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Howdy folks, we’re running a little behind today, and for that we’re putting the blame firmly on the breweries in Atlantic Canada who can’t seem to help themselves with the beer releases and the birthday parties and the hey hey. The bad news is there’s almost four thousand words below this paragraph. The good news for you is that they’re all about beer (and mead). So read on for all the latest and whet your appetite for the weekend to come.

It’s been three years since Halifax’s 2 Crows opened their doors; we’ve seen one hell of a lot of beer releases since then. They haven’t let up one bit in terms of beer quality or originality, as they continue to push the envelope and strive to constantly improve.
Now that that’s out of the way, can we go back to complaining a bit? Great! Their big Anniversary party is tomorrow, which, if you have been following them in any way since they turned one, you’ll know means lots of new beer. Which in turn means lots of typing on our part, so you can kinda excuse our slight bitching. But hey, we gotta admit it all sounds awesome! So, five beers (four new, and one returning, tweaked, favourite) launching at the brewery tomorrow, two of them in cans, and three bottled. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Brettango – Not a new beer, but an exciting one to see return, Brettango is a 7.9% ABV Mango Brett IPA that was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation (a blend of six Brettanomyces yeast strains) and features an addition of a “stupid amount” of mango puree. With even more hops than before (Citra in the hop back, along with Hallertau Blanc and Belma, and two dry-hop additions of more Citra), the mango addition has been increased as well, so you can bet that the tropical, juicy goodness is off the charts. Limited cans available.
Deux II – Brewed in collaboration with Maine’s Orono Brewing Company at 2 Crows, Deux II (4.9% ABV) started as a golden sour base beer aged in one of the brewery’s foedres with a blend of multiple house cultures. After aging for several months, 500 kilos of whole Nova Scotia cherries from Stirling Fruit Farms were added and allowed to work their magic for an additional eight weeks. The beer was finally packaged in cans, where it underwent natural carbonation before being ready for your eager hands/mouths/bellies. Lots of cherry character in this one, along with some Jolly Rancher notes, and “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms, and just the right amount of fruity funk”.Hayward – Diving into the bottled releases, Hayward (5.4% ABV) is a peach brandy barrel-aged sour with kiwi. This sour was conditioned on 90 kg of fresh kiwi, giving a tart, bright beer that has dried peach character from the barrel, and lots of kiwi from the fruit addition.
Express – This barrel-aged beer is a blend of different golden sours aging in barrels. The resulting beer was then conditioned in the brewery’s blending tank with 80 sliced, fresh pineapples, along with hibiscus from World Tea House, and 4 kg of fresh ginger root. Lots of sourness from the base beer, with “smooth, fruity juiciness and a touch of ginger zing”, it comes in at 5.4% ABV.
Megadregs – The final Anniversary release is a big one… “big” meaning “helluva long time to be ready”. Beginning life in May 2018 when Halifax hosted the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, the 2 Crows crew welcomed in brewers from across the country to their spot, and plenty of local (Niche, North, Port Rexton, and Tatamagouche Brewing) and beyond (Block Three, Dageraad, Le Prospecteur, and Small Pony, to name just a few) brewers taking them up on their offer. A pale base wort was innoculated with the dregs of bottles that were enjoyed that day, with the beer undergoing primary fermentation in a pair of barrels in their space. The 5.7% ABV beer was allowed to condition for 16 months before packaging in bottles; it was then allowed to condition for another 4 months. It’s showing oak, funk, and a moderate acidity, and is remarkably smooth.
Finally, while this beer may not be an Anniversary-exclusive release, it is by no means any less special. Released earlier this week, Paper Airplanes was brewed with Ashley MacDonald and Seoras Speirs, parents to Jude, who passed away in October at the age of 3 after an intensely-brave battle with cancer. Brewed in Jude’s memory, Paper Airplanes is a Brown Ale brewed with Pale malt, Oat malt, and a mix of other roasted and caramelized malts. Hopped with EKG and Bramling Cross, it was fermented with a “classic” English yeast strain. It’s tasting smooth and roasty, “with some lovely black currant and dark fruit notes”. Proceeds from this beer (available on tap and in cans) will be going to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, NS Chapter. Be sure to pick up a few cans of this one; whenever you drink it, take a moment to reflect on your loved ones and be grateful for them.
Along with all this beer will be some great food (burgers from Stillwell’s Joe Martin), multiple musical acts through the day, 50 free glasses to the first 50 of you who bust through the doors… and did we mention beer? Oh, you skipped that part? Go back and read it then, please don’t make all of that be for nothing. And you know there will be plenty of tiny fun releases as well as throwback faves on the draught and bottle/can list throughout the day, too.
And finally, the tradition of Sour Sunday will continue the day after the big party… because what cures a hangover more than sour beers and more delicious food? Expect past sour favourites, some surprise re-releases and bottles, and Buttered Bliss will be there filling your fried chicken and doughnut needs. Happy Anniversary, Crows! <drops mic>

