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Wow, what a week! With wild temperatures across our region, and some wild swings (from snowing in Gander to 30C+ in the Maritimes), we figure you’re definitely overdue for a beer! We’ve got loads of new beers and news to share with you this week, so grab the nearest pint, and have a look!

We’ve got lots of news to share from Bedford’s own brewery, Off Track on Rocky Lake Drive. First off, they launched a new beer on Canada Day named The Joy’s of Summer. This 4.25% Session IPA is full of flavour despite the low ABV, with plenty of Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade hops (amounting to 48 IBUs) which is perfect for sipping all day on their new patio. Speaking of which, they’ve extended their days/hours to now be open Thursdays, so now you can get your OTBC fix all extended weekend (Thursday 12-8, Fri and Sat 12-10, Sunday 12-6). And what to pair with it? They’ve teamed up with On the Wedge at the Sunnyside Mall to provide them with lunch and dinner options Friday through Sunday (menu and hours available here). Any time, you can bring your own food, or order in from local businesses in the hood (RLP anyone?).

The gents from 902BrewCast dropped by Off Track recently, and recorded with Allan, Jon, and Matt on that new patio. They chatted about just about everything under the sun NS-beer-wise (and beyond), and broke some big news: the Off Track crew are finally brewing on their full-sized 5 BBL (600 litre) brewhouse, which means more beers in the tanks for their thirsty patrons. AND, that means a fun contest! They have already named five of their big new tanks, but need your help in naming the sixth! See if you can figure out the theme here… Newman, Puddy, J. Peterman, Bania, and Crazy Joe Davola. Tell them what the sixth tank should be, and you’ll win one of their fancy new Stainless Steel growlers (with a Phil). You can submit your answers via direct message on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook by July 14th. Get your answers in quick before some Mulva steals the best name! Listen to the podcast for more hijinx (you’ll quickly learn how Off Track got their name), and their plans for the rest of July.

We’ve got a couple of exciting tidbits concerning new beers from 2 Crows that are coming out over the next few days. First off, is the very first bottle release for 2 Crows. Dandy was brewed with Pilsner malt, Spelt, Wheat, and Oats, and hopped lightly with Calypso and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with a mixture of Lactobacillus cultures, and then fermented in two gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. After aging for a few months, the beer was moved to stainless and conditioned on the burnt zest of lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit. Bottle-conditioned with champagne yeast, the final beer is “bright, tart, lightly funky, with juniper, citrus, oaky tannins, a subtle burnt/smoky character, and a firm minerality”. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV, there will be limited quantities of this one available when it’s released at the brewery tomorrow, so do not delay in grabbing some bottles! Bishop’s Cellar will also be getting a few bottles for sale, and one keg will also be tapped at the brewery tomorrow, if you’d like to give it a try on tap.

As for the second beer, it’s a new draught-only brew named Juan Canary. This “Wild Table Beer” was brewed with malt exclusively from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, and was lightly-hopped in the boil with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc. Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, it was then conditioned for several months to allow that wonderful, funky yeast character to develop. It was then further conditioned on Canary melon (a type of melon that is reportedly slightly tangier than honeydew) for four weeks, before being packaged in kegs with champagne yeast. It comes in at just 3.6% ABV and 12 IBUs; you’ll be able to find it on tap by-the-glass only, at the 2C tasting room, when a tap opens up (we’re guessing tomorrow or Sunday, best to check the 2C Instagram for the latest scoop).

If you’ve been to Stillwell over the past few days, you may have noticed that they’ve been pouring a new beer from Stillwell Brewing, Easy. This one is their latest Saison fermented with their House cultures; the beer spent just two months in the brewery’s largest foedre (oak tank), making it relatively young, at least compared to a lot of other releases from SBC! They’re describing the 4.7% ABV brew as drinking “like a more-sour Stillwell 2 [ed: Stillwell’s 2nd Anniversary beer], with mostly lactic acid and a touch of quenching acetic acid”. Featuring a bright presence of hops, and tasting floral and spicy, you can get it at Stillwell HQ by the 750 mL bottle or on tap, to drink on-site; it’ll be following on tap at the Beergarden in the near future. If you were looking forward to taking some home, fear not – they will be holding a bottle sale soon, on Saturday, July 21st. We’ll remind you when that gets closer! Looks like Easy will become a regular release, as Batch 2 is already fermenting.

You may remember TrailWay Brewing releasing More Better, a Simcoe single-hopped American IPA, a few months ago. Today, they’re releasing the “big brother” to this beer, a DIPA named, naturally, Even More Better. Simcoe is once again featured prominently, but they decided to throw in a “healthy” dose of Mosaic as well, giving the beer “pleasant pine up-front, with a big juicy background”. It’s 8% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery today at noon.

Last weekend, Good Robot released 5th Chamber, a sour wheat beer brewed with boysenberries, black raspberries, and raspberries, at the Hair of the Dog event. If you missed the event, you should be able to find the 4% ABV Gose on tap at the brewery, starting… yesterday! Moving on to next Tuesday’s Beta brew, keep your eyes open for Orange You Glad, a Milkshake IPA brewed with local homebrewers Jeramy and Catherine Slaunwhite. With lactose in the boil, and hopped with Citra and Mandarina Bavaria, the beer also features the addition of vanilla (of course) and sweet orange peel. It weighs in at a low-for-the-style 4.9% ABV, and 56 IBUs. Finally, next Thursday will see the return of Burban Legend APA (5.9% ABV, 42 IBUs).

Let’s change gears to cider now, with lots of news to share with you this week. Agricola Street’s Chain Yard Cider has a few new blends available these days, including the first releases from their new Vault series, availalbe in 750ml bottles (rather than on tap or in cans). Pippin is a 9.0% ABV single varietal Cox Orange Pippin dry cider, five months in the making, and full of flavour. They’ve also released Pippin & Russet, using a blend of Cox Orange Pippin and Golden Russet apples, which finished sweet at 7.1% ABV. They have also introduced Cyser Sunrise, a blend of their Foundation cider and a strawberry wine. And finally, Funk 141 is a 6.5% ABV unfiltered blend, fermented with Brett for funky and barnyard aromas and flavours familiar to those who already seek them out in beers. While some of their ciders are available on tap at restaurants and bars and in the private stores around HRM, heading to the source is probably your best bet to try them all.

