Happy Friday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day! If being a Friday wasn’t a good enough excuse to drink, now you have two reasons! But before you reach for that beer (stay away from food colouring!), let’s take a few minutes to get caught up with our local beer news…

• The 2017 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival – the 5th year for the fest – was a huge success, and – as we can personally verify – one hell of a good time! With two sessions on Saturday, there were 58 breweries pouring over 220 beers, ciders, and meads, 5200+ L of beer served to ~1,750 people. Thanks to organizer Lloyd Chambers and 50 loyal volunteers, everything went smoothly, proving that the festival does indeed improve with every year. Several other events were also going on through the week (and even into Sunday), with plenty of beer lovers turning out to take part. This was also the first year for the Down East Brewing Awards, which had close to 140 different beers and ciders entered by commercial breweries in Atlantic Canada. The winners were announced at the FCBF afternoon session, and Fredericton’s TrailWay took home Brewery of the Year, thanks to winning three gold medals and Best of Show (check out the link for the full list of winners). Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who helped to make FCBF such a success, and we’ll see you next year, with a date of March 10th already set! And don’t forget to vote for Best of the Fest, rewarding your favourite breweries that attended this year’s event.

• Attention Newfoundland Beer Fans! Split Rock Brewing Company is coming soon to Twillingate, on the island’s Northeast shore. Allison and Matt Vincent are residents of the town, and were living and working away from home for several years. In the mid-2000s, while living in Halifax, they caught the craft beer bug, and began homebrewing. Starting with wine and beer kits, they graduated to brewing All Grain in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. Like many avid homebrewers, the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown was always in the back of their mind, but at that time, just a dream. An opportunity for Allison to move back home in 2014 brought them back to Twillingate, and, as Allison puts it, “with the tourism industry booming and many young people moving home, we knew it needed a microbrewery!” Local businesspeople Tim and Robin Vatcher share their vision to bring a growth industry back to the region, and are helping to bring Split Rock Brewing Co to fruition. Brewmaster Matt will be brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, capable of a full brewday in only four hours, with 3800 litres of fermentation capacity for a wide variety of beers on the go simultaneously. Speaking of which, they are fans of brewing (and drinking) English-style beer, and will be launching with a variety of those, including a Bitter, Red Ale (with Rye), Brown Ale, Stout, and IPA, as well as a Belgian Witbier and Cream Ale. Split Rock will be hitting the local taps late spring; stay tuned to their social media and here for the full scoop!

• Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound has taken taken one of the truly formative steps in the life of a young brewery by hiring an assistant brewer. Magen Powell is a veteran of the restaurant industry where she has worked on and off since she was 19 years of age, serving, bartending and managing. Her stint with Nova Scotia draught and tap experts BeerTech helped her develop a solid technical understanding and the skills needed to install and maintain dispensing systems. This also helps her bring another perspective to brewing in terms of how beer and other carbonated liquids behave and the influence of different gases (CO2, “beer gas”, Nitro, etc.) in dispensing. Magen’s first foray in the brewhouse is the Dive Bar Classics series, beginning with the Mojito Dry-hopped Sour that was released on March 4th. This series reflects her passion for being a “bar chef” and her interest in craft cocktails featuring local ingredients. The next in the series, Fuzzy Navel IPA was brewed this week and you can expect it to debut in April. We’ll be sure to get more details about that one as the release date approaches.

• Meanwhile, Roof Hound is also putting on something special for your St. Patrick’s day celebration today – they’ve taken their Handsome Devil Coffee Milk Porter and jazzed it up with almonds, vanilla bean and Irish Whiskey. The result is 7% ABV and there’s only one keg of it down at the brewery. So if you’re in the Digby area tonight and fixing for something dark, smooth and sweet, this one sounds like a good bet!

• In other St. Paddy’s Day beer news, Fredericton’s Picaroons just released The Leprechaunundrum, a dark, bitter, 6.5% ABV ale that doesn’t appear to fit into any particular style of beer. Described by the brewery as “dry and full-bodied, yet fruity due to the generous amounts of Galaxy hops”, it’s now on tap at all Picaroons locations across New Brunswick, and may pop up at select bars/restaurants in the near future.

Bulwark Cider’s special People’s Cider Project is ready for prime-time! We first mentioned it in October, when they put out the call for folks with hobby orchards, abandoned orchards, or just some apple trees on their property to bring apples to Ross Farm Museum for Cider Days. The original hope was simply that enough cider would be made to share with all the apple-givers who were issued People’s Cider Memberships in exchange for their apples. In the end things went a whole lot better than that and the first community-driven cider project in Nova Scotia (at least in recorded memory) is a great success. The People’s Cider has arrived and was launched this week. A rustic cider coming in at 7.8% ABV, it features aromas of apple blossom, pear, and clover honey and has a crisp, dry finish. Given the many varieties of apples it contains, some of which have surely been all but forgotten, it expresses true terroir; future versions are bound to be different, but this is your chance to taste the very first. Available in 500ml bottles, you’ll be able to find it at the private liquor stores in Halifax as well as the NSLC Port of Wines store. If you’re not in Halifax, or even in Nova Scotia, and you want to get your hands on this special batch, fear not! Bulwark has now launched an online store shipping cider and branded merchandise country-wide. This is great news for both Bulwark and cider fans across the land; now if only breweries were allowed to do the same thing…

• After a brief hiatus, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their Killick Session Lager this week, but in a big way. The 4.7% ABV Munich Helles-style beer, originally released as Kinobier last fall to celebrate Devour! Film Fest, is now available in six-pack format. The Helles (“Bright” or “Pale”) style is a traditional German style of beer, known to be supremely drinkable, and the local version does not disappoint. Featuring Heidelberg Malt as the sole grain, and a light bitterness from Herkules hops (with Huell Melon for aroma and flavour), these ingredients keep the beer authentically German. Six-packs are available now at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront, and debuting at the NSLC Monday, April 3rd. And in an update for you Blueberry Chai Pils fans (or soon-to-be fans), packaging of this beer will be happening early next week, with release mid-next-week at the brewery, and with the standard Spindrift Tall Boy cans debuting at the NSLC April 3rd.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another Growler Day today, with a pair of beers available to go. Method IPA is a hazy and juicy, orange hoppy beer with lots of citrus and peach notes, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 7% ABV, the brewery assures us it’s “new and improved”! T&B’s latest sour beer will also be pouring – Sour Otis Tangelo Oranges features, yes, tangelo, a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. The details stop there, but assuming this beer follows the trend set by the others in the Sour Otis series, it was likely kettle soured to give plenty of tartness to complement the character from the fruit addition.

• We’ve got lots of news to share about Sober Island Brewing, who are putting the final touches on their major expansion at their brewery (new building, and a 820 litre (7BBL) brewhouse, up from 50 litre). They expect to be brewing on the system before the end of the month, which means an April launch. In the meantime, however, they will be adding a brand new beer to their core lineup, a Blonde Ale very soon. Described as a “bread and butter sort of beer” by owner Rebecca Atkinson, the easy drinking brew uses a different yeast than the rest of their year-round offerings, low in hop profile, but with plenty of character. The approachable beer is meant to introduce local drinkers to the wonderful world of small batch beer. First sips and samples will be available at the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

• This week’s edition of The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly, is beer-centric, so be sure to grab it to learn about what local brewers are drinking, an interview with Propeller Brewing’s John Allen, and some suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day drinking from the 902BrewCast guys. Speaking of which, they have released their March Tasting Episode this morning, so be sure to grab that in your favourite podcasting method.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is coming up fast (Saturday, April 8th), and Flying Boats will be attending with a brand new beer in tow. Brewed in collaboration with local beer writer Craig Pinhey, it’s being stylized as a “hybrid Amber Ale” brewed to feature the Special B malt. Known for imparting raisin-like, dark fruit characteristics when used in brewing, Special B is more often seen in dark, Belgian-style ales. Flying Boats’ beer also has NB-grown Cascade hops added for bittering and flavour, and will come in at around 29 IBUs and 5.5% ABV. If you can’t make it to the SJBF – there are a few tickets still on sale, by the way – fear not! This one will also be on tap at Flying Boats accounts.

• The NB maple beers continue to flow, as Foghorn just released their take on the style. Described by the brewery as a “Maple Rye”, Xylem has a subtle maple flavour thanks to the addition of 20 L of maple syrup from local producer Briggs Maples. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Southan Goldings, giving a moderate bitterness in the finish. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and is available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom; keep your eyes peeled, as it may pop up on tap at your favourite Foghorn licensee, soon. And keep an eye out for more Maple Beers, launched as a Tourism NB partnership between maple producers and brewers. Also on the list is Distillerie Fils du Roy‘s Monseigneur Paquet collaboration with their Pacquetville neighbours, Sucrerie Chiasson.

• In Nackawic, you’ll find Big Axe putting out their Maple Bourbon Porter, a 5.4% ABV brown porter with a light to medium body and a mild bitterness. The maple syrup for this beer came from Dumfries Maples across the river. Bourbon-soaked oak chips were added to the secondary along with a second shot of maple syrup. Continuing the maple theme, Big Axe will also be doing their annual Maple Wheat Amber as soon as the sugaring season starts, with their usual partner Stone Family Maple Products providing the syrup for that one. We’ll update you on that one as the season goes on.

• And speaking of Fils du Roy, they will be releasing a new beer next weekend, as part of an event in Bathurst. Capt. Craig Brown Ale is a 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU beer named after famous/infamous Capt Craig, a maurader in the Baie de Chaleur, and whose phantom ship is thought to sail the Baie to this day. Le Soiree Noir & Blanc is a fundraising supper happening in Bathurst Mar 25th, in support of food security and assistance for the region’s youth. After the launch, bottles of the beer will be more widely available at the region’s ANBL locations.

In addition to today’s excuse to grab a few pints at your local, we’ve got a few more reasons to celebrate local: 

• Happy One Year Anniversary to Fredericton’s York County Cider! Drop by their retail location at 418 York Street this afternoon from 4-7pm for free sampling, snacks, and prizes.

