All posts by acbbaaron

With Fredericton Craft Beer Fest now almost a week in the past, we suspect some of the hangovers it generated are finally starting to ease, just in time to figure out where the next hangover might come from. We’re willing to bet that for many the phrase “St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday” might figure heavily into that calculation. Here’s the latest in beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events for the week that Spring, uh, springs (sprungs? sprongs? steens?) in 2018!

Quidi Vidi Brewery, located Northwest of downtown St John’s, has seen a lot of change in the past several months. With the end of their legal issues, they are back to focusing on what should be most important in a brewery: beer! With the explosion of small breweries on the island, the reach of well-made flavourful beers is expanding across the province. Recent releases like the Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian (both award winners at last weekend’s Down East Brewing Awards) signal a sea change in the company, ready to provide exciting beers beyond their traditional offerings. With a 3 BBL (450 litre) pilot brewing system to complement their 20 BBL (2400 litre) brewhouse, and serious renovations happening to accommodate their new taproom, they are looking to expand the width and breadth of their offerings, while not disappointing their loyal fans. With this refocusing, they are looking to hire an assistant brewer, with an attitude on the same wavelength as their Brewmaster Einar Holtet. Check out the job listing here, and be sure to drop them a note soon!

• We’re not sure how much of this will be left, given that it was released last Friday, but Annapolis Cider has a new entry in their Something Different series. Arctic Kiwi combines the juice of locally-harvested Arctic Kiwis with a dry cider made up of McIntosh, Cortland, and Hyslop Crab apples. Unfiltered and sparkling, the resulting cider is quite aromatic, with “bright, tangy notes of fresh kiwi, with a crisp finish”. Best to check with Annapolis to make sure they still have some left! If they do, $0.50 from each refill will go to support Acadia’s S.M.I.L.E. program.

• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom launched a new beer last week – their first sour – just in time to pour off-Island at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Citra SMaSH Kettle Sour is just what you’d expect it to be – a single-malt (2-row), single-hop (Citra, obviously!) beer that was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus. With a firm tartness that is balanced/complemented very well by the fruity and citrus characters from the Citra, it weighs in at 5.4% ABV. FCBF is over (boo!), but you can still find this one on tap at the brewery, and possible still at HopYard, in Charlottetown.

• Speaking of PEI, there’s puh-lenty going on over at Upstreet these days. Let’s start with new beer… first up is the release of the third beer in their Flipside series, Belgian Pale Ale. This one is definitely a different take on the classic Belgian style, with a light malt bill (including some Flaked Oats), and a dry-hop of Cashmere and Citra. Fermented with a Belgian Witbier yeast, this hazy beer has a light bready character, with notes of “citrus, melon, and coconut” in the aroma and flavour. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, it’s available now in bottles and on tap. Their other new beer is the first in yet ANOTHER series, Neon Friday, a bi-weekly (hopefully!) release that will focus on hops – more specifically, IPAs – in beers that will be released on tap only. Today will see the release of DDH IPA with Azacca (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs) which was, yes, double-dry-hopped with the wonderful Azacca, giving high levels of mango in this particular beer. Look for it on tap at the Upstreet taproom, and the Craft Beer Corner. That’s right, the latest Upstreet venture should be opening today in downtown Charlottetown on the corner of Great George St. and Kent St. This beer destination will feature 24 taps (12 Upstreet, 5 for other Island breweries, 4 sodas, 2 Heart Beet Organics Kombuchas, and one Receiver cold brew coffee), with all Upstreet and non-alcoholic options available for growler and crowler fills (the first on the Island?). Food will also be available… think munchies like calzones, pretzels, jerky, etc. that will be prepared at Upstreet and cooked to order onsite. Be sure to check it out over the weekend!

• The FCBF saw all kinds of new beers pouring and we did our best to give you a preview of each in our post last week so you’d know what to look for. Some breweries, however, didn’t release the entire list of what they’d have until after last week’s post, with some beers ending up as a partial surprise. Niche Brewing’s Bruges Afternoon fit one of these descriptions, but it also fits another, that of a hybrid Belgian style that can best be described as a Belgian-American Pale Ale. Starting with a rather Belgian grist of Pils, Aromatic and Wheat, almost all the hops were added after the boil, namely lots of Azacca and Mosaic. It was back to Belgium for a Trappist style yeast to promote fruity esters and then, post-fermentation, back across the pond for a large dry hop of more Azacca and Mosaic. Fruity esters, tropical hops, and a medium mouthfeel in a 5.2% ABV package. As always you’ll find it at Niche tap accounts where you might also bump into their Mines of Wallonia, their lovely light Grisette hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc, which should see its re-release early next week.

• While lots of breweries do up special beers for St. Patrick’s day, and many of them involve food colouring or wild and wonderful green-tinged ingredients, we suspect that a new beer from Horton Ridge has got to be the greenest green beer that ever greened. Excepting that it’s not green. In colour, anyway. Horton Ridge has made a beer using green malt directly off the malt floor, with no kilning step to remove all the water added to germinate the grain and with the protein-rich rootlets left intact. The only other ingredient in the grist was a few pound of their own malted oats. Trading traditional toasty and malty flavors for fruity ones, this beer has notes of peach and fresh cantaloupe with a red apple nose. More brown than beer made from kilned malt, it’s also quite hazy from the additional protein. Hopped with Saaz, Hallertau, Cascade and Perle, Green Malt Beer weighs in a quaffable 5.5% ABV and a gentle 22 IBU that lets the malt shine. Not green enough for you? Consider this: the barley was grown in the region (Winsloe, PEI), so transport was minimized. Not kilning means 90% of the energy normally put into the malting process was saved. And with so much water left in the grain, much less was needed for the mash! Served on-site (no additional transportation), the environmental footprint of this beer is likely to be amongst the smallest of any in Canada. Now is it green enough?! Launched yesterday at the brewery, it will be flowing freely tomorrow starting at noon for Paddy’s Day at the Malt House and also available in growlers (pre-filled, we believe). Keeping with the theme, you’ll also fine Granite Brewery Greenman Pale Ale along with offerings from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing. Traditional Irish music from Space Bog Paddy People round out the event starting at 8 PM (tickets for the evening are $5). And we’ve been told to keep our eyes out for more beers from Horton Ridge featuring green malt in the future!

• On the East side of Newfoundland Port Rexton have a new beer out that invokes both St. Patrick’s Day and meteorology. In Newfoundland, the name Sheila (or Sheelah) is associated with St. Patrick as his wife, and cagey Newfoundlanders caught still tippling on March 18th may claim to be continuing the celebration in the name of Sheelah. Meanwhile, weather-wise, it is extremely common for one last big snow to come through Newfoundland in the back half of March following Paddy’s Day and those storms have come to be known as “Sheila’s Brush.” Enter Port Rexton and their desire for something hoppy and crushable to welcome Spring. Featuring Magnum, Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria in the kettle and Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra in the dry hop, Sheila’s Crush still only tips the scales at 4.4% ABV, making it a very sessionable IPA. Look for this light and citrusy brew at the brewery’s retail location on Torbay Road just in time for Sheila’s Day.

• Are you a fan of big, boozy Barleywines? Well, we have great news for you, then! Boxing Rock‘s newest beer, Fisticuffs, is just that, and is available now! Weighing in at a monstrous 11% ABV, the beer was aged for four months in Chardonnay barrels, it exhibits “hints of stone fruits such as prunes, plums and figs, melded with a smooth, biscuit malt flavour and hint of vanilla”. With a fruity finish and “soft” carbonation, it’s smooth enough to be enjoyed now, and big enough to be cellared! Bottles are currently on sale at Boxing Rock’s retail show in Shelburne, with some also on their way to select NSLC stores (and perhaps to the private stores in HRM as well). And keep your eyes open next week for their Juniper Saison, April May Juniper, which was originally brewed as a collaboration with Lunn’s Mill last year. This batch was fermented with a different Saison yeast, and the beer will be a rotating seasonal in the NSLC, so you should be seeing bottles very soon. And mark your calendars for March 29th, when Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion & Bright from 5PM, pouring a wide variety of suds to make your long weekend brighter.

TrailWay is bringing back their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, today at the brewery. This latest release is a new iteration on the same vanilla/lactose-driven IPA – hopped with a “generous amount” of Idaho 7 and El Dorado, it was conditioned on both strawberry and mango puree. Expect plenty of fruitiness thanks to all additions, with a “massive, rich, creamy body” to help support the 6.5% ABV. Available today on tap and in cans at the brewery only.

• We have a couple of pieces from Fredericton’s Picaroons news this week. First up, with the warmer weather approaching (right??), the brewing team at Pics turn their thoughts to one of their most fun and popular seasonals, Melonhead, their Watermelon Ale. And every year, a new cat will get the opportunity to grab the spotlight on the front of the label. If you think your kitty is the next WhiskeySir Winston Snaggletooth, or Ruby, send their picture vial email before March 27th for a chance at fame, fortune, and unlimited catnip. The winning cat, and the beer, will be available June 1st. Picaroons is also looking to hire a Retail Beer Store Manager, who will oversee the operation of the various retail locations, taproom operations, and designing tour information. To learn more, check out Pics’ Facebook page, and apply for the position via email here.

• The Gahan Pub in Charlottetown is hosting their Fourth Home Brewer’s Challenge, inviting eager Aleanders to brew up their best recipe, for a chance to see their beer pouring at the Sydney Street Pub. There are no style requirements/guideline this year, so entrants are free to choose whichever they like. Fire an email to before April 13th to register, and you have until May 28th to brew and deliver your beer to Gahan. The winner will brew their recipe with Gahan Brew Master Trent Hayes, for release in the summer.

• We have more on the latest release from Garrison we teased last week, plus a tease of another new one dropping this weekend. Debuting at the Craft Beer Cottage Party at the end of February, Wicked Good is a North East- / New England- style American Pale Ale (aka, full of hops and haze for dayz). Pale Ale Malt is kicked up with Oats and Wheat (for mouthfeel, head retention, and lending a bit of haze) in the grain bill, resulting in a 5.8% ABV. The star of the show is the hop bill, featuring loads of Idaho 7 and Mosaic early-, late-, and post-boil, plus some super-secret hops that Brewmaster Daniel Girard is keeping under wraps. Currently available on draft only, but will eventually be packaged, grab it at the brewery for samples and growlers, and around town at finer drinking establishments.

• And dropping today, just in time for tomorrow’s drinking holiday, is Oat and About Stout. This is a Strong Stout brewed with students of the NSCC Continuing Education course that visited the brewery in February. As the name would imply, there are oats in the grain bill to complement the 2-Row Pale malt, plus a blend of Crystal with Roasted Barley. At 6.0% ABV and 32 IBUs, it’s a solid alternative to the macro-stouts often touted at the time of year. Be sure to grab all of the details when you drop by today for a sample or growler fill (and tell them the ACBB sent ya!).

In addition to your regularly scheduled St Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow, keep an eye out for these events this weekend and in the near future:

• As part of their Saint Paddy’s Day fun, Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is hosting a series of tastings in their Stage Head Pub. At 2 PM, 3 PM, and 4 PM tomorrow, try 8 beers from Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Storm Brewing, and YellowBelly and take a tour of the brewery, all while learning about Split Rock’s own offerings, too. In addition to the guided tastings, there will be music in the afternoon and evening (4 – 5 PM, and again at 9 PM), and Irish Stew available 5 – 7 PM. And while you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy their recent addition Flanker, a rich and malty Smoked Porter, weighing in at 5.8% ABV. 30% Beachwood Smoked Malt was used in the grist, but the smoke level is not overpowering. If you’re unable to visit the Stage Head, it may be available in town after the weekend. Saturday will see the release of a pair of new beers as well, with a 3.8% ABV Dry Irish Stout being served on Nitro, and a brand new American Pale Ale with loads of Cascade and Columbus making its debut.

