Holy Whale Brewery

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Another beautiful week on the East Coast, with the cooler temperatures inspiring the brewers to release more harvest-themed beers, and leading into the dark and warming beers of winter. But first, we have a bit of information on a pair of new breweries now serving beer in New Brunswick:

• After several months operating as a pub (under the name Buddha Bear Cafe) serving craft beer in Alma, New Brunswick, Holy Whale Brewery is finally serving their own beer! Think of this as a soft-opening, giving them an opportunity to test out various styles and batches, including an American Pale Ale, Session IPA, and Irish Red, all of which should be pouring at the cafe by this weekend. Stay tuned for a Q&A we’ll be posting next week to give you a full update on the brewery, with a grand opening hopefully happening by mid-December. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, drop by the cafe (located at 8576 Main St.) this weekend to try out their beers!

CAVOK Brewing, located in Dieppe, NB, has their first few beers now available in the Moncton and Fredericton region. Brewing on a pilot system while they secure a location for their full-sized brewery, their Petitcodiac Rye IPA and S&S Altbier are available now at the Tide & Boar in Moncton and James Joyce in Fredericton, respectively. We’ll have a full profile with the folks behind CAVOK next week to get you up to speed on their current operations, and future plans!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has two brand new beers out in the wild right now! First up is their annual wet-hop beer, brewed with 100% organic hops from the brewery’s own hopyard. Fortune Frazer’s the Bold (6.2% ABV) is an American IPA hopped with Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and a little bit of Chinook. You may remember past year’s iterations going under the names Craig Goes Yard, and Hoppily Married. This year’s brew was named after Frazer MacGregor, a neighbour of Big Spruce who was the primary architect of the reconstruction of the brewery’s hop trellis system earlier this year. As a debt of gratitude, the beer was named after him. Next is S’il Vous Plait, a Saison brewed with 100% organic Pilsner malt from Germany, and fermented with the Old World Farmhouse Blend (which contains two Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs. A Brettanomyces strain also played a role in primary, with the 6% ABV, ~20 IBUs brew being further conditioned in stainless for 4 weeks after fermentation was complete. Find both of these beers on tap at the brewery, and at a few lucky Big Spruce tap accounts in Nova Scotia (you probably already know where to look).

• And keep your eyes peeled for the return of Big Spruce’s One Hundred, a beer produced with 100% local ingredients, from hops grown on their own farm, barley and grain grown and then malted at Horton Ridge Malt, and fermented with a yeast isolated from the fruit of a pin cherry tree. For the first time, however, the batch will be available in both draft and cans, allowing drinkers a chance to take a little piece of Nova Scotia with them wherever they go.

• And Cape Breton’s other craft brewery, Breton Brewing in Sydney, is putting more things in cans these days, with three of their seasonal brews getting the full package treatment. Already available are their summer swigger Island Time Lager, a Munich Helles that weighs in at 4.3% ABV and 14 IBU and their Storm Chaser, an oatmeal stout with added vanilla that tips the scales at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU. And next week should see the release of Seven Years, a very hop forward pale ale reminiscent of New England IPAs, but coming in at a much more approachable 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU. Obviously the new cans will be available at the brewery, but they’ll also be making their way to the private stores in Halifax, some of whom, like Bishop’s Cellar, will ship anywhere in NS (just sayin’…). While these beers will all maintain their “seasonal” tag for now, who knows what might happen if they prove to be big sellers in this run?

• Halifax’s Tidehouse emailed us (last night, even) to let us know that they’ve got a new brew on tap now at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. Impeccably named, Bruno Puntz Jones is a brown ale built from a base of Canadian 2-Row, with kiln coffee and Munich malts providing character and an auburn hue. Traditional English hop varieties East Kent Goldings and Fuggles complete the overall picture like a perfect white linen suit and matching Panama hat. At 4.4% ABV this should be a very quaffable brew, with light roast flavors underlying nutty and mocha notes, and a fruity and herbal hop character. And we have it on good authority that at some point Tidehouse will give us a Francesca Fioré beer, which is only proper – when you see Bruno Puntz Jones you know that it’s only a matter of time before Francesca Fioré shows up.

