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We’ve got another week chock-full of new and returning releases, as well as another new brewery opening in the region. A reminder that with Remembrance Day Monday, the provincial liquor stores will be closed, and many of the private stores will be as well. Breweries and taprooms may be adjusting their hours, to allow their employees time to observe the day, so please keep an eye on their social media to avoid disappointment.

For the second time in less than a month, we are thrilled to announce the opening of a new brewery in Newfoundland and Labrador! RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company is opening their doors today in St Anthony, in the Northwest region of the island. Located at 223-227 West Street, the brewery features a taproom where you can enjoy a sample, flight, or pint, and then fill up a 0.95 or 1.89 litre growler for further enjoyment at home. Four of their own beers will be complemented by four more from their closest brewery neighbour, Crooked Feeder located in 400 km south in Cormack. And to keep you happy and able to go all day/night, the Northern Wings food truck will be serving burgers, wings, and a few other snacks. The taproom will be open today 2 PM – 12 AM, and open again for the rest of the weekend, keep an eye on their FB page above for details. Congratulations to the RagnaRöck family! This brings the number of breweries in the province to 16, with a couple more slated to open before the end of the year!

Hot off the heels of their tap takeover at Battery Park last night, we have further details on two new releases from Propeller Brewing this week. First up is a Propeller-only beer, NZ Pils. You’ve probably noticed a few different beers in Atlantic Canada popping up over the last year or two with the style name “New Zealand Pilsner”, and this is one of those, hopped entirely (and heavily, compared to your poppy’s Pilsner) with New Zealand varieties… in this case, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. These wonderful hops have topped up this beer with lots of gooseberry, white wine, and fresh citrus in the aroma, with a “light malt body” to balance. Clean and refreshing, it comes in at a pretty-sessionable 5.2% ABV, and releases today at both Prop Shop locations in cans and on tap. It should be appearing in the private stores in the HRM shortly, as well as at NSLC The Port next week. Finally, NZ Pils will also be making an appearance at Propeller’s cask night at 5 pm today, accompanied by an extra Nelson Sauvin addition.

Continuing with Propeller, their next beer is a collaboration with North Brewing, Wing & Ding Lithuanian Pale Ale. This one is a 5% ABV Saison brewed with Shoreline Pale malt, hopped with Amarillo and El Dorado, and fermented with Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast, which has given the beer “aromas and flavours of passionfruit, orange zest, and guava, with a light Farmhouse funk”; they’re also describing it as “a fusion of tropical fruit and spice, with a lightly tart finish”, which sounds pretty good to us! Now, while you can find cans of this baby at both Propeller and North retail shops, North will be selling theirs under the name of Ding, and Propeller under Wing. Confused? Well, there’s a method behind their madness: there is a code on the can labels for you beer-lovers to crack, and you’ll need both cans to decode it. The first person to do this and DM either Propeller or North will win a prize pack from both breweries. The beer releases today, so get cracking!

Keeping up with collaboration news, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with Brasserie Artisanale de l’Anse of St.Pierre-et-Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France located near Newfoundland (just 25km!). Port Rexton believes this may be the first France-Canada craft beer collab, and we’re going to defer to them, because the thought of researching that right now is exhausting! The beer is named French Pale Ale, and was brewed with French Pale, Pilsner, and Biscuit malts. Hopped with French hop varieties (Strisselspalt, Mistral and Bouclier), the final beer has “notes of rose, melon, herb and grass with subtle spicy/floral undertones and a lingering bitterness”. Available on tap and in cans at the taproom, this 5.1% ABV brew was released yesterday; you’ll also be able to grab cans at the brewery’s St. John’s Retail Shop. And in other PR news, you should be able to find some of their beers in cans at select NLC stores across the province; availability will be limited, of course, and styles will vary from week to week.

Niche Brewing, located in the New Brunswick Capital region, has gone hazy and sweet again this week, with the release of Lush. Their latest in the Milkshake IPA theme, the 6.5% ABV Lush features lactose powder and vanilla beans, fermentation with a hazy IPA yeast strain, and conditioning on mango purée before packaging. Fruity and tropical from both the hops and fruit addition, vanilla and milk sugar keep it a bit sweet to complete the milkshake experience. Look for it on draft at The Joyce and Graystone Brewing in Fredericton, Saint John Ale House, Peddler’s Creek, and Ducky’s elsewhere in the province, The Auction House in Halifax (along with the recent batch of Niche’s Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout), and at ANBL Moncton North for growler fills

We’ve got some news on the latest beer comin’ out of Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, a Rye IPA named Rye’T Some Good IPA (the rye beer puns are never ending, eh, Tony?). As you probably figured, there’s a good portion of Rye malt in the grist of this one, and the classic Simcoe hop variety was used in abundance to provide aromas of grapefruit and pine, which always pair well with this style of IPA. There’s a bit of sweetness upfront as well, along with moderate bitterness and “a cleansing stone fruit counterbalance”. You can only find this one at the brewery (pints, growlers and crowlers), so those of you who are Rye IPA fans, get in your cars! Or on your horse, if you have a horse and don’t mind longer road trips.

We know that pretty much all of you don’t want to hear it, but sorry, Bootleg Brew Co. is going to remind you with their new beer… CHRISTMAS IS COMING (anyone got one of those handy Ned-from-Game of Thrones memes hanging around?). Anyway, the beer. Tis the Saison is a 5.5% ABV Farmhouse Ale that they’ve spiced with nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. On the nose, expect “apple/orchard fruit Saison characteristics” with a touch of spice; the spices do come through more prominently on the palate, however, along with the orchard fruit and a bit of bubblegum. Available at the brewery right now on tap and in bottles, so drop on in (Santa costumes optional). 

