Sigh, this last Friday in August is always bittersweet: it’s a long weekend, but pretty much feels like the last weekend of the summer. Luckily, one thing exists to make everything happier, fuzzier, and just better overall. No, not family! Yeesh. Beer, of course! And there’s a whole whack of new beers and related things in Atlantic Canada this week, so take a read and see what you have to do/buy this weekend to make everything better! Oh, and keep in mind that not every beer store/taproom will be open on Labour Day, so check ahead before venturing out later in the weekend.
Let’s kick off this week with a round-up of the going ons (goings on? goings ons? … happenings) from the various Gahan locations around the Maritimes:
– At Gahan Port City in Saint John, there are a trio of new beers on tap these days. We told you previously about the Hoppy Stone Fruit Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV New England style Pale Ale, brewed to celebrate Sculpture Saint John, which is on until September 22nd on the Saint John waterfront. Wheat and oats in the malt bill keep it light and hazy, but still dry and crisp, with plenty of fruit flavour and aroma. Also on tap is Brunswick Bitter, a North Americanized/amped up version of a traditional Extra Special Bitter. At 6.3% ABV, it still showcases a caramel malt backbone with lots of classic American hop character (to the tune of 70 IBUs). And as can be gathered from their taproom downstairs (aka the Barrel Room), there are plenty of projects in the works in those barrels, including a Chardonnay-aged Belgian Tripel likely to be released around Christmas, and a Farmhouse Saison resting in Pinot Noir barrels to be released in 2019. Look for more funky beers to hit the taps in Saint John, including a 100% Brettanomyces-fermented beer in the coming months
– At Gahan Riverside in Fredericton, they’ve managed to grab a few kegs of Port City’s Hoppy Stone Fruit, but have plenty of their own goodies to chat about this week too. A 4.5% ABV kettle sour named Blueberry Sour, featuring loads of blueberries from Terry Nabuurs of Terry’s Berries (and more recently of The Wheelhouse in Georgetown). The beer was also dry-hopped with Mosaic to enhance the tropical and berry flavours throughout. Those on the Island will soon be able to enjoy pints of their own version of this, as it was brewed at Gahan House Pub recently. Also new on tap in Fredericton is Dry Hopped Wit, a 5.5% ABV Belgian Witbier that was enhanced with an American dry hop after fermentation. And debuting on tap in a couple of weeks is a locally-brewed batch of Gahan classic Harvest Gold, releasing to celebrate the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, held in town September 11-16.
– At the original Gahan House Pub in Charlottetown, keep your eyes open for a coming-soon canned release from the Sydney Street location. Brewed in collaboration with Huck-It Disc Golf in Middleton, PEI, Bangin’ Chains is a New England Style Pale Ale, weighing in at 4.6% ABV and 29 IBU. Featuring mostly Cashmere hops, there will be a limited amount of cans, numbering just over 1200, which will be perfect for tossing into your disc, or old-fashioned, golf bag to enjoy while out for a round.
– And finally, the Gahan House Hub City location in Moncton is getting closer to a reality, as the builders are making good progress at the FiveFive building at 55 Queen Street. They are currently hiring for plenty of positions, and anticipate an opening date in mid-October.
We might as well stick with the Prince Edward Island theme, as Upstreet has released a couple new beers recently. Last week (just past our deadline, but fear not, there’s still plenty available!) saw the launch of Say Yes Mocha Porter, a collaboration of sorts, brewed with the brewery’s first “Artist in Residency”, Röra Blue. Featuring the addition of coffee (steeped directly in the fermentor) from local Receiver Coffee Co., this 6% ABV beer has a “super delicious cafe mocha flavour”, according to the brewery, and is available on tap, in growlers, and in bottles, for a limited time. Their next beer launches today, and is the next entry in their Neon Friday series. Neon Friday 010: Pale Ale with New Zealand hops was actually brewed in collaboration with Calgary’s stellar Dandy Brewing Co., a four-year-old brewery that has been making waves in Alberta with their many beer styles. As the name implies, the beer was hopped with all New Zealand varieties, including Wai-Iti, Pacifica, and Dr. Rudi. At 5.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, the brew is “light and refreshing, with a chill citrus and stone fruit hop flavour combo”. You can find it today on tap, in growlers and crowlers, and in cans, at both Upstreet locations. And keep an eye out at your local NSLC, as Upstreet’s Do Gooder American Pale has hit the shelves, available in 35 stores from Yarmouth to North Sydney. Just a limited listing at this time, also peep Upstreet’s social media for the location of some pop-up tastings over the next month, including the Portland Street location today, and Barrington Street location tomorrow, both 4-8PM. And be sure to add/follow along with the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse progress (FB, Tw, IG), as they work towards opening in late September, with the first of their Dartmouth-brewed batches (and favourites from the Island).
