2 Crows Brewing

All posts tagged 2 Crows Brewing

If you’re like us and love loving local beer, then today’s the day for you! Plenty of new releases and returning favourites are out now/coming very soon, plus a Monday holiday to nurse your headache for an extra 24 hours! Sounds like a win-win to us! Let’s get right to the new beers, and the events we think are worth your time….

After quickly selling out of their last entry in their very popular Brut IPA series at the end of 2019, Petit-Sault has decided to keep the momentum going by releasing Brut IPA #3 this week. Like the last beer, La Pêchée, this beer weighs in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, and finishes extremely dry (0° Plato, keeping the residual sugar at a bare minimum). Hopped (and dry-hopped, of course) with Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, the brewery added strawberry and peach puree during fermentation. The combination of both fruit purees with the high dry-hopping makes for some intensely fruity aromas and flavours. Look for this one on tap and in bottles at the brewery now, and it should be hitting licensees and ANBL stores this weekend.

Propeller Brewing Co. in Halifax has a new beer out this week that will hopefully take you out of the mindset of a dismal February afternoon and into the mood of a crisp, yet hoppy beer on a sweltering summer day. Citra Pale Lager marries IPA darling hop Citra to a crisp and crushable base style, yielding what they’re calling a “modern lager.” Plenty of biscuity malt flavor is balanced by a firm, but approachable 38 IBU worth of bitterness, leading to a crisp, dry finish created through the use of a German yeast and a good 3 – 4 weeks of lagering time. And did we mention the hops? Aromas of melon and citrus abound where you might have expected floral, woody, and/or herbal noble hop character in a more traditional lager, giving a fruity vibe to this 5.2% ABV beer. Look for it at both Prop locations on tap, for fills to go, and in cans, with packaged product also going to private stores in Halifax and Liquid Assets at the Stanfield Airport. And if you do head down to Gottingen Street location tomorrow afternoon for a V-Day pint, look for their Galaxy dry-hopped with Sabro and Ekuanot. If you’re not able to make that, though, there’s still plenty going on this weekend with a Valentine’s Day is Dead 2020 live music show on Saturday, Family Day at the Propeller Arcade from 12 – 6 PM on Sunday (after 6 PM the Arcade will be open, but will revert to 19+), and a bonus Arcade afternoon from 2 PM onwards on the holiday Monday.

We’ve just passed the “less than a month” phase leading up to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and more details are trickling out on the events and ancillary parts of the Fest. One of which is the launch of the annual Diplomatic Immunity collaboration beer, with this year’s falling under the category of Lagered APA. Brewed in early December 2019, host brewery Flying Boats in Dieppe, NB, welcomed in the good folks from Boxing Rock Brewing of Shelburne, NS, and Upstreet Brewing of Charlottetown, PEI. Brewed using primarily Weyermann heritage Barke Pilsner malt (with a touch of CaraBohemian malt for a smooth, yet lightly grainy backbone), and hopped with Pahto as a bittering addition, with whirlpool and dry hop additions of Cashmere, Amarillo, and Simcoe. The six weeks of lagering after primary fermentation by the Fermentis S-189 yeast gives a crisp and clean mouthfeel and finish, hop aromatics of melon, and a touch of coconut and grapefruit. The 5.2% ABV beer is available on draught and in cans at the host brewery now, and rolling out to the visiting breweries shortly. It will also be pouring widely around Fredericton leading up to the Fest, and be featured on the ANBL Growler program starting February 22nd

Recently-opened Gahan Nova Centre in Halifax teamed up with another downtown brewery, 2 Crows, for a collaboration a few months ago that has now hit the shelves. The beer goes by the moniker of 5 Minute Walk, which describes the length of time needed to get between the two breweries. The first beer to go into Gahan’s PEI-built foeder (℅ New World Foeders), and brewed by Spencer G (now of Lone Oak) with Jarrett S and Jeremy T, the beer featured a simple malt bill (Pilsner with a touch of flaked oats and white wheat), a light touch of Saaz and Ella hops, and fermented with 2C’s special house yeast blend. Acidic and citrus notes abound, with notes of funk and new oak complementing. The 6.9% ABV beer is on tap now at Gahan’s location, with a limited number of bottles available to go from their retail counter onsite.

We hinted a couple of weeks ago (well, we think we did, but we’re too lazy to go back and check) that there was an event coming up at Good Robot that would help get you in a summertime mood. Well that event is nigh, we tell you, NIGH!! Brewer Gio Johnson and his pals in The Limestone Group are bringing another FlavaBot Caribbean-infused event to Good Robot on Sunday, this one entitled Heat Wave. Look for plenty of Caribbean food from Chef Ambrose, live music and dance performances throughout the day. Doors open for brunch at 10 AM and food will be served until close at 2 AM. For the first time they’ll also be serving cocktails (Sky Juice and Switcha)! But most pertinent to us here at the ACBeerBlog, is the beer, of course. And as usual, Gio has come up with some recipes that bring the best of the Caribbean to our favorite beverage. First up is one we wrote about previously (seriously, don’t even need to check), Conch-style Bahamian Lager that’s sort of a “International Light Lager meets a Christmas Tree in a dark alley and things get (lime) zesty” kinda deal at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. But there are also going to be three smaller batches on the go. First is the Banana Bread Ale, a spiced dark ale treated with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and sweetened slightly with a touch of lactose. Doing what it says on the tin, look for a slightly creamy brew with roasty and chocolatey elements and those spices making themselves known. Plenty sessionable at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBU as well. And speaking of sessionable, next up is Lil Cay, a tropical session stout dosed with coconut flakes that had been themselves previously soaked in coconut rum. So plenty of coconut coming at you, but also some roast and vanilla and a mild citrus note to go with it. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it should be a lovely introduction to the notion of a tropical stout if you’ve never had one. And last, but certainly not least, is the delightfully-named Gruitti Fruitti! It’s a gruit, of course, which means no hops have been used, but an herb mixture takes their place in providing balance to the malt side. In this case, it’s pine needles and basil. And the “fruitti” part of the name isn’t just there for decoration, it refers to the addition of mango to the mix. At 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU, expect something herbaceous, fragrant and balanced.

