Welp, let’s get this out of the way. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours. While today is a fine day to drink a well-made local stout, we figure any type of beer, cider, or mead will be just perfect to toast the patron saint of Ireland. Plenty of new beers hitting the taps and shelves this week, with local breweries and cideries celebrating the date with live music and events too. So grab a lunch-time beer and read what you can soon be enjoying at your favourite watering hole.
There’s a new beer on tap for pints and growlers at North Grant’s Half Cocked Brewing, perfect for kicking off your weekend celebrations. Jughead is an 8.2% Double IPA, featuring plenty of Simcoe hops in the boil and after. But don’t be scared away, the bitterness is not too high, as aroma and flavour are first and foremost in the beer. Pine and citrus are the order of the day, and clarity in the golden-amber beer is what you’ll spot in the glass. Pop out today, and you’ll also be able to enjoy some holiday food pairings from The Crafty Cooks, the food truck set up steps from Half Cocked’s front door. And for those unlucky enough to not be in the area, fingers crossed that there may be some kegs heading into the big city before too long.
Moncton’s Happy Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, something light and easy drinking, for those who want to enjoy more than a couple this weekend. Flowers is a 4.7% Light Lager, crisp, light, but with craft beer roots and flavour. Using Pilsner malt, as well as flaked rice to keep the mouthfeel nice and crushable, it features a nice dosing of Motueka hops to impart some floral notes with a hint of green apple. Pop by their spot on Main Street for a taste this weekend!
In anticipation of the East Coast Music Awards coming to Halifax May 3-7, the Craft Beer Collective sponsors of the event (Breton Brewing, Garrison, Grimross, Quidi Vidi, and Upstreet), have released this year’s beer, EMCAle, Track 3: Halifax. Brewed at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing, this 4.5% Wheat Ale is hazy as it was not filtered, and features german Hallertauer hops to enhance the grain bill, for a fruity nose and just slight bitterness. Easy drinking in quantity, which is perfect, as the sale of each can will see $0.50 donated to the ECMA to continue to showcase and grow the region’s music community and industry. Find it at Garrison’s locations today, as well as provincial and private stores in the province, with roll out to the other provincial liquor stores in the coming weeks. And better yet, it will be available at all of the venues during the May live music events throughout Halifax!
Back in Nouveau-Brunswick, Trailway celebrated a big milestone last weekend with the opening of their Saint John location, Union House. If you’re in town, let us know how those tasty-looking smash burgers are hitting. The new location isn’t slowing them down from new releases, with two new ones to tell you about this week. First up is the newest addition to the Hu Jon family, Hu Jon Ultra. Fans of low-ABV beers are in for a treat, with this super-session IPA coming in at 1.5% ABV, but still bringing the big hop-forward aromas and flavours you’ve come to expect from Hu Jon. If you’re looking for something with a more traditional ABV, check out their second new release, Touching Base. Originally brewed for last weekend’s Freddy Craft Beer Fest, this one uses the experimental HBC 1019 hop which brings big peach and stone fruit notes and comes in at 5.6% ABV. Cans of both releases are available now at the brewery and through their online store.
Originating in PEI, the Gahan House brand has spread across Atlantic Canada with locations in all four provinces. Gahan is taking advantage of that scale in their new Gahan House Seasonals series, which will feature small batch beers available only at their restaurants/taprooms. First up is Simcoe IPA, a 6.1% ale brewed out of the Nova Centre location in Halifax. Look for notes of tropical fruit, peaches and pine notes from the Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus hops. This one is on-tap or available in cans to-go from all Gahan locations.
Up next is a taste of ‘The Good Life’ in Tatamagouche with the release of Dolce Vita. This one started as a Belgian-style saison that underwent a mixed-fermentation before aging in Pinot Noir barrels. Expect an effervescent carbonation from the complex fermentation, with vinous notes from the barrel and pear, honeydew and earthy aromas. The oak barrels also lend some vanilla and almond flavour to the 7.3% ABV saison. 500 ml bottles are available now at the brewery and through their online store.
We’ve mentioned Phantasm a few times over the last year. This new product is made from NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grape skins and releases Thiol precursors in a beer which can then be “unlocked” by particular yeast strains to allow way more tropical and fruity notes to make their way from the glass to your nose. Tusket Falls Brewing has an interesting experiment on the go with two versions of their Next Phaze IPA. Both beers use the same yeast and hop additions, with Idaho 7 in the mash, a Citra whirlpool addition, and a Riwaka dry-hop. The version released two weeks ago stops there, but their newest release was also brewed with Phantasm, presenting an opportunity to try both alongside each other to get a feel for what those extra Thiols can do in a beer. Coming in at 6.4% ABV, both versions are available on tap and in cans at the Halifax and Tusket locations now.
A quick hit from Antigonish’s Candid Brewing, as they’re getting into the mood with an Irish Red Ale. Sociable is 4.8%, pours a deep red with an off-white head, and is easy-drinking, ready for many raises of the glass this weekend at their College Street taproom.
Hot on the heels of Larger Than Larry, the special batch of Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale brewed up by North Brewing with Team Stillwell for North’s 10th Birthday Party at Stilly HQ, comes another version of Larry, this one more of a junior to LtL’s senior. Lawrencetown Skate Session Ale is a little lighter than regular Lawrencetown, coming in a 4.0% ABV, and features some different hop varieties that yield a floral and fruity vibe in a still-hazy package. Intended to be a perfect après skate beer, this one is being released to benefit the Lawrencetown Skatepark Project, a grassroots effort to get a skatepark built in Lawrencetown Beach. While $0.50 from every can sold will go towards this initiative, North is also getting behind this event in a bigger way by hosting a launch party for the beer on Monday, March 20th, from 6 – 10pm at their Portland Street taproom. No tickets are required, but donations will be accepted and will result in an entry for a sweet doorprize.
If you’re looking to work in craft beer in the region, we know some folks who are looking for crew!
Just one job to tell you about this week, as Lone Oak is looking to expand their team in Borden-Carleton. With more fermenters on the way, they need some help filling them, and then emptying them, which is where you come in! They are hiring a Brewer to work with Spencer and the gang, as well as a Packaging Technician, as well as a Delivery and Warehouse Assistant. All three positions are full-time, with wages starting at $18/hour. Reach out to LOB directly to learn more and apply!