2 Crows Brewing

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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).

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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