Friday Wrap-Up

Happy Good Friday! We’ve got a full dose of spring beer for you this week, to keep you happy during this holiday weekend. Put down those eggs benny and chocolate eggs (hopefully not on the same plate!), and get up to date with the goings ons in our area. With the four provincial liquor stores closed Friday and Sunday, it’s a perfect time to support your local brewery or retailer, just double check they’re open too!

We’ve got great news for beer fans on the West coast of Newfoundland, you will soon have another local brewery to call your own. After a bit of a hiatus from their original plan to establish on the Burin Peninsula, Rough Waters Brewing has announced that they will be setting up in Deer Lake in the near future. That hiatus found owner Chris Johnson working with and learning much from the Port Rexton Brewing crew, and solidifying and focusing their best plan going forward. Streamlining and concentrating on what is most important to them has them now renewing their excitement and efforts to this project. Keep an eye on their Social Media (fb/ig) over the coming months as they share the many steps ahead of opening. Congratulations!

Lagers are in the air now that the weather is finally warming up; in Saint John, we’re specifically talking about Czech Pilsner, thanks to the release of Svelt Pils from Loyalist City Brewing. After a recent trip to the Czech Republic, owner/head brewer Mark McGraw was inspired to brew his own take on the style. Brewed using the traditional decoction mash (a multi-step technique involving one or more temperature rises), the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs entirely with the floral Czech Saaz variety. Fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain, it was lagered for 60 days before packaging. Coming in at a highly-drinkable 4.5% ABV, the golden-coloured brew has aromas and flavours of bready malt, “complemented by a truly unique herbal and floral hop aroma” that carries through to the palate. Finishing smooth, with a moderate bitterness, it’s available now on tap at select tap accounts in Saint John, with cans heading to the ANBL on Wellington Row.

Plenty of new-and-returning beer news from Trider’s this week! Let’s start with the returning brew, the third release of their annual Maccan Maple. Freshly-packaged now that maple season is finishing off, this beer features the use of maple sap (from Hidden Mountain Maple Farms) instead of water in the brewing process. The yeast, naturally, dried out most of the sugar from the sap, so the brewers added more boiled-down syrup to increase the sweetness. Finishing – yes – sweet, “but still balanced”, this 6% ABV beer is on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up a limited number of bottles. A few kegs will probably pop up at Trider’s licensees. As for the new beers, they’ve brought us Dillusions of Grandeur, a 5.1% ABV “strongly dill-flavoured” Kolsch that had fresh cut dill and Sorachi Ace hops added, and Robblebock, a 6.66% ABV Doppelbock that is “rich and dark”, yet drinkable, thanks to a lagering period of just over two months. Grab these two at the brewery for a limited time only.

Two returning and one new beer trends aplenty! Oof, that’s a bad opening sentence. Anyhoo, our friends at O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe are following said trend, starting with the release of a delicious-looking, super hazy American Pale Ale named Norther. Hopped and dry-hopped with equal parts Galaxy and Vic Secret (two of Australia’s best hop varieties, in our humble opinions), it’s exhibiting wonderful tropical qualities in the aroma and flavour (emphasis on pineapple), with a mild bitterness in the finish. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV and 43 IBUs, look for it on tap at CAVOK Brewing and Tide & Boar; it should also show up on tap at Bathurst’s Au Bootlegger, soon. In the returning department, they’ve got Big Red 250, their 5.6% ABV Mosaic dry-hopped Amber Ale (pouring at Au Bootlegger and the Laundromat), and Le Barachois, a 6% ABV Oatmeal Stout (pouring at T&B and the Laundromat).

