Could this be our last weekend of winter? It just might be! The clocks change again soon, we’re in the midst of a snowy weekend and it will be March Break before you know it. Are we always talking about the weather? Sometimes! But let’s start talking about the wonderful beer and news from across our region! Let’s kick it off with a few releases celebrating International Women’s Day 2023, which is being marked next Wednesday.
Let’s start our day in Fredericton, where Trailway Brewing is celebrating IWD2023 with the release of Physica Raspberry Cream IPA. Named after the text written by Hildegard Von Bingen in the 12th century, she is thought to be the first to add hops to beer (much more on Von Bingen and Physica in this article). Walking in Von Bingen’s, and the thousands of women instrumental in the evolution of beer over the centuries, steel-toed rubber boots are the women of Trailway who designed, produced, and packaged Physica. Using plenty of hops (namely El Dorado and Mosaic), the IPA was conditioned on Raspberry, giving it plenty of fruit, light sweetness, and a lovely creamy mouthfeel. Physica is out now at the brewery on draught and in cans, and look to local licensees to enjoy in your neighbourhood. A portion of the profits will be going to Women in Transition House in Fredericton and Cloverdale Centre for Women in Saint John. Donations are also being collected all month long for these organizations, at their Fredericton taproom, and the soon-to-open Union House Taproom in Saint John. Give early, and often!
Sydney’s Island Folk Cider House is also celebrating and supporting women with an IWD2023 release, Embrace Equity. This Honey & Lavender Cider is available at the taproom for samples, pints, and in bottles to take away. Part of the proceeds are being donated to Every Woman’s Centre, a non-profit promoting, developing and supporting the enhancement of women’s lives in Cape Breton Communities. Drop by Island Folk’s spot on Nepean Street to imbibe and support today!
On to the Hub of Nova Scotia, where Truro Brewing Company recently hosted Char of Hardisty Brewing for a brewday to celebrate Queer Women in the NS Brewing Industry. Taking inspiration from another popular fizzy drink, root beer, Char’s wife and business partner in Hardisty, Laura, put together an appropriate blend of spices and herbs to best recreate the in a beer. On the brewday, Jana of TBC hosted Char to make the final product a reality. The result is Wicked Roots, a 5.0% ABV Dark Ale. Heavily spiced both in, and after, the kettle, to bring out a vibrant root beer character. The beer is dropping early next week, it will be available on tap and in cans at Truro Brew Co, cans from Hardisty, and on tap at better establishments in the region, including Battery Park and Good Robot’s Robie Street taproom. [Ed note: we originally wrote that Laura was with Truro Brewing Company, and apologize for that mistake]
Switching to another charitable release, Big Axe Brewery has released Big Axe Bitter. Owner Peter Cole was prompted by drinks writer Craig Pinhey to brew the style, after the two had been speaking of their mutual loss of a parent to Alzheimer’s Disease. Pinhey spoke highly of the UK Bitter style, recalling the time he and his brothers took his father back to his hometown of Blackawton in England, and sharing pints in the many old pubs of the region, shortly before his father’s passing. Starting from a well-developed homebrew recipe provided by Pinhey, Cole made it BA’s own, but certainly kept the backbone of the original style, including some flaked maize and Maris Otter and Special B malts. A portion of the can sales will be going to Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick, and you can learn more from Cole himself in this video clip.
Heading up to Newfoundland, and Deer Lake in particular, we find that Rough Waters Brewing Company has a new beer on the go. Definitely not so seasonable with the weather in our region this weekend, but maybe a nice inspiration to think of warmer times ahead, Tangled is a lime gose that was brewed with both lime and sea salt, which should give you some margarita vibes even if laying on a beach chair right now is not an option. In keeping with Rough Waters’ overall environmental awareness it’s also a beer with a cause, with $1 from every can purchased going to the Atlantic Healthy Oceans Initiative and specifically their Zero-Plastic Waste Gros Morne program. Look for it at the brewery now, in Deer Lake at the Big Stop and Corner Brook at the NLC and it’ll be available on the East Coast in the coming weeks!
Fredericton’s Half Cut Brewing has a dark and roasty beer out this week, perfect as a morning pick-me-up or to finish off your day. Tire Fire is an Irish Dry Stout, and served on Nitro at the brewery, so you can enjoy the lovely cascading bubbles™ (probably) as the beer settles. Your patience will be rewarded with big roast and chocolate notes, along with a touch of earthiness from the hops. That nitro treatment means it is both creamy and dry at the same time, enticing you to take another sip (or pint).
