We’re now one week into December with holiday decorations up and Christmas music pretty much everywhere. Thankfully the region’s brewers are doing their part to help us ease the stress of the holiday season by continuing to pump out new beers and bring back some seasonally appropriate seasonals. So without further ado, here’s what going on in Atlantic Canada beer news!

Tusket Falls Brewing Company will be opening their doors next Saturday, December 16th. Located at 20 Slocomb Crescent in Tusket (mere seconds off the 103 Highway), their taps will be full with 4 of their core beers, available in flights and pints for enjoyment onsite, as well as to takeaway in growlers (and maybe even cans if everything comes together in time). We will have a full profile with the TFBC crew early next week, with all of the important information on their brewery, beers, and plans for the future.

Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown is launching a new family of beer this week called Million Acres. Named in acknowledgment of PEI’s nickname as a “Million Acre Farm”, this line is definitely a departure from their Upstreet beers, often featuring mixed yeast/bacterial fermentation, primary fermentation and aging in barrels, hyper-local fruit and other ingredients, that can only be achieved on a small scale. The first MA release is Twice Hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook, the first beer brewed with PEI-grown barley (specifically, 2-row malt) from Spring Valley Farms in Kensington. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus culture started from a handful of the Spring Valley Farms grain, the beer was kettle-hopped and dry-hopped (at double the rate of any previous dry-hopped beer at Upstreet) with Centennial and Chinook from New Brunswick hop growers Moose Mountain and Southan Farms. Packaged in 750 mL corked bottles, the resulting beer is “pleasant and punchy in aroma, with a quenching and complex tartness”. The beer is officially being released today: you can pick up bottles at Upstreet, and there will be a limited amount on draft popping up here and there; bottles should be making their way to New Brunswick sometime next month.

• Just a stone’s throw from Upstreet’s Allen Street location is Charlottetown’s Atlantic Superstore at 465 University Avenue. While not normally beer-news-worthy, it is the site of a brand new retail location for PEI Brewing/Gahan House, opening today/this week (after a slight delay from its planned Wednesday opening). Visitors to “The Beer Store” will be able to purchase all of Gahan’s core brands, as well as a selection of seasonals, including Shortest Day. Bottles, cans, and growler fills of the brews will be available. While the Superstore is a 24/7 operation, the Gahan shop opens at 11AM daily, and operates until 7 or 8 (hours are still being determined). And speaking of PEIBC’s retail location, their “Beer Station” on Milky Way (adjacent to the Cows Ice Cream factory) has recently adjusted to winter hours, meaning it will be open 12-7PM Thursday through Saturday. Their selection will be similar to that of the Beer Store.

• In PEIBC beer news, their winter seasonal Ice Boat is available again this year after a hiatus in 2016. With a Stout as the base, the beer spent several months of aging in fresh Tennessee Whiskey barrels to impart vanilla, caramel, and spirit notes, while allowing the roast malt character to shine through. Bottles of the 6.9% ABV beer are available at the Taproom currently, and at select PEILCC locations shortly. And the brewery is continuing their holiday-themed Growler releases today, with The Christmas Growler Countdown. Releasing today at 4PM at the PEIBC Taproom, each week features either a new beer, or a small batch seasonal take on a current favourite. Last week’s Beach Chair Cran-gerine sold out in one day, and we expect the same from this week’s offering, Candy Cane Red, which is their Island Red with a blend of spearmint and peppermint added. Remember these are in growlers only, so pop by after work to grab it for the weekend’s festivities.

• One of Nova Scotia’s newest breweries, Tanner Brewing has a bunch of news for us this week, catching us up with what they’ve been doing down in Chester Basin. First off, although they have previously told us of their plans to use their own grapes in some of their beers in the future, focus this year has been getting the brewery up and running and not so much on the vineyards. In the spirit of exploring grape flavor profiles in beer without actually using grapes, brewer Dan Tanner is doing up some batches where he focuses on assembling a recipe reminiscent of a particular grape variety. The first one of these batches will be a dry Saison that reflects Nova Scotia Muscat grapes, with their grapefruit, orange, rose and pine notes. Look for this one to be ready and available in the coming weeks and for more beers in this vein to appear over the next year.

• Already pouring at the brewery is Tanner’s Roggenbier, a German style featuring rye malt for a spiciness to contrast an otherwise malt-balanced beer and also the phenolic, clove-like characteristics of the Weizen yeast used to ferment it. We’re told it’s not the clearest beer ever made, but if you can get past its somewhat murky appearance it’s a tasty brew. And coming soon are a couple more news brews, the first a Spiced Weizen (wheat) beer reminiscent of a Hefeweizen, but given more of a winter flair through the use of spices, including allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to complement the clove phenols from the yeast. And also coming is a Sticke Alt, a hoppier and maltier brew than a standard Altbier, that boasts a clean malt character and a stiff bitterness at 50 IBU, finished with a dry hop of noble Tettnang. Lastly, a couple notes on beers that will be available outside the brewery. The Belgian Blonde Ale is being released this week; at 6.3% and 30 IBU, it has to this point been one of their most popular pilot brews. And their Pale Ale will be sent out in kegs next week. Described as, “English Pale meets American Pale,” the first run came in a little higher than the pilot batches at 6% ABV due to efficiency differences on the larger system, but it still shows a happy marriage of English malts with citrusy Amercian hops. Look for it and the Belgian Blonde at tap accounts with some reserved for sale at the brewery.

Backstage Brewing has released Black Dog, a Coffee Stout brewed in collaboration with Stellarton’s local coffee shop, King of Cups. Hopped with Chinook, the addition of espresso from Nova Coffee gives the beer notes of “coffee, chocolate, roast, with a clean finish”, according to the brewery. Coming in at 5% ABV, it’s available at the brewery now, and will likely show up on tap at a few select accounts in the province.

Bulwark Cider from New Ross, NS, has two charitable drives going on now: From now until December 21st, every bottle of People’s Cider 2016 sold will trigger a 10% donation to Feed Nova Scotia. That means for every bottle you buy, FNS can supply a meal for a person in need. Pick up yours today at the ciderhouse, or private stores in HRM. Extending their good deeds to our animal companions, Bulwark has released bottles of their Oak-aged Cider to support the Nova Scotia SPCA. Featuring 12 unique labels, each featuring an adoptable cat or dog, chosen to raise awareness of the many animals available for adoption in the provinces shelters. The 7.5% ABV cider inside is Bulwark’s signature five-apple blend and spent 6 months in American oak barrels. From Bulwark, “The result is a smooth and clean cider with all the best qualities of oak: earthy with warm notes of pear, vanilla and cloves.” Bottles (and cases of bottles featuring all 12 distinct labels) are available at private stores, as well as the NSLC, and a portion of sales is going towards the NSSPCA.

• With Christmas fast approaching, beer lovers in St. John’s can rejoice with the realization that this year’s iteration of Mummer’s Brew from YellowBelly will soon be flowing at the brewpub. The 2017 version is being billed as a “Blackcurrant Milk Stout” reminiscent of a Midnight cocktail (combination of a port and Stout), according to the brewery. Featuring a complex grist of Pale malt, Flaked Oats, Roasted Barley, Pale Chocolate malt, and Carastan, there were, of course, several other ingredients. The extras include apple cider concentrate, lactose powder, and black currants, and the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with Bramling Cross, Cluster, and Nugget. You should be able to find it at the brewery by early next week; expect aromas of roast, chocolate, and “slight smoke augmented by the currants”, with the tartness of said currants blending with a roasty, malty sweetness from the use of specialty malts. Bottles of this 6.5% ABV brew should be available shortly after its release on tap. Be sure to grab some before or after tomorrow’s Mummer’s Parade!

• Friday in Fredericton usually means another new beer release from TrailWay, and today is no exception, with the launch of Emerald occurring at noon. The brewery’s take on the New Zealand Pilsner – a mid-strength, well-attenuated-but-not-extremely-dry, drinkable Pilsner featuring NZ hop varieties – Emerald features a grist of “complex Pale malts” and was hopped with Motueka and Wakatu. Conditioned on lime zest, the beer has an “upfront juicy-candied-lime character, with a tropical fruit element”, making it “reminiscent of a key lime pie”. Very drinkable as per the style at 5% ABV, as usual cans will be for sale at the brewery only, as well as pints and growlers (with a few accounts in Fredericton getting a keg or two as well).

• If you’re in Halifax, we naturally assume that you’ll be heading to the book launch for East Coast Crafted at Stillwell on Saturday (more on that in the events section below); if you didn’t need another reason to head that way, here’s another – the fourth in as many weeks new beer launch from Stillwell Brewing will take place on Saturday as well! SAAZBIER is a blend of two hoppy Saisons fermented in white wine barrels over the summer (making SAAZBIER SB’s first beer fermented entirely in oak). Both beers used in the blend were hopped mostly with Sterling, with some Magnum and Tettnang joining the party. After aging, they were both dry-hopped with a healthy dose of – you guessed it – Saaz hops. The beer was then bottled and conditioned for several more months before its release, where it will finally be ready for your eager mouth (or pie-hole, whichever you prefer). Described by the brewery as “bitter, aromatic, and lightly tart”, and “very aromatic with the yeast and hop aromas”, think of this one as similar to Stillwell 3, but barrel aged. Like the recent releases you’ll be able to buy it by the bottle at the brewery on Sunday. Luckily, they have more bottles of this release than their previous beers, but it’s still a good idea to get there on Sunday to pick your bottles up!

• With the Tidehouse Tap Takeover tomorrow evening at Tom’s Little Havana to celebrate the brewery’s One Year Anniversary, of course one of the eight taps would include a new beer! The brewery got experimental and created Idea of Nord, a “Norwegian Farmhouse Ale”. Brewed with a grist of all-Vienna malt, and hopped with Northern Brewer, they followed the Norwegian tradition of steeping all of their brewing water with juniper boughs. Fermented with the Yeast Bay’s Sigmund’s Voss Kveik strain, the beer has some spicy, herbal flavours, as well as a “pronounced orange flavour” that is common with that particular yeast strain. The rest of the lineup of the Tap Takeover is also now available through the event’s Facebook page, so take a gander and plan your attack!

• Yesterday’s Big Spruce Tap Takeover at Battery Park was a massive success, featuring 15 taps and one cask, with a mix of old favourites, seasonals, new releases, and teases of what’s to come. Their popular Blood Donair made its return, a 7.1% ABV Stout that featured several kilos of donair meat in the brew, and then aged on raspberries. Not related, except by name, is a new small release of Blood Juniper, a 6.0% ABV IPA featuring Blood Orange and Juniper for an extra citrus and piney kick. A small batch Experimental Sour Brett Saison also made its debut yesterday, and details are currently murky as to when it will see wider release. The latest batch of their tribute beer, Coadeword: Snowmageddon Winter Warmer, was pouring from a cask through a handpump, and will be released soon, and a tease of 2018’s Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was available on nitro as well. Look for several of these to be available today at opening in case you missed out, and in wider release in the coming weeks.

• Alma’s Holy Whale and Buddha Bear Cafe have launched their latest beer, a kellerbier. Keller Whale is 5.3% ABV brew that has been conditioning for quite a while (keller is “cellar” is German), smoothing out any harsh character and dropping clear without the use of filtering. Drop by their spot for a taste today, with $0.50 of each pint being donated to The Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

• Pre-ordering on Red Rover’s website is available today for a line of cider/spirit collaboration with Distillerie Fils du RoyThe Spirits of Christmas. Available for the next three Saturdays, Past, Present, and Future, are ciders and spirit blends from these two craft alcohol producers. Check out their brand new online store for more details!

Another round of events coming up in the region!

Tomorrow is the launch of East Coast Crafted book at Stillwell, and there will be a full complement of fun to be had! A fully Atlantic Canadian tap list with many breweries pouring for the first time outside of their home province, and many of the brewers and other folks (*cough* *cough* even us) interviewed for the book will be on hand to chat beer, sign babies and kiss books. There are no tickets necessary for entry, but buying the book there will get you your first drink and snack for free! And the first ten folks to take advantage deal will receive a bonus branded glass, t-shirt, and coaster. Check the full taplist and other details here, it all kicks off at noon. See you there!