Tire Shack Brewing hasn’t really slowed down on new releases since their opening last fall and this week they’ve got two more to share with the thirsty folks in the Moncton region. Leading the charge is Abracadabra, a “Tiramisu White Stout.” With a special roast from Sunny Brae Coffee done just for Tire Shack, as well as cacao nibs and vanilla, this one has all the hallmarks of the classic Italian dessert in a creamy white-colored package. Joining it on the taps is Heat Wave, an otherwise smooth and easy-drinking porter that’s been dosed with plenty of Arbol and Chipotle peppers for a smoky flavor and “A TON” of heat. Don’t be surprised if this one comes with a bit of a warning if you’re not into the spicy things. Look for both of these on tap at the brewery this weekend.

Not to be outdone on the white stout front (or the non-traditional ingredients front, for that matter), Upstreet has their own thing on the go over on the Island, a beer dreamed up and executed by Hogie and Josh that they’re calling Cereal Milk. Starting with a concept something like a blonde ale, the grist on this one was pale malt, flaked oats, golden naked oats (not as dirty as it sounds) and wheat, with Citra and Amarillo in the kettle and dry hop for a definite hop presence. Taking it somewhere else entirely were additions of lactose for some sweetness, cacao nibs, for a bit of chocolate, toasted coconut, roasted PEI hazelnuts, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt! Weighing in at 5% ABV and a very light 10 IBU, this is a small batch with only a few kegs pouring at the tap room and Craft Beer Corner. So if this sounds like the kind of thing that’ll turn your crank on Valentine’s weekend, best head down with a quickness.

In Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Rough Waters Brewing continues their hard work towards fully opening their taproom this spring, and are taking us along for the ride. Earlier this month they received the licenses allowing them to serve onsite, and have therefore been sharing pints and samples with visitors to their 83 Wights Rd location. Currently open Wednesday to Friday from 3 – 7 PM, Saturday from 1 – 8 PM, and Sunday from 1 – 4 PM, folks can have a taste of what’s available before grabbing bottles to take away. They have already held some local artisan markets and live music events in their space, teaming up to raise over $700 for local charities, and those types of community events will only increase in frequency once the taproom is fully open.
To help get folks excited about what’s to come (and to help achieve those goals), Rough Waters has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Backers to their project can grab some slick merchandise like stickers, glassware, shirts, or prints of their nautical tattoo themed labels, and locals can grab a VIP ticket to the Grand Opening Party, sign up for their “Hard Ticket” membership (getting you a personalized glass that comes with plenty of benefits), or design and help brew the beer of your dreams! Check out the list of options in the link above.
But not all of the good news is off in the future… There are two newly available brews this week that we can tell you about, and that you can pick up this weekend! The first is Down South, best described as a Pineapple IPA. Starting life as a moderately bitter IPA, they skipped the dry-hopping, and instead opted for a secondary fermentation on a whole whack of pineapple puree from Oregon Fruit. The final beer weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and features plenty of pineapple on the nose and tongue to make you forget, if only for a minute, that we don’t live in a more tropical climate. The second newbie is also the first in their Black Cat series, which will be an occasional release that will always feature spicing of some sort. This inaugural release is Cinnamon Chai ESB, a 6.8% ABV beer started as a malty ESB, and dosed in a brewed Chai blend of spices (heavy on the cinnamon, and leaving out the tea leaves) after fermentation, to keep it full of aroma and flavour. Bottles of both beers are available to taste at the brewery all weekend, with their core line-up also available to take-away.

If you’re the kind of person who has always wondered whether you could take your passion for beer and turn it into a career, there are a couple of breweries in Nova Scotia who might be able to help you figure that out. Tatamagouche Brewing has two positions open right now. First up is a summer position that they’re getting a good head start on filling: Summer Retail Sales Associate. This one runs from May to October and is customer-facing, helping folks who come to the Tata taproom to have a positive experience by providing knowledge and recommendations about the beer, but also the town and the North Shore region of the Province. Also up for grabs is a backroom position, so backroom it’s almost underground! Known as a “Cellar Hand,” this person will be focused on all the little details of making sure that all the beer that goes out with the Tata name on it is as good as it can be. From cleaning, to testing, to monitoring, to packaging and everything in-between, this person will have eyes on Tatamagoodness from wort almost all the way to the customer’s hand. If either of these positions sound good to you, you’ll find more information in the official job postings on the Tata website.

Also looking to fill some shoes in their operation is Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing who are looking for a Production Brewer to head up their “small batch” 7 BBL system. Formerly the main system at the brewery, it’s the one that put out the first Cereal Killer and Regatta Red and Kitchen Party Pale way back when Jeremy White opened up shop. So while bigger batches have now moved to the 20 BBL system across the way, this one still remains a vital operational piece of the Big Spruce empire, especially when it comes to their seasonal offerings. As always, experience in any and all aspects of brewing are likely to be preferred, but the right candidate who’s willing to learn and willing to relocate within/to Cape Breton is likely to find a listening ear even if experience isn’t a big part of their background. So if you’re interested, check out the full details on their Fb post and maybe slide into Big Spruce’s DMs if you think you’re the person for the job.

What’s on the go this weekend? Find out right meow!