Moving back to the Island, and on to Summerside, where the city’s first brewery has a new beer out for thirsty locals. Batten Brown is Evermoore’s fifth beer release, and the first venturing on the darker side of things. With a grist of 2-row, 6-row, and Caramel malt, it was also hopped lightly with Amarillo, and weighs in at 5.5% ABV. They’re describing it as “on the lighter side of Browns”, with light aromas of coffee and caramel. This one is available only at the Evermoore taproom, but should be travelling to other locations in the hopefully-near future.
Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is launching their latest kettle-soured beer today, Dark Berry Sour. After souring with Lactobacillus, they “packed” the beer with vine-ripened blackberries, black currants, and black raspberries. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to “heighten the dark fruit aroma”, it weighs in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV. Look for it at both Propeller locations starting today for growler fills, with 473 mL cans appearing next week (also in private stores). And hey, if you’re at the Gottingen location grabbing a growler, stick around til 5 pm, when they’ll be tapping their weekly cask; this week is Stone Fruit with lemon zest. As for those of you who aren’t into beer… why the hell are you even reading all of this? Ok, ok: Propeller is also releasing a Beer Cocktail today, Perfect Storm, made with their own Ginger Beer, rum (from Steinhart Distillery), and a hint of lime. It’s 7% ABV and packaged in cans, and can also be found at both Prop locations, and private stores. Now move on before we have to start shaking our fists in a menacing matter!
Elsewhere in Halifax, Garrison has released Hot Fuzz, a “Peach Witbier” that is only available on draft. Brewed just in the nick of time before the cool weather starts rolling in (by “cool” we mean sub-25 C), it contains both peach juice and extract, which nicely complement the fruitiness and spiciness from the Belgian yeast. Refreshing and light, and highly drinkable at 4.8% ABV, check with your local Garrison tap account to see if they have it on tap.
In Fredericton, Graystone has a new brand new beer on at their taproom, one that they’re referring to as a “mild blueberry Sour”. Fisher Fields Sour is Graystone’s first sour beer, a 5.4% ABV, 11 IBUs kettle sour brewed with a good amount of Wheat malt. Over 80 kg of whole blueberries from Oxford, NS were pureed and added to the beer after fermentation was complete, giving it a deep, ruby-red colour. Don’t be expecting too much tartness with this one, as the sour character was deliberately restrained to allow the fruit flavour to come through. And if you’re dropping by the brewery to have a pint/fill a growler, they’re eagerly waiting for your homegrown hops to be dropped off at the same time! As usual, they’ll be used in the brewing of this year’s Harvest IPA, whose sales will benefit United Way Central New Brunswick. If you’d like to learn more, send an email to email@example.com.
Straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes another Belgian inspired hoppy beer from Niche Brewing. Island in the Sun is a small beer at only 3.6% ABV, but there’s plenty of flavor packed in there, with a light tartness and a hint of funk playing against a saison yeast. On top of that, this beer was dry hopped entirely with Galaxy, an Australian hop that’s probably one of the most popular varieties of the last few years and one which presents with prominent tropical flavors, especially passion fruit. So fine [you] can’t control [your] brain, this Grisette has not quite yet all been spoken for, but confirmed purveyors include 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton, Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton, Peppers Pub, Saint John Ale House, and Eighty Three Bar Arcade in Saint John, and Ducky’s in Sackville. Check out Niche’s social medias (FB, Tw, IG) for further announcements regarding where this one will be available.
After a bit of a release-date hiccup (hey, ya gotta give breweries credit when they make the decision not to release a beer when it isn’t ready!), 2 Crows will be selling bottles of Vaquero, their tequila-barrel-aged Sour with black lime and agave, today at 4 PM. Described as “bright, tart, lightly smoky, with soft honey notes and a firm minerality”, it comes in at 5.3% ABV and will be available for purchase in 375 mL bottles.Only one barrel of this beer was produced, so as you may have guessed, quantities are extremely limited. It won’t be on tap, but bottle pours will be available for purchase in the taproom. Joe Martin from Stillwell Beergarden will be on hand from 4 pm as well, grilling up some Mexican-inspired food items to pair with the beer, so why not stay and make a couple hours of it? And great news for those of you living in Nova Scotia that aren’t exactly close to Halifax – also at 4 pm, 2C is launching their new web shop, where a bunch of their current beers (including a few bottles of Vaquero) can be purchased and delivered within the province. Head to the brewery website for more info.
