We received a wide variety of weather across the region this week, with unseasonal highs, lots of wind and rain, and maybe even a dusting of snow in some places. Welcome to fall in Atlantic Canada! If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes…. and it will probably get worse. Worry not, beer fans, as we have plenty of new beers to keep you going no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. Plus a new brewery in Newfoundland is opening their doors, which is a great reason to take a #Baycation. A reminder that the provincial liquor stores will be closed Sunday for Remembrance Day, and some breweries and bars will be showing their respects by closing or adjusting hours, so be sure to check before you make the trip.
We’ve got great news for beer lovers on/near The Bay, as Baccalieu Trail Brewing in Bay Roberts, NL, is opening their doors this weekend! Open 12 – 11 PM Saturday, drop by their location at 1 CBS Highway (just before the causeway to Spaniard’s Bay) to grab samples, pints, and growlers of four of their beers. Look for their Blonde, ESB, Porter, and New England IPA to be pouring, plus lots of merch to show off your Bay Brewery pride! We hope to have a full Profile on Baccalieu Trail in the very near future, but until then, we’ll have to live vicariously through your pictures, so be sure to tag them and us (@ACBeerBlog) so we can follow along! Congratulations to the entire Baccalieu Trail family!
Out in Harvey, New Brunswick, Think Brewing has a new beer for you to sample, their first in several months. Forest Reflections (named, perhaps, to encourage some contemplative time when outside of the city… or maybe just because it sounds cool!) is an American IPA brewed with 2-row, Flaked Wheat, Oats, and a bit of Munich malt. This beer is all about the late-addition and dry hops, including Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and a small amount of Galaxy. As you would likely expect when you see those names, this beer has a good amount of juicy, tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a moderate bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 6.8% ABV, and can be currently found on tap at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton, Cask and Kettle in Saint John, and the Tide & Boar in Moncton. And who knows, maybe if the beer goes over well (and it should!), maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see it join the other members of the Think bottle line-up!
There’s been lots of activity at a couple of the Gahan House locations in the Maritimes; let’s start off with Gahan Port City, in Saint John. They’ve got two new beers hitting taps at this location, both of which are named pretty straightforward, so you know what you’re getting! Rye IPA is a copper-coloured, dry, Rye IPA that was hopped with Azacca and Mosaic, giving some tropical fruit flavours to complement the touch of spice character from the Rye malt. The bitterness is firm at 52 IBUs, and it clocks in at 5.9% ABV. Next up is Brett Table Beer, an easy-drinking (4.1% ABV, 18 IBUs) brew fermented with “a blend of Brettanomyces strains” from Escarpment Labs. Hopped solely with Mosaic to give “tropical fruit notes of pineapple, guava, and lime”, the beer was modelled after one of the brewer’s favourite beers (we’re going to guess Allagash Little Brett, another low-ABV, Brett beer hopped entirely with Mosaic). Look for both beers to be currently pouring at Port City.
Moving over to PEI, Gahan Charlottetown has not one, not two, but THREE new beers now on tap! The first beer, Maritime Homegrown Lager, was brewed to celebrate the Maritime brewing community. Brewed with Vienna malt from Horton Ridge (NS), Santiam hops from Darlings Island Farm (NB), and water from PEI, the simple recipe yielded a “crisp, drinkable” 4.5% ABV, 23 IBUs Vienna Lager. Second-up is XXL Saison, a collaboration with Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing. As the name suggest, this is a strong Saison – at 8.3% ABV – which was brewed with 2-row and Wheat malt, with additions of Ultra hops from NB (Darlings Island, again), and honey from PEI. The beer, fermented with a dry Saison strain (BE-134, specifically), has “aromas of fruit and spice, with a mild honey aroma, and a snappy and refreshing dryness”. It finishes moderately bitter to help offset the larger grain bill. While pouring at Gahan Ch’town, it’s also available on tap at Foghorn, and on tap at a few locations in Fredericton, including Gahan Riverside and The Joyce. And last but not least is a New England IPA brewed in honour of longtime Gahan brewer Trent Hayes, who has been with Gahan Charlottetown for 20 years. Trent Hayes’y IPA (get it?) was hopped with Citra and Columbus in the kettle, and dry-hopped heavily with more Citra, and Huell Melon. Wheat and Oats were used in the grist to give a smooth mouthfeel (and up the haziness), going great with with the beer’s “notes of overripe strawberry, honey dew, and navel oranges”. It’s pretty low-ABV (5.1% ABV) for an IPA, with 44 IBUs to provide a bit of bitterness. There’ll also be a limited can run of this one; look for that in the next few weeks.
