We certainly had some bracing weather this week in and around the region and wouldn’t you know it, more than a couple of our breweries seem to have just the beers for cold weather coming out right around now. Add to that a couple of openings (one brewery, one taproom), and a slew of events and you’ve got a recipe for a long read today (sorry; not sorry). So without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?
In case you missed our Profile of Tire Shack Brewing last Friday (ahem, click here now), we can now confirm that they are open and serving beer! Located at 190 John Street in Moncton, the onsite brewery features a large taproom. They have five beers currently on tap to enjoy in their space, which are: The Specialist Blonde Ale (5.0% ABV), Secret Society Toasted Marshmallow Stout (5.5% ABV), Realignment Juicy Pale Ale (6.0% ABV), Full Service Double IPA (7.5% ABV), and Zenith Libation Cardamom Wit Beer (5.5% ABV). While they await the completion of their Retail Space, growlers can be filled at the bar, and cans of The Specialist, Secret Society, and Realignment are available as well. Their kitchen is scheduled to be fully operational in the New Year, so grab take-out from nearby, or order something to be delivered, and check out their new spot! Tire Shack is open 7 days a week: Sun 12 – 10 PM, Mon – Tues 11 – 10 PM, Wed – Thurs 11 – 11 PM, and Fri – Sat 11 – 12AM. Congratulations once again to Alan, Jerica, and Henry!
And speaking of openings, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is officially opening The Oxford Taproom today! This new location is located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford, in the space formerly occupied by the Oxford Theatre. The interior is an ode to the former tenant, featuring the original movie projector and plenty of movie-themed design elements. The main level features the pilot brewery with 3 BBL (330 litre) of fermentation capacity (details on future pilot experimental and community releases coming when we have them!), full retail store, and taproom with seating for 60. Upstairs features a quieter space with lounge seating and a boardroom. The taproom features 16 draught lines of Garrison goodness, with the full complement of core and seasonal offerings, including their Brewhouse Cider (a collaboration with Bulwark), and a nitro tap. While they will not have a kitchen, patrons are encouraged to grab something from one of the dozens of nearby restaurants and enjoy it in the Oxford. The taproom and retail is open from noon daily (including today!) until 10 PM, and until midnight Friday and Saturday.
It’s not only new locations for Garrison this week, as they have the return of two bigger spirits-aged beers just in time for the cooler weather. In “the description is right in the name” news, their Barrel Aged Grand Baltic Porter is a 11.0% ABV Baltic Porter aged in rum barrels from Ironworks & Glenora, enhancing the dark fruit and roast character from the base beer with lovely molasses and spirit notes from the barrel. And To Prussia With Love, which is also 11.0% ABV, and is a blend of their Baltic Porter and Barrel Aged Barley Wine, combining for a complex beer. Both beers are in 650 ml bottles, so we suggest finding a friend (or 3) to share the bottle, or else you may find yourself in the hold of a ship headed to Eastern Europe if tackling these alone! And on the lighter side, they have launched a Holiday Mingler 4-pack of tall cans, with Tall Ship, Pucker Up!, Deja Moo, and Irish Red to their retail spots as well as the NSLC, and is currently the only way to purchase cans of the latter two, if you so desire.
St John’s Bannerman Brewing has a pair of new beers on tap this week that we are excited to tell you about. Dial Up is a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light-malt base of Pils, Oat, and Wheat Malts, and dry-hopped heavily with Galaxy and Simcoe for big notes of stone fruit, mango, and citrus. And just released Thursday afternoon is Scenic Route, a 5.0% ABV sour dry-hopped with Mosaic hops, and conditioned with blueberry puree and fresh mint. Both beers are on tap now in the taproom, and available to go in growler fills and cans.
