Well, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards have finally been wrapped up, and now that it’s been almost a week, we’re going to assume that most of you who were in attendance have fully recovered (although, it’s kinda likely that maybe one or two of you have NOT). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our list of all of the winners, announced at last Sunday’s gala. Now that everything is relatively back to normal, let’s start off this rainy Friday by getting caught up with everything that’s new in the wonderful world of beer in our region! So grab whatever Halloween candy you have left (might we recommend little bags of Doritos, and miniature Kit Kat bars, if they’re available?), and a big old Stout (hey, it WAS International Stout Day recently… or something), and read away!
Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new beer pouring on Bridge Ave. Little Sister is a West Coast IPA packed with plenty of hop character from large additions of Simcoe and Mosaic and featuring the bracing bitterness typical of the style at 75 IBU, while still managing to be soft and smooth. Tipping the scales at 5.9% ABV, right in the IPA sweet spot, expect dank and tropical notes from the hops with a solid malt backbone to balance. Maybe it won’t keep vampires away, but they’ll surely appreciate your taste in beer as they draw you into their world. Look for it on tap at the brewery’s taproom and at tap accounts in the big city in the days to come (and if you don’t see it, be sure to ask for it!). Also, if you’re a fan of Backstage’s all-Citra IPA, Headliner, look for it to be back on tap as well.
In Dartmouth, Spindrift has announced a brand new series of beers which they’ll be calling Out of the Hold. All beers released under this brand will be bottle-conditioned, with many being fermented and/or aged in barrels, in a variety of bottles sizes; some will be one-offs, some will be in regular rotation. While all of the beers will be available to purchase at the brewery, naturally, one can expect many of them to also pop up at the private stores in the HRM. The first two beers in this series – Cherry Brett Beer and Golden Brett Beer – hit shelves yesterday. Both were brewed with Pilsner as the base malt, and both were aged “extensively” in French red wine barrels and highly carbonated during packaging. The Cherry Brett, at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and conditioned for months on dark, sweet cherry puree. Conversely, the Golden Brett, also at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis Vrai. Look for more Spindrift bottles to follow in the near future, with two releases planned for two weeks from now, and another two in mid-December.
Boxing Rock’s venture into Halifax has yielded another small-batch beer from the Test Kitchen, this one brewed by Emily Tipton with Good Robot’s Queen of the Beta Batch, Kelly Costello. Zombie Mule takes cues from the time of year and also the Moscow Mule cocktail, as it features additions of lime and ginger. Exclusive to the Local Source bottle shop where you can pick up growler fills, and Lion & Bright, where you can grab a pint, like all Test Kitchen batches this 5% ABV beer is in limited supply, with only 4 kegs produced. So whether you’re a beer fan who enjoys an occasional cocktail or a cocktail fan who appreciates an occasional beer, or hey, just someone who’s looking for something new to try, you’d best act fast as this one’s not likely to be around long!
We mentioned the launch of 9zero2 Brewing last week, the foray into beer for the Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig. They’ve released another new beer this week, the amber JJs Ale. Named after Joey and Jackie Smith, who were former owners of the land upon which Steinhart and 9zero2 rest, and had a love of farming, gardening, and of course, enjoying a well-made dram or pint. Their eponymous beer is an easy drinking 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, with notes of tangerine, and a very smooth finish. The best place to grab a taste of this new release, as well as their other beers, is at the taproom in Arisaig, or hit them up on FB as they are offering a delivery service for those in the region.
Port Rexton Brewing has a new release this week at both the brewery taproom and their St. John’s Retail Shop. The One with Citra is a 4.9% ABV American Pale Ale, dry-hopped with a small fortune of Citra hops, punching well above its weight/ABV in terms of tropical and citrus aroma and flavour, which featuring a medium body and dry finish. Grab a growler fill at both locations, plus here’s what else to expect at 286 Torbay Road: Firehouse Amber, T-Rex Porter, Baycation Blonde are all in growlers, with limited numbers of cans of Baycation and T-Rex, as well as a trio of IPAs Chasing Sun NEIPA, Blazing Sun NEDIPA, and Horse Chops IPA available.
We know that the gang at Niche loves to name their beers with musical references, so we can only assume that this week’s new offering is a tribute to pop icon Madonna’s first US top ten hit. Borderline is Niche’s first black IPA and though colorwise it may be on the lighter side for the style, it still packs plenty of roast and chocolate notes along with a solid hop presence. Featuring dank and citrusy hops, namely Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Citra, it’s also got plenty of bitterness to complement the darker malt flavors at 45 IBU. Although the 5.8% ABV won’t make you feel like you’re going to lose your mind (unless you have too many of them), it’ll have your tastebuds dancing to it’s irresistible beat. Look for it at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Tide & Boar Gastropub. And if you find yourself at one of those locations or any of Niche’s other usual tap accounts, look for the return of Ethos, their house strain-fermented Brett Saison, sometime next week.
