All posts by acbbaaron

It’s another Friday in Atlantic Canada and that means more news of all things beer in the region. We’ve got a brewery opening, a brewery re-opening that’s in the works, and, sadly, a brewery closing (but up for sale). We’ve got all manner of new beers and a few events as well. As a heads-up to our loyal readers, our web hosting has been…less than satisfactory of late and it’s entirely possible that the site will continue to be up and down today and tomorrow. We know for sure that it will be down tomorrow night as there’s an upgrade happening that will hopefully prevent future outages. Our fingers are crossed (but we’re evaluating other options too). And with that, let’s get to the stuff you came here to read.

New Brewery Alert! Brasserie Chockpish launched last Saturday at Marky’s Laundromat Expresso Bar, with their flagship Chockpish Pilsner. A 5.0% ABV Bohemian Pils with Czech noble hops (to the tune of 40 IBUs) and lagered for 3 months, the beer was brewed using traditional techniques, resulting in a medium body with bread crust notes, and a smooth and dry finish. Brasserie Chockpish is currently a part-time endeavour for Yves Martin and his wife, brewing 600 litres (5 BBL) batches in their garage in Dieppe. As such, the brewery is not open to the public, and on tap around Moncton is the only place to try their beer. Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they announce more locations to grab a pint. Felicitations Brasserie Chockpish!

We’re happy to pass on that Port Rexton Brewing has released this year’s entry in their Ten Eighty series, an annual release of a single batch of an imperial beer. You may recall that last year’s beer, Ten Eighty 2018, was an Imperial Saison. Well, while that specific beer was bottled and sold, the rest of the batch was aged for the last year in grape brandy barrels with Escarpment LabsBrett Q yeast. The result is Ten Eighty 2019, a 10.2% ABV beer with a “bright, fruity and funky Brett aroma”, and “an explosion of apple, grapeskin, and brandy character” on the palate. There’s some alcohol warmth to go with it, naturally, as well as some oak. Sounds like a great beer to stock up on, some to drink now, and some to save! Grab some bottles (limit of 2 due to the small batch size) at the brewery or Retail Shop ASAP.

Our buds at 2 Crows are launching a new beer tomorrow, and it’s sounding delightful af (that’s what the kids say, right?). Getting There is a Golden Sour, brewed a year ago with barley and raw wheat in the turbid mash style, creating a very starchy wort (basically to give plenty of sugars for the yeast to chew on over time). Hopped with aged hops (to keep the IBUs low so the Lactobacillus bacteria aren’t inhibited), the wort was fermented in one of the brewery’s foedres with a multitude of cultures harvested from a variety of Belgian sour beers. The beer spent ten months conditioning, before being packaged in cans with priming sugar and fresh yeast, where it was allowed to carbonate for 2 months. A can-primed sour beer, sounds wonderful to us! Expect “a bright minerality and notes of lemon sherbet, hay, and a subtle barnyard funk”. This 5.6% ABV brew was actually on tap, briefly, for the brewery’s 2nd Anniversary party last month; grab cans of Getting There tomorrow from opening.

We’ve got some info on the latest beer coming out of Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery this week, Ben, a Brett IPA. Fermented with a variety of yeasts – London Ale, US-05 (a clean, American strain), and Escarpment’s New World Saison and Brett D – it was hopped with Citra and Palisade, and dry-hopped with Bramling Cross. Think apricot and blackcurrant, with a slightly tart finish.It comes in at 6.6% ABV; drop by the Brightwood Market taproom this weekend for a taste, or check out your favourite Brightwood watering hole in the HRM. In addition, their California Common, Minutes, should be available in cans by today or tomorrow.

Staying on the dark side, yesterday Nine Locks released their first ever beer in the Pilsner style. Brewer Connor MacLeod brought a recipe they’re describing as an “off-dry” variation on the classic German Pils. Bright and golden with a lasting head, it keeps the noble hop character of the parent style, but with less bitterness, a little more body and a slight sweetness. Feinherb is 4.8% ABV and 35 IBU and is available in a limited release at the brewery’s retail store in handy can format.

Moving across the bridge to Tidehouse, who launched their latest bottle release, Spruce, yesterday at the brewery. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, and Melanoidin, they hopped the wort with Azacca and Simcoe as a whirlpool addition. Fermented with Brett C, and then dry-hopped with Amarillo and “a small pitch” of spruce tips from East Coast Wild Foods, the 5.7% ABV beer was finally packaged and bottle-conditioned. With “notes of apricot, orange, and grapefruit” from the hop additions, the brewery claims there’s enough spruce character to appreciate, without being overly harsh or sappy. Bottles available, as mentioned, at the brewery only.

Schoolhouse Brewery has teamed up with Ski Martock to brew Private Lesson: Slope Style Ale, what they’re referring to as a “blend of New England IPA and West Coast IPA/Pale Ale”. Brewed with pale malt, wheat, and flaked oats, there were several additions of Galaxy, Amarillo, El Dorado, Citra and Galena, late in the boil, in the whirlpool, and in two separate dry hops. Coming in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, there’s plenty of peach and tropical fruit flavours in a “dry, refreshing” package. Head to the Schoolhouse taproom today for a pint and/or growler. Or better yet, drop by Ski Martock this weekend as they celebrate the end of the season. They are holding a Slush Cup from 1 – 3 PM (registration opens at 9 AM), with live music before and after. More details here!

