This has been a tough week for our region, with localized spikes in the number of COVID cases bursting the Atlantic Bubble, and now the forced closing of in-person dining and drinking in Halifax and Hants County Zones. All is not lost, however, as most of your favourite breweries, cider houses, and Good Beer Restos are transitioning (back) to delivery and curbside take-away options. Or if your fridge is already full, consider picking up another set of gift certificates to help your local spot. Black Friday/Cyber Monday be damned, we’ll repeat here what we’ve seen elsewhere, “Buy Local, or Bye Local”. We’ll get our butts in gear with a full updated COVID list soon, but in the meantime, here’s the latest news on drinks to guide you to and through the weekend. As always, stay safe, stay kind, and drink well.

One of those affected breweries is Dartmouth’s North Brewing, who has closed their taproom at 899 Portland Street, though their retail shop is open (may we suggest Delivery and Curbside Click and Collect?), with the Side Hustle Snack Bar pivoting to Take Out only (Fri & Sat, 4 – 8 PM, menu here, must order by phone 902-444-7765). Hitting the shelves today is the latest in their series of collaborations with Benjamin Bridge, using a new variety of grape in the continuing hybrid releases. 2020 Saison de Lucie started life as a Saison base beer, to which 500 kg of freshly crushed, whole Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (juice, pomace, and skins) were added for a secondary fermentation. After sufficient tannic structure from the pomace and skins developed, the 7.4% ABV beer/wine hybrid was transferred a second time into bottles to complete conditioning, and carbonate naturally. The resulting bevvy is a wonderful melding of a crisp and effervescent Saison with a bold fruitiness from the Hazuki Vineyards grapes. Bottles of 2020 SdL are available for delivery (nation-wide, btw), and pickup at their Portland Street and Battery Park locations.

Also on shelves today is the Barrel-aged version of their 2019 Saison de Petite Pearl, which was allowed to build some oak character while sitting in a barrel for 10 months, before undergoing final maturation and natural carbonation in the bottle. Just one barrel was prepared, meaning this is a small release of just 25 cases, so seek it out today if you’re interested.

Adding to these two brand new releases are a dive in the cellar for the un-oaked 2019 Saison de Petite Pearl, as well as the Barrel-aged 2018 Saison de Chardonnay, both 7.4% ABV, and available online.

For those of you isolated in St. John’s (hey, there’s way worse places to be stuck!), you may want to mosey on over to Bannerman Brewing, where they have a pretty new beer on tap. Strange Overtones is a 7.5% ABV Sour IPA that was brewed with lots of flaked oats to increase haziness and give the beer a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, as well as a little lactose powder for some sweetness to balance the tartness. We’re unsure exactly what hop varieties were used in this one, but they’re describing the beer as “jammy, with flavours of berry, pine and candied citrus”. Oh, did we mention that it was also conditioned on plenty of blackberries? Yeah, that may explain at least a portion of the jammy descriptor! This one is available on tap only, so pop by for a pint and/or a growler.

Delta Force Brewing, Nova Scotia’s most clandestine brewery, has popped up again with another set of releases this week, and we’ve got the scoop for you! First up is Wessex, a 7.8% ABV English Barley Wine, featuring plenty of caramel and bread crust with a balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Full mouthfeel and maybe a touch of alcohol heat will reward those bold enough to take it on. Word on the street is that this one is in very short supply, so this may only be a tease for some readers (sorry not sorry, you can get on the shortlist for future releases by signing up to their mailing list via email, deltaforcebrewing@gmail.com). We understand there should be some Operation Barrow left at this point, however, so let’s expound on this one! This 7.0% English IPA started out traditional enough, using English malts and hops, but was instead fermented with Brettanomyces for a more funk-forward take on the style. While there is little doubt yeasts would have had some extra funky bugs in there due to a lack of modern sanitation practices, this is definitely a doubling down on this fact to gain complexity and character in the final product. Sounds like a winner to us!

Delta Force also has a trio of bottles from their previous releases with less-than-waterproof labels, which means they may not exactly be pretty, but the beers inside are still damn tasty. And with a bit of a discount, that’s pretty sweet!

  • Anderlecht is their Trappist Single-inspired ale, with a touch of Brett funkiness, a 6.0% ABV ode to Guy of Anderlecht, the patron saint of sheds. Delta Force is a Farmshed brewery, after all!
  • Mean Time is a 5.6% ABV English Bitter with a touch of Brett, featuring their own Greenwich-grown hops! Bit of funk, a bit of floral from the hops, all good.
  • Operation Assay is their Kveik Pale Ale, a 6.3% ABV quaffable elixir with just a smattering of hops.

All of the Delta Force Brewing beers can be ordered via email (deltaforcebrewing@gmail.com), $40 minimum for free contactless delivery within HRM (or so), and they’ll fill you in on anything else necessary.

Chester’s finest and pride of Lunenburg County, Tanner Brewing, have an Old Black Forest restaurant pop-up this weekend, as part of the Chester Village Christmas. Their latest release is right on theme, as Black Forest Milk Stout is available today!  From the brewery, “Inspired by the delicious cake itself, this stout was finished with milk sugar towards the end of the boil and then fermented with cherry puree, vanilla & chocolate.”  This 6.9% ABV and 25 IBU stout can also be ordered with a slice of Black Forest cake, available at the brewery or even online as part of their delivery. Online slice of cake orders? Welcome to 2020! We encourage you to follow local guidelines when placing in person and online orders, as they will deliver as far down as Bridgewater. Typical delivery days are Fridays if you can’t make it to the brewery. For those in Halifax, keep an eye on the online store and when local guidelines allow you to get this tasty new release.

