Happy Fredericton Beer Week! We’ve been waiting for months, and the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival finally happens tomorrow. There’s been a few events so far this week (with one unfortunately being cancelled due to weather), and tomorrow’s big event promises to be even bigger and better than the past five years! With plenty of breweries making their way to Fredericton, there’s naturally quite a few new beers being released… maybe even more so than normal. We’ve been busy getting ready for FCBF, but we’ve done our usual best to summarize all the beer news in our region, so let’s get right to it!
• Let’s start off with Collaboration Pale Ale, a special super-collaboration (yep, just made that word up!) involving the participation of most breweries in New Brunswick, brewed specifically for FCBF. The project was spearheaded by Foghorn‘s own Esty, who sent the recipe out to all those taking part for input, feedback, and good-natured criticism (of which there was actually surprisingly none!). The beer was brewed on Foghorn’s system, with many brewers attending to “help” (i.e. drink beer and watch). Hopped with Magnum from Darlings Island Farm, and Chinook from Moose Mountain, to 45 IBUs, Chinook hop hash from Southan Farms was added at knockout, along with some Enigma. Dry-hopped with more hop hash and Enigma, the result is a 5.5% ABV beer with citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a crisp finish. Craft Coast Canning generously donated their services, with 1000 cans being packaged for sale at various breweries, and a few ANBL locations. There will also be a couple of kegs pop up (including at FCBF, of course!), and it will be for sale (by the pint only) on tap at Foghorn. In addition, $1 of every can sale goes towards diabetes research.
• In more FCBF-special beers, Maybee Brewing is releasing Fahrenheit DIPA, a collaboration brewed with Bangor, Maine’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewing. One of Maine’s first craft breweries (they opened their doors back in 1975), this year is Geaghan’s second at the festival. The beer was brewed with a “generous” amount of locally-grown Centennial and Columbus (from Southan Farms), along with also-large amounts of Amarillo and Mosaic. The result is a “resinous – yet juicy – hop explosion with notes of peach, mango, apricot and citrus). Weighing in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, it will be pouring at FCBF, with GBB pouring it in keg/draft form, and Maybee opting to serve it on cask. If you miss it there (or can’t wait until tomorrow), it is also available on tap and in cans at Maybee.
• Released yesterday to mark International Women’s Day 2018, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with the Brewnettes to bring you The Riveter. Named after iconic Rosie the Riveter, the beer is a refreshing and easy-drinking Session Ale with plenty of tasty hops. At just 3.9% ABV, this beer will be one you can enjoy all afternoon on the assembly line (or maybe wait until the end-of-day whistle blows). The Brewnettes Newfoundland Beer Collective boasts more than 400 members across Newfoundland and and Labrador, offering new beer drinkers and homebrewers an encouraging environment to meet like-minded folks. The Riveter is available for growler fills at the Port Rexton Retail Shop on Torbay Rd from 4-8PM today (and 12-6PM tomorrow), with Chasing Sun New England IPA also available for growler fills, plus cans of Blazing Sun (Chasing Sun‘s bigger sister), and T-Rex Porter. And today also marks the first day of the BrewSKI weekend at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, with events all weekend (check the schedule here), culminating in tomorrow’s Beer Festival, with Port Rexton joined by: Bootleg Brew Co, Quidi Vidi, Split Rock, Storm, and YellowBelly.
• On our region’s other Island, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new IPA called MOVE on the taps, also released to celebrate IWD2018. Brewed by the women of Upstreet, it’s a hazy New England-style IPA featuring oats and wheat in the grist for a soft mouthfeel and pillowy white head. Hopped in the kettle with super tropical Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Northern Hemisphere Idaho 7, it was triple dry hopped for a sophisticated aroma. Look for notes of pineapple and fresh mango balanced by a slightly grassy scent. A low-lingering bitterness, coupled with a clean and smooth palate give a juicy and refreshing impression. Weighing it at 6.5% ABV, you’ll be doing good work every time you order it: $2 from every pint and growler will be donated to the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.
