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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple more things before we sign off this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few more things today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And before we go this week…

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

Happy Friday, beer lovers, and welcome to a warm weekend! Whether it’s freezing out or everything is beginning to thaw, there’s always plenty to report on beer news in our region, and this week has been no exception. Let’s get right to it…

• Starting off with some brewery expansion news, Bruce Barton, owner/brewer of Riverview, New Brunswick’s Celtic Knot Brewing, has confirmed that he will be increasing production, from the current 80 L system to a 3.75 BBL (~435 L) within the next couple of months. The current Celtic Knot brewery is located within Bruce’s home, but the new system will be in a separate location in Riverview, where you will be able to drop by to have growlers filled of your favourite CK beers! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.

Tidehouse will be releasing another of their one-off beers today – Oaked Island is an American Pale Ale, solely and heavily hopped with Centennial, and fermented on French oak (previously soaked in Russian vodka). This unique combination results in flavours of “citrus, pine, and floral notes” from the Centennial, with a “soft, subtle vanilla character” thanks to the oak. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV, it will be available at the TH retail shop on Salter, as well as on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and Water & Bone. Look for future one-offs to be released on Fridays in the future – this is a change from previous releases, which have occurred on Wednesdays. Hey, we definitely benefit from that!

• The gang at Good Robot has some news and new beers for us this coming week, but also slipped a new beer onto the taps the other day. Dubbel Trubbel came about when Kelly Costello and a co-worker were inspired by a recipe in a homebrew magazine that included star anise and dates. Leveraging GR’s unofficial beer knowledge program that allows employees to try out brewing for themselves, they put the recipe into action, albeit minus the star anise and the dates. Featuring Pilsner, Aromatic, Munich, Vienna, Special B, and Cara-Munich malts, along with Belgian Candi sugar, the beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV. It was fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, so a little outside the traditional Dubbel style. Brewed on their Beta System, be sure to drop by right away to avoid missing this limited release.

 

• The big news for Good Robot this week is that they’ve found themselves an assistant brewer. Jake Charles DeWolfe is now on the scene, and to celebrate there will be a twin pack of new releases in the GR taproom on Tuesday. The first is DeWolfe of Wall Street, in the American Pale Ale style, a complementary beer to brewmaster Doug’s Burban Legend, mirroring the yin Jake will bring to Doug’s yang. We presume. With a simple malt bill of 2-row, Pilsner and Vienna underpinning a hop schedule that includes Cascade for bittering, Mount Hood for dry hop and both for aroma during a whirlpool, this 6.3% ABV pale comes in high and hard with citrus hop flavours and a dry, crisp finish, but only 29 IBU. Joining that beer will be a BetaBrewed Mexican Lager for which a suitably Good Robot name has not yet been determined. At a very light 4.7% ABV and a barely there 14 IBU, it’s built around pale malt, flaked corn and Vienna for a touch of biscuity flavor, and agave nectar, all paired with the noble Tettnang hop variety, and fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast. This one is likely to be dangerously crushable and reminiscent of a summer day at the lake.

• Over in Burnside, Spindrift has some releases in the coming months that they’re teasing on social media. The Killick is labeled as a “session lager” but has been referred to elsewhere as a Munich Helles, a classic German style that is fairly low alcohol, light-bodied, malt-balanced and designed to go down easy. This will be their first packaging in 355ml cans and it will be available in six packs from the brewery sometime around mid-March and then the NSLC later on. Spindrift are also going to have a seasonal single serve slot at the NSLC and the first two offerings will be the Blueberry Chai Pils we mentioned last week from April to June (also available a the brewery in mid-March) and the Blood Orange India Pale Lager from July to September. We’ll surely have more details for you about these beers and their availability as their official release dates approach.

