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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The latest addition to the Stillwell Family of Good Beer Bars is opening its doors this weekend. The Stillwell Freehouse, located at 2534 Agricola St, is a departure from their original location on Barrington Street, and seasonal outdoor Beergarden on Spring Garden. Fully embracing the aesthetic of local pubs found in towns across the UK, the Freehouse features booths and low-top tables with a warm and cozy ambiance. The space flows from the bar, with its beautiful tap tower and hand pumps front and centre, finished with a (for now) shiny copper bar top. Seating is available at the bar, or in quiet, almost private, nooks along the sides of the space. The front room also features a dart board and bar billiards table in their own corners, perfect for exercising your elbow in a different way.

Walk through the archways into the middle room, opening up to the tall ceiling and exposed brick wall, with two benches wrapping the length of the space. Comfortable seating and marble-top tables can be moved to accommodate any size party and feel. A window through the back of the bar offers a view into the front room, and a spot to order a pint, though Stilly is also testing out table service at the Freehouse, one of many firsts for them. Past the WCs is a back room, not yet opened, with more things to discover in a few months.

Beer curation is key for the Freehouse mantra, with 6 casks and 10 rotating draught available at all times. While a cask served by gravity may only last a couple of days (due to air entering and filling the space displaced by the beer), the Freehouse is employing an Auto Tilt Stillage and cask breather to ensure the last pint is as fresh and tasty as the first. Speaking of, the casks first available this weekend are from across the province, including the Granite Best Bitter Special, Propeller ESB, and Tatamagouche Englishish Golden Ale and Patterson’s Porter

The draught list will keep the same ethos as their other two locations, with a rotating stock of the best ciders and beers available in the province. We’ll be seeing fewer New England IPA tap take-overs and Gueuze-O-Ramas on Agricola, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the beer will suffer (plus, there’s always bottles on their list available to share!).

The plan is to keep at least one Pilsner on tap at all times, pouring through unique and beautiful side-pull taps for the perfect amount of head in the fat dimple stein brought in especially for the style. Pouring now are Grimross’ Praha and Stilly’s own Pils. Church Brewing’s Married to the Sea German-style Porter, Lunn’s Mill’s First Cut IPA, North Brewing’s Priority Pale Ale, and Stillwell’s Sook Grisette are complemented by Dieu du Ciel! Rosée d’Hibiscus Witbier and Voyageur des Brumes ESB. A pair of ciders are on the board at launch, with ChainYard Intrepid, and Pera from Revel Cider in Guelph.

The food program at the Freehouse takes a different route than that at either the HQ or Beergarden, but comes from the same heart. Chef Graeme Ruppel and his staff have created a modern menu with a nod across the pond, with sausage rolls, fat chips (sorry, no Tokyo fries here, but these are stellar!), “Wee Sandwiches” with a variety of local seasonal veggies and meats, and even nachos. For the first time, pizza will be available, with the Personal Pan Pizzas featuring a thick and airy, yet crispy-on-the-outside dough (we’re guessing done in a skillet), with both veggie- and omni- options. Also unique to the menu are full plates, with steak & chips, korma and pilaf, and roasted chicken pot pie available for the first time.

All that’s left to do is make it looked lived-in. Based on our experience last night, we don’t expect that’s going to take too long. The Stillwell Freehouse is a place to take a few minutes out of your hectic day to enjoy a pint and a roll, and chat with your neighbour or bartender. Or borrow one of the bar games, tuck into the Goujons, and let the day pass you by.

Opening today at noon, The Stillwell Freehouse at 2534 Agricola St is open Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday 12 PM – 12 AM, and Thursday through Saturday 12 PM – 2 AM. Keep an eye on the latest happenings through their social media.

 

ACBA Beer Event Logo 2019

The 2019 edition of the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards were announced at a gala event earlier this evening, in front of a full house at HopYard Halifax. 56 breweries and cider houses from across the Atlantic provinces took part, with a total of 400 beers and ciders entered for consideration in 15 different categories. 31 judges from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tackled the enormous variety of entries, with the following beers and ciders recognized for their performance. In case you’re wondering how you can get a sweet gig like that next year, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program, and sign up to be part of a study and exam group, run through the Brewnosers homebrew club. Now, on to our winners!

