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All posts for the month December, 2016

Although it was a short work week due to the holidays, the yeast never sleep, so we’ve got a few new beers to introduce; and with New Year’s coming up this weekend, there’s also some events we think you’ll want to know about. We’ll start off this week, however, with news of a new brewery that launched late last week:

• It was a Christmas Beer-acle! Moth Lane Brewing, on PEI’s Prince County, opened December 24th to satisfy the thirsty folks in the Western region of the island. The 800 litre (7 BBL) brewhouse offers flights and pints in their tap room onsite, and sells growler fills to go. There are three beers available currently: Motorboat’r Blonde Ale, a refreshing and easy drinking 6.5% ABV light ale; The Answer Imperial IPA, a 7.0% ABV, 70 IBU bitter beer with plenty of pine character; and, Oyster Thief Stout, a 5.5% ABV dry stout, featuring local oysters added in the boil. The brewery, located at 101 Mickie Allen Shore Rd in Ellerslie, is open Mon-Wed 12-5, and Thurs-Sat 5-10pm, including live music Saturday evening. For those not able to get West, Charlottetown’s HopYard has all three beers available. Stay tuned to the blog, as we’ll have a full profile next week. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Moth Lane!

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing has two new beers on the go this week. The Crown Winter Warmer was released on Boxing Day and is described as a big-bodied holiday ale with seasonal spices. Built on a base of Maris Otter and Vienna malts for a solid backbone, chocolate and crystal malts are included to provide deep colour and chocolatey and caramel flavours. It also features a portion of Simpsons relatively new DRC (double-roasted crystal) malt, known for enhancing the body of dark beers and bringing complex dark caramel and dark fruit flavours without the bitterness or astringency of traditional heavily roasted malts. At 7.4% ABV you’ll almost certainly feel some alcohol warmth, while an addition of allspice and 30 IBUs worth of NB Goldings round out the flavour profile. It’s available at the taproom for pints, as well as growler and crowler fills.

• And hitting Graystone’s taps today will be a Belgian White IPA that they’re calling Mont Blanc, a collaboration with the in-the-works Gore Farm Brewery of St. Stephen, NB. A simple malt bill of Pilsner and wheat provide a canvas for some “cool” West Coast hops that bring 50 IBUs worth of bitterness and no doubt some citrus flavours. And judging by the name, expect to find some Belgian yeast flavours as well. More on Gore Farm in the near future!

• The folks at Lazy Bear have let us know that they’ll be pouring pints at a New Year’s Eve Dance Party hosted by local musician David Chamberland at the Rebekah Music Hall in Bear River. This will give them the opportunity to bring their regular lineup and also hopefully a brand new California Common-style beer. The as-yet unnamed brew eschews the Northern Brewer hops traditional to the style for Nugget from Ontario and Chinook from New Brunswick. Although the grapefruit aspects of the Chinook flavour profile might be viewed as crossing a stylistic boundary, there’s also every chance it will make for a tasty brew. There’s only one way to find out; grab a pint if you can!

• Also in the works from Lazy Bear is an Irish Red that will feature potatoes in the mash. Obvious jokes aside, care will definitely need to be taken to convert the sugars from the potatoes and to lauter the wort from what will no doubt be an exceptionally sticky grist, but the result should be very unique. We’re definitely looking forward to hearing more about this one as further information becomes available. Lastly, we’re told that LB will be featuring a percentage of Horton Ridge malts in all of their beers for 2017; the celebration of local ingredients continues!

Hammond River has released another iteration in their The Vegas SMaSH series, a Single-Malt and Single-Hop beer that has had four versions prior to this release. The newest beer features Mosaic, a very popular and delicious variety that features plenty of berry character, resulting in a truly fruity-tasting beer. As with previous takes, this one weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs; you can find it on tap now at The Barrel’s Head, and it should be popping up at other HR tap accounts in the near future.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has released a brand new beer in their Hop Series. Lemondrop IPA is a 7.5% ABV IPA featuring the eponymous Lemondrop hop, an experimental hop featuring big notes of lemon citrus, and keeping in the hazy tradition of T&B’s other IPAs. Grab a pint now, and enjoy it at their Waterfront Craft Beer Garden event tomorrow (details below).

• We teased last week about Upstreet starting a barrel-aging program, with the recent delivery of a set of barrels from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery. Well, the barrels have been filled with six different beers, which are now undergoing the first of many days of aging, before being bottled and released to the public next fall. Sorry, we can’t share what these beers are yet, but – as always – we’ll be sure to release that info as soon as we can!

Be sure to check the hours of your local brewery and beer store before heading there tomorrow, as some are on reduced hours. Here are some events guaranteed to help you say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 while enjoying great beer:

• If you’re in the Moncton area, what better way to ring in the New Year than with the NYE Waterfront Craft Beer Garden? Starting at 4 pm on Saturday, December 31st, the Tide & Boar will be hosting seven local breweries, including Acadie-Broue, Beckwith Road, Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, Scow Cider, and, of course, their own T&B Brewery. The beer garden will run until 9 pm, and have a view of the concert on the waterfront, which will feature several live bands.

• And what about Fredericton? Well, those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival will be hosting their own NYE Craft Beer Garden on Saturday. Held downtown at Officer’s Square and starting at 4 pm, there will be lots pouring from both Maybee and Sunset Heights Meadery until midnight. As well, select products from Bogtrotter, Graystone, Grimross, Picaroons, Red Rover, and TrailWay will be available. A food truck will be on-site, live music will be playing, and there will be two firework shows (8 pm and midnight). Can’t get away from the family? No worries – kids are allowed in the beer garden with their parents. No charge to attend, just pay by the beverage… and be sure to dress warm!

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is celebrating its third anniversary Saturday from 10-6 and will have a small run of bottles of their APA, Mosaic DIPA, and Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout available, and will no doubt have some other treats for those who drop by for the fun.

• Although Stillwell probably shouldn’t be part of your plans for New Year’s Eve (owing to them being closed), you should think hard about making them a destination for your hangover on New Year’s Day. They’ll be opening at noon for their New Year’s Day Levée with some brunchy menu options (Smoked Striped Bass Fishcakes, Triple-threat Breakfast Sandwich, Smoked Meat Hash or Toutons with Lonzino and Molasses, anyone?) and a pretty intense wall’s worth of goodies. Do you like stout served on nitrogen? Sure you do! They’ll have three: Granite Keefe’s Irish Stout, Unfiltered Flat Black Jesus and Dieu du Ciel! Aphrodisiaque. How about one of the three existing kegs of Acadie Broue Zirable, the Geueze-style we waxed poetic about in last week’s wrap-up? You know you want to try that. There’s also taps from Les Trois Mousquetaires , Brasserie Dunham , Trailway , Mikkeller and Bad Apple Brewhouse and the bottle list you know and love.

• Don’t worry, PEI, there’s a local New Year’s Day celebration going on for you, too! Upstreet will be starting their 2017 Kick-Off Sunday at 10 am, and it’ll be continuing all day long! A total of six different bands will be playing live, with the first starting at noon; the music will continue through the celebrations until roughly 10 pm. Beer cocktails, brewery tours, $4 pints, and a special brunch menu will also be available. Last year’s event was the biggest party of the year for the Upstreet taproom, so be sure you don’t miss out! Check out the link above the full details on the bands that will be performing.

• The 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is fast-approaching, and several events have been announced. Returning is ACBB Trivia, alongside a Nova Scotia Tap Takeover, at the King Street Ale House on Thursday, March 9th from 6-9 pm. All 24 taps at the KSAH will be dedicated to a variety of NS breweries; your $25 ticket gets you a special glass to take home, as well as ten 5 oz samples to start off. Trivia starts at 7 pm, and we promise this time the questions will be easier (no drawings of chemical structures, please Chris?)! And for those that haven’t yet grabbed tickets to the main event on Saturday the 11th, there are still a few tickets available for the afternoon (1:30-4:00) session.

A few more notes before you head out today:

– You can celebrate NYE with your very own keg of Garrison beer, and on the cheap, as they are offering a 10% discount on all rentals, and they’ll even include a sleeve of cups. Drop by today or tomorrow, as the sale ends after that.
– It looks like Mama’s Brew Pub has finally got their Crowler machine up and running, meaning that 1-L cans to go of their in-house-brewed beers are now available for purchase.
– The canning continues at TrailWay Brewing, with the latest release being their American Pale Ale, Rype, a 5% ABV hazy hop bomb. As of right now, this one is available only at the brewery, but look for ANBL stores to receive shipments, soon.

And be sure to celebrate the New Year responsibly: with a local beer(s), and a safe ride home! As we close out 2016, we want to thank the breweries and readers that we get to connect with on a weekly basis, and we look forward to spreading the Good News about Great Beer in 2017. Cheers!

