Buckle up, folks, after giving us a bit of a break for back to school, the region’s breweries seem to have collectively put feet to gas pedals and left us swimming, or perhaps more accurately, drowning, in beer news. We’ve got a tonne of info today about beers that came out this week, beers that are coming out over the next week or so, events that you might want to attend and more! It’s a little silly how long this post is, actually, so maybe grab yourself two beers before you sit down to read it, and for the love of Pete save a tree and don’t print it out!

• Late last week, Big Spruce released Complexified, another brew in their series of bottled, barrel-aged beers. A Baltic Porter, it was aged for 6 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Featuring plenty of Black malt and Roast Barley, expect lots of roast character, a big body, and some heat when it’s going down… at 10.9% ABV, it’s not to be taken lightly! Available right now, at the brewery only. And speaking of Big Spruce bottles, Anaphylactic Choc was released this week. Aged in a Glenora whisky barrel for 6 months, this “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” was originally a collaboration brewed with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar. Due to its small batch size, only 250 bottles of this beer have been released – 100 at Big Spruce, and 150 at Bishop’s, so don’t wait to pick one up!

• Finally, in Big Spruce draught news, there’s a new beer out and about that is another take on their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown. Jackpot Apricot was conditioned on, yes, apricot puree; at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the Sprucetique in Nyanza for growlers and pours, and likely at many of your favourite BS tap accounts. We know that there was talk of another fruited version of the MIPA coming, but it looks like the next fruit is guava and it might go into a slightly different style of beer… stay tuned!

• Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery has been quite busy lately, and have released their ode to the West Hants Pumpkin RegattaPumpkin Paddler. Every autumn, locals and visitors alike paddle their way across Lake Pisiquid in hollowed out giant pumpkins. Schoolhouse’s Classroom (taproom) is a perfect spot to view the action, with this year’s event taking place October 15th. And with Pumpkin Paddler weighing in at 5.7% ABV, featuring the spices that are reminiscent of pumpkin pie, it is a lovely fall sipper. Bottles of PP are available now, with the draught version coming to the taps later this month.

• Cementing the fact that the seasons are changing, Schoolhouse has brought back a small batch of their summer seasonal for a last hoorah, Summer Break Witbier. As fleeting as the warm weather, you can enjoy a cask of it today at 4pm in their Classroom. BlueBEERy Witbier was fermented with fresh local wild blueberries, as is available for samples, pints, and even growler fills. And with their expanded brewing capacity, they are sending students (kegs) further afield, and the Principal Pale AleStaffroom Stout, and seasonals are now in rotation at Charlottetown’s HopYard.

• Schoolhouse will also be at this weekend (and next) Hants County Exhibition Brew Tent, featuring beer, cider, and spirits from across the province. From noon Saturday and Sunday, Sept 16, 17, 23, and 24, taste your way from Hants West to Cape Breton, Halifax to Mahone Bay, there will be more than a dozen producers on-hand pouring their wares. Find the full list here.

• There’s a new can release coming from our friends at 2 Crows in the near future: Chaos Ghost is a Belgian Tripel, and another entry in their Calvodos Foedre-aged beers. Brewed with a grist of Belgian Pilsner malt, it also features the addition of Belgian candi sugar, to lighten the body, boost the ABV, and dry the beer out even more (remember, those Belgian Tripels are meant to be very dry!). Hopped with Sterling, Goldings, and Hallertau Blanc (to 31 IBUs), it was fermented with an Abbey Ale yeast, and then conditioned for several months in a Calvados Foedre. Weighing in at approximately 9.3% ABV, expect some slight spicy/peppery notes accompanied by bright, fruity esters… and more than likely a bit of oak/vanilla character from that Foedre. Look for cans to be released next Saturday, September 23rd.

• And in other 2 Crows news, there was a new draught-only release earlier this week that is – unfortunately – on its last legs by now. House Funk was a Brett Saison brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, hopped with Chinook and Sterling, and fermented with an “experimental Brettanomyces strain”. Further keg-conditioned with a champagne yeast, the brewery describes it as “spicy, lemony, and bright”. But don’t worry! While only 15 L of this 5% ABV, 28 IBUs gem was released this week, the plans are for a new keg to pop up every 4-6 weeks, so you may get a chance to try it after all (if you plan accordingly… and why wouldn’t you?).

• Speaking of draught-only beers released earlier this week that are probably won’t last the rest of the weekend (or day!), Spindrift has/had the simply-named American Pale Lager on tap at the brewery only, back on Tuesday. Just a pilot batch (for now), it features (featured?) large dry hop additions of Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, we think describing it as easy-drinking and clean, with lots of piney, tropical fruit is a safe bet. If it’s gone by now, well… maybe that’s good, because that would mean it was popular enough for them to brew it again, right?

• There’s some new beers AND re-releases coming out of Maybee Brewing over the next week, so let’s get right to it! We’ll start off with Batch 100, a SMaSH American Pale Ale brewed to celebrate Maybee’s 100th batch of beer; featuring Horton Ridge Pale Malt and Southan Farms Centennial, the brewery describes it as “a light, smooth, Pale Ale perfect for pretending it’s still summer”. This 5.3% ABV, 42 IBU beer is available now, in both cans and on tap around Fredericton. Next up is a “Honey Brett Saison” brewed for next Saturday’s Bee-R Garden in Fredericton (we talked about this event last week). Honey, I Funked the Saison was brewed with honey from Sunset Heights Meadery, and fermented with both a Saison yeast, and Brett D from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, this one will be a draught-only release, but will be available outside of the Bee-R Garden at local accounts. Finally, for re-releases, Maybee’s first DIPA, Look Off, is available again on tap and in cans, and look for their Sumac Witbier, featuring locally-foraged sumac berries, to make a return within a couple weeks.

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay, NB has added a third beer to their repertoire this week. Joining their Bantham APA and Chalice Belgian Ale is a German Berliner Weisse. Brewed in the traditional style, the beer is quite pale and light-bodied, with a slight grain character. Also true-to-style is a light acidity and clean finish, thanks to the souring of the wort before fermentation. And to complete the authentic experience, be sure to request the beer mit schuss, that is “with syrup”, as one can enjoy in Berlin. Owner Sean Doyle searched high and low and was able to source both woodruff (walmeister) and raspberry (himbier) syrups to dose the beers. The Berliner is only available in growler fills at their Marr Road brewery, so drop by today to grab this limited release.

• The gang up at Meander River has a new cider available this week. Lavandula is dubbed for the latin name for lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and as you might expect, this cider is perfumed with lavender grown at the Meander River farm. But that’s not the end of the local content: the apples used were a 5 apple blend from Falmouth’s Davison Farm (famous for their Corn Maze) and the honey is also a Meander River Farm product thanks to help from Cosman & Whidden Honey in Greenwich! The result is a light-bodied dry cider with a smooth palate, and a crisp apple finish. Coming in at 5.5% ABV it’s fairly light, and we’re told it has a “floral and almost biscuity nose.” It’s been put into 500 mL bottles and is only available in that packaging format. You’ll find it while supplies last at the MRFB table at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 8 AM – 1 PM or at the brewery. And this Sunday would be a great day to plan a trip out to Meander River Farm & Brewery as they’re one of the farms in Nova Scotia participating in Open Farm Day 2017! They’ll have a river walk, brewery talk and tour, garden walk and talk, hops, lavender, herbs, cut flowers and animals. They’ll also be doing a demonstration of distilling essential oils and botanicals. And, of course, you’ll be able to purchase beer and this cider in their retail store! So come on out and meet your farmer.

• Earlier on Wednesday, TrailWay released a very limited amount of cans of one of their most popular beers, but with a slight tweak: DDH Luster features a second dry-hop addition, made up entirely of the wonderful El Dorado. For the first time that we’re aware of for TW, this entire small batch of beer was canned (absolutely no kegs), with only 40 cases available… as of two days ago. So if you haven’t grabbed any yet, best head over to the brewery ASAP, before it’s all gone!

• Up in Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear has a newish brew on the go, at least for a little while. An Altbier they brewed earlier in the summer and sold most of at the Wharf Rat Rally earlier this month, they’ve got just a little bit left. Made exclusively with Horton Ridge Munich Malt, it’s a quite sessionable 4.5% ABV and a comfortable 32 IBU. Look for what remains at this week’s Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders market. If you miss it, fear not, as they’ve got plans for some more seasonal brews over the next couple months. And if you’re in the city with no plans to go to the Valley but wishing you could sample some of Lazy Bear’s wares, word has it they’ve got kegs of their Sour Punch on at 2 Crows and Battery Park and they’re hoping to send some other beers to the HRM over fall and winter.

• Hey Hey Mama, Hammond River Brewing has a brand new beer available, with a name inspired by the lead-off tune from Led Zeppelin’s classic fourth album. Black Dog is an India Black Ale brewed with lots of dark malts including Chocolate, Roasted Barley and Carafa III to give it a bold toasty and chocolatey body. Meanwhile, it was hopped exclusively with Citra hops for a tropical and especially citrusy flavour and aroma. It’s a stout 6.9% ABV and a bracing 79 IBU. You’ll find it at the brewery for fills and pints and look for it to appear at HRB’s tap accounts throughout New Brunswick. And keep an eye on their social media today for details on the brewday they are conducting with Third Annual Home Brew Contest winners Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, as they put together the soon-to-be-released Black River Sweet Milk Stout. You can follow Belliveau and Landry’s activities on their homebrew page on Facebook, Quiet Revolution Brewing.

• Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Craft Beer Attraction in St. John’s, being held Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23. In case you still needed convincing, the hard working crew at Port Rexton Brewing are going to seal the deal for you. Their Mixed Opportunity is a 6.5% ABV mixed fermentation (featuring both Sacchromyces and Brettanomyces strains of yeast) Saison, with light spiciness and effervescent mouthfeel. For the CBA, they are releasing a special version of the beer that was fermented and aged for three months in red wine barrels, for an extra level of complexity. Marrying the unique characteristics of the barrel with the dose of Sorachi Ace hops added at flame out, this is sure to stand out next weekend. Now that we’ve got you sufficiently thirsty, grab tickets for the main events, or the Brewmaster’s Luncheon with the crew from Trou du Diable at Merchant Tavern Friday at noon (featuring 9 beers poured by Isaac Tremblay and Stephane Thibodeau of TdD, paired with local food), RSVP by phone 709-722-5050.

• There’s a new hoppy beer coming out of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth, NS – Hop With No Name is a Session IPA brewed with Experimental Hop #07270. A new variety described as having “spicy, resinous, and tangerine notes”, it’s fairly new to the brewing world (as expected, since it doesn’t actually have an official name yet), and Heritage was happy to grab some and experiment! With the majority added at flameout and in a dry-hop addition, the grist of the beer was kept simple, in order to let the hop characters stand out. Why not drop by the brewery during their hours today (4-8 pm) or tomorrow (11 am – 5 pm) to pick up a growler? Only 60 L were brewed, so it won’t hang around too long.

