Buckle up, folks, after giving us a bit of a break for back to school, the region’s breweries seem to have collectively put feet to gas pedals and left us swimming, or perhaps more accurately, drowning, in beer news. We’ve got a tonne of info today about beers that came out this week, beers that are coming out over the next week or so, events that you might want to attend and more! It’s a little silly how long this post is, actually, so maybe grab yourself two beers before you sit down to read it, and for the love of Pete save a tree and don’t print it out!
• Late last week, Big Spruce released Complexified, another brew in their series of bottled, barrel-aged beers. A Baltic Porter, it was aged for 6 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Featuring plenty of Black malt and Roast Barley, expect lots of roast character, a big body, and some heat when it’s going down… at 10.9% ABV, it’s not to be taken lightly! Available right now, at the brewery only. And speaking of Big Spruce bottles, Anaphylactic Choc was released this week. Aged in a Glenora whisky barrel for 6 months, this “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” was originally a collaboration brewed with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar. Due to its small batch size, only 250 bottles of this beer have been released – 100 at Big Spruce, and 150 at Bishop’s, so don’t wait to pick one up!
• Finally, in Big Spruce draught news, there’s a new beer out and about that is another take on their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown. Jackpot Apricot was conditioned on, yes, apricot puree; at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the Sprucetique in Nyanza for growlers and pours, and likely at many of your favourite BS tap accounts. We know that there was talk of another fruited version of the MIPA coming, but it looks like the next fruit is guava and it might go into a slightly different style of beer… stay tuned!
• Cementing the fact that the seasons are changing, Schoolhouse has brought back a small batch of their summer seasonal for a last hoorah, Summer Break Witbier. As fleeting as the warm weather, you can enjoy a cask of it today at 4pm in their Classroom. BlueBEERy Witbier was fermented with fresh local wild blueberries, as is available for samples, pints, and even growler fills. And with their expanded brewing capacity, they are sending students (kegs) further afield, and the Principal Pale Ale, Staffroom Stout, and seasonals are now in rotation at Charlottetown’s HopYard.
• Schoolhouse will also be at this weekend (and next) Hants County Exhibition Brew Tent, featuring beer, cider, and spirits from across the province. From noon Saturday and Sunday, Sept 16, 17, 23, and 24, taste your way from Hants West to Cape Breton, Halifax to Mahone Bay, there will be more than a dozen producers on-hand pouring their wares. Find the full list here.
• There’s a new can release coming from our friends at 2 Crows in the near future: Chaos Ghost is a Belgian Tripel, and another entry in their Calvodos Foedre-aged beers. Brewed with a grist of Belgian Pilsner malt, it also features the addition of Belgian candi sugar, to lighten the body, boost the ABV, and dry the beer out even more (remember, those Belgian Tripels are meant to be very dry!). Hopped with Sterling, Goldings, and Hallertau Blanc (to 31 IBUs), it was fermented with an Abbey Ale yeast, and then conditioned for several months in a Calvados Foedre. Weighing in at approximately 9.3% ABV, expect some slight spicy/peppery notes accompanied by bright, fruity esters… and more than likely a bit of oak/vanilla character from that Foedre. Look for cans to be released next Saturday, September 23rd.
• And in other 2 Crows news, there was a new draught-only release earlier this week that is – unfortunately – on its last legs by now. House Funk was a Brett Saison brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, hopped with Chinook and Sterling, and fermented with an “experimental Brettanomyces strain”. Further keg-conditioned with a champagne yeast, the brewery describes it as “spicy, lemony, and bright”. But don’t worry! While only 15 L of this 5% ABV, 28 IBUs gem was released this week, the plans are for a new keg to pop up every 4-6 weeks, so you may get a chance to try it after all (if you plan accordingly… and why wouldn’t you?).
• Speaking of draught-only beers released earlier this week that are probably won’t last the rest of the weekend (or day!), Spindrift has/had the simply-named American Pale Lager on tap at the brewery only, back on Tuesday. Just a pilot batch (for now), it features (featured?) large dry hop additions of Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, we think describing it as easy-drinking and clean, with lots of piney, tropical fruit is a safe bet. If it’s gone by now, well… maybe that’s good, because that would mean it was popular enough for them to brew it again, right?
