International Beer Day, Natal Day, New Brunswick Day, Regatta Eve Eve Eve, no matter what your reason for celebrating this weekend, we hope you do it with a fresh local beer or cider in your hand! Due to the holiday, be sure to check first that your favourite shop or brewery is open, btw! Here are the latest releases to get you thirsty this Friday morning…
As usual, Big Spruce shows no sign of slowing down! After last week’s Stanfest and the release of two new beers, they’re releasing *another* two beers this week. Their first beer is from one of the original lawnmower beer styles, a Cream Ale called Day Boil. Named after the Newfoundland term that describes the wonderful act of getting slightly buzzed in the afternoon, it comes in at a not-too-heavy, not-too-light 5.1% ABV. With a portion of Organic long grain rice used in the grist, the beer has a creamy mouthfeel, and “is reminiscent of light sake and big brew”. Only lightly-hopped, to 10 IBUs, it’s refreshment and easy-drinking to the max (kids say that, right?)! Their next newbie is their latest American Pale Ale, hopped entirely with that ever-popular variety, Citra. Named Ankle Biter, this 5.5% ABV APA does show some bitterness in the finish, but it’s preceded by aromas and flavours of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Expect both of these beers to be available on tap only, at Big Spruce and your favourite Big Spruce-pouring establishments.
Might as well stick with Cape Breton, where Breton Brewing has announced a new series of beers, simply named S.M.A.S.H. By this point, all of you probably know that this is a fairly-common acronym in the brewing world that refers to single-malt-and-single-hop; Breton’s first beer in this series is a Session IPA that will feature Canadian Superior Pilsner and the wonderful, tropical Azacca hop variety. In true Session IPA style, this is a beer that you can have a few off and not be too worried about handling knives and heat at your BBQ, as it weighs in at a comfortable 4.0% ABV (and 20 IBUs). All of that Azacca provides plenty of citrusy, tropical fruit in the aroma, with flavours of “spicy mango, pineapple, tangerine and pine”. The first batch is limited, with cans available at the brewery and a select number of NSLC stores across the province. As of right now, no kegs have been filled, so if you see some cans, grab ‘em quick!
If you have travelled through the Moncton/Dieppe area over the past months, you may have noticed that O’Creek Brewing has been releasing some tasty brews, many of which focus on the hazier, hoppier side of things. If this is right up your alley, you’ll be pleased to find out that they have two new offerings to help satisfy your hop crave. Late last week saw the release of Ti Pruce, a 4.5% ABV Session IPA that they brewed with the intention of focussing on piney flavours. No, pine needles were not used when brewing this one; instead, they used healthy additions of Simcoe, El Dorado, Azacca and Idaho 7. Pouring a hazy golden colour, the final beer is light and refreshing, with a fruity aroma and lots of pine in the flavour – as intended – with a mild bitterness in the finish. And released just yesterday is Magnetic Ale, an American IPA brewed with a simple grist of 2-row, Wheat malt, oats, and Honey malt. Hopped with Simcoe, Galaxy, Mosaic, and El Dorado (and dry-hopped with more Mosaic and SImcoe), and fermented with Escarpment Lab’s Foggy London strain, expect a proverbial fruit salad, with aromas and flavours of “zesty orange, citrus, pineapple, and peach”. Seek out your O’Creek beers at Le BarBu, Tide & Boar, and The Rooftop at Dolma Food.
Kegs are running a bit low in Lunenburg for Shipwright Brewing, but they’re trucking along with a brand new release, Mayday, their take on a Belgian IPA. An off-shoot of the more-typical American IPA, the Belgian IPA combines the characteristics of that American hoppy style with a Belgian Golden Strong or Tripel. Shipwright comprised a grist of Pale malt, Vienna, and Light Munich, hopped the wort with healthy doses of Citra and Topaz, and fermented the whole thing with a Belgian Golden Strong yeast strain. The final product has “intense aromatics of orange and grapefruit”, followed with a moderate bitterness, as well as some fruity esters from the Belgian yeast. It weighs in at a strong 6.7% ABV, and 50 IBUs. Pouring right now at the Shipwright taproom, while quantities last.