It’s only been a couple weeks since their latest Scratch series beer, but Fredericton’s Grimross just released another one, Scratch #19: Czech Lager. Inspired by a recent trip to the Czech Republic by owners Stephen and Dawn Dixon, the beer was brewed with all Bohemian Pilsner malt and hopped with Saaz (to 28 IBUs); no salts were added to the brewing water for this brew. Fermented with the brewery’s house Lager yeast, the final product weighs in at a supremely-sessionable 3.8% ABV, and comes across as “really soft, floral, and grassy, with a clean bitterness”. Look for it on tap at Grimross and their local accounts; it can also be found in cans at the brewery, and at select ANBL stores next week.  

If you’re around Good Robot this weekend and are craving something hoppy, they’ve brought back Creature Feature I, their “Biotransformation IPA” hopped with Cascade, Amarillo and Citra (6.4% ABV, 68 IBUs), and they still have some of their Rake n Scrape, a 6.9% ABV, 70 IBUs DIPA with mango and pomegranate (which launched during last weekend’s FlavaBot). Finally, look for a fresh batch of Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie to pop up at the taproom next week.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing celebrates their love of both beer and music, often inviting musicians into the taproom, and even gracing the stage themselves (they are accomplished musicians in their own right!). Tonight, they are playing host to Adam Baldwin as he launches his new EP “No Rest for the Wicked”. The solo show starts at 7:30, and is free. And what better way to toast the new EP release than with a new beer? Sharing a name with one of Baldwin’s songs, and brewed in collaboration with the singer, Half a Mind is light yellow in colour, pouring with a thick white pillowy head. With a base of Pilsner and Vienna malts, and lightly hopped to 24 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria and Saaz, the 4.0% ABV beer has a delicate malt character and light bitterness and aroma, making it a winner for an entire recording session. Drop by this evening to grab a pint and an EP, and enjoy the show!

A much-anticipated update for our friends in St. John’s (and the rest of Newfoundland!), Bannerman Brewing at 90 Duckworth Street is getting into the final stages before opening, and are looking to round out their family. The brewery, taproom, cafe, and kitchen will need awesome people who want to build community and be a part of this brand new business, so get in touch with Laura via email to submit your cover letter and resume.

Lower Sackville’s Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House has been a little quiet lately, but only because they’ve been planning something very big… They’ve announced that they are moving out of the basement, and into a stand-alone building in Lower Sackville. Expanding from their current 120 litres to a 1200 litre (10 BBL) system, they will also be adding a taproom and retail shop to their location. Look for this new location to open in the fall!

After a couple months of shuttered doors and whispered rumours, we now have official word from the owners that Scudrunner Brewing in Gander has closed and is for sale. While low sales are being blamed, we do not believe that is the whole story, and this is not a signal of the slowing down or saturation of the local beer market. As one of the larger towns in Central Newfoundland, and one with an airport, we still believe Gander is the right place for a brewery run by those passionate about the craft, giving meaningful employment, and spreading the Good News of #NLCraftBeer.

This week’s shamefully late notification of a beer release comes from Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg who yesterday released a brand new one called Rye’T On! An American pale ale featuring rye, it comes in at 5.4% ABV and a solid 40 IBU. Three varieties of rye in the grist should ensure that this one has plenty of complexity and a hint of that somewhat spicy quality that is the hallmark of that grain. Hop-wise, equal amounts of Simcoe, Mosaic, and Topaz provide notes of mango, pine and citrus. Look for this one in the tap room for pints, growler fills and crowlers to go; you can also grab a pint downstairs at the Grand Banker.

A couple of events coming up this coming week and beyond that you might want to plan for:

Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. has been open for about two years now, but they have yet to hold a tap takeover. Well, that’s all about to change come Thursday, April 4th, with a Lunn’s Mill Tap Takeover at Battery Park. The all-day event will feature 14 beers from the brewery, and several brewery representatives will be there to meet you and answer any questions you might have. The beer starts flowing at 11:30 am; stay tuned to the event site for updates on which beers will be available, in addition to other info.

Next Saturday, April 6th, is Round One of this year’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival. Being held at the Corner Brook Civic Centre (Pepsi Centre), they are bringing in the best beer brewed in Newfoundland (we expect all Newfoundland breweries will be in attendance!), as well as some great beers from elsewhere in the Atlantic provinces and Ontario, plus live music, we’re sure this event will be a blast! Tickets are still available for the April 6th Corner Brook event. And for those on the Avalon, they will be doing it all over again out your way, as they take over the Legion on Quidi Vidi Lake for Friday April 12th and Saturday April 13th. Tickets for Saturday are already sold out, but there are a few left for Friday’s event. We can’t wait to attend it again this year, after having lots of fun at the 2018 edition. Your ticket includes unlimited samples, a map/passport to keep track of the beers you’ve tried, your tasting glass, and the live entertainment.