• As those who attended the opening of FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival last night no doubt noticed, Propeller has provided the official beer of that event. Wheat Kings Witbier, no doubt named as a nod to the Tragically Hip documentary film Long Time Running that opened the festival at the Rebecca Cohn. Part of Propeller’s Gottingen Small Batch series, the beer clocks in at 4.8% ABV and a mild 18 IBU, pouring a hazy light gold colour and possessing the crisp wheat character, balanced by orange citrus and coriander spice as is de rigueur for the style. It has a medium body with a dry finish and a moussy white head. Look for it at other FIN events and the Propeller tap room on Gottingen!

• As expected, more news of wet-hopped beers is hitting social media, with local breweries continuing to put the call out for hop-pickers, and some already at the brewing stage of these beers. Antigonish’s newest brewery, Half Cocked, teased earlier this week that they were brewing their wet-hopped beer and would be releasing it within a few weeks. We’ll have more details then, but their Instagram account clearly showed bags of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Galena. Next up is Saltbox Brewery whose Blue Nose 1850 is expected to be released on Saturday at opening (10 AM), while they celebrate their first anniversary. It features local Challenger, Mount Hood, Nugget and Cascade hop varieties blended into a 5% ABV “any time” sort of beer. And joining the fun next week will be Lunn’s Mill, who are currently fermenting their wet hopped offering, a Harvest SMaSH featuring Chinook hops from Four Horses Farm just down the road. They expect to have it available next week.

• And in other Lunn’s Mill news, they’ve joined the ranks of the breweries doing sours with their new kettle soured Berliner Weisse. Hitting the tap room this week, it’s a barely perceptible 4 IBU and a solid 5.2% ABV. It’s a sour, light and refreshing wheat beer with a high carbonation level to give it some bite. If you stop by you’ll be able to sample it straight up, with the traditional Sweet Woodruff syrup, or with less traditional, but surely delicious blackberry or rhubarb syrups! The folks from Long Bay might kick themselves a little when they find out that Lunn’s Mill didn’t have to bring in Woodruff syrup all the way from Germany; instead they found that Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, NS, was able to help them out! As with all Lunn’s Mill seasonals, this one is available just until it’s gone, so head down to the tap room and give it a go.

• The crew at Good Robot has brought back El Espinazo del Diablo, their corn-based beer, fermented with Mexican Lager yeast, and featuring a healthy dose of lime zest and Jalapeno peppers. Pairing this 5.5%, 14 IBU beer is a breeze, with its light body and slight heat. Look for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday drop to be AirWolf Chocolate Milkshake IPA, brewed by Kelly C and Mike M of Everwood Ave Brew Shop. Lots of chocolate and other dark malts, along with the characteristic flaked oats and lactose (milk sugar). As with all Beta releases, this is only available at the brewery, and usually sells out that evening, so don’t delay!

• From deep inside their lair on Salter Street in the shadow of the Maritime Centre, Tidehouse Brewing Company continues to pump out new beers and they’ve got two brand new ones to share with us this week. First up is Strange Meadow Lark, a deep orange 5.5% ABV beer in the Saison style. With a grist made up of mostly Pilsner with a solid dose of Munich, it was initially bittered with Magnum before being finished with a classic British hop, East Kent Goldings, a novel hop choice for a classic Belgian style. Sessionable in nature, the malty Munich paired with the earthy, floral and spicy notes from the hops should make this a lovely beer to welcome the change of season. This one will be pouring tonight at the Garrison Hops ’n Brats event and also at the Tiny Tasting Room for 4 oz pours and growler fills. And coming this weekend or possibly into next week is It’s a Secret, a pale ale featuring the Australian variety Vic Secret, lauded for its fruity and tropical character when used in the whirlpool or for dry hop, which is what Tidehouse has done with this one. Matched with a simple grist of largely 2-row barley and a bit of melanoidin for a balancing malt character, it was fermented on a clean American yeast strain to help accentuate the hops. Expect berry, melon and tropical fruit notes to be prominent when you drop by the tasting room for a 4 oz sample before grabbing a growler fill and going on your merry way.

• Down the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island has a new beer available for the Fall season. Harvest Rye is a bigger beer, tipping the scales at 7% ABV and bringing a solid 44 IBU. A deep amber in color, it leverages an English yeast that will no doubt accentuate the malt and possibly provide some contrasting fruity esters to the spiciness of the rye malt. It also features some wheat, which should contribute to a softer mouthfeel and it’s hopped with the noble pair Saaz and Tettnang for earthy and herbal tones and some additional spiciness. Harvest Rye will be available at the brewery in crowlers and also at Sober Island’s usual market presences, and should be a great one to sip as the cooler evenings creep up.

• Attention home brewers, we have two competitions to tell you about this week, each with their own unique diversion from the traditional. Big Spruce Brewing is once again holding their Home Brew Challenge (their 5th year!), but instead of taking entries in only one or two categories, the idea is for all entrants to brew any style they wish, but to use the same yeast. This unique strain is actually a Big Spruce exclusive, isolated from a wild pincherry tree on their brewery farm in Nyanza. After extensive work by them and the fine folks at Escarpment Labs in Guelph (you can learn more about the involved process in last week’s 902 BrewCast), they now have enough of this pure yeast to share with homebrewers. The yeast gives off light spiciness and floral characteristics, so keep that in mind when selecting the base style and recipe. The yeast will be available for pickup at the brewery, and Noble Grapes in HRM, at the beginning of October, but you can learn more (including how to register) by checking out the FB Event page, or by emailing owner Jeremy White. In the meantime, get thinking about which recipe you’d like to brew!

• Also coming across our desk this week is a brand new homebrew competition from Sober Island Brewing. Embracing their love of using native and hyper-local ingredients in their beers (think oysters and chanterelle mushrooms), they are hosting a Foraged Beer Competition. Using a locally-foraged ingredient (either collected yourself or from one of the local foraging groups), and at least a quarter locally-processed malt from Horton Ridge Malt Company, design a beer highlighting the best of local ingredients. Be sure to grab a selfie of you harvesting or using the ingredients, and send that along with your entry. More details on the timeline of the competition can be found on the Event Page, and registration forms can be retrieved by emailing SIBC owner Rebecca Atkinson. The winning beer will be served at the Henley House on November 26th, along with Sober Island’s first in their Foraged Series beer release.

There’s plenty on the go this weekend and the coming weeks, take a look!

• A reminder that the 2017 Hops ‘n’ Brats event is happening today at Garrison’s Seaport Hall (their newly renovated and expanded taproom). Featuring beers from 2 Crows, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Good Robot, Nine Locks, North, Sober Island, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, Tidehouse, and of course hosts Garrison. Tickets are still available, and your $25 include your first 8 samples and a souvenir glass, with more samples available to purchase once inside. And don’t forget that tomorrow is Garrison’s Oktoberfest, with events kicking off at 11AM, and going until late! Check out more details here.

Beerocracy, the independently-created documentary on the beer scene in New Brunswick, is screening tonight at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. In addition to diving into the growing craft beer industry in NB, the film goes further to compare and contrast the benefits and challenges to the same scene in Nova Scotia and Maine. The screening will take place at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, at 6:45 pm. If you’d like to purchase your tickets in advance, you can right here. Both Alex Vietinghoff and Shauna Chase, the creators of the documentary, will be attending, and will be hosting a 15 minute Q&A after the show.

Tomorrow in Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary of opening. Open from 10 AM to 9:30 PM, they’ll have Backoos Korean BBQ available for purchase all day and a pig roast with all the fixin’s presented by Mateus Bistro from 4 PM – 8 PM. They’ll also have live music and, of course, plenty of fresh beer. So come on out and help celebrate their first successful year!

• If you’re in the Hortonville, NS area (or within driving distance), there’s going to be another screening of Sociable!, the documentary on the craft beer scene in NS, at the Horton Ridge taproom tomorrow, September 16th, at 7 pm. Chris and Helen, who created the film, will be on hand to chat and answer any questions you may have.

• There’s a big tap takeover in the works for next weekend in Dartmouth at Jamieson’s Irish Pub. Two craft heavyweights square off with 8 taps each for a total of 16 lines of top notch local craft beer from 2 Crows and Tatamagouche Brewing. Starting Thursday, September 21st, with “practice night” in combination with Wing Night, continuing on Friday with their TGIF and official launch, and then an afternoon Ceilidh from 2 – 4PM ($2 cover) and Kitchen Party from 7:30 – 10pm ($3 cover) on Saturday and finishing up on Sunday with Industry Night (all taps $6 for industry personnel). Saturday night will also give you an opportunity to Meet the Brewers from these two fine breweries. There is also talk of a trophy presentation, which implies perhaps a touch of (friendly, we’re sure) competition going on. Keep your eyes on Jamieson’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) as the tap list is yet to be revealed.

• The Fall Edition of Keji’s Dark Sky Weekend is happening next weekend, and Boxing Rock will be on hand with samples of their Dark as Keji Black IPA. With events happening both Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23, take advantage of this special Dark Sky Preserve to see and learn more about our place in the universe. The “Gourmet Fall Night Hike to Peter Point” is Friday starting at 6:30PM. Walk to Peter Point, and enjoy a beer and food tasting along the way! Sign-up is required at the Visitor Centre or by calling 902-682-2772.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is coming to Halifax in a big way, as they’ll be pouring on all five taps at Bishop’s Cellar with their Roof Hound Tap Takeover, happening next Saturday, September 23rd. Drop by from noon-5 pm and sample some of the beers, before deciding on which one(s) you’d like to fill your growlers with. The tap list has been released, and includes Average Joe American Wheat, Big Brown, Rye-It, Wasted Days Chocolate Peanut Butter Wheat, and a brand new beer, Oat of My Mind DIPA. Brewed with oats in the grist to increase the mouthfeel, it was hopped with Azacca and weighs in at 7.1% ABV.

• If you’re looking for an Oktoberfest celebration that actually happens in October, look no further than Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown (the one in the Valley!), NS. They’re planning their big OktoBEERfest party for Saturday, October 7th, from 3 PM to 10 PM at the brewery. Tickets are $45 a pop and include a customer 20 ounce beer glass, a beer of your choice, a meal and live music. The beer menu will include two special beers, both German in style, brewed especially for the event. The first is a Hefeweizen and the second a Vienna Lager; there will also be three of the Lunn’s mill regular rotation available. The meal includes sausages (of course!), chicken schnitzel, potato salad, green salad and apple crisp. Four music, four local acts are on the ticket: Two Can Sam, Heather & Caleb, Midnight Genny and Dayliner. Dress for the occasion in your lederhosen and Tirolerhüte so you can take advantage of the photo booth. And best of all, there’s a shuttle running through the Valley to get you there and home safe! It will run from Bridgetown to Middleton from 3-5 PM to take folks to the event and again from 7 – 10 PM to bring them home! Purchase your tickets directly from the Lunn’s Mill website and keep your eye on the event page for any updates.

