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All posts for the month August, 2017

We’re entering the last week of August and, assumedly, most of us have our summer vacations behind us. That’s fine, there’s still plenty of gorgeous weather and beautiful beer to enjoy, not necessarily in that order. So grab a pint of your favourite local brew and let’s see what’s going down in the local scene this week.

Split Rock Brewing has opened their doors at 119 Main Street in Twillingate, NL. Their 500 litre (4 BBL) system has been working overtime, and they are ready to welcome thirsty visitors to the Northernmost brewery in Atlantic Canada. The brewery and Stage Head Pub are open daily 2-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday, Sunday hours TBA). They are fully licensed for sample flights, pints, and growler fills of their six beer: Combines Ale, 5.3%; Bluff Head Bitter, 4.6%; Gateway IPA, 6.7%; Red Sky Red Rye, 4.9%; Alli’s Big Brown Ale, 5.6%; Black Island Stout, 6.1%. Keep an eye out for our Profile of them coming next week, and check their FB, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news. Congratulations, Team Split Rock!

• Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewery has been in operation for a little over two years now, since officially launching in July of 2015. Owner/brewer Marc Melanson has confirmed that the brewery will be expanding in the future, moving from a 2 bbl (230 L) brewhouse in his garage to a much larger brewery in a commercial space in nearby Dieppe. Renovations are currently underway, with the goal being a brewery with an attached taproom for pints and growler fills; a canning line will also be purchased. Other details are being kept silent for now, but stay tuned to their social media accounts for updates. Congratulations to the Flying Boats team!

• After obviously slacking off and only releasing two new beers last week, the crew at 2 Crows is back at it with a bevy of bevvies coming your way. Released earlier this week is Invisible Touch, a 4.9% Brett Saison, a light-bodied beer fermented using a blend of several strains of Brettanomyces yeast. Dry hopped with Azacca and Simcoe, resulting in a citrusy and stonefruit notes to complement the dry body and funky notes from the wild yeast. This small batch is only available at the brewery’s tasting room, so best drop by today (and you can check out what the heck they’re doing with 200kg of peaches!!).

• Promising to hit the taps at 2 Crows today or tomorrow (once a draught line comes clear), is the final keg of Smackwater Jack, an American Farmhouse Ale, conditioned on quince fruit. Featuring a grist of Pilsner malt with Wheat (both malted and raw) and a touch of Oats, lightly hopped with Calypso and Centennial, the beer was fermented with an American Farmhouse blend of yeasts and has sat for seven months on the fruit to allow the farmhouse/barn funkiness to develop. This final keg was allowed to carbonate naturally using Champagne yeast, allowing a tighter carbonation. Keep an eye on their social media for the tapping announcement. Ed note: it was tapped Friday at 1PM, so get down there now!

• And as soon as there are two taps available (we’re guessing late this weekend/early next week, depending on how thirsty y’all are), there will be a pair of brand new pilot brews available.  Pancho and Lefty are both Pale Ales fermented with Brett, with the same malt bill (Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and Oats), and kettle-hopped with Belma and Simcoe. The specs are also identical, at 6.2% ABV and 23 IBU, but the similarities end there. Pancho was conditioned on whole mangoes, and dry-hopped with AzaccaLefty skipped the fruit, and was heavily dry-hopped with Enigma. Both beers end up being quite dry and funky with tropical notes, with Pancho taking it to another level with the stonefruit and tangerine flavours, and Lefty picking up berry notes from the Enigma. Again, these will be for on-site enjoyment only, and announced via social media.

• And rounding out the 2 Crows news this week is a preview of their Promiseland Double IPA. Dropping next Friday, Sept 1, this seasonal beer features a Pale malt base (with Oats and Honey Malt), fermented with London Ale III, heavily hopped late in the boil, active fermentation, and then dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe. At 8.3% ABV and 64 IBU, “This beer is a juice bomb!” proclaims Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor. Citrus, stonefruit, tangerine are found throughout, with a soft mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, and smooth bitterness. As with their other seasonals (Fantacity and Midnight Mood), the beer will be available at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans, and will likely be available at the private beer stores in HRM as well.

• After the success of their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown, Big Spruce is following up with a new variation of the same beer. For Peach’s Sake! features the addition of, you guessed it, organic peach puree. Generously hopped with Cascade, Centennial and El Dorado, with an addition of lactose powder to slightly boost the mouthfeel and sweetness of the beer, it clocks in at 6.5% ABV and 52 IBUs. Available for pours and growlers at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, you should also be able to find it on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Saint John Ale House. Look for two more iterations to come in the near future, each featuring a different fruit addition.

• And speaking of Big Spruce, a couple more things to pass on this week: owner Jeremy White sat down with the gents from the 902 BrewCast (happy now, guys?) recently, and the first part of that chat dropped on Tuesday. Learn about the origins of the brewery, from buying the farmstead using a Nicaraguan Phone Call (also a possible future beer name?), their first beers, their homebrew competition, White’s open letter to Nova Scotia (what’s changed and what’s not since its publication 10 months ago), and much more! Listen to the first half now, and prepare yourself for the second half, coming September 5th.

• And as if you need another reason to visit Nyanza, drop by next Saturday, September 2nd, as there will be another screening of the Nova Scotia craft beer documentary Sociable!, at Big Spruce at 7PM. It will be taking place at their new production brewery across the road from their original brewery and beer patio. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand, and you can enjoy some beer and food while you watch the film. And stay the night nearby, so you can pop back to the brewery on Sunday the 3rd for a Pig Roast, 12-5PM.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new cider blend late last week at their Agricola Street taproom. The Fuzz features their Foundation apple blend at its base, with the final 25% of the volume comprised of cryo-extracted peach wine. For the uninitiated (we count ourselves in that boat!), the cryo-extraction process entails freezing the peach juice to gently remove water, while maintaining the great aromatic and flavour profile and increasing the sugar (aka fermentable) content. And unlike many apple/fruit blends that feature blending of the secondary fruit after fermentation (diluting the cider and adding sweetness), the higher gravity peach juice was fermented first, and then blended and cold conditioned with the finished cider for two weeks. Before packaging, the cider was fizzified first using Nitrogen, and then CO2, with the aim to create a smaller bubble and lighter carbonation level. All of these extra steps result in a smooth 6.5% ABV cider with soft mouthfeel and flavour and aroma of not only peach, but also apricot and pineapple. Grab a glass today!

• Some beer drinkers at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay have been asking for “the lightest one you’ve got” since the brewery opened, and they’ve now got the perfect beer as an answer! A Kölsch, Leitest Von Veigott (if you don’t get it, say the name with your worst German accent) was brewed with Pilsner malt, and hopped to 18 IBUs with Perle and Magnum. Pale-coloured and easy-drinking as planned, at 5.5% ABV, you can find it at Foghorn for growlers and pints, and at select accounts. Also recently, the brewery introduced Lola, a “Tropical Pale Ale” featuring 90 lbs of mango puree (20% in the boil, 80% in secondary) and dry-hopped with Citra and Vic Secret for even more tropical fruit character. Kegs of this beauty sold out extremely fast, so you may be able to find it on tap if you’re lucky (hint: seen at the James Joyce in Fredericton last night).

• Bottles of Hammond River beer are officially here! Both the Hop Flash IPA and Blood Orange Hefeweizen are now available in 500 mL bottles at the taproom, as well as at the KV ANBL and some stores in Saint John. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the SJ area – a recent delivery was sent out to ANBL stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex, so expect to see these pop up very soon, with this weekend being extremely likely. Look for distribution to expand with time, and other beers will be bottled very soon as well.

Grimross plans on releasing their newest Belgian IPA sometime this morning at the brewery in Fredericton. After the high popularity of their last Belgian IPA, Scratch #2, they took the recipe and tweaked it. Hopped with Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus, it was fermented with the Belgian strain used in their Cheval D’Or Saison, resulting in spicy phenolics and fruity esters expected in many Belgian styles, and fruity, tropical notes from the use of American hops. Simply named Belgian IPA, grab some by the pour or growler fill at the brewery, or on tap at any fine establishments where Grimross beers are served. And in other Grimross news, they have started their expansion into the unit next door to othe brewery on Bishop Dr., which means more brewing equipment, a larger taproom area, and a patio space.

• Back in June, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought us a fruited sour wheat that broke the mold, at least locally, for what kind of weight that style could carry. Originally touted at 6.2% ABV, as of noon today, Sour MFer will be available once again at the brewery and neighbouring tied house Charm School Pub, this time sporting a lab-verified ABV of 6.4%. Still featuring a big bouquet and flavour from aging on tart cherry puree, and still with a super solid body, we expect it to be just as dangerously thirst quenching as the first batch back in early summer. And what better for the dog days of August?