There’s another Craft Draught Showdown happening at The Carleton in Halifax on Thursday, April 11th. As always you’ll find 5 courses from Chef Dolente paired with 5 beers each from two breweries with a bit of friendly competition involved as diners vote on the winning beers. Let’s be honest, though, everybody wins when they get a great meal and 10 different beers to try with live music going on Carleton-style at the same time! This edition of the event will see two breweries from East of Halifax Harbour squaring off, Eastern Shore’s Sober Island and Downtown Dartmouth’s Brightwood. Tickets are $60 per person and are available online at the Carleton Website.

Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub has the latest in their Meet the Maker series of events coming up on Saturday, May 4th. At these events you get to not only try several beers from a particular brewery, but you also get to meet the folks who made the beer. This edition will feature the beers of Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, and you’ll have a chance to talk to both Rob Coombs and our own Shawn Meek, or at least after you’ve navigated your way through the thronging crowd of fanatics and hangers on, endured a quick pat down by their security detail, and had your interest vetted by their publicist, you might get to ask them a quick question. But seriously, come out, sit down, have a beer with Shawn and Rob, and listen to them wax eloquently on matters of hops and yeast and, “Why Hanwell?” The event starts at 4 PM, with the brewers in the house from 7 on. We’ve been advised that there will be 10+ Niche beers available on tap, with at least a couple of never or rarely seen before brews in the mix. Keep your eyes on Niche social media (Fb/In/Tw) this coming month for more information about exactly what will be pouring; we’ll be sure to update you as the date approaches!

And a few last mentions before we let you get on to the weekend:

Hammond River is now pouring the latest in their single-hopped, single malt American IPA series, The Vegas SMaSH IPA (Ella edition). Ella, an Australian hop variety, is giving “wonderful tropical flavours and aromas, along with grapefruit and a hint of star anise” in this 6.5% brew, according to the brewery.

Check out Tusket Falls this weekend if you’re in the area – they have a new Robust Porter, Buy it on Rumour, on tap at the brewery. It has “lots of roasted flavours, with caramel and toffee notes”, and comes in at 5.2% ABV.

For the third year running, Big Spruce is releasing a collaboration NE IPA with the Ocean Tracking Network called Tag! You’re It. We’ve heard a rumour that the recipe might have been tweaked a little this year, but we’re sure it’s for the better if you’re into hazy, hoppy delights. And $0.50 from every can goes to support ocean research. Like the ocean? Perfect excuse to DRINK MOAR BEER!! Look for it in familiar blue cans (this year featuring an Atlantic Salmon) at the private stores in Halifax real soon now.

For the first time (that we know of, anyway), Bagtown Brewing in Sackville, NB, has packaged some beer in 473 mL cans! You can stop by their location to sample their wares and then grab a few to go.

Happy Friday folks! If you’re anything like us, you’re nursing a headache/prepping your liver for the fun happening in New Brunswick’s capital city this weekend, as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival celebrates its 7th year. There are still a few tickets available for Saturday afternoon session (grab ‘em here), and be sure to say hi if you see us with a beer in our hand (or waiting for one). We’ve got lots of great news and new beers to kick off the weekend, including a whole bunch of awesome beers and events celebrating women in the industry, as today is International Women’s Day. So raise a pint to all of the brewsters and other women and femme-identifying folks working in the industry around the region, and let’s dive right in!

Port Rexton is among the breweries who have brewed up a special beer in honor of International Women’s Day. Designed and brewed by the women of PR, Early Rise is an American Pale Ale with a twist, namely all the Earl Grey Tea that could be procured from the Bulk Barns in the St. John’s area (or at least 1.5 KG)! Every other ingredient in this beer was selected specifically to complement the special ingredient, from the malt to the hops. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, look for a light and spicy malt sweetness and a lingering orangey hop character. You can grab this one starting today at the taproom during their IWD Celebration starting at 4 PM (including IWD-themed trivia at 8 PM with registration at 7:30). It’ll also be on the taps at the Port Rexton St. John’s Retail Shop while supplies last.

2 Crows is focusing solely on the hops with their latest release, Perfect Recreation, the newest in their series of NEIPAS. Like the other entries, the grist has been kept fairly simple (Golden Promise, Wheat malt, and flaked oats), to allow the huge amount of hops to come through nicely, while at the same time keeping the mouthfeel of the beer smooth and pillowy. Plenty of Citra and Simcoe were thrown into a hopback addition (after the boil, on the way to the chiller and fermenter), with the beer then being fermented with a “super juicy yeast strain”. Of course, there were more hops added after fermentation, with two dry hop additions – both including more Simcoe and Citra, as well as Vic Secret and a bit of Centennial. The result is a 6.1% ABV beer described by 2C as “super lush, soft, and absolutely exploding with tropical hop aromas of mango, passionfruit, and guava.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery today (cans and on tap), and at select 2C tap accounts over the weekend… and maybe it’ll even pop up at tomorrow’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Finally, a big congratulations to head brewer/co-owner Jeremy Taylor and his wife, Elaine, on the birth of their new baby girl!

