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Here we go again, beer fans! We’re in the final weekend of NS Craft Beer Week! We hope those of you in the province have been getting out to support your local brewery and licensee. We want to sincerely thank those of you who came out and took part in our Beer Trivia Night at The Auction House last night, and big thanks to the breweries who donated so much swag that all of the teams who took part went home with something. We can’t wait to do it again, and it may be even sooner than next year! Enough gushing, on with the news!

Another week of releases for Big Spruce, this time it’s the return of She’s Maibock. A fitting release, given we’ve just entered the month of May, this is a heritage German style of lager brewed similar to a Helles, but a bit more intense in malt/ABV/hops (pro tip, “bock” means buck or ram, and these beers will often feature one on the label). Their take on the style is a 5.9% ABV copper beer, brewed using their own farm-grown hops, and lots of complex and flavourful malts, giving rise to toast and bread notes, with a light citrus character. Grab this beer on tap at the brewery in Nyanza, and at licensees around the province. And drop by HopYard Halifax this afternoon (4 – 7 PM) for the official launch of Year 3 of their Tag! You’re It! IPA, with $0.50 from each can going to Ocean Tracking Network.

Boxing Rock’s Agricola Street Test Kitchen at Local Source Market has another new beer pouring this week. Fail No More is a 3.7% ABV English Mild, keeping to the iconic style with a light bitterness and pleasant caramel and toast and roast notes. You’ll have to pop in for a taste and a growler fill soon, as these Test Kitchen releases are always quite limited!

And in more great Boxing Rock news, the culmination of their Black Box Challenge was on Sunday. This saw homebrewers given the same list of ingredients, and it was up to them to come up with a recipe using some or all of the materials. With presentations ranging from a game of Jeopardy!, to a Crazy Game of Porter, the finalists put their best foot forward on Sunday to present and “sell” their beer to the judges. At the end of the afternoon, Jana Dellapinna and her Hello Darkness Schwarzbier was crowned the winner, through a combination of scores of the beer, presentation, and song choice (The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel). Dellapina will be traveling down to Shelburne to brew up a full size release of the beer, for wide distribution. And some of her fellow finalists may receive the same call, given the quality of the entries in this year’s competition!

Backstage Brewing will be releasing their first Red Ale (aka American Amber) this weekend in time for the main festivities (read: Full House). Simple Man was brewed with Pale malt, CaraMunich, Carafa and Roasted Barley (likely in moderation, to help provide colour). Hopped lightly to 20 IBUs with Willamette from Fundy Hops, the brewery is describing the final beer as “smooth, malty, and simple”. In addition to pouring at Full House, it’ll be on tap at the brewery.

Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is celebrating the opening of their new location in Bridgewater, King Street Beer Co. Not surprisingly, this brewery and taproom is located at 463 King Street in the town, and features a pilot system that they are using for special on-premise beer releases, LaHave River Beers. The first of these hits the taps at 6:30 PM this evening. Silvercat Legendary Canamerican Pale Ale (that’s a mouthful!) is a 5.5% ABV, 39 IBU, Maple Pale Ale, brewed with local homebrewer Don Graham. No word on the origin or amount of maple used in the beer. As with all the brews on this pilot system, it is in very short supply (under 40 litres!), so pop down this evening to avoid disappointment! And drop by both King Street and Saltbox this weekend as they are hosting the Highway 103 Tap Takeovers, featuring breweries from up and down the 103 Highway on the province’s South Shore.

To help celebrate NS Craft Beer Week, Tanner & Co. Brewing is releasing the latest beer in their Sauvage series, with 2019 Sauvage. This Saison features a malt bill built entirely around grain from Horton Ridge, including Pale malt, Vienna, and Wheat. Hopped to 20 IBUs with EKG and Mt. Hood, it was fermented – like last year – with Big Spruce’s pin cherry yeast isolate. All about the yeast character (as a good Saison should be!), it’s showcasing “tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, citrus, and a bit of lemon rind on the finish”. It clocks in at 6% ABV, it’ll be pouring at the Full House event this weekend, with bottles at the brewery as well.

Coupla new hoppy beers coming from the Upstreet family for this weekend, starting with an early sneak peek of Great Day Session IPA. Brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, Wheat, and Golden Naked Oats, they hopped the beer with Cashmere, Amarillo and Mosaic, for aromas of “pear, white grapes, melon, and coconut”. Light-golden in colour, with a smooth body thanks to the addition of the oats, it lives up to its name at 4.8%, and finishes only mildly bitter (25 IBUs). It’s officially launching at tomorrow’s Full House, and will also be on tap at the BBQ Brewhouse for pints, growlers, and crowlers this weekend. Look for draught and cans to follow on PEI next Thursday.

Upstreet’s other hoppy offering is Neon Friday 2.04, the latest in the ongoing series. With the addition of some Honey malt and Melanoiden to give the beer a “gentle, warming sweetness”, as well as a reddish colour, it was hopped with Amarillo, Southern Cross and Sorachi Ace (to 45 IBUs), providing the 6.5% American IPA with aromas of “orange peel, lemon, pine, and a hint of dill”. This one is debuting on the Island today at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner (on tap and in cans), with a few cans making their way to the Nova Scotia private stores as well.

