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All posts for the month March, 2016

Happy early end of the work week! With tomorrow being Good Friday, we thought we’d post this week’s Wrap-Up a day early, to give most of you something to read to break up your work day. Let’s get to it, there’s lots to go over!

Sunset Heights Meadery once again had some entries in last weekend’s Mazer Cup International Mead Competition in Colorado, and once again, they came away victorious! They swept the Session Mead category, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for their Scuttlebutt, Cinfully Yours, and Punky Pie, quite a feat considering the Mazer Cup is the world’s largest mead competition. Congratulations to the Sunset Heights family!

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing released a beast of a beer late last week. 1-1-9 is a barrel-aged American-style barleywine, coming in, you guessed it, at 11.9% ABV. Despite the high alcohol content, the beer is very smooth (dangerously so?), thanks to the barrel character and assertive 100+ IBU bitterness to balance it into a praise-worthy brew. Due to its limited nature, this beer is *only* available at Unfiltered’s taproom, Charm School, located adjacent to the brewery, so best drop by soon to grab a glass.

• Dartmouth’s newest brewery, Nine Locks, has added two new beers to their core lineup this week. The Dirty Blonde and Porter are both now available, joining their ESB and IPA. The 5.0% ABV Dirty Blonde is a light and crisp brew featuring lots of wheat, for a pleasant easy-drinking beer with a quenching character. The Porter features lots of chocolate and biscuit notes thanks to the darker kilned malts used in the beer, but is still a very light and enjoyable 5.0% ABV beer. The four beers are currently available at the brewery for growler fills and cans, and are in the wild at neighbouring Mic Mac Bar and Grill, and at spots around HRM.

Spindrift’s Seventh Wave Series continues today, with another small-batch release. Gross Michel is a 4.6% ABV Hefeweizen, an unfiltered German-style traditional wheat beer. Featuring a light 10 IBU bitterness, the wheat malt gives a cloudy appearance and robust white head, with notes of clove and banana from the yeast. As usual, the beer will be available for growler fills only, starting today at noon, and won’t last long.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has released a pair of beers this week; one brand new, and one a returning favourite. Hug A Ginger is a 4.2% SMaSH beer, featuring Maritime Pale Ale Malt and Cascade hops, as well as ginger root, for an enjoyable melding of citrus and ginger aromas, and malt and light ginger with a bitter finish. This limited release is only available at the brewery, on tap for samples and growler fills. This week also marks the return of In Session ISA, Garrison’s take on a Session IPA. Big hop-derived tropical fruit and citrus flavour and aroma dominates this beer, from the copious additions of Belma, Crystal, and El Dorado. All of that in a small, 4.5% ABV package, means that you can drink a couple in a single session, without it slowing you down. In Session is available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and in six-packs province-wide at the NSLC.

Tatamagouche Brewing is releasing a new beer today: The Grog. A small, hoppy, Belgian Ale (think Belgian Session IPA), The Grog is part of a Parti-gyle brewday, where two (or more) beers are created from the same grain bill/mash, with a higher alcohol beer from the first runnings (due to the higher sugar content), and a smaller beer from the later runnings, and boiled separately. In this case, the higher ABV beer will be a Belgian entry to their Giant Beer series, with The Grog weighing in at 3.0% ABV. Just because the alcohol is low, however, does not mean it is lacking in flavour. This beer’s focus is on the hops, using Hallertau Blanc and experimental hop ADHA-529 (lending flavours of coconut and lime) in the boil, and was further dry-hopped with both of these, plus Centennial. This batch will be on draft and growlers only, with it available at the brewery now, and pouring soon at Battery ParkLion and Bright, and Stillwell, as well as the four private beer stores in HRM for growler fills (Bishop’s Cellar, Cristall Wine, Harvest Wine, RockHead; check their website or social media for the current growler line-up).

• Good news for cider fans in Nova Scotia! John Brett, of Tideview Cider, has been hard at work, and a first trial cider debuted at Bar Stillwell last weekend. The 7.2% ABV still (uncarbonated) cider was served from a cask on the bartop, and featured a blend of apples that features a celebrated variety known as the Hyslop crab apple, for an enjoyable dry and tannic finish. Brett’s plans going forward will focus on smaller batches, sourcing primarily from his own orchard in the Annapolis Valley. Keep an eye out for Tideview Ciders once they get back into commercial production, which could be as early as next year.

Bad Apple Brewhouse from Somerset, NS, has debuted a new beer this week. Just Rockin’ IPA is the 6% ABV, lower alcohol brother of The Impresser Double IPA. But just because it is lower in ABV, does not mean it is lacking in flavour! Fermented with Conan yeast for some great apricot and fruit ester character, and hopped generously in both the boil and dry-hop for a big blast of hop flavour and aroma. JR made its debut at Stillwell last night.

