As we all feel the anticipation of getting a jab in our arms and a spring in our steps, keep that hope alive and support your local bars and breweries! There’s a sense of optimism in the air and we think it’s worth celebrating. We know there have been some slower months in our news over the past few months, but as we all know, supporting local is more important than ever (if it’s within your means!) and we’re all doing a great job of getting through this together. Onto the beer!

Let’s start this week’s news with something that, frankly, we don’t see enough of in Atlantic Canada – beers with eponymous names. Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing Company is releasing Kellyerbier, their take on the German style of Kellerbier. Named after brewmaster Kellye Roberston, Kellyerbier starts with a blend of pilsner and chit malts from Shoreline Malting. Saaz and Saphir hops were used, followed by some time mingling with light Hungarian oak during secondary fermentation. Expect a light graininess, with notes of honey and some minerality. The hops add a citrusy note to round out this pale lager.  The finished beer comes in at 4.7% ABV and 22 IBUs and is available on tap and for crowlers to-go at the brewery now. 

Trailway Brewing Co. has another hazy IPA up its sleeves this week, with the release of SHADES. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, this one is a tribute to some of Trailway’s favorite hops, combining additions of Strata, Idaho 7, Callista, Sultana and Galaxy. Expect hop driven flavours that include citrus, peach  and guava, with dank and piney overtones. SHADES is available now at the brewery and for delivery or curbside pickup through their webstore

A blast from the past is making its return in Dartmouth this weekend. A fresh batch of Gus’ 65M Belgian Blonde is back on the shelves (both physical and virtual) at North Brewing Company. A quick history lesson – when North opened on Agricola Street in 2013 (remember those ceramic growlers?), their first keg account was at Gus’ Pub which just happened to be 65 meters north of North. Over the years, the beer has evolved from its original recipe, winning two Canadian Brewing Awards along the way. This batch comes in at 4.5% ABV and combines peppery Belgian phenols with citrus notes and light spiciness in the finish, and is available in cans and on tap today. 

And while we have you, North is hiring! They are looking for a part-time (3 days a week) delivery driver to service their HRM deliveries (both private citizens and licensees), with the possibility of having that job go full time in the future. No direct brewery experience is necessary, though being 19+ and having a driver’s license is. Peep the full details, and how to apply, on their jobs page. And we have several more job listings later in the post too, as breweries get ready for a busy spring and summer!

Keeping last week’s mead madness going again this week we have, coming out of Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear Brewing’s take on a mead. Appropriately named Mead, this one comes in at 8.4% ABV. Honey was sourced from Fox & The Bee Farms in nearby Clemonsport and Cosman and Whidden in Greenwich. Expect a crisp and refreshing drinking experience with a touch of tartness. You can grab this now in bottles or growlers from the brewery, and this Saturday at the Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market. Rumour also has it, with the loosening of public health restrictions on travel, that an HRM delivery run may be in the works. 

From Smith’s Cove, let’s head East along the 101 to Berwick, where we find Smokehouse Nano Brewery. They have a brand new draught-only release pouring at their taproom this week, which will have you feeling like a sharp dressed man…. ZZ Hop is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA, featuring a whole whack of hops, but without a bitter finish. Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra were added by the bushel-full later in the boil and in dry-hopping additions, for a hazy, juicy blast of citrus and stone fruit flavours. As this is a small release, best to pop by 134 Union St for a taste, they’re open from noon daily.

One last stop in Annapolis Valley this week, at Church Brewing in the heart of Wolfville. They have christened (see what I did there?) their pilot system, and are releasing the first in their Belief System series. Lilith is a 6.7% ABV New England IPA, featuring notes of grapefruit, melon, and hints of floral character. Simcoe and Azacca were used, as well as an addition of orange peel. As is typical for the style, hops are front and centre, but do not come through as overly bitter. As this is a small release, Lilith is only available at the taproom, though if you act quickly, you may be able to grab a crowler to-go in their adjacent Beer Market. Look for more releases in the Belief System series coming soon, allowing Church the ability to explore new styles, brew to historical timelines, and focus on their community support initiative, “Brew Good Do Good”. And if working in a church sounds like a job from heaven (come for the news, get inundated with bad puns), see below in the jobs section for a way you can join their team.

If you find yourself in Cape Breton in the next little while, head to the Westside Cafe (conveniently located on Route 19 as luck would have it) to try out the newest release from Route 19 Brewing. Town Lager is a 4.7% lager-like ale brewed with Krispy, a blend of Kveik yeasts from Escarpment Labs, and hopped with German varietals including Ariana, to the tune of 18 IBU. This one is on tap at Westside only for the time being, while the brewery’s taproom and retail remains closed for the offseason. Look for Town Lager to make an appearance again this summer in cans and for fills. 

Keeping with the signs of an optimistic Spring and the easing of restrictions, Spryfield’s Belgian-inspired Serpent Brewing takes two very big steps forward for their young brewery. Their Patey’s Bier Belgian Single is a refreshing style that is kegged and will be making its way across HRM taprooms in the coming weeks. In even bigger news, they’ll be opening their taproom on Saturday March 20th. We’ll be posting more details as we get them, but keep an eye out on Dentith Road in Spryfield behind the Canadian Tire and you can still check their website for pick-up and delivery options. 

Down in Southwest Nova, Tusket Falls Brewing are continuing their Experimental Brew series, with something dark and sweet this week. Chasing the Pastry Stout is an 8.0% ABV Dessert Beer, that they say will pair nicely with a chocolate fudge brownie. No word yet if any of those treatas are available in the taproom, but that *is* the only spot you’ll be able to grab this brew, so be sure to pop in this weekend before it disappears!