Upstreet is releasing a VIP 4-pack of the fan favourite Neon Friday brews from this year. Available in the brewery, and Craft Beer Corner, the four-pack features: Neon Friday 2.01: Session IPA (4.5% ABV with Cashmere, Motueka, & Amarillo), Neon Friday 2.03: Pale Ale (5.9% ABV with Waimea, Sticklebract, & Columbus), Neon Friday 2.04: IPA (7.25% ABV with Citra, Southern Cross, Amarillo, & Wakatu), and Neon Friday 2.07: Double IPA (8.0% ABV with Simcoe, Amarillo, & Ekuanot). These packs will also be available at PEILCC locations next week. Also available rotating on tap at both locations, as well as the Upstreet Pour Authority in Founders Food Hall. And you can celebrate the release at the brewery with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight! From 9 PM, the lights will be turned down low, and the glow will be turned to eleven, so come in your brightest neon outfits and rock out with DJs Ugly James Franco and Dennison.
Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is returning to their “Belgian-inspired” roots in a big way with today’s release of the Abbey Series, a four-pack of Belgian styles, with all but one beer being completely new brews. Let’s dive in:
Abbey Singel (5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs) – Patersbier (a style often referred to as the “lawnmower beer of Trappist monks”, i.e. this is what the monks drink when they’re putting their feet up, as opposed to actually mowing) brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt and sugar, and hopped with Slovenian Celeia, it was fermented with a Trappist strain. Exhibiting notes of “honey, coriander, and lemon”, it finishes clean and dry.
Abbey Dubbel (7.2% ABV, 20 IBUs) – The one beer in the collection that they’ve brewed before, this iteration does have some differences from earlier releases. The yeast is now a “Chimay-inspired strain”; as a result, the attenuation was higher, resulting in a drier beer. You can still expect “lots of phenols, dark fruit, and toffee character”, however.
Abbey Tripel (9% ABV, 33 IBUs) – Surprised it’s taken Grimross this long to brew a Tripel, but happy to see it! Brewed with a similar – albeit, larger – grain bill as the Abbey Singel, it was also hopped with Celeia and fermented with yeast harvested from that beer. Expect clove, citrus, banana, and some dough character, and higher carb (as is typical for the style).
Abbey Quad (11%, 28 IBUs) – No, that’s not a typo… 11% ABV (and in case you’re wondering, yes, that is the “biggest” beer Grimross has ever brewed). Fermented with that Chimay strain, you’re going to find this a “complex beer full of clove, toffee, plum, fig and banana bread notes”. This full-bodied beer IS boozy, to be sure, but apparently the alcohol is not as pronounced as you’d assume from that 1-1 number. So, go easy!
The four-pack will be available at the brewery today, with select ANBL stores receiving it over the next couple of weeks. All four beers will also be on tap at the taproom for a limited time, and you may see a keg or two pop up at certain Grimross tap accounts, as well.
Over in Cape Breton, Breton Brewing has prepped their annual holiday gift packs for the Christmas season, and they’ve passed on some information on their newest beer, which will be included in those packs. Cranberry Belgian Wit is a 5% ABV, 15 IBUs Witbier brewed with the typical additions of orange peel and coriander; however, it was conditioned on cranberries after fermentation was complete, giving the beer a reddish colour and a slightly tart finish to complement the aromas and flavours of citrus and coriander. While you can find the gift packs at the brewery and NSLC stores, the Witbier can also be found on its own on tap and in single cans at Breton’s taproom.
It’s the season of brewing with grape skins, and Tanner & Co. ain’t gonna be left behind! This week they launched Millot, a Belgian Saison that they fermented on Leon Millot grape skins from Blomidon Estate Winery (in Canning, NS). With about 70 kg of the skins used in the 400 L batch (that’s about 200 grams per litre!), the beer is showing off plenty of “blackberry, blueberry, and dark cherry notes”, with a likely-expected deep red colour. It’s tasting fairly vinous, so this is a great beer for those of you who are also into wine. Coming in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the brewery right now, and bottles should be available fairly soon as well.
The Newfoundland Cider Company has a brand new release available in their Shop in Shoal Harbour, the latest in their Forager series. This features local wild blueberries, courtesy of Brown’s Family Farm, with the whole berries fermented with freshly-pressed apple cider. Before transfer and packaging, the blend was then allowed to age on the spent blueberry skins for a month to enhance the colour and aroma. The semi-sweet cider is 5.3% ABV, and is available in kegs as well as bottles at their Balbo Drive location, and soon at NLC locations in the area, joining several other of their offerings.
