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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, Christmas is right around the corner, so you know what that means: oodles of new releases from breweries, followed by a brief hiatus as everyone takes a much-needed break. That break translates to one for us as well, so this is your last read of the ACBB for 2019 (holds Chris away from the computer). We highly recommend you check out your favorite breweries’ social media pages over the holiday season before venturing out on a beer run; hours are likely to be highly variable over the next week or two, so plan ahead!
And as we close out our seventh year of the blog, we’d like to thank all of you readers, and the rest of the beer community, for letting us tell your stories. And when we hit the ground running in 2020, look for plenty more tales of new breweries, beers, events, and the people behind your favourite beverages. 

Another group of chaps sharing the stories behind the beer of our region is the 902 BrewCast. They’ve released their December Tasting Episode, and last one of the year, this morning. Our own acbbchris managed to sneak on for a taste of PEI, with beer from Bogside Brewing and brand-new Lone Oak, as well as Gahan House Port City in Saint John. Topics from favourite beers of the year, to what they’re looking forward to in 2020 (and how to get it), plus a healthy dose of shoutouts and callbacks, naturally! Grab the episode today for your commute home, or while you brave the stores this weekend, to drown out the 1000th playing of All I Want For Christmas

We’re not pulling any punches for the first beer of the day, let’s jump in and embrace the season! St. John’s Bannerman Brewing released Yuletide last weekend, and we think it would be a perfect beer for sharing with turkey dinner. A 5.0% ABV kettle sour with Pils and Wheat malts, it was conditioned on loads of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry purees, for a tart, fruity, and lightly savoury beer that complements and cuts through meat and potatoes and all the fixings. Grab it on tap at the brewery now!

The Big Spruce gang up in Nyanza is out to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for beers for the holidays with two new ones out this week. First up is Mele Kveikimaka, an IPA which features the Ebbgarden strain of Kveik, considered by some to increase the perception of bitterness, which should be perfect for the style. Hazy and rich, with a lovely head, this one no doubt features tons of hops and comes in at a pretty stiff 7.4% ABV. Also on the go is a new wine-influenced beer (seems all the cool kids are doing that these days) called Saviour Complex. Aged in a grape pomace barrel, this one is nominally a sour, but also features Brettanomyces. With sourness, funk, pomace, and barrel character all competing for palate space, we suspect this one lives up the the word “complex” in its name. At 7.2% ABV you probably didn’t want to slam this one down anyway. Neither of these beers is scheduled to be packaged, so you’ll have to make your way to one of the fine establishments serving them on draught. For Mele Kveikimaka, that’ll be Battery Park, Hopyard Halifax, Studio East, Boardroom Cafe, and Maritime Express. Saviour Complex will be found at Battery Park and Maritime Express. And if you contact them *right now* you may still be able to get on their Holiday Home Delivery to HRM tomorrow. Check out the FB Event for availability details, and then call them at 902-295-ALES!

On the West side of PEI in Ellerslie, Moth Lane Brewing has a brand new beer they’re excited for folks to know about, and for which they’ve gone all out on the pouring side. Na Zdravi is a Czech-style Pilsner named for the Czech version of the phrase “Cheers!” Expect this one to be clean and slightly sweet, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming bitterness and plenty of biscuity and bready character. It’s pouring from traditional side-pour taps imported from the Czech Republic and into traditional glassware for a maximally continental experience. Even better, the beer will also be pouring down the road in Tyne Valley at Backwoods Burger just as soon as they get their matching side-pour tap installed!

From one Island to another, let’s head East to Cormack, Newfoundland, where Crooked Feeder calls home. They are pouring a new Hefeweizen (German-style Wheat), featuring Newfoundland-grown wheat. Grown on Rideout’s Farm, just a few kilometres from the brewery, this is one of the first times grain from the province has been used in beer. Ausrittweizen (German for “rideout heat”) is a 5.0% ABV hazy beer, featuring loads of banana and bubblegum character thanks to the yeast chosen, and is pouring now at the brewery, as well as their Gastropub in Corner Brook.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing is knee-deep into their Christmas Countdown right now, where they’ve had daily specials on everything from beer to merchandise. Day one, however, marked the launch of their newest barrel-aged beer, Chocolate Whiskey Stout. Aged for over a year in Glenora whisky barrels with cocoa and coffee, this 7% ABV dark brew is exhibiting a blend of whisky, chocolate and coffee, with notes of oak. Smooth and warming, the entire batch was bottled, and there was only a limited amount – 500 – available when they released it. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer. And keep an eye on their IG account for the latest news and specials.