• Lots of action is going on these days up the Eastern Shore of the province at Sober Island Brewery. Firstly, a keg of the 5% ABV smooth and malty Altbier they did up for the Horton Ridge event in May hit the taps at the neighbouring Henley House earlier this week. You’ll have to keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook to know when more one-offs like these go on tap. And with limited availability in HRM, for now, anyway, visiting the brewery for a crowler or Henley House for a pint is your best bet to get your mitts on some Sober Island brew. Your next best bet is the Beer Truck, doing the rounds at Farmers Markets, locations in the HRM and elsewhere, its current assignment is also best determined through social media. Hopefully we’ll see some wider availability in the fall, when plans are to start canning beer for distribution, including the private stores in Halifax! And lastly, look for an interesting run of beers to come out of the foraging series now under development; looks like one of the first ones might be a Chanterelle Mushroom-laced Mild. Keep your eyes peeled for these to appear as we move into fall.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing their newest Double IPA, Voyager. This hazy, light-coloured beer was hopped entirely with the Australian Galaxy, a fantastic variety that gives the beer aromas and flavours that are “juicy, pungent, and tropical”. Quite drinkable despite the 7.8% ABV, it will be available in cans exclusively at the brewery taproom as of this morning at 11 am; you can also purchase tasters, pints and growlers there, and it will be popping up at a few TW tap accounts across Fredericton.

• In Good Robot news, they’re releasing The Smashing, the fifth – and last – beer in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. The grist is made up of Golden Promise, a Pale malt from England, and the featured hop is Topaz, an Australian variety gaining in popularity thanks to its light tropical fruit characteristics, as well as resinous notes. Fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast to boost the fruitiness even more, it comes in at 7% ABV and 52 IBUs; available at the GR taproom, as always. Continuing on, next week’s Brewsday Tuesday is Virgo Saison, a slightly-stronger-than-planned “Saison/Grisette” brewed by assistant brewer Irene; hopped with Tettnanger, and finishing quite dry thanks to a strong fermentation, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun entry is Corn Chili Sin Carne, which is their Leave me Blue with Yucatan Recado Rojo spice from local coffee shop Cafe Aroma Latino added to the cask, as well as fresh Nova Scotia-grown tomatoes and red peppers from Den Haan Greenhouses.

• Since the release of Cryo Hops – concentrated lupulin powder that gives intense hop aroma and flavour, while at the same time minimizing the amount of beer absorption and loss from the hop additions – breweries in our area have been utilizing them in some recent brews. Tidehouse has added their name to the list with the release of Cryo Me a River. This 7.2% ABV, 35 IBUs IPA was brewed with Canadian 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo hops. The brewery describes the Cryo hop character in this beer as having “juicy tangerine, papaya, and pine notes, with a light body and soft bitterness”. It’s available now at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room only, for growler fills and tasters.

Propeller in Halifax continues its Friday cask series with a double dry-hopped, cask conditioned Double IPA (whose recently tweaked recipe already features three times the dry hops!) all ready to be tapped today at 5 PM at their Gottingen Street location. Drop by for a pint, and you get to keep the glass!

• If you’re into the live music scene here in Halifax, you probably already know that next week (Aug 27 – Sep 3) is the 8th annual Halifax Urban Folk Fest (HUFF), one of the premiere musical events in this city. This year’s lineup features some absolutely huge names in Canadian songwriting: Ron Hawkins, Art Bergman, Moe Berg (totally an adult now), Skydiggers, and John K. Samson as well as many other local and not-so-local artists curated by the Carleton’s Mike Campbell. As presenting sponsor of this great week of live music, Propeller has stepped up and brewed a new beer in their Gottingen Small Batch Series. The official beer of HUFF, it’s in the Festbier style, the classic beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, with a golden colour and deep, malty aroma. Fermented with Czech Pils yeast and given an extended layering, it will have a clean and crisp character for supreme drinkability. You’ll find it starting next week at all HUFF venues, including The Carleton, Timber Lounge, Seahorse Tavern, Marquee Ballroom, Tempo Food + Drink, Stubborn Goat Waterfront, Loose Cannon, The Anchor and Wooden Monkey.

Plenty to do around our region this weekend!

• If you’re planning to be in Truro (the Hub of Nova Scotia!) this evening, you picked a good night! From 4 – 9PM downtown you’ll find an event called BBQ, Beer, & Blues going on at Inglis Place and environs. Featuring eight Nova Scotia craft breweries, each paired up with a local shop, along with BBQ and live music, it’s sure to be a good night. A paltry $15 gets you 8 tickets, each good for a 4 oz sample at any of the craft beer stations. Participating breweries are Nine Locks, Saltbox, Tatamagouche, Sober Island, Meander River, Schoolhouse, Good Robot and Garrison. Even better, 100% of the proceeds will go towards three charitable organizations: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wayward Cats Society, and the Colchester Food Bank.

• Attention Belgian Beer Fans!! For those of us who are enjoying the recent foray local breweries have been making into the farmhouse, sour, and wild side of brewing, we would be well served to try the originators of many of these styles from Belgium. We’ve got a hot tip for you that will save you airfare to Brussels: Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has received a pair of pallets of draught and bottles straight from Belgium, and will be holding a Lambic-fest this Sunday, August 27th. From 1PM until late, the twelve taps will be pouring straight and mixed lambics, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, and Quadrupels, with a bottle list putting many bars in Brussels itself to shame, with Cantillon, Boon, De Cam, and even some Trappist Westvleteren XII. Check the full beer list here, and prep yourself for Belgian beer and food all day. For those who are keen to get in early and enjoy a few beers in a quiet environment, there were a handful of Earlybird tickets made available. Oh, and stay tuned to Stilly’s (and ours) social media for the details on the Oxbow Tap Takeover at both HQ and the Beer Garden, now happening Sept 8 and 9.

• Bertrand, NB, will be hosting the Oktoberfest des Acadiens next week, Aug 31-Sept 3. Featuring a Grand Tasting by Acadie-Broue’s Patrice Godin on the 31st, and the Oktoberfest itself on Friday and Saturday, it will be a great weekend of beer, drink, and food. Check out the full program here!

A few more beers and news to keep you up to date:

Bishop’s Cellar was facing an unscheduled issue with a construction crane moving in their area this weekend, but due to the short notice provided to businesses in the area the move has been rescheduled. To when? We don’t know; but we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up when it’s announced!
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has successfully obtained their taproom license and is no longer limited to serving you tasting glass after tasting glass in your quest to cop a buzz. Full pints are now available in their taproom, so head on down!
Maybee has a new beer in cans and on tap, Owd Bob, a kettle-soured Brown ale (5.9% ABV); we haven’t received any details, but you can grab some cans or a growler at the brewery, and it seems to be popping up on tap at select accounts across NB.
Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their crowd favourite Hefeweizen, RDF Hefe (5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs); you can find it on tap now at the brewpub on Harbour Dr.
– As we mentioned last week, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is ramping up their bottling line (read, home-made filler), and these oversized stubbie bottles are now available to the public. The Average Joe Wheat Beer, Big Stink IPA, and Sweet Little SIPA are all available at the brewery now, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Help the RH crew celebrate the launch with some live music at the brewery tomorrow evening, with duo “Just Us” taking the stage at 9PM.
– Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub has released a new beer this week, Barefoot Sailor Session IPA. The copper-coloured beer was loosely based on the CBANS Collaboration Ale from earlier this year, but lighter in body and hopped up, coming in at 3.7% ABV, and a robust 80 IBU. You’ll have to drop by their Water Street location to find out more!
Schoolhouse is also in full swing with their Cask Friday event, this week they’ll be tapping a test batch of their forthcoming seasonal Pumpkin Ale at today at 4 PM in Windsor.