Boxing Rock Brewing in Shelburne (and Halifax) has several new releases this week, so let’s get right to the juicy details. First up is the winner of their 2019 Black Box Challenge, where amateur brewers are given the same ingredients, but are free to make whatever beer style they’d like. This year’s winning brewer was Jana Dellapina, whose Hello Darkness Schwarzbier took top honours. Dellapina made the trip to Shelburne last month to brew a full batch at Boxing Rock, and now the beer is available for everyone to enjoy! The 5.2% ABV black lager balances the chocolate and roast malt character with a soft bitterness, and a crisp refreshing lager finish. It’s available now in bottles as well as on tap (currently at the tap room in Shelburne). In “now for something completely different” news, BR has a pair of barrel-aged beers in their Fisticuffs line on the shelves currently. Barrel Aged Brett Saison is an 8.0% ABV Saison with “complex, yet approachable” notes of stone fruit and full flavour from the Chardonnay oak barrels. And in turn to the tart and sour, Barrel Aged Over the Top, their cranberry sour beer lived in a barrel for 12 months, and allowed to develop and soak in the wood and wine character. This comes in at 4.2% ABV, and along with the Brett Saison is available in bottles at the taproom as well as Local Source Market on Agricola in Halifax. There you can find the latest Test Kitchen release, Inverse, a white stout, exclusively for growler fills.
Halifax’s Propeller has a couple of new beers hitting the city this weekend, one a returning favorite of sorts and the other a brand new beer celebrating Halifax Taco Week. Russian Imperial Stout was brewed with Propeller’s award-winning Revolution recipe, but is seeing distribution in cans with their modern branding style instead of the old familiar 500 mL bottles with the Soviet-era design. Still boasting a pronounced bitterness at 60 IBU and strong like Russian Bear at 8% ABV, look for a midnight-black pour with an espresso-colored head, with notes of chocolate, dark fruit and coffee and a bit of heat on the finish. And truly new this week is Lima Blonde Lager, which is exclusive to downtown restaurant Antojo Tacos + Tequila. Designed to pair nicely with Antojo’s Taco Week offering, the Maritimer, it’s a light and crisp ale at 4.5% ABV featuring fresh additions of lemon and lime zest. You’ll have to go there to get it though, as this one isn’t being packaged. Lastly, for those who like to visit Prop on Gottingen for a Friday evening tipple, this week’s Cask Friday cask is their Galaxy IPA with an addition of raspberries.
Time to re-enter the world of cider, perhaps? Well, follow us this way to Sourwood Cider, where they’ve just released Wabamo, a “Super-Duper Hopped Cider”. Seems to us that this is a constantly-evolving experiment, but we can tell you that they’re trying different juices as the base, and tweaking the hopping rates, varieties, and temperatures when dry-hopping. For now, this 6% ABV cider is tasting very juicy, with some floral notes joining in. You can find it on tap at the cidery, but if you want to take some cans home, you’ll have to grab them at select NSLC stores soon, or to enjoy with your next meal at Bar Kismet.
Port Rexton Brewing has got a brand new canned beer for ya, The One With the Citra (you Friends fans out there may squeal with delight a little bit louder than everyone else). It’s a 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that features lots and lots of the always-wonderful Citra hop, which means juiciness galore, or in their more eloquent words, “bright orange, floral, wildflower, and peach skin aroma and flavour”. Bitterness is on the light side, and at that ABV, you can enjoy a couple and not worry about stumbling over yourself too badly (YMMV). Perhaps you should stop by the taproom and grab some cans for the weekend, hmm?
