Welcome to your last full week of February, 2020, although we’re cynically sure that leap day is going to make it feel like a 31-day month because that’s just the way winter has been this year. We’ve got a ton of news to share with you this week, including another new brewery in Newfoundland, a bunch of other news from the Rock, and the usual catch up with what’s going on in NB, NS and PEI. So settle in comfortably, with a hoppy and/or malty beverage, for preference, as we take you around Atlantic Canada’s beer news for the week.
Attention Corner Brook, your town just got a bit more beery! Boomstick Brewing Company has officially opened their doors this week, with their Growler Shop at 55 West Street. Gracing the shelves of their can fridge are Penstock No. 2 American Pale Ale, Wild Bologna IPA, Veto Power Pilsner, Half Marathon Hefeweizen, Bitter Bird ESB, Lone Flamingo Sour, and The Webber Black Lager. All of these are also available to take away in growlers, except for The Webber. Merchandise and other goodies are also available, and visitors can get a sneak peek of their snazzy taproom which will be opening March 1st. And you’ll soon be able to stay right at the brewery, as the Hew & Draw bootique hotel will be opening early March. But until then, the Shop is open Friday and Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday – Thursday 4 – 8 PM. Be sure to pop by this weekend and say hi, and we’ll have a full Profile with the Boomstick Crew next week!
And before or after (or both!) you’re visiting Boomstick, be sure to head back up West Street to Bootleg BrewCo, who have a new beer on tap right… about… now! Dr. Schmilsson’s Magical Elixir is a bit of a mouthful to say, and even more of a mouthful when you’re drinking it! The latest in their line of fruited sours, this one features flavours inspired by the Harry Nilsson song Coconut from the Nilsson Schmilsson album (aaah, now it becomes clear!). Coconut and Lime notes aplenty in this sour, to remind you that there will be a break in the cold coming soon (right?). Pouring from 2 PM until late today, and 4 PM tomorrow. And good news for those on the Avalon, you should be seeing this popping on tap at Toslow sometime next week!
And even more Newfoundland beer news (man, they’ve got a lot of breweries there now), Labrador City’s Iron Rock Brewing has a pair of brand new beers on tap exclusively at their taproom, just in time for their Grand Opening festivities (which started on Wednesday, and continue through the weekend). We don’t have a lot of the nitty gritty details on the first beer, unfortunately, but we can tell you it’s a hazy, hop-packed Double IPA named Hop Shocker. “Shockingly juicy”, according to the brewery, they’re describing it as “Sunny Delight for adults”, so yeah, you can probably believe them on the juicy description; it weighs in at a perfect-for-the-style 8% ABV. The second new release of the weekend, launching at 2 PM this afternoon, is Banishment, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Weighing in at a modest 5.6% ABV, it packs a punch having been aged in Maker’s Mark barrels for three months, picking up notes of vanilla and oak, complementing the solid roast character from the underlying beer. Grab it on Nitro pours today, with bottles coming soon. As for the rest of their grand opening events, they’ll have live music at the taproom tonight (8:30-11:30) and tomorrow (from 7:30 pm), as well as a Vendor Fair on Sunday (2-5pm) and a Tattoo Expo both days (10am-7pm Sat, 10am-4pm Sun). Note that the Tattoo Expo is for ages 19+ only (sorry, kids!), and is first-come, first-serve for pre-drawn tattoos only.
Moving over to St. John’s with Bannerman Brewing (see… there’s a ton of them!), where they’re releasing their own juicy, hoppy beer, State of Emergency. Described as a “Milkshake/Fruited IPA”, it was heavily dry-hopped with the magical Citra variety, and also features a large addition of mango. If you like your hoppy beers super-hazy, with “heavy flavours of tropical and candied fruit”, this is the beer for you! It’s on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers right now, and you can expect to see cans of this 7.2% ABV beer appearing sometime next week.
Back on the mainland, we’ve got a couple of important notes to tell you about Hanwell’s Own Niche Brewing. With more than one hundred batches released since their opening in late 2017, they have moved into new territory with this week’s new release, Highroller DIPA. Having played in the Session, American/Standard, and IPA vein before, they’ve chosen to go big into the Double IPA category this go-around. For those who just can’t get enough hops, this sounds like the pint for you! Featuring flaked oats and wheat in the malt bill for a softer mouthfeel, and hopped to 50 IBUs in the kettle with Chinook and Columbus, it was further hopped post-ferment with El Dorado and Enigma. Think melon, stone fruit, and citrus on the palate, finishing moderately dry. At 8.0% ABV, it is one of Niche’s bigger releases, but the massive character masks any alcohol heat. Kegs are now a-pouring at Peppers in Saint John and The Joyce in Fredericton, where it rounds out the dozen beers the Niche fellas will be pouring tomorrow for their second Meet the Maker event. Starting at 7 PM, you’ll be able to try any/all of the twelve offerings from Niche, including faves like Day Tripper, Ethos, The Bear, and Single Origin, as well as two exclusive beers for the evening, Hold Fast Dry-hopped Sour (with Cashmere), and Cordial Sour with Elderflower. Be sure to pop down to chat with Rob, Shawn and Matt, grab a pint, and a pint glass, as they’ll have some merch for sale as well.