Speaking of NEIPAs, straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes the latest in that style from Niche Brewing, one they’re calling Make it So. Also built on a grist of primarily Golden Promise and also featuring wheat (flaked), oats (also flaked) and chit malt, it’s almost enough to make you wonder if Niche and 2 Crows brewers occasionally might talk a little bit… or at least read the same blogs 🙂 Hops in this one include Citra, Chinook, and Columbus as very late kettle additions, with more Citra and Galaxy comprising the massive dry hop. Fermented, per their usual, with one of their favorite NEIPA-geared strains, it’s described as “super fruity and juicy,” while displaying the characteristic haziness and medium bitterness one would expect. You’ll find this one pouring at Niche’s usual tap accounts, at Halifax’s Stillwell in the near-ish future, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, at the evening session of the FCBF tomorrow night!

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk, a beer they’ve been conditioning for awhile now. Overdosse (rough English translation would be “idiot” or “loser”… note that the FB post for this beer was accompanied by a picture of the current U.S. president) is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt. Hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the wonderful Duvel yeast strain (with temperatures allowed to rise as high as they could go). Conditioned in the fermentor for a few months, it’s now ready for you, and is exhibiting lots of Belgian phenolic and ester characteristics on the nose and palate. Look for it on tap at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole, at the ANBL Vaughan Harvey growler station, and at FCBF.

Looks like Spindrift is moving forward with more experimentation in brewing, with the introduction of the first entry in their latest series, Future Thoughts. Lemon to a Knife Fight falls in the Witbier style, and is more-specifically billed as an “Imperial Blueberry Lemon Witbier”, if you’re picky (which we are!). The grist is made up in the traditional sense for a Witbier – with Pilsen malt and a blend of both malted and flaked wheat – but at a grander scale, resulting in a 7.5% ABV beer. Hopped lightly with Herkules and Cascade to 18 IBUs, fresh lemon zest (from 200 lemons!) was added, along with a dose of Indian coriander. As for the blueberry portion, puree was added during fermentation, as well as a bit of blueberry extract after fermentation was complete. The finished beer is tasting estery, slightly boozy, with aromas of blueberry mixed with lemon. This one is a draught-only release, with most of it available exclusively at Spindrift (although a keg or two may make it to a couple of local licensees). Future entries in this series may be bottled; only time will tell.

We think we’ve got the details on that special beer from Secret Cove Brewing we briefly mentioned last week, which was brewed for their Grand Opening party. Hop a Ryed in My Dory is a different take on your traditional DIPA; while at first this 7.4% ABV brew seems fairly typical, featuring late hop additions to give flavours of “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”, they threw in an addition of Canadian Rye malt to give the beer a “spicy complexity”. by the brewery in Port au Port East, Newfoundland to grab a pint and judge for yourself.

Is the high alcohol in all of those DIPAs, Winter Warmers, etc. getting you down these days? If it is, Tatamagouche Brewing has the cure for what ails ya with Dekorum (English translation: “behaviour in keeping with good taste”). Truly keeping the “light” in Light Lager, this 2.9% ABV beer still manages to pack in some crisp, refreshing flavours, while still allowing you to enjoy a few without having to worry about calling a cab (although that’s subjective, so still, enjoy responsibly!). You can find cans and growlers of this one at Tata, and we know for a fact it’s already popped up on tap in the HRM. Cans will also be hitting shelves at your local NSLC in the not-too-distant future.

It’s been a bit of a spell since we’ve seen a bottle release from Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, but luckily, our wait is over! That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is an extremely-limited release, so you best jump on it if you’re interested. The beer is And You May Find Yourself, a “Pastry Stout” that was brewed with maple syrup and cocoa nibs, all conditioned on an “insane” number of vanilla beans. Billed as low-carbonated and sweet, this is a big beer at 11% ABV, and is meant to sip on as a dessert beer of sorts (they also recommend to consume this one fresh… no aging!). You can buy tickets to purchase this beer here; if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle, you can pick it up at the Duo Cafe next door to T&B (or ask for it directly at T&B); have your idea and ticket with you. And by limited release, we DO mean limited.. only 40 bottles are available for purchase. Though we have it on good authority that if you ask nicely at the FCBF, they may have it pouring from their jockey box. And be sure to pop by their table at the fest tomorrow, as Chad and crew are sure to have something special on the go. Those of us who’ve done that previously got to try their unique Peach Ale Shake, served through by a slushie machine!

If you’re in the area of Tusket Falls Brewing this weekend, and feel like you have a bit of a sour tooth, you may want to drop by the brewery to see if they have any of their latest one-off left, Passionfruit Sour. This 4.5% ABV kettle sour has lots of passionfruit on the nose and palate, according to the brewery, finishing with a “pleasant tartness that complements the juiciness well”. It won’t last long, as their experimental beers tend to move quickly. They’ve also started canning their Beyond the Haze NEIPA (5.8% ABV), so grab some of those while you’re there! Those will also be hitting the shelves of the private stores and NSLC very soon.

