Here we are on another Friday, with the official start of Summer just a week away – though maybe keep bringing your plants in at night, mkay? – bringing you the latest in beer news for the region. It’s a bit of a quiet week compared to some of the craziness of the last couple of months, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s nothing exciting to tell you.
• Let’s lead off the news with a good story from Nova Scotia, which was made public by the NSLC and CBANS yesterday. Big changes are being implemented July 1st for NS breweries: those breweries who hold a hospitality license (which is many of the smaller spots) will have the option to pour in glasses larger than 4oz, saving glasses countless trips through the washer. The change comes just months after engagement with the Premier and other members of government during a “Meet Your Brewery” event attended by members of all parties, and the divisive beer brewed by Premier McNeil with one of the most vocal members of the province’s brewing industry, Jeremy White of Big Spruce. It really *is* all about engaging those in power, as well as the general population. Here’s hoping this change is only the beginning, as there are plenty more archaic rules in place that could be eased to further help the brewing industry in the province (and the whole region).
• One Nova Scotia brewery that is most-certainly ecstatic about this recent change is Halifax’s Tidehouse. They’ve been waiting for this day, and now that it’s finally here, they just so happen to have a brand new beer to serve you pints of in their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room! Pitcher’s Perfect Pineapple NEIPA was brewed with multi-hate-wearing-employee Mike Pitcher, and is indeed a NEIPA (at 6.3% ABV) brewed with Pale, Oats, Wheat, Munich, and Acidulated malts. Hopped at the end of the boil with Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial, and then more Citra and Amarillo a couple of days into fermentation, the juice factor was upped even higher by the addition of real pineapple in the fermentor at the tail end of the beer’s completion. Tasting like “hoppy pineapple juice”, you’ll be able to find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery, starting at opening (2PM) today.
• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock and Halifax’s Chain Yard have collaborated on a new beverage, possibly the first packaged example (or at least the first local example) of the classic beer/cider mix known as a “snakebite” to be available in NS. A 50/50 blend of Boxing Rock’s Hunky Dory Pale Ale, which features citrus zest and green tea, and Chain Yard’s Foundation cider, known for its tropical notes and light tannins, Snakebite is a 5.7% ABV product that features the best of both worlds. While it will be available in limited quantities at both Boxing Rock, who have some pre-filled growlers and a keg for 4 oz (or MORE?!) samples, and at Chain Yard, who have it on tap as well as in cans, the prime channel for acquiring some for yourself will be select NSLC stores across the province.
• We don’t know whether many people outside the area are aware, but the location of Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is very close to a spur of the old Halifax to Yarmouth H&SW rail line – Halifax and South Western, which locals repurposed to “Hellish, Slow & Wobbly” based on the travel experience. This line, whose bed has since been repurposed as a recreational trail, is symbolic of a beer brewed at Saltbox in collaboration with Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas, ON. Railway City’s brewer is Amanda Fehr, sister of Saltbox’s own brewer Jeremy Fehr, and the siblings came together during the week of the Canadian Brewing Awards to brew a New England IPA. Called The Last Spike, this easy drinking 5.8% ABV beer features big citrus and pineapple flavors with very little bitterness. Perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon on a patio, possibly while watching some soapbox races…Speaking of which, a reminder that the Saltbox Soapbox Derby is tomorrow down Clearway St. in Mahone Bay with all proceeds going to Bayview Community School Breakfast Program. There are 28 entrants across the 4 classes this year with participants ranging in age from 4.5 to 67 years old!!
• Our friends at Tatamagouche Brewing have been gearing up for their big 4th birthday celebration this weekend, and one of the ways they’re celebrating is with a new beer release, Salt Water Cowboy. This one is a Gose that was soured with a co-pitch of a Kolsch yeast strain and a strain of Lactobacillus, and fermented in tequila barrels. The 4.4% ABV beer was aged in the barrels for four months, and then an additional period on lemon peel, to play up the tequila, salt, and citrus character. With a subtle flavour on all fronts (including the barrel character), it’s meant to be easy-drinking and refreshing, as all good Goses should be! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Tata tomorrow, with bottles being released sometime over the coming weeks. And a reminder since last week’s post, they’ll have Route 6 Food Truck onsite all day, live music, social media contests and real-life games, plus a Nothing But The Hits taplist pouring (sorry, still only in 4oz glasses for now!): Amrita, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, Guava Heist, Lagerhosen, and the aforementioned Salt Water Cowboy.
• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has another brand new beer dropping this week, Into the Wild. Fermented solely with Brettanomyces Claussenii (Brett C rather than Saccharomyces), this IPA straddles the line between “clean” and “wild”, with both the hops and yeast working together for a fruity tropical and juicy beer. In the boil, and again in the fermenter, Azacca and Vic Secret were used to impart citrus, mango, and pineapple flavour and aromatics, which is further enhanced by the pineapple and a touch of funk from the yeast. The 6.6% ABV beer has a soft and smooth mouthfeel and finishes rather dry, setting you up for your next sip (or pint!). The Niche crew have sent the beer to the bars and restaurants in the area, so keep your eyes peeled for its tapping. In Fredericton: The Snooty Fox, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce Pub; in Saint John: Peppers Pub, Lemongrass Thai Fare, and Saint John Ale House.
• The Good Robot new beers continue, with their latest Beta batch being Rosemary Was A Boy, a 5.5% ABV Witbier. Brewed with graphic designer Margot Durling, the simple grain bill of 2-row and Wheat malt was rounded out with boil additions of Mittelfrüh hops, coriander, orange peel, and, of course, rosemary. Expect your typical Witbier experience – fruity and spicy, light and refreshing – with a touch of rosemary character to complement; check it out next Tuesday.