After all the fantastic news this week (if your sarcasm meter isn’t going off, you’d better check its batteries), you may find yourself craving something a little on the stronger side. Those of you in Moncton are covered by Tire Shack’s latest bottle release, Into the Void, a Russian Imperial Stout weighing in at a whopping 11.9% ABV. No doubt brewed with a complex grist of multiple specialty grains, it’s showing off “prominent flavours of dried fruits (dates and figs) and some molasses, followed by espresso and a tinge of bitter chocolate.” Accompanied by a smooth, heavy body, the alcohol is warming, yet not one bit harsh. The perfect beer for sipping by a fire, or chugging in an attempt to escape reality (that being said, nobody really recommends that approach!). Lots of bottles at the brewery for the weekend, drop by to stock up, as this one should be a great beer for cellaring.

If you’re looking to scratch the spiced holiday beer itch, check out Good Robot this weekend for their release of El Zorro Spiced Dark Lager. Coming in at 4.4% ABV, expect the familiar spice notes of a winter warmer. This one is also gluten reduced, with less than 20 PPM of gluten. While their beer store is open for pickup, the Robots are encouraging you to stay home by doubling down on their BeerMiles delivery rewards this weekend, and Tripling them today only! Check out their webstore for more info. 

Just one event on the books for this week, but it’s a good one:

Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing is celebrating the opening of their onsite kitchen today, The Abby. Run by the very capable folks behind the Wheelhouse in Georgetown and the bright pink Terry’s Berries food truck outside the brewery this summer. Think handhelds and sides, with plenty of pairing opportunities with the Lone Oak beers on tap. This kitchen opens today at 4 PM, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 until 7 or later, all winter. And what better way to celebrate than with the return of Trivia with Dan and Spencer, starting at 7 PM. And from 9 PM until close, Fraser McCallum will take the stage for some live music. Tomorrow evening will see Brad Milligan & Griffen Arsenault playing 7 – 10 PM, and Sunday Brian Dunn ft John MacAllar,  1 – 4 PM. What a full weekend, jam packed with great beer, food, and fun!

This is where we usually say, “A few short things before we leave you to your weekend,” but really this week there’s a lot. So, enjoy a lot of short things (plus a bonus feature) before we leave you to your weekend!!

In Dieppe, NB, CAVOK Brewing has a brand new beer on tap, Pear”adise”. A 5.9% ABV Saison brewed with local, fresh pears (from Crooked River Farm, out of Memramcook), as well as an addition of Grains of Paradise, you can grab it in pints, crowlers, and growlers, for on-site drinking (in your bubble, naturally), takeaway, or delivery.

Also in Dieppe, we get a new IPA release from O’Creek Brewing, SOLOH IPA. Featuring Talus hops, a cultivated daughter of Sabro, this should come with big aromas of citrus, floral and fruit aromas, with big orange and tangerine flavours. Available on tap right now at CAVOK. 

Back in the big city, check out Garrison Brewing for their annual release of Spruce Beer. This year’s version features spruce and fir tips from their friends at Meander River Farm and the usual addition of Blackstrap molasses. In response to the current conditions, Garrison is also expanding its home delivery options. And have started a “Save the Tax” offering for all of their merch, on now until the end of the year. Check out their webstore for more info. 

Hopping over to St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. is releasing the second of their Sofa Sour Series with Peach Raspberry Sour. This 5.6% ABV fruited sour is available now at the QV Hop Shop in cans. Check out QV’s web store for local delivery, available today and Saturday. 

Upstreet has brought back their popular DIPA, Third Place, an 8.5% ABV hop bomb featuring additions of Galaxy, Azacca, Mosaic, and Citra. Lots of tropical fruit and citrus in this one, as well as notes of “caramelized brown sugar”, likely from the use of some Victory malt in the grist. Available on tap and in cans at Upstreet and Craft Beer Corner, it’ll also be seen at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse soon, as well as in select ANBL stores in New Brunswick in the New Year.

And finally, In the grand tradition of holiday cheer venturing northwards from our neighbours to the south, no doubt combined with so many taprooms shutting down due to lockdown and affecting on-site sales, many of the providers in our region, but especially in Halifax, are adding a bit of incentive to their online ordering this weekend (and, in some cases, beyond). If you’re looking to take advantage, PLEASE do read the details carefully on the brewery’s/cidery’s website for full details (limits, timeframe, etc.) before placing your order:

  • 2 Crows has lowered their minimum for free shipping to $30 and is including a 4-pack of Hop Water with every order until December 9th.
  • Annapolis Cider is ceasing shipping for the Winter months (cider can freeze in transit, which is a Bad Thing™) so they’ve set a flat shipping charge of $15 on orders over $100 anywhere in Canada (with some exceptions) until November 29th.
  • Lake City Cider is offering 20% off on all orders over $70 this weekend; as always, order by 1 PM for sameday delivery.
  • Murphy Hospitality Group are offering a $10 cash card when you buy a $50 in MHG gift cards via the MHG Gift Cards site from November 27th to December 31st. A reminder that MHG cards can be used at any MHG property, which includes PEI Brewing Company, PEIBC Beer Station, and the Gahan Beer Store. The cash card will be for use in January and February, 2021. Today (Black Friday) only, you get 2 x $10 cards for your purchase. On Cyber Monday you can get free shipping by using the code “CYBER MONDAY.”
  • Propeller Brewing has a sale on their Lime Lite lime-infused light lager all weekend long, with a flat of 24 cans going for $60.
  • Tatamagouche Brewing is having a buy 5 Get (Square) One Free promotion on where if you order 5 bottles of tasty Tata brews they’ll throw in a bottle of their Canadian Beer Awards Silver Medal winning Square One Saison.
  • As mentioned above, Good Robot is doubling your BeerMiles reward miles if you order online this weekend, tripling them today only.
  • Also mentioned above, Garrison Brewing has a “save the tax” deal on Garrison merchandise running until the end of the year.

Have you heard of the second wave? Will you ride the wave like an undercover cop pretending to be a surfer? Have you reached your point break breaking point as cases rise? The Atlantic beer scene keeps rolling along and many of our friends have kept home delivery going strong. We wish you nothing but safety, tasty beers and merry cheers as we roll into the holiday season. Stay alert (like the COVID alert app) and stay safe!