• Digby’s Roof Hound has brewed up an interesting new beer, which will be the first in their upcoming Dive Bar Classic Cocktail series, where all the beers will be inspired by well-known cocktails. This first brew is a Mojito Sour – “partially kettle-soured” (meaning half the batch was soured, and then blended with the non-soured half), it will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial, and also feature the addition of fresh mint, and lime zest and juice. The official launch party for this brew will be held on Saturday, March 4th; we’ll keep you updated on the official stats for this one when they’re confirmed.

• Word hit the street last week that Greg Nash has brought his Russian Imperial Stout, Commissar to Unfiltered. Last seen during his time at the Hart & Thistle, many have lamented that it was on tap when that establishment closed and the last batch was never properly finished. This time around, the beer was aged on oak for months and fortified with J.D. Shore Black Rum from Halifax Distilling Co.. Promising a slightly sweet flavour with lots of dark fruit and hints of bitter chocolate, it is said to be reminiscent of rum cake. It will be available as of noon today at the brewery for growler fills, Charm School for pints, and both the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar for bottles ($16/500ml). This one is likely to get even better with age, so definitely consider grabbing a couple bottles for your cellar when you pop in for your first taste. But be aware, at 11.6% ABV and full of rum, this one is likely to have you throwing rocks at your own house if you’re not careful!

Red Rover has a new, very-limited batch cider pouring at the Cider House in Fredericton. Just released earlier this week, Blood Orange is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider infused with blood orange juice. Tart and crisp, yet balanced by the accompanying sweetness, it’s available for pours only (no flagon fills) due to the limited supply; however, if feedback is quite positive, there’s a good chance a larger batch will be made in the future. Look for it on tap at James Joyce and Graystone, as well.

• Look for a new beer to be released from FirkinStein very soon – Project Orange is described as a “light, easy-drinking ale with a slight orange tang” by the brewery, despite weighing in at a fairly hefty 7% ABV. With a slight citrus hop presence in the background thanks to the addition of Cascade, there was also plenty of orange juice added. It will be making its debut at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, and should also be pouring at Battery Park shortly afterwards.

Big Tide and Picaroons have joined forces to brew a collaboration beer, a Doppelbock named The Uphill Battle. The recipe was concocted between the two breweries, and the beer mashed-in on Big Tide’s system (featuring a grist of Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, CaraMunich and Carafoam). Half of the resultant wort stayed at Big Tide, and the other half was transported to the Picaroons General Store location; both were then boiled, hopped (with Magnum and Perle), and fermented at their respective homes with a dry Lager yeast. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, this malty, toasty brew will be going on tap at the Big Tide brewpub and the General Store tomorrow.

• Big news in Halifax from what will be one of the smallest breweries in the region by design – brought to you by the folks behind Stillwell Beer Bar, Stillwell Brewing will be focused on small-batch mixed-fermentations and oak barrel aging, and might possibly be the first brewery of its kind in Canada. Taking up some space in the back area of Propeller Brewing in the North End of Halifax, expect very small scale, periodic bottle releases, and very rare keg tappings (most of which will happen at SW and their Beer Garden). We’ll keep you updated on this exciting bit of info as it develops! In the meantime, follow Stillwell Brewing on Instagram for some pics on behind the scenes activity.

• The NSLC released their third quarter financial results covering the three months ending December 31st, 2016, and the news for Nova Scotia Craft Beer continues to be good. While overall beer sales were down 0.4%, craft beer sales continued to grow, with a 29.5% increase to $2.5m over the same quarter in the previous year. Though this increase isn’t quite as large as seen in first (48.4%) and second (39.7) quarters, it shows the industry still has room to grow. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Q4 shows a continuation of this trend and also whether additional shelf space for craft beer will carry the trend into the next fiscal year.

There’s a whole whack of events going on over the next few days, especially in the HRM… take your pick from below and be sure to head out over the weekend!

Tonight, the Stubborn Goat will be holding a tap takeover with Charlottetown, PEI’S Upstreet, in the Flight Night at the Goat. Eight Upstreet beers will be on tap, including Smoked Porter from their One Way series. There’s no cover; just show up for plenty of beer, plus food pairings and flight specials! All of the Upstreet crew will be there, anxious to meet you and chat about everything beer!