Petit-Sault has just released their Pink Boots Society brew, Buzz, a “Honey Rye Ale”. This is the second year that the brewery has participated in the annual multi-brewery Big Boots Brew Day, initiated to raise the profile of women in the beer industry. Five women were involved in the brew day, led by Petit-Sault brewer Julie Long, with the end-result being this 6.1% ABV beer, which was brewed with Rye, Munich, and Honey malt, along with 60 lbs of pure, NB honey. Hopped with Magnum and Saaz to 21 IBUs, this copper-coloured ale is “full-bodied, sweet and malty, with floral notes of NB wildflower honey and a hint of pepper, and flavours of light honey and caramel”, according to Long. It’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom for growler fills, and can also be found this weekend at three of the four ANBL growler stations (KV excluded). A portion of the proceeds from sales of this beer will go towards a scholarship for women studying biotechnology at NBCC. And in other PS news, they’ve hired a new brewer to join their team – Patrick Dionne is an Edmundston native who has recently completed a Masters in Biochemistry from the Université de Moncton.

• Moncton’s Bore City has a new beer on tap in the city, an APA named Equilux. Heavily-hopped with two truly delicious varieties – Equinox and Citra – the beer has “prominent tropical/citrus notes, with plenty of grapefruit”, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 5% ABV and 50 IBUs, it’s on tap now at the Tide & Boar (but is going fast) and should be following soon at Marky’s Laundromat.

• Fredericton’s Mama’s Brew Pub will be releasing a new beer on tap tomorrow, aptly named for the holiday weekend. Hoppy Easter is an American Pale Ale that was generously hopped with Comet, Citra and Amarillo, both in the boil and in the dry-hop addition. With these three varieties, expect lots of fruit, citrus, and dank character in the beer. It comes in at 65 IBUs, and a sessionable 4.9% ABV.

Picaroons and Railcar have teamed up for their very first collaboration brew in support of the Ministers Island Barn Raiser taking place Friday, April 1st. Raisin D’Roof is a, experimental, “darker brew” that was brewed with 2-row, Crystal 20 L, and Chocolate and Wheat malts, along with 30 lbs of Golden raisins that were blended and added to the boil. Hopped with local Cascade, Centennial, and Goldings, the beer weighs in at 6% ABV. Look for it on tap at the Brewtique in Fredericton and at the Railcar tasting room on April 1st. It will also be pouring at the fundraiser in St. Andrews; if you’d like tickets to that event, there’s a few left here.

• And, speaking of Railcar, they’ve debuted a new beer, the 7% ABV Columbus Wreck IPA. Their hoppiest beer ever, it features a heavy dosing of Columbus hops mid- and late-boil, for a nice blast of both flavour and aroma, on top of a medium-bodied base. It is currently available at their Florenceville-Bristol brewery and taproom for pints and growler fills. And look for further distribution of Railcar’s beer in the coming months, as they look to expand to a 6 hectolitre system.

• There’s a new beer fermenting over at YellowBelly, and it’s definitely an interesting experiment! Brewmaster Liam McKenna wanted to make a statement of sorts in support of those who try to prevent the wasting of food in the world, so he took a crack at making beer from stale bread. While the majority of the grist was made up of some typical malts such as 2-row, Munich, Carastan, and a little Midnight Wheat, there were also five malt bags of stale, sliced, and lightly toasted bread from local Rocket Bakery. Featuring some white, rye, and multigrain bread, as well as some bread with raisins, keep in mind this beer may contain traces of nutes. Hopped entirely with Willamette, they’re expecting the beer to be low in alcohol at ~4% ABV, and mildly bitter at ~25 IBUs. We’ll keep you updated on the release of this one!

We’ve got several new events to let you know about this week, with a couple happening this evening:

• The Ladies Beer League are holding a “Beer and Banh Mi” tasting tonight. Certified Cicerone Angeline MacLennan will lead attendees through three pairings of beer with spicier fair at Indochine Banh Mi. The event starts at 7pm, and there are still a few tickets available for purchase.

• Schoolhouse Brewery will be taking over the guest taps at Good Robot this Saturday, bringing a selection of six of their small-batch beers. Featuring their “Locally Hopped” series, including Big Red Schoolhouse Imperial Red Ale, Debarrs Reserve Biere de Garde, and Scotian Export Scottish Ale, as well as the new Schoolhouse Red Lager, and flagships Chequers Robust Porter and Principal Pale Ale. The event kicks off at noon, with fun schoolhouse games and snacks throughout the afternoon and evening.

Gahan Halifax is holding a Brewmaster’s Dinner next Wednesday, March 30th from 7-9 pm. Featuring four courses of locally-sourced food, paired with four different seasonals/one-offs created by brewmaster Karen Allen, there will also be a one hour meet-and-greet starting at 6 pm, where Allen will be on hand to talk Gahan beer! Tickets are available at the brewpub now.

• Halifax’s Auction House will be hosting their latest Beer School March 30th, with special guests Meander River. The event begins at 7pm, and there are food pairings made specifically for the evening. Folks from Meander Rover will be giving a presentation, and moving throughout the bar chatting with patrons. Contact Auction House for more tickets.

