Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.
• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!
• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!
• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.
• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.
• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).
• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.
• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!
• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.
• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.
• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.
• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.
• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.
• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.
• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.
• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.
• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.
• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.
• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar. $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.
What’s on the go this weekend?
• Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.
• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.
• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!
Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
– Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
– Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.
A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!