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Welp, we’re definitely in the thick of winter now, with all four provinces in the region now officially getting snowfall this week. We suggest putting off the inevitable hard work and hellish drive home for just a few more minutes and join us in getting up-to-date with the important beer news in the region. Here we go!

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this weekend the good folks at Stillwell are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary in style. Their celebratory annual beer release continues with Stillwell Five, produced at their sister Stillwell Brewing on Gottingen. The beer started with a grist of Vienna and Pilsner malts, with Oats and Wheat added, and hopped with primarily Tettnang in the kettle. Brewed in Summer 2017, it was fermented in a puncheon (700 litres) that had recently been emptied of Pineau de Charentes, a french appertif/vin de liquor. The wort was fortified with honey as it was transferred, and the Stilly House Blend™ was pitched, giving rise to a light, dry, and tart final beer. After 10+ months in the first-use-post-spirit wood, it has picked up some serious wine and spirit notes, as well as light notes of honey, rounding out the full drinking experience. Since fermentation completed this spring, it has been bottle conditioning for six months, and is ready to enjoy now. As with all of the Stillwell Brewing releases, the best way to get a bottle is by visiting the brewery around back of 2015 Gottingen Street, during their weekly bottle sale tomorrow, 12 – 4 PM. You can pick up 500 mL bottles of the 6.9% ABV at that time, and then scoot on over to Barrington St to put your name in a hat to win the opportunity to buy one of the few magnums (1.5 litre) of Five that were prepared.

So, about the party… Also kicking off at noon tomorrow, the Stillwell crew is celebrating with a full complement of beer from some of their favourite breweries and ciderhouses across the province, country, and world, with options that will satisfy lovers-of-good-drinks of all stripes. Plus free cake! Local DIPA, funky stuff, Quebec Saisons, perhaps the world’s best Gueuze (Cantillon), Pet Nat Applewine, etc, etc. You get the idea: when Stillwell throws a party it’s definitely not half-assed. If you must, here is the opening taplist. There will no doubt be some fun and cool beers on the handpump and flowing from bottles as well, plus Chef Ruppel and crew will be busy out back with some special accompaniments. We’ll see you there to toast this major driving force to the enjoyment and promotion of Good Beer.

The celebratin’ continues as Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing is turning one this week! And is there a better way to celebrate an anniversary/birthday than with a new beer? Apparently not, because they’re launching two of them this week! First is Ken’s Stout, the brewery’s latest seasonal. Co-owner/head brewer Ken Spears had dreamed up and brewed this Oatmeal Stout back in the very early stages of the brewery (as in, pre-opening), and apparently couldn’t be happier with the final result, so now gets to share it with the rest of us. Brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate malt, Munich, Flaked Oats, and Roasted Barley, the 5% ABV beer was hopped lightly with Columbus (to 25 IBUs). Dark, rich, and full-bodied, with “notes of chocolate and lightly-roasted coffee”, the oats add a silky mouthfeel, increasing the beer’s drinkability. This one will be available all winter long; look for it in cans, growlers, and on tap around the Island over the next couple of weeks.

Next up from Copper Bottom is Birthday Beer, which we assume needs no explanation as to its intentions! This one is a Brut IPA, brewed entirely with Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops. As with many beers in this ever-growing-in-popularity style, amylase enzyme was added in order to dry the beer out even further. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer is “ultra pale and effervescent, with big notes of blueberries, stone fruit, and a bit of mango”. It’ll have a limited run in cans, and will join Ken’s Stout on tap at the brewery’s big birthday party – 1 Year of Beer – happening tomorrow, November 17th, in Montague. It’s a full-day party, with live music, a food truck on-site, tarot card reading, and beer by the boatload! Be sure to drop by and raise a pint to the fine folks at Copper Bottom!

Another weekend approacheth, which normally means new 2 Crows beer… among other things. And don’t worry, they’re not letting us down this week! Two new beers are about to reach your eager little hands, one a “big” release, and the other a limited, draught-only beauty. The full-batch beer is Lil’ Miguel, a 5.6% ABV, 39 IBUs “Aztec Stout”. Inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate, this isn’t your grandpappy’s Stout – it includes additions of lactose, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and a “blend of various hot peppers”. Not only does this one sound really tasty, they’ve canned it…. in 355 mL cans! Say it ain’t so! Wait, that’s not it… it was canned ON NITRO. Beer nerds, you may commence squealing. Cans and nitro draught pours will be available at the brewery today at noon; it’ll also pop up on tap around the HRM with regular CO2 carbonation (pfft!).

As for that draught-only beer, it’s a NEIPA named Maybe Tomorrow, concocted by Assistant Brewer Grant. With a grist comprised of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats, the wort was very-lightly-bittered with Columbus at first wort, followed later by a heavy addition of Galaxy, Simcoe, and Azacca in the whirlpool. These same hops were then used for two separate dry-hop additions, giving a final beer with “a touch of grapefruity bitterness, washed away by bright tropical and citrus notes”. Only 40 L of this one exist, so grab a pint at the 2C taproom today (assuming it’s lasted this long) when you’re picking up your Lil’ Miguel cans!