Landwash Brewery, out of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has lots going on this weekend, including the launch of a brand new beer. Might as well start there! Another Shore is releasing in cans and on tap at the brewery today at 4 pm, and it’s a very specific take on the classic Kolsch style. Brewed with malted barley and wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, it was fermented cool and allowed to condition at low temperatures. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with Amarillo and Sabro, and then went further by adding “a whole whack” (that’s a lot!) of fresh lime zest. You can probably imagine in your head how this 4.2% ABV brew is tasting… we’ll leave you to it. In other Landwash news, they’re holding their first Cask Night at Toslow in St. John’s, tonight, where they’ll be tapping Coconut Hazures Rock (and they’ll have a keg of Another Shore, too). Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new batch of One Wave Blonde Ale coming out soon.

While in St. John’s, why not stop by YellowBelly and try Deadly, Missus, their 2019 International Women’s Day brew. It’s being referred to as a “Belgian India Blonde Ale” (!) that was hopped with the Pink Boots Society hop blend (Loral, Glacier, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Sabro). Designed and brewed by head brewer Nardia McGrath, it’s tasting “spicy, funky, and earthy”; it clocks in at 7.1% ABV. And hey, you’re there, so you might as well give their latest cider, Iceberg Cider, a try. Made entirely with iceberg water (natch), it’s 5.5% ABV and on tap now; bottles should follow next week in local NLC stores.

Speaking of cider, the PEI Brewing Company has a new one of their own available, 6 Hours of Sun. Made with a “special blend of apples”, it was fermented with Champagne yeast to give a crisp, fruity, refreshing cider. Semi-dry with a semi-sweet finish, it’s 5% ABV and can be found right now at the PEIBC taproom in Charlottetown; you’ll be able to find it at all Gahan locations soon, as well as in cans at PEILCC stores.

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales, Flat Earth IPA. Hopped copiously with varieties from North America (Cascade and Mosaic) and Australia (Ella), you can probably expect a beer full of tropical, juicy goodness. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and can be found at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole. And stay tuned for their next beer, Down With Vaccinations Pale Ale. Too soon?

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is releasing their first Lager tomorrow, May 4th. A Schwarzbier, we’re slightly confidant you could take a crack at what the name was going to be, knowing the date… and if you guessed May the Schwarz Be With You, you would be correct! This black Lager was brewed almost entirely with German malt and German hops, it was fermented cold with a dry Lager yeast. Fairly dark (24 SRM), and pretty easy-drinking at 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, it’s showing aromas of espresso, milk chocolate, and caramel, and a medium-light body with chocolate and caramel on the palate. They’re releasing it initially at the brewery on tap and in cans; look for it to follow at tap accounts later next week, and it should be on at ANBL growler sites later in the month. Drop by the brewery tomorrow from noon, where they’ll be holding a launch party, featuring beer (of course) and food from Gastrognomes.

Plenty of things going on in the region this weekend and into next week, check them out! And of course keep an eye on the NSCBW Calendar we put together so that you’re never late for an event.

Tomorrow, Propeller’s Gottingen Street taproom will be the site of their celebration of all things Star Wars, with their May the Fourth celebration.They’ll be featuring two casks, both hopped with out-of-worldy hops, like their Galaxy IPA hopped with an extra dose of (Millenium) Falconer’s Flight, and a cask made with their brand new canned (also draught) release, Sasquatch Pale Ale. This 5.2% Pale Ale features a wholly-Canadian hop, Sasquatch, grown in BC, and used throughout the brewing process to impart a tropical and juicy note to the beer. Also back this week is their Stone Fruit, which will be hitting the shelves of the private and NSLC stores soon. Back to the taproom, the Propeller Arcade is open all day (from 10AM), and they’ll have Star Wars-themed Vandal Doughnuts to pair with your pint. And if you’re wearing some Star Wars paraphernalia, your first pint is just $5! Pop by on your way to…

The Full House Beer Fest is also tomorrow, with forty breweries from across Nova Scotia pouring the newest and best beers at the Halifax Forum Multipurpose Centre (entrance is from the Young Street parking lot). From Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Musquodoboit Harbour, breweries from all over are coming together for the biggest celebration of #NSCraftBeer. Tickets for both the afternoon and evening session are still available, and we will certainly be there taking it all in. One of the new releases you’ll be able to enjoy is Annapolis Brewing’s Port Royal Pilsner, which was fermented low and slow (over a month!), for a smooth finish, with the Saaz used giving a hint of herbal notes. (It will also be available for pints and growler fills in their taproom this weekend)

If you wake up woozy and disoriented in Halifax on Sunday morning, Good Robot has your hookup to maybe soothe your self-inflicted wounds with a taste of the tropics. The Limestone Group will be hosting a brunch featuring food inspired by sunny climes (and based on the weather forecast a little imagination might be required there). How does coconut crusted French Toast sound? And if lovely food isn’t enough to get you over the hangover hump, there will, of course be beer. The brunch runs from 10 – 3 PM, so there’s plenty of time to drag your sorry self out of bed and get down to Good Robot and partake.

