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Good day, craft beer fans! With the beautiful, hot weather upon us over the last week, things have actually slowed down – slightly, and temporarily we’re sure – in the world of local beer… but we’re not complaining! With only about 2,000 words to read this morning – we’ll have you back to reality in no time! Let’s get started…

• Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce has released a beer that’s only been seen once before. Consigliere debuted at the Stillwell Open during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week back in May, where we seem to recall it placed second in the Pale category. Brewed in collaboration with Brian Harvey, it’s a Rustic Farmhouse Saison that comes in at 4.5% ABV. Aged in Chardonnay barrels from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, it’s been bottled in 650 mL bombers. With a characterful yeast and barrel character, you might consider buying a couple, one to enjoy now and one to set down for a little bit of aging. It’s officially only available at the brewery at this point, but hints on social media suggest that it may make an appearance in Halifax as well, at the private stores, we assume.

• For those who have been eager to see what Chris Reynolds and Kyle Jeppesen have been getting up to in their secret North End Halifax lab for Stillwell Brewing Co, the time is nigh! And for their first release to the public, they’re coming with a Pilsner?! We can hear it now, “But…but…barrels? But…but…Brett?!” but fear not, gentle beer drinker, those beers will come with time. For now they’re bringing us a different sort of different. Inspired by several beers, but most of all Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils, Stilly Pils is a deep, rugged and unfiltered Pilsner that will stand in contrast to the craft Pilsners we know and love in our region. Continental Pilsner and the tiniest touch of Melanoidin in the grist provide a clean and classic base into which copious amounts of Noble Saaz and German Hersbrucker hops were poured, first bittering to the tune of 38 IBU, then a “wallop” in the whirlpool, and finally a “hefty” dry hopping. Brewed three months ago, after primary fermentation, it underwent a long maturation process at 6°C, with a final cold lagering period before packaging. We’re told that it’s very crisp and dry, with a prominent spicy and herbaceous hop presence and just a bit of lemony citrus. This one will be a true “House Beer”, being poured only at Stillwell and Stillwell Beer Garden starting at open this coming Tuesday, July 25th and on tap just until its gone! We have no idea how much of it they have, so maybe put a push on to get out on Tuesday! We will have a full interview and profile with Chris and Kyle next week, but until then, learn more about Stillwell Brewing, and get Chris’ take on Cellaring beers (what, how, why, etc) in the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, which dropped this morning.

• The rising trend that is the NEIPA (North East IPA, or New England IPA) continues on, with Tatamagouche Brewing throwing their hat in the ring with Fog Lights. Their very first stab at the cloudy, juicy, super-hoppy style involves a grist of 2-row, Horton Ridge Pale malt, oats and spelt, and hopped (at the end of the boil) with copious amounts of Amarillo, Azacca and Huell Melon. Fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer was dry-hopped with all three varieties during and after active fermentation, giving aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and dankness, with a smooth, soft mouthfeel. Sound good? Well, if you want some, it’ll be on tap only at the brewery and their regular accounts, with deliveries hitting Halifax yesterday. Go out and find some quickly!

• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery will soon be releasing their special collaboration beer – Le Tigre – that they brewed recently with the Ladies Beer League. Brewed with Midnight Wheat malt to darken the color and add some roastiness (but, being a dehusked malt, it doesn’t add much in the way of acrid flavors), the beer was hopped with Galaxy, Green Bullet, and Mandarina Bavaria to around 40 IBUs. Blood orange peel was also added to the beer, making it taste like, according to the brewery, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (yeah, like you really needed that link!). At 5.5% ABV, look for this one to be kegged and released to select accounts sometime next week.

• Next week is the PEI Pride Festival, and Charlottetown’s Upstreet is releasing a new beer to celebrate. Brewed in collaboration with Pride PEI, Rainbrew is a “Strawberry Lavendar Saison” that was brewed with a multitude of ingredients, each representing a color in the Pride flag: red (freshly-picked and pureed PEI strawberries), orange (malt), yellow (French Saison yeast), green (hops), blue (water) and purple (lavendar). Only a very limited amount of this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs Saison will be available; it will officially be released at this Monday’s Upstreet Pride Beer Launch at the brewery, from 7-10 pm. On tap at the taproom will be the only way to get it, so make sure to stop by for a pint!

• And in other Upstreet news, after a brief delay their 2nd anniversary beer, De Novo II, is now available on tap at the taproom, and for takeaway in 750 mL bottles (perfect for aging). For more info on this beer, check out our post from last month. And for you non-beer drinkers out there (wait, why are you reading this?), Upstreet has launched a line of non-alcoholic soda, Day Drift Craft Sodas. Available in three flavours: Strawberry Rhubarb Basil, Apple Ginger Elderflower, and Spiced Malt Cola, they can be purchased at the brewery, and at restaurants and retailers across the Island.

• During last weekend’s hugely successful Big Axe Craft Beer Festival, host brewery Big Axe launched two new beers, both of which include an interesting ingredient – glitter. Co-owner Tatiana Cole did some research and located a source of edible glitter, and incorporated it into both beers. First was Northern Lights Glitter Stout (5.8% ABV), which is their flagship Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout without the chocolate; the goal was to create a fun beer for the festival that would look good in the sun. Next is the Firefly Pale Ale, an APA brewed with Maris Otter and Light Munich and hopped with Amarillo. At 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, the addition of glitter certainly helps this one live up to its name. If you missed out on the festival, you can still find both beers on tap at the taproom in Nackawic; there is the possibility that they will be available on tap elsewhere in the future.

• We’ve got your weekly Good Robot updates right here (do these people actually sleep?)! They now have a third iteration of their Shocking Pink on tap at the brewery: while still a Radler version of their Goseface Killah (with pink lemonade and organic teas added), this new batch also incorporates another pink ingredient: unsprayed beets (shredded and cold-steeped) from Elmridge Farm. Drop by the brewery for a taste, pint, or growler. For next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday, Dominique Jure and Kelly C. have brewed up Wit’s Up Doc?, a Witbier with Pilsner, Wheat malt, Flaked Oats. Hopped lightly with Tettnang to 14 IBUs, this super-sessionable (3% ABV) Belgian-style ale also features… carrots! Grated and added at the end of the boil, the brewery guarantees your vision will actually be improved by the time you leave the brewery.* And finally, today’s Cask in the Sun will be Rhubarb Elderberry Goseface Killah – no description is necessary.
* Not a guarantee

• Back in late May we put out the word that Garrison was looking for folks to bring in their rhubarb in exchange for future considerations at the brewery. The response was excellent and once again a beer has been made to feature all those lovely tart stalks. It’s Rhubarb Saison! is in the Saison style, weighing in at 5.1% ABV and absolutely no IBUs. It’s got “a pale orange hazy colour and juicy acidity” that should match nicely with hot weather. You’ll find it at the brewery today for samples and fills, and hopefully you’ll also be seeing it at some licensees as early as this weekend.

Nine Locks launched a brand new beer at their Battery Park Tap Takeover yesterday, SMaSH and Grab. The Wheat (Single Malt) and Amarillo (Single Hop) beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and features a hazy blonde appearance and a nose of citrus and grapefruit, with a light characteristic wheat note. If you were not able to Grab the beer on tap yesterday, fear not, as it is available at the brewery currently, and will see release to licensees and private beer stores.

Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) has a pair of new beers available on tap today, courtesy of Brewmaster Kyle Jeppesen: Belgian Tripel is a 9.4% ABV golden beer, brewed in the traditional Belgian style, using Pilsner and Wheat malts, and a characteristic yeast. Lightly hopped to under 40 IBUs, this beer may be high in alcohol, but because of the high carbonation and lighter body, it is quite refreshing. The second beer to hit the taps may have a familiar name, but is a brand new beer. Today’s release of Crosscurrent Pale Ale was fermented using a Belgian Ale strain of yeast, offering a lower finishing gravity (and drier finish) and iconic yeast spiciness. The base recipe, consisting of pale malts with flaked oats and wheat, and hopped to 32 IBUs with Magnum and lots of New Zealand hop Dr. Rudi, remains the same, but the difference between the two versions is certainly apparent. Both the Tripel and Crosscurrent are available on tap at Gahan today, with the CC on tap at their outdoor Beer Bar patio, and both are also available to take away in 0.95l crowlers (can X growler cross).

What’s happening in our region this weekend? Check it out!

This weekend is Port Rexton Days, with a slew of events taking place Friday to Sunday in the Bonavista town. Part of that celebration is to mark Port Rexton Brewing’s First Anniversary! The brewery will be open all weekend, and taking part in events Saturday, namely an all-ages Street Fair adjacent to the brewery from 1-5pm, live music at the brewery from 5pm, plus axe throwing, a new beer release or two, and plenty of other fun. There may even be a few tickets available on the Axes & Ales Tour Bus, organized by St. John’s Beer Tours, leaving from the big city that morning.

• A reminder that Sociable! is being shown at Digby’s Roof Hound brewery and restaurant tomorrow evening at 9:00, with filmmakers Helen and Chris on hand to chat about the NS Craft Beer scene, as well as filmmaking. To celebrate, Roof Hound has invited the brewers from Heritage Brewing, Lunn’s Mill, and Schoolhouse Brewery to take part in the fun, and pour a keg of their beer. Your $5 cover fee will go directly to the filmmakers, so support local beer and art in a fun night!

• Earlier in the year, we told you about a new series of events where craft beer meets comedy. Brew Ha-Ha! has taken place at The Company House in Halifax a few times now, each time featuring the beers of a different local brewery. Now they’re taking the show on the road, with comedian Frank Russo and his special guests doing three nights in a row in the Annapolis Valley, first at Schoolhouse Brewery next Friday, July 28th at 8:00 PM, the following night, Saturday, July 29th at 8:00 PM, at the Port Pub & Bistro in Port Williams, and Sunday, July 30th at 3:00 PM, at L’Acadie Vineyards in Wolfville. Ticketing and specifics vary for each, so check the Facebook event pages for more details. Brew Ha-Ha! will also be returning to The Company House a week later, Saturday, August 5th, to feature Schoolhouse beers and a night of comedy in Halifax. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (DD tickets available for $10), and include 3 8oz pours of Schoolhouse beers and a chocolate pairing along with the show.

Just a pair of news bites to leave you with this week…

Long Bay, Rothesay’s newest brewery, has only been open for a few weeks, but look for bottles of their first two beers – Bantam APA and Chalice Belgian Ale – to be available at local ANBL stores hopefully by sometime next month.
Picaroons has released the latest beer in their Pivot DIPA series, Pivot #4 (8% ABV); this batch features Citra and Simcoe hops. It can be found both on tap and in bottles.
– We have more details on Pump House Brewery’s Growler Fill station that we first mentioned last week. Their 131 Mill Road location has a retail store now open from noon to midnight daily, filling 1.89L growlers and 0.95L crowlers of any and all of their current offerings, plus 6- and variety-packs of the bottled and canned offerings.

Happy Friday, and the beginning of a long weekend (maybe… depending on your job I guess?)! Unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking too hot for celebrating Canada’s big 150, but don’t let that stop you from getting out and (responsibly) enjoying some of the fine local beer in your area. And speaking of fine, local beer, we’ve got some news to report on just that very subject…

• Bathurst, New Brunswick will soon be the home to its first craft brewery, as Four Rivers Brewing Co. is planning to open their doors this December. Family-owned and operated, the four owners are currently renovating an entire building to house the 15 bbl (1750 L) DME brewhouse, which will also be home to a taproom. Likely launching with a Pale Ale and Amber Ale, with plenty of seasonals and one-offs to follow, beers will available in growlers, cans, and on tap at licensees across the province. We’ll keep you up to date with Four Rivers’ progress, and will be posting a Q&A with the owners in the future!

