We’ve got another full complement of beer and cider news to get you excited for the weekend. Several new producers on the radar across the region are now open, plus plenty of new and returning favourite beers from established breweries too! Let’s keep this opening paragraph short, and spend our time on the real news. No one reads these intros, do they?
Arisaig, Nova Scotia should already be on the radar for you alcohol beverage fan, as it is the home to Steinhart Distillery, an award winning spirits maker. Located 30 km Northeast of Antigonish along the 245 Highway, they have entered the brewing space under the name 9zero2 Brewing. Owner and distiller Thomas Steinhart comes by his love of beer honestly, having grown up in Germany, and is bringing some favourite styles and recipes from his birth country to life. Beers now available include a Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Cold Smoked, Arisaig Ale, Summer Party, and very soon, their first IPA. We will have a full Profile with 9zero2 shortly, but in the meantime, be sure to drop by the distillery/brewery for pints and growler fills, as it’s the only place you can taste the beer! They are open Monday to Friday, 10 – 7 PM.
In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Two Islands Brewing Company recently opened their doors at 169 Main Street. With Rising Tide Bakery operating in the same space, the taproom and kitchen has been open for a couple of weeks, initially serving beer and cider from other producers in the province. They now have an Irish Red and Blonde of their own, and should be pouring this weekend. Growlers of their own beer will be available, along with pints and flights of all beer and cider on draught. The brewery is open 10AM-6PM (Tue, Wed, and Sun), and 10AM-10PM Thu-Sat. The bakery is open 8AM-6PM Tue-Sun. Drop by this weekend to check out the brewery!
Let’s turn our eye to cider, as Maritime Express Cider has just opened their location in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Housed in a railway hotel at 325 Main Street, Maritime Express boasts onsite cider fermentation and a beautiful taproom. Their cider is built from 100% Annapolis Valley apples, pressed locally, and fermented cool and slow. They are currently pouring a pair of their ciders in the taproom: The Flying Blusenose, a 6.0% ABV dry and crisp cider, and The Dayliner, a 5.0% ABV sweet and smooth blend. They will be adding a third blend, featuring rhubarb, in the near future. Their taps are rounded out with six Nova Scotia beers, and mix and match flights of all are available for enjoyment. Open 11 AM – 9 PM Mon-Thu, 11 AM – 11 PM Fri-Sat, and 11 AM – 5 PM.
And in the “mostly open” department is Sussex Ale Works, located at 597B Main Street. This week they have brewed up their first beer, but while they wait for it to be ready, they’ve been sharing great NB beers from other breweries with their thirsty patrons. Rick Lockhart has been working with Sussex Craft Distillery and Holy Whale Brewing in Alma for several years, and he is running the show at Sussex Ale Works, on their 1 BBL (120 L) system. We’ll have lots more details on Sussex soon, but in the meantime, drop by this weekend to check out the new digs and toss back a pint. Open 12 – 10 PM Fri-Sun, and 5 – 10 PM Mon-Thu.
The gang at Tatamagouche Brewing has plenty going on this week, starting with the launch of their online store. You can now shop for and order your favorite Tata brews and merch from the comfort of your own home! All the pertinent details are available on the site (especially the FAQ), but to answer the most obvious questions, beer must be purchased in multiples of 12 cans and/or 6 bottles, but yes, you sure can mix and match. Shipping is available to all Canadian provinces (but none of the territories) and ships via Canada Post. Even better, orders over $150 ship free! Meanwhile, earlier this month we mentioned Stillwell Brewing’s Make 1, 2 and that the correct term for such a blend of older and newer beer is a bière de coupage. As it turns out, we’d written about another one in the region only a month before when we told you about Tata’s Cahoots. Well available this week is another one from Tata that they’re calling Bliss, again a mix of beer out of two barrels, one old and one young. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and more sour than its predecessor, it’s being released this weekend as a bière de marriage (sorry; not sorry) in celebration of the nuptials of Tata’s own Matt and Christiane, two of the nicest folks in our region’s craft beer scene. A hearty “Cheers” and a big congratulations from us here at the blog! (Also, in related news, the brewery is closing early on Saturday (3 PM) and will be closed Sunday.
One of Newfoundland’s original craft breweries, Storm Brewing in Newfoundland in Mount Pearl, got its start in Carbonear on the east side of the Avalon Peninsula (and the west side of Conception Bay), in 1995. In 1998 they brewed a batch of beer for the first time that led to six months of bureaucracy before the brewery was able to package and sell it. The problem? It was full of hemp seeds. Although hemp won’t get you high, it’s certainly a member of the cannabis family and sourcing good quality seeds became difficult owing to political climate in the early 2000s, so the beer was discontinued. Right up until the other week, that is. Now that cannabis is entirely legal in this fine country of ours, it seemed to the folks at Storm that it would be a fine time to revisit that beer. Sourcing high-quality hemp seeds from Ontario, which were added to the mash, Hemp Ale, known locally as Weed Beer, is a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV brew with a balanced, earthy flavor and a nutty and herbal aftertaste. Packaged with the original labels from 20 years ago, they’re not entirely sure what the future of this beer will be, but they do know that the 650 mL bottles delivered have already have sold out, leaving 6-packs available for purchase at select NLC locations and convenience stores (the NLC site is a bit slow to update inventory, but here is the shortcut for your reference). It’s also on tap at the Ship Pub and the Quidi Vidi Brewery tap room.