Have you been itching for a new supremely-hoppy beer from 2 Crows Brewing? If the answer is a resounding “Of course YES so just get to the damn news about the beer already!”, then FINE, EXCUSE US FOR TRYING TO MAKE THIS A LITTLE LESS THAN MONOTONOUS. Anyway, the beer is Another Iteration, brewed with Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Hopped with puh-lenty Simcoe and Ella in the hopback, they fermented it with an English yeast strain and then dry-hopped it twice with puhhhhhhhhh-lenty Enigma, Vic Secret, and Huell Melon (16 g/L, to be specific… and for those of you who aren’t familiar with brewing specifics, that is a lot of hops). It came out pretty juicy and tropical, as you might imagine, “with big stone fruit, passionfruit, and tangerine vibes”. Grab this 6.1% ABV beauty on tap and in cans at the tasting room starting tomorrow; fresh is best!

With Remembrance Day happening on Monday, Tatamagouche Brewing has just released a Flanders-inspired beer to honour those who have given so much in sacrifice for our country and our freedoms. Muse is a 6.5% ABV blend of sour red ales that was refermented and aged on cherries for four months. Bottle-conditioned (in 500 mL bottles), the beer has tart blackberries and crabapples in the flavour, “tempered by a slight sweetness evocative of sour candy”. Finishing with a lingering dryness, this is a fine way to enjoy now, or age for further development. Looks like you’ll have to swing by the brewery right now to get it, but let’s hope some bottles see some wider distribution, soon! Plus, look out for cans and draught of their Blue Bales, a 4.8% ABV Wheat Ale absolutely filled with early harvest Organic blubes from North of Nuttby Farm.

Halifax’s Good Robot never really stops and they’re always kind enough to let us know what’s going on during any given week. This time around they’re on a journey into darkness. First up is reminding folks that their Summer Stout brewed in collaboration with Portland, Maine’s Lone Pine Brewing Company is still pouring at the tap room for the moment, although they’re down to their last kegs. But if you happen to miss that, there’s also the impending return of Bingo Bronson, their 6% ABV, 25 IBU smooth, dark and rich Chocolate Porter. And coming back next week is a favorite of many, their Tom Waits for No One American Stout, which returns next Thursday. A big ‘un that’s been around since they opened their doors, it’s a beefy 7.9% ABV and 58 IBU.

Up in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Route 19 Brewing is on the hunt for a brewmaster. Ideally they’re looking for someone with plenty of experience in the industry and is ready to take on a wide variety of tasks in their shiny new brewhouse, including recipe research and development, ingredient selection and purchasing, inventory management, and production. If this sounds like you and you’re interested in working in a quiet, but beautiful part of the region, you’ll want to check out the full job posting and send in an application. And they’re also searching for a Salesperson, to help move all of the beer that new Brewer will be making, so check out the job posting here, and send your enquiries to evan@route19brewing.com for either opening.

We’ve got a few events to tell/remind you about today, including the Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, happening tomorrow at the Moncton Coliseum. Grab tickets/sign up/mark your calendars, and we’ll see you out there!

As the local beer cognoscenti are aware, the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards were judged last weekend, but the results have been encrypted and hermetically sealed and are quietly awaiting revelation. When will we find out which beers are big winners this year? Next weekend, in fact. HopYard Halifax will be hosting this year’s ACBA Awards (presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers – Atlantic Canada Chapter) Gala on Saturday, November 16th, from 6 – 9 PM. Changing it up from previous years, this will be a “stand-up mingling occasion” without the formality of a sit-down dinner and allowing the drinking public to attend rather than just brewery and industry folks. Tickets are $57.50 and are available through EventBrite. Come on down and find out whose beer reigned supreme in our region this year!

If one of your personal markers for November is Stillwell’s annual Birthday Party, congratulations, you’re probably beer-obsessed. But that’s okay, so are we! Going down on Sunday, November 17 from noon ‘til late, Stillwell turns SIX. You can, as always, expect tasty goodies on tap from breweries both within and without our region including some debuts. Add to that some lambic bottle pours and some cask conditioned treats as well and you’ve got a recipe for a good time. But wait, there’s more! Food-wise, pig head poutine is going to be a thing, a hoagie platter will be around to share with friends or punish yourself (or maybe both), and to the utter delight of one AC Beer Blogger, Trinidadian Doubles (with proper pepper sauce, we’ll warrant) will be coming out of the kitchen. Also, oyster happy hour from 4 – 7 PM and FREE CAKE! This is a non-ticketed event and we expect the joint to be hopping, so plan your appearance wisely. And while there’s no date yet publicized, keep an eye on social media for opening details of The Stillwell Freehouse, Team Stilly’s English Pub-inspired location opening soon on Agricola Street. Think even more beer engines/handpumps, cozy nooks and benches, and pies and pasties and even some bartop games. We’ll have lots more to say real soon, too!

Are you one of those beer drinkers who doesn’t get the attraction of wild and/or sour beers? Or are you the type who sees that certain breweries are releasing a new one and put the release date and time in your calendar? Somewhere in-between? If you’re into learning more about such beers, where they came from, how they’re made, and why you may be missing out if you avoid them, the Ladies Beer League in Halifax has an event for you. Wild & Sour Beer: A guided tasting with Jeremy Taylor is happening on Tuesday, November 19th from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at 2 Crows. As brewmaster at 2C, Jeremy has been making some of the region’s finest beers in this category since the brewery opened (and before that at other breweries) and has a wealth of knowledge to share. For $30 you’ll have a chance to glean some of this info from him as you sip 4 samples, each with cheese pairing, and a full pint from the taps. We don’t know how many tickets there are, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a ton, so if this event interests you head on over to EventBrite and grab yours ASAP. As with all of the LBL events, this is open to everyone cool, no need to be a member.

