Good morning! Once again, things are really hopping this week with beer news in Atlantic Canada. We might as well get used to it, as it’s only going to continue to rise!
• Attention South Shore residents, we’ve got details of a new brewery heading your way! Saltbox Brewing will be opening this summer at 363 Main Street in Mahone Bay. The 12 hectolitre brewhouse will be producing beer for restaurants and pubs, Farmers’ Markets in Lunenburg County, and with distribution into HRM as well. While they haven’t settled on exact recipes yet, they expect to launch with a Wheat Ale, Pale Ale, and IPA. Renovations continue at their location, which will include retail sales and a taproom. We’ll keep you up-to-date on their progress.
• Grimross has brewed up a new beer in their Maritime series, which should be released soon. Maritime Black IPA will feature “lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose and palate”, thanks to the addition of dark, roasted malts to the grist. Hopped and dry-hopped with all-New Brunswick-grown Cascade and Chinook (from Moose Mountain Hops), expect some serious fruitiness on the nose with this beer! Like the other beers in this series, it was fermented with a neutral American Ale yeast strain, to let the malt and hops shine through. Weighing in at 6.7% ABV and 61 IBUs, it should be available on tap and for growler fills by next week or so. Grimross also announced that they have just brewed their popular Rye IPA this week, after a hiatus of over a year; look for that one to return sometime in February.
• After some feedback from customers and tap accounts, Flying Boats will be bringing back their Kissing Rock Blonde Ale, their self-described “almost-session-like” beer at 5.3% ABV. With a grist made up mostly of Canadian 2-row base malt (and a little specialty malt for a bit of complexity), the beer is hopped to 32 IBUs with Centennial. A “clean” and easy-drinking beer, it’s meant to please craft beer lovers, while easing beginners out of mass-produced light Lagers. It will be pouring tomorrow at Fredericton’s NB HopSpiel, and will be available at select accounts soon as well.
• First City continues to test the waters with new styles, as they released another new beer earlier in the week. Rye Pale Ale was brewed with a “significant amount” of Rye malt to give the beer its characteristic spiciness, and was hopped with Mt. Hood and Columbus throughout the boil, resulting in a “citrusy/floral aroma”, according to the brewery. It comes in at 6.8% ABV, and was first tapped at the James Joyce in Fredericton. Look for kegs to be tapped at Bourbon Quarter and the R-Bar in Saint John any day now.
• The winning entry for this year’s Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is now available. Czech Out Eric, a Czech Dark Lager brewed with competition winners Eric Gautier and Justin Clarke, was step-mashed and fermented cool (the historically-correct approach to brewing this style), and then lagered for a period to allow the flavours to smooth out even more. A malt-forward beer, it’s easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV and 25 IBUs. You can find it at the brewery now for growler fills, and it should be hitting taps soon/now at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Good Robot taproom.
• The PEI Brewing Co. brewed up a Russian Imperial Stout a while back; this is the beer that went into barrels a couple of months ago. While that portion of beer is still taking in barrel character, the un-barreled version – named Tide She RISes – has been released at select locations on tap (at PEIBC and Gahan House in Charlottetown, as well as Stillwell in Halifax, and the Saint John Ale House and Lemongrass in Saint John). It weighs in at a hefty 8% ABV and 70 IBUs. They plan on emptying the barrels and bottling that version in 4-6 weeks, which will be released as this year’s Ice Boat. Also, keep an eye out for the return of Black Banks, which was canned this week and will be shipping to the PEILCC and ANBL shortly. This 5.2% ABV, 50 IBUs Black IPA/India Black Ale was hopped with Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, and Galaxy.
• One of the brewers from PEI Brewing Co posted a great introduction on some of the Quality Control steps the beers at PEIBC go through before it leaves their brewery. With even a small lab, they are able to confirm proper carbonation, ensure low dissolved oxygen (to prevent oxidization), and make sure that the beer contains no spoiling yeasts and bacteria, via plating. Sending out a proper product is important to the brewery, and drinkers, to be sure you are enjoying the beer the way the brewery intended! Check it out here.
• Speaking of PEI breweries, drop by The Alley this Saturday, where BarNone, Gahan, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet will be facing off in a winner-take-all battle for bowling domination. Each brewery will have a team or two, and there will several lanes available for the public to take part in the fun. They will be pouring beer from all of the local breweries, and after the bowling is done, there will be live entertainment from Adam MacGregor and The Foes. The fun kicks off at 7:30 pm; check out the details here.
• Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has brewed up a pair of new beers that are out now/hitting the taps soon. Sassy Blonde Ale is a 3.9% ABV, 20 IBUs Blonde Ale, with a slightly sweet, biscuity character from the malt, and light fruit character from hops. This beer has been spotted on tap at the James Joyce. The second new beer is Viking Ale. Brewed in the spirit of the style of ale brewed by Vikings centuries ago, this amber-coloured beer features additions of Heather tips, mugwort, and unpasteurized honey for spicy aromas and flavours. Backed up by “earthy, aromatic hops”, this one should be available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe by mid-February.
• Quite similarly, Pump House will be releasing Gruit on International Gruit Day this Monday, February 1st. Gruit is a centuries-old style that features the addition of multiple plants to add variety of aromas and flavours. Pump House brewed up a very small batch (one keg only) for release only at their brewpub in Moncton. This beer has had Sweetgale, Woodruff, Mugwort and Wormwood added. It won’t last long in such a limited supply, so be sure to drop by the brewpub this Monday if you’d like a taste!
• We have the details on today’s weekly 7th Wave Series from Spindrift: Signal Fire is described by the brewery as a “Rauch Pils” (think: smoky-Pilsner). Smoked cherry malt was used in the grist to give the light-amber-coloured beer a “distinct smoky flavour” to go along with the sweet and fruity characteristics. It’s 5.7% ABV and 25 IBUs, and – as usual – won’t last long due to the small quantity brewed (last week’s Knotty Buoy sold out before 5pm); drop by the brewery today for a growler fill. And a note for our readers in PEI and New Brunswick: Spindrift will soon be available in your local LCs. No exact dates just yet, but we do know that a shipment was made to the Island, and that the same will be done shortly for New Brunswick. And, in case you didn’t know, their flagship Coastal Lager is already available province-wide in Newfoundland and Labrador.
• Uncle Leo’s is releasing a new beer today, an American Pale Ale named Jam Session. Bittered with Magnum, it features Cascade in both the late additions and the dry-hop, for lots of fruit and citrus in the nose. Quite sessionable at 5% ABV and 35 IBUs, you can find it in bottles at the brewery in Pictou, and at all four private liquor stores in Halifax this weekend. It will also be available at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at better beer establishments in Halifax.
– Mocha Stout, which was brewed with four pounds of cold-pressed coffee (sourced from local roaster Just Us!). Big roasty coffee flavours are balanced by subtle dark chocolate notes from the addition of chocolate malt. This 5.1% ABV, 25 IBUs ale also has a slight sweetness from the addition of lactose.
– Pilsner is a classic German-style lager. Hopped with Saaz, a noble European variety, to balance its light maltiness, making for a “pleasing and approachable brew”. 5.8% ABV, 30 IBUs.
– Extra Special Bitter, Paddy’s latest hoppy beer, is amber-coloured and showcases earthy, piney, and light citrusy hop flavours and a robust bitterness, all of which “complement the caramel malt notes”. 5.5% ABV, 50 IBUs.
– Weizenbock is their seasonal feature this time of year, a hearty, dark German wheat beer. With aromas and flavours of clove and banana to pair with the rich chocolate and caramel maltiness, it’s a great style to be drinking this time of year. This one comes in a bit stronger at 6.8% ABV, and 25 IBUs.
• In more news from Paddy’s, they are holding a Brewer’s Dinner next Wednesday, Feb 2nd. From 7-9pm, upstairs in the Brewer’s Hall at their Wolfville location, the talented chefs have worked directly with Head Brewer MacDonald to create a four-course meal prepared with and to pair with their beers. As MacDonald is vegetarian, those are options for each course as well. Choices of mussels or cheddar ale soup to start, Parmesan risotto as an appetizer, pork tenderloin or marinated seitan with sweet potato puree as an entree, and carrot cake to finish, all paired with different Paddy’s beers. Tickets are only $30+tax and in limited numbers, available at Paddy’s and by phone (902-542-0059).
• Over at Halifax’s Gahan, we can expect to see an upcoming batch of their Kellerbier on tap soon. This malty-sweet beer has a hazy appearance thanks to large, late additions of the Hersbrucker hop, giving the aroma some herbal and floral notes. Carbonation will be low, as the beer was brewed in the traditional sense. It was also infused with oak, “to mimic the wooden barrels it would have been served in back in the day”, according to brewer Karen Allen. It should come in at 5% ABV and 30-35 IBUs.