Although we haven’t had a chance to mention it yet, cider and mixed-fermentation mavens in HRM very well might be aware that there’s a new cidery in the city, one that’s doing things a little bit differently. Sourwood Cidery is now producing small batches of cider at 6070 Almon Street. Focused on making sour ciders and fermenting on the wilder side, their ciders are “raw, unfiltered, and funky.” They are currently selling 6 varieties at their place, all in 750 mL bottles that have been bottle-conditioned. Be aware that they’re only open Wednesdays from 6 – 8 PM for these sales, though. You can also find Sourwood ciders on the bottle list at Stillwell on Barrington and, hopefully, soon at Bishop’s Cellar and a new place opening up later this year in the Hydrostone, The Ostrich Club. Occasionally some cider will be kegged; up to this point the Stillwell Beergarden has been the destination for every one of these. Looking ahead, they’ve got some stainless in the mix now, a 10 bbl brite tank which will allow them to do a 1000 L at a time of a carbonated cider they’re calling Small World (a younger version of their Old World); it should be available in kegs and cans in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a list of the bottled ciders they’ve got on the go now; we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from this crew in the coming weeks and months (and hey, maybe we’ll get it together and do a full profile!):

  • Old World – Fermented dry with a saison yeast
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with Citra
  • Old World Sour – A sweet blend of apples fermented dry with Sourwood’s house culture of sour microbes
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with CTZ (aka Columbus) and Citra
  • Gravenstein – 100% Gravenstein apples fermented with Sourwood’s house sour culture
  • Ginger – Sour cider steeped with ginger

And it’s not just Halifax that’s boasting a new cidery. Lake City Cider is now turning out cider in Dartmouth at 35 Portland Street, although they’re not yet open to the public at that location. Currently available every Saturday at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market in the outdoor tent as well as on tap at The Canteen, they are also on rotation at Battery Park. Look for their tap room to open soon where you’ll be able to enjoy all their products. All of the cider is produced using 100% NS apples and includes the following three core brands:

  • Nieforth Original – named for Nieforth’s, an institution of downtown Dartmouth and previous inhabitants of the space Lake City occupies. Pressed from a blend of apples, this bold cider comes in at 6.8% ABV and is packaged in 750 mL bottles
  • Darkside Dry – balanced and refreshing, this 7.5% ABV dry cider is available in 750 mL bottles and pairs well with rich foods such as scallops or grilled or roasted meat
  • District 5 – Lake City’s first canned offering is a blend of freshly-pressed 100% Nova Scotian apples intended to be a steady and sure cider that weighs in at 6.0% ABV

The gang at Lake City has also advised us that they intend to rotate through a series of limited edition seasonal ciders as well through the year. We look forward to having the chance to tell you more about Lake City in the coming weeks!

Just a couple of events to tell you about this week:

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and want to give YOU the presents! Drop by their spot at 82 Marr Road today or tomorrow, 12-8PM, and with every growler fill, you will receive a free LBB glass (or your regular loyalty discount). And if you drop by tomorrow, you’ll be able to enjoy some live music and BBQ in addition to your free gift. Congratulations Sean and Co!

The Whycocomagh Beer Festival will be celebrating its Second Year on July 21st, 7-9:30 PM. Happening at the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre as part of the Whycocomagh Summer Festival, there will be beer from Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Garrison, North, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s all under one roof, plus wine from Jost. Tickets are just $20 at the door, and the venue has expanded to let even more folks in than last year.

We’ve got a few more news bites for you this week before we sign off…

– Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has teamed up with Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack to release the ultimate pairing to their lobster plates. Over Aft Ale is a Cream Ale available exclusively at this Barrington Passage spot, but if you ask nicely at the brewery, they’ll fill a growler of it for you too! 🙂
– After launching late last week, Dildo Brewing Company has added a fifth beer to their rotation. Blue Eyed Buoy is a take on their Root 80 Blonde, featuring loads of blueberries added during conditioning, for a fresh and fruity presence. Grab it on tap and in growlers at the brewery today!
– After its release at The Toast the Coast event a couple of weeks ago, Garrison is releasing their This Beer is Toast! in bottles today. As a reminder, this 5.5% ABV Saison featured more than 100 kilos of toasted bread in the mash, adding to the Pale Ale and Wheat malts used. Lightly hopped to 20 IBU with Hallertau and Cascade, bottles are now available at the brewery, and at the private stores next week. $0.50 from each bottle is going to Feed Nova Scotia, to help their efforts to combat food insecurity in the province.
Niche Brewing has brought one of their first beers back to the taps this week, Mines of Wallonia. This is their 3.6% ABV Grisette, generously hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and featuring some lovely fruity esters and light spiciness from the Saison yeast. Look for it on tap around Fredericton, including the newly opened RustiCo, as well as Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and at Halifax’s Stillwell.
Propeller has brought back their summer favourite, Hefeweizen (5.3% ABV); you’ll be able to find this cloudy, spritzy, banana-and-clovey brew on tap and in bottles starting today. And check back with us next week, when we’ll have more info on a variation of this beer that will be released soon.
– Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released the latest batch of DOA Double Orange Ale SMaSH today, featuring boatloads of Citra hop through the process. Using a combination of Cryo-extracted hops (higher Alpha Acid in less vegetal material) with standard harvest, this 7.5% ABV, 100 IBU, Double IPA will have you singing out for more.
Upstreet is releasing their newest Neon Friday beer today, DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7 (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs). Brewed with Golden Naked Oats and toasted oats, it’s double-dry hopped with Idaho 7 to give “a fresh aroma of light orange and apricot”.