• Fredericton’s James Joyce will be hosting another in their series of Meet Your Maker events, this time featuring Shediac’s Flying Boats. Brewer/owner Marc Melanson will be attending, and is keen to answer any questions you have concerning his beers! The event will be held on Friday, April 1st, starting at 8 pm, and will feature four FB beers on tap: Dixie Clipper IPA, Empress Irish Red Ale, S-55 Special Mission Pale Ale, and Double Oatmeal Stout. Expect fun and games, with some Flying Boats swag to be won. As always, there is no cost to attend, just pay by the glass!

• There are still tickets available for Propeller’s next Prop’r Cask Night, April 1st, featuring Black Sheep restaurant. Your $30 ticket allows you to tour Propeller’s offerings, as well as Gottingen St brewery, and enjoy some specially-prepared appetizers from their food partners.

• No tickets necessary, but a reminder that Stillwell is hosting a Tap Takeover so massive, it is two days long: Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel! brewery. Join the crew from the brewery on both April 1st and 2nd for a dozen rare and special beers, paired with Montreal-inspired food from Chef Ruppel and crew. There are a *different* special kegs locked and loaded to go for both Friday and Saturday, so multiple visits may be required this weekend!

• Details are now available for the release of Barrel-Aged Triskaidekaphobia, the collaboration brew between Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, and Ladies Beer League. On April 9th, Stillwell will be hosting a launch party, with the folks from CKDU spinning tunes all day, from noon. While the event is open to all, there will be a select number of special tasting glasses available, which come filled with your first pour of the 11%.0% ABV Triska. Grab them here, with the proceeds going to support CKDU.

• This is the last week for Early Bird Tickets to the NS Craft Beer Week Full House event. The culmination of 9 days of celebrating beer across the province, with more than 20 NS breweries in one spot. Your ticket will get you in the doors, and your first dozen samples. Grab them now, before the price goes up April 1st.

A reminder that the provincial liquor stores will be closed Friday and Sunday, and may have reduced hours Monday, but many of the brewery and private stores will be open for your holiday beer needs. Best to double-check online/by phone, to avoid possible disappointment. Have a great long weekend!

Good morning! We hope everyone is recovering from a busy past week – with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last Saturday and yesterday being St. Patrick’s Day, there’s probably some recuperating to be done! Well, sit back and have a read…

• This year’s fourth annual FCBF was a huge success, as usual! Here’s a few stats to sum it all up for those of you who unfortunately were not able to attend:
– 1500+ attendees over two sessions (afternoon and evening), 50 volunteers.
– 52+ breweries, 200+ beers, ciders and mead, and 200 brewers and suppliers on-hand to pour and chat.
– $2000 raised for Mosaic Down Syndrome, and $20,000 to Team Diabetes.
– A new FCBF app was launched and very-well received.
Next year’s Fest Week has already been set, and will run March 5-12, 2017. Aims for next year are to build up the afternoon session even more, and offer more events throughout the week leading up to the festival, with several tap takeovers tentatively planned for across the city (think: NB, NS, and PEI pavilions of beer). And if you’re an FCBF Alumni (i.e. have attended all four FCBFs), look out for something special coming your way in 2017!

• Fredericton’s second cidery, York County Cider, officially opens for business today! After debuting their ciders at last Saturday’s FCBF, the storefront to their cidery – located at 418 York St. – will open to the public today from 4-7 pm. They will be selling 1.89 L growlers of their ciders, and will also be filling 1.89 L, 1 L, and 750 mL clean growlers from other breweries (prices for fills are $15, $7.50, and $6, respectively). Five different products will be available:
In The Beginning, an original dry
Sweet William, a semi-dry
An Apple a Day, cider hopped with Falconer’s Flight
Ginger Snap, made with real, fresh ginger
Like an Academic, featuring 100% New Brunswick-grown blueberries
All of the ciders are made with locally-grown apples, and come in at 6.5% ABV. Glassware and t-shirts will also be available for purchase, and the storefront will be open all weekend (Friday 4-11pm, Sat noon-11 pm, and Sun noon-6pm). Be sure to drop by to fill a growler or two!

• And while on the subject of Fredericton cider, Red Rover opened their new storefront location last weekend. The Abbey Cafe is located downtown at 546 Queen St., and will have multiple RR ciders on tap for 5 oz samples, 12 oz pours, and flagon fills, along with a tap dedicated to guest cider in the future, and one tap dedicated to craft beer. Open 12-9 pm Monday through Saturday, the location also has equipment dedicated to 1500 L fermentation capacity, acting as the cidery’s pilot system, allowing RR to experiment with new styles. Note that the original Ciderhouse (880 Hanwell Rd) will still be the home of the majority of the cider-making and equipment, but will no longer be a location for flagon fills. If you’re downtown this weekend, head on in and check out the new spot!