• The kind folks at Tatamagouche Brewing don’t want us beer lovers going thirsty, so they’re releasing plenty of brews this week! Let’s get right to it by starting with the brand new ones. First up is Main St. Mayhem, a 6.3% ABV, 65 IBU American IPA brewed with Pale and Pilsner malt, and a bit of Wheat and Rye malt for some extra character. Hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Huell Melon and Mosaic, it was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast to boost that juicy character that we all love even more. Growlers are now available at the brewery, and kegs are in the wild… a limited number of cans will be released next week.

• Moving right along, Tata Brew’s latest kettle-soured Berliner Weisse is next, and they’re calling it Guava Heist. With a base of Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a touch of rolled oats, this beer was aged on organic guava purée. At a super-sessionable 3.6% ABV and 4 IBUs, look for this one to be released next week in kegs, growlers and cans. Curious what the base beer itself tastes like? Well, luckily the brewery racked off some of the “lemony, bright citrus” base beer so visitors to the tasting room could do a side-by-side with the fruited version; a few kegs have also been released to select accounts. Be sure to seek out both!

• Finally, a couple of Tata favourites are returning as well. Their RR#2, a 4.9% ABV, 18 IBU light Lager brewed with Malagash-grown hops, is out now in kegs, growlers, and cans. This time around, the beer was hopped entirely with Mt. Hood – small amounts in the kettle, but with very large hopback additions, giving “very earthy, grassy, and floral” aromas. And Sunrise Trail ISA, one of the brewery’s Session IPAs, is also back for summer, with a slightly-tweaked recipe. The grist still features 2-row and Pilsner malt, but the Wheat has been replaced with Spelt. Hopped with lots of Azacca, as well as some Falconer’s Flight, Hallertau Blanc, and Simcoe (to 30 IBUs),  this one will be around all summer at the brewery, bars, and private stores, with cans even hitting the NSLC by August!

• The latest cider in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider is now available, for a limited time only. Strawberry Rhubarb is a delicious-sounding blend of the cidery’s cool-fermented dry apple cider with the juice of local, hand-picked ruby red rhubarb and garden strawberries, along with a bit of fresh-pressed apple juice to finish it all off. The final 6.3% ABV, pale-red, cider exhibits “bright notes of juicy strawberries paired with the bold zing of tart rhubarb”, with a crisp and refreshing finish that’s perfect for summer. The Blue Route will be the recipient of the 50 cents-from-every-fill donation for this release. Drop by the cidery today to get your fill!

Garrison Brewing released another sour beer yesterday at the brewery. Sour to the People is a “Strong Sour Ale”, brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, no hops were added at any point in the brewing process. While the majority of kettle-soured beers tend to be in the sub-5% ABV range, this new brew comes in at 6.5% ABV, and has aromas of green apple, peach, and sweet malt, and more green apple and lemon on the palate. Drop by the brewery for a sample and growler fill, and look for this one to pop up on tap around the HRM.

Spindrift has a new beer they just launched yesterday at the brewery, Blood Orange India Pale Lager. With a grist of Heidelburg (a very-light coloured malt), Light Munich, and Vienna, the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with El Dorado, Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe. Aged on 900 lbs of pure blood oranges, it was then dry-hopped with more Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria… needless to say, we can expect lots of tropical and stone fruit notes to complement the citrus and red berry characteristics of the blood orange. This 5.5% ABV Lager is available now in cans and growlers at the brewery, with the cans likely trickling into private stores over the weekend.

• It’s Friday, which (usually) means that 2 Crows is releasing another small batch brew at the brewery! Crystal Rhythm is a “Brett Session Ale”, a 3.9% ABV, 35 IBUs beer fermented with Amalgamation, an increasingly-popular pitch made up of six different strains of Brettanomyces. With late boil additions of Azacca, Citra and Galaxy, the beer was dry-hopped with Simcoe and a touch of Calypso, and conditioned on lime zest. Described as “dry, crushable, citrusy, and a bit funky”, if all that isn’t enough to make you non-Haligonians want to move to Halifax, here’s something else – like the other small batch releases, it’s only available for pours at the taproom. Dang.

• Though we might be accused of stretching the credulity of “beer-related” on this one, hear us out. If you’ll recall a few months ago, we told you about the magnificent Calvados Foeders brought in by 2 Crows for some barrel-aging projects. As it turns out, beer isn’t the only thing that can benefit from some time in the barrel: a recent trend in coffee is to age green beans in a spirit barrel before roasting them. Dartmouth coffee and cold brew purveyors Low Point Coffee Co. (formerly Bottleneck Coffee) jumped on that train and hit up 2 Crows’ brewmaster Jeremy Taylor for some foeder time for a bean lot from Burundi. Already sporting notes of caramel, candy apple, lemongrass and a faintly floral aroma, it’s now been kissed by decades worth of Calvados which impart toffee and black cherry undertones and some noticeable boozy notes, especially on the nose. The gang at Low Point has brewed a small amount that you can look for to pop up around the city via keg accounts and the remaining roasted beans will be available by the bag. They recommend a one-cup method, be it pour over, siphon, aeropress, cold brew or espresso and would be happy to provide advice to you if you’re lucky enough to lay hands on some of these beans. And here’s where we come back around to beer: one of the popular uses for barrel-aged coffee beans is for flavouring big dark beers known for coffee flavours, such as Russian Imperial Stouts. So if you’re a home brewer with a RIS in the works, maybe consider some barrel-aged beans and making it an extra special batch. Meanwhile everyone else can look forward to the inevitability of a production brewery taking advantage of this new resource in town.

• Newly-opened Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth has already released a new beer, Rusty Truck Red Ale. With lots of malt flavour thanks to a grist of five different types of grain, the 5% ABV beer was generously hopped with Cascade to give a firm bitterness in the finish, as well as some citrus. Available at the brewery for growler fills on Thursdays from 4-8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm, it’s also on tap at Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe. And if you’d like to win a Heritage gift card, share your experience with Heritage beer on their Facebook site and tag it with #HeritageMoment; the contest closes at 11:59 pm on July 1st.

• For those of you who miss having access to certain Red Rover one-offs, we have some good news to share: the cidery has announced a new Summer Series, where they’ll be releasing a different seasonal or Reserve blend every second Friday over the summer. First up this week is VeRRy PeRRy, a bottle-conditioned 7% ABV pear blend, which was packaged last year. All of the Summer Series releases will be exclusive to the Cider House in downtown Fredericton, and the Friday Farmers Markets.

• The menagerie on Halifax’s Robie Street known as Good Robot Brewing has a few things on the go this week, starting with yesterday’s return of their summer favourite Leave Me Blue, an easy-drinker in the pre-prohibition Kentucky Common style that’s much like a cream ale, but with a darker colour and more prominent sweetness. Meanwhile their Friday Cask in the Sun (possibly in-aptly named for today) will be their Goseface Killah with Watermelon and Arctic Kiwis. “But arctic kiwis haven’t come into season yet!” you say, to which the wise folks from GR respond, “yes, but we froze some last year so you could have some tasty beer in June!” Look for it to be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon. The Red IPA originally brewed for International Women’s Day back in March, Red Moon Landing, is returning next week with a minor recipe tweak to the grist (Pilsner replaces Vienna alongside Red X and flaked barley) but the same combo of GR’s proprietary bittering blend, Ekuanot and Perle. And finally, this week’s Beta Brewsday falls on a Wednesday due to GR being closed for a “Staff Appreciation Day” (read: digging another trench) on Tuesday. This week’s offering is called Re:Drella and it’s a 6.5% ABV and 28 IBU SMaSH of Red X malt and the super-versatile Australian hop variety Ella. As always, this Beta Batch was brewed by Kelly Costello, this time joined by Dan Hendricken.

• Deep in the downtown core of Halifax, Salter Street’s Tidehouse Brewing is welcoming back a beer that helped them make a splash when they launched in December of 2016. Enigmatic, an ‘India Saison’ marries the yeast character of a classic Saison to the hop-forward flavour and aroma of a modern IPA. This super hoppy batch was hopped with an alliterative assault of Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo for a heavy grapefruit presence with lime zest and a light floral character. Get it at the brewery while it lasts! Meanwhile, the 3 principals behind the Tidehouse brand are going to be taking a well-deserved vacation from the 7th to the 11th of July. Does that mean you’ll be without tasty beer? Hell no! Once again, local home brewers Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell have stepped up to production batches of some of their beers on the Tidehouse system and will be hosting a tap takeover while Peter, Shean and Shannon get to remember what it’s like to breathe for a few days. Lil’Wheatey is bringing a Northeastern/New England IPA featuring big late additions and a double dry hop of Citra and Amarillo  as well as a kettle sour flavoured with raspberries he’s calling The Platinum Tart. We trust that he came up with that name all on his own ಠ_ಠ just like the Lactobacillus culture he grew to do the souring. Nick, on the other hand, will be bringing Smooth Criminal, a crisp Kölsch based on Pilsner and wheat malt that features Tettnanger hops, along with a Saison he’s dubbed Lanky Bastard that was fermented on a Saison yeast blend and hit hard with Mosaic hops. The alternative experience starts next Friday; and fear not, if your hankering is for Tidehouse standbys they’ll be available alongside the guest taps.

Get your butt out the door this long weekend:

• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery is officially launching with a soft opening today! Starting at noon, their first two beers will be pouring and available in growlers at the brewery’s location on 82 Marr Rd. The first beer is Chalice, a tribute to the strong blonde ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium. Pale, dry and refreshing, it’s a 6.5% ABV, 25 IBU ale that has a “classic spicy character” thanks to fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain and a small addition of Grains of Paradise. Secondly, they’ll be pouring Bantam, a 5.5% ABV and 40 IBU American Pale Ale named for the small but mighty chickens known for their attitude. This one is dry-hopped with classic American hops Cascade and Centennial as well as relative newcomer Citra for an unmistakable citrus hop presence to balance the specialty malts in the grist. So if you’re in Rothesay this afternoon, give a thought to stopping by and welcoming the latest addition to New Brunswick’s family of independent breweries and trying some beer! And if you happen by around 6 PM, you’ll find Josh from PEI hop supplier Darlings Island Farm holding forth on the subject of hops.

• With Canada Day this Saturday, a note about the provincial stores: the NSLC is closed, as is the NLC, ANBL stores are open 10-6, and the PEILC is open. In Nova Scotia the private stores are all open, but be sure to check that your local brewery is open. Breton Brewing is holding a Canada Day Party from 1-11pm complete with live music and beer specials, Quidi Vidi is open from noon for Pints in the Gut and selling the last few cases of the Central City Across the Nation Collaboration packs.

Tomorrow, July 1stBattery Park is holding a Gold Medal Patio Takeover to celebrate the four Nova Scotia gold-medal winners at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards. Pouring will be Gus’ 65m and Midnight (Glenora Barrel-Aged BSDA) from North Brewing, Stayin’ Alive from Boxing Rock, and Vohs Weizenbier from Uncle Leo’s. The taps open (figuratively and literally) at 11:30 am and will keep pouring (not literally, hopefully) through the weekend, while supplies last).

• The Moncton Craft Brewers Collective is hosting the Canada Day Craft Beer Garden tomorrow, July 1st. Located at Waterfront Park with the other Canada Day celebrations, the tent will be set up in front of the courthouse. Over a dozen beers from the area’s finest craft breweries will be pouring, so pop on down to have a few (or more) and enjoy the fireworks in the evening, along with plenty of games and food.

Stillwell is showing their love for Canada Day at both HQ on Barrington, and the Beer Garden on Spring Garden with summer-themed taps and bottles from around the Maritimes, plus some goodies from Toronto heavy hitters Bellwoods and Burdock (pretty much the only spot outside of the brewery to feature Motley Cru, for instance). Check out the at-opening taplist here.

