Let’s start off this week’s post with a big congratulations to Brightwood Brewery, who opened their new Brightwood Market location at 35 Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth this week. In addition to a taproom, they have significantly upsized their brewing capacity, expanding to a 1200 litre (10 BBL) brewhouse, with fermenters and brite tanks to match. This will allow them to lengthen their reach beyond the shores of Dartmouth, but for right now they are concentrating on home base. They also took the opportunity to fully launch a new beer, Voice of the Doggos. This 5.0% ABV Saison was brewed with an addition of dried Sweetfern, for light herbal and citrus notes, complementing the clove and spicy character of the Saison yeast and Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc hops. Joining VotD on tap currently is their flagship Smokey the Beer Amber smoked beer, and Made Me Blush Rosé IPA. Drop by their location daily from 10AM-12AM to grab samples, pints, and fill growlers, and they will be expanding their food offerings very soon. Congratulations!
On Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End, Chain Yard continues to deliver interesting things. First up this week is a strong, dry cider that was triple-fermented before being aged in whiskey barrels and oaked to yield a toasty and sweet result. Dubbed Brett-muda Triangle, it’s a burly 8.9% ABV that no doubt carries a lot of character; it’s available for pints, flights and fills at the retail store. Next up is not a regular cider, but a cider kombucha blend, developed with the folks from Solas Kombucha. Scoby Snax began with a wild-fermented strawberry wine using mint from Watershed Farms on the South Shore. The wine was then blended with Chain Yard’s Foundation cider and aged before finally being blended with kombucha. Unfiltered, expect it to be a super light and refreshing beverage that tips the scales at a very quaffable 4.5% ABV.
Down the way on Robie Street, Good Robot has their usual brace of beers to talk about this week, and they’re both, in a sense, Beta Brews. First up is Tuesday’s offering for Beta Brewsday, Dad Jokes. A dark wheat beer, it features wheat, Vienna, Cara 30 and a bit of Black Patent on the malt side, matched with noble Tettnanger for hops. Light in both ABV at 5.3% and IBU at 10, it should be an easy drinker that offers to tell you a joke about paper before saying, “Nevermind, it’s terrible.” Later in the week, on Thursday, you’ll see another small batch beer from Giovanni Johnson and his Limestone Group who are experimenting with bringing Bahamian flavors to beer. Bright, light, and surprisingly dry, Pink Flamingo is a (provisional) 4.5% ABV and 15 IBU radler featuring watermelon and kiwi. Get ready for Good Robot’s Island Time on Sunday by hitting the brewery on Thursday and letting this one take your palate away to the Caribbean.
O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe, NB, has sent out a new beer this week, Saison du Sud, at 6.3% ABV and 32 IBU, dedicated to the lobster fishermen who started their season last week. Look for that one to appear at the Tide and Boar in Moncton. They’ve also got their Summer Hop’Session d’été on the way to Moncton’s Furnace Room. And expect to see their flagship IPA, Route 117, at The Joyce in Fredericton as part of an upcoming NB tap takeover event.
In Newfoundland, Port Rexton has a new summery concoction on the taps, a Citrus Tea-infused Ale. Put together in concert with their friends at The Third Place Cocktail Co., purveyors of artisanal tonic, shrubs and other serious cocktail ingredients. With citrus character including grapefruit, orange peel and fresh zest, meeting herbal notes, it clocks in at 5.4% ABV, with a fog-like haze. Comparisons with an Arnold Palmer have already been made, and what says summer more than that? If that gets your (golf cart) motor humming and you’re in the area, look for it on tap at the brewery and a limited amount has made it to the retail store in St. John’s for growler fills.
Nearby, up in Twillingate, the Split Rock crew is getting ready for their First Anniversary party on Tuesday with a few news releases this week (plus a couple more coming next week). The latest Sour Patch B’ys has hit the taps at the brewery, this time the 4.7% ABV kettle sour was hopped with Amarillo after fermentation, giving loads of pineapple and citrus flavour and aroma. Park Day Pale Ale is also available now, a 5.4% ABV English Pale, with nice light esters, hopped with Willamette and Columbus, for a floral, fruity, and herbal character. Named after local band Park Day, as two of their members are from Twillingate. It is available now at their Stage Head Pub, as well as Jack Axes and Fort Amherst Pub (shortly) in St John’s. And as for Tuesday’s big celebration, drop in all day for live music, free cake, and plenty of prizes to toast their first year, and look out for the return of two very special small batch beers for the occasion.
