Okay folks, this will be your COVID-19 joke-free zone for the day, we promise not to make any below. What we will say on the subject is that some breweries are adjusting their growler policies during this time, to reduce the chance of infection of employees and patrons alike, so don’t be surprised by those when you go in looking for a fill this afternoon (some are halting completely, others will only be doing exchanges, both of which we think are smart moves). And with some members of the public going a little over the top in hoarding and needless self-isolation, this could be a trying time for your favourite brewery taproom (not to mention local bars and restaurants), so do continue to support them how/when it makes sense. Perhaps now’s the time to buy yourself or a pal a giftcard for later use? Or take advantage of those breweries that offer online shopping? Here’s what caught our eyes this week, and worth checking out!

After a quick glance through all the info we have for this week, it looks like there’s a lot of hazy-and-hoppy releases, so let’s start off with Big Spruce, because why not? They’ve just released Shrediquette, a 7.6% abv NEIPA hopped entirely with experimental hop HBC-692. There’s quite a few aroma and flavour descriptors for this variety floating around the internet (such as grapefruit, stone fruit, floral, woody, pine, and cream), but Big Spruce is describing this beer as extremely orange-y, with “a subtle, pithy bitterness lingering behind”. Guess you’ll have to taste it and make your own decisions! Look for it at the brewery, or your favourite BS tap accounts, including Auction House, Battery Park, HopYard, and Stillwell in HRM.

Continuing on with hops over in Newfoundland, where Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a Double IPA pouring, Sample Port. Hopped with extremely-high amounts of Amarillo and Chinook throughout the boil, it was dry-hopped with more of the same, plus Mosaic. Medium-bodied and dry, with a hefty bitterness thanks to hefty use of hops (think West Coast style and proud of it), this 7.8% ABV brew got its name from its popularity with the brewing staff, who enjoyed the beer so much that they continued to return to the tank’s sample port for repeated samples. Still on tap at the brewery (until staff gets off for the day!), it is also pouring at Gander Airport’s Union East & Drinks (who are doing a great job showcasing taps from a great variety of the province’s breweries), and should be making an appearance at a couple of the better beer bars in St. John’s before too long. And back after a brief hiatus, and sporting their new house English yeast strain, is ABBA (aka Alli’s Big Brown Ale), their 5.6% ABV Brown Ale. Available at the brewery as well, those of you in St. John’s may have had a chance to try it at the Guv’nor Pub this past week.

Let’s take a break from hops for a moment, but stay on the Rock, East to Quidi Vidi Brewery. Delving into darker territory this week, QV has three of them out in time for next week’s St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. Let’s start light with their Dry Irish Stout. At 4.2% ABV, this beer is brimming with character from the Midnight Wheat, Pale Chocolate and Roasted Barley, complementing the base malts with notes of roast, coffee, and chocolate, with just a touch of balancing bitterness. A medium-light body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and a light finish. At the other end of the spectrum is their Russian Imperial Stout, a 10% ABV brute of a beer featuring many of the same dark and roast malts as its little brother, but amped up. Aromatics of dark roast coffee, and sweet dates from the esters and a touch of alcohol, follow to a full, smooth, mouthfeel with more coffee and chocolate on the tongue. And finally, they’ve got the Imperial Coconut Porter, a 9.0% ABV beer with, you guessed it, toasted coconut added to the brew, in addition to cacao nibs for extra chocolatey goodness, as well as vanilla for a touch of sweetness. Chocolate and Pale Chocolate malts colour and flavour the brew, giving the very dark brown beer a lovely beige head, with notes of toast and nuttiness to complement the adjuncts. All three beers are available on draught in the taproom and in cans in the QV Hops Shop now, and keep your eyes open for them on the shelves of select NLCs in your ‘hood.

With their full Tap Takeover at Stillwell happening tomorrow, Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing more beauties than you can shake a stick at, including four new releases on the taps.

  • Eventide, that midway point between day and evening, is also the name of their latest lager, an amber-coloured 4.6% ABV Vienna Lager. With notes of bread and toast on the nose, and following through to the palate with touches of apricot, Eventide is a showcase of the malt variety from Vienna, rich in character but still manages to finish dry, without too much sweetness. Hops take a back seat in this brew, and the lager yeast keeps the beer crisp and refreshing. On draught now, and in cans very soon.
  • Debuting tomorrow is Tata’s Grisette, a 3.4% ABV “small Saison”, which was carbonated naturally in the keg (and bottles, soon). Dry-hopped with Callista, it features bright and fresh aromatics of mandarin with earthy undertones and light floral notes. This one was kept in Stainless Steel during the process, whereas…
  • Remused is a second take on their Muse Flanders Red-inspired beer released in the Fall. Another batch of the sour Red Ale spent another four months on the same cherries as the initial release. Look for bottles of Remused in the next couple of weeks.
  • And finally, it will also mark the debut of the Stilly X Tata collaboration Staffy Kveik Pale Ale, brewed late last month. Featuring the new and exclusive Samba hop (as well as Huell Melon), this juicy Pale Ale with everyone’s favourite Norwegian Farmhouse yeast, is a lesson in tropical and citrus character in a bright and fresh package. After tomorrow’s debut, look for a wider distro of this one, with a canning run happening next week as well.

And with any takeover, you know that Stillwell goes all out with the food, so look forward to fried clams, haddock tips, smoked mackerel dip, and scallop ceviche on the menu. All day.

Ok, back to hops! We’ll dial it back a bit with Roof Hound, who were looking for a beer with lots of hop presence, but less alcohol than your IPAs and DIPAs. Of course, that means Session IPA, so they created a recipe and named the beer Gimme a Hint. Brewed with both Citra and Mosaic hops, they upped the fruit character even more with an addition of fresh orange zest. But this isn’t your “typical” Session IPA… when we think of the style, something in the range of 3.5-5% ABV usually jumps out. Gimme a Hint comes it at an extremely-low 1% ABV, which we guess is why Roof Hound is actually referring to this beer as a “Micro IPA”. This beer isn’t exactly available yet, but look for it late this month directly at the source (we understand if you’re weirded out that we are giving you advance notice on a beer… we’re a little freaked about it, too).