• Join the crew from The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish in celebrating their Fifth Anniversary on July 4th. Kick it off 4-6pm with Happy Hour and oysters ($2/shuck), two (2!!) cakes being cut and served at 5:30 and 9:00, with food and beer pairings until 10:00, and live music from OQO. It’s sure to be a heck of a time, with plenty of SUDS Club members and neighbours dropping by to wish them well.

• Drop by Roof Hound Brewing just outside of Digby on Saturday July 8th 22nd, for a screening of “Sociable!“, the ode to Nova Scotia beer and those who make it. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be there to introduce the film and answer any questions about their wild trip around the province filming, and the NS Craft Beer scene.

Hammond River‘s major expansion from a 1 bbl, in-house brewery to a 15 bbl (1750 L) brewery with attached taproom is almost complete. The brewery will finally open its doors on Monday, July 10th., with the beer bar and attached patio accessible for your HR fix! All four of the first beers brewed on the new system (Gammie, Hopflash IPA, Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Blueberry Ale… and maybe even Paisley Park and the Galaxy version of The Vegas SMaSH IPA) will be pouring for pints and growler fills. In fact, you can drop by The Barrel’s Head now for a preview, as they are featuring the Gammie California Steam Ale on tap now.

Just a few more things this morning…

– Halifax’s Unfiltered has brought back another one of their classic DIPA SMaSH beer, this time the Mosaic-laden RSMA. Don’t remember what RSMA stands for? Don’t worry, a growler of this 7.5% ABV tropical fruit bomb will help you forget that you couldn’t remember. Available for growler fills at the brewery and pints and fills next door at the pub starting at noon today.
– The two local breweries taking part in the “Fathers of Fermentation” project, in celebration of the Peter Austin Brew Systems across the country. Sir John Eh-le is being released at both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewery tomorrow. Check out our previous Wrap-Up for more information on the beer and project.
– Charlottetown’s Gahan House Pub has released a new concoction lately, Daily Dose Hard Root Beer. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, it is available exclusively at the pub for samples, pints, and growler fills.

Good morning, and welcome to another Friday! As usual, there’s plenty of beer news to share for the week, so let’s not waste any time with preamble. Ok, truth is the site was down for awhile and we lost a lot of changes, including a witty intro, and I just don’t have it in me to try to come up with it again!

• Let’s kick off the week with the announcement of a new brewery on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Heritage Brewing is opening their doors for the first time tomorrow, at 19 Kirk St in Yarmouth. From 11-3, they will be pouring their four beer for sampling onsite, and in growlers to take away. They will be pouring their Amber Ale, Blonde Ale, Session IPA and/or Stout all day (or until they run out!). Merchandise, including clothing and glassware will also be available for purchase. Look for a full Profile with the Heritage crew Monday morning. Congratulations on your opening!

• Moncton’s Bore City is back on the board with a couple of new beers! First up is the recently-released Jus de Citra, which has been on tap at Marky’s Laundromat for a couple of days and is going fast. This American IPA is hopped entirely with, you guessed it, the beautiful Citra variety. A simple grist of Pilsner and 2-row malt, along with a healthy amount of Flaked Oats to boost the body, lets the tropical juiciness of one of our favourite hops shine through. Fermented with Conan to boost that juicy character even further, it weights in at 6.5% ABV and 68 IBUs. If it’s out at the Laundromat by the time you read this, fear not… you can always make the trek to Fredericton’s James Joyce, where it should be available on tap any time now.

• The other new beer from Bore City has been brewed and is just finishing up fermentation. Accordingly named Koalatee Pale Ale, this one was hopped with three Australian varieties: Ella, Summer, and Vic Secret. Expect plenty of citrus and tropical fruit in this brew as well; it should clock in around 5.5% ABV, and will be available within the next few weeks. As always, we’ll keep you updated!

• Now that there’s finally some inklings of nice weather in our area, those of you in Fredericton have a good excuse to head over to TrailWay Brewing to check out their new-and-improved patio. Luckily, they’ve also released a brand new beer to give you yet another excuse! Blueprint is the brewery’s latest Porter, described by the brewery as “chocolate-forward, sessionable, dry and crisp”. A popular style in the taproom (where you can pick up growlers, pints, and cans), this 5% ABV brew will also be available on tap around the city.

• Sticking around Fredericton, Half Cut Brewing has their first new beer in a while out and about the city. Tickle Fight IPA is a 5.8% ABV American IPA hopped with Warrior and Sorachi Ace, giving an “ample amount of bitterness, with lots of fruit character, including citrus, mango, and passionfruit”, according to the brewery. Look for it on tap at your favourite Half Cut tap account today.

• In cider news in the city, Red Rover has their first cask-conditioned release on at the Cider House as of this week. Paradise is a 7% ABV dry cider with a “sweet aroma of pineapple and a dry apple finish”; available only for glasses served in-house at the downtown location, be sure to drop in and try this limited released while it’s still available!

• You may have noticed an announcement from Petit-Sault about a new beer of theirs, La Madoueska, which they’re referring to as an “Acadien Brown Ale”. Brewed with a combination of “Pale, Caramelized, and Toasted malts”, it has an aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans and dark chocolate, accompanied by a fairly dry finish. There will be an announcement later today  by Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy regarding this new “style”; you’ll likely be seeing several beers brewed in this way from Acadien breweries in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the 6% ABV La Madoueska is available on tap at the Petit-Sault taproom for pints, bottles and growlers, at ANBL growler stations this weekend, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.

Good Robot is bringing back last year’s The Shocking Pink, a Gose-Radler hybrid of sorts that they originally introduced for the 2016 OUTeast Film Festival in Halifax. Well, the festival returns on June 15th, and so does version 2.0 of the beer! This hazy, straw-coloured beer is the brewery’s Goseface Killah with pink lemonade added, as well as organic teas “Queen of Tarts” and “Fruity Oasis” from DAVIDsTEA. Tart, salty, lemony, and fruity, v 2.0 will be launched on the 15th when the festival opens; look for it on tap across the city.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider has released the latest in their Heritage SeriesOld-Fashioned Gravenstein. Using only hand-picked, local Gravs, they crafted a 7.4% ABV cider with a fresh apple aroma and crisp, tart, flavour. This release is available exclusively at the cidery on Main Street.

Mill Street St John’s has released a new beer, taking inspiration from Italy. Terrazza Lager clocks in at 4.8% ABV and 30 IBUs, featuring biscuit and bread notes, with a spicy hop character from Saaz hops. Grab a pint or growler at the bar today, and at EVOO in the Courtyard, at Water and Beck’s Cove.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is putting the finishing touches on a brand new beer set to mid-next-week. Thyme to Grow a Pear Blueberry Kettle Sour is a complex and flavourful beer that will be hitting their taps, as well as licensees shortly. Featuring a light base from Pilsner and Wheat malts, the beer was soured in the kettle thanks to a healthy dose of yogourt (which contains the necessary Lactobacillus bacteria). After a couple of days letting those guys do their work, the beer is boiled to kill them off, at which point Pear puree was added. After further fermentation with a traditional yeast, Blueberry puree made its appearance in the beer. And while the beer finished its conditioning and carbonation, fresh Thyme was added to the brite tank. All of this culminates in a 3.9% ABV acidic, yet clean, beer, with a lovely thyme and fruit finish.

• You may have spotted a new publication in Nova Scotia breweries this week, the NS Beer Guide. Published independently from any brewery or organization, it aims to put the information for all Nova Scotia breweries together in one book for easy reference. Follow along on their social media pages to see where the guides have been delivered to grab yours over the next few days, as they visit all of the breweries in the province.

• On the Isthmus of Chignecto (try saying that after a couple beers), Trider’s in Amherst has a new beer in bottles. My Honey, My Heather is the result of experimentation that followed after a local honey producer approached Trider’s and asked if they wanted to do a honey beer. The beer uses a few buckets of wild honey and the team is pretty happy with the result; it also contains heather, hence the name. Meanwhile, if you’re in Halifax and you’re wondering where you might find Trider’s brews on tap, we’ve got the scoop: The Local on Gottingen has had White Ogre and Rod’s Red, The Stubborn Goat will be serving Rod’s Red as well, and the Timber Lounge will have 500 ml bottles of the Brew-Deau. More accounts will no doubt follow in coming weeks; we’ll let you know as we’re made aware.

• On the South Shore of NS Boxing Rock is holding a contest to name their latest beer, this one a Cream Ale brewed specially for the Tall Ships visit to Shelburne on August 14th and 15th as part of the RDV2017 Guest Port Program in Canada to celebrate Canada 150. Your prospective name needs to be submitted in person at the brewery (open 7 days a week, 11AM – 7PM) between June 8th and July 8th to qualify. The winner will be revealed at Boxing Rock’s birthday party celebration on July 8th. This isn’t a ballot-box stuffing style contest, it’s all about creativity, and we’ve been assured that “Beery McBeerface” isn’t in the running. We’re told that the beer itself is light and easy-drinking, with a grist comprised of 100% malt. Hopped with both European noble and North American varieties for a light bitterness and mild aroma, it weighs in at 5% ABV.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows tapped a new beer yesterday afternoon, a “super tropical” brett pale ale called Angel Eyes. Fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, it’s a healthy 6.5% ABV and a solid 34 IBU. Dry hopped with new world hop varietals Azacca, Galaxy, and Citra, expect a juicy and funky presence, with a dry finish and a strong pineapple and lemon notes. Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor even gave a shoutout on Facebook to our own Shawn Meek and a similar recipe he concocted a couple of years back (but don’t tell him that, it’ll go right to his head). This is a very limited release, with only 250 litres available on tap at the brewery. And speaking of the brewery, 2 Crows now has a patio with seating for 20 out front on Brunswick Street. We suspect that a pint of Angel Eyes and a seat on the patio might be an excellent squad goal for craft beer lovers in Halifax this weekend! And if Brett isn’t your thing, there’s still some of the 2 Crows x 902 BrewCast In Theory to be had.

• You may remember the Pucker Up Cranberry Hibiscus Wit originally launched by Garrison back in 2015. They’ve revamped the beer as a kettle sour, and have re-launched the beer as Pucker Up. This bright red beer is brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and was soured with Lactobacillus bacteria, before being briefly boiled (but no hops were added to the brew). It still has the pomegranate and hibiscus notes like the original beer, and comes in at a quaffable 4.7% ABV. The brewery describes the taste as “Fun Dip for adults”, which probably gives you a pretty good idea of the flavours! Available at the brewery for tasters and growlers now, look for it to follow at local tap accounts very soon. And in other Garrison news, they’re once again putting out calls for locally-grown rhubarb! Bring your fresh, usable rhubarb in to the brewery (leaves removed, please) for a free taster, plus an in-store credit of $1 per pound (limit of 10 lbs per person).

Another busy weekend ahead of us, folks!

• Starting today, visitors to Schoolhouse Brewery‘s new Windsor location will be able to grab a full pint of Schoolhouse’s, and guest breweries’, beer.  Drop by 40 Water Street today at 3:20PM (when school lets out, off course) until 9PM, or on the weekend from 11AM. While there, pick up your tickets for their Graduation next weekend, and GradParty after the day’s “formal” fun is done. They’re hosting a Four Square Tournament that day as well, be sure to sign up early to secure your spot! And keep your eyes open for the return of favourites Skratch Plaskett – Electric Tambourine Ale and Vice-Principal Session IPA, both slated for their return next week.

• Good news (Prince Edward) Islanders! Beginning tonight, BarNone Brewery in Rose Valley is open for pints and growler fills on both Thursday and Friday evenings! From 6-10pm both nights, drop by the brewery to check out what’s newly released, what’s coming next, and take a seat upstairs in the auditorium for some great local music. Friday’s music leader is Jon Rehder, and will feature plenty of local and visiting musicians throughout the summer.

