Well THAT month ended better than it started, at least in our opinion. Whether you’re talking about our region, where NL, NS, and PEI continue their strong stand against COVID and NB seems to be turning the corner, or internationally where there seems to be a whiff of sanity wafting northward from below the 49th parallel, we think there’s definitely some reasons to celebrate the end of the first month of 2021*. And luckily, our producers in the region are stepping up, several of them with reasons to celebrate of their own (like the staff at 2 Crows who are probably ready to sleep for the first time in…*checks calendar*…a month or so). Read on for all the news we could find, formulate, and fit this week in beer and brewery news!
* Don’t get us wrong, everything’s still screwed (especially the climate and wealth distribution!!) it just feels a little less screwed than it was.
Let’s start with the first of two breweries celebrating an anniversary in a big way this weekend. Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carlton, the Gateway to Prince Edward Island, has a full weekend of fun scheduled as they mark their first year in business. But first, let’s tell you about the 3 (three!) special beers debuting this Saturday to mark the celebration!
- Rouge is a 7.0% farmhouse ale, which began with a grain bill made exclusively from Island Malt House Pilsner, Oats, and Rye, first fermented with Lone Oak’s house culture of yeasts and other bugs, before the addition of PEI-grown Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (juice, skin, seeds and all), which melded together for 10 weeks. Oh, and all of this took place in their PEI-built (thanks to New World Foeders) Foeder! This aromatic, juicy, yet dry beer was packaged in 500 ml bottles and kegs to condition and naturally carbonate.
- Modest is a “Tiny Pale Ale”, coming in at a crushable 3.5%, when you want all the hops flavour, but not necessarily the booze… With a base of PEI Pilsner and Oats, and enhanced with Flaked Wheat and Rice, the hops are allowed to shine through and punch above their weight class. El Dorado, Columbus, and Simcoe are there in the flavour and aroma, bursting from the 355 ml can. Available on draught as well (both versions were naturally carbed in the can/keg).
- Golden Hour is an ambitious one, we reckon… This Double IPA was fermented solely with Brettanomyces in a pair of oak barrels, and heavily hopped with El Dorado, Simcoe, Centennial, and Mosaic. And while it is a hefty 8.0%, the melding of the wood, yeast, and hops have it much more quaffable than that number may show. All three of these characters come through with notes of stone fruit and candied pineapple esters, along with some oak tannins and a twinge of red wine. Also naturally conditioned, it is coming in 355 ml cans and kegs.
These three are only available at the brewery for on-site and retail sales, and if there’s any left after the weekend, may be available online. Sounds like a great excuse to visit this weekend!
Onto the events: This evening is a double-header of the always fun and head-scratching Trivia with Spencer and Dan from 7 – 9 PM, followed up with live music from Dave Woodside 9 – 11 PM. Best to call ahead to RSVP your bubble table (902 729 2228). Saturday is a full afternoon and evening of live music from Grass Mountain Hobos (2 – 6 PM) and The Love Junkies (7 – 11 PM). While both of those shows are sold out, their retail will remain open for your can and growler fills. And the fun continues Sunday with a matinee show with Roland Beaulieu featuring Keelin Wedge (1 – 4 PM, RSVP to ensure a spot). For those looking to fill their bellies as well as their ears, The Abby is open all weekend (11:30 AM until 9PM), and will be featuring a few extra fun things on the menu to mark the occasion. Congratulations to the Lone Oak Crew on surviving and thriving in the decade that was 2020!
Some of you may be sorry to hear that this weekend is the last of the “Anniversary Month” releases from 2 Crows, which we get, because there’s been a wide variety of tasty beers to enjoy throughout a usually-dreary month… but don’t blame us at all for having a bit of a happy-happy feeling to go along with that! Because, well, you know, writing about all of them takes time! That being said, we tip our hats to their hard work and initiative, and “happily” are here to fill you in on the re-releases and new beers you can find this weekend.
