It’s another busy beer week in the region, with summer literally just around the corner and the weather taking a predictable step or two backwards into spring after a couple of scorchers. This week saw the official opening of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth and we’ve got a bunch more beer news and events to tell you about, so let’s get you right to what you came here for.

• Although the cat has been out of the bag since late May, an official announcement took place in Halifax this week that the 16th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards & Conference are coming to Halifax in May, 2018. This is the culmination of significant effort on behalf of CBANS and Brian Titus of Garrison Brewing. Part of the announcement is that the event will take place at the brand new Halifax Convention Centre where some 500 delegates are expected to descend to attend the event. This will be the first time the awards have taken place in Nova Scotia, which now leads the nation in craft breweries per capita! It’s a perfect chance to show off both our beautiful province, the quality of our beer and local support for our breweries.

•  The Biorefinery Technology Scale-up Center at CCNB Grand-Falls is putting out a call for beer samples as part of a project with the National Research Council Canada. The BTSC has the methodologies for testing and doing Quality Assurance on hops, malt, water, yeast, and finished beer, using their state-of-the-art instruments. From Jared Christenson of CCNB, “Free chemical and microbiological testing! The CCNB-BTSC is collecting finished craft beer samples for an NRC study on beer biochemical quality and local ingredients. This is for licensed craft breweries only. The testing includes: %ABV, SRM, IBU, sugars, organic acids, pH, anaerobic/aerobic lactobacillus strains, etc. Selection will be done on a first come first serve basis, so contact us as quickly as possible, as we are collecting a limited amount of samples. If you are interested in participating in the study and getting some free beer analysis and data interpretations that could help optimize your product and/or your brewing process, please contact Jared via email or phone (506-475-4029) to get filled in on the specifics of the project.”

Taste of Nova Scotia has launched the Good Cheer Trail again this summer. Featuring more than 60 alcohol producers from across the province, your passport (both paper and virtual) is your key to a great time touring the province for the best in beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Pick up a copy of the passport at any of the participating locations, and get started on filling it out today! To take part digitally, you’ll need to Register, and then follow this link on your device (this link shows all of the locations if your device can’t see where you are), check into the location you’re visiting, share a photo, and you’re done! After 10 stamps, you’ll be able to send in or apply online for your free t-shirt, when they become available in July.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing Company has a a pair of new beers flowing at their brewery this weekend, giving you yet another reason to visit their beautiful location. First up is Hop Bill IPA, a 6.5% ABV American IPA, with a touch of honey malt for some sweetness to balance out its solid 60 IBUs of bitterness (in addition to tons of whirlpool- dry-hopping for lots of juicy aromas). Hop Bill‘s origin is from the Newfermenters‘ 2016 Home Brew-Off competition, won by Bill Burton, which we wrote up here. The 2017 Home Brew-Off is taking place Sunday at the Lions Club Chalet on Newtown Rd in St. John’s. In addition to live judging of the entries vying for top Kolsch in the region, there will be talks and demonstrations on how to keg beer, the latest and greatest homebrew gadgets, and hang with your fellow homebrewers and professional brewers alike. The event starts at 7PM, be sure to check out the Facebook Event or email the Newfermenters for more details. Grab Hop Bill shortly at PR’s tap accounts around St. John’s.

• Port Rexton has also been putting Assistant Brewer Jane Tucker to work developing some new beers, and she has come through in spades with a line of small batch beers, available exclusively at the brewery in Port Rexton. The latest beer currently available from this series is Sasscot, a 5.6% ABV & 19 IBUs Scottish Ale. A complex malt bill, including Biscuit and Smoked Malts, it features a light smokiness with sweet caramel and rich mouthfeel. And waiting in the wings, possibly on tap this weekend, or early next week, is Metric Heavy Hefeweizen, a true-to-origins German Weissbier with the iconic yeast-derived banana and clove aroma and flavour, with malt-derived soft bready notes. This beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and a light 16 IBUs.

• Have you been missing the Propeller One Hit Wonder series of the past? Well, good news! It’s undergone an evolution of sorts, and the Gottingen Small Batch series is the result! The brewery’s intention is to roll out a new style on a monthly basis, while “bringing forward a greater variety of true-to-style (but rarely seen) beers”. The first beer in the series, Gratitude, is a 4.5% ABV, 56 IBUs India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) brewed with 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, and Wheat malt. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo, the melon and citrus notes from the Amarillo come through front and center, followed by a “forward bitterness” in the finish. It’s on tap now at the Gottingen taproom.

• Speaking of new beer series, the PEI Brewing Co. has released the first in their After Hours series, after an initial launch of pilot brews two weeks ago. U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale was brewed at the Gahan Charlottetown location (their 7 bbl system will be responsible for most entries in the After Hours series) with Vienna malt, bittered to 50 IBUs, and conditioned for a couple of weeks on puréed strawberries. It was then dry-hopped with Comet and Simcoe, resulting in an APA with citrus and tropical fruit on the nose, and “finishing with a hint of strawberry flavour, adding another dimension to a Pale Ale”, according to head brewer Chris Long. Look for it at select tap accounts across the Maritimes, including the PEIBC taproom and all Gahan locations.

• Months ago, we reported that Maybee Brewing had just finished brewing up a Belgian Quad (aka Belgian Dark Strong Ale). Big beers like these often take a lot of extra time to finish fermenting, and to allow the high alcohol levels to smooth out. Well, we’re happy to report that half of the double batch of this beer, named Orion, is being packaged in kegs today! This half includes the addition of maple syrup from Briggs Maples, and clocks in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. Expect flavours of caramel, brown sugar, and a bit of molasses and maple, to accompany the warming sensation from the high alcohol. With a medium bitterness in the finish, this malty-sweet ale may not taste like it’s 11.5%, but you’ve been fairly warned! Watch for this one to be show up at your favourite Maybee tap accounts over the next few days; of course, it will also be on tap at the brewery for pours and growler fills. A portion will eventually be packaged in corked-and-caged bottles in the near future.

• We mentioned last week that The Shocking Pink, Good Robot‘s Gose-Radler hybrid, was being re-released yesterday for the OUTeast Film Festival. On top of that, they now have two new brews on the horizon, both of which will be released mid-next week. First up is a new Beta Brew, Cream Team, a Cream Ale brewed by Kelly Costello and Doug Kehoe. Coming in at 6.56%, slightly higher than your typical Cream Ale, it features an aroma of honey and straw, and a “slightly lemony flavour, and grassy aftertaste”. Lightly hopped with Tettnang, Warrior, and Willamette to 15 IBUs. Next up is the second in their series of SMaSH Pale Ales, Pacifica. Named after the solely-featured hop in the brew, Pacifica is a New Zealand variety known for its orange marmalade character. Featuring a grist of Maris Otter malt, the beer was fermented with the East Coast Ale strain. Flavours of citrus, spice, and resin accompany the orange marmalade notes; it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, and 24 IBUs. And finally, drop by the brewery today for the beginning of Cask Fridays, starting with a series of Goseface Killah re-fermented with a variety of organic fruit purées!

• If you’ve been sad to see all of those entries in the Annapolis Cider Company Something Different series come and go, good news! The cidery has listened to the calls from the public, and have brought back three of the most popular entries to re-release in their new Creative Series. Rhubarb Ginger, Hopped Pear, and Sour Cherry are all now available again, this time in 750 mL bottles, for you to take home and enjoy. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, for a limited time!

• Summer is right around the corner, and Fredericton’s Graystone has you covered with their latest release, Wild Child. The brewery’s first Radler (a mixture of beer and juice, or fruit soda), it’s light and refreshing, with notes of “subtle citrus” from the addition of both grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Also, the puréed flesh of 50 grapefruits was added, to up your grapefruit love even more! Completely crushable at 4.5% ABV, it’s available now at the brewery for pints, crowlers, and growlers. You’ll also likely see it on tap across the city very soon.

• Halifax’s “Littlest Brewery That Could”, Tidehouse Brewing at Salter and Barrington, has another new beer on tap today. Birthday Sauce IPA is their modern take on a classic American IPA; weighing in at 6.5% ABV, the beer features a solid bitterness (hovering around 60 IBUs), with lots of citrus and pine notes from the CascadePacific Jade, and Simcoe hops used throughout. Grab a growler at their downtown location today 2-9PM (tomorrow, too), or visit their Market locations at Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market every Saturday, Tantallon Village Farmers’ Market every Tuesday 2-6PM, and the fortnightly Spryfield & District Community Market, next held June 25th. Happy Birthday Shean!