• Tickets for next summer’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will go on sale this Sunday, December 10th. Last summer’s inaugural event was a huge success, with plenty of breweries and beer drinkers descending on the town of Nackawic for the outdoor festival. They’re promising next year’s (which will be held on Saturday, July 14th from 4-9 pm) to be even better, as they’ve already confirmed close to double the number of beer and cider vendors at the fest. As well, there are more options for getting to and from the festival next summer, as there are various ticket options that include bus rides from Woodstock, Fredericton and Saint John, and back again after the festival is over. We’ll have more details over the coming months; in the meantime, be sure to grab your tickets ($50 regular admission, $65 for admission + round-trip bus transportation) on Sunday, here.

• Tickets are still available for Winter’s big event in Halifax, the Fifth Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. Being held ThursdayJanuary 18th at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, 16 breweries from across Nova Scotia will be paired up with restaurants and food suppliers to bring you an all-inclusive evening taking over several rooms of the hotel, effectively the entire first floor! Take a gander at the brewery and vendor list here, and pick up your tickets today!

• The following weekend will see a special night for the new breweries and cider houses in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore getting together at one of their own. South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night will be held at Roof Hound Brewing January 24th. From 6:30, beer from Annapolis Brewing CompanyHeritage BrewingLazy Bear, and Lunn’s Mill will take over the taps for the evening. Your $30 ticket includes an appetizer and your first flight of all ten beers on tap (2 from each in attendance), live music from David Chamberland, and a fun meet and greet with this gaggle of brewers. Grab your tickets at Roof Hound today, or email them to get the ball rolling.

And a few more notes before we let you go:

– Next Tuesday’s release of Good Robot‘s Beta Brew will be Rebel Destiny, a 7.6% ABV Double Black IPA hopped with Enigma and Galaxy. Also, DeWolfe of Wall Street is back on tap at the brewery’s taproom, and they’ve just canned their second round of Extra Big Ass Camacho Lager.
Hell Bay has brought back their Tannen Bomb, a 5% ABV “Honey Blonde Ale” infused with balsam fir, for the holidays. It’s on tap at the brewery now, and will be released in bottles sometime next week.
Horton Ridge Malt and Grain has released their latest beer, Kings & Queens SMaSH. From the brewery: “It is a tale of two counties. The barley was developed and grown in Queens County, PEI by Lester Craig; the Centennial hops were grown in Kings County NS by Fundy Hops. A nice light beer, at 4.2% ABV, it has become popular with our taproom regulars. Available in pints/tasters at the Malt House, and in growlers to go.”

Wow, it’s December already! Time flies when there’s so much beer news to collect and share across our region! This week’s news is a mix of new and returning beers, some holiday-themed events, and hints of new breweries set to open in the New Year. Crack open that Advent Calendar beer or chocolate, and let’s dive right in.

• We lead off with lots of new beer news from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing, who actually sent all this info in days ahead of the post going up (we’re still a bit dizzy with shock)! To start off, they have a new brew on tap at their tiny taproom, a Saison named Sylvan Specter. Featuring some noticeable malt flavours thanks to the use of Munich and Melanoiden malts in the grist on top of a base Pale malt, as well as some Wheat malt to boost the mouthfeel, this 4.9% ABV was hopped with Enigma and Saaz at the end of the boil, for “a blend of earthy, fruity, and herbal components”. Fermented with two Saison strains (Farmhouse Ale and French Saison), expect a very dry beer with some spicy phenolics, in addition to the flavours mentioned above.

• Continuing with the rest of the Tidehouse news, they have brewed three other new beers to celebrate the opening of new restaurant aFrite, which opens tomorrow at 1360 Lower Water St. in Halifax. They are the following, with each designed to pair with specific plates: Bishop’s Porter, a 6.2% ABV “Raspberry American Porter”, the raspberry presence is fairly light to pair with aFrite’s sous vide Side of Beef with Frites and Bernaise sauce; Salter Saison, a 5.4% ABV amber-coloured Saison hopped heavily with Perle and Tettnanger featuring lots of herbal notes, to pair with their Donair Gnocchi; and Morris Ale, a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Citra, with fresh lime zest also added, paired with Fried Cauliflower in curry sauce (featuring cilantro, cumin, ghee, and lemon).

Roof Hound has a new Sour that incorporates a different approach to the souring method, compared to previous releases of theirs in this style. They actually made their own yogurt with a bacteria culture used by a local Nova Scotian family for close to 100 years, according to owner/brewer Les Barr. Built up over several weeks in coconut milk, the resulting coconut yogurt (therefore dairy-free) was added directly to the wort to lower the pH (to just barely above 3). Shredded coconut had also been added to the mash, and the whole thing was fermented with a blend of five yeast strains. Named Dooflicker Tropical Brown Sour, the resulting 5.3% ABV beer hits you “with a jaw-cramping mouth pucker, followed by a good remaining body, and a slight chocolate and coconut finish”.

• The crew at Port Rexton Brewing has had a busy fall, and are ready to unveil several new and returning beers this weekend. At this evening’s 12 Beers of Christmas in St. John’s (more details below), they are debuting Rewind Saison, which is a take on their previously-released Mixed Opportunity mixed-fermentation Saison. The Rewind, however, is fermented solely with Sacchromyces yeast (no Brett here), for a different profile. Light-to-medium in body, with a mild sweetness with herbal notes in the flavour, and fruity esters and spicy phenolics on the nose, the beer ends up at 5.5% ABV. If there’s any left after this evening’s event, it will be available tomorrow at the brewery. Speaking of which, for the next four Saturdays (Dec 2, 9, 16, and Tibb’s Eve), the brewery will be open 2-10PM for all of your sample, pint, and growler needs.

• Also available this weekend at the brewery will be a trio of their beers in cans, following their successful, and sold out, release of Blazing Sun NE-DIPA mid-November. Baycation BlondeT-Rex Porter, and Chasing Sun NEIPA will all be available at opening, and the only spot to grab them is at the brewery.

• And debuting next Thursday, December 7, is a fundraising collaboration in support of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. The beer was brewed with the folks from the Aquarium, as well as Motion Bay Brewing Company, opening next year in Petty Harbour, as well as the folks from Jack AxesOceans & Orchards is a truly Axe-perimental brew, as the base beer (grist of 2 Row, Oats, Honey, Vienna and a touch of Crystal 60 malts) features 50 litres of fresh-pressed apple juice courtesy of Newfoundland Cider Company (debuting their ciders in 2018 as well). The resultant 4.5% ABV graf (that is, beer/cider hybrid) features notes of honey and apple, enhanced by the El Dorado and Huell Melon dry hopping. O&O is debuting at the December 7th event at 7PM at Jack Axes on Water Street, for an evening of throwing axes and sipping on this and other beers, all while benefiting the new aquarium in PH. More details are available at the FB Event page.

• Ashdale Nova Scotia’s Meander River has a new cider available this weekend, in celebration of their expanded production space. Two 2,000 litre fermenters, and one brite tank, all dedicated to cider production, have been added to their brewery, so as not to inhibit their brewing pipeline, and increase their cider availability. The fermenters have already been filled, so stay tuned for those releases in the New Year. In the meantime, the latest release is Perry Noel, a 5.5% ABV perry cider, made with 100% Nova Scotia pears from Davison Farm in Falmouth. A light and dry cider (no back sweetening used), aromas of earthiness and tropical fruit are present on the nose. Available at the brewery today for growler fills, kegs have been delivered to bars and restaurants in Hants County and HRM, so keep an eye out as you make your way around the area.

• And you can learn even more about the brewing and cider plans if you listen to the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, as the gents visited Alan and Brenda Bailey (and Angus) to learn about their farm, brewery, cider production, and plans for the future. The latest episode can be streamed directly at their site, or downloaded for offline enjoyment.

• Like clockwork, our pals at 2 Crows in Halifax have got a bunch of new beers to tickle your tastebuds this week and next, so let’s get you the details post-haste. Released earlier this week is their latest small batch brew, Shoreline. A 4.6% ABV Pale Ale, with a base of 2 Row and Oat malts, and hopped with Azacca and Huell Melon, before fermentation with a blend of a dozen different strains of Brettanomyces yeasts, before dry-hopping with Vic Secret, and a final keg conditioning with champagne yeast. Phew! The resultant beer is dry, funky, and fruity, with notes of guava, tangerine, and pineapple. As with all of these small batch brews (the Attempted Murder Series name still hasn’t caught on), this one is only available by the glass.

• Tomorrow, 2C is unleashing the latest of their full canned releases, brewed by Jeremy Taylor in collaboration with a fellow former-BC brewer, and current Manitoba brewery owner, Miguel Cloutier, of Kilter Brewing. Firmly in the Milkshake IPA territory, Hawaiian Ivory has a slew of light-coloured malts at its base, including Pilsner, Wheat, Oat, and Honey, along with the heavy dose of lactose and vanilla, iconic for the style. Playing up on the milkshake idea, bananas, dried coconut, lime zest, mango and pineapple purée were added in the boil and conditioning tank. The hops chosen are also quite fruity and tropical, with AzaccaCitraHuell Melon, and Simcoe in the boil, with all but Huell Melon also added in a dry hop for another aromatic blast. Hawaiian Ivory will be available from opening at noon tomorrow, by the glass and can, and in a first, Kilter and 2 Crows fans in Manitoba will be able to purchase this collaboration in Winnipeg later this month.

• And in upcoming beer news, 2C’s Linnea Finnish Imperial Stout will be released next Wednesday, December 6th. Brewed in celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary Independence Day, the beer incorporates popular flavours from Finnish cuisine, including cardamom and salty liquorice. Taylor lived in Finland for a time, and his brother still lives in the country, raising a family. Linnea is named after Taylor’s niece. Using 95% Finnish-grown and -produced malt from Viking Malt (courtesy of local company Nordic Malz), it features Pale, Oats, Crystal, Chocolate Malts and Roast Barley, with molasses, to 9.1% ABV. Moderately hopped to 60 IBU with Columbus, and Golding (and a touch of Centennial for a light, bright, nose), it features additions of sea salt, liquorice root, star anise and cardamom pods. Drop by the brewery Wednesday to celebrate all things Finnish, and grab a pint to celebrate. And it may even be available to those outside of the province thanks to some holiday-themed boxes many folks have started opening today… Kippis!

• And we’re already behind schedule with today’s publishing, so we do not have time to tell you about the details on the next releases, but rest assured you’ll want to keep an eye out for their next canned release mid-month, as well as the beers they have cooked up for their First Anniversary in January.

• This weekend marks the third straight week of new releases from Stillwell Brewing, with the latest, Gosh, dropping first at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow, followed by a bottle release at the brewery on Sunday from 12-4. A pale Farmhouse Ale aged in a red wine barrel, Gosh is described as “bone-dry, with a tropical fruit fermentation character and grippy finish”. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to help boost that tropical fruit character, we’re sure this one will sell out as quickly as the last two, so show up early on Sunday!

• There’s two new beers coming out of TrailWay this week, with the first one being a new winter seasonal. Parallel is a “Session Ale” with a grain bill made up of 100% German Pale malt, and hopped entirely with Mosaic. The brewery describes it as “super-balanced”, with the hop-focus not being quite as strong as in many of their other beers. Indeed sessionable at just 4% ABV, expect a “rather subtle tropical fruitiness with a solid, crackery-malt profile”. It’s available on tap now around Fredericton, as well as in cans (both at the brewery and ANBL stores). The next beer, Good Times in the Fridge, is another hop bomb that released today at noon. A pale-coloured American IPA with minimal bitterness, it was hopped with Galaxy and Motueka. At 6% ABV, cans of this one are available at the brewery only.

• Now that Fredericton’s Bogtrotter is back to full-brewing mode, they’re releasing a brand new beer this week. Cranky Crab Coconut Porter is a 5% dark ale brewed with toasted coconut (added in the mash, boil, and secondary) and chocolate nibs. Also featuring hints of vanilla in the flavour (thanks to the addition of pure extract in secondary), it weighs in at 5% ABV and will soon be available on tap at the James Joyce and Cask and Kettle.

Rockbottom Brewpub on Spring Garden Road in Halifax has a new beer available, an American Wheat that was dosed with raspberries they’re calling Witty Pun. With his feet now firmly under him in RB’s cramped brewing quarters, brewer Ian Kean is starting to exert himself on the beer menu more and though it might not seem “seasonal” in November, this beer is certainly accessible, with a solid wheat presence underlying a lovely raspberry aroma and flavour. Clean American yeast yields an otherwise fairly dry finish to this 5.0% ABV beer, which also sports 12 IBU worth of balancing hop bitterness. As of yesterday, it was available for growler fills and pints at the pub.