With two of your three writers traveling this week, we’ve decided to forgo the fancy introduction and get right to the important beer news. Wait, did I just write an intro without trying? Perfect. My grade 12 English teacher would be proud. Or sad that this is the height of my writing career these days… Anywho, here we go!

• We begin this week’s news with another new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing, a beer that follows with others they’ve released in the past, but also heads in a slightly different direction. Poptones started off as a hoppy pale ale when it was brewed last September, with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat, and Oat malts. Hopped in the kettle with Sterling and Saphir, it was fermented with a clean, American yeast strain. Once primary fermentation was complete, the beer started heading down a more-familiar road for SWB, as the brewery’s house cultures were pitched in the beer, where they were allowed to slowly do their work over the next three months in the tank, attenuating the beer further and working their magic in other flavourful and aromatic ways. Dry-hopped with more Saphir, the beer was then bottled (with a portion actually transferred over to barrels for some further aging; heads-up for this one in the near future), and is now ready for purchase. The brewery describes it as having “a nice hop bitterness, flavour, and aroma, with a light acidity from the house cultures and a really cool, rustic kind of fermentation character”, with a more-pronounced Brett funk that many of their other releases. You’ll be able to pick up bottles of this 5.3% ABV summer-drinker tomorrow at the brewery from 12-3 (2015 Gottingen, enter via the parking lot around the back); rumour has it that you’ll also be able to find some bottles of Gosh 2.0 and Preach, and maybe even some others as well!

• Around front/upstairs in the same space, Propeller Brewing has released the latest in their Gottingen Small Batch series, with yesterday’s tapping of Love the Way We Love. This American Wheat features loads of Mosaic hops (complemented by Azacca), for papaya, pineapple, and mango fruit nose and flavour in a 5.0% ABV package. As with all beers in the GSB line, these are only available on tap, with growler fills available at both their Windmill and Gottingen Street locations, plus pints on Gottingen and at licensees around the city. A portion of the sales are being donated to the neighbouring North End Community Health Centre. They are celebrating the release with a special cask of it today from 5PM, with a Mosaic Double Dry-hopped version, with pretzels from The Cake Lady for your pairing enjoyment. And you can enjoy LtWWL and a handful of other locally-produced beer and cider as part of Toast the Coast!, a Tap Takeover June 21 at Stillwell Beergarden celebrating The Coast’s 25th Anniversary.

• Let’s stay inside Halifax – and within walking distance, actually – with 2 Crows. They, too, have ventured a little outside their standard brew day (wait, does 2C even HAVE a “standard brew day”?) and created a refreshing, dry-hopped Lager. Named, appropriately enough, Refresh, this is their first Lager in some time. Brewed with German Pilsner malt, 25% Flaked Rice, and a touch of chit malt, it was hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc, to just 12 IBUs. Fermented cool with the Weingenstephan 34/70 Lager strain, the beer was lagered for close to two months before being dry-hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, and Huell Melon. The result is a 4.8% ABV crusher that has notes of “lemongrass, cucumber, gooseberry, and honeydew melon”. It was just canned this morning, and should be on sale at the brewery (also on tap) by the time you read this!

• Moving on to friends/arch-rivals of 2C, Tidehouse Brewing are releasing their very first Russian Imperial Stout, named The Sex (oh, those crazy kids!). It’s not like June has been that warm anyway, so why not sip on a 11.9% ABV dark beer? Featuring a mega-grist of Maris Otter, Midnight Wheat, Malted Oats, Carafa II, Pale Chocolate Malt, and Roasted Barley, it was hopped with Northern Brewer to help balance all of that roast and sweetness. After fermentation was complete, they decided to go with maybe a little more sweetness, and added a touch of Port, and raspberries! You can find this one on tap at the tiny tasting room starting today, and also in bottle form for aging/sharing/all the rest… at that ABV, we recommend against drinking an entire bottle by yourself. We’re not “Putin” you on (sorry)!

• The yang to The Sex’s yin is also being released today, Brew Swillis Hoppy Light Ale. Straw in colour thanks to the base malt of Pilsner, Carapils, Flaked Rice and Flaked Corn, this 4.5% ABV beer was bittered with Warrior at the beginning of the boil, and features aromatic/flavour hopping from Cluster and East Kent Golding. Light in body and colour, but still flavourful, this draft-only brew will be the perfect one to pour from your growler after mowing the lawn or doing some spring cleaning this weekend.

• Over to Robie St., where the fine people at Good Robot prepare to release their latest Beta Brew, Oh Captain, My Captain. Collaboratively-brewed with Meaghan MacDonald, this kettle sour was brewed with Pilsner malt, Flaked Oats, Red X, and Rye malt. Roasted beets were added to the wort during the first, brief boil; the wort was then soured overnight. Boiled again the next day, and hopped with Polaris to 40 IBUs, the wort was fermented out, and then pomegranate juice was added in two steps. The beer comes in at 5% ABV, and will hit taps next Tuesday. We also have a sneak preview for a special beer that will come out next Friday, Halifax North. Right now, we can tell you that it’s a collaboration beer (more on who with, next week), and it’s GR’s first Double IPA. We do have some recipe details: the grist was made up of Golden Promise, Maris Otter, Vienna, and Flaked Barley, and it was hopped and dry-hopped with Southern Passion and African Queen. Weighing in at 7.7% ABV and 90 IBUs, look for more info here next Friday, when the beer is released.

• And just a stone’s throw away, Unfiltered is launching a brand new Double IPA today at noon, Inducement. This “fruity, hoppy, and hazy” 7.5% ABV brew was hopped with (undoubtedly, plenty of) Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight, so rest assured the beer is full of tropical, fruity goodness as advertised. Nash also threw in a little Honey malt in the grist to give the beer just a touch of sweetness, to help balance all the hop presence that we can expect. Drop by Charm School today to pick up your pints and growlers.