Good morning! As we enter the final couple of crazy days before Christmas, beer news is winding down (ever-so-slightly) as everyone rushes to fit in some last minute shopping, cooking, baking, and stressing. As an excuse to step away from it all, even for just a few minutes, let’s take some time to get caught up on what’s happening in the beer world this week…

• Just in time for Christmas, Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing has launched their first beer, Lupulus Interruptus. This 7.5% American IPA features loads of late and whirlpool hops, for an assertive 90 IBU bitterness, enhanced by juicy notes of citrus and peach in both the flavour and aroma. This first batch is currently available at Uptown’s Cask & Kettle, as well as for growler fills at the Wellington Row ANBL. Drop in today for a fill/pint, as both spots are moving through the beer quickly! To learn more about Loyalist City, check out our Profile on them from the summer. Look for more LCBC beers to be available in early January, with their retail and taproom location on Water Street to open in the coming months. Keep an eye here, as well as on their social media pages.

• In cider news, Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville has a brand new offering this week in the form of their Old-Fashioned Gravenstein, made with 100% hand-picked local Gravenstein apples, an heirloom variety that’s great for both eating and cooking, but which doesn’t store well on a long-term basis. The apples for this cider were harvested early and pressed soon after picking providing juice that was fermented dry. After fermentation, additional fresh-pressed Gravenstein juice was added for balance and it the cider was finished with a slight effervescence. The final product is pale in colour with a fresh apple aroma and crisp flavor. It comes in at 7.4% and is being sold in a refillable bottle for $19.95; it’s available either on its own or as part of a Holiday 3-Pack for a limited time.

• There’s a whole slew of special one-offs being released right now at Upstreet, and continuing on over the next several weeks. They’ve brewed up another iteration of their Berliner Weisse, with this batch tasting more sour than the first. Still a very-sessionable 4% ABV, four kegs of this one were made available: two plain, and two dry-hopped (one with Centennial, one with Sorachi Ace). They’re available for pints only at the taproom, and they’re going fast!

• Continuing with Upstreet, last week they released Into the Weeds, a “Seaweed Blonde Ale”. This beer was created by employee Jesse H, and featured a simple grist of 2-row and light Crystal malt, with both sea lettuce and dulse added late in the boil, and as a “dry-weed” addition after fermentation. With a blend of “sweet, salty, and umami” flavours, it was another sessionable brew, at 4% ABV. Unfortunately, the two kegs flew out of the taproom even faster than expected! Maybe they’ll brew it again sometime in the future…?

• Finally, expect to see many more one-offs released by Upstreet over the next couple of weeks, including a Vanilla Smoked Porter, Honey Pilsner, and more. And with a fresh delivery of barrels from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery, there will be some special beers coming in the New Year. As always, we’ll keep you updated!

• If you’re in the Moncton area, you’re in for a special treat – Acadie-Broue officially launched their Lambic-style beer, Zirable, at the Laundromat yesterday evening. Fermented in Hungarian medium-toasted oak barrels, this sour, complex, 5% ABV ale has been maturing for three years. It made a brief appearance at the 2014 Brewer’s Bash as a young release (where, we can attest, it was already tasting pretty fantastic), and at Stillwell in 2015, but the rest of it has been patiently awaiting it’s release to the public, allowing the Brettanomyces bruxellensis and Lactobacillus plenty of time to work their magic. Several batches were actually brewed over this time period, where they were meticulously blended by brewer Patrice Godin, until the perfect balance and blend was found. This award-winning beer (Silver in the 2015 ACBAs) is a very limited release, so don’t miss the chance to try the only Gueuze-style beer (blended lambics) brewed in the Maritimes (to our knowledge, anyway).

• Along with the first can releases of their Good Aura and Rascal earlier this week, TrailWay has a new beer (of sorts) newly available for the holiday. Christmas Rascal is a new take on their Imperial Stout; inspired by Mexican Chocolate, they infused the base beer with Lactose powder, and then aged it (briefly) on cacoa nibs, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom and vanilla. The result? A rich, full-bodied, and full-flavoured 8% ABV beer, with just the right amount of spice and heat. A small amount of this one is on tap for pints and growlers at the brewery’s taproom, with the rest available this weekend at all ANBL growler stations (except Fredericton and Dieppe).

• River Charlo, New Brunswick’s Savoie’s Brewhouse has settled nicely into their new digs next to Heron’s Nest Pub; they tell us it’s great being right next door to the only craft and imported beer pub in the area, with their own beer exclusively on tap and a variety of alternatives in the fridge. This week they’ll be serving up their Holiday Peppermint Blonde, a 5% ABV beer with both peppermint and vanilla added to the secondary for a seasonal flavour kick.​

• Fredericton’s Bogtrotter has their first Stout appearing in ANBL stores this week. Snapping Turtle has a fairly standard grist with darker malts, as well as some Rye malt and oatmeal, all weighing in at only 4.8% ABV. Hopped entirely with Chinook to 25 IBUs, expect to see 500 mL bottles at the Oromocto, York St., and Prospect St. ANBL stores; it’s also currently on tap at the Cask & Kettle. Also, Bogtrotter launched Snowy Spruce last week, which is their Muddy Mayhem IPA with a Christmas twist – spruce buds (harvested from owner/brewer Rod Croucher’s property) were added to boost the beer’s aroma. This one is available on tap only, at better beer establishments in Fredericton.

• In St. John’s, Mill Street pub’s head brewer Dan Boldrini has come up with a new beer that celebrates a native Newfoundland foodstuff, the touton, a pancake of sorts often made with leftover bread dough and traditionally cooked in rendered pork fatback (although more often in canola oil or olive oil and clarified butter these days). Touton Topper is an Imperial Stout infused with Crosby’s Molasses, a favourite go-with for toutons. The beer has a bit of a smoky nose and brings blackstrap molasses flavours with dark chocolate, roasted coffee and 25 or so IBUs providing balance. At a hefty 9.1% ABV it’s not for the faint of heart.​

• Starting yesterday, and continuing today until 4 pm, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing began selling growlers to go of their beer for the first time. Set up in the adjoining Duo Cafe, a limited supply of kegs have been pouring several beers, including the recently-released Peach Ale Shake and Sour Otis Cranberry, as well as two brand new beers, Herbie’s Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, and Simcoe IPA. ANBL-branded growlers will be on-hand for purchase, but they will also fill any (clean) 32 oz or 64 oz growler. In addition, branded men and women’s t-shirts will be available, just in case you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for the beer lover in your life (or yourself)!

Graystone has a couple of new beers on tap, bringing the grand total of their beers at their taproom to 10, a new high. Summit IPA (6.9% ABV, 74 IBUs) is not a single-hopped beer, but does feature plenty of Summit for a “subtle, earthy sweetness and clean finish”, according to the brewery. They’re also now pouring their Holiday Stout, which is their Pitch Stout infused with cranberries and cocoa nibs; this one weighs in at an easy-drinking 4% ABV, and 38 IBUs. Both beers are available now for growler and crowler fills, as well as pints, and have been spotted at other beer bars/restaurants in Fredericton.

Earlier this month we told you about Ask & Embla, the first beer in North Brewing’s “Finite Series” of experimental beers, when it was released to local taps. That beer is now available in 650mL bombers at both North bottle shops. It’s the same beer at 5.2% ABV and 16 or so IBU, with 20% oats in the grist, Timothy hay added to the mash, a yeast pitch collected from Saison de Pinot and 3 weeks of aging on driftwood collected from Cow Bay, but now it’s been conditioning in the bottle for an extra month. Given the mixed strain nature of the yeast, the extra fermentables used to bottle carbonate could definitely make some differences to the finished product and make it a candidate for cellar aging as well.

• We also told you a few weeks ago about North’s new Artist Series of labels. One beer in particular, the Farmhouse Red Bière de Garde, isn’t just sporting a new label by Nicole G. (who you may know from the Halifax bottle shop), it’s also rocking a slightly new formulation: although the recipe is essentially the same as their Farmhouse, the new batches of this beer contain malt from Horton Ridge for additional local cred.

• The gang at Good Robot is laying fairly low this week in terms of releases and events, but it sounds like this is the calm before the storm and they’ll be revving back up to full speed in the new year. This week does see the re-release of Whackity Shmackity Brew, a 5.8% ABV and 25 IBU American wheat beer featuring orange zest added to the fermenter and Magnum, Amarillo and Mandarina Bavaria hops, brewed in tribute to comedian Patton Oswalt.

