Welcome friends to the Golden Dog Beer Blog, an ongoing tribulation of beer culture in Uptown Saint John.
To start off, welcome to Golden Dog Beer Tours website, you may very well be the first person reading this blog, we are a new company and blogging is certainly new to us. The idea behind this blog is that we are hoping to capture some of the ongoing trends in beer uptown. Being a beer tour company we would like to share some of the cool information we pick up along our journey through the streets and along our walks seeking out the best beer we can find. If you are not so in tune with the beer scene uptown, the time to explore is now!
It is no secret that the beer market in New Brunswick has exploded in the past 3-4 years, something that has been waiting to happen due to market conditions that had basically choked out all of the small players throughout Canada leaving loyal beer drinkers craving change, better quality, different varieties and something they could buy locally.
It is great to see uptown Saint John turning into a community marketplace that sources things from nearby. It is not uncommon to see local brewers floating around in Uptown establishments dropping off kegs, visiting with business owners talking about quality, quantities, and ingredients and getting feedback on the likability of a batch of beer. These types of relationships unite people, who on a more broad scale network has made New Brunswick one of the best provinces in the country to have a beer.
These hard working entrepreneurs have turned this (sometimes) slow-to-adapt province into a place of envy for other parts of the country, left trying to figure out how they missed out. This stems from the East Coast neighbourly spirit that the rest of Canada knows about, but really does not understand fully.
The beer movement would certainly be considered "grassroots"; as many of the local producers began as basement enthusiasts, like a garage band trying to break out on to the scene; burrowing equipment, failing, taking big risks, dealing with mainstream labels and stiff competition. Luckily these passionate brewers remained driven and now have some of the big guys trying to get back to their humble beginnings to reach new customers and hold on to existing ones who now have wandering taste buds. So if your wandering taste buds take you uptown here are some things to note that are happening if you are sniffing around looking for a good beer.
1. Patio season is approaching quickly, or is here (for some hardier folks). You will likely begin to see the appearance of things like Radlers, Session Ales and the classic Lagers take the forefront, and take up some tap and fridge space. This is a seasonal thing as these beers have a longstanding relationship with summer. They are lighter, easier to drink and go down real smooth while you barbecue.
2. On the opposite side of things, say goodbye to some of your favourite Porters, Stouts, Warmers and "meal in a glass" beers. Don't be sad these will be back as the weather changes back to cold, sooner than you want.
3. Ciders are on the rise again! Not beer, but often a good substitute. They seemed to have been quiet over the colder months, but are versatile in flavour and provide the same enjoyment as beer. Look for new local players, as well as some new Canadian makers around the scene.
4. Sample sizes (4-6 ozs) are gaining popularity for several reasons. Customers like them as it is low risk if you are not ready to fully commit to a particular beer. Also you can purchase more than one and compare to find your taste preference. They are also great to showcase a variety of beer. Establishments like them as well as beer drinkers are becoming more selective and sample sizes allow them to give out smaller portions without having beer returned. It reassures servers that a customer gets what they want.
5. There is bound to be some of the more fruity styles of beer, mixed with fruit flavours of all kind. These are always worth a try; even get a sample if you are not completely in to this type of thing. There are some real gems out there that may only be around for the warmer months. Some of the fruit flavouring is actually derived from the hops used in the brewing process; other flavouring can come from adding a specific flavour extract, or real fruit to a beer.
6. IPA's (Indian Pale Ale's) are still the stars at many spots, and there is a niche in the soured market. IPA's really range in bitterness depending on the hops used in the production, so beware as you may love an IPA and find that you do not love all of them. One may be strong tasting and the next one light. There is a huge range in this style of beer. One thing to note is the IBU number (International Bitterness Units), this may be a better indicator of your likability in this wide style range. In general, the lower the IBU, the lower the bitterness, which is often related to aftertaste, but keep in mind this IBU rating is not always fixed, it can change from batch to batch.
Overall this is shaping up to be a great summer for beer lovers Uptown with lots of variety and styles to pick from. There will also be some tweaks on the classics using different hop varieties and malts that are less heavy and more refreshing.
Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by for a read! Please follow us in the social media universe and keep trying new beer. Send us some friendly thoughts or ideas in the comments section. Like a good dog we listen well. Cheers!