Happy Friday, Beer Fans! Well, you did it, you survived Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! Hopefully you made it out to some of the events sponsored by the CBANS, and drank more than your share of the good stuff. Let’s keep the good vibes going to let you know what and where to enjoy some more tasty bevvies this weekend and beyond.
The final event of NS Craft Beer Week this year was the Stillwell Open, hosted by the long-time local-beer-boosters at Bar Stillwell. Four teams from across the province (North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth) competed to create their best Single Hop beers in four categories (English, Session, Standard, and Double IPA). The drinking public voted on their favourite, and after the dust settled, First Place in the IPA category, and overall, went to the winning brew from Team North. Big Spruce Brewing teamed up with the soon-to-open Church Brewing Company and multi-award-winning homebrewer David Pepper. Named $$$$ (named after/sung to the first line of The O’Jays – For The Love of Money), due to the overwhelming amount of the very new, and not even named yet, HBC 692 hop. Pouring a hazy straw colour, with aromas and flavours of grapefruit and tangerine, it ticked all of the boxes for the crowd that day. Good news for those who missed out Sunday, this is a full release with the beer available at the breweries and better beer locations around the province.
Other finalists in their category were the Session IPA, Karate Lazer, brewed with Ekuanot by New Scotland Brewing, American IPA Shipwreck IPA brewed with Mosaic by Breton Brewing and Brathair Brothers homebrewing collective, and English IPA It’s a Boy! with Bramling Cross by homebrewer Glen O’Keefe. Both commercial brews mentioned are also available at their respective breweries and will see local distribution as well. Congratulations to these medal winners!
There were twelve other beers debuting on the wall Sunday, many of them also seeing distribution throughout the province. For the first time ever, Shipwright Brewing graced the chalkboard at Stillwell, with Secret HOPeration, a 4.6% ABV Session IPA featuring Vic Secret, which is also pouring at their taproom and Grand Banker. Hop notes of pineapple and grapefruit complement the light grain profile with a light bitterness. This entry was brewed with local homebrewers Matt and Isaac Hachey.
Propeller Brewing teamed up with own acbbchris to continue the love with another Gottingen Street Small Batch. This year’s effort was Sabro Double IPA, featuring a s**t-ton of newer hop Sabro added generously early, late, and after the boil (including during active fermentation), for a melding of coconut, pineapple, mango, and papaya, for a pina colada with a bit of a bitter kick. It is available now at both Propeller locations for growler fills, with pints also pouring at the Gottingen Street taproom. Drop by tomorrow during Open City to check out their brewery, and for the first time ever, the Propeller Arcade is open to all ages from noon to 4 PM.
Let’s skip provinces for a moment, where after months of delays (the most recent opening was planned for mid-October of 2018), the Gahan House has officially opened their Moncton location, Gahan House Hub City. The 160-seat restaurant (located at 55 Queen St. downtown) will also feature a 60-seat seasonal patio and a 5 bbl (~600 L) brewhouse, with three 5 bbl fermentors. As with other Gahan locations, you’ll find the standard PEI Brewing Co./Gahan line-up on tap, along with one-offs and seasonals brewed at the Hub City location, as well as other Gahan breweries in Atlantic Canada. Naturally, we’ll keep you updated on these beers, but we can give you a sneak preview of the first beer brewed at Hub City… it’s a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade and Huell Melon.
And while on the subject of Gahan, we might as well take the opportunity to mention that the first beer from the Saint John Barrel Room series will be released at the Saint John and Fredericton Gahan locations on May 17th. Sour Saison was fermented initially with a Saison strain, the beer was then moved to Pinot Noir barrels with a blend of Brett, Lacto, and Pedio for six months. Bottle-conditioned for three months before its release next week, it finished off at 6.4% ABV.