Stellarton’s A.J. Leadbetter is no stranger to small business. His father owned and operated a painting business in Stellarton for 60-some-odd years, after which AJ ran the family shop himself until a fire severely damaged the storefront in 2015. Meanwhile, he also expressed a love for music, playing guitar in bands around Pictou County for the better part of the last decade. After discovering craft beer and developing a home brewing hobby, AJ spent some time working at Uncle Leo’s in Lyon’s Brook, where he gained an appreciation for the processes and work involved in a production brewery. Now, he’s blending his entrepreneurial spirit and musical bent along with his love of beer and an intensely DIY approach to bring a second brewery to the PC, this one “in town” on Bridge Avenue in Stellarton in the building that formerly housed his family’s paint shop. Backstage Brewing Co. is built around the idea of bringing folks backstage, to see the show behind the show. AJ has been busily building his brewery over the last several months, and is poised to start selling beer in September. We reached out to ask him our usual gamut of questions and get the story behind Backstage Brewing.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the world of beer?
I started home brewing a few years ago after my friend Seth got me into it. Started out brewing a few kit beers before getting bored and wanting to get in deep. I’m a bit of a foodie so that desire to create food led to wanting to create beers.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Prior to getting into brewing beer we used to do chicken wing parties. Then we introduced my beer to these parties and the reception to them was great. It was that support that sparked the fire to get going on a microbrewery.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
We have 4-5 that will be in our core line-up. Daydreamer is a pale ale that comes in at 4.8% and 21 IBU. Hangover Helper is an American Pale, 5.3% and 40 IBU; light-bodied and packed with flavor. Headliner is big juicy IPA. It’s 6.3% and 60 IBU. Gemini is a DIPA. 8% and 100+ IBU. It’s big! It’s bitter! And surprisingly easy to drink! Nunmoar Black IPA is 6.6% and 75 IBU. Roasted, Hoppy, and Black. How much more black can it be? None.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
Right now, our plan is to sell the majority of the beer out of the brewery: we’ll be offering growler fills of our beers, and operating a taproom, located in the same building as the brewery. Once all our permits are in place, we will have 12 taps of Nova Scotia craft beer, with 4-5 taps reserved for Backstage Brews.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t have any local tap accounts lined up but have had interest in Halifax.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
Our tanks are installed and we’ve been working on filling them. That will hopefully have us selling our products for early September, when we’re hoping to do a soft launch.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I’ve been working for Uncle Leo’s since November 2016. What started as hanging out at the brewery turned into a full time job. Karl and Rebecca have been very good to me. The experience/knowledge I’ve gathered while working in a commercial brewery is kind of priceless. We purchased our brew house from Peter at North Brewing. Peter and Josh have been great. The craft beer community in Nova Scotia is very helpful.

In terms of putting the brewery and business together, my wife Beth’s parents, Wayne and Lynn, have been instrumental. Wayne is our head of construction and Lynn is our bookkeeper.

What type of system are you be brewing on?
It’s a 2.5bbl Psychobrew system. We are hoping to produce 250-300bbl this year.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
It’s the classic “homebrewer turned pro brewer” story. I homebrewed and people enjoyed the finished beers. Beth has been my biggest supporter and really pushed me to make this happen.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Honestly, I love big hoppy beers. West coast-style IPAs being my favorite. I never seem to grow tired of them.

Do you have a website, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page?
We have no website at this point, we have a Facebook page here, that just went live in the last couple weeks. We also have an instagram account, @backstagebrewingco

We’ve been totally focused on making the brewery happen. The social media presence will come. Beer first.

Anything else you’d like to share? We’d love pass it along.
We look forward to getting our beers out there for people to enjoy. Thanks for the support so far!

Thanks to AJ for taking the time to answer our questions about Backstage Brewing and letting us know what he’s got in the works. We’ll be keeping our collective ear to the ground for an official opening announcement and we’ll share it with you as soon as we know. Meanwhile, the best way to follow AJ’s progress is on Instagram where you can see the hard work, creativity and skill that’s going into his brewery and taproom. You’ll also have a chance to hear a more extensive interview with AJ by the gang from 902 BrewCast, currently scheduled to drop on September 19th.

Happy Friday y’all! We are deep into August now, and the weather in our region has been gorgeous, which bodes well for a healthy hop and grain harvest next month. Let’s take a minute to toast the hard working farmers and growers who keep the brewers fully stocked with great ingredients!

Tatamagouche Brewing is on the lookout for a Head Brewer! Having expanded several times during their first three years in operation, they are looking for an experienced brewer to join their ranks, and help them keep up with the great demand for their beer across the province (and beyond). In addition to day-to-day brewing tasks, familiarity with Quality Control, recipe development, cellaring, and maintenance are also requirements. As in all breweries of this size, the ability to wear many hats, and communicate with co-workers in the brewhouse is key! If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out the full job posting here, and fire off an email to Matt Kenny.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company released the latest cider in their Something Different series on the weekend, Raspberry and Rooibos. This 6.7% unfiltered sparkling cider begins with a dry cider base fermented over Red Delicious skins, blended with fresh juice from local, handpicked, raspberries. The blend was then cold-conditioned with Red Rooibos loose leaf tea from their neighbours at Just Us! Coffee. The resultant deep pink cider showcases a tannic structure, with plenty of fresh raspberry flavour and aroma, and a light earthiness from the tea. As with all of their Something Different releases, Annapolis is donating $0.50 from each sale to a local charity, with the Wolfville Children’s Centre being the current beneficiary.

• 90 minutes down Highway 101 from Wolfville is Smiths Cove, home to Lazy Bear Brewing. They have upped the ante this week with the release of Sour Punch Kettle Sour. Featuring a similar hop profile to their Punch Session IPA, this 5.0% ABV Pale first underwent a controlled souring using Lactobacillus, before finishing fermentation with an ale yeast. During conditioning, it was generously dry-hopped with El DoradoIdaho 7, and Olicana, for “a nice balance of tart and tropical fruity from those hops”, according to the brewery. The best way to grab Sour Punch, and its little sister Punch (which we understand will be back shortly), is at Lazy Bear’s Thursday evening Growler nights, and at their Annapolis Royal Farmers & Traders Market stall Saturday from 8AM.

Think Brewing, in New Brunswick’s Southwest region, has added a new beer to their roster, featuring all New Brunswick hops. Named after the area in which they are located, Tweedsider Pale Ale features 2016 harvest Centennial and Columbus hops from Southan Farms and Cascade hops from Lakeview Farm in Think’s neighbouring town of Harvey. Described as a “Classic ‘C’ hop Pale Ale”, with Columbus as bittering and plenty of late Cascade and Centennial for a bright citrus fresh aroma. The area of Tweedside got its name after the River Tweed in Scotland. Tweedsider can be found on tap at The Loch in Harvey (also adjacent to where those Cascade hops were grown), Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and Graystone in Fredericton.

• Over on the western side of PEI, Moth Lane has a new beer available, this one with a name derived from folklore. Called Sidehill Gouger, apparently after a creature said to roam the dunes next to the brewery that has evolved shorter legs on one side of its body, it’s a wheat and barley beer brewed with an American yeast. At 5% ABV and 11 IBU, it should have a clean flavour profile and a refreshing character, perfect for the tail end of summer.

• HRM’s North Brewing sees the release of the second beer in their Finite Series today, with the launch of Oh My Darlin, a Clementine Pale Ale. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it’s been in development for quite some time. Leveraging a stainless tank from Battery Park, it underwent a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces claussenii for six months before being dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and packaged into bottles and kegs where it conditioned for another 1.5 months. Described as dry , with a “brilliant” brett funk and notes of clementine, this is an extremely limited release, with only 850 bottles (650 mL) and 3 kegs produced in total. As of noon today you’ll find it at both North bottle shops, and on tap at Battery Park and Stillwell as long as it lasts. So if you love the funk, you know what to do.

• Things are coming together for Split Rock Brewing in iconic Twillingate, NL, with their opening fast approaching. As they count down the weeks and days until launch, they are looking to expand their team, looking for bartenders and servers for their on-site taproom. If you are looking for an excuse to go back home, or want a new adventure where you can watch icebergs and whales from behind the bar, get in touch with the Split Rock family in person at 119 Main Street or via social media.

• Down Digby way in Nova Scotia, Roof Hound is ready to begin another new era for the brewery with the impending arrival of bottles to the packaging mix. Their first offerings in this format will be the Sweet Little SIPA session IPA, at 4.5% ABV, and their aptly-named (for all the right reasons), Big Stink IPA at 6.4% ABV. They’ve gone with the swankily retro 500 mL stubby format and if you check out social media you’ll see their cunningly designed counter pressure bottle filler. Speaking of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), that’s how you’ll best find out when these puppies (yes, we went there) will be available; they’re still technically waiting on NSLC approval after obtaining the nod on recyclability. Once they’ve got clearance, you’ll find the bottles available at the brewery and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar for now, with other avenues potentially developing over time.

