Hey folks, welcome to your late (or is it early?) “Friday” Wrap-up for COVID-19 Quarantine Day Eleventy-seven. Time has lost all meaning for us, how about you? The good news is that our region’s breweries and cideries are continuing on in the only way they know how, marking time by brewday and fermentation schedules. You can, in turn, mark your time in beers consumed; in moderation, of course! In order to help you with that, read on for information about what is hitting curbside contactless pickup areas or even your front doorstep this week. Plus, we’ve done a total update across the entire region on our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries. We think we’ve hit every producer out there who has changed their practices since last time! So spread a little love to them, if you’re able, and we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred) if anything is out of date.
As you might expect, Niche Brewing, in Hanwell, NB, isn’t able to send their kegged offerings anywhere right now, but they’re happy to announce that their latest bottled offering, Bridget is on its way through the ANBL system. A barrel-aged Saison avec Rhubarbe, it’s a tribute to the strong and amazing women in all of our lives. With a recipe developed by Rob Coombs before Niche was even a gleam in his or Shawn Meek’s eye, it was first made with rhubarb from his grandmother Bridget’s garden in Labrador City. Fermented with Niche’s house blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, it was then conditioned on rhubarb purée (including some of Bridget’s!) before being aged in Chardonnay barrels and then packaged. Coming in at 7% ABV, it’s funky and tart, with some clear rhubarb character coming through. Update: The gang at Niche have let us know it is live the newly-minted DrinkNB.ca website, delivering to the Fredericton and Saint John regions weekly. Also now out at ANBL locations in Fredericton (York Street), and any second now in Dieppe.
Our friends at North Brewing have been keeping busy, and not just on the beer end. They’re releasing a cider this week, Core Values. Featuring an equal blend of both McIntosh and Idared apple juice (pressed by Greenwich’s Stirling Farm) which was brought up to the initial fermentation temperature for 36 hours on “an expressive Chardonnay yeast strain”, the cider was then cooled for a slow, weeks-long fermentation. Once it was close to terminal gravity, they raised the temperature again, to take care of any leftover sugars, before it was cold-crashed and conditioned. Weighing in at 5.8% ABV, the final product is “clean, bright, slightly tart and fully dry”, with aromas of fresh apples and sliced melon, and light tannins on the palate. With sparkling carbonation, this sulfite-free cider has been canned and can be ordered on North’s website.
North is also celebrating the return of a favourite beer brewed to celebrate their move to 899 Portland Street last year. Originally named We Do Helium, in honour of the former tenant Cost-U-Less and their always-available balloon supply, the summer sipper is now B.Y.O.B. The 3.5% ABV beer’s recipe has not changed, still a super-light beer made with flaked corn and lemon & lime zest, perfect for bringing to all of those BBBQs* and backyard parties that WE SHOULD NOT BE HAVING RIGHT NOW (#staytheblazeshome). But for those days that you want a couple of beer, but not feel them the next morning, we suggest a B.Y.O.B. In addition to their own shop, it will be on the shelves of the NSLC in the coming weeks. And after a brief hiatus, fresh Malternate Reality New England IPA is back on their virtual shelves, joining the latest batch of Dartmouth Dark, their Coffee-Infused Dark Lager. Everything mentioned is available for contactless pickup and delivery, check out their online store to score some of your own.
Speaking of North Brewing, they met up with the cool cats at Tatamagouche Brewing, then went Northeast to Big Spruce in Nyanza last month, to brew up this year’s Cerberus American IPA. This three-headed ode to Organic hops is once again released during NS Craft Beer Month (RIP), usually a time meant for celebrating the province’s breweries spirit of togetherness. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the fruit of their labour, will all three breweries offering this beer for sale and delivery in their online stores. At 7.5% ABV, this is a big bold blast of hops, thanks to additions of Simcoe, Amarillo, and El Dorado throughout the process. Think pithy and resinous, with plenty on the nose and tongue. Big Spruce delivery options, North’s way to beer nirvana, and Tata’s Takeaway and To Your Door options (where you can also grab bottles of their just-back-this-week Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout).
Back to cider, but this time hopping to Georges Brook-Milton in Newfoundland, where Newfoundland Cider Company calls home. Available for pickup through online pre-ordering, are four new ciders this week. First up is their Pet Nat Sour. Starting from locally harvested “feral” apples, the blend was fermented with naturally yeasts, and aged in former Glenora barrels for three months. It was then transferred to bottles where it continued to ferment and condition, and has carbonated naturally (Pet Nat = Pétillant Nature = Naturally Bubbly = yum). The end result is a bright apple character, turning tart and sour, with a bubbly refreshing palate cleanser. 750 ml bottles will ready to pick up at the shop tomorrow, along with ten other ciders, including their “Flights to Go”, three new options in smaller bottles allowing you to get a taste of a wider selection of their ciders. These are Barrel Aged Sour Cherry, Rose Perry, and Spring Mead. And for those not in the Clarenville area, find NLCC at the NLC, which you can order online and request to your local outlet.