In the Greater Fredericton Metropolitan Area, Niche Brewing has another new release this week, this one back to the hoppier side of the spectrum. Sound & Vision is their Session IPA, with lots of oats and wheat included in the grist to ensure there’s still plenty of body in this low-ABV beer (4.8%) to balance against the hops. Leveraging Enigma, and El Dorado in the kettle, and more Enigma along with some Topaz at dry hop, expect a blend of mango, papaya, orange and lime flavors to be most prominent in both aroma and flavor. You’ll find Sound & Vision starting this weekend in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

Tusket Falls Brewing Company in (of all places) Tusket, NS, has a couple of new beers just in time for Easter weekend, both of which are described by the brewery as being somewhat experimental. First up is an IPA fermented with a strain of everybody’s new darling yeast, Kveik, which they’ve conveniently called Kveik. This 6.2% ABV brew features El Dorado and Citra hops for tropical and citrus character. Lemon yellow and very hazy, with a creamy white foam, you’ll find the mouthfeel quite soft with elements of pine and orange zest tweaking your tongue. Also hitting the taps is the second in their Solo Hops Series, an NEIPA featuring the venerable Simcoe hop. With plenty of fruity character, but also a very dank and earthy presence, Simcoe is the kind of hop that can be smelled at the other end of the table. This beer, coming in at 6.0% ABV aims to be balanced and show off the best that Simcoe has to offer. Look for these two beers on tap at the Tusket Falls taproom as well as potentially at the Saltscapes Expo in Halifax April 26 – 28. And stay tuned for more news about new beers from Tusket in the coming weeks!

We’ve got all the details on the latest release from Copper Bottom, which is hitting shelves and taps today. Better Weather is the brewery’s first Saison, brewed with a simple grist of 2-row (from Island Malt House in New Glasgow, PEI) and Acid malt. Hopped with Saaz and Perle (to 25 IBUs), and fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, this 5.0% ABV brew has earthy, spicy aromas, with flavours of “bubble gum and fruity esters”. Finishing nice and dry (as a good Saison should!), with a light acidity, you can grab some today at the brewery (pints, growlers, and cans); if you can’t make it to Montague this weekend, look for it on tap at local accounts.

If you’ve been following Nova Scotia Craft Beer religiously for a few years you might have noticed a bit of a rhythm, especially when it comes to certain breweries and certain releases. And if you’re one of those people and you’re particularly sensitive, you might be thinking that it’s just about time for Big Spruce to announce that their Ra Ra Rasputin Coffee Imperial Stoutis ready to make it’s 2019 appearance. And if you’re one of those super intuitive, tuned-in-to-the-ebbs-and-flows-of-NS-Craft-Beer folks you’re probably about 3 unfortunate days behind the folks who just pay attention to social media… Sure enough, Ra Ra 2019 made its debut at Battery Park in Dartmouth last night, with Jeremy White in the house and 3 new barrel aged beers on tap joining 3 vintages from last year. Also, Ra Ra Rasputin Chocolate Truffles from Rousseau Chocolatier. Musta been nice, right? Well fear not, those three new 2019 barrel aged beers, namely Glenora Whiskey, French Cognac, and Peach Brandy are going to be generally available in bottles at many private stores in Halifax soon. Got a bottle or two of last year’s (and/or 2017’s) models? Pull a vertical with your pals. Don’t have any of last year’s left? Buy all three of this year’s and go horizontal (but get some help to do it, because if you solo three bombers of Ra Ra in one night, horizontal is probably the best you can hope for). Enjoyable with or without a Boney M soundtrack.

TrailWay has two returning beers back at the brewery in time for the weekend, if you happened to be looking for a hop fix in the Fredericton area for the long weekend. First up is a new iteration of Almost Nuclear, an American IPA brewed with lupulin-enriched hops. This version features the German Mandarina Bavaria variety, which they used plenty of (natch) to provide a “massive, sweet and juicy tangerine and orange” presence on the nose and palate. Cans and on tap at the brewery only (for now), 6.5% ABV. And Good Weather has returned as well; another 6.5% ABV American IPA, it’s showing characteristics of “tropical juice, overripe mango, pineapple, and citrus”. This one will definitely be available outside the brewery, starting today and extending into next week.