Good Robot released a new Alpha Brew, Steambot Willie, earlier this week. With a grist made up of Maris Otter, Amber malt, Carapils, Red X, and Rye, it was hopped with Mt. Hood, Perle, and Magnum to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with more Perle, and Tettnang. Fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, think of this one as an Ale-Lager hybrid, similar in a way to a California Common. At 5.5% ABV, and described as an “earthy, malty Lager with a bitter finish”, it’s available on tap now at GR, and will likely pop up around the HRM. And for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew release, we have Alien From Next Door, an American Pale Ale brewed by Kelly C. and Lianne Lessard. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, Red X and Crystal 30, Polaris was used for bittering (to 27 IBUs), with later hop additions including Galaxy and Willamette, and then a dry-hop with more Polaris. And finally, note that cans of GR’s Extra Big ASS Lager and bottles of Barrel-Aged Mississippi Goddamn can now be purchased at the Halifax private liquor stores.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House in Lower Sackville continues to round out their line of easy-drinking beers with a light wheat ale they’re calling Orange American Bastard (we’ve no idea what, or who, that name could be referring to). Boasting orange peel, both sweet and bitter varieties, along with coriander, all added late in the boil for a Belgian flair, it was fermented (we think) on an American yeast for a clean ester profile. This 4.7% ABV beer is built on a base of wheat and pale malts with a little bit of Vienna for character. Crisp and clean with a nice mouthfeel, this is, according to brewer Keith Forbes, “a Summer beer heading into Winter.” It’s available now, but only on one of the guest taps at Good Robot on Robie Street in Halifax.

Heritage Brewing has a follow-up to their popular Citra Session IPA, meaning if you like hops, you should have no problem with this one! White Sands Milkshake IPA was brewed with a “touch” of lactose and ample amounts of Ekuanot and Citra hops, giving lots of “fruity, citrusy, and tropical” aromas and flavours. Available now, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 60 IBUs.

• Darmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing has announced that they have a new brewer working alongside Head Brewer Jake Saunders. Connor MacLeod is originally from Bridgewater, and has studied in the Certified Brewmaster course at the prestigious VLB Berlin. Previously working at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, he brings several years of experience of homebrewing and passion to his commercial work, which started in part thanks to his father, who is also a beer fan. Welcome aboard, Connor! And perhaps to celebrate their new arrival, 9L has brought back their Vanilla Porter, a 5.0% ABV porter with a touch of vanilla for a light sweetness and aromatic meld with the chocolate and dark malt character. Available in cans and growler fills at the brewery today!

• Last weekend was the party and announcement for the Sober Island Brewing Foraged Homebrew Competition, at the brewery in Sheet Harbour. From 15 entries, Andrew Deveaux’s entry Raspberry Beer Eh! took top honours. Brewed with 95% malt from Horton Ridge, Deveaux’s beer featured late-season raspberries foraged from his own backyard added to a Wheat Beer base. Congratulations to Deveaux, and we expect to see a full release of the winning beer once raspberries make their return next year. In the meantime, look for SIBC’s Winter Rye to debut this month.

• Last Sunday saw an excellent turnout at the Dartmouth location of the Wooden Monkey for the 5th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge. As announced back in September, this competition was wide open style-wise, as it was instead entered around the use of the “Pin Cherry #1” yeast strain harvested from the property of Big Spruce in Nyanza, Cape Breton. This yeast was identified to have somewhat of a Belgian character, in the Trappist vein of being somewhat spicy and phenolic, with a medium flocculation and attenuation. As organized by ACBB’s own Chris McDonald, 39 entries fermented on the yeast were evaluated and scored by 12 judges, with the assistance of 4 stewards, over the course of the afternoon, culminating in a Best of Show round where the 9 favorites were slowly winnowed down to a top 3 with an honorable mention. Top prize went to Justin Clarke’s Split Personality a North American Saison that was fermented with both the Big Spruce yeast and a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being aged on wood chips. The variety of beers entered was vast, with classic Belgian, North American and even English styles competing against more outré beers featuring additional ingredients as varied as lime zest and tomatillo, habanero peppers, pineapple and coconut, peach and sage, and applewood tea. There was even a mead entry from local meadmaker Nancy Hartling that was not able to be accepted into the competition but which was tasted at the gala and turned out very nicely. The overall quality, according to the judges, was top notch, especially considering the range of beers and the fact that not a single brewer had previously used the yeast. Congratulations to all those who entered, and especially those who placed, and many thanks to Jeremy and the team at Big Spruce, and all those involved in helping reach the result. Sláinte. We look forward to tasting Justin’s winning entry when a production batch is brewed sometime in the future. And don’t forget the Big Spruce tap takeover at Battery Park this coming Thursday, November 7th!

• The Murphy Hospitality Group – owners of the PEI Brewing Co. / Gahan House – have announced that they will be opening yet another Gahan House Restaurant & Brewery location, this time in downtown Fredericton. They have purchased Vault 29, a restaurant/bar at 426 Queen St., for the new brewpub, which will have a 120-seat dining room, oyster bar, two seasonal patios, and a 5 bbl (600 L) brewhouse onsite. The plan is for the brewpub to open sometime in the spring, making it the fifth Gahan location (Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, and soon-to-open Moncton). The full press-release can be read here.

• As we’ve mentioned previously, the ambitious “East Coast Crafted” was released earlier this week, and is available for purchase at book stores across the region, as well as many of the breweries featured in the book. Learning more about the 80+ breweries in our region, authors Christopher Reynolds and Whitney Moran interviews and visited many of these spots to speak face-to-face with those behind the breweries we talk about weekly. The book also features dozens of photographs by Jessica Emin. Don’t forget that the authors will be celebrating the book with a launch December 9th at Stillwell, with beers from all four Atlantic Provinces pouring, where you can meet the authors and many of the brewery folks featured in the book.

Another weekend full of events for you to enjoy across our region:

• As mentioned above, the 12 Beers of Christmas is taking place this evening in St. John’s. At Club One on New Gower, from 7:30PM, attendees will be greeted with a full glass of beer, plus tokens to enjoy samples of the other 11 onsite. In addition to the debut of Port Rexton’s Rewind, Mill Street YYT is debuting their Crooked Cow Latte Stout, and you will be able to enjoy many beers not otherwise available in the province (Big Spruce Cereal Killer, 2Crows Pollyanna, Upstreet Eighty Bob and White Noize, and Maybee Stone House Tripel. Check this page for the full list of what will be pouring. After you’ve tried them all, you can purchase more tokens for samples or full pours of your favourites. Grab your tickets now, dust off your ugly Christmas sweater, and head out for a party!

• Good news, thirsty Cape Bretoners! The 2nd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 2nd, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still some general admission tickets available ($55 + tax, each), which gets you entry into the festival at 7-9:30 pm. A special glass and unlimited beer samples are included, and many local breweries will be on hand to pour their creations, and chat beer! Note that Designated Driver tickets ($15 + tax) are also still available; all tickets can be purchased from the event website above.

Tidehouse Brewing is turning one, and are celebrating in style with a Tap Takeover at Tom’s Little Havana next Saturday, December 9th. All eight taps will be dedicated to Tidehouse, which they’ll be filling with some of their best beers brewed over the past year. The fun starts at 5 pm and will continue until close; stay tuned to their event page for a full taplist release next week.

• Christmas is just around the corner, with Boxing Day of course right behind it; if you’re in the Fredericton area, what better way to celebrate Boxing Day than a Boxing Rock Tap Takeover? Being held on Tuesday, December 26th at the King Street Ale House, there’ll be tons of BR beers pouring, starting at 5 pm. You can just show up and pay by the pint, but if you reserve your spot now for $15, you’ll get a flight of beer and a pound of wings. Sounds like a good deal to us! Tickets can be purchased on the event page.

And a couple more returning favourites this week:

– Following last week’s release of Midnight, their Glenora Distillery Barrel-aged Strong Dark Belgian beer, HRM’s North Brewing has teed up the non-barrel version. Dark Sky is available today in 650 mL bottles at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops.
– And down the road on Gottingen Street, Propeller has a new cask for us this evening, a version of their Double IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7 and Ekuanot hops. They’ll be cracking into that at 5 PM as usual.
Red Rover has brought back their festive Jingleberry Cider, featuring additions of wild blueberry, cardamom, and nutmeg paired with notes of caramel, you’ll find it at the Ciderhouse and ANBL locations around the province.

Happy Friday, beer lovers! November is quickly winding down, and the stores are getting busier every day; when Christmas gets closer, stress levels tend to rise, and there’s plenty of ways to help relieve that stress. We like to recommend three easy methods to remedy that stress… sit back, open a good beer, and read about beer! You can’t deny that it’s a hell of a lot better than Black Friday shopping! Unfortunately, we have to start off this week’s reading with some sad news…

• Charlo River, New Brunswick’s Shiretown has confirmed that they will be closing their doors at the end of this month, with owner Derek Leslie breaking the news in a Facebook post a few days ago. Shiretown first opened in nearby Dalhousie in 2011, becoming one of the province’s first small commercial breweries. Originally a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, Shiretown closed down in the summer of 2015, before re-opening a year later with a larger 2 bbl (240 L) brewhouse. Bottles of their beers have been in ANBL stores for some time now, and no doubt there will be some remaining for several weeks for fans of the brewery to pick up. We wish all the best to Derek and the rest of the Shiretown team in the future.

• Today, North will be releasing Reverb, the latest in their Finite Series of one-off beers. This latest brew is a 5.9% ABV, 13 IBUs wine-barrel aged American Wheat Ale; aged in the barrels for 2 months, before undergoing bottle conditioning, the beer has tasting notes of “lemon, grapefruit, peach, light funk and a refreshing effervescence”, according to the brewery. There’s a very limited number of 750 mL bottles available – just 292 – so make sure to drop by either of the North bottle shops to pick up yours, before they’re gone. And while there, note that their Darmouth Dark – a 4.5% ABV Dark Lager – has returned, and is available for growler fills and can purchases.

• If you’re in the Mahone Bay area this weekend, you might as well keep your eyes open for a returning Saltbox brew, and a new iteration on one of their other beers. For the returning brew, their seasonal Balsam Blue is back… billed as a “Specialty Lager”, it’s a celebration of Lunenburg County being labelled as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree capital of the world (we’re going to take them on their word for that one!). That’s right, real balsam tips were added to this 6.3% ABV beer, along with pureed blueberries, giving it a purplish hue and lots of Balsam on the nose. As for the new take on a previous beer, they’ve taken their Old Foundry stout and aged it in a Bourbon barrel. The result is a higher ABV (7.9% ABV vs. 6.3%), an flavors of bourbon and oak to go along with the roasted, coffee characteristics already in the beer.

• After a hugely successful first-bottle release of Four, their fourth Anniversary beer, last Sunday, Stillwell Brewing is releasing their second beer-in-bottles this weekend… and it sounds equally as delicious! Sport is a “Tart Farmhouse Ale” brewed with sea salt and lime zest. Brewed this past spring, it was moved to oak barrels and matured for several months, before being bottled in early July. At 4.7% ABV it’s very easy-drinking, but still has complex aromas and flavors of “zippy, spicy hops, lime, and barrel notes of coconut and vanilla”. You’ll be able to buy it at Stillwell for on-site consumption starting tomorrow, and then you can hop on down to the brewery on Sunday to buy some bottles to take home. They’re open 12-4 pm, and please keep in mind a limited amount of 30 cases are available, and all of Four sold out before closing last week.

• Up on the Bay of Fundy, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer called Tribute, a tropical session IPA. Featuring two ultra fruity hops in Northern Hemisphere orange bomb Citra and Southern Hemisphere tropical delight Galaxy it’s got a “lively bitterness” and “zingy mouthfeel” coming in at a very quaffable 5.1% ABV but a hefty 73 IBU. It’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills, and kegs have already gone to Dartmouth’s Battery Park and Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing, although only time will tell when the beer will be tapped at those locations.