• Coming early in the new year, with more info to come, are three new beers: Sickbot Epidemic ESB, a collaboration with Sickboy Podcast, a collaborative brew with North Brewing that might be named 220 Volts, but then again might not be, and an as-yet totally unnamed Barleywine. We’ll have more details as the release dates approach.

• If you’re looking for a place to have a beer on one of the days most bars are closed over the holidays, remember that Good Robot is looking out for you. They’ll be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, “at the staff’s request.” (Tune in this summer when the staff “requests” the honour of digging a defensive trench around the Gastroturf.) And on New Year’s Eve the GR gang will also be celebrating a No Frills New Year’s with nothing but beer, glasses to serve it in and some finger foods from Rinaldo’s.​

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has a pair of new beers pouring at their taproom on Main Street these days. Irish Red is a 4.8% ABV malt-forward Red Ale, light and easy drinking, with some pleasant fruity hop and light roasted notes. Due to its popularity, it will be joining their flagship lineup. Also drop by for a pint or growler of Batch 56, a light-bodied lager with a nice malt character and light fruity hops. Weighing in at 5.4% ABV, it hits all of the right buttons. Their taproom is open Christmas Eve until 6pm, and will re-open December 27 for a Family Pot-Luck event from noon, bring your leftovers and share with the local beer community.

• Be sure to drop by Schoolhouse Brewing‘s new location at 40 Water Street in Windsor today, as Class is in Session! Grab flights and growlers of their core lineup noon to 8pm, as well as a brand new brew, Vice Principal Pale Ale. The 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale is a bigger take on the Principal Pale Ale, with a crisp finish and lighter aromatics. Look for it to be pouring at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Event January 12th.

• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has a new English Ale out now, Slanty Shanty Best Bitter, which we mentioned briefly last week. A higher-proof Bitter at 5.0% ABV, it features authentic Noble spicy hop notes (ending up at 35 IBUs), with a touch of honey and grain in the glass. It is available at the brewery for growler fills, and making its way to better beer bars around the province.

• Nova Scotia’s breweries received some good news earlier this week, with an announcement that there are changes coming to the controversial Retail Sales Markup Allocation. The RSMA is collected by the NSLC on all beer that breweries sell directly to customers and licensees (i.e., not through the NSLC). Promoted as an ostensible means to track the volume of beer sold outside the Corporation, the $0.50/litre tax is charged in addition to excise and other taxes required by legislation. Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing launched a lawsuit against the NSLC in August characterizing the RSMA as a tax and calling its validity into question based on the further question of whether the NSLC has a mandate to tax producers in this way. Unfiltered raised awareness in October with the release of their RSMA Double IPA and has seen support from Big Spruce’s open letter to Nova Scotia as well as a donation of malt from Horton Ridge that they used to brew their most recent batch of DOA. The province says that as of April 1, 2017, the RSMA will be reduced to 5% of wholesale costs, which should lead to a reduction of the overall amount collected from brewers in Nova Scotia to one-third of current levels. While a noble start, and the first time breweries will be treated in the same was as other alcohol producers, many breweries (including Unfiltered) would prefer to see this fee eliminated completely. Credit is certainly due for the inclusion in the press release of Craft Brewer’s Association of NS president Emily Tipton’s comments regarding the extended economic impact of craft beer and brewing in Nova Scotia. The province’s press release can be read here.

That’s all the news fit to print this week, folks! Have a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you back here next week with the final Wrap-Up of the year!

Despite the cooler temperatures and extensive snow our region received this week, the brewers are still hard at work releasing new beers and brewing up some special winter seasonals. Take a look at what’s new on tap and in bottles in Atlantic Canada!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has released the first truly Made In Nova Scotia beer this week, One Hundred. Brewed with 100% Organic ingredients grown in the province, the beer’s grain bill features barley from TapRoot Farms in Port Williams and 25% rye from nearby Stewart’s Organic Farm, both malted at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. The Golding and Willamette hops used are from Big Spruce’s very own Breton Fields organic hop farm (adjacent the brewery), and the unique yeast used to ferment it all was isolated from a wild Eastern Canadian Pin Cherry on the  property. The resulting beer has an unmistakable Belgian character, with yeast aromas and flavours enhancing the spiciness from the rye malt. The 4.9% ABV, 24 IBU beer is available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and in rotation in HRM at Battery Park, Brooklyn Warehouse, Lion & Bright, and Stillwell.

• Big Spruce and frequent co-conspirator Boxing Rock have brought back their Shame on You IPA, a 6.0% ABV beer standing up to the pseudo-“small batch” and craft-y beers that can be found amidst the beers from locally owned and operated breweries. This beer is all about the hops, featuring Bravo for a hefty bittering charge, Centennial and El Dorado for flavour, and Chinook and Citra dry-hopping for lots of aroma. A special 1.0l bottle (courtesy of local supplier Jym Line Glassware) will be available at the four private beer stores in HRM, as well as the two brewery locations in Shelburne and Nyanza. Growler fills are available as well at the Farmers’ Market locations.

• And keep an eye out for two other returning favourites from Boxing Rock – the U-889 Russian Imperial Stout will be available in bottles this weekend at the four private stores and Farmers’ Market locations, as well as a very limited run at the NSLC’s The Port location on Clyde Street in Halifax. And Over the Top!, their Sour Cranberry beer first brewed in May with local brewer Karen Allen, has made its return, also available in bottles at the private stores, and in Shelburne.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is starting up, and looking for women interested in diving into the world of craft beer! This is a group focused on building a community for women in the Fredericton area to come together to drink and learn all about the world’s finest beverage. All are welcome, regardless of your knowledge level and experience with beer. The initial plan is to have monthly meetings at TBD locations, on the second Wednesday of every month, with the first meeting occurring January 11th at TrailWay. More details will follow (be sure to check out their link above), and at the moment there is no membership fee required to attend; we’ll keep you updated, but be sure to reach out on their Facebook page if you’re interested.

• Garrison is launching a new beer this week with a tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps extended at the world) name. Miley Citrus is a hazy New England-style Double IPA in a similar vein to their recent test batch Code Name: Juicy. Packed with flavour from all late and whirlpool additions of the unsubtly-named Citra hop variety, this time it was married to the dank and piney Simcoe and the also dank, but predominantly fruity Australian variety Topaz. Coming in on the lower end for a DIPA, but still a plenty dangerous 7.6% ABV and 66 IBU, this one shouldn’t be a wrecking ball to your palate with bitterness, but may well be with hop flavor. Described as “citrus-forward”, it features matched aromas and flavours of fresh-peeled orange, tangerine and sweet orange marmalade with a grapefruit pith finish. It’s only available on draft at the brewery, at least for now, but keep your eyes peeled as you may very well see it appear at finer establishments around the city.

• Christmas is right around the corner, and fittingly, Big Tide has brought back a couple of their seasonal favourites. First up is Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale, which is their standard Confederation Cream Ale that has been “made festive” with the addition of local cranberry and raspberry juices, providing a pleasant contrast of fruity and tart flavours. Brewed with a light grist of 2-row and Pilsner malts, it’s lightly-hopped with Magnum and Perle, and comes in at 5.6% ABV and 23 IBUs. Also back on tap is Santa’s Chocolate Porter (5.4% ABV, 25 IBUs), which features both 2-row and Chocolate malt, as well as the addition of Madagascar vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa, resulting in a brew with plenty of rich, chocolatey, and spicy flavours. Drop by the brewpub to celebrate Christmas with a pint (or growler) of both brews!

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a new beer out that beets the competition hands down! Beet This Ale is based on their Anchors Aweigh Pale, featuring a load of beets to give it a brilliant red colour and unique flavour profile. The 6.0% ABV beer features a modest Citra dry hop and bitter finish to underline the unique vegetable addition. Grab the beer at the Hubbards Farmers Market tomorrow, and the Bridgewater Farmers’ Market at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre on Sunday.

Down on the Halifax waterfront Gahan House Halifax has a new beer slated for release next week, a Christmas Ale called Santa’s Little Helper. We’re told it’s on an Altbier base (presumably similar to the one currently pouring that we reported on last week) but with an addition of mulling spices and aged in a Hungarian oak barrel previously used to age merlot at Bear River Vineyards. The beer is currently conditioning but is expected to be put on tap as a limited release on December 20th.

• There’s a big beer currently fermenting at Maybee Brewing, a currently-unnamed Belgian Quad. The biggest beer brewed yet at the brewery, this style (also known as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale) is a complex, high-alcohol brew that is malty, fruity, phenolic, and warming. The recipe is based on a homebrew that owner/brewer Paul Maybee has brewed in the past; since it will quite likely fall in the 11-12% ABV range, it’s going to require some additional conditioning to allow the flavours to gel and alcohol to smooth out, so don’t expect to see this one until sometime next month. No details on packaging yet, but it will definitely be on tap at the brewery’s taproom and across Fredericton.

