902 BrewCast

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Crikey. Are we going to mention the weather in our intro this week? Damn skippy we are! It’s been the kind of May that makes you wonder why March hasn’t ended in our region, but that’s not stopping our regional beer scene from plowing forward towards the summer season that we’re sure will arrive for a couple of days, maybe by late August. We’ve got yet another new brewery opening, plenty of new releases and re-releases, and a bunch of lovely-sounding beer-related events to tell you about. So bundle up, strap in, grab a beer, and get reading!

After months of anticipation, Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s opened last weekend. Located at 90 Duckworth Street, the brewery and taproom are located in a former fire station, constructed after the Great Fire of 1892. Named after nearby Bannerman Park, the brewery features a 15 BBL (1750 litre) brewhouse from DME Brewing, and a bright and inviting taproom. They have launched with six beer offerings: a Lager, Saison, Fruited Sour, Pale Ale, IPA, and Double IPA, and have several more waiting in the wings. In addition to beer, their kitchen is open and keeping visitors’ bellies full as well. The concentration is on snacks and street food with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options; tacos available three ways (cod, brisket or veggie), banh mi sandwich, cauliflower steaks, and thai lettuce cups. The taproom is open daily (except Tuesday), Mon, Wed, and Thurs 4 – 11, Fri 3 – 12, Sat 12 – 12, Sun 12 – 11 (with extended hours 12 – 11 Victoria Day Monday). Pop in for a pint and a feed, and leave with a growler of your favourite(s)! Congratulations to the entire Bannerman Family.

Moving from one island to another, we’re happy to announce that Red Island Cider in Charlottetown is opening their doors today. Their fermentory and taproom at 101 Longworth Avenue opens today 2 – 8 PM. They will have three ciders available to visitors: Father Walker’s (a traditional dry cider), The Devonport (hopped cider), and the first of their revolving seasonal Ghost Ship series, a dry semi-sweet cider. With live music from 6:30 PM, and food provided in the taproom from next door’s bar.1911, this will be the place to go this afternoon. They are also open tomorrow 2 – 8 PM, and open Wed to Sat with the same hours. Congratulations!

Let’s skip back to Newfoundland for another new release taking flight in Mount Pearl. We teased it a bit last week, but now have the full details. Teaming up with the nearby Admiralty Museum and their new “Field to Flight” exhibition, the folks at Landwash Brewery have released Field to Flight Pale Ale. Using malted Wheat and Barley from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, and East Kent Golding from England, this is truly a Transatlantic beer. The 5.5% ABV beer features a herbal and spicy hop profile on top of the bread and biscuit malt, and fruity kick from their house yeast. Available at the brewery now for pints and flights and in growlers and cans to go.

If you happen to be near Port Rexton Brewing this weekend, there’s a special, draught-only beer currently pouring that we think you’ll want to try! Do you remember Nor’easter? Released in bottles in late December of 2017, this beer was a Porter that was brewed and aged in two red wine barrels, along with 30 lbs (each barrel) of fresh, local partridgeberries. The first barrel was bottled, while the second barrel spent an additional 16+ months aging… and that’s what you can taste if you get to the taproom right now! This Nor’easter is exhibiting as “beautifully-balanced red wine meets medium-dark chocolate in the aroma and on the palate”. Still showing some tartness from the partridgeberry addition, it has a medium body and weighs in at 7.4% ABV. No growler fills of this one, so bring your drinking boots!

Two South Shore Nova Scotia breweries, namely Shelburne’s Boxing Rock and Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company, have teamed up on a new collaboration IPA they’re calling Swing Thru. With aromas of lemon, apricot, peach and even a bit of coconut, and flavors of pine resin, lemon zest, and grapefruit, this 6.3% ABV beer was quadruple dry-hopped to maximize those aromas and flavors. With an amber-bronze color, it’s slightly hazy and the finish might remind you a little bit of lemon candy. Currently only available at Boxing Rock and Saltbox, fear not, social media is showing a label, so you might reasonably expect it to have been packaged and possibly making its way to other places (like the BR Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax).

Never a brewery to rest simply because they’re coming down from NSCBW, Big Spruce has two new releases for this week, as well as a returning favourite. The first newbie is Viva la Mandarina, a 7.4% ABV hazy IPA. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra (who doesn’t love those three hops?), the beer also had an addition of organic (natch!) Mandarin orange juice. Super tropical, as you probably expected, with “notes of sun-ripe pineapple, passion fruit, guava, and light pine”, and orange, cantaloupe and clementine on the nose. Finishing with a “long, tangerine peel bitterness”, it’s available only on tap . The second brew is on the opposite side of the spectrum; Duplicitous is a dark Saison that was hopped with Magnum and Tettnang, and then aged in three Marechal Foch barrels for 8 months, along with sun-dried Bing cherries and fresh sweet cherries. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV, there’s barrel character in the aroma, with “notes of Spanish sherry and fresh cherry pie on the palate”. Some earthiness from the hop additions to complement, this one is available in kegs only as well. Finally, Death Cookies NEIPA is back, but only a limited number of kegs will be pouring, so grab it while ya can! And if you’re looking for another excuse to head to the brewery this weekend, this week they kicked off their Food Truck being open for the season, which is open Wed-Sun, 11:30 – 7 PM.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing Company and Everwood Avenue Brewshop have teamed up on a collaboration beer in a style rarely (if ever) seen in these parts. Would you believe that there’s a German-inspired beer from Brazil? Thanks to a strong German influence dating back to colonial times, brewers took the sour, refreshing nature of Berliner Weisse and married it to the beautiful fresh fruit growing in abundance all around them. This keeps with the tradition of adding fruit syrups to Berliner Weisse, but in a more immediate way. Moderately sour, fully-attenuated, and with little to no grain or hop character, the goal of Catharina Sour is a fruity and refreshing drink for hot weather. The team stayed true to the style, using Passion Fruit and Mango, yielding a fairly light 5% ABV beer they’re calling El Fuego with a tart character and plenty of fruit aromatics and flavor. The official release date is May 22nd, when Everwood will be on hand at the New Scotland taproom for their first Customer Appreciation Night, but you’ll find it already on tap there now and soon at Battery Park.