• Over to TrailWay, who will be releasing another new beer today at noon, Dank Williams. Named after Travis Tritt, this is – as you may have guessed from the name, and a few of their previous releases – a hop bomb, featuring a selection of some of their favorite dank hops, as well as some that are also in the fruity and spicy zone of the wheel. Columbus, Enigma, and Summit are the focus here, with all three varieties coming together in a perfectly-hoppy 6% ABV package, an American IPA with “a ton of complexity and character”, according to the brewery. Available at the brewery in cans and growlers, alongside the return of their Red IPA, Good Aura, which is back for the season (currently in cans only).

• Down in Antigonish, Half Cocked Brewing has a new beer, this one an IPA called Bury’d Son. Sitting at 6.4% ABV and 50 IBU, it’s got a light golden color and a fruity citrus aroma. American Azacca and Australian Ella hops were used for first wort hops and early kettle additions, while Topaz, Citra and more Azacca and Ella were added late, giving the beer a sharp, even bitterness and a delicate hop aroma. The latest batch of Horton Ridge 2-row malt served as the base of the grist. This is a limited edition brew, not likely to be made again, so if it sounds like something you’d like, head down to the brewery and get yourself a fill.

• The Beta Brews just don’t stop over at Good Robot, with yet another new one being released next Tuesday (and note that Beta Brews can now be filled up in the 0.89 L growler), Chicka Cherry Kölsch. Brewed by Kelly and Georgie, it has a simple grist of Pilsner malt and a bit of Vienna, and was hopped lightly to 19 IBUs with Tettnang. Fermented with a Kölsch yeast, cherry juice was added in secondary, resulting in a clean-tasting beer with a “tart black cherry flavour”. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV.

• It appears that YellowBelly has no intentions of slowing down in the one-off beer department, as there’s yet another new one newly on tap at the brewpub this week. I’se da’ Rye is a Rye Pale Ale brewed with Pale malt, Rye malt, Rye flakes, and CaraVienne. Bittered with Cluster and El Dorado 40-45 IBUs, it was then dry-hopped with more El Dorado, as well as some Citra. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, expect notes of “candy, watermelon, pear, lychee, and red berry, with a bitter finish”, according to YB. You can pick it up in growlers and pints at the brewpub, and bottles should be for sale early next week.

Holy Whale Brewing in Alma, New Brunswick got some wonderful news recently, as they were notified that were successful in their bid for a grant to open a café in a customized shipping container along the Petitcodiac River in Riverview, NB. Competing against four other plans from local businesses, they were selected on the basis of the business concept, plans for the future and business experience. The funding comes from a grant provided by the provincial government to the municipality to help commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday. Although licensing and permitting is expected to take some time, they’re hoping to be operational as early as late January, serving a full lineup of Buddha Bear coffee, a local-based menu and Holy Whale beer from a take-out window facing the boardwalk. And for those folks who can’t wait that long for their Holy Whale fix, we can report that HW is now licensed to sell growlers and crowlers from their brewery and taproom, at the Eastern entrance to Fundy National Park, and that should mean kegs will be making their way to licensees in the province soon.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer recently took a previous 10 gallon pilot brew and scaled it up to a full-sized batch. Featuring a grist of largely pale ale malt, with some crystal to give it color and 10% Canadian Rye for spiciness, Commander Rye-Ker Imperial Rye IPA was heavily hopped with Amarillo at a rate of 2 lbs or so every 15 minutes through a 75-minute boil. Three quarters of the way through fermentation even more Amarillo was added as a dry hop. Clean American ale yeast ensured a neutral yeast character to show off the malt and, especially, the hops. Although it’s pushing the 8% ABV mark and sporting a hefty estimated IBU range of 80-100, it’s a sneaky one that’s likely to creep up on you. It’s available at the brewery for fills for sure, but given that it’s a full-size batch you might reasonably expect it to show up at tap accounts and who knows, possibly other packaging formats.

• Teensy-tiny Tidehouse in downtown Hal-town has another new beer for us this week, this time a Hopfenweisse called Cloud Shadow. Coming in at a very sessionable 4.6% ABV, it’s based on a grist of half wheat male and half pale malt. Fruity and citrusy Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany were paired with earthy, floral and also citrusy Ahtanum hops from the USA to provide notes of mandarin orange and a lemony, tart finish. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street for fills and 4oz pours. And stay tuned for news of Tidehouse’s 1st Birthday Celebration coming up in December!

Garrison in Halifax is looking for everyone to pucker up this week, releasing two new draught-only sours. First is Holy Gose, a thirst-quenching brew with light fruit flavors of apple, peach and orange zest paired with a light saltiness typical of the style. Built on a base of Pilsner and wheat malts, and eschewing hops entirely, additions of orange zest and sea salt finished this brew. It weighs in at a fairly light 5.4% ABV. And joining it on the board is La Menta, a beer brewed with mint (“menta” is Spanish for “mint”) provided by local home brewer and beer judge Tim Fletcher. Similar in concept to the Saison Froide made by brewmaster Daniel Girard a few years ago, the mint provides a “cooling” character intended to be refreshing. Using the same grist as the the Holy Gose, there’s no hops in this one either, but the aforementioned mint along with apple and lime juices provide flavour notes to pair with the acidity of this 5.2% ABV sour. As mentioned, these are draught-only releases that you can find now at the brewery or by times at Garrison tap accounts. If you’re super duper keen, you can specifically seek it out using their website’s On Tap feature.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a pair of new/returning beer that you will want to check out this weekend, plus a heads up on one coming next week. Returning from a summer off, Set Sail Pale Ale is back in the rotation. At 6.0% ABV, this light-bodied beer receives a heavy dose of hops, but very little in the kettle. The resultant beer has tons of citrus aroma and hop flavour, but very low bitterness. A brand new debut is a pepper beer, Hot as Firk (which is what you’ll be exclaiming after you drink a pint of it, we imagine!). Featuring multiple peppers, including Thai Bird’s Eye, Cayenne, and the infamous Carolina Reaper, this beer is a must-try for chili-heads. No waiver needed to sign before you try it, but best to have one of their other beers nearby in case you need some relief. HaF is only available at their King Street location. And keep an eye out for their as-of-yet-unnamed Black IPA, debuting next week. Weighing in at 7.0% ABV, it features lots of hops, with CascaseChinook, and Simcoe coming through with citrus and pine notes, melding with the light roast character of the dark roasted malts. Keep an eye on their social media for the release date!

2 Crows Brewing in Halifax, who recently released a delightful little number known as Amateur Hour that you should totally drink, released another new beer from their pilot system on Tuesday of this week. The brainchild of their tasting room’s Graeme, it’s his take on the Dutch Bokbier (differentiated from a German Bock by the use of ale yeast instead of lager yeast) but with a twist. Leveraging hearty Munich as a base malt, to which was added Pilsner, Caravienne, along with small amounts of Wheat and Flaked Oats and some Chocolate malt for color, this beer was hopped with Magnum for bittering and Sterling later in the boil. But the real twist is the use of 2 Crows’ house strain of Brettanomyces for the fermentation, which is likely to balance what would otherwise be a fairly prominent maltiness. If you’re lucky enough to try it, look for notes of toffee, caramel and plum complementing a residual sweetness and finished by the Brett. It’s a hefty 8.2% ABV and 35 IBU. Proost!

• In Yarmouth, Heritage brewing has a new beer available as of last night. Freezing Spray is an IPA that packs a solid hop flavour and aroma thanks to a blend of Chinook, Citra and Equanot hops. At 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU this is right in the sweet spot for IPAs. And we’re told the batch is already half sold, so you best be moving quickly if you want a taste. Available at the brewery as well as select tap accounts in the region, including the Good Robot taproom as of last night.

• After going on hiatus for the summer, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their popular Seventh Wave Series this week. Smaller batches, brewed on their 50l pilot system, give the brew crew a chance at testing out new recipes that may make it onto the big system, try out new ingredients, or just play around with ideas they have. We’re not sure which category the latest brew falls into, but this week’s release is Altbier, an ale from Germany, traditionally known for their lagers, that tends to undergo a long conditioning (lagering) period after primary fermentation. Copper in colour, and usually well-hopped, details are light on Spindrift’s release. That means you’ll have to go and try it for yourself! With the small volume available, we expect Altbier to sell out before they close at 6pm today.

• Our favourite beer podcast buds at 902 BrewCast are celebrating their First Anniversary today, with the release of their November tasting episode. They threw caution to wind and decided to embark on a Garrison Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine vertical. Joined by our very own acbbchris, and fellow frequent shout-out receivers Damian and Duncan, the six drank all years of OFB from 2009-2016 (except for 2014, as there was no release that year). The discussion also turned to how the beer scene has changed since 2009 (and even since 902BC launched in 2016), favourite beers, trends to expect in the future, and everything in between. Tune in, and let them know if you agree if Barleywine Is Life.

Lots of events on the go this weekend, including two brewery anniversary parties!

• We’ll keep it brief since we mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating: tickets for the next Fredericton Craft Beer Festival went on sale today at 11 am. If you forgot to get VIP tickets, you’re likely already out of luck, but remember there’s two sessions (afternoon and evening), and lots of fun to be had! Grab your tickets here.

• In Port Williams, The Port Pub and Sea Level are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tomorrow, November 25th, with a party and new beer release! Kicking off at 10AM with Ice Carving Demonstrations, food and beer discounts, music all day and night, and hourly giveaways from 5PM until close, it will be one heck of a good time! And kicking it up a notch will be the release of The Devils Backbone, the first barrel-aged beer from Sea Level (from our memory). This 8.5% ABV Baltic Porter was fermented in a pair of Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels for nine months, before conditioning and packaging. Available on tap at the Port and in bottles at the brewery to take away, this limited edition beer is sure to be a special gift for the beer lover who has *almost* everything (hint hint blog wives). Congratulations Sea Level and Port Pub!

Foghorn is celebrating one year in business with their Fog the Parade 1st Anniversary Party tomorrow. The party will be held all day, and includes open mic from 3-6 pm (sing a song and they buy you a beer!); live music not-sung-by-you; beer snacks, cake, and other treats; and, of course, lots of beer! In addition, with every pint or growler purchase during the day, you can enter a contest to win 52 growler vouchers for 2018!

Sober Island is celebrating their line of Foraged Beers with a joint event this Sunday. The judging has already been done, but the winners will be announced for their Foraged Homebrew Competition. Featuring entries from across the province (and even an entry flown in from Calgary), the top beers will be celebrated (and maybe even poured), at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, from 1PM. Joining the finalists will be their Chanterelle Mild Ale (now in short supply, so if you were hoping to try it, time is running out), and the debut of their Juniper IPA. At 7.0% ABV and 58 IBU, the beer features local whole leaf hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, to the tune of CascadeCentennialChinook, and Magnum. But the star of the beer may be the Juniper berries, with 1.5 kg macerated and added late in the boil, with another kilogram added during conditioning. All of the beers will be available in “Foraged Flights”, along with a small menu of foraged food items. After its debut, keep an eye out for cans and kegs of Juniper across the province.

Big Spruce will be taking over the taps at Battery Park December 7th, featuring more than 15 different beers, with plenty of food and cheer to go around. The taplist has not yet been released (but should be added to this event as it is), but we’re sure there will be a good mix of new and cellared beers, and maybe even a new release or two. And prepare yourself, as Bis Spruce is offering a delivery service for those fans unable to make it up to Nyanza to grab their wares. Scheduled to hit HRM December 16th, flats of cans can be ordered in advance, with any combination of Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Tag! You’re It! NEIPA, and One Hundred – Cape Breton Wild Ale. A minimum of one flat is required, and it is attractivel priced at only $98.40 (all in). Bottles of two of their barrel-aged brews are also up for grabs, Ra Ra Rasputin Whisky Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, and Complexified Bourbon Barrel Aged Baltic Porter (both $16 all in). Get your orders in before the 15th to avoid disappointment! Keep an eye out on this page for any updates.

And before you go…

Picaroons has released PIVOT #9 (8% ABV), the latest in their Imperial IPA series, with this one showcasing Zythos, as well as “some home-grown Moose Mountain hops”. Available in bottles and on tap, also note that their long-running Yippee IPA is now available in cans, for the first time.
Propeller fans will be ecstatic to hear that their big, dark, and tasty Russian Imperial Stout (8% ABV, 60 IBUs) is back; you can find it pretty much all bottle stores in Halifax, at the brewery, and on tap.
– Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has some of their holiday meads arriving at ANBL stores, with Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, Latifah, Punky Pie, and Cinfully Yours – a chocolate cinnamon mead – making the list. Some of these are in quite-limited supply, so be sure to check with your nearby ANBL to make sure they have some in stock.