• Been too long since the last <insert amazing brewery here> tap takeover at Stillwell for ya? Well, it really hasn’t been that long at all, but good news! Tomorrow, February 25th, they’ll be hosting a Le Castor takeover, with 12 amazing beers pouring all day. One of Quebec’s highest-regarded breweries, they’re bringing some real winners, such as Colorado (a “dry-hopped Wild Ale”) and Sanctuaire (a Tripel aged in red wine barrels with Brett). No charge to attend, just show up and pay by the pour!

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a Big Spruce tap takeover tomorrow, February 25th, which should last all weekend. Their collaboration with Bishop’s, Anaphylactic Choc – a 5.5% ABV “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” that features Nutsmith organic peanut butter added in the boil and that was aged on organic cocao nibs – will be pouring. Drop by in the afternoon between 1-4 pm, and don’t forget to bring your growlers! In addition to the new brew, they’ll be have Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Liquid James Brown Milkshake IPA available for fills, with samples of some special one-offs while your jugs are being filled.

• Also tomorrow, February 25thHell Bay is holding Cocoa & Malt, a special pairing of dark beer and hand-crafted chocolate desserts and sweets. Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, it had to be postponed due to weather… and luckily, there’s still some spots left! It’s $25+tax per person; reserve your spot by calling 902-356-3556.

• Halifax’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is currently holding a Bad Apple Brewhouse and Propeller tap takeover, which will continue until this Sunday, February 25th. With eight beers from BAB (including their wonderful Mosaic DIPA), and seven from Propeller (including a cask of their ESB), it’s pay-as-you-drink all weekend. BAB’s owner/brewery Jeff Saunders will be on hand for beer questions/chatting tonight, and Propeller’s brewer/sales manager Pat Robichaud will be available on Saturday night. Check out the full tap list here.

• It’s another busy week coming up for Good Robot, starting with their participation at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow night, followed by an after-party luau featuring beers and buddies from Upstreet Brewing back at the taproom, with Koconut Kings providing musical entertainment. As mentioned above, Tuesday, February 28th, will see the debut of beers from Jake DeWolfe, Assistant Brewer, paired with a Mardi Gras Cajun menu from Black Sheep and a soul playlist on vinyl from Black Buffalo spun by a live DJ. Thursday, March 2nd sees a tap takeover at the taproom by North Brewing, with 8 taps, possibly the most ever for that brewery in a North end pub. The favour is returned the next night, on Friday, March 3rd when 14, count’em 14 Good Robot brews go up at Battery Park in Dartmouth. The most. Ever. Anywhere. We expect to hear more about that this week, so look for more details in next week’s wrap-up.​

That’s the news we’ve got to share this week! Have a great weekend, and be sure to enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having! Before we head out for good…

– Last night was the first Brew Ha-Ha at the Company House, featuring Tidehouse Brewing and the comedy of Andrew Vaughan, Dan Hendrickson and Frank Russo. We’ll find out more about what sounds like it might be a regular event, and let you know.
– The Craft Beer Cottage Party is tomorrow night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market at 7pm. Although the VIP passes have sold out it looks like there are still some general tickets available. Come on out to dream of summer and sample the wares of 30 breweries from the region.
– Today, Garrison is welcoming Dave Martin, winner of the 2016 Home Brew-Off, to brew his Chamomile IPA on the Garrison system; the beer will be released at this year’s gala on March 23rd. Judging for this year’s competition is actually happening tomorrow, with almost 40 entries for the Wee Heavy style.
Grimross now has their Pugnacious Porter (6.2% ABV) available in cans; joining their Maritime Pale Ale, it’s available at the brewery and should be following in ANBL stores, soon.
– The Hammond River Blackberry Berliner Weisse we reported on earlier this month is now available on tap; Ram Jam comes in at 3.2% ABV and is circulating on tap around HR accounts.
– March 1st marks one year for Nine Locks Brewing. They’ll be celebrating with draws and in-store specials. If you haven’t been out to see them, it’s probably a good time to rectify that.

