We’re entering the last week of August and, assumedly, most of us have our summer vacations behind us. That’s fine, there’s still plenty of gorgeous weather and beautiful beer to enjoy, not necessarily in that order. So grab a pint of your favourite local brew and let’s see what’s going down in the local scene this week.
• Split Rock Brewing has opened their doors at 119 Main Street in Twillingate, NL. Their 500 litre (4 BBL) system has been working overtime, and they are ready to welcome thirsty visitors to the Northernmost brewery in Atlantic Canada. The brewery and Stage Head Pub are open daily 2-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday, Sunday hours TBA). They are fully licensed for sample flights, pints, and growler fills of their six beer: Combines Ale, 5.3%; Bluff Head Bitter, 4.6%; Gateway IPA, 6.7%; Red Sky Red Rye, 4.9%; Alli’s Big Brown Ale, 5.6%; Black Island Stout, 6.1%. Keep an eye out for our Profile of them coming next week, and check their FB, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news. Congratulations, Team Split Rock!
• Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewery has been in operation for a little over two years now, since officially launching in July of 2015. Owner/brewer Marc Melanson has confirmed that the brewery will be expanding in the future, moving from a 2 bbl (230 L) brewhouse in his garage to a much larger brewery in a commercial space in nearby Dieppe. Renovations are currently underway, with the goal being a brewery with an attached taproom for pints and growler fills; a canning line will also be purchased. Other details are being kept silent for now, but stay tuned to their social media accounts for updates. Congratulations to the Flying Boats team!
• After obviously slacking off and only releasing two new beers last week, the crew at 2 Crows is back at it with a bevy of bevvies coming your way. Released earlier this week is Invisible Touch, a 4.9% Brett Saison, a light-bodied beer fermented using a blend of several strains of Brettanomyces yeast. Dry hopped with Azacca and Simcoe, resulting in a citrusy and stonefruit notes to complement the dry body and funky notes from the wild yeast. This small batch is only available at the brewery’s tasting room, so best drop by today (and you can check out what the heck they’re doing with 200kg of peaches!!).
• Promising to hit the taps at 2 Crows today or tomorrow (once a draught line comes clear), is the final keg of Smackwater Jack, an American Farmhouse Ale, conditioned on quince fruit. Featuring a grist of Pilsner malt with Wheat (both malted and raw) and a touch of Oats, lightly hopped with Calypso and Centennial, the beer was fermented with an American Farmhouse blend of yeasts and has sat for seven months on the fruit to allow the farmhouse/barn funkiness to develop. This final keg was allowed to carbonate naturally using Champagne yeast, allowing a tighter carbonation. Keep an eye on their social media for the tapping announcement. Ed note: it was tapped Friday at 1PM, so get down there now!
• And as soon as there are two taps available (we’re guessing late this weekend/early next week, depending on how thirsty y’all are), there will be a pair of brand new pilot brews available. Pancho and Lefty are both Pale Ales fermented with Brett, with the same malt bill (Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and Oats), and kettle-hopped with Belma and Simcoe. The specs are also identical, at 6.2% ABV and 23 IBU, but the similarities end there. Pancho was conditioned on whole mangoes, and dry-hopped with Azacca. Lefty skipped the fruit, and was heavily dry-hopped with Enigma. Both beers end up being quite dry and funky with tropical notes, with Pancho taking it to another level with the stonefruit and tangerine flavours, and Lefty picking up berry notes from the Enigma. Again, these will be for on-site enjoyment only, and announced via social media.
• After the success of their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown, Big Spruce is following up with a new variation of the same beer. For Peach’s Sake! features the addition of, you guessed it, organic peach puree. Generously hopped with Cascade, Centennial and El Dorado, with an addition of lactose powder to slightly boost the mouthfeel and sweetness of the beer, it clocks in at 6.5% ABV and 52 IBUs. Available for pours and growlers at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, you should also be able to find it on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Saint John Ale House. Look for two more iterations to come in the near future, each featuring a different fruit addition.