• If you’re keeping score on the wonderful things that have already come out of the foedres at 2 Crows Brewing, you’ll have likely notched a win for the Low Point Barrel-aged Burundi Coffee. If you’ve idly wondered what that lovely stuff might taste like if someone had the presence of mind to brew some up and put it in a beer, it turns out you’re not alone. Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing got their collective grubby paws on some of that lovely coffee (no doubt at the mental, emotional, and possibly physical expense of Jeremy Taylor) and put it into an American Porter they’re calling Low Tide Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee Porter (you will be forgiven for ordering “Low Tide”). The grist for this 5.5% ABV brew was comprised of a 2-row malt base, Carafa II for color, and Pale Chocolate malt for roasty and chocolate notes, while the hop side features Magnum for a present, but only just, bitterness, and Bramling Cross for some red fruit and lemon flavour. Ideally this will provide an excellent platform for the sweet, boozy and vanilla components of the coffee. Release is expected to take place this coming Wednesday, August 23rd at 1 PM, where they’ll have a mere 350 bottles (500 mL) available, so if you’re interested, you’d best step lively – once they’re gone, they’re gone!

• And demonstrating how multiple people can have the same great idea and yet execute it quite differently, there’s another beer featuring that 2 Crows/Low Point Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee available today! Debuting at last weekend’s Seaport Beerfest, and now available to the public, is a little collab our very own Chris did with the fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing. Switch Hitter is a 4.5% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light, mostly-Pilsner based malt profile, hopped to 35 IBU with Hallertau Blanc, and then fermented with a blend of yeasts (both clean and wild). A bit more H. Blanc was added during active fermentation, and the beer sat on several ounces of the foedre-aged coffee for a week before packaging. The resultant beer shows a bit of yeast-derived funkiness, with some bright hop notes and coffee flavour. With two kegs poured at the Brewnosers/Ladies Beer League Tap Local table last weekend, there’s just one keg available at 2 Crows today, for on-site enjoyment only (aka, no cans or growlers). Be sure to chirp Chris on Untappd or Twitter to let him know what you think…

• With the very many new TrailWay beers that have been hitting shelves and taps this past summer, it’s actually kind of surprising that they haven’t done a true SMaSH beer… until now! Lomah was released earlier this week, and features a grist comprised of 100% Pilsner malt, and a hop schedule made up entirely of Columbus. A hop variety that every brewer is familiar with, Columbus has been around for many years, and always brings more to the table than expected. Lomah in particular is described as “dank, spicy, and surprisingly tropical and fruity”, and weighs in at 6.3%. Available now in cans, pints and growlers at the brewery, TW is calling it “crisp, clean, and completely crushable”.

• As usual we’ve got plenty to tell you about with regards to Good Robot in Halifax’s North End this week. First, the summer tradition continues with yet another new brew on the Gastroturf serving as Cask in the Sun this afternoon. This time it’s Leave Me Blue Popcorn, their Kentucky Corn Beer with house made caramel and lactose added to push it in a caramel corn direction. Next, this weekend will see the release of an almost-new Alpha Brew, previously released as a Beta Brew by Assistant Brewer Jake DeWolfe as his first solo brew at GR. El Espinazo del Diablo (the Devil’s Backbone, after a Guillermo del Toro film) is a Mexican Lager weighing in at 5.8% ABV and a light 14 IBU. With a grain bill of 2-row and Vienna malts and flaked corn, the noble hop Tettnanger for flavour, and the addition of both lime zest and jalapeño peppers for added interest, this is a light, but slightly hazy lager that should be quite refreshing. And lastly, this week’s Beta Brewsday on August 22nd is a collaboration between Beta system queen Kelly Costello and Jana Muise of Motion Bay Brewing (original name: Killick Stone), soon to be open in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. This is a hoppy one called Stella Ella Oh La La with 2-row, Vienna and Flaked oats making up the malt side, for plenty of body and a little haze. On the hop side, there was a bittering jolt of Cascade out of the gate, and then a triple dry hop of Citra at 2 days, Ella (formerly known as Stella) at 4 days, and Citra again at 6 days! At a super-sessionable 4.5% ABV, but a healthy 56 IBU this very well might qualify as a NE Session IPA. There’s only one way to find out and that’s to be at GR next Tuesday when it’s tapped!

Woody Point is located on Newfoundland’s West Coast, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park. That’s where Galliott Studios, the officially unofficial taproom for Western Newfoundland Brewing Company, is located. The cafe/gallery/pottery studio/bar is also home to the Writers at Woody Point event taking place August 15-20th. With readings by authors, live music, and celebration of written and spoken word, the event has also been the perfect time for WNLBC to release a new beer, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the House of Anansi Press. The 3.5% ABV Ginger Wheat Ale features additions of Millet and Sorghum in the mash, as a nod to the legend of Anansi, an African folktale. Complementing the ginger, are locally-foraged Wild Rose and Wild Mint, collected by local group Northern Food Craft. The beer is currently on tap at Galliott Studios, and we don’t expect it will last beyond the weekend, so drop by today for a pint and story!

What’s on the go in the next couple of weeks?

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is throwing their annual Block Party tomorrow, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. With an open-air artisan market, the Most Wanted Pawn Shop’s Retro Video Game parlour, great food, and their own sodas pouring, there is something for everybody. This free event will also feature live music all day, from noon until late night. Check out the full details here, and drop by for a right good time tomorrow!

• Next Sunday, August 27th, the crew from Charlottetown’s HopYard want to take you on an Island Wide Brewery Tour! Meeting at HopYard at noon, the bus will head up West to Moth Lane for a visit, then it’s off to BarNone for a pint, before heading back to town for a pint and bite at HopYard. The fun continues with a visit to PEI Brewing Company, before ending (or just beginning?) the night at Upstreet. Tunes and Trivia will be on the go to keep you entertained between stops. Tickets are available at HopYard now for just $50+tax.

And one last mention before we leave you to enjoy your weekend and, hopefully, some of the exciting releases that are coming this week:

• ANBL is asking its customers for feedback about Online Shopping. Until August 30th at midnight, visit the online survey to have your say. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will, if you provide your email address, enter you in a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards from ANBL.

Rothesay’s newest brewery, Long Bay Brewery, launched with a soft opening in late June. Owned by husband and wife team Sean Doyle and Julie Young, the brewery has spent the summer filling growlers of their two flagship beers for locals and tourists passing through. We recently chatted with Sean, who is also the brewer, to find out a little more about what makes Long Bay tick, and what they have planned for thirsty New Brunswickers in the coming months…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We both grew up in the area and are here to stay. We spend most of our free time chasing our three sons around, tending our large vegetable garden, and taking care of our chickens.

How did you get into the world of beer?
When craft beer first started to become available it was tough to come by, and we didn’t necessarily have the money to spend on it either, so we had to take matters into our own hands. After a few years goofing around with brewing kits, I built an electric all grain system at our house to really dial in a few recipes. I spent a big part of my career as a biologist, so I really connected well with brewing and became deeply interested in the biology and chemistry involved in making good beer. With my love for the craft, and Julie’s experience in customer service, we decided to make the jump.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Our culture here is all about making the best beer we can, by using high end ingredients. I know this sounds like your same old story, but we take it to great lengths. For instance, we only use liquid cultures of yeast, we choose to use specialized imported grain by the bag instead of solely 2-row, and we use really high quality hops from a local supplier that are spot-on. This mindset certainly isn’t cheap, but when I was home brewing I decided pretty early on that if I was going to put in 10+ hours brewing a batch, I wasn’t going to do it without the best ingredients I could get. We definitely brought that same ethos with us here to the brewery.

Long Bay Brewery, 82 Marr Rd, Rothesay, NB

Can you tell us about the beers you’ve launched with? Any plans for seasonals or one-offs in the works?
At first we are offering two core beers:

Bantam APA – This is a recipe we had brewed at home for years. It’s a 5.5% ABV Pale Ale that has huge hop aroma, but is quite low in bitterness (40 IBUs). It’s a very approachable, dry beer that we always had on hand at home in both the winter and summer months, and it became a staple style for us. We use Cascade and Centennial hops supplied by Darlings Island Farm, where the owner (Josh Mayich) pelletizes them under low temperatures before packaging, which really preserves the hop oil and makes for a really unique aroma in the final beer. We also use Citra, which is an amazing hop for any hop forward ale, in our opinion.

Chalice Belgian Ale – This beer is a super dry, deceivingly strong beer that was also a popular beer for us at home. To me, yeast selection is just as important to a Belgian beer as hop selection is to make an IPA, so it took years for me to find the right strain. So, to make this beer exactly the way I liked in bigger batches, I had to send my house Belgian yeast strain to Escarpment Labs to be grown up to commercial sizes. It’s a 6.5% ABV Belgian Blond ale, with all of the aromatic characters you would expect from a Belgian beer. It has been really well received with our customers so far, so we will definitely keep this in the core lineup.

