Fall is nearly here, so that means a few things are here with certainty: Oktoberfest (!), Pumpkin Ales and rising COVID-19 cases. As we get excited for new releases and events currently going on, we see rising cases and lockdowns in Alberta. Make sure to enjoy what you can safely for yourself, friends and family and remember to check out all of the latest restrictions as part of your never-ending beer journey. Now, onto the fun stuff!
Let’s kick things off with a brewery that hasn’t graced these pages in a while. Digby/Kingston’s Roof Hound Brewing has released Aurora Haze, a 4% ABV session IPA. The beer gets its name from the Aurora aircraft that frequent the CFB Greenwood, near Roof Hound’s Kingston location. This hazy SIPA exclusively features Amarillo hops, which were only added during the dry hopping phase, keeping the bitterness low while pulling out all of those great hop aromas. Bottles and pints are available now at the Kingston location.
In lovely Port Rexton, Newfoundland, their hometown brewery continues to release new and returning favourite beers, with a pair of collaborations out in the last couple of weeks. Celebrating the BonRexton GranFondo, which took place in Hurricane Larry’s wake last Saturday, they released Headwind Pale Ale. This 4.8% easy drinking ale is the right balance of citrus and stone fruit, with a touch of bitterness too. Still on tap at the brewery, as well as in cans at their St. John’s Retail Shop. And returning in cans is Shoreline, a Salted Stout, featuring salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company, headquartered in nearby Bonavista. Big roast and chocolate notes are complemented by the light minerality and mouthfeel in the 6.5% beer.
And congratulations to co-owner and Head Brewer Alicia MacDonald who will be in the keynote “Women in Beer – Equity, Inclusion and Solidarity” during this weekend’s Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Joined by other women in the beer biz, she’ll be joined by other female brewers and those selling beer, to talk on their experiences and what needs to be done to include more in the beer world. Still awaiting details if it can be streamed or watched later, but keep your eyes on the front page for the streaming of the Awards Saturday night…
Speaking of hometown breweries, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest in their Intertidal Series this week, their foray into hop-forward beers. Building on the Ekuanot Rye IPA and Idaho Gem, comes Intertidal Tiny. Living up to its name, this is a 3.5% Session IPA, which Brewer Chad Ellis built to impress from the ground up. Starting with Horton Ridge Pale and Vienna as the base malts, Malted Wheat, Malted Oats, and Chit malt rounded out the grains. Walking the tightrope of low alcohol without being too thin, a hotter mash was used to enhance the mouthfeel. Hops-wise, the fun started with mash additions, followed by big whirlpool and then dry hops after brew day. Focusing on Sabro and Mosaic, with a touch of Citra, the tropical, stone fruit, and citrus are strong with this one, complementing the coconut and lime. On tap at the brewery now, with cans dropping in store and on their webstore any minute now.
Propeller Brewing’s Flat White is back in stock as of yesterday. This white stout features many of the aromas and flavours you’d expect in its darker cousin, but in a format that tricks the eye with its golden colour. Prop’s version uses cold-brewed Java Blend coffee and cocoa nibs, that compliment a creamy mouthfeel and medium body, helped out by the use of flaked oats in the malt bill. Expect lots of coffee and chocolate notes in this 5% ABV take on the style, which also features 30 IBUs to keep those sweeter flavours in balance. Cans are available now at Propellor’s three HRM locations and online for delivery and shipping.
Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom continues their barrel-aged sour program with its latest release this week. Like Bramble and Thicket before it, Empire is a mixed ferm beer that was fermented then aged in oak for six, before being transferred to stainless and hit with loads of peaches before packaging and bottle conditioning. Fruit and funk shine through in this 5.1% beer, which is available in bottles at the brewery and their online shop for delivery Island-wide.
Downtown Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing is having some friendly in-house competition between 3 members of their brewing staff. “The Battle of the Brewhouse” is a draught-only competition at their taproom and patio on Alderney Drive. First up, from Lucas, is Rye Not?, a Roggenbier spiced with mace and Kashmiri chili. Roggenbier translates exactly to “Rye Beer”, which typically has a malt profile of at least 50% malted Rye, but can vary as brewers see fit. Lucas’ version uses 50% and comes in at 5% ABV with balanced sweetness and forward nuttiness, and a slight slickness also characteristic of the rye malt. The Kashmiri chili builds slowly for some pepper heat.
Next up from Chris is SORRY DAD, an American Pale Ale hopped with Chinook, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria. It has lovely aromas of pine and orange, well balanced with some finishing orange flavours and full bodied maltiness; a 5.6% and 41 IBU offering that might just please everyone.
The last beer in the Battle is from head brewer Mike, with New Wave, a Gose featuring local smoked sea salt and lemon grass additions. A twist on a traditional gose, this one was done using a sour mash technique with added salt and coriander as tradition would go, but also with lemongrass and smoked sea salt from Dartmouth’s own Maritime Salt. A very fragrant beer with citrus note and slight salinity and smoke from the sea salt, it comes in at 5.2%.
