Welcome to spring! Haha, nice try, winter, we’re onto you. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me eleven times, well…. I’d be a complete moron, is what. Anyway, that concludes the obligatory blurb about the weather. It’s time for beer news!

• Today, Upstreet is releasing the next entry in their Million Acres series of one-offs, Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Salted Lager. This is a very dark brown Lager aged for a year in a Buffalo Trace barrel (Bourbon), and it’s a heckuva strong one at a whopping 10.5% ABV. With flavours of raisin, caramel, toffee, and light vanilla, it finishes with a “smooth, mellowed cocoa bitterness, and balanced bourbon aftertaste”, according to the brewery. You can pick it up in cork-and-cage 750 mL bottle today at the brewery, with a limit of 4 per person (this one was definitely brewed with the intention of aging).

• The folks at Tanner & Co. are mourning the loss (i.e. running out) of their Belgian Tripel in the proper way… by releasing a new beer! American IPA is just that, and built on a grist made up of mostly Maris Otter, along with some Caramel malt to provide some colour, mouthfeel, and sweetness. The brew was hopped in the boil with Citra and Simcoe (to 50 IBUs), and dry-hopped with more Citra to give aromas of “ripe peaches, tropical fruit, and citrus”. Balanced by a firm bitterness in the finish, it comes in at 6.9% ABV and is available now at the brewery for growler fills.

• New Brunswick’s Bogtrotter, located in Rusagonis, is releasing a new beer this week, their first new release in many months. Wonky White is a White IPA, hopped primarily with late additions of El Dorado, giving candy-like, fruity characters in the aroma and flavour, to go with the bitter finish (60 IBUs). Coriander seed was also added during the brew process, to give that classic spice character expected in this cross between a Belgian Witbier and American IPA. It should be on tap shortly at the James Joyce, and will also be available for purchase in 500 mL bottles at several ANBL locations.

Breton Brewing re-released their Valentine’s Day-inspired beer earlier this week, Cocoa Envy. A Robust Porter featuring the addition of chocolate extract sourced from organic cocoa beans, it sports a creamy mouthfeel and “just the right amount” of chocolate flavour to back up the touch of roast and coffee character. At 6.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, this one is available on tap only; you can find it at the brewery right now, and at select accounts by sometime over this weekend. In addition, the brewery will be tapping a special cask of the beer today, which has been sitting on Peruvian cocoa nibs.

• In other Valentine’s Day beer news, YellowBelly released their own, Sheila Na’Geira, a 5.5% ABV American IPA named after an Irish noblewoman involved in “one of the oldest love stories in Newfoundland”. As for the beer, the grist incorporated a small amount of rice as an adjunct, and it was hopped and dry-hopped with a mixture of Topaz, Mosaic, and Citra to give plenty of citrus character on the palate, along with aromas of “berry, citrus, tropical fruits, and dank resin”. It’s still available now on tap, for growler fills, and in bottles.

• Halifax’s Propeller has been working on their Barrel Aged Series, and has finally released the first beer, Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. Taking their crowd-favourite, award-winning RIS and aging it in oak bourbon barrels, the result is a big beer (8.5% ABV) with dark fruit, dark caramel, and roasted malt in the flavour, along with notes of vanilla and bourbon. Bound to have some alcohol warmth going down, it’s a great style to sip on this winter, as well as age and enjoy over time. It’s available in 330 mL bottles right now at the brewery, meaning that it’s not quite so daunting to open one up on your own, maybe even on a weeknight! Look for bottles to be available at all of the private stores by next week, along with the NSLC at the Port.

Good Robot has the usual mix of Alpha and Beta goodness this week. Starting with the BetaBrew to be released this coming Tuesday, Dewey Dudes was brewed by Kelly Costello with local educator Shelby MacGregor. In the Altbier style, it features a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts and Perle and Magnum hops, but cheats just a little bit with a Kölsch yeast. Overall it’s a malty and slightly bitter, but smooth German-style beer weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 31 IBU. Still on the Beta side if you didn’t make it down to GR for last week’s Treat Her Like a Lady from the sisters Costello, fear not, because you didn’t miss it! Owing to a CO2 mishap at the brewery, the beer wasn’t tapped on Tuesday and is being held in reserve for a future event. Over on the Alpha side of the house, Dewolfe of Wall Street is back, but it’s namesake is sallying forth. Jake is moving on from GR, but this 6.2% ABV APA hopped with Cascade and Mount Hood will stand as a testament to his time at the brewery. Look for it at the taproom and GR tap accounts around Halifax.

TrailWay‘s weekly Friday release is the first of what they’re dubbing as an American Fruit Ale. Starblast is brewed to be more fruit-forward with a background hop character, instead of the other way around as exhibited in several of their other beers. Hopped with El Dorado, over 400 lbs of mango, papaya, and kiwi puree were added to the brew, giving plenty of tropical fruit juice characteristics. This 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery today in cans and on tap, and will most likely show up at a few TW tap accounts around the Fredericton area, soon.

Garrison painted the town pink this week with the Valentine’s Day release of their kettle sour Pucker Up in cans. Featuring pomegranate, cranberry, hibiscus and rosehips, we expect you’ll be seeing its bright pink branding around the city for weeks and months to come. To celebrate, they’re holding an online contest to see how you \#PuckerUp. Prizes include a flat of cans, a brewery tour for 10, a 20 L party keg and two tickets to the 2018 Garrison Backlot Bash. The contest runs until 11:59 PM on Monday, February 19th. Full details can be found in this here Instagram post. Also from Garrison this week is the return of their Grand Baltic Porter. The Yin to Russian Imperial Stout’s Yang, the Baltic Porter style is one of the biggest beers, known for its rich malty sweetness paired with dark flavors such as molasses and dried fruit, caramel, and occasional notes of liquorice, all atop a clean lager character. This year’s version has come in nice and heavy, at 9.5% ABV; look for it in 500 mL bottles at the brewery and private stores. Lastly, a mea culpa on our part. Last week we reported that the Garrison Home Brew-off Challenge Gala had been moved to Wednesday, March 28th, when in reality the correct date is Thursday, March 29th. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

• For complicated reasons that have been well-covered by mainstream news sources, it’s been awhile since we’ve brought you any new beer news from Quidi Vidi in St. John’s, but they’ve gone and bought themselves a shiny new 3 BBL (360 L) pilot system and have gone back to their experimental roots! Looks like they already have a few news beers in the pipeline; we don’t have the fine details yet, but can provide you with at least a bit of a tease of what they’ve been releasing. Their first beer released on this new system was their Crab Apple Saison, which featured the addition of 300 kg of locally-picked crab apples to give a bit of tartness to the beer. There are several kegs of this one available so look for it to pop up over the next while. They also brewed up Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bag Belgian (should that be Big BAD Belgian? No idea!). Unfortunately no details at all on those two. 😞We’ll keep bugging them for more on future beers!

We’ve got some updates on beer events over the next few weeks; here’s what’s going on in our region for the next little while:

• Speaking of Quidi Vidi, As part of the Clarenville Wintertainment festivities up the road from St. John’s in Clarenville, NL, White Hills Resort will be hosting Brewtine this Saturday night, February 17th from 7 PM to 10 PM. There you’ll find six different poutine variants, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Dinner, Chicken & Waffles, Pulled Port, Port & Meat Pie, and Donut, each paired with a 5 oz craft beer from Quidi Vidi or Port Rexton Brewing. Live music will be provided by 3 Shades of Grey, and there will be a shuttle service from the event centre picking up at 6 PM and returning after the event. Tickets are $59 + fees & taxes and can be purchased online.

• And also going down on the Rock this Saturday night, but on the west side of the island, Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. is hosting a Craft Beer Tasting from 9 PM to 12 AM as part of Corner Brook Winter Carnival. Although Crooked Feeder aren’t quite ready themselves, with renos and permitting still in process, they’re going to get people together at Swirsky’s to talk and taste beers from Bootleg Brew Co., Yellowbelly Brewery and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Live music will be provided by GIRLS. Only 100 tickets are available for this event, so act quickly if you’re interested; $20 gets you 4 6 oz samples, with additional glasses available for $5 cash. To get tickets you can message Crooked Feeder on Facebook, or visit Country Road Convenience, Empire Atlantic, Village Music Inc. or Newfound Sushi.

• One last reminder on the live Tasting Episode scheduled by the 902BrewCast this Monday, February 19th, at Garrison Brewing. The panel will include women involved in the NS beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of… you! Just show up (it all starts at 6 pm), with no tickets needed. The taps will be flowing, so feel free to have a beer or two! If you’re not able to attend, look for the episode to be available online later in the week.

• Have you been thinking to yourself lately that it’s been a while since those layabouts at Stillwell have done anything to make you sit up and take notice? Well it’s that time again: if you’re into American Farmhouse Ales, especially ones that are all-Brett fermented, sour, blended, aged in wood, and/or fruited, you might want to block off next Saturday, February 24th from Noon until you can drag yourself away – Denver, Colorado’s Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will be in full effect, featured on all 12 taps and with bottles besides. And, as always, special snacks dreamt up specifically for the event will be wending their way out of the kitchen. Do you appreciate brewing artistry? This is where to find it. Look for the complete tap list (and perhaps bottle list as well) to be posted on social media this week.

• For the warm weather lovers amongst us who are already looking forward to summer, the annual Savour Food & Wine Craft Beer Cottage Party is just around the corner. This year they’ve got an impressive 35 participating craft breweries and cideries from around the province and a few from beyond our borders. The event is now two weeks away, on March 3rd, from 7 to 9:30 PM at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Beer-friendly food will be available for purchase from Shwarma Stop and Bramoso Pizza, a live band will be playing up on the mezzanine, and you’ll find some classic games around the place. Tickets are $65 + taxes and include all your beer samples. So grab your favourite plaid, comb your beard, and get ready for a good time with beers and ciders from: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s NS Brewery, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar, Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Elderkin Cider Co., Firkenstein, Garrison Brewing Co., Good Robot Brewing Co., Granite Brewery, Hell Bay Brewing Co., Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, Meander River Farm and Brewery, Granville/Creemore, Nine Locks Brewery, North Brewing, Picaroons, Propeller Brewing Co., Pump House Brewery, Roof Hound Brewing, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipbuilders Cider, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Tidehouse, Trider’s Craft Beer, Uncle Leo’s, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s Ales.

That’s about it for this week! Nice to see things slow down just a touch (for our sakes, anyway). Couple more things before we let you leave to enjoy your long weekend…

Niche Brewing has just re-released the first beer of theirs that hit taps in late December, Single Origin (5% ABV), a Coffee Sweet Stout). Look for it at the James Joyce and other tap accounts in the near future. They’re also sending a keg of their Hibiscus Sour Ale, Ruby Tuesday, to Stillwell today, to go on tap sometime soon.
– As we hinted a couple times over the past month, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has a new tap account, Freeman’s on Quinpool where they’re currently serving up the Saturday Night Fever IPA. Meanwhile Keith is already looking forward to St Patrick’s Day, with an apropos brew already in the fermenter.

February is now in full force and it’s another week with lots of news about beer releases and coming events in our region. Have a read and figure out what tasty treats you’re going to put in your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Basket! Because there’s nothing more romantic than beer, right?!

• Despite winning a gold medal at last year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards for their American IPA, Big Stink, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has boldly and bravely gone back to the drawing board to improve on the beer and bring it to the next level. Taking in comments from the judges, they made several procedural changes – including a new carbonation technique – along with some slight recipe adjustments (decreasing the amount of specialty grains), and one “big, bold change” that they’re keeping a secret. It’s still hopped heavily with Mosaic and Columbus, but the brewery is confident that Big Stink 2.0 is better than ever, yet still recognizable to fans of the original. Kegs are going out now to select tap accounts, including for the growler program at Harvest Wines, Rockhead, and WestSide. Bottles will be arriving at those three stores in the near future as well.

