If you’re like us and love loving local beer, then today’s the day for you! Plenty of new releases and returning favourites are out now/coming very soon, plus a Monday holiday to nurse your headache for an extra 24 hours! Sounds like a win-win to us! Let’s get right to the new beers, and the events we think are worth your time….

After quickly selling out of their last entry in their very popular Brut IPA series at the end of 2019, Petit-Sault has decided to keep the momentum going by releasing Brut IPA #3 this week. Like the last beer, La Pêchée, this beer weighs in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, and finishes extremely dry (0° Plato, keeping the residual sugar at a bare minimum). Hopped (and dry-hopped, of course) with Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, the brewery added strawberry and peach puree during fermentation. The combination of both fruit purees with the high dry-hopping makes for some intensely fruity aromas and flavours. Look for this one on tap and in bottles at the brewery now, and it should be hitting licensees and ANBL stores this weekend.

Propeller Brewing Co. in Halifax has a new beer out this week that will hopefully take you out of the mindset of a dismal February afternoon and into the mood of a crisp, yet hoppy beer on a sweltering summer day. Citra Pale Lager marries IPA darling hop Citra to a crisp and crushable base style, yielding what they’re calling a “modern lager.” Plenty of biscuity malt flavor is balanced by a firm, but approachable 38 IBU worth of bitterness, leading to a crisp, dry finish created through the use of a German yeast and a good 3 – 4 weeks of lagering time. And did we mention the hops? Aromas of melon and citrus abound where you might have expected floral, woody, and/or herbal noble hop character in a more traditional lager, giving a fruity vibe to this 5.2% ABV beer. Look for it at both Prop locations on tap, for fills to go, and in cans, with packaged product also going to private stores in Halifax and Liquid Assets at the Stanfield Airport. And if you do head down to Gottingen Street location tomorrow afternoon for a V-Day pint, look for their Galaxy dry-hopped with Sabro and Ekuanot. If you’re not able to make that, though, there’s still plenty going on this weekend with a Valentine’s Day is Dead 2020 live music show on Saturday, Family Day at the Propeller Arcade from 12 – 6 PM on Sunday (after 6 PM the Arcade will be open, but will revert to 19+), and a bonus Arcade afternoon from 2 PM onwards on the holiday Monday.

We’ve just passed the “less than a month” phase leading up to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and more details are trickling out on the events and ancillary parts of the Fest. One of which is the launch of the annual Diplomatic Immunity collaboration beer, with this year’s falling under the category of Lagered APA. Brewed in early December 2019, host brewery Flying Boats in Dieppe, NB, welcomed in the good folks from Boxing Rock Brewing of Shelburne, NS, and Upstreet Brewing of Charlottetown, PEI. Brewed using primarily Weyermann heritage Barke Pilsner malt (with a touch of CaraBohemian malt for a smooth, yet lightly grainy backbone), and hopped with Pahto as a bittering addition, with whirlpool and dry hop additions of Cashmere, Amarillo, and Simcoe. The six weeks of lagering after primary fermentation by the Fermentis S-189 yeast gives a crisp and clean mouthfeel and finish, hop aromatics of melon, and a touch of coconut and grapefruit. The 5.2% ABV beer is available on draught and in cans at the host brewery now, and rolling out to the visiting breweries shortly. It will also be pouring widely around Fredericton leading up to the Fest, and be featured on the ANBL Growler program starting February 22nd

Recently-opened Gahan Nova Centre in Halifax teamed up with another downtown brewery, 2 Crows, for a collaboration a few months ago that has now hit the shelves. The beer goes by the moniker of 5 Minute Walk, which describes the length of time needed to get between the two breweries. The first beer to go into Gahan’s PEI-built foeder (℅ New World Foeders), and brewed by Spencer G (now of Lone Oak) with Jarrett S and Jeremy T, the beer featured a simple malt bill (Pilsner with a touch of flaked oats and white wheat), a light touch of Saaz and Ella hops, and fermented with 2C’s special house yeast blend. Acidic and citrus notes abound, with notes of funk and new oak complementing. The 6.9% ABV beer is on tap now at Gahan’s location, with a limited number of bottles available to go from their retail counter onsite.

We hinted a couple of weeks ago (well, we think we did, but we’re too lazy to go back and check) that there was an event coming up at Good Robot that would help get you in a summertime mood. Well that event is nigh, we tell you, NIGH!! Brewer Gio Johnson and his pals in The Limestone Group are bringing another FlavaBot Caribbean-infused event to Good Robot on Sunday, this one entitled Heat Wave. Look for plenty of Caribbean food from Chef Ambrose, live music and dance performances throughout the day. Doors open for brunch at 10 AM and food will be served until close at 2 AM. For the first time they’ll also be serving cocktails (Sky Juice and Switcha)! But most pertinent to us here at the ACBeerBlog, is the beer, of course. And as usual, Gio has come up with some recipes that bring the best of the Caribbean to our favorite beverage. First up is one we wrote about previously (seriously, don’t even need to check), Conch-style Bahamian Lager that’s sort of a “International Light Lager meets a Christmas Tree in a dark alley and things get (lime) zesty” kinda deal at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. But there are also going to be three smaller batches on the go. First is the Banana Bread Ale, a spiced dark ale treated with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and sweetened slightly with a touch of lactose. Doing what it says on the tin, look for a slightly creamy brew with roasty and chocolatey elements and those spices making themselves known. Plenty sessionable at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBU as well. And speaking of sessionable, next up is Lil Cay, a tropical session stout dosed with coconut flakes that had been themselves previously soaked in coconut rum. So plenty of coconut coming at you, but also some roast and vanilla and a mild citrus note to go with it. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it should be a lovely introduction to the notion of a tropical stout if you’ve never had one. And last, but certainly not least, is the delightfully-named Gruitti Fruitti! It’s a gruit, of course, which means no hops have been used, but an herb mixture takes their place in providing balance to the malt side. In this case, it’s pine needles and basil. And the “fruitti” part of the name isn’t just there for decoration, it refers to the addition of mango to the mix. At 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU, expect something herbaceous, fragrant and balanced.