Most (all?) Canadian breweries involved in the annual Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration 12-pack (featuring a collaboration beer from one brewery from each province/territory brewed at Central City Brewing in B.C.) end up coming home to brew the same beer on their own system (aside: and the winner of worst sentence ever goes to…). Luckily for residents of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche Brewing – representative of NS of this year’s collaboration pack – is no exception! Ocean’s Playground is a Belgian Tripel brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt, along with a bit of wheat and dextrose. Hopped with Styrian Goldings and Saaz to 30 IBUs, and dry-hopped with a bit more Saaz, it was fermented with Escarpment Lab’s Ardennes strain. It’s kegs only for this 8.2% ABV release, and it’s already going fast! You should be able to find it on tap at Tata, and at a few select accounts (we should also mention that half of the batch is currently aging in barrels, along with some interesting cultures!). The Red Racer version – which won a Bronze medal at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards – will likely be hitting liquor stores in the Atlantic provinces soon, so you should be able to grab cans at that point. When you do, you’ll be also able to enjoy the collabs done with Grimross, Copper Bottom, and Port Rexton.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has just released High Water Helles, a German Helles that you may remember as originally being released under the moniker Scratch #15: German Helles last November. Losing the “Scratch” in the name means that this one will be available on a larger scale, but it’s still keeping the qualities of the initial beer, with a few slight tweaks to the recipe. Originally designed in collaboration with Darlings Island Farm, this golden-coloured, medium-bodied beer was brewed with German Pilsner malt, hopped with Santium, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager yeast. Dry-hopped with more Santium, the beer was lagered for about six weeks before packaging. The final beer is clean and refreshing, “with a moderate amount of herbal, grassy hop character, along with a touch of lemon citrus notes”. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 21 IBUs, you can grab it on tap and in cans at the Grimross taproom right now, with cans hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Halifax’s Good Robot has a couple of returning beers and a brand new in the offing this week. First up, for those who missed them in their brief absence, both Creature Feature I, their hoppy and juicy biotransformation IPA and El Espinazo del Diablo, their Mexican Lager with jalepeño and lime are both back in full effect. Coming up soon is a new beer made in collaboration with Aquakultre to celebrate the release of the album HOLOS with Ghettosocks (Aquakultre + Ghettosocks = Aquasocks) and to help fundraise for Aquakultre’s own debut album, Legacy, coming next year. We’ll have an album release party to tell you about in the near future where you can try the beer and check out the album, but for now we’ve been advised to let you know that Legacy Lager is a Pilsner and you’ll be tasting pineapple. Lastly, for those following the trials and tribulations of the GR Sabco system, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s back up and running and Kelly will be getting the BetaBrew program back on the road Real Soon Now™.

Good news for you Tidehouse fans, as they’re finishing up their expansion to a 5 hL system and will finally be able to start kegging more beers for bars and restaurants in the HRM. You can still drink in their tiny little taproom, of course (in fact, we/they encourage it!), but if you can’t make it there, rest assured that you’ll soon be able to find your TH favourites at other locations. Also as a result of this expansion, they plan on having regular stock of 650 mL bottles of their Hibiscus City (Gose w/ lime zest and hibiscus) available. But not just at the brewery! You can now find bottles at Bishop’s Cellar and Liquid Assets, making it even easier to take home (or travel with) a TH brew.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery is throwing their hat in the very large NEIPA ring with their first official stab at the style, Vermont is for Lovers. Definitely dangling at the upper end of the ABV range at 8% ABV, the wort was hopped with Mosaic and Citra, and then double-dry-hopped with more of the same, giving a whole whack of citrus flavours and aromas, with a moderate bitterness in the finish (IBUs coming in somewhere south of 40). You can grab it right now at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and it will be available in cans sometime next week.

So, what’s on the go this weekend (and beyond)? Let’s get you up to date right now!