Big news for fans of beer and coffee in Rothesay: the Long Bay Brewery taproom is now also a full-service cafe, opening at 7:30 AM on weekdays, 10:00 AM on Saturdays and 11:00 AM on Sundays. Look for baked goods from Eb Coffeeshop and beans from Piccadilly Coffee Roasters out of Sussex, who’ve developed the Long Bay Morning Brew blend just for the cafe/taproom. And since they’re a licensed tap room, what’s to stop you from adding a little Baileys to that coffee, or pairing it with a beer? The correct answer is: nothing, you should totally do that.

The fine folks at Good Robot want you to know that they’ve missed seeing your face (at least the part not covered by a mask) at their taproom on Robie Street. And while, no, they’re not open yet, they’re happy to tell everyone that the planning is afoot for a resumption (conditional upon COVID-19 restrictions, of course) of in-person dining and service on Friday, March 12th!

And in “Future Beer News”, we have a couple of cool collaborations to chat up this week that see some of our local breweries partnering up with some of our region’s cultural touchstones. First up, you may be aware that The East Coast Music Association has historically seen participation by local breweries during their traditional week of events surrounding the annual East Coast Music Awards. This year they’ve announced that they’re formalizing the next five years of partnerships. Starting in May of this year, when the (largely virtual, sadly) ECMAs will be held in Sydney, NS, a partner brewery will brew up a collaboration beer called East Coast Music Ale to be released in the weeks leading up to the event, with $0.50 of each can sold going directly to the association. This year’s partner is Sydney’s own Breton Brewing, and we’re sure to have more information on their beer when its release approaches. From there, the schedule includes Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing in 2022, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing in 2023, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing in 2024, and up on the Rock, Quidi Vidi’s Quidi Vidi Brewing in 2025.

And down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, folks are gearing up to celebrate one of the great icons of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, and indeed, Canada itself. The famed schooner Bluenose was launched on March 26th, 1921, and, as you can imagine, there will be some commemorative activity going on. Enter Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company who have been officially approved to make and distribute an official commemorative ale as part of the celebrations. The brewery is working hard to ensure that the beer achieves distribution throughout the province via the NSLC, but will also be supplementing that distro on the South Shore. Consistent with Saltbox’s history of community involvement, they’ll also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the beer to the Bluenose Heritage Trust. We’ll have details on the beer once they’re available and keep you apprised of when and where you can get your landlubbing hands on it.

Obviously we’re still not in a place where big events full of lots of people are a thing that can happen in our region, but we’ve still got one humdinger to tell you about:

If you’re like us and you’ve had a bit of a taste of sunny and vaguely warmish weather in the last week and that made you think about kicking back at the Stillwell Beergarden with a pint of local lager and a plate of tacos from Beverley Taco Service, we’ve got some big news for you. Although it won’t be out in the sun with the hum of Spring Garden Road in the background, this coming Sunday, March 7th, and the Sunday after next, March 21th, from 2 PM to 10 PM, the fine folks of Bar Stillwell will be hosting Tacos & Lager at Stilly HQ on Barrington Street!! Featuring some of the best in NS lagers on tap (Tatamagouche Dekorum, Spindrift Killick and Toller, Good Robot El Espinazo del Diablo, and 2 Crows Dos Cuervos and Refresh) as well as some crushable cans, you’ll be able to pair those lovely palate refreshing liquids with Beverley Taco Service’s Carnitas or Birria Tacos, a special Stilly/Beverley collab taco, Chilaquiles, or simple Chips and Salsa. And for dessert? Churros and Chocolate con Chilli!! Consistent with summer Sunday afternoons at the BG, there will be vinyl spinning throughout the afternoon. What more could you ask for than a taste of summer in late winter?

This week, as restrictions ease and things slowly (slowly and hopefully!) get back to normal, we’re seeing three new job postings from around our region in addition to the North posting mentioned above:

First from Church Brewing, they’re looking for a Packaging Operator to work with beer packaging, quality control and preventative maintenance. If you’re looking to get a start in the great area of Wolfville, this full-time gig would be right up your alley. Check out the full job posting here

Spindrift has a new posting for a Production Brewer, working with and reporting to the Head Brewer, this is an excellent opportunity for someone with post-secondary education along with previous brewing industry experience could be a perfect fit. Or not, as we know many breweries will take passion and an ability to learn, with some relevant knowledge. It can never hurt to apply. For the full details and application instructions, check out this link

Rolling into the spring and summer, downtown Moncton favourite Tide and Boar is hiring multiple positions for taproom staff and kitchen employees for their soon-to-open stand-alone brewery and taproom location at 1355 Main Street. Shoot them an email with your resume at admin@tideandboar.com

March is International Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day coming up on Monday, March 8th. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, and many breweries are taking the day and theme to heart, brewing and releasing beers over the next few days to commemorate it. 

The International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day is a worldwide annual event that takes place on IWD, open to all women “working, or interested, in beer, to learn, network, and make friends”. No requirements on style, ingredients, or packaging, only a love of beer! This year’s theme is Unite Compassion, which we can all use more of these days! As of publishing, Foghorn Brewing in Rothesay and Four Rivers in Bathurst NB, and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl NL have announced they will be taking part, but there’s still time for interested brewers to sign up to the event.

The women of Foghorn teamed up with those of Big Tide Brewing and Loyalist City to bring back the style-bending Sparkölsch. As a reminder, this is a 5.0% ABV Kölsch-style hybrid ale/lager, with an addition of edible sparkles for a truly shimmering final product! Available in bottles and on tap at the participating breweries now, plus other friendly spots around Saint John, Fredericton, and beyond. The full list of bars and retailers can be found here. Foghorn’s donations from sales of Sparkölsch are going toward their membership in the United Way Quarter Fund, a group of small businesses who have pledged to donate $250,000 over five years. These funds are in turn directed to organizations that support survivors of domestic/intimate partner violence and to mental health research.

