Let us take this opportunity to be the last to wish you a Happy New Year 2020! As we kick off a new year, it’s a great time to take stock of the state of beer in our region, with the number of breweries having exploded since the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog started on January 1, 2012. As we inevitably hurtle towards 200 breweries and cideries across the region, one of the stories we continue to hear is the markets outside of the big cities being served by small breweries opening there, and serving as a gathering place for locals. We hope that trend continues in 2020, as there are still many places in the region where getting a locally made pint are near-impossible.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is releasing the latest in their line of “solo hop showcase” beers (think Cascade, Azacca, and Galaxy) with their Sabro Double IPA. At 7.5% ABV and more than 100 (calc) IBU, this is a hazy flavourful ode to this newer experimental hop. A very similar beer, by the same name, saw a one-time release in May 2019, as part of the “Single Hop IPA” competition at the Stillwell Open (brewed with our own acbbchris). This beer has had a few tweaks made to it, but not many! Like last year, the beer features a massive tropical nose and flavour of pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut, with a smooth body and balanced bitterness. No fruit added to this beer, that’s all from the Sabro hops! Available on draught for growler fills (both Prop Shops) and pints (at their Gottingen Street taproom, and at licensees across the province), as well as in cans at Prop both locations, plus at many NSLC locations across the province (check store availability here). And fear not fans, unlike last year, this beer will be sticking around for a spell, at least through winter and spring.

And in case you missed it, Propeller released a very different beer last week, a Rauchbier. Focussing on the malt side of things, this features a light smoke character thanks to the beechwood-smoked malt used. Melded with a pleasant toast character from medium-dark malts, the hops are there only for a balancing act. Fermented with lager yeast means this is a clean and crisp beer without anything getting in the way of the light flavour. This is a draught-only release, with growlers and pints of the 5.0% ABV beer available now. And as if you needed another reason to visit, today’s Cask at their Gottingen Street taproom is Baltic Porter on Oak aged in rum. That is tapped at 5 PM, and lasts… until it doesn’t.

Over in Miramichi, Timber Ship Brewing has released their first new beer in several months, Peabody Porter. This English Porter (usually sweeter than their American counterparts) was brewed with Maris Otter, Brown malt and Chocolate malt in the grist, and hopped with the Fuggle variety to 27 IBUs. Once fermentation was complete (it rings it at 5% ABV), the beer was allowed to condition on vanilla beans for some time, to complement the notes of coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. Look for it on tap at your favourite Timber Ship accounts.

TrailWay is launching their latest batch of El Generico, their constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest batch – released today – features a large addition of peach puree, as well as a small amount of passion fruit concentrate. Stone fruit is obviously the center of attention here, with “an overall tropical vibe” and moderate acidity. Cans and on tap at the brewery and elsewhere too! 

And while on the subject of TrailWay, they still have two new-as-of-last-week hoppy beers available at the brewery (on tap and in cans). South Island (6% ABV)  is their newest American IPA, which was single-hopped with the very difficult to source Nelson Sauvin. This New Zealand variety is well-known for the gooseberry character it imparts in beer; South Island also exhibits grape and grapefruit. Next up is Box Theories, an 8% ABV DIPA that focuses on Strata, a fairly new hop variety that gives the beer lots of tropical fruit (especially mango and melon, according to the brewery), as well as citrus and tangerine. The beer was also brewed with small amounts of Munich and Rye malt, and flaked grain, to provide a bit more malt character than is typical for TW’s hoppier offerings. Look for this one to pop up at ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future.

Finally in TrailWay news, they rang in the New Year by making full use of their taproom beer engine by “reinventing” their cask program. The plans are to brew a new beer every month, with these beers specifically designed to be served via the beer engine. Their first release was Dry Stout, their 5% ABV take on the style of the same name. Also known as an Irish Stout, the beer is “slightly roasty and coffee-forward, complemented by some chocolate sweetness”. No word yet on the next release, but we’re all for well-made beers poured via handpump (and cool to see it served in their new 10 oz British-style Nonic glassware).

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault so enjoyed the first Brut beer that they brewed (Brighid, a collaboration with Big Tide’s Wendy Papadopoulos for International Women’s Day), they’ve gone ahead and created a completely new one. La Pêchée is a Brut IPA hopped with heavy amounts of Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, and features an addition of peach puree. Which the peach definitely comes through in the aroma, this 8.8% ABV beer is definitely not sweet; enzymes were added to help the yeast chew up any remaining sugars, so the beer finishes very dry, with a lingering bitterness. It’s only available at the brewery; you can pick it up there in growlers or in bottles.

Back in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing teamed up with their pals across the bridge at Timber Lounge to release a special collaborative brew. Long-time supporters of local craft beer, the axellent people at Timber Lounge were looking to spruce things up on their taps, and New Scotland bowed their way in to help. OK, enough of my horrible puns. Timbeer is a 6.0% ABV Spruce-infused Ale, but the name alone does not tell the whole story… Using spruce bows and bark hand selected by TL’s Darren Hudson (World Champion lumberjack), the New Scotland crew did an overnight infusion of the brewing water with the wood, before sparging traditional European malt, adding Old World hops, and fermenting it with Kveik yeast. Think Norwegian farmhouse ale, but with a Nova Scotian twist. That extra effort is worth it, as the beer is brimming with spruce character on a pale base. This is a Timber Lounge / New Scotland exclusive (and limited) release, so be sure to drop by one, or both, to grab a pint of it before it makes like a tree, and leaves. (sorry, had to do it)