 

It’s another big weekend for beer in our region, with a beer release that’s very pertinent to our interests here at the ACBB, a sudden (and welcome!) rush of canned products we totally didn’t see coming, and some killer events going on in the downtown core of Halifax. So we’ll skip the traditional commentary on the weather this week and get right into it…

• There’s a cool new beer being released tomorrow from 2 Crows, a collaboration brewed with some pretty awesome guys… us! Named Amateur Hour (well, I guess that put us back in our place), the beer features a light-coloured primarily Pilsner grist with healthy amounts of Wheat malt, Malted Oats and Spelt, and heavy whirlpool-hopped with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. Thanks to two dry-hop additions of those same varieties (during active fermentation, and again during conditioning), you can expect notes of orchard fruit and melon, further accentuated by a light funk resulting from fermentation with the Yeast Bay’s glorious Brett Amalgamation, a combination of six Brettanomyces strains. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, we’re thinking of this as a Brett Session IPA, or even a Brett Session Ale. Available on tap and in cans (check out that label by Midnight Oil Print & Design House!) at the brewery tomorrow, expect to see it around Halifax at the private stores shortly after. And a big thanks to Jeremy, Miles and the rest of the gang at 2 Crows for inviting us to participate in brewing a beer!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing is sporting a rockin’ new logo this week and they’ve also got a new beer available today, one that goes to eleven. Nunmoar is a Black IPA, big and bitter, that’s been heavily hopped with Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe. Tipping the scales at 6.5% ABV and a hefty 75 IBU, expect it to marry a distinct roastiness to a prominent hop presence. How much more black could it be? NUNMOAR BLACK. Meanwhile, AJ and the gang have settled on opening hours for the brewery – for the foreseeable you’ll be able to visit for growler fills and merchandise Wednesdays from 2-6 PM, Thursdays 12-6 PM, Fridays 12-8 PM and on Saturdays from 11-5 PM. Even better, they’re now able to accept debit and credit transactions and the dreaded “cash only” sign has been taken down. Expect those hours to shift and hopefully expand a little once they’ve got all the permits in place for their taproom. And, speaking of growler fills, also available right now are the 5.1% ABV Pale Ale known as Daydreamer and two, count ‘em two, versions of the Headliner IPA. The first batch, where efficiency was better than expected, clocks in at 7.3% ABV and the second, matching the original specs for the beer, is 5.9% ABV. Maybe sample them both and let AJ know which version should top the marquee.

• After launching their new Takeaway shop last week, YellowBelly also released a pair of brand new bevvies. We already told you about their Blueberry Hill Milkshake IPA last week, and now we can share more details on their latest cider on tap. Bakeapple Cider is a 7.0% ABV blend, featuring a base of apple cider with the elusive bakeapple (aka cloudberry, aka if you want some, you’d better know someone!) added for a lovely crisp and tart fruit blend. Back-sweetened ever-so-slightly with some of the original cider to reduce a bit of the dryness, the cider is on tap now, and should see limited release in bottles too. And speaking of their Takeaway location a few doors down Water St from their home base, in addition to bottles and 1.89 L growler fills (new for YB), you can stay a while to enjoy samples and pints, as well as pizza from their kitchen.

North Brewing is releasing the Fall 2017 edition of their Canadian Brewing Awards Gold Medal-winning Midnight today. They took a batch of their Strong Dark Belgian and let it sit in barrels from Glenora Distillery straight from the source (i.e., still wet and with plenty of single malt whiskey flavour and aroma to go around) for the past several months, before packaging recently. Look for a melding of Belgian Abbey flavours (fruity esters with a light toasted bread character) with the barrel and whiskey character (vanilla, caramel, wood), resulting in a 10.5% ABV fireside sipper. Midnight marks the first in a series of several special Barrel-Aged bottles releases coming from North, which will featuring some beers in the coming weeks with funkier beginnings and unique aspects.

• Up in Amherst, NS, Trider’s Craft Beer has released their newest offering, Chaga-Lug Brown Ale. Focusing on local ingredients, this earthy and crisp beer in the Northern English Brown Ale style boasts additions of honey, Chaga and hops that were all sourced locally. Fifteen pounds of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) were harvested by Shawee, a real life lumberjack; this provided the beer with its distinctive deep brown color. Wildflower honey (over 100lbs) from nearby Nappan, NS, was added during the whirlpool for a slight tartness. And the hops came from Jeff Smith, a member of the Brewnosers homebrew club from the area, who provided roughly four pounds of backyard-grown Cascade, Galena, CTZ and Centennial to this 5.1% ABV brew. Bitterness was kept low to allow the character of the other special ingredients to shine through. It’s available for growler fills now with 500 mL bottles in the works.

• A few weeks ago, TrailWay hinted that they would soon be releasing their first Milkshake IPA, and the day is today, with the launch of Velvet Fog. Brewed with plenty of oats in the mash, to enhance the haziness of the beer (although, really, when have they ever had a problem with that?), as well as the mouthfeel, the addition of a “healthy dose” of lactose powder boosts the body even more, and adds just a touch of residual sweetness. Hopped entirely with El Dorado, the brewery also threw in some peach and apricot purees, as well as some vanilla, to bring everything together with aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, peaches, bubble gum, and vanilla”. Cans, pours and pints at the brewery starting at noon, and this one will also be pouring at their Tap Takeover at Stillwell today.

Firkinstein has a new beer, one that features the addition of fresh ginger. Added to a Pale Ale base for a unique twist, Root Pale Ale has just a subtle hint of ginger, with a light malt backbone and a minimal hop presence. At 6% ABV, you can find it now wherever Firkinstein beers are sold. The brewery is also now applying for a beverage room licence, so expect to see them able to sell pints of their own beer (as well as guest taps for other breweries) in the not-too-distant future.

• In our weekly “heads up for the Tuesday’s Beta Brew” Good Robot blurb, we’ve got an Irish Extra Stout dropping on the 21st. Extra Sass is a 5.8% ABV brew featuring 2-Row and Vienna with Caramel 30 for sweetness and Caramel 120, Roasted Barley and Black Prinz for colouring. The balancing bitterness, to the tune of 53 IBU, is thanks to East Kent Goldings and Summit hops. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are punctuated by a light addition of Sarsparilla root. As always, the Beta Brews are only available at the taproom for enjoyment onsite, so drop for a taste. And if you’ve got a killer idea for a beer, be sure to let them know, they’d love to have you in the brewery! No brewing experience required.

• And in other Good Robot news, after several weeks of conditioning, their first canned offering is hitting the shelves today. We’ve mentioned Craft Coast Canning, a mobile canning business based in Fredericton previously, and it’s this new business that has made this new format possible. Extra BIG-ASS Beer is the first GR beer to get the treatment, their 5.2% ABV amber Marzen/Oktoberfest style beer (and recent ACBA medal winner). Featuring Vienna, Coffee, Flaked oats and a touch of memoirs malt on a 2-Row base, the hopping is from traditional German Perle and Willamette varietals. This won’t be the last canned offering from Robie and the Robots, as they’ve hinted that more of their lower-ABV/approachable/crushable beers will soon be available this way, including their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common. Cans are available at noon at the brewery (single and four-packs), and at private stores around HRM.

• It’s also a big weekend for Bad Apple Brewhouse, as they too release their first canned products. And why not shoot for the stars, as their first two beers to get the silver bullet treatment are the Mosaic, their award-winning, and charity-benefiting, Double IPA, and their also award-winning Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout. Showcasing its namesake Mosaic hops, the Mosaic is an 8% bitter and aromatic brew that has been an off-and-on favourite for years, whenever owner Jeff Saunders can get his hands on those hops. All sales from Mosaic go towards Down Syndrome Nova Scotia, who make possible the Maritime Down Syndrome Family Camp at Brigadoon Village. These organizations are close to Saunders’ heart, as his son Hunter lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome. On the deep and dark side, Bad Apple’s Black & Tackle, which has won awards as both a “regular” Russian Imperial Stout and in a barrel-aged variation, is also now much more portable, so you can it lots of places and enjoy its big roast presence and 9+% ABV as winter approaches. Cans of these beers are available this weekend at the brewery in Berwick Somerset, and are also headed for the private stores in the HRM. Follow along on their social media for the exact availability details. We’ve also seen hints on Bad Apple’s social media accounts that canning these two beers is just a start and other tasty things are on the way in that format in the coming weeks.

• And lastly, but perhaps most uncanny of all (not even sorry), Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing made a splash on social media yesterday when it was revealed that they’ve gone ahead and put four of their beers into cans now available at the brewery and very soon (as in very possibly this afternoon) at Bishop’s Cellar. The flagship IPA Exile on North Street and DIPA 12 Years to Zion are joined by fall/winter seasonal Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and everybody’s favorite Citra bomb Double Orange Apocalypse Ale in a hoppy quadfecta. Interest was immediate from folks far and wide as the prospect of shippable Unfiltered became a sudden and unexpected reality. We suspect few will breach the borders of the province or even HRM, at least at first, as having these beers unbound from growlers will be a novelty that takes some time to wear off.

• Last week we told you about the Garrison and Boxing Rock collaboration Courage brewed in honor of Gord Downie. The response to that bear was pretty impressive, with both brewery locations and the private stores all selling out within 24 hours or so! To date, just shy of $11,000 has been raised for two charitable causes: Brain Tumour Research and Indigenous People’s Reconciliation. And hopefully that number is only going to grow, as the beer will be available in 11 NSLC stores by next week (want to know which ones? Go here and click “Check Store Availability”). It will also be hitting PEI LLC this week, and ANBL and NLL stores soon after that. And in other Garrison beer news, their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA has been canned and will be available at the NSLC and private stores shortly and their fall/winter seasonal Winter Warmer will be at the NSLC in bottles very soon as well.

• Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has a new beer of their own on the go this week, called Northumbeerland. Brewed partially as a trial for a new local malt, this beer is in the saison style, and the grist is a single pale base malt. In the kettle, Warrior hops were used for bittering while Saaz were added at the end of the boil and later, post-fermentation, for a dry-hop. The saison yeast strain used was selected for its ability to dry the beer out, and it has, while also yielding subtle hints of hay and berries along with a slight tartness. This is a very sessionable beer at 4.1% ABV and you’ll find it for growler fills at tiny tasters at the brewery’s operation on Salter Street.

A few events to tell you about this weekend and beyond, with a clear concentration of activity in downtown Halifax:

• A little bar named Stillwell opened on Barrington Street in November, 2013, and has been helping to grow the enthusiasm (and number) of breweries and drinkers alike in Halifax. They’re celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with a weekend full of events. Today from noon, the beers (and people) from Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing will be taking over, with a full dozen beers available on tap. Old favourites and new releases (including the Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA mentioned above) will be pouring; there will be free glassware for the first 100 to show up, and the full taplist can be found here. Saturday will see the annual Stillwell Birthday event, featuring an absolutely ridiculous tap, bottle and cask selection that celebrates the best of local offerings, highlights from other parts of Canada and the U.S. and very special treats from Europe. The full list can be found here (try not to drool) and it also includes the first public pourings of Stillwell Four, the first bottle release from Stillwell Brewing Co. which, as a matter of fact, will also be available the very next day for sale at the brewery’s warehouse around back at 2015 Gottingen Street. We’ve been advised that the Four is in somewhat short supply, so there will be a signup sheet at the bar during Saturday’s festivities so you can ensure you don’t miss out. We’ll should also warn you, especially those from out of town, if you’re planning to hit the birthday celebration on Saturday, that the 22nd Annual Parade of Lights is going on downtown that evening. It has been called a “traffic apocalypse” and “the worst traffic of the year”; things start getting nutty at about 4:30 PM and really don’t start to clear up until close to 9 PM or later. So maybe plan to take a bus or cab downtown, get good and settled in, and really explore what’s on offer.

• We mentioned that Montague, PEI’s newest-and-first brewery, Copper Bottom Brewing, would be holding their official grand opening soon, and looks like “soon” is even sooner than we thought! The Grand Opening is happening tomorrow from noon-close, there’ll be live music going on all day, a TBA food truck will be onsite, and lots of other fun stuff throughout the day, including kick-the-keg prizes, brewery tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm. And if you’d like to get out to the party without having to commit to driving, the brewery has teamed up with a local company to bring you the Copper Bottom Brew Bus, which leaves from the Peakes Wharf in Charlottetown at 5:15 pm, and departs Copper Bottom at 10 pm; contact Sonya or Loralei at 902-213-5177 if you’d like a ticket, which is just $15 round-trip.

