Howdy folks, we’re running a little behind today, and for that we’re putting the blame firmly on the breweries in Atlantic Canada who can’t seem to help themselves with the beer releases and the birthday parties and the hey hey. The bad news is there’s almost four thousand words below this paragraph. The good news for you is that they’re all about beer (and mead). So read on for all the latest and whet your appetite for the weekend to come.

It’s been three years since Halifax’s 2 Crows opened their doors; we’ve seen one hell of a lot of beer releases since then. They haven’t let up one bit in terms of beer quality or originality, as they continue to push the envelope and strive to constantly improve.
Now that that’s out of the way, can we go back to complaining a bit? Great! Their big Anniversary party is tomorrow, which, if you have been following them in any way since they turned one, you’ll know means lots of new beer. Which in turn means lots of typing on our part, so you can kinda excuse our slight bitching. But hey, we gotta admit it all sounds awesome! So, five beers (four new, and one returning, tweaked, favourite) launching at the brewery tomorrow, two of them in cans, and three bottled. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Brettango – Not a new beer, but an exciting one to see return, Brettango is a 7.9% ABV Mango Brett IPA that was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation (a blend of six Brettanomyces yeast strains) and features an addition of a “stupid amount” of mango puree. With even more hops than before (Citra in the hop back, along with Hallertau Blanc and Belma, and two dry-hop additions of more Citra), the mango addition has been increased as well, so you can bet that the tropical, juicy goodness is off the charts. Limited cans available.
Deux II – Brewed in collaboration with Maine’s Orono Brewing Company at 2 Crows, Deux II (4.9% ABV) started as a golden sour base beer aged in one of the brewery’s foedres with a blend of multiple house cultures. After aging for several months, 500 kilos of whole Nova Scotia cherries from Stirling Fruit Farms were added and allowed to work their magic for an additional eight weeks. The beer was finally packaged in cans, where it underwent natural carbonation before being ready for your eager hands/mouths/bellies. Lots of cherry character in this one, along with some Jolly Rancher notes, and “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms, and just the right amount of fruity funk”.Hayward – Diving into the bottled releases, Hayward (5.4% ABV) is a peach brandy barrel-aged sour with kiwi. This sour was conditioned on 90 kg of fresh kiwi, giving a tart, bright beer that has dried peach character from the barrel, and lots of kiwi from the fruit addition.
Express – This barrel-aged beer is a blend of different golden sours aging in barrels. The resulting beer was then conditioned in the brewery’s blending tank with 80 sliced, fresh pineapples, along with hibiscus from World Tea House, and 4 kg of fresh ginger root. Lots of sourness from the base beer, with “smooth, fruity juiciness and a touch of ginger zing”, it comes in at 5.4% ABV.
Megadregs – The final Anniversary release is a big one… “big” meaning “helluva long time to be ready”. Beginning life in May 2018 when Halifax hosted the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, the 2 Crows crew welcomed in brewers from across the country to their spot, and plenty of local (Niche, North, Port Rexton, and Tatamagouche Brewing) and beyond (Block Three, Dageraad, Le Prospecteur, and Small Pony, to name just a few) brewers taking them up on their offer. A pale base wort was innoculated with the dregs of bottles that were enjoyed that day, with the beer undergoing primary fermentation in a pair of barrels in their space. The 5.7% ABV beer was allowed to condition for 16 months before packaging in bottles; it was then allowed to condition for another 4 months. It’s showing oak, funk, and a moderate acidity, and is remarkably smooth.
Finally, while this beer may not be an Anniversary-exclusive release, it is by no means any less special. Released earlier this week, Paper Airplanes was brewed with Ashley MacDonald and Seoras Speirs, parents to Jude, who passed away in October at the age of 3 after an intensely-brave battle with cancer. Brewed in Jude’s memory, Paper Airplanes is a Brown Ale brewed with Pale malt, Oat malt, and a mix of other roasted and caramelized malts. Hopped with EKG and Bramling Cross, it was fermented with a “classic” English yeast strain. It’s tasting smooth and roasty, “with some lovely black currant and dark fruit notes”. Proceeds from this beer (available on tap and in cans) will be going to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, NS Chapter. Be sure to pick up a few cans of this one; whenever you drink it, take a moment to reflect on your loved ones and be grateful for them.
Along with all this beer will be some great food (burgers from Stillwell’s Joe Martin), multiple musical acts through the day, 50 free glasses to the first 50 of you who bust through the doors… and did we mention beer? Oh, you skipped that part? Go back and read it then, please don’t make all of that be for nothing. And you know there will be plenty of tiny fun releases as well as throwback faves on the draught and bottle/can list throughout the day, too.
And finally, the tradition of Sour Sunday will continue the day after the big party… because what cures a hangover more than sour beers and more delicious food? Expect past sour favourites, some surprise re-releases and bottles, and Buttered Bliss will be there filling your fried chicken and doughnut needs. Happy Anniversary, Crows! <drops mic>

Speaking of parties, we mentioned earlier this month that PEI’s newest brewery, Lone Oak, is celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow, starting at 4 pm. In addition to plenty of live music, they’ve got several new beer releases up their sleeves. The first, Boat Traffic, was launched yesterday, and the other two will follow today and tomorrow. We’re sure those of you in their area are interested in these beers, so how’s about we scratch your itch? Also, just as a further reminder, cover for the party is $20, which includes all of the live music for the evening, naturally.
Boat Traffic (5% ABV, 27 IBUs) – This Oatmeal Stout was aged in a brand new, locally-made foeder, which has given this roasty, chocolatey beer “undertones of vanilla and coconut” to complement. Full-bodied, it’s the brewery’s first dark beer, and sure to be a winner.
Silver Fox (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) – Launching today, this beer is an Export Lager (think Dortmunder/Helles) brewed in collaboration with Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing (and released in NS today as well). Brewed with all Shoreline malt, and hopped with varieties from Island Hop Co., the details on the final product are in last week’s post, so you can remind yourself of what you’re getting into.
Rumours (4.3% ABV, 22 IBUs) – Releasing tomorrow, this mixed-ferm Saison was hopped with a blend of both European and American hop varieties. It’s tasting “slightly funky, with undertones of citrus”. This is a keg-conditioned batch, meaning that supplies are VERY limited, so you’ll definitely want to be at the party tomorrow to try this one!