Heading back up towards Halifax, or more specifically, Dartmouth, with two new beers from North Brewing. Well, one beer and one sorta… ok, let’s just start with the beer. Cole Harbour Red is their first-of-likely-many takes on the Irish Red style; just a small batch for this go-around, they plan on tweaking the recipe as time goes on, until it’s right where they want it. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an easy-drinking, 5% ABV red ale with light caramel and biscuit notes, and a clean finish, this is your beer! While it’s only available at North for growler fills right now, future iterations should be available in cans. Next up is the sorta-beer, Sunshine Shandy. Your typical shandy is a mixture of beer with a lemon/lemon-lime beverage; North’s take is, in their terms, a grapefruit shandy (shandy vs. radler… discuss). They took a beer brewed with a “very light malt bill” and performed a secondary ferment with grapefruit juice and grapefruit puree, and also added in grapefruit zest to bump the aroma even more. To give a touch of residual sweetness, some honey was also thrown in. Light and refreshing at 4.6% ABV, you’ll be able to grab cans of this one in both bottle shops starting today, just in time for the weekend.
Yesterday was IPA Day, and Propeller Brewing released a new take on their stalwart IPA that has their fans buzzing. Double Dry-Hopped IPA weighs in at the same 6.5% ABV as its sibling, but turns the hops up to 11 with dry hop additions of Mosaic and Simcoe. Taking advantage of these hops’ dank and tropical characteristics, the flavour and aroma bursts out of the can and overwhelm your senses. Speaking of the can, in a first in Atlantic Canada (we believe), cans of DDH IPA feature a 360 End, meaning most of the top of the can is removed after opening, allowing all of those great hop volatiles to get to your sniffer without having to pour it into a glass (which you can still do, of course!). The new cans are available now at both Prop Shops, and will be hitting the private stores and The Port by NSLC soon. And pop by the Gottingen Street Tap Room for Cask Night today at 5PM for a cask of the DDH, with even more dry-hopping.
Halifax’s Good Robot is releasing a friendly beer today ahead of their International Friendship Day event on Sunday, the return of a BetaBrew from earlier in the program. Ales of Friendship was originally cooked up by Jill Bernier and BetaQueen Kelly Costello, as a 4.3% ABV Pale Amber featuring honey and an infusion of basil. With Bernier’s help and guidance, it has been stepped up to a full batch so that more of us can enjoy the brew! That should mean it will be available further afield as well, after this weekend’s festivities. Speaking of which, GR’s Friendship Day Event is meant to make it a little bit easier to meet folks and make friends, in a safe and respectful space where all are welcome.
Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery has a new beer on tap this week, with another one set to debut next Wednesday (or Thursday… or Friday… we’ll explain in a second). Out now is Tidepool Pilsner, a 5.0% ABV German Pils, featuring all Weyermann Pilsner Malt, a German lager yeast (℅ Escarpment Labs), and lots and lots of Saphir and Strisselspalt hops. All of these come together for a beer with notes of orange and spicy hops, and a clean and crisp base with some cracker malt flavours as well. On tap now, with cans rolling out today as well (we believe).
And debuting at next week’s Royal St. John’s Regatta will be Garden Party, the collaborative brew between 14 Newfoundland and Labrador breweries and cideries that are open/coming soon. Details are a bit slim on this Mexican Lager, but when great minds come together, we’re sure it’ll be a hit! In a first for the Regatta, the Newfoundland Craft Brewers are running the beer tent, so there will be a great can selection from Landwash, Port Rexton, Newfoundland Cider Company and Quidi Vidi onsite (including a release from them, Crown and Anchor Lager). Proceeds from the beer tent go to The Royal St John’s Regatta Committee, Special Olympics, and the REAL Program (Recreation Experiences and Leisure).