 

The little town of Montague, PEI (located on the eastern end of the Island) is going to be getting a lot bigger this coming summer… at least, beer-wise! Husband and wife team Ken Spears and Ashley Condon announced early this month that they plan on opening Copper Bottom Brewing sometime by mid-summer. This is one of two breweries scheduled to open in Montague in 2017 (the other being Montague Brewing), with Ken and Ashley planning to focus on live music, as well as beer, in the brewery’s accompanying tap room. We’ve recently exchanged emails with Ken to find out what the couple have in store for when the brewery launches this summer…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
I am a Red Seal electrician turned brewer originally from Nova Scotia. My wife, Ashley Condon, is an award-winning songwriter and touring musician originally from Murray Harbour North, PEI. We live in the woods in rural PEI just outside of Montague and have a cat named Fiona. We enjoy hiking, the beach, and Ashley does yoga in the upper part of the “Brewdio” (the barn on our property that houses the “nanobrewery” and yoga/music studio)

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
I fell in love with craft beer in 2003 when I landed a job at Propeller Brewing in Halifax. The owner, John Allen, became a mentor to me, offering advice and inspiring me to follow my passion. Ashley fell in love with craft beer by proxy and by travelling around North America as a musician visiting local microbreweries. When we travel together we spend lots of time visiting local breweries as well, and have grown to love the whole craft beer scene together which is pretty cool.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Ashley and I moved to PEI in 2011. The move inspired change and I quickly realized PEI was the perfect place to open a microbrewery. I also realized that PEI needed more options for craft beer. Having been exposed to the thriving craft beer scene in Nova Scotia, I was excited to see how PEI’s craft beer scene could grow as well. I also felt like my love of brewing could be an asset to the community and allow me to follow my passion.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I love experimenting with new beer styles and playing with the flavours. The brewhouse is currently a converted 50 litre keg, propane-fired nano brewery. As mentioned previously, we call our barn the “Brewdio” because it’s a brewery and music/yoga studio in one.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
We are aiming so serve our first pint mid-summer 2017.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a DME 10 BBL (~1170 L) system that has 7000 L cellar capacity to start with, and room to grow.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
We will have several tap accounts across the Island with growler fills from the brewery, and eventually cans distributed to PEILCC stores. Our tap room – which overlooks the Montague river – will be set up for pints served daily.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Stay tuned!

Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genres (Belgian, English, etc), of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
We are committed to a wide variety of styles to keep our options open for experimenting. We will have flagships and we have planned for exciting one-off brews and smaller batches. Keep up-to-date on our Brews News blog on our website. We will be documenting the entire building process as well.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have been in touch with several brewers across the country and everyone has been really helpful. In particular, John Allen (Propeller Brewing in Halifax), Jeremy White (Big Spruce in Cape Breton), Don Campbell (Barnone in PEI), Simon Livingston (L’Espace Public in Montreal) and Mitch Cobb and Mike Hogan (Upstreet in PEI).

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We will be distributing across PEI and collaborating with other breweries. We also hope to be a hub in our community, hosting monthly events and growing our networks within the artistic and brewing communities.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I love dark, malty beers as well as light and hoppy… and sour beers are changing my life!

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I love brewing with the American “C” hops and Maris Otter malt.

It’s fantastic to see yet another craft brewery planned to open in PEI, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from Ken and Ashley over the coming months, with updates on their progress! Be sure to follow along on their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and of course we’ll be sure to include any news in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.