Those on the North Shore of Nova Scotia have a special connection to Prince Edward Island, as they share a common love of water, and are counting down the days to when the Wood Islands – Caribou ferry starts up again (May 1st, in case you were wondering!). Well, you don’t need to wait that long to rekindle that connection, as there’s a new beer on the shelves now to celebrate. Ferry Boat Fantasy came about when the folks from Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub dropped into Tatamagouche Brewing over a year ago. This Golden Sour was aged for almost a year in Chardonnay barrels, before receiving a dry-hopping treatment with Vic Secret and Hallertau Blanc, and then natural carbonation in bottles before release. From Tata, “Big tropical aromas of pineapple and mango and bright citrus notes of lemon rind and grapefruit combine with whimsical barrel aromas of butter tart, vanilla and hints of amaretto to create this creamy, tart and bright dreamscape.” Couldn’t say that better ourselves! Draught and bottles are available at TataBrew right now, with selected kegs coming soon to PEI, NB, and around the HRM. And for those not in the immediate region, check out their online store for bottle shipments direct to your door!
We’re thinking that maybe everyone is getting just a tad tired of winter, as the “dreams of summer” theme is starting to pick up with more and more beer releases. Breton Brewing is throwing their hat in the ring here with Tropical Lager, brewed for those of you “dreaming of a sunny escape” from all this snow and cold. Described as light and crisp, the beer was fermented with the Common Lager yeast and lagered for three weeks. Dry-hopped with the pretty-new-and-popular Sabro variety, it has notes of “coconut, pineapple, and mango” in the aroma. This 4.8% ABV beer is a very-limited supply test batch, so it is available at Breton’s taproom only, for pints and growlers.
Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has a surprise batch of Go Kart Jack Ass Scott-ish Red Ale back for your enjoyment. It’s a smooth beer, with a rich amber color, subtle spice notes, and a bit of honey in the aroma. Also (allegedly) blessed by the fae folk of Scotland. Wheeeeeeeee!!! Super easy drinking at 4.8% ABV and 19 IBUs, you’ll find it on tap at the tap room and (probably) available for fills to go. Also on Robie Street, the BetaBrew program is kicking out a new beer this week with Pump Up the Yams, a “candied yamber ale” (oy!). Orangey-red with and off-white head, there’s plenty of caramel flavors no doubt brought by the inclusion of candied yams during the brewing process. It’s also got a crackery presence on the malt side and a bit of noble Tettnanger hops to balance the sweetness. As usual, it’ll be tapped on Tuesday afternoon, so plan to get to GR where the jams will no doubt be pumpin’ and the crowd jumpin’ (maybe also plan to get your booty on the floor that night).
Dieppe’s Flying Boats is known to release the occasional one-off brew in their ongoing Test Pilot series; sometimes, if a beer is popular enough, it will join their regular line-up. Well, that has happened recently with the brewery’s NEIPA, Test Pilot No. 6, which has been rebranded (thankfully!) as Whoopie Kat NEIPA. Brewed with a considerable portion of flaked wheat and oats to boost the mouthfeel (and haziness), it was hopped with the Aussie Vic Secret variety. At 6% ABV, it has a “clean and bright tropical bouquet of passion fruit and pineapple, along with supporting notes of fresh herbs and pine”. You can find it on tap and in cans at FB’s taproom right now, with cans shipping next week to select ANBL stores.
Yesterday marked the culmination of a month of Brewery Battles at HopYard Charlottetown, with Lone Oak facing Copper Bottom in the final. Both breweries brought their A-game, debuting new beer at the event. Let’s start with Lone Oak’s entry, Hollywood, which may have been a factor in eking out a victory. This West Coast IPA is the first of the style from the brewery, and at 6.7% ABV, brings loads of melon character with a nice bitterness. After its debut last night, you’ll be able to find it on draught at the brewery at Gateway Village this weekend, with cans coming in the next little bit.
As for Copper Bottom, their brand new beer to hit the taps is FLUX: Lotus, the first in their FLUX line of single hop IPAs the brewery is launching next Friday. Think of everything you are hoping to hit in an IPA: hazy, sessionable, and flavourful enough to keep coming back, and this is what they hope to achieve with FLUX. Not surprisingly, this initial release features the Lotus varietal, showcasing “big notes of pineapple and tropical fruit, followed by a candied grape and subtle hint of vanilla”. Weighing in at a very reasonable 4.3% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer will be available on draught and in cans next Friday.