Hot off the heels of last night’s celebration of Norwegian Kveik yeast at Battery Park Beer, Big Spruce has announced the availability of a couple of beers that debuted there. Ægir’s Hall is a Winter Warmer coming in at 6.3% ABV and fermented with the Voss Kveik strain of yeast that you may recall was the focus of this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Competition. As a matter of fact, this beer was the winner of that competition, although at the time competition winner Brian Harvey’s name for it was Santa Voss/Kviek Kringle. With Christmas in the rearview mirror and the beer being released at the KveikFest, a name change to something with a connection to Norse mythology must have seemed apropos. Ægir was a jötunn (Giant and/or Troll; Norse mythology is confusing) closely associated with the sea and friend of the gods. He was also a brewer who possessed a beer kettle a mile wide that was acquired from fellow jötunn Hymir thanks to Thor and Týr. Mr. Harvey’s kettle is not a mile wide, but its influence goes much further than that based on the number of competitions he’s won in the last several years. The beer itself is deep red, with aromas of baking spice and a hint of citrus. At 6.3% ABV, it’s not too heavy, and should make a lovely tipple for an evening by the fire sharing tales of glory in battle.
Also on the go this week is Bjørnebær, a beer co-fermented on Brettanomyces and Kviek. We’re told that Bjørnebær is the Norwegian word for “blackberry” and this beer contains hand-picked ones from Big Spruce’s own farmland as well as all-organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm, both of which were cooked down to an “almost jam-like” consistency before being added to the beer. Very dry, tart, and tannic owing both to the cultures that fermented it and the berry skins, it’s also has a deep plum color. Like Ægir’s Hall, this is a draught-only release, so head to the brewery, or better licensees across the province to get your fix.
And lastly from Big Spruce this week, if you were worried that you were going to miss our on the Honza’s Boho Pilsner that they released last week because you aren’t anywhere near the brewery or didn’t see it anywhere on tap, fear not: that beer has been packaged into swank euro-style 330 mL bottles. Full of Saaz hops and imported Continental Pilsner malt for the most authentic experience possible, the only mistake you could make in trying to find this one is to look for it under the name “Honza’s BoHo.” Packaged as Ski Cape Smokey it’s the same beer we told you about last week but celebrating Cape Breton’s venerable ski hill.

If you’re a regular at Good Robot and into sour beers, they’ve got some news to make ya happy – they’re pouring a brand new sour beer there as of earlier this week. Positive Energy (4.8% ABV, 6 IBUs) features an addition of Labrador tea, resulting in a tart beer that “tastes like a slice of sourdough toast with homemade cranberry tartinade”. The tea also helps keep the beer crisp; you may want to drop in and let them know your thoughts! Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Steve Maly Sucks, a 4.2% ABV, 20 IBUs Sweet Stout that was brewed with Roast Barley, Chocolate malt, and Coffee malt. Lactose was, naturally, added to boost the sweetness, but they also threw in some whiskey-soaked oak cubes to try to emulate an addition of coffee with Irish cream. Again, it’s up to you to decide how close they got! Finally, expect to see a new batch of their Chocolate Porter, Bingo Bronson (6% ABV) on tap very soon.

We may be in the darkest depths of winter, but that doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) mean that we can’t be allowed to enjoy a more-summer-y type of beer to give us hope that warmer times will eventually come. Tidehouse is doing just that this week, with a new beer they’re releasing this afternoon at their taproom. Oslo in the Summertime is a 5% ABV beer that was brewed with a blend of Pilsner malt and Flaked oats, along with a little bit of Melanoidin and Vienna malt for good measure. Hopped with two types of Czech Saaz (Saaz Special and Saaz Late) from PEI’s Bines & Vines, the wort was fermented with Oslo Kveik yeast. The final product is exhibiting a “slightly sweet grainy character” with lots of spicy, herbal hop character from the Saaz. Maybe not the usual characteristics you’d expect from a Kveik strain, but this one is a different type of beast! They’re going to have this one on tap for pints and growler fills, as well as in bottles; we recommend stopping in to give it a try!

Moncton’s newest brewery, Tire Shack, has a trio of new beers out today (technically last night, but who’s keeping track? Oh wait, we are!), perfect for the start of your weekend. Sour Bite is a 3.5% ABV Berliner Weisse, a crisp and refreshing take on the style. While this release is fruit-free, look for future releases to contain some fun additions like Pink Guava, Apricot, Kiwi, and Pineapple, coming atcha in the next little while. Also new on the taps on John Street is Roman Road, a 5.5% ABV Italian Pilsner, generously dry-hopped with Tettnanger and Huell Melon to bump up the character of this modern take on the classic style. This release is from their pilot system onsite, so may not last the weekend… The final of this week’s releases is another from the pilot system, a Belgian Dark Strong. At 6.6% ABV, it’s already brimming with dark fruit and malt character, which they bumped up with coconut sugar and molasses, also complementing the spicy phenolics from the Belgian yeast. A further fun step they took was to add Grand Marnier liqueur-soaked oak chips, for a subtle orange finish. Stop in for a flight and/or pint of these as well as their core brews this weekend!