St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub has launched their latest beer this week, The 150 S’EH!son!. It was brewed in collaboration with Mill Street Ottawa’s Head Brewer Tim Hulley, during his visit earlier this month. A partial sour mash brings a bright acidity to this Saison, along with notes of Fuzzy Peaches and citrus. The unfiltered straw-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV and 25 IBUs, and is available on tap at the brewery, and to take home in growlers today. And keep an eye on social media for details of their First Anniversary Celebration, happening June 28th. Live music, plenty of special beers and casks, and lots of fun.

• We have some excellent news for those of you that have been patiently waiting for the Hammond River expansion to be complete… owner/brewer Shane Steeves has confirmed that the first two beers were brewed on the new, 15 bbl (~1700 L) system earlier this week! Both Gammie (a California Common) and Hop Flash IPA are currently fermenting, and will be released to bars and restaurants in kegs within a few weeks. All of the first batches brewed at the new brewery will be packaged in kegs only, to fill all of the tap accounts across New Brunswick; subsequent batches will have a portion bottled as well. Look for the brewery taproom to open within the next month, where you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite HR beers by the pint and/or growler! Congratulations, Shane!

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is gearing up for a big weekend, or at least a big Saturday (followed by a mighty hangover on Sunday, no doubt). Tomorrow afternoon the gang from Central City will be on the Garrison patio from 1 – 4 PM as part of their tour across the country to celebrate their Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration for Canada 150. Central City’s Daryn Medwid, Gary Lohin and James Hume will be pouring samples of their Central City x Garrison Collaboration alongside the Garrison gang. Speaking of which, that beer, ”New” Scottish Ale, is available at the brewery now for pints and growler fills. It’s a 5.7% ABV beer with a moderate bitterness at 38 IBU. It features a smoky aroma from peat malt with some berry notes, and a smooth caramel palate accentuated by a smoky character and balanced against a slightly bitter finish.

• But the big event is tomorrow night, namely Garrison’s third annual Backlot Bash event starting at 5:30 PM. This year’s version is an extra-special, super spectacular edition, as it’s also part of Garrison’s 20th Birthday Celebrations. The event supports the Ecology Action Centre and features musical acts The Sheepdogs, Port Cities, the Garrett Mason Band and The Royal Volts. A plethora of Food Trucks will also be on hand, including The Gecko Bus, Halifax Press, Asado Wood Fired Grill, Cheese Curds and Ol’ School Donuts. There will also be demos and fun from Proskates and Timber Lounge. Tickets are $35 in advance via Ticket Halifax or $40 at the door. A note to those planning to attend: the event was always advertised as rain or shine, and due to the expected weather tomorrow night, the concert has officially been moved indoors to the Cunard Centre, so don’t be shocked if things aren’t where you expected them to be upon your arrival tomorrow night!

Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax has tapped the final keg of their Barrel Aged Golden Ale with Brett, a beer that features Brettanomyces for a distinct yeast character. It was also aged for 8 months in Hungarian Oak, which should give it some barrel notes as well; it weighs in at 5%. They’ve also just released their second batch of Impatience Sour Brown Ale, which was aged on Morello cherries and raspberries, a darker, but still refreshing drink thanks to the fruit. And lastly, they’re also at the end of their Mexican Lager, Cerveza Maritimo, having tapped the last keg this week. You might still find it on the Island later this summer, as The Gahan House in Charlottetown will have some of this light thirst quencher available.

• After an official announcement and press release from Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy, we have more information on the Acadian Nut Brown style we mentioned last week. Several Acadian breweries united to create a “100% Acadian beer” to mark the 170th anniversary of the poem “Evangeline”, by Henry Longfellow. The style has many descriptors, including “caramel, light coffee, hazelnut, chocolate, fruity, molasses, and licorice”. We already wrote up Petit-Sault‘s entry, La Madoueska, last week, but there’s others to mention as well, as several breweries in Atlantic Canada are participating. Fils du Roy has released their Evangeline (7% ABV), Flying Boats their General’s Armada (5.5% ABV, 23 IBUs), and Savoie’s has a Nut-Brown Ale. As well, Acadie-Broue is including their previously-released La Bringue.

• Big Spruce has their Consiglière Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Saison back on tap at the brewery, first released as part of the Stillwell Open during NS Craft Beer Week. They’ve also released another batch of their One Hundred recently, their all-Nova Scotia beer, featuring Organic malt, hops, and yeast harvested from a Pin Cherry on their farm. Their Food Truck weekends have started for the summer, drop by the brewery for fresh food from Cruisin’ Cuisine from noon Thursday through Saturday until mid-September. And with Beer + Yoga each Saturday from 11AM, there are plenty of reasons to stop in Nyanza this summer.

• This morning both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons mashed in on a very special beer that will celebrate both Canada 150 and the legacy of the great Peter Austin, who was responsible for the creation of the system in use at both breweries, the Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brewing System. Breweries based on this system, over 140 of which have been installed around the world over the last 30+ years, are also known as “Ringwood” Breweries both after Austin’s original Ringwood Brewery and the yeast strain that they generally favour. These two breweries from our region are joining 5 others from across the country, Golden Lion Brewery in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Granite Brewery in Toronto, Ashton Brew Pub and Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa and 4 Mile Brewing Co in Victoria, BC. These breweries have come together under the name “The Fathers of Fermentation” to brew Sir John’s Special Eh’le based on a recipe by Alan Pugsley of Pugsley Brewing International, Peter Austin’s good friend and former partner, who was responsible for the design and setup at all of the participating breweries. Everyone is brewing their batch today; the beer will be fermented and then delicately aged and released on July 1st. As you anticipate the final product you can read more about this special collaboration and see some video of the cross country brew days on the The Fathers of Fermentation Facebook page.

Chill Street Fresh Beer and Cider Market opened this week in the Elmsdale Sobey’s at Exit 8 of the 102 Highway. Featuring a SmartBrew Ferment-on-Premise system, they are offering cans and growlers of their beer and cider now. Look for their Eh? Light Lager, Hants Down Light Ale, Honey I’m Home Honey Brown, Life’s a Beach Grapefruit Radler Out of the Blue Blueberry Wheat, Skinny Dipping Cider, Storm Day White IPA, and Unplugged Pale Ale. Chill Street is the first grocery store-based brewery in Canada, a business model that could catch on, given the compact size of the SmartBrew system.

• Truro’s Salty Dog Brewing (beer brewed on the system at the Nook and Cranny next door) has released a new beer this week, HOME Brew Session Ale. The 3.5% ABV beer is a collaboration with nearby My HOME Apparel, makers of NS-inspired clothing and merchandise. Drop by the brewery Saturday for a My HOME pop-up, and grab a sampler, enjoy some music, and take home a half-priced branded growler (which gets you a discount off a fill of the Session Ale). And keep your eyes peeled as Salty Dog will soon be canning their offerings.

Another busy weekend ahead:

• A reminder that Maybee Brewing is holding their Summer Pig Roast tomorrow, June 17th, from 5 pm till late. With plenty of food, beer (including a special cask), and live music from house band Extraordinary Measures, it’s sure to be a great time! Tickets ($29.50 each) are still available.

Tatamagouche Brewing is turning 3! Be sure to join them at the brewery for celebrations tomorrow, June 17th for face painting, food truck deliciousness courtesy of Route 6 Food Truck Co., and a draw to win a $150 gift bag or Brew Day Package. And if you’re wearing your Tata Brew gear, you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase. Happy Birthday! See if they’ll give you a sneak peek at the freshly-bottled

• It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, June 18th (you forgot to send a card? Too late! Worst son/daughter ever!), and Railcar is holding a special event at their soon-to-officially-open new location in Perth. Father’s Day Flight will feature a guided tasting from Railcar’s very own Mitch Biggar, of six 5 oz beers brewed in the Maritimes. The two hour tasting begins at 2 pm; a selection of appetizers will also be served. Only 30 spaces are available, and tickets are $20, first-come-first-served.

• We told you about the new brewery and taproom at Horton Ridge Malt House a few weeks ago, and the taps have been flowing since June 1st, but on Saturday, June 24th, they’ll be having a proper Grand Opening. From 11 AM to 10 PM they’ll be serving up some of their new beers and others from breweries around the province that feature Horton Ridge Malt. Food will be available from a new food truck in the region, Let’s Eat Beer, recently started by the folks at Draught Pro. This truck serves beer-infused food and donate all proceeds from the events it attends to Atlantic Canadian Charities! There will also be some live music, games like washer toss and Mega Jenga, and tours of the brewery and malt house. So maybe give a thought to stopping in at Exit 10 on the 101 next Saturday and celebrating one of the newest breweries in the region!