• Wolfville’s La Torta Pizzeria will be hosting a very special event tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, their first (we think!) tap takeover, as Tatamagouche Brewing comes in from the North Shore. Twelve, count ’em, 12 taps will be flowing with Tata’s signature brews starting at 2pm. There will be door prizes, swag, live music featuring Steve Lee, and no cover charge. The tap list has been slowly revealed this week via social media, with taps 1-4 showcasing the lighter side and taps 5-8 banging the hops. Taps 8-12 are yet to be revealed; check Tata’s Twitter throughout the day for the announcement. And plan to bring an appetite, as La Torta’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired oven will be in full swing.

PEI Brewing Co. will be holding a special Tap Takeover at HopYard on Saturday, March 25th, where they will be launching their dry-hopped Brett Saison. Aptly named Patience, this beer was brewed almost six months ago. With a grist of 2-row, Munich malt, and wheat, it was fermented with a Saison strain, as well as the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which can continue to develop funky flavours and aromas when given enough time. Once it was about ready, it was then dry-hopped with the tropical Citra and Mosaic varieties, and primed (carbonated) in the bottle for several weeks. This is the first Brett (and bottle-conditioned) beer for PEIBC, so be sure to grab a few bottles when you can! Aside from the PEIBC tap takeover, the event will feature lots of live music, as well as a limited edition menu collaboration with Chef Jane Crawford and Chef Adam Loo. Bring your appetites! It all starts at 4 pm, with no cover.

• On April 2nd (rescheduled from March 25 due to shipping issues), Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting a BC Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring 3 heavy-hitters from the West Coast: Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Four Winds Brewing from Delta, and Dageraad of Burnaby. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Changeling Raspberry Sour, Four Winds’ Featherweight Session IPA, and Dageraad’s Sri Lanka Dubbel. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon. For the full taplist, check out the Brewnosers Forums for the salivating details.

• Now that FCBF is over, it’s time to start planning for the next beer-themed Fredericton event – Poutine Fest! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, like past events it will feature three different sessions, with two of them (late afternoon and evening) pouring over 12 different beers, ciders and meads. There are different ticket options which determine the number of drink tickets you receive (click out the link for details); of course, all tickets include all-you-can-eat poutine, with 12+ different varieties being available! Tickets go on sale today at 11 am; the event has sold out every time since its initial launch, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.

• And if summer doesn’t feel too far away for you, we have news on a new festival coming up! The first Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will be held in downtown Nackawic, NB on Saturday, July 15th from 4-8 pm. Organized by Peter and Tatiana Cole of Big Axe Brewery, exact details are still being ironed out, but there will be 20+ breweries from NB, NS, PEI and Maine on hand, as well as live music (including David in the Dark), and food vendors offering “an assortment of foods grown and sourced in NB”. Tickets are already on sale, and are $50 each; there is also a limited-availability $65 option, which includes a bus ride to and from the festival from Fredericton or Woodstock. Breweries confirmed so far include Grimross, Maybee, Hammond River, Picaroons, Sober Island, Foghorn, Upstreet, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Portland, Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Be sure to buy your tickets ASAP, before they’re gone!

And before we go this week…

Good Robot will have their Dave & Morley Coffee Brown back on tap as of today in version 2.0 form, this time featuring Rwanda Kanzu (from Java Blend, of course) as the coffee component. So pull up a stool, order one up, and maybe lift your glass to the late, great Stuart McLean, who inspired this brew. Meanwhile, the gang has installed their Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels and will shortly be pouring things into them; we’ll let you know what when the appropriate time comes.
Mill Street St John’s has brought back their Jigger’s Delight Cali Common (5% ABV, 14 IBUs), a hybrid between lager and ale that is described as “fresh and zingy, with medium body and toasty caramel notes”.
– Needing a Nine Locks Fathom fix? Good news, it’s back in cans again! This 8% ABV DIPA recently won a medal in the Down East Brewing Awards, so stock up while you can!
– Picaroons has announced that they’re looking to fill two brewing positions, one at the Saint John brewery, and one in St. Stephen. Both breweries are 2.5 hL in size, double-batching into 5 hL. For a full list of qualifications and contact info, check out this link.
– The region’s Homebrewers, especially those in the HRM, will be excited to hear that Everwood Avenue Brewshop is relocating out of owner Dave Gillette’s basement and into a retail space in Lower Sackville. This will mean regular retail hours six days a week, and only closing on Mondays. The space is roughly twice as large and will allow the shop to expand its product lines and better cater to different market segments. We’ll have more details before the expected opening on April 5th, but for now can tell you that they’re looking for a full-time employee for the new space. You can find the details of the position posted on the Brewnoser’s forum.

Happy Friday, beer enthusiasts! The weekend is upon us, and we’ve got a slew of new beers to share with you today. For those of you in and visiting the Fredericton region, we’ll see you at this weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (*ahem* Saturday afternoon tickets are still available), and the accompanying events. Be sure to say hi to Shawn and Chris, especially if you see them at the “Drink Like a Judge” table during the afternoon session. And be sure to bring some non-perishable food items (and/or cash) to the Propeller table, as they are collecting donations for Greener Village. For your donations, you’ll get some great Prop merchandise. And again, thanks for all of you who came out for our ACBB Trivia / NS Tap Takeover at the KSAH last night; we had a blast, and thanks to those breweries who generously contributed prizes!

• Good news, Lazy Bear fans! They’ve just released a brand new beer, Carolina, a Belgian Saison. With a simple grist of Pilsner malt and wheat, it was fermented with a special Farmhouse yeast strain that was isolated from South Carolina blueberries by Southyeast Labs. Producing “notes of straw and spice”, there is also a subtle tartness thanks to the light production of acid by the yeast. It was also hopped with Hallertau, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It was pouring at Good Robot‘s Femmebot event earlier this week, as well as in growlers at the brewery; it may pop up at other tap accounts in the near future. In other Lazy Bear news, we’ll be seeing another beer from them soon, also featuring a wild yeast from South Carolina, but in the IPA style. We’ll definitely have more on that one once it has an official name and full details are available.

• Breweries around the region are using more and more Horton Ridge Malt these days and the Paddy’s Pub locations in Kentville and Wolfville just up Highway #1 are no exception. Horton Ridge Rye IPA was brewed using not only barley malted at Horton Ridge, but Rye that was grown, malted and brewed within a 7 kilometre radius. “A juicy, fruity IPA with a light rye spiciness,” according to brewer Kirsten MacDonald, the Horton Ridge malt provides an aromatic element not as present with other malts. The hops are a mixture of the classic American Cascade, the recent new world favourite Amarillo, and relative newcomers El Dorado and Triple Pearl, all blending together for a citrusy nose and flavour. It comes in at 7.2% ABV and a healthy, but not overpowering, 65 IBU.

• Halifax nano Tidehouse wanted to head up to Fredericton to enjoy the FCBF, but when you’re a 3-person show and everyone’s hitting the road, how do you keep the shop open and not miss a weekend of sales? Enter local home brewer and friend of Tidehouse, Ian Wheatley, and his pal Nick Snell. They’ll be minding the store on Salter Street starting today, providing growler fills to thirsty patrons. To sweeten the deal, Ian was offered the opportunity to do production runs of two of his own beers on the Tidehouse system and sell them alongside two regular TH offerings. You may even see Ian’s beers available on taps around town in the coming weeks; if we hear anything more on that we’ll be sure to let you know.

• The first brew from Lil’Wheatey is The Bellhop, a classic American IPA. This beer took a bronze medal in Hamilton, Ontario, at the Because Beer National Homebrew Competition this past summer. With a restrained malt bill to showcase the hops, and featuring prominent stone fruit and citrus flavorus, the beer weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a reasonable 60ish IBU.

• Ian’s other contribution to the lineup, Tic Lac Toe, is a kettle sour based on a Belgian wheat beer recipe that traditionally uses spice and fruit additions. Blueberries provide a characteristic pink colour and provide a complement to the sourness of the style. A pure strain of Lactobacillus buchneri was used to achieve a very clean sourness. Additional fermentables were added post-souring to bring the ABV into the 5% range, while maintaining a low final gravity for a crisp finish. As with many examples of the style, some spicy hops were added, but with a light hand, resulting in a very mild 7-8 IBU.

• A brand new beer will be available at the PEI Brewing Company today with a solid slate of events to mark the occasion. Big Don Coffee Belgian Blonde juxtaposes a pale, yeast-forward style with coffee flavours more commonly associated with darker brews. The PEIBC team worked with their friends at Receiver Coffee Co to select a bean and roast that would accentuate the fruity and spicy notes of the beer while adding chocolate and citrus elements to the finish. This 7.5% ABV brew will be available in cans from the brewery and, to celebrate the release, Receiver will be running a pop-up shop in house from 11am to 5pm, followed by a sampling of Big Don and a Songwriter’s Circle from 5-7pm. And keep an eye on local PEILCCs for the return of cans of their 8 Cord Double IPA this week, and a special new release coming in a couple of weeks (hint, this required quite a bit of Patience to put together).

• There’s two brand new beers coming out of TrailWay Brewing this week, both of which will be appearing at FCBF. First up is Maple Drip, a 9% ABV “Maple Imperial Stout” released a couple of days ago. We initially mentioned this beer in an earlier post, in conjunction with the NB government providing benefits to breweries that produce beer made with local maple syrup. TW used approximately 60 L of syrup from Briggs Maples, and also added some bourbon-soaked oak chips to complement to give “subtle maple, oak and bourbon undertones”. Next up is a new American IPA, Green Island. It weighs in at 6% ABV and features large additions of three relatively-new-to-TW hop varieties: Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7. Based on this, we can likely expect citrus, melon, and candy-like notes in the beer, but we won’t know for sure till we try it! In addition to being at FCBF (where they’ll also have Hoppy McHazy and Hu Jon Hops) and tap accounts across Fredericton, both beers are available in cans (Green Island is releasing today).

• There’s a new beer out from Saint John’s Loyalist City, and it should still be pouring in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Fittingly, Black 47 is an “Irish Coffee Stout” that was brewed with Maris Otter and Flaked Barley; the sweet wort from this mash was then blended with wort from another mash of Roasted Barley and black-kilned malt. A small portion of Chocolate malt was added as well, with the resulting blend receiving hop additions of both East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, to 35 IBUs. Fermented cool with an Irish yeast strain, the beer then had some freshly-ground, dark roasted coffee beans added in secondary, along with some cacao nibs. The result of all this work? A jet-black, “medium-bodied dry Stout with a pronounced roasted flavor, reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate that complements a moderate bitterness and a hint of sweetness on the finish”. Easy-drinking at 4.7% ABV, look for it on tap at the Cask & Kettle, as well as at the Uptown, Eastpoint, and KV ANBL growler stations next week for fills.

