All posts for the month August, 2018

Another week in paradise! We’ve got many great beers being released this week and next, perfect for grabbing and enjoying on the patio, at the lake, or wherever you like to relax.

Let’s start off with TrailWay Brewing and the release of Buck’s Fizz, the brewery’s first endeavour at the relatively-new Brut IPA style. Also sometimes known as “Champagne IPA”, it’s a beer that’s meant to be very dry, light, and effervescent, with good clarity, and still plenty of hop character in the aroma and flavour (while keeping the bitterness low). For TW’s take on the style, they used a grain bill with no adjuncts, and used the addition of enzymes (a common approach) to help the beer dry out to a final gravity of 1.000 (the same as water). Hopped “moderately” with Idaho 7, they also added fresh orange zest to the beer, giving a final product that is described as “dry, zesty, crispy, tart yet clean, fruity, and incredibly refreshing”. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV, and can be purchased at the brewery in cans and growlers today; look for it on tap at your favourite TW account as well.

In Saint John, Hammond River announced their very first India Pale Lager, Trickle Down. Brewed with 2-row and Munich malt, with a bit of CaraRed and Wheat thrown in for good measure, it was bittered with Columbus hops to 76 IBUs. With late additions of Citra and Mosaic to bring lots of juiciness to the beer, it was fermented with a dry Lager strain (to 7% ABV) and allowed to lager at cool temps for two weeks before packaging. You can find it on tap at HR’s taproom, and at select licensees. And look for the release of Cherry Pie, the latest in the line of fruited Berliner Weisses from the brewery, on tap soon; with the same base as the other beers in the series, it features the addition of plenty of sweet cherry puree. Super sessionable at just 3.2% ABV, it’ll also be on tap at HR.

Niche Brewing in Fredericton (sorry, HAAAAN-well) is tipping their hand a little this week regarding how old they think their customer is. The name of their new beer, Three Little Fonzies will either have you saying “Aaayyyyyyy” or scratching your head wondering what a “Fonzie” might be. Oh wait. Maybe Niche is just telling us to be cool, like Yolanda (aka Honey Bunny), especially after all this hot weather (although you’ve got to be pretty old to get that one too). Aaaaanyway, the beer is a Brett IPA featuring multiple strains of Brettanomyces and hopped and dry-hopped with three super tropical modern hop varieties (no doubt the Fonzies in question): El Dorado, Galaxy, and Vic Secret. Described as tropical, lemony and funky, it’s 6.2% ABV and a firm 50 IBU, with a dry finish, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there’s a little bit of funk showing through on this one. In other Niche news, if you missed their Pineapple Persuasion last time around, great news as it’ll be back early next week for another go round. A 4.7% ABV kettle sour with pineapple puree and milk sugar, also known as lactose. Look for these beers to appear at Niche tap accounts in Fredericton, the rest of New Brunswick, and if some of us are really lucky, in NS as well!

Over in Halifax, Tidehouse has a couple new beers out this week for you to ponder, considering whether maybe you should head downtown to grab a growler or try a pint (you should!). The first one we’d like to mention, mainly because the name is so out there (even for Tidehouse), is Jeff Goldblum Is Watching You Drink. A 7.1% ABV New England IPA (of course, what ELSE would it be with that name!), it was hopped with Cascade and Mosaic Cryo hops. With some spicy aromas, and flavours of “lemony grapefruit with notes of pomegranate and red berries”, it’s hazy and juicy like a good NEIPA should be. Note that consuming this beer at Tidehouse’s tasting room absolutely required your best public Goldblum impression. And in bottles, why not pick up a few Tiger Tail Ice Cream Ale? A 6.5% ABV brew with “big, bright orange notes, combined with a pinch of vanilla and lactose” with a bit of licorice and chocolate to complement, it’s TH’s attempt at recreating your favourite ice cream treat (if you’re old enough… or, if like me, you preferred Spacecicles). 340 mL bottles, limit of six per person.

