As we did the rounds on social media this week and checked our messages for missives from the (much beloved) folks who send us regular updates or even just notable releases and happenings, it became pretty clear that we’ve reached that magical point in the late summer when many, if not most, of the breweries in our region are pretty much running on fumes. Sure, there’s some new releases out there (Hello 2 Crows), but there’s a definite feeling that the industry is heaving a collective sigh this week and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it stretch one more before the big push for Oktoberfest and fall beers comes on. We know that beer never really sleeps and that new beers are out there, they’ve just got to get out of their fermenters. And into packages. And labeled. And distributed. And…and…and… So while we know that nobody’s actually taking much of a rest, this is a good week to look for what’s left of your summer faves and consider what might be coming down the pike in a couple of weeks. That said, there’s definitely some news this week…
Halifax’s reigning Tiny Tasty Taproom and Good Time Emporium, Tidehouse Brewing, has announced on social media that they will be closing their doors this weekend. After 5 years of slinging the good beer and conversation on Salter Street, welcoming visitors from across the province, country, and world, they will be shutting down at the end of service Saturday night. Not ones to leave anything unsaid or undone, they are closing out with a bang(er) today. Salad Days is a celebration of Tidehouse’s heydays and foray into all sorts of fun adventures, resulting in a 10.5% Triple Milkshake IPA. Big fruit juice character thanks to the massive amount of mango, raspberry, and orange zest added, with Galaxy and Azacca hops lending even more fruity esters. The use of vanilla and lactose/milk sugar help complete the milkshake mouthfeel and sweetness. Salad Days is available on tap and in cans from 4 PM today (and again from 4 tomorrow), as friends, colleagues, and beer fans new and old are welcome to celebrate what Shean, Peter, Shannon, and everyone in the extended Tidehouse family have accomplished. Congratulations folks, plenty to be proud of!
The folks who regularly give these weekly posts a skim are probably well aware that when they see Halifax’s 2 Crows there’s likely several paragraphs afoot and this week is no exception. We don’t know what they put in their coffee over there (although we’ve seen their coffee pot and, well, be glad they sell you beer) but we’re betting it could cost someone an Olympic gold medal.
First up are a couple of beers that we should warn you are not likely to be easy to come by if you’re not planning to be in the environs of St. John’s, NL, a week from today. We previously mentioned the 2C tap takeover at Brewdock on September 17th and, as they tend to do, the gang is bringing some heavy artillery that will no doubt delight the crowd on the Rock. Nanaimo and Big Turk started out with the same base, a base that 2C’s own head brewer has termed “ridiculous.” The grist was based in pale and Vienna malts, with just a touch of specialty grains added, you know, the usual, some flaked oats, Caravienna, Caramunich, chocolate AND light chocolate, Honey malt, Extra Special malt, and Midnight Wheat. That tremendous pile of grain was then double mashed to produce a wort with a sky-high original gravity of 1.127. After fermentation was complete, the batch was split to produce the two beers: Nanaimo received a massive dose of cocoa nibs and coconut, plus a bit of honey and cinnamon. Big Turk was also treated to a massive nibbing, along with vanilla, concord grape, and black cherry. It’s not hard to see what the inspirations for these two were! Described as “super thick, super chewy, super super,” they come in at a bowl-you-over 11.9% ABV, and, for an added touch of awesomeness, will be occupying the nitro taps at Brewdock which will impart maximum smoothness. Boy howdy. Tickets are required for the event, BTW, and can be purchased at Brewdock and now through their online shop. That guarantees your spot inside, as well as your first pint in your own take-away glass.
Also pouring at Brewdock will be the latest in the 2 Crows series of incredibly hoppy NEIPAs. We’re past the point of being able to rhyme off all the various names, but we believe that this is the first new one since Cause for Celebration was released as part of a 4-pack for their 4th anniversary in January of this year. Well now comes Vivid Imagination, which began, as all the others have, with Golden Promise, flaked oats, wheat malt, and chit malt, and hopped in the mash and at first wort with something inconsequential (i.e., for brewing magic reasons, not so much for flavor or aroma). On its way to the fermenter it passed through a pretty good dose of newish hop variety BRU-1 in the hopback, but the real heavy lifting was done by “outrageous” amounts of Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy (along with a little more BRU-1) in the dry-hop. Carbonated via spunding like all the cool kids are doing to lock in the aroma and flavor, you can expect it to be really and truly juicy, with tropical and gooseberry notes. This one will be canned on Monday, at which point it’ll be available for purchase at the brewery.
