Friday Wrap-Up

Well, here we are in December, and while the weather hasn’t been too terrible, there’s still a great argument to be made for stocking up on beer for both the holidays and for après shovelling, sledding, skiing, and other wintertime activities that are fun and/or necessary. The good news around that is that our region’s breweries continue to step up with new and interesting beers that will make building up a collection fun and interesting, if not easy (how do we choose?!). And not only that, but we’ve got some news about a couple breweries expanding, which can only mean more beer and/or more space to drink it in! Read on for details on those and for the rest of your weekly dose of beer news from across the Atlantic Provinces.

Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl opened their doors December 6th, 2018, and to celebrate their First Anniversary, today they are releasing an appropriate beer to celebrate, Burn Your Boats. This 9.0% ABV deep dark beauty is an Imperial Stout that spent several months in Bourbon barrels before canning. Major dark roast and coffee notes are paired with the lovely vanilla and notes of spirits. BYB is available at the brewery at opening today at 3 PM, by the glass and in a limited run of cans too (ISO!). And while you’re at the brewery, check out their wide selection of glassware that they’ve had shipped in from Jymline, plenty of options for whichever beer you’re drinking, from 1 litre Maß to a small Arome glass. Keep an eye on their IG account for more details on their Anniversary Party and their plans from now until the end of the month (we can tease that there is another Merb’ys collaboration coming out next week, a Key Lime Pastry Pale Ale!, and Cake Tray, a Cherry Pound Cake Pastry Pale Ale joining it. More detes next week. Congratulations to the Landwash family!

The folks at Propeller have been playing with their small batch program, and have brewed up three pilot brews that have all been fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast strain. The first of these beers has just been released today, Schwarzbier. Named, of course, after the style that is commonly referred to as a “Black Lager”, the grist contained a portion of debittered black malt (huskless malt that provides that dark colour and some roasted character, without the acrid flavours that can accompany darker malts), giving the beer a deep, black colour. Hopped to 30 IBUs with noble varieties, the beer has a “subtle, earthy backdrop” to complement. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is light-bodied and moderately dry, with a clean finish. If you’d like to give it a try, best to drop by one of the Prop shops to find it. And while you’re there, you can grab this year’s edition of their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (note that this version is marked as 2018, as the beer went into Bourbon barrels in December of last year).

The folks at recently-opened Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton are starting to run some experiments on their pilot system, which should be welcome news to those who are able to get to the brewery to try them. There are 3 small batches going on the taps right now for folks to try. First up is a coffee saison, St Caroline, at 6.0% ABV and using coffee sourced from local organic roaster Sunny Brae Coffee. This one still maintains a light color thanks to the use of cold brew on the coffee side. Next up is a gose they’re calling Duck Duck Gose, that they describe as “very balanced” and which also weighs in at 6.0% ABV. And last, but certainly not least, is a Piña Colada Milkshake IPA dubbed Love at Midnight. With flavors of pineapple and coconut, as you’d expect in anything bearing the descriptor “Piña Colada”, there was also an addition of lactose for a sweetness to enhance the fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This one is already in short supply though, so if you want to try it you’d best make your way to Tire Shack this weekend! But wait, there’s more! Just because they’re tapping the pilot system doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the big one. Resistance is Fruitile (*groan*) is a black raspberry sour that’s described as “Christmas in a Glass” owing to its red color. Look for this one to see a limited canning run over the next week or two.

Bedford’s Off Track released a new IPA late last week out this week, Jersey IPA. Named after a loyal customer’s recently-deceased Boston Terrier, Jersey, both of whom would often frequent the taproom. Jersey IPA is of the American variety, and was brewed with a fairly simple grist, and hopped with a blend of Mosaic and Cascade. Golden-coloured, with lots of tropical and citrus notes from the hop additions, it’s just about sold out already. Luckily, they do plan on brewing a larger batch of this 5.5% ABV, 63 IBUs brew; however, you may still be able to get one of the last pours from the final keg if you get over there soon!

