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Okay folks, this will be your COVID-19 joke-free zone for the day, we promise not to make any below. What we will say on the subject is that some breweries are adjusting their growler policies during this time, to reduce the chance of infection of employees and patrons alike, so don’t be surprised by those when you go in looking for a fill this afternoon (some are halting completely, others will only be doing exchanges, both of which we think are smart moves). And with some members of the public going a little over the top in hoarding and needless self-isolation, this could be a trying time for your favourite brewery taproom (not to mention local bars and restaurants), so do continue to support them how/when it makes sense. Perhaps now’s the time to buy yourself or a pal a giftcard for later use? Or take advantage of those breweries that offer online shopping? Here’s what caught our eyes this week, and worth checking out!

After a quick glance through all the info we have for this week, it looks like there’s a lot of hazy-and-hoppy releases, so let’s start off with Big Spruce, because why not? They’ve just released Shrediquette, a 7.6% abv NEIPA hopped entirely with experimental hop HBC-692. There’s quite a few aroma and flavour descriptors for this variety floating around the internet (such as grapefruit, stone fruit, floral, woody, pine, and cream), but Big Spruce is describing this beer as extremely orange-y, with “a subtle, pithy bitterness lingering behind”. Guess you’ll have to taste it and make your own decisions! Look for it at the brewery, or your favourite BS tap accounts, including Auction House, Battery Park, HopYard, and Stillwell in HRM.

Continuing on with hops over in Newfoundland, where Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a Double IPA pouring, Sample Port. Hopped with extremely-high amounts of Amarillo and Chinook throughout the boil, it was dry-hopped with more of the same, plus Mosaic. Medium-bodied and dry, with a hefty bitterness thanks to hefty use of hops (think West Coast style and proud of it), this 7.8% ABV brew got its name from its popularity with the brewing staff, who enjoyed the beer so much that they continued to return to the tank’s sample port for repeated samples. Still on tap at the brewery (until staff gets off for the day!), it is also pouring at Gander Airport’s Union East & Drinks (who are doing a great job showcasing taps from a great variety of the province’s breweries), and should be making an appearance at a couple of the better beer bars in St. John’s before too long. And back after a brief hiatus, and sporting their new house English yeast strain, is ABBA (aka Alli’s Big Brown Ale), their 5.6% ABV Brown Ale. Available at the brewery as well, those of you in St. John’s may have had a chance to try it at the Guv’nor Pub this past week.

Let’s take a break from hops for a moment, but stay on the Rock, East to Quidi Vidi Brewery. Delving into darker territory this week, QV has three of them out in time for next week’s St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. Let’s start light with their Dry Irish Stout. At 4.2% ABV, this beer is brimming with character from the Midnight Wheat, Pale Chocolate and Roasted Barley, complementing the base malts with notes of roast, coffee, and chocolate, with just a touch of balancing bitterness. A medium-light body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and a light finish. At the other end of the spectrum is their Russian Imperial Stout, a 10% ABV brute of a beer featuring many of the same dark and roast malts as its little brother, but amped up. Aromatics of dark roast coffee, and sweet dates from the esters and a touch of alcohol, follow to a full, smooth, mouthfeel with more coffee and chocolate on the tongue. And finally, they’ve got the Imperial Coconut Porter, a 9.0% ABV beer with, you guessed it, toasted coconut added to the brew, in addition to cacao nibs for extra chocolatey goodness, as well as vanilla for a touch of sweetness. Chocolate and Pale Chocolate malts colour and flavour the brew, giving the very dark brown beer a lovely beige head, with notes of toast and nuttiness to complement the adjuncts. All three beers are available on draught in the taproom and in cans in the QV Hops Shop now, and keep your eyes open for them on the shelves of select NLCs in your ‘hood.

With their full Tap Takeover at Stillwell happening tomorrow, Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing more beauties than you can shake a stick at, including four new releases on the taps.

  • Eventide, that midway point between day and evening, is also the name of their latest lager, an amber-coloured 4.6% ABV Vienna Lager. With notes of bread and toast on the nose, and following through to the palate with touches of apricot, Eventide is a showcase of the malt variety from Vienna, rich in character but still manages to finish dry, without too much sweetness. Hops take a back seat in this brew, and the lager yeast keeps the beer crisp and refreshing. On draught now, and in cans very soon.
  • Debuting tomorrow is Tata’s Grisette, a 3.4% ABV “small Saison”, which was carbonated naturally in the keg (and bottles, soon). Dry-hopped with Callista, it features bright and fresh aromatics of mandarin with earthy undertones and light floral notes. This one was kept in Stainless Steel during the process, whereas…
  • Remused is a second take on their Muse Flanders Red-inspired beer released in the Fall. Another batch of the sour Red Ale spent another four months on the same cherries as the initial release. Look for bottles of Remused in the next couple of weeks.
  • And finally, it will also mark the debut of the Stilly X Tata collaboration Staffy Kveik Pale Ale, brewed late last month. Featuring the new and exclusive Samba hop (as well as Huell Melon), this juicy Pale Ale with everyone’s favourite Norwegian Farmhouse yeast, is a lesson in tropical and citrus character in a bright and fresh package. After tomorrow’s debut, look for a wider distro of this one, with a canning run happening next week as well.

And with any takeover, you know that Stillwell goes all out with the food, so look forward to fried clams, haddock tips, smoked mackerel dip, and scallop ceviche on the menu. All day.

