Hey folks, it’s the morning after Paddy’s Day and we’re not sure about other places, but in Halifax that means it’s time for everyone’s favourite once-a-year-sport, “dodge the green puddles on your morning walk downtown.” We trust that those young and…er…enthusiastic about St. Patrick and his synonymous day had a good time and nobody was (permanently) injured. We have to admit that despite not partaking of the partying ourselves, between day jobs (that for some of us were night jobs too), travel (business for one, pleasure for another), and small humans in the house, we are a little shy on content this week. That said, it is March break in two provinces and we didn’t see a tonne of new releases out there. So enjoy what we’ve found and trust that, as always, we’ll try to do a little better next week!
Let’s start off in beautiful Port Rexton, where we have a release from last week to update you on and a fresh new collab rolling out this week. Up first is Wild Ale, brewed using Brettanomyces from Escarpment Labs. Along with loads of hops, this one also saw the addition of Sea Buckthorn puree and a hint of lactose, leading to aromas of stone fruit and a hint of Brett funk. The 5% ABV Wild Ale is currently available in cans at the taproom and the St. John’s retail location. Up next is Level Up, a collaboration with the fine folks at Bannerman Brewing. This one features some exciting new ingredients, including Escarpment’s Thiol Libre yeast and Phantasm powder, made from Sauvignon Blanc grape skins. The powder contains something called Thiol precursors, which when added during active fermentation can lead to enhanced aromas of tropical fruit. Combine that with a yeast specifically designed to also amp up the tropical notes from hops and malt, and you can expect a beer that seriously delivers on fruit aromas and flavour. Late hop additions keep the bitterness down in this hazy IPA, which comes in at 5% ABV. Cans are available now at Port Rexton’s St. John’s retail location, and on tap and in cans at Bannerman’s taproom on Duckworth Street as well as in Port Rexton proper.
Tatamagouche Brewing has a new Coffee Porter out this week with the release of Warm Winds. The beer is named after the warm winds that nurture the highland coffee growing region of Guatemala, where the coffee for this beer was grown. The Huehuetenango beans from Aroma Maya Coffee Roasters were selected for their low acidity and flavours of almond, chocolate and caramel, which complement the flavour profile of the base beer. The beer, drawing inspiration from Tata’s Baltic Porter, uses a combo of pale, German Munich, Vienna, caramel and chocolate malts. A small addition of Celeia hops was also added, prior to the beer conditioning directly on the whole beans. The final product is a smooth drinking experience, with a rich malt profile and tons of coffee flavour. Cans are available now at the brewery and for delivery/shipping via their online store.
We previously blogged about Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing releasing a barrel-aged DIPAto benefit Ukraine relief through the Red Cross. We are happy to report that the release was a massive success, selling out within hours and raising $1345 (supplemented by breaking their “no musical requests” stance to collect donations for the cause). Unfiltered is back at it this week, this time offering a big discount on the stock of 2018 Mise en Garde Barleywine that they’ve been carefully cellaring. Normally retailing for $16/bottle, the brewery has discounted the price down to $10, with half of what you pay going directly to the Red Cross’ efforts in Ukraine. Grab one for your cellar, one for your glass this weekend and contribute to a great cause while you’re at it. Win, win, win.
Speaking of breweries and support for the Ukraine, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has stepped up to the Brew For Ukraine initiative in collaboration with Pravda Brewery & Beer Theatre out of Lviv. Growing from the brewing community’s desire to help the embattled country through the illegal invasion by the Russian military, and inspired by Pravda’s pivot from producing beer to producing Molotov Cocktails, over 100 breweries worldwide have signed up for the initiative. Garrison’s participation will see them releasing a limited run of their version of Pravda’s own Putin Huylo Strong Golden Ale, a 7% ABV beer (the name translates roughly to, “Putin is a dickhead,” a sentiment we’re quite firmly behind). Brewed with European and North American malts and hops, it has a medium body and a balanced hop flavour. With a label adapted from Pravda’s own Ukrainian version to fit Garrison’s 600mL bottles, this one will appear at the end of the month at the Seaport and Oxford Taproom location. Only 2,000 bottles will be packaged, and they’ll cost $10 a pop, with all profits going directly to supporting humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine through recognized charities.
Up in Antigonish, NS, or, more specifically North Grant (we can’t pick on Hanwell, NB, anymore so…), Half Cocked Brewing has a brand new beer pouring. Big Hug is both the name of the beer and a lovely sentiment as some of our provinces approach a return to almost zero COVID-related restrictions. We know lots of people who are very much looking forward to being with family in a way that they haven’t been able to in two years. The beer itself is an NEIPA boasting big juicy fruit notes on the nose, with sharp citrus leading on the palate, followed by orange and tangerine. Like many NEIPAs, this one has a slight sweetness on the finish and a smooth, silky mouthfeel. At 7% you might want to be a touch careful because we’re willing to bet it goes down like a beer with a much lower ABV. Look for it at the brewery, but on-tap only as it hasn’t been packaged! We’ll ping you if we see it in the wild across the province!
Our friends (and yours!) at 2 Crows in Halifax don’t have any new beers this week, but they’ve got a new flavour of their refreshing non-alcoholic Hop Water, Cucumber + Mint. Obviously containing cucumber and mint, but also a touch of lemon, the hop in this one is the modern German variety Hüll Melon (also known as Huell Melon) which is known for aromas of honeydew melon and strawberry. Sounds like a lovely pairing to us! And although this is a non-alcoholic beverage and that’s awesome, we can’t help but suspect it might make a nice mixer for a bit of gin. Grab some next time you’re stocking up at 2 Crows and find out!
If you’re looking to travel the Maritime provinces for beer, wine, cider, or booze this spring, and looking for a way to get a head start, be sure to check out Maritime Spirits, which aired on Bell TV1. Brought to you by the same fine folks who brought you Beerocracy, the story of craft alcohol makers in New Brunswick. And those same generous producers have recently uploaded all 10 episodes of Maritime Spirits to YouTube, so we can all check them out, regardless of home TV provider. Visiting Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, New Scotland, Red Rover Cider, Upstreet, and many more from the comfort of your couch, it’s never been easier! Let’s hope we are seeing more episodes in the future! Ask your TV provider to include more local programming…