With the warm-ish weather we’ve been experiencing in the region this week we’re almost wondering if the Groundhog might have been right this year, which probably means an apocalyptic storm or four is just around the corner. To take your mind off this dreadful inevitability and the zombie apocalypse that will no doubt follow, we’ve once again collected all the beer news we could find in the region this week and put it all in one place.
• It looks like Boxing Rock has been playing around in the brewhouse lately, as they’ve just released Plum Crazy, a “plum-infused sour Porter”. Starting with a slightly-tweaked recipe of their Sunken Ledge Porter, where a portion of the mash was soured in the mashtun for 48 hours, with the remainder of the grist mashed in as normal. The resulting two worts were then combined in the kettle, and boiled as usual. After primary fermentation was complete, 120 lbs of plum puree were added for about a week, where the beer was then carbonated and packaged. The result is a 5% ABV brew that is “smooth, tart, and malty, with a bit of tannic character from the plums”. You should be able to find it in bottles now at the private liquor stores, in growlers at the brewery and farmer’s markets, and on tap at select licensees.
• Late last week, Big Axe managed to release a new beer despite receiving several new pieces of brewing equipment for their expansion. A Rye IPA, Aces & Eights was brewed with two types of rye malt: Flaked Rye and Pale Rye malt. Hopped with Amarillo and Citra, this 5.8% ABV beer is a light amber colour, with “reddish hues” (the picture we saw looked quite red!), and has a “slight peppery aroma” from the Rye additions. Look for it on tap at your favourite Big Axe account, and at the brewery taproom (which very well may BE your favourite Big Axe account, naturally!) for pints and growler fills.
• Halifax’s Propeller has a brand new beer available in cans, XPA. This “Extra Pale Ale” is their latest seasonal, hopped with Citra and Idaho 7, giving the beer “complex hop aromas of orange and apricot, finishing with a backdrop of resiny pine with hints of black tea”, according to the brewery. These 473 mL cans are available right now in both Propeller retail stores, and should be following at the NSLC sometime next week. Of course, it’s on tap at Propeller for growler fills as well, and will likely show up on tap around the HRM very soon.
• There’s another new Alpha Brew being released by our friends at Good Robot this week: All You Can Eat is being billed as a Coconut IPA. Featuring a “boatload” of toasted coconut (meticulously toasted by Kelly Costello herself), the beer has a base of Golden malt, and was hopped with both Topaz and Wai-Iti. It’s “smooth and creamy” and has an aroma matching a tropical fruit salad, with coconut! Keep your eyes open for it around Halifax, and of course you can find this 6.2% ABV, 43 IBUs newbie at the source (read: brewery taproom). But we’re not done… naturally there’s a new Beta Brew coming out next Tuesday! Creamsicale was brewed with local entrepreneur Krishna Parmar, and has a grist made up of Wheat malt, Oats, and barley, and hopped with Magnum, Mandarina Bavaria, and Zythos (to 32 IBUs). At 5.8% ABV, it tastes of “citrus and vanilla ice cream, with a very subtle hop profile”. Finally, the brewery has just finished their second canning run, so you can now pick up Tom Waits For No One American Stout in 16 oz cans at the brewery.
• Bucking tradition slightly, TrailWay released their weekly one-off a bit early this week, on Wednesday. This is their latest rendition of Binary, their rotating SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) brew. Golden Promise is the malt of choice, and this time around they went with the Australian hop variety Ella. This hop has been seeing more and more action in many brews in Atlantic Canada, and is known for the floral and spicy aromas it imparts in beer, along with a grapefruit and tropical flavour. This batch is bigger than their typical one-off, so expect to see some cans of this 6% ABV hoppy brew at select ANBL stores, in addition to at the brewery taproom.
• Today Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is bringing back a summer favourite a little early, possibly in the hopes of inspiring this unseasonably warm weather into even more unseasonable territory. You might remember Sour MFer, the kettle soured wheat beer aged on a metric fuckton of tart cherries. Well it’s back, and this time it spent some time refermenting with Brettanomyces lambicus, which is known for tending to impart a cherry-pie like character. Even better, the beer also spent several months aging on oak. Available from noon for pints and fills at the brewery and/or Charm School Pub next door. Speaking of growler fills, did you know if you bring another brewery’s growler to Unfiltered, they’ll fill it? And they’ll even slap on a high-quality vinyl Unfiltered sticker before they send you on your merry way. How incredibly controversial!!