Sticking in the Fredericton area, TrailWay has just released Bliss, the little brother to their Fuzzy Bubbles IPL. Yes, they’re billing Bliss as a “Session India Pale Lager”, as it comes in at just 4% ABV. Hopped with a “unique blend of American hops”, and fermented with a Czech Pilsner yeast strain, the beer was then lagered at 0º Celsius for 8 weeks before packaging. TW is describing the beer as “extremely clean, hugely juicy, fruity, soft and smooth, yet crisp and effervescent”. You can grab cans at the brewery right now, where it’s also available on tap for pints and growler fills.
Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is still putting the final touches on their big brewery on Main Street, but in the meantime, they are still busy releasing beers from their pilot system at 19 Kirk Street (open Thursday and Friday evenings for growler fills and flights). The latest is their Hopfenweizen, released in celebration of Oktoberfest. This hybrid of styles has at its base a traditional German Hefeweizen, with a wheat-and-pilsner malt base, and fermented with a yeast strain to highlight the iconic banana and clove characters iconic for the style. However, they used plenty of hops late in the boil to bring a new layer of complexity, to impart some fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, complementing the underlying beer. Grab a growler this evening, and/or a pint at their 250 Main Street location. While the brewery may not be quite operational (therefore no growlers just yet), their taproom currently has seven of their own beers on tap, plus another 9 guests. Be sure to catch their Wet Hop Pale Ale before it is done for the year: using local hops, there was only enough to brew one batch!
And big congratulations to the Heritage Brewing family on winning the Rising Star of the Year award from the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce! And congratulations to Dawn and Josh of WIne and Beer Tours of Nova Scotia on their recognition in the Tourism Business of the Year category.
Quidi Vidi Brewery has brought back their Open Saison series with Open Saison on Crabapple. This 6.5% ABV beer was first brewed on their pilot system last year, but this batch was brewed on their larger system, and is seeing distribution to several NLC locations. Crab apples from across the province were gathered and used to enhance the base tart saison. Look for it on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and in 6-packs in retail locations all over. Don’t wait to grab yours, however, as this release is the last of it for 2018!
The Church Brewing Company will be opening their doors within the next couple of months, so they are looking to bring on a few good folks to help keep their taproom running smoothly. They are looking for managers, bartenders, servers, bussers, prep cooks, and loads more. Fire them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
The crazy kids of Tidehouse have brought back one of the scariest beers in the region this week just in time for Hallowe’en. Pepperoni Ghost starts with a light smoked porter base that sees the famous pepperoni from Brothers Meats (defatted and dehydrated) added to the cauldron in the last five minutes of the boil. For an extra kick, super duper spicy ghost peppers are also added towards the end of fermentation. This was a limited batch available by the bottle at the brewery since Wednesday, and there’s already not much left. Further, they’ve promised that this is the Last Batch Ever™ (although we suspect that’ll have all the finality of killing Jason or Freddie Krueger) so if meat and heat are your jam when it comes to beer, get yourself down to Salter Street in Halifax with haste! But if you have to make a stop on the way, make it a stop at Canadian Blood Services. CBS needs your blood and Tidehouse wants to encourage you to give it. While you’re donating a pint or two of your finest, grab a selfie to show at the bar and upon presentation you will be rewarded with a gift card that you can immediately exchange for either a 1 L growler fill to go or a 16 oz glass at the bar (metric vs imperial: FIGHT). Step 1: Bleed. Step 2: Get beer. It’s not rocket surgery.
This week’s winner in the, “Really, you emailed us at 11 AM on Friday? Jeez buddy!” sweepstakes is 2 Crows in Halifax. We’ll forgive them (mostly) though, as, frankly, we’re excited about the beer. Dropping tomorrow at noon, and with an extremely limited run of roughly 400 bottles, Glamour isn’t just brewer Jeremy Taylor’s favorite D&D spell (perfect for a Goblin Bard), it’s a Sauvignon Blanc barrel-fermented and bottle-aged sour. Based on a grist of Pilsner malt, wheat, spelt and oats, it was hopped lightly with Hallertau Blanc hops on brewday and then soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and fermented in a freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrel with a blend of clean and funky critters. Conditioned for six months before transfer, it was dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops in stainless steel before being bottled with Champagne yeast and allowed to condition for an additional two months. It’s 5.1% ABV, and the tasting notes specify that it’s bright, tart and lively, with notes of gooseberry, lemongrass, and light oaky tannins. With such a limited quantity available, you’d best not hesitate. Y’know, like Jeremy did with emailing us about it. Seriously, though, if you’re a fan of sour beers and/or 2 Crows, this one is likely not to be missed; these folks did win Beer of the Year last week after all…
There are some excellent events in our region this weekend where beer and cider take center stage. Check them out below and plan accordingly!
Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is taking over the taps at St. John’s Merchant Tavern this evening. Featuring six taps, this will be the first time several of these beers are available on draught outside of HRM, so be sure to drop by and meet the Spindrift crew! Look for: Abyss Black Lager, their redesigned Coastal Lager, Free Trade APA, Hurricane IPA, Killick, and Knotty Buoy.
Although the Annapolis Cider tap takeover was announced a couple weeks ago now, the tap list was a mystery up until a few days ago when it was posted to social media, and it’s safe to say fans of local cider who make their way down to Stillwell this Saturday are in for a treat. Twelve different ciders will be pouring, running the gamut from Annapolis’ core brands to some of the more outré offerings from their Something Different series. As always, you can also expect some special snacks dreamed up just for the event to be coming out of the kitchen. While you plot your strategy around the list below, maybe open up your favorite podcasting app and throw on the recent 902BrewCast episode featuring Annapolis Cider’s Sean Myles. It’s an incredibly informative session not just about the cidery and their approach, but about cider and cider making in general as well.
- Wine & Strawberry – dry cider, red wine, strawberry blend – 5.9%
- Earl Blue – dry cider and blueberry blend w. Earl Grey tea – 6.8%
- Sour Cherry – dry cider, sour cherry blend – 7.1%
- Geneva Crab Rosé – crabapple cider with Geneva Red & Golden Hyslop – 8.6%
- Arctic Kiwi – dry cider, arctic kiwi blend – 7%
- Mixed Berry & Pear – strawberry, blackcurrant, bosc pear and dry cider – 7%
- Pazazz & Grapefruit – single variety Pazazz w. grapefruit zest – 6.8%
- Rhubarb Ginger – dry cider and rhubarb blend w. fresh ginger – 6.7%
- Honey Blossom – dry cider w. elderflower, purple lilac blossoms and local wildflower honey – 7%
- Muscat Mojito – dry cider w. Muscat grape skins, mint and fresh lime – 7.1%
- The Classic – semi-dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 5.6%
- Crisp & Dry – dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 7.7%
If you happen to be in the Moncton area, the Tide & Boar is hosting a special event, the SPCA Tap Takeover, tomorrow, November 3rd, from noon to close. Several breweries from NB and NS will be participating, and pouring some of their favourite beers. The list includes Tide & Boar Brewing (Method IPA and Mosaic IPA), Grand Monk (Lion’s Cut NEIPA), Celtic Knot (Enigma Salted Caramel Porter), Big Spruce (Fake News! and Tag! You’re It!), Niche Brewing (Constellation), and 2 Crows (Wild Skies). They’ll also have a keg of Zwaaien & Zwieren, a 12.6% ABV Imperial Stout from Brouwerij de Molen (Netherlands); this is the 2015 vintage of this beer, so needless to say it’s a rare one! For every pint sold, $1 will go towards the Greater Moncton SPCA. But that’s not all! A single bottle of the much-coveted Samuel Adams Utopias will be available for 1 oz pours starting at noon, with all proceeds benefiting the GMSPCA. Your purchase of a 1 oz pour will also give you the chance to win the Utopias bottle (once it’s empty… sorry!), as well as a gift package donated by Big Spruce. Be sure to show up on Saturday, drink some delicious beers, and support a good cause all at the same time!
And a few more quick mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:
For the second time in a month or so, there will be no Beta Brewsday at Good Robot this week. Something something about Kelly actually taking time off (can she DO that?!). But all is not lost, GR favorite Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie is back to tide you over. Yes, it’s a pale ale, but yes, it’s also flavored with coffee; 5.1% ABV and 32 IBU and very easy drinking.
Also back for a seasonal appearance (a bit earlier this year) is Propeller’s Russian Imperial Stout. This burly 8.0% ABV brew is smooth and supple and packaged for the first time in 473 mL cans, but you can also grab one of a very few 650 mL bottles if you’re looking to put one down in the cellar for a while, or you can grab a glass on tap at the tasting room.
Available today at noon, Upstreet is bringing back their formal winter seasonal, Black Tie Affair. This 5.0% ABV Stout features the addition of cranberries for a lightly tart flavour, and finishes with a hint of sweet vanilla. It is available on draught, as well as growlers, crowlers, and bottles at both the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, as well as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, as this was a simultaneous brewday in both Charlottetown and Dartmouth.