Tuesday’s going to be a big day at Good Robot Brewing in North End Halifax. First, as almost always, Kelly Costello will be releasing a Beta brew that she teamed up with someone from the community to make. This week it’s the fine folks from The Floatation Centre (also in North End Halifax). Kiss From a Rose is a 4.9% ABV Pale Ale, but a very refined one that features rose petals, ginger root and Galaxy hops. Some additional ingredients were added post-fermentation, but to find out what they are you’ll have to attend the tapping of the keg on Tuesday and ask Lindsay and her team about it, because until then, their lips are SEALed. Sorry (not sorry). And on that very same day Rumble Fish Food Co will officially be opening. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking that the GR taproom would be even better with a full food menu available, and especially if you’ve experienced the culinary delights of Black Sheep on Dresden Row, boy are you in luck. The people behind Black Sheep are the very same behind Rumble Fish; and Rumble Fish will be serving in the GR taproom. If you’re going to lead people, you have to have somewhere to go. As if it wasn’t already, Good Robot is looking like a pretty good destination. But wait, there’s more! Two days after the big Tuesday, you’ll find another new release on Robie Street, this one a table beer they’re cryptically calling Täble Beer. A light Belgian ale constructed from pale, vienna and melanoidin malts with some flaked wheat added into the grist, it was fermented with a Belgian Abbey strain no doubt to encourage a prominent yeast character. Hopped with a combination of Warrior, Wai-iti, and Mandarina Bavaria and tarted up post-fermentation with lemon zest and peel, this 4.2% ABV and 23 IBU beer is perfect for sitting around a table (or täble) and chatting the day or night away.

Staying in the North End of Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing becomes the latest brewery to try their hand at the Champagne IPA style with their classically-named Marcus Junius Brut IPA. Advertised as “Zero sugars, Half the carbs!” this 7.2% ABV beer is described as dry, crisp, hoppy and diet-friendly. Does that mean you can drink twice as much? As long as you were planning to drink half-responsibly we suppose maybe so (note: we are not a source of professional advice, especially about drinking). We’re not 100% sure whether brewer Greg Nash took the amylase enzyme route to a 1.000 finishing gravity, but we do know that he’s conquered the quirks of another enzyme, the one that makes Unfiltered’s flagship Exile on North Street IPA gluten-reduced, so if anyone’s going to tame that wee little bugger it’s him. Look for this one on tap for fills and pints today from noon. Et tu?

And towards the Eastern end of the Province, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a new beer and a re-release event this week. First up is a Kölsch that they’re calling Fairchild, named for the intrepid David Fairchild, who was described as both an “Adventure Botanist” and a “Food Spy” (where do you sign up for those job titles?) and who was at least partially responsible for getting cuttings from classic German Noble hop varieties transported and transplanted in North America. And isn’t Kölsch, a style from Cologne, Germany, a perfect beer to show off such hops? Sure is. This 5.6% ABV beer is, we think, only available at the Sprucetique. Meanwhile, back in Halifax, if you’re planning to hit the Stillwell Beer Garden this afternoon and you’ve got IPA on your mind, you may be psychic, as 5 PM today will see the launch of this year’s version of Tag! You’re It. Still a collab with Ocean Tracking Network and still a big ol’ juicy and ubër hoppy IPA, this year’s label features the Electric Torpedo Ray. Shocking!!

And from Cape Breton we move up to Newfoundland, where Port Rexton is proud to be a big part of the the first Port Rexton Pride festival (possibly the first “Bay Pride” event in Newfoundland & Labrador history) and they’ve brewed up a beer just for the occasion. Come Out Wit Ya was brewed with a local homebrew group, @queerbeernl, and it’s a Witbier with the traditional Belgian characters of spicy phenols, light bubblegum and banana with a big nose of coriander leading the parade. Fermented with the Fruity Wit yeast from Escarpment Labs to ensure a healthy dose of yeast character, this is a medium-bodied and refreshing beer that clocks in at 4.7% ABV, perfect for the 1st annual Port Rexton Pride Weekend. Look for it to be available this weekend for growler fills at both the taproom and the retail store.

