Oh hey, it’s February already! Or should that be, “it’s February, FINALLY?” Depending on which side of that you come down on, we think it calls for a celebratory and/or therapeutic beer! And wouldn’t you know it, our breweries and cideries in the region are all ready to bring some new (or perhaps just new to you) libations this week. We’ve got a little bit from every province this week, but we’ll start it off in New Brunswick, who seem to have mostly turned the corner on the latest wave of COVID restrictions and are largely back to threat level orange.
A bit of news out of Hanwell’s finest (no offence to the golf course!), Niche Brewing is here with a tasty new release and a fresh batch of a not-so-old favourite. First up, not to be outdone by the massive New England IPAs from last week, On My Way is a hoppy beer out today! This New England IPA is hopped with two of our favourite hops, Galaxy and Citra. Added late in the boil and in the whirlpool, we also get a massive addition of Citra after fermentation for some delectable dry hopping with that lovely amazing aroma. This 6.5% NEIPA brings delicious citrus and grapefruit notes on the palate and orange notes through the flavour and aroma. This will be available in kegs at some of the main Niche establishments (The Joyce, Uncorked, Cask & Kettle and Peppers Pub). And for those lucky enough to be within Bar Stillwell’s reach, they’ve got In Other Words NEAPA with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Sabro pouring now!
Secondly, the tasty barrel-aged tropical fruit saison is back! A new batch of Pau Hana will be released over the next week, with a few tweaks from the original release. This Chardonnay barrel-aged beer keeps the same barrel with the same house culture, but instead of pink-guava and pineapple, this batch was conditioned on passionfruit puree. The first one was 5.8% and 500ml bottles of this will be at ANBL stores and some other places around Fredericton/Sussex/Saint John.
Chester’s Tanner & Co. is expanding their hours again, which is very good news for you thirsty beer lovers in the area! Their taproom will now be open Wednesday to Sunday, and they have a brand new beer available to celebrate, and it’s their first kettle sour brewed on a large scale. Simply named Sour IPA, it was brewed with Maris Otter, Vienna, and Munich malts, along with a small amount of wheat and oats to help build up the body. After souring, the wort was hopped with several additions of an experimental South African variety, KJA2/436 (someone get this hop a real name, STAT!). While the hop may not exactly be music to your ears, it’s giving this beer lovely aromas and flavours of “lemon zest, papaya, cantaloupe and gooseberries, as well as grapefruit rind and a bit of rosewater.” Sounds nice, no? Bottles are available now at the taproom, and can be ordered online as well (order before midnight Thursday for a Friday delivery, between Bridgewater and Halifax).
Not to be outdone on the fruited sour IPA front, Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s has brought one of their own out this week that they’re describing as, “a big, bold glass of juice.” Early Morning started with plenty of dry-hopped Citra and Sabro for those orange-y citrus and tropical coconut vibes, it also features lots of mango and pomegranate as well as a touch of lactose to ensure some balancing body. Part of a balanced breakfast*, it sounds like this one was pretty popular, with the cans selling out rather quickly, but there’s still a chance you’ll find this one available at the brewery for pints on site and growler fills for your drinking elsewhere needs. And if you’re intrigued but missed this batch, do let the brewery know you hope they make another!
* Depending on your definitions of both “balanced” and “breakfast” but also we’re absolutely not judging anyone.
Moving back into New England IPA territory, O’Creek Brewing has a new brew of their favourite style hitting taps this weekend. Outback IPA is your classic O’Creek beer, a super hazy, yellow-coloured beer with a whole whack of tropical and dank flavours thanks to multiple additions of Australian varieties, including Galaxy, Enigma, and Vic Secret. The grist of 2-row, wheat malt, flaked oats and Carapils keeps the hops front and centre where they belong, with the bitterness being quite low thanks to the hop additions being concentrated in the whirlpool and dry-hop. It weighs in at 6.2% ABV, and can be found first at Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub this weekend.
Over at Lunn’s Mill, they’ve brought back a beverage that we haven’t seen in over a year, and this time it’s available in cans! It’s a Double IPA they’ve named 2×4, and it was brewed with “a sturdy base” that includes some rye malt, for those of you who are craving a bit of that spicy character that the malt can sometimes impart in a beer (paging Tony Important!). Double-dry-hopped with hefty amounts of four different varieties, you’ll notice notes of “resin, orange pith, tropical fruit, and pine” to go along with the big, 8% ABV. You can find it pouring for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom in Lawrencetown, and as mentioned it’s also available in cans for takeaway.
Flip-flopping back to New Brunswick, where Long Bay Brewing continues their trend of one-off beer releases with Maiden Voyage, their latest. Brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner malt and flaked wheat, it features a large addition of Strata hops in the whirlpool. Lots of bright hop flavours come through with this beer, with their goal being to create a beer that was a “thin-bodied, easy to drink New England style Pale Ale”. It comes in at 5.7% ABV, on the higher end for a Pale Ale, and about 40 IBUs. Grab it on tap at Long Bay’s taproom; it’ll also be pouring at a number of bars and restaurants across the province over the weekend.