• Prince Edward Island’s only beer festival, PEI Beer Fest, is returning this September to the Delta Prince Edward. Part of the month-long Fall Flavors Festival, a culinary celebration of the Island, the dates for this years tastings have been set and tickets are on sale now. There will be three tasting sessions this year, one on the evening of Friday, September 8th, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM, and two on Saturday, September 9th, in the afternoon from 2:00 – 4:00 PM and in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. There will be beer, of course, and some cider options, with live entertainment as well. Tickets for the evening sessions are $40, for Saturday afternoon it’s $30 and they’ve got Designated Driver tickets available as well at $10 each (be aware that various service fees are likely to make those more like $50, $40 and $15 respectively). If you’re interested in attending, don’t delay too long, last year’s event was sold out in advance and no tickets were available at the door! And keep an eye on the web site for news about what breweries will be bringing their wares to the event this year.

And a few more things today:

– Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing has the last keg of their Smoked Cherry India Black Ale on tap now. Brewed in collaboration with the gents at FirkinStein, who actually smoked the malt themselves using Cherrywood, this Black IPA is hopped with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, with cherries added to the fermenter for a hint of fruit flavour. There isn’t much of the 6.8% ABV, 75 IBUs beer, so be sure to get down to the brewery today! And look for the release of their Privateer Pilsner, which will be returning soon to celebrate next weekend’s Privateer Days.

North Brewing is releasing the Barrel-Aged version of their Milk Stout today. First previewed at the Full House event in May, the Headline Milk Stout spent 5 months in Glenora Whisky Barrels, and has been bottle conditioning for a couple more. The 7.5% ABV special brew is available now at both their Halifax and Dartmouth stores. Insider pro-tip: visitors can show their receipt from Battery Park for a discount at the North store. Tell em ACBB sent ya!

– A quick reminder that the Schoolhouse Graduation and 2017 Grad Party is on tomorrow in Windsor, with the family-oriented Graduation festivities starting at 11am and the ticketed “afterparty” beginning at 8pm (tickets available here).

Heritage Brewing Company celebrated its soft opening this past weekend at 19 Kirk Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Heritage is the brainchild of four friends from the Yarmouth area, who, after years of homebrewing and toying with the idea of going pro, decided to make good on their plans. We caught up with partner Jason Murphy to learn more about Heritage’s past, present, and future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are four friends who decided to get together and open this brewery, all hailing from the Yarmouth area. Jeff and Albert are both teachers, Jason is a vice principal, and Drew works in heating and ventilation.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Albert and I (Jason) went to an NSTU function, where various businesses were invited to come and promote their products. The Yarmouth Brewing Centre (an excellent homebrew supply shop in town) was there, and sold us on the idea of “Just Add Yeast And Water” boxed beer kits. We thought we were making great, cheap, beer and were feeling pretty good about ourselves until we went to Rudder’s and had their IPA! It was an excellent beer, and we decided we needed to do better than our boxed kits. We bought two turkey fryers, a mesh bag for BIAB and some grains, hops, and yeast. Over time, we have slowly built up from a 5 gallon homebrew BIAB system with plastic bottles for packaging, to a 55 Gallon Blichmann RIMS system and kegs.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
We have been talking about it for years, we love the craft beer we have tried around the province, but one thing we kept saying was that our beer was as high quality as some of the bigger craft breweries. I (Jason) have always been a bit self-conscious about our beer, but as we kept giving more and more out, to more and more people, we kept feeling more confident and encouraged to move forward with it.

What is the ethos of Heritage Brewing Company?
We want to show our pride in our community ,and our love for beer. All of us are from Yarmouth; some of us moved away for a number of years, and have come back to settle down and have families.
I think our logo is a play on the idea of our love for beer combined with a well-known Yarmouth landmark. We had a friend who came up with the idea, and a great local artist (Danielle Mahood) who drew it up for us.
We, like other small breweries, believe every town should have a locally-owned and -operated brewery. We want people to buy beer, and talk about beer, with the people that actually make their beer! We want to be a part of a positive change in our downtown area and help build the economy in our home town.
As we start to release names for our beer you will also see many of them reflect the history and culture in Yarmouth.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
After our soft opening this past weekend, we will be open Thursday afternoons 4-8PM and Saturdays 10AM-4PM. We will make it a rather quiet affair, to see what kind of kinks we run into, before we do a grand opening in the next couple weeks.

Can you tell us about the beers you currently have available?
We are starting with an Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Session IPA and a Stout. As a small brewery, we believe we have the flexibility to respond quickly to our customers’ tastes and we have excellent Cream Ale, Double IPA, Porter, Brown, Red, and Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat recipes all ready to go. (In fact, we have our Red and Cream Ale in fermenters at the moment, along with Rhubarb in the freezer).
We are really excited to offer our Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat. We made it last summer, it was so much work and so messy we swore we would never make it again no matter how good it was. After tasting and giving some away, the feedback was so positive we have already started freezing rhubarb and tracking down strawberries.

What are your plans for distribution? How can folks enjoy your beer?
We are offering growler fills (both 0.95 and 1.89 litres) on site, along with tasters (4oz). We have been in discussion with local establishments to have our beer available to customers on tap and in bottles, distributing bottles to restaurants in the coming weeks. We do not have a tap room at this time, but we do have hopes and plans for expansion.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I think it is really important to thank the guys at Tidehouse Brewing Company. We have sent them an awful lot of messages and questions and they have been extremely helpful and quick to give advice.
Alan from Meander River Farm and Brewery allowed us to spend a day there talking beer while he gave us tips and pointers, which were really helpful in completing our business plan.
As fellow teachers, we made contact with Schoolhouse Brewery as well, and Cam was more than willing to talk beer with us, and give us advice that we really appreciated.
We have been blown away with the support other craft brewery have been willing to give us and are really excited to be part of this industry.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next few years?
We hope that our system will be too small to keep up, and we will be able to expand rather quickly and add a taproom to our brewery.

What type of system are you be brewing on?
Currently we have an electric 180 litre (1.5 BBL) system, with 8 fermenters. We hope to produce and sell at least 350 litres per week.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I think all four of us have slightly different favourites, though our single hop Citra Session IPA is one of our personal favourites.
Between the four of us, we have been to a lot of craft breweries, especially between Yarmouth and Halifax, and we have found something we like at each one.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I am a fan of heavily-hopped beers, and dark roasty beers. The Citra and Chinook hops are my favourite to work with, and our customers will taste that with our Citra Session IPA. We will also start off with a great Stout followed by a Porter and Brown ales, that will showcase my passion for dark beer.

Thanks to Jason and the Heritage crew for sitting down with us and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at their new brewery. As mentioned above, drop by the brewery today (and every Thursday) from 4-8PM and Saturdays 10-4PM to grab a taster and growler, and keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook and Twitter pages, where they’ll be sharing the newest beers available, and the details of their Grand Opening Party. Congratulations!

Good morning, and welcome to another Friday! As usual, there’s plenty of beer news to share for the week, so let’s not waste any time with preamble. Ok, truth is the site was down for awhile and we lost a lot of changes, including a witty intro, and I just don’t have it in me to try to come up with it again!

• Let’s kick off the week with the announcement of a new brewery on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Heritage Brewing is opening their doors for the first time tomorrow, at 19 Kirk St in Yarmouth. From 11-3, they will be pouring their four beer for sampling onsite, and in growlers to take away. They will be pouring their Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Session IPA and/or Stout all day (or until they run out!). Merchandise, including clothing and glassware will also be available for purchase. Look for a full Profile with the Heritage crew Monday morning. Congratulations on your opening!

• Moncton’s Bore City is back on the board with a couple of new beers! First up is the recently-released Jus de Citra, which has been on tap at Marky’s Laundromat for a couple of days and is going fast. This American IPA is hopped entirely with, you guessed it, the beautiful Citra variety. A simple grist of Pilsner and 2-row malt, along with a healthy amount of Flaked Oats to boost the body, lets the tropical juiciness of one of our favourite hops shine through. Fermented with Conan to boost that juicy character even further, it weights in at 6.5% ABV and 68 IBUs. If it’s out at the Laundromat by the time you read this, fear not… you can always make the trek to Fredericton’s James Joyce, where it should be available on tap any time now.

