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Another wild week in the region, with snow bringing the mainland to a full-stop/crawl, but thankfully we’ve got loads of great beer news to share this week. And in case you missed it, Timber Ship Brewing, which we featured in a Profile on the blog yesterday, did in fact have their launch last night at The Piping Plover Gastropub in Miramichi, pouring their Dungarvon Hopper IPA and Broken Paddle Pale Ale. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest news on where to grab a pint. Congratulations again! Let’s get to the other new news in the region…

Brut IPAs… love ‘em, or hate ‘em? No matter how you feel, it looks like the style is here to stay, at least for awhile. To give you some further food for thought on the subject, Lunn’s Mill is throwing their hat in the ring with their latest beer, And You. Their take on a Brut IPA was hopped with late additions of Galaxy and Mosaic, which combine to provide “an intense grapefruit character”. The bitterness lingers despite its relatively low 33 IBUs (likely due to the high dryness thanks to a low finishing gravity), and its alcohol level isn’t too high either, at 5.5% ABV. You should be able to still find this one at the Lunn’s Mill taproom for pints and growlers, and quite possibly at your favourite drinking spot in the HRM.

If you were lucky enough to attend Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event last night, you probably noticed a few new beers making their way around the room. One of them is the Brut IPA from Lunn’s Mill we just mentioned. Not to be outdone, Tatamagouche Brewing brought two new beers, one of which was a special sneak peek of their latest barrel-aged brew. The first beer is Kitty Clyde, a DIPA hopped with two of our favourite Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. Thanks to plenty of both in the recipe, expect “Five Alive-type citrus flavours, along with the usual tropical and mandarin” in this 7.8% ABV, 40 IBUs hop bomb. Kegs are already being delivered to various Tata licensees, and they’re also canning it today, so expect some of those next week! Their other preview was a beer brewed two years ago that finally got to see the light of day (before being lost to the darkness of mouths and stomachs) – Kiskadee. This beer started off as a clean Porter, before being racked into second-use Glenora Whisky barrels, where it sat for 18 months. The Tata elves then added a hop-tolerant mixed culture from Escarpment Labs to help the beer develop some acidity; it was then racked onto organic NS strawberries for a second fermentation, for another four months. The final, much-awaited result, is a hefty 9.8% ABV, and has notes of “chocolate, spirits, and tart strawberries”. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to taste it last night; it’s been packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles, and should be released in a couple of weeks.  

We’ve got another 2 Crows bottle release for you this weekend… or, more accurately, they do (the big glory hogs!). Those of you from Newfoundland may be particularly excited for Cloud 9, as it features the addition of the highly-coveted bakeapple. Sometimes referred to as cloudberry, bakeapple is a tart, flavourful, golden-coloured berry that is very difficult to forage, and even harder to find. In Newfoundland, some locals have places they know to find them, but keep it a closely-guarded secret since they’re so rare. Cloud 9 has been brewed on a smaller scale in the past, for release on tap at the brewery’s launch, and 1st anniversary party. As for this batch, it was brewed last March with a grain bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was soured first with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces cultures. After spending four months in the barrel, the bakeapple was added (about 50 lbs of it, the result of several days of foraging by Paul Smith, a friend of 2C who we think is owed a major favour!) to the barrel. The 5.2% ABV beer then conditioned for another two months, before packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast. Five months later, it’s finally ready and is described by 2C as “tart, lively, bright, with a distinct funk and bakeapple character”. Don’t worry, there’s some of that barrel goodness in there as well! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon; with about 900 bottles available, it’ll go pretty quickly, so don’t delay in getting down to grab yours (a few bottles will also be available on the 2C web store, for shipping in NS).

Up in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing continues to pump out small batches of lovely beers with two releases since last we mentioned them. Last week saw Enkel, their take on the traditional Patersbier style. Designed by Trappist monks to be light enough to drink during the workday, “enkel” is the Dutch word for “single” leading to the beer also being known as a “singel” for maximum confusion in the marketplace. Dark candy syrup provides some light sweetness and dark fruit to this one, contrasting with a spicy and fruity character from a typical Belgian yeast strain. At 5.5% ABV it’s probably a little higher on the scale than a more traditional example, but you can still expect it to be light and refreshing. And as is their wont, the boys of Niche are putting out a hoppier style this week to balance the Euro stylings of the Enkel. A Hazy Shade of Winter is a NEIPA with a lightish 5.6% ABV and a heavy hopping of tropical fruity Galaxy and dank and piney Simcoe. Look for a low bitterness and plenty of passion fruit flavor in this easy drinker along with some yeast character generated by their own blend of haze-encouraging yeast strains. Look for both of these beers to be available at tap accounts in New Brunswick.

There’s an appropriately-named new addition to the Something Different lineup at Annapolis Cider CompanyStorm Cider (sorry, but we’ve got to mention the weather at least once a week, right?)! Starting off as a dry cider made from the juice of handpicked Gravenstein apples, it was fermented at cool temperatures and then blended with local blueberry, strawberry, arctic kiwi, rhubarb, and blackcurrant juices. The final rose-coloured product has “vibrant notes of fresh berries, and a crisp finish”, and comes in at 7.3% ABV. The charity recipient for this cider is The Red Door, a youth health and support centre; they will receive $0.50 from each refill.