Speaking of parties, we mentioned earlier this month that PEI’s newest brewery, Lone Oak, is celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow, starting at 4 pm. In addition to plenty of live music, they’ve got several new beer releases up their sleeves. The first, Boat Traffic, was launched yesterday, and the other two will follow today and tomorrow. We’re sure those of you in their area are interested in these beers, so how’s about we scratch your itch? Also, just as a further reminder, cover for the party is $20, which includes all of the live music for the evening, naturally.
Boat Traffic (5% ABV, 27 IBUs) – This Oatmeal Stout was aged in a brand new, locally-made foeder, which has given this roasty, chocolatey beer “undertones of vanilla and coconut” to complement. Full-bodied, it’s the brewery’s first dark beer, and sure to be a winner.
Silver Fox (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) – Launching today, this beer is an Export Lager (think Dortmunder/Helles) brewed in collaboration with Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing (and released in NS today as well). Brewed with all Shoreline malt, and hopped with varieties from Island Hop Co., the details on the final product are in last week’s post, so you can remind yourself of what you’re getting into.
Rumours (4.3% ABV, 22 IBUs) – Releasing tomorrow, this mixed-ferm Saison was hopped with a blend of both European and American hop varieties. It’s tasting “slightly funky, with undertones of citrus”. This is a keg-conditioned batch, meaning that supplies are VERY limited, so you’ll definitely want to be at the party tomorrow to try this one!

Hot off the heels of last night’s celebration of Norwegian Kveik yeast at Battery Park Beer, Big Spruce has announced the availability of a couple of beers that debuted there. Ægir’s Hall is a Winter Warmer coming in at 6.3% ABV and fermented with the Voss Kveik strain of yeast that you may recall was the focus of this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Competition. As a matter of fact, this beer was the winner of that competition, although at the time competition winner Brian Harvey’s name for it was Santa Voss/Kviek Kringle. With Christmas in the rearview mirror and the beer being released at the KveikFest, a name change to something with a connection to Norse mythology must have seemed apropos. Ægir was a jötunn (Giant and/or Troll; Norse mythology is confusing) closely associated with the sea and friend of the gods. He was also a brewer who possessed a beer kettle a mile wide that was acquired from fellow jötunn Hymir thanks to Thor and Týr. Mr. Harvey’s kettle is not a mile wide, but its influence goes much further than that based on the number of competitions he’s won in the last several years. The beer itself is deep red, with aromas of baking spice and a hint of citrus. At 6.3% ABV, it’s not too heavy, and should make a lovely tipple for an evening by the fire sharing tales of glory in battle.
Also on the go this week is Bjørnebær, a beer co-fermented on Brettanomyces and Kviek. We’re told that Bjørnebær is the Norwegian word for “blackberry” and this beer contains hand-picked ones from Big Spruce’s own farmland as well as all-organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm, both of which were cooked down to an “almost jam-like” consistency before being added to the beer. Very dry, tart, and tannic owing both to the cultures that fermented it and the berry skins, it’s also has a deep plum color. Like Ægir’s Hall, this is a draught-only release, so head to the brewery, or better licensees across the province to get your fix.
And lastly from Big Spruce this week, if you were worried that you were going to miss our on the Honza’s Boho Pilsner that they released last week because you aren’t anywhere near the brewery or didn’t see it anywhere on tap, fear not: that beer has been packaged into swank euro-style 330 mL bottles. Full of Saaz hops and imported Continental Pilsner malt for the most authentic experience possible, the only mistake you could make in trying to find this one is to look for it under the name “Honza’s BoHo.” Packaged as Ski Cape Smokey it’s the same beer we told you about last week but celebrating Cape Breton’s venerable ski hill.

If you’re a regular at Good Robot and into sour beers, they’ve got some news to make ya happy – they’re pouring a brand new sour beer there as of earlier this week. Positive Energy (4.8% ABV, 6 IBUs) features an addition of Labrador tea, resulting in a tart beer that “tastes like a slice of sourdough toast with homemade cranberry tartinade”. The tea also helps keep the beer crisp; you may want to drop in and let them know your thoughts! Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Steve Maly Sucks, a 4.2% ABV, 20 IBUs Sweet Stout that was brewed with Roast Barley, Chocolate malt, and Coffee malt. Lactose was, naturally, added to boost the sweetness, but they also threw in some whiskey-soaked oak cubes to try to emulate an addition of coffee with Irish cream. Again, it’s up to you to decide how close they got! Finally, expect to see a new batch of their Chocolate Porter, Bingo Bronson (6% ABV) on tap very soon.

We may be in the darkest depths of winter, but that doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) mean that we can’t be allowed to enjoy a more-summer-y type of beer to give us hope that warmer times will eventually come. Tidehouse is doing just that this week, with a new beer they’re releasing this afternoon at their taproom. Oslo in the Summertime is a 5% ABV beer that was brewed with a blend of Pilsner malt and Flaked oats, along with a little bit of Melanoidin and Vienna malt for good measure. Hopped with two types of Czech Saaz (Saaz Special and Saaz Late) from PEI’s Bines & Vines, the wort was fermented with Oslo Kveik yeast. The final product is exhibiting a “slightly sweet grainy character” with lots of spicy, herbal hop character from the Saaz. Maybe not the usual characteristics you’d expect from a Kveik strain, but this one is a different type of beast! They’re going to have this one on tap for pints and growler fills, as well as in bottles; we recommend stopping in to give it a try!