• The other new beer from Bore City has been brewed and is just finishing up fermentation. Accordingly named Koalatee Pale Ale, this one was hopped with three Australian varieties: Ella, Summer, and Vic Secret. Expect plenty of citrus and tropical fruit in this brew as well; it should clock in around 5.5% ABV, and will be available within the next few weeks. As always, we’ll keep you updated!

• Now that there’s finally some inklings of nice weather in our area, those of you in Fredericton have a good excuse to head over to TrailWay Brewing to check out their new-and-improved patio. Luckily, they’ve also released a brand new beer to give you yet another excuse! Blueprint is the brewery’s latest Porter, described by the brewery as “chocolate-forward, sessionable, dry and crisp”. A popular style in the taproom (where you can pick up growlers, pints, and cans), this 5% ABV brew will also be available on tap around the city.

• Sticking around Fredericton, Half Cut Brewing has their first new beer in a while out and about the city. Tickle Fight IPA is a 5.8% ABV American IPA hopped with Warrior and Sorachi Ace, giving an “ample amount of bitterness, with lots of fruit character, including citrus, mango, and passionfruit”, according to the brewery. Look for it on tap at your favourite Half Cut tap account today.

• In cider news in the city, Red Rover has their first cask-conditioned release on at the Cider House as of this week. Paradise is a 7% ABV dry cider with a “sweet aroma of pineapple and a dry apple finish”; available only for glasses served in-house at the downtown location, be sure to drop in and try this limited released while it’s still available!

• You may have noticed an announcement from Petit-Sault about a new beer of theirs, La Madoueska, which they’re referring to as an “Acadien Brown Ale”. Brewed with a combination of “Pale, Caramelized, and Toasted malts”, it has an aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans and dark chocolate, accompanied by a fairly dry finish. There will be an announcement later today  by Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy regarding this new “style”; you’ll likely be seeing several beers brewed in this way from Acadien breweries in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the 6% ABV La Madoueska is available on tap at the Petit-Sault taproom for pints, bottles and growlers, at ANBL growler stations this weekend, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.

Good Robot is bringing back last year’s The Shocking Pink, a Gose-Radler hybrid of sorts that they originally introduced for the 2016 OUTeast Film Festival in Halifax. Well, the festival returns on June 15th, and so does version 2.0 of the beer! This hazy, straw-coloured beer is the brewery’s Goseface Killah with pink lemonade added, as well as organic teas “Queen of Tarts” and “Fruity Oasis” from DAVIDsTEA. Tart, salty, lemony, and fruity, v 2.0 will be launched on the 15th when the festival opens; look for it on tap across the city.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider has released the latest in their Heritage SeriesOld-Fashioned Gravenstein. Using only hand-picked, local Gravs, they crafted a 7.4% ABV cider with a fresh apple aroma and crisp, tart, flavour. This release is available exclusively at the cidery on Main Street.

Mill Street St John’s has released a new beer, taking inspiration from Italy. Terrazza Lager clocks in at 4.8% ABV and 30 IBUs, featuring biscuit and bread notes, with a spicy hop character from Saaz hops. Grab a pint or growler at the bar today, and at EVOO in the Courtyard, at Water and Beck’s Cove.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is putting the finishing touches on a brand new beer set to mid-next-week. Thyme to Grow a Pear Blueberry Kettle Sour is a complex and flavourful beer that will be hitting their taps, as well as licensees shortly. Featuring a light base from Pilsner and Wheat malts, the beer was soured in the kettle thanks to a healthy dose of yogourt (which contains the necessary Lactobacillus bacteria). After a couple of days letting those guys do their work, the beer is boiled to kill them off, at which point Pear puree was added. After further fermentation with a traditional yeast, Blueberry puree made its appearance in the beer. And while the beer finished its conditioning and carbonation, fresh Thyme was added to the brite tank. All of this culminates in a 3.9% ABV acidic, yet clean, beer, with a lovely thyme and fruit finish.

• You may have spotted a new publication in Nova Scotia breweries this week, the NS Beer Guide. Published independently from any brewery or organization, it aims to put the information for all Nova Scotia breweries together in one book for easy reference. Follow along on their social media pages to see where the guides have been delivered to grab yours over the next few days, as they visit all of the breweries in the province.

• On the Isthmus of Chignecto (try saying that after a couple beers), Trider’s in Amherst has a new beer in bottles. My Honey, My Heather is the result of experimentation that followed after a local honey producer approached Trider’s and asked if they wanted to do a honey beer. The beer uses a few buckets of wild honey and the team is pretty happy with the result; it also contains heather, hence the name. Meanwhile, if you’re in Halifax and you’re wondering where you might find Trider’s brews on tap, we’ve got the scoop: The Local on Gottingen has had White Ogre and Rod’s Red, The Stubborn Goat will be serving Rod’s Red as well, and the Timber Lounge will have 500 ml bottles of the Brew-Deau. More accounts will no doubt follow in coming weeks; we’ll let you know as we’re made aware.

• On the South Shore of NS Boxing Rock is holding a contest to name their latest beer, this one a Cream Ale brewed specially for the Tall Ships visit to Shelburne on August 14th and 15th as part of the RDV2017 Guest Port Program in Canada to celebrate Canada 150. Your prospective name needs to be submitted in person at the brewery (open 7 days a week, 11AM – 7PM) between June 8th and July 8th to qualify. The winner will be revealed at Boxing Rock’s birthday party celebration on July 8th. This isn’t a ballot-box stuffing style contest, it’s all about creativity, and we’ve been assured that “Beery McBeerface” isn’t in the running. We’re told that the beer itself is light and easy-drinking, with a grist comprised of 100% malt. Hopped with both European noble and North American varieties for a light bitterness and mild aroma, it weighs in at 5% ABV.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows tapped a new beer yesterday afternoon, a “super tropical” brett pale ale called Angel Eyes. Fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, it’s a healthy 6.5% ABV and a solid 34 IBU. Dry hopped with new world hop varietals Azacca, Galaxy, and Citra, expect a juicy and funky presence, with a dry finish and a strong pineapple and lemon notes. Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor even gave a shoutout on Facebook to our own Shawn Meek and a similar recipe he concocted a couple of years back (but don’t tell him that, it’ll go right to his head). This is a very limited release, with only 250 litres available on tap at the brewery. And speaking of the brewery, 2 Crows now has a patio with seating for 20 out front on Brunswick Street. We suspect that a pint of Angel Eyes and a seat on the patio might be an excellent squad goal for craft beer lovers in Halifax this weekend! And if Brett isn’t your thing, there’s still some of the 2 Crows x 902 BrewCast In Theory to be had.

• You may remember the Pucker Up Cranberry Hibiscus Wit originally launched by Garrison back in 2015. They’ve revamped the beer as a kettle sour, and have re-launched the beer as Pucker Up. This bright red beer is brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and was soured with Lactobacillus bacteria, before being briefly boiled (but no hops were added to the brew). It still has the pomegranate and hibiscus notes like the original beer, and comes in at a quaffable 4.7% ABV. The brewery describes the taste as “Fun Dip for adults”, which probably gives you a pretty good idea of the flavours! Available at the brewery for tasters and growlers now, look for it to follow at local tap accounts very soon. And in other Garrison news, they’re once again putting out calls for locally-grown rhubarb! Bring your fresh, usable rhubarb in to the brewery (leaves removed, please) for a free taster, plus an in-store credit of $1 per pound (limit of 10 lbs per person).

Another busy weekend ahead of us, folks!

• Starting today, visitors to Schoolhouse Brewery‘s new Windsor location will be able to grab a full pint of Schoolhouse’s, and guest breweries’, beer.  Drop by 40 Water Street today at 3:20PM (when school lets out, off course) until 9PM, or on the weekend from 11AM. While there, pick up your tickets for their Graduation next weekend, and GradParty after the day’s “formal” fun is done. They’re hosting a Four Square Tournament that day as well, be sure to sign up early to secure your spot! And keep your eyes open for the return of favourites Skratch Plaskett – Electric Tambourine Ale and Vice-Principal Session IPA, both slated for their return next week.

• Good news (Prince Edward) Islanders! Beginning tonight, BarNone Brewery in Rose Valley is open for pints and growler fills on both Thursday and Friday evenings! From 6-10pm both nights, drop by the brewery to check out what’s newly released, what’s coming next, and take a seat upstairs in the auditorium for some great local music. Friday’s music leader is Jon Rehder, and will feature plenty of local and visiting musicians throughout the summer.

