It’s another Friday in Atlantic Canada and that means more news of all things beer in the region. We’ve got a brewery opening, a brewery re-opening that’s in the works, and, sadly, a brewery closing (but up for sale). We’ve got all manner of new beers and a few events as well. As a heads-up to our loyal readers, our web hosting has been…less than satisfactory of late and it’s entirely possible that the site will continue to be up and down today and tomorrow. We know for sure that it will be down tomorrow night as there’s an upgrade happening that will hopefully prevent future outages. Our fingers are crossed (but we’re evaluating other options too). And with that, let’s get to the stuff you came here to read.
New Brewery Alert! Brasserie Chockpish launched last Saturday at Marky’s Laundromat Expresso Bar, with their flagship Chockpish Pilsner. A 5.0% ABV Bohemian Pils with Czech noble hops (to the tune of 40 IBUs) and lagered for 3 months, the beer was brewed using traditional techniques, resulting in a medium body with bread crust notes, and a smooth and dry finish. Brasserie Chockpish is currently a part-time endeavour for Yves Martin and his wife, brewing 600 litres (5 BBL) batches in their garage in Dieppe. As such, the brewery is not open to the public, and on tap around Moncton is the only place to try their beer. Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they announce more locations to grab a pint. Felicitations Brasserie Chockpish!
We’re happy to pass on that Port Rexton Brewing has released this year’s entry in their Ten Eighty series, an annual release of a single batch of an imperial beer. You may recall that last year’s beer, Ten Eighty 2018, was an Imperial Saison. Well, while that specific beer was bottled and sold, the rest of the batch was aged for the last year in grape brandy barrels with Escarpment Labs’ Brett Q yeast. The result is Ten Eighty 2019, a 10.2% ABV beer with a “bright, fruity and funky Brett aroma”, and “an explosion of apple, grapeskin, and brandy character” on the palate. There’s some alcohol warmth to go with it, naturally, as well as some oak. Sounds like a great beer to stock up on, some to drink now, and some to save! Grab some bottles (limit of 2 due to the small batch size) at the brewery or Retail Shop ASAP.
Our buds at 2 Crows are launching a new beer tomorrow, and it’s sounding delightful af (that’s what the kids say, right?). Getting There is a Golden Sour, brewed a year ago with barley and raw wheat in the turbid mash style, creating a very starchy wort (basically to give plenty of sugars for the yeast to chew on over time). Hopped with aged hops (to keep the IBUs low so the Lactobacillus bacteria aren’t inhibited), the wort was fermented in one of the brewery’s foedres with a multitude of cultures harvested from a variety of Belgian sour beers. The beer spent ten months conditioning, before being packaged in cans with priming sugar and fresh yeast, where it was allowed to carbonate for 2 months. A can-primed sour beer, sounds wonderful to us! Expect “a bright minerality and notes of lemon sherbet, hay, and a subtle barnyard funk”. This 5.6% ABV brew was actually on tap, briefly, for the brewery’s 2nd Anniversary party last month; grab cans of Getting There tomorrow from opening.
We’ve got some info on the latest beer coming out of Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery this week, Ben, a Brett IPA. Fermented with a variety of yeasts – London Ale, US-05 (a clean, American strain), and Escarpment’s New World Saison and Brett D – it was hopped with Citra and Palisade, and dry-hopped with Bramling Cross. Think apricot and blackcurrant, with a slightly tart finish.It comes in at 6.6% ABV; drop by the Brightwood Market taproom this weekend for a taste, or check out your favourite Brightwood watering hole in the HRM. In addition, their California Common, Minutes, should be available in cans by today or tomorrow.
Staying on the dark side, yesterday Nine Locks released their first ever beer in the Pilsner style. Brewer Connor MacLeod brought a recipe they’re describing as an “off-dry” variation on the classic German Pils. Bright and golden with a lasting head, it keeps the noble hop character of the parent style, but with less bitterness, a little more body and a slight sweetness. Feinherb is 4.8% ABV and 35 IBU and is available in a limited release at the brewery’s retail store in handy can format.
