As anyone in the region is most certainly aware, it has been an extra-trying week at this end of the country, especially in Nova Scotia. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the unbelievably tragic events of last weekend; to have to deal with this in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is that much more brutal. We know that we can all endure and survive tribulations like these through sharing strength and supporting our neighbours and we know that that’s what Nova Scotians and Canadians will do. But we absolutely wish there wasn’t a need to do so.
With that all said, we suspect you didn’t come here to read more about that, but to maybe take your mind off it and think of more pleasant things, like beer. And in that respect, you’re in luck, as there is plenty of news to share with you this week regarding new releases, re-releases, and everything else we could find. Read on; and stay safe!!
We continue to make updates to our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries in the region, and there were plenty this week! We also took the time to update our full list of breweries and cideries in the region, as well as our Good Beer Map, useful for trip planning when it’s time to get back on the road and support breweries in person. Until then, let them come to you (where possible)! As always, please let us know via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too) if anything is out of date.
Let’s start the week’s news on a happy note in the Hub of Nova Scotia. Truro Brewing Company opened their doors at the end of February, and were therefore hit hard by the current pandemic, being a taproom- and growler-only brewery. After pivoting, they have now brought in a single head canner and established an online store, so they once again have a way to sell to their wares. They launched this week with three brand new offerings, available for local delivery in Truro, as well as through an HRM tomorrow (so get your orders in today!), with shipping available across the province and beyond as well. First up is a special version of their Exit 14 Porter, their 4.6% English Porter, but with this version, was dosed with coffee thanks to their friends at Aroma Maya Coffee. The chocolate and roast malts in the base beer pair perfectly with the freshly-roasted beans added to the brew. Next up is the Old Barns Farmhouse Ale, a 5.0% ABV Saison, modeled after the beer given to farmhands in the Belgian and French fields. Crisp, spicy, fruity, and highly carbonated, it uses the Escarpment Labs Saison Maison yeast to achieve all of these refreshing characteristics. And finally is the Daytripper Session Ale, a 3.9% ABV sessionable ale, with low bitterness, mild flavour, and featuring a nice dose of Amarillo hops at the end of the boil, for aroma and flavour. Take a gander at Truro Brewing Company’s store for the options for delivery in your neck of the woods!.
Hanwell’s Niche Brewing released their Bridget Rhubarb Sour last week, which is still available at a couple of the ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, and should be returning to DrinkNB.ca soon, but now they have another beer available to those looking to have Niche on tap at home. Those in Fredericton with kegerators or jockey boxes can order 20 litre kegs of a couple of their beers, including a brand new release, Empty Garden. This 5.4% ABV American Pale ale is hazy, juicy, and full of tropical notes, thanks to the late and dry-hopping with loads of Enigma, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin. Helping it out even more was the extra punch of warm fermentation thanks to the Kveik Ebbegarden yeast strain, for more fruity ester goodness. Low bitterness (think mid-20s IBUs) and lots of juiciness, for a great return to the modern NEIPA form for the Niche crew. To order your kegs, get in touch with Niche via email (firstname.lastname@example.org ), or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and they’ll share the fine details with you there.
Two brand new releases from 2 Crows this week to help you keep your head up! The first was designed and brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles; Special features a grist of Pilsner, Wheat malt, raw wheat, and a touch of flaked wheat, and was hopped in the boil with aged East Kent Golding, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling. With an addition of 85 kg of warmed Nova Scotia honey in the hopback, the wort was then transferred to one of their oak foedres, where it was fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures (all sorts of funky stuff in there, we can assure you). Once fermentation was complete, 5 kg of honeycomb were added to bump up the honey notes. The beer continued to age for another four months, and was then transferred back to stainless, primed with fresh honey, and packaged in cans where it was allowed to condition. The final beer, a 4.4% ABV Biere de Miel, is tasting very floral and funky; “dry as a bone, with a soft honeycomb base, subtle petrichor and herbal aromatics.” Check in with 2C to arrange pickup of your cans, or arrange for delivery.