The 902 BrewCast released an episode earlier this week, welcoming on Kelly and Nicki from Good Robot Brewing and Evelyn of Propeller Brewing. The episode was wide-ranging in scope, from celebrating and creating diversity in the beer industry, tackling the bad habit of “mansplaining” beer, hosting safe spaces. Plus the overall theme of “Don’t be a dick”. Catch the episode via podcast or on 902BC’s page, and then grab yourself tickets for the Brewster Fest, being held April 27th at the Mayflower Curling Club. This event highlights the number of women-owned breweries, and female-brewed beers, in the region, with 20 breweries and ciderhouses in attendance pouring their wares. It’s open to anyone, and everyone, who wants to kick back and enjoy a well-made beer with some friendly faces!

Speaking of Good Robot, they’ve released the latest in their Creature Feature line of biotransformation IPAs. Their fourth release, aptly named IV, uses New Zealand hop Wai-iti in the dry-hop addition, resulting in a massive peach aroma and flavour. In case you weren’t familiar with the term, biotransformation (in beer) refers to the technique of adding hops during active fermentation, allowing the yeast to take some of the terpene compounds in the hops, and transform them. There is plenty of research ongoing into the hundreds (thousands?) of chemicals that make our favourite beers taste and smell great, but if you’re looking for a 10 minute primer on here, we highly recommend reading Scott Janish’s take. All of that to say that GR’s Creature Feature IV takes advantage of those hungry bugs during fermentation, and feeds them lots of hops to increase the fruity character we get to enjoy! The 5.4% ABV beer is on tap for pints and growler fills now, and won’t be around for long. Keep an eye out for new batches of Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common and Infinite Saturday Vienna lager, both coming through the pipeline in the next week or so.

And also speaking of Propeller Brewing, they have released the latest in their line of vodka sodas in their Windmill Cocktails, with Grapefruit & Lime hitting their shelves yesterday. This 6.0% ABV blend uses fresh grapefruit flavour and lime, and no sugar or other sweetener. Available in singles and six-packs at both brewery retail locations, it will also be at the NSLC in the coming weeks. And while you’re grabbing a sixer of the new release (or their supremely popular Galaxy New England IPA), stick around for the tapping of their cask at 5 PM. Today’s is their Porter, with an addition of Mosaic hops to get your evening started right. Grab it and head downstairs to the Arcade, why dontcha? Both it and Gottingen taproom and retail shop are open all weekend.

Last, but certainly not least today, is another special return of a big ol’ beer in Halifax. Unfiltered on North Street only makes their Commissar oak-aged Russian Imperial Stout every two years, and the last time they did was for a Spring 2017 release. That means they’re right on schedule in announcing that the latest version of that beer is out this weekend. Boasting an ABV of 11.2%, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. Expect a rich, complex, deep and dark beer that should only get better with age. Find it fresh on tap at Charm School on North Street, and maybe grab a couple of bottles next door at the brewery to put in your cellar for a year or 3.

We’ll have a special stand-alone post next week highlighting the NS Craft Beer Week events, but in the meantime…

Chinched on Bates Hill in St. John’s is hosting a “Home Chef / Home Brew” event next Wednesday, April 24th. Featuring four winning home chef dishes paired with the winners of Quidi Vidi’s homebrew competition (Newfermenters). The chefs and brewers will be on hand to talk about their creations, as well as the professional chefs and brewers who brought the ideas to reality. Drop Chinched a line at 709-722-3100 or online to reserve your seat at the table 6 PM that evening. Check out Chinched’s IG page to learn more about the home chefs who won.

Tickets for the May 24 and May 25 Newfoundland Beer Expo are now on sale. Unlike the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival held last weekend that aimed to highlight the great Island breweries, and good beer and cider from off the island, this NLC production seems to be geared at those looking to “drink their way through the entire NLC inventory”. About half of the beer is brewed/owned by macro breweries, many of the beers are already on the shelves at the NLC, and only one of the Newfoundland breweries is on the Beer List. Tickets are $86 (or $132 if you include the guided tasting beforehand), and available here.

Just a few more things to tease you with today…

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing brought back their FOXTROT 33 Stout earlier this month, and they now have it available in cans at the brewery, and at the local ANBLs in the near future. This 5.0% ABV, 33 IBU, stout features notes of vanilla, chocolate and coffee, and is perfect to sip while waiting for that warmer weather to hit us.

Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery has brought back their Amplified series of beers again in 2019. Collaborating once again with Backstreet Records in Saint John,  Amplified – Solid Gold Edition is a golden blonde ale brewed “with our favorite malt and yeast, and is designed for the hot weather ahead”. This 5.0% ABV ale is only available on tap and draught for the time being, with bottles available next batch (which tells us this will be a great beer around all summer!).

We’ve already given you the details on two new releases from Tatamagouche Brewing a couple of weeks ago, but we can now tell you that cans of both Dusk Schwarzbier (4.9% ABV) and Eager a 4.8% dry-hopped lager, are now available at the brewery (and maybe at the private stores in HRM soon). Plus look for them on tap at better bars and brewery taprooms in HRM and around the province.

It’s the weekend of Beer Festivals in towns named Saint John(s)! The Saint John Beer Fest is celebrating their return to the Saint John Trade and Conference Centre with two sessions tomorrow. Tickets are available for the Afternoon session if you haven’t already snapped them up. And in celebration of this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival at the Legion at Quidi Vidi, let’s kick off the week with a round-up of new beers available on the Rock, with a few of them bound to be pouring tonight and tomorrow.

Baccalieu Trail Brewing, out of Bay Roberts, NL, has released a full-size batch (7 bbl) of their latest experimental brew, a New England IPA named No Snow in April (aka “Wishful Thinking”). Hopped heavily late in the boil and in the dry hop with Citra, Cashmere, and Azacca, expect aromas and flavours high in “grapefruit pith, spicy mango, and tangerine”, according to the brewery. They also added some lactose powder to boost the mouthfeel slightly. Currently available at the brewery for pints and growlers, you’ll also see this 5.5% ABV, 30 IBUs brew at this weekend’s NLCBF, if you’re lucky enough to be attending. Check the brewery’s social media page for updates on the possibility of some local restaurants receiving a keg or two, as well.

On the Town side of the Bay, and speaking of New England IPAs, Ninepenny Brewing also has one of their own hitting taps this week. Sticking with their naming scheme “Let’s call it what it is”, they’ve dubbed it NEIPA. The brewery is veering away from their mainly-English/European focus since they launched a six weeks ago, and taking a crack at the popular North American style. Hopped with plenty of El Dorado, Cascade and Mosaic at flameout, and more at a heavy-handed three dry-hop additions, this 7.2% ABV beer is big and juicy, with “aromas and flavours of peaches and grapefruit”. Best swing by the brewery ASAP to give this one a try, as it likely won’t last long.

Ok, there must be some sort of super-secret contest going on between Newfoundland breweries, as Port Rexton also launched a new New England IPA this weekend… sounds like this NEIPA style is finally starting to catch on, no? 😉 Named Azacca NEIPA, you can probably guess which hop variety this particular brew focuses on… that’s right! Azacca! With large additions in the kettle, hop-back, and dry-hop (along with some Simcoe to complement), they’re bracing us for a hazy, smooth-bodied beer low in bitterness, yet “high in pineapple, nectarine, and strawberry”. Sounds great to us! Grab a growler at the brewery’s SJ retail shop this weekend; it’ll also be on tap for fills and pints at the taproom, natch.

Hey look, YellowBelly is releasing a NEIPA, too! Haha, just kidding… we’re hilarious. They ARE releasing a brand new beer, however, Confederation Pale Ale. Billed as a British Pale Ale, it actually has aspects of both sides of the Atlantic. Brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan malt in the grist, it was hopped with Australian Topaz and dry-hopped with American Citra. The juicy and fruit flavours of these hops are balanced nicely by a “solid malt backbone” from the grist. You can grab pints, growlers, and bottles of this 4.5% ABV, 35 IBUs newbie at the brewpub.