Fredericton’s Red Rover Cider has a new release hitting their shelves today, a cider three years in the making. Starting from a blend of Spartan apples and Dolgo crabapples, after an initial 6-month cool fermentation, this dry cider was aged on oak for over two years before packaging. The full aromatics from Spartan (even when fermented bone-dry), along with the acidic character from the Dolgo make this a blend made in heaven. Le Brut is a 7.6% sparkling cider, and is available now at their CiderHouse location on Queen Street, Fredericton Farmers Market this weekend, and soon from their online store. The handsome bottle seems like a great option to pop open at midnight in a few short weeks…

Let’s stay in Fredericton (well, in Fredericton-adjacent Hanwell) for the next new release, from Niche Brewing. Celebrating their 100th batch (congrats, guys!), they decided to push the envelope in a different direction this time, brewing and fermenting their first Lager. The Bear is a 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, featuring Pilsner and Munich (natch) malts, a light bittering addition of Magnum hops, and fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. Bold malt flavour, but not sweetness, a touch of floral hop, and dry finish are what to expect in this beer, perfect for new- and old-school craft drinkers alike. Sharing the nickname of the father-in-law of co-owner Shawn Meek, The Bear is one that we think he’d be proud of. Grab a pint at one of their licensees around the Capital city, and those in Halifax will soon be able to enjoy it on tap at Stillwell HQ.

We’ve got tons of news from Robie Street, Halifax’s, Good Robot Brewing this week, so prep yourself before you wet yourself… First up is Li’l Creature aka Creature Feature VIII aka Baby Yoda, the latest and littlest in their line of biotransformation (aka, hopping during high fermentation) IPAs. At 4.5% ABV, you can still enjoy all of the tropical and citrus notes from a bigger IPA, but without the hangover. Next is C.R.E.A.M. – Cats Rule Everything Around Me, a new released dreamed up to hit the taps at the HaliMac Axe Throwing locations in Halifax and Kentville. Look for this light drinking Cream Ale the next time you’re tossing the ol’ hatchet around.

This week’s release of their first Beta Brew in a while (The Absolute Unit Belgian Tripel, thanks to their Sabco system being back up and running) wasn’t a one-time thing, as next Tuesday sees the launch of Stabby Geoff. Brewed with Brendan Martin, they’re describing it as a 5.3% ABV Wheat Ale hopped with Warrior, Ella and Summit in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Not being finished there (it IS a Beta Brew, after all), they also threw in some Queen of Tarts tea, and Grains of Paradise. Following hot on the heels of that brew will be their next newest beer, Et Tu? Brut IPA, a couple of days later on Thursday, Dec 12th (gotta admit, clever segue with the beer names there!). Naturally a Brut IPA, this 6.4% ABV, 22 IBUs brew has “bright flavours of orange and lemon citrus, as well as some white tea”, and finishes expectantly dry.

In St. John’s, this Monday saw the annual release of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (2019). This year’s batch is a 7.3% ABV Mocha Porter brewed with Oats, Wheat and Flaked Barley, along with Midnight Wheat, BlackPrinz, and Roasted Barley. These latter specialty grains added plenty of roasted character to the brew (along with a black colour, of course), but not too much so that the other wonderful flavours don’t come through. Specifically, we’re talking about the “deep, beautiful, nutty and malty” notes from the addition of Brazilian coffee beans (roasted by local Darkstar Coffee Roasters). The brew was hopped (to 25 IBUs) with Sasquatch and East Kent Goldings to add a bit of earthiness and a surprising licorice presence, according to the brewery. You can find it on tap at the brewpub and in bottles for takeaway; the bottles should be landing at NLC stores later in the week.  

Looks like there’s a new hoppy beer coming out of North Brewing this week, and it’s also the second release in the brewery’s 2019 collaboration with Benjamin Bridge. Musqué Double IPA was co-fermented on Chardonnay musqué grape skins (provided by the winery, naturally), and dry-hopped with the Australian Vic Secret variety. This 8% ABV hybrid DIPA is showing “notes of pear, mango and grape”, with a delicate acidity, and is dangerously easy-drinking. It launches today, and you can grab it in some fancy-lookin’ cans if you’re in the area. And why not pick up some Blanc while you’re there, which made its return last week? This year’s batch of the 4.5% ABV Grisette was fermented on some skins of its own… specifically, Sauvignon Blanc skins that were also provided by Benjamin Bridge. Like last year, $0.50 from each can sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share concerning North. Recently, their good friend and business partner, Leo Christakos, passed away unexpectedly. Leo was involved in creating Battery Park, and was always thoroughly involved with every aspect of the business, ranging from customer service to the nitty gritty details. Long-time fans of craft beer will undoubtedly connect him to the Brooklyn Warehouse, a restaurant that Leo opened, that was one of the first restaurants in the city to give craft beer top billing. His death is a huge loss to the craft beer community, and our condolences go out to his family and everyone touched by his loss… which are many, indeed. 

