All posts by acbbshawn

MacDougall Settlement is a small village located north of Moncton, New Brunswick, about a 30-minute drive away. There, on a 7th generation farm, lies Valonray Farmhouse Brewery. Owned by Philippe Fontaine, this is yet another small craft brewery opening with big dreams… but Valonray’s plans differ significantly from other breweries in the province. As they plan to have beer available to the public in the near future, we thought it was finally time to chat with Phillipe and get some details on what we can expect from Valonray in the coming months…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Philippe (Phil) Fontaine and I’m the owner and brewer at Valonray Farmhouse Brewery. After graduating from university with a degree in electrical engineering, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an Engineering Officer and served in this role for almost 10 years. Since last summer, my wife Allison and I have moved back to south-eastern NB, cleared an overgrown area, and built our farmhouse brewery from scratch next to a planned cherry orchard and hop yard that is still in the works.

How did you get into the world of beer?
While posted at CFB Gagetown in 2012, I became interested in craft beer by being exposed to Fredericton’s vibrant craft beer community and watching the number of breweries explode. Shortly after, I started homebrewing and the hobby quickly became a passion.

Soon after, I was brewing an all grain batch once a week (or more) and reading as many books on the subject as I could find. I went from mostly brewing IPAs to eventually becoming more interested in the myriad Belgian-styles, and started to focus my reading more towards them. Some of the books that had an impact on my brewing style were Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski, Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow and more recently, American Sour Beers by Michael Tonsmeire. I probably read these books 15 times, trying to hone the brewing techniques and recipe development of these types of ales.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
By reading these books, I discovered a facet of the American craft-brewing movement that was lacking in the Canadian one, that of making traditional Belgian-style sour ales and wild fermentations in general, such as the examples of Jolly Pumpkin, The Bruery or New Belgium. When I started the business plan these types of breweries were non-existent in Atlantic Canada and they are still are quite underrepresented to this day.

Being originally from just outside of Moncton, I wanted to settle back on the family farm and I knew there was an opportunity to open a brewery in the area, being the largest population centre in New Brunswick and only having one micro-brewery and a handful of very small nano-breweries.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Our key philosophy is sourcing the raw materials as locally as possible. We are making Belgian Style ales, but all of our ingredients are sourced locally, when it’s possible. All of our malted grain comes from Horton Ridge Malt and Grain from grains grown in the Maritimes. The unmalted grain found in some of our ales comes from a farm 10 km down the road. We currently have 50 beehives on the property, and plan on growing all of our own hops within the next 5 years, as well as having a fruit orchard used for making barrel-aged fruit sour ales. Within the next year, we will release a beer that will be 100% Canadian, including the “Belgian-style” yeast. We believe beer is an agricultural product and this state of mind has a profound impact on how we operate.

Valonray Bottles and Horton Ridge Malt

Valonray Bottles and Horton Ridge Malt

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
We aimed for simpler recipes as an initial release. We did not want to overcomplicate things on a new system, and the beers we really want to make take longer and more tanks on hand to make. Our initial line-up of beers are all open-fermented and bottle-refermented, but they only contain various Saccharomyces strains. We have a Tripel, a Single, a Blonde ale, Pale ale and a Saison. The Tripel and Single have a similar recipe, but the results are quite different because of higher amount of simple sugars in the Tripel. The Blonde is actually closer to a Belgian Golden Strong, but with lower alcohol. The Pale ale was designed to be slightly more malt-forward to highlight our use of craft malts. The Saison is definitely our flagship, and various iterations of this recipe will be released in the future. Our five initial beers will be modified within the next year, as we plan to switch to an all-Brettanomyces production. Our first Brett-inoculated batch was brewed this week, with probable release in September.

The planned Brett lineup will look similar to the current clean beers, but we also want to offer a Saison brewed with wild Ontario yeast and Brett, a Witbier, as well as a Norwegian Kveik style ale.

We are slowly starting production of our sour beer and will eventually offer an Oud Bruin style ale, a Flanders Red style and a Lambic style (including Kriek and Framboise). The Oud Bruin is scheduled for production in 2 weeks and should be ready in a little over a year.

For a seasonal, we have a Bourbon Barrel-aged Tripel planned for the fall.

What are your plans for distribution?
Our beer will be sold solely in 750 mL bottles in our on-site sales room and in select ANBL locations and restaurants. We plan on rolling out some sort of growler program by the summer. It’s a bit of a technical challenge, as we only do bottle-refermentation. What we have planned would be in essence a bottle exchange program, to be re-used for refermentation.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to sell your beers?
We do not have any initial accounts firmly in place at the moment. Our focus has been to get our sales room approved and to get our beers listed for sale in ANBL locations.

Valonray Hop Trial

Valonray Hop Trial

Have you had any assistance from other brewers in Atlantic Canada?
We gathered input from other homebrewers and talked to multiple brewery owners, but had to develop most of our systems and procedures ourselves, as we were definitely going off the beaten path with our fermentation techniques. No breweries in eastern Canada use our methods, so I gathered as much info I could from interviews and articles from the American breweries.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We are hoping to have a sour program established within this time frame and a cherry orchard and hop yard established on the brewery grounds.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
We should have the direct sales room open, and our bottles on ANBL shelves, within 2 weeks. All the approvals are in place and we are just waiting on the paperwork to be finalized.

Valonray Brewhouse from Colorado Systems

Valonray Brewhouse from Colorado Systems

What size/manufacturer/type of system are you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We brew on a 1 BBL (~120 L) Colorado Brewing Systems dual pot system. We do double batches (2 BBL) on our brew days. Our current monthly output is 800 L, and the projected monthly output is 3000 L once we start working at the brewery full time.

Our techniques are quite unique in these parts, as we do open vat fermentation in a warm room at high temperature; we will eventually inoculate all our ales with Brett (some with bacteria). All our beers will be aged in barrels or in stainless wine tanks for a minimum of 4 months, and all our beers are bottle refermented in 750 mL bottles.

Valonray Fermentation Tanks

Valonray Fermentation Tanks

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I enjoy beers that use phenolic/estery yeasts, as well as sour beers, New England IPAs, and occasional British style ales.

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I enjoy experimenting with adjuncts (raw oats, buckwheat, rye, different sugars, etc.).

Congratulations to Phillipe on all of his hard work coming to fruition! We look forward to sampling Valonray’s first beers, soon. Follow them along on Facebook and Twitter for updates on when their beers are available, and of course we’ll be sure to mention these details in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.

Happy Fredericton Beer Week! We’ve been waiting for months, and the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival finally happens tomorrow. There’s been a few events so far this week (with one unfortunately being cancelled due to weather), and tomorrow’s big event promises to be even bigger and better than the past five years! With plenty of breweries making their way to Fredericton, there’s naturally quite a few new beers being released… maybe even more so than normal. We’ve been busy getting ready for FCBF, but we’ve done our usual best to summarize all the beer news in our region, so let’s get right to it!

• Let’s start off with Collaboration Pale Ale, a special super-collaboration (yep, just made that word up!) involving the participation of most breweries in New Brunswick, brewed specifically for FCBF. The project was spearheaded by Foghorn‘s own Esty, who sent the recipe out to all those taking part for input, feedback, and good-natured criticism (of which there was actually surprisingly none!). The beer was brewed on Foghorn’s system, with many brewers attending to “help” (i.e. drink beer and watch). Hopped with Magnum from Darlings Island Farm, and Chinook from Moose Mountain, to 45 IBUs, Chinook hop hash from Southan Farms was added at knockout, along with some Enigma. Dry-hopped with more hop hash and Enigma, the result is a 5.5% ABV beer with citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a crisp finish. Craft Coast Canning generously donated their services, with 1000 cans being packaged for sale at various breweries, and a few ANBL locations. There will also be a couple of kegs pop up (including at FCBF, of course!), and it will be for sale (by the pint only) on tap at Foghorn. In addition, $1 of every can sale goes towards diabetes research.

• In more FCBF-special beers, Maybee Brewing is releasing Fahrenheit DIPA, a collaboration brewed with Bangor, Maine’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewing. One of Maine’s first craft breweries (they opened their doors back in 1975), this year is Geaghan’s second at the festival. The beer was brewed with a “generous” amount of locally-grown Centennial and Columbus (from Southan Farms), along with also-large amounts of Amarillo and Mosaic. The result is a “resinous – yet juicy – hop explosion with notes of peach,  mango, apricot and citrus). Weighing in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, it will be pouring at FCBF, with GBB pouring it in keg/draft form, and Maybee opting to serve it on cask. If you miss it there (or can’t wait until tomorrow), it is also available on tap and in cans at Maybee.

• Released yesterday to mark International Women’s Day 2018, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with the Brewnettes to bring you The Riveter. Named after iconic Rosie the Riveter, the beer is a refreshing and easy-drinking Session Ale with plenty of tasty hops. At just 3.9% ABV, this beer will be one you can enjoy all afternoon on the assembly line (or maybe wait until the end-of-day whistle blows). The Brewnettes Newfoundland Beer Collective boasts more than 400 members across Newfoundland and and Labrador, offering new beer drinkers and homebrewers an encouraging environment to meet like-minded folks. The Riveter is available for growler fills at the Port Rexton Retail Shop on Torbay Rd from 4-8PM today (and 12-6PM tomorrow), with Chasing Sun New England IPA also available for growler fills, plus cans of Blazing Sun (Chasing Sun‘s bigger sister), and T-Rex Porter. And today also marks the first day of the BrewSKI weekend at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, with events all weekend (check the schedule here), culminating in tomorrow’s Beer Festival, with Port Rexton joined by: Bootleg Brew CoQuidi Vidi, Split RockStorm, and YellowBelly.

• On our region’s other Island, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new IPA called MOVE on the taps, also released to celebrate IWD2018. Brewed by the women of Upstreet, it’s a hazy New England-style IPA featuring oats and wheat in the grist for a soft mouthfeel and pillowy white head. Hopped in the kettle with super tropical Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Northern Hemisphere Idaho 7, it was triple dry hopped for a sophisticated aroma. Look for notes of pineapple and fresh mango balanced by a slightly grassy scent. A low-lingering bitterness, coupled with a clean and smooth palate give a juicy and refreshing impression. Weighing it at 6.5% ABV, you’ll be doing good work every time you order it: $2 from every pint and growler will be donated to the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.

• Don’t look now, but the scourge of pastry stouts has finally arrived upon the fair shores of our region. “What’s a pastry stout?” you ask, as a naïve drinker of reasonably normal beer? Well, at some point a brewer asked themselves the question, “What other starch sources might I conceivably source for my mash?” Or maybe the question was, “How can I put something absolutely ludicrous in the mash and still make beer?” Either way, as the legend goes, lo, the brewer decided to add donuts to the mash and lo, in the otherwise usual way, beer was made. Then donuts became eclairs. And biscotti. And all kinds of other weird shit. This is the world we live in now; embrace it. Aaaaanyways, to our knowledge, HRM’s North Brewing has announced this week the first pastry stout we’re aware of in the region. Twinkle Pony Cookie Stout was brewed by North cellarperson Brad and sports a delightfully whimsical label by Nicole G. Inspired by the flavour of French macaron cookies, a base stout featuring chocolate malt was adulterated with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, vanilla and, yes, macarons from Le French Fix. It will be available in cans as of today in the North bottle shops on either side of the harbour, and on nitro tap for a limited time (1 keg’s worth) at Battery Park. By all means give it a go and, as you do, feel free to wonder what the world is coming to now that there’s cookies in your beer!