• Today, Nine Locks will be releasing the second beer in their Signature Series, Simply A Märzen. As you may have guessed, this one was brewed in the Märzen (aka Oktoberfest) style – a malty, smooth, clean Lager. Head Brewer Jake Saunders brewed this one with malt and hops sourced from Germany, and lagered the beer for six weeks to clean up the beer and allow the flavours to gel. Pouring a copper-red colour, this full-bodied brew has a biscuity aroma and a “rich, elegant malt flavour”, with a restrained hop bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and is available

• Twillingate, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing brought out a new seasonal beer last weekend, their first in the New England IPA style. With a generous amount of oats and flaked wheat in the mash to promote mouth feel and, no doubt, the characteristic New England haze, Lightbringer was fermented with the famous Vermont Ale yeast. Hopped heavily at the whirlpool, active fermentation and dry hop stages with Cascade, Amarillo, and loads of Citra, you should expect plenty of juicy citrus and stone fruit flavours to complement a soft and smooth mouthfeel and some distinct apricot flavours. Designed to be easy drinking, it’s got a “touch” of bitterness and weighs in at 6.4% ABV. You’ll find it at their Stage Head Pub where you can grab a fill or order a pint and raise a glass to the prince that was promised.

• Slowing down a bit after their big 1st Anniversary bash a couple of weekends ago, 2 Crows has nonetheless put a new small-batch beer on tap at their taproom. Universal Mind is a Belgian Pale Ale that was brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles on the brewery’s pilot system. With a grist of Vienna, Wheat, Oats, Spelt, and a little bit of Honey malt, it was hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc to 30 IBUs, giving flavours of “bubblegum, pineapple, and spice”. Fermented with the brewery’s house Saison strain to up the fruity esters and spicy phenolics even more, it comes in at 5.8% ABV. Drop by the brewery ASAP to give it a try, as there’s only a couple of kegs available!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is keeping the new beers flowing in their own right, with their sixth release in just seven weeks, hitting the taps in Fredericton this weekend. Ruby Tuesday is their first foray into the Sour Realm, using a pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum (Lacto for short) in the unhopped wort for 36 hours, before boiling to stop acidification and adding a light dose of El Dorado. Fermentation was completed with Amalgamation (a blend of six different Brettanomyces variants), with hibiscus flowers added during the conditioning phase after. The resulting beer features a bright red colour, with floral and berry character in both aroma and flavour, with the tart acidity from Lacto shining through. The beer will debut tomorrow evening at the James Joyce, and will certainly see wider distribution in the province (and beyond?) beginning next week.

TrailWay is back to American IPAs this week, with the release of a new iteration of one of their more popular beers. DDH Green Island is, as you may have guessed, a double dry-hopped version of the 6% ABV Green Island. Hopped with Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, the new version is even more fruity and aromatic than the original, according to the brewery. Releasing today, you can stop by the brewery to pick up your cans for the weekend; it’ll also be available for pints and growlers.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has just released their first Double IPA, Gemini. Weighing in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, there’s lots of bitterness in this package, at a calculated 100 IBUs. Hopped with plenty of the classic Columbus, Simcoe, and Centennial, expect a dank, piney, fruity beer, with a dry, bitter finish. It’s available at the brewery now, and keep your eyes open for it at your favourite Backstage licensee; we can confirm that a keg was sent to Battery Park this week.

• After being closed for renovations, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing is back open for business, starting today. Their new business hours are Tuesday to Friday (4-6 pm), Saturday (10am-2pm), and Sunday (4-6 pm); you’ll be able to drop by during these hours for growler fills. They hope to have five taps flowing by the end of the month, quite the increase from the previous set-up. Look for their beers to start popping up at bars and restaurants across New Brunswick, as well.

• Next week’s Good Robot Betabrew, Treat Her Like A Lady, is all set to go for its release on Tuesday. Brewed by Kelly Costello and her sister, Hilary, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter brewed with both Honey malt and real honey (from Fox Hill Market), and hopped to 30 IBUs with Fuggles to balance the sweetness and roasted malt flavours. Also, Steambot Willie, the brewery’s 5.5% ABV, 32 IBU California Common, has returned as of yesterday, and can be found at the brewery’s taproom and other GR accounts.

Tatamagouche Brewing is bringing back their Oyster Cloister Oyster Stout this weekend, and are throwing a party to celebrate! This Saturday evening, they are holding their own Oyster Cloister party, featuring live music, plenty of oysters from Bay Enterprises (the farm in Malagash that supplies the oysters for this beer), and the launch of the beer. *Tickets are now sold out*, but look for the beer to be available across the rest of province this weekend as well. And keep an eye out for the return of their RR#2 Lager, this year’s batch features hops from their own private hopyard, also in Malagash, with Mount Hood making up the majority of the hopping. And in blatant self-advertising, one of only 2 pins of Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter (brewed at Tata with acbbchris and 1029Brewing) is in the fridge at Battery Park currently, ready to be put on their nitro tap. This special pin has been aging on bacon for a little bit, to really round out your full breakfast experience.

• More beer in cans seems to be the trend in our region (and probably elsewhere, but we can barely keep up with the local scene at this point!). We saw evidence this week that Bad Apple Brewhouse is packaging their Tom’s Smoked Porter, Propeller their London Porter and Garrison their Pucker Up (this one just in time for Valentine’s Day), all in shiny silver cylinders. And in other packaging news, both Tipsy Toad and Malty Muskrat from Bogtrotter are sporting slick new labels. And the Gahan line from PEI Brewing Company is also getting a brand refresh, modeled after the label change sported for last year’s release of Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, continuing to their 1772 IPA.

• We received word this week from Spindrift in Dartmouth that they’re on the lookout for another brewer to join Brewmaster Chris Downey on the brewery floor. While an experienced brewer with formal training is preferred, what they are really looking for is an individual who is passionate about both the craft of making beer and the industry. Interested parties are encouraged to peruse the official job posting and submit a résumé.

Lots of new events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Hammond River Brewing is celebrating their 4th Anniversary today at the brewery’s taproom in Rothesay. They’ve come a long way in four years… heck, the difference in the last year particularly has been striking! Join them as they’ll have $6.50 pints all day long, $2 off flights and 1 L growlers, and $3 off all large growler fills. Finally, they’ll be tapping a surprise beer at some point during the day as well. Be sure to drop by and toast their success!

• Just a reminder that Niche Brewing will be holding their official Launch Party tomorrow, February 10th, at the James Joyce Irish Pub at 7 pm. They will be pouring five of the first six beers released by the new brewery (including the brand new Ruby Tuesday that we mentioned above, exclusive to the JJ for the launch); all their beers will be on for Happy Hour prices, and of course flights will be available. Rob and Shawn will be on hand, happy to discuss their beers and their plans for the near future, and merchandise – including glasses, T-shirts, and toques – will be available for purchase. Finally, there will be a draw for two VIP tickets for the afternoon session of this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival; if you plan on attending the launch, be sure to enter online before the party!

• The 902BrewCast will be doing something a bit different for February’s Tasting Episode, and they want you to be part of the fun! This episode will feature a panel of women involved in the NS Beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of an audience. The live show will take place at Garrison Brewing February 19th, at 6pm. There are no tickets needed to attend, and the taps will be open during the event ($5 will get you two 12oz pours), so that you can drink along with the hosts and panel. Expect to hear from women involved in all aspects of the beer biz, from brewer to sales folks, to those who just love to drink it! And for those unable to attend, the episode will drop later that week as part of their regular release schedule.

• The team at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS, is finally getting to do something they’ve been thinking about since the days when they were planning their brewery, a “showcase” night, pitting two variations of the same beer against each other to see how a small change can impact the perception of a beer. The beer, in this case, is a Dark Mild brewed by special guest brewer Ian Dares and is called Myld Stallyns (Excellent! ). The variation in play will be packaging and serving style; there will be one version that, in the standard modern fashion, has been force carbonated and pushed to the tap with CO2, and another that will have been put into a cask without external carbonation, pulled using a special pump called a beer engine, and served at a somewhat warmer temperature. This latter presentation, if executed to a certain standard, is known in the UK as “real ale” and, it is argued by its proponents (such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale), presents the beer in the most desirable possible way, as a living product that is unadulterated and which changes over time. Here’s your chance to see whether treatment you prefer. The Myld Stallyns Showcase is scheduled for March 2nd at 6 PM and is being touted as the “first” Showcase for Lunn’s Mill, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing more such events.

• Tickets for this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are sold out, but good news if you missed your chance! On Friday, March 9th (the day before FCBF), they’re holding their first Newbie Night, from 6-9 pm at the Fredericton Convention Centre. This event will feature breweries new to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene, who were unable to grab a spot at FCBF due to the limited number of spaces. Up to 12 new breweries will be pouring their beers, and your ticket ($57.50, through the link above) will entitle you to unlimited samples and a special glass to keep. And while we’re on the topic of FCBF, you can still vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian breweries (if you haven’t already) right here; it may be a bit tough to pick your top three, but it should only take a minute!

Just a couple more things to let you know about this week:

– Riverview’s Celtic Knot is releasing a new variant of their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. Irish Kiss features additions of cherry and chocolate to the brew, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be available in both growler fills and 500ml bottles at the brewery at 23 Biggs Drive. And those who want to celebrate Riverview Winter Carnival with locally-produced beer should drop by the brewery tonight from 8-10 for free samples and $10 growler fills to kick off the final weekend of the event.

– Great news for the folks at Bedford’s Off Track Brewing in Bedford, they have received their full-sized system this week. After brewing on sub-100 litre gear for a couple of months, their 600 litre (5 BBL) system is now on-site and being installed as you read this. Look for the first batches from the big brewhouse to debut in March, with their taproom still open as normal on the weekends (check their FB page for the latest details, of course).

 

Another week of wild weather in our region (hey, it IS still winter), but that hasn’t slowed down the beer news one bit. Plenty of new and returning favourites this week, and some events to give you an excuse to shake off the snow and ice and get out for a local beer. No matter who you’re rooting for in this weekend’s Big Game, we figure you’ll find something in this week’s Wrap-Up to celebrate.

• After a brief hiatus, Stillwell Brewing is (thankfully) back with not one, but TWO new bottles releases tomorrow starting at noon. Let’s start with Solo, a 4.7% ABV Farmhouse Ale (think Grisette-like) that was brewed last March and fermented in a Chardonnay barrel. Bottled as-is in July for another 6 months of aging, it is very light, and lightly-carbonated… “a pure expression of our house yeast cultures at work in one barrel at one time” according to the brewery. Next is Dang, a 7.2% ABV Saison hopped generously in the kettle with Sterling, and fermented with the brewery’s house cultures in French Oak white wine barrels. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was blended from select barrels and dry-hopped “massively” with more Sterling, and Saphir, resulting in a final product best described by the brewery as “zesty”. Both beers will be available for purchase from 12-4 pm at the rear entrance behind 2015 Gottingen St. , along with Stilly Pils T-shirts. Oh, and it definitely bears mentioning that they’ll also be selling the last few cases of their other hoppy Saison, Saazbier… and really, if you haven’t tried this beer yet (and even if you have!), you owe it to yourself to pick some up. You’ll also be able to enjoy Solo and Dang at Stillwell-proper from Saturday at noon as well (bottles on-site only).

