902 BrewCast

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Wow, what a week! With wild temperatures across our region, and some wild swings (from snowing in Gander to 30C+ in the Maritimes), we figure you’re definitely overdue for a beer! We’ve got loads of new beers and news to share with you this week, so grab the nearest pint, and have a look!

We’ve got lots of news to share from Bedford’s own brewery, Off Track on Rocky Lake Drive. First off, they launched a new beer on Canada Day named The Joy’s of Summer. This 4.25% Session IPA is full of flavour despite the low ABV, with plenty of Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade hops (amounting to 48 IBUs) which is perfect for sipping all day on their new patio. Speaking of which, they’ve extended their days/hours to now be open Thursdays, so now you can get your OTBC fix all extended weekend (Thursday 12-8, Fri and Sat 12-10, Sunday 12-6). And what to pair with it? They’ve teamed up with On the Wedge at the Sunnyside Mall to provide them with lunch and dinner options Friday through Sunday (menu and hours available here). Any time, you can bring your own food, or order in from local businesses in the hood (RLP anyone?).

The gents from 902BrewCast dropped by Off Track recently, and recorded with Allan, Jon, and Matt on that new patio. They chatted about just about everything under the sun NS-beer-wise (and beyond), and broke some big news: the Off Track crew are finally brewing on their full-sized 5 BBL (600 litre) brewhouse, which means more beers in the tanks for their thirsty patrons. AND, that means a fun contest! They have already named five of their big new tanks, but need your help in naming the sixth! See if you can figure out the theme here… Newman, Puddy, J. Peterman, Bania, and Crazy Joe Davola. Tell them what the sixth tank should be, and you’ll win one of their fancy new Stainless Steel growlers (with a Phil). You can submit your answers via direct message on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook by July 14th. Get your answers in quick before some Mulva steals the best name! Listen to the podcast for more hijinx (you’ll quickly learn how Off Track got their name), and their plans for the rest of July.

We’ve got a couple of exciting tidbits concerning new beers from 2 Crows that are coming out over the next few days. First off, is the very first bottle release for 2 Crows. Dandy was brewed with Pilsner malt, Spelt, Wheat, and Oats, and hopped lightly with Calypso and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with a mixture of Lactobacillus cultures, and then fermented in two gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. After aging for a few months, the beer was moved to stainless and conditioned on the burnt zest of lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit. Bottle-conditioned with champagne yeast, the final beer is “bright, tart, lightly funky, with juniper, citrus, oaky tannins, a subtle burnt/smoky character, and a firm minerality”. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV, there will be limited quantities of this one available when it’s released at the brewery tomorrow, so do not delay in grabbing some bottles! Bishop’s Cellar will also be getting a few bottles for sale, and one keg will also be tapped at the brewery tomorrow, if you’d like to give it a try on tap.

As for the second beer, it’s a new draught-only brew named Juan Canary. This “Wild Table Beer” was brewed with malt exclusively from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, and was lightly-hopped in the boil with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc. Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, it was then conditioned for several months to allow that wonderful, funky yeast character to develop. It was then further conditioned on Canary melon (a type of melon that is reportedly slightly tangier than honeydew) for four weeks, before being packaged in kegs with champagne yeast. It comes in at just 3.6% ABV and 12 IBUs; you’ll be able to find it on tap by-the-glass only, at the 2C tasting room, when a tap opens up (we’re guessing tomorrow or Sunday, best to check the 2C Instagram for the latest scoop).

If you’ve been to Stillwell over the past few days, you may have noticed that they’ve been pouring a new beer from Stillwell Brewing, Easy. This one is their latest Saison fermented with their House cultures; the beer spent just two months in the brewery’s largest foedre (oak tank), making it relatively young, at least compared to a lot of other releases from SBC! They’re describing the 4.7% ABV brew as drinking “like a more-sour Stillwell 2 [ed: Stillwell’s 2nd Anniversary beer], with mostly lactic acid and a touch of quenching acetic acid”. Featuring a bright presence of hops, and tasting floral and spicy, you can get it at Stillwell HQ by the 750 mL bottle or on tap, to drink on-site; it’ll be following on tap at the Beergarden in the near future. If you were looking forward to taking some home, fear not – they will be holding a bottle sale soon, on Saturday, July 21st. We’ll remind you when that gets closer! Looks like Easy will become a regular release, as Batch 2 is already fermenting.