Let’s skip across the water back to Nova Scotia, where 2 Crows is releasing a beer nearly one year in the making is finally seeing the light of day. Smackwater Jack is a Farmhouse Ale that started with a grist of Pilsner malt, raw and malted wheat, and oats, and was lightly hopped with Calypso, Centennial, and Columbus (to 26 IBU), before being fermented directly in one of their foedres with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. After primary fermentation, the beer received two additions of local quince fruit, totalling 140 kg. With a total of 6 months of aging on the fruit, the beer was carbonated to a high level to allow the fruit and yeast character to shine, and is now available in cans at the brewery. Featuring funk and fruit, and a light acidity, this complex beer is pouring on draught, as well as available in cans to take away.
Another beer to seek out this weekend is Lazy Bear’s newest release, Lazy Lager. An unfiltered German Pilsner, this 4.8% ABV beer is golden, clean, crisp, and supremely refreshing on these hot and humid Maritime days and evenings. It is available at the brewery and at their market tables tomorrow at the Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market and Sunday at the Digby Waterfront Market (if it lasts that long!). Sorry townies, it likely won’t leave the area, so you’ll have to take a trip to grab a pint!
Let’s take off for Scudrunner in Gander Newfoundland, who are debuting a new beer today. Thunderhead Stout is a 6.5% ABV stout full of dark roasted malts, and generous additions of locally-roasted Columbian coffee, thanks to Gros Morne Coffee Roasters. Named after the aviation terminology for dense clouds ready to drop thunder, lightning, and rain in the area, this 6.5% ABV beer will get you up and at ‘em every morning. Pouring only at the brewery for samples and pints for now, it will make a wider debut later this month.
And speaking of coffee beers, Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is dropping one of their own today, a new version of their coffee stout, this one is named Vanilla Beans. Taking their base 6.3% ABV coffee stout (beans care of local roasters Whitney Coffee, who sell a proprietary “TrailWay Blend”), it was then conditioned on loads of pure vanilla. The roast, chocolate, and vanilla flavours come together in a lovely meld that is perfect on its own or as a dessert-like experience. The beer is available now at the brewery. And while you’re there, check out the latest release of their Yada Yada Pilsner, weighing in at 5.0% ABV, and dry-hopped with Australian Topaz hops. A blend of New World and Old in a can!
We’ve got a few more newsbites to share before we let you go today:
– Garrison has brought back their ever-popular Nit-Wit Belgian Witbier, the first winner of the Home Brew-Off, and appearing now for the first time in cans. Grab it now at the brewery, shortly at the private stores, and soon on tap in restaurants and bars in the region.
– Tidehouse in Halifax has Pitcher’s Perfect Pineapple NEIPA once again, a 6.3% ABV IPA in the New England style with pineapple added to the fermenter. And if you missed Tiger Tail Ice Cream Ale last week, fear not, they’ve got another batch ready to go! Available by the glass and in bottles (limit 6/person).
– In Northern New Brunswick, Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault are the latest brewery to try their collective hand at the Northeastern/New England IPA style. Calling their offering la Spoutnique, you can only find it in Edmundston at the brewtique.
– Gahan Port City in Saint John has a new beer on tap this week, Hoppy Stone Fruit Pale Ale. At 5.3% ABV and 42 IBU, this beer was conditioned on 20 kg of peaches, lending their flavour and aroma to the overall beer. For an insight into the folks who brew the Gahan beers, as well as from the HQ at PEI Brewing Company, tune into this week’s 902 BrewCast, as Kyle, Phil, and Tony took the bridge to Charlottetown and sat down with Chris and Spencer to get the scoop. Grab the episode here.
– Ciderama continues at Stillwell’s HQ and Beergarden today, with ciders from across North America, and Europe, pouring at both locations. Plus they’ve got several thoughtful small plates made to pair. Check their social media to see the full list and what’s pouring now.
Lots of funky eclectic beers going on for sure…I however love a brew that is a killer representation of a classic style…Pils, Trappist, Cream, stout, whatever…straying into sours and bacteria brewed beers only brings back my disappointment of fucking up whatever I was trying to achieve…regardless Nova Scotian breweries are cranking out some stellar shit!
Totally understandable! Yes, the road to sour beer is fraught with dangers, but thankfully the breweries who are undertaking them are trying their best to keep the right yeasts and bacteria in play, and the wrong ones out.