902 BrewCast

All posts tagged 902 BrewCast

We received a wide variety of weather across the region this week, with unseasonal highs, lots of wind and rain, and maybe even a dusting of snow in some places. Welcome to fall in Atlantic Canada! If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes…. and it will probably get worse. Worry not, beer fans, as we have plenty of new beers to keep you going no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. Plus a new brewery in Newfoundland is opening their doors, which is a great reason to take a #Baycation. A reminder that the provincial liquor stores will be closed Sunday for Remembrance Day, and some breweries and bars will be showing their respects by closing or adjusting hours, so be sure to check before you make the trip.

We’ve got great news for beer lovers on/near The Bay, as Baccalieu Trail Brewing in Bay Roberts, NL, is opening their doors this weekend! Open 12 – 11 PM Saturday, drop by their location at 1 CBS Highway (just before the causeway to Spaniard’s Bay) to grab samples, pints, and growlers of four of their beers. Look for their Blonde, ESB, Porter, and New England IPA to be pouring, plus lots of merch to show off your Bay Brewery pride! We hope to have a full Profile on Baccalieu Trail in the very near future, but until then, we’ll have to live vicariously through your pictures, so be sure to tag them and us (@ACBeerBlog) so we can follow along! Congratulations to the entire Baccalieu Trail family!

Out in Harvey, New Brunswick, Think Brewing has a new beer for you to sample, their first in several months. Forest Reflections (named, perhaps, to encourage some contemplative time when outside of the city… or maybe just because it sounds cool!) is an American IPA brewed with 2-row, Flaked Wheat, Oats, and a bit of Munich malt. This beer is all about the late-addition and dry hops, including Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and a small amount of Galaxy. As you would likely expect when you see those names, this beer has a good amount of juicy, tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a moderate bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 6.8% ABV, and can be currently found on tap at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton, Cask and Kettle in Saint John, and the Tide & Boar in Moncton. And who knows, maybe if the beer goes over well (and it should!), maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see it join the other members of the Think bottle line-up!

There’s been lots of activity at a couple of the Gahan House locations in the Maritimes; let’s start off with Gahan Port City, in Saint John. They’ve got two new beers hitting taps at this location, both of which are named pretty straightforward, so you know what you’re getting! Rye IPA is a copper-coloured, dry, Rye IPA that was hopped with Azacca and Mosaic, giving some tropical fruit flavours to complement the touch of spice character from the Rye malt. The bitterness is firm at 52 IBUs, and it clocks in at 5.9% ABV. Next up is Brett Table Beer, an easy-drinking (4.1% ABV, 18 IBUs) brew fermented with “a blend of Brettanomyces strains” from Escarpment Labs. Hopped solely with Mosaic to give “tropical fruit notes of pineapple, guava, and lime”, the beer was modelled after one of the brewer’s favourite beers (we’re going to guess Allagash Little Brett, another low-ABV, Brett beer hopped entirely with Mosaic). Look for both beers to be currently pouring at Port City.

Moving over to PEI, Gahan Charlottetown has not one, not two, but THREE new beers now on tap! The first beer, Maritime Homegrown Lager, was brewed to celebrate the Maritime brewing community. Brewed with Vienna malt from Horton Ridge (NS), Santiam hops from Darlings Island Farm (NB), and water from PEI, the simple recipe yielded a “crisp, drinkable” 4.5% ABV, 23 IBUs Vienna Lager. Second-up is XXL Saison, a collaboration with Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing. As the name suggest, this is a strong Saison – at 8.3% ABV – which was brewed with 2-row and Wheat malt, with additions of Ultra hops from NB (Darlings Island, again), and honey from PEI. The beer, fermented with a dry Saison strain (BE-134, specifically), has “aromas of fruit and spice, with a mild honey aroma, and a snappy and refreshing dryness”. It finishes moderately bitter to help offset the larger grain bill. While pouring at Gahan Ch’town, it’s also available on tap at Foghorn, and on tap at a few locations in Fredericton, including Gahan Riverside and The Joyce. And last but not least is a New England IPA brewed in honour of longtime Gahan brewer Trent Hayes, who has been with Gahan Charlottetown for 20 years. Trent Hayes’y IPA (get it?) was hopped with Citra and Columbus in the kettle, and dry-hopped heavily with more Citra, and Huell Melon. Wheat and Oats were used in the grist to give a smooth mouthfeel (and up the haziness), going great with with the beer’s “notes of overripe strawberry, honey dew, and navel oranges”. It’s pretty low-ABV (5.1% ABV) for an IPA, with 44 IBUs to provide a bit of bitterness. There’ll also be a limited can run of this one; look for that in the next few weeks.