• For those in the Annapolis Valley (or looking for an excuse to head there), La Torta Pizzeria in Wolfville will be hosting a Tap Takeover by Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing Saturday from 3pm. Featuring their core lineup, as well as several one-offs and brand new offerings, be sure to drop by for a slice and flight tomorrow. (If you can’t wait to see what’s available, checkout La Torta’s IG  for the details)

• There are few good reasons to stay close to Moncton’s Tide & Boar tomorrow morning: at 10AM they are holding the latest of their Growler Fill Mornings, when they offer some of their house-brewed beer in a take-away format. This weekend’s offerings are Pow Pillows IPA (a New England-style IPA with CitraGalaxy, and Nelson Sauvin hops, with some lactose for residual sweetness), Hand PlantIPA (all Galaxy, and a non-flocculating yeast for a hazy outcome), and Layback Lager (brewed with rye, New Zealand hops, and fermented with a German lager yeast). And stick around until 11AM, where you can grab a pour from their single bottle of Sam Adams Utopias, the 25%ABV+ beer that drinks more like whisky than a beer. Plus those who do purchase a 1 ounce pour with have a chance to win the iconic bottle.

• Now that the Central City “Red Racer Across the Nation” collaboration twelve-pack can be found in three of the four Atlantic Provinces (ANBL, NLCBishop’s Cellar and Cristall Wine in NS, with PEILCC to come very soon), the dates and details for the kick-off parties are all set. Next week, the good folks from Central City will be visiting our region, pouring the collaboration beers, and having a proper East Coast time:

June 12th at Quidi Vidi. 4:30-10PM. Sample all twelve beers, plus grab pints of QV’s collab brew too. Food onsite. Facebook Event.
June 15th at PEI Brewing Co. 5-9PM. Live music and pints of the PEIBC collab beer. Facebook Event.
June 16th at Picaroons. 5-11PM. Live music, collab 12-packs for sale, food and beer. Facebook Event.
June 17th at Garrison. 1-4PM. Free samples of Garrison’s collab, plus meet the folks from Central City. Facebook Event

• After a brief stint on tap last month, YellowBelly has brought back their Ryan’s Fancy IPA, which is available in bottles at the brewery now, and select NLCs this weekend. Celebrating the eponymous iconic band that formed in 1971, the beer will be re-launched in earnest June 13th at their “What a Time – Volume 2” CD release party at O’Reilly’s Pub, at 7PM.

• The Moncton Beer League will be holding their next Urban Beer Hike in downtown Moncton June 17th. Start your afternoon of fun at Marky’s Laundromat, and hit up four other bars for a taste of the region offers. Grab your tickets today!

• We don’t want the summer to go by too quickly (hey, we’ve earned it!), but a reminder that tickets for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest (being held on Saturday, September 30th) go on sale today at noon. Featuring unlimited beer samples from many local craft breweries, there are two ticket options available: regular tickets get you entry from 7:30-10:00 pm and a takeaway glass, VIP tickets get you in at 7 pm, and “VVIP” tickets get you a special glass, access to an industry panel discussion, and a guided beer tasting. Ticket prices range from $58-$75+fees, and are available here. Check out the link for additional festival details. As in the past, funds will help support the United Way of Greater Moncton.

Just one more more beer to keep an eye out for this weekend:

– Attention, Halifax  beer drinkers: keep your eyes open for a new Tidehouse brew, Simcoe Krush (5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs), an American Pale Ale focusing strongly on Simcoe hops.

The NB Liquor Corporation has announced that they will be reducing the price of 24-packs of several domestic beers later this month. The prices of Alpine, Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Moose Light, and Sleeman Clear will all drop by $7 to $35.99. While a trial period of discounts on multiple 24-packs was implemented last year, this new change will be permanent. The drop in price is being financed solely by the ANBL, with revenue losses of $7,000,000 expected annually.

We spoke with ANBL’s Mark Barbour for how they expect these changes to affect the local beer producers. Barbour shared data that during last year’s trial run, sales in craft beer was up more than 20% over the same period in 2015, the solid growth apparently undeterred by deep discounts in domestic beer. “There are two distinct beer drinking profiles in the province, those who choose domestic beer, and those who choose craft,” he went on to say. He suggested the possible spillover effect of a cheaper domestic beer might even allow the value drinker a few extra dollars to try the local beer offerings. When asked if discounts would be applied to locally-produced craft beer, he responded that they would not, but added, “The ANBL is very invested in the development of the Craft Beer Industry in New Brunswick, providing circa $2M annually in subsidies annually in the form of a reduced Markup Structure.” Both last year, and with this announcement, the ANBL denies that it is reducing the price to compete with lower-priced beer in Quebec and Maine, but as the sole retailer of domestic beer in the province, it is difficult to deny the reality of the situation.

We also reached out to Stephen Dixon, owner of Grimross Brewing, and  President of the NB Craft Alcohol Producers. He expressed concerns that these price reductions were done without any consultation with the small local producers, who learned of the price change through the media like the general public. “Part of ANBL’s mandate is to participate in the development of the liquor industry in the province,” Dixon says, “The province in general would reap more benefit if ANBL and the New Brunswick Government worked towards creating a better environment for the development of NB-based producers.” The delineation between value and craft beer drinkers is not so cut and dry, Dixon believes. “Those that currently drink either (craft or macro industrial beer) will be enticed to the macro beer with these big discounts”, he explains.

The implementation of the permanent price change is puzzling: as last year’s trial wound down, the ANBL stated (from a CBCNews article in October 2016), “Although profitable, the beer promotion had a negative impact on overall profit margins”. And that was with the price reduction shared with the participating breweries, not solely a burden on the ANBL. With this move costing ANBL something like $7M annually, we feel it important to note who the likely beneficiaries are. Certainly not the average New Brunswicker, who will potentially see a reduction in the Government’s coffers. Licensed establishments who serve the same macro beers might not be happy to see the discrepancy between what a patron pays per beer at home vs. what is paid at a bar grow even wider. The “value drinker” will surely see a benefit, we suppose, but we believe it will more likely be viewed as, “It’s like getting every 7th case free,” rather than, “I’ll take that $7 and buy something I wouldn’t normally buy.” The ANBL’s stated mission is, “To responsibly manage a profitable liquor business for New Brunswick,” which certainly seems countermanded by a seven million dollar writedown, unless you buy the argument that they are fending off competition, which is an interesting notion for a company that effectively operates as a monopoly in their market. Perhaps this is anticipation of the provincial trade barriers being lowered, but we also note that the Canadian Free Trade Agreement only specifies a working group to provide guidance around interprovincial alcohol trade and they’ve got a year to develop it. So their recommendation isn’t due until June 30th, 2018, let alone any resultant action. The real winners here then, are the producers of the beer being discounted. While one, Moosehead Light, is a NB product, the others are all owned by multinational conglomerates who will likely see sales increase at no extra cost to them. So more money is potentially leaving the province than before. Meanwhile, craft producers will now be competing with even cheaper mass produced products readily available in every market around the province. We suspect it would cost much less than $7 million to eliminate all excise duties on craft producers in the province, a move that would likely see more money staying within the borders of the province. It’s interesting that ANBL chose instead to stimulate sales for out-of-province producers instead.

What about the fans of locally-produced, small, independent beer? We don’t anticipate those drinkers to switch to the bigger brands because of a cost savings; if a difference in price was the primary issue, we wouldn’t have been drinking craft beer for all this time anyway. We drink craft beer because we like the taste, and having it produced in the Atlantic provinces is just another positive aspect. However, everyone has to start their love of craft beer somewhere, and for those who are currently drinking macro, this cost reduction is just one more reason for them to stay away from craft beer, stifling the amount of growth that could potentially be seen in the craft beer market. This means that local breweries (and other businesses associated with them, such as hop growers, beer tour companies, etc) may not flourish as well as they should. If the ANBL can’t see that, it doesn’t seem to us that they’re standing behind local breweries as they claim to be doing.

And for those readers in PEI and NS, PEI Liquor has said they have no plans to reduce the price of domestic beer to compete with the ANBL*; there has been no specific response from the NSLC as of yet, only that they are “assessing their options”.

*Update (June 6): PEILC has reduced the price of Alpine, Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, Canadian, and Moose Light to $39.99, “for a limited time, while supplies last”.

Welcome to June, loyal beer readers and drinkers! It’s already been a busy week, with the announcement of the winners at the Canadian Brewing Awards, and the opening of Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company’s taproom and pilot brewery. We’ve got plenty more news to share with you today, so grab that coffee stout and take a few minutes to get up to speed. Look for our take on the ANBL domestic beer price reduction shortly.