• Don’t look now, but the scourge of pastry stouts has finally arrived upon the fair shores of our region. “What’s a pastry stout?” you ask, as a naïve drinker of reasonably normal beer? Well, at some point a brewer asked themselves the question, “What other starch sources might I conceivably source for my mash?” Or maybe the question was, “How can I put something absolutely ludicrous in the mash and still make beer?” Either way, as the legend goes, lo, the brewer decided to add donuts to the mash and lo, in the otherwise usual way, beer was made. Then donuts became eclairs. And biscotti. And all kinds of other weird shit. This is the world we live in now; embrace it. Aaaaanyways, to our knowledge, HRM’s North Brewing has announced this week the first pastry stout we’re aware of in the region. Twinkle Pony Cookie Stout was brewed by North cellarperson Brad and sports a delightfully whimsical label by Nicole G. Inspired by the flavour of French macaron cookies, a base stout featuring chocolate malt was adulterated with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, vanilla and, yes, macarons from Le French Fix. It will be available in cans as of today in the North bottle shops on either side of the harbour, and on nitro tap for a limited time (1 keg’s worth) at Battery Park. By all means give it a go and, as you do, feel free to wonder what the world is coming to now that there’s cookies in your beer!
• Earlier this week, Hammond River released their latest beer, Cordelia. An American IPA with a simple grist of 2-row, Carafoam, and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops throughout (to 78 IBUs), giving the beer juicy notes of citrus, tangerine, and passion fruit. Some grapefruit puree was also added in secondary to boost the juiciness a bit more, making this 7% ABV brew just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a nice, aromatic hop bomb. You can find this one on tap at the HR taproom and local tap accounts; it’ll also be pouring at FCBF, for those of you lucky enough to have tickets!
• Just in time for FCBF, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go, their first Brett Pale Ale. Dubbed Across the Universe, it started with a grist of 50/50 2-row and Maris Otter, to which a “healthy portion” of wheat and a touch of dextrine malt were added. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic and then fermented with a Niche favourite, the Amalgamation blend from the Yeast Bay, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV and 36 IBU featuring a nose of citrus and overripe and tropical fruit. And as if that wasn’t enough, watch Niche social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) this afternoon for an announcement of yet another new beer that will debut tomorrow at the fest! (If only we had a connection at the brewery who could have given us the details in time for this post, huh @acbbshawn? Jeeesh.)
• PEI Brewing’s Gahan House Port City in Saint John is now pouring the first beers brewed onsite at their facility. YSJ’aison is a, you guessed it, Saison with a light-coloured malt bill of Pilsner, with a touch of rye and wheat for mouthfeel and to encourage a beautiful head. Lightly hopped in the kettle with Czech Saaz, it was dryhopped with Saphir to bring out some fruitiness. Yeast choice is always important to the overall characteristics of the Saison style, and here they chose a blend of multiple yeasts to encourage tropical fruit, as well as iconic clove and bubblegum notes, as well as spiciness to complement the rye malt. The multiple yeast strains also helped to dry out the beer (ending up at 5.8% ABV) and improve drinkability. The pale and hazy beer is on tap for samples, pints, and growler fills now, and keep your eyes open as future YSJ-brewed beers begin to hit the taps, which include an English Porter brewed with coffee provided by local coffee shop Rogue.
• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has two items of note this week. First is the return of Fist of God, a fruity, soft, round, and delicious 8% ABV DIPA that will put you on your ass with prejudice. Originally brewed for the release of the feature film Goon: Last of the Enforcers last spring, it will be available for fills and pints and cans at the brewery as of noon today. Yes, we said cans. And FoG isn’t the only beer they’ll have in convenient take-anywhere single-serve packages! The mobile canning line has visited North Street once again and as of noon today you’ll also find Barrel-aged Sour Motherfucker, Exile on North Street IPA, Flat Black Jesus Stout, and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA ready and waiting for your mobile beer needs. All the beer nerds are in Fredericton, here’s your chance to stock up!!
