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A happy Bon Jovi Friday to all our readers who are working today. The holiday tomorrow has breweries and taprooms around the region all going their own way in terms of opening or not or adjusting or not adjusting their hours, and we’re getting out in front of the madness by posting today. So read on for the usual coverage of beers, events and other beer-related items in Atlantic Canada this week.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest had another successful run last Saturday, and now that the dust has settled, one of the special one-offs brewed for the event is available for those of us not able to attend. Big Tide brewed Crystal One FifTEA with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and added both Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey tea, from New Brunswick’s King Cole Tea, in the boil. These tea additions complement the 5.9% ABV light-golden ale with “delicate and citrusy flavours”. Late-hopped to 12 IBUs with Crystal and Saaz from Darlings Island Farm, this “light and refreshing” beer is currently on tap at the brewpub for a limited time.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a delicious-sounding beer newly released in the province. Chasing Sun falls into the ever-growing-in-popularity style category of a New England IPA (hazy, wonderfully hoppy, smooth, lower bitterness). With a grist featuring a “healthy dose of wheat and oats” to provide a smooth mouthfeel and soft finish, plenty of hops – Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook – were added late in the boil, to help boost those fruity, juicy aromas and flavours, while cutting back on the higher bitterness expected in your typical (but not so typical anymore?) American IPAs. Fermented with the Vermont Ale yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, even more hops were added in the dry-hop, to turn the hop experience up to 11. It should be on tap at PRB accounts in St. John’s soon, as well as at the brewery’s seasonal taproom when it re-opens in the near future. And why not drop by this weekend? They’ll be open this Friday 4-10pm, and Saturday from 2pm, and Oh My Cheeses serving up grilled cheese sammies both days.

• In other hazy, hoppy beer news, North Brewing released their own take on the “style” yesterday, Malternate Reality. Brewed with spelt, oats, and wheat to really guarantee haziness/cloudiness and a smooth mouthfeel, the beer was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Funktown Pale Ale, a blend of a Vermont Ale yeast strain and a “wild” Saccharomyces strain. Dry-hopped with Azacca, Belma, and Columbus, expect a juicy-tasting beer with notes of peach, pineapple, and passion fruit. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 51 IBUs, you can find it at both bottle shops in swing tops and growlers, and will likely pop up on tap at Battery Park and other licensees over the weekend. And next time you’re at your local NSLC store, keep your eyes open for North’s Gus’ 65m (available in bottles the last couple of weeks) and Priority Pale Ale (coming to NSLC shelves soon).

• Scudrunner Brewing, a brewery in development in Gander, NL, provided a progress update this week. They’ve secured a location and will be taking possession on June 1 and, fortunately, are not expecting to have to do a whole lot with the space to turn it into a brewery and taproom. They’ve got their equipment picked out and their suppliers set up, and they’re working on getting their design and branding completed. As they wait for their home to be ready they’re continuing to brew test batches and believe they’ve nailed down their selection for launch day, but they invite folks to continue to provide feedback on their Facebook page and let the team know what styles the public would like to see. We’ll keep you posted with further updates and we’ll look to do a complete profile as their opening day approaches.

• In Truro, the Nook & Cranny is rebranding the brewery part of the operation to Salty Dog Brewing Company. While the beer will still be brewed on the system in the brew pub, it will now bear the new name in house, for local licensees, and at the brand new retail location they’re building next door. Soon, hopefully by mid-to-late May, you’ll be able to taste their offerings and purchase cans or have your growlers filled. They’re also taking advantage of this opportunity to provide a wider lineup, including Vanilla Porter, White IPA, Coffee Stout and Cider, as well as a couple of house favourites like the Blueberry Wheat and the Pale Ale.

• Those fine gents over at 902 BrewCast have done a public service by releasing their monthly tasting episode a day early. Available as of this morning, this podcast will take you through the line of beers being poured for the 2 Crows Tap Takeover at Battery Park this afternoon. And who better to do that with than Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor, the special guest for the session? Have a listen through the day and plan your flight(s) ahead of time! Rumour has it you might (MIGHT) hear news of an upcoming 902 BrewCast/2 Crows collaboration beer. And mark your calendars for next nine-oh-Tuesday (April 18) when the guys sit down with local brewing legend Greg Nash and his non-silent partner at Unfiltered Brewing, Andrew Murphy! We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that headphones may be in order when you’re listening to that one.

Just a few new events to let you know about this week, as we prep our May 5-14 NS Craft Beer Week Event Calendar for a near-future release:

• Tonight at 7pm, Upstreet is hosting Art + Craft, a roof-top rock show, plus walk through an art installation. Perched on top of Confederation Centre Mall on Grafton Street, Stabbing Joy will be playing a set, before attendees will grab their flashlights and walk The Goblin Path to Upstreet, keeping an eye out for monsters along the way. Assuming everyone makes it there safely, they’ll be able to celebrate with Upstreet’s latest release, Go Devil IPA.

• Late addition to the blog, today: Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing are holding another Growler Day tomorrow at 11, featuring the return of their Peach Shake Ale, the Milkshake IPA (lots of late hops with lactose and vanilla) with 10 kg! of peaches added to the brew, and Method IPA, their hazy Citra bomb. Joining those are two new beer: Stowe IPA, featuring their standard grain bill but with AmarilloColumbus, and Simcoe; and Porter, featuring lots of roast and chocolate character from the dark malts used in the grain bill.

Good Robot has a new Beta Brew in the works for next weekend’s Earth Day celebration. They’ll be doing a Day of Beer & Vinyl event on actual Earth Day, April 22nd, and this beer will be tapped the next day at their Earth Day Hangover event on April 23rd. A gruit-style ale that features only organic summer and winter pale 2-row malt from Horton Ridge and only Nova Scotia hops (Centennial and Chinook from Fundy Hops). It’s also packed full of other ingredients foraged by GR’s own Eri Mycelia, including red maple sap and buds and white and yellow birch bark (both toasted). Scottish Heather tips round out the mix. While you’re sipping on a pint of this wholesome brew, you’ll be able to pet goats brought in by Moo Nay Farms, experience the magic of charging your phone with a solar charger from If You Build It, take part in a plant exchange, and more! Check the event out on Facebook for a complete list of activities and the day’s schedule.

• Down in Windsor, Schoolhouse Brewery is finally ready for their Graduation! They will be opening the doors to their new location at 40 Water Street in Windsor later this month, on April 29th. Regular retail hours will be 3:20pm (when school lets out) to 8pm on weekdays (closed Mondays) and 11am-8pm on weekends. Expect to find their regular offerings like the Principal Ale Pale Ale, Chequers Ale Robust Porter and Scotian Export Scottish Export to be available for growler fills and 650ml bombers. You might also find Skratch Plaskett Electric Tambourine Ale (developed as a collaboration with Good Robot last summer) available for growler fills, and Big Red Schoolhouse in bombers. There will be a soft opening of the retail store on April 26th and 27th from 7-9pm. And stay tuned for an announcement of the opening of Schoolhouse’s brand new tap room, where you’ll be able to sit and have pints of your favorites and no doubt some new brews, come May! Keep your eyes on Schoolhouse’s Facebook Page for events to be posted in the next few days that you can slot into your calendar.

• On April 29th, the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre is hosting an East Coast Dinner Party, featuring a 3-course meal prepared by Son of a Sea Cook, paired with Nova Scotia beers, chosen by brewer Karen Allen, formerly of Gahan House Harbourfront, and frequent collaborator with Boxing Rock. Warren MacIntyre will provide some musical entertainment to enhance the evening. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to grab yours today, either online or at MacKeigan’s Pharmacy.

A few more mentions from around the region:

Big Spruce is buttressing their forces for the upcoming busy season, and looking for full-time Sales Desk staff from May to September. It’s always busy on Yankee Line Road in the summer, so consider getting in on the fun! Drop them a note with your résumé to apply and/or learn more.
Good Robot has new batches of both their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn beer available now at the brewery, and to enjoy on their Gastroturf.
– Hoping to kickstart spring, Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde Ale, a 5.0% light-bodied and crisp Blonde Ale, dosed with lots of deconstructed (aka smashed) fresh watermelons added in the mash, as well as after primary fermentation, for a pleasant hint of aroma and flavour to the warm weather style. Look for it at the brewery in Dartmouth, at the private stores, as well as select NSLC locations now. And for our readers on The Rock, 9L has just sent over a pallet of beer to the NLC, so expect it to hit shelves of the core locations around the end of the month.