Also going down on Sunday is an annual event that’s near and dear to our hearts here at the ACBB (well, the empty places where our hearts used to be anyway), the 2019 Stillwell Open at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington Street. Now in its 5th year, this event pairs homebrewers and breweries together to develop beers for a blind tasting competition that ultimately crowns a champion beer based on the voting response of the public. To up the ante a little in terms of bragging rights, once again the province has been divided into geographical regions, North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth, with a title going to the team with the best overall showing. This year’s theme for beers is single-hop IPAs. Each team will bring four beers in the Session IPA, American IPA, Double IPA, and English IPA (served on cask) categories, all made with but a single variety of hop. Beers are expected to be one offs for the competition or production batches that will debut at the competition, so 100% brand new, never sampled, sipped, or swigged before beers will be available. Our own Chris McDonald is captaining Team Halifax, with Les Barr of Roof Hound heading up Team South, Spindrift’s Kyle Jeppesen helming Team Dartmouth, and Jeremy White of Big Spruce once again leading the charge for the two-time (TWO-TIME!) defending champions, Team North. If you attend you may need to plan to balance your blood lupulin levels next week with some crispy Pilsners and fruity mixed ferms, but Sunday is all about the hops. The blind tasting starts at 12 PM with the field being cut in half based on votes after 90 minutes and again in half every 30 minutes until 3 PM when the category winners, the winning Team, and the overall champion beer will be revealed. So come on down and see if you don’t find yourself bleeding green afterwards!

Let’s turn our gaze away from NS Craft Beer Week for a moment, and look elsewhere… Namely, the fact that Hanwell’s very own Niche Brewing will be holding a Meet the Maker Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 4th, at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. Those crazy cats decided to brew and keg up 16 different beers for this event, with almost half of them being one-offs and debuts. One of those is Into the Great Wide Open, a Saison dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo. The Takeover officially begins at 7 PM, so be sure to drop by and meet the brewers behind the beer, and try the many offerings on tap. The full list of beers for the evening is available on the FB event page.

HopYard Halifax is holding a Battle of the Breweries every Thursday, where they’ll be dedicating three taps each to a number of breweries who will be fighting to the death… or, bragging rights, I suppose. Round 1 will be stretched over four Thursdays (starting yesterday) with three breweries for each day… ten from Nova Scotia, one from PEI, and one from NB. The brewery who has sold the most beer for each day moves forward to the next round, so you’re essentially voting with your wallets! Show up to support your favourite(s)!

And a couple last things before you get your plans together for the weekend:

Garrison is re-releasing Lemondrop, their dry-hopped kettle sour, this weekend at the brewery. Hopped entirely with Lemondrop after the boil was complete, this 5% ABV sour is tart and lemony, and will also be available at NSLC and private stores. You should be able to find it in other provinces this summer, too.

TrailWay is bringing back Good Times in the Fridge today, their 6% ABV American IPA brewed with a rotating hop schedule. This batch features Southern Cross, Wakatu, Enigma and Loral, giving a beer that is “dank, pungent, fruity, pineapple, spicy, and herbaceous”. You can find it at the brewery starting today.

Drop by Unfiltered today at noon if you’re a fan of Warning Label, their super strong (10% ABV) and super hoppy DIPA; it’ll be available on tap and in cans.

Happy April y’all! We’ve seen all of the weather in the region this past week, with rain, snow, sunshine and patio weather, and everything in between. That may mean switching up your beer of choice from an Imperial Stout to a Witbier, and back to a Pale Ale, or if you’re like us, you’ll just drink whatever’s put in front of you! We’ve got a bit of everything in today’s post, so put down that burger (so many burgers in our region right now!), grab a pint, and take a quick read. Cheers to the weekend!

We know (from lots of tasting experience!) that the hard workers behind Tatamagouche Brewing love to experiment with brewing, in addition to releasing a super-solid lineup of flagship beers. They’ve got a couple new beers coming out this week on the experimentation side, both featuring the ISAR Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, a strain known to accentuate malt character in beers that TataBrew originally used in their exceedingly sessionable Dekorum Light Lager (released a month or so ago). First up is Dusk, a 4.9% ABV Schwarzbier brewed with a base of Pilsner and Munich malt, plus some Carafa III, Chocolate Wheat, and Rye malt. Hopped lightly with Tettnanger, it’s crisp and dry, with a mild bitterness, and notes of “light coffee and subtle caramel”. Next is Eager, a 4.8% ABV Dry-hopped Lager featuring a grist of mostly Pilsner malt, plus a little Munich and Oats. Hopped and dry-hopped with Tettnanger and Jarrylo, expect “lots of spice, herbal tea, and a grassy bitterness”. Both beers are available on tap now at the brewery, and should be following in cans (and on tap at select account) by the weekend. These beers sound too light for you? Stop that! But oh yeah, we should also tell you that this year’s batch of Tata’s Russian Imperial Stout (8.5% ABV) will also be available this weekend at the brewery for sale in 650 mL bottles. Head to Tata ASAP for the best of both worlds!

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a brand new take on their 5.4% ABV Cream Ale, Kilometer 0. They conditioned the base beer on a light roast Ethiopian coffee from local Cafe x Clark, resulting in a beer they’re calling Coffee Cream. The result has “an unmistakable roasted coffee aroma and flavour, without being overpowering or changing the colour”. Definitely a bit of a different take on your classic Cream Ale, you can find it right now at Heritage, and we’re pretty sure it’ll pop up on tap at some of your favourite HRM watering holes as well.

Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill crew took over the taps at Battery Park yesterday, bringing their A-game in the form of 14 beer, including the possibility of a side-by-side of their Pub Ale on both cask and draught, and the return to the city of their Soma, their 6.9% ABV double-dry-hopped SMaSH of Marris Otter and Mosaic. If you’re lucky, there will still be a few of their gems pouring today at lunch.

This week also marks the announcement of Lunn’s Mill’s first Homebrew competition. They’re calling on homebrewers in the region to brew their best Summer Patio Beer. What style is that, now? Any style you think might pair well with hot weather, big umbrellas, impermanent seating, and the smell of freshly mown grass and barbecue. Some suggested styles include Munich Helles, Kölsch and Hefeweizen, but creative brewers will no doubt have additional ideas. One imposed limitation is that it must come in under 5% ABV. It’s $10 to enter, with a limit of 25 entries, and you have to be able to get your beer to Lunn’s Mill by May 15th. To enter, send an email to get an official entry form and then get on with concocting the perfect summer crusher! The winner will receive a trophy, a t-shirt, and see a production batch of their beer made at the brewery.

And speaking of Battery Park, they are recovering from the madness of Halifax Burger Week to close the bar and restaurant Sunday April 7th until Wednesday April 10th. During that time, they will be doing some renovations in the kitchen and bar. And from Thursday April 11th until Wednesday April 17th, the bar will be open from 4 PM daily, with the taps a-flowing, but will continue renovations and work in the kitchen, and therefore no food service will be available. During that time, however, they will be teaming up with a neighborly kitchen to keep your snacking bases covered. Fear not, North Brewing’s retail shop at BPBB will remain open for their regular hours throughout the entire period.

Conception Bay South’s Ninepenny Brewing launched a new beer yesterday, Belgian Witbier. This 5.3% ABV beer features plenty of wheat and oats in the grist, in order to smooth out the mouthfeel and give that classic haziness expected in the style. Hopped “gently” with Centennial and Tettnang, the brew was fermented with Ardennes yeast from Escarpment Labs, which the brewery says is that star of the beer (as is so often the case with a multitude of styles!). With flavours of “spice and a hint of banana”, the beer is easy-drinking and refreshing, exactly as a Witbier is supposed to be. Scout it out on tap if you’re able!

We can say with just about 100% certainty that those of you who have had beers from Stillwell Brewing are consistently impressed with their quality. The one complaint you may have, however, is that availability is sometimes lacking in our area. Aside from finding the odd keg on tap at Stillwell, the only way to get the beer in the HRM is to land at the brewery’s location on scheduled Saturdays during a scant few hours. Luckily for everyone, that is soon about to change! They announced yesterday that they’ve finally got the ok to start selling bottles-to-go directly out of Stillwell, starting next Saturday, April 13th. Stick with their social media thingies for details on which bottles will be available to begin with; they’re also going to be having a launch party on that date to celebrate (more on that next week). Congrats, guys!

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released the details on their project in downtown Bridgewater. King Street Beer will be located at 463 King Street, the former site of Bavarian Restaurant. This 150 seat taproom, patio, and sidewalk seating will feature 16 taps, including Saltbox’s own beers, as well as guest cider and wine. They will also be launching their “LaHave River Beer” series, where they will be inviting local homebrewers and beer fans in to brew on their on-site pilot system (30 to 50 litre batches), with assistance from Saltbox’s new Brewmaster, Mike Gripp (formerly of Hell’s Basement in Medicine Hat, AB). The most popular amongst these beers could be brewed at their 1200 litre (10 BBL) system at Saltbox in Mahone Bay. Opening Day for King Street Beer is May 3rd, and they are hosting Hollow Twin band from BC in their space.

A quick note to let you know that Everwood Ave Brew Shop is holding their first Homebrew Competition. The allotted spots have already filled up (that was damn fast!), with entries required to be themed around Escarpment’s Voss Kveik yeast strain. The style is open, but entrants are do have to use that strain in their brew. The winner will be brewing their beer on Propeller’s pilot system, to be released at their taprooms. All awards and prizes will be given out at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom on May 31st. Good luck to all of you who were lucky enough to successfully enter! We should mention that Everwood is working on getting more of that yeast strain in stock, so that they can open the contest to more entries. Stay tuned to the link above if you’re itching to squeeze in an entry.

Here’s a few upcoming events you may or may not have already been aware of (but now you can’t say nobody told you about):

In celebration of this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival in their fine city, Corner Brook’s Bootleg BrewCo is hosting an all-Newfoundland Tap Takeover in their taproom today. From 2 PM, they’ll have taps from Baccalieu Trail, Dildo Brewing, Landwash, Ninepenny, Port Rexton, Split Rock, and Storm pouring, and we imagine you’ll see brewers and employees of some of these in the taproom pre-gaming for the weekend ahead. On tap from host Bootleg may be their latest release, 100, named in celebration of their 100th batch brewed onsite. A “sour spring saison”, this 5.5% ABV beer sports a zesty and bright fruit aromatics thanks to the generous dry-hopping, and that character follows into the beer, thanks to the medium acidity, finishing with a funky character thanks to the Saison yeast used. For those who won’t be able to make it to BBC, keep an eye out at TOSLOW and Seto Kitchen in St. John’s, as they’ve been sent some bottles for enjoyment onsite.