Those of you who have been following the evolving nature of North Brewing are well aware that the brewery has released a fair number of different beers since they opened in 2013. Yesterday, they officially added their very first Pilsner to their lineup, with Sparrow. Crisp and refreshing, yesterday’s launch will trickle into today, when cans of the 4.8% ABV beer will be available at both bottle shops. Look for it on tap around the HRM, as well, including their partner in the beer formulation, Agricola Street’s Bar Kismet.
Niche Brewing from Hanwell is continuing their one-hop beer series, with a favourite Australian varietal taking centre stage. You Had Me At… Vic Secret continues the tradition that began with Ekuanot and transitioned to Mosaic, with a 4.4% ABV all Vic Secret Session IPA. Fermented with a blend of yeasts, but cleanly to allow the hop character to shine through. And it does, with tropical fruit and pine notes coming through, on top of a hazy, yet dry, base beer, enhancing the 30 IBU bitterness. Look for it on tap at their regular tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John, as well as at the HopYard in Charlottetown.
The march of the Pumpkin Ales continues (like it or not!), with Newfoundland’s Bootleg Brew Co. throwing their hat in the ring with Basic Bee. This light-bodied, dry, 5% ABV beer features the addition of local pumpkin from Wright’s Family Farm (Pasadena) and 40 lbs of honey from the Newfoundland Bee Company (Little Rapids). Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, the honey makes this one a slightly-different take on the Pumpkin Ale style; look for it on tap right now at Bootleg.
Halifax’s annual sci-fi and gaming convention, Hal-Con, is happening this weekend, and Garrison is once again launching a new beer to celebrate. Billed as a four brewery, three nation collaboration, they teamed up with Mason’s Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing from Maine, and Gæðingur Öl Brugghús from Skagafirði, Iceland to brew Hipster Viking during the Seaport Beer Festival in August. This unfiltered “Atlantic IPA” was brewed in the New England style, and was hopped with Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Idaho 7. Featuring a “dank, tropical aroma and flavour” it weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available starting today at both Garrison and Hal-Con, and at the private liquor stores next week. Note that the label artwork has been done by Ben Bishop, a well-known comic book artist.
Over in Good Robot Land™, next week’s Beta Brew is another fruited kettle sour, this one concocted by Corey Crocker (hey, that wasn’t planned!). Inspired by “the shiny satin shirts and well-bottomed pants of the ‘70s disco era”, Electric Dynomite (misspelling intentional) features the addition of strawberries and rhubarb (4.2% ABV, 6 IBUs). Drop by the brewery on Tuesday, where we (and surely, they) encourage you to wear your favourite disco outfit… and with Halloween right around the corner, you may not even get too many curious stares. And on Thursday, Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) is back on tap yet again. Corn!
Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has a new beer in their series of more experimental offerings that they’ve dubbed Scratch. Now up to number 13 in the series, the latest entry is Lemondrop Saison, named for the use of a fairly-recently developed hop variety from the United States that features a citrusy lemon character (of course), but melded with a herbaceous, almost green tea-like presence. Dry hopped to bring out maximal aroma, this 5.8% ABV and 19 IBU beer features a complex grist that supports a round mouthfeel and subtle spicy notes. This one appears to have made it into cans, so look for it on sale at the brewery!
Port Rexton Brewing is back in full effect at their St. John’s retail location this month. Open for business every Thursday (5 – 8 PM), Friday (12 – 7 PM) and Saturday (12 – 6 PM) for the foreseeable, they’re happy to save you a three hour drive from St. John’s to get your fix. This week the supply of cans is getting a little low, so you’ll be limited to 4 cans of each style, but they’ve got Blazing Sun (Double NEIPA; see below), Horse Chops (IPA), and T-Rex Porter. But as always, they’ve also got growler fills, and the lineup there looks like Sweater Weather (Double IPA), T-Rex Porter, Firehouse Amber, and Baycation Blonde, with The One With the Citra waiting in the wings for when one of the others kicks. The Blazing Sun is a notable return, as it was the first beer that PR put into cans last year. A big sister to their Chasing Sun NEIPA, it’s super hazy and super juicy with tons of hop character, low bitterness, and a full mouthfeel from plenty of oats and wheat in the grist. It takes its name from the oldest living Newfoundland Pony Stallion, a 27 year old named Blaze who lives in Champneys West just across the beach from the brewery. Blaze is always quite happy to munch on the spent grain from Port Rexton’s brewing endeavors, but we suspect most people will prefer the beer. You can keep yourself apprised of what’s available at the retail shop by scoping its dedicated Instagram on the regular and while you’re at it, you might want to follow the brewery’s main Instagram as well.
Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has been brewing up a storm in their new space at 250 Dieppe Blvd, and as we wait for them to be released, they are extending their opening hours to include Thursdays. Their hours are now 6 – 10:30 Thu, 2 – 11:30 PM Fri and Sat, and 2 – 7 PM Sun. And to keep up with all of these hours, they are looking to add some more team members to join them. Send them an email to learn more! Just a note that they are not yet filling growlers due to permitting issues, but have five of their own beers on tap, plus five more guest taps, to keep you happy.
Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a trio of new beers waiting in the wings to share with all of us this weekend. Let’s start with Saint James, a Fruitcake-inspired Stout. Brewed in Winter 2018, this 11.5% ABV stout has been aging in Glenora Whiskey barrels on BS-farm-grown cognac-soaked Organic purple plums. Assistance for the beer concept, recipe, and brewing came from Nova Scotian music Donald MacLennan, an accomplished violinist who had frequently held court in the Big Spruce taproom. Saint James, in case you are wondering, was MacLennan’s Father in Law, and a wonderful part of their family. The beer is full of iconic fruitcake notes of dark dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee, with a significant heat from the high alcohol and barrel-aging.
Something Sophisticated is a 6.4% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, co-fermented with Brettanomyces, featuring a balance of fruit, spice, and light malt, with the Brett funk shining through.
And finally Pile-It License, which is a Sherry Barrel aged Chocolate Porter, weighing in at 7.0% ABV. Chocolate and sherry and wood come together in a smooth beer worth enjoying before, during, or after, a great meal. All three beers will be available in bottles very soon.
In between new brewery and cider-house hopping this weekend, check out the other events on the go…
The Auction House is teaming up with Garrison Brewing for a Halloween Bash tomorrow, October 27th, with 15 taps at Auction House being taken over by the brewery. Several of Garrison’s “specialty brews” will be pouring, and of course there’ll be lots of tasty food available. You can also expect live music and prize giveaways, as well as, ‘tis the season, a costume contest with prizes. There’s no cover charge, so dig out your finest white sheet with two eyeholes and truck on down to Argyle St. tomorrow night to take part in the fun.
Next Saturday will see a full dozen offerings from Annapolis Cider Company on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, as they celebrate their diversity of offerings. Always using Annapolis Valley juice as their base, the different blends and expressions follow the seasons and will sometimes feature other fruits or adjuncts added to enhance the flavour. For those new to Annapolis, or cider in general, may we suggest checking out their appearance on the 902 BrewCast this week, with co-owner Sean Myles talking the crew through their beginnings, how they choose which apples to use, their cider philosophy, and about their Cider Club. Listen in to get ready for Saturday November 3rd!
A note regarding the FemmeBot Beer Fest we mentioned last month: due to a date conflict, it has been moved to April 27, 2019. With the aim to highlight female brewery employees, and/or members of the public creating beer, Good Robot is hosting a 15 brewery Fest at the Mayflower Curling Club. More details are available for breweries looking to be part of the fun, and we will share ticket details once available.
A few more bites before we leave you this week:
Horton Ridge has brought back their Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (6% ABV) in time for the cooler weather; roasty, chocolatey and smooth, drop by the taproom now for a taste.
Picaroons is still churning out new iterations of their PIVOT (8% ABV) Imperial IPA, with the latest (#21) featuring Sorachi Ace and Denali hops. You can find it on tap at all Picaroons locations, as well as select ANBL growler stations.
Propeller has a special cask on tonight, a sneak preview of this year’s upcoming Coffee Porter release. Chocolate was added for this very small release (20 L only), to put a bit of an extra twist on a crowd favourite.
Roof Hound is now pouring their popular Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter (as fun to drink as it is to say!), a Porter which is how you might expect it to be from the name. It’s a strong one at 9% ABV, and has plenty of coffee added from Sissiboo Coffee Roaster, as well as pumpkin, vanilla bean, lactose, and pumpkin pie spices.
Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to push them to the ultimate goal of building their brewery on Sober Island itself. Check out the offerings, and contribute to help further their expansion!
Tanner & Co. first released their Belgian Tripel as an entry in their Reserve Series, back in February. This 8.9% ABV, 35 IBUs brew, which was fermented with a variety of Belgian yeast strains, has just been bottled for the first time. With “lots of complex aromas and flavours”, you can pick up a bottle or two (or more!) at the brewery itself this weekend; note that kegs are also filled and awaiting to go on tap.
TrailWay dropped new cans and kegs of Beans, their 6.3% ABV Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they opened. “Sweetness balanced against roasted malts”, with lots of coffee and chocolate in the aroma, you can grab cans or pints at the brewery starting at noon; look for cans to also hit select ANBL stores sometime next week.