Halifax’s Propeller continues to stand out in the region as a bigger independent brewery that’s not afraid to take chances and innovate; and for the second time in the last few months, the innovation is on the packaging side (remember those 360 End cans for the DDH IPA?). Although they’re not the first to do it (we’ll give a nod to 2 Crows on that), they’re certainly on the leading edge this week by putting the latest release of their seasonal Mocha Oatmeal Stout in cans with nitrogen. A bit of a nightmare logistically due to the requirement to reconfigure the canning line for it, the hope is that local drinkers will appreciate the additional creamy texture that only those tiny little bubbles can provide. Remember that you want to get it vertical as soon as you can after popping the top, so have (an appropriately-sized) glass at the ready! You can also try this “dark and decadent” 5.5% ABV beer featuring coffee from local roaster Java Blend in a sans nitro version at the brewery for growler fills and the taproom for pints. And for those who like to hit their Gottingen Street location on a Friday afternoon and/or evening, the cask this week will be their Porter with cold brew coffee, which you’ll be able to pair with Pilsner Pulled “Pork” taquitos from their up-the-street neighbours, vegan butchery Real Fake Meats.

The fine folks at Port Rexton Brewing have decided to hold themselves a home brew competition and we think folks in Nova Scotia might recognize the format. Similar to the Black Box Challenge competition run by Boxing Rock out of Shelburne, NS, Port Rexton’s first Mystery Homebrew Challenge will see entrants pay an entry fee and collect a “brewer’s pantry” of ingredients from the brewery. Then, working solely with the grains, hops and yeast provided (and, no doubt, water from an allowed source), they’ll each develop a recipe that will hopefully wow the judges. Only 25 entries will be permitted and placement is first come, first served based on e-transfer of the $55 entry fee. Ingredient pickup will be the weekend of February 6th – 8th at the brewery, so if you’re interested in entering, make sure you can get there on one of those days to do so! Competition entries will be accepted March 19th to 21st, with the winner announced on March 28th. Official rules, entries and more information can be obtained by emailing alicia@portrextonbrewing.com. Good luck to those who decide to enter this one; it’s a great format that definitely challenges brewers to differentiate their beer from the rest of the entries!

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a returning favourite coming out this week; Ethos is a Brett Saison at 6.2% ABV. This is the beer that goes into the barrels and come out as Evolution, so if you’ve enjoyed that one, it might be fun to compare and contrast. Lemony, dry and funky, look for it at Niche tap accounts.

We know you’ve been eagerly waiting to hear it, or is it just us?, but the 902 BrewCast have finally released their latest episode this morning. This is January’s Tasting Episode, where they pop open a few cans from around the region, and let us know their plans for the year. Listen to it on your commute home!

We’ve got a couple of beer-focused events coming up this weekend and then one of Halifax’s big ones coming up in just a couple of weeks:

If all this beer talk has you craving something sweeter, we’re happy to tell you that there’s a yuge mead tasting event going on in Fredericton tomorrow, January 25th, hosted by the city’s favourite meadery, Sunset Heights. Held at the Crowne Plaza downtown, this Barrel Release Party will feature a minimum of 15 different meads and/or cocktails “blended with other local craft alcohols”, paired over several hours with six (6!) different food courses. This private event begins at 6:45 pm; if you’re into mead, we can’t think of a better way for you to thumb your nose at Dry January. Check out the entire menu here. Tickets are still available; they’re $99 each and can be purchased online

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock will be heading up the coast tomorrow for a tap takeover in Bridgewater at the King Street Beer Co. Starting at 2 PM and going until 8 PM they’ve got lots more planned than just having their beer available thanks to their Beer Sommelier, Sheila. From 2 – 3 PM will be Craft Beer 101, 3 – 4PM Sensory Analysis and Blind Tasting, 4 – 5 PM Beer & Food Pairings, and 5 – 7 PM Beer Tastings. We’re guessing the last hour is mostly having a beer and decompressing from all that learning! Look for a full line-up of Boxing Rock beers available on tap as well. More information can be sought on the Fb Event page.

Tickets for February 8th’s Craft Beer Cottage Party are now on sale! Part of the Savour Food and Wine Festival, the CBCP is a celebration of beer in a cold month that can get you jamming and thinking about summer. Known for the fanciest plaid shirts and trucker hats, breweries taking part in the event compete the show off their design skills at their booth, and those pouring will certainly get into the spirit as well. The list of breweries and cideries pouring is: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s Historic NS Brewery, Annapolis Brewing Co, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar (pouring some special releases), Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Garrison Brewing Co., Heritage Brewing, Pumphouse (repped by Innovative Brands), Lunn’s Mill, Nine Locks Brewery, Off Track, Propeller Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing, Route 19, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipwright Brewing Co., Shipbuilders/Petite Riviere, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tanner & Co Brewing, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., The Church Brewing Co., Trider’s Craft Beer, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s. Phew, that’s a lot! And we’re going to be holding a fun little contest to get you excited, and get a couple of tickets in your hand. Snap a picture of a beer or cider from the breweries or cideries above, post it to Twitter or Instagram, tag the producer, us (@ACBeerBlog) and Savour Food & Wine (@savourfw), we’ll do a draw for 2 tickets to the show next Thursday, Jan 30, at 11:59PM, and announce it on next week’s blog. Good luck to everyone, and get drinking!

We’re well into the meat of the winter season now in Atlantic Canada, with it colder than a polar bear’s claws through most of the region and a “bomb cyclone” (sounds menacing!) descending on St. John’s. The good news is that our region’s beer and cider producers are still hard at work ensuring that you’ve got a spectrum of new and familiar potables to get you through, ranging from fireside sippers to reminders of summer. So have a read and make a plan to both stock your fridge for the coming weekend and check out some of the cool beer happenings that are coming this weekend and beyond.