The gang over at New Scotland Brewing Co in Dartmouth are settling into their new digs nicely and while the little details continue to be refined, they’re already filling the slate with musical acts and keeping the beer flowing. With the capacity for 16 taps when they’re going full bore, right now, during a crazy busy time of year (especially for a brand new brewery), they’re floating in the 8 to 10 range. Of particular note is their St. Andrews Cross Extra Pale Ale, a beer that’s destined for their ‘Signature Line’ of core brews. An easy drinking XPA, it tips the scales at 6% ABV and features an impressive floral and citrus aroma. They’re also continuing to show their affinity for mead, currently carrying two honey-based beverages on tap. The first is Mojito Mo Problems, a 5% ABV “mojito mead” that we expect carries flavors of mint and lime. Along with that is Slippery Slope, a root beer mead at 7% ABV; we feel fairly assured in expecting a bit of root beer flavor on that one. Cider is also represented, with Train Bell dry-hopped cider (6.3% ABV) and Bush Berry Cider featuring Haskap berries (6.2% ABV). Back on the beer side you’ll also find their Bonnie Kölsch (5.1% ABV), Coat of Arms 80 Shilling Amber Ale (5.1% ABV), and All the Fuss Wild Sour Gose (3.8% ABV). They’ve also got their Broun-eyed Lass Brown Ale (6.2% ABV) pouring on Nitro and look for the return of the Lowlander Stout (5% ABV) real soon now. So if your plans include Dartmouth this Labour Day weekend, maybe give a thought to checking out New Scotland; or maybe even make some plans, that works too!
Still in Halifax (sorry Gloria!), this week’s Good Robot double feature once again has Alpha and Beta aspects. On the small batch experimental beta side we’ve got one called Fuzzy Bus. Brewed with Jayson of Noble Grape and his friend Tara, it started as a straightforward, minimally-hopped pale ale that was then fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast. Towards the end of fermentation some gin-soaked wood chips were added, bringing botanicals and brightness to the mix. During its release on Beta Brewsday this coming Tuesday, look for it to have a fairly high carbonation with the littlest bubbles they could find in the CO2 tank which, combined with its other aspects, should make for a light and refreshing beer at 5.1% ABV for you to sip on the Gastroturf. Meanwhile, coming off the big ol’ alpha system to the GR taps is another take on an IPA featuring biotransformation. For those not aware, a simplified explanation is that additional hops are added while primary fermentation is still in fairly full swing, essential oils and acids from the hops get bound up with the yeast via biological and chemical magic, and the result is, ideally, a beer with a popping hop flavor, a hazy appearance, and a soft mouthfeel. This batch, dubbed Creature Feature, boasts juicy stone and tropical fruit hop flavors leading to a dry finish in a 6.4% ABV package that’s been called “dangerously yummy”. Look for it to be tapped later next week, on Thursday.
Does Big Spruce Brewing ever slow down? No, we didn’t think so either. Over the next week, they’re releasing new beers, tweaked beers, and returning beers. So let’s start with, I dunno… the tweaked beer! Refanged is a higher-ABV version of their De-fanged, a “Blood Orange Session IPA”. The new version is still brewed with Azacca hops, and features the addition of organic blood orange juice, but comes in 6.2% ABV (and 40 IBUs), bringing it comfortably into IPA territory. It’s available now on tap for pints and growler fills. Returning today is their Hugs Bunny, a 3.8% ABV Citra dry-hopped Gose, also on tap and in growlers.