Just a few parting words before we dismiss you today. Check out the last few new and returning beers, and a heads up for some new ear-candy coming Tuesday.

While we can’t provide you with a link to the episode as it isn’t up yet, you should set a reminder to visit the 902BrewCast page (or your favorite podcast provider) this coming Tuesday, November 12. You remember earlier this fall when they did their blind tasting of local Pilsners? Well they’re doing the same thing with another style, NE IPAs. Tune in for more mirth and merriment, and Kyle talking about rolling cans (seriously, people do that?). Social media posts suggest that once again the results were a bit of a surprise to the gang themselves, which no doubt will make for an entertaining and educational listen.

Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing has a couple of beers returning this week, one dark and one light. The latest iteration of Beans, their oatmeal coffee stout, has been dosed with cholaca for an additional hit of chocolatey goodness. And the first batch of their winter session ale, Parallel, is also available, with a (for Trailway) subtle hop character of berries and stone fruit sitting pairing with a honey sweetness from a high-quality German Pils malt side. Look for both on tap and in cans shortly, with the latter going to ANBL distribution soon.

And over on PEI, in Charlottetown, Upstreet is having a release party for this year’s Black Tie Affair at the taproom tonight, from 7 PM onwards. Although not strictly black tie, you’re encouraged to dress up for this candlelit soirée where h’ors d’oeuvres will be passed around and background music will be played on piano by Brielle Ansems. Of course you’ll have the chance to enjoy some beer, including the eponymous brew, a sweet and roasty full-bodied stout coming in at 5% ABV and 15 IBU, made slightly tart by an addition of cranberries.

And lastly, staying on the Island, PEIBC has a new beer coming out in their After Hours series of limited edition one-off beers, this one entitled Dry-hopped Sour. With high-quality wheat and Pilsner malts ensuring a crisp and clean base for the sourness and hops to shine, it features citrus and tropical overtones. Low in bitterness like most sours at 14 IBU, it’s 5% ABV and will be hitting the taproom shelves today with full PEILCC distribution coming later. Meanwhile, we’re expecting the results of their Maritime Homebrew Challenge to be announced this weekend; keep an eye on the website and PEIBC and Gahan social media for news on that front!

Oh hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Already. Given that many of you folks will probably be spending time with family and friends this weekend, don’t be surprised if the staff at your favorite breweries and/or taprooms are given some time to do the same. As always, check social media before you make any special trips to get beer lest you find yourself disappointed. Provincial liquor authorities will definitely be closed on Monday, so if your plan includes one of them, plan to stock up by Sunday afternoon. We should also mention that with two of our three authors away on vacation for the next two weeks (and the third consumed by seething resentment at the other two), chances are extremely high that we won’t be posting much, if at all, on the next two Fridays; these posts are definitely not a one person job! Breweries who have big news that they really really want to share are welcome to contact us and we’ll do our best to provide a bump via social media. Cheers!

This weekend is the 2nd Anniversary for Tanner & Co. Brewing (2 years already, when the hell did that happen?), and that pretty much means in this industry that you’ve got to release a special beer for the occasion! Enter Reserve Sauvage, a special version of their Sauvage, a “Nova Scotian Ale” that is most-closely aligned with a Saison. Brewed with local malts from Horton Ridge (Pale, Vienna, and Wheat), and fermented with NS yeast from Big Spruce in Chardonnay barrels, where it was aged for about three weeks. The beer is giving notes of “pineapple, banana, buttery Chardonnay, and a bit of spice and straw in the finish”. It’ll be available this weekend at the brewery on tap (as well as at Battery Park with some other Tanner goodies), with bottles following sometime next week. And keep an eye on their social media for big announcements coming soon regarding their town of Chester Tasting Room!

Two new beers comin’ ‘atcha from TrailWay this week, one of which is a play on their house Pilsner, Yada Yada. This new iteration, named Yoo Hoo (Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm reference? And, go!) features a dry-hop addition of European Mittelfruh, giving the 5% ABV Lager an aroma of “subtle floral, herbs, and delicate spices”, according to the brewery. Their next beer is yet another iteration, being the next entry in their rotating Kveik IPA, Oculus. This time around they decided to employ Citra, Cashmere, and Idaho 7 hops, lending lots of tropical fruit and citrus character (which is upped even more thanks to the warm fermentation with Kveik yeast). This one comes in at 6% ABV; cans/pints/growlers of both beers will be available at the brewery as of today, and look for cans of Yoo Hoo to start appearing at various ANBL locations.

If you’re in the mood for something fruity, jammy, and sour this weekend, 2 Crows has got the cure for what ails ya. Paradise is their latest foedre-aged sour, brewed with Barley, Wheat, Spelt, and a touch of Rye malt. Lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvin (to just 6 IBUs) and some aged noble hop varieties, the wort was fermented and soured in one of their foedres with a blend of their house cultures. After conditioning for several months, they added a whole whack of raspberries (560 lbs), and a lesser amount of passionfruit (210 lbs, keeping in mind that a little passionfruit can go a long way). Once the secondary fermentation (thanks to all the sugar from the fruit) was complete, they packaged the beer in 355 mL cans, where it was allowed to carbonate naturally over two months. Tasting “super jammy, lush, bright, and lovely”, it has a strong tartness, a touch of funk, and a bit of mineral character. The raspberry comes through in the extreme, with the passionfruit backing it up. Super drinkable at just 4.7% ABV, you can drop by the brewery this weekend to pick up some cans; it’s also available on tap, and will likely be popping up at a few better beer establishments in the HRM.

In Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing is releasing a new IPA this week that reaches back a little bit to a time before IPAs were hazy and juicy. Described as more of a “West Coast” IPA, North Park features a classic American hop profile, with citrusy notes of grapefruit and orange meeting a bit of dankness thanks to the liberal use of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The ABV is up a little (6% ABV) and bitterness is moderate (45 IBU), and specialty malts bring the maltier character that one would expect from a beer in this style. Find it soon, if not already, at  The Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, CAVOK Brewing Co., Tide and Boar Gastropub, Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub, Peppers Pub, and at Stillwell in Halifax.

Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing is switching from a Continental-heavy first half of October (with their German-inspired Lagerhosen and Daybreak Kellerbier released over the past two weeks) to an English release this week. English Dark Mild features the use of complex malts in the brew for a wide variety of toast and biscuit character, complemented with yeast-derived esters reminiscent of jam and currants. Light residual sweetness keeps this 3.6% ABV from being too thin, and is the perfect accompaniment to a quiet evening by the fire in a cozy pub. Look for it on tap at Tata now, and around the province this weekend.

Propeller is once again getting a little funky with it, with the release today of their newest beer, Harvest Brett Saison. This 6% ABV mixed fermentation brew – featuring a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeast strains – is described by the brewery as having “complex spice, dried red fruit and citrus flavours, balanced by subtle earthy and funky Brett characteristics”. It finishes very dry, as any good Saison should, with a slight tartness. This is one of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, meaning you can find it at both Prop shops for growlers, pints, and flights (no bottles/cans, sorry). And P.S., tonight’s Friday cask is ESB w/ Coffee, tapped at 5 PM to kick off your weekend with a jolt!.

Two new beers from Yankee Line Road just outside of Nyanza to tell you about this week. Big Spruce has a hop farm onsite, and are releasing their ode to the hops harvest, and hops harvester, this week. Passion of the Chris is named in celebration of landscaper and hopyard guy Chris, who spends many an hour trimming, weeding, training, and overall caring for the plants during the growing season. The hops using in PotC were picked and then promptly added to the boil, with nary a minute to allow for any of that fresh hop goodness to escape. The resulting 7.9% ABV Harvest IPA features a wide blend of hop varietals used, and the aroma and flavour reflects that, with orange and lemon zest, floral notes, fresh pine, and cut grass. The beer is full bodied and light in bitterness, remaining well balanced. This beer is only available at this time of year, so be sure to grab a growler or pint wherever you run across it!

Big Spruce is also debuting a second beer this week, decidedly on the lighter side of things. Festival Club is a 4.2% ABV Session Ale, light-bodied, displaying a touch of haze, and finishing dry. Wild flowers and grass dance on the nose and palate, finishing in a crisp fashion, encouraging a second sip (or pint!). Festival Club is on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers, as well as in cans, perfect for grabbing for a hike or taking you to your next kitchen party.

And for those homebrewers interested in this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge that we told you all about last week, the Voss Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs that’s being used exclusively for the competition beers this year has landed at both the brewery and Everwood Ave Brewshop in Lower Sackville (registration fees must be paid in order to get yeast). If you can’t make it to one of these locations to pick it up, go ahead and contact the brewery and they’ll help you figure something out.

One of Newfoundland’s newest breweries, Bannerman Brewing on Duckworth Street in the city of St. John’s, has a new beer pouring, their first in the Porter style. Late Shift is a 6.0% dark ale featuring a blend of caramel and roasted malts for sweetness and a bit of roasty bite along with plenty of flaked and malted oats that no doubt lend a soft mouthfeel and smooth body. Described as “thick and creamy with notes of coffee and chocolate,” you should be able to find it on tap at the brewery. And stay tuned for news of another beer in the works, as Mike “Hogie” Hogan, of Upstreet Brewing fame, was spotted at the brewery this week wearing his brewing overalls (although to be honest we’re not sure he doesn’t wear those everywhere…). We’ll be sure to tell you all about that one as soon as we know more!

One of St. John’s most-regarded seafood restaurants,  The Adelaide Oyster House, is celebrating their 5th Anniversary this month, and have teamed up with Port Rexton Brewing (a brewery that the restaurant has supported since their early days) to concoct up a birthday beer, Mango Guava Sour. The beer, a 5% ABV  kettle sour, features additions of mango and pink guava puree, giving a mixture of fruit punch and “sour cocktail” notes. It’s available now, exclusively at the brewery’s taproom in Port Rexton, and at TAOH, naturally. And great news for those patiently awaiting their return: cans are now available for sale at the brewery and the St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road, so be sure to grab some before you head to your turkey dinner Sunday (or Monday!). And big congratulations to PRBC team members Terra and Nicole, who were awarded scholarships for the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone®︎, as awarded by the Canadian Brewing Awards. Only a handful of folks across the country were selected, clearly there’s something special in the water in Port Rexton!

Sticking within the Rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing has completed a collaboration brew of their own. They recently teamed up with Ontario’s Muskoka Brewery to brew Chocolate Orange Kveik, which… kinda tells you a lot from the name. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole lot of details for this one, but we can tell you that it’s a hazy beer was fermented with a Kveik yeast strain, and weighs in at a pretty-hefty 8% ABV. Exhibiting “roasted notes of chocolate swirled with zesty orange”, it definitely sounds to be on the interesting side! Best way to get it is probably dropping by this weekend at QV.