You may remember TrailWay Brewing releasing More Better, a Simcoe single-hopped American IPA, a few months ago. Today, they’re releasing the “big brother” to this beer, a DIPA named, naturally, Even More Better. Simcoe is once again featured prominently, but they decided to throw in a “healthy” dose of Mosaic as well, giving the beer “pleasant pine up-front, with a big juicy background”. It’s 8% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery today at noon.

Last weekend, Good Robot released 5th Chamber, a sour wheat beer brewed with boysenberries, black raspberries, and raspberries, at the Hair of the Dog event. If you missed the event, you should be able to find the 4% ABV Gose on tap at the brewery, starting… yesterday! Moving on to next Tuesday’s Beta brew, keep your eyes open for Orange You Glad, a Milkshake IPA brewed with local homebrewers Jeramy and Catherine Slaunwhite. With lactose in the boil, and hopped with Citra and Mandarina Bavaria, the beer also features the addition of vanilla (of course) and sweet orange peel. It weighs in at a low-for-the-style 4.9% ABV, and 56 IBUs. Finally, next Thursday will see the return of Burban Legend APA (5.9% ABV, 42 IBUs).

Let’s change gears to cider now, with lots of news to share with you this week. Agricola Street’s Chain Yard Cider has a few new blends available these days, including the first releases from their new Vault series, availalbe in 750ml bottles (rather than on tap or in cans). Pippin is a 9.0% ABV single varietal Cox Orange Pippin dry cider, five months in the making, and full of flavour. They’ve also released Pippin & Russet, using a blend of Cox Orange Pippin and Golden Russet apples, which finished sweet at 7.1% ABV. They have also introduced Cyser Sunrise, a blend of their Foundation cider and a strawberry wine. And finally, Funk 141 is a 6.5% ABV unfiltered blend, fermented with Brett for funky and barnyard aromas and flavours familiar to those who already seek them out in beers. While some of their ciders are available on tap at restaurants and bars and in the private stores around HRM, heading to the source is probably your best bet to try them all.

Although we haven’t had a chance to mention it yet, cider and mixed-fermentation mavens in HRM very well might be aware that there’s a new cidery in the city, one that’s doing things a little bit differently. Sourwood Cidery is now producing small batches of cider at 6070 Almon Street. Focused on making sour ciders and fermenting on the wilder side, their ciders are “raw, unfiltered, and funky.” They are currently selling 6 varieties at their place, all in 750 mL bottles that have been bottle-conditioned. Be aware that they’re only open Wednesdays from 6 – 8 PM for these sales, though. You can also find Sourwood ciders on the bottle list at Stillwell on Barrington and, hopefully, soon at Bishop’s Cellar and a new place opening up later this year in the Hydrostone, The Ostrich Club. Occasionally some cider will be kegged; up to this point the Stillwell Beergarden has been the destination for every one of these. Looking ahead, they’ve got some stainless in the mix now, a 10 bbl brite tank which will allow them to do a 1000 L at a time of a carbonated cider they’re calling Small World (a younger version of their Old World); it should be available in kegs and cans in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a list of the bottled ciders they’ve got on the go now; we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from this crew in the coming weeks and months (and hey, maybe we’ll get it together and do a full profile!):

  • Old World – Fermented dry with a saison yeast
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with Citra
  • Old World Sour – A sweet blend of apples fermented dry with Sourwood’s house culture of sour microbes
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with CTZ (aka Columbus) and Citra
  • Gravenstein – 100% Gravenstein apples fermented with Sourwood’s house sour culture
  • Ginger – Sour cider steeped with ginger

And it’s not just Halifax that’s boasting a new cidery. Lake City Cider is now turning out cider in Dartmouth at 35 Portland Street, although they’re not yet open to the public at that location. Currently available every Saturday at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market in the outdoor tent as well as on tap at The Canteen, they are also on rotation at Battery Park. Look for their tap room to open soon where you’ll be able to enjoy all their products. All of the cider is produced using 100% NS apples and includes the following three core brands:

  • Nieforth Original – named for Nieforth’s, an institution of downtown Dartmouth and previous inhabitants of the space Lake City occupies. Pressed from a blend of apples, this bold cider comes in at 6.8% ABV and is packaged in 750 mL bottles
  • Darkside Dry – balanced and refreshing, this 7.5% ABV dry cider is available in 750 mL bottles and pairs well with rich foods such as scallops or grilled or roasted meat
  • District 5 – Lake City’s first canned offering is a blend of freshly-pressed 100% Nova Scotian apples intended to be a steady and sure cider that weighs in at 6.0% ABV

The gang at Lake City has also advised us that they intend to rotate through a series of limited edition seasonal ciders as well through the year. We look forward to having the chance to tell you more about Lake City in the coming weeks!

Just a couple of events to tell you about this week:

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and want to give YOU the presents! Drop by their spot at 82 Marr Road today or tomorrow, 12-8PM, and with every growler fill, you will receive a free LBB glass (or your regular loyalty discount). And if you drop by tomorrow, you’ll be able to enjoy some live music and BBQ in addition to your free gift. Congratulations Sean and Co!

The Whycocomagh Beer Festival will be celebrating its Second Year on July 21st, 7-9:30 PM. Happening at the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre as part of the Whycocomagh Summer Festival, there will be beer from Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Garrison, North, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s all under one roof, plus wine from Jost. Tickets are just $20 at the door, and the venue has expanded to let even more folks in than last year.

We’ve got a few more news bites for you this week before we sign off…

– Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has teamed up with Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack to release the ultimate pairing to their lobster plates. Over Aft Ale is a Cream Ale available exclusively at this Barrington Passage spot, but if you ask nicely at the brewery, they’ll fill a growler of it for you too! 🙂
– After launching late last week, Dildo Brewing Company has added a fifth beer to their rotation. Blue Eyed Buoy is a take on their Root 80 Blonde, featuring loads of blueberries added during conditioning, for a fresh and fruity presence. Grab it on tap and in growlers at the brewery today!
– After its release at The Toast the Coast event a couple of weeks ago, Garrison is releasing their This Beer is Toast! in bottles today. As a reminder, this 5.5% ABV Saison featured more than 100 kilos of toasted bread in the mash, adding to the Pale Ale and Wheat malts used. Lightly hopped to 20 IBU with Hallertau and Cascade, bottles are now available at the brewery, and at the private stores next week. $0.50 from each bottle is going to Feed Nova Scotia, to help their efforts to combat food insecurity in the province.
Niche Brewing has brought one of their first beers back to the taps this week, Mines of Wallonia. This is their 3.6% ABV Grisette, generously hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and featuring some lovely fruity esters and light spiciness from the Saison yeast. Look for it on tap around Fredericton, including the newly opened RustiCo, as well as Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and at Halifax’s Stillwell.
Propeller has brought back their summer favourite, Hefeweizen (5.3% ABV); you’ll be able to find this cloudy, spritzy, banana-and-clovey brew on tap and in bottles starting today. And check back with us next week, when we’ll have more info on a variation of this beer that will be released soon.
– Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released the latest batch of DOA Double Orange Ale SMaSH today, featuring boatloads of Citra hop through the process. Using a combination of Cryo-extracted hops (higher Alpha Acid in less vegetal material) with standard harvest, this 7.5% ABV, 100 IBU, Double IPA will have you singing out for more.
Upstreet is releasing their newest Neon Friday beer today, DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7 (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs). Brewed with Golden Naked Oats and toasted oats, it’s double-dry hopped with Idaho 7 to give “a fresh aroma of light orange and apricot”.

Happy Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! The 41 Bluenoser breweries part of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia are putting their best beers forward, and hosting a slew of events and launching a ton of new beers over the next 10 days. For those of you in the province, or coming for a visit, check out the Calendar and Map we put together, and read below for a small tease of what all you’ll be enjoying.