Foghorn Brewing recently brewed their 100th batch, and decided to tackle something special to mark the occasion – their first New England IPA. Brewed with 2-row, Oats, and Wheat malt, Tabula Rasa was bittered to only 20-25 IBUs with a small addition of Topaz. The high majority of the hops were added late in the brew, where lots of Azacca and Mosaic were added for the whirlpool addition, with even more in the dry hop, along with Citra and Galaxy to give even more tropical fruit, mango, and pineapple on the nose. With a big juicy flavour and low bitterness, this 7% ABV will go down dangerously easy. Best to enjoy this one fresh, so hop over to the Foghorn taproom now for a pint or growler; you can also find it on tap at a few select establishments.

• Speaking of New England IPAs, Niche Brewing has just released their first as well, coincidentally named Apt Pupil. Brewed with a fairly simple grist that includes a good portion of Malted Oats, the hop stars for this beer are Galaxy, Simcoe and Equinox, which were added late in the boil, mainly in the whirlpool. Two large dry-hop additions were thrown in (one when active fermentation began to slow), with the emphasis on the Galaxy, resulting in lots of “passion fruit, mango, pineapple, and tropical fruit” in both the aroma and flavour. Finishing with a fairly-firm bitterness at 65 IBUs, this 7.0% ABV one-off is available now in Fredericton at the Palate and James Joyce, with one or two other tap accounts joining suit next week. And if you’re in Halifax and missed out on the opportunity to give this new brewery a try last weekend, a keg of Apt Pupil and Orange Creamsicle IPA (the brewery’s Milkshake IPA) will be dropped off at Stillwell later today.

• Next week’s Good Robot Beta Brew will be a dark Saison named Spice In My System. []Community member Dina Lobo joined Kelly Costello in the brewhouse, and the two drew inspiration from Lobo’s heritage as a half-Syrian and half-Indian woman, choosing ingredients and flavours used in the food and drink of those cultures. Lightly-hopped (to just 8 IBUs) with Saphir and Wai-Iti to give a mild, citrus aroma, the beer was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain that contributes “banana bread, mild clove, and funk” to the nose. Toasted coconut was added to smooth out the mouthfeel in this 4.5% ABV brew, which finishes with a “subtle, curry warmth”, according to the brewery. As with all Beta Brews, it will be tapped Tuesday afternoon. In GRBC Alpha news, Dave & Morley has returned, the brewery’s 6.0% ABV Coffee Porter brewed in collaboration with Low Point. This batch features Ethiopian Guji coffee, which brings “mild cherry and blueberry notes” to the beer, on top of the toasted caramel and malt flavours.

• In celebration of Sports Ball Game Sunday, Garrison has two new draft-only releases to consider for your game day planning. Six Rings is a 5.8% ABV New England APA that was heavily dry-hopped to give lots of “grass, pineapple, stone fruit, and lemon” in the aroma and flavour; and It’s Always Hoppy in Philadelphia is an American Amber. Both beers are on tap at the brewery for both samples, growlers, and specially-priced party kegs ($90/20 L or $200/50 L, taxes – and a sleeve of cups – included); Bishop’s Cellar will also be taking both beers for their growler program, and Six Rings should pop up on tap at a few licensees in the HRM.

• Earlier this week, Heritage Brewing released Under the Patio Imperial IPA, a beer whose recipe originated in the planning days for the brewery. Named after the turkey fryers used on homebrewing days on their back patio, the brewery has a soft spot for this beer, as it is one of the first recipes that excited them… meaning they knew it would, eventually, be brewed on their professional system. Hopped with Cascade, Chinook, and Citra, this 7.5% ABV has notes of citrus and fruit on the nose and palate. Drop by the brewery today for a growler.

• Saint John’s Loyalist City has brought Craft Coast Canning into their brewery, and now has three of their brands packaged and ready for sale! Sixteen oz cans of Black 47 Stout, Point Blanc IPA, and Three Sisters American Pale Ale can now be purchased at Hammond River‘s taproom, and all Picaroons locations in New Brunswick, and at Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay. All three breweries were kind enough to give Loyalist City an outlet to sell their cans, while they patiently wait for the ANBL to provide them with a listing so that cans can be sold at their stores. While they continue to wait, be sure to drop into the nearest Picaroons or HR location near you!

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released their take on the Scottish Wee Heavy style this week, named Broken Bagpipe. A collaboration with local homebrewer (and Scot) Jason McDougall, this 7.5% ABV beer is decidedly malt-focused, featuring rich mouthfeel, full body, and flavours of caramel and toast, with a light floral note from the East Kent Golding added sparingly in the boil. The beer will be on tap around the province shortly, with growlers available at the brewery and Farmers Market stalls, and bottles at the brewery and private stores. Speaking of McDougall, Oban Heather, another of his collaborations with Boxing Rock will be returning later this month.

• So, do you want to join the likes of McDougall, and other Nova Scotian homebrewers, and brew with Boxing Rock? Now’s your chance, as their third annual Black Box Challenge has just been announced. Starting out from the same ingredients provided to all entrants, this is the perfect way to flex your recipe-making muscles and coming up with a great beer. While you don’t need to use *everything* in the box, you must limit your starting materials to those provided (plus water). Previous prize-winnings beers include Where There’s Smoke (a smoked beer with cinnamon), Grafted (orange peel Sour), Tropic Thunder (tropical stout), and Hop Springs Eternal (White IPA). Sign up today, grab your ingredients next week, and drop off your beer mid-March, in time for judging. The live finals will take place at Stillwell March 25, when the top 6 finishers will give a presentation on their recipe, brewday, beer, and equipment. These presentations are always exciting and a great way to share more creativity with the judges (and fellow homebrewers). Full rules and dates are available here. There are only a couple of entry spots left, so act NOW to avoid disappointment!

• Port Rexton Brewing‘s retail shop is sure to be a busy spot again this weekend, as they debut another new beer today. Blue Steel is a 4.7% ABV kettle sour, their first of the style. After mashing, the wort is kept warm in the kettle while Lactobacillus work their magic over a day or two, producing lactic acid, before the mixture is boiled to stop the reaction. The wort is cooled, and yeast is pitched like a standard beer, and allowed to ferment and finish. This initial foray into the style features an addition of orange peel for a moderate citrus character to match the acidity and refreshing base beer. Due to the small batch size, there is a 2-can limit of Blue Steel, to ensure there’s enough to go around. And for those who drop by, there are still some cans of Mixed Opportunity available, their 5.6% ABV mixed-fermentation Saison (first with Escarpment Labs Fruit Bomb Saison, and then with a special blend of Brett strains). Joining these two are cans of their Horse Chops IPA, and growlers of Horse Chops and T-Rex Porter. Located at 286 Torbay Rd, the retail shop is open today from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM (or until they run out of beer).

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has a pair of new brews to share this week, two brand new reasons to check them out at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. The first is Eagle Energy, an IPA in the American Amber style, where malty notes from Vienna and crystal wheat malts combine with a touch of roast and deeper color from kiln coffee malt to balance bold bitterness and tropical and piney hop flavors. Four different hops, Azacca, Columbus, Cascade, and Amarillo were all added to the kettle post-boil. Amarillo and Azacca were additionally joined by Citra during the dry hop. Second we have Mosey Along, a Saison featuring a hazy straw color that comes from a simple malt bill of Canadian 2-row and Vienna. The Mosaic and Hallertauer Blanc hop varieties used are likely to provide a tropical and gentle white whine character as counterpoint against the French Saison yeast strain, known for drying out a beer while still providing a sense of body. Described as “fruity, spicy and refreshing,” it’ll give you a reason to mosey along to Salter Street.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has announced the return of a beer for which they received a Gold Medal at the 2016 Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards. Then part of their One Way Series, it is being re-released in bottles as part of their Flipside Series, and continuing to go by the simple Black IPA moniker. Very slightly higher in ABV this time at 6.7%, but still coming in at 65 IBU, it pours deep black with an off-white caramel-coloured head. Plenty of hop bitterness is balanced by coffee and chocolate notes from the specialty malts used in the grist. Look for it to appear where other entries in the Flipside Series have appeared, at the very least at the brewery beginning today. In other Upstreet news, we reported recently on their plans to open a “Craft Beer Corner” retail space and taproom and those plans are forging ahead — they’re looking for taproom managers and have posted a pair of positions. So if you’re looking for work in Charlottetown or prepared to move there, have service industry experience, and craft beer is your jam, you might consider sending in a resumé.

• In Fredericton, hop savants Trailway have yet another new one out, taking a step in a truly different direction for them while still playing to their strengths. Abstract Clouds is what they’re calling a “Euro-inspired” IPA, built on an all-German grist and hopped (heavily, make no mistake), with German Hallertauer Blanc and a new experimental French variety known as GJ2. Together they produce a big citrus presence with pineapple, floral, herbal and melon notes underpinned with a spicy character from the yeast. You’ll find it at the brewery and nowhere else starting today.

• As you may be aware if you’ve consumed any amount of media in the last couple of weeks, there’s a Superb Owl this weekend; and, as is tradition for many, such an event calls for beer. Some of Nova Scotia’s craft breweries have decided to help you out with that by featuring discounts on some of their products to help enable your Magnificent Strigiform celebration (or just your enjoyment of independent local beer). First up is Dartmouth’s Spindrift, who are featuring their easy-drinking Killick Session Lager at $40 for a flat of 24 cans until end of day on Saturday. Meanwhile, across the water in Halifax, Garrison has deals on party kegs (contact the brewery for details) and is selling cases of 24 bottles (341 mL) this weekend for $50, letting you mix and match whatever they’ve got on hand. And up the North Shore, Tatamagouche Brewing has a deal on their summer seasonals, with Sunrise Trail session IPA, Lagerhosen traditional European lager, and Philaroma Berliner Weiss with Cherries all available while supplies last at $3.50/can (500 mL) or a case of 12 for $36. We’d suggest assuming tax is extra on any of these great deals and, if you’re going out of your way, maybe checking ahead with the brewery about availability.

We’ve got events all around the region to keep you busy this weekend:

• Dartmouth’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is holding a Double Header Tap Takeover this weekend, featuring eight taps each from Boxing Rock and Upstreet. The official launch is today, and it runs all weekend, with live music on Saturday at 7:30 pm, and brewery personnel will also be present that evening to chat all things Boxing Rock/Upstreet. Check out the event link above for a full tap list and schedule.

• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is turning the big 2, and celebrating with a birthday party tomorrow, February 3rd. Join them at the brewery from 7 pm on for live music (starting at 8 pm), plenty of Maybee beer, an on-site food truck, and a free shuttle to take you back downtown when you’ve had your fill. Cost to attend is $10 at the door.

• Back to tap takeovers, as Garrison is holding their own at Battery Park on Thursday, February 8th. They assure us that they’ve been planning their tap list for the past year, so expect some special beers to be flowing. The doors open at 11:30 am sharp, with all 15 taps dedicated to Garrison, with plenty of employees sure to be on-site joining in the fun.

• With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just five weeks away (March 7-11), they are adding a few more volunteers to their roster, to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you are interested in taking part, check out this page for the tasks and schedule for when you could assist. There are plenty of perks, above and beyond a free beer or two, so check it out and sign up today! And in case you didn’t realize, there are still tickets available for the Thursday Trivia & East Coast Tap Takeover at King Street Ale House, Friday Newbie Night, and the Saturday Afternoon Session.