In Bathurst, Becca and Lani of Four Rivers developed and brewed an Oatmeal Stout, which will be launched Monday as part of the IWD celebration. At 5.5% ABV, Dark Horse Oatmeal Stout is full of Chocolate and Sherry notes, with Coffee and Cocoa on the tongue to complement. Light mouthfeel, and not too sweet. Keep an eye on their social media for the full details on the beer Monday!

Landwash Brewery’s Christina Coady is leading the women of Newfoundland and Labrador breweries in a massive collaboration on Monday. While originally planned to have the collaboration take part in person in Mount Pearl, this time they’ll be leveraging the power of technology to stay connected. The crew thus far has representation from coast to coast to coast, with brewers from Boomstick, Bootleg BrewCo, Dildo Brewing, Iron Rock, Port Rexton, RagnaRöck, and Split Rock all taking part (and it’s not too late to message LW to join the list!). They will be using the 2021 Pink Boots hop blend from Yakima Chief (Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral, and Sabro) to make an IPA with Passion Fruit, which will be released later in the month. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to The Gathering Place, a community centre offering meals, clothing, and health services to those in the community.

At Truro Brewing Company, owner Jana brewed up some awesome beer ladies in the province in February, and are releasing their Ginger Lime Gose today. You’ll be familiar with many of these names, with Kelly Costello, Chelsea Meisner, Kim Hart Macneill, Meg Foote, Shannon Dalberg, and some members of the Truro Pride Society. At 4.8% ABV, this slightly tart ale features a bold aroma from the fresh lime zest, and fresh ginger added, which is complemented by sea salt from Pure Atlantic Harvest in Halifax. It is on tap now, and given how well it turned out, they may be doing another batch for bottle release in the future!

You may recall that Port Rexton Brewing, a 100% women-owned business with a majority of women employees, released a beer last year for IWD that they called Violet Femmes and which sported a lovely hue due to the addition of butterfly pea flower. Well they’ve done it again this year! Once again a dry-hopped sour ale, the acidic pH influencing the shade of pink/purple expressed by the flower, this year it’s been packaged in cans (with artwork by Molly Margaret Art) for wider enjoyment. You’ll be able to find it available for purchase starting today at noon for online ordering and pick up at their St. John’s retail shop as well as in Port Rexton at the brewery and the Port Rexton Foodex. They will also be sending the beer out to some more locations, so keep an eye on social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) to find out where. Meanwhile, like last year, they’ll be donating proceeds from this beer to a worthy cause, this year it will be Transition House Association of NL.

Sydney’s Island Folk Cider House has debuted a new release this week, Choosing to Challenge. Embracing this year’s IWD theme to IFCH means “calling out gender bias and inequality”, “seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements”, and “working collectively to create an inclusive world”. The Choosing to Challenge is a 6.5% ABV Honey Lavender cider, and features a special cross-stitched theme on the label, by Alison Uhma of On Paper Books, responsible for all of their illustrations. From Island Folk, “$1 from every bottle sold will go to the Every Woman’s Centre – a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the enhancement of women’s lives in Cape Breton – Unama’ki.”

Keeping with the theme, Breton Brewing is launching a showcase ale for the great women of their brewery. A beer brewed by three of their female employees, with one of them also designing the label. Releasing Pink Boots Pale Ale for IWD, this bright and floral pale uses the Pink Boots blend which has helped to create a light and hoppy 4.6% ABV brew with fantastic floral, lemon, and citrusy aromas. It is now available in the taproom and online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM. A portion of sales from every can sold will be donated to a local women’s charity. This is Breton’s third iteration of Pink Boots, as it was out last year for International Women’s Day and again in June of 2020, supporting scholarships for women in the brewing industry. The previous release was a Session IPA, but they’re back with a Pale Ale for 2021 and it sounds as delicious as ever.

Quidi Vidi Brewery released Stronger Together Strawberry Blonde Ale this week, with recipe, artwork, and name, all the brainchild(ren) of women who work in the brewery. “Today we raise a glass to Tiffany, Sam, Ashley, Meredith, Becca, Olivia, Vic and Grace who exemplify the spirit of Stronger Together! ♥️” Ripe strawberry aromatics with hints of cherry, supported by a light malt backbone and crisp finish in a 5.0% ABV package. The QV beer is also an opportunity to give back, with the brewery making a donation of $2000 to NLOWE. “What is NLOWE,” you might ask? From the brewery: “Founded in 1997, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs supports and encourages women entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and take advantage of exciting opportunities to start their venture or grow their existing business.” Stronger Together is available now at their spot at 16 Harbour View Drive, as well as online for local delivery.

Let’s finish today back in Saint John, where the Picaroons General Store invited the fine folks of Big Tide and Uncorked Tours into the brewhouse in February. They brewed up an IPA, which will be hitting the taps Monday. Leaning towards the malty side, but featuring plenty of hops to balance, it will come out around 6.5% when all is said and done. In addition to the taps at Pics, it will also be available for pints and the new growler option at Uncorked’s spot in the City Market on Monday.

 

Seeing as how we’re running a little behind, most folks reading this will already be past the halfway point on their last Friday of February, which in a normal year would feel like enough of an accomplishment in our region, but where March will also mark an entire year of pandemic, it feels even more like something to celebrate. Fortunately, there’s lots to tell you about this week in regards to boozy beverages in our region that can help you with any celebrations you choose to do. With community spread in evidence, folks in NS are encouraged to consider the possibility that we may see some tightening up of the restrictions again in the coming week and to add that to the factors that inform their purchasing this weekend. Producers in all four provinces are doing a great job making their products available through responsible means, whether that’s Atlantic-, province-, or local area-wide shipping, curbside pickup, or socially distanced retail. We’re all for rewarding that consideration and effort whenever possible and helping all these breweries, cideries, and meaderies survive to see the end of this madness!

