We’ve made it to the first week of August, and while July’s weather may not have been anything to write home about, there is still lots of summertime left to get outside, safely meet up with pals, and grab a cold beer or cider from your favourite local producer. And though the days may be already be getting a bit shorter, if any brewery emails us about a pending pumpkin ale release, so help us god, we will turn this car around! (Although truly, we welcome any and all emails from breweries although we understand it’s the height of the busy summer season and most breweries don’t have a moment to spare right now) Now let’s get to some news you can use for planning your sudsy adventures this weekend.
With the Halifax Pride Festival 2021 just around the corner (August 12 – 22), it seems like a great time for some Pride-themed beers and two of our local breweries have stepped up to lead that charge. First up is Garrison Brewing Co., the official craft beer sponsor of Halifax Pride, with their Queer Summer Brew. A hazy beer coming in at a fairly light 5% ABV, it features “light and bright” flavors along with a touch of citrus. Aimed at being a summer refresher for what will hopefully be a sunny August festival, you’ll find the bright and distinctive 473 mL can at all Garrison retail locations (and available for online ordering from their web shop), at participating private liquor stores in the city, and for purchase on the grounds of the festival as well. Even better, a portion from every can sold will be donated to Halifax Pride!
It should be no surprise to beer fans in the city that the other brewery bringing a Pride-themed beer to Halifax this week is Good Robot, but it might surprise many that this is the first time they’ve done such a thing. Long known for running a very inclusive taproom and for bringing awareness to many causes, GR has not, until now, explicitly released a Pride-related beer. But here we are and now they have and it’s out now: THEMBOT is named as a friendly reminder to be aware of (and respect) people’s pronouns. Tasting “like a lively tropical parade float,” this 5.5% ABV guava and blackberry sour features a peachy color and is available from the brewery in 355 mL cans. And though it’s not officially connected to Halifax Pride, while you sip it you might consider the history of Pride in this city, throughout our region, and around the world, and the continued fight for the right to exist without fear of harassment, violence, and discrimination.
If you’re feeling the Island summer vibes on Prince Edward Island, swing by Bogside in Montague for some fresh releases this week. First is a returning beer, Sun of a Beach, a hopped Berliner-Weisse style beer with a bit of tartness and featuring lemon, grapefruit, and topical notes. Packaged in 473ml cans at 4.0% and 0 IBU it’s available now from the brewery. Second up this week is a new one, Cranberry Wheat, a german style Weißbier with a splash of flavor from local PEI cranberries. It’s balanced, slightly tart, very fruit forward and refreshing at 15 IBU and 5.5% and available now in 473ml cans.
Sydney’s Breton Brewing is releasing the latest in its summer sour series, a blackberry lemon version of its Let’s Jam sour. Like previous iterations of Let’s Jam, you can expect a combo of sweet fruit character and some tartness from the souring bacteria. This one comes in at a sessionable 4% ABV, allowing you to comfortably get multiple servings of fruit in one sitting (please consult Canada’s Food Guide for official conversion rate of fruited sours to fruit servings). Pints and cans are available now at the taproom and through Breton’s webstore.
The first Thursday of August is National IPA day, which means that if you didn’t have an IPA yesterday, you missed it (but honestly, who cares, because any day is a great day for an IPA). To celebrate the occasion, Upstreet Brewing has brought back its take on a NEIPA with Island Hospitality. This year’s version features a malt bill of 2-row, oats and wheat. The hops are a few Southern Hemisphere gems in the form of Eclipse, Nectar and Waimea. Look for flavours of mandrin orange, passionfruit and some fresh pine at Upstreet’s two Charlottetown locations and at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Burnside next week.
Halifax’s Brunswick street brewers are back with a returning favourite today, as 2 Crows has Zap back on the taps and to go this week. Originally released last year, Zap is a gin barrel-aged Berliner Weisse, with a load of raspberry flavour and a hint of gin botanicals, combining for a slightly tart and nicely effervescent warm weather crusher. Packaged in 375 mL bottles at 3.2% and 0 IBU, it is available now from the brewery and online from their webstore.
Yay! Events are a thing again! Here’s a couple you might be happy to learn about:
We know you’re all big fans of drinking beer, but have you ever wanted a peek behind the scenes to learn more about how all of those tasty ales and lagers are actually made? If so, you’ll want to head to the Brightwood Beergarden, located at Alderney Landing, this upcoming Monday, August 9th, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM where the team from Brightwood will be putting on a demo of how you can get started brewing at home. As many fans will know, Brightwood is one of several regional breweries started by folks who got their start by homebrewing and we’re sure they haven’t forgotten their beginnings! No registration is required for the event – just show up, grab a pint, and settle in. If you can’t make it on Monday, keep an eye out for future events in Brightwood’s Learn to Brew series.
In a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, the Prince Edward Island Beer Festival will be held in Delta Prince Edward Hotel in downtown Charlottetown September 24 & 25th. All-in-one ticket pricing for your drinks (both breweries and cideries will be in attendance), with live music on the go, too. Designated Driver tickets, as well as VIP tickets are also available, depending on which way you and your crew want to roll. Friday and Saturday evening sessions run 6:30 – 9:30, with a Saturday afternoon session 2 – 4:30 PM. The full list of breweries is not yet available, but look for many of the Island breweries to be in attendance, joined by plenty of off-Island visitors as well, perfect for locals and those looking for an accelerated course on PEI beer.
For those AtlCan Breweries and Cider Producers reading, the PEIBeerFest is still adding to their roster, so if a weekend in downtown C’town late September sounds like a blast for you and your crew, be sure to reach out via email to get the scoop and secure your spot!
And a few last quick mentions to inform your weekend beer-buying on a Friday afternoon:
No strangers to pumping out new releases, Village Green in Cornwall, PEI, is releasing their fourth iteration of Weird Clouds. This IPA series highlights different hops with this one featuring El Dorado, Motueka and Mosaic. Bringing fruity, orange rind, grassy notes, it is 6.4% and available on tap at the brewery.
A quick hitter out of Grand Falls Brewing (don’t add “-Windsor” and end up in Newfoundland!) is Razz, a fruity and hoppy sour beer. After a kettle sour and fermentation, raspberry puree was added and before it was dry-hopped with Citra. The result is a tart, fruity and delicious citrus flavour in a refreshing beer. This is available now only on tap at the brewery.
We haven’t seen an official announcement yet, but word on the street is that Tatamagouche Brewing’s annual release of their Cellar Slammer Indian Session Ale is imminent. Check out Tata’s social channels for more updates and look for this one to also be released through the collab brew’s partner, Bishops Cellar.
Another beer making its return this week is Big Spruce’s Heffalump Hefeweizen. This 5.2% take on the Bavarian style was originally released back in 2018 after Halifax homebrewing legend Ian Wheatley used it to grab 1st place in Big Spruce’s annual homebrew challenge. Expect this one to hit those classic hefe notes of banana and bubblegum. Look for it now on site at the Sprucetique and through Big Spruce’s online store.
There’s a new kettle sour available in Dieppe this weekend. Flying Boats Brewing Co. is releasing Relaxo Sour, a strawberry rhubarb take on the style. Cans of this 4.4% ABV tart ale are available now at the taproom.