Moving across the bridge to Tidehouse, who launched their latest bottle release, Spruce, yesterday at the brewery. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, and Melanoidin, they hopped the wort with Azacca and Simcoe as a whirlpool addition. Fermented with Brett C, and then dry-hopped with Amarillo and “a small pitch” of spruce tips from East Coast Wild Foods, the 5.7% ABV beer was finally packaged and bottle-conditioned. With “notes of apricot, orange, and grapefruit” from the hop additions, the brewery claims there’s enough spruce character to appreciate, without being overly harsh or sappy. Bottles available, as mentioned, at the brewery only.
Schoolhouse Brewery has teamed up with Ski Martock to brew Private Lesson: Slope Style Ale, what they’re referring to as a “blend of New England IPA and West Coast IPA/Pale Ale”. Brewed with pale malt, wheat, and flaked oats, there were several additions of Galaxy, Amarillo, El Dorado, Citra and Galena, late in the boil, in the whirlpool, and in two separate dry hops. Coming in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, there’s plenty of peach and tropical fruit flavours in a “dry, refreshing” package. Head to the Schoolhouse taproom today for a pint and/or growler. Or better yet, drop by Ski Martock this weekend as they celebrate the end of the season. They are holding a Slush Cup from 1 – 3 PM (registration opens at 9 AM), with live music before and after. More details here!
It’s only been a couple weeks since their latest Scratch series beer, but Fredericton’s Grimross just released another one, Scratch #19: Czech Lager. Inspired by a recent trip to the Czech Republic by owners Stephen and Dawn Dixon, the beer was brewed with all Bohemian Pilsner malt and hopped with Saaz (to 28 IBUs); no salts were added to the brewing water for this brew. Fermented with the brewery’s house Lager yeast, the final product weighs in at a supremely-sessionable 3.8% ABV, and comes across as “really soft, floral, and grassy, with a clean bitterness”. Look for it on tap at Grimross and their local accounts; it can also be found in cans at the brewery, and at select ANBL stores next week.
If you’re around Good Robot this weekend and are craving something hoppy, they’ve brought back Creature Feature I, their “Biotransformation IPA” hopped with Cascade, Amarillo and Citra (6.4% ABV, 68 IBUs), and they still have some of their Rake n Scrape, a 6.9% ABV, 70 IBUs DIPA with mango and pomegranate (which launched during last weekend’s FlavaBot). Finally, look for a fresh batch of Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie to pop up at the taproom next week.
Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing celebrates their love of both beer and music, often inviting musicians into the taproom, and even gracing the stage themselves (they are accomplished musicians in their own right!). Tonight, they are playing host to Adam Baldwin as he launches his new EP “No Rest for the Wicked”. The solo show starts at 7:30, and is free. And what better way to toast the new EP release than with a new beer? Sharing a name with one of Baldwin’s songs, and brewed in collaboration with the singer, Half a Mind is light yellow in colour, pouring with a thick white pillowy head. With a base of Pilsner and Vienna malts, and lightly hopped to 24 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria and Saaz, the 4.0% ABV beer has a delicate malt character and light bitterness and aroma, making it a winner for an entire recording session. Drop by this evening to grab a pint and an EP, and enjoy the show!
A much-anticipated update for our friends in St. John’s (and the rest of Newfoundland!), Bannerman Brewing at 90 Duckworth Street is getting into the final stages before opening, and are looking to round out their family. The brewery, taproom, cafe, and kitchen will need awesome people who want to build community and be a part of this brand new business, so get in touch with Laura via email to submit your cover letter and resume.
Lower Sackville’s Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House has been a little quiet lately, but only because they’ve been planning something very big… They’ve announced that they are moving out of the basement, and into a stand-alone building in Lower Sackville. Expanding from their current 120 litres to a 1200 litre (10 BBL) system, they will also be adding a taproom and retail shop to their location. Look for this new location to open in the fall!
After a couple months of shuttered doors and whispered rumours, we now have official word from the owners that Scudrunner Brewing in Gander has closed and is for sale. While low sales are being blamed, we do not believe that is the whole story, and this is not a signal of the slowing down or saturation of the local beer market. As one of the larger towns in Central Newfoundland, and one with an airport, we still believe Gander is the right place for a brewery run by those passionate about the craft, giving meaningful employment, and spreading the Good News of #NLCraftBeer.
This week’s shamefully late notification of a beer release comes from Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg who yesterday released a brand new one called Rye’T On! An American pale ale featuring rye, it comes in at 5.4% ABV and a solid 40 IBU. Three varieties of rye in the grist should ensure that this one has plenty of complexity and a hint of that somewhat spicy quality that is the hallmark of that grain. Hop-wise, equal amounts of Simcoe, Mosaic, and Topaz provide notes of mango, pine and citrus. Look for this one in the tap room for pints, growler fills and crowlers to go; you can also grab a pint downstairs at the Grand Banker.