And for those who haven’t yet grabbed their tickets for the NCBF, there are still a few available for tomorrow night’s show at the Civic Centre, so grab them now. You definitely don’t want to miss out, as all Newfoundland breweries will be in attendance, as well as some killer beer from the mainland. And for those on the East Coast, the Friday, April 12th, NCBF at the Legion at Quidi Vidi Lake still has a few tickets available. Snap those up right now!

Halifax restaurant The Carleton is celebrating their latest Craft Draught Showdown on April 11th. In these dinners, Chef Michael Dolente puts together a Five Course Meal, and two competing breweries choose the best beer to pair with the food. In April’s edition, Brightwood Brewery will be going head to head with Sober Island Brewing to see who can complement the food best. Tickets are just $69 (tax and tip included) for the meal and two 120 mL glasses per course. The chef and brewers will be onsite to present their wares, and there will be live music from Almasy (Michael Dalton) as well. Grab your tickets here before they sell out!

Events are trickling in for the 2019 edition of Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, the celebration of all things Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Officially launched this week is their annual Made Here By Us, the “Community Brew” that helps fund CBANS. Brewed at Saltbox in Mahone Bay with brewers from several CBANS member breweries in attendance, this “Nova Scotia Pale Ale” has certainly evoked some reactions from the beer drinking community already, as is evident from a quick skim through social media or the April tasting episode from 902BrewCast. Described as a “dark red/amber pale ale with a medium body,” the tasting notes suggest caramel and toffee notes and a roasty malt finish, along with fresh hop flavors of citrus and papaya. The yeast used is one of 14 isolated as part of the NSBI-funded partnership between Saltbox and Acadia University that we told you about back in October, and which was propagated just in time for pitching into the batch, making it a game-time decision. We encourage folks to try it before they comment, but certainly to voice their opinions, whether positive or negative. As with every beer, we’re absolutely sure this one will have its fans as well as its detractors and healthy discussion is part of a positive path forward. You’ll find the beer at NSLC stores around the Province as well as most, if not all, of the private stores.

We’ll have more information about additional NSCBW events in the coming weeks, including our hand-dandy Calendar and Map. In the meantime, if you run a brewery, restaurant, or drive-in movie theatre, submit your NSCBW events to be included in the official list of events!!

Residents of Prince Edward Island have a fairly-long history of being discouraged with the number of beer festivals available to them throughout the year… there’s one! We won’t get into all that right now, but we do have some good news, as the first PEI Craft Beer Week has been announced for June 1st-8th. Details are slim/non-existent right now, but it looks like all seven Island breweries will be participating, include not-yet-open Bogside Brewing (Montague). Expect collaboration brews, new beers, tap-takeovers, open brewery days, and more. Keep an eye on the event’s social media pages and their website for more details and a calendar of events, which they assure us will be posted in the near future.

And a few last items before you go enjoy your weekend:

Grimross has taken one of the more popular beers in their Scratch series, Hop Blonde, and brewed it again to be released in cans all on its own. With even more hops (specifically, Citra and Calypso, as well as a double-dry-hop of both) compared to the first batch, this 6% ABV brew has notes of “lime, citrus, and tropical fruit”. On tap and in cans as of right now.

Southwest of Fredericton in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing has brought back their Red IPA, Chromatic by Design. Still featuring a bit of caramel/toffee flavor, it’s got a slightly different hopping this time around, but you’ll still find plenty of fruity hop presence and a bit of dankness. Coming in at 6% ABV, you’ll find it at Niche tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John and at HopYard in Charlottetown.

Off Track has their Session IPA, Born Ready For You (4.5% ABV), back on tap; hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra, expect plenty of tropical juiciness, in an easy-drinking package.

Upstreet has brought back their Top Stamp Honey Brown lager this week, just in time for cheque day. Brewed in collaboration with the crew behind Just Passing Through, this 5.0% ABV beer features hops and malt from the Maritimes, and is sure to help pass your time on Pogey Beach. Bottles on the Island (including PEILCC) and on tap at all Upstreet locations.

St. Paddy’s Day and shit we guess?

Last Friday (a little too late to make the blog, sorry!), Maybee Brewing announced the details of their latest collaboration beer, Chai Carumba! Released on International Women’s Day, it was brewed with the female staff members of Maybee, Wendy Papadopoulos of Big Tide Brewing, and several members of a local “Feminist Books and Beers Club”. A “chai-inspired Porter”, this dark beer was hopped with local Sterling and Goldings, and fermented with an English ale yeast. A chai spice blend was added in the mash and in the whirlpool, with a final helping of pure vanilla extract thrown in once fermentation was complete. The final 5.2% ABV, 19 IBUs beer has an aroma of “chai, earth, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla”, and flavours of the same (with the vanilla lingering in the background). The official launch involved a party at Maybee last Friday (sorry if you missed it!); the proceeds of this beer will go towards the Outward Bound, East Coast: Women of Courage program. It’s still available on tap at Maybee and select accounts if you missed it last weekend.