• There are two new small batch beers available at 2 Crows Brewing this week, available only on tap at the taproom on Brunswick Street. Neon Nights is an 8.5% ABV Brettanomyces-conditioned beer, featuring some funky and tart characteristics, which was conditioned on burnt orange peel. (Luckily for you FCBF-folks, they will be pouring this one tomorrow) The next truly taproom-only release (can we coin the Attempted Murder Beer Series??) is Panhandle Slim, a Grisette. Grisette is the little sister to Farmhouse Saisons, originally brewed to satisfy miner’s thirst after a long day working underground. Panhandle Slim features a variety of grains in the malt bill, including spelt, wheat, oats and rye, and has been conditioning for 7 months on Brettanomyces, resulting in a refreshing beer with a light body and funkiness. With only one small keg available, this beer will be sure to kick this weekend.

• Does your palate and/or nose like to be challenged when drinking beer? If so, Boxing Rock‘s latest beer, My Mate, may be what you’re looking for! Billed as a “Secret Recipe Stout”, this was brewed as a collaboration with former Gahan/Rogue’s Roost head brewer Karen Allen. As advertised, it contains a secret ingredient; your job is to identify it. Tweet a picture of the beer with your guess of the secret ingredient, and you win a – of course – “secret” prize! The contest closes this Monday at noon. This “savoury, sweet, and well-seasoned” Stout is available at the brewery, and should also be available in bottles today at Rockhead, Bishop’s Cellar today or tomorrow, and on tap this weekend at the Henry House, Battery Park, and Stillwell. (We’re pretty sure they won’t mind you bringing in a box of oranges or rolls of cinnamon or bushel of cucumbers to capture that pic 😉  )

Upstreet will be at the FCBF this weekend, pouring their latest collaboration beer, Rye’D On, brewed in conjunction with Picaroons. That beer will be released next week in PEI, and we can also expect another new one at the end of the month. Go Devil is an American IPA that was brewed with a single malt, Maritime Pale, and generously hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, the brewery promises that it packs a “juicy, tropical, piney, and citrus punch”; with those hop varieties, we’re not surprised! Islanders can expect this one to be released at the end of the month, on March 30th.

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing is also releasing a brand new beer at this weekend’s FredCraftBeerFest, Patagonia IPA. Based on their Patagonia Pale Ale, they boosted the body, bitterness, and alcohol to bring it up to what they look for in an IPA style. Featuring plenty of tropical fruit and piney resin from the hops, the full-bodied 6.6% ABV, 80 IBU beer is launching tomorrow, with it hitting draft lines at the taproom shortly as well.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has been very busy lately! They have four new beers, all of which that will be debuting at FCBF tomorrow. First up is their Sumac Sour (4.8% ABV), a kettle-soured beer that has locally-harvested sumac berries added after fermentation was complete. Dark amber with a crimson hue, this tart beer was also dry-hopped to add some fruity hop notes on the nose.

• Let’s move on to their first Lager. Currently unnamed, this is an amber-coloured beer that was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain, before being lagered at cold temperatures for a period. With a light maltiness in the flavour, it has more hop flavour than expected, thanks to a dry-hop addition. It still comes out with very good clarity, and is quite refreshing at 5% ABV and 25 IBUs.

• The third beer Big Axe will be pouring is a variation on a special one-off brew they poured at last year’s festival, Bootlegger v 2.0 Imperial Stout. The 8.0% ABV beer was brewed with molasses and bitter orange peel, to complement the big body and roast character from the underlying Stout. A pair of casks have been further aged on American oak chips, with those being tapped at the James Joyce Saturday as well.

•  Last, but not least from B.A., is Oatmeal Cream Ale, featuring Extra Pale malt and Oats for a light straw colour, notes of hazelnuts, and a full, silky mouthfeel thanks to the oats. Extremely drinkable, with nice character to keep you wanting more. After the Festival, all four beer will be available at their taproom in Nackawic, and at their tap accounts in Fredericton.

• In important news for Nova Scotia breweries, the lawyer representing Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing appeared in court earlier this week, following up on their challenge of the legality of the Retail Sales Markup Allowance (RSMA) collected by the NSLC. Arguing that the NSLC (a) does not take part in the production, packaging, or delivery of the beer that Unfiltered (and many other breweries in the province) brews, and (b) does not have the authority to collect what is effectively a tax, lawyer Richard Norman requested the refund of more than $35,000 in funds that had been paid, and that the RSMA be declared invalid. The judge has yet to render a decision, and will do so within the next six months. You can rest assured we’ll pass along information as we receive it, as this will affect all breweries and beer drinkers in the province! You can read more about the original filing, and this week’s hearing online.

Here’s what’s going on this weekend in our region:

• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is happening Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go at all three spots, but be warned, this is a big beer!

• After tomorrow’s Beer Fest at the Convention Centre in Fredericton, stumble over to The Snooty Fox for a Tap Takeover by PEI Brewing/Gahan, with live music by The Hypochondriacs starting at 9:30pm. They’ll be bringing ten different beers, including some special releases, so there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Before we leave you for this week, here are a few parting shots:

– British Columbia’s Central City Brewers and Distillers is releasing a special 12-pack of collaborative brews in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. Atlantic Canadian breweries Quidi Vidi, Garrison, Picaroons, and PEI Brewing are all part of the Red Racer Across The Nation Collaboration, which we expect to be available at local LCs in the spring. We’ll have details on the four local beers when available, in the meantime here’s a bit more information.
Good Robot managed to get a keg of Red Moon Landing on tap for their FemmeBot event on Wednesday, but due to a chiller issue, the remainder of that AlphaBrew batch won’t be available until this coming Wednesday. Meanwhile, you can enjoy their March Madness Cribbage Tournament on Sunday, March 12, with 32 players and a potential $150 pot, or this month’s Silent Reading event on Thursday the 16th.
– For those of you in the Annapolis Valley, be sure to request your Lunn’s Mill Growler Delivery ASAP, and ask for their brand new Eclipse Black IPA. Hoppy, roasty, and with plenty of bitterness, it’ll get you warmed up after shovelling out from the snow that may be coming our way this weekend.
– Mil Street St John’s has released their Black Bart Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
– If you love the DOA from Unfiltered Brewing, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s back at the brewery and next door at Charm School as of today at noon. Same 100+ IBU. Same 7.5% ABV. Double Orange Apocalypse.

You might think that the last week of February/first week of March would see a bit of a slowdown in beer news — winter’s not quite over, March break is yet to come and the University students are back in class. But if you write a beer blog and you try to keep up with it all, you know better. There are plenty of things to tell you about as the region prepares for one of its biggest annual events, the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. As well, seasonal beers are being released, plenty of events going on, another new brewery has opened its doors and we’ve received word of another brewery in the works! We’re starting to think there might possibly be something to this whole “Craft Beer Industry” thing.

• The wait is over for local beer fans in Lawrencetown, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley! Lunn’s Mill Beer held their first growler session yesterday afternoon, with their four core beers available (Charming Molly Blonde Ale, Brickyard Red Red Ale, Lunn’s Pub Ale English Ale, and XPA #1 IPA). For those who contact them ASAP, there will be the first Growler Delivery happening this afternoon, for folks in the Annapolis Royal to Greenwood region. For now, Growler Nights and Delivery will be the best way to get your hands on Lunn’s Mill beer, and we will be sure to let you know when the brewery is set up for samples and pints, as well as draft available at local pubs and restaurants. Congratulations to Mark, Sean, and the whole Lunn’s Mill Crew!

• We’ve received word of another new brewery on the way for New Brunswick, with Valonray Farmhouse Brewing (changed from the initial name, “46th Parallel Brewing”) scheduled to open later this summer in MacDougall Settlement. Founded by Phil and Allison Fontaine, they plan on launching with a small line-up of American-style ales – brewed by Phil on a 1 BBL (115 L) electric system – with Belgian-style barrel-aged ales following within a few months, thanks to the acquisition of twenty 225 L oak barrels. The initial beers will be available at select licensees, as well as some being bottled and sold through the ANBL. The couple will be using 100%-locally sourced ingredients, with some being grown directly on-site. A tap room is also in the planning stages, and will hopefully be open by the summer of 2018. The eventual goal is to become an authentic Belgian-style, Farmhouse brewery within the first few years, including expanding to barrel-aged sour beers. Look for a Q&A with Allison and Phil from us in the near future.

• Early this week, Maybee Brewing released Mars Madness, a Bière de Mars. This style is closely related to the Bière de Garde, a French style traditionally brewed in the early spring, and then cellared for several months to be enjoyed during warmer weather. Bière de Mars, on the other hand, is usually brewed in March and released immediately. It is in some ways similar to a Belgian Saison, especially in that the yeast provides a lot of the character, with a malty backbone from the grist. Mars Madness was fermented at a low temperature to keep the fruity esters in check, and had a lengthier conditioning time than usual for Maybee brews. Described by the brewery as a crisp, refreshing beer, it has “fruity notes of banana and bubble gum, and subtle hints of noble hop spice and clove”. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV and 30 IBUs, this one is available on tap only. For those of you attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival next week, it will be available on cask at both the afternoon and evening sessions.

• Dartmouth’s Downeast Beer Factory has a new beer on tap, perfect for the approaching St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Nitro Irish Stout was brewed with plenty of Roasted Barley and Midnight Wheat in the grist, to give lots of the roasted aromas and flavours expected from the style. Both Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops were added, with “a generous amount” of EKG at the end of the boil. Served on a 75/25 nitrogen/CO2 blend to boost the creamy mouthfeel, it’s easy-drinking at 4.8% ABV, and on tap right now at the brewpub.

• With the 2017 Brier kicking off this week in St John’s, YellowBelly Brewpub has released a new beer to celebrate. They’ve released the quintessential American Pale Ale, weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 40 IBU, featuring two dry-hopping rounds with Cascade. The beer is on tap now (and only on tap, no plans for bottles), but they need your help to name it! Hit them up on Twitter or Facebook with your best curling pun name to win a $100 gift certificate. And once this small batch APA kicks, their St Patrick’s Day celebration Patrick’s Pale Ale will hit the taps. This year’s version features Sorachi Ace as the sole hop in the 6.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer.