Fresh off their big win at the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards last month, Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has branched out and released their first cider. Fizz the Season is a 6.0% ABV blend of all Island apples, processed and pressed right in the brewery. Featuring a blend of holiday spicing (think cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice), Fizz is a nice complement to the crispy lagers and ales they’ve been releasing (and winning awards for!). And coming out next week is the beginning of their SMaSH (Single Malt And Single Hop) series with Shoreline Malting, with a new malt being used to create its iconic beer recipe. First up will be a Munich Dunkel, hitting the taps and retail next week. Joining it will be another new cider blend, this time using fresh local cranberries, bringing a decidely tart character to the finished product. We’ll have lots more on those releases next week, of course!

Down in Shelburne, NS, Boxing Rock has both a new beer and a returning favorite this week. On the new side is Inverse a “white stout”. Reminding everyone that “stout” means “strong”, not necessarily “dark”, this beer looks like a pale ale, but has plenty of the coffee, and chocolate flavors you’d associate with a darker beer in the stout style. Featuring additions of cold-brewed espresso to boost the coffee notes and vanilla to provide a background sweetness and smooth mouthfeel, it comes in at 6% ABV. Also returning to the fold is a beer first released in March of this year, Patricius Irish Stout, a 5% ABV stout that IS dark. “Refreshingly dry,” and intended to be an easy drinking beer for the winter months, it’s light enough in ABV that you won’t have to worry about having a couple on a snowy afternoon. Keep your eyes out for these beers, along with their barrel-aged series, Fisticuffs, wherever you get your BR fix. And if you’re interested in trying those big beers, but not sure you want to commit to a big bottle, you also have a chance to try them paired with cheese and cookies at Boxing Rock’s two upcoming customer appreciation events, the first at Local Source in Halifax on Thursday, December 12, from 4 – 6 PM and the second at the taproom in Shelburne on Thursday, December 19, from 5 – 7 PM.

If you follow TrailWay Brewing on social media, you may have noticed their mention a couple of weeks ago of a collaboration they did with Quebec’s Lagabiere brewery. The beer was De L’Autre Boutte to Here, a double-dry-hopped American IPA that they brewed at the Lagabiere’s location in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Luckily for their NB fans, they came back to Fredericton and brewed the same beer in their own brewery, and it’s being released today. At 7% ABV, it was hopped with almost twice the typical-for-TW amount of hops for their IPAs (which we’re guessing is therefore a crapload, for lack of a better term). The hops used were Motueka, Simcoe and Citra, so expect lots of juicy, tropical fruit character. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery starting today. If you stop by, you’ll also notice that their Simcoe-focused American IPA, More Better, is also back; this one will also be hitting ANBL growler stations in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve got two bits of big expansion news to tell you about today, one in Nova Scotia, and one in New Brunswick.

Since opening their doors in 2016, Sober Island Brewing has been bringing great beer to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Currently brewing in their own space at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, they have announced that their own taproom will be opening next door in a couple of weeks. Located at 22462 Highway 7 (the former Three Sisters storefront), the taproom will have room for 50 guests, in a common area as well as side room that can be closed off for private events, or opened to accommodate thirsty visitors. Thanks to their manufacturers permit, they are able to welcome kids as well as adults, so no need to tie Junior up outside while you have a wee swally. With beer on tap, cider in the bottle, and some non-alcoholic bevvies to start, they’ll be expanding to an 8 tap draught system with beer, cider, and mobucha flowing. Their spot will also feature a retail space, with cans, crowlers, as well as growler fills, for the first time ever. Local flair is abundant in the space, with a live edge bar top, stone accents, and boards from an old barn. Local craftsman George Child has been a great asset to the design and build, still working harder than most, despite celebrating 80 years of age. So, when can you visit?? It won’t be long now, as they will be opening their doors Tuesday, December 17th, and celebrating with the launch of new merchandise and a new batch of IPA. From then until December 22nd, they will be welcoming guests in the new space, and then taking a break over Christmas. They will then be opening again for a New Year’s Day levee potluck, to celebrate the new year and big things to come in 2020 (including some short-term rental rooms above the taproom for the full SIBC experience). We’ll have lots more details to share with you as the space comes into its own over winter, and the Sober Island team is excited to offer a space that is open year-round, as well as partnering with neighbouring Henley House during its open season.