A few more things to round out the post today…

Petit-Sault‘s big Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV), is back again for the season; currently only available on tap and in bottles at the brewery’s taproom in Edmundston, NB.
Red Rover has re-released their popular blueberry-infused cider, The Blues (7% ABV), semi-dry and “bursting with wild blueberries and a crisp apple finish”; look for it on tap and in flagons.
– Noon today North Street saw the return of Halifax’s hoppy, roasty savior as Flat Black Jesus reappeared at Unfiltered and Charm School Pub next door for fills and pints. And if you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, look for leftovers from Unfiltered’s tap takeover last night at Hopyard!

Well, it’s official…September is here. Unofficially, summer is over, the days of Pumpkin Ales are upon us, and wet-hopped beers are approaching soon! If you’re not a fan of one of these (or both), don’t worry…while this week may be a bit slower in the new beer department compared to the last few, there’s still some interesting brews newly released or coming soon that we’d love to get you caught up on…

• Charlottetown’s St. Paul’s Church will be celebrating their 250th Anniversary in 2019, and they’ve partnered up with Upstreet to have a special beer brewed as a means of fundraising for this important milestone. Head brewer Mike Hogan decided to brew a beer similar in style to one you’d see in England in the 18th century…hence, Red Stone Stock Ale was born. The grist is made up of English Pale malt, Medium Crystal, and Chocolate malt. A 60 L grain-soured starter was whipped up, and added to half of the 30 BBL (3500 L) batch, resulting in a pH drop that gave some, but not too much, sourness. After boiling the wort and hopping it with English Fuggles, this half was then blended with the other, non-soured half (brewed with the same hop schedule), and the resulting wort was fermented. Afterwards, house-toasted PEI oak cubes were added, with the final product exhibiting an “oaky and sharp finish similar to the aged beers of the time”. This brew will be released on September 17th, on tap at the brewery and a few select accounts, and in bottles, with all proceeds going to St. Paul’s.

• There’s a new beer flowing at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay, an Extra Special Bitter named after its proud brewer, Andrew Estabrooks. Esty Special Bitter is a 5.5% ABV, 38 IBUs beer hopped with three new-to-Foghorn varieties: Challenger, Target, and Olicana. Fermented with, of course, an English yeast strain, expect a dry, slightly fruity brew that goes down easy. Available now for pints and growlers, it’s also popping up at a few tap accounts in Saint John.

• More breweries in our region are working with Escarpment Labs – a company in Guelph, Ontario, that produces liquid yeast cultures for breweries – to develop their own unique cultures for fermenting wort. Tatamagouche Brewing has joined this list, with the release of a new Saison, Edel, yesterday. The grist of this new beer is comprised of 70% Pilsner malt, and 20% raw wheat and 10% raw Rye from Horton Ridge, to 5.2% ABV. Hopped with organic French Strisselspalt to 21 IBUs, the wort was fermented with a special blend of yeast that Tatabrew worked on with Escarpment, that incorporates both a traditional Saison yeast, and a North American Brettanomyces strain. The resulting beer was split into two batches; the first, being released today, was dry-hopped with more Strisselspalt, while the second has moved on into Tempranillo wine barrels and will be getting an addition of wine must this fall (look for this half to be released next spring). Edel is a keg-only beer, so look for it at the brewery for growlers and pints, as well as on tap at both Stillwell locations, and Battery Park. Next spring’s barrelled version, however, will also be released in bottles. We’ll be sure to remind you when it’s available!

Loyalist City Brewing has released a variety of hoppy beers since they opened last fall, and this week they launched their third American IPA, Point Blanc IPA. This is a “New England IPA” brewed with a blend of Maris Otter in the grist, which provides a “light toasted malt presence” to balance the hop character provided from large whirlpool additions of Citra, Centennial, and Mandarina Bavaria, along with a heavy dry hop of CentennialHallertau Blanc, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fermented with the brewery’s Vermont yeast strain, expect lots of citrus and grapefruit, and a high bitterness in the finish. Seek it out on tap at your favourite Loyalist City account!

Good Robot is bringing back version 2.0 of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale today; to remind you, this is the one featuring the addition of Kenyan Nyeri Gatina coffee beans, roasted by Java Blend Coffee Roasters and brewed by Low Point Coffee Co. The resultant cold brew was added to the beer, along with hop additions of Falconer’s Flight and Cascade, giving you interesting flavours of coffee, chocolate, slight fruit, and some acidity. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and, of course, other GR-friendly establishments in the HRM. Also, next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday (brewed by Robyn, Heather, and Kelly C.) will be Low Hanging Fruit Milkshake IPA (6.6% ABV, 54 IBUs)- hopped with Mosaic Cryo hops, as well as pelletized Amarillo, Citra and Columbus. It was then rested on fresh Ontario peaches for a week; the fruity notes from both the hops and fruit help balance the slight sweetness from the addition of lactose powder. And finally, note that there will be no Cask in the Sun release today.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has finally confirmed that they will be expanding their 1 BBL brewery, which has been operating since April, 2014 out of co-owners’ Peter and Tatiana Cole’s Bed and Breakfast under the same name. The Big Axe Brewery and Saloon will be housed in a “wild west-style log home”, built on the banks of the Saint John River in Nackawic. Scheduled to open in April, 2018, the 10 BBL (1150 L) brewhouse is being built by Charlottetown’s DME. With 20 BBL fermentors also being constructed, expect plenty more Big Axe beer, including bottle and can distribution. The two-level saloon will have a wrap-around deck overlooking the Saint John River; food will be served as well. We’ll be sure to update you as their progress continues. Congratulations to the Coles!

• After backing out of their original plan to open a small batch brewery in downtown Saint John early this year, Moosehead has announced that they will indeed be adding a 20 BBL (2300 L) brewhouse and taproom to the company’s original brewery at 89 Main St. West in Saint John. A 3 BBL (350 L) pilot brewery will also be constructed, with the idea behind both smaller brewhouses being experimentation, according to Moosehead. Current plans are for the new location to be up and running in May, 2018.

• And speaking of crafty (and pumpkin ales!), A. Keith’s Historic Brewery has a new batch out of their pilot system. Brewmaster Stefan Gagliardi, a self-proclaimed pumpkin head, perfected this recipe as a home brewer over many iterations and it’s one of his favorites. Ingredients include Vienna and Munich malts from Horton Ridge, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spices including fresh ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Look for malty, toasty and sweet pie crust elements to meet a full body and smooth mouthfeel highlighted by the spices. This is a small batch, with only three kegs going on the growler station at the brewery today.

• Those who have hops growing on their property are surely aware that the time is nigh for harvesting. Hop flowers, or cones, are starting to sound papery when squeezed, are going a little brown around the edges, and smell of the resinous lupulin that contains the essential oils and acids hops are known and loved for. We know that a couple of hop growing breweries in the region, including Meander River and Big Spruce, have already had their picking parties and other producers will no doubt harvest soon if they haven’t already. Most of the hops harvested in our region will no doubt be processed normally: dried with warm, moving air, before being baled or pelletized and stored cold. But some hops are destined for nearly immediate use with a special technique known as “wet hopping”, “fresh hopping” or “green hopping” – adding freshly-picked, undried hops to a batch of beer during the brewing process. For best effect, wet hops have to be as fresh as possible, ideally within hours of picking, so that they do not spoil. Cold storage and shipping, if necessary, should not exceed 48 hours before the hops hit the beer. This gives breweries with their own on-site hop farms a leg up on making wet hopped beers. Using wet hops is much more risky than processed hops; with no laboratory analysis, alpha acid and essential oil levels are completely unknown. Because of this, to keep some control over the result, some breweries will use processed hops with known alpha levels for bittering and will save the fresh hops for flavour and aroma additions. When picked, hops are ideally still roughly 80% water and aren’t nearly as potent as dried, so significantly higher hop amounts must be used in wet hopping, often as much as 5 or 10 times the dried equivalent. Meanwhile, compounds that lose their potency during the drying process are still present and can make significant, and sometimes unwelcome, flavour contributions. Wet hopped beers, at their best, present a different side of hops, earthy and somewhat grassy, with a more subtle presentation of other flavour and aroma characteristics than usual. Look for wet hopped beers, often termed harvest ales to start appearing in the region over the next month or so!

• Speaking of which, if you’ve got hops growing on your property that you’re not planning to use, and you can get them to Fredericton quickly after picking, Graystone Brewing has put out a call for hops to be used in their Harvest Ale. Proceeds from the beer with go towards the United Way of Central New Brunswick’s campaign.

A bit of a quiet week for beer events and event announcements this week:

• A reminder to those in Halifax that Stillwell is bringing one of the big (but little!) guns of American Farmhouse styles for a two-stage takeover this weekend as Maine’s Oxbow Brewing comes to town. Starting at 4 PM today some of the best Belgian-inspired beers you can imagine will be pouring at Stillwell HQ on Barrington Street. And tomorrow starting at noon the party moves on up to The Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road. The full tap and bottle list is now available for this evening’s festivities and chef Graeme Ruppel has put together a burger-focused menu that’ll melt your butter. If you’ve found yourself going into withdrawal after the Stillwell Belgian Takeover two weeks ago, if you’re curious how American Farmhouse compares to the original, or if you just like really great beer, you owe it to yourself to get out today or tomorrow. No tickets required at either session.

• If you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, or planning to be there in the next 24 hours, and you don’t already have your tickets for the PEI Beerfest (part of the Fall Flavours Festival) at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, what are you waiting for?! Tickets are still available for tonight’s 6:30 – 9:30 PM session ($48 + taxes & fees) and Saturday afternoon’s 2:00 – 4:00 PM shift ($36.50 + taxes & fees), but tomorrow evening’s session is now sold out! The brewery list is as up-to-date as it’s going to get and the live entertainment is locked-in. A reminder also that Designated Driver tickets ($13.50 + taxes & fees) are available as well to help you arrange to get home safely.

• The Maritime Honey Festival will be taking place in Fredericton in a couple of weeks, and with beer’s popularity continuing to rise, of course it has to take part! On Saturday, September 23rd, the “Bee-R Garden” will be held between 10 am – 3 pm, at the Capital Exhibit Center. At least seven different local craft breweries will be taking part, each of which has been matched up with a beekeeper, and will be brewing a style of beer different from others attending, featuring, of course, honey. Ranging from a “Brett Honey Saison” from Maybee to an “Imperial Honey Porter” from Foghorn, attendees can expect a wide variety of brews! Be sure to check out the link for the list of styles from breweries who have committed to participate. And what honey-centric festival would be complete without mead? Sunset Heights Meadery will be pouring seven different varieties of mead to satisfy your sweet tooth. Drink tickets can be purchased now – $8 for four 4 oz drink tickets, or $45 for unlimited samples – or at the door, where $11 gets you four drink tickets (no unlimited samples option).