And a final public service announcement: Some breweries and taprooms will be closed or running with modified hours tomorrow and/or Sunday due to Easter weekend, so be sure to check before venturing out. And others will be opening their patios (Saturday is looking particularly nice), so a quick scan of social media will set you up for a good day out.

Bagtown Logo

A brewery with a very unique genesis will be launching very shortly in Sackville, New Brunswick, home of Mount Allison University – it began as a project in Dr. Nauman Farooqi’s third-year commerce class in entrepreneurship and is fully owned and operated by MtA students! With a name that reflects the brewery’s home (Bagtown being a longtime nickname for Sackville), and a logo that evokes the Sackville Waterfowl Park, Bagtown proudly wears its origins on its sleeve. Their first beer, the Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, was released at Ducky’s on April 1st where the first keg sold out in 40 minutes! An official launch party for the brewery will happen at 9pm this Saturday night, April 8th, also at Ducky’s. Earlybird tickets will be available at the brewery Thursday, April 6, from 3-7pm, that will provide access at 8pm on Saturday. A $10 ticket will get you 2 beers, and $15 will get you the same two beers plus a Bagtown branded pint glass to take home.

We asked the team behind Bagtown to answer a few questions about their brewery and their plans.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are a brewery that is fully owned and operated by 14 students that has come out of an Entrepreneurship class at Mount Allison University. While 12 of the students will be graduating at the end of this year, Brewmaster Anthony Maddalena has stepped up to follow his passion, committing to a 5th year in Sackville and taking ownership control of the brewery. The other members of the team will remain shareholders, coming out of their undergraduate careers with an investment and a company start-up experience on their respective resumes.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Basically the first day of class, we had to think of some ideas of what we were going to do for our entrepreneurial venture. There were a few ideas tossed around and the one that intrigued most of us was a brewery – a venture that no one had ever done before. Because we had 2 people in our class that had brewed beer before we decided to go for it.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
A couple of the students in our class brewed beer this past summer in Sackville. One of them has a brother who is in the beer industry and has worked with Moosehead as a Production Manager. Because of this, there was a lot of knowledge that was passed down, which has been a fantastic resource for the company to use.

When is your launch date?
We had originally hoped to launch at the beginning of March, but unanticipated delays in the listing process pushed our opening date into April. The first keg of our beer to be served to the public was tapped at Ducky’s in Sackville last weekend and we’re doing an official launch party this Saturday night at 9pm.

What are your plans for distribution? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
To date, we have our brewer’s license and our ANBL listing, and have are in the process of getting our brewer’s agency license. Our plan for now is to sell kegs to restaurants and bars in the area to get our beer out to the public. Once we have our brewer’s agency license, we will be able to sell growlers from our storefront at 62 Main St, in the Sackville Commons C0-op complex. We will not be licensed right away for on-site consumption, however maybe down the road this could be a possibility. Our main focus for the time being is getting our beer in the public’s hands!

Do you have some initial tap accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
In addition to Ducky’s, we have talked to Joe and the Crow (Joey’s Pizzeria & Pasta / Split Crow Pub Sackville), who are both on board to have our beer on tap.

Can you tell us about the beer you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
The beer that we plan on initially offering in an English Pale Ale called the Wobbly Duck! The beer is medium-bodied with a low carbonation. It is golden in colour with a moderate hop aroma and a mild bitterness. You will be able to taste a mix of fruity, earthy and malty flavours with a smooth finish! We have thought about producing a cranberry beer that our brewmasters have fiddled with, however it is not on the radar quite yet as we want to get our first beer underway. There have also been some other ideas tossed out such as a maple beer, but we will have to see what comes in the future!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Tatamagouche Brewing has been a huge help for us. They have answered a lot of our questions and have been a fantastic resource on our journey thus far. We have had so many other great resources as well with people reaching out and letting us know that if they can offer any assistance they are willing to help.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Hopefully our brewery will become a success and grow to offer multiple different kinds of beer and become a staple in the town of Sackville.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We currently brew on a 40 litre system. Monthly out will be approximately 1000 litres.

Bagtown swag

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
We have experience homebrewing from last summer and fall. The experience provided us with the information we’ve needed in order to develop our recipe and refine our production process in order for it to be as efficient as possible.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Definitely enjoy drinking lighter craft beers such as Garrison Irish Red or Picaroons Blonde. Something that is flavourful but also easy to drink.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
We love to use Cascade hops in our pale ale. It is a very versatile hop that can add a lot of character to your brew.

Anything else you’d like to share, we’d love pass it along?
We want to thank everyone for their support thus far in our journey and we cannot wait until we finally get our beer into the public’s hands!

Bagtown first pints!

 

Thanks to the Bagtown crew for sitting down with us. Be sure to drop by Ducky’s Saturday evening to grab a pint of Wobbly Duck Pale Ale. Keep up to date with growler sales launch, additional events and new beer releases on their social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

You might think that the last week of February/first week of March would see a bit of a slowdown in beer news — winter’s not quite over, March break is yet to come and the University students are back in class. But if you write a beer blog and you try to keep up with it all, you know better. There are plenty of things to tell you about as the region prepares for one of its biggest annual events, the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. As well, seasonal beers are being released, plenty of events going on, another new brewery has opened its doors and we’ve received word of another brewery in the works! We’re starting to think there might possibly be something to this whole “Craft Beer Industry” thing.

• The wait is over for local beer fans in Lawrencetown, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley! Lunn’s Mill Beer held their first growler session yesterday afternoon, with their four core beers available (Charming Molly Blonde Ale, Brickyard Red Red Ale, Lunn’s Pub Ale English Ale, and XPA #1 IPA). For those who contact them ASAP, there will be the first Growler Delivery happening this afternoon, for folks in the Annapolis Royal to Greenwood region. For now, Growler Nights and Delivery will be the best way to get your hands on Lunn’s Mill beer, and we will be sure to let you know when the brewery is set up for samples and pints, as well as draft available at local pubs and restaurants. Congratulations to Mark, Sean, and the whole Lunn’s Mill Crew!

• We’ve received word of another new brewery on the way for New Brunswick, with Valonray Farmhouse Brewing (changed from the initial name, “46th Parallel Brewing”) scheduled to open later this summer in MacDougall Settlement. Founded by Phil and Allison Fontaine, they plan on launching with a small line-up of American-style ales – brewed by Phil on a 1 BBL (115 L) electric system – with Belgian-style barrel-aged ales following within a few months, thanks to the acquisition of twenty 225 L oak barrels. The initial beers will be available at select licensees, as well as some being bottled and sold through the ANBL. The couple will be using 100%-locally sourced ingredients, with some being grown directly on-site. A tap room is also in the planning stages, and will hopefully be open by the summer of 2018. The eventual goal is to become an authentic Belgian-style, Farmhouse brewery within the first few years, including expanding to barrel-aged sour beers. Look for a Q&A with Allison and Phil from us in the near future.

• Early this week, Maybee Brewing released Mars Madness, a Bière de Mars. This style is closely related to the Bière de Garde, a French style traditionally brewed in the early spring, and then cellared for several months to be enjoyed during warmer weather. Bière de Mars, on the other hand, is usually brewed in March and released immediately. It is in some ways similar to a Belgian Saison, especially in that the yeast provides a lot of the character, with a malty backbone from the grist. Mars Madness was fermented at a low temperature to keep the fruity esters in check, and had a lengthier conditioning time than usual for Maybee brews. Described by the brewery as a crisp, refreshing beer, it has “fruity notes of banana and bubble gum, and subtle hints of noble hop spice and clove”. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV and 30 IBUs, this one is available on tap only. For those of you attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival next week, it will be available on cask at both the afternoon and evening sessions.