Ok, back to hops! We’ll dial it back a bit with Roof Hound, who were looking for a beer with lots of hop presence, but less alcohol than your IPAs and DIPAs. Of course, that means Session IPA, so they created a recipe and named the beer Gimme a Hint. Brewed with both Citra and Mosaic hops, they upped the fruit character even more with an addition of fresh orange zest. But this isn’t your “typical” Session IPA… when we think of the style, something in the range of 3.5-5% ABV usually jumps out. Gimme a Hint comes it at an extremely-low 1% ABV, which we guess is why Roof Hound is actually referring to this beer as a “Micro IPA”. This beer isn’t exactly available yet, but look for it late this month directly at the source (we understand if you’re weirded out that we are giving you advance notice on a beer… we’re a little freaked about it, too).

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has their latest hoppy beer hitting the taps this week after a debut last weekend. Hop Altered is a hazy NEIPA featuring a grist of 2-row, Golden Promise and Munich malts, with flaked wheat and oats providing the requisite protein component. Plenty of Mosaic and El Dorado hops were used in the kettle, with more of the same plus some Enigma in a very healthy dry hop. The picture is completed by the use of the Foggy London yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Described as “pretty darn juicy” you can expect some tropical notes, a slight dankness and not too much bitterness on the finish of this 5.2% ABV easy drinker. Look for it first at The Joyce and Peppers Pub but we’re sure it’ll be hitting other Niche tap accounts shortly.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has been tearing it up since they opened, with the taproom full most of the time (y’all are thirsty!). Not to let any slumps sneak up on them, they’re releasing a whopping FOUR new beers this weekend! We’ve got a few light details to share with you now, just to get you in the mood to head there right after work, or maybe tomorrow:

  • Dickie Dee – they’re billing this one as an “Orange Creamsicle Dry-Hopped IPA”, so expect a hoppy, slightly sweet, very orange-flavoured beer. Smooth and creamy, and 6% ABV, it has additions of orange and lactose, and was hopped mostly with Ekuanot. Shoutout for the Eighties kids on that name!
  • Weisse Squad – a German Dunkelweizen (think dark Hefeweizen), the use of Weizen yeast for fermentation has added your typical banana and clove flavours, and the use of some specialty malt helps balance with notes of caramel and toast. Just 4% ABV, so definitely safe to have one or two before responsible activity.
  • Rainy Days – a style along the lines of “je ne sais quoi”, they’re describing this as unique, and “a London Fog recreated in a pale beer”. Lots of lactose and Earl Grey tea were added, and it comes in at 4% ABV; better try this one yourself!
  • Hip Hop – the first in a series, this beer is a double-dry-hopped, hazy New England DIPA; coming in at 8% ABV to keep you firmly in your seat, they hopped this one exclusively with Mosaic. Juicy, juicy, and more juicy, don’t pound back too many of these, despite their easy-drinking nature.

All of these will be on tap at the brewery, naturally. Also a note, Tire Shack will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day party next Tuesday; they’ll be opening early (11 am), with live music by Fundy Ceilidh from 7-9 pm and green beer (yep) pouring throughout the day.

We have the latest details on the newest Something Different entry from Annapolis Cider, which is going to be available today. Arctic Kiwi Perry is a blend of a dry Perry (made from Bosc and Bartlett pears) and juice from locally-harvested arctic kiwis. Not familiar with arctic kiwis? Neither were we, but luckily the fine folks at Annapolis Cider inform us that they are “grape-sized kiwifruit grown in northern climates”. (Wiki article) They taste similar to your typical “normal” kiwi, and in this particular beverage offer pleasant tropical notes, all in a medium-bodied, crisp package. As always, $0.50 from each refill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association.

Over on the Island, we’ve got news that the winning beer from this year’s Maritime Homebrew Challenge by Gahan/PEIBC was released this past Sunday on International Women’s Day 2020, perfect timing for winning brewer Chelsea Meisner! The beer itself is a stout with a somewhat untraditional ingredient: Sichuan peppercorns! Known for their ability to leave one’s tongue a little bit tingly (or full-on numb, depending on how much is used), they provide plenty of interest to this rich and full-bodied stout that comes in at 55 IBU and a healthy 7.5% ABV. “Tingles the tongue and warms the soul,” is printed on the can and, we suspect, very fittingly describes the experience. Our congratulations again to Chelsea on her winning beer! You can grab pints and cans of Tingles Sichuan Stout at Gahan and PEIBC, and it should also be available in both formats in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia locations as well.

North End Halifax’s Good Robot has, as always seems to be the case, a couple of things on the go this week. First up, the GR team is trying their collective hand at the hard seltzer game with an Alpha batch of one they’re calling, The Fizz. At 4.7% ABV and no IBUs to speak of, they tried to avoid the “boozy carbonated water” and challenge their brewing skills by making the lightest beer they could, cutting it with some water, and adding lemon, lime and lavender. You can try this low-calorie option at the taproom now!

And meanwhile, in BetaBrew land there’s a “baby beta” coming out this coming BetaBrewsday (Tuesday, March 17th) they’re calling Beerbliotheque. Brewed by Kelly and her longtime friend Amy Lorencz, they leaned into Amy’s librarian vocation (and calling) for this one. A big, rich stout, with notes of dried fruit, there’s also plenty of chocolate character. A bit of a big’un at 7.3% ABV and 26 IBU, it sounds perfect for curling up by the fire on one of our still chilly evenings with a lovely book. We also have a PSA for BetaBrew fans, Kelly has advised us that there will be but one remaining BetaBrew. We’ll definitely try to get the full story on that for you next week, but maybe start planning to make it out for the final edition as soon as we advise you when that will be.

Lastly, Kelly is also the guiding light behind the FemmeBrew Homebrewing Competition for Womxn, Trans, Femme, non-binary and underrepresented brewsters in Nova Scotia, and they’ll be celebrating that this coming Sunday at the taproom starting with a private event for entrants (and their +1s) starting at 4 PM. Winners will be announced after 5 PM and then the doors will open to the general public at 6 PM to celebrate the winners, the entrants, and everyone else involved.