A couple of events coming up this coming week and beyond that you might want to plan for:
Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. has been open for about two years now, but they have yet to hold a tap takeover. Well, that’s all about to change come Thursday, April 4th, with a Lunn’s Mill Tap Takeover at Battery Park. The all-day event will feature 14 beers from the brewery, and several brewery representatives will be there to meet you and answer any questions you might have. The beer starts flowing at 11:30 am; stay tuned to the event site for updates on which beers will be available, in addition to other info.
Next Saturday, April 6th, is Round One of this year’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival. Being held at the Corner Brook Civic Centre (Pepsi Centre), they are bringing in the best beer brewed in Newfoundland (we expect all Newfoundland breweries will be in attendance!), as well as some great beers from elsewhere in the Atlantic provinces and Ontario, plus live music, we’re sure this event will be a blast! Tickets are still available for the April 6th Corner Brook event. And for those on the Avalon, they will be doing it all over again out your way, as they take over the Legion on Quidi Vidi Lake for Friday April 12th and Saturday April 13th. Tickets for Saturday are already sold out, but there are a few left for Friday’s event. We can’t wait to attend it again this year, after having lots of fun at the 2018 edition. Your ticket includes unlimited samples, a map/passport to keep track of the beers you’ve tried, your tasting glass, and the live entertainment.
There’s another Craft Draught Showdown happening at The Carleton in Halifax on Thursday, April 11th. As always you’ll find 5 courses from Chef Dolente paired with 5 beers each from two breweries with a bit of friendly competition involved as diners vote on the winning beers. Let’s be honest, though, everybody wins when they get a great meal and 10 different beers to try with live music going on Carleton-style at the same time! This edition of the event will see two breweries from East of Halifax Harbour squaring off, Eastern Shore’s Sober Island and Downtown Dartmouth’s Brightwood. Tickets are $60 per person and are available online at the Carleton Website.
Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub has the latest in their Meet the Maker series of events coming up on Saturday, May 4th. At these events you get to not only try several beers from a particular brewery, but you also get to meet the folks who made the beer. This edition will feature the beers of Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, and you’ll have a chance to talk to both Rob Coombs and our own Shawn Meek, or at least after you’ve navigated your way through the thronging crowd of fanatics and hangers on, endured a quick pat down by their security detail, and had your interest vetted by their publicist, you might get to ask them a quick question. But seriously, come out, sit down, have a beer with Shawn and Rob, and listen to them wax eloquently on matters of hops and yeast and, “Why Hanwell?” The event starts at 4 PM, with the brewers in the house from 7 on. We’ve been advised that there will be 10+ Niche beers available on tap, with at least a couple of never or rarely seen before brews in the mix. Keep your eyes on Niche social media (Fb/In/Tw) this coming month for more information about exactly what will be pouring; we’ll be sure to update you as the date approaches!
And a few last mentions before we let you get on to the weekend:
Hammond River is now pouring the latest in their single-hopped, single malt American IPA series, The Vegas SMaSH IPA (Ella edition). Ella, an Australian hop variety, is giving “wonderful tropical flavours and aromas, along with grapefruit and a hint of star anise” in this 6.5% brew, according to the brewery.
Check out Tusket Falls this weekend if you’re in the area – they have a new Robust Porter, Buy it on Rumour, on tap at the brewery. It has “lots of roasted flavours, with caramel and toffee notes”, and comes in at 5.2% ABV.
For the third year running, Big Spruce is releasing a collaboration NE IPA with the Ocean Tracking Network called Tag! You’re It. We’ve heard a rumour that the recipe might have been tweaked a little this year, but we’re sure it’s for the better if you’re into hazy, hoppy delights. And $0.50 from every can goes to support ocean research. Like the ocean? Perfect excuse to DRINK MOAR BEER!! Look for it in familiar blue cans (this year featuring an Atlantic Salmon) at the private stores in Halifax real soon now.
For the first time (that we know of, anyway), Bagtown Brewing in Sackville, NB, has packaged some beer in 473 mL cans! You can stop by their location to sample their wares and then grab a few to go.