Our friends and yours at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington are eager to help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether that be happily alone with your own gosh darn self or with your pals or, if absolutely necessary, with that special someone (no, not your dog or cat, that’s not allowed, but we feel you). However you want to celebrate, head on down this afternoon/evening for the usual loverly selection of thoughtfully curated liquids along with a bunch of super cute a la carte snacks from the kitchen: spicy pepperoni pizza pockets (YES, REALLY), charcuterie and cheese for one, house-made chicken nuggets (ALSO YES, REALLY), little mortadella sammies, mini pogos, falafel with extra garlicky toum, and personal tubs of cookie dough (YES, REALLY FOR A THIRD TIME). Just like every other day of the year ain’t nobody gonna judge you for walking in alone, but if you’re nervous about it, you shouldn’t be: it’ll be cozy and welcoming all night long.

The Ladies Beer League is hosting a different kind of Galentine’s Day event tonight at the Garrison Oxford Taproom from 7 – 9 PM. I Heart Beer 2020 is going to be a “get dressed up by dressing down”, in your comfiest jammies or other lounge-around clothes, to celebrate in a casual way with snacks, games, and a surprise or two. Grab your tickets at the FB link above, and stay cozy with fellow beer pals tonight!

Down the South Shore of NS, February means lobster season and the third annual Lobster Crawl Festival. Running the entire month (with an extra day this year!) it celebrates the crustacean that is so important to the economy and lifestyle from Barrington to Peggy’s Cove and encourages potential tourists to check out the province in the winter as well as the summer. Halfway through the month comes one of the premier events of the festival, the Lobster Crawl Beer Festival going down tomorrow night at the Bridgewater Best Western & Convention Centre. Running from 8 – 11:30 PM (with a 7 PM start for VIP ticket holders), tickets are still available: $25 for Designated Drivers (soft drinks and water available), $40 for regular admission with 10 drink tokens, and $55 for VIP admission, giving you early entry, 5 more tokens, and a VIP gift (we recommend that you assume taxes and fees apply to all of those prices). Additional tokens will be available for purchase, as will food. Fifteen breweries and cideries from the South Shore will be pouring their best, and we’ve heard tell that there may be a few cool collaboration beers on tap as well. So whether you’re already planning to be in the Bridgewater area tomorrow night and looking for something to do or you just dig craft beer and lobster, grab yourself a ticket and make a plan.

Back in mid-January, we mentioned that Chain Yard Cider in Halifax would be hosting a “Snakebite” competition in February. Well lookie here, that date is upon us. In case you’re unaware, a Snakebite is a blend of 1 part cider to 1 part beer, generally served by the pint, that is popular in the United Kingdom. Apparently someone has taken notice that our region has plenty of fine breweries and plenty of fine cideries and realized that the potential for sassy snakebite shenanigans is high! Tomorrow afternoon and evening will see eight teams competing for Snakebite Supremacy from 12 – 5 PM. Tasting will be blind and the public will vote on their favorite. The breweries and cideries competing are as follows: Sourwood Cider, Tidehouse Brewing Company, Lake City Cider, Spindrift Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Chain Yard Cider, North Brewing Company, Saltbox Brewing, Sea Level Brewing, Maritime Express Cider Co Ltd, The Church Brewing Co, Schoolhouse Brewing and Ship Builders Cider! So whether you like cider or prefer beer, this is an opportunity to find out if you like them both together!

Just a few tiny newsbites before we dismiss you today. Then go out and grab a beer!

Fredericton’s Picaroons has a new release out this week. Details are light, like super light, but for those of you looking to “Catch ‘Em All”, 506 Pale Ale is being described as “your next domestic” and “a modern, citrus forward APA”. If you’re so inclined, check it out and let us know how it tastes!

Roof Hound Brewing in Digby (and now operating their taproom daily in Kingston), has a new available today. Save Tonight is a 4.0% ABV Cherry Sour, brimming with the tart fruit character, and available on draught as well as in bottles to take home.

Halifax’s Tiny Tidehouse has brought their most frequent collaborator to the brewhouse, and have the latest Lil Wheaty’s (aka award-winning homebrewer Ian Wheatley) pouring this afternoon. Tic Lac Toe is a blueberry kettle sour, which features a wheat beer base, and 20kg of blueberries. We’re not sure how they managed to cram all of those in there, but we’re sure that you’ll be able to taste every one. Just don’t drink too many or you’ll end up looking like Violet Beauregard!

Fredericton’s Trailway has been serving their Candlepin Kölsch as a regular feature at The Drome by Trailway pretty much since it opened, but they don’t package this easy-drinking beer too often. Good news, then, for Drome denizens who have a hankering for it at home, a fresh batch is available in cans now at the brewery!

Howdy folks, we’re running a little behind today, and for that we’re putting the blame firmly on the breweries in Atlantic Canada who can’t seem to help themselves with the beer releases and the birthday parties and the hey hey. The bad news is there’s almost four thousand words below this paragraph. The good news for you is that they’re all about beer (and mead). So read on for all the latest and whet your appetite for the weekend to come.

