Wow, where did the summer go? Here we are, closing out August on a
wet and blustery gorgeous and sunny note, and it’s the last hoorah before students head back to school next week. It looks like our region’s breweries are maybe coming up for a little air now that the crush of summer production is easing off a bit, as there’s quite a few new brews on this long weekend for you to try, and even better you’ve got an extra day to recover! We remind you as always, though, to keep in mind that your local breweries may be adjusting their hours because of the holiday.
Let’s kick off the week’s news with a stunner of a collaboration coming out of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Landwash Brewery teamed up with the beauts at the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club to release a special brew this week. The NLBMC are celebrating the third year of their widely popular Merb’ys calendar, an annual fundraiser for a variety of provincial charities. This year’s recipients are Planned Parenthood Newfoundland & Labrador Sexual Health Centre, Home Again Furniture Bank, and SPCA St. John’s. Let’s talk about the beer, shall we? Bellyshake is a 6.5% ABV Key Lime Milkshake IPA, the brewery’s first in the style, which features lactose and vanilla to mimic the popular dairy treat. Bellyshake features loads of key limes for a sharp citrus and light tartness, with strawberry puree used to increase flavour and body. With a massive dry-hop addition adding notes of pineapple, coconut, and tangerine. Cans are now sold out at the brewery (though we understand there are some to enjoy on-site at Toslow downtown), but growlers, pints and samples are still available. Cans of One Wave Blonde will be available at opening today, with the deadly trio of Pilsner, American Pale Ale, and Breakfast Stout also pouring for the weekend.
Speaking of Downtown St. John’s, Bannerman Brewing at 90 Duckworth St is pouring a new beer these days, on the lighter side of things. Brite Lite is a 3.8% ABV Session Ale, kinda sorta mostly in the Session IPA family. Oat malt complements the base barley to give a fuller body despite the low alcohol, and the Citra and Sabro hop character shine through as tropical fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango, and passion fruit. Grab a pint or growler of Brite Lite and/or half a dozen more at the brewery today!
Stillwell Brewing snuck a release out that we didn’t get a chance to tell you about in last week’s Friday Wrap-up so we’ll just tell you about it this week instead. Sook is YOUR new grisette in the region, a bit of a niche style that you’d be wise to not bring up around serious beer geeks lest you be lost in esoteric arguments over what a grisette truly is. In this case, it’s a low-alcohol (4.1% ABV) farmhouse-style stainless-fermented beer with a touch of acidity, “charming” fermentation character, and bit of noble hops to finish. As with many, if not most, mixed fermentation beers, this one would certainly be cellarable, but we agree with the brewery on this one: enjoy it now, when its no doubt at its lightest and most effervescent while you consider the coming change of seasons. You’ll find this one in bottles to-go at Stillwell on Barrington, and we’re sure it’ll pop up a few times on tap there as well as at the Beergarden over the coming weeks.
Did we say Beergarden? We sure did! And did we just hear someone say that they were hoping that 2 Crows would launch a couple of beers – specifically, one new and one returning – at the Stillwell Beergarden this Saturday? We thought we did! For privacy sake, let’s call this person Jeremy T. No wait, that’s too obvious… let’s say J. Taylor. Well, good news, because that’s exactly what they’re doing! The brand new beer they have is called Terry, named after a couple of important Terrys in the brewery’s life. Brewed in early 2018, the beer is their typical “sour base” (Pilsner, Wheat malt, Spelt, Special Aromatic, Flaked Oats) that was hopped to a scant 3 IBUs. Fermented with a variety of yeast strains and bacteria cultures in tequila barrels, the beer waited patiently here until half of an enormous blueberry addition (the brewery’s highest fruiting rate yet) was thrown in late last summer. After another long aging period, the other half of the fruit was added a few weeks before bottling, where the beer was allowed to condition naturally. The final beer is exhibiting lots of blueberry juice character, oak, acidity, and “tequila earthiness”.
