We’re late today because we’ve got lives and jobs and one of us has all of that and a brewery. And then our regional beer purveyors go and have a busy week. The nerve!! Lots to tell you about in the region today, so let’s not belabor introductions and get straight to it!
• We kick off this week’s post with news of a brand new brewery in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Opening late last week, Four Rivers Brewing is the first large-scale brewery (15 BBL/1800 litre) and taproom to open in the region, capitalizing on the region’s residents’ thirst for well-made, fresh, local beer. We’ll have a full profile with the Four Rivers folks shortly, but in the meantime we can tell you that their taproom is open for samples, pints, and growler fills of their beer, plus glassware and other merchandise, 12 – 6 PM Mon-Wed, 12 – 8 PM Thurs and Fri, 10 AM – 8 PM Sat, closed Sun. As for what you can expect when onsite, they are currently pouring Havre St-Pierre American Amber Ale and Nor’Easter American Pale Ale, with a Black IPA/India Black Ale debuting in the coming weeks. Keg sales are planned for sometime next month, which means the only place you’ll find Four Rivers’ beer is at Four Rivers, so be sure to drop by their spot at 335 Murray Avenue. Keep an eye on their FB and Insta accounts for more details, and keep your eyes locked here for the Q&A with them soon. Congratulations!
• If you head 585 km East Northeast of Bathurst, you’ll reach Corner Brook, Newfoundland, home to the other new brewery opening their doors this week. Located at 92 West Street, the brewery and taproom for Bootleg Brew Co is opening today at 2 PM, open until midnight (with the same hours Saturday and Sunday). While there, you’ll be able to enjoy samples and pints of their first four beer offerings: East Coast Pale Ale (5.5%/25 IBU), Hoppy Roger IPA (6.5%/61 IBU), El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye (6.3%/18 IBU), and Just the Tip Spruce Ale (5.8%/23 IBU). With room for more about 30 patrons in the small location, we imagine it will be blocked, given the enthusiasm for great beer the west coast of the province is seeing. To ensure the taproom is always stocked, they are concentrating on samples and pint sales for the time being, with beer-to-go in the coming weeks. But with local art by Nolan Short hanging in the space (also for sale), and a chill and rustic, yet modern, vibe, you won’t mind sticking around for a spell to try them all (at least once). Keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) as they announce their hours for next week, as well as add food options to the taproom. Congratulations to Matt and Morgan on the launch, and we’re excited to have a full Q&A with them soon. ps. Flights from Bathurst to Corner Brook’s closest airport, Deer Lake, are currently $600. If you send us proof that you made the trip, we’ll buy your first beer at both taprooms!
• And in more new/coming soon brewery news, the initial beer release from CAVOK Brewing is debuting this weekend across New Brunswick. Brewed at another facility while they set up their own brewery and taproom in Dieppe, the Leger Corner Honey Ale has been kegged and delivered to Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub and Pump House Fill Station on Mill Road, with Fredericton’s James Joyce and a few others over the next few weeks. They’ve also managed to can a portion of the batch in tall boy cans, destined for the shelves of the ANBL shortly (check that link for availability). Leger Corner is Dieppe’s original name, before being changed to commemorate the soldiers of the Dieppe Raid. The 4.8% ABV beer features wildflower honey (Atlantic Gold) from local producer Lockhart Apiaries. Look for CAVOK to open their facility later this year, and keep up to date on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) for the latest news!
• After a brief hiatus (you drank them dry!), Bedford’s brand new Off Track Brewing is re-opening their taproom for sample, pints, and growler sales today. Back on tap are their Alias Pale Ale, Crash Course and Hooved a Doo IPAs, the Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Porter, Good Grief Charlie Brown, and the debut of Universal Soldier, a 4.2% Kolsch. First fermented at Ale temperature (17-18 Celsius) for two weeks, the beer then conditioned cool (5 Celsius) for four weeks, resulting in a straw-coloured beer that is clean and refreshing, with a nice mouthfeel. They are also bringing in reinforcements to fill up the taps, with a rotating cider tap (now populated with Chain Yard Foundation), with the other two guests being Lunn’s Mill‘s Anvil Porter (which will then switch to Brickyard Red) and Ol Biddy’s Funktown APA. Open this weekend (today 2 – 10 PM, Saturday 12 – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM), their hours for the week will be posted on social media (FB/IG/Tw) and are dependent on being able to serve you beer.