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has their latest hoppy beer hitting the taps this week after a debut last weekend. Hop Altered is a hazy NEIPA featuring a grist of 2-row, Golden Promise and Munich malts, with flaked wheat and oats providing the requisite protein component. Plenty of Mosaic and El Dorado hops were used in the kettle, with more of the same plus some Enigma in a very healthy dry hop. The picture is completed by the use of the Foggy London yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Described as “pretty darn juicy” you can expect some tropical notes, a slight dankness and not too much bitterness on the finish of this 5.2% ABV easy drinker. Look for it first at The Joyce and Peppers Pub but we’re sure it’ll be hitting other Niche tap accounts shortly.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has been tearing it up since they opened, with the taproom full most of the time (y’all are thirsty!). Not to let any slumps sneak up on them, they’re releasing a whopping FOUR new beers this weekend! We’ve got a few light details to share with you now, just to get you in the mood to head there right after work, or maybe tomorrow:

  • Dickie Dee – they’re billing this one as an “Orange Creamsicle Dry-Hopped IPA”, so expect a hoppy, slightly sweet, very orange-flavoured beer. Smooth and creamy, and 6% ABV, it has additions of orange and lactose, and was hopped mostly with Ekuanot. Shoutout for the Eighties kids on that name!
  • Weisse Squad – a German Dunkelweizen (think dark Hefeweizen), the use of Weizen yeast for fermentation has added your typical banana and clove flavours, and the use of some specialty malt helps balance with notes of caramel and toast. Just 4% ABV, so definitely safe to have one or two before responsible activity.
  • Rainy Days – a style along the lines of “je ne sais quoi”, they’re describing this as unique, and “a London Fog recreated in a pale beer”. Lots of lactose and Earl Grey tea were added, and it comes in at 4% ABV; better try this one yourself!
  • Hip Hop – the first in a series, this beer is a double-dry-hopped, hazy New England DIPA; coming in at 8% ABV to keep you firmly in your seat, they hopped this one exclusively with Mosaic. Juicy, juicy, and more juicy, don’t pound back too many of these, despite their easy-drinking nature.

All of these will be on tap at the brewery, naturally. Also a note, Tire Shack will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day party next Tuesday; they’ll be opening early (11 am), with live music by Fundy Ceilidh from 7-9 pm and green beer (yep) pouring throughout the day.

We have the latest details on the newest Something Different entry from Annapolis Cider, which is going to be available today. Arctic Kiwi Perry is a blend of a dry Perry (made from Bosc and Bartlett pears) and juice from locally-harvested arctic kiwis. Not familiar with arctic kiwis? Neither were we, but luckily the fine folks at Annapolis Cider inform us that they are “grape-sized kiwifruit grown in northern climates”. (Wiki article) They taste similar to your typical “normal” kiwi, and in this particular beverage offer pleasant tropical notes, all in a medium-bodied, crisp package. As always, $0.50 from each refill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association.

Over on the Island, we’ve got news that the winning beer from this year’s Maritime Homebrew Challenge by Gahan/PEIBC was released this past Sunday on International Women’s Day 2020, perfect timing for winning brewer Chelsea Meisner! The beer itself is a stout with a somewhat untraditional ingredient: Sichuan peppercorns! Known for their ability to leave one’s tongue a little bit tingly (or full-on numb, depending on how much is used), they provide plenty of interest to this rich and full-bodied stout that comes in at 55 IBU and a healthy 7.5% ABV. “Tingles the tongue and warms the soul,” is printed on the can and, we suspect, very fittingly describes the experience. Our congratulations again to Chelsea on her winning beer! You can grab pints and cans of Tingles Sichuan Stout at Gahan and PEIBC, and it should also be available in both formats in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia locations as well.

North End Halifax’s Good Robot has, as always seems to be the case, a couple of things on the go this week. First up, the GR team is trying their collective hand at the hard seltzer game with an Alpha batch of one they’re calling, The Fizz. At 4.7% ABV and no IBUs to speak of, they tried to avoid the “boozy carbonated water” and challenge their brewing skills by making the lightest beer they could, cutting it with some water, and adding lemon, lime and lavender. You can try this low-calorie option at the taproom now!

And meanwhile, in BetaBrew land there’s a “baby beta” coming out this coming BetaBrewsday (Tuesday, March 17th) they’re calling Beerbliotheque. Brewed by Kelly and her longtime friend Amy Lorencz, they leaned into Amy’s librarian vocation (and calling) for this one. A big, rich stout, with notes of dried fruit, there’s also plenty of chocolate character. A bit of a big’un at 7.3% ABV and 26 IBU, it sounds perfect for curling up by the fire on one of our still chilly evenings with a lovely book. We also have a PSA for BetaBrew fans, Kelly has advised us that there will be but one remaining BetaBrew. We’ll definitely try to get the full story on that for you next week, but maybe start planning to make it out for the final edition as soon as we advise you when that will be.

Lastly, Kelly is also the guiding light behind the FemmeBrew Homebrewing Competition for Womxn, Trans, Femme, non-binary and underrepresented brewsters in Nova Scotia, and they’ll be celebrating that this coming Sunday at the taproom starting with a private event for entrants (and their +1s) starting at 4 PM. Winners will be announced after 5 PM and then the doors will open to the general public at 6 PM to celebrate the winners, the entrants, and everyone else involved.

Looks like there’s a couple of new beers pouring at Maybee in Fredericton; well, maybe 1.5 “new” beers? The first one is a lighter take on one of their flagship beers, Work Horse IPA. For those of you who have been longtime drinkers of this classic take on an American IPA (or even those of you who may have been newly introduced to it, now that it’s available in NB’s grocery stores), but would appreciate a lower ABV, they give you Work Horse Light. They say it has the same flavour and hop profile as the original, but “with a cleaner finish and less lingering bitterness”. At 5.5% ABV (and 55 IBUs), it’s a bit easier to enjoy a couple of pints. The other beer – Lakeview Amber – is a true newbie, an American Amber brewed in collaboration with Bangor, Maine’s Geaghan Bros. This isn’t the first collaboration between these two breweries, but this is the first to also include Lakeview Hops (out of Harvey, NB). This easy-drinking Amber was hopped with Magnum to 40 IBUs, giving a “short-lived bitterness” in the finish, after hits of “slight caramel on the nose, with notes of light pine and unripe pineapple”. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, this beer (and Work Horse Light) can be found on tap now at Maybee; good chance you’ll see both beers pop up at local accounts around Fredericton.