You may remember that the fine folks at Qudi Vidi Brewing teamed up with Chef Jeremy Charles of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern for their Bog & Barrens series back in November. If so, you’ll be thrilled to know that one of those collaborations is now available in the wild. The Bog and Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose is a 7.5% ABV beer brewed in the Gose style (albeit a higher ABV than usual), complete with sea salt from Bonavista Bay and bakeapples harvested in Labrador. The beer can be enjoyed on tap at the QV taproom now, and soon at The Merchant Tavern, with cans coming in the next week or two to NLC and corner store locations.

Moving back over to the mainland, we have some more news on Stillwell’s big day tomorrow, when they’re finally able to sell bottles of Stillwell Brewing beers to-go. We won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but rest assured it was a process that too a long time, and a lot of cutting through red tape, but we’re positive it’ll all be worth it! Expect to see plenty of different beers available tomorrow, as they’ve been holding back bottles from several releases over the past year, specifically for a time like this.

We should also take a moment here to discuss Posy, a new beer they’re launching for the occasion. Posy is a wine-beer blend that features a peachy, wine-forward barrel of Saison that the brewery settled on (after much barrel tasting!), blended with about 100 L of an also-peachy, “lees-y” Ortega from Blomidon Estate Winery. Bottle-conditioned for 7 months, it’s finally ready just in time, and is tasting “bright, juicy in the middle, with a dry finish”. Along with bottles-to-go, you’ll also be able to drink this 7.5% ABV beauty on-site at the bar. In addition to this new brew and a whack of older bottles, the brewery will also be debuting a new, fresh batch of Poptones Farmhouse Pale Ale, and the 2019 edition of Glou, both on tap! You’ll notice a difference in Glou this batch, as this time it’s a blend of nine barrels of “old, complex Saison”, many of which were already over a year old at the time of blending. Re-fermented on 1000 lbs of NY Muscat skins from Benjamin Bridge, this batch has “more candy on the colour/nose, but more savoury on the palate”. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to grab bottles of this one, and the new Poptones, in the future.  

Sexy bottle releases abound in Halifax, as 2 Crows launches their latest barrel-aged sour, Grace, tomorrow at noon. Described by the brewery as one of their most complex beers so far (and, uh, if you follow 2C, that’s saying something), it’s a blend of three different oak-aged beers, conditioned on over 350 lbs of fresh, whole, red gooseberries (did you know that gooseberries come in many colours? It’s true!). Because we’re sticklers for details, we’re actually going to pass on the specs for each of the beers involved in this undertaking:
Beer 1: Golden Ale conditioned first in one of the brewery’s foedres for 5 months with a single Brett strain, then transferred to a Sauvignon Blanc barrel along with a pitch of multiple Brett strains, as well as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus bacteria. Held there for one year before blending recently. Chosen for “assertive-yet-smooth Sauvingon Blanc notes, depth of oak character, and complex yeast expression”.
Beer 2: Raw (= no boil) sour conditioned in Sauvingon Blanc barrels for five months with the brewery’s house Lacto and Brett cultures. Chosen for its “brightness, exceptionally full mouthfeel, and more delicate Sauvignon Blanc characteristics vs. Beer 1”.
Beer 3: Golden Sour aged in a foedre, then further in oak for four months before blending. Chosen for its “assertive tartness, minerality, and brightness”.
Easy, right? Do it at home! Or, if you’d like, drop by the brewery tomorrow and grab some bottles. The final beer is a “deep, orangey-pink” colour, with a “firm, tannic structure, full mouthfeel, zippy tartness, and smooth gooseberry notes complemented by soft, Sauvingon Blanc undertones”. We’re intrigued! Get in there tomorrow, these babies won’t be around for long. And hey, it’ll be on tap, too! And Buttered Bliss will be on-site for another of their delightful pop-ups. We’re out of “and”s, and you shouldn’t need any more, anyway.