• Dartmouth’s Downeast Beer Factory has a new beer on tap, perfect for the approaching St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Nitro Irish Stout was brewed with plenty of Roasted Barley and Midnight Wheat in the grist, to give lots of the roasted aromas and flavours expected from the style. Both Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops were added, with “a generous amount” of EKG at the end of the boil. Served on a 75/25 nitrogen/CO2 blend to boost the creamy mouthfeel, it’s easy-drinking at 4.8% ABV, and on tap right now at the brewpub.

• With the 2017 Brier kicking off this week in St John’s, YellowBelly Brewpub has released a new beer to celebrate. They’ve released the quintessential American Pale Ale, weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 40 IBU, featuring two dry-hopping rounds with Cascade. The beer is on tap now (and only on tap, no plans for bottles), but they need your help to name it! Hit them up on Twitter or Facebook with your best curling pun name to win a $100 gift certificate. And once this small batch APA kicks, their St Patrick’s Day celebration Patrick’s Pale Ale will hit the taps. This year’s version features Sorachi Ace as the sole hop in the 6.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer.

• After two straight releases of the decidedly less hoppy variety, Unfiltered Brewing is bringing out a beer today to remind everyone just who punches the hoppy dance cards in HRM. And speaking of dancing, the beer is being released in conjunction with the film Goon: Last of the Enforcers, which will be screened in Halifax on March 9 a week ahead of its March 17 release date. Fist of God is a NASHian DIPA in the Northeast IPA style with 100+ IBU and featuring a mix of Citra, Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic hops for big citrus, tropical and dank aromas and flavors. At 8% ABV, it’s also likely to leave you in a bit of a FoG if you’re not careful. Look for it at the brewery and Charm School pub for pints and fills as of noon today, as well as on tap at Primal Kitchen, Stillwell (from Friday open), and Tom’s Little Havana (who will keep it on tap as long as Unfiltered can supply it).

• And while you are grabbing a pint and/or growler at Unfiltered today, be sure to try the other latest addition to their taps, kombucha from Mad Boocha. Brewed in small batches in the Unfiltered brewhouse, kombucha is produced using yeast and bacteria, fermenting sweet tea into a lightly acidic and refreshing low-, or no-, alcohol drink. Mad Boocha has released several styles of the drink, with a Hibiscus Ginger version available currently for both pints and take-away in growlers at Unfiltered. Keep an eye on their social media pages for more details on the next releases.

North is releasing a new beer today, a Belgian Dubbel named Doki Doki Dubbel. Not your typical Dubbel, this one had a secondary fermentation on black cherries, gives notes of cherry, raisin, and dark fruit in the flavour, along with a light spiciness in the finish. Weighing in at 7.4% ABV, it will be available for growler fills, as well as in 750 mL swing tops. Battery Park will have it on tap, and it will be available at tonight’s North Tap Takeover at Good Robot; it may also appear at other beer establishments in the HRM in the near future.

• Earlier this week Boxing Rock in Shelburne brought a new beer to market in a style not common around these parts, and certainly not one we’ve seen from a local brewery any time recently. Stayin’ Alive is a malty lager in the traditional bock style, fairly high in alcohol and hopped very mildly for a satisfying and filling experience. Originating in the town of Einbeck some 700 years ago, it was commonly brewed and consumed by monks as a means of maintaining nutrition during pre-Easter fasting. Though they eschewed the de rigueur billy goat on the label, Boxing Rock’s version stays true to the style, coming in at 6.8% ABV, with biscuit, bread and roast flavours, smooth bittering and just a touch of noble hop flavor. You can find it now at the brewery, at private stores in HRM, and on tap at tap accounts throughout Nova Scotia. And speaking of taps, Boxing Rock has announced their Legendary Keg Club contest, where the winner will see a beer tap installed in his or her home and Boxing Rock will supply 6 months of beer to stock it! To enter, simply go to the contest page and fill in the blanks appropriately.

• Like Boxing Rock, Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay will also be hopping on the seasonal malty German lager train early in March, but with the bigger, beefier version of the bock style, the Doppelbock. Doppel being German for “double”, doppelbock takes the maltiness of the bock to deeper, darker places where more roasty and dark fruit flavours emerge. Doppelbock 1753 pays tribute to the German heritage of the South Shore and is subtitled, “The Winter Beer of Lunenburg County.” This beer features the requisite malty sweetness as well as rich plum flavours, hints of dark chocolate and a slightly warming mouthfeel consistent with the 8.1% ABV. A characteristically low 19 IBU provide slight bitterness to this dark brown brew that finishes with a lingering vinous character.​ A firm launch date has not yet been determined, but watch the brewery’s Twitter feed where it will surely be announced. Late notice addition: Launch Date is March 10th.

• After celebrating their First Anniversary this week, the fine folks at Nine Locks Brewing have decided to give us all the gift of another new beer! Launching this coming Monday, Vanilla Porter will be available on draft and in cans. Featuring three separate additions of vanilla, this full-bodied porter blends dark chocolate and vanilla together in a great brew. At 5.0% ABV and a light 25 IBU, the malt and vanilla are the stars of the show. Keep an eye on their Twitter page for the exact launch details.

• Launching at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is a cross-Confederation-Bridge Collaboration, between Charlottetown’s Upstreet and Fredericton’s Picaroons breweries. Brewed using the same malt bill, featuring a healthy dose of Rye malt, Rye’d On is an 8.0% ABV Imperial Rye Beer, but fermented with two different yeasts. Upstreet’s Hogie brewed the beer at his brewery in Charlottetown, and then travelled to Fredericton to assist in brewing the same beer on the Picaroons system. In Fredericton, the beer was fermented using Pics’ own Ringwood ale strain, while in C’town, Upstreet used a pitch of lager yeast normally destined for their Commons Pilsner. The result is two different beers with a common origin. You’ll have the first chance to try the beer at the Fest March 11th, and to a wider release at both ANBL and PEILCC stores, and on draft in both provinces on Monday the 13th.

• Hammond River is brewing a new American IPA next week – single-hopped with Summit, this is a high alpha-acid American variety known for providing plenty of orange, tangerine, and citrus character in beer. Going in the dry-hop with the Summit will be lots of freshly-zest grapefruit zest, so we can likely expect a beer chock-full of citrus character! Expect this one to come in at around 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, and to start popping up on tap in a few weeks.

And the goings-on keep going strong:

• Head out to Digby’s Roof Hound this Saturday, March 4th, for another Beer Launch Music Event. Kicking off their “Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series”, they are releasing the Mojito Dry Hopped Sour that we told you about last week. Weighing in at 4.8% ABV, the light-bodied tart beer features loads of freshly zested and squeezed limes and fresh mint. To celebrate, they are holding a live music event that evening, with Hannah-Grace playing from 10pm, after the beer starts flowing at 9pm.

• For those of you in Halifax, drop by Lion & Bright Saturday night from 8pm for a Breton Brewing takeover of their taps. Featuring their core lineup, as well as a few seasonal and fun favourites, there will sure to be something for everybody flowing tomorrow night. Find out more on their event page.

Good Robot continues to keep their schedule packed with goings-on. After last night’s tap takeover at Battery Park in Dartmouth, tonight sees North-end neighbours North Brewing populating 8 of the GR taps completing a craft beer quid pro quo celebrating the collaboration beer Moo Nay Tripel that we told you about last week. On Wednesday, they bring you FemmeBot, a celebration of International Women’s Day hosted by comedian Megan McDowell. They’ll have three new beers on tap: Red Moon Landing, a Red IPA that celebrates the African American women who were key to NASA space missions (and who inspired the film Hidden Figures); Baba Yaga Chaga Brown, an American Brown Ale featuring Chaga Fungus that invokes a supernatural feminine spirit of Slavic folklore; and, Faster Pussy Hat! Kill! Kill! a hibiscus-infused IPA. The first two of these were brewed by female staff of Good Robot, the third by Glee Club member and home brewer, Robyn Vaughan. There will also be guest taps from other breweries with prominent female brewers, including Sober Island, Boxing Rock, Spindrift and Lazy Bear. Much more information is available on the event’s Facebook page and Thursday’s article in The Coast.