Tire Shack Brewing hasn’t really slowed down on new releases since their opening last fall and this week they’ve got two more to share with the thirsty folks in the Moncton region. Leading the charge is Abracadabra, a “Tiramisu White Stout.” With a special roast from Sunny Brae Coffee done just for Tire Shack, as well as cacao nibs and vanilla, this one has all the hallmarks of the classic Italian dessert in a creamy white-colored package. Joining it on the taps is Heat Wave, an otherwise smooth and easy-drinking porter that’s been dosed with plenty of Arbol and Chipotle peppers for a smoky flavor and “A TON” of heat. Don’t be surprised if this one comes with a bit of a warning if you’re not into the spicy things. Look for both of these on tap at the brewery this weekend.

Not to be outdone on the white stout front (or the non-traditional ingredients front, for that matter), Upstreet has their own thing on the go over on the Island, a beer dreamed up and executed by Hogie and Josh that they’re calling Cereal Milk. Starting with a concept something like a blonde ale, the grist on this one was pale malt, flaked oats, golden naked oats (not as dirty as it sounds) and wheat, with Citra and Amarillo in the kettle and dry hop for a definite hop presence. Taking it somewhere else entirely were additions of lactose for some sweetness, cacao nibs, for a bit of chocolate, toasted coconut, roasted PEI hazelnuts, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt! Weighing in at 5% ABV and a very light 10 IBU, this is a small batch with only a few kegs pouring at the tap room and Craft Beer Corner. So if this sounds like the kind of thing that’ll turn your crank on Valentine’s weekend, best head down with a quickness.

In Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Rough Waters Brewing continues their hard work towards fully opening their taproom this spring, and are taking us along for the ride. Earlier this month they received the licenses allowing them to serve onsite, and have therefore been sharing pints and samples with visitors to their 83 Wights Rd location. Currently open Wednesday to Friday from 3 – 7 PM, Saturday from 1 – 8 PM, and Sunday from 1 – 4 PM, folks can have a taste of what’s available before grabbing bottles to take away. They have already held some local artisan markets and live music events in their space, teaming up to raise over $700 for local charities, and those types of community events will only increase in frequency once the taproom is fully open.
To help get folks excited about what’s to come (and to help achieve those goals), Rough Waters has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Backers to their project can grab some slick merchandise like stickers, glassware, shirts, or prints of their nautical tattoo themed labels, and locals can grab a VIP ticket to the Grand Opening Party, sign up for their “Hard Ticket” membership (getting you a personalized glass that comes with plenty of benefits), or design and help brew the beer of your dreams! Check out the list of options in the link above.
But not all of the good news is off in the future… There are two newly available brews this week that we can tell you about, and that you can pick up this weekend! The first is Down South, best described as a Pineapple IPA. Starting life as a moderately bitter IPA, they skipped the dry-hopping, and instead opted for a secondary fermentation on a whole whack of pineapple puree from Oregon Fruit. The final beer weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and features plenty of pineapple on the nose and tongue to make you forget, if only for a minute, that we don’t live in a more tropical climate. The second newbie is also the first in their Black Cat series, which will be an occasional release that will always feature spicing of some sort. This inaugural release is Cinnamon Chai ESB, a 6.8% ABV beer started as a malty ESB, and dosed in a brewed Chai blend of spices (heavy on the cinnamon, and leaving out the tea leaves) after fermentation, to keep it full of aroma and flavour. Bottles of both beers are available to taste at the brewery all weekend, with their core line-up also available to take-away.

If you’re the kind of person who has always wondered whether you could take your passion for beer and turn it into a career, there are a couple of breweries in Nova Scotia who might be able to help you figure that out. Tatamagouche Brewing has two positions open right now. First up is a summer position that they’re getting a good head start on filling: Summer Retail Sales Associate. This one runs from May to October and is customer-facing, helping folks who come to the Tata taproom to have a positive experience by providing knowledge and recommendations about the beer, but also the town and the North Shore region of the Province. Also up for grabs is a backroom position, so backroom it’s almost underground! Known as a “Cellar Hand,” this person will be focused on all the little details of making sure that all the beer that goes out with the Tata name on it is as good as it can be. From cleaning, to testing, to monitoring, to packaging and everything in-between, this person will have eyes on Tatamagoodness from wort almost all the way to the customer’s hand. If either of these positions sound good to you, you’ll find more information in the official job postings on the Tata website.

Also looking to fill some shoes in their operation is Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing who are looking for a Production Brewer to head up their “small batch” 7 BBL system. Formerly the main system at the brewery, it’s the one that put out the first Cereal Killer and Regatta Red and Kitchen Party Pale way back when Jeremy White opened up shop. So while bigger batches have now moved to the 20 BBL system across the way, this one still remains a vital operational piece of the Big Spruce empire, especially when it comes to their seasonal offerings. As always, experience in any and all aspects of brewing are likely to be preferred, but the right candidate who’s willing to learn and willing to relocate within/to Cape Breton is likely to find a listening ear even if experience isn’t a big part of their background. So if you’re interested, check out the full details on their Fb post and maybe slide into Big Spruce’s DMs if you think you’re the person for the job.

What’s on the go this weekend? Find out right meow!