This long awaited release from Tatamagouche is finally here, adding to the global lineup of this cultural beer. Black is Beautiful (9.5%) is their take on the Weathered Souls recipe shared around the world, as other breweries have done. Our friends at Tata used Crisp Pale Malt and Horton Ridge Pale Malt for the base with oats, C-120 malt for some dark caramel malt, chocolate wheat and rye with roasted barley and a pinch of lactose. This malty beauty was bittered to 75 IBU and with Nugget and Cascade hops.
As with all of the Black is Beautiful releases, a local initiative will benefit from the sales. All proceeds will be donated to the Tatamagouche Centre to be used for bursaries and scholarships, supporting equality and inclusion. For over 60 years the Tatamagouche Center has been a meeting place for those who care deeply about spirituality, leadership, and social justice. Each year they offer over 10 programs, which cover areas such as congregational life, spirituality, community growth and development, transformational learning, social justice, youth and family, and retreats. Available now in 500ml bottles at Tatabrew HQ on Main Street in Tatamagouche, via their online store and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar real soon. Kegs in the Tata tap room will be available as well as a few licensees in HRM. Many have tried this already (including us!) at Stillwell and the Stillwell Freehouse. It is smooth and has a beautiful balance with the bittering hops. Keep an eye out for this over the winter months, support a good cause, and you may even see it on Nitro taps, too!

Straight out of Hanwell, we missed one from last week! If you’ve followed Niche (like we have), you may be aware of Hop Altered, a Northeast American Pale Ale (NEAPA!) that changes their hop schedule in the recipe. Back for a third iteration, this beer sticks with the flaked wheat and oats and Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London yeast, but goes tropical fruity with Galaxy hops in the kettle and dry-hopped with Citra and Nelson. These are 3 tasty hops that should bring a nice balance of dank, haze and citrus to this 5.2% pale ale. This will be available on draft at the usual Fredericton accounts, along with Stillwell in Halifax. 

Over in PEI, Upstreet has two new beers, both being released on the same day. First up is the latest entry in their Million Acres series of barrel aged brews, Million Acres Yuzu Farmhouse Ale. A Saison that was hopped with Kazbek and Sorachi Ace, and conditioned on yuzu (a citrus fruit of East Asian origin), it spent about 2 & ½ months in the barrel before bottling; the shorter time (compared to “usual” barrel aging) was to allow the Saison yeast character shine through. The beer is pale yellow, with aromas of “candied orange peel, hay, and farmyard goodness” and flavours of grapefruit and lemon zest, with a bit of oak and tannins coming through as well. It’s 7% ABV, and available only in 500 mL bottles at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner.

Next up is a new beer in another ongoing series, but hops instead of Farmhouse. You guessed it, it’s the latest Neon Friday, Neon Friday 3.04 NEIPA. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, wheat, and oats, they hopped it heavily with plenty of varieties: Sabro, Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot. Hazy, golden, and bursting with big aromas of “peach, coconut, tropical fruit, and dehydrated strawberries,” along with lots of stone fruit on the palate, you can find this 6.5% ABV hop bomb on tap at all Upstreet locations, as well as in cans at their Charlottetown taproom and the CBC (no, not the news organization).

Coupla new brews coming out of Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing the last couple of weeks. Let’s start with the hoppy one, just for a change (:D). Hot Sky is the brewery’s latest American IPA, which was hopped almost exclusively with Eclipse. An Australian variety that used to be known as the less-catchy name of HPA 016 (BOR-ing!), it’s giving this particular 6.6% ABV beer notes of “sweet citrus fruits, candied orange, peach juice, papaya, Juicy Fruit gum, and pine needles”, according to TW. It’s currently available both on tap and in cans at the brewery.

And in a move away from the world of hops, TW released their newest German-style beer late last week, Alternate Side. Brewed in the Altbier style, it was fermented cool with an Ale yeast, which is traditional for the style. Exhibiting lots of malt character (specifically “honey, caramel, and multigrain toast”), it’s balanced by a firm hop bitterness, while remaining dry in the finish. Balance is key for a beer like this, not to mention drinkability; at 4.5% ABV, it sounds like TW may have hit the nail on the head. This one is only on tap at the brewery, in their 0.5 L mugs, so you’ve got to visit to try it!

Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new beer in cans available for takeaway starting today; continuing their look back at their first four years of beers, it’s a re-release, but it’s been such a long time since it was originally brewed, it’s bordering new-beer territory! The beer is El-Galaxarillo, a 7.5% ABV New England IPA that was first released way back in October, 2017, for pints and growlers at the TH taproom. Many of you may be able to look at the beer’s name and surmise what hops they went with, but just in case you’re not that hop-geeky, the varieties are El Dorado, Galaxy, and Amarillo. With a heavy amount used in the whirlpool, and multiple dry-hop additions, it’s exhibiting plenty of stone fruit, orange, and grapefruit notes in the aroma and flavour. Available in cans to grab and go today at Tidehouse, starting at 2 PM. 

Winter technically isn’t here yet, but that wouldn’t stop some breweries from getting their winter seasonals ready for release, would it? Hells, no! And really, it’s basically cold enough most of these November days/nights to warrant sipping on some stouts, barleywines, et al. In an answer to our needs, the people at Spindrift Brewing have conjured up their newest winter seasonal, Seeker Espresso Stout. Featuring additions of cocoa, toasted coconut, cinnamon bark, and – yes – espresso, it’s a complex brew with “bold flavours reminiscent of a holiday dessert”, with a silky, smooth mouthfeel. Weighing in at 6.9% ABV, you can grab some right now at the brewery in the form of pints and growlers, with cans rumoured to be hitting shelves very soon.

Experimentation is still the name of the game at Tanner & Co. with the release of their latest beer, Kuhlmann. With a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts, along with a touch of Rye, the wort was fermented on 100 lbs of Lucie Kuhlmann grape skins from Planters Ridge Winery out of Port Williams. No yeast was pitched in the making of this beer – all of the fermentation took place from the wild yeasts naturally occurring on the grape skins. The final 7% ABV beer has “youthful grape-forward notes of blackberry, cherry, and black currant”, and can be found at the brewery on tap and in bottles, as well as on their online store (which will unlock the secret of Friday delivery in the Bridgewater to Halifax stretch of the province, if ordered before midnight Thursday).