And completing the journey through the Atlantic Provinces this week are two beers from the Upstreet family. First up, today marks the release of the latest in the Million Acres series, and possibly the most unwieldy named of all the unwieldy named beers in this series, Chardonnay Barrel-aged Peach Cream Witbier. Not designed to be set aside or put down for a nap, this one is all about immediate gratification. Featuring peach puree and lactose, expect it to lead with some sweetness that gives way to drying oak tannins from the barrel treatment. A spritzy carbonation accentuates the light body and, no doubt, some yeast character as well. Ironically, while it’s got name to spare, the beer itself is in fairly short supply with only 90 bottles available at each of the Upstreet Taproom, where pints will also be available on tap, and Craft Beer Corner (though as usual, there’s no growler fills for Million Acres releases). Secondly, although it won’t be available until after next week’s Friday Wrap-up is posted, we feel honor bound to advise you that this year’s version of Upstreet’s De Novo Farmhouse Saison has finally been deemed to be ready to go. Version 3 will be on sale next Saturday, August 18th, at Craft Beer Corner and Upstreet Taproom just in time for their 4th annual Upstreet Block Party. There’s been no word on whether any bottles of this one will make it to the mainland, so if you’ve enjoyed versions 1 and 2 and want to get your hands on some, plan accordingly.

Looks like there’s a brand new beer hitting the taps at Saltbox today, for those of you in/near the Mahone Bay area. Revelation is being referred to as a “Pilsner-style Ale” by the brewery; brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped with “a tangy variety of Czech hops”, it was fermented with a Pilsner yeast strain. The beer soon to be in your glass is described as “light and refreshing, with a snappy hop bitterness, floral hop aroma, a soft, bready malt center, and a clean, dry finish”. Due to fermentor limitations, the beer did not undergo an extended lagering period, hence the “Pilsner-style Ale” description. So, we present the question, is a beer fermented with a Lager yeast strain at cool temperatures, with no lagering period, better described as an Ale, or Lager? Or is it simply a non-lagered Lager? Discuss.

Propeller has a new Gottingen Small Batch brew out this evening, with a name that gets right to the point: Double Dry-Hopped Session Ale. Brewed with Flaked Wheat and Oats to boost the body – a much-welcome addition for a beer that’s just 3.8% ABV – the double dry-hop additions include Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado, “adding complex and expressive hop aromas of tropical citrus, with hints of pine”. Flavourful and sessionable… sounds great for summer, no? As usual, you can find it for growler fills at both Prop Shop locations after 5, for a limited time.

The Island Invasion across the Northumberland continues, as Charlottetown-favourite HopYard has now opened a location in Halifax. With their famous small plates brought to life by Chef Jane Crawford, and a serious vinyl collection, they will be pouring ten rotating taps from the Island and the Mainland. For those who have visited their original location on Kent Street, or folks who haven’t yet had a chance, be sure to drop into their 2103 Gottingen Street location for the latest food and brews. Keep up to date on their offerings, including the food menu as they do a full redesign every two weeks, on the Instagram page.

This weekend is the annual SeaPort Beerfest in Halifax, of course, but there’s at least one other event coming next week in Halifax:

We’ve got some great news for you cider lovers in the HRM, as Stillwell is holding Ciderama, a 3-day event from Thursday, Aug 16th to Saturday, Aug 18th. Both their Barrington St. and Beergarden locations will be taking part, with ciders pouring from a minimum of 16 different vendors. Thursday will feature “Cider and Food”, with special food items being created at the HQ and BG to pair with several different ciders that will be available. On Friday, “Ciders From the Cellar” means just what the name says, as they’ll be opening up a “massive” variety of cider (draught and bottled) that they’ve been cellaring, from cideries in Canada, Spain, and the UK. Finally, Saturday gives us “American Cider Day”, with ciders pouring from East Hollow (NY), Anxo (DC), and Graft (NY); East Hollow’s Seth Jones will even be on hand to chat all things concerning your favourite apply beverage. There’ll be plenty of other ciders and perries pouring throughout these three days, so get ready! No tickets required, just show up and pay by the glass/plate.

And a couple final things to leave you with:

Boxing Rock is re-releasing their hoppy Amber Ale, Unobtainium (5% ABV); hopped with Centennial, Simcoe, Cascade, and Orbit, it has a “malty rich backbone supporting some unexpected hop flavours”.
Tatamagouche Brewing’s Brown IPA, Tweed Wolf (7.1% ABV), has returned; hopped with Simcoe, Cascade and Huell Melon, you can find it on tap and in cans at Tata’s retail store, with cans also hitting select NSLC stores in the near future.