• Kicking off the beer release news is FirkinStein, located just outside Bridgewater in Mount Pleasant, who have released a new beer this week, called Tempus Fugit IPA. At 8.0% ABV, many would consider it a Double IPA (and it is packed to the gills with hops like one), including Cascade, Citra, Perle, Saaz, and Mosaic! It’s got a strong bitterness and prominent hop aroma, and is a touch drier and quite a bit lighter in colour than their flagship IPA, Cut of Our Jib. Tempus Fugit will only be available at the brewery and their market stalls. Meanwhile, Bishops Cellar in Halifax has been carrying the first bottled offerings from FirkinStein and have sold out of the Rock Your Boat Oatmeal Coffee Stout. But fear not, you should see their Amber, Nor’Easter appear there sometime in the coming week. And watch this space in the coming weeks for news of a new retail space for the brewery.

• Over to New Brunswick, where Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewing is releasing the first in a series of beers for the summer. Galaxy Session IPA kicks off the lineup by featuring a very popular hop of late, the Australian variety Galaxy, which is known for a blast of tropical passion fruit and citrus characteristics. The beer comes in at a very sessionable 4.7% ABV, which should make for easy drinking in the summer sun. This one will appear on tap at the James Joyce Pub in Fredericton as well as at ANBL growler stations (probably Dieppe and/or Moncton). Keep an eye on Facebook for Growler Alerts to find out when it’s coming up in rotation! Brewer Marc Melanson will be introducing more beers in this series as the summer goes on featuring either single hop varietals or blends, and we’ll try to let you know about every one of them!

• And moving across the Northumberland Strait to the Island, we told you last week about the North Brewing Taproom Takeover this afternoon at Upstreet. One of the beers you’ll find if you’re lucky enough to be at that event in Charlottetown is a beer co-brewed by Upstreet’s Mike Hogan when he was in Halifax a month or two back. Holiday Island is an IPA in the session range, at 5.1% ABV, with pale, honey, and kiln amber malts making up the grain bill. It was hopped to 35 IBU with Azacca, Belma, and Pekko, three recently released American varietals that promise to provide a big hop character. And if you happen to see the gang from North at this event or back in the HRM, be sure to congratulate them on their twin gold medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City released their latest single-hop IPA to the wild this week, El Dorado. Ther El Dorado hop varietal lends an intense tropical fruit aroma of mango and stone fruit, and a light tweak to the base recipe gives a lighter body and slight sweetness to match the hop character. The beer is available now at Cask & Kettle, and a few other spots in the Uptown area.

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks released a new one earlier this week, a red ale they’re calling Brewer’s Choice Ginger Rye. This is a dusky red ale that is full-bodied and features subtle caramel notes and hints of ginger on the palate. It’s got a long finish enabled by the astringency of the rye and wheat malts used and an assertive spiciness that we suspect comes from both the rye and the ginger. It’s not a big beer at 5.6% ABV and certainly not overly bitter at 15 IBU, so expect it to be on the malty side of the spectrum. This is a limited release, so you’ll only find it at the brewery for now and possibly appearing at licensed taps around the city over the coming weeks.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider has a special small-batch this week, made with oft-overlooked apple varietals. Geneva Crab Rosé is an 8.6% ABV blend made with a blend of dry cider from 100% hand-picked local Golden Hyslop crabapples, with fresh-pressed juice from Geneva Red crabapples added post-ferment for a brilliant colour and tannic character. The resulting cider has a significant tart finish, and is only available at their cidery on Main Street for a limited time.

• In addition, Annapolis has released their latest Something Different, Sangria Cider. The 7.0% abv Sparkling Cider was created by blending cool-fermented dry cider with a dry red wine from locally sourced Frontenac Red grapes. This blend was then finished with fresh-pressed apple juice, as well as juice from oranges, lemons and limes. From Annapolis, “With aromatic notes of citrus and crisp apple and the characteristic hints of cherry, blackcurrant and plum from the wine, this lively and refreshing rosé-hued cider is the perfect patio sipper.” As with all of their Something Different releases, $0.50 will be donated to a local charity. This releases beneficiary is L’Arche Homefires in Wolfville, who provide meaningful work opportunities for adults with special needs.

• Fredericton’s Red Rover Craft Cider released a “very limited” batch of a special treat yesterday. Wyld is a cider that will appeal to those who are drawn to farmhouse funk and sour styles. Fermented with wild yeast, this is a still cider, which should accentuate the yeast character, and also quite dry, weighing in at 7% ABV. This small batch is only available at their cider house for pints or flagon fills to go, so get it before it’s gone. Meanwhile, Red Rover has plans for some more special treats in the next month that we’ll be sure to tell you about as their respective releases approach.

• And in even more cider news, Muwin Estate Wines in the Annapolis Valley, the folks who bring you Bulwark Ciders, are launching a new line of fruit-forward ciders under the label 7 Shores that will appeal to both regular cider drinkers and those who are new to cider. Like their Bulwark products, these are built on a base of freshly-pressed 100% Annapolis Valley apples, but one with slightly less tannins for a smoother palate. They also sport a significantly lower ABV, at a very quaffable 4.8%. Two flavours are available out of the gate, Peach Vanilla Bean and Strawberry Lime; look for them to appear soon at NSLC stores around the province.

• It’s been almost six months since we’ve had a new SMaSH from Greg Nash at Unfiltered Brewing, when the Simcoe-laden Danko was released back in November; so today’s release of Hops & Dreams is a special day. This one features Amarillo, one of the brewing industry darling hops of the 2010s and a varietal known for imparting a juicy orange, grapefruit, and stone-fruit character. In short, a perfect hop for another East Coast/West Coast DIPA marriage that no doubt features the magic of Mr. Nash’s proprietary SMaSH technique. It’s 8% ABV and 100+ IBU, but like its five brethren, it probably drinks a whole lot easier than the numbers would suggest. So as you wobble back to the fridge for glass number 4 from that growler, don’t say we didn’t warn you! It’ll be available for pints and fills from noon today on North Street at the brewery and Charm School Pub.

• Those who attended the Friday session of the CBANS Full House event earlier this month had a chance to try a brand new collaboration beer from 2 Crows and 2/3 of the motley crew from 902 BrewCast (1/3 had his beard caught in a rocking chair). And those folks liked it so much that they drained the keg that night, leaving none for the Saturday attendees, who are clearly not bitter about it. In ACBB exclusive news, there’s good news afoot: 2 Crows is releasing a limited run of cans of that beer, In Theory, a Galaxy and Azacca dry-hopped sour fermented with wild yeast, this coming Tuesday! Bright, tart, tropical, juicy and eminently crushable at 5.1% ABV and 18 IBU, you’ll also find it on tap at the brewery the day cans are released. So plan to grab a pint and see what all the fuss was about before you grab some cans to go!

• And speaking of the 902 BrewDudes, they released the fifth of their May #902sday episodes earlier this week, featuring a sitdown with Brian Titus, Daniel Girard, and Jeff Green of Garrison Brewing. At over 2 hours in length, there is plenty to digest about their 20 years in operation, including false starts, the lean years, and their expansion(s) to the Halifax Seaport. Grab the podcast, and a can of the much-lauded JUICY! Double IPA, which is now available at the brewery, and releasing shortly at the private stores (and NSLC in a couple of weeks). From the brewery, “Dank, hazy, and lushly tropical. This double IPA delivers waves of mango, tangerine and pineapple without the bitter hit.”

• One of the Annapolis Valley’s small breweries is fixing to get bigger. After opening in February of this year with a 1.5bbl system, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill is already planning an upgrade to 5bbl; their new equipment should be on the way from the West Coast by the time you read this. They’re not waiting on delivery to increase their presence, though, as starting today you’ll see them opening Fridays from 12-6pm in addition to their previously established Thursday hours of 3:30-6:30pm. They’ve got growler and grunter fills available, or feel free to try a flight of 5 beers for $10. And if that’s not enough to draw you in, they’ve also got a limited quantity of their Stillwell Open category-winning collaboration with Boxing Rock, April May and Juniper pouring!

•  As first reported by local blog Halifax RetalesCristall Wine Merchants in Bedford has confirmed that it will be closing, and re-opening under a new name, this summer. “WestSide Beer Wine Spirits” will be opening at 287 Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park, in the former Brewdabaker’s location. The larger location will allow for bigger selection, expanded cold storage, 8 growlers taps, and the ability to control their opening hours. Stayed tuned for more details and dates.