Our friends and yours at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington are eager to help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether that be happily alone with your own gosh darn self or with your pals or, if absolutely necessary, with that special someone (no, not your dog or cat, that’s not allowed, but we feel you). However you want to celebrate, head on down this afternoon/evening for the usual loverly selection of thoughtfully curated liquids along with a bunch of super cute a la carte snacks from the kitchen: spicy pepperoni pizza pockets (YES, REALLY), charcuterie and cheese for one, house-made chicken nuggets (ALSO YES, REALLY), little mortadella sammies, mini pogos, falafel with extra garlicky toum, and personal tubs of cookie dough (YES, REALLY FOR A THIRD TIME). Just like every other day of the year ain’t nobody gonna judge you for walking in alone, but if you’re nervous about it, you shouldn’t be: it’ll be cozy and welcoming all night long.

The Ladies Beer League is hosting a different kind of Galentine’s Day event tonight at the Garrison Oxford Taproom from 7 – 9 PM. I Heart Beer 2020 is going to be a “get dressed up by dressing down”, in your comfiest jammies or other lounge-around clothes, to celebrate in a casual way with snacks, games, and a surprise or two. Grab your tickets at the FB link above, and stay cozy with fellow beer pals tonight!

Down the South Shore of NS, February means lobster season and the third annual Lobster Crawl Festival. Running the entire month (with an extra day this year!) it celebrates the crustacean that is so important to the economy and lifestyle from Barrington to Peggy’s Cove and encourages potential tourists to check out the province in the winter as well as the summer. Halfway through the month comes one of the premier events of the festival, the Lobster Crawl Beer Festival going down tomorrow night at the Bridgewater Best Western & Convention Centre. Running from 8 – 11:30 PM (with a 7 PM start for VIP ticket holders), tickets are still available: $25 for Designated Drivers (soft drinks and water available), $40 for regular admission with 10 drink tokens, and $55 for VIP admission, giving you early entry, 5 more tokens, and a VIP gift (we recommend that you assume taxes and fees apply to all of those prices). Additional tokens will be available for purchase, as will food. Fifteen breweries and cideries from the South Shore will be pouring their best, and we’ve heard tell that there may be a few cool collaboration beers on tap as well. So whether you’re already planning to be in the Bridgewater area tomorrow night and looking for something to do or you just dig craft beer and lobster, grab yourself a ticket and make a plan.

Back in mid-January, we mentioned that Chain Yard Cider in Halifax would be hosting a “Snakebite” competition in February. Well lookie here, that date is upon us. In case you’re unaware, a Snakebite is a blend of 1 part cider to 1 part beer, generally served by the pint, that is popular in the United Kingdom. Apparently someone has taken notice that our region has plenty of fine breweries and plenty of fine cideries and realized that the potential for sassy snakebite shenanigans is high! Tomorrow afternoon and evening will see eight teams competing for Snakebite Supremacy from 12 – 5 PM. Tasting will be blind and the public will vote on their favorite. The breweries and cideries competing are as follows: Sourwood Cider, Tidehouse Brewing Company, Lake City Cider, Spindrift Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Chain Yard Cider, North Brewing Company, Saltbox Brewing, Sea Level Brewing, Maritime Express Cider Co Ltd, The Church Brewing Co, Schoolhouse Brewing and Ship Builders Cider! So whether you like cider or prefer beer, this is an opportunity to find out if you like them both together!

Just a few tiny newsbites before we dismiss you today. Then go out and grab a beer!

Fredericton’s Picaroons has a new release out this week. Details are light, like super light, but for those of you looking to “Catch ‘Em All”, 506 Pale Ale is being described as “your next domestic” and “a modern, citrus forward APA”. If you’re so inclined, check it out and let us know how it tastes!

Roof Hound Brewing in Digby (and now operating their taproom daily in Kingston), has a new available today. Save Tonight is a 4.0% ABV Cherry Sour, brimming with the tart fruit character, and available on draught as well as in bottles to take home.

Halifax’s Tiny Tidehouse has brought their most frequent collaborator to the brewhouse, and have the latest Lil Wheaty’s (aka award-winning homebrewer Ian Wheatley) pouring this afternoon. Tic Lac Toe is a blueberry kettle sour, which features a wheat beer base, and 20kg of blueberries. We’re not sure how they managed to cram all of those in there, but we’re sure that you’ll be able to taste every one. Just don’t drink too many or you’ll end up looking like Violet Beauregard!

Fredericton’s Trailway has been serving their Candlepin Kölsch as a regular feature at The Drome by Trailway pretty much since it opened, but they don’t package this easy-drinking beer too often. Good news, then, for Drome denizens who have a hankering for it at home, a fresh batch is available in cans now at the brewery!

Happy Friday folks, and welcome to February! The region is once again under the cold, wet, and unpredictable blanket of winter, with one of our writers struggling to find alternate travel plans south due to flight cancellations. Thankfully, we’re all more than ready for this with our fine ales and lagers that the region’s brewers have on the taps and shelves this weekend. One final reminder that the very fun Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Halifax Seaport is tomorrow, and there are still a few tickets available. We’ll be there taking it all in, and have the important job as one of the judges of the brewery booths (liquid bribes graciously accepted!). Grab your ticket and say Hi! if you spot us.

Speaking of the CBCP, one of the many new debuting beer and ciders will be a collaboration between Lake City Cider and Bishop’s Cellar. Pretty Please is a special blend of cider, wine, and spice, perfect for warming you up and reminding you of cottage weather. Starting with an apple blend base, they added in some house-fermented cherry wine, and steeped the whole thing with a bit of real vanilla bean, for good measure. It comes in at a moderate 5.5% ABV, and is showing “delicate, earthy cherry tones” along with subtle aromas of vanilla, almond, and marzipan. It’s extremely dry, which is going to leave you wanting more. 

And speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, they have dropped six new German beers in the store (online and IRL) from monastery brewery Weißenohe. With a traditional Pilsner, Helles, Dunkel, and more, all of us lager lads and lasses are definitely encouraged to check out this Reinheitsgebot-observing brewery on the shelves in Halifax.