• Earlier this week, Hammond River released their latest beer, Cordelia. An American IPA with a simple grist of 2-row, Carafoam, and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops throughout (to 78 IBUs), giving the beer juicy notes of citrus, tangerine, and passion fruit. Some grapefruit puree was also added in secondary to boost the juiciness a bit more, making this 7% ABV brew just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a nice, aromatic hop bomb. You can find this one on tap at the HR taproom and local tap accounts; it’ll also be pouring at FCBF, for those of you lucky enough to have tickets!

• Just in time for FCBF, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go, their first Brett Pale Ale. Dubbed Across the Universe, it started with a grist of 50/50 2-row and Maris Otter, to which a “healthy portion” of wheat and a touch of dextrine malt were added. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic and then fermented with a Niche favourite, the Amalgamation blend from the Yeast Bay, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV and 36 IBU featuring a nose of citrus and overripe and tropical fruit. And as if that wasn’t enough, watch Niche social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) this afternoon for an announcement of yet another new beer that will debut tomorrow at the fest! (If only we had a connection at the brewery who could have given us the details in time for this post, huh @acbbshawn? Jeeesh.)

• PEI Brewing’s Gahan House Port City in Saint John is now pouring the first beers brewed onsite at their facility. YSJ’aison is a, you guessed it, Saison with a light-coloured malt bill of Pilsner, with a touch of rye and wheat for mouthfeel and to encourage a beautiful head. Lightly hopped in the kettle with Czech Saaz, it was dryhopped with Saphir to bring out some fruitiness. Yeast choice is always important to the overall characteristics of the Saison style, and here they chose a blend of multiple yeasts to encourage tropical fruit, as well as iconic clove and bubblegum notes, as well as spiciness to complement the rye malt. The multiple yeast strains also helped to dry out the beer (ending up at 5.8% ABV) and improve drinkability. The pale and hazy beer is on tap for samples, pints, and growler fills now, and keep your eyes open as future YSJ-brewed beers begin to hit the taps, which include an English Porter brewed with coffee provided by local coffee shop Rogue.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has two items of note this week. First is the return of Fist of God, a fruity, soft, round, and delicious 8% ABV DIPA that will put you on your ass with prejudice. Originally brewed for the release of the feature film Goon: Last of the Enforcers last spring, it will be available for fills and pints and cans at the brewery as of noon today. Yes, we said cans. And FoG isn’t the only beer they’ll have in convenient take-anywhere single-serve packages! The mobile canning line has visited North Street once again and as of noon today you’ll also find Barrel-aged Sour Motherfucker, Exile on North Street IPA, Flat Black Jesus Stout, and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA ready and waiting for your mobile beer needs. All the beer nerds are in Fredericton, here’s your chance to stock up!!

• Just like last year, the Tidehouse braintrust, Peter, Sean, and Shannon, are heading up to Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And just like last year, they’re leaving their brewery and taproom in the hands of Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell, a couple of degenerate home brewers fine young gentlemen who will no doubt bring ruin and shame upon the good name of Tidehouse take excellent care of the place. Starting today you’ll find four guest beers on tap for fills and small pours at the TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street: Cascadian Dark Ale, Tic Lac Toe Blueberry Sour, English Pale, and Amber Ale. You may remember the Tic Lac Toe from last year’s FCBF weekend, a witbier base soured with Lil’ Wheatey’s own Lactobacillus culture (and featuring traditional orange peel and coriander along with two additions of blueberries. The Cascadian Dark Ale is an assertively-hopped dark beer with 60 IBUs worth of bitterness thanks to healthy amounts of Centennial, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. The grist side is based in 2-row and wheat, with caramel, chocolate and midnight wheat specialty malts for character and dark color. All said and done, it comes in a 5.8% ABV with a slightly dry finish. The English Pale falls somewhere in the range of an English Pale and a Golden Ale, with an exceptionally simple malt bill of British pale malt and flaked barley, and an equally uncomplicated hop schedule using only East Kent Goldings. Fermented on London Ale yeast, it’s described as “liquid gold.” And finally, the Amber Ale is a malt-forward beer that combines special roast, aromatic and chocolate malts for a robust and complex malt profile that is balanced against mild bitterness and hop flavour from Warrior, Fuggles, and East Kent Goldings. Though it finished quite dry, look for it to be a bit bigger than the ambers you might be used to. All four of these beers will be poured by Ian and Nick at the Tidehouse today and tomorrow, and will continue to be available while supplies last. You can also watch for the Tic Lac Toe and the Cascadian Dark Ale to make an appearance in limited bottle runs in the near future.

• If you’re into big beers and you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon, consider swinging on down to the Propeller taproom on Gottingen Street for the release of a collaboration brewed with the team from Lower Sackville’s Everwood Avenue Brew Shop. A Baltic Porter coming in at 6.7% ABV and 33 IBU, it boasts aromas of burnt caramel and dark roasted coffee that meld with raisin and vanilla notes in a full-bodied brew where the lager yeast balances a fairly high level of residual sugars. Starting at 6 PM, you’ll find folks from Everwood and Propeller celebrating with pints of the Baltic Porter on special and two special editions on the go as well: one oak cask and one 20L keg that was fermented with Burton on Trent Ale yeast for, we’d imagine, a totally different mouthfeel and body. Swag giveaways and pies available for purchase from Humble Pie complete the package. If you don’t get a chance to attend event but are interested in the beer, it’s already available for growler fills at the brewery and is likely to spring up at a couple other locations around the city.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken another stab at a Lager with their latest beer, Fuzzy Bubbles. This one is an India Pale Lager, a hazy, light-yellow beer that was fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain. Lagered for an additional two weeks at near-freezing temperatures, the beer was then dry-hopped with a “healthy” dose of Citra and Vic Secret. Drinking with “huge tropical fruit, peaches, and cantaloupe” notes, and carbonated higher than normal for TW beers, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. It’s available both in cans and on tap at the brewery today, and should show up at a few tap accounts in the near future.

• The first annual (says Kelly!) Good Robot FemmeBot competition is in the books and the results were announced at a special event at the brewery on Wednesday. An Honorable Mention went to Kelsey Delaney for her “Maybe She’s Born Wit It”, Third Place went to Jill Bernier for her “Bear Cat”, Second was Heather Cameron for “Calm Down Dearest”, and taking first place was Drella Green-Simony with “I Love My Dog”. The winning beer will be brewed on the Sabco system and put on tap at the brewery in the coming months. A hearty congratulations to everyone who entered the competition; some 75% of the registered entrants were first time brewers and hopefully we’ll see more than a few carry on and brew more!

• And in Good Robot beer release news this week are two releases as is their wont. First, on the AlphaBrew system, is an IPA they’re calling All-Inclusive. “Inclusive of what?” you ask? “Inclusive of EVERYTHING!” Like a buffet this 6.8% ABV and 74 IBU brew has a smörgåsbord of flavors, including juicy tropical fruit from Green Bullet, Dr. Rudi, Wakatu, Ella, and Topaz hops, plenty of bitterness, and a slight pepper kick from Grains of Paradise. And on the BetaBrew system, coming out this Tuesday for BetaBrewsday, is a beer that would be very timely if it had anything whatsoever to do with St. Patrick’s day. It’s green. Why’s it green? EVIL GREEN MIST. As generations of wrestlers have taught us, spitting green mist in the eyes of an opponent will cause immediate blindness and absolutely permanent damage to sight, at least until next week’s TV. Green Mist is a super-crushable 4% ABV lager, with just enough bitterness (14 IBU) to be refreshing, and a soupçon of green venom. Or food coloring. One of the two. Enjoy, just don’t mistake it for a St. Patrick’s Day thing!!

There’s lots of Events on the go to tell you about this week!

• Unfortunately, due to an extended power outage in downtown Fredericton, last night’s Down East Tap Takeover (and our Trivia) at the King Street Ale House had to be postponed. The 30+ different beers (most are brand new to the region) are flowing now, and you can head in any time this weekend to have your ticket honoured. As a reminder, that means your first ten 5oz samples of the Nova Scotian and Maine beers are already included.

• And speaking of the FCBF, there are still tickets available for tonight’s Newbie Night, a showcase of a dozen breweries new to the scene. Most of them will not be pouring Saturday night, so if your liver can handle two days of beery fun, we encourage you to check it out! Tickets are available until mid-afternoon.

• For those in NB, be sure to tune your dial to CBC this afternoon, to hear an interview with Josh Mayich of Darlings Island Hop Farm chat with the folks on Shift. Concentrating on his experience as a hop farmer in the Southern NB area, he’ll be sharing stories and what he’s learned in this important side of the beer business.

• Every year in March, Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel brewery celebrates Journée Péché Day at bars in their home province, in the rest of Canada, in the USA, and around the world. This year 50 venues will take part and we’re pleased to report that three of them will be in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House will be serving up the sin on March 24th, with 7 kegs of deep black stain for your soul including the original Péché Mortel Classic Imperial Coffee Stout, Péché Mortel Framboise (with Raspberry), Péché Houblon (with Hops), Péché Termopilas (with a lighter roast coffee), Péché Latté (with lactose, maybe?), and the 2017 and 2018 editions of Péché Mortel Bourbon, which has been aged in Bourbon barrels. With most of these beers tipping the scales at 9% ABV and higher, you can guarantee you won’t escape unmarked. Plan well, and pray for absolution.

A couple more things before we let you go…

– After a short hiatus to refill their kegs, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is back open for your weekend beer fix. Going forward, they’ll be open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4PM-12AM. Drop by today to taste the latest batch of their beery goodies!

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, now has cans available, including their aptly named Nor’easter American Pale Ale, weighing in at 5.0% ABV. Currently only at the brewery, they will be available at local (and further afield) ANBL locations in the coming weeks. And look for their 5.0% Havre St-Pierre Red Ale to be available soon in cans as well.

– Speaking of cans, the Craft Coast made the trip to Lawrencetown, NS, and helped the folks at Lunn’s Mill get their product into tall boys. Lager Driver and Anvil Porter are both available for purchase at the brewery now, for $4.50 (all in). Grab a few when you knock off work today!

– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing Cyd Cerise tomorrow, a version of their Old Foundry Stout, aged on crushed cherries, and in white oak Bourbon barrels.

– Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester, NS has a new beer in their Small Lot Series, where they try out new styles on a smaller batch size. In this case, they’ve opted for Gose, a historic German style beer featuring an acidic kick, low hopping, light salt character, and spicing. For their recipe, they used coriander and sea salt to achieve these flavours, and after souring, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast. Keeping with the refreshing nature of the style, Gose is 4.7% and 5 IBUs. Drop by Tanner this weekend to grab a growler of this and their other offerings.


Welcome to spring! Haha, nice try, winter, we’re onto you. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me eleven times, well…. I’d be a complete moron, is what. Anyway, that concludes the obligatory blurb about the weather. It’s time for beer news!

• Today, Upstreet is releasing the next entry in their Million Acres series of one-offs, Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Salted Lager. This is a very dark brown Lager aged for a year in a Buffalo Trace barrel (Bourbon), and it’s a heckuva strong one at a whopping 10.5% ABV. With flavours of raisin, caramel, toffee, and light vanilla, it finishes with a “smooth, mellowed cocoa bitterness, and balanced bourbon aftertaste”, according to the brewery. You can pick it up in cork-and-cage 750 mL bottle today at the brewery, with a limit of 4 per person (this one was definitely brewed with the intention of aging).