The brew crew from St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery took a trip down to New York City last month, to brew up a special beer with Five Boroughs Brewing. Celebrating the Come From Away Broadway show, and the story of town of Gander during September 11, 2001, they lent their hands Newfoundland-style, to brew up a collaboration beer. Come From Away is a 6.0% ABV “Islander Pale Ale”, featuring tons of Amarillo, Cascade, and Cashmere hops added at every step of the brewday and beyond, and has plenty of citrus and tropical fruit character. While this beer is only available in NYC for the time being, a little birdy told us that YB will be brewing the same recipe on their system on Water Street soon, so soon we can all be singing and dancing along to this great beer.

Attention Home Brewers! It’s that time of year again, as Boxing Rock has announced that registration for their super-popular Black Box Challenge is now open. As a reminder, this is a different type of brewing competition, as brewers are not aiming for a style, per se, but starting from the same ingredients (and only those ingredients, except water), and the end result is totally in their hands. Previous winners have been a smoked cinnamon beer, a kettle sour with orange peel, and a American Brown Ale with ginger. There are only a few spots left, grab your tickets here, and pop into HopYard in Halifax to pick up your box of ingredients starting today. This year’s competition features a new twist that reflects Hop Yard’s involvement, where each contestant must pair a record (as in vinyl) with their entry. Beers are due mid-April, and the live judging (including a presentation by each finalist explaining why they selected that particular record) and crowning of the winner will be at HopYard April 28th.

The big events that have our attention this weekend (beside the FCBF) are the great Femme-focused events happening at Good Robot in Halifax this weekend.

  • Today from 6 PM, Cheers for Lady Beers. Female-brewed beers from across the province (and beyond!) will be taking over their taps, with many of those brewsters on hand to chat and answer questions. Lots of beers we’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks will be pouring, including Good Robot’s own Big Witch Energy, Garrison Brewing’s Susannah IPL, and the Propeller x Ladies Beer League Call Me Blondie collab. The winners of the FemmeBrew competition will be announced during a private party before the public event (4 – 6 PM).
  • Tomorrow from 12 PM, Women in Entertainment. A panel of women in the entertainment business will be sharing their knowledge, stories, and advice for those looking to get involved or further their career. Doors open at 10 AM, with food served and beer pouring from that point.
  • Tomorrow from 9 PM, Dance Through the Pain-triarchy. A dance party in a safe space, open to everyone!
  • Sunday from 7 PM, RobieScope: The Help. A female-strong period drama, BYO-PJs.

And tickets for their Brewster Fest, being held April 27th, are now available. Celebrating women-owned breweries and female-brewed beers, they have breweries from across the province and beyond pouring at the Mayflower Curling Club that day. Click the link to see the brewery list and grab a ticket!

Before we let you go this week….

Boxing Rock has brewed up a beer for the Good Robot Femmebot Tap Takeover taking place today. Catarina Sour is a 5.7% ABV kettle sour brewed with pineapple and mango brewed with their “Femmebot friends”, Jana and Patricia; it’ll also be on tap at Boxing Rock.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Grimross has teamed up with Fredericton’s Ladies Beer Connection to release two special casks – Strawberry Champagne and Pomegranate Cheval D’Or – at tomorrow’s FCBF. One of each cask will be tapped at the beginning of each VIP session.

Up in Village-au-Poirier, NB, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur is happy to let folks know that their Nigogue Pale Ale is now available at several ANBL locations including Bathurst, Miramichi (both locations), Shippagan and Tracadie. You’ll also find their other two beers, Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Winter Beer at the Pleasant Street location in Miramichi.

Hot off their opening late last month (congrats guys!), Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a brand new beer hitting the taps. It’s a 4.6% ABV Blonde Ale, and complements their Porter, Pale Ale, and White IPA already pouring. Pop out for a pint and/or to fill a growler this weekend!

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is the latest brewery in our region to take on the “mixed drink in a can” market with the introduction this week of Sand Piper Vodka Soda. Zero carbs, zero added sugars, and all-natural flavoring in a convenient pre-mixed format. Look for more info on the dedicated Insta account for the brand and/or pick some up at the Nine Locks Retail Store, select private liquor stores in Halifax and, soon enough, at NSLC locations.

And a quick note to end the post today, thanks again to everyone who came out to take part in our trivia last night at The Joyce, and big thanks to all of the breweries who donated great swag to give away to our winners. We had lots of happy folks last night! For those breweries who missed out, we’ll be doing it all again in Halifax during NS Craft Beer Week, so reach out if you’ve got anything to share!

Hi again, it’s us again. And we’re late. Again. We blame the weather. And illness. And day jobs. And too much beer news from all our friends at breweries around the region. So in the interest of getting on with things, we’ll cut this off here and wish you a happy beer-filled long weekend!!

