Good afternoon, Atlantic Canada beer lovers! Now that Christmas is just about here (yes, you can officially start to panic now), we thought we should work hard to ignore our pre-Christmas responsibilities and publish another Friday Wrap-Up, to distract you from your shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. Hey, it’s just the kind of guys we are!
• Tatamagouche Brewing has a beauty of a beer available as of yesterday, an “American Brett Ale” named Feronia. Comprised of a fairly-simple grist of mainly 2-row, with some Wheat malt and Spelt, and a touch of Acid malt, it was lightly hopped to 20 IBUs with Huell Melon. Fermented with a blend of three Brettanomyces strains to “really drive the dark/red fruits, as well as some classic funk”, the beer was aged in secondary on plums before being bottle-conditioned for six months. Available now at the brewery in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles, as well as on tap, those of you in the HRM can expect a small amount of bottles to also be available at the private stores. A few kegs will likely make their way to better beer establishments in Halifax sometime next week.
• Moncton’s Tide & Boar has announced their very first bottle release, which will be taking place today at 5 pm. Named simply Barrel Aged Sour, the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then aged for three months in a Napa Valley Pinot Noir French oak barrel. After this, it was racked on top of 30 lbs of New Brunswick-grown raspberries, fermented with Brettanomyces, and bottle-conditioned. Only 200 bottles were packaged, and 100 of these will be sold today at the Bottle Release Party from 5-7 pm, depending on how quickly they sell. We’ll keep you updated on when the remaining 100 bottles are sold… if they are at all!
• Let’s stay in Moncton, shall we? Bore City released their first hoppy beer in some time last week, and judging from some early buzz, it’s a good one! Causeway is a 6.5% ABV, ~40 IBUs American IPA that features large amounts of late addition hops – Mosaic and Vic Secret – as well as plenty of both in the dry-hop. Complemented nicely by a malt bill that includes Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley, as well as some Vienna and Honey malt, expect a huge floral, fruity, and citrusy aroma, followed by equally as much in the flavour. It’s circulating among their regular tap accounts, but it’s going fast. But don’t worry! They plan on making this a regular addition to their line-up, so more will be brewed in the near future.
• After launching their brewery last month with their first two core beers, Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has just released their first seasonal. Nostalgically named Charlie Brown Ale (nostalgic for us, anyway!), it’s a Brown Ale brewed along the English-style lines, showcasing a “rich malty aroma, and smooth chocolate and nutty qualities”. As a good English-style beer should be, it’s quite drinkable at just 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, and is meant to be enjoyed in quantity during these colder evenings (and afternoons). You can find it on tap at the brewery in Montague, and at CB tap accounts across the Island.
• Elsewhere on the Island, Upstreet is launching the first in yet another new series of one-off beers. The Flipside Series was created to introduce “fresh new flavours, ingredients, and beer styles” to consumers, with all beers in this series being packed in the standard 500 mL Upstreet bottles. Their first stab in this series is Amber Saison, a Belgian-inspired beer that provides a “dry finish with a subtle vinous character”. With PEI Vienna malt in the grist, and UK Archer and French Triskel hops to just 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison was fermented with a Belgian yeast to give the required phenolics and esters in the style. Grab your bottles today at the brewery or PEILCC stores.
• Today, TrailWay is releasing Malibu, their first dark-coloured beer in months. An Imperial Milk Stout, it was brewed to be “extremely chocolate-forward” before being conditioned on hefty amounts of toasted coconut and pure vanilla extract. With some lactose powder added to increase sweetness and mouthfeel, the resulting beer is “like drinking a liquid macaroon”, with lots of coconut and chocolate notes, as well as a complementary background of vanilla. Coming in at a whopping 9% ABV, you’ll want to take it easy with this one. As always with their one-offs, you can grab it in cans at the brewery only; it will also be on tap there and at select accounts in Fredericton.
• Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is helping residents stay warm with the release of their Steamship Belgian Quad this weekend. A full-bodied, 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it’s “malty and slightly sweet, with notes of raisin, cherries, plums and prunes”. The Belgian yeast strain was responsible for the fruity esters and spicy phenolics in the beer, and the high ABV provides a slight alcohol warmth on the way to your eager stomach… perfect for winter (yes, it’s not officially here yet, but who cares about the exact date). Look for this new brew at the brewery this weekend for growler fills.
• Annapolis Cider Company is bringing back Muscat Infusion, one of their popular ciders in their Something Different series. Originally released last March, it’s being sold in a convenient size for crowd sharing… Magnums! A 7.1% ABV sparkling cider infused with Nova Scotia Muscat grapes (which were added during fermentation to extract colour, tannins, and aroma), it was finished with a “touch” of fresh-pressed apple juice. Rose-coloured, with “distinct tropical and floral notes”, the 1.5 L bottles are available at the cidery for a very limited time.
• Further into the valley in Lawrencetown, Lunn’s Mill has a treat for its fans around the region: they are testing out a new package to get their beer to you, cans! Available now is a very limited run of 12-packs for the holidays featuring 10 different beers, available now at the brewery. This is an awesome opportunity for one of Nova Scotia’s most local breweries to see some of their beer travelling beyond the Valley and the Province for others to enjoy. As of publishing, they are down to their last dozen cases, so don’t delay in grabbing yours today! And due to its popularity, we can guarantee that they’ll be releasing more canned product in the near future.
• The fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax have a couple things on the go for us to share. Earlier this week saw another batch go on tap from their brewery assistant Nick Ogden, this one an Imperial Witbier called Wite Nite. Taking a lighter style known for easy summer drinking and pumping it up to 8.7% ABV for a December release takes something. And while we’re not exactly sure what that something is, we’re positive that Nick has it. Keg conditioned, it features aromas of sweet orange and grapefruit with some hints of pineapple. The palate sees citrus and apricot with a wine-like character lending an “overall lusciousness”. This one is available only by the glass in the tasting room.
• And this coming Wednesday will see the last canned release of 2017 for 2 Crows (how many were there? LOTS) with the arrival of Never Again. Named for brewmaster Jeremy Taylor’s feelings after he boldly purchased 400 pounds of peaches at a really good price before pitting them and then jamming them into one of his Calvados foedres, this is a Brett Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBU. Fermented on the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains, it started with a grist of malted barley, spelt, oats (surprise!) and wheat, to which Belma and Simcoe hops were added in the boil. After it came out of the wood, it was dry-hopped with Citra, Hallertauer Blanc and Huell Melon before being keg conditioned with Champagne yeast. Rife with oaky tannins, funk, and peach character, it still manages to be delicate. Look for it at the brewery next week and then, very possibly, at finer private liquor stores in Halifax.
• Good Robot has another new Alpha Brew hitting taps next Thursday, Yas Queen Chocolate Porter. Brewed with a hefty grist of Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Flaked Barley, Coffee malt, Vienna, and Chocolate malt, the beer had several additional ingredients thrown in, including dark cocoa powder in the mash, lactose, carob powder and ground cacao nibs in the boil, and chocolate extract into the brite tank before packaging. Hopped with Belma to 25 IBUs, it weighs in at 6.1% ABV. In terms of tasting notes, we’re going to go out on a limb and say notes of…. chocolate? And next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Make My Day IPA, a “light, super fruity” beer bittered with Magnum, and hopped with Dr. Rudi and Zythos late in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Zythos and some Mosaic. Fermented with the East Coast Ale yeast strain, it comes in at a very reasonable 4.5% ABV and 44 IBUs.
• There’s a new beer in the fermentor at Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, a brand new, currently unnamed American IPA. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, Crystal 30 L, Carapils, and Dextrose, it features late additions of Amarillo and Centennial hops, and will be dry-hopped with more Centennial. The expected stats on this light golden-coloured brew are 6% ABV and 43 IBUs, with floral, orange, and grapefruit flavours. We’ll keep you updated on when it’s released over the next couple of weeks.