Continuing to surpass the high bar set by their award-winning German styles, Montague PEI’s Bogside Brewing is releasing the Gladiator Doppelbock tomorrow, Saturday November 21st. This beer is truly a meeting of the minds between German-trained Head Brewer Mark Patriquin, and Island Hop Company’s Josh Mayich. Using a Mayich family recipe for Doppelbock, and their own family farm grown hops, this beer is just about as authentic as it gets outside of Munich. Heavy use of Vienna and Munich Type 2 malts, as well as a decoction mash step, bring out some lovely rich caramel notes and full mouthfeel. The use of IHC Hallertau Tradition in the beer was used to target the flavour of traditional Doppelbocks, and it underwent a controlled aging process to bring out those characteristics. Beer science and history incoming! Historical brews of this style were done a couple of months after hop harvest, due to availability of resources, and during that time a light oxidation of the hops would change the aromatic compounds (those terpenes you’ve heard so much about) ever so slightly. Mayich performed the same steps, monitoring the results often, before halting it and locking in the character. Added late in the boil, allowed more of the woody, tobacco, floral, and light citrus to stay in the final beer. A low and slow lagering over the course of two months rounded out the beer to where it stands now. Available on tap and in cans tomorrow, the release party from 2 – 5 PM will feature live music, and even a pairing of schnitzel from Thatchers Eatery kitchen onsite. Get thee to Montague tomorrow, or make an order for delivery!

It’s getting to be *that* time of year, when husbands, wives, partners, and kids struggle to find a meaningful and useful gift for loved ones. Well, if that special someone in your life loves beer, maybe we can lighten the load a little bit. Here’s a round-up of some Holiday and Gift Boxes we’ve spotted. Have we missed one? Let us know! Hit us up on twitter or instagram or via email.

In Shelburne, Boxing Rock is releasing a very-limited number of the Brewmance Box this December. A gift box that includes thirteen beers (4 x Unobtainium, 4 x Vicar’s Cross, one Temptation, and four of either IPA, Sour, or Puck Off!, your choice), it also includes a Boxing Rock toque, drinking game, and spice mix (with recipes). You can purchase yours here for $89; if you sign up for a subscription, you’ll receive a different Brewmance Box every three months for a year, and save 10% on each Box. Free local pickup or delivery in the HRM (at Local Source Market) or Shelburne area, with $15 shipping elsewhere in NS. 

North Brewing is very rarely outdone in these parts, whether that’s for quality, style, or grace, and their Holiday Beer Box is no exception – there’s a lot going on here. Non-beer wise, you’ll find a North Brewing Holiday Card and an exclusive-to-the-box 20 OZ ceramic stein with a North Snowflake design in yellow or blue. Beer-wise, there’s a can each of local favorites Lawrencetown Surf session ale, Rosy Berry saison, Pleasant Disposition IPA, Alloy Champagne IPA, Cole Harbour Red, Little Beast lagered ale, and a can of their Cranberry Clementine Seltzer as well. Where things get extra delightful is with the holiday beers and seasonals, including one brewed specifically for, and not available outside, the box. First up, a couple of returning beers that exemplify both North’s penchant for experimentation with grapes and grape skins as well as their relationship with local winery Benjamin Bridge. Blanc is a 4.5% ABV beer in the Grisette style (think “baby saison”) made with Sauvignon Blanc grape skins. Musqué is a burlier beer, an 8% ABV Double IPA made with Chardonnay Musqué grapes. From there are three very special beers not made before:

  • Cinnamon Bun and Stack o’ Pancakes are both 9% ABV “Holiday Stouts” based off the same recipe (no actual Cinnamon Buns or Pancakes were harmed in the brewing of these beers). Cinnamon Bun was given treatment with a generous dose of cinnamon bark along with vanilla and salt. Stack o’ Pancakes was fermented with “many” buckets of Nova Scotia maple syrup, which was allowed to ferment out completely to prevent a cloyingly sweet result, along with vanilla and salt as well. 
  • Down Time is at the opposite end of the spectrum from those two, an Altbier that comes in at 4% ABV. Brewed specifically for this box and not available outside of it, it’s apparently something they’ve been wanting to brew for a long time and will be an extra special treat for those who grab a box.

On sale as of yesterday (earlier for newsletter subscribers), 300 of these are being assembled and they’re selling for $89.95 (tax-in). They will be available for pickup on December 1st, but they also qualify for free shipping in North’s local delivery area but not quite free shipping within the Maritimes or Nationally (although you could always add a few things to your order, such as a second Holiday Beer Box to get to the respective $100 or $150 minimums). Wrapped in custom North Brewing holiday wrapping paper, they’ll even write a special note for you if you indicate that your purchase is a gift. There’s a good chance, we think, that these will sell out fairly quickly, so if you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be?!) best act soon! But if the box isn’t your thing, look for all of its contents (except the steins and the Altbier) available separately via North’s online store or at the brewery. The Stack o’ Pancakes is out today and the Cinnamon Bun is coming soon, as are the Musqué and Blanc (the latter two will see a $0.50 donation per can to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust); we’ll do our best to let you know when those are all available.

Bathurst’s 13 Barrels Brewing is getting in on the fun as well, with a, you guessed it, 13 days of Christmas Advent Calendar box. Pre-orders are open now at the brewery until December 5th, with the pickup scheduled for December 9 – 12. In addition to the baker’s (brewer’s?) dozen of beers inside (some of these thirteen will be exclusively available in this box), look for some mystery gifts as well! Message 13B on social media to place your order, and then fall asleep with visions of a sugar plum gose dancing in your head. And once it’s all over, return your box in good condition and they’ll give you a bonus 14th beer!

