We hope you’ve all recovered from your turkey, ham, or whatever food you used to celebrate Thanksgiving on the weekend. The brewers certainly had a good rest, because they’ve got a metric crap-ton of new beers and events to keep you satisfied this weekend. Let’s skip the small talk and get right to the good stuff!
In case you missed our heads-up post, the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse brewery and restaurant opened in Burnside yesterday. Sporting a 10 BBL (1200 litre) brewhouse, and a full BBQ pit straight from the South, the Upstreet crew teamed up with Chef Inspired (of the Cheese Curds and Habaneros restaurants) to do a One-Two punch on food and beer. Drop by daily (except Monday) from 11 AM for food and beer to enjoy there or takeaway. Speaking of beer, there are a pair of new releases from Upstreet on the shelves and taps in Dartmouth and Charlottetown this week. Launching yesterday was the Major Tom Sour, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped sour, featuring a grapefruit citrus aroma and flavour thanks to New Brunswick-grown Centennial and Chinook, with a refreshing underlying acidity. Bottles are available in Dartmouth, as well as the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown. And launching today is the twelfth in their Neon Friday series, Tropic IPA. This 6.0% ABV 40 IBU IPA features Amarillo, Citra, and Ekuanot hops for heavy tropical notes of orange, papaya and mango, with a touch of floral aroma from the hibiscus added to the beer. While it begins with a sweet flavour, it has a dry finish and high carbonation, clearing the palate quickly (and inviting you back for another sip!).
We have a few big news items to tell you about Berwick’s Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse. First off, last month they released cans of their extremely popular Box Cutter IPA. This 6.9% ABV ode to hops has been winning awards in the region for years, but this was the first time available outside of draught or growler-if-you-visit-the-brewery format. And not only is BC now available in an easy-to-grab format, it is also available at NSLC locations all across the province. 3 pallets of the good stuff was distributed from Yarmouth to Sydney, and should be found at your local shop (if not, ask the manager to bring it in!). And we’ve heard it’s been super-successful on their shelves, and they’ve requested another delivery from Bad Apple.
And in perhaps even bigger news, if you’ve spotted a new apple-themed bar just off Main Street in Wolfville, your eyes are not deceiving you! The Core by Bad Apple opened on the weekend, with a small pilot brewery onsite, sit down taproom where flights and pints can be enjoyed, and retail beer to go. Eschewing the standard glass growlers, and always innovating to new highs (or lows?), they are instead offering fills in their Bottle Rockets, a reusable high density 2 litre plastic bottle (complete with BAB-stamped paper bag). Drop by their location at 3 Elm Avenue daily from 12 – 8 PM (closed Mondays).
Quidi Vidi brewing in St. John’s, Newfoundland continues their renaissance with three new beers hitting the taps this week. Up first is Open Saison on Rhubarb, a beer with a wittily self-explanatory name. In the saison style, this pale gold beer is said to be “strangely reminiscent of a Jam-Jam.” Grainy-sweetness balances with rhubarb tartness on the palate, while you’ll note red berry and biscuit on the nose. A sharp bitterness and a dry finish complete the picture for this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBU beer. Next is the Metal Kettle Sour, a Berliner Weisse-style sour that might have you longing for the summer just past. Highly-carbonated, light and crisp, there’s still plenty of flavor in this very sessionable beer. With a flavor that is “almost cider-like,” there’s a definite apple tartness along with notes of lemon and sourdough bread. You’ll be able to have a few of these too, as it comes in at a paltry 3.2% ABV and 9 IBU. And finally is Femme Fatale, a beer brewed in collaboration with the St.John’s International Women’s Film Festival running in town from October 17 – 21. A coffee stout, it’s dark as night, with a long lasting cappuccino-toned head, mocha and toasted grain aromas, and burnt caramel and café au lait flavors on the palate that yield to a smooth coffee finish. At 5.7% ABV and 28 IBU, this one won’t knock you over with heat or bitterness, but is more likely to make its mark subtly and sensually. Look for all three of these beers starting today at the brewery with the Open Saison on Rhubarb also available in bottles to go from the brewery, NLC, and some convenience stores.
Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery continues to roll out the new hotness since opening their digs on Portland Street. You may recall that part of the plan for the expansion out of the garage and into their own facility was the addition of packaging to the mix. Hitherto only available in growlers, at tap accounts, and then pints at the brewery, Brightwood beer is now available in cans thanks to their new canning line! To this point they’re still working out the kinks and they’ve only processed Made Me Blush, their Belgian IPA with rosehips and hibiscus, but the plan, of course, is to put more of their beers into cans, with the The Big Lift American IPA and Portland St Porter likely the next to be packaged. We’ll be sure to let you know when that happens. For now, if you’d like to experience the novelty of Brightwood Beer in a can, you can grab one with your meal at Stone Pizza or pick some up to go from the brewery and enjoy it in the comforts of your own home. We expect once they get rolling you’ll be able to find their products at the private stores in Halifax as well.
Also doing cool stuff in Dartmouth is New Scotland Brewing. Continuing to differentiate themselves in the HRM market with meads, they’ve got two hitting the taps this weekend, one that’s coming back for a second go-round and one that’s all new. The return engagement is their Slippery Slope, a Root Beer mead that folks requested so much they couldn’t help but make another batch. At 6.6% ABV it packs some punch and, we can’t help but presume, a significant root beer flavor as well. The brand new one is called Steep Curve, which they’re referring to as an “autumn-inspired spiced mead.” Light and drinkable, but carrying a hefty 7.4% ABV to warm you up in the cooler days of October, it features a special blend of teas and spices courtesy of Phil from World Tea House (that guy is everywhere in the NS brewing scene these days!!) Look for both of these meads to hit the taps tomorrow afternoon at the brewery.
Like many smaller breweries in the region, we didn’t hear much from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia’s Heritage Brewing over the past couple of months, as they no doubt were up to their eyeballs keeping up with summer demand, but this week they’ve come out of the woodwork with not one but three things for us to mention. The first, appropriately enough, is a beer. Hopfenweizen is a traditional German wheat beer (Hefeweizen) punched up for the modern palate with plenty of hops. Heavy late and dry hop additions of two modern German varieties, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria were designed to give fruity and citrus aromas to complement the traditional banana and clove yeast profile. Look for this 5% ABV and 15 IBU brew on tap at the brewery this weekend. Next up is the news that Heritage is another brewery that is getting into the canning game with product soon to be hitting the shelves at the NSLC. And how do we know this? Well, that’s the third bit: Heritage are the brewery featured in the 902BrewCast episode that dropped this past Tuesday. Check out the episode with your favorite podcast app and hear more about the brewery, their beer and their plans for the future.
Halifax’s North Brewing Company is completing their trifecta of sour beers known as the Breakwater Series this week with the release of the third and final installment. Breakwater Pineapple Lime Sour is a summery kettle sour that was tarted up with the Lactobacillus blend from Escarpment Labs. In addition, lime zest and, you guessed it, pineapple were added as well. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV, and with artwork by Josh Horner, you’ll be able to find cans in singles and 4-packs as of this afternoon at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops. Come get a last little fruity, tart and refreshing taste of summer before the cold weather sets into your bones.
Still in Halifax, and still in the north end, Propeller has a new beer in their Small Batch Series coming out this afternoon, one that’s been a while in the making. Citra Pale Lager is a golden lager that was brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped up with Citra cryo hops for notes of melon, grapefruit and passion fruit. Cold-conditioned for an extended period to achieve a smooth and crisp finish, it will only be available for growler fills and pints in the Propeller Tasting Room. And as we mentioned last week you can also look for Nocturne Black IPA during Saturday night’s Nocturne. They’ve got a handy-dandy mobile-friendly guide website with a map that will help you locate the beer between your visits to the various exhibits around the city. Nocturne will also be featured at this evening’s Cask Night feature, pouring from 5 – 10 PM at the Gottingen Street taproom as a Nocturne Eve celebration. And lastly if you’re in the “pumpkin beer is awesome” camp and especially if you like Propeller’s version, they’ve let us know that this year’s version has been extremely popular and that they’re expecting to be out by Halloween. So if you haven’t gotten your gourd on, you best be making your move; cans are almost gone already, but six packs of bottles are still in fair supply.
