Another Friday is upon us in Atlantic Canada and as usual, we’ve got as much news as we could dig up about beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events throughout the region. So grab yourself an appropriate beverage (perhaps you’d consider a beer?) and we’ll get right to it.
• Today, Red Rover will be releasing the second cider in their new Summer Series, which focuses on different seasonals and Reserve blends from the past, but in 750 mL bottle form. Barrel Reserve #1 is a dry, still cider (7.2% ABV) that has been oak-aged and conditioned in Bourbon barrels for over 6 months. A very limited supply of 250 bottles (which have been corked and wax-capped for aging) will be available at the Cider House and Farmers Markets. Look for Barrel Reserve #2 to follow in the near future.
• Over in Cape Breton, Nyanza’s Big Spruce just brewed up a new seasonal in their “Conspired” (Conspiratorial?) series. Brewed in collaboration with the Ocean Tracking Network, out of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Tag! You’re It! is a “light-bodied, super juicy” American IPA featuring large post knockout additions of the wonderful, tropical Citra and Mosaic hop varieties; look for this one to come in at about 6.5% ABV. This beer will be canned, with 50 cents from every sale going towards research at the OTN, which will help protect endangered ocean species. We’ll let you know when this beer becomes available to the thirsty public.
• Summer officially started a few weeks ago, and the weather has finally improved, so Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery will be releasing a Witbier, Summer Break, today or over the weekend. One of the tastiest of the warm-weather beer styles, it was brewed with Maritime Malt and Wheat malt, and also features the traditional additions of coriander and orange peel. Fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast to add spicy phenolics and fruity esters to the contributions from the coriander and orange peel, this 4.9% ABV, pale and hazy brew will be available in kegs only, at the brewery’s taproom and select accounts. And if you’re lucky enough to live near the brewery, stop by this Friday for a visit… not just to try Summer Break, but to watch the brewers brew up some test batches of their Pumpkin beer on the brewery patio (yes, Pumpkin beers are approaching already…sorry).
• Petit-Sault has brewed up a brand new beer that will be released to lucky participants in next month’s 12th Annual Roch-Voisine/Knights of Columbus celebrity golf tournament, held for the La Fondation Bob Fife, on August 7th and 8th at the Fraser Edmundston Golf Club. Named, appropriately, Bob Fife, this Pale Ale base beer had 100% locally-sourced and produced Haskap berry juice added, providing a pleasant, refreshing tanginess. At just 4.25% ABV, it should be the perfect golfing beer! If there’s any left after the tournament (only a very small batch was made), look for growlers to be available at the brewery only.
• Ontario’s Beau’s continues to brew beers with other breweries in the country to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday… and next up is a collaboration with Unfiltered! Appropriately named, EPH Bomb is a “Northeast DIPA” brewed with Pilsner and acid malt, oats, and wheat, and hopped (intensely, no doubt) with Wai-iti and Azacca. The result is lots of grapefruit, pine, and papaya in the aroma, followed by a “fruity sweetness” in the flavour, “balanced by a medium bitterness and mild alcohol warmth” in the finish. Weighing in at 9% ABV and 75 IBUs, this is a limited release, and will be available at the NSLC in early-mid August. As well, look for it on tap at the Beau’s Tap Takeover at the Stillwell Beer Garden on August 10th, and at the Beau’s booth at the Seaport Beerfest (August 11th and 12th).
• Lots going on at Good Robot over the next little bit… first off, they’ve released their third SMaSH beer, adorably named SMaSH Meowth. Brewed with 100% Maris Otter, hopped with Rakau, a New Zealand variety, and fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast, expect notes of plum, citrus, melon, and pear in this 5.5% ABV, 45 IBU brew. And today is Friday, meaning there’s a new entry in their Cask in the Sun series – Goseface Killah with organic peach and nectarine. Finally, we have some info on their next Beta Brewsday release this coming Tuesday. Sour Mumma Bloomfield was brewed by loyal employee Erica Fraser (who is responsible for sending us beer info every week… thanks for that!). This “hopless, malt-forward herbal beer” was soured from the addition of locally-harvested herbs, including rose, yarrow, thyme, lavender, sage, rosemary, and marigold. But that’s not all! Some roasted dandelion root, nettle, and a tea blend prepared from herbs harvested from the Mother Oak Permaculture Co-op were also added. Tart, with an apple pie-like character in the taste, drop by the brewery next Tuesday to give this 4.8% ABV brew a try.
• A couple of blocks over, at Agricola and North, Chain Yard Urban Cidery has a new cider available that incorporates gin for a riff on one of the most classic cocktails of summer. Ginx is, at its heart, a dry cider made from a blend of Northern Spy and Jonogold apples. It was then conditioned with gin from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery along with the juice of organic limes. The result is a dry cider with plenty of juniper on the nose, a balance between the cider and spirit components, and a clean and refreshing finish. Chain Yard’s cider maker, Jay Hildybrant, developed Ginx both to prove his belief that a dry cider and gin would play nicely together, but also as a way to incorporate another local product into a fun summer drink. It’s available for 12 oz pours and growler fills at the cidery (although we’ve heard a rumour that some may make it into stubbies in the future), but tread carefully: at 9.5% ABV it’s going to pack a bit of a boozy punch as well!