• In other Maybee news, they’re sending a cask to the James Joyce to be tapped tonight at around 7 pm. Black Forest Elevensies Stout was fermented on a bad of Vintner’s cherry puree, and then cask-conditioned with roasted cacao nibs and whole vanilla beans soaked in French brandy. Finally, they’ve also brewed up a Best Bitter (5% ABV, 35 IBUs), Slanty Shanty Best Bitter, which will be available on tap only for now. Hopped with New Brunswick Goldings, this one should be available sometime next week.

• Looks like we can expect to see another new Hammond River beer release in the near future, to tide us over until the opening of their new 15 BBL brewery this spring – West Coast Pale Ale is exactly as expected from the name, with lots of fruity and dank aromas and flavours, thanks to heavy late hopping with Summit and Citra, and even more Citra in the dry-hop. Bittered with Chinook to 60 IBUs, it weighs in at a manageable 5.7%. It’s being kegged this weekend, so expect to see it out and about, soon.

That’s not all that’s new and brewing at Hammond River – Quicksand Jesus is the brewery’s first attempt at the Russian Imperial Stout, a gargantuan, bold style big on roast, mouthfeel, and alcohol. The recipe is one used by owner/brewer Shane Steeves in his homebrewing days, featuring a base of Maris Otter malt, with Roasted Barley, Chocolate malt, Crystal 40 L, and Special B thrown in to bring in those wonderful roast characteristics, and more. Expect this one to come in at a whopping 10.2% ABV and 79 IBUs, with a portion being aged in the brewery’s resident oak barrel. Look for it to be on tap around New Year’s, with the barrel-aged version likely popping up the end of January. And speaking of big beers, HR has also confirmed that their Double IPA, Too Hop to Handle (8.4% ABV, 162 IBUs) has been rebrewed and will be re-released soon, with this batch incorporating a portion of Hop Hash from Southan Farms.

• For those of you in Fredericton who have been itching to try some of the interesting new beers coming out of Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, the James Joyce Irish Pub has some good news! The T&B are sending the JJ four kegs, the first time they’ve sent beer outside of their own location, the first of which – Peach Ale Shake – should be tapped sometime today. They’ve also received Forum Pale Ale, Robot Food IPA, and Sour Otis Cranberry. For more info on these beers, check out last Friday’s post.

• If you didn’t get a chance to contribute to the Beerocracy successful crowdfunding campaign months ago, you still have the opportunity to grab at least one of the featured perks – they’re currently selling their Beerocracy NB Craft Brewery Map in two sizes; it’s available in two sizes, and available for purchase online. And keep your eyes open for screenings, and ways to watch the film online, once the final cut is produced in the New Year.

• Now that we are soundly in the middle of winter, it’s only fitting that local breweries are celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. In New Brunswick, Picaroons are continuing their annual tradition with 12 BEERS of CHRISTMAS, where they are releasing a special one-off beer every day Dec 12-23rd. Available at their Brewtique location in downtown Fredericton (growlers only), Roundhouse location on the Northside (in-house pours only), The 5 Kings Restaurant & Brewhouse in St Stephen (in-house only), and the General Store in Saint John (both growlers and pints). With a new beer every day, you’re sure to find a few that jingle your bells!

• On Prince Edward Island, the PEI Brewing Company is celebrating the 12 Growlers of Christmas in their own right, with a new beer every day until next Friday. Check out their Facebook Event page for details on the day’s beer, and remember that once the beer is gone for the day, it’s gone!

• Digby’s Roof Hound is releasing a new wheat ale at their brewery this weekend. Average Joe is a 5.0%, 17 IBU beer, designed for those folks who want to support their local brewery, but may find stouts, IPAs, and porters a bit too far outside their wheelhouse. Named after owner Les Barr’s maternal grandfather, Joe was the owner of the original Roof Hound, Lady. An ode to Joe, as well as Barr’s first foray into drinking and brewing craft beer, wheat ales are the perfect gateway into small batch, local beers. Grab a pint or growler in Digby this weekend, and keep your eyes open as it may be on tap and for growler fills in HRM soon.

We’ve got another slew of events happening in our region this weekend, and beyond, here are a few of them we can fit in here. Be sure to consult our Calendar (which you can add to your own iCal/Google/Outlook calendar, by the way!) to keep up-to-date with them all. And be sure to let us know if we’ve missed something.

• Mikkeller Tap Takeover Day 1 is this Saturday at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell. Featuring a variety of styles, ranging from Session IPA to spontaneously-fermented hoppy beer, all the way up to a 9.2% back coffee beer, the Danish brewery is sure to have something for everyone. Check out the full tap list here, and we’ll see you from noon tomorrow. There will be a whole other dozen beers pouring at MTTD2 on January 14th, by the way!

• After a wildly successful Launch Weekend at Stillwell and Good Robot last weekend, Halifax’s newest nano TideHouse Brewing Company is ready to fling wide the doors to their retail location. Located at 5187 Salter Street in downtown Halifax across from the nether regions of the Maritime Center (that great big brutalist mess on Barrington Street we inherited from the 70s), the boys are aiming to help downtown beer lovers scratch the itch for growler fills. As has become de rigueur for TideHouse to this point, the first week of opening will be a somewhat informal affair, promising to be open at 1pm on Saturday and seeing where the rest of the day takes them. Additional hours before Christmas will be on a “do we have beer?” basis so you’ll have to follow along on social media (Facebook | Twitter) or contact the brewery directly for availability information. After the holidays they’re hoping to have regular hours from 2-6pm on Thursdays, 2-9pm on Fridays, 2-6pm on Saturdays and 2-10pm on Sundays. They’ll fill any clean 1.89L growler and will also be selling their own TideHouse branded pre-filled jugs (non-refundable, for now anyway). Come gaze through the glass to see Shean and Peter in their natural environment, grab yourself a couple of liters of tasty brew and help celebrate all the crazy hard work that’s been put into getting this far!

 • A reminder that the Second Annual Christmas Beer Garden at the Market is happening this Sunday, December 18th. Starting early at 10 am, and continuing until 2:30 pm, your $26 ticket (available here) entitles you to a 16 oz glass and four beer tickets; additional beer tickets can be purchased for $7 each. Food will be available for purchase from vendors at the Market and can be taken into the Beer Garden.

• There has been a lot of development at Schoolhouse‘s expanded location at 40 Water Street in Windsor. With their brewhouse now hooked up, and brewing on it starting early next week, they are opening their doors and saying “Class is in Session!”. Next Thursday and Friday (Dec 22 and 23), they are keeping their doors open from 12:00 to 8:00pm daily for growler fills of their core beers (Principal Ale, Chequers, and Scotian Export), as well as bottles of Big Red Schoolhouse. Flights and food will also be available, so be sure to stick around for a spell!

• Tickets are still available (but won’t be for much longer!) for January 12th’s Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. The premiere event of winter, 16 Nova Scotian breweries (that number may grow, we’ve been told!) will be pouring a wide variety of their beers, including one-offs and launches specially brewed for the event. It’s not only about the beer, however, as each brewery will have a local restaurant/caterer partnered with them, serving up some creations meant for pairing and enjoying. Be sure to grab your tickets today!

• Tickets are available now for next August’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival. From now until Dec 24th, you’ll enjoy a nice $10 discount off the regular price, with tickets only costing $40 (plus taxes and service charges, $51 final price). With an evening session on Friday Aug 11, and afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday the 12th, there’s plenty of opportunity to grab from the more than 300 beers and ciders on offer. Check this link for the reduced price tickets before the deal runs out next Saturday.

A few more things to check out this weekend before you put down your phone and pick up a beer:

– The latest 902 BrewCast went up early this morning, tasting through a handful of holiday-themed beers available at Bishop’s Cellar. Be sure to grab it today, and take a drink for every shout-out they give! And stay tuned to the end for some very cool news.
– The ANBL has once again expanded their growler program, with a new, 6-tap filling station opening up at the Saint John Uptown location. This week, they’re featuring all NB-based breweries, including Big Tide (Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale), First City (Double IPA), Foghorn (Winchester), Hammond River (Gammie), Moosehead (Boundary Ale), and Picaroons (The Vinyl Cut).
Big Axe has announced that their annual winter take on a flagship, Shakesbeer Chocolate Mint Stout, will be returning to taps (and growler fills at the brewery) in the very near future.
– In other winter seasonal news, Celtic Knot‘s Toque and Mitts is starting to pop up on tap across New Brunswick; this 7.8% ABV Barleywine – infused with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, oak, and bourbon – is currently on tap at the Cask & Kettle and Ducky’s. If you’re not near those two establishments, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed more batches are on the way, so expect to see this beer at other select bars/restaurants, soon.
Grimross Brewing has started a weekly cask series at the taproom in Fredericton; this week’s limited release is a cask of their flagship Cheval D’or, aged on lemongrass.
– Sea Level Wee Heavy returns to their Port Williams location. Grab it on tap at Port Pub, or in growlers and cans to go.
Tatamagouche Brewing‘s Smorter S’Mores Porter has returned for another season, with growlers and cans of this graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate creation available now at the brewery, and on tap around HRM next week. A 6.5% ABV S’mores-inspired porter brewed with the addition of cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, molasses, honey, and vanilla beans.
TrailWay has been keeping up with the canning (luckily for all of us!), with plenty of Hu Jon Hops and Luster available at the brewery and select ANBL stores. Next week, they’ll be releasing a large amount of Good Aura (their hoppy Red ale) in cans; a small number of Rascal (American Stout) cans will also be available.