If cider is more your speed, Lake City Cider has you covered! They have a handful of gift boxes all ready to rock, some feature just the cider in the “Spice Up Your Life” or “Mixed Three Pack”, or go all out with the Holiday and Fan packs featuring blankets, stemless glassware, tote bags, and much more! Check out their online shop and grab them today!

Brightwood Brewery in Dartmouth is also thinking of your hard-to-buy-for friends and family, with a Gift Box set ready to pick up and share in a hurry. A six-pack of Beer is complemented by a 16oz Brightwood Glass and Canvas Tote Bag. Pick from some curated options for selecting the beers (whether your giftee is into Hops, Malt, or something a bit more seasonal allowing you to grab the Christmas on Portland Street Raspberry Porter), or you can opt pick exactly the six beers you’d like if you visit their shop!

If a surprise every day of December leading up to Christmas sounds more up your alley, the Harvest Wines/RockHead/WestSide group has brought back the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown, which features 23 beers and ciders from across the Maritimes, plus a free glass to enjoy them in. The identity of the beers is secret until you open them up, and you can expect several exclusive Countdown-only bevvies, but peep the box’s website for a sneak peek at which breweries and cider producers took part! Available now in store and online if you can’t wait the two additional weeks until December 1st (or want to get them chilling ASAP).

What about gifting your beau/belle a membership in the hottest club to ever hit the shores of Spryfield? Serpent Brewing has re-jigged their Membership Clubs so that you can get in on the ground floor even easier. The benefits will start once their opening-real-soon Taproom is complete, but here’s a sneak peek: As a member of the Brew Club, every month for the next two years you’ll enjoy a free growler fill or two bottles or two pints, plus $3 off growler fills every Thursday, a Serpent shirt and a pair of glasses, plus vouchers for a handful of free pints and flights to use or share with friends. How about gifting them a full Beer Creation Experience? This will allow them to work with Head Honcho Glen O’Keefe to formulate a brand new beer recipe, work with Serpent to name and design the label, sample it throughout the brewing and maturation process, and get the first case of the finished product! And if you are feeling especially generous, gift them both as part of the Founders Club. More details and how to sign up are on their website, but don’t delay as there are only a limited number of the memberships available!

OK, enough of those “Future Holiday Boxes”, let’s get you up to speed with the events happening in our region this weekend!. It just so happens to be a little Hali-centric this time ‘round, but we know there’ll be great beer on tap no matter where you find yourself!

Propeller’s Gottingen Taproom continues their Community Cask this evening, once again highlighting and supporting a community group that inspires and improves the community. November’s recipient is Ecology Action Centre to benefit the Green Avengers Team, a group of 16 dedicated individuals who are running in this year’s Blue Nose Marathon to raise funds for the Ecology Action Centre. So, help support EAC while enjoying a pint! What can you expect in your glass, when the cask is tapped at 5 PM this evening? It’s a sneak peek of a big release coming in December, with a rum-soaked-oak-stave-conditioned Mocha Oatmeal Stout! The base 5.5% ABV beer already showcases tons of locally roasted coffee, tempered by the smooth character of the addition of oats in the malt bill, and the rum and oak are sure to bump this up to a truly special beer. Real Fake Meats will be onsite with Donair Egg Rolls (vegan, natch) for a fun pairing.

Tomorrow, Saturday November 21st, Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing will be putting a few of their favourite beers back on tap for a “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s have a pint” event they’ve dubbed “Some of the Good Ones”. Plenty of fun collabs done with the likes of Change is Brewing Collective (Good News), Bannerman Brewing and Lightfoot & Wolfville (Vinello), Orono Brewing Company (Deux II), Kilter Brewing (Lil’ Miguel), plus a great variety of fresh & hoppy (Perfect Situation) and wild (Old & New). The doors open at noon, and you’ll also have the chance to grab the amazing fried chicken sandwiches, pastries, and more from Buttered Bliss, onsite from 12 – 4 PM (or earlier, most likely, if they sell out).

The Stillwell Freehouse at 2534 Agricola celebrates its First Anniversary next Saturday, November 28th, and they will be stacking the taps and casks with killer beer and cider options from the region, and beyond. Chef Graeme will continue to work his magic in the kitchen, preparing some lovely complementing dishes… Or will the beer be complementing the food? I’d say both are true! Open noon til 1 AM, no reservations required, just show up with an empty stomach!

A few more things to tell you about this week before you’re dismissed. Don’t forget to wash your hands and wear your mask, things are getting a bit hairy out there again!

Gahan is jumping on the holiday dessert beer wagon (or should we say sleigh?) with the rerelease of Shortest Day. Their take on a milk stout is spiced with nutmeg to get those holiday feels going. Expect notes of vanilla to go along with the spice. Coming in at 4.5%, you can find cans of Shortest Day on the Island at PEI Brewing Company, the Gahan Beer Store, and look for it next week at PEI Liquor locations and Gahan’s other outlets across the Maritimes. 

Keeping on trend, Garrison is also re-releasing one of its holiday seasonals with All Lit Up making its return. This 7.0% ABV spiced ale features Cascade hops and is available in single cans or in their Holiday Mingler 4-Pack. You’ll also find Stay The Blazes Home Ale back in stock, this time only at the Oxford Taproom and Seaport locations (or for home delivery). As before, a portion of sales will go to support Feed Nova Scotia. 

Brand new IPA from Good Robot available just in time for your Friday drinking needs! SpaceTime NaviGator is a 6% ABV brew hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fruity and tropical, no doubt, you can find it at the bar for pints and takeaway cans, and online.

Back in Fredericton, Grimross is adding to its Maritime Series with Maritime Wheat Ale. Expect classic Belgian witbier flavours of clove and fruit, and a slightly cloudy appearance (can swirl anyone?). As an added bonus, this 5% ABV beer features 100% Maritime ingredients from two excellent local supplies, Shoreline Malting and Island Hop Company. Grab some today on tap or to-go in cans.

Hardisty Brewing Co. has expanded its reach beyond the Colby Village area of Dartmouth. Look for cans of their BlockParty SMaSH pale ale at Harvest Wines in Dartmouth, starting today. And they are now in rotation at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to their IG page for the latest updates. 