Over in Fredericton, local brewery TrailWay is stepping away from the hoppier side of things with the release of Dump Run Saves. While we can’t with 100% certainty explain to you the exact meaning of that name (TW says the beer is “brewed in recognition of a local area legend and business owner”), we CAN tell you that they’re placing it in a style they call a “Fruited Summer Ale”. Brewed with a very simple grist of Pale malt, and hopped very lightly with Citra, the main stars of the show are additions of passion fruit, peach, and mango purees. As a result, expect intense tropical fruit coming through, with a medium body and barely any bitterness in the finish (the passion fruit does add a touch of tartness). Sessionable at just 4% ABV, you can find it today at the taproom when they open this morning, on tap and in cans.
Copper Bottom Brewing in Montague, PEI, has plenty of news to share today, all of it resulting in more beer for you! First on the list is their lifting the covers off their in-house R&D line, which has been running for a while, but which hasn’t previously seen its results available to the public. The first of the beers to be released came out yesterday, and it’s a perfect beer for a warm weekend. Pilot Program is a 5.0% ABV kettle sour that’s been dry hopped with the Czech variety Sladek, a relatively recent (for Continental hops, anyway) hop developed in the early 90s. Known for a classic hop aroma and fruity flavor profile, it’s known for notes of grapefruit, passionfruit, and peach. Because the pilot batches are, by their nature, small, they’ll only be available by the glass in the tap room, so you’ll want to act quickly if you want a taste. And look for a new pilot batch to be released on or about the first of every month for the foreseeable future. Next up, CB’s Blueberry Sour, surely another great warm-weather beer, will be hitting the shelves at some PEI Liquor locations this week. This 5% ABV beer can be found at Cornwall, Montague, and two Summerside locations. And if you’re at PEI Liquor, you can also pick up another limited edition Copper Bottom brew, their Panmure Island Pilsner, a collaboration with Surrey, BC’s Central City Brewers. This one is only available as part of the annual Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration package of 12 different beers, each brewed by Central City and one brewery from each of the 10 provinces plus the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery is in the (legitimate) news this week, but sadly not for their beer. It seems that their open door policy with respect to four-legged family members has run them afoul of the NS Department of the Environment, specifically the Inspection, Compliance, and Enforcement Branch, responsible for Nova Scotia’s Food Safety laws. Per the inspector, allowing dogs in the taproom puts Brightwood in violation of Section 39 of the regulation, which could result in the loss of their beverage room license. While it would be natural for Brightwood and its dog-loving patrons to focus on the underhanded nature of the anonymous complaint that resulted in the visit from the Inspector, the fact is that the regulations only allow two sorts of live animals to enter food-serving establishments: (a) service dogs and (b) edible fish, crustaceans, and/or shellfish in an aquarium, thus, any random inspection could also have resulted in a similar warning or worse. So, for the moment, Brightwood has had to change their policy and disallow dogs in their taproom. To their credit, however, they are approaching this as a temporary measure while they work on having the offending regulation reviewed and revised, starting with a publicity campaign and a petition on Change.org (probably up over 5,000 signatures by the time you read this). Their goal is simple, to follow the previously established example of provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta who have a third clause in their version of Section 39, to wit, “any other animal that a health officer determines will not pose a risk of a health hazard occurring on the premises.” This seems more than sensible to us and reflects a few ideas that we believe are fairly commonly held: that dogs are family members and a properly-behaved dog presents no more risk in a food-serving establishment than in many of the other places where dogs are already welcome, that there is little difference in this context between a service dog and a properly-behaved family dog, that allergy concerns are myriad in any food-serving establishment and dog allergies are rarely as health-threatening as, say, nut, peanut, or shellfish allergies, and that food-serving businesses should have the right to decide whether to open their doors to dogs as other businesses are free to do as long as they are willing to do any extra work required to maintain compliance with the food safety guidelines as a result and are also willing to do the right thing when it comes to dogs that do not meet behavior standards. If you support changing the Food Safety laws of the province to allow all well-behaved animals to enter food-serving establishments, we encourage you to add your signature to the petition and help bring awareness to this issue! And, if you’re the social media type, you could also make your voice heard on your favorite SM platform, using the hashtag #BrightwoodLovesDogs for maximum visibility.