• Even more cider news! Annapolis Cider Company has announced that they will be opening this April in Wolfville, NS. Co-founded by Gina Haverstock, winemaker at Gaspereau Vineyards, and Sean Myles, Dalhousie University apple researcher, the cidery and accompanying tasting room will be found on Main St. in Wolfville, where their ciders will be available for samples and in refillable bottles. Also on the team is manager Katie Barbour and cidermaker Melanie Eelman, who also has a PhD in Chemistry. Their first two releases will be Juicy & Sweet, a 5.6% ABV cider that combines dry-fermented cider with freshly-pressed apple juice, and Crisp & Dry, a 7.7% ABV cider that leans more heavily on cider, but still includes a “touch” of apple juice. Visitors will be invited to enjoy tours and tastings, and will be able to view the cider making process directly from the tasting bar. We’ll keep you updated on their progress; in the meantime, be sure to follow along with their Twitter account for more news.

Grimross has a new beer out, Brett Saison. Fermented and conditioned for over a month with a blend of a Belgian Saccharomyces strain and a Brettanomyces strain, it’s a light golden, dry beer that exhibits “rustic” Saison characteristics, along with some light funk and fruity character from the Brett. If you’re able to purchase a growler to hold on to, you’ll most likely notice the Brett character increasing over time, as the yeast will continue to eat some leftover sugars. Weighing in at 6% ABV and 21 IBUs, this light and refreshing beer is available for growlers fills and pints at the brewery, and is on tap at select locations.

• There’s some new-beer news coming from Pump House this week. First off, they’re releasing two more beers in bottles at ANBL stores next week, one of which is Muddy River Stout: a long-time tap-only beer, it’s an Oatmeal Stout featuring lots of roast, Espresso, and chocolate in the aroma and flavours, and still manages to weigh in at a sessionable 4.5% ABV. The other is Best Friend Märzen Lager; not to be confused with their Oktoberfest seasonal, this is a different beer altogether that uses Hallertau hops for bittering (18 IBUs) and aroma to complement the “strong nose of sweet malt aromas” and a “pleasant sweetness from Vienna and aroma-friendly malts”, according to the brewery; it clocks in at 5.5% ABV. Finally, PH released a Black Irish IPA yesterday for St. Patrick’s Day. A big beer at 8% ABV and 65 IBUs, this dark IPA was dry-hopped with Warrior. On tap at the brewpub while supplies last, it can also be found at the new SJ East ANBL growler station this weekend.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has released their latest CommuniBrew beer in the SMaSH Bros series: Rakauchu IPA. SMaSH beers feature a Single Malt and Single Hop, and for his beer, local homebrewer Miles Bishop chose Munich malt for a light body with a touch of toast/bread/caramel flavours, and New Zealand Rakau hops. The hops were added throughout the brew, including first wort, and several additions late in the boil, for a pleasing bitterness and big nose of berry, citrus, and pear. As with all of the CommuniBrew beers, they are brewed on GR’s Sabco Brew Magic system, so there will only be one keg of the beer available, at the Taproom. And at a very sessionable 5.5% ABV, we suspect it won’t last long!

• In fact, look for GR’s next CommuniBrew beer to be tapped this weekend, The Cookie Jar. Developed and brewed by homebrewer Keith Forbes, this 8.2% White Stout is a hybrid of styles: the beer features big portions of Wheat malt and Oats to add mouthfeel and complexity to the Pale base, with a light bittering charge of Warrior to balance. The addition of Brown Sugar, Cinnamon sticks, Cocoa nibs, Lactose, Toasted Coconut, and Vanilla Beans take it to the next level, however! The resultant aroma and flavour is reminiscent of a Specialty Stout, with the appearance of a Pale Ale. Taproom only, folks!

Paddy’s Irish Pub has a pair of new beers on tap, at both their Kentville and Wolfville locations. Their Black IPA is a 5.7% ABV dark beer, with a nod to American IPAs, featuring plenty of Falconer’s Flight hops for a robust 67 IBUs, and berry, citrus, and stonefruit characters in both aroma and flavour.  Their very popular Oatmeal Stout has returned: rolled oats give this 5.0% ABV beer a smooth mouthfeel, with the dark kilned malts lending notes of choclate and coffee. Both of these new brews are on tap at both locations, for both pints and in growlers to take away. And keep an eye out for a brand new beer, coming soon: Rye Saison. This 5.0% ABV pale saison was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain for big fruit and spicy characters, with a pepper note enhanced by the addition of malted rye.

• In more Paddy’s news, they will be hosting their second Brewer’s Dinner, Tuesday April 5th, 7-9pm. It will feature four courses of food, each carefully paired with one of Brewer Kirsten MacDonald’s creations from the brewery:
1st course: Spring salad with Blueberry Ale dressing
2nd course: Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa
3rd course: Beef Wellington (veg option: Veggie Wellington)
4th course: Sticky toffee pudding
The event will be taking place in the Brewer’s Hall, upstairs at their Wolfville location. Tickets are available at Paddy’s Wolfville now.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has brought back two previous favourites this week. The first is La Rive Du Sud, a 7.5% ABV Bière de Garde. Based on the style originally (and still) brewed in Northern France, it is a malt-forward beer, with light toasted and caramel malt aromas meeting a slightly sweet finish with a touch of Noble hops. It is available at the brewery now in bottles and growler fills, this weekend at the Farmers Market in growlers, and on tap at better beer bars and restaurants. Also re-launching this week is Wild Axe Bohemian Pilsner. This 5.7% ABV is keeping it traditional, brewed with 100% Bohemian Pilsener malt and Czech Saaz hops. The extended lagering process leaves a crisp and refreshing beer that is supremely drinkable. The beer with be launched at Timber Lounge, a new Axe Throwing space on Agricola St, and will also be on tap around HRM, and in bottles at the private beer stores.