• Feeling hungry and inflexible? Why not come to the King Street Ale House this Sunday, March 18th, for Lazy Yoga n’ Burgers? Starting at 1 PM, there will be 45 minutes of “lighthearted, gentle” yoga (BYO mat), before launching into the main event… food and beer! Over the next two hours, ticketholders will have four gourmet sliders, each paired with a different beer (5 oz) from Niche Brewing. Tickets can be purchased through the event link above; the price is $45.49 for the full experience, but if you just want to go for the burgers and beer, you can purchase a separate ticket for $27.39. Check out the link for more details, and a full beer list.

Big Tide Brewing is hosting a Brunch & Brew event on March 25th starting at 10 AM. Your ticket includes food and coffee/tea, a tour of the brewery with plenty of knowledge and insight into the brewing process, plus the opportunity to take part in a brewday with Head Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos and the folks of Uncorked Tours. Advance tickets are suggested, and are available here.

• The latest edition of the St John’s BrewFest is set to happen April 21, at Club One at 33A Gower Street. Featuring 80+ beer not normally available in the province, the hosts are pushing hard to increase the haze-level on the island by inviting Brooklyn, NYC’s, Other Half Brewing, as well as Half Hours on Earth (Seaforth, ON), Blindman Brewery (Lacombe, AB), Left Field Brewery (Toronto, ON), and Hammond River (Quispamsis, NB). Your $30 ticket gets you in the door, your glass for the evening (and to take home) and your first few pours, after which you can buy tokens to fill her up once again. Tickets are just about sold out, so if you were waiting for a sign to buy, this is it! Check out the beer line-up (they’re adding more to the list daily), and grab your tickets, here.

• We’ve been busy trying to keep up with Escarpment Lab‘s social media over the past week, as co-founder Angus Ross returned to his Nova Scotian roots, brewing up a half-dozen collaboration beers across the province. From Shelburne to Nyanza and points in between, Ross has set a wide variety of yeast-driven beers in motion this week (joining some brewed last summer!), which will culminate in a tap takeover during the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24-26. We’ll share more details on the takeover (and the dozens of other events peripheral to the Conference) closer to the date, but rest assured you’ll want to take a few days off of work to stay focused on the mighty task at hand!

Hell Bay Brewing and Liverpool Adventure Outfitters are hosting a Father’s Day Canoe & Brew event June 16th. It kicks off at 4PM when attendees will go for a paddle along the Mersey River, and then enjoying a beer tasting at Hell Bay. Paddlers of all ages are invited, though the tasting restricted to those of age. The LAO is planning more of these outings, so be sure to sign up to their inaugural event to show that there’s plenty of interest!

Just a few more notes to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has opened their taproom this week, allowing visitors to enjoy pints and flights of their Headliner IPA, Nunmoar Black, or one of their 4 other beer pouring currently. They are also adding in a healthy dose of guest beers to round out the dozen taps, which started with Garrison’s Pucker Up!, Uncle Leo’s Smoked Porter, and Sober Island Chanterelle Mild. Drop by today 12-8PM, and tomorrow 11-5PM for your draft and growler needs!

Good Robot will be re-releasing El Espinazo del Diablo, their International Pale Lager conditioned on lime zest and jalapeño, next week. With a 2-Row and Vienna malt base, flaked corn is also used in the mash for that iconic flavour contribution. At 5.7% ABV, the beer was solely hopped with Tettnang to a light 14 IBU, letting the fruit and chili dominate the flavours.

Propeller Brewing has brought back their Irish Red this week, just in time for Saturday’s celebration. Available in the 650 mL bomber size, as well as on tap for growler fills and pints at their Gottingen St taproom, it will be available at bars and restaurants around the city shortly.

Unfiltered has brought back their “New England-influenced” American IPA, Riddle of Steel, for release today at Charm School for pints and growler fills (and likely on tap at several Unfiltered accounts, soon).

And before we sign off today, we wanted to once again say thanks to Lloyd Chambers and the whole Fredericton Craft Beer Festival crew of volunteers for a great time last weekend. From the PEI Tap Takeover at the James Joyce, to the Beer School run by Mike Doucette & Co of CCNB Grand Falls, to the breweries who were kind enough to donate goodies for our Trivia Night (which we will re-schedule soon, stupid power outage!), there were plenty of great events surrounding the Friday Night Newbie Session and Saturday Gala Sessions of the Festival. Congratulations to all of the winners in the Down East Brewing Awards, but extra-special Grats to Garrison for winning Brewery of the Year, and 2 Crows for Beer of the Year, for their I Love You Saison with Rosehips. Meeting with the local brewers, bar owners, retailers, hop growers, and beer fans leaves us with no doubt that the Atlantic Canadian Beer Scene is stronger than ever, and the future is looking quite bright!

With the warm-ish weather we’ve been experiencing in the region this week we’re almost wondering if the Groundhog might have been right this year, which probably means an apocalyptic storm or four is just around the corner. To take your mind off this dreadful inevitability and the zombie apocalypse that will no doubt follow, we’ve once again collected all the beer news we could find in the region this week and put it all in one place.

• It looks like Boxing Rock has been playing around in the brewhouse lately, as they’ve just released Plum Crazy, a “plum-infused sour Porter”. Starting with a slightly-tweaked recipe of their Sunken Ledge Porter, where a portion of the mash was soured in the mashtun for 48 hours, with the remainder of the grist mashed in as normal. The resulting two worts were then combined in the kettle, and boiled as usual. After primary fermentation was complete, 120 lbs of plum puree were added for about a week, where the beer was then carbonated and packaged. The result is a 5% ABV brew that is “smooth, tart, and malty, with a bit of tannic character from the plums”. You should be able to find it in bottles now at the private liquor stores, in growlers at the brewery and farmer’s markets, and on tap at select licensees.

• Late last week, Big Axe managed to release a new beer despite receiving several new pieces of brewing equipment for their expansion. A Rye IPA, Aces & Eights was brewed with two types of rye malt: Flaked Rye and Pale Rye malt. Hopped with Amarillo and Citra, this 5.8% ABV beer is a light amber colour, with “reddish hues” (the picture we saw looked quite red!), and has a “slight peppery aroma” from the Rye additions. Look for it on tap at your favourite Big Axe account, and at the brewery taproom (which very well may BE your favourite Big Axe account, naturally!) for pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Propeller has a brand new beer available in cans, XPA. This “Extra Pale Ale” is their latest seasonal, hopped with Citra and Idaho 7, giving the beer “complex hop aromas of orange and apricot, finishing with a backdrop of resiny pine with hints of black tea”, according to the brewery. These 473 mL cans are available right now in both Propeller retail stores, and should be following at the NSLC sometime next week. Of course, it’s on tap at Propeller for growler fills as well, and will likely show up on tap around the HRM very soon.

• There’s another new Alpha Brew being released by our friends at Good Robot this week: All You Can Eat is being billed as a Coconut IPA. Featuring a “boatload” of toasted coconut (meticulously toasted by Kelly Costello herself), the beer has a base of Golden malt, and was hopped with both Topaz and Wai-Iti. It’s “smooth and creamy” and has an aroma matching a tropical fruit salad, with coconut! Keep your eyes open for it around Halifax, and of course you can find this 6.2% ABV, 43 IBUs newbie at the source (read: brewery taproom). But we’re not done… naturally there’s a new Beta Brew coming out next Tuesday! Creamsicale was brewed with local entrepreneur Krishna Parmar, and has a grist made up of Wheat malt, Oats, and barley, and hopped with Magnum, Mandarina Bavaria, and Zythos (to 32 IBUs). At 5.8% ABV, it tastes of “citrus and vanilla ice cream, with a very subtle hop profile”. Finally, the brewery has just finished their second canning run, so you can now pick up Tom Waits For No One American Stout in 16 oz cans at the brewery.

• Bucking tradition slightly, TrailWay released their weekly one-off a bit early this week, on Wednesday. This is their latest rendition of Binary, their rotating SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) brew. Golden Promise is the malt of choice, and this time around they went with the Australian hop variety Ella. This hop has been seeing more and more action in many brews in Atlantic Canada, and is known for the floral and spicy aromas it imparts in beer, along with a grapefruit and tropical flavour. This batch is bigger than their typical one-off, so expect to see some cans of this 6% ABV hoppy brew at select ANBL stores, in addition to at the brewery taproom.

• Today Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is bringing back a summer favourite a little early, possibly in the hopes of inspiring this unseasonably warm weather into even more unseasonable territory. You might remember Sour MFer, the kettle soured wheat beer aged on a metric fuckton of tart cherries. Well it’s back, and this time it spent some time refermenting with Brettanomyces lambicus, which is known for tending to impart a cherry-pie like character. Even better, the beer also spent several months aging on oak. Available from noon for pints and fills at the brewery and/or Charm School Pub next door. Speaking of growler fills, did you know if you bring another brewery’s growler to Unfiltered, they’ll fill it? And they’ll even slap on a high-quality vinyl Unfiltered sticker before they send you on your merry way. How incredibly controversial!!

• If you head down to Tidehouse’s tinytastybeverageroom in downtown Halifax this weekend, you’ll find a brand new beer. The Atomium is a Belgian blond that comes in at 6.4% ABV. It was brewed with Pilsner, Vienna and a touch of Aromatic malt, bittered with Perle and flavoured with noble Czech Saaz. Brewmaster Peter Lionais then chose to ferment with a pair of Belgian yeasts to create a beer with a largely fruity profile contrasted with a touch of phenolic spiciness. This beer is also expected to hit the taps at the Stubborn Goat in the coming days.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to churn out beer, belying their nano scale. Brewer/owner Keith Forbes has a couple brews bubbling away to keep the tap accounts happy. As mentioned last week (or was it the week before?), there’s a batch of Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red coming for St. Patrick’s Day and a coffee-less version of Even Gooder Brown will be ready mid-next week, this one with a light-ish body, and chocolate, caramel and nutty flavors and an overall earthy presentation. And if you’ll be at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, look for Ol’ Biddy’s to make its debut at Newbie Night on March 9th. They’ll be bringing four beers at the event, Sackvegas Sour, Orange American Bastard, Disco Inferno Red IPA and a brand new one, brewed by Keith’s longtime homebrew buddy Michael Orr, Salty Fog Coconut Porter, a dark roasty beer with hints of chocolate, caramel and coconut, and finished with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.

Maybee Brewing is launching a new beer today, which will be the first of three over the next few weeks. Today’s newbie is Whistle Stop Belgian Pale Ale, a 6.5% ABV twist on the classic Belgian style. Amber-coloured, this brew was fermented with a Saison and Brettanomyces yeast blend, giving “upfront notes of biscuit, stone fruit, and bubblegum, with a European hop spice and citrus hop accompaniment”. Finishing crisp and dry, it will be released in kegs only for now (so look for it on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and at Maybee tap accounts in the province), but will also be available in bottles during Fredericton Craft Beer Week (starting March 5th).