Out of the bustling metropolis of Hanwell, NB, comes a welcome re-release from our friends at Niche Brewing. If you love you some hops but are looking for a bit of a break from the ultra hazy, super juicy, low bitterness, soft mouthfeel NEIPAs that are currently dominating the market and are waxing sentimental for a good old West Coast IPA, then Niche has you covered. First released a few months ago, North Park harkens back to a time when nobody suspected anyone of putting flour in their beer. Piney, fruity, and a bit dank, owing to the use of some classic American hop varietals (Simcoe and Columbus in the kettle, more of the same plus Citra in the dry hop), it weighs in at 6% ABV. Not a candidate for the IBU wars, this one’s still plenty bitter at 45 IBU. Look for it at the usual Niche tap accounts as well as the ANBL Moncton North Growler Station (which is also scheduled to have their Day Tripper Belgian Tripel real soon now). And in other Niche release news, this time on the packaged side, version 2 of their barrel-aged saison, Evolution, will be available next week at select ANBL stores. Featuring the house culture that they’ve been nurturing and using since they opened, it was aged in the same Chardonnay barrel as version 1 and Golden Flair for about 6 months. Super dry, extra bubbly, and slightly tart, it comes in at 6.8% ABV. And stay tuned for more bottled Niche news as they’re pledging to package more this year and even if that doesn’t work out (bottling sucks, folks), we happen to know that the one they’ve got coming up next is pretty special.

Sober Island Brewing in Sheet Harbour has officially opened their taproom, and are continuing the celebrations this weekend and next, with the space open Saturday and Sunday afternoon, 2 – 5 PM. They are then switching to full winter hours, which means more access to their taps and crowlers on Thursday and Friday, when they are open 4 – 9 PM both days, and are featuring Trivia each Thursday night beginning at 7 PM. Those hours begin on Thursday the 16th, and will continue until they open up 7 days a week in the summer, after all of their renovations, improvements, and expansions are complete, which includes doubling their taps to eight. Pouring now are their Beth’s Black Oyster Stout, Marigold Blonde, and a fresh batch of their IPA. And they’ll soon be pouring an Old Ale that we’ll fill you in on when we have more information.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing released a pair of new beers over the last two weeks, on decidedly different ends of the spectrum. Due South Pina Colada Milkshake IPA features the addition of raw coconut and fresh pineapple, along with some lactose (milk sugar), complementing the massive hops addition, resulting in a 7.2% ABV, 80 IBU beer. And on the other end, Rum Row is a 9.9% ABV, 40 IBU Imperial Stout, that was aged on cranberries from Terra Beata farm and Ironworks Distillery Bluenose Rum-soaked oak cubes. Rich dark malt, tart cranberry, and dark rum notes blend together in this beer. Both should still be available on tap and in crowlers at the brewery, and also at the Grand Banker.

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing released their inaugural brew in their Field Trip series, featuring different fruit featured in kettle sours. The first release is Field Trip: Pomegranate, jam packed with the eponymous fruit, complementing the tart and sessionable underlying beer. This 5.0% ABV beer is still on tap at the brewery and available to go in cans.

Is it already getting to be FCBF 2020 time? Eek! Here’s the pertinent info on another related event going on in Freddie that week:

With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival two months away (still a few tickets left for the Friday night session as well as Saturday afternoon), the other events surrounding the fun weekend are coming into focus. One of which is the Down East Brew Conference, happening on Thursday and Friday, March 5 & 6. Aimed at those in the brewing and distilling industry, or those looking to get into it, there are two full days of talks on all aspects of the craft. From malt and hops history and analysis, how to treat and test your yeast, as well as trademark and tap room operations, attendees will be sure to learn a thing or two. Speakers are coming from across the country, as well as the US, and there will be plenty of time for socializing and networking. The conference will also feature a Tradeshow floor with booths from suppliers and producers. Tickets (and the full agendas) for attendees are available here (don’t forget to use code DEBC20 to save $30 off admission if you are a member of any of the provincial brewery/alcohol associations).

And, as usual, here’s a couple more quick newsbites before you get on towards your first weekend of 2020!

Big Spruce’s Conniption Fit, a 4% ABV Golden Ale, has only been around for a very short time, but cans are already hitting NSLC stores across the province. Crisp and refreshing, it was brewed with the word “sessionable” in mind, and now it’s even easier for you to get it into your home (and then your stomachs)!

Flying Boats has a “Brewer’s Test Recipe” batch exclusively on tap at their taproom in Dieppe; Mango Wheat Ale (5.3% ABV)  was brewed with mango puree to give plenty of tropical flavour.

Our regular schedule of Friday afternoon posting has some downsides and one of them is that sometimes a small batch of special beer is released earlier in the week and we can’t tell you in time. Such is the case with CAVOK Brewing’s Alpha Canis Majoris, Cuvée 2019, a Sirius (hah!) 4.5% ABV mixed-fermentation beer with Brettanomyces and dark berries (dark cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) that was aged for some 4 months before packaging. Only 80 bottles were available when it was released on the 31st of December and we’re told that there were only a few left as of yesterday morning so we don’t suspect there are any remaining at this point, but we thought we’d let you know so you can keep an eye out for more interesting releases from CAVOK in the future (Cuvée 2019 does sort of imply that there might be a Cuvée 2020, now, doesn’t it!).

Well, Christmas is right around the corner, so you know what that means: oodles of new releases from breweries, followed by a brief hiatus as everyone takes a much-needed break. That break translates to one for us as well, so this is your last read of the ACBB for 2019 (holds Chris away from the computer). We highly recommend you check out your favorite breweries’ social media pages over the holiday season before venturing out on a beer run; hours are likely to be highly variable over the next week or two, so plan ahead!
And as we close out our seventh year of the blog, we’d like to thank all of you readers, and the rest of the beer community, for letting us tell your stories. And when we hit the ground running in 2020, look for plenty more tales of new breweries, beers, events, and the people behind your favourite beverages. 