In new Big Spruce brew news, we’ve got two to talk about today. The first is an experimental saison, hopped with Sorachi Ace, which is currently pouring at the brewery in Nyanza. At 7.2% ABV and 35 IBU, this should get you motivated for the long weekend’s activities. And debuting next Tuesday is Can You C’est Brut IPA, the brewery’s first crack at this new-but-quickly-gaining-in-popularity style, a collaboration with Chronicle Brewing (ON). Finishing with a gravity decidedly below the 1.000 mark, it’s plenty dry, with bitterness in the 40 IBU range and an ABV that’s up around 7.0%. Hammered with heckloads of hop hash of the El Dorado variety, expect plenty of tropical and stone fruit presence. Oh, wait, just one more Big Spruce thing: keep an eye on their social media stuff for the annual Big Spruce hopyard harvest, which should be starting next week, currently targeting Tuesday…they always appreciate those of you who can give them a hand! We’ve heard rumours that they pay in beer. Oops, sorry, one FINAL thing (!), we should also mention that the brewery has been cellaring a LOT of beer, so expect to see lots of bottles (as in, 14,000+) of barrel-aged brews coming out soon, as well as over a thousand containing bottle-conditioned Brett Saison. Ok, done!
On Nova Scotia’s North Shore, Tatamagouche used some of their own hops grown in nearby Malagash for a wet-hopped beer on Wednesday, which will be hitting the taps in a few weeks. Using 20kg of Cascade and 10kg of Crystal, they filled every vessel possible with hops during the brew day to extract all of the aroma and flavour possible from the local harvest. The malt bill featured lots of Horton Ridge malts, and the beer will be released during an event hosted by the Maritime Hop Growers Cooperative late in September (more details closer to the event).
But on tap now is the latest batch of Tata’s Rushton’s Peach, their local-peach-and-apricot-infused Sour. Featuring more than 130kg of peaches and 40kg of apricots, this 3.5% ABV Berliner Weisse is available now on draft for pints and growlers, as well as cans. Also keep an eye out for the return of their Lagerhosen, their 4.5% ABV lager brewed in celebration of the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest. The event is celebrating its 39th Anniversary this year, with the weekend events kicking off September 28th. Draft Lagerhosen is available now, with cans available next week. And look for a special limited release of Lagerhosen coming soon, which was dry-hopped with Czech Saaz and Strisselspalt, and will be available in cans and draft next week.
Let’s hop across the water to Newfoundland to round out this week’s news…
Just outside of St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewery is putting out a call for anyone who has extra rhubarb to drop it off at the brewery, as they are brewing up a pilot batch of a brand new beer today. Those who do take part will be able to enjoy the fruits (arg) of their labours once a larger batch is brewed and released in the coming months. Just pop by the Hop Shop and look forward to enjoying the beer you helped bring to life! And while you’re there, step upstairs to the taproom and grab some of their latest test batch, a 6.7% ABV Apple Saison.
On the West Coast of the Rock, in Port au Port, Secret Cove Brewing is in the final stages of brewery and taproom work, and are getting excited to open up. The brewery and taproom are located in the former Viking Lounge , which they completely overhauled to bring Secret Cove to life. Their 10 BBL (1200 litre) brewhouse from DME is installed, with the finishing touches on the steam boiler and glycol chilling system happening this week, which means passivation and water brews before any grain hits the stainless. Draft lines in the taproom are being installed, so soon, all will be missing is the beer! Keep an eye on their social media (FB, Tw, IG) for the Grand Opening announcement, which is sure to come soon. And we’ll have a full profile with Jason and Sheila ahead of their opening.
Up the TransCanada Highway, then hang a left at Deer Lake, you’ll find Crooked Feeder Brewing in Cormack. They too can see their opening fast approaching, as they have taken possession of their brewhouse and are working to get it, and their fermenters, ready for some beer. A few more inspections and touches, and the brewery will be complete, and then the focus can turn to the taproom. Keep an eye out for their announcements in the coming weeks as well (FB, Tw, IG).
In Bay Roberts, Baccalieu Trail has their brewhouse installed, and are finishing up the last few steps of testing there, while they shift focus to starting to brew beer. Keep your eyes peeled for their updates, as it now seems like a race to see which of these breweries will be opening next (FB, IG).
Still well on their way, and definitely opening this year, are a pair of breweries further East. Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has taken possession of their DME brewhouse this week, and will be working hard to have the installed and working over the next month or so. Their social media is full of pictures and updates to keep you salivating (FB, Tw, IG).
And almost back East to the big city, Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl has also taken delivery of their system from DME this week. Work in their large brewery and taproom continues, and they are aiming for a Fall launch. Stay up-to-date on their social media for the latest news and views (FB, Tw, IG).
And in 2019 openings, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company has set a location for their brewery in St. Anthony. Their five-barrel (600 litre) brewery and taproom will be located at 223-227 West Street in the town, formerly the Clock Shop Building. They are awaiting final environmental approval for that location, but will know soon.