If you’re still on a hazy-and-hoppy kick, Garrison Brewing is keeping up with your needs (well, your beer needs, anyway) with the recent release of No. 1 Squeeze IPA. This NEIPA was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Oat malts, and hopped heavily with Mosaic, Azacca and Comet (to the tune of 40 IBUs). The result is a beer jam-packed with aromas and flavours of apricot, tangerine and passion fruit, “with a smooth and restrained citrusy finish”. Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this batch will only be available on tap, exclusively at both Garrison locations in Halifax. 

In ciderland, Halifax’s Chain Yard has just released something new at their taproom – Rubintette is a small batch, single apple variety cider. Featuring the Rubinette apple (apparently a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin), the batch was slow-fermented, giving it a “vinous and woody character, with summer fruit flavours”. Pretty hefty at 8% ABV, drop by sometime this weekend for a taste, as it likely won’t be around for very long. And they’ll be hosting a Nova Scotia Snakebite Competition mid-February, in a celebration of the cider-beer blend popular in the UK. Check that link for details on the participating partners.

As we’ve mentioned once or twice over the last couple years, the rural community Hanwell, NB, is the home of Niche Brewing and thus carries a pretty weighty rating if you’re measuring fine beers per-capita; and we suspect this week’s release will only improve that ratio. Speed of Life isn’t a first for Niche; it’s not their first session IPA and certainly isn’t their first beer named for a David Bowie tune. What it definitely is, though, is hazy and juicy, the former owing to hefty amounts of flaked wheat and oats along with some chit malt in the grist, and the latter thanks to plenty of Amarillo and Ekuanot in the kettle and more of the same along with Galaxy at dry hop. Medium-low in bitterness, you can expect plenty of stone fruit and citrus character in a beer that you’ll likely wish you were enjoying on a hot summer day. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine while you drink your pint, though, as it almost certainly won’t be around that long (this batch, anyway). Look for it to appear first at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle, Sussex Ale Works and the Laundromat. And there are still a few bottles of their Evolution available at ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, but they certainly won’t be around for much longer.

Brand new barrel-aged beer in their Weird Beer series coming at you from Tatamagouche Brewing this week! Ceres is a 4.2% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with a 60/40 blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt. After being kettle-soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria, the wort was fermented in stainless with an American Ale yeast strain, and Brettanomyces in the form of Berliner Brett from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, the beer was moved to barrels for aging, and was then blended and refermented on yellow plums from Malagash Cidery. Aged on elderflower for a couple of days before packaging in 500 mL bottles, it’s finally ready! Pouring a hazy, goldenrod colour, it has aromas and flavours of “tart lemon meringue pie”. Accompanying on the nose is “yeast, black tea, and lychee”, as well as “underripe yellow plum, wheat cereal and white pepper” on the palate. Sounds pretty complex to us! The best way to truly experience this beer is, of course, to snag some yourself. How, you may ask? Well, you can find bottles directly at the source (read: Tatabrew), or they can ship them to you via their online store; Ceres should also pop up on the shelves of Bishop’s Cellar sometime in the near future. 

Even more news in the world of hops (does it ever end?) with Tidehouse, who is releasing a new bottled beer today that puts the “Imperial” in Imperial IPA. Big Yacht Money is a 10.5% ABV “DDH Milkshake Triple IPA”. Hopped with very heavy amounts of Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado, lactose was also used in the boil to give that touch of sweetness that goes with Milkshake IPAs. This style of beer is usually fruited as well, and this particular brew was fruited to the extreme, with mango, strawberry, and orange zest, accompanied by an addition of vanilla. As you may imagine, the final result is juicy and boozy, with the fruit quite prominent and complemented with notes of vanilla. Bottles likely won’t last long, so may be a good idea to drop by the brewery today to start your weekend off right.

It’s always nice to see local breweries taking on classic beer styles that are exhibiting a sort of resurgence, and lately, Lagers are gradually coming back. Big Spruce just kegged and tapped Honza’s Boho, their take on the classic Bohemian Pilsner (aka Czech Pilsner). They apparently worked closely with a brewery from the Czech Republic to ensure that they were treating this style with the utmost respect, and brewing it as authentically as possible. With a grist made up almost-entirely of imported Pils malt from continental Europe (a bit of Carapils was thrown in, as well), and hopped with Saaz, it was fermented with the Urquell yeast (that refers to one of the classic examples of the style, not Family Matters) (or even better, this!) from Escarpment Labs. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, and if you’re curious as to how it’s tasting, you can try it at the brewery, or at one of your favourite BS accounts. And check our Events listing below for more info on new beers from them debuting next week…

Not to be outdone, Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has launched a Bohemian Pilsner of their own (after all, they’ve been expanding with the purchase of new tanks, so why not brew some new beer?). Their beer is named Flora, and was brewed with PEI-grown floor malt and Saaz hops, before lagering for five weeks. Now that it’s been packaged (cans and kegs), this crisp, 5% ABV beer is available and pouring bright and crystal-clear. You won’t be able to try it until tomorrow when the brewery officially reveals it at a launch party, UNLESS you were lucky enough to be at last night’s edition of HopYard’s Battle of the Breweries, where Copper Bottom took on Moth Lane). If not, it’s off to Montague with ya!