• Next week is Fredericton Craft Beer Week, with plenty of events leading up to the grand finale, the FCBF, on March 11th. In addition to these events, the James Joyce will be hosting a New Brunswick IPA Showdown from Tuesday, March 7th to Thursday, March 9th. During this time period, all 25 taps (and a cask) will be pouring various IPA styles, ranging from American to English, White to Black, and beyond! All of your favourites will be on, as well as some new beers, including the first appearance of Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing, which will have both their Hop Series Cascade and Hop Series Motueka on tap at some point. Be sure to show up and order some flights (and/or full pours) to get your hop fix!

• Also next Thursday, March 9th, don’t forget to stop by the King Street Ale House for their Nova Scotia Tap Takeover and Trivia Night. Lots of great NS beer, lots of easier (we promise) trivia questions from Shawn and Chris… and lots of brewery swag to the winners! Beer starts pouring at 6 pm, with trivia following at 7 pm. No charge to attend, but if you buy a ticket in advance you get a special glass and ten 5 oz pours to get you started. And once you’re done there, maybe you can head down the street to Graystone to sample some beers from their New Brunswick NanoTakeover, where 8 different small NB breweries will have their beers on tap.

Enjoy your weekend, and as always, just a few more things before signing off…

Picaroons seasonal Maple Cream Ale is back; this 5% ale is brewed with maple syrup from local producers Briggs Maples. Available for a limited time on tap at the Roundhouse and Brewtique, and in bottles at ANBL stores.
Tatamagouche Brewing has added a third can to their offerings at the NSLC, their popular Hippie Dippie Pale Ale. Check here for the availability at your local outlet. And watch your podcatching app next #902sday (aka March 7th), as the 902 BrewCast folks (with our own Chris in tow), drop by Tatamagouche to learn about the history of the brewery, and some cool new beers and projects on the horizon.
– Yesterday, TrailWay released the winning American IPA in their first Homebrew Challenge; Hoppy McHazy was brewed by local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon, and is available now on tap and in cans. Only 50 cases of cans were released, but fear not… the beer will be brewed again within a couple of months. Check here for the full details on the beer.

Happy Friday folks, we hope that digging out wasn’t too much of an ordeal for those of you who got snowed on last night. We’ll warn you now that this is a ridiculously long post; you may want to plan a second lunch to finish reading it. Possibly one that includes a beer. We’ve got some suggestions below as to how you might make that happen along with some new brewery news and some options for those who might want to center their Valentine’s Day around their love for beer. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

• South Shore’s FirkinStein Brewing has released their first foray into the Double IPA style, with Cut of Our Jib. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, it was hopped exclusively with Cascade and Citra throughout the boil, and into the dry-hop, for a solid 100 IBU bitterness, but with plenty of citrus aroma and flavour. Grab the beer at their Farmers’ Market stall in Lunenburg on Thursdays, and by appointment at the brewery in the evenings (but be sure to reach out via Facebook or Twitter first). It may even make it on tap on the South Shore or HRM; keep an eye on their social media feeds for the latest information.

• Heads up west-island Newfoundland beer drinkers: a pair of fellow beer fans are looking to open a brewery this summer, and would love to get you involved! Bootleg Brew Co has announced that they are in the process of getting their licensing and brewing system, with the plan to open a location in Corner Brook in the next six months. While working in the food industry, Matt Tilley and Morgan Turner tried their hand at homebrewing, and were extremely pleased with the results, and after encouragement from family and friends, are looking to turn it into a business. Planning on a 3.5 hl (3BBL) system, they have turned to crowdfunding to assist with some of the costs. Check out more details in a recent CBC article, and check out their IGG campaign, on until March 1st. We’ll share updates as they progress in their transition to professional beer producers.

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is releasing a brand new beer today, Fathom Double IPA. The name may sound a bit familiar, but it is a brand new beer, based loosely on Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2016 ACBAs in the IPA category. The hazy orange Double IPA clocks in at 8.0% ABV, and has a hefty 90 IBU, derived from Centennial, Citra, El Dorado, and Summit added throughout the brewing and conditioning, for notes of citrus and melon on the nose, and orange and stone fruit flavour. Grab it in growlers and cans at the brewery at noon, and in cans at the private stores, including at Cristall Wine, where they will be pouring samples of it today from 4-6pm.

Moth Lane Brewing, in Ellerslie, PEI, has recently released a Hefeweizen, the iconic unfiltered wheat beer, originating in the Bavarian region of Germany. Refreshing and juicy thanks to the yeast clove and banana characteristics, Weizen Up B’ye is 5.0% ABV, with a light 11 IBU bitterness. Grab a pint or growler this weekend at the brewery, including tomorrow evening, when The Galley Food Truck will be set up slinging food, and there will be an open mic/jam session in the brewery taproom.

• There’s a new Belgian Dubbel available from Petit-Sault, Colonel John Baker. This is a different beer altogether from their first Dubbel, Simone Hébert, which was originally released in the fall of 2015. Brewed with lots of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to give the classic-Dubbel notes of “dark fruit and mild chocolate”, some Chocolate malt was also used in the grist to accentuate these characteristics. Described as “rich, malty, and fruity, with a surprisingly-dry finish”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. It’s available for pints and growler fills at the brewery in Edmundston, and should be available at all ANBL growler stations this weekend. Look for it to pop up in bottles, soon!

• Fredericton’s Grimross has just released the first beer in their new Scratch series, which will be a realm for the brewery to experiment with new recipes and one-offs. Scratch #1: Lager is the brewery’s first venture into Lager territory, with a “simple, clean-yet-flavourful Lager”. With all-Pilsner malt in the grist, it was hopped with Magnum, Saaz, and New Brunswick-grown Cascade, and fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain. It pours with a pale straw colour, and a “slightly grainy and honey aroma with a crisp, dry finish”, according to owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. Supremely drinkable at 4.7% ABV, it’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom. Expect to see their next release in this series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA, soon!

• Staying with Fredericton, there’s a couple of new beers out from Graystone this week, and we have a few details on both of them. First up is Bushwhack Bitter, their take on the sessionable English style, Ordinary Bitter (aka Standard Bitter). Ordinary in name only, this is meant to be an easy-drinking, fairly-bitter beer with some pleasant malt complexity. Bushwhack Bitter was hopped to 30 IBUs with U.K. Fuggles and New Brunswick Goldings, and comes in at 3.9% ABV. Next is their Single Track Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped primarily with Citra, an American variety well known to beer geeks everywhere. Described by the brewery as “light, refreshing, and flavourful with citrus and peach flavours”, it’s available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and crowlers, along with the new Bitter.

• Graystone is also re-releasing their White IPA, Mont Blanc, today. This collaboration with soon-to-open Gore Farm Brewery (out of St. Stephen), was originally released in late December, and is returning due to popular demand. Check out our previous post here for more details on the beer, and the Gore Farm link above for a Q&A we published with the brewery, yesterday.

• Over in Moncton, Tide & Boar Brewing continues to experiment with new beers. They have just tapped Mute Saison, their first take on the classic Saison, a wonderful Belgian style that is open for multiple interpretations by brewers. Hopped with New Zealand Wakatu and U.S. Lemondrop, it finishes very dry, with “floral and lemon notes”, and at 6.8% ABV may sneak up on you, so sip wisely! T&B have also released version 2 of their Lemondrop IPA, an American IPA hopped entirely with, yes, Lemondrop. Look for both on tap at the brewpub. And if you’re in Saint John and are aching to try some T&B beer, good news – the Cask & Kettle has a keg of their Forum Pale Ale, a new version fermented with a Vermont yeast strain.

• Meanwhile, at the Université de Moncton’s Bar Le Coude, Acadie-Broue has two beers that were just tapped last night. Let’s start with Tricole – a Belgian Tripel, it was named after the Acadian term to describe someone who staggers/stumbles from having too much alcohol. Fittingly, it’s a strong beer at 8% ABV, which is typical for the Tripel style. Made with all Pilsner malt (many Tripels are brewed with the addition of sugar) and hopped with German Hersbrucker, it was fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast, resulting in a very dry beer with “candy-like and pepper” qualities, and is quite drinkable despite it’s high ABV.