In addition to the Civic Holiday celebrations around the region, here are a few beer-y things on the go over the next few days!
Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is celebrating Avon River Days all weekend long, here are the highlights:
- At 4 PM today, they are celebrating Cask Friday with an Orange Zest and Coriander-infused version of their Amarillo Wheat. Pints and samples only!
- At 8 PM this evening, they are inviting SWIG to take over their patio for some live music. No cover charge.
- Saturday, starting at 1 PM until they sell out, Pigging Out Caterers will be on site offering spit roasted Porchetta and apple pastries.
- Saturday night, they are hosting the Beer Garden with The Legendary Goldblooms and Tye Dempsey Band, from 7:30 PM. Cover is $10, with tickets and packages available at the brewery.
- Sunday, 10 AM – 4 PM, the Avon River Days Car Show is on. Free to watch, $10/vehicle to participate.
Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is celebrating their Third Anniversary tomorrow, so be sure to drop any time after noon for a fresh pint of Big Stink, some live music from local band Tide and Timbre ( 8 PM start), and the taping of an episode of Slainte!
A reminder that it’s Bellwoods Day in Halifax this weekend, kicking off with the release of cans at Bishop’s Cellar at 8 AM Saturday, followed by a 10 tap/bottle/kitchen takeover at Stillwell from noon, and continuing Sunday at the Beer Garden with Sour Pours and their Disco Sunday fun. Peep here for more details!
And just a few more things to catch you up…
Fredericton’s 3Flip Brewing is continuing their plan for world domination by launching a pair of beers in bottles at the ANBL. Their Sassy Cow Root Beer Milk Stout and Anonymous Amber Ale are available at better shops in Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John, so check out their social media for the exact locations to fill up today. Their aim is to keep these two well stocked in the region, in both draught and bottle format, with their variety of rotating offerings popping up as well.
Boxing Rock has a limited release “Lagered Ale” named Puck Off (is this becoming a trend in NS? We’re curious to see Unfiltered’s entry…); “crisp and refreshing”, it’s 5% ABV and available in 340 mL six-packs.
Chain Yard has introduced a brand new hybrid cider this week, just in time for the long weekend. Pie Hard is a 5.5% ABV blend of raspberry and cranberry wine, on top of an apple cider made from MacIntosh, Sonya, and Honey Crisp juices. Aged with French Oak, the resulting cider “tastes like raspberry pie with hints of vanilla and a sharp cranberry finish.” Pie Hard is available now for pints and samples, as well as growler fills to enjoy at home.
Gahan House Port City, in Uptown Saint John, is releasing a brand new beer today. Brett Saison is a 5.1% ABV beer with a Pilsner, Spelt, and Wheat base, with a spicy hop character, with all of the beautiful funk and fruit one can expect from the Brett fermentation. Bottles of the beer are available at all of the New Brunswick and PEI Gahan locations today.
Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a new cider out this week, the latest in their line of hopped offerings. ALPHA 3.0 is a bone dry clean cider, dry-hopped with Chinook and Willamette, for a floral, piney, and lightly spicy layer on top of the cider base. Available on tap for flights, pints, and growler fills, with bottles coming soon.
Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have brought back an old favourite this week, just in time for enjoying at the lake or beach this long weekend. Bob Fife is a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale, infused with lots of blood orange for a lovely citrus flavour and kick. Grab cans at the brewery now, and look for it at the Bob Fife Foundation Golf Tournament next weekend!
Trider’s has just re-released their Blueberry Ale, Exit 6, a 4.6% ABV beer that has a Cream Ale base and an addition of real blueberries. Crisp and refreshing, with plenty of blueberry character on the palate, you’ll be able to find it on tap at Trider’s accounts; there’s also a small amount of 330 mL bottles available at the brewery for sale.