Retro Logo

Brasserie Retro Brewing opened in late July in Bertrand, on the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. Operating out of the Motel and Campground Colibri on Boulevard des Acadiens, Retro is owned and operated by three friends who met through a mutual love of beer, and have taken their hobby and passion and grown it enough to now share with the public. We spoke with one of the owners, Yves Godin, shortly after they opened.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re three partners in the company; myself (Yves), Joel Thibodeau and Maxime Hebert. We all work full time jobs and do this (brewing) as an “upgraded” hobby.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Joel and I met around 5 years ago at the Oktoberfest des Acadiens, in Bertrand. We both live in Bertrand and started to develop a passion for craft beer because of this Oktoberfest. After talking for a while, Joel asked me if I would be interested to try and brew a batch of beer with an all-grain kit, I jumped on the occasion and five years later we’re opening this micro… no… nanobrewery!

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
After brewing in my basement and in Joel’s garage for 4 years, we decided to take it to another level so we could share our creations with everyone. But the plan was to stay small because we don’t have time to brew full time. That’s when we decided to add another partner to the mix, so we could have a break from time to time. That’s when Max came in to play, early last year.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We go with our name on this one. We wanted a short, bilingual name with enough context to play around with. Like the decoration, names of the beers, etc. When Joel proposed Retro, we saw the multiple possibilities that came with the name, it was exactly what we were looking for! So we don’t have any history in our beers, just funny, retro names that we try to match with the style.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available currently? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We decided to go with three “full-time” beers:
– A light pale ale at 4%, easy drinking, fully carbed named “Tapisserie Laide“, which translate to “Ugly Wallpaper”, you know… every had one in the 70’s!
– An amber ale at 6%, really smooth caramel taste, named “Tricycle Rouge“, or “Red Tricycle”, again, we all had one as kids.
– And the third one is an IPA at 7%, citrusy but not bitter, named “Arcade 2001“. We named this one off of an arcade that we had in Bertrand when I was a kid.
We are also brewing one-offs, we need to test the market so we try something different once in a while. If some recipes are more popular than others, we could add more to our regular lineup.
– A 6.3% ABV American Pale Ale named “Vinyl Scratché” (“Vinyl Scratch”), with a touch of pronounced alcohol and more hops than usual.
– A 5.0% ABV IPA named “Barre à Jack” (“Jack’s Bar”), a blonde-coloured beer with more hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness than our other offerings, perfect for hop-heads.

How can folks interested in Retro try your beer?
Because of our size (200 litres), we decided to sell 473ml cans and refill growlers (more on that below), only on location at the brewery. We plan to sell kegs to restaurants and other bars starting this fall. We’re located on a camping ground, so all the beer will be sold onsite during camping season. We’re not licensed for consumption at the brewery, that’s in our future plans.

Let’s talk growlers!
We sell our own 1 litre flip-top growler, which is yours to keep. We will refill any clean growler, no matter the brewery marking, style, or size.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We plan to have a few kegs available for the camping bar throughout the summer, also to the bar “La Brôkerie“, a popular bar in Caraquet, only open during summer time. The rest of the year we hope to sell to local restaurants.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We had lots of help from a few brewers, we couldn’t believe it! We heard of the “camaraderie” in the brewing world but it’s still a business, so we thought that the brewers we knew would help us a little bit to get started and that’s it, but we were wrong about that! I can say that all the breweries we approached for help to get started were more than happy to help us! I’m talking mainly about those we knew; Fils du Roy, Acadie-Broue, Brasseux d’la Côte, CAVOK, Four Rivers, Savoie’s Brewhouse and Petit-Sault, but also all the breweries that we talked with at all the craft beer festivals we went to! Because of all their help, tips and tricks, we were able to open our own brewery with good beers, all thanks to them! Now it’s our turn, we’ll gladly help anyone who wants to open a microbrewery!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Maybe have a brewpub. We’ll have to check with the owners of Motel Camping Colibri if they would be willing to expand. If we always run out of beer, we could maybe hire a brewer to brew all week. But… we just opened so we’ll see where it takes us.