• Next up from Acadie-Broue is another strong one, Kazakh, inspired by the Russian Imperial Stout style. Named after another Acadian expression, synonymous to “daredevil”, it was brewed with plenty of specialty malts, including Chocolate, Crystal 120 L, Victory, Midnight Wheat, and Oats, to give a dark, roasty beer that will leave you plenty warm, thanks to its 8% ABV. Hopped with Magnum for a bittering charge only (to 50 IBUs), it was fermented with a neutral American yeast strain. This is actually the 3rd batch for this beer, as demand has greatly exceeded the brewery’s expectations!

Roof Hound Brewing and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for their first collaboration brew, Chocolate Sauced, brewed at Roof Hound a couple of weeks ago. This is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was brewed with four different types of chocolate (!): dark Chocolate malt, Chocolate Rye, and Chocolate Wheat in the mash, and cocoa added in the kettle (along with some lactose powder and Dark Candi Sugar). Both RH and TataBrew will be releasing the beer at their breweries tomorrow, with both holding special launch parties featuring live music to celebrate this “Chocolate Imperial Stout”.

• Speaking of Tatamagouche, they released the latest of their Giant Beer Series this week, Quad.  Their take on the Belgian Quadrupel style, this 10.3% ABV beer features a base of Pilsner malt, with Vienna, CaraAroma, and Chocolate for some complexity, with Dark Candi Syrup for the iconic colour and dark fruit component to the aroma and flavour. A modest 35 IBU (for the ABV) is achieved using Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfruh, to partially offset the high alcohol and body. The beer was bottle conditioned in 650mL bottles, and is available exclusively at the brewery now (with a very small part of the batch available in kegs soon). They will be pouring a special casked version of the Quad, aged on Muscat grape skins Saturday, during the Chocolate Sauced launch event.

• Tata has also released Deadeye Double IPA, with a few tweaks since last year’s release. It now features Vermont Ale yeast, resulting in a slightly hazy beer. It still showcases lots of Hallertau Blanc hops, for a light grape and passionfruit and pineapple aromatics, with Cascade and Chinook lending their hand to the recipe. Kegs have been delivered to their HRM accounts, and the beer will be available on tap and in cans beginning today at the brewery, and at the private stores very shortly.

TrailWay has released their Black IPA in cans for the first time. Black Hops (yes, the “1” has been dropped from the name) has been changed slightly from its last release, with an adjustment to the grain bill to allow for a “softer chocolate flavour”, as well as… more hops! Lots of Citra and Mosaic were added to boost the citrus and tropical flavours and aromas, it comes in at 7% ABV. Available at the brewery now, and in select ANBL stores soon.

• And while on the topic of TrailWay, we forgot to mention the results of their 1st annual Homebrew Challenge last Friday… sorry ’bout that! Local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon took the top spot in the American IPA contest, with his Hoppy McHazy winning out among close to 30 entries. This 7% ABV IPA is hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe; Pierre will be brewing his beer on TW’s system next week. When released, a portion of the beer will be available in cans, so be prepared to stock up! Congrats, Pierre!

Flying Boats will be releasing this year’s take on their Lover’s Quarrel IPA next week… a little later than planned, thanks to one of the lovely ice storms we’ve been receiving. With a grist that includes some Flaked Wheat to boost the mouthfeel of the beer, several late boil additions of both Galaxy and Citra hops provide a “floral, citrusy aroma”. This should come in at 6% ABV and close to 60 IBUs; look for it to be released late next week, with 16 kegs being sent to the Dieppe ANBL growler station for Thursday… just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. With beer, as with love, better late than never!

• Today, Garrison is launching their newest Star Trek/CBS release at the brewery. Red Shirt Ale is an American Red brewed in honour of the many Star Trek crew members unlucky enough to be fitted in a red tunic… usually a good sign that they would be meeting an untimely, violent death. With a “deep copper colour and rich malt flavour”, the beer was hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Millenium. You’ll be able to find Red Shirt Ale at Garrison and Halifax’s private liquor stores as of this weekend, and NSLC stores later this month. It will also be popping up at ANBL growler stations in two weeks’ time. And for our homebrewing readers, be sure to submit your Wee Heavy this weekend!

• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax put a new beer on tap this week. Captain Falcon’s IPA is a SMaSH brew that sees big citrus hop flavor from generous late boil and whirlpool additions of Falconer’s Flight meet the fruit flavor of real blackberries added in the secondary. It’s got a hazy, purplish pink color and is a very dry brew with a fairly light bitterness (for an IPA) at 40 IBU and a very reasonable 6% ABV – the Falcon Punch is in the flavor, not the weight.

• In the valley, a new cider in the Something Different series became available this week at Annapolis Cider Company. Muscat Infusion weds apples and grapes to produce a 7.1% ABV sparkling cider with a copper colour, apple tartness, and tropical and floral aromas from Nova Scotia’s most aromatic grape variety. The skins of Muscat grapes were added during active fermentation, and a technique known as “punching down” commonly used in red wine fermentations ensured flavor, color, aroma and tannin extraction. Finished with freshly-pressed apple juice to balance it before packaging, it is available at the cidery in Wolfville where $0.50 of each bottle fill will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Annapolis Valley.

• What do you do when one of your business neighbours leaves your street for a newer, bigger spot a few blocks away? If you’re North Brewing you celebrate your friend’s achievement with a special beer. White Lightning is the nickname of Renée Lavallée, chef of The Canteen, formerly a lunch counter on Ochterloney Street and now a restaurant on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. It is now also a kettle sour from North that’s been dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo, coming in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBU. The label received North’s Artist Series treatment with Renée’s likeness rendered in comic book style by Rob Hansen. White Lightning is available in 650ml bottles from the North bottle shops and private liquor stores in HRM and you should expect to see kegs of it appear in bars and restaurants in the coming days and weeks.

• North is also joining with another neighbour this week, this time on the Halifax side, where they’ve lent their expertise with Belgian styles to a new Tripel from the gang at Good Robot. Moo Nay is a tribute to the farm that reuses Good Robot’s post-brewing spent grain, Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie. Although the body is well in line with the style, with Pale and Pilsner malts and some sugar to dry it out, the twist this time is the use of a very non-traditional hop, namely the New Zealand variety Nelson Sauvin, known for its fruity, white wine-like character. Big and boozy at 8.5% ABV, but not overly bitter at 30 IBU, late hop additions bring a New World aspect to a decidedly Old World beer. Moo Nay will be available at Good Robot as of today, both in the tap room and the store for growler fills.

• Those who don’t remember the days before NASH started slinging hop bombs at Unfiltered might not be aware that he’s got a full slate of styles at his disposal, but this week’s release should make that abundantly clear to all and sundry. Play with Fire is a Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier, featuring tons of dark fruit, roasted malt and smokey phenols. At only 34 IBU, it’s not a bitter bomb, but it will certainly pack a wallop at 8% ABV. Growler fills and pints will be available as of noon today at the brewery and Charm School Pub, respectively. As they say down on North Street, get on it!

• The latest episode of the 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, where the beer chums sat down with Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cam Hartley. They went into the history of Schoolhouse, where it is now, and where it’s heading next. Learn all about it by downloading and listening to the episode today!

Port Rexton Brewing on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula will be releasing their first bottled offering next week. Named the Ten Eighty Series, the annual small run of bottles will make their debut in winter, and lean toward higher ABV, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. The inaugural release is Belgian Tripel, an 8.2% ABV beer featuring the iconic clove aromatics and light spiciness, with a dry finish. This run of only 800 bottles will be available exclusively at the brewery, so reach out to them today to pre-order and get yourself on the list!

