St. Paddy’s Day and shit we guess?

Last Friday (a little too late to make the blog, sorry!), Maybee Brewing announced the details of their latest collaboration beer, Chai Carumba! Released on International Women’s Day, it was brewed with the female staff members of Maybee, Wendy Papadopoulos of Big Tide Brewing, and several members of a local “Feminist Books and Beers Club”. A “chai-inspired Porter”, this dark beer was hopped with local Sterling and Goldings, and fermented with an English ale yeast. A chai spice blend was added in the mash and in the whirlpool, with a final helping of pure vanilla extract thrown in once fermentation was complete. The final 5.2% ABV, 19 IBUs beer has an aroma of “chai, earth, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla”, and flavours of the same (with the vanilla lingering in the background). The official launch involved a party at Maybee last Friday (sorry if you missed it!); the proceeds of this beer will go towards the Outward Bound, East Coast: Women of Courage program. It’s still available on tap at Maybee and select accounts if you missed it last weekend.

Elsewhere in Fredericton, Grimross is debuting their latest Scratch series beer, Scratch #18: Session Sour. Hitting taps and Grimross shelves today, this is the brewery’s first leap into the world of sour beer. Soured with Lactobacillus in the kettle, the wort was then boiled, cooled, and fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces strains. With flavours of “stonefruit, citrus, peppercorn and berries”, it is indeed sessionable, at 3.7% ABV. Only a single batch was brewed, with some going into kegs (popping up around Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton), and the rest into cans for sale at the brewery and a few ANBL stores.

Might as well stay in the area, as TrailWay has a new beer of their own coming out today. Motherlode is their latest “Hoppy Session Ale” (Session IPA?), this one was hopped with Galaxy and Eureka, giving the beer “massive, pungent and robust aromatics”… they’re even claiming it’s the most aromatic Session beer they’ve brewed yet! “Dank character blending with tropical fruit and grapefruit rind, finishing with a resinous, earthy component”. Only one way to find out… get your butts to TW today when they open and grab a pint, growler, or some cans of this 4% ABV brew. It’ll also show up at a few of the local beer-drinking thingies in the near future.

Montague, PEI’s sole brewery (for now), Copper Bottom Brewing, launched a new beer late last week, just in time for Saturday’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Saaz Pils is a Bohemian Pilsner brewed with all Czech malt and hops (Saaz, we’re guessing? Just a hunch), giving a 5.3% ABV crisp, refreshing beer “with a soft malt backbone, featuring notes of toasted biscuit and an earthy, floral aroma”. The beer was inspired by a trip to the Czech Republic that Brewer Ken Spears took earlier in the winter, drinking some of the iconic beers of the country at the source, made with their locally-grown and -sourced hops and malt. No worries if you missed it at the festival; it’s available at the brewery’s tasting room in pints, growlers, and cans.

If you follow Big Spruce on social media, no doubt you’ve noticed that they’re taking part in the Vermont Brewers Festival on Saturday, March 23rd. As you may have expected, they’ve brewed up a couple of new beers for the event, and while they may be “officially” debuting there, us lucky Maritimers may have an opportunity to grab a sneak peek. First up is Death Cookies, Big Spruce’s ode to the New England IPA, a style brewed to perfection at many breweries in the state of Vermont. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra, this 7.1% ABV downright opaque beer is “pillow soft, and dripping with tropical fruit aromas”. Next up is The Hour of Sour, a beer that may excite those Silver Tart fans that are reading this blog. It’s a “Wild-fermented sour on raspberries”; the wort had Lactobacillus pitched into it, where it was kept warm until the pH hit the desired level. A blend of wild yeasts were then pitched, and the beer was fermented out to 6.3% ABV. Finally, it was conditioned on organic raspberry puree before kegging for draught (the only format you’ll be able to try these two). Big Spruce understands that most of us won’t be making it to Killington, Vermont for the festival, so they’re currently pouring both beers (for pints and growler fills) at their taproom in Cape Breton. After the big event in VT, you’ll be likely to see these beers pouring in the HRM and other Big Spruce tap accounts in the province, assuming those Vermonters don’t drink it all!

On to Halifax for the time-being, where Tidehouse Brewing has their latest bottle-release, Wolfberry Parade, available as of yesterday at the brewery. An American Pale Ale at its heart, the wort was fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, one of the family of unique Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated in Norway and used in traditional farmhouse brewing. Hopped with Azacca and Hallertau Blanc, and then conditioned with goji berries (aka wolfberries). The 5.0% ABV beer features bright citrus and tropical notes, including lemon pith, berry (think gooseberry), and tangerine/grapefruit. This is a bottle-only release, and the only spot you’ll be able to grab those bottles are at their Tiny Tap Room on Salter Street.

Tidehouse also has two draught-only releases out this week as well, more in the European-inspired vein. Phil Yer Boots is a continuation of their line of hoppy Saisons (think Enigmatic), featuring a light-coloured base of Pilsner, Vienna, and Flaked Oats, and only-late-hopped with Falconer’s Flight. Named after a Saison-loving fan who was in the right place at the right time, this 5.5% ABV French Saison is available on tap for samples, pints, and phils.

Also on tap on Salter is Beacon In The Sun, a 5.1% ABV Belgian Ale, with Pils/2-Row/Wheat/Flaked Wheat and Oats/Vienna in the malt bill, and fermented with a traditional Belgian Ale yeast. It takes a turn to the New World with the use of Cashmere and Mosaic hops, exhibiting citrus and melon notes. Grab it today!

Let’s head down the South Shore to Lunenburg (yes, Lunenburg, sorry about the faux pas two weeks ago!), and pop into Shipwright Brewing. Located upstairs from the great Grand Banker Bar & Grill, Shipwright has a new beer out this week. Night Watch Coffee Porter started life as a 5.0% ABV English Porter, thanks to traditional Maris Otter, Brown and Chocolate malts, and was lightly hopped with Perle (to 23 IBU). The addition of Laughing Whale coffee beans (Grand Banker’s own blend, even!) kicks the beer up a notch, leveraging the medium roast Mexican and dark roast Mexican, Sumatran, Ethiopian, and Nicaraguan beans. Chocolate, cocoa, and coffee on the nose and palate, and a little bit of bitterness from the beans, extending into lovely coffee and chocolate finish. Grab it on tap at the brewery for pints, growler and crowler fills, and downstairs at Grand Banker with a meal.