First up… hops, hops, and more hops. And even more hops. That’s right, four different New England IPAs will be available at the brewery starting today, and we think you’re going to want to get your lupulin-enriched hands on all of them. Three of these brews are returning favourites, all of which are the same base beer (brewed with Golden Promise, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Carafoam), hopped in the mash and first wort with Columbus, and an addition of Simcoe and Huell Melon in the hopback. It’s the dry-hopping that sets them all apart: Perfect Recreation features Vic Secret, Simcoe, and Citra; Second Situation has Huell Melon, Azacca, and Citra; and Another Iteration goes with Vic Secret, Enigma, and Huell Melon. All three of these beers are big on various tropical and/or stone fruits, with very little bitterness. The fourth beer, Cause for Celebration, is new, and is similar to the first three in all but the dry-hop, with this 6.1% ABV entry featuring Enigma, Monroe, and Citra. Expect “massive dark jammy berry notes, along with mango, pinot gris, and strawberry”. All four will be available in cans. Dying to grab some on tap, you say? Well, hold off on that though, we’ll come back to it!
For those of you not as hop-inclined (also, for those of you who love variety!), not to worry, 2C naturally has some sour and funky goodies for you that will be released on Saturday. You may recall Deux II – a collab with Maine’s Orono Brewing (remember Maine? sigh) that came out for last year’s anniversary – a foedre-aged sour brewed with local cherries that was, we don’t mind saying, an extremely tasty beverage. Luckily, they tucked away some kegs from last year and have re-packaged that beer into 355 mL cans. There’s not many, granted, but they’re still showing off lots of cherry flavour and Jolly Rancher character, as well as “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms” to go with the funk.
That’s not all… 2C also has a brand new funky Saison called Wish You Were Here (lawsuit pending). Brewed as an “in spirit” collaboration with their buddies from Ontario’s Block Three Brewing, the grist has lots of rye and raw wheat, and the wort was hopped heavily with Celia and Hallertau Mittelfrueh (to 60 IBUs) to give some herbal notes. Fermented with a blend of house cultures, the 4.6% ABV beer was canned and allowed to carbonate naturally… and carbonated it is! Cautioned by the brewery that the beer is lively, it’s also tasting “funky, earthy, bitter, and floral”… just be sure to refrigerate your cans appropriately, and have a glass nearby when opening.
Now, moving on to this weekend’s events with 2 Crows – because of this whole pandemic thing that appears to be holding on (who knew?), a big party at the brewery is a no-go. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few ideas up their sleeves! Remember those IPAs we mentioned way up there? Well, you WILL be able to try them on tap, if you’re lucky – Stillwell HQ will be pouring one keg of each NEIPA on Saturday. Yes, just ONE keg, so you won’t have long to get in there to try them. They’ll also be tapping Thunderdome, a golden sour with lime leaves that is a previous collab with Small Pony Barrel Works, as well as a keg of the aforementioned Deux II.
On Sunday, Battery Park will be hosting this year’s interpretation of the brewery’s annual Sour Sunday. Lots of delicious sour beers that have made appearances over the last year; for a full tap list, keep an eye on 2C and BP’s social media stories.
Finally, of course the 2 Crows taproom will still be pouring lots of beers over the weekend, including special old foedre releases, sours, the usual favourites, and side pours of Waltz from their brand new swing faucet.
That’s it, that’s all, there ain’t no more (Islanders in their 40s may get that reference). Happy anniversary 2 Crows peoples! We love you all and we never want to do that again.
Sackville’s only brewery, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, continues to make a go of things in spite of COVID craziness, and they’re quite happy to have announced recently that you can now find one of their flagship brands, Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red at select NSLC stores, largely in the HRM. If you’re looking for more than that offering, you can, as always, order their full slate of available brews online direct from the source for curbside pickup via their web store. Meanwhile, in the taproom, they’re serving up a full slate of beers on tap for socially distanced pints, or packaged to go. Their new Winter hours start February 1st, and will see them open Monday to Wednesday from 4 – 8 PM, Thursday to Saturday from 12 PM – 8 PM, and Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM. They’re also starting a “Beer of the Week” where every week the feature beer will be $1.00 off for pints and $5.00 for growler fills. The first of these is Biddy Light, their 4.5% ABV, 9 IBU take on what an “everyday beer” should be. Follow the brewery on their socials (Tw, Fb, Ig) for information on future features.