• Hold on to your hop hats, Rothesay, as Foghorn is releasing their first Imperial IPA today at the brewery! Model 21 Double IPA is kind of a souped-up version of their Constable Winchester IPA, in that it’s the same light-copper colour, with some medium Crystal malt in the grist… but the similarities end there. Model 21 was bittered with Centennial to 75-80 IBUs, with plenty of Azacca added after the boil. Naturally, a very large dry-hop addition was incorporated, featuring crowd- and brewer-favourites Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy. Coming in at a hefty 9% ABV, it’s not for the faint of heart… but we know you hop heads out there will love it! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Foghorn today, and it will most likely appear on tap at your other favourite Foghorn accounts.

• Speaking of big, hoppy beers, today at noon TrailWay is releasing their first Triple IPA, Trippa. Coming in at a massive 10% ABV (no word back on the IBUs), the brewery was – naturally – pushed to the limit in terms of malt, hops, and equipment! The hop bill was made up of copious amounts of Ella, Idaho 7, and Vic Secret, giving this big beer plenty of juicy, tropical qualities, to go with its “super silky mouthfeel and pillowy body”. Limited supplies are available, with cans only at the brewery; growlers and pints will also be pouring there, as well as at a few select licensees in New Brunswick.

• If you listened in to the latest podcast from the 902BrewCast crew, where they interviewed Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery, you would have been privy to some expansion news. Oh well, you’ll just have to get it from us, some equally-handsome devils! That’s right, Brightwood has announced their expansion to a 10 bbl (~1150 L) system, with a pair each of both 10 and 20 bbl fermentors, as well as a canning line. They’ll be opening their location (and taproom) on Portland St., sharing a space with a new cidery that will be launching. We’ll keep you updated on their progress, but in the meantime, here’s a new beer from Brightwood to hold you off: Dartmouth Commons is a “late season lawnmower beer” brewed with 2-row, Vienna, and Rye malt, and hopped with Citra and Galaxy. Basically a light, crisp lager with “lots of citrus and tropical fruit” character, it comes in easy-drinking (as it should) at 5% ABV. Look for it at the Alderney Farmers Market this weekend, with a keg possibly popping up at Schoolhouse over the next day or two as well.

North Brewing has a new release coming out today, and it sounds like a winner! Ensō is a Sour Brown Ale that was aged in four separate oak barrels, for 4 months. The beer was then bottle-conditioned (in 650 mL bottles), with the corresponding barrel number indicated on the label. With a slightly lower carbonation level than other North beers, expect a “sherry-like vibe” in the finished product, with characteristics of “stone fruit, tart pear, raisin, vanilla, and light molasses” in the flavour. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, you can find bottles at both North retail shops. Also, cans of their New England IPA, Malternate Reality, are available now!

• Over to Good Robot, where next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday will be Mordor’s Porter. Aside from a nice little reference to a fantastic trilogy, the beer was brewed with a variety of malt types (Pale, Amber, Brown and Black, along with a bit of Smoked malt) to give complex flavours of “bourbon, plums, apricots, and caramel”. Featuring some Willamette hops for 39 IBUs to balance the malt, this burnt orange-coloured, 4% ABV beer was brewed by Colin MacDonald and Kelly C. Also, you may have noticed through social media that some canning was going on at GR earlier this week; we’ll have more info for you in the next week or two (ok, it was Extra Big Ass Lager), as well as some bottling news!

• After a summer hiatus, Lunn’s Mill has brought back their Eclipse (7% ABV, 60 IBUs), a Black IPA. Dark-coloured and hop-forward, it’s still balanced by plenty of malt character, and a hint of roastiness from the addition of dark malt. And also pouring from Lunn’s Mill is a new beer launched a couple of weeks ago, Lager Driver. This one is a Vienna Lager weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs; initially released at their Oktoberfest event, it is luckily still available. Malty and dry, with a mild bitterness in the finish, the body exhibits a deep-amber colour.

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing will have a pair of new beers available this weekend, just as the temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning colour. New IPA 1.0 is, you guessed it, a brand new IPA that the HB crew has whipped up. Using a blend of three hops that lean toward the citrus and tropical end of the spectrum, this beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU. The second new brew to you is their Robust Porter, featuring plenty of Chocolate and Black malts for a solid roast flavour and aroma, but with a balancing hop charge for enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Grab the new beers, as well as their core lineup, at their Kirk Street location this weekend. And if you want to enjoy a pint of Heritage on tap outside of brewery hours, visit the following local spots: Sip CafeRC’s Restaurant & PubThe Hatfield House Culinary Experiences, and the Red Cap Restaurant & Motel.

