Good morning, everyone! Hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to recover from yesterday’s storm (or at least have made a good amount of progress). There’s been a bit of a lull in beer news as the holidays have finally been winding down, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t some reading to get done, so sit back and take a break from your snowblower/shovel, and let’s get right to it!
• PEI Brewing Co. has a new beer out this week, and don’t feel sad if it makes you think of warmer, and less-snowy, locales. Snowbird Juicy IPA is a 6% ABV New England IPA, made up of a simple grist of Pale Ale malt and Malted Oats (to help ensure that expected cloudiness). The high majority of the hop additions were in the whirlpool and dry hop, including both El Dorado and Ella varieties. The calculated IBUs come in at around 40, meaning this beer is more about hop flavour and aroma that it is about bitterness (true to the NEIPA style). Fermented with Escarpment‘s Vermont Ale strain to boost the juiciness even more, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at all Gahan House locations, select licensees, and at the NB growler program this weekend (while supplies last). There’s a good chance this one will also be released in cans in the spring, when it finally arrives in the Maritimes in approximately 4.5 years.
• Sharp-eyed fans of the offerings from Horton Ridge may have noticed that to this point there’s been a limit to how dark their products have been, both in terms of their malt and beer offerings. Because their kiln is hot water-based, there is a limit to how dark they can go (and truly “roasted” malts are out of the question). And given that their in-house policy says that all beers on tap and available for growler fills must be 100% Horton Ridge malt-based, that has thus far prevented them from exploring certain styles. In a noble effort to broaden their brewery’s offerings without violating their own ethos, they’ve taken the step of allowing themselves to brew a beer with non-Horton malts, but in keeping with their policy, it will bypass the taps and go straight into bottles. Thus, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is born. It’s still 90% Horton Ridge malt (2-row, oats and CaraHorton), but the other 10% is chocolate malt and roasted barley from other sources to give it a deep roasted character and typical deep brown-black color. Hopped with Fuggles and Perle, it also got a dose of cacao nibs in the fermenter to enhance the chocolate flavour. This beer is available in 650 mL bottles at the tap room and also at the Wolfville Farmers Market, the first time Horton Ridge beer has been available outside the brewery premises! We’re told that there will be some more entries in the bottle series over the course of the coming year, and that the brewery is planning to be at market from January to May. And in other good news, with Horton Ridge using more malting barley, the growers in the region have stepped up their production, and the maltster has secured enough locally-grown malt to last well into the year. Look for more truly Nova Scotian Grain to Glass beers in the coming months, thanks to this symbiotic relationship.
• Fredericton hop hawkers Trailway Brewing have yet another juicy hop bomb ready for consumption today, this one cleverly dubbed Hopical Trop. Featuring heavy doses of ultrafresh citrusy Citra and tropical Mosaic hops, it was conditioned on over 100 lbs of peach purée (note to Jeremy @2 Crows: peach purée is a thing that you can buy). Described as “straight up fruit juice,” it’s an 8% ABV double IPA that’s still soft and drinkable, with massive aroma and flavour. Quantities are limited, you’ll find it at the brewery as of noon today in cans and also available for pints and growler fills.
• Amid the blowing wind and rain yesterday, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing released the latest in their informal Milkshake series. What began with Liquid James Brown in January 2017, it continued with For Peach’s Sake in August, followed up by Jackpot Apricot in September. Chamba features an addition of tart cherries during the conditioning process, lending fruit character to the 6.4% ABV, 50 IBU IPA. It is available at the Sprucetique for samples and growler fills now, and will be flowing at your favourite beer bar and restaurant soon (if not, be sure to ask for it!).
• Some happy news for beer fans on the Rock, as Port Rexton Brewing has re-opened their Retail Shop in St. John’s! They’re planning to restock every week and be open every Friday from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM at 286 Torbay Road in Corker’s Meadow Plaza. Terms are “first come, first served” until they run out each weekend. Look for cans, growler fills, and branded merchandise as well. Definitely keep your eyes on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to find out what’s on offer each week, especially for growler fills!
• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is following up last week’s release of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout with the release of an entirely different sort this weekend. Born out of the common practice of rewarding (or at the very least, allowing) workers in Belgium with beer breaks during and after a long workday, Grisette was the drink of choice for miners in the Wallonia region of the country. A sibling to the Saison style, the low-alcohol Grisette feature malted Wheat, was fermented with Saison yeast, and often late-hopped; perfect for refreshing the dust-covered palate, but still providing plenty of aroma and flavour in a small package. Mines of Wallonia is Niche’s ode to the style, a 3.6% hoppy Grisette featuring a grist of Wheat, Oats, and Spelt, and fermented with a French Saison yeast. Deviating slightly from the Noble hop varietals of yesteryear, in favour of Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin (no complaints here!), Wallonia was late-hopped in the boil and further dry-hopped during conditioning to offer tropical and wine-like aromatics and flavours to complement the light spicy phenolics from the yeast. Not yet on tap as of publishing, we expect to see it hit the taps in Fredericton and beyond over the weekend/early next week. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the announcements. And if you run, don’t walk (maybe don’t drive, either!), you may be able to catch the last few drops of Single Origin at 540 Kitchen, James Joyce, and the King Street Ale House.
• Halifax’s Good Robot doesn’t have anything on the Alpha system for us this week, although you might scope their social media for hints about their plans for big brews in the coming months. Meanwhile, Kelly Costello continues to helm the BetaBrew program, bringing diverse brewers into the fold to make interesting beers. This week’s Beta Brewsday release will be a wheat ale with a touch of rye and featuring every child’s favourite pigmentally-challenged starch, parsnip. Pale golden in color, sporting an ABV of 4.2% and a very moderate 19 IBU, Arsenip was hopped with Sorachi Ace and fermented with the Pin Cherry yeast from Big Spruce for a hefeweizen-esque feel. Brewed with East Coast violin savant Donald Maclennan, the careful taster will note a progression of yeast and hop flavors before being rewarded with spicy elements from the rye and parsnips. Available this Tuesday at the GR taproom for pints and, depending, possibly growler fills.
• Tickets for the 5th Annual Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration are just about gone, so if you haven’t yet grabbed yours for the all-inclusive beer and food event from 16 Nova Scotian breweries and 17 food producers, now is the absolutely last time to do so. January 18 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront will be the launch party for many new beers from the provinces producers, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge (a beer featuring a strain of yeast harvested and isolated from a tree on their farm), and a brand new beer from Tatamagouche (with local homebrewer 1029Brewing and our own acbbchris). Don’t miss out on the fun, grab your tickets now!
Just a few more things to get you going this weekend:
– In case your podcast software didn’t grab it automagically already, be sure to head over to the 902 BrewCast site and grab their first episode of 2018. Kicking off a month focusing on New Brunswick breweries, they sat down with Paul Maybee of Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing, learning about his introduction to beer, his history as a homebrewer, and plans for the future.
– Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has mixed feelings about announcing that you drank them dry! Keep an eye on their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the word when they are stocked with product again.
– Unfiltered on North St. has a fresh batch of DOA available in all its Citra-laden glory. Available for fills and pints today from noon. And if you’re looking to get your hands on some cans, as of opening they’ve still got some Exile on North Street and Hoppy Fingers available.