• Truro’s Nook and Cranny has released a new brew pouring this week. Their Amber Ale was produced on their DME Smart Brew system, which allows them to ferment beer right on the premises, adding in their own take on base recipes and styles. For the Amber, they dry-hopped the beer with Cascade, Centennial, and Galaxy hops, for a solid hop punch with stone fruit character. This 5.5% ABV and 55 IBUs beer is only available on tap at their pub on Prince Street.

• Attention St John’s (and the rest of the Rock) Good Beer Fans! The Inaugural St John’s Brew Fest is coming your way! Presented by some of the same people behind the Newfoundland Labrador Artisanal and Craft Beer Club (NLACBC, formerly Beerthief Beer Club), they’ve been sharing their passion for great beers to the public for several years, so a Festival is the next logical step. Featuring more than 60 beers from 20+ breweries (and the number is growing weekly), many of which are not otherwise available in the province, the three sessions will feature low entrance fees, and a pay-per-sample pricing scheme. This will encourage thoughtful enjoyment, rather than “trying to get one’s money worth” by drinking as much as possible. The event is being held June 17 & 18, with three sessions (one Friday evening, two Saturday), and tickets will be on sale Monday March 21st.

• From one Island to another, Upstreet Brewmaster Mike Hogan (from Prince Edward Island) is visiting Cape Breton Island’s Breton Brewing today for a collaboration brew. Inspired by the upcoming East Coast Music Awards, being held in Sydney April 13-17, they are having a jam session of their own today. An Extra Special Bitter, it features Maritime Malt, and New Brunswick-grown Golding hops. The beer will be launched at Breton at the start of ECMA weekend, and the Upstreet team, along with several of their beers on Breton’s guest taps, will be onsite to celebrate.

That’s it for this week! As usual, a few final notes:
Picaroons had several variants of their Timberhog stout (such as Ginger, Coffee, and Chocolate Vanilla) available for growler fills at the Brewtique yesterday for St. Paddy’s Day; there may still be some available, so be sure to stop by if you missed out.
– Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day beer releases, there will be no 7th Wave series release at Spindrift today, as they did a special release of Dry Irish Stout yesterday for the holiday.
Gahan House Halifax is on the lookout for a Brewer at their Historic Properties location. There are a few details on their Facebook page, and interested folks should contact them ASAP, in order to work with Karen Allen before she leaves.
– YellowBelly Patrick’s Pale Ale was released this week, featuring Cascade hops throughout the process. It is available on tap, as well as in bottles at the bar, and the NLC.
PEI Brewing Co. has brought back their 8.1% ABV Doppelbock, Reanimator, which is available now in cans at the brewery; it will follow soon at PEILCC stores, with the ANBL not far behind.
Nine Locks is starting to release some of their beers in cans: ESB is available now at the brewery, with IPA following shortly on Monday evening, and their Porter and Blonde Wednesday evening.
– Due to a trademark dispute, Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse will now be selling their beer outside of Nova Scotia under the name Mosaic Brewing Co.; but if you’re in NS, don’t worry, the BAB name still stands! Check out their link for more details.

Happy Friday, everyone! Our region was hit with one last hoorah of winter (let’s hope) overnight, so best to stay off the roads and grab your favourite beer and get up to speed on all the beer news in our region.

• Attention good beer fans on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia: there’s a new brewery opening soon in your region! Sober Island Brewing will be opening soon in the Sheet Harbour/Sober Island area. Brewing on a 1/2bbl (~55l) system, they will be supplying beer to local restaurants and Farmers Markets in coming months. Look for their mobile beer bar, made from a converted horse trailer, at the Saltscapes Expo in Halifax, April 22-24. Check out their Twitter page for details on their progress, and we’ll be sure to share the news when they launch this spring. Welcome aboard, Sober Island, nice to have some beer to drink with those oysters!

Propeller Brewing has released their latest One-Hit Wonder this week, Scarlet Lager. A 5.3% unfiltered amber lager, it boasts 35 IBUs from the addition of lots of Cascade, Falconers Flight and Zythos hops, and is further dry-hopped with more Falconers Flight. As with all of these OHW releases, it is available in growlers at the Gottingen St and Windmill Rd breweries only, and on tap at select locations around the city.

• Propeller has released the details of their next Prop’r Cask Night: on April 1, they are inviting the crew from Black Sheep restaurant to their Gottingen St location for a celebration of local food and beer. In addition to Propeller’s full line-up of beer, they will be tapping a cask of something special that evening, to pair with the great bites prepared by the Black Sheep crew. These are always a fun time, be sure to take part! And FYI, the crazy cats at Black Sheep are giving away free burgers every afternoon 3-6pm, March 11-17, with purchase of beer, wine, or spirits. Be sure to drop by and grab one!

