Happy Friday, loyal readers. The signs of summer are everywhere around us. Temperatures in the region are creeping up to 30 degrees, patios are springing up on sidewalks, sessionable crushers are rolling out of tanks, and in the surest sign that the colder months are behind us, the Leafs are about to choke their way to another early exit. With a later release this Friday (we blame the fact that it’s Friday the 13th…), what better time to grab a beer, and get caught up on all of Atlantic Canada’s newest releases and events. Appreciate you sticking around and checking out the news!
Let’s kick things off with a brewery that hasn’t graced the pages of this blog in some time, Loyalist City Brewing, who are embracing the low-alcohol trend with the release of On Call IPA, a 2.5% ABV micro IPA. Special attention went into assuring that despite the low ABV, this one still packs plenty of hop aroma and flavour. Citra and Mosaic hops were used to create notes of stone fruit and citrus, with plenty of balancing bitterness at 35 IBUs. This one is available for a limited time, on tap at the brewery and better beer bars around New Brunswick.
Over in Antigonish County, Half Cocked is rolling out their first ever lager with Ozzy Dunkel, named in honour of the ever popular taproom dog, Ozzy the German Shepherd. This take on the classic German style comes in at 5.4% ABV and features sweet malt notes of biscuits and caramel, along with a hint of black tea. Ozzy Dunkel is available at the brewery for pints and fills, and may get in Halifax County for those imbibing there..
Let’s make a quick jump back to New Brunswick for our next new release, L’érablière 2.0. CAVOK partnered with Chateau Scoudouc Maple to create an amber ale that saw an addition of maple syrup, before being aged on oak chips. The resulting 7.7% ABV ale is available now for pints, growlers and crowlers. And find it at their spot at Cap-Pelé, which is now open for the season! Beach lovers rejoice!
Propeller is mixing things up this week with the release of Saison, their take on the Belgian-inspired style. Expect notes of lemon and spice from the Belgian yeast (with a bit of citrus twist added to send it even higher), with the fermentation also creating lots of carbonation and a dry finish. Cans of the 5% and 20 IBU Saison are available today through Propeller’s online store, their three retail locations, and at the private stores across Halifax.
Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce is celebrating this beautiful May weekend with the release of Stunt Dubbel. The big winner from their 9th Homebrew Challenge held earlier this year, winning brewer Karl Penney made the trip to Cape Breton and helped the Big Spruce Crew turn his 20 litre batch into more than a thousand! As you could probably guess from the name, this is a Belgian Dubbel in style, a malt-forward and super-smooth beer, featuring aromatics and flavours of caramel, toasted brown bread, and even a hint of milk chocolate. The belgian yeast contributes some light pepper spiciness and banana fruity esters, rounding out the 7.2% ABV beer. Available on tap and in cans, whether your travels take you to the brewery, otherwise you can order for HRM or Canada-wide delivery. It’s joined by returning favourite Day 6 with Brett Blueberry, Big Spruce’s tongue-in-cheek ode to Day 6 with Brent Bambury, full of NS-grown Organic blueberries and fermented with the wild Brettanomyces M yeast, for a fruity, funky, full-featured beer.
Tomorrow in the Annapolis Valley, Sea Level Brewing is releasing their Myria IPA in support of the Brew for Ukraine efforts. Ukrainian for “Dream”, Myria borrows the recipe from Pravda Beer, leveraging some great hops to maximise tropical and citrus notes that are reminiscent of passion fruit, melon, peach, and citrus on both the nose and palate. As supplies of this 6.5% ABV beer are limited, cans are available exclusively at the brewery retail store, with the remainder pouring only in their taproom, at 9146 Hwy 221 in Sheffield Mills. Be sure to drop by this weekend to take in the beer, the sights, and the lovely weather!
Up next is an aptly named collaboration between Newfoundland’s Dildo Brewing Company and Church Brewing out of the Annapolis Valley. Sweet Whistlin’ Jaysus is the brainchild of head brewers and former co-workers, Steve Crane and Kyle Jeppesen. Using techniques and ingredients from multiple styles led them to label this 4.6% ABV lager as an Austro-Mexican Lager. The grain bill features a base of Vienna malt, with additions of CaraVienna and corn; Spalter hops were used exclusively, along with an extended fermentation and conditioning with Dildo’s house lager yeast. Keep an eye on both breweries’ social channels for release and retail details.
Cornwall’s Village Green is back with a new version of their Weird Clouds IPA series, this one features Amarillo, Strata and Azacca hops. Look for notes of peach and berries that complement the notes of fresh dinner rolls from the malt. We’ll also mention that last weekend saw the release of Lil’ Hazy, a 4.2% ABV New England Style Pale ale. This one featured ample late boil and dry hop additions of Citra, Strata and Mosaic hops, providing lots of tropical fruit and citrusy notes.