Stop in at Moncton’s Tire Shack today, and you’ll see something distinctly aquamarine pouring from the taps. Channeling the blue waters of an island paradise where there isn’t 25 centimetres of snow on the ground, Brewers Henry and Murray cooked up a 5.0% Mango and Guava Sour, bursting with tropical stone fruit and citrus aromatics. But why the blue-green colour? Spirulina, a flavourless algae that is thought to be high in antioxidants, and even higher in happiness-inducing power. Grab Santorini on tap and in cans to go this weekend, before it sails away for good!
In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley we’ve got a couple of new ciders to tell you about. Up first, in Kentville at Maritime Express, is the latest in their STORM series, this one inspired by Hurricane Fiona last fall, which had a devastating effect on the Valley’s apple crops, with 10-30% of apple crops lost to wind. Leveraging these storm-caused “drops” from local farmers has two impacts: it helps the farmers get some return on what would otherwise be lost crop, and it also has an impact on the cider itself, because early season fruit has less sugar and more tannins. Made from Honeycrisp and Gravenstein apples, this one is semi-dry and comes in at 5.8% ABV. It’s also got a charitable angle, with $0.50 of each 750ml bottle sold going towards The Portal Youth Outreach Association, “a safe space for youth to receive support and access programs.”
Meanwhile, in Annapolis Royal, East Coast Cider Co has a new cider of their own as well, a semi-sweet cider that wears its blueberry content proudly with its pale purple color. Featuring a subtle blueberry flavor and aroma, but maintaining a crisp finish, you’ll find this 6% ABV beauty, known simply as Blueberry Cider on tap and in cans at the brewery/cidery.
Antigonish’s Candid Brewing is trying to keep your identity (and dance moves) safe from the prying eyes at TikTok, by releasing Californication this week. Straight from Silicon Valley, this Pale Ale is solidly in the “West Coast” style, favouring hop bitterness and crispiness, over the haze and soft mouthfeel. At 5.4% ABV, it certainly punches above its weight. Grab it in cans, as well as on draught, at their taproom on College Street today.
The Year of North Brewing continues tomorrow, March 4, as the Cole Harbour brewery takes over the dozen taps at Barrington Street’s Bar Stillwell. From noon til sell-out, there will be a full complement and variety of styles on display, from their old-school Gus’ Blonde, Pip Pip Cheerio English Porter, Pear Core Values Cider, and a special release debuting tomorrow, Larger Than Larry. Keen-eyed Beer Detectives may be able to sort out what this beer is all about, taking inspiration from their Lawrencetown Session IPA, but increasing the alcohol and hops, to produce a 6.0% New England IPA. Look for this to be available on cask for enjoyment all day!
Great news for beer lovers in St. John’s, the Gahan Harbourview has now become fully operational, and is selling their own in-house brewed beer! Head Brewer Jordan is ready to show off what he’s been doing with a Behind the Brew event next Wednesday. Join Jordan in trying more than a half-dozen beers across the flavour spectrum, while pairing it with different food stations, including oysters, fish tacos, sliders, and more! This is a ticketed event, so grab yours today!
A couple more things before we dismiss you this week…
As they’ve done a couple of times previously, the homebrew-heads at BrewHQ in Burnside are selling some fresh, pre-made wort, for those of you looking to brew your own at home. As it is the season, and you could turn it around in a couple of weeks, they have cooked up an Irish Stout just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. The specs are ~1.045 Starting Gravity, with an expected Final Gravity of 1.011 (YMMV, of course), for a 4.5% ABV Stout. Low bitterness, to about 30 IBU. Check their social media to be sure everything goes without a hitch this morning, then pop by to grab your aseptically-sealed bag o’ wort (bringing a milk crate or something similar will help with transportation).
Finishing up the week with some out-of-town brewery news, Bishop’s Cellar has brought in a fresh shipment of goodies from Fairweather Brewing of Hamilton, ON. Five beers are in the fridge as of today, including a Schwarzbier, Pale Ale, IPA, Fruited Sour, and a dessert Imperial Stout. Check BC’s page for the full rundown, and to order yours for NS-wide shipping or delivery!