Big congratulations are in order for the winner’s of Gahan’s Maritime Home Brew Challenge, announced last Saturday. From a field of 50 entrants, the top beers in the Lager/ Pilsner, Hoppy, and Saison categories, as well as Best Name, Bravest Beer, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Rookie of the Year were crowned, plus an overall winner, whose beer will be scaled up and canned for enjoyment across the Maritimes, was announced. The full results are available here, but kudos to Brathair Brewing, the Orange Tub Brewing Collective, and Derek Wood for taking top honours for their beers. Look for Wood’s D-Rocks Dunkel to be in wide release, including cans!, in the coming months.

And while you’re in a Gahan type of mood, grab their Shortest Day Spiced Milk Stout, now available across the region in cans and on tap. This 4.3% ABV beer features vanilla, coffee, lactose, and a variety of spices to keep you warm in these colder months. For some, it came just in time for this week’s first snowfall! Available at Gahan locations, as well as the liquor stores in PEI, NB, and NS.

Speaking of homebrew competitions, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has released the full details and registration forms for their upcoming Home Brew-Off. This year’s style is Dunkles Bock, a malty German style originating in Einbeck, and later brought back to life in Munich. Check out the BJCP Guidelines for 6C here for more details on recipe development and final tasting notes, plus the Brewnosers Home Brew Club has started a thread for folks to share ideas on how to tackle the recipe.

Plus we have two new beers from Garrison to tell you about. Last week saw the full release of their Lucky Punk Sour IPA. First debuting in the Summer, this 5.5% ABV, 50 IBU hybrid of the hazy IPA and kettle sour is now also available in bottles around the region. Featuring “aromas of grass, peaches, and tart pineapple”, the kettle souring technique provides a refreshing mouthfeel and zing to complement the beer.

And new on shelves from Garrison today is All Lit Up, a Festive Strong Ale. Clocking in at 7.0% ABV, and a relatively low 20 IBU, the star of the show is the malt (2-Row, Munich, Caramel with a touch of Roasted Barley) and spicing, courtesy of Cinnamon, Cloves, and Demerara sugar. Grab your cans (which glow in the dark!) from the brewery today, and from your local good beer emporium soon.

Looks like Propeller Brewing has another of their Gottingen Small Batch beers coming out today. Saison is named after the style it emulates, naturally, and has a range of flavour characteristics, including “subtle, spicy tones of clove and black pepper than complement citrus peel and subtle fruit characteristics”. Carbonated high as the style demands, it finishes moderately dry and refreshing. It’s pretty drinkable at 5.5% ABV, and is available at the Gottingen taproom for pints and growlers. And for those of you who love their Cask Fridays, today’s cask will be their Pilsener with peach and hibiscus, enhancing the base beer with stonefruit, floral, and a lovely pink hue. Drop by from 5 PM for a pour!

Following up on releases earlier in the month, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has released a pair of bottles from their barrel-aging program, both of which were many months in the making. The first is Golden Brett Beer – Dry Hopped, a variation on one of previous debuts. As a reminder, this 6.2% ABV beer was finished with Brett Brux Vrai in a red wine French oak barrel, with this portion of the beer dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. An extremely limited run of just 100 bottles of this beer were released at the brewery yesterday, and we don’t expect them to last very long. Joining this beer is Champagner Hell, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles beer, with some light dry-hopping from Czech Saaz. Bottle conditioned to a very high carbonation level, akin to Champagne, just 220 bottles of this beer were released yesterday. And returning after a hiatus is their Riptide IPL, a 6.5% ABV India Pale Lager. Borrowing the high hopping from the IPA style (using Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hell Melon late in the kettle and again with two rounds of dry-hopping), the fermentation was done low and slow with a lager yeast to keep other characteristics in check. Cans are available at the brewery and private stores in NS, with growler fills at the ANBL this weekend.

TrailWay Brewing has another new hoppy brew releasing today, one that tips its hat to “the hop that started a beer revolution”, Cascade. Veja Du was hopped entirely with this classic American varietal, this 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with the intention of giving a medium-bodied, and slightly-drier beer, compared to most of the other hoppy releases from TW. With “notes of juicy citrus, and floral”, you can grab some cans or growlers at the brewery when they open at noon; it’ll also be making its way to other tap accounts, including the Stillwell 5th Anniversary party we talked about earlier. We should also mention that Parallel, the brewery’s “winter hoppy session ale” is back for the season. This 4% ABV Session IPA has a “sweet and slightly toasty male profile”, with a “hop-forward, tropical fruit and berry hop character” to follow along the TW line.