• Looks like our friends at Propeller are dropping a new beer for the masses today. Common is, as you may expect, their take on the California Common, a lager/ale hybrid that is typically fermented somewhere between warm and cool with a unique yeast strain. Hopped with Northern Brewer, a “woodsy” hop variety quite typical for this beer style, the beer was designed to be approachable for seasoned beer geeks and novices alike. Described by the brewery as having “subtle herbal notes, along with roasted and caramel malt characters and a crisp, refreshing finish”, this isn’t just a one-off, as the beer will be available year-round in six packs of 355 mL cans. You’ll be able to find it starting today at the brewery retail stores, private stores, and the NSLC. In addition, at tonight’s Cask Night, an iteration of Common dry-hopped with even more Northern Brewer will be pouring. Naturally, you’ll be able to find it at various Propeller tap accounts across the city as well. And finally, for those of you who are fans of the brewery’s Organic Blonde Ale and Honey Wheat, we have some sad news – both brands are being dropped from the Propeller line-up. Best stock up if you can get your hands on any that happen to be left!

• Coupla new, small to smaller releases coming out of 2 Crows tomorrow, which simply means you’re going to have to get down there quicker than normal to give them both a try! First off is Field Hand, a Wild Ale brewed in collaboration with PEI’s Shoreline Malting. Brewed with Shoreline’s Pale malt, as well as a touch of raw wheat, it was lightly hopped at flameout with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc, to the tune of 12 IBUs. Head Brewer Jeremy Taylor fermented the beer with yeast harvested from a bottle of Forward, a Saison from British Columbia’s Coalesce Brewing. Dry-hopped afterwards with more Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc, the beer is “super light, delicate, and easy-drinking; pithy grapefruit, earthy and bright, with the malt performing beautifully”. There are only 600 cans of this beauty available, and they’ll go on sale at the taproom tomorrow; expect to see a few keg-conditioned kegs at your favourite beer-centric spot in the HRM as well. And we hope to share more information about Shoreline Malting in the next couple of weeks.

• These beers sound so delightful, we just have to split them up with a paragraph break. Next up is the smaller batch, brewed on 2C’s pilot system by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop and a special guest. A close friend of the brewery staff recently found out that his son, Jude, was diagnosed with cancer. In support, an auction in the community was held to raise money for the family, with 2C donating some merch and a brew day at the brewery. Jude’s grandfather Gord was the highest bidder, and joined Miles to help develop the recipe and brew Little Hero. Described as a kinda-mixture of Pollyanna and Bonanza! (Gord’s two favourite 2C beers), this NEIPA was brewed with Pale malt, Wheat, Malted Oats, and a little bit of Crystal 15 L. Hopped in the boil with Columbus, Galaxy, Centennial, and Simcoe, it was fermented with white wine yeast, and finished off with Sacch Trois. Coming in at 6% ABV and 58 IBUs, the beer turned out “mega juicy, with notes of peach, pineapple, passion fruit, and stone fruit; slightly sweet, and a touch funky”. Little Hero will be launched tomorrow, by-the-glass only, in the taproom. And if you don’t make it to 2C for a pint, those of us outside NS will be shaking our collective fists in your general direction.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a stacked social calendar for NSCBW and they’ve also got some fresh beers hitting the taps at the same time, starting tomorrow with a beer they brewed with longtime metro sugar bears Freak Lunchbox for their Freak Lunchbot event. Look for the brand new I Fink You Freaky Sour Cherry to be pouring along with a variety of candies designed to pair with other brews from the Good Robot stable and a bunch of other candy you’re welcome to try to pair on your own! Next up, on Tuesday, May 1st, GRBC fan Mallory signed up for the Beta Brew program looking to do up a hoppy hefeweizen, and sure enough, a Hopfenweizen was produced! With an ABV of 4.8% and an IBU level in the 45 – 48 range, this beer was based on a pretty traditional hefe grist of wheat, Pilsner and Vienna along with a classic yeast. The hops, on the other hand, took a left (right?) turn, heading south of the equator for fruity tropical goodness from Australian varieties Galaxy, Ella, and Vic Secret. Look for a soft mouthfeel and almost creamy presence to meet a big hop character as you marvel over the brilliance of the beer’s name: Weiß Grips. And on Thursday, May 3, comes yet another new brew out of the GR brewhouse, cutting straight to the heart of the summer with an unapologetic lawnmower beer they’re calling, aptly, Light Beer. At 4.6% ABV and a practically gentle 15 – 18 IBU, this beer is designed for refreshment and relaxation. Toast the season to come by closing your eyes and picturing that warm summer breeze and that hammock you’re swaying in after a long hot day in the yard.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a brand new beer flowing at their taproom on King Street these days, a beer that owners Adam and Devin swore they would never brew: a lager. The aptly-named Hypocrite Lager weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and though is fairly pale and light in colour, there is plenty of Firkin Flavour and character to the beer. Currently only available on-site, grab a sample or pint, plus a growler to enjoy at home.