HRM’s Propeller Brewing is continuing to play with packaging cans with nitrogen. This week their stalwart Irish Red Ale became available in nitro cans. If you’re interested but not familiar with beers packaged this way, maybe have a boo at Prop’s social media for information on how to best take advantage of this novel packaging (short form: crack it and dump it into your glass with a quickness, but make sure your glass is big enough for a whole pint!). Nitrogen tends to make beers smoother and “creamier,” which should pair nicely with the malty and earthy notes of the style. Still 5% ABV and 25 IBU as always, look for it in cans and on tap at Propeller locations, and they’ve advised us that a few kegs are also available to taprooms that have nitro capability. We’d also like the opportunity to hint that we think it would be awesome if the next beer they tried this with is their classic ESB

We mentioned back at the end of February that Garrison Brewing was brewing up an all-female developed beer for International Women’s Day 2020 and then failed to remind everyone about it in our post last week (yes, we feel appropriate shame). But we’re hoping to make up for that by reminding you about it now and telling you it’s available at both Garrison taprooms (Seaport and Oxford), as well as private stores in the HRM. A Honey Wheat Ale with honey from Meander River Farm, it’s 5.2% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can safely expect an easy-drinking beer with a doughy character, some melon notes, gentle bitterness, and some honey sweetness. And remember that every can and keg sold means donations toward the Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC (which will be more than $1300 once the batch is sold), so maybe take an opportunity to stock up on a few for a good cause, share them around, and celebrate womxn in the brewing industry!

In addition to the events we already mentioned above, just one more that we found on the calendar this weekend…

Wolfville’s Church Brewing Company is taking over the taps at Halifax’s Boxcar Social Saturday evening. From 5 PM until close, they’ll be pouring their super-refreshing Congregation Pilsner, Sanctuary Enkel (think Belgian Singel), Married to the Sea German Porter, Eight Bells Belgo Pale Ale, The Luxury Belgian Dubbel, as well as the very last keg of their Best Kind Kveik Pale Ale, their collaboration with St. John’s Bannerman Brewing. And because one can never have enough variety, they’ll be rounding out the offerings with cans of Mayflower White IPA, and Til Death Do Us Tart Framboise. To amp up the fun even more, Sun Parka will be playing from 7 PM, so be sure to drop in for a pint or two and stay a spell.

And in not-great, but entirely understandable news, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has made the hard decision to cancel the March 21st Nova Scotia Craft Beer Fest. Those who had purchased tickets will receive full refunds. No change to the other events planned in April for #NSCraftBeerMonth, and we’ll have lots more info on those plans in the coming weeks.

As many are aware, it’s a big weekend of beer in New Brunswick, but it’s a bigger weekend for women around the world. International Women’s Day is on Sunday and we’re happy to say that lots of breweries around our region have made an effort to recognize women, usually in the best way they know how: with beer. We truly hope that the celebration of women’s contributions by breweries and beer-related businesses extends past this Sunday and pervades all aspects of our industry. #EachForEqual #IWD2020.

Before we get on to our usual bevy of bevvy news, we’d like to thank everyone who came out for beer trivia at The Joyce last night hosted by our own acbbchris. We’re assured a good time was had by all, and how could it not be with all that great swag donated by so many breweries from around the region; thanks to everyone who sent prizes along for us to distribute, as well as to our gracious hosts The Joyce and 2 Crows.

Now let’s tell you about some beer, shall we?

We’ll kick it off with a beer made for IWD by a brewery started by women: Port Rexton brewed their new Violet Femmes using a very special ingredient that gives it a truly amazing color. Starting with a kettle sour, they added butterfly pea flower. Butterfly pea has bright blue petals that are often used as a natural dye, but the color depends on the pH of the liquid it’s added to. In this case, the acidic nature of the sour beer resulted in a lovely violet hue, perfect for IWD. The beer was then dry-hopped for fruity and floral notes that attempt to capture the taste of the color purple. At 4.6% ABV, you’ll be able to savour more than one as you consider how close they came to that goal. And there’s another good reason to have a couple: $1 from every pint sold (and $0.50 for each half-pint) will be donated to Stella’s Circle and their Naomi Centre, an emergency shelter for women aged 16 – 30 in St. John’s. You’ll also find bins at the taproom and shop if you’d like to make a separate cash donation. This special beer became available yesterday and will be on sale at the taproom and for fills at the PR St. John’s Retail Shop as long as it lasts.

Also brewing up something special for IWD is Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing, who will also be celebrating the occasion with a full slate of events on the evening of March 8th. Tide Breaker is a black currant gose brewed by the women of Upstreet. With a grist of 50% pale and 50% wheat malts, flavored with salt, coriander and hibiscus, it was hopped with Ekuanot and finished with black currant purée. We’ve no doubt that the combination of hibiscus and currant resulted in a rather purple colour. Named for the notion that sometimes you can’t just go with the flow and that, “Redirection can equal balance,” they’ll be donating $1 from every pint sold to Blooming House, a Charlottetown shelter dedicated to keeping women safe. It’ll go on tap at opening (11 AM) on Sunday. The evening will see some remarks from Upstreet and representatives from Blooming House at 4:45 PM, followed by an hour of open mic (open to anyone and anything), and then Kierrah Celeste + Band will take over for the night at 6 PM.

Those dialed into the global beer scene, or at least the North American beer scene, may remember a bit of a blip a couple years ago when suddenly there were beers appearing that were, for lack of a better term “sparkly.” Glitter beer was definitely a thing, but a thing that managed to almost totally miss our region (as far as we remember, Big Axe’s Northern Lights Glitter Stout was the only one, way back in mid-2017). Some might even say it was a good thing, and that such an adulteration of our sacred (pfft) beverage by a purely cosmetic (hah!) addition is somehow “wrong.” We’re sure those folks are no fun at parties.