The returning beer is Refresh, 2C’s dry-hopped lager that they released to lots of fanfare last summer (was it really that long ago??). Brewed with Pilsner malt and flaked rice, they hopped this one in the boil with Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. Fermented slowly at cool temps with their favourite Lager strain, the beer enjoyed a nine week lagering period with a healthy dry-hop of more Huell Melon. “Bright, crisp, with some serious honeydew, lemongrass, and lychee vibes”, it’ll be pouring on tap (alongside bottle pours of Terry) at the Beergarden all day tomorrow. Of course, you’ll be able to grab bottles of Terry for take-away (and cans of Refresh!) at 2 Crows as of noon Saturday.
If you happen to be hanging around Tatamagouche this long weekend, we highly recommend that you stop by Tatamagouche Brewing. We’d recommend that on any day, really, but for this weekend they do have a couple kegs of a special low alcohol beer fermented solely with Brettanomyces yeasts (the same blend as their lovely Feronia, the Wild Ale aged on plums). Brett Session started out with a grist bill of Pilsner, oats, and wheat, and lightly hopped with Azacca and Hallertau Blanc in the kettle. After primary fermentation began in early 2019, it was kegged off and allowed to naturally carbonate in kegs. And now our collective patience is being rewarded as it is now on tap at the brewery (and only on tap at the brewery).
And returning this week is Tata’s Atlantic Pale Ale, a collaboration with Annapolis Valley maltster Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Using 100% Atlantic Canadian-grown grains, malted by Horton Ridge, APA weighs in at 5.9% ABV, and is available now at both breweries. And if you plan your visit right, you can catch Christina Martin live in the Horton Ridge taproom this evening at 8, tickets are still available.
It’s been a super-busy week for the crew at Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, with 3 (three!) new beers on tap. Maybe the threat of Labour Day weekend had something to do with it… do people drink more on long weekends? Unsure. Anyhoo, let’s just dive right into these, shall we? The first brew isn’t so much new, actually, but a second take on their Whitecap, a Belgian Witbier. While this version was still brewed with a 50:50 mix of Pale and Wheat malt, this time around they hopped it with Topaz (to a higher bitterness than the first batch), and added bitter orange peel, lime, and grapefruit peel, to give more of that citrus character that goes so well with this style of beer. Sticking with the Belgian theme for their next brew, Slack Tide is a “Hopped Rye Saison”, which they’re breaking down as a hybrid between a Saison and a Rye Pale Ale. Brewed with Pilsner and Rye malt, and hopped with Pahto in the boil, it was dry-hopped with Enigma once fermentation was complete. With aromas of “slight Belgian funk, followed by grassy notes”, the 5.3% ABV brew exhibits flavours from both the malt and hop sides, according to the brewery, all with a dry finish. Their third and final beer is Desperate Session, a collab they did with Nyanza’s own Big Spruce Brewing. Due to the high demand for their beer in Lunenburg, they were starting to run a little low, so Big Spruce kindly reached out to help in getting more beer out there! The beer in question is a hazy Session IPA hopped with Mosaic and HBC 472, giving tropical fruit in the aroma, and “huge flavours of passionfruit and citrus”. All of these beers are available (hopefully, if they haven’t run out!) on tap at Shipwright.
Looks like the Ladies Beer League is back to their collaboratin’ ways, as they’ve teamed up with Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery to create Jagged Little Pils. Not your typical Pilsner, they’re calling it a “Juicy Pilsner”, probably because it was dry-hopped with Simcoe and Idaho 7. Still brewed with a Pilsner base and fermented with Lager yeast, the dry-hop addition gives the beer lots of citrus and tropical fruit notes on the nose, and at 5.5% ABV, it’s right in that range where you can enjoy a couple without going *too* far (ymmv). It’s currently available at Brightwood for pints and growler fills, and cans also just hit their shelves this week.
HRM stalwart Propeller has released a new beer today, their Tropical Session Sour, making sure you’d have something suitable for lovely weekend weather. It’s tropical, with notes of passionfruit and pineapple, sessionable, at 3.9% ABV and 0 IBU, and sour. If that doesn’t describe an ideal patio beer we don’t know what does! A limited release, you’ll only be able to find it at Propeller’s two Prop Shops on Gottingen in Halifax and on Windmill in Dartmouth, as well as all of the private stores (including Liquid Assets at the Stanfield Airport if you’re on your way out of town). And if you decide to seek this one out at the source, you’ll also find a limited number of bottles of the Celebration Pils from earlier this summer available at the Prop Shops!! If you missed this the first time around, you’ve got one more chance to give it a go; if you didn’t miss it, we suspect you may wish to experience it again. On sale today from opening until it’s all gone.
