Guess what? It’s Friday again! And what does that mean? Plenty of news on the great beers now available in our region. We figure you don’t need an excuse to drink IPA, or “beer”, so we skipped right over those days and hope you drank whatever the heck you wanted to. And with most of us having Monday off, we encourage starting your long weekend now!
Let’s start this week off on the Rock, as we have plenty of news to share from the Eastern part of our region this week. A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned several new beers released by Port Rexton Brewing for their second Anniversary party; details were brief at the time of writing, and now we’ve got some more information regarding one of the beers, that we feel deserves mentioning! The beer in question is New-Foeder-Land, Newfoundland’s very first foeder-aged beer. Last Spring, Port Rexton received a 9.4 hL foeder from France; previously used to hold Calvados (apple brandy), it was filled by PR with a blend of beers. The first beer was brewed last fall and aged in red wine barrels for 8 months, fermented with New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Then, they brewed an “Imperial Farmhouse Ale”, blended it with the barrel-aged beer in the foeder, and pitched their house yeast blend. The result? An 8.4% ABV beer with “a light bitterness, tartness, and lively carbonation”, completed by the Calvados and oak character from the foeder. “Lots of apricot, dried peach, and a subtle fruitiness with a hint of funk”. The only way to get to try this one is to drop by the brewery, so get down there before it’s all gone!
And available now at both the brewery, and their St. John’s retail shop, is Some Day on Hops, a light bodied, touch hazy, easy drinking Session IPA, bursting with tropical fruit on the nose and palette. It joins the Blue Steel Kettle Sour and T-Rex Porter on tap at 286 Torbay Road for growler fills today, 12-8PM, and tomorrow, 12-6PM.
Yellowbelly Brewery has released a beer celebrating this week’s Royal St. John’s Regatta, named Up The Pond. This 5.0% ABV Cream Ale is a new take on their East Coast Cream Ale, this time dry-hopped with Citra and Motueka hops. Available on tap at the brewery, it can also be found in bottles, the label sporting the official artwork celebrating the 200th anniversary of one of the oldest sporting events in North America. We sure hope all of you had a blast Wednesday (and didn’t have too hellish of a Thursday morning)!
Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has continued their sour beer releases with a pair of releases over the past few days. Both Sour Patch B’ys: Blueberry and Partridgeberry were both made with locally foraged fruit, with the Blueberry finishing quite dry, and with a pleasant berry-wine-like character, and the Partridgeberry, a tart berry in its own right, complementing the sour base beer quite nicely, and the fruit adding a jam character to the aroma. Sadly, as with the previous Sour Patch B’ys releases, these were in very small quantities, and have been and gone from the brewery in record time. Fear not, however, as there may be a keg of the Partridgeberry on tap at the Stage Head Pub, Split Rock’s taproom, during their birthday later this month. And for all you townies who have been sad to miss out on the recent fruited versions due to small batch size, they’ve got great news! The next Sour Patch B’ys (number 5 in the series) is due out in the next couple of weeks, and should be available in town. This release is an Amarillo dry-hopped version, no fruit this time. Keep an eye on Split Rock’s Social Media (fb/ig/tw) for the full details.
And now for “absolutely, definitely, available today at the brewery” beers, Split Rock’s Nar Day American Pale Ale is here/back. Previously released as an unnamed APA (and whose name is obvious to locals but us CFAs could definitely use some help), Nar Day is akin to saying “Wow, what a day we’re having today!”, as a nod to the beautiful weather they’re seeing currently in Central. At 5.7% ABV, this beer features lots of Cascade and Columbus hops in the boil, as well as a generous dry-hopping, on top of a dry finish and cleanly fermented beer. Grab a pint or growler from the brewery and crack it on the patio or campsite.
And finally in Newfoundland (for this week), Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. just released a new beer yesterday, albeit a very small batch. Curmudgeon is a Berliner Weisse, soured with Lactobacillus over two and a half days, before being fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison yeast. This 3.7% ABV brew has a “strong, clean lactic sourness with a weaker background of doughy, bready, and grainy wheat flavours”. Hop bitterness and flavour is negligible (typical for classic versions of the style), and the effervescent carbonation helps this light brew come across as extra refreshing. It’s available at the taproom for pints only.