• After two straight releases of the decidedly less hoppy variety, Unfiltered Brewing is bringing out a beer today to remind everyone just who punches the hoppy dance cards in HRM. And speaking of dancing, the beer is being released in conjunction with the film Goon: Last of the Enforcers, which will be screened in Halifax on March 9 a week ahead of its March 17 release date. Fist of God is a NASHian DIPA in the Northeast IPA style with 100+ IBU and featuring a mix of Citra, Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic hops for big citrus, tropical and dank aromas and flavors. At 8% ABV, it’s also likely to leave you in a bit of a FoG if you’re not careful. Look for it at the brewery and Charm School pub for pints and fills as of noon today, as well as on tap at Primal Kitchen, Stillwell (from Friday open), and Tom’s Little Havana (who will keep it on tap as long as Unfiltered can supply it).

• And while you are grabbing a pint and/or growler at Unfiltered today, be sure to try the other latest addition to their taps, kombucha from Mad Boocha. Brewed in small batches in the Unfiltered brewhouse, kombucha is produced using yeast and bacteria, fermenting sweet tea into a lightly acidic and refreshing low-, or no-, alcohol drink. Mad Boocha has released several styles of the drink, with a Hibiscus Ginger version available currently for both pints and take-away in growlers at Unfiltered. Keep an eye on their social media pages for more details on the next releases.

North is releasing a new beer today, a Belgian Dubbel named Doki Doki Dubbel. Not your typical Dubbel, this one had a secondary fermentation on black cherries, gives notes of cherry, raisin, and dark fruit in the flavour, along with a light spiciness in the finish. Weighing in at 7.4% ABV, it will be available for growler fills, as well as in 750 mL swing tops. Battery Park will have it on tap, and it will be available at tonight’s North Tap Takeover at Good Robot; it may also appear at other beer establishments in the HRM in the near future.

• Earlier this week Boxing Rock in Shelburne brought a new beer to market in a style not common around these parts, and certainly not one we’ve seen from a local brewery any time recently. Stayin’ Alive is a malty lager in the traditional bock style, fairly high in alcohol and hopped very mildly for a satisfying and filling experience. Originating in the town of Einbeck some 700 years ago, it was commonly brewed and consumed by monks as a means of maintaining nutrition during pre-Easter fasting. Though they eschewed the de rigueur billy goat on the label, Boxing Rock’s version stays true to the style, coming in at 6.8% ABV, with biscuit, bread and roast flavours, smooth bittering and just a touch of noble hop flavor. You can find it now at the brewery, at private stores in HRM, and on tap at tap accounts throughout Nova Scotia. And speaking of taps, Boxing Rock has announced their Legendary Keg Club contest, where the winner will see a beer tap installed in his or her home and Boxing Rock will supply 6 months of beer to stock it! To enter, simply go to the contest page and fill in the blanks appropriately.

• Like Boxing Rock, Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay will also be hopping on the seasonal malty German lager train early in March, but with the bigger, beefier version of the bock style, the Doppelbock. Doppel being German for “double”, doppelbock takes the maltiness of the bock to deeper, darker places where more roasty and dark fruit flavours emerge. Doppelbock 1753 pays tribute to the German heritage of the South Shore and is subtitled, “The Winter Beer of Lunenburg County.” This beer features the requisite malty sweetness as well as rich plum flavours, hints of dark chocolate and a slightly warming mouthfeel consistent with the 8.1% ABV. A characteristically low 19 IBU provide slight bitterness to this dark brown brew that finishes with a lingering vinous character.​ A firm launch date has not yet been determined, but watch the brewery’s Twitter feed where it will surely be announced. Late notice addition: Launch Date is March 10th.

• After celebrating their First Anniversary this week, the fine folks at Nine Locks Brewing have decided to give us all the gift of another new beer! Launching this coming Monday, Vanilla Porter will be available on draft and in cans. Featuring three separate additions of vanilla, this full-bodied porter blends dark chocolate and vanilla together in a great brew. At 5.0% ABV and a light 25 IBU, the malt and vanilla are the stars of the show. Keep an eye on their Twitter page for the exact launch details.

• Launching at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is a cross-Confederation-Bridge Collaboration, between Charlottetown’s Upstreet and Fredericton’s Picaroons breweries. Brewed using the same malt bill, featuring a healthy dose of Rye malt, Rye’d On is an 8.0% ABV Imperial Rye Beer, but fermented with two different yeasts. Upstreet’s Hogie brewed the beer at his brewery in Charlottetown, and then travelled to Fredericton to assist in brewing the same beer on the Picaroons system. In Fredericton, the beer was fermented using Pics’ own Ringwood ale strain, while in C’town, Upstreet used a pitch of lager yeast normally destined for their Commons Pilsner. The result is two different beers with a common origin. You’ll have the first chance to try the beer at the Fest March 11th, and to a wider release at both ANBL and PEILCC stores, and on draft in both provinces on Monday the 13th.

• Hammond River is brewing a new American IPA next week – single-hopped with Summit, this is a high alpha-acid American variety known for providing plenty of orange, tangerine, and citrus character in beer. Going in the dry-hop with the Summit will be lots of freshly-zest grapefruit zest, so we can likely expect a beer chock-full of citrus character! Expect this one to come in at around 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, and to start popping up on tap in a few weeks.

And the goings-on keep going strong:

• Head out to Digby’s Roof Hound this Saturday, March 4th, for another Beer Launch Music Event. Kicking off their “Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series”, they are releasing the Mojito Dry Hopped Sour that we told you about last week. Weighing in at 4.8% ABV, the light-bodied tart beer features loads of freshly zested and squeezed limes and fresh mint. To celebrate, they are holding a live music event that evening, with Hannah-Grace playing from 10pm, after the beer starts flowing at 9pm.

• For those of you in Halifax, drop by Lion & Bright Saturday night from 8pm for a Breton Brewing takeover of their taps. Featuring their core lineup, as well as a few seasonal and fun favourites, there will sure to be something for everybody flowing tomorrow night. Find out more on their event page.

Good Robot continues to keep their schedule packed with goings-on. After last night’s tap takeover at Battery Park in Dartmouth, tonight sees North-end neighbours North Brewing populating 8 of the GR taps completing a craft beer quid pro quo celebrating the collaboration beer Moo Nay Tripel that we told you about last week. On Wednesday, they bring you FemmeBot, a celebration of International Women’s Day hosted by comedian Megan McDowell. They’ll have three new beers on tap: Red Moon Landing, a Red IPA that celebrates the African American women who were key to NASA space missions (and who inspired the film Hidden Figures); Baba Yaga Chaga Brown, an American Brown Ale featuring Chaga Fungus that invokes a supernatural feminine spirit of Slavic folklore; and, Faster Pussy Hat! Kill! Kill! a hibiscus-infused IPA. The first two of these were brewed by female staff of Good Robot, the third by Glee Club member and home brewer, Robyn Vaughan. There will also be guest taps from other breweries with prominent female brewers, including Sober Island, Boxing Rock, Spindrift and Lazy Bear. Much more information is available on the event’s Facebook page and Thursday’s article in The Coast.

• Next week is Fredericton Craft Beer Week, with plenty of events leading up to the grand finale, the FCBF, on March 11th. In addition to these events, the James Joyce will be hosting a New Brunswick IPA Showdown from Tuesday, March 7th to Thursday, March 9th. During this time period, all 25 taps (and a cask) will be pouring various IPA styles, ranging from American to English, White to Black, and beyond! All of your favourites will be on, as well as some new beers, including the first appearance of Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing, which will have both their Hop Series Cascade and Hop Series Motueka on tap at some point. Be sure to show up and order some flights (and/or full pours) to get your hop fix!

• Also next Thursday, March 9th, don’t forget to stop by the King Street Ale House for their Nova Scotia Tap Takeover and Trivia Night. Lots of great NS beer, lots of easier (we promise) trivia questions from Shawn and Chris… and lots of brewery swag to the winners! Beer starts pouring at 6 pm, with trivia following at 7 pm. No charge to attend, but if you buy a ticket in advance you get a special glass and ten 5 oz pours to get you started. And once you’re done there, maybe you can head down the street to Graystone to sample some beers from their New Brunswick NanoTakeover, where 8 different small NB breweries will have their beers on tap.

Enjoy your weekend, and as always, just a few more things before signing off…

Picaroons seasonal Maple Cream Ale is back; this 5% ale is brewed with maple syrup from local producers Briggs Maples. Available for a limited time on tap at the Roundhouse and Brewtique, and in bottles at ANBL stores.
Tatamagouche Brewing has added a third can to their offerings at the NSLC, their popular Hippie Dippie Pale Ale. Check here for the availability at your local outlet. And watch your podcatching app next #902sday (aka March 7th), as the 902 BrewCast folks (with our own Chris in tow), drop by Tatamagouche to learn about the history of the brewery, and some cool new beers and projects on the horizon.
– Yesterday, TrailWay released the winning American IPA in their first Homebrew Challenge; Hoppy McHazy was brewed by local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon, and is available now on tap and in cans. Only 50 cases of cans were released, but fear not… the beer will be brewed again within a couple of months. Check here for the full details on the beer.

Happy Friday, beer lovers, and welcome to a warm weekend! Whether it’s freezing out or everything is beginning to thaw, there’s always plenty to report on beer news in our region, and this week has been no exception. Let’s get right to it…

• Starting off with some brewery expansion news, Bruce Barton, owner/brewer of Riverview, New Brunswick’s Celtic Knot Brewing, has confirmed that he will be increasing production, from the current 80 L system to a 3.75 BBL (~435 L) within the next couple of months. The current Celtic Knot brewery is located within Bruce’s home, but the new system will be in a separate location in Riverview, where you will be able to drop by to have growlers filled of your favourite CK beers! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.

