Happy mid-February! Not surprisingly, we’re in the midst of some wild weather swings, with dumps of snow followed by double-digit sunny days, leading into some nasty freezing rain type of thing. Don’t let the weather get you down, we’ll soon be free of the frozen stuff and carrying an umbrella full time (no thanks, says this writer!). Enough pitter patter, let’s get to it!
Big news from Prince Edward Island to lead off this week. As the province kicks off hosting duties for the 2023 Canada Games (running tomorrow until March 5), there’s lots of recent and coming-soon news from The Official Beer Sponsor of the Games, Lone Oak! Let’s get you caught up with two new special beer releases first… Homestead is the first beer made on PEI from all Island ingredients. Starting with a mash full of Pilsner and Oats from Island Malt House, the wort was then hopped with plenty of Ultra hops grown by Island Hop Company of Mount Albion. Once chilled, the fermentation took place using a wild yeast isolated from wild Blackberries on co-owner and Head Brewer Spencer Gallant’s family’s farm. Definitely a first for the province! Homestead is 5.0%, dry, floral, and features a moderate bitterness in the 355mL can. Available only at their Brewery, and Milky Way Brewpub and Cold Beer Store locations.
Also brand new is Biere D’Amis, the Beer of Friends! Brewed in collaboration with their pals at Tatamagouche and 2 Crows, this French Pilsner features a base of French-grown Pils malt, and hopped with Noble-like Aramis and Strisselspalt (aussi de France), lending a solid bitterness and floral character to the beer. At 4.9% ABV and 35 IBU, these short cans are a nice light beer when you’re looking for a bit “more” from a Pils. Better act fast, as Biere D’Amis, like Homestead, was a small batch, and only available at their locations on tap and in cans.
And in important coming soon news, Lone Oak has announced the second of two new locations opening in 2023. We already shared news of Lone Oak Beer Garden, set to open in June in Avonlea Village in Cavendish. A massive beer garden and patio location, complemented by some bar seating inside. A full kitchen will serve those who stay a while, with a retail spot available to those who are just passing through. And opening ahead of it in May is Lone Oak Fox Meadow. As the name implies, it will be at the Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford, and will feature a full-service restaurant, as well as an Event Centre. And even better, it will be open year-round! Congrats to Spencer, Jared, and Dillon, and the whole Lone Oak team on the upcoming expansion!
Halifax’s Propeller Brewing opened their Quinpool location in July 2020, which features a full retail location, taproom with seating for 40, as well as a small brewhouse that is used occasionally for experimental brews. The latest release from that kit is Smoked Wheat Ale, based on the Polish Grodziskie style (or Gratzer in German parlance). Using oak-smoked wheat as the only grain, one would think you’d be burping up clouds of smoke after imbibing, but there’s something about the refined smoke level and light kilning that offers a seriously refreshing character in a highly carbonated 3.6% beer. In fact, it is commonly referred to as “Polish Champagne”! Due to limited volume at their pilot brewery, Propeller’s SMA is available on tap only at their Gottingen and Quinpool locations for pints and growler fills.
Staying in the Halifax region, North Brewing has been bringing the flavour in their latest Timberlea location kitchen and their takeover of their Portland street kitchen. Keeping up with their ingredients and Indian inspiration, they’ve released Chalo Chalo, a brand new brown ale available now. For the naming of this beer, we can’t say it any better than North themselves “The word “Chalo” (ch-AH–low) means “let’s go” in several languages spoken on the Indian subcontinent including Urdu/Hindi/Gujarati/Punjabi.” For the beer itself, the key to this beer is additions of Jaggery (an unrefined sugar product made in Asia and Africa with big molasses and brown sugar flavor) and a big 25 litre splash of fresh pressed ginger juice. The sweet from the Jaggery and the warming spice of Ginger works perfectly in the winter and the brown ale is a perfect vessel for these flavours. This beer is 6% and available from the three North shops and online for home delivery.
Paradise Newfoundland’s Banished Brewing has a new release this week, a throwback to the many years of homebrewing co-owner Craig Farewell spent before scaling up to commercial size. Makes Sense is a hazy-as-heck 6% IPA, in the New England IPA category. Taking inspiration from the many hazy breweries in the US Northeast, this beer looks like OJ and smells like it too! Using Solero, Nelson Sauvin, and Citra hops late and often, they come out more on the nose and palate than a bitter hop bomb. Makes Sense is available at their retail shop now, and heading to local retailers in the next few days.
