Happy long weekend! Whether you have your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday or Monday, early afternoon or evening, deep fry your turkey or roast it, we can’t think of a better way to lead into it than beer! We’re not saying one absolutely needs a beer or three before sitting down with multiple family members to stuff yourselves full off tryptophan-laden food… but it certainly helps (especially if the conversation veers towards politics… Canadian OR American). Our usual reminder about holiday weekends bears repeating: check your favorite brewery’s hours before planning your supply run, especially on Sunday and Monday; brewers have families too!! With that being said, read on for the latest goings-on in the Atlantic Canadian beer world… and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Nackawic, New Brunswick’s Big Axe will soon be celebrating the official opening of their brand new taproom, with a party scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Along with live music, free tours, and food trucks, they’ll also be launching a new beer for the event, Hops and Sickle Pale Ale. Brewed with Pale and Honey malts, fermented with an American Ale strain, and hopped with a blend from Darlings Island Farm – which appears to mainly feature Dr. Rudi – the final beer has aromas of pine, citrus, stone fruit, and spice. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available at Big Axe during their celebrations (along with several other of their beers), and throughout the following days, while supplies last.
Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing in Hanwell (pronounced “Fredericton” by most people), NB, just can’t help themselves. They’ve got yet another new beer for us this week to whet our appetites for their tap takeover at Stillwell next weekend. Listed as a Brett IPA, this one is likely to be quite a bit different from the last, as it uses a Brettanomyces strain from the Yeast Bay hitherto unknown to Niche (and possible the rest of Atlantic Canada). Purported to bring a character that is “reminiscent of Sweet Tarts” candy, that’s pretty much exactly what it did, providing a slightly tart finish and a fruity palate with plenty of funk on the nose. Because this is Niche, and because it’s an IPA, there were also a lot of hops involved, including Azacca and Galaxy, which amped up the fruity character even more. Dubbed Space Oddity, it’s 5.6% ABV and hazy as hell; you can find it soon at The Joyce and the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton, and Peppers Pub, Lock Stock & Barrels, and the Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, and it might (possibly, potentially, maybe) be available at the Stillwell next weekend as well (see below).
There’s a refreshing, salty new beer pouring at the Port Rexton taproom right now… and if you guessed Gose, you’d be exactly right! Drifter is the brewery’s 4.1% ABV take on the sour, German Wheat beer, with salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company added in the boil. As is usual for the style, coriander was also added, with the final beer exhibiting the perfect balance between sour and spice; don’t let anyone tell you Gose is just a summer beer, as these low-alcohol, refreshing brews are perfect throughout the entire year! Best to drop by Port Rexton ASAP to give it a try, as there is a limited amount of kegs available – half of the batch was transferred to a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, along with a pitch of Brett D (we’re looking forward to hearing how that turns out!).
North Brewing is hoping that you like beers that are hard to pronounce, maybe, ‘cause they’re releasing Des Pêches Rooib today. Don’t let the name intimidate you, as it sounds plenty tasty! The base beer was aged for 7 months in one of the brewery’s neutral oak barrels at Battery Park, where it was conditioned on Peach Rooibos tea from the World Tea House. After bottling, the 5.4% ABV beer was allowed to condition further for another 5 months, and now it’s finally available for sale! Peachy, effervescent, and with a light amount of oak character, there’s about 700 bottles available at both North bottle shops; maybe grab a couple for Thanksgiving dinner?
We’re used to seeing a variety of wet-hopped beers this time of year, but how often do you see a wet-hopped Belgian Pale Ale? That’s what Tatamagouche Brewing has done with Hopback Hustle (4.4% ABV), their latest beer that is currently on tap at the brewery. Featuring Cascade and Crystal hops grown at the brewery’s farm in Malagash, both varieties were added at several stages of the brew – in the mash, the kettle, and hop back (twice!). Fermented with a dry, Belgian ale yeast, the beer has a nice balance of light, spicy yeast character, combined with “bright, floral, earthy aromas” from the hop additions. A few kegs will likely be popping up in the HRM, but the majority of it will be found at Tatabrew for pints and growlers. And while we have you here, now’s a good time to mention that Blue Bales, Tata’s wheat beer conditioned on 350 lbs of organic blueberries, is back on tap and in cans, and Deadeye DIPA, their Imperial IPA hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc (and a little bit of Nelson Sauvin in the dry hop) will return this weekend, also in cans and on tap.