After last week’s FemmeBot Festivities, Halifax’s Good Robot had a fairly quiet week to catch their collective breath before the craziness begins anew next week. Speaking of FemmeBot, though, the aforementioned festivities included the announcement of the winners of this year’s 2nd annual FemmeBrew Competition. As you may recall, the style was Saison (both light and dark) and a wide variety of high quality entries were submitted for judging this year. An Honorable Mention went to Krista Collier-Jarvis, Bronze went to Therese Donnelly, Silver to Cassie Gilroy, and the big winner was Brittany McAloney! Congrats to all the winners as well as those who took the time and made the effort to enter!

Carrying on with Good Robot news, next up is this week’s BetaBrewsday, which will see Poddle’s Porter, a 5.2% ABV and 23 IBU “very rich” black porter made with Joe Connelly hit the taps in the usual way at the usual time on Tuesday. With that comes a bit of bad news, though. This will be the last BetaBrewsday for a while, as the SABCO BrewMagic system on which the BetaBrews are made has decided it’s been overworked and is taken a (hopefully!) short hiatus for repairs. This means that if you’re already on the list to do a BetaBrew with Kelly you’re probably going to be waiting a little longer than you thought. And if you’re not yet on the list but were planning on putting yourself there, you now have fair warning that things aren’t moving right now.

As is traditional, there’s also an Alpha batch to tell you about, although its release is not exactly this week: FlavaBot: Rake ‘n Scrape is a “very tropical” double IPA made with mango and pomegranate. Brewed by Giovanni and the Limestone Group, this juicy and frutiy number comes in at 6.9% ABV and a hefty 70 IBU. If you’re wondering what that “FlavaBot” qualifier in the name is all about, it’s about the FlavaBot event they’re holding on March 24th where this beer will be released. With authentic Caribbean food, island music, and, yes, beer, you can dream pleasant dreams of warmer places while giving your booty a shake. There will also be three BetaBrews with Bahamian roots hitting the taps that day:

  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – a reference to the island’s tradition of piracy, this one has plenty of berry character paired with a rich malt backbone and an assertive tartness. Hop bitterness plays a supporting role to those bold flavors and keeps things from getting cloying. This one’s a very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU.
  • Pineapples & Coconuts…Bro – If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain?) you’ll want to check this one out. A wheat ale with lots of tropical fruit and coconut character that weighs anchor at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs.
  • Passion Bliss – Yet another fruit-infused beer (I mean, if you’ve got fruit year round you’re going to use eat it aren’t you?), this one a refreshing passionfruit pale ale with distinct orange flavors and some resinous undertones leading to tart and juicy passionfruit, this one’s 5.5% ABV and 50 IBU.

As always, BetaBrews are small batches, so if you want to try any of these Caribbean-themed treats you’d best get yourself to GR close to the opening of festivities at 10 AM.

Let’s pop over to Newfoundland for a brand new release this week. Baccalieu Trail, Bootleg BrewCo, Crooked Feeder, and Landwash Brewery all celebrated their openings in 2018, part of the cohort to double the number of breweries on the Island. And as it tradition, Port Rexton Brewing invited the Class of 2018 into their brewery earlier this winter for the brewing of Next Gen 2019. The crew put together Newfoundland’s first Brut IPA, and has named it, not surprisingly, The Next Gen Brut IPA. This 6.2% ABV beer features an extremely dry body and high carbonation, and notes of melon, white grapes, and banana, thanks to big additions and dry-hopping of Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. On tap at the brewery now, it is also available in cans at their St John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road. Grab a pint or can and celebrate the great history and future of craft beer in Newfoundland! And big congratulations to the PRBC crew who were awarded major repayable funding to help fuel their expansion to a second facility in Port Rexton, to allow them to better serve their thirsty fans across (and off) the Rock. More details here!

Newfoundland’s Class of 2019 is not slacking either, as the recently-opened Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a new beer available today. Taking a hint from this weekend’s holiday, they’re releasing an Irish Red. Leveraging 2-row and light caramel malt, with a little bit of roasted barley for color and flavour, it tips the scales at 5.7% ABV and joins their White IPA, English Pale Ale, English Porter, and Blonde on their taps (the former three also available for growler fills). And they’ll be celebrating with Happy Hour pricing all day Sunday! Still in their Soft Opening hours, pop by Thursdays and Fridays 4 – 10 PM, Saturdays 12 -10 PM, and Sundays 2 – 8 PM (but later this week to celebrate the day).

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has a new beer on tap, an English Porter carrying the very British-sounding name William Windsor. Who is William Windsor, you might ask? A member of the royal family maybe? An inventor? An explorer? A military hero? That last one is closest, we suppose, as William Windsor was, in fact, a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh. He’s also a Cashmere Goat. Retired from active duty, we’re sure “Billy” would love to relax with a pint of this one. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and 25 IBU, it features aromas reminiscent of chocolate-espresso torte and woody and minty hops and flavours of toasted bread and dark chocolate. Moderately carbonated, with a smooth and lightly creamy body and a bitter finish to cap it all off. You’ll find it in bottles in Charlottetown and at Upstreet Barbecue Brewhouse in Burnside as well as on tap. Also available from Upstreet this week is the latest in their series of hop-heavy one-off brews. This edition, #14 by our count, features some Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, namely Rakau, Pacific Jade, and Nelson Sauvin. Golden orange in color, the grist is a combination of Pilsner and English malts, with oats for body and mouthfeel and a little rye, which no doubt lends a touch of spiciness. With aromas of peach and lychee, with black pepper spice and honey rounding it out, you’ll find this 6.0% ABV and 40 IBU pillow-soft beer in cans in Charlottetown and on tap in both Charlottetown and Burnside.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has something new to share starting tomorrow. An American IPA weighing in at 50 IBU and 6.3% ABV, it’s made with barley, wheat and oats and hopped with lots of classic American hop varieties that start with “C” (maybe some Cascade, and/or Centennial, and/or Columbus, and/or Chinook, etc.) before finished with a dry hopping with Mosaic Cryo hops. This one was a brewing adventure for the team that included a stuck mash, two broken pumps, and a clogged heat exchanger (you can bet any brewers reading this just winced); in short, the beer threw so much shade as they were making it, that they felt they had no choice but to call it Shade. With a strong fruity aroma and tropical, piney and some dank and “catty” flavours, it’s available in the tasting room tomorrow and some kegs will go out to tap accounts around town as well.

