The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better this week, with patios and beer gardens open more than closed this week! The final couple days of PEI Craft Beer Week are upon us, with events at all 8 Island breweries (no, not 5, PEILCC!), so let’s kick off the week with the latest news from the Fair Isle.
PEI’s Upstreet has been in operation now for close to four years; Gahan, originating and still operating on the Island, for much longer. It’s taken awhile, but the two have finally come together to brew their first collaboration beer, and they’re hoping you will find it worth the wait! Appropriately named, About Time was brewed with Pilsner, raw wheat, and rye in the grist. Hopped (and dry-hopped) with Czech Saaz and Kazbeck, as well as Cascade, it was fermented with a Brettanomyces blend, as well as a Kveik strain. The hazy, yellow beer finished at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs, and has aromas of “fresh hops, lemon zest, fresh mown grass, and undertones of wet hay”, with lots of herbal spice and citrus in the flavour. This one will be available only on tap; you can find it at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner, as well as Gahan locations…
In even more Gahan/PEI Brewing Co. news, it looks like they’re releasing another in the series of their bottled Brett beers; you may remember Patience, a dry-hopped Saison with Brett, which was originally released a couple of years ago. Their latest beer, Persistence, follows the same line – it’s also a dry-hopped Saison with Brett – although it definitely has its differences! Persistence was fermented entirely with Brettanomyces (Patience had Brett added for a secondary fermentation) and features a dry hop with a very large amount of Citra. Look for notes of tropical fruit and light funky character in this 6.0% ABV high carb, dry beer. Bottles are available now at the PEIBC and Gahan shops, and at several PEILCC locations across the province. And this week is the kick-off of their Growlers of Summer series of beers, special brews only available at the PEI Brewing Company and Beer Station at the North River Causeway for growler fills, natch. This week’s release is Margarita Gose, a 5.2% ABV beer that was originally released about a year ago. Tart and salty, this take on a Gose has an addition of tequila-soaked lime and orange zest. Crisp and refreshing, grab your growler(s) at the PEIBC taproom starting today at 4pm, or at the North River Causeway.
Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing has a brand new kettle sour hitting taps and shelves starting today, just in time for a sunny weekend (kinda). Blueberry Sour was brewed with a simple grist of 2-row (from PEI’s own Island Malt House) and a healthy percentage of wheat malt. Soured with Lactobacillus, and hopped very lightly with Centennial, an addition of over 100 kg of wild blueberry puree (from local Terry’s Berries) is what gives this aptly-named beer its bright purple colour. Lots of blueberry in the flavour, the tartness helps the 5% ABV brew from being too sweet. Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery today; it should follow at a few PEILCC stores later on in the summer.
Turning to the latest Island Brewery, Bogside Brewing has been welcoming visitors for the past week, serving up some authentic low and slow BBQ thanks to Chef Dave Mottershall (including Pork2BeerFest from 4:00 PM today!). While they’ve been waiting for their beer to be ready, they’ve had a variety of Island ciders and beers on tap. Well, your patience will soon be rewarded, as the final pieces of their serving equipment is almost onsite, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy Brewer Mark Patriquin’s brews. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the release details, but you’ll be able to their Session IPA, Hefeweizen, and Brown Ale within the next week, and we’ll have a full Profile with them early next week.
Big Spruce has never been a brewery accused of lack of experimentation, and they’re keeping that up with the latest entry in their experimental hop series of IPAs. This 7.9% ABV brew is named Makes ¢¢¢¢ (considering the first beer in the series was simply named $$$$, you shouldn’t be too surprised!), and features the experimental hop HBC-644 (don’t worry, if the variety catches on it’ll eventually have a much sexier name). The final product is showing plenty of apricot and nectarine in the aroma, with “notes of ripe mango and summer strawberry”, and some pink grapefruit zest on the palate, all with a piney finish. Considering the enthusiasm from beer drinkers for $$$$, this one has a lot to live up to, and it sounds like it may have accomplished that feat! Judge for yourselves… swing by Big Spruce for a taste/growler, or check out one of their many licensees if you’re not in the Cape Breton area.
Couple new beers coming your way this week and next from Good Robot, the first being their collaboration with the Anchor City Rollers, Thick Thighs Save Lives. This American Pale Ale comes in at 5.3% ABV and 39 IBUs, and is described by the brewery as “superbly crushable, with a great bracing bitterness”. Next week’s release is another collaboration, this one with a brewery, and a brewery that pretty much all of us will recognize – Quebec’s Trou du Diable. Beelzebot! Is another APA, but brewed with an addition of spruce tips straight outta Shawinigan (TdD’s home town), and fermented with a Kveik yeast strain. The beer is tasting fruity, with a good amount of spruce popping through in the aroma. It comes in at 6.66% ABV and 47 IBUs; you’ll have to pop by the source (read: Good Robot) to give it a try.
Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing is bringing back their very popular La Saison du Nord Saison, but have made some changes to the yeast and hops to switch up the beer. Released to celebrate the lobster fishers in Northern NB, this version of the Saison still weighs in at 7.0% ABV, but features the New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs, which contains both Sacc and Brett. After fermentation was completed, the beer was dry-hopped with European Saaz and New Zealand Motueka. The resultant beer is a true blend of the contribution from the yeast, malt, and hops, with fruity, funky, spicy, and earthy notes, on a dry beer with plenty of refreshing zip. Grab it on tap at Euston Park Social Beer Garden and CAVOK Brewing.
Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is back in action in their Halifax Test Kitchen with a couple of new beers to tell you about, one on tap now and one in the works. Already pouring at Local Source is Shoreline SMaSH, a 5% Pale Ale. By now most dedicated blog readers already know that a “SMaSH” is a “single malt and single hop” beer that shows off the best of both. In this case the grist is composed entirely of malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting Company; the hop is the grandaddy of American hop varieties, Cascade, known for its citrus, floral, and spicy character (sourced from Ontario’s Clear Valley Hops). You’ll find this one a pleasant and easy-drinking brew with low bitterness and a full mouthfeel, perfect for outdoor drinking on a warm day in late spring. The beer yet to come was inspired and co-brewed by Halifax beer writer Kim Hart Macneill. A Belgian Blonde Ale with peaches, it sounds perfect for patio drinking if summer ever comes. We expect to have more details about this one closer to its release, but for now the folks at Boxing Rock are appealing for name suggestions for this one. Slide into their social media DMs to give them your best ideas that aren’t “Peachy Keen.”
Another week with a new Shipwright beer release (that’s at least a few in a row, no?), a West Coast IPA named after one of many British ships carrying the first IPAs to England, HMS Hop Bombay. Hopped heavily with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, expect obvious notes of grapefruit and pine throughout, with a firm bitterness to finish it all off. Grab pints and growlers (and crowlers!) of this 6.6% ABV, 60 IBUs IPA at the brewery this weekend; you can also likely find it on tap at the local The Grand Banker.
Twillingate is known around Newfoundland as one of the best places in Iceberg Alley to spot bergs. While there, you will most definitely need to stay hydrated, which means a visit to Split Rock Brewing is certainly in order. They are kicking off their summer sour series this week with their Sour Patch B’ys: Mosaic. This 3.4% ABV kettle sour has a medium acidity, with plenty of tropical fruit (think pineapple and mango) from the generous dry-hopping of Mosaic. They also have a pair of new IPA on tap these days, both worth checking out while in the taproom. Skipper D’s is a 6.8% ABV IPA, featuring Cascade and Amarillo hops, used heavily both late in the boil and in dry-hopping, concentrating on flavour and aroma notes, rather than bitterness. And celebrating the impromptu Sunday jam session that often fills the taproom, Sunday Session IPA is a 4.3% ABV light IPA with plenty of late Chinook, Citra, and Mosaic hops for pine, mango, and citrus character. Grab your guitar, mandolin, or squeeze box, and pop by for a session!
Let’s get you up to speed with what’s on the go this weekend…
The Inaugural PEI Craft Beer Week is entering its final weekend, which saw all of the breweries in the province taking part in the celebration of beer releases and events. Today, Bogside is celebrating Pork2BeerFest from opening at 4:00 PM, Copper Bottom is celebrating their Sour Blueberry release, Evermoore is hosting live music and continues their Island Tap Takeover, Gahan is holding PEI Tap Takeovers with guest taps gracing their draught all day, PEIBC is hosting a Cask & Comedy event starting at 7:00 PM, and Upstreet is celebrating with an Island Tap Takeover, as well as debuting this year’s release of Go Devil IPA. Saturday sees multiple live music events at the taprooms around the province, giving you yet another excuse to get out and visit. Check the details on the PEICBW site! And celebrating the end of the week, Moth Lane Brewing is releasing a new Pale Ale named Last Kick at the Can on Sunday. Look for more details from their Facebook page.
