It’s been a chilly one in our region this week, but fortunately not as bad as in some other places. Even more fortunately (we think), we’re used to it and generally prepared for it, also unlike some other places. But most fortunate of all, at least for beer geeks like us, our local producers are on top of making sure we’ve got plenty of fresh and interesting beverages to see us through the dead of winter. We’ve got news from all four Atlantic Provinces to share with you this week, including big beers, little beers, boozy beers, no-boozy beers, malty beers, hoppy beers, collaboration beers, at least one cider, and more! Read on for information to inform your beer buying excursion(s) this weekend and beyond!!
Let’s kick off the week with a four-way Nova Scotian collaboration beer that, chances are, you’ll only be able to enjoy this weekend. The Old Black Forest is a German restaurant located in Lunenburg, NS, and like the rest of the hospitality industry, has been hit hard during the last 12 months. They have launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help develop their patio, extend seating, and get back up and running fully this spring. Local breweries Tanner & Co in Chester, Saltbox Brewing (through their King Street Bridgewater location), together with donated ingredients courtesy of Canadian ingredient supplier Brew Culture, each stepped up to create Hopfenweizen, a German beer and are releasing them today in support of Old Black Forest. In Chester, Tanner & Co started from their traditional German Wheat beer base, and dry-hopped it with Idaho 7. In Bridgewater, Brew Culture’s Stefan Gagliardi joined Saltbox’s Jon Rains for a small batch of the brand new Hopfenweizen, using an equal blend of IREKS Pilsner and Wheat, complemented by a touch of Melanoidin malts. Hopping was a blend of modern and traditional, just as the beer is a hybrid of the two, with Spalter Select and Hallertau Mittlefruh in the kettle (including a third of the hopping pair added during first wort. Amarillo was added at flame out, with more of the Spalter and Idaho 7 added during a double dry-hop. Using the traditional WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast, expect plenty of banana and clove throughout, with tropical pineapple, herbal, and woody notes from the Old and New World hops.
So, how can you enjoy these new beers? Well, the new beer is currently pouring at Tanner’s 59 Duke St. location, with the crew from Old Black Forest serving up brezeln and dip. After you get a couple of those into you, your designated driver can deliver you to 463 King Street in Bridgewater for 6 PM, when the Brew Culture X King Street release hits the taps. OBF will be onsite there too, slinging more brezeln & dip, as well as Schnitzel sandwiches! Every pint helps the Old Black Forest achieve their goal, and for those not able to make it down tonight, check out their Kickstarter and grab a sweet reward for a meal or special night in the spring/summer.
From one collaboration to another, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with St John’s Alpine Country Lodge to release Fresh Tracks in celebration of 27 years in business. This American Pale Ale features a classic malt-forward grain and cracker character, hopped up with a solid bitterness and a great citrus and piney hop bite. And at only 4.0% ABV, you won’t get too lost if you imbibe while on the trail! You can grab it in Port Rexton at the Foodex, several Marie’s Mini Marts, as well as PR’s online shop for curbside pick up in town. This new beer joins Happy Little Clouds, a new release that hit the shelves last week (oops!), a slightly sour, fruit-forward Pale Ale. Tons of dry-hopping in here for an ester overload with white wine grapes, peach, nectarine and apricot. The 4.6% beer is low in bitterness, so ready to be enjoyed in quantity. Keep an eye out for it at your favourite shop in town and off the Avalon, and also online.
The near-beer / low alcohol beer trend continues to gain momentum in our region. We are all for breweries providing tasty and locally made options for those seeking these products. The latest comes from Borden Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing Co. with their release of Noble. Taking its name from the ‘noble experiment’ that was prohibition, this ultra light pale ale comes in at 0.7% ABV. Oats were added to the grain bill to boost mouthfeel followed by additions of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The lack of alcohol also keeps the calories lower, with one pint equaling out to about 65 calories. Head to the brewery to try this one out today. And those in town are well-advised to head to John Browne on Richmond, as Lone Oak has taken over the taps there this weekend, with Noble and their Anniversary releases also pouring.
If you haven’t had your fill of Tatamagoodness™ recently, Tatamagouche Brewing is back with three exciting releases.
First up is Šero, a Czech dark lager and cousin to the previously released German dark lager, Dusk. Malt forward, with a grain bill based primarily on a Pilsner/Munich blend with CaraMunich and CaraAroma, a dash of Carafa capped the mash during recirculation (vorlauf) to get that rich brown color. Using characteristic Saaz hops to the tune 25 IBU, this 5.1% lager is a wonderful malt showcase that is slightly bitter, sweet and very crisp and clean.