And a few last items before you get on with your weekend…

Garrison‘s Rise ‘n Stein Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV, 13 IBUs) has returned, with this year’s batch being available almost-exclusively in bottles at the brewery and HRM private stores; a limited amount may be available on tap, so keep your eyes open.
– PEI’s Moth Lane has released a new beer, The Gorbine Double Black IPA (8.8% ABV, 85 IBUs), that is available now across the Island at Moth Lane tap accounts, and at the brewery.
Nine Locks Brewing led the pack this year with the release of their Harvest Pumpkin Ale earlier this week. It’s available now in cans at the brewery and will appear at the NSLC in October.
– Bad news for fans of Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night: due to an ongoing legal dispute with “a big name in the spirits world”, the beer has been discontinued and will not be brewed again. It doesn’t appear that it will return under a different name, so if this is a brew you’ve enjoyed in the past, you may want to grab a bottle or two if you can find it.
– In Cask Friday news, the Propeller Organic Blonde on Yuzu we told you about last week is actually going on this evening at 5 PM. Schoolhouse’s cask today is called Oaked Grog Chequers obviously their Chequers Robust Porter aged on Oak, but what’s the “grog” angle? Stop by the brewery this evening and find out!

With September upon us, a reminder that grain and hop harvests have started around the region, which means it will only be a few weeks until those Wet-hopped beers will be available. With a vibrant hop farm scene here in the region, we expect to see Pale Ales and IPAs made with fresh hops in all four provinces. Until then, enjoy the rest of the new arrivals and returning favourites below…

• Speaking of the hop harvest, Meander River Farm is calling for all hands on deck tomorrow morning at 9AM to help pick their hops. Drop by the farm at 906 Woodville Rd in Ashdale that morning to help out, and you may even earn yourself a sample or two!

• It’s also a busy time for the folks at Horton Ridge, harvesting their own rye grain, grown adjacent to the Malt House and Taproom, which will be hitting the malt floor shortly. And we imagine the trucks filled with raw grain from other farms will be headed their way shortly! Luckily, they’ve released a new beer this week to keep the delivery folks happy. PEI SMaSH is a 4.9% ABV Pale Ale, whose recipe features a Single Malt and Single Hop. The malt bill consists entirely of Queens Two-Row Barley, developed at Agriculture Canada’s Charlottetown location in the 1990’s. While not developed with malting as a priority (its higher beta glucan content undergoes the malting process a little slower than “malting grains”), but the grain thrives in our climate, making it a great choice for local farming. That slower malting process also allows Horton Ridge to take their time and work their magic. Mandarina Bavaria makes up the entire hop bill, which is used in moderation to balance the malt sweetness and add citrus aromatics, but as with all Horton Ridge beers, malt is the focus. The PEI SMaSH is also a nice contrast to their Rye’s Up Pale Ale, which features a mixed grist of 50% PEI Barley, with 25 % PEI Wheat, and 25% Rye (grown at the Malt house), showcasing the flavour profile from this special malt. As with all of the HR beers, the best place to enjoy them is at their Hortonville taproom, whose patio is still open, and you may be able to catch them harvesting the grain this weekend.

• Summer may be just about over, but it’s not too late to report on one of the latest beers from PEI Brewing Co.Sin Bin. A Witbier brewed in collaboration with the PEI Mudmen, a local rugby team, the grist contains a majority of the very-light Heidelberg malt, along with small amounts of Malted and Torrified Wheat. Hopped to 15 IBUs with Tettnanger and Mt. Hood, the wort was spiced with Indian coriander seed and orange peel, in true Witbier fashion. Outside of the norm for the style, however, the beer was dry-hopped, on Day One of fermentation, with another hop variety that they don’t want to tell you about (hint: it was used due to its similar qualities to coriander). Dry and spicy, and coming in at 5.7% ABV, you can find it on tap at several PEIBC accounts in PEI, as well as at Battery Park in Dartmouth.

• Up on Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End, Chain Yard Urban Cidery released another new blend this week. Aptly called Wild Flower, it’s a blend of apple, fruit and flowers complemented by the use of wild yeast. Cider maker Jay Hildybrant started by making a wild blueberry wine, arresting the fermentation when it reached a point where spice notes were emerging and the berry flavour was “distant”. He also created a wild apple cider base using the same indigenous wild yeast and the juice blend from Chain Yard’s Foundation (McIntosh, Northern Spy and Jonagold). From there, the cider was used to macerate lavender from Meander River Farms, just to the point before any soapy or off flavours were extracted. Lastly, the wine and the cider were blended to yield a “perfectly floral”, smooth, and easy-drinking cider that features spice and floral notes. It’s available for samples and pints at the cidery.

• There’s a new easy-drinking beer from Loyalist City hitting tap accounts in Saint John and Fredericton… Barefoot Blonde is a “New Zealand Blonde Ale” that takes your typical Blonde Ale a couple of steps further with the addition of fresh pineapple, as well as a dry-hop punch with Nelson Sauvin. A simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt provides a light, sweet malt character, backing up the pineapple and grape notes from the fruit and hop additions. With a light bitterness to round off the finish, this 5% ABV brew should hit the spot during these last warm days of summer.

• Following the releases earlier this summer of their tasty fruited Berliner Weisse series, Guava Heist (guava) and Philaroma (cherry), Tatamagouche Brewing has another fruited Berliner available for your immediate enjoyment! Rushton’s Peach is another light (3.5% ABV), tart, kettle-soured brew, but this time it’s been aged on 100 lbs of organic apricots and 300 lbs of peaches. Sound like another perfect beer for the end of summer? Even better news: like the previous two, it’s available in cans, as well as growler fills and pints at the brewery, and at Tatabrew tap accounts.

• If you’re feeling a bit overheated and need to get out of the sun, or just want to head downstairs for some beer and grub, the Rockbottom just tapped a new beer, The Aristocrats. A 100%-fermented Brett IPA, it combines the hop characteristics of “tropical fruit, hard candy and citrus” with the “pineapple, pear, wet hay, overripe berry, and an understated Brett funk” from the yeast. At 7% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available now at the ‘Bottom, while supplies last.

• If you missed it the first time around, Grafted, the orange peel-infused kettle sour from Boxing Rock is back. Created by Brian Harvey, this beer won the 2017 Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge. Thanks to some process tweaks at the brewery we’re promised a deeper sourness and more orange flavour in this batch, but otherwise it’s still a 5.5% ABV beer with low bitterness, a refreshing sourness and and sweet orange finish. This is a limited release of 650 mL bottles in the province, available at the brewery and making an appearance at the private liquor stores in Halifax. We’re told that later in September it will also make its way to Prince Edward Island via the PEILCC so folks can get a taste outside Nova Scotia. In other Boxing Rock news, they’re rocking an all-new website, featuring a modern and responsive design, a list of their current beers, and online ordering for their swag shop and keg club. Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing should be releasing Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat, their last summer seasonal for the year, sometime today. A light American Wheat Ale, it was fermented for two weeks before 45 lbs each of locally-harvested rhubarb and strawberries were added to secondary. Described by the brewery as being “light and refreshing, with a naturally tart flavour and a hint of sweetness”, this 5% ABV brew will be available for growler fills and samples at the brewery only. Keep your eyes peeled for a slew of other new beers from Heritage in the near future, including a single-hop Session IPA featuring Experimental Hop #07270, a new IPA with Chinook, Citra, and Ekuanot, and a wet-hopped ale.

• Sit down, and prepare yourselves – Good Robot does NOT have a new beer release this week on the alpha brew side of things. No, no one is dead (that we know of), but don’t worry, it sounds like there will be plenty coming through the pipeline next week! And there’s still a new Cask in the Sun entry for today at 4 pm: Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale (damn, that’s a lot of typing for a beer name) with Low Point cold brew, cherries, and “very, very toasted oats”. And next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday is Hard Corgi Black Lager (4.2% ABV, 34 IBUs), brewed by Drella Green-Simony and Johnny ‘Burger’ Heighton, with Kelly Costello. Fermented with California Lager yeast to keep it clean, it’s a slightly-roasty beer hopped with Cascade and Mosaic.

• There has been a passing of the torch at Mill Street St. John’s this week, with Head Brewer Dan heading off to the Toronto Mill Street location. In his place, Matt Chevrier has taken over the reigns. However, Dan’s legacy lives on with a new release this week, Tic-N-Tuff Hopfenweisse. At 6.0% ABV and 32 IBU, this hybrid German style features banana and clove from a Weisse, with a healthy dose of hops, in this case Wild Turkey, lending Passionfruit-like character. Grab a sample or pint today, and keep an eye out for its debut on the growler station this weekend.

• The NSLC recently released their first quarter financial results for Fiscal Year 2018 and the results continue to be encouraging for fans of craft beer in the province. You might be aware that the quarter being reported here corresponds to the period starting this past April when the number of Nova Scotia Craft Beer listings at many NSLC stores jumped considerably. What impact did that have? Although overall beer sales were down 1.2% to $74.6 million and volume was down 2.7%, both significant declines over the same quarter last year, NS Craft Beer sales were up an impressive 48% to $3.2 million, a growth rate matching Q1 last year. Further, this implies that NS craft beer accounted for 4.3% of overall beer sales this quarter compared to 3.3% last year. After watching year-over-year quarterly growth decline over the course of FY 2017, it will be interesting to see whether that trend is mirrored this year or whether the wider selection will have a lingering impact. The news was also good for NS spirits and cider producers, with local spirits more than doubling sales over last year and the ready-to-drink category, which is mostly ciders when it comes to NS products, up 75.7%. Hopefully this continued growth will encourage the NSLC to continue the trend of adding SKUs and shelf space for local products, and maybe soon we’ll even see them supporting the smaller, non-bottling/non-canning producers through an in-store growler program.

• Attention AtlCan Brewers: the invitations for the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards have gone out this week, so if you have not received them, let us know! Submissions are due in Halifax October 2nd-6th, with the judging taking place October 13-15th. The announcement and Gala is happening the next Sunday, October 22nd, at the Stubborn Goat.

We’ve got brand new events, as well as updates and reminders for a whole slew of them coming this month. We strive to keep our Calendar up-to-date, and you can help us by sending heads up emails or tweets our way!

• After a wildly successful Lambic-fest last weekend, the Stillwell crew are inviting the fine folks from Oxbow in Newcastle, Maine to take over their taps next Friday and Saturday (September 8 and 9). “Loud beer from a quiet place”, Oxbow launched in 2011 and has been brewing farmhouse and eccentric beers in the woods of coastal Maine (and recently at their blending location in Portland) ever since. Featuring a full twelve-tap-takeover on Barrington on Friday, and ten taps at the Beer Garden Saturday, both locations will also receive a healthy number of Oxbow bottles to complement.