Not to be slowed down by the holidays, North Brewing has a trifecta of beers out for you to fill your stockings with. The first two are new iterations of their Strong Dark Belgian (Glenora Barrel Aged), one inspired by Figgy Pudding (brewed with figs, dates, and vanilla), and one by Speculaas Cookies (brewed with fresh ginger and the brewery’s special Speculaas spice blend). Both come from the original base beer, which was aged in four Glenora barrels for more than two years, before blending. This is a big beer – at 10+% ABV – the perfect style for sipping while watching your kids open their presents (kids wait to open gifts after cocktail hour, right?). The third beer is a barrel-aged version of their Grisette, Blanc. Fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge, and aged in a wine barrel for 11 months, it was then bottled and allowed to condition naturally. Lots of “funky barrel character” in this refreshing beer, the perfect counterpart to those Strong Dark Belgians you’ll be picking up. All three are available in bottles at your most-convenient North location.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a couple of new beers of their own. The first is this year’s edition of their annual Tibb’s the Saison, a Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. With aromas of cinnamon, banana and clove, you can expect “notes of spice and black pepper” to follow on the palate; it weighs in at 6.6% ABV. Next up is the newest hoppy entry in their Continuum series, Continuum – Happy HoliHaze. This iteration was hopped with lots of varieties, including Hallertau Blanc, Columbus and Galaxy, accompanied by Citra and Simcoe. Lots of juiciness and haziness in this 5.9% ABV IPA, with stone fruit character and “light herbal and pith notes”. Both of these newbies are available for growler fills at the retail shop in St. John’s, and growlers and pints at the taproom starting today. And hey, they’ve just canned a fresh batch of Mixed Opportunity, their mixed-ferm Saison, so you can take home some of those as well. And if you visit the brewery taproom on Tibb’s Eve (that’s Monday the 23rd), you’ll have a chance to try their first ever casked beer, Blue Steel with orange peel and hibiscus! Tapped when they open at 6 PM, and won’t last long, as there’s only 40 litres!

TrailWay is launching the latest iteration of Beans, their Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they open. Espresso Beans was brewed with a large amount of espresso beans from Fredericton’s Mill Town Roasters. The roast used was selected to complement their chocolate-forward base beer, with more beans being used than in previous Beans releases. They also boosted the ABV of the beer slightly to 6.8%, in order to give it more body and flavour. If you’re dropping by the brewery to pick up some cans/growlers, they’ve also re-released their Stormy Weather American IPA, hopped heavily with Vic Secret and other “supporting” hop varieties, giving lots of citrus and pineapple in the beer; also on tap and in cans. Today is a great time, by the way, to pick up your TW beers for the weekend/holidays, as half of all pint sales sold today will be donated to the Fredericton Homeless Shelter… so, stay for a pour, why dontcha?

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has launched not one, not two, but three new beers today, sure to satisfy thirsty folks out and about in the city today. Crimson Thunder is a Barley Wine, weighing in at 9.0% ABV, and features a balancing act between light alcohol warmth and malt sweetness, as well as light dried fruit character perfect for enjoying in front of the fire.Speaking of warming… Face Melter is a 10.5% ABV Wee Heavy, taking the malt base up a few notches for light sweetness, bold caramel flavours, but without any hot alcohol burn. Sounds like this will fuel many a story over the holidays! And the third release is Waffle Sauce is a “Maple Butter Tart ESB”, a Canadian twist on this English standard. The 4.7% ABV Extra Special Bitter features addition of maple syrup, rum, and vanilla, making the beer a great bevvie to warm up, or accompany your flapjacks or waffles tomorrow morning. All three are pouring at the brewery currently, with Crimson Thunder and Face Malter available to go in retro stubbie bottles, and Waffle Sauce being canned and available later on the weekend.

We always like to hear about our local breweries working together on things, and this week two downtown Dartmouth breweries have stepped up with some news in that vein for the holidays. Brightwood Brewery and New Scotland Brewing have collaborated on a new Triple IPA they’re calling Eraserhead (after the notoriously feel-good holiday movie we’re sure). At 10.5% ABV you might want to sit down to drink it, but it’s got a hop onslaught to match the booze factor, with Chinook for bittering and then “crazy amounts” of Centennial, Columbus, and the YCH Hops 2019 Pink Boots Blend of Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, and Glacier. Look for an explosion of juicy and citrusy hop flavors, and some stone fruit in there as well. This one will be on tap at both breweries as of this evening, some kegs will go out to other locations around the HRM, and cans will be available as of tomorrow.