• Yes, it’s months away, but we really need to let you know that tickets for the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival officially go on sale next Friday, November 24th, at 11 am. This event, which is being held on Saturday, March 10th, 2018, continues to grow in breweries represented, beers poured, and overall excellence every year, so we can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be next March! And did we mention that Maine’s Orono Brewing will be pouring? Have this ticket link all ready to go next Friday at 11 sharp, especially if you want to get your hands on VIP tickets (which sold out in something like 2 minutes last year… no, we’re not joking). We’ll have lots more information on the event as the date approaches!

And a couple of last mentions before we let you get started on your weekend:

– A reminder that the launch party for 100 from Big Spruce, their beer made with 100% Nova Scotia-produced ingredients, is taking place at Horton Ridge Malt House tomorrow at 2 PM. Big Spruce beers will also will be taking over the guest growler taps during this kitchen party-styled event. The 100 is now available now in cans at Westside in Halifax, where a Big Spruce 5-tap mini-takeover of their growler station (including fills of the 100) started last night and is likely to continue into the weekend.
– Halifax brewpub Rockbottom has a new beer on the menu this week, an American Pale Ale dubbed Mostly Maris for the use of the venerable British malt called Maris Otter. It lends a biscuity note and a sweetness that should pair nicely with the very American hop schedule that includes Cascade, and Columbus. This beer is balanced to the hoppy side of the spectrum and comes in at 5.5% ABV and 55 IBU.

It’s been another busy week for news in the region, with no fewer than a dozen new and returning beers and ciders on the shelves, draft lines or coolers across the region. And to kick off this week’s edition, let’s dive right in with another new small-batch brewery opening.

• Bathurst, New Brunswick has now joined the ranks of brewing communities, with the opening of AKA Beer late last week. Brewing small scale 55 litre batches on location at the local craft beer bar Au Bootlegger, their Prohibition Ale is now available for purchase. Strictly available on tap at the bar, this 5.0% ABV Amber Ale is a complement to the other NB beers already available. Look for more information and an interview with the crew behind AKA shortly!

• There’s a new beer available from Bagtown Brewing in Sackville, NB these days, their second brew featuring tea. TEAse the Senses is a 5.0% ABV orange-hued beer, with loose Blackcurrant tea leaves added during the mash for a distinctive rich and smooth taste. A healthy dose of Mosaic hops offer plenty of citrus and fruit aromatics, as well as a solid 46 IBU bitterness. TEAse, as well as their flagship Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, Crown Vic Belgian Pale Ale, and Suble Tea Session IPA (their first beer to feature tea) are available for growler fills at the brewery, open Thursday, Friday (both days 3-7PM), and Saturday (9AM-1PM), located at the Sackville Commons.

• One of the more anticipated collaborative releases is hitting the shelves across Nova Scotia today. In October, inspired by the By The Numbers piece by local artist Erin McGuire, Boxing Rock and Garrison teamed up to brew a beer in honour of Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. Courage (For Gord Downie) is that beer, a 6.0% ABV Amber Wheat Ale. Available today from noon at Boxing Rock’s Shelburne location, there is also a release party later today, starting at 5PM, with local musicians paying their respects to Downie. In Halifax, Garrison released their share of bottles at opening (10AM), and there will be a Live 105 event at the brewery, for those able to win their way in through social media/call-ins, and will feature raffles and tshirt sales, with all funds going to charity. Speaking of which, $1.00 of the bottle price is going to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and Downie/Wenjack Fund for Indigenous Peoples Reconciliation. If you are unable to make it to either brewery, the private stores in HRM will also be receiving deliveries, and should have the beer on shelves today. And reaching across the Atlantic Provinces (and beyond), through the NSLC, ANBL, PEILCC, NLC and MBLL before the end of the month.

• Riverview’s Celtic Knot Brewing will soon be offering their beers in bottles, for a more portable way to enjoy their beers. Beers like their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout, Ryetious Rye IPA, Dubh Loki Black IPA, and new Choc Wort Orange, a Chocolate Orange Stout, will be packaged in 500 mL bottles. Initially for sale only at the brewery, keep an eye here, or on their Facebook page, for exact release details (should be within the next 1-2 weeks). And don’t forget to drop by Marky’s Laundromat tonight to meet with Celtic Knot and other members of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective during their weekend-long Tap Takeover.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing another SMaSH beer today at noon, Binary American IPA. Brewed with Golden Promise malt and hopped generously (as usual) with El Dorado, one of the new favourite varieties at the brewery, they’re describing it as “super complex” despite the seemingly-simple recipe. SMaSH beers are always fun to experience, as it’s a great way to see what exactly single ingredients can offer. “Incredibly bright and juicy, with a definite candied fruit/mango element”, this 6% ABV beer will be available at the brewery’s taproom for pints, growlers, and cans.

Port Rexton Brewing is releasing their first canned beer, and first packaged beer since bottles of last winter’s Belgian Tripel. Blazing Sun is an amped-up version of their popular Chasing Sun NEIPA, featuring plenty of the same juicy hop aroma and flavours, with the added piney notes of a Double IPA. Cans of the 7.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer, are available exclusively at the brewery this long weekend: Sunday Nov 12 from 11-10PM, and Monday Nov 13, 11-2PM. If there are any left, we’ll be sure to let you know where you can grab a couple. And keep in mind that the brewery taproom is now into off-season hours, which means keeping an eye on their website for exact details.

• We’ve got a couple of news items from Halifax’s Propeller this week, starting off with the latest (and second) release of their Gottingen Small Batch “Hop Series”, Idaho-7 XPA. Focusing on Idaho 7, an American hop variety that’s been making its way into a few beers in our region over the last year or so, this “Extra Pale Ale” has “complex fruit and citrus aromas of apricot and orange, and finishes with a subtle backdrop of resiny pine and the slightest things of black tea”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it’s available now at both Propeller locations for growler fills. Moving on to tonight’s Cask Night, they’ll be tapping a cask-conditioned Honey Wheat Ale, aged with black raspberries; if you’d like a taste, be sure to show up at the Gottingen Tasting Room at 5 pm sharp, when the cask is tapped.

• There’s a brand new cider in the popular Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company, Juniperry. Made from local, hand-picked Flemish Beauty pears, the juice had an arrested fermentation, before the addition of crushed juniper berries which were foraged from Peggy’s Cove and Prospect Bay. The resulting unfiltered, sparkling Perry has a light, pale colour, with a “delicate, woodsy aroma and a complex palate of sweet pear and balmy pine, with a hint of citrus”. Drop by the cidery for your fill of this 6.5% ABV beauty; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to the Town of Wolfville Volunteer Fire Department.

• The Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has been paying attention to the demands from their demographic in Pasadena (and beyond), who have been requesting a beer on the lighter side, somewhere between an American Pale Ale and a light Lager. Well, the brewery has responded with… Beer! Yes, that’s the name! As expected, it’s minimally hopped at 16 IBU, with a simple grist of Pale and Pilsner malt (achieving 5.0% ABV), making it easy-drinking, while “retaining the full body” that the brewery proudly notes is in all of their beers. Drop by the brewery for a taste, and don’t worry about trying to remember the name of what you wanted to order!

• Coming off their big ACBA wins, Chain Yard Cider has a new product pouring at the cidery, Petal to the Metal. A blend of a wild-fermented Baldwin base cider with rose water, it was matured with a ferment of Spy and Jonagold apples. A touch of Ironworks gin was added to bring out more floral aromatics, and a tiny amount of cherry wine gives the final cider its pink-rose colour. Described as “crisp and smooth”, it’s quite dry (like most ciders from Chain Yard), as very little sugar is left in the final product. Packing a nice punch at 8% ABV, drop down to Chain Yard to give this beautiful cider a taste!

• We mentioned that YellowBelly had brewed up a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA” last week, and had a few details to tide you over… well, looks like that beer is now on tap at the brewpub, and we have more information to share! They’ve finally settled on the name Blueberry Hill, fitting for a beer that features the addition of over 100 kg of blueberries (some in primary, some in secondary). Fermented with the excellent Funktown yeast blend, and dry-hopped heavily with Citra, expect lots of mango, pineapple, citrus, and passionfruit, along with a smooth, silky body (thanks in part to the typical-for-a-Milkshake-IPA addition of lactose powder). Blue-hued, 6% ABV, and high-20s IBUs, it’s available on tap at the brewpub as we speak, and will also be in growlers at the new YellowBelly Takeaway (just down a few doors at 264 Water St) that starts today from 1-7 pm… just buy a YB growler or bring your own branded, CLEAN 64 oz one.

• Next week’s Good Robot BetaBrewsday is just about ready to go, brewed by Travis Lindsay, Dan Hendricken and Kelly C. Named Funk You Saison (tsk), it’s golden-coloured, with a dry finish, and hints of “raspberry, clove, honey sweetness and bready funk”. Releasing at the brewery on tap on Tuesday, it weighs in at 5.7% ABV and 23 IBUs. And I’d just like to note this may be the shortest Good Robot post we’ve had since… when did they open again?

Grimross isn’t taking much of a breather with their one-off Scratch Series lately, as after releasing a couple of news ones over the past few weeks, they already have another in store! Scratch #8 is a hoppy Saison which is dry-hopped with a healthy dose of Simcoe and Sorachi Ace. This one won’t be released until the beginning of the week of November 20th, so ABV, IBUs and tasting notes aren’t available yet, but based on the hops used, we’re thinking a blend of citrus, pine, and lemongrass, with some spicy phenolics and fruity esters from the yeast, followed by a dry finish.

Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has been beavering away on several things in the past few weeks and it looks like this is the week for you, gentle beer drinker, to benefit from many of them in a very short timespan. First is the debut of two bottled beers at The Guy Show this weekend at the Halifax Exhibition Centre. First is the Winter Warmer, a 6.3% ABV beer geared towards the season with spruce tips, cinnamon, bitter orange peel and blackstrap molasses. Citra hops provide an additional citrus kick. Also at the show will be Night Shift on the Palisade, and IPA featuring Topaz and (surprise!) Palisadehops. So if you find yourself at the Guy Show (even if it’s because you got roped into going to the Christmas Craft Village next door, do check out these two new brews!

• Meanwhile, at Tidehouse’s Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street, another new beer is hitting the taps called Do Make Say Drink, another IPA, this one built on a malt base of 2-Row barley to which Vienna and Melanoidin were added for a balancing malt character and body. Hops were largely Citra and the beer was fermented with clean and neutral American ale yeast. And already on tap from earlier this week is the Cosmic Blonde, a mash-up of the Belgian Blonde style with very new world hop varieties including Amarillo, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic. Multiple Belgian yeast strains were used in this one to develop fruity, spice and peppery notes to complement the tropical and citrus hop presence. Lastly, it was announced this week that Tidehouse will be hosting a tap takeover event to celebrate their first birthday at Tom’s Little Havana. on December 9th. We’ll have more information on that, hopefully including a tap list, in the coming weeks.

• Although the release date is not yet set in stone, Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is expecting to bring out a new beer very soon. Juniper IPA is an IPA in the West Coast style that’s been loaded with dry hop additions from Wicked Hops near Stewiacke, including Magnum, Chinook, Centennial and Cascade varieties. Also added in the last 10 minutes of the boil were three pounds of macerated juniper berries. The beer looks to be coming in at 6.3% ABV and some 58 IBU, and it may yet see a little bit of tweaking, as two more pounds of juniper berries are still available for additional dry hopping. Look for this one to be available as early as next weekend.

• And if you’ll recall, Sober Island also has a homebrew competition for beers featuring foraged ingredients, with the entries due on Wednesday, November 15th at Bramoso Pizza on Quinpool Road in Halifax, or Thursday, November 16th, at Cavicchi’s Meats on St. Margaret’s Bay Road in Tantallon during their Bangers & Beer event. We’ve also heard some rumours that drop-off may be possible at Noble Grape locations, but you’ll probably want to verify that before you go trying to drop your beer off as described in this Facebook post right here. Keep your eye on Sober Island’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) and the Facebook event page for any last minute details, and we’re looking forward to hearing the results announced on Sunday, November 26th, at the competition finale at Henley House in Sheet Harbour.