Crossing the harbour, check out North Street’s Unfiltered Brewing for the release of Riddle of Steel. This 7.0% ABV IPA is back in cans and on tap next door at Charm School. 

New Scotland Brewing has released Tough Chit, a DIPA brewed with – we assume – some Chit in the grist, and bigly-hopped with late additions of Mosaic and Idaho 7, as well as a large dry-hop. Slightly sweet, with flavours and aromas of “mango, honeydew, and peach”, it weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 40 IBUs. You can find it on tap at the taproom this weekend.

Let’s end on a new beer from Quidi Vidi Brewing, for those who need a whole buncha hops in their lives (isn’t that all of us?). Simply named Imperial IPA, this small batch release is an 8.7% ABV blast of citrus, orange, and pine on the nose, along with a serious bitterness and just a touch of warmth on the finish. Fans of Calm Tom will certainly dig this one. You can grab it at their Hop Shop in QV Village, or their Home Delivery happening Friday and Saturday. More details on their website. And look for a rebrand on the line of sours QV put out this summer, now dubbed the Sofa Sour Series. The first to be released under this moniker is the Pineapple Sour Sour, a re-brew of their July debut. Other sours getting the facelift will feature passion fruit, peach & raspberry, and strawberry & guava, on shelves and out for delivery in the coming months.

It’s Friday the 13th, if you’re into that thing. It’s also the second day of the Masters (in November!) if you’re into a tradition unlike any other. One thing we’re all into is beer! As we head into the Christmas season, our precious Atlantic Bubble is still churning out the new releases and events while we still can. Stay alert, stay safe and remember to support your local businesses. And if all else fails, we’ll still be here writing about beer every week! 

St. John’s is the place to be this weekend (heck, maybe every weekend, really!), as Bannerman Brewing has two new, strong beers you can grab to celebrate, or drown your sorrows in, depending on your mood (PS always drink responsibly!). The first is a 9% ABV Double IPA named New Dystopia that was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner malt and flaked oats. Featuring a heavy dry-hop addition of Mosaic, the final beer is showing off flavours of “citrus, pineapple, and apricot”, and drinks deceptively smooth despite that high ABV. Pale, hoppy beers not quite your thing? Well, maybe you’ll be interested in beer #2, Sinister Feelings, which was released a couple of weeks ago, just in time for Spooky Season. This Stout was brewed with a blend of Caramel malts, as well as a little bit of lactose to oh-so-slightly bump the sweetness. Once fermentation was complete, the 7.5% ABV beer was conditioned on toasted coconut, vanilla beans, and coffee from Pilot Coffee Roasters. Roasty, coconut-y, with plenty of delicious coffee aromas and flavours, it may be just the beer now that temperatures are starting to drop back into normal-November range. Both beers are available on tap for pints and growlers, as well as in cans. 

Fans of Wolfville’s Church Brewing may be interested to hear that they’ve just released Heart of Gold, which besides being a pretty damn good song, is the brewery’s second Lager… more specifically, an Amber Lager. Customers and tap accounts alike were requesting a beer along these lines, and Church was more than happy to oblige. The grist was conceived to be made up of several malt types, including Pilsner, Vienna, Melanoidin, and a  bit of Carafa Special III for colour. Bittered to 22 IBUs with Summit hops, the copper-coloured, crystal-clear beer is complex, yet clean, with honey and biscuit flavours, as well as a touch of dried fruit. It finishes well-balanced and at 5.5% ABV isn’t going to knock you out too quickly. It’s available on tap directly at Church (and to go in crowlers), as well as licensees across Nova Scotia.  

Newly-opened Village Green – Cornwall, PEI’s very first brewery – have announced that they’re now pouring one of their very first hoppy beers, Village IPA. Brewed entirely with 2-row malt from Island Malt House, it was hopped with Cascade and Centennial in the boil, Amarillo in the whirlpool, and a dry-hop addition of Simcoe. This one was influenced by classic West Coast IPAs, so don’t be expecting a hazy, non-bitter juice bomb! That’s not to say you won’t find citrusy, resiny, dank flavours and aromas in this one… you most certainly will! But at 7.5% ABV and 60+ IBUs, it’s going to remind you of the days when IPAs still had some bitterness to them… and simpler names!

On the other side of the naming convention comes a tat for tit, or yang to yin, of a friendly inter-brewer play on the Dry Irish Stout style, with Foghorn’s Andrew Estabrooks. Village Stout (C’est sec Esty), is brewed with Maris Otter, more 2-row from Island Malt House, as well as enough Roasted and Flaked Barley to lend an iconic roast and chocolate character, and leaving it dry, dry, dry (it’s in the name, after all!). At 4.1% ABV, and lightly hopped to 25 IBU with East Kent Golding, this is the perfect sipper on your lunch break, or evening taking in the sights of Cornwall from their taproom. And check down below for a great excuse to get into the taproom and pair the IPA and Stout with food from Holy Fox and wines chosen by Stellar Somm.

And speaking of Stellar Somm, Bryan Carver of Village Green Brewery and Lesley Quinn of Stellar Somm Wine Experts are teaming up and throwing down in a Wine vs. Beer Challenge! The event is Thursday, November 26th at 7pm and will see a Certified Cicerone and Certified Sommelier put their skills to the test. Check out the event link here to get your tickets. 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (come on, admit it… it’s cathartic), you’ll probably remember we mentioned details on Tire Shack’s First Anniversary, which happened early this week. Well, if you missed it, we have great news… they’ve decided to continue celebrations throughout the week and into this weekend, and they’ve even got another two new beers to join the two they’ve already released! The first is a “Vanilla Latte beer”, brewed in collaboration with local Epoch Chemistry Coffee House. Golden Latte ft. Epoch Chemistry is a White Stout – e.g. a pale-coloured beer that smells and tastes like a Stout – that Tire Shack created by adding lactose and vanilla to a Brazilian, light roast coffee. There’s only 150 L of this chock-full-of-coffee-flavours-and-vanilla bad boy brewed, so if you want to try it, you best get in to Tire Shack today or tomorrow! And you can’t celebrate without glitter, right? Well, maybe that one isn’t a given, but the next beer, Sparklepuff, is a Glitter IPA. Hopped with lots of Simcoe (most of which was added during fermentation), and with an addition of edible glitter (three versions will be available: Gold, Silver, and Rose Gold), it’s 6% ABV, “bright and fruity, with lots of apricot and passion fruit notes”, and if ya got a problem with glitter, don’t shoot the messengers!