• If you head down to Tidehouse’s tinytastybeverageroom in downtown Halifax this weekend, you’ll find a brand new beer. The Atomium is a Belgian blond that comes in at 6.4% ABV. It was brewed with Pilsner, Vienna and a touch of Aromatic malt, bittered with Perle and flavoured with noble Czech Saaz. Brewmaster Peter Lionais then chose to ferment with a pair of Belgian yeasts to create a beer with a largely fruity profile contrasted with a touch of phenolic spiciness. This beer is also expected to hit the taps at the Stubborn Goat in the coming days.
• Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to churn out beer, belying their nano scale. Brewer/owner Keith Forbes has a couple brews bubbling away to keep the tap accounts happy. As mentioned last week (or was it the week before?), there’s a batch of Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red coming for St. Patrick’s Day and a coffee-less version of Even Gooder Brown will be ready mid-next week, this one with a light-ish body, and chocolate, caramel and nutty flavors and an overall earthy presentation. And if you’ll be at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, look for Ol’ Biddy’s to make its debut at Newbie Night on March 9th. They’ll be bringing four beers at the event, Sackvegas Sour, Orange American Bastard, Disco Inferno Red IPA and a brand new one, brewed by Keith’s longtime homebrew buddy Michael Orr, Salty Fog Coconut Porter, a dark roasty beer with hints of chocolate, caramel and coconut, and finished with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.
• Maybee Brewing is launching a new beer today, which will be the first of three over the next few weeks. Today’s newbie is Whistle Stop Belgian Pale Ale, a 6.5% ABV twist on the classic Belgian style. Amber-coloured, this brew was fermented with a Saison and Brettanomyces yeast blend, giving “upfront notes of biscuit, stone fruit, and bubblegum, with a European hop spice and citrus hop accompaniment”. Finishing crisp and dry, it will be released in kegs only for now (so look for it on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and at Maybee tap accounts in the province), but will also be available in bottles during Fredericton Craft Beer Week (starting March 5th).
• We mentioned last week (eventually…sorry guys!), that the 902BrewCast boys would be hosting a live recording of their Women in the Beer Industry Panel, an open discussion featuring Meghan Brennan (Garrison Brewing), Rebecca Atkinson (Sober Island Brewing), Laura MacDonald (Stillwell), and Kelly Costello (Good Robot Brewing). The event took place this past Monday evening and the team has already sliced ’n diced the raw tape into an episode available now. Get it direct from their website here, search it out in iTunes or your favourite alternative Podcast app, or twist the dial of your favourite podcast appliance (those exist, right?)
On top of the many events we’ve mentioned over the past couple weeks, there’s a couple new ones to throw out there today:
• Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is celebrating reopening this week with an all-NL tap takeover. Beginning last night with a ticketed event that sold right out, it will continue into Friday and Saturday. Head down to the brewery during regular hours (4 PM to Midnight) today or tomorrow and find taps pouring from Port Rexton Brewing, Split Rock Brewing Co., Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., Yellowbelly Brewery, Storm Brewing and, of course, the hosts themselves! Flights will be available at $12 per and they’ll have 16oz pints besides. So head on down and experience a taste of the burgeoning beer scene on the Rock!
• Battery Park is holding another one of their all-day tap takeovers next Thursday, March 1st, but this one will feature six Nova Scotia breweries, instead of just one. Small but Mighty will bring you kegs from Half Cocked, Lazy Bear, Off Track, Ol’ Biddy’s, Tanner & Co., and The Townhouse. Beers will be pouring from 11:30 am for the whole day, until the beer is gone! As always, there’s no charge to attend, just show up and enjoy some pints from some of the province’s smallest breweries! Many of the brewers will be there to soak up the praise, so don’t be shy!
• Interested in learning more about the brewing process? Saint John’s Big Tide will be hosting a Brunch & Brew on Sunday, March 25th from 10 am-1:30 pm. Head brewer Wendy Papadopoulos will educate attendees on the magic behind brewing, and you’ll also get the opportunity to take part in an actual brew day. Luckily, a two-course brunch and flight of beer is included in the ticket price ($40 + HST and fee), to keep you going! You can book your tickets here.
That’s it for this week!
– Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has started bottling, and the first bottles (500 mL) of their Revelation IPA can be found at the Corbett Centre ANBL in Fredericton this weekend, with more locations to follow, soon.