Boxing Rock and Trider’s Craft Beer recently teamed up for their first collaboration, Headstrong. Described as a “Nova Scotian Ale”, the grist was made up simply of Pale malts, with a blend of Noble and Canadian-grown hops used in the boil. Fermented cool with that now-kinda-famous wild yeast isolated from a Cape Breton pin cherry (courtesy of Big Spruce and Escarpment Labs), it was brewed to “embody the spirit of Nova Scotian camaraderie”, and is described as “bright, crisp, clean and dry”. It weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, you can find it in the typical-for-Boxing Rock 650 mL bottles at their retail store, Seaport and Alderney Farmers Markets, and Harvest Wines locations in the HRM.

• Were you a fan of Cloud Shadow, the Hopfenweisse released by Tidehouse back in November? Well, good news, everyone! The 4.6% ABV brew is making a return today at the taproom, and it’s better than ever… well, according to them, anyway! Still featuring a 50/50 grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, it was fermented with a blend of Hefeweizen and American yeast strains. This time around, however, they increased the Ahtanum and Mandarina Bavaria hop amounts, allowing even more juicy, citrusy, spicy character to come through. In addition to kegs, some of the batch was packaged in 640 mL bottles (for sale at the taproom only); this portion was also dry-hopped with Amarillo. Drop by today for a growler and some bottles, for an in-depth comparison.

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is continuing their Seventh Wave Series with a tidal wave of two new releases this week. Red Sky At Night is another in their foray to Ales, namely an Irish Red. Featuring a full body and clean finish, specialty malts in the form of Double Roasted Crystal from Simpsons and Chocolate Rye Malt (paging TonyW) lend some toasty/sweet notes to the beer. This beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV and a light 21 IBU. Also pouring this week is Piece of Gear, a 5.1% ABV Blonde Ale. Featuring Lemondrop hops (18 IBUs), it’s a crisp and refreshing beer with a nice citrus kick. As with all of their Seventh Waves, these are only available for growler fills at the brewery, so drop by today before they sell out.

• Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing has brought back their seasonal The Acadian Cross, but made some major changes to the recipe. This Extra Pale Ale weighs in at 5.5% ABV, built from 100% Floor-Malted Maris Otter malt, and hopped in the kettle with Idaho 7. After fermentation, they hopped it further, but with Ahhhroma Hopzoil, a purified hop oil from Montana, made from freshly-harvested cones, for intense aroma and flavour with no bitterness. The Ahhhroma hop is described as having an aroma of Pina Colada, which blends with the Idaho 7 character for a citrus and tropical beer.

• Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has dropped a new beer this week, Jonny-A-Go-Go. Featuring a Wheat Ale base, the addition of mango to the beer brings it up a few tropical notches to be a perfect summer sipper (the 4.5% ABV doesn’t hurt either!). As always, the best place to grab your Off Track fix is at the brewery on Rocky Lake Drive.

• Switching gears away from Nova Scotia, Saint John’s Big Tide has a brand new beer on tap, their first non-collaborative kettle sour, and very positive customer feedback has already ensured it won’t be their last! OH Blackberry Sour was brewed with 2-row, Pale malt, Wheat malt, and a little Carared, and hopped in the boil with Crystal from Darlings Island Farm to just 15 IBUs. When primary fermentation began to slow down, blackberry purée from Oregon Fruit was added to give the beer a light purple hue, and notes of blackberry that pair nicely with the pine, citrus, and spicy elements from the hops, according to the brewery. Easy-drinking at just 4.5% ABV, you can grab some at the brewpub right now (pints and growlers), but it likely won’t last long! Also, a big congrats to Big Tide for winning Gold in the People’s Choice at the Saint John Beer Fest earlier this month, with their Tool Shed Root Porter (also still on tap at the moment).

