Happy First Friday, Beer fans! We’ve made it through January, and have been welcomed into February with yet another blast of weather. As they shovel out, or contend with icy conditions, be sure to check your favourite brewery, cidery, or good beer resto’s social media to ensure they’re open before heading out. And even if they are, take your time out there!
Good Robot Brewing has teamed up with BLK Women in Excellence to release their latest Goodwill Partnership beer. Tia Upshaw is empowering and educating Black Women in business in Nova Scotia and across Canada, through her non-profit’s courses and mentoring partnerships. The Goodwill Beer Cherry Vanilla Porter is a vehicle to spread the word of Upshaw’s efforts, it also brings in $0.50 per can for BWiE’s programs. And the folks at GRBC got in on helping directly in the community in December, as they delivered turkeys and holiday care packages to residents in Mulgrave Park, helping Upshaw in her endeavours. Working with Upshaw on the recipe formulation, the Cherry Vanilla Porter builds on a hefty 7.0% chocolatey and toasty Porter base, with light notes of vanilla and cherry completing the full package.Goodwill Beer is available online and at their retail shop in cans right now, including in their Valentine’s Day Box, and on tap as Good Robot is celebrating the re-opening of their taproom today (check their IG for any weather-related changes), we can all do our part to elevate, amplify, and make room for more voices in the beer community.
This week’s cider news of note comes from Annapolis Cider Company where they’ve released a new entry in their long-running Something Different series. Cranberry Mule is ACC’s answer to the Moscow Mule cocktail, but with a twist. All the classic components are there: a cool-fermented cider provides the booze and the bubbly base, some ginger juice and a squeeze of lime the spicy and tart notes. The departure from the norm is the addition of fresh-pressed local cranberries that provide a little more tartness and some cranberry flavour along with a lovely scarlett hue. If you want to be completist about it, floating a mint leaf or two on top wouldn’t be a bad idea, but we’re sure this 6.1% ABV light-bodied, clean-finishing cider will be plenty pleasing on its own. As with all Something Different entries, $0.50 of each growler fill will go towards a charity; this time it’s B for Kai, an organization encouraging education around Meningitis B and raising vaccination rates against it.
Dieppe’s Flying Boats has released their latest seasonal beer, British Bulldog Best Bitter. Despite the name, this is not an overly bitter beer, but rather a New World interpretation of the classic English style. At 4.6% ABV, the style is a favourite of pub goers out for a session, with a moderate malt character and a balancing hop presence (Flying Boats has opted for local- and US-grown hops for a bit of a twist). Taking the opportunity to give back to their community, sales of British Bulldog will go towards Youth Impact Jeunesse, a Moncton-based charity supporting young adults with social, emotional, and behavioural challenges. Merchandise featuring Leroy Brown, the bulldog featured on the label, will also be available to collect even more for programming at YIT. Available in cans, pints, and for growler fills at the brewery, the ANBL will be stocking cans as well.
Starting an almost unnerving run of news from breweries whose names begin with the letter ‘T’, Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has two new ones for us this week, both of which look well-suited to a winter weekend when you’re not going much of anywhere. Up first is Banana Bread Brown Ale, which is, as you’d expect from the name, an homage to the not-quite-a-dessert-but-not-supper-either foodstuff that has saved a million bananas from the compost heap. With some spicy elements in the grain bill and some rum for good measure, it was conditioned on 35kg of puréed bananas. Expect this one to lead with maltiness, with some sweetness from the banana and a bit of zip from the specialty grains. Coming in at 6.0% it’ll probably have just a little bit of a warming kick to boot. Available from the brewery for pints as well as fills and cans to go.
Moving from a very traditional beer with a bit of a twist to a very modern beer but also with a bit of a twist we have Chocolate-Lavender White Stout. This is the second time they’ve made this beer, the first being a small batch on their pilot system last fall that led to rave reviews and justified a full production run. A basic white stout (if such a thing exists), where the light colour belies the gentle roasty character it exhibits on the palate, it was sweetened and smoothed by additions of lactose and vanilla before conditioning on 30kg of cacao nibs and lavender. How much lavender? Literally ALL the lavender that was available in the Moncton region (seriously, hope you’re not looking for lavender in Moncton right now). Not too light, but not too heavy at 6% ABV, you can rightly expect this one to provide comfort and warmth in the middle of this weekend’s weather (assuming you can get some in time). Grab some cans or a fill to go or sit and reflect on a pint in the taproom. And, having just looked at the weather, you’re probably waiting until next week on this one. But there’ll probably be another storm then?