Tell us about the brewery itself, what type of system are you be brewing on?
We’re small… like 200-liters kit small, and 200 litres would be max, it’s more like 180 litres. And the brewery itself?? It’s 13 by 19 feet! We have our 3 kettles, 3 fermenters, double sink, a (single head) canning machine, label applicator, sales counter, 3 fridges and a hot water tank crammed in there! Our kettles were made by a local shop, we fitted them with hot water elements, so we’re electric. We plan to brew once a week, making between 9 to 10,000 liters yearly.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
At this point, we appreciate all kinds of beers, really, I think every style has its reason, time, and, place. My favorite style of beer is “a different style than the last one”.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not really, we like to experiment with different ingredients when we have time.

Congratulations to Yves, Joel, and Max on their recent launch. To celebrate their official opening, they are holding a contest on their Facebook page, so be sure to check it out! They are open all summer, Monday-Saturday 1-9PM, and Sunday 1-5PM, at the Motel Camping Colibri at 913 Boulevard des Acadiens in Bertrand. Their Instagram page is now live, so be sure to follow and tag them when you enjoy their beer! Felicitations Retro!

Guess what? It’s Friday again! And what does that mean? Plenty of news on the great beers now available in our region. We figure you don’t need an excuse to drink IPA, or “beer”, so we skipped right over those days and hope you drank whatever the heck you wanted to. And with most of us having Monday off, we encourage starting your long weekend now!

Let’s start this week off on the Rock, as we have plenty of news to share from the Eastern part of our region this week. A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned several new beers released by Port Rexton Brewing for their second Anniversary party; details were brief at the time of writing, and now we’ve got some more information regarding one of the beers, that we feel deserves mentioning! The beer in question is New-Foeder-Land, Newfoundland’s very first foeder-aged beer. Last Spring, Port Rexton received a 9.4 hL foeder from France; previously used to hold Calvados (apple brandy), it was filled by PR with a blend of beers. The first beer was brewed last fall and aged in red wine barrels for 8 months, fermented with New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Then, they brewed an “Imperial Farmhouse Ale”, blended it with the barrel-aged beer in the foeder, and pitched their house yeast blend. The result? An 8.4% ABV beer with “a light bitterness, tartness, and lively carbonation”, completed by the Calvados and oak character from the foeder. “Lots of apricot, dried peach, and a subtle fruitiness with a hint of funk”. The only way to get to try this one is to drop by the brewery, so get down there before it’s all gone!

And available now at both the brewery, and their St. John’s retail shop, is Some Day on Hops, a light bodied, touch hazy, easy drinking Session IPA, bursting with tropical fruit on the nose and palette. It joins the Blue Steel Kettle Sour and T-Rex Porter on tap at 286 Torbay Road for growler fills today, 12-8PM, and tomorrow, 12-6PM.

Yellowbelly Brewery has released a beer celebrating this week’s Royal St. John’s Regatta, named Up The Pond. This 5.0% ABV Cream Ale is a new take on their East Coast Cream Ale, this time dry-hopped with Citra and Motueka hops. Available on tap at the brewery, it can also be found in bottles, the label sporting the official artwork celebrating the 200th anniversary of one of the oldest sporting events in North America. We sure hope all of you had a blast Wednesday (and didn’t have too hellish of a Thursday morning)!

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has continued their sour beer releases with a pair of releases over the past few days. Both Sour Patch B’ys: Blueberry and Partridgeberry were both made with locally foraged fruit, with the Blueberry finishing quite dry, and with a pleasant berry-wine-like character, and the Partridgeberry, a tart berry in its own right, complementing the sour base beer quite nicely, and the fruit adding a jam character to the aroma. Sadly, as with the previous Sour Patch B’ys releases, these were in very small quantities, and have been and gone from the brewery in record time. Fear not, however, as there may be a keg of the Partridgeberry on tap at the Stage Head Pub, Split Rock’s taproom, during their birthday later this month. And for all you townies who have been sad to miss out on the recent fruited versions due to small batch size, they’ve got great news! The next Sour Patch B’ys (number 5 in the series) is due out in the next couple of weeks, and should be available in town. This release is an Amarillo dry-hopped version, no fruit this time. Keep an eye on Split Rock’s Social Media (fb/ig/tw) for the full details.