The folks at Upstreet in Charlottetown are also scheduled to be at the CBCP again this year, and here’s hoping they bring some of their new French Saison. Using 5 varieties of malt from Island Malt House (2-row, wheat, rye, oat and amber), it’s got a bit of a New World/Old World hop thing going with Motueka from New Zealand meeting classic Continental varieties Perle and Magnum and a classic dry character from the use of French Saison yeast. Landing at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU, you can expect a bit of orange zest and a little spicy banana and a big carb to accentuate it all. Only a little is being released to the wild right now, with some staying local at the Upstreet Taproom and Craft Beer Corner and some hopefully making it to Nova Scotia (perhaps Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse for on-site enjoyment, perhaps some other venues), but the bulk of the batch is in for some barrel love, so we’ll no doubt be talking about a different version of this beer in a few weeks or months.

But that’s not all that’s coming out of Upstreet this week. On Tuesday, February 11th, they’ll be hosting a launch party for Island Hop Company, the first commercial-scale Hop Farm ever to be established on the Island. We’ll no doubt have more to say about that in coming months, but for now, get your taste buds ready for the latest beer featuring their hops: YYG Lager. On the grist side of this traditional lager are Pilsner and Vienna malts from another Island producer, Shoreline Malting, with Magnum, Saaz, and Perle comprising the hop side. Full-bodied and substantial, though a fairly light 4.5% ABV, there’s some residual sweetness balanced by 25 IBU. It’s got a deep golden color and a frothy, persistent head, and brings notes of fresh bread and floral hops with a bit of spicy character to balance. Hopefully we’ll see it around the region as well!

Boxing Rock has released another beer that medaled in their annual homebrew competition, the Black Box Challenge. Common Sense, originally brewed by Mike and Brenden (we’re unsure of their last names, unless it’s like a Cher thing?), is a traditional California Common, meaning it was hopped with Northern Brewer (to 29 IBUs) and fermented cool with an ale/lager hybrid strain. This 5% ABV golden-amber beer features some pleasant “minty and pine resin” flavours (thanks to the NB) to go with the toasted malt and caramel notes in the background. You can find it on tap at Boxing Rock and local licensees, and it’s also available in bottles (those of you in the HRM can find these at the private liquor stores).

Up in Deer Lake, NL, Rough Waters Brewing Company is super excited for their WinterFest event tonight as it will represent the first time they’re serving their own beer in the tap room! Starting at 6 PM, there will be live music, charcuterie available, and, of course, beer! And what better way to celebrate than with a brand new brew, one they’re calling Down South. Acknowledging the snow birds who spend their winters in warmer climes, the travelers who manage a week or two’s vacation during the winter months, and the rest of us schmoes who can only dream, this is a moderately bitter IPA coming in at a rather light 5.1% ABV. No dry hops in this one, but there sure is a whole bunch of pineapple for a little taste of sunnier places. If you’re in the Deer Lake area tonight, it sounds like a great time and a fun beer to celebrate with.

Whatcha got for us this week, Big Spruce? Looks like they’ve got not one, but two new beers, both of which involve some barrel-aging, making them good sippers to have on hand for this craptacular weather we’re in the middle of. Let’s start with To Mars ‘N Back Again, a 6.8% ABV Bourbon barrel-aged Marzen.If you’re thinking you haven’t had a barrel-aged Marzen before, there’s a good chance you’re right. This amber lager aged for four months in Buffalo Trace barrels, and is exhibiting plenty of oak on the palate, with “notes of Bourbon, spice, and dried flowers on the nose”. It’s tasting fairly sweet, with hints of vanilla and butterscotch to complement. Bottles and kegs for this one, as it’ll be pouring on tap at the brewery and beyond. The next brew is even bolder: Just Peachy! is a Barleywine aged for over a year in peach brandy barrel.  “Fruity, subtle vanilla notes, and smooth as silk”, it’s big (as expected) at 11% ABV; available in bottles only, you can find it at the Sprucetique, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, and Bishop’s Cellar.

Brand new hoppy beer debuting at TrailWay’s taproom in Fredericton today, an American IPA named Perfect Landing. This 6% ABV brew exclusively features a new-to-TW hop variety, Callista. A German hop variety that came on the market about ten years ago, it’s described as “intensely fruity”, making it a natural for IPA styles. In this beer, TW  describes it as providing “huge stone fruit, particularly peach and mango, with plenty of juicy red berries”, with extremely low bitterness. Grab your pints, growlers and cans at the brewery when they open today (weather-permitting, of course). Oh, and while we’re on the topic of ultra-hoppy IPAs, their all-Citra American IPA, Seeing Citra, has made a return and can also be picked up at the taproom; it’ll also be on shelves of select ANBL stores any day now.

If you were a fan of Port Rexton Brewing’s Salted Porter that they released last year, we’re happy to report that it’s making a comeback… albeit with a slight twist. While the base beer is still the same, providing delightful, roasty goodness in a 5.4% ABV package, the salt used is different. It’s still from the Newfoundland Salt Company, but this batch features coffee salt. Yeah, apparently coffee salt is a thing! The addition provides “a subtle minerality”, with “lingering black coffee” notes, to go with the touch of bitterness in the finish. Sounds great to us! If you’re curious too, you can find the beer on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers; you can also grab growler fills at their retail shop in St. John’s.