Tidehouse will be releasing another of their one-off beers today – Oaked Island is an American Pale Ale, solely and heavily hopped with Centennial, and fermented on French oak (previously soaked in Russian vodka). This unique combination results in flavours of “citrus, pine, and floral notes” from the Centennial, with a “soft, subtle vanilla character” thanks to the oak. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV, it will be available at the TH retail shop on Salter, as well as on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and Water & Bone. Look for future one-offs to be released on Fridays in the future – this is a change from previous releases, which have occurred on Wednesdays. Hey, we definitely benefit from that!

• The gang at Good Robot has some news and new beers for us this coming week, but also slipped a new beer onto the taps the other day. Dubbel Trubbel came about when Kelly Costello and a co-worker were inspired by a recipe in a homebrew magazine that included star anise and dates. Leveraging GR’s unofficial beer knowledge program that allows employees to try out brewing for themselves, they put the recipe into action, albeit minus the star anise and the dates. Featuring Pilsner, Aromatic, Munich, Vienna, Special B, and Cara-Munich malts, along with Belgian Candi sugar, the beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV. It was fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, so a little outside the traditional Dubbel style. Brewed on their Beta System, be sure to drop by right away to avoid missing this limited release.

 

• The big news for Good Robot this week is that they’ve found themselves an assistant brewer. Jake Charles DeWolfe is now on the scene, and to celebrate there will be a twin pack of new releases in the GR taproom on Tuesday. The first is DeWolfe of Wall Street, in the American Pale Ale style, a complementary beer to brewmaster Doug’s Burban Legend, mirroring the yin Jake will bring to Doug’s yang. We presume. With a simple malt bill of 2-row, Pilsner and Vienna underpinning a hop schedule that includes Cascade for bittering, Mount Hood for dry hop and both for aroma during a whirlpool, this 6.3% ABV pale comes in high and hard with citrus hop flavours and a dry, crisp finish, but only 29 IBU. Joining that beer will be a BetaBrewed Mexican Lager for which a suitably Good Robot name has not yet been determined. At a very light 4.7% ABV and a barely there 14 IBU, it’s built around pale malt, flaked corn and Vienna for a touch of biscuity flavor, and agave nectar, all paired with the noble Tettnang hop variety, and fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast. This one is likely to be dangerously crushable and reminiscent of a summer day at the lake.

• Over in Burnside, Spindrift has some releases in the coming months that they’re teasing on social media. The Killick is labeled as a “session lager” but has been referred to elsewhere as a Munich Helles, a classic German style that is fairly low alcohol, light-bodied, malt-balanced and designed to go down easy. This will be their first packaging in 355ml cans and it will be available in six packs from the brewery sometime around mid-March and then the NSLC later on. Spindrift are also going to have a seasonal single serve slot at the NSLC and the first two offerings will be the Blueberry Chai Pils we mentioned last week from April to June (also available a the brewery in mid-March) and the Blood Orange India Pale Lager from July to September. We’ll surely have more details for you about these beers and their availability as their official release dates approach.

• Digby’s Roof Hound has brewed up an interesting new beer, which will be the first in their upcoming Dive Bar Classic Cocktail series, where all the beers will be inspired by well-known cocktails. This first brew is a Mojito Sour – “partially kettle-soured” (meaning half the batch was soured, and then blended with the non-soured half), it will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial, and also feature the addition of fresh mint, and lime zest and juice. The official launch party for this brew will be held on Saturday, March 4th; we’ll keep you updated on the official stats for this one when they’re confirmed.

• Word hit the street last week that Greg Nash has brought his Russian Imperial Stout, Commissar to Unfiltered. Last seen during his time at the Hart & Thistle, many have lamented that it was on tap when that establishment closed and the last batch was never properly finished. This time around, the beer was aged on oak for months and fortified with J.D. Shore Black Rum from Halifax Distilling Co.. Promising a slightly sweet flavour with lots of dark fruit and hints of bitter chocolate, it is said to be reminiscent of rum cake. It will be available as of noon today at the brewery for growler fills, Charm School for pints, and both the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar for bottles ($16/500ml). This one is likely to get even better with age, so definitely consider grabbing a couple bottles for your cellar when you pop in for your first taste. But be aware, at 11.6% ABV and full of rum, this one is likely to have you throwing rocks at your own house if you’re not careful!

Red Rover has a new, very-limited batch cider pouring at the Cider House in Fredericton. Just released earlier this week, Blood Orange is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider infused with blood orange juice. Tart and crisp, yet balanced by the accompanying sweetness, it’s available for pours only (no flagon fills) due to the limited supply; however, if feedback is quite positive, there’s a good chance a larger batch will be made in the future. Look for it on tap at James Joyce and Graystone, as well.

• Look for a new beer to be released from FirkinStein very soon – Project Orange is described as a “light, easy-drinking ale with a slight orange tang” by the brewery, despite weighing in at a fairly hefty 7% ABV. With a slight citrus hop presence in the background thanks to the addition of Cascade, there was also plenty of orange juice added. It will be making its debut at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, and should also be pouring at Battery Park shortly afterwards.

Big Tide and Picaroons have joined forces to brew a collaboration beer, a Doppelbock named The Uphill Battle. The recipe was concocted between the two breweries, and the beer mashed-in on Big Tide’s system (featuring a grist of Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, CaraMunich and Carafoam). Half of the resultant wort stayed at Big Tide, and the other half was transported to the Picaroons General Store location; both were then boiled, hopped (with Magnum and Perle), and fermented at their respective homes with a dry Lager yeast. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, this malty, toasty brew will be going on tap at the Big Tide brewpub and the General Store tomorrow.

• Big news in Halifax from what will be one of the smallest breweries in the region by design – brought to you by the folks behind Stillwell Beer Bar, Stillwell Brewing will be focused on small-batch mixed-fermentations and oak barrel aging, and might possibly be the first brewery of its kind in Canada. Taking up some space in the back area of Propeller Brewing in the North End of Halifax, expect very small scale, periodic bottle releases, and very rare keg tappings (most of which will happen at SW and their Beer Garden). We’ll keep you updated on this exciting bit of info as it develops! In the meantime, follow Stillwell Brewing on Instagram for some pics on behind the scenes activity.

• The NSLC released their third quarter financial results covering the three months ending December 31st, 2016, and the news for Nova Scotia Craft Beer continues to be good. While overall beer sales were down 0.4%, craft beer sales continued to grow, with a 29.5% increase to $2.5m over the same quarter in the previous year. Though this increase isn’t quite as large as seen in first (48.4%) and second (39.7) quarters, it shows the industry still has room to grow. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Q4 shows a continuation of this trend and also whether additional shelf space for craft beer will carry the trend into the next fiscal year.

There’s a whole whack of events going on over the next few days, especially in the HRM… take your pick from below and be sure to head out over the weekend!

Tonight, the Stubborn Goat will be holding a tap takeover with Charlottetown, PEI’S Upstreet, in the Flight Night at the Goat. Eight Upstreet beers will be on tap, including Smoked Porter from their One Way series. There’s no cover; just show up for plenty of beer, plus food pairings and flight specials! All of the Upstreet crew will be there, anxious to meet you and chat about everything beer!

• Been too long since the last <insert amazing brewery here> tap takeover at Stillwell for ya? Well, it really hasn’t been that long at all, but good news! Tomorrow, February 25th, they’ll be hosting a Le Castor takeover, with 12 amazing beers pouring all day. One of Quebec’s highest-regarded breweries, they’re bringing some real winners, such as Colorado (a “dry-hopped Wild Ale”) and Sanctuaire (a Tripel aged in red wine barrels with Brett). No charge to attend, just show up and pay by the pour!

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a Big Spruce tap takeover tomorrow, February 25th, which should last all weekend. Their collaboration with Bishop’s, Anaphylactic Choc – a 5.5% ABV “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” that features Nutsmith organic peanut butter added in the boil and that was aged on organic cocao nibs – will be pouring. Drop by in the afternoon between 1-4 pm, and don’t forget to bring your growlers! In addition to the new brew, they’ll be have Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Liquid James Brown Milkshake IPA available for fills, with samples of some special one-offs while your jugs are being filled.

• Also tomorrow, February 25thHell Bay is holding Cocoa & Malt, a special pairing of dark beer and hand-crafted chocolate desserts and sweets. Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, it had to be postponed due to weather… and luckily, there’s still some spots left! It’s $25+tax per person; reserve your spot by calling 902-356-3556.

• Halifax’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is currently holding a Bad Apple Brewhouse and Propeller tap takeover, which will continue until this Sunday, February 25th. With eight beers from BAB (including their wonderful Mosaic DIPA), and seven from Propeller (including a cask of their ESB), it’s pay-as-you-drink all weekend. BAB’s owner/brewery Jeff Saunders will be on hand for beer questions/chatting tonight, and Propeller’s brewer/sales manager Pat Robichaud will be available on Saturday night. Check out the full tap list here.

• It’s another busy week coming up for Good Robot, starting with their participation at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow night, followed by an after-party luau featuring beers and buddies from Upstreet Brewing back at the taproom, with Koconut Kings providing musical entertainment. As mentioned above, Tuesday, February 28th, will see the debut of beers from Jake DeWolfe, Assistant Brewer, paired with a Mardi Gras Cajun menu from Black Sheep and a soul playlist on vinyl from Black Buffalo spun by a live DJ. Thursday, March 2nd sees a tap takeover at the taproom by North Brewing, with 8 taps, possibly the most ever for that brewery in a North end pub. The favour is returned the next night, on Friday, March 3rd when 14, count’em 14 Good Robot brews go up at Battery Park in Dartmouth. The most. Ever. Anywhere. We expect to hear more about that this week, so look for more details in next week’s wrap-up.​

That’s the news we’ve got to share this week! Have a great weekend, and be sure to enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having! Before we head out for good…

– Last night was the first Brew Ha-Ha at the Company House, featuring Tidehouse Brewing and the comedy of Andrew Vaughan, Dan Hendrickson and Frank Russo. We’ll find out more about what sounds like it might be a regular event, and let you know.
– The Craft Beer Cottage Party is tomorrow night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market at 7pm. Although the VIP passes have sold out it looks like there are still some general tickets available. Come on out to dream of summer and sample the wares of 30 breweries from the region.
– Today, Garrison is welcoming Dave Martin, winner of the 2016 Home Brew-Off, to brew his Chamomile IPA on the Garrison system; the beer will be released at this year’s gala on March 23rd. Judging for this year’s competition is actually happening tomorrow, with almost 40 entries for the Wee Heavy style.
Grimross now has their Pugnacious Porter (6.2% ABV) available in cans; joining their Maritime Pale Ale, it’s available at the brewery and should be following in ANBL stores, soon.
– The Hammond River Blackberry Berliner Weisse we reported on earlier this month is now available on tap; Ram Jam comes in at 3.2% ABV and is circulating on tap around HR accounts.
– March 1st marks one year for Nine Locks Brewing. They’ll be celebrating with draws and in-store specials. If you haven’t been out to see them, it’s probably a good time to rectify that.

