If you felt the heat wave earlier this week, we hope you were stocked up with local treats to keep you cool. Or if you live on the Avalon or Labrador, maybe something to keep you warm during yesterday’s flurries! This weekend looks like another sunny one across Atlantic Canada, so why not stock up and enjoy them safely at home or get out on a patio if you’re comfortable! Either way, we know our local libation lovers will support their own establishments as best they can and we’re back again to help spread the news!
As PEI Craft Beer Week winds down this weekend, Upstreet Brewing is launching an annual favourite collaboration with The Inn at Bay Fortune. Fireworks, named after the kitchen at Chef Michael Smith’s on-farm restaurant, is a Farmhouse Ale featuring a whole bunch of local grain, malt, and other special ingredients. Island Malt House-grown and -malted Pilsner, Biscuit, Wheat, Toasted Wheat, Buckwheat, Malted Oats, and Rye made up the grist bill, giving the yeasty beasties a whole bunch of different sugars and other carbs to munch on over the course a several months. After the boil of the wort was completed, Ekuanot and Pekko hops were added to the whirlpool (during a rest before cooling), and once fermentation subsided, Lemondrop was added to amplify a citrus character. During that conditioning time, ingredients straight from the Culinary Farm on Bay Fortune were added, including more than 200 kg of crab apples, dried marigold, and citrus basil, all hand picked and curated by the IaBF team and Upstreet crew. The resulting beer has floral and earthy notes, with barnyard and hay on the nose, with a light acidity and carbonation to keep it refreshing. The beer is debuting tomorrow at the Upstreet tap room on Allen Street in Charlottetown, with a tasting kicking off at 3 PM. Bottles will also be available at their Craft Beer Corner location downtown, and of course at The Inn at Bay Fortune. And those in HRM may soon be able to grab bottles at their Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Burnside and private stores as well, so keep your eyes peeled!
Upstreet is also continuing the releases today with the second in their Libra line of non-alcoholic beers, with Libra Hazy IPA. Bumping up the hops from their Libra North Cape Pale Ale, but still in a sub 0.5% ABV package, the beer features loads of Idaho 7, El Dorado, Citra, and Mosaic late in the process, to keep it from being too tongue-coating bitter, while still imparting plenty of great citrus, tropical fruit character those hops are known for. Available in short cans at the taproom, CBC, and online for delivery Canada-wide (soon), as well as other spots in the coming weeks (remember, not alc = wider availability!). Cheers to Mitch, Hogie, and the crew for providing more low- and non-alc beer alternatives to those looking to moderate their intake of alcohol while still having a flavourful drink!
Let’s keep it going with more PEICBW info, as one of the OG PEI breweries welcomes their younger pals to take over their taps tomorrow. The Gahan House will be pouring several of their own After Hours seasonal and one-off brews, while also welcoming Bogside Brewing, Copper Bottom, Lone Oak, Upstreet, and Village Green to pour their latest and greatest beers. Look for new releases, old favourites, and cool change-ups from everyone involved! The pouring starts at 11:30 AM and goes all day and night. And of course be sure to check out the cool new beers and events from Evermoore, Moth Lane, and PEI Brewing Co this weekend, and the rest of the year!
To the mainland we go, stopping in at Spryfield, Nova Scotia’s own Serpent Brewing, with two new beers to tell you about this week. Both are part of their Beer Creation Experience, where the public had a chance to design a Serpent beer, from style, recipe, ingredients, all the way to the label on the bottle. Released last weekend was Pavo Tropical IPA, and while it does not contain any actual fruit, the hops chosen, namely Amarillo, Magnum, and Mosaic, do a fine job of imparting a ton of berry and citrus, with a touch of pine too. At 5.4% and 50 IBU, the hazy IPA (XPA? Big APA?) is perfect for enjoying on their patio this weekend, or in bottles to take away.
Debuting today is the next in the Serpent BCE, Whatermelon is Wrong Wit You? Taking a cue from NS Premier Rankin’s question to those not following COVID protocol by reducing interactions, this pun-tacularly named beer is a spin on their White Mountain Belgian Witbier, but elevated to the next level. Long-time friend-of-Serpent Nick Sanford has been sampling owner Glen O’Keefe’s homebrew for years, assisted during the brewery construction, and even stepped in to become a Founder of the brewery, and designed Whatermelon based on a homebrew he and Glen had enjoyed on a camping trip years ago. Taking the already flavourful White Mountain recipe as a starting point, even more orange peel was added to brighten the beer, with watermelon added post-fermentation to let the fruit shine through with little distraction. The 5.5% beer is available now in bottles and on draught at the brewery for imbibing on their patio this weekend (and indoors next, Strang-willing). And stop by Saturday and/or Sunday to grab some great Jamaican snacks and meals from Jamdouns Food Truck who will be parked adjacent to the patio!