Last but not least in today’s new beer news, is another of the many that debuted at last weekend’s Freddy Beer Fest, from almost-hometown Niche Brewing. The pride of Hanwell, they’ve cooked up another “Best of Both Worlds” Belgian-New England hybrid, Coalition. This 5.4% ABV beer has light- and pale-coloured malts at its base, hopped generously with Citra and Ekuanot, and was fermented with a blend of Belgian and hazy/low-flocculating yeasts, for a combination of juicy and tropical notes (lots of dry-hopping didn’t hurt that either!) with some Belgian phenolic to spice it up. Now that the rest of us can give it a try, ask for it at your local watering hole in New Brunswick, and it will be making an appearance on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth and Stillwell in Halifax as well.

You’ve barely had one week for your liver to recover after Fredericton’s fun last weekend, but keep your eyes peeled for more celebrations this weekend thanks to St. Paddy’s Day (not Patty’s!). Here are a few coming at you…

Propeller’s Gottingen Street Taproom will be celebrating Sunday with an extra cask on the bartop. Already celebrating their Barrel-Aged ESB on hand pump all month long, they will be adding a firkin of their Irish Red for the day. Pair that with Irish Stew made with their Russian Imperial Stout (both beef and veggie options available), and the Propeller Arcade downstairs, we figure this will be a perfect spot to keep the good times rolling that day.

Sad, but happy news from the Halifax waterfront, as Gahan House Harbourfront is closing its doors Sunday. They are going out in style, however, as they’re holding a Last Hurrah with live music and everything-must-go-priced pints. The party kicks off at 7 PM, and more details are available on the FB Event page. Good news in the works, however, as the Gahan location will actually be moving into the Nova Centre in spring, with an expanded brewhouse (and room for foeders!). They’ll be re-branding at Gahan House Nova Centre when that happens. And for those fans of the current location on the water, it will be staying in the Murphy Restaurant family, and re-opening in April as Pickford & Black. Think seafood and craft beer with a great view of the harbour.

Once you dry out from the weekend’s festivities, it will be the perfect time to drop by the Agricola Street Brasserie on Tuesday, March 19th, for a Beer Dinner with Garrison Brewing. Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be on-hand to speak of the beers and pairing choices made with ASB’s specially-created menu. And it will be the debut of their collaborative Milk Stout, which the Brasserie crew helped develop and brew in late February. Check out the menu here, and grab your tickets via email or phone (902-446-7664).

And a couple last wee mentions on your way out the door to buy beer for the weekend:

Savvy folks in the beer industry know that lots can go wrong between the keg and the glass, so they do their best to make sure that quality lines are installed and cleaned on a regular basis. How does one arrange that? Through a company like BeerTech, of course. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the “last mile” of beer delivery, BeerTech has a position open for a line cleaner/service technician. If you’re interested in seeing a wide variety of brewery taprooms and bars in the region and helping them make sure that their beer is pouring in the best possible way, maybe send an email to info@beertech.ca; perks include hands-on training, competitive salary, uniforms and the use of a company vehicle.

As is their wont, Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a special brew for St. Patrick’s Day again this year, a session pale ale in honor of Padraig himself. Patrick’s Pale Ale is 4.5% ABV and on tap now, with growler fills available at the Takeaway shop and bottles heading to the NLC. Slàinte mhath.

And a final reminder for the week: the Town of Wolfville is holding the Public Hearing on the amendment of their Land-Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to specifically allow breweries, distilleries, and cider producers to operate and sell off-site on Monday, March 18th. If you can make your way to the KC Irving Centre at 6:30 PM, you can have your voice heard ahead of the vote the next day. Not only impacting the in-development brewery(ies), these could greatly affect those operating in town today. Here is the agenda and information package for that hearing, and a bit of a summary we had two weeks ago. As always, the gents from 902BrewCast are on the case, and we encourage you to lend them your ears. This week’s episode is with Sean Dunbar of Picaroons, so listen in for a quick history of their brewery, and in effect, the entire New Brunswick Craft Beer scene!

Happy Friday folks! If you’re anything like us, you’re nursing a headache/prepping your liver for the fun happening in New Brunswick’s capital city this weekend, as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival celebrates its 7th year. There are still a few tickets available for Saturday afternoon session (grab ‘em here), and be sure to say hi if you see us with a beer in our hand (or waiting for one). We’ve got lots of great news and new beers to kick off the weekend, including a whole bunch of awesome beers and events celebrating women in the industry, as today is International Women’s Day. So raise a pint to all of the brewsters and other women and femme-identifying folks working in the industry around the region, and let’s dive right in!

Port Rexton is among the breweries who have brewed up a special beer in honor of International Women’s Day. Designed and brewed by the women of PR, Early Rise is an American Pale Ale with a twist, namely all the Earl Grey Tea that could be procured from the Bulk Barns in the St. John’s area (or at least 1.5 KG)! Every other ingredient in this beer was selected specifically to complement the special ingredient, from the malt to the hops. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, look for a light and spicy malt sweetness and a lingering orangey hop character. You can grab this one starting today at the taproom during their IWD Celebration starting at 4 PM (including IWD-themed trivia at 8 PM with registration at 7:30). It’ll also be on the taps at the Port Rexton St. John’s Retail Shop while supplies last.