 

The little town of Montague, PEI (located on the eastern end of the Island) is going to be getting a lot bigger this coming summer… at least, beer-wise! Husband and wife team Ken Spears and Ashley Condon announced early this month that they plan on opening Copper Bottom Brewing sometime by mid-summer. This is one of two breweries scheduled to open in Montague in 2017 (the other being Montague Brewing), with Ken and Ashley planning to focus on live music, as well as beer, in the brewery’s accompanying tap room. We’ve recently exchanged emails with Ken to find out what the couple have in store for when the brewery launches this summer…

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
I am a Red Seal electrician turned brewer originally from Nova Scotia. My wife, Ashley Condon, is an award-winning songwriter and touring musician originally from Murray Harbour North, PEI. We live in the woods in rural PEI just outside of Montague and have a cat named Fiona. We enjoy hiking, the beach, and Ashley does yoga in the upper part of the “Brewdio” (the barn on our property that houses the “nanobrewery” and yoga/music studio)

How did you get into the world of craft beer?
I fell in love with craft beer in 2003 when I landed a job at Propeller Brewing in Halifax. The owner, John Allen, became a mentor to me, offering advice and inspiring me to follow my passion. Ashley fell in love with craft beer by proxy and by travelling around North America as a musician visiting local microbreweries. When we travel together we spend lots of time visiting local breweries as well, and have grown to love the whole craft beer scene together which is pretty cool.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Ashley and I moved to PEI in 2011. The move inspired change and I quickly realized PEI was the perfect place to open a microbrewery. I also realized that PEI needed more options for craft beer. Having been exposed to the thriving craft beer scene in Nova Scotia, I was excited to see how PEI’s craft beer scene could grow as well. I also felt like my love of brewing could be an asset to the community and allow me to follow my passion.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
I love experimenting with new beer styles and playing with the flavours. The brewhouse is currently a converted 50 litre keg, propane-fired nano brewery. As mentioned previously, we call our barn the “Brewdio” because it’s a brewery and music/yoga studio in one.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
We are aiming so serve our first pint mid-summer 2017.

What size/manufacturer/type of system will you be brewing on? Expected output (monthly, yearly, etc)?
We have a DME 10 BBL (~1170 L) system that has 7000 L cellar capacity to start with, and room to grow.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Are you licensed for on-site sales?
We will have several tap accounts across the Island with growler fills from the brewery, and eventually cans distributed to PEILCC stores. Our tap room – which overlooks the Montague river – will be set up for pints served daily.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
Stay tuned!

Can you tell us about the beer(s) you plan on offering initially? Are you planning on offering a specific style, or genres (Belgian, English, etc), of beer? Any seasonals, one-offs, or will you stick mainly with a “flagship lineup”?
We are committed to a wide variety of styles to keep our options open for experimenting. We will have flagships and we have planned for exciting one-off brews and smaller batches. Keep up-to-date on our Brews News blog on our website. We will be documenting the entire building process as well.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
We have been in touch with several brewers across the country and everyone has been really helpful. In particular, John Allen (Propeller Brewing in Halifax), Jeremy White (Big Spruce in Cape Breton), Don Campbell (Barnone in PEI), Simon Livingston (L’Espace Public in Montreal) and Mitch Cobb and Mike Hogan (Upstreet in PEI).

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
We will be distributing across PEI and collaborating with other breweries. We also hope to be a hub in our community, hosting monthly events and growing our networks within the artistic and brewing communities.

Do you have a favourite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I love dark, malty beers as well as light and hoppy… and sour beers are changing my life!

How about a favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
I love brewing with the American “C” hops and Maris Otter malt.

It’s fantastic to see yet another craft brewery planned to open in PEI, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from Ken and Ashley over the coming months, with updates on their progress! Be sure to follow along on their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and of course we’ll be sure to include any news in our weekly Friday Wrap-Up.

Happy Friday everyone! What a week of weather for our region! Snow and power outages and cancellations have plagued the region for the past while, but thankfully our local brewers haven’t rested to get us the great beer we all crave. Check out the latest news, and stay warm!

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, responsible for producing malt used in breweries across the province, has announced that they will begin operating a small brewery onsite, slated to open this summer. The 120 litre (1 BBL) system would serve as a testing ground for the different malt varieties they have on offer, in order to give commercial brewers and visitors to the Malt House the chance to taste the different characteristics of their offerings. The beers would be available on-site only, in their tasting room and facility outside of Wolfville, along with other breweries’ offerings showcasing their malts. We’ll have much more on the details of the brewery closer to launch in July. You can learn more in person yourself with a visit to the Malt House for an Open House tomorrow, 2:30-4:00pm.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn recently hosted Patrick Dionne, head brewer at Petit-Sault, for a collaboration brew on their system. Well, that beer is now available on tap, and we’ve got some details to share! Epic Fume is a 5.7% ABV Smoked Porter, featuring beech-smoked malt in the grist to give gentle smoke characteristics in both the aroma and flavour. It’s currently pouring at the Foghorn taproom, and is on tap at the Five and Dime in Saint John. For those of you in the Edmundston area, look for it to start pouring at Petit-Sault sometime next week.

• Sticking with Petit-Sault, they’ll be brewing this year’s Big Boots Brew tomorrow, an annual event sponsored by the Pink Boots Society. This one will actually be a collaboration brew, as Wendy Papadopoulos, head brewer at Big Tide, will be participating, along with four other women from the area. The theme for this year’s international brew is Ancient/Historical Beer, with Petit-Sault and Big Tide deciding on a Gruit for their brew, an un-hopped style of beer that relies on the use of herbs for flavouring and bittering. The collaboration beer will be named Malobiannah Gruit, after a local legend involving a young Malecite woman who sacrified herself to save her people during an Iroquois invasion in the Grand Falls area. The grist will feature 2-row, Pilsner, and Honey malt, and a carefully-chosen mix of herbs that includes yarrow, goldenrod, sweet gale, bayberry and lavender. Some local maple syrup will also be added to the brew, which should come in at 5.2% ABV. The beer will be released on International Women’s Day on March 8th, and we can confirm that it will be making an appearance at this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 11th.

• Although they don’t have anything truly new for us this week, we’re told that Good Robot in Halifax has a batch of their Burban Legend APA coming to the taps, this one of the v2.0 variety (that’s the one dry hopped with citrussy Cascade and stone fruit Amarillo). Knowing they’d have to sweeten the pot to get us to mention that, they also spilled the beans on a special batch brewed up just yesterday with their staff. Red Moon Rising was brewed for their Women’s Day event, FemmeBot, coming up in March. It’s a Red IPA leaning heavily on Bestmalz Red X, a base malt known for imparting a deep red color. Also in the malt bill are Vienna for some toasty/biscuity notes and flaked barley for mouthfeel and body. Hops include their own “GR Blend” (think Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Good Robot-style) at bittering time and Equinox during whirlpool and the planned dry-hop for a tropical and fruity presence. It’s fermenting now on the classic Cal Ale yeast. Look for release details in the coming weeks (we’d bet somewhere around March 8th…).

• Meanwhile in Fredericton, Grimross has already released the second entry in their new Scratch series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA. This 6.7% ABV, 65 IBUs brew was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, Herkules and Amarillo, most of which were grown in New Brunswick. The brewery describes it as having “a pleasant, citrus hop profile on the nose and palate, and finishes clean and dry”. Fermented, of course, with a Belgian yeast strain to add some classic fruity esters and spicy phenolics to blend with the hop characteristics, it’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills; you may see it pop up around the city, as well. Grimross has also just brewed a collaboration with Dumfries Maples, featuring a large addition of maple syrup from the Dumfries, NB sugarbush. Details on Dumfries Maples Brown Ale are being kept a secret for now… stay tuned!

• Speaking of beers brewed with maple syrup, TrailWay also has one fermenting right now. No, this isn’t actually a coincidence – the New Brunswick government has been encouraging breweries in the province to collaborate with local maple producers to brew these beers. While we’re not sure of the exact details of this arrangement, we’ve been told there are benefits provided to breweries who do so. TW has brewed an Imperial Stout with maple syrup from Briggs Maples; expect it to come in around 9% ABV. TW has also confirmed that the beer will be packaged in cans, as well as kegs.

• The new DIPA from Maybee Brewing that we teased about a couple of weeks ago is officially being released today. Look Off DIPA is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was hopped mainly with Amarillo and Chinook (to 105 calculated IBUs). Described by the brewery as “super juicy”, it’ll be available at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and at better beer establishments in Fredericton (including the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar later today). Look for it to also be released in cans sometime next week, and be sure to take note of the updated label designs for Maybee cans at the same time.

Spindrift teased a new beer on Instagram that they’ve just brewed, based on popular casks they have brought to beer festivals in the past: Blueberry Chai Pilsner (featuring Rooibus Chai tea from World Tea House). They’re keeping quiet on the exact specs and details for now, but don’t worry, we’ll have more, soon! In the meantime, they’re taking their Abyss Schwarzbier to the next level, and bottling a batch of it that sat in barrels, on cherries, next week. It should be available for purchase sometime in mid-March.

• The taps at Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax will see a special brew this week as Erebos Porter makes its debut. Starting its life as a batch of Night Vision American Porter, it was aged extensively on figs in Hungarian oak barrels that formerly held Merlot at Bear River Vineyards. According to brewmaster Kyle, the wood and the fruit have rounded out the beer, which is normally quite dry, providing a nice dark fruit character without astringency. With only two barrels (110 litres each) available, this one’s not likely to be available for fills, so plan to hang around the pub and enjoy a pint. And this is the last call for homebrewers interested in taking part in the Home Brewer’s Challenge must contact Kyle to sign up.