And now for “absolutely, definitely, available today at the brewery” beers, Split Rock’s Nar Day American Pale Ale is here/back. Previously released as an unnamed APA (and whose name is obvious to locals but us CFAs could definitely use some help), Nar Day is akin to saying “Wow, what a day we’re having today!”, as a nod to the beautiful weather they’re seeing currently in Central. At 5.7% ABV, this beer features lots of Cascade and Columbus hops in the boil, as well as a generous dry-hopping, on top of a dry finish and cleanly fermented beer. Grab a pint or growler from the brewery and crack it on the patio or campsite.

And finally in Newfoundland (for this week), Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. just released a new beer yesterday, albeit a very small batch. Curmudgeon is a Berliner Weisse, soured with Lactobacillus over two and a half days, before being fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison yeast. This 3.7% ABV brew has a “strong, clean lactic sourness with a weaker background of doughy, bready, and grainy wheat flavours”. Hop bitterness and flavour is negligible (typical for classic versions of the style), and the effervescent carbonation helps this light brew come across as extra refreshing. It’s available at the taproom for pints only.

International IPA Day was yesterday, and Lunn’s Mill helped celebrate the occasion with the release of a small batch of Soma SMaSH, a 6% ABV, 82 IBUs American IPA brewed entirely with Maris Otter, and double-dry hopped with Mosaic. The first dry-hop was added at the tail-end of fermentation, allowing for some bio-transformation thanks to the interaction of the yeast with the hop oils, with the second addition occurring once fermentation was complete. Both additions give the beer plenty of that Mosaic character most of us know and love: “tropical fruit, citrus, and a dank/piney finish”. It’s available now for pints and growlers in the Lunn’s Mill taproom, with a keg or two making their way to Stillwell in the very near future.

The crew at 2 Crows have been keeping themselves busy this summer, managing to keep their regular beers in rotation while continuing to release new and exciting brews pretty much on a weekly basis (at least). Included in these new releases are two that are hitting taps/cans today, making your long weekend planning just a bit easier! We’ll start with Ramble, a “Wild Table Witbier”. Brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a bit of Flaked Oats, it was lightly hopped with Sterling and Citra in the boil (to just 9 IBUs), with late additions of coriander and orange peel (as is customary for a Witbier). Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, and allowed to age to develop some funk, it was finally dry hopped with Citra (and some more orange zest), before being packaged with sugar and Champagne yeast to create a “nice, bright, and tight carbonation”. Maybe best of all, it weighs in at a supremely sessionable 2.9% ABV… the bad news is that only 500 cans are available!

The second 2 Crows release today is Wild Skies, a “Fruited Brett Sour”. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat and Oats, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then fermented with Amalgamation, a blend of six Brettanomyces strains. Once fermentation was complete, over 1200 lbs of peach, apricot, and blackberry puree were added. Once they realized they had a few dollars leftover, they decided to dry hop the beer with a “substantial” amount of Galaxy and Enigma, two Australian varieties that are equally as wonderful as they are expensive. This 5.2% ABV beer has also been canned, and is tasting “super fruity, tart, and lively, with just the right amount of funk”.

Another brewery continuing to release new beers throughout the summer is the North Shore’s Tatamagouche Brewing. After launching a new fruited sour, a new DIPA and Nova Scotia’s first (official) 12+% beer over the last couple of weeks, they’ve got another one out, one that’s probably a whole lot more subtle than those three. Patterson’s Porter arose from a desire to have an easy-drinking dark beer for the summer months. To that end it eschews too much roastiness, with only chocolate malt providing color and a light roast character to an otherwise quaffable 5.6% ABV beer. This one comes just in time for the other news out of Tata this week, namely that they’re installing a CellarStream nitrogen delivery system. Similar to the unit in place at Battery Park, this device allows the infusion of beer with nitrogen gas on its way from the keg to the glass. Nitrogen is not very soluble in liquid, as any scuba diver who has learned about the bends will know, so it will just push the beer along without dissolving in it, leaving the liquid in a beautiful cascading pattern; meanwhile it does not impart a carbonic “bite” to beer, and therefore yields a softer mouthfeel. It is generally deployed in darker beers, like stouts and sometimes porters, but over the last few years has even found favour with highly-hopped IPAs. Look for Tata to be able to fill your glass or your growler in a new way once it’s in place; and given that they can also apply nitrogen to kegs using the CellarStream, you might keep your eyes open for nitro versions of Tata beers to possibly appear at select tap accounts from time to time!