And New Scotland also has a pair of their own beers on tap at the brewery on Alderney Drive, available today. Blunderbuss 1839 is an ode to the home of IPAs, Burton-on-Trent in England, famed for their water profile and generous use of hops. Using a historical recipe, and “Burtonizing” the brew water (lots of minerals and salts like Calcium, Bicarbonate, and Sulfate), they’ve achieved a 6.0% ABV brew with well over 100 IBU of bitterness. Choosing UK floor malts and a long boil allow the malt to provide a sturdy backbone to support the hops. The second release is a return of Slowburn, a Chocolate and Chili Porter, featuring chilies grown in Annapolis Valley. Added both in the kettle, as well as twice during the conditioning phase, the heat grows throughout the drinking, as the notes of chocolate and vanilla give way to a pleasant spicing level. Both Blunderbuss 1839 and Slowburn are on tap at the brewery now, and should be available at licensees elsewhere in HRM (but sorry, no cans!).

Down the 101 in Wolfville, Church Brewing continues to favour European styles, as is their wont. This time out is a Dubbel they’re calling The Luxury. On one hand, it’s a traditional style brewed by Trappist monks, on the other, boy is there a lot of variation in that style, ranging from pale to dark, 10 – 30 IBU, and 4 – 12(!)% ABV. This one rests on the darker side, smack dab in the middle for IBU at 21, and i hearty, but not insane 7.0% ABV. Leveraging a pile of Franco-Belge continental malts along with some Munich malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, Belgian Candi sugar was also added to enrich the color and mouthfeel. Overall chestnut in colour with some coppery highlights, it’s got a dense off-white head on the pour. Aroma- and flavour-wise, expect yeast character in the form of clove-y phenols paired with deep sweet flavours of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. A dry finish leaves a clean impression. Look for this one for sure on tap at the brewery, and we’ve been told to expect it to be canned as well, so there’s some potential for this one to be available in the city over the holidays..

Not to let something like Christmas Eve slow them down, Good Robot is still releasing a Beta Brew next Tuesday. A Black IPA they’ve named The Night Before… Black IPA, it was hopped with Chinook, Amarillo, and a bit of Citra. With a malt profile that focuses on dark chocolate, the hops provide a bright, fruity characteristics to this dry beer. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, it was brewed with Krista Collier-Jarvis. And if you come back on Boxing Day, you’ll find The New Original Kentucky Common (4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs) back on tap.

Propeller has brought back Baltic Porter, their 6.7% ABV take on the eponymous style. Fermented with a Lager strain, the full-bodied beer has aromas of “dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, with hints of raisin and vanilla”. It’s available as of today, on tap now at the Gottingen Street taproom. Pair it with a bottle of last year’s version aged in barrels, which was released late last month. Also, today’s cask beer (tapped at 5 PM at their Gottingen taproom) is Schwarzbier with vanilla, and next week’s will be Porter with chocolate and clementine zest. And they’ve teamed up with Compass Distillers on Agricola Street to bring you the latest in their Windmill Craft Cocktails family, Rhumb Line. Using Compass’ Spiced Rhumb, and a blend of cola with a hint of lime, they’ve constructed a tasty Cuba Libre perfect for wherever your next travel takes you. Available at the brewery and distillery retail shops, as well as Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport.

Late addition to the blog today (sorry!), is the full release of 2 Crows‘ Tinto, their Flanders Red inspired beer that was first released for Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary party in November. Using a complex malt bill, and lightly hopped with EKG, the beer has been 18 months in the making. Check for the full details in our previous post, to wet your whistle for bottles at the brewery tomorrow at noon. And in the meantime, you can enjoy Graduation, a 5.5% ABV mango and raspberry sour ale brewed in 2018 by the Prud’homme beer sommelier course attended by many in the NS Craft Brewery community, including 2C’s own Kelly Huizink. Light malt bill, just a touch of Nelson Sauvin and Enigma ops, before fermentation by kveik yeast and then soured in the fermenter with a blend of LactobaccillusFurther fermenting was done with a blend of bugs from favourite beers from around the world, before the addition of fresh mangoes and raspberries. Natural carbonation by champagne yeast in the keg, and now available on tap. We’d say that earns the crew an A+! Grab Graduation only on tap at the brewery now, no bottles or cans of this one!