• And speaking of kettle sours from New Brunswick, Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has one to share as well. Also featuring a fruit addition from Oregon Fruit, Pineapple Persuasion started with lactose powder added in the boil, providing a base sweetness to the wort. It was then fermented with the familiar Amalgamation Brettanomyces blend that has graced several of the brewery’s offerings so far and which is sure to have imparted some tartness and a bit of funk. Once the beer was cooled, Madagascar vanilla bean and pineapple puree were added, yielding an easy-drinking brew that features subtle hints of vanilla and lots of pineapple character in a 4.7% ABV package. Look for it on tap at accounts in Fredericton and Saint John, and maybe, just maybe, showing up in Halifax at some point in the next month or so…

• We told you about the goings on in St. John’s last weekend at the BrewFest, this week we’re reminding you that the Western side of the island cannot be ignored as Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is continuing to bring it, starting with a new one available for your enjoyment. Dubbed F*#% Off Winter! they’re calling it a Spring Belgian Wheat that’s lemony, grassy, zesty and refreshing. With an ABV of 6.7% and 25 IBUs, this isn’t a light summer quaffer, but a bigger, bolder kiss off to a Winter that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. Featuring the fairly uncommon hop Sorachi Ace that’s known for its ability to impart a distinct lemon character with herbal overtones, but also for occasionally making beers with a distinct dill note, it’s available now in the Bootleg taproom. They’ve got some more new beers planned as well, including an oaty session ale, a series of SMaSH beers, and some more summery light beers in the works. We’ll have more details on those as they become available!

• There’s a new brew about to appear at Maybee Brewing, after a slightly-early debut a few days ago on cask only. Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza is the brewery’s first Black IPA. Hopped entirely with Cascade and Chinook from NB’s Moose Mountain Hops, the beer has “pronounced chocolate, coffee, and a toasted malt profile, with a resinous, piney, and slight citrus hop accompaniment”, according to the brewery. At 7% ABV, this batch will be available in kegs only, for purchase by the pint at select licensees, as well as pints and growlers at Maybee’s taproom in Fredericton.

TrailWay Brewing‘s weekly Friday release for this week is More Better, an American IPA showcasing the wonderful Simcoe hop, the first time the brewery has used this unique, piney, citrusy American varietal. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, they’re describing the beer as having “a pleasant pine front, with a soft, tropical finish”. You can find it in cans and on tap at the brewery only, starting today.

• After a several month hiatus, Half Cut Brewing is back on the New Brunswick scene, with their Tickle Fight IPA flowing once again. Previously brewed at the Picaroons Brewtique on Queen Street (where the initial batches of Grimross were brewed), owner Matt Corey has struck up an agreement with Petit-Sault in Edmundston to brew and package his beer. In addition to the 6.1% IPA, look for his Alter Ego Altbier to be available in the province in the coming weeks. Currently only available in kegged format, Half Cut kegs are now at several bars and restaurants in Fredericton, including 540, James Joyce, King Street Alehouse, and Snooty Fox.

We’ve got plenty of events to the go this weekend, as part of the NS Craft Beer Week, which kicks off today with the Cape Breton Full House, NS Craft Beer Week Pub, and Highway 101 Tap Takeover at Schoolhouse Brewing, as well as the continuation of the Cape Breton Double Header Tap Takeover at Jamieson’s. Tomorrow is the Rotary Pizza Fest and TAPPED! Beer Fest in Truro. Hopefully we’ll see you at Sunday’s Stillwell Open, and again at our Beer Trivia Night May 2nd at The Auction House (Prizes! Fame! Beer! Drawing for tickets to Full House!), and head back up to Schoolhouse for the May 3rd airing of Sociable!. Be sure to check out the stand-alone post for the full details.

• After the dust of Craft Beer Week settles, the folks at Horton Ridge have a series of events on the go in May. On four subsequent Mondays, beginning with the May 14th, will see the Malted malt-focused dinner being held at the Malt House. After a tour of the facility, Chef Christine Fancy of Yesteryear Baking will be serving up several different preparations of Horton Ridge’s malt (hey, it’s not just for beer!), including sweet and savoury items, and malted drinks. Advance ticket purchase is required, and you can learn more on their FB Event and own pages.