• The crew at Half Cocked Brewing, located in North Grant (just outside of Antigonish), have added a new beer to their repertoire this week. A 7.3% American Stout, the pitch black beer features roast and coffee aromatics on top of a rich creamy mouthfeel with hints of chocolate, finishing of in a nice bitter kick, thanks to the 60 IBU. They have decided to name this beer The Darkest One, and if you are a fan of the Tragically Hip or the Trailer Park Boys, you know why.

• The Rock’s Port Rexton Brewing has a new release with a connection back to Nova Scotia’s Big SpruceEcho Chamber is brewed in the American-Belgo style, juxtaposing yeast and grain with old world Belgian vibes against tons of new world hops. Hopped with the AzaccaHuell Melon and Amarillo varieties in whirlpool additions described as “massive”, it was then dry-hopped with even more Azacca and Huell Melon for an explosion of orange and melon aroma. The bitterness is pronounced, yet well-balanced and the finish is slightly dry. The yeast strain used was the Pin Cherry developed by Escarpment Labs for Big Spruce, which lays a base of spice notes that provide the foundation for the rest of the beer. Look for this well-balanced ale on tap at the brewery now.

• We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Horton Ridge would be holding their Oktoberfest in Hortonville tomorrow, October 21st, and we now have details on the collaboration brewed up with Sea Level for the event. An Oktoberfest (natch) named Maltoberfest, it was brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt, and hopped with local Hallertau in the mash, with more Hallertau and some Mandarina Bavaria in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham yeast and finishing at 4.8% ABV, it will be released at the event tomorrow. Meanwhile, Horton Ridge has released a new beer called Queen’s Smash, a SMaSH beer (obviously) that features a PEI barley variety called Queens after the county where it was developed. Hopped with Calypso to give it a bit of a North/South Island flair, this is a one-off, so you’ll have to head down to the brewery and malt house for a taste!

A few events to tell you about…

• The New Glasgow Farmers’ Market is hosting an All Hallows Ball, at their location next Saturday, October 28th. Featuring beer from Sober Island Brewing and Uncle Leo’s, it will also serve as the coming out party for Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing, with their first beers pouring at the event. Food from Smokinstein Food Truck will keep you happy, plus live music all evening. Costumes are mandatory, so be sure to get planning now, and there are still tickets available here.

• In other spooky event news, Maybee Brewing is bringing back their Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 28th, starting at 7 pm. Tickets aren’t quite on sale yet, but they’ll only be 5$, which gets you in to the event. There’ll be live music all evening, lots of beer for sale (including a special-release cask ale), “haunted brewery tours”, and a costume contest. And when you get hungry, Milda’s Pizzas & More will be on-site, making up some special Halloween-inspired pizzas. There’ll even be a free shuttle heading downtown at the end of the night, to make sure you get home safely… or to your next drinking spot! It’s up to you.

Rounding out the news today…

– Fredericton’s Grimross will soon be releasing another brew in their Scratch series, Scratch #6: Schwartzbier. Featuring roast character with a “light and clean finish”, look for it on tap at the brewery by next week.
PEI Brewing Co. has brought back Hell Street, their 8.1% ABV barrel-aged Doppelbock; you can pick up some bottles at the brewery, Gahan House in Charlottetown, and the Beer Station.
– We may still be having some warm days, but that hasn’t stopped Petit-Sault from bringing back their award-winning Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV)! It’s available now at the brewery taproom on tap and in bottles.
– If you like your Citra SMaSH beers, we have some good news – Unfiltered‘s highly-popular Double Orange Ale (DOA) (7.5% ABV) is back as of today at noon; growlers and pints at Charm School, and on tap around the HRM.
– A. Keith’s Historic Brewery on Lower Water Street in Halifax got some happy news this week, as their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout was awarded a Four-star Beer designation at The Beer Awards in England. Congrats to brewer Stefan Gagliardi and his team.