Halifax’s Good Robot has been around for 4 years now and they’ve made all kinds of beers, both crazy and staid. But they’ve never ever made a Hefeweizen. Until now. A somewhat strangely uncommon style in our region, hefeweizen is more than just fun to say, it’s one of those lovely German words that says exactly what it means: hefe = “yeast” and weizen = “wheat”. Describing a Weißbier (“white beer”, most likely deriving from Weizenbier, “wheat beer”), a hefe is a beer made with a significant portion of wheat replacing barley, then fermented with a strain of ale yeast known for imparting phenolic (clove) and estery (banana/bubblegum) characters and served unfiltered, with some yeast still suspended, imparting a hazy appearance in the glass and a soft mouthfeel. Good Robot brewed theirs with 55% wheat and 45% pale malt, Australian Summer hops, known for subtle flavors of apricot, melon, peach, and grass, and they added some orange peel to the mix for a bit of a citrus presence. Coming in at 4.7% ABV and 10 or so IBU, they’re calling it Yeast Boss (or El Jefe de Hefe) in honour of brewer and yeast QA/QC man Gio, which is fitting as this style is extremely dependent on healthy and happy yeast. You’ll find it on tap at the brewery now!
Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is continuing their line of beers showcasing that European sensation Kveik yeast, but pushing the boundaries a little further. This batch of Oculus weighs in at 8.0% ABV, a fair jump up from the 4.0% and 6.0% of previous batches. With the jump in ABV, they are also pushing the limits of hopping, with massive additions of Sabro and Vic Secret in the kettle and dry hop addition. The resulting beer features notes of pineapple and orange, with a light vanilla sweetness. Grab a four-pack or growler to enjoy this weekend, while the weather is still tropical-ish.
And in Breaking News, we see that The Drome by TrailWay will be opening its doors this weekend! After major renovations lasting more than 4 months, the long-time Main Street institution has received a TrailWay facelift and improvement to be a taproom and patio, while preserving the lanes and character of the original. With lots more local craft beer available on tap, and a menu still focusing on classic bowling alley fare with a modern twist, we’re sure this will be a fun addition to the local beer taproom landscape. Doors open Saturday at 3PM for beer, food, and bowling (first come first serve on these while they sort out the weekend), so drop by!
Living in/around Fredericton and interested in entering the professional brewing world? Maybee Brewing is currently hiring for a full-time Assistant Brewer position, which would put you right in the center of the action: brew day prep, brewing, cleaning, inventory, etc. Brewery experience is an asset, but avid home brewers are also welcome to apply. Check out the full job listing here; you can drop off your cover letter and resume directly at the brewery, or send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you been following the goings on (and the comings out) at Church Brewing? We have, and we’re happy to report that per several sources, they’re already coming through with many of the economic benefits to the Town of Wolfville that some people always said were likely to be the result of their opening. One of the most impressive and prominent of these is the fact that they’re already employing more than 90 people (we’ve heard tell that already makes them the second-biggest employer in town, less than 6 months after opening). But with beer flying out of the taproom and the retail shop, and already on the shelves of the NSLC, they have need for at least one more: they’re looking for an Assistant Brewer and Cellarperson to help keep liquids moving from tanks to the people. If you’re looking to get into the beer industry and you’re interested in joining a going concern in Wolfville, maybe check out the job posting and consider sending in a resume. Hell, they hired KelticDevil, they’ll probably at least give you a look!
Speak(ing) of the (Keltic)Devil, he was back on the most recent episode of the 902BrewCast (August Tasting Episode #2: Electric Boogaloo) where he, Tony and Kyle talked some more about Church Brewing, beer, politics, and beer politics, all while sampling some tasty-sounding beers. Get it at your favorite place what does podcasts.