Well good news for anyone who feels that they missed the boat on glitter beer never having much of a presence on our shores, as one has finally arrived, and it was brewed at Foghorn by a collection of ladies from across New Brunswick that included brewers, restaurant and bar owners, general managers, and servers, as well as folks from Loyalist City, Uncorked Tours, Craft Coast Canning, and ANBL, specifically for IWD 2020. Sparkölsch is a 5.1% ABV beer in the classic Kölsch style. Brewed with an ale yeast, to 20 IBU and 5.1% ABV, it was cold conditioned not unlike a lager to help encourage a clean and crisp finish. Edible glitter was added at kegging time using the novel technique of adding it to the sight glass on the way to the keg. Most of the batch went into kegs that will be tapped in various locations across the province, but a small amount was packaged into 60 bottles that was available at Red Rover Cider in Fredericton (sorry folks, they sold out!). In addition to the camaraderie of women coming together and making something unique and interesting, there is also a significant giving component to the enterprise. A portion of the proceeds from every pint, growler fill and bottle sold of this beer will go to various community organizations that support women. Foghorn’s in particular will go to the United Way as part of their Quarter Club membership, with the funds ultimately going to support mental health research and survivors of domestic violence. But other participants will decide what project they are supporting with their sales of the beer. You’ll be able to get your glitter on this weekend at the below list of venues in the Province, so go forth and get sparkly!

Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS is debuting a new release this Saturday, in celebration of their third anniversary. A fairly clean saison with a little bit more of what you’re looking for, Extra Season was brewed back in February when our own acbbchris made a visit to the Annapolis Valley and helped to brew up this collaboration. Starting with a base of Belgian Pale malt, along with a decent percentage of oats for added mouthfeel, and Aromatic, Vienna, CaraVienne/Special B for added complexity. The kettle saw an early addition of Bravo for bittering, and then plenty of lovely Loral added later in the boil, as well as in a subsequent dry-hop (with Azacca as well). At 5.6% ABV, it is floral, fruity, and tropical, with just a touch of funk from the yeast, and finishes nice and dry. You will be able to grab this beer when it debuts tomorrow at noon in their taproom, as well as at March 21st’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival, and spots around HRM (maybe even a cask,eyes peeled everyone!), as well in cans at the end of the month. As if a brand new beer wasn’t enough to get you in the car to Lawrencetown Saturday, the LM crew is throwing a heck of a party! The first 100 people through the door will get a special gift, the kitchen will be rocking all day, a slideshow of the entire history of Lunn’s Mill will be playing in the Boiler Room all day (shots of the wood shop before renos started, growler fills at the garage door, home deliveries, right up to today), and Incoming are playing from 8 PM. Drop by to help them celebrate, have a beer or two, eat a steak taco or two, and rock out!

The gang at Trailway in Fredericton took a step away from their hazy, hoppy standards recently to brew up a rather traditional Berliner Weisse that they’re calling Low Key. Beginning with a grist of 50% German Pilsner malt and 50% wheat malt, it was fermented with a German ale yeast to start, then soured with Lactobacillus. Both kegged and bottled, the bottles were left to condition for six weeks before this week’s release. Inspired by authentic Berliners consumed on a trip to Europe late last year, it’s got a doughy and biscuity malt profile that supports a citric fruitiness. On tap for pints only at the brewery, but no growler fills, it was also packaged into both 500 mL and 750 mL bottles, so you’ll still be able to take some to go. And while at the brewery, pick up cans or fills of the latest batch of their Bliss, their 4.0% ABV India Pale Lager, brewed with Idaho 7 and Amarillo, which will also see wider distro across the province next week.

Two of our smaller Newfoundland breweries recently teamed up to make a special treat for their collective drinking public, Deer Lake’s Rough Waters Brewing Co and Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. The Real McCoy falls into the “White IPA” style, where a largely wheat-based ale is fermented with Belgian yeast for some light spicy and phenolic character before being dosed with hops, in this case Monroe and Enigma for notes of citrus, melon, and tropical fruit. Coming in at 5.6% ABV, it’s crisp, dry and easy drinking, with not a lot of bitterness, a prime example of old world meeting new world. Look for it at Bootleg for sure on tap and in bottles, but possibly at Rough Waters as well.

Like many folks, Moth Lane Brewing in Ellerslie, PEI, wondered what they could do to help the nearby community of Tyne Valley recover from the devastating fire that destroyed their community rink at the end of 2019. Going with what they know, they decided the answer, as is so often the case, is beer. Enter Rink Rat, a 4.75% ABV and 10 IBU light lager that aims to please. Moth Lane will be donating 100% of the sales of this batch of beer to the initiative to rebuild the sports centre in Tyne Valley. It’s already been delivered to Backwoods Burger, Mill River Resort, 511 West, Ansons, The Silver Fox and Brothers. More kegs are going out, however, including to Charlottetown today. Keep an eye on Moth Lane’s Facebook page to find out where you might grab a pint and support this worthy cause. And if you’re in the Ellerslie area, you can of course grab some at the brewery.

Way down on the South Shore near Yarmouth, Tusket Falls looks like they’re coming out of winter hibernation (or just getting good and ready for NSCBM) with three new canned beers coming out all at once. First up is Peach Mint Sour IPA, a beer that no doubt does what it says on the tin, with Citra and Galaxy hops meeting a kettle sour at 6.5% ABV. Next is Take Me to the Other Side, a Vanilla Milkshake IPA landing at 7.0% ABV also featuring Galaxy, but paired this time with El Dorado. And last, but not least, is Hello, Is Anybody Out There, a 6.0% ABV Hazy IPA with Lotus and Simcoe hops. Good times for hop lovers in Tusket, and, we suspect, the city as well, as TF beers are no stranger to private store shelves in Halifax.