We have a 7% ABV IPA and a Berliner Weisse in the works as well, and I hope to have them ready in the next month or so.

How can people enjoy your beer?
Our big push is to get our beer in bottles in ANBL stores. We bought a small bottler from the folks at Boxing Rock, and are working at getting it up and running. We also plan to have a few pubs in the Saint John area as well soon, but for now, we are selling growlers only at the brewery and don’t have seating for consumption on-site.

Growlers are available at the brewery now, with bottles and kegs available soon

What are the days/hours of the retail location?
We are open Wednesday and Thursday 3pm-8pm, and Friday and Saturday 12pm-8pm. We are closed Sunday-Tuesday for brewing operations.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers on tap?
We have had a few conversations with pubs, but don’t want to go too far until we get a few more batches on. We will be reaching out to accounts here soon.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have had a bunch of help from Henry at Boxing Rock. He is really good technically and was a great guy to ask tough questions about steam boiler setup and brewing equipment in general. Another person that helped was Esty (Andrew Estabrooks) from Foghorn Brewing just down the road from us. That guy has a ton of brewing experience and was a huge help with hiccups in scaling up to big brewing gear. This industry is great for support from other brewers and we are definitely going to be the same way when any other brewery needs help.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
In the next 2-3 years I would like to see us stay right in the we are, but with a few more tanks and a few more recipes dialed in nicely and available in bottles. Really the big thing is I hope the smoke clears a bit so we can get time to experiment a bit with things like Brettanomyces cultures, and make a few solid funky wild beers while keeping the core beers rolling.

For us beer nerds:

What size/manufacturer/type of system are you brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a 15 bbl (~1750 L) steam-powered DME brewhouse with 30 bbl (~3500 L) fermentors. We wanted the ability to put out a large volume of beer if demand increases so we went as big as we could. Based on advice from other brewers this was the best way to go.

Long Bay’s 15 BBL brewhouse, from Charlottetown’s DME

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
My wife and I are really into sour and wild beers. The most enjoyable beers I’ve ever made were ones that sat tucked away for a year with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces in a keg. I know it’s going to be tough to pull anything off like that on big gear since we can’t tie up tanks very long, but eventually we will find a way.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not sure if you would consider yeast an ingredient (Ed: sure we would!), but to me it is by far the most important and interesting addition to any beer. I have brewed with a huge number of the yeast strains available to brewers and feel like it’s the differences between strains and how to use them that makes brewing interesting.

Thanks to Sean for answering our questions, and best wishes to he and Julie on Long Bay’s endeavors! Be sure to stop by the brewery at 82 Marr Rd in Rothesay for a couple of growler fills at the times mentioned above, and keep your eyes open for their Bantam APA and Chalice Belgian Ale in bottles in the coming weeks. Follow along with the new releases and licensee sales on their social media pages too: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Congratulations!

Good morning, all! Welcome to yet another beautiful Friday, and another week chock-full of local beer news. Let’s get right at it, which really saves me from having to think of something clever to say, anyway!

Bagtown Brewing, Sackville’s local brewery formed and brought to market by Mount Allison University students, has been granted their Brewery Agency Store licence, meaning that they are now able to sell growlers of their beer at their brewery location on 62 Main St. They had their official opening yesterday, where they filled their branded grunters (0.95 L) and other brewery’s clean growlers (in both sizes) with their Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale. They also debuted a new beer, an unnamed Belgian Pale Ale (4% ABV, 22 IBUs) that has “toasty, earthy, and light citrus” notes; they held a naming contest during their opening, but we still haven’t heard on what they decided to go with. There were also rumours that they may have gotten to tapping another new one, a 3.9% ABV, 45 IBUs session British Golden Ale named SubtleTEA, which was brewed with green tea leaves. If you missed the launch party, no worries! In the future, they’ll be open every Thursday and Friday from 4-10pm, Saturday 9am-2pm, and Sunday 5pm-midnight; keep an eye on their social media pages for when these hours go into effect. They’re also accepting keg orders, so be sure to bug your local bar/restaurant to get some Bagtown on tap.

• Next Tuesday, August 15th is National Acadian Day, and Moncton’s Bore City is once again releasing their Fricot Belgian Pale Ale to celebrate. Based on the Acadian chicken stew of the same name, the grist is made up of Pilsner malt, CaraRed, and Munich II, along with dehydrated potato flakes (10% worth!). Hopped with Summit, Czech Saaz and Hallertau Blanc to 50 IBU, a “generous amount” of Summer Savoury spice is steeped at the end of the boil to give even more of those Fricot aromas you Acadians crave! Finally, the beer was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain to produce spicy phenolic character to complement the rest of the brew. The final beer clocks in at 6.5% ABV Only three kegs are available, with two heading to the Laundromat, and one to Les Brumes du Coude… both locations will be tapping the beer on August 15th.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has a new entry in their “Seeing” series of one-hopped American IPAs, with Seeing Enigma (6% ABV). An Australian hop variety, Enigma has only been around a couple of years in quantity, and has some interesting descriptors that include raspberries, redcurrant, and tropical fruit. Drop by the brewery to try it on tap or pick up some cans; like the other beers in this series, it’s a limited release and won’t be around for too long.

• Halifax’s dainty downtown destination, Tidehouse Brewing, released two new beers this week and have another on the way. The first, in the historical Belgian farmhouse style known as Grisette, sees a simple grain bill of Pilsner and wheat malts coming together with Perle hops for an easy-drinking, hazy brew they’re calling Grisette Family Vacation. Utilizing multiple Saison yeast strains to bring out appropriate flavours for the style, it clocks in at 5.1% ABV and hit the taps earlier in the week. Next, tapped yesterday, and with a name beer fans of a certain age might associate with a Wise Old Owl, To-wit! To-woo! is a Witbier given both traditional orange peel and coriander and non-traditional Citra hops at the end of the boil. At a light 4.6% ABV, it’s based on a grist of mostly Pilsner and wheat malts, with some flaked oats and Horton Ridge Munich malt added for good measure, making for a refreshing beer with a pleasant mouthfeel and a light citrus finish. And possibly as early as late this weekend, the gang will release a new “somewhat” Northeastern-style IPA called El Galaxarillo into the world. Hit hard with El Dorado, Galaxy and Amarillo hops at both whirlpool and a few days into primary fermentation, it features Canadian 2-Row malt and Horton Ridge Munich. Although light-bodied, it boasts 55 IBU, with passion fruit and other tropical flavours, and it packs a punch at 7.5% ABV. Look for these and other fine beers on tap in the Tidehouse tasting room and for growler fills besides.

• And speaking of Horton Ridge, the Bearded Beer Trio from 902 BrewCast sat down with Al Stewart, Connor Stewart, and Stephen Mastrioanni to learn about this important local malt producer’s origins and first year, as well as their new endeavour of a small brewing system to showcase the wide variety of flavours available from their malts. An exciting tidbit mentioned during the episode is the shift from malting barley from the Prairies to grain grown in our region, with PEI being at the forefront of that movement. And toss the 902 boys a vote in the Coast’s Best of Halifax poll going on now.

• Tatamagouche’s Tatamagouche Brewing has brought back a sour old friend this week, Philaroma. Continuing their line of Berliner Weisse beers, this kettle-soured wheat beer was aged on Organic dark cherries to give a deep pink colour and plenty of fruit character. Available on tap at the brewery for samples and growler fills, it has also been released in cans, available now at the brewery and at the private stores in HRM. And while you are visiting the brewery this weekend, be sure to grab a taste of their pilot batch of a Stout with a little something special added in: barrel-aged cold brew coffee. Using a barrel from the the distillery, green coffee beans were aged for several weeks, before being roasted and used to prepare a cold brew concentrate. That was added into the conditioning stout, and gives a blast of roast and coffee, as well as plenty of vanilla and spirituous flavours and aromatics. This beer is available in only a very small amount, so a little taste will have to do, until a future larger batch will be released.

• You may recall a “happy accident” occurring at Good Robot last year… What’s that? Which one? We need to narrow it down for you? 😉 During a brew of their flagship Tom Waits For No One, the kettle burner went kaput, and a new beer – The Fermenter Has Been Drinking – was born! Well, version 2.0 of that beer is now on tap at the GR taproom. With a “malty backbone heavy on the dark roast coffee” (thanks to the use of ten different malts in the grist, and the addition of cold-brewed Java Blend Sumatra Gayo coffee), and a dry finish, this 7.5% ABV, 49 IBUs American Coffee Stout will also be pouring at this weekend’s Seaport Beerfest. And in other GR news, next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday will be Copper Top, an Amber Ale of sorts with hop additions of Nelson SauvinVic Secret, and Saaz. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun will be Corn Light Honey Basil, which is their Leave me Blue with local honey and basil added. Get drinkin’!