Ol’ Biddy’s also has a couple of new beers that bear mentioning. First up is their second pilot batch of Kicked in the Hops, this time a “double small batch.” Aiming to be what brewer Keith Forbes loves in a West Coast-style double IPA, you can expect it to be crisp while packing a pronounced bitterness and aromas and flavors of pine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, you’ll find it on tap for pints and growler fills as of February 1st; but act fast, the previous batch sold out quickly and many missed out. And on the already available front, Sackville Smash Blonde has been on the taps for a week or so now. A clean and crisp, easy-drinking ale, it follows the SMaSH regimen of one malt (2-row) and one hop (Huell Melon). Look for light aromas and flavors of melon on top of a slightly grainy sweet base. Grab it at the taproom for pints and/or fills to go.
Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza Cape Breton has us dreaming of a time back when travel was not restricted, and one might be paged in the airport as you rush from one flight to another. Blue Courtesy Phone is a 7.0% New England IPA hopped solely, and generously, with Sabro hops, known for big tropical notes of pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, and citrus. The beer delivers that in spades, so close your eyes and dream of the beach while you sip on a pint. Available on draught only, you can pop by the brewery in Nyanza for a pint or fill, with kegs being delivered in HRM to Battery Park, Stillwell, and Little Oak.
We’ll head to Yarmouth next for a taste of Belgium. Heritage Brewing Co. is releasing the third beer in its lambic-style series with Funky Blackberry Lambic. The 7.5% ABV beer started with a mix of lighter malts and wheat before undergoing primary fermentation with a Belgian ale strain. It was then aged on blackberries with a mix of Brett, Lacto and Pedio built up from a few mystery Belgian beers. Expect some funk and acidity from the mixed pitch and a light blackberry flavor. Find it on tap (and only on tap) today at Heritage’s Main Street taproom.
Sticking in Nova Scotia, Garrison Brewing is releasing an offshoot to one of their core beers with Tall Ship Light. At 4.0% it is their lightest beer ever. With no adjuncts involved, we get a light ale pouring pale yellow with a refreshingly light body and mild hop aroma. This will be available only in 12 packs of 355ml cans. Releasing today at the private shops and both Garrison locations, NSLC, ANBL and PEI Liquor will stock theirs later in February.
Truro Brewing Company is back with their first release in a few weeks with an ode to an icon. Notorious RPA is a Rye Pale Ale that will be sure to pack a punch thanks to some of the spicy notes from the Rye. Throw on your dissent collars and enjoy a beer packed with Chinook hops, which will add piney notes and a bit of spice to go along with grapefruit notes. At 5.2%, this Pale Ale is available on tap only for pints and growler fills.
West of St. John’s lies Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South, where a new and fresh dark brew is pouring exclusively on tap. The Renown is being billed as an Imperial Porter, and while stated as to be on the “lighter side” of Imperial at 6.7% ABV, is probably still up there enough to provide a little extra warmth in your tummy crap-factory! The brewery notes that this beer was inspired by some of their favourite Baltic Porters; however, they fermented it with Ale yeast, as would be used in a “typical” Porter. With a variety of specialty malts in the grist, look for “a nutty aroma with a caramel, toffee taste, and smooth chocolate finish”. If you like your beers rich and sweet, this is the one for you. Limited quantities are available, so head over to the Ninepenny taproom for a taste.
Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has pulled a team of taproom staff together to help design and brew a new beer, as well as assist in all the steps up to and including the packaging of said beer. That beer is Apricodabra, a 4.3% ABV kettle sour with apricots. With a noticeable-but-not-enamel-stripping sourness, and some pleasant apricot character, it’s being released on tap and in cans at the brewery today, and you’ll find it pouring at some other fine establishments in the area. If you’re dropping by for some, keep in mind that they’ve also got a couple of variety 12-packs for sale; each box contains four cans of three different Signature Series and Small Batch Series beers. The Hoppy & Bitter Box includes Kilted IPA, St. Andrew’s Cross XPA, and Rampant Lion NEIPA, while the Light & Crisp Box will give you Lockdown Lager, Alderney Dry Lager, and Bonnie Lagered Ale.
