It’s well past the midpoint of August now and we’re sitting here melting into puddles and wondering when the soothing cool nights we’re usually enjoying by this point in the year are. Thankfully, our region’s breweries are stepping up to ensure we’ve got plenty of beer to keep us refreshed and to help us forget that our planet is on fire. Wheeee! While we’re still a ways away from our target vaccination numbers for the “new normal” Phase 5 / Green / Alert Level 1, we’re definitely hearing and seeing evidence that there are more folks visiting from out of the region and more people trying to get out and enjoy themselves. We’d like to remind everyone to be smart and be kind when it comes to their interactions over the coming weeks. If you’re seeing lots of people, try to be outside about it, continue to take advantage of the free testing facilities that are still available, and try not to put vulnerable folks at risk. Most of all, be good to each other, and especially to those folks who are working in restaurants that are just opening up or just expanding service. People are adjusting to being back at work after long layoffs, restaurants are adjusting to higher demand and a different balance of takeout/delivery and in-person dining, and everyone is learning how to be out in public again. We’re still all in this together!!
We’ll start off this week with a Halifax brewery that doesn’t constantly pump out new releases, but instead focuses on consistency and quality delivered with attitude: Unfiltered Brewing. Of course, you probably figure that if we are talking about them, it’s because they do have something new, and you’d be right about that. Featuring a name you have to be old enough to appreciate, Gazoo is a 4.5% ABV key lime sour. Bright, tart and a fairly low ABV, it’ll be an excellent refresher for the awfully humid weather the HRM has been enduring. Although it won’t magically fix everything, it’s got some awfully cute little antennae on the label to boot; if you’re wondering why, you need to get more Flintstones into your life. Grab some at the brewery before it disappears back to Zetox. While you’re at it, you can also grab some Hellevator, their 7% “juicy malt bomb” with all German ingredients (save water) that has returned for another run, and also some ultra fresh DOA, the most Citra beer that ever Citra’d.
Despite being on Canada’s east coast, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing Co.’s location on North Twillingate Island affords it an unobstructed westward ocean view, which means beautiful sunsets filling the summer sky. In a nod to this, Split Rock is releasing Golden Hour, a 6.5% juicy IPA. Expect big tropical, stone fruit and citrusy notes from additions of El Dorado, Galaxy and Amarillo hops, with mostly late additions keeping the bitterness low. Grab a pint now at the taproom (may we suggest around sunset time).
Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing may be best known for their juicy and flavourful New England IPAs (Route 117 and Citra in a Galaxy come to mind), but this week they’re bringing something completely different. Has Been is a Grisette, a lighter-bodied and more delicate French/Belgian Farmhouse Saison. While low in alcohol, at just 4.3% ABV, it features plenty of lovely notes from the Lemondrop and Motueka hops used, complemented by the use of Jotünn kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs, for a dry and spritzy beer with a fruity and herbal finish. On draught only, so put Le Barbu and CAVOK in Dieppe, as well as Tide & Boar Brewing on your shortlist to visit this weekend. And if your looking for something a little different, Caffé Latte is coming to Le Barbu in the next day or two. This is a Milk Stout (a touch of lactose sugar used for body and residual sweetness) with cold-brewed coffee added to the secondary. Keep an eye on IG to see that tapping announcement!
Up on the North side of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche Brewing has one new beer hitting the shelves this week and a couple of returning favorites as well. Up first is the newbie with a name, Herlihy, that, if you’re old and decrepit like us, you might think you recognize from early 90s Saturday Night Live (“Let the boy water your plants!”), but which is actually a reference to a road in Tabusintac, NB, and is pronounced Her-Lee-High rather than Her-Li-Hee. An Irish Stout with a fairly low ABV at 4.5%, the grist consists largely of pale malt with some crackery biscuit malt and chocolate malt to bring roasty chocolatey flavors and a deep dark color. UK hop variety Fuggle provides its classic spicy, herbal, and resiny profile, and the London ESB yeast strain ensures plenty of body and a smooth mouthfeel. Look for this one in cans at the brewery for now.
If, however, you’re looking for something at the lighter end of the spectrum, the latest batch of Pausa Pranzo Italian Pilsner is available now, this time with a little heavier hand with the Ariana on the dry hop but with the same malt side and 5.0% ABV. Lastly, if what you’re really craving is something nice and hoppy, but not too high on the ABV spectrum, we can confirm that the Cellar Slammer we mentioned last week is available once again direct from the brewery or at Bishop’s Cellar (who are also scheduled to be carrying the Pausa Pranzo) in Halifax.
Tusket Falls Brewing is bringin’ the hops this week with the release of a new DIPA, Details are Cloudy. This 8% ABV take on the style gets its cloudy mouthfeel by adding oats to a malt bill featuring German barley. Big dry hops of Citra and Amarillo give this one lots of fruit notes, including tangerine, lemon and peach. Cans are available at the taproom now and online through TFB’s webstore. HRM fans of Tusket should also keep an eye on the brewery’s social channels as they’ve teased that the opening date of their Gottingen Street taproom will be announced soon. Check below if you’re interested in becoming part of their team…
Let’s stick with cloudy and pillowy IPAs, this time at North Grant’s Half Cocked Brewery. Pillow Fort is a juicy, 7.4% NEIPA that features huge additions of Idaho 7, Eukanot and Mosaic. The photos of this one on Half Cocked’s social channels show a beautiful golden colour, with the telltale NEIPA haze. Expect lots of tropical fruit aromas and flavours, including papaya and mango, as well as some vanilla notes. Pillow Fort is available now for pints and growler fills, keep your eyes peeled for kegs in the wild in HRM next week! And those who make the visit to North Grant are well-advised to check out The Crafty Cooks, the food truck operating onsite this summer. They even open early for Brunch!