In other big taproom and expansion news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has announced that they will be opening a brewery and taproom location in the New Year. Currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in the basement of their Main Street restaurant of the same name, they will be exiting into the light, and expanding brewing operations significantly. Located 15 minutes walk down Main at 1355 Main Street, the new location is just a 3 minute walk from the new Avenir Centre. The 15 BBL (1800 litre) system will offer the ability to serve not only their restaurant, but the new tap room onsite and more regular growler fills and canned offerings. The location will also have a kitchen onsite, which may mean more access to their High Fives pizza offerings. As they work hard on renovations and opening their doors this Spring, they’ve launched a new website to let you see behind the scenes, as well as pick up some great deals perfect for sharing with your loved ones (or not, no sharing!) over the holidays. Peep their deals on the Mug Club, Growler Club, Pizza Party and others here. Congratulations on the big news to Chad and the rest of the T&B crew.

Only one event in the hopper this week, but if you haven’t been to the Garrison Oxford Taproom yet, this would be a fun way to get an introduction:

If you’re in Halifax and looking for an excuse to get away from all your Christmas shopping this weekend (or if you just want to get away from your family, we won’t judge), the Ladies Beer League has you covered. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a December Bevvy at the Oxford Taproom from 2-4 pm. Hang out in the loft and drink some Garrison beers; they’ll even have some merch available for purchase, so you can take care of a bit of shopping at the same time, you efficient bugger you. They’ll also be collecting donations for Feed Nova Scotia, and if you donate you’ll be entered to win a gift basket with treats from the LBL and Garrison. 

And a few last mentions before we send you on your way:

With Foghorn’s recent expansion comes great responsibility… no wait, sorry, a new canning line! They’ve recently canned and released some of their regulars, including Golden Grover (English Pale Ale), Bumble (APA), and Constable Winchester (IPA). You can find them at brewery’s taproom in Rothesay, and at ANBL stores across the province.

Maybee Brewing released a new DIPA last week, Clockwork. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, it has “rich stone fruit and citrus notes, a clean and balanced malt profile, and a light caramel finish”. Find it at the brewery, and at select licensees.

The PEI Brewing Co. has begun their Christmas Growler Countdown, where they release a new, small batch beer for growler fills, every Friday leading up to Christmas. This week’s release is English Mild with Brett; it goes on tap at the brewery starting today at 4 pm.

Secret Cove Brewing has teamed up with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi to brew The Rice is Right, a 4.8% ABV Session IPA. The beer is “crisp and smooth”, and features the addition of gelatinized Japanese rice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although November is on the wane, the beer news in Atlantic Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. Last weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards Gala celebrated the best beers in the region at HopYard Halifax with all four Provinces represented in the winner’s circle and Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing taking home the title of Brewery of the Year. You can check out the full results in our post here and maybe use it as a guide to trying some beers you’ve not had before. Meanwhile, in eagerly anticipated news, especially for beer lovers in Halifax, the latest venture from the gang at Stillwell, The Stillwell Freehouse, is now officially open on Agricola Street in the North End. You can read (and see!) more about what is certainly to become a favorite haunt for many in our profile posted this morning. But that is far from all the news you need to know, read on for plenty more about this week’s releases, re-releases, and events in our little corner of the continent.

