February 8th, how time flies! More wicked weather in our region this week, and no, we won’t shut up about it until we get consistently above-freezing temperatures. Great news, your friendly neighbourhood brewers haven’t slowed down their releases, with plenty of new and returning favourites available this week, and lots of events to keep you warm. Grab a pint and follow along!
After releasing their Winter Warmer several weeks ago, Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing is heading in a different direction with their latest beer (and first Lager), Starlight, a German Pilsner. This crisp beer was brewed with a grist made up entirely of German Pilsner malt, and hopped with Hallertau Tradition from local Darlings Island Farm. After being cold-fermented with a Lager yeast strain, the beer was lagered for two months before packaging. The gold-coloured brew has a “grainy-sweet aroma with hints of light honey”, with the hops giving some herbal notes as well. That sweetness and herbal presence comes through in the flavour as well, with a crisp, clean finish. Easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, most of this beer will be available in cans at ANBL stores; there are a few kegs available as well, which will be on tap at the brewery’s unofficial taproom at the BunkHaus Hostel & Cafe.
Newfoundland’s Port Rexton has a new beer from the eponymously named Port Rexton Brewing Company, and though it’s the second iteration of this one, some significant changes to how it’s made should give you extra reason to check it out. Salted & Soured Pale Ale features both tartness due to a souring with Lactobacillus and salinity from an addition of salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company. Belma hops provide some bright berry and tropical fruit notes to this brew with a “sure I’ll have another” ABV of 4.5%. This version of the beer is the result of two brewings, one soured and one not, which were then blended, allowing the team to dial in the balance of tartness, salt and hop character to exactly where they wanted it. Look for it on tap at the brewery and in town this coming weekend and also, as of last evening, at the Port Rexton Retail Shop in St. John’s for growler fills.
Grimross has a new canned beer out this week, brewed in honour of Sara Burns, one of the shooting victims in Fredericton from last August. Burns was an officer with the Fredericton Police; the beer, Grimsby, was named after her horse. It’s an American Pale Ale hopped and dry-hopped with Delta, giving it “a touch of citrus and some grassy notes”. Well-balanced and refreshing, it weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs. The brewery teamed up with Craft Coast Canning and Ginger Design for the release of this beer; all of the proceeds will go towards the Sara Burns Police Memorial Fund, which will fund several initiatives to make the city of Fredericton a safer place to live. While the majority of the beer will be sold in cans, a few kegs will be tapped in the Grimross taproom for pints and growlers. And while you are at the brewery today picking up cans, make a plan to stay for a pint of today’s cask, Pugnacious Porter aged on local wild blackberries. The 20 litre pin will be tapped at 2 PM.
While serving pints from local breweries at their bar, the crew at Sussex Ale Works are continuing to experiment with their own beers, as they’ve got yet another new one on tap right now. English War Bride is a SMaSH beer brewed as in the English style – all Maris Otter for the grist and East Kent Goldings for the hops. Lightly bready and herbal/spicy, it comes in at 6.2% ABV and 38 IBUs. As always, drop by the brewery/taproom at 597B Main Street in Sussex for a taste if you’re nearby.
Back over in Newfoundland, one of the Rock’s newest breweries, Baccalieu Trail, has released a brand new American Pale Ale named Bay Run. Utilizing only late additions and a healthy dry hop of Centennial, Simcoe and Azacca lends a “burst of fresh citrus fruit aroma, with some floral qualities” to complement the “clean, crisp finish” of this 4.9% ABV and 36 IBU beer. It’s on tap right now at the brewery’s location in Bay Roberts… head on over and pick up a growler!
Now that TrailWay’s “Summer IPA”, Good Weather, is long gone (<shakes fist at winter>), they’ve decided to replace it with another seasonal IPA, Stormy Weather. It has one major similarity with it’s cousin, in that it features a large portion of Vic Secret in the hop bill… however, the “supporting” hops are quite different (but secret, so don’t ask us for specifics!). It’s still light-coloured and extremely hazy, of course, but with more “overripe tropical fruit and berries” in the aroma/flavour, as opposed to the citrus characters of Good Weather. You can grab cans/growlers of this 6% ABV IPA when the taproom opens today.