If you happen to be travelling around the Moncton area over the weekend, you’ll have a good opportunity to pick up some of Grand Monk’s latest beer, Hop Fin Vice. For those of you more familiar with German beer styles (and their pronunciation), it may be fairly obvious that this beer is the brewery’s take on a Hopfenweisse. Pilsner and Vienna malts were used in the grist, along with a large portion of Wheat malt. Hopped in the boil with Czech Saaz, and then moving over the Atlantic with some Cascade and Columbus at knockout, the wort was fermented with a Kolsch yeast strain (as opposed to the regular use of a Weizen strain). Dry-hopped with more Cascade and Columbus, the final clean, “lager-like” 6.6% ABV beer is “very citrus-forward in aroma, with a bit of breadiness from the wheat”. It’s currently on tap at the Pump House Fill Station for growler and crowler fills, and if it isn’t on at the Laundromat already… it should be very soon!

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing has a new beer available from their pilot system. Test Pilot No. 2 Winter Warmer is a rich and malty beer with additions of seasonal spices, including cloves, ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. Tipping the scales at a healthy 7.0% ABV and a gentle 18 IBU, it’s no doubt the kind of beer that would be very welcoming on a wintry day (oh look, you’re in luck!). Being a small batch, it’s only available at the tap room.

Halifax’s littlest brewery that could has another bottle release for us this week on Salter Street. Tidehouse is releasing In on the Kill Taker today at 2 PM. A double-dry hopped black IPA, it’s extremely bitter, almost discordantly so, and a reminder of the days when craft breweries routinely engaged in IBU wars. Described by 902BrewCast’s Tony as, “like licking a beer tree,” you would be well-advised not to look for balance in this one. Built on a base of flaked grains, 2-row, Carafa II and Midnight Wheat, the hops in the kettle included Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe so look for a dank, piney, and resinous presence underlying the 100+ IBUs worth of bitterness. A thoroughly irresponsible double dry hop using Cryo hops completed the process, although there’s some question amongst the brewers as to whether it was Simcoe or Ekuanot that was used. Coming in at 7.3% ABV, it’ll kill your straight edge cred, and it’s a minor threat to burn out your tastebuds, but it ain’t no fugazi — this one’s the real, bitter, deal. You can learn more about this beer, plus listen to the ranting of 4 madmen and one sane woman, in today’s 902 BrewCast release, which sees the East Coast craft beer podcast celebrating their second anniversary. Congratulations, buds!

When breweries collide, sometimes fine things can happen, and the brewing minds behind Hammond River and Maybee Brewing are hoping that has happened with their first collaboration! They’re officially releasing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice today at Maybee, and despite the name (am I the only one that thinks Mickey Mouse?), this ain’t no little beer. It’s a “Double Belgian Stout with Salted Caramel”, which was brewed at both breweries (yep, same recipe). This very dark beer is a firm 9% ABV for the Maybee version, and even a bit higher (10%) for Hammond River’s. With aromas of “salted caramel, toffee, and clove”, as well as “plum, raisin, and some malt sweetness and general spice”. Medium-bodied, with high carbonation, expect “raisin, plum, and prune, along with toffee and caramel, with a hint of salinity” on the palate. The beer debuts at Maybee today at noon, on tap, with the Hammond River brewers on hand (thank you, weather!) for a release party starting at 4 pm. Drop on by for a pour and a chat! If you plan on doing more than sampling, it may not hurt to plan ahead for a drive home, know what I mean? The beer will be hitting other tap accounts across New Brunswick over the next week. As for the Hammond River version, which is named Sultans of Sweet, you’ll be able to grab it on tap at their taproom, as well as local accounts in the province. They plan on bottling some of their batch next week as well, and there’s even about 450 L currently aging in whiskey barrels!

Annapolis Cider Co. is following up their successful tap takeover at Stillwell from a couple weeks ago with a brand new entry in their Something Different series, Wine & Blackcurrant. Fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice with blended with the juice of two grape varieties – Leon Millot and L’Acadie Blanc – to undergo a “co-fermentation”, creating what Annapolis is calling a “unique cider-and-wine blend”. Blackcurrant juice was added afterwards to give a deep, red hue, along with some tannin presence. Finally, the blend was infused with bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and winter savoury, giving a medium-bodied cider “with subtle herbal aromatics and bright notes of tart blackcurrants”. As always, this 7.2% ABV cider is available at the cidery; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Enactus Acadia University.

The guys and gals at Upstreet in Charlottetown have been churning out the hoppy beers in their Neon Friday releases for several months now, and they’ve decided to release a “VIP pack” of their four favourites. Hitting shelves today, the collection includes DDH IPA with Azacca, West Coast Session IPA, NEIPA with Simcoe, and DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7; you’ll be able to purchase the packs at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner), as well as select PEILCC stores. These will also be on tap at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse! They’re also planning to celebrate with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight at the Upstreet taproom, from 10pm-2am. The fun will include a Neon Friday tap takeover, DJs, neon lights (of course!), and lots of other neon-themed decorations! No charge to attend, just pick out your brightest clothes and drop in to cut a rug (kids still say that, right?).