Sticking with cider, Chain Yard has their own new release now available, Scoby Blu. The latest entry in their Kombucha series, it started with the base of their Foundation cider, and then features the addition of Kombucha from local Sòlas Kombucha (New Ross, NS), as well as homemade blueberry wine and matured lavender from Meander River Farm. As you might expect, the resulting 6.4% ABV cider has some of that wonderful Kombucha funk, as well as floral and fruit notes. You can find it on tap right now at their retail store.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company has a new beer on tap and in cans, a 4.3% ABV Session IPA. Light in body, with plenty of hops on the nose and palate, but light on bitterness, reminiscent of tropical fruit and melon. They have packaged it in a limited release can, featuring the logo of the South Shore Lumberjacks hockey team. Purchasing the can helps support the Lumberjack players and personnel. Saltbox is also currently pouring Backyard Cider, made with local heirloom Gravenstein apples. This 6.5% ABV single varietal cider is crisp and dry, with floral notes on the nose.

Newly-opened Sussex Ale Works has released their latest brew to be poured at their taproom in Sussex, Holstein Milk Stout. Brewed for those who love stouts, and for those who maybe don’t think they like stouts, some malt and lactose sweetness comes through on the palate, along with chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee. Complemented by some floral character from a light addition of East Kent Golding hops, it finishes clean, and is quite drinkable at just 4.8% ABV. Described by the brewery as “adult chocolate milk”, make sure to drop by if you’re in the Sussex area before it’s gone.

In St. John’s, YellowBelly continues to experiment with cider, releasing a new “Winter Series” entry on tap, Raspberry Cranberry Apple Cider. This deep pink beverage features the addition of 60 kg of seedless berries in about 800 L of cider; it was then back-sweetened with more cider, to round things out. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, and is tasting “floral, jammy, and very tart”. While you can currently grab it on tap at the brew pub, there’s a chance that it’ll pop up in bottles, soon.

If you like hanging out at Good Robot, and you like NEIPAs, they’ve got some happy news for you – next week’s Beta release is, yes, a NEIPA named Tri-Sarah-Hops. Co-brewed with Sarah Gallant, it was heavily late-hopped and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (see, the beer name is more clever now, right?). Not too too much bitterness (42 IBUs), and a whole lotta grapefruit and mango flavours, it comes in pretty low in the ABV department for an IPA, at just 5.2%. As for next Thursday’s Alpha, it’s a new one named Chäir Beer. Loosely-based on their Leave Me Blue, the grist contains 2-row, flaked corn, and Rye malt. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Sorachi Ace and Perle, they added some Lingonberry juice to the 4.9% ABV resulting beer. What’s a Lingonberry? Well, it’s a small, red, slightly tart berry that is also known as a partridgeberry in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Hey, the more you know! The final product is easy-drinking and a touch tart, but you’ll have to taste it for yourself! Again, at the taproom, next Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Tusket Falls has put a couple of new beers on tap in recent days. The first is Wild Sour, a beer with a subtle tartness and a lot of lemon citrus notes. Dry-hopped with Amarillo for a hoppy presence, at 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking and refreshing number that will likely make you wish that little bit more for warmer weather. The other new beer is in the Northeast/New England IPA style, this one paradoxically called The Nameless Juicy New England Pale Ale. We don’t know much more about it except that it’s 5.8% ABV, but we suspect you’re familiar enough with the style at this point to take a guess. Also, stacks of kegs were seen recently on Tusket’s Instagram story, we hope this implies that Tusket Falls beers will soon be seen more frequently outside their taproom so that the rest of the Province (and perhaps the region) can get a taste of the beery things going on near Yarmouth.

Sticking to the Southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Roof Hound has put together a three-headed beer that may also have you thinking of warm summer days. Triple Threat Brown is being called a “Neapolitan” beer, bringing together the classic flavors of the original three-flavor ice cream. Featuring chocolate malt, vanilla, and strawberry puree, you can expect all three flavors to be well-represented. At 5.4% ABV it’s light enough for you to have a couple. Look for it on tap at Roof Hound’s taproom and other select locations, but if you’re not in the area, stay tuned as this one is scheduled to be put in bottles as well.

Over on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a couple of new beers on the go, both seeing fairly wide release. Black Banks is a black IPA, brewed with light toasty malts, but also with a good portion of debittered black malt to provide some mild roasty notes and a deep dark color. Hopped both in the kettle and via dry hop with lots of modern tropical varieties, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a sturdy 60 IBU. Also on the go is a new beer in the After Hours series, a big one that should be perfect for the depths of winter. Barrel-aged Barleywine tips the scales at a massive 10.5% ABV, with a mild carbonation, a slightly sweet palate and a balanced bitterness. Herbal English hop varieties and some fruity yeast character are complemented by vanilla and wood flavors from an extended aging period in Kentucky bourbon barrels. You’ll find both of these beers at several Gahan locations, including the original Gahan House in Charlottetown, Gahan Riverside in the Fredericton area, and Gahan Port City in Saint John as well as at the PEIBC Taproom and select PEILCC locations.

And a quick hop back to Yarmouth for this week’s entry in the “shamefully late email” sweepstakes, this one from Heritage Brewing, who have a couple of interesting things on the taps of late. The first is their Angry Blonde Jalapeño Ale. Based on their light and refreshing standard blonde, they’ve added some additional interest through the addition of fresh Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. With a solid hot pepper flavor and a not-so-mild spice, you’ll only be able to get this one at the brewery. Also only at the brewery is their Vanilla Cream Ale, which is also a variant on a base beer, this time their usual cream ale, but conditioned on vanilla beans for a soft and creamy flavor profile. Next up is a re-release of their Norseman NEIPA which they’ve fermented with the Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs and tweaked the hop profile of slightly. Slightly more sessionable than previous versions, they’ve been quite generous with the late and dry hop additions for a classic NEIPA juiciness. And keep your eyes out in the near future for another re-release, this time their Blueberry Grunt Sour, a very popular brew that they’re also making some minor changes to.

A note for all amateur and professional brewers, those who work in the industry, or looking to learn more, the next Beer Judge Certification Program Tasting Exam for our region will be taking place in Halifax on May 10th. If you are interested in sitting it, learning more about the BJCP, or taking part in the tastings the examinees will be running before then, hop over to the Brewnosers Forum and say Hi.

