As many are aware, it’s a big weekend of beer in New Brunswick, but it’s a bigger weekend for women around the world. International Women’s Day is on Sunday and we’re happy to say that lots of breweries around our region have made an effort to recognize women, usually in the best way they know how: with beer. We truly hope that the celebration of women’s contributions by breweries and beer-related businesses extends past this Sunday and pervades all aspects of our industry. #EachForEqual #IWD2020.
Before we get on to our usual bevy of bevvy news, we’d like to thank everyone who came out for beer trivia at The Joyce last night hosted by our own acbbchris. We’re assured a good time was had by all, and how could it not be with all that great swag donated by so many breweries from around the region; thanks to everyone who sent prizes along for us to distribute, as well as to our gracious hosts The Joyce and 2 Crows.
Now let’s tell you about some beer, shall we?
We’ll kick it off with a beer made for IWD by a brewery started by women: Port Rexton brewed their new Violet Femmes using a very special ingredient that gives it a truly amazing color. Starting with a kettle sour, they added butterfly pea flower. Butterfly pea has bright blue petals that are often used as a natural dye, but the color depends on the pH of the liquid it’s added to. In this case, the acidic nature of the sour beer resulted in a lovely violet hue, perfect for IWD. The beer was then dry-hopped for fruity and floral notes that attempt to capture the taste of the color purple. At 4.6% ABV, you’ll be able to savour more than one as you consider how close they came to that goal. And there’s another good reason to have a couple: $1 from every pint sold (and $0.50 for each half-pint) will be donated to Stella’s Circle and their Naomi Centre, an emergency shelter for women aged 16 – 30 in St. John’s. You’ll also find bins at the taproom and shop if you’d like to make a separate cash donation. This special beer became available yesterday and will be on sale at the taproom and for fills at the PR St. John’s Retail Shop as long as it lasts.
Also brewing up something special for IWD is Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing, who will also be celebrating the occasion with a full slate of events on the evening of March 8th. Tide Breaker is a black currant gose brewed by the women of Upstreet. With a grist of 50% pale and 50% wheat malts, flavored with salt, coriander and hibiscus, it was hopped with Ekuanot and finished with black currant purée. We’ve no doubt that the combination of hibiscus and currant resulted in a rather purple colour. Named for the notion that sometimes you can’t just go with the flow and that, “Redirection can equal balance,” they’ll be donating $1 from every pint sold to Blooming House, a Charlottetown shelter dedicated to keeping women safe. It’ll go on tap at opening (11 AM) on Sunday. The evening will see some remarks from Upstreet and representatives from Blooming House at 4:45 PM, followed by an hour of open mic (open to anyone and anything), and then Kierrah Celeste + Band will take over for the night at 6 PM.
Those dialed into the global beer scene, or at least the North American beer scene, may remember a bit of a blip a couple years ago when suddenly there were beers appearing that were, for lack of a better term “sparkly.” Glitter beer was definitely a thing, but a thing that managed to almost totally miss our region (as far as we remember, Big Axe’s Northern Lights Glitter Stout was the only one, way back in mid-2017). Some might even say it was a good thing, and that such an adulteration of our sacred (pfft) beverage by a purely cosmetic (hah!) addition is somehow “wrong.” We’re sure those folks are no fun at parties.
Well good news for anyone who feels that they missed the boat on glitter beer never having much of a presence on our shores, as one has finally arrived, and it was brewed at Foghorn by a collection of ladies from across New Brunswick that included brewers, restaurant and bar owners, general managers, and servers, as well as folks from Loyalist City, Uncorked Tours, Craft Coast Canning, and ANBL, specifically for IWD 2020. Sparkölsch is a 5.1% ABV beer in the classic Kölsch style. Brewed with an ale yeast, to 20 IBU and 5.1% ABV, it was cold conditioned not unlike a lager to help encourage a clean and crisp finish. Edible glitter was added at kegging time using the novel technique of adding it to the sight glass on the way to the keg. Most of the batch went into kegs that will be tapped in various locations across the province, but a small amount was packaged into 60 bottles that was available at Red Rover Cider in Fredericton (sorry folks, they sold out!). In addition to the camaraderie of women coming together and making something unique and interesting, there is also a significant giving component to the enterprise. A portion of the proceeds from every pint, growler fill and bottle sold of this beer will go to various community organizations that support women. Foghorn’s in particular will go to the United Way as part of their Quarter Club membership, with the funds ultimately going to support mental health research and survivors of domestic violence. But other participants will decide what project they are supporting with their sales of the beer. You’ll be able to get your glitter on this weekend at the below list of venues in the Province, so go forth and get sparkly!