The 902 BrewCast was recently launched by three Halifax beer fans, Kyle Andrus, Phil Church, and Tony Wight. Having enjoyed (and worked in) the NS beer scene, they’ve decided to share their love of the craft with the rest of us. The podcast is a combination of interviews with local breweries, as well as informal tastings and news reporting. Episode 3 of the show, dropping overnight tonight, will be an interview with Halifax’s soon-to-open 2 Crows Brewing; Episode 4, a Holiday Tasting Episode will come out Friday. We tracked down the boys to learn more about them and the podcast.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? How did you get into beer?
Tony: I started getting into beer a bit more when I was still in university at SMU in the mid 00’s – my brother in law would always bring up different bottles from the US whenever he would travel down there, so I always was trying different beer styles you couldn’t necessarily find here. I spent some time working in the industry from a retail side which got me excited about the scene here, and watching it grow has been pretty exciting for a beer fan like myself. Kyle and I have been friends for a while and share a like minded appreciation for craft beer, and I met Phil via Instagram (he takes such great pictures) when he picked up a bottle of Tatamagouche‘s Rum Barrel Aged Dreadnot for me. The three of us got to chatting about beer and I thought the podcast would be a great way to explore our passion for Craft Beer so I pitched the idea to them and here we are.
Kyle: I went to recording school down the hill from Maxwell’s Plum in 2007, so we always wanted to try everything that they had. We eventually made it around, but by doing so, I started to learn and understand more about the different styles and regions, etc. It kinda went downhill from there. It really exploded for me once Stillwell opened, I think. Seeing all that Canada had to offer that wasn’t available at the NSLC. Been great to meet so many like-minded people there and at other events.
Phil:My dad spoon fed me Keith’s and Schooner. Unibroue, Granite and (now-closed) Maritime Beer Co opened my eyes to the world outside of macro lagers (aka, what we were taught/told was beer).

What is the format of the podcast?
The podcast is focused on having conversations with breweries and brewers about their vision, process, and beer that they put out. We are also hoping to sit down with craft beer focused bar and restaurant owners to see how beer and food are working together to bring a unique experience to their customers. Other than that, we’re also planning on speaking with some other industry related folks – like (hopefully!) Horton Ridge Malt as an example – to get a bit below the surface of the craft beer scene in Atlantic Canada and give others a chance to know the hard working people behind the breweries and their stories.

Will the focus be Nova Scotian breweries, or will others in the region be on the hit list as well?
We’re starting out with Nova Scotia because, at least for the most part, it’s what we know best of the Atlantic Craft Beer scene. Eventually we want to expand beyond NS, we really want to get out to the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest this year and see the best NB has to offer. We’d also love to get the crew from Fredericton’s TrailWay on, and get over to see what they have going on over at Upstreet on PEI – I really like how they’re engaging with the artistic community over there. There’s a lot happening all over Atlantic Canada and we want to see and talk about as much of it as we can.

How often will you be releasing episodes?
We plan on putting an episode out every second Tuesday (#902sday), plus we’ll be doing a monthly tasting episode. I think we’ll also touch on some news during those tasting episodes, but I think we would want the interview episodes to sort of stand alone without coming off as being tied to a specific date or season. After our North Brewing episode, we release one with Good Robot, and after tomorrow’s 2 Crows, we’ve got Spindrift to round out the year (Dec. 27).

Do you have any live or special events planned?
Absolutely! We’d love to be doing some live episodes or doing a Facebook Live kind of thing from different events. Doing something during Fredericton Craft Beer Fest or having a few episodes directed at Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week would be awesome and give us a chance to make some connections.

What are your thoughts on the beer scene in our region?
Kyle: Seems to be blowing up. New breweries opening all over the province every week. I think PEI and NL are still very underserved, but getting there. *Plays “What a Time to Be Alive”* #WATTBA
Tony: There are always new spots popping up, so it’s certainly expanding faster than, I think, a lot of people would have imagined. It’s exciting for me because I am always looking to try something new.
Phil: It’s a great time to be a beer drinker.

Anything else?
Our first couple of episodes are out already (including an Episode 0 Pale Ale Tasting), so check them out however you like to check out podcasts. We had a great time talking with Peter and Josh from North Brewing about all kinds of different things on Episode 1, including that Blood Donair beer with Big Spruce. And of course the fun and almost-about-beer Episode 2 with Good Robot.

Thanks to Kyle, Phil and Tony for taking the time to chat with us. Check out www.902brewcast.com to play the episodes online, or subscribe via iTunes or RSS here. Follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @902brewcast to see what they’re working on (right now it’s their Advent Calendar of recommendations). They love to answer questions, talk about the episodes, and listen to others’ experiences with craft beer. You can also check out their personal IG accounts for the latest shots of the beers they’re drinking right now: Kyle, Phil (aka KelticDevil) and Tony. Subscribe today to get the 2 Crows episode in your sleep tonight!

Just when you thought it was safe to take your eyes off the local beer scene and focus on your holiday shopping, the region’s breweries, cideries and tap venues bring you another wild week of brewery openings, beer releases, tap takeovers and other beer-related news. Fortunately we didn’t let ourselves be too distracted by holiday cheer last night, and we’ve got a full report of the goings on in the Atlantic provinces.

• Harvey, New Brunswick’s very first brewery, Off Grid Ales, is releasing their first beers today! The 3 BBL (350 L) brewery is housed in a barn on the property of owners Randy and Denise Rowe, and is both solar- and wind-powered. All four of their flagship beers will be available in 500 mL bottles at the Harvey ANBL outlet, and all four Fredericton ANBL stores; these beers are Campfire Red, an American Amber (5.5% ABV, 23 IBUs); Sunny Day IPA (5.5% ABV, 70 IBUs); High Tower Double IPA (7.8% ABV, 60 IBUs); and Unplugged Porter (5.5% ABV, 34 IBUs). The official launch party will be happening soon, so stay tuned for details! And check out our full post on Off Grid from October.

• The brewery at Moncton’s Tide & Boar is hard at it again, with several new/returning beers now out, or arriving soon! Released earlier this week was the next beer in their Sour Otis series – Sour Otis Cranberry features the addition of 25 lbs of locally-sourced cranberries, resulting in a sour, refreshing, super-sessionable (4.2% ABV) brew. Also look for the return of Forum, their 5.4% ABV, heavily-hopped American Pale Ale that’s big on tropical fruit aromas and flavours. T&B is kegging a new American IPA this weekend, Robot Food IPA, brewed with an “insane amount” of Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops. Finally, yet another new beer should be ready for release next week – Peach Ale Shake is the next addition to their Milkshake IPA lineup. It was brewed with lactose powder to slightly boost the body and sweetness, heavily hopped (of course), and also features the addition of 20 lbs of peaches. As with all the T&B beers brewed on site, they tend to go fast, so be sure to stop by to give them a try!

• There’s a couple of hot news items concerning Tatamagouche Brewing this week. First up is a brand new beer that is being released tomorrow, Adoptor, their take on the Doppelbock style. Named after two adopted dogs in the Tata family, the beer’s grist is made up entirely of German malts, to emulate this strong, malty, German style. A mix of Munich and Vienna make up the majority, with small amounts of CaraAroma and CaraMunich, to enhance the malty goodness in the aroma and flavour. This is another big beer for Tatabrew, as is per the style, clocking in at 7.6% ABV and a low 24 IBUs. It’ll be making its debut in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, with $0.50 from every bottle sold being donated to the Home to Stay animal shelter; expect a few kegs to pop up at select licensees at a later date. And their other recent release, Square One, a dry-hopped Saison, is now available in bottles at the brewery as well.