The Change is Brewing Collective is launching their 5th collaborative product this weekend, partnering with Boxing Rock in Shelburne to release Back to Birchtown, a 6.4% ABV Old Stock Ale. Amber in colour, this is a modern take on what may have been available during the days of the Black Loyalists who settled in the region – malty and smooth now, and designed to stand up to aging quite well. The beer is being debuted at the Boxing Rock Taproom at 218 Water Street in Shelburne, with the event kicking off at noon on Saturday, February 27th. Members of Change is Brewing will be joined by Emily Tipton of Boxing Rock, Sheila Scott of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Vanessa Hartley of SEED Shelburne, Lauryn Guest of the Buy Black Birchtown Campaign, to learn about their groups’ history and future. All proceeds from the collaboration are being donated in support of Change is Brewing and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society.

Due to COVID restrictions, reserving a seat in advance is required, 902-875-2282. And for those not able to join in person, the event will be live-streamed through the Collective’s Instagram and Facebook pages, so be sure to tune in! Those in attendance are invited to visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in nearby Birchtown, who are opening their doors that afternoon, 2 – 4 PM. The beer can also be ordered today on the Boxing Rock webstore, where the full package includes a fabric mask commemorating the collaborative brew, and a ticket for entry to the Heritage Centre to be used in the future.

Don’t forget that this is also the last week to donate to Change is Brewing in their support of BIPOC South Shore’s “Buy Black Birchtown” campaign, in support of an 8-acre Retreat and Learning Centre in the community, a place for people of colour to “rest, resist, and organize for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty”. They are ¾ of the way to their goal of raising $20,000 (as of publishing), which has allowed the CiBCollective to become full members in the Centre, and sponsor membership for two more groups, working towards a third, before the end of February. If you have the means to donate, or just want to learn more, please check this link.

First opening their brewery and retail space in 2019, Smokehouse Nano Brewery has now opened a taproom in the heart of Berwick, Nova Scotia. Located at 134 Union Street, the taproom and retail spot is open from noon daily, closing at 6PM Sunday through Thursday, and 8PM Wednesday through Saturday. A full dozen beers are on tap for enjoyment in house, with most available in growlers or cans to go once you’ve chosen your favourites. One of those favourites may be Noonan’s Pride, a 4.2% ABV Dry Irish Stout, featuring massive coffee flavour and aroma, with a smooth mouthfeel and dry finish. Sadly, due to its small batch size, this one is an in-house-only treat! Smokehouse’s website social media (Fb/Ig) has their latest offerings, perfect to get you salivating now!

With several successful breweries and cideries already present on Prince Edward Island, it was only a matter of time before somebody got the mead bug (bee? Hah!). And while we don’t have our finger on the pulse so much with honey beverages, we did manage to notice the opening of Horns of Odin Craft Brewery on St. Peter’s Road in Mount Stewart (sharing a building with the Bedford Irving). Owner Chuck Gallison decided to start the business after a fateful trip to Iceland a few years ago, and as you may be able to tell from the name, he’s very much aware of the connection between Vikings/Norsemen and mead. The term “mead” at its most basic means a fermented honey beverage and covers a fairly wide variety of liquids ranging from still to sparkling and dry to sweet, possibly containing herbs, spices, and/or fruits, and with ABVs from low single digits all the way up into the teens. That said, for the pedants amongst us there are usually specific terms for these variations. Right now the brewery is focussed on producing melomels, which generally refers to fruited meads (although there’s even more terminology for particular fruits), and currently they’re coming out in a wine-like 8 – 12% ABV. Their current lineup of available products includes Hopped Crabapple, Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Hopped Mixed Berry Beet, and Cherry, but they’ve also had Mountain Ash and a Pomegranate is said to be in the works! You can read more about the brewery in this Saltwire article, or stay tuned to this space where we hope to continue to cover new and interesting products coming from Horns of Odin. Skol!

Amazingly, we’ve got even more mead news for you this week, as Mountain Meadworks has teamed up with Compass Distillers in Halifax on a special collaboration brew that takes mead making to the Nth degree with the assistance of distillation. The starting point was a Mountain Meadworks mead that was sent to Compass to be distilled with a variety of Nova Scotia botanicals, including juniper, spruce tips, yarrow, and chanterelle mushrooms. The result was then used to fortify a new mead that had itself been infused with rhubarb, lemongrass, and spruce tips. The result is “a complex and harmonious drink” that comes in at an ABV of 7.5% and features a variety of flavor and aroma notes including citrus, juniper, and rhubarb. They’ve called this beverage Ouroboros, after an ancient symbol dating back to the Egyptians, but also found in many other traditions including Norse, Hindu, and Mesoamerican, among others. Usually a snake (or a dragon!) swallowing its own tail, it is sometimes also depicted as two (or more!) creatures swallowing each others’ tails in a loop. Intended to reference eternal renewal and how things may change form and yet never disappear, we think this is a poetic name for a very intriguing mead. To get it you’ll want to check out their Facebook page to see whether they might be at a farmers market in your area any time soon or to contact them to place an order.

An annual fall release from Trailway has been their Rascal Imperial Stout. Sadly, the beer’s namesake, a very good doggo, passed away this year. In a fitting tribute to a brewery dog, TW took their existing recipe and made it even more awesomer: after making the base beer, they aged it in Heaven Hill bourbon barrel for 7 months! Ode to Rascal was barrel aged with coffee from Milltown Roasters and some vanilla. This beer is full, complex and filled with notes of oak, dark chocolate, and espresso with a sweet vanilla finish. This 8% ABV tasty treat is only available from the brewery (no shipping options) and is only in 500ml bottles. 