- Foghorn Brewing Company in Rothesay
- Big Tide Brewing Co in Saint John
- Britt’s Pub & Eatery Uptown in Saint John
- Britt’s Pub & Eatery Rockwood in Saint John
- Cask & Kettle in Saint John
- Churchill’s Bar & Pub in Saint John
- Gahan House Port City in Saint John
- Imperial Theatre in Saint John (Monday March 9th only)
- McGill’s in Saint John
- Picaroons General Store in Saint John
- Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton
- Red Rover Ciderhouse in Fredericton
- Saint John Ale House
- Woodchucks Axe Throwing in Saint John
- ANBL Growler Stations around New Brunswick
Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS is debuting a new release this Saturday, in celebration of their third anniversary. A fairly clean saison with a little bit more of what you’re looking for, Extra Season was brewed back in February when our own acbbchris made a visit to the Annapolis Valley and helped to brew up this collaboration. Starting with a base of Belgian Pale malt, along with a decent percentage of oats for added mouthfeel, and Aromatic, Vienna, CaraVienne/Special B for added complexity. The kettle saw an early addition of Bravo for bittering, and then plenty of lovely Loral added later in the boil, as well as in a subsequent dry-hop (with Azacca as well). At 5.6% ABV, it is floral, fruity, and tropical, with just a touch of funk from the yeast, and finishes nice and dry. You will be able to grab this beer when it debuts tomorrow at noon in their taproom, as well as at March 21st’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival, and spots around HRM (maybe even a cask,eyes peeled everyone!), as well in cans at the end of the month. As if a brand new beer wasn’t enough to get you in the car to Lawrencetown Saturday, the LM crew is throwing a heck of a party! The first 100 people through the door will get a special gift, the kitchen will be rocking all day, a slideshow of the entire history of Lunn’s Mill will be playing in the Boiler Room all day (shots of the wood shop before renos started, growler fills at the garage door, home deliveries, right up to today), and Incoming are playing from 8 PM. Drop by to help them celebrate, have a beer or two, eat a steak taco or two, and rock out!
The gang at Trailway in Fredericton took a step away from their hazy, hoppy standards recently to brew up a rather traditional Berliner Weisse that they’re calling Low Key. Beginning with a grist of 50% German Pilsner malt and 50% wheat malt, it was fermented with a German ale yeast to start, then soured with Lactobacillus. Both kegged and bottled, the bottles were left to condition for six weeks before this week’s release. Inspired by authentic Berliners consumed on a trip to Europe late last year, it’s got a doughy and biscuity malt profile that supports a citric fruitiness. On tap for pints only at the brewery, but no growler fills, it was also packaged into both 500 mL and 750 mL bottles, so you’ll still be able to take some to go. And while at the brewery, pick up cans or fills of the latest batch of their Bliss, their 4.0% ABV India Pale Lager, brewed with Idaho 7 and Amarillo, which will also see wider distro across the province next week.
Two of our smaller Newfoundland breweries recently teamed up to make a special treat for their collective drinking public, Deer Lake’s Rough Waters Brewing Co and Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. The Real McCoy falls into the “White IPA” style, where a largely wheat-based ale is fermented with Belgian yeast for some light spicy and phenolic character before being dosed with hops, in this case Monroe and Enigma for notes of citrus, melon, and tropical fruit. Coming in at 5.6% ABV, it’s crisp, dry and easy drinking, with not a lot of bitterness, a prime example of old world meeting new world. Look for it at Bootleg for sure on tap and in bottles, but possibly at Rough Waters as well.