• We’ve got some news about two new beers available/soon to be available from Lazy Bear Brewing, out of Smiths Cove, NS. First up is a big beer, a Russian Imperial Stout named Avos’, after the Russian word meaning “blind trust in sheer luck” (we’ll take their word on that). A favourite style for sipping in front of a fire on a cold winter night, it clocks in at 8.9% ABV and has “intense chocolate and roast malt notes up front and on the nose”, with flavours of anise, stone fruit, and some alcohol warmth going down, according to the brewery. This medium-to-full bodied brew is available now in bottles around Smiths Cove, and may be heading in keg-form to Halifax in the near future.
• Next up from Lazy Bear is a currently-unnamed Saison featuring wild cherries. The beer started with their House Saison, to which cherries they foraged for one morning back in July were added. After aging for a few months, more Saison was blended in to achieve the desired colour and flavour. The final ABV came in at 5.9% and though the IBUs are unknown, they are assuredly quite low. This beer will make its debut (and likely it’s swan song, only 40 L were produced) at the South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting at Roof Hound this coming Tuesday. And we’ve been advised to be on the lookout for some more limited releases from Lazy Bear in the coming weeks and months.
• Downtown Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new one brewed to commemorate tonight’s opening of the annual PRE-SHRUNK art show at Argyle Fine Art. Featuring over 300 small works of art (just 4” x 5”), nanobrewery Tidehouse, who are also supporters of the arts, seemed a great match for the event. Argyle Fine Ale is a Pale Ale brewed with both Amarillo and Cascade hops along with spruce tips. It tips the scales at 5.8% ABV and features a “snap” of spruce buttressed by citrus hop notes and then yielding to a malty finish with a soft bitterness. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room both on tap and in 650 mL bottles with labels designed by Jodie Hansen that incorporate art by Andy McDonald.
• It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been about a year since 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors in Halifax. Since then, they’ve released upwards of 60 different beers – several of which have been collaborations with other breweries, podcasts, and sexy blog writers – and consistently pushed the envelope in the craft beer scene. They’re celebrating next weekend, and on Saturday, January 27th will be selling six special anniversary beers, five of which are brand new. And here they are!
– Forever Young – We talked about this beer last week, but as a refresher, it’s an 8.5% ABV “Foedre-aged Brett Saison” conditioned on rosehips and rosewater
– Panhandle Slim – Brewed with plenty of oats, spelt, wheat, and rye, this “Foedre-aged multigrain Farmhouse Grisette” spent four months in the brewery’s cognac foedre, and is described as “super dry, earthy, lightly funky, and refreshing”; 4.9% ABV, 17 IBUs.
– Magic Touch – Yet another foedre-aged beer, this Golden Ale was fermented with Brett C to give “subtle pineapple and wine-like flavours”, and was dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Centennial to give even more white-wine characteristics.
Sounds pretty delightful! All three of these beers will be available on tap and in cans, and were big batches so there should be plenty to go around. The next three beers, however, are very limited, at only 400 cans each, at the brewery only. Aaaand… all three were can-conditioned!
– Bingo Bango (4.1% ABV, 1 IBU) – Blackberry and bay leaf Brett Gose
– House Funk (7.7% ABV, 29 IBUs) – Brett Saison
– Dynamo (5.1% ABV, 28 IBUs) – Rustic Saison with grapefruit
Pushing the envelope, indeed! Be sure to drop by the brewery next Saturday, or you’re probably going to miss out! There’ll likely be some sort of pop-up food option to keep your stomach happy while you try all of those beers, and some live music to bob your head to at the same time (which has been scientifically guaranteed, we think, to burn significant* calories).
*Significance is relative.
• And really, you may as well stay close by that evening, as 2 Crows will be continuing their celebrations with Sour Sunday the next day (28th), with a whole whack of one-off sour beers, a few Brett beers, and quite possible a tap of cold-brewed coffee to start your day off right.