2 Crows is focusing solely on the hops with their latest release, Perfect Recreation, the newest in their series of NEIPAS. Like the other entries, the grist has been kept fairly simple (Golden Promise, Wheat malt, and flaked oats), to allow the huge amount of hops to come through nicely, while at the same time keeping the mouthfeel of the beer smooth and pillowy. Plenty of Citra and Simcoe were thrown into a hopback addition (after the boil, on the way to the chiller and fermenter), with the beer then being fermented with a “super juicy yeast strain”. Of course, there were more hops added after fermentation, with two dry hop additions – both including more Simcoe and Citra, as well as Vic Secret and a bit of Centennial. The result is a 6.1% ABV beer described by 2C as “super lush, soft, and absolutely exploding with tropical hop aromas of mango, passionfruit, and guava.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery today (cans and on tap), and at select 2C tap accounts over the weekend… and maybe it’ll even pop up at tomorrow’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Finally, a big congratulations to head brewer/co-owner Jeremy Taylor and his wife, Elaine, on the birth of their new baby girl!

Speaking of NEIPAs, straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes the latest in that style from Niche Brewing, one they’re calling Make it So. Also built on a grist of primarily Golden Promise and also featuring wheat (flaked), oats (also flaked) and chit malt, it’s almost enough to make you wonder if Niche and 2 Crows brewers occasionally might talk a little bit… or at least read the same blogs 🙂 Hops in this one include Citra, Chinook, and Columbus as very late kettle additions, with more Citra and Galaxy comprising the massive dry hop. Fermented, per their usual, with one of their favorite NEIPA-geared strains, it’s described as “super fruity and juicy,” while displaying the characteristic haziness and medium bitterness one would expect. You’ll find this one pouring at Niche’s usual tap accounts, at Halifax’s Stillwell in the near-ish future, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, at the evening session of the FCBF tomorrow night!

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk, a beer they’ve been conditioning for awhile now. Overdosse (rough English translation would be “idiot” or “loser”… note that the FB post for this beer was accompanied by a picture of the current U.S. president) is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt. Hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the wonderful Duvel yeast strain (with temperatures allowed to rise as high as they could go). Conditioned in the fermentor for a few months, it’s now ready for you, and is exhibiting lots of Belgian phenolic and ester characteristics on the nose and palate. Look for it on tap at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole, at the ANBL Vaughan Harvey growler station, and at FCBF.

Looks like Spindrift is moving forward with more experimentation in brewing, with the introduction of the first entry in their latest series, Future Thoughts. Lemon to a Knife Fight falls in the Witbier style, and is more-specifically billed as an “Imperial Blueberry Lemon Witbier”, if you’re picky (which we are!). The grist is made up in the traditional sense for a Witbier – with Pilsen malt and a blend of both malted and flaked wheat – but at a grander scale, resulting in a 7.5% ABV beer. Hopped lightly with Herkules and Cascade to 18 IBUs, fresh lemon zest (from 200 lemons!) was added, along with a dose of Indian coriander. As for the blueberry portion, puree was added during fermentation, as well as a bit of blueberry extract after fermentation was complete. The finished beer is tasting estery, slightly boozy, with aromas of blueberry mixed with lemon. This one is a draught-only release, with most of it available exclusively at Spindrift (although a keg or two may make it to a couple of local licensees). Future entries in this series may be bottled; only time will tell.

We think we’ve got the details on that special beer from Secret Cove Brewing we briefly mentioned last week, which was brewed for their Grand Opening party. Hop a Ryed in My Dory is a different take on your traditional DIPA; while at first this 7.4% ABV brew seems fairly typical, featuring late hop additions to give flavours of “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”, they threw in an addition of Canadian Rye malt to give the beer a “spicy complexity”. by the brewery in Port au Port East, Newfoundland to grab a pint and judge for yourself.

Is the high alcohol in all of those DIPAs, Winter Warmers, etc. getting you down these days? If it is, Tatamagouche Brewing has the cure for what ails ya with Dekorum (English translation: “behaviour in keeping with good taste”). Truly keeping the “light” in Light Lager, this 2.9% ABV beer still manages to pack in some crisp, refreshing flavours, while still allowing you to enjoy a few without having to worry about calling a cab (although that’s subjective, so still, enjoy responsibly!). You can find cans and growlers of this one at Tata, and we know for a fact it’s already popped up on tap in the HRM. Cans will also be hitting shelves at your local NSLC in the not-too-distant future.

It’s been a bit of a spell since we’ve seen a bottle release from Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, but luckily, our wait is over! That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is an extremely-limited release, so you best jump on it if you’re interested. The beer is And You May Find Yourself, a “Pastry Stout” that was brewed with maple syrup and cocoa nibs, all conditioned on an “insane” number of vanilla beans. Billed as low-carbonated and sweet, this is a big beer at 11% ABV, and is meant to sip on as a dessert beer of sorts (they also recommend to consume this one fresh… no aging!). You can buy tickets to purchase this beer here; if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle, you can pick it up at the Duo Cafe next door to T&B (or ask for it directly at T&B); have your idea and ticket with you. And by limited release, we DO mean limited.. only 40 bottles are available for purchase. Though we have it on good authority that if you ask nicely at the FCBF, they may have it pouring from their jockey box. And be sure to pop by their table at the fest tomorrow, as Chad and crew are sure to have something special on the go. Those of us who’ve done that previously got to try their unique Peach Ale Shake, served through by a slushie machine!

If you’re in the area of Tusket Falls Brewing this weekend, and feel like you have a bit of a sour tooth, you may want to drop by the brewery to see if they have any of their latest one-off left, Passionfruit Sour. This 4.5% ABV kettle sour has lots of passionfruit on the nose and palate, according to the brewery, finishing with a “pleasant tartness that complements the juiciness well”. It won’t last long, as their experimental beers tend to move quickly. They’ve also started canning their Beyond the Haze NEIPA (5.8% ABV), so grab some of those while you’re there! Those will also be hitting the shelves of the private stores and NSLC very soon.