Sea Level Brewing, in Port Williams, NS, has released a brand new beer this week, Doppelbock. A traditional German style, this “Spring Celebrator” features 7% ABV and a strong malt backbone from the generous use of both light and dark Munich malts. It is available at the Port Pub now, and in growlers and cans at the brewery.

• Lunenburg’s Hell Bay has brought back their popular Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Weighing in at 8% ABV, it is a malt-driven beer, featuring a light smoke and deep caramel flavours, thanks to a long boil and kettle caramelization. It is currently available at the brewery and on tap at select locations in the HRM.

• Judging for the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge was held at Stillwell on Sunday. Eighteen brewers presented their beer, their recipe, and themselves, to the 6 judges (our own Chris was among them). There was a wide variety of excellent beers, but there can be only one winner: “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire, a cinnamon-infused Rauchbier brewed by Halifax’s Brian Harvey, took first place. Harvey has been invited to brew WTSTF on Boxing Rock’s big system, with the beer to be released during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. Second place went to Mark Reid for his “Hop Springs Eternal” White IPA, and Jason McDougall’s “Carbon 14” Belgian Strong Dark took third place. The Boxing Rock owners and brewers Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton were so impressed with the runner-up beers, that they may also be released as Boxing Rock beers in the coming months.

• This weekend marks the return of the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, and several breweries are releasing beers to celebrate!
– Fredericton’s own TrailWay has released G’day Belgium!, a Belgian IPA brewed with primarily Australian hops for a bitter, piney, and fruity hybrid beer. Featuring Galaxy, Vic Secret, and Mosaic hops, it was brewed with our very own Shawn Meek. Most of this batch will be pouring at the fest, but there IS a single keg on tap now at the King Street Ale House.
– Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is debuting a brand new beer at the Fest, Meek Thy Maker. This beer was Shawn Meek’s winning recipe for the Home Brew Challenge in the Red IPA category. Hopped and dry-hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Amarillo, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 59 IBUs. This one will also be available at several tap accounts across NB, and should be popping up on tap at various beer bars/restaurants in NS as well, any day now.
– Big Spruce is also debuting He Don’t Know JAC, a 7.2% ABV IPA that was brewed with the same grist as their previously-released JAC the SIPA. However, this new beer was not soured with Lactobacillus, but fermented solely with an American yeast strain. It was also hopped completely different varieties – Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, and Waimea – giving the beer notes of grapefruit, citrus and pine. Of course, this beer is available at the brewery, and select tap accounts in Nova Scotia.
– Big Tide is bringing their brand new Valley View, a Farmhouse Ale brewed with all-Pilsner malt, and hopped with Southan Farms Hop Hash and East Kent Goldings. Fermented with T-58, a dry Belgian yeast strain, the brewery describes the 6.1% ABV, 37 IBU beer as “citrusy and spicy”. It’s also currently on tap at the brewpub in Saint John.
– Rose Valley, PEI’s BarNone brewery is bringing the latest of their “Session” series: Summer Sessions, while named the same as their original Blonde Ale flagship, has actually been hopped with the Australian Summer variety, as well as some Citra, for some extra fruit and citrus character. They will also have Li’l DIPA, which may or may not be similar to their Little DIPA which was originally released in late 2014.

There are still tickets to the afternoon session available, and with the smaller crowds comes more time to chat with the brewers, cider, and mead makers about their craft. Don’t forget that there are plenty of things going on today: a Hops Seminar at the Crowne Plaza at 12:30 and tastings by Spindrift (at the Capital Complex 4:30-7:30pm) and Garrison (at the Prospect St ANBL this afternoon). After tomorrow’s FCBF Afternoon session, Vault 29 is hosting the Official After-Party with a Picaroons Tap Takeover, and there are even a pair of events Sunday (Down the Keg 3km run to shake off the evening’s festivities, followed by a Jazz Brunch at King Street Ale House). Still lots of fun to be had in the Capital City this weekend, and use their app to stay on top of everything.

• According to a story from the CBC this week, Acadie-Broue, New Brunswick’s smallest brewery, is planning to pair up with the University of Moncton to re-open the school’s student bar, La Coude, as a brewpub on March 17th. Exact details on which beers will be released in the future are currently unknown, but Acadie-Broue owner/brewer Patrice Godin has confirmed to the CBC that he will be open to brewing beer styles based on student and faculty requests, with the goal of campus culture ultimately influencing the beer. Stay tuned for more!

Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is fast approaching! Being held May 6-15, there are more Signature and official events than last year, in more locations across the province. Kicking off the festivities is the Cape Breton Kitchen Party, being held Friday, May 6th at Centre 200 in Sydney. From 7-10pm, Big Spruce and Breton Brewery are inviting a dozen Mainland breweries for a taste of down home hospitality, featuring live music and local food. Tickets are available now! And keep an eye on our Google Calendar, as we add events to it, to keep you up to speed on all of the goings on for the week.