• The folks at Tanner & Co. are mourning the loss (i.e. running out) of their Belgian Tripel in the proper way… by releasing a new beer! American IPA is just that, and built on a grist made up of mostly Maris Otter, along with some Caramel malt to provide some colour, mouthfeel, and sweetness. The brew was hopped in the boil with Citra and Simcoe (to 50 IBUs), and dry-hopped with more Citra to give aromas of “ripe peaches, tropical fruit, and citrus”. Balanced by a firm bitterness in the finish, it comes in at 6.9% ABV and is available now at the brewery for growler fills.

• New Brunswick’s Bogtrotter, located in Rusagonis, is releasing a new beer this week, their first new release in many months. Wonky White is a White IPA, hopped primarily with late additions of El Dorado, giving candy-like, fruity characters in the aroma and flavour, to go with the bitter finish (60 IBUs). Coriander seed was also added during the brew process, to give that classic spice character expected in this cross between a Belgian Witbier and American IPA. It should be on tap shortly at the James Joyce, and will also be available for purchase in 500 mL bottles at several ANBL locations.

Breton Brewing re-released their Valentine’s Day-inspired beer earlier this week, Cocoa Envy. A Robust Porter featuring the addition of chocolate extract sourced from organic cocoa beans, it sports a creamy mouthfeel and “just the right amount” of chocolate flavour to back up the touch of roast and coffee character. At 6.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, this one is available on tap only; you can find it at the brewery right now, and at select accounts by sometime over this weekend. In addition, the brewery will be tapping a special cask of the beer today, which has been sitting on Peruvian cocoa nibs.

• In other Valentine’s Day beer news, YellowBelly released their own, Sheila Na’Geira, a 5.5% ABV American IPA named after an Irish noblewoman involved in “one of the oldest love stories in Newfoundland”. As for the beer, the grist incorporated a small amount of rice as an adjunct, and it was hopped and dry-hopped with a mixture of Topaz, Mosaic, and Citra to give plenty of citrus character on the palate, along with aromas of “berry, citrus, tropical fruits, and dank resin”. It’s still available now on tap, for growler fills, and in bottles.

• Halifax’s Propeller has been working on their Barrel Aged Series, and has finally released the first beer, Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. Taking their crowd-favourite, award-winning RIS and aging it in oak bourbon barrels, the result is a big beer (8.5% ABV) with dark fruit, dark caramel, and roasted malt in the flavour, along with notes of vanilla and bourbon. Bound to have some alcohol warmth going down, it’s a great style to sip on this winter, as well as age and enjoy over time. It’s available in 330 mL bottles right now at the brewery, meaning that it’s not quite so daunting to open one up on your own, maybe even on a weeknight! Look for bottles to be available at all of the private stores by next week, along with the NSLC at the Port.

Good Robot has the usual mix of Alpha and Beta goodness this week. Starting with the BetaBrew to be released this coming Tuesday, Dewey Dudes was brewed by Kelly Costello with local educator Shelby MacGregor. In the Altbier style, it features a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts and Perle and Magnum hops, but cheats just a little bit with a Kölsch yeast. Overall it’s a malty and slightly bitter, but smooth German-style beer weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 31 IBU. Still on the Beta side if you didn’t make it down to GR for last week’s Treat Her Like a Lady from the sisters Costello, fear not, because you didn’t miss it! Owing to a CO2 mishap at the brewery, the beer wasn’t tapped on Tuesday and is being held in reserve for a future event. Over on the Alpha side of the house, Dewolfe of Wall Street is back, but it’s namesake is sallying forth. Jake is moving on from GR, but this 6.2% ABV APA hopped with Cascade and Mount Hood will stand as a testament to his time at the brewery. Look for it at the taproom and GR tap accounts around Halifax.

TrailWay‘s weekly Friday release is the first of what they’re dubbing as an American Fruit Ale. Starblast is brewed to be more fruit-forward with a background hop character, instead of the other way around as exhibited in several of their other beers. Hopped with El Dorado, over 400 lbs of mango, papaya, and kiwi puree were added to the brew, giving plenty of tropical fruit juice characteristics. This 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery today in cans and on tap, and will most likely show up at a few TW tap accounts around the Fredericton area, soon.

Garrison painted the town pink this week with the Valentine’s Day release of their kettle sour Pucker Up in cans. Featuring pomegranate, cranberry, hibiscus and rosehips, we expect you’ll be seeing its bright pink branding around the city for weeks and months to come. To celebrate, they’re holding an online contest to see how you \#PuckerUp. Prizes include a flat of cans, a brewery tour for 10, a 20 L party keg and two tickets to the 2018 Garrison Backlot Bash. The contest runs until 11:59 PM on Monday, February 19th. Full details can be found in this here Instagram post. Also from Garrison this week is the return of their Grand Baltic Porter. The Yin to Russian Imperial Stout’s Yang, the Baltic Porter style is one of the biggest beers, known for its rich malty sweetness paired with dark flavors such as molasses and dried fruit, caramel, and occasional notes of liquorice, all atop a clean lager character. This year’s version has come in nice and heavy, at 9.5% ABV; look for it in 500 mL bottles at the brewery and private stores. Lastly, a mea culpa on our part. Last week we reported that the Garrison Home Brew-off Challenge Gala had been moved to Wednesday, March 28th, when in reality the correct date is Thursday, March 29th. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

• For complicated reasons that have been well-covered by mainstream news sources, it’s been awhile since we’ve brought you any new beer news from Quidi Vidi in St. John’s, but they’ve gone and bought themselves a shiny new 3 BBL (360 L) pilot system and have gone back to their experimental roots! Looks like they already have a few news beers in the pipeline; we don’t have the fine details yet, but can provide you with at least a bit of a tease of what they’ve been releasing. Their first beer released on this new system was their Crab Apple Saison, which featured the addition of 300 kg of locally-picked crab apples to give a bit of tartness to the beer. There are several kegs of this one available so look for it to pop up over the next while. They also brewed up Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bag Belgian (should that be Big BAD Belgian? No idea!). Unfortunately no details at all on those two. 😞We’ll keep bugging them for more on future beers!

We’ve got some updates on beer events over the next few weeks; here’s what’s going on in our region for the next little while:

• Speaking of Quidi Vidi, As part of the Clarenville Wintertainment festivities up the road from St. John’s in Clarenville, NL, White Hills Resort will be hosting Brewtine this Saturday night, February 17th from 7 PM to 10 PM. There you’ll find six different poutine variants, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Dinner, Chicken & Waffles, Pulled Port, Port & Meat Pie, and Donut, each paired with a 5 oz craft beer from Quidi Vidi or Port Rexton Brewing. Live music will be provided by 3 Shades of Grey, and there will be a shuttle service from the event centre picking up at 6 PM and returning after the event. Tickets are $59 + fees & taxes and can be purchased online.

• And also going down on the Rock this Saturday night, but on the west side of the island, Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. is hosting a Craft Beer Tasting from 9 PM to 12 AM as part of Corner Brook Winter Carnival. Although Crooked Feeder aren’t quite ready themselves, with renos and permitting still in process, they’re going to get people together at Swirsky’s to talk and taste beers from Bootleg Brew Co., Yellowbelly Brewery and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Live music will be provided by GIRLS. Only 100 tickets are available for this event, so act quickly if you’re interested; $20 gets you 4 6 oz samples, with additional glasses available for $5 cash. To get tickets you can message Crooked Feeder on Facebook, or visit Country Road Convenience, Empire Atlantic, Village Music Inc. or Newfound Sushi.

• One last reminder on the live Tasting Episode scheduled by the 902BrewCast this Monday, February 19th, at Garrison Brewing. The panel will include women involved in the NS beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of… you! Just show up (it all starts at 6 pm), with no tickets needed. The taps will be flowing, so feel free to have a beer or two! If you’re not able to attend, look for the episode to be available online later in the week.

• Have you been thinking to yourself lately that it’s been a while since those layabouts at Stillwell have done anything to make you sit up and take notice? Well it’s that time again: if you’re into American Farmhouse Ales, especially ones that are all-Brett fermented, sour, blended, aged in wood, and/or fruited, you might want to block off next Saturday, February 24th from Noon until you can drag yourself away – Denver, Colorado’s Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will be in full effect, featured on all 12 taps and with bottles besides. And, as always, special snacks dreamt up specifically for the event will be wending their way out of the kitchen. Do you appreciate brewing artistry? This is where to find it. Look for the complete tap list (and perhaps bottle list as well) to be posted on social media this week.

• For the warm weather lovers amongst us who are already looking forward to summer, the annual Savour Food & Wine Craft Beer Cottage Party is just around the corner. This year they’ve got an impressive 35 participating craft breweries and cideries from around the province and a few from beyond our borders. The event is now two weeks away, on March 3rd, from 7 to 9:30 PM at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Beer-friendly food will be available for purchase from Shwarma Stop and Bramoso Pizza, a live band will be playing up on the mezzanine, and you’ll find some classic games around the place. Tickets are $65 + taxes and include all your beer samples. So grab your favourite plaid, comb your beard, and get ready for a good time with beers and ciders from: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s NS Brewery, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar, Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Elderkin Cider Co., Firkenstein, Garrison Brewing Co., Good Robot Brewing Co., Granite Brewery, Hell Bay Brewing Co., Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, Meander River Farm and Brewery, Granville/Creemore, Nine Locks Brewery, North Brewing, Picaroons, Propeller Brewing Co., Pump House Brewery, Roof Hound Brewing, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipbuilders Cider, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Tidehouse, Trider’s Craft Beer, Uncle Leo’s, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s Ales.

That’s about it for this week! Nice to see things slow down just a touch (for our sakes, anyway). Couple more things before we let you leave to enjoy your long weekend…

Niche Brewing has just re-released the first beer of theirs that hit taps in late December, Single Origin (5% ABV), a Coffee Sweet Stout). Look for it at the James Joyce and other tap accounts in the near future. They’re also sending a keg of their Hibiscus Sour Ale, Ruby Tuesday, to Stillwell today, to go on tap sometime soon.
– As we hinted a couple times over the past month, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has a new tap account, Freeman’s on Quinpool where they’re currently serving up the Saturday Night Fever IPA. Meanwhile Keith is already looking forward to St Patrick’s Day, with an apropos brew already in the fermenter.

Welcome to another weekend! Maybe it’s just us, but this weekend seems well-deserved, even more than normal. So cozy up to your nice, warm computer screen (phones don’t throw off enough heat), and get caught up on all the goings-on with craft beer in Atlantic Canada this week… and there’s quite a bit of it.

• Well, you lot on the West Coast of Newfoundland are a thirsty bunch! Launching their brewery and taproom in Corner Brook last Friday, the crew at Bootleg Brew Co were overwhelmed with patrons, nearly drinking them dry! Good news for everyone is that they will be open again this weekend, with hours 4PM til late today, Saturday, and Sunday. Returning on tap are their El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye, Hoppy Roger IPA, Just the Tip Spruce Ale, beside new beer El Ray and Friends American IPA. The beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 48 IBUs, but that only tells part of the story. Millennium hops were used as bittering in the boil, with Hopzoil from Glacier Hops Ranch in Montana used post-fermentation. This product is the concentrated essential oils, steam-extracted from freshly-harvested El DoradoPekko, and Azacca hops. This preserves all of the aroma and flavour, with no bitterness from the alpha acids. The hops used in the beer tell the story of the name. From the brewery: “El Rey Dorado (the Golden King), was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (Zipa) of the Muisca native people of Colombia. Pekko is named for the Finnish God of Field and Crops. Azacca is named for the Haitian god of agriculture. In turn, once a millennium El Rey and his friends Pekko and Azacca get together and have a party and drink this beer. A gift from the Gods.” The only spot to grab a sample or pint of Bootleg is at the tasting room, so be sure to drop by this weekend for a spell.

• Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a new, experimental beer available now that was many months in the making. Spring Session Wheat is a 5.1% ABV beer that started off as a pretty standard brew with a grist of 2-row, Maris Otter, and Wheat malt, hopped with Nugget, Cluster, and Cascade. It was fermented with their house ale yeast and dry-hopped generously with El Dorado, before moving on to secondary. Some “infecting organisms” were added at this point, with the goal to develop notes of funk (but not in a dominating way), which took some time. Success eventually occurred, with the characteristics of the El Dorado developing into a “deep berry character”, according to the brewery. It’s available now at the brewpub for pints and growler fills. There’s another experimental beer underway right now as well; look for that one to debut sometime this coming summer.

• Newly-opened Four Rivers Brewing, out of Bathurst, NB, released their latest beer yesterday – Rockbolter is a Black IPA with plenty of “coffee, dark chocolate, and toffee”, to go with the hop aromas and flavours. The 6.5% ABV beer clocks in at 40 IBU, thanks to lots of Cascade and Mosaic, offering a citrus and tropical aroma to complement the roast and other dark malt character. It is available on tap for pints and growler fills now, and joins their other beers, including Havre St-Pierre, now also available for growler fills (previously only available in flights).

Propeller‘s latest entry in their Hop Collection series, Skyrocket Double IPA, is now available. This one was hopped with a new American variety, Skyrocket, a relative of the classic Chinook. Giving “complex fruit aromas, but without the piney resin commonly seen in Chinook”, it has a full body and provides a bit of alcohol warmth at 8% ABV, and with 100+ calculated IBUs, a bitter finish. It’s available now at the taproom for pints, and at both Propeller locations for growler fills. And don’t forget to drop by their Gottingen Street taproom after work this afternoon for their latest Cask, this week featuring their Cascade Pale Ale, dry-hopped in the firkin with Citra and an addition of sweet orange peel.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released a new single-hopped American IPA, Bravo! Featuring the often-underappreciated Bravo, Boxing Rock used “advanced hopping techniques” throughout the entire brewing process, include a quadruple dry-hop approach with the high-alpha acid variety. The result is a 6% ABV beer with a clean bitterness and “floral, evergreen and fruity aromas”. Available now at the brewery and market stalls in 650 mL bottles and 1 L growler fills.

• Speaking of Boxing Rock, they’ll be showcasing their annual Many Hands Pale Ale, brewed in time for International Gruit Day on February 1st. This year’s batch is brewed with bayberry leaves and berries, sweet fern, and bog myrtle, instead of hops (Gruit is a centuries-old style of beer brewed with a mixture of herbs and spices to give balancing bitterness). Also celebrating IGD is Sober Island Brewing, who are showcasing their Juniper IPA, brewed with almost three kilograms of locally-foraged juniper berries, added in the boil and during conditioning. Look for plenty of posts and maybe some giveaways on their social media, as well as Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill, ON. With nearly sixty breweries taking part across the world, it should be a fun time for checking out this close cousin to beer (or maybe grandparent, as it *does* pre-date it)!

• Next Friday marks the launch of the inaugural South Shore Lobster Crawl, with restaurants, retailers, art galleries, and even breweries getting in on the crustacean action. First up, Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool brewed up South Shorer Ale, named after the boat that supplied the lobster. A hybrid of a Pale Ale and Belgian Blonde, whole lobsters was added at the beginning of the boil, were removed after it was cooked, with the empty shells returned to the boil after removing and enjoying the meat. Featuring characteristics of biscuit malts and citrusy hops, it’s a Lobster Roll experience but in a 5.0% ABV liquid format! While it debuts on the 2nd, there will be a launch party February 8th from 7PM at the Sipuke’l Gallery in Liverpool, Lobster Tales and ARTifacts. In addition to the brewery, look for kegs of the beer at a few of the Lobster Crawl participants, and White Point Beach Resort, Grand Banker, and a few spots in HRM as well.

• The second brewery taking part in the Lobster Crawl is Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, serving up Crustacean Elation beginning next Friday. This 5.5% ABV straw-coloured ale features a base of Pilsner malt and Flaked Wheat, lightly hopped with Hallertau and Huell Melon. Whole lobsters were added during the mashing process, removed and eaten, with the shells kept and roasted, and added back during the boil. The finished product will be light and refreshing, with “a finish that tastes just a bit like the sea”, according to the brewery. The South Shore Lobster Crawl is on from Feb 2 to 19, with events taking place at more than fifty spots in the region, so be sure to check their website for the full event listing.

• Saltbox also has a pair of new beers available now that are worth checking out. During their Robbie Burns event yesterday, they released Storm Surge Maritime Ale. This was a collaboration brew, with Kirk Annand joining brewer Jeremy Fehr in the brewhouse. Annand has decades of brewing and brewery consultation experience, and together with Fehr, that amounts to more than 50 years of collective knowledge. Featuring a base of English malts (including some Caramel for colour), with North American Cascade and German Mandarina Bavaria hops, the beer highlights the influences of these cultures and regions on the people of the South Shore. The resultant beer features a light spicy character, with hints of orange, on a toasted toffee base. The 5.4% ABV beer is available now at their taproom. Also available is Whiskey Jack, a barrel-aged version of their Jeezus Murphy Irish Red, which was aged in White Oak Whiskey barrels, finishing at 8.0% ABV.

• Earlier this week, Niche Brewing sent out kegs of their latest brew, Orange Creamsicle IPA. This brew is a Milkshake IPA, brewed with a good portion of Malted Oats in the mash, and hopped with Citra and El Dorado in the boil. Lactose powder was also added in the boil to boost the mouthfeel and give a bit of residual sweetness. Fermented with London Ale III, the beer was dry-hopped with more Citra and El Dorado, as well as some Equinox, to give notes of orange and tropical fruit. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was conditioned on fresh orange zest and real vanilla bean, before being packaged. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 55 IBUs, and should be available now/soon at the James Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and The Palate in Fredericton, at Cask and Kettle and Pepper’s in Saint John, and Marky’s Laundromat in Moncton. And for the first time outside of NB, drop by Halifax’s Stillwell today for pours of their Mines of Wallonia Grisette, and Something Different Brett Table Beer.

• Today’s TrailWay release is their latest Double IPA, Lampin. Hopped entirely with Cascade from local Bloomsfield Hops Farm out of Lindsay, NB, the brewery is describing it as having a “slightly sweet front, with a soft citrus/floral finish”. Coming in at 8% ABV, the beer nevertheless goes down smooth, as is pretty standard for TW’s hoppy offerings, due to low IBUs thanks to late hop additions (with much of it going in the dry-hop). You can find it in cans and on tap at the brewery today from noon on.

• We have the info on the latest entry in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Co. Crabapple & Tangerine is an unfiltered, sparkling cider made from hand-picked local crabapples. Pressed for their juices and fermented dry, it was then finished off with fresh apple juice, perry, and a “touch” of tangerine juice and zest. The resulting cider is “refreshingly tart, with notes of tangerine and sharp apple”. You can pick up your refills of this 5% ABV one-off at the cidery today; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Kings Point-to-Point Transit.

• Today’s Good Robot update is brought to you by the return of Burban Legend… specifically, version 2.0 of the brewery’s popular 5.9% ABV American Pale Ale, hopped with Cascade, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight, Citra, and Centennial. Meanwhile, Kinsman’s Ale – a new Beta Brew – is being released next Tuesday. Named for guest brewer John Kinsman, a local homebrewer, and billed by the brewery as an English Porter, maple syrup and honey malt were added to encourage a bountiful body, and it was hopped with several additions of Fuggles to 35 IBUs. A very sessionable 4% ABV, look for it on tap at the brewery for Beta Brewsday next Tuesday, January 30.

Garrison‘s seasonal Chocolate Imperial Stout, Wintervention, was re-launched late last week in Nova Scotia. A big beer at 10.5% ABV, it’s brewed with Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with some Munich and Chocolate malt, and hopped with Millennium to 60 IBUs. A dark beer with a tan-coloured head, it has “rich, bittersweet chocolate aromatics with dark dried fruit and vanilla underneath”, and flavours of chocolate and molasses. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and some private stores in the HRM, it will also be hitting provincial stores in NB and Newfoundland in the near future.

• Lower Sackville’s Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to pump out the beer and it continues to be snapped up by the local market. For starters, their Disco Inferno Red IPA is back, it’s 5.9% ABV with citrus and floral notes and a clean chocolate caramel finish. Also making a return is their Saturday Night Fever IPA, but with a slightly modified recipe, with malty melanoidin malt replacing crystal for body and sweetness and a dry hop of both Centennial and Amarillo. The result is a light-colored 6% ABV beer with a juicy grapefruit and floral character and a touch of bitterness. And coming soon (just going into the brite tank this weekend) is the Sackvegas Sour. With a grist of wheat, acid malt and Bohemian Pilsner malts, it was soured with a mix of acid and 2-row malts for 28 hours before the boil where it was hopped with a small amount of Columbus for roughly 5 IBU. The batch, which came in at a little less than 1 BBL, was fermented on 26.5 lbs of whole raspberries. Once it’s ready look for kegs of this one to appear at Good Robot in Halifax, in Fredericton, and likely at another tap account. Speaking of tap accounts, they’re still working on lining up another one in Halifax as we hinted about a few weeks ago; we’ll let you know where it is as soon as it’s official!

• On the South Shore of NS, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co has a new entry in their Small Lot Series available now, this one a Porter. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it offers a bitterness that’s balanced by a sweeter malt profile. Featuring “loads” of roasted dark malt character combined with notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel, you’ll find it at the brewery for both growler and grunter fills. And do check out their website, that’s now been updated with profiles of all their beers as well as current availability information.

• On the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Antigonish’s Half Cocked has announced that they’ll be taking part in the Antigonish Winter Market that’s happening every Saturday from tomorrow, January 27th, through to April 28th, from 10 AM – 2 PM, at the former National Philatelic Centre (say that three times fast!) building on St. Ninian Street beside the St. FX Campus. They’ll be bringing pre-filled growlers and grunters so those arriving with a clean and empty Half Cocked vessel can simply pay for beer and be on their way. They’re also hoping to be able to provide small samples. Availability will vary, of course, but plans are to have the full lineup available as often as possible, including Pete’s Sake, XPA, Cock of the Walk, Darkest One and Bury’d Son. This is a great chance for folks to pick up Half Cocked beer in town instead of having to drive all the way out to the farm. Stay tuned for news of new Half Cocked offerings, likely to soon include a new IPA and possibly a Valentine’s Day beer in the hoppy Irish Red vein!

• Have you ever found yourself wondering whether that beer you’re eyeing in the cooler at the NSLC or another purveyor of fine local malted beverages is at it’s best, freshness-wise? We certainly have. And unfortunately, while some breweries make it explicit with stamped-on dates, some use codes that aren’t easily deciphered to indicate when a batch was packaged. Enter local beer fan Duncan Fergus. When he’s not nailing barleywines with the 902BrewCast boys (and throwing potentially ill-advised shout-outs to his mother-in-law), Duncan is doing his best to crack the codes to help us all stay on the fresh side and avoid the dreaded shelf turds. Check out his web site at Fresh 2 Death – Atlantic Canada Beer Dating Codes. And if you see the man out and about, consider buying him a beer; this is public service he’s doing.