If you caught a mention on the social media pages of Tusket Falls Brewing about a new beer called Bitter Stout, we’re sorry to tell you that this experimental batch has already sold out. Luckily, they’ve got two other new brews on tap at the brewery for you to try! One is a 6.5% ABV Brown Porter with an addition of cold brew coffee, giving aromas of “dark chocolate and fresh coffee grinds, and a creamy, vanilla cappuccino flavour”. The next is a 5% ABV Saison with hibiscus, with “Juicy Fruit gum and floral, carnation-like” notes on the nose, as well as “subtle, tart cherry and floral flavours” to complement. If these go as quickly as the Bitter Stout, you best get into the brewery to try them, quick!

St. Patrick’s Day is still a month away, but Bathurst’s Four Rivers Brewing has released their St. Paddy’s seasonal a bit early as a limited run. Raglan Red is, as you may expect, an Irish Red Ale; the name was inspired by Raglan Road, a local Irish band. The beer itself (5.0% ABV, 25 IBUs), which pours a deep red colour with a creamy, off-white head, is described as having “a slightly sweet biscuit and caramel flavour that finishes dry, with hints of Roasted Barley”. It was fermented with an Irish Ale yeast strain, which “adds a faint aroma of toffee and wildflowers”, according to the brewery. You can currently get it at the brewery on tap and in cans. Next month, however, it should be more readily available, with kegs even hitting some ANBL growler stations around the big day. Four Rivers will also be holding a St. Patricks Day party on March 15th, featuring Raglan Road, with a portion of ticket sales going to the local SPCA; tickets are $15 and are available now at the brewery.

Elsewhere in Bathurst, newly-opened 13 Barrels Brewing has released their second beer, Tall Tales IPA. We don’t have too many details to share, but we can tell you that this copper-coloured brew is a 6% ABV, 55 IBUs American IPA that the brewery is describing as “crisp and malty, with an aroma that has hints of spice and orange bouquet”. It joins their first beer, Pabineau Pale Ale, on tap for pints and growler fills, and a half-dozen guest beers that can be enjoyed in their cozy taproom.

Back to Nova Scotia, and Annapolis Royal, for our next new release. Annapolis Brewing Company has released their first Hefeweizen, an iconic German beer style that features a hefty amount of wheat in the malt bill, and a special yeast strain. Capital Hefeweizen is 5.2% ABV, and shows off the characteristic blend of banana and clove aromatics, along with light bubble gum and vanilla flavour compounds. Lightly hopped to 11 IBU with Liberty and Nugget hops, this quaffable beer features high carbonation for an effervescent pint. The name is an ode to Annapolis Royal’s distinction of being the former provincial capital. Available on tap at their St George Street taproom, those in the current capital city can enjoy it tomorrow evening at the Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Seaport Farmers Market, joining their W&A Rye IPA and Dry Dock Dry (Brut-style) Pale Ale.

We’ve seen Bishop’s Cellar team up with local breweries to create collaboration brews before, and based on those results, we’re excited about the latest one! Bloom was brewed with our friends at North Brewing, and will be dropping tomorrow for your drinking pleasure. A 5.0% ABV Saison, it features the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Hopped with Saaz, Hallertau Blanc, and Galaxy, they decided to step things up and throw in even more of that delicious Galaxy in the dry hop. We’re guessing here, but are thinking there’ll be a good mix of tropical fruit and spice in this one, all in a dry-but-not-too-dry-finish-package. You can grab your cans at both North bottle shops, as well as at Bishop’s Cellar (natch); it’ll also be pouring at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party.

Niche Brewing just outside of Fredericton aren’t slowing down their release schedule these days, despite the crappy weather, and have a brand new beer out late this week. Counting Stars was brewed with a base of Golden Promise along with oats and chit in the malt bill, and fermented with a mix of low-flocculating yeast strains, resulting in a hazy golden-coloured brew. This 6.7% ABV New England IPA is all about the hops, of course, with Galaxy, Topaz, and Amarillo taking centre stage in the boil, with the former two also being added as dry-hops after fact, along with Vic Secret. Hop notes of tropical, fruit, and lightly dank are followed up with a firm bitterness on the palate. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media (or better yet the bar and restaurants), to see when Counting Stars hits the tap at The Joyce Pub (ed: it’s on now!), Hilton Garden Inn Fredericton Downtown, and Saint John’s Peppers Pub.

While the cats are away, the mice will play. Or in this case, while Matt and Christiane of Tatamagouche Brewing are making us jealous with their honeymooning in Europe, the rest of the crew are busy working and releasing four (4!!) beers this week. Returning is the Oyster Cloister Stout, their 5.3% ABV stout named in celebration of the annual oyster shucking party that has been a part of local tradition for years. Roasted barley and Carafa malts create a rich chocolate and roasty base to the beer, with a light dose of hops, and finally a salty kick from the Malagash oysters added in. They’ve taken the party from the kitchen, and invited the rest of us to take part, as it kicks off tonight at 7 PM at the brewery.

In the first of the brand new beer at Tatamagouche this week, the women in the brewery got together with another female-strong brewery in the province, Good Robot, and brewed up Maltriarchy. This “strong beer for strong women” weighs in at 8.6% ABV, is a Golden Strong Ale, with a light and effervescent mouthfeel, dangerous for a beer this size. Leveraging a Belgian yeast strain and Saaz hops for a fairly traditional take on the style, with some fruity esters from the yeast and a classic noble hop character.

Nelson’s Park Pale Ale is the second of the new brews out in Tata, and as the name would imply, the New Zealand hop Nelson Sauvin features prominently in the brew. This 5.1% ABV hoppy and hazy beer is named after Nelson Memorial Park, overlooking Tatamagouche Bay. Tropical and stone fruit character are complemented by the white wine notes often found in Nelson, and the bitterness is enough to balance without becoming too harsh.

And finally, we’ve got Mingle. This 4.7% ABV Ale is simply categorized as a “Hazy Organic Ale”. Details are a bit light on the one, but we’ve been assured it sports a light body with notes of apple and pear, and is dangerously drinkable. It, like all of the Tatamagouche beer we’ve mentioned today, are available at the brewery now on tap for samples, pints, and growlers, with cans available there, and at select private stores in HRM in the next week or so.

Seamount Saison is a brand new release at Mount Pearl’s newest brewery, Landwash. Admittedly released a little out of saison (season, sorry!), they fell into some good luck with a special yeast perfect for the style, and could not pass up the opportunity. Returning to the roots they set down at Folly Brewing in Toronto, this is a Belgian-inspired beer that lets to yeast blend to shine through, with zesty citrus notes, with pepper aroma and flavour. A medium bitterness and dry finish will have you ordering your second pint. This is a one-off brew, for now, as Seamount will return in the spring when the temperatures are a little warmer. But for now, grab it on tap this weekend for pints and growler fills, as well as in cans in their retail shop. Also in the shop this weekend is the return of Home and Away, the 5.6% ABV American Pale Ale they first released in late December. Showcasing Cascade and Citra, this beer is all sorts of hoppy goodness, with massive orange and grapefruit on the nose and palate, with a medium bitterness to tickle your tongue. It too is available for flights and pints at the bar, with growlers and cans to take away. If you’re ever wondering which Landwash beers are available, we highly encourage you to check out the Availability section on their site. And keep your eyes peeled in town, as we’ve seen kegs of Landwash available at better beer spots in St. John’s, including Merchant Tavern and Jack Axe’s. If you *don’t* see them at your favourite watering hole, ask the staff about maybe bringing them, wouldja?

The PEI Brewing Co. has had a lot of employees over the years, so you know when they brew a beer in honour of one of them, it means something. Mike Ross, now the co-owner of both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations, was once the brewery’s Sales Manager, and is as least as much now a strong advocate for craft beer as he was during his days at the PEIBC. In a nutshell, he’s well-deserving of having his picture on cans of El Bolito De Coraje (Spanish translation “little ball of courage”). The beer is billed as a 6.2% ABV “Mexican Chocolate Stout”, and was brewed with organic cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and “a blend of spicy peppers”. The brewery tells us that the beer isn’t TOO spicy, more providing a touch of heat, while allowing the other ingredients to come through. You can find it on tap at both Hop Yard locations, and in cans at the PEIBC taproom this coming Monday, February 18th.

Halifax’s Garrison is the latest brewery in our region to explore the satellite taproom and pilot brewery concept; there was plenty of social media excitement when it was announced this week that they’ll be opening up in the Oxford Theatre building at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Streets. Although there was certainly some chagrin from the arts community that an independent cinema or performance space was not on the docket, Garrison’s plan is consistent with the stated goal by the Nahas family, who purchased the building last year, to renovate and maintain the property as a landmark and community friendly space on Quinpool Road. Plans for Garrison’s part of the facility will include a 1 BBL electric brewhouse with a couple of 1 BBL unitanks for fermentation and conditioning all on a very small visible footprint (~150 ft2). The taproom side of the mix will include 13 Garrison brews and 1 cider (Bulwark), with two additional taps for beers brewed on site. Expect 2 to 4 brews a month to be done in-house, with the team using it as an opportunity for experimentation with ingredients, techniques and recipes, as well as potentially for collaboration brews with other brewers and potentially folks from the community. Some snacks will be available, but patrons will also be welcome to order in food from neighboring restaurants, and look for the occasional pop-up or catered event as well. Set to open in Spring 2019, we’re definitely excited to see what else Garrison has in the works for this concept.

Meanwhile, in more Garrison beer news, they also have some new brews coming out today, a trio of Winterventions: Bourbon Barrel-aged Wintervention, Whiskey Barrel-aged Wintervention, and plain ol’ Wintervention are joining the Cellar Series this week, where Cherry Bourbon Barrel-aged Wintervention has been hanging out all by its lonesome for a couple of weeks. Those who’ve been around for a while know that Wintervention is a Chocolate Imperial Stout brewed to 10.5% ABV and conditioned for a month on cacao nibs. A deep dark beer for deep dark winter nights, you can now try the original formulation and/or compare and contrast the different barrel treatments. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and, we expect, you’ll see at least some of them pop up at private stores in Halifax over the coming weeks. And look for one more variant to be released before the season’s over. Oh, the suspense!!