Heading up to Newfoundland and in particular, Port Rexton Brewing, where the gang have managed to get their beery paws on some 355 mL silver bullets. In celebration of this minor coup (seriously, cans are in wretchedly short supply across North America right now), they’re filling them up with delightfully crushable liquids for your enjoyment. Up first is Whitecap, a bright and refreshing session NEIPA that began its life as a taproom favorite Wet Yer Whistle. With a nice light body and a “sounds like another one” ABV of 3.8%, you’ll find it available today at the PR taproom and also at their St. John’s retail shop. These are only being sold in singles right now and once they’re gone they’re gone until more can stock comes in, as they’re holding some aluminum aside for another light and tasty release next week! And if you’re into beer and outdoor activities in the PR area, you should check out the guided hike around the Skerwink Trail being hosted weekly by PR, Paul Dean and Fishers’ Loft Inn. No fee or registration required, just a desire for a lovely walk and an ear for Paul’s geologic knowledge and stories. The hike will end at Port Rexton where you’ll get your first pint at 50% off. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us! More details available from this Fishers’ Loft Ig post.
Further island vibes from Newfoundland bring a new release from Bannerman this week. Vibe Architect is a 5.0% Witbier which is the first of its kind from the St. John’s crew. Brewed with pilsner malt, flaked wheat, flaked corn and some malted wheat, the hop profile is a blend of European hops that provide great balance. With a true to style flavour profile, expect orange and coriander notes with some nice sweetness from sweet orange peel and spices. This is a renowned and respected style (see: Allagash White) that is complex, subtle and refreshing. This one is available now in cans, on tap at the brewery as well as select Marie’s locations.
Back down to Nova Scotia, where in the Northern part of the province Tatamagouche Brewing is getting their summer on the go a little early. We told you a couple of weeks ago about the return of Dekorum Lime, which sees their ultra-sessionable Dekorum lager meet treatment with tonnes of lime flavor. Well they didn’t stop there! This week two more variants on that ABV base are available that leverage organic juice concentrates to provide a little summery pizzazz. Dekorum Mandarin and Dekorum Blood Orange are both still 2.9% ABV crushers, each with a slightly different citrus twist. Sounds like an opportunity to grab (at least) 4 cans (OG, lime, and the two debutants) and commence with Dekorum Battle 2021!! That all said, if you’re a Dekorum lover, but not interested in the new fruity variants, check out their current online-only deal, $45 of your finest Canadian dollars for 24 refreshing cans!
Meanwhile, the Tata gang is gearing up for some birthday shenanigans next week as they turn seven years old! We’ll have all the details for you in next Friday’s post, but in advance of that, know that they’ll be running happy hour pricing from Thursday to Sunday on pints at the taproom along with some other on-site promos. There will also be four new beers for you to sample, including two low-abv funky offerings. Check back here next week for the full details on those and maybe keep an eye on Tata’s socials (Fb, Ig, Tw) for more info on the celebrations.
As Halifax and Nova Scotia are getting hopeful with their re-opening plan, Garrison is bringing some new releases for everyone to enjoy. First up, they have a new series called Hop Mess, which will be a mix of summer releases where the brewers will be experimenting with hop stands (adding hops at flameout and letting the hops stand in the hot wort before chilling) and heavy handed dry-hopping. In their own words they want to “create some messy, dank & crazy flavourful IPAs.” The first release of this series is Hop Mess IPA #1: Aussie Rules, where they’re adding Eclipse, Topaz and Australian Cascade hops post-flameout and in the fermenter. At 6.7% this is going to be hop-forward upfront with low lingering bitterness. This is a limited run that is available now in cans only at their taprooms in Halifax.
The other new release at Garrison taprooms is a partnership with Bulwark, as their Blush cider will be available in cans at the Garrison Seaport and Oxford locations. Using the fresh juice from Bulwark, this is fermented and canned at Garrison at their locations. If you know Blush, it’s a tasty local cider that balances wild berries and apple flavours at a very drinkable and fresh 5.8%.