If you’re in the environs of Pleasantville on Saturday, June 8th, and you like a bit of cidery goodness, you could do worse than grabbing a ticket for the Newfoundland Ciderfest. Brought to you by the same folks behind the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival and taking place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 56, Pleasantville. Doors open at 7:00 PM and inside you’ll find 45 ciders from 14 producers, both big and small, old and new, from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, BC, and Denmark. Tickets are $65 plus taxes and fees, and include all your tasting samples, an event passport, live entertainment, and a tasting glass to take home. Food will also be available for purchase. Grab a ticket online and get your cider on.
Halifax’s The Carleton has another entry in their Craft Draught Showdown series of friendly beer pairing competitions coming up on Thursday, June 13th, at 7:00pm. As always, you’ll get 5 courses from The Carleton’s Chef Michael Dolente, each paired with two 4 oz pours, one from each of two breweries. Diners will vote on which beers they enjoyed the most and at the end of the night a winner will be announced. This edition of the event will feature two breweries from Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox and Liverpool’s Hell Bay. Tickets for the event are $60 + tax ($69 all-in) and include gratuity; they’re available online from the event page on The Carleton’s website, which also includes information about the dishes that will be served.
Those who were excited to read about the NL Ciderfest above but were lamenting being in Halifax instead of St. John’s need not fret too much, as there’s a similar event coming up more locally. The Curated Guide is presenting their 3rd annual East Coast Ciderfest next weekend, Saturday, June 15th, at the Halifax Forum Multi-purpose Centre. Two sessions are scheduled, afternoon and evening, but if you haven’t got your tickets already you’ll want to act quickly, as the evening session (6 – 9 PM) is officially sold out and the afternoon session (1 – 4 PM) is already at 90%! Tickets (available online through the link above) are $35 plus taxes and fees (another $6.25) and include 12 sample tickets and a tasting glass to take home, with additional tickets and food available for purchase on-site. There will be ciders pouring from 19 different Nova Scotia producers as well as a couple from New Brunswick as well. Designated Driver tickets are $10 and are available at the door.
Have you been keeping tabs on the new brewery and tap room build by North Brewing on Portland Street in Dartmouth? We know we have. But somehow it slipped by us (and maybe you too) that, in the grand tradition of Dartmouth, they’ve built themselves a Cold Beer Store!! Scheduled to open next weekend, official hours will be Wednesdays to Sundays, 12 – 7 PM. To celebrate this fabulous development they’ve got a big celebration going on next Saturday, June 15th. Starting at noon will be a BBQ fundraiser for Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum featuring hot dogs and veggie dogs from North friend and partner Side Hustle Snackbar (which will be opening onsite later in the summer). Since it’s Father’s Day that weekend, they’ll be bringing in a bouncy castle from 12 – 3 PM that will be free of charge so you can let the kids run out some energy while you grab a hot dog and your beer-to-go. North would love to have their new neighbours in the area stop by and see what they’re all about, as well as friends and fans from around HRM and beyond. But wait, there’s MORE!! What better way to celebrate the opening of a cold beer store than by releasing a new beer for folks to buy? We do Helium, Lighter Than Air is an ultralight ale weighing in at only 3.5% ABV, with Pilsner malt and flaked corn in the grist and a bright element from lemon and lime zest. This will be a full release, with cans available on Saturday at both the new spot as well as their retail counter at Battery Park on Ochterloney, as well as draught around the city. Congrats to the North Brewing team on this latest development and we look forward to even more good times when the Tap Room is finished!
Just a few more new and returning beers this weekend.
Grimross has brought back their Bishop Belgian IPA, which will be available at the brewery in cans and on tap starting today. This 6% ABV, 50 IBUs brew is hopped and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, and Amarillo; expect spicy phenolics in addition to pineapple, orange, resin, and bubblegum.
Niche has a new batch of their Day Tripper back in circulation, a Belgian Tripel at 8.4% ABV that’s hopped with the classic noble hop Saaz. Look for spicy phenolics, fruity esters, and a dry finish to go along with a little bit of alcohol warmth. This one is being sent out to tap accounts in New Brunswick only at this point.
Tatamagouche Brewing knows how to time a beer release, as they’re re-releasing Cellar Slammer (4.4% ABV), arguably one of the finest Session IPAs brewed in our region. Hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic, giving lots of juicy citrus flavours, it’s refreshing and delicious, and extremely drinkable. Did we mention delicious?
Tuskets Falls Brewing is currently pouring an “Experimental IPA” at the brewery; we’re light on the details, but we can tell you it’s a 6.4% ABV NEIPA with lemon and lime rind added. If you’re nearby the brewery, you can stop in to give it a try this weekend!