Happy Spring Everyone! Now we just need to tell Mother Nature that! But it will be nice to see the snow eventually receding so that you have a big more time to dodge the potholes. A handful of new beers and events this week, so grab that coffee, or coffee stout, and get up to speed on the beer news. As always, if you have beer info you’d like us to share, please don’t hesitate to send it along! We’re always happy to spread the word about the great beer in our region.
News concerning collaboration beers brewed for International Women’s Day keeps trickling in; this week, we can fill you in on the one released by Petit-Sault and Big Tide. Brewed at the Petit-Sault brewery in Edmundston, Brighid is an 8.8% abv “Strawberry Brut IPA”. Hopped with Mosaic and Lemondrop, enzymes were added to help the beer dry out as much as possible, as is typical for the Brut IPA style. During fermentation, strawberry puree was added (to the tune of 300 lbs), giving the beer a hazy, pinkish hue. Tropical, juicy, and super-dry (as expected), it’s currently available on tap only, at both breweries. Look for 750 mL bottles to appear at both locations next week, as well.
One of New Brunswick’s newest breweries (for a little while longer, anyway), Hampton Brewing, dropped a new beer release in time for St. Patrick’s Day last weekend. Ol’Marley is a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, brewed with a mixture of Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts to impart plenty of roasted, coffee-like character in the aroma and flavour. The beer also features the addition of rum-soaked, organic cacao nibs, adding even more chocolatey goodness to the finished product. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 32 IBUs, it has a medium body and moderate bitterness in the finish. Look for it on tap at your favourite Hampton Brewing account.
Let’s move back to Brut IPA territory; specifically to Smiths Cove, NS, where Lazy Bear Brewing has released their very own. Simply named Brut IPA, it was dry-hopped with Ariana, Callista, and El Dorado; we’re going to assume no hops were added during the boil, as the brewery lists the IBUs as “very low to none”. The beer comes in at 7% ABV and finishes very dry (again, thanks in part to the addition of enzymes); it’s available on tap at the brewery during the Thursday Growler Evenings and the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, with kegs possibly being sent elsewhere soon.
Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing has a new beer out this week that hopefully will put you in mind of warmer days to come. A grisette, In Limbo was brewed with primarily Pilsner malt, with plenty of spelt and both flaked and malted wheat rounding out the grist, and it was hopped lightly with classic noble Saaz before being fermented with Niche’s house culture. The result is a beer with a light body and a pleasant lemon presence that’s definitely on the funkier side of the style, but which certainly doesn’t bash you over the head with yeast character. Easy-drinking and refreshing, at 4.2% ABV you can have a few and without worrying you might dart out in front of an oxcart during the festival of the vernal equinox! Look for it at Niche tap accounts around NB and, if the folks in Halifax are lucky again, maybe some will come to that city as well.
We warned you a month ago to keep your eyes out for a beer featuring carrots, and sure enough, it has come to pass as those crazy kids at Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS, have pushed the boundaries yet again with 14 Carrot Gold. This beer is a collaboration with Square Roots, a brand that encompasses a pair of projects under the aegis of Enactus SMU that aim to help reduce food waste and eliminate food insecurity in our communities. One way to address the former is to find uses for the less pretty produce that might not be sold if it were put on the shelf. So this beer isn’t just full of carrots, it’s full of ugly carrots, carrots that might roll a rabbit in a dark alley, carrots that you wouldn’t bring home to meet your Mom, but carrots that taste just fine. The juice of these carrots was added to the mash, joining a grist that included some honey malt to encourage some balancing malt sweetness. Into the kettle the wort went, to be hopped up (sorry*) with Calypso, Magnum, and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. The overall result is a clean and refreshing rather orange pale ale that is herbal and slightly spicy, but which also definitely tastes of carrots. You can find it already in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, Boxing Rock Bottle Shop at Local Source and private liquor stores in Halifax, and it will also be on the shelves at NSLC locations starting April 1st. Maybe grab an extra to put out for the Easter Bunny to enjoy? And speaking of the bottle shop, thanks to the associated Test Kitchen, they’ve also got a brand new one on the taps: FLEX IPA clocks in at a hefty 7.3% ABV and sports plenty of Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. Stop by to grab a growler if you’re in the North End.