Apparently, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing has had many requests for a “red beer” to be available at their taproom. They’ve finally given in, but it may not be quite the style of beer that most were expecting, but it sounds plenty tasty, nonetheless! Red Beer is a “Red Table Saison” brewed mostly with Red X blended malts, along with a bit of Munich, Wheat malt, and kilned Amber malt. Fermented with a Saison strain, the beer is showing some slight malty/bready character in the aroma, along with some dried fruit. Finishing crisp and dry, this 4.7% ABV brew is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, but it’s got a lot more going on than a lot of your American Amber Ales that some may have been expecting. Currently pouring on tap in Corner Brook!

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new beer come out of Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax. But that itself is nothing new; would you believe they’ve released “only” about 30 beers since they opened in mid-2015? That’s exactly the way NASH said it would be, of course, and he’s managed to stick to it and, near as we can tell, still sell plenty of beer. So if you’re the type to get excited about a new beer release from Unfiltered, you may do so, with Edgy hitting the taps for the first time today. The sixth beer (we think, but we never claimed to be good at math) in NASH’s inimitable SMaSH DIPA series, this one features Centennial hops in great quantity for plenty of citrus and herbal character in the tried and true 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU format. Pints, fills, and cans available at noon.

In the “beer coming soon” category, and plenty soon at that, is an intra-provincial, cross-bridge collaboration between Nova Scotia’s Spindrift Brewing and PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing. A solid friendship between the two Head Brewers was formed as they both spent time brewing for Gahan Brewing, and the bon ami continues now that they are at the helms elsewhere. Silver Fox is a 5.5% ABV Export Lager, featuring uniquely PEI-sourced ingredients. Shoreline Malting near Summerside provided the Pilsner and Munich Malts, with Island Hop Company supplied the Ultra hops (a descendant of the very-Noble Hallertau and Saaz varietals). Bready malt notes, zesty and floral components from the hops (aided by a hard water profile to accentuate), along with a crisp finish thanks to the two months of lagering, which also allowed it to be unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for Silver Fox to debut at both Spindrift and Lone Oak next week, just ahead of LO’s Grand Opening on the 25th.

And in more collaboration news with Spindrift, they brewed with another island brewery, from a different island, Newfoundand’s Dildo Brewing Company. Coming to both the NSLC and NLC at the end of the month is Altbier, a 5.3% ABV ode to the classic German style, which saw the wort first fermented cool with a German Ale yeast, and further lagered for a month before canning. All German ingredients, from Munich, Caramel Munich and Carafa malts, and hopped generously with Hallertau Mittelfruh for a “spicy, herbal hop character”. The official release will be at both breweries on Friday, January 31st, with the beers at the provincial liquor stores in the future.

Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has a new beer on tap these days, their first foray into the farmhouse/Saison side of things. The Old Mill is 6.2% ABV Saison, and is available for pints and growlers in their taproom now, as well as at Horton Ridge Malt’s taproom for pints as well. This is their first, but by no means last, look at the style, so stay tuned for more iterations as they play in this wheelhouse. And keep an eye out for several other new styles in the coming weeks and months, including an Extra Special Bitter and a Berliner Weisse with cranberries. One or both of those may be out in time for their Cask versus Keg night on Friday, February 24th, comparing a cask of their Double Dry Hopped Rye IPA (aka Keep it on the Rails) to their W & A Railway Rye IPA on draught. Lots of fun and education on the go that evening, and all winter! Keep an eye on the latest news on their Social Media (Fb/IG/Tw).

Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville had a major release this week, with seven new ciders dropping yesterday. Their 2018 Pet Nat cider is a low intervention and naturally carbonated cider over a year in the making. They also released six new entries in their Forager Small Batch Series, with Barrel-Aged Applewood Smoked Crabapple, Barrel-Aged Partridgeberry Perry, Orchard and Vine, Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry, Newfoundland Honey Mead, and New England Style on Blueberry Skins. All of these, as well as their Scrumpy are available at the Cider Shop at 24 Balbo Drive in Shoal Harbour, as well as at the Howley Estates NLC in St. John’s.

Big congratulations to Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur who are celebrating their first year of operation today. And whaddya know, they got *us* a present! Loup de Mer Dry Stout is 4.2% ABV, and features a smooth body, dry finish, and plenty of dark chocolate and coffee character. Look for bottles on the shelves of your local ANBL from Bathurst to Moncton, including in MH-B’s own Acadian Peninsula. Details here!

And just making it under the wire this week (because when have we ever been able to say “no” to anyone?) is Propeller, with today’s release of their latest beer, Sweet Orange Sour. Luckily, the name gives you a pretty solid idea of exactly what to expect – it’s a kettle-soured beer that was hit with lots of lots of citrus zest, lending a mixture of sweet and tangy flavours to go with the assertive tartness. Orange and tangerine notes abound in a 4.8% ABV brew that finishes dry. On tap only, at both Prop locations. And for tonight’s cask, their delicious Galaxy IPA, with clementine zest, vanilla, and lactose.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

If you’re a craft beer fan in the Northeast New Brunswick area and don’t find yourself getting down to the Moncton region very often, you’re in luck: Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (that’s “CAV-Oh-Kay” for those unfamiliar with aviation terms) will be in Bathurst for a tap takeover tomorrow at Au Bootlegger. Starting at 6 PM there will be at least 10 taps of CAVOK’s finest pouring; full details are available on the Fb event page, with the confirmed taps as follows:

  • Petitcoudiac Rye IPA 6.0% 60 IBU
  • Leger Corner Honey Ale 4.8% 25 IBU
  • Foxtrot 33 (Oatmeal Stout) 5.0% 33 IBU
  • Runway 11 Lager 4.3% 13 IBU
  • East Coast Pirates IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
  • YQM Pilsner 4.3% 29IBU
  • Soleil d’Été NEPA 4.5% 15 IBU
  • Echo Saison 6.0% 17 IBU
  • Apricot Belgian Stout 4.1% 23 IBU
  • Terre Rouge (Red Ale) 4.8% 24 IBU

You can check out this post for more details on each of those beers, and be forewarned that there’s been rumours of a “secret surprise beer” as well.