Barely outside Fredericton, in Douglas, 3Flip Brewing has released their newest beer, El Fuego Chipotle Porter. This dark ale was brewed with a grist of Maris Otter, Caramel malts, and a bit of Chocolate malt, and was hopped with Mt. Hood to 28 IBUs. As you might have guessed from the name of the beer, chipotle peppers were added during the brew process; specifically, the peppers were chopped up, de-seeded, and thrown in at the end of the boil. The peppers provide the roasty malt profile with “just a little heat”, and a touch of smoke in the finish. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV, stay tuned to their social media pages if you’re interested in where you can track some down… we CAN tell you that the first keg is currently pouring at Sussex Ale Works. 3Flip will also be celebrating their 1st Anniversary with an event at The Joyce next Saturday, Feb 15th; there’ll be several of their beers pouring, including El Fuego

And in other 3Flip news, co-owner Alicia (and her beer) will be attending the “Babes and Brews” event tomorrow at Miramichi’s Apero Lounge. She’ll be joining Gill and Erin from the ‘chi’s own Timber Ship Brewing, and highlighting their wares. Hosted by WOMEN of Miramichi, an entrepreneurial and networking group for women in the region. Tickets are available here for the 6 – 9 PM event, with beer and food pairings, tasting notes, learning more about beer in general, trivia, and meeting some like-minded folks. Everyone is invited.

We’re light on the Good Robot news this week, but it’s their fault, we promise! But in all seriousness, they’re prepping hard for their Heat Wave event next weekend (Sunday, February 16th), which will see the release of three one-offs, so rest assured that we’ll earn our stripes with them next week. In the meantime, we do want to remind you homebrewers out there that registration for their FemmeBrew competition will close on February 10th. There’s no set beer style for this one, but you do need to incorporate a “local or foraged ingredient” into your brew. Check out the full form here

It’s not normal for Tidehouse Brewing to release a beer in the middle of the week, but since when has anyone accused Tidehouse of being normal, amirite? Well, they DID release a new beer, Sotil, on Wednesday, and as a result it’s all gone and now I’m typing this as basically an exercise in futility to show you what you may have missed out on and no I am NOT bitter. The beer started as a simple Pilsner wort that was “very lightly soured” with a pitch of Lactobacillus, before being fermented with the lovely French Saison yeast. Once complete, freshly-pressed Marquette grape skins from Bent Ridge Winery were added, starting a secondary fermentation to dry out the beer further. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, that “drinks very much like a hard seltzer”, with hints of blackberry, cherry, and black currant. Oh, did we mention they released it in cans? Well… maybe you know someone who was able to grab a few? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The fine folks at Quidi Vidi Brewing have released the winning beers from their Newfermenters Homebrew Club competition held in the fall. The four top brews are: Half Nelson Sour Lager (4.5% ABV), Mother of Mangoes Farmhouse Ale (6.0% ABV), White Out White Stout (6.0% ABV), and Wild Rover Wee Heavy (8.4% ABV). The beers are available as a mixed four-pack at their retail shop and select NLCs, as well as on draught at the QV taproom and possibly at licensees around St John’s.

Brand new episode from the 902BrewCast fellas today, just how you want to start out your weekend (maybe?)! Listen to them hang and chat with Bishop’s Cellar’s Lucas Mader and Evan Fougere from the Malty Media blog; rumour has it they also drank a buncha beers, so you can live vicariously through them… at least until you get home to your OWN beers and REALLY start your weekend off right! Available right now wherever you listen to your podcasts. 

We’ve got a pair of events to remind/inform you of this week, both happen to be in Newfoundland (assuming you’re able to dig out after today’s dump of ice/snow!).

Don’t forget about tomorrow’s Crafternoon Experience at YellowBelly, where there will be a whole whack of new and old beers pouring, from lots of Newfoundland breweries. We could wax poetic about it, but why not just check out last week’s post? It’s easier! We should also note that there will be an Australian Gose from YellowBelly’s own Nardia.

Do you like to drink beer, listen to live music, and eat tasty food, all while supporting a local ski hill? Hey, good news! The Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival, Port Rexton Brewing, and White Hills Resort are teaming up to present BrewSKI 2020 on Saturday, February 22nd. This is a small event (only 125 tickets available) that will feature unlimited sample pours of beers from multiple Newfoundland craft breweries; sampling will run from 7-9:30 pm, but there will be a cash bar open until midnight, in case you want to keep imbibing! 3 Shades of Gray will provide the live music (right until midnight), and Oh My Cheeses will be on hand to provide you with a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches for purchase. Tickets are $55 (you can grab yours here), with proceeds going to support White Hills, which is a community non-profit.  

And here’s our last few items for the week; drive safe, stay warm, drink beer!

New Scotland has a pair of Lagers out this week to tickle your fancy (or your liver, whichever works). Alderney Dry, a 5.2% ABV, 22 IBUs Zwickelbier, and a currently-unnamed, 5% ABV, 25 IBUs, dark-copper-red-coloured Marzen; both are available on tap at the brewery. 

Niche Brewing has brought back – after a fairly long hiatus – one of their more popular kettle sour releases, Boysenberry Persuasion. This Lactobacillus-soured, 4.2% ABV brew was conditioned on lots of boysenberry puree, giving the final beer a mix of tartness and sweetness. It should be on tap at several of their NB accounts now/soon, and will be making an appearance at Halifax’s Stillwell (along with Ethos and Single Origin).

Tatamagouche Brewing has (thankfully) brought back Square One, their dry-hopped, mixed-fermentation Saison. Great to drink fresh and great to age, you can find bottles right now at Tata, or in Halifax at Bishop’s Cellar. They’ve also re-released super fresh cans of Gold Lotus, an 8% ABV DIPA hopped with Lotus, Citra and Galaxy, at the brewery today; it’ll be heading out elsewhere next Thursday.

Expect 3-4 new kettle sours on tap at Moncton’s Tire Shack this weekend if you’re dropping by; details are slim, but Sour Bite Apricot, Sour Bite Pink Guava, and Sour Bite Kiwi are currently flowing, with Sour Bite Pineapple possibly popping up on tap as well. Details are less than slim, but we’re pretty confident you can guess on what to expect!