• Ok, time to move out of the big city and visit Annapolis Brewing Co., where their brand-spanking new taproom is officially open! Located at 302 St. George St. in Annapolis Royal, the location will have eight Annapolis brews on tap, along with a few guest beers and ciders from other breweries/cideries in the province; wine and kombucha can also be purchased. You can stay for flights and pints, and/or leave with growlers and 355 mL bottles. While food isn’t available on-site, you’re more than welcome to order in or bring your own! Their hours are 12-8 pm Sun-Thurs, 12-10 pm Friday, and 10-10 on Saturday. And keep Saturday, June 30th on your calendar if you’re in the area, as they’ll be holding their grand opening (with live music) on that day.

• Let’s leave Nova Scotia for today and cross the ferry to PEI. Charlottetown’s Upstreet has two new beers for us as of today, both of ‘em split off from a single kettle sour. The first one is Dry Hopped Sour with Motueka, a 5.5% ABV brew featuring the lovely New Zealand variety (Motueka, if it wasn’t obvious enough to you!), which gives this particular beer aromas of lemon and pine, according to the brewery. Followed by a creature of a different sort, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour drops the hops and goes with an addition of strawberry and rhubarb juice (the same, actually, that they use in the flagship Rhuby Social). “Full-bodied and perfectly balanced with sweetness”, it’s here just in time for patio season (maybe?). Both beers are available today on tap and in growlers at the Upstreet taproom and at Craft Beer Corner. And as a little preview, there was a third split from that same original kettle sour… stay tuned for what they’re doing with that portion in the near future.

• Just across town, PEI Brewing has launched a new brand this week, Rix Light Craft Lager. The beer is named in honour of Bill Rix, who opened the short-lived Island Brewing Company in Charlottetown in 1986, the first brewery on the Island in decades. While it may have been a little ahead of its time and did not survive the decade, it had planted the seed of a local brewery for others to take up. The beer is very light in body and colour, and at 4.0% ABV, definitely an easy drinking brew. The beer is available at the PEILCC now, and there are launch parties being held across the province during the month of June, to help introduce the brand.

Speaking of events, there’s lots going on this weekend in our region, so be sure to get out and support your local brewery and good beer bar…

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain is celebrating the First Anniversary of their brewery and taproom tomorrow, with food, fun, and beer. They will have Asado Wood Fired Grill onsite with plenty of chicken, ribs, sausage, brisket, and elote to keep you happy, with live music from 3-5PM and 7:30-9:30PM. The beers will be flowing, too, with plenty of their own brews as well as a couple of guest taps and cans, all brewed using their own malted grains. Drop by to tour the brewery and malt house. Congratulations to the Stewart family!

• If you wanted to try the Red Racer Across the Nation 12-pack, now’s your chance, as it is available in our region. If you wanted to taste all 12 of them in one sitting, and learn more about the beers and styles while doing so, consider signing up for the Collaboration Beer Tasting being held at Upstreet Brewing tomorrow afternoon. This ticketed event will have Certified Cicerone Bryan Carver pouring and chatting about each of the dozen beers from 2-4PM at Upstreet. Pop by to try Upstreet’s Salted Caramel Lager, 2 Crows’ Coast 2 Coast Ancient Grain Saison, TrailWay’s Three Beasts American IPA, YellowBelly’s Me Ol’ Trout East Coast Cream Ale, plus 8 others from across the country.

Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth is celebrating their One Year Anniversary this Sunday, June 10th. From noon until 5pm, drop by their 19 Kirk Street location for samples and growlers of their beers, including their fan favourite Scotia Prince, a 6.0% ABV New England IPA. They will be serving cake, having some fun contests, before their move to their new location on Main Street later this month.

• And speaking of Yarmouth, next weekend is the Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival, being held at the Rodd Grand Yarmouth Hotel. The weekend kicks off Friday night with a 2.5k or 5k Hop Run through downtown Yarmouth, where participants are congratulated with a medal and a cold glass of beer. The festival itself is Saturday June 16, with two sessions happening that day: Afternoon 2:30-4:30PM, and Evening 7:30-9:30PM. General admission tickets get you in the door, your tasting glass, and your few few beer tokens (with more available for purchase after you use those). VIP tickets are available, allowing entry 30 minutes earlier, plus more 10 vs. 5 tokens, and an extra pint glass and bottle opener to take home. More than 100 beers from 15 breweries from across the province makes for a great day out. Beer pong onsite, plus a chance to win a brewery swag pack. Grab your tickets here before it’s too late!

• Mark your calendar and make plans to visit Tatamagouche Brewing next Saturday for their 4th Birthday celebration. With several brand new beer releases happening Friday and Saturday, the fun is happening all day with live music that afternoon and evening (including a ticketed concert at 7PM that evening). Route 6 Food Truck is onsite that day as well to keep you happy. We’ll have more details on the new beers next Friday!

• If you’re on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, be sure to drop by Saltbox Brewing to check out their Soapbox Races next Saturday the 16th. 28 cars have registered to take part in the all day event, as they will race down Clearway Street in Mahone Bay. Plenty of beer will be flowing, and food trucks will be set up onsite as well. All proceeds are going to the Bayview Community School Breakfast Program.

We’ve got a few Newsbites to leave you with today before you head out for a pint today:

– The seasonal Watermelon Wheat Ale, Melonhead, from Picaroons should be popping up in stores and on tap about now, with a new spokescat on the label (Henry Smith), and in cans for the first time. Also, Pivot #16 is now available; this time the rotating-hop(s) 8% ABV DIPA features Fuggles, Northern Brewer, and Willamette.
– For beer fans in St John’s who would like to try beer from the province’s latest-to-open brewery Scudrunner, but unable to make the trip to Gander, you’re in luck! They’ve dropped off a couple kegs of their Scudrunner Red to Blue on Water Hotel, at 319 Water Street, and the beer is pouring now.
– Spindrift’s latest Seventh Wave release is And The Hazy Sea. This 5.1% ABV fruited Witbier features blueberries and lemon zest to complement the coriander used in the boil. Lightly hopped to 17 IBU, this beer is available for growler fills at their Frazee Ave location now, and at the Toast the Coast event on June 21.
– Fredericton’s TrailWay had their Red Racer party earlier this week to celebrate the release of their Across the Nation collaboration brews, including the Three Beasts American IPA which represents the province of NB. As we mentioned in an earlier post, TW decided to brew that same beer on their own system, and it’s available now in limited quantities on tap and in cans at the brewery. Full of Mosaic, Citra and Galaxy, it comes in at 6.6% ABV.