• For those in the Annapolis Valley (or looking for an excuse to head there), La Torta Pizzeria in Wolfville will be hosting a Tap Takeover by Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing Saturday from 3pm. Featuring their core lineup, as well as several one-offs and brand new offerings, be sure to drop by for a slice and flight tomorrow. (If you can’t wait to see what’s available, checkout La Torta’s IG  for the details)

• There are few good reasons to stay close to Moncton’s Tide & Boar tomorrow morning: at 10AM they are holding the latest of their Growler Fill Mornings, when they offer some of their house-brewed beer in a take-away format. This weekend’s offerings are Pow Pillows IPA (a New England-style IPA with CitraGalaxy, and Nelson Sauvin hops, with some lactose for residual sweetness), Hand PlantIPA (all Galaxy, and a non-flocculating yeast for a hazy outcome), and Layback Lager (brewed with rye, New Zealand hops, and fermented with a German lager yeast). And stick around until 11AM, where you can grab a pour from their single bottle of Sam Adams Utopias, the 25%ABV+ beer that drinks more like whisky than a beer. Plus those who do purchase a 1 ounce pour with have a chance to win the iconic bottle.

• Now that the Central City “Red Racer Across the Nation” collaboration twelve-pack can be found in three of the four Atlantic Provinces (ANBL, NLCBishop’s Cellar and Cristall Wine in NS, with PEILCC to come very soon), the dates and details for the kick-off parties are all set. Next week, the good folks from Central City will be visiting our region, pouring the collaboration beers, and having a proper East Coast time:

June 12th at Quidi Vidi. 4:30-10PM. Sample all twelve beers, plus grab pints of QV’s collab brew too. Food onsite. Facebook Event.
June 15th at PEI Brewing Co. 5-9PM. Live music and pints of the PEIBC collab beer. Facebook Event.
June 16th at Picaroons. 5-11PM. Live music, collab 12-packs for sale, food and beer. Facebook Event.
June 17th at Garrison. 1-4PM. Free samples of Garrison’s collab, plus meet the folks from Central City. Facebook Event

• After a brief stint on tap last month, YellowBelly has brought back their Ryan’s Fancy IPA, which is available in bottles at the brewery now, and select NLCs this weekend. Celebrating the eponymous iconic band that formed in 1971, the beer will be re-launched in earnest June 13th at their “What a Time – Volume 2” CD release party at O’Reilly’s Pub, at 7PM.

• The Moncton Beer League will be holding their next Urban Beer Hike in downtown Moncton June 17th. Start your afternoon of fun at Marky’s Laundromat, and hit up four other bars for a taste of the region offers. Grab your tickets today!

• We don’t want the summer to go by too quickly (hey, we’ve earned it!), but a reminder that tickets for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest (being held on Saturday, September 30th) go on sale today at noon. Featuring unlimited beer samples from many local craft breweries, there are two ticket options available: regular tickets get you entry from 7:30-10:00 pm and a takeaway glass, VIP tickets get you in at 7 pm, and “VVIP” tickets get you a special glass, access to an industry panel discussion, and a guided beer tasting. Ticket prices range from $58-$75+fees, and are available here. Check out the link for additional festival details. As in the past, funds will help support the United Way of Greater Moncton.

Just one more more beer to keep an eye out for this weekend:

– Attention, Halifax  beer drinkers: keep your eyes open for a new Tidehouse brew, Simcoe Krush (5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs), an American Pale Ale focusing strongly on Simcoe hops.

Wow, look what happened over the last couple of days… spring/summer actually arrived! Better late than never, right? We’re sure the sunny rays have helped those of you who were lucky enough to indulge in Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week recover, so it’s now time to dive right in to the usual geyser of beer news that’s been going on over the past week…

• The YellowBelly Brewpub has a new beer on tap, released late last week in conjunction with the NLC’s Beer Expo which took place over the weekend. Ryan’s Fancy IPA was brewed with 2-row, Munich and Carastan malts, and hopped with generous amounts of “an assortment of varietals”, both in the kettle and dry-hop additions. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 60 IBUs, it has a firm supporting malt backbone, and is described as “resinously bitter” by the brewery. It’s on tap now at the brewpub.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery has one heck of a big beer out, brewed to recognize the traditions of Maritime sailors. Fog Bank is a rich, chocolatey stout that was aged for five months in rum barrels. The result is an 11% ABV monster of a beer, with vanilla and dark fruit notes, and a deceptively “smooth, mellow finish”… that should become even smoother with some age. It’s available at the brewery for 13 oz pours, and also in bottles, giving you the opportunity to pick up a few; try one now, and throw a couple more in your cellar to try again in several months… or even longer!

• Apparently not tired out by NSCBW one bit, Good Robot is releasing a brand new beer, and a new iteration of another. Let’s start with the new one, the first in their new SMaSH series (single-malt and single-hop), SMaSH No. 1: Dr. Rudi. Brewed with 2-row and the Dr. Rudi hop variety (yes, that’s a thing), it was fermented with White Labs East Coast Ale yeast. With aromas of “cantaloupe, citrus, honey, and pine”, and fruity and herbal flavours, it weighs in at 6% ABV and 47 IBUs. Gluten-reduced like all GR beers, it will be available Monday-ish at GR’s taproom, and will be popping up at fine tap accounts in the HRM.

• Moving along, today Good Robot is releasing version 3.0 of their well-loved-but-difficult-to-type Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale.  This take features Kenya Nyeri Mahiga coffee beans from Java Blend, cold-brewed by Low Point Coffee Co., giving the beer “notes of cocoa, citrus and stone fruit”, according to the brewery. Aside from the coffee used, the rest of the brew is similar to previous releases; 5.5% ABV, 32 IBUs, also available at the brewery and at select tap accounts.

• The third and final beer in Roof Hound‘s Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series is now available. Harvey Wallbanger is an American Wheat Ale brewed with both Pilsner and Wheat malt, with orange and vanilla beans added during the brew process (juice at the end of the boil, and zest and vanilla bean in secondary) to give you the aromas and flavours normally associated with the classic mixed drink (traditionally made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano liqueur). Easy drinking at just 4.4% ABV and 16 IBUs, it’s on tap now at the brewery; drop by tomorrow, and you can try it in a mini-flight of all three in the Cocktail Series – joining previous releases Mojito Sour and Fuzzy Navel IPA – for just $5.

TrailWay hasn’t been slowing down with their “small-batch” (read: 10 bbl) releases, as they’ve brought back Ellipse, a crowd-favourite 6.3% ABV American IPA that was originally released early this year. Inspired by the “intense orange-citrus character” from large additions of the very popular Amarillo hop variety, some Columbus was also thrown in to provide some “dankness and spiciness” to complement. Luckily, this batch is also available in cans, which can be picked up only at the brewery taproom (along with growlers) for the time-being. Drop by today for your hazy-and-juicy fix!

• In other Fredericton news, Picaroons is launching a new beer series today, showcasing a brew with a static grain bill but ever-changing hop profile. Pivot is an Imperial IPA that will feature a simple grist of Canadian 2-row and a touch of Toasted Wheat (to 8% ABV) that will allow the changing variety of hops to be front and center. Two batches have already been brewed: Pivot #1 will be released today on tap only, at all four Picaroons locations in NB, and was hopped with Warrior, Azacca, and Hallertau Blanc, giving notes of “melon, pineapple, bubblegum, and white grapes”, according to the brewery; Pivot #2 will be released next week in bottles only, throughout the province. The #2 features Warrior and Azacca only, with a larger dry-hop addition this time around. For bottle purchases, look for the batch number on the side of the label; you can head to this site to check out which hops were used in each batch.

• After an initial release at last weekend’s Full House event for NSCBW, Lunn’s Mill is officially launching their latest American IPA, Purple Grain. A gold-coloured brew featuring a “balanced malt body with notes of honey”, it was hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Citra for “tangy and slightly spicy” flavors.  This 5.5% ABV, Prince-themed beer is available for growler fills at the brewery, but only a small amount is left, so drop by during their opening hours (or request a growler delivery)!

• We’d love to tell you about the Jade Moon APA from Tidehouse, but there’d be no point in that because it’s gone already, thanks to its presence at both last weekend’s Craft Beer Full House and the Timeraiser event at the Halifax Central Library this past Monday. While we wait to see whether that one makes a reappearance, however, the gang has two even newer beers for us this week. First we’ve got another in the APA style, ‘Insert Clever Name Here’ Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV beer with 56 or so IBU, 97% of which came from post-boil additions of pungent Simcoe and Citra hops. The grist sees 2-Row supplemented with Maris Otter and Munich, which should give it a solid malt base against which passionfruit, lemon zest and light pineapple notes will contrast. This one will be available for fills at the brewery this weekend and is also slated to be on tap at Halifax’s new noodle sensation, Water & Bone, posthaste.

• Also debuting this weekend is the first in a new series of beers brewed by Shannon Higgins (née Rockwell), partner of Tidehouse principal Shean Higgins. Rockwell Series vol. I is a truly big DIPA that comes in at 9%. It’s been heavily hopped (“to high heaven”) with modern American hop varieties Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra giving notes of orange, mango and peaches. Shannon also tells us it has a creamy body and thirst-quenching dry finish and it’s the beer she “wants to drink”. We suspect she won’t be alone on that one. Look for it at the brewery today and Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market tomorrow for fills for sure, and possibly on tap elsewhere, if we don’t drink it all first.

Garrison has hopped aboard the canning train after 20 years of their beers being available exclusively in bottle form (outside of kegs, of course!). One of their first beers, Tall Ship, is available now in 473 mL cans, with several more brands – including Seaport Blonde  available this weekend, and Juicy! DIPA following in the near future. Featuring new label designs, the NSLC and Halifax private stores will be the first to receive all three beers (outside of the brewery), but they will also be selling in NB and Newfoundland (and at least one brand in PEI, and parts West as well) by this summer. We asked Garrison man-about-town Jeff Green about the addition of cans to the Garrison brand, here’s what he had to share: “The people have spoken. Cans, specifically the 473ml (16 oz.) cans continue to grow in popularity and we are pumped to finally be bringing something to the party. Cans allow us to offer some favourites like Tall Ship in a second format, move certain seasonals like Seaport Blonde into a better pack for and serve up some new beauties like Juicy! in a more portable, chillable, crushable (see what I did there) package. We also get to design some cool new labels and have fun with the huge array of textures and design highlights available from the great folks at FastTrack Packaging. After 20 years exclusively in bottle format, we are SUPER excited to see what the future holds with cans!”

• Garrison is also proud to release the first of two special releases to celebrate 20 years of brewing craft beer in Halifax. Launched yesterday at the brewery, 20th Anniversary Triple IPA is a hybrid beer, lying somewhere between an extra-strong Imperial IPA and an American Barleywine. It features a simple grain bill of 100% Maritime Pale Ale Malt, with Glacier, Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado, and Crystal hops in the boil and Crystal and Centennial for dry-hop. Cold conditioned for two full seasons, it weighs in at a hefty 9% and 100 IBU. Despite the very strong malt presence, it still manages to be hop-forward, with earthy, floral, fruity hop flavors, fruity yeast esters, and sweet malt notes, including caramel flavours developed during an extended boil. This beer is available now at the brewery in bottles and you’ll also be able to find it by next week at the private stores in Halifax and, eventually, in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Nine Locks will soon be releasing Ginger Rye, a full-bodied, red-colored ale. Brewed with an unspecified amount of Rye and Wheat malt, it features “subtle caramel malts, and a restrained ginger presence on the palate”, according to the brewery. Finishing with some “assertive spiciness” thanks to the addition of real ginger in the brewing process, it clocks in at 5.6% ABV and 15 IBUs, and will be available soon at the brewery only, on tap. And keep your eyes on this space for upcoming details on their first SMaSH beer, brewed earlier this week.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn has re-released The Yellow Dart, a beer we haven’t seen since the brewery originally launched last fall. This India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) has been tweaked slightly in the hop department, now including Vic Secret, Columbus, and Huell Melon, providing lots of tropical character in the aroma. Out just in time for the hot days we’ve finally been experiencing, it’s the perfect summer slammer you’ve been waiting for. At 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it’s available now at the brewery taproom for pints and growlers; keep your eyes open on your favourite Foghorn tap accounts, as it may pop up there as well.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new releases out now, and a special launch this weekend for one of them. Dark as Keji is the Black IPA we told you about last month, and is now in wide release. The 6.5% ABV beer is available in sixpacks at the NSLC and private stores, and of course at the brewery in Shelburne. But what better way to enjoy it than under a dark sky in Keji itself? Tomorrow evening at the Sky Circle at Kejimkujik National Park, there will be samples of the beer available from 8PM, followed by a Dark Sky look at the stars at 9:30PM presented by Parks Canada, Friends of Keji, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. And for every sixpack of Dark as Keji sold, Boxing Rock is donating 50 cents to FoK.