International IPA Day was yesterday, and Lunn’s Mill helped celebrate the occasion with the release of a small batch of Soma SMaSH, a 6% ABV, 82 IBUs American IPA brewed entirely with Maris Otter, and double-dry hopped with Mosaic. The first dry-hop was added at the tail-end of fermentation, allowing for some bio-transformation thanks to the interaction of the yeast with the hop oils, with the second addition occurring once fermentation was complete. Both additions give the beer plenty of that Mosaic character most of us know and love: “tropical fruit, citrus, and a dank/piney finish”. It’s available now for pints and growlers in the Lunn’s Mill taproom, with a keg or two making their way to Stillwell in the very near future.
The crew at 2 Crows have been keeping themselves busy this summer, managing to keep their regular beers in rotation while continuing to release new and exciting brews pretty much on a weekly basis (at least). Included in these new releases are two that are hitting taps/cans today, making your long weekend planning just a bit easier! We’ll start with Ramble, a “Wild Table Witbier”. Brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a bit of Flaked Oats, it was lightly hopped with Sterling and Citra in the boil (to just 9 IBUs), with late additions of coriander and orange peel (as is customary for a Witbier). Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, and allowed to age to develop some funk, it was finally dry hopped with Citra (and some more orange zest), before being packaged with sugar and Champagne yeast to create a “nice, bright, and tight carbonation”. Maybe best of all, it weighs in at a supremely sessionable 2.9% ABV… the bad news is that only 500 cans are available!
The second 2 Crows release today is Wild Skies, a “Fruited Brett Sour”. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat and Oats, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then fermented with Amalgamation, a blend of six Brettanomyces strains. Once fermentation was complete, over 1200 lbs of peach, apricot, and blackberry puree were added. Once they realized they had a few dollars leftover, they decided to dry hop the beer with a “substantial” amount of Galaxy and Enigma, two Australian varieties that are equally as wonderful as they are expensive. This 5.2% ABV beer has also been canned, and is tasting “super fruity, tart, and lively, with just the right amount of funk”.
Another brewery continuing to release new beers throughout the summer is the North Shore’s Tatamagouche Brewing. After launching a new fruited sour, a new DIPA and Nova Scotia’s first (official) 12+% beer over the last couple of weeks, they’ve got another one out, one that’s probably a whole lot more subtle than those three. Patterson’s Porter arose from a desire to have an easy-drinking dark beer for the summer months. To that end it eschews too much roastiness, with only chocolate malt providing color and a light roast character to an otherwise quaffable 5.6% ABV beer. This one comes just in time for the other news out of Tata this week, namely that they’re installing a CellarStream nitrogen delivery system. Similar to the unit in place at Battery Park, this device allows the infusion of beer with nitrogen gas on its way from the keg to the glass. Nitrogen is not very soluble in liquid, as any scuba diver who has learned about the bends will know, so it will just push the beer along without dissolving in it, leaving the liquid in a beautiful cascading pattern; meanwhile it does not impart a carbonic “bite” to beer, and therefore yields a softer mouthfeel. It is generally deployed in darker beers, like stouts and sometimes porters, but over the last few years has even found favour with highly-hopped IPAs. Look for Tata to be able to fill your glass or your growler in a new way once it’s in place; and given that they can also apply nitrogen to kegs using the CellarStream, you might keep your eyes open for nitro versions of Tata beers to possibly appear at select tap accounts from time to time!
Sticking to the Northern part of NS, but moving from the Northumberland closer to the Fundy Shore, Meander River Farm & Brewery has a new small batch cider to tell us about, although from what we’ve heard it’s a small enough batch and popular enough that they’re already running shy. Rose Petal Cider is a dry cider using 100% Nova Scotia apples that have been infused with farm-fresh rose petals from the Meander River Farm, of course. Sweet on the nose, and decidedly floral (go figure!), it’s 5.5% ABV and boasts a crisp apple palate and a rosy finish. Only 400 L of this delightful elixir were made, and you won’t be able to find them at their usual Halifax Forum Farmer’s Market this week, so if you want to try it you’ll have to visit them at the farm this weekend. But our roving reporter on the street did happen to witness a couple of kegs being delivered to Battery Park yesterday, so keep an eye on their Untappd feed for when it hits the taps.
Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is releasing the latest version of Velvet Fog, their 6.5% ABV Milkshake IPA, today at the brewery when they open. This time around, the beer was hopped with El Dorado, and fruited with “massive additions” of raspberry puree and orange zest. Complemented by lactose powder and vanilla, to cap off that milkshake feel, the beer is “massive and round with juicy hop complexity, sweet raspberry, a bright citrus streak and a candy-like vanilla sweetness”. With the exception of a few tap accounts, you’ll likely only see this one at the brewery, where you can pick it up in cans and on tap for pints and growlers. And while there, pick up some cans of Good Weather, their returning 6.5% ABV American IPA hopped with Vic Secret and Citra.
In Fredericton (although we are contractually obligated to point out that the beer is brewed in nearby Hanwell), Niche is releasing another carefully crafted mixed-fermentation small beer for you to ponder during this impossibly hot couple of weeks. At an eminently sessionable 3.6% ABV, this beer features a very simple grist fermented with Niche’s house blend of Brettanomyces and Saison yeast strains. Aged for a month in stainless, it was then conditioned with pomegranate puree for a light tartness on the finish. Called Tafelbier, which translates to “table beer” or a low alcohol beer generally served with food, we suspect this golden-colored beer’s gentle and subtle tart and funky nature probably bears consideration on its own. You can find out for yourself at tap accounts in Saint John and Fredericton.
If you’re in Halifax and in a Black IPA kinda mood, drop by Good Robot next week for their Beta Brew release, Easy to Love. Brewed with 2-row, Cara 60, Flaked Oats, Black malt, and a touch of CaraAroma, this Black IPA (aka Cascadian Dark Ale) was hopped to 50 IBUs with Cascade, Centennial, and Polaris. Fermented with California Ale, a neutral ale yeast strain, it comes in at a relatively-low-for-the-style 5.8% ABV, and will be pouring at the source starting Tuesday. And two days later, their latest batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, a 5.7% ABV Mexican-style Lager with jalapenos and limes, will be available (don’t worry, lots of summer left!).
One of Picaroons’ long-running beers has been Best Bitter, their take on the Special Bitter English style. This week, they’ve released Extra Special Best Bitter, representing the Extra Special Bitter (ESB), the next up in line for the English Bitter series. Brewed with Maritime malt “from the NB potato belt”, and hopped with local Centennial from Southan Farms, it’s a dark amber-coloured brew, with a “strong hop bitterness balanced by a robust malt backbone”. The 6% ABV beer is available in bottles now, with 32 different labels circulating; each represents a different vintage postcard from New Brunswick. Available at all Picaroons locations, and select ANBL stores.
From one of the oldest and largest breweries in our region, and to one of the newest and smallest, let’s cap the post with a new release from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that darker beers need get short shrift. That’s the idea behind The Tay Porter, their take on a “Summer Porter”, named after friend of the brewery Taylor P. A 4.6% ABV dry porter, featuring Pale Chocolate, Midnight Wheat, Oats, and Wheat Malts, with East Kent Golding as the most prominent hop. On tap for samples and pints at the Tiny Taproom now, be sure to drop by and toast the beer fans and community that keeps the industry alive and vibrant.