Kentville’s Maritime Express has been working on a special cider for a very long time, and it’s finally available for sale. Maple Bourbon Cider features an addition of pure maple syrup (from Hutchinson Acres), and was fermented (and aged for close to 14 months) in a Kentucky Bourbon barrel that was previously used to age maple syrup (you can buy some of that through Wabanaki Maple). Described by the cidery as “remarkably smooth and complex, with notes of maple, caramel and oak”, you can also expect some Bourbon and spiced apple on the palate. Only 300 bottles are available, so check out their online store to grab a couple (we suspect it is an excellent candidate for aging).
Those of you in Antigonish are likely taking full advantage of the twice-weekly (Fridays and Saturdays) delivery options offered by your local brewery, Half Cocked Brewing. And this week, they’ve got a new, hazy IPA that you should probably consider tacking onto your order. Named Bleu Nuit (if they think those of us over the age of 35-40 aren’t getting that reference, they’re sadly mistaken), we won’t have a lot of details on the… well, details of the beer, but we can report that it was fermented with a Kveik strain, and the brewery describes it as having “lots of fruit and citrus, and a touch of bitterness”. They’ve got their flagship brews available, as well; contact them at email@example.com to place your order.
We keep coming back to cider-related products… did we miss a memo? Anyway, Spindrift has teamed up with Lake City Cider to brew a snakebite, which is typically an equal mix of Lager and cider. In this case, Blackcurrant Snakebite Rosé is a blend of Lager from Spindrift, and cider and fruit wine from Lake City. With some balanced acidity, sweetness, and fruit character, you can order cans right now through Spindrift’s online store; it’ll be available through Lake City in the near future as well.
Back to Newfoundland with Quidi Vidi, who have brought back a collaboration originally released in 2018, that was created with local chefs. Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose (2019 vintage) is the same recipe as the 2018 vintage; however, due to the variance each year in the bakeapple harvest, you’ll likely notice some differences in this batch, if you were lucky enough to try it the first time. It comes in at ~7% ABV, and once again will only be available in a very limited supply. Look for bottles at the QV retail shop this weekend; it should be at select NLC stores next week.
You’ve probably all heard “Stay the blazes home” in one form or another over the last couple of weeks, so it’s probably safe to say you’re expecting one or six beers to be named after the latest social physical-distancing phrase. The first one out of the gate (we think) is from Garrison Brewing: Stay the Blazes Home is a 4.5% ABV unfiltered Blonde Ale that has a “crisp and dry finish”. Sorry, that’s all we’ve got! We can pass along that $2 from every 473 mL can sold will be donated to Feed Nova Scotia. It’s available, starting today, for home delivery only via phone and online sales.
Actually, we’re not 100% sure who “wins” here, but YellowBelly has also released Stay Where You’re At “Islander Pale Ale”, which we believe is very similar to their Come From Away. Beyond that, we know nothing! But hey, it’s available in bottles at the brewpub now, and NLC next week, so we got that going for us, too.
In a “sold out before we had a chance to tell you about it, sorry!” mention, Port Rexton Brewing announced a new beer Tuesday, that was already pre-sold within 24 hours. But since we love to tease you, we’ll still share the details with y’all. 😐 Teaming up with their pals at St. John’s Toslow breakfast/lunch/evening chill hangout, they’ve put together Sea Buckthorn Sour. Starting from a lightly sour base beer, the addition of the Sea Buckthorn berry puree bumps up the tart character, thanks to its high malic acid content, while adding great notes of peach, pear, and pineapple to the brew. Sporting a killer label thanks to local artist Pepa Chan, the plan was originally for a big launch party at Toslow, but they’ll be holding something equally fun in the future. While the beer may already be all spoken for, you can still get some goodies from Toslow in the form of their usual morning pastries, wide variety of sandwiches and other handhelds, and merch, either via online pre-ordering, or by phone and email when checking their IG stories for availability. And peep the Port Rexton online shop to request your curbside pickup from their St. John’s Retail Shop, Thurs – Sat, 12 – 7 PM.
Let’s end the week’s news on a high note, this time in Cole Harbour, or more specifically, Colby Village. Hardisty Brew opened their doors just a couple of weeks ago with their Block Party SMaSH (still some available) and Smoked Porter (sold out for the time being), and are set to release their newest one this weekend. The New England IPA weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and at 20 IBU, is fairly low bitterness, but with plenty of hops in the mix. Skipping those early buttering additions, but with loads of Mosaic added late in the mix for flavour and aroma, and further enhanced with a healthy dry-hopping. Citrus and tropical and hazy, as is the style. The newest beer is out Saturday, but deliveries of Block Party will be happening Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Colby Village area, with the best way to order via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your request. And great news for those angling for more, the addition of another unitank will allow production to increase and have more of the good stuff available.
*The extra B is for BYOBB.**
**That extra B is a typo. 😉