Moncton’s newest brewery, Tire Shack, has a trio of new beers out today (technically last night, but who’s keeping track? Oh wait, we are!), perfect for the start of your weekend. Sour Bite is a 3.5% ABV Berliner Weisse, a crisp and refreshing take on the style. While this release is fruit-free, look for future releases to contain some fun additions like Pink Guava, Apricot, Kiwi, and Pineapple, coming atcha in the next little while. Also new on the taps on John Street is Roman Road, a 5.5% ABV Italian Pilsner, generously dry-hopped with Tettnanger and Huell Melon to bump up the character of this modern take on the classic style. This release is from their pilot system onsite, so may not last the weekend… The final of this week’s releases is another from the pilot system, a Belgian Dark Strong. At 6.6% ABV, it’s already brimming with dark fruit and malt character, which they bumped up with coconut sugar and molasses, also complementing the spicy phenolics from the Belgian yeast. A further fun step they took was to add Grand Marnier liqueur-soaked oak chips, for a subtle orange finish. Stop in for a flight and/or pint of these as well as their core brews this weekend!

Halifax’s Propeller continues to stand out in the region as a bigger independent brewery that’s not afraid to take chances and innovate; and for the second time in the last few months, the innovation is on the packaging side (remember those 360 End cans for the DDH IPA?). Although they’re not the first to do it (we’ll give a nod to 2 Crows on that), they’re certainly on the leading edge this week by putting the latest release of their seasonal Mocha Oatmeal Stout in cans with nitrogen. A bit of a nightmare logistically due to the requirement to reconfigure the canning line for it, the hope is that local drinkers will appreciate the additional creamy texture that only those tiny little bubbles can provide. Remember that you want to get it vertical as soon as you can after popping the top, so have (an appropriately-sized) glass at the ready! You can also try this “dark and decadent” 5.5% ABV beer featuring coffee from local roaster Java Blend in a sans nitro version at the brewery for growler fills and the taproom for pints. And for those who like to hit their Gottingen Street location on a Friday afternoon and/or evening, the cask this week will be their Porter with cold brew coffee, which you’ll be able to pair with Pilsner Pulled “Pork” taquitos from their up-the-street neighbours, vegan butchery Real Fake Meats.

The fine folks at Port Rexton Brewing have decided to hold themselves a home brew competition and we think folks in Nova Scotia might recognize the format. Similar to the Black Box Challenge competition run by Boxing Rock out of Shelburne, NS, Port Rexton’s first Mystery Homebrew Challenge will see entrants pay an entry fee and collect a “brewer’s pantry” of ingredients from the brewery. Then, working solely with the grains, hops and yeast provided (and, no doubt, water from an allowed source), they’ll each develop a recipe that will hopefully wow the judges. Only 25 entries will be permitted and placement is first come, first served based on e-transfer of the $55 entry fee. Ingredient pickup will be the weekend of February 6th – 8th at the brewery, so if you’re interested in entering, make sure you can get there on one of those days to do so! Competition entries will be accepted March 19th to 21st, with the winner announced on March 28th. Official rules, entries and more information can be obtained by emailing alicia@portrextonbrewing.com. Good luck to those who decide to enter this one; it’s a great format that definitely challenges brewers to differentiate their beer from the rest of the entries!

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a returning favourite coming out this week; Ethos is a Brett Saison at 6.2% ABV. This is the beer that goes into the barrels and come out as Evolution, so if you’ve enjoyed that one, it might be fun to compare and contrast. Lemony, dry and funky, look for it at Niche tap accounts.

We know you’ve been eagerly waiting to hear it, or is it just us?, but the 902 BrewCast have finally released their latest episode this morning. This is January’s Tasting Episode, where they pop open a few cans from around the region, and let us know their plans for the year. Listen to it on your commute home!

We’ve got a couple of beer-focused events coming up this weekend and then one of Halifax’s big ones coming up in just a couple of weeks:

If all this beer talk has you craving something sweeter, we’re happy to tell you that there’s a yuge mead tasting event going on in Fredericton tomorrow, January 25th, hosted by the city’s favourite meadery, Sunset Heights. Held at the Crowne Plaza downtown, this Barrel Release Party will feature a minimum of 15 different meads and/or cocktails “blended with other local craft alcohols”, paired over several hours with six (6!) different food courses. This private event begins at 6:45 pm; if you’re into mead, we can’t think of a better way for you to thumb your nose at Dry January. Check out the entire menu here. Tickets are still available; they’re $99 each and can be purchased online

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock will be heading up the coast tomorrow for a tap takeover in Bridgewater at the King Street Beer Co. Starting at 2 PM and going until 8 PM they’ve got lots more planned than just having their beer available thanks to their Beer Sommelier, Sheila. From 2 – 3 PM will be Craft Beer 101, 3 – 4PM Sensory Analysis and Blind Tasting, 4 – 5 PM Beer & Food Pairings, and 5 – 7 PM Beer Tastings. We’re guessing the last hour is mostly having a beer and decompressing from all that learning! Look for a full line-up of Boxing Rock beers available on tap as well. More information can be sought on the Fb Event page.

Tickets for February 8th’s Craft Beer Cottage Party are now on sale! Part of the Savour Food and Wine Festival, the CBCP is a celebration of beer in a cold month that can get you jamming and thinking about summer. Known for the fanciest plaid shirts and trucker hats, breweries taking part in the event compete the show off their design skills at their booth, and those pouring will certainly get into the spirit as well. The list of breweries and cideries pouring is: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s Historic NS Brewery, Annapolis Brewing Co, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar (pouring some special releases), Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Garrison Brewing Co., Heritage Brewing, Pumphouse (repped by Innovative Brands), Lunn’s Mill, Nine Locks Brewery, Off Track, Propeller Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing, Route 19, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipwright Brewing Co., Shipbuilders/Petite Riviere, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tanner & Co Brewing, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., The Church Brewing Co., Trider’s Craft Beer, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s. Phew, that’s a lot! And we’re going to be holding a fun little contest to get you excited, and get a couple of tickets in your hand. Snap a picture of a beer or cider from the breweries or cideries above, post it to Twitter or Instagram, tag the producer, us (@ACBeerBlog) and Savour Food & Wine (@savourfw), we’ll do a draw for 2 tickets to the show next Thursday, Jan 30, at 11:59PM, and announce it on next week’s blog. Good luck to everyone, and get drinking!