Things tend to slow down a bit during Atlantic Canada winters, giving some breweries a chance to experiment with new styles or to fill their tanks with something that might take a bit longer to see a glass. Chester’s Tanner & Co. Brewing is doing just that with the release of Brut IPL. This cold-fermented lager uses a special enzyme to give the carbonation a champagne quality. Expect tropical and berry hop aromas and flavours from whirlpool and dry-hop additions of Motueka & Nelson Sauvin. Tanner has packaged this one in bottles, coming in at 6.3% ABV and 20 IBUs. It’s available now at their two retail locations and for delivery via their online store.
Bedford’s Topside Brewing has news of their latest draught release, coming to better beer bars (or possibly your home fridge!) very soon. The Old Buffer is a 5.5% English Strong Ale, named after Topside’s owner Blair Tobin’s Chief Boatswain Mate during his time in the RCN. And much like its namesake, it is strong and tough, featuring big malt notes of dried fruit, toffee, and a touch of Noble hop grassiness. In addition to kegs, we hear that a cask of The Old Buffer will be pouring at The Henry House before too long, and may even be bottled for at-home enjoyment. Reach out to Tobin to learn more about keg options for both home and restaurant!
Tusket Falls Brewing has the latest in their Experimental series this week with a 6.0% Coffee Porter now pouring both at the brewery and at their Gottingen Street Beer Project locations. Featuring plenty of Counter Culture “Fast Forward” beans in the beer, taking on a distinct flavours of roast, nutty, and even a touch of biscuit on the palate. As with all of these small batch releases, you’ll have to make your way to the source as these are draught-only and in very limited supply!
And we’ll finish spilling the ‘T’ this week with Tatamagouche Brewing, who have a super special treat for us this week, a beer in the classic Belgian Oud Bruin style they’re calling Reverie. The base for this one was brewed a couple of years ago, starting with Pilsner and Munich malts, but with plenty of specialty malts to provide deep notes of caramel, chocolate and dark fruit, a touch of Saaz hops provided the finishing touch. It was co-fermented with the clean Arset Kveik strain alongside Escarpment Labs’ Belgian Sour Blend, a mixed culture of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. Left to develop for over two years in red wine barrels, it was packaged and bottle conditioned for an additional six months. Tasting notes from the brewery suggest it’s developed a pleasant acidity, with deep notes of fruit, including cherries and plums, and plenty of rich malt character. Available from the brewery in 500ml bottles; we recommend getting a couple or three, as Oud Bruin is a style that tends to continue to develop in the bottle!
KV’s Hammond River Brewing is celebrating the return to Level 2 with a new beer this week. The Same One is described as a “New England Session IPA”, as it takes the best bits of the New England Style, but in a sub-5% package. Hopped exclusively with the Aussie Eclipse hop, the 4.9% ABV beer is full of citrus and fruit notes, with a lighter mouthfeel to keep you coming back for another (you know, the same one). Available on tap for pints and growlers at the brewery now, with kegs heading out across the province to their licensees shortly. If cans are more your style, they’ve got those too!
A few returning favourites to close out today…
Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing has another big, bold release in their line of pastry stouts, namely the Mascaret. Featuring cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and coconut, this 11.0% beer is a bottled-exclusive, available in limited supply at Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing, Grimross and Picaroons in Fredericton, and Sussex Ale Works.
A new drop of fresh hoppy goodness is becoming the norm for Friday’s at Unfiltered Brewing. Cans of their Fist of God DIPA are back in stock today and it’s also pouring next door at Charm School. You know the drill: 8.0% ABV, face-punching hop character, cans, pints, fills, etc.
Not to be outdone, New Brunswick’s own hop hawkers, Trailway Brewing, are also re-releasing a well-loved IPA today in the form of the latest batch of Urban Sabrero. This time leveraging a Lupomax™ version of tropical and coconutty Sabro for maximal juicy hop character, this 6% low-bitterness beer is bursting with sweet tangerine and piña colada flavour and aroma.
Sea Level Brewing has a couple of return engagements this week: longtime brew El Rojo Diablo, a red ale at 7.666% and newer school Light in the Dark Kölsch-style session ale at 4%. Both are available at their Millstone Harvest Brewhouse location packaged in cans or available for fills to go, as well as for pints to sit and sip.