Sticking with lagers (yes please!), Pausa Pranzo is an Italian Pilsner named after the prolonged Italian lunch break. With a base malt of Weyermann Pilsner malt and hopped to 35 IBU with Saaz, Mittlefruh and Callista (and a small Callista dry hop to boot!), we get a pronounced bitterness to this 5% Pils. Both Pausa Pranzo and Sero are available today in cans and growlers from the brewery and kegs are also heading out to tap accounts around HRM.
Third in this week’s release train is Collusion a 7.9% Double IPA. With 85% pale malt from Horton Ridge, the other 15% is made up of chit malt, oats and wheat. The extensive hop bill starts with Nugget for bittering, Cascade and Centennial late additions and Citra, Mosaic and Incognito in the whirlpool before a dry hop of MORE Citra and Mosaic. This one is truly packed with hops and you can safely expect it to be full bodied, bright and refreshing with low bitterness. Kegs are available today at Stillwell, Battery Park and HopYard in HRM, but will only be canned next week.
Village Green by Modern Brewer in Cornwall, PE, have been gearing up for their tap takeover next weekend at HopYard Charlottetown by releasing a couple of new beers. First on the docket is a classic English ale that’s one of the most sessionable beer styles in existence. Village Green’s Dark Mild doesn’t have a creative name, but it represents all that is good about the style: the marriage of English malts and hops to produce a very low 3% ABV and gentle 15 IBU but still carrying plenty of flavor and balance of bitterness and body to invite another sip. Perfect for those evenings when you want to keep your whistle wet but not wake up wondering who drove a bulldozer through your brain the night before. This one is draught-only for now so you’re limited to pints on site and fills; best to bring your own (clean) growler, though, as they’re running out!
Also on the go this week is their new Hazy IPA. Brewed with Pilsner malt and malted wheat for a light color and body, it was hopped in the kettle with “heaps” of Chinook, Centennial, and Citra, before being hit hard with a dry hop of Simcoe and Amarillo. It might take more than a few sips to decide which is more potent, the hop aroma or the hop flavor! You can expect notes of ripe stone fruit, pithy citrus, and hop resin backed by a firm bitterness in this 6.8% ABV and “all the IBUs” beer. There were a few cans of this one around last Friday when the beer was released, but we would advise that you don’t bank on those having survived until now, so you’ll be limited (for now) to having a pint in the taproom or bringing a growler in for a fill.
Did we say two new beers? We was wrong (again)!! Turns out they’ve got yet another new one up and on tap starting today. Lagered Ale is just that, a beer fermented warm-ish with a top-fermenting yeast strain, before being given a nice cool conditioning period at lager temperatures. Brewed with continental Pilsner malt, along with some flaked corn and Carapils, it was hopped exclusively with the classic German hop, Perle throughout the boil. Arriving at 5.8% ABV and 20 IBU, you can expect this to be a crispy and refreshing beverage while carrying a touch more body and sweetness than a true lager. Look for it on tap at Village Green today where you can order it for a pint or bring a growler for a fill (or maybe bring a few so that you can try the Dark Mild and/or the Hazy IPA too). We’ve also been led to believe there’s a couple more releases coming this week in advance of the HY takeover, so keep your eye on their SM (Fb/Ig/Tw) for early details! Rest assured, though, we’ll have the relevant info along with a full taplist for the takeover next Friday.
Never a brewery to shy away from new releases, 2 Crows is back with another new one that will follow you into the dark. Pimedus is an 8.8% Baltic Porter coming out today. We’re going deep (deep!) into the nerdy details here, so we’ll start with an easy one: Pimedus is the Estonian word for darkness, to pay tribute to the three states along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Starting with a single decoction mash using a base of Weyermann Munich I, Pilsner, Carafa II, Crystal 65, Extra Special Malt and a touch of Chocolate malt, it saw late hop additions of Tettnanger and EKG join the fray before a low, slow, and cool fermentation with German lager yeast. Naturally carbonated using a spunding process (in contrast to their normal krausening regime for lagers), this was lagered for 7 weeks and then packaged into 355mL cans (hooray for single servings of big beers!).