• And speaking of Big Spruce, a couple more things to pass on this week: owner Jeremy White sat down with the gents from the 902 BrewCast (happy now, guys?) recently, and the first part of that chat dropped on Tuesday. Learn about the origins of the brewery, from buying the farmstead using a Nicaraguan Phone Call (also a possible future beer name?), their first beers, their homebrew competition, White’s open letter to Nova Scotia (what’s changed and what’s not since its publication 10 months ago), and much more! Listen to the first half now, and prepare yourself for the second half, coming September 5th.
• And as if you need another reason to visit Nyanza, drop by next Saturday, September 2nd, as there will be another screening of the Nova Scotia craft beer documentary Sociable!, at Big Spruce at 7PM. It will be taking place at their new production brewery across the road from their original brewery and beer patio. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand, and you can enjoy some beer and food while you watch the film. And stay the night nearby, so you can pop back to the brewery on Sunday the 3rd for a Pig Roast, 12-5PM.
• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new cider blend late last week at their Agricola Street taproom. The Fuzz features their Foundation apple blend at its base, with the final 25% of the volume comprised of cryo-extracted peach wine. For the uninitiated (we count ourselves in that boat!), the cryo-extraction process entails freezing the peach juice to gently remove water, while maintaining the great aromatic and flavour profile and increasing the sugar (aka fermentable) content. And unlike many apple/fruit blends that feature blending of the secondary fruit after fermentation (diluting the cider and adding sweetness), the higher gravity peach juice was fermented first, and then blended and cold conditioned with the finished cider for two weeks. Before packaging, the cider was fizzified first using Nitrogen, and then CO2, with the aim to create a smaller bubble and lighter carbonation level. All of these extra steps result in a smooth 6.5% ABV cider with soft mouthfeel and flavour and aroma of not only peach, but also apricot and pineapple. Grab a glass today!
• Some beer drinkers at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay have been asking for “the lightest one you’ve got” since the brewery opened, and they’ve now got the perfect beer as an answer! A Kölsch, Leitest Von Veigott (if you don’t get it, say the name with your worst German accent) was brewed with Pilsner malt, and hopped to 18 IBUs with Perle and Magnum. Pale-coloured and easy-drinking as planned, at 5.5% ABV, you can find it at Foghorn for growlers and pints, and at select accounts. Also recently, the brewery introduced Lola, a “Tropical Pale Ale” featuring 90 lbs of mango puree (20% in the boil, 80% in secondary) and dry-hopped with Citra and Vic Secret for even more tropical fruit character. Kegs of this beauty sold out extremely fast, so you may be able to find it on tap if you’re lucky (hint: seen at the James Joyce in Fredericton last night).
• Bottles of Hammond River beer are officially here! Both the Hop Flash IPA and Blood Orange Hefeweizen are now available in 500 mL bottles at the taproom, as well as at the KV ANBL and some stores in Saint John. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the SJ area – a recent delivery was sent out to ANBL stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex, so expect to see these pop up very soon, with this weekend being extremely likely. Look for distribution to expand with time, and other beers will be bottled very soon as well.
• Grimross plans on releasing their newest Belgian IPA sometime this morning at the brewery in Fredericton. After the high popularity of their last Belgian IPA, Scratch #2, they took the recipe and tweaked it. Hopped with Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus, it was fermented with the Belgian strain used in their Cheval D’Or Saison, resulting in spicy phenolics and fruity esters expected in many Belgian styles, and fruity, tropical notes from the use of American hops. Simply named Belgian IPA, grab some by the pour or growler fill at the brewery, or on tap at any fine establishments where Grimross beers are served. And in other Grimross news, they have started their expansion into the unit next door to othe brewery on Bishop Dr., which means more brewing equipment, a larger taproom area, and a patio space.
• Back in June, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought us a fruited sour wheat that broke the mold, at least locally, for what kind of weight that style could carry. Originally touted at 6.2% ABV, as of noon today, Sour MFer will be available once again at the brewery and neighbouring tied house Charm School Pub, this time sporting a lab-verified ABV of 6.4%. Still featuring a big bouquet and flavour from aging on tart cherry puree, and still with a super solid body, we expect it to be just as dangerously thirst quenching as the first batch back in early summer. And what better for the dog days of August?