Another group of chaps sharing the stories behind the beer of our region is the 902 BrewCast. They’ve released their December Tasting Episode, and last one of the year, this morning. Our own acbbchris managed to sneak on for a taste of PEI, with beer from Bogside Brewing and brand-new Lone Oak, as well as Gahan House Port City in Saint John. Topics from favourite beers of the year, to what they’re looking forward to in 2020 (and how to get it), plus a healthy dose of shoutouts and callbacks, naturally! Grab the episode today for your commute home, or while you brave the stores this weekend, to drown out the 1000th playing of All I Want For Christmas

We’re not pulling any punches for the first beer of the day, let’s jump in and embrace the season! St. John’s Bannerman Brewing released Yuletide last weekend, and we think it would be a perfect beer for sharing with turkey dinner. A 5.0% ABV kettle sour with Pils and Wheat malts, it was conditioned on loads of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry purees, for a tart, fruity, and lightly savoury beer that complements and cuts through meat and potatoes and all the fixings. Grab it on tap at the brewery now!

The Big Spruce gang up in Nyanza is out to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for beers for the holidays with two new ones out this week. First up is Mele Kveikimaka, an IPA which features the Ebbgarden strain of Kveik, considered by some to increase the perception of bitterness, which should be perfect for the style. Hazy and rich, with a lovely head, this one no doubt features tons of hops and comes in at a pretty stiff 7.4% ABV. Also on the go is a new wine-influenced beer (seems all the cool kids are doing that these days) called Saviour Complex. Aged in a grape pomace barrel, this one is nominally a sour, but also features Brettanomyces. With sourness, funk, pomace, and barrel character all competing for palate space, we suspect this one lives up the the word “complex” in its name. At 7.2% ABV you probably didn’t want to slam this one down anyway. Neither of these beers is scheduled to be packaged, so you’ll have to make your way to one of the fine establishments serving them on draught. For Mele Kveikimaka, that’ll be Battery Park, Hopyard Halifax, Studio East, Boardroom Cafe, and Maritime Express. Saviour Complex will be found at Battery Park and Maritime Express. And if you contact them *right now* you may still be able to get on their Holiday Home Delivery to HRM tomorrow. Check out the FB Event for availability details, and then call them at 902-295-ALES!

On the West side of PEI in Ellerslie, Moth Lane Brewing has a brand new beer they’re excited for folks to know about, and for which they’ve gone all out on the pouring side. Na Zdravi is a Czech-style Pilsner named for the Czech version of the phrase “Cheers!” Expect this one to be clean and slightly sweet, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming bitterness and plenty of biscuity and bready character. It’s pouring from traditional side-pour taps imported from the Czech Republic and into traditional glassware for a maximally continental experience. Even better, the beer will also be pouring down the road in Tyne Valley at Backwoods Burger just as soon as they get their matching side-pour tap installed!

From one Island to another, let’s head East to Cormack, Newfoundland, where Crooked Feeder calls home. They are pouring a new Hefeweizen (German-style Wheat), featuring Newfoundland-grown wheat. Grown on Rideout’s Farm, just a few kilometres from the brewery, this is one of the first times grain from the province has been used in beer. Ausrittweizen (German for “rideout heat”) is a 5.0% ABV hazy beer, featuring loads of banana and bubblegum character thanks to the yeast chosen, and is pouring now at the brewery, as well as their Gastropub in Corner Brook.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing is knee-deep into their Christmas Countdown right now, where they’ve had daily specials on everything from beer to merchandise. Day one, however, marked the launch of their newest barrel-aged beer, Chocolate Whiskey Stout. Aged for over a year in Glenora whisky barrels with cocoa and coffee, this 7% ABV dark brew is exhibiting a blend of whisky, chocolate and coffee, with notes of oak. Smooth and warming, the entire batch was bottled, and there was only a limited amount – 500 – available when they released it. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer. And keep an eye on their IG account for the latest news and specials.

Not to be slowed down by the holidays, North Brewing has a trifecta of beers out for you to fill your stockings with. The first two are new iterations of their Strong Dark Belgian (Glenora Barrel Aged), one inspired by Figgy Pudding (brewed with figs, dates, and vanilla), and one by Speculaas Cookies (brewed with fresh ginger and the brewery’s special Speculaas spice blend). Both come from the original base beer, which was aged in four Glenora barrels for more than two years, before blending. This is a big beer – at 10+% ABV – the perfect style for sipping while watching your kids open their presents (kids wait to open gifts after cocktail hour, right?). The third beer is a barrel-aged version of their Grisette, Blanc. Fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge, and aged in a wine barrel for 11 months, it was then bottled and allowed to condition naturally. Lots of “funky barrel character” in this refreshing beer, the perfect counterpart to those Strong Dark Belgians you’ll be picking up. All three are available in bottles at your most-convenient North location.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a couple of new beers of their own. The first is this year’s edition of their annual Tibb’s the Saison, a Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. With aromas of cinnamon, banana and clove, you can expect “notes of spice and black pepper” to follow on the palate; it weighs in at 6.6% ABV. Next up is the newest hoppy entry in their Continuum series, Continuum – Happy HoliHaze. This iteration was hopped with lots of varieties, including Hallertau Blanc, Columbus and Galaxy, accompanied by Citra and Simcoe. Lots of juiciness and haziness in this 5.9% ABV IPA, with stone fruit character and “light herbal and pith notes”. Both of these newbies are available for growler fills at the retail shop in St. John’s, and growlers and pints at the taproom starting today. And hey, they’ve just canned a fresh batch of Mixed Opportunity, their mixed-ferm Saison, so you can take home some of those as well. And if you visit the brewery taproom on Tibb’s Eve (that’s Monday the 23rd), you’ll have a chance to try their first ever casked beer, Blue Steel with orange peel and hibiscus! Tapped when they open at 6 PM, and won’t last long, as there’s only 40 litres!