This is certainly the weekend of the Beer Gardens, as the weather has turned positive (and sometimes even breaking into double digits!) and we can’t stay cooped up drinking all year long! Opening for their first year of operation is Euston Park Social, located at 5 Euston Street in Moncton. Featuring the now-popular shipping-container-converted-to-bar setup, they are pouring a dozen beer, cider and kombucha options from across the province, and pairing with a small menu of paired food options. Open Mon – Fri 11 AM – midnight, Sat and Sun 10 AM – midnight, with a brunch menu until 4 PM on the weekend. And be sure to pop by on May 24th for the official Grand Opening celebration.

Also opening in the area is Buddha Bear’s Riverview bar, on the edge of the Petitcodiac River at 391 Coverdale Road. With a dozen beers, including a rotating selection of their own Holy Whale as well as other New Brunswick bevvies, there’s something for everyone. They are opening at 4 PM this afternoon, going until 9 PM. Saturday and Sunday they will be open 2 – 5 PM, and Monday 1 – 5 PM. As with all of the Beer Gardens we’re mentioning today, openings are weather-dependent, so check the skies before you head down.

In Halifax, this weekend also marks the opening of the Stillwell Beer Garden at 5688 Spring Garden Rd. Opening later this weekend (we’re not not exactly sure when so keep an eye on social media and the SBG link above which is updated when they are), they’ll be pouring their favourite stellar selection of beers from across the region (and beyond) on tap and in cans. The food options in the BG has changed this year, with Beverley Taco Service taking over the helm. If you’ve wondered what those cryptic flyers and call-in number were for, now ya know! Freshly-made tortillas, made with heirloom corn that they’ve milled themselves, and a rotating fun and funky list of toppings will make these hand-held-heros the perfect pairing to your sunny afternoon/evening pint.

And finally, hop across the ferry to Battery Park, who opened their backyard patio yesterday, and hopes to have it open all weekend long (rain, rain, go away, come back… in October). With long picnic tables and a mini container with a selection of beer, wine, and cider pouring, a little green respite in downtown Dartmouth is just what the doctor ordered to get over your S.A.D.

We mentioned in our post at the beginning of NSCBW that Meander River is having a big 5th Anniversary Party, but we thought it prudent to remind you that it’s tomorrow, Saturday, May 18th, starting at 11 AM, at the brewery out in Ashdale, NS. Those who visited the Meander Farm Brewery table at the Full House event last weekend got a sneak peek of two products that will be featured at the party, namely Little Big Lager, a “big brewery-style” light lager at 4.2% ABV and the return of Honey’d the small-batch cider at 5.5% ABV that folks can’t seem to get enough of. Both have been packaged in bottles, meaning you’ll also be able to take some to go!

If you live in/near Dieppe and like beer and food (who doesn’t!), there’s going to be a Flying Boats Beer Tasting & Food Pairing next Thursday, May 23rd, at the Oval Lounge in the Hotel Wingate Dieppe. Featuring four different Flying Boats beers, each paired with a different course, head brewer/owner Marc Melanson will be on hand to discuss beer styles, ingredients, etc. Tickets are $35 each; call 506-830-8330 to reserve yours.

Do you like beer? How about Square Dancing? If the answer to both (or either, really) of those is, “yes,” and you’re going to be in the general environs of Mabou, NS, next weekend, consider popping in to the Brook Village Square Dance & Beer Fest hosted by Brook Village Grocery and going down at the Brook Village Hall (in Brook Village!) on Saturday, May 25th, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. Tickets are $30 plus taxes and are available through EventBrite. There will be lots of music, plenty of dancing, and craft beer and cider from all over Nova Scotia (and a few from PEI)!

Next week marks the beginning of the 14th Annual Atlantic Beer Festival in Moncton, with three separate sessions being held between Friday and Saturday, May 24th-25th. This year’s event will feature more than 70 breweries, with over 175 different types of beer and cider pouring. There will also be live music, as well as several options for food. Tickets are still available for all sessions – Friday 7:30 – 10 PM, Saturday 2:30 – 5 PM and 7:30 – 10 PM – for $59.50 each; check out the event link to purchase yours.

Big Spruce continues their recent trend of beer events in the city, this time partnering up with 2 Doors Down Bar + Bites for a dinner event on Thursday, May 30th at 6:30 PM. Entitled “Bitter v. Bitter” it will feature four unique dishes from Chef Melwyn Chettiar that he has designed to pair with the bitter components of each of four Big Spruce beers selected by Big Spruce head honcho Jeremy White. Chef Chettiar is no stranger to pairing beer and food, having served up at the Eat Drink Halifax event on a couple of occasions, so you can expect well considered pairings. In addition to the 4oz pours of beer accompanying the food, there will also be three cocktails served, beginning with a welcome “Kitchen Party” cocktail as you come in the door and continuing over the evening with two more of 2DD’s Craft Beer cocktails (featuring Big Spruce beer, of course). Steven Heisler, head bartender for the Chives/2DD restaurant group and a beer sommelier, will be the host, Jeremy will be in attendance to providing insight into the beers, and Chef/Proprietor Craig Flinn is also expected to make an appearance. Tickets are $75 per person (includes gratuity) and with 2DDBB being a pretty small space, you’ll want to move quickly as there’s not a lot of them. This would be a great event for a craft beer lover who’s interested in cocktail culture, a cocktail fan who’s curious about craft beer, or someone who just loves good food and drink. Call 902.448.1898 to reserve your spot.