Already out in the wilds of Halifax and beyond is Signals, a new smoked lagerbier that some (like us!) might consider an ideal style for the transition from summer to fall. Built on a simple grist of floor malted Pilsner and smoked malt, and using a double decoction mash to provide body and foam stability, heavy amounts of traditional Saaz hops were added in the kettle before the beer was fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Czech Lager strain, known for producing clean and crisp beers and revealing malt and hop subtleties. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and a healthy 38 IBU, the focus here was on drinkability with the smoke providing some interest. Although it’s already been seen on tap at the Stillwell Freehouse and Stilly HQ, packaging logistics won’t allow this one to be released in cans until the 24th or so, at which point you might see a beer and sausage event just about right on time for Oktoberfest. Until then, keep an eye on 2C tap accounts to give it a try!
Would you believe there’s more? Of course you would, this is 2 Crows! Folks who’ve been fans of the brewery since they opened might remember one of their first barrel-aged offerings, a gin barrel aged sour with blackberry and lemon they called Blackberry Collins. Well there’s a new version of that beer in the offing, finally coming out tomorrow after starting its life as a batch of their standard golden sour base in May, 2020. Aged largely in gin barrels (with a soupçon in a vermouth barrel), it was fermented in oak with a wide variety of house cultures. After a year of aging, it was blended and then conditioned on 200 kg of blackberries and a whackton (3 cases worth) of lemon zest and juice. After the sugars from the fruit had fermented out, it was packaged into clear bottles and allowed to bottle condition. Fruity to the point of jamminess, zesty, and super-bright, you’ll be able to grab this one at the brewery as of this afternoon.
Continuing to put out plenty of new beers, especially considering their size, Truro Brewing Company is back with a new release you can get today. Earlier in the year they held the Hubtown Homebrew Competition and this release is the second featured beer from that event. Cool Shade Stunner was the highest scoring entry in the competition, which tasked brewers to all use the Krispy Kveik yeast from Escarpment. Chelsea Meisner (also known as Lady Scotia Brewing) brings this 5.1% IPA that is crispy, refreshing and hoppy flavour that is balanced and mild in bitterness, with the Cascade, Idaho 7, and Citra hops used late in the process. This is available on tap at the brewery and also in 650 mL bottles.
If you’re like some of us, you think of this time of year and Grimross comes to mind. But then again, we think of all the breweries all the time. First up in beer release news, Bishop Belgian IPA is a seasonal re-release that is back after its debut 2 years ago. A meeting of new world citrusy hops and old world spice, the IPA side brings bold hops and Belgian yeast character brings a beautiful balance to a great style at 50 IBU and 6.0% ABV. This is available on tap at local restaurants all around New Brunswick and 473 mL cans at ANBL locations and the brewery.
Other news from Grimross is their Grimross Gardens is open! Think of crisp fall days at beer gardens in Europe and go right to Fredericton at 600 Bishop Drive to check out Grimross’ offering. Directly behind the brewery, they’re open from 2pm-10pm, but be sure to check their social media for the latest updates. We hope this is a trend that continues around the region and we hope to get there ourselves!
Never a stranger to new releases, Village Green in Cornwall, PEI, brings another tasty IPA release this week. Fuzzy IPA is a hop-packed, fruity, juicy and balanced IPA that should be sticking around for their regular year round selection. Featuring a malt backbone of Golden Promise with generous amounts of Galaxy hops along with Simcoe and Citra, this brings citrus and stone fruit flavours in a 6.5% tasty package! This is available on tap and in cans directly from the brewery.
Big congratulations to Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing who brought home some big competition hardware this week! Repeating and improving on their 2020 win at the US Open Beer Championship (Gold in Fruit Gose for Lime Margarita), they have taken home three medals in 2021. The recently-returned Love at Midnight Piña Colada IPA took home Bronze in Fruit IPA, and Parts N Labour took Silver in New England/Juicy IPA (which understandably is a hard-fought category!). And in Gold medal-winning news, their soon-to-return The Wickerman Vienna Pumpkin Lager took top spot. This Best of the Best is slated for release next week on tap and in cans at the brewery, so be sure to stop in to celebrate the new winners in the region! We’ll give you even more reasons to visit next week, as we expect to have more information on a fun multi-week event coming soon!
It’s no secret that Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing makes some of the hoppiest (and haziest!) beers in this end of the country; and although they’ve spread their stylistic wings considerably since they opened, there’s always room in the rotation for a new juicy banger. Enter the rather recent Talus hop, related to Sabro, but considered to have a more robust and complete flavor profile, and one that has not been seen much in these parts, but has definitely been part of some popular beers (e.g., Propeller Brewing’s Cold IPA earlier this year). Who better to give a fresh new hop a spin through the Hopinator5000™ than Trailway? Talus Your Secrets is exactly that, a single hop IPA using Talus so you can see for yourself what the fuss is about. Look for a soft, juicy, and drinkable IPA with notes of pink grapefruit and sweet stone fruit, with elements of coconut, pine resin, and oak as well. You can grab some at the brewery on tap for pints or fills, or in cans to go. And this weekend as a special treat, they’re doing $9.99/box shipping until Monday at 5 PM! So if you’re looking to try this one and/or any of their other offerings, you can do up an order and have it sent anywhere in Atlantic Canada or Ontario for a little cheaper than usual!