From one Island to another, let us tell you about the newest release from Sydney’s Breton Brewing. They have just released a winter seasonal beer, the Gingerbread Holiday Ale. Starting with a base of a London ESB, at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU, with notes of ginger and cinnamon to evoke feelings of winter. The beer is available at the NSLC and brewery as a holiday gift pack, with two beautifully-designed cans and a Breton glass, perfect for gifting or enjoying now with a friend. There are a select few kegs to be distributed in the wild, as well.
With their recent purchase of the Bowl-a-Drome, a long-standing (>50 years) bowling institution in Fredericton, TrailWay has created a new beer intended to be the house brew for their latest acquisition… and prepare yourselves, for it’s not a hoppy style! Candlepin Kolsch is, of course, a Kolsch, a clean, crisp, easy-drinking German style that has been brewed and enjoyed for centuries. TrailWay’s take on the style involves all-German ingredients: German Pilsner malt, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, and a German Ale yeast strain. Since this style of beer is traditionally crystal clear, TrailWay made use of fining agents for the first time, and the result is decidedly-different from what we’re used to seeing from the haze-enamored brewery. Expect “a fantastic sweetness that is balanced by an attenuated fermentation, and a low-but-present hop character”, according to the brewery. It’s an easily-drinkable-in-quantity 4.5% ABV; while it will be available on tap at TW starting today, along with a small amount in cans, this beer will regularly be exclusive to the Drome.
More bottle goodness coming your way today from Tidehouse Brewing in the form of two different barrel-aged-coffee beers, both of which were brewed in collaboration with the fine folks at Low Point Coffee. The base beer is about the same for both brews (think: Brown Ale with Oats, Flaked Barley, Pale Chocolate, Crystal 30 L and Midnight Wheat in the grist, and a bit of lactose in the boil), but the coffee beans have a different origin. Invicta! (6.7% ABV) features Colombia Tolima coffee beans that were aged in Tawny port barrels, giving the beer “tart cherry on the nose, with dark chocolate, subtle peach, and light oak, backed up by dark fruit, tangerine and cranberry, with a hazelnut finish”. Meanwhile, Quetzalcoatl! (7.1% ABV) has Mexico Tapachula Chiapas beans, aged in tequila barrels; expect “black currant and red licorice” in the aroma, “with notes of vanilla, spice, and red apple” on the palate, all with a light-bodied, silky mouthfeel package. Both beers are available by the bottle only (limit of 6/person), starting today at 2 pm. Drink ‘em fresh, to fully experience the coffee!
After a brief hiatus, Good Robot’s Beta Brews are back, with their next entry, Tainted Love, hitting their taproom next Tuesday. Brewed with Carly B, this one is a Black Lager hopped lightly with Hersbrucker (to just 9 IBUs), and fermented with an American Lager yeast strain. In true Beta Brew fashion, the experimentation continued, this time in the form of additions of vanilla and ginger. Just 4.5% ABV, as always you’ll have to swing by the GR taproom to give it a taste. And a couple of days later, kegs of El Espinazo del Diablo will officially be out and about, at GR and local tap accounts.
Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a special Double Bill gift pack this year, the continuation of their Fisticuffs Series. The first in the series was a barrel-aged Barleywine, released back in March 2018. This time around, they have two big beers that will be available at the brewery, their Local Source Market retail location, as well as select NSLC stores around the province. The first is Chardonnay Barrel Aged Barley Wine, weighing in at 11.0% ABV, which began life as an English Barleywine, before spending several months in an oak Chardonnay wine barrel, enhancing the malt character with notes of dark fruits like plum, prune, and fig, with hints of vanilla. Post-barrel-aging hopping increases the light fruit notes, which finishes with a soft carbonation. The second is Barrel Aged Tripel, also tipping the scales at 11.0% ABV. A classic Tripel (think light-coloured malt with Noble hops and a fairly clean Belgian yeast), then spent 8 months in oak, bringing out bread and biscuit flavours to play off of the lightly bitter and spicy base beer, as well as more dried stone fruit. The dual gift pack will be available very soon at the brewery, and the individual beers *may* be available as well, but we suggest buying both for a great night in by the fire.
And while we have you, be sure to drop by Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, November 15th, as Boxing Rock is taking over the taps with 12+ taps of core beers, brand new releases, special cellared kegs, and much more! The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and the Boxing Rock crew will be on hand to chat beer, and will have merch to share.
Coming soon to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, is Landwash, a brewery with a strong pedigree. Co-owners Chris Conway and Christina Coady were the founding brewers at Folly Brewing in Toronto. The third piece of the ownership and development puzzle is Jennifer Defreyne, a engineer with 20 years of project management experience. They’re building a 15 bbl system with PEI’s DME Brewing Solutions that is expected to produce 1,000 hL per year. While they’ve got the brewing side of the operation sorted, at least for now, they’re looking for some folks to fill taproom and retail positions. Beer knowledge and a love for beer are key, as is previous experience in serving and hospitality. As they’re hopefully opening by early December, you’ll want to get your boogie on the application process if you’re interested. Resumes should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re not looking for work but are interested in learning more about Landwash, we’re working to have a profile of the brewery in the coming weeks.
As is so often the case in our region and many others, the changing of the seasons tends to bring a change in seasonal offerings from breweries. And although the old saying that “people like dark/heavy/higher alcohol beers more in the winter than the summer” is fading in its influence – Barleywine is for life, not just for Christmas – some seasonal habits are hard to break and, frankly, if your drinking public is used to a beer coming out at a particular time of year, why not play into that expectation sometimes? So it is with Propeller’s Coffee Porter. Using specialty malts for a deep color and Java Blend Fog Burner coffee for an extra kick of flavor, it also features hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt along with a smooth finish. Look for it both in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and NSLC and for pints and growler fills in the Tasting Room on Gottingen Street in Halifax. And if you didn’t get enough of their Pumpkin this year before it disappeared from store shelves, fear not, you’ve got one more chance. A single keg was kept on reserve at the brewery and will go on tap this afternoon for pints and flights only (no growler fills). They’re saying for the weekend, but if you’re into it we wouldn’t wait until Sunday.
Bridgewater’s FirkinStein has a couple of new beers to wet your whistle, both of them variations on a the cream ale style. The first is Door Hinge Cream Ale a 6.8% ABV beer with lactose for some sweetness and (maybe) some orange flavor (say the name quickly). The other, tipping the scales at 7.6% ABV they’re calling Firk-a-Peel Lemon Lime Cream Ale and it features, of course, notes of lemon and lime. These are brewery-only specialties, but it’s an awfully pretty time of year to drive in our region, so now you’ve got two reasons to take a drive to the South Shore.
Local homebrew supplier BrewHQ has decided to make a foray into the ultra-lucrative beer podcast game with their Pitch & Prime Podcast. Don’t worry, though, they’re not competing with your 902BrewCast boyz (and really, who could compete with those be[e/a]rdos?); this one is a podcast targeted at homebrewers or folks who think they might like to become homebrewers. Their first episode, in which they talked to some local pros about their beginnings brewing at home, was released this week and timed to coincide with Learn to Homebrew Day. And speaking of 902BrewCast, you can also check out their latest episode with Grand Monk Artisan Ales (formerly known as Bore City Brewing), the first of their 5-brewery New Brunswick Road Trip of DEWM.