Check out these events for the weekend…

• As mentioned above, both Roof Hound and Tatamagouche are celebrating the release of their collaboration Chocolate Sauced tomorrow, February 11th. In Digby, drop by at 9pm for the first pours of the new beer, and at 10pm, enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wright and Tide and Timbre ($6 cover). In Tatamagouche, the fun kicks off at 7pm, with Eric Fresia playing while you enjoy the new beers they are featuring, with chocolates paired with CS, shucking oysters to pair with Oyster Cloister, and that special cask of Quad. Your $5 cover gets you your first sample of Chocolate Sauced for free.

• Good Robot has a fairly full slate planned for the taproom next week, with three events in the works. Monday will see another Goodwill Bot event, where $1 of every beer sold goes to a local non-profit cause. This week it will be Halifax Cycling Coalition, who will be celebrating Winter Bike Week and crafting Valentine’s Day cards. On Tuesday you’ll find Blue Valentine , “a sad and sexy Valentine’s Day event.” Get there before 6:30pm and enjoy $5 pints and a Tom Waits playlist. After that, enjoy local artists and businesses as they take the floor to talk about sex. Look for participation from Ballonicorns , Turn Me On Podcast , Venus Envy and The Coast. And on Wednesday grab a book, head on down to Good Robot, grab a beer and shut the hell up for the return of Silent Reading. As always, no phones, no talking.

• Next Thursday, February 16th, the Cask & Kettle will be hosting a Maybee Brewing Tap Takeover, with all of their taps being turned over to the Fredericton brewery from 4 pm-close, including Maybee’s newest, currently unreleased beer, a DIPA (more on that next week). There will be, of course, food and Irish music to accompany the many beers pouring, with no charge to attend; just show up and pay by the pint!

• The Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to Halifax’s Seaport Farmers’ Market February 25th. With 30 breweries from the Maritimes in attendance, it is sure to be a blast of summer in the dead of winter. Washer Toss, live music, and plenty of chairs to lounge on, the summer vibes will be strong during the event. Tickets are $60 +fees ($75++ for VIP access), and are available now. Check out our Calendar for more details, including the full brewery list.

A few more things this week…

Mil Street St John’s brewed North American Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
Picaroons has re-released their Valentine-themed Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, a 5.2% ABV dark beer brewed with chocolate, chili peppers, ginseng, and licorice root. Look for it at all Picaroons locations, and select establishments throughout NB.
TideHouse Brewing invited in local home brewer Ian Wheatley to brew on their system last week, to be released next month. The brew was a kettle sour, low in ABV, but with plenty of lactic bite. We’ll have much more on the beer closer to its release, around March 10th.

2 Crows Logo

It’s been half a year or more since the first reports of 2 Crows Brewing made the rounds, and excitement has been building steadily ever since. This Saturday, January 28th, at noon, the doors will finally open at 1932 Brunswick Street and everyone will be able to see what the anticipation has been about. Named for a fascination with an old rhyme about crows that begins, “One for sorrow, two for joy,” the spirit of 2 Crows is all about seeing one crow and immediately looking for another, that is, seeking out joy even when faced with sorrow and trying to find the brighter side.

2 Crows brings the husband and wife team of Mark and Kelly Huizink together with brewer Jeremy Taylor in a venture that will bring some unique brews to our scene right out of the gate. Originally from Vancouver, Jeremy and his wife Elaine, who is from Dartmouth, have been looking to come East for some time. Jeremy most recently spent a few years as head brewer at Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver after some time in Scotland where he acquired his formal brewing education and took his first brewhouse job.

After a childhood of travelling from country to country, Mark landed in Halifax for University in the early 2000s where he met Kelly, who is from the area, and they’ve been based here ever since. Mark is half Belgian and half Dutch, and his trips with Kelly to visit family over the years introduced them to many varied styles of beer and gave them an appreciation for the industry on an international scale. Watching the beer trends change at home, with friends becoming more interested in different styles of beer, seeing the local industry grow by leaps and bounds and having always loved the idea of opening a business locally, they decided to take the plunge. Mark leaves behind a 7-year career in accounting to work the business side of the enterprise, while Kelly will run the taproom.

Jeremy and Mark were kind enough to answer our many questions about how the brewery came about, what beers they’ll be introducing on Saturday, and what they’ve got planned for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Jeremy: I am from Vancouver originally. My wife is from Dartmouth, and we have been aiming to move back here for a number of years… I have wanted to be here because of how exciting the NS beer scene is, and how awesome people from NS are. Outside of beer, I do a fair bit of camping, hiking, and fly fishing with my dog and wife. I used to play a lot of rugby when I was younger, and first came to NS in the early 2000s because I played for the Newfoundland provincial team.
Mark and Kelly Huizink are the other part of the brewery. Mark is 1/2 Belgian and 1/2 Dutch, and grew up bouncing around from country to country because of his father’s work. Mark landed in Halifax around 15 years ago for university, and has loved life here ever since. He met Kelly while in university, they have been together ever since. Kelly, having been born and raised here in Halifax, was always excited about the idea of opening up a business locally. They have two kids, both born here in Halifax, and are excited about the idea of raising their kids in such a wonderful place. Being part of the burgeoning craft beer industry here in a place that they love so much has been a dream for both of them, and it’s now starting to look like a reality.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Jeremy: I started off by homebrewing. I was working as a researcher in a biochemistry lab, doing some really neat genetic sequencing work… but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. My wife got me a very simple homebrew kit, and I was sold — it had the perfect combination of geeking out on science, playing with flavours (I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking), plus there’s a beer at the end of the process. I decided to give up the scientist job and go back to school for brewing. I did an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University, worked a little bit helping set up a barrel-ageing program at a Scottish Brewery, then worked in Vancouver as a head brewer for a couple years before ending up in Halifax.
For Kelly and Mark, drinking craft beer started on their many trips to Europe visiting Mark’s family. These travels have opened their eyes to the many different styles of beer available in Europe and the rest of the world. Watching the demand for variety and quality in beer develop over the last few years has made them all the more excited to be living in Nova Scotia and have more and more of their friends get into the appreciation of good beer being produced locally. Their excitement for beer is more on the “consumption” side of things, but with this business we are all hoping to push the envelope and make some exciting new styles of beer.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Jeremy: Since I started getting into brewing, the goal has been to move to Halifax and open a brewery. It is great to have any sort of brewing work, but the idea of being able to call the shots and brew what you love is really the dream. Nova Scotia has such a cool brewing scene that I feel is still just starting to get rolling, and the hope is that we can be part of this wave of high-quality craft beer and keep pushing the levels of quality and craftsmanship. Mark, being an accountant and a beer lover, put together a business plan for a brewery here in Halifax. We were put in touch with each other by a mutual friend, who is also a brewer, and we came to the conclusion that we had very similar ideas of what a successful brewery should look like and that between us we had the skills and resources needed to make it happen. Fast-forward a year and here we are, opening up a brewery and living our dream.

Can you share some info on your homebrewing history?
Jeremy: I think the first brew I ever did was an all-extract kit from Dan’s Homebrewing in Vancouver. After that, I wanted more control over the brew, so I stepped up to doing partial extract, and it all went from there. I stuck to mostly English and North American styles at first, but got a little bit more adventurous as time went on. I haven’t had a chance to homebrew for probably about a year now, but some of my last batches were a lambic-style with aged hops, a no-boil Berliner Weisse with wild lacto and wine yeast, and a Brett IPA.

What system will you be brewing on? What sort of output do you expect?
Jeremy: We are brewing on a 24hl (20bbl) DME brewhouse, and brewing into 48hl (40bbl) unitanks. The brewhouse is a 2 vessel system — a combined mash/lauter tun, and a combined kettle/whirlpool. We will be canning using a Cask canning unit, their 5 head automated filler that is capable of roughly 36 cans/minute. Monthly output will depend on demand. We have oversized our system a little bit, as we heard about a lot of breweries locally that were basically maxed out and looking to expand within a week of opening their doors. If we ever get to max capacity on this system, we would be producing about 310hl (264bbl) per month.

What are your plans for distribution?
Jeremy: We plan on kegging and canning our beer right out of the gate, and we will also be offering growler fills in our tap room. The hope is that we will have our canned beer, and possibly kegs for growler fills, at a few of the private stores — we have been chatting with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar and RockHead, who have both been very supportive. We are also trying to get our canned beer into the NSLC eventually too. We are also aiming to be on tap at bars/restaurants around the city.