The brew crew from St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery took a trip down to New York City last month, to brew up a special beer with Five Boroughs Brewing. Celebrating the Come From Away Broadway show, and the story of town of Gander during September 11, 2001, they lent their hands Newfoundland-style, to brew up a collaboration beer. Come From Away is a 6.0% ABV “Islander Pale Ale”, featuring tons of Amarillo, Cascade, and Cashmere hops added at every step of the brewday and beyond, and has plenty of citrus and tropical fruit character. While this beer is only available in NYC for the time being, a little birdy told us that YB will be brewing the same recipe on their system on Water Street soon, so soon we can all be singing and dancing along to this great beer.

Attention Home Brewers! It’s that time of year again, as Boxing Rock has announced that registration for their super-popular Black Box Challenge is now open. As a reminder, this is a different type of brewing competition, as brewers are not aiming for a style, per se, but starting from the same ingredients (and only those ingredients, except water), and the end result is totally in their hands. Previous winners have been a smoked cinnamon beer, a kettle sour with orange peel, and a American Brown Ale with ginger. There are only a few spots left, grab your tickets here, and pop into HopYard in Halifax to pick up your box of ingredients starting today. This year’s competition features a new twist that reflects Hop Yard’s involvement, where each contestant must pair a record (as in vinyl) with their entry. Beers are due mid-April, and the live judging (including a presentation by each finalist explaining why they selected that particular record) and crowning of the winner will be at HopYard April 28th.

The big events that have our attention this weekend (beside the FCBF) are the great Femme-focused events happening at Good Robot in Halifax this weekend.

  • Today from 6 PM, Cheers for Lady Beers. Female-brewed beers from across the province (and beyond!) will be taking over their taps, with many of those brewsters on hand to chat and answer questions. Lots of beers we’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks will be pouring, including Good Robot’s own Big Witch Energy, Garrison Brewing’s Susannah IPL, and the Propeller x Ladies Beer League Call Me Blondie collab. The winners of the FemmeBrew competition will be announced during a private party before the public event (4 – 6 PM).
  • Tomorrow from 12 PM, Women in Entertainment. A panel of women in the entertainment business will be sharing their knowledge, stories, and advice for those looking to get involved or further their career. Doors open at 10 AM, with food served and beer pouring from that point.
  • Tomorrow from 9 PM, Dance Through the Pain-triarchy. A dance party in a safe space, open to everyone!
  • Sunday from 7 PM, RobieScope: The Help. A female-strong period drama, BYO-PJs.

And tickets for their Brewster Fest, being held April 27th, are now available. Celebrating women-owned breweries and female-brewed beers, they have breweries from across the province and beyond pouring at the Mayflower Curling Club that day. Click the link to see the brewery list and grab a ticket!

Before we let you go this week….

Boxing Rock has brewed up a beer for the Good Robot Femmebot Tap Takeover taking place today. Catarina Sour is a 5.7% ABV kettle sour brewed with pineapple and mango brewed with their “Femmebot friends”, Jana and Patricia; it’ll also be on tap at Boxing Rock.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Grimross has teamed up with Fredericton’s Ladies Beer Connection to release two special casks – Strawberry Champagne and Pomegranate Cheval D’Or – at tomorrow’s FCBF. One of each cask will be tapped at the beginning of each VIP session.

Up in Village-au-Poirier, NB, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur is happy to let folks know that their Nigogue Pale Ale is now available at several ANBL locations including Bathurst, Miramichi (both locations), Shippagan and Tracadie. You’ll also find their other two beers, Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Winter Beer at the Pleasant Street location in Miramichi.

Hot off their opening late last month (congrats guys!), Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a brand new beer hitting the taps. It’s a 4.6% ABV Blonde Ale, and complements their Porter, Pale Ale, and White IPA already pouring. Pop out for a pint and/or to fill a growler this weekend!

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is the latest brewery in our region to take on the “mixed drink in a can” market with the introduction this week of Sand Piper Vodka Soda. Zero carbs, zero added sugars, and all-natural flavoring in a convenient pre-mixed format. Look for more info on the dedicated Insta account for the brand and/or pick some up at the Nine Locks Retail Store, select private liquor stores in Halifax and, soon enough, at NSLC locations.

And a quick note to end the post today, thanks again to everyone who came out to take part in our trivia last night at The Joyce, and big thanks to all of the breweries who donated great swag to give away to our winners. We had lots of happy folks last night! For those breweries who missed out, we’ll be doing it all again in Halifax during NS Craft Beer Week, so reach out if you’ve got anything to share!

Happy Friday, everyone! While we have your attention, would any of you be opposed to us renaming this weekly post the “Almost-Saturday Wrap Up”? No? Great, we didn’t think so!

And now, beer.

We’ve got the news on the latest bottle release from Halifax’s Tide House, which was just released yesterday. Turtles All the Way Down (<brain explodes>) is a Saison with a grist made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat, with some Flaked Oats and Acid malt thrown in for good measure. Hopped with Ahtanum, the wort was fermented with the Old World Saison blend (made up of two “classic” Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs, giving a light-bodied beer with notes of “pepper, lemon, honey and spice”. It’s an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, so when you’re at the brewery to pick up your stock, you might as well grab a few, no?

For the second year in a row, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has paired up with Bangor’s Geaghan Brothers Brewing for a collaboration beer, which will be released in Fredericton today. A Lot in Common is a California Common which was brewed at Maybee, with several of the Geaghan Brothers team making the short trip north to participate in the brew day. With a grist featuring a blend of Canadian, German, and British malts, it was hopped with Cluster to 38 IBUs. Fermented at cool ale temperatures to keep the production of fruity esters to a minimum, this 5.6% ABV amber-coloured “hybrid” has aromas of “raison, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and Baker’s chocolate” with more of the same in the flavour, followed by an assertive bitterness in the finish. This one will be available on tap and in cans, both of which can be found at the Maybee taproom right now; it’ll also be on tap at many Maybee accounts, as well as the ANBL growler program as of March 7th. And of course at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, where both breweries (and many, many more) will be pouring the best and newest beers. More details below.