The weekly, shaming, last-minute-entry award for November 16th goes to… Good Robot! Rather than scold, however, we’ll just tell you about their latest beers (we’re good like that!). Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Frostenweizen, a hoppy Hefeweizen brewed with Rockbottom’s Ian Kean. Cryo hops were used in this brew, including Mosaic, Simcoe, and Loral (as well as a tasty dry-hop addition of Citra), giving a beer that they describe as “like floating away on a tangerine cloud, while snacking on mango and peach” (gotta admit, probably more eloquent than we could have done). It’s 4.3% ABV and 22 IBUs; seek it out early next week. As for next week’s Alpha Brew, it’s a special collaboration for the upcoming FemmeBot celebrations. Jana and Meg from Tatamagouche Brewing made the trip to Halifax to help brew The Witching Hour, a red ale with cranberry and lemon. The ABV and IBUs are still MIA, but rest assured it will be released next Thursday, with its Tata counterpart coming out sometime in the next few months.

Here’s what’s happening around our region over the next few weeks!

Don’t forget to drop by Maritime Express Cider tomorrow evening to help celebrate their Grand Opening. While they’re open all day, the fun kicks off at 8 PM with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest taps devoted to beer)! More details on their Facebook Event page above, including special stuff on the go by their neighbours in the railway hotel.

Do you live in/near Moncton? Are you a fan of The Bruery, from Orange County, California? If you’re both of these things, the Tide & Boar has some very good news for you – they’re holding a Bruery Tap Takeover on Saturday, November 24th. We probably don’t need to tell you this, but this is a brewery who have been releasing tasty, fascinating beers for quite some time, and to have 15 different ones on tap – yes, 15! – at one time, in New Brunswick, is kind of a big deal. Check out the event link for the full taplist; it’s going to include several barrel-aged options, as well as sours, hoppy beers, and more. Oh, and definitely plan on cabbing/walking/whatever-that-isn’t-driving home… a lot of these beers are 8% ABV and higher! The T&B will also be serving up food from a special “Californian-inspired” menu (eating is a good idea; did we mention many of these beers are strong?). They open at 11 am sharp, and the beer will be flowing all day. There’s also a concert that night, at 10 pm, which will require a cover charge if you plan on heading there late.

Quidi Vidi Brewery is launching a truly Newfoundland Beer project later this month, with some very special partners. Bog and Barrens is a true collaboration between QV’s Brewmaster Einer Holtet, and local chefs and restaurateurs Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia, of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern. Foraging wild ingredients from across the Newfoundland and Labrador, Holtet has created a trio of unique beers: Imperial Bake Apple Gose, Pineapple Weed NEIPA, and Smoked Alderberry Porter. The Gose features sea salt from Bonavista Bay, and bakeapples from Labrador, and is set for release in cans in a fortnight. The other two beers are in extremely low quantity, and will only be available on draught. To celebrate these releases, there will be three beer pairing events held at Raymond’s and Merchant Tavern, paired with other ingredients and game who forage on these iconic plants and herbs. On Tuesday November 27th, Raymond’s is hosting a five-course meal to pair with these beers. Tickets are now available by calling Raymond’s at 709-579-5800, only 60 available. At The Merchant Tavern, there will be a special tasting menu to pair with these beers from November 28-30th, available while supplies last. No tickets required, but we strongly suggest making resos to guarantee your seat at the table. Call 709.722.5050 or visit OpenTable. More details on the beers and pairing are available here. And we’ll remind you about the Bake Apple Gose when it’s released in cans!

Winter may be approaching/already here, but don’t let that make you think the beer festivals have dried up in our region. In fact, the 3rd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is coming up fast, happening on Saturday, December 1st, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. There’s over 15 breweries that will be on-site pouring their tasty beverages, from 7:00-9:30 pm (VIP ticket holders get entry at 6:00 pm); check out the current list of vendors here. There are still general admission tickets available, for $55 + tax; you can purchase them online.

A few more things to leave you with before you break out the shovel today…

Start making your list, and check it twice… Big Spruce will once again be doing its Holiday Delivery mid-December, where you can receive to-the-door delivery of your favourite bottles and/or cans. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for ordering and delivery details.

Hell Bay has brought back the seasonal Tannen Bomb (yep, it’s time for Christmas-pun beers!), a 5% ABV, 19 IBUs Blonde Ale infused with honey and balsam fir. It’s currently available at the brewery, and select NSLC stores.

In other seasonal beer news, Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has re-released their Holiday Cheer, a Red IPA. Described by the brewery as “malt-flavoured, and full-bodied”, it should be available in bottles now at the Oromocto ANBL, with other select stores in New Brunswick receiving stock over the coming weeks.