Let us take this opportunity to be the last to wish you a Happy New Year 2020! As we kick off a new year, it’s a great time to take stock of the state of beer in our region, with the number of breweries having exploded since the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog started on January 1, 2012. As we inevitably hurtle towards 200 breweries and cideries across the region, one of the stories we continue to hear is the markets outside of the big cities being served by small breweries opening there, and serving as a gathering place for locals. We hope that trend continues in 2020, as there are still many places in the region where getting a locally made pint are near-impossible.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is releasing the latest in their line of “solo hop showcase” beers (think Cascade, Azacca, and Galaxy) with their Sabro Double IPA. At 7.5% ABV and more than 100 (calc) IBU, this is a hazy flavourful ode to this newer experimental hop. A very similar beer, by the same name, saw a one-time release in May 2019, as part of the “Single Hop IPA” competition at the Stillwell Open (brewed with our own acbbchris). This beer has had a few tweaks made to it, but not many! Like last year, the beer features a massive tropical nose and flavour of pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut, with a smooth body and balanced bitterness. No fruit added to this beer, that’s all from the Sabro hops! Available on draught for growler fills (both Prop Shops) and pints (at their Gottingen Street taproom, and at licensees across the province), as well as in cans at Prop both locations, plus at many NSLC locations across the province (check store availability here). And fear not fans, unlike last year, this beer will be sticking around for a spell, at least through winter and spring.

And in case you missed it, Propeller released a very different beer last week, a Rauchbier. Focussing on the malt side of things, this features a light smoke character thanks to the beechwood-smoked malt used. Melded with a pleasant toast character from medium-dark malts, the hops are there only for a balancing act. Fermented with lager yeast means this is a clean and crisp beer without anything getting in the way of the light flavour. This is a draught-only release, with growlers and pints of the 5.0% ABV beer available now. And as if you needed another reason to visit, today’s Cask at their Gottingen Street taproom is Baltic Porter on Oak aged in rum. That is tapped at 5 PM, and lasts… until it doesn’t.

Over in Miramichi, Timber Ship Brewing has released their first new beer in several months, Peabody Porter. This English Porter (usually sweeter than their American counterparts) was brewed with Maris Otter, Brown malt and Chocolate malt in the grist, and hopped with the Fuggle variety to 27 IBUs. Once fermentation was complete (it rings it at 5% ABV), the beer was allowed to condition on vanilla beans for some time, to complement the notes of coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. Look for it on tap at your favourite Timber Ship accounts.

TrailWay is launching their latest batch of El Generico, their constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest batch – released today – features a large addition of peach puree, as well as a small amount of passion fruit concentrate. Stone fruit is obviously the center of attention here, with “an overall tropical vibe” and moderate acidity. Cans and on tap at the brewery and elsewhere too! 

And while on the subject of TrailWay, they still have two new-as-of-last-week hoppy beers available at the brewery (on tap and in cans). South Island (6% ABV)  is their newest American IPA, which was single-hopped with the very difficult to source Nelson Sauvin. This New Zealand variety is well-known for the gooseberry character it imparts in beer; South Island also exhibits grape and grapefruit. Next up is Box Theories, an 8% ABV DIPA that focuses on Strata, a fairly new hop variety that gives the beer lots of tropical fruit (especially mango and melon, according to the brewery), as well as citrus and tangerine. The beer was also brewed with small amounts of Munich and Rye malt, and flaked grain, to provide a bit more malt character than is typical for TW’s hoppier offerings. Look for this one to pop up at ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future.

Finally in TrailWay news, they rang in the New Year by making full use of their taproom beer engine by “reinventing” their cask program. The plans are to brew a new beer every month, with these beers specifically designed to be served via the beer engine. Their first release was Dry Stout, their 5% ABV take on the style of the same name. Also known as an Irish Stout, the beer is “slightly roasty and coffee-forward, complemented by some chocolate sweetness”. No word yet on the next release, but we’re all for well-made beers poured via handpump (and cool to see it served in their new 10 oz British-style Nonic glassware).

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault so enjoyed the first Brut beer that they brewed (Brighid, a collaboration with Big Tide’s Wendy Papadopoulos for International Women’s Day), they’ve gone ahead and created a completely new one. La Pêchée is a Brut IPA hopped with heavy amounts of Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, and features an addition of peach puree. Which the peach definitely comes through in the aroma, this 8.8% ABV beer is definitely not sweet; enzymes were added to help the yeast chew up any remaining sugars, so the beer finishes very dry, with a lingering bitterness. It’s only available at the brewery; you can pick it up there in growlers or in bottles.