If you’re eating and drinking in Dartmouth this weekend, you may want to swing by North and/or Battery Park (and if you’re doing your eating and drinking there, even better!). Why, you ask? Well, North is releasing Into the Aether today, an Imperial Stout that has a lot more than just roast character going for it. This 5 bbl batch of beer has additions of 5-6 lbs of toasted cocoa nibs and 12 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as vanilla and sea salt to top it all off. They’re aiming for a beer with a balanced blend of all of these flavours, so that no single one of them overshadows the others. You can grab cans at both retail shops, with the only kegs being poured at Battery Park on their nitro tap.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a brand new sour hitting the taps over the next few days, Ginger Spur. This 4.7% ABV beer started with a grist of Pilsner, 2-Row, Munich and Wheat malts, and was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, before being boiled and lightly hopped with Amarillo (to 6 IBU… like we said, “lightly hopped”, mainly to ensure the Lacto cannot survive). After fermentation is when the fun began, as the beer was conditioned on fresh lemon zest and a mixture of fresh and powdered ginger, for a complementary blend of citrus aroma and ginger flavour and zip, on top of the lightly sour base beer. Kegs of Ginger Spur will be delivered to a few restaurants in Fredericton and Saint John next week, and will be available to Niche fans in Nova Scotia, pouring at HopYard Halifax before the end of the weekend.

TrailWay has got their hop-oil-soaked hands on a popular new American hop variety, Sabro, which they’ve used in their latest American IPA, Urban Sabrero. Sabro is an odd variety in that it doesn’t have a European heritage (like most hops do); it actually comes from a sub-species that has been growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years (according to the Washington Beer Blog). Many sources have described Sabro as very unique, featuring flavours of tangerine, tropical fruit, citrus, coconut, and even hints of “cedar, mint and cream”. In TW’s beer, they also added some other hop varieties they deemed showing similarities to these descriptors, resulting in a 6% ABV brew with aromas and flavours of “coconut, pina colada, tangerine citrus, and vanilla”. Urban Sabrero is releasing today on tap and in cans at the brewery.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has released a mixed four-pack of cans this week, the winning beers of their collaborative contest with the Newfermenters Home Brew Club. The homebrew competition was held in the Fall of 2018, and saw the top 4 brewers drop into QV for a brewday. The winning beers are: Uncle Fred’s Kolsch (4.5% ABV), Iron Cherry Sour (5.5% ABV), Milky Way NEIPA (5.9% ABV), and Perfect Storm Dunkelweizen (6.0% ABV). Four-packs flew off the shelves at QVBC yesterday, but they assure us that there will be more available soon. They are also available at a few NLCs today, so be sure to ask at your local one!

We think that maybe Good Robot is mad at us or something, because instead of making us report on their usual weekly Beta Brew release, they had to go and make FOUR of them! To be fair, they *are* pretty psyched about celebrating FemmeBot, so it may actually have more to do with that than actually messing with our heads. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt! So, let’s get right to these beers, shall we? All were brewed with local ladies who are keen on the beer scene in Halifax.

  • #yololager – A 4.8% ABV “light and crushable lager” made by local real estate agent Jess Tasker (March 5th release)
  • The Ploughwind – A 6.7% ABV “big, rich stout” made by Missy Searl (March 6th release)
  • Aunty Fukkup’s Blueberry Pie-PA – A 4.4% ABV light Pale Ale hopped with Saphir, with a generous addition of blueberries, brewed with Dalhousie nursing student Leslie Langille (March 7th release)
  • Imposter’s Syndrome – A 4.1% ABV Dark Wheat Ale brewed with Whitney Moran, co-author of East Coast Crafted (March 9th release)

Actually, that wasn’t so bad. Sorry for complaining! Finally, next week’s Alpha beer will be this year’s official FemmeBot brew, Big Witch Energy. Brewed with Golden Promise malt, Summer hops, and sweet orange peel (which was added with the dry hop), it sounds like a refreshing break from some of the other big beers out there this time of year.

Halifax stalwart Garrison, now rocking their third decade of production in the city, have all kinds of new beer news to share with us this week. First up is the return of Sour to the People, brewed in conjunction with the folks from The Carleton restaurant on Argyle Street. Originally brewed in Summer of 2017, this will be an excellent beer to help get you through the last dregs of winter and help remind you that better weather is (maybe!) just around the corner. With lots of notes of peach, lemon and green apple sour notes balanced against pineapple, citrus and pine notes from new hop Denali, the beer is 6.1% ABV and, as is often the case with sour beers, 0 IBU. Available in cans and on draft at the brewery (and we suspect both cans and kegs will make it to other places in the city).

Next up, as is traditional with Garrison, the winning beer from last year’s Garrison Home Brew-off is being released at the same time as the winners of this year’s competition are announced. Kölsch 1149, a 5.2% ABV Kölsch by Dave Martin and Kent Brooks was on tap last night at this year’s awards gala and will continue to be available at the brewery, including cans. As for the 2019 competition results, this year’s category was another European style that was perhaps a little difficult for local brewers to wrap their heads around, with no commercial examples readily available. A fairly sweet and full-bodied lager balanced very much towards the malt side (“a sandwich in a glass”), it also generally packs a punch, in the 6.3 – 7.5% ABV range. Four beers won accolades this year, starting with an honorable mention for Kevin Sweezey’s entry. The top three were Jeramy Slaunwhite in 3rd place, Scott MacLean in 2nd and David Pepper winning the competition. Pepper and Slaunwhite are no strangers to the winners’ circle in local homebrew competitions; the two were category winners in the 2016 Big Spruce competition where Pepper’s Risky Biscuits Dark Mild also took Best of Show. Look for the winning beer to be brewed in time for next year’s awards gala where the category has already been announced: New England IPA!! Garrison also made sure to include a shoutout to local homebrew supplier Noble Grape who every year help immensely with the logistics of this competition.