Looks like there’s a couple of new beers pouring at Maybee in Fredericton; well, maybe 1.5 “new” beers? The first one is a lighter take on one of their flagship beers, Work Horse IPA. For those of you who have been longtime drinkers of this classic take on an American IPA (or even those of you who may have been newly introduced to it, now that it’s available in NB’s grocery stores), but would appreciate a lower ABV, they give you Work Horse Light. They say it has the same flavour and hop profile as the original, but “with a cleaner finish and less lingering bitterness”. At 5.5% ABV (and 55 IBUs), it’s a bit easier to enjoy a couple of pints. The other beer – Lakeview Amber – is a true newbie, an American Amber brewed in collaboration with Bangor, Maine’s Geaghan Bros. This isn’t the first collaboration between these two breweries, but this is the first to also include Lakeview Hops (out of Harvey, NB). This easy-drinking Amber was hopped with Magnum to 40 IBUs, giving a “short-lived bitterness” in the finish, after hits of “slight caramel on the nose, with notes of light pine and unripe pineapple”. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, this beer (and Work Horse Light) can be found on tap now at Maybee; good chance you’ll see both beers pop up at local accounts around Fredericton.

HRM’s Propeller Brewing is continuing to play with packaging cans with nitrogen. This week their stalwart Irish Red Ale became available in nitro cans. If you’re interested but not familiar with beers packaged this way, maybe have a boo at Prop’s social media for information on how to best take advantage of this novel packaging (short form: crack it and dump it into your glass with a quickness, but make sure your glass is big enough for a whole pint!). Nitrogen tends to make beers smoother and “creamier,” which should pair nicely with the malty and earthy notes of the style. Still 5% ABV and 25 IBU as always, look for it in cans and on tap at Propeller locations, and they’ve advised us that a few kegs are also available to taprooms that have nitro capability. We’d also like the opportunity to hint that we think it would be awesome if the next beer they tried this with is their classic ESB

We mentioned back at the end of February that Garrison Brewing was brewing up an all-female developed beer for International Women’s Day 2020 and then failed to remind everyone about it in our post last week (yes, we feel appropriate shame). But we’re hoping to make up for that by reminding you about it now and telling you it’s available at both Garrison taprooms (Seaport and Oxford), as well as private stores in the HRM. A Honey Wheat Ale with honey from Meander River Farm, it’s 5.2% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can safely expect an easy-drinking beer with a doughy character, some melon notes, gentle bitterness, and some honey sweetness. And remember that every can and keg sold means donations toward the Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC (which will be more than $1300 once the batch is sold), so maybe take an opportunity to stock up on a few for a good cause, share them around, and celebrate womxn in the brewing industry!

In addition to the events we already mentioned above, just one more that we found on the calendar this weekend…

Wolfville’s Church Brewing Company is taking over the taps at Halifax’s Boxcar Social Saturday evening. From 5 PM until close, they’ll be pouring their super-refreshing Congregation Pilsner, Sanctuary Enkel (think Belgian Singel), Married to the Sea German Porter, Eight Bells Belgo Pale Ale, The Luxury Belgian Dubbel, as well as the very last keg of their Best Kind Kveik Pale Ale, their collaboration with St. John’s Bannerman Brewing. And because one can never have enough variety, they’ll be rounding out the offerings with cans of Mayflower White IPA, and Til Death Do Us Tart Framboise. To amp up the fun even more, Sun Parka will be playing from 7 PM, so be sure to drop in for a pint or two and stay a spell.

And in not-great, but entirely understandable news, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has made the hard decision to cancel the March 21st Nova Scotia Craft Beer Fest. Those who had purchased tickets will receive full refunds. No change to the other events planned in April for #NSCraftBeerMonth, and we’ll have lots more info on those plans in the coming weeks.

Welcome to your last full week of February, 2020, although we’re cynically sure that leap day is going to make it feel like a 31-day month because that’s just the way winter has been this year. We’ve got a ton of news to share with you this week, including another new brewery in Newfoundland, a bunch of other news from the Rock, and the usual catch up with what’s going on in NB, NS and PEI. So settle in comfortably, with a hoppy and/or malty beverage, for preference, as we take you around Atlantic Canada’s beer news for the week.

Attention Corner Brook, your town just got a bit more beery! Boomstick Brewing Company has officially opened their doors this week, with their Growler Shop at 55 West Street. Gracing the shelves of their can fridge are Penstock No. 2 American Pale Ale, Wild Bologna IPA, Veto Power Pilsner, Half Marathon Hefeweizen, Bitter Bird ESB, Lone Flamingo Sour, and The Webber Black Lager. All of these are also available to take away in growlers, except for The Webber. Merchandise and other goodies are also available, and visitors can get a sneak peek of their snazzy taproom which will be opening March 1st. And you’ll soon be able to stay right at the brewery, as the Hew & Draw bootique hotel will be opening early March. But until then, the Shop is open Friday and Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday – Thursday 4 – 8 PM. Be sure to pop by this weekend and say hi, and we’ll have a full Profile with the Boomstick Crew next week!

And before or after (or both!) you’re visiting Boomstick, be sure to head back up West Street to Bootleg BrewCo, who have a new beer on tap right… about… now! Dr. Schmilsson’s Magical Elixir is a bit of a mouthful to say, and even more of a mouthful when you’re drinking it! The latest in their line of fruited sours, this one features flavours inspired by the Harry Nilsson song Coconut from the Nilsson Schmilsson album (aaah, now it becomes clear!). Coconut and Lime notes aplenty in this sour, to remind you that there will be a break in the cold coming soon (right?). Pouring from 2 PM until late today, and 4 PM tomorrow. And good news for those on the Avalon, you should be seeing this popping on tap at Toslow sometime next week!