1) North American & European Style Lager
Gold: Spindrift Brewing – Beaufort 10
Silver: Bannerman Brewing – Safe Bet
Bronze: Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault – La Kedgwick

2) German Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Bogside Brewing – Lighthorse Lagered Ale
Silver: Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Altbier
Bronze: Bogside Brewing – Wheat Kings County
Honourable Mention: North Brewing – Gus’ 65m Ale

3) UK Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Breton Brewing – Red Coat Irish Red Ale
Silver: Graystone Brewing – Into the Woods Brown Ale
Bronze: Trider’s Craft Beer – Rod’s Red

4) North American Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Giantess Barleywine
Silver: Copper Bottom Brewing – Centennial Stock
Bronze: Big Spruce Brewing – Bitter Get’er India
Honourable Mention: Boxing Rock Brewing Company – Dark as Keji

5) Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Upstreet Craft Brewing – FireWorks Farmhouse Saison
Silver: Les Brassers du Petit Sault – John Baker
Bronze: Grimross Brewing – Abbey Dubbel
Honourable Mention: Upstreet Craft Brewing – De Novo IV

6) North American Style Amber / Red Ale
Gold: Bogside Brewing – Brudenell Brown
Silver: Quidi Vidi Brewery – 1892 Traditional Ale
Bronze: Boxing Rock Brewing Co. – Temptation Red Ale
Honourable Mention: Hill Top Hops’ Brewhouse – Red Tail Red Ale

7) Fruit & Field Beer
Gold: Good Robot – El Espinazo Del Diablo
Silver: Nine Locks Brewing – Harvest Pumpkin
Bronze: Boxing Rock Brewing Company – Arnold’s Apricot Wheat

8) Pale Ale
Gold: Graystone Brewing – Patagonia Pale Ale
Silver: Trider’s Craft Beer – Scotian Pale
Bronze: PEI Brewing – Vic Park Pale Ale
Honourable Mention: Roof Hound Brewing Co. – Ear to the Street ESB

9) Stout / Porter
Gold: Spindrift Brewing – Neat
Silver: Big Spruce – Cereal Killer
Bronze: Big Spruce – Blood Donair
Honourable Mention: Grimross Brewing – Pugnacious Porter

10) India Pale Ale
Gold: Copper Bottom Brewing – Parkman Ave
Silver: Propeller Brewing Company – Galaxy IPA
Bronze: Lunn’s Mill – Purple Grain

11) Experimental Beer
Gold: Moosehead Breweries – Small Batch Rauchbier
Silver: Bogside Brewing – Pitcher in the Rye Roggenbier
Bronze: Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Bisset’s Fancy
Honourable Mention: Tatamagouche Brewing Company – Feronia

12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: Nine Locks Brewing – Barley Wine – 2018 Whisky Barrel Aged
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Ra Ra Rasputin – 2019 Whisky
Bronze: Nine Locks Brewing – Russian Imperial Stout – 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged

13) Sour Beer
Gold: Landwash Brewery – Brackish
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing – Spring
Bronze: Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Backyards
Honourable Mention: North Brewing – Breakwater Mango Sour

14) Standard Cider and Perry
Gold: No Boats on Sunday – Original Cider
Silver: Sober Island Brewing Company – Army Cider
Bronze: Saltbox Brewing Company – Old Orchard Cider
Honourable Mention: Riverdale Orchard Ltd. – 2 Scots 3 Apples

15) Specialty Cider and Perry
Gold: Gagetown Distilling and Cidery – Hopped Cider
Silver: Red Island Cider – Ghost Ship Wild Briar
Bronze: Chain Yard Urban Cidery – Hopped Up
Honourable Mention: Saltbox Brewing Company – Haskap Cider

Brewery of the Year
Bogside Brewing (Montague, PE)

New Brewery of the Year
Bogside Brewing (Montague, PE), with a shoutout to Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl, NL)

Cider House of the Year
Tie between No Boats On Sunday (Truro, NS) and Gagetown Distilling and Cidery (Gagetown, NB)

New Cider House of the Year
Red Island Cider (Charlottetown, PE)

Beer of the Year
Gold: Small Batch Rauchbier – Moosehead
Silver: FireWorks Farmhouse Saison – Upstreet
Bronze: Neat – Spindrift

Cider of the Year
Hopped Cider – Gagetown Distilling and Cidery

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2019 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards by the numbers:
346 Beer entries from 45 Breweries and Brewpubs
54 Cider entries from 11 Cider Houses
31 BJCP National, Certified, Recognized, and Novice Judges
8 dedicated stewards behind the scenes
16 hours of judging
1750 cups of beer and cider sniffed, swigged and sampled

1 Great Industry Worth Celebrating!