Happy Friday (evening) y’all! A bit late posting today due to some staffing issues (get chris to bore you about the trip shenanigans next time you see him), but we are bursting/over-stuffed with beer news today, so let’s get right to it! Remember, as always, to enjoy responsibly and be kind!
We’re actually starting off today not with a beer, but something just as flavourful, and important, from our friends at Change is Brewing Co. You’ll remember them from previous collaborations with Boxing Rock Back to Birchtown, 2 Crows Good News and Great News, Good Robot Blackberry Freedom, Lake City Forest Glory, and North Brewing Cherry Brook Wheat and Deep Rooted Brown Ale (which we’ve heard is coming back again soon!). This week they teamed up with Propeller Brewing, who have been creating non-alcoholic sodas for many years, to release Wabanaki Soda. Starting with Grade A maple syrup from Indigenous-owned Wabanaki Maple, mixed with herbal birch extract, and fizzed up and bottled by Propeller! The label was designed by Change is Brewing’s own Jayme-Lynn Gloade, a member of Millbrook First Nation, inspired by a headdress made up of rays of sunlight, and celebrating Indigenous History Month. Bottles of Wabanaki Soda are available at all Prop Shops now, with the majority of proceeds going to Wabanaki’s Bareroots Initiative, working to reforest the region that they call home. We’ll have more on Deep Rooted’s launch in July, which will highlight the Africville 40th Reunion, as well as the folks from Change is Brewing who are curating a special running of the Elevate and Explore Black Nova Scotia tour, with beer as the theme! Congratulations to the Collective!
Speaking of the Change is Brewing Collective’s previous, and future, partners North Brewing, they have brought back another charitable collaboration this week. Black Lives Matter Golf, a locally-formed group with the goal to raise funds and awareness to break down social and economic barriers to make a more inclusive environment for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in golf. With buy-in from Grandview, the NS Golf Association, and Golf Canada, and now $1 from every can of BLMG to further their cause. Brewed to be supremely quaffable, whether on the course or not, this blend of North’s Lawrencetown Session and BYOB, cans of the 3.8% BLMG are available now at all three of North’s retail locations, and hopefully at a few golf courses this summer too!
And congratulations are in order to North, who are one of the recipients of a Halifax Climate Investment, Innovation, and Impact “Accelerating to Zero” $20,000 Grant, which they are using to design and implement a closed-loop system for reclaiming CO2 in the brewing process. While yeast generate lots and lots of Carbon Dioxide during fermentation, most of it is lost out of vents to prevent over-pressure situations. Later on, CO2 is either captured after most fermentation has completed, or added back during the condition phase, to provide the refreshing carbonation we enjoy. With that early-generated gas stored, it could be used later on. While the idea sounds simple, there are many factors to keep in mind during the operation, which this grant will help to suss out out.
The waterfront jewel of Halifax’s independent liquor stores, Bishop’s Cellar (hey, does anyone else hear an echo?) continues to celebrate 20 years in business with another community collaboration. This time, Propeller Brewing has stepped up to the plate with a riff on Propeller Pilsner, a beer that Bishop’s has sold since their opening day way back in 2003. Starting with the OG Prop Pils recipe, they kept it unfiltered in the kellerbier style and then put a modern twist on it with a dry hop of new school continental hop Saphir, which is known for aroma notes of strawberry, bergamot, and lemongrass. Packaged in 500ml bottles with a lovely design, Cellarbier is available today from both Bishop’s Cellar and all of the Prop Shops in the HRM.
Halifax has already seen one rural brewery come to the city in a big way with the Tusket Falls Beer Project having opened on Gottingen Street last year, and we’re seeing another one follow suit this week. From down in the Annapolis Valley in Berwick, Smokehouse Brewery is growing their brand and their capacity in one fell swoop with the opening of their Agricola Street Brewery & Taproom. While they will continue to operate their nanobrewery and taproom in their hometown, they’ve got a shiny new taproom in the city, complete with a new brewing system. The spot will have 20 taps, with craft beer, cider, and seltzers all made by the Smokehouse team, including five IPAs, some occasional taproom exclusives, and, of course, all your regular faves both for pints and cans to go. Hours will be 12pm – 10pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 12pm – 12am Fridays and Saturdays. No kitchen on site, but expect pop-ups to start in a few weeks along with the launch of an outdoor patio. Maybe stop by this weekend and check out the latest addition to what is becoming a burgeoning craft beer scene in North End Halifax, at 2710 Agricola Street!
Oh I’m the type of guy that likes to roam around / I’m never in one place I roam from town to town. So sang Dion in 1961 with his tune, The Wanderer, which was used as the theme of the classic 1979 street gang film, The Wanderers. Why is this relevant to a beer blog? Because there’s a new beer from Big Spruce out of Nyanza called The Wanderers and we can’t think of any other possible inspiration for the name! Somewhere between a dry hopped golden ale and a session IPA (or maybe those are just two viable descriptions), this one was double hopped with plenty of Citra, sure, but that big citrus hop aroma doesn’t negate the delicate floral and spice notes that are also very much presence. On the palate, look for lemon, pear, and cracker character leading to a crisp and dry finish. And at only 4% ABV this is one you’ll be able to sit and contemplate a few of without worrying about going overboard; just be sure to watch out for Ducky Boys!!