A couple more nibbles before you head out the door:

– Saint John’s Big Tide has released a new IPA, combining the best hops from both sides of the country. Using Magnum from Darling’s Island Farm (who also lent their hops to Loyalist City’s Black 47 mentioned previously) and CascadeChinook, and Triple Pearl from Topp’s Hops in Abbotsford, the Best Coasts IPA is 6.8% ABV, and a juicy 67 IBUs. Grab it on tap, or to go in a growler, at the brewery today.
– For those of you entering the Garrison Home Brew-Off Challenge, just a quick note to let you know that the Gala date has been changed to Wednesday, March 28th Thursday, March 29th (we originally got that wrong, SORRY!!). And remember, entries are due by end of day, Monday, February 12th.
Grimross has released a pair of new cans this week, making your favourite lagers a bit easier to enjoy at home, or on the local frozen lake in your shelter while you fish: Braunschweig German Pilsner and Crabbe Mountain Après Lager. Both are available at the brewery now, and will be hitting the regional ANBL shelves soon. And speaking of the brewery, they are looking to add a Taproom Server to their family, so check out the job posting and drop by to apply.
Hammond River Brewing has brewed up a couple of old favourites: Nut Your Everyday Red Ale, an “English Red”, and Imperial Breakfast Stout, which includes the addition of chocolate, coffee beans, and homemade Applewood-smoked bacon. Look for both on tap in the near future (and note that the Imperial Breakfast Stout was brewed on their 1-bbl pilot system, so kegs will be limited!).
Picaroons has brought back their beer for lovers just in time for February 14th. Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale features roasted cacao nibs, chili peppers, licorice and gingseng root, on top of a 7.0% ABV base. Bottled for the first time this year, find bottles at the Brewtique and across the province beginning today. Worry not, it’s also available on draft.
– Halifax’s Rockbottom has a new kettle sour on tap at the brewpub, Sour of Love. Soured with Lactobacillus until nicely tart, the beer then had cherry and rhubarb puree added, giving it a bright, reddish-pink colour, and a “pleasant, fruity aroma”.
– Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing are debuting the latest entry in their Small Lot series, Belgian Tripel. At 9.3% ABV and 37 IBU, this is sure to keep you warm on these cold winter nights. Find this and a quartet of other beers in growlers at the brewery at 50 Angus Hiltz Rd 12-5PM both Saturday and Sunday.
Unfiltered is bringing back their Hops and Dreams (7.5% ABV) – a SMaSH beer brewed with 2-Row and Amarillo hops, today; look for it at the brewery and at Unfiltered tap accounts in the Maritimes.

Welcome to another weekend! Maybe it’s just us, but this weekend seems well-deserved, even more than normal. So cozy up to your nice, warm computer screen (phones don’t throw off enough heat), and get caught up on all the goings-on with craft beer in Atlantic Canada this week… and there’s quite a bit of it.

• Well, you lot on the West Coast of Newfoundland are a thirsty bunch! Launching their brewery and taproom in Corner Brook last Friday, the crew at Bootleg Brew Co were overwhelmed with patrons, nearly drinking them dry! Good news for everyone is that they will be open again this weekend, with hours 4PM til late today, Saturday, and Sunday. Returning on tap are their El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye, Hoppy Roger IPA, Just the Tip Spruce Ale, beside new beer El Ray and Friends American IPA. The beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 48 IBUs, but that only tells part of the story. Millennium hops were used as bittering in the boil, with Hopzoil from Glacier Hops Ranch in Montana used post-fermentation. This product is the concentrated essential oils, steam-extracted from freshly-harvested El DoradoPekko, and Azacca hops. This preserves all of the aroma and flavour, with no bitterness from the alpha acids. The hops used in the beer tell the story of the name. From the brewery: “El Rey Dorado (the Golden King), was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (Zipa) of the Muisca native people of Colombia. Pekko is named for the Finnish God of Field and Crops. Azacca is named for the Haitian god of agriculture. In turn, once a millennium El Rey and his friends Pekko and Azacca get together and have a party and drink this beer. A gift from the Gods.” The only spot to grab a sample or pint of Bootleg is at the tasting room, so be sure to drop by this weekend for a spell.

• Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a new, experimental beer available now that was many months in the making. Spring Session Wheat is a 5.1% ABV beer that started off as a pretty standard brew with a grist of 2-row, Maris Otter, and Wheat malt, hopped with Nugget, Cluster, and Cascade. It was fermented with their house ale yeast and dry-hopped generously with El Dorado, before moving on to secondary. Some “infecting organisms” were added at this point, with the goal to develop notes of funk (but not in a dominating way), which took some time. Success eventually occurred, with the characteristics of the El Dorado developing into a “deep berry character”, according to the brewery. It’s available now at the brewpub for pints and growler fills. There’s another experimental beer underway right now as well; look for that one to debut sometime this coming summer.

• Newly-opened Four Rivers Brewing, out of Bathurst, NB, released their latest beer yesterday – Rockbolter is a Black IPA with plenty of “coffee, dark chocolate, and toffee”, to go with the hop aromas and flavours. The 6.5% ABV beer clocks in at 40 IBU, thanks to lots of Cascade and Mosaic, offering a citrus and tropical aroma to complement the roast and other dark malt character. It is available on tap for pints and growler fills now, and joins their other beers, including Havre St-Pierre, now also available for growler fills (previously only available in flights).

Propeller‘s latest entry in their Hop Collection series, Skyrocket Double IPA, is now available. This one was hopped with a new American variety, Skyrocket, a relative of the classic Chinook. Giving “complex fruit aromas, but without the piney resin commonly seen in Chinook”, it has a full body and provides a bit of alcohol warmth at 8% ABV, and with 100+ calculated IBUs, a bitter finish. It’s available now at the taproom for pints, and at both Propeller locations for growler fills. And don’t forget to drop by their Gottingen Street taproom after work this afternoon for their latest Cask, this week featuring their Cascade Pale Ale, dry-hopped in the firkin with Citra and an addition of sweet orange peel.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released a new single-hopped American IPA, Bravo! Featuring the often-underappreciated Bravo, Boxing Rock used “advanced hopping techniques” throughout the entire brewing process, include a quadruple dry-hop approach with the high-alpha acid variety. The result is a 6% ABV beer with a clean bitterness and “floral, evergreen and fruity aromas”. Available now at the brewery and market stalls in 650 mL bottles and 1 L growler fills.

• Speaking of Boxing Rock, they’ll be showcasing their annual Many Hands Pale Ale, brewed in time for International Gruit Day on February 1st. This year’s batch is brewed with bayberry leaves and berries, sweet fern, and bog myrtle, instead of hops (Gruit is a centuries-old style of beer brewed with a mixture of herbs and spices to give balancing bitterness). Also celebrating IGD is Sober Island Brewing, who are showcasing their Juniper IPA, brewed with almost three kilograms of locally-foraged juniper berries, added in the boil and during conditioning. Look for plenty of posts and maybe some giveaways on their social media, as well as Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill, ON. With nearly sixty breweries taking part across the world, it should be a fun time for checking out this close cousin to beer (or maybe grandparent, as it *does* pre-date it)!

• Next Friday marks the launch of the inaugural South Shore Lobster Crawl, with restaurants, retailers, art galleries, and even breweries getting in on the crustacean action. First up, Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool brewed up South Shorer Ale, named after the boat that supplied the lobster. A hybrid of a Pale Ale and Belgian Blonde, whole lobsters was added at the beginning of the boil, were removed after it was cooked, with the empty shells returned to the boil after removing and enjoying the meat. Featuring characteristics of biscuit malts and citrusy hops, it’s a Lobster Roll experience but in a 5.0% ABV liquid format! While it debuts on the 2nd, there will be a launch party February 8th from 7PM at the Sipuke’l Gallery in Liverpool, Lobster Tales and ARTifacts. In addition to the brewery, look for kegs of the beer at a few of the Lobster Crawl participants, and White Point Beach Resort, Grand Banker, and a few spots in HRM as well.

• The second brewery taking part in the Lobster Crawl is Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, serving up Crustacean Elation beginning next Friday. This 5.5% ABV straw-coloured ale features a base of Pilsner malt and Flaked Wheat, lightly hopped with Hallertau and Huell Melon. Whole lobsters were added during the mashing process, removed and eaten, with the shells kept and roasted, and added back during the boil. The finished product will be light and refreshing, with “a finish that tastes just a bit like the sea”, according to the brewery. The South Shore Lobster Crawl is on from Feb 2 to 19, with events taking place at more than fifty spots in the region, so be sure to check their website for the full event listing.

• Saltbox also has a pair of new beers available now that are worth checking out. During their Robbie Burns event yesterday, they released Storm Surge Maritime Ale. This was a collaboration brew, with Kirk Annand joining brewer Jeremy Fehr in the brewhouse. Annand has decades of brewing and brewery consultation experience, and together with Fehr, that amounts to more than 50 years of collective knowledge. Featuring a base of English malts (including some Caramel for colour), with North American Cascade and German Mandarina Bavaria hops, the beer highlights the influences of these cultures and regions on the people of the South Shore. The resultant beer features a light spicy character, with hints of orange, on a toasted toffee base. The 5.4% ABV beer is available now at their taproom. Also available is Whiskey Jack, a barrel-aged version of their Jeezus Murphy Irish Red, which was aged in White Oak Whiskey barrels, finishing at 8.0% ABV.

• Earlier this week, Niche Brewing sent out kegs of their latest brew, Orange Creamsicle IPA. This brew is a Milkshake IPA, brewed with a good portion of Malted Oats in the mash, and hopped with Citra and El Dorado in the boil. Lactose powder was also added in the boil to boost the mouthfeel and give a bit of residual sweetness. Fermented with London Ale III, the beer was dry-hopped with more Citra and El Dorado, as well as some Equinox, to give notes of orange and tropical fruit. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was conditioned on fresh orange zest and real vanilla bean, before being packaged. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 55 IBUs, and should be available now/soon at the James Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and The Palate in Fredericton, at Cask and Kettle and Pepper’s in Saint John, and Marky’s Laundromat in Moncton. And for the first time outside of NB, drop by Halifax’s Stillwell today for pours of their Mines of Wallonia Grisette, and Something Different Brett Table Beer.

• Today’s TrailWay release is their latest Double IPA, Lampin. Hopped entirely with Cascade from local Bloomsfield Hops Farm out of Lindsay, NB, the brewery is describing it as having a “slightly sweet front, with a soft citrus/floral finish”. Coming in at 8% ABV, the beer nevertheless goes down smooth, as is pretty standard for TW’s hoppy offerings, due to low IBUs thanks to late hop additions (with much of it going in the dry-hop). You can find it in cans and on tap at the brewery today from noon on.

• We have the info on the latest entry in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Co. Crabapple & Tangerine is an unfiltered, sparkling cider made from hand-picked local crabapples. Pressed for their juices and fermented dry, it was then finished off with fresh apple juice, perry, and a “touch” of tangerine juice and zest. The resulting cider is “refreshingly tart, with notes of tangerine and sharp apple”. You can pick up your refills of this 5% ABV one-off at the cidery today; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Kings Point-to-Point Transit.

• Today’s Good Robot update is brought to you by the return of Burban Legend… specifically, version 2.0 of the brewery’s popular 5.9% ABV American Pale Ale, hopped with Cascade, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight, Citra, and Centennial. Meanwhile, Kinsman’s Ale – a new Beta Brew – is being released next Tuesday. Named for guest brewer John Kinsman, a local homebrewer, and billed by the brewery as an English Porter, maple syrup and honey malt were added to encourage a bountiful body, and it was hopped with several additions of Fuggles to 35 IBUs. A very sessionable 4% ABV, look for it on tap at the brewery for Beta Brewsday next Tuesday, January 30.