• We mentioned last week (eventually…sorry guys!), that the 902BrewCast boys would be hosting a live recording of their Women in the Beer Industry Panel, an open discussion featuring Meghan Brennan (Garrison Brewing), Rebecca Atkinson (Sober Island Brewing), Laura MacDonald (Stillwell), and Kelly Costello (Good Robot Brewing). The event took place this past Monday evening and the team has already sliced ’n diced the raw tape into an episode available now. Get it direct from their website here, search it out in iTunes or your favourite alternative Podcast app, or twist the dial of your favourite podcast appliance (those exist, right?)

On top of the many events we’ve mentioned over the past couple weeks, there’s a couple new ones to throw out there today:

• Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is celebrating reopening this week with an all-NL tap takeover. Beginning last night with a ticketed event that sold right out, it will continue into Friday and Saturday. Head down to the brewery during regular hours (4 PM to Midnight) today or tomorrow and find taps pouring from Port Rexton Brewing, Split Rock Brewing Co., Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., Yellowbelly Brewery, Storm Brewing and, of course, the hosts themselves! Flights will be available at $12 per and they’ll have 16oz pints besides. So head on down and experience a taste of the burgeoning beer scene on the Rock!

Battery Park is holding another one of their all-day tap takeovers next Thursday, March 1st, but this one will feature six Nova Scotia breweries, instead of just one. Small but Mighty will bring you kegs from Half Cocked, Lazy Bear, Off Track, Ol’ Biddy’s, Tanner & Co., and The Townhouse. Beers will be pouring from 11:30 am for the whole day, until the beer is gone! As always, there’s no charge to attend, just show up and enjoy some pints from some of the province’s smallest breweries! Many of the brewers will be there to soak up the praise, so don’t be shy!

• Interested in learning more about the brewing process? Saint John’s Big Tide will be hosting a Brunch & Brew on Sunday, March 25th from 10 am-1:30 pm. Head brewer Wendy Papadopoulos will educate attendees on the magic behind brewing, and you’ll also get the opportunity to take part in an actual brew day. Luckily, a two-course brunch and flight of beer is included in the ticket price ($40 + HST and fee), to keep you going! You can book your tickets here.

That’s it for this week!

– Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has started bottling, and the first bottles (500 mL) of their Revelation IPA can be found at the Corbett Centre ANBL in Fredericton this weekend, with more locations to follow, soon.

February is now in full force and it’s another week with lots of news about beer releases and coming events in our region. Have a read and figure out what tasty treats you’re going to put in your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Basket! Because there’s nothing more romantic than beer, right?!

• Despite winning a gold medal at last year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards for their American IPA, Big Stink, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has boldly and bravely gone back to the drawing board to improve on the beer and bring it to the next level. Taking in comments from the judges, they made several procedural changes – including a new carbonation technique – along with some slight recipe adjustments (decreasing the amount of specialty grains), and one “big, bold change” that they’re keeping a secret. It’s still hopped heavily with Mosaic and Columbus, but the brewery is confident that Big Stink 2.0 is better than ever, yet still recognizable to fans of the original. Kegs are going out now to select tap accounts, including for the growler program at Harvest Wines, Rockhead, and WestSide. Bottles will be arriving at those three stores in the near future as well.

• Today, Nine Locks will be releasing the second beer in their Signature Series, Simply A Märzen. As you may have guessed, this one was brewed in the Märzen (aka Oktoberfest) style – a malty, smooth, clean Lager. Head Brewer Jake Saunders brewed this one with malt and hops sourced from Germany, and lagered the beer for six weeks to clean up the beer and allow the flavours to gel. Pouring a copper-red colour, this full-bodied brew has a biscuity aroma and a “rich, elegant malt flavour”, with a restrained hop bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and is available

• Twillingate, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing brought out a new seasonal beer last weekend, their first in the New England IPA style. With a generous amount of oats and flaked wheat in the mash to promote mouth feel and, no doubt, the characteristic New England haze, Lightbringer was fermented with the famous Vermont Ale yeast. Hopped heavily at the whirlpool, active fermentation and dry hop stages with Cascade, Amarillo, and loads of Citra, you should expect plenty of juicy citrus and stone fruit flavours to complement a soft and smooth mouthfeel and some distinct apricot flavours. Designed to be easy drinking, it’s got a “touch” of bitterness and weighs in at 6.4% ABV. You’ll find it at their Stage Head Pub where you can grab a fill or order a pint and raise a glass to the prince that was promised.

• Slowing down a bit after their big 1st Anniversary bash a couple of weekends ago, 2 Crows has nonetheless put a new small-batch beer on tap at their taproom. Universal Mind is a Belgian Pale Ale that was brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles on the brewery’s pilot system. With a grist of Vienna, Wheat, Oats, Spelt, and a little bit of Honey malt, it was hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc to 30 IBUs, giving flavours of “bubblegum, pineapple, and spice”. Fermented with the brewery’s house Saison strain to up the fruity esters and spicy phenolics even more, it comes in at 5.8% ABV. Drop by the brewery ASAP to give it a try, as there’s only a couple of kegs available!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is keeping the new beers flowing in their own right, with their sixth release in just seven weeks, hitting the taps in Fredericton this weekend. Ruby Tuesday is their first foray into the Sour Realm, using a pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum (Lacto for short) in the unhopped wort for 36 hours, before boiling to stop acidification and adding a light dose of El Dorado. Fermentation was completed with Amalgamation (a blend of six different Brettanomyces variants), with hibiscus flowers added during the conditioning phase after. The resulting beer features a bright red colour, with floral and berry character in both aroma and flavour, with the tart acidity from Lacto shining through. The beer will debut tomorrow evening at the James Joyce, and will certainly see wider distribution in the province (and beyond?) beginning next week.

TrailWay is back to American IPAs this week, with the release of a new iteration of one of their more popular beers. DDH Green Island is, as you may have guessed, a double dry-hopped version of the 6% ABV Green Island. Hopped with Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, the new version is even more fruity and aromatic than the original, according to the brewery. Releasing today, you can stop by the brewery to pick up your cans for the weekend; it’ll also be available for pints and growlers.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has just released their first Double IPA, Gemini. Weighing in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, there’s lots of bitterness in this package, at a calculated 100 IBUs. Hopped with plenty of the classic Columbus, Simcoe, and Centennial, expect a dank, piney, fruity beer, with a dry, bitter finish. It’s available at the brewery now, and keep your eyes open for it at your favourite Backstage licensee; we can confirm that a keg was sent to Battery Park this week.

• After being closed for renovations, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing is back open for business, starting today. Their new business hours are Tuesday to Friday (4-6 pm), Saturday (10am-2pm), and Sunday (4-6 pm); you’ll be able to drop by during these hours for growler fills. They hope to have five taps flowing by the end of the month, quite the increase from the previous set-up. Look for their beers to start popping up at bars and restaurants across New Brunswick, as well.

• Next week’s Good Robot Betabrew, Treat Her Like A Lady, is all set to go for its release on Tuesday. Brewed by Kelly Costello and her sister, Hilary, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter brewed with both Honey malt and real honey (from Fox Hill Market), and hopped to 30 IBUs with Fuggles to balance the sweetness and roasted malt flavours. Also, Steambot Willie, the brewery’s 5.5% ABV, 32 IBU California Common, has returned as of yesterday, and can be found at the brewery’s taproom and other GR accounts.

Tatamagouche Brewing is bringing back their Oyster Cloister Oyster Stout this weekend, and are throwing a party to celebrate! This Saturday evening, they are holding their own Oyster Cloister party, featuring live music, plenty of oysters from Bay Enterprises (the farm in Malagash that supplies the oysters for this beer), and the launch of the beer. *Tickets are now sold out*, but look for the beer to be available across the rest of province this weekend as well. And keep an eye out for the return of their RR#2 Lager, this year’s batch features hops from their own private hopyard, also in Malagash, with Mount Hood making up the majority of the hopping. And in blatant self-advertising, one of only 2 pins of Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter (brewed at Tata with acbbchris and 1029Brewing) is in the fridge at Battery Park currently, ready to be put on their nitro tap. This special pin has been aging on bacon for a little bit, to really round out your full breakfast experience.

• More beer in cans seems to be the trend in our region (and probably elsewhere, but we can barely keep up with the local scene at this point!). We saw evidence this week that Bad Apple Brewhouse is packaging their Tom’s Smoked Porter, Propeller their London Porter and Garrison their Pucker Up (this one just in time for Valentine’s Day), all in shiny silver cylinders. And in other packaging news, both Tipsy Toad and Malty Muskrat from Bogtrotter are sporting slick new labels. And the Gahan line from PEI Brewing Company is also getting a brand refresh, modeled after the label change sported for last year’s release of Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, continuing to their 1772 IPA.

• We received word this week from Spindrift in Dartmouth that they’re on the lookout for another brewer to join Brewmaster Chris Downey on the brewery floor. While an experienced brewer with formal training is preferred, what they are really looking for is an individual who is passionate about both the craft of making beer and the industry. Interested parties are encouraged to peruse the official job posting and submit a résumé.

Lots of new events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Hammond River Brewing is celebrating their 4th Anniversary today at the brewery’s taproom in Rothesay. They’ve come a long way in four years… heck, the difference in the last year particularly has been striking! Join them as they’ll have $6.50 pints all day long, $2 off flights and 1 L growlers, and $3 off all large growler fills. Finally, they’ll be tapping a surprise beer at some point during the day as well. Be sure to drop by and toast their success!

• Just a reminder that Niche Brewing will be holding their official Launch Party tomorrow, February 10th, at the James Joyce Irish Pub at 7 pm. They will be pouring five of the first six beers released by the new brewery (including the brand new Ruby Tuesday that we mentioned above, exclusive to the JJ for the launch); all their beers will be on for Happy Hour prices, and of course flights will be available. Rob and Shawn will be on hand, happy to discuss their beers and their plans for the near future, and merchandise – including glasses, T-shirts, and toques – will be available for purchase. Finally, there will be a draw for two VIP tickets for the afternoon session of this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival; if you plan on attending the launch, be sure to enter online before the party!

• The 902BrewCast will be doing something a bit different for February’s Tasting Episode, and they want you to be part of the fun! This episode will feature a panel of women involved in the NS Beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of an audience. The live show will take place at Garrison Brewing February 19th, at 6pm. There are no tickets needed to attend, and the taps will be open during the event ($5 will get you two 12oz pours), so that you can drink along with the hosts and panel. Expect to hear from women involved in all aspects of the beer biz, from brewer to sales folks, to those who just love to drink it! And for those unable to attend, the episode will drop later that week as part of their regular release schedule.

• The team at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS, is finally getting to do something they’ve been thinking about since the days when they were planning their brewery, a “showcase” night, pitting two variations of the same beer against each other to see how a small change can impact the perception of a beer. The beer, in this case, is a Dark Mild brewed by special guest brewer Ian Dares and is called Myld Stallyns (Excellent! ). The variation in play will be packaging and serving style; there will be one version that, in the standard modern fashion, has been force carbonated and pushed to the tap with CO2, and another that will have been put into a cask without external carbonation, pulled using a special pump called a beer engine, and served at a somewhat warmer temperature. This latter presentation, if executed to a certain standard, is known in the UK as “real ale” and, it is argued by its proponents (such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale), presents the beer in the most desirable possible way, as a living product that is unadulterated and which changes over time. Here’s your chance to see whether treatment you prefer. The Myld Stallyns Showcase is scheduled for March 2nd at 6 PM and is being touted as the “first” Showcase for Lunn’s Mill, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing more such events.