We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t have a couple more quick things for you to read down here at the end of the post:

The hirsute hop-harping hooligans of 902BrewCast have another episode up this week, their May Tasting Episode. Tune in via your favorite podcast player to hear them wax poetic about various and sundry, including their consensus picks for handsomest ACBeerBlog writer (hint: it’s not who you think) and Most Glorious 902BrewCast beard (hint: it’s totally who you think).

Our favourite brewery in Hanwell, New Brunswick, has brought back a bright refreshing favourite for the “warmer” days we’re experiencing. Niche Brewing’s Margarita Gose is a 3.5% ABV kettle sour with lots of wheat in the grist, and no hops to distract, allowing the souring process and other ingredients take centre stage. Those other ingredients, btw, are light additions of salt and coriander to keep the beer true to the Gose style, and then kicked up with a round of conditioning on fresh lime zest (work those forearms, boys!). This zingy sipper is available around Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John, and will pop up in Halifax (including during the Battle of the Breweries Battle at HopYard Halifax next Thursday, May 23rd, when they take on Big Spruce and Roof Hound Brewing).

Happy Good Friday! We’ve got a full dose of spring beer for you this week, to keep you happy during this holiday weekend. Put down those eggs benny and chocolate eggs (hopefully not on the same plate!), and get up to date with the goings ons in our area. With the four provincial liquor stores closed Friday and Sunday, it’s a perfect time to support your local brewery or retailer, just double check they’re open too!

We’ve got great news for beer fans on the West coast of Newfoundland, you will soon have another local brewery to call your own. After a bit of a hiatus from their original plan to establish on the Burin Peninsula, Rough Waters Brewing has announced that they will be setting up in Deer Lake in the near future. That hiatus found owner Chris Johnson working with and learning much from the Port Rexton Brewing crew, and solidifying and focusing their best plan going forward. Streamlining and concentrating on what is most important to them has them now renewing their excitement and efforts to this project. Keep an eye on their Social Media (fb/ig) over the coming months as they share the many steps ahead of opening. Congratulations!

Lagers are in the air now that the weather is finally warming up; in Saint John, we’re specifically talking about Czech Pilsner, thanks to the release of Svelt Pils from Loyalist City Brewing. After a recent trip to the Czech Republic, owner/head brewer Mark McGraw was inspired to brew his own take on the style. Brewed using the traditional decoction mash (a multi-step technique involving one or more temperature rises), the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs entirely with the floral Czech Saaz variety. Fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain, it was lagered for 60 days before packaging. Coming in at a highly-drinkable 4.5% ABV, the golden-coloured brew has aromas and flavours of bready malt, “complemented by a truly unique herbal and floral hop aroma” that carries through to the palate. Finishing smooth, with a moderate bitterness, it’s available now on tap at select tap accounts in Saint John, with cans heading to the ANBL on Wellington Row.

Plenty of new-and-returning beer news from Trider’s this week! Let’s start with the returning brew, the third release of their annual Maccan Maple. Freshly-packaged now that maple season is finishing off, this beer features the use of maple sap (from Hidden Mountain Maple Farms) instead of water in the brewing process. The yeast, naturally, dried out most of the sugar from the sap, so the brewers added more boiled-down syrup to increase the sweetness. Finishing – yes – sweet, “but still balanced”, this 6% ABV beer is on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up a limited number of bottles. A few kegs will probably pop up at Trider’s licensees. As for the new beers, they’ve brought us Dillusions of Grandeur, a 5.1% ABV “strongly dill-flavoured” Kolsch that had fresh cut dill and Sorachi Ace hops added, and Robblebock, a 6.66% ABV Doppelbock that is “rich and dark”, yet drinkable, thanks to a lagering period of just over two months. Grab these two at the brewery for a limited time only.

Two returning and one new beer trends aplenty! Oof, that’s a bad opening sentence. Anyhoo, our friends at O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe are following said trend, starting with the release of a delicious-looking, super hazy American Pale Ale named Norther. Hopped and dry-hopped with equal parts Galaxy and Vic Secret (two of Australia’s best hop varieties, in our humble opinions), it’s exhibiting wonderful tropical qualities in the aroma and flavour (emphasis on pineapple), with a mild bitterness in the finish. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV and 43 IBUs, look for it on tap at CAVOK Brewing and Tide & Boar; it should also show up on tap at Bathurst’s Au Bootlegger, soon. In the returning department, they’ve got Big Red 250, their 5.6% ABV Mosaic dry-hopped Amber Ale (pouring at Au Bootlegger and the Laundromat), and Le Barachois, a 6% ABV Oatmeal Stout (pouring at T&B and the Laundromat).