What’s on the go in our region over the next few weeks? We’ve got the goods for you today!

A quick reminder that tomorrow will see one of Halifax’s premier imported beer events when Belgian Fest goes live at Stillwell on Barrington at noon. Featuring beers you very well may not have had the chance to try before, especially in this region, or that if you have, you’re likely eager to taste again. With rare Lambics by the glass, bottles that say Westvleteren and other hard to pronounce words, and plenty of other tasty treats on tap, this is an opportunity to expand your palate and see what all the fuss over Belgian beer is about. As always, the kitchen will be putting out some well-considered thematically consistent foods, and we’re sure there will be plenty of folks around (both employed by Stillwell and not) to help guide your exploration of some of the best that Belgium has to offer.

Dartmouth’s Battery Park is continuing their series of Tap Takeover events from local breweries on January 17th, when they are inviting Nyanza’s Big Spruce back in house. They’ll have more than a dozen beer pouring that day, including a handful of reserve kegs from the cellar, lots of new/favourite seasonals, plus the return of their BP/BS collaboration beer, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with donair meat and aged on raspberries. The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day and night, so pop by for a pint!

Also on January 17th, which could make for a fun 1-2 punch of a beery day, Garrison Brewing is holding an event they’ve dubbed “A Thief in the Night”. This ticketed event will have Brewmaster Daniel Girard leading a tasting of several beers before they are released. They include five brand new beers drawn straight from the barrel, a taste of their upcoming Wintervention 2019 with cocoa nibs, a pre-release bottle of Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Wintervention, a Cellar Series Teku glass, plus more perks. Tickets ($50) can be reserved in person or over the phone (Veronika at (902) 453-5343 ext. 222). This is sure to be a fun and enlightening event!

Roof Hound Brewery is hosting the Second Annual South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night on Wednesday, January 23rd. From 7 – 10 PM, there will be ten different beers from a handful of the region’s breweries, namely Heritage Brewing, Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, and Tusket Falls join the host Roof Hound on tap. Your $35+tax ticket includes your first 4oz sample of each beer and an appetizer, while live music by David Chamberland, and the brewers themselves will be on hand for entertainment and learning more about the beer. Grab your ticket at Roof Hound, or via email before they sell out!

Tickets are now on sale for the Pasadena Brew-Fest, being held Friday February 15th. From 7 – 10 PM, Pasadena Place will be full of great local beer, thanks to Bootleg Brew Co, Crooked Feeder, and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Your $50 ticket is available online through the e-Service account, or in person at Pasadena Place.

Not so fast, here are a few final beer and release notes to get you fully up to date!

Montague, PEI’s, Copper Bottom Brewing has a new Dry-Hopped Sour on tap at the brewery these days, this one featuring Ekuanot hops. Tart and refreshing, this 5.0% ABV beer features notes of tangerine, papaya, and orange peel. Grab it as part of a flight, a full pint, or a growler to take home. Plus look out for cans of Ken’s Stout and Parkman Ave DIPA at your local PEILCC this weekend!

FirkinStein Brewing in Bridgewater welcomed two hoppy beers to the taps this week: one a returning favourite, and one brand new. Set Sail Pale Ale is a 6.0% American Pale Ale, generously hopped late and after the boil, it features loads of citrus aroma and flavour, and low bitterness. And debuting yesterday was King Street, a 7.7% ABV IPA generously hopped with Cascade and Mosaic. Catch both of them at their taproom (on King Street, of course) for pints and growlers.

A note that today’s Cask Friday release at Propeller’s Gottingen Street location will be their London Porter, cask conditioned and served by a gravity tap. Food from Alteregos, including Mac and Cheese, will be available for pairing to your heart’s content. And for those of us eagerly awaiting word, the very-limited El Dorado Brett IPA that we mentioned last week is pouring today at the taproom. May as well stick around for two then, eh?

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has a new beer pouring for you this week, as they continue to explore the wide variety of ale styles available. Newkirk is a 3.4% ABV and 15 IBU English Mild, known for their lower ABV (perfect for a full afternoon session), with notes of toast/bread crust, toffee, and dark sugars. Using iconic Fuggles for the hops completes the ode to the style. Pop by for a growler fill today or tomorrow, if it lasts that long, as these small batches sell out quite quickly.

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is looking to hire someone to support their brewing operations. From Brewmaster Matt Vincent, “Brewing experience is an asset, but training will be provided.” Send them a message or email Matt to learn more and to apply.

Two Islands Brewing in Parrsboro, NS has lots of news for us this week. First up is a new batch of their Sailor’s Delight, their 5.0% ABV Irish Red Ale hit the taps, as well as their 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale. And it’s that Blonde Ale that needs your help: it is currently nameless, and they are holding a contest on Facebook to fix that. Check out this link and weigh in. You can also now take away their Irish Red, Blonde, APA and Porter in 240 mL bottles, as well as growler fills. And why not drop in next Thursday, January 17th, for Trivia and Wing Night. Or January 19th, when Mark Raven will be entertaining the tap room with his music.

What a week! We’ve had wild weather across the region, big news from the Nova Scotian government on personal alcohol importation limits (good news at that!), and more than a dozen brand new beers pouring in the region. Let’s get right to it, so you can get out the door and pick up those gifts for the beer-lovers in your life (but start with yourself first!).