From one Island to another, let us tell you about the newest release from Sydney’s Breton Brewing. They have just released a winter seasonal beer, the Gingerbread Holiday Ale. Starting with a base of a London ESB, at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU, with notes of ginger and cinnamon to evoke feelings of winter. The beer is available at the NSLC and brewery as a holiday gift pack, with two beautifully-designed cans and a Breton glass, perfect for gifting or enjoying now with a friend. There are a select few kegs to be distributed in the wild, as well.

With their recent purchase of the Bowl-a-Drome, a long-standing (>50 years) bowling institution in Fredericton, TrailWay has created a new beer intended to be the house brew for their latest acquisition… and prepare yourselves, for it’s not a hoppy style! Candlepin Kolsch is, of course, a Kolsch, a clean, crisp, easy-drinking German style that has been brewed and enjoyed for centuries. TrailWay’s take on the style involves all-German ingredients: German Pilsner malt, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, and a German Ale yeast strain. Since this style of beer is traditionally crystal clear, TrailWay made use of fining agents for the first time, and the result is decidedly-different from what we’re used to seeing from the haze-enamored brewery. Expect “a fantastic sweetness that is balanced by an attenuated fermentation, and a low-but-present hop character”, according to the brewery. It’s an easily-drinkable-in-quantity 4.5% ABV; while it will be available on tap at TW starting today, along with a small amount in cans, this beer will regularly be exclusive to the Drome.

More bottle goodness coming your way today from Tidehouse Brewing in the form of two different barrel-aged-coffee beers, both of which were brewed in collaboration with the fine folks at Low Point Coffee. The base beer is about the same for both brews (think: Brown Ale with Oats, Flaked Barley, Pale Chocolate, Crystal 30 L and Midnight Wheat in the grist, and a bit of lactose in the boil), but the coffee beans have a different origin. Invicta! (6.7% ABV) features Colombia Tolima coffee beans that were aged in Tawny port barrels, giving the beer “tart cherry on the nose, with dark chocolate, subtle peach, and light oak, backed up by dark fruit, tangerine and cranberry, with a hazelnut finish”. Meanwhile, Quetzalcoatl! (7.1% ABV) has Mexico Tapachula Chiapas beans, aged in tequila barrels; expect “black currant and red licorice” in the aroma, “with notes of vanilla, spice, and red apple” on the palate, all with a light-bodied, silky mouthfeel package. Both beers are available by the bottle only (limit of 6/person), starting today at 2 pm. Drink ‘em fresh, to fully experience the coffee!

After a brief hiatus, Good Robot’s Beta Brews are back, with their next entry, Tainted Love, hitting their taproom next Tuesday. Brewed with Carly B, this one is a Black Lager hopped lightly with Hersbrucker (to just 9 IBUs), and fermented with an American Lager yeast strain. In true Beta Brew fashion, the experimentation continued, this time in the form of additions of vanilla and ginger. Just 4.5% ABV, as always you’ll have to swing by the GR taproom to give it a taste. And a couple of days later, kegs of El Espinazo del Diablo will officially be out and about, at GR and local tap accounts.

Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a special Double Bill gift pack this year, the continuation of their Fisticuffs Series. The first in the series was a barrel-aged Barleywine, released back in March 2018. This time around, they have two big beers that will be available at the brewery, their Local Source Market retail location, as well as select NSLC stores around the province. The first is Chardonnay Barrel Aged Barley Wine, weighing in at 11.0% ABV, which began life as an English Barleywine, before spending several months in an oak Chardonnay wine barrel, enhancing the malt character with notes of dark fruits like plum, prune, and fig, with hints of vanilla. Post-barrel-aging hopping increases the light fruit notes, which finishes with a soft carbonation. The second is Barrel Aged Tripel, also tipping the scales at 11.0% ABV. A classic Tripel (think light-coloured malt with Noble hops and a fairly clean Belgian yeast), then spent 8 months in oak, bringing out bread and biscuit flavours to play off of the lightly bitter and spicy base beer, as well as more dried stone fruit. The dual gift pack will be available very soon at the brewery, and the individual beers *may* be available as well, but we suggest buying both for a great night in by the fire.