Back in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing teamed up with their pals across the bridge at Timber Lounge to release a special collaborative brew. Long-time supporters of local craft beer, the axellent people at Timber Lounge were looking to spruce things up on their taps, and New Scotland bowed their way in to help. OK, enough of my horrible puns. Timbeer is a 6.0% ABV Spruce-infused Ale, but the name alone does not tell the whole story… Using spruce bows and bark hand selected by TL’s Darren Hudson (World Champion lumberjack), the New Scotland crew did an overnight infusion of the brewing water with the wood, before sparging traditional European malt, adding Old World hops, and fermenting it with Kveik yeast. Think Norwegian farmhouse ale, but with a Nova Scotian twist. That extra effort is worth it, as the beer is brimming with spruce character on a pale base. This is a Timber Lounge / New Scotland exclusive (and limited) release, so be sure to drop by one, or both, to grab a pint of it before it makes like a tree, and leaves. (sorry, had to do it)

Out of the bustling metropolis of Hanwell, NB, comes a welcome re-release from our friends at Niche Brewing. If you love you some hops but are looking for a bit of a break from the ultra hazy, super juicy, low bitterness, soft mouthfeel NEIPAs that are currently dominating the market and are waxing sentimental for a good old West Coast IPA, then Niche has you covered. First released a few months ago, North Park harkens back to a time when nobody suspected anyone of putting flour in their beer. Piney, fruity, and a bit dank, owing to the use of some classic American hop varietals (Simcoe and Columbus in the kettle, more of the same plus Citra in the dry hop), it weighs in at 6% ABV. Not a candidate for the IBU wars, this one’s still plenty bitter at 45 IBU. Look for it at the usual Niche tap accounts as well as the ANBL Moncton North Growler Station (which is also scheduled to have their Day Tripper Belgian Tripel real soon now). And in other Niche release news, this time on the packaged side, version 2 of their barrel-aged saison, Evolution, will be available next week at select ANBL stores. Featuring the house culture that they’ve been nurturing and using since they opened, it was aged in the same Chardonnay barrel as version 1 and Golden Flair for about 6 months. Super dry, extra bubbly, and slightly tart, it comes in at 6.8% ABV. And stay tuned for more bottled Niche news as they’re pledging to package more this year and even if that doesn’t work out (bottling sucks, folks), we happen to know that the one they’ve got coming up next is pretty special.

Sober Island Brewing in Sheet Harbour has officially opened their taproom, and are continuing the celebrations this weekend and next, with the space open Saturday and Sunday afternoon, 2 – 5 PM. They are then switching to full winter hours, which means more access to their taps and crowlers on Thursday and Friday, when they are open 4 – 9 PM both days, and are featuring Trivia each Thursday night beginning at 7 PM. Those hours begin on Thursday the 16th, and will continue until they open up 7 days a week in the summer, after all of their renovations, improvements, and expansions are complete, which includes doubling their taps to eight. Pouring now are their Beth’s Black Oyster Stout, Marigold Blonde, and a fresh batch of their IPA. And they’ll soon be pouring an Old Ale that we’ll fill you in on when we have more information.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing released a pair of new beers over the last two weeks, on decidedly different ends of the spectrum. Due South Pina Colada Milkshake IPA features the addition of raw coconut and fresh pineapple, along with some lactose (milk sugar), complementing the massive hops addition, resulting in a 7.2% ABV, 80 IBU beer. And on the other end, Rum Row is a 9.9% ABV, 40 IBU Imperial Stout, that was aged on cranberries from Terra Beata farm and Ironworks Distillery Bluenose Rum-soaked oak cubes. Rich dark malt, tart cranberry, and dark rum notes blend together in this beer. Both should still be available on tap and in crowlers at the brewery, and also at the Grand Banker.

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing released their inaugural brew in their Field Trip series, featuring different fruit featured in kettle sours. The first release is Field Trip: Pomegranate, jam packed with the eponymous fruit, complementing the tart and sessionable underlying beer. This 5.0% ABV beer is still on tap at the brewery and available to go in cans.

Is it already getting to be FCBF 2020 time? Eek! Here’s the pertinent info on another related event going on in Freddie that week:

With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival two months away (still a few tickets left for the Friday night session as well as Saturday afternoon), the other events surrounding the fun weekend are coming into focus. One of which is the Down East Brew Conference, happening on Thursday and Friday, March 5 & 6. Aimed at those in the brewing and distilling industry, or those looking to get into it, there are two full days of talks on all aspects of the craft. From malt and hops history and analysis, how to treat and test your yeast, as well as trademark and tap room operations, attendees will be sure to learn a thing or two. Speakers are coming from across the country, as well as the US, and there will be plenty of time for socializing and networking. The conference will also feature a Tradeshow floor with booths from suppliers and producers. Tickets (and the full agendas) for attendees are available here (don’t forget to use code DEBC20 to save $30 off admission if you are a member of any of the provincial brewery/alcohol associations).

And, as usual, here’s a couple more quick newsbites before you get on towards your first weekend of 2020!

Big Spruce’s Conniption Fit, a 4% ABV Golden Ale, has only been around for a very short time, but cans are already hitting NSLC stores across the province. Crisp and refreshing, it was brewed with the word “sessionable” in mind, and now it’s even easier for you to get it into your home (and then your stomachs)!

Flying Boats has a “Brewer’s Test Recipe” batch exclusively on tap at their taproom in Dieppe; Mango Wheat Ale (5.3% ABV)  was brewed with mango puree to give plenty of tropical flavour.