If you’re into this new trend of hazy IPAs that all the kids are drinking (and who isn’t??), you may be interested to hear that Port Rexton Brewing has added a new rotating beer series, Continuum, to their line-up. This series of hazy IPAs will focus on different hops with each batch, and the first, Continuum w/ Vic Secret, was mainly hopped with the lovely Vic Secret variety from Australia. With large amounts thrown into the whirlpool and dry hop additions (along with some Azacca to complement), the beer has “bright tropical, stone fruit, and floral aromas and flavours, with undertones of piney bitterness”, all in a smooth, soft body with a dry finish. You’ll have to make a trip out to the brewery this weekend (now open 7 days a week, 12 – 10 PM) to grab this 5.6% ABV beer, but the trip will be worth it for the berg-watching, a walk along the Skerwink, and/or to attend their Mini Market tomorrow from noon until two, with crafts and goods by local entrepreneurs.
On the Avalon Peninsula, where we’ve been told you can spot some icebergs as well, you’ll find Landwash Brewery. And out in Mount Pearl, they’ve released a brand new take on their Brackish Gose, this release conditioned with some juicy Guava for an extra kick of acidity, and of course some bright tropical character. As always, sea salt from Newfoundland Salt Company plays an important role in mouthfeel and “zing”. On tap at the brewery for samples, pints, and growlers, as well as limited number of cans, pop in this weekend to enjoy this 4.8% ABV taste of the tropics. Their website is always up-to-date with their Availability, so be sure to keep an eye out there too. You’ll soon see yet another new beer hit the taps at the brewery, as well as the Admiralty House Museum, a hint of what’s to come can be found here.
On Newfoundland’s West Coast, pop into Bootleg BrewCo in Corner Brook for a taste of their Hawai’i Four-O American Session Ale. Full of fresh pineapple added to the conditioning tank, plus juicy tropical hops to complement, this 4.0% ABV refresher of a beer is light, smooth, and perfect for the warmer days sure to arrive any week now…
And speaking of Corner Brook, there will soon be another local brewery location in the city. Crooked Feeder Brewing, located in Cormack, will be taking over the Gitanos’ restaurant space in the Millbrook Mall, and opening Crooked Feeder Gastropub. While keeping their brewing operations in the former mill just north of Deer Lake, they will be bringing the look and feel of their quiet brewery location to CB. We expect that will feature plenty of work by The Tin Man, the local fabricators who have worked with Crooked Feeder to manufacture their brewhouse and fermentation vessels. With an expected seating capacity of over 100, the food menu will feature both meal and small-bite options, for those just coming in for a flight or pint, or staying a while to enjoy the live music and entertainment. They will also have a retail counter where growlers and merchandise to show off your Crooked Feeder pride. The Gastropub will be opening next month, but they’ve got plenty of beer to share with us in the meantime. Their Ohh Baby Brut IPA debuted at the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival last month, and they are filling growlers in Cormack currently, and keep an eye out for a late-May release of their Best Coast Bitter, a Best Bitter in the traditional English style.
In Fredericton, TrailWay has been busy with the upcoming warm weather, meaning patio season, and more beer drinking! This week, they’ve got a new beer and two returning ones to suit those thirsty days. First up is their latest American IPA, Inception, a 6.5% ABV brew hopped entirely with Falconer’s Flight, an ever-changing blend of American ‘C’ hops. Plenty of citrus and tropical fruit abounds, no doubt, and if you’re at the brewery to have a pint or pick up some cans, bonus points if you do so with your totem in hand… but remember, don’t let anyone else touch it! (No, we’re not being dirty, sickos… watch the movie for cryin’ out loud!)
As for returning favourites, their seasonal Beyond Reality, a 4.6% ABV dry-hopped Raspberry Wheat, is back on tap and in cans, for those of you who need a hop break (homebrewers, see what I did there?). But if you love the hops (and if you’re going to TrailWay, we’re pretty sure you do), they’ve also brought back DDH Green Island, the double-dry hopped version of their standard Green Island IPA. This one is also available on tap and in cans, albeit at a very limited supply.
Out in Hampton, New Brunswick, Matchstick Beer Factory has launched a new beer. Darlin’ of an Amber is being touted as a heavily-hopped American Amber Ale that features a simple grist of Maritime Malt and Crystal 40, with the hops being split between Liberty and Newport (added to the tune of about 40 IBUs) sourced from local Darlings Island Farm. Fermented with a neutral American Ale yeast strain, the hop flavours are complemented by the maltiness of the beer. Coming in at 6% ABV, look for kegs to be pouring at Sussex Ale Works, the Cask and Kettle, Saint John Ale House, and Match Factory Restaurant.