• Also still in the fermentor, but available in kegs as of Monday, is Ol’ Biddy’s first collaboration brew, done with Todd Beal. Using a recipe that was developed before the brewery opened its doors as a guide, Keith and Todd brewed Call Your Bluff a light, dry pale ale named for Todd’s favourite hiking location, the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. This one comes in at 4.7% ABV and, although the calculated IBUs are 28, the perceived bitterness should be a little higher owing to the use of light malts and the overall dryness of the beer. Well-hopped with Amarillo for an orange, floral and pungent grapefruit hop presence, you’ll find it at Battery Park next week and potentially some other tap accounts. Keith has also advised us to be on the lookout for his Funktown Pale Ale to pop up around the city, as it is becoming the brewery’s mainstay.
• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing isn’t slowing down for the holidays at all, as they’ve got three beers to tell us about this week. First is the return of their seasonal Spruce Beer, an attempt at recreating North America’s oldest beer style using spruce and fir tips harvested from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s Blackstrap Molasses. It weighs in at a husky 7.5% ABV and solid 35 IBU and will be available at the brewery and Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport with some delivery to Newfoundland expected as well. If you’re a fan of this beer don’t delay, though, as they’ve made a smaller batch than in previous years.
• Next up is the return of a big ol’ beer originally released in January of this year. Wintervention is an Imperial Chocolate Stout built on a base of Maritime pale malt with chocolate and Munich for character. Hopped to 60 IBUs with Millennium, it’s been sitting in Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace for the past 11 months and is now bottled and ready to go. Flavours of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, vanilla and coffee present themselves in this sipper, which is sure to be warming against the coming cold at 11.5% ABV. Look for this one at the brewery starting today as well, although not until 3 PM.
• And lastly is another beer seen only briefly before before being given some time to develop. Back in September Garrison brewed a special collaboration beer with Sawdust City Brewing out of Gravenhurst, ON, to commemorate the announcement of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards. That beer is called Leroy and it is an Imperial Brown Ale tipping the scales at 10% ABV and 41 IBU. After 3 months of conditioning it’s ready for general consumption, with its creamy head, smooth aroma, and flavours of molasses bread and milk chocolate. Like the other two you’ll find it at the brewery starting today in 650 mL bombers.
• Uncle Leo’s is releasing their first ever barrel-aged beer, a Smoked Porter aged in a whiskey barrel from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery. Smoke’n Oakum is 9.2% ABV, and named in tribute of the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Straight. It features big notes from the dark and smoked malts in the beer, as well as the vanilla and caramel notes from the whiskey and oak. This beer is in short supply (only one barrel’s worth!), so drop by the brewery tomorrow to grab your allotment!
• Saint John’s Loyalist City has taken over the taps at the Wellington Row ANBL’s Growler Bar, with a wide variety of beers flowing: their Backslide IPA, Three Sisters American Pale Ale, their latest Hop Series: Wai-ti, Pink Dwarf Tart Cherry Kettle Sour, Red Tart (a raspberry kettle sour, in extremely low quantity), and the latest release of their Black 47 Stout, featuring hops from local grower Darlings Island Farm. Mark and Dave from LCBC will be on hand this evening to fill growlers and chat, while also raising money for Romero House, who provide hot meals and other food assistance, clothing bank, and guidance for those in need.