Lazy Bear Brewing wants to remind you that the seasons shouldn’t necessarily dictate what you drink (and they’re right!), and they released a new beer last week to doubly remind you! Louis is a 5.4% Wheat Beer, brewed in celebration of Louis, their “beer loving helper” from Trinidad who spent the summer in Smiths Cove. It is available at their regular Thursday night growler/pint nights, as well as the Annapolis Royal Market tomorrow.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewery has sent out another wave of their Single Origin Coffee Stout to the local bars and restaurants, so fans of the dark stuff will soon get their fix again. And keep an eye out at these same spots for a brand new kettle-soured beer to be hitting the taps late next week. Moonage Daydream features a nice level of dry-hopping, and with the addition of hibiscus, a lovely floral note and beautiful pink hue. Keep an eye on their Social Media for when it’s tapped, it may even be available for growler fills!

CAVOK Brewing Company has recently opened their brewery and taproom at 250 Dieppe Boulevard in Dieppe, NB, welcoming their fans to step inside their brewery and taste their wares. Owners Serge Basque and Serge Nadeau have actually had their beer available since January, but were brewing their Léger Corner Honey Ale at another brewery in Moncton. Now that they have a space to call their own, we wanted to catch up with them and share the news.
How did you get into the world of beer?
We are 2 Air traffic Controllers, this is where the brewery name comes from. (CAVOK which is pronounced “CAV-OH-KAY” is an aviation term, it means Ceiling and Visibility [are] OK.). We have been homebrewing together since before 2005. We started out with kits and evolved into brewing all grain. We have traveled to many different places in the world and have tried many different beer and visited a variety of breweries all over the world.
What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
It as always been a dream of ours to own a brewery. For myself, I always get chills when I visit a brewery, I have made arrangements and even brewed with some brewers at breweries in the past. The lack of tap rooms and breweries in Moncton also played a factor in our decision. That being said, we know that a few other nano brewers will be making the step to open up something in Moncton in the near future. The people here in New Brunswick and Moncton are opening up more and more to trying new products, this also helped us taking the step.
What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We want to make beer that pleases us and hopefully others 🙂 We would like to use local products as much as we could. We want to make quality products and not just products to get more sales. We do not want to have to follow the trends. We want to make it a family business and hopefully when we do get employees, we would want them to be as passionate about beer as we are. We would like our employees to feel like they are part of something great. (We have 3 at this time)
Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We have many different beer that we plan on offering initially, but we want to venture into more complex beer when we have our location and tap room open full time.
Our flagship is the Leger Corner Honey Ale, a 4.8% Blonde brewed with local honey. It is named after the original name for Dieppe.
We have been rotating through some pilot batches, including a Raspberry SourRye IPAWet-hopped IPA, and a few more. You’ll have to drop by to see what we have on tap today!
How can fans enjoy your beer?
The best place to grab a wide selection of our beer is at our recently opened taproom on Dieppe Boulevard, where we sell flights and pints of our beer, as well as a few guest taps of beer and cider from other NB producers. With the expanded capacity that our own brewhouse affords, we are now selling more kegs to licensees, and we’re able to keep up with demand of packaged product in the ANBL and other shops. We hope to be selling growlers very, very soon. [Ed. note: keep a close eye on their Social Media, as we understand it could be this weekend!]
How about bars and restaurants in the region?
Initially, we only had our beer at just a few limited establishments, since our original brewing system was small (1 BBL/120 litre) and we were not able to keep up. As we ramp up production on our large system, we’ll be able to extend beyond those places that have supported since the beginning (but of course keeping them happy first!)
As of now, we have beer on tap or in rotation at Tide and Boar Gastropub, Marky’s Laundromat, Classic Burger Restaurant, Rossano’s Restaurant, St James Gates in Moncton and Dieppe, The Joyce in Fredericton, Au Bootlegger in Bathurst just to name a few.
Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada?
Yes. the brewing community is great for that, people are very willing to share their time and expertise. There are too many to name them all, but big thanks to Matt Kenny of Tatamagouche, the owners of the Pump House Brewery plus Plant Director Roland Arseneault, Shaun O’Hearn of Nine Locks, Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy, Patrice Godin of Acadie-Broue, Michel Gauthier of CarMic Consultation, and John Way of Pollen Angels. Sorry for whoever I’m forgetting!
Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
With a tap room that is successful, sourcing out as many local products (ingredients) as possible to brew our beer. With hopefully, a barrel/foudre (foedre) aging program of some sort.
Do you have an approximate opening date?
The taproom is open now limited hours Thursday to Sunday at this time, for a progressive opening. Hopefully we will have our Grand Opening in the next couple of weeks. Thursdays, 6 – 10:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 2 – 11:30 PM, and Sundays: 2 – 7 PM.
Let’s get nerdy with some brewery-specific details…
What type of system are you be brewing on?
We began with a 1 BBL (120 litre) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, which we continue to use as our pilot system.
We are now operating a 15 BBL (1800 litre) brewhouse from DME that we have been brewing on for about a month now.
Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Too many great breweries out there to have a favorite one.
German, English, American… really anything that is well made.
A big thank you to Serge and Serge for answering our questions and getting us all up to speed with their operations at 250 Dieppe Blvd. Drop by this weekend to grab a flight or pint of their beers, and keep an eye on their social media pages for details on their Grand Opening, and when they will be able to sell growlers of their beer to go. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and on their homepage.