And in still more Garrison news, this coming week also marks the release of the first beer they’ve ever produced by an all-female team. Starting with brewer Kellye Robertson, Susannah is a collaboration with East Coast Wild Foods, who provided wild-foraged sumac and sea buckthorn to this all-German malt Imperial Pale Lager that was heavily hopped with Topaz and Hallertau Blanc. Look for elements of sweet grain complemented by elements from the hops and fruit, including notes of lychee, grapefruit and pineapple. Proceeds from the beer, which is being packaged in 473 mL cans will support women in trades in Nova Scotia through the NSCC Foundation. A launch party for the beer will take place next Friday, March 8th, at the Garrison Brewery. Starting at 7 PM, it will feature live music from Halifax rockers Like a Motorcycle beginning at 8:30 PM. Meanwhile Ray Brisson, the artist who designed the label, will be present, Birdie’s Bread Co. will have food available for purchase, and East Coast Wild Foods will be on site to talk about foraging and the workshops that they run. No tickets are required for entry, but donations will be taken at the door in support of the NSCC Foundation.

Propeller Brewing, also in their third decade of operation, has plenty of news for us this week as well, including the launch of a pair of new beers for us to enjoy. First up is the return of their Irish Red, just in time for that *big celebration of all things Irish* later in the month. While the recipe for this 5.0% ABV, 25 IBU beer has not changed, this year’s version has been left unfiltered, letting more flavour molecules through to your sniffer and taster. Look for sweetness and light roast from the malt, with an earthy hoppiness from the traditional UK hops.

Debuting today at their Gottingen taproom is an experiment months in the making: they took their ESB and aged it for 4 months in the barrels that previously held their Baltic Porter. The light malt in the base beer, along with the light barrel and dark malt notes from the porter, make this a wonderful beer to enjoy lightly carbed, so they will be featuring this beer on their bartop at the taproom for the entire month of March (or as long as the casks last!). Pop by today at 5 PM for the tapping of the first Barrel Aged ESB, and enjoy a pint. Paired with the Propeller Arcade downstairs, and/or today’s Cask Night snack, Vandal Doughnuts, you can kick your weekend off right!

Also hitting the taps today is the release of a beer Propeller brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, Call Me Blondie. Brewed with the fine crew of the Ladies Beer League, CMB is a Blonde Ale with a twist, as it is dry-hopped with Simcoe, featuring a melon and cantaloupe aroma, complementing the citrus flavour and light and crisp body. This draught-only beer debuts at today’s Cask Friday event as well, and will be pouring at LBL’s big International Women’s Day event at Halifax’s Timber Lounge on March 8, Axe the Patriarchy. From 7 – 10 PM, drop in to enjoy the beer, live music, craft corner, and meet your fellow local beer enthusiasts! There is no fee to attend, though a portion of axe throwing costs, and donations, are being collected to support Alice House.

Newly-opened 3Flip Brewing out of Douglas, NB has a one-off, limited release that should be hitting a couple of taps soon, and will also be pouring at the FCBF Nano Night next Friday. The beer is Sassy Cow, a 5% ABV “Root Beer Milk Stout” that showcases a “sweet malt/lactose flavour with hints of roasted coffee”. Complemented by aromas and flavours of root beer (thanks to the addition of a special extract), the finishing bitterness is low. If you don’t have tickets to next week’s Nano Night, and still want to try the beer, both The Joyce and Saint John Ale House will be receiving a keg over the next few days.

After an extremely busy couple of weeks after opening in mid-January, Hill Top Hops Brewhouse in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, had to re-fill their fermenters and build up some product. They are scheduled to reopen today, Friday March 1st starting at noon and going ‘til 10 PM. The full lineup of taps will be available, including their Cream Ale, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale, and Porter. Fans of their IPA will have to wait one more week. Be sure to check out their Fb page for updates to their hours for the winter season.

New Scotland in Dartmouth has a brand new beer on the go, one they’re calling Eastbound Brown. An American Brown Ale, a somewhat surprisingly uncommon style in our region, it’s big and malty, but hard-hitting in the bitterness department with 64 IBU and in terms of ABV at 6.8%. Look for some hints of chocolate paired with malty sweetness underlying a very firm bitterness and an aroma characteristic of American ‘C’ hops. You’ll find it at their taproom this week for sure, with the potential for a few kegs to make it to other locations about town.

Also in Dartmouth, Nine Locks is celebrating their 3rd Anniversary with the release of Champagne IPA. Combining lots of hop aroma (leaning on citrus and Juicy Fruit) with high, downright spritzy carbonation, it finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. Nothing says “celebrate” like Champagne, ya know? It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 38 IBUs, and can be picked up at the taproom as we speak.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing continues to crank out beers in their more experimental First Sail series. This week’s entry, Dark Cherry Blonde was based on their Kölsch from a malt and mash perspective, but fermented with clean American yeast and with some dark cherries added towards the end of fermentation. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, expect something akin to a rosé wine, with a light body and a slight sweetness balanced by some tartness from the cherries. Only at the brewery and in very limited quantities, it’s available for pints or crowlers to go. And if that weren’t enough to get you there, the Midnight Oil milk stout is back by popular demand. A blend of six malts, it’s a medium-bodied milk stout with bit of nuttiness sitting on top of a base of cacao, coffee and vanilla flavors, with a sweetness from an addition of lactose. Coming in at 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU, you can sit down for a pint, bring a growler for a fill, or grab a crowler to go!

New beer coming at you from 2 Crows when they open today at noon (although by the way things are going, I’m going to assume when this post is actually published, noon has already come and gone). Livewire is a hoppy Brett Saison brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as some Wheat, Rye and Oats. Hopped lightly with Calypso and Azacca, a portion of the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then blended back in with the rest of the beer when the acidity reached the level they were looking for. The entire batch was fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, and finally dry-hopped with the delicious Enigma variety. Expect a very dry beer with funk, light pith, and “notes of Pinot Gris, lemon zest, and rock melon, with a firm minerality and a touch of tartness”, according to 2C. It weighs in at 4.6% ABV and 17 IBUs, and can be found (probably now!) at the brewery in cans and on tap.