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen a new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing (the last was Five, brewed to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bar Stillwell), but thankfully they’ve got a brand new one dropping for us all tomorrow. The high majority of Stillwell’s beers require time and patience on the brewery’s part, but tomorrow’s beer, Auld, takes that level of waiting even further. An Old Ale, the beer was brewed in early June of 2017. Fermented with their house culture, and aged in their smallest former-Cognac foeder for one year, it was then packaged and bottle-conditioned for another six months. Sure, it’s a strong one (at 9.5% ABV), but all this time has smoothed out the beer wonderfully. They’re describing as having “lots of oak, balanced acidity, some pleasant oxidized notes [ed: yeah, you definitely want that in an Old Ale!] and a big malty nose and palate”. It still finishes nice and dry, making this the perfect evening sipper for these brutally cold nights we’ve been experiencing. Think of this one as a combination of English and Belgian traditional beers. Still a bit unsure how to approach this one? We highly encourage you to read the BJCP description of the style (skip to page 30), and swing by the brewery tomorrow from 12-4 to pick up a few bottles (you know they’ll age spectacularly)!

While on the topic of delightful Halifax bottle releases, let’s move over to Brunswick St., where 2 Crows has their own tasty brew coming out tomorrow, Blackberry Collins. Brewed 9 months ago with a grist of Belgian Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus plantarum. Lightly hopped in the boil with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in freshly-emptied American gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains. It was allowed to sit in the barrels for six months before being transferred onto 128 kg of blackberry purée (yep, that’s a lot) and “a couple of cases” of lemon zest and juice, where it conditioned for three more months before packaging. Finally, it was bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two and a half more months, and is now tasting “super jammy, rich, bright, and lively, with nice juniper aromatics and a great level of acidity”. We’ll take it! Like we said, available in a limited supply in 375 mL bottles at the brewery tomorrow as soon as they open.

North Brewing, the Halifax/Dartmouth bridge-spanning brewery, has hit us with not one, not two, not even three, but four new releases this week, making your choices for beer purchasing either much easier, or infinitely harder. Released earlier this week in cans is Soleil Saison, a 5.0% ABV mostly-traditional Saison brewed with 2-Row, Wheat, and Torrified Wheat malts, and hopped with Saaz, for a melding of Noble hop earth and spice, complementing the crisp, zesty, and light citrus and spicy notes from the Old World Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Released yesterday were the one-two punch of their continuing wine/beer collaboration with Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley, NS. The 2017 Barrel-Aged Saison de Pinot was limited to about 200 litres of last years beer/wine hybrid, which spent an extra 11 months in a BB Pinot barrel, before being packaged and allowed to bottle condition before release. Think tart, dry, a little funky, and with an extra bit of je ne sais quoi from the barrel contact since last year. We suggest trying this bottle with that of the original 2017 release to compare and contrast. Be sure to grab yours today, as they will surely sell out over the weekend, due to the limited volume. Also released yesterday was this year’s version of the collaboration, Saison de Chardonnay. 200 litres of Chardonnay must was added to the beer, fermented with Saccharomyces Trois, a yeast known for providing many of the “wild-like” funky and fruit characters more commonly attributed to Brettanomyces strains. The change of grape must was two-fold: playing with the different flavour profile of a new liquid, and the unfortunate fact that the Pinot crop was negatively affected by early frost, severely limiting this year’s yield. The 7.4% ABV beer features some spiciness on the nose and palate, with orange and floral notes coming through as well. These bottles are perfect for enjoying (or gifting) now, and will continue to develop in the bottle, so be sure to lay one down for enjoyment with the inevitable barrel version to be released next December. And finally, hitting the fridges at both locations today, is the latest in their Twinkle Pony series, Twinkle’s Chocolate Orange. Think of the traditional English sweet as you sip this one, as the 7.0% ABV beer features loads of chocolate malt, and a ton of fresh orange zest (RIP their elbows and forearms from all that work!). We strongly suggest dropping into Battery Park today to grab a glass of one or all of these, as they were pouring during BP’s Third Anniversary Tap Takeover yesterday (congratulations folks!).

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has a brand new beer returning to the taps in New Brunswick this week. Huh? Let us explain: during their Tap Takeover at Bar Stillwell in October, they prepared a single one-off keg of Moderation, a Milkshake IPA with passion fruit. It went over well (really well), and thankfully the stars have aligned and they were able to sell off enough body parts to afford the vanilla beans (and passion fruit!) to brew a full batch, so that Moderation could see wider release. This 5.9% ABV beer features the aforementioned real Madagascar vanilla beans as well as lactose for the base Milkshake IPA style, with Enigma and Mosaic in the kettle and dry-hopping. Adding in lots of passion fruit puree kicks it up several notches, for a tropical fruit, lightly floral, smooth mouthfeel and low bitterness beer. Look for it on tap at your favourite watering hole in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

The bottle releases at Tidehouse seem to be pretty consistent lately, and this week is no exception with the release of a Belgian Tripel, Hey Abbot! They’re referencing this name as an homage to the Mel Brooks movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but our astute acbbaaron has correctly pointed out that THAT reference is actually an homage to the classic comedy team Abbott and Costello (Google it, it’s probably easier than trying to explain it all). Anyway, the beer. Coming in strong (as Tripels should) at 8% ABV, it was hopped with Saaz and Tettnang, giving some spicy/floral notes to accompany those provided by the Belgian yeast strain. With a thick white head and high carbonation, it has “just a touch of clove/banana” and finishes dry, with a light bitterness. No kegs of this one, so you’ll have to stop by the brewery starting today to pick up some bottles.

Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing has been known to dabble with flavoured kettle sours in the past, and they’re continuing this tradition with the release this week of Blackcurrant Sour (not to be confused with Black Currant Sour, a beer they brewed in the summer of 2017 that actually had a blend of blackcurrants and blackberries). Soured with the brewery’s house Lactobacillus blend, it was fermented with a “fruity yeast strain” and conditioned on 16 kg of black currants. They’re describing the final product as having aromas of “fuzzy peach, with a blend of citrus and cherry, offset by earthy notes of black currant”, to complement the tartness. Pretty darn drinkable at 4.8% ABV, this release will see bottles heading to various ANBL stores in the very near future.