TrailWay is launching the latest iteration of Beans, their Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they open. Espresso Beans was brewed with a large amount of espresso beans from Fredericton’s Mill Town Roasters. The roast used was selected to complement their chocolate-forward base beer, with more beans being used than in previous Beans releases. They also boosted the ABV of the beer slightly to 6.8%, in order to give it more body and flavour. If you’re dropping by the brewery to pick up some cans/growlers, they’ve also re-released their Stormy Weather American IPA, hopped heavily with Vic Secret and other “supporting” hop varieties, giving lots of citrus and pineapple in the beer; also on tap and in cans. Today is a great time, by the way, to pick up your TW beers for the weekend/holidays, as half of all pint sales sold today will be donated to the Fredericton Homeless Shelter… so, stay for a pour, why dontcha?

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has launched not one, not two, but three new beers today, sure to satisfy thirsty folks out and about in the city today. Crimson Thunder is a Barley Wine, weighing in at 9.0% ABV, and features a balancing act between light alcohol warmth and malt sweetness, as well as light dried fruit character perfect for enjoying in front of the fire.Speaking of warming… Face Melter is a 10.5% ABV Wee Heavy, taking the malt base up a few notches for light sweetness, bold caramel flavours, but without any hot alcohol burn. Sounds like this will fuel many a story over the holidays! And the third release is Waffle Sauce is a “Maple Butter Tart ESB”, a Canadian twist on this English standard. The 4.7% ABV Extra Special Bitter features addition of maple syrup, rum, and vanilla, making the beer a great bevvie to warm up, or accompany your flapjacks or waffles tomorrow morning. All three are pouring at the brewery currently, with Crimson Thunder and Face Malter available to go in retro stubbie bottles, and Waffle Sauce being canned and available later on the weekend.

We always like to hear about our local breweries working together on things, and this week two downtown Dartmouth breweries have stepped up with some news in that vein for the holidays. Brightwood Brewery and New Scotland Brewing have collaborated on a new Triple IPA they’re calling Eraserhead (after the notoriously feel-good holiday movie we’re sure). At 10.5% ABV you might want to sit down to drink it, but it’s got a hop onslaught to match the booze factor, with Chinook for bittering and then “crazy amounts” of Centennial, Columbus, and the YCH Hops 2019 Pink Boots Blend of Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, and Glacier. Look for an explosion of juicy and citrusy hop flavors, and some stone fruit in there as well. This one will be on tap at both breweries as of this evening, some kegs will go out to other locations around the HRM, and cans will be available as of tomorrow.

And New Scotland also has a pair of their own beers on tap at the brewery on Alderney Drive, available today. Blunderbuss 1839 is an ode to the home of IPAs, Burton-on-Trent in England, famed for their water profile and generous use of hops. Using a historical recipe, and “Burtonizing” the brew water (lots of minerals and salts like Calcium, Bicarbonate, and Sulfate), they’ve achieved a 6.0% ABV brew with well over 100 IBU of bitterness. Choosing UK floor malts and a long boil allow the malt to provide a sturdy backbone to support the hops. The second release is a return of Slowburn, a Chocolate and Chili Porter, featuring chilies grown in Annapolis Valley. Added both in the kettle, as well as twice during the conditioning phase, the heat grows throughout the drinking, as the notes of chocolate and vanilla give way to a pleasant spicing level. Both Blunderbuss 1839 and Slowburn are on tap at the brewery now, and should be available at licensees elsewhere in HRM (but sorry, no cans!).

Down the 101 in Wolfville, Church Brewing continues to favour European styles, as is their wont. This time out is a Dubbel they’re calling The Luxury. On one hand, it’s a traditional style brewed by Trappist monks, on the other, boy is there a lot of variation in that style, ranging from pale to dark, 10 – 30 IBU, and 4 – 12(!)% ABV. This one rests on the darker side, smack dab in the middle for IBU at 21, and i hearty, but not insane 7.0% ABV. Leveraging a pile of Franco-Belge continental malts along with some Munich malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, Belgian Candi sugar was also added to enrich the color and mouthfeel. Overall chestnut in colour with some coppery highlights, it’s got a dense off-white head on the pour. Aroma- and flavour-wise, expect yeast character in the form of clove-y phenols paired with deep sweet flavours of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. A dry finish leaves a clean impression. Look for this one for sure on tap at the brewery, and we’ve been told to expect it to be canned as well, so there’s some potential for this one to be available in the city over the holidays..

Not to let something like Christmas Eve slow them down, Good Robot is still releasing a Beta Brew next Tuesday. A Black IPA they’ve named The Night Before… Black IPA, it was hopped with Chinook, Amarillo, and a bit of Citra. With a malt profile that focuses on dark chocolate, the hops provide a bright, fruity characteristics to this dry beer. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, it was brewed with Krista Collier-Jarvis. And if you come back on Boxing Day, you’ll find The New Original Kentucky Common (4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs) back on tap.

Propeller has brought back Baltic Porter, their 6.7% ABV take on the eponymous style. Fermented with a Lager strain, the full-bodied beer has aromas of “dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, with hints of raisin and vanilla”. It’s available as of today, on tap now at the Gottingen Street taproom. Pair it with a bottle of last year’s version aged in barrels, which was released late last month. Also, today’s cask beer (tapped at 5 PM at their Gottingen taproom) is Schwarzbier with vanilla, and next week’s will be Porter with chocolate and clementine zest. And they’ve teamed up with Compass Distillers on Agricola Street to bring you the latest in their Windmill Craft Cocktails family, Rhumb Line. Using Compass’ Spiced Rhumb, and a blend of cola with a hint of lime, they’ve constructed a tasty Cuba Libre perfect for wherever your next travel takes you. Available at the brewery and distillery retail shops, as well as Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport.