Good news if you’re a fan of Port Rexton’s ongoing Continuum series (hazy IPAs that tend to focus mainly on one single hop variety), as they’ve just released their latest entry, Continuum w/ Cashmere. While there’s plenty of the Cashmere variety used in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry-hop additions, they threw in some Columbus as well. Lots of pineapple, lemon, and pine in this one, as well as “a light herbal bouquet on the palate”. Pretty manageable at 5.6% ABV, it finishes with a smooth bitterness. Look for it right now on tap at the taproom, and it’s also available for growler fills at the St. John’s retail shop.

Speaking of the wonderful world of hops, Tatamagouche Brewing has their newest hoppy beauty out this week. Lotus DIPA is an 8% Imperial IPA that is loaded with Lotus (breweries take note, “Loaded with Lotus” is a pretty cool-sounding name for a beer), a quite-new American variety that has popped up in a few beers in our region since its launch. The Lotus is accompanied by Citra and Galaxy, resulting in a hazy beer with “sweet aromas and flavours of strawberry Campino candies, tropical pineapple, and citrus with a slight spice”. It’s available at Tata on tap, with cans hitting the shelves hopefully sometime next week (some of those may make it to some of the private stores in Halifax, too). 

New can release from your buds at 2 Crows, and after a super-hoppy and hazy American IPA, they’re giving us something to dial it back a bit, a Helles they’ve named Milosh. They’ve teamed up with the folks at Shoreline Malting and Darlings Island Farm to design/brew this one, a Lager that features Pilsner malt (from Shoreline) and all NB-grown hops from Darlings Island. Brewed using a low-oxygen, multiple step mash, the wort was hopped with Magnum, Ultra, and Tettnanger is the mash, first wort, and late kettle additions. After fermentation with a traditional German Lager yeast (and krausening with fresh wort and active yeast), the beer was lagered for nine weeks, before packaging. It’s tasting “crisp and smooth, with a bready/doughy aroma, a full malty body and a firm, lingering head”. Some floral and herbal notes accompany, and it finishes with a firm bitterness. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, look for cans and draught pours of this baby at 2 Crows, starting today at noon (we expect it’ll be on tap at several fine establishments across the HRM, as well). 

Waaaay up in Twilingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. has their first lager available on the taps, a beer in the California Common style. Amber in color, it’s clean and malty as one would expect, with spicy and floral hop character owing to the use of American Cluster hops and a dry, bitter finish. Coming in at 5.0% ABV, you’ll find it pouring at their tap room as well as The Guv’nor and Fort Amherst Pub in St. John’s. As far as we know they’ve got no current plans to package it, but never say never, and if it’s a hit with the drinking public it’s certainly possible that future batches will see release in cans.

Moving Southeast down the shore, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. has teamed up with Tod Perrin, Steve Lee, and the crew  of Mallard Cottage for two new entries in their Bog & Barrens series. If you get up to Mallard you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of these new beers with special food pairings before they are packaged in cans and released to the wider public later this month. The beers in question are Parsnip & Golden Beet Kveik and Partridgeberry Stout, both clearly hewing to the ethos of the Bog & Barrens banner to collaborate with local providers and bring to market beers that could only come from Newfoundland. If you’re interested in this preview, you’d best get your reservation together for tonight or tomorrow by contacting Mallard Cottage directly.

And continuing with Newfoundland beer news, moving West this time to Cormack, Crooked Feeder Brewing has released a new beer as well, a brown they’re calling 12 Mile House Nut Brown Ale. This 5% ABV and 27 IBU beer has a lovely mahogany color and a firm off-white head. It’s available at the brewery, of course (open 6 – 10 PM tonight), and the Crooked Feeder Gastro Pub in Corner Brook, as well as being served at the Corner Brook 12 Beers of Xmas event happening tomorrow and, if you’re in town, on tap at The Guv’nor in St. John’s.

Lastly, before we leave the Rock, we head all the way up to St. Anthony to one of the newest breweries in our region, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Co. who are celebrating the Norse Goddess of Death with a beer they’re calling Hela’s Fury IPA. We don’t have much in the way of details on this one other than an ABV of 6.9%, but we do remember Atlantic Canada’s Hop Overlord Greg Nash posting pictures from a brewery in St. Anthony a few weeks ago, so we think maybe, just maybe, the gang at RagnaRöck got themselves some superstar help with this one. There’s only one way to find out for sure: head on up and give it a try! Brewery hours are currently Sunday to Wednesday, 3pm – 11pm, and Thursday to Saturday 3pm – 12am.