• Boxing Rock’s second release this week is the winner of their Second Annual Black Box Challenge. Homebrewer Brian Harvey, who brews under the moniker 1029 Brewing, had used the ingredients provided to put together Grafted, an Orange Peel Sour, which garnered solid marks from the judges, and took the top prize aided by his unique presentation. He visited the brewery in Shelburne last month to brew the full-sized batch, and it is now available to the rest of us. A sour mash was performed to get the beer started on the right foot, with orange peel used in both the mash and the boil for an extra citrus kick. The 5.5% ABV beer has been bottled, and is available now at the private stores in HRM, with growlers available at the Market and brewery. Grab one today to see what all the fuss is about!

Unfiltered‘s popular SMaSH DIPA, Double Orange Ale (7.5% ABV), featuring everyone’s favourite hop, Citra, is back again starting today; drop by Charm School for a pint and/or growler fill.

• Released last night at the brewery in Rose Valley, BarNone has a brand new beer out, using all Island-grown barley. Grown by the Craig family in Tryon, it was malted by Horton Ridge in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and sent back across the bridge for use. Hopped as a Pale Ale, the malt is the key in this 5.0% beer, with the subtle earthy character of the base malt shining through nicely, even giving a slight spice character. Grab Try On next Growler Night at the brewery (Thursdays from 6), and look for it at BN’s regular taps on the Island shortly.

• The St. John’s Beer Tours website went live on the weekend, and tickets are selling fast! The first tours of the season will be held Friday, June 2nd, and typically run in the afternoons of Thursday-Sunday each week throughout the summer. There are deep discounts for the first tours of the season, so be sure to snag one today. Depending on the tour type chosen (anything from Axes & Ales, Scuff & Scoff, Ultimate Townie Brew Tour, or Hoppy Highlights), participants visit different spots in St. John’s and nearby Quidi Vidi. They are also holding a contest on Facebook, to win a day in the brewery with Mill Street St John’s Head Brewer Dan Boldrini.

The PEI Brewing Co. will be opening up a new location for pint purchases and growlers-to-go at the PEI Factory Shops at Cows Creamery. The Beer Station will basically act as an extended, miniature version of the brewery’s taproom on Kensington Rd., with six taps available (featuring five PEIBC core beers, and one rotating seasonal), and a small retail section with various clothing products available for purchase. Customers can enjoy a pint on-site, as well as several food items from a limited menu, and can pick up a variety of cans and bottles (as well as growler fills) to take home. Look for the Beer Station to open by the end of this month.

• Earlier this year, Central City Brewing in Surrey, BC, brewed up a collaboration beer with a brewery from each province. Each of the 12 beers has been brewed at Central City’s Surrey brewery specially for this collaboration and embodies the region they represent. A brewer/representative from each collaborating brewery joined the Central City brewers to brew the recipe that they helped design. These have been trickling out to the stores in each province, either at the provincial stores, or private shops. Highlighting the beers produced with our local breweries, with the full list available here:  Picaroons collaborated on Restored Hop(e) ESB, inspired by the province’s motto Spem reduxit, meaning “Hope is restored”. Garrison came in with “New” Scottish Ale, a lightly peated Scottish Ale. PEI Brewing Company brought together local ingredients for Bière d’ici Honey Ale, using PEI honey and Maritimes-grown hops, a lighter take on the Bière de Garde style. Quidi Vidi Brewing Company went German for Hop To The East Hefeweizen, with new tropical-aromatic hops, for a unique twist on this classic style. To celebrate the releases, they will be holding tasting events at each of the participating breweries during the second week of June: Monday June 12th at Quidi Vidi, Thursday June 15th at PEI Brewing Company, Friday June 16th at Picaroons, and Saturday June 17th at Garrison. Look for more details on these events in the coming weeks. And look for the 12-pack of beer at your local ANBL now, and coming some to the PEILCC and NLC. In Nova Scotia, while the NSLC will not be carrying it, Bishop’s Cellar will have it for sale in June.

Remember to check ahead if your local beer store or brewery is open for this long weekend. We suggest stocking up early and often, just to be sure…

• There are no solid details available as of publishing time, but we have it on pretty good authority that Stillwell‘s Beergarden will be opening this weekend. Before you start beating down their door, however, peep an eye to their Social Media page, as well as the Beergarden page on their site, the banner will proclaim the good news. As it is an outdoor spot, it is very weather-dependent.

• Saint John’s Grannan’s Seafood is holding a special tasting with Picaroons on Wednesday, May 24th. Featuring six courses paired with six Picaroons beers – hosted by Chef Johnny High and Picaroons’ Ian Covey – the opening reception starts at 6:30 pm, with dinner starting at 7:00. Tickets are $50 (+ tax and tip), and can be reserved by calling 506-634-1555.

Lion & Bright is holding a Cider Tap Takeover next Thursday, May 25th, from 6-10 pm. Six cider-makers (Annapolis Valley, Bulwark, Chainyard, Meander River, Planters Ridge, and Red Rover) will be pouring a total of  at least 12 different ciders; “fresh bar bites” will be available, with a live DJ providing your tunes. Early bird tickets are $15 each, and include eight 3 oz samples (additional drink tickets will be available at four for $8); during the first hour, and also allow you entry at 6 pm for a one hour meet and greet with representatives from each cider producer. If you don’t pre-purchase tickets, no worries! You can still drop by after 7 pm to buy drink tickets as you go.

• On Thursday, May 25th, the 85th Annual Apple Valley Blossom Festival will be holding Blossom Brew Night at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market from 5-9 pm. Your $25 ticket (buy now online; $35 if purchased at the door) includes a souvenir glass and your first six beer tickets, with more available for purchase at the event. A variety of local breweries, cideries, and distilleries will be pouring. Food will also be available for sale on-site.

• There are still tickets available for next weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, at the Moncton Coliseum. Friday, May 26th 7:30-10PM, and Saturday 2:30-5PM and 7:30-10PM. Your $55 ticket (only $45 for the Sat afternoon session) gets you unlimited sampling of 150 beer from 70 breweries across the Maritimes and beyond. Grab yours today.

Mill Street St. John’s is hosting their Spring Brewmaster’s Dinner May 31st at 6PM. They have invited Mill Street Ottawa’s Brewmaster Tim Hulley to join in the fun, and he will be bringing two new beers with him from the nation’s capital. Tickets are $69.99, and can be reserved by calling 709-383-7070.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar got their hands on a bottle of this year’s Samuel Adams Utopias (the white whale 27% ABV beer), and they are holding a tasting of said beer on Saturday, June 10th at the brewpub. At 10:45 am, before the pub opens, they will be passing out 18 tickets (one ticket per person, first come, first served), which will entitle you to purchase a 1 oz pour of Utopias for $11. When the bottle is empty (which will be shortly after 11 am, when the T&B opens), all tickets will be entered in a draw; the winner will receive the bottle as a souvenir.

• Ticket’s for this year’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival have gone on sale this morning, being held August 11 & 12. Featuring sessions Friday and Saturday 7-9:30PM and Saturday 2-4:30PM (with VIP tickets available for an extra hour before the event opens), there will be more than 300 products from around Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the world. Brewery details are a bit thin at the moment, but last year’s list should give you an idea on what to expect. The VIP sessions always sell out, so if you’re so inclined, grab those today! Add too a bonus $5 off the entry price if purchased before the end of May.

Looks like that’s “it”… have a great long weekend!

Welcome to another Friday, and another dose of the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog! After an extremely busy week last week (close to 4,000 words of news to share), things have quieted down a little this week, as the build up to Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week continues. But there’s still some stuff going on in the beer world, so let’s get to it!

• On the Halifax waterfront, Gahan Halifax has a couple of new brews coming to tell you about. The first is a Kettle Soured Brown Ale called Impatience based on their Iron Bridge Brown and brewed with a visiting Spencer Gallant from PEI Beer Company. Soured with Lactobacillus, hopped to 20 IBU, fermented, and then aged on raspberries, Morello cherries and strawberries, it features fruit flavours mingling with chocolate notes from the darker malts along with a lactic bite, so expect this 5.3% ABV brown to be thirst-quenching, yet complex. A very limited release will see a couple of kegs served at Gahan and the rest being distributed to licensees. Keep your eyes peeled for it to show up on the wall at Stillwell and potentially other locations.

• And to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style, Gahan will be cracking their first kegs of Cerveza Maritimo, a Mexican Lager, next Friday on May 5th. Featuring a characteristic element of flaked yellow corn to the tune of 20% of the grist, it was fermented using the White Labs Mexican Lager strain, yielding a very dry and clean beer, perfect for patio season. It’s an extremely sessionable 4.5% ABV and a very light 12 IBU. Only two batches of this are planned, so if you see yourself sitting at a waterfront patio on a Halifax summer day with a well-made crisp light lager in hand, Gahan will have your hookup. You can get yourself a (weather-dependant) preview next Friday from opening!

• And in very preliminary news from Gahan this week, they’ve just announced that they will be opening a location on Prince William Street in Saint John, NB, this fall. We’ll have more details on this as we gather them, of course. This will be the second (or first, actually) Gahan House location in New Brunswick, as the Murphy Group is developing a location in downtown Moncton to be opened in the next twelve months, inside of a boutique hotel.

Red Rover was in attendance at the 12th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry (GLINTCAP) competition last weekend in Grand Rapids, MI, and won two major awards, a first for the Maritimes! Their Summer took home 1st Best in Class (Modern-Dry), and their Barrel Reserve #2 (which will be released publicly this coming summer) won 2nd Best in Class (Specialty). With over 1200 entries, GLINTCAP is the world’s largest cider awards, so winning two awards is definitely no small feat! Congratulations! A little birdy also told us that Red Rover has some kegs going to PEI this week for the first time ever — if you’re a cider fan on the Island, keep your eyes peeled to see where those might turn up!

• Good news for fans of Grimross‘ Scratch beers, their ongoing series of one-offs – they’ve brewed up Scratch #4 and released it earlier this week at the brewery taproom. A Vienna Lager brewed with 80% Vienna malt in the grist, it was lightly hopped with Magnum and Saaz. With a light amber colour, and a malty sweetness nicely balanced by a low bitterness in the finish, this 5.1% ABV, cool-fermented beer is meant to be easy-drinking and consumed in quantity. Drop by the taproom for a pint and growler fill today!

• Downtown Halifax’s littlest brewery Tidehouse is releasing a brand new beer today at their Salter Street brewery/retail location, and at tomorrow’s Halifax Forum Farmers’ MarketRed Right Return is a 6.0% Red IPA, featuring a base of 2-Row, Mild and Red X malts, with a touch of Munich and Chocolate malts for colour and flavour, and Wheat malt for body. The hops chosen for this darker IPA were Cascade and Falconers Flight, added late in the boil and post-fermentation, for lots of citrus and pine and tropical fruit notes, but still sporting a healthy 55 IBUs. The name is a nod to the marine mnemonic to keep right of red marker buoys as you navigate your vessel home. As with all of the TH releases, these are small batches, so best to grab a growler today to avoid disappointment! It *might* show up on tap around Halifax, but better to be safe than sorry!