Yarmouth, former home of The Cat and current home to Heritage Brewing, comes to you with a new release! Brewed in collaboration with local neighbours, Perky Owl Coffee, we have another White Stout (see above!). Snowy Owl Stout is brewed with plenty of oats and wheat for a delicious bready and malty profile, with big additions of chocolate, coffee, lactose and vanilla. It’s white stout season, and it sounds delicious. At 5.5% and 15 IBU, this is available now directly from the brewery. 

If you are fans of continuity, logic and delicious IPAs, you’ll be thrilled with the latest can release from those birds at 2 Crows. A re-release of Perfect Situation (it’s been 2 years!) sees the return of a smooth and juicy IPA generously hopped with Vic Secret and Idaho 7. From 2 Crows, here’s an explanation of the full series:

“For those of you following along at home, Perfect Situation was the start of a fun little hop-forward series where we utilize the same base beer but load it to the max with different combinations of fruity hops — versions to date include Perfect Situation, Second Situation, Perfect Recreation, Another Iteration, and Perfect Saturation.”

With Perfect Situation, we get a 6.1% ABV brew at 44 IBU that is “super fruity, lush, tropical, pillowy and juicy. Massive notes of pineapple, passionfruit, apricot, red grapefruit and papaya.” Mama-mia! Canned and available from the brewery and online for delivery now!

Are you down with OBB? Ol’ Biddy’s has 2 new releases currently available on-tap exclusively in Lower Sackvile. 

Kicked in the Hops is a Double IPA at 7.7%. This comes packed with intense hop flavours and aromas of pine along with some nice tropical and citrus notes, thanks to generous additions of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. Their second release is a Red Ale, Love It or Hate It, comes in at 5.0% and is lightly smoked. Brewed with one of their military employees (shout out to Rob Truscott), this one is worth a try to find out if you … love it or hate it. Both of these are smaller batches, and draught-only, joining thirteen other taps available at their newly opened taproom at 111 Cobequid Dr in Lower Sackville. Taproom and Retail are open Thurs – Sat, 12 – 8 PM and Sun 12 – 6 PM.

As we’ve mentioned a few times over the last month or so, this year marks the third year for the Maritime Home Brew Challenge presented by Gahan House (part of the PEI Brewing Company family) out of Charlottetown. Two of your intrepid bloggers had a great time visiting the Island last weekend with some other BJCP judges from Nova Scotia to help the local judges determine the winning beers. Unfortunately, unlike previous editions, a full gala celebration at the Gahan House location in Charlottetown is impossible due to COVID-related travel and gathering restrictions, so this year they’re going to do it virtually. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 14th, at 10:00 AM the winning entries will be revealed, with prize values ranging from $50 to $300 for the top 5 beers in each of this year’s styles (New England IPA and West Coast IPA), with a couple of special prizes available (Best Name and Best Use of Local) and an additional $500 going to to Grand Champion, who will be given an opportunity to brew a batch of their beer on the Gahan Charlottetown system and see it canned and distributed at PEI LCC locations on the Island. If you’re an entrant or just interested to see who won, feel free to join the call via Facebook tomorrow via the Gahan Charlottetown Facebook page.

Get your human bottoms ready, Copper Bottom, one of the two fine craft breweries in Montague, PEI, is turning 3 years old! They’re celebrating (and we should all be, too!) with two new releases and a birthday bash!

First up, Birthday Beer 3, their annual anniversary release. This year, this Brut IPA is brewed with 100% Shoreline Pale Malt and the fine British Columbia grown Sasquatch hops.  This should bring some floral and lemongrass flavours with a bit of woodieness and tangerine, with a nice dry finish you’d expect from a Brut IPA. 7.5% ABV and 30 IBU for this treat that will be available in the taproom, online and local accounts around PEI. 

Next up is the latest in their single-hopped Session IPA series, Flux: Galaxy.  Hopped heavily with … Galaxy and a malt bill with Shoreline Pale, Flaked Oats and Wheat, we get a 4.2% with 25 IBU. They would best describe it as Juno’s younger cousin (and Juno is delicious!) with a biig hit of pineapple, passionfruit, and peach in a nice sessionable package. Flux: Galaxy is also available in the taproom and online for home delivery this Saturday. 

On top of two new releases, they’re having a safe and fun anniversary party on Saturday November 13th with food, music and cheap beer! Starting at Noon, the first 50 guests will get a free Birthday Beer glass to take home. Admission is free and it sounds like a blast! Check out all of the details on their event page on Facebook.  

A reminder that Garrison’s Oxford Taproom is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, featuring prizes, drink specials, as well as a special limited-time-only Celebration beer on tap. A blend with a two year old Barrel-Aged Ol’ Fog Burner, dry hopped with Cascade, coming in around 8.8% ABV. Sounds like a winner to us! There will be plenty of other fun things on the go this weekend, so best to pop by to get the full scoop! They’re open noon to 11 PM Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 PM the rest of the week.

And just like that… Halifax’s Bar Stillwell is turning Seven this Sunday, November 15! Celebrating Stilly’s birthday is always an amazing time (anyone remember the multi-floor party with jockey boxes of Quebec goodies one year?), and 1672 Barrington Street will once again be a focal point for awesome beer from here and away (Lambic pours!). While this year’s celebration may be a bit subdued compared to previous, there will still be plenty of great beer and cider a-pouring, as well as thoughtful food coming from their kitchen all day. Plus Free Cake! It looks like the RSVP tables are all spoken for (could check with sam@barstillwell.com to confirm/be put on the waitlist), but there will also be a few spots set aside for walk-ins all day (and it’s walk-in only after 8 PM). HBD Stilly Fam!