We mentioned last week that Garrison is finishing up their annual Oktoberfest this weekend, with Das Big Party happening on Saturday, October 6th. We can now confirm that they’ll also be releasing a new beer for the event, a Marzen named Gettin’ Ziggy. This 6% ABV German Lager was brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt, and hopped with Hallertau to 21 IBUs. Malty and clean, you know the drill with this style of beer… it’s meant to go down easy, and go down often, preferably in large quantities, with lots of people around and live music playing. Hey, sounds like it fits the party where it’s debuting! Meanwhile, the gang at Garrison happened upon an unexpected discovery in their cellars this week: a trove of Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Autumns past. A scant 32 of the 2016 and 35 of the 2017 vintages will be available on Saturday at the brewery, so if a strong pumpkin ale with a little age on it is your thing, you’d best get there early.
Let’s move over to Dartmouth, where New Scotland Brewing has two new beverages out for our enjoyment, a beer, and a cider. We’ll start with the cider, so we don’t make ourselves look TOO biased. Blueberry Apple Cider doesn’t have an “official” name yet, but we’re ok with that, because it kinda speaks for itself right now, no? Made using apples from Stirling Fruit Farms, and blueberries and honey from Glenmore Farms, it was fermented with the naturally-occurring yeast on the apples, before the addition of commercial yeast to take it the rest of the way. Unfiltered, this dry, English-style cider has a dry, tannic, wine-like flavour, and weighs in at 6.2% ABV.
New Scotland’s beer is Heads Will Roll, a Red IPA. Brewed with a grist made up mainly of Maris Otter, and a touch of Pale Chocolate malt, it was late-hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria, to provide plenty of fruity and citrusy character to the beer. This fruitiness was bumped up even further by fermenting the beer with Vermont ale yeast, which brought the beer to 6.5% ABV. At just 35 IBUs, the finishing bitterness should be in the moderate range.
Halifax’s Chain Yard has us moving right back into cider territory with their habanero-infused Hot Mess. Looks like this one is actually a blend of several other Chain Yard ciders, including Foundation, Intrepid, Highway Strobbery, and Drunken Cherry. The final blend was then dry-hopped with Cascade, and steeped with habaneros. Those of you with any type of hot pepper experience will know that habaneros are right up there with some of the hottest peppers readily-available; luckily, the final product isn’t too crazy, with Chain Yard describing it as a “subtle but intensifying heat”. Sound doable? Maybe have some bread nearby, just in case! It’s 7.5% ABV and currently on tap at their taproom.
Way down near the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is Tusket Falls Brewing, and they’ve got a new beer to tell you about this week. Called District 34 after the local lobster fishing grounds (Lobster Fishing Area 34 – Southwest NS), the timing for it is just right, as the fisherman are just getting ready for this year’s season. An American Porter, the grist was composed of pale and caramel malts along with roasted barley and oats. Bittered with American hop varieties, it features toffee aromas and roasted coffee flavors while maintaining a full body and a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, this 7% ABV beer is dark brown with a coffee-colored head, and though it’s available at the brewery now in cans and at select tap accounts in NS, it will also be part of the Maritime Beer Box that will be found at Harvest, Rockhead and WestSide in Halifax later this fall (and, perhaps, also as a single). And if you’re interested in learning more about Tusket Falls Brewing, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein your intrepid podcasters embark upon a jaunt down to the brewery and discover it to be a most welcoming place.