• Get ready, Charlottetown… Unfiltered is coming your way! And not just a couple of beers, but the most Unfiltered beer that has ever hit PEI at one time. Starting Thursday, September 14th, Unfiltered will be taking over all 10 taps at Hopyard. And it’s not just beer you’ll be enjoying, head brewer Greg Nash has paired with HopYard master chef Jane Crawford to create a fully collaborative food menu, to go with all those tasty beverages. Tickets for the 7pm kickoff event are available now, and be sure to keep an eye on their social media pages as hints on the food and beer pairings drop. If you’re not able to make the Thursday night event (shame on you!), be sure to drop by Friday, as there will certainly be enough great Unfiltered beers to keep C’town happy for a couple of nights!

• If you’re planning your September weekends, you might want to pencil in a little time with Garrison as their annual Oktoberfest extravaganza is coming up down at the brewery. Friday, September 15th, from 6:30 PM to 11 PM is Hops ’n Brats, a celebration of Nova Scotia Craft Beer and Sausages. A $25 ticket will get you entry, 8 sample tickets, and a commemorative glass. Additional sample tickets can be purchased on-site. Designated Driver tickets are also available at the door for $10 that include a non-alcoholic beverage. Bringing their best beers will be Garrison, of course, 2 CrowsBig Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Good RobotNine LocksNorth, SpindriftTatamagouche, and Tidehouse. The next day, Saturday, September 16th, is the original all day, all night Oktoberfest celebration in Halifax. Garrison Oktoberfest Halifax starts with a day long all-ages free-entry party from 11 AM to 5 PM featuring traditional German food, 3 bands worth of oompah music (The Swell Guys, Die Brew-misters, and The Roving Steins) and, of course, Garrison beer! At 5 PM the kids go home and the ticketed portion of the proceedings start. For $16 you’ll get your first beer (12oz) and entry to the rest of the evening’s proceedings, scheduled to go until 11 PM. There will be dancing, games, and food will be served throughout the evening. And of course, MOAR BEER. Proceeds from the event will benefit Cystic Fibrosis research and care through CF Atlantic Canada.

• There are still tickets available for Newfoundland’s Craft Beer Attraction, presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Artisanal & Craft Beer Club. With Grand Tastings taking place 7-10 PM Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23 at St. John’s Curling Club on Mayor Avenue. There will be more than 100 different beers available on a pay-per-pour basis. The Premium Tour is taking place at 12:30 Saturday, hosted by Certified Cicerone Mike Buhler, and will feature 21 beers from across the world. A guided tasting of Sam Adams Utopias, and a Brewmaster’s Luncheon featuring Trou du Diable, round out the events on the weekend. Check out the full beer list and grab your tickets before they sell out!

• The Canada Beer Run is happening in Halifax on Sunday, September 24th. Held in several cities across the country, the Halifax Beer Run involves non-competitive running to four different breweries (approximately 10 km total). With a pre-drink at 11 am, runners will then proceed to Propeller, Garrison, Spindrift and Good Robot, with 20 minute breaks at each stop for some beer sampling. Sound crazy? Well, we’re pretty sure that’s what they’re going for! It costs $65 to participate, which includes a shirt and swag, race bib, brewery party favours, beer run buff, and a finishing medal. For more details on specifics, check out the link above. Registration is open now.

• The James Joyce’s first-ever sour beer tap takeover, Tarte Diem, was a huge success last weekend, with Big Axe‘s Seaberry Sour taking first place from the panel of three judges. Following up with second and third place were Acadie-Broue‘s Tête de Cochon Lichtenheiner and Unfiltered‘s Daytimer, respectively (and an honourable mention to Upstreet‘s Island Hopspitality 2017). If you missed out on the fun, don’t worry… they’ve already set the date for next year’s event, Tarte Diem II – 2 Sour 2 Acidulous, on Saturday, August 25th.

A few returning favourites, new releases, and casks to let you know before we sign off today

– As we teased last week, 2 Crows has a new beer dropping today at noon, Promiseland Double IPA. This juicy, hop-forward beer, features Citra and Simcoe late in the boil, during active fermentation (biotransformation for the win!) and during final conditioning. Grab the 8.3% ABV, 64 IBU, DIPA at 2 Crows today on tap (samples, pints, and growlers) and in cans, with cans also hitting the HRM private stores shortly.
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co has dropped a new beer today, Roadside Attraction Pale Ale. A 5.0% American Pale Ale featuring 100% Cascade hops, the lighter malt body lets the hop floral and citrus characters shine through, with medium bitterness. Grab it at their taproom today!
– Fredericton’s Picaroons has released the latest in their Pivot DIPA Series, with Pivot #6. Keeping to the 8.0% / 80 IBU specs as previous releases, this version features Mosaic and Warrior hops for tropical and candy-like aromas. As with all of these releases, they can be found at their locations in Fredericton, Saint John, and St. Andrews, with delivery to the ANBL expected early next week.
TrailWay has re-released their Green Island American IPA (6% ABV), with some slight tweaks to the hop additions, resulting in strong pineapple flavours, according to the brewery; available on tap and in cans at the brewery.
Unfiltered releases their Front Line Rocker DIPA (8% ABV) at Charm School today, for growlers and pints; look for it to pop up around the HRM on tap as well, and select establishments in PEI and NB.
Upstreet‘s seasonal Pumpkin Ale (yes, it’s that time again), Gravedigger (6.5% ABV), drops today (bottles and kegs);
– At Schoolhouse in Windsor, NS, their Cask Friday beer this afternoon is their witbier, Summer Break, with blackberries and raspberries. Sounds like a lovely beer to sip on the first day of September.
– And not to be outdone on the cask front, Halifax’s Propeller will have some of their Organic Blonde Ale aged on the Japanese citrus fruit Yuzu on tap this evening at 5 PM. But wait, there’s more! Tomorrow at 2 PM they’re tapping a special 20 L keg of their Cascade Pale Ale that will be dosed with fresh Cascade hops picked less than 24 hours before. You won’t find beer with fresher hops than that.
– And on the Rock, Yellowbelly has their East Coast Cream Ale, a collaboration with Top Shed Brewery in Goonengerry, NSW, Australia, back on tap and available at the brewery in bottles as well. Limited bottles will also be going to the NLC tomorrow. Kangamoose is on the loose!

We’re entering the last week of August and, assumedly, most of us have our summer vacations behind us. That’s fine, there’s still plenty of gorgeous weather and beautiful beer to enjoy, not necessarily in that order. So grab a pint of your favourite local brew and let’s see what’s going down in the local scene this week.

Split Rock Brewing has opened their doors at 119 Main Street in Twillingate, NL. Their 500 litre (4 BBL) system has been working overtime, and they are ready to welcome thirsty visitors to the Northernmost brewery in Atlantic Canada. The brewery and Stage Head Pub are open daily 2-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday, Sunday hours TBA). They are fully licensed for sample flights, pints, and growler fills of their six beer: Combines Ale, 5.3%; Bluff Head Bitter, 4.6%; Gateway IPA, 6.7%; Red Sky Red Rye, 4.9%; Alli’s Big Brown Ale, 5.6%; Black Island Stout, 6.1%. Keep an eye out for our Profile of them coming next week, and check their FB, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news. Congratulations, Team Split Rock!

• Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewery has been in operation for a little over two years now, since officially launching in July of 2015. Owner/brewer Marc Melanson has confirmed that the brewery will be expanding in the future, moving from a 2 bbl (230 L) brewhouse in his garage to a much larger brewery in a commercial space in nearby Dieppe. Renovations are currently underway, with the goal being a brewery with an attached taproom for pints and growler fills; a canning line will also be purchased. Other details are being kept silent for now, but stay tuned to their social media accounts for updates. Congratulations to the Flying Boats team!

• After obviously slacking off and only releasing two new beers last week, the crew at 2 Crows is back at it with a bevy of bevvies coming your way. Released earlier this week is Invisible Touch, a 4.9% Brett Saison, a light-bodied beer fermented using a blend of several strains of Brettanomyces yeast. Dry hopped with Azacca and Simcoe, resulting in a citrusy and stonefruit notes to complement the dry body and funky notes from the wild yeast. This small batch is only available at the brewery’s tasting room, so best drop by today (and you can check out what the heck they’re doing with 200kg of peaches!!).

• Promising to hit the taps at 2 Crows today or tomorrow (once a draught line comes clear), is the final keg of Smackwater Jack, an American Farmhouse Ale, conditioned on quince fruit. Featuring a grist of Pilsner malt with Wheat (both malted and raw) and a touch of Oats, lightly hopped with Calypso and Centennial, the beer was fermented with an American Farmhouse blend of yeasts and has sat for seven months on the fruit to allow the farmhouse/barn funkiness to develop. This final keg was allowed to carbonate naturally using Champagne yeast, allowing a tighter carbonation. Keep an eye on their social media for the tapping announcement. Ed note: it was tapped Friday at 1PM, so get down there now!

• And as soon as there are two taps available (we’re guessing late this weekend/early next week, depending on how thirsty y’all are), there will be a pair of brand new pilot brews available.  Pancho and Lefty are both Pale Ales fermented with Brett, with the same malt bill (Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and Oats), and kettle-hopped with Belma and Simcoe. The specs are also identical, at 6.2% ABV and 23 IBU, but the similarities end there. Pancho was conditioned on whole mangoes, and dry-hopped with AzaccaLefty skipped the fruit, and was heavily dry-hopped with Enigma. Both beers end up being quite dry and funky with tropical notes, with Pancho taking it to another level with the stonefruit and tangerine flavours, and Lefty picking up berry notes from the Enigma. Again, these will be for on-site enjoyment only, and announced via social media.

• And rounding out the 2 Crows news this week is a preview of their Promiseland Double IPA. Dropping next Friday, Sept 1, this seasonal beer features a Pale malt base (with Oats and Honey Malt), fermented with London Ale III, heavily hopped late in the boil, active fermentation, and then dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe. At 8.3% ABV and 64 IBU, “This beer is a juice bomb!” proclaims Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor. Citrus, stonefruit, tangerine are found throughout, with a soft mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, and smooth bitterness. As with their other seasonals (Fantacity and Midnight Mood), the beer will be available at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans, and will likely be available at the private beer stores in HRM as well.

• After the success of their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown, Big Spruce is following up with a new variation of the same beer. For Peach’s Sake! features the addition of, you guessed it, organic peach puree. Generously hopped with Cascade, Centennial and El Dorado, with an addition of lactose powder to slightly boost the mouthfeel and sweetness of the beer, it clocks in at 6.5% ABV and 52 IBUs. Available for pours and growlers at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, you should also be able to find it on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Saint John Ale House. Look for two more iterations to come in the near future, each featuring a different fruit addition.