In Newfoundland, specifically St. John’s, the gang at Bannerman is ruing the terrible weather they’ve had so far this summer, but are hopeful that the sun and warmth scheduled for the next few days aren’t the only respite they’ll get all season. That said, they’ve got a brand new beer for you to enjoy in the sunshine, a collaboration with Iceberg Quest, an ocean tours operation with locations in St. John’s proper and on Iceberg Alley in Twilingate. Undertow is a tropical, fruity, and sessionable pale ale brewed with plenty of flaked and malted oats for a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Featuring tropical Galaxy and dank Strata hops, you should expect plenty of overripe fruit character balanced with a bit of a cannabis note. The goal for this one was to produce a beer that could be refreshing and sessionable during a day on the water, natch, and at 5.5% and plenty of flavor we can’t see why it wouldn’t be. Try it at the brewery on tap or in cans to go. And when you stop in, you’ll also be able to try their fresh off the packaging line Overripe, a brand new 6.8% IPA primarily hopped with HBC 1019, lending big notes of peach, candied orange, and pear. No cans just yet, but plenty to enjoy on draught or growlers to go!
West of St. John’s, in Paradise, NL, you’ll find another ‘B’ brewery, namely Banished Brewing, who are celebrating the onset of summer with one of the most summery styles: the fruited sour. Paradise Town – Apricot is the latest edition of the Paradise Town series of sours, and as you can imagine, it features the soft, sweet stone fruit character of apricots paired with the thirst-quenching character of a kettle sour. At 5.5% it’s not going to weigh you down too much, and it should pair very well with summery fare. Grab it now at the brewery on draught or in cans, and look for it to see wider distribution at other retail outlets starting next week.
Back in Halifax, Gahan Nova Centre has released another variant of their foeder-aged Table Beer. Initially sitting in the foeders that last saw the cherry and plum version for a good six months, pulling some of those extant flavors, it was then aged a further 6 weeks on Nova Scotia strawberries and rhubarb. Boasting bold fruit flavours and a tart finish, you may also sense subtle vanilla and rosewater notes in this very light and crushable 3.5% ABV beer. Packaged in bottles, you’ll find it for sale at the Nova Centre location as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, Gahan Port City (Saint John), Gahan Riverside (Fredericton), Gahan Hub City (Moncton), and the OG Gahan Pub (Charlottetown) and you can also expect it to reach Gahan Harbourview in St. John’s next week.
In PEI beer news this week we have a new one from Lone Oak. Rose Eh is a foeder-aged saison that was brewed in collaboration with Dildo Brewing Co up in Dildo, NL. Aged on Marquette grapes from Carmody Cove Vineyard, it’s got a gorgeous rose color. Boasting a light acidity and a dry finish, we also expect you’ll find some yeast character and some tannins from the wood. But the only way to know for sure is to try it! Look for it at all the Lone Oak locations, from the mothership at Borden-Carleton, to the Milky Way tap room and beer store, to their new spot in Cavendish!
We told you last fall that Off-Grid Ales, known more formally now as “OG Ales” underwent an ownership change. This weekend marks the opening of their new taproom in Magaguadavic, on route 635, on the family homestead of co-owner Tallyia. Still brewing with solar power and net carbon-neutral, the business includes not only the brewery and taproom, but a luxury domed camping experience on the shores of Magaguadavic Lake. If you’re in the area, do stop by and check out their lineup of sustainably crafted beers, enjoy some food from Quack Smoke Shack, who will be on-site all weekend, and maybe give some consideration to an extended stay in one of their domes (19+, no pets, but oh boy do they look lovely!!)
Dildo, Newfoundland’s eponymous brewery (and museum!) is once again hosting their annual Lager Fest for 2023. On Friday, July 7th, from 7 – 10pm, they will be pouring lovely lagers that they themselves have made as well as others from producers both local and far-flung on the Rock. If you’d really like to get your drink on without worrying about arranging a DD, a shuttle service is available for up to 44 folks provided by NL Bus Tours and picking up at the Walmart on Kelsey Drive in St. John’s (pickup at 5:30pm, drop-off at 12am). There will be plenty of musical entertainment and sample glasses provided to ensure you can taste everything available. Tickets are $75. Meanwhile, in preparation for the fest, or simply your own at-home lager drinking, we present Dildo’s three rules for maximal lager enjoyment:
- Don’t freeze your taste buds! Avoid serving your lager ice-cold. If beer is too cold, it can dull the flavours. Allow it to cool to the ideal temperature for optimal taste.
- Say goodbye to the bottle! Always pour your lager into a glass. This simple step releases the enticing aromas and allows the CO2 to escape, enhancing the full flavour experience.
- Engage your senses! Observe the colour, appreciate the aroma, and savour the taste. Engaging multiple senses enhances the overall beer-drinking experience. Cheers to the sensory adventure!