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is looking to expand their roster, adding folks to all facets of the brewing and serving of beer. If you are the right person for the job, inquire here.

• After a very successful launch to their growler evenings yesterday, Half Cocked Brewing in North Grant, NS, have announced that they will keep the good times rolling every week, making Thursday from 4-7 PM the time to drop by the brewery for a tour, a quick sample, and to grab more for enjoying at home. And keep an eye on their social media as their beers have been making appearances on the Guest Tap at Antigonish’s Townhouse Pub.

Lots to keep you busy this weekend (like every other weekend)!

• There are still a few tickets available for tonight and tomorrow‘s Seaport Beerfest, giving attendees the chance to try (or try to try) more than 350 beer and cider from local and out-of-region producers alike. One of the cool things that we are involved with is the Tap Local booth, where breweries not otherwise attending (or those attending have put aside a special keg) will be on rotation throughout the Fest. Put on by the Brewnosers and Ladies Beer League, drop by the table to catch beers from Moncton’s Tide & Boar, Fredericton’s TrailWay, a special collab with 2 Crows and our own accbchris, and much more. We’ll be pinging out over social media as the different kegs are tapped, to get you pumped!

• Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is joining the weekly one-off fun, with a new tradition of Cask Fridays. Every Friday at 4 PM they’ll tap a cask, probably a firkin (41 litres), but possibly a pin (20.5 litres) of something new, special, or just different. For their inaugural edition, this week’s vessel will contain Grapefruit Principal Pale Ale. Due to the limited quantities available (not likely to last beyond the end of the day), pints only of these beauties, no growler fills. So if you’re in Windsor on a Friday afternoon, your post-work pint just took a turn for the interesting.

• Continuing their once-a-fortnight tapping, Propeller Brewing‘s Gottingen Street location will be offering up Cask Night again this evening. From 5 PM, grab a pint of their Pilsner, cask-conditioned and dry-hopped with Strisselspalt hops from France. This hop is in the vein of the iconic Noble hops of Europe, offering spicy and herbal aromas, with a touch of citrus and fruity characters. As always, there is only one cask, so arrive early to avoid disappointment!

• With the crew in town for the Beerfest, the folks from Ontario’s Beau’s Brewery have to decided to make the most of their time here. After yesterday’s fun at Stillwell‘s Beergarden, they will be holding a second Tap Take-over at Good Robot Sunday. From noon, the tractors are pushing the robots off the taps, with plenty of beers not otherwise available in our region. And, in true GR form, there will be fun and games all day. Live music, cartoon and caricature drawing, and much more. Check the Events Page for more info.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection have announced their next event, which will take place on Wednesday, August 16th. The Ladies n’ Beer Social will take place at the James Joyce Irish Pub from 6:30-8:00 pm; for $10.50, you will get a flight of six different New Brunswick craft beers. And, of course, you’re encouraged to stick around afterwards for more beers, of which there are always plenty! Space is limited, so please RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com if you’re interested.

• Speaking of beer and the fairer sex, the Ladies Beer League turned four a while ago (how is that possible… didn’t they just form that group?), and will be holding a Belated Birthday Party at RockBottom on Wednesday, August 16th (maybe there’s something with that date…). Details are slim at the moment, but the fun starts at 7 pm, and rest assured there will be special beer pricing with your LBL membership!

• The third annual Upstreet Block Party is coming next week on Saturday, August 19th, and it’s looking like a chock-full schedule as usual! There will be no fewer than six bands providing live music, with plenty of activities throughout the day, including a pop-up barber shop, lawn games, retro video games, an artisan market, and more! Of course, there will be a beergarden for the adults, and lots of games, face painting, and a soda bar for the kids. It all starts at noon, and, as always, admission is free, so be sure to drop by and take part in the fun!

• Tickets now on sale for Newfoundland’s next big beer event, Craft Beer Attraction. Put on by the folks behind the Newfoundland and Labrador Artisanal & Craft Beer Club, the Craft Beer Attraction will be taking place Sept 22 & 23 at St. John’s Curling Club on Mayor Avenue. The two day event will see Grand Tastings 7-10 PM each evening, with more than 100 different beers available on a pay-per-pour basis, plus three special events and tastings, including a guided tasting of Sam Adams Utopias, and a Brewmaster’s Luncheon featuring Trou du Diable. Grab your tickets today, and get excited!

A couple more notes today:

Boxing Rock’s Three Sheets Cream Ale was released on Tuesday in celebration of the Tall Ships coming to Shelburne. It’s available at their retail location as well as their Farmers Market stalls.
Garrison is re-releasing their Honey Lavendar Ale (7% ABV, 16 IBUs), a summer seasonal brewed with English Lavendar from Meander River Farm, and wildflower honey from Shubenacadie’s G.G. Smeltzer & Son. It’s available in 650 mL bottles, with just a few kegs heading out to select accounts.
Picaroons has released Pivot #5 (8% ABV), with this iteration showcasing El Dorado, Mandarina Bavaria, and Pekko hop varieties, giving “complex herbal and floral aromas, with lighter citrus notes”.

A happy Friday to all the beer lovers in the region; we hope everyone had a happy (and hoppy) IPA Day yesterday! With a long weekend looming in all four provinces, we hope we have the news you need to plan your weekend in the best way possible: around beer and beer-related events!

• After many months in the making, Hammond River Brewing‘s new taproom will officially open today at 4 pm. With live music and food available on site, and seven taps of HR beer flowing for pints and growler fills, can you think of a better way to spend your Friday evening? We can’t either! Congrats to owner/brewer Shane Steeves and everyone else involved in the transition; we look forward to what HR will be brewing up in the near future. And keep your eyes out for the first bottles of HR beer, the first of which, their Hop Flash IPA should be available next week!

• Late last week, Nine Locks released their latest brew, Apricot Blonde, which they’re describing as a “North American Weizen” (read: American Wheat Ale). Flavoured with, yes, apricot, it finishes dry and refreshing, and at a light 5.1% ABV and 15 IBU, is another beer fit for these dog days of summer. The entire batch of this beer was canned, so drop by Nine Locks’ location to grab a handful of cans before hitting the cottage this weekend.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has released another pair of beers this week, in order to keep their Farmers’ Market and “Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room” (aka on-site 8-seat taproom) customers happy. The first to hit the taps was 2Market2Market, a German Helles beer, featuring a light body and spicy and flavourful hop character from a combination of Perle and Saaz hops. This beer proved to be extremely popular with the patrons at the Tantallon and Hubbards Farmers’ Markets, with it selling out within the past week, but we’ve been assured it will be returning before too long. Hungry Ryes, we can attest, is still pouring and will be available this weekend… A 5.6% ABV Pale Ale, it features a healthy dose of Rye malt for a light spicing, and a blend of Columbus and Northern Brewer hops for a complementing flavour profile. And watch this space, and their social media, for the launch of one or two brand new brews in the coming days.

• Were you a fan of the recent release of 2 CrowsCrosswired, their first foedre-aged beer? Hey, so were we! Well, good news, they’ve got another foedre beer coming out tomorrow, and it sounds like a doozy (doozy meaning “good”)! Fandango is a 6.8% ABV, 54 IBU Milkshake IPA that was heavily hopped and dry-hopped with Azacca, Citra and Galaxy. Conditioned in the Calvados foedre for approximately 2 weeks, the beer was then transferred back to a stainless fermenter, where the 2 Crows crew added some lactose powder, whole vanilla beans, 220 kg of mango purée and 30 kg of peaches. Oh yeah, and they dry-hopped it, AGAIN. Hazy, orange-coloured, creamy, and tasting “like pure juice, with a touch of tannin and bright fruitiness from the Calvados”, we’re betting that this one will be popular! Luckily, a full batch was brewed (maybe the 220 kg of mango purée gave that away), and it will also be available in cans, as well as on tap, so be sure to pick some up Saturday from noon! Note: no growler fills.

• As we promised a few weeks ago, Red Rover is releasing their third Summer Series cider today with Barrel Reserve #2. This is a “Bourbon Oaked Blueberry Cider” that was originally entered in the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in April, where it won 2nd Best in Class in the Specialty Cider & Perry category. RR describes this 7.2% ABV cider as having “lots of vanilla and oak up front, with a fresh blast of blueberry and bourbon on the finish”. As with their other special releases, it will be available at the Cider House today at 5 pm in 750 mL bottles, in a very limited supply, and may pop up at some Farmers markets this weekend as well.