• And speaking of Big Spruce, a couple more things to pass on this week: owner Jeremy White sat down with the gents from the 902 BrewCast (happy now, guys?) recently, and the first part of that chat dropped on Tuesday. Learn about the origins of the brewery, from buying the farmstead using a Nicaraguan Phone Call (also a possible future beer name?), their first beers, their homebrew competition, White’s open letter to Nova Scotia (what’s changed and what’s not since its publication 10 months ago), and much more! Listen to the first half now, and prepare yourself for the second half, coming September 5th.

• And as if you need another reason to visit Nyanza, drop by next Saturday, September 2nd, as there will be another screening of the Nova Scotia craft beer documentary Sociable!, at Big Spruce at 7PM. It will be taking place at their new production brewery across the road from their original brewery and beer patio. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand, and you can enjoy some beer and food while you watch the film. And stay the night nearby, so you can pop back to the brewery on Sunday the 3rd for a Pig Roast, 12-5PM.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new cider blend late last week at their Agricola Street taproom. The Fuzz features their Foundation apple blend at its base, with the final 25% of the volume comprised of cryo-extracted peach wine. For the uninitiated (we count ourselves in that boat!), the cryo-extraction process entails freezing the peach juice to gently remove water, while maintaining the great aromatic and flavour profile and increasing the sugar (aka fermentable) content. And unlike many apple/fruit blends that feature blending of the secondary fruit after fermentation (diluting the cider and adding sweetness), the higher gravity peach juice was fermented first, and then blended and cold conditioned with the finished cider for two weeks. Before packaging, the cider was fizzified first using Nitrogen, and then CO2, with the aim to create a smaller bubble and lighter carbonation level. All of these extra steps result in a smooth 6.5% ABV cider with soft mouthfeel and flavour and aroma of not only peach, but also apricot and pineapple. Grab a glass today!

• Some beer drinkers at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay have been asking for “the lightest one you’ve got” since the brewery opened, and they’ve now got the perfect beer as an answer! A Kölsch, Leitest Von Veigott (if you don’t get it, say the name with your worst German accent) was brewed with Pilsner malt, and hopped to 18 IBUs with Perle and Magnum. Pale-coloured and easy-drinking as planned, at 5.5% ABV, you can find it at Foghorn for growlers and pints, and at select accounts. Also recently, the brewery introduced Lola, a “Tropical Pale Ale” featuring 90 lbs of mango puree (20% in the boil, 80% in secondary) and dry-hopped with Citra and Vic Secret for even more tropical fruit character. Kegs of this beauty sold out extremely fast, so you may be able to find it on tap if you’re lucky (hint: seen at the James Joyce in Fredericton last night).

• Bottles of Hammond River beer are officially here! Both the Hop Flash IPA and Blood Orange Hefeweizen are now available in 500 mL bottles at the taproom, as well as at the KV ANBL and some stores in Saint John. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the SJ area – a recent delivery was sent out to ANBL stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex, so expect to see these pop up very soon, with this weekend being extremely likely. Look for distribution to expand with time, and other beers will be bottled very soon as well.

Grimross plans on releasing their newest Belgian IPA sometime this morning at the brewery in Fredericton. After the high popularity of their last Belgian IPA, Scratch #2, they took the recipe and tweaked it. Hopped with Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus, it was fermented with the Belgian strain used in their Cheval D’Or Saison, resulting in spicy phenolics and fruity esters expected in many Belgian styles, and fruity, tropical notes from the use of American hops. Simply named Belgian IPA, grab some by the pour or growler fill at the brewery, or on tap at any fine establishments where Grimross beers are served. And in other Grimross news, they have started their expansion into the unit next door to othe brewery on Bishop Dr., which means more brewing equipment, a larger taproom area, and a patio space.

• Back in June, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought us a fruited sour wheat that broke the mold, at least locally, for what kind of weight that style could carry. Originally touted at 6.2% ABV, as of noon today, Sour MFer will be available once again at the brewery and neighbouring tied house Charm School Pub, this time sporting a lab-verified ABV of 6.4%. Still featuring a big bouquet and flavour from aging on tart cherry puree, and still with a super solid body, we expect it to be just as dangerously thirst quenching as the first batch back in early summer. And what better for the dog days of August?

• Lots of action is going on these days up the Eastern Shore of the province at Sober Island Brewery. Firstly, a keg of the 5% ABV smooth and malty Altbier they did up for the Horton Ridge event in May hit the taps at the neighbouring Henley House earlier this week. You’ll have to keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook to know when more one-offs like these go on tap. And with limited availability in HRM, for now, anyway, visiting the brewery for a crowler or Henley House for a pint is your best bet to get your mitts on some Sober Island brew. Your next best bet is the Beer Truck, doing the rounds at Farmers Markets, locations in the HRM and elsewhere, its current assignment is also best determined through social media. Hopefully we’ll see some wider availability in the fall, when plans are to start canning beer for distribution, including the private stores in Halifax! And lastly, look for an interesting run of beers to come out of the foraging series now under development; looks like one of the first ones might be a Chanterelle Mushroom-laced Mild. Keep your eyes peeled for these to appear as we move into fall.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing their newest Double IPA, Voyager. This hazy, light-coloured beer was hopped entirely with the Australian Galaxy, a fantastic variety that gives the beer aromas and flavours that are “juicy, pungent, and tropical”. Quite drinkable despite the 7.8% ABV, it will be available in cans exclusively at the brewery taproom as of this morning at 11 am; you can also purchase tasters, pints and growlers there, and it will be popping up at a few TW tap accounts across Fredericton.

• In Good Robot news, they’re releasing The Smashing, the fifth – and last – beer in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. The grist is made up of Golden Promise, a Pale malt from England, and the featured hop is Topaz, an Australian variety gaining in popularity thanks to its light tropical fruit characteristics, as well as resinous notes. Fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast to boost the fruitiness even more, it comes in at 7% ABV and 52 IBUs; available at the GR taproom, as always. Continuing on, next week’s Brewsday Tuesday is Virgo Saison, a slightly-stronger-than-planned “Saison/Grisette” brewed by assistant brewer Irene; hopped with Tettnanger, and finishing quite dry thanks to a strong fermentation, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun entry is Corn Chili Sin Carne, which is their Leave me Blue with Yucatan Recado Rojo spice from local coffee shop Cafe Aroma Latino added to the cask, as well as fresh Nova Scotia-grown tomatoes and red peppers from Den Haan Greenhouses.

• Since the release of Cryo Hops – concentrated lupulin powder that gives intense hop aroma and flavour, while at the same time minimizing the amount of beer absorption and loss from the hop additions – breweries in our area have been utilizing them in some recent brews. Tidehouse has added their name to the list with the release of Cryo Me a River. This 7.2% ABV, 35 IBUs IPA was brewed with Canadian 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo hops. The brewery describes the Cryo hop character in this beer as having “juicy tangerine, papaya, and pine notes, with a light body and soft bitterness”. It’s available now at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room only, for growler fills and tasters.

Propeller in Halifax continues its Friday cask series with a double dry-hopped, cask conditioned Double IPA (whose recently tweaked recipe already features three times the dry hops!) all ready to be tapped today at 5 PM at their Gottingen Street location. Drop by for a pint, and you get to keep the glass!

• If you’re into the live music scene here in Halifax, you probably already know that next week (Aug 27 – Sep 3) is the 8th annual Halifax Urban Folk Fest (HUFF), one of the premiere musical events in this city. This year’s lineup features some absolutely huge names in Canadian songwriting: Ron Hawkins, Art Bergman, Moe Berg (totally an adult now), Skydiggers, and John K. Samson as well as many other local and not-so-local artists curated by the Carleton’s Mike Campbell. As presenting sponsor of this great week of live music, Propeller has stepped up and brewed a new beer in their Gottingen Small Batch Series. The official beer of HUFF, it’s in the Festbier style, the classic beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, with a golden colour and deep, malty aroma. Fermented with Czech Pils yeast and given an extended layering, it will have a clean and crisp character for supreme drinkability. You’ll find it starting next week at all HUFF venues, including The Carleton, Timber Lounge, Seahorse Tavern, Marquee Ballroom, Tempo Food + Drink, Stubborn Goat Waterfront, Loose Cannon, The Anchor and Wooden Monkey.

Plenty to do around our region this weekend!

• If you’re planning to be in Truro (the Hub of Nova Scotia!) this evening, you picked a good night! From 4 – 9PM downtown you’ll find an event called BBQ, Beer, & Blues going on at Inglis Place and environs. Featuring eight Nova Scotia craft breweries, each paired up with a local shop, along with BBQ and live music, it’s sure to be a good night. A paltry $15 gets you 8 tickets, each good for a 4 oz sample at any of the craft beer stations. Participating breweries are Nine Locks, Saltbox, Tatamagouche, Sober Island, Meander River, Schoolhouse, Good Robot and Garrison. Even better, 100% of the proceeds will go towards three charitable organizations: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wayward Cats Society, and the Colchester Food Bank.

• Attention Belgian Beer Fans!! For those of us who are enjoying the recent foray local breweries have been making into the farmhouse, sour, and wild side of brewing, we would be well served to try the originators of many of these styles from Belgium. We’ve got a hot tip for you that will save you airfare to Brussels: Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has received a pair of pallets of draught and bottles straight from Belgium, and will be holding a Lambic-fest this Sunday, August 27th. From 1PM until late, the twelve taps will be pouring straight and mixed lambics, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, and Quadrupels, with a bottle list putting many bars in Brussels itself to shame, with Cantillon, Boon, De Cam, and even some Trappist Westvleteren XII. Check the full beer list here, and prep yourself for Belgian beer and food all day. For those who are keen to get in early and enjoy a few beers in a quiet environment, there were a handful of Earlybird tickets made available. Oh, and stay tuned to Stilly’s (and ours) social media for the details on the Oxbow Tap Takeover at both HQ and the Beer Garden, now happening Sept 8 and 9.

• Bertrand, NB, will be hosting the Oktoberfest des Acadiens next week, Aug 31-Sept 3. Featuring a Grand Tasting by Acadie-Broue’s Patrice Godin on the 31st, and the Oktoberfest itself on Friday and Saturday, it will be a great weekend of beer, drink, and food. Check out the full program here!