In yet more beer competition news (well, sorta), this time from Spindrift, the winning beer from their first (annual, we hope) homebrew competition is once again available, this time with a twist. Brian Whalen’s Naughtius Maximus v2.0: Naughtier Maximumus has a slightly different grist from the original recipe due to some crystal malt left at the bottom of the grain mill, but it’s also been cellared since 2018. Perfectly balanced between bitter and crisp this 7.3% ABV and 22 IBU Belgian Saison is on tap at the brewery now, though only 40 L were made, so you’ll want to move fast if you want in on this.

In what could be seen as sad news, Naughtier Maximus also marks the end of Spindrift’s Seventh Wave Series, those growler-fill-at-the-brewery-only small batch, often experimental brews that would taunt those who couldn’t get over to Burnside before they were gone. But weep not, gentle reader, as is often the case, as one door closes, another opens. Coming March 7th is the first beer in an all new series designed and curated by Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer, called Future Thoughts. Designed to be like Seventh Wave in being somewhat experimental, and notably exploring contemporary styles, flavours and brewing techniques, Future Thoughts batches are scheduled to be larger, allowing for more customers to have a chance to try them and at a somewhat more leisurely pace versus the old mad dash to Dartmouth. Look for the first beer in this series, Lemon to a Knife Fight Blueberry Imperial Wit to be released this coming Thursday, March 7th. We’ll no doubt have the full details on that beer next week.

For those of you interested in keeping track of the going-ons in the Town of Wolfville, the first reading of the amendments to their Municipal Planning Strategy and Land-Use Bylaws happened Feb 4, and we were in attendance to take in the action. The issue at hand is whether to make changes to the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Usage By-laws (LUB) to (a) have a clear policy statement on alcohol producers, (b) specifically allow off-site sales of product, and (c) forbid contract brewing. With the legality of contract brewing already decided (as far as we can tell, it’s illegal in Nova Scotia), the second amendment is where the rubber meets the road. Last week’s meeting was the first reading of the amendments, and was crammed with members of the public wanting to be heard, mostly expressing their objection to the changes. Video of Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here, or, if you prefer to just listen instead, you can find an audio version here (loud audio warning at 8:20).

But let’s back up for a second. Why the fuss? The public are concerned that Church Brewing (who have recently opened their restaurant, but whose brewery is still under construction) will increase truck traffic as much as 10-fold on Main Street, take up many parking spaces, and have 24/7 noise and brewing smells. These concerns seem to be largely based on a preponderance of poor information, some of which has a particular odor of its own, and the most dubious of which is the notion that Church Brewing will somehow reach 15,000 hectoliters of production, the legal limit for a craft brewery in this province, in the near future. We noted above that both Garrison and Propeller have passed the 20 year mark in their respective lifespans. Both have spent over two decades working to extend their distribution footprint from Halifax to not just beyond Nova Scotia but beyond Atlantic Canada as well. And both fall well short of 15,000 hL per year in production. To suggest that Church could attain even greater success in any kind of short time is either a massive nod to Church’s business plan and leadership or fearmongering at its worst. Most of the doom and gloom scenarios being proffered as dissent are heavily anchored in this number as a realistic estimate of production.

We encourage everyone with an interest to educate themselves; there is plenty of material available online thanks to the Town of Wolfville and interested parties such as the 902BrewCast. While we understand some of the consternation and concern about how things have been done, we believe that, as in so many communities in our region, having Church open and producing quality beer will benefit the town and its citizens. You can find the agenda for the next town council session regarding the MPS and LUB changes here. We hope that these meetings lead to us writing a profile of Church after their successful opening as a brewery in the near future.

A few things coming up events-wise:

Secret Cove Brewing Co. has been celebrating their Grand Opening the past couple of days, but don’t worry if you missed it! They’re continuing with more events throughout this weekend. Tonight they’re launching a brand new beer (which they’re not sharing details on yet… sorry!) to go with their open mic night, and while closed some of tomorrow for a private event, they’ll be reopening their doors to the public at 6 PM, with live music starting at 7 PM. Finally, Sunday will feature a Kitchen Party from 2 – 6 PM; they’ve also hinted at a “special announcement” sometime throughout the weekend. Congrats to all of the Secret Cove crew!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is turning one, and in true Newfoundland fashion, they’re celebratin’ (ok, most breweries celebrate their anniversaries, but it’s NL so maybe it’ll be even more fun?) at the taproom today. Starting at 4 pm when they open, there will be snacks throughout the day, plenty of beer from both Bootleg and local guest breweries, and live music starting at 10 PM tonight. No cover!

We mentioned the big Belgian beer drop at Moncton’s Tide & Boar two weeks ago, but wanted to remind you all since the event officially happens tomorrow, March 2nd. Check out the link for all the details, but rest assured if you love Belgian beer, you want to be going to this. They open at 11 am; it’ll be going on all day, but we’re pretty positive that some of these bottles will be gone quickly, so best that you get there early!

As we’ve mentioned earlier in the post, the annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is next week, with the main event – the beer festival! – happening next Saturday, March 9th. While tickets for the evening session are sold out, there ARE still a few regular-entry afternoon session ones available (grab them here). There are also events going on throughout the week, leading up to Saturday, including our Trivia Night at The Joyce on Thursday, March 7th, which is also happening at the same time as a Hammond River tap takeover. There’s some educational seminars as well, including Distilling School and Home Brewing School on Thursday, and Beer School on Friday, March 8th, which is a day-long event that focuses on several aspects of the brewing process. As for the main event on Saturday, you know what to expect… hope to see you there!

And our usual last mentions on our way out the door (where? To get BEER):

Picaroons has released CBA, a 7.5% ABV “Canadian Black Ale”; described as “big, dark, and hoppy”, we think it’s pretty safe for you to put this in the Black IPA category. You can currently find it at all Picaroons locations, and it should be hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Port Rexton has their newest American Pale Ale exclusively on tap, Pith and Substance (5.9% ABV). Featuring “grapefruit pith vibes and a delicate strawberry aroma”, it has a medium bitterness in the finish; look for it at the PR taproom and retail shop, as well as on tap at Bootleg Brew Co. for tonight’s One Year Anniversary Tap Takeover that we mentioned earlier.