• Over in PEI, Montague’s Copper Bottom is ready to release the collaboration beer they brewed a few weeks ago with L’Espace Public, a Montreal taproom with a brewery in-house. Patio Beer is a 4.5% ABV kettle sour that was brewed with a grist made up of only 2-row malt. Soured with a pure pitch of Lactobacillus, the wort was then boiled and hopped very lightly with Centennial. Later in the process, they added a plethora (such a great word!) of juices, made up of equal parts strawberry, cranberry, tart cherry, and wild blueberry juice. The brewery describes the beer as “light on the sourness” with a present-but-not-overpowering juice presence. Head on over to the taproom tomorrow for a taste; it’ll be available in pints, growlers, and cans. They’ll also be serving up oysters from Chef Robert Pendergast from 4-8 pm to celebrate.
• Meanwhile, in Charlottetown, Upstreet will have cans and kegs of their latest Neon Friday release, Oat Cream IPA with Cashmere. These beer names pretty much describe themselves, meaning less typing for us! But if you’d like us to be clear, it’s an American IPA with Oats in the grist, and lactose powder in the boil. Double-dry hopped with Cashmere (an American variety that exhibits lemon, lime, and melon characteristics), they’re describing the final product as having “an easy-drinking sweetness that’s juicy and clean”. As always, it’ll be available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner.
• There are three new beers available from Off Track this week, proving that they’re not planning on slowing down with experimenting in the near future. Here are the Cole’s Notes for all of them: Pull the Pin IPA (5.5% ABV, 57 IBUs), an American IPA hopped entirely with Centennial; Base is Loaded (5% ABV, 37 IBUs), an easy-drinking APA hopped with Cascade, Falconer’s Flight, and Belma; and Cherry-BOMB (4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs), a “Cherry Chocolate Kolsch”. This last one was attempted after the release of their Coconut Kolsch for the Stillwell Open in May, with the cherry adding a slight tartness. And there’s more that just beer news going on at Off Track – their patio is now open for the season, they’ve paired up with On the Wedge to offer food options, and they have stainless steel growlers now available for purchase. Finally, this Sunday they will be donating $1 from every pint, grunter and growler fill towards a Father’s Day charity.
• Last week we mentioned the Toast the Coast event happening next Thursday at the Stillwell Beer Garden, and we’ve been able to gather a bit more intel to pass along. Here’s what we have on a few of the beers that will be pouring….
This Beer is Toast! (Garrison) – The grist for this one features Pale Ale and Wheat malt… and bread. Yes, 25% of the grist is made up of “fresh-but-past-code” bread from some local bakeries. Hopped with Hallertau and Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison has “light malt, bready-dough and toasty flavours, with a dry and effervescent finish”. A portion of all sales will go to Feed Nova Scotia.
Sorry (Good Robot) – Speaking of bread, Good Robot teamed up with Stone Hearth Bakery to brew this one, adding some of their toasted, light rye bread that was slightly past its date. The bread went into a second mash, after the first with Pilsner, Flaked Barley, Vienna, and Flaked Oats. Hopped with Ekuanot and Magnum in the boil, they also added some lactose and carob powder. Once fermentation was complete, they went further, and threw in a little coconut, more chocolate, and coffee beans. We’re not really sure if this beer has an official “style”, but it weighs in at 6% ABV and 55 IBUs, and pours a “pale orangey colour”. A portion of sales will go to Bryony House.
Wheatly Edition (Off Track) – This 4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs American Wheat Ale was hopped with Belma and Huell Melon to “highlight the tropical, honey dew flavours”, and also has notes of pineapple. A portion of sales will got to SPCA Nova Scotia.
There’s a couple of events going on in Nova Scotia over the next couple of weeks that we’d like to point out:
• There are still some tickets left for Garrison’s Backlot Bash, happening tomorrow, June 16th, at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. This fundraiser for the Ecology Action Centre will feature beer and cider, axe throwing, food trucks, skate demos, and plenty of live music. Tickets are $39.10, and can be purchased here.
• Sydney’s Breton Brewing is throwing a big party they’re calling Under the Breton Sky on Saturday, June 30th. Featuring Matt Anderson & the Bona Fide, Dave Sampson with Band, Slowcoaster, The Jordan Muycsyn Band, and The Carmen Townsend Band as well as, no doubt, plenty of Breton beer. Early bird tickets have come and gone, but General Admission are still available at $55 and will also be available the day of the event at $65. If you’re really enthused by the bill, you might consider the VIP Package at $75, which includes access to the beer patio, tap room, and the front of the stage. All tickets are available on-line and be aware that those prices are irrespective of taxes and fees.
And lastly, before we let you go:
– Halifax’s Spindrift has been subtly tweaking their core brands (Killick Session Lager, Knotty Buoy Pils, and Coastal Lager) and are encouraging consumers to visit the brewery to try the new versions while they’re fresh for comparison. The new batches are currently being sent to stores, as well. Both Killick and Knotty Buoy are available now, with Coastal Lager appearing on July 4th. Also, look for Keller-Hell, Keller-Pils and Keller-Amber available on draught at the brewery and select bars and restaurants.
– TrailWay is releasing their latest American IPA, All Can Phil (6.5% ABV) today at the brewery, featuring some of their favourite hops (no specifics on which ones). They describe it as having a “big, juicy/clean citrus front and a tangerine sweetness to finish it off”; available in cans and on tap at opening today.