• And leaving the Halifax Downtown core for the city’s North End, Robie Street’s Good Robot Brewing has news for us this week, as they almost always do. First, from their big batch Alpha system, is the return of Tom Waits for No One, the auspiciously named stout that sits somewhere between the American and a Russian Imperial styles at 7.9% ABV and 58 IBU. Moving from big to little, but only in terms of batch size, this week’s BetaBrew was actually brewed late last year when Kelly Costello was joined by Alicia MacDonald, who is making waves at Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing, and Christina M. Coady, formerly of Toronto’s Folly Brewpub, now back in St. John’s and plotting some hometown waves of her own. Their brewday resulted in what they’re calling an “Alsatian Lager”, where German malts (Pilsner and Vienna), French hops (Strisselspalt) and Bavarian Lager yeast came together to make a beer they’re calling Crispi Boi. A little bit of flaked oats rounded out the recipe, bringing a touch of smoothness and haze. Lagered over the holidays, it finished up at 4.5% ABV and 33 IBU and this coming Tuesday, January 23rd will see its Beta Brewsday release. And after such a tale of girl power killing it in the brewhouse it seems like an excellent time to also remind folks that registration is still open until February 1st for GR’s FemmeBot Home-brew Competition. The competition is open to female and femme-identifying non-professional brewers with the constraint of pre-prohibition styles.
• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer earlier this week, aptly-named Hangover Helper. No, there’s no medication or tomato juice in this beer, it’s just a straight-up American IPA, hopped with Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo, all wonderful and delicious American varieties. Most of you will be familiar with all four, and likely can already picture in your head how the beer will taste (we’re thinking lots of tropical fruit, along with dank, piney notes). It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, and can likely be found at your favourite Backstage beer source… especially the brewery itself!
• Less than three years after opening their brewery, the team at Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new retail location downtown at the corner of Great George and Kent Streets. Bottled beer and growlers will be available for sale, with a total of 24 taps for pints on-site, featuring a mix of Upstreet beers and other breweries on the Island. They’ll be hiring between 5-10 employees for the new location, which should be open by March. For more info, check out the full story in the Guardian.
• Sober Island Brewing has released the third in their Foraged Series of beers this week, with Wintergreen Cocoa Porter hitting the taps as of yesterday. Featuring 46% Horton Ridge malt (both Pale and Munich) along with a wide variety of character malts, including Brown malt, Chocolate malt and Oat malt, it was hopped with Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings. The foraged ingredient this time around was Wintergreen (courtesy of East Coast Wild Foods), a medicinal herb known for its minty aroma and flavour, with 5 pounds added in the last 10 minutes of the boil. Cocoa nibs finished the recipe, added after fermentation was largely complete (at the “dry hop” stage) but before conditioning in the brite tanks. Only 600 L of this beer are available, and in crowlers only, available at the brewery and Sober Island’s three regular farmers market stops: Musquodoboit Harbour, New Glasgow, and Truro.
• And another brewery is starting up a beer series this week, this time it’s Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing. Geared to provide head brewmaster Jake Saunders an opportunity to step outside the core brands and try new things, the Signature Series will boast the same high quality Nine Locks fans are accustomed to while traveling a little further afield in terms of styles. One key element is that each and every beer in the series is intended as a one-time release; so if one strikes your fancy you’d best act quickly, as there’s no telling how long it will last or if it will ever be seen again. The first beer in the series is One Foot on the Wagon, a Session IPA. Very light in weight at 4.2% ABV (have two!), it still sports a solid 40 IBU but is not overwhelmingly bitter. Hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo and Ahtanum hops, both in the whirlpool and dry hop, you can expect to taste citrus, stone fruit, and floral notes. It’s available now in cans and for growler fills at the brewery.
• In New Brunswick, Fredericton’s haven for hop heads, Trailway Brewing has yet another lupulin-packed present for their fans. Ida Hoy was designed to showcase a fairly new hop variety called Idaho 7, first released to a broad market in 2015. Bright and pungent, with tropical fruit and citrus prominent, and more subtle aspects of resiny pine and black tea, it brings a massive tropical juice presence to this beer. No coloured malts at all were present in the grain bill, but the oats were pumped up to unheard of levels at 30%, which yields a pale straw-yellow beer with a very creamy mouthfeel. Available as of noon today in cans at the brewery only, get it before it’s gone!
• It’s been a busy week for the guys from 902 BrewCast, who kicked off #902sday with their conversation with Peter Cole of Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic, NB. Learning about Big Axe’s start, their award-winning beers, their great Big Axe Craft Beer Festival (this year’s event is July 14th, 2018), and all about their on-going expansion. And just dropping this morning, the boys sat down with the Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, to talk about the current beer scene, and steps that can (and will) be taken to improve the plight of Nova Scotian breweries. Both episodes can be played on the website, or downloaded for offline commuting. Listen in!