• And to complete our little tour of North End Halifax this week, we head up to Gottingen Street, where Propeller has some new and renewed things on the go. First is a beer that was released last week in the California Common style, a medium-bodied ale, traditionally fermented with a lager yeast strain that can withstand the higher temperatures favored by ale yeasts. Propeller’s version of this classic is called Sacramento Common and it’s 5.5% ABV, with a rich amber color and 39 IBUs provided by Northern Brewer hops, which are also traditionally the only hops used in this style. Toasty and caramel notes from the malts mingle with light fruits and lingering bitterness from the hops to yield a slightly malty and sweet but not-too-heavy beer.
• Next, released this past Wednesday, is a beer in a very modern style that sees the clove and banana characteristics of German-style wheat beers meet heavy late hopping with modern hop varieties a la a West Coast IPA. The term for the style is also the name of this new beer from Propeller: Hopfenweisse. Generously late-hopped with dank Simcoe and wine-y Nelson Sauvin, you’re apt to taste passion fruit and gooseberry with some tropical fruit and banana. Medium bodied and carbed up nice and high, it’s a hazy golden yellow color. Although pushing 48 IBUs, you should find the mouthfeel and fruity tropical flavors mitigate the bitterness of this refreshing, 5.8% ABV beer. Both of these beers are available at the taproom for pints and, we presume, growler fills as well.
• Moving on, as part of the rollout of their updated brand, Propeller has revisited the recipe for their stalwart Double IPA. Now in 650 mL bottles for 30% more beer, we’re also told they’re adding dry hops at 300% of the old rate! It’s already available in Propeller’s bottle shop and we expect you’ll see it in the same places you saw the original version, including select NSLC locations and the private stores in Halifax.
• Finally (!), during last weekend’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, Propeller held the Brew Patriot Love competition, and they are happy to announce that Brew-Deau Canadian Cream Ale from Trider’s was voted the most Canadian beer. A fun contest, where the beers were judged not solely on taste, but on the story, packaging, and “Canadian” qualities, Brew-deau beat out a dozen other beers to take the title. Congratulations to Trider’s, and learn a bit more about the event here, and if you dispute the results, get ready to brew your own for next year’s event, to coincide with next May’s Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax.
• Along with the return of crowd favourites Hu John Hops and Luster earlier this week, Fredericton’s TrailWay also released another new entry in the ever-growing hoppy lineup. Apeel is a supremely sessionable (4% ABV) brew marketed as a contrast to Luster. With more malt character than most of their highly-hopped beers (and a dark tan colour in the body as a result, which definitely is a change from the pale yellow colour we expect from many TW beers!), there’s still plenty of hops popping, thanks to large additions of Ekuanot and Ella, giving “an amazing depth of fruit, berries, and orange peel”. Available on tap everywhere, and in cans at the brewery only (depending on stock, some may pop up at a few ANBL stores).
• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new beers on the go as well as the results of their contest to name the beer they’re dedicating to the Tall Ships visit in mid-August. That winning submission was the appropriately nautical Three Sheets Cream Ale and, quite coincidentally, it was suggested by one Harry MacDonald, who also happened to be Boxing Rock’s very first paying customer four years ago! Look for that beer to make its appearance very shortly before the ships sail into port.
• Meanwhile, the two other beers on the BR docket this week are brand new releases that arose out of this year’s Black Box Challenge. The winning beer, Brian Harvey’s Grafted has already come and gone, but as we mentioned in our report on the event, Henry and Emily told us several of the finalist beers were impressive enough to be considered for production batches. First is Grand Mariner, a Belgian IPA by Kelly Costello. You may recognize Kelly’s name as she currently reigns over Good Robot’s BetaBrew system and is cranking out small batches of unique and tasty treats for their taproom on the regular. The original version of this beer actually had the highest tasting score in the Black Box Challenge event. It’s lower than most IPAs on the ABV side, at a sessionable 5.0%, and it features Bravo and Wild Turkey hops, the latter being a wild cultivar sourced from a hop farm in Ontario. The beer has also been “dry-hopped” with an addition of sweet orange peel after primary fermentation for a perfume of citrus. The second new beer comes in a style we’re not sure has been seen in Nova Scotia, or even Atlantic Canada, at least not any time recently. Tropic Thunder, brewed in collaboration with Jason Currie, is a Tropical Stout, a style that grew up in hot climates where darker beers are found to be quite refreshing. The style is known for marrying roasty dark malt flavours with sweetness and fruitiness while keeping the bitterness well in check. Tropic Thunder delivers all that in a 6.0% ABV package, along with a citrus note from sweet orange peel to finish it all off. Both of these winning beers have been bottled in 650 mL bombers and will be available at the brewery and the private stores in Halifax.