The newest addition to the Antigonish beer scene continues to put out new and interesting beers during their soft opening phase. This week, Candid Brewing Company is releasing Working Joe Breakfast Stout. Described by the brewery as “if cold brew were beer”, this one features Ethiopia-sourced coffee from renowned Halifax roaster, Java Blend. Working Joe is the first release in Candid’s Side Door Series of one-off batches. You can find it today (Friday), at Candid’s weekly pop-up sale (reminder that Candid will be opening for retail hours every Friday from 1:00 to 6:00 PM until it’s grand opening), for takeaway in pre-filled 1L growlers. Cans of their Northeast IPA, Party Line, and APA with blood orange, No Brainer, will also be available.
From one university town to another, Wolfville’s Church Brewing also has a new small batch release ready for your weekend. Pomona is a cranberry sour that comes in at 4% ABV for your summer session enjoyment. Brewed with barley, wheat, flaked wheat, and oats, and lightly hopped with Magnum to the tune of 8 IBUs, you can expect notes of rhubarb and lemon zest on the nose, with a puckering cranberry flavour and tart finish. Pomona is named after the Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards, something Wolfville and the surrounding Annapolis Valley can boast plenty of. You can grab some today in crowlers from their onsite Beer Market, or enjoy a pint on their expansive taproom/restaurant patio.
You may recall that we passed on some info last week concerning two brand new Saisons from Big Spruce; well, they’re continuing that trend this week with yet another Saison, Fruit Bomb. Fermented with two different Brett strains (B. anomola and B. bruxellensis), along with a “clean” Saison strain, it was hopped with organic French Barbe Rouge. The yeast and hops blend together to produce “a nose of summer strawberries spilling into a bowl of peach and nectarine”, to complement the floral and spicy flavours you’d expect from any well-brewed Saison. Refreshing and dry, and 6.8% ABV, it’s the perfect warm weather sipper. Look for it on tap right at the source, and at your favourite Big Spruce watering holes across NS; looks like there should be some bottles available, too!
But that’s not all, as Big Spruce has been busy as usual! They’re also (re-)excited about the first beer that was fermented and aged in their 500 L foedre, which has been fittingly named Début. Now technically this one was released back in April and may have been spotted in the city at Battery Park, but it’s not been seen in the HRM since then, so you could maybe suggest that this week marks a re-debut of Debut, which is debuting at Stillwell Freehouse right now! Described as “crisp and herbaceous,” it’s Oak-fermented, dry hopped with Huell Melon, and 4.9% ABV. Sounds like a debut that’s worth checking out!
Just one event to tell you about (beside the PEI Craft Beer Week goings on above)
Despite having to navigate through closures, pivoting to online sales, reopenings, and managing one of Halifax’s most popular outdoor watering holes, Stillwell continues to bring us the goods from out of province. This Saturday at the Beergarden, they’ll be pouring seven bangers from British Columbia’s Four Winds Brewing. Your intrepid beer bloggers have had the privilege to share several Four Winds bottles over the years, and we can confidently say that the quality is up there with the best that Canada has to offer. The event will feature styles that appeal to every beer palette, including lagers, a variety of IPAs, a table saison, and their flagship dry-hopped sour, Nectarous. Check out Stillwell’s Instagram post for more details on the beers and event. While we’re talking Stillwell, a friendly reminder that the 2021 version of Preach dropped in the Stillwell Brewing webstore and is now available for Friday deliveries in HRM and shipping country-wide. Look for Preach and the newest batch of Stilly Pils on rotation at the Beergarden and the Stillwell Freehouse patio, before indoor enjoyment comes next week.
A couple more things to look out for, before you hit the patios this afternoon…
It’s Pride Month all over the world (though the parade in Halifax this year will be in August) and Truro Brewing Company has something light, fresh and bright to celebrate. Pulp’d Fiction is a Berliner Weisse with Blood Orange. Always a delicious style that is tart and refreshing, this comes in at 4.0% and is available on tap today at the brewery.
Another quick hitter from Halifax’s own Bishop’s Cellar as they’re bringing in some bottles from Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham. Always a pleasure to see in our local shops, there are 3 new bottles now available at Bishop’s with more releases from Dunham in the coming month. You can pick up a Mata Hari Gose, Berliner Passion Weisse and the classic Saison du Pinnacle on Saturday in-store or online.