• Tickets for this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are sold out, but good news if you missed your chance! On Friday, March 9th (the day before FCBF), they’re holding their first Newbie Night, from 6-9 pm at the Fredericton Convention Centre. This event will feature breweries new to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene, who were unable to grab a spot at FCBF due to the limited number of spaces. Up to 12 new breweries will be pouring their beers, and your ticket ($57.50, through the link above) will entitle you to unlimited samples and a special glass to keep. And while we’re on the topic of FCBF, you can still vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian breweries (if you haven’t already) right here; it may be a bit tough to pick your top three, but it should only take a minute!

Just a couple more things to let you know about this week:

– Riverview’s Celtic Knot is releasing a new variant of their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. Irish Kiss features additions of cherry and chocolate to the brew, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be available in both growler fills and 500ml bottles at the brewery at 23 Biggs Drive. And those who want to celebrate Riverview Winter Carnival with locally-produced beer should drop by the brewery tonight from 8-10 for free samples and $10 growler fills to kick off the final weekend of the event.

– Great news for the folks at Bedford’s Off Track Brewing in Bedford, they have received their full-sized system this week. After brewing on sub-100 litre gear for a couple of months, their 600 litre (5 BBL) system is now on-site and being installed as you read this. Look for the first batches from the big brewhouse to debut in March, with their taproom still open as normal on the weekends (check their FB page for the latest details, of course).


We’re late today because we’ve got lives and jobs and one of us has all of that and a brewery. And then our regional beer purveyors go and have a busy week. The nerve!! Lots to tell you about in the region today, so let’s not belabor introductions and get straight to it!

• We kick off this week’s post with news of a brand new brewery in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Opening late last week, Four Rivers Brewing is the first large-scale brewery (15 BBL/1800 litre) and taproom to open in the region, capitalizing on the region’s residents’ thirst for well-made, fresh, local beer. We’ll have a full profile with the Four Rivers folks shortly, but in the meantime we can tell you that their taproom is open for samples, pints, and growler fills of their beer, plus glassware and other merchandise, 12 – 6 PM Mon-Wed, 12 – 8 PM Thurs and Fri, 10 AM – 8 PM Sat, closed Sun. As for what you can expect when onsite, they are currently pouring Havre St-Pierre American Amber Ale and Nor’Easter American Pale Ale, with a Black IPA/India Black Ale debuting in the coming weeks. Keg sales are planned for sometime next month, which means the only place you’ll find Four Rivers’ beer is at Four Rivers, so be sure to drop by their spot at 335 Murray Avenue. Keep an eye on their FB and Insta accounts for more details, and keep your eyes locked here for the Q&A with them soon. Congratulations!

• If you head 585 km East Northeast of Bathurst, you’ll reach Corner Brook, Newfoundland, home to the other new brewery opening their doors this week. Located at 92 West Street, the brewery and taproom for Bootleg Brew Co is opening today at 2 PM, open until midnight (with the same hours Saturday and Sunday). While there, you’ll be able to enjoy samples and pints of their first four beer offerings: East Coast Pale Ale (5.5%/25 IBU), Hoppy Roger IPA (6.5%/61 IBU), El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye (6.3%/18 IBU), and Just the Tip Spruce Ale (5.8%/23 IBU). With room for more about 30 patrons in the small location, we imagine it will be blocked, given the enthusiasm for great beer the west coast of the province is seeing. To ensure the taproom is always stocked, they are concentrating on samples and pint sales for the time being, with beer-to-go in the coming weeks. But with local art by Nolan Short hanging in the space (also for sale), and a chill and rustic, yet modern, vibe, you won’t mind sticking around for a spell to try them all (at least once). Keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) as they announce their hours for next week, as well as add food options to the taproom. Congratulations to Matt and Morgan on the launch, and we’re excited to have a full Q&A with them soon. ps. Flights from Bathurst to Corner Brook’s closest airport, Deer Lake, are currently $600. If you send us proof that you made the trip, we’ll buy your first beer at both taprooms!

• And in more new/coming soon brewery news, the initial beer release from CAVOK Brewing is debuting this weekend across New Brunswick. Brewed at another facility while they set up their own brewery and taproom in Dieppe, the Leger Corner Honey Ale has been kegged and delivered to Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub and Pump House Fill Station on Mill Road, with Fredericton’s James Joyce and a few others over the next few weeks. They’ve also managed to can a portion of the batch in tall boy cans, destined for the shelves of the ANBL shortly (check that link for availability). Leger Corner is Dieppe’s original name, before being changed to commemorate the soldiers of the Dieppe Raid. The 4.8% ABV beer features wildflower honey (Atlantic Gold) from local producer Lockhart Apiaries. Look for CAVOK to open their facility later this year, and keep up to date on their social media (FB/IG/Tw) for the latest news!

• After a brief hiatus (you drank them dry!), Bedford’s brand new Off Track Brewing is re-opening their taproom for sample, pints, and growler sales today. Back on tap are their  Alias Pale Ale, Crash Course and Hooved a Doo IPAs, the Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Porter, Good Grief Charlie Brown, and the debut of Universal Soldier, a 4.2% Kolsch. First fermented at Ale temperature (17-18 Celsius) for two weeks, the beer then conditioned cool (5 Celsius) for four weeks, resulting in a straw-coloured beer that is clean and refreshing, with a nice mouthfeel. They are also bringing in reinforcements to fill up the taps, with a rotating cider tap (now populated with Chain Yard Foundation), with the other two guests being Lunn’s Mill‘s Anvil Porter (which will then switch to Brickyard Red) and Ol Biddy’s Funktown APA. Open this weekend (today 2 – 10 PM, Saturday 12 – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM), their hours for the week will be posted on social media (FB/IG/Tw) and are dependent on being able to serve you beer.

• We’ve got some news about two new beers available/soon to be available from Lazy Bear Brewing, out of Smiths Cove, NS. First up is a big beer, a Russian Imperial Stout named Avos’, after the Russian word meaning “blind trust in sheer luck” (we’ll take their word on that). A favourite style for sipping in front of a fire on a cold winter night, it clocks in at 8.9% ABV and has “intense chocolate and roast malt notes up front and on the nose”, with flavours of anise, stone fruit, and some alcohol warmth going down, according to the brewery. This medium-to-full bodied brew is available now in bottles around Smiths Cove, and may be heading in keg-form to Halifax in the near future.

• Next up from Lazy Bear is a currently-unnamed Saison featuring wild cherries. The beer started with their House Saison, to which cherries they foraged for one morning back in July were added. After aging for a few months, more Saison was blended in to achieve the desired colour and flavour. The final ABV came in at 5.9% and though the IBUs are unknown, they are assuredly quite low. This beer will make its debut (and likely it’s swan song, only 40 L were produced) at the South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting at Roof Hound this coming Tuesday. And we’ve been advised to be on the lookout for some more limited releases from Lazy Bear in the coming weeks and months.

• Downtown Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new one brewed to commemorate tonight’s opening of the annual PRE-SHRUNK art show at Argyle Fine Art. Featuring over 300 small works of art (just 4” x 5”), nanobrewery Tidehouse, who are also supporters of the arts, seemed a great match for the event. Argyle Fine Ale is a Pale Ale brewed with both Amarillo and Cascade hops along with spruce tips. It tips the scales at 5.8% ABV and features a “snap” of spruce buttressed by citrus hop notes and then yielding to a malty finish with a soft bitterness. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room both on tap and in 650 mL bottles with labels designed by Jodie Hansen that incorporate art by Andy McDonald.

• It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been about a year since 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors in Halifax. Since then, they’ve released upwards of 60 different beers – several of which have been collaborations with other breweries, podcasts, and sexy blog writers – and consistently pushed the envelope in the craft beer scene. They’re celebrating next weekend, and on Saturday, January 27th will be selling six special anniversary beers, five of which are brand new. And here they are!
Forever Young – We talked about this beer last week, but as a refresher, it’s an 8.5% ABV “Foedre-aged Brett Saison” conditioned on rosehips and rosewater
Panhandle Slim – Brewed with plenty of oats, spelt, wheat, and rye, this “Foedre-aged multigrain Farmhouse Grisette” spent four months in the brewery’s cognac foedre, and is described as “super dry, earthy, lightly funky, and refreshing”; 4.9% ABV, 17 IBUs.
Magic Touch – Yet another foedre-aged beer, this Golden Ale was fermented with Brett C to give “subtle pineapple and wine-like flavours”, and was dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Centennial to give even more white-wine characteristics.
Sounds pretty delightful! All three of these beers will be available on tap and in cans, and were big batches so there should be plenty to go around. The next three beers, however, are very limited, at only 400 cans each, at the brewery only. Aaaand… all three were can-conditioned!
Bingo Bango (4.1% ABV, 1 IBU) – Blackberry and bay leaf Brett Gose
House Funk (7.7% ABV, 29 IBUs) – Brett Saison
Dynamo (5.1% ABV, 28 IBUs) – Rustic Saison with grapefruit
Pushing the envelope, indeed! Be sure to drop by the brewery next Saturday, or you’re probably going to miss out! There’ll likely be some sort of pop-up food option to keep your stomach happy while you try all of those beers, and some live music to bob your head to at the same time (which has been scientifically guaranteed, we think, to burn significant* calories).

*Significance is relative.

• And really, you may as well stay close by that evening, as 2 Crows will be continuing their celebrations with Sour Sunday the next day (28th), with a whole whack of one-off sour beers, a few Brett beers, and quite possible a tap of cold-brewed coffee to start your day off right.

• And leaving the Halifax Downtown core for the city’s North End, Robie Street’s Good Robot Brewing has news for us this week, as they almost always do. First, from their big batch Alpha system, is the return of Tom Waits for No One, the auspiciously named stout that sits somewhere between the American and a Russian Imperial styles at 7.9% ABV and 58 IBU. Moving from big to little, but only in terms of batch size, this week’s BetaBrew was actually brewed late last year when Kelly Costello was joined by Alicia MacDonald, who is making waves at Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing, and Christina M. Coady, formerly of Toronto’s Folly Brewpub, now back in St. John’s and plotting some hometown waves of her own. Their brewday resulted in what they’re calling an “Alsatian Lager”, where German malts (Pilsner and Vienna), French hops (Strisselspalt) and Bavarian Lager yeast came together to make a beer they’re calling Crispi Boi. A little bit of flaked oats rounded out the recipe, bringing a touch of smoothness and haze. Lagered over the holidays, it finished up at 4.5% ABV and 33 IBU and this coming Tuesday, January 23rd will see its Beta Brewsday release. And after such a tale of girl power killing it in the brewhouse it seems like an excellent time to also remind folks that registration is still open until February 1st for GR’s FemmeBot Home-brew Competition. The competition is open to female and femme-identifying non-professional brewers with the constraint of pre-prohibition styles.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer earlier this week, aptly-named Hangover Helper. No, there’s no medication or tomato juice in this beer, it’s just a straight-up American IPA, hopped with Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo, all wonderful and delicious American varieties. Most of you will be familiar with all four, and likely can already picture in your head how the beer will taste (we’re thinking lots of tropical fruit, along with dank, piney notes). It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, and can likely be found at your favourite Backstage beer source… especially the brewery itself!