And switching to NL cider from NL beer, Newfoundland Cider Company up in Clarenville, NL, is releasing four, count’em FOUR, new small batches of cider this weekend that would seem to suggest they’ve got a real appreciation for seasonal flavors and some serious foraging skills (or know someone who does). The ciders in question are: Strawberry + Chuckley Pear, Gooseberry, Pin Cherry, and Chuckley Pear. What’s a Chuckley Pear? We don’t know either, but Wikipedia says it’s a family of shrubs and small trees in the rose family that’s also known by many other names, including Saskatoon Berry. All feature the same base cider, and then the berry additions, a perfect way to see the expression those offer. If you’re in the area and like cider, this sounds like quite a lineup to try (and note that they also have their Honey Cyser, Old Tilt and Hopped Cider available to go). Also, this weekend will be your last chance to enjoy their taproom before they close for the season; they’re open Saturday from 2 – 7 PM, with five different ciders pouring. But don’t worry, their retail shop will still be open Mon-Sat, 11 – 4:30 PM, all winter, with a rotating selection of 8 on the go right now.

Though at this point it’s probably more pertinent to breweries than to the region’s beer drinkers, the registration process for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards is now in full swing. Breweries are welcome to submit pretty much as many beers as they like (the official scale goes from 1 to Big Spruce), although they must limit themselves to a single beer in each official sub-category. Registrations will be accepted until October 25th at which point the door will be closed and let the best beers win! Judging will take place on November 2nd and 3rd, with the gala awards ceremony happening at HopYard Halifax mid-November. As always, we’ll do our level best to get the results to you as soon as possible after they’re announced. If you’re a brewery from Atlantic Canada and you’re interested in entering, check out that first link, or shoot an email to suzanne@withzest.ca

Some beery things happening this weekend and beyond:

Halifax’s Stillwell never ceases to disappoint with their seemingly-endless number of brewery tap takeovers, ranging from local breweries to those that are decidedly *not* local! And starting tomorrow, October 12th at noon, they’ll be featuring one of Maine’s finest craft breweries, Oxbow Brewing, from Newcastle (although it should be noted they also now have locations elsewhere in the state, in Portland and Oxford). For those of you lucky enough to be able to drop in tomorrow, you can expect six taps and ten different beers in bottles, several of which are debuting at Stillwell! While not a complete takeover, exactly, we’re fine with it! Don’t miss out, Oxbow has been brewing some delightful Farmhouse Ales since they opened years ago, and this is a great excuse to give a bunch of them a try! 

The original Hopyard – that’s the Charlottetown, PEI location, for those of you not in the know – has always done an excellent job of not only serving up the best beers on the Island, but also bringing in excellent beers from NB and NS that are otherwise not readily-available to Islanders. Next Friday, October 18th, they’re going even further in Atlantic Canada with their first ever Newfoundland Tap Takeover. Nine taps will be dedicated to Port Rexton (4 beers), Quidi Vidi (3) and Landwash (2) when they open at 11 am. In addition to these fine beers, there will be a special Newfoundland food-themed menu from Chef Jane Crawford, as well as live music in the evening. And mainlander beer fans, fear not! The Halifax location will be hosting their own Newfoundland Tap Takeover on November 2nd, with the same great variety of breweries being represented.

It’s that time of year again soon, when many of Nova Scotia’s breweries throw open their doors and let in massive crowds of adoring fans. Ok, maybe there was a little embellishment there, but next Saturday, October 19th is NS Open Brewery Day! Hosted by the Craft Brewers Association of NS, all breweries affiliated with the organization have planned or are planning events to occur throughout the day, ranging from brewery tours to free samples, special beer releases to small batch brews for you to take part in, live music to food trucks, etc etc etc. We could list everything that is going on, or you could just check out the event link above! We’re going to go with the latter, as we’re already running late here.

And just a couple little newsbites before the long weekend begins!

As we mentioned last week, Good Robot has two new beers on the go this week, the latest in their Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs, and number VII for those keeping track, subtitled, The Storm Beer (5.3% ABV, 50 IBU). Also out is their Scottish Ale brewed with some appropriately Scottish friends, Go Kart Jackass (4.8% ABV, 19 IBU). Check them out at the GR taproom.

Your intrepid beer-swilling pals at the 902BrewCast have released their October Tasting Episode this week, with lots of chat between the guys about beer-related topics like rolling cans, dregs, and their long-promised packaging torture test, as well as some not-exactly beer-related topics including politics. But don’t let that scare you away, check it out at their site or your favorite podcast provider.

Well, we’re officially knee-deep into September now, and we have the perfect way to ring in the almost-last day of summer – the announcement of umpteen different returning Pumpkin Ales! Whether that brings you vast excitement or the urge to scream “Nooooooooooooooo……!” at the top of your lungs, there’s no avoiding it. But hey, there’s plenty of other new beers out there, too (including Octoberfests, natch), so let’s stop wasting time being smart about Pumpkin beers and just get into it, shall we?

Might as well dive in with one of those Oktoberfest releases, as the actual Oktoberfest in Germany starts tomorrow, and will run for a little over two weeks. That means Bannerman Brewing is releasing their Oktoberfest/Marzen, Safe Bet, just in time. This 5.5% ABV lager was brewed with a blend of Vienna, Pilsner, and Caramel malts, giving a copper-coloured beer that is “full-bodied, with a pleasant malt sweetness and nutty finish”. You can drop by the brewery in St. John’s to get your fix, where it’s available for pints and growler fills. 