And even more Newfoundland beer news (man, they’ve got a lot of breweries there now), Labrador City’s Iron Rock Brewing has a pair of brand new beers on tap exclusively at their taproom, just in time for their Grand Opening festivities (which started on Wednesday, and continue through the weekend). We don’t have a lot of the nitty gritty details on the first beer, unfortunately, but we can tell you it’s a hazy, hop-packed Double IPA named Hop Shocker. “Shockingly juicy”, according to the brewery, they’re describing it as “Sunny Delight for adults”, so yeah, you can probably believe them on the juicy description; it weighs in at a perfect-for-the-style 8% ABV. The second new release of the weekend, launching at 2 PM this afternoon, is Banishment, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Weighing in at a modest 5.6% ABV, it packs a punch having been aged in Maker’s Mark barrels for three months, picking up notes of vanilla and oak, complementing the solid roast character from the underlying beer. Grab it on Nitro pours today, with bottles coming soon. As for the rest of their grand opening events, they’ll have live music at the taproom tonight (8:30-11:30) and tomorrow (from 7:30 pm), as well as a Vendor Fair on Sunday (2-5pm) and a Tattoo Expo both days (10am-7pm Sat, 10am-4pm Sun). Note that the Tattoo Expo is for ages 19+ only (sorry, kids!), and is first-come, first-serve for pre-drawn tattoos only.

Moving over to St. John’s with Bannerman Brewing (see… there’s a ton of them!), where they’re releasing their own juicy, hoppy beer, State of Emergency. Described as a “Milkshake/Fruited IPA”, it was heavily dry-hopped with the magical Citra variety, and also features a large addition of mango. If you like your hoppy beers super-hazy, with “heavy flavours of tropical and candied fruit”, this is the beer for you! It’s on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers right now, and you can expect to see cans of this 7.2% ABV beer appearing sometime next week. 

Back on the mainland, we’ve got a couple of important notes to tell you about Hanwell’s Own Niche Brewing. With more than one hundred batches released since their opening in late 2017, they have moved into new territory with this week’s new release, Highroller DIPA. Having played in the Session, American/Standard, and IPA vein before, they’ve chosen to go big into the Double IPA category this go-around. For those who just can’t get enough hops, this sounds like the pint for you! Featuring flaked oats and wheat in the malt bill for a softer mouthfeel, and hopped to 50 IBUs in the kettle with Chinook and Columbus, it was further hopped post-ferment with El Dorado and Enigma. Think melon, stone fruit, and citrus on the palate, finishing moderately dry. At 8.0% ABV, it is one of Niche’s bigger releases, but the massive character masks any alcohol heat. Kegs are now a-pouring at Peppers in Saint John and The Joyce in Fredericton, where it rounds out the dozen beers the Niche fellas will be pouring tomorrow for their second Meet the Maker event. Starting at 7 PM, you’ll be able to try any/all of the twelve offerings from Niche, including faves like Day Tripper, Ethos, The Bear, and Single Origin, as well as two exclusive beers for the evening, Hold Fast Dry-hopped Sour (with Cashmere), and Cordial Sour with Elderflower. Be sure to pop down to chat with Rob, Shawn and Matt, grab a pint, and a pint glass, as they’ll have some merch for sale as well.

Those on the North Shore of Nova Scotia have a special connection to Prince Edward Island, as they share a common love of water, and are counting down the days to when the Wood Islands – Caribou ferry starts up again (May 1st, in case you were wondering!). Well, you don’t need to wait that long to rekindle that connection, as there’s a new beer on the shelves now to celebrate. Ferry Boat Fantasy came about when the folks from Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub dropped into Tatamagouche Brewing over a year ago. This Golden Sour was aged for almost a year in Chardonnay barrels, before receiving a dry-hopping treatment with Vic Secret and Hallertau Blanc, and then natural carbonation in bottles before release. From Tata, “Big tropical aromas of pineapple and mango and bright citrus notes of lemon rind and grapefruit combine with whimsical barrel aromas of butter tart, vanilla and hints of amaretto to create this creamy, tart and bright dreamscape.” Couldn’t say that better ourselves! Draught and bottles are available at TataBrew right now, with selected kegs coming soon to PEI, NB, and around the HRM. And for those not in the immediate region, check out their online store for bottle shipments direct to your door!

We’re thinking that maybe everyone is getting just a tad tired of winter, as the “dreams of summer” theme is starting to pick up with more and more beer releases. Breton Brewing is throwing their hat in the ring here with Tropical Lager, brewed for those of you “dreaming of a sunny escape” from all this snow and cold. Described as light and crisp, the beer was fermented with the Common Lager yeast and lagered for three weeks. Dry-hopped with the pretty-new-and-popular Sabro variety, it has notes of “coconut, pineapple, and mango” in the aroma. This 4.8% ABV beer is a very-limited supply test batch, so it is available at Breton’s taproom only, for pints and growlers. 

Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has a surprise batch of Go Kart Jack Ass Scott-ish Red Ale back for your enjoyment. It’s a smooth beer, with a rich amber color, subtle spice notes, and a bit of honey in the aroma. Also (allegedly) blessed by the fae folk of Scotland. Wheeeeeeeee!!! Super easy drinking at 4.8% ABV and 19 IBUs, you’ll find it on tap at the tap room and (probably) available for fills to go. Also on Robie Street, the BetaBrew program is kicking out a new beer this week with Pump Up the Yams, a “candied yamber ale” (oy!). Orangey-red with and off-white head, there’s plenty of caramel flavors no doubt brought by the inclusion of candied yams during the brewing process. It’s also got a crackery presence on the malt side and a bit of noble Tettnanger hops to balance the sweetness. As usual, it’ll be tapped on Tuesday afternoon, so plan to get to GR where the jams will no doubt be pumpin’ and the crowd jumpin’ (maybe also plan to get your booty on the floor that night). 