Welp, this is it, the end of January. It felt like it lasted 6 weeks, what with the epic snow seen across the region shutting down entire cities, but we’re emerging from our snow forts and thirsty as heck! Thankfully the brewers didn’t miss a beat and have plenty to satiate our thirst. Let’s get your weekend started now with brand new releases across the region this week, and what’s on the horizon.

Thanks very much to those of you who entered our giveaway for tickets to next weekend’s Craft Beer Cottage Party as part of Savour Food & Wine. Congratulations to Andy L who won the two tickets with his picture of Propeller Sabro on IG. For the rest of us, tickets are still available for the Feb 8 event at Halifax Seaport Beer Festival, with more than 30 breweries and cideries from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI donning their best cottage ware and pouring goodies from their booths. We hope to see you there!

Let’s ease you out of Dry January with a beer hitting the shelves in New Brunswick at the beginning of next week. Niche Brewing is continuing their limited bottle releases with a debut almost two years in the making. Taking inspiration from the Oud Bruin/Flanders Brown style originating in the Flemish region of Belgium, Quintessential is a 6.4% ABV beer with plenty of history. Beginning life in April 2018, this Brown Ale underwent primary fermentation in a Cab Sauv barrel with Niche’s house blend of Sacch and Brett yeasts, aided by a new pitch of Lactobacillus and Pediococcus bacteria for a complex souring profile. Over the next 18 months, they produced not only lactic acid, the same “clean” acidity found in kettle souring, but also some acetic acid character thanks to extra bugs. After bottle conditioning for a few more months, the beer is finally ready. Think rich balsamic acid, dark plum and cherries, with a light oak character. A special beer deserves a special label, so they tapped Maine fine artist Nico Lebarge (no stranger to the beer scene as a designer with Bissell Brothers in Portland) for a painting fit for the release. Bottles of Quintessential will be available at the York Street and Corbett Fredericton ANBLs Monday, and at Dieppe Wednesday. Ask at your local location, and they may be able to bring it in (though with only one barrel of the beer available, there are only so many bottles to go around!). To keep you satisfied this weekend, thankfully, they’ve got a fresh batch of their Single Origin Sweet Coffee Stout pouring around the region. And ready your livers for a tap feature at The Joyce on February 22nd, with twelve Niche beers flowing, including several small batch one-offs brewed specifically for the event. 

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing has one new beer and one returning beer on tap this week. Starting with the newbie, which is appropriately named Raspberry Milk Stout. This is a Sweet Stout (meaning it features an addition of lactose powder in the boil) that had raspberry puree added once fermentation was complete. The result is a dark beer with a smooth creaminess, as well as subtle notes of raspberry. Full bodied, with low bitterness, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV. It’s currently available on tap for growler/crowler fills at the Pump House Fill Station in Moncton. Returning is I.P.Address, a very popular NEIPA that was last seen back in June. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row malt, wheat, and oats, this batch was fermented with a different yeast strain than previous batches. Hopped with Vic Secret, Centennial, El Dorado, and Mosaic, expect “smooth tropical fruit, citrus notes, and a mild bitterness”; it comes in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs. Look for it at the Growler Bar at the ANBL in Dieppe on Regis St, where it should be pouring alongside Raspberry Milk Stout as well.

Despite the extra crappy weather Newfoundland has been seeing this month, Port Rexton Brewing has been keeping themselves busy, with the result being lots of beer news for this week! Let’s start with their latest bottle release, shall we? Cellar Season – 2019 Barrel-aged Gose is just what you’d expect it to be! Once brewed, the kettle-soured base beer was fermented in stainless before being transferred over to a red wine barrel. The Brett D strain from Escarpment Labs was pitched at this point, and the beer was allowed to age (and develop lots of pineapple and funk character) for 14 months. A limited amount of bottles are available (300, with a limit of 2 pp); the 4.1% ABV beer is showing “hints of oak and red wine” to go with the Brett funk, with all of it being “complemented by a touch of minerality and refreshing tartness” before finishing nice and dry. In draught news, the latest in their hoppy Continuum series is out; Continuum w/ Simcoe has a whole lotta Simcoe in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry-hop additions, accompanied by Mandarina Bavaria, giving this 5.6% ABV IPA a “candy-like sweetness on the aroma, with a distinct piney character on the palate”. Finishing moderately bitter, you can find this one right at the source and at their shop on Torbay Road. And coming tomorrow is their latest foray into Gluten-free beer, Coffee Brown. As the name implies, this 6.5% ABV Brown Ale features an addition of coffee, thanks to their neighbours at Trinity Coffee Company. A touch of malt sweetness and a light mouthfeel meld with the strong coffee aroma and flavour to round out the brew. The Retail Shop kegs will be tapped at noon tomorrow, and with the GF pilot system less than 100 litre capacity, it won’t last long, so be sure to drop by early to avoid disappointment.

We may be in the depths of winter, but the gang at Good Robot in Halifax is on a mission to bring some tropical and sunny times our way through February, beginning with a couple of new beers on the go. First up, from brewer and yeast wrangler Gio comes Boom, a “conch style Bahamian lager” at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. Gio wanted to make a beer that reflected his two homes, the Bahamas and Canada, and wisely chose to do so through beer. Starting with a crisp lager base reminiscent of Kalik or Sands, he added lime juice and evergreen needles to take it to another level. Expect an easy-drinking beer that still boasts an unexpected kick. And on the Beta system, Kelly was joined with longtime BetaBrew supporters Cindy and Marilyn to put together another beer with inspiration from warmer climes. Inspired by a sauce they’ve been making for years, Island Punch features grilled pineapple, mango and habaneros. No doubt sweet maybe a little smoky, and bringing some heat, this one is 5.4% ABV and 24 IBU and, in accordance with the prophecy as is traditional for BetaBrews, will no doubt be tapped this coming Tuesday afternoon.