It’s been three years since Halifax’s 2 Crows opened their doors; we’ve seen one hell of a lot of beer releases since then. They haven’t let up one bit in terms of beer quality or originality, as they continue to push the envelope and strive to constantly improve.
Now that that’s out of the way, can we go back to complaining a bit? Great! Their big Anniversary party is tomorrow, which, if you have been following them in any way since they turned one, you’ll know means lots of new beer. Which in turn means lots of typing on our part, so you can kinda excuse our slight bitching. But hey, we gotta admit it all sounds awesome! So, five beers (four new, and one returning, tweaked, favourite) launching at the brewery tomorrow, two of them in cans, and three bottled. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Brettango – Not a new beer, but an exciting one to see return, Brettango is a 7.9% ABV Mango Brett IPA that was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation (a blend of six Brettanomyces yeast strains) and features an addition of a “stupid amount” of mango puree. With even more hops than before (Citra in the hop back, along with Hallertau Blanc and Belma, and two dry-hop additions of more Citra), the mango addition has been increased as well, so you can bet that the tropical, juicy goodness is off the charts. Limited cans available.
Deux II – Brewed in collaboration with Maine’s Orono Brewing Company at 2 Crows, Deux II (4.9% ABV) started as a golden sour base beer aged in one of the brewery’s foedres with a blend of multiple house cultures. After aging for several months, 500 kilos of whole Nova Scotia cherries from Stirling Fruit Farms were added and allowed to work their magic for an additional eight weeks. The beer was finally packaged in cans, where it underwent natural carbonation before being ready for your eager hands/mouths/bellies. Lots of cherry character in this one, along with some Jolly Rancher notes, and “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms, and just the right amount of fruity funk”.Hayward – Diving into the bottled releases, Hayward (5.4% ABV) is a peach brandy barrel-aged sour with kiwi. This sour was conditioned on 90 kg of fresh kiwi, giving a tart, bright beer that has dried peach character from the barrel, and lots of kiwi from the fruit addition.
Express – This barrel-aged beer is a blend of different golden sours aging in barrels. The resulting beer was then conditioned in the brewery’s blending tank with 80 sliced, fresh pineapples, along with hibiscus from World Tea House, and 4 kg of fresh ginger root. Lots of sourness from the base beer, with “smooth, fruity juiciness and a touch of ginger zing”, it comes in at 5.4% ABV.
Megadregs – The final Anniversary release is a big one… “big” meaning “helluva long time to be ready”. Beginning life in May 2018 when Halifax hosted the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, the 2 Crows crew welcomed in brewers from across the country to their spot, and plenty of local (Niche, North, Port Rexton, and Tatamagouche Brewing) and beyond (Block Three, Dageraad, Le Prospecteur, and Small Pony, to name just a few) brewers taking them up on their offer. A pale base wort was innoculated with the dregs of bottles that were enjoyed that day, with the beer undergoing primary fermentation in a pair of barrels in their space. The 5.7% ABV beer was allowed to condition for 16 months before packaging in bottles; it was then allowed to condition for another 4 months. It’s showing oak, funk, and a moderate acidity, and is remarkably smooth.
Finally, while this beer may not be an Anniversary-exclusive release, it is by no means any less special. Released earlier this week, Paper Airplanes was brewed with Ashley MacDonald and Seoras Speirs, parents to Jude, who passed away in October at the age of 3 after an intensely-brave battle with cancer. Brewed in Jude’s memory, Paper Airplanes is a Brown Ale brewed with Pale malt, Oat malt, and a mix of other roasted and caramelized malts. Hopped with EKG and Bramling Cross, it was fermented with a “classic” English yeast strain. It’s tasting smooth and roasty, “with some lovely black currant and dark fruit notes”. Proceeds from this beer (available on tap and in cans) will be going to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, NS Chapter. Be sure to pick up a few cans of this one; whenever you drink it, take a moment to reflect on your loved ones and be grateful for them.
Along with all this beer will be some great food (burgers from Stillwell’s Joe Martin), multiple musical acts through the day, 50 free glasses to the first 50 of you who bust through the doors… and did we mention beer? Oh, you skipped that part? Go back and read it then, please don’t make all of that be for nothing. And you know there will be plenty of tiny fun releases as well as throwback faves on the draught and bottle/can list throughout the day, too.
And finally, the tradition of Sour Sunday will continue the day after the big party… because what cures a hangover more than sour beers and more delicious food? Expect past sour favourites, some surprise re-releases and bottles, and Buttered Bliss will be there filling your fried chicken and doughnut needs. Happy Anniversary, Crows! <drops mic>

Speaking of parties, we mentioned earlier this month that PEI’s newest brewery, Lone Oak, is celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow, starting at 4 pm. In addition to plenty of live music, they’ve got several new beer releases up their sleeves. The first, Boat Traffic, was launched yesterday, and the other two will follow today and tomorrow. We’re sure those of you in their area are interested in these beers, so how’s about we scratch your itch? Also, just as a further reminder, cover for the party is $20, which includes all of the live music for the evening, naturally.
Boat Traffic (5% ABV, 27 IBUs) – This Oatmeal Stout was aged in a brand new, locally-made foeder, which has given this roasty, chocolatey beer “undertones of vanilla and coconut” to complement. Full-bodied, it’s the brewery’s first dark beer, and sure to be a winner.
Silver Fox (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) – Launching today, this beer is an Export Lager (think Dortmunder/Helles) brewed in collaboration with Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing (and released in NS today as well). Brewed with all Shoreline malt, and hopped with varieties from Island Hop Co., the details on the final product are in last week’s post, so you can remind yourself of what you’re getting into.
Rumours (4.3% ABV, 22 IBUs) – Releasing tomorrow, this mixed-ferm Saison was hopped with a blend of both European and American hop varieties. It’s tasting “slightly funky, with undertones of citrus”. This is a keg-conditioned batch, meaning that supplies are VERY limited, so you’ll definitely want to be at the party tomorrow to try this one!