Elsewhere in Fredericton, Grimross is debuting their latest Scratch series beer, Scratch #18: Session Sour. Hitting taps and Grimross shelves today, this is the brewery’s first leap into the world of sour beer. Soured with Lactobacillus in the kettle, the wort was then boiled, cooled, and fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces strains. With flavours of “stonefruit, citrus, peppercorn and berries”, it is indeed sessionable, at 3.7% ABV. Only a single batch was brewed, with some going into kegs (popping up around Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton), and the rest into cans for sale at the brewery and a few ANBL stores.

Might as well stay in the area, as TrailWay has a new beer of their own coming out today. Motherlode is their latest “Hoppy Session Ale” (Session IPA?), this one was hopped with Galaxy and Eureka, giving the beer “massive, pungent and robust aromatics”… they’re even claiming it’s the most aromatic Session beer they’ve brewed yet! “Dank character blending with tropical fruit and grapefruit rind, finishing with a resinous, earthy component”. Only one way to find out… get your butts to TW today when they open and grab a pint, growler, or some cans of this 4% ABV brew. It’ll also show up at a few of the local beer-drinking thingies in the near future.

Montague, PEI’s sole brewery (for now), Copper Bottom Brewing, launched a new beer late last week, just in time for Saturday’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Saaz Pils is a Bohemian Pilsner brewed with all Czech malt and hops (Saaz, we’re guessing? Just a hunch), giving a 5.3% ABV crisp, refreshing beer “with a soft malt backbone, featuring notes of toasted biscuit and an earthy, floral aroma”. The beer was inspired by a trip to the Czech Republic that Brewer Ken Spears took earlier in the winter, drinking some of the iconic beers of the country at the source, made with their locally-grown and -sourced hops and malt. No worries if you missed it at the festival; it’s available at the brewery’s tasting room in pints, growlers, and cans.

If you follow Big Spruce on social media, no doubt you’ve noticed that they’re taking part in the Vermont Brewers Festival on Saturday, March 23rd. As you may have expected, they’ve brewed up a couple of new beers for the event, and while they may be “officially” debuting there, us lucky Maritimers may have an opportunity to grab a sneak peek. First up is Death Cookies, Big Spruce’s ode to the New England IPA, a style brewed to perfection at many breweries in the state of Vermont. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra, this 7.1% ABV downright opaque beer is “pillow soft, and dripping with tropical fruit aromas”. Next up is The Hour of Sour, a beer that may excite those Silver Tart fans that are reading this blog. It’s a “Wild-fermented sour on raspberries”; the wort had Lactobacillus pitched into it, where it was kept warm until the pH hit the desired level. A blend of wild yeasts were then pitched, and the beer was fermented out to 6.3% ABV. Finally, it was conditioned on organic raspberry puree before kegging for draught (the only format you’ll be able to try these two). Big Spruce understands that most of us won’t be making it to Killington, Vermont for the festival, so they’re currently pouring both beers (for pints and growler fills) at their taproom in Cape Breton. After the big event in VT, you’ll be likely to see these beers pouring in the HRM and other Big Spruce tap accounts in the province, assuming those Vermonters don’t drink it all!

On to Halifax for the time-being, where Tidehouse Brewing has their latest bottle-release, Wolfberry Parade, available as of yesterday at the brewery. An American Pale Ale at its heart, the wort was fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, one of the family of unique Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated in Norway and used in traditional farmhouse brewing. Hopped with Azacca and Hallertau Blanc, and then conditioned with goji berries (aka wolfberries). The 5.0% ABV beer features bright citrus and tropical notes, including lemon pith, berry (think gooseberry), and tangerine/grapefruit. This is a bottle-only release, and the only spot you’ll be able to grab those bottles are at their Tiny Tap Room on Salter Street.

Tidehouse also has two draught-only releases out this week as well, more in the European-inspired vein. Phil Yer Boots is a continuation of their line of hoppy Saisons (think Enigmatic), featuring a light-coloured base of Pilsner, Vienna, and Flaked Oats, and only-late-hopped with Falconer’s Flight. Named after a Saison-loving fan who was in the right place at the right time, this 5.5% ABV French Saison is available on tap for samples, pints, and phils.

Also on tap on Salter is Beacon In The Sun, a 5.1% ABV Belgian Ale, with Pils/2-Row/Wheat/Flaked Wheat and Oats/Vienna in the malt bill, and fermented with a traditional Belgian Ale yeast. It takes a turn to the New World with the use of Cashmere and Mosaic hops, exhibiting citrus and melon notes. Grab it today!

Let’s head down the South Shore to Lunenburg (yes, Lunenburg, sorry about the faux pas two weeks ago!), and pop into Shipwright Brewing. Located upstairs from the great Grand Banker Bar & Grill, Shipwright has a new beer out this week. Night Watch Coffee Porter started life as a 5.0% ABV English Porter, thanks to traditional Maris Otter, Brown and Chocolate malts, and was lightly hopped with Perle (to 23 IBU). The addition of Laughing Whale coffee beans (Grand Banker’s own blend, even!) kicks the beer up a notch, leveraging the medium roast Mexican and dark roast Mexican, Sumatran, Ethiopian, and Nicaraguan beans. Chocolate, cocoa, and coffee on the nose and palate, and a little bit of bitterness from the beans, extending into lovely coffee and chocolate finish. Grab it on tap at the brewery for pints, growler and crowler fills, and downstairs at Grand Banker with a meal.