Can you tell us about your taproom?
Jeremy: We hope the taproom is going to be a pretty cool experience for people. We wanted customers to feel like they were coming for a drink in a working brewery, so it has been designed to be very open. People will be able to see the brewing process, and chat with me (or just shout profanities at me) as I brew. We will have 12 taps on the go; one of which will be a cider, and the rest will be a combination of our beers and a few guest taps. We have had a local artist, Christian Toth, do up a really impressive mural on the main wall in the tap room, which we think looks pretty cool. People will be able to drink full pints and have tasting flights there. We will be offering a pretty limited, but well-curated selection of food — charcuterie and cheese from Ratinaud — but we also encourage people to bring or order food from elsewhere while they are visiting.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Jeremy:  Our core lineup will consist of three beers: Pecadillo, an Oat Pilsner, 4.8% and 28 IBU; Liesse, a Table Beer, 3.5% and 16 IBU; and Pollyanna, a Wild Northeast IPA, 7.3% and 64 IBU. We will also hope to be brewing lots of seasonals and on-offs, the first of which will be Innisfree, a 7.6% ABV Rustic Saison brewed with spelt, and fermented with yeast we harvested and built up from a bottle from Belgium. Plus a few more tap-room-only releases that you’ll have to drop by Saturday to try!

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in the province?
Jeremy: Everyone we have met from the NS brewing scene has been awesome! We have had advice from basically everyone we encountered — many of whom have gone out of their way to track us down or come visit in order to let us know how best to navigate the trials and tribulations of starting a brewery. Nash invited us by Unfiltered a few months back when he heard we were about to install our glycol system, so he could show us what did *(and didn’t) work on his setup, and how to avoid headaches. Daniel at Garrison actually helped me out of a bind with hops that came as a result of miscommunication with our hop supplier. Jeff from Bad Apple came by (bearing gifts of beer) just last week when he heard we were having some trouble with some controllers, to help troubleshoot. Shean and Peter at Tidehouse have been awesome too, offering to help in any way possible, and we have had visits from Big Spruce, Granite, SchoolhouseSpindrift, Tata…. the list goes on. Basically, everyone in NS has been incredible and really supportive.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Jeremy: From a beer standpoint, I am hoping we will have a decent wood ageing and sour program by then, along with a nice selection of seasonal beers. I am hoping we can build a reputation both locally and beyond for brewing modern and complex beers. I would love to see us distributing beer a little further than Nova Scotia, if our production level allows it. Obviously, NS is first priority for us, but I have a few good friends across the country that would love it if they didn’t have to come visit in order to get the beer. I would also like to be seen as good brewery people, friendly and helpful to other breweries and other businesses. I would love to work alongside lots of brewers from around the province, and I also have plans for collaborating with brewers from different parts of the world.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Jeremy: I have been spoiled since moving here because of all the Belgian beer that Mark’s family has been bringing. Obviously, I am a sucker for anything from Cantillon. I also love North American sours a lot too — I recently had a Reynard Oud Bruin by Iain Hill at Strange Fellows brewing that was sublime. The guys at Four Winds in BC also make some exceptional sour and clean beers. I love the juicy/hazy Northeast IPAs too, the stuff by Bissell Brothers is incredible, and I had the good fortune of getting a bunch of Alchemist beers a few months ago too, which was really a treat. I also visited Hill Farmstead… if I could drink nothing but beer from them for the rest of my days, I’d probably be OK with that.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Jeremy:  I love Thomas Fawcett Oat Malt — I feel like it gives a really nice texture, more so than flaked oats do. I tend to sneak it into a lot of the beers I do. There was a recent article by Scott Janish that has done nothing to quell that, basically saying that oats in beer can lead to a lot of improvements. For hops, I really enjoy hops from the Southern Hemisphere, although they can be a challenge to acquire. My favourite is Nelson Sauvin, but I’d probably have to sell my soul a few times over to get it in any sort of decent quantity/price. For styles… that’s a good one. I really enjoy wood ageing and sour beers, probably more into brewing American sours than traditional European sours. They can be very challenging and a little unpredictable, but I think that’s part of why I am so fascinated by it.

Thanks very much to Jeremy, Mark, and Kelly for spending some time with us. Drop by the brewery tap room from noon on Saturday, Jan 28th, and daily going forward noon to eight (noon to ten Thurs-Sat). Drop by to purchase cans of their Pecadillo Oat Pilsner, Liesse  Table Beer, and Pollyanna Wild Northeast IPA to go; growlers of those three, plus the Innisfree Rustic Spelt Saison will be available as well. Those who pull up a stool (or rocking chair) will also have their pick of some draught-only small batch brews from their pilot system, including a Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and a Mango & Brett IPA. Keep your eyes peeled on their social media accounts for more details: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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We’re firmly into 2017 and we’ll all hopefully be able to stop typing 2016 any day now. Though the we haven’t quite reached the dead of winter, the beer scene in the region is still showing plenty of signs of life and it’s not looking like that will slow down any time soon. Read on for all the news on new beers, re-releases, and beer- and brewery-related events throughout our corner of the country. And don’t forget, the first kegs from Harvey, NB’s Think Brewing will be available this weekend. We have confirmation that they will be on tap at the James Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen in the next day or two. To learn more, check out Tuesday’s Profile with Think. And now on to the rest of the beer news!

• A little over a year ago, Flying Boats released Double Oatmeal Stout, an easy-drinking beer with plenty of oatmeal and roast character. Recently, owner/brewer Marc Melanson has changed the recipe, with the result being Station Master Stout. Over 10% of rolled oats, along with specialty malts including Chocolate and Roasted varieties, makes up the grist, giving “slight chocolate, coffee, and roastiness” in the flavour, along with a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, expect this one to weigh in at approximately 5.2% ABV; look for it at Flying Boats tap accounts sometime within the next couple of weeks.

• Saint John’s newest brewery, Loyalist City, released another of their flagship beers for the first time late last week. An American Pale Ale, Three Sisters Pale Ale (6% ABV, 60 IBUs) features a blend of three popular American hop varieties – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – to give “an assertive mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma”. The high majority of the hops were added in the whirlpool, after the boil was complete, to maximize the deliciousness of these varieties, without adding too much bitterness in the finish. The grist was kept simple, with a mix of two base malts, to complement the hops but not overpower them. Fermented clean with an American Ale yeast strain, more Mosaic was included in not one, but two, dry-hop additions, resulting in even more tropical fruit in the aroma. For historians, the beer was named after the Three Sisters Lamp, which was erected in 1842 at the end of Prince William Street “to welcome visitors to the Saint John Harbour by guiding them safely into port”. Look for Three Sisters on tap at select accounts in the city, including Cask & Kettle and Five & Dime, and at the ANBL Growler program starting Jan 26 at the three SJ-region locations. Details are thin, but look for LCBC’s Extra Special Bitter to hit the taps this weekend, we’ll share more details when we have them.

YellowBelly Brewpub in downtown St John’s has released a new cider this week, featuring partridge berries. Twenty kilograms of the extremely ripe fruit were used for a subtle sweetness and tannic tartness. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “It’s like our regular cider with a bit of pink lemonade and the merest hint of wintergreen, methinks.” Grab a pint at the pub, and look for bottles at a few St. John’s NLCs next week.

• Still on the Rock, Mill Street Brewpub has been serving a beer since late 2016 that we seem to have missed the boat on. St. John’s ESB is in the English Pale Ale family, with a balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness enhancing its drinkability. It comes in at a very reasonable 4.8% ABV and 27 IBU with biscuit, caramel and lightly toasted malt notes and floral and earthy hop flavours. Look for it the next time you’re by for a pint or a growler fill.​

• Fans of Moncton’s Bore City Brewing can look forward to their first new beer release in a while, a currently-unnamed “lower-ABV Belgian style Ale” (think roughly along the lines of an Abbey Single or Table Beer). With a grist of mainly Pilsner malt and Munich II, it was hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, White Labs’ Belgian Golden Ale. This one should come in around 5.6% ABV; it won’t be ready for another few weeks, according to the brewery, but we’ll have more information to release before then!