Late addition to the blog today (sorry!), is the full release of 2 Crows‘ Tinto, their Flanders Red inspired beer that was first released for Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary party in November. Using a complex malt bill, and lightly hopped with EKG, the beer has been 18 months in the making. Check for the full details in our previous post, to wet your whistle for bottles at the brewery tomorrow at noon. And in the meantime, you can enjoy Graduation, a 5.5% ABV mango and raspberry sour ale brewed in 2018 by the Prud’homme beer sommelier course attended by many in the NS Craft Brewery community, including 2C’s own Kelly Huizink. Light malt bill, just a touch of Nelson Sauvin and Enigma ops, before fermentation by kveik yeast and then soured in the fermenter with a blend of LactobaccillusFurther fermenting was done with a blend of bugs from favourite beers from around the world, before the addition of fresh mangoes and raspberries. Natural carbonation by champagne yeast in the keg, and now available on tap. We’d say that earns the crew an A+! Grab Graduation only on tap at the brewery now, no bottles or cans of this one!

Lots on the go this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

As a reminder and follow-up to our piece earlier this month, Sober Island Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 22462 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour. Seating for 50, kiddos welcome, and those in the Sheet Harbour area can pick up their own specialized growler to show off to friends and visitors. Drop by today 4 – 9 PM, Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday 2 – 7 PM, before they take a break for Christmas. Congratulations to the SIBC family!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing is hosting Deer Lake’s newly-opened Rough Waters Brewing with a Rough Waters Brewing Pop-Up today, starting at 7 pm. All four of the brewery’s flagship beers will be available, including Selkie (American Wheat), Scallywag (American IPA), Signaler (American Porter), and Sou’Wester (Kettle Sour).  While they’re currently only packaging in bottles, Bootleg will be serving the beers in full pints, half pints, and 5 oz tasting glasses. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for sale, and the Rough Waters crew will be on-site to chat beer! And for those thirsty for Rough Waters on the East Coast, we highly recommend getting into Toslow this weekend for your fix. We’ve also heard they may have a keg from a new/not-yet-fully-open West Coast brewery pouring, but it won’t last long!

Picaroons and the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest are hosting a Christmas Cask Event at their Roundhouse location Sunday afternoon, 1 – 5 PM. Your ticket gets you in the door, a sampling glass to keep, and pours from the almost 20 casks pouring. In addition to the host brewery, try casks from Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, PEI Brewing, Upstreet, as well as Pollen Angels and Red Rover. Wear your favourite Ugly Sweater for a chance at a prize. This may be the first time to check out the collaborative beer from Pics and the FCBF, Double Vision Imperial IPA, out now (soon?) in cans.

Both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations will be holding an Alberta beer tap takeover event directly after Christmas, starting Thursday, December 26th and running into the weekend. With breweries like Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Grizzly Paw, Outcast, and Troubled Monk participating, there will surely be something for every taste. And in true HY fashion, special food items will be available during the event. Specifically, the Halifax location will have an Alberta-themed menu, while in Charlottetown, local chef Nigel Thompson of Sneaky Cheats will be hosting a pop-up. Stay tuned to HY’s social media for updates on the breweries/beers as they become available.

Upstreet will be continuing their New Year’s Day annual partying with The 2020 Kickoff, happening – of course – Wednesday, January 1st. The all-day event (starting at noon) will be jam-picked with activities, including live bands, beer cocktails, happy hour pricing for the entire day, and a special brunch menu from 11am-3pm (as well as tacos and pizza-by-the-slice from 3pm-10pm). As always, it’s free to attend, and the beer will be flowing like wine, so drop by and help ring in 2020!

Some quick newsbites before we sign off today…

Hell Bay has teamed up with a “guest brewer” – Johnny Oickle – to brew Johnny O’s IPA, a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBUs brew with “citrusy hop flavours upfront, finishing with a bitter bite”. Available now at the brewery.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing have brought back their Belgian Tripel this week, Day Tripper. Light in colour, and finishing quite dry, it hides a pleasant 8.0% ABV in its spicy and fruity finished product, thanks to an iconic Belgian yeast. Kegs have been delivered to Capital Region licensees, including The Joyce and Ringo’s Bar & Grill, with a few more spots sure to be pouring it over the weekend.

Route 19 Brewing is pouring Cranberry Pine Winter Ale, a lightly-hopped, 5% ABV brew with aromas of citrus and flavours of, yes, cranberry and pine. Lightly bitter in the finish, it’s available on tap and in cans at the brewery in Inverness. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back a favorite DIPA for the Holidays, Fist of God is available now for fills and in cans as well as on tap at Charm School next door. You’ll also find 12 Years to Zion, Inducement, Sour Motherfucker, Hoppy Fingers, Exile on North Street, and Flat Black Jesus in cans, but you might not want to wait to long on some or all of those as you’ll likely not be the only one stocking up on hoppy goodness. Also, Unfiltered has very proactively put up their holiday hours on social media, so as alluded to in our intro today, you can’t say you weren’t warned!!

And finally this week, we’ve seen that the much-anticipated Painted Boat Beer Company now has product to sell. Produced at their Stellarton location at 230 Foord Street, which they share with Nova Scotia Spirit Company, and where they’ll be opening a taproom in the new year. PBBC launched at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market earlier this week, and promise to pop-up at the Seaport Market tomorrow, but beyond that, we can’t help you! If you happen to know anything, drop us a line!

We are officially in holiday season, which means the breweries in our region are working overtime to keep you well stocked for however you celebrate, or don’t, the season. Check out what should be in your mug or glass below, in between pints of eggnog.

Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester has a pair of new beers on our radar, available for purchase at both their taproom at 59 Duke Street right in town, as well as their Chester Basin brewery on Angus Hiltz Rd. The first is Field Blend, the second of their Harvest Release lime featuring Nova Scotia grape skins (the first being Millot, which is still available in limited quantities). Field Blend is a Belgian Saison fermented on a blend of 50 kg of Riesling & Viognier grapes skins from Planters Ridge in Port Williams. Spicy notes from the yeast meld with notes of pear and apple, in a nice and dry finishing 6.8% ABV beer. And released last week is Cherry Almond Milk Stout. No, it doesn’t contain Almond Milk, but cherries, almond, and lactose (aka, milk sugar). After initial fermentation with London Ale yeast, this beer spent time in rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. This 8.0% ABV beauty is available in bottles and on tap at the brewery and taproom.

Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewing Company dropped a bomb on the Capital City last week with the release of five different barrel-aged beers. All of them are available in limited quantities in bottles, with a pair of them also available on draft. Here’s the lowdown:
#1: Their Plaid to the Bone Scotch Ale aged for 12 months in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels. Plenty of bourbon character, and will be available in kegs for draught at select licensees as well as in bottles.
#2: Their Plaid to the Bone Scotch Ale aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for several months, but showing the spirit less-so than #1. Also available on draught and in bottles.
#3: This is the Plaid to the Bone from a single Jim Beam barrel, showing a bold and unique character from the blend found in #2, and so they wanted to highlight it on its own. One keg was packaged, complementing the bottles.
#4: This is a departure from the PttB, as they’ve taken their Winter Warmer and aged it in a Jim Beam Rye barrel. Something different also happened during the aging process, as this beer has turned lightly acidic, with a tart quality on the nose palate. Just one barrel, so this is limited to bottles.
#5: The only blend of the releases is two-thirds Winter Warmer aged in barrels, blended with one-third 2019 Winter Warmer. Plenty of the dried fruit and spice notes from the base beer, with lighter oak and vanilla notes than the other releases.
All bottles are available at their retail locations in Fredericton, Saint John, and St Stephen, with select kegs of a few of these at their own taprooms and a couple of licensees around the province.
Also keep an eye out for a pair of Holiday themed releases out now, their Blitzen Coffee Stout, made with Java Moose Coffee’s Hazelnut and French Vanilla beans, and Xmas Tree IPA, a take on their Pivot brewed with spruce tips.

Sticking not-too-far-from-Fredericton, the town of Harvey is home to Off Grid Ales, who has done their first canning run, and promptly sent the brand new release to ANBL shops. Morning Light is a 4.2% ABV English Amber Ale, featuring a base of Maris Otter malt and hopping from traditional Noble hops to the tune of 25 IBUs. Light and nutty malt is complemented by spice and woody notes from the hopping. In addition to being their first canned offering, it’s actually a can exclusive, with the majority of the beer sent to local ANBLs in six-packs of 355s. Find it close to you by checking this link, with it now available in Fredericton, Oromocto, and Saint Andrews, with ANBLs in Saint John and Moncton coming soon. Plus Black’s Grocery & Cafe in Harvey Station.

Yesterday was a special day for the Battery Park and North Brewing families, as they celebrated the 4th Anniversary of BP’s opening with a full North Tap Takeover. If you’re lucky, a few gems will still be pouring by the time you read this. No tap takeover is complete without a few special releases, and this was no different, as it marked the latest in the series of collaborations between North and Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley. Saison de Petite Pearl began life as a clean saison, and then got the BB treatment: for the first time, the crew at North received whole grapes (rather than must or pomace) of the Petite Pearl variety, which they crushed by hand (by foot) at the brewery before adding the entire ~220 litres of must and skins to the beer for a second fermentation. After completion, the 7.4% ABV hybrid was bottle conditioned and is now available for purchase at both North retail spots (at Battery Park and their new location at 899 Portland Street). Also available now is the barrel-aged version of last year’s collab release, Saison de Chardonnay. Just a single French oak barrel was filled with last year’s SdC, and sat for 10 months, before packaging and release. This release is in very limited quantities, with just 20 cases available (there’s only so much room in a barrel!), and is also 7.4% ABV and available now at both spots.

This week Propeller in Halifax is releasing a collab between the brewery and the Propeller Arcade called Polybius, named after a mysterious game of that name around which an urban legend involving the FBI and/or CIA developed in the early 1980s. Did US government agencies really create a mind-control experiment in the form of an arcade game in the early 80s? Nobody knows for sure, or if they do, they ain’t talkin’. Regardless, over the past year or so the Propeller Arcade has become an urban legend of its own in a positive way, bridging beer and a love of retro (and not so retro) gaming. Polybius is a hazy and juicy pale ale that’s sure to pair well with blips, bleeps, dings, and dongs. It’s available at the brewery in cans and for fills and pints, as well as in the Arcade itself, of course. This weekend also marks another all-ages afternoon at the Arcade, with kids welcome on Sunday from 12 – 8 PM (ed: we were originally told 12 – 4), as well as the appearance starting tonight of a special surprise game and a corresponding high-score competition that will see the winner go home with a Sega Genesis. And if you’re planning on heading down after work this afternoon, today’s cask will be their Porter with smoked black tea. Lastly, if you know anyone who’s a financial whiz and looking to get into (or stay in) the beer industry, Propeller is advertising for a Controller, responsible for all financial aspects of the business. If that sounds like you (or maybe someone you know), you can check out the full job ad on Career Beacon.

Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce is releasing a beer with a name that’s an ode to one of the colorful expressions of Cape Breton dialect. Conniption Fit is a Golden Ale at a gentle 4.0% ABV, so you can have a couple and not blow your chances at winning Meat Darts. Crisp and refreshing, and only 10 IBU, it’s designed to be an easy-drinking option for the holidays. So really a beer that’s all about kicking back, relaxing, and strictly NOT having a conniption fit. Also in Big Spruce news, they’re once again running their Holiday Home Delivery service this season. December 20th will be the Cape Breton run and 21st will be the HRM. You can order any combination of cases of 24 cans or boxes of 12 bottles (mixing allowed for both!) as well as any swag they’ve got going on from the Sprucetique. Full details on what’s available can be found on the Fb event page and you can place and pay for your order by calling 902.295.ALES (2537). Then all you need to do is wait for the magic yellow van to reach your driveway on the appointed day with all your goodies tucked inside.