And new to their webstore this morning is Carica, another walk on the wild site from the dual corvid crew… Starting from a complex malt base including Vienna, Wheat, Special Aromatic, Biscuit Malt (from Red Shed Malting), as well as Caramel malts, for a darker-coloured wort. Primary fermentation was done directly in a Port barrel, with a blend of their house yeast and Lactobacillus cultures. After 9 months (!!), 15 kg of dried Mission figs were added to the barrel, soaking up the beer and giving the bugs some more sugar to munch on. After that fermentation was complete, 10 kg of freshly-roasted black walnuts were added for an additional wait time, before packaging in bottles still (flat), and undergoing a final conditioning and carbonation. Phew, that was a mouthful! This dark sour has plenty of jammy fruit notes from the fig and port formerly in the barrel, and “bright and zippy” kick from the yeast and Lacto culture, plus earthiness from the walnuts. As mentioned, this joins Special, and almost a dozen more beers, now available for pickup or delivery Canada-wide, on the 2 Crows webstore.
For fans of Garrison’s Pucker Up series of “flavoured kettle sour” beers, they’ve got a new one out this week, Pucker Up Citrus. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, the soured wort was fermented and then infused with a blend of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange extract. Also, some green tea, hibiscus and Stevia were added. This 5% ABV brew has no bitterness (no hops!), and is meant to be a refreshing beer with aromas of all four fruit additions, as well as a touch of vanilla, with “bold citrus flavours and a tart finish”. Look for cans and one-way growlers at both Garrison locations (as well as home delivery) starting today; cans will also eventually show up at the NSLC, as well as ANBL and NLC outside the province.
Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing continues to pursue a market segment not usually targeted by craft breweries with this week’s addition to their Toller family of affordable American-style Lagers. Beer-wise, Toller Gold comes in at 5.0% ABV and 12 IBU, leveraging malted barley and corn on the grist side, and a smattering of Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh for hops to yield a golden-colored, slightly sweet yet still crisp brew. Price-wise, it comes in at about $23 for a 12-pack, which is actually cheaper than many huge multi-national brands that you’re familiar with! Get it now from the brewery or look for it starting May 4th at NSLC locations around the province. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up at certain private stores in Halifax as well. Also, we’ve had word from the brewery that they’re moving their core brands away from single serve to exclusively multi-packs for the foreseeable future; so if you’re big on playing mix ‘n match with Spindrift tallboys you might have to sideline that for a little while.
Fellow Dartmouth spot Brightwood Brewery has launched a new beer this week as well, an ode to the great hops grown in the Maritimes. Backyards is a 4.5% ABV hazy Pale Ale, a zesty and light-bodied beer with great tropical notes from the Centennial, Columbus, and Cashmere hops. The plan for Backyards is to continue to showcase the hop growers of the region, so the hop bill may change with availability, with the ultimate goal being all-NS supplied. This is the first Pale Ale for Brightwood, and are excited to play in that format, with plenty of fun ideas still to come. Cans of Backyards are available for window-pickup at their Portland Street shop, as well as for delivery through their webstore, along with a trio of other beers, including their dry-hopped Pilsner, now renamed to Pillowy Pils. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?
Good Robot has brewed up a new beer as a way of showing thanks to all of you working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Aptly-named FrontLiner, it is a 6.0% Belgian Golden Ale. Taking a bit of a left-turn from traditional is the additional dry-hopping step, helping to expand upon the yeast and malt character, bringing it bright tangerine and peach notes in the aroma. Good Robot is pairing with My Home Apparel, they are donating 50% of all proceeds to the QEII Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which will help purchase necessary medical supplies for patients and healthcare providers. Available in grunters and growlers only, check out their online shop to see how you can order Frontliner, and others, for pickup or delivery.
Recently-opened Hardisty Brewing, in Colby Village, Dartmouth, has a new beer available for ordering this weekend. Rye IPA is a 5.0% ABV India Pale Ale, featuring a nice addition of Rye malt to the bill, for a bit of spicy character, and built with a nice 35 IBUs of bitterness thanks to Northern Brewer and Willamette hops. Rye IPA joins Block Party SMaSH as available for delivery in the Colby Village area, check their website and Instagram for the latest info.