Back in Fredericton, TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of their rotating Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog. Conditioned on vanilla beans as usual, and dry-hopped very highly – also as usual – this one features the addition of both peach and cherry (peach>cherry), both of which burst through on the nose and palate. Accompanied by the aromas/flavours from the hops and vanilla, expect a smooth mouthfeel in this 6.5% ABV beer, thanks to the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Cans of this one will be available at the brewery only, starting today at 11 am, with kegs also on hand there and at local pubs and restaurants.

The team at Port Rexton Brewing continue to experiment with their latest new brew, Salted Sour Pale Ale. You probably have a pretty good idea of what this beer will be like based on the name, but let us help you expand that a little bit. They took a Pale Ale base and kettle-soured it with Lactobacillus, before boiling it and adding plenty of hops (including Belma, an American variety that has been popping up over the last several years). Salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company was also added in the bottle, blending nicely with the aromas and flavours of “strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, tropical mango, melon, and pineapple” (that’s a lotta fruit goodness!) from the hops. Looks like they plan to continue experimenting with this beer, so don’t be surprised if you see some different iterations in the future. As for this batch, it’s on at tap at the brewery and St. John retail shop this weekend.

If you’re a Nova Scotia native, or even a long-term resident, or heck, even a well-informed visitor, perhaps you’ve heard of Blueberry Grunt, a classic (so I’m told) NS baked dessert. Well, Heritage Brewing has created their own eponymous beer-version! Blueberry Grunt is a 5% beer that includes the addition of locally-grown blueberries, giving a mixture of sour and sweet, along with flavours of “baked biscuit, to emulate the crust flavours in traditional Grunt”. They also added a bit of salt tie the flavour profile together. If you’re into beery desserts, drop by Heritage to give this one a taste.

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing a very special beer today, in celebration of someone very dear to the Nova Scotia beer family. Allie’s Fearless is a wet-hopped Kveik yeast-fermented IPA, brewed in memory of Olivia Jollota, part of the Jymline Glassware family. Olivia passed away in 2015, and the Olivia Jollota Memorial Trust has been set up in her name, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students based more on their community and social work than academics, celebrating Olivia’s passion for helping her fellow students, community, animals, and making the world a better place. This limited bottle release features Olivia’s signature tree logo, and is available at the brewery in Somerset and The Core in Wolfville, as well as on tap at a few bars and restaurants, including Stillwell and Jamieson’s Irish Pub, with the proceeds supporting more scholarships and outreach events for years to come.

Halifax’s Good Robot has quite a bit going on over the next week before things quiet down over the holidays. Yesterday marked the canning of another big batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style lager with jalepeño peppers. Look for it at their retail outlet and onsite at the taproom and the Mousetrap. On Tuesday, look for another spicy beer, their collaboration with Antojo Tacos + Tequila that we told you about last week, La Luchadora Catrina, to be available at the restaurant before it goes on tap at Good Robot the following day. Also available next Wednesday, December 19th, will be a BetaBrew called Sugar Boots. Brewed with Sara Panchaud from GR’s design team, the idea in mind was a “Neapolitan Stout” featuring flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry reminiscent of the original three-flavor ice cream. Using real strawberries for real strawberry flavor, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.6% ABV and 28 IBU. And lastly, fans of GR’s Tom Waits for No One American Stout will be happy to hear that they’ve kegged another batch of that one for release on Thursday, December 20th.

Foghorn in Rothesay, NB, brought back their Imperial Porter with local honey, The Monk, in late November, but it’s still around for you to try. At 7.5% ABV and 40 IBU, it’s got some weight to it and, we presume, some honey character. Meanwhile, Foghorn is the latest brewery to enter the gluten-reduced space with their new JJ Pattycake. Leveraging Clarity Ferm, an enzyme known to prevent long-chain proteins like gluten from forming during fermentation. Brewed in support of a friend of the brewery who has discovered a gluten sensitivity, the lab results aren’t back yet, but the brewery is hoping it tests low enough for him to drink it. A pale ale at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU, it was dry-hopped with the Falconer’s Flight hop blend for a classic American hop profile. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Big Spruce will be making the rounds in Halifax tomorrow for those who ordered beer for holiday delivery and one of the beers that will no doubt be delivered is their Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, Complexified. Meanwhile, they’re releasing a new beer called Simplified. If you’re wondering whether those names indicate that the two beers are somehow related, you can go ahead and treat yourself to a beer: Simplified is the same beer without the barrel treatment. Still big, bold, and smooth, it’s a hefty 10.9% ABV. It made a brief appearance at Battery Park this week and is now available in bottles at the brewery (and hopefully soon at the private stores in Halifax). And seeing as how Complexified is also available, this would be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the beers and get a feel for what some time in a barrel can do.

With things finally slowing down a little for the holiday season we don’t have any big beer events to highlight this week, but do check out your favorite brewery’s website and social media to see what they might have on the go. Meanwhile, here’s a final few mentions to lead you into the weekend:

In terms of Nova Scotia Craft Beer traditions, Garrison’s Spruce Beer has to be considered part of the old school, which is fitting, considering that Spruce Beer is one of the oldest beer styles in North America. Featuring locally harvested spruce tips from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s blackstrap molasses, it comes in at 7.5% ABV with a fairly gentle bitterness at 35 IBU. Look for it at the brewery in 650 mL bottles and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks at some of the private stores in the city.