If you’re in the Yarmouth area, you may want to drop by Heritage Brewing, where they’ve just dropped their latest beer, Cranberry Sour Wheat. We’re betting you’ve put together a few of the details on this beer already, but that’s not going to stop us from telling you that it’s a kettle sour that was brewed with a portion of Wheat malt. Already quite tart thanks to the souring process, they added a generous amount of real Nova Scotia cranberries during fermentation, giving this cloudy, 5% ABV beer even more tartness, as well as a red colour. Check out Heritage this weekend for a taste.
Secret Cove Brewing up in Port au Port East (NOT to be mistaken for Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove), has a new beer on the taps that pushes the boundaries of good taste. Not actual taste, we’re sure it’s a delicious beverage, but the name, dear lord the name. Blueberries Crying in the Grain pays homage to “Berry Head,” an area of Secret Cove’s home region that was made part of Port au Port (but would you believe there’s ANOTHER “Berry Head” on the East side of the Rock?! Newfoundland geography is a trip.) Aaaanyway, you should not be surprised to hear that there are both blueberries and grain in this fruited wheat beer, which weighs in at 5.1% ABV. Featuring a “vibrant purple hue” with an aroma that is both tart and sweet, the blueberries are definitely prominent. So if you’re in the area, whether you’re a local who knows all about Berry Head or a visitor who might wonder where exactly it is, stop by and give a taste of the local flora a try.
Sussex Ale Works is bringing back their Notorious APA, a 7.3% ABV, 66 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped with Sasquatch in the whirlpool. Juicy, with a supporting malt character, this is the second time this beer has been brewed. Find it on tap at their bar in Sussex this weekend.
The beery beardos of the 902BrewCast seem to maybe be hitting the gas again after a couple of slow months of soul searching and heavy drinking. Now it’s just heavy drinking. We kid! At the very least they’ve been managing to get the band back together at least a little more, with Kyle Andrus actually being spotted out in public at the Craft Beer Cottage Party a couple weeks ago, and rumours swirling of tapings with all three members in attendance. For now you’ll have to make do with a quick 30-minute or so bonus ep that dropped today featuring a few conversations Tony and Kyle had that night at the CBCP, but get ready for a Podcast that involves an actual brewery (!!) coming in March as well as a February tasting episode that we think might drop this coming Tuesday (as always, full refund on this blog post if we’re wrong about that). So grab the Bonus ep at their web site or via your favorite podcast provider and start looking forward to more content from a rejuvenated and less baby-beholden crew.
Not to be outdone by Tatamagouche and Big Spruce with their job postings last week, the news out of Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is that they, too, are on the prowl for brewery staff. But in a classic case of the Island one-upping the mainland (or maybe being better at “finding efficiencies”), Upstreet is looking for someone to be a Brewer AND Cellarperson. Currently listed as a full-time summer/seasonal position, it has the potential to turn into a permanent gig. Production experience as a brewer is obviously highly valued, but brewing experience of all kinds will no doubt be considered. As always when it comes to making good beer, attention to detail is a major must along with an understanding of quality and how to achieve it consistently. If you think you’d be a good fit for this and are interested in spending at least a summer in Charlottetown, you can check out the full job posting on the Upstreet site for full details and information on how to apply.
Plenty on the go around the region this weekend, check it out!
The Guv’nor on Elizabeth Ave in St. John’s is hosting another round of their Newfoundland Craft Beer Tap Takeover all weekend. Kicking off yesterday, they are showcasing beer from a dozen Newfoundland breweries and cideries during the course of the next couple of days, as kegs kick and more come online. You can peruse the list of offerings here, but we suggest you don’t wait too long, as some options are in short supply!
Normally, beer festival season starts in New Brunswick with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in early March, but this year Saint John is kicking things off with the first KV Craft Beer Festival tomorrow, February 22nd. Happening at the QPLEX, there will be one evening session, with two sets of tickets available: VIP ($69) from 6:30-9:30 pm, and general admission ($49), 7:30-9:30. Your ticket gets you unlimited samples from close to 20 different breweries, cideries, and one distillery; there’ll be live music as well. Tickets are still available; you can get yours through the event link above.
As we mentioned above, this cold and snowy season often has us dreaming of warmer weather… but ya gotta admit, winter is a helluva nice time to really sit back and appreciate a good Stout. Luckily our friends at Stillwell are well aware of this, and have created a special event, STOUT SZN, that will be happening this Sunday, February 23rd, from 4pm to close. They’ll have nine different stouts on tap for your roasty needs, eight of which are from local, NS breweries, and one from Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham (Total Disrespect, a Pastry Stout w/ pecans, black cherries, and cocoa nibs). They’ll also be serving up some oysters from Sober Island, if that’s your thing! Check out the event page up there for a full brewery/beer list.
Looking for a fun time this coming Monday, February 24th? Happy Hour Co is hosting their first event at Tire Shack Brewing on John Street in Moncton. Brewery Tour and Tasting kicks off at 7 PM, and will feature a tour of the brewery facilities, and then a guided tasting of Tire Shack’s lineup of beers, thanks to owners Jerrica and Alan. No need to sign up in advance, just show up and look for the other thirsty folks!