• And continuing on with Tatabrew… great news, New Brunswick – kegs of Tata beer are heading your way! Along with their core brands, some establishments have also ordered some seasonals/one-offs, including Blue Bales, Philaroma, Square One, Cellar Slammer, and Russian Imperial Stout. Look for Tatamagouche beers at the following licensees: Tide & Boar, Ducky’s, Saint John Ale House, King Street Ale House, Maybee Brewing, and Pepper’s. Hopefully this means we’ll be seeing cans in the province soon…?

 

• There is was a brand-spanking new BetaBrew on tap at the Good Robot taproom; this one was brewed by the brewery’s own Kelly & Jillian. The Ales of Friendship is was a 5.2% ABV British Pale Ale brewed with Maris Otter, Red Wheat, Vienna, and Caramel malts, and features featured the addition of honey and basil from Jillian’s family farm. Hopped with Perle and fermented with a British Ale yeast strain, the beer is described as a well-balanced beer, with a “nice sweetness which isn’t overpowering”, the basil is just present enough so you know it’s there… but aren’t overwhelmed. Unfortunately, GR informed us this morning the beer is already gone, but I’m not about to throw away this beautifully-written post on it!

• Oh, but Good Robot sent us the info on another new beer they’re releasing (thanks?), Dave & Morley, a “Coffee Brown”. Brewed with Pale, Victory, Franco-Belges Kiln Coffee, and Munich Dark malts, as well as some Flaked Oats, and hopped with Magnum and Willamette. A portion of Rwanda Gisuma cold-brewed coffee (from local Bottleneck Coffee) was also added (20 L in a ~2300 L batch), resulting in a wonderful blend of “toast, caramel, and chocolate, with an herbal and coffee finish”. The coffee in particular adds a fruity character, according to the brewery, as well as waffleberries. Look for this 6.3% ABV, 19 IBUs brew to debut early next week.

 

• Wicked week though it be in general, North Brewing may very well take the cake for goings on, with a couple re-releases, a very unique new beer, some extra-special new labels, and a tap takeover to boot! First, Wednesday of this week saw the return of two North beers. On the seasonal front, a December tradition continued with this year’s version of the Glenora Distillery Barrel-aged Strong Dark Belgian Ale, now formally known as Midnight. And in the occasional category, and just in time for the first birthday of Battery Park, the Dartmouth Dark is back, a lagered ale featuring Cannon cold-brew from Anchored Coffee, originally brewed for BP’s opening last year.​

• Next, you’ll find a brand new collaboration between North and Benjamin Bridge. Hinted at back in October by those in the know, Saison de Pinot is a mixed-fermentation beer that leverages 300 litres of must from BB’s pinot noir grapes. This must (sans skins to avoid unpredictable tannin contributions) was added to the beer when fermentation was almost complete, but after it was moved off the lees, giving the brewers maximum control over the blend. The complex inoculation included two Saison strains, with one being a wild isolate, along with a Lacto strain and, if it’s not too much to hope for, possibly some wild critters from the grape must. It comes in at 6.4% ABV and the tasting notes suggest red berry, light rose and hay with a vinous character and a tart dry finish to complement its effervescence. It was bottle conditioned and we’re told it should cellar well, so don’t be afraid to get one for now and one or more for a year or two down the road. North themselves have filled a Benjamin Bridge wine barrel with part of the batch, which they’ll age further before bottling in preparation for Battery Park’s second birthday party in 2017!

• And as if the beers themselves weren’t enough, North is also launching an entirely new look for their bottled offerings, the result of an ongoing project involving five local artists. Six brews will be seen in an entirely new light by early next week (four are in production now, the Farmhouse Red is on the way) with the new Artist Series of labels. Local painter and illustrator Julianne Harnish took on the Priority Pale and Headline Milk Stout. Graphic designer and artist Amy Corbett handled the Dark Sky Strong Dark and Midnight barrel-aged Strong Dark. Jillian Jackson of Jill & Jack Paper designed the new look for Gus’ 65m Ale that, for the observant, reveals shoutouts to many of the businesses in the area the North relies on. And Nicole G, who works in North’s bottle shop, but who is also a textile artist dabbling in watercolours and illustration, produced a new look for the Farmhouse Red Bière de Garde. Lastly, but not leastly, each label includes a short poem by 2011/12 Halifax Poet Laureate and artist/actor/musician/creator Tanya Davis. From now on, when you pick up a bottle of North beer, you’ll be picking up a piece of local art and culture.

• Those of you in the Fredericton area, keep your eyes peeled for a new beer from local brewery Bogtrotter – they’ve just released a small amount of 1/2 Cracked Nut Brown. This rich, full-bodied ale has a “moderate, persisting head” and features a “sweet, nutty-caramel flavour, with a hint of vanilla”, thanks to the addition of sliced almonds, crushed hazelnuts, and real vanilla bean in the fermentor (take note, those of you with nut allergies!). Weighing in at a very-drinkable 5% ABV, you should be able to find this one on tap at the James Joyce and the Hilltop, and will follow in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL stores within a few weeks.

• For fans of Picaroons who have been missing out on all the one-off beer releases at their Saint John General Store lately, good news – they brewed a new beer at their main brewery in Fredericton, which was launched late last week. The Vinyl Cut Black IPA is described as “full-bodied, roasty and hoppy”, taking the approach of blending characteristics of both an American IPA and a Stout. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook, it comes in at 8% ABV and ~90 IBUs. It’s now pouring on tap at the Roundhouse, the Picaroons taproom located at their brewery location in Devon, which opened last Friday. Currently serving pints and counter-service munchies and coffee, they’re not filling growlers for the time being, but should be in the very near future. Look for The Vinyl Cut to be pouring at other local establishments as well, soon.

• St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has released the 2016 edition of their annual Mummer’s Brew beer. 2016’s release is an Imperial Oyster stout, an 8.5% ABV, 50 IBU brew perfect for those cold winter nights of mummering. The base malt is enhanced with Carastan, Roast, and Black Patent malts for a jet-black colour and lots of roast, with a significant bittering charge from Pacific Gem hops. Featuring local adjunct ingredients, including buckwheat honey from G&M Family Farm in Placentia and PEI oysters provided by The Adelaide Oyster House, the beer also features figs, raisins, dates and prunes soaked in Lamb’s Dark Navy Rum added late in the process. Grab the beer on tap at YellowBelly and Adelaide now, with bottles available at the brewery and local NLCs today.

Gahan House Halifax has a new beer on tap, a German hybrid lager/ale Altbier. The 6.0% ABV beer uses some specialty malts for bread-like character and light chocolate notes. The use of Tettnang hops impart their characteristic spicy Noble properties. Grab the Alt on tap or in growlers to go from Gahan today, and check out their line-up of other seasonals including the Tommy’s Chocolate Orange and Night Vision Porter.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released a new beer with local iconic ingredients throughout. Balsam Blue is a 6.3% ABV lager, featuring the addition of Balsam to the brew, which shines through in both the flavour and aroma. Local blueberries were also added, imparting a light flavour finish to the beer. It is available on tap at the brewery for pints and takeaway (in a fliptop bottle), and can also be found on tap at Grand Banker in Lunenburg and 2 Downs Down in Halifax. And don’t forget to sign up for the Home Brewers Competition, as registration closes next Saturday.

Sober Island Brewing Company has been busy getting their expanded location at Sheet Harbour’s Henley House ready for the delivery of their DME 8 hl (7BBL) brewhouse in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Henley House will be open Thursday-Sunday this week from 4pm, for a few more pints of Christmas cheer. Catch their Oyster StoutBitter, and Mild Ale on tap, and celebrate with Henley’s annual Christmas Tea, Sunday 2-4pm. You can also catch Sober Island at the New Glasgow Farmers Market Saturday 9:00 – 1:00, and the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers Market Sunday 9:00 – 1:00.

Mill Street St. John’s has released a new seasonal this week, Downtownor Doppelbock. Originally brewed for monks to drink during fasting in lent (those tricky monks!), Mill Street’s take on the Doppelbock style resulted in a hefty 7.7% ABV dark lager, which boasts sweet malty and dark fruit flavours, but finishes fairly dry. The lower 24 IBU bitterness means that several can be enjoyed in a session without burning your taste buds. Grab a pint or growler waterside today.

Bulwark Cider is releasing a brand new offering next week, Rum Cider. Their Traditional cider was blended with barrel-aged dark rum to boost the flavour and ABV to the next level. The rum makes its presence felt through spicing and light caramel notes, building on the bright cider base. The 8.8% ABV blend is in the NSLC warehouse now, and will be available at their retail locations next week.

• Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear saved some late-harvest local oranges from the cold this week, and are using them in a special small-batch brew today, which also features local wild hops and malt from Horton Ridge Malt. The yet-unnamed brew will be available in the New Year at their retail and Farmers’ Market locations, as well as select taps in the Valley and HRM.