• There’s some new beers AND re-releases coming out of Maybee Brewing over the next week, so let’s get right to it! We’ll start off with Batch 100, a SMaSH American Pale Ale brewed to celebrate Maybee’s 100th batch of beer; featuring Horton Ridge Pale Malt and Southan Farms Centennial, the brewery describes it as “a light, smooth, Pale Ale perfect for pretending it’s still summer”. This 5.3% ABV, 42 IBU beer is available now, in both cans and on tap around Fredericton. Next up is a “Honey Brett Saison” brewed for next Saturday’s Bee-R Garden in Fredericton (we talked about this event last week). Honey, I Funked the Saison was brewed with honey from Sunset Heights Meadery, and fermented with both a Saison yeast, and Brett D from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, this one will be a draught-only release, but will be available outside of the Bee-R Garden at local accounts. Finally, for re-releases, Maybee’s first DIPA, Look Off, is available again on tap and in cans, and look for their Sumac Witbier, featuring locally-foraged sumac berries, to make a return within a couple weeks.
• Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay, NB has added a third beer to their repertoire this week. Joining their Bantham APA and Chalice Belgian Ale is a German Berliner Weisse. Brewed in the traditional style, the beer is quite pale and light-bodied, with a slight grain character. Also true-to-style is a light acidity and clean finish, thanks to the souring of the wort before fermentation. And to complete the authentic experience, be sure to request the beer mit schuss, that is “with syrup”, as one can enjoy in Berlin. Owner Sean Doyle searched high and low and was able to source both woodruff (walmeister) and raspberry (himbier) syrups to dose the beers. The Berliner is only available in growler fills at their Marr Road brewery, so drop by today to grab this limited release.
• The gang up at Meander River has a new cider available this week. Lavandula is dubbed for the latin name for lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and as you might expect, this cider is perfumed with lavender grown at the Meander River farm. But that’s not the end of the local content: the apples used were a 5 apple blend from Falmouth’s Davison Farm (famous for their Corn Maze) and the honey is also a Meander River Farm product thanks to help from Cosman & Whidden Honey in Greenwich! The result is a light-bodied dry cider with a smooth palate, and a crisp apple finish. Coming in at 5.5% ABV it’s fairly light, and we’re told it has a “floral and almost biscuity nose.” It’s been put into 500 mL bottles and is only available in that packaging format. You’ll find it while supplies last at the MRFB table at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 8 AM – 1 PM or at the brewery. And this Sunday would be a great day to plan a trip out to Meander River Farm & Brewery as they’re one of the farms in Nova Scotia participating in Open Farm Day 2017! They’ll have a river walk, brewery talk and tour, garden walk and talk, hops, lavender, herbs, cut flowers and animals. They’ll also be doing a demonstration of distilling essential oils and botanicals. And, of course, you’ll be able to purchase beer and this cider in their retail store! So come on out and meet your farmer.
• Earlier on Wednesday, TrailWay released a very limited amount of cans of one of their most popular beers, but with a slight tweak: DDH Luster features a second dry-hop addition, made up entirely of the wonderful El Dorado. For the first time that we’re aware of for TW, this entire small batch of beer was canned (absolutely no kegs), with only 40 cases available… as of two days ago. So if you haven’t grabbed any yet, best head over to the brewery ASAP, before it’s all gone!
• Up in Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear has a newish brew on the go, at least for a little while. An Altbier they brewed earlier in the summer and sold most of at the Wharf Rat Rally earlier this month, they’ve got just a little bit left. Made exclusively with Horton Ridge Munich Malt, it’s a quite sessionable 4.5% ABV and a comfortable 32 IBU. Look for what remains at this week’s Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders market. If you miss it, fear not, as they’ve got plans for some more seasonal brews over the next couple months. And if you’re in the city with no plans to go to the Valley but wishing you could sample some of Lazy Bear’s wares, word has it they’ve got kegs of their Sour Punch on at 2 Crows and Battery Park and they’re hoping to send some other beers to the HRM over fall and winter.
• Hey Hey Mama, Hammond River Brewing has a brand new beer available, with a name inspired by the lead-off tune from Led Zeppelin’s classic fourth album. Black Dog is an India Black Ale brewed with lots of dark malts including Chocolate, Roasted Barley and Carafa III to give it a bold toasty and chocolatey body. Meanwhile, it was hopped exclusively with Citra hops for a tropical and especially citrusy flavour and aroma. It’s a stout 6.9% ABV and a bracing 79 IBU. You’ll find it at the brewery for fills and pints and look for it to appear at HRB’s tap accounts throughout New Brunswick. And keep an eye on their social media today for details on the brewday they are conducting with Third Annual Home Brew Contest winners Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, as they put together the soon-to-be-released Black River Sweet Milk Stout. You can follow Belliveau and Landry’s activities on their homebrew page on Facebook, Quiet Revolution Brewing.
• Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Craft Beer Attraction in St. John’s, being held Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23. In case you still needed convincing, the hard working crew at Port Rexton Brewing are going to seal the deal for you. Their Mixed Opportunity is a 6.5% ABV mixed fermentation (featuring both Sacchromyces and Brettanomyces strains of yeast) Saison, with light spiciness and effervescent mouthfeel. For the CBA, they are releasing a special version of the beer that was fermented and aged for three months in red wine barrels, for an extra level of complexity. Marrying the unique characteristics of the barrel with the dose of Sorachi Ace hops added at flame out, this is sure to stand out next weekend. Now that we’ve got you sufficiently thirsty, grab tickets for the main events, or the Brewmaster’s Luncheon with the crew from Trou du Diable at Merchant Tavern Friday at noon (featuring 9 beers poured by Isaac Tremblay and Stephane Thibodeau of TdD, paired with local food), RSVP by phone 709-722-5050.
• There’s a new hoppy beer coming out of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth, NS – Hop With No Name is a Session IPA brewed with Experimental Hop #07270. A new variety described as having “spicy, resinous, and tangerine notes”, it’s fairly new to the brewing world (as expected, since it doesn’t actually have an official name yet), and Heritage was happy to grab some and experiment! With the majority added at flameout and in a dry-hop addition, the grist of the beer was kept simple, in order to let the hop characters stand out. Why not drop by the brewery during their hours today (4-8 pm) or tomorrow (11 am – 5 pm) to pick up a growler? Only 60 L were brewed, so it won’t hang around too long.
• As those who attended the opening of FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival last night no doubt noticed, Propeller has provided the official beer of that event. Wheat Kings Witbier, no doubt named as a nod to the Tragically Hip documentary film Long Time Running that opened the festival at the Rebecca Cohn. Part of Propeller’s Gottingen Small Batch series, the beer clocks in at 4.8% ABV and a mild 18 IBU, pouring a hazy light gold colour and possessing the crisp wheat character, balanced by orange citrus and coriander spice as is de rigueur for the style. It has a medium body with a dry finish and a moussy white head. Look for it at other FIN events and the Propeller tap room on Gottingen!
• As expected, more news of wet-hopped beers is hitting social media, with local breweries continuing to put the call out for hop-pickers, and some already at the brewing stage of these beers. Antigonish’s newest brewery, Half Cocked, teased earlier this week that they were brewing their wet-hopped beer and would be releasing it within a few weeks. We’ll have more details then, but their Instagram account clearly showed bags of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Galena. Next up is Saltbox Brewery whose Blue Nose 1850 is expected to be released on Saturday at opening (10 AM), while they celebrate their first anniversary. It features local Challenger, Mount Hood, Nugget and Cascade hop varieties blended into a 5% ABV “any time” sort of beer. And joining the fun next week will be Lunn’s Mill, who are currently fermenting their wet hopped offering, a Harvest SMaSH featuring Chinook hops from Four Horses Farm just down the road. They expect to have it available next week.
• And in other Lunn’s Mill news, they’ve joined the ranks of the breweries doing sours with their new kettle soured Berliner Weisse. Hitting the tap room this week, it’s a barely perceptible 4 IBU and a solid 5.2% ABV. It’s a sour, light and refreshing wheat beer with a high carbonation level to give it some bite. If you stop by you’ll be able to sample it straight up, with the traditional Sweet Woodruff syrup, or with less traditional, but surely delicious blackberry or rhubarb syrups! The folks from Long Bay might kick themselves a little when they find out that Lunn’s Mill didn’t have to bring in Woodruff syrup all the way from Germany; instead they found that Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, NS, was able to help them out! As with all Lunn’s Mill seasonals, this one is available just until it’s gone, so head down to the tap room and give it a go.