In other news from Trailway, they’re hiring a full time marketing and digital content manager. Check out the complete job posting on Career Beacon

The new releases keep coming from Tatamagouche Brewing and they continue to draw inspiration from across the Atlantic, this time with an English Bitter. Haywain is a 5.3% ABV take on the style that starts with Horton Ridge pale malt, Caramel 60 and CaraAroma.  Bramling Cross and EKG hops were used to the tune of 37 IBUS, with some non-traditional late and whirlpool additions to amp up the aroma. There are a variety of ways to try out this beer, but we suggest trying to track this down on cask for the optimal drinking experience. Pins have been sent to the Stillwell Freehouse. You can also find it at other Tata tap accounts and at the brewery in cans and for fills.

Your visits to the Saint John City Market are about to get even better! Uncorked Tours opened their tasting room and meeting space in the market last year, with a patio and dedicated entrance at the corner of Germain and North Market streets. They’ve just announced they will be releasing their own branded Howlers (0.95 litre growlers) next month, and kicking off their Growler program. After coming in and enjoying a sample flight or pint, visitors can fill a growler of their favourite beer for enjoyment at home. Pair that with some fresh produce, cheese, or cured meats from one of the other Market vendors, and you’ve got yourself a perfect afternoon or evening in! In addition to the sweet howler designed by Owner and Tasting Room Manager Nathalie Nadeau, featuring their doggos Penny and Ruby, visitors can bring their own clean 0.95 or 1.89 litre (32 and 64 oz) growlers to fill. And if you’re in a pinch, they have 1 litre plastic containers to fill too. Pre-order your howler now for its first fill March 17th, or if you can’t wait that long, pop by next week for a fill of your own vessel.

To Moncton! To The Shack! Tire Shack Brewing has a few new goodies for those of you in the area. First up, their Hip Hop Series returns with its fifth iteration, each of which showcases a Double IPA that’s massively dry hopped with a single hop variety. Hip Hop Series: Volume 5 showcases Cashmere, a hop that brings great flavours of melon, peach, lemon, lime and a hint of coconut. It comes in at 8% ABV but the smooth drinkability makes it very (dangerously) crushable. This is available for cans, pints and growlers from the taproom today.

Also out this week, they are bringing the spice to the taproom releasing Mango-Habanero Sour, a 3.5% ABV fruity sour with a touch of heat. This one is only available for pints and growler fills at the taproom. 

Staying near Moncton, Flying Boats Brewing is releasing Red Cap, a Peanut Butter Stout. This was a taproom favourite that is now coming out in 473ml cans. Using as its base an English-style double oatmeal stout, it adds the natural peanut butter flavour in the final stages of fermentation. With a strong peanut butter aroma and notes of chocolate, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.8% ABV. Find it at select ANBL locations and the brewery; enjoy it while it lasts!

The City of Lakes’ own Lake City Cider brings a few pieces of news this week. Cardi P is a cider with Nova Scotia plums house-fermented to a rich wine and then blended with a selection of Nova Scotia apples before being rested with cardamom spice. This cider is 6.8% ABV and available in 750ml bottles from the brewery or online for delivery today. 

Also releasing this week is Green Ginger, a cider collaboration with Pop Culture Brew Co. This cider release is a blend of their Darkside Dry cider and the Ginger Kombucha from Pop Culture. This will have flavours of fresh apple with some floral notes and slight ginger spice on the finish. It is also available in 750ml bottles and is a 5.5% ABV blend available only from Lake City’s Dartmouth shop.

Back to a Nova Scotian cider for our next release, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a funky new apple/wine hybrid available this week. And when the perfect name appears, why fight it? Hence, Hybrid, a blend of apples from a 100-year old Golden Delicious that underwent a 4-week maceration period, along with Marquette grapes picked from a vineyard on the Northumberland Strait that underwent an 8-week maceration period before pressing. Neither ferment saw any external yeast added, it was all thanks to the wild beasties already living on the fruits. After blending, a small amount of actively fermenting Northern Spy juice was added to allow a natural carbonation in the bottle. Only 50 cases of this special 10% ABV cider and wine hybrid were produced, so best make your way to their retail/taproom today to secure yours!

Over to Newfoundland, as we continue our journey across the region, for a re-release of a favourite beer, but with a new name and label to support an important cause. Port Rexton Brewing has teamed up with St. John’s Toslow for a few years now, producing a collaborative Sea Buckthorn Sour celebrating the downtown cafe/good beer bar. For this release, however, their efforts have shifted to supporting a group looking to make major changes in the food security of Newfoundlanders. Food First NL works with communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to improve access to affordable, healthy, and culturally-appropriate food. $2.00 from each can of Hold Fast will be going to Food First, with the goal to raise over $5,000. And of course a special release deserves a special label, which was designed by talented local artist Jenna-Wade. You can do your part by grabbing the beer from PRBC’s St. John’s Retail Shop, or at the Foodex in Port Rexton, this weekend, with more locations in between receiving deliveries in the next couple of weeks. You can also donate directly to a food bank or support group in your local region, check out their partners here (also the same list if you are experiencing food insecurity yourself). 

Staple of the rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing brings a new release to their Brewers’ Original series. Nathan’s Kveik Pale Ale is a dry-hopped pale ale with great flavours of honeydew melon and pineapple. Balanced, with a nice graham cracker malt flavour, it is fruity and easy drinking at 5.5% ABV. Available in 473ml cans from the brewery and online, it’s available today.

And speaking of Newfoundland Craft Breweries, their taprooms are currently closed due to the province being in COVID Level 5 (aka, now in the “Restore the Arse” phase), but that does *not* mean they aren’t able to get some tasty beverages in your hands!