Plenty on the go this weekend, but do keep in mind that the provincial beer stores will be closed tomorrow in observance of Remembrance Day, and private stores and breweries are closing or delaying their opening:

• Don’t forget that the James Joyce Irish Pub in Fredericton is holding Deja Brew, their second New Brunswick Tap Takeover, today from noon till close. They’ve installed new draft lines and made the use of jockey boxes to have over 30 beers on tap, with just about every brewery in the province representing. It’s pay as you go, with flights available as usual. Coincidentally, the NBCBA (New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association, the local homebrew club in the region) is holding a Meet and Greet at the JJ from 6-10 pm, so flag one of the members down if you have any questions about brewing beer at home!

• Members of Foghorn‘s new KV Beer Club have the opportunity to participate in KV Beer School, a one-hour learning experience on the subject of beer, on Tuesday, November 14th from 7-8 pm. Brewer/co-owner Andrew Estabrooks will be discussing a brief history of beer, beer styles, and basically answering any beer-related questions you have on your mind. Club members can RSVP by emailing steve@drinkfoghorn.ca; it’s first-come, first-serve, to RSVP today!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park continues their run of dedicating tap lines to a local brewery with their Boxing Rock Tap Takeover on Thursday, November 16th from open till close. Featuring Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s favourite brewery, Boxing Rock will be bringing 15 different beers to pour until they’re gone! There’s a good chance a brewery member or two will be on hand to answer any BR-related questions you may have. Keep an eye on the event link above for a taplist to be revealed in the near future.

• The original Gahan House in Charlottetown, PEI, is releasing a beer next Thursday that celebrates the coming winter, or at least the shorter days on the way to winter. Shortest Day is a spiced milk stout, black, opaque, and topped with a dark, lingering head. It features a prominent vanilla aroma with toasty undertones and it’s been spiced with nutmeg for a festive flair. It comes in at a very drinkable 5.3% ABV and you can be among the first to try it by attending the Shortest Day Celebration at the Gahan House on November 16th. At the event you’ll find live music, sampling of the beer, and a chance to win a prize package that includes a night at the Great George Hotel and dinner for two at Sims Corner Steakhouse on the official shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release in cans of their 100% Nova Scotia-made beer, One Hundred, with a special Launch Party at Horton Ridge on Saturday, November 18th at 2 pm. For those who’ve forgotten, the beer features grain grown and malted at Horton Ridge, together with wild yeast and hops harvested at the Big Spruce farm in Nyanza. There’ll be live music at the event from 3-6 pm, and pizza from The Rustic Crust at 4 pm. More details to come, stay tuned to the event page as the date gets closer.

• If you’re in the Charlottetown area and would love to learn more about the aromas and flavours you’re experiencing in your beer, HopYard has just the answer! On Saturday, November 25th, they’re holding a Guided Tasting with PEI’s only certified-Cicerone, Bryan Carver, at 11 am. Bryan will lead you through four beers brewed in Atlantic Canada, and will help you discover aspects of beer you never knew existed! The perfect way to make you a better friend of your favourite beverage, tickets are just $25 and can be picked up in advance at HopYard.

• It’s quite a ways off, but Halifax Curated already has the date for their East Coast Cider Festival, which will happen on Saturday, June 16th, 2018. There’ll be two sessions (1-4 pm, and 6-9 pm) pouring plenty of cider, with 16 cideries from Nova Scotia already signed up, as well as a couple from New Brunswick and one from Ontario. Early-bird tickets are already on sale ($30 + tax and fees) through the link above, so if you’re a cider fan, it makes sense to buy yours today! The event will be held at the Halifax Forum Multi-Purpose Centre, and will also have food vendors on-site.

Just a few more things to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

Bulwark has re-released their Winter Cider, a 7% ABV blended cider infused with cinnamon and nutmeg; available in bottles now.
Lazy Bear has brewed up another batch of their Norwegian, a take on a traditional style from, you guessed it, Norway, brewed with juniper-infused water and a yeast that ferments at almost unheard-of temperatures. It comes in at 7% ABV and should be around at the Annapolis Royal market tomorrow morning.
– One of Picaroons most popular seasonals, Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back for the colder weather; look for it in bottles and on tap wherever Picaroons beers are normally found.

Fans of great beer in Halifax are no stranger to the name Stillwell. Since 2013 the bar has been pouring the best in local beer, bringing in tasty treats from other parts of the country and beyond, pioneering the modern beer garden concept in HRM, and putting on events that have spoiled our little city for world-class beer. Throughout that time they’ve teamed with local breweries for collaborations and contract brews under the Stillwell brand, including several mixed fermentation beers that have showcased the tastes and interests of Christopher Reynolds, one of the three primary owners of the bar. Back in spring of this year word got out that Chris had decided to take another leap of faith and start Stillwell Brewing in the spirit of some of his own personal favorite breweries. Although we’ve already seen the release of Stilly Pils, a hoppy, rugged and eminently drinkable brew that was a highlight of the late summer season at the Stillwell Beer Garden, we are quickly approaching the first bottle releases from the brewery, the culmination of many months of fermenting, aging and blending, bottling, and aging some more. We caught up with Chris to find out more about who and what his inspirations are, why he (finally!) decided to start the brewery, and what we’re likely to see from Stillwell Brewing in the coming weeks, months and years.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is the team involved in your brewery?
The brewery is mainly a project of mine (Chris), borne out of a desire to create the sorts of beers that I a) really love to drink and b) aren’t available locally. Namely, mixed-fermented, bone-dry beers. De La Senne, Oxbow, Jester King, etc. I am the main brewer, recipe maker, yeast steward and squeegee operator.

I made the first 10 batches with brewer Kyle Jeppesen, but unfortunately he’s had to take a job abroad, kind of an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was very bummed leave SBC, but given the experimental nature of the brewery, it was not (and may never be) in a position to pay anyone a salary, myself included.

Nikki Lockington, my lady, is also a daily contributor to the brewery. She helps me to plan beers and label designs, and takes care of a lot of logistics in terms of materials, and (eventually) sales.

I would say that the staff at Stillwell are officially and unofficially involved, too. Sam Fraser made our logo (from her tap wall handwriting, a ubiquitous feature of the bar), and Graeme, our chef, made a joke suggestion for a beer, which will be one of our first releases (“Sport”). Everyone kind of weighs in and offers support and feedback.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Being lucky enough to drink great stuff around people passionate about great stuff. Bar Volo was a real influence, as were a lot of the great beer books out there (Beaumont, Pashley, etc.), and finally and most importantly, traveling. We opened Stillwell in 2013 and beer has been my full time life ever since.

What made you decide to take the step of opening a brewery?
I’ve always enjoyed making beer. Homebrewing, as you would probably agree, is a wonderfully meditative process, and is something that makes me use a different part of my brain (and body – it is a workout). Personally, I find I’m happiest when I’m making or creating something, and unfortunately making bars and restaurants all the time, though I’ve certainly tried, is incredibly difficult and risky. Brewing a beer, as risky and big a process as it is at the commercial level, allows me a creative outlet. For several years, brewing my beers in other people’s breweries fully scratched the itch, but eventually I found that the beers suffered a little by not being fully in my control (and, mostly, on my timeline). I always said I would never open a brewery, but listening to an episode of The Sour Hour featuring Troy Casey of Colorado’s Casey Brewing and Blending, I realized that his set-up is actually attainable and manageable by me. Basically, a lot of oak, bottles and time, and some years of experience with yeasts and recipes, and it finally clicked that I could – and should – take the leap. In business and in life, if something is a foregone conclusion, like I just know it will work, I have to listen to that and take the leap.

What is the ethos of the brewery?
I’m looking for the brewery to be just like the bar, i.e., a “workshop” that will hopefully sustain us long enough to realize some goals in beer. I want to produce beers of character that are super drinkable, but immediately special. I’m very inspired by the family-sized breweries of Belgium, places like Cantillon and De Dolle. I love that they’re run by a small handful of family and friends, they make what they like, sell what they can, and aren’t bound by a group of stakeholders, production schedules and crazy equipment loans looming over their heads. When I hear someone is opening a brewery, I want to know that they have something to say with their beer, and I believe that I and we do, in this case.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
I would say that we’re technically “open” as of April, i.e., we’ve been brewing in our own space since then. We released Stilly Pils in August, which went great, but I was only able to get around to brewing a new batch in mid-September, which, of course, won’t be ready for months. On November 18 and 19 we will finally have a bottle release at the bar and brewery, and once we have bottles out, with the promise of more to follow, I think it’ll feel a little more real.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Stilly Pils is something we want to make over the long haul, with tweaks along the way. A house beer for our bar and beergarden, we’ll try to have it on as much as possible. It’s my quest to make the ultimate pilsner, which, of course, can never end.

Most of the rest of our beers are and will be blends of barrel aged and/or barrel fermented farmhouse ales. We have bitter things, sours things, funky things, pale things, darker things, complex things, clean things, etc., in various stages of fermentation, and from those we’re blending and bottling.

The very first bottle release will be Stillwell Four, this year’s beer to celebrate the birthday of the bar. It’s a tart and effervescent farmhouse ale aged in a single sauvignon blanc barrel. We’ll be pouring it at our 4th Birthday Party before selling bottles the next day from our warehouse location.

Another of the earlier releases is called Sport, a tart barrel fermented farmhouse ale with sea salt and lime zest added. It’s margarita, gatorade and sour beer all in one, with notes of coconut and vanilla, and is bright as all get-out, with a big, rocky, long lasting head. It’s awesome and almost ready.

Possibly released on the same day will be Gosh, a tart red wine barrel aged farmhouse ale heavily dry-hopped with Mosaic. There’s a lovely fruit-meets-dankness of the hops on the nose, with tons of fruit character also showing through from the fermentation. The beer is very sparkly and, near the finish, the grapey, red wine character starts to show itself, and really comes out in the tannic, grippy finish. You immediately want another sip.

In mid-September I brewed a beer which, other than Stilly Pils, might be our first beer that won’t see oak. It’s my quest for Taras Boulba, or even young Stillwell 3. Hops and restrained fermentation character. It may see kegs, but I’m not sure yet.

Everything is a one-off until it’s not!

What are your plans for distribution (aka, how can people try your beer)?
A lot of this will be decided by the reception. If the beers are good and people buy them, then we’ll have a better idea of how this could look. I’ll say we’re making pretty niche beers and we’re not planning to get into the licensee keg game at all. We will likely have to export to sell all of our bottles, and we’ve been speaking to some agents in provinces abroad. We’re predominantly packaging bottles and most kegs will be just for Stillwell and the Beergarden, locally. We will never do growlers. Bottles will be available via our bottle release days (i.e., out of the brewery on certain afternoons), and very possibly available to-go from Stillwell (working on that licensing). We might look at figuring out a separate-from-Stillwell tasting room in a year or three, if that ever makes sense. I have some ideas!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t, but there are some restaurants in the city who I think may carry our beers, mostly pals. We won’t really be on tap anywhere.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries or people along the way?
100%. I owe a debt to North Brewing for hosting a whole slew of contract and collab brews, to Boxing Rock, Big Spruce & Bar Volo for making collabs with me in the early days, and to Propeller for renting me the space on Gottingen to work. Greg Nash from Unfiltered lent me some stuff yesterday. It’s true that we have a very collaborative and friendly industry. In terms of knowledge, there have been many brewers, especially in the U.S. and Belgium who’ve been willing to have a chat and throw me an opinion or two.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I’d love to see us have a solid reputation for great farmhouse-style beer. We kind of have that already, so I guess I just hope we don’t frig that up! I’d like to create a job or two. I’d like to attend some cool festivals. I’d like to be happy drinking our beer!

What type of system are you brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We’re brewing on a very old, very manual 15bbl, two-vessel steam-powered brewhouse. The same kit Propeller brews their one-offs on. We have no expectation of yearly or monthly output.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Sure – I first started with kits in Toronto in 2010ish, then moved to Halifax and started really playing with mixed fermentations. I won something in a Brewnosers home brew competition, which was a real honour. I pretty quickly moved from homebrewing to collab brewing commercially — having a bar to buy the beer is pretty helpful when convincing a brewery to do a collab, and luckily they were all great. Definitely learned lots doing this — anytime one co-brews either at home or in a brewery one learns something, of course.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery whose beers you particularly enjoy drinking?
I like dry beers for the most part. I like hoppy beers and bitter beers. I like drinkability in beer most. Give me De La Senne Taras Boulba, Birrificio Italiano Tipopils and Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet and I’m a very happy man. Granite Ringwood. A good cask bitter or mild. A vintage barleywine. A geuze – any will do. Saisons from the classics to Quebec.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Yeast first, then hops. I like Noble hops primarily, or their hybrid descendants. Saison & Pils.