Sticking with our longest-running regional craft breweries, Propeller continues their Black Cask Month today with another special treat. Porter with Chocolate & Orange is just that: their porter with orange and chocolate flavors added. Reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a classic Christmas confection, it will be tapped earlier than usual today at 3 PM to accommodate Propeller’s holiday party. Also of note to fans of Propeller, starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th, the tasting room and retail shop on Gottingen will be open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!

For those of you living in Saint John that are fans of local brewery Loyalist City, they mentioned some good news earlier this week… they’ve finally got a taproom! The brewery has partnered with the Bunkhaus Hostel down the street; the two have opened a taproom/cafe at 36 Water St. over the past few days. They’ve started with four taps dedicated to Loyalist City, with more to be added shortly afterwards, as well as several guest taps.

The fairly-new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth is releasing a new brew today, Sailor’s Dream. We don’t have a lot of details on this one, but we can tell you it’s a dry-hopped Lager, “light with a mild sweetness, with a subtle fruity aroma and a finish of melon”. Find it on tap at that location this weekend, where they’ll also be launching their Mug Club there tomorrow… grab one of the 150 memberships available for all sorts of discounts and exclusive club events and promotions, plus your own personal hand-made mug, of course!

We’ve got lots of new news for you this week, including a trio of breweries who have opened in the last seven days, tickets for two great festivals are on sale now, plus close to a dozen new beer and cider releases in the region for you to enjoy. Let’s skip the formalities (we know we’re late!!), and get right to it!

Hampton New Brunswick just got a bit more beery, as Matchstick Beer Factory opened their doors this week. Operating in a private residence close to the former Flewelling Saw Mill and Match Factory in town, they are brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system, and supplying kegs of beer to local restaurants and bars. They have launched with Matchstick Pale Ale, a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale features lots of late- and dry-hopping of Mosaic, Amarillo, and El Dorado for tropical and citrus notes, and their Fired Up Red, at 8.0% ABV, features a solid malt backbone with a touch of Rye malt spice, and finished with an English Ale yeast. Keep an eye on their social media (FB/Tw) for the latest news, and drop into the Match Factory Cafe in Hampton, Bootstrap BrewPub in Quispamsis, and/or Sussex Ale Works to grab a pint this weekend. We’ll give you the full Matchstick story early next week. Congratulations Luke and family!

Drive 300 km due North from Hampton, and you will reach Bathurst, New Brunswick. It is the home to 13 Barrels Brewing, which opened its doors for the first time this week. Built from the ground up at 830 Harbourview Blvd, the 5100 square foot brewery and taproom overlook the Baie de Chaleur. They launched yesterday with their Pabineau Pale Ale, and five guest taps of beer and cider, and will be adding more to their own lineup very shortly. Keep up to date with them on social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll be publishing a Profile with 13 Barrels soon!

From Bathurst, you’ll want to head 625 kilometres Northeast to reach Cormack, Newfoundland, the site of the third brewery opening its doors this week. Crooked Feeder Brewing is located just North of the town of Deer Lake, and is not currently open to the public. The best place to grab their beer is at Newfound Sushi in Corner Brook, where kegs of their Bonne Bay Blonde have been dropped off and are pouring. Look for more releases on their social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll try to pin them down for a Profile very soon!

From brand new breweries, to one that opened a few months ago, let’s turn our attention to New Scotland Brewing, located in downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They are launching a brand new beer this weekend, brewed with plenty of local ingredients (and love!). Slowburn is a 6.1% ABV Chocolate Porter, that saw the use of locally-grown chilli peppers added during the boil, and later in a pair “dry-peppering” additions over the course of four weeks. The result is a medium/full bodied beer with hints of spice and vanilla, building to chocolate and black cherry, with a building heat as the peppers take hold. Served on nitro, the smooth beer is perfect for enjoying in a cozy nook with friends, and watching the snow fall outside. Slowburn is launching at opening Saturday at the brewery, so drop by for a pint! They’ve got live music by Willie Stratton tonight, and Rob Wigle will be jamming in the taproom Sunday afternoon.

Over in the land of Big Tide Brewing (that’s Saint John, for those of you who aren’t aware), they’ve release their very first New England IPA. The Dickens – hopped in the kettle and during active fermentation (taking advantage of biotransformation) and dry-hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo, Azacca, and Cascade – is currently on tap at the brewpub for pints and growler fills, and is showing off tons of juicy, tropical, and citrusy hop flavour and aroma. It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 50 IBUs, and since it’s new (and an IPA… all the rage with the youngins these days!), you best drop by sooner rather than later if you’d like to give it a try. And with the cooler months ahead, look for loads of new and returning faves from Big Tide in the coming weeks, including Boiling Point Honey Ginger Saison, Indian Beach Nut Brown, and Sandpiper Pilsener, brewed with Ultra hops from nearby Darlings Island Farm.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock brewed up a beer especially for their Tap Takeover last week at Battery Park but if you missed it there, you’re in luck because there’s still a chance to try it! Head on over to Local Source Market and you can get yourself a growler fill of Hell Bat, a Licorice Imperial Stout. A big, 8.2% ABV beer, it’s got plenty of bitterness and spice from hops that’s balanced by roasty chocolate malt. Add to that a hit of anise aroma and flavor from additions of both real licorice root and star anise, and you have a smooth, complex and substantial beer to work your way through. And in other Boxing Rock Imperial Stout news…we told you last month that the brewery was offering folks the chance to pre-purchase cases and half-cases of their annual release of U-889 Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla at a discount. That deal is in effect for one more week (pickup is November 30th) so if you’re interested it’s time to pull the trigger. Regular price on a bottle is $10.50, but you could be paying closer to $9/btl on 6 for $55 or even $8.33/btl on 12. Pickup can be arranged at the brewery in Shelburne or at Local Source in Halifax. Contact the brewery to place your order; their contact info can be found at the bottom of their web site.