We’ve certainly had a lot of content from PEI this week, and we’ve got one more piece of big news from the Island for you out of Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carleton: coming in just one short week, on Friday, November 20th, is a full, year-round kitchen to complement their awesome tap room. Partnering with the folks behind Terry’s Berries Food Truck in B-C, sister restaurant of The Wheelhouse in Georgetown and Thatcher’s in Montague you can expect the same level of variety, quality and local focus! They’re still working on staffing the place up, so if you or someone you know lives in the area and is interested in a position as Sous Chef, Line Cook, Front of House Manager or Counter Attendant, you can drop an email to manager@wheelhouseingeorgetown.com to inquire. Keep an eye on social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the official name to be announced and the opening menu to be finalized. Meanwhile, we already know what one of the first big events after the restaurant opening will be, as the very next day, on Saturday, November 21st, Lone Oak will be hosting the inaugural Sweet Oyster Cup 2020 Shucking Invitational. Of course now that we’ve told you that, we also are honor bound to let you know that the in-person tickets for the event are sold out, but you can watch along starting at 6 PM via this link right here. If you’re not one of the lucky few with a ticket and are an oyster lover, though, you could stop by Lone Oak tonight for some free oysters as a warmup to next weekend’s event!

Propeller Brewing is launching a returning favourite beer today, Sasquatch Pale Ale. Focusing on the Canadian-grown Sasquatch hop variety, the 5.2% ABV, 35 IBUs beer features “juicy mango and pineapple flavours, and gentle honey and hazelnut notes”. Available on tap and in cans at all three Prop Shops, for home delivery, as well as a few of the private shops in HRM. And in more Prop news, you can now find their IPA in small cans in NSLC stores and their own shops. For those who still prefer bottles, don’t worry, those aren’t going anywhere!

The fine folks in Dartmouth (they exist) have one of their fan favourite brews back in stock this week. North Brewing brings back Malternate Reality, this 6.4%, 51 IBU New England IPA is massively aromatic with notes of mango, pineapple, guava that’s smooth with a great balance of carbonation. You’re going to want to drink this fresh, so check Battery Park, North Brewing and you can also order online from the brewery and the NSLC. No excuses!

Quidi Vidi Brewery is getting a head start on the holiday spirit by releasing their Mummers Brew this week. This 5.3% ABV Cream Ale is easy drinking with hints of hop-related floral and herbal aroma, along with a pleasant bitterness. The beer is available at the taproom, Hop Shop, as well as through their online ordering system for all your beer-y needs. And you are encouraged to take part in the 12th annual Mummers Festival, featuring wo weeks of events, Nov 28-Dec 12, celebrating the history and art of mummering. Plus you can take part in the Virtual Mummers Parade of December 12th by submitting your videos here!

We’ll leave you with a trio of new, reopening, and very soon-to-open good beer locations across Atlantic Canada, all of which can be found on our Good Beer Map, FYI! The perfect accompaniment to your Bubble travels this holiday season!

After closing their doors adjacent to the War Memorial in downtown St. John’s earlier this year, the super-cool cats at TOSLOW have moved to a brand new spot just up the road to 108 Duckworth. The espresso machine gets fired up by 8 AM, and paired with their fresh pastries and sammies every morning, will keep you going all day (well, until beer o’clock). While they put the final touches on their bar and taproom space, they are take-out only until early afternoon, but keep an eye on their IG for details on the beer spaces opening up, focusing their gaze on the great Newfoundland beers on tap and in bottles and cans, along with beer and natural wine from across the country. Word on the street is that they’ll be launching Wednesday, the 18th, with four taps from across the province, including the Port Rexton Azacca IPA, Landwash Tidepool Pilsner, Bootleg Brew Co Dream Team Partridge Berry Milkshake Sour and Iron Rock Large Day APA. But those of you keeners should def. keep your eyes peeled on their IG (hint hint).

In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Lunn’s Mill Beer is thrilled to launch The Station, their restaurant, pub, and speakeasy opening tomorrow in Bridgetown. Located at 73 Queen Street, The Station will be open from 9 AM daily, closing at 9 PM Sunday through Wednesday, and at midnight Thursday through Saturday. That early opening means a full breakfast will be available, and the kitchen will be serving up food all day and night from their pub menu. Reservations are required (can also phone 902-665-3069) for dinner service at 4 PM (thanks COVID!), and are encouraged for other times as well, to ensure you and your bubble can enjoy a well-spaced meal. Of course, there will be plenty of great Lunn’s Mill Beer on tap, thanks to 17 draught lines and even a handpump so they can continue their cask program onsite. For those looking for something different to imbibe, taps of cider and wine are also available, as well as a selection of bottles and cans from producers across the province. Additionally, they will feature a full bar stocked with local spirits, to be enjoyed on their own or in handcrafted cocktails. Speaking of, The Side Car Lounge is their speakeasy space open after 6 PM, in a more intimate setting featuring even more spirit options. And taking advantage of all available space, look for a second brewing space to open in the next few months, with special test and one-off brews produced exclusively for The Station, made onsite. A retail shop with bottles, cans, and growler fills will open in the next little bit, and their Lawrencetown taproom and retail shop is open Thursday through Saturday, 3 – 7 PM. Congratulations to the Lunn’s Mill team!

And in coming-shortly news, Gridiron Brewing in Hampton, New Brunswick has completed the purchase of a building in order to upgrade and expand their brewing operation. Lots of steps lie ahead for them to demolish an old kitchen and pour proper sloped concrete floors, etc, but the writing is on the wall that in the next few months their new spot will be rocking along nicely! In the meantime, their current location at 74 St. James Street in Hampton will continue to be open Thursday through Sunday, 4 – 6 PM (and also by appointment) for growler fills, cans, as well as a selection of other NB beers to take away.