In the Greater Fredericton Metropolitan Area, Niche Brewing has another new release this week, this one back to the hoppier side of the spectrum. Sound & Vision is their Session IPA, with lots of oats and wheat included in the grist to ensure there’s still plenty of body in this low-ABV beer (4.8%) to balance against the hops. Leveraging Enigma, and El Dorado in the kettle, and more Enigma along with some Topaz at dry hop, expect a blend of mango, papaya, orange and lime flavors to be most prominent in both aroma and flavor. You’ll find Sound & Vision starting this weekend in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

Tusket Falls Brewing Company in (of all places) Tusket, NS, has a couple of new beers just in time for Easter weekend, both of which are described by the brewery as being somewhat experimental. First up is an IPA fermented with a strain of everybody’s new darling yeast, Kveik, which they’ve conveniently called Kveik. This 6.2% ABV brew features El Dorado and Citra hops for tropical and citrus character. Lemon yellow and very hazy, with a creamy white foam, you’ll find the mouthfeel quite soft with elements of pine and orange zest tweaking your tongue. Also hitting the taps is the second in their Solo Hops Series, an NEIPA featuring the venerable Simcoe hop. With plenty of fruity character, but also a very dank and earthy presence, Simcoe is the kind of hop that can be smelled at the other end of the table. This beer, coming in at 6.0% ABV aims to be balanced and show off the best that Simcoe has to offer. Look for these two beers on tap at the Tusket Falls taproom as well as potentially at the Saltscapes Expo in Halifax April 26 – 28. And stay tuned for more news about new beers from Tusket in the coming weeks!

We’ve got all the details on the latest release from Copper Bottom, which is hitting shelves and taps today. Better Weather is the brewery’s first Saison, brewed with a simple grist of 2-row (from Island Malt House in New Glasgow, PEI) and Acid malt. Hopped with Saaz and Perle (to 25 IBUs), and fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, this 5.0% ABV brew has earthy, spicy aromas, with flavours of “bubble gum and fruity esters”. Finishing nice and dry (as a good Saison should!), with a light acidity, you can grab some today at the brewery (pints, growlers, and cans); if you can’t make it to Montague this weekend, look for it on tap at local accounts.

If you’ve been following Nova Scotia Craft Beer religiously for a few years you might have noticed a bit of a rhythm, especially when it comes to certain breweries and certain releases. And if you’re one of those people and you’re particularly sensitive, you might be thinking that it’s just about time for Big Spruce to announce that their Ra Ra Rasputin Coffee Imperial Stoutis ready to make it’s 2019 appearance. And if you’re one of those super intuitive, tuned-in-to-the-ebbs-and-flows-of-NS-Craft-Beer folks you’re probably about 3 unfortunate days behind the folks who just pay attention to social media… Sure enough, Ra Ra 2019 made its debut at Battery Park in Dartmouth last night, with Jeremy White in the house and 3 new barrel aged beers on tap joining 3 vintages from last year. Also, Ra Ra Rasputin Chocolate Truffles from Rousseau Chocolatier. Musta been nice, right? Well fear not, those three new 2019 barrel aged beers, namely Glenora Whiskey, French Cognac, and Peach Brandy are going to be generally available in bottles at many private stores in Halifax soon. Got a bottle or two of last year’s (and/or 2017’s) models? Pull a vertical with your pals. Don’t have any of last year’s left? Buy all three of this year’s and go horizontal (but get some help to do it, because if you solo three bombers of Ra Ra in one night, horizontal is probably the best you can hope for). Enjoyable with or without a Boney M soundtrack.

TrailWay has two returning beers back at the brewery in time for the weekend, if you happened to be looking for a hop fix in the Fredericton area for the long weekend. First up is a new iteration of Almost Nuclear, an American IPA brewed with lupulin-enriched hops. This version features the German Mandarina Bavaria variety, which they used plenty of (natch) to provide a “massive, sweet and juicy tangerine and orange” presence on the nose and palate. Cans and on tap at the brewery only (for now), 6.5% ABV. And Good Weather has returned as well; another 6.5% ABV American IPA, it’s showing characteristics of “tropical juice, overripe mango, pineapple, and citrus”. This one will definitely be available outside the brewery, starting today and extending into next week.

The 902 BrewCast released an episode earlier this week, welcoming on Kelly and Nicki from Good Robot Brewing and Evelyn of Propeller Brewing. The episode was wide-ranging in scope, from celebrating and creating diversity in the beer industry, tackling the bad habit of “mansplaining” beer, hosting safe spaces. Plus the overall theme of “Don’t be a dick”. Catch the episode via podcast or on 902BC’s page, and then grab yourself tickets for the Brewster Fest, being held April 27th at the Mayflower Curling Club. This event highlights the number of women-owned breweries, and female-brewed beers, in the region, with 20 breweries and ciderhouses in attendance pouring their wares. It’s open to anyone, and everyone, who wants to kick back and enjoy a well-made beer with some friendly faces!

Speaking of Good Robot, they’ve released the latest in their Creature Feature line of biotransformation IPAs. Their fourth release, aptly named IV, uses New Zealand hop Wai-iti in the dry-hop addition, resulting in a massive peach aroma and flavour. In case you weren’t familiar with the term, biotransformation (in beer) refers to the technique of adding hops during active fermentation, allowing the yeast to take some of the terpene compounds in the hops, and transform them. There is plenty of research ongoing into the hundreds (thousands?) of chemicals that make our favourite beers taste and smell great, but if you’re looking for a 10 minute primer on here, we highly recommend reading Scott Janish’s take. All of that to say that GR’s Creature Feature IV takes advantage of those hungry bugs during fermentation, and feeds them lots of hops to increase the fruity character we get to enjoy! The 5.4% ABV beer is on tap for pints and growler fills now, and won’t be around for long. Keep an eye out for new batches of Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common and Infinite Saturday Vienna lager, both coming through the pipeline in the next week or so.