Dieppe’s Flying Boats is known to release the occasional one-off brew in their ongoing Test Pilot series; sometimes, if a beer is popular enough, it will join their regular line-up. Well, that has happened recently with the brewery’s NEIPA, Test Pilot No. 6, which has been rebranded (thankfully!) as Whoopie Kat NEIPA. Brewed with a considerable portion of flaked wheat and oats to boost the mouthfeel (and haziness), it was hopped with the Aussie Vic Secret variety. At 6% ABV, it has a “clean and bright tropical bouquet of passion fruit and pineapple, along with supporting notes of fresh herbs and pine”. You can find it on tap and in cans at FB’s taproom right now, with cans shipping next week to select ANBL stores.

Yesterday marked the culmination of a month of Brewery Battles at HopYard Charlottetown, with Lone Oak facing Copper Bottom in the final. Both breweries brought their A-game, debuting new beer at the event. Let’s start with Lone Oak’s entry, Hollywood, which may have been a factor in eking out a victory. This West Coast IPA is the first of the style from the brewery, and at 6.7% ABV, brings loads of melon character with a nice bitterness. After its debut last night, you’ll be able to find it on draught at the brewery at Gateway Village this weekend, with cans coming in the next little bit.

As for Copper Bottom, their brand new beer to hit the taps is FLUX: Lotus, the first in their FLUX line of single hop IPAs the brewery is launching next Friday. Think of everything you are hoping to hit in an IPA: hazy, sessionable, and flavourful enough to keep coming back, and this is what they hope to achieve with FLUX. Not surprisingly, this initial release features the Lotus varietal, showcasing “big notes of pineapple and tropical fruit, followed by a candied grape and subtle hint of vanilla”. Weighing in at a very reasonable 4.3% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer will be available on draught and in cans next Friday.

If you’re in the Yarmouth area, you may want to drop by Heritage Brewing, where they’ve just dropped their latest beer, Cranberry Sour Wheat. We’re betting you’ve put together a few of the details on this beer already, but that’s not going to stop us from telling you that it’s a kettle sour that was brewed with a portion of Wheat malt. Already quite tart thanks to the souring process, they added a generous amount of real Nova Scotia cranberries during fermentation, giving this cloudy, 5% ABV beer even more tartness, as well as a red colour. Check out Heritage this weekend for a taste.

Secret Cove Brewing up in Port au Port East (NOT to be mistaken for Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove), has a new beer on the taps that pushes the boundaries of good taste. Not actual taste, we’re sure it’s a delicious beverage, but the name, dear lord the name. Blueberries Crying in the Grain pays homage to “Berry Head,” an area of Secret Cove’s home region that was made part of Port au Port (but would you believe there’s ANOTHER “Berry Head” on the East side of the Rock?! Newfoundland geography is a trip.) Aaaanyway, you should not be surprised to hear that there are both blueberries and grain in this fruited wheat beer, which weighs in at 5.1% ABV. Featuring a “vibrant purple hue” with an aroma that is both tart and sweet, the blueberries are definitely prominent. So if you’re in the area, whether you’re a local who knows all about Berry Head or a visitor who might wonder where exactly it is, stop by and give a taste of the local flora a try.

Sussex Ale Works is bringing back their Notorious APA, a 7.3% ABV, 66 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped with Sasquatch in the whirlpool. Juicy, with a supporting malt character, this is the second time this beer has been brewed. Find it on tap at their bar in Sussex this weekend.

The beery beardos of the 902BrewCast seem to maybe be hitting the gas again after a couple of slow months of soul searching and heavy drinking. Now it’s just heavy drinking. We kid! At the very least they’ve been managing to get the band back together at least a little more, with Kyle Andrus actually being spotted out in public at the Craft Beer Cottage Party a couple weeks ago, and rumours swirling of tapings with all three members in attendance. For now you’ll have to make do with a quick 30-minute or so bonus ep that dropped today featuring a few conversations Tony and Kyle had that night at the CBCP, but get ready for a Podcast that involves an actual brewery (!!) coming in March as well as a February tasting episode that we think might drop this coming Tuesday (as always, full refund on this blog post if we’re wrong about that). So grab the Bonus ep at their web site or via your favorite podcast provider and start looking forward to more content from a rejuvenated and less baby-beholden crew.

Not to be outdone by Tatamagouche and Big Spruce with their job postings last week, the news out of Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is that they, too, are on the prowl for brewery staff. But in a classic case of the Island one-upping the mainland (or maybe being better at “finding efficiencies”), Upstreet is looking for someone to be a Brewer AND Cellarperson. Currently listed as a full-time summer/seasonal position, it has the potential to turn into a permanent gig. Production experience as a brewer is obviously highly valued, but brewing experience of all kinds will no doubt be considered. As always when it comes to making good beer, attention to detail is a major must along with an understanding of quality and how to achieve it consistently. If you think you’d be a good fit for this and are interested in spending at least a summer in Charlottetown, you can check out the full job posting on the Upstreet site for full details and information on how to apply.

Plenty on the go around the region this weekend, check it out!

The Guv’nor on Elizabeth Ave in St. John’s is hosting another round of their Newfoundland Craft Beer Tap Takeover all weekend. Kicking off yesterday, they are showcasing beer from a dozen Newfoundland breweries and cideries during the course of the next couple of days, as kegs kick and more come online. You can peruse the list of offerings here, but we suggest you don’t wait too long, as some options are in short supply!