• The folks at Fredericton’s Graystone went down to Rothesay to pay Foghorn Brewing a visit and collaborate on a new beer. Roxie is an American Wheat Ale hopped with Huell Melon and Simcoe that comes in at a very easy drinking 4.5% ABV. Hopped to 35 IBU for a medium bitterness to balance the wheat, it also features mild notes of melon and strawberry. Definitely a summer sipper for the patio! You’ll find it on tap at both breweries and stay tuned, as Graystone is planning to brew a second version in the near future.

• There’s another new Beta Beer release coming from Good Robot, which will be released this Sunday, April 30th during their A Night at the Hog’s Head event. And if you’re in any way a Harry Potter nerd, you probably already know what it’s going to be named, right? Yep! Butterbeer is a “full-bodied and creamy” Scottish Ale brewed with Wheat and Honey malt, and hopped with Saaz and Tettnang to 11 IBUs. Featuring a large addition of lactose powder for some additional sweetness, as well as some nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to attempt to duplicate what those crazy teenage wizards and witches were imbibing… except we don’t think theirs had alcohol, did it? Either way, the Good Robot version is pretty sessionable at just 4.2% ABV. As with all Beta releases, only a small amount (2 x 20 L) will be available in the taproom, so don’t miss out! Check out the event link for more details on other Harry Potter-themed activities that will be going on Sunday.

• And in news that we think will resonate with true brewing geeks in the region, GR’s Erica Fraser is heading to Montreal for the Siebel Institute Brewing Microbiology course. This is an intensive two-week course that is designed to arm those who take it with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to set up an effective quality control/quality assurance program in a brewery. We look forward to seeing the positive impacts of Erica’s newfound knowledge at Good Robot and expect other breweries may look to her for some knowledge sharing as well.

• With Big Spruce getting their increased production and canning line on the go, and with Tweets like this one hitting the wire, it seems like an opportune time to remind everyone of the futility of saying “never”. To celebrate, you might sneak on down to Bishop’s Cellar, where a few cans of Tim’s Dirty IPA made an early appearance yesterday afternoon. Be fast though, what’s left is not likely to last long today! This is the first wave of their canned product to be made available, which will expand to include Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Bitter Get’er India Black IPA (these three will be on the NSLC shelves in May), with Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Silver Tart to be canned shortly and available at the private stores exclusively. Cans of Tim’s Dirty are already at the brewery in Nyanza (and may see Kitchen Party later today), along with bottles of the 2017 release of Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, so we suggest dropping by the brewery to pick them up.

Propeller Brewing‘s latest One Hit Wonder is Vienna Brown, their own take on the classic Vienna Lager. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, the stats may read the same as traditional VLs, but the Prop Crew left out some of the dark malts that can be found in Continental versions, and opted to use an ale yeast rather than the traditional lager. According to Prop, “the result is a dry, malt-forward, lightly-hopped sessionable beer of substance. Perfect for an early spring day in Nova Scotia”. As with all their OHW releases, you’ll have to go to the brewery (either Gottingen or Windmill) to grab a growler of it, or get lucky and spot it on tap at one of a couple bars.

Just a couple of events to mention this week as we prep out NSCBW post for Monday…

Schoolhouse Brewery is officially opening the doors of their Windsor location this weekend, with the retail location open 11-8 both Saturday and Sunday. Growlers and bottles are available for purchase, and flights of samples are available as well. Drop by 40 Water St to get schooled!

• As if there weren’t enough events going on during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, kicking off 10 days of beer fun around the province is an Upstreet Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Thursday, May 4th. This all-day, no-charge-to-attend event will feature 14 beers (and 1 soda!) on tap from the crew at Upstreet. The full tap list will be revealed as the week goes on via Battery Park’s Twitter feed, but we’ve heard rumors that you’ll find all the core beers and recent seasonals, at least one cask, a nitro pour and then two very special favorites including a last keg ever; but the crowning glory may very well be a special “dessert” beer that Hogie brewed up special for the occasion. Speaking of Mr. Hogan, while he and the crew are in the province he’ll be brewing with the team at North Brewing something special for an event at the Upstreet Taproom in June.

• The next Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection social is happening May 10th at the Picaroons Roundhouse. Meet other beer fans at Pics’ new brewery location for a tour of their spot and a flight of beers. Find out more details on the FB Events page, and be sure to RSVP via email to secure your spot (these always sell out!).

A couple more things before we sign off this week:

– Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing released Solstice this week, a 5.0% ABV Witbier. Brewed in the traditional style, it is available at the brewery, and James Joyce Pub in Fredericton, now. And keep an eye out for a new sour to be released in the next few days. We’ll have all of the details next week!

Chill Street have launched their social media pages on Facebook and Twitter this week, ahead of their launch this summer. Located in the Elmsdale Sobey’s, they will be serving beer and cider fermented using a SmartBrew Ferment on Premise system. These allows the retailer to purchase wort made elsewhere, with the final steps of fermenting and packaging done on site. Look for growlers and cans to be available in the coming months at their location, and we’ll keep you up to date with their progress.

Good morning, and welcome to another Friday… as usual, chock-full of news on beer releases, events, and more! Let’s skip the chit chat and dive right in:

• It’s another week, which means at least one new 2 Crows beer is being released! Tomorrow at noon, they’ll be tapping Sunny Days, a “Sunflower seed Brett Saison”. Brewed with home-malted sunflower seeds (which made up 20% of the grist) as well as Pilsner, Vienna, Acid, and Wheat malts, the beer was fermented with a combination of Brettanomyces bruxellensis and a “funky Saison yeast”, bringing it to 7.1% ABV (and hopped to 27 IBUs). We’re not sure what exactly to expect with this one, but as usual for many 2 Crows special releases, you can’t deny that it sounds interesting! There’ll only be one keg of this beauty pouring, so get down to the taproom to give it a try. In addition, two kegs of a new, “slightly spicier” batch of Lil’ Miguel Aztec Stout will be tapped next Friday (April 14th), followed by a keg of Crosswired – a beer fermented with a mixture of a “wild” yeast strain and a wine yeast strain – on Thursday, April 20th; look for some Crosswired to also appear at the 2 Crows Battery Park Tap Takeover on April 13th.

• This week in Smith’s Cove, Lazy Bear Brewing made two new brews available. The Folly IPA with wild yeast that we wrote about two weeks ago has finally meandered its way through the system and was released last night at the brewery during their weekly growler night. This tropical fruity delight may not make it to the city so you’ll have to head down to the brewery or catch it at the Annapolis Farmers and Traders Market or one of the brewery’s regular tap accounts. Earlier in the week, as they waited for the Folly to finish, The Once-Over was released. This is a version of their Bear Bones IPA that was different enough to justify a new moniker. Still brewed with Wild Turkey hops from Ontario, this 5.9% ABV brew was dry-hopped with that variety along with classic American Cascade and Chinook that are sure to bring citrus and pine to the aroma. Like the Folly, this one is available in the usual places, but some apparently also made its way to Battery Park in Dartmouth, so keep your eyes out for it to appear there.

Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has been busy, with a few new beers on tap now, or coming very soon. Lukey’s Bock is a traditional-style German Helles/Mai Bock, meaning light in colour with Munich malt-derived sweetness and aromatics. Named after the ship in the harbour of the same name, the 6.5% ABV Bock is on tap at their Mill Street/Bier Markt location only. Coming very soon from them is Right Off the Hop, a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) featuring El Dorado hops. This Double IPA took more than 6 kilograms of hops in their 8 hL system, for big bitterness and a massive pineapple aroma and flavour.

• Debuting next Wednesday, April 12, is a collaboration that Mill Street did with the Port Rexton Brewing Crew. Planned months ago during a trip to Port Rexton, and brewed in mid-March when PR made the return trip, the cross-province Dunkelweizen will be launched in a big way. At 5.2% ABV, 22 IBUs, the Dark German Wheat beer features the iconic banans and clove aromatics, reminiscent of banana bread. The debut is a ticketed event, which gets you a pint of Port Rexton new IPA, a pint of Mill Street’s Black Bart’s, plus a celebratory pint of their collaboration. A Mac & Cheese bar, featuring the wares of St. John’s own Five Brothers Cheese, will be set up to keep your stomach from growling, and going all night. Tickets are available by phone (709-383-7070), and are selling quickly, so be sure to grab them today!

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing recently launched their second Lager, an India Pale Lager named Alpen IPL. Described by the brewery as an “earthy, amber IPL with amble bitterness and a clean, soft mouthfeel”, the grist contains Crystal and Munich malt to achieve the beer’s colour and malt character. Hopped with Columbus and Centennial to 70 IBUs, it was fermented with a dry German Lager yeast, and then lagered at cool temperatures for 5 weeks before packaging. Coming in at 6% ABV, it’s on tap now at the brewery for pints and growlers/crowlers, and is likely showing up at licensees across the city.

• Sticking with Fredericton beers, TrailWay released their Porter a couple nights ago, a one-off that will only be available on tap at the brewery’s tasting room for the first week. Sessionable at only 4.7% ABV, it shows off some roast and chocolate character, with a medium-bodied mouthfeel and a dry, slightly bitter finish from the use of dark malts. Look for it to pop up around New Brunswick for next weekend’s ANBL growler program. And be sure to grab some cans of Luster, which has just returned and is as fresh as you can get it right now!

• And not to be left out, Maybee Brewing also has a new beer available! Tailwind is a “New England Session IPA” (read: cloudy/hazy with big hop aromas and flavours, but not big bitterness) that was hopped heavily with Mosaic, as well as additions of Amarillo, Cascade, and Chinook. Fermented with a Vermont Ale strain from Escarpment Labs to give even more tropical, citrusy, stone fruit characteristics, it all comes together in a highly drinkable 4.8% ABV, 45 IBUs package. And speaking of packaging, it’s available now in 16 oz cans at the brewery (and soon at other brewery stores in NB), and on tap at Maybee accounts.

• And even more Fredericton news, as Red Rover is releasing a very special cider next week. They’ve “carefully chosen the best apples New Brunswick has to offer,” including their favourite heritage Russet and Crab apples, to bring a very limited, 400 bottle production of Orchard Reserve 2016. An English Extra Dry cider that clocks in at 7.2% ABV, this one involved a slow fermentation process, followed by an additional 6 months of aging, enhancing the “subtle spice and delicate honey notes”. These 750 mL bottles ($16.50 each) will be sold only at the Ciderhouse and participating Farmers’ Markets, so be sure to grab a couple before they’re gone! They’ll be officially released next Wednesday at noon.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing should have a brand new one-off popping up today or through the weekend, a Saison named Pied de Lapin. Described by the brewery as a dry, “French/Belgian Saison”, it was hopped predominantly with Wakatu (WHACK-a-tu? wah-KA-tu?), a New Zealand variety, as well as some Centennial. The Wakatu comes through with “prominent notes of lime zest, backed by subtle melon”. Highly drinkable at 5.6% ABV, look for it on tap at Stillwell and Battery Park, as well as available for growler fills at the brewery retail store, and Halifax Forum Farmers Market.

• In Saint John, Loyalist City is bringing out a new beer in their One Hop Series, but let us know there’s been some changes to the recipe for that series. First, they’ve found a supplier for the yeast made famous by John Kimmich’s Alchemist Brewery in Vermont and have decided to ferment all their One Hop beers with it. Known in brewing circles as Conan, this yeast is known for producing an ester profile featuring stone fruit and light citrus notes that is very complimentary to modern American and New World hop varieties. It’s also known for producing a hazy final product consistent with the New England IPA style. Second, they’ve tweaked the recipe to give the beer a little more body and increased hop flavour and aroma. The first beer to be made with the new recipe is Summer named, as always, after the single hop used in producing it. Summer hops are an Australian variety known for imparting citrus and stone fruit flavours and aromas. Look for melon and apricot on the nose and for the hops and yeast to complement each other nicely. Summer comes in at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU. It will be available at the Cask & Kettle and other local tap accounts this week.