We hinted at a new American Pale Ale from Spindrift a few weeks ago, and you may have noticed their campaign both online on social media and in the real world via more traditional formats, but next week will finally see the release of the beer. Dubbed Free Trade, it’s a deep gold and moderately carbonated brew made with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat and Crystal malts and hopped with Magnum, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. Look for pine, grapefruit and floral notes from the hops balanced against a solid malt backbone. Packaged in 473 ml cans, expect this 5.5% ABV, 40 IBU tribute to one of the pillar styles of North American craft beer to be available at NSLC locations around mid-week next week.
In cider news this week, Halifax’s Chain Yard has another new one. Brett to be Determined is more than just a clever name, it’s a wild-fermented Brett cider made using two varieties of apple: Jonagold and McIntosh. Dry, with a tropical fruit nose and a clean finish, it’s been left unfiltered and tips the scales at 6.1% ABV. You’ll find it only at their location on Agricola Street for pints, as part of flights, and for growler fills.
In Fredericton, Trailway is at it again packing as much fruit and hop character as they possibly can into beer before releasing it to a frenzied public. This week’s release is the return of Hopical Trop, their heavily fruited and heavily hopped DIPA. Described by the brewery themselves as the result of “[taking] this beer further than [they’ve] ever taken it,” massive amounts of apricot and mango puree were added in addition to damn near illegal levels of El Dorado hops, yielding a thick and hoppy tropical fruit bomb with a 8% ABV that will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You can grab it at the brewery starting at opening today, but if you do, be sure to drink it right up while the fruit and the hops are at their absolute peak; this beer isn’t meant to be aged!
Way way up in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Split Rock have released a new beer this week as well. 6-String Session IPA an easy-drinking 4.3% ABV beer packed with plenty of hop flavor. Leveraging five hop varieties, it’s easy to see where that flavor comes from, as Magnum, Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook and Mosaic all saw action in the making of this one, but they also added a sixth hop source, in the form of some local wild hops that were also included in the mix! With a citrus and grapefruit aroma leading to a dominant grassy flavor, look for a big hop bite throughout. And with such a low ABV you can maybe have a couple and really take some time to savor all the flavors coming from those hops. 6-String is on tap now at the Stage Head Pub.
On the South Shore of NS, specifically in Chester Basin, Tanner & Co. Brewing has some news for us as well. First off is the first of their fall beer releases, Dunkel Weizen. Translated from the German as, literally, “dark wheat,” this is a (surprise!) dark wheat beer! Featuring the traditional characteristics of clove and banana esters from the yeast paired with a doughy presence from the wheat, there are some non-traditional things going on as well due to a complex grain bill that brought some roastier malt character and even a touch of rye spiciness. At 5.5% ABV and 14 IBUs, expect an easy drinking but complex beer with plenty of yeast character. The other piece of pertinent news from Tanner is that they’re getting into packaging as well, in the form of bottles. To date they have two of their regular offerings, Nelson Saison and Lemon Lavender both available at the brewery with more in the works over the next couple of weeks. Look for them to possibly appear at the private stores in Halifax over the coming weeks as well; we’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.
In the bustling beertropolis that is the Kennebecasis Valley of New Brunswick (seriously, there’s breweries everywhere up there!) Hammond River Brewing has already started to package their first run of this year’s Imperial Vanilla Porter. That 8.2% ABV beauty is seeing kegs and should start to be available at tap accounts in the near future. Just like always, owner and brewmaster Shane Steeves will also be doing a version of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter with Maker’s Mark bourbon that will be released somewhere in the environs of 9.2% ABV. In a bit of a departure this year, we’ve also been advised that he’ll also be doing versions using Bulleit and Tin Cup bourbons as well. But wait, there’s MORE! Shane will also be putting 225 litres of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter into a Glenora Whisky Barrel for a while, which will yield Glenora Barrel-aged Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter. You won’t be saying that three times quickly, especially after you’ve had a glass or two. Look for firm release dates for these on social media, especially HRB’s Facebook page.