There are quite a few events worth checking out this weekend and beyond, no matter where you find yourself in the region:
Your friends (and ours) at Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax have achieved another coup, tomorrow at their noon opening you will find no less than 5 taps from Dexter, Michigan brewery Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, one of the breweries responsible for pioneering Belgian-influenced American Farmhouse styles. Confirmed for this draft feature are the Calabaza Blanca oak-aged witbier, the Oro de Calabaza oak-aged sour golden ale, Bam Bière dry-hopped farmhouse, Madrugada Obscura sour stout and Fuego del Otono, a sour amber ale brewed with chestnuts and spices that was brewed in collaboration with Monkish Brewing Co. in Los Angeles. As always, the kitchen will be pushing out tasty treats dreamed up specifically for the event. So if you’re into that kind of thing (and, if you’re reading this you very well might be), get thee to Stilly after 12 noon tomorrow!
• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub, since building a new keg fridge three years ago, has greatly expanded the availability of craft beer in the city, and introduced and educated many to the world of well-brewed beer. So, if you’re in the Fredericton area this weekend, why not drop by the pub on Saturday, January 20th at 8 PM to celebrate the 3rd Birthday Party of the keg fridge? As always, there will be over 30 taps of New Brunswick-brewed beer a-flowing, and happy hour prices will be on all evening. Plus…cake! No cost to attend of course, just pay by the pint or flight, and raise a glass to one of the province’s finest craft beer establishments!
• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is celebrating their upcoming 1st Anniversary with a Social at Picaroons next Wednesday, January 24th, from 6:30-8 pm. If you’d like to attend, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to hold your spot; $10 gets your a flight of beer. Of course, you’re more than welcome to hang out afterwards for more beer! Picaroons has released their Pivot #11, with this batch of 8% ABV Imperial IPA hopped with Lemondrop, Zeus (aka Columbus) and Warrior.
• Digby’s Roof Hound is taking over the taps at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, January 25th. From 11:30, all 15 taps will be flowing with plenty of their current favourites like Big Stink IPA and Big Brown Roof Hound, and we bet there will be a few special kegs debuting/returning for the big event.
• The latest screening of the feature documentary about the craft brewing industry in New Brunswick, Beerocracy will take place Thursday, February 15th at 6 PM at the Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton. Those who backed the film by donating on Indiegogo at the VIP level or higher will have their first drink covered by the organizers. If you’re planning to attend, they ask that you let them know via the event’s Facebook page.
And before we let you go, a few more quick mentions:
– Over the course of 2017 we reported on several events that saw Shelburne’s Boxing Rock paired up with the Friends of Keji Cooperating Association. The brewery brewed a beer that was featured at many of these events, called Dark as Keji, from which a portion of the proceeds were earmarked for the Friends of Keji and specifically their Dark Sky education programs. At year end, in recognition of that commitment, Boxing Rock co-owners Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton were able to present a cheque for over $7,000 to the organization! Look for this partnership to continue into 2018, with new ideas and events on the way.
– Hammond River Brewing has released The Vegas SMaSH (Vic Secret Edition), the latest iteration of their popular one-malt-and-one-hop IPA. Brewed with 2-row malt and hopped entirely with the delicious Australian Vic Secret, expect “tons of pineapple, passionfruit, and a little pine”; 6.5% ABV.
– Niche Brewing has only been selling beer for a few weeks – and delivery options have been limited – but thanks to a generous soul, a keg of their hoppy Grisette, Mines of Wallonia (3.6% ABV) is heading to Halifax’s Stillwell today! Look for it on tap sometime over the next few days.
– For you teachers out there (or really, any of you frustrated with what winter has brought us so far), Schoolhouse has got the perfect beer to get you through the next 6 months (noooooo…..), Dreaming of Summer Break. Actually a re-release of their Summer Break from last July, this 4.9% ABV Witbier has the style-standard addition of orange peel and coriander.
– Bridgewater’s Firkinstein Brewing have a new batch of their Double IPA, Cut of Our Jib. Leveraging constant hopping throughout the boil with Simcoe and Cascade hops, it’s a big ‘un at 8.6% ABV and 100+ IBUs, but be careful, as it’s surprisingly smooth, almost sneaky.