fruit have rounded out the beer, which is normally quite dry, providing a nice dark fruit character without astringency. With only two barrels (110 litres each) available, this one’s not likely to be available for fills, so plan to hang around the pub and enjoy a pint. And this is the last call for homebrewers interested in taking part in the Home Brewer’s Challenge must contact Kyle to sign up.
• Garrison Brewing has released the latest in their test batch series, with Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy 2 today. This hazy East Coast Double IPA comes in at 8.0% ABV and 65 IBU, featuring loads of late hopping featuring Citra, Comet, Ekuanot, and Mosaic, for citrus, pineapple and tropical aromatics and flavour, resulting in a, you guessed it, juicy beer. Compared to the first test batch, this one features a softer mouthfeel, suitable for an extended session of enjoyment. Juicy 2 is available now for growler fills and bottles at the brewery, on tap at select bars around town this weekend, and early next week in bottles at the private stores.
• As was reported this week by a legitimate news source (as opposed to three guys with a blog), Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyon’s Brook is the latest brewery in the region to purchase a canning line. Citing their existing bottling setup as a source of inefficiency in their system, the line from Calgary (no doubt from the fine folks at Cask Brewing Systems) is expected to help them output an additional 1,000 litres per week and take the packaging process from 2-3 days down to a couple of hours. The installation of the line in May will allow them to meet orders for two new listings with the NSLC in addition to their IPA, namely their Sunburst Pale Ale and a rotating slot. One item in the article of particular note is the comment by co-owner Rebecca Whiffen that the funds to lease the line are to some extent coming from the savings seen in the reduction of the RSMA this year by the Provincial government. While the overall validity of the RSMA can still be debated (or serve as the basis for a lawsuit), it is certainly telling to see how quickly its reduction has made a positive difference to at least one brewery in the province. We won’t be surprised if it’s not the only one.
• Cunning schemers that they are, those crazy kids at Stillwell are already planning for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. As they announced on twitter Valentine’s Day (feel the love, people), they’re committing to pouring the best NS Craft Beer Taplist possible all week long during Craft Beer Week. What’s “the best NS Craft Beer Taplist” you ask? Why, it’s the one assembled from YOUR votes! Fling your interweeb device over to this page right here and cast your votes in the four categories provided. Stillwell will apply patented algorithms and serious business to generate a top 12 which will grace the wall at the start of the week. From there cult favourites will rotate in. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what that wall looks like come May.
For those of you fully shovelled out, we’ve got a few events on the go that are worthwhile checking out:
• This Sunday, February 19th, up in Nyanza, Big Spruce will be hosting an information session for FarmWorks, an Investment Co-operative founded in 2011 that operates as a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). The time has come for another round of investment and this is a chance for you to learn how the organization works to support food-related businesses in the region. Meanwhile, beer samples and snacks will be served and you’ll have the opportunity to tour the new Big Spruce Brewery! More information is available here.
• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has scheduled their next event for Wednesday, March 8th. This one will be held at Grimross Brewing from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a brewery tour, a discussion on Grimross and the beers they brew, and of course a tasting flight, with additional pours available for purchase afterwards. It only costs $8.75 to attend; send an email to email@example.com to hold your spot.
• Good Robot has a couple events on the go this week. Thursday, February 23rd sees the latest in the Good Robot Tiny Pub Concerts series, with Villages, Kim Harris, and Daniel Walker (of Owen Meany’s Batting Stance) coming out to give you an intimate night of Celtic, folk, soul and banter. “Less of a kitchen party and more of a Saturday night at home with friends.” Then on Saturday, February 25th, look for the GR gang at the Craft Beer Cottage Party and consider heading down to the taproom afterwards for their luau after-party with the fine folks from Upstreet Brewing and the dulcet tones of Hawaiian-influenced steel guitar swing band Kokonut Kings.
– We previously mentioned a new blackberry Milk Stout from North Brewing being released for Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party that started last night and goes until Sunday. The 5.7% ABV beer was aged in the tank at Battery Park and will be available in 650ml bottles at both North bottle shops and the private stores in Halifax. Look for in on tap as well at Battery Park, including two nitro kegs.