Garrison Brewing has released the latest in their test batch series, with Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy 2 today. This hazy East Coast Double IPA comes in at 8.0% ABV and 65 IBU, featuring loads of late hopping featuring CitraCometEkuanot, and Mosaic, for citrus, pineapple and tropical aromatics and flavour, resulting in a, you guessed it, juicy beer. Compared to the first test batch, this one features a softer mouthfeel, suitable for an extended session of enjoyment. Juicy 2 is available now for growler fills and bottles at the brewery, on tap at select bars around town this weekend, and early next week in bottles at the private stores.

• As was reported this week by a legitimate news source (as opposed to three guys with a blog), Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyon’s Brook is the latest brewery in the region to purchase a canning line. Citing their existing bottling setup as a source of inefficiency in their system, the line from Calgary (no doubt from the fine folks at Cask Brewing Systems) is expected to help them output an additional 1,000 litres per week and take the packaging process from 2-3 days down to a couple of hours. The installation of the line in May will allow them to meet orders for two new listings with the NSLC in addition to their IPA, namely their Sunburst Pale Ale and a rotating slot. One item in the article of particular note is the comment by co-owner Rebecca Whiffen that the funds to lease the line are to some extent coming from the savings seen in the reduction of the RSMA this year by the Provincial government. While the overall validity of the RSMA can still be debated (or serve as the basis for a lawsuit), it is certainly telling to see how quickly its reduction has made a positive difference to at least one brewery in the province.​ We won’t be surprised if it’s not the only one.

• Cunning schemers that they are, those crazy kids at Stillwell are already planning for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. As they announced on twitter Valentine’s Day (feel the love, people), they’re committing to pouring the best NS Craft Beer Taplist possible all week long during Craft Beer Week. What’s “the best NS Craft Beer Taplist” you ask? Why, it’s the one assembled from YOUR votes! Fling your interweeb device over to this page right here and cast your votes in the four categories provided. Stillwell will apply patented algorithms and serious business to generate a top 12 which will grace the wall at the start of the week. From there cult favourites will rotate in. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what that wall looks like come May.

For those of you fully shovelled out, we’ve got a few events on the go that are worthwhile checking out:

• This Sunday, February 19th, up in Nyanza, Big Spruce will be hosting an information session for FarmWorks, an Investment Co-operative founded in 2011 that operates as a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). The time has come for another round of investment and this is a chance for you to learn how the organization works to support food-related businesses in the region. Meanwhile, beer samples and snacks will be served and you’ll have the opportunity to tour the new Big Spruce Brewery! More information is available here.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has scheduled their next event for Wednesday, March 8th. This one will be held at Grimross Brewing from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a brewery tour, a discussion on Grimross and the beers they brew, and of course a tasting flight, with additional pours available for purchase afterwards. It only costs $8.75 to attend; send an email to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot.

• Good Robot has a couple events on the go this week. Thursday, February 23rd sees the latest in the Good Robot Tiny Pub Concerts series, with Villages, Kim Harris, and Daniel Walker (of Owen Meany’s Batting Stance) coming out to give you an intimate night of Celtic, folk, soul and banter. “Less of a kitchen party and more of a Saturday night at home with friends.” Then on Saturday, February 25th, look for the GR gang at the Craft Beer Cottage Party and consider heading down to the taproom afterwards for their luau after-party with the fine folks from Upstreet Brewing and the dulcet tones of Hawaiian-influenced steel guitar swing band Kokonut Kings.

And before we head out for the weekend…
– There is a new beer from Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery, Nor’Easter Cascadian Dark Ale. At 7.7% ABV and 100 IBUs, it features Cascade and Chinook hops from Moose Mountain and Columbus from Southan Farms, both located along the Saint John River in New Brunswick. It is available at the brewery on Lower Water Street. And look out for a Nitro version of their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout, available at Lower Deck locations across the province.
– Although we reported on the release of Fathom from Nine Locks last week, it only showed up on tap and for growler fills, not in the promised cans. But keen eyes noticed the good word on Facebook this week that Fathom hit the canning line. Look for it at the private liquor stores around HRM in the near future.
– We previously mentioned a new blackberry Milk Stout from North Brewing being released for Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party that started last night and goes until Sunday. The 5.7% ABV beer was aged in the tank at Battery Park and will be available in 650ml bottles at both North bottle shops and the private stores in Halifax. Look for in on tap as well at Battery Park, including two nitro kegs.

Happy Friday folks, we hope that digging out wasn’t too much of an ordeal for those of you who got snowed on last night. We’ll warn you now that this is a ridiculously long post; you may want to plan a second lunch to finish reading it. Possibly one that includes a beer. We’ve got some suggestions below as to how you might make that happen along with some new brewery news and some options for those who might want to center their Valentine’s Day around their love for beer. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

• South Shore’s FirkinStein Brewing has released their first foray into the Double IPA style, with Cut of Our Jib. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, it was hopped exclusively with Cascade and Citra throughout the boil, and into the dry-hop, for a solid 100 IBU bitterness, but with plenty of citrus aroma and flavour. Grab the beer at their Farmers’ Market stall in Lunenburg on Thursdays, and by appointment at the brewery in the evenings (but be sure to reach out via Facebook or Twitter first). It may even make it on tap on the South Shore or HRM; keep an eye on their social media feeds for the latest information.

• Heads up west-island Newfoundland beer drinkers: a pair of fellow beer fans are looking to open a brewery this summer, and would love to get you involved! Bootleg Brew Co has announced that they are in the process of getting their licensing and brewing system, with the plan to open a location in Corner Brook in the next six months. While working in the food industry, Matt Tilley and Morgan Turner tried their hand at homebrewing, and were extremely pleased with the results, and after encouragement from family and friends, are looking to turn it into a business. Planning on a 3.5 hl (3BBL) system, they have turned to crowdfunding to assist with some of the costs. Check out more details in a recent CBC article, and check out their IGG campaign, on until March 1st. We’ll share updates as they progress in their transition to professional beer producers.

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is releasing a brand new beer today, Fathom Double IPA. The name may sound a bit familiar, but it is a brand new beer, based loosely on Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2016 ACBAs in the IPA category. The hazy orange Double IPA clocks in at 8.0% ABV, and has a hefty 90 IBU, derived from Centennial, Citra, El Dorado, and Summit added throughout the brewing and conditioning, for notes of citrus and melon on the nose, and orange and stone fruit flavour. Grab it in growlers and cans at the brewery at noon, and in cans at the private stores, including at Cristall Wine, where they will be pouring samples of it today from 4-6pm.

Moth Lane Brewing, in Ellerslie, PEI, has recently released a Hefeweizen, the iconic unfiltered wheat beer, originating in the Bavarian region of Germany. Refreshing and juicy thanks to the yeast clove and banana characteristics, Weizen Up B’ye is 5.0% ABV, with a light 11 IBU bitterness. Grab a pint or growler this weekend at the brewery, including tomorrow evening, when The Galley Food Truck will be set up slinging food, and there will be an open mic/jam session in the brewery taproom.

• There’s a new Belgian Dubbel available from Petit-Sault, Colonel John Baker. This is a different beer altogether from their first Dubbel, Simone Hébert, which was originally released in the fall of 2015. Brewed with lots of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to give the classic-Dubbel notes of “dark fruit and mild chocolate”, some Chocolate malt was also used in the grist to accentuate these characteristics. Described as “rich, malty, and fruity, with a surprisingly-dry finish”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. It’s available for pints and growler fills at the brewery in Edmundston, and should be available at all ANBL growler stations this weekend. Look for it to pop up in bottles, soon!

• Fredericton’s Grimross has just released the first beer in their new Scratch series, which will be a realm for the brewery to experiment with new recipes and one-offs. Scratch #1: Lager is the brewery’s first venture into Lager territory, with a “simple, clean-yet-flavourful Lager”. With all-Pilsner malt in the grist, it was hopped with Magnum, Saaz, and New Brunswick-grown Cascade, and fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain. It pours with a pale straw colour, and a “slightly grainy and honey aroma with a crisp, dry finish”, according to owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. Supremely drinkable at 4.7% ABV, it’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom. Expect to see their next release in this series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA, soon!

• Staying with Fredericton, there’s a couple of new beers out from Graystone this week, and we have a few details on both of them. First up is Bushwhack Bitter, their take on the sessionable English style, Ordinary Bitter (aka Standard Bitter). Ordinary in name only, this is meant to be an easy-drinking, fairly-bitter beer with some pleasant malt complexity. Bushwhack Bitter was hopped to 30 IBUs with U.K. Fuggles and New Brunswick Goldings, and comes in at 3.9% ABV. Next is their Single Track Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped primarily with Citra, an American variety well known to beer geeks everywhere. Described by the brewery as “light, refreshing, and flavourful with citrus and peach flavours”, it’s available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and crowlers, along with the new Bitter.

• Graystone is also re-releasing their White IPA, Mont Blanc, today. This collaboration with soon-to-open Gore Farm Brewery (out of St. Stephen), was originally released in late December, and is returning due to popular demand. Check out our previous post here for more details on the beer, and the Gore Farm link above for a Q&A we published with the brewery, yesterday.

• Over in Moncton, Tide & Boar Brewing continues to experiment with new beers. They have just tapped Mute Saison, their first take on the classic Saison, a wonderful Belgian style that is open for multiple interpretations by brewers. Hopped with New Zealand Wakatu and U.S. Lemondrop, it finishes very dry, with “floral and lemon notes”, and at 6.8% ABV may sneak up on you, so sip wisely! T&B have also released version 2 of their Lemondrop IPA, an American IPA hopped entirely with, yes, Lemondrop. Look for both on tap at the brewpub. And if you’re in Saint John and are aching to try some T&B beer, good news – the Cask & Kettle has a keg of their Forum Pale Ale, a new version fermented with a Vermont yeast strain.

• Meanwhile, at the Université de Moncton’s Bar Le Coude, Acadie-Broue has two beers that were just tapped last night. Let’s start with Tricole – a Belgian Tripel, it was named after the Acadian term to describe someone who staggers/stumbles from having too much alcohol. Fittingly, it’s a strong beer at 8% ABV, which is typical for the Tripel style. Made with all Pilsner malt (many Tripels are brewed with the addition of sugar) and hopped with German Hersbrucker, it was fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast, resulting in a very dry beer with “candy-like and pepper” qualities, and is quite drinkable despite it’s high ABV.