Howdy folks, we know you’re probably looking for something to pass the time at work when there’s nothing to do because half your office took Friday off for an extended long weekend. Well you’ve come to the right place, this is a long one (for the sake of the trees we don’t recommend printing it out). Whether you call it May 2-4, May Long, or Victoria Day Weekend, here’s all the beer info you need to know for your long weekend and into next week.

• Let’s start things off with North Brewing, who are celebrating the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference (happening next week in Halifax) in a very big way – they’ve teamed up with breweries (and a yeast lab!) throughout the country, and are releasing five (5!) new beers. There’s no easy or quick way to get through all these, and we think they deserve the attention we’re giving them, so let’s dive right in…

Aries – A long time coming, this is the first time North and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for an official beer release, and it sounds like it was worth the wait! This one features a “delicate Saison base”, which after brewing was aged in Tempranillo red wine barrels for six months, with a pitch of Belgian Sour Blend (four Brettanomyces strains, four Lactobacillus, and two Pediococcus) from Escarpment Labs. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s coming through as “lightly vinous with notes of tropical fruit, melon, berries, and a nice Brett funk”. 5.4% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles, with half going to each brewery for sales.

Hapi – This Berliner Weisse was brewed with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing; soured with Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend (L. brevis and L. plantarum), it was fermented with Brett Q (also from Escarpment), a rising-in-popularity B. bruxellensis strain isolated “from a barrel-aged sour beer from Quebec”, known for giving notes of “ripe strawberry, pear, and apple, with an underlying funk”, according to Escarpment. Conditioned in the bottle, expect it to be light, citrusy, and refreshing (like all good Berliner Weisses should be!). 3.7% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles.

Chrysomallon – With all of the yeast and bacteria they provide to North, it’s only fair that Escarpment Labs gets their own collab, no? This one is a Witbier fermented with their “Fruity Witbier” strain, and conditioned on locally-foraged and dried goldenrod from East Coast Wild Foods. “Citrusy, herbaceous, and refreshing”, easy-drinking at just 4.1% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Caltha – Heading back west, this is a Grisette brewed with Ale Architect, a brand new brewery in Edmonton. Fermented with Escarpment’s “Old World Saison” Blend (two “classic” Saison strains), the finished beer was conditioned on dried rosehips and calendula (a member of the marigold family) from World Tea House. “Tart, floral, and delicate”, super-drinkable at 3.8% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Njörðr – Yep, we copied and pasted the name of this one! Brewed with the wonderful Four Winds Brewing from Delta, BC, this is a Nordic Farmhouse-style beer, fermented with Escarpment’s “Hornindal Kveik” Blend. This is a beer style that is fermented very warm (we’re talking 25 degrees and beyond) to achieve complete attenuation, and Njörðr actually underwent a secondary fermentation with locally-foraged sea buckthorn juice and berries from East Coast Wild Foods and Newell’s Jewels, and was finally conditioned on camomile. This beauty has been bottle conditioning for a spell in 500 mL bottles, and come in at 5.2% ABV.

All five of these beers will be pouring at the Coast to Coast Tap Takeover at Battery Park from 11:30AM – 6PM Thursday May 24 (and then BP will close for an Industry Night event), and in bottles and cans at both that Dartmouth location, as well as their home on Agricola Street in Halifax at opening the same day. The colourful label designs are courtesy of local artist John Newgard. Filling out the 16 taps will be another 11 Escarpment-flavoured collaborations, several of which are with local breweries, but there will also be lots from further afield, including Toronto’s Blood Brothers.

• Also pouring at Battery Park on the 24th is Tatamagouche’s Edel Saison. If that name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back! First released in Fall 2017 as a draught-only, stainless-fermented Saison, this release received a little extra time and care to bring it to fruition. Partnering up with the Escarpment crew for the yeast blend of Saison origin and Brettanomyces, this light beer had a malt bill of mostly Pils with raw wheat and raw rye, and was hopped to 20 IBUs with Strisselspalt, which was what was available in the fall. This current release featured a portion of that original brew aged for an additional 5 months in Spanish Tempranillo barrels after blending with Muscat grape must. The resultant dry, fruity, and funky beer has been bottle conditioning since February, and will be available for purchase only at their storefront in Tatamagouche beginning Thursday (beside the very few kegs at Battery Park and elsewhere in HRM).

• Not to be outdone by North’s CBA bounty, Halifax’s 2 Crows also clearly put some serious effort into welcoming the country’s brewers with four new beers of their own, each also being a collaboration brew. Here’s the details on all four beers that are slated for release:

All In – The East Coast swing by Escarpment Labs naturally included a stop in Halifax’s home for wayward fermentation organisms. A 5.0% ABV foedre-aged Wild Saison featuring a grist of Pilsner, chit malt, raw wheat and malted wheat, it was hopped gently in the boil to 17 IBU with Sterling and Simcoe hops before being fermented in foedre with a crazy concoction of yeast and bugs – Escarpment’s Fruit Bomb Saison strain, which itself contains both a saison-appropriate Sacchromyces strain along with two varieties of Brettanomyces, a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus, and “probably a few other yeast thrown in there too.” This microbe stew chewed away at the beer for some 5 months in foedre before a transfer to stainless and a light dry hop with Loral. The beer walks the line between old world and new world with a “rustic earthiness and light herbal character” but you can also expect some citrus and stone fruit.