A bit of a return to the norm on the blog this week with our “Newsbites” section returning (aka beers we don’t know enough about or are returning and we think you’d like to know about them)
- Big Spruce’s Tag You’re It! 2020 edition, is back, featuring, as always, a new can design (this time a righteous Right Whale) and also, as always, brewed to help support the Ocean Tracking Network ($0.50 from every can sold). We’re going to speculate that also, as always always, it’s a tropical juice-bomb in the NE IPA style and that if you’re a fan of hoppy beers it’s worth your time to check it out.
- Dartmouth’s New Scotland released the latest in their Small Batch Series this week, a 9.5% ABV Double IPA named Pink Boots. Using the Pink Boots hop blend available from Yakima Chief, with some of the proceeds going to support the Pink Boots Society, with the goal to “assist, inspire, and encourage women beer professionals through education”. Berry, fruit, and herbal flavours come through, it’s a classic Double IPA, golden in colour with some nice bitterness. As the name implies, it’s a small batch, so it looks like it may already be sold out, but you can catch a half-dozen more in New Scotland’s online store for pickup or delivery, including another batch of their Fresh Start IPA. Ed note: edited with more info after publishing.
- North Brewing in Cole Harbour (still feels kinda weird typing that) has a couple of faves returning to the shelves this week. Their Sparrow German-style Pilsner and their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale. The former is a rather faithful take on a classic European-style, while the latter is definitely more of a modern North American jam. Each has their place but they’re both pretty damn tasty. Hit the brewery up to get yours!
- Those who love it know that this is the time each year when Propeller in Halifax brings out their tried and true seasonal Irish Red. Previously seen a few weeks ago in a sort of pre-release with a small run of nitro cans, this is a non-nitro version for the traditionalists amongst us. Also of note out of Prop is that not only is their local favorite NE IPA Galaxy available once again, but it has now been promoted to the status of “core brand,” which means you should now be able to find it year round! If you’re a fan of one or both of these beers, you can expect to find them at the brewery now.
- Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s Brewery has brought back their Odin’s Summer Ale, in the hopes of seeding that idea with Mother Nature. Let’s hope it works! Their Sunburst Pale Ale is also newly available, and these can both be ordered via phone, email, or direct message. Full details here.
A few more notes to close on today, all coincidentally from New Brunswick:
Saint John’s Uncorked Tours is working hard to get their SJ City Market storefront ready before the tourist season begins, whenever that may be, but they certainly have not been slowing down their online presence in the meantime. They have been running great live Virtual Brewery Tours on their Instagram page that we encourage everyone to check out, and there are more than a dozen available for replaying here. They are now offering you a way to taste your way around the city, and province, from home as well. Firstly, they have created a Taste of the City Market “picnic basket”, with cheese, cured meats, breads and other goodies, delivered to your home in Saint John (for now, hopefully expanding the region soon) each Thursday. Order by 8PM Wednesday evening to secure your spot. As well, they are fully embracing the current situation by running some live beer tastings via Facebook Live/Zoom. Saturdays at 8 PM, drink along with Gilliane as she enjoys beers from across the province. They have also teamed up with DrinkNB to make it easier to get those beers in your hand, so don’t be shy and order them now (or in time for next week’s). The Uncorked NB Facebook page is the best way to keep up with everything happening (plenty more we couldn’t fit in here!), so you can still feel connected to the producers in the province. And if you’re able, and appreciate the content, there is a Tip Page that would help out.
The ANBL is attempting to alleviate one of the major pain points with reduced hours and the need for physical distancing at their locations, and is implementing a curbside pickup option for orders. Look here for the full details, but in short, you can now submit an order via phone (1-877-779-7878) or email (e-Commerce@anbl.com) using the product’s catalog number, wait for confirmation, and then pick up in person without needing to enter the store or wait in line.
And finally, the NBCAPA, the New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers have selected a new Executive Director. Christine Comeau will be doing advocacy work on behalf of the producers in the province, to increase the awareness of the province’s breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, to the government (yay!), in the region, and to those looking to visit when it’s safe to do so. Congratulations Christine!