• Less than three years after opening their brewery, the team at Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new retail location downtown at the corner of Great George and Kent Streets. Bottled beer and growlers will be available for sale, with a total of 24 taps for pints on-site, featuring a mix of Upstreet beers and other breweries on the Island. They’ll be hiring between 5-10 employees for the new location, which should be open by March. For more info, check out the full story in the Guardian.

Sober Island Brewing has released the third in their Foraged Series of beers this week, with Wintergreen Cocoa Porter hitting the taps as of yesterday. Featuring 46% Horton Ridge malt (both Pale and Munich) along with a wide variety of character malts, including Brown malt, Chocolate malt and Oat malt, it was hopped with Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings. The foraged ingredient this time around was Wintergreen (courtesy of East Coast Wild Foods), a medicinal herb known for its minty aroma and flavour, with 5 pounds added in the last 10 minutes of the boil. Cocoa nibs finished the recipe, added after fermentation was largely complete (at the “dry hop” stage) but before conditioning in the brite tanks. Only 600 L of this beer are available, and in crowlers only, available at the brewery and Sober Island’s three regular farmers market stops: Musquodoboit Harbour, New Glasgow, and Truro.

• And another brewery is starting up a beer series this week, this time it’s Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing. Geared to provide head brewmaster Jake Saunders an opportunity to step outside the core brands and try new things, the Signature Series will boast the same high quality Nine Locks fans are accustomed to while traveling a little further afield in terms of styles. One key element is that each and every beer in the series is intended as a one-time release; so if one strikes your fancy you’d best act quickly, as there’s no telling how long it will last or if it will ever be seen again. The first beer in the series is One Foot on the Wagon, a Session IPA. Very light in weight at 4.2% ABV (have two!), it still sports a solid 40 IBU but is not overwhelmingly bitter. Hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo and Ahtanum hops, both in the whirlpool and dry hop, you can expect to taste citrus, stone fruit, and floral notes. It’s available now in cans and for growler fills at the brewery.

• In New Brunswick, Fredericton’s haven for hop heads, Trailway Brewing has yet another lupulin-packed present for their fans. Ida Hoy was designed to showcase a fairly new hop variety called Idaho 7, first released to a broad market in 2015. Bright and pungent, with tropical fruit and citrus prominent, and more subtle aspects of resiny pine and black tea, it brings a massive tropical juice presence to this beer. No coloured malts at all were present in the grain bill, but the oats were pumped up to unheard of levels at 30%, which yields a pale straw-yellow beer with a very creamy mouthfeel. Available as of noon today in cans at the brewery only, get it before it’s gone!

• It’s been a busy week for the guys from 902 BrewCast, who kicked off #902sday with their conversation with Peter Cole of Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic, NB. Learning about Big Axe’s start, their award-winning beers, their great Big Axe Craft Beer Festival (this year’s event is July 14th, 2018), and all about their on-going expansion. And just dropping this morning, the boys sat down with the Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, to talk about the current beer scene, and steps that can (and will) be taken to improve the plight of Nova Scotian breweries. Both episodes can be played on the website, or downloaded for offline commuting. Listen in!

There are quite a few events worth checking out this weekend and beyond, no matter where you find yourself in the region:

Your friends (and ours) at Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax have achieved another coup, tomorrow at their noon opening you will find no less than 5 taps from Dexter, Michigan brewery Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, one of the breweries responsible for pioneering Belgian-influenced American Farmhouse styles. Confirmed for this draft feature are the Calabaza Blanca oak-aged witbier, the Oro de Calabaza oak-aged sour golden ale, Bam Bière dry-hopped farmhouse, Madrugada Obscura sour stout and Fuego del Otono, a sour amber ale brewed with chestnuts and spices that was brewed in collaboration with Monkish Brewing Co. in Los Angeles. As always, the kitchen will be pushing out tasty treats dreamed up specifically for the event. So if you’re into that kind of thing (and, if you’re reading this you very well might be), get thee to Stilly after 12 noon tomorrow!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub, since building a new keg fridge three years ago, has greatly expanded the availability of craft beer in the city, and introduced and educated many to the world of well-brewed beer. So, if you’re in the Fredericton area this weekend, why not drop by the pub on Saturday, January 20th at 8 PM to celebrate the 3rd Birthday Party of the keg fridge? As always, there will be over 30 taps of New Brunswick-brewed beer a-flowing, and happy hour prices will be on all evening. Plus…cake! No cost to attend of course, just pay by the pint or flight, and raise a glass to one of the province’s finest craft beer establishments!

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is celebrating their upcoming 1st Anniversary with a Social at Picaroons next Wednesday, January 24th, from 6:30-8 pm. If you’d like to attend, RSVP to to hold your spot; $10 gets your a flight of beer. Of course, you’re more than welcome to hang out afterwards for more beer! Picaroons has released their Pivot #11, with this batch of 8% ABV Imperial IPA hopped with Lemondrop, Zeus (aka Columbus) and Warrior.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is taking over the taps at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, January 25th. From 11:30, all 15 taps will be flowing with plenty of their current favourites like Big Stink IPA and Big Brown Roof Hound, and we bet there will be a few special kegs debuting/returning for the big event.

• The latest screening of the feature documentary about the craft brewing industry in New Brunswick, Beerocracy will take place Thursday, February 15th at 6 PM at the Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton. Those who backed the film by donating on Indiegogo at the VIP level or higher will have their first drink covered by the organizers. If you’re planning to attend, they ask that you let them know via the event’s Facebook page.

And before we let you go, a few more quick mentions:

– Over the course of 2017 we reported on several events that saw Shelburne’s Boxing Rock paired up with the Friends of Keji Cooperating Association. The brewery brewed a beer that was featured at many of these events, called Dark as Keji, from which a portion of the proceeds were earmarked for the Friends of Keji and specifically their Dark Sky education programs. At year end, in recognition of that commitment, Boxing Rock co-owners Henry Pedro and Emily Tipton were able to present a cheque for over $7,000 to the organization! Look for this partnership to continue into 2018, with new ideas and events on the way.
Hammond River Brewing has released The Vegas SMaSH (Vic Secret Edition), the latest iteration of their popular one-malt-and-one-hop IPA. Brewed with 2-row malt and hopped entirely with the delicious Australian Vic Secret, expect “tons of pineapple, passionfruit, and a little pine”; 6.5% ABV.
Niche Brewing has only been selling beer for a few weeks – and delivery options have been limited – but thanks to a generous soul, a keg of their hoppy Grisette, Mines of Wallonia (3.6% ABV) is heading to Halifax’s Stillwell today! Look for it on tap sometime over the next few days.
– For you teachers out there (or really, any of you frustrated with what winter has brought us so far), Schoolhouse has got the perfect beer to get you through the next 6 months (noooooo…..), Dreaming of Summer Break. Actually a re-release of their Summer Break from last July, this 4.9% ABV Witbier has the style-standard addition of orange peel and coriander.
– Bridgewater’s Firkinstein Brewing have a new batch of their Double IPA, Cut of Our Jib. Leveraging constant hopping throughout the boil with Simcoe and Cascade hops, it’s a big ‘un at 8.6% ABV and 100+ IBUs, but be careful, as it’s surprisingly smooth, almost sneaky.

Here we are at the last Friday Wrap-up of 2017; time flies when you’re drinking beer and taking names. The past 52 weeks have seen our regional scene continue to develop and evolve, with a couple breweries closing up shop, many more than that opening across all 4 provinces, and tons and tons of new beers released, from easy-drinking, lightly-hopped, low-ABV session beers, to intensely complex barrel- and foedre-aged mixed fermentations occasionally featuring fruit, and everything in between. We’ve attended some incredible events at our favourite venues, stood in line for beer releases and even had the chance to read a book about beer in our little corner of the world. And it looks like 2018 is going to bring even more of the same. Halifax will host the Canadian Beer Awards in May, we know of several more breweries in the works with plans to open in the coming year, and we’ve no doubt the regions brewers will continue to up the ante in terms of quality and innovation. Thanks to everyone who continues to read our weekly scrawl (as unwieldy as it sometimes gets when there’s 4,000 words to get through) and we’ll be sure to toast you all with some of our favourite local beers on New Years Eve.

• We’ve mentioned Hanwell, NB’s, Niche Brewing previously, and we can now announce that their beer is available to the public! Their Single Origin is a Coffee Sweet Stout, and hit the taps at a few spots across the province for the first time last night. This 5.0% ABV Stout features lactose in the recipe for a light sweetness (lactose is not fermentable by most yeasts) to enhance the roast and chocolate character of the malt as well as mouthfeel, with an addition of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Fredericton’s Jonnie Java Roasters after primary fermentation was complete, to lock in the coffee flavour and aroma. The beer is now available at Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub and Saint John’s Cask and Kettle, with Moncton’s Tide & Boar looking to tap it at any moment. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media for the latest buzz on the beer, and we’ll have a full profile with the gang behind Niche in the next day or two. Congratulations Rob and Shawn!

• A little while ago, Propeller released the latest of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, Hazelnut Oatmeal Stout. This 5.5% ABV stout was brewed with flaked oats, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, and features hazelnuts added to the recipe as well. Chocolate, roast, and nut flavours and aromas punctuate the underlying creamy semi-sweet beer. It is available in growler fills at both Propeller locations, and by the pint at the Gottingen Street taproom, and at a few spots across HRM. And keep an eye open for cans of their Double IPA and Extra Special Bitter on the shelves of an NSLC near you!

• Capping off the Second Anniversary celebration of their sibling beer spot Battery Park, North Brewing released the 2017 edition of Saison de Pinot yesterday. The 7.1% ABV beer/wine hybrid features a Saison as the beer base, with 220 litres of Benjamin Bridge‘s own Pinot Meunier grape must added in secondary. This year’s grape harvest lends a more notable tart acidity to the must, which does translate to the final product. Fermented using two different Sacc. yeasts (Cerevesiae and Boulardii), the finished beer was lightly dry hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and has been bottle conditioning for the past 8 weeks, and is a perfect candidate for further aging in a cellar, to enjoy the flavours and aromas that develop over time. We suggest buying a pair (or more) and enjoying one now, and another in several months when the hops will have faded (maybe even wait until BP’s Third Anniversary!).

• Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has announced that they are holding their first homebrew competition in Spring 2018. GRBC is already well-known known for encouraging those sometimes passed over or left behind by the modern brewing scene with their CommuniBrews and Goodwill Bot events, and this competition is no different. Female Brewsters are credited with promoting and keeping alive the art and science of brewing, before often being barred from activities involving the production of alcohol. To celebrate the earlier times, they are presenting the The Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition. Open to all women, and female-presenting, non-professional brewers, entrants are encouraged to dig into the past with “pre-prohibition” style recipes, choosing beer styles from before the industrialization of brewing. No “can and kilo” kits, please, an original recipe is the way to go (but modern ingredients such as malt extract are OK to enhance the beer!). There is no fee to enter, and you are asked to register online by Feb 1, with your entries (four 341ml bottles preferred) due March 1 at the Good Robot Retail Shop (aka Beer Later). This is a BJCP-registered competition, and entrants will receive feedback on their entries. For those women previously interested in the hobby, this may be just the nudge needed to try their hand at recipe development and brewing! Winners will be announced at Good Robot’s FemmeBot celebration on March 7th, and there are plenty of prizes up for grabs. If you have any more questions, please contact Kelly C for more details.