Not to be outdone over in Nova Scotia, Boxing Rock has brewed up Equinox, a “classic Bavarian Lager”. With a grist made up of Pilsner malt, the wort was hopped in the boil with German hop varieties, keeping the beer as close to traditional as possible. After a lagering period at near-freezing temperatures, the final beer is now ready for purchase. Sporting “toasted bread flavours, and a soft spiciness”, as well as herbal notes thanks to the hops used, it finishes clean and dry and is mighty drinkable at 5% ABV. Available on tap and in bottles at the brewery in Shelburne, with bottles following at your local NSLC later in the fall. Also, the brewery’s Kolsch, Puck Off, is back, with their latest batch being released in six packs, each of which comes with a Boxing Rock hockey puck.

If you tend to lean towards the darker side when it comes to beer styles, and maybe you’re just a little over-hopped by all those IPAs and such that continue to be popular at the bars, you’ll be happy to hear that Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken a break from hoppy ales to release their first Stout in some time. Not your everyday stout, Snak-Pak was brewed with banana, chocolate, and vanilla! To be more specific in the details, once fermentation was complete, banana puree, Cholaca (a form of pure liquid cacao) and pure vanilla extract were all added, at different stages. This 5.5% ABV dark beer is “well balanced, but all three flavours can be picked up individually”. Curious? Drop by the brewery today when they open, and grab a pint/growler/cans to render your verdict. 

Elliston, Newfoundland’s fall festival, Roots, Rants and Roars, is happening today and tomorrow, and two of the province’s breweries have teamed up to brew a collaboration beer to celebrate! This “co-fermented” Kveik Ale, named Cellar Season,  was designed with festival organizers and Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi, and features a blend of PRB’s house Kveik (Ebbegarden) and QV’s house Kveik (Voss), both of which are from Escarpment Labs. This light-bodied Kveik beer came out with plenty of yeast character, including “banana, melon and clove on the nose, with spice, berry, melon, and orange on the palate”. Sounds pretty delicious to us! It weighs in at a moderate 5.4% ABV, and will be available at the festival this weekend. You’ll also be able to grab it on tap at the PRB taproom as of today, if you can’t make it to the festival (but you should!). 

Clarenville and Shoal Harbour are located just off of the Trans-Canada Highway where the Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista Peninsulas meet, and for those heading to the Roots, Rants, and Roar festival from St. John’s, a perfect stopping point. As such, the Newfoundland Cider Company located in the community has teamed up with the RRR festival to release the Roots, Rants and Roars Beet Cider. With Elliston being the root cellar capital of the world, it only makes to play on that and choose a veggie that is found in cellars across the province, and nation. The apple cider base underwent a wild fermentation, and was aged in oak barrels for 3 months. The matured cider was then infused with locally-grown (and -stored) beets before packaging. The result is a lovely rosé coloured cider with a semi sweet and balanced flavour. It is available at the Clarenville bottle shop as well as at the Festival. Be sure your Road to RRR includes a stop by NCC’s bottles shop or tasting room this weekend!

Upstreet has thrown down the gauntlet by announcing that today’s Neon Friday release will be the last new beer in their hoppy series of the year, so they’re under pressure to make it a good one! It IS their biggest Neon Friday to date, as Neon Friday 2.07: Hazy Double IPA is, well… a hazy DIPA. Guess the name kinda stole the blog thunder. But still, it IS a big beer at 8% ABV, and was mega-hopped with Cryo Simcoe, Ekuanot, and Amarillo, giving a very juicy brew with aromas of “fresh-cut pineapple, honeydew melon, and soft mint, as well as flavours of orange, lime, and banana”. Available right now at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in all forms, and pints only in Nova Scotia. 

In Dieppe, NB, Flying Boats has just launched the latest in their Test Pilot one-off series, Test Pilot No. 6: New England IPA. The grist included a percentage of flaked wheat and oats, which help to add haziness, as well as boost the mouthfeel of the final beer. All hop additions were added in the whirlpool and dry-hop stages, and included large amounts of Vic Secret, Citra, and Mosaic. With 43 calculated IBUs, the beer has lots of tropical fruit flavours and aromas, and comes in at 6% ABV. Available at the brewery taproom in pints, growlers, and cans. 

While we’re in New Brunswick, let’s check in with another brewery that is releasing their take on the seasonal Oktoberfest style. Fredericton’s Grimross is today debuting their Oktoberfest Märzen-bier, a beer they’ve been lagering over the summer to have ready just in time for your home Oktoberfest celebrations (hey, drinking good beer at home is reason enough to celebrate, amirite?)! Brewed with a base of Munich malt, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager strain, it was packaged after a 2 month lagering period. It’s showing off some “rich, toasted malty notes, with old world herbal hop flavour”, while remaining highly drinkable. Available at the brewery on tap and in cans, it comes in at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs. 

Speaking of Grimross, they are currently hiring for the position of Head Brewer. You can check out the full job posting here; of course, brewing experience at a senior level is a requirement. 

Before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in our region a couple of weeks ago, it caused major destruction and loss of life in the Carribean, with the Bahamas being particularly hard hit. With many Bahamians living, working, and going to school here in the Maritimes, there are many stories of tragedy of family and friends back home. This is very true for Gio Johnson, a brewer at Good Robot. In support of him and all those affected by the storm, Good Robot is dedicating their next release to raise awareness, and funds, for recovery efforts. Hope Nation Saison is a light-bodied Saison hitting the taps next week, featuring a bright lemony spritziness, a bit of spicy zing, and light fruit character. For those looking to contribute over and above the portion going from drinking a pint or filling a growler, the Rotary Club of East Nassau and Red Cross are two groups working tirelessly to rebuild the islands after the destruction.