After last week’s FemmeBot Festivities, Halifax’s Good Robot had a fairly quiet week to catch their collective breath before the craziness begins anew next week. Speaking of FemmeBot, though, the aforementioned festivities included the announcement of the winners of this year’s 2nd annual FemmeBrew Competition. As you may recall, the style was Saison (both light and dark) and a wide variety of high quality entries were submitted for judging this year. An Honorable Mention went to Krista Collier-Jarvis, Bronze went to Therese Donnelly, Silver to Cassie Gilroy, and the big winner was Brittany McAloney! Congrats to all the winners as well as those who took the time and made the effort to enter!

Carrying on with Good Robot news, next up is this week’s BetaBrewsday, which will see Poddle’s Porter, a 5.2% ABV and 23 IBU “very rich” black porter made with Joe Connelly hit the taps in the usual way at the usual time on Tuesday. With that comes a bit of bad news, though. This will be the last BetaBrewsday for a while, as the SABCO BrewMagic system on which the BetaBrews are made has decided it’s been overworked and is taken a (hopefully!) short hiatus for repairs. This means that if you’re already on the list to do a BetaBrew with Kelly you’re probably going to be waiting a little longer than you thought. And if you’re not yet on the list but were planning on putting yourself there, you now have fair warning that things aren’t moving right now.

As is traditional, there’s also an Alpha batch to tell you about, although its release is not exactly this week: FlavaBot: Rake ‘n Scrape is a “very tropical” double IPA made with mango and pomegranate. Brewed by Giovanni and the Limestone Group, this juicy and frutiy number comes in at 6.9% ABV and a hefty 70 IBU. If you’re wondering what that “FlavaBot” qualifier in the name is all about, it’s about the FlavaBot event they’re holding on March 24th where this beer will be released. With authentic Caribbean food, island music, and, yes, beer, you can dream pleasant dreams of warmer places while giving your booty a shake. There will also be three BetaBrews with Bahamian roots hitting the taps that day:

  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – a reference to the island’s tradition of piracy, this one has plenty of berry character paired with a rich malt backbone and an assertive tartness. Hop bitterness plays a supporting role to those bold flavors and keeps things from getting cloying. This one’s a very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU.
  • Pineapples & Coconuts…Bro – If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain?) you’ll want to check this one out. A wheat ale with lots of tropical fruit and coconut character that weighs anchor at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs.
  • Passion Bliss – Yet another fruit-infused beer (I mean, if you’ve got fruit year round you’re going to use eat it aren’t you?), this one a refreshing passionfruit pale ale with distinct orange flavors and some resinous undertones leading to tart and juicy passionfruit, this one’s 5.5% ABV and 50 IBU.

As always, BetaBrews are small batches, so if you want to try any of these Caribbean-themed treats you’d best get yourself to GR close to the opening of festivities at 10 AM.

Let’s pop over to Newfoundland for a brand new release this week. Baccalieu Trail, Bootleg BrewCo, Crooked Feeder, and Landwash Brewery all celebrated their openings in 2018, part of the cohort to double the number of breweries on the Island. And as it tradition, Port Rexton Brewing invited the Class of 2018 into their brewery earlier this winter for the brewing of Next Gen 2019. The crew put together Newfoundland’s first Brut IPA, and has named it, not surprisingly, The Next Gen Brut IPA. This 6.2% ABV beer features an extremely dry body and high carbonation, and notes of melon, white grapes, and banana, thanks to big additions and dry-hopping of Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. On tap at the brewery now, it is also available in cans at their St John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road. Grab a pint or can and celebrate the great history and future of craft beer in Newfoundland! And big congratulations to the PRBC crew who were awarded major repayable funding to help fuel their expansion to a second facility in Port Rexton, to allow them to better serve their thirsty fans across (and off) the Rock. More details here!

Newfoundland’s Class of 2019 is not slacking either, as the recently-opened Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a new beer available today. Taking a hint from this weekend’s holiday, they’re releasing an Irish Red. Leveraging 2-row and light caramel malt, with a little bit of roasted barley for color and flavour, it tips the scales at 5.7% ABV and joins their White IPA, English Pale Ale, English Porter, and Blonde on their taps (the former three also available for growler fills). And they’ll be celebrating with Happy Hour pricing all day Sunday! Still in their Soft Opening hours, pop by Thursdays and Fridays 4 – 10 PM, Saturdays 12 -10 PM, and Sundays 2 – 8 PM (but later this week to celebrate the day).