The weather may be due to cool down in coming weeks, but it seems the beer events are heating up. Check them out:
We would be remiss if we neglected to give a big old plug to our own event tomorrow night at the Auction House. Those who’ve been around a few years know that ACBB likes to do a little beer-flavored trivia now and then. Normally this is twice a year during FCBF and NSCBW, but The Auction House in Halifax has been kind enough to offer us an opportunity to do another one tomorrow night from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. As always the taps will be flowing with beer from many local and regional breweries, but featured will be fine selections from Tatamagouche Brewing, several of which might be first time/only time on tap in the city. Come on out and tolerate our corny humor while you rack your brain for the answers to our trivia questions. Did we mention that there will be prizes for the winners? Full details can be found on the Facebook Event page; hope to see you there!
The Labour Day weekend festivities continue at Big Spruce on Sunday, September 1st, with some fun activities for you AND the kids! Starting at noon at the brewery, there’s going to be lots going on, with plenty of activities that all revolve around beer! All of the usual Big Spruce taps will be pouring at the Sprucetique, and outdoors they’ll have games, archery, a bouncy castle (be aware, archers!), and live music. They’ll also have a pig roast, and accompanying sides from Stand and Stuff Your Face. It only costs $10 to get in on the fun, and kids are free! Food is pay-as-you-go (pay-as-you-eat?).
If you’ve been lurking around 899 Portland St. in Dartmouth for awhile, eagerly waiting for North Brewing to open their new taproom, they’re holding a sneak peek next Friday, September 6th. This is going to be a small gathering, as only 100 tickets will be sold. Your $100 ticket (available here) will get you into the event, three drinks at the bar, and food inspired by the menu at Side Hustle Snack Bar. Additional beers will, of course, be available for purchases, and $25 of your ticket price will go to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust (as part of the North Brewing Conservation Initiative). As for the grand opening itself, that will be happening on the following Friday, September 13th.
Odds and sods abound this weekend; we’ll see you out with these newsbites and remind you once again to check the opening hours of your favorite breweries this weekend, especially for Monday, before you go making any long drives.
On the western side of Newfoundland in Corner Brook, Bootleg Brew Co. put a new beer on tap last night, their Hard Ticket Sour IPA. With plenty of their favorite hop varieties added for dry hop, they describe this one as “juicy, fruity, a little piney & dank,” all while being sessionable/crushable. Get your sour and your hop fix at the same time in a 5% ABV package! On tap for pints and fills at the brewery. Maybe stop in there before/after the Gros Morne Beer Fest tomorrow evening? Grab your tickets for that here.
Chain Yard Cider is branching out a little bit into the realm of mead. This week they’ve got their new Traditional Mead available, made from wildflower honey sourced from the Annapolis Valley. Fermentation of this 7% ABV sparkling mead was arrested, leaving a slight honey sweetness with floral and melon notes on the palate and providing a light, fine carbonation. Get it at the source on Agricola St. in Halifax.
Meander River Farm & Brewery reminds us that they’re a cidery as well with the availability of a new small lot cider called Juicy Strawberry. We think we know what’s probably in this 5.5% ABV blend… As with all their small lots, you’ll almost certainly have to go to Ashdale to get it, but that’ll be a lovely drive on a long weekend in late summer, we think.
Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville have a big weekend of tasting planned, as they’re serving up their summer batches of small batch botanical ciders. Starting at 3:30 PM today you’ll be able to sample and quaff Old Tilt, Cloudy Blueberry, Blackcurrent & Lavender, Spruce Tip, Pineapple Weed and Wild Rose. If you’re in the area and you love cider, this sounds like an amazing lineup to try!
For those who like Toller from Dartmouth’s Spindrift but would like to have a slightly lighter, lower-calorie option, you’re in luck! Today marks the day that Toller Lite is released, exclusively at the brewery on Frazee Avenue in Burnside at 4 PM. A full percentage point lower in ABV than regular Toller, it weighs in at 4%, with only 92 calories and 3.2 g of carbs per serving. And if you can’t make the brewery, the private stores carrying its big brother are all scheduled to have Toller Lite this weekend as well.
Last but not least today is the return of Unfiltered’s ode to Citra, DOA. Double Orange Ale is their single-hopped Double IPA, weighing in at 7.5% ABV, and featuring massive citrus and specifically orange character on top of a robust bitter beer. On tap for pint and growler fills at the taproom and brewery respectively, with cans available at the brewery today and tomorrow as well.