• Lots of action is going on these days up the Eastern Shore of the province at Sober Island Brewery. Firstly, a keg of the 5% ABV smooth and malty Altbier they did up for the Horton Ridge event in May hit the taps at the neighbouring Henley House earlier this week. You’ll have to keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook to know when more one-offs like these go on tap. And with limited availability in HRM, for now, anyway, visiting the brewery for a crowler or Henley House for a pint is your best bet to get your mitts on some Sober Island brew. Your next best bet is the Beer Truck, doing the rounds at Farmers Markets, locations in the HRM and elsewhere, its current assignment is also best determined through social media. Hopefully we’ll see some wider availability in the fall, when plans are to start canning beer for distribution, including the private stores in Halifax! And lastly, look for an interesting run of beers to come out of the foraging series now under development; looks like one of the first ones might be a Chanterelle Mushroom-laced Mild. Keep your eyes peeled for these to appear as we move into fall.
• Today, TrailWay is releasing their newest Double IPA, Voyager. This hazy, light-coloured beer was hopped entirely with the Australian Galaxy, a fantastic variety that gives the beer aromas and flavours that are “juicy, pungent, and tropical”. Quite drinkable despite the 7.8% ABV, it will be available in cans exclusively at the brewery taproom as of this morning at 11 am; you can also purchase tasters, pints and growlers there, and it will be popping up at a few TW tap accounts across Fredericton.
• In Good Robot news, they’re releasing The Smashing, the fifth – and last – beer in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. The grist is made up of Golden Promise, a Pale malt from England, and the featured hop is Topaz, an Australian variety gaining in popularity thanks to its light tropical fruit characteristics, as well as resinous notes. Fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast to boost the fruitiness even more, it comes in at 7% ABV and 52 IBUs; available at the GR taproom, as always. Continuing on, next week’s Brewsday Tuesday is Virgo Saison, a slightly-stronger-than-planned “Saison/Grisette” brewed by assistant brewer Irene; hopped with Tettnanger, and finishing quite dry thanks to a strong fermentation, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun entry is Corn Chili Sin Carne, which is their Leave me Blue with Yucatan Recado Rojo spice from local coffee shop Cafe Aroma Latino added to the cask, as well as fresh Nova Scotia-grown tomatoes and red peppers from Den Haan Greenhouses.
• Since the release of Cryo Hops – concentrated lupulin powder that gives intense hop aroma and flavour, while at the same time minimizing the amount of beer absorption and loss from the hop additions – breweries in our area have been utilizing them in some recent brews. Tidehouse has added their name to the list with the release of Cryo Me a River. This 7.2% ABV, 35 IBUs IPA was brewed with Canadian 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo hops. The brewery describes the Cryo hop character in this beer as having “juicy tangerine, papaya, and pine notes, with a light body and soft bitterness”. It’s available now at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room only, for growler fills and tasters.
• Propeller in Halifax continues its Friday cask series with a double dry-hopped, cask conditioned Double IPA (whose recently tweaked recipe already features three times the dry hops!) all ready to be tapped today at 5 PM at their Gottingen Street location. Drop by for a pint, and you get to keep the glass!
• If you’re into the live music scene here in Halifax, you probably already know that next week (Aug 27 – Sep 3) is the 8th annual Halifax Urban Folk Fest (HUFF), one of the premiere musical events in this city. This year’s lineup features some absolutely huge names in Canadian songwriting: Ron Hawkins, Art Bergman, Moe Berg (totally an adult now), Skydiggers, and John K. Samson as well as many other local and not-so-local artists curated by the Carleton’s Mike Campbell. As presenting sponsor of this great week of live music, Propeller has stepped up and brewed a new beer in their Gottingen Small Batch Series. The official beer of HUFF, it’s in the Festbier style, the classic beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, with a golden colour and deep, malty aroma. Fermented with Czech Pils yeast and given an extended layering, it will have a clean and crisp character for supreme drinkability. You’ll find it starting next week at all HUFF venues, including The Carleton, Timber Lounge, Seahorse Tavern, Marquee Ballroom, Tempo Food + Drink, Stubborn Goat Waterfront, Loose Cannon, The Anchor and Wooden Monkey.