After some setbacks earlier in the year, Baccalieu Trail has been able to re-open their taproom recently, and has a new beer to celebrate! Helles or High Water is a Munich Helles, natch. Light in colour, and with a clean malt and restrained hop flavour, it is the perfect post-shoveling beer! Available at the brewery and at Marie’s and other retailers now.
We’ve got a new one from Big Spruce Brewing this week, as Belgian Strong is coming in hot (and strong). This is a Belgian style Strong Ale with some classic flavours for the style. At 8.8%, this brings out the fruity esters and some spice, along with some nice sweetness and boozy warmth. Used with West Abbey yeast (which fits big, bold and dark Belgian beers very well) and additions of Light and Dark Belgian Candi sugar (also traditionally used in higher ABV belgian beers to keep high alcohol content without adding a lot of sweetness), this is a well balanced, big drinker. This comes out this weekend from the brewery in cans and will be available online as well.
Continuing their phase change (any fellow chemistry or physics nerds out there?) Tusket Falls Brewing has released the latest in their evolving series of hazy IPAs. Next Phaze v2 (look for the Feb canning date) sees a switch in hops, dropping the Mosaic and Phantasm, and adding Citra and Idaho 7 to complement the Riwaka. Keep your eyes peeled for the March release, which will see the return of Phantasm, but in an even more generous amount!
Fredericton’s Half Cut Brewing has new beer for folks looking to imbibe, but are still not exactly sure about all of this craft beer stuff. Cold Lite is a 3.6% American Light Lager, brewed with a grist of German Pilsner with rice for a bit more oomph without much body. The hops are light in bitterness, but present, with an earthy and floral aroma, with a touch of spicy finish. Grab a Cold Lite at their taproom on Main Street, and while you’re there, grab a slice or three from taproom-mates Coastline Pizza.
Cornwall’s Village Green has a new release and just as the weather turns colder and we get some weather, they’re bringing you a perfect release for the weekend. Oatmeal Stout is available now and is true to style in a smooth, drinkable stout with notes of dark roast coffee and cocoa. With a malt bill featuring Maris Otter and 2-row, with some helping hands from English Crystal, Roast Barley and Black Malt. That’s a big backbone for a smooth 5.2% stout. This is available now in pints and cans from the brewery.
Serpent Brewing is back with another new release this week, and if you hear Spryfield and Bitter, you may have a few thoughts (or beers) come to mind, but the Spryfield Brewery is releasing Spryfield’s Best Bitter this weekend. This beer will be on a little stronger end of the bitter scale, as it is more dark and rich than an Extra Special Bitter, this is balanced and has those toasty caramel flavours. A malt bill of British Pale Ale malt, Crystal and Grist Rye balance with a blend of UK hops but also some CTZ hops (Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus) thrown in for some bittering. The final result is a 6.5% and 50 IBU, medium to full bodied, drinkable beer on the lower end of carbonation with a dry finish. Pick this up directly from the brewery on Sunday before the holiday Monday! (And make sure you check their hours if you want to get some on Monday).
This week’s final release comes in the form of a 3% ABV Berliner Weisse from Bannerman. Late Sunset is a light wheat ale with a hint of tartness from the souring bacteria. This one is unfruited, representing a great opportunity to experiment with adding your own fruit syrups (no judgement if you go the Purity syrup route), which is how this style is commonly served in Northern Germany.
Just one event reminder for you today!
A reminder that Bar Stillwell and Tide & Boar Gastropub are both hosting the Dieu Du Ciel! Péché Mortel Day this Saturday. In addition to the original Imperial Coffee Stout, they will be pouring Péché Latte, an Imperial Milk Stout; Péché Mexican, the original with spices & chilies, Péché Bourbon, a Bourbon barrel-aged version of the OG, and Péché Special Edition, brewed using Colombian Sierra Nevada coffee beans in place of the original. Good thing both bars will be pouring flights of these 9.5% brews! The fun kicks off at noon at both locations, and Stillwell is firing on all cylinders, as they will be featuring a Montreal Smoked Meat poutine feature that day. We suspect T&B will be pulling out all the stops for fun pairing too!
Before we let you go…
While our main purpose for existing is to keep informed about what’s happening in Atlantic Canada, we are occasionally compelled to spread the word about interesting beer and cider from outside the region when it hits local taps and shelves. That’s what’s happening today at Bishop’s Cellar where five beers from Scotland’s Tempest Brewing Co. are dropping. Swing by the store on Lower Water Street in Halifax or check out their online store to check out the five different styles from one of RateBeer’s top 100 best breweries in the world. While you’re there be sure to check out their other new imports including Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, Ayinger Celebrator and a nice selection from Bellwoods and Dieu du Ciel.