• Some unfortunate news came out of Hortonville, NS, this week, as it was revealed on Sunday that Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Co had suffered a break-in following a very successful Songs and Suds of the Valley event. The premises and some vehicles that had been left overnight were damaged and a significant amount of cash was stolen. It seems pretty obvious that this was a targeted attack by the perpetrators looking to take advantage of the revenue earned through hard work the night before. It’s a pretty sad day when a local business, who is helping to stimulate the economy not only in its own community, but indeed the province and the rest of the Maritimes, has to deal with a setback like this thanks to petty criminals. Horton Ridge is looking for any information that anyone might have and are promising confidentiality and drinkable rewards for any information that helps track down whoever was responsible; we hope that they are successful in this endeavour.

Lots going on this weekend and next, so mark your calendars!

• A reminder to brew up your beer for Good Robot’s FemmeBot Home Brew Competiton! While the beer is not due until March 1, they ask that you register online by February 1. Open to all female and femme-identified amateur brewers, with the style being “Pre-prohibition”. A wide variety there, so check out the BJCP Style Guidelines, and check the History section for some inspiration! And while we’re talking Good Robot, today is Aussie Day at their taproom, with Australian-themed music, food, Football on the big screen.

• If you’ve been missing the fun Kitchen Party events at Quidi Vidi each Friday in the warmer months, you’re in luck! They will be holding a very special one today, marking the end of an era. After this weekend, they will be completely redesigning the retail and hospitality room space, in order to build a full time taproom, with 16 taps. There will also be changes coming to their beer lineup, so drop by today at 5PM for hints of what’s to come!

• In Halifax this evening at 6 PM, Taste of Nova Scotia is hosting their annual celebration of local aquaculture with Sip ’n Shuck, this year hosted on the 8th floor of the Delta Halifax and sporting a wide selection of local fare, in both edibles and potable and potable categories. In addition to oysters from at least seven producers, you’ll find various other seafoods, including quahogs, soft shell clams, scallops, striped bass, salmon, trout, seaweed, mussels, halibut, and eel. And from the beverage industry Nova Scotia distillers and winemakers will be pouring along with Bulwark and Annapolis Cider Co bringing apple-y goodness and Boxing Rock, Saltbox, and Garrison ensuring that our province’s beer industry is well-represented. As of this writing, tickets are still available ($65 + fees and taxes), so if fruits de mer and fine drinkables are your jam and your Friday night is as yet unbooked, maybe give a thought to heading down and sampling some the best our Province has to offer.

• Don’t forget to drop by 2 Crows this weekend to help them celebrate their First Anniversary. We already described the 5 (five!!) new beers that they are releasing in cans tomorrow in last week’s post, which will be pouring from opening Saturday at noon. There will be bar snacks and giveaways for those who drop by. On Sunday (also from noon), they are filling the board with 11 small batch beers (and cold brew coffee from Low Point), available on tap only due to availability. The list is too long to enumerate here, but trust us, you’ll want to drop by! And for those looking for a teaser of what’s to come, drop by Harvest Wines, RockHead, and/or WestSide from 5-7PM to chat with the 2 Crows Crew, grab some merch, and receive an entry for  giftcard with each growler fill.

Acadie-Broue will soon be releasing Mi-Carême, a Doppelbock, and celebrating with a Beer Launch at Moncton’s 2nd Floor at Dolma Food on Thursday, February 1st from 4:30-7:30. They’ll be opening up the rooftop and firing up their grills, shucking oysters, and making smores… what better way to celebrate the release of a brown, malty, rich, strong German Lager? The 7.5% ABV will be available in limited quantities, so make sure to drop by to give it a try and join in the fun. For those wondering (like us) what Mi-Carême means, it is an Acadian traditional day of celebration mid-way through Lent, where revelers would dress in costumes and disguises, and travel from door to door, visiting friends and family, and having their identities guessed. We’ll toast to that!

PEI Brewing Co. is bringing back their popular Transmitter Coffee Stout – this time in cans! – and is celebrating with a Launch Party on Friday, February 2nd. Held at the Receiver Brass Shop Breadworks and Roastery (only fitting since coffee roasted at Receiver is used in the brew), Transmitter will be pouring on tap, alongside special menu items from Receiver, and live music. You’ll be able to buy cans of the beer at PEIBC and Gahan locations on February 5th; it’ll hit PEILCC stores shortly after.

Niche Brewing launched four weeks ago, but due to the craziness of the holiday season and getting things running, didn’t immediately have a chance to really celebrate. Now that things have calmed down a bit, they’re inviting you to join them for their Launch Party on Saturday, February 10th at the James Joyce in Fredericton. From 7 pm on, four of their beers will be pouring (Single Origin, Something Different, Orange Creamsicle IPA, and a currently-not-released NEIPA, Apt Pupil), and all will be on for Happy Hour prices. Both Rob and Shawn will be there, eager to talk beer, and will also have some merch (glasses, shirts, and toques) available for sale.

• A reminder that entries are now open for the Canadian Brewing Awards, taking place in Halifax May 24-26. Sign up for the competition closes March 9th, with the beers due in Mississauga from March 12-23. And for those brewery folk who will be attending the conference, 3 day conference passes are now available, at Early Bird pricing until April 9. The conference features talks from industry folk around the country (and often the We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

And a few more quick mentions afore ye go:

– Digby’s Roof Hound had a rousingly successful Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night, with 15 beers, some special cocktails, and plenty of great food served. Of note were a few one-off beer iterations, that we’ve been told may be available at other spots again soon (or maybe even still on at Battery Park if you head there for lunch!): Pink SIPA is a Pink Lemonade/Session IPA blend, weighing in at 4.5% ABV; Oat of Thyme is a lend of their Thyme to Grow a Pear and Oat Of My Mind IPA, their take on the dry-hopped sour theme; and Kentucky Devil, a variation on their Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spice Latte Strong Porter aged on Bourbon-soaked oak chips.
– And finally, Nyanza’s Big Spruce has a couple of twists for us this week, first an Experimental Gose (3.8% ABV and 15 IBU) with sea salt and Indian coriander that was surplus beer that wouldn’t fit in their tequila barrels when they brewed their collaboration with Merit Brewing of Hamilton (look for that version in the coming weeks). And second, a version of their Whole Nine Yards Scotch Ale with an infusion of whisky; this one came in at 6.3% ABV and 25 IBU. And already preparing for next Christmas, Jeremy and the gang had local violinist extraordinaire (and burgeoning brewer, apparently) Donald MacLennan in the brewhouse last week helping put together an Imperial Barrel Aged English Fruitcake Stout that will be conditioned on brandy-spiked organic plums and aged in Glenora whiskey barrels until next December!

Good morning, everyone! Hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to recover from yesterday’s storm (or at least have made a good amount of progress). There’s been a bit of a lull in beer news as the holidays have finally been winding down, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t some reading to get done, so sit back and take a break from your snowblower/shovel, and let’s get right to it!

PEI Brewing Co. has a new beer out this week, and don’t feel sad if it makes you think of warmer, and less-snowy, locales. Snowbird Juicy IPA is a 6% ABV New England IPA, made up of a simple grist of Pale Ale malt and Malted Oats (to help ensure that expected cloudiness). The high majority of the hop additions were in the whirlpool and dry hop, including both El Dorado and Ella varieties. The calculated IBUs come in at around 40, meaning this beer is more about hop flavour and aroma that it is about bitterness (true to the NEIPA style). Fermented with Escarpment‘s Vermont Ale strain to boost the juiciness even more, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at all Gahan House locations, select licensees, and at the NB growler program this weekend (while supplies last). There’s a good chance this one will also be released in cans in the spring, when it finally arrives in the Maritimes in approximately 4.5 years.

• Sharp-eyed fans of the offerings from Horton Ridge may have noticed that to this point there’s been a limit to how dark their products have been, both in terms of their malt and beer offerings. Because their kiln is hot water-based, there is a limit to how dark they can go (and truly “roasted” malts are out of the question). And given that their in-house policy says that all beers on tap and available for growler fills must be 100% Horton Ridge malt-based, that has thus far prevented them from exploring certain styles. In a noble effort to broaden their brewery’s offerings without violating their own ethos, they’ve taken the step of allowing themselves to brew a beer with non-Horton malts, but in keeping with their policy, it will bypass the taps and go straight into bottles. Thus, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is born. It’s still 90% Horton Ridge malt (2-row, oats and CaraHorton), but the other 10% is chocolate malt and roasted barley from other sources to give it a deep roasted character and typical deep brown-black color. Hopped with Fuggles and Perle, it also got a dose of cacao nibs in the fermenter to enhance the chocolate flavour. This beer is available in 650 mL bottles at the tap room and also at the Wolfville Farmers Market, the first time Horton Ridge beer has been available outside the brewery premises! We’re told that there will be some more entries in the bottle series over the course of the coming year, and that the brewery is planning to be at market from January to May. And in other good news, with Horton Ridge using more malting barley, the growers in the region have stepped up their production, and the maltster has secured enough locally-grown malt to last well into the year. Look for more truly Nova Scotian Grain to Glass beers in the coming months, thanks to this symbiotic relationship.

• Fredericton hop hawkers Trailway Brewing have yet another juicy hop bomb ready for consumption today, this one cleverly dubbed Hopical Trop. Featuring heavy doses of ultrafresh citrusy Citra and tropical Mosaic hops, it was conditioned on over 100 lbs of peach purée (note to Jeremy @2 Crows: peach purée is a thing that you can buy). Described as “straight up fruit juice,” it’s an 8% ABV double IPA that’s still soft and drinkable, with massive aroma and flavour. Quantities are limited, you’ll find it at the brewery as of noon today in cans and also available for pints and growler fills.

• Amid the blowing wind and rain yesterday, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing released the latest in their informal Milkshake series. What began with Liquid James Brown in January 2017, it continued with For Peach’s Sake in August, followed up by Jackpot Apricot in September. Chamba features an addition of tart cherries during the conditioning process, lending fruit character to the 6.4% ABV, 50 IBU IPA. It is available at the Sprucetique for samples and growler fills now, and will be flowing at your favourite beer bar and restaurant soon (if not, be sure to ask for it!).

• Some happy news for beer fans on the Rock, as Port Rexton Brewing has re-opened their Retail Shop in St. John’s! They’re planning to restock every week and be open every Friday from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM at 286 Torbay Road in Corker’s Meadow Plaza. Terms are “first come, first served” until they run out each weekend. Look for cans, growler fills, and branded merchandise as well. Definitely keep your eyes on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to find out what’s on offer each week, especially for growler fills!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is following up last week’s release of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout with the release of an entirely different sort this weekend. Born out of the common practice of rewarding (or at the very least, allowing) workers in Belgium with beer breaks during and after a long workday, Grisette was the drink of choice for miners in the Wallonia region of the country. A sibling to the Saison style, the low-alcohol Grisette feature malted Wheat, was fermented with Saison yeast, and often late-hopped; perfect for refreshing the dust-covered palate, but still providing plenty of aroma and flavour in a small package. Mines of Wallonia is Niche’s ode to the style, a 3.6% hoppy Grisette featuring a grist of Wheat, Oats, and Spelt, and fermented with a French Saison yeast. Deviating slightly from the Noble hop varietals of yesteryear, in favour of Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin (no complaints here!), Wallonia was late-hopped in the boil and further dry-hopped during conditioning to offer tropical and wine-like aromatics and flavours to complement the light spicy phenolics from the yeast. Not yet on tap as of publishing, we expect to see it hit the taps in Fredericton and beyond over the weekend/early next week. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the announcements. And if you run, don’t walk (maybe don’t drive, either!), you may be able to catch the last few drops of Single Origin at 540 Kitchen, James Joyce, and the King Street Ale House.