Vic Wild – Continuing the trend of including suppliers in the brewing fun, 2 Crows produced this beer with help from representatives from hop supplier Hops Connect. Known for their focus on quality and freshness, they’re also known as the source for many sought after Australian hop varieties; this beer reflects that, as well as 2 Crows tendency towards funky fermentation. Brewed with Ireks Pilsner and Wheat malts (also sourced through Hops Connect), this beer was kettle hopped solely in the whirlpool, with a bit of Ella and a whole lot of Vic Secret. It was then fermented warm with the Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation blend of Brett strains, with two large dry hops of Vic Secret, one during active fermentation, one after. Described as a “funky hop bomb” look for passionfruit, pineapple and a hint of pine in this extremely quaffable 5.0% ABV and 11 IBU beer. Only about 1000 liters were made and 600 cans packaged, so be quick or be disappointed on this one.

Good Air – Again leveraging their big wooden barrels, this beer was a collaboration with Block Three Brewing out of St. Jacob’s, Ontario (just north of Waterloo), that was fermented in foedre. Starting with raw buckwheat, which was cereal mashed for conversion, Pilsner, flaked barley, and some rye malt were added before a multiple step mash was undertaken to produce the sweet wort. During the boil, Golding, Sterling and Hallertau Blanc hops were added to the tune of 15 IBU and, we suspect, some flavor and aroma. The yeast in this one was harvested from a bottle of Coalesce Brewing’s Foreward and a touch of hop-tolerant Lactobacillus. After four months in the foedre, the beer was transferred to stainless steel tanks for final treatment with a dry hop of Azacca and Huell Melon before packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer that is earthy and rustic with a slight tartness, big pineapple and orchard fruit notes, and complex esters formed from the combination of Brett and compounds from the buckwheat.

Cool Kid – Last but not least is a beer brewed with Rob Coombs and ACBB’s own Shawn Meek of Niche Brewing, hailing out of Fredericton, NB (fine, “Hanwell”), and it’s a wild one. Brewed with Pilsner, wheat, spelt and a touch of rye, only Hallertau Blanc was used for hopping in the kettle. Before fermentation, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus to ensure an assertive tartness, before being transferred to a foedre where it received a pitch of 2 Crows house Saison strain, the Amalgamation blend, and Brettanomyces lambicus. A month into fermentation it was hit with 400 lbs of tart cherry purée. After refermenting and another month of conditioning, it was then hit with 400 lbs of raspberry purée. After a total of 4 months in the foedre it was transferred to stainless for packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer sporting 14 IBU that’s tart and bright with “massive” fruit flavors, both dry cherry and a jammy raspberry, with hints of marzipan and cinnamon. Sounds to us like something that is likely to taste pretty great right now, but which might also have some serious potential for tasting very nice after some time in the cellar!

All four of these beers will be available in cans at the brewery as of noon on Thursday, May 24th. All except the Vic Wild can be expected to appear at the private stores in Halifax as well. Kegs have also been packaged, but expect those to be largely reserved for the brewery and the CBA booths.

• Sticking with Niche Brewing for the moment, they’ve released another new beer for New Brunswickers (mainly) to enjoy, a 6.4% ABV dark beer they’re calling Receding Darkness. Although it may resemble a stout in the grist, with Pilsner, Wheat and Midnight Wheat being joined by Rye for some spicy character, that’s where the similarities stop. Lightly hopped in the boil with Amarillo, it was then fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being allowed to develop for nearly two months. We’re told that the result features milk chocolate flavors blend with light Brett aromatics and overripe fruit character. You’ll find it soon at the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton and the Laundromat in Moncton, and at other Niche tap accounts in the near future (here’s hoping we see some kegs make it to Halifax!)

• Late last week, Sober Island Brewing released a special beer brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Blueberry Express. Named after a track that the railway used to run on, the beer is, naturally, a Blueberry Ale. Brewed with 2-row, Carapils, and Honey malt, it was hopped very lightly with Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood, to just 14 IBUs… basically, the base beer for the brewery’s Blonde Ale. The difference is the addition of local blueberries from Glenmore Farms, which were added after primary fermentation, to keep as much blueberry character as possible in the aroma and flavour of the beer. Unfortunately, it sold out at the brewery in just two days… but this is also a good thing, as each can sale brought in $0.50 to the museum, in honour of their 100th anniversary. On the bright side, they’re currently making more, and plan on having the beer available year-round, and there may be some still available at some private stores in HRM.

• There’s some people out there who say that craft beer has become too gimmicky; that someone is always looking to do the next shocking beer, add some weird ingredient, etc. Well, if you’re one of those people, Tidehouse Brewing would like to have a few words with you! Possibly unrelated, they’d also like for you to try their latest beer, Pepperoni Ghost (yeah, you see where this is going). Brewing a “pepperoni beer” has actually been on their minds since before the brewery even opened, and it was an idea that stuck, apparently (unlike that Nutmeg Bomb we’ve all been craving)! After purchasing some pepperoni from local deli Brothers Meats, they rendered the fat, dried the meat, and crumbled it into a coarse powder, which was added at the end of the boil in the brewing process. Ghost peppers were also added in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter, to add some heat. You can find this 5.3% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on tap, with a limited amount in bottles, starting today at 2 pm.