A few more beers and news to keep you up to date:

Bishop’s Cellar was facing an unscheduled issue with a construction crane moving in their area this weekend, but due to the short notice provided to businesses in the area the move has been rescheduled. To when? We don’t know; but we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up when it’s announced!
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has successfully obtained their taproom license and is no longer limited to serving you tasting glass after tasting glass in your quest to cop a buzz. Full pints are now available in their taproom, so head on down!
Maybee has a new beer in cans and on tap, Owd Bob, a kettle-soured Brown ale (5.9% ABV); we haven’t received any details, but you can grab some cans or a growler at the brewery, and it seems to be popping up on tap at select accounts across NB.
Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their crowd favourite Hefeweizen, RDF Hefe (5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs); you can find it on tap now at the brewpub on Harbour Dr.
– As we mentioned last week, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is ramping up their bottling line (read, home-made filler), and these oversized stubbie bottles are now available to the public. The Average Joe Wheat Beer, Big Stink IPA, and Sweet Little SIPA are all available at the brewery now, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Help the RH crew celebrate the launch with some live music at the brewery tomorrow evening, with duo “Just Us” taking the stage at 9PM.
– Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub has released a new beer this week, Barefoot Sailor Session IPA. The copper-coloured beer was loosely based on the CBANS Collaboration Ale from earlier this year, but lighter in body and hopped up, coming in at 3.7% ABV, and a robust 80 IBU. You’ll have to drop by their Water Street location to find out more!
Schoolhouse is also in full swing with their Cask Friday event, this week they’ll be tapping a test batch of their forthcoming seasonal Pumpkin Ale at today at 4 PM in Windsor.

Stellarton’s A.J. Leadbetter is no stranger to small business. His father owned and operated a painting business in Stellarton for 60-some-odd years, after which AJ ran the family shop himself until a fire severely damaged the storefront in 2015. Meanwhile, he also expressed a love for music, playing guitar in bands around Pictou County for the better part of the last decade. After discovering craft beer and developing a home brewing hobby, AJ spent some time working at Uncle Leo’s in Lyon’s Brook, where he gained an appreciation for the processes and work involved in a production brewery. Now, he’s blending his entrepreneurial spirit and musical bent along with his love of beer and an intensely DIY approach to bring a second brewery to the PC, this one “in town” on Bridge Avenue in Stellarton in the building that formerly housed his family’s paint shop. Backstage Brewing Co. is built around the idea of bringing folks backstage, to see the show behind the show. AJ has been busily building his brewery over the last several months, and is poised to start selling beer in September. We reached out to ask him our usual gamut of questions and get the story behind Backstage Brewing.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the world of beer?
I started home brewing a few years ago after my friend Seth got me into it. Started out brewing a few kit beers before getting bored and wanting to get in deep. I’m a bit of a foodie so that desire to create food led to wanting to create beers.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Prior to getting into brewing beer we used to do chicken wing parties. Then we introduced my beer to these parties and the reception to them was great. It was that support that sparked the fire to get going on a microbrewery.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
We have 4-5 that will be in our core line-up. Daydreamer is a pale ale that comes in at 4.8% and 21 IBU. Hangover Helper is an American Pale, 5.3% and 40 IBU; light-bodied and packed with flavor. Headliner is big juicy IPA. It’s 6.3% and 60 IBU. Gemini is a DIPA. 8% and 100+ IBU. It’s big! It’s bitter! And surprisingly easy to drink! Nunmoar Black IPA is 6.6% and 75 IBU. Roasted, Hoppy, and Black. How much more black can it be? None.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
Right now, our plan is to sell the majority of the beer out of the brewery: we’ll be offering growler fills of our beers, and operating a taproom, located in the same building as the brewery. Once all our permits are in place, we will have 12 taps of Nova Scotia craft beer, with 4-5 taps reserved for Backstage Brews.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t have any local tap accounts lined up but have had interest in Halifax.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
Our tanks are installed and we’ve been working on filling them. That will hopefully have us selling our products for early September, when we’re hoping to do a soft launch.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I’ve been working for Uncle Leo’s since November 2016. What started as hanging out at the brewery turned into a full time job. Karl and Rebecca have been very good to me. The experience/knowledge I’ve gathered while working in a commercial brewery is kind of priceless. We purchased our brew house from Peter at North Brewing. Peter and Josh have been great. The craft beer community in Nova Scotia is very helpful.

In terms of putting the brewery and business together, my wife Beth’s parents, Wayne and Lynn, have been instrumental. Wayne is our head of construction and Lynn is our bookkeeper.

What type of system are you be brewing on?
It’s a 2.5bbl Psychobrew system. We are hoping to produce 250-300bbl this year.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
It’s the classic “homebrewer turned pro brewer” story. I homebrewed and people enjoyed the finished beers. Beth has been my biggest supporter and really pushed me to make this happen.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Honestly, I love big hoppy beers. West coast-style IPAs being my favorite. I never seem to grow tired of them.

Do you have a website, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page?
We have no website at this point, we have a Facebook page here, that just went live in the last couple weeks. We also have an instagram account, @backstagebrewingco

We’ve been totally focused on making the brewery happen. The social media presence will come. Beer first.

Anything else you’d like to share? We’d love pass it along.
We look forward to getting our beers out there for people to enjoy. Thanks for the support so far!

Thanks to AJ for taking the time to answer our questions about Backstage Brewing and letting us know what he’s got in the works. We’ll be keeping our collective ear to the ground for an official opening announcement and we’ll share it with you as soon as we know. Meanwhile, the best way to follow AJ’s progress is on Instagram where you can see the hard work, creativity and skill that’s going into his brewery and taproom. You’ll also have a chance to hear a more extensive interview with AJ by the gang from 902 BrewCast, currently scheduled to drop on September 19th.

Happy Friday y’all! We are deep into August now, and the weather in our region has been gorgeous, which bodes well for a healthy hop and grain harvest next month. Let’s take a minute to toast the hard working farmers and growers who keep the brewers fully stocked with great ingredients!

Tatamagouche Brewing is on the lookout for a Head Brewer! Having expanded several times during their first three years in operation, they are looking for an experienced brewer to join their ranks, and help them keep up with the great demand for their beer across the province (and beyond). In addition to day-to-day brewing tasks, familiarity with Quality Control, recipe development, cellaring, and maintenance are also requirements. As in all breweries of this size, the ability to wear many hats, and communicate with co-workers in the brewhouse is key! If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out the full job posting here, and fire off an email to Matt Kenny.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company released the latest cider in their Something Different series on the weekend, Raspberry and Rooibos. This 6.7% unfiltered sparkling cider begins with a dry cider base fermented over Red Delicious skins, blended with fresh juice from local, handpicked, raspberries. The blend was then cold-conditioned with Red Rooibos loose leaf tea from their neighbours at Just Us! Coffee. The resultant deep pink cider showcases a tannic structure, with plenty of fresh raspberry flavour and aroma, and a light earthiness from the tea. As with all of their Something Different releases, Annapolis is donating $0.50 from each sale to a local charity, with the Wolfville Children’s Centre being the current beneficiary.

• 90 minutes down Highway 101 from Wolfville is Smiths Cove, home to Lazy Bear Brewing. They have upped the ante this week with the release of Sour Punch Kettle Sour. Featuring a similar hop profile to their Punch Session IPA, this 5.0% ABV Pale first underwent a controlled souring using Lactobacillus, before finishing fermentation with an ale yeast. During conditioning, it was generously dry-hopped with El DoradoIdaho 7, and Olicana, for “a nice balance of tart and tropical fruity from those hops”, according to the brewery. The best way to grab Sour Punch, and its little sister Punch (which we understand will be back shortly), is at Lazy Bear’s Thursday evening Growler nights, and at their Annapolis Royal Farmers & Traders Market stall Saturday from 8AM.

Think Brewing, in New Brunswick’s Southwest region, has added a new beer to their roster, featuring all New Brunswick hops. Named after the area in which they are located, Tweedsider Pale Ale features 2016 harvest Centennial and Columbus hops from Southan Farms and Cascade hops from Lakeview Farm in Think’s neighbouring town of Harvey. Described as a “Classic ‘C’ hop Pale Ale”, with Columbus as bittering and plenty of late Cascade and Centennial for a bright citrus fresh aroma. The area of Tweedside got its name after the River Tweed in Scotland. Tweedsider can be found on tap at The Loch in Harvey (also adjacent to where those Cascade hops were grown), Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and Graystone in Fredericton.

• Over on the western side of PEI, Moth Lane has a new beer available, this one with a name derived from folklore. Called Sidehill Gouger, apparently after a creature said to roam the dunes next to the brewery that has evolved shorter legs on one side of its body, it’s a wheat and barley beer brewed with an American yeast. At 5% ABV and 11 IBU, it should have a clean flavour profile and a refreshing character, perfect for the tail end of summer.

• HRM’s North Brewing sees the release of the second beer in their Finite Series today, with the launch of Oh My Darlin, a Clementine Pale Ale. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it’s been in development for quite some time. Leveraging a stainless tank from Battery Park, it underwent a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces claussenii for six months before being dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and packaged into bottles and kegs where it conditioned for another 1.5 months. Described as dry , with a “brilliant” brett funk and notes of clementine, this is an extremely limited release, with only 850 bottles (650 mL) and 3 kegs produced in total. As of noon today you’ll find it at both North bottle shops, and on tap at Battery Park and Stillwell as long as it lasts. So if you love the funk, you know what to do.

• Things are coming together for Split Rock Brewing in iconic Twillingate, NL, with their opening fast approaching. As they count down the weeks and days until launch, they are looking to expand their team, looking for bartenders and servers for their on-site taproom. If you are looking for an excuse to go back home, or want a new adventure where you can watch icebergs and whales from behind the bar, get in touch with the Split Rock family in person at 119 Main Street or via social media.

• Down Digby way in Nova Scotia, Roof Hound is ready to begin another new era for the brewery with the impending arrival of bottles to the packaging mix. Their first offerings in this format will be the Sweet Little SIPA session IPA, at 4.5% ABV, and their aptly-named (for all the right reasons), Big Stink IPA at 6.4% ABV. They’ve gone with the swankily retro 500 mL stubby format and if you check out social media you’ll see their cunningly designed counter pressure bottle filler. Speaking of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), that’s how you’ll best find out when these puppies (yes, we went there) will be available; they’re still technically waiting on NSLC approval after obtaining the nod on recyclability. Once they’ve got clearance, you’ll find the bottles available at the brewery and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar for now, with other avenues potentially developing over time.

• If you’re keeping score on the wonderful things that have already come out of the foedres at 2 Crows Brewing, you’ll have likely notched a win for the Low Point Barrel-aged Burundi Coffee. If you’ve idly wondered what that lovely stuff might taste like if someone had the presence of mind to brew some up and put it in a beer, it turns out you’re not alone. Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing got their collective grubby paws on some of that lovely coffee (no doubt at the mental, emotional, and possibly physical expense of Jeremy Taylor) and put it into an American Porter they’re calling Low Tide Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee Porter (you will be forgiven for ordering “Low Tide”). The grist for this 5.5% ABV brew was comprised of a 2-row malt base, Carafa II for color, and Pale Chocolate malt for roasty and chocolate notes, while the hop side features Magnum for a present, but only just, bitterness, and Bramling Cross for some red fruit and lemon flavour. Ideally this will provide an excellent platform for the sweet, boozy and vanilla components of the coffee. Release is expected to take place this coming Wednesday, August 23rd at 1 PM, where they’ll have a mere 350 bottles (500 mL) available, so if you’re interested, you’d best step lively – once they’re gone, they’re gone!