Garrison‘s seasonal Chocolate Imperial Stout, Wintervention, was re-launched late last week in Nova Scotia. A big beer at 10.5% ABV, it’s brewed with Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with some Munich and Chocolate malt, and hopped with Millennium to 60 IBUs. A dark beer with a tan-coloured head, it has “rich, bittersweet chocolate aromatics with dark dried fruit and vanilla underneath”, and flavours of chocolate and molasses. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and some private stores in the HRM, it will also be hitting provincial stores in NB and Newfoundland in the near future.

• Lower Sackville’s Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to pump out the beer and it continues to be snapped up by the local market. For starters, their Disco Inferno Red IPA is back, it’s 5.9% ABV with citrus and floral notes and a clean chocolate caramel finish. Also making a return is their Saturday Night Fever IPA, but with a slightly modified recipe, with malty melanoidin malt replacing crystal for body and sweetness and a dry hop of both Centennial and Amarillo. The result is a light-colored 6% ABV beer with a juicy grapefruit and floral character and a touch of bitterness. And coming soon (just going into the brite tank this weekend) is the Sackvegas Sour. With a grist of wheat, acid malt and Bohemian Pilsner malts, it was soured with a mix of acid and 2-row malts for 28 hours before the boil where it was hopped with a small amount of Columbus for roughly 5 IBU. The batch, which came in at a little less than 1 BBL, was fermented on 26.5 lbs of whole raspberries. Once it’s ready look for kegs of this one to appear at Good Robot in Halifax, in Fredericton, and likely at another tap account. Speaking of tap accounts, they’re still working on lining up another one in Halifax as we hinted about a few weeks ago; we’ll let you know where it is as soon as it’s official!

• On the South Shore of NS, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co has a new entry in their Small Lot Series available now, this one a Porter. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it offers a bitterness that’s balanced by a sweeter malt profile. Featuring “loads” of roasted dark malt character combined with notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel, you’ll find it at the brewery for both growler and grunter fills. And do check out their website, that’s now been updated with profiles of all their beers as well as current availability information.

• On the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Antigonish’s Half Cocked has announced that they’ll be taking part in the Antigonish Winter Market that’s happening every Saturday from tomorrow, January 27th, through to April 28th, from 10 AM – 2 PM, at the former National Philatelic Centre (say that three times fast!) building on St. Ninian Street beside the St. FX Campus. They’ll be bringing pre-filled growlers and grunters so those arriving with a clean and empty Half Cocked vessel can simply pay for beer and be on their way. They’re also hoping to be able to provide small samples. Availability will vary, of course, but plans are to have the full lineup available as often as possible, including Pete’s Sake, XPA, Cock of the Walk, Darkest One and Bury’d Son. This is a great chance for folks to pick up Half Cocked beer in town instead of having to drive all the way out to the farm. Stay tuned for news of new Half Cocked offerings, likely to soon include a new IPA and possibly a Valentine’s Day beer in the hoppy Irish Red vein!

• Have you ever found yourself wondering whether that beer you’re eyeing in the cooler at the NSLC or another purveyor of fine local malted beverages is at it’s best, freshness-wise? We certainly have. And unfortunately, while some breweries make it explicit with stamped-on dates, some use codes that aren’t easily deciphered to indicate when a batch was packaged. Enter local beer fan Duncan Fergus. When he’s not nailing barleywines with the 902BrewCast boys (and throwing potentially ill-advised shout-outs to his mother-in-law), Duncan is doing his best to crack the codes to help us all stay on the fresh side and avoid the dreaded shelf turds. Check out his web site at Fresh 2 Death – Atlantic Canada Beer Dating Codes. And if you see the man out and about, consider buying him a beer; this is public service he’s doing.

• Some unfortunate news came out of Hortonville, NS, this week, as it was revealed on Sunday that Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Co had suffered a break-in following a very successful Songs and Suds of the Valley event. The premises and some vehicles that had been left overnight were damaged and a significant amount of cash was stolen. It seems pretty obvious that this was a targeted attack by the perpetrators looking to take advantage of the revenue earned through hard work the night before. It’s a pretty sad day when a local business, who is helping to stimulate the economy not only in its own community, but indeed the province and the rest of the Maritimes, has to deal with a setback like this thanks to petty criminals. Horton Ridge is looking for any information that anyone might have and are promising confidentiality and drinkable rewards for any information that helps track down whoever was responsible; we hope that they are successful in this endeavour.

Lots going on this weekend and next, so mark your calendars!

• A reminder to brew up your beer for Good Robot’s FemmeBot Home Brew Competiton! While the beer is not due until March 1, they ask that you register online by February 1. Open to all female and femme-identified amateur brewers, with the style being “Pre-prohibition”. A wide variety there, so check out the BJCP Style Guidelines, and check the History section for some inspiration! And while we’re talking Good Robot, today is Aussie Day at their taproom, with Australian-themed music, food, Football on the big screen.

• If you’ve been missing the fun Kitchen Party events at Quidi Vidi each Friday in the warmer months, you’re in luck! They will be holding a very special one today, marking the end of an era. After this weekend, they will be completely redesigning the retail and hospitality room space, in order to build a full time taproom, with 16 taps. There will also be changes coming to their beer lineup, so drop by today at 5PM for hints of what’s to come!

• In Halifax this evening at 6 PM, Taste of Nova Scotia is hosting their annual celebration of local aquaculture with Sip ’n Shuck, this year hosted on the 8th floor of the Delta Halifax and sporting a wide selection of local fare, in both edibles and potable and potable categories. In addition to oysters from at least seven producers, you’ll find various other seafoods, including quahogs, soft shell clams, scallops, striped bass, salmon, trout, seaweed, mussels, halibut, and eel. And from the beverage industry Nova Scotia distillers and winemakers will be pouring along with Bulwark and Annapolis Cider Co bringing apple-y goodness and Boxing Rock, Saltbox, and Garrison ensuring that our province’s beer industry is well-represented. As of this writing, tickets are still available ($65 + fees and taxes), so if fruits de mer and fine drinkables are your jam and your Friday night is as yet unbooked, maybe give a thought to heading down and sampling some the best our Province has to offer.

• Don’t forget to drop by 2 Crows this weekend to help them celebrate their First Anniversary. We already described the 5 (five!!) new beers that they are releasing in cans tomorrow in last week’s post, which will be pouring from opening Saturday at noon. There will be bar snacks and giveaways for those who drop by. On Sunday (also from noon), they are filling the board with 11 small batch beers (and cold brew coffee from Low Point), available on tap only due to availability. The list is too long to enumerate here, but trust us, you’ll want to drop by! And for those looking for a teaser of what’s to come, drop by Harvest Wines, RockHead, and/or WestSide from 5-7PM to chat with the 2 Crows Crew, grab some merch, and receive an entry for  giftcard with each growler fill.

Acadie-Broue will soon be releasing Mi-Carême, a Doppelbock, and celebrating with a Beer Launch at Moncton’s 2nd Floor at Dolma Food on Thursday, February 1st from 4:30-7:30. They’ll be opening up the rooftop and firing up their grills, shucking oysters, and making smores… what better way to celebrate the release of a brown, malty, rich, strong German Lager? The 7.5% ABV will be available in limited quantities, so make sure to drop by to give it a try and join in the fun. For those wondering (like us) what Mi-Carême means, it is an Acadian traditional day of celebration mid-way through Lent, where revelers would dress in costumes and disguises, and travel from door to door, visiting friends and family, and having their identities guessed. We’ll toast to that!

PEI Brewing Co. is bringing back their popular Transmitter Coffee Stout – this time in cans! – and is celebrating with a Launch Party on Friday, February 2nd. Held at the Receiver Brass Shop Breadworks and Roastery (only fitting since coffee roasted at Receiver is used in the brew), Transmitter will be pouring on tap, alongside special menu items from Receiver, and live music. You’ll be able to buy cans of the beer at PEIBC and Gahan locations on February 5th; it’ll hit PEILCC stores shortly after.

Niche Brewing launched four weeks ago, but due to the craziness of the holiday season and getting things running, didn’t immediately have a chance to really celebrate. Now that things have calmed down a bit, they’re inviting you to join them for their Launch Party on Saturday, February 10th at the James Joyce in Fredericton. From 7 pm on, four of their beers will be pouring (Single Origin, Something Different, Orange Creamsicle IPA, and a currently-not-released NEIPA, Apt Pupil), and all will be on for Happy Hour prices. Both Rob and Shawn will be there, eager to talk beer, and will also have some merch (glasses, shirts, and toques) available for sale.

• A reminder that entries are now open for the Canadian Brewing Awards, taking place in Halifax May 24-26. Sign up for the competition closes March 9th, with the beers due in Mississauga from March 12-23. And for those brewery folk who will be attending the conference, 3 day conference passes are now available, at Early Bird pricing until April 9. The conference features talks from industry folk around the country (and often the We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

And a few more quick mentions afore ye go:

– Digby’s Roof Hound had a rousingly successful Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night, with 15 beers, some special cocktails, and plenty of great food served. Of note were a few one-off beer iterations, that we’ve been told may be available at other spots again soon (or maybe even still on at Battery Park if you head there for lunch!): Pink SIPA is a Pink Lemonade/Session IPA blend, weighing in at 4.5% ABV; Oat of Thyme is a lend of their Thyme to Grow a Pear and Oat Of My Mind IPA, their take on the dry-hopped sour theme; and Kentucky Devil, a variation on their Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spice Latte Strong Porter aged on Bourbon-soaked oak chips.
– And finally, Nyanza’s Big Spruce has a couple of twists for us this week, first an Experimental Gose (3.8% ABV and 15 IBU) with sea salt and Indian coriander that was surplus beer that wouldn’t fit in their tequila barrels when they brewed their collaboration with Merit Brewing of Hamilton (look for that version in the coming weeks). And second, a version of their Whole Nine Yards Scotch Ale with an infusion of whisky; this one came in at 6.3% ABV and 25 IBU. And already preparing for next Christmas, Jeremy and the gang had local violinist extraordinaire (and burgeoning brewer, apparently) Donald MacLennan in the brewhouse last week helping put together an Imperial Barrel Aged English Fruitcake Stout that will be conditioned on brandy-spiked organic plums and aged in Glenora whiskey barrels until next December!

 

We’re late today because we’ve got lives and jobs and one of us has all of that and a brewery. And then our regional beer purveyors go and have a busy week. The nerve!! Lots to tell you about in the region today, so let’s not belabor introductions and get straight to it!

• We kick off this week’s post with news of a brand new brewery in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Opening late last week, Four Rivers Brewing is the first large-scale brewery (15 BBL/1800 litre) and taproom to open in the region, capitalizing on the region’s residents’ thirst for well-made, fresh, local beer. We’ll have a full profile with the Four Rivers folks shortly, but in the meantime we can tell you that their taproom is open for samples, pints, and growler fills of their beer, plus glassware and other merchandise, 12 – 6 PM Mon-Wed, 12 – 8 PM Thurs and Fri, 10 AM – 8 PM Sat, closed Sun. As for what you can expect when onsite, they are currently pouring Havre St-Pierre American Amber Ale and Nor’Easter American Pale Ale, with a Black IPA/India Black Ale debuting in the coming weeks. Keg sales are planned for sometime next month, which means the only place you’ll find Four Rivers’ beer is at Four Rivers, so be sure to drop by their spot at 335 Murray Avenue. Keep an eye on their FB and Insta accounts for more details, and keep your eyes locked here for the Q&A with them soon. Congratulations!