Fredericton’s downtown is getting a bit more beery this weekend! The Capital Complex has re-branded as The Cap, and is adding a small brewery onsite to be able to supplement their support for other local breweries and cideries. The brewhouse is a 3 BBL (~350 litre) system from Stout Tanks, with three fermenters of the same size. The focus will be on beers fit for drinking during one of the many live shows to roll through the different venues under The Cap moniker, or perfect for enjoying on their own in their new Record Store opening in the Capital Bar space next Saturday, and operating daily (except Monday), 11AM until 6PM. The store will also be a place suitable for a day-time hang or laptops-out meeting place while listening to tunes. Once completely up and running in the next few months, the brewery, headed by local homebrewing collective “Tough Guy Brewing” (Ian Demerchant, Steven Christie and Mark Budd), will be supplying two taps in each of the Capital Bar and Phoenix and Wilser’s rooms. However, no need to wait to enjoy their first release, brewed as a collaboration at nearby pals Graystone Brewing. Collaborate and Listen Citra Pale Ale is a 5.0% ABV American Pale Ale, brewed almost exclusively with Citra, and light and refreshing to enjoy now or on the patio once those are a thing again. In addition to launching today at all three venues in The Cap, they’ll be pouring it this weekend at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival.

Tourism Fredericton has a brand new initiative to get folks out and about drinking good beer and cider made in the city, launching the Fredericton Taproom Trail. Pop by any of the participating spots to get your passport stamped, and win some prizes, and the affection of others, with every stop! Gahan House Riverside, Graystone Brewing, Grimross Brewing, RustiCo.& King West Brewing, Mama’s Brew Pub, Maybee Brew, Picaroons Brewing, Red Rover Cider, The Cap, TrailWay Brewing, and York County Cider.

Tatamagouche is definitely staying busy these days; they’re coming to the city for two events coming up this week. Plus another event you’ll want to attend later this month…

First up, coming on Wednesday, March 11th, at 6:30 PM, is the latest in the Agricola Street Brasserie’s Intimate and Interactive Beer Pairing Dinner series. The 5-course food menu planned by chef Dwayne MacLeod and his team has already been posted up on Instagram, and you can rest assured that the Tata team has been working hard to complement these dishes with suitable pairings from their oeuvre of tasty beers. Tickets are $100 per person, including all fees, taxes, and gratuity, and they can be purchased on-line through Eventbrite. A limited number are available, though, so if you like the looks of that menu or love Tata’s beers, or both, and you’re looking for something delicious to do on Wednesday night in Halifax, maybe grab a ticket or two and head down.

And three days later, on Saturday, March 14th, the Tata gang will be taking over the taps at Stillwell on Barrington, with 12 taps pouring their best draught, 3 casks on the go, and the debut of the collaboration beer brewed by Stillwell staff at (and with!) Tata a little while ago. Don’t be surprised if you see re-releases of some of their longer term cellared offerings available in that mix. Joe Martin will also have some special things coming out of the kitchen specifically for that day. Come out and celebrate with Team Tata and Team Stillwell and drink some fine beers with some great people!

We are just two weeks away from the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival, which serves as the kick-off to Nova Scotia Craft Beer Month in April. The March 21st event will feature more than 40 breweries from across the province, showcasing the latest and greatest from CBANS members. There are two sessions that day, 2 – 4:30 PM and 7 – 9:30 PM, with VIP tickets getting you in an hour early. While only standard tickets remain for both sessions, you’re sure to still have a great time drinking your way from Yarmouth to Sydney,and Amherst to Sheet Harbour, all in one day. We’ll update on the events during NSCB Month as they become available, but we can tell you to mark your calendar for Friday, April 3rd at 7 PM, as we’ll be hosting a Trivia Night at Auction House, which will also serve as the release party for a collaboration brew that saw Propeller host Off Track and Spindrift in their Dartmouth brewery.

As if we haven’t already inundated you with new beers, here are a bunch more to round out your day!

If you like your cider with a bit of beer bite (i.e. you like Snakebite, a mixture of beer and cider), ChainYard has just the ticket with King Crimson Cobra Commander. They blended a cider made with Crimson King apples with North Brewing’s Malternate Reality, kicking off a new fermentation. The result is “tart, funky, and refreshing”, and is only available on tap at ChainYard, for a limited time.

Heritage Brewing has a new brew for your Yarmouth beer needs: El Dorado IPA is a 5% ABV Session IPA brewed with a simple malt bill, and hopped to 40 IBUs (and dry-hopped heavily) with the lovely El Dorado variety, giving plenty of tropical fruit character. 

Iron Rock Brewing has something new to help you cool down after your long trek across Labrador, a refreshing Wheat Ale named Checkpoint 19. Fermented with the Norwegian Voss Kveik yeast, it’s “slightly spicy with notes of citrus on the nose”, and is available for pints only at the brewery.

O’Creek Brewing has launched their latest fruited kettle sour, Berry Mango Sour (5% ABV). Soured with Lactobacillus and fruited with mango, raspberry, and blueberry, the lion’s share of kegs are currently pouring at the Pump House Fill Station in Moncton. And keep your eyes peeled for their Route 117 IPA being released in cans for the first time later this month!

Picaroons has a brand new NEIPA hitting their taps this weekend. North of the Border (7% ABV), hopped with a large amount of El Dorado and a little Cascade, is hazy, juicy, and citrusy, and will be available first at the General Store; look for it to follow at the Roundhouse, shortly.

Sussex Ale Works is taking a crack at the salty, tart Gose style with their latest, Gose Before Bros (so do you pronounce the Gose part incorrectly, or Bros?). Brewed in the traditional style with a blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus, hopped very lightly with Perle, and features additions of sea salt and coriander. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing would like folks to know that their very popular Citra-inundated DOA is back in cans and on the shelves (also available for fills and pints) as of noon today. Meanwhile they’ve also hinted on social media at the debut of an all-new Nash SMaSH beer coming out in the next little while; we’ll be sure to let you know when that happens. For now, if you’re a fan of the DOA we recommend you don’t wait as this one has a tendency to disappear pretty quickly.