• Loyalist City has also released another new brew, Württemberg Weissbier. A classic German Hefeweizen, this cloudy, light golden, refreshing ale was brewed with 100% German malt, hops, and yeast. The Wheat and Pilsner malt enjoyed a three-part step mash (three temperature rests) to increase the development of banana and clove flavours expected in the style, which are also produced during fermentation from the Weizen yeast strain. Brewed with soft water in an attempt to replicate the low-mineral-content water of Plzeň, Germany, the resulting 5% ABV beer features a “pleasing banana-clove aroma that is complemented by a moderate bready malt flavour”. And for you history buffs, the beer is named after Württemberg, the historical German territory that was home to the majority of the German-Canadian settlers that helped to colonize the Atlantic Canadian provinces. This highly-carbonated beer should be available now at your favourite LC tap account, and is also at select ANBL growler stations this weekend (check out which ones here).

• In Dartmouth, Spindrift released their highly anticipated Barrel O’ Cherries this week. Winner of the Gold Medal at the DownEast Brewing Awards in Fredericton last month in the Experimental Beer category, this is their Abyss dark lager that was aged in red wine barrels for 12 months and then racked onto sour cherries for further aging before being bottled with help from North Brewing and their bottler. Those who tasted it at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest or the Savour Food & Wine Festival Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax have the inside scoop on this one. At 4.5% ABV it’s not a heavy hitter, but flavour wise you’ll taste big cherry notes married to bold chocolatey and roasty dark malt flavours. Some have likened the overall character to that of a Black Forest Cake. This is a limited edition beer with only 78 cases produced, and you can only get it at the brewery in Burnside.

• Acadie-Broue has brought back a blast-from-the-past, recently releasing La Boloxée, best described as a dark Saison. Brewer Patrice Godin took the base of his Tintamarre Saison and darkened it by steeping a large amount of Midnight Wheat malt, to “stain” the wort. This gives a minimal roast character in the finish, while preserving the Farmhouse flavours of orange and pepper. Expect this beer to finish extremely dry, as a longer-than-usual fermentation brought the final gravity all the way down to 1.000, a reading usually reserved for ciders! The final numbers are 6.6% ABV and 30 IBUs. It’s currently on tap at Le Coude, James Joyce, and should pop up at Marky’s Laundromat, if it isn’t on already.

As always, there’s plenty of beer-related events going on in our region; here’s a few you should be paying particular attention to:

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is tomorrow, April 8th; while tickets are sold out, you can add your name to the waiting list here, just in case! In the meantime, those of you lucky enough to currently have tickets can check out the full beer list here, and plan your attack! Plenty of beer and cider will be pouring, including a few special releases.

• Leading into the Saint John Beer Fest tomorrow, PEI Brewing Company will be taking over the taps this evening starting at 5:00 pm at McGill’s. Pints will be $5 all night, with 8 PEIBC brews on the go, including some new ones. Look for Big Don Belgian Coffee Blonde, Tasman Pale Ale and Black Lager in particular along with some Gahan faves. And if you miss that, rest assured that PEIBC will be in full effect at the beer fest on Saturday.​

• Since opening their doors in July of 2016, Port Rexton Brewing Co. has been inundated with emails and calls asking, “How do I start a brewery in Newfoundland?” In response, they’ve decided to take the amazingly forthcoming step of hosting an open house/open books event on April 14th and 15th. On Friday night there will be a social at the brewery from 1800 – 2200h. Saturday will feature a brewday, with mash in commencing promptly at 0700h after which Port Rexton will open their books and their database to answer as many questions as they can from the group, likely ending around 1400h. On the table are questions about the NLC, suppliers, equipment, funding opportunities, regulatory considerations and provincial requirements. It’s no secret that Newfoundland is a very difficult place to open a brewery and this outreach to the brewing community by Port Rexton less than a year into their operations is commendable. So if you’re very serious about opening a brewery in NL and actively working towards that goal, and you’re interested in hearing from some folks who’ve managed to do it, you can email beer@portrextonbrewing.com to register. Space is limited.

• The Brewnettes, a Ladies Beer League in Newfoundland, has scheduled their April event, a Pizza Party on Thursday, April 20th. The event will take place at Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s and will consist of a brewery tour at 1830h, a tasting at 1900h and finally pizza at 2000h. It’s $15 to attend, and you’ll want to check in on the event’s Facebook page to show your interest. After the highly successful axe-throwing event in March, this is sure to be a blast for everyone involved.

• Not content to limit themselves to the Dark Side of the harbour with their tap takeover at Battery Park next week, 2 Crows will aim for total HRM domination by following that up with another takeover a week later at the Stubborn Goat! On Friday, April 21st, starting at 1900h, you’ll find 8-10 2 Crows beers on tap at the Goat with samples and a special price on flights. No cover and live music round out the package. Buy a flight and you’ll receive a ballot to win tickets to the 2 Crows Brewer’s Brunch. “Brewer’s Brunch?” you ask? Yes, the very next day, Saturday, April 22, from 1300-1500h, you’ll find another 2 Crows event at the Goat where Jeremy Taylor will prove he’s not actually chained to his mash tun by making an appearance. Tickets are $39 per person and entitle you to four 12oz beers, each a 2 Crows offering that’s been paired with a course from the kitchen. You can see which beers and the food they’ve each been paired with on the event’s Facebook page. Space is limited, so if you’re interested you’ll want to email tyler@stubborngoat.ca.

• In Stillwell news, they’ve got another premium European tap takeover in the works for April 22 that’s got fans of forward-thinking beers all a-titter. To Øl is a gypsy brewery from Denmark. Started by students of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller (not just beer-wise, he taught them in high school!), Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther started brewing with their Bjergsø in their school’s kitchen (high school is different in Europe, apparently) in 2005. While he moved on to start Mikkeller, they continued to hone their brewing craft before opening their own brewery in 2010. In addition to their beer, they’ve got Scandinavian brewpubs BRUS in Copenhagen, the recently-opened BRUS Bar Oslo, and, with Mikkeller, are part of the group behind the lambic-focused Koelschip. To quote the gang at Stillwell, “Quality is guaranteed, mind-expansion highly likely.” From Brett-aged Table Beer, Dry-hopped Sours, Gose, to Barrel-Aged Saison and Imperial Coffee Stouts, there is something for everyone pouring on the 22nd. If you liked the Mikkeller takeovers in December and January or are sad you missed them, this is another chance to drink on the leading edge of beermaking.

• It’s too late if you don’t already have a ticket, but Stillwell is hosting a Tastes of the World event on Sunday, April 23. Hosted by Stephen Beaumont, author or co-author of ten books, including The World Atlas of Beer, two editions of The Great Canadian Beer Guide, and The Beer & Food Companion, it will be a guided tasting of eight of the world’s best beers, several of which have never been available in NS. Four of the beers will be paired with thoughtfully selected cheeses. As you sip and munch, Mr. Beaumont will provide tasting notes, some history about the beers, and details on how they were made. Tickets are were $36.50 each – they sold out extremely quickly. If you didn’t get one, but wish you had, maybe let the fine folks at Stillwell know; perhaps if enough additional interest is shown we’ll see another such event scheduled (can you tell none of us acted quickly enough to get tickets?). The good news for those who are missing out on the tasting is that some of the beers that will be served (including Stilly’s last keg of Nectarous from Four Winds Brewing) will be available after the event. And a few new-to-the-province bottles will hit the fridge that day, Blond d’Esquelbeq from Brasserie Thiriez and Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba, classics in the Saison style.

Garrison will be co-hosting a Brew and Bites Dinner with Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House on Thursday, April 27. It will feature an IPA tasting menu that pairs 5 courses from Executive Chef Trevor Simms with beers from Brewmaster Daniel Girard. Tickets are $55 and can be reserved by calling 902.428.7852 or emailing harbourstone@marriott.com. You can see details on the food and beers in this post on Garrison’s Instagram.

A few more things today:

– The ANBL has expanded their Growler Program further recently. When opening their new location at Corbett Centre in Fredericton (after closing the Prospect Street location), they upraded to 4 taps. The ANBL in Newcastle now features a growler station as well.
Flying Boats is releasing their Stagecoach Amber Ale just in time for this weekend’s Saint John Beer Fest. This collaboration with Craig Pinhey features strong caramel and raisin/dark fruit characteristics from the malts, and was bittered using NB-grown Cascade. The 5.5% ABV and 29 IBUs brew is available at the Shediac Beach brewery’s local accounts as well as at the Fest.
Picaroons is looking for the cutest, smartest, or most distinct cat to once again grace the label of their MelonHead Watermelon Wheat beer. Submissions are open until May 2nd, with all of the details available here.
– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing released The Loyalist, a beer they are describing as a “Yorkshire Olde Ale”. At 6.7% ABV, it has notes of biscuit and light herbaceous qualities from the traditional Fuggles hops used in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham for a dry finish.

Happy Friday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day! If being a Friday wasn’t a good enough excuse to drink, now you have two reasons! But before you reach for that beer (stay away from food colouring!), let’s take a few minutes to get caught up with our local beer news…

• The 2017 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival – the 5th year for the fest – was a huge success, and – as we can personally verify – one hell of a good time! With two sessions on Saturday, there were 58 breweries pouring over 220 beers, ciders, and meads, 5200+ L of beer served to ~1,750 people. Thanks to organizer Lloyd Chambers and 50 loyal volunteers, everything went smoothly, proving that the festival does indeed improve with every year. Several other events were also going on through the week (and even into Sunday), with plenty of beer lovers turning out to take part. This was also the first year for the Down East Brewing Awards, which had close to 140 different beers and ciders entered by commercial breweries in Atlantic Canada. The winners were announced at the FCBF afternoon session, and Fredericton’s TrailWay took home Brewery of the Year, thanks to winning three gold medals and Best of Show (check out the link for the full list of winners). Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who helped to make FCBF such a success, and we’ll see you next year, with a date of March 10th already set! And don’t forget to vote for Best of the Fest, rewarding your favourite breweries that attended this year’s event.

• Attention Newfoundland Beer Fans! Split Rock Brewing Company is coming soon to Twillingate, on the island’s Northeast shore. Allison and Matt Vincent are residents of the town, and were living and working away from home for several years. In the mid-2000s, while living in Halifax, they caught the craft beer bug, and began homebrewing. Starting with wine and beer kits, they graduated to brewing All Grain in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. Like many avid homebrewers, the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown was always in the back of their mind, but at that time, just a dream. An opportunity for Allison to move back home in 2014 brought them back to Twillingate, and, as Allison puts it, “with the tourism industry booming and many young people moving home, we knew it needed a microbrewery!” Local businesspeople Tim and Robin Vatcher share their vision to bring a growth industry back to the region, and are helping to bring Split Rock Brewing Co to fruition. Brewmaster Matt will be brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, capable of a full brewday in only four hours, with 3800 litres of fermentation capacity for a wide variety of beers on the go simultaneously. Speaking of which, they are fans of brewing (and drinking) English-style beer, and will be launching with a variety of those, including a Bitter, Red Ale (with Rye), Brown Ale, Stout, and IPA, as well as a Belgian Witbier and Cream Ale. Split Rock will be hitting the local taps late spring; stay tuned to their social media and here for the full scoop!

• Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound has taken taken one of the truly formative steps in the life of a young brewery by hiring an assistant brewer. Magen Powell is a veteran of the restaurant industry where she has worked on and off since she was 19 years of age, serving, bartending and managing. Her stint with Nova Scotia draught and tap experts BeerTech helped her develop a solid technical understanding and the skills needed to install and maintain dispensing systems. This also helps her bring another perspective to brewing in terms of how beer and other carbonated liquids behave and the influence of different gases (CO2, “beer gas”, Nitro, etc.) in dispensing. Magen’s first foray in the brewhouse is the Dive Bar Classics series, beginning with the Mojito Dry-hopped Sour that was released on March 4th. This series reflects her passion for being a “bar chef” and her interest in craft cocktails featuring local ingredients. The next in the series, Fuzzy Navel IPA was brewed this week and you can expect it to debut in April. We’ll be sure to get more details about that one as the release date approaches.

• Meanwhile, Roof Hound is also putting on something special for your St. Patrick’s day celebration today – they’ve taken their Handsome Devil Coffee Milk Porter and jazzed it up with almonds, vanilla bean and Irish Whiskey. The result is 7% ABV and there’s only one keg of it down at the brewery. So if you’re in the Digby area tonight and fixing for something dark, smooth and sweet, this one sounds like a good bet!

• In other St. Paddy’s Day beer news, Fredericton’s Picaroons just released The Leprechaunundrum, a dark, bitter, 6.5% ABV ale that doesn’t appear to fit into any particular style of beer. Described by the brewery as “dry and full-bodied, yet fruity due to the generous amounts of Galaxy hops”, it’s now on tap at all Picaroons locations across New Brunswick, and may pop up at select bars/restaurants in the near future.

Bulwark Cider’s special People’s Cider Project is ready for prime-time! We first mentioned it in October, when they put out the call for folks with hobby orchards, abandoned orchards, or just some apple trees on their property to bring apples to Ross Farm Museum for Cider Days. The original hope was simply that enough cider would be made to share with all the apple-givers who were issued People’s Cider Memberships in exchange for their apples. In the end things went a whole lot better than that and the first community-driven cider project in Nova Scotia (at least in recorded memory) is a great success. The People’s Cider has arrived and was launched this week. A rustic cider coming in at 7.8% ABV, it features aromas of apple blossom, pear, and clover honey and has a crisp, dry finish. Given the many varieties of apples it contains, some of which have surely been all but forgotten, it expresses true terroir; future versions are bound to be different, but this is your chance to taste the very first. Available in 500ml bottles, you’ll be able to find it at the private liquor stores in Halifax as well as the NSLC Port of Wines store. If you’re not in Halifax, or even in Nova Scotia, and you want to get your hands on this special batch, fear not! Bulwark has now launched an online store shipping cider and branded merchandise country-wide. This is great news for both Bulwark and cider fans across the land; now if only breweries were allowed to do the same thing…

• After a brief hiatus, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their Killick Session Lager this week, but in a big way. The 4.7% ABV Munich Helles-style beer, originally released as Kinobier last fall to celebrate Devour! Film Fest, is now available in six-pack format. The Helles (“Bright” or “Pale”) style is a traditional German style of beer, known to be supremely drinkable, and the local version does not disappoint. Featuring Heidelberg Malt as the sole grain, and a light bitterness from Herkules hops (with Huell Melon for aroma and flavour), these ingredients keep the beer authentically German. Six-packs are available now at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront, and debuting at the NSLC Monday, April 3rd. And in an update for you Blueberry Chai Pils fans (or soon-to-be fans), packaging of this beer will be happening early next week, with release mid-next-week at the brewery, and with the standard Spindrift Tall Boy cans debuting at the NSLC April 3rd.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another Growler Day today, with a pair of beers available to go. Method IPA is a hazy and juicy, orange hoppy beer with lots of citrus and peach notes, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 7% ABV, the brewery assures us it’s “new and improved”! T&B’s latest sour beer will also be pouring – Sour Otis Tangelo Oranges features, yes, tangelo, a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. The details stop there, but assuming this beer follows the trend set by the others in the Sour Otis series, it was likely kettle soured to give plenty of tartness to complement the character from the fruit addition.

• We’ve got lots of news to share about Sober Island Brewing, who are putting the final touches on their major expansion at their brewery (new building, and a 820 litre (7BBL) brewhouse, up from 50 litre). They expect to be brewing on the system before the end of the month, which means an April launch. In the meantime, however, they will be adding a brand new beer to their core lineup, a Blonde Ale very soon. Described as a “bread and butter sort of beer” by owner Rebecca Atkinson, the easy drinking brew uses a different yeast than the rest of their year-round offerings, low in hop profile, but with plenty of character. The approachable beer is meant to introduce local drinkers to the wonderful world of small batch beer. First sips and samples will be available at the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

• This week’s edition of The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly, is beer-centric, so be sure to grab it to learn about what local brewers are drinking, an interview with Propeller Brewing’s John Allen, and some suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day drinking from the 902BrewCast guys. Speaking of which, they have released their March Tasting Episode this morning, so be sure to grab that in your favourite podcasting method.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is coming up fast (Saturday, April 8th), and Flying Boats will be attending with a brand new beer in tow. Brewed in collaboration with local beer writer Craig Pinhey, it’s being stylized as a “hybrid Amber Ale” brewed to feature the Special B malt. Known for imparting raisin-like, dark fruit characteristics when used in brewing, Special B is more often seen in dark, Belgian-style ales. Flying Boats’ beer also has NB-grown Cascade hops added for bittering and flavour, and will come in at around 29 IBUs and 5.5% ABV. If you can’t make it to the SJBF – there are a few tickets still on sale, by the way – fear not! This one will also be on tap at Flying Boats accounts.

• The NB maple beers continue to flow, as Foghorn just released their take on the style. Described by the brewery as a “Maple Rye”, Xylem has a subtle maple flavour thanks to the addition of 20 L of maple syrup from local producer Briggs Maples. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Southan Goldings, giving a moderate bitterness in the finish. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and is available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom; keep your eyes peeled, as it may pop up on tap at your favourite Foghorn licensee, soon. And keep an eye out for more Maple Beers, launched as a Tourism NB partnership between maple producers and brewers. Also on the list is Distillerie Fils du Roy‘s Monseigneur Paquet collaboration with their Pacquetville neighbours, Sucrerie Chiasson.

• In Nackawic, you’ll find Big Axe putting out their Maple Bourbon Porter, a 5.4% ABV brown porter with a light to medium body and a mild bitterness. The maple syrup for this beer came from Dumfries Maples across the river. Bourbon-soaked oak chips were added to the secondary along with a second shot of maple syrup. Continuing the maple theme, Big Axe will also be doing their annual Maple Wheat Amber as soon as the sugaring season starts, with their usual partner Stone Family Maple Products providing the syrup for that one. We’ll update you on that one as the season goes on.

• And speaking of Fils du Roy, they will be releasing a new beer next weekend, as part of an event in Bathurst. Capt. Craig Brown Ale is a 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU beer named after famous/infamous Capt Craig, a maurader in the Baie de Chaleur, and whose phantom ship is thought to sail the Baie to this day. Le Soiree Noir & Blanc is a fundraising supper happening in Bathurst Mar 25th, in support of food security and assistance for the region’s youth. After the launch, bottles of the beer will be more widely available at the region’s ANBL locations.

In addition to today’s excuse to grab a few pints at your local, we’ve got a few more reasons to celebrate local: 

• Happy One Year Anniversary to Fredericton’s York County Cider! Drop by their retail location at 418 York Street this afternoon from 4-7pm for free sampling, snacks, and prizes.

• Wolfville’s La Torta Pizzeria will be hosting a very special event tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, their first (we think!) tap takeover, as Tatamagouche Brewing comes in from the North Shore. Twelve, count ’em, 12 taps will be flowing with Tata’s signature brews starting at 2pm. There will be door prizes, swag, live music featuring Steve Lee, and no cover charge. The tap list has been slowly revealed this week via social media, with taps 1-4 showcasing the lighter side and taps 5-8 banging the hops. Taps 8-12 are yet to be revealed; check Tata’s Twitter throughout the day for the announcement. And plan to bring an appetite, as La Torta’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired oven will be in full swing.

PEI Brewing Co. will be holding a special Tap Takeover at HopYard on Saturday, March 25th, where they will be launching their dry-hopped Brett Saison. Aptly named Patience, this beer was brewed almost six months ago. With a grist of 2-row, Munich malt, and wheat, it was fermented with a Saison strain, as well as the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which can continue to develop funky flavours and aromas when given enough time. Once it was about ready, it was then dry-hopped with the tropical Citra and Mosaic varieties, and primed (carbonated) in the bottle for several weeks. This is the first Brett (and bottle-conditioned) beer for PEIBC, so be sure to grab a few bottles when you can! Aside from the PEIBC tap takeover, the event will feature lots of live music, as well as a limited edition menu collaboration with Chef Jane Crawford and Chef Adam Loo. Bring your appetites! It all starts at 4 pm, with no cover.

• On April 2nd (rescheduled from March 25 due to shipping issues), Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting a BC Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring 3 heavy-hitters from the West Coast: Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Four Winds Brewing from Delta, and Dageraad of Burnaby. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Changeling Raspberry Sour, Four Winds’ Featherweight Session IPA, and Dageraad’s Sri Lanka Dubbel. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon. For the full taplist, check out the Brewnosers Forums for the salivating details.

• Now that FCBF is over, it’s time to start planning for the next beer-themed Fredericton event – Poutine Fest! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, like past events it will feature three different sessions, with two of them (late afternoon and evening) pouring over 12 different beers, ciders and meads. There are different ticket options which determine the number of drink tickets you receive (click out the link for details); of course, all tickets include all-you-can-eat poutine, with 12+ different varieties being available! Tickets go on sale today at 11 am; the event has sold out every time since its initial launch, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.

• And if summer doesn’t feel too far away for you, we have news on a new festival coming up! The first Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will be held in downtown Nackawic, NB on Saturday, July 15th from 4-8 pm. Organized by Peter and Tatiana Cole of Big Axe Brewery, exact details are still being ironed out, but there will be 20+ breweries from NB, NS, PEI and Maine on hand, as well as live music (including David in the Dark), and food vendors offering “an assortment of foods grown and sourced in NB”. Tickets are already on sale, and are $50 each; there is also a limited-availability $65 option, which includes a bus ride to and from the festival from Fredericton or Woodstock. Breweries confirmed so far include Grimross, Maybee, Hammond River, Picaroons, Sober Island, Foghorn, Upstreet, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Portland, Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Be sure to buy your tickets ASAP, before they’re gone!

And before we go this week…

Good Robot will have their Dave & Morley Coffee Brown back on tap as of today in version 2.0 form, this time featuring Rwanda Kanzu (from Java Blend, of course) as the coffee component. So pull up a stool, order one up, and maybe lift your glass to the late, great Stuart McLean, who inspired this brew. Meanwhile, the gang has installed their Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels and will shortly be pouring things into them; we’ll let you know what when the appropriate time comes.
Mill Street St John’s has brought back their Jigger’s Delight Cali Common (5% ABV, 14 IBUs), a hybrid between lager and ale that is described as “fresh and zingy, with medium body and toasty caramel notes”.
– Needing a Nine Locks Fathom fix? Good news, it’s back in cans again! This 8% ABV DIPA recently won a medal in the Down East Brewing Awards, so stock up while you can!
– Picaroons has announced that they’re looking to fill two brewing positions, one at the Saint John brewery, and one in St. Stephen. Both breweries are 2.5 hL in size, double-batching into 5 hL. For a full list of qualifications and contact info, check out this link.
– The region’s Homebrewers, especially those in the HRM, will be excited to hear that Everwood Avenue Brewshop is relocating out of owner Dave Gillette’s basement and into a retail space in Lower Sackville. This will mean regular retail hours six days a week, and only closing on Mondays. The space is roughly twice as large and will allow the shop to expand its product lines and better cater to different market segments. We’ll have more details before the expected opening on April 5th, but for now can tell you that they’re looking for a full-time employee for the new space. You can find the details of the position posted on the Brewnoser’s forum.