We’ve got another full complement of beer and cider news to get you excited for the weekend. Several new producers on the radar across the region are now open, plus plenty of new and returning favourite beers from established breweries too! Let’s keep this opening paragraph short, and spend our time on the real news. No one reads these intros, do they?

Arisaig, Nova Scotia should already be on the radar for you alcohol beverage fan, as it is the home to Steinhart Distillery, an award winning spirits maker. Located 30 km Northeast of Antigonish along the 245 Highway, they have entered the brewing space under the name 9zero2 Brewing. Owner and distiller Thomas Steinhart comes by his love of beer honestly, having grown up in Germany, and is bringing some favourite styles and recipes from his birth country to life. Beers now available include a Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Cold Smoked, Arisaig Ale, Summer Party, and very soon, their first IPA. We will have a full Profile with 9zero2 shortly, but in the meantime, be sure to drop by the distillery/brewery for pints and growler fills, as it’s the only place you can taste the beer! They are open Monday to Friday, 10 – 7 PM.

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Two Islands Brewing Company recently opened their doors at 169 Main Street. With Rising Tide Bakery operating in the same space, the taproom and kitchen has been open for a couple of weeks, initially serving beer and cider from other producers in the province. They now have an Irish Red and Blonde of their own, and should be pouring this weekend. Growlers of their own beer will be available, along with pints and flights of all beer and cider on draught. The brewery is open 10AM-6PM (Tue, Wed, and Sun), and 10AM-10PM Thu-Sat. The bakery is open 8AM-6PM Tue-Sun. Drop by this weekend to check out the brewery!

Let’s turn our eye to cider, as Maritime Express Cider has just opened their location in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Housed in a railway hotel at 325 Main Street, Maritime Express boasts onsite cider fermentation and a beautiful taproom. Their cider is built from 100% Annapolis Valley apples, pressed locally, and fermented cool and slow. They are currently pouring a pair of their ciders in the taproom: The Flying Blusenose, a 6.0% ABV dry and crisp cider, and The Dayliner, a 5.0% ABV sweet and smooth blend. They will be adding a third blend, featuring rhubarb, in the near future. Their taps are rounded out with six Nova Scotia beers, and mix and match flights of all are available for enjoyment. Open 11 AM – 9 PM Mon-Thu, 11 AM – 11 PM Fri-Sat, and 11 AM – 5 PM.

And in the “mostly open” department is Sussex Ale Works, located at 597B Main Street. This week they have brewed up their first beer, but while they wait for it to be ready, they’ve been sharing great NB beers from other breweries with their thirsty patrons. Rick Lockhart has been working with Sussex Craft Distillery and Holy Whale Brewing in Alma for several years, and he is running the show at Sussex Ale Works, on their 1 BBL (120 L) system. We’ll have lots more details on Sussex soon, but in the meantime, drop by this weekend to check out the new digs and toss back a pint. Open 12 – 10 PM Fri-Sun, and 5 – 10 PM Mon-Thu.

The gang at Tatamagouche Brewing has plenty going on this week, starting with the launch of their online store. You can now shop for and order your favorite Tata brews and merch from the comfort of your own home! All the pertinent details are available on the site (especially the FAQ), but to answer the most obvious questions, beer must be purchased in multiples of 12 cans and/or 6 bottles, but yes, you sure can mix and match. Shipping is available to all Canadian provinces (but none of the territories) and ships via Canada Post. Even better, orders over $150 ship free! Meanwhile, earlier this month we mentioned Stillwell Brewing’s Make 1, 2 and that the correct term for such a blend of older and newer beer is a bière de coupage. As it turns out, we’d written about another one in the region only a month before when we told you about Tata’s Cahoots. Well available this week is another one from Tata that they’re calling Bliss, again a mix of beer out of two barrels, one old and one young. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and more sour than its predecessor, it’s being released this weekend as a bière de marriage (sorry; not sorry) in celebration of the nuptials of Tata’s own Matt and Christiane, two of the nicest folks in our region’s craft beer scene. A hearty “Cheers” and a big congratulations from us here at the blog! (Also, in related news, the brewery is closing early on Saturday (3 PM) and will be closed Sunday.

One of Newfoundland’s original craft breweries, Storm Brewing in Newfoundland in Mount Pearl, got its start in Carbonear on the east side of the Avalon Peninsula (and the west side of Conception Bay), in 1995. In 1998 they brewed a batch of beer for the first time that led to six months of bureaucracy before the brewery was able to package and sell it. The problem? It was full of hemp seeds. Although hemp won’t get you high, it’s certainly a member of the cannabis family and sourcing good quality seeds became difficult owing to political climate in the early 2000s, so the beer was discontinued. Right up until the other week, that is. Now that cannabis is entirely legal in this fine country of ours, it seemed to the folks at Storm that it would be a fine time to revisit that beer. Sourcing high-quality hemp seeds from Ontario, which were added to the mash, Hemp Ale, known locally as Weed Beer, is a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV brew with a balanced, earthy flavor and a nutty and herbal aftertaste. Packaged with the original labels from 20 years ago, they’re not entirely sure what the future of this beer will be, but they do know that the 650 mL bottles delivered have already have sold out, leaving 6-packs available for purchase at select NLC locations and convenience stores (the NLC site is a bit slow to update inventory, but here is the shortcut for your reference). It’s also on tap at the Ship Pub and the Quidi Vidi Brewery tap room.