• And last, but certainly not least, are two new releases from harbour hopping North Brewing Company. Yesterday saw the release of their latest Finite Series of beers (those that take a little longer and are in finite supply). Baldrsbräu is a 5.5% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, made with hay and chamomile. The melding of the malt, light hopping, adjuncts and yeast result in a refreshing beer with notes of flower and herb. Bottles are available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth North locations. Releasing tomorrow at noon (also at both North shops) is a special Barrel-Aged version of Saison de Pinot. The original Saison de Pinot featured pinot noir must from Benjamin Bridge‘s own estate-grown grapes. Taking the wine influence to the next level, 220 litres of SdP was aged in a red wine barrel from Benjamin Bridge, and has now been bottle-conditioned for our enjoyment. Released in honour of Battery Park‘s Second Anniversary, fewer than 300 bottles are available, so don’t delay in picking up one (or two, one for enjoying now, one for aging). Or drop by Battery Park tomorrow to try bottle pours of this release alongside last year’s un-oaked batch!
Don’t sleep on the events and openings we’ve got on the go!
• As mentioned above, Dartmouth’s Battery Park is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow. From 11:30 til late, there will be a dozen-plus beers available from North on tap and by the bottle. In addition to the three mentioned above, previous Finite Series releases Ask & Embla and Oh My Darlin’ will be pouring, the North x Stillwell collab Gose, Barrel-Aged Milk Stout, and many more.
• Life got in the way, so we didn’t manage to publish the promised Profile of Tusket Falls Brewing, but don’t let that keep you from visiting them during their launch weekend. Tomorrow from noon, they’ll have samples, flights, and pints of their Golden Ale, Stout, Red IPA and Smoked Ale. And going forward, the brewery and tap room will be open from 12 – 10pm daily, except 12 – 6pm Sundays.
• There’s still a few tickets left for Fredericton’s Christmas Brewery Tour 3.0, happening tomorrow from 11:30 am – 4 pm. Your ticket ($65 each) includes transportation to three local breweries (Maybee, Grimross, and TrailWay), a minimum of four 4 oz samples at each stop, and a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint of Foghorn beer (head brewer Esty will also be on hand to chat beer). The bus for this tour will be leaving Maybee Brewing at 11:30 am sharp, with everything wrapping up at KSAH. Tickets are available through the event link above.
• Due to extremely fast sales for next year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (Saturday, March 10th), organizers have decided to tack on Newbie Night for Friday, March 9th. This three hour event (6-9 pm) will feature 10-12 breweries that are new to the region; while the list of those participating has not been solidified quite yet, with all of the new breweries opening in Atlantic Canada, filling it up won’t be a difficult job! This event will be more low-key than the two FCBF sessions the next day, with only 200-300 tickets being sold. It will still take place at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown, and your $62.20 ticket includes a keeper glass and unlimited samples. Whether you missed out on evening tickets for Saturday, or already have FCBF tickets and really want to fill up your weekend with beer, Newbie Night is the perfect solution! Tickets are available now through the link above.
A few more things to leave you with this week…
– Picaroons has their tenth iteration of Pivot now available; this time around, the 8% ABV, 80 IBUs DIPA was hopped with Amarillo and Sorachi Ace. To celebrate the season, they’ve also thrown in some spruce tips into the boil, making it what they’re calling an “Imperial Christmas Tree IPA”. Available at all Picaroons locations, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.
– Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a brand new beer pouring today. Santa’s Little Helper is a 10.8% Barleywine, focusing on a big malt backbone with some balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Light warming with notes of caramel and fruit cake, this small batch is only available at the Stage Head Pub, the brewery’s taproom.
– Good news for hop fans in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing has done another canning run. Look for Exile on North Street, Flat Black Jesus, and DOA as early as this afternoon. Available at the retail location on Fridays and Saturdays and Bishop’s Cellar all week as long as stock lasts.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, although you might know that they do a bang up job of supporting the local scene and providing shelf and tap space for an extremely wide selection of beers from our region, you might not be aware that they’re also known for bringing in special treats from other environs, many of which are pretty hard to come by. This week some highlights include extremely limited quantities of Bellwoods Barn Owl Brett IPA with Apricots (foedre-aged for a year), and Oria Guava Sour Saison and Sour Cherry from Burdock, along with selections from Quebec superstars Brasserie Dunham and Danish masterminds Evil Twin.