Sticking to the Northern part of NS, but moving from the Northumberland closer to the Fundy Shore, Meander River Farm & Brewery has a new small batch cider to tell us about, although from what we’ve heard it’s a small enough batch and popular enough that they’re already running shy. Rose Petal Cider is a dry cider using 100% Nova Scotia apples that have been infused with farm-fresh rose petals from the Meander River Farm, of course. Sweet on the nose, and decidedly floral (go figure!), it’s 5.5% ABV and boasts a crisp apple palate and a rosy finish. Only 400 L of this delightful elixir were made, and you won’t be able to find them at their usual Halifax Forum Farmer’s Market this week, so if you want to try it you’ll have to visit them at the farm this weekend. But our roving reporter on the street did happen to witness a couple of kegs being delivered to Battery Park yesterday, so keep an eye on their Untappd feed for when it hits the taps.

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is releasing the latest version of Velvet Fog, their 6.5% ABV Milkshake IPA, today at the brewery when they open. This time around, the beer was hopped with El Dorado, and fruited with “massive additions” of raspberry puree and orange zest. Complemented by lactose powder and vanilla, to cap off that milkshake feel, the beer is “massive and round with juicy hop complexity, sweet raspberry, a bright citrus streak and a candy-like vanilla sweetness”. With the exception of a few tap accounts, you’ll likely only see this one at the brewery, where you can pick it up in cans and on tap for pints and growlers. And while there, pick up some cans of Good Weather, their returning 6.5% ABV American IPA hopped with Vic Secret and Citra.

In Fredericton (although we are contractually obligated to point out that the beer is brewed in nearby Hanwell), Niche is releasing another carefully crafted mixed-fermentation small beer for you to ponder during this impossibly hot couple of weeks. At an eminently sessionable 3.6% ABV, this beer features a very simple grist fermented with Niche’s house blend of Brettanomyces and Saison yeast strains. Aged for a month in stainless, it was then conditioned with pomegranate puree for a light tartness on the finish. Called Tafelbier, which translates to “table beer” or a low alcohol beer generally served with food, we suspect this golden-colored beer’s gentle and subtle tart and funky nature probably bears consideration on its own. You can find out for yourself at tap accounts in Saint John and Fredericton.

If you’re in Halifax and in a Black IPA kinda mood, drop by Good Robot next week for their Beta Brew release, Easy to Love. Brewed with 2-row, Cara 60, Flaked Oats, Black malt, and a touch of CaraAroma, this Black IPA (aka Cascadian Dark Ale) was hopped to 50 IBUs with Cascade, Centennial, and Polaris. Fermented with California Ale, a neutral ale yeast strain, it comes in at a relatively-low-for-the-style 5.8% ABV, and will be pouring at the source starting Tuesday. And two days later, their latest batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, a 5.7% ABV Mexican-style Lager with jalapenos and limes, will be available (don’t worry, lots of summer left!).

One of Picaroons’ long-running beers has been Best Bitter, their take on the Special Bitter English style. This week, they’ve released Extra Special Best Bitter, representing the Extra Special Bitter (ESB), the next up in line for the English Bitter series. Brewed with Maritime malt “from the NB potato belt”, and hopped with local Centennial from Southan Farms, it’s a dark amber-coloured brew, with a “strong hop bitterness balanced by a robust malt backbone”. The 6% ABV beer is available in bottles now, with 32 different labels circulating; each represents a different vintage postcard from New Brunswick. Available at all Picaroons locations, and select ANBL stores.

From one of the oldest and largest breweries in our region, and to one of the newest and smallest, let’s cap the post with a new release from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that darker beers need get short shrift. That’s the idea behind The Tay Porter, their take on a “Summer Porter”, named after friend of the brewery Taylor P. A 4.6% ABV dry porter, featuring Pale Chocolate, Midnight Wheat, Oats, and Wheat Malts, with East Kent Golding as the most prominent hop. On tap for samples and pints at the Tiny Taproom now, be sure to drop by and toast the beer fans and community that keeps the industry alive and vibrant.

