Welcome to September! And welcome to the Long Weekend! For those going back to school (or who have kids going back to school), we wish you all the best as the new year of classes begin, whether they’re online or in person! And for those in neither of those situations, enjoy a Monday to soak up the late summer vibes in our region. We’ve got plenty of new beers and ciders for you to grab while you are out and about this weekend (or ordering delivery, remember that is still a thing!). Do be sure to check in advance for those spots that may not be open Labour Day Monday, to avoid disappointment.
Lots of news coming out of Meander River this week, with beer and cider releases, as well as info on this year’s hop harvest! Let’s start with the beer, since we’re kinda biased that way. Lazy Dazy started off as your fairly typical American Wheat Ale, but features an addition of fresh grapefruit zest and pith midway through fermentation. Once fermentation was all-the-way completed, they tossed in a healthy dry-hop addition of Citra, giving this 4% ABV brew even more juicy, tropical character. Light and refreshing, it sounds like a great beer to finish off your summer with. In cider world, MR has released two new ones in their Small Lot series, Small Lot Blueberry and Small Lot Cranberry. All Small Lot ciders are made with fresh local or farm-grown fruits, herbs, flowers, etc.; in the case of these two newbies, fresh-pressed valley blueberry and cranberry juice were added (we’ll let you figure out which one was used in which!). Quantities are always limited, with both products available on tap and in bottles. If you drop by to do some shopping, you may even be lucky enough to be around for yet another Small Lot cider, Lavandula, a honey lavender cider that will be available in 750 mL bottles only.
Finally, Meander River is calling for help with their annual hop harvest, which will be taking place this Sunday at 9 AM. This socially-distanced event doesn’t require you to sign up in advance, as they’ve assured us there is plenty of space to safely pick the aromatic hop bines. The hops harvested will be used in brewing their Homegrown Wet-Hop Ale, which should be released sometime around Thanksgiving.
Attention Halifax: if you like hazy, hoppy beers, if you like Nelson Sauvin hops, and if you like supporting a good cause, Propeller Brewing has the beer for you! They’ve teamed up with the Ladies Beer League to brew NZ IPA, a New England IPA that was heavily dry-hopped with the wonderful, pricey, elusive New Zealand hop variety, Nelson Sauvin. Featuring aromas of “fresh crushed gooseberry and tropical fruit”, and low bitterness, this 6.5% ABV beer will be available today at all three Prop Shops for growler fills (and pints at Gottingen and Quinpool). The brewery will be donating $1 from every pint or 1-L growler fill – and $2 for each 2-L growler – to the Halifax Sexual Health Centre. This organization provides a wide range of care options, and are currently working beyond capacity, so let’s do what we can to help, yeah?
Over in Big Spruce-ville (that’s Nyanza, for those of you not in the know), they’ve got a brand new, big beer hitting taps and bottles for the long weekend. Brobdingnagian (no, that’s not a typo) is an all-Mosaic, 8.5% ABV Double IPA. All of those delicious, delightful Mosaic hops provide “clean flavours of mango, citrus and pine”, with peaches, apricots and marmalade on the nose. And at that ABV, it’s going to pack a bit of a punch, so take your time! Available in 650 mL bottles and on tap at Big Spruce and some of their fine licensees, grab it while you can. You’ll also probably see bottles of the latest batch of One Hundred, Nova Scotia’s first beer brewed with all NS ingredients, including a wild yeast strain BS harvested from one of the pin cherries growing on their farm.
In the Hub of Nova Scotia, the eponymous Truro Brewing Company has released a brand new SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer, showcasing their local hop producer. Wicked Game is a 5.5% ABV Pale Ale, featuring generous additions of Centennial hops from Stewiacke’s Wicked Hops Farm. Notes of pine and herbal from the hops balance the light malt character. On tap for samples, pints, and growlers, it joins 4 other options on draught at the 53 Inglis Place taproom, open noon to ten.
Anyone old enough to remember the glory days of situation comedies (that’s ‘sitcoms’ for you whippersnappers out there) know that one of the most common tropes was the ‘kooky’ or ‘wacky’ neighbour. From Ethel Mertz and Eddie Haskell, to Rhoda Morgenstern and the Fonz, to Larry and the two Darryls, to Kimmy Gibler, Steve Urkel, Cosmo Kramer and beyond (we’re sure there were more after those, but we’re kinda old), it’s a story as old as time, or at least television. In Digby, NS, Roof Hound Brewing has released a beer this week called (of course) Kooky Neighbour in honor of their own real-life neighbour, Amy, who owns the spa next door to their Kingston, NS, taproom and who has been welcoming, generous, and supportive to the Roof Hound family in their newest venture. A low-ABV coconut cream ale (apropos, as Amy has a tanning salon), coming in at 3.8% ABV, it’s light and sparkling, with a bit of corn on the finish and just a hint of coconut. In short, a perfect beer for the dying days of summer. Being a limited edition of only 500 bottles we suspect you’ll have to get to the Kingston Taproom to try it; if you do, maybe you’ll get a chance to meet Amy herself!