• If you head 585 km East Northeast of Bathurst, you’ll reach Corner Brook, Newfoundland, home to the other new brewery opening their doors this week. Located at 92 West Street, the brewery and taproom for Bootleg Brew Co is opening today at 2 PM, open until midnight (with the same hours Saturday and Sunday). While there, you’ll be able to enjoy samples and pints of their first four beer offerings: East Coast Pale Ale (5.5%/25 IBU), Hoppy Roger IPA (6.5%/61 IBU), El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye (6.3%/18 IBU), and Just the Tip Spruce Ale (5.8%/23 IBU). With room for more about 30 patrons in the small location, we imagine it will be blocked, given the enthusiasm for great beer the west coast of the province is seeing. To ensure the taproom is always stocked, they are concentrating on samples and pint sales for the time being, with beer-to-go in the coming weeks. But with local art by Nolan Short hanging in the space (also for sale), and a chill and rustic, yet modern, vibe, you won’t mind sticking around for a spell to try them all (at least once). Keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) as they announce their hours for next week, as well as add food options to the taproom. Congratulations to Matt and Morgan on the launch, and we’re excited to have a full Q&A with them soon. ps. Flights from Bathurst to Corner Brook’s closest airport, Deer Lake, are currently $600. If you send us proof that you made the trip, we’ll buy your first beer at both taprooms!

• And in more new/coming soon brewery news, the initial beer release from CAVOK Brewing is debuting this weekend across New Brunswick. Brewed at another facility while they set up their own brewery and taproom in Dieppe, the Leger Corner Honey Ale has been kegged and delivered to Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub and Pump House Fill Station on Mill Road, with Fredericton’s James Joyce and a few others over the next few weeks. They’ve also managed to can a portion of the batch in tall boy cans, destined for the shelves of the ANBL shortly (check that link for availability). Leger Corner is Dieppe’s original name, before being changed to commemorate the soldiers of the Dieppe Raid. The 4.8% ABV beer features wildflower honey (Atlantic Gold) from local producer Lockhart Apiaries. Look for CAVOK to open their facility later this year, and keep up to date on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) for the latest news!

• After a brief hiatus (you drank them dry!), Bedford’s brand new Off Track Brewing is re-opening their taproom for sample, pints, and growler sales today. Back on tap are their  Alias Pale Ale, Crash Course and Hooved a Doo IPAs, the Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Porter, Good Grief Charlie Brown, and the debut of Universal Soldier, a 4.2% Kolsch. First fermented at Ale temperature (17-18 Celsius) for two weeks, the beer then conditioned cool (5 Celsius) for four weeks, resulting in a straw-coloured beer that is clean and refreshing, with a nice mouthfeel. They are also bringing in reinforcements to fill up the taps, with a rotating cider tap (now populated with Chain Yard Foundation), with the other two guests being Lunn’s Mill‘s Anvil Porter (which will then switch to Brickyard Red) and Ol Biddy’s Funktown APA. Open this weekend (today 2 – 10 PM, Saturday 12 – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM), their hours for the week will be posted on social media (FB/IG/Tw) and are dependent on being able to serve you beer.

• We’ve got some news about two new beers available/soon to be available from Lazy Bear Brewing, out of Smiths Cove, NS. First up is a big beer, a Russian Imperial Stout named Avos’, after the Russian word meaning “blind trust in sheer luck” (we’ll take their word on that). A favourite style for sipping in front of a fire on a cold winter night, it clocks in at 8.9% ABV and has “intense chocolate and roast malt notes up front and on the nose”, with flavours of anise, stone fruit, and some alcohol warmth going down, according to the brewery. This medium-to-full bodied brew is available now in bottles around Smiths Cove, and may be heading in keg-form to Halifax in the near future.

• Next up from Lazy Bear is a currently-unnamed Saison featuring wild cherries. The beer started with their House Saison, to which cherries they foraged for one morning back in July were added. After aging for a few months, more Saison was blended in to achieve the desired colour and flavour. The final ABV came in at 5.9% and though the IBUs are unknown, they are assuredly quite low. This beer will make its debut (and likely it’s swan song, only 40 L were produced) at the South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting at Roof Hound this coming Tuesday. And we’ve been advised to be on the lookout for some more limited releases from Lazy Bear in the coming weeks and months.

• Downtown Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new one brewed to commemorate tonight’s opening of the annual PRE-SHRUNK art show at Argyle Fine Art. Featuring over 300 small works of art (just 4” x 5”), nanobrewery Tidehouse, who are also supporters of the arts, seemed a great match for the event. Argyle Fine Ale is a Pale Ale brewed with both Amarillo and Cascade hops along with spruce tips. It tips the scales at 5.8% ABV and features a “snap” of spruce buttressed by citrus hop notes and then yielding to a malty finish with a soft bitterness. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room both on tap and in 650 mL bottles with labels designed by Jodie Hansen that incorporate art by Andy McDonald.

• It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been about a year since 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors in Halifax. Since then, they’ve released upwards of 60 different beers – several of which have been collaborations with other breweries, podcasts, and sexy blog writers – and consistently pushed the envelope in the craft beer scene. They’re celebrating next weekend, and on Saturday, January 27th will be selling six special anniversary beers, five of which are brand new. And here they are!
Forever Young – We talked about this beer last week, but as a refresher, it’s an 8.5% ABV “Foedre-aged Brett Saison” conditioned on rosehips and rosewater
Panhandle Slim – Brewed with plenty of oats, spelt, wheat, and rye, this “Foedre-aged multigrain Farmhouse Grisette” spent four months in the brewery’s cognac foedre, and is described as “super dry, earthy, lightly funky, and refreshing”; 4.9% ABV, 17 IBUs.
Magic Touch – Yet another foedre-aged beer, this Golden Ale was fermented with Brett C to give “subtle pineapple and wine-like flavours”, and was dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Centennial to give even more white-wine characteristics.
Sounds pretty delightful! All three of these beers will be available on tap and in cans, and were big batches so there should be plenty to go around. The next three beers, however, are very limited, at only 400 cans each, at the brewery only. Aaaand… all three were can-conditioned!
Bingo Bango (4.1% ABV, 1 IBU) – Blackberry and bay leaf Brett Gose
House Funk (7.7% ABV, 29 IBUs) – Brett Saison
Dynamo (5.1% ABV, 28 IBUs) – Rustic Saison with grapefruit
Pushing the envelope, indeed! Be sure to drop by the brewery next Saturday, or you’re probably going to miss out! There’ll likely be some sort of pop-up food option to keep your stomach happy while you try all of those beers, and some live music to bob your head to at the same time (which has been scientifically guaranteed, we think, to burn significant* calories).

*Significance is relative.

• And really, you may as well stay close by that evening, as 2 Crows will be continuing their celebrations with Sour Sunday the next day (28th), with a whole whack of one-off sour beers, a few Brett beers, and quite possible a tap of cold-brewed coffee to start your day off right.

• And leaving the Halifax Downtown core for the city’s North End, Robie Street’s Good Robot Brewing has news for us this week, as they almost always do. First, from their big batch Alpha system, is the return of Tom Waits for No One, the auspiciously named stout that sits somewhere between the American and a Russian Imperial styles at 7.9% ABV and 58 IBU. Moving from big to little, but only in terms of batch size, this week’s BetaBrew was actually brewed late last year when Kelly Costello was joined by Alicia MacDonald, who is making waves at Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing, and Christina M. Coady, formerly of Toronto’s Folly Brewpub, now back in St. John’s and plotting some hometown waves of her own. Their brewday resulted in what they’re calling an “Alsatian Lager”, where German malts (Pilsner and Vienna), French hops (Strisselspalt) and Bavarian Lager yeast came together to make a beer they’re calling Crispi Boi. A little bit of flaked oats rounded out the recipe, bringing a touch of smoothness and haze. Lagered over the holidays, it finished up at 4.5% ABV and 33 IBU and this coming Tuesday, January 23rd will see its Beta Brewsday release. And after such a tale of girl power killing it in the brewhouse it seems like an excellent time to also remind folks that registration is still open until February 1st for GR’s FemmeBot Home-brew Competition. The competition is open to female and femme-identifying non-professional brewers with the constraint of pre-prohibition styles.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer earlier this week, aptly-named Hangover Helper. No, there’s no medication or tomato juice in this beer, it’s just a straight-up American IPA, hopped with Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo, all wonderful and delicious American varieties. Most of you will be familiar with all four, and likely can already picture in your head how the beer will taste (we’re thinking lots of tropical fruit, along with dank, piney notes). It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, and can likely be found at your favourite Backstage beer source… especially the brewery itself!

• Less than three years after opening their brewery, the team at Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new retail location downtown at the corner of Great George and Kent Streets. Bottled beer and growlers will be available for sale, with a total of 24 taps for pints on-site, featuring a mix of Upstreet beers and other breweries on the Island. They’ll be hiring between 5-10 employees for the new location, which should be open by March. For more info, check out the full story in the Guardian.

Sober Island Brewing has released the third in their Foraged Series of beers this week, with Wintergreen Cocoa Porter hitting the taps as of yesterday. Featuring 46% Horton Ridge malt (both Pale and Munich) along with a wide variety of character malts, including Brown malt, Chocolate malt and Oat malt, it was hopped with Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings. The foraged ingredient this time around was Wintergreen (courtesy of East Coast Wild Foods), a medicinal herb known for its minty aroma and flavour, with 5 pounds added in the last 10 minutes of the boil. Cocoa nibs finished the recipe, added after fermentation was largely complete (at the “dry hop” stage) but before conditioning in the brite tanks. Only 600 L of this beer are available, and in crowlers only, available at the brewery and Sober Island’s three regular farmers market stops: Musquodoboit Harbour, New Glasgow, and Truro.

• And another brewery is starting up a beer series this week, this time it’s Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing. Geared to provide head brewmaster Jake Saunders an opportunity to step outside the core brands and try new things, the Signature Series will boast the same high quality Nine Locks fans are accustomed to while traveling a little further afield in terms of styles. One key element is that each and every beer in the series is intended as a one-time release; so if one strikes your fancy you’d best act quickly, as there’s no telling how long it will last or if it will ever be seen again. The first beer in the series is One Foot on the Wagon, a Session IPA. Very light in weight at 4.2% ABV (have two!), it still sports a solid 40 IBU but is not overwhelmingly bitter. Hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo and Ahtanum hops, both in the whirlpool and dry hop, you can expect to taste citrus, stone fruit, and floral notes. It’s available now in cans and for growler fills at the brewery.

• In New Brunswick, Fredericton’s haven for hop heads, Trailway Brewing has yet another lupulin-packed present for their fans. Ida Hoy was designed to showcase a fairly new hop variety called Idaho 7, first released to a broad market in 2015. Bright and pungent, with tropical fruit and citrus prominent, and more subtle aspects of resiny pine and black tea, it brings a massive tropical juice presence to this beer. No coloured malts at all were present in the grain bill, but the oats were pumped up to unheard of levels at 30%, which yields a pale straw-yellow beer with a very creamy mouthfeel. Available as of noon today in cans at the brewery only, get it before it’s gone!

• It’s been a busy week for the guys from 902 BrewCast, who kicked off #902sday with their conversation with Peter Cole of Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic, NB. Learning about Big Axe’s start, their award-winning beers, their great Big Axe Craft Beer Festival (this year’s event is July 14th, 2018), and all about their on-going expansion. And just dropping this morning, the boys sat down with the Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, to talk about the current beer scene, and steps that can (and will) be taken to improve the plight of Nova Scotian breweries. Both episodes can be played on the website, or downloaded for offline commuting. Listen in!