• Just like last year, the Tidehouse braintrust, Peter, Sean, and Shannon, are heading up to Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And just like last year, they’re leaving their brewery and taproom in the hands of Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell, a couple of
degenerate home brewers fine young gentlemen who will no doubt bring ruin and shame upon the good name of Tidehouse take excellent care of the place. Starting today you’ll find four guest beers on tap for fills and small pours at the TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street: Cascadian Dark Ale, Tic Lac Toe Blueberry Sour, English Pale, and Amber Ale. You may remember the Tic Lac Toe from last year’s FCBF weekend, a witbier base soured with Lil’ Wheatey’s own Lactobacillus culture (and featuring traditional orange peel and coriander along with two additions of blueberries. The Cascadian Dark Ale is an assertively-hopped dark beer with 60 IBUs worth of bitterness thanks to healthy amounts of Centennial, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. The grist side is based in 2-row and wheat, with caramel, chocolate and midnight wheat specialty malts for character and dark color. All said and done, it comes in a 5.8% ABV with a slightly dry finish. The English Pale falls somewhere in the range of an English Pale and a Golden Ale, with an exceptionally simple malt bill of British pale malt and flaked barley, and an equally uncomplicated hop schedule using only East Kent Goldings. Fermented on London Ale yeast, it’s described as “liquid gold.” And finally, the Amber Ale is a malt-forward beer that combines special roast, aromatic and chocolate malts for a robust and complex malt profile that is balanced against mild bitterness and hop flavour from Warrior, Fuggles, and East Kent Goldings. Though it finished quite dry, look for it to be a bit bigger than the ambers you might be used to. All four of these beers will be poured by Ian and Nick at the Tidehouse today and tomorrow, and will continue to be available while supplies last. You can also watch for the Tic Lac Toe and the Cascadian Dark Ale to make an appearance in limited bottle runs in the near future.
• If you’re into big beers and you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon, consider swinging on down to the Propeller taproom on Gottingen Street for the release of a collaboration brewed with the team from Lower Sackville’s Everwood Avenue Brew Shop. A Baltic Porter coming in at 6.7% ABV and 33 IBU, it boasts aromas of burnt caramel and dark roasted coffee that meld with raisin and vanilla notes in a full-bodied brew where the lager yeast balances a fairly high level of residual sugars. Starting at 6 PM, you’ll find folks from Everwood and Propeller celebrating with pints of the Baltic Porter on special and two special editions on the go as well: one oak cask and one 20L keg that was fermented with Burton on Trent Ale yeast for, we’d imagine, a totally different mouthfeel and body. Swag giveaways and pies available for purchase from Humble Pie complete the package. If you don’t get a chance to attend event but are interested in the beer, it’s already available for growler fills at the brewery and is likely to spring up at a couple other locations around the city.
• Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken another stab at a Lager with their latest beer, Fuzzy Bubbles. This one is an India Pale Lager, a hazy, light-yellow beer that was fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain. Lagered for an additional two weeks at near-freezing temperatures, the beer was then dry-hopped with a “healthy” dose of Citra and Vic Secret. Drinking with “huge tropical fruit, peaches, and cantaloupe” notes, and carbonated higher than normal for TW beers, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. It’s available both in cans and on tap at the brewery today, and should show up at a few tap accounts in the near future.
• The first annual (says Kelly!) Good Robot FemmeBot competition is in the books and the results were announced at a special event at the brewery on Wednesday. An Honorable Mention went to Kelsey Delaney for her “Maybe She’s Born Wit It”, Third Place went to Jill Bernier for her “Bear Cat”, Second was Heather Cameron for “Calm Down Dearest”, and taking first place was Drella Green-Simony with “I Love My Dog”. The winning beer will be brewed on the Sabco system and put on tap at the brewery in the coming months. A hearty congratulations to everyone who entered the competition; some 75% of the registered entrants were first time brewers and hopefully we’ll see more than a few carry on and brew more!