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has a new beer on tap, an English Porter carrying the very British-sounding name William Windsor. Who is William Windsor, you might ask? A member of the royal family maybe? An inventor? An explorer? A military hero? That last one is closest, we suppose, as William Windsor was, in fact, a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh. He’s also a Cashmere Goat. Retired from active duty, we’re sure “Billy” would love to relax with a pint of this one. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and 25 IBU, it features aromas reminiscent of chocolate-espresso torte and woody and minty hops and flavours of toasted bread and dark chocolate. Moderately carbonated, with a smooth and lightly creamy body and a bitter finish to cap it all off. You’ll find it in bottles in Charlottetown and at Upstreet Barbecue Brewhouse in Burnside as well as on tap. Also available from Upstreet this week is the latest in their series of hop-heavy one-off brews. This edition, #14 by our count, features some Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, namely Rakau, Pacific Jade, and Nelson Sauvin. Golden orange in color, the grist is a combination of Pilsner and English malts, with oats for body and mouthfeel and a little rye, which no doubt lends a touch of spiciness. With aromas of peach and lychee, with black pepper spice and honey rounding it out, you’ll find this 6.0% ABV and 40 IBU pillow-soft beer in cans in Charlottetown and on tap in both Charlottetown and Burnside.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has something new to share starting tomorrow. An American IPA weighing in at 50 IBU and 6.3% ABV, it’s made with barley, wheat and oats and hopped with lots of classic American hop varieties that start with “C” (maybe some Cascade, and/or Centennial, and/or Columbus, and/or Chinook, etc.) before finished with a dry hopping with Mosaic Cryo hops. This one was a brewing adventure for the team that included a stuck mash, two broken pumps, and a clogged heat exchanger (you can bet any brewers reading this just winced); in short, the beer threw so much shade as they were making it, that they felt they had no choice but to call it Shade. With a strong fruity aroma and tropical, piney and some dank and “catty” flavours, it’s available in the tasting room tomorrow and some kegs will go out to tap accounts around town as well.

Last but not least in today’s new beer news, is another of the many that debuted at last weekend’s Freddy Beer Fest, from almost-hometown Niche Brewing. The pride of Hanwell, they’ve cooked up another “Best of Both Worlds” Belgian-New England hybrid, Coalition. This 5.4% ABV beer has light- and pale-coloured malts at its base, hopped generously with Citra and Ekuanot, and was fermented with a blend of Belgian and hazy/low-flocculating yeasts, for a combination of juicy and tropical notes (lots of dry-hopping didn’t hurt that either!) with some Belgian phenolic to spice it up. Now that the rest of us can give it a try, ask for it at your local watering hole in New Brunswick, and it will be making an appearance on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth and Stillwell in Halifax as well.

You’ve barely had one week for your liver to recover after Fredericton’s fun last weekend, but keep your eyes peeled for more celebrations this weekend thanks to St. Paddy’s Day (not Patty’s!). Here are a few coming at you…

Propeller’s Gottingen Street Taproom will be celebrating Sunday with an extra cask on the bartop. Already celebrating their Barrel-Aged ESB on hand pump all month long, they will be adding a firkin of their Irish Red for the day. Pair that with Irish Stew made with their Russian Imperial Stout (both beef and veggie options available), and the Propeller Arcade downstairs, we figure this will be a perfect spot to keep the good times rolling that day.

Sad, but happy news from the Halifax waterfront, as Gahan House Harbourfront is closing its doors Sunday. They are going out in style, however, as they’re holding a Last Hurrah with live music and everything-must-go-priced pints. The party kicks off at 7 PM, and more details are available on the FB Event page. Good news in the works, however, as the Gahan location will actually be moving into the Nova Centre in spring, with an expanded brewhouse (and room for foeders!). They’ll be re-branding at Gahan House Nova Centre when that happens. And for those fans of the current location on the water, it will be staying in the Murphy Restaurant family, and re-opening in April as Pickford & Black. Think seafood and craft beer with a great view of the harbour.

Once you dry out from the weekend’s festivities, it will be the perfect time to drop by the Agricola Street Brasserie on Tuesday, March 19th, for a Beer Dinner with Garrison Brewing. Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be on-hand to speak of the beers and pairing choices made with ASB’s specially-created menu. And it will be the debut of their collaborative Milk Stout, which the Brasserie crew helped develop and brew in late February. Check out the menu here, and grab your tickets via email or phone (902-446-7664).

And a couple last wee mentions on your way out the door to buy beer for the weekend:

Savvy folks in the beer industry know that lots can go wrong between the keg and the glass, so they do their best to make sure that quality lines are installed and cleaned on a regular basis. How does one arrange that? Through a company like BeerTech, of course. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the “last mile” of beer delivery, BeerTech has a position open for a line cleaner/service technician. If you’re interested in seeing a wide variety of brewery taprooms and bars in the region and helping them make sure that their beer is pouring in the best possible way, maybe send an email to info@beertech.ca; perks include hands-on training, competitive salary, uniforms and the use of a company vehicle.

As is their wont, Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a special brew for St. Patrick’s Day again this year, a session pale ale in honor of Padraig himself. Patrick’s Pale Ale is 4.5% ABV and on tap now, with growler fills available at the Takeaway shop and bottles heading to the NLC. Slàinte mhath.

And a final reminder for the week: the Town of Wolfville is holding the Public Hearing on the amendment of their Land-Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to specifically allow breweries, distilleries, and cider producers to operate and sell off-site on Monday, March 18th. If you can make your way to the KC Irving Centre at 6:30 PM, you can have your voice heard ahead of the vote the next day. Not only impacting the in-development brewery(ies), these could greatly affect those operating in town today. Here is the agenda and information package for that hearing, and a bit of a summary we had two weeks ago. As always, the gents from 902BrewCast are on the case, and we encourage you to lend them your ears. This week’s episode is with Sean Dunbar of Picaroons, so listen in for a quick history of their brewery, and in effect, the entire New Brunswick Craft Beer scene!