Lots of good news stories of taprooms and restaurants opening back up again in New Brunswick, and that possibility coming in the next week in PEI with Phase #3 coming into effect June 1st, and June 5th in Nova Scotia, barring any major outbreaks in the next while. Physical distancing and safe practices make this a little more complicated than throwing the doors wide open, so we are encouraged by the innovations some businesses have already put together and are prepared to be impressed even more in the coming weeks. But news from Northern NB reminds us just how fragile the situation remains, so please be mindful of that! Enough Debbie Downer for now, let’s get onto the new beers!
Let’s start this week in the Hub of Nova Scotia, where Truro Brewing Company calls home. After a brief hiatus, they are back today with a full complement of canned products this week, including fresh batches of their Willow Street Wheat, Daytripper Session Ale, and Cobequid Bay IPA. And joining these offerings is Fortis, a Belgian Golden Strong. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, this is a strong beer, much like the spirit of Nova Scotians who have been through so much lately. Featuring a grain bill of Pilsner malt, hopped with Ahtanum, and fermented with an Abbey-style yeast, to encourage some of those iconic fruity ester notes. Proceeds from sales of Fortis are being donated to support a bursary for women entering the trades, in honour of Emily Tuck, who was passionate about carpentry, welding, and playing violin. To get your own can of Fortis, or TBC’s other offerings, you can pop-by the brewery today and Saturday, 2 – 6 PM, using Click & Collecton their webstore, or delivery within the province for just $10.
It’s looking like some Halifax breweries are super keen this week, releasing several new beers all in one whack. One of these breweries is, of course, 2 Crows, who have four new beers coming out today… three of them in bottles, one in cans, all brewed as the same base beer, and all of them low-ABV! And hey, they’re even as much fun to say as they are – we assume – to drink! Let’s dive right in to this series of Berliner Weisses…
Zip (2.8%) – Brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, as well as some raw wheat, this brew was hopped with a small amount of aged East Kent Goldings… but was not boiled. Initially fermented with German Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs, the brewery also added two strains of Lactobacillus bacteria (brevis and plantarum for you beer geeks out there). After primary fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with a bit of Huell Melon, and a pitch of Escarpment’s Berliner Brett I was also added; the beer was then allowed to condition for several months. It was finally packaged in cans and conditioned with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super bright and dry, and drinks like a combo of Pet-Nat and lemon Sanpellegrino”.
Zap (3.2%) – For this beer, a gin barrel-aged Berliner w/ raspberry, the wort underwent primary fermentation in a gin barrel with Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast. After conditioning in the barrel for 4 months, the beer was transferred onto 90 kg of raspberries for 8 weeks, then bottle-conditioned for 9 weeks.
Zop (3.2%) – See the pattern here? This one was fermented the same as Zap, but in a freshly-emptied Mezcal barrel, and conditioned on 90 kg of black currants. Exhibiting lots of rich fruit character, it was bottled as well.
Zoup (3.2%) – Same again, but in a Sauvignon Blanc barrel and dry-hopped with 2 kg of dried woodruff for a week before bottling.
Sounds great, no? The three latter beers are all bottled in clear bottles as well, exhibiting their beautiful colours even more easily! All four beers are available at the brewery today, and are a limited supply. Apologies to anyone who is suddenly thinking of aliens and elementary school French class.
Couple new beers coming out of Tidehouse this week as well; great timing, considering that they’re having their curbside pick-up for two days in a row, today and tomorrow. Their newest beer is Ocean Perle (5% ABV, but you can pretend it’s 5.440% if you like), brewed with Pilsner malt, hopped “assertively” with Perle, and fermented with Escarpement’s KRISPY, a blend of two different Kveik strains. It’s tasting dry, and yes, crispy, and is meant to be crushed in quantity. They’ve also got Rad Vlad, an 11.4% ABV Imperial Stout that is the same base beer as their Bad Vlad, but with some small changes to the fruit additions. Expect “far less raspberry, and a touch of blackberry/blueberry”, all on a roasty, chocolatey, boozy base. In addition to cans of both of these new beers, they’ve also got more cans of Noon Gun (a 3.4% hazy Session IPA w/ Vic Secret and Ella) and For Greg About It (7% American IPA with Citra, Galaxy and Mosaic). So, how can you get your hands on them? Today between 1-6PM, and tomorrow between 12 – 5 PM, call (902-407-2550) to place your order, pay by CC, debit, or EMT; wait 15 minutes or so for them to prep your order, then drop by Salter Street for a contactless grab and go! Easy peasy!
Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has a new beer out this week, the West-Coast-inspired Double IPA. No need for fancy names when everything you need to know is right there, I guess! Well, almost everything, let’s fill you in a bit more: Building on their very popular The Vicar’s Cross, DIPA is 8.0% ABV, and thanks to plenty of hops added throughout the process, it features loads of pine, citrus, and tropical notes, and a soupçon of resin, finishing slightly dry, with a nice citrusy bitterness. Along with a half-dozen other recent releases, this fella is available in 473 ml cans at the brewery taproom in Shelburne, and via contactless delivery through their webstore on the South Shore and HRM.
Despite their taproom being closed (but not for much longer!), Propeller is still working on some fun pilot brews, and packaging them into bottles so that there isn’t a wait to enjoy them on tap. Their latest is Kveik Pale Ale, a 5.1% ABV hoppy beer fermented with a blend of Opshaug Kveik and London Fog yeast strains. Hopped heavily with Citra, Falconer’s Flight, and Ekuanot, the resulting beer is extremely aromatic, with plenty of complex fruit and citrus character throughout. With “aromas of peach and tropical fruit, balanced with subtle pine and earthiness” to satisfy all of your hop cravings, it has a “restrained bitterness” to balance, all in an easy-drinking package. There’s limited quantities available (750 mL bottles) in all three Prop Shops, and they’re still doing home delivery runs as well. And good news for Prop fans who were missing the possibility of a late-night beer run: their Gottingen Store has extended their hours to previous, with the shop open until midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 PM Sundays. All other days are noon until 8 PM, with that 8 PM closing time also in effect at their new Quinpool location, as well as Windmill.
Moving over to Dartmouth, North Brewing has their own easy-drinking brew being released, a Blonde Ale named Gold Sounds. Brewed with a bit of Wheat malt on top of the base, and hopped with Vic Secret and Amarillo (not traditional varieties for your typical Blonde, but who’s complaining!), it’s meant to be refreshing and approachable, while still supplying your taste buds with enough complexity to keep them happy. It weighs in at 5% ABV and is available now for in-store pickup or home delivery.
Unfiltered Brewing has another in their line of 7.5% ABV banger beers, which has brought us DOA, Danko, and more recently, Satisfaction. This beer, Here it Comes… features the classic citrusy Chinook hop, Here it Comes…, plenty bitter as is expected in a big bold Double IPA, Here it Comes…, and is available now by the can and growler fill/exchange, Here it Comes…, either at the brewery for curbside pickup or local delivery. What’s the beer’s name? We’ll never tell!
We mentioned last week that Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co. are getting into the mead game, starting with their Original Mead and this week bringing Orange Ginger Mead. A portion of this one was boiled with, no surprise, fresh orange rind and ginger before being returned to the rest of the batch, which was fermented until dry and then carbonated. The result is a sparkling and crisp 8.9% ABV beverage that no doubt boasts some fruity citrus and spicy ginger character to go with the usual white wine-esque and floral traits that mead lovers know well. And now that we’ve gotten you excited by describing it to you, we’ve got some bad news: although it was only released on Wednesday, it’s already sold out, as is the Original Mead! So well done to Tanner for once again putting together a product that’s in high demand; we know we’ll see more meads from them in the coming weeks and months, and hopefully they’ll be remaking this one so more people can try it!
You may be aware that Halifax’s Good Robot is celebrating (has celebrated? sorry, we’re terrible with dates) their fifth birthday this month. And while COVID-19 restrictions obviously mean that there’s no possibility of having a big party with all their friends, they decided to treat themselves to a pretty big birthday present. Like 6 figures big. As announced last week in their characteristically offbeat way, the gang at GR will be installing a full-on canning line this summer, removing some of their reliance on both growler fills and on-site sales as well as helping bring some of their staff back to work. Although GR ran one of the most popular taprooms in the city and we know lots of folks who are eager to see them re-open, everybody is fully aware that 50% capacity and social distancing are absolutely going to take a bite out of revenue for months to come. So as is their wont, the gang is doubling down in a big way. Without having to engage an external packaging provider, they’ll have a little more freedom with their brew schedules and definitely a lot more opportunity to get product into retail locations other than their own, hopefully creating and maintaining alternative revenue streams until the taproom can go great guns again. And that means hiring back more staff, which is a good thing for all involved. While we understand that they’re likely super busy figuring out what reopening looks like for them as well as getting that new canning line up, running, and shipping out beer, watch this space for more news from GR about their summer releases, including more flavors of The Fizz, their hard seltzer (would you believe they’re going to do Moon Mist? Stay tuned!)
Lake City Cider has cans of Vanilla Ice back on their shelves; this cider features a steeping addition of Tanzanian Fair Trade vanilla beans, to provide some complexity. With tropical notes from the wild fermentation, combining with a whiff of French Vanilla ice cream, and a dry finish, it’s 6.8% ABV and ready for you to grab for this weekend.