• The two Gahan locations in New Brunswick are churning out some new beers, thanks to brewer Spencer Gallant, who is currently doing all of the brewing at both locations. At Gahan House Port City (Saint John), Terpene Dreams – the latest hoppy brew to hit their taps – is a NEIPA hopped with Amarillo and Vic Secret. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has notes of stone fruit, and plenty o’ dank! This location will also soon be launching a barrel program, as they expect to be receiving six barrels (three each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the very near future, some of which will be soon housing a Saison for some aging; in addition, some spirit barrels are also expected to join the family over the next few months. Over in Fredericton, Gahan House Riverside just tapped Hoppy Lager, which was brewed with a very simple grist of Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and hopped with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic, giving “super tropical and melon undertones”; it comes in at 5.4% ABV and 24 IBUs. And on deck to be released next is Multigrain IPA, the grist of which is – as you may expect from the beer’s name – a little more complex, including the addition of Malted Oats, Flaked Rye, and some rice to go along with several barley malts. Hopped mostly with Simcoe, as well as some Azacca, the beer has aromas of peach, apricot, and a bit of coconut. Hazy, and with an “approachable bitterness” at 46 IBUs, look for this 6% ABV IPA to be on tap, soon.

• New on the scene at Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove, NS, is a cider to join their regular line of beer offerings. Exit 24, ostensibly named for where you get off Highway 101 to reach Smith’s Cove, is a dry cider made with juice from Honeycrisp, Macintosh and Cortland apples. Crisp and flavorful, is comes in at 6.4% ABV and will no doubt help you appreciate the apple blossoms starting to make their presence known throughout the Annapolis Valley and the rest of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the beer also continues to flow, as Bear Bones, their IPA, is making its return. Dry hopped with both Columbus and Cascade hops from Southan Farms in New Brunswick, it’s a citrusy, floral and fruity brew that weighs in at 6.5% ABV. You can check out one or both of these offerings at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market or, if you’re in the city, kegs have reached Battery Park and Harvest Wines in Dartmouth.

• The Good Robot Beta release for next week has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (maybe the holiday Monday is throwing them off… seems weird for a brewery open on Christmas Day, no?), and this time it’s a cask. Originally put together by the Femmebots for the Stillwell Open earlier this month, Say My Name is a dark Belgian ale that was “conditioned with Candi sugar”. Bittered to 27 IBUs with Perle to offset some of the residual sweetness, the 5.2% ABV dark brown beer is “spicy, fruity, and light-bodied”. And the next day, All-Inclusive IPA is returning after a brief hiatus. This 6.8% ABV, 74 IBUs American IPA features a “smooth, medium-light body, with a balanced bitterness rounded out by mango and pineapple hop aromas”, with the addition of Grains of Paradise giving some spice character to the beer as well. And keep an eye open for Tiny Tigers, their 5.8% ABV Saison which just hit the wall of their taproom yesterday. Check the full details in last week’s post.

• If you’re in the Wolfville area, look for the latest in the Annapolis Cider Company‘s Something Different series to be released today. Pazazz & Grapefruit was made with all Pazazz apples, a relatively new variety of dessert apple (descended from the Honeycrisp), which is grown locally in Nova Scotia and has a crisp texture, as well as a sweet and tart flavour. The 6.8% ABV sparkling cider was also infused with fresh ruby grapefruit zest, and finished with a bit of fresh Pazazz juice, making for a refreshing cider with “fresh apple notes, complemented by subtle hints of grapefruit”. For this release, $0.50 of every refill will be donated to Kentville’s Chrysalis House, which provides shelter and outreach services for women and children.

• You may recall the release of The Passenger, a Berliner Weisse from Lunn’s Mill, last fall. Well, that beer is making its triumphant return this week, with a change – it has been aging in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel since February, allowing this sour, light-bodied, German-style beer to pick up a bit of wine and oak character, and it’s tartness to develop further. Look for this 4.7% ABV, 4 IBUs beer to be available at the brewery’s taproom over the weekend.

Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland has a new beer available for the long weekend. Day Tripper is a modern, American Pale Ale with a hazy appearance. Zesty, refreshing and citrusy, it weighs in at a very drinkable 5.5% ABV, perfect for having another. You’ll find it along with their Baycation Blonde available for growler fills at their St. John’s retail store just in time for May 2-4!

• The CBA special releases continue with a collaboration between Propeller and Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON), Wild Gruit Ale. Gruits (a centuries-old style where spices, herbs, and other botanicals replace hop additions) are increasing in popularity, but you still don’t see them very often; luckily, Beau’s has been brewing the style fairly frequently, making them the perfect brewery to team up with in this case! Beau’s contributed some hand-harvested organic bog myrtle (native to Northern Ontario and Quebec), which was added with staghorn sumac that was locally-foraged in Halifax. The beer was non-traditionally hopped as well, with Warrior, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast from Escarpment Labs, the final product has a “sweet aroma and balanced bitterness, and some herbal and spicy notes” thanks to the bog myrtle, with the staghorn sumac contributing “a red fruit and citrus complexity”. The beer will be launched at a Collaboration Release Party at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom location next Wednesday, May 23rd, where it will be joined by six other Beau’s brews on tap. Lots of great beer and giveaways available, and it all starts at 6 PM!

• Today’s weekly new release from TrailWay Brewing is a collaboration with Brewers Supply Group (BSG) names Mou-ska-tere. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was hopped primarily with Moutere, a New Zealand variety that is quite new to these parts. Moutere is a high-alpha acid hop that exhibits characteristics of passion fruit and grapefruit, with notes of hay, spice, and pine, according to BSG’s description. A little bit of Galaxy and El Dorado were also used in this beer, to help boost the juicy, tropical flavours even further. You’ll be able to find cans and pours of this one at TrailWay today, with other NB licensees having it on tap as well, soon. And for those of you in Halifax, it will also be showing up at a few locations and events there next week, during the CBA celebrations.

Let’s switch from new beers to new events for the coming weeks…

Tomorrow, Big Spruce is kicking off their summer season with a big to-do at their taproom away from home, Bras D’Or Yacht Club. With six Big Spruce beers flowing from 4PM, including new beer releases and special casks, there will be live music from Asaph Deuce and Mitch MacDonald all evening, with games, door prizes, and food from Stand & Stuff Your Face made especially to pair with the beers. No word yet on which beers will be available, but a little birdie told us to keep an eye open for the return of Tag You’re It, their New England IPA brewed in support of the Ocean Tracking Network, in cans as well as in kegs.