And while we have you, be sure to drop by Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, November 15th, as Boxing Rock is taking over the taps with 12+ taps of core beers, brand new releases, special cellared kegs, and much more! The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and the Boxing Rock crew will be on hand to chat beer, and will have merch to share.

Coming soon to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, is Landwash, a brewery with a strong pedigree. Co-owners Chris Conway and Christina Coady were the founding brewers at Folly Brewing in Toronto. The third piece of the ownership and development puzzle is Jennifer Defreyne, a engineer with 20 years of project management experience. They’re building a 15 bbl system with PEI’s DME Brewing Solutions that is expected to produce 1,000 hL per year. While they’ve got the brewing side of the operation sorted, at least for now, they’re looking for some folks to fill taproom and retail positions. Beer knowledge and a love for beer are key, as is previous experience in serving and hospitality. As they’re hopefully opening by early December, you’ll want to get your boogie on the application process if you’re interested. Resumes should be emailed to info@landwashbrewery.com. And if you’re not looking for work but are interested in learning more about Landwash, we’re working to have a profile of the brewery in the coming weeks.

As is so often the case in our region and many others, the changing of the seasons tends to bring a change in seasonal offerings from breweries. And although the old saying that “people like dark/heavy/higher alcohol beers more in the winter than the summer” is fading in its influence – Barleywine is for life, not just for Christmas – some seasonal habits are hard to break and, frankly, if your drinking public is used to a beer coming out at a particular time of year, why not play into that expectation sometimes? So it is with Propeller’s Coffee Porter. Using specialty malts for a deep color and Java Blend Fog Burner coffee for an extra kick of flavor, it also features hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt along with a smooth finish. Look for it both in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and NSLC and for pints and growler fills in the Tasting Room on Gottingen Street in Halifax. And if you didn’t get enough of their Pumpkin this year before it disappeared from store shelves, fear not, you’ve got one more chance. A single keg was kept on reserve at the brewery and will go on tap this afternoon for pints and flights only (no growler fills). They’re saying for the weekend, but if you’re into it we wouldn’t wait until Sunday.

Bridgewater’s FirkinStein has a couple of new beers to wet your whistle, both of them variations on a the cream ale style. The first is Door Hinge Cream Ale a 6.8% ABV beer with lactose for some sweetness and (maybe) some orange flavor (say the name quickly). The other, tipping the scales at 7.6% ABV they’re calling Firk-a-Peel Lemon Lime Cream Ale and it features, of course, notes of lemon and lime. These are brewery-only specialties, but it’s an awfully pretty time of year to drive in our region, so now you’ve got two reasons to take a drive to the South Shore.

Local homebrew supplier BrewHQ has decided to make a foray into the ultra-lucrative beer podcast game with their Pitch & Prime Podcast. Don’t worry, though, they’re not competing with your 902BrewCast boyz (and really, who could compete with those be[e/a]rdos?); this one is a podcast targeted at homebrewers or folks who think they might like to become homebrewers. Their first episode, in which they talked to some local pros about their beginnings brewing at home, was released this week and timed to coincide with Learn to Homebrew Day. And speaking of 902BrewCast, you can also check out their latest episode with Grand Monk Artisan Ales (formerly known as Bore City Brewing), the first of their 5-brewery New Brunswick Road Trip of DEWM.

Here’s some beery events you might want to think about taking part in over the next couple of weeks:

We’ve already told you what to drink at Gahan Charlottetown above, but if you need another excuse to get out and try the new beers flowing, consider attending the award ceremony for the Maritime Home Brew Challenge Saturday. Brewers from across the Maritimes submitted their best beers to try and take home the title of Best Beer around, with their beer being packaged for retail distribution, and their piece of the cash and brewing prizes. Starting at 2:30 PM, the awards will be handed out at the Gahan Pub, so all homebrewers who entered, plus fans of good beer (so let’s call it an open invitation!) are welcome to celebrate the homebrewing community, as it is success there that drives many folks to turn pro. And for those homebrewers who want to start the celebration earlier, PEI Brewing is hosting a Beer & Munchies With The Brewers event tonight at 96 Kensington Road: from 6 – 8 PM, grab a beer and some snacks, tour the brewing facilities, and chat with the PEIBC Brew Crew to learn all of their secrets.

Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider is celebrating their Grand Opening next weekend, Saturday November 17th. From 8 PM, they will be celebrating with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest beer taps). In fact, the entire Railway Hotel complex is celebrating an Open House, so you can also throw some axes next door at HaliMac and check out the Phantom Effects workshop. You don’t need to wait that long to enjoy Maritime Express’ newest release, however, as their Roundhouse Rhubarb is flowing now. Using a blend of Annapolis Valley apples, and fresh-pressed Organic rhubarb, this 4.5% ABV cider is clean and tart, with light fruit aroma and flavour. Pop in for a sample, glass, or take home a bottle today!

November 17th is an important day on PEI as well, as it marks the One Year of Beer at Copper Bottom Brewing. Head out to Montague for a full-day party, complete with live music, a food truck, tarot card reading, and of course, beer! They will be launching two brand new ones that day, which we hope to tell you about next week. Check out the link above for more details.

Back in July, The Carleton on Argyle Street in Halifax hosted their first Craft Draught Showdown featuring beers from Garrison and Upstreet paired by the brewers with special dishes out of the kitchen. That one sold out and went so well that they’ve decided to do it again! Coming on November 21st is the second of these events, this time pitting Dartmouth’s Nine Locks against the returning Upstreet. Once again Chef Michael Dolente is bringing some exclusive edibles and once again the brewmasters, Jake Saunders and Michael Hogan, have been tasked with pairing their wares. Five courses, two 4 oz pours each is $60 per person (tip included), with both the brewers and the chef on hand to provide information about the food, the beer, and the pairings. Space is limited, so check out the event page on Facebook for information on how to get a seat.

A few last quick mentions before we return you to your regularly scheduled Friday afternoon:

Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has a new beer for all the visitors who have been asking for an IPA to quench their thirst. From the brewery, “A light, malty base, lots of hop character from the Citra, Simcoe, Centennial & Nelson Sauvin used at various stages”. Drop by the brewery this weekend to grab a taste and a growler!

Port Rexton has brought back a crowd favorite this week; their Blue Steel, a Lactobacillus-soured kettle sour with orange peel will be available at the brewery and the retail shop in St. John’s this weekend. At 4.7% ABV it’s well-balanced and fairly sessionable (and ridiculously good looking), with a light lemonade tartness and a zesty orange character.

Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax has two favorites returning to the taps this weekend, both pouring today from noon. Riddle of Steel IPA (7% ABV) has a NASH-ian tonne of dank Simcoe and Mosaic hops to make your lupulin-loving tastebuds happy. And their Flat Black Jesus American Stout (7% ABV) has risen once again as well. You know what, you know where, you know how.

We’ve got another full complement of beer and cider news to get you excited for the weekend. Several new producers on the radar across the region are now open, plus plenty of new and returning favourite beers from established breweries too! Let’s keep this opening paragraph short, and spend our time on the real news. No one reads these intros, do they?

Arisaig, Nova Scotia should already be on the radar for you alcohol beverage fan, as it is the home to Steinhart Distillery, an award winning spirits maker. Located 30 km Northeast of Antigonish along the 245 Highway, they have entered the brewing space under the name 9zero2 Brewing. Owner and distiller Thomas Steinhart comes by his love of beer honestly, having grown up in Germany, and is bringing some favourite styles and recipes from his birth country to life. Beers now available include a Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Cold Smoked, Arisaig Ale, Summer Party, and very soon, their first IPA. We will have a full Profile with 9zero2 shortly, but in the meantime, be sure to drop by the distillery/brewery for pints and growler fills, as it’s the only place you can taste the beer! They are open Monday to Friday, 10 – 7 PM.

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Two Islands Brewing Company recently opened their doors at 169 Main Street. With Rising Tide Bakery operating in the same space, the taproom and kitchen has been open for a couple of weeks, initially serving beer and cider from other producers in the province. They now have an Irish Red and Blonde of their own, and should be pouring this weekend. Growlers of their own beer will be available, along with pints and flights of all beer and cider on draught. The brewery is open 10AM-6PM (Tue, Wed, and Sun), and 10AM-10PM Thu-Sat. The bakery is open 8AM-6PM Tue-Sun. Drop by this weekend to check out the brewery!