There’s lots going on in our region this weekend and the next few weeks…

Stillwell is holding a pair of mini-tap takeovers this weekend at both their Beergarden and Mothership on Barrington. Today at BGonSG, there are three West Avenue ciders pouring now, with a Beausoleil Oyster pop-up starting this afternoon. Tomorrow from noon on Barrington, there will be 3 kegs and 5 different bottles from Toronto’s Bellwoods available for enjoyment.

PEI Brewing Company has been quietly releasing small pilot brews and special beers through casks and kegs at their brewery taproom and Halifax’s Stillwell for a couple of years, but they are now naming, and officially launching, this line of beers as the After Hours series. According to PEIBC’s Brewmaster Chris Long, “This series is a way for the brewers to scale up ideas that we’ve had for new beers without committing to 50 hectoliters of it. Some start on a pilot system, and we’ll have a 20 litre keg to put out there. Others are lower risk and start out on the 5 or 7 bbl system at one of the Gahan locations. These beers will be available on tap at the PEI Brewing Company taproom, select bars and restaurants in the Maritimes and through the growler programs at your local liquor stores.” In celebration of this, PEIBC is taking over the taps today at the new bar.1911 at 113 Longworth in Charlottetown. From 4 PM, there will be twenty different pilot- or small-batch beers, including favourites like Impatience Sour Brown and Milk Stout, as well as brand new offerings, such as Scimitar Black IPAStrawberry Pale Ale, and Barrel-Aged Brett Pale Ale. The brewers will be onsite to answer your questions (and hear your suggestions for the next brews!), and music will be provided by Bridgette Blanchard, Nudie, and Alex Madsen of The Divorcees. Check out the details on their Facebook page.

• The BrewHopper app has launched in Fredericton, and they are holding their first tours this weekend. Starting today, thirsty visitors can hop on and off the BrewHopper bus as it takes them to the busiest beer spots on both the North and Southside. The app allows all ticketing/tracking to be done electronically, akin to ride-sharing apps available in other areas. Using the BrewHopper App (for iPhone and Android), you can track the bus’ route and exact location, use it to warn you when the bus is getting close, and take care of your payment, too. The River Hop will run every Friday through the summer (including today) 6:00 PM-12:15 AM, and take folks to both North and Southside locations (DJ Purdy’s, GrayStone, King Street Ale House, James Joyce, Picaroons Roadhouse, Mama’s Brew Pub, and Trailway Brewing), while the Hill Hop runs Saturdays 4:00-11:30 PM, and stays on the Southside (DJ Purdy’s, GrayStone, Grimross Brewing, Maybee Brewing , James Joyce, and Red Rover Ciderhouse). There are more maps, and details on the Fredericton page. Even if you will not be going on the tour this weekend, grab the free app to learn more about the stops, and to watch the bus icon scoot around the city. And if all goes well, the BrewHopper will be expanding to other cities, including Halifax and Ottawa. You can learn some more on the BrewHopper Facebook page as well.

• A reminder that the launch of the St. John’s Beer Tours is this weekend as well, with their Scuff & Scoff tour running today, the Ultimate Townie Brew Tour tomorrow, and the Hoppy Highlights Tour Sunday. Check out their calendar page for ticket details and purchase, and we’ll see you out on a tour soon enough! Check out our previous mention of it for more details.

• Drop by the Tide & Boar tomorrow for the launch of a unique beer they brewed onsite. Joined by members of the Moncton Beer League, this Pale Ale features Green Bullet and Pacifica hops, on a Pale and Vienna Malt base, with additions of local Chaga throughout the brew. The flavour of the Chaga comes through as earthy and woody. Pouring from opening at 10AM, visitors can grab a pint in a special Moncton Beer League glass (to keep), do pay-as-you-drink, or grab a growler to go. Speaking of growlers, in addition to Chaga Pale Ale, their Robot Food IPA and Killington IPA will also be available for sale to take away.

• The ANBL is celebrating the new Craft Beer Room at their York Street location with its Grand Opening this Saturday, June 3rd. From 11 AM-3 PM, drop by for free tastings, food pairings, prizes, and drop-bys from local brewery employees. The room is unique within the ANBL system, and features some beers available nowhere else in the province (or the rest of Atlantic Canada, for that matter!). The York Street inventory is available online, skip to the Beer section to spot beers from across the Maritimes, as well as from Dunham, Epic, Evil Twin, FiftyFifty, and more.

A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery in downtown Halifax, home of the firm’s small batch beers, will be hosting a Community Party to celebrate the launch of their special edition growlers next Thursday, June 8, 5-10:30 PM at the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery. No tickets are required for the event, which will feature food and 4 special casks from brewer Stefan Gagliardi: a new Pilsner with Motueka hops, an Extra Pale Ale with experimental hops, a Stout with Heart of Africa coffee from Laughing Whale and an Oak-aged Stout with Vanilla Beans. You’ll be able to tour the brewery, play some pub games and enjoy live music.

• The next Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection event has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 14th. From 6:30-8:00 PM, meet with your fellow beer fans at Graystone Brewing for a flight and tour of their facilities. Tickets are $13, and can be reserved by emailing the organizers. Learn more on their FB page.

The Coast is holding the Summer Launch Food Truck Party on June 15th, at the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street in Halifax. In addition to the 20+ Food Trucks/Vendors, there will be at least six local alcohol producers on-site selling their wares: Chain Yard Cider, Garrison, Good Robot, Meander River, Nine Locks, and Spindrift. The event runs from 4-8 PM, and more details are available here.

• Events celebrating the Central City Across the Nation epic twelve beer collaboration are being finalized, with the Picaroons event happening June 16th, and Garrison’s on the 17th. Look for details on the PEI Brewing Company and Quidi Vidi events next week.

• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing Company is holding a Pig Roast at the brewery June 17th. They are having the Crowne Plaza taking care of that task, while they cover the beer and entertainment for the evening. Exact details are not yet available, but mark your calendar now, and keep an eye on the FB event page for ticket details.

• While over a month away, tickets to the Big Axe Beer Festival are selling fast, so we wanted to be sure you had the inside info. On July 15th, at the base of the World’s Largest Axe, more than twenty breweries/cideries/wineries from the Maritimes, Ontario, and Maine will be pouring beer in Nackawic. Tickets are available that include bus transportation from/to Fredericton or Woodstock, as well as DD options. Check that link for the full list.

Plenty of parting shots this week before we let you get back to your beer:

– In addition to the In Theory release today, 2 Crows tapped the last keg of their wine ‘n wild yeast-fermented Crosswired earlier this week. If you’re lucky, there’s still a few glasses left!
– Halifax’s Good Robot is re-releasing some favorites this week. Their APA Burban Legend will return to the taps in its v2 form (dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo) in the next few days and the Goseface Killah will be back for early summer refreshment as well. We’ll have more news from GR in coming weeks with the second in their SMaSH(mouth?) series and a serious step up in their BetaBrew releases.
– Quispamsis, NB’s Hammond River Brewing is hoping to be brewing in their new expanded brewhouse by the end of next week. Until then, look for the first batch of the season for their Watermelon Wheat on tap at the Barrels’ Head Gastropub & Wine Bar in Rothesay.
Picaroons is also back with watermelon action, as their Melonhead has returned for another year, this time featuring a cat named Whiskey on the label. On tap and in bottles at the Picaroons Roundhouse and The Brewtique and on it’s way to The General Store in Uptown Saint John, The 5 Kings Restaurant & Picaroons Brewhouse in St. Stephen, and to ANBL locations throughout New Brunswick.
– This past Wednesday marked a new era for Propeller fans in Halifax, after 20 years, their Gottingen location is finally licensed for full pints! We’re not totally sure about their serving hours, so you may wish to check ahead, but if you’re in the area definitely stop in, say hello, and grab a pint!
– Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound is debuting a new menu today, promising to “step things up in every way.” Don’t forget, brewer/owner Les Barr was a finalist on Masterchef Canada, so don’t take that statement lightly. Meanwhile, their non-alcoholic Blueberry Lemonade Soda is once again available for the designated drivers and kids in your crew.
– Eastern Shore’s Sober Island Brewing has announced their next beer to be released in the coming weeks. Kirby’s Canoe is a 5.0% ABV Rye Pale Ale, a light-bodied and -coloured beer featuring floral and citrus aromatics, along with the representative spiciness found in beers featuring rye malt. Look for it to appear on tap at their current home at Henley House, and during the market runs before the end of the month.
– Fredericton hopheads can rejoice that Trailway has a small batch of Green Island available in cans at the brewery, alongside some more of their hoppy wheat ale, Patio. And speaking of patios, they’ve got one at the brewery now and it’s opening today! Drop by Saturday for some beer and wood-fired goodies from Milda’s Pizza.