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing continues to bring the new brews with two hitting the shelves this week. First up is Island Jams India Session Lager which is pretty self-describing. Featuring Simcoe and Chinook hops, the latter grown in New Brunswick, this 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU beer aims to be light, crisp, and refreshing with plenty of piney hop character and a slight fruitiness. A collaboration with Sydney’s Breton Brewing, it was brewed in celebration of the upcoming ECMAs, being held May 1 – 5 in Charlottetown. Astute readers will remember that Island Jams was first brewed a few years ago when the ECMAs were in Sydney (though Volume One was a different style). You’ll find it for sure at the Upstreet/Breton tap takeover today at HopYard in Charlottetown, but also at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner, and maybe even at Breton as well. Also coming out of Upstreet this week is the latest iteration of Neon Friday, this one version 2.03, a Pale Ale with Chinook, Sticklebract from New Zealand, and Admiral from the UK. Refreshing, with aromas of lemongrass and pine, it’s got a resiny mouthfeel and a lingering bitterness. Find it in 473 mL cans as well as for pints, fills, and crowlers at Upstreet Brewery and Craft Beer Corner, we’ve been advised it will also make some private stores in Halifax next week.

Nyanza’a Big Spruce Brewing is also riding the, “let’s drink beer that makes us think of better weather,” train with a new sour beer featuring plenty of local fruit. This is Day 6 with Brett Blueberry clearly makes a nod to CBC’s Brett Bambury and his Day 6 show on CBC. It’s a blueberry sour featuring 70 lbs of Cape Breton blueberries and an all-Brett fermentation using a mixed yeast culture that’s apparently been passed around like a bong at a biker rally. But hey, if that yeast made a tasty beer over there, there’s good chance it will make a good beer over here. At a solid 6.3% ABV and a fairly mild 17 IBU, you should find it fruity, refreshing, and funky, with some blueberry jam character. You’ll find it at the brewery, obviously, but kegs have also gone to Battery Park, The Auction House, and Hop Yard. If you’re in Truro, you should know that tonight’s Tap Takeover at Sauced Wood Fired Pizza will also feature this beer. And a keg has been put aside for Mr. Bambury himself; here’s hoping he’s woke enough to NS Craft Beer get his hands on it.

Roof Hound’s newest bottle release is a Pale Ale that is the brewery’s attempt to embody the indie grunge renaissance of the 1990s. Garage Band is an American Pale A that the brewery has been tweaking and perfecting the recipe and technique over the course of a few batches, and it’s ready for its World (Provincial) Tour. This batch is lightly dry-hopped (specifically, “early dry-hopped”) with Northern Brewer and Nugget, giving the hazy final beer some “woodsy and resiny” notes. Brewed to be approachable for craft beer beginners, yet interesting, it’s easy-drinking at only 4.8% ABV. Available on tap at RH and their licensees, it’s also the first of the brewery’s beers to receive a general listing with the NSLC, meaning you should be able to buy bottles across the province later in the month.

While Douglas, NB’s 3Flip Brewing has been mainly focusing on their flagship beers since they opened a couple of months ago, they’re still aiming to release one-off, experimental beers every month or so. The latest of these beers, Plot Twist, should be hitting a few select tap accounts over the next week. Billed as a “Pretzel Ale”, they’re describing it as a blend of a Blonde Ale and a Gose. Brewed with a simple grain bill featuring Maris Otter and Biscuit malt – along with an addition of crushed, unsalted pretzels, a small, bittering addition of Willamette was added to the boil. Salt was added at the end of the boil, and when fermentation was winding down, a mixture of salted and unsalted pretzels were added to the beer. Only 5 kegs of this 6% ABV brew will be available, so keep your eyes on the brewery’s social media pages if you’re curious to try it next week.

Lots of positive news from Annapolis Cider Company this week! Let’s start with a new cider, the latest in their Something Different series. Peach & Sea Salt is a special blend of their Crisp & Dry cider, wild-fermented Northern Spy cider, and peach juice. Atlantic sea salt from the Eastern Shore was smoked over applewood chips, and added to the final blend. This 5.9% ABV, sparkling cider has “bright notes of ripe peaches, a hint of minerality, and a clean finish”. You can grab your refillable bottles now; $0.50 from each sale will support Horton High School’s Safe Grad. And in their other Good News news, they are now able to serve their ciders by the glass, not just in a flight, so you can double-down on your favourite variety on-site at the cidery! Finally, in celebration of turning 3 years old tomorrow, all Signature tastings and glasses will be served for $3; they’ll also be offering free shipping on all online orders for the day. Congratulations!