• While on the topic of Red Rover, they also released a brand new cider this week, Siesta. This 7% ABV semi-dry cider was infused with fresh lime and mint, giving some delicious complementary flavours to go with all the hot weather we’ve been having. It’s available now at the Cider House for pints and flagon fills, and should pop up at a few RR tap accounts.

• After initially launching late last year in Harvey, NB with four flagship beers, Off Grid Ales is officially releasing their first new beer, Smooth Sailing Pale Ale. Described by the brewery as light-bodied and mildly spicy, it was hopped with Warrior and Chinook to 30 IBUs, with late additions of Centennial and Mosaic to give flavours of citrus and tropical fruit. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and will be available in bottles only for the first few weeks, at select ANBL stores. Look for it to follow in kegs by the end of the summer, where it will likely pop up at one or more of the ANBL growler stations.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has brewed up Blue me Away!, a blueberry beer. Incorporating locally-grown blueberries, absolutely no extracts were harmed in the making of this beer. Bluish-purple in colour, and with a subtle blueberry flavour and aroma, it weighs in at just 5% ABV and 14 IBUs. Drop by their Anson Avenue location for a growler fill today, and maybe chat with the folks about helping to fill the Part-Time Sales and Packaging position they currently have open.

• Those Good Robots are up to it again, with the latest, and last (so they tell us!), in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. With all of the Smash Mouth banter within the GR community, it is only fitting that the California-based band actually named the beerBeer Mouth. At 5.5% ABV and 39 IBU, the Single Malt featured is Marris Otter, and the Single Hop is Wakatu, a New Zealand hop. The straw-coloured beer features a tropical fruit aroma, on top of a lightly herbal and grassy flavour, with a touch of lime. Beer Mouth is on tap now, for pints and growler fills both. Today’s Cask in the Sun is a Leave Me Blue Creamsicle, a sweeter take on their Kentucky Corn beer, and next week’s small-batch BetaBrewsday is Ale for Seaware. Brewed by staff members Pat King and Kelly Costello, this 4.5% ABV Golden Ale features maple syrup in the boil and added after fermentation. A light dose EKG was added for a touch of floral character and offsetting bitterness (low, at 16 IBU). This week’s Brewsday is pushed back to Wednesday the 9th, as many of the Good Robot crew with be on Prince Edward Island to celebrate their Tap Takeover at Upstreet on Monday, August 7th.

• Speaking of Upstreet, massive congratulations to them on achieving B Corp certification! This independent certification recognizes businesses that meet a rigorous standard of social and environmental performance, and using their business to make positive changes in the world. Learn more about Upstreet’s road to B Corp Certification here.

• Halifax’s Propeller Brewing continues to bring out regular entries in their Gottingen Small Batch series. This week, brewer Cameron Crerar brings us a beer named for the Tasman Sea, which lies between his homeland, Tasmania, and New Zealand, home of the primary hop variety used, Motueka. Tasman Pale Ale is 5.2% ABV and 38 IBU, with a hoppy and citrus aroma from the aforementioned hops, hints of malt and caramel, and a crisp and clean finish. You’ll find it on tap at the Propeller Tasting Room for pints by 5 PM today, with growler fills available starting early next week.

Bad Apple Brewhouse has never had problems with their beers’ popularity, but according to owner/brewer Jeff Saunders, their recently-released Black Currant Gose has been their fastest-selling beer yet! Brewed as a classic Gose – tart and salty – black currants obtained from local farms were also added, and at a sessionable 4% ABV, it sounds like a great summer beer. It’s available at the brewery for growler fills, but probably won’t last through the weekend, so hurry up if you want to grab some! It’s also on tap at a few of the better beer establishments in Halifax.

• Grimross has released the 5th one-off in their Scratch series this morning at the brewery. Scratch #5: Nut’n Abbey is a 7% ABV ale fermented with an Abbey yeast strain, giving this brown-coloured brew some Belgian phenolics and esters to go with the nutty, malty flavours from the grist. Drop by the taproom for a pint or growler, and check out your favourite Fredericton watering hole to see if it’s on tap.

• In Saint John, NB, Loyalist City released a new beer this week to celebrate International IPA Day. Building on the experiences developed through their One Hop Series, this time they’ve made a New England style IPA that features El Dorado, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops. A New England-style water profile aids in big hop aroma and flavour, with citrus, pineapple and mango prominent, a hazy yellow appearance, and a slight sweetness. Dubbed Backslide IPA, it’s loaded with tropical fruit flavours but is still balanced enough to be a refresher on a hot summer day. You should see it springing up at Loyalist tap accounts this weekend and you’ll find it at the brewery from now on, as it’s being added to the regular lineup!

• Earlier this week, a story in the Guardian confirmed that Summerside will be opening its first brewery sometime in the near-ish future. Alex Clark, owner of the OpenEats restaurant in downtown Summerside, is planning to open a brewery in the former train station location (currently the Summerside Rotary Library) on Central St. Many details still need to be ironed out and confirmed, but the initial plan is to open the brewery on its own before eventually adding a taproom and adjoining dining room. Check out the story above for more details, and as always, we’ll keep you updated!

Some notable events for beer lovers are coming up in the region as well, this weekend and beyond!

• A reminder that North Grant’s Half Cocked Brewing is holding their launch party this evening at The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish. From 4:00pm, enjoy their five beers, and meet and chat with owners Greg Oicle and Matt Thompson. And look for HC’s growler days and Farmers’ Market visits to ramp up in the coming weeks. Learn more about Half Cocked in yesterday’s Profile post.

• The Stillwell family is welcoming back one of their favourite (and ours) Quebec breweries to take over their taps this weekend. From noon Saturday at the Beer Garden on Spring Garden, and Sunday at 4:00pm at HQ on Barrington, a total of 22 taps and a handful of bottles from Shawinagan’s Trou du Diable will be available to any and all comers. Saturday’s theme is “Hops & Lagers”, featuring a bevvy of lighter beers and hoppy IPAs, with Sunday’s session leaning “Sour & Strong”. The list is too long (and awesome) to post here, so we encourage you to check it out on their IG page, and rest up for a busy weekend.

• There are still tickets available for next weekend’s Halifax Seaport Beerfest, happening at the Cunard Centre. With Friday, August 11th evening session, and Saturday, Aigist 12th afternoon and evening sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to try some of the 350+ beer and cider that will be available. Grab your ticket to fun today!

• Attention, Fredericton… the sour beers are coming! The James Joyce Irish Pub is hosting Tarte Diem, a sour beer tap takeover, on Saturday, August 26th. Featuring a wide assortment of sour beers (ranging from Lambic-style beers to hoppy sour ales) from breweries across the Maritimes, all you have to do as a beer drinker is show up when they open at 3 pm, and pay by the pint or flight! There will also be three different awards given out during the event: a Best of Show based on the decision of a group of judges made up of individuals from the brewing industry, a Best of Show from “uneducated judges” (their description, not ours!), and a People’s Choice, where drinkers like you pick your favourite sour brew. Check out the link above for an up-to-date list on participating breweries, and which beer(s) they’ll be bringing.

• Also in Fredericton on Saturday, August 26th is Ales for Animals, hosted by the Fredericton SPCA. Held from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Picaroons Roundhouse, your $50 ticket will get you a selection of taster beers from Big Axe, Graystone, Grimross, Maybee, Picaroons, Railcar and Trailway. Tickets are available at the FSPCA, Picaroons, Grimross, and at the door. Help support a great cause, and get to sample some local beer at the same time!

Enjoy the long weeked! Before we let you head out of your place of work (go ahead, no one minds!), a couple more quick things to share:

Celtic Knot has brewed up a batch of their Monkeytown – their 4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs Mango American Pale Ale – on their brand new system; it’s available now at the brewery for growler fills, and should be on tap at your favourite CK licensee. Rounding out their taps today are the Ryetious Rye IPAÉire Irish Red, and For Shore Session IPA.

– Truro’s Salty Dog is collaborating with local bike shop Bike Monkey to brew up a 7.1% ABV and 70 IBU Double IPA for hop lovers, and they’ve got a contest running to celebrate. You can get in on the draw by filling a growler or buying a can of Bike Monkey DIPA at Salty Dog, or by purchasing a pint at the Nook & Cranny Brewpub or Sauced Wood-fired Pizza. The winner will receive a bike valued at $650 complete with a growler carrier.

– Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery has released a brand new beer this week, Recess Pilsner. Details are light at the moment, but we do know that it is currently available at the brewery on tap and in bottles, and bottles should also be available at the HRM private stores in the coming days.

– And speaking of Schoolhouse, we told you a couple weeks ago about two Brew Ha-Ha! events featuring their beer. The first, two weeks ago at the brewery in Windsor, was a great success. Tomorrow night’s event will be at the Company House in Halifax and we’ve got a promo code for you: buy your tickets in advance using the code “GetSchooled” and get $5 off the regular $20 price.

 

– In Mahone Bay this evening at 7 PM Saltbox Brewing will be launching a special commemorative can for their Cream Ale to help kick off Heritage Boatyard Weekend.

 

Half Cocked Brewing is a small brewery launching this week in North Grant, located 6 kilometres North of the town of Antigonish, NS, on Highway 245. Partners Greg Oicle and Matt Thompson have been enjoying flavourful beers for years, during their travels and work across the country, and have “come home to roost” in the region. We caught up with Greg and Matt to learn more about their interest in beer, the first offerings from Half Cocked, and their plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Brewer Greg Oicle and Hop Grower Matt Thompson have partnered at the old Oicle chicken farm, which will be the location of the brewery and hop farm.  Greg, a St FX alumnus and geologist by trade,  spent time in the oil patch before moving to Ontario.  Matt, a recent transplant to Antigonish, moved back to the motherland after a near decade in Victoria BC where he honed his arborist skills, and grew as much food as humanly possible.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Greg: I had a Howe Sound Devil’s Elbow IPA in Fort McMurray (probably due to its huge size) and really enjoyed it. I then starting buying that and Granville Island stuff, because it was all that was available there.  In Ontario, I got into Flying Monkeys, Collective Arts, Muskoka, etc and haven’t looked back from there.
Matt: The first craft beer I had was likely an early Picaroons keg in residence in Fredericton. Before moving out west, I was heavy into the Pics Irish Red and Best Bitter.  In Victoria, I was quickly seduced by the hops; a fresh Driftwood Fat Tug IPA is still near the top of my list.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
We had been homebrewing because it was too hard to get the beer we wanted in town.  We enjoyed Big Spruce but it was still a 2 hr drive away.  After a while, we thought our brews were getting pretty good and friends were also encouraging us to go in that direction.  We knew we weren’t the only ones interested in local, fresh, beer, and live in a community that really supports local businesses, so we decided to go for it.

Half Cocked Brewing, formerly Oicle Chicken Farm

What is the ethos of the brewery?
We craft American style ales with quality ingredients.  Obviously, taste is important, but also getting the most out of all the ingredients.  We started brewing with Horton Ridge malt almost the same time we got the Sabco BrewMagic in order to get our recipes right where we want them.  Often, the sweetness of the malt gets overpowered by hop craziness, so we strive to keep it a big part of the flavour profile.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or beer “series” in the works?
We are launching with five beers this week:
Cock of the Walk – 6.5% India Black Ale (or black IPA). A nice combination of dark malt roastiness, big hop flavour and nice bitterness.
XPA – 6% Extra Pale Ale.  A floral and citrus nose leads to a sharp hop bite, followed by a biscuity sweetness and drinks like your favorite West Coast Pale.  Brewed with a grist featuring Horton Ridge 2 Row, bittered with Warrior while Centennial, Citra, Mosaic, and Cascade are added for flavor and aroma.   Matt swears this beer stays on your palate 2 or 3 sips longer than most beers, but we will let you be the judge of that.
Pete’s Sake– 4.5% Blonde Ale. Very approachable.  Perceived bitterness is minimal, light and refreshing.  We all know a Pete; small town guy who drinks the same beer his dad does, enjoys supporting local, wants to get on that craft beer wave but doesn’t know where to start.  Well, we brewed this beer for Pete’s Sake!
Fruit Cocked Ale – 5% Fruit Beer. Our take on a Radler, it comes in higher than a trad rad at 5%, and is made with grapefruit juice.  The name was suggested to us by a local homebrewer and while perfect, Greg maintains we would have thought of it on our own someday.
We will be experimenting with IPA and Double IPA recipes, as well as doing a harvest- or fresh-hopped beer from Matt’s already-established plants at his home, and going forward with hops grown here in our hopyard.
The first of these beers is a 7.7% Imperial IPA, which was also the first beer brewed under our much-awaited excise licence.  It is a sneaky little troublemaker, featuring hop darling Mosaic crafted using 2 Row, Munich, and Vienna malt from Horton Ridge, appropriately called Wait for It.

How will folks be able enjoy your beer?
We will be easing into it filling growlers once or twice a week, as stock permits.  Once we see how quickly it moves out of the barn, we may begin to circulate some kegs around the region, and start hitting up the Farmers’ Market circuit.  Plans for a tasting room are in the works sometime in the next year, along with what we are sure will be a much needed size increase in our system and production capacity.

Chicken (currently raw) and Beer

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Like we said, it’s gonna be a little while before the beer can leave the barn, but when it does you can be sure it will pop up on the guest tap at the Townhouse in Antigonish and possibly at the Horton Ridge tap room.  Our XPA and Cock of the Walk IBA both have malt bills which are predominantly Horton Ridge malts.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
Like most of the new breweries that have started up the last year or so, we have done a lot of visiting/brain picking/pestering of most of the breweries in the province.  All have been very welcoming and supportive as we have worked our way towards opening.  Terry and Rose at the Townhouse deserve special mention, Terry allowed us to brew on his BrewMagic a couple of times, so we could get some feedback on our recipes and start to brew up a little buzz for the brewery.  Jeremy at Big Spruce heard from us a lot in the beginning and helped encourage us to go for it,  Jeff Saunders from Bad Apple Brewhouse showed us how much you can do on your own, Mark and Sean at Lunn’s Mill helped us with a lot of the start up logistics and let us pour for them at Beer and Bites to get a taste of the other side of the table.  Most recently Greg got to spend some time with Greg Nash of Unfiltered and talk water chemistry and all things brewing.  We’ve been to TataBrew, Uncle Leo’s, 2 Crows, Tidehouse, Backstage, Sober Island and everyone has been very positive and helpful and we cant wait to be a part of such a vibrant industry in our province.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Hopefully with a 7-10 barrel system, cranking out delicious brews and serving pints from our own tap room.  We would like to tap into the potential of our area and put as much of the 9000 sq ft barn we occupy to use.  We plan to have year round events, there are already 5 km of trails behind the barn that are perfect for snowshoeing or cross country skiing.

David Oicle, Matt Thompson, Greg Oicle, and their Sabco BrewMagic

For the beer nerds:

What type of system will you be brewing on?
We are starting on the Sabco BrewMagic, it’s a 1/2 barrel (60 litre) system, so we know we will be working our butts of in the beginning.  Our yearly output will be approximately 80 barrel, or 100 hectolitres.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Greg and his brother Dave had been homebrewing for a couple years now, which started as trying to brew a beer they really liked, prompted by having a somewhat limited selection in the NSLC at the time.  That quickly became more focused on developing recipes we liked and thought other people would like as well. When we got the BrewMagic in October, we really started to focus on specifics as we dialed in our recipes.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Greg: My tastes in craft beer started with the biggest IPAs I could get my hands on.  The higher the IBUS and ABV, the better!  My tastes have changed a bit and I’ve learned to appreciate more styles.  Now I can usually go for a well crafted pale ale.  Collective Arts Rhyme and Reason is a favorite as well as the American Pale Ale from Bad Apple Brewhouse.
Matt: That’s a tough one, I like IPAs of course, but definitely enjoy a variety of sours and strong dark beers like Imperial stouts and Barleywines.  While I enjoy a variety of beers and breweries from around the world/country/province, I would be lying to you and myself if I didn’t say I’d love to crush DOA at Charm School in some kind of wonderful Groundhog day scenario.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
We are currently enjoying making big hoppy IPAs for fun and pushing our little system to the limit.  We have also enjoyed using the unique malts coming out of Horton Ridge and tailoring our beers to get the taste profiles we desire

Now that we’ve got everyone thirsty, how can they enjoy your beer?
We are launching our first five beers tomorrow (Friday, August 4th) at the Townhouse in Antigonish, and will be on-hand to talk shop and beer from 4pm. We hope to have our first growler filling days at the barn in early August (but having written that down, anything can happen now). Stay tuned!

Thanks to Greg and Matt for taking time out of their busy schedule to tell us all about Half Cocked! Keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest releases and news, including their first growler sales later this month. Congratulations guys!