Graystone Brewing has their first Lager on tap at their taproom and elsewhere in Fredericton. The North is a Pilsner that was “amply hopped” with two varieties, German Perle and Czech Saaz, giving distinctive floral and spicy notes to the beer. Fermented cool at 13 C with a European Lager yeast, the beer was further lagered at cold temperatures for six weeks. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, and is available now for pints, and crowler/growler fills.

• Graystone also released another new beer yesterday, Shiver Stout, to coincide with this year’s Shivering Songs Festival. With an addition of a cold-brewed medium roast blend from Whitney Coffee Company added directly to the beer, there’s plenty of smooth coffee flavour (without any harshness) in this one. On the lighter-ABV end for a stout (4.7%), it clocks in at 30 IBUs; while exploring around Fredericton for the festival, be sure to seek this one out!

• Continuing with Fredericton, Bogtrotter has a new beer popping up around the city. Drunken Newt Red Rye Ale was brewed with Rye malt in the grist, with nutmeg added late in the boil. This deep red-coloured beer comes in at 5% ABV, and features “aromas of fresh rye bread, caramel malt and hops”, according to the brewery. Expect flavours of caramel, toffee, and a hint of, naturally, nutmeg. It’s available on tap around Fredericton, and is also in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL locations.

• Now firmly in the middle of winter, it’s time for the return of one of last year’s favourites, Big Spruce Brewing‘s Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, an ode to local meteorologist Peter Coade, who retired in September 2016, after a record-breaking 54 year career. This Winter Warmer is 7.4% ABV, and features Gila Squash grown at their brewery farm. It was oven roasted with organic cane sugar before being added to the mash, extracting some extra sweetness and complexity. After primary fermentation, the beer was conditioned with a dark rum tincture of local ginger with organic cinnamon and vanilla. This release is draft/growler only, while the next release will be aged in barrels and will be available on draft, and in bottles.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released their first Double IPA, Make and Break. Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, the beer features Amarillo and Millennium hops, to the tune of 60 IBUs, balancing the sweet, malty aroma. Grab a pint or growler fill at the brewery, and look for it at their tap accounts shortly.

• Be sure to grab today’s episode of the 902 BrewCast, with Kyle, Phil, and Tony tasting through a selection of Nova Scotian and New Brunswick IPAs (including a look at the medal winners of the 2016 ACBAs). They even invited along our very own acbbchris for a nerdier approach to the whole thing. Be sure to share your feedback on their social media feeds, or in a comment below.

• Attention large AtlCan breweries! The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is taking a handful of Canadian breweries on a tour of five US cities next month, and the opportunity to sign-up is now open. Visiting Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami Feb 27 – Mar 2, brewers will have the chance to meet local vendors, check out the potential markets, and learn about the benefits (and potential) drawbacks to doing business abroad. More details can be found here, including contacts on how to sign up before the application window closes January 25th.

A few events have popped up on our radar; check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods:

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar are holding another Growler Pop-Up today, 10-6pm (or when the beer runs dry). Look for the return of Herbies Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, Sour Otis Fruit Cake Kettle Sour, as well as two new IPAs: Calling Method IPA (featuring Citra) and Nelson IPA, single-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The first few folks through the door will receive a free T&B growler (empty) – the early birds get the worm!

• A reminder of tomorrow’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Ducky’s in Sackville. In addition to their core lineup, and special beers that they’ve been saving, it will serve also as the sneak preview of their Barrel-aged Barleywine, being released next Thursday. We’ll have more details on that beer next week. In the meantime, learn more about the evening, and live music, on the FB Event page.

• Join Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL next weekend, January 27th and 28th, for Eat the Hill. Pairing their beers with plates from several different chefs, there will be plenty of food, beer, and cheer to go around after a day on the slopes. Tickets are available now.

Mill Street is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner at the brewpub on February 8th. Hosted by Joel Manning, Head Brewmaster for the Mill Street family, and Dan Boldrini, Head Brewer at the St. John’s location, it will feature five of beers paired with five courses from the kitchen. The event will take place the evening of Wednesday, February 8; tickets are $60 and are apparently going fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors next Saturday, January 28th, for a soft launch of their beers and tap room. Featuring their core line-up on tap, as well as several special tap-room-only beer produced on their pilot system, the fun kicks off at noon. Take a gander at this week’s The Coast newspaper for an article with Kelly, Mark, and Jeremy, and we’ll have a full profile with the crew early next week, to whet your whistle.

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be holding a Nano Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring four of Nova Scotia’s smallest craft breweries, on Thursday, February 9th. All sixteen taps will be dedicated to beer from Brightwood, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tidehouse. Drop by from 2:00 pm to taste the beers from these small operations, including a few special one-offs casks, and meet the folks behind the beers.

• On February 16th, Battery Park is hosting Pop-Up Love Party, an event with live performers expounding on love, paired with local beer and a menu designed by Daniel Burns. It also serves as the launch of just the second beer brewed at North‘s Dartmouth location (in BP’s foyer), Zuppa Symposium. It is a Milk Stout aged on local blackberries and cherry wood, and will be available on tap (both standard and nitro versions), and in bottles. More details are available here, and tickets here.

 • Like to drink beer and curl? Or even just drink beer and slide around on the ice with a broom? Well, good news! Good Robot is holding their 1st Annual Tournament of Broken Hearts on Saturday, February 18th at the Mayflower Curling Club. Teams of four can sign up here ($80 per team), with all participants receiving GR toques, plenty of GR beer on tap, prizes to the winners, and an after-party. The fun starts at 1 pm and will continue all day and evening.

• It’s a ways away on May 27th, but early bird tickets are already on sale for the first annual Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at the Rodd Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, it will feature breweries from around Nova Scotia. There will be two tastings, in the afternoon at 2:30pm and in the evening at 7:30pm. The $30 package includes a commemorative glass and 5 sampling tickets, with additional sampling tickets available both online when you register and at the event itself. VIP and Designated Driver packages are also available: the VIP is priced at $45 and includes 10 sampling tickets, access to a VIP lounge and early access (30 minutes) to the tasting; the DD package gives 5 sampling tickets for food and non-alcoholic drinks and access to the VIP lounge and is priced at $15. Early bird registrants (until February 15th) save $5 on any package, while late registrations will see prices $5 higher. More information, including participating breweries will be available as the event gets closer.

• The YBF will also feature the first annual Hop Run. This event marries drinking beer and running and features both individual and relay formats. Individuals will run between 1 and 3 miles, with a beer at the starting gun and another after each mile completed to a maximum of three laps and four beers per person. The relay will see teams of three each running one lap and drinking 4 beers. Included in all registrations is a Hop Run pint glass and a finisher’s medal for each runner. Pricing for individuals is based on number of miles ($45/50/55 for 1, 2 and 3 miles, respectively), while relay pricing is $150 for the team. Again, early bird and latecomer pricing is in effect. So if you know you’re interested, get your registration in early and save a few dollars.​

And finally today:

Big Tide currently has an “extra-strong” batch of their Karnival Kölsch on tap at the brewpub; weighing in at 6.3% ABV (vs. its usual 4.5%), it also features Hallertau hops from Darlings Island Farm.
Boxing Rock Carbon-14 is back, Professor Jason MacDougall’s second-place winner from the first Boxing Rock Black Box challenge last year is available once again. It’s a big beer, a strong dark Belgian that should be perfect for a cold winter night.
Unfiltered: Deity SMaSH DIPA is back! The same blast of hoppy juiciness with spicy, herbal notes from the Columbus hops as the first time ’round. 7.5% ABV 100+ IBU 10 SRM
– Johnny Jacks Brewery in Oromocto has a new beer headed to local ANBL shelves soon, Pond Hockey Winter Ale. The 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU beer will be released in 750 ml bottles.
Hammond River S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout is kegged and will be popping up at local tap accounts this weekend.