You may recall the Barrel-aged Baltic Porter released by North Shore Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing which had matured for 9 months in barrels from Glenora Distillery and was initially released in October of 2017. What you might not know is that there was some beer that remained unbottled and has been cradled in the loving arms of one of those barrels ever since. Thankfully, the folks at Tata didn’t forget about it and they’ve packaged the remainder, which has now been aging for 2 solid years, for your enjoyment. Only available at the brewery store, there’s a two bottle per person limit. With winter still in full force, this big ‘un originally listed at 10% ABV will likely make a very fine sipper on a cold February night. And while we have you, details are out for Tata’s annual Oyster Cloister party and beer release: Next Friday, Feb 15, they will be releasing their oyster stout, and celebrating with live music, oysters (of course!), and tons of special beers at the brewery. This is a ticketed event, so drop by the brewery to pick them up, or grab them via email or phone (902-657-4000).
Not content to bask in the success of their first bottling run (Evolution has damn near sold out a week after release), Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, continues to feed the demand for their beers with another new release this week, another entry in their series of one hop Session IPAs. You Had Me At…Galaxy features one of the most popular hops in the business right now, the tropical and passion fruity Australian Galaxy. Featuring a bit of crackery malt character and a medium bitterness, it came in a little higher than previous YHMA editions at 5% ABV, but we don’t expect anyone will complain. Kegs are already on their way to The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Britt’s pub + eatery and Laundromat Expresso Bar, and more will go out as homes are found for them. And those in Moncton should pop by the Growler Station at the ANBL on Vaughan Harvey Blvd to grab pours of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout, and Coalescence, their Sour Milkshake IPA w/grapefruit.
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new release from Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing, but they’re giving us both barrels this week with the re-release of a fan-favorite and an all new beer. Oak-aged Sour Motherfucker is their kettle sour aged on tart cherries and aged on oak. Look for a tart character with definite cherry presence along with a slight creaminess and tannic presence from the wood. Last seen with ABVs of 6.4% and 6.8%, this one weighs in quite a bit heavier at 7.5%. Meanwhile, also on the docket is Fruity Motherfucker featuring a co-pitched (i.e., multiple yeast strain) fermentation, a double-dry hop of dank Mosaic and orange-y Citra and a re-fermentation on apricots, mangoes and blood oranges. The result is a 7% ABV beer that will smack you upside the head with tropical fruit, citrus and pithy character. You can find both of these beers available today at noon in all your favorite packages: cans, growlers and pints.
After recently celebrating their annual brewing of their FemmeBot Alpha batch (which we’ll have more details on in the future), Good Robot has settled down in time to fill us in on the details of next week’s releases. In Beta world they’re bringing us Mad Love, a Red Ale brewed with Mary Ann Daye. Other than a description of “easy and smooth”, we don’t have a whole lot to share for this one! Oh, it’s 4.5% ABV and 21 IBUs. As for Thursday’s Alpha, Creature Feature I is making a return. It’s a 6.4% ABV, 46 IBUs NEIPA hopped with Amarillo, Cascade and Citra.
Lunenburg’s new brewery, Shipwright Brewing Company, has another new beer on the taps this week. Lil Dingy ISA is an India Session Ale with a sessionable ABV of 4.5% and a moderate 30 IBU. Light in body as you’d expect for the style, it still packs plenty of flavor thanks to two Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, Ella and Vic Secret, which bring tropical, pine and citrus flavors to the mix on top of a clean malt finish. We don’t have official word on packaging, but we expect you’ll probably be able to have a growler filled, grab a crowler, or enjoy a pint of this one at their taproom or their roommate Grand Banker.
Back again to the rock and St. John’s, where YellowBelly has a new Doppelbock on the go that appears to be known as The Navigator. Describe as “an old school barley sandwich” this one, as is typical for the style, leans heavily to the malt side, with Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Caramunich bringing bready and sweet flavors and a solid mouthfeel. A bit of Spalter Select rounds out the beer from the hop side of this 7.1% ABV brew. Available on tap for pints at the brewery or the Underbelly or get a growler to go at the Takeaway shop.
Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is pouring a whole slew of new and returning favourites in their Tiny Taproom these days, so let’s get you up to speed. Kashmir is a 7.6% ABV Double IPA, marked by a smooth and low bittering from Cashmere hops, with some Hallertau Blanc, on a simple and keeps-out-of-the-way base of 2-Row, Carafoam, Flaked Wheat, and Vienna malts. Tropical fruit and a touch of sweetness, the Th crew are proud of the balance and drinkability of this release. Grab a sample, pint, or growler now.
From restrained to anything but, the Tidehouse crew love to have fun in the brewhouse (a benefit of being small and nimble), and are sure to catch some ire from traditionalists. We say, beer is supposed to be fun, so brew (and drink) what you’d like! Which brings us to Choco-Nilla… This 9.6% ABV beer began life in late December as a high gravity Imperial Stout, to which they added an irresponsible amount of Chips Ahoy chocolate cookies (think 15+ bags), marshmallows, and Fluff in the boil. Additions of vanilla and lactose were also incorporated, lending some residual sweetness to offset the very fermentable baked goods and sugary snacks. The result is a thick, sticky, and complex stout that starts with chocolate and biscuit on the nose and vanilla and more chocolate on the palatte. Choco-nilla is on tap for pints and growlers now.
The fun doesn’t end there, as they’ve got a pair of returning beers in bottles, one available now, and one being released Tuesday. Enigmatic is a bottle-conditioned version of their India Saison (one of their beers at launch), think hybrid of IPA and Belgian Saison. A light malt bill supports a playground for both hops (Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo) and yeast (a Belgian Saison strain), allowing the two to come out and play and shine through. Also returning in bottles is Tidehouse’s ode to Valentine’s Day, The Sex. Featuring a “definitely outlawed in Russia” label, this 11.9% ABV Russian Imperial Stout is fermented on raspberries, and then given an extra bump with the addition of Port. A change in the bittering level of this release counters the residual sweetness from malt and raspberries, helping to keep everything in its place. Look for these bottles to hit the shelf at the Tiny Taproom on Tuesday. A note that all of their bottle releases going forward, of which there are plenty more in the works, will be bottle conditioned, and given the appropriate time to carbonate in the bottle before release.
You will no doubt see some new bright aquamarine cans on the shelf at Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen and Windmill locations today, as well as popping up at the private beer and wine stores in the area. Not a beer, but rather the second in their line of ready-to-drink beverages (the first being their The Perfect Storm Ginger beer and rum blend). Winter Blues is a 7.0% ABV “tiki-style” beverage, a mix of pineapple, lime, and falernum (yup, we had to look it up too!). A mix of star anise, allspice, clove, and toasted almonds, the mix originated in the Caribbean, with a Nova Scotian twist put on it. This RTD is a collaboration with Shane Beehan, an award-winning mixologist working in Halifax. The mix is the first release under the new Windmill Craft Cocktails line, which will see more one-off releases in the coming months.
Mark your calendars for these events coming in the next few weeks:
Next weekend, The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish will be hosting a multi-day tap takeover by Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing. From Friday Feb 15 until Sunday the 17th, they’ll have more than 6 taps (and maybe a couple of casks) of the good stuff pouring, with some special food pairing dishes created to complement.
Details are a bit light at the moment, but circle next Saturday on your calendar, as award-winning Toronto brewery Godspeed will be taking over the taps at Bar Stillwell on Barrington. From noon on February 16th, there will be a dozen taps (plus some cans) a-pouring, with food pairing provided by a pop-up by Sushi Shige next Saturday, February 16th.
The following weekend sees a battle of the heavyweight Halifax brewers Garrison and Propeller, as they go head-to-head at The Carleton in “Chef Dolente’s Craft Draught Showdown”. On February 21st, both breweries are bringing their best beer forward to pair with five courses of food, with Daniel Girard of Garrison and Pat Robichaud of Propeller on hand to talk about their choices. Attendees will vote after each course, with the winning brewery crowned the new champion. The real winners, of course, are those in attendance! Tickets are available online now, for $60 +HST (gratuity included).