For the second weekend in a row, Stillwell is hitting us with a mini-event on a Saturday without much notice or fanfare even though they’re bringing some of Toronto’s finest beer – last week it was Burdock Brewery, this week it’s Bellwoods. Those who are already familiar will almost certainly head down, and those who do not know, but enjoy really good beer, would do well to join them. Though not a full tap takeover, some of the best of what Bellwoods has to offer across sour, saison, farmhouse and hoppy styles is on offer, to wit:

  • Jelly King (Dry Hopped Sour 5.6%)
  • Raspberry Jelly King (Fruited Sour Ale 5.6%)
  • Justu (Pale Ale 5.6%)
  • Roman Candle (American IPA 6.8%)
  • Farmageddon w/ Niagara Montmorency Cherries (Fruited Barrel Aged Wild Farmhouse Ale 6.3%)
  • White Picket Fence [Peach] (Blended Foedre Saison Conditioned on Peaches 5.7%)
  • White Picket Fence OG (Blended Foedre Saison 6.1%)

As always on Saturdays, doors open at noon tomorrow and the taps will commence pouring (these are all kegged beers), with the usual lovely food coming out of the kitchen as well. So head on down and get another taste of the Big Smoke without having to actually besmirch yourself by going there.

Everwood Ave Brewshop is bringing back their EverBrews Home Brewers Club this month, with their meeting next Tuesday, January 21st. Starting at 6:30PM at their store at 731 Old Sackville Road, the evening will feature social and guided tastings, club business, presentations, and a general Q&A on what form the club will take. Everyone interested in the homebrewing hobby is welcome to attend, whether you currently partake or not. 

Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be host to a Norweigian Invasion next Thursday, January 23rd, as three Nova Scotian breweries will be showing off their favourite Kviek beers for the day. Big Spruce, North Brewing, and Tatamagouche will each bring three (or more) brews fermented with the hottest thing to escape Norway since Darkthrone and Cadaver. Look for hazy pale ales/IPAs, the winner of Big Spruce’s Homebrew Challenge Winter Warmer, Nordic Tea Saison, a co-fermented Lager, and at least one barrel-aged behemoth. The pour party kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day, so be sure to drop by to taste the latest releases from these beauties!

Halifax’s Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House is hosting a Battle of the Brews Thursday evening, pitting Garrison and Spindrift against each other to pick the perfect beer to complement a six course tasting menu. Tickets are best reserved via phone or email for the event that kicks off at 6 PM on January 23rd. Grab them here: 902-428-7852 or harbourstone@marriott.com

Details are still very loose right now, but we see that there will be a Certified Cicerone exam being held in Halifax in April May Spring. The exact date has not been finalized, but if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up on the Cicerone website, sign up that you are interested, and pass the Certified Beer Server Exam.

And here be your last few mentions before we leave you to your weekend:

Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, Paint it Black, Jack, a 6.3% ABV Porter featuring loads of additions of chocolate and orange, natch, for a full on sweet, chocolate, and coffee brew. Grab it on tap this weekend!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has their Full Service Double IPA back on tap for pints and growler fills. After selling out *very* quickly upon first release, they have been able to brew up another batch and quell the demands of the masses. Juicy, hazy, and a solid 7.5% ABV, it certainly packs a hoppy punch. Look for more from Tire Shack in next week’s post, as they promise a trio of new beers out before the end of the month.

And finally, a note that the YellowBelly Brewery Takeaway location on Water St will be closing tomorrow while they search for a new location. Upgrades needed in the kitchen area have them out of commission for a while, which means growler fills and their Skip the Dishes will be paused for the time being. They promise to let us know once they are back in action!

We trust that everybody’s now comfortably back at work after the holidays, rested and refreshed and ready for whatever winter can dole out (residents of Northern NS, Cape Breton and Newfoundland may have already been well-tested on that front, but we trust we’ll all get our share before the season’s over). And a big shout out to all of those doing that whole Dry January thing; you’re now a third of the way to insanity success! For the rest of you, we’ve got plenty of news as always about new breweries, new beers, and all the other news we could gather.

Let’s kick off this week’s news with another opening in our region, New Maritime Beer. After launching their brand with a pair of beers this summer, they are now ready to welcome folks to their taproom at 55 Newcastle Blvd in Miramichi. The taproom is opening Saturday at 1 PM (until 11 or later if the party is still rockin’!), and open daily going forward (except for Mondays). They will be pouring an American Pale Ale, IPA, and Stout, brewed elsewhere while they complete the installation and commision of their brewhouse. The new equipment was manufactured by Saint John’s Copper Leaf Brewing Equipment, an 1800 litre brewhouse, and should be in full force next month. The 90 seat taproom features plenty of cozy touches like a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. While they do not yet have food onsite, you can feel free to bring or order your own in. Keep an eye here, and on their Social Media (Fb/IG) for news of new releases (we’ve already heard tell of Juicy and West Coast IPAs, as well as more Pale Ales, Stouts, and Session IPAs coming down the pipeline once they are fully open).

Sea Level Brewing at Millstone Harvest Brewhouse in Sheffield Mills has a brand new release on the taps (and coming soon to cans) these days. A Light in the Dark is a 4.0% ABV Kolsch Ale, the latest of their beer releases to use barley grown at their farm, and malted at nearby Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Opting for a light-coloured and sessionable beer at a time many seasonals are going dark and heavy, there is still plenty going on in the glass. The beer also features Cascade grown at the farm, complemented by Glacier grown by Fundy Hops. The beer is available now on draught at the Brewhouse (for onsite enjoyment or to go), with growlers, and soon cans, at their Port Williams location as well.