And finally, Union Electric Brewery has announced their plans to open up in the former hydroelectric plant in Port Union. Owner Nardia McGrath, who has previously worked at other breweries including St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery, will be working with Jane Tucker, who is currently brewing at Port Rexton Brewing. There’s lots to do in the building, so follow along on their journey at their FB page.
We’ve got a few events on the go this weekend, so be sure to get out and enjoy some local beers!
You may have read our profile on Oromocto, NB’s newest brewery, morALE Brewsters, published earlier this week. This is just a reminder that the brewery’s official launch is happening today at Griffin’s Pub & Eatery, at 7 pm. They’ll have their first beer, Cornflake Cream Ale, available for pints, with members of the brewery on hand to meet up and chat about their plans.
Oktoberfest des Acadiens kicked off yesterday, and continues all weekend in Bertrand, New Brunswick. With Grand Tastings both Saturday and Sunday afternoon 1-5PM, there will be plenty of local beers pouring to try out, including the debut of a brand new beer from O’Creek Brewing, River of Fire. A 6.2% ABV IPA, it is full of malt and bitterness, but still smooth. Featuring a healthy dose of Simcoe in the dry-hop, it will also be available on tap in Moncton shortly.
A friendly reminder that Boxing Rock is holding the Grand Opening of their Test Kitchen brewhouse and retail shop in Halifax tomorrow, conveniently located on-site at Local Source Market at 2530 Agricola Street. From 10AM, drop by to check out the new pilot brewhouse, try a sample, and grab some beer to go. The first 250 people through the door will receive a free limited-edition 1.89 litre growler, entitling them $2 off fills for the life of that growler. And we can confirm that the first beer brewed on their system will be available to enjoy tomorrow, a Dulse Gose, brewed in collaboration with local homebrewer Brian Harvey, two-time winner of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge. Pop-in to see what all the fuss is about!
Big Spruce is holding their annual Pig Roast this Sunday, September 2nd. This is a community, family-friendly event that is the perfect way to send off the summer, featuring plenty of great food, live music, and lots of beer. There’ll also be free lemonade and face painting for the kiddies, free archery lessons and trials (maybe not for the smaller kiddies), and a chance to meet the team from Big Spruce Racing (yep, that’s a thing!). It all starts at noon; check the event page link above to confirm what events are going on when, when your favourite band is playing, and even a full menu! Tickets are sold at the door only, and are $30 (price include food and entertainment all day).
It’s getting to be that time of year again when breweries with hopyards are looking for folks willing to work for the satisfaction of a job well done (and, very possibly, beer) and Meander River Farm is no exception. On Sunday, September 9th, they’ll be looking for beer lovers willing to come out to their place near Ashdale, NS, to pluck the hop flowers off the bines so that they can be used in this year’s batch of Homegrown Wet-hopped Ale. This is the 8th year for the community harvest, so you’ll likely have plenty of chances to meet experienced pickers and talk hops and beer; things get underway at 9 AM, and we’re told that the taps will be flowing.
A few more things to wrap up before we let you get back to your lunch and/or beer today:
– Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has a new beer hitting the local taps these days, a Rye IPA named Axe Cutter. Currently on tap at the brewery and at La Torta in Wolfville, and sure to rotate through better beer spots elsewhere in the province shortly, this 6.2% ABV beer features plenty of hops to give it a solid bitterness complementing the Rye malt character.
– Looks like Petit-Sault may be the first brewery in the Maritimes out of the gate with a Pumpkin Ale, as their Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV) is now available on tap, with bottles appearing sometime next week. #ohthehumanity
– Saltbox Brewery brewed up another batch of their popular Rhubarb Berliner Weiss (4.8% ABV); it’s currently available on tap in limited quantities this week. And make a date to drop by around noon on September 8th to help with the brewing of their wet-hopped beer Blue Nose 1850, all hands on deck needed with hop de-bining. Those who help out will be rewarded with a pint of the beer upon release in September (and probably some goodies on the 8th, too!).
– TrailWay has brought back Fuzzy Bubbles (6.5% ABV), their India Pale Lager; look for it at the brewery now on tap and in cans, with cans also going to select ANBL stores in the province. They’ve also announced the launch of their barrel program, as they’ve recently acquired some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir barrels. We spotted some light-coloured liquid being transferred into them Thursday, so that’s “many months” minus one day until we can drink them!