Good Robot is taking another swing at the wonderful Schwarzbier style, a dark Lager that is meant to be roasty yet smooth (i.e. not acrid), with a lighter body than other dark beers out there. This beer, which they’ve named A Cunning Plan, is a 4.6% ABV, 27 IBUs brew that is dark brown, light-bodied, with a bit of bitter chocolate on the palate and an herbal hop aroma. Finishing crisp and roasty, it was originally supposed to be released at the taproom this week; however, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for it now… look for it to debut at Good Robot next Thursday.

Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright Brewing has a new beer to put the wind in your sails (see what I did there? It’s because they’re a brewery named after ships and such). Hull N’ Boats is an “Irish Extra Stout” that has aromatics of “dark roast coffee, anise, and roasted barley”. There’s a bit of cacao bean on the palate as well with this one, and with the beer being brewed with a healthy addition of oats in the grist, a smooth, silky mouthfeel. It’s 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, and available now at the brewery, along with three other beers of theirs (apparently a first for Shipwright, having four different beers available all at once… that’s a good sign for them!). 

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a new beer on the go for the holiday season: Christmas on Portland Street is a version of their Portland Street Porter, a porter with plenty of chocolate malt for a dark chocolate-y bitter character, that was aged on raspberries. The result is something they’re describing as raspberry chocolate cake in a can. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, we’re told that it’s one of the beers in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown box now available at certain private stores in Halifax. But if you’re eager to give it a try, a limited amount is available on tap and to go at the brewery as well!

Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has released a new beer this week, the latest in their limited edition Backdraught series. Now out is KAZAK Russian Imperial Stout. Inspired by co-owner Lilia Fraser’s Russian and Kazakhstani heritage, this 8.7% ABV beer is the perfect accompaniment to the cold days, and colder nights, we are experiencing. Featuring a variety of dark and black malts, the beer is punctuated with bitterness and light citrus notes from Magnum and Celeia hops. Available on draught at the Brewpub and Fill Station, tall cans are also available to go in their retail spot, and rolling out to select ANBL locations.

New bottle release at Tidehouse this weekend, and it’s got the three most profitable words in the beer industry: DDH (yes, we’re counting that as one word, because seriously, those three letters are $$ when used in that order), Milkshake, and IPA. Yep, Milk Trip is an 8.5% ABV DDH Milkshake IPA brewed with lactose, orange zest, and vanilla bean, and heavily-hopped with Citra and Mosaic. Hazy, with a full mouthfeel, and helluva lotta citrus throughout, it’s available today at 2 pm in 650 mL bottles (maximum 2/person). They won’t last long, as it’s a smaller bottling run than usual for TH, so drop by soonish or they may be all gone!

Your pals and ours, the 902 BrewCast triumvirate of Tony “Important” Wight, Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and Kyle “I don’t need no stinking nickname” Andrus, have somehow managed to survive three years of visiting breweries, drinking beer and talking (at length) about it all for your (presumed) education and entertainment! Head on over to their podcast homepage or check them out on your favorite podcasting app for their most recent episode, which dropped today, their Third Anniversary tasting episode where they reminisce about the antics of the last few years and no doubt toast to more in the next one, we also expect they busted out some bangers from their cellars in celebration. Congrats to the guys on managing to get this far and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

If you’re the type to keep abreast of trends in the beverage alcohol industry, especially the US markets, you might know that Hard Seltzers are currently hotter than a Times Square Rolex. Although they’re generally coming out of beer breweries, these very accessible products, low in carbs and calories, generally don’t feature much, if any, beer flavor at all, but boast bubbly effervescence, fruity flavors, moderate alcohol levels, and catchy slogans like, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” As is very often the case, trends tend to push north across the border and this one is no exception, as we’ve now got a brewery in our region with a release that’s ticking a lot of the same boxes (hopefully not the slogan part though, mmkay?). Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing is releasing Raspberry Bubbly today at the brewery, which they’re calling a “seltzer-style ale” no doubt owing to the portion of malt included in the recipe. “Super zippy, clean and ultra dry” you can expect this 4% ABV beer-adjacent beverage to be a low carb option for those looking to imbibe without paying a penalty in the waistline department and/or a more fruit-forward option for those who aren’t into hoppy or beer-flavored beer. If you’re curious, you can grab cans, pints, or fills starting today at the brewery. And stay tuned, Tw social media posts about this one certainly seem to imply that raspberry won’t be the limit of their explorations of the style, so it’s very possible that in coming months you’ll be able to taste the rainbow.