We’ve got yet another jam-packed weekend in the region. Be sure to check out our Calendar of Events Page for all of the scheduled events in our region, and if we’re missing anything, let us know!

• The tiniest brewery in Halifax is launching this weekend with a pair of pouring parties. Tidehouse will be on tap at Bar Stillwell today from noon, featuring their four core beers (Like a Motorcyc-ale, The Copper, Mild Thing, Golden Glacier), as well as a house-special 5.25% India Saison. And they’ll be doing it all over again at Good Robot tomorrow from noon with the Core Four, and a Spruced Red Ale. Learn more about Tidehouse from our Q&A with them in the summer, and stay tuned for the launch of their retail space, which could be as early as next weekend.

• While at Stillwell today, look for the return of Tideview Cider, with their Hyslop Crab Apple Cider. First introduced in March, the 7.2% ABV still cider will be served from the bartop, and features their own apples.

• As alluded to above, North Brewing will be celebrating their partnership with Battery Park today by kicking off BP’s first birthday weekend with a tap takeover. Those who have been following social media this week already know at least the first three taps and we expect to see the Saison de Pinot there as well. More taps may very well have been posted by the time you read this, so do check out Twitter (@BatteryBeerBar | @NorthBrewing ) and Facebook ( Battery Park Beer Bar | North Brewing Company) for more details. And congratulations to the folks at Battery Park on their first (of hopefully many) birthdays!​

• After plenty of teasing and anticipation, Saturday will mark the Maine Event Tap Takeover at Stillwell, featuring Bissell Brother Brewing and Orono Brewing each bringing 6 beers north to Halifax. From Bissell, expect to see Bucolia, LUX, Reciprocal, Substance, Swish, and Umbra, and OBC will be pouring Amorica, AOK, Dr. Quince, Ozone, Pocatello, and Van Life. Doors open at noon, and while no tickets are required, your $15 entrance fee includes a glass to keep and your first pour. The whole acbb gang will be there, so be sure to say hi!

• There’s a new event being hosted by New Brunswick Beer Tours in the New Year – BEERexploration Downtown Fredericton, on Saturday, January 28th. This 3-1/2 hour walking tour (1:00-4:30 pm) will include stops at several of Fredericton’s best beer-drinking establishments, with a total of six local beers (8 oz each) being poured. The cost of this event is by donation only, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Diabetes Association. If you plan on attending, please register here and make your donation in advance; a tax receipt will follow. Remember, this is a walking tour in January, so dress accordingly!

And a few more things…

– Moncton’s Acadie-Broue has a new beer on tap at their Bar Le Coude location at Universite de Moncton, Kacho Kolsch. The German-influenced hybrid lager/ale is only available on tap, so drop by for a pint.
– Breton Brewing has brought back their seasonal Storm Chaser Vanilla Stout, available on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and in licensees shortly.
– Shelburne’s Boxing Rock‘s U-889 Russian Imperial Stout is now available, with bottles at the brewery and hitting the shelves of the private stores shortly. Featuring coffee and vanilla, this is a perfect beer for sharing with friends around a cozy fire.
Petit-Sault has brewed up a fresh batch of their Canon Franchetti, a “Cappuccino Stout” (4.6% ABV, 25 IBUs) brewed with organic and fair trade coffee beans; look for its return sometime in January, with more details on distribution to follow, soon.
Red Rover‘s popular blueberry cider, Jingle Berry (7% ABV), is back just in time for the holidays; even better news, it’s now available at local ANBL stores in bottle form (750 mL).
River Valley Micro has a new beer, Rye Pale Ale, available exclusively on tap at the James Joyce Pub these days. At 6.1% ABV, it features light spicing from the aforementioned malt, and some citrus aromatics.
– Speaking of James Joyce, they recently tapped a special collaboration braggot, Axius Clay. At 7.5% ABV, it features a mixture of Honey Ale and Queen’s Nectar from Big Axe Brewery and Sunset Heights Meadery, respectively. It carbonated naturally in the cask over the course of several weeks, and the experiment was a glowing success. Expect to see more collaborations from these Fredericton-region producers in the future.
– And this evening at 6:00, JJ will be tapping the first casks of the Moosehead beers on the premises, including a Gingerbread Ale, and their popular Cask Ale, an English-style Bitter.

Well, it’s been a wet and snowy past couple of days, but the weekend – and better weather – is here! There’s plenty going on as usual in the beer world, so let’s dive right in…

Maybee Brewing has a new limited-edition beer in cans and on tap around Fredericton, Sumac Witbier. Brewed in the traditional sense for your typical Belgian Witbier, and fermented with a Witbier yeast strain, this brew features something different to tart things up – Sumac berries. The fruit is a hard, red-coloured berry with oil-rich hairs covering it. Maybee rinsed the oil off the berries to create a tincture, which was then added to the Witbier wort as it boiled; a total of 20 kg of Sumac cones were used in the 10 BBL (~11 hL) batch. A very small amount of cinnamon and cardamom were also added to the beer. The end result? A “very refreshing, light and slightly tart” Witbier, coming in at 5% ABV and approximately 20 IBUs. As mentioned, it’s available in cans at the brewery (as well as in growlers) and the Red Rover Ciderhouse, and you can also find it on tap at select establishments in Fredericton.

• Sticking with Fredericton, TrailWay has a couple of news items this week. For starters, they’ve confirmed that their beer will finally be available in cans, starting today at the brewery with the release of their American IPA, Hu Jon Hops (yes, that is a spelling change!) and hoppy session ale, Luster. More details will follow soon as to their canning schedule (which beers, when, etc.) and further distribution. And in the meantime, they’ve got a brand new beer available for pints and growler fills – Seeing Citra. This American IPA weighs in at 6.7% ABV and was hopped entirely with, yes, Citra, so expect plenty of tropical fruit and citrus. It’s available now on tap at the brewery, and should be popping up at better beer establishments around the city. Expect to see more one-hop “Seeing” IPA series in the future.

• The latest episode of the 902BrewCast podcast dropped earlier this week. The guys sat down with Angus, Doug, and Josh from Good Robot, and chatted everything from Busch Gardens, Short Circuit, Gilmore Girls, and even beer once or twice. Learn more about some cool upcoming beers, how they decide what to send us for tasting notes (“Hey Josh…”), and how to master social media (though it may be in chapter 3 of that book). Grab it from Stitcher, iTunes, or your favourite podcatching software. And subscribe now, so that December 13th’s 2 Crows episode downloads automagically while you sleep.

• Big congratulations to winners and entrants alike at the two homebrew competitions held on the weekend. Firstly, Gahan House’s Homebrewer’s Challenge winners: Clayton Harding, Jonathan Green, and William Panting, for their outstanding Winter Warmer style beers. Look for the scaled up version to hit the taps at Gahan in the coming months.

• And in Nova Scotia, the winners of the Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge were announced on Sunday. From 57 entries, the top three beers were chosen by a panel of local BJCP judges: David Pepper’s Risky Biscuits was the best Dark Mild, Mitch Kehoe’s Big Juice won in Double IPA, and Jeramy Slaunwhite’s Sour Cherry Hefeweizen took home top honours in Experimental Sour. Look for Best-in-Show Risky Biscuits to be brewed in Nyanza in the very near future, with release at January 12th‘s Fourth Annual Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration (tickets available now).

Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing an extremely interesting beer this weekend called, simply, The Norwegian. Brewed according to a traditional Norwegian Farmhouse Ale recipe adapted to the brewery’s equipment, it was mashed using an infusion made from locally harvested juniper sprigs and Hallertauer hops. But the real star of this brew is a unique strain of yeast from Norway known as Kveik that has been preserved and propagated for generations, brought across the sea to Lazy Bear by the eponymous Norwegian. Known to ferment at temperatures that are double what you’d see for most ales (upwards of 35 and in some cases over 40ºC!), it provides orange-peel and Christmas spice aromas and a distinct earthiness on the palate. The resulting beer should be like nothing else in the region. Bittered to 17 IBUs and coming in at 7.0% ABV, it will be available at the brewery and the Lazy Bear stall at the Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market, and a keg has been sent to Stillwell. It is in limited supply and won’t be brewed again until next year, so if you’re looking to broaden your beer horizons, you’ll want to act quickly on this one.