Niche Brewing in Haaaanwell, NB, have a new beer on the go this week, a bit of a departure from their usual mix of hoppy and yeast-driven styles. Cocio might very well be named after a chocolate milk drink from Denmark, but what it turns out to be is a 5.5% ABV porter brewed with Chocolate Rye (a “healthy portion”, per their wont). Neutral American yeast was leveraged to ensure that the focus of this beer is solidly on the malt flavors, yielding a beer with strong notes of milk chocolate, an undertone of spicy rye, a smooth mouthfeel, and a slightly sweet, roasty finish. The first pours of this one are most likely to be found at The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peddler’s Creek BBQ and CAVOK Brewing.

Today sees the release of TrailWay Brewing’s first barrel-aged beer, 3rd Room. This particular beer started off in one of the brewery’s stainless steel fermenters, and was then moved to conditioning tanks and inoculated with a blend of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus strains. The beer was then moved again, this time to Chardonnay barrels where it was allowed to age for a little over a year before packaging in 750 mL bottles. Bottle-conditioned for a further 6 months, the 6.3% ABV beer is exhibiting “moderate acidity, buttery Chardonnay character, plenty of oak; overall quite clean but with some background fruity funk”. There’s only 200 bottles of this one available; they go on sale at the brewery starting today. If you’re grabbing a bottle this weekend, they’ll also have a new iteration of their 8% ABV fruited DIPA, Hopical Trop; this batch was hopped with Mosaic and conditioned on blueberries and oranges. It’ll be available on tap and in cans.

Sticking with beer and wood*, 2 Crows is releasing a new foedre-aged beer this Saturday, Run By Night. This beer, a Grisette, was brewed back in July with Pilsner, wheat malt and raw wheat, and was hopped lightly in the boil with Huell Melon and Azacca. After fermentation with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures in one of their oak foedres, they added 700 lbs of whole Damson plums from Noggins Corner Farm. The beer was allowed to condition on the fruit for eight weeks before packaging in cans, where it carbonated naturally. The final product comes in at a highly-sessionable 3.4% ABV (and 12 IBUs), and is tasting “bright and tangy, with a cool marshmallow and marzipan vibe from the plum pits”. *

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has a wood-aged, wild beer release of their own this week, The Vanishing. They started with their Winter Warmer, Old Forte, and aged it for approximately six months in a red wine barrel from Dunhams Run (Kingston, NB). At this point the funk was coming through strongly, and the beer was allowed to sit for another six months before it was moved into a stainless tank… where it was conditioned on 50 lbs each of blueberries and raspberries, along with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria for souring. It was finally packaged in 650 mL bottles, and is tasting “funky, fruity, sour and crisp”. These types of beers are understandably difficult to replicate, so best get yourself to the brewery’s taproom to grab a bottle or two, as it’s a very limited release and won’t be available again.

Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has released the first in their SMaSH series of beers, featuring different malts from the island’s own Shoreline Malting. This week’s release is a Munich Dunkel, incorporating only Munich Malt and Northern Brewer hops. Copper in colour, and a happy 4.7% ABV and 22 IBUs, while the beer is malt-driven in flavour, it finishes dry and crisp, true to the original style. It is pouring from the Bogside taps now, and may hit a couple of licensees across the island over the next week, when cans will also be available thanks to the roving merry band at Craft Coast Canning.

As the air gets colder and the snow starts to fly, the Winter Ciders start to make their appearance across Atlantic Canada. Maritime Express Cider has got you covered with Snowed In, a Winter Cider that is big (8% ABV) and spicy. With notes of “cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and nutmeg”, along with aromas of fresh apple pie, it tips toward the sweet side for a cider, and reportedly goes down just a touch too easy… so drink in moderation! You can find it on tap and in bottles at the cidery; they also recommend giving it a try warmed up (the cider, not you).

Up in Mount Pearl, southwest of St. John’s, NL, Landwash has released the second batch of a beer that they acknowledge as one of the silliest beers they’ve ever brewed (and they’re counting the 100+ brews they did at Folly Brewing in Toronto). Is it a Milkshake IPA? A Pastry-like Pale Ale? A Sour IPA? A Key Lime Pie Sour Pastry Pale Ale? We don’t know either, but it’s something alright. Brewed in collaboration with the Merb’ys (aka the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard and Moustache Club), Bellyshake is oat-heavy, uses a Vermont yeast-strain and contains lactose, so it’s bound to be hazy and very smooth on the palate, but is also hopped with Sorachi Ace, a Japanese hop known for very herbal and lemony notes. And if that weren’t enough, it was conditioned on strawberry puree, vanilla, and “lots” of key lime juice. A true plethora of flavors vying for palate space. You can grab this ones in very swankly labeled cans at the brewery along with One Wave Blonde, Burn Your Boats (Bourbon barrel-aged RIS), and, as of yesterday, their Home & Away APA. We suggest moving quickly though, and/or keeping an eye on Landwash social media, as their beers move fast and holidays are a-comin’.

Back downtown in St. John’s, Bannerman Brewing has released their first dark lager, Only Shadows. Going traditional, they have embraced the Schwarzbier style, choosing Pilsner, Vienna, and dark and roasty malts to complete the grist. As such, big flavours of coffee and chocolate shine through on a light bodied beer with a dry finish. This 4.8% ABV beer is available now by the glass and in growler fills to enjoy there or take away. Take note that they’re closed for a private event this afternoon after 5 PM, so maybe leave work a few minutes early (or heck, we give you permission to take the whole afternoon off) to avoid disappointment.