The town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, can expect a new brewery to be opening in the near future in their area. Gore Farm Brewery will be run by Robin and Pierre Heelis, on the family farm where they also grow produce. We recently caught up with Robin via email to talk about the brothers’ plans, as the launch date for the brewery will be happening soon.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
My father and I have been producing high quality, locally grown vegetables, eggs, honey, and meat using organic methods; when my brother moved back to New Brunswick, we decided to combine our homebrewing efforts on the farm. Our brewery was a natural extension of the self-sustainability we espouse on at Gore Farm and is another avenue for Gore Farm to develop interest in local products and to further sustainability and self-sufficiency in our community.

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
It all started with a Sierra Nevada… then a Dogfish Head… then an Allagash… soon we were looking to re-create those flavours because we could not find those styles of beer at our local ANBL at the time.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Firstly, as a farm, we are committed to providing local products for local people. Secondly, during participation in the Fredericton Beer Run a few years back we had a look at the brewery map of New Brunswick and noticed our little southwestern corner was remarkably devoid of breweries, so we thought… why not us!?

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Being so close to the border, we were able to try a lot of great craft beer on our frequent trips to Maine and Massachusetts. We just couldn’t find those types of beers locally, so we decided we should start making our own. We reached out to friends with homebrewing experience in Charlotte County and just dove in. We started with wort-in-a-bag kits, which quickly morphed into kit hacking. It wasn’t long before we made the full conversion to all-grain and began developing our own recipes.

What type of system will you be brewing on?
We are truly nano in size. We currently brew on a 1⁄2 barrel (60 L) electric system and hope to ease into the local community and festival scene in early 2017.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
Our initial plan is to sell kegs only.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Brendan Moore of The 5 Kings in St. Stephen has been great, and we look forward to having our beers available there as soon as we can get them out! We also have been working and learning from the guys at Graystone in Fredericton. We have been fortunate enough to have completed a collaboration brew with them called Mont Blanc, a White IPA that has been on tap recently at their taproom in Fredericton (and returns tomorrow), as well as a couple of other establishments in the city.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering?
Gore Farm Brewery produces seasonal ales (and even lagers) with a notably-Belgian influence. We brew with the seasons and are inspired by many of the ingredients that can be found on the family farm. There are three beers that are planned to be the backbone of Gore Farm’s regular production:
Gore Farm Saison – (~6% ABV) a yeast-forward Belgian farmhouse Saison that has the same base recipe, but changes slightly with the seasons based on spices and ingredients available on the farm.
Gore Farm Belgian Blonde – (~6% ABV) a balanced, easy drinking and refreshing Belgian Blonde that is meant to provide an easy introduction to Belgian beers.
Gore Farm Seasonal – (varying ABV) examples include: Gore Farm Pumpkin, Gore Farm Russian Imperial Stout, Gore Farm Black Currant Wheat, and Gore Farm Rhubarb Wheat.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
How much time do we have? The brewing community is amazing, much like the farming community actually – always willing to share and assist wherever possible. One of our great friends, Luke Cook, was our first resource for all things all-grain in our early home brewing days. Through the licensing process we have had support from many people in the community. We would certainly like to thank Sean Dunbar of Picaroons and Shane Steeves of Hammond River. We also really need to single out Wes Ward of Graystone and the whole Tough Guys Brewing gang (Ian DeMerchant, Steve Christie, Mark Budd) for their generosity with their time and advice.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
Our desire is to get our beers out there and hope people like them as much as we do!

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
There is no question about our affinity for Belgian beer and Belgian beer styles. Cantillon is a clear favourite. On the East Coast, we are big fans of just about everything they do at Allagash in Portland, Maine. We also are a big fans of German style lagers.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Part of the beautiful thing about beer is that it is much more diverse than most people know. Who was it that said if you don’t like beer, you just haven’t tried enough of them yet? Often, our inspiration is derived from the seasonal offerings available on the farm, like a subtle Pumpkin Ale in the fall and a tart Rhubarb Wheat in the spring.

Be sure to follow along with our Friday Wrap-Ups, as we’ll have more news on Gore Farm soon. They’re currently wrapping up work on their website and social media pages; we’ll be sure to include that info once they’re up and running!