Plenty to tell you about at Serpent Brewing, with several new beers and events to keep you busy this weekend. First up, the beer! Last week, they released Espiritus, a 12% Mexican Mole Porter. Their resident designer of labels and murals in the taproom, Mónica, wanted to bring a taste of her hometown of Mexico City 5000 km Northeast to Spryfield. Using authentic Mexican chocolate, spices, and peppers, she prepared a mole, which went into the beer at the very end of the boil of the base Porter, to bring out even more chocolate, as well as pleasant warming from the peppers and spicing. Previously available exclusively on tap, there are bottles of this heavy hitter available at the brewery now.
Joining Espiritus are three decidedly more restrained beers alcohol-wise, but every bit as flavourful. Dreamer is a 6.0% Raspberry Witbier, where the Brew Crew leverage their yeast and familiarity from their White Mountain Witbier, with the raspberry puree complementing the wheat character, with the beer fermented a touch cooler to keep its esters restrained. Nova Blue is also 6.0%, and just like Dreamer, is best described as a fruited witbier, with locally-grown blueberries lending their flavourful juices to enhance the aroma and taste of the beer. The latest of the Beer Creation Series, where the first boosters of Serpent were able to choose a beer recipe and release it commercially, with beer fan Bob calling the shots on this one.
And finally in new beers is the next in their Beer Creation Series, a small batch beer named Fight Trail. Those of the two wheel variety may recognize the name from a popular trail in the Spryfield area, where Serpent regular Mitch spends lots of time. The beer is a British Golden Ale, that spent some time lagering as well, to mellow out just a touch. Wanting a beer “to crush after crushing the trails”, the 4.7% beer is simple yet complex enough to enjoy while throwing back a couple. A little light for the style, and Simcoe in the dry-hop may not be CAMRA-approved, but these help to keep it interesting and tasty.
All of these beers are on tap, with many also available to go in bottles, from the brewery who are celebrating the opening of their patio this weekend. Dominic’s Cucina Wood Fired Pizza will be slinging pies from 2:30 PM onward, and Nick Hamlyn will be playing live from the patio 3 – 6 PM. Sunday, they will be playing Music Trivia, and you can check out the many events they hold throughout the week!
Three years ago (May 11, 2019 to be exact!) the fine folks at Bannerman Brewing opened their doors and on Saturday May 14th, they’re throwing a big birthday bash at the brewery. Here are some of the highlights from the delicious East Duckworth venue:
- BEER! Surf’s Up is being re-released on tap only, a tropical blue sour that sold out very quickly. Also, 30% off of pints of all of their core beers that were available 3 years ago.
- Island Time, their original launch DIPA, is also available again as of last Friday. This is available widely in cans and at 8% it’s tropical, easy drinking, smooth with nice orange and tangerine flavours.
- FOOD! Best Friend Burger is setting up shop all day to serve their smash burgers for dine-in service. Also, they’ll have dinosaur shaped nuggets.
- MUSIC! The Dandelion Few will be around from 3pm until 5pm with some deadly tunes. Don’t worry, there’s no cover, so swing by if you can.
That about covers it. They’re very excited to welcome everyone back, have people in person and pay homage to some of their core beers.
A pre-COVID staple that many of us looked forward to was the great, the bold, the strong, Péché Day! The annual celebration of the Dieu du Ciel! world class ale is finally back in Halifax and Moncton. Saturday May 21 is the day and Bar Stillwell will host in Halifax and Tide & Boar will host in Moncton. Five offerings of Péché Mortel will feature this year, with Bourbon 2021. Tajumulco 2022, Kumquat 2022 and Dulce de Leche 2022 will join the classic offering. Check out the full details here from DDC.
All this reading making you thirsty to get into the beer biz? We’ve got a couple of options for you to look at this week.
2 Crows Brewing is taking part in the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and hiring full-time Driver / Packaging Assistant to join the mix. The position is for those 19-30 years of age, and they would love to have those from under-represented-in-beer communities apply for the position. Check that link for full details on the position and how to apply!
Speaking of Packaging, those living in Newfoundland, or willing to move there (and why wouldn’t you??), should check out the FB post and details from Dildo Brewing Company, as they are hiring a full-time Brewer’s Assistant/Packaging Technician to help around the brewhouse. While no brewing specific skills are required, a willingness to learn, and work, are key. Plenty more info on their Facebook and via email!