Our regular schedule of Friday afternoon posting has some downsides and one of them is that sometimes a small batch of special beer is released earlier in the week and we can’t tell you in time. Such is the case with CAVOK Brewing’s Alpha Canis Majoris, Cuvée 2019, a Sirius (hah!) 4.5% ABV mixed-fermentation beer with Brettanomyces and dark berries (dark cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) that was aged for some 4 months before packaging. Only 80 bottles were available when it was released on the 31st of December and we’re told that there were only a few left as of yesterday morning so we don’t suspect there are any remaining at this point, but we thought we’d let you know so you can keep an eye out for more interesting releases from CAVOK in the future (Cuvée 2019 does sort of imply that there might be a Cuvée 2020, now, doesn’t it!).

Well, here we are in December, and while the weather hasn’t been too terrible, there’s still a great argument to be made for stocking up on beer for both the holidays and for après shovelling, sledding, skiing, and other wintertime activities that are fun and/or necessary. The good news around that is that our region’s breweries continue to step up with new and interesting beers that will make building up a collection fun and interesting, if not easy (how do we choose?!). And not only that, but we’ve got some news about a couple breweries expanding, which can only mean more beer and/or more space to drink it in! Read on for details on those and for the rest of your weekly dose of beer news from across the Atlantic Provinces.

Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl opened their doors December 6th, 2018, and to celebrate their First Anniversary, today they are releasing an appropriate beer to celebrate, Burn Your Boats. This 9.0% ABV deep dark beauty is an Imperial Stout that spent several months in Bourbon barrels before canning. Major dark roast and coffee notes are paired with the lovely vanilla and notes of spirits. BYB is available at the brewery at opening today at 3 PM, by the glass and in a limited run of cans too (ISO!). And while you’re at the brewery, check out their wide selection of glassware that they’ve had shipped in from Jymline, plenty of options for whichever beer you’re drinking, from 1 litre Maß to a small Arome glass. Keep an eye on their IG account for more details on their Anniversary Party and their plans from now until the end of the month (we can tease that there is another Merb’ys collaboration coming out next week, a Key Lime Pastry Pale Ale!, and Cake Tray, a Cherry Pound Cake Pastry Pale Ale joining it. More detes next week. Congratulations to the Landwash family!

The folks at Propeller have been playing with their small batch program, and have brewed up three pilot brews that have all been fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast strain. The first of these beers has just been released today, Schwarzbier. Named, of course, after the style that is commonly referred to as a “Black Lager”, the grist contained a portion of debittered black malt (huskless malt that provides that dark colour and some roasted character, without the acrid flavours that can accompany darker malts), giving the beer a deep, black colour. Hopped to 30 IBUs with noble varieties, the beer has a “subtle, earthy backdrop” to complement. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is light-bodied and moderately dry, with a clean finish. If you’d like to give it a try, best to drop by one of the Prop shops to find it. And while you’re there, you can grab this year’s edition of their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (note that this version is marked as 2018, as the beer went into Bourbon barrels in December of last year).

The folks at recently-opened Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton are starting to run some experiments on their pilot system, which should be welcome news to those who are able to get to the brewery to try them. There are 3 small batches going on the taps right now for folks to try. First up is a coffee saison, St Caroline, at 6.0% ABV and using coffee sourced from local organic roaster Sunny Brae Coffee. This one still maintains a light color thanks to the use of cold brew on the coffee side. Next up is a gose they’re calling Duck Duck Gose, that they describe as “very balanced” and which also weighs in at 6.0% ABV. And last, but certainly not least, is a Piña Colada Milkshake IPA dubbed Love at Midnight. With flavors of pineapple and coconut, as you’d expect in anything bearing the descriptor “Piña Colada”, there was also an addition of lactose for a sweetness to enhance the fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This one is already in short supply though, so if you want to try it you’d best make your way to Tire Shack this weekend! But wait, there’s more! Just because they’re tapping the pilot system doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the big one. Resistance is Fruitile (*groan*) is a black raspberry sour that’s described as “Christmas in a Glass” owing to its red color. Look for this one to see a limited canning run over the next week or two.

Bedford’s Off Track released a new IPA late last week out this week, Jersey IPA. Named after a loyal customer’s recently-deceased Boston Terrier, Jersey, both of whom would often frequent the taproom. Jersey IPA is of the American variety, and was brewed with a fairly simple grist, and hopped with a blend of Mosaic and Cascade. Golden-coloured, with lots of tropical and citrus notes from the hop additions, it’s just about sold out already. Luckily, they do plan on brewing a larger batch of this 5.5% ABV, 63 IBUs brew; however, you may still be able to get one of the last pours from the final keg if you get over there soon!

Fredericton’s Red Rover Cider has a new release hitting their shelves today, a cider three years in the making. Starting from a blend of Spartan apples and Dolgo crabapples, after an initial 6-month cool fermentation, this dry cider was aged on oak for over two years before packaging. The full aromatics from Spartan (even when fermented bone-dry), along with the acidic character from the Dolgo make this a blend made in heaven. Le Brut is a 7.6% sparkling cider, and is available now at their CiderHouse location on Queen Street, Fredericton Farmers Market this weekend, and soon from their online store. The handsome bottle seems like a great option to pop open at midnight in a few short weeks…

Let’s stay in Fredericton (well, in Fredericton-adjacent Hanwell) for the next new release, from Niche Brewing. Celebrating their 100th batch (congrats, guys!), they decided to push the envelope in a different direction this time, brewing and fermenting their first Lager. The Bear is a 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, featuring Pilsner and Munich (natch) malts, a light bittering addition of Magnum hops, and fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. Bold malt flavour, but not sweetness, a touch of floral hop, and dry finish are what to expect in this beer, perfect for new- and old-school craft drinkers alike. Sharing the nickname of the father-in-law of co-owner Shawn Meek, The Bear is one that we think he’d be proud of. Grab a pint at one of their licensees around the Capital city, and those in Halifax will soon be able to enjoy it on tap at Stillwell HQ.

We’ve got tons of news from Robie Street, Halifax’s, Good Robot Brewing this week, so prep yourself before you wet yourself… First up is Li’l Creature aka Creature Feature VIII aka Baby Yoda, the latest and littlest in their line of biotransformation (aka, hopping during high fermentation) IPAs. At 4.5% ABV, you can still enjoy all of the tropical and citrus notes from a bigger IPA, but without the hangover. Next is C.R.E.A.M. – Cats Rule Everything Around Me, a new released dreamed up to hit the taps at the HaliMac Axe Throwing locations in Halifax and Kentville. Look for this light drinking Cream Ale the next time you’re tossing the ol’ hatchet around.

This week’s release of their first Beta Brew in a while (The Absolute Unit Belgian Tripel, thanks to their Sabco system being back up and running) wasn’t a one-time thing, as next Tuesday sees the launch of Stabby Geoff. Brewed with Brendan Martin, they’re describing it as a 5.3% ABV Wheat Ale hopped with Warrior, Ella and Summit in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Not being finished there (it IS a Beta Brew, after all), they also threw in some Queen of Tarts tea, and Grains of Paradise. Following hot on the heels of that brew will be their next newest beer, Et Tu? Brut IPA, a couple of days later on Thursday, Dec 12th (gotta admit, clever segue with the beer names there!). Naturally a Brut IPA, this 6.4% ABV, 22 IBUs brew has “bright flavours of orange and lemon citrus, as well as some white tea”, and finishes expectantly dry.

In St. John’s, this Monday saw the annual release of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (2019). This year’s batch is a 7.3% ABV Mocha Porter brewed with Oats, Wheat and Flaked Barley, along with Midnight Wheat, BlackPrinz, and Roasted Barley. These latter specialty grains added plenty of roasted character to the brew (along with a black colour, of course), but not too much so that the other wonderful flavours don’t come through. Specifically, we’re talking about the “deep, beautiful, nutty and malty” notes from the addition of Brazilian coffee beans (roasted by local Darkstar Coffee Roasters). The brew was hopped (to 25 IBUs) with Sasquatch and East Kent Goldings to add a bit of earthiness and a surprising licorice presence, according to the brewery. You can find it on tap at the brewpub and in bottles for takeaway; the bottles should be landing at NLC stores later in the week.  

Looks like there’s a new hoppy beer coming out of North Brewing this week, and it’s also the second release in the brewery’s 2019 collaboration with Benjamin Bridge. Musqué Double IPA was co-fermented on Chardonnay musqué grape skins (provided by the winery, naturally), and dry-hopped with the Australian Vic Secret variety. This 8% ABV hybrid DIPA is showing “notes of pear, mango and grape”, with a delicate acidity, and is dangerously easy-drinking. It launches today, and you can grab it in some fancy-lookin’ cans if you’re in the area. And why not pick up some Blanc while you’re there, which made its return last week? This year’s batch of the 4.5% ABV Grisette was fermented on some skins of its own… specifically, Sauvignon Blanc skins that were also provided by Benjamin Bridge. Like last year, $0.50 from each can sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share concerning North. Recently, their good friend and business partner, Leo Christakos, passed away unexpectedly. Leo was involved in creating Battery Park, and was always thoroughly involved with every aspect of the business, ranging from customer service to the nitty gritty details. Long-time fans of craft beer will undoubtedly connect him to the Brooklyn Warehouse, a restaurant that Leo opened, that was one of the first restaurants in the city to give craft beer top billing. His death is a huge loss to the craft beer community, and our condolences go out to his family and everyone touched by his loss… which are many, indeed. 

Fresh off their big win at the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards last month, Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has branched out and released their first cider. Fizz the Season is a 6.0% ABV blend of all Island apples, processed and pressed right in the brewery. Featuring a blend of holiday spicing (think cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice), Fizz is a nice complement to the crispy lagers and ales they’ve been releasing (and winning awards for!). And coming out next week is the beginning of their SMaSH (Single Malt And Single Hop) series with Shoreline Malting, with a new malt being used to create its iconic beer recipe. First up will be a Munich Dunkel, hitting the taps and retail next week. Joining it will be another new cider blend, this time using fresh local cranberries, bringing a decidely tart character to the finished product. We’ll have lots more on those releases next week, of course!

Down in Shelburne, NS, Boxing Rock has both a new beer and a returning favorite this week. On the new side is Inverse a “white stout”. Reminding everyone that “stout” means “strong”, not necessarily “dark”, this beer looks like a pale ale, but has plenty of the coffee, and chocolate flavors you’d associate with a darker beer in the stout style. Featuring additions of cold-brewed espresso to boost the coffee notes and vanilla to provide a background sweetness and smooth mouthfeel, it comes in at 6% ABV. Also returning to the fold is a beer first released in March of this year, Patricius Irish Stout, a 5% ABV stout that IS dark. “Refreshingly dry,” and intended to be an easy drinking beer for the winter months, it’s light enough in ABV that you won’t have to worry about having a couple on a snowy afternoon. Keep your eyes out for these beers, along with their barrel-aged series, Fisticuffs, wherever you get your BR fix. And if you’re interested in trying those big beers, but not sure you want to commit to a big bottle, you also have a chance to try them paired with cheese and cookies at Boxing Rock’s two upcoming customer appreciation events, the first at Local Source in Halifax on Thursday, December 12, from 4 – 6 PM and the second at the taproom in Shelburne on Thursday, December 19, from 5 – 7 PM.

If you follow TrailWay Brewing on social media, you may have noticed their mention a couple of weeks ago of a collaboration they did with Quebec’s Lagabiere brewery. The beer was De L’Autre Boutte to Here, a double-dry-hopped American IPA that they brewed at the Lagabiere’s location in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Luckily for their NB fans, they came back to Fredericton and brewed the same beer in their own brewery, and it’s being released today. At 7% ABV, it was hopped with almost twice the typical-for-TW amount of hops for their IPAs (which we’re guessing is therefore a crapload, for lack of a better term). The hops used were Motueka, Simcoe and Citra, so expect lots of juicy, tropical fruit character. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery starting today. If you stop by, you’ll also notice that their Simcoe-focused American IPA, More Better, is also back; this one will also be hitting ANBL growler stations in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve got two bits of big expansion news to tell you about today, one in Nova Scotia, and one in New Brunswick.

Since opening their doors in 2016, Sober Island Brewing has been bringing great beer to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Currently brewing in their own space at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, they have announced that their own taproom will be opening next door in a couple of weeks. Located at 22462 Highway 7 (the former Three Sisters storefront), the taproom will have room for 50 guests, in a common area as well as side room that can be closed off for private events, or opened to accommodate thirsty visitors. Thanks to their manufacturers permit, they are able to welcome kids as well as adults, so no need to tie Junior up outside while you have a wee swally. With beer on tap, cider in the bottle, and some non-alcoholic bevvies to start, they’ll be expanding to an 8 tap draught system with beer, cider, and mobucha flowing. Their spot will also feature a retail space, with cans, crowlers, as well as growler fills, for the first time ever. Local flair is abundant in the space, with a live edge bar top, stone accents, and boards from an old barn. Local craftsman George Child has been a great asset to the design and build, still working harder than most, despite celebrating 80 years of age. So, when can you visit?? It won’t be long now, as they will be opening their doors Tuesday, December 17th, and celebrating with the launch of new merchandise and a new batch of IPA. From then until December 22nd, they will be welcoming guests in the new space, and then taking a break over Christmas. They will then be opening again for a New Year’s Day levee potluck, to celebrate the new year and big things to come in 2020 (including some short-term rental rooms above the taproom for the full SIBC experience). We’ll have lots more details to share with you as the space comes into its own over winter, and the Sober Island team is excited to offer a space that is open year-round, as well as partnering with neighbouring Henley House during its open season.

In other big taproom and expansion news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has announced that they will be opening a brewery and taproom location in the New Year. Currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in the basement of their Main Street restaurant of the same name, they will be exiting into the light, and expanding brewing operations significantly. Located 15 minutes walk down Main at 1355 Main Street, the new location is just a 3 minute walk from the new Avenir Centre. The 15 BBL (1800 litre) system will offer the ability to serve not only their restaurant, but the new tap room onsite and more regular growler fills and canned offerings. The location will also have a kitchen onsite, which may mean more access to their High Fives pizza offerings. As they work hard on renovations and opening their doors this Spring, they’ve launched a new website to let you see behind the scenes, as well as pick up some great deals perfect for sharing with your loved ones (or not, no sharing!) over the holidays. Peep their deals on the Mug Club, Growler Club, Pizza Party and others here. Congratulations on the big news to Chad and the rest of the T&B crew.

Only one event in the hopper this week, but if you haven’t been to the Garrison Oxford Taproom yet, this would be a fun way to get an introduction:

If you’re in Halifax and looking for an excuse to get away from all your Christmas shopping this weekend (or if you just want to get away from your family, we won’t judge), the Ladies Beer League has you covered. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a December Bevvy at the Oxford Taproom from 2-4 pm. Hang out in the loft and drink some Garrison beers; they’ll even have some merch available for purchase, so you can take care of a bit of shopping at the same time, you efficient bugger you. They’ll also be collecting donations for Feed Nova Scotia, and if you donate you’ll be entered to win a gift basket with treats from the LBL and Garrison. 

And a few last mentions before we send you on your way:

With Foghorn’s recent expansion comes great responsibility… no wait, sorry, a new canning line! They’ve recently canned and released some of their regulars, including Golden Grover (English Pale Ale), Bumble (APA), and Constable Winchester (IPA). You can find them at brewery’s taproom in Rothesay, and at ANBL stores across the province.

Maybee Brewing released a new DIPA last week, Clockwork. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, it has “rich stone fruit and citrus notes, a clean and balanced malt profile, and a light caramel finish”. Find it at the brewery, and at select licensees.

The PEI Brewing Co. has begun their Christmas Growler Countdown, where they release a new, small batch beer for growler fills, every Friday leading up to Christmas. This week’s release is English Mild with Brett; it goes on tap at the brewery starting today at 4 pm.

Secret Cove Brewing has teamed up with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi to brew The Rice is Right, a 4.8% ABV Session IPA. The beer is “crisp and smooth”, and features the addition of gelatinized Japanese rice.