Up in St. John’s, where they’re no longer under a state of emergency but are still no doubt digging out from two weeks ago, YellowBelly has leaned into the storm, so to speak, with a beer they’re calling Flurricane 2020. Nominally an IPA, it’s 6.5% ABV, but only 35 IBU, so maybe more of a Pale Ale? No doubt about it, though, this one contains some hops, namely Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic, largely added as late and dry hop additions. Paired with a sturdy malt backbone, the result is a balanced beer with plenty of hop character and a lingering bitter finish. Look for this one on tap at their downtown location and with bottles to go hopefully available by the time you read this; and it will no doubt feature into the Crafternoon for Australia event you can read about below.

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has been making their biggest beer, a barleywine they call Ol’ Fog Burner, almost every year for a decade now. This year marks the first time, however, that they’ve produced a batch on their “new” system rather than their old plant in the Seaport Taproom. Owing to that difference in production, there’s been a small change in recipe, with some crystal and roasted malt joining 2-Row Maritime Pale Ale malt for the first time. There’s nothing new about the ABV though, it’s still a big bastard at 10.5% ABV or the bitterness, at 70 IBU. Bold spicy and fruity hop flavors from American varieties Columbus and Citra balance warm brandy-like toffee flavors for a very smooth experience with a long-lasting and warming finish. Look for this one to go in the classic 650 mL bombers (maybe plan to share one with a friend) at the brewery and the Oxford Taproom, and possibly other places you go for your Garrison fix.

In the town of Sussex, NB, just about halfway between Moncton and Saint John, there’s been a bit of a hum generated as local folks played up the idea of (ex-)British Royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle maybe choosing the town home base in Canada. After all, they are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are they not? The tongue-in-cheek “movement” now has a liquid manifestation as in-town brewery Sussex Ale Works has put together a beer they’re calling The Duke in honor of its namesake. Featuring a grist of Maris Otter, Vienna, 2-row, and crystal malts along with a bit of roasted barley, all paired with Saaz hops, this red ale is 7% ABV and 30 IBU. To try it you’ll have to head down to Sussex and check out the awesome tap handle they’ve got for pouring it. While you’re there you can also check out their other new beer, Hindsight 2020, a Golden Pale Ale with 2-row and amber malts and Chinook and Cascade hops. Sounding like a bit of a melding of British malts and American hops, it’s 6.2% ABV and 40 IBU.

Coming out of Tatamagouche this weekend is a brand new release featuring the hottest thing going (literally) yeast-wise, but with a cool (also literally) approach. Kveik yeast is known for its ability to ferment relatively cleanly even at temperatures that would make other beer strains produce things you absolutely wouldn’t want in your beer or your mouth. But what happens if you treat Kveik differently and, say, ferment it much colder than all the cool kids have been doing? Tatamagouche Brewing decided to find out! Cripple Kveik used the Halvorsgard strain, which comes from Ål, quite a ways from the epicenters of farmhouse brewing in Norway. Interestingly, it’s not actually called Kveik there, but “Gong,” which means Tata missed a great opportunity to name this beer Gong Show (but we’ll take a reference to The Band any day!) Cold-fermented at 9°C before being bumped up briefly for a rest at 14°C, it was then lagered for four weeks. With all local malt from Horton Ridge and Willamette and Chinook hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, it’s also a very locally-focused brew. Coming in at 4.7% ABV, it’s described as, “clean and crisp, with nice fruit-forward hop character [and] mango aromas.”

We’ve got some good news for you if you’ve been waiting for a new, funky, bottled release from Propeller Brewing, as their latest is just hitting shelves today. Brett Porter is described by the brewery in three words: “Rustic. Roasted. Stubborn”. Brewed in the style of your typical English Porter, it was initially fermented with a British Ale strain; the beer was then transferred to barrels for a secondary fermentation (and 9 month aging period) with Brettanomyces claussenii. Packaged in 750 mL bottles, the final 6.4% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has “layers of rich, roasted malt” with earthy, fruity, and funky characteristics thanks to the Brett. Bottles likely won’t last long, so be sure to pick yours up at either Prop shop sometime over the weekend. 

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a release from Stillwell Brewing, no doubt owing a little bit to the craziness of cranes and pub openings and such, but also because you can’t rush beer like this, dammit! However, out this weekend is the latest iteration of their Gosh. Starting life amongst the brewery’s first releases, this was originally a red wine barrel-aged farmhouse dry hopped with Mosaic. When it came out several months later, v2 of this one was a blend of several barrels also hit hard with the hops. This time we had to wait a year and a half for v3, but we’re sure it’s worth it. Originally brewed over a year ago, it sat patiently in barrels getting tasty until September when it was dry hopped and bottled. Since then it’s been resting, waiting for the day when CPR pops a bottle, pours a glass, tastes it, considers it, and utters the fateful words, “It is ready.” Or at least that’s the way it happens in our beer dreams. (You know you have beer dreams too.) Anyways, the time is now. Go get some from their Barrington Street location, open today at noon.

What’s on the go this weekend? Here ya go!

Continuing with their trend of mini-tap-takeovers this month, Stillwell on Barrington will surely be making local cider fans happy tomorrow as they put 5 ciders on tap and serve 4 more by the glass from Guelph’s Revel Cider. Although we definitely believe that the cideries of Atlantic Canada are putting out delicious and innovative products, just as with recent beer events featuring top out-of-region producers, we think Revel’s small batch concoctions deserve your interest. Leaning towards the funky, the sour, the herbal and the unusual, there’s some definite delights to look forward to.

