The great news keeps rolling out in our region, with New Brunswick entering Phase 1, and almost immediately Phase 2, of their Path to Green, with Nova Scotia allowing in-person dining and drinking Wednesday, allowing many of our favourite watering holes to re-open. And the re-imagined Atlantic (and Maine?) Bubble looks to become a reality next week as vaccine uptake and recoveries trend up, and case numbers trend down. We’re doing it folks, it’s happening! Let’s celebrate with more than a dozen new beer, plenty of events, and new openings to tell you about this week!
One of the spots that has been able to open this week is a brand new Nova Scotia-only beer bar in Lower Sackville, years in development and months in the construction. Tapestry Beer Bar is located at 833 Sackville Drive, just up from the Beaverbank Connector Road at Exit 2 of the 101. Concentrating on “the smaller breweries around the Province that don’t have a footprint in the HRM”, Tapestry owner Ian Smith is a long-time beer fan, and has driven across the province seeking out breweries that may not otherwise be pouring in the area. The 20-tap draught system features beer and cider from Yarmouth to Sydney, with Heritage Brewing, Hell Bay, Horton Ridge, Tanner & Co, Smokehouse Nano, Hilltop Hops, Harbour, and Big Spruce showcasing the best from away on their initial tap list, as well as locals such as Off Track, Lake City, Unfiltered, and fellow Sackville establishment Ol’ Biddy’s. Even with COVID restrictions, there is plenty of room for those looking to pop in for a pint, with seating for 50 in 10 bubbles in booths, lounging spaces, and stools at the bar. Beer and cider is the focus at Tapestry, with visitors allowed to bring their own food if they’d like, taking advantage of their great location, with Pizzadelic and Apt 3 Coffee in the same building, and Mary Brown’s and Kaiser’s Subs just a quick walk away. Open Tuesday to Friday 2 – 11 PM, and Saturday and Sunday 12 – 11 PM, be sure to pop by and support the Tapestry crew in their quest to bring more great beer to Lower Sackville!
If you’ve been paying attention to your beery social media this week, you may have noticed that TrailWay has been hyping a collaboration with an Ontario brewery that they recently did (virtually, of course) and would be releasing this week. That beer – and the info to go with it! – has finally dropped as of yesterday, so here’s the scoop to get you fired up on your way over to TW’s taproom in Fredericton to grab some cans. The beer, The Big Dance, was brewed with Town Brewery from Whitby, ON. Like TrailWay, Town has a majority of their beers in the “hazy and hoppy” category, and is definitely well-regarded in that particular area (at least). The two breweries discovered that they have more in common than just their tastes – a staff member at Town has a parent who went to prom with a parent of one of the TW co-owners, hence the name of the beer! The beer itself is an APA that was hopped with no-doubt large amounts of Amarillo, Strata, and Eclipse, with hibiscus flowers and passion fruit also added during the brewing process. The beer is looking hazy and pink, giving off “notes of passion fruit, freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice, red beers, and tropical fruit, with some floral and herbal character”, all thanks to the hibiscus, fruit and hop additions. You can find it on tap and in cans at the brewery, but don’t wait to pick some up, as it likely won’t be around too long.
Time flies at Upstreet Brewing, where they’re releasing the 6th version of their annual De Novo series. De Novo VI – Dry Hopped Pineapple Tangerine Saison will be available next week, and for the first time, is being packaged in cans. This one starts with pilsner malt and wheat from Island Malt House, plus an addition of Simpsons Golden Naked Oats. It was then dry-hopped with Bru-1 and Mandarina Bavaria before additions of pineapple and tangerine concentrates. De Novo VI pours a light orange color with notes of banana, stone fruit, tropical fruit and bubblegum. Some slightly spicy yeast notes round out the 5% ABV Saison. Although De Novo is being released next week, Upstreet’s sixth anniversary is not until June 26. Check this space next week for more details on their planned celebration.
We mentioned last week that Tatamagouche Brewing is celebrating their 7th anniversary this week and that they’d be releasing some new beers to celebrate, and sure enough, they’ve delivered! Four brand new beers hit the taps and retail this week, two smaller and lighter, and two of the bigger and more complex variety. Starting with the summer refresher side of the spectrum, we have Ketch, a classic Berliner Weiße coming in at 3.1% ABV. 355 mL can- and keg-conditioned, it was fermented with a combination of lactobacillus and a traditional German Kölsch yeast in the primary before a secondary fermentation spell with the Berliner brettanomyces strain from Escarpment Labs. Bright and acidic, but also featuring some funk, this could very well be one of the rare small beers that benefits from some time in the cellar. That said, we’re pretty confident that it’ll be pretty dang tasty right away, on it’s own or with traditional woodruff or other fruit syrups!