• The 14th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards will be taking place May 26-28, in Vancouver, BC. Registration for submissions is now open, closing March 25th (and beer delivery by April 4th), with the judging taking place in Toronto April 11-15. The competition is open to all commercial breweries and ciderhouses in Canada, and comprises 55 styles of beer, and 4 of cider. The Awards weekend will include seminars from brewers, vendors, and the Gala crowning the best beers and ciders in the country. The registration form is here, and a primer on how to enter is also available.

• Windsor’s Spitfire Arms is re-opening this weekend. A good friend to local beer, it was heavily damaged in a fire in July 2015 and moved to a temporary home for the past several months, but will be returning to its original location on Water Street. To celebrate, people will be gathering at their Gerrish Street spot, and parade to their upgraded and renovated home on Water. Hal Bruce will be kicking off the day’s events, featuring lots of NS Craft Beer flowing throughout.

• Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has announced the details on a pair of events at the beginning of April. On April 1&2, they are hosting the crew from Dieu du Ciel!, and will be opening at noon both days, with a full complement of a dozen rare and exciting beers from this Montreal brewery, also featuring bites and plates from La Belle Province to get you in the mood. No tickets are required, just drop by to get in on the fun. The next day, April 3rd, they will be hosting F.B.D., an eight course collaborative beer dinner, featuring food by Stillwell, as well as friends of Stilly. Each course will be presented by the chef behind the creation, and paired with a specially-chosen beer to complement. Limited tickets for this event are available now.

Garrison Brewing has released the details on their 2016 Backlot Bash, in support of Ecology Action Centre. Being held June 11th, the concert will feature July Talk, Alert the Medic, Three Sheet, and The Brood. In addition to the Garrison beers available, they will be featuring local cider, and food trucks to keep you happy. Tickets are available now, with Advance tickets only $25 while they last.

Just a couple of parting shots today:
Red Rover is hiring for their new storefront, coming soon to Queen Street. Both part- and full-time positions are available, for Sales Advisor, and Sales Manager positions. For more information, check out the job postings here.
Spindrift’s Seventh Wave release today is Quaf Sess, a light American Wheat with herbal and floral hop character. Like usual, these beers are only available for growler fills at their Burnside location, and sell out very quickly!

Thanks again to everyone who came out to our Trivia Night at the King Street Ale House last night! And a very special thanks to the generous breweries for donating some great schwag and gift cards and goodies! And be sure to say “Hi!” when you see us @ the FCBF events this weekend!

Happy Friday, beer fans! A brewery launch, plenty of beer launches and events, and the start of Fredericton Craft Beer Week. Let’s go!

• Nine Locks Brewing launched this week in Dartmouth. Located at 219 Waverley Rd, adjacent to the Mic Mac Tavern, they opened their doors Monday afternoon. They are currently selling two beers, an IPA, and an ESB. The India Pale Ale is 6.9% ABV and 70 IBUs, featuring loads of citrus and floral hop character and smooth bitterness, from first wort hopping, hop bursting (adding the majority of hops in the last 20min of the boil, retaining most of the aromatic oils), and dry hopping. The Extra Special Bitter is 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, featuring English East Kent Golding and Fuggles hops for a subtle Noble hop spiciness. The beers are currently available in growlers to go at the brewery (both 1L flip-top and 1.89L), with canning beginning before the end of March. When that happens, look for cans at the private beer stores in HRM, as well as a selection of NSLCs around the province. Also look for the full release of their Dirty Blonde and Porter before the end of March. The storefront is open Mon-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11-9pm, and Sun 12-5pm 12-9. Congratulations to the entire Nine Locks family!

• It’s been a busy week at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing! The Awards Gala for the 8th Annual Home Brew-Off were last night. The 45 entrants, plus family, friends, and members of the public, gathered at Garrison’s tasting room to hear the results in the Experimental American IPA category. This year’s winning beer was Honey Chamomile, brewed by Mark Power. Using honey malt to complement the chamomile herb, it featured nice hop additions to give it the necessary bitterness and aroma the judges were looking for. Rounding out the Final Four were a Toasted Coconut IPA, Earl Grey Tea IPA, and Parmesan & Jalepeno IPA. Congratulations!

• Attendees were able to taste the top 3 winners, as well as get the first pours of last year’s winning beer, Mr. Robusto. Brewed by Dave Martin and the Garrison crew, this Robust Porter is 6.5% ABV and 33 IBUs. Notes of sweet chocolate are prominent, along with vanilla and caramel, but with enough hops to balance. Mr. Robusto is available for purchase in bottles and growler fills at the brewery now, and will be available at the private beer stores and NSLCs shortly.

• Last night also served as the release party for the final beer in the Cellar SeriesTo Prussia With Love. This big beer is a blend of their Grand Baltic Porter, along with Barrel-Aged Coast to Coastless Imperial ESB (their collaboration with Le Trou du DiableFlying Monkeys, and Phillips). The barrels were from Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, and had previously held rum. The beer weighs in at 10% ABV and 35 IBUs, and is available for purchase in bottles now at the brewery, as well as previous Cellar Series beers Ol’ Fog Burner and Grand Baltic Porter, the former being available at the private stores soon.