• Horton Ridge is also hosting a series of talks on Wednesdays, beginning May 23rd. Dubbed Meet Your Brewer, drop by at 7PM to learn from brewers in the Annapolis Valley to hear their stories and taste their beers. On May 23rd, Cam Hartley from Schoolhouse will be on site, May 30th will have Randy Lawrence from Sea Level, and June 6th will see Horton Ridge’s own brewer Steven Mastroianni join head maltster Alan Stewart for the evening. A few more details are on their FB page, and tickets should still be available here.

• Nova Scotia can’t have all the fun with the events, New Brunswick is certainly pulling their weight! Tickets for the May 25 and 26 Atlantic Beer Festival in Moncton are now available, with more than 150 beers from 70 breweries across the country available for your enjoyment.

• Saturday, June 2nd will be the 2018 edition of Northumbeerfest at Pictou Lodge. Celebrating its Fifth year, beers and brewers from Backstage, Big Spruce, Sober Island, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s will be on hand and available, along with live music and the Lodge’s own food all evening long. Your $50 ticket pays for your first 12 ounce pour from each of the vendors, with more available after you do the tour. Pictou Lodge is also offering a $115 accomodation package that includes a night’s stay and ticket to the event, based on double occupancy. Check June 2nd rates online for that option. You can also email or call in your request.

And a few last quick mentions before you go get yourself a(nother) beer:

Big Spruce has pulled out all of the stops for the Craft Beer Week, and will have all 5 variants of the 2018 edition of Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Coffee Stout available for sale at Bishop’s Cellar tomorrow. Drop by at 3PM to grab a taste of the Glenora, American Bourbon, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Cognac, and Nicaraguan Rum barrel-aged expressions, and pick up a bottle or two of your favourites. You’ll also be able to grab cans of The Silver Tart Raspberry Sour, as it has officially landed for the season. And for more fun, head to Battery Park Sunday at 5PM for the launch of the beers on draft, with at least a couple special kegs you’ll only be able to enjoy that afternoon. More details here.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, you may as well camp out there, at Lucas Mader is holding his latest Brews with Lou Saturday from 1PM, where Mader will share some of the latest beers to hit their shelves. And if you ask nicely, he may even crack open something else you’ve been eyeing up, but wanted a taste before committing to a full bottle. Be sure to tell him ACBB sent ya!
– Our beer-podcast-compadres Kyle, Phil, and Tony from the 902 BrewCast did a full tasting of the Ra Ra Rasputin, including bottles from 2016 and 2017. Sharing the “burden” of the tasting was local beer guru Jeff Pinhey, along with our very own acbbaaron (hey, now we’ve all been on the podcast. Next stop, Hollywood!). Tune in to get their take on the difference a little wood can make, the history of the Brewnosers, and Beer Judge Certification Program in the region. If after listening you’re interested in learning more, hit us or them up on social media, we can help you out!
Breton Brewing has brought back their Imperial IPA Crazy Angus, the big brother to one of their flagships, Black Angus. The malt bills are very similar between the two (albeit it larger for Crazy Angus, bringing it to 7.4% ABV), but the IIPA has higher citrusy hop characteristics. It’s pouring right now at the Breton taproom while supplies last.
Grimross Brewing has released a brand new beer yesterday, featuring maple syrup from Tree Hugger Maple in New Denmark. At 5.5% ABV Tree Hugger Maple Ale is available at the taproom for pints and fills and also in kegs. Act fast, they don’t expect this one to last long.
– The folks at Port Rexton were, luckily for us, slightly ahead of the return of nicer weather, and brewed up a new batch of their orange peel-infused kettle sour, Blue Steel (4.7% ABV), which is ready just in time to enjoy in the warmth! You can drop by the brewery to pick up some cans, along with their T-Rex Porter and Chasing Sun NEIPA.
– Today at noon, Unfiltered will once again be re-releasing their Front Line Rocker, an 8.5% ABV, super juicy DIPA, on tap for growler fills and pints at the brewery.

Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.

• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!

• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!

• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.

• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).

• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.

• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.

• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.

• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.

• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.

• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.

• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.

• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.

• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.

• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.

• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar.  $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.

What’s on the go this weekend?

Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.

• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.

• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!

Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.

A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!