Like many folks, Moth Lane Brewing in Ellerslie, PEI, wondered what they could do to help the nearby community of Tyne Valley recover from the devastating fire that destroyed their community rink at the end of 2019. Going with what they know, they decided the answer, as is so often the case, is beer. Enter Rink Rat, a 4.75% ABV and 10 IBU light lager that aims to please. Moth Lane will be donating 100% of the sales of this batch of beer to the initiative to rebuild the sports centre in Tyne Valley. It’s already been delivered to Backwoods Burger, Mill River Resort, 511 West, Ansons, The Silver Fox and Brothers. More kegs are going out, however, including to Charlottetown today. Keep an eye on Moth Lane’s Facebook page to find out where you might grab a pint and support this worthy cause. And if you’re in the Ellerslie area, you can of course grab some at the brewery.
Way down on the South Shore near Yarmouth, Tusket Falls looks like they’re coming out of winter hibernation (or just getting good and ready for NSCBM) with three new canned beers coming out all at once. First up is Peach Mint Sour IPA, a beer that no doubt does what it says on the tin, with Citra and Galaxy hops meeting a kettle sour at 6.5% ABV. Next is Take Me to the Other Side, a Vanilla Milkshake IPA landing at 7.0% ABV also featuring Galaxy, but paired this time with El Dorado. And last, but not least, is Hello, Is Anybody Out There, a 6.0% ABV Hazy IPA with Lotus and Simcoe hops. Good times for hop lovers in Tusket, and, we suspect, the city as well, as TF beers are no stranger to private store shelves in Halifax.
Fredericton’s downtown is getting a bit more beery this weekend! The Capital Complex has re-branded as The Cap, and is adding a small brewery onsite to be able to supplement their support for other local breweries and cideries. The brewhouse is a 3 BBL (~350 litre) system from Stout Tanks, with three fermenters of the same size. The focus will be on beers fit for drinking during one of the many live shows to roll through the different venues under The Cap moniker, or perfect for enjoying on their own in their new Record Store opening in the Capital Bar space next Saturday, and operating daily (except Monday), 11AM until 6PM. The store will also be a place suitable for a day-time hang or laptops-out meeting place while listening to tunes. Once completely up and running in the next few months, the brewery, headed by local homebrewing collective “Tough Guy Brewing” (Ian Demerchant, Steven Christie and Mark Budd), will be supplying two taps in each of the Capital Bar and Phoenix and Wilser’s rooms. However, no need to wait to enjoy their first release, brewed as a collaboration at nearby pals Graystone Brewing. Collaborate and Listen Citra Pale Ale is a 5.0% ABV American Pale Ale, brewed almost exclusively with Citra, and light and refreshing to enjoy now or on the patio once those are a thing again. In addition to launching today at all three venues in The Cap, they’ll be pouring it this weekend at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival.
Tourism Fredericton has a brand new initiative to get folks out and about drinking good beer and cider made in the city, launching the Fredericton Taproom Trail. Pop by any of the participating spots to get your passport stamped, and win some prizes, and the affection of others, with every stop! Gahan House Riverside, Graystone Brewing, Grimross Brewing, RustiCo.& King West Brewing, Mama’s Brew Pub, Maybee Brew, Picaroons Brewing, Red Rover Cider, The Cap, TrailWay Brewing, and York County Cider.
Tatamagouche is definitely staying busy these days; they’re coming to the city for two events coming up this week. Plus another event you’ll want to attend later this month…
First up, coming on Wednesday, March 11th, at 6:30 PM, is the latest in the Agricola Street Brasserie’s Intimate and Interactive Beer Pairing Dinner series. The 5-course food menu planned by chef Dwayne MacLeod and his team has already been posted up on Instagram, and you can rest assured that the Tata team has been working hard to complement these dishes with suitable pairings from their oeuvre of tasty beers. Tickets are $100 per person, including all fees, taxes, and gratuity, and they can be purchased on-line through Eventbrite. A limited number are available, though, so if you like the looks of that menu or love Tata’s beers, or both, and you’re looking for something delicious to do on Wednesday night in Halifax, maybe grab a ticket or two and head down.
