It’s the last Friday in May in Atlantic Canada and after a short week thanks to Victoria Day, it’s time to start thinking about the weekend. Somewhat sadly, with the pandemic still upon us, that’s not going to include much in the way of in-person socializing or even, for many, trips to the cabin or cottage or camp or whatever you call it. But there have certainly been some rays of hope this week, with Nova Scotia’s case numbers continuing to drop, recoveries increasing, and vaccinations now open to everyone 12 years of age and older throughout the entire region. And our breweries definitely seem to be getting into a more summery mood as they hope for easing of intra- and inter-province restrictions in time to be slinging suds in person and on premise before our all-too-short warm season is over. Read below for all the news we could find and type up about this week’s releases. We also encourage our Nova Scotia readers in particular to check out the information that’s come out this week regarding the Auditor General’s report on the operations of the NSLC. If you’re a fan of the smaller independent breweries in NS, consider lending your voice to the crowd that’s calling for action by the Provincial Government. We already knew that these folks have been facing an uphill battle with largely antiquated liquor laws and COVID restrictions destroying many business models, but the AG’s report seems to suggest that the operating model of the NSLC does almost nothing to help our region’s local producers, folks who have been entrepreneurial in their communities, generating employment opportunities and keeping cash local. We’d love to see more folks out there amplifying their voices as they lobby the NS Government for change to support our community breweries before we start seeing them have to close up shop.
After contract brewing for the past couple of years, Hampton Brewing Company now has a place to call their own. Located at 64 Robertson Road just outside of town, HBC has set up at Fire Fly Forest Recreation. The taproom and patio are open seven days a week, Mon – Wed 4 – 8 PM, Thurs 4 – 10 PM, today and Sat 12 PM – 12 AM, and Sun 12 – 8 PM. Brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) Blichmann Hybrid system, they are currently pouring 5 beers for onsite enjoyment (or to take away), Crush Session IPA, Big Shoes American Pale Ale, Black Door Porter, Chameleon Blackberry Lime Sour, and just tapped for the weekend, Misty Mountain Hops NEIPA. Make the trip out, maybe even stay the night, and support the newest brewery in our region! Congratulations Hampton Brewing Crew!
Our friends at Landwash Brewery have handed over control of their brewhouse – temporarily – to their Packaging Manager, Nardia, to create a one-off beer of her very own. After no doubt hours of deliberation, she desired to brew something inspired by her home country of Australia. April 25th was the annual Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance originally designed to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. This reminded Nardia of the biscuits that have been produced by ANZAC, which are made with coconut, rolled oats, and golden syrup. So… where were we going with this? Oh right, so the beer, Caribou Hill, was brewed to represent these biscuits! Named after the battle of Caribou Hill in World War I, where ANZAC and Newfoundland troops fought alongside each other, the beer is a 5% “Coconut Biscuit Brown Ale”. We’re betting you can already taste it in your minds (is that a thing?), but rest assured it’s a dark brown brew with notes of coconut, and plenty of biscuity malt character throughout. Cans are available now at the brewery, and if you get there REALLY fast, you may be lucky enough to purchase some of the cookies that inspired the beer! All money raised from cookie sales will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association – Newfoundland.
Candid Brewing in Antigonish opened their doors last week for the first of their “retail pop-ups”, and are back at it again this weekend for even more of the same. Joining their Humdinger West Coast IPA are two more of their core beers, namely the No Brainer and Party Line. No Brainer is a 5.2% ABV Pale Ale, with blood orange juice added for an extra citrus blast on the palate. Party Line is a 6.2% ABV Northeast IPA, featuring plenty of tropical and bright citrus character from loads of hops added late in the process, for a smooth and low bitterness beer. All three beers are available at their pop-up shop at 88 College Street today 3 – 6 PM, and again tomorrow 1 – 4 PM. And keep an eye on their and neighbour The Townhouse’s Social Media (IG) for the details on a food and beer pairing take-away bundle available tomorrow and Sunday.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been bringing you news about more and more breweries embracing lower ABV styles in smaller packages, mainly 355ml cans. Trailway is the latest to embrace this trend with the release of Fetch Pale Ale. Let’s start with the packaging. For the first time, Trailway will be offering 12 packs of 355 ml cans. Starting off, you can find them at the brewery, but in a few weeks it will see province-wide distribution through ANBL. Now, onto the beer. Fetch is made using Canadian pilsner malt and hops sourced exclusively from New Brunswick producers. In another first, Trailway is saying goodbye to its trademark haze, and filtering the beer to a high degree of clarity. Expect notes of honey from the malt with floral hope notes and a mild bitterness.
Rough Waters Brewing, up in Deer Lake, NL, has released a new beer in their Neighbeerly series of beers that each support a local charity. This time, they’re benefiting the Islaview Foundation, with $1 from each bottle sold going to that organization. You’ll also find it for sale at Marie’s Mini Mart locations on the East Coast, Ultramar Corner Stores in Deer Lake and on West Street in Corner Brook, and Rudy’s Pub & Grub in Gros Morne. The swank new beer bar in St. John’s, Brewdock, also has it on tap and will also be donating proceeds. So what is the beer, you ask? It’s a fairly self-describing Strawberry Mango Milkshake India Session Ale, of course! At only 4% ABV you should be able to go through a couple of them as you decide whether it’s the Strawberry, Mango, or hops that you like the best.