  • Bannerman Brewing has recently commissioned a high-speed 16oz/473ml canning machine, meaning they won’t be running out of offerings any time soon. Hit up this page for curbside pickup options.
  • Landwash Brewery is also doing curbside pickup, and have been delivering to many locations on the Avalon. Check their Distro map to find a spot near you!
  • Baccalieu Trail has a pair of newbies on their virtual shelves this week, with Ediacaran Fuse NEIPA and Love Potion 709, a mixed-ferm champagne-inspired Brut ale both available at their retail as well as Marie’s Mini Marts in the area.

In Coming Soon news, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing is closing in on the completion of their tap room located at 16 Dentith Road, which features plenty of seating, a dozen taps, a stage for live music, and a Mary Brown’s Chicken opening soon next door! To keep the beer a-flowin’, they are looking to hire both Full- and Part-Time Servers to round out their team. Beer knowledge, or willing and interested in learning some, is a major plus, as is being able to work on your feet to keep everyone happy in a soon-to-be-busy spot. The full details of the positions is on their website, and you can fire off your cover letter and resume to Matt@Serpentbrewing.com before the end of the weekend. 

A couple of rare in-person events to mention this week along with a more typically 2021 virtual one!

Modern Brewer’s Village Green is taking over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown today, showcasing 9 fresh and fun beers from the small brewery in downtown Cornwall. The taplist includes favourites found on tap already, like the Sabro Pale Ale and Bitter, as well as plenty of new beauties like NorCal Pale Ale, Dark Mild, and Lagered Ale, and will even mark the debut of the brand new New Zealand Pale Ale. As the name implies, this 5.0% Pale Ale features hops from the land of the kiwis, namely Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. This brew won’t be available in Cornwall until next week, even! On the “what to eat to pair with your beer” tip, HopYard has debuted the “Hola Amigo” menu this week – check out this post for the latest food options! And with just one keg of each offering on tap at the ‘Yard, you’re well advised to head there sooner rather than later!

We told you about this event last week, but a quick reminder about Belgianfest 2021 at Stillwell HQ this Saturday and Sunday. From noon til 10:00 PM both days, Stilly will be pouring some classic and rare Belgian treats with a great mix of kegs and bottles. The team in the kitchen will also be pushing out some Belgian dishes. Check out Stillwell’s social channels for more info.  If you happen to drop in on Saturday you may even see a few of your favorite intrepid bloggers.

For something a little different, tune into a free public lecture from the Nova Scotia Institute of Science this Monday, March 1st. Dr. Gordon McOuat, Director of the History of Science and Technology Program at University of King’s College, will be presenting The Science and Culture of Beer. From McOuat, “This talk will explore those key moments in the long relationship between beer, civilization, and science”. The full details of how to tune in are on their website, so grab a can or bottle of your favourite beer from your local brewery, and get your beer learnin’ on!

And a last few items for your perusal before you get on with your day:

If you’re more in the mood for cider this weekend, head to Truro Brewing Company to check out Cide Hustle. Using freshly pressed juice from Stirling Farms in Greenwich, Cide Hustle comes in at 6.0% ABV, features a hazy appearance and a semi-dry body. Find it on tap at the brewery on Inglis Place today. 

St. Patrick’s Day is mere weeks away, which can only mean one thing – the return of the Irish seasonals! Propeller is first out of the gate with their Irish Red Ale. Their take on the style comes in at a sessionable 5% ABV and combines roasty malt notes with an earthy hop character. Look for it through Propeller’s online store and three taproom locations this weekend.

Fans of good beer in the environs of Windsor, NS, have reason to cheer this week, as the Schoolhouse Brewing taproom is back after a COVID-related hiatus. Look for new things coming out of both the brewery and the kitchen as they get back to business, including a new Russian Imperial Stout on tap that will be benefiting their local food bank. 

Over at Unfiltered, Fist of God is making its return. This 8% DIPA is available now on North Street in cans and via fills if you have Unfiltered glass to exchange.

It’s been a chilly one in our region this week, but fortunately not as bad as in some other places. Even more fortunately (we think), we’re used to it and generally prepared for it, also unlike some other places. But most fortunate of all, at least for beer geeks like us, our local producers are on top of making sure we’ve got plenty of fresh and interesting beverages to see us through the dead of winter. We’ve got news from all four Atlantic Provinces to share with you this week, including big beers, little beers, boozy beers, no-boozy beers, malty beers, hoppy beers, collaboration beers, at least one cider, and more! Read on for information to inform your beer buying excursion(s) this weekend and beyond!!

Let’s kick off the week with a four-way Nova Scotian collaboration beer that, chances are, you’ll only be able to enjoy this weekend. The Old Black Forest is a German restaurant located in Lunenburg, NS, and like the rest of the hospitality industry, has been hit hard during the last 12 months. They have launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help develop their patio, extend seating, and get back up and running fully this spring. Local breweries Tanner & Co in Chester, Saltbox Brewing (through their King Street Bridgewater location), together with donated ingredients courtesy of Canadian ingredient supplier Brew Culture, each stepped up to create Hopfenweizen, a German beer and are releasing them today in support of Old Black Forest. In Chester, Tanner & Co started from their traditional German Wheat beer base, and dry-hopped it with Idaho 7. In Bridgewater, Brew Culture’s Stefan Gagliardi joined Saltbox’s Jon Rains for a small batch of the brand new Hopfenweizen, using an equal blend of IREKS Pilsner and Wheat, complemented by a touch of Melanoidin malts. Hopping was a blend of modern and traditional, just as the beer is a hybrid of the two, with Spalter Select and Hallertau Mittlefruh in the kettle (including a third of the hopping pair added during first wort. Amarillo was added at flame out, with more of the Spalter and Idaho 7 added during a double dry-hop. Using the traditional WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast, expect plenty of banana and clove throughout, with tropical pineapple, herbal, and woody notes from the Old and New World hops.