And also speaking of Propeller Brewing, they have released the latest in their line of vodka sodas in their Windmill Cocktails, with Grapefruit & Lime hitting their shelves yesterday. This 6.0% ABV blend uses fresh grapefruit flavour and lime, and no sugar or other sweetener. Available in singles and six-packs at both brewery retail locations, it will also be at the NSLC in the coming weeks. And while you’re grabbing a sixer of the new release (or their supremely popular Galaxy New England IPA), stick around for the tapping of their cask at 5 PM. Today’s is their Porter, with an addition of Mosaic hops to get your evening started right. Grab it and head downstairs to the Arcade, why dontcha? Both it and Gottingen taproom and retail shop are open all weekend.

Last, but certainly not least today, is another special return of a big ol’ beer in Halifax. Unfiltered on North Street only makes their Commissar oak-aged Russian Imperial Stout every two years, and the last time they did was for a Spring 2017 release. That means they’re right on schedule in announcing that the latest version of that beer is out this weekend. Boasting an ABV of 11.2%, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. Expect a rich, complex, deep and dark beer that should only get better with age. Find it fresh on tap at Charm School on North Street, and maybe grab a couple of bottles next door at the brewery to put in your cellar for a year or 3.

We’ll have a special stand-alone post next week highlighting the NS Craft Beer Week events, but in the meantime…

Chinched on Bates Hill in St. John’s is hosting a “Home Chef / Home Brew” event next Wednesday, April 24th. Featuring four winning home chef dishes paired with the winners of Quidi Vidi’s homebrew competition (Newfermenters). The chefs and brewers will be on hand to talk about their creations, as well as the professional chefs and brewers who brought the ideas to reality. Drop Chinched a line at 709-722-3100 or online to reserve your seat at the table 6 PM that evening. Check out Chinched’s IG page to learn more about the home chefs who won.

Tickets for the May 24 and May 25 Newfoundland Beer Expo are now on sale. Unlike the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival held last weekend that aimed to highlight the great Island breweries, and good beer and cider from off the island, this NLC production seems to be geared at those looking to “drink their way through the entire NLC inventory”. About half of the beer is brewed/owned by macro breweries, many of the beers are already on the shelves at the NLC, and only one of the Newfoundland breweries is on the Beer List. Tickets are $86 (or $132 if you include the guided tasting beforehand), and available here.

Just a few more things to tease you with today…

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing brought back their FOXTROT 33 Stout earlier this month, and they now have it available in cans at the brewery, and at the local ANBLs in the near future. This 5.0% ABV, 33 IBU, stout features notes of vanilla, chocolate and coffee, and is perfect to sip while waiting for that warmer weather to hit us.

Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery has brought back their Amplified series of beers again in 2019. Collaborating once again with Backstreet Records in Saint John,  Amplified – Solid Gold Edition is a golden blonde ale brewed “with our favorite malt and yeast, and is designed for the hot weather ahead”. This 5.0% ABV ale is only available on tap and draught for the time being, with bottles available next batch (which tells us this will be a great beer around all summer!).

We’ve already given you the details on two new releases from Tatamagouche Brewing a couple of weeks ago, but we can now tell you that cans of both Dusk Schwarzbier (4.9% ABV) and Eager a 4.8% dry-hopped lager, are now available at the brewery (and maybe at the private stores in HRM soon). Plus look for them on tap at better bars and brewery taprooms in HRM and around the province.

Happy Spring Everyone! Now we just need to tell Mother Nature that! But it will be nice to see the snow eventually receding so that you have a big more time to dodge the potholes. A handful of new beers and events this week, so grab that coffee, or coffee stout, and get up to speed on the beer news. As always, if you have beer info you’d like us to share, please don’t hesitate to send it along! We’re always happy to spread the word about the great beer in our region.

News concerning collaboration beers brewed for International Women’s Day keeps trickling in; this week, we can fill you in on the one released by Petit-Sault and Big Tide. Brewed at the Petit-Sault brewery in Edmundston, Brighid is an 8.8% abv “Strawberry Brut IPA”. Hopped with Mosaic and Lemondrop, enzymes were added to help the beer dry out as much as possible, as is typical for the Brut IPA style. During fermentation, strawberry puree was added (to the tune of 300 lbs), giving the beer a hazy, pinkish hue. Tropical, juicy, and super-dry (as expected), it’s currently available on tap only, at both breweries. Look for 750 mL bottles to appear at both locations next week, as well.

One of New Brunswick’s newest breweries (for a little while longer, anyway), Hampton Brewing, dropped a new beer release in time for St. Patrick’s Day last weekend. Ol’Marley is a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, brewed with a mixture of Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts to impart plenty of roasted, coffee-like character in the aroma and flavour. The beer also features the addition of rum-soaked, organic cacao nibs, adding even more chocolatey goodness to the finished product. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 32 IBUs, it has a medium body and moderate bitterness in the finish. Look for it on tap at your favourite Hampton Brewing account.