Hot off the heels of last night’s celebration of Norwegian Kveik yeast at Battery Park Beer, Big Spruce has announced the availability of a couple of beers that debuted there. Ægir’s Hall is a Winter Warmer coming in at 6.3% ABV and fermented with the Voss Kveik strain of yeast that you may recall was the focus of this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Competition. As a matter of fact, this beer was the winner of that competition, although at the time competition winner Brian Harvey’s name for it was Santa Voss/Kviek Kringle. With Christmas in the rearview mirror and the beer being released at the KveikFest, a name change to something with a connection to Norse mythology must have seemed apropos. Ægir was a jötunn (Giant and/or Troll; Norse mythology is confusing) closely associated with the sea and friend of the gods. He was also a brewer who possessed a beer kettle a mile wide that was acquired from fellow jötunn Hymir thanks to Thor and Týr. Mr. Harvey’s kettle is not a mile wide, but its influence goes much further than that based on the number of competitions he’s won in the last several years. The beer itself is deep red, with aromas of baking spice and a hint of citrus. At 6.3% ABV, it’s not too heavy, and should make a lovely tipple for an evening by the fire sharing tales of glory in battle.
Also on the go this week is Bjørnebær, a beer co-fermented on Brettanomyces and Kviek. We’re told that Bjørnebær is the Norwegian word for “blackberry” and this beer contains hand-picked ones from Big Spruce’s own farmland as well as all-organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm, both of which were cooked down to an “almost jam-like” consistency before being added to the beer. Very dry, tart, and tannic owing both to the cultures that fermented it and the berry skins, it’s also has a deep plum color. Like Ægir’s Hall, this is a draught-only release, so head to the brewery, or better licensees across the province to get your fix.
And lastly from Big Spruce this week, if you were worried that you were going to miss our on the Honza’s Boho Pilsner that they released last week because you aren’t anywhere near the brewery or didn’t see it anywhere on tap, fear not: that beer has been packaged into swank euro-style 330 mL bottles. Full of Saaz hops and imported Continental Pilsner malt for the most authentic experience possible, the only mistake you could make in trying to find this one is to look for it under the name “Honza’s BoHo.” Packaged as Ski Cape Smokey it’s the same beer we told you about last week but celebrating Cape Breton’s venerable ski hill.

If you’re a regular at Good Robot and into sour beers, they’ve got some news to make ya happy – they’re pouring a brand new sour beer there as of earlier this week. Positive Energy (4.8% ABV, 6 IBUs) features an addition of Labrador tea, resulting in a tart beer that “tastes like a slice of sourdough toast with homemade cranberry tartinade”. The tea also helps keep the beer crisp; you may want to drop in and let them know your thoughts! Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Steve Maly Sucks, a 4.2% ABV, 20 IBUs Sweet Stout that was brewed with Roast Barley, Chocolate malt, and Coffee malt. Lactose was, naturally, added to boost the sweetness, but they also threw in some whiskey-soaked oak cubes to try to emulate an addition of coffee with Irish cream. Again, it’s up to you to decide how close they got! Finally, expect to see a new batch of their Chocolate Porter, Bingo Bronson (6% ABV) on tap very soon.

We may be in the darkest depths of winter, but that doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) mean that we can’t be allowed to enjoy a more-summer-y type of beer to give us hope that warmer times will eventually come. Tidehouse is doing just that this week, with a new beer they’re releasing this afternoon at their taproom. Oslo in the Summertime is a 5% ABV beer that was brewed with a blend of Pilsner malt and Flaked oats, along with a little bit of Melanoidin and Vienna malt for good measure. Hopped with two types of Czech Saaz (Saaz Special and Saaz Late) from PEI’s Bines & Vines, the wort was fermented with Oslo Kveik yeast. The final product is exhibiting a “slightly sweet grainy character” with lots of spicy, herbal hop character from the Saaz. Maybe not the usual characteristics you’d expect from a Kveik strain, but this one is a different type of beast! They’re going to have this one on tap for pints and growler fills, as well as in bottles; we recommend stopping in to give it a try!

Moncton’s newest brewery, Tire Shack, has a trio of new beers out today (technically last night, but who’s keeping track? Oh wait, we are!), perfect for the start of your weekend. Sour Bite is a 3.5% ABV Berliner Weisse, a crisp and refreshing take on the style. While this release is fruit-free, look for future releases to contain some fun additions like Pink Guava, Apricot, Kiwi, and Pineapple, coming atcha in the next little while. Also new on the taps on John Street is Roman Road, a 5.5% ABV Italian Pilsner, generously dry-hopped with Tettnanger and Huell Melon to bump up the character of this modern take on the classic style. This release is from their pilot system onsite, so may not last the weekend… The final of this week’s releases is another from the pilot system, a Belgian Dark Strong. At 6.6% ABV, it’s already brimming with dark fruit and malt character, which they bumped up with coconut sugar and molasses, also complementing the spicy phenolics from the Belgian yeast. A further fun step they took was to add Grand Marnier liqueur-soaked oak chips, for a subtle orange finish. Stop in for a flight and/or pint of these as well as their core brews this weekend!

Halifax’s Propeller continues to stand out in the region as a bigger independent brewery that’s not afraid to take chances and innovate; and for the second time in the last few months, the innovation is on the packaging side (remember those 360 End cans for the DDH IPA?). Although they’re not the first to do it (we’ll give a nod to 2 Crows on that), they’re certainly on the leading edge this week by putting the latest release of their seasonal Mocha Oatmeal Stout in cans with nitrogen. A bit of a nightmare logistically due to the requirement to reconfigure the canning line for it, the hope is that local drinkers will appreciate the additional creamy texture that only those tiny little bubbles can provide. Remember that you want to get it vertical as soon as you can after popping the top, so have (an appropriately-sized) glass at the ready! You can also try this “dark and decadent” 5.5% ABV beer featuring coffee from local roaster Java Blend in a sans nitro version at the brewery for growler fills and the taproom for pints. And for those who like to hit their Gottingen Street location on a Friday afternoon and/or evening, the cask this week will be their Porter with cold brew coffee, which you’ll be able to pair with Pilsner Pulled “Pork” taquitos from their up-the-street neighbours, vegan butchery Real Fake Meats.