Normally, beer festival season starts in New Brunswick with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in early March, but this year Saint John is kicking things off with the first KV Craft Beer Festival tomorrow, February 22nd. Happening at the QPLEX, there will be one evening session, with two sets of tickets available: VIP ($69) from 6:30-9:30 pm, and general admission ($49), 7:30-9:30. Your ticket gets you unlimited samples from close to 20 different breweries, cideries, and one distillery; there’ll be live music as well. Tickets are still available; you can get yours through the event link above.

As we mentioned above, this cold and snowy season often has us dreaming of warmer weather… but ya gotta admit, winter is a helluva nice time to really sit back and appreciate a good Stout. Luckily our friends at Stillwell are well aware of this, and have created a special event, STOUT SZN, that will be happening this Sunday, February 23rd, from 4pm to close. They’ll have nine different stouts on tap for your roasty needs, eight of which are from local, NS breweries, and one from Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham (Total Disrespect, a Pastry Stout w/ pecans, black cherries, and cocoa nibs). They’ll also be serving up some oysters from Sober Island, if that’s your thing! Check out the event page up there for a full brewery/beer list.⁣

Looking for a fun time this coming Monday, February 24th? Happy Hour Co is hosting their first event at Tire Shack Brewing on John Street in Moncton. Brewery Tour and Tasting kicks off at 7 PM, and will feature a tour of the brewery facilities, and then a guided tasting of Tire Shack’s lineup of beers, thanks to owners Jerrica and Alan. No need to sign up in advance, just show up and look for the other thirsty folks!

We’re well into the meat of the winter season now in Atlantic Canada, with it colder than a polar bear’s claws through most of the region and a “bomb cyclone” (sounds menacing!) descending on St. John’s. The good news is that our region’s beer and cider producers are still hard at work ensuring that you’ve got a spectrum of new and familiar potables to get you through, ranging from fireside sippers to reminders of summer. So have a read and make a plan to both stock your fridge for the coming weekend and check out some of the cool beer happenings that are coming this weekend and beyond.

If you’re still on a hazy-and-hoppy kick, Garrison Brewing is keeping up with your needs (well, your beer needs, anyway) with the recent release of No. 1 Squeeze IPA. This NEIPA was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Oat malts, and hopped heavily with Mosaic, Azacca and Comet (to the tune of 40 IBUs). The result is a beer jam-packed with aromas and flavours of apricot, tangerine and passion fruit, “with a smooth and restrained citrusy finish”. Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this batch will only be available on tap, exclusively at both Garrison locations in Halifax. 

In ciderland, Halifax’s Chain Yard has just released something new at their taproom – Rubintette is a small batch, single apple variety cider. Featuring the Rubinette apple (apparently a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin), the batch was slow-fermented, giving it a “vinous and woody character, with summer fruit flavours”. Pretty hefty at 8% ABV, drop by sometime this weekend for a taste, as it likely won’t be around for very long. And they’ll be hosting a Nova Scotia Snakebite Competition mid-February, in a celebration of the cider-beer blend popular in the UK. Check that link for details on the participating partners.

As we’ve mentioned once or twice over the last couple years, the rural community Hanwell, NB, is the home of Niche Brewing and thus carries a pretty weighty rating if you’re measuring fine beers per-capita; and we suspect this week’s release will only improve that ratio. Speed of Life isn’t a first for Niche; it’s not their first session IPA and certainly isn’t their first beer named for a David Bowie tune. What it definitely is, though, is hazy and juicy, the former owing to hefty amounts of flaked wheat and oats along with some chit malt in the grist, and the latter thanks to plenty of Amarillo and Ekuanot in the kettle and more of the same along with Galaxy at dry hop. Medium-low in bitterness, you can expect plenty of stone fruit and citrus character in a beer that you’ll likely wish you were enjoying on a hot summer day. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine while you drink your pint, though, as it almost certainly won’t be around that long (this batch, anyway). Look for it to appear first at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle, Sussex Ale Works and the Laundromat. And there are still a few bottles of their Evolution available at ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, but they certainly won’t be around for much longer.

Brand new barrel-aged beer in their Weird Beer series coming at you from Tatamagouche Brewing this week! Ceres is a 4.2% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with a 60/40 blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt. After being kettle-soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria, the wort was fermented in stainless with an American Ale yeast strain, and Brettanomyces in the form of Berliner Brett from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, the beer was moved to barrels for aging, and was then blended and refermented on yellow plums from Malagash Cidery. Aged on elderflower for a couple of days before packaging in 500 mL bottles, it’s finally ready! Pouring a hazy, goldenrod colour, it has aromas and flavours of “tart lemon meringue pie”. Accompanying on the nose is “yeast, black tea, and lychee”, as well as “underripe yellow plum, wheat cereal and white pepper” on the palate. Sounds pretty complex to us! The best way to truly experience this beer is, of course, to snag some yourself. How, you may ask? Well, you can find bottles directly at the source (read: Tatabrew), or they can ship them to you via their online store; Ceres should also pop up on the shelves of Bishop’s Cellar sometime in the near future. 

Even more news in the world of hops (does it ever end?) with Tidehouse, who is releasing a new bottled beer today that puts the “Imperial” in Imperial IPA. Big Yacht Money is a 10.5% ABV “DDH Milkshake Triple IPA”. Hopped with very heavy amounts of Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado, lactose was also used in the boil to give that touch of sweetness that goes with Milkshake IPAs. This style of beer is usually fruited as well, and this particular brew was fruited to the extreme, with mango, strawberry, and orange zest, accompanied by an addition of vanilla. As you may imagine, the final result is juicy and boozy, with the fruit quite prominent and complemented with notes of vanilla. Bottles likely won’t last long, so may be a good idea to drop by the brewery today to start your weekend off right.