Winter is finally here (maybe?) and we all love our tasty stouts, don’t we? Maybe not, but if you are among those who do, our friends at Propeller have delivered some supply for that demand with S’Mores Imperial Dessert Stout. This limited edition Imperial Stout features roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla beans and lactose to bring that s’mores flavour of sweet, toasty and chocolate treats. This one comes in cans (and at 9% ABV) and is available today at the Prop Shops, in addition to the local HRM private stores.
We also have more info on Propeller’s gruit we teased last week, now that it has been released (and we believe still available). In the grand tradition of historic beers it forgoes hops in place of herbs and botanicals to offer a balance to the malt sweetness, Gruit Ale features sweet fern (foraged by Production Manager Aeneas in Hubbards) and bog myrtle primarily, which lend an earthy aroma, as well as herbal spicy notes and a touch of bitterness. An addition of rose hips imparts some berry esters on the nose. And while a touch of hops were used in the beer for boil stability, the botanicals are certainly the star of the show. The 5.0% brew is available in all three Prop Shops (and online for delivery) in 500 mL bottles.
And big congratulations to the Propeller Arcade who celebrated (safely) their Second Anniversary last weekend. Their recent expansion continues to grow as they bring in more ticket-dispensing games in the second bar area, as well as cycling through more than twenty pinball and cabinet arcade games new and old.
Tusket Falls Brewing has released a new experimental beer on tap at the brewery, Pina Colada Gose. We’re pretty sure you know what to expect from this one from the name, but hey, we’ll tell you anyway! Or, more accurately, the brewery will: “An initial blast of toasted coconut on the nose, followed by ripe pineapple and citrusy lime”… <checks pina colada info sheet>… yep, checks out. It also has a tartness to it, naturally, which balances the tropical character quite nicely. Pretty big beer, especially for a Gose, at 7.5% ABV, so approach it accordingly!
Two all-weekend events to tell you about, from sibling HopYard bars in Charlottetown (on Charlottetown? I can never remember) and Halifax: firstly, continuing their first anniversary celebrations from last week, Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing has taken over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown, with 9 beers and 1 cider of theirs a-flowin’. Their pals from the Wheelhouse in Georgetown are doing a food pop-up in the space this evening, 4 – 10 PM, with Trivia with Dan & Spencer starting at 8 PM. Due to COVID restrictions, making a reso (902-367-2599) is the way to go… And at HopYard Halifax, they are welcoming a pair of producers from Wolfville to take over their taps starting today. Covering the beer bases is Church Brewing, who are bringing a handful of their flavourful beers, reinvigorated under new Head Brewer Steve Crane. Fellow Main Street business Annapolis Cider Company are also bringing their A (for Apple) game, with a bevy of bevvies available for enjoyment all weekend long. (Give them a shout to book your table too! 902-444-2467)
A few more newsbites and important links to check out before we leave you today. Hope you have a SUPER weekend!
A quick shout out to Annapolis Royal, where the local theatre is celebrating their 100th year. Annapolis Brewing has released a 4-pack of King’s Theatre Centennial Cream Ale in honour of the great milestone. Available only in 4 packs directly from the brewery, $3 from every 4-pack is donated directly to the theatre.
As teased last week, Ol’ Biddy’s has brought back Kicked in the Hops, a 7.7% ABV, heavily-hopped DIPA that has “intense hop flavours with aromas of pine, and tropical and citrus fruits.” Available on tap only, you can find it right now at the brewery for pints and growlers.
We reported last week that Tatamagouche Brewing had re-released Baltic Porter, originally from their Giant Beer Series. This week, they’re following up with another favourite from the series, Russian Imperial Stout. Dark, rich, and roasty, with flavours of chocolate and coffee, it is indeed big at 8.5% ABV. Perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night, and a beer style that will age beautifully, grab your bottles at the brewery today.
We leave you today with news from our friends Change is Brewing Collective, who made the trip down the South Shore to Shelburne this week, brewing a collaborative beer at Boxing Rock Brewing. While details on that release are a closely guarded secret until its debut Feb 27, we wanted to highlight another important reason for their trip. The Collective is supporting BIPOC South Shore in their work to create a Retreat and Learning Centre to be located in Birchtown. Incorporating 8 acres of forest, waterfront, and trails, it also includes a stone wall and house foundations likely belonging to original Black settlers of the area, whose history dates back more than 200 years. The Centre will host retreats and learning workshops, classes, and events, led by, and for, BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. You can learn more and take part by contributing to their GoFundMe fundraising effort.