Speaking of Horton Ridge, they have a new beer available this week as well. When you’re a combination malt house/brewery and you’re looking to use up a previous crop of grain, you build a beer around it! That’s exactly what they’ve done with The Ridge Rosé, a Farmhouse-inspired Pale Ale. The grist was made up mostly of Queens Pale Malt, a variety of barley developed in PEI that gives an earthy malt profile, which works well in Farmhouse styles, according to Horton Ridge. Also brewed with a touch of Rye malt, and hopped with Saaz, the goal was to brew a base beer that would provide a good amount of malt character, yet also allow the secondary ingredient to shine through – in this beer, Muscat grape skins from Benjamin Bridge and Luckett Vineyards. After aging on the skins for close to two months, the 5% ABV beer has taken on tart, fruity flavours, as well as a subtle maltiness. It’s pouring on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up some cans to take home.

Last summer, Off Track Brewing released a pilot batch of Boatload of Nerve, an experimental DIPA. Availability was obviously quite limited, and the beer went over very well, so luckily for us they’ve scaled it up and brewed a full batch! Hopped with a blend of El Dorado and Mosaic, this 8% ABV, 95 IBUs DIPA sports “notes of pear and mango, with a slight hint of pine”, as well as a touch of herbal/earthy character. Slightly hazy, it’s only available on tap… however, future batches MAY be bottled if the demand is there. For now, your best bet to find it is at the brewery .

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new release out this week, sure to satisfy the hop lover on your list (in addition to yourself, of course!). The latest in their Hop Trip series, Southern Hemisphere IPA is 6.0% ABV, and while it is 30 IBU on paper, the hops are certainly the star of the show. Using loads of Galaxy, Topaz, and Vic Secret, three Australian-grown hops. Intense aromatics of passion fruit, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple come through thanks to the generous use of hops throughout. The beer is available on draught for samples, pints, and growler fills at their brewery at the Seaport, as well as the Oxford Taproom, with cans available at those locations as well as a few NSLC and private stores. And for the month of January, all sales/donations through Popcorn with a Purpose, a charitable endeavour at the Oxford where popcorn sales are donated, will be going towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Friendly alert for those of you in or around Liverpool NS: local brewery Hell Bay has just released Barrel-Aged Brown Ale, a 9.5% ABV Brown that was aged for six months in Bourbon and rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. Featuring a “rich, brown malt body with distinctive rum flavour”, it’s sure to pack a punch with that high ABV, despite the alcohol character being nicely hidden. Bottles are limited, so don’t wait to pick up a couple, as no doubt they’ll age in your cellar perfectly!

Something new and hoppy fresh out of 2 Crows this week, a 5.4% ABV, 31 IBUs New England IPA named Merida. Hopped very heavily with Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon, and experimental hop Bru-1, you can expect plenty of juiciness in this one, along with “Tang, pineapple, stone fruit, and cantaloupe vibes”. Available on tap and in cans right now at the brewery. And hey, even more good news – while there, why not grab some cans of the latest batch of Waltz, their German Pilsner? This batch was tweaked slightly, as the beer was brewed with 100% PEI grown-and-malted Shoreline Malting Pils malt. They’ve played with the dry-hopping technique as well, making this iteration “extra bright”, with more floral and lemon notes than usual.

Hanging nearby Rothesay, NB this weekend? Pop on over to the Hammond River taproom, where they’ve tapped a brand new experimental beer. Another entry in the brewery’s Dry-Hopped series, Dry Hopped Sour (Sorachi Ace). The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, kettle-soured with HR’s house Lactobacillus strain. This particular batch was dry-hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace from local Moose Mountain Hop Farm, giving the beer plenty of lemon notes in the aroma and flavour, to complement the tartness in the finish. And hey, if you can’t get to Rothesay, you should be able to find it on tap at The Joyce in Fredericton. And at only 3.5% ABV, you can have a couple and not feel too guilty!

If you’re feeling more cidery this weekend (is that a thing? It should be!), Annapolis Cider Company has you covered. They’ve launched the latest in their Something Different series, a sparkling cider and wine blend named Harvest Rosé. Marechal Foch (a hybrid French red wine grape) was locally harvested, with the juice co-fermented with fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. This dry, cider-wine blend was then FURTHER blended with small batch, dry Gravenstein ciders which were prepared by the Annapolis Cider retail staff, fermented using four different yeast strains. Still following along ok? Great! Finally, fresh-pressed Geneva Crab apple juice, a “red-fleshed apple variety”, was added to finish it all off. The result? An “elegant, off-dry rosé cider with bright acidity, and notes of red berries and fresh apples”. It comes in at 7.2% ABV, and $0.50 from each refillable bottle purchases will go towards Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing isn’t slowing down one bit as we’ve moved into 2020, and they’ve got two new beers pouring at their taproom to prove it. The first is Captain’s Orders Hopfenweizen, their take on the hoppy Hefeweizen style. Brewed with a 50/50 blend of German Pale and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Magnum and Hallertau Blanc in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Fermented with a Weizen strain, the 6.5% ABV beer was then lightly dry-hopped with Amarillo. It’s showing classic Weizen aromas of banana and clove, along with some citrus thanks to the dry-hop addition. Medium-bodied and refreshing, it’s a great reminder of why this style shouldn’t only be brewed during warmer seasons! The next brew is Cross Island Common, a “modern take” on the California Common style. The malt bill includes Munich, Vienna, English Cara and Flaked Barley, with Perle hops going in the boil (to the tune of 30 IBUs). Dry-hopped with Eureka, the 5.5% ABV brew is exhibiting “herbaceous, hop-forward aromatics, with a candied orange undertone that leads to a palate of red berry fruits and toffee”. Finishing bitter and crisp, it joins the several other beers currently on tap at Shipwright. 