• The crew at Good Robot has brought back El Espinazo del Diablo, their corn-based beer, fermented with Mexican Lager yeast, and featuring a healthy dose of lime zest and Jalapeno peppers. Pairing this 5.5%, 14 IBU beer is a breeze, with its light body and slight heat. Look for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday drop to be AirWolf Chocolate Milkshake IPA, brewed by Kelly C and Mike M of Everwood Ave Brew Shop. Lots of chocolate and other dark malts, along with the characteristic flaked oats and lactose (milk sugar). As with all Beta releases, this is only available at the brewery, and usually sells out that evening, so don’t delay!
• From deep inside their lair on Salter Street in the shadow of the Maritime Centre, Tidehouse Brewing Company continues to pump out new beers and they’ve got two brand new ones to share with us this week. First up is Strange Meadow Lark, a deep orange 5.5% ABV beer in the Saison style. With a grist made up of mostly Pilsner with a solid dose of Munich, it was initially bittered with Magnum before being finished with a classic British hop, East Kent Goldings, a novel hop choice for a classic Belgian style. Sessionable in nature, the malty Munich paired with the earthy, floral and spicy notes from the hops should make this a lovely beer to welcome the change of season. This one will be pouring tonight at the Garrison Hops ’n Brats event and also at the Tiny Tasting Room for 4 oz pours and growler fills. And coming this weekend or possibly into next week is It’s a Secret, a pale ale featuring the Australian variety Vic Secret, lauded for its fruity and tropical character when used in the whirlpool or for dry hop, which is what Tidehouse has done with this one. Matched with a simple grist of largely 2-row barley and a bit of melanoidin for a balancing malt character, it was fermented on a clean American yeast strain to help accentuate the hops. Expect berry, melon and tropical fruit notes to be prominent when you drop by the tasting room for a 4 oz sample before grabbing a growler fill and going on your merry way.
• Down the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island has a new beer available for the Fall season. Harvest Rye is a bigger beer, tipping the scales at 7% ABV and bringing a solid 44 IBU. A deep amber in color, it leverages an English yeast that will no doubt accentuate the malt and possibly provide some contrasting fruity esters to the spiciness of the rye malt. It also features some wheat, which should contribute to a softer mouthfeel and it’s hopped with the noble pair Saaz and Tettnang for earthy and herbal tones and some additional spiciness. Harvest Rye will be available at the brewery in crowlers and also at Sober Island’s usual market presences, and should be a great one to sip as the cooler evenings creep up.
• Attention home brewers, we have two competitions to tell you about this week, each with their own unique diversion from the traditional. Big Spruce Brewing is once again holding their Home Brew Challenge (their 5th year!), but instead of taking entries in only one or two categories, the idea is for all entrants to brew any style they wish, but to use the same yeast. This unique strain is actually a Big Spruce exclusive, isolated from a wild pincherry tree on their brewery farm in Nyanza. After extensive work by them and the fine folks at Escarpment Labs in Guelph (you can learn more about the involved process in last week’s 902 BrewCast), they now have enough of this pure yeast to share with homebrewers. The yeast gives off light spiciness and floral characteristics, so keep that in mind when selecting the base style and recipe. The yeast will be available for pickup at the brewery, and Noble Grapes in HRM, at the beginning of October, but you can learn more (including how to register) by checking out the FB Event page, or by emailing owner Jeremy White. In the meantime, get thinking about which recipe you’d like to brew!
• Also coming across our desk this week is a brand new homebrew competition from Sober Island Brewing. Embracing their love of using native and hyper-local ingredients in their beers (think oysters and chanterelle mushrooms), they are hosting a Foraged Beer Competition. Using a locally-foraged ingredient (either collected yourself or from one of the local foraging groups), and at least a quarter locally-processed malt from Horton Ridge Malt Company, design a beer highlighting the best of local ingredients. Be sure to grab a selfie of you harvesting or using the ingredients, and send that along with your entry. More details on the timeline of the competition can be found on the Event Page, and registration forms can be retrieved by emailing SIBC owner Rebecca Atkinson. The winning beer will be served at the Henley House on November 26th, along with Sober Island’s first in their Foraged Series beer release.
There’s plenty on the go this weekend and the coming weeks, take a look!
• Beerocracy, the independently-created documentary on the beer scene in New Brunswick, is screening tonight at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. In addition to diving into the growing craft beer industry in NB, the film goes further to compare and contrast the benefits and challenges to the same scene in Nova Scotia and Maine. The screening will take place at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, at 6:45 pm. If you’d like to purchase your tickets in advance, you can right here. Both Alex Vietinghoff and Shauna Chase, the creators of the documentary, will be attending, and will be hosting a 15 minute Q&A after the show.