Hey, if you’re in the Rothesay area of New Brunswick right about now, you really should drop by the Hammond River Brewing taproom (ok, you should probably drop by there anytime that you’re in Rothesay, to be honest), as they’ve got a couple new beers pouring… well, one new, one returning favourite. The new brew is The Unforgiven, an Imperial IPA hopped entirely with the fabulous, delicious, not-so-easy-to-get, and pricey Australian variety, Galaxy. At 8.3% ABV, it’s no wee beer, but the “wonderful flavours of citrus and passion fruit” come through front and center, so it’s easy to get carried away and drink this one a little faster than you should! The returning beer is the Glenora Whiskey Barrel-Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter; this one’s coming in at over 8% ABV as well, so you’re receiving your second warning! You know you’re going to want to have both of these beers on tap – because they won’t last long – so why not get dropped off and make an evening (or day!) of it?

The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour has a brand new release this week, as they move into the big and dark beers. Dreadnought Stout is a 5.6% ABV full-bodied stout, featuring loads of chocolate and dark fruit flavour, with a smooth finish of roasted grain. Look for it on tap in the area, or better yet, drop by their brewery along Highway 7 for a taste and growler fill!

This weekend brings us/you lucky Haligonians yet another 2 Crows barrel-aged bottle release, this time in the form of Mellarium. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Aromatic malt, it was lightly hopped with Calypso, Hallertau Blanc, and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with Lactobacillus, and then fermented with a blend of several Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains (the very same blend used in the new and delicious Glamour) in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. It spent a nice long time in said barrel (6 months) before being transferred onto 60 kg of Apricot puree, as well as some honeycomb, and allowed to referment/age for another 6 weeks. Finally, they decided to dry-hop it with Saffron (dry-Saffron?) before finally bottle conditioning with Champagne yeast. Now, it’s finally ready for you to eagerly purchase, and – hopefully – drink! They’re describing it as “bright, lively, and opulent, with smooth honey notes, fuzzy peach, and floral”. You can grab these bottles (5.3% ABV, btw) tomorrow at the brewery at opening. Eeek! We heard from 2 Crows this afternoon that this release has been slightly delayed until Saturday, December 1st. So you’ll have to wait a week for that barrel-aged, sour, funky, fruity, honey goodness!!

Halifax’s North Brewing has a pair of releases we’re keen to mention today. First up is another release of their Champagne-style IPA, Alloy. Inspired by the extremely dry and effervescent sparkling wine, Brut or Champagne IPAs feature very little body, low residual sweetness (gravity readings are often at or below 1.000 specific gravity), but tons of hops, and Alloy is no different. This batch features loads of Amarillo, Callista, and Vic Secret, and a low body, to really let them show off. As in previous releases, you can grab a single or 4-pack of cans, and can also fill growlers in both Halifax and Dartmouth. And if one IPA wasn’t enough for you, grab some of their Divination today too. This is a Double Dry Hopped (DDH) American IPA, in the tropical/stonefruit/citrus vein, with a touch of dank character. This 7.2% ABV beaut is also available in cans, either singles or a 4-pack, and on both sides of the harbour.

We teased it last week, but now have more information on Niche Brewing’s Moonage Daydream. The latest in their bevvy of sour offerings, this 4.4% ABV beer is generously dry-hopped with El Dorado and Citra, and features hibiscus in the secondary for a lovely pink hue. It is available on tap in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce, Peppers Pub in Saint John, and in the Moncton region at CAVOK Brewing and at the Pump House Fill Station. If you drop by the latter location, you’ll be able to grab a growler or crowler to take home with you!

You probably guessed from their name that it was only a matter of time before Sourwood Cider released a barrel-aged cider… and if you did indeed guess that, you are now proven correct! While the beginning of the life of this cider occurred in a tote, it was then moved to a total of eight barrels; two of those barrels (which previously held red wine in Niagara) have produced Cherry Blaster, which is available now. As the name indicates, cherries were used in this release – 77 lbs, to be exact, all of them hand-picked from Dempsey’s Corner Orchard in Aylesford. Several different varieties of cherries were incorporated, including a type used in the making of sour pie, as well as “white/rose-fleshed sweet cherries”. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV, Sourwood is describing the cider as “naturally sour, tart, dirty rose in colour, and puckering”; overall, refreshing! Drop by their spot and Market stalls if you’d like to pick up some bottles. As for those other six barrels, as you’re probably wondering… they’ve had Haskap berries added, and will be bottled and released in the very near future!

The bottle releases continue with Halifax’s Tidehouse, with this week’s technically being a re-release. To-Wit! To-Woo! is, as you may have guessed if you’re a child of the 80s, the brewery’s little ode to Mr. Dressup… in Belgian Witbier form! Judging from the beer’s label (which you can check out here), they’ve upped the ABV this time around, to 6.1% ABV, bringing it slightly out of your classic Witbier range (but we’re ok with that!). With sweet orange peel, coriander, and Citra hops in the boil, expect aromas and flavours of all three. It’s available by the 340 mL bottle at the brewery, starting today at 2 pm.

Propeller Brewing has a brand new IPA out on the streets (well, by “streets” we mean, you know, at Propeller), Galaxy IPA. While Galaxy hops were indeed used in abundance in this beer, they were also partnered with the no-less-delicious Citra and Mosaic varieties. Since most of you reading this are likely personally familiar with all three of these hop varieties in some way or another, it may not surprise you to hear that the final 6.5% ABV product has “rich pineapple, peach, and tropical/citrus aromas”… but that doesn’t make it any less tasty! This is indeed a one-off, so get it while it lasts (cans are available). And drop by their Gottingen Street taproom tonight for a cask of their Russian Imperial Stout, which will be tapped at 5 PM.