The last gasps of February have brought some truly awful weather to Atlantic Canada, but as we all know, March can always be counted on to be worse, right?! Well, wetter, for sure. And if that thought leaves you crying a little bit, might we suggest you acquire for yourself a suitable beverage in which to capture your tears? You might not be surprised to learn that for this purpose (and pretty much all others), we favour beer. Fortunately, we’ve got all kinds of breweries kicking out choice liquids in our region, and plenty of them have something new to tell you about today. We’ve even got another all-new brewery and a solid slate of beer-related events! So quit your crying and start reading; but definitely do what you can to get beer involved in your weekend!

Great news for those looking for beer in downtown Truro, you now have a great brewery to visit! Truro Brewing Company, located at 53 Inglis Place, is just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park and the Prince Street main drag. Opening their doors to the public today (and every day except Monday) at 2 PM, you can pop in for pints of their Willow Street Wheat, a 4.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, Hub Town Honey Brown, 5.2% ABV, Cobequid Bay IPA, 6.3% ABV, and Exit 14 Porter, 4.6% ABV. We are also offering Trackside American Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, and then grab growlers of any of those to take away, to keep the good beer vibes humming. To learn more about Jana and Trish, the dynamic duo behind the brewery, check out the Profile we ran on TBC yesterday. Congratulations!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a big beer out this week to help us shake off the late-February ice and snow. The name VSOP rightly conjures ideas of spirits, specifically Cognac, with special care taken to the selection and age of the liquor in the bottle. The same goes with Big Spruce’s VSOP, which is a Cognac Barrel Aged Barleywine, their first release of the kind. The deep amber beer features massive aromatics of oak and spirits thanks to the aging process in the freshly-emptied barrel, and follows through on the tongue as well, with a sweet warmth from the 11% ABV, finishing with dark fruit notes. VSOP is available on draught at the brewery, and soon in 330 ml bottles, the perfect size for tackling this big beer solo in front of a cozy fireplace. And yes, Halifax peoples, bottles will be heading your way in the near future.

Brand new big, super-hoppy beer debuting at 2 Crows tomorrow, if you’re into that sort of thing (newsflash: people are!). Bedlam Bridge Double IPA was brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Mash-hopped and first-wort-hopped with Columbus, a “hefty dose” of Azacca was added in the hopback as well. Of COURSE there are dry-hop additions in this beer: first, one with more Azacca during fermentation with Foggy London, a hazy IPA strain from Escarpment Labs, and then two more afterwards, with even more Azacca, along with Citra and Vic Secret. So yeah, triple-dry-hopped, so just get ready to hand over your money. You may be expecting a juicy beer, and you wouldn’t be wrong! Look for notes of “pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit”, and more. It weighs in at 8% ABV, and is on tap and in cans at opening Saturday. They’ll also be hosting a Real Fake Meats popup at 4 pm at the brewery, and live music at 8 pm. Hops = party!

We’ve got a pair of hoppy beauts to tell you about from Propeller Brewing this week. The first is the latest release from their Pilot system, which is soon to be installed at the Quinpool Road location opening this Spring. With their success in the hazy IPA genre with Galaxy and Sabro DIPA, this release is a return to the old school with West Coast IPA. Describes as “crisp, clear, and assertively bitter”, it was hopped early with Simcoe and Amarillo to a hefty 78 IBU, and these hops shine through in both flavour and bitterness, with citrus, pine, and floral notes from later additions of Citra and Centennial. As this is a small batch release, it is on draught only, and currently, the sole point of sale for this 7.2% ABV beer is in the Propeller Arcade in the basement of their Gottingen Street taproom. Old School Beer with Old School Games, sounds like a great match to us! And if you’re visiting the Gottingen Street taproom today, keep an eye open for their weekly cask release, which is Porter with Cardamom added. Brewer Denys used a delicate approach to the addition, but it is still present and shines through, sure to satisfy even the most savage beast.

And in “returning beer news” from Propeller, they polled the audience late last year to find out which beer they should bring back in February, and the winner is Sasquatch Pale Ale! Featuring the first Canadian-patented hop by the same name, Sasquatch is a medium bodied hazy and juicy pale ale featuring plenty of tropical mango and pineapple character, with just a touch of cedar and fresh grapefruit. Catch a can or fill, while you’re able, at both Prop Shops now. 

And for those Propeller fans not in HRM, we kindly direct you to visit the Antigonish Townhouse for a Propeller Tap Takeover. From 4 PM, Prop will be pouring 8 different beers on draught, including the aforementioned Galaxy and Sabro, as well as a special cask for the event, Porter aged on rum-soaked oak. Pop in and stay for a while! 

Amherst’s Trider’s has taken their first crack at brewing a lager, a “Japanese Lager” they’ve named Dry Senso. Brewed with a “healthy” amount of rice in the grist, it was hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace. Fermented slowly over a period of a couple weeks with the S23 dry Lager yeast, it was then lagered for two more weeks before packaging. Easy-drinking and fairly dry, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. This one will be available on tap only, both at the brewery (where you can also purchase growlers) and select licensees, this coming Tuesday (Mar 3), and for those attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, they’ll be pouring it next weekend as well! 

Speaking of the Capital Region, Niche Brewing has a brand new release they’re touting this week, Kashmir. A new addition to their family of mixed-fermentation beers, Kashmir started life with a base malt blend of Pilsner and 2-Row, along with CaraHell and Wheat malts for fuller body/sweetness, and mouthfeel/head retention, respectively. Lightly hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc, the wort underwent fermentation with their house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. With ferm complete, they dry-hopped with loads of Cashmere, to grab all of that melon, tropical, and citrus character. Paired with the tart and funky base beer, this is a winning combination. Kegs of Kashmir are out in the wild in New Brunswick, and loyal Niche fans in HRM will soon be rewarded for their patience, as we understand that and a couple other kegs will be on the board at Stillwell at some point late next week.