• And in Good Robot beer release news this week are two releases as is their wont. First, on the AlphaBrew system, is an IPA they’re calling All-Inclusive. “Inclusive of what?” you ask? “Inclusive of EVERYTHING!” Like a buffet this 6.8% ABV and 74 IBU brew has a smörgåsbord of flavors, including juicy tropical fruit from Green Bullet, Dr. Rudi, Wakatu, Ella, and Topaz hops, plenty of bitterness, and a slight pepper kick from Grains of Paradise. And on the BetaBrew system, coming out this Tuesday for BetaBrewsday, is a beer that would be very timely if it had anything whatsoever to do with St. Patrick’s day. It’s green. Why’s it green? EVIL GREEN MIST. As generations of wrestlers have taught us, spitting green mist in the eyes of an opponent will cause immediate blindness and absolutely permanent damage to sight, at least until next week’s TV. Green Mist is a super-crushable 4% ABV lager, with just enough bitterness (14 IBU) to be refreshing, and a soupçon of green venom. Or food coloring. One of the two. Enjoy, just don’t mistake it for a St. Patrick’s Day thing!!
There’s lots of Events on the go to tell you about this week!
• Unfortunately, due to an extended power outage in downtown Fredericton, last night’s Down East Tap Takeover (and our Trivia) at the King Street Ale House had to be postponed. The 30+ different beers (most are brand new to the region) are flowing now, and you can head in any time this weekend to have your ticket honoured. As a reminder, that means your first ten 5oz samples of the Nova Scotian and Maine beers are already included.
• And speaking of the FCBF, there are still tickets available for tonight’s Newbie Night, a showcase of a dozen breweries new to the scene. Most of them will not be pouring Saturday night, so if your liver can handle two days of beery fun, we encourage you to check it out! Tickets are available until mid-afternoon.
• For those in NB, be sure to tune your dial to CBC this afternoon, to hear an interview with Josh Mayich of Darlings Island Hop Farm chat with the folks on Shift. Concentrating on his experience as a hop farmer in the Southern NB area, he’ll be sharing stories and what he’s learned in this important side of the beer business.
• Every year in March, Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel brewery celebrates Journée Péché Day at bars in their home province, in the rest of Canada, in the USA, and around the world. This year 50 venues will take part and we’re pleased to report that three of them will be in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House will be serving up the sin on March 24th, with 7 kegs of deep black stain for your soul including the original Péché Mortel Classic Imperial Coffee Stout, Péché Mortel Framboise (with Raspberry), Péché Houblon (with Hops), Péché Termopilas (with a lighter roast coffee), Péché Latté (with lactose, maybe?), and the 2017 and 2018 editions of Péché Mortel Bourbon, which has been aged in Bourbon barrels. With most of these beers tipping the scales at 9% ABV and higher, you can guarantee you won’t escape unmarked. Plan well, and pray for absolution.
A couple more things before we let you go…
– After a short hiatus to refill their kegs, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is back open for your weekend beer fix. Going forward, they’ll be open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4PM-12AM. Drop by today to taste the latest batch of their beery goodies!
– Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, now has cans available, including their aptly named Nor’easter American Pale Ale, weighing in at 5.0% ABV. Currently only at the brewery, they will be available at local (and further afield) ANBL locations in the coming weeks. And look for their 5.0% Havre St-Pierre Red Ale to be available soon in cans as well.
– Speaking of cans, the Craft Coast made the trip to Lawrencetown, NS, and helped the folks at Lunn’s Mill get their product into tall boys. Lager Driver and Anvil Porter are both available for purchase at the brewery now, for $4.50 (all in). Grab a few when you knock off work today!
– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing Cyd Cerise tomorrow, a version of their Old Foundry Stout, aged on crushed cherries, and in white oak Bourbon barrels.
– Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester, NS has a new beer in their Small Lot Series, where they try out new styles on a smaller batch size. In this case, they’ve opted for Gose, a historic German style beer featuring an acidic kick, low hopping, light salt character, and spicing. For their recipe, they used coriander and sea salt to achieve these flavours, and after souring, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast. Keeping with the refreshing nature of the style, Gose is 4.7% and 5 IBUs. Drop by Tanner this weekend to grab a growler of this and their other offerings.