We want to be sure all of you commercial brewers reading this know about next Friday’s Maritime Craft Malt Workshop, being held in Moncton. Organized by Chemical and Agricultural Scientists who have been bringing you the great Beer School events during the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, this event will focus on the art and science of understanding malt reports, how to maximize yield and flavour from malts, and which steps maltsters follow (and why) to provide you with the best possible product. Learn from maltsters, brewers, and the folks who analyze the product, all to help you incorporate Maritime-grown and -processed malt into your recipes. Check out the full schedule here. The session takes place next Friday, November 30th, at the Crowne Plaza in Moncton. Reserve your seat today!

We’ve got lots more events on the go to tell you about today, including tickets for a pair of favourite beer events happening next year, but are on sale now, and sure not to last!

Tickets for March 8 and 9, 2019’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are on sale today, and we highly recommend grabbing yours ASAP. With the Friday Night event, nicknamed Newbie Night last year, a smaller collective of 10-15 breweries will be pouring 50+ beers in the Convention Centre March 8th. This is a great way to ease into the weekend, as we’ve been told none of these beers will be available during the Saturday sessions. Speaking of which, there are two sessions on Saturday, 1:30 – 4:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:30 PM, where you’ll have your choice of 300+ beer and cider from 50 producers across the region, Maine, and beyond. VIP tickets are always the first to go, which offer you an early entry to get a quick lay of the land before the rest of the visitors arrive. Do not miss your chance to have a heck of a time in the beginning of March in Fredericton, grab your tickets now! Closer to the date, we’ll have more details on our Trivia Night, the Drain the Keg 5K race the Sunday morning, and the other cool events on the go leading up to the Fest.

In Nova Scotia, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has announced the dates, and ticket availability for their Full House Festival, the signature event of NS Craft Beer Week. Being held May 4th, 2019 at the Halifax Forum, more than 30 breweries from across the province, along with food vendors, will be slinging drinks and bites to the thirsty crowd. The afternoon session is 1:30 – 4:00 PM, and the evening session is 7:00 – 9:30 PM, with VIP tickets allowing you entry 30 minutes early. Pick your session, and grab your tickets today, while early bird pricing is still in effect!

Now that you’ve grabbed your tickets for future events, let’s get back to the present with a “Home and Home” Tap Takeover by Halifax and Sydney breweries, Garrison and Breton. Tonight, Breton will be visiting Halifax and joining Garrison in taking over the taps at Stubborn Goat in Halifax, with eight beers from each brewery pouring. And they’ll be doing the same at Retro 67 in Sydney, next Friday, November 30th. At each event, folks from both breweries will be there to chat and give out swag. And debuting tonight is Rye’d or Die IPA, a collaboration between the two breweries. A 6.0% ABV American Rye IPA, it features 50 IBUs thanks to Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Aroma of pine, citrus, and a touch of grain, lead to a solid bitterness with a touch of spice from the Rye malt.

Those in the region familiar with the great beer scene in Portland, Maine, will no-doubt know about the killer beers available from Bissell Brothers Brewing. They began life in the Portland Industrial park (one of a half dozen breweries that have called One Industrial Way home over the years), and now have their own space in Thompsons Point. And Peter Bissell, one of the aforementioned brothers, has more recently launched Highroller Lobster Co. on Exchange Street. Why are we telling you all of this? We promise, not just to tease you with some serious FOMO. We mention this because the Bissell Brothers and Highroller crews will be taking over the taps and kitchen at Stillwell Beer Bar on December 8th. A dozen bangers from Maine will be available on tap, and we’re sure that there will be some real magic going on in the kitchen that day thanks to the melting of minds (that’s a butter joke). No tickets necessary, but you’ll definitely want to show up early to avoid missing out!

And a few last notes to inform your beer- and cider-acquisition plans for the weekend:

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, is happy to report that they’ve canned their Timbership Milk Stout and that those cans will be available this weekend at ANBL stores in major centres across the province. This 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU American-style stout with lactose has a clean and easy-drinking flavor with notes of freshly roasted coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Available on Nitro in the taproom as well.

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has announced that they’re going to be doing some limited bottle runs of some of their most creative and ambitious small batches and fan favorites. Only one hundred 750 mL bottles are available of each and they’re only available at the retail store on Agricola Street. The first two to be released are Country Rose Mead (Rose wine and mead which was on tap in September), and Brett To Be Determined (blend of Jona Golds & Mac’s, dry , unfiltered wild ferment and second ferment with brettanomyces which is also on tap now).

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar had some big news hit the wire this week. They’ve announced that they will be expanding into the 1,400 sq. ft. space next door, almost doubling their size! This will allow them to provide an even better selection (hard to imagine!) of beer, wine, cider and spirits, including more products from afar, more cold beer storage, and more tasting room. Look for the expansion to take place after the holiday season, with a grand opening by Spring, 2019. Until then, you can continue to take advantage of their already awesome selection on Lower Water Street.

Unfiltered on North Street in Halifax has once again undertaken a canning run. This time, however, it wasn’t done on a mobile canning line it was done on their own machine. What does this mean? MORE CANS MORE OF THE TIME!! As of this weekend you’ll be able to get the previously announced Riddle of Steel along with Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, Playing With Fire, Hoppy Fingers, and Flat Black Jesus. Bow down to your new aluminum overlords.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Good Robot has, as always, some beer news to share. This Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday release is called The Black Barrel and it’s a big ol’ bugger at 9.2% ABV and 53 IBU. Imperial Stout is the style, with lots of dark chocolate flavors. Be careful with this one! And on the Alpha side, Creature Feature is back, an IPA in the New England style, hoppy, hazy and juicy without a whole lot of bitterness. It’s 6.2% ABV and 46 IBU and will be available come next Thursday.