• Debuting at last night’s Tap Takeover at Battery Park was the conspiracy brew between Big Spruce, BP, and NorthBlood Donair Imperial Donair Meat Stout. At 7.0% ABV, this stout incorporated a small amount of donair meat in the mash, and was aged on 50 kilograms of raspberries. The resulting beer features a great mix of dark chocolate and raspberry notes, with only a hint of spicing from the meat. The idea of a meat-infused beer is grounded in a tradition of fortifying beers to increase essential minerals (Oyster Stout, anyone?), but is certainly a new take on it in our region. Learn more about Meat Stouts at the great Shut up About Barclay Perkins and Zythophile. BD IDMS is available on tap (and growler fills) now at Big Spruce and Battery Park, and will soon be available at your favourite watering hole.

• Following on the heels of last night’s release of the unholy Blood Donair conspiracy brew with Big Spruce and Battery Park, word from North Brewing this week brings us news of the first in their “Finite Series” of one off experimental brews. Not to be outdone by Lazy Bear with the Scandinavian influence (and the use of interesting ingredients!), this beer is called Ask and Embla, after the first humans in Norse mythology. It is a mixed fermentation rustic Saison containing a significant portion of oats in the grain bill, and also a generous amount of Timothy hay in the mash. If that weren’t far enough off the beaten path, it was then aged for three weeks on driftwood foraged in Cow Bay. Not too heavy at 5.2% ABV and 20 IBU, it is said to feature citrus and tropical flavours, with a subtle aroma of hay, a light brine character and a dry finish. Available, for now, only on tap at Battery Park, Stillwell, Little Oak and the Agricola Street Brasserie, the rest of the batch is currently being bottle conditioned and will be released for sale once it’s ready (we will certainly pass on word of its impending arrival when we receive it).

Red Rover has a few special releases planned for the Christmas season, as they’ve teamed up with Distillerie Fils du Roy for three different collaboration ciders. For three consecutive Fridays, starting on December 9th, a different cider will be released in a very limited amount – only 200 bottles for each style. Each will be priced at $16.50 per 750 mL bottle, with customers having the opportunity to pre-purchase all three for $45, on December 9th. All bottles must be picked up at the Ciderhouse in Fredericton, and sets are limited to three per person. Here are the details on the three styles, all of which are named after the three spirits that visit Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol:
Past (December 9th) – a 7.3% ABV dry crabapple cider with added vanilla and Crosby’s Molasses, combined with Fils du Roy Fort LaTour brandy.
Present (December 16th) – Red Rover’s wild blueberry cider infused with Gin Thuya; 7.3% ABV.
Future (December 23rd) – a 7.4% ABV, semi-dry floral cider featuring the addition of The Courailleuse, a Fils du Roy absinthe that has flavours of wormwood.

• Fredericton’s Bogtrotter is releasing a new beer on tap today – Bullrush Golden Ale. This “light and crisp”, straw-coloured 4.5% ABV English-style ale was hopped with Saaz and Northern Brewer, giving the beer soft notes of hop spiciness. It was fermented with a British Ale yeast strain, to help add light fruity aromatics. Look for it on tap at the James Joyce, and in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL stores.

•  The Saint John General Store location for Picaroons launched their newest-one off yesterday, a Roggenbier named City on Fire. A German ale traditionally brewed with a hefty portion of Wheat and Rye malts in the grist, Picaroons’ take also features the addition of real ginger. As with all one-offs, this 4.5% ABV brew is available for pints and growlers at the General Store only, while supplies last. Also, a reminder that the 5 Kings Restaurant & Picaroons Brewhouse, located in Saint Stephen, is now open. The inaugural brew on the system there hasn’t been completed yet, but look for that to happen soon.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has announced the details of their inaugural Home Brewing Competition. It is open to all local amateur brewers, though the number of entries is being capped at 20, and registration closes December 17th. One brewer may enter more than one beer ($40 per entry), but only one entry per brewer per style, please! Entrants may choose any BJCP style for their beer, provided they keep it under 9.0% ABV, and do not use any wild yeast. As part of the judging process, brewers will come to the brewery and give a short presentation on their beer, from the style and recipe choice, to the brewday itself. A slideshow with pictures is encouraged. During the presentation, the judging panel (made up of Saltbox Head Brewer Jeremy Fehr and local “experts in the field”), as well as fellow entrants, will be enjoying your beer, so be sure to bring enough to go around! In addition to the judging of the beer, positive remarks from your presentation will ensure you advance to the next round. After the initial rounds of presentations (taking place on subsequent Tuesdays in January at the brewery), the top beers will go onto a Final Five tasting February 7th, where you will present it to the Saltbox’s Pioneers Club, who will sample and give feedback on the beers alongside the judges,. The judge’s scoring, presentation and story, and Pioneers feedback all calculate the winning beer, which will be announced February 15th. The winning brewer will help Fehr to brew it on Saltbox’s big system, for release in the spring, and will be able to direct 10% of the sales of the beer to the charity of their choice. All of the details are available here, and you can download the registration form here. A few notes: the winning entry becomes the sole property of Saltbox brewing, and may not be brewed on a 1.2 hl or larger system going forward. Be sure to keep Feb 7 & 15 open, as you’ll need to be there to talk shop and win, but there will be food and beer, as well as lots of happy and thirsty beer fans!

• Congratulations to Western Newfoundland Brewing, who have now launched and are serving beer to thirsty fans in the region. Their first beer is Killdevil Pale Ale, named after the mountain in nearby Gros Morne National Park. Currently on tap at the Bonne Bay Inn in Woody Point, they will be expanding to other spots in the region in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook to see where they’ll be popping up next!

• And in a last-minute addition, Coastliner Craft Cider, New Brunswick’s newest cidery, is launching soon. They will be announcing the release date of their core brand, a 5.4% ABV cider made with “100% cold-pressed juice”, today at 11 am; we can expect to see bottles of this one available at ANBL stores within a week or two. We’ll have more details in the near future; in the meantime, check them out through the link above, and follow them along on Twitter for more updates.

Lots of events this week, and remember to check out our Calendar for everything on the horizon.

Tidehouse Brewing, our region’s newest (and one of its smallest) breweries, has released the details of its Launch Weekend, happening December 9th and 10th. From noon Friday, they will be taking over half of the taps at Stillwell Beer Bar, just a couple of blocks from Tidehouse. They will be pouring their four core beers (Like a Motorcyc-ale, The Copper, Mild Thing, Golden Glacier), in addition to a special one-off Hoppy Saison special to the Stilly crew. On Saturday, they’ll be doing it all again at Good Robot‘s taproom from noon, with the Core Four, plus a unique Spruced Red Ale for GR. After the draught launch, look for the Tidehouse retail spot to open in another week or so, for growler fills at 5187 Salter St.

• If you live in Fredericton and are looking for an excuse to go for a run this month, good news – The Tasters Craft Brewery Fun Run will take place on Saturday, December 10th. Starting at 2 pm at the King’s Place Mall, runners will run to and stop at several breweries/cideries during the day (Graystone, TrailWay, Picaroons, and Red Rover) before finishing off at the James Joyce. This is a very informal event, with no charge to run… just bring money to purchase beer/flights at each stop!

• Those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have confirmed the date for the Second Annual Christmas Beer Garden at the MarketSunday, December 18th. Starting early at 10 am, and continuing until 2:30 pm, your $26 ticket (available now) entitles you to a 16 oz glass and four beer tickets; additional beer tickets can be purchased for $7 each. Food will be available for purchase from vendors at the Market and can be taken into the Beer Garden.

• Tickets for next Spring’s Saint John Annual Beerfest have gone on sale this week. Being held Saturday, April 8th at Market Square in Uptown Saint John, the festival will feature more than 100 beers from 20+ breweries from across the Maritimes, as well as imports from across the pond. Food is included in your ticket, with a handful of local vendors providing their wares, while roaming entertainment from contortionists, fire eaters and stiltwalkers will keep you on your toes. Grab your tickets now, both general admission and VIP, allowing for entry 30 minutes earlier. The SJBF is a fundraiser for Ducks Unlimited and KV Old Boys, and will include a silent auction and 50/50 draw as well.

And a couple more things this week…

– Saint John’s Big Tide Brewpub has brought back their Gesner’s Deluxe Copper Ale this week. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV and 28 IBU, this beer is named in honour of Abraham Pineo Gesner, Nova-Scotian born physician and geologist, who was the inventor of kerosene, and the father of the modern petroleum industry. He was the founder of the first public museum in Canada, the Gesner Museum, which later became the New Brunswick Museum, in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Unfiltered has once again brought back their DOA (Double Orange Ale, 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs), a SMaSH DIPA brewed with all-Citra hops. This batch, being released at the brewery today at noon, also features 2-row malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, donated as a contribution to Unfiltered’s ongoing legal battle with the NSLC. And don’t forget, Charm School’s first Anniversary is being celebrated this Sunday, December 4th, with $5 pints all day, and special treats available from Salvatore’s Pizza.