Hey hey, fellow beer aficionados in Atlantic Canada, we’ve got a rip snorter of a day going through most of the region and if it weren’t for these pesky day jobs we’d have posted earlier and bagged off down the pub for a pint or four. Sadly, day jobs pay for our beer and without beer we’d have a much harder time ignoring terrifying world events, gas prices, and inflation. Wheeeee! Although March Break is coming to an end in New Brunswick, it’s just getting underway in Nova Scotia and PEI (sorry Newfoundlanders!!) so there’s likely to be plenty more traffic in travel corridors and lots of out of towners about. Be nice, drive safe, be safe, support local (wherever you happen to be) and enjoy the new and returning beers our producers have put out as we start to believe that Spring might be a thing.
We’ll start this week’s news on Prince Edward Island, where Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a couple of new things on the go this week, starting with the first entry in their Million Acres series of barrel- and foeder-aged beers that we’ve seen in quite a while. Million Acres Peach Witbier is a 6% ABV and 5 IBU witbier (surprise!) featuring 2-row and wheat malts from Island Malthouse and Island-grown peaches from Bearing Fruit Acres Farm. To complete the local connection, it was aged in a foeder from New World Foeders. Dark yellow in colour, with a light haze, there’s plenty of peach and sweet aromatics on the nose along with some oak. On the palate, look for a light body and low carbonation, with subtle sweetness. Packaged in 500mL bottles, it’s available now at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner, and it’s expected to make its way to Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in HRM by next weekend.
For those on a low- or no-alcohol program can also look forward to the latest trial batch in Upstreet’s Libra line of ultra-low ABV beers, Libra Cherry Sour. Tangy and fruity, with some elements of pie crust, and spicy cherry character courtesy of Montmorency cherries, it’s only 0.4% ABV and 30 calories (6g carbs)! Look for this one at the brewery and CBC this weekend and again, BBQ Brewhouse next weekend. And a reminder that if you’re looking for a Paddy’s Day tipple that won’t leave you painting the town green, the award-winning Libra Non-alcoholic Stout is widely available at Sobeys locations in Atlantic Canada and select liquor stores and independent retailers across the country!
Down in Chester, Nova Scotia, Tanner & Co. have a new beer available featuring everyone’s favourite regionally native yeast, Escarpment Labs x Big Spruce Brewing Scotia Sauvage. Part of a series of beers Tanner has been making with that yeast, Sauvage Gose is what it says on the tin, er, bottle, a tart and slightly saline 4.8% brew with additional hints of coriander. Also featuring local malts in the mix, with Shoreline Pilsner and wheat, you’ll find it at the brewery, at the Tanner taproom in Chester proper, and tap accounts as well. And look for another Sauvage beer to be released in a couple weeks as well!
Way (way!) up in the Big Land, Lab City’s own Iron Rock Brewing has a brand new concoction they’re calling Hyperbole and it’s no exaggeration that this one is chock full of stuff: it’s billed as a double dry hopped passion fruit milkshake IPA at 6.2% ABV. Featuring plenty of mouthfeel and creaminess from flaked oats and lactose, Citra was added in the kettle and tropical El Dorado and Sabro at dry hop, with plenty of passion fruit puree bumping up the fruity component and vanilla bean smoothing it all out. Sounds like quite a ride for your tastebuds. Degree of difficulty? This one’s only available on tap at the brewery, so only local palates need apply.
Continuing their long tradition of partnering up with local sports teams and organisations, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new beer out in association with the newest league in town, the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association and also in celebration of International Women’s Day. Introduced at Garrison’s Seaport location on IWD, Courtside ISA is an India Session Ale described as a “sip of sunshine.” Built on a base of 2-row and Carapils malts, and hopped with Azacca, Topaz, and Idaho 7 varieties, it comes in with low bitterness and a lovely and light 4.3% ABV. And with $0.50 from every can sold going to the MWBA, you can doubly justify having a few! Look for it at the brewery and wherever else you get your Garrison brews.
Although you’ve already missed your chance to get it, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought out a very special beer yesterday with a very special cause. Free Ukraine! is/was a small-batch of 9% barrel-aged DIPA designed to be consumed both now, in solidarity, and later to celebrate the end of the conflict. Selling for $10/can, half of that was donated to Red Cross Ukraine Relief. If you didn’t get your hands on some, there’s more good news, however, as we’ve got a new batch of a single-hop DIPA from Unfiltered to tell you about as well. Featuring Idaho 7 hops, known for very tangerine-like character, slightly sweeter and more round than Citra, but still with some bite, Positively Shocking is almost certainly in the vicinity of 7.5% ABV and also no doubt a worthy entry in the series. And if you did miss the Free Ukraine!, maybe grab some Positively Shocking and throw a few bucks at Red Cross Ukraine Relief anyway!
Heading over to New Brunswick, where Gridiron Brewing in the Kennebecasis Valley has a new beer pouring. Midterm is just in time to celebrate the end of NB’s March Break, although it sounds like it’s going to be a regular brew on the roster. Tropical and hazy, it’s an NEIPA at 6.8% ABV and 36 IBU, just enough bite to keep from being cloying. You’ll find it already pouring at the brewery and it appears there are cans to go as well; look for it to also start appearing at Gridiron tap accounts in the region.