• Halifax’s Good Robot doesn’t have anything on the Alpha system for us this week, although you might scope their social media for hints about their plans for big brews in the coming months. Meanwhile, Kelly Costello continues to helm the BetaBrew program, bringing diverse brewers into the fold to make interesting beers. This week’s Beta Brewsday release will be a wheat ale with a touch of rye and featuring every child’s favourite pigmentally-challenged starch, parsnip. Pale golden in color, sporting an ABV of 4.2% and a very moderate 19 IBU, Arsenip was hopped with Sorachi Ace and fermented with the Pin Cherry yeast from Big Spruce for a hefeweizen-esque feel. Brewed with East Coast violin savant Donald Maclennan, the careful taster will note a progression of yeast and hop flavors before being rewarded with spicy elements from the rye and parsnips. Available this Tuesday at the GR taproom for pints and, depending, possibly growler fills.

• Tickets for the 5th Annual Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration are just about gone, so if you haven’t yet grabbed yours for the all-inclusive beer and food event from 16 Nova Scotian breweries and 17 food producers, now is the absolutely last time to do so. January 18 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront will be the launch party for many new beers from the provinces producers, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge (a beer featuring a strain of yeast harvested and isolated from a tree on their farm), and a brand new beer from Tatamagouche (with local homebrewer 1029Brewing and our own acbbchris). Don’t miss out on the fun, grab your tickets now!

Just a few more things to get you going this weekend:

– In case your podcast software didn’t grab it automagically already, be sure to head over to the 902 BrewCast site and grab their first episode of 2018. Kicking off a month focusing on New Brunswick breweries, they sat down with Paul Maybee of Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing, learning about his introduction to beer, his history as a homebrewer, and plans for the future.

– Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has mixed feelings about announcing that you drank them dry! Keep an eye on their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the word when they are stocked with product again.

Propeller in Halifax is resuming their Friday Cask Nights at their Gottingen Street location again, this week featuring their Russian Imperial Stout aged on American oak from 5 PM.

Unfiltered on North St. has a fresh batch of DOA available in all its Citra-laden glory. Available for fills and pints today from noon. And if you’re looking to get your hands on some cans, as of opening they’ve still got some Exile on North Street and Hoppy Fingers available.

Good afternoon, Atlantic Canada beer lovers! Now that Christmas is just about here (yes, you can officially start to panic now), we thought we should work hard to ignore our pre-Christmas responsibilities and publish another Friday Wrap-Up, to distract you from your shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. Hey, it’s just the kind of guys we are!

Tatamagouche Brewing has a beauty of a beer available as of yesterday, an “American Brett Ale” named Feronia. Comprised of a fairly-simple grist of mainly 2-row, with some Wheat malt and Spelt, and a touch of Acid malt, it was lightly hopped to 20 IBUs with Huell Melon. Fermented with a blend of three Brettanomyces strains to “really drive the dark/red fruits, as well as some classic funk”, the beer was aged in secondary on plums before being bottle-conditioned for six months. Available now at the brewery in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles, as well as on tap, those of you in the HRM can expect a small amount of bottles to also be available at the private stores. A few kegs will likely make their way to better beer establishments in Halifax sometime next week.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar has announced their very first bottle release, which will be taking place today at 5 pm. Named simply Barrel Aged Sour, the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then aged for three months in a Napa Valley Pinot Noir French oak barrel. After this, it was racked on top of 30 lbs of New Brunswick-grown raspberries, fermented with Brettanomyces, and bottle-conditioned. Only 200 bottles were packaged, and 100 of these will be sold today at the Bottle Release Party from 5-7 pm, depending on how quickly they sell. We’ll keep you updated on when the remaining 100 bottles are sold… if they are at all!

• Let’s stay in Moncton, shall we? Bore City released their first hoppy beer in some time last week, and judging from some early buzz, it’s a good one! Causeway is a 6.5% ABV, ~40 IBUs American IPA that features large amounts of late addition hops – Mosaic and Vic Secret – as well as plenty of both in the dry-hop. Complemented nicely by a malt bill that includes Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley, as well as some Vienna and Honey malt, expect a huge floral, fruity, and citrusy aroma, followed by equally as much in the flavour. It’s circulating among their regular tap accounts, but it’s going fast. But don’t worry! They plan on making this a regular addition to their line-up, so more will be brewed in the near future.

• After launching their brewery last month with their first two core beers, Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has just released their first seasonal. Nostalgically named Charlie Brown Ale (nostalgic for us, anyway!), it’s a Brown Ale brewed along the English-style lines, showcasing a “rich malty aroma, and smooth chocolate and nutty qualities”. As a good English-style beer should be, it’s quite drinkable at just 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, and is meant to be enjoyed in quantity during these colder evenings (and afternoons). You can find it on tap at the brewery in Montague, and at CB tap accounts across the Island.

• Elsewhere on the Island, Upstreet is launching the first in yet another new series of one-off beers. The Flipside Series was created to introduce “fresh new flavours,  ingredients, and beer styles” to consumers, with all beers in this series being packed in the standard 500 mL Upstreet bottles. Their first stab in this series is Amber Saison, a Belgian-inspired beer that provides a “dry finish with a subtle vinous character”. With PEI Vienna malt in the grist, and UK Archer and French Triskel hops to just 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison was fermented with a Belgian yeast to give the required phenolics and esters in the style. Grab your bottles today at the brewery or PEILCC stores.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing Malibu, their first dark-coloured beer in months. An Imperial Milk Stout, it was brewed to be “extremely chocolate-forward” before being conditioned on hefty amounts of toasted coconut and pure vanilla extract. With some lactose powder added to increase sweetness and mouthfeel, the resulting beer is “like drinking a liquid macaroon”, with lots of coconut and chocolate notes, as well as a complementary background of vanilla. Coming in at a whopping 9% ABV, you’ll want to take it easy with this one. As always with their one-offs, you can grab it in cans at the brewery only; it will also be on tap there and at select accounts in Fredericton.

• Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is helping residents stay warm with the release of their Steamship Belgian Quad this weekend. A full-bodied, 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it’s “malty and slightly sweet, with notes of raisin, cherries, plums and prunes”. The Belgian yeast strain was responsible for the fruity esters and spicy phenolics in the beer, and the high ABV provides a slight alcohol warmth on the way to your eager stomach… perfect for winter (yes, it’s not officially here yet, but who cares about the exact date). Look for this new brew at the brewery this weekend for growler fills.

Annapolis Cider Company is bringing back Muscat Infusion, one of their popular ciders in their Something Different series. Originally released last March, it’s being sold in a convenient size for crowd sharing… Magnums! A 7.1% ABV sparkling cider infused with Nova Scotia Muscat grapes (which were added during fermentation to extract colour, tannins, and aroma), it was finished with a “touch” of fresh-pressed apple juice. Rose-coloured, with “distinct tropical and floral notes”, the 1.5 L bottles are available at the cidery for a very limited time.

• Further into the valley in Lawrencetown, Lunn’s Mill has a treat for its fans around the region: they are testing out a new package to get their beer to you, cans! Available now is a very limited run of 12-packs for the holidays featuring 10 different beers, available now at the brewery. This is an awesome opportunity for one of Nova Scotia’s most local breweries to see some of their beer travelling beyond the Valley and the Province for others to enjoy. As of publishing, they are down to their last dozen cases, so don’t delay in grabbing yours today! And due to its popularity, we can guarantee that they’ll be releasing more canned product in the near future.

• The fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax have a couple things on the go for us to share. Earlier this week saw another batch go on tap from their brewery assistant Nick Ogden, this one an Imperial Witbier called Wite Nite. Taking a lighter style known for easy summer drinking and pumping it up to 8.7% ABV for a December release takes something. And while we’re not exactly sure what that something is, we’re positive that Nick has it. Keg conditioned, it features aromas of sweet orange and grapefruit with some hints of pineapple. The palate sees citrus and apricot with a wine-like character lending an “overall lusciousness”. This one is available only by the glass in the tasting room.

• And this coming Wednesday will see the last canned release of 2017 for 2 Crows (how many were there? LOTS) with the arrival of Never Again. Named for brewmaster Jeremy Taylor’s feelings after he boldly purchased 400 pounds of peaches at a really good price before pitting them and then jamming them into one of his Calvados foedres, this is a Brett Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBU. Fermented on the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains, it started with a grist of malted barley, spelt, oats (surprise!) and wheat, to which Belma and Simcoe hops were added in the boil. After it came out of the wood, it was dry-hopped with Citra, Hallertauer Blanc and Huell Melon before being keg conditioned with Champagne yeast. Rife with oaky tannins, funk, and peach character, it still manages to be delicate. Look for it at the brewery next week and then, very possibly, at finer private liquor stores in Halifax.

Good Robot has another new Alpha Brew hitting taps next Thursday, Yas Queen Chocolate Porter. Brewed with a hefty grist of Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Flaked Barley, Coffee malt, Vienna, and Chocolate malt, the beer had several additional ingredients thrown in, including dark cocoa powder in the mash, lactose, carob powder and ground cacao nibs in the boil, and chocolate extract into the brite tank before packaging. Hopped with Belma to 25 IBUs, it weighs in at 6.1% ABV. In terms of tasting notes, we’re going to go out on a limb and say notes of…. chocolate? And next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Make My Day IPA, a “light, super fruity” beer bittered with Magnum, and hopped with Dr. Rudi and Zythos late in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Zythos and some Mosaic. Fermented with the East Coast Ale yeast strain, it comes in at a very reasonable 4.5% ABV and 44 IBUs.

• There’s a new beer in the fermentor at Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, a brand new, currently unnamed American IPA. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, Crystal 30 L, Carapils, and Dextrose, it features late additions of Amarillo and Centennial hops, and will be dry-hopped with more Centennial. The expected stats on this light golden-coloured brew are 6% ABV and 43 IBUs, with floral, orange, and grapefruit flavours. We’ll keep you updated on when it’s released over the next couple of weeks.

• Also still in the fermentor, but available in kegs as of Monday, is Ol’ Biddy’s first collaboration brew, done with Todd Beal. Using a recipe that was developed before the brewery opened its doors as a guide, Keith and Todd brewed Call Your Bluff a light, dry pale ale named for Todd’s favourite hiking location, the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. This one comes in at 4.7% ABV and, although the calculated IBUs are 28, the perceived bitterness should be a little higher owing to the use of light malts and the overall dryness of the beer. Well-hopped with Amarillo for an orange, floral and pungent grapefruit hop presence, you’ll find it at Battery Park next week and potentially some other tap accounts. Keith has also advised us to be on the lookout for his Funktown Pale Ale to pop up around the city, as it is becoming the brewery’s mainstay.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing isn’t slowing down for the holidays at all, as they’ve got three beers to tell us about this week. First is the return of their seasonal Spruce Beer, an attempt at recreating North America’s oldest beer style using spruce and fir tips harvested from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s Blackstrap Molasses. It weighs in at a husky 7.5% ABV and solid 35 IBU and will be available at the brewery and Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport with some delivery to Newfoundland expected as well. If you’re a fan of this beer don’t delay, though, as they’ve made a smaller batch than in previous years.