The other “light and lively” beer this week is Wherry, a 3.8% grisette. Fermented with Escarpment Labs’ New World Saison yeast blend, which contains both saccharomyces and brettanomyces strains for a rustic charm, the beer itself is also a blend of barrel-aged and stainless steel conditioned versions of the same base beer, with the neutral oak of the barrel side really popping in the finished beer. Continuing with the trend of packaging smaller beers in smaller formats, this one is also in 355 mL cans.
On to the bigger, bolder beers, the first new offering is actually a variation on one of the brewery’s longest-running beers, an award-winning IPA that’s been going strong since September of 2015: Deception Bay. Still very much in the West Coast style for IPA, featuring Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, and Citra hops, it provided a suitably hoppy base for Resurgence a new barrel-aged Brett IPA. Basically DB packed into a barrel with some brettanomyces for a while, before a quick and modest dry hop of Huell Melon, this 6.8% beer was then can- and keg-conditioned to produce a drier, funkier, and somewhat fruitier version of the original. Contributing to the character as well were the previous two hoppy residents of the barrel (and there’s another one in there now, so stay tuned!). Look for this one in 473 mL cans.
And the last of the four new releases this week is Vintage Lane, a barrel-aged saison that was aged on Muscat grape skins and in barrels both from Jost Vineyards. A blend of two saisons, one of which is essentially the Edel from a few years ago, this beer celebrates the brewery’s connection with “the vineyard down the road.” Coming in at 6.6% ABV, it was (500 mL) bottle- and keg-conditioned, with the bottle artwork echoing that connection. Look for all of these beers to be available in packaged format direct from the brewery in the coming days, at various Tata tap accounts throughout the province, and potentially at some of the private stores. We’ve been advised that Stillwell HQ should have all four of these on tap at some point, The Freehouse Ketch and Wherry, and on the packaged side, Bishop’s Cellar is expected to have the Ketch. If you wish to go direct, you can grab pints at the taproom or get free shipping all weekend long by using the promo code 7YEARS at checkout at the Tata Online Store. And a very happy Anniversary from all of us here to Matt and Christiane and the rest of the gang!!
North Brewing has teamed up with a trio of local partners for their newest release, Twice the Wild, a barrel aged Belgian Dubbel. The beer was brewed in September 2020 with help from the guys at A for Adventure, using base malts sourced from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. The brew day also saw the addition of Lucie Kuhlmann grapes from the 2nd partner in the collaboration, Benjamin Bridge. The beer was then fermented with Sacch. Trois and barrel aged for six months in neutral wine barrels, before refermentation in stainless tanks using local honey from Casman & Widden. The result is a bottle conditioned, 8.0% Dubbel that also offers great cellaring potential. Which brings us to the final partner in the collab, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. NSNT is currently in the midst of its Twice the Wild campaign, where a group of funders have agreed to match donations at four times their value! $5 from every bottle of Twice the Wild will go to the campaign, which means every bottle you buy leads to $25 that will be used to protect and conserve lands in Nova Scotia. Grab it today at North’s two retail locations in Dartmouth or for delivery via their online store. And if you’re there in-person, why not stay for a smashie from their taproom restaurant, Side Hustle, which is now open for indoor and patio dining.
With a big weekend of returning to in-person indoor service in Nova Scotia, you had to expect 2 Crows would decide to gift everyone* with a couple of exciting new releases that are the result of an exciting new collaboration between 2C and Lightfoot & Wolfville vineyard. First up is Vitis, a lager beer that was brewed with Riesling piquette. In the grand tradition of 2C making some of the most ambitious (read: complicated) beers in the region, this one takes a little explaining. It all started with a Pilsner that was brewed with a little bit of wheat, hopped in the kettle with Hallertau Blanc and fermented cool with Mexican Lager yeast. Towards the end of fermentation a small amount of that beer was used to make a piquette along with water and a “whole lot” of fresh Riesling pomace from L&W. The piquette was allowed to pass peak sugar content, but not to fully ferment out by the natural yeasts present on the grape skins, before being transferred to tank with the remainder of the lager, where the whole shebang was capped and, essentially, krausened with the remaining grape sugars instead of wort. Once target gravity was reached, the temperature was dropped and the beer was lagered for eight weeks. The result is a “crisp and lively” light lager that also features Riesling character in the form of pear, melon, and honeyed citrus. Complex, yes, nuanced, sure! but crushable too at 4.6% ABV and 11 IBU! Look for it on tap and in 355 mL cans at the brewery right away, and likely some other places as time goes on.