We’re not sure exactly how the competition works or what spoils go to the winner, but we’re sure that in order to participate you’ll need to head down and drink some beer and you’ll be sure to find out the details if you do!!
Port-au-Port’s own Secret Cove (that’s not too far from Stephenville, Newfoundland) has a new canned release available today that should be fairly widely available on the eastern side of Newfoundland for more to enjoy. Pee-Wee German is a Berliner Weiße with lime and is sure to be a refreshing and tasty release. A style that we enjoy all year around, this 3.5% offering should be easy-drinking, with slight sourness with a kick of lime. It is available in 473 mL cans immediately from the brewery, but also look for this in St. John’s at Marie’s Mini Mart, along with a few other offerings from Secret Cove.
We started with the Oktoberfest info last week (or was it the week before?), but it’s coming hot and heavy now folks!
Last week we teased some details about the Oktoberfest festivities at Lwr Sackville’s TAPestry Beer Bar. The fun kicks off this weekend, with a mystery flight of German style beers for Flight School Friday and the beginning of the official two week celebration tomorrow. Circle Saturday the 25th on your calendar for Celebration Day which will feature a wide selection of German style beers from Nova Scotian breweries, a German inspired food menu and free prizes throughout the day. The festivities wrap up with Closing Ceremonies on Saturday, October 3. Check out TAPestry’s social channels (Fb/Ig) for more details.
Hot off the heels of their big US competition wins we mentioned last week, Moncton’s Tire Shack is starting their three weekend long Oktoberfest celebration tomorrow. Euston Park will be popping up a kitchen to serve some authentic German foodstuffs and, of course, there will be a special brew on the go, a Munich Helles they’ve dubbed Helles Yeah! Each weekend, $20 will get you a 1 L stein you can take home after all is said and done, plus your first fill up. Also, the beer has been packaged, so you’ll be able to grab some cans to fill it up again at home!
Montague’s Bogside Brewing is doing an Oktoberfest celebration with a salty, briny twist on Saturday, October 2nd, when they have their OYSToberfest. Two ticketed events are on the slate that day, the first being a Beer School VIP Brewery Tour and Tasting ($25 – tickets here) from 12:30 – 1:30 PM and the second a Shuck ‘U’ demonstration with John Petcoff ($70 – tickets here) from 2:00 – 3:30 PM. From there you can stick around for the Oyster Bar that runs from 4 – 8 PM and two live music events (Keira Loane from 3 – 6 PM and The Broad Cove Boys from 7 – 10 PM). Meanwhile, the brewery is also running a promo on some of their summer products: 20% off purchases of $75 or more on the following products: six-packs of Radler and singles of Sun of a Beach Hopped Sour, Cranberry Wheat, Spirit of Georgetown Gose, Strawberry Sour. Head down to the brewery or place your online order here.
Also on the Island, and last up (for this week, anyway) on the march to Bavarian bliss, is PEI Brewing Company, who are doing their OktoberFEAST on the weekend of October 8th. Starting Friday night at 4 PM with German-inspired food stations along with some not-so-German games (washer toss, cornhole, axe-throwing, and more), there will also be an old school re-release of Gahan Harvest Gold Pale Ale available on draught. On Saturday, things get underway at noon, with all the same games as Friday (except the axe-throwing), plus some game tournaments and other competitions where you can win some PEIBC gift cards. All ticket holders will also receive a 20oz beer stein and their first fill. Tickets are for Friday and Saturday are separate, and for Saturday there’s also the option to tag on an additional ticket for a post-OktoberFEAST album release show by Andrew Waite starting at 8:30 PM.
And here’s your last few quick hits to help inform your weekend beer purchases:
Earlier this summer, the folks at Breton put together a proper French saison they called Île Royale Saison with the folks from Fortress Louisbourg Association to be served at La Taverne Storehouse. With the season winding down, they’ve packaged what was remaining in cans so folks closer to town can enjoy it. We’ll warn you, though, a very small amount is available, so get yourself to the brewery (or put your online order in) in a hurry if you want to try it!
Lastly, if you missed the previous release, there’s a fresh batch of DOA available today at Unfiltered Brewing on North Street. Grab it in cans to go or find it on tap next door at Charm School now.
And if you’re a big fan of Citra hops but are closer to Fredericton than Halifax, Trailway has got you covered for a citrus hoppy kick, as their Seeing Citra is also back this week. Sit down in the taproom for a pint, have a growler filled, or grab some cans to go!
Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a lovely new liquid out that’s thoroughly Nova Scotia and shows what can happen when producers get together and try new things. Lake City married their classic Darkside Dry cider with Caldera Whisky from River John, NS, to produce Apple Jack, an 8.0% ABV concoction that brings notes of oak and spicy rye with plenty of apple presence. Available now in cans from the cidery.
And finishing up today on the Rock, where Landwash has a new “quick little lager” they produced with the KRISPY kveik lager-targeted yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 4.5% ABV and featuring German Saphir hops, look for a bit of spice and even some candied orange; a nice little beer to see out the summer! Look for it at the brewery now and elsewhere (hopefully) soon.