• Next up is the return of a big ol’ beer originally released in January of this year. Wintervention is an Imperial Chocolate Stout built on a base of Maritime pale malt with chocolate and Munich for character. Hopped to 60 IBUs with Millennium, it’s been sitting in Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace for the past 11 months and is now bottled and ready to go. Flavours of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, vanilla and coffee present themselves in this sipper, which is sure to be warming against the coming cold at 11.5% ABV. Look for this one at the brewery starting today as well, although not until 3 PM.

• And lastly is another beer seen only briefly before before being given some time to develop. Back in September Garrison brewed a special collaboration beer with Sawdust City Brewing out of Gravenhurst, ON, to commemorate the announcement of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards. That beer is called Leroy and it is an Imperial Brown Ale tipping the scales at 10% ABV and 41 IBU. After 3 months of conditioning it’s ready for general consumption, with its creamy head, smooth aroma, and flavours of molasses bread and milk chocolate. Like the other two you’ll find it at the brewery starting today in 650 mL bombers.

Uncle Leo’s is releasing their first ever barrel-aged beer, a Smoked Porter aged in a whiskey barrel from Cape Breton’s Glenora DistillerySmoke’n Oakum is 9.2% ABV, and named in tribute of the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Straight. It features big notes from the dark and smoked malts in the beer, as well as the vanilla and caramel notes from the whiskey and oak. This beer is in short supply (only one barrel’s worth!), so drop by the brewery tomorrow to grab your allotment!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City has taken over the taps at the Wellington Row ANBL’s Growler Bar, with a wide variety of beers flowing: their Backslide IPA, Three Sisters American Pale Ale, their latest Hop Series: Wai-tiPink Dwarf Tart Cherry Kettle Sour, Red Tart (a raspberry kettle sour, in extremely low quantity), and the latest release of their Black 47 Stout, featuring hops from local grower Darlings Island Farm. Mark and Dave from LCBC will be on hand this evening to fill growlers and chat, while also raising money for Romero House, who provide hot meals and other food assistance, clothing bank, and guidance for those in need.

• And last, but certainly not least, are two new releases from harbour hopping North Brewing Company. Yesterday saw the release of their latest Finite Series of beers (those that take a little longer and are in finite supply). Baldrsbräu is a 5.5% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, made with hay and chamomile. The melding of the malt, light hopping, adjuncts and yeast result in a refreshing beer with notes of flower and herb. Bottles are available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth North locations. Releasing tomorrow at noon (also at both North shops) is a special Barrel-Aged version of Saison de Pinot. The original Saison de Pinot featured pinot noir must from Benjamin Bridge‘s own estate-grown grapes. Taking the wine influence to the next level, 220 litres of SdP was aged in a red wine barrel from Benjamin Bridge, and has now been bottle-conditioned for our enjoyment. Released in honour of Battery Park‘s Second Anniversary, fewer than 300 bottles are available, so don’t delay in picking up one (or two, one for enjoying now, one for aging). Or drop by Battery Park tomorrow to try bottle pours of this release alongside last year’s un-oaked batch!

Don’t sleep on the events and openings we’ve got on the go!

• As mentioned above, Dartmouth’s Battery Park is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow. From 11:30 til late, there will be a dozen-plus beers available from North on tap and by the bottle. In addition to the three mentioned above, previous Finite Series releases Ask & Embla and Oh My Darlin’ will be pouring, the North x Stillwell collab GoseBarrel-Aged Milk Stout, and many more.

• Life got in the way, so we didn’t manage to publish the promised Profile of Tusket Falls Brewing, but don’t let that keep you from visiting them during their launch weekend. Tomorrow from noon, they’ll have samples, flights, and pints of their Golden Ale, Stout, Red IPA and Smoked Ale. And going forward, the brewery and tap room will be open from 12 – 10pm daily, except 12 – 6pm Sundays.

• There’s still a few tickets left for Fredericton’s Christmas Brewery Tour 3.0, happening tomorrow from 11:30 am – 4 pm. Your ticket ($65 each) includes transportation to three local breweries (Maybee, Grimross, and TrailWay), a minimum of four 4 oz samples at each stop, and a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint of Foghorn beer (head brewer Esty will also be on hand to chat beer). The bus for this tour will be leaving Maybee Brewing at 11:30 am sharp, with everything wrapping up at KSAH. Tickets are available through the event link above.

• Due to extremely fast sales for next year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (Saturday, March 10th), organizers have decided to tack on Newbie Night for Friday, March 9th. This three hour event (6-9 pm) will feature 10-12 breweries that are new to the region; while the list of those participating has not been solidified quite yet, with all of the new breweries opening in Atlantic Canada, filling it up won’t be a difficult job! This event will be more low-key than the two FCBF sessions the next day, with only 200-300 tickets being sold. It will still take place at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown, and your $62.20 ticket includes a keeper glass and unlimited samples. Whether you missed out on evening tickets for Saturday, or already have FCBF tickets and really want to fill up your weekend with beer, Newbie Night is the perfect solution! Tickets are available now through the link above.

A few more things to leave you with this week…

Picaroons has their tenth iteration of Pivot now available; this time around, the 8% ABV, 80 IBUs DIPA was hopped with Amarillo and Sorachi Ace. To celebrate the season, they’ve also thrown in some spruce tips into the boil, making it what they’re calling an “Imperial Christmas Tree IPA”. Available at all Picaroons locations, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.
– Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a brand new beer pouring today. Santa’s Little Helper is a 10.8% Barleywine, focusing on a big malt backbone with some balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Light warming with notes of caramel and fruit cake, this small batch is only available at the Stage Head Pub, the brewery’s taproom.
– Good news for hop fans in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing has done another canning run. Look for Exile on North StreetFlat Black Jesus, and DOA as early as this afternoon. Available at the retail location on Fridays and Saturdays and Bishop’s Cellar all week as long as stock lasts.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, although you might know that they do a bang up job of supporting the local scene and providing shelf and tap space for an extremely wide selection of beers from our region, you might not be aware that they’re also known for bringing in special treats from other environs, many of which are pretty hard to come by. This week some highlights include extremely limited quantities of Bellwoods Barn Owl Brett IPA with Apricots (foedre-aged for a year), and Oria Guava Sour Saison and Sour Cherry from Burdock, along with selections from Quebec superstars Brasserie Dunham and Danish masterminds Evil Twin.

Happy Friday, beer lovers! November is quickly winding down, and the stores are getting busier every day; when Christmas gets closer, stress levels tend to rise, and there’s plenty of ways to help relieve that stress. We like to recommend three easy methods to remedy that stress… sit back, open a good beer, and read about beer! You can’t deny that it’s a hell of a lot better than Black Friday shopping! Unfortunately, we have to start off this week’s reading with some sad news…

• Charlo River, New Brunswick’s Shiretown has confirmed that they will be closing their doors at the end of this month, with owner Derek Leslie breaking the news in a Facebook post a few days ago. Shiretown first opened in nearby Dalhousie in 2011, becoming one of the province’s first small commercial breweries. Originally a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, Shiretown closed down in the summer of 2015, before re-opening a year later with a larger 2 bbl (240 L) brewhouse. Bottles of their beers have been in ANBL stores for some time now, and no doubt there will be some remaining for several weeks for fans of the brewery to pick up. We wish all the best to Derek and the rest of the Shiretown team in the future.

• Today, North will be releasing Reverb, the latest in their Finite Series of one-off beers. This latest brew is a 5.9% ABV, 13 IBUs wine-barrel aged American Wheat Ale; aged in the barrels for 2 months, before undergoing bottle conditioning, the beer has tasting notes of “lemon, grapefruit, peach, light funk and a refreshing effervescence”, according to the brewery. There’s a very limited number of 750 mL bottles available – just 292 – so make sure to drop by either of the North bottle shops to pick up yours, before they’re gone. And while there, note that their Darmouth Dark – a 4.5% ABV Dark Lager – has returned, and is available for growler fills and can purchases.

• If you’re in the Mahone Bay area this weekend, you might as well keep your eyes open for a returning Saltbox brew, and a new iteration on one of their other beers. For the returning brew, their seasonal Balsam Blue is back… billed as a “Specialty Lager”, it’s a celebration of Lunenburg County being labelled as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree capital of the world (we’re going to take them on their word for that one!). That’s right, real balsam tips were added to this 6.3% ABV beer, along with pureed blueberries, giving it a purplish hue and lots of Balsam on the nose. As for the new take on a previous beer, they’ve taken their Old Foundry stout and aged it in a Bourbon barrel. The result is a higher ABV (7.9% ABV vs. 6.3%), an flavors of bourbon and oak to go along with the roasted, coffee characteristics already in the beer.

• After a hugely successful first-bottle release of Four, their fourth Anniversary beer, last Sunday, Stillwell Brewing is releasing their second beer-in-bottles this weekend… and it sounds equally as delicious! Sport is a “Tart Farmhouse Ale” brewed with sea salt and lime zest. Brewed this past spring, it was moved to oak barrels and matured for several months, before being bottled in early July. At 4.7% ABV it’s very easy-drinking, but still has complex aromas and flavors of “zippy, spicy hops, lime, and barrel notes of coconut and vanilla”. You’ll be able to buy it at Stillwell for on-site consumption starting tomorrow, and then you can hop on down to the brewery on Sunday to buy some bottles to take home. They’re open 12-4 pm, and please keep in mind a limited amount of 30 cases are available, and all of Four sold out before closing last week.

• Up on the Bay of Fundy, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer called Tribute, a tropical session IPA. Featuring two ultra fruity hops in Northern Hemisphere orange bomb Citra and Southern Hemisphere tropical delight Galaxy it’s got a “lively bitterness” and “zingy mouthfeel” coming in at a very quaffable 5.1% ABV but a hefty 73 IBU. It’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills, and kegs have already gone to Dartmouth’s Battery Park and Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing, although only time will tell when the beer will be tapped at those locations.

• Over to TrailWay, who will be releasing another new beer today at noon, Dank Williams. Named after Travis Tritt, this is – as you may have guessed from the name, and a few of their previous releases – a hop bomb, featuring a selection of some of their favorite dank hops, as well as some that are also in the fruity and spicy zone of the wheel. Columbus, Enigma, and Summit are the focus here, with all three varieties coming together in a perfectly-hoppy 6% ABV package, an American IPA with “a ton of complexity and character”, according to the brewery. Available at the brewery in cans and growlers, alongside the return of their Red IPA, Good Aura, which is back for the season (currently in cans only).

• Down in Antigonish, Half Cocked Brewing has a new beer, this one an IPA called Bury’d Son. Sitting at 6.4% ABV and 50 IBU, it’s got a light golden color and a fruity citrus aroma. American Azacca and Australian Ella hops were used for first wort hops and early kettle additions, while Topaz, Citra and more Azacca and Ella were added late, giving the beer a sharp, even bitterness and a delicate hop aroma. The latest batch of Horton Ridge 2-row malt served as the base of the grist. This is a limited edition brew, not likely to be made again, so if it sounds like something you’d like, head down to the brewery and get yourself a fill.