So, how can you enjoy these new beers? Well, the new beer is currently pouring at Tanner’s 59 Duke St. location, with the crew from Old Black Forest serving up brezeln and dip. After you get a couple of those into you, your designated driver can deliver you to 463 King Street in Bridgewater for 6 PM, when the Brew Culture X King Street release hits the taps. OBF will be onsite there too, slinging more brezeln & dip, as well as Schnitzel sandwiches! Every pint helps the Old Black Forest achieve their goal, and for those not able to make it down tonight, check out their Kickstarter and grab a sweet reward for a meal or special night in the spring/summer.

From one collaboration to another, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with St John’s Alpine Country Lodge to release Fresh Tracks in celebration of 27 years in business. This American Pale Ale features a classic malt-forward grain and cracker character, hopped up with a solid bitterness and a great citrus and piney hop bite. And at only 4.0% ABV, you won’t get too lost if you imbibe while on the trail! You can grab it in Port Rexton at the Foodex, several Marie’s Mini Marts, as well as PR’s online shop for curbside pick up in town. This new beer joins Happy Little Clouds, a new release that hit the shelves last week (oops!), a slightly sour, fruit-forward Pale Ale. Tons of dry-hopping in here for an ester overload with white wine grapes, peach, nectarine and apricot. The 4.6% beer is low in bitterness, so ready to be enjoyed in quantity. Keep an eye out for it at your favourite shop in town and off the Avalon, and also online.

The near-beer / low alcohol beer trend continues to gain momentum in our region. We are all for breweries providing tasty and locally made options for those seeking these products. The latest comes from Borden Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing Co. with their release of Noble. Taking its name from the ‘noble experiment’ that was prohibition, this ultra light pale ale comes in at 0.7% ABV. Oats were added to the grain bill to boost mouthfeel followed by additions of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The lack of alcohol also keeps the calories lower, with one pint equaling out to about 65 calories. Head to the brewery to try this one out today. And those in town are well-advised to head to John Browne on Richmond, as Lone Oak has taken over the taps there this weekend, with Noble and their Anniversary releases also pouring.

If you haven’t had your fill of Tatamagoodness™ recently, Tatamagouche Brewing is back with three exciting releases. 

First up is Šero, a Czech dark lager and cousin to the previously released German dark lager, Dusk. Malt forward, with a grain bill based primarily on a Pilsner/Munich blend with CaraMunich and CaraAroma, a dash of Carafa capped the mash during recirculation (vorlauf) to get that rich brown color. Using characteristic Saaz hops to the tune 25 IBU, this 5.1% lager is a wonderful malt showcase that is slightly bitter, sweet and very crisp and clean. 

Sticking with lagers (yes please!), Pausa Pranzo is an Italian Pilsner named after the prolonged Italian lunch break. With a base malt of Weyermann Pilsner malt and hopped to 35 IBU with Saaz, Mittlefruh and Callista (and a small Callista dry hop to boot!), we get a pronounced bitterness to this 5% Pils. Both Pausa Pranzo and Sero are available today in cans and growlers from the brewery and kegs are also heading out to tap accounts around HRM.

Third in this week’s release train is Collusion a 7.9% Double IPA. With 85% pale malt from Horton Ridge, the other 15% is made up of chit malt, oats and wheat. The extensive hop bill starts with Nugget for bittering, Cascade and Centennial late additions and Citra, Mosaic and Incognito in the whirlpool before a dry hop of MORE Citra and Mosaic. This one is truly packed with hops and you can safely expect it to be full bodied, bright and refreshing with low bitterness. Kegs are available today at Stillwell, Battery Park and HopYard in HRM, but will only be canned next week. 

Village Green by Modern Brewer in Cornwall, PE, have been gearing up for their tap takeover next weekend at HopYard Charlottetown by releasing a couple of new beers. First on the docket is a classic English ale that’s one of the most sessionable beer styles in existence. Village Green’s Dark Mild doesn’t have a creative name, but it represents all that is good about the style: the marriage of English malts and hops to produce a very low 3% ABV and gentle 15 IBU but still carrying plenty of flavor and balance of bitterness and body to invite another sip. Perfect for those evenings when you want to keep your whistle wet but not wake up wondering who drove a bulldozer through your brain the night before. This one is draught-only for now so you’re limited to pints on site and fills; best to bring your own (clean) growler, though, as they’re running out!

Also on the go this week is their new Hazy IPA. Brewed with Pilsner malt and malted wheat for a light color and body, it was hopped in the kettle with “heaps” of Chinook, Centennial, and Citra, before being hit hard with a dry hop of Simcoe and Amarillo. It might take more than a few sips to decide which is more potent, the hop aroma or the hop flavor! You can expect notes of ripe stone fruit, pithy citrus, and hop resin backed by a firm bitterness in this 6.8% ABV and “all the IBUs” beer. There were a few cans of this one around last Friday when the beer was released, but we would advise that you don’t bank on those having survived until now, so you’ll be limited (for now) to having a pint in the taproom or bringing a growler in for a fill. 