So, what’s on the go around the region this weekend?

Starting right …. about …. an hour ago (sorry!), Stillwell HQ on Barrington kicked off their tap takeover by St. John’s newest brewery, Bannerman Brewing. This is the first time these new favourites have been available outside of Newfoundland (maybe even outside of St John’s?), and we can’t think of a better place to hold it. Phil Maloney and Dave Bridger (Co-owner and Brewer, respectively) will be in the bar chatting with folks. Six Bannerman beers will be pouring this afternoon, including their All Hands Helles, Thirst Trap APA, Island Time DIPA, as well as brand newbies Nervous State Milk Stout (collab with Hogie from Upstreet), Medium Cool IPA, and Scenic Route Sour with blueberry and mint. We’ve heard you may also be able to pick up some merch when you drop by, so best visit early!

Don’t forget that Cask in the Sticks is being held at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, this Saturday. This roving beer festival is moving cask beer into the country, with 8 breweries (and one homebrew collective) sharing some old standards and new to the format. Your $30 ticket ($25 if you buy one at one of the participating breweries ahead of time) gets you your own take-home glass, and fills all afternoon long. Dress up in your favourite onesie to take part in the competition, and build your own S’mores too. Breweries in attendance are: Lunn’s Mill Beer Co., Sober Island Brewing Company, Big Spruce Brewing, Boxing Rock Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing Co., and Annapolis Brewing Company.

Just a couple more things to woo you with before we send you on your way:

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar is having a large weekend, with plenty of new beers available on their shelves. Available from noon today, is SpontanBasil, a totally unique unique collaboration between Lindemans and Mikkeller. Their take on a gueuze, with one- and two-year old lambic blended and added with fresh basil at bottling. After conditioning and a final fermentation, the beer is now available for sale at their shop, as well as online. And dropping tomorrow morning are three releases from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, Fruit Jelly King PTG, Saison Pizazz, and Yeehaw Y’All. Available from 8 AM in store and online, we suspect these won’t last long, so set your alarms now! Probably a good excuse to get out to peep their newly expanded location in Bishop’s Landing, eh?

Propeller Brewing has brought back a seasonal favourite, their Coffee Porter. Using Fog City coffee from Java Blend Coffee Roasters, this 5.9% ABV beer is full of chocolate, coffee, and light toffee notes as well. This year’s batch is a bottle exclusive, and only available at the NSLC, so pop by your local to grab some!

Have you found yourself with an orange hop bomb-sized hole in your beer drinking life lately? Well we’ve got good news from Unfiltered about getting you what you’re missing. DOA (Double Orange Apocalypse) is back at the brewery in all formats (fills, pints, and cans) starting from noon today. As always, 7.5% ABV, hoppy as hell, and leaving you happily belching an orange grove.

North Brewing, formerly of Halifax, now firmly ensconced in Dartmouth, has two returning beers to mention this week. First up is a brand new version of their Sunshine Shandy, this time made with Meyer lemons and local honey, a tart and lemony brew with a teensy bit of residual sweetness from the honey. And also returning is the OG tiramisu version of their Twinkle Pony Pastry Stout, which features lady fingers and chocolate malt on the grist side, lactose and vanilla for some sweetness, and cold brew coffee for an espresso kick. Both are available at the brewery and the Twinkle Pony can be had on nitro pours at Battery Park on Ochterloney.

And in late-late-late breaking news, Rough Waters Brewing is opening their retail space in Deer Lake this Sunday. Located at 83 Wight’s Road, the space will be open 1 – 6 PM Sunday, and will have four beers available: their Selkie Wheat, Scallywag IPA, Sou’wester Sour, and Singaler Porter. You can also get a sneak peek of their beer at this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival in Corner Brook. We’ll have lots more details on Rough Waters very soon! Congratulations!