How can folks keep up to date with the latest news and brews?
@stillwellbrewing on Instagram

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our many questions and hopefully give the uninitiated a good idea of what he’s got planned for Stillwell Brewing. If you like the sounds of what you read here, you should probably mark your calendar for later this month when the first bottled beer, Stillwell Four, becomes available, first for pours during the Stillwell (bar, not brewery) fourth birthday party on the 18th, and then the next day for retail sales at their warehouse location on Gottingen Street (entrance at the rear parking lot of Propeller Brewing). We’re looking forward to sampling not only this release, but the releases of the others Chris mentioned above, as well as those he hasn’t brewed or even dreamt up yet.

 

After several years of brewing at home in his basement for friends and family, avid homebrewer Keith Forbes is now brewing at home in his basement… but for a wider audience, as the commercial brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House. Forbes released the first of his beers this past Friday, with the inaugural batch of his Funktown American Pale Ale delivered to Freeman’s Pizza Sackville, Bishop’s Cellar (for growler fills), and the Good Robot taproom, where he had previously done a Guest Tap Takeover. We traded emails with Forbes in between brewdays and cleaning kegs to learn more about him, his brewing history, his beers, and the future of OBBH.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Open with a hard question will ya? I’m 34, live in Sackville Nova Scotia, have been married to an amazing wife for 8 years and have 3 great kids. I work full time in IT/Telecom; have been brewing for quite a while, have competed against some of the best brewers (now friends) in the province and have a passion for craft beer. I’m fun, easy to get along with, but have been known to be a sarcastic arsehole all at the same time. But I am who I am. My wife is 37, and has lived in Sackville her whole life. She works in Payroll and has tolerated my passion for quite some time. She’s the better half of this duo and we wouldn’t be in this position to launch Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House without her support.

How did you get into the wonderful world of beer?
I started into the world of beer to save a few $$$ (that did not happen) as we just moved into a house; had 2 kids with a 3rd on the way. The first 6 months, it was Festabrew kits (ed: pre-made wort, just need to pitch yeast) which led into a couple Best Case kits (partial extract and steeped grains), after that found the Brewnosers and decided I could create my own beers. I brewed 2 extract batches before picking up a fellow brewer’s Brew in a Bag setup. After that, I was making some good beer. A year after that, I was entering competitions, receiving feedback and dialing in my product.

What made you decide to take the leap into going commercial?
My passion for great beer and wanting to share my product with everyone is the main reason. I love sharing my beer. Anyone who knows me will agree that if you show up, you’re likely having a beer or leaving with some! I believe the turning point was after the Forbes 500 tap takeover at Good Robot; it was a moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life. It was an event that let me briefly follow my dream. With Brightwood Brewery launching on a small scale I knew it was feasible and I started the process early this year to follow our dream.

Tell us about Ol’ Biddy’s: Where did the name come from?
Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House wasn’t the original name; as much as I love this brand there was a ton of disappointment in having to start over. As for the original name there is a story, but another brewery registered their name in the province and our original was rejected as the names were too similar.
As for Ol’ Biddy’s, we were around 3 weeks on brainstorming to come up with a new brand. We wanted to have a fun brand, be a bit sarcastic, stand out from the crowd and just make and share some great beers. For those who know us, my wife and I are like an old married couple… we should be very entertaining when we actually are an old married couple! She’s my Ol’ Biddy, and now that we are at this point, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the ethos of the brewery?
We definitely believe in sharing and giving back where we can, and look forward to having fellow Brewnosers and friends in the brewery to give them an avenue to release some beers to the public, where it’s at beer events, a release at Stillwell, Battery Park, or one of our regular accounts.

Can you tell us about your lineup of beers?
We plan on having 3 mainstay beers that will be available more often than not. In addition, I have a list an arm long of beers that we plan to release as seasonals. As well, as a thank you to the Brewnosers, I would like to offer up the nano brewery for one-off releases to other members; let them experience the fun and excitement of having a beer commercially released. But back on track…these are the three core beers, I’m sure the ACBB Team is well-versed with these! (ed: Chris and Aaron have enjoyed many of Forbes’ beers during monthly Brewnosers meetings and social events)

Funktown APA: Crisp and Clean, hop-forward American Pale Ale. Heavy on the hops, but clean on the finish. This beer took Gold Medal in the 2015 Brewnosers National Homebrew Competition, and was released during my Good Robot Tap Takeover in November 2016. Future ideas for Funktown include the addition of pineapple, grapefruit, or blood orange.

Disco Inferno Red IPA: Fellow homebrewer Mike Orr and I created this recipe, and has been a favorite amongst many. Malt meets Hops. Well balanced, malt-forward, with chocolate and caramel notes and a citrus hop-focused finish. This beer won People’s Choice this year at the New Brunswick Big Strange Brew.

Even Gooder Coffee Brown: A well-balanced complex Brown Ale with a dense coffee aroma and flavor that finishes crisp, clean and leaving you wanting more. Once described as the “Cocaine and Hookers of Beers” (can I say that?). Knowing who said it, this was meant as the highest of compliments.

We also plan to offer two or three seasonal beers shortly after launch. Likely one of the best beers I’ve ever brewed previously was Moose Milk, my infamous Vanilla Bourbon Chocolate Milk Stout – rich, silky, and creamy with hints of vanilla and bourbon. It’s like chocolate milk for adults! You must try it; it won’t last. It might be going by a new name upon release…
The Orange American Bastard (#Trump) is a beer my nephew and I designed especially for him. Primarily Wheat-forward, with bitter orange peel, coriander and Cascade hops. Fermented with a clean American Ale yeast, it is a true bastard of the Wit Style of beer. It was originally designed as a one-off recipe, however, it has become a mainstay during the summer months.
Being so small, and concentrating on draft rather than packaged beer, I love offering a wide variety of beers I’ve brewed previously. Here are few other beers I look forward to sharing with the public:

Hops
  • Gail’s Revenge IPA
  • Hoppily Ever After DIPA
  • Intergalactic APA
  • Problem Child Amber (Brewed for release with Peter Lionais of Tidehouse Brewing)
Malts
  • Even Gooder Nut Brown (Released at Good Robot during the Tap Takeover)
  • Ol’ Biddy’s Irish Red
  • Alternate Ending Altbier (Brewed for release with Jeff Saunders at Bad Apple Brewhouse)
  • Tall Dark & Handsome Robust Porter (Bronze Medal Winner at 2015 Garrison Home Brew-Off)
  • Engine 41 Smoked Porter (Released at Good Robot)
  • Tilted Kilt Wee Heavy (Collaboration brew with Mike Orr; Gold Medal Winner at the Hammond River Brewing Competition.
  • The Good Boy Dark English Mild (Released at Good Robot)
  • The Cookie Jar White Stout (Released at Good Robot)
Wheats, Light Ales & Sours
  • Lawn & Order Wheat Ale.
  • Alternate Releases: Blueberry; Apricot and Blood Orange
  • Liquid Gold (Silver Medal Winner at the 2016 Big Spruce Brewing Comp)
  • Orange Grove Wheat
  • Sackvegas Sour
What are your plans for distribution?
We are still waiting to see what I can do in terms of distribution; being zoned R1 is tricky. The initial focus will be having a few select tap accounts and then see how sales are. We may provide growler sales in the future, but are waiting to hear on zoning. Worst case scenario, I’ll have the potential to be setup at Farmers markets.

How can folks enjoy your beer currently?
We have already delivered Funktown APA to Bishop’s Cellar, Good Robot, and Freeman’s Sackville. Yesterday (Sunday), Mount Uniacke Pub received our Even Gooder Coffee Brown, and in the next day or two, we’ll be delivering kegs of that and the Chocolate Milk Stout to Battery Park (as well as a pair of the previous spots). Our beer will be dispersed throughout HRM; most areas will only have my beer at one establishment, being a small brewery operation. However, we want to spread the beer out as far as we can to reach the most people. If anyone reading this is interested in taking beer on let us know. We are looking for a few more tap accounts in Halifax, Dartmouth, Cole Harbor, Bedford and Windsor.

Have you had assistance from other breweries or people while you made your way towards opening?
This is a long list and everyone has offered me assistance, guidance or feedback over the years… in the beginning to get started brewing, feedback on beers, friendly razzing in competitions over the years, or just answering questions on the setup process. These are in no order and I apologize if I missed anyone.

  • Erin Forbes (My wife and the inspiration behind our brand)
  • The Brewnosers
  • Jeff Saunders @ Bad Apple Brewhouse (Somerset)
  • Greg Nash @ Unfiltered (North Street)
  • Jimmy Beaman @ Mad Boocha (North Street)
  • Mike Orr
  • Shane Steeves @ Hammond River (Rothesay, NB)
  • 1029 Brewing
  • Brathair Brewing
  • Chris @ ACCB
  • Josh, Doug, Angus and the rest of the Good Robot Team (Robie Street)
  • Jeremy @ Big Spruce (Nyanza)
  • Peter and Shean at Tide House (Salter Street)
  • Dave @ Everwood Ave (Lr. Sackville)
  • Becky @ Sober Island (Sheet Harbour)
  • Jonathan @ Best Case (Burnside)
  • Matt @ Brightwood Brewing (Dartmouth)
  • There are more, but my mind is tired and sorry if I forgot a mention!

With that said, if someone wants to talk brewing, has a question about the process, wants to join us for a pint and just discuss beer we are all ears and encourage it. If you see us, say Hi!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I hope to still be having fun with the brewery. Likely in 2 years I’ll have more shiny gear and a few new fermentors. However, I want to keep it small scale for now, keep things exciting, and have friends in to brew. Eventually, I would love to have a tap room in Sackville; have a few main stays and rotate through an abundance of seasonal and one-off beers. Wait and see what the future brings.

Let’s get a bit nerdy for those of us who want to learn more about the beer and brewery specifics:
Tell us about your brewhouse.
I’ve got a fully custom 1 barrel (120 litre) brewery with a pair of fermentors; I built it over the years as funds permitted. There’s nothing standard about this setup, and it’s likely one of the most Frankensteined breweries around. With that said, it’s doesn’t come down to the equipment used, but the quality of beer you can produce.
To start, we anticipate producing 600 litres per month (72 hL per year); in 2 years I’m anticipating growing to 170-200 hL annually. Either way, it’s still small scale; but we are ok with that.

Can you share more about your homebrewing history?
I started 6 or 7 years ago, and found the Brewnosers forums about 5 years ago. I started out with a canned Coopers kit. It was complete garbage, but we drank it anyway. Later, I found Festabrew kits and fermented those for a few months, which is around the time I found the Brewnosers. I moved from bottles to kegs and partial grain kits, and then started producing my own recipes on Jimmy’s old 20 litre setup. From that point, I entered into competitions, where I made some great friends and slowly grew my system over time. Next thing you know, I have a brewery in my basement and I’m looking for a license! Never would have guessed 5 years ago that I’d be at this point.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
It really depends on the day. I love a good hop-forward, low-SRM beer; just something juicy and delicious when done right. As for favorite local breweries or beers, I’d need to say Bad Apple’s Boxcutter IPA and Unfiltered Exile on North St. are at the top of my list.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
No real favourite styles to brew; kettle sours are more interesting. But overall the process is the same, you mash, boil, ferment, keg, and then drink. However, my favourite ingredient to brew with (which I think has a lot to do with my beer) is the salts. Most wouldn’t think water additions would make or break a beer; however it’s single-handedly what makes my beer unique. Looking forward, we are looking to get a barrel and do a few barrel aged beers. Not sure where we will put the barrel; but we will find a space!

Massive thanks to Keith for taking time out of a full time job and full time brewing to answer our questions. The Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House website is currently under development, so the best way to keep track of beer availability is through Twitter and Facebook. Congratulations to Keith and Erin on joining the ranks of Nova Scotia breweries!