Part two of this collaboration is a true Piquette, one that doesn’t contain any beer, but definitely has a brewer’s touch to it. This one started with Scheurebe grapes, a lesser-known variety grown largely in Germany and Austria that’s known for being highly aromatic and being used to produce sweeter wines. For this piquette, L&W picked and crushed the grapes, then 2 Crows grabbed the resulting pomace and trucked it back to the brewery where it was macerated in water for several weeks. From there, the water chemistry was adjusted and the natural yeasts present on the skins were allowed to ferment it out before a light dry hop of Saphir and Mandarina Bavaria provided the finishing aromatic touches. Conditioned with local honey, the result is Scheurebe Piquette, a 4.3% ABV refreshing beverage with notes of grapefruit and a bit of ginger on top of a soft minerality. You can find it for in-person enjoyment at release parties this afternoon at Lightfoot & Wolfville and tomorrow at 2 Crows. You’ll be able to purchase 355 mL cans to go on-site at L&W this weekend or next week at Bishop’s Cellar. Unfortunately, due to NSLC regulations†, 2 Crows can’t actually sell this one to go in packaged form.
* Ed.: except maybe those of us who have to write it all up
† Ed.: Fucking SERIOUSLY?!
After major renovations, a few can-sales-only weekends, and a pause to right themselves, Tidehouse Brewing’s Slightly-Less-Tiny-Tasting-Taproom is open once again. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 4 – 11 PM, owner/brewer Shean Higgins is concentrating efforts on getting the good stuff in your glass at their spot at 5187 Salter Street, with less of a focus on packaging for the time being. Growlers are on pause, with can sales winding down, so that the offerings from their small brewhouse keep the taps stocked. Those taps are full right now, with 6 beers flowing, including Chrysalis Cream Ale (5.5%), Hibiscus City Sour w/ lime and hibiscus (4.5%), Saddle Up IPA w/ Enigma, Eclipse, and Citra (7.0%), Peachy Fuzzies Sour w/ Peach Rooibos Tea from World Tea House (4.5%), Mars Imperial Stout w/ blackberries & Mars bars (11.0%), and Goth Stout American Stout (5.0%). Learn more about the renovations, beers, and everything else in the latest 902 BrewCast which dropped on #902Tuesday.
Remember when 902 BrewCast used to interview brewers and other beer industry professionals?! We promise, that was a thing. Well, they are back in business this week with a 2+ hour interview with Tidehouse’s Shean Higgins and Sprindrift’s Jeff Green. Updates from both breweries, changes at CBANS, and what they’re looking forward to drinking this summer. Check out the episode here, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Speaking of Spindrift Brewing, let’s get you up to date with all of the news coming out of Burnside… Firstly, as mentioned in the 902BC, they’ve just completed an expansion/beautifying of their outdoor seating area, The Spinyard, where folks can lap up the sun while enjoying samples and pints from the brewery at 21 Frazee Avenue, open Tuesday – Friday 11 – 5:30 and Saturday 11 – 4:30. One of the new offerings you can find on tap is a new addition to their core offerings, Sea Glass IPA, a NEIPA weighing in at 7.0% ABV, featuring a light and pale malt bill, with plenty of late- and dry-hopping of Amarillo, Azacca, and Vic Secret, resulting in a soft mouthfeel and blast of pineapple, mango, and lemon. Joining the core lineup is SunDaze, a 4.8% ABV Pale Ale, featuring the lovely Galaxy and Centennial hops, giving great notes of pine, grapefruit, and passion fruit. Both are on tap now for growler fills and pints, and cans to go (SunDaze is coming reeeeeal soon to cans), and hitting the NSLC in the coming weeks.
Spindrift also has a new seasonal on tap, Strawberry Run, a 5.0% ABV Ale, lightly- hopped with Comet, before undergoing a secondary fermentation on Strawberry puree, with Key Lime juice which delivers plenty of acidity to keep it refreshing. Pints and growlers now, cans coming soon to Burnside and NSLC locations. And they have let us know that their Spindrift Oak Manor location in downtown Antigonish will be opening soon, almost certainly (probably maybe) before the end of June! Pair that with the massive expansion at their Burnside location, and a brand refresh, there’s plenty of new excitement from the crew.