• And in new beer news at GRBC, the latest iteration of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie is on tap for growlers and pints now. Version 4.0 is a step in another direction for this Coffee Pale Ale, featuring the use of Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, prepped by the fine folks at Low Point (whoa, twice in one post??). This varietal has notes of honey and citrus, with a floral nose, helping to bring the beer closer to that eponymous “Cherry Pie” flavour, according to the brewery. To launch this latest batch, they are holding a bit of a contest, where a single cherry is hidden somewhere in the taproom every day this week: if you can spot it, you’ll win yourself a gift card for a free beer.

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has released a handful of their full time and seasonal offerings in cans recently, thanks to the Craft Coast Canning mobile unit. Now available in the handy format at the brewery (open 1-6PM daily), are: Alternate Ending, a 5.0% ABV Altbier; Black and Tackle, their 9.0% ABV Russian Imperial Stout; a 6.0% ABV Hard Apple Cider, made from local apples; Honey Wagon, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat; and Mosaic, their flagship 8.0% Double IPA. Many of these will also be available in Halifax at Bishop’s Cellar very soon.

• One of the newest breweries in Nova Scotia, in one of the oldest European settlements in the country, Annapolis Brewing Company, has some big plans coming for 2018. First, they’ve already got a production expansion in the works, with four new 5 BBL (roughly 6 hL) unitanks on their way to the brewery now to meet increased demand as the year goes on. They’re also currently looking for a location to build a new building to house the brewery, which will be even shorter on space with the new tanks. The team is also working on developing a Craft Beer Farmers Market concept for the new year, the first of its kind in the Province. It will see breweries and perhaps craft distilleries set up on the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market grounds on Sundays from May 13th to October 14th from 10 AM to 2 PM and provide a one stop shop for patrons in the area to buy beer. Tables will cost $20 per week and any breweries that are interested can reach out to Look for more information about the market to be publicized throughout the winter as they prepare for their first Craft Beer Farmers Market in Spring!

• In new beer news, Annapolis have a brew in the works that’s passed out of the testing phase and is scheduled to enter production in 2018. Goodwill Amber is a red-hued beer that strikes a fine balance between malty and hoppy. Vienna malt is featured on the grist side for a bready and toasty character and it’s been hopped with classic American varieties Willamette and Cascade with modern Amarillo completing the picture. Look for it to land on tap at 5.3% ABV and 36 IBU in early 2018. Also in the pipeline, although the recipes haven’t been finalized quite yet, are a Vanilla Coffee Stout and a Hefeweizen.

• On the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a few new beers on the go these days. Up first is a small batch of their Hefeweizen, this time a little lighter at 4.6% ABV with lots of clove presence and some banana and bready notes. Next up and available is their Milk Stout, a big one at 7.7% ABV with a full mouthfeel and creamy texture. Described as “very filling,” It features aromas of coffee, vanilla and chocolate, with prominent espresso, vanilla, and even a bit of cigar character on the palate. And still available is their Saison, at 6.8% ABV, dry, and with prominent notes of lemon and black pepper. The brewery is considering keeping it in production throughout the year.

What’s going on this weekend???

• Sunday is New Year’s Eve, so expect plenty of extra drinking going on…. just about everywhere. Meanwhile, if you’re in Mahone Bay, drop by Saltbox Brewing for live music from the Eclectic Garage Band. The brewery will also be launching two new ciders on NYE, one made with Russet apples, and the second (being released at midnight) with Burgundy apples.

Hammond River Brewing in Rothesay is also ringing in the New Year with a Beer Dinner, pairing six courses of food with with six of HR’s own creations (plus a pint of your choosing to start the evening). Brewmaster Shane Steeves and Executive Chef Colin McCarten will be on hand to chat about each course and pairing. With only 30 tickets available, it is sure to be an intimate event. The fun kicks off at 6PM, and you can grab your ticket at the Hammond River taproom, or call ahead to reserve yours today. Check Facebook for the full menu.

• With New Year’s Day comes several Levee Day events in Atlantic Canada, which always amounts to several hours, or even up to a full day of drinking, eating, and celebrating… what better way to bring in the New Year? In PEI, both the PEI Brewing Co. and Upstreet are holding their own activities on Monday, January 1st. PEIBC will be serving up beer and live music from noon-2 pm, and has their PEIBC Levee Bus picking up and dropping off at several locations (check their FB page for exact times and where to be). Over at Upstreet, they’re re-releasing Top Stamp, their crowd-favourite Amber Lager, while celebrating Levee Day with their 2018 Kick-Off, a full day of live music, brewery tours, staff-priced pints, brunch, and beer cocktails. They open at 10 am, with music starting at noon.

• Not to be outdone over in Halifax, Stillwell is holding their own Levee Day Celebration, starting at noon. With special beers pouring all day – including the second release of Stilly Pils, as well as Lambic by the glass – expect a special menu featuring new tasty treats to pair with whatever you have in your glass.

Happy New Year! Have a safe and beer-filled evening on Sunday. Before we go, a couple last things…

Ol’ Biddy’s has released their newest American IPA that we reported on two weeks ago; look for Saturday Night Fever (6% ABV) at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Mount Uniacke Pub.
– The latest iteration of TrailWay‘s ever-changing Kettle Sour, El Generico (3.8% ABV), is available as of today. This one was brewed with orange juice concentrate, lactose and vanilla, and was conditioned on fresh orange zest; slightly acidic and reminiscent of an Orange Creamsicle, it’s available in cans and on tap at the brewery.


We’re now one week into December with holiday decorations up and Christmas music pretty much everywhere. Thankfully the region’s brewers are doing their part to help us ease the stress of the holiday season by continuing to pump out new beers and bring back some seasonally appropriate seasonals. So without further ado, here’s what going on in Atlantic Canada beer news!

Tusket Falls Brewing Company will be opening their doors next Saturday, December 16th. Located at 20 Slocomb Crescent in Tusket (mere seconds off the 103 Highway), their taps will be full with 4 of their core beers, available in flights and pints for enjoyment onsite, as well as to takeaway in growlers (and maybe even cans if everything comes together in time). We will have a full profile with the TFBC crew early next week, with all of the important information on their brewery, beers, and plans for the future.

Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown is launching a new family of beer this week called Million Acres. Named in acknowledgment of PEI’s nickname as a “Million Acre Farm”, this line is definitely a departure from their Upstreet beers, often featuring mixed yeast/bacterial fermentation, primary fermentation and aging in barrels, hyper-local fruit and other ingredients, that can only be achieved on a small scale. The first MA release is Twice Hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook, the first beer brewed with PEI-grown barley (specifically, 2-row malt) from Spring Valley Farms in Kensington. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus culture started from a handful of the Spring Valley Farms grain, the beer was kettle-hopped and dry-hopped (at double the rate of any previous dry-hopped beer at Upstreet) with Centennial and Chinook from New Brunswick hop growers Moose Mountain and Southan Farms. Packaged in 750 mL corked bottles, the resulting beer is “pleasant and punchy in aroma, with a quenching and complex tartness”. The beer is officially being released today: you can pick up bottles at Upstreet, and there will be a limited amount on draft popping up here and there; bottles should be making their way to New Brunswick sometime next month.

• Just a stone’s throw from Upstreet’s Allen Street location is Charlottetown’s Atlantic Superstore at 465 University Avenue. While not normally beer-news-worthy, it is the site of a brand new retail location for PEI Brewing/Gahan House, opening today/this week (after a slight delay from its planned Wednesday opening). Visitors to “The Beer Store” will be able to purchase all of Gahan’s core brands, as well as a selection of seasonals, including Shortest Day. Bottles, cans, and growler fills of the brews will be available. While the Superstore is a 24/7 operation, the Gahan shop opens at 11AM daily, and operates until 7 or 8 (hours are still being determined). And speaking of PEIBC’s retail location, their “Beer Station” on Milky Way (adjacent to the Cows Ice Cream factory) has recently adjusted to winter hours, meaning it will be open 12-7PM Thursday through Saturday. Their selection will be similar to that of the Beer Store.

• In PEIBC beer news, their winter seasonal Ice Boat is available again this year after a hiatus in 2016. With a Stout as the base, the beer spent several months of aging in fresh Tennessee Whiskey barrels to impart vanilla, caramel, and spirit notes, while allowing the roast malt character to shine through. Bottles of the 6.9% ABV beer are available at the Taproom currently, and at select PEILCC locations shortly. And the brewery is continuing their holiday-themed Growler releases today, with The Christmas Growler Countdown. Releasing today at 4PM at the PEIBC Taproom, each week features either a new beer, or a small batch seasonal take on a current favourite. Last week’s Beach Chair Cran-gerine sold out in one day, and we expect the same from this week’s offering, Candy Cane Red, which is their Island Red with a blend of spearmint and peppermint added. Remember these are in growlers only, so pop by after work to grab it for the weekend’s festivities.

• One of Nova Scotia’s newest breweries, Tanner Brewing has a bunch of news for us this week, catching us up with what they’ve been doing down in Chester Basin. First off, although they have previously told us of their plans to use their own grapes in some of their beers in the future, focus this year has been getting the brewery up and running and not so much on the vineyards. In the spirit of exploring grape flavor profiles in beer without actually using grapes, brewer Dan Tanner is doing up some batches where he focuses on assembling a recipe reminiscent of a particular grape variety. The first one of these batches will be a dry Saison that reflects Nova Scotia Muscat grapes, with their grapefruit, orange, rose and pine notes. Look for this one to be ready and available in the coming weeks and for more beers in this vein to appear over the next year.

• Already pouring at the brewery is Tanner’s Roggenbier, a German style featuring rye malt for a spiciness to contrast an otherwise malt-balanced beer and also the phenolic, clove-like characteristics of the Weizen yeast used to ferment it. We’re told it’s not the clearest beer ever made, but if you can get past its somewhat murky appearance it’s a tasty brew. And coming soon are a couple more news brews, the first a Spiced Weizen (wheat) beer reminiscent of a Hefeweizen, but given more of a winter flair through the use of spices, including allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to complement the clove phenols from the yeast. And also coming is a Sticke Alt, a hoppier and maltier brew than a standard Altbier, that boasts a clean malt character and a stiff bitterness at 50 IBU, finished with a dry hop of noble Tettnang. Lastly, a couple notes on beers that will be available outside the brewery. The Belgian Blonde Ale is being released this week; at 6.3% and 30 IBU, it has to this point been one of their most popular pilot brews. And their Pale Ale will be sent out in kegs next week. Described as, “English Pale meets American Pale,” the first run came in a little higher than the pilot batches at 6% ABV due to efficiency differences on the larger system, but it still shows a happy marriage of English malts with citrusy Amercian hops. Look for it and the Belgian Blonde at tap accounts with some reserved for sale at the brewery.

Backstage Brewing has released Black Dog, a Coffee Stout brewed in collaboration with Stellarton’s local coffee shop, King of Cups. Hopped with Chinook, the addition of espresso from Nova Coffee gives the beer notes of “coffee, chocolate, roast, with a clean finish”, according to the brewery. Coming in at 5% ABV, it’s available at the brewery now, and will likely show up on tap at a few select accounts in the province.