Did we say two new beers? We was wrong (again)!! Turns out they’ve got yet another new one up and on tap starting today. Lagered Ale is just that, a beer fermented warm-ish with a top-fermenting yeast strain, before being given a nice cool conditioning period at lager temperatures. Brewed with continental Pilsner malt, along with some flaked corn and Carapils, it was hopped exclusively with the classic German hop, Perle throughout the boil. Arriving at 5.8% ABV and 20 IBU, you can expect this to be a crispy and refreshing beverage while carrying a touch more body and sweetness than a true lager. Look for it on tap at Village Green today where you can order it for a pint or bring a growler for a fill (or maybe bring a few so that you can try the Dark Mild and/or the Hazy IPA too). We’ve also been led to believe there’s a couple more releases coming this week in advance of the HY takeover, so keep your eye on their SM (Fb/Ig/Tw) for early details! Rest assured, though, we’ll have the relevant info along with a full taplist for the takeover next Friday.

Never a brewery to shy away from new releases, 2 Crows is back with another new one that will follow you into the dark. Pimedus is an 8.8% Baltic Porter coming out today. We’re going deep (deep!) into the nerdy details here, so we’ll start with an easy one: Pimedus is the Estonian word for darkness, to pay tribute to the three states along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Starting with a single decoction mash using a base of Weyermann Munich I, Pilsner, Carafa II, Crystal 65, Extra Special Malt and a touch of Chocolate malt, it saw late hop additions of Tettnanger and EKG join the fray before a low, slow, and cool fermentation with German lager yeast. Naturally carbonated using a spunding process (in contrast to their normal krausening regime for lagers), this was lagered for 7 weeks and then packaged into 355mL cans (hooray for single servings of big beers!).

The flavour should be very smooth and clean, with some nice roasted notes and a bit of toasted marshmallow. The brew team are very happy with the soft carbonation and it comes in at 33 IBU. Pick this one up directly from 2 Crows, or get it shipped from them to get your hands on them. A few cans may be going to other retail locations as well. 

Many of us have been inside of our hooms for almost a year now and it’s about time someone named a beer appropriately! The Middle English name for “home” is “hoom” and Big Spruce is releasing Hoom is Where the Heart Is, an English Bitter. They’re paying homage to the traditional local brewing in England when beer and brewing would be a practice of getting barley and hops from the fields around one’s home. Nyanza’s finest kept this theme for this beer, using Horton Ridge’s Organic Pale Malt for 40% of the grist and the spoils of their own hop yard for 100% of the hops. Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles bring the floral flavour with bitterness to this ale. Traditionally easy to drink, this beer is only available in kegs and firkins, with no cans or bottles from this batch. Sounds like we’ll all have to head to Nyanza to get this one or look for it at one Big Spruce’s tap accounts. 

Down Wolfville way, Annapolis Cider Company has a new entry in their Something Different series that they teased on social media the other week. Haskap and Cardamom is a pretty self-explanatory name for this sparkling cider that features notes of dried berries from haskap juice, citrus aromatics from green cardamom pods and a solid tannic structure thanks to the base apple cider. Ruby red in color, it was blended with fresh juice yielding a medium-bodied tipple that weighs in at 7.7% ABV. As with all entries in the Something Different series, $0.50 from each refill sold at the cidery goes to a charitable cause, this time it’s the Acadia University BLM/TRC (Black Lives Matter/Truth and Reconciliation Commission) Awards. You can learn more about these awards here.

News from Fredericton has brought reports of a first from Trailway, as they are releasing their first Sour IPA ever! Threads is an exciting release for a style that combines soft and juicy hops with some tartness. The base beer was kettle soured to a moderately tart pH and then handed over to typical IPA brewing and hopping rate, packed with Strata, Citra and Idaho 7. The resulting flavour should be a refreshing, tart 5.5% IPA with notes of citrus zest and peach. This is available in 473ml cans directly from the brewery, so stop by or order online!

Despite the local lockdown measures, Quidi Vidi Brewery is doing it’s best to keep beer drinkers of the Avalon Peninsula happy and hydrated with the release of two new beers this week! First up is their take on a Rye IPA. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, expect citrusy notes, a mild rye spiciness and a clean bitterness to finish. Next up is a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale. Expect more tropical hop aromas to compliment a significant malt backbone. Check out QV’s webstore for more details on how to get your hands on these limited releases. They are currently doing curbside pickup seven days/week and home deliveries from Thursday to Saturday. 

Up in Bathurst, Four Rivers Brewing has a few new offerings out and upcoming. First up is the Vanilla Rum Porter. Expect aromas of caramel and vanilla, complemented by coffee and dark chocolate on the palate. At only 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU, it packs plenty of flavour in a completely quaffable package. Four Rivers has been busy lately, also releasing a British Mild and Extra Special Bitter. And keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming release of Raglan Red, their take on a red ale.

It’s Cask Night in Moncton again! Tire Shack Brewing has a potent treat on the bartop today, the perfect remedy to these cold days and nights. Starting with a base of their already-chock-full-of-flavour 11.9% Russian Imperial Stout, they added Arbol chilis in a pin of it for about 4 weeks. The resultant beer is full-on spicy dark chocolate, and sounds perfect to us on a day like today! And even better is that the OG RIS, Into The Void, is available on tap currently as well, for the very necessary comparison, or maybe to do some blending for science! Expect more experiments in this theme are coming soon, watch this space!

Just one more event to tell you about this week. Stay safe and wear a mask!

Bar Stillwell’s annual Belgianfest is coming next weekend, February 27 and 28. From 12 to 10 PM daily (COVID == early closure times), they’ll be sharing the best and brightest beers from one of the most beer-centric European countries. And with all non-essential travel halted for the last year, this will be the only way most of us have to drink something fresh from Belgium for a while! Lambics not seen before in the region, plus modern and cutting edge styles too. Belgian food is on the table, natch, featuring the country’s famous croquettes, moules frites (aka mussels and fries), Liege waffles, and some cheese to pair with your favourite draught or bottle pour. No reservations for this event, so do be sure to arrive early to avoid seating (and beer) disappointments. Check this post for a tease of what’s to come.