Drop by 2 Crows this Saturday at noon if you’d like to get your bottle fix, as they’ll be releasing Five Petals, the latest in their ever-expanding lineup of barrel-aged sours. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, and Wheat, no hops were added to the wort before it made its way to the wonderful world of oak. Fermented with a blend of the brewery’s Lacto, Brett and Saccharomyces cultures, it spent about 4 months in Sauvingon Blanc barrels, where it was then transferred back to stainless. Here, it was further conditioned on fresh lemon zest and juice, along with an addition of elderflowers, before bottling. Tasting “very bright, fun, lively and fresh, with a strong lemon presence, firm minerality, and a delicate touch of elderflowers’ floral/lychee presence”, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV.
YellowBelly in St. John’s, Newfoundland has a new beer coming this week, their version of a collaboration with Five Boroughs Brewing Co. in New York City to celebrate the success of the hit musical now playing in New York (on Broadway, even!), Toronto, Melbourne, London and on tour as well, Come From Away. Unfiltered and unfined, this pale ale’s is augmented by oats and wheat in the grist for a silky mouthfeel, with a soft bitterness rated at 40 IBU and a maybe-not-quite-sessionable-but-maybe-have-another-one-anyway 6.0% ABV. The blend of Cashmere, Cascade, and Amarillo hops lends tropical, citrus, and stone fruit notes in both the aroma and on the palate. Expect it to pair well with spicy foods and creamy cheese. You can find it on tap at YellowBelly’s Pub, with growler fills expected to be available by Sunday, May 19th at the Takeaway. You can also expect to find it on guest taps around the city and possibly the rest of the province, and the NLC will have bottles within the next week! A lovely tribute to a great story of folks going out of their way to help others during an event that truly shook the world.
Late last fall, Maybee Brewing released Brut IPA, their take on the hoppy, effervescent, bone-dry style. This beer will be the focus of the first release in their barrel-aged program with Brut: Aged in Pinot Noir Barrels. Aged in Pinot Noir barrels for four months, the final product is the result of a blend of two of these barrels, plus a small amount of the Brut IPA base. Refermented in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles with fresh yeast for about 6 weeks, the bottles are now ready and will be released exclusively at the taproom next Wednesday. The 6% ABV beer is displaying aromas of “tropical fruit, pineapple, white wine grape notes, wood vanillins, earth, and spice”, with flavours of the same, along with some barrel character, according to the brewery. They’ve also kegged a small amount, which will be available for pints only, also at the brewery.
What to do this weekend? We’ve got one suggestion for you today!
Our good friends at Stillwell are holding their very first Newfoundland Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 11th, from noon until closing. They’ll be hosting three breweries from the Rock, including Landwash (pouring That Much Ocean, Hazures Rock, One Wave, Brackish, and Home and Away), Quidi Vidi (Iceberg, Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose, and Dayboil), and Port Rexton (T-Rex Porter, Some Day on Hops, Azacca NEIPA, and Drifter). And it wouldn’t be a Newfoundland anything if there weren’t some tasty home-inspired treats on hand, so they’ll be serving up fried bologna and fishcakes on the menu. No entry fee, of course, so drop by and sample some delicious beers and food!
Just a couple more before you head out for lunch…
Bad Apple Brewhouse has been experimenting with English beers lately, as an excuse to find use for their new hand pump. If you’re in Wolfville, drop by The Core (just off of Main Street) to try the new, unnamed Extra Special Bitter (4.9% ABV), which has a “balanced hop bitterness with a slight, fruity ester-like finish”.
For next Thursday’s Alpha Brew, Good Robot is bringing back Creature Feature I (6% ABV, 68 IBUs), the first iteration in their biotransformation IPA series. Hopped with a selection of North American varieties, expect a “mild honey flavour and a subtle orchard fruit aroma”.