Plenty going on in beer events over the next couple weeks and beyond:

Nothing seems to ever be able to stop Stillwell from holding wonderful tap takeovers, and we’re not complaining! Coming up this Saturday, February 16th, Toronto’s Godspeed Brewery will take over your favourite beer bar with nine beers on tap and three in cans. And we’re not talking about your daddy’s beer, here, unless your daddy is into Smoked Pilsners, Green Tea IPAs, and Peated Scotch Lagers (and if he is, can we trade daddies?). Check out Stilly’s Facebook page for a full list of what will be pouring. And because it’s Stillwell, of course there will be some excellent food to pair with all these tasty beverages, featuring sushi and appetizers from Sushi Shige. It all starts at noon, and will continue all day (based on availability).

Battery Park is continuing their run of tap takeovers by inviting Pictou County’s two most prominent breweries to line their wall with beers. Next Thursday, February 21, you’ll find the best offerings from Lyon’s Brook’s Uncle Leo’s and Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing flowing in Dartmouth. Beer will begin flowing at their usual 11:30 AM opening time. Consistent with other takeovers, we suspect it’s fair for you to expect some stone cold classics along with some new and/or limited editions in the house. Keep an eye on social media for potential hints as to the beers that will be pouring.

In case you find yourself in Vancouver next Friday, February 22, and maybe thirsting for a taste of home, you might be in luck: 2 Crows will be doing a tap takeover presented by UntappedBC at 12 Kings Pub. Brewer Jeremy Taylor and Brewery Coordinator Mitch Gilbert will be in full effect and knowing 2C, they’ll have some favorites as well as some rarities and one offs. The event starts at 6 PM (yes, that’s Pacific time). If you’re not going to be in Vancouver, but have been telling your West Coast peeps about how good you’ve got it on the East side with 2 Crows, you might let them know this is happening so they can see for themselves!

Do you like rare, delicious Belgian beer? Do you live in or around the Moncton area (or are willing to travel for good beer)? If you answered “yes” to these questions, we have some very good news for you – the Tide & Boar is getting a shipment of hard-to-find Belgian beers and they’re holding an event on Saturday, March 2nd for you to try them! They’ll be pouring bottles of Cantillon, De Cam, Drie Fonteinen, and more, and some of these will be extremely limited due to their rareness (including a single bottle of Cantillon Fou Foune); check out the event page for a more thorough listing of what beers will be available. They’ll be offering special flights of four, 3 oz pours, as well; they’re not legally allowed to post prices of the flights or any of the beers, but are encouraging you to message them directly if you’d like to know (hint: bring your wallet). T&B will also be offering a special Belgian-themed food menu for the event. We don’t see these beers around here very often (as in, hardly ever), so if some of these beers are on your lifelong must-try list, you best show up early! They open at 11 am.

Speaking of Tide & Boar, they – along with Halifax’s Stillwell – have been selected yet again to be one of a handful of bars in the world to host Peche Day on Saturday, March 23rd. For the two of you unfamiliar with this event, it’s a celebration of one of Canada’s most-loved beers, Peche Mortel, from Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel! Bars lucky enough to take part will have 6-7 kegs of different variants, as well as the original, of this beer available, and usually offer flights of each to customers for purchase. If you live near either T&B or Stillwell, we highly suggest you drop in on the 23rd to give one, two, or all variants (and the original!) a try.

And a final few mentions before you go:

Tracadie’s Brasseux d’la Côte has two new beers pouring at their brewery, a Brut IPA (quite low at just 4.6% ABV) and Tuba (even lower at 2.6%) a “refreshing, light beer low in alcohol, calories, and gluten.

No Beta brew next week for Good Robot (boo!), due to a staff function causing the brewery to be closed on February 19th. However, they are bringing back Bingo Bronson (hooray!) on the following Thursday; it’s their 6% ABV, 25 IBUs Chocolate Porter (psst… it’s also their highest-rated beer on Untappd out of 160 listed beers, if you’re into that sort of thing).

The Harbour Brewing Co. has released Fred, a 5.6% ABV, 48 IBUs, amber-coloured IPA hopped and dry-hopped entirely with Citra; it features a “big malt body with a hint of sweetness, combined with grapefruit and citrus flavours” from the hops.

Propeller wants us to let you know that they’re bringing back a couple of fan favourites, including XPA (which should be released shortly), and Dark Berry Sour (which is now a spring seasonal release, so will see wider distribution compared to its initial release). And if you’re heading there for their Friday Cask this evening, we can let you know that it’s their Porter, hopped with Simcoe.

Spindrift just released two more beers in the Out of the Hold series, Neat and Peanut Butter Inside. Both are Imperial Stouts that were barrel-aged in French Oak, and they both weigh in at a hefty 10% ABV. No other details at this time, but bottles are now available at the brewery for purchase.

Parrsborro’s Two Islands Brewing just launched two new beers for Love Day, so they should still be available. Drop by the brewery to give Chocolate Porter and Mango Weisse Ale a try.