• Tomorrow in Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary of opening. Open from 10 AM to 9:30 PM, they’ll have Backoos Korean BBQ available for purchase all day and a pig roast with all the fixin’s presented by Mateus Bistro from 4 PM – 8 PM. They’ll also have live music and, of course, plenty of fresh beer. So come on out and help celebrate their first successful year!
• If you’re in the Hortonville, NS area (or within driving distance), there’s going to be another screening of Sociable!, the documentary on the craft beer scene in NS, at the Horton Ridge taproom tomorrow, September 16th, at 7 pm. Chris and Helen, who created the film, will be on hand to chat and answer any questions you may have.
• There’s a big tap takeover in the works for next weekend in Dartmouth at Jamieson’s Irish Pub. Two craft heavyweights square off with 8 taps each for a total of 16 lines of top notch local craft beer from 2 Crows and Tatamagouche Brewing. Starting Thursday, September 21st, with “practice night” in combination with Wing Night, continuing on Friday with their TGIF and official launch, and then an afternoon Ceilidh from 2 – 4PM ($2 cover) and Kitchen Party from 7:30 – 10pm ($3 cover) on Saturday and finishing up on Sunday with Industry Night (all taps $6 for industry personnel). Saturday night will also give you an opportunity to Meet the Brewers from these two fine breweries. There is also talk of a trophy presentation, which implies perhaps a touch of (friendly, we’re sure) competition going on. Keep your eyes on Jamieson’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) as the tap list is yet to be revealed.
• The Fall Edition of Keji’s Dark Sky Weekend is happening next weekend, and Boxing Rock will be on hand with samples of their Dark as Keji Black IPA. With events happening both Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23, take advantage of this special Dark Sky Preserve to see and learn more about our place in the universe. The “Gourmet Fall Night Hike to Peter Point” is Friday starting at 6:30PM. Walk to Peter Point, and enjoy a beer and food tasting along the way! Sign-up is required at the Visitor Centre or by calling 902-682-2772.
• Digby’s Roof Hound is coming to Halifax in a big way, as they’ll be pouring on all five taps at Bishop’s Cellar with their Roof Hound Tap Takeover, happening next Saturday, September 23rd. Drop by from noon-5 pm and sample some of the beers, before deciding on which one(s) you’d like to fill your growlers with. The tap list has been released, and includes Average Joe American Wheat, Big Brown, Rye-It, Wasted Days Chocolate Peanut Butter Wheat, and a brand new beer, Oat of My Mind DIPA. Brewed with oats in the grist to increase the mouthfeel, it was hopped with Azacca and weighs in at 7.1% ABV.
• If you’re looking for an Oktoberfest celebration that actually happens in October, look no further than Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown (the one in the Valley!), NS. They’re planning their big OktoBEERfest party for Saturday, October 7th, from 3 PM to 10 PM at the brewery. Tickets are $45 a pop and include a customer 20 ounce beer glass, a beer of your choice, a meal and live music. The beer menu will include two special beers, both German in style, brewed especially for the event. The first is a Hefeweizen and the second a Vienna Lager; there will also be three of the Lunn’s mill regular rotation available. The meal includes sausages (of course!), chicken schnitzel, potato salad, green salad and apple crisp. Four music, four local acts are on the ticket: Two Can Sam, Heather & Caleb, Midnight Genny and Dayliner. Dress for the occasion in your lederhosen and Tirolerhüte so you can take advantage of the photo booth. And best of all, there’s a shuttle running through the Valley to get you there and home safe! It will run from Bridgetown to Middleton from 3-5 PM to take folks to the event and again from 7 – 10 PM to bring them home! Purchase your tickets directly from the Lunn’s Mill website and keep your eye on the event page for any updates.
A few more things to round out the post today…
– Petit-Sault‘s big Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV), is back again for the season; currently only available on tap and in bottles at the brewery’s taproom in Edmundston, NB.
– Red Rover has re-released their popular blueberry-infused cider, The Blues (7% ABV), semi-dry and “bursting with wild blueberries and a crisp apple finish”; look for it on tap and in flagons.
– Noon today North Street saw the return of Halifax’s hoppy, roasty savior as Flat Black Jesus reappeared at Unfiltered and Charm School Pub next door for fills and pints. And if you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, look for leftovers from Unfiltered’s tap takeover last night at Hopyard!