2 Crows has a wide variety of beers that are aging in barrels at the brewery; each beer requires a degree of patience, as any barrel-aged beer isn’t going to have a quick turnaround. But some beers – e.g. those that are slowly soured via microbes such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus – need quite a bit of time, upwards of 18 months and beyond; but when they come out, they’re usually worth the wait (we think 2 Crows is pretty reliable, anyway). One of these beers is going to be officially released in mid-December, but is going to be making its debut at Stillwell’s Anniversary bash this weekend, so we thought we’d share the details on it now (read: someone here said that we would and now someone ELSE got stuck writing it up)! The beer is Tinto, and it’s a Flanders Red-inspired beer that was brewed in March, 2018. With a grist of Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Spelt, Special B, Special Aromatic, Crystal 65, and Oats, it was hopped in the boil with both aged and new East Kent Goldings, to 11 IBUs. The wort was fermented in freshly-emptied Port barrels with a blend of red wine yeast and the Roeselare blend of Sacch, Brett, and bacteria. After aging for 3 months, dried cherries were added to the barrel (21 g/L), where they sat for over a year. Then, in July, 2019 (~16 months total aging at this point), the beer was transferred to the brewery’s blending tank, where it was allowed to condition on fresh cherries (300 g/L) for 8 weeks, before it was packaged, mostly in 375 mL cork-and-cage bottles. After all this time, the 6.3% ABV beer is “assertively tart, with a touch of acetic character, with very rich and multidimensional cherry character, smooth and vinous”, according to the brewery. There will be a single 20 L keg available at Stillwell for their party Sunday if you’d like a taste before you can finally buy some bottles; it will also be poured from bottles during the Wild and Sour Beer Tasting event (hosted by the Ladies Beer League) at 2 Crows on Tuesday, November 19th.
And while we’ve got you focused on 2 Crows, now is a good time to mention that Lil’ Miguel is back! This year’s version is bigger than ever (7.1% ABV), and they’ve increased the amount of peppers (ancho, pasilla, and chipotle) to give the beer even more spicy kick. With a “very smooth chocolate backbone, with just a touch of vanilla and cinnamon”, it has once again been canned on nitro (so pour aggressively!). The brewery is also pouring it on tap on nitro, and other 2C accounts will have it pouring on CO2, if you’re not into the whole stouts-on-nitrogen thing.
Back to cider this week with a late addition from Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company, with the latest of their Something Different releases. Haskap & Pear is a blend of the signature dry cider, along with juice from local Haskap berries as well as three varietals of pears, Bartlett, Bosc, and Flemish Beauty. The tart haskaps, similar to blueberries, lend some sharpness to the blend, as well as a lovely rose tint to the 7.0% ABV sparkling cider. As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 from each fill goes to a local charity, this time they are supporting Clean Foundation, whose goal is to create a more sustainable society in Atlantic Canada, through work towards clean water and a cleaner climate.
This past Saturday PEIBC announced the winners of this year’s Gahan Maritime Home Brew Challenge competition, an attempt to find the best home brewers in the Maritimes. Entries came from all over the region, with some 60 beers facing final judging. The big winner this year was Chelsea Meisner, brewing under the moniker Lady Scotia Brewing, whose Tingles Sichuan Stout took 1st place in the Stout category and then went on to take the Grand Champion title (and also “Bravest Beer”). Chelsea takes home the top prize of $1,000 and will see her beer brewed in a production batch for public release. Other category winners were Armadillo from the Green Willy Collective (Jonathan Green, William Panting, Clayton Harding, and Tyler Gallant) in the Mixed Fermentation/Sour category, and Brahair Brother Eric Gautier’s Alien Barbarian in the IPA category. You can find the full list of award-winners at the competition website here. A big congratulations to Chelsea and a promise that we’ll be sure to let you know when her beer becomes available for you to try. Meanwhile, we’d like to acknowledge how cool it is to see another win by a woman in a major regional home brew competition.Though the hobby has a reputation for being male-dominated, this is another reminder that female brewers are on the rise and are kicking ass with creative and tasty brews.
Lots on the go for you this weekend, including the Atlantic Canada Brewing Awards Gala Saturday at HopYard Halifax (tickets available and open to everyone), and Bar Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary on Sunday. Here are some more things to get you excited (and visiting your local spot)!