• Next up from Acadie-Broue is another strong one, Kazakh, inspired by the Russian Imperial Stout style. Named after another Acadian expression, synonymous to “daredevil”, it was brewed with plenty of specialty malts, including Chocolate, Crystal 120 L, Victory, Midnight Wheat, and Oats, to give a dark, roasty beer that will leave you plenty warm, thanks to its 8% ABV. Hopped with Magnum for a bittering charge only (to 50 IBUs), it was fermented with a neutral American yeast strain. This is actually the 3rd batch for this beer, as demand has greatly exceeded the brewery’s expectations!

Roof Hound Brewing and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for their first collaboration brew, Chocolate Sauced, brewed at Roof Hound a couple of weeks ago. This is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was brewed with four different types of chocolate (!): dark Chocolate malt, Chocolate Rye, and Chocolate Wheat in the mash, and cocoa added in the kettle (along with some lactose powder and Dark Candi Sugar). Both RH and TataBrew will be releasing the beer at their breweries tomorrow, with both holding special launch parties featuring live music to celebrate this “Chocolate Imperial Stout”.

• Speaking of Tatamagouche, they released the latest of their Giant Beer Series this week, Quad.  Their take on the Belgian Quadrupel style, this 10.3% ABV beer features a base of Pilsner malt, with Vienna, CaraAroma, and Chocolate for some complexity, with Dark Candi Syrup for the iconic colour and dark fruit component to the aroma and flavour. A modest 35 IBU (for the ABV) is achieved using Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfruh, to partially offset the high alcohol and body. The beer was bottle conditioned in 650mL bottles, and is available exclusively at the brewery now (with a very small part of the batch available in kegs soon). They will be pouring a special casked version of the Quad, aged on Muscat grape skins Saturday, during the Chocolate Sauced launch event.

• Tata has also released Deadeye Double IPA, with a few tweaks since last year’s release. It now features Vermont Ale yeast, resulting in a slightly hazy beer. It still showcases lots of Hallertau Blanc hops, for a light grape and passionfruit and pineapple aromatics, with Cascade and Chinook lending their hand to the recipe. Kegs have been delivered to their HRM accounts, and the beer will be available on tap and in cans beginning today at the brewery, and at the private stores very shortly.

TrailWay has released their Black IPA in cans for the first time. Black Hops (yes, the “1” has been dropped from the name) has been changed slightly from its last release, with an adjustment to the grain bill to allow for a “softer chocolate flavour”, as well as… more hops! Lots of Citra and Mosaic were added to boost the citrus and tropical flavours and aromas, it comes in at 7% ABV. Available at the brewery now, and in select ANBL stores soon.

• And while on the topic of TrailWay, we forgot to mention the results of their 1st annual Homebrew Challenge last Friday… sorry ’bout that! Local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon took the top spot in the American IPA contest, with his Hoppy McHazy winning out among close to 30 entries. This 7% ABV IPA is hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe; Pierre will be brewing his beer on TW’s system next week. When released, a portion of the beer will be available in cans, so be prepared to stock up! Congrats, Pierre!

Flying Boats will be releasing this year’s take on their Lover’s Quarrel IPA next week… a little later than planned, thanks to one of the lovely ice storms we’ve been receiving. With a grist that includes some Flaked Wheat to boost the mouthfeel of the beer, several late boil additions of both Galaxy and Citra hops provide a “floral, citrusy aroma”. This should come in at 6% ABV and close to 60 IBUs; look for it to be released late next week, with 16 kegs being sent to the Dieppe ANBL growler station for Thursday… just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. With beer, as with love, better late than never!

• Today, Garrison is launching their newest Star Trek/CBS release at the brewery. Red Shirt Ale is an American Red brewed in honour of the many Star Trek crew members unlucky enough to be fitted in a red tunic… usually a good sign that they would be meeting an untimely, violent death. With a “deep copper colour and rich malt flavour”, the beer was hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Millenium. You’ll be able to find Red Shirt Ale at Garrison and Halifax’s private liquor stores as of this weekend, and NSLC stores later this month. It will also be popping up at ANBL growler stations in two weeks’ time. And for our homebrewing readers, be sure to submit your Wee Heavy this weekend!

• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax put a new beer on tap this week. Captain Falcon’s IPA is a SMaSH brew that sees big citrus hop flavor from generous late boil and whirlpool additions of Falconer’s Flight meet the fruit flavor of real blackberries added in the secondary. It’s got a hazy, purplish pink color and is a very dry brew with a fairly light bitterness (for an IPA) at 40 IBU and a very reasonable 6% ABV – the Falcon Punch is in the flavor, not the weight.

• In the valley, a new cider in the Something Different series became available this week at Annapolis Cider Company. Muscat Infusion weds apples and grapes to produce a 7.1% ABV sparkling cider with a copper colour, apple tartness, and tropical and floral aromas from Nova Scotia’s most aromatic grape variety. The skins of Muscat grapes were added during active fermentation, and a technique known as “punching down” commonly used in red wine fermentations ensured flavor, color, aroma and tannin extraction. Finished with freshly-pressed apple juice to balance it before packaging, it is available at the cidery in Wolfville where $0.50 of each bottle fill will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Annapolis Valley.

• What do you do when one of your business neighbours leaves your street for a newer, bigger spot a few blocks away? If you’re North Brewing you celebrate your friend’s achievement with a special beer. White Lightning is the nickname of Renée Lavallée, chef of The Canteen, formerly a lunch counter on Ochterloney Street and now a restaurant on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. It is now also a kettle sour from North that’s been dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo, coming in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBU. The label received North’s Artist Series treatment with Renée’s likeness rendered in comic book style by Rob Hansen. White Lightning is available in 650ml bottles from the North bottle shops and private liquor stores in HRM and you should expect to see kegs of it appear in bars and restaurants in the coming days and weeks.

• North is also joining with another neighbour this week, this time on the Halifax side, where they’ve lent their expertise with Belgian styles to a new Tripel from the gang at Good Robot. Moo Nay is a tribute to the farm that reuses Good Robot’s post-brewing spent grain, Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie. Although the body is well in line with the style, with Pale and Pilsner malts and some sugar to dry it out, the twist this time is the use of a very non-traditional hop, namely the New Zealand variety Nelson Sauvin, known for its fruity, white wine-like character. Big and boozy at 8.5% ABV, but not overly bitter at 30 IBU, late hop additions bring a New World aspect to a decidedly Old World beer. Moo Nay will be available at Good Robot as of today, both in the tap room and the store for growler fills.

• Those who don’t remember the days before NASH started slinging hop bombs at Unfiltered might not be aware that he’s got a full slate of styles at his disposal, but this week’s release should make that abundantly clear to all and sundry. Play with Fire is a Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier, featuring tons of dark fruit, roasted malt and smokey phenols. At only 34 IBU, it’s not a bitter bomb, but it will certainly pack a wallop at 8% ABV. Growler fills and pints will be available as of noon today at the brewery and Charm School Pub, respectively. As they say down on North Street, get on it!

• The latest episode of the 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, where the beer chums sat down with Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cam Hartley. They went into the history of Schoolhouse, where it is now, and where it’s heading next. Learn all about it by downloading and listening to the episode today!

Port Rexton Brewing on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula will be releasing their first bottled offering next week. Named the Ten Eighty Series, the annual small run of bottles will make their debut in winter, and lean toward higher ABV, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. The inaugural release is Belgian Tripel, an 8.2% ABV beer featuring the iconic clove aromatics and light spiciness, with a dry finish. This run of only 800 bottles will be available exclusively at the brewery, so reach out to them today to pre-order and get yourself on the list!

Check out these events for the weekend…

• As mentioned above, both Roof Hound and Tatamagouche are celebrating the release of their collaboration Chocolate Sauced tomorrow, February 11th. In Digby, drop by at 9pm for the first pours of the new beer, and at 10pm, enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wright and Tide and Timbre ($6 cover). In Tatamagouche, the fun kicks off at 7pm, with Eric Fresia playing while you enjoy the new beers they are featuring, with chocolates paired with CS, shucking oysters to pair with Oyster Cloister, and that special cask of Quad. Your $5 cover gets you your first sample of Chocolate Sauced for free.

• Good Robot has a fairly full slate planned for the taproom next week, with three events in the works. Monday will see another Goodwill Bot event, where $1 of every beer sold goes to a local non-profit cause. This week it will be Halifax Cycling Coalition, who will be celebrating Winter Bike Week and crafting Valentine’s Day cards. On Tuesday you’ll find Blue Valentine , “a sad and sexy Valentine’s Day event.” Get there before 6:30pm and enjoy $5 pints and a Tom Waits playlist. After that, enjoy local artists and businesses as they take the floor to talk about sex. Look for participation from Ballonicorns , Turn Me On Podcast , Venus Envy and The Coast. And on Wednesday grab a book, head on down to Good Robot, grab a beer and shut the hell up for the return of Silent Reading. As always, no phones, no talking.

• Next Thursday, February 16th, the Cask & Kettle will be hosting a Maybee Brewing Tap Takeover, with all of their taps being turned over to the Fredericton brewery from 4 pm-close, including Maybee’s newest, currently unreleased beer, a DIPA (more on that next week). There will be, of course, food and Irish music to accompany the many beers pouring, with no charge to attend; just show up and pay by the pint!

• The Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to Halifax’s Seaport Farmers’ Market February 25th. With 30 breweries from the Maritimes in attendance, it is sure to be a blast of summer in the dead of winter. Washer Toss, live music, and plenty of chairs to lounge on, the summer vibes will be strong during the event. Tickets are $60 +fees ($75++ for VIP access), and are available now. Check out our Calendar for more details, including the full brewery list.

A few more things this week…

Mil Street St John’s brewed North American Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
Picaroons has re-released their Valentine-themed Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, a 5.2% ABV dark beer brewed with chocolate, chili peppers, ginseng, and licorice root. Look for it at all Picaroons locations, and select establishments throughout NB.
TideHouse Brewing invited in local home brewer Ian Wheatley to brew on their system last week, to be released next month. The brew was a kettle sour, low in ABV, but with plenty of lactic bite. We’ll have much more on the beer closer to its release, around March 10th.