After a week where Good Robot not having any news for us was news enough to write about, Kelly saved us from having to figure out what we’d do if there were no GR news for a second week in a row by sending us some. First up is a beer that was released yesterday at the brewery, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale. Nominally a fairly straightforward pale ale in the Good Robot style, this 5.8% ABV and 46 IBU brew was also dosed with terpenes, which are the smelly molecules in lots of plants. Particularly certain plants we love, like hops and cannabis. Not that there’s any cannabis in this beer; that wouldn’t be legal. But there’s a mix of terpenes like there are in cannabis, and not only cannabis, but a particular strain of cannabis called Granddaddy Purp. We ain’t starting the ACWeedBlog though, so that’s where we’ll stop it with the ganja talk. We figure if you really want to you can Google “Granddaddy Purp” and find plenty of interesting things (OMG it’s so PUUUURPLE!!). To recap, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale is a beer at Good Robot that probably smells like weed but won’t get you high. Drink it anyway.
Launching today in the GR taproom, as well as around the city, is a collaboration they brewed with Gahan House and Garrison in celebration of this month’s Halifax Pop Explosion. The three breweries are co-sponsors of the October 17-20 music festival, taking place at many venues across the city. The beer fit to toast the event is Lizard Queen (cue the Simpsons references), a 4.8% ABV Pale Ale, with a light body (Flaked Wheat and Oats are included in the malt bill), featuring loads of El Dorado, Simcoe, and Mosaic near the end, and after, the boil, for massive citrus and tropical aroma and flavour, and certainly worth crowd-surfing for. It is on tap at Good Robot today, and we believe the same can be said for Gahan and Garrison, and will be available at several of the HPX venues.
Also this coming week is the triumphant return of BetaBrewsday wherein GR taps a keg of a beer brewed by Kelly with someone from the community. This time it was a gentleman named Randy who, recently retired, decided that brewing a beer might be a fun thing to do. We suspect he’s onto something there. Randy and Kelly talked lots about his grandkids while they brewed a Red Ale that came in at 6.4% ABV and 30 IBU that they’re calling Simply Red. You can try it at the brewery on Tuesday starting at 4 PM.
Halifax’s littlest brewery (don’t worry, they’ve got big attitude), Tidehouse, has two re-releases out this week at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street. First up is The Sex, an itsy bitsy huge honking Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout at 11.9% ABV. Hit with some raspberries and port-fortified, it takes on some chocolate and fruit notes along with an aged character that might make you believe it had spent some time in a barrel. With just enough hop presence and bitterness to keep it on the right side of sweet, you can buy it by the bottle (expect a bottle limit to be in effect) or sit and have a 4 oz glass on site from 2 PM today. Careful though, this one could very well creep up on you like a Russian Dictator on a horse. And previously returning earlier this week was the Cryo Me a River, an NEIPA featuring all Cryo Mosaic and Simcoe hops which were all added towards the end of the boil and in the fermenter. Expect a hazy, bright and hoppy result that you can purchase and take away in growlers or sit and enjoy by the pint or as part of a flight.
As is their yearly tradition, Boxing Rock has announced that they will once again be releasing their U-889 Russian Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla Beans this year. For the first time, however, they are offering the chance for folks to pre-order cases and half-cases and save on the retail price. Twelve bottles can be had for $100 (regular $126) or 6 for $55 (regular $63). If you’re interested you can contact the brewery to place your order and pick it up when it’s ready in late November, either at their HQ in Shelburne or in Halifax at their Local Source location.
On Cape Breton Island, in the little burg of Nyanza, Big Spruce has not one, not two, but FOUR new beers on the taps this weekend. I Love Lucy is their fresh hop offering this year, featuring hops grown right on Big Spruce’s farm. Cascade, Centennial and Chinook varieties were packed into this 7.0% ABV, 40 IBU beer that positively screams with local flavor. Bucklaw Baby is a new NEIPA that also hits the 7.0% ABV mark, but with a slightly burlier 53 IBU. Going a little farther afield for the hops, it includes Amarillo, Waimea, and Mosaic for notes of pineapple and grapefruit and a floral character as well. Rounding out the hoppy offerings is Heavy Handed, a 5.4% ABV and 38 IBU American Pale Ale that was “crammed” with Nugget, Centennial, and Amarillo. This one is expected to be a hit with those who are already fans of Big Spruce’s flagship APA Kitchen Party. And last but not least, and taking a left turn from the hop onslaught, is a collaboration brew done with the gang from Halifax brewing collective Bràthair Brewing. Mostly an authentic Gose, it’s got a twist of lemon, both figuratively, in the form of Lemon Drop hops, and literally, with an addition of fresh lemon zest. Reunited Gose Feels So Good is bright and fruity with an herbal character and a snappy finish. All four of these beers are available at the brewery right now; keep an eye on Big Spruce social media to see where kegs might pop up at tap accounts.