• The Beta Brews just don’t stop over at Good Robot, with yet another new one being released next Tuesday (and note that Beta Brews can now be filled up in the 0.89 L growler), Chicka Cherry Kölsch. Brewed by Kelly and Georgie, it has a simple grist of Pilsner malt and a bit of Vienna, and was hopped lightly to 19 IBUs with Tettnang. Fermented with a Kölsch yeast, cherry juice was added in secondary, resulting in a clean-tasting beer with a “tart black cherry flavour”. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV.

• It appears that YellowBelly has no intentions of slowing down in the one-off beer department, as there’s yet another new one newly on tap at the brewpub this week. I’se da’ Rye is a Rye Pale Ale brewed with Pale malt, Rye malt, Rye flakes, and CaraVienne. Bittered with Cluster and El Dorado 40-45 IBUs, it was then dry-hopped with more El Dorado, as well as some Citra. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, expect notes of “candy, watermelon, pear, lychee, and red berry, with a bitter finish”, according to YB. You can pick it up in growlers and pints at the brewpub, and bottles should be for sale early next week.

Holy Whale Brewing in Alma, New Brunswick got some wonderful news recently, as they were notified that were successful in their bid for a grant to open a café in a customized shipping container along the Petitcodiac River in Riverview, NB. Competing against four other plans from local businesses, they were selected on the basis of the business concept, plans for the future and business experience. The funding comes from a grant provided by the provincial government to the municipality to help commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday. Although licensing and permitting is expected to take some time, they’re hoping to be operational as early as late January, serving a full lineup of Buddha Bear coffee, a local-based menu and Holy Whale beer from a take-out window facing the boardwalk. And for those folks who can’t wait that long for their Holy Whale fix, we can report that HW is now licensed to sell growlers and crowlers from their brewery and taproom, at the Eastern entrance to Fundy National Park, and that should mean kegs will be making their way to licensees in the province soon.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer recently took a previous 10 gallon pilot brew and scaled it up to a full-sized batch. Featuring a grist of largely pale ale malt, with some crystal to give it color and 10% Canadian Rye for spiciness, Commander Rye-Ker Imperial Rye IPA was heavily hopped with Amarillo at a rate of 2 lbs or so every 15 minutes through a 75-minute boil. Three quarters of the way through fermentation even more Amarillo was added as a dry hop. Clean American ale yeast ensured a neutral yeast character to show off the malt and, especially, the hops. Although it’s pushing the 8% ABV mark and sporting a hefty estimated IBU range of 80-100, it’s a sneaky one that’s likely to creep up on you. It’s available at the brewery for fills for sure, but given that it’s a full-size batch you might reasonably expect it to show up at tap accounts and who knows, possibly other packaging formats.

• Teensy-tiny Tidehouse in downtown Hal-town has another new beer for us this week, this time a Hopfenweisse called Cloud Shadow. Coming in at a very sessionable 4.6% ABV, it’s based on a grist of half wheat male and half pale malt. Fruity and citrusy Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany were paired with earthy, floral and also citrusy Ahtanum hops from the USA to provide notes of mandarin orange and a lemony, tart finish. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street for fills and 4oz pours. And stay tuned for news of Tidehouse’s 1st Birthday Celebration coming up in December!

Garrison in Halifax is looking for everyone to pucker up this week, releasing two new draught-only sours. First is Holy Gose, a thirst-quenching brew with light fruit flavors of apple, peach and orange zest paired with a light saltiness typical of the style. Built on a base of Pilsner and wheat malts, and eschewing hops entirely, additions of orange zest and sea salt finished this brew. It weighs in at a fairly light 5.4% ABV. And joining it on the board is La Menta, a beer brewed with mint (“menta” is Spanish for “mint”) provided by local home brewer and beer judge Tim Fletcher. Similar in concept to the Saison Froide made by brewmaster Daniel Girard a few years ago, the mint provides a “cooling” character intended to be refreshing. Using the same grist as the the Holy Gose, there’s no hops in this one either, but the aforementioned mint along with apple and lime juices provide flavour notes to pair with the acidity of this 5.2% ABV sour. As mentioned, these are draught-only releases that you can find now at the brewery or by times at Garrison tap accounts. If you’re super duper keen, you can specifically seek it out using their website’s On Tap feature.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a pair of new/returning beer that you will want to check out this weekend, plus a heads up on one coming next week. Returning from a summer off, Set Sail Pale Ale is back in the rotation. At 6.0% ABV, this light-bodied beer receives a heavy dose of hops, but very little in the kettle. The resultant beer has tons of citrus aroma and hop flavour, but very low bitterness. A brand new debut is a pepper beer, Hot as Firk (which is what you’ll be exclaiming after you drink a pint of it, we imagine!). Featuring multiple peppers, including Thai Bird’s Eye, Cayenne, and the infamous Carolina Reaper, this beer is a must-try for chili-heads. No waiver needed to sign before you try it, but best to have one of their other beers nearby in case you need some relief. HaF is only available at their King Street location. And keep an eye out for their as-of-yet-unnamed Black IPA, debuting next week. Weighing in at 7.0% ABV, it features lots of hops, with CascaseChinook, and Simcoe coming through with citrus and pine notes, melding with the light roast character of the dark roasted malts. Keep an eye on their social media for the release date!

2 Crows Brewing in Halifax, who recently released a delightful little number known as Amateur Hour that you should totally drink, released another new beer from their pilot system on Tuesday of this week. The brainchild of their tasting room’s Graeme, it’s his take on the Dutch Bokbier (differentiated from a German Bock by the use of ale yeast instead of lager yeast) but with a twist. Leveraging hearty Munich as a base malt, to which was added Pilsner, Caravienne, along with small amounts of Wheat and Flaked Oats and some Chocolate malt for color, this beer was hopped with Magnum for bittering and Sterling later in the boil. But the real twist is the use of 2 Crows’ house strain of Brettanomyces for the fermentation, which is likely to balance what would otherwise be a fairly prominent maltiness. If you’re lucky enough to try it, look for notes of toffee, caramel and plum complementing a residual sweetness and finished by the Brett. It’s a hefty 8.2% ABV and 35 IBU. Proost!

• In Yarmouth, Heritage brewing has a new beer available as of last night. Freezing Spray is an IPA that packs a solid hop flavour and aroma thanks to a blend of Chinook, Citra and Equanot hops. At 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU this is right in the sweet spot for IPAs. And we’re told the batch is already half sold, so you best be moving quickly if you want a taste. Available at the brewery as well as select tap accounts in the region, including the Good Robot taproom as of last night.

• After going on hiatus for the summer, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their popular Seventh Wave Series this week. Smaller batches, brewed on their 50l pilot system, give the brew crew a chance at testing out new recipes that may make it onto the big system, try out new ingredients, or just play around with ideas they have. We’re not sure which category the latest brew falls into, but this week’s release is Altbier, an ale from Germany, traditionally known for their lagers, that tends to undergo a long conditioning (lagering) period after primary fermentation. Copper in colour, and usually well-hopped, details are light on Spindrift’s release. That means you’ll have to go and try it for yourself! With the small volume available, we expect Altbier to sell out before they close at 6pm today.

• Our favourite beer podcast buds at 902 BrewCast are celebrating their First Anniversary today, with the release of their November tasting episode. They threw caution to wind and decided to embark on a Garrison Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine vertical. Joined by our very own acbbchris, and fellow frequent shout-out receivers Damian and Duncan, the six drank all years of OFB from 2009-2016 (except for 2014, as there was no release that year). The discussion also turned to how the beer scene has changed since 2009 (and even since 902BC launched in 2016), favourite beers, trends to expect in the future, and everything in between. Tune in, and let them know if you agree if Barleywine Is Life.

Lots of events on the go this weekend, including two brewery anniversary parties!

• We’ll keep it brief since we mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating: tickets for the next Fredericton Craft Beer Festival went on sale today at 11 am. If you forgot to get VIP tickets, you’re likely already out of luck, but remember there’s two sessions (afternoon and evening), and lots of fun to be had! Grab your tickets here.

• In Port Williams, The Port Pub and Sea Level are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tomorrow, November 25th, with a party and new beer release! Kicking off at 10AM with Ice Carving Demonstrations, food and beer discounts, music all day and night, and hourly giveaways from 5PM until close, it will be one heck of a good time! And kicking it up a notch will be the release of The Devils Backbone, the first barrel-aged beer from Sea Level (from our memory). This 8.5% ABV Baltic Porter was fermented in a pair of Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels for nine months, before conditioning and packaging. Available on tap at the Port and in bottles at the brewery to take away, this limited edition beer is sure to be a special gift for the beer lover who has *almost* everything (hint hint blog wives). Congratulations Sea Level and Port Pub!

Foghorn is celebrating one year in business with their Fog the Parade 1st Anniversary Party tomorrow. The party will be held all day, and includes open mic from 3-6 pm (sing a song and they buy you a beer!); live music not-sung-by-you; beer snacks, cake, and other treats; and, of course, lots of beer! In addition, with every pint or growler purchase during the day, you can enter a contest to win 52 growler vouchers for 2018!

Sober Island is celebrating their line of Foraged Beers with a joint event this Sunday. The judging has already been done, but the winners will be announced for their Foraged Homebrew Competition. Featuring entries from across the province (and even an entry flown in from Calgary), the top beers will be celebrated (and maybe even poured), at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, from 1PM. Joining the finalists will be their Chanterelle Mild Ale (now in short supply, so if you were hoping to try it, time is running out), and the debut of their Juniper IPA. At 7.0% ABV and 58 IBU, the beer features local whole leaf hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, to the tune of CascadeCentennialChinook, and Magnum. But the star of the beer may be the Juniper berries, with 1.5 kg macerated and added late in the boil, with another kilogram added during conditioning. All of the beers will be available in “Foraged Flights”, along with a small menu of foraged food items. After its debut, keep an eye out for cans and kegs of Juniper across the province.

Big Spruce will be taking over the taps at Battery Park December 7th, featuring more than 15 different beers, with plenty of food and cheer to go around. The taplist has not yet been released (but should be added to this event as it is), but we’re sure there will be a good mix of new and cellared beers, and maybe even a new release or two. And prepare yourself, as Bis Spruce is offering a delivery service for those fans unable to make it up to Nyanza to grab their wares. Scheduled to hit HRM December 16th, flats of cans can be ordered in advance, with any combination of Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Tag! You’re It! NEIPA, and One Hundred – Cape Breton Wild Ale. A minimum of one flat is required, and it is attractivel priced at only $98.40 (all in). Bottles of two of their barrel-aged brews are also up for grabs, Ra Ra Rasputin Whisky Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, and Complexified Bourbon Barrel Aged Baltic Porter (both $16 all in). Get your orders in before the 15th to avoid disappointment! Keep an eye out on this page for any updates.

And before you go…

Picaroons has released PIVOT #9 (8% ABV), the latest in their Imperial IPA series, with this one showcasing Zythos, as well as “some home-grown Moose Mountain hops”. Available in bottles and on tap, also note that their long-running Yippee IPA is now available in cans, for the first time.
Propeller fans will be ecstatic to hear that their big, dark, and tasty Russian Imperial Stout (8% ABV, 60 IBUs) is back; you can find it pretty much all bottle stores in Halifax, at the brewery, and on tap.
– Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has some of their holiday meads arriving at ANBL stores, with Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, Latifah, Punky Pie, and Cinfully Yours – a chocolate cinnamon mead – making the list. Some of these are in quite-limited supply, so be sure to check with your nearby ANBL to make sure they have some in stock.