First across the post with Oktoberfest/Marzen beers this year, Grimross in Fredericton has released their eponymous beer in this style. Oktoberfest, a 5.6% ABV malt-forward beer, featuring bread and toast characters, as well as light brown sugar and toffee notes. Available on tap and in cans now. Also returning is their Grimdonk Belgian Golden Ale, 6.5% ABV, with notes of banana, clove, and coriander, also on draught and cans. These returning faves join the latest entries in their Scratch Series, Hopped Saison and Irish Red. The latter is a farmhouse ale fermented using their own house-isolated yeast, and then dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The Irish Red features malt-derived notes of caramel and coffee, with a dry finish, weighing in at 4.5% ABV.
And as right… now… you can grab a pint of Grimross’ British Mild, pouring direct from a cask, where it was naturally carbonated in the traditional manner, leading to a softer mouthfeel and less bite. This is the absolute last of the Mild in-house, though ANBL still has cans for those die hard anglophiles.
If cider is more your thing this weekend, head down to Wolfville for the latest release from Annapolis Cider Company’s Something Different line. Strawberry Lime starts with the cidery’s cold fermented cider and some fresh apple juice, and sees additions of fresh-pressed local strawberries and pure lime juice. The result is a 6% ABV rose gold colored cider, with subtle berry flavours and a crisp finish. The good people at Annapolis Cider Co. are also donating $0.50 from each refill of Strawberry Line to Shelter Moves Nova Scotia, a charity that provides free moving and storage service to women and children fleeing abuse. Cheers to that.
Big news out of Spryfield, Nova Scotia this week, where the much-anticipated Mary Brown’s Chicken opened their doors yesterday. But before we go completely off-topic, we’ve got to remind you that the best spot to enjoy your Big Mary is next door at Serpent Brewing, where they’ve got a new British Dark Mild pouring these days, their 4.0% Some Mild. Notes of toast, nut, and caramel shine through, with a touch of fruity sweetness from the English yeast. On draught and in crowlers and growlers to go. And if you’re in downtown Dartmouth, you can grab it at Battery Park, where their Eden Belgian IPA is also pouring. On the Halifax side, White Mountain Witbier is at the Stillwell Freehouse. For those who are more into enjoying their beer at home or at the beach, cans of Eden and Patey’s Bier Belgian Single are both being released at Bishop’s Cellar tomorrow.
Most people know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar is the place to go when it comes to finding a well-curated selection of local, regional, domestic, and imported tipples of all kinds. In addition to beers mentioned above, some new things you’ll find on the shelves there in the next week or two include Tanner & Co. Wheat, Mountain Meadworks Strawberry Arboreal, and Big Spruce Hour of Sour. Though they’ve always had Province-wide delivery available, the pandemic has certainly altered their business model and they’re now finding themselves looking for more help on the warehousing and delivery front. Folks who have a Class 5 drivers license, a desire to work in a fast-paced and friendly environment, and who are interested in getting into the bevvy industry on the distribution side are welcome to send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Perks of the job include a staff discount on beer, wine, and spirits!
We teased earlier that Tusket Falls’ Halifax taproom is inching towards a grand opening. As they grow their operations, Tusket is looking to hire for both its HRM and Yarmouth County locations. They are currently on the hunt for serving and kitchen staff. If you’re interested, send a resume to email@example.com or stop by the taproom in Tusket.
Trying to figure out what to do this weekend? Those in HRM have a couple of great options!
Last week’s post mentioned the Island Release of the Lone Oak and 2 Crows Together and Apart beers, and the time has come to let the rest of the world enjoy them as well. We’ll skip the details on the beer, and let you know that 2C’s webstore has both in stock for local delivery as well as Canada-wide shipping. And to celebrate, the fine folks at Lone Oak are making the trek off-island and will be doing a tap feature on Brunswick Street tomorrow from noon. Fixed Link German Pils, Modest Tiny Pale Ale, Yankee Gale APA, Delight Golden Sour with Peaches, and Rouge Farmhouse with Lucie Kuhlmann Grapes will be pouring alongside a handful of house-brewed beer. And to make this truly an event not to be missed, the fine folks from Tako Loko will be popping up from noon as well, providing some much-needed sustenance to keep you drinking all afternoon.
For those looking for a cider-based events (but still love tacos!), great news! Thanks to some special relationships with world-class cider makers to both the East and South, Stillwell Beergarden will be hosting a “Side by Side” tap feature of three sought after and super great ciders on draught. From Spain, Isastegi is located in the Basque region, renowned for their natural cider, and Stilly was able to finagle some of their Sagardo Naturala to pour alongside Oliver’s Cider from Herefordshire in England, and ANXO Cider from Washington, DC. Whether you are a hard-core apple-head, or new to cider, we suggest making a stop on Monday and/or Tuesday to check out the offerings on the go!