The fine folks at Port Rexton Brewing have decided to hold themselves a home brew competition and we think folks in Nova Scotia might recognize the format. Similar to the Black Box Challenge competition run by Boxing Rock out of Shelburne, NS, Port Rexton’s first Mystery Homebrew Challenge will see entrants pay an entry fee and collect a “brewer’s pantry” of ingredients from the brewery. Then, working solely with the grains, hops and yeast provided (and, no doubt, water from an allowed source), they’ll each develop a recipe that will hopefully wow the judges. Only 25 entries will be permitted and placement is first come, first served based on e-transfer of the $55 entry fee. Ingredient pickup will be the weekend of February 6th – 8th at the brewery, so if you’re interested in entering, make sure you can get there on one of those days to do so! Competition entries will be accepted March 19th to 21st, with the winner announced on March 28th. Official rules, entries and more information can be obtained by emailing alicia@portrextonbrewing.com. Good luck to those who decide to enter this one; it’s a great format that definitely challenges brewers to differentiate their beer from the rest of the entries!

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a returning favourite coming out this week; Ethos is a Brett Saison at 6.2% ABV. This is the beer that goes into the barrels and come out as Evolution, so if you’ve enjoyed that one, it might be fun to compare and contrast. Lemony, dry and funky, look for it at Niche tap accounts.

We know you’ve been eagerly waiting to hear it, or is it just us?, but the 902 BrewCast have finally released their latest episode this morning. This is January’s Tasting Episode, where they pop open a few cans from around the region, and let us know their plans for the year. Listen to it on your commute home!

We’ve got a couple of beer-focused events coming up this weekend and then one of Halifax’s big ones coming up in just a couple of weeks:

If all this beer talk has you craving something sweeter, we’re happy to tell you that there’s a yuge mead tasting event going on in Fredericton tomorrow, January 25th, hosted by the city’s favourite meadery, Sunset Heights. Held at the Crowne Plaza downtown, this Barrel Release Party will feature a minimum of 15 different meads and/or cocktails “blended with other local craft alcohols”, paired over several hours with six (6!) different food courses. This private event begins at 6:45 pm; if you’re into mead, we can’t think of a better way for you to thumb your nose at Dry January. Check out the entire menu here. Tickets are still available; they’re $99 each and can be purchased online

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock will be heading up the coast tomorrow for a tap takeover in Bridgewater at the King Street Beer Co. Starting at 2 PM and going until 8 PM they’ve got lots more planned than just having their beer available thanks to their Beer Sommelier, Sheila. From 2 – 3 PM will be Craft Beer 101, 3 – 4PM Sensory Analysis and Blind Tasting, 4 – 5 PM Beer & Food Pairings, and 5 – 7 PM Beer Tastings. We’re guessing the last hour is mostly having a beer and decompressing from all that learning! Look for a full line-up of Boxing Rock beers available on tap as well. More information can be sought on the Fb Event page.

Tickets for February 8th’s Craft Beer Cottage Party are now on sale! Part of the Savour Food and Wine Festival, the CBCP is a celebration of beer in a cold month that can get you jamming and thinking about summer. Known for the fanciest plaid shirts and trucker hats, breweries taking part in the event compete the show off their design skills at their booth, and those pouring will certainly get into the spirit as well. The list of breweries and cideries pouring is: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s Historic NS Brewery, Annapolis Brewing Co, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar (pouring some special releases), Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Garrison Brewing Co., Heritage Brewing, Pumphouse (repped by Innovative Brands), Lunn’s Mill, Nine Locks Brewery, Off Track, Propeller Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing, Route 19, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipwright Brewing Co., Shipbuilders/Petite Riviere, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tanner & Co Brewing, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., The Church Brewing Co., Trider’s Craft Beer, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s. Phew, that’s a lot! And we’re going to be holding a fun little contest to get you excited, and get a couple of tickets in your hand. Snap a picture of a beer or cider from the breweries or cideries above, post it to Twitter or Instagram, tag the producer, us (@ACBeerBlog) and Savour Food & Wine (@savourfw), we’ll do a draw for 2 tickets to the show next Thursday, Jan 30, at 11:59PM, and announce it on next week’s blog. Good luck to everyone, and get drinking!

We trust that everybody’s now comfortably back at work after the holidays, rested and refreshed and ready for whatever winter can dole out (residents of Northern NS, Cape Breton and Newfoundland may have already been well-tested on that front, but we trust we’ll all get our share before the season’s over). And a big shout out to all of those doing that whole Dry January thing; you’re now a third of the way to insanity success! For the rest of you, we’ve got plenty of news as always about new breweries, new beers, and all the other news we could gather.

Let’s kick off this week’s news with another opening in our region, New Maritime Beer. After launching their brand with a pair of beers this summer, they are now ready to welcome folks to their taproom at 55 Newcastle Blvd in Miramichi. The taproom is opening Saturday at 1 PM (until 11 or later if the party is still rockin’!), and open daily going forward (except for Mondays). They will be pouring an American Pale Ale, IPA, and Stout, brewed elsewhere while they complete the installation and commision of their brewhouse. The new equipment was manufactured by Saint John’s Copper Leaf Brewing Equipment, an 1800 litre brewhouse, and should be in full force next month. The 90 seat taproom features plenty of cozy touches like a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. While they do not yet have food onsite, you can feel free to bring or order your own in. Keep an eye here, and on their Social Media (Fb/IG) for news of new releases (we’ve already heard tell of Juicy and West Coast IPAs, as well as more Pale Ales, Stouts, and Session IPAs coming down the pipeline once they are fully open).

Sea Level Brewing at Millstone Harvest Brewhouse in Sheffield Mills has a brand new release on the taps (and coming soon to cans) these days. A Light in the Dark is a 4.0% ABV Kolsch Ale, the latest of their beer releases to use barley grown at their farm, and malted at nearby Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Opting for a light-coloured and sessionable beer at a time many seasonals are going dark and heavy, there is still plenty going on in the glass. The beer also features Cascade grown at the farm, complemented by Glacier grown by Fundy Hops. The beer is available now on draught at the Brewhouse (for onsite enjoyment or to go), with growlers, and soon cans, at their Port Williams location as well.