• And demonstrating how multiple people can have the same great idea and yet execute it quite differently, there’s another beer featuring that 2 Crows/Low Point Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee available today! Debuting at last weekend’s Seaport Beerfest, and now available to the public, is a little collab our very own Chris did with the fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing. Switch Hitter is a 4.5% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light, mostly-Pilsner based malt profile, hopped to 35 IBU with Hallertau Blanc, and then fermented with a blend of yeasts (both clean and wild). A bit more H. Blanc was added during active fermentation, and the beer sat on several ounces of the foedre-aged coffee for a week before packaging. The resultant beer shows a bit of yeast-derived funkiness, with some bright hop notes and coffee flavour. With two kegs poured at the Brewnosers/Ladies Beer League Tap Local table last weekend, there’s just one keg available at 2 Crows today, for on-site enjoyment only (aka, no cans or growlers). Be sure to chirp Chris on Untappd or Twitter to let him know what you think…

• With the very many new TrailWay beers that have been hitting shelves and taps this past summer, it’s actually kind of surprising that they haven’t done a true SMaSH beer… until now! Lomah was released earlier this week, and features a grist comprised of 100% Pilsner malt, and a hop schedule made up entirely of Columbus. A hop variety that every brewer is familiar with, Columbus has been around for many years, and always brings more to the table than expected. Lomah in particular is described as “dank, spicy, and surprisingly tropical and fruity”, and weighs in at 6.3%. Available now in cans, pints and growlers at the brewery, TW is calling it “crisp, clean, and completely crushable”.

• As usual we’ve got plenty to tell you about with regards to Good Robot in Halifax’s North End this week. First, the summer tradition continues with yet another new brew on the Gastroturf serving as Cask in the Sun this afternoon. This time it’s Leave Me Blue Popcorn, their Kentucky Corn Beer with house made caramel and lactose added to push it in a caramel corn direction. Next, this weekend will see the release of an almost-new Alpha Brew, previously released as a Beta Brew by Assistant Brewer Jake DeWolfe as his first solo brew at GR. El Espinazo del Diablo (the Devil’s Backbone, after a Guillermo del Toro film) is a Mexican Lager weighing in at 5.8% ABV and a light 14 IBU. With a grain bill of 2-row and Vienna malts and flaked corn, the noble hop Tettnanger for flavour, and the addition of both lime zest and jalapeño peppers for added interest, this is a light, but slightly hazy lager that should be quite refreshing. And lastly, this week’s Beta Brewsday on August 22nd is a collaboration between Beta system queen Kelly Costello and Jana Muise of Motion Bay Brewing (original name: Killick Stone), soon to be open in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. This is a hoppy one called Stella Ella Oh La La with 2-row, Vienna and Flaked oats making up the malt side, for plenty of body and a little haze. On the hop side, there was a bittering jolt of Cascade out of the gate, and then a triple dry hop of Citra at 2 days, Ella (formerly known as Stella) at 4 days, and Citra again at 6 days! At a super-sessionable 4.5% ABV, but a healthy 56 IBU this very well might qualify as a NE Session IPA. There’s only one way to find out and that’s to be at GR next Tuesday when it’s tapped!

Woody Point is located on Newfoundland’s West Coast, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park. That’s where Galliott Studios, the officially unofficial taproom for Western Newfoundland Brewing Company, is located. The cafe/gallery/pottery studio/bar is also home to the Writers at Woody Point event taking place August 15-20th. With readings by authors, live music, and celebration of written and spoken word, the event has also been the perfect time for WNLBC to release a new beer, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the House of Anansi Press. The 3.5% ABV Ginger Wheat Ale features additions of Millet and Sorghum in the mash, as a nod to the legend of Anansi, an African folktale. Complementing the ginger, are locally-foraged Wild Rose and Wild Mint, collected by local group Northern Food Craft. The beer is currently on tap at Galliott Studios, and we don’t expect it will last beyond the weekend, so drop by today for a pint and story!

What’s on the go in the next couple of weeks?

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is throwing their annual Block Party tomorrow, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. With an open-air artisan market, the Most Wanted Pawn Shop’s Retro Video Game parlour, great food, and their own sodas pouring, there is something for everybody. This free event will also feature live music all day, from noon until late night. Check out the full details here, and drop by for a right good time tomorrow!

• Next Sunday, August 27th, the crew from Charlottetown’s HopYard want to take you on an Island Wide Brewery Tour! Meeting at HopYard at noon, the bus will head up West to Moth Lane for a visit, then it’s off to BarNone for a pint, before heading back to town for a pint and bite at HopYard. The fun continues with a visit to PEI Brewing Company, before ending (or just beginning?) the night at Upstreet. Tunes and Trivia will be on the go to keep you entertained between stops. Tickets are available at HopYard now for just $50+tax.

And one last mention before we leave you to enjoy your weekend and, hopefully, some of the exciting releases that are coming this week:

• ANBL is asking its customers for feedback about Online Shopping. Until August 30th at midnight, visit the online survey to have your say. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will, if you provide your email address, enter you in a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards from ANBL.

Rothesay’s newest brewery, Long Bay Brewery, launched with a soft opening in late June. Owned by husband and wife team Sean Doyle and Julie Young, the brewery has spent the summer filling growlers of their two flagship beers for locals and tourists passing through. We recently chatted with Sean, who is also the brewer, to find out a little more about what makes Long Bay tick, and what they have planned for thirsty New Brunswickers in the coming months…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We both grew up in the area and are here to stay. We spend most of our free time chasing our three sons around, tending our large vegetable garden, and taking care of our chickens.

How did you get into the world of beer?
When craft beer first started to become available it was tough to come by, and we didn’t necessarily have the money to spend on it either, so we had to take matters into our own hands. After a few years goofing around with brewing kits, I built an electric all grain system at our house to really dial in a few recipes. I spent a big part of my career as a biologist, so I really connected well with brewing and became deeply interested in the biology and chemistry involved in making good beer. With my love for the craft, and Julie’s experience in customer service, we decided to make the jump.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Our culture here is all about making the best beer we can, by using high end ingredients. I know this sounds like your same old story, but we take it to great lengths. For instance, we only use liquid cultures of yeast, we choose to use specialized imported grain by the bag instead of solely 2-row, and we use really high quality hops from a local supplier that are spot-on. This mindset certainly isn’t cheap, but when I was home brewing I decided pretty early on that if I was going to put in 10+ hours brewing a batch, I wasn’t going to do it without the best ingredients I could get. We definitely brought that same ethos with us here to the brewery.

Long Bay Brewery, 82 Marr Rd, Rothesay, NB

Can you tell us about the beers you’ve launched with? Any plans for seasonals or one-offs in the works?
At first we are offering two core beers:

Bantam APA – This is a recipe we had brewed at home for years. It’s a 5.5% ABV Pale Ale that has huge hop aroma, but is quite low in bitterness (40 IBUs). It’s a very approachable, dry beer that we always had on hand at home in both the winter and summer months, and it became a staple style for us. We use Cascade and Centennial hops supplied by Darlings Island Farm, where the owner (Josh Mayich) pelletizes them under low temperatures before packaging, which really preserves the hop oil and makes for a really unique aroma in the final beer. We also use Citra, which is an amazing hop for any hop forward ale, in our opinion.

Chalice Belgian Ale – This beer is a super dry, deceivingly strong beer that was also a popular beer for us at home. To me, yeast selection is just as important to a Belgian beer as hop selection is to make an IPA, so it took years for me to find the right strain. So, to make this beer exactly the way I liked in bigger batches, I had to send my house Belgian yeast strain to Escarpment Labs to be grown up to commercial sizes. It’s a 6.5% ABV Belgian Blond ale, with all of the aromatic characters you would expect from a Belgian beer. It has been really well received with our customers so far, so we will definitely keep this in the core lineup.

We have a 7% ABV IPA and a Berliner Weisse in the works as well, and I hope to have them ready in the next month or so.

How can people enjoy your beer?
Our big push is to get our beer in bottles in ANBL stores. We bought a small bottler from the folks at Boxing Rock, and are working at getting it up and running. We also plan to have a few pubs in the Saint John area as well soon, but for now, we are selling growlers only at the brewery and don’t have seating for consumption on-site.

Growlers are available at the brewery now, with bottles and kegs available soon

What are the days/hours of the retail location?
We are open Wednesday and Thursday 3pm-8pm, and Friday and Saturday 12pm-8pm. We are closed Sunday-Tuesday for brewing operations.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers on tap?
We have had a few conversations with pubs, but don’t want to go too far until we get a few more batches on. We will be reaching out to accounts here soon.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have had a bunch of help from Henry at Boxing Rock. He is really good technically and was a great guy to ask tough questions about steam boiler setup and brewing equipment in general. Another person that helped was Esty (Andrew Estabrooks) from Foghorn Brewing just down the road from us. That guy has a ton of brewing experience and was a huge help with hiccups in scaling up to big brewing gear. This industry is great for support from other brewers and we are definitely going to be the same way when any other brewery needs help.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
In the next 2-3 years I would like to see us stay right in the we are, but with a few more tanks and a few more recipes dialed in nicely and available in bottles. Really the big thing is I hope the smoke clears a bit so we can get time to experiment a bit with things like Brettanomyces cultures, and make a few solid funky wild beers while keeping the core beers rolling.

For us beer nerds:

What size/manufacturer/type of system are you brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a 15 bbl (~1750 L) steam-powered DME brewhouse with 30 bbl (~3500 L) fermentors. We wanted the ability to put out a large volume of beer if demand increases so we went as big as we could. Based on advice from other brewers this was the best way to go.

Long Bay’s 15 BBL brewhouse, from Charlottetown’s DME

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
My wife and I are really into sour and wild beers. The most enjoyable beers I’ve ever made were ones that sat tucked away for a year with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces in a keg. I know it’s going to be tough to pull anything off like that on big gear since we can’t tie up tanks very long, but eventually we will find a way.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not sure if you would consider yeast an ingredient (Ed: sure we would!), but to me it is by far the most important and interesting addition to any beer. I have brewed with a huge number of the yeast strains available to brewers and feel like it’s the differences between strains and how to use them that makes brewing interesting.

Thanks to Sean for answering our questions, and best wishes to he and Julie on Long Bay’s endeavors! Be sure to stop by the brewery at 82 Marr Rd in Rothesay for a couple of growler fills at the times mentioned above, and keep your eyes open for their Bantam APA and Chalice Belgian Ale in bottles in the coming weeks. Follow along with the new releases and licensee sales on their social media pages too: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Congratulations!