It’s always nice to see local breweries taking on classic beer styles that are exhibiting a sort of resurgence, and lately, Lagers are gradually coming back. Big Spruce just kegged and tapped Honza’s Boho, their take on the classic Bohemian Pilsner (aka Czech Pilsner). They apparently worked closely with a brewery from the Czech Republic to ensure that they were treating this style with the utmost respect, and brewing it as authentically as possible. With a grist made up almost-entirely of imported Pils malt from continental Europe (a bit of Carapils was thrown in, as well), and hopped with Saaz, it was fermented with the Urquell yeast (that refers to one of the classic examples of the style, not Family Matters) (or even better, this!) from Escarpment Labs. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, and if you’re curious as to how it’s tasting, you can try it at the brewery, or at one of your favourite BS accounts. And check our Events listing below for more info on new beers from them debuting next week…

Not to be outdone, Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has launched a Bohemian Pilsner of their own (after all, they’ve been expanding with the purchase of new tanks, so why not brew some new beer?). Their beer is named Flora, and was brewed with PEI-grown floor malt and Saaz hops, before lagering for five weeks. Now that it’s been packaged (cans and kegs), this crisp, 5% ABV beer is available and pouring bright and crystal-clear. You won’t be able to try it until tomorrow when the brewery officially reveals it at a launch party, UNLESS you were lucky enough to be at last night’s edition of HopYard’s Battle of the Breweries, where Copper Bottom took on Moth Lane). If not, it’s off to Montague with ya!

Apparently, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing has had many requests for a “red beer” to be available at their taproom. They’ve finally given in, but it may not be quite the style of beer that most were expecting, but it sounds plenty tasty, nonetheless! Red Beer is a “Red Table Saison” brewed mostly with Red X blended malts, along with a bit of Munich, Wheat malt, and kilned Amber malt. Fermented with a Saison strain, the beer is showing some slight malty/bready character in the aroma, along with some dried fruit. Finishing crisp and dry, this 4.7% ABV brew is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, but it’s got a lot more going on than a lot of your American Amber Ales that some may have been expecting. Currently pouring on tap in Corner Brook!

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new beer come out of Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax. But that itself is nothing new; would you believe they’ve released “only” about 30 beers since they opened in mid-2015? That’s exactly the way NASH said it would be, of course, and he’s managed to stick to it and, near as we can tell, still sell plenty of beer. So if you’re the type to get excited about a new beer release from Unfiltered, you may do so, with Edgy hitting the taps for the first time today. The sixth beer (we think, but we never claimed to be good at math) in NASH’s inimitable SMaSH DIPA series, this one features Centennial hops in great quantity for plenty of citrus and herbal character in the tried and true 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU format. Pints, fills, and cans available at noon.

In the “beer coming soon” category, and plenty soon at that, is an intra-provincial, cross-bridge collaboration between Nova Scotia’s Spindrift Brewing and PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing. A solid friendship between the two Head Brewers was formed as they both spent time brewing for Gahan Brewing, and the bon ami continues now that they are at the helms elsewhere. Silver Fox is a 5.5% ABV Export Lager, featuring uniquely PEI-sourced ingredients. Shoreline Malting near Summerside provided the Pilsner and Munich Malts, with Island Hop Company supplied the Ultra hops (a descendant of the very-Noble Hallertau and Saaz varietals). Bready malt notes, zesty and floral components from the hops (aided by a hard water profile to accentuate), along with a crisp finish thanks to the two months of lagering, which also allowed it to be unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for Silver Fox to debut at both Spindrift and Lone Oak next week, just ahead of LO’s Grand Opening on the 25th.

And in more collaboration news with Spindrift, they brewed with another island brewery, from a different island, Newfoundand’s Dildo Brewing Company. Coming to both the NSLC and NLC at the end of the month is Altbier, a 5.3% ABV ode to the classic German style, which saw the wort first fermented cool with a German Ale yeast, and further lagered for a month before canning. All German ingredients, from Munich, Caramel Munich and Carafa malts, and hopped generously with Hallertau Mittelfruh for a “spicy, herbal hop character”. The official release will be at both breweries on Friday, January 31st, with the beers at the provincial liquor stores in the future.

Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has a new beer on tap these days, their first foray into the farmhouse/Saison side of things. The Old Mill is 6.2% ABV Saison, and is available for pints and growlers in their taproom now, as well as at Horton Ridge Malt’s taproom for pints as well. This is their first, but by no means last, look at the style, so stay tuned for more iterations as they play in this wheelhouse. And keep an eye out for several other new styles in the coming weeks and months, including an Extra Special Bitter and a Berliner Weisse with cranberries. One or both of those may be out in time for their Cask versus Keg night on Friday, February 24th, comparing a cask of their Double Dry Hopped Rye IPA (aka Keep it on the Rails) to their W & A Railway Rye IPA on draught. Lots of fun and education on the go that evening, and all winter! Keep an eye on the latest news on their Social Media (Fb/IG/Tw).

Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville had a major release this week, with seven new ciders dropping yesterday. Their 2018 Pet Nat cider is a low intervention and naturally carbonated cider over a year in the making. They also released six new entries in their Forager Small Batch Series, with Barrel-Aged Applewood Smoked Crabapple, Barrel-Aged Partridgeberry Perry, Orchard and Vine, Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry, Newfoundland Honey Mead, and New England Style on Blueberry Skins. All of these, as well as their Scrumpy are available at the Cider Shop at 24 Balbo Drive in Shoal Harbour, as well as at the Howley Estates NLC in St. John’s.