• And rounding out the Boxing Rock news for this week, be sure to listen to the 902 BrewCast which dropped on #902sday this week, when Kyle, Phil, and Tony visited the Shelburne brewery to learn about their beginnings, struggles and successes, and even tease a new brand beer coming in the next couple of weeks.
• Lazy Bear, located in Smiths Cove, NS, has released a brand new beer this week named Punch. Featuring plenty of tropical hops, namely El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Olicana, the beer is big on taste, but small in alcohol, weighing in at 4.6% ABV. Yeast from Imperial Yeast was chosen for this beer, resulting in a hazy juice-bomb. Punch is available at the brewery for their Thursday night events, and will be at their stall at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market this weekend. Look for it on tap shortly at Battery Park too!
• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing Co has a new beer pouring in the city this weekend, Stonehammer Saison. Brewed in the traditional French style, using a simple Pilsner and Wheat malt bill, fermented with an iconic yeast, the spritzy and naturally spicy and fruity beer was complemented with a double round of Mandarina Bavaria dry hopping for extra citrus character. Drop by one of LCBC’s Uptown licensees for a pour, or visit the ANBL growler fill locations to grab it to go, possibly for enjoyment at the Stonehammer Geopark just outside of Saint John.
• Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has announced that they will soon begin filling growlers. From noon to midnight each day, a variety of their year-round and seasonal beers will be available to take away in the popular format. We’ll have more details when available.
• In a late addition to the blog, we are thrilled to announce that the first beer to age in the foedres installed at 2 Crows Brewing in Halifax will be available tomorrow. Crosswired, the 5.3% hazy and pale beer, fermented with both wine and beer yeasts, has been hanging out in the Calvados barrel for a couple of months, and is now ready for prime-time. Cans of the beer will be available exclusively at the brewery beginning tomorrow at noon, and are in short supply, so you are well-advised to get to the brewery this weekend to avoid disappointment. To learn more about Crosswired, check out our post on it from its release in April, and about the foedres from a post in May.
As always, we’ve also got some upcoming events you might want to consider checking out!
• For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to the sold-out Big Axe Craft Beer Festival tomorrow, have fun! Registration starts at 3 pm, so be sure to get there ahead of the 4 pm start time so that you’re ready to start enjoying the multiple varieties of beer, cider, and mead that will be pouring. If you’re in the area and missed out on tickets, fear not… next week we should have details on another beer festival happening in the near future, in the town of Woodstock!
• Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting yet another beer event, with their Nine Locks Tap Takeover on Thursday, July 20th. Looks like the official tap list has not been released yet, but rest assured you’ll be seeing plenty of goodies from Nine Locks, and the event will run all day. As usual, no charge to attend, just pay by the pint!
• A reminder that Upstreet with be releasing Year 2 of De Novo next Thursday, July 20th. Their Anniversary beer, De Novo is a light mixed-fermentation (read: blend of several yeasts, including Brett) Saison that has spent the last month bottle-conditioning and is now ready for sale. Drop by the brewery that evening for a fun event and to try both Year 1 and 2 of De Novo, and some other special beers.
• On Saturday, July 22nd, drop by Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery for the latest screening of Sociable!, the Nova Scotia craft beer film. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand to chat about the film, and the growth in the NS beer landscape since filming. And in the spirit of community, Roof Hound has invited several other breweries to bring a keg of beer to showcase their wares, including nearby Lazy Bear, Yarmouth’s Heritage, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill, and Windsor’s Schoolhouse. And while there, be sure to try their Full Circle Pizza, which features sausages made from locally-raised pork, which was raised on RH’s spent grain.
• Tatamagouche is a beautiful town and home to a fantastic brewery, so it’s only fair that they’re getting their own beer festival! On Saturday, July 29th, the first North Shore Craft Brew Expo will be held at the North Shore Rec Centre from 6-11:30 pm. There will be at least 12 local breweries and one cidery attending; your ticket price of $42.55 (+ fee) will get you entry and five 4 oz drink tickets; additional drink tickets can be purchased for $2 each. Local food vendors will be onsite, and live music will be playing throughout the night, starting at 8 pm. Tickets are available here.
Hope you all have a great weekend! A few final things before we let you go…
– Maybee now has their Orion, a 11.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale with maple syrup, available at the brewery for purchase in 750 mL corked-and-caged bottles.
– North has re-released Little Beast, their 4% ABV “light lagered ale”, as well as a new batch of Malternate Reality (with this version being dry-hopped with Mosaic cryohops, and El Dorado).
– If you’re a fan of the citrus bomb that is DOA from Unfiltered you’ll be happy to know it’ll be back on tap at the brewery for fills and Charm School Pub for pints and fills as of this Friday at noon.