And in more Lunenburg brewery news, Saltbox Brewing will be opening a taproom and pilot brewery in the town this summer, under the moniker Lightship Beer and Cider. Located at 93 Tannery Road, the brewery and taproom will have an unobstructed view of Lunenburg Harbour from its place on the point. While the building design is still being finalized, we can tell you that it will feature indoor seating for 50 people, and a large deck with space for four times that number. A 2 BBL (230 litre) pilot brewhouse will be onsite, focusing on traditional German and other European styles, as an ode to the countries of origin of the early settlers in the region. In addition to those, a complement of beer from Saltbox’s main brewery in Mahone Bay will also be available on tap. The brewery space will also house some foeders which are perfect for long-term aging of some special brews. While the details of the kitchen and food offerings are still being ironed out, there will certainly be tasty offerings to pair with the beers pouring. We’ll keep you up to date on Lightship’s progress over the next months, and you can sign up to learn more on their website.

And in “a brewery we haven’t spoken about in a little while” news, we have some updates for you thirsty New Brunswickers looking for more beer (and info) regarding Valonray Brewing in the Shediac River area. Just over a year ago, they switched focus from clean European- (mostly Belgian-) inspired beers to those with mixed cultures and taking much longer to produce, and therefore their regular debuts stopped. The first of that line was Rouge Provision, a 5.0% ABV light-coloured beer first fermented with a clean ale yeast strain (familiar friend US-05), but underwent a secondary (and tertiary, etc, etc) ferm with a pitch of both Escarpment Labs’ Belgian sour blend, as well as a house culture of other Brett and Lacto strains built up onsite. The beer spent twelve months in a second-use Bourbon American Oak barrel, and then 6 months conditioning in the bottle. Available exclusively at the Picaroons shops in Fredericton and Saint John, we believe there are still a few bottles left on the shelves there. Bottles of their previous releases may still be available at your local ANBL locations. Future releases by Valonray are in the barrel and bottle now, as they continue their exploration of the Flanders Red Ale style. 

Don’t go waiting until Tuesday to wander over to Good Robot for a taste of their latest Beta Brew, as they’ll be closed for a staff day. However, they will be releasing Alternative Roots, their latest BB, on Sunday, January 12th. This one is billed as a Fruit Beer, with beet chiffonade added at the end of the boil, giving the final beer a “wild pink colour and a deep, earthy aroma”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, drop in at the end of the weekend for your taste.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting an event with Toronto’s Burdock Brewery tomorrow, Jan 11th, at their Barrington Street location. Featuring 3 draught offerings, and more than a dozen canned and bottled brews available as well, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s palate. And as is routine for Stilly, they will have some special menu items on the go, including Mac & Cheese Arancini. The featured beers are available from opening at noon tomorrow, and around until… well, we’re not exactly sure, so your best bet is to visit earlier in the day!

If you instead find yourself 260km Northwest of Halifax tomorrow, may we suggest dropping into Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub for their own takeover/feature, where they are showcasing the beers of Alberta. The Alberta Craft Beer Tap Takeover will have beers from more than a half-dozen breweries across the province, including Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Blindman, Brewsters, Grizzly Paw, New Level, and Troubled Monk

HopYard’s original location in Charlottetown, PEI, is hosting a Battle of the PEI Breweries 2020 event over the course of the next couple of months that will see eight breweries compete for Island supremacy, with the champion being crowned at the Finale on Thursday, February 20th. But to get to that point there first needs to be a tournament, and that tournament started last night as recent ACBA Brewery of the Year Bogside Brewing squared off against PEI’s OG brewery, PEI Brewing Co, with Bogside pulling out a slim victory by 9 glasses. The next 3 Thursdays will see the remaining battles in the first round, with Moth Lane taking on Copper Bottom on January 16th, Lone Oak battling Evermoore on January 23rd, and Barnone taking on Upstreet on January 30th. The two Thursdays after that (February 6th and 13th) will be the two semi-finals before the final showdown a week later. So whether you’re local to Charlottetown or just find yourself on the Island on a Thursday night over the next six weeks, HopYard will be an excellent place for a fun night of drinking beer and voting with your tastebuds.

And speaking of PEI beer and Lone Oak in particular, the brewery and taproom have been open for a little while now, but they haven’t had themselves a proper party to make it all official-like. That will change on Saturday, January 25th, starting at 4 PM when they’ll be hosting a big Grand Opening celebration. One musical act, Max Koughan and The Poets has been confirmed, with two more surprise musical headliners to be announced the evening of. Cover charge will be $20 per person at the door, and the beer will also be flowing, of course. So make your plans to be in Borden-Carleton in two week’s time (but we’ll very likely give you a reminder nudge the day before).

And we leave you, as always, with a few brief beery mentions:

Firkenstein Brewing has a new brew joining their regular tap lineup – Chili & SubLime (6%) is “light and refreshing, with a bit of zest, along with just a hint of chili spice”.

Flying Boats may still be pouring Black Currant Blonde Ale at their taproom; this latest one-keg-only Brewer’s Test Recipe is brewed with local black currants.

Iron Rock Brewing has a pilot batch available exclusively at their taproom – Farmer’s Junction Red Saison is their Railbender Red fermented with Old World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Caramel and toffee notes abound, along with spice and herbal character; only two kegs available, so get in, quickly!

Team TataBrew has released Triple Beam Lagerbier, a 6% ABV Lager dry-hopped with Cascade and Aramis. Easy-drinking and crisp, you can find it at homebase in Tatamagouche, and we hear that it’s been spotted at the Stillwell Freehouse as well!