Copper Bottom Brewing is celebrating the release of their Parkman Ave Double IPA tomorrow, with lots happening in the brewery. From 4-8PM, Sneaky Cheats will be onsite with beer-pairing-worthy food, and music from Johnny Ross, Kelley Mooney, Dion MacBeth, and Bennett Buell. At 9PM, there will be a change of pace with The Love Junkies taking the stage until close. Making life for folks from town a little easier, there will be shuttles to/from the brewery available. Find out much more at their FB event page.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider turns One on Sunday, and is holding a party all day to celebrate. From 11 AM, they’ll have drink specials, giveaways, and a seafood boil on the go from their Unchained Kitchen crew. They are also holding a contest and draw, with your chance to share your favourite of their many ciders, perrys, meads, or cysers from the past year. Fill out the form here to enter, and drop by Sunday to take part in the fun.

2 Crows and the North End Runners will be hosting a little Bluenose Marathon shindig this coming Sunday morning, May 20th. They’re calling it “Mile 26.3” (1 marathon = 26.2 miles) starting at 8 AM when they’ll have cold brew available from Low Point Coffee along with some special breakfast treats. If you’re thinking of watching the race, this would be a fine vantage point. Might not be a bad idea to stake your claim before the race is over though, as 2 Crows is likely to be viewed as an extremely convenient post-race hydration station by thirsty runners! Look for more details to be posted on 2 Crows social media as the event approaches.

There are plenty of events surrounding the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax next week, being held Thursday to Saturday, May 24-26. While the Awards and Conference are only open to those in the beer business, there are plenty of other events happening in town. We’ve already told you about the Escarpment Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday, but here are a few more:

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing will be setting up a pop-up taproom at World Tea House on Argyle during the CBAC, with a rotating selection of 4 taps pouring at any time. WTH is responsible for sourcing the ginger and green tea for their Hunky Dory Pale Ale, so it will always be available, and will be joined by some recent releases as well as perennial favourites. Pop by to grab some samplers! They may be featuring BR’s brand new High Altitude, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped lager, fermented with Escarpment’s lager strain. If not, or even if it is, you can grab bottles of it at Bishop’s Cellar now.

• Boxing Rock is also holding two Tap Takeovers at private stores RockHead Wine & Beer Market and WestSide Beer Wine Spirits. Thursday afternoon from 4PM, pop by to meet up with Emily or Henry from Boxing Rock, and grab a growler or three of their beers.

Stillwell Beer Bar, and the just-opened-for-the-season Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden (#BGonSG), have been collecting and curating some of their favourite beers to showcase during the 3 day celebration of beer, for an ongoing event they’ve dubbed Grand National. The number of beers and breweries is too long to list here, but trust us that there will be plenty of great stuff flowing through their 22 shared taps, with lots of it pouring on the yEast Coast for the first time. You can get a little excited by checking out their Facebook event page for some more details. As always, tune into their social media pages for the latest info.

• Halifax’s The Auction House is hosting a Prince Edward Island Tap Takeover on Friday, May 25, with all five PEI breweries represented: Barnone, Copper Bottom, Moth Lane, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. Look for old favourites and new releases to be flowing on Argyle that evening from 3PM, with a few brewery staff on hand with giveaways and to chat beer.

We know your coffee break (or lunch?) was over 10 minutes ago, but there’s a few more things to tell you:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Creedence Coconut Revive-Ale features copious quantities of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops along with a bunch of late-addition toasted coconut. A tropical experience like summer in a glass, you’ll find it at their taproom on Bridge Avenue.
Bulwark Cider has a new entry in their Fruit Series hitting NSLC stores soon, Strawberry Lime. Juicy and fresh, it’ll no doubt be a go-to summer refresher. Yesterday they also announced the launch of Bulwark Ciders at Wishbeer Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand!
– After releasing their Tickle Fight IPA a few weeks back, Half Cut has now put kegs of their Alter Ego Altbier back into the wild. Brewing at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, these releases are available on draught only, occasionally on growlers in the region as well.
– Making the most of a horrible situation due to flooding at their Roundhouse location, Picaroons has released was able to salvage a batch of their Irish Red by dry-hopping it with Azacca while working in less-than-ideal conditions. The 5.0% ABV Flood Red is available at the brewery and Brewtique now, as well as Picaroons’ other lcoations outside of Fredericton.
– On Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Rockbottom Brewpub has released Peaches & Cream Ale, a light, sweet and easy drinking north american style cream ale sweetened with all natural peach extract for a pleasant fruit finish.
– Tickets for this year’s Seaport Beerfest are on sale as of 11AM today. On August 10 & 11, more than 100 producers will be sharing more than 300 beers from across the Atlantic Provinces, the rest of Canada and the US, and, for the first time, there will be an Icelandic Beer pavillion, with just shy of 20 beers from the island nation. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon tickets are $45 (+fees and taxes), while Saturday evening tickets are $50++. VIP access is available for all sessions, which includes early entrance (an extra hour!) and a special tasting glass, which is yours to keep. Grab your tickets today!
– Dartmouth’s Spindrift has another pair of 7th Wave brews on tap this weekend at the brewery: Baby Whale, a hazy and fruity 6.5% ABV New England IPA and Palm Springs Guava Pale Ale a 6.1% pale that was flavoured with guava purée. Also, their new Hurricane IPA is now available at NSLC locations around the province.
Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax has cans available again as of noon today, featuring the return of Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, their 7.5% ABV Citra SMaSH DIPA. Also available will be Hoppy Fingers APA, Exile on North Street IPA, and Front Line Rocker DIPA.
– PEI’s Upstreet has announced the availability of their Commons Pilsner in sixpacks of 355 mL cans available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner just in time for the long weekend! Look for distribution to widen to PEI Liquor locations by next weekend and hopefully beyond PEI’s shores after that.