Bulwark Cider from New Ross, NS, has two charitable drives going on now: From now until December 21st, every bottle of People’s Cider 2016 sold will trigger a 10% donation to Feed Nova Scotia. That means for every bottle you buy, FNS can supply a meal for a person in need. Pick up yours today at the ciderhouse, or private stores in HRM. Extending their good deeds to our animal companions, Bulwark has released bottles of their Oak-aged Cider to support the Nova Scotia SPCA. Featuring 12 unique labels, each featuring an adoptable cat or dog, chosen to raise awareness of the many animals available for adoption in the provinces shelters. The 7.5% ABV cider inside is Bulwark’s signature five-apple blend and spent 6 months in American oak barrels. From Bulwark, “The result is a smooth and clean cider with all the best qualities of oak: earthy with warm notes of pear, vanilla and cloves.” Bottles (and cases of bottles featuring all 12 distinct labels) are available at private stores, as well as the NSLC, and a portion of sales is going towards the NSSPCA.

• With Christmas fast approaching, beer lovers in St. John’s can rejoice with the realization that this year’s iteration of Mummer’s Brew from YellowBelly will soon be flowing at the brewpub. The 2017 version is being billed as a “Blackcurrant Milk Stout” reminiscent of a Midnight cocktail (combination of a port and Stout), according to the brewery. Featuring a complex grist of Pale malt, Flaked Oats, Roasted Barley, Pale Chocolate malt, and Carastan, there were, of course, several other ingredients. The extras include apple cider concentrate, lactose powder, and black currants, and the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with Bramling Cross, Cluster, and Nugget. You should be able to find it at the brewery by early next week; expect aromas of roast, chocolate, and “slight smoke augmented by the currants”, with the tartness of said currants blending with a roasty, malty sweetness from the use of specialty malts. Bottles of this 6.5% ABV brew should be available shortly after its release on tap. Be sure to grab some before or after tomorrow’s Mummer’s Parade!

• Friday in Fredericton usually means another new beer release from TrailWay, and today is no exception, with the launch of Emerald occurring at noon. The brewery’s take on the New Zealand Pilsner – a mid-strength, well-attenuated-but-not-extremely-dry, drinkable Pilsner featuring NZ hop varieties – Emerald features a grist of “complex Pale malts” and was hopped with Motueka and Wakatu. Conditioned on lime zest, the beer has an “upfront juicy-candied-lime character, with a tropical fruit element”, making it “reminiscent of a key lime pie”. Very drinkable as per the style at 5% ABV, as usual cans will be for sale at the brewery only, as well as pints and growlers (with a few accounts in Fredericton getting a keg or two as well).

• If you’re in Halifax, we naturally assume that you’ll be heading to the book launch for East Coast Crafted at Stillwell on Saturday (more on that in the events section below); if you didn’t need another reason to head that way, here’s another – the fourth in as many weeks new beer launch from Stillwell Brewing will take place on Saturday as well! SAAZBIER is a blend of two hoppy Saisons fermented in white wine barrels over the summer (making SAAZBIER SB’s first beer fermented entirely in oak). Both beers used in the blend were hopped mostly with Sterling, with some Magnum and Tettnang joining the party. After aging, they were both dry-hopped with a healthy dose of – you guessed it – Saaz hops. The beer was then bottled and conditioned for several more months before its release, where it will finally be ready for your eager mouth (or pie-hole, whichever you prefer). Described by the brewery as “bitter, aromatic, and lightly tart”, and “very aromatic with the yeast and hop aromas”, think of this one as similar to Stillwell 3, but barrel aged. Like the recent releases you’ll be able to buy it by the bottle at the brewery on Sunday. Luckily, they have more bottles of this release than their previous beers, but it’s still a good idea to get there on Sunday to pick your bottles up!

• With the Tidehouse Tap Takeover tomorrow evening at Tom’s Little Havana to celebrate the brewery’s One Year Anniversary, of course one of the eight taps would include a new beer! The brewery got experimental and created Idea of Nord, a “Norwegian Farmhouse Ale”. Brewed with a grist of all-Vienna malt, and hopped with Northern Brewer, they followed the Norwegian tradition of steeping all of their brewing water with juniper boughs. Fermented with the Yeast Bay’s Sigmund’s Voss Kveik strain, the beer has some spicy, herbal flavours, as well as a “pronounced orange flavour” that is common with that particular yeast strain. The rest of the lineup of the Tap Takeover is also now available through the event’s Facebook page, so take a gander and plan your attack!

• Yesterday’s Big Spruce Tap Takeover at Battery Park was a massive success, featuring 15 taps and one cask, with a mix of old favourites, seasonals, new releases, and teases of what’s to come. Their popular Blood Donair made its return, a 7.1% ABV Stout that featured several kilos of donair meat in the brew, and then aged on raspberries. Not related, except by name, is a new small release of Blood Juniper, a 6.0% ABV IPA featuring Blood Orange and Juniper for an extra citrus and piney kick. A small batch Experimental Sour Brett Saison also made its debut yesterday, and details are currently murky as to when it will see wider release. The latest batch of their tribute beer, Coadeword: Snowmageddon Winter Warmer, was pouring from a cask through a handpump, and will be released soon, and a tease of 2018’s Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was available on nitro as well. Look for several of these to be available today at opening in case you missed out, and in wider release in the coming weeks.

• Alma’s Holy Whale and Buddha Bear Cafe have launched their latest beer, a kellerbier. Keller Whale is 5.3% ABV brew that has been conditioning for quite a while (keller is “cellar” is German), smoothing out any harsh character and dropping clear without the use of filtering. Drop by their spot for a taste today, with $0.50 of each pint being donated to The Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

• Pre-ordering on Red Rover’s website is available today for a line of cider/spirit collaboration with Distillerie Fils du RoyThe Spirits of Christmas. Available for the next three Saturdays, Past, Present, and Future, are ciders and spirit blends from these two craft alcohol producers. Check out their brand new online store for more details!

Another round of events coming up in the region!

Tomorrow is the launch of East Coast Crafted book at Stillwell, and there will be a full complement of fun to be had! A fully Atlantic Canadian tap list with many breweries pouring for the first time outside of their home province, and many of the brewers and other folks (*cough* *cough* even us) interviewed for the book will be on hand to chat beer, sign babies and kiss books. There are no tickets necessary for entry, but buying the book there will get you your first drink and snack for free! And the first ten folks to take advantage deal will receive a bonus branded glass, t-shirt, and coaster. Check the full taplist and other details here, it all kicks off at noon. See you there!

• Tickets for next summer’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will go on sale this Sunday, December 10th. Last summer’s inaugural event was a huge success, with plenty of breweries and beer drinkers descending on the town of Nackawic for the outdoor festival. They’re promising next year’s (which will be held on Saturday, July 14th from 4-9 pm) to be even better, as they’ve already confirmed close to double the number of beer and cider vendors at the fest. As well, there are more options for getting to and from the festival next summer, as there are various ticket options that include bus rides from Woodstock, Fredericton and Saint John, and back again after the festival is over. We’ll have more details over the coming months; in the meantime, be sure to grab your tickets ($50 regular admission, $65 for admission + round-trip bus transportation) on Sunday, here.

• Tickets are still available for Winter’s big event in Halifax, the Fifth Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. Being held ThursdayJanuary 18th at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, 16 breweries from across Nova Scotia will be paired up with restaurants and food suppliers to bring you an all-inclusive evening taking over several rooms of the hotel, effectively the entire first floor! Take a gander at the brewery and vendor list here, and pick up your tickets today!

• The following weekend will see a special night for the new breweries and cider houses in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore getting together at one of their own. South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night will be held at Roof Hound Brewing January 24th. From 6:30, beer from Annapolis Brewing CompanyHeritage BrewingLazy Bear, and Lunn’s Mill will take over the taps for the evening. Your $30 ticket includes an appetizer and your first flight of all ten beers on tap (2 from each in attendance), live music from David Chamberland, and a fun meet and greet with this gaggle of brewers. Grab your tickets at Roof Hound today, or email them to get the ball rolling.

And a few more notes before we let you go:

– Next Tuesday’s release of Good Robot‘s Beta Brew will be Rebel Destiny, a 7.6% ABV Double Black IPA hopped with Enigma and Galaxy. Also, DeWolfe of Wall Street is back on tap at the brewery’s taproom, and they’ve just canned their second round of Extra Big Ass Camacho Lager.
Hell Bay has brought back their Tannen Bomb, a 5% ABV “Honey Blonde Ale” infused with balsam fir, for the holidays. It’s on tap at the brewery now, and will be released in bottles sometime next week.
Horton Ridge Malt and Grain has released their latest beer, Kings & Queens SMaSH. From the brewery: “It is a tale of two counties. The barley was developed and grown in Queens County, PEI by Lester Craig; the Centennial hops were grown in Kings County NS by Fundy Hops. A nice light beer, at 4.2% ABV, it has become popular with our taproom regulars. Available in pints/tasters at the Malt House, and in growlers to go.”


It’s another big weekend for beer in our region, with a beer release that’s very pertinent to our interests here at the ACBB, a sudden (and welcome!) rush of canned products we totally didn’t see coming, and some killer events going on in the downtown core of Halifax. So we’ll skip the traditional commentary on the weather this week and get right into it…

• There’s a cool new beer being released tomorrow from 2 Crows, a collaboration brewed with some pretty awesome guys… us! Named Amateur Hour (well, I guess that put us back in our place), the beer features a light-coloured primarily Pilsner grist with healthy amounts of Wheat malt, Malted Oats and Spelt, and heavy whirlpool-hopped with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. Thanks to two dry-hop additions of those same varieties (during active fermentation, and again during conditioning), you can expect notes of orchard fruit and melon, further accentuated by a light funk resulting from fermentation with the Yeast Bay’s glorious Brett Amalgamation, a combination of six Brettanomyces strains. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, we’re thinking of this as a Brett Session IPA, or even a Brett Session Ale. Available on tap and in cans (check out that label by Midnight Oil Print & Design House!) at the brewery tomorrow, expect to see it around Halifax at the private stores shortly after. And a big thanks to Jeremy, Miles and the rest of the gang at 2 Crows for inviting us to participate in brewing a beer!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing is sporting a rockin’ new logo this week and they’ve also got a new beer available today, one that goes to eleven. Nunmoar is a Black IPA, big and bitter, that’s been heavily hopped with Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe. Tipping the scales at 6.5% ABV and a hefty 75 IBU, expect it to marry a distinct roastiness to a prominent hop presence. How much more black could it be? NUNMOAR BLACK. Meanwhile, AJ and the gang have settled on opening hours for the brewery – for the foreseeable you’ll be able to visit for growler fills and merchandise Wednesdays from 2-6 PM, Thursdays 12-6 PM, Fridays 12-8 PM and on Saturdays from 11-5 PM. Even better, they’re now able to accept debit and credit transactions and the dreaded “cash only” sign has been taken down. Expect those hours to shift and hopefully expand a little once they’ve got all the permits in place for their taproom. And, speaking of growler fills, also available right now are the 5.1% ABV Pale Ale known as Daydreamer and two, count ‘em two, versions of the Headliner IPA. The first batch, where efficiency was better than expected, clocks in at 7.3% ABV and the second, matching the original specs for the beer, is 5.9% ABV. Maybe sample them both and let AJ know which version should top the marquee.