Back to NS and the North Shore of the province, where Tatamagouche Brewing has another new lager for us to enjoy. Kyral Maibock is a little early for Spring, when the Maibock style was traditionally ready after a winter of lagering, but we’re not complaining. Bigger, darker, maltier, and hoppier than most of the lagers North Americans are generally used to, it’s a burly 6.6% ABV built on German Pilsner malt with a bit of Munich and Pale malts to add some depth and then hopped for balance with Hallertauer Hersbrücker and Saaz. Fermented low and slow using a Czech yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, it’s a bright amber colour with tasting notes of cereal and honey, finishing with a restrained malty sweetness. Look for it in cans from the brewery or wherever you get your Tata, and don’t be surprised to see it on tap at your favourite Tata tap account as Spring arrives in earnest.
You may recall a few months ago that Propeller dipped its toes into the Cold IPA style with the release of Talus. This take on IPA uses a cooler fermentation temperature to mimic the crispy drinking experience more commonly associated with lagers or lagered ales. Their next iteration of the style is out today with Eclipse Cold IPA. Look for lots of citrus notes, including mandarin, and a hint of fresh pine from the Eclipse hops. Coming in at 6.1% ABV, it’s available now at all three Prop Shops, for shipping/delivery through their online store, and will also be at Bishop’s Cellar next weekend.
Up in Fredericton, NB, Grimross Brewing has put together their first full-time IPA after several years of business. Keeping ingredients as local as possible, they’re calling it an “East Coast IPA with a Maritime and Grimross twist.” At 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU, they focused on drinkability with this one, as you’d expect for a beer they’re planning to keep available year round. Look for Maritime IPA to appear any day now at the brewery on tap and in cans to go.
We tend to focus on ale, lager and cider in our weekly posts, but there’s a fourth variety of fermented beverage that ACBB is also happy to see occasionally hit the tap lines of the Atlantic provinces. That beverage is mead, and Annapolis Brewing Company is releasing their first take on the category this weekend. Royal Mead is a sparkling standard mead that uses locally sourced honey. Drinking more like a wine, meads are often higher in alcohol than beer or cider, and this one is no exception, coming in at 9% ABV. Many meads are also served still, but this one has been well carbonated to give it that sparkling quality. Expect notes of honey, flowers, lemon and melon, and a slightly tart finish. Royal Mead is on tap now in Downtown Annapolis Royal and has also been bottled to take home with you.
Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has a new release out this weekend from its Beer Creation experience. Mannenknot (Dutch for man bun) is their take on the Dutch style of Lentebock. A style that we can’t recall seeing released in the Maritimes before, originally quaffed for nutrition by monks during their lenten fast, Lentebock most closely resembles a Maibock, but finishes with a more pronounced bitterness. Serpent’s version comes in at 6.4%, pouring a dark caramel colour and featuring light notes of roasted malt. Find it on tap and in to-go bottles today. If you’re thinking of grabbing a pint, the Hodadds will be playing tonight (Friday) at 8:00 PM. Dominic’s food truck, serving up awesome pizza, will be there for lunch Saturday at noon, and to top it off, Sunday night will feature music trivia, beginning at 6:30 PM.
Just in time for Paddy’s Day, Ol Biddy’s is re-releasing Molly Johnson, their Dry Irish Stout. Coming in at a sessionable 4.3% ABV, look for notes of chocolate and coffee, with enough bitterness at 33 IBUs to keep things nicely balanced. Sticking with the Irish theme (and naming scheme), Patrick O’Neil Irish Red will also be returning to the taproom. Finally, keep an eye out for Biddy Light, which will soon be available at NSLC locations across HRM.
Only one event to chat up this week, but it’s a fun-looking one!
Although we’re not quite in Phase 3 yet here in Nova Scotia, 2 Crows Brewing can’t help themselves but start bringing people together again; and what better reason to do so than to drink beer? Está bien, they’ve come up with a super novel and fun way to enable some quality beer drinking: enter The Tube Gala! Having acquired for themselves some delightful 9¼ oz (275-ish ml) glassware with a distinctive tube shape, along with some jaunty wooden carriers, their staff is ready to “keep ‘em coming.” If you’re up for participation, let your bartender know and you’ll be issued a coaster with a green crow side and a red crow side. Simply keep your green crow facing up as long as you’d like them to continue to replace your empty tube with a fresh full one and flip it over (red side up) when you’d like the tube train to stop. Your bartender will keep track of how many you’ve had and at the end of your session you’ll pay $3.50 per tube consumed. Sounds like efficient beer delivery to us!! What will be in those tubes, you might ask? Why AC Light Lager, of course! This first edition of what we expect will be many Tube Galas will take place tomorrow, Saturday, March 12th, starting at noon and running until close at 10 PM. To top it all off, Luke’s Fried Chicken (of Luke’s Small Goods fame) will be popping up to provide you with some of the finest fried chicken the city has to offer along with a few other select menu items. Running during the Tube Gala from 12 noon, they’ll stop when they sell out, which based on experience is likely to be earlier rather than later. Beer (in TUBES!!) Fried Chicken!! What more could you ask for?!
Let’s end this week’s news with word of a brewery that has opened recently, serving the thirsty folks in Saint Quentin, New Brunswick. Novum Boreas opened its doors in late February, welcoming locals and visitors alike to their taproom and retail spot at 249 Rue Canada. Launching with Feelin’ Light, a 5.0% ABV Blonde featuring all New Brunswick grown and processed at the nearby La Maison Fils du Roy malt house, and Igniferous Double-Dry Hopped 6.5% American IPA (brewed with Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Citra, and fermented with new fave Verdant yeast. And launched this week is a New England IPA Kombucha Radler, a NEIPA blended with GreenWhale Raspberry and Mint Kombucha. Also on tap currently is Petit-Sault’s Saison. Novum Boreas’ taproom is open from 4 PM Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3 PM Fridays and Saturday from noon, so pop by and wish a warm welcome to the newest brewery in our region!