 

Horton Ridge Logo

The Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company opened in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in 2016, the first commercial malt house in Atlantic Canada. Owner Alan Stewart has been farming and running Stewart’s Organics for more than 30 years. Malting Organically-grown grains from their own fields, as well as other farms, their variety of malts and adjuncts have found buyers across the Maritimes. On Thursday, June 1, they are opening a small brewery and taproom at the Malt House, to showcase their malts in beers brewed onsite, as well as by their customers. Six taps have been installed, three of which will feature Horton Ridge brews. For the other three, Organic stalwarts Tatamagouche Brewing and Big Spruce Brewing will have dedicated taps, and the final spout will rotate through beers from other breweries that use Horton Ridge malts. We caught up with Alan to ask him some questions about how they decided to start brewing, their initial offerings and plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am sixth generation farmer in Hortonville, with the oldest certified organic farm in the Province. I ran away from the farm after high school to get several engineering degrees, but beat it back to Hortonville upon graduation.

How did you get into the world of beer?
We came into the beer business by way of its most important ingredient, malt. We opened Atlantic Canada’s first craft malt house a year ago.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Malting always made sense to me, it is a farming maneuver; we are harnessing the natural processes that occur during the germination of the seed. I did not know much about brewing, but what I did find out after a while that our malt was significantly different from macro malt that the craft brewing industry depends on. Recipe substitution was not the answer, replacing industrialized macro malt with floor malt is like replacing industrialized enriched white flour with stone ground whole wheat flour. We wanted to be part of the process whereby recipes were developed around our malts. It also did not hurt that we have a highly visible location next to Highway 101 in Nova Scotia’s bread basket with a quickly developing culinary scene.

What is the culture of the brewery?
Our brewery tag line is “From Grain to Glass”, we will be making beers from malts made on-site. We consider ourselves a malt house first, and a brewery second. Our goal is to highlight the role of agriculture in brewing by showcasing the growing and malting of grains. Another important aspect of what we do is to increase the economic footprint of brewing by allowing brewers to replace imported malts by those made here. In the fullness of time, the economics will get even better as we develop our malting grains growing capabilities. We have been able to access regionally grown grains (mostly from PEI) more quickly than we had anticipated, very happy for that. Since we have been farming organically for so long, we did not hesitate to have the organic philosophy extend to our malting and brewing operations. In our opinion we are providing the opportunity for brewers to extend their “craft” value chain. There is a cultural discontinuity of a “craft” brewing industry that relies on industrialized macro malt.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We have two beers nailed down. The first is Malt House Ale, it is made of equal parts of our Two Row, Vienna & Munich malts. It is hopped with Summit. It is intentionally malty with a pronounced bready finish. The second is Rye’s Up Local, made from 50% PEI barley, 25% PEI wheat & 25% of rye that we grew ourselves. We would like to round out the pan Atlantic aspect of this beer by accessing a suitable hop from New Brunswick. We have recently started malting oats from PEI, so we are working on an Oatmeal beer. We have a good working relationship with our neighbour Just Us! Coffee, so you can look for beers finished on coffee, tea and chocolate.

Where will people be able to enjoy your beer?
We will be selling our beers out of our taproom only. We will sell them in flights, pints & growlers & bottles.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We have absolutely no plans to sell our beers outside of our taproom, with the possible exception of winter growler sales at the Wolfville Farmers Market (where I was a vendor for 23 years). We purposely undersized our brewery to leave room to bring in beers that our brewery customers make with our malts. At least half of our taps will be those beers. All of the beers served out of our taproom will be based on our malts.

Have you had any assistance from breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We did not want to get drawn into the “beer style” thingy right off the bat, we wanted to let the beers end up where our malts took them. To that end we employed the DIY approach. We certainly appreciate the support from our largest malt customers, Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
At the moment we have no plans to scale up, we want to continue to highlight malt forward beers to our taproom patrons and malt customers, and to provide an outlet for the beers made by our customers.

Switching gears to the brewing system, what type of system will you be brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We have a 120 litre system from Stout Tanks & Kettles, brewing 3-4 times per week during the summer.

Can you tell us about who will be running the brewhouse?
Our brewer Stephen Mastrioanni has been brewing for 2 years, and has been brewing with our malts from day one. He has a good handle on the malt.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I do happen to like malty beers, have gotten over hops. My “go to” brewery is Sea Level, it is close by, and I appreciate Randy’s support along the way. I also look forward to the offerings of Tata & Big Spruce that we bring back after making deliveries there.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Of course, for us, it’s all about the malt.

Thanks to Alan for answering our questions and sharing the details on the new brewery and taproom! Current plans are to have the taproom open 7 days a week from 11am to 8pm. Bar snacks will be available, including pickled eggs “powered by” free range hens who are fed a malt-based chicken feed sourced from Horton Ridge. They’ll also be offering 1 liter growler fills (Horton Ridge beers only) – they’re happy to sell you one or you can bring your own (clean!) one to be filled. So if you’re in the area or planning a trip that way, be sure to drop by 2504 Ridge Rd in Wolfville (the Malt House is visible from Exit 10 on the 101), and keep your eyes peeled to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for the latest news and events.

CBAC logo

The 15th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference was held this weekend in Ottawa, featuring brewing and branding seminars, an exhibition floor with suppliers and manufacturers, and culminating in the Gala event on Saturday night where this year’s winners were announced. The results are in, and our local brewers fared quite well in the 60 categories of beer and cider. Congratulations are in order to Mt. Begbie Brewery in Revelstoke, BC, for taking home Brewery of the Year honours, and to Indie Ale House, whose Spadina Monkey Cherry Sour Mash took home Beer of the Year.

Also during the Gala, Halifax was announced as the 2018 CBAC host city, and so we will be welcoming the country’s best beer and breweries to our region for first time since Fredericton hosted in 2014.  Emily Tipton, CBANS President, had this to say, “After just hosting a successful craft beer week showcasing our breweries from all over Nova Scotia, having this national event come to Nova Scotia next year is a testament to the growth of the industry here, and the great support for great craft beer by Nova Scotians.” We’ll share all of the dates and registration details when they become available.

Here is a summary of the local winners for 2017; the entire list of winners is available here. Congratulations again to the winners!

European Style Lager (Pilsner)
Bronze: La Kedgwick Pilsner – Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, Edmundston, NB

Bock – Traditional German Style
Gold: Stayin’ Alive – Boxing Rock Brewing, Shelburne, NS

Wheat Beer – German Style (Weiss)
Gold: Vohs Weizenbier – Uncle Leo’s Brewery, Lyons Brook, NS

Belgian Style Abbey Ale/Pale Ale
Gold: Gus’ 65m Ale – North Brewing, Halifax, NS

Belgian-Style Brett Beer
Silver: Patience – PEI Brewing, Charlottetown, PE

Porter
Bronze: Porter – Propeller Brewing, Halifax, NS

Dry Stout
Gold: Muddy River StoutPump House Brewery, Moncton, NB
Silver: Keefe’s Irish Stout – Granite Brewery, Halifax, NS (the submitted beer was brewed at their sister location in Toronto, ON)

North American Style Premium Lager
Bronze: Moosehead Lager – Moosehead Breweries, Saint John, NB

Light (Calorie-Reduced) Lager
Bronze: Cracked CanoeMoosehead Breweries, Saint John, NB

Session India Pale Ale
Bronze: Vic Park APA – PEI Brewing, Charlottetown, PE

Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Gold: Midnight- Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian – North Brewing, Halifax, NS
Bronze: Hell Street – PEI Brewing, Charlottetown, PE

CIDER

New World Cider
Silver: Bulwark Original – Bulwark Cider, New Ross, NS

Cider with Other Fruit
Gold: Bulwark Blush – Bulwark Cider, New Ross, NS
Bronze: Sid’s Wild Blueberry Cider – ShipBuilders Cider, Windsor, NS

Cider with Herbs/Spices
Gold: Sid’s Chai Cider – ShipBuilders Cider, Windsor, NS
Bronze: Bulwark Hopped – Bulwark Cider, New Ross, NS

Specialty Cider
Gold: Bulwark Rum Cider – Bulwark Cider, New Ross, NS