We’ve got a few things to keep you busy this weekend, check them out!

Last Call for this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival! They are taking over the Pleasantville Royal Canadian Legion by Quidi Vidi Lake tonight and tomorrow. With close to 90 different beers pouring, there is sure to be something for every taste and preference. With all of the Newfoundland breweries in attendance, plus some visiting breweries like 2 Crows, Beyond the Pale, Left Field, and Parallel 49, this is the best opportunity to taste beer from one end of Canada to the other! There are still a few tickets available for this evening’s Session, from 7 – 10 PM. Take a look at this post from the organizers to learn more about the format and layout of the Fest.
And once the fog settles, set your sights on their CiderFest, coming June 7th and 8th, back at the Legion. They’ll have cider from across the country pouring, from a wide variety of producers and apple blends. More details on exactly which cideries are attending will be out next month, so stay tuned!

And Last Call for tomorrow’s Saint John Beerfest as well! Tickets for the Afternoon Session (2 – 4:30 PM) are still available, while the Evening Session (7:30 – 9:30 PM) and VIP (enter at 7 PM) are sold out. Both sessions get you access to over 170 different beer and ciders from across the region, as well as food from Saint John Ale House, Social Steak House, and several other Market Square restaurants. There will be a cheese pairing table and Don Guimond, the NB man who won the Innis & Gunn competition to create a new beer recipe, will be on hand to chat about his beer, Don’s Choice. To better plan your attack, download the Attendify App and search for Saint John Beerfest 2019.

If you can’t make it down to Saint John for the Fest, we highly recommend heading North to Bathurst, and popping by Au Bootlegger tonight. Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur will be having a Tap Showcase today 4 – 8 PM. Get out and try Nigogue Pale Ale for the first time on tap, as well as their Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Witbier! Previously only available in bottles at select ANBLs, the Nigogue is inspired by traditional smelt fishing in the brewery’s hometown of Village-des-Poiriers. Lots of hop flavour and aroma, reminiscent of peach, citrus, pineapple, and blueberry, with a low bitterness and easy-to-drink-and-grab-a-second-pint-ability. Drop by to try all three beers, and you may even go home with some fancy Houblon-Pêcheur goodies!

Just a handful more things before we send you on your way this morning….

Grimross has a new release out today at noon, a Maibock which has been lagering for a couple of months. However, they’ve put their own New Brunswick twist on it by adding maple syrup from Tree Hugger Maple. Maplebock is a celebration of “Sticky Season” when the sap begins to flow, and the crocuses poke through the snow. This is a limited release, on draught and in growlers only, so pop by the brewery today to grab a taste.

Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool has a new beer out this week at their taproom. Ye’Old Ale is a 7.5% ABV beer brewed with blackstrap molasses for caramelized and rich flavours and aromatics. Find it on tap this weekend!

In Fredericton, Niche Brewing has brought back their Ruby Tuesday sour with hibiscus. Expect a refreshing beer that’s bright red in color, tart and fruity, with a crushable 4.4% ABV. It’s heading out to tap accounts in New Brunswick this week.

Spindrift Brewing is celebrating The Masters, and a throw back to the best golf movie ever (well, aside from Dorf on Golf) this week with a golf-themed release. Gopher Light is a 4.0% ABV light beer, concentrating on a clean thirst-quencher to pack in your golf bag while you hit the links. Grab cans at the brewery in Burnside, or at Harvest Wines, RockHead, and WestSide.

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is also bringing back a favorite, in the form of their Inducement DIPA. Don’t expect your local to have received any swag with this one, because that would clearly be illegal. But if they’ve got this beer on tap, you know they care more about having good beer than getting perks from breweries. Be careful, though, as that 7.5% ABV will sneak up on you in a hurry. Find it as of today at noon at the brewery too for fills, pints, and cans (assuming the labels get there in time!).

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.