• After a very popular event earlier this month, the crew at Good Robot are holding another quiet reading event at their Tap Room next week. Drop by The Imbibrary on Tuesday, Feb 2, from 6-8pm, where the music will be turned down, cellphones are to be powered off, and books and beer are the focus. Be sure to arrive early, as the first event ended up being a packed house! While there, or even sooner, grab a pint of their Burban Legend American Pale Ale, back again from a brief hiatus. This version 3.0 features Cascade and Citra used prominently in the brew and dry-hopping, for a big citrus aroma.
• Tickets are now available for the next Beer Tasting at Bishop’s Cellar. Being held next Friday, Feb 5, this informal tasting will give a nice overview of the beers currently available on their shelves. They will be tasting both local and imported beer, for a great variety of tastes and styles. Ever wanted to try one of the neat beers on their shelves before committing to a full bottle? Now’s your chance! As always, these are catered events with snacks to keep you happy. Grab your tickets today!
• Stillwell Beer Bar has released their plans for Valentine’s Day, and we’re all invited. They’re sharing the love with Tatamagouche Brewing, who are taking over their taps with a dozen draft beers and three casks. In addition to Tata’s core brands, the expected list will include brews from their Giant Beer series (Giantess Barley Wine, Two Rivers Baltic Porter, Russian Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, and both 2014 and 2015 vintages of Barrel Aged Dreadnot), and their recent hoppier beers, Full Circle American Wheat, Deception Bay IPA, and Deadeye DIPA. In addition to these, they will be debuting a SW x Tata collaboration, a hoppy, West Coast version of an English Golden Ale. We’ll share the intimate details of that brew ahead of the party. One of Stillwell’s events would not be complete without some great food, so keep an eye out for some sexy food for “Lovers” and a tongue-in-cheek take on “Loners” food… think solo-sized bucket of chicken, and a tub of cookie-dough ice cream. Tickets are on sale now, for a single session beginning at 4 pm, and the price will include a custom event t-shirt.
• They have also shared their plans for Péché Mortel Day. The famous Coffee Stout from Montreal’s Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is being released Feb 27, and local bars Stillwell (and Moncton’s Tide and Boar) are taking part. In Halifax, they will be pouring the 9.5% ABV original beer, plus five variants (Péché Mortel Dry, a drier-finishing and higher ABV (10%) version; Péché Mortel Special, with a different type of coffee in the brew; Péché Mortel Bourbon 2015, last year’s release aged for at least 6 months in Bourbon barrels; Péché Veniel, a 6.5% ABV lighter version of the original; Péché aux pêches, the original brew with peaches added to the brews). The party kicks off at noon, no tickets are required, and small pours are available to make it easier to try them all.
• Tickets for the evening session of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March are officially sold out! Luckily, there are some tickets still left for the afternoon session, so if you missed out on evening tickets, now’s your chance to still get in to sample a huge amount of local, craft beer! Events for the days leading up to the festival (making up the first Fredericton Craft Beer Week) are coming together; click here to start planning! We’ve created a calendar to make planning for the week a little easier. It can be added to your own calendar (desktop or on your phone) by clicking the “+ Google Calendar” link in the lower right.
• And in other FCBF news, remember that the first NB HopSpiel takes place tonight/tomorrow in Fredericton. While team registration for the curling is closed, there are still tickets available for the FROSTival Beer Garden tomorrow from 12-6 pm, featuring six different local breweries pouring various samples of beer, cider and mead.
• A reminder that NS Craft Beer Week is coming back in May. One of the events we took part in last year was the Science of Beer event at the Discovery Centre. Good news, the event is back, bigger than ever, and tickets are now on sale! Taking over the DC on May 12 will be six breweries (Boxing Rock, Garrison, Propeller, Sea Level, Spindrift, and Tatamagouche), each giving presentations on different parts of the brewing – and drinking – process. Angeline MacLennan will be joined by our own Chris McDonald to give an introduction/overview talk, and wander around the space causing trouble. Grab your tickets today, it was a fun time last year! We’ve set up a calendar for NS Craft Beer Week as well, and will be sharing more details on the events as we receive them.
A few parting shots this week:
– On the ANBL Growler fills this week: the return of Caraquet Flyer Eisbock from Distillierie Fils du Roy.
– BarNone Brewery has a pair of hoppy beers coming our way soon: Vic’s Citra Secrets and Proud Warrior IPA were brewed up this week, and will be released in early March.
– Unfiltered has just re-released their extremely popular Double Orange Ale, their SMaSH ale brewed with 2-row and boatloads of the delicious Citra hop.
– Garrison has both their Pucker Up and Pear Hug back on tap at the brewery for growler fills. And don’t forget, homebrewers, that your entries for the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off are soon due; bottles of your Experimental IPA need to be dropped off by Thursday, Feb. 11th.
Beer time! Have a great weekend!