It’s the month of anniversaries related to beer, and Copper Bottom is in the mix, as they’re celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, November 16th with their 2 Years of Beer event at the brewery in Montague. They’re continuing what they started last year, and launching Birthday Beer 2, a 7.5% ABV Brut IPA dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria (last year’s edition was Mosaic). First tastes will be at the party tomorrow; expect “big notes of tangerine and citrus” in a highly-carbonated and dry package. The brewery opens at 3 pm, and that’s when the party starts, with live music scheduled all day. Obviously there’ll be plenty of beer options as well, and food options will include fresh oysters from 4-8 pm, and birthday cake handpies all day/evening.
There’s another brewery birthday going on in Nova Scotia tomorrow as well, with Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider celebrating their first year in business. All day long from opening you’ll find $5 ciders from 10 taps, including Oaked Russet, Sparkling Perry, some experimental batches and, of course, their fan favorites. If you’re planning on stopping by to help them celebrate, bring an appetite, as there’s a good chance there will be some special items coming out of the kitchen as well. Check out the Fb event page for more info!
Nyanza’s Big Spruce is bringing their beer to another special night of food pairings in Halifax with an event entitled “An Organic Evening” going down at the Agricola Street Brasserie (part of their Intimate & Interactive series of events) next Thursday, November 21st at 6 PM. Only 20 seats are available for this celebration of all things organic (including the beer!), so if you’re interested you’d best act quickly. For $100 (includes taxes and gratuity) you’ll get 5 courses from the kitchen, each thoughtfully paired with a beer from Big Spruce. More information can be found on the EventBrite page, where you’ll also be able to secure your tickets.
The Algonquin Resort in Saint Andrews, NB, is holding a Craft Beer Event next Saturday night, Nov 23, featuring breweries from New Brunswick and PEI pouring their best for guests. Breweries on hand will be: Think Brewing, PEI Brewing, Long Bay Brewery, Big Axe Brewery, Picaroons, Trailway Brewing, Hammond River Brewing, Off Grid Ales, Pumphouse, Graystone Brewing, Cross Creek Beer, and Grimross Brewing. Your $45 ticket gets you your first ten 6 ounce pours, a souvenir Stein, light snacks, and live music throughout. You’ll also have access to discounted room rates to make a full weekend of it. Check out this link for tickets, rooms, and more.
It’s that time of year again, with the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival once again hosting their 12 Beers of Christmas fests. Don’t let the name confuse you, there are many, many more than twelve beers available at the fest, with breweries from across the island, and Canada taking part. The West Coast edition of the fest takes place next Saturday, November 23rd at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, while the East Coast edition is a two-day affair Friday Nov 29 and Saturday the 30th at the St John’s Farmers Market. Tickets for both are selling fast, so if you haven’t yet picked them up, delay no longer!
Just a few more things on our desk this week, and then you’re dismissed!
Big Spruce is no stranger to big beers and this week marks the availability of one of their biggest. Coade Word: Snowmageddon 2019 was aged in maple-soaked bourbon barrels (as opposed to the whiskey barrels used in 2018) and features ginger and vanilla. At 10.3% ABV, this winter warmer might be the perfect beverage to soothe your aching bones after a hard shovelling session (or, if you want to raise the difficulty of shovelling, have one before!). As always, brewed in appreciation of meteorologist Peter Coade, who boasted the longest career in the profession as confirmed by Guinness themselves (the record book, not the brewery). Look for it starting this weekend at your favorite place to buy Big Spruce beer.
In Twillingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that they’ve packaged some of their beer in cans. Available now at the brewery are Red Sky Red Rye and Nar Dar APA. In coming weeks, with any luck, you’ll also start seeing these both around town and in other parts of the province.
In Pictou County, Uncle Leo’s has brewed up a special beer for the season: Odin’s Winter Ale was made in the Norwegian Farmhouse Ale tradition, with juniper and kveik yeast being key to its production. You’ll find it in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown Box available at certain private stores in Halifax (hopefully we’ll get some more details on that for next week). But if you can’t wait for the Advent season to try this one, head on down to the brewery or attend the Christmas at the deCoste event going on in Pictou this weekend!