Lots on the go around the region this long weekend, and be sure to check the schedule of breweries and stores before dropping by Monday…
Avon River Days is happening this weekend in Windsor, NS, area and Schoolhouse Brewery is in on the fun again this year. Starting on Friday evening with a Patio Party featuring live music from The Miths from 8 – 11 PM, the fun continues into Saturday when Schoolhouse will be hosting an Avon River Days Beer Garden starting at 7 PM and carrying on until the wee hours. With more live music from Tye Dempsey, Elektrik Boogaloo and The Basement, there will also be plenty of beer to be (responsibly) consumed. Cover is $5, but a crisp $20 bill will pay your cover and also get you your first beverage and a swank limited edition Avon River Days 2018 stainless steel pint glass. Schoolhouse will also be in effect on Sunday for the Hood Automotive Avon River Days Car Show from 10 AM – 4 PM. There’s lots more family friendly events going on, check them out at the Avon River Days website!
There’s a couple of events going on in Fredericton tomorrow, August 3rd, one involving exercise, and one involving beer! Don’t worry, they’re meant to go together. First up is the annual Fredericton Beer Run, which begins at 3 pm (registration from 2-3 pm); with various options available for distance (ranging from 0.5 km all the way to 12 km), your $57.50 ticket includes your running bib, run, water stops, and a custom beer glass with unlimited samples at the Down East Brew Festival, which follows directly from 4-8 pm. This is the first year for the outdoor event, which is being held on Carleton St. There will be roughly 25 vendors pouring a wide variety of beer, cider and mead, and the good news is if you’re not into running, you can still attend the festival! You can purchase your ticket through the link above, which gets you your own glass and unlimited samples.
A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming Austin, TX brewery Jester King to take over their Barrington Street location Sunday afternoon starting at 2 PM. There will be tons of great beers flowing, including a handful from their Spon series, blending several vintages of spontaneously-fermented beers, akin to the wonderfully complex Lambic beers of Belgium, as well as other beers not otherwise available in the region.
Next Friday and Saturday marks the annual Seaport Beerfest, making its 12th appearance on the Halifax waterfront. With more than 300 beers and ciders from across the world, there is surely something to satisfy any fan. With a healthy bunch of Atlantic Canadian breweries in attendance, there will be beers from across the country, and beers also sent over from Ireland, and for the first time, an Icelandic pavilion featuring 16 different offerings. And they’ve increased the gluten-free options again this year, so those who aren’t able to handle that can still have fun. Tickets for all three sessions are still available (Friday 7-9:30PM, Saturday 2-4:30PM and 7-9:30PM), with VIP offerings getting you in the door an hour early with a special tasting glass. And to reward our faithful readers who keep track of the news every week, we’re able to offer a pair of tickets to one of the sessions for you! All you need to do is post a picture of your favourite #AtlCanBeer on twitter or instagram, and tag @ACBeerBlog and @seaportbeerfest. The contest is live now, and we’ll end it with a random draw on Tuesday at 8PM. Good luck!
They’re still ironing out the final details, but Upstreet has scheduled their fourth annual Upstreet Block Party for Saturday, August 18th. The day-long party is always a great way to celebrate the local community, with plenty of beer, food, live music, games, brewery tours… and even a barber shop! It’ll be held at the brewery in Charlottetown as usual, with no cost to attend. Just show up and pay by the beer, haircut, whatever! Keep up with their social media pages for the specifics on bands, vendors, etc.; we’ll be sure to let you know if they have a special beer or two planned for the event as well.
Just a few more things to with this week:
– If you’re angrily wondering why it’s August and a heat wave in Halifax and there’s been no sign of Unfiltered Brewing’s summer crusher of a kettle sour Daytimer, you can stop your cursing and head down to the brewery; fills and pints as of noon today (and, actually, in this case, it’s probably best you keep up with the cursing.)
– North Brewing is bringing back the second in their Breakwater series, Breakwater Mango-Lime Sour. It follows up the Coconut-Lime that hit the taps and shelves last month, with a new pairing fruit. It will be available on tap and in cans from noon today at both the Agricola and Ochterloney shops. It will be joined soon by cans of their collaboration with Propeller, the Whip It! Lemon Meringue Sour (also available at Prop’s shops, of course).
– After a slight delay, The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour opened this week, at 7955 Hwy 7. Samples and growlers are still available, with their hours being 12-8 pm Thurs-Sat, 12-5pm Sun and Wed. Drop by this weekend to welcome them to the family!