Let’s turn our eye to cider, as Maritime Express Cider has just opened their location in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Housed in a railway hotel at 325 Main Street, Maritime Express boasts onsite cider fermentation and a beautiful taproom. Their cider is built from 100% Annapolis Valley apples, pressed locally, and fermented cool and slow. They are currently pouring a pair of their ciders in the taproom: The Flying Blusenose, a 6.0% ABV dry and crisp cider, and The Dayliner, a 5.0% ABV sweet and smooth blend. They will be adding a third blend, featuring rhubarb, in the near future. Their taps are rounded out with six Nova Scotia beers, and mix and match flights of all are available for enjoyment. Open 11 AM – 9 PM Mon-Thu, 11 AM – 11 PM Fri-Sat, and 11 AM – 5 PM.

And in the “mostly open” department is Sussex Ale Works, located at 597B Main Street. This week they have brewed up their first beer, but while they wait for it to be ready, they’ve been sharing great NB beers from other breweries with their thirsty patrons. Rick Lockhart has been working with Sussex Craft Distillery and Holy Whale Brewing in Alma for several years, and he is running the show at Sussex Ale Works, on their 1 BBL (120 L) system. We’ll have lots more details on Sussex soon, but in the meantime, drop by this weekend to check out the new digs and toss back a pint. Open 12 – 10 PM Fri-Sun, and 5 – 10 PM Mon-Thu.

The gang at Tatamagouche Brewing has plenty going on this week, starting with the launch of their online store. You can now shop for and order your favorite Tata brews and merch from the comfort of your own home! All the pertinent details are available on the site (especially the FAQ), but to answer the most obvious questions, beer must be purchased in multiples of 12 cans and/or 6 bottles, but yes, you sure can mix and match. Shipping is available to all Canadian provinces (but none of the territories) and ships via Canada Post. Even better, orders over $150 ship free! Meanwhile, earlier this month we mentioned Stillwell Brewing’s Make 1, 2 and that the correct term for such a blend of older and newer beer is a bière de coupage. As it turns out, we’d written about another one in the region only a month before when we told you about Tata’s Cahoots. Well available this week is another one from Tata that they’re calling Bliss, again a mix of beer out of two barrels, one old and one young. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and more sour than its predecessor, it’s being released this weekend as a bière de marriage (sorry; not sorry) in celebration of the nuptials of Tata’s own Matt and Christiane, two of the nicest folks in our region’s craft beer scene. A hearty “Cheers” and a big congratulations from us here at the blog! (Also, in related news, the brewery is closing early on Saturday (3 PM) and will be closed Sunday.

One of Newfoundland’s original craft breweries, Storm Brewing in Newfoundland in Mount Pearl, got its start in Carbonear on the east side of the Avalon Peninsula (and the west side of Conception Bay), in 1995. In 1998 they brewed a batch of beer for the first time that led to six months of bureaucracy before the brewery was able to package and sell it. The problem? It was full of hemp seeds. Although hemp won’t get you high, it’s certainly a member of the cannabis family and sourcing good quality seeds became difficult owing to political climate in the early 2000s, so the beer was discontinued. Right up until the other week, that is. Now that cannabis is entirely legal in this fine country of ours, it seemed to the folks at Storm that it would be a fine time to revisit that beer. Sourcing high-quality hemp seeds from Ontario, which were added to the mash, Hemp Ale, known locally as Weed Beer, is a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV brew with a balanced, earthy flavor and a nutty and herbal aftertaste. Packaged with the original labels from 20 years ago, they’re not entirely sure what the future of this beer will be, but they do know that the 650 mL bottles delivered have already have sold out, leaving 6-packs available for purchase at select NLC locations and convenience stores (the NLC site is a bit slow to update inventory, but here is the shortcut for your reference). It’s also on tap at the Ship Pub and the Quidi Vidi Brewery tap room.

Those of you who have been following the evolving nature of North Brewing are well aware that the brewery has released a fair number of different beers since they opened in 2013. Yesterday, they officially added their very first Pilsner to their lineup, with Sparrow. Crisp and refreshing, yesterday’s launch will trickle into today, when cans of the 4.8% ABV beer will be available at both bottle shops. Look for it on tap around the HRM, as well, including their partner in the beer formulation, Agricola Street’s Bar Kismet.