It’s back to school, back to Acadia University for some, and back to Church! Two new releases from Wolfville to chat up this week, starting with Gaspereau Gold. A 5.7% Festbier (think of a stronger Oktoberfest beer), with a malty body and a bit higher ABV than your traditional lager. With notes of caramel balanced with Magnum and Tettnanger hops, it’s still an easy drinking, crisp lager that you can’t get enough of.
Second batter up from Church is New Wave, a Kölsch brewed in the traditional lagered ale style with a North American take. Brewed in collaboration with hop supplier, Brew Culture, it features a new German hop, Callista, used for a dry-hop. The mouthfeel is crisp, but has hop-forward flavours and aromas of pineapple, stone fruit and citrus from the dry-hopping and the Spalter hops that were added to the boil. Both of these beers are available only at the brewery on tap or $10 crowlers to go.
In Bay Roberts, NL, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company has a new beer that’s not quite available yet, but should be real soon now. Tidy was designed to fill a perceived gap on their taplist, where everything was around 5% ABV and higher. So Tidy is a tiny pale ale, coming in at 3.9% and hazy, with some apricot character from the yeast used. Large low-temperature whirlpool additions of Cashmere, Columbus, and Simcoe provide all the hop character you could want in a little beer. That said, once they figure out what they’re going to dry hop it with, it’ll have more hop aroma for sure! Look for this one to come available next week sometime, so keep an eye on the brewery’s social media accounts (Fb, Ig).
Given their penchant for throwing one of the biggest Oktoberfest bashes in the province, it’s no surprise that Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has their fest-ready beer all queued up and ready to go to get your whistle wet and your appetite set for bier und wurst. Rise ‘n’ Stein is a Hefeweizen, a yeasty (hefe) wheat beer (weizen) known for a lower ABV, hazy appearance, soft mouthfeel, and subtle hints of banana and clove. Although to some it might sound a little odd, if you’ve never had one we suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how refreshing and quaffable that combo is. You can grab this one as of today at Garrison’s Seaport and Oxford locations, and don’t be surprised if it pops up at some or all of the private stores in the city. And stay tuned for more details on this year’s Oktoberfest event, which is set to run the week of September 24th to October 1st!
Plenty more events coming at you in the next couple of weeks!
Halifax’s Bar Stillwell is continuing their trend of ramping back up to some kind of normal with feel good events. This Saturday, September 11 (that’s tomorrow!), look for an all-day, all-Ontario event featuring ciders from Revel Cider, Wines from ibi Wines (also a Revel joint), and beers from Bellwoods. This is your opportunity to try some of the funkiest things being produced for your mouth in this fine country of ours. The flow starts at noon and runs all day; “no reservations, just good times.” Maybe we’ll see you there!
If your next Friday, Sept 17th, dance card isn’t already full, let’s change that! Chris Conway from Landwash Brewery, and the author of Newfoundland Beer History, will be giving a talk at the Admiralty Museum in Mount Pearl at 7 PM that evening. Chatting about the past, present, and future of beer in the province, your ticket includes a Landwash beer and charcuterie from the always excellent Chinched Meats. Grab your ticket from the Museum to take part in the fun!
Sticking in St. John’s, the following day is sure to be fun one, as Quidi Vidi Brewery continues to celebrate their 25th Anniversary all 2021-long. From noon until 9 PM on Saturday, September 18th, they are hosting a Dayboil in Bannerman Park, complete with live music, food vendors, games, and of course plenty of tasty beer! This is a ticketed event, so grab yours today!
And for those of us stuck on the mainland, Lwr Sackville’s TAPestry Beer Bar is kicking off their Oktoberfest event next Saturday, September 18th. We’ll have more details next week, but rest assured they’ll be pouring plenty of debuting and one-offs beers from breweries across Nova Scotia, all in their stylish spot at 833 Sackville Drive.
And before we let you go…
We’ve mentioned Candid Brewing’s Lagerish Blonde Ale in previous posts, but what we failed to mention was that this lagered ale is also gluten-reduced, thanks to Brewer’s Clarex. While that means different things to those on the Celiac/gluten-intolerant/-hesitant/-reducing spectrum, it is worth sharing when there are more options. Candid’s take on the classic German kölsch has been restocked and is available now on College Street, in cans and on tap for all of your beer drinking needs.
Annapolis Brewing has a new NEIPA out this week if you’re looking for something hazy and juicy. Fundy Haze is double dry-hopped with Galaxy, Sabro and Mosaic, giving notes of citrus, stone fruit and melon. You can find it on tap at the brewery in picturesque Annapolis Royal.
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