Two of New Brunswick’s breweries have come together to create a collaboration beer to showcase a new, experimental hop variety, HBC 586, that they obtained from Hops Connect. Foghorn and TrailWay developed the recipe together and brewed the same beer at each brewery. A 6.5% ABV American IPA brewed with a majority of 2-row malt and a touch of Munich, Undercover Hop was hopped exclusively with HBC 586, and fermented with an American yeats strain. The beer is exhibiting notes of “mango, mandarin-citrus, beerries, and a white wine-like fruitiness”, according to TW. There will no doubt be one or two minor differences in each brewery’s release, as technique/equipment/etc plays a role, so best that you compare the two, if possible! TW is launching theirs today on tap and in cans at the brewery; look for Foghorn’s version to hit their taps sometime early next week.

And while visiting TW, why not grab cans or fills of their latest batch of Good As? Featuring NZ darling hop Motueka, with a touch of Citra added, this 6.6% ABV beer throws off massive citrus zest and stone fruit character. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, it will also see limited distro to ANBLs in the region next week, so pop in and check/demand it!

Back to Nova Scotia, where Shipwright Brewing has an American Brown Ale on tap. City Bound was brewed with a blend of Golden Promise, raw oats, and roasted malts, to the tune of 5.2% ABV. Hopped with Simcoe and Eureka (to 32 IBUs), the final beer has “aromas of coffee, molasses, and toasted bread”, along with more coffee (and some brown sugar) on the palate, and finishes with a firm bitterness. This beer was originally launched at the Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax a few weeks ago, but it’s now on tap at Shipwright and the Grand Banker in Lunenburg. 

Those of you in the Fredericton area can keep your eyes peeled for a newish beer from 3Flip Brewing next weekend; we say “newish” because it did make an appearance at the brewery’s 1-year birthday party at the Joyce a couple of weeks ago, but the rest of the kegs will be popping up next week. Roggen-Roll All Night Long is the brewery’s take on a Roggenbier, a German rye beer. It’s traditional for beers of this style to be brewed with a minimum of 50% rye malt; for those of you who have brewed with rye before, you will know this is not an easy feat, as more rye typically translates to a higher chance of a stuck sparge (basically meaning that your transfer of wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle slows down… or even stops; lots of swearing usually ensues). 3Flip also incorporated 2-row, Munich and some specialty malts into their grist, and lightly hopped the wort with Willamette (to 16 IBUs). Fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain, the final beer has a little sweetness from the malt, some clove and banana, and a “spicy and almost sour-like rye character, with a slightly bitter finish”; it weighs in at 6.3% ABV. 3Flip is also releasing the second batch of their Pilsennial SMaSH IPA, an all-Pilsen malt, all-Centennial hopped, 5.3% ABV brew.

International Women’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday, March 8th), which means we’re starting to see some info trickling in from the annual brewdays to celebrate this day. Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has given us all the deets for their entry, The Bees Knees, a Honey Wheat Ale. Brewed with honey from Meander Farm, this 5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has aromas of “soft, sweet melon, and doughy wheat characters”, accompanied by flavours of honey, melon, wheat, and berries. Finishing with a mixture of light bitterness and honey sweetness, it’s easy-drinking and refreshing. You’ll be able to find it on tap at both Garrison locations in the city starting next Friday, as well as in cans; some cans will also be sold at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines & Spirits. Look for the beer’s official launch to happen on March 8th; they’ll be hosting some local women vendors at their Seaport taproom for a Makers and Vintage market. Garrison will also be donating $0.50 from the sale of every can to create a Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC. And be sure to stop and admire the artwork on your can of beer, as it was designed by local artist Rachel Brisson. 

Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing has two new fruited beers for you heading into the weekend, both part of the brewery’s new Petite Pilot Program, allowing them to play a bit and exhibit some fun, small batch beers. First off is A Night at the Raspberry, which was released last night. This is a Raspberry Wheat Ale that features an addition of local wild raspberries; it clocks in at an easy-drinking 5.1% ABV. Next up is CherryOake (rhymes with “karaoke”) a beer that will be dropping at the brewery tonight at 9 pm. This is another wheat ale, however, it’s a little more complex than the first beer we mentioned. The beer was aged briefly in a French Oak barrel, along with dark tart and red sweet cherries that had been soaked in Newfoundland Distillery Company gin. This 5.2% ABV beer is tart and fruity, with a slight touch of oak. This one will be available for pints only at the taproom.

Looks like Petit-Sault is having fun playing with hoppy beers lately, as they just released their latest at the brewery, Oat Saint-Jean IPA. This beer is a collaboration with one of the brewery’s original brewers, Jason Dionne, who is currently working at Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Brewed with very high amounts of both malted and flaked oats (so you know this one is going to be hazy), a whole whack of Citra, Vic Secret, and Simcoe hops were used in the brew. The result is a beer chock-full of fruity goodness, including aromas of “citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit”. You can find it on tap at the brewery today, with bottles following sometime next week.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has a new release this week, just in time for the weekend. Session Lager aims to be what it says on the tin, an easy drinking lighter 3.9% ABV beer that’s going to be refreshing regardless of what you’re doing. Light grain character with a frothy white head, sounds like a killer sipper to us. Don’t think that means they’ve just dashed it out, though, this one has been in development at the brewery for over a year! QVBC has done something new with this release, with the addition of Clarex. This additive serves two purposes in the brewing process, by increasing the clarity of the beer by dropping out gluten-containing molecules. While Quidi Vidi has the lab work back to prove gluten is below the normal threshold for detection (less than 5 ppm), they do caution that as it was made from gluten-containing barley, it cannot be considered gluten-free. This means it’s fine for those of you watching your gluten intake, but those with celiac should take heed (we know mileage varies greatly with this disease). What it does mean, however, is more beer for more people! Look for it in QV’s Hop Shop today and NLC locations as early as tomorrow. The brewery would definitely love if those who try it would provide a little feedback on the beer, which can be done by following this link right here.

And submissions are open for their second year of the Home Chef/Home Brew dinner. They are looking for four amateur chefs to create a small plate to pair with their recently released four-pack of beers chosen in the Newfermenters homebrew competition. These chefs will pair up with the brewers to create plates that will be served at Chinched April 2nd. Submit your recipe entry via email to Chinched, and we’ll remind you of the tasting event closer to the date!