Cornwall’s Village Green is back at it with two new releases. First up is Milk Stout, which starts with a mix of English malts and includes the addition of lactose, per the style. Milk Stout comes in at a sessionable 4.2% ABV and with just enough bitterness at 20 IBUs. Check it out today on tap in Cornwall, where it is also available to-go in cans. Next up is A Lager Bier, Village Green’s first foray into the world of bottom-fermenting. This one uses Vienna malt, which gives a nice bready note, and is hopped with German Tettnanger. A Lager Bier is on tap now at the brewery.
Antigonish’s Candid Brewing continues its run of new Friday releases with a pair of entries to their core lineup. First announced is Lagerish, a 4.8% Kolsch-style lagered ale, brewed to be bright, crisp, clean, and refreshing. Joining it is Town Crier, named in celebration of the former newspaper and publisher tenant of their 88 College Street location. A 5.0% Altbier-style bier, this clear copper beer is brewed to let the malt shine through, without hops taking centre stage. Six different beers are available to go today 1 – 6 PM and again tomorrow from 1 – 4 PM. And those in HRM will soon be able to enjoy Candid in their mugs, as kegs are being sent to Dartmouth’s Battery Park in the coming weeks.
Hey hey, check it out! Events can kinda be a thing again!!
The Saint John area is celebrating Craft Beverage Week, with a full load of events wrapping up tomorrow. But before they do, you still have time to:
Get on out and support those producers in the region!
Also on the go today in New Brunswick is the launch of CAVOK Brewing’s new satellite taproom and retail spot in Cap-Pelé. Located at 150 Allée du Parc, it’s just steps from Aboiteau Beach, and shares the building with Restaurant à la Dune. While their neighbours handle your food needs, CAVOK’s 12 taps and retail fridge can handle everything else! Their location features a large deck overlooking the beach and water with seating for more than 50 people, and if the weather isn’t lovely, there’s room for the same inside. They even fill growlers, but if you’re headed to the beach, no glass, eh! The beach location is open from noon until late every day this summer, and pouring favourites and new arrivals like the Red Knight Hibiscus IPA and Echo Saison, light and refreshing and with a robust amount of hops. More good beer in more places, we can dig that!
Coming to your screens this week is the latest project from the duo behind the very successful Beerocracy New Brunswick beer movie released a few years ago. Shauna and Alex hit the road across the Maritimes again last year, producing Maritime Spirits, profiling craft alcohol producers across the region. The first Season is now available on Bell TV1 (either through your TV or online portal), and features visits to Moonshine Creek Distillery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Red Rover Craft Cider, New Scotland Brewing., Deep Roots Distillery, Tire Shack Brewery, Dunhams Run Estate Winery, Trailway Brewing, Jost Vineyards, and Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault. You can check out the trailer here, and see plenty of behind-the-scenes fun on their Facebook page.
And a last few quick hits on our way out the door for a lunchtime beer:
Corner Brook’s Boomstick Brewing has a pair of new beer out this week, the first is the latest in their Drawing Board Series, debuting in a 4-can Boombox mixer pack that is available across the province now. Rosemary Hibiscus Gose pretty much describes itself, with the 4.5% lightly tart sour ale featuring a touch of salinity, and using rosemary as a complement to the coriander the traditional German recipe employs. And drawing inspiration from their own Hew and Draw hotel at 55 West Street, Hewers Light Lager is a 3.9% American Light Lager, light bodied, crisp, and refreshing. Available on-site as well as in NLC, Maries Mini Mart, and Orange Stores across the province (on its own and in the aforementioned Boombox Mixer packs).
Garrison Brewing has brought back the first winner of their Home Brew-Off competition,Nit Wit Belgian Style Wheat beer. Brewed in the Witbier style, this O.G. hazy beer style features orange peel and coriander to lend some citrus and spice to the character the yeast has already imparted. Cans are available now at both their Seaport and Oxford locations, and can be enjoyed on tap there as well.
Hopheads in Conception Bay Stout can treat themselves to the newest release from Ninepenny Brewing, The Devil’s Jackstone. This 8.9% DIPA is now available in the taproom and on select taps around St. John’s. Look for it to make its way into cans next week.
Rounding off the news this week is the Return of the Mack, DOA (aka Double Orange Ale), from Unfiltered Brewing. Single-hopped with boatloads of Citra, the blast of citrus entering every one of your orifices is enough to power up your weekend. Grab it in cans to go, or even better, their new corral on North Street, allowing them to serve pints onsite at Charm School for the first time in way too long.