Niche Brewing from Hanwell is continuing their one-hop beer series, with a favourite Australian varietal taking centre stage. You Had Me At… Vic Secret continues the tradition that began with Ekuanot and transitioned to Mosaic, with a 4.4% ABV all Vic Secret Session IPA. Fermented with a blend of yeasts, but cleanly to allow the hop character to shine through. And it does, with tropical fruit and pine notes coming through, on top of a hazy, yet dry, base beer, enhancing the 30 IBU bitterness. Look for it on tap at their regular tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John, as well as at the HopYard in Charlottetown.

The march of the Pumpkin Ales continues (like it or not!), with Newfoundland’s Bootleg Brew Co. throwing their hat in the ring with Basic Bee. This light-bodied, dry, 5% ABV beer features the addition of local pumpkin from Wright’s Family Farm (Pasadena) and 40 lbs of honey from the Newfoundland Bee Company (Little Rapids). Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, the honey makes this one a slightly-different take on the Pumpkin Ale style; look for it on tap right now at Bootleg.

Halifax’s annual sci-fi and gaming convention, Hal-Con, is happening this weekend, and Garrison is once again launching a new beer to celebrate. Billed as a four brewery, three nation collaboration, they teamed up with Mason’s Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing from Maine, and Gæðingur Öl Brugghús from Skagafirði, Iceland to brew Hipster Viking during the Seaport Beer Festival in August. This unfiltered “Atlantic IPA” was brewed in the New England style, and was hopped with Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Idaho 7. Featuring a “dank, tropical aroma and flavour” it weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available starting today at both Garrison and Hal-Con, and at the private liquor stores next week. Note that the label artwork has been done by Ben Bishop, a well-known comic book artist.

Over in Good Robot Land™, next week’s Beta Brew is another fruited kettle sour, this one concocted by Corey Crocker (hey, that wasn’t planned!). Inspired by “the shiny satin shirts and well-bottomed pants of the ‘70s disco era”, Electric Dynomite (misspelling intentional) features the addition of strawberries and rhubarb (4.2% ABV, 6 IBUs). Drop by the brewery on Tuesday, where we (and surely, they) encourage you to wear your favourite disco outfit… and with Halloween right around the corner, you may not even get too many curious stares. And on Thursday, Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) is back on tap yet again. Corn!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has a new beer in their series of more experimental offerings that they’ve dubbed Scratch. Now up to number 13 in the series, the latest entry is Lemondrop Saison, named for the use of a fairly-recently developed hop variety from the United States that features a citrusy lemon character (of course), but melded with a herbaceous, almost green tea-like presence. Dry hopped to bring out maximal aroma, this 5.8% ABV and 19 IBU beer features a complex grist that supports a round mouthfeel and subtle spicy notes. This one appears to have made it into cans, so look for it on sale at the brewery!

Port Rexton Brewing is back in full effect at their St. John’s retail location this month. Open for business every Thursday (5 – 8 PM), Friday (12 – 7 PM) and Saturday (12 – 6 PM) for the foreseeable, they’re happy to save you a three hour drive from St. John’s to get your fix. This week the supply of cans is getting a little low, so you’ll be limited to 4 cans of each style, but they’ve got Blazing Sun (Double NEIPA; see below), Horse Chops (IPA), and T-Rex Porter. But as always, they’ve also got growler fills, and the lineup there looks like Sweater Weather (Double IPA), T-Rex Porter, Firehouse Amber, and Baycation Blonde, with The One With the Citra waiting in the wings for when one of the others kicks. The Blazing Sun is a notable return, as it was the first beer that PR put into cans last year. A big sister to their Chasing Sun NEIPA, it’s super hazy and super juicy with tons of hop character, low bitterness, and a full mouthfeel from plenty of oats and wheat in the grist. It takes its name from the oldest living Newfoundland Pony Stallion, a 27 year old named Blaze who lives in Champneys West just across the beach from the brewery. Blaze is always quite happy to munch on the spent grain from Port Rexton’s brewing endeavors, but we suspect most people will prefer the beer. You can keep yourself apprised of what’s available at the retail shop by scoping its dedicated Instagram on the regular and while you’re at it, you might want to follow the brewery’s main Instagram as well.

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has been brewing up a storm in their new space at 250 Dieppe Blvd, and as we wait for them to be released, they are extending their opening hours to include Thursdays. Their hours are now 6 – 10:30 Thu, 2 – 11:30 PM Fri and Sat, and 2 – 7 PM Sun. And to keep up with all of these hours, they are looking to add some more team members to join them. Send them an email to learn more! Just a note that they are not yet filling growlers due to permitting issues, but have five of their own beers on tap, plus five more guest taps, to keep you happy.