The flavour should be very smooth and clean, with some nice roasted notes and a bit of toasted marshmallow. The brew team are very happy with the soft carbonation and it comes in at 33 IBU. Pick this one up directly from 2 Crows, or get it shipped from them to get your hands on them. A few cans may be going to other retail locations as well.
Many of us have been inside of our hooms for almost a year now and it’s about time someone named a beer appropriately! The Middle English name for “home” is “hoom” and Big Spruce is releasing Hoom is Where the Heart Is, an English Bitter. They’re paying homage to the traditional local brewing in England when beer and brewing would be a practice of getting barley and hops from the fields around one’s home. Nyanza’s finest kept this theme for this beer, using Horton Ridge’s Organic Pale Malt for 40% of the grist and the spoils of their own hop yard for 100% of the hops. Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles bring the floral flavour with bitterness to this ale. Traditionally easy to drink, this beer is only available in kegs and firkins, with no cans or bottles from this batch. Sounds like we’ll all have to head to Nyanza to get this one or look for it at one Big Spruce’s tap accounts.
Down Wolfville way, Annapolis Cider Company has a new entry in their Something Different series that they teased on social media the other week. Haskap and Cardamom is a pretty self-explanatory name for this sparkling cider that features notes of dried berries from haskap juice, citrus aromatics from green cardamom pods and a solid tannic structure thanks to the base apple cider. Ruby red in color, it was blended with fresh juice yielding a medium-bodied tipple that weighs in at 7.7% ABV. As with all entries in the Something Different series, $0.50 from each refill sold at the cidery goes to a charitable cause, this time it’s the Acadia University BLM/TRC (Black Lives Matter/Truth and Reconciliation Commission) Awards. You can learn more about these awards here.
News from Fredericton has brought reports of a first from Trailway, as they are releasing their first Sour IPA ever! Threads is an exciting release for a style that combines soft and juicy hops with some tartness. The base beer was kettle soured to a moderately tart pH and then handed over to typical IPA brewing and hopping rate, packed with Strata, Citra and Idaho 7. The resulting flavour should be a refreshing, tart 5.5% IPA with notes of citrus zest and peach. This is available in 473ml cans directly from the brewery, so stop by or order online!
Despite the local lockdown measures, Quidi Vidi Brewery is doing it’s best to keep beer drinkers of the Avalon Peninsula happy and hydrated with the release of two new beers this week! First up is their take on a Rye IPA. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, expect citrusy notes, a mild rye spiciness and a clean bitterness to finish. Next up is a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale. Expect more tropical hop aromas to compliment a significant malt backbone. Check out QV’s webstore for more details on how to get your hands on these limited releases. They are currently doing curbside pickup seven days/week and home deliveries from Thursday to Saturday.
Up in Bathurst, Four Rivers Brewing has a few new offerings out and upcoming. First up is the Vanilla Rum Porter. Expect aromas of caramel and vanilla, complemented by coffee and dark chocolate on the palate. At only 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU, it packs plenty of flavour in a completely quaffable package. Four Rivers has been busy lately, also releasing a British Mild and Extra Special Bitter. And keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming release of Raglan Red, their take on a red ale.
It’s Cask Night in Moncton again! Tire Shack Brewing has a potent treat on the bartop today, the perfect remedy to these cold days and nights. Starting with a base of their already-chock-full-of-flavour 11.9% Russian Imperial Stout, they added Arbol chilis in a pin of it for about 4 weeks. The resultant beer is full-on spicy dark chocolate, and sounds perfect to us on a day like today! And even better is that the OG RIS, Into The Void, is available on tap currently as well, for the very necessary comparison, or maybe to do some blending for science! Expect more experiments in this theme are coming soon, watch this space!
Just one more event to tell you about this week. Stay safe and wear a mask!
Bar Stillwell’s annual Belgianfest is coming next weekend, February 27 and 28. From 12 to 10 PM daily (COVID == early closure times), they’ll be sharing the best and brightest beers from one of the most beer-centric European countries. And with all non-essential travel halted for the last year, this will be the only way most of us have to drink something fresh from Belgium for a while! Lambics not seen before in the region, plus modern and cutting edge styles too. Belgian food is on the table, natch, featuring the country’s famous croquettes, moules frites (aka mussels and fries), Liege waffles, and some cheese to pair with your favourite draught or bottle pour. No reservations for this event, so do be sure to arrive early to avoid seating (and beer) disappointments. Check this post for a tease of what’s to come.