Those of you who have been following the evolving nature of North Brewing are well aware that the brewery has released a fair number of different beers since they opened in 2013. Yesterday, they officially added their very first Pilsner to their lineup, with Sparrow. Crisp and refreshing, yesterday’s launch will trickle into today, when cans of the 4.8% ABV beer will be available at both bottle shops. Look for it on tap around the HRM, as well, including their partner in the beer formulation, Agricola Street’s Bar Kismet.

Niche Brewing from Hanwell is continuing their one-hop beer series, with a favourite Australian varietal taking centre stage. You Had Me At… Vic Secret continues the tradition that began with Ekuanot and transitioned to Mosaic, with a 4.4% ABV all Vic Secret Session IPA. Fermented with a blend of yeasts, but cleanly to allow the hop character to shine through. And it does, with tropical fruit and pine notes coming through, on top of a hazy, yet dry, base beer, enhancing the 30 IBU bitterness. Look for it on tap at their regular tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John, as well as at the HopYard in Charlottetown.

The march of the Pumpkin Ales continues (like it or not!), with Newfoundland’s Bootleg Brew Co. throwing their hat in the ring with Basic Bee. This light-bodied, dry, 5% ABV beer features the addition of local pumpkin from Wright’s Family Farm (Pasadena) and 40 lbs of honey from the Newfoundland Bee Company (Little Rapids). Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, the honey makes this one a slightly-different take on the Pumpkin Ale style; look for it on tap right now at Bootleg.

Halifax’s annual sci-fi and gaming convention, Hal-Con, is happening this weekend, and Garrison is once again launching a new beer to celebrate. Billed as a four brewery, three nation collaboration, they teamed up with Mason’s Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing from Maine, and Gæðingur Öl Brugghús from Skagafirði, Iceland to brew Hipster Viking during the Seaport Beer Festival in August. This unfiltered “Atlantic IPA” was brewed in the New England style, and was hopped with Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Idaho 7. Featuring a “dank, tropical aroma and flavour” it weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available starting today at both Garrison and Hal-Con, and at the private liquor stores next week. Note that the label artwork has been done by Ben Bishop, a well-known comic book artist.

Over in Good Robot Land™, next week’s Beta Brew is another fruited kettle sour, this one concocted by Corey Crocker (hey, that wasn’t planned!). Inspired by “the shiny satin shirts and well-bottomed pants of the ‘70s disco era”, Electric Dynomite (misspelling intentional) features the addition of strawberries and rhubarb (4.2% ABV, 6 IBUs). Drop by the brewery on Tuesday, where we (and surely, they) encourage you to wear your favourite disco outfit… and with Halloween right around the corner, you may not even get too many curious stares. And on Thursday, Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) is back on tap yet again. Corn!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has a new beer in their series of more experimental offerings that they’ve dubbed Scratch. Now up to number 13 in the series, the latest entry is Lemondrop Saison, named for the use of a fairly-recently developed hop variety from the United States that features a citrusy lemon character (of course), but melded with a herbaceous, almost green tea-like presence. Dry hopped to bring out maximal aroma, this 5.8% ABV and 19 IBU beer features a complex grist that supports a round mouthfeel and subtle spicy notes. This one appears to have made it into cans, so look for it on sale at the brewery!

Port Rexton Brewing is back in full effect at their St. John’s retail location this month. Open for business every Thursday (5 – 8 PM), Friday (12 – 7 PM) and Saturday (12 – 6 PM) for the foreseeable, they’re happy to save you a three hour drive from St. John’s to get your fix. This week the supply of cans is getting a little low, so you’ll be limited to 4 cans of each style, but they’ve got Blazing Sun (Double NEIPA; see below), Horse Chops (IPA), and T-Rex Porter. But as always, they’ve also got growler fills, and the lineup there looks like Sweater Weather (Double IPA), T-Rex Porter, Firehouse Amber, and Baycation Blonde, with The One With the Citra waiting in the wings for when one of the others kicks. The Blazing Sun is a notable return, as it was the first beer that PR put into cans last year. A big sister to their Chasing Sun NEIPA, it’s super hazy and super juicy with tons of hop character, low bitterness, and a full mouthfeel from plenty of oats and wheat in the grist. It takes its name from the oldest living Newfoundland Pony Stallion, a 27 year old named Blaze who lives in Champneys West just across the beach from the brewery. Blaze is always quite happy to munch on the spent grain from Port Rexton’s brewing endeavors, but we suspect most people will prefer the beer. You can keep yourself apprised of what’s available at the retail shop by scoping its dedicated Instagram on the regular and while you’re at it, you might want to follow the brewery’s main Instagram as well.