Let’s move back to Brut IPA territory; specifically to Smiths Cove, NS, where Lazy Bear Brewing has released their very own. Simply named Brut IPA, it was dry-hopped with Ariana, Callista, and El Dorado; we’re going to assume no hops were added during the boil, as the brewery lists the IBUs as “very low to none”. The beer comes in at 7% ABV and finishes very dry (again, thanks in part to the addition of enzymes); it’s available on tap at the brewery during the Thursday Growler Evenings and the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, with kegs possibly being sent elsewhere soon.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing has a new beer out this week that hopefully will put you in mind of warmer days to come. A grisette, In Limbo was brewed with primarily Pilsner malt, with plenty of spelt and both flaked and malted wheat rounding out the grist, and it was hopped lightly with classic noble Saaz before being fermented with Niche’s house culture. The result is a beer with a light body and a pleasant lemon presence that’s definitely on the funkier side of the style, but which certainly doesn’t bash you over the head with yeast character. Easy-drinking and refreshing, at 4.2% ABV you can have a few and without worrying you might dart out in front of an oxcart during the festival of the vernal equinox! Look for it at Niche tap accounts around NB and, if the folks in Halifax are lucky again, maybe some will come to that city as well.

We warned you a month ago to keep your eyes out for a beer featuring carrots, and sure enough, it has come to pass as those crazy kids at Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS, have pushed the boundaries yet again with 14 Carrot Gold. This beer is a collaboration with Square Roots, a brand that encompasses a pair of projects under the aegis of Enactus SMU that aim to help reduce food waste and eliminate food insecurity in our communities. One way to address the former is to find uses for the less pretty produce that might not be sold if it were put on the shelf. So this beer isn’t just full of carrots, it’s full of ugly carrots, carrots that might roll a rabbit in a dark alley, carrots that you wouldn’t bring home to meet your Mom, but carrots that taste just fine. The juice of these carrots was added to the mash, joining a grist that included some honey malt to encourage some balancing malt sweetness. Into the kettle the wort went, to be hopped up (sorry*) with Calypso, Magnum, and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. The overall result is a clean and refreshing rather orange pale ale that is herbal and slightly spicy, but which also definitely tastes of carrots. You can find it already in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, Boxing Rock Bottle Shop at Local Source and private liquor stores in Halifax, and it will also be on the shelves at NSLC locations starting April 1st. Maybe grab an extra to put out for the Easter Bunny to enjoy? And speaking of the bottle shop, thanks to the associated Test Kitchen, they’ve also got a brand new one on the taps: FLEX IPA clocks in at a hefty 7.3% ABV and sports plenty of Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. Stop by to grab a growler if you’re in the North End.

* totally not sorry

Spindrift Brewing has their latest entry in their Out of the Hold series bottled and available for sale, FIKA. This one is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout that was fermented in stainless, and then transferred to a French oak barrel for months of aging. Once it was ready to be packaged (in 500 mL bottles), the beer was infused with espresso beans, vanilla, and cardamom (in essence, now making it an Imperial Coffee Stout). Wondering about the beer’s name? Well, “fika” is apparently the Swedish word for “coffee break”, and the espresso beans were bought from IKEA (which we’re sure we do not have to explain to you what that is). You can pick up your bottles at the brewery’s taproom right now; check out the HRM’s private liquor stores in the near future as well. Note that this beer was brewed with lactose, just in case you’re intolerant of such things!

Halifax’s Garrison brewed up a special collaboration with the staff of Agricola Street Brasserie that made its debut last week at their beer dinner at that restaurant. How Dairy?! is a one off draft-only release available for now at the brewery for samples, pints, and growler fills, although it’s expected to be sent out to a few tap accounts as well. A stout weighing in at 4.7% ABV, it was built on pale ale and Munich malts, with oats, crystal malt and roasted barley rounding out the grist. Hopped to 32 IBU with Millennium, it also contains lactose, which very well might take it into the sweet stout or milk stout category. You can make that determination for yourself if you head down and give this smooth and full-bodied beer with notes of coffee and chocolate a try.

Bryan Carver, certified Cicerone, former Brewmaster at PEIBC, and former employee in the technical services department at DME Brewing, will be opening his own brewery – Modern Brewer’s Village Green – in Cornwall, PEI, this summer. Located at 1 Cornwall Rd, the building currently houses a dentist’s office which is relocating at the end of this month. While his equipment has not been ordered yet, as he’s waiting for the building to be rezoned, Carver plans to brew on a 2 bbl (240 L) system, to concentrate primarily on serving the 25-seat taproom. Locals can expect to try beers that they may not have tried before, as Carver plans to focus on styles that may not be easily-accessible to the area. We will have much more with Carver on Village Green as the project progresses.

We’ve got a few events to tell you about this week, definitely worth leaving the March Madness behind for a few hours, we reckon!