And rounding out the news this week is more news on the exciting project from Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing and Acadia University. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from NSBI, they are continuing a research project looking at indigenous yeasts. Working with Drs. Russell Easy and Allison Walker of Acadia University, the team collected more than 300 samples from across the province (including some notable landmarks that we’ll tell you about soon!), before isolation and testing to ensure they can ferment wort, are alcohol- and hop-tolerant, and taste good! The research is ongoing, so we’ll update you on the project once more information is available. And for a taste of local hops, their Bluenose 1850 wet-hopped beer is available now in the taproom. Brewed with hops from High Tide Hops Farm, look for lots of green and citrus aroma and flavour thanks to the fresh hops.
Let’s check out the beer events happening in our region over the next little bit…
Nackawic Big Axe Brewing is celebrating the Grand Opening of their new brewery and taproom this weekend. Haddies Fish and Chips will be onsite starting today, but the big party kicks off tomorrow. With a 1PM ribbon cutting, plus brewery tours at 2, 3, and 4PM, and music as well (Oland Monteith starts at 3PM, Crosscut at 8PM). Check the full details on their Facebook Event Page for more info. Congratulations!
Also celebrating their Grand Opening is Halifax’s HopYard. From opening at 11AM tomorrow, they will be slinging some awesome beers from around the Maritimes, thanks to the great breweries on their To Call list. And this is the last weekend of their Fan Favourites menu, so be sure to load up on those dishes you’ve tried before and missed, or want to enjoy for the first time. More details here.
One final reminder that Niche Brewing is taking over the taps at Stillwell on Barrington Street tomorrow. Starting at 4PM, the Cool Kids from Hanwell will be on hand to chat beer, how damn expensive vanilla has become, and the minutiae of Fredericton geography. Check last week’s post for the full taplist (including substitutes as the first kegs are emptied). Great food will accompany, thanks to Chef Graeme Ruppel and Co in the kitchen.
Next Thursday is the latest Tap Takeover in Battery Park’s arsenal, this time from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. Starting at 11:30AM on October 18th, 2C is taking over their 18 taps with kegs of many core beers, past one-off and seasonal favourites, as well as the debut of at least five new beers. We won’t spoil the fun as to what you can expect (in all honesty, we don’t know yet either!), but we can assure you it WON’T be the new beer they brewed on the weekend. They took their pilot system on a bit of a trip to the great outdoors, where they brewed up a traditional lambic-style wort, including Pilsner and raw wheat, and aged hops (used for their preservative qualities more than anything else). Left overnight, it was spontaneously inoculated, with wild yeasts doing the job a lab pitch would normally do. And in keeping with traditional methods, the beer will ferment and condition for many months (maybe even a few years), as the different yeast and bacteria do their job. We’ll be sure to let you know when *this* one is coming out!
Later in the month, on October 30th, Dolma Food in Moncton is hosting an evening of beer knowledge with Patrice Godin of Acadie-Broue. Godin has been brewing on a small scale since 2010, and Acadie-Broue was the first of the nanobreweries (sub-100 litre) in our region. Using knowledge from both professional and brewing life, he will be sharing his insights on the brewing process, how to get started with homebrewing (and scaling up to commercial), as well as tasting through a flight of beer (Godin is also an accomplished BJCP judge). Tickets are available online now, or in store.
Just a couple more things before we let you go this week:
– Garrison Brewing has announced the style for their upcoming 2019 Home Brew-Off Competition, the 6C Dunkles Bock. This is the 11th year for this competition, whose winning entry will be brewed on their system and see wide release across the Maritimes. Entries won’t be due until next year (probably mid-February), but we wanted to let you all know so you can start your recipe trials now!
– In Sydney, Breton Brewing has released version 2.0 of a beer in their refreshing and low ABV series of sours: Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Sessions has a hint of up front sweetness and a sour kick at the finish and in between will have you thinking of Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb jam. Available at the brewery only for pints and fills.