There are quite a few events worth checking out this weekend and beyond, no matter where you find yourself in the region:

Your friends (and ours) at Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax have achieved another coup, tomorrow at their noon opening you will find no less than 5 taps from Dexter, Michigan brewery Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, one of the breweries responsible for pioneering Belgian-influenced American Farmhouse styles. Confirmed for this draft feature are the Calabaza Blanca oak-aged witbier, the Oro de Calabaza oak-aged sour golden ale, Bam Bière dry-hopped farmhouse, Madrugada Obscura sour stout and Fuego del Otono, a sour amber ale brewed with chestnuts and spices that was brewed in collaboration with Monkish Brewing Co. in Los Angeles. As always, the kitchen will be pushing out tasty treats dreamed up specifically for the event. So if you’re into that kind of thing (and, if you’re reading this you very well might be), get thee to Stilly after 12 noon tomorrow!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub, since building a new keg fridge three years ago, has greatly expanded the availability of craft beer in the city, and introduced and educated many to the world of well-brewed beer. So, if you’re in the Fredericton area this weekend, why not drop by the pub on Saturday, January 20th at 8 PM to celebrate the 3rd Birthday Party of the keg fridge? As always, there will be over 30 taps of New Brunswick-brewed beer a-flowing, and happy hour prices will be on all evening. Plus…cake! No cost to attend of course, just pay by the pint or flight, and raise a glass to one of the province’s finest craft beer establishments!

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is celebrating their upcoming 1st Anniversary with a Social at Picaroons next Wednesday, January 24th, from 6:30-8 pm. If you’d like to attend, RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot; $10 gets your a flight of beer. Of course, you’re more than welcome to hang out afterwards for more beer! Picaroons has released their Pivot #11, with this batch of 8% ABV Imperial IPA hopped with Lemondrop, Zeus (aka Columbus) and Warrior.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is taking over the taps at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, January 25th. From 11:30, all 15 taps will be flowing with plenty of their current favourites like Big Stink IPA and Big Brown Roof Hound, and we bet there will be a few special kegs debuting/returning for the big event.

• The latest screening of the feature documentary about the craft brewing industry in New Brunswick, Beerocracy will take place Thursday, February 15th at 6 PM at the Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton. Those who backed the film by donating on Indiegogo at the VIP level or higher will have their first drink covered by the organizers. If you’re planning to attend, they ask that you let them know via the event’s Facebook page.

And before we let you go, a few more quick mentions:

– Over the course of 2017 we reported on several events that saw Shelburne’s Boxing Rock paired up with the Friends of Keji Cooperating Association. The brewery brewed a beer that was featured at many of these events, called Dark as Keji, from which a portion of the proceeds were earmarked for the Friends of Keji and specifically their Dark Sky education programs. At year end, in recognition of that commitment, Boxing Rock co-owners Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton were able to present a cheque for over $7,000 to the organization! Look for this partnership to continue into 2018, with new ideas and events on the way.
Hammond River Brewing has released The Vegas SMaSH (Vic Secret Edition), the latest iteration of their popular one-malt-and-one-hop IPA. Brewed with 2-row malt and hopped entirely with the delicious Australian Vic Secret, expect “tons of pineapple, passionfruit, and a little pine”; 6.5% ABV.
Niche Brewing has only been selling beer for a few weeks – and delivery options have been limited – but thanks to a generous soul, a keg of their hoppy Grisette, Mines of Wallonia (3.6% ABV) is heading to Halifax’s Stillwell today! Look for it on tap sometime over the next few days.
– For you teachers out there (or really, any of you frustrated with what winter has brought us so far), Schoolhouse has got the perfect beer to get you through the next 6 months (noooooo…..), Dreaming of Summer Break. Actually a re-release of their Summer Break from last July, this 4.9% ABV Witbier has the style-standard addition of orange peel and coriander.
– Bridgewater’s Firkinstein Brewing have a new batch of their Double IPA, Cut of Our Jib. Leveraging constant hopping throughout the boil with Simcoe and Cascade hops, it’s a big ‘un at 8.6% ABV and 100+ IBUs, but be careful, as it’s surprisingly smooth, almost sneaky.

 

After a brief lull in the new beer releases last week (we figure the brewers in Atlantic Canada may have needed time to fully recover from the holiday festivities), we are back with a full complement of news in the region, ready to fill your growlers and glasses with the best beer going.

• Fredericton’s Grimross has the ninth entry in their Scratch series available for pints and growlers at their taproom on Bishop Drive. Scratch #9: Golden Ale is “light, earthy, and dry”, and was hopped with all-Maritime-grown hops. Dry-hopped with Chinook to give some spice and pine to go with the floral notes, the brewery describes the beer as well-balanced between malt and hop flavours. Coming in at just 4.7% ABV, like all Golden Ales it’s meant to be enjoyed in quantity.

• Halifax’s Ladies Beer League has teamed up with Lunn’s Mill to add yet another collaboration beer to their ever-growing list. Hopper’s Bazaar is a Belgian Dubbel brewed with Pilsner, Amber, Dark Munich, Special B, and Chocolate Wheat malt, with an addition of Dark Belgian Candi sugar. Hopped lightly with Saaz and Tettnang, they even threw in a late addition of Garam Masala, an Indian blend of spices, for good measure. This very dark Belgian Ale comes across as “rich, semi-sweet, and spicy, with hints of cumin and cardamom”, and weighs in at 6.7% ABV. It’s available right now at the brewery, and select licensees for pints.

• While it may feel a heck of a lot warmer now than it did a few days ago, no mistake, it’s still winter! Which means you can still enjoy Trider’s newest beer, an 8.5% ABV Winter Warmer called Hibrrnation. Described as a “deep chestnut brown”, the beer was brewed with demerara sugar and unfiltered local honey, to give it extra sweetness to go with the warmth from the alcohol. Hopped with earthy Willamette to prevent it from getting too sweet, this is a one-batch wonder until next year, so grab it while you can!

• We have a new beer alert for this week for Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House, as they will be releasing their Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red. Brewed with Pale malt, Melanoiden, Crystal 30 and 60 L, and a bit of Black Malt for colour adjustment, the beer was hopped to 28 IBUs with Columbus and Willamette to help balance the sweetness from the malts. Coming in at 4.0% ABV, this reddish-coloured brew is medium-bodied with a “caramel, biscuit, and light roast finish”. Look for it to hit the taps at Battery Park and Stillwell very, very soon. New batches of Orange American Bastard and Funktown APA will also be popping up at local tap accounts, as well as Disco Inferno Red IPA and Saturday Night Fever IPA within a couple of weeks. And for OBB fans in Halifax, look for them to be available at another location before the end of January, we’re hoping to reveal exactly where that is next week.

• Your favourite Halifax brewery named after a duet of birds (that would make a great trivia question) is releasing a brand new beer tomorrow. That’s right, 2 Crows launches Forever Young on Saturday, a beer brewed with Pilsner, Wheat and Vienna malt. Hopped in the boil with Sterling and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in their cognac foedre with their house Saison culture, along with TYB 207, an experimental Brettanomyces strain. Further conditioned for 3 months on local rosehips, the beer was then transferred back to stainless for further conditioning on a small amount of rosewater, and then finally carbonated and packaged. Cans of this 8.5% ABV, 29 IBUs beauty will be available at the brewery and private stores, and a few kegs will be popping up at Stillwell (and probably a couple other lucky places). Described by the brewery as “earthy, floral, lightly funky and dry”, don’t miss out on your chance to try this one!

• Hanwell, NB’s recently opened Niche Brewing is releasing their third beer today, but actually the first one they brewed, and one of their expected flagship brews. Called Something Different, the name acknowledges that this isn’t a style we see a lot of in our region: the table beer. Low in ABV and considered excellent for accompanying a meal, this is a classically Belgian style that is usually balanced towards the malty side. Niche’s offering takes the style in a slightly different direction, using the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains from the Yeast Bay to provide a citrus and slightly funky character to a fairly dry beer accented by Hallertauer Blanc in the kettle and a small dry hop of Amarillo.  At 3.6% ABV and 20 IBU you’ll be able to have a few without too many effects, which should give you plenty of opportunity to savour the interesting combination of yeast and hop characters. It’s available to Niche licensees as of today, with the Saint John Ale House already confirming that they’ll be taking a keg.

• Northern Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing has a couple of new beers to tell you about this week that each feature a different unique ingredient. First is Mussed Up, a Double IPA in the Northeast style. Starting with a grist of pale malt from Horton Ridge and some oats and hopped with Enigma and Hallertau Blanc, this beer was dosed with the must of Petit Milo grapes after two days of fermentation. Although the hop varieties were chosen specifically to drive the wine character of this beer, they also add plenty of pineapple and other tropical notes characteristic of the style. At a hefty 7.9% ABV and 60 IBU, it’ll pack a punch in more ways than one. Look for it at the brewery for pints, fills, and in cans, at tap accounts in NS and some in NB, and next week in the private stores in Halifax. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a ticket, you’ll also find it being served next week at the Halifax Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration!

• Tata’s second new beer announcement this week is on the other end of the spectrum, a “breakfast” Porter called Crack of Dawn. Coming in at 8.4% ABV and 35 IBU, this is a big beer built on a solid base of Horton Ridge pale malt and plenty of oats, with color, character, and mouthfeel provided by chocolate rye and chocolate wheat malts. It was hopped with Chinook and with some lactose added in the kettle for a balancing sweetness, but the feature ingredient of this beer is cold-brewed barrel-aged coffee. The gang took 150 lbs of green Ethiopian coffee beans and aged them in a rye whiskey barrel for 3 months before taking them down the road to Meeting Waters coffee, where they were given a dark and smooth roast. The coffee was then cold-brewed to maximize flavour and smoothness and keep the bitterness under control; this cold brew was added to the finished beer before packaging. The resulting brew is big-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel providing counterpoint to the acidity and roastiness of the coffee and the darker malts, with definite notes of whisky and fruit from the coffee aging process. Our own Chris McDonald and homebrewer extraordinaire Brian Harvey were part of the prototyping process for this beer, assisting with the process of figuring out the coffee dosing level and also helping brew the production batch (ed: no really, we did work!). Look for kegs of this one to start appearing late next week, with 500 mL bottles on their way as well, after its debut along side the Mussed Up at the aforementioned event next week (in cask, with an additional special secret ingredient added for the evening’s festivities).

• Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing just put a new beer up on the board today, a New Zealand Pilsner named Captain Cook’s Goat. A crisp, 5.5% ABV lager hopped with New Zealand (of course) hop varieties including Rakau, Motueka, and Pacific Jade to 20 IBUs. In case you’re wondering about the name, our Foghorn source says it was inspired by the story of a Captain Cook who supposedly brewed the first beer in New Zealand, but more importantly, traveled the world with his beer-drinking (we assume) goat companion. If that’s not worth a beer name, we don’t know what is! It’s on tap at Foghorn right now, and will be at licensees sometime next week.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has brought back a pair of beers this week, at the two ends of the flavour and ABV spectrum. Their Hopyard American Pale Ale has returned, melding the hoppy focus of a West Coast IPA (thanks to Amarillo and Cascade hops in both the boil and dry-hop) with an East Coast/British-influenced sensibility (featuring Maritime Malt with 2 Row and Carastan). The 5.5% ABV beer is available for the next few months in six-packs at the brewery and NSLC stores across the province. And launching today is the next in their Cellar Series (big and bold beers that are usually wood-aged and worthy of enjoyment now or in a few months/years), Rum Barrel-Aged Spruce Beer. Last year’s release of this historically-inspired beer spent 12 months in Ironworks Rum barrels, picking up plenty of spirit character, combining with the bold flavours of spruce, and touch of molasses. This barrel-aged edition also picks up a significant amount of alcohol from the wood, increasing from 7.5% ABV for the standard release, to 11.0% ABV for its bigger sister. 650mL bottles are available today at the brewery, with a $15.95 price tag.