We mentioned it a few weeks ago, but here’s your reminder that this year’s Péché Day will be happening tomorrow and folks in our region are lucky enough to have two options available: Stillwell in Halifax and Tide & Boar in Moncton. Péché Day celebrates Péché Mortel, a Imperial Coffee Stout from Dieu du Ciel! that continues to be one of the finest beers in the country year after year. There will be seven variants on offer this year, all boasting an ABV of 9.5%:

  • Péché Mortel – the original
  • Péché Mortel Bourbon 2018 and 2019 – two different vintages aged in bourbon barrels
  • Péché Mortel Cerise – brewed with cherries
  • Péché Mortel Coconut – matured on toasted coconut
  • Péché Mortel Islay 2019 – aged in Islay Scotch barrels
  • Péché Mortel Moka – brewed with cacao

If you’re at all a fan of big, dark boozy beers, especially those featuring wood aging or other additions, you might want to find a way to check it out. You might also want to strongly consider 5 oz tasting glasses if you want to run to try them all!!

Last week we gave you the full rundown on the Flavabot: Rake ‘n Scrape event being thrown down on Sunday by the Lime Stone Group at Good Robot in Halifax, but we thought it prudent to give you a little reminder that there will be four brand new beers available, all with a Caribbean influence:

  • Rake ‘n Scrape – 6.9% ABV Tropical IIPA with mangoes & pomegranate, 70 IBU
  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – 4.5% ABV, Blackberry Amber Ale, 30 IBU
  • Pineapples & Coconut … Bro – 5.6% ABV, Pina colada Wheat Ale, 27 IBU
  • Passion Bliss – 5.5% ABV, Passion fruit Pale Ale, 50 IBU

Brunch starts at 10 AM but the party goes ALL DAY. That said, only the Rake ‘n Scrape is a full-size Alpha batch, so if you want to increase your chances of tasting the other three best get there early.

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is celebrating the release of a brand new beer Sunday, a collaboration with the Hopped Up Gaming East (HUGE) podcast. Button Masher is a 7.0% Cherry IPA, featuring loads of Citra hops for a hazy, aromatic and bitter IPA, that was then “juiced up” with black cherries. Keeping with the mutual love of video games and beer, the teammates will be launching the beer at the Board Room Cafe on Barrington Street in Halifax. From 7 – 9 PM, there will be Video Game Trivia, with the beer pouring all evening. Drop by to grab the first pints and take part in the fun, and then look for it on tap around Halifax, with bottles of Button Masher coming next week.

Next Saturday, March 30, White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL, will be celebrating BrewSKI 2019! With Beer Yoga kicking off the day at 10 AM, to a fun ski & snowboard race at 12 PM, to the BrewSKI Craft Beer Fest starting at 7 PM, there is a whole day of fun to be had on the ski hills. The evening’s festival will feature beer from 8 Newfoundland breweries and cideries: Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co (Conception Bay), Bootleg Brewery (Corner Brook), Landwash Brewery (Mt Pearl), Port Rexton Brewing Co (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi Brewery (Quidi Vidi), Split Rock Brewery (Twillingate), YellowBelly Brewery (St. John’s), plus the Newfoundland Cider Company (Milton). There will be live music by 3 Shades of Grey and The Dimaggios, and food from Oh My Cheeses. Tickets for the day’s events are available now, grab them and find your best retro snowsuit to fit right in with the crowd.

Just a few more notes to pass along this week!

We mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post with His Excellency Pavel Hrnčíř, the Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Canada, but wanted to remind you that the 902 BrewCast has dropped their March Tasting Episode today, and it covers all things Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. In addition to that interview, they spoke with Geaghan Brothers, Holy Whale, and O’Creek Brewing. Listen in!

Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery has brought back their Brackish, a 4.8% ABV Sour Ale that features Newfoundland Sea Salt, their take on a German Gose. With draught, growlers, and cans available at the brewery now, we suggest popping by to grab some. And to celebrate its return, the folks at Landwash have a couple of fun things on the go. They actually brewed a second full-sized batch, and added mango puree to it, and so Mango Brackish is pouring (and available to go in growlers) at the brewery now. And, also, too, they’ve cask conditioned 20 litres of the unfruited Brackish, and swapped out the standard sea salt for Newfoundland Salt Company’s Juniper Smoked Salt, for a floral and herbal cousin of the original. This one is in short supply (and we’re not even positive it’s still available!), so if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to pop by the brewery today when they open at 4 PM.

Propeller Brewing has brought back a favourite from the fall, their Galaxy IPA. This 6.5% hoppy, hazy, and juicy IPA feature a ton of the great Aussie hop Galaxy added in the kettle and fermenter, for tropical, citrus, and stonefruit character. Back now on tap and in cans, with four-packs available at the NSLC for the first time next week.

Unfiltered is bringing back their Fist of God DIPA again, a “fruity, tropical, soft, and delicious” 7.5% ABV hop bomb. Available today at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans. So is their Citra bomb DOA which came back last week. If you love some hops, you know where to go.

In a case of a community doing the right thing, the Town of Wolfville agreed Tuesday to amend their Land Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to explicitly allow breweries to operate and sell beer off-site. This is great news for Church Brewing, who continue construction of their on-premise brewery at 329 Main Street in the town, to complement the already thriving restaurant. If struck down, it would have severely handcuffed them from the start, and had the unintended consequence of hurting other craft alcohol producers in the same zone, including Annapolis Cider Company, Bad Apple Brewhouse, and Paddy’s Pub.