Whether the following five words excite you or make you want to do yourself bodily harm, they need to be typed: Pumpkin Ale season is back. Sorry/Yay? Anyway, Boxing Rock knows that many of you are bored by the typical Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin spices, so they’ve got their own take on the style with Fuego Habanero Pumpkin Ale. Instead of the usual spices, they’ve added habanero peppers to the beer, along with a little bit of cinnamon and black pepper. Full-bodied, golden-coloured, with aromas and flavours of pepper and pumpkin, it has some heat thanks to the peppers, but not TOO much, we assume, since the brewery also claims the beer is “surprisingly drinkable”. You can find it at the brewery, naturally, with cans also making their way to the HRM private stores. Those of you in New Brunswick should also be able to track some down at select ANBL locations next week.
In PEI, Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new American Pale Ale on tap, Tailgate APA. Billed as a classic West Coast Pale Ale, with actual clarity, as well as a moderate bitterness accompanied by some malt character in the background, it was hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe to give it aromas of “citrus and light pine”. Coming in at 5.7% ABV and 35 IBUs, you can expect to see cans of this one as well, soon. And for those of you who are also into cider, they’ve got their latest there, too, with Buckle Up, a blueberry cider that was made by blending their base, dry cider with blueberry wine from the Rossignol Estate Winery, located in Murray River. Also at the brewery (in cans), it weighs in at 6.5% ABV.
Since moving to their new location, Sackville, NB’s Bagtown Brewing has been keeping up with the one-off brews, and they have their latest, Helium, available now. Brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, it was fermented with sparkling wine yeast. While we’re not 100% certain what beer style this falls into, the brewery is describing it as “light and bubbly, with a subtle honey sweetness and floral aroma”. It finishes fairly dry, and at 5% ABV is intended to be consumed in quantity, if so desired!
Your hard-working crew at Horton Ridge have put their brewhouse to work recently, and conjured up an “old school” IPA (think a fairly bitter IPA that has a bit of sweetness to balance the hops) that they’ve named 500 Miles. If you’re thinking that they’ve named this beer with a nod towards The Proclaimers, you’d be wrong! The malting process that occurs at Horton Ridge involves many, many instances of raking, and around the time that this beer was brewed, the company’s raking odometer (that’s a thing?!?) reached 500 miles. They figured that was as good a name as any for a beer (they’re right!), so there it is. But back to the beer – they’re describing it as having a balance “of grapefruit citrus and piney resinous flavours”. Brewed with some Honey malt in the grist, it also has a “subtle burnt sugar sweetness” as a result. You can find it on tap at their taproom in Hortonville.
Back in New Brunswick, Gridiron has brewed up their very first New England IPA, Hazy Tuesday. With a grist that is heavy on oats and wheat from Island Malt House, the rest is made up with grain from Shoreline Malting. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic (to 65 IBUs), it comes in towards the higher end of the style, at 7.3% ABV. Only a few kegs of this juicy, tropical NEIPA were brewed, and it’s available only at the brewery in Hampton; drop by this long weekend for your pour! They are open daily, 4 – 6 PM, and may be available by appointment if you reach out via FB.
Let’s catch up on a few releases that were announced after our early release last Thursday, we figure there’s still a few bottles and cans around for your consumption…
Newfoundland’s Rough Waters Brewing has released a new Blonde Ale, albeit one with a bit of a twist. Hot Damn was brewed along the lines of your standard beers in the Blonde style, but features an addition of red thai chili peppers. The mild heat in the finish is enough to remind you that there’s more to this 5.5% ABV beer than meets the eye. Available at the brewery in growlers and pints; they were calling for bottles soon, as of last week, so those could very well be ready for this weekend.
Inverness’s Route 19 Brewing dropped a new beer last Saturday, and it’s sounding super tasty, so let’s hope they still have some left! Crew Brew is their latest kettle sour, brewed with the same base (2-row malt) as their previous release, Dog Daze. Soured with their house culture, the resulting beer was dry-hopped with the delicious Sabro variety. The final 5% product has “intense Fuzzy Peach sour candy, green apple, Jolly Ranger, and ripe mango aromas”, all accompanied by a bright, lemon-like acidity, and “coconut cream, smooth finish”. Named to show the brewery’s appreciation for their brewpub staff, all proceeds of the beer will go towards this hardworking bunch, who they say lost a week of work earlier in the summer due to a pandemic-related incident. Drop by the brewery today to give this beverage a taste, and support the crew!