Speaking of Horton Ridge, they have a new beer available this week as well. When you’re a combination malt house/brewery and you’re looking to use up a previous crop of grain, you build a beer around it! That’s exactly what they’ve done with The Ridge Rosé, a Farmhouse-inspired Pale Ale. The grist was made up mostly of Queens Pale Malt, a variety of barley developed in PEI that gives an earthy malt profile, which works well in Farmhouse styles, according to Horton Ridge. Also brewed with a touch of Rye malt, and hopped with Saaz, the goal was to brew a base beer that would provide a good amount of malt character, yet also allow the secondary ingredient to shine through – in this beer, Muscat grape skins from Benjamin Bridge and Luckett Vineyards. After aging on the skins for close to two months, the 5% ABV beer has taken on tart, fruity flavours, as well as a subtle maltiness. It’s pouring on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up some cans to take home.

Last summer, Off Track Brewing released a pilot batch of Boatload of Nerve, an experimental DIPA. Availability was obviously quite limited, and the beer went over very well, so luckily for us they’ve scaled it up and brewed a full batch! Hopped with a blend of El Dorado and Mosaic, this 8% ABV, 95 IBUs DIPA sports “notes of pear and mango, with a slight hint of pine”, as well as a touch of herbal/earthy character. Slightly hazy, it’s only available on tap… however, future batches MAY be bottled if the demand is there. For now, your best bet to find it is at the brewery .

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new release out this week, sure to satisfy the hop lover on your list (in addition to yourself, of course!). The latest in their Hop Trip series, Southern Hemisphere IPA is 6.0% ABV, and while it is 30 IBU on paper, the hops are certainly the star of the show. Using loads of Galaxy, Topaz, and Vic Secret, three Australian-grown hops. Intense aromatics of passion fruit, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple come through thanks to the generous use of hops throughout. The beer is available on draught for samples, pints, and growler fills at their brewery at the Seaport, as well as the Oxford Taproom, with cans available at those locations as well as a few NSLC and private stores. And for the month of January, all sales/donations through Popcorn with a Purpose, a charitable endeavour at the Oxford where popcorn sales are donated, will be going towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Friendly alert for those of you in or around Liverpool NS: local brewery Hell Bay has just released Barrel-Aged Brown Ale, a 9.5% ABV Brown that was aged for six months in Bourbon and rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. Featuring a “rich, brown malt body with distinctive rum flavour”, it’s sure to pack a punch with that high ABV, despite the alcohol character being nicely hidden. Bottles are limited, so don’t wait to pick up a couple, as no doubt they’ll age in your cellar perfectly!

Something new and hoppy fresh out of 2 Crows this week, a 5.4% ABV, 31 IBUs New England IPA named Merida. Hopped very heavily with Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon, and experimental hop Bru-1, you can expect plenty of juiciness in this one, along with “Tang, pineapple, stone fruit, and cantaloupe vibes”. Available on tap and in cans right now at the brewery. And hey, even more good news – while there, why not grab some cans of the latest batch of Waltz, their German Pilsner? This batch was tweaked slightly, as the beer was brewed with 100% PEI grown-and-malted Shoreline Malting Pils malt. They’ve played with the dry-hopping technique as well, making this iteration “extra bright”, with more floral and lemon notes than usual.

Hanging nearby Rothesay, NB this weekend? Pop on over to the Hammond River taproom, where they’ve tapped a brand new experimental beer. Another entry in the brewery’s Dry-Hopped series, Dry Hopped Sour (Sorachi Ace). The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, kettle-soured with HR’s house Lactobacillus strain. This particular batch was dry-hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace from local Moose Mountain Hop Farm, giving the beer plenty of lemon notes in the aroma and flavour, to complement the tartness in the finish. And hey, if you can’t get to Rothesay, you should be able to find it on tap at The Joyce in Fredericton. And at only 3.5% ABV, you can have a couple and not feel too guilty!

If you’re feeling more cidery this weekend (is that a thing? It should be!), Annapolis Cider Company has you covered. They’ve launched the latest in their Something Different series, a sparkling cider and wine blend named Harvest Rosé. Marechal Foch (a hybrid French red wine grape) was locally harvested, with the juice co-fermented with fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. This dry, cider-wine blend was then FURTHER blended with small batch, dry Gravenstein ciders which were prepared by the Annapolis Cider retail staff, fermented using four different yeast strains. Still following along ok? Great! Finally, fresh-pressed Geneva Crab apple juice, a “red-fleshed apple variety”, was added to finish it all off. The result? An “elegant, off-dry rosé cider with bright acidity, and notes of red berries and fresh apples”. It comes in at 7.2% ABV, and $0.50 from each refillable bottle purchases will go towards Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing isn’t slowing down one bit as we’ve moved into 2020, and they’ve got two new beers pouring at their taproom to prove it. The first is Captain’s Orders Hopfenweizen, their take on the hoppy Hefeweizen style. Brewed with a 50/50 blend of German Pale and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Magnum and Hallertau Blanc in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Fermented with a Weizen strain, the 6.5% ABV beer was then lightly dry-hopped with Amarillo. It’s showing classic Weizen aromas of banana and clove, along with some citrus thanks to the dry-hop addition. Medium-bodied and refreshing, it’s a great reminder of why this style shouldn’t only be brewed during warmer seasons! The next brew is Cross Island Common, a “modern take” on the California Common style. The malt bill includes Munich, Vienna, English Cara and Flaked Barley, with Perle hops going in the boil (to the tune of 30 IBUs). Dry-hopped with Eureka, the 5.5% ABV brew is exhibiting “herbaceous, hop-forward aromatics, with a candied orange undertone that leads to a palate of red berry fruits and toffee”. Finishing bitter and crisp, it joins the several other beers currently on tap at Shipwright. 