And three days later, on Saturday, March 14th, the Tata gang will be taking over the taps at Stillwell on Barrington, with 12 taps pouring their best draught, 3 casks on the go, and the debut of the collaboration beer brewed by Stillwell staff at (and with!) Tata a little while ago. Don’t be surprised if you see re-releases of some of their longer term cellared offerings available in that mix. Joe Martin will also have some special things coming out of the kitchen specifically for that day. Come out and celebrate with Team Tata and Team Stillwell and drink some fine beers with some great people!
We are just two weeks away from the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival, which serves as the kick-off to Nova Scotia Craft Beer Month in April. The March 21st event will feature more than 40 breweries from across the province, showcasing the latest and greatest from CBANS members. There are two sessions that day, 2 – 4:30 PM and 7 – 9:30 PM, with VIP tickets getting you in an hour early. While only standard tickets remain for both sessions, you’re sure to still have a great time drinking your way from Yarmouth to Sydney,and Amherst to Sheet Harbour, all in one day. We’ll update on the events during NSCB Month as they become available, but we can tell you to mark your calendar for Friday, April 3rd at 7 PM, as we’ll be hosting a Trivia Night at Auction House, which will also serve as the release party for a collaboration brew that saw Propeller host Off Track and Spindrift in their Dartmouth brewery.
As if we haven’t already inundated you with new beers, here are a bunch more to round out your day!
If you like your cider with a bit of beer bite (i.e. you like Snakebite, a mixture of beer and cider), ChainYard has just the ticket with King Crimson Cobra Commander. They blended a cider made with Crimson King apples with North Brewing’s Malternate Reality, kicking off a new fermentation. The result is “tart, funky, and refreshing”, and is only available on tap at ChainYard, for a limited time.
Heritage Brewing has a new brew for your Yarmouth beer needs: El Dorado IPA is a 5% ABV Session IPA brewed with a simple malt bill, and hopped to 40 IBUs (and dry-hopped heavily) with the lovely El Dorado variety, giving plenty of tropical fruit character.
Iron Rock Brewing has something new to help you cool down after your long trek across Labrador, a refreshing Wheat Ale named Checkpoint 19. Fermented with the Norwegian Voss Kveik yeast, it’s “slightly spicy with notes of citrus on the nose”, and is available for pints only at the brewery.
O’Creek Brewing has launched their latest fruited kettle sour, Berry Mango Sour (5% ABV). Soured with Lactobacillus and fruited with mango, raspberry, and blueberry, the lion’s share of kegs are currently pouring at the Pump House Fill Station in Moncton. And keep your eyes peeled for their Route 117 IPA being released in cans for the first time later this month!
Picaroons has a brand new NEIPA hitting their taps this weekend. North of the Border (7% ABV), hopped with a large amount of El Dorado and a little Cascade, is hazy, juicy, and citrusy, and will be available first at the General Store; look for it to follow at the Roundhouse, shortly.
Sussex Ale Works is taking a crack at the salty, tart Gose style with their latest, Gose Before Bros (so do you pronounce the Gose part incorrectly, or Bros?). Brewed in the traditional style with a blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus, hopped very lightly with Perle, and features additions of sea salt and coriander.
Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing would like folks to know that their very popular Citra-inundated DOA is back in cans and on the shelves (also available for fills and pints) as of noon today. Meanwhile they’ve also hinted on social media at the debut of an all-new Nash SMaSH beer coming out in the next little while; we’ll be sure to let you know when that happens. For now, if you’re a fan of the DOA we recommend you don’t wait as this one has a tendency to disappear pretty quickly.