So dedicated to keeping us informed is Kelly of Halifax’s Good Robot that she was even kind enough this week to let us know that nothing’s going on! Fear not, gentle soul, we’re sure there is plenty of the usual work-a-day mirth to be had at the taproom, but we are honor bound to advise that there will be no BetaBrewsday release this coming Tuesday, owing to GR being closed for a staff day. Later in the week will also see the return, after a brief hiatus, of Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale which is once again being lovingly packaged in cans. And we think we caught an Instagram photo of Kelly brewing a beer with Emily Tipton a few blocks away at Boxing Rock’s experimental small-batch brewery at Local Source. We’re sure there’s a story (and a beer!) behind that photo and we hope to have it for you in the coming weeks.
Quick! Beer nerds! Off the top of your head do you know what a bière de coupage is? We didn’t either, but it turns out it’s the result of the time-honored technique of blending some old (“mature”) beer into quite a bit more young beer. Practiced quite extensively in Europe, where Flanders Reds and lambic and even farmhouses are often produced using this technique, it was also common in the UK in times past for porters and stouts (and, depending on who you believe, a form of it is still used to produce Guinness). Why are we telling you this? Because of course a local brewery is releasing a beer that leverages this technique, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Stillwell Brewing. Make 1, 2 started with a batch of fermenting Easy, which comprised 3/4 of the volume, to which a barrel of very old sour beer was added. The coup de grace on this bière de coupage was a dry hop with a floral and spicy variety just prior to bottling. You’ll find the resulting concoction on sale this weekend at the usual spot on Gottingen Street behind Propeller Brewing.
If you happen to be in the Ashdale area of Nova Scotia this long weekend, why not drop by Meander River, where they’ve released a new, small batch cider, Blueberry. This dry cider was blended with local, fresh blueberries, giving it a purple colour and “fleshy, ripe blueberry flavour with a crisp apple finish”. Sounds like a good pairing with a certain annual dinner involving turkey, no? It’s available right now in 500 mL bottles, but in a very limited quantity and only direct from the source.
The email came in just in the nick of time, allowing us to give you all the info on the latest Something Different release from Annapolis Cider Co. Spiced Plum is a 6.3% ABV sparkling cider made up of a blend of cider (from Northern Spy and Paula Red apples) and perry (from Flemish Beauty pears). This blend was then cold-steeped with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, sliced fresh ginger, whole nutmeg and allspice (do some of these spices make you think of your favourite pie?). Finally, fresh juice from locally-grown golden Shiro plums was added for balance, and to give a hint of tartness. Sounds like a fantastic cider for Thanksgiving! As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 of every fill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s Nourishing Community Food Bucks Program.
There are a few events coming up that we think you might be interested in hearing (more) about:
We mentioned the Niche Brewing takeover at Stillwell above and we’re happy to report that we’ve now got a list of what we’re likely to see next Saturday on October 13 from 4 PM (note the later opening than usual for Stillwell on a Saturday). If you weren’t already excited about the event, this should get you over the hump, and if it doesn’t, we’re not entirely sure why you’re reading this. Here’s the twelve taps that are expected to open the afternoon:
- Tafelbier – Mixed-fermentation Table Beer, 3.6%
- Lucid Dreams – Mixed-ferm Saison w/ pineapple, pink guava, and apricot, 6.3%*
- Cilantro Lime Gose, 4.2%*
- Boysenberry Persuasion – Kettle sour w/ boysenberry puree, 4.2%
- Ruby Tuesday – Kettle sour w/ hibiscus, 4.4%
- Hold Fast – Dry-hopped Sour (El Dorado & Citra), 4.2%*
- Evolution – Barrel-aged Saison, 6.3%*
- Space Oddity – Brett IPA hopped w/ Azacca & Galaxy, 5.6%
- Mahalo – Pineapple Milkshake IPA, 6.4%
- Day Tripper – Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
- Receding Darkness – Dark Brett beer, 6.4%
- Wake-up Call – Sweet Stout w/ barrel-aged coffee and vanilla bean, 5%*