Lots on the go around the region this long weekend, and be sure to check the schedule of breweries and stores before dropping by Monday…

Avon River Days is happening this weekend in Windsor, NS, area and Schoolhouse Brewery is in on the fun again this year. Starting on Friday evening with a Patio Party featuring live music from The Miths from 8 – 11 PM, the fun continues into Saturday when Schoolhouse will be hosting an Avon River Days Beer Garden starting at 7 PM and carrying on until the wee hours. With more live music from Tye Dempsey, Elektrik Boogaloo and The Basement, there will also be plenty of beer to be (responsibly) consumed. Cover is $5, but a crisp $20 bill will pay your cover and also get you your first beverage and a swank limited edition Avon River Days 2018 stainless steel pint glass. Schoolhouse will also be in effect on Sunday for the Hood Automotive Avon River Days Car Show from 10 AM – 4 PM. There’s lots more family friendly events going on, check them out at the Avon River Days website!

There’s a couple of events going on in Fredericton tomorrow, August 3rd, one involving exercise, and one involving beer! Don’t worry, they’re meant to go together. First up is the annual Fredericton Beer Run, which begins at 3 pm (registration from 2-3 pm); with various options available for distance (ranging from 0.5 km all the way to 12 km), your $57.50 ticket includes your running bib, run, water stops, and a custom beer glass with unlimited samples at the Down East Brew Festival, which follows directly from 4-8 pm. This is the first year for the outdoor event, which is being held on Carleton St. There will be roughly 25 vendors pouring a wide variety of beer, cider and mead, and the good news is if you’re not into running, you can still attend the festival! You can purchase your ticket through the link above, which gets you your own glass and unlimited samples.

A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming Austin, TX brewery Jester King to take over their Barrington Street location Sunday afternoon starting at 2 PM. There will be tons of great beers flowing, including a handful from their Spon series, blending several vintages of spontaneously-fermented beers, akin to the wonderfully complex Lambic beers of Belgium, as well as other beers not otherwise available in the region.

Next Friday and Saturday marks the annual Seaport Beerfest, making its 12th appearance on the Halifax waterfront. With more than 300 beers and ciders from across the world, there is surely something to satisfy any fan. With a healthy bunch of Atlantic Canadian breweries in attendance, there will be beers from across the country, and beers also sent over from Ireland, and for the first time, an Icelandic pavilion featuring 16 different offerings. And they’ve increased the gluten-free options again this year, so those who aren’t able to handle that can still have fun. Tickets for all three sessions are still available (Friday 7-9:30PM, Saturday 2-4:30PM and 7-9:30PM), with VIP offerings getting you in the door an hour early with a special tasting glass. And to reward our faithful readers who keep track of the news every week, we’re able to offer a pair of tickets to one of the sessions for you! All you need to do is post a picture of your favourite #AtlCanBeer on twitter or instagram, and tag @ACBeerBlog and @seaportbeerfest. The contest is live now, and we’ll end it with a random draw on Tuesday at 8PM. Good luck!

They’re still ironing out the final details, but Upstreet has scheduled their fourth annual Upstreet Block Party for Saturday, August 18th. The day-long party is always a great way to celebrate the local community, with plenty of beer, food, live music, games, brewery tours… and even a barber shop! It’ll be held at the brewery in Charlottetown as usual, with no cost to attend. Just show up and pay by the beer, haircut, whatever! Keep up with their social media pages for the specifics on bands, vendors, etc.; we’ll be sure to let you know if they have a special beer or two planned for the event as well.

Just a few more things to with this week:
– If you’re angrily wondering why it’s August and a heat wave in Halifax and there’s been no sign of Unfiltered Brewing’s summer crusher of a kettle sour Daytimer, you can stop your cursing and head down to the brewery; fills and pints as of noon today (and, actually, in this case, it’s probably best you keep up with the cursing.)
North Brewing is bringing back the second in their Breakwater series, Breakwater Mango-Lime Sour. It follows up the Coconut-Lime that hit the taps and shelves last month, with a new pairing fruit. It will be available on tap and in cans from noon today at both the Agricola and Ochterloney shops. It will be joined soon by cans of their collaboration with Propeller, the Whip It! Lemon Meringue Sour (also available at Prop’s shops, of course).
– After a slight delay, The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour opened this week, at 7955 Hwy 7. Samples and growlers are still available, with their hours being 12-8 pm Thurs-Sat, 12-5pm Sun and Wed. Drop by this weekend to welcome them to the family!