And in more Lunenburg brewery news, Saltbox Brewing will be opening a taproom and pilot brewery in the town this summer, under the moniker Lightship Beer and Cider. Located at 93 Tannery Road, the brewery and taproom will have an unobstructed view of Lunenburg Harbour from its place on the point. While the building design is still being finalized, we can tell you that it will feature indoor seating for 50 people, and a large deck with space for four times that number. A 2 BBL (230 litre) pilot brewhouse will be onsite, focusing on traditional German and other European styles, as an ode to the countries of origin of the early settlers in the region. In addition to those, a complement of beer from Saltbox’s main brewery in Mahone Bay will also be available on tap. The brewery space will also house some foeders which are perfect for long-term aging of some special brews. While the details of the kitchen and food offerings are still being ironed out, there will certainly be tasty offerings to pair with the beers pouring. We’ll keep you up to date on Lightship’s progress over the next months, and you can sign up to learn more on their website.

And in “a brewery we haven’t spoken about in a little while” news, we have some updates for you thirsty New Brunswickers looking for more beer (and info) regarding Valonray Brewing in the Shediac River area. Just over a year ago, they switched focus from clean European- (mostly Belgian-) inspired beers to those with mixed cultures and taking much longer to produce, and therefore their regular debuts stopped. The first of that line was Rouge Provision, a 5.0% ABV light-coloured beer first fermented with a clean ale yeast strain (familiar friend US-05), but underwent a secondary (and tertiary, etc, etc) ferm with a pitch of both Escarpment Labs’ Belgian sour blend, as well as a house culture of other Brett and Lacto strains built up onsite. The beer spent twelve months in a second-use Bourbon American Oak barrel, and then 6 months conditioning in the bottle. Available exclusively at the Picaroons shops in Fredericton and Saint John, we believe there are still a few bottles left on the shelves there. Bottles of their previous releases may still be available at your local ANBL locations. Future releases by Valonray are in the barrel and bottle now, as they continue their exploration of the Flanders Red Ale style. 

Don’t go waiting until Tuesday to wander over to Good Robot for a taste of their latest Beta Brew, as they’ll be closed for a staff day. However, they will be releasing Alternative Roots, their latest BB, on Sunday, January 12th. This one is billed as a Fruit Beer, with beet chiffonade added at the end of the boil, giving the final beer a “wild pink colour and a deep, earthy aroma”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, drop in at the end of the weekend for your taste.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting an event with Toronto’s Burdock Brewery tomorrow, Jan 11th, at their Barrington Street location. Featuring 3 draught offerings, and more than a dozen canned and bottled brews available as well, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s palate. And as is routine for Stilly, they will have some special menu items on the go, including Mac & Cheese Arancini. The featured beers are available from opening at noon tomorrow, and around until… well, we’re not exactly sure, so your best bet is to visit earlier in the day!

If you instead find yourself 260km Northwest of Halifax tomorrow, may we suggest dropping into Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub for their own takeover/feature, where they are showcasing the beers of Alberta. The Alberta Craft Beer Tap Takeover will have beers from more than a half-dozen breweries across the province, including Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Blindman, Brewsters, Grizzly Paw, New Level, and Troubled Monk

HopYard’s original location in Charlottetown, PEI, is hosting a Battle of the PEI Breweries 2020 event over the course of the next couple of months that will see eight breweries compete for Island supremacy, with the champion being crowned at the Finale on Thursday, February 20th. But to get to that point there first needs to be a tournament, and that tournament started last night as recent ACBA Brewery of the Year Bogside Brewing squared off against PEI’s OG brewery, PEI Brewing Co, with Bogside pulling out a slim victory by 9 glasses. The next 3 Thursdays will see the remaining battles in the first round, with Moth Lane taking on Copper Bottom on January 16th, Lone Oak battling Evermoore on January 23rd, and Barnone taking on Upstreet on January 30th. The two Thursdays after that (February 6th and 13th) will be the two semi-finals before the final showdown a week later. So whether you’re local to Charlottetown or just find yourself on the Island on a Thursday night over the next six weeks, HopYard will be an excellent place for a fun night of drinking beer and voting with your tastebuds.

And speaking of PEI beer and Lone Oak in particular, the brewery and taproom have been open for a little while now, but they haven’t had themselves a proper party to make it all official-like. That will change on Saturday, January 25th, starting at 4 PM when they’ll be hosting a big Grand Opening celebration. One musical act, Max Koughan and The Poets has been confirmed, with two more surprise musical headliners to be announced the evening of. Cover charge will be $20 per person at the door, and the beer will also be flowing, of course. So make your plans to be in Borden-Carleton in two week’s time (but we’ll very likely give you a reminder nudge the day before).

And we leave you, as always, with a few brief beery mentions:

Firkenstein Brewing has a new brew joining their regular tap lineup – Chili & SubLime (6%) is “light and refreshing, with a bit of zest, along with just a hint of chili spice”.

Flying Boats may still be pouring Black Currant Blonde Ale at their taproom; this latest one-keg-only Brewer’s Test Recipe is brewed with local black currants.

Iron Rock Brewing has a pilot batch available exclusively at their taproom – Farmer’s Junction Red Saison is their Railbender Red fermented with Old World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Caramel and toffee notes abound, along with spice and herbal character; only two kegs available, so get in, quickly!

Team TataBrew has released Triple Beam Lagerbier, a 6% ABV Lager dry-hopped with Cascade and Aramis. Easy-drinking and crisp, you can find it at homebase in Tatamagouche, and we hear that it’s been spotted at the Stillwell Freehouse as well!