Big congratulations to Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur who are celebrating their first year of operation today. And whaddya know, they got *us* a present! Loup de Mer Dry Stout is 4.2% ABV, and features a smooth body, dry finish, and plenty of dark chocolate and coffee character. Look for bottles on the shelves of your local ANBL from Bathurst to Moncton, including in MH-B’s own Acadian Peninsula. Details here!

And just making it under the wire this week (because when have we ever been able to say “no” to anyone?) is Propeller, with today’s release of their latest beer, Sweet Orange Sour. Luckily, the name gives you a pretty solid idea of exactly what to expect – it’s a kettle-soured beer that was hit with lots of lots of citrus zest, lending a mixture of sweet and tangy flavours to go with the assertive tartness. Orange and tangerine notes abound in a 4.8% ABV brew that finishes dry. On tap only, at both Prop locations. And for tonight’s cask, their delicious Galaxy IPA, with clementine zest, vanilla, and lactose.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

If you’re a craft beer fan in the Northeast New Brunswick area and don’t find yourself getting down to the Moncton region very often, you’re in luck: Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (that’s “CAV-Oh-Kay” for those unfamiliar with aviation terms) will be in Bathurst for a tap takeover tomorrow at Au Bootlegger. Starting at 6 PM there will be at least 10 taps of CAVOK’s finest pouring; full details are available on the Fb event page, with the confirmed taps as follows:

  • Petitcoudiac Rye IPA 6.0% 60 IBU
  • Leger Corner Honey Ale 4.8% 25 IBU
  • Foxtrot 33 (Oatmeal Stout) 5.0% 33 IBU
  • Runway 11 Lager 4.3% 13 IBU
  • East Coast Pirates IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
  • YQM Pilsner 4.3% 29IBU
  • Soleil d’Été NEPA 4.5% 15 IBU
  • Echo Saison 6.0% 17 IBU
  • Apricot Belgian Stout 4.1% 23 IBU
  • Terre Rouge (Red Ale) 4.8% 24 IBU

You can check out this post for more details on each of those beers, and be forewarned that there’s been rumours of a “secret surprise beer” as well.

For the second weekend in a row, Stillwell is hitting us with a mini-event on a Saturday without much notice or fanfare even though they’re bringing some of Toronto’s finest beer – last week it was Burdock Brewery, this week it’s Bellwoods. Those who are already familiar will almost certainly head down, and those who do not know, but enjoy really good beer, would do well to join them. Though not a full tap takeover, some of the best of what Bellwoods has to offer across sour, saison, farmhouse and hoppy styles is on offer, to wit:

  • Jelly King (Dry Hopped Sour 5.6%)
  • Raspberry Jelly King (Fruited Sour Ale 5.6%)
  • Justu (Pale Ale 5.6%)
  • Roman Candle (American IPA 6.8%)
  • Farmageddon w/ Niagara Montmorency Cherries (Fruited Barrel Aged Wild Farmhouse Ale 6.3%)
  • White Picket Fence [Peach] (Blended Foedre Saison Conditioned on Peaches 5.7%)
  • White Picket Fence OG (Blended Foedre Saison 6.1%)

As always on Saturdays, doors open at noon tomorrow and the taps will commence pouring (these are all kegged beers), with the usual lovely food coming out of the kitchen as well. So head on down and get another taste of the Big Smoke without having to actually besmirch yourself by going there.

Everwood Ave Brewshop is bringing back their EverBrews Home Brewers Club this month, with their meeting next Tuesday, January 21st. Starting at 6:30PM at their store at 731 Old Sackville Road, the evening will feature social and guided tastings, club business, presentations, and a general Q&A on what form the club will take. Everyone interested in the homebrewing hobby is welcome to attend, whether you currently partake or not. 

Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be host to a Norweigian Invasion next Thursday, January 23rd, as three Nova Scotian breweries will be showing off their favourite Kviek beers for the day. Big Spruce, North Brewing, and Tatamagouche will each bring three (or more) brews fermented with the hottest thing to escape Norway since Darkthrone and Cadaver. Look for hazy pale ales/IPAs, the winner of Big Spruce’s Homebrew Challenge Winter Warmer, Nordic Tea Saison, a co-fermented Lager, and at least one barrel-aged behemoth. The pour party kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day, so be sure to drop by to taste the latest releases from these beauties!

Halifax’s Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House is hosting a Battle of the Brews Thursday evening, pitting Garrison and Spindrift against each other to pick the perfect beer to complement a six course tasting menu. Tickets are best reserved via phone or email for the event that kicks off at 6 PM on January 23rd. Grab them here: 902-428-7852 or harbourstone@marriott.com

Details are still very loose right now, but we see that there will be a Certified Cicerone exam being held in Halifax in April May Spring. The exact date has not been finalized, but if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up on the Cicerone website, sign up that you are interested, and pass the Certified Beer Server Exam.

And here be your last few mentions before we leave you to your weekend:

Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, Paint it Black, Jack, a 6.3% ABV Porter featuring loads of additions of chocolate and orange, natch, for a full on sweet, chocolate, and coffee brew. Grab it on tap this weekend!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has their Full Service Double IPA back on tap for pints and growler fills. After selling out *very* quickly upon first release, they have been able to brew up another batch and quell the demands of the masses. Juicy, hazy, and a solid 7.5% ABV, it certainly packs a hoppy punch. Look for more from Tire Shack in next week’s post, as they promise a trio of new beers out before the end of the month.

And finally, a note that the YellowBelly Brewery Takeaway location on Water St will be closing tomorrow while they search for a new location. Upgrades needed in the kitchen area have them out of commission for a while, which means growler fills and their Skip the Dishes will be paused for the time being. They promise to let us know once they are back in action!