New Brunswick’s Broue du Païen is keeping up their home deliveries to the Bouctouche, Saint-Antoine, Notre-Dame and Cocagne areas on Fridays, as well as the Greater Moncton Area and Shediac on Saturday afternoons. Just in time for weekend deliveries, they’ve got a brand new beer available to add to your orders. Hop Salad Hazy IPA is a 5.8% ABV, 45 IBUs American IPA that has “a mix of tropical fruit flavours and aroma, with a smooth bitterness that is not overwhelming”. They’re keeping the hop varieties used a secret for now, guess you’ll just have to try it and make a guess! Check out their social media for more delivery details.
Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a new product on the go for cider lovers this week, although maybe not exactly cider lovers… Perry & Rose is not a cider, but a perry (same idea, different fruit) that started with the juice of 100% Nova Scotia cold snap pears. Once fermented it was blended with a rose petal wine, resulting in an elegant sipper where pear is definitely the feature, but the rose provides and enhanced aroma and complexity. Packaged in the 750 mL bottle format and coming in at 5.6% ABV, you can order it for same day delivery (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat, $35 minimum) or pickup through their online shop.
A few more news bits and bites before we sign off today, plus a job opening to consider…
Fredericton’s 3Flip Brewing is releasing their oatmeal stout, Oat Cold, in cans for the first time. Available on tap only over the last two years, you’ll now be able to find it at ANBL locations or through 3Flip’s online store. While you’re at it, you can wish 3Flip a happy second anniversary by ordering some of their favourites, re-released this week to celebrate the occasion.
Halifax’s Stillwell Brewing has a new batch of their Kompact Kolsch-style beer out in the world this week. A draught-only release, this batch underwent a 3-hour long boil of the wort, leading to a rounder and fuller malt character, thanks to the caramelization, Maillard, and other reactions, changing the nature of the sugars and other carbohydrates in the liquid. Chemistry aside, it’s tasting great and helps to better balance the hop levels that Stilly will sometimes employ. Look for it on tap at Stillwell HQ and the Stillwell Freehouse right…. meow!
Tatamagouche Brewing has a new batch of their award-winning Baltic Porter, Two Rivers, just making its return. Originally part of the brewery’s Giant Beer series, it is indeed just that! Fermented with a Lager yeast strain and cold-conditioned to allow all of those rich, roasty flavours to meld, it weighs in at 8% ABV and is tasting very smooth, despite all that alcohol. One of the perfect winter sipping beers, you can grab bottles of it at the brewery, or make an order for delivery.
Tire Shack has brought back Roman Road, their dry-hopped Pilsner that features a hefty dose of Tettnang and Spalt varieties, giving this 5.5% ABV beer floral and spice aromas. Finishing crisp and smooth, it’s available in cans only (for now), and should be hitting the brewery’s shelves early this afternoon, just in time for the weekend.
Propeller Brewing has a couple of non-beer/non-modern-beer items out now/coming soon to tell you about. Their Void Sparkling Water with Galaxy has been re-upped at their shops and online, a new batch that they’re saying is even better than the first. No alcohol or calories, and while you wouldn’t be fooled that it’s beer, it’s still refreshing as all get out, and get you in the ballpark when you’re looking for a little *something* more than just water. And as a celebration to International Gruit Day on Monday, February 1st, they will be once again dipping their toes into that ancient style. Named after the herb mixture used to bitter beer before glorious hops were used extensively, we aren’t exactly sure which blend will be used, but common ones include bog myrtle, and Propeller’s previous Gruit collab with Beau’s also featured NS-grown sumac. Keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the full details!
Just one job posting to tell you about this week, but it’s kind of a big deal… The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is looking for a new Executive Director. This position answers to the Board of CBANS, but does not necessarily have to be someone coming from a CBANS or other brewery position. Key things to keep in mind are a sincere love and belief in local beer and producers, improving the situation both legislatively through government lobbying, and marketing-wise, which includes helping new/potential breweries in the province. For those serious about learning more, check out the posting for this part-time but permanent position, averaging about 20-25 hours a week, for a salary of $45,000. Perfect for those who want to work from home, too! We’re looking forward to what fresh blood in this position can do to revitalize CBANS and the entire beer landscape in the province, as the biggest collected voice for breweries in the province, it does have an impact on all producers (and ultimately drinkers too).