From one of Halifax’s littlest breweries (motto: “we used to be smaller!”) comes a really big bastard of a beer this week, with Tidehouse releasing Mars. Featuring plenty of 2-row and Pilsner malts as a base, “massive” portions of chocolate, pale chocolate, standard and dehusked roasted barley, roasted wheat and flaked barley rounded out the malt side. While there’s a ton of dark specialty malts there you would expect to impart roasty and especially chocolatey flavors, we figure at least some chocolate flavor would also have come from the 198 Mars bars that were added at the end of the boil! But that’s not even all! Non-fermentable lactose was added to bump up the sweetness and the beer was finished with blackberries added at the end of fermentation. The result is an 11.5% ABV beer that’s darker than dark, with a slightly dry, tart and fruity finish to balance the sweetness. You’ll find it available on tap at the brewery starting today (but likely only for a little while), or take it to go in the traditional 650 mL bombers or much more reasonable “single serving” sized 340 mL bottles (yay!)

Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend on Southeastern PEI to check out the 70 Mile Yard Sale. This year’s event takes place this weekend, and what better excuse do you need to release a new beer? Montague’s Copper Bottom has created the way to toast the day’s great finds with 70 Mile Yard Ale, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale. Brewed with 2-row, wheat, and acidulated malt, it was lightly hopped to 15 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, and Centennial. Light-bodied, refreshing af, and thanks to the addition of orange peel, bright citrus notes shine through as well, to complement the aromas of bread dough. The beer will be launching tomorrow at the 70 Mile HQ at Wood Islands Village, as well as at the taproom with a kick-off event beginning at 3 PM. Mellow Dough will be on hand slinging donuts, PEI Pop Stand will have their gourmet popsicles, and DJ Logan Roche will be spinning some tunes to soothe while you count your new treasures. Download the booklet to plan your attack of the yard sales in the region! After the release, it will be available on draught and in cans at the brewery, as well as at bars around Charlottetown.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s favourite brewery has brought back a local favourite that is sure to sell out before you know it. Niche Brewing has been playing in the New England style with plenty of hazy and hoppy offerings, and they’ve got a fresh batch of Intergalactic back on tap in the Capital region, and beyond, this week. At 4.9% ABV, the alcohol may not be high, but the flavour is, thanks to massive additions of Citra and Mosaic added late in boil, and then dry-hopped with more Mosaic as well as Galaxy. Tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus shine through, with the hazy-friendly yeast blend keeping the smooth mouthfeel and restrained bitterness in check. We’ve seen that it’s now pouring at The Joyce in Fredericton and soon at Pepper’s Pub in Saint John, with more kegs hitting the taps in the near future.

As we mentioned above, this is the time of year when we start to see one of the most polarizing phenomena in the brewing industry: pumpkin (spice) beer. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, you can’t deny the simple fact that if these beers didn’t sell nobody would make them. This week we had word of at least 4 (tasty treats/abominations) hitting the taps and/or shelves, all of them return engagements. We thought we’d put them all in one place so it’s easy to (get the news you really want/skip the section). We know the 902BrewCast guys will appreciate that; in fact, let’s call this The 902BrewCast Pumpkin Beer Roundup!! And be sure to check out their September Tasting Episode coming this Tuesday when they feature a totally non-polarizing style, Pilsner! So without further ado, here’s the first batch from the pumpkin patch:

  • A long time favourite for fans of the gourd is Propeller Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. Using real pumpkins (from Howard Dill’s world famous variety from the Valley), the blend of seasonal spices accent the brew to be a true pumpkin pie in a glass. The 5.0% ABV beer is available at both Prop Shops and the private stores this week, and at the NSLC in the next little while.
  • Nine Locks have been making their Harvest Pumpkin Ale for quite a few years now, and this dark, full-bodied amber ale is a favorite with their customers. Both pumpkin and pumpkin spice are paired with a malty backbone and a crisp finish that’s perfect for Autumn. Available at the brewery for sure, we also see an NSLC listing, although we’re not sure if that’s from last year or for this year, so be sure to check ahead before making any plans to procure it from there!
  • Brasseurs Petit Sault way up in Edmundston has their Bonhomme Sept-heures back on tap this week. A big’un at 8.5% ABV and featuring a suitably seasonal spooky label, this coppery-colored amber ale has hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit sweetness to go along with the familiar pumpkin spices. Get a pint at the brewery or take a bottle (or more!) to go, it will also see distribution in select ANBL stores over the coming weeks.
  • Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing has their Pumpkin Paddler back as well. Named for the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta, which sees participants paddling giant hollowed-out gourds from the Dill Family Farm across Lake Pisiquid. Unfortunately, due to a terrible growing season and Hurricane Dorion, there weren’t enough 6 – 800 lb pumpkins to hold the regatta this year, but there was enough of a crop to make the beer! Featuring both real pumpkin and the brewmaster’s secret pumpkin spice blend, you’ll be able to wax poetic about Pumpkin Paddles past while enjoying one. Find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery and at select private stores in the city.

The Brewnosers homebrew and beer appreciation club has been around since 1986, advocating for better beer and respect for beer, before some of us were even born. What started with four guys in a kitchen sharing beers has evolved into a group of hundreds who are still sharing beers and homebrew recipes, and advancing the state of good beer in the region. Saturday, September 21st, marks the group’s Hoptoberfest event, where members get to show off their latest brews in a relaxed and fun environment. And it is open to the public! In addition to the beer (so much beer!!), there will be hop- and beer-infused sausages from Cavvicchi’s meats, as well as veggie and vegan snacks (and you are encouraged to bring your own). It is taking place at a private residence on the Halifax peninsula (please check out the forum link for further details). There is no cost to attend, a donation for the meal is requested. If you are looking to chat beer, try some great homebrew, and have a fun evening (pop by any time after 4 PM), we can think of no better place to be! And for those who do make it out for a visit, Hammerhead Hops, a local hop supplier, will be graciously donating a pack of 2019 Canadian Cascade hops for your next brewday!