Here’s some beery events you might want to think about taking part in over the next couple of weeks:
We’ve already told you what to drink at Gahan Charlottetown above, but if you need another excuse to get out and try the new beers flowing, consider attending the award ceremony for the Maritime Home Brew Challenge Saturday. Brewers from across the Maritimes submitted their best beers to try and take home the title of Best Beer around, with their beer being packaged for retail distribution, and their piece of the cash and brewing prizes. Starting at 2:30 PM, the awards will be handed out at the Gahan Pub, so all homebrewers who entered, plus fans of good beer (so let’s call it an open invitation!) are welcome to celebrate the homebrewing community, as it is success there that drives many folks to turn pro. And for those homebrewers who want to start the celebration earlier, PEI Brewing is hosting a Beer & Munchies With The Brewers event tonight at 96 Kensington Road: from 6 – 8 PM, grab a beer and some snacks, tour the brewing facilities, and chat with the PEIBC Brew Crew to learn all of their secrets.
Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider is celebrating their Grand Opening next weekend, Saturday November 17th. From 8 PM, they will be celebrating with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest beer taps). In fact, the entire Railway Hotel complex is celebrating an Open House, so you can also throw some axes next door at HaliMac and check out the Phantom Effects workshop. You don’t need to wait that long to enjoy Maritime Express’ newest release, however, as their Roundhouse Rhubarb is flowing now. Using a blend of Annapolis Valley apples, and fresh-pressed Organic rhubarb, this 4.5% ABV cider is clean and tart, with light fruit aroma and flavour. Pop in for a sample, glass, or take home a bottle today!
November 17th is an important day on PEI as well, as it marks the One Year of Beer at Copper Bottom Brewing. Head out to Montague for a full-day party, complete with live music, a food truck, tarot card reading, and of course, beer! They will be launching two brand new ones that day, which we hope to tell you about next week. Check out the link above for more details.
Back in July, The Carleton on Argyle Street in Halifax hosted their first Craft Draught Showdown featuring beers from Garrison and Upstreet paired by the brewers with special dishes out of the kitchen. That one sold out and went so well that they’ve decided to do it again! Coming on November 21st is the second of these events, this time pitting Dartmouth’s Nine Locks against the returning Upstreet. Once again Chef Michael Dolente is bringing some exclusive edibles and once again the brewmasters, Jake Saunders and Michael Hogan, have been tasked with pairing their wares. Five courses, two 4 oz pours each is $60 per person (tip included), with both the brewers and the chef on hand to provide information about the food, the beer, and the pairings. Space is limited, so check out the event page on Facebook for information on how to get a seat.
A few last quick mentions before we return you to your regularly scheduled Friday afternoon:
Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has a new beer for all the visitors who have been asking for an IPA to quench their thirst. From the brewery, “A light, malty base, lots of hop character from the Citra, Simcoe, Centennial & Nelson Sauvin used at various stages”. Drop by the brewery this weekend to grab a taste and a growler!
Port Rexton has brought back a crowd favorite this week; their Blue Steel, a Lactobacillus-soured kettle sour with orange peel will be available at the brewery and the retail shop in St. John’s this weekend. At 4.7% ABV it’s well-balanced and fairly sessionable (and ridiculously good looking), with a light lemonade tartness and a zesty orange character.
Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax has two favorites returning to the taps this weekend, both pouring today from noon. Riddle of Steel IPA (7% ABV) has a NASH-ian tonne of dank Simcoe and Mosaic hops to make your lupulin-loving tastebuds happy. And their Flat Black Jesus American Stout (7% ABV) has risen once again as well. You know what, you know where, you know how.