On draught:

  • Time & Place – Farmhouse Cider
  • Ostara Yarrow – Cider with Golden Plums and Yarrow Flower
  • Ostara Elderflower – Cider with Golden Plums and Elderflower
  • Cursive – Blend of perry on Riesling skins, cider on blueberries, and Maréchal Foch
  • Sonata – Cider with Montmorency cherries

And by the glass:

  • Soma – Pétillant Naturel apple wine
  • Petrol – Single barrel funky perry
  • Mirabelle – Cider with lemon verbena and strawberries
  • Revdock – A collaboration beer-cider hybrid with Burdock: tannic apple cider blended with an ale fermented on a sourdough culture with corn and spelt

No doubt Chef Joe Martin will have the tasty food coming out of the kitchen to pair with these, and, being a mini-takeover, there’s sure to be beer taps pouring if cider isn’t your bag (but seriously, try these ciders anyway).

Grey Rock Casino, located in Edmundston, NB, is holding a Beer Fest this Saturday, featuring a handful of breweries from New Brunswick, as well as one visiting from Quebec. On hand with be hometown brewery Petit-Sault, as well as Big Axe, Brasseux d’la Cote, Four Rivers, Grimross, SCOW Cider, and Le Caveau from Trois-Pistoles, QC. This event is a fundraising event for the local food bank, Atelier RADO, who will be receiving all of the profits. Tickets are available here, and also get you into the Izzy Ouellet concert after the beer fest is done.

Not to be outdone by their OG location in Charlottetown*, HopYard Halifax is doing their second annual Battle of the Breweries event over the course of the next couple months as a regular Thursday night thing. Fifteen Nova Scotia breweries have been invited to the dance, with three competing each time with three beers each. The opening round will take place each week from February 6th to March 12th with the winning brewery (the one who sells the most pints) moving on to the semi final round. What’s that you say? There’s 6 Thursdays there and only 15 breweries? That’s because there’s going to be a Cider battle on February 20th to change things up a little! With five winners moving forward, they’ll need a sixth for the semis, so the best of the second place finishers in the first round will also move on. We suspect you’ll see the two semis on March 19th and March 26th with the finals on April 2nd, but we’ll be sure to let you know if we find out that changes. It will surely be interesting to see how breweries play this one. Do they bring their usual retail sellers? Introduce new beers? Or debut something that’s been developing for some time? For now, we invite you to check out the upcoming first round battles below and make a plan to support your favorite breweries in this series. 

* The Battle of PEI Breweries continues the next three Thursdays with the Semi Finals and Finals on Feb 6, 13, and culminating on the 20th.

YellowBelly is holding a fundraising beer fest of their own next weekend, February 8th. The Crafternoon for Australia runs from 2 – 5 PM at the Brewery on Water Street. While Snowmageddon 2020 shut down the city temporarily, the fires, and now flooding in Australia are making life unbearable for thousands in the country. All profits from tickets sales will be going toward Australian Red Cross and WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organization. With plenty of new releases and old favourites from Baccalieu Trail, Boomstick, Dildo Brewing, Iron Rock, Landwash, Ninepenny, Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Rough Waters, Split Rock, in addition to host YellowBelly’s beers, there are plenty of choices to help do some good. Your ticket includes your first four samples, plus admission to the silent auction of many donated items available.

We first mentioned it earlier in the month, but we have some solid details now on the Spring edition of the Certified Cicerone Exam happening in Halifax. On May 6th, at the Stillwell Freehouse, you will be tested on your knowledge of beer storage and serving, beer styles, and off-flavours. Grab your seat at the table here, and best of luck to everyone! Let us know if you need a drinking partner to help “study”.

New beer on the taps from Hampton’s own Gridiron Brewing. Blind Date Brown is a 5.1% ABV Brown Ale made with 2-Row Barley from Island Malt House, and bumped up in colour and character with Biscuit and Amber malts. Not stopping there, however, they also added dates to the brew for the full experience. Available on tap at the brewery for growler fills now. Join them in celebrating those going on Blind Dates everywhere this weekend with a toast (in fact, that’s how the owners first met)!

Just a couple more things before we let you go this week…

In case we haven’t completely filled up your weekly Beer Reading Time, let us suggest another local beer blog that’s worth your time. Especially for those looking to do that exam in May… Malty Media is written by Evan Fougere, Certified Cicerone, beer educator, and all around good guy, as a way to share information on the ingredients that go into, processes that make it taste great, and the people who make that happen. The latest post is with John Webster of Shoreline Malting, located just outside of Summerside PEI. Give it a read, and follow along with MM’s posts and announcements of classes and events through social media.

We didn’t hear about it in time for last week’s post and it already took place last night, but a big congratulations from us to North Brewing on their SEVENTH anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years, and we don’t think we’ve seen any other brewery in the region go through so many changes in that timeframe, from their original little location at North and Agricola (under a different name), to the opening of Battery Park, to their big move to Portland Street and all the various beers they’ve given us in that time. It’s certainly been an odyssey and we’ve been lucky to be able to watch them grow and develop. We share the sentiments of those who toasted them yesterday on social media: “Good Beer made by Good People.”

Quidi Vidi Brewing is looking to hire a Brewer to join their fold, as they ramp up production for a busy spring and summer season ahead of them. Find out all of the details on their job posting. And stayed tuned here next week for the details of the Newfermenters X QV collaboration beers hitting the shelves!

Tidehouse doesn’t have a new beer this week (although they’re promising something “gorgeous” for next week), but there is some news coming out of their Tiny Tasting Room: CANS! They’ve got themselves a single-head canner and will have their first cans available next week. With any luck this will improve on the drudgery and inconvenience of bottling at least a little.

Fredericton’s Trailway  has brought back one of their fruitiest concoctions, Starblast. Sure, it’s got a smattering of El Dorado hops, but what it’s really got is tons of Peach and Raspberry puree and some orange zest as well. “Radler-esque” but still very much beer, it comes in at 5% ABV. In cans and on tap at the brewery.