Lots on the go this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

As a reminder and follow-up to our piece earlier this month, Sober Island Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 22462 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour. Seating for 50, kiddos welcome, and those in the Sheet Harbour area can pick up their own specialized growler to show off to friends and visitors. Drop by today 4 – 9 PM, Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday 2 – 7 PM, before they take a break for Christmas. Congratulations to the SIBC family!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing is hosting Deer Lake’s newly-opened Rough Waters Brewing with a Rough Waters Brewing Pop-Up today, starting at 7 pm. All four of the brewery’s flagship beers will be available, including Selkie (American Wheat), Scallywag (American IPA), Signaler (American Porter), and Sou’Wester (Kettle Sour).  While they’re currently only packaging in bottles, Bootleg will be serving the beers in full pints, half pints, and 5 oz tasting glasses. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for sale, and the Rough Waters crew will be on-site to chat beer! And for those thirsty for Rough Waters on the East Coast, we highly recommend getting into Toslow this weekend for your fix. We’ve also heard they may have a keg from a new/not-yet-fully-open West Coast brewery pouring, but it won’t last long!

Picaroons and the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest are hosting a Christmas Cask Event at their Roundhouse location Sunday afternoon, 1 – 5 PM. Your ticket gets you in the door, a sampling glass to keep, and pours from the almost 20 casks pouring. In addition to the host brewery, try casks from Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, PEI Brewing, Upstreet, as well as Pollen Angels and Red Rover. Wear your favourite Ugly Sweater for a chance at a prize. This may be the first time to check out the collaborative beer from Pics and the FCBF, Double Vision Imperial IPA, out now (soon?) in cans.

Both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations will be holding an Alberta beer tap takeover event directly after Christmas, starting Thursday, December 26th and running into the weekend. With breweries like Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Grizzly Paw, Outcast, and Troubled Monk participating, there will surely be something for every taste. And in true HY fashion, special food items will be available during the event. Specifically, the Halifax location will have an Alberta-themed menu, while in Charlottetown, local chef Nigel Thompson of Sneaky Cheats will be hosting a pop-up. Stay tuned to HY’s social media for updates on the breweries/beers as they become available.

Upstreet will be continuing their New Year’s Day annual partying with The 2020 Kickoff, happening – of course – Wednesday, January 1st. The all-day event (starting at noon) will be jam-picked with activities, including live bands, beer cocktails, happy hour pricing for the entire day, and a special brunch menu from 11am-3pm (as well as tacos and pizza-by-the-slice from 3pm-10pm). As always, it’s free to attend, and the beer will be flowing like wine, so drop by and help ring in 2020!

Some quick newsbites before we sign off today…

Hell Bay has teamed up with a “guest brewer” – Johnny Oickle – to brew Johnny O’s IPA, a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBUs brew with “citrusy hop flavours upfront, finishing with a bitter bite”. Available now at the brewery.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing have brought back their Belgian Tripel this week, Day Tripper. Light in colour, and finishing quite dry, it hides a pleasant 8.0% ABV in its spicy and fruity finished product, thanks to an iconic Belgian yeast. Kegs have been delivered to Capital Region licensees, including The Joyce and Ringo’s Bar & Grill, with a few more spots sure to be pouring it over the weekend.

Route 19 Brewing is pouring Cranberry Pine Winter Ale, a lightly-hopped, 5% ABV brew with aromas of citrus and flavours of, yes, cranberry and pine. Lightly bitter in the finish, it’s available on tap and in cans at the brewery in Inverness. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back a favorite DIPA for the Holidays, Fist of God is available now for fills and in cans as well as on tap at Charm School next door. You’ll also find 12 Years to Zion, Inducement, Sour Motherfucker, Hoppy Fingers, Exile on North Street, and Flat Black Jesus in cans, but you might not want to wait to long on some or all of those as you’ll likely not be the only one stocking up on hoppy goodness. Also, Unfiltered has very proactively put up their holiday hours on social media, so as alluded to in our intro today, you can’t say you weren’t warned!!

And finally this week, we’ve seen that the much-anticipated Painted Boat Beer Company now has product to sell. Produced at their Stellarton location at 230 Foord Street, which they share with Nova Scotia Spirit Company, and where they’ll be opening a taproom in the new year. PBBC launched at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market earlier this week, and promise to pop-up at the Seaport Market tomorrow, but beyond that, we can’t help you! If you happen to know anything, drop us a line!

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.