Continuing to fly under the radar (at least, in our opinion) Nova Scotia bright spot and future destination once things open back up, Lunn’s Mill has a new release this week. Sour Batch Kveiks is a Sour IPA clocking in at 7% on the ABV scale and this style is always a fun one to try. Citrus and stone fruit complement a ripe orange with lime sour taste, reminiscent of Sour Patch Kids. Bringing some bitterness to the finish, this uses El Dorado for the hops and a Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Available now for growler fills and pints at the brewery, cans will be available in the coming weeks at the private stores around HRM.
Cornwall’s Village Green continues to churn out interesting styles, with two new releases over the last two weeks. First up is Centennial Black Ale. This 7.5% ale features bready notes, chocolate and orange flavours, with enough bitterness from Centennial to keep things balanced. Find this one on tap or for fills at the brewery, as well as cans to go. And brand new this week is West Coast IPA. Coming it at 7.9%, expect more malt character and bitterness than Village Green’s previous IPAs that leaned more into tropical hop notes, thanks to Columbus, Cascade, Amarillo, and Mosaic in the boil, and then a double dry-hopping from a combo of Motueka, Amarillo, and Citra, and later Idaho 7. Hops lovers will want to get out to Cornwall this weekend to snag this before it’s gone!
Chester’s Tanner & Co continues to dip their toes in the mead pool, offering more choices for fans of fermented beverages, especially those seeking a gluten-free option. Their newest release is Oak Aged Raspberry Mead. This one starts with local honey from Cosman & Whidden. Towards the end of fermentation, it was transferred to an oak barrel from Ironworks Distillery, where it finished fermentation with some raspberry purée. This 8% ABV mead has made its way into bottles that are available now at the Duke. St taproom and through Tanner’s online store.
Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has a stated goal of focusing on Belgian-inspired beers, and Saison certainly qualifies. Originally brewed on the farms of Wallonia in the winter months with leftover ingredients, and then conditioned for summer consumption, there has always been a wide range of characteristics to what we know as Saison. Of late, and certainly in our region, when most people think of the style they think of a fairly light-bodied spritzy beer with plenty of yeast character, including pepperiness and even some tartness. Those who experienced Serpent’s first iteration of Sprytown Saison back in March know that it was more on another part of the spectrum, with rustic malt character and some deep caramel undertones. Why are we telling you all this? Because there’s a new version available, their Summer Edition, and it’s not so much like the first one. Drier, lighter, and with some definite tart and fruit character, this new 5.5% ABV edition should be an excellent refresher on hot summer days. You can find both versions, Spring and Summer, available from the brewery, just make sure you ask for the one you want. Grabbing one of each would be an excellent way to introduce yourself to the breadth of the Saison style, while giving you something to look forward to, as they plan to brew a different version of this beer for each of the seasons of the year. Pop out to their spot behind Canadian Tire on Dentith this weekend to pick some up, and complete your visit by grabbing something from Jamdouns Food Truck, specializing in Jamaican cuisine, who are onsite 2 – 8 PM Saturday and 2 – 6 PM Sunday.
Want more tiny beers in tiny cans? Check out Tatamagouche Brewing’s newest taste of summer, Dekorum Lime. Tata has added organic lime to its 2.9% light lager for a super sessionable sipper, available in 355 ml cans. If you’re not feeling the lime, check out Arvo, their 4.6% Helles Lager, also back in stock this week. In other Tata news, the brewery’s retail store has reopened for in-person takeaway, with capacity limits in place. Pair that with a 15% discount of Tata clothing (in person and online), and your weekend is set!
Although not specifically mentioned in government reopening plans, the gradual return to normal times means that we’ll surely be seeing more beer events across the Atlantic region. Craft breweries on PEI are kicking off the summer season with PEI Craft Beer week. Running from June 5-12, the celebration of local beer features daily events that include tastings, musical entertainment and food pairings. Check out https://www.peicraftbeerweek.com/ for all of the details, and if you’re on FB, their Events pages. And while you wait for the weekend’s festivities to begin, check out Beer Trivia with the PEI Beer Guy at the Upstreet taproom on Thursday night. Trivia runs from 7-9 PM and you can call the taproom to book your team of 4-6 people.
A couple of brewery job listings for you to peruse before signing off this week.
If you’re looking for an industry job in the Moncton/Dieppe area, check out the jobs page for Flying Boats Brewing. They are currently looking for a Sales Representative to join their team. The ideal candidate will have an outgoing attitude and a passion for craft beer. Applications for the position close on June 6.
Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl is hiring a cellarperson to join their team. Mostly working on the “cold side” of the brewhouse, that is, everything after the brewing, tasks include cleaning, transferring, cleaning, packaging (kegs and cans), cleaning, and more cleaning. 😉 But in all seriousness, the position is open to anyone enthusiastic to get into the beer world, but does not require brewing experience, so this could be just the perfect way in for you! Check the job posting on Indeed, and give them a shout before June 1.