• After launching their new Takeaway shop last week, YellowBelly also released a pair of brand new bevvies. We already told you about their Blueberry Hill Milkshake IPA last week, and now we can share more details on their latest cider on tap. Bakeapple Cider is a 7.0% ABV blend, featuring a base of apple cider with the elusive bakeapple (aka cloudberry, aka if you want some, you’d better know someone!) added for a lovely crisp and tart fruit blend. Back-sweetened ever-so-slightly with some of the original cider to reduce a bit of the dryness, the cider is on tap now, and should see limited release in bottles too. And speaking of their Takeaway location a few doors down Water St from their home base, in addition to bottles and 1.89 L growler fills (new for YB), you can stay a while to enjoy samples and pints, as well as pizza from their kitchen.

North Brewing is releasing the Fall 2017 edition of their Canadian Brewing Awards Gold Medal-winning Midnight today. They took a batch of their Strong Dark Belgian and let it sit in barrels from Glenora Distillery straight from the source (i.e., still wet and with plenty of single malt whiskey flavour and aroma to go around) for the past several months, before packaging recently. Look for a melding of Belgian Abbey flavours (fruity esters with a light toasted bread character) with the barrel and whiskey character (vanilla, caramel, wood), resulting in a 10.5% ABV fireside sipper. Midnight marks the first in a series of several special Barrel-Aged bottles releases coming from North, which will featuring some beers in the coming weeks with funkier beginnings and unique aspects.

• Up in Amherst, NS, Trider’s Craft Beer has released their newest offering, Chaga-Lug Brown Ale. Focusing on local ingredients, this earthy and crisp beer in the Northern English Brown Ale style boasts additions of honey, Chaga and hops that were all sourced locally. Fifteen pounds of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) were harvested by Shawee, a real life lumberjack; this provided the beer with its distinctive deep brown color. Wildflower honey (over 100lbs) from nearby Nappan, NS, was added during the whirlpool for a slight tartness. And the hops came from Jeff Smith, a member of the Brewnosers homebrew club from the area, who provided roughly four pounds of backyard-grown Cascade, Galena, CTZ and Centennial to this 5.1% ABV brew. Bitterness was kept low to allow the character of the other special ingredients to shine through. It’s available for growler fills now with 500 mL bottles in the works.

• A few weeks ago, TrailWay hinted that they would soon be releasing their first Milkshake IPA, and the day is today, with the launch of Velvet Fog. Brewed with plenty of oats in the mash, to enhance the haziness of the beer (although, really, when have they ever had a problem with that?), as well as the mouthfeel, the addition of a “healthy dose” of lactose powder boosts the body even more, and adds just a touch of residual sweetness. Hopped entirely with El Dorado, the brewery also threw in some peach and apricot purees, as well as some vanilla, to bring everything together with aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, peaches, bubble gum, and vanilla”. Cans, pours and pints at the brewery starting at noon, and this one will also be pouring at their Tap Takeover at Stillwell today.

Firkinstein has a new beer, one that features the addition of fresh ginger. Added to a Pale Ale base for a unique twist, Root Pale Ale has just a subtle hint of ginger, with a light malt backbone and a minimal hop presence. At 6% ABV, you can find it now wherever Firkinstein beers are sold. The brewery is also now applying for a beverage room licence, so expect to see them able to sell pints of their own beer (as well as guest taps for other breweries) in the not-too-distant future.

• In our weekly “heads up for the Tuesday’s Beta Brew” Good Robot blurb, we’ve got an Irish Extra Stout dropping on the 21st. Extra Sass is a 5.8% ABV brew featuring 2-Row and Vienna with Caramel 30 for sweetness and Caramel 120, Roasted Barley and Black Prinz for colouring. The balancing bitterness, to the tune of 53 IBU, is thanks to East Kent Goldings and Summit hops. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are punctuated by a light addition of Sarsparilla root. As always, the Beta Brews are only available at the taproom for enjoyment onsite, so drop for a taste. And if you’ve got a killer idea for a beer, be sure to let them know, they’d love to have you in the brewery! No brewing experience required.

• And in other Good Robot news, after several weeks of conditioning, their first canned offering is hitting the shelves today. We’ve mentioned Craft Coast Canning, a mobile canning business based in Fredericton previously, and it’s this new business that has made this new format possible. Extra BIG-ASS Beer is the first GR beer to get the treatment, their 5.2% ABV amber Marzen/Oktoberfest style beer (and recent ACBA medal winner). Featuring Vienna, Coffee, Flaked oats and a touch of memoirs malt on a 2-Row base, the hopping is from traditional German Perle and Willamette varietals. This won’t be the last canned offering from Robie and the Robots, as they’ve hinted that more of their lower-ABV/approachable/crushable beers will soon be available this way, including their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common. Cans are available at noon at the brewery (single and four-packs), and at private stores around HRM.

• It’s also a big weekend for Bad Apple Brewhouse, as they too release their first canned products. And why not shoot for the stars, as their first two beers to get the silver bullet treatment are the Mosaic, their award-winning, and charity-benefiting, Double IPA, and their also award-winning Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout. Showcasing its namesake Mosaic hops, the Mosaic is an 8% bitter and aromatic brew that has been an off-and-on favourite for years, whenever owner Jeff Saunders can get his hands on those hops. All sales from Mosaic go towards Down Syndrome Nova Scotia, who make possible the Maritime Down Syndrome Family Camp at Brigadoon Village. These organizations are close to Saunders’ heart, as his son Hunter lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome. On the deep and dark side, Bad Apple’s Black & Tackle, which has won awards as both a “regular” Russian Imperial Stout and in a barrel-aged variation, is also now much more portable, so you can it lots of places and enjoy its big roast presence and 9+% ABV as winter approaches. Cans of these beers are available this weekend at the brewery in Berwick Somerset, and are also headed for the private stores in the HRM. Follow along on their social media for the exact availability details. We’ve also seen hints on Bad Apple’s social media accounts that canning these two beers is just a start and other tasty things are on the way in that format in the coming weeks.

• And lastly, but perhaps most uncanny of all (not even sorry), Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing made a splash on social media yesterday when it was revealed that they’ve gone ahead and put four of their beers into cans now available at the brewery and very soon (as in very possibly this afternoon) at Bishop’s Cellar. The flagship IPA Exile on North Street and DIPA 12 Years to Zion are joined by fall/winter seasonal Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and everybody’s favorite Citra bomb Double Orange Apocalypse Ale in a hoppy quadfecta. Interest was immediate from folks far and wide as the prospect of shippable Unfiltered became a sudden and unexpected reality. We suspect few will breach the borders of the province or even HRM, at least at first, as having these beers unbound from growlers will be a novelty that takes some time to wear off.

• Last week we told you about the Garrison and Boxing Rock collaboration Courage brewed in honor of Gord Downie. The response to that bear was pretty impressive, with both brewery locations and the private stores all selling out within 24 hours or so! To date, just shy of $11,000 has been raised for two charitable causes: Brain Tumour Research and Indigenous People’s Reconciliation. And hopefully that number is only going to grow, as the beer will be available in 11 NSLC stores by next week (want to know which ones? Go here and click “Check Store Availability”). It will also be hitting PEI LLC this week, and ANBL and NLL stores soon after that. And in other Garrison beer news, their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA has been canned and will be available at the NSLC and private stores shortly and their fall/winter seasonal Winter Warmer will be at the NSLC in bottles very soon as well.

• Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has a new beer of their own on the go this week, called Northumbeerland. Brewed partially as a trial for a new local malt, this beer is in the saison style, and the grist is a single pale base malt. In the kettle, Warrior hops were used for bittering while Saaz were added at the end of the boil and later, post-fermentation, for a dry-hop. The saison yeast strain used was selected for its ability to dry the beer out, and it has, while also yielding subtle hints of hay and berries along with a slight tartness. This is a very sessionable beer at 4.1% ABV and you’ll find it for growler fills at tiny tasters at the brewery’s operation on Salter Street.

A few events to tell you about this weekend and beyond, with a clear concentration of activity in downtown Halifax:

• A little bar named Stillwell opened on Barrington Street in November, 2013, and has been helping to grow the enthusiasm (and number) of breweries and drinkers alike in Halifax. They’re celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with a weekend full of events. Today from noon, the beers (and people) from Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing will be taking over, with a full dozen beers available on tap. Old favourites and new releases (including the Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA mentioned above) will be pouring; there will be free glassware for the first 100 to show up, and the full taplist can be found here. Saturday will see the annual Stillwell Birthday event, featuring an absolutely ridiculous tap, bottle and cask selection that celebrates the best of local offerings, highlights from other parts of Canada and the U.S. and very special treats from Europe. The full list can be found here (try not to drool) and it also includes the first public pourings of Stillwell Four, the first bottle release from Stillwell Brewing Co. which, as a matter of fact, will also be available the very next day for sale at the brewery’s warehouse around back at 2015 Gottingen Street. We’ve been advised that the Four is in somewhat short supply, so there will be a signup sheet at the bar during Saturday’s festivities so you can ensure you don’t miss out. We’ll should also warn you, especially those from out of town, if you’re planning to hit the birthday celebration on Saturday, that the 22nd Annual Parade of Lights is going on downtown that evening. It has been called a “traffic apocalypse” and “the worst traffic of the year”; things start getting nutty at about 4:30 PM and really don’t start to clear up until close to 9 PM or later. So maybe plan to take a bus or cab downtown, get good and settled in, and really explore what’s on offer.

• We mentioned that Montague, PEI’s newest-and-first brewery, Copper Bottom Brewing, would be holding their official grand opening soon, and looks like “soon” is even sooner than we thought! The Grand Opening is happening tomorrow from noon-close, there’ll be live music going on all day, a TBA food truck will be onsite, and lots of other fun stuff throughout the day, including kick-the-keg prizes, brewery tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm. And if you’d like to get out to the party without having to commit to driving, the brewery has teamed up with a local company to bring you the Copper Bottom Brew Bus, which leaves from the Peakes Wharf in Charlottetown at 5:15 pm, and departs Copper Bottom at 10 pm; contact Sonya or Loralei at 902-213-5177 if you’d like a ticket, which is just $15 round-trip.

• Yes, it’s months away, but we really need to let you know that tickets for the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival officially go on sale next Friday, November 24th, at 11 am. This event, which is being held on Saturday, March 10th, 2018, continues to grow in breweries represented, beers poured, and overall excellence every year, so we can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be next March! And did we mention that Maine’s Orono Brewing will be pouring? Have this ticket link all ready to go next Friday at 11 sharp, especially if you want to get your hands on VIP tickets (which sold out in something like 2 minutes last year… no, we’re not joking). We’ll have lots more information on the event as the date approaches!

And a couple of last mentions before we let you get started on your weekend:

– A reminder that the launch party for 100 from Big Spruce, their beer made with 100% Nova Scotia-produced ingredients, is taking place at Horton Ridge Malt House tomorrow at 2 PM. Big Spruce beers will also will be taking over the guest growler taps during this kitchen party-styled event. The 100 is now available now in cans at Westside in Halifax, where a Big Spruce 5-tap mini-takeover of their growler station (including fills of the 100) started last night and is likely to continue into the weekend.
– Halifax brewpub Rockbottom has a new beer on the menu this week, an American Pale Ale dubbed Mostly Maris for the use of the venerable British malt called Maris Otter. It lends a biscuity note and a sweetness that should pair nicely with the very American hop schedule that includes Cascade, and Columbus. This beer is balanced to the hoppy side of the spectrum and comes in at 5.5% ABV and 55 IBU.