The gang’s all back together again! 902 BrewCast has released their February Tasting Episode this morning, just in time for your commute to/from work this chilly Friday. Catching up on the various ailments and maladies they’ve been feeling the last couple of months, ranting about the impending doom by the name of White Claw hitting the shelves in the region, as well as chatting up their recent foray into beer reviewing. Oh, and they drank some beer on the podcast, too! Listen in to hear what they’re digging, or not, these days, and what’s coming next from them.

Lots of things for beer lovers to do this weekend:

Good news if you’re in Kentville and a big fan of both cider and beer… Maritime Express Cider is hosting a mini-tap-takeover today, with six of their taps going towards beers from Lunn’s Mill. Don’t worry, there will still be Maritime Express cider available, so you’re getting the best of both worlds! They’ll be giving out some prizes as well, so be sure to drop by if you’re in the area.

We’re all for any excuse for a new beer from Tatamagouche Brewing, and with 2020 being a Leap Year, they’ve brewed a new Weird Beer to be released at the brewery tomorrow, February 29th. We have all the info on this newbie, but they don’t want us to give too much away, so too bad! Hmm, let’s see, what to tease… well, it’s big (ABV-wise), it’s barrel-aged, it’s beer… I guess that’s it! You’re just going to have to drop by Tata yourself tomorrow; they’ll launch it at 2 pm and have live music to help celebrate until 5 pm. The official event page is here, but it doesn’t reveal anything more about the beer, so don’t get too excited!

Bar Stillwell in Halifax has a weekend full of fun and cheer, with events both Saturday and Sunday. From noon tomorrow, they are welcoming Toronto’s Blood Brothers Brewing in the house, who will be making their debut on the taps in a big way, bring 9 draught and a handful of bottled offerings. Featuring Blood Light, Inner Eye, and Blood Brotherhood, the wall will also showcase four beers in their Paradise Lost sour series, including Guava, Apricot-Plum, Spiced Cherry, and Blueberry-Vanilla-Spice. And what’s great beer without killer food? In addition to their regularly scheduled menu, Stilly’s Joe Martin will be bringing the heat with a full Southern BBQ feast featuring Briket, Pork Ribs, Crispy Fried Chicken, Cornbread, and more! Check the FB Event for more beer and food detes.

The fun at Stilly continues Sunday, with “Wild West Brunch Bonanza”, the latest event from the Cahoots Cooks Collective. Attendees can expect 6 courses from 6 amazing local chefs who head up or support incredible kitchens in the HRM. Your ticket also includes a bourbon or beer (and then it’s order whatcha’d like from the taps or cocktail menu), plus live music from The Big Country Ramblers. This event is by reservation only, so email Sam to book your seats for the event! Doors open at 12:30, with the food starting at 1 PM.

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is hosting their second annual Homebrewers Meet & Greet at the brewery tomorrow, Feb 29th. From 2 – 5 PM, it will be a casual drop-in event where you can come chat with other local homebrewers, pick their brains on the latest recipes and gear purchases, as well as see how things are different, and the same, when scaling batches from 20 litres to 2000 litres. Guided brewery tours will take place at 3 and 4 PM, there are door prizes, and no charge for the event.

One final reminder to our pals who live/will be in Fredericton next Thursday. We will be taking over the mics at The Joyce Pub in the Crowne Plaza for everyone’s favourite event, Beer Trivia! Thanks to our amazing brewery friends, we will once again be overflowing with prizes for the brainiest of the bunch of you, and if you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’re sure to do well (hint, hint!). If you are still on the fence, here’s what will definitely get you in the door: Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing is in town, and bringing a dozen beers to pour from the taps that evening, a mix of their core beers, beers from the cellar, as well as at least one brand new release even WE don’t know about yet (shocking)! Peep the FB Event to learn more. And we’ll see you all on Thursday, March 5th! And for those breweries looking to donate swag to this fun event, please hit us up on social media or via email!

And a few last brief (or maybe not so brief) things to mention this week before we leave you to it (whatever “it” may be…):

Though they’ve been hinting at it for a couple of weeks, Boxing Rock made it official this week that they’re getting into the cider game. You’ll find their as-yet-unnamed cider on tap and as growlers to-go at Local Source in the city as well as at the tap room in Shelburne. And about that “as-yet-unnamed” bit, they’d love to have some help giving it a moniker; hit them up on social media with your best ideas! They also released The Publican Bitter to Local Source neighbours, the Stillwell Freehouse, earlier this week. Described as, “a 5% balancing act,” with a hint of sweetness and a lingering bitterness, if you’re lucky it’s still pouring there.

Landwash, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has reached their hundredth mash! Which is different from their hundredth batch in ways that only a brewer would appreciate… Anyways, their Green Nap, a hazy IPA that sees a rotating variety of hops came back just in time for you to toast this milestone along with them. Plenty of orange, mango skin, and apricot notes bloom from a combo of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. We suggest if you’re a hophead and can get your hands on this one you do so with a quickness. And even if you’re not a hophead, you should check out the current offerings, as their Sour and Salty Brackish is also back, and you can also pick up Smiling Land (Kolsch-style Ale), Home and Away (APA), That Much Ocean (NEIPA), Hazures Rock (Breakfast Stout), and Rock and Willow (Rustic Saison) all at the brewery on tap for growler fills and pints and in cans.

With all of the good news of new breweries and new releases, it’s important to keep grounded: the brewery business in the Atlantic Provinces is healthy, but that does not mean there will not be closures. Whether related solely to the business side of things or not, we understand now that Valonray Brewing in MacDougall Settlement has closed. The brewery was an ambitious project that opened in Spring 2018, with the goal of brewing beer in the Belgian tradition with ingredients grown on their farm. We had recently reported on their foray into the Flanders Red style, but with their social media, website, and email no longer functioning, we are not able to update on its availability, nor track the age of these previously released bottles at the ANBL, and whether they are still good. Learn more about their plans in our profile of them from March 2018. We wish the Fontaines all of the best with whatever they choose to do next!