Darmouth’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is holding another of their dual tap takeovers in a couple of weeks, with this one featuring Tatamagouche Brewing and Good Robot. The takeover will take place from February 21st-24th, with each brewery having 8 taps to play with. As always, there’ll be plenty of food and live music to go with the beer! Stay tuned to Jamieson’s social media pages for the full taplist, which should be announced shortly.
February 20-26th is the first ever KV Craft Beer Week, with breweries and restaurants in the Kennebecasis Valley taking part in some sweet events and deals. Bootstrap BrewPub, Hammond River Brewing, and Long Bay Brewery are teaming up with local restaurants Amici Pub, Barrel’s Head, Boaz, Commons Creperie, Peddlers Creek, The Robertson, and Vito’s to offer discounts on beer and food in the region. Check that first link for the deals on pours and pairing throughout the week, and pop-in. The week also features the KV Craft Beer Festival, taking place on February 23rd at the Quispamsis Qplex, with beer pouring from the attendees above, as well as other breweries in the South of New Brunswick. Tickets are $45+HST and available at The Barrels Head, Bootstrap and Long Bay.
Beer fans in North Shore Nova Scotia should be happy to hear that the first annual Antigonish Craft Beer Festival is a go for March 30. Presented in partnership with CACL Antigonish, Legion Branch 59 and Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre, they’ve got 12 breweries lined up to show you the best of the region’s craft beers, including The Townhouse Pub, Half Cocked, Propeller Brewing, 9 Zero 2, Big Spruce, Meander River, Maybee, Garrison Brewing, Sober Island, Upstreet, and Tatamagouche Brewing. The event runs from 6 to 10:30 PM with the first hour reserved for VIP ticket holders. A regular $40 ticket ($35 if you buy soon enough to get early bird pricing) gets you a souvenir glass and 8 beer samples, with additional drink tickets available at $2 each; VIP tickets are $55, and include complimentary food as well as the beer samples. Tickets are on sale right now, and can be purchased online.
And here be your final bits of beer news; have a great (beer-filled) weekend!!
Boxing Rock has a new beer available at their Local Source Market location in Halifax, a beer brewed by their production brewery team from Shelburne as a test drive for their Test Kitchen. Nick and Daniel brewed up Buddy in December as a beer that their buddies would enjoy. A lagered ale, it’s crisp, clean, and eminently drinkable. Don’t sleep on it though, as some of the small batch that was brewed went back to Shelburne.
Flying Boats has a new entry in their Test Pilot series with Test Pilot No. 4 – Lover’s Quarrel IPA. They’ve released this beer before (first time was three years ago), but this is the first time this 6.2% ABV IPA with Mosaic and Galaxy will be available in cans. Check the brewery or your local ANBL store to pick some up.
Heritage Brewing now has cans available of Freezing Spray, their 6.5% ABV American IPA hopped with Chinook, Citra and Ekuanot. You can grab cans at the brewery, or at select NSLC stores in the near future.
If you’re in or around Bedford this weekend, and in the mood for something light and easy-drinking, Off Track Brewing has just released Got Me Drove, a 5.5% ABV, 12 IBUs Cream Ale. Limited supplies with this one-off, so drop by soon if you’d like to give it a try.
Feeling in a chocolate-y mood now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner? Petit-Sault has you covered with their latest beer, La BuckMousse, a 6.5% ABV “Chocolate Mousse Porter”. Dark, rich, and smooth, they added a “generous” amount of cocoa nibs to this brew. It’s available on tap now at the brewery, and at select ANBL growler stations.
Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing has a new release out now, a hybrid reminiscent of two of their other popular beers. Rhuby Sour is a 5.0% ABV beer that combines the rhubarb and strawberry fruitiness of Rhuby Social, with the tart acidity of Major Tom. Available in bottles or on tap at the brewery on Allen Street, as well as their Craft Beer Corner location downtown.