Your Guide to Next Week’s “Craft Beer Attraction” Event

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As part of their on-going mission to bring more good beer to NL, the NL Artisanal and Craft Beer Club (NLACBC) is putting more than 100 beers up for your tasting pleasure at their 2017 Craft Beer Attraction, taking place on September 22 and 23 at the St. John’s Curling Club (135 Mayor Avenue).

Consider this a preview of some of the beer on offer at the events, and some pointers to help you navigate.

What’s the Difference:
Grand Tasting, Premium Tasting, Brewmaster’s Luncheon?

Attendees of Beer Fests of previous years will be familiar with the Grand Tastings setup, but they can also expect something a little more refined. You exchange 1-2 tokens ($1 each) for 50ml tastings. For more info on the Premium Tour (same, but no tokens, as Mike Buhler leads you through tasting select beers), Utopias Tasting (of Sam Adams beer that retails at about $200 for 750ml bottle), the Brewmaster’s Luncheon (schmooze with brewers at the Merchant Tavern), check www.craftbeerattraction.ca

Beers on Hand

IPAs

If you’re a fan of the bitter-hoppy buzz of IPA, the event will be packing a few choice options.

“One good example is Big Spruce Brewery from Cape Breton,” says Buhler of the NLACBC. “They will have an American IPA and a black IPA, which is very interesting for style comparison.“

  • Big Spruce Tim’s Dirty American IPA – Clean, bitter, and piney flavours, dry hopped with Simcoe hops (6.4% ABV).
  • Big Spruce Bitter Get’er India Black IPA – This 6.3% ABVAmerican-style IPA is brewed with darker malts, and is a distant cousin of porters and stouts.
  • Flying Monkeys Juicy Ass IPA – New England IPAs (aka juicy IPAs) are on trend right now. Hazy, hoppy, and light on the bitter bite.

Sours

“The world of sour beers is growing exponentially around the world and the creativity is incredible,” says Buhler.

“I am excited for people to try the new world options and compare them to some of the old world examples where they all started. I find it very interesting to taste the evolution of history as lambics have been my favourite style category for over 20 years.”

Lambics are fermented by being exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria (rather than brewer’s yeasts). This process gives the beer its distinctive flavour: dry, vinous (wine-like), and cidery, usually with a sour aftertaste. Some call it “complex” (in a good way), others call it “funky” (in a bad way).

  • 8 Wired Grand Cru — American Wild Ales out of New Zealand.
  • Birrificio de Ducato La Luna Rossa – An 8% ABV American Wild Ale from Italy.
  • Dieu du Ciel Derniere Volonte Brett – A well-regarded sour from the noted Montreal brewery.

Strong Beers

“Some people will make an order to taste in, so they don’t wear out their palates too quickly, which is an easy thing to do if you start with big beers and work backwards,” says Buhler.

Those “big beers” are the ones that will throw your taste buds for a loop; the hoppy burr of a bitter IPA or the boozy punch of an Imperial stout could have an effect on how things taste for the rest of the evening. Approach with caution.

  • 8 Wired Mighty Imperial Ale – An 11% ABV American Strong Ale, with smoke, oak, and malt.
  • deMolen Binkie Claws – A 13.4% BV barley wine out of The Netherlands.
  • Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist – An American Imperial Stout with coffee nibs and coffee beans. Strong flavours for a heavyweight 12.10% ABV.
  • White Pony Strongest than Ever – At 15.1% ABV, that’s like two Max Ice or a Faxe-and-a-half! Flavours of caramel, toffee, and tropical fruit are there to compete with the booziness of the beer.

Local Favourites

Newfoundland has been doing it up right with its craft beer selection. You can rely on Quidi Vidi, Port Rexton, Yellowbelly, and a few other friendly familiar faces at the event.

  • Mill Street Brew Pub of St. John’s will be tapping a specialty cask of their Hopfenweiss. Get there early!
  • Port Rexton Brewery T-Rex Porter – “A medium-bodied dark beer brewed with loads of roasted malt, resulting in chocolate-caramel-coffee deliciousness,” says Alicia MacDonald of Port Rexton Brewing Co.
  • Port Rexton Brewery Big Cod Mountain Ridge –“Made with 100% Atlantic Canadian ingredients. The style resembles a Belgian Ale, due to the yeast harvested from a pin cherry in NS,” says MacDonald.“The malts were grown in PEI and malted in NS. Hops came from NB, while the NL component is pineapple weed tea added in secondary. The support of this were Big Spruce Brewing (yeast), Horton Ridge (malt house), Moose Mountain Hops (in NB), and Cod Sounds (Lori came up with the pineapple weed tea idea).”
  • Port Rexton Brewing Co. Mixed Opportunity — A barrel-aged saison. “We have brewed this before, but not barrel aged it until this summer!” says MacDonald. “It is the first mixed fermentation beer in NL (to our knowledge), as we used Sacc and Brett yeast to round out its Saison characters. It’s also the first barrel-aged beer (to our knowledge) produced in NL. We have fermented and aged this beer for three months in red wine barrels, further developing the spiciness and flavors for this beer, and what a marriage the Sorachi Ace hops we used at flame out! It’s being kegged at the last minute, so I don’t have a whole lot of tasting notes. Just that it’s sampling mighty fine!”

Looking for Something Different?

“The NLC has been doing a great job of bringing in a lot of one-time offerings lately which is great for everyone looking for new beer,” says Buhler. The team has hustled to find new beer for this event, and count over 80 beers that have never been in Newfoundland before.

“There are many more styles of beer represented here than would you would normally find at the NLC,” says Buhler. “This is a great way to find something new you’ve never tried before.”

For more info, go to http://www.craftbeerattraction.ca

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Lauren Power

Lauren Power is a writer from St. John's

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