• We’ve got Alpha and Beta news from Good Robot Brewing Company this week. First off, Extra Big-Ass Oktoberfest Camacho Lager is once again available on tap for pints and fills (and, no doubt, making appearances at GR tap accounts). Just remember to order it (respectfully, mind) in ALL-CAPS. This week’s Beta Brewsday, on the other hand, is a feelgood brew dreamt up and brewed by Kelly and Glee Club member Rebecca, along with Rebecca’s brother Joseph. Dubbed Cuddle Up, this coconut porter started with a grain bill of 2-row barley, flaked oats and Vienna malt, with both roasted and black barley for color and deep roasted flavour. Bittered to 26 IBU and very lightly kettle hopped with East Kent Goldings before being fermented with London Ale yeast to preserve a malty character, toasted flaked coconut was added for a lingering coconut flavour. Everything about this 4% ABV beer was designed to be comforting, so if that’s your jam, grab your favourite blankie and head on down to Good Robot this Tuesday when it’s tapped.

• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has announced that they will officially be releasing their third flagship beer, The Rabble Rouser Red, next Thursday. Brewed “with a rich malt profile in mind”, this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs American Amber Ale has a grist made up of five different malts, giving a flavour of slightly-toasted malt, “with a residual sweetness to round out the body”. Check out their Facebook page for the back story on where the name came from, and plan to drop by the taproom on January 18th, from 6 – 10 PM for the launch party, which will feature live fiddle music and Sneaky Cheats BBQ, with a custom-created food menu to pair with the beer.

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain in Hortonville, NS, has another new beer coming out next weekend, brewed on their small system. Beer of Fundy celebrates the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Valley by being made with malt, hops and water that are all from that region. The barley (75%) and rye (25%) were grown and malted by Horton Ridge and the hops used were Galena and Centennial sourced from Fundy Hops down the road in Berwick. At 6% ABV and 63 IBU, this beer is admittedly the hoppiest to come out of Horton Ridge and treads “perilously close” to IPA territory. This is a nod to Fundy Hops, who will be at the malthouse and brewery to celebrate the launch of this beer a week from tomorrow on Saturday, January 20th from 2 PM, at an event that’s being called Songs and Suds of the Valley. Look for lots of musical entertainment from Space Paddy Bog People and artists featured on This Place, Songs from the Annapolis Valley, along with lots of beer, of course!

Hammond River Brewing has teamed up with Josh Mayich from Darlings Island Farm to brew their first Bohemian Pilsner. Currently unnamed, it features Bohemian Pilsner malt and Carapils, and was bittered with Magnum to 43 IBUs, followed by three later additions of Saaz. As you likely expected, both hop varieties are from Darlings Island. Look for this one to finish at about 5.6% ABV; since it naturally needs to undergo a lagering period, look for this one to hit taps around mid-February. And meanwhile, HRB’s Shane Steeves and Darlings Island’s Josh Mayich are hosting a “Hop Seminar” to talk hops and beer. Want to know which hops match well with which styles of beer or maybe which hops grow well in our region, but especially New Brunswick? These are just the gentlemen to tell you about that! Look for it to happen at the HRB Beer Bar on Sunday, January 21st, at 1 PM: grab a pint and learn a little about what’s in it and where it came from!

And one last mention before we go, you may have heard that Loblaw’s is giving away $25 gift cards as a measure of “atonement” for their bread price-fixing scandal. You may also have heard that there’s been a groundswell of support for collecting those cards and getting them to organizations who can put them to good use. You may not have heard, though, that our pals at the 902 BrewCast have taken it upon themselves to help this process, calling it the #RobinHoodChallenge. Over the past couple of days they’ve been enlisting breweries from across NS to agree to be drop points for the Loblaw’s gift cards, which will help the process by making it easy for the folks who can afford to do so to donate their gift cards, knowing that those cards will make their way to an important organization like Feed Nova Scotia. Be sure to check the 902BrewCast Instagram and Twitter feeds for more details and information about which breweries are participating. And big kudos to the Kyle, Phil and Tony at 902BC for organizing, the breweries for taking part, and everyone who takes the time and makes the effort to help out with such a worthy initiatve!

Good morning, everyone! Hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to recover from yesterday’s storm (or at least have made a good amount of progress). There’s been a bit of a lull in beer news as the holidays have finally been winding down, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t some reading to get done, so sit back and take a break from your snowblower/shovel, and let’s get right to it!

PEI Brewing Co. has a new beer out this week, and don’t feel sad if it makes you think of warmer, and less-snowy, locales. Snowbird Juicy IPA is a 6% ABV New England IPA, made up of a simple grist of Pale Ale malt and Malted Oats (to help ensure that expected cloudiness). The high majority of the hop additions were in the whirlpool and dry hop, including both El Dorado and Ella varieties. The calculated IBUs come in at around 40, meaning this beer is more about hop flavour and aroma that it is about bitterness (true to the NEIPA style). Fermented with Escarpment‘s Vermont Ale strain to boost the juiciness even more, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at all Gahan House locations, select licensees, and at the NB growler program this weekend (while supplies last). There’s a good chance this one will also be released in cans in the spring, when it finally arrives in the Maritimes in approximately 4.5 years.

• Sharp-eyed fans of the offerings from Horton Ridge may have noticed that to this point there’s been a limit to how dark their products have been, both in terms of their malt and beer offerings. Because their kiln is hot water-based, there is a limit to how dark they can go (and truly “roasted” malts are out of the question). And given that their in-house policy says that all beers on tap and available for growler fills must be 100% Horton Ridge malt-based, that has thus far prevented them from exploring certain styles. In a noble effort to broaden their brewery’s offerings without violating their own ethos, they’ve taken the step of allowing themselves to brew a beer with non-Horton malts, but in keeping with their policy, it will bypass the taps and go straight into bottles. Thus, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is born. It’s still 90% Horton Ridge malt (2-row, oats and CaraHorton), but the other 10% is chocolate malt and roasted barley from other sources to give it a deep roasted character and typical deep brown-black color. Hopped with Fuggles and Perle, it also got a dose of cacao nibs in the fermenter to enhance the chocolate flavour. This beer is available in 650 mL bottles at the tap room and also at the Wolfville Farmers Market, the first time Horton Ridge beer has been available outside the brewery premises! We’re told that there will be some more entries in the bottle series over the course of the coming year, and that the brewery is planning to be at market from January to May. And in other good news, with Horton Ridge using more malting barley, the growers in the region have stepped up their production, and the maltster has secured enough locally-grown malt to last well into the year. Look for more truly Nova Scotian Grain to Glass beers in the coming months, thanks to this symbiotic relationship.

• Fredericton hop hawkers Trailway Brewing have yet another juicy hop bomb ready for consumption today, this one cleverly dubbed Hopical Trop. Featuring heavy doses of ultrafresh citrusy Citra and tropical Mosaic hops, it was conditioned on over 100 lbs of peach purée (note to Jeremy @2 Crows: peach purée is a thing that you can buy). Described as “straight up fruit juice,” it’s an 8% ABV double IPA that’s still soft and drinkable, with massive aroma and flavour. Quantities are limited, you’ll find it at the brewery as of noon today in cans and also available for pints and growler fills.

• Amid the blowing wind and rain yesterday, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing released the latest in their informal Milkshake series. What began with Liquid James Brown in January 2017, it continued with For Peach’s Sake in August, followed up by Jackpot Apricot in September. Chamba features an addition of tart cherries during the conditioning process, lending fruit character to the 6.4% ABV, 50 IBU IPA. It is available at the Sprucetique for samples and growler fills now, and will be flowing at your favourite beer bar and restaurant soon (if not, be sure to ask for it!).

• Some happy news for beer fans on the Rock, as Port Rexton Brewing has re-opened their Retail Shop in St. John’s! They’re planning to restock every week and be open every Friday from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM at 286 Torbay Road in Corker’s Meadow Plaza. Terms are “first come, first served” until they run out each weekend. Look for cans, growler fills, and branded merchandise as well. Definitely keep your eyes on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to find out what’s on offer each week, especially for growler fills!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is following up last week’s release of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout with the release of an entirely different sort this weekend. Born out of the common practice of rewarding (or at the very least, allowing) workers in Belgium with beer breaks during and after a long workday, Grisette was the drink of choice for miners in the Wallonia region of the country. A sibling to the Saison style, the low-alcohol Grisette feature malted Wheat, was fermented with Saison yeast, and often late-hopped; perfect for refreshing the dust-covered palate, but still providing plenty of aroma and flavour in a small package. Mines of Wallonia is Niche’s ode to the style, a 3.6% hoppy Grisette featuring a grist of Wheat, Oats, and Spelt, and fermented with a French Saison yeast. Deviating slightly from the Noble hop varietals of yesteryear, in favour of Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin (no complaints here!), Wallonia was late-hopped in the boil and further dry-hopped during conditioning to offer tropical and wine-like aromatics and flavours to complement the light spicy phenolics from the yeast. Not yet on tap as of publishing, we expect to see it hit the taps in Fredericton and beyond over the weekend/early next week. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the announcements. And if you run, don’t walk (maybe don’t drive, either!), you may be able to catch the last few drops of Single Origin at 540 Kitchen, James Joyce, and the King Street Ale House.

• Halifax’s Good Robot doesn’t have anything on the Alpha system for us this week, although you might scope their social media for hints about their plans for big brews in the coming months. Meanwhile, Kelly Costello continues to helm the BetaBrew program, bringing diverse brewers into the fold to make interesting beers. This week’s Beta Brewsday release will be a wheat ale with a touch of rye and featuring every child’s favourite pigmentally-challenged starch, parsnip. Pale golden in color, sporting an ABV of 4.2% and a very moderate 19 IBU, Arsenip was hopped with Sorachi Ace and fermented with the Pin Cherry yeast from Big Spruce for a hefeweizen-esque feel. Brewed with East Coast violin savant Donald Maclennan, the careful taster will note a progression of yeast and hop flavors before being rewarded with spicy elements from the rye and parsnips. Available this Tuesday at the GR taproom for pints and, depending, possibly growler fills.

• Tickets for the 5th Annual Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration are just about gone, so if you haven’t yet grabbed yours for the all-inclusive beer and food event from 16 Nova Scotian breweries and 17 food producers, now is the absolutely last time to do so. January 18 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront will be the launch party for many new beers from the provinces producers, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge (a beer featuring a strain of yeast harvested and isolated from a tree on their farm), and a brand new beer from Tatamagouche (with local homebrewer 1029Brewing and our own acbbchris). Don’t miss out on the fun, grab your tickets now!

Just a few more things to get you going this weekend:

– In case your podcast software didn’t grab it automagically already, be sure to head over to the 902 BrewCast site and grab their first episode of 2018. Kicking off a month focusing on New Brunswick breweries, they sat down with Paul Maybee of Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing, learning about his introduction to beer, his history as a homebrewer, and plans for the future.

– Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has mixed feelings about announcing that you drank them dry! Keep an eye on their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the word when they are stocked with product again.

Propeller in Halifax is resuming their Friday Cask Nights at their Gottingen Street location again, this week featuring their Russian Imperial Stout aged on American oak from 5 PM.

Unfiltered on North St. has a fresh batch of DOA available in all its Citra-laden glory. Available for fills and pints today from noon. And if you’re looking to get your hands on some cans, as of opening they’ve still got some Exile on North Street and Hoppy Fingers available.