• Garrison Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be facing off against wine maker Pete Luckett March 31st at the Harbourstone Sea Grill and Pourhouse, in a Beer vs Wine Showdown. Five Courses of food are being prepared, with a wine and beer paired with each, with attendees voting on their favourites. Tickets are available through the Harbourstone now, via email or phone (902-428-7852).

• Fredericton’s Mama’s Brew Pub will be releasing their fifth beer early next week, an American Amber Ale. A slightly bigger beer at 6.1% ABV than their other releases, it’s lightly hopped with East Kent Goldings to 15 IBUs. The grist features Maris Otter, Crystal 70 L, Carafa and Wheat malt, lending the beer “toasted malt flavours and a pleasant fruitiness”, according to brewer Ryan Kingston. They’ve also brought back their Session IPA, at 4.2% and 24 IBUs, it features lots of dry-hopping with Citra and Comet for a great blast of citrus hop character.

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing will be continuing their Seventh Wave release today with Blueberry Phie. This 5.0% ABV Wheat Ale was aged on loose leaf Masala Chai Tea and PEI blueberry puree. Pouring with a thick white head (thanks to the high percentage of wheat in the malt bill), it features notes of blueberries, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla, for an experience like tasting savory blueberry pie. As with all of their Seventh Wave series, this beer is only available at the brewery in growlers, and in extremely limited amounts (they tend to sell out Friday afternoon), so grab some now to avoid disappointment.

• Gahan House Halifax released a brand new beer last night, Cranberry Sour. The beer was produced using a 48 hour sour mash, allowing the Lactobacillus on the grain to produce lactic acid for a sour bite, and then the fermentation was completed with brewer’s yeast. Cranberries were added after fermentation was complete, for a fresh aroma and tart character to complement the 3% ABV base beer. It is available on tap at the brewpub for pints, as well as growler fills.

Gahan House Charlottetown’s Brewmaster Trent Hayes will be hosting a Brewmaster dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar on Friday, March 11. Beginning at 7pm, Hayes will lead the four course meal of food and beer pairings, featuring local products in a beer-inspired presentation. Tickets are available now at both Fishbones and Gahan House.

• Details on the Cape Breton Beer Fest were announced yesterday. Scheduled for Saturday, November 19th at the Cruise Pavilion on Esplanade in Sydney, there will be both an afternoon and evening session, each 2.5 hours (with evening VIP tickets allowing early entry). Featuring primarily craft breweries, including Cape Breton’s own Big Spruce and Breton Brewing, the organizers are aiming for about 35 breweries in attendance, from Nova Scotia, the Maritimes, and beyond. Food vendors will be onsite to provide sustenance to keep the party going, and other vendors will be invited to set up tables to showcase the best Cape Breton has to offer. Early bird tickets (at a $10 savings) are now available online, and regular-priced tickets will be online, and in NSLCs shortly. We will update you with a brewery list when it is available.

• The ANBL will be opening a new location in Saint John today. Located at East Point Shopping, this location will also be the first expansion of the very popular Growler program since Sackville in late 2014. To celebrate the opening, Big Tide Tidal Wave Double IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA and Hammond River Nut Your Everyday Red Ale will all be available, with the three head brewers onsite. The store is open now, with a celebration at 1pm this afternoon, check out the East Point ANBL’s page for their current inventory and details.

• The Fredericton Craft Beer Fest Week kicks off today with an event at the James Joyce Pub: The 4th Will Be With You! A Star Wars themed evening, attendees are encouraged (but not required) to come in Cosplay, and there may even be members of the 501st Legion in attendance. The fun continues with a Beer and Cheese tasting at ANBL York Saturday afternoon, and the Johnny Be Good Pub Crawl that evening. Keep on top of it all with our Calendar, as well as the FCBF App, available for both Android and iOS. The app will be updated with the floor plan of the festival, in order to plan your afternoon or evening session most efficiently. Don’t forgot to drop by the King Street Ale House next Thursday for our Trivia Night! We’ll be putting your beer, brewing, and general knowledge skills to the test, and handing out great prizes courtesy of the breweries attending the Fest. And there are still a few tickets available for the Afternoon Session of the main Fest March 12, grab them now before they sell out.

A few parting shots this week:

– Distillerie Fils du Roy has brought back their spring seasonal, Stella Maris. This 7.5% ABV Biere de Garde is named in honour of the star in the Acadian flag. Look for it along the East coast of the province, and Fredericton, and check out Fils du Roy’s other offerings through the ANBL.
North Brewing has brought back their Dartmouth Dark, with v2.0 hitting the shelves and taps today. This batch features Cannon espresso from Anchored Coffee, on top of their dark lagered ale. Look for it at both the Halifax and Dartmouth stores.
PEI Brewing Company has released their Transmitter Coffee Stout, featuring coffee from Charlottetown’s Receiver Coffee. Available now at the brewery, look for it to hit Nova Scotia in the near future as well.
Picaroons has released their Maple Cream Ale this week, available now at the Brewtique, and soon at ANBL locations.