Everybody who’s in the know knows that 2 Crows commonly has weeks where they hit hard with two or three or even more releases and leave us wondering why we got into the (incredibly lucrative, natch) beer blogging game. But last week everything hit so hard that they knocked themselves for a loop and totally neglected to let us know what was coming. We’ve got those deets for you this week, though, starting with Surefire, a foedre-aged fruited sour that’s been nearly a year in the making. Beginning with a grist of Shoreline Malting Pilsner and wheat malt, along with some spelt and rye, it was hopped lightly with Nelson Sauvin hops before fermentation in oak with a blend of 2C’s delightful house cultures. After hanging out an additional five months in the barrel to condition, over 800 lbs of blackberry and 420 lbs of sour cherry were added and allowed to ferment out before a bit of vanilla was added to the mix and the beer was packaged in cans, where it’s been hanging out since June. Described as “deeply jammy, funky, zippy, and complex,” this is no small sour even though it only tips the scales at 4.8% ABV.
Also new and available is Camellia, a lagered wild ale with buckwheat and green tea. Pulling in some floor malted ingredients from the other PEI maltster, Island Malt House, the mash included Pilsner, wheat, oat and rye malts, with malted buckwheat taking center stage. On the hop side, Chinook, Sterling, and Azacca were used at various stages in the kettle before the beer was transferred to foedre and inoculated with a blend of house cultures. Five months later, it was sent to stainless where it was dry-hopped (dry-tea’ed?) with some Sencha Green Tea from Phil Holmans at Halifax’s awesome independent World Tea House. A krausening with lager yeast and some fresh wort before a further seven weeks of cold lagering were the final steps before packaging. We’re going to be honest, beyond the tasting notes from the brewery, which include, “earthy, fresh, zippy,” and, “lightly tart,” we don’t have any idea what to expect from this beer, which is a wonderful place to be when you love to try new things.
Both of these beers have been packaged in cans (and, we don’t doubt, some kegs for pouring at the brewery, at least, and hopefully beyond) so your best bet to grab them is on Brunswick Street in Halifax. If you happen to be by between 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturday or Sunday, remember that they’ll be hosting their Maker’s Market again this weekend. And keep your eyes peeled for more new things from 2 Crows down the road; social media this week had some awesome photos of the team from the Change is Brewing Collective in the 2C house for some collaborative goings-on. We’re very much looking forward to seeing what they came up with together!
Hooray for the continued return of actual events! Just remember, folks, be smart and play safe if you’re planning to attend any large gatherings of people; we’re in one of the safest regions in the world right now COVID-wise, let’s keep it that way!
Luckily for Atlantic Canadian homebrewers, this year’s annual Gahan Maritime Homebrew Challenge is still a go! This is the third year for the event, with all homebrewers invited to do their darndest to brew up the finest example of a West Coast or New England IPA, and enter it for judging. Submit it to your local Gahan House restaurant (of which there are several in the Maritimes) by October 30th; the winner will be announced November 14th at the Charlottetown Gahan House. But what do I win, you may ask? The “Grand Champion” gets $500 cash, and a special edition of their beer will be brewed and canned with help from Gahan/PEI Brewing Co. brewers, for retail sale. There’s other prizes as well (up to $3000 worth); for more of the nitty gritty, check out their site, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck, entrants!
And let’s stick with PEI for a couple more events this week. PEI Burger Love usually consumes all of April, but the pandemic put the kaibosh on the Spring event. However, they have switched the dates, without losing any enthusiasm, and are holding it during the six weeks beginning September 1st. Many brewery and beer-friendly spots are taking part, and for the first time in its ten year history, the Burger Love is expanding from just PEI Beef to Chicken, Pork, Seafood, and Veggie options. Grab your checklist of the 70+ burgers on offer
PEI Brewing Company is going ahead with their fall Oktoberfeast Event later this month, September 25th and 26th. Each day offers something different to visitors, with lawn games, growler holding competition, washer toss and cornhole, and live music and plenty of German-inspired food. Your $15 entry per day includes a filled 1 litre Maß to keep, and entrance to the competitions and fun. Grab your tickets in advance to avoid missing out!
A couple more quick mentions before you leave you to your long and hopefully super-sunny weekend!
Halifax will see the return of a Garrison Brewing favorite this week, with Sour to the People back in a slightly modified form. Still 5.5% ABV, still extremely tart and lemony, the change in this year’s batch is that it isn’t dry-hopped. Look for it on tap at both the Seaport and Oxford locations and also available to go in 473 mL cans.
Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing has their hibiscus kettle sour back on tap this week for those who’ve missed it (which we figure is probably most of the people who’ve tried it). Ruby Tuesday is 4% ABV, tart, fruity, and refreshing. You’ll find it at The Joyce and Peppers Pub for sure, with other Niche tap accounts hopefully picking it up soon as well. It’ll also likely be pouring on Maybee Brewing’s guest tap sometime late next week.