Plenty to do around our region this weekend!
• If you’re planning to be in Truro (the Hub of Nova Scotia!) this evening, you picked a good night! From 4 – 9PM downtown you’ll find an event called BBQ, Beer, & Blues going on at Inglis Place and environs. Featuring eight Nova Scotia craft breweries, each paired up with a local shop, along with BBQ and live music, it’s sure to be a good night. A paltry $15 gets you 8 tickets, each good for a 4 oz sample at any of the craft beer stations. Participating breweries are Nine Locks, Saltbox, Tatamagouche, Sober Island, Meander River, Schoolhouse, Good Robot and Garrison. Even better, 100% of the proceeds will go towards three charitable organizations: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wayward Cats Society, and the Colchester Food Bank.
• Attention Belgian Beer Fans!! For those of us who are enjoying the recent foray local breweries have been making into the farmhouse, sour, and wild side of brewing, we would be well served to try the originators of many of these styles from Belgium. We’ve got a hot tip for you that will save you airfare to Brussels: Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has received a pair of pallets of draught and bottles straight from Belgium, and will be holding a Lambic-fest this Sunday, August 27th. From 1PM until late, the twelve taps will be pouring straight and mixed lambics, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, and Quadrupels, with a bottle list putting many bars in Brussels itself to shame, with Cantillon, Boon, De Cam, and even some Trappist Westvleteren XII. Check the full beer list here, and prep yourself for Belgian beer and food all day. For those who are keen to get in early and enjoy a few beers in a quiet environment, there were a handful of Earlybird tickets made available. Oh, and stay tuned to Stilly’s (and ours) social media for the details on the Oxbow Tap Takeover at both HQ and the Beer Garden, now happening Sept 8 and 9.
• Bertrand, NB, will be hosting the Oktoberfest des Acadiens next week, Aug 31-Sept 3. Featuring a Grand Tasting by Acadie-Broue’s Patrice Godin on the 31st, and the Oktoberfest itself on Friday and Saturday, it will be a great weekend of beer, drink, and food. Check out the full program here!
A few more beers and news to keep you up to date:
– Bishop’s Cellar was facing an unscheduled issue with a construction crane moving in their area this weekend, but due to the short notice provided to businesses in the area the move has been rescheduled. To when? We don’t know; but we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up when it’s announced!
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has successfully obtained their taproom license and is no longer limited to serving you tasting glass after tasting glass in your quest to cop a buzz. Full pints are now available in their taproom, so head on down!
– Maybee has a new beer in cans and on tap, Owd Bob, a kettle-soured Brown ale (5.9% ABV); we haven’t received any details, but you can grab some cans or a growler at the brewery, and it seems to be popping up on tap at select accounts across NB.
– Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their crowd favourite Hefeweizen, RDF Hefe (5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs); you can find it on tap now at the brewpub on Harbour Dr.
– As we mentioned last week, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is ramping up their bottling line (read, home-made filler), and these oversized stubbie bottles are now available to the public. The Average Joe Wheat Beer, Big Stink IPA, and Sweet Little SIPA are all available at the brewery now, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Help the RH crew celebrate the launch with some live music at the brewery tomorrow evening, with duo “Just Us” taking the stage at 9PM.
– Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub has released a new beer this week, Barefoot Sailor Session IPA. The copper-coloured beer was loosely based on the CBANS Collaboration Ale from earlier this year, but lighter in body and hopped up, coming in at 3.7% ABV, and a robust 80 IBU. You’ll have to drop by their Water Street location to find out more!
– Schoolhouse is also in full swing with their Cask Friday event, this week they’ll be tapping a test batch of their forthcoming seasonal Pumpkin Ale at today at 4 PM in Windsor.