Old school gamers rejoice: this weekend the Propeller Arcade Levels Up! As we mentioned last week, for one weekend only they’ve expanded the arcade out onto the brew floor, bringing in lots of extra cabinets and games not otherwise on site. Open from 4 PM today and tomorrow, and for the first time, noon Sunday for a Family Day, with food from Hopyard Halifax. We’ll see you there! And don’t forget that Propeller holds a Cask Night every Friday, where they tap a small-batch experiment that the brewers have tried. This week’s new one is their Tropical Sour truly cask-conditioned, allowing a milder carbonation to finish the beer. 

Good news, Woodstock (NB) beer drinkers: the 3rd annual First Town Craft Beer Festival is happening tomorrow, September 21st. This year’s event is one evening session only (6:30-9:30pm), and will be held at a new location, at 205 Tamarack St. They expect to have around 25 vendors on site to pour their products, which include beer, cider, mead, wine, spirits, and coolers. Your ticket will get you unlimited pours for the evening, and there will also be food trucks on site, as well as plenty of games to take part in while you’re imbibing. This year’s festival will also include the debut of Carleton County’s own Cross Creek Brewing, who will be launching with five beers, all of which should be available at the event; be sure to drop by their booth to be one of the first to try their brews! Tickets to the event are still available; the VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier, and also gives you free admission to the After Party with Wisecracker, which includes a cash bar and continues until 1 am (pace yourselves!).

The annual PEI Beer Festival is happening next weekend, September 27th & 28th, in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel. With 35 vendors attending, there will be a wide variety of beer and cider to suit your “needs”. There are three sessions: Friday evening 6:30-9:30pm, and two on Saturday (2-4:30pm and 6:30-9:30pm); check out this link to go over your ticket options and prices (note that there are designated driver tickets available as well). While you can buy tickets at the door, there is a strong possibility that some or all sessions will sell out in advance, and tickets are slightly cheaper if you purchase them beforehand. There will also be food available for purchase at the event (including oysters), to keep your tummies full to absorb some of that sweet, sweet alcohol.

Not to be outdone by their peers along Highway 101 who have now done two Highway 101 Tap Takeover events, the brewers and breweries of Highway 103 have announced their own event, the Highway 103 Tap Takeover and Tailgate, happening next Saturday, September 28th, from 4 PM to 8 PM at Boxing Rock’s new taproom on Water Street in Shelburne. Featuring the fine folks and beers from the hosts along with Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing Co, Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing, Mahone Bay’s Salt Box Brewing Co, Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing Co, and Tusket Falls Brewing Co out of Tusket, the party will be tailgate style in the parking lot. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 if you wait and pay at the door) from the Boxing Rock web store and entitle you to 8 four ounce samples and a commemorative tasting glass. There will also be food available for purchase, games, live music, and more!

Now that Newfoundland is approaching a critical mass of craft breweries, it seems only fitting that we’re starting to see more beer-related events popping up there. Next weekend will see a whole weekend’s worth of events going on at the 1st Annual Oktoberfest.NL event presented by the City of Mount Pearl along with YellowBelly Brewery and taking place at the Reid Community Centre. Starting with the Craft’ernoon Experience on Saturday, September 28th, from 2 PM to 5 PM you’ll find beers from Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co, Dildo Brewing, Landwash Brewery, Ninepenny Brewing, Port Rexton Brewing, Quidi Vidi Brewing, and, of course, YellowBelly as well. Tickets are $29.75 (plus taxes and fees) per person and entitle the bearer to four 5 oz samples and a soft pretzel. Later Saturday evening and into the night is Rocktoberfest, starting at 7 PM, where YellowBelly brews will be pouring along with wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages while Miss Conduct and 709 take the stage to provide live music. Prizes will also be awarded for the best Oktoberfest costume. Tickets for this event are $24.75 (plus taxes and fees) and include one 16 oz YellowBelly brew. And Sunday morning, if you’re not too done in from the afternoon and evening before, starting at 11 AM and going to 2 PM is a family-friendly brunch prepared by YellowBelly and with entertainment from The Swinging Belles. Brunch is included in ticket prices ($19.75 for adults, $9.75 for children, plus taxes and fees) and bar service is available. All tickets, including some combos (Craft’ernoon + Rocktoberfest, Craft’ernoon + Brunch, Rockoberfest + Brunch) are available online.

We have been spouting the community and economic benefits of breweries and cideries revitalizing smaller communities for years, with too many shining examples to mention here. In all four provinces of the region, there are stories of brewery owners moving to (or moving back to) a small town with other businesses, and residents, growing around them, supporting and growing each other. This is seeing amazing effects in Newfoundland especially, with breweries on both sides of the island, and soon Labrador, spawning new businesses, jobs, and vitality. As part of the Sustainable Communities Conference, put on by Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and North Atlantic Forum, there will be a public panel event with members of the brewing and distilling community, as well as those researching and assisting with funding, discussing the impact of these businesses in small towns. Held at The Stone Jug at 232 Water Street in Carbonear, the “Craft Breweries & Distilleries as Drivers of Rural Development” panel takes place 1:00 – 2:45 PM on Thursday, October 3rd. The event is free to attend, though the organizers do request registering in advance. It will be a casual environment, with local beer available for purchase, and a lively discussion and Q&A. And giving those in the region a good excuse to get out of town for some sight seeing around the Bay (and the many breweries in the region!).