Let’s keep the Bannerman connection going, but talking about a beer available in Nova Scotia, thanks to Wolfville’s Church Brewing. There’s a strong connection to Nfld as Church’s brewer Andrew Bartle is from Grand Falls, and is friends with Bannerman’s Dave Bridger and Phil Maloney. It only makes sense, then, that they’d team up for a collaboration brew. Enter Best Kind IPA. Playing in the Hazy IPA field, this bright light coloured beer started from pale malts and was fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Voss Kveik yeast, one of the famous Norwegian farmhouse yeasts to emerge in the last couple of years. Already bursting with bright citrus notes thanks to the yeast, these Best Kind pals took it to another level with generous hopping from El Dorado, Mosaic, and Idaho 7, to the tune of 2 kilos per hectolitre. Best Kind is launching at the brewery and restaurant on Main Street Wolfville tomorrow, available on tap for flights and pints, as well as their retail shop in cans and crowler fills, with cans also available at everyone’s favourite retail spot in Halifax, Bishop’s Cellar. And for those pals reading this post in Newfoundland, we have great news: Santa will be delivering a few kegs to Bannerman, so you’ll be able to grab a pint of it there soon enough.

In Halifax, Good Robot has a new beer on the go, but you’ll only be able to get it at the brewery. The first of Kelly Costello’s Beta Brews to be put into a cask, it was brewed with a couple of local beer nerds Steve Crane and Chris McCain who it turns out, like Kelly, are originally from New Brunswick. What better name for this one, then than Drive Thru Province. Nominally an ESB, with an emphasis on the ‘B’, it was brewed with British Pale malt, Flaked Barley, and Brown Malt, hopped with Cluster and Magnum, and fermented with a yeast known variously as London ESB and the Fuller’s strain. At 5.6% ABV, it’s definitely up there for a British style ale, but it’s the 104 (calculated) IBUs that should really set this one apart. Set for tapping on the traditional Beta Brewsday this coming Tuesday, December 17th at the GR tap room on Robie Street in Halifax. And keep your eyes open for Et Tu? Brut IPA which we told you about last week, it’ll actually be tapped next week.

A couple of events happening in Fredericton you should check out this weekend…

The folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are once again hosting the Christmas Beer Garden at the Market, taking place this Sunday, December 15th. Between 10 AM – 2:30 PM, pop by Boyce Farmers’ Market for a little break from the hustle and bustle of the season. Your ticket get you a glass to take home and your first 4 beer tickets (refills after that are $5). You can grab food from any of the dozens of vendors and bring it into the beer garden, it seems like the perfect opportunity to graze your way through the market while enjoying a pint! We do not yet have the full brewery list, but do know that Cross Creek Brewing and Big Spruce beers will be pouring, plus a few more New Brunswick breweries. Grab your tickets here right now!

And there are still a limited number of tickets for Saturday’s Christmas Brewery Tour of Fredericton, with buses doing tours of both the South and Northside of the city, hitting up perennial favourite breweries and cideries. Your ticket gets you a flight of beers or ciders at each stop, enough to wet your whistle and keep you going. Grab your tickets here!

And just a few more newsbites before we dismiss you from class this week…

Digby’s (and Kingston’s, more recently) Roof Hound Brewing has a pair of new beers pouring this week, on different sides of the flavour spectrum. Philosophers Pineapple Sour is a 3.6% ABV fruity, acidic, yet dry kettle sour bumped up with plenty of pineapple, with a touch of sage on the go as well. And keeping with the season, Chicken Bone Stout, yes, those chicken bones, done with a nitro touch, which you can grab now at Kingston, and at Battery Park sometime very, very soon. In-house enjoyment only, no growlers or bottles. Ed: after posting, we were informed that Roof Hound’s Digby location is open by appointment only over winter, while Kingston is open during the season.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is releasing their Third Place Imperial IPA this weekend, available for the first time in cans. This 8.5% ABV features loads of Mosaic, Galaxy, Idaho 7, and Azacca, for a mix of tropical notes for those holding on to the last vestiges of nice weather. Grab it tomorrow at Upstreet’s spots on tap and in cans, with cans hitting the shelves of the PEILCC next week. And head into the taproom this evening at 6 PM to see the Upstreet crew light their Christmas Tree, sing some carols, and drink some hot chocolate (and/or beer!).

With the holidays fast approaching, we thought we’d let you know about the new option that breweries and cider houses in our region are exploring, online shops! While you still need to be 19+ to order and receive the goods, and it’s not yet a thing in all provinces, the progress is welcome for those of us not able to visit breweries or better beer shops across the land. We know that these breweries are currently rocking and rolling with online sales, are there any others that we’ve missed? Let us know! 2 Crows, Lunn’s Mill, Stillwell, Tatamagouche

The crew at 902BrewCast have released a new episode this morning, with two active members of the Nova Scotia beer community. Kim Hart Macneill has been writing about beer in the province for several years, with a regular beer column in Halifax Magazine, plus a person. Jesse Hitchcock is a former employee in a Maritime brewery, avid beer fan, and human. They joined Phil and Tony to drink some beer and shoot the breeze about the goings on in the beer scene and beyond. Grab the episode here!

And finally, do you remember the call for wild hops that AgCan scientists Jason McCallum and Aaron Mills made a couple of years ago? Well, they have released that research this week, in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. Together with Spencer Gallant of Lone Oak Brewing, who was completing his Masters in their lab, they have summarized their work on the characterization of hops, and looked at novel ways to do non-invasive identification of the subspecies of the plant. Or as they put it much more elegantly, “The native lupuloides accessions examined possess only trace amounts of this compound in their leaves (<0.10 total flavonols), suggesting its potential utility as a novel, leaf-derived chemotaxonomic marker for subspecies identification purposes. A leaf-derived taxonomic marker is useful for identifying wild-growing accessions, as leaves are present throughout the entire growing season, whereas cones are only produced late in summer. Additionally, the collection of cones from 10-meter tall wild plants in overgrown riparian habitats is often difficult.” If you’re as keen as we are about learning more, download the article here! Congrats to wortly, spirko, and jaymac (I just made one of those up, you decide which one).