* totally not sorry
Spindrift Brewing has their latest entry in their Out of the Hold series bottled and available for sale, FIKA. This one is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout that was fermented in stainless, and then transferred to a French oak barrel for months of aging. Once it was ready to be packaged (in 500 mL bottles), the beer was infused with espresso beans, vanilla, and cardamom (in essence, now making it an Imperial Coffee Stout). Wondering about the beer’s name? Well, “fika” is apparently the Swedish word for “coffee break”, and the espresso beans were bought from IKEA (which we’re sure we do not have to explain to you what that is). You can pick up your bottles at the brewery’s taproom right now; check out the HRM’s private liquor stores in the near future as well. Note that this beer was brewed with lactose, just in case you’re intolerant of such things!
Halifax’s Garrison brewed up a special collaboration with the staff of Agricola Street Brasserie that made its debut last week at their beer dinner at that restaurant. How Dairy?! is a one off draft-only release available for now at the brewery for samples, pints, and growler fills, although it’s expected to be sent out to a few tap accounts as well. A stout weighing in at 4.7% ABV, it was built on pale ale and Munich malts, with oats, crystal malt and roasted barley rounding out the grist. Hopped to 32 IBU with Millennium, it also contains lactose, which very well might take it into the sweet stout or milk stout category. You can make that determination for yourself if you head down and give this smooth and full-bodied beer with notes of coffee and chocolate a try.
Bryan Carver, certified Cicerone, former Brewmaster at PEIBC, and former employee in the technical services department at DME Brewing, will be opening his own brewery – Modern Brewer’s Village Green – in Cornwall, PEI, this summer. Located at 1 Cornwall Rd, the building currently houses a dentist’s office which is relocating at the end of this month. While his equipment has not been ordered yet, as he’s waiting for the building to be rezoned, Carver plans to brew on a 2 bbl (240 L) system, to concentrate primarily on serving the 25-seat taproom. Locals can expect to try beers that they may not have tried before, as Carver plans to focus on styles that may not be easily-accessible to the area. We will have much more with Carver on Village Green as the project progresses.
We’ve got a few events to tell you about this week, definitely worth leaving the March Madness behind for a few hours, we reckon!
We mentioned it a few weeks ago, but here’s your reminder that this year’s Péché Day will be happening tomorrow and folks in our region are lucky enough to have two options available: Stillwell in Halifax and Tide & Boar in Moncton. Péché Day celebrates Péché Mortel, a Imperial Coffee Stout from Dieu du Ciel! that continues to be one of the finest beers in the country year after year. There will be seven variants on offer this year, all boasting an ABV of 9.5%:
- Péché Mortel – the original
- Péché Mortel Bourbon 2018 and 2019 – two different vintages aged in bourbon barrels
- Péché Mortel Cerise – brewed with cherries
- Péché Mortel Coconut – matured on toasted coconut
- Péché Mortel Islay 2019 – aged in Islay Scotch barrels
- Péché Mortel Moka – brewed with cacao
If you’re at all a fan of big, dark boozy beers, especially those featuring wood aging or other additions, you might want to find a way to check it out. You might also want to strongly consider 5 oz tasting glasses if you want to run to try them all!!
Last week we gave you the full rundown on the Flavabot: Rake ‘n Scrape event being thrown down on Sunday by the Lime Stone Group at Good Robot in Halifax, but we thought it prudent to give you a little reminder that there will be four brand new beers available, all with a Caribbean influence:
- Rake ‘n Scrape – 6.9% ABV Tropical IIPA with mangoes & pomegranate, 70 IBU
- Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – 4.5% ABV, Blackberry Amber Ale, 30 IBU
- Pineapples & Coconut … Bro – 5.6% ABV, Pina colada Wheat Ale, 27 IBU
- Passion Bliss – 5.5% ABV, Passion fruit Pale Ale, 50 IBU
Brunch starts at 10 AM but the party goes ALL DAY. That said, only the Rake ‘n Scrape is a full-size Alpha batch, so if you want to increase your chances of tasting the other three best get there early.
Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is celebrating the release of a brand new beer Sunday, a collaboration with the Hopped Up Gaming East (HUGE) podcast. Button Masher is a 7.0% Cherry IPA, featuring loads of Citra hops for a hazy, aromatic and bitter IPA, that was then “juiced up” with black cherries. Keeping with the mutual love of video games and beer, the teammates will be launching the beer at the Board Room Cafe on Barrington Street in Halifax. From 7 – 9 PM, there will be Video Game Trivia, with the beer pouring all evening. Drop by to grab the first pints and take part in the fun, and then look for it on tap around Halifax, with bottles of Button Masher coming next week.
Next Saturday, March 30, White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL, will be celebrating BrewSKI 2019! With Beer Yoga kicking off the day at 10 AM, to a fun ski & snowboard race at 12 PM, to the BrewSKI Craft Beer Fest starting at 7 PM, there is a whole day of fun to be had on the ski hills. The evening’s festival will feature beer from 8 Newfoundland breweries and cideries: Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co (Conception Bay), Bootleg Brewery (Corner Brook), Landwash Brewery (Mt Pearl), Port Rexton Brewing Co (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi Brewery (Quidi Vidi), Split Rock Brewery (Twillingate), YellowBelly Brewery (St. John’s), plus the Newfoundland Cider Company (Milton). There will be live music by 3 Shades of Grey and The Dimaggios, and food from Oh My Cheeses. Tickets for the day’s events are available now, grab them and find your best retro snowsuit to fit right in with the crowd.
Just a few more notes to pass along this week!
We mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post with His Excellency Pavel Hrnčíř, the Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Canada, but wanted to remind you that the 902 BrewCast has dropped their March Tasting Episode today, and it covers all things Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. In addition to that interview, they spoke with Geaghan Brothers, Holy Whale, and O’Creek Brewing. Listen in!
Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery has brought back their Brackish, a 4.8% ABV Sour Ale that features Newfoundland Sea Salt, their take on a German Gose. With draught, growlers, and cans available at the brewery now, we suggest popping by to grab some. And to celebrate its return, the folks at Landwash have a couple of fun things on the go. They actually brewed a second full-sized batch, and added mango puree to it, and so Mango Brackish is pouring (and available to go in growlers) at the brewery now. And, also, too, they’ve cask conditioned 20 litres of the unfruited Brackish, and swapped out the standard sea salt for Newfoundland Salt Company’s Juniper Smoked Salt, for a floral and herbal cousin of the original. This one is in short supply (and we’re not even positive it’s still available!), so if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to pop by the brewery today when they open at 4 PM.
Propeller Brewing has brought back a favourite from the fall, their Galaxy IPA. This 6.5% hoppy, hazy, and juicy IPA feature a ton of the great Aussie hop Galaxy added in the kettle and fermenter, for tropical, citrus, and stonefruit character. Back now on tap and in cans, with four-packs available at the NSLC for the first time next week.
Unfiltered is bringing back their Fist of God DIPA again, a “fruity, tropical, soft, and delicious” 7.5% ABV hop bomb. Available today at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans. So is their Citra bomb DOA which came back last week. If you love some hops, you know where to go.
In a case of a community doing the right thing, the Town of Wolfville agreed Tuesday to amend their Land Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to explicitly allow breweries to operate and sell beer off-site. This is great news for Church Brewing, who continue construction of their on-premise brewery at 329 Main Street in the town, to complement the already thriving restaurant. If struck down, it would have severely handcuffed them from the start, and had the unintended consequence of hurting other craft alcohol producers in the same zone, including Annapolis Cider Company, Bad Apple Brewhouse, and Paddy’s Pub.