Note that the beers marked with an asterisk (*) are special editions brewed specifically for this event and the Mahalo is a brand new beer. This will also be the first (and only) appearance of Evolution before the rest of the batch is eventually bottled. But WAIT, there’s MORE!! We’ve also got a list of the beers lined up as replacements when (not if) the above kegs kick:
- Single Origin – Coffee Sweet Stout, 5%
- Constellation – Dark, sour Saison w/ black currant, 4.7%
- Ethos – Mixed-ferm saison, 6.3%
- Island in the Sun, Grisette w/ Galaxy hops, 3.6%
- Moderation – Passion Fruit Milkshake IPA w/ Enigma & Mosaic, 5.5%*
We suggest gameplanning for this one, folks, as we think you’re going to want to try all of these. And meanwhile, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be putting out some special treats from the kitchen with a bit of an Asian flare, including a Tandoori Chicken Wrap (mint raita, smashed cucumbers, iceberg lettuce), Tuna Crudo (blackberry-jalepeno conserva, smoky puffed rice, raddichio), General Tso’s Eggplant (Vegetarian, possibly Vegan, with kimchi fried rice and shoots), and Gulab Jamun with green and black cardamom syrups for dessert. Also, a reminder that Shawn and Rob of Niche will be on hand to answer all of your questions about their brewery and their beers and to wax poetic on the subtle minutiae of mixed fermentations. Or maybe they’ll just get loaded and tell naughty jokes. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining!!
Windsor, NS, will be the site of the 20th annual Pumpkin Regatta a week from Sunday, on October 14. And for the 2nd year in a row, Schoolhouse Brewing will be hosting a Pumpkin Regatta Beer Garden. Take advantage of a vantage point along the waterfront where you’ll be able to relax in dry comfort with a beer in your hand as the regatta entrants navigate across Lake Pesaquid in their hollowed out gourds. Toast them in style with a pint of Schoolhouse’s gourdian Pumpkin Paddler, or one of their many other offerings. The taproom will open at 11 AM and the beer garden will be in full effect from 12 – 8 PM, with live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s no cover and there will be food specials on the menu. Look for more info on the regatta and other events in town this weekend at the Windsor Pumpkin Festival Website.
There seems to be quite a few multi-brewery tap takeovers going on in the region these days, doesn’t there? We can’t help but think that this is an excellent way for folks to get a taste of the wares from a couple of different breweries, while still being able to try a nice variety from each and maybe see a little bit of friendly competition. Coming up October 18 – 21, Halifax’s Garrison and Dartmouth’s Nine Locks will be taking over all 16 taps at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth for the weekend in another Double Header Tap Takeover. Starting with Thursday for wing night, leading into their usual TGIF Friday night with folks from Nine Locks in the house, Saturday afternoon Ceilidh and Saturday night Kitchen Party when personnel from Garrison will be on hand, and who knows who might show up for Sunday’s finish when the winner is revealed?
And lastly, a few quick mentions of a various and sundry nature:
– Looks like Breton Brewing has again brewed one of their popular summer beverages, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Look for this 4% ABV, pinkish-red kettle sour to be available in the not-too-distant future.
– Lunn’s Mill wants to let you know that they’ve restocked their shelves with cans of Lager Driver and Anvil Porter; in addition to being available for purchase at their taproom, some of these cans will also be available at the private liquor stores in the HRM sometime next week.
– Two returning beers this week from our friends at Propeller Brewing: Nocturne Black IPA, a 6.7% brew dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight (on tap and in cans); and Tropical IPA, a 6.2% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy to boost the tropical fruit aromas (growlers and pints at the tasting room, only).
– In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is releasing the third iteration of Starblast, their “American Fruited Ale”, today at the brewery. This batch was conditioned on over 300 lbs of strawberry and kiwi purée, and was lightly hopped with El Dorado. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans.