All posts by acbbchris

Another week in paradise! We’ve got many great beers being released this week and next, perfect for grabbing and enjoying on the patio, at the lake, or wherever you like to relax.

Let’s start off with TrailWay Brewing and the release of Buck’s Fizz, the brewery’s first endeavour at the relatively-new Brut IPA style. Also sometimes known as “Champagne IPA”, it’s a beer that’s meant to be very dry, light, and effervescent, with good clarity, and still plenty of hop character in the aroma and flavour (while keeping the bitterness low). For TW’s take on the style, they used a grain bill with no adjuncts, and used the addition of enzymes (a common approach) to help the beer dry out to a final gravity of 1.000 (the same as water). Hopped “moderately” with Idaho 7, they also added fresh orange zest to the beer, giving a final product that is described as “dry, zesty, crispy, tart yet clean, fruity, and incredibly refreshing”. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV, and can be purchased at the brewery in cans and growlers today; look for it on tap at your favourite TW account as well.

In Saint John, Hammond River announced their very first India Pale Lager, Trickle Down. Brewed with 2-row and Munich malt, with a bit of CaraRed and Wheat thrown in for good measure, it was bittered with Columbus hops to 76 IBUs. With late additions of Citra and Mosaic to bring lots of juiciness to the beer, it was fermented with a dry Lager strain (to 7% ABV) and allowed to lager at cool temps for two weeks before packaging. You can find it on tap at HR’s taproom, and at select licensees. And look for the release of Cherry Pie, the latest in the line of fruited Berliner Weisses from the brewery, on tap soon; with the same base as the other beers in the series, it features the addition of plenty of sweet cherry puree. Super sessionable at just 3.2% ABV, it’ll also be on tap at HR.

Niche Brewing in Fredericton (sorry, HAAAAN-well) is tipping their hand a little this week regarding how old they think their customer is. The name of their new beer, Three Little Fonzies will either have you saying “Aaayyyyyyy” or scratching your head wondering what a “Fonzie” might be. Oh wait. Maybe Niche is just telling us to be cool, like Yolanda (aka Honey Bunny), especially after all this hot weather (although you’ve got to be pretty old to get that one too). Aaaaanyway, the beer is a Brett IPA featuring multiple strains of Brettanomyces and hopped and dry-hopped with three super tropical modern hop varieties (no doubt the Fonzies in question): El Dorado, Galaxy, and Vic Secret. Described as tropical, lemony and funky, it’s 6.2% ABV and a firm 50 IBU, with a dry finish, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there’s a little bit of funk showing through on this one. In other Niche news, if you missed their Pineapple Persuasion last time around, great news as it’ll be back early next week for another go round. A 4.7% ABV kettle sour with pineapple puree and milk sugar, also known as lactose. Look for these beers to appear at Niche tap accounts in Fredericton, the rest of New Brunswick, and if some of us are really lucky, in NS as well!

Over in Halifax, Tidehouse has a couple new beers out this week for you to ponder, considering whether maybe you should head downtown to grab a growler or try a pint (you should!). The first one we’d like to mention, mainly because the name is so out there (even for Tidehouse), is Jeff Goldblum Is Watching You Drink. A 7.1% ABV New England IPA (of course, what ELSE would it be with that name!), it was hopped with Cascade and Mosaic Cryo hops. With some spicy aromas, and flavours of “lemony grapefruit with notes of pomegranate and red berries”, it’s hazy and juicy like a good NEIPA should be. Note that consuming this beer at Tidehouse’s tasting room absolutely required your best public Goldblum impression. And in bottles, why not pick up a few Tiger Tail Ice Cream Ale? A 6.5% ABV brew with “big, bright orange notes, combined with a pinch of vanilla and lactose” with a bit of licorice and chocolate to complement, it’s TH’s attempt at recreating your favourite ice cream treat (if you’re old enough… or, if like me, you preferred Spacecicles). 340 mL bottles, limit of six per person.

Tuesday’s going to be a big day at Good Robot Brewing in North End Halifax. First, as almost always, Kelly Costello will be releasing a Beta brew that she teamed up with someone from the community to make. This week it’s the fine folks from The Floatation Centre (also in North End Halifax). Kiss From a Rose is a 4.9% ABV Pale Ale, but a very refined one that features rose petals, ginger root and Galaxy hops. Some additional ingredients were added post-fermentation, but to find out what they are you’ll have to attend the tapping of the keg on Tuesday and ask Lindsay and her team about it, because until then, their lips are SEALed. Sorry (not sorry). And on that very same day Rumble Fish Food Co will officially be opening. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking that the GR taproom would be even better with a full food menu available, and especially if you’ve experienced the culinary delights of Black Sheep on Dresden Row, boy are you in luck. The people behind Black Sheep are the very same behind Rumble Fish; and Rumble Fish will be serving in the GR taproom. If you’re going to lead people, you have to have somewhere to go. As if it wasn’t already, Good Robot is looking like a pretty good destination. But wait, there’s more! Two days after the big Tuesday, you’ll find another new release on Robie Street, this one a table beer they’re cryptically calling Täble Beer. A light Belgian ale constructed from pale, vienna and melanoidin malts with some flaked wheat added into the grist, it was fermented with a Belgian Abbey strain no doubt to encourage a prominent yeast character. Hopped with a combination of Warrior, Wai-iti, and Mandarina Bavaria and tarted up post-fermentation with lemon zest and peel, this 4.2% ABV and 23 IBU beer is perfect for sitting around a table (or täble) and chatting the day or night away.

Staying in the North End of Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing becomes the latest brewery to try their hand at the Champagne IPA style with their classically-named Marcus Junius Brut IPA. Advertised as “Zero sugars, Half the carbs!” this 7.2% ABV beer is described as dry, crisp, hoppy and diet-friendly. Does that mean you can drink twice as much? As long as you were planning to drink half-responsibly we suppose maybe so (note: we are not a source of professional advice, especially about drinking). We’re not 100% sure whether brewer Greg Nash took the amylase enzyme route to a 1.000 finishing gravity, but we do know that he’s conquered the quirks of another enzyme, the one that makes Unfiltered’s flagship Exile on North Street IPA gluten-reduced, so if anyone’s going to tame that wee little bugger it’s him. Look for this one on tap for fills and pints today from noon. Et tu?

And towards the Eastern end of the Province, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a new beer and a re-release event this week. First up is a Kölsch that they’re calling Fairchild, named for the intrepid David Fairchild, who was described as both an “Adventure Botanist” and a “Food Spy” (where do you sign up for those job titles?) and who was at least partially responsible for getting cuttings from classic German Noble hop varieties transported and transplanted in North America. And isn’t Kölsch, a style from Cologne, Germany, a perfect beer to show off such hops? Sure is. This 5.6% ABV beer is, we think, only available at the Sprucetique. Meanwhile, back in Halifax, if you’re planning to hit the Stillwell Beer Garden this afternoon and you’ve got IPA on your mind, you may be psychic, as 5 PM today will see the launch of this year’s version of Tag! You’re It. Still a collab with Ocean Tracking Network and still a big ol’ juicy and ubër hoppy IPA, this year’s label features the Electric Torpedo Ray. Shocking!!

And from Cape Breton we move up to Newfoundland, where Port Rexton is proud to be a big part of the the first Port Rexton Pride festival (possibly the first “Bay Pride” event in Newfoundland & Labrador history) and they’ve brewed up a beer just for the occasion. Come Out Wit Ya was brewed with a local homebrew group, @queerbeernl, and it’s a Witbier with the traditional Belgian characters of spicy phenols, light bubblegum and banana with a big nose of coriander leading the parade. Fermented with the Fruity Wit yeast from Escarpment Labs to ensure a healthy dose of yeast character, this is a medium-bodied and refreshing beer that clocks in at 4.7% ABV, perfect for the 1st annual Port Rexton Pride Weekend. Look for it to be available this weekend for growler fills at both the taproom and the retail store.

And completing the journey through the Atlantic Provinces this week are two beers from the Upstreet family. First up, today marks the release of the latest in the Million Acres series, and possibly the most unwieldy named of all the unwieldy named beers in this series, Chardonnay Barrel-aged Peach Cream Witbier. Not designed to be set aside or put down for a nap, this one is all about immediate gratification. Featuring peach puree and lactose, expect it to lead with some sweetness that gives way to drying oak tannins from the barrel treatment. A spritzy carbonation accentuates the light body and, no doubt, some yeast character as well. Ironically, while it’s got name to spare, the beer itself is in fairly short supply with only 90 bottles available at each of the Upstreet Taproom, where pints will also be available on tap, and Craft Beer Corner (though as usual, there’s no growler fills for Million Acres releases). Secondly, although it won’t be available until after next week’s Friday Wrap-up is posted, we feel honor bound to advise you that this year’s version of Upstreet’s De Novo Farmhouse Saison has finally been deemed to be ready to go. Version 3 will be on sale next Saturday, August 18th, at Craft Beer Corner and Upstreet Taproom just in time for their 4th annual Upstreet Block Party. There’s been no word on whether any bottles of this one will make it to the mainland, so if you’ve enjoyed versions 1 and 2 and want to get your hands on some, plan accordingly.

Looks like there’s a brand new beer hitting the taps at Saltbox today, for those of you in/near the Mahone Bay area. Revelation is being referred to as a “Pilsner-style Ale” by the brewery; brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped with “a tangy variety of Czech hops”, it was fermented with a Pilsner yeast strain. The beer soon to be in your glass is described as “light and refreshing, with a snappy hop bitterness, floral hop aroma, a soft, bready malt center, and a clean, dry finish”. Due to fermentor limitations, the beer did not undergo an extended lagering period, hence the “Pilsner-style Ale” description. So, we present the question, is a beer fermented with a Lager yeast strain at cool temperatures, with no lagering period, better described as an Ale, or Lager? Or is it simply a non-lagered Lager? Discuss.

Propeller has a new Gottingen Small Batch brew out this evening, with a name that gets right to the point: Double Dry-Hopped Session Ale. Brewed with Flaked Wheat and Oats to boost the body – a much-welcome addition for a beer that’s just 3.8% ABV – the double dry-hop additions include Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado, “adding complex and expressive hop aromas of tropical citrus, with hints of pine”. Flavourful and sessionable… sounds great for summer, no? As usual, you can find it for growler fills at both Prop Shop locations after 5, for a limited time.

The Island Invasion across the Northumberland continues, as Charlottetown-favourite HopYard has now opened a location in Halifax. With their famous small plates brought to life by Chef Jane Crawford, and a serious vinyl collection, they will be pouring ten rotating taps from the Island and the Mainland. For those who have visited their original location on Kent Street, or folks who haven’t yet had a chance, be sure to drop into their 2103 Gottingen Street location for the latest food and brews. Keep up to date on their offerings, including the food menu as they do a full redesign every two weeks, on the Instagram page.

This weekend is the annual SeaPort Beerfest in Halifax, of course, but there’s at least one other event coming next week in Halifax:

We’ve got some great news for you cider lovers in the HRM, as Stillwell is holding Ciderama, a 3-day event from Thursday, Aug 16th to Saturday, Aug 18th. Both their Barrington St. and Beergarden locations will be taking part, with ciders pouring from a minimum of 16 different vendors. Thursday will feature “Cider and Food”, with special food items being created at the HQ and BG to pair with several different ciders that will be available. On Friday, “Ciders From the Cellar” means just what the name says, as they’ll be opening up a “massive” variety of cider (draught and bottled) that they’ve been cellaring, from cideries in Canada, Spain, and the UK. Finally, Saturday gives us “American Cider Day”, with ciders pouring from East Hollow (NY), Anxo (DC), and Graft (NY); East Hollow’s Seth Jones will even be on hand to chat all things concerning your favourite apply beverage. There’ll be plenty of other ciders and perries pouring throughout these three days, so get ready! No tickets required, just show up and pay by the glass/plate.

And a couple final things to leave you with:

Boxing Rock is re-releasing their hoppy Amber Ale, Unobtainium (5% ABV); hopped with Centennial, Simcoe, Cascade, and Orbit, it has a “malty rich backbone supporting some unexpected hop flavours”.
Tatamagouche Brewing’s Brown IPA, Tweed Wolf (7.1% ABV), has returned; hopped with Simcoe, Cascade and Huell Melon, you can find it on tap and in cans at Tata’s retail store, with cans also hitting select NSLC stores in the near future.

Retro Logo

Brasserie Retro Brewing opened in late July in Bertrand, on the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. Operating out of the Motel and Campground Colibri on Boulevard des Acadiens, Retro is owned and operated by three friends who met through a mutual love of beer, and have taken their hobby and passion and grown it enough to now share with the public. We spoke with one of the owners, Yves Godin, shortly after they opened.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re three partners in the company; myself (Yves), Joel Thibodeau and Maxime Hebert. We all work full time jobs and do this (brewing) as an “upgraded” hobby.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Joel and I met around 5 years ago at the Oktoberfest des Acadiens, in Bertrand. We both live in Bertrand and started to develop a passion for craft beer because of this Oktoberfest. After talking for a while, Joel asked me if I would be interested to try and brew a batch of beer with an all-grain kit, I jumped on the occasion and five years later we’re opening this micro… no… nanobrewery!

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
After brewing in my basement and in Joel’s garage for 4 years, we decided to take it to another level so we could share our creations with everyone. But the plan was to stay small because we don’t have time to brew full time. That’s when we decided to add another partner to the mix, so we could have a break from time to time. That’s when Max came in to play, early last year.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
We go with our name on this one. We wanted a short, bilingual name with enough context to play around with. Like the decoration, names of the beers, etc. When Joel proposed Retro, we saw the multiple possibilities that came with the name, it was exactly what we were looking for! So we don’t have any history in our beers, just funny, retro names that we try to match with the style.

Can you tell us about the beers you have available currently? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We decided to go with three “full-time” beers:
– A light pale ale at 4%, easy drinking, fully carbed named “Tapisserie Laide“, which translate to “Ugly Wallpaper”, you know… every had one in the 70’s!
– An amber ale at 6%, really smooth caramel taste, named “Tricycle Rouge“, or “Red Tricycle”, again, we all had one as kids.
– And the third one is an IPA at 7%, citrusy but not bitter, named “Arcade 2001“. We named this one off of an arcade that we had in Bertrand when I was a kid.
We are also brewing one-offs, we need to test the market so we try something different once in a while. If some recipes are more popular than others, we could add more to our regular lineup.
– A 6.3% ABV American Pale Ale named “Vinyl Scratché” (“Vinyl Scratch”), with a touch of pronounced alcohol and more hops than usual.
– A 5.0% ABV IPA named “Barre à Jack” (“Jack’s Bar”), a blonde-coloured beer with more hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness than our other offerings, perfect for hop-heads.

How can folks interested in Retro try your beer?
Because of our size (200 litres), we decided to sell 473ml cans and refill growlers (more on that below), only on location at the brewery. We plan to sell kegs to restaurants and other bars starting this fall. We’re located on a camping ground, so all the beer will be sold onsite during camping season. We’re not licensed for consumption at the brewery, that’s in our future plans.

Let’s talk growlers!
We sell our own 1 litre flip-top growler, which is yours to keep. We will refill any clean growler, no matter the brewery marking, style, or size.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We plan to have a few kegs available for the camping bar throughout the summer, also to the bar “La Brôkerie“, a popular bar in Caraquet, only open during summer time. The rest of the year we hope to sell to local restaurants.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We had lots of help from a few brewers, we couldn’t believe it! We heard of the “camaraderie” in the brewing world but it’s still a business, so we thought that the brewers we knew would help us a little bit to get started and that’s it, but we were wrong about that! I can say that all the breweries we approached for help to get started were more than happy to help us! I’m talking mainly about those we knew; Fils du Roy, Acadie-Broue, Brasseux d’la Côte, CAVOK, Four Rivers, Savoie’s Brewhouse and Petit-Sault, but also all the breweries that we talked with at all the craft beer festivals we went to! Because of all their help, tips and tricks, we were able to open our own brewery with good beers, all thanks to them! Now it’s our turn, we’ll gladly help anyone who wants to open a microbrewery!