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has been brewing up a storm in their new space at 250 Dieppe Blvd, and as we wait for them to be released, they are extending their opening hours to include Thursdays. Their hours are now 6 – 10:30 Thu, 2 – 11:30 PM Fri and Sat, and 2 – 7 PM Sun. And to keep up with all of these hours, they are looking to add some more team members to join them. Send them an email to learn more! Just a note that they are not yet filling growlers due to permitting issues, but have five of their own beers on tap, plus five more guest taps, to keep you happy.

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a trio of new beers waiting in the wings to share with all of us this weekend. Let’s start with Saint James, a Fruitcake-inspired Stout. Brewed in Winter 2018, this 11.5% ABV stout has been aging in Glenora Whiskey barrels on BS-farm-grown cognac-soaked Organic purple plums. Assistance for the beer concept, recipe, and brewing came from Nova Scotian music Donald MacLennan, an accomplished violinist who had frequently held court in the Big Spruce taproom. Saint James, in case you are wondering, was MacLennan’s Father in Law, and a wonderful part of their family. The beer is full of iconic fruitcake notes of dark dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee, with a significant heat from the high alcohol and barrel-aging.
Something Sophisticated is a 6.4% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, co-fermented with Brettanomyces, featuring a balance of fruit, spice, and light malt, with the Brett funk shining through.
And finally Pile-It License, which is a Sherry Barrel aged Chocolate Porter, weighing in at 7.0% ABV. Chocolate and sherry and wood come together in a smooth beer worth enjoying before, during, or after, a great meal. All three beers will be available in bottles very soon.

In between new brewery and cider-house hopping this weekend, check out the other events on the go…

The Auction House is teaming up with Garrison Brewing for a Halloween Bash tomorrow, October 27th, with 15 taps at Auction House being taken over by the brewery. Several of Garrison’s “specialty brews” will be pouring, and of course there’ll be lots of tasty food available. You can also expect live music and prize giveaways, as well as, ‘tis the season, a costume contest with prizes. There’s no cover charge, so dig out your finest white sheet with two eyeholes and truck on down to Argyle St. tomorrow night to take part in the fun.

Next Saturday will see a full dozen offerings from Annapolis Cider Company on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, as they celebrate their diversity of offerings. Always using Annapolis Valley juice as their base, the different blends and expressions follow the seasons and will sometimes feature other fruits or adjuncts added to enhance the flavour. For those new to Annapolis, or cider in general, may we suggest checking out their appearance on the 902 BrewCast this week, with co-owner Sean Myles talking the crew through their beginnings, how they choose which apples to use, their cider philosophy, and about their Cider Club. Listen in to get ready for Saturday November 3rd!

A note regarding the FemmeBot Beer Fest we mentioned last month: due to a date conflict, it has been moved to April 27, 2019. With the aim to highlight female brewery employees, and/or members of the public creating beer, Good Robot is hosting a 15 brewery Fest at the Mayflower Curling Club. More details are available for breweries looking to be part of the fun, and we will share ticket details once available.

A few more bites before we leave you this week:

Horton Ridge has brought back their Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (6% ABV) in time for the cooler weather; roasty, chocolatey and smooth, drop by the taproom now for a taste.

Picaroons is still churning out new iterations of their PIVOT (8% ABV) Imperial IPA, with the latest (#21) featuring Sorachi Ace and Denali hops. You can find it on tap at all Picaroons locations, as well as select ANBL growler stations.

Propeller has a special cask on tonight, a sneak preview of this year’s upcoming Coffee Porter release. Chocolate was added for this very small release (20 L only), to put a bit of an extra twist on a crowd favourite.

Roof Hound is now pouring their popular Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter (as fun to drink as it is to say!), a Porter which is how you might expect it to be from the name. It’s a strong one at 9% ABV, and has plenty of coffee added from Sissiboo Coffee Roaster, as well as pumpkin, vanilla bean, lactose, and pumpkin pie spices.

Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to push them to the ultimate goal of building their brewery on Sober Island itself. Check out the offerings, and contribute to help further their expansion!

Tanner & Co. first released their Belgian Tripel as an entry in their Reserve Series, back in February. This 8.9% ABV, 35 IBUs brew, which was fermented with a variety of Belgian yeast strains, has just been bottled for the first time. With “lots of complex aromas and flavours”, you can pick up a bottle or two (or more!) at the brewery itself this weekend; note that kegs are also filled and awaiting to go on tap.

TrailWay dropped new cans and kegs of Beans, their 6.3% ABV Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they opened. “Sweetness balanced against roasted malts”, with lots of coffee and chocolate in the aroma, you can grab cans or pints at the brewery starting at noon; look for cans to also hit select ANBL stores sometime next week.