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Maybe have a brewpub. We’ll have to check with the owners of Motel Camping Colibri if they would be willing to expand. If we always run out of beer, we could maybe hire a brewer to brew all week. But… we just opened so we’ll see where it takes us.

Tell us about the brewery itself, what type of system are you be brewing on?
We’re small… like 200-liters kit small, and 200 litres would be max, it’s more like 180 litres. And the brewery itself?? It’s 13 by 19 feet! We have our 3 kettles, 3 fermenters, double sink, a (single head) canning machine, label applicator, sales counter, 3 fridges and a hot water tank crammed in there! Our kettles were made by a local shop, we fitted them with hot water elements, so we’re electric. We plan to brew once a week, making between 9 to 10,000 liters yearly.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
At this point, we appreciate all kinds of beers, really, I think every style has its reason, time, and, place. My favorite style of beer is “a different style than the last one”.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not really, we like to experiment with different ingredients when we have time.

Congratulations to Yves, Joel, and Max on their recent launch. To celebrate their official opening, they are holding a contest on their Facebook page, so be sure to check it out! They are open all summer, Monday-Saturday 1-9PM, and Sunday 1-5PM, at the Motel Camping Colibri at 913 Boulevard des Acadiens in Bertrand. Their Instagram page is now live, so be sure to follow and tag them when you enjoy their beer! Felicitations Retro!

the harbour brewing logoThe Harbour Brewing Company will be opening very soon in Musquodoboit Harbour, located at 7955 Highway 7. The Harbour is the first self-owned brewing project for Chris Downey, a veteran of the brewing industry in Quebec and Nova Scotia for more than 25 years. We caught up with Downey to learn about his history in the brewing business, and beers and plans for The Harbour.

Can you tell us about your brewing and educational history?
I began brewing commercially at McAuslan in Montreal in 1991. In 1996, I went South to complete the Master Brewer’s Program at the University of California, Davis. After completing the program, I returned to Montreal to brew at the Brutopia Brewpub on Crescent Street, where I stayed for 18 years. Looking to relocate, I moved to Nova Scotia in 2015. I came on board at Nine Locks Brewing in Dartmouth, where I stayed for a couple of years, before moving on to Spindrift Brewing in Burnside.

brewery front mural

How did The Harbour Brewing come together?
After working for many years for other people, I finally decided to brew for myself. With the support of my fiancée and best friend, I decided my local area deserved its own brewery. We are focused on local suppliers, businesses, and market. It is the only brewery between Dartmouth and Sheet Harbour, separated by more than 100 kilometres; we believe we can make a positive impact on the community.

Can you tell us about the beers you will be launching with?
We are starting with a German Weizen-style blonde, an IPA and a Chocolate Porter. Given our size and capacity, at this point, all of our beers are “one-offs” or seasonals.

brewery side mural

How can people enjoy your beer?
The brewery has a hospitality room permit, allowing us to serve samples and sell growlers (both 0.95l and 1.89l). We hope to have some local accounts soon as well.

What are your plans for the future?
We intend to stay where we are until we have to move into more space, and will let the market dictate our expansion. We are not looking to be the biggest or make a fortune, rather we will make beer for the local community and allow our quality to determine our growth.


Can you tell us about the brewery equipment?
We have a 1BBL (120 litre) Blichmann brewhouse system, with two 120 litre bright tanks for fermentation and conditioning. We are focusing on draught/kegging for the time being.

Do you have a favourite ingredient to brew with?
I really like to brew with ginger root.

Any favourite local brewery we’ll find in your fridge at home?
My favourite N.S brewery is Boxing Rock.

Thank you to owner and brewer Chris Downey for taking time out to fill us in on The Harbour Brewing details. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more details of their exact launch date, which could be as soon as this weekend. Drop by their brightly painted building at 7955 Hwy 7 for samples and growlers of their first beers. Congratulations and welcome!