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a trio of new beers waiting in the wings to share with all of us this weekend. Let’s start with Saint James, a Fruitcake-inspired Stout. Brewed in Winter 2018, this 11.5% ABV stout has been aging in Glenora Whiskey barrels on BS-farm-grown cognac-soaked Organic purple plums. Assistance for the beer concept, recipe, and brewing came from Nova Scotian music Donald MacLennan, an accomplished violinist who had frequently held court in the Big Spruce taproom. Saint James, in case you are wondering, was MacLennan’s Father in Law, and a wonderful part of their family. The beer is full of iconic fruitcake notes of dark dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee, with a significant heat from the high alcohol and barrel-aging.
Something Sophisticated is a 6.4% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, co-fermented with Brettanomyces, featuring a balance of fruit, spice, and light malt, with the Brett funk shining through.
And finally Pile-It License, which is a Sherry Barrel aged Chocolate Porter, weighing in at 7.0% ABV. Chocolate and sherry and wood come together in a smooth beer worth enjoying before, during, or after, a great meal. All three beers will be available in bottles very soon.

In between new brewery and cider-house hopping this weekend, check out the other events on the go…

The Auction House is teaming up with Garrison Brewing for a Halloween Bash tomorrow, October 27th, with 15 taps at Auction House being taken over by the brewery. Several of Garrison’s “specialty brews” will be pouring, and of course there’ll be lots of tasty food available. You can also expect live music and prize giveaways, as well as, ‘tis the season, a costume contest with prizes. There’s no cover charge, so dig out your finest white sheet with two eyeholes and truck on down to Argyle St. tomorrow night to take part in the fun.

Next Saturday will see a full dozen offerings from Annapolis Cider Company on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, as they celebrate their diversity of offerings. Always using Annapolis Valley juice as their base, the different blends and expressions follow the seasons and will sometimes feature other fruits or adjuncts added to enhance the flavour. For those new to Annapolis, or cider in general, may we suggest checking out their appearance on the 902 BrewCast this week, with co-owner Sean Myles talking the crew through their beginnings, how they choose which apples to use, their cider philosophy, and about their Cider Club. Listen in to get ready for Saturday November 3rd!

A note regarding the FemmeBot Beer Fest we mentioned last month: due to a date conflict, it has been moved to April 27, 2019. With the aim to highlight female brewery employees, and/or members of the public creating beer, Good Robot is hosting a 15 brewery Fest at the Mayflower Curling Club. More details are available for breweries looking to be part of the fun, and we will share ticket details once available.

A few more bites before we leave you this week:

Horton Ridge has brought back their Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (6% ABV) in time for the cooler weather; roasty, chocolatey and smooth, drop by the taproom now for a taste.

Picaroons is still churning out new iterations of their PIVOT (8% ABV) Imperial IPA, with the latest (#21) featuring Sorachi Ace and Denali hops. You can find it on tap at all Picaroons locations, as well as select ANBL growler stations.

Propeller has a special cask on tonight, a sneak preview of this year’s upcoming Coffee Porter release. Chocolate was added for this very small release (20 L only), to put a bit of an extra twist on a crowd favourite.

Roof Hound is now pouring their popular Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter (as fun to drink as it is to say!), a Porter which is how you might expect it to be from the name. It’s a strong one at 9% ABV, and has plenty of coffee added from Sissiboo Coffee Roaster, as well as pumpkin, vanilla bean, lactose, and pumpkin pie spices.

Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to push them to the ultimate goal of building their brewery on Sober Island itself. Check out the offerings, and contribute to help further their expansion!

Tanner & Co. first released their Belgian Tripel as an entry in their Reserve Series, back in February. This 8.9% ABV, 35 IBUs brew, which was fermented with a variety of Belgian yeast strains, has just been bottled for the first time. With “lots of complex aromas and flavours”, you can pick up a bottle or two (or more!) at the brewery itself this weekend; note that kegs are also filled and awaiting to go on tap.

TrailWay dropped new cans and kegs of Beans, their 6.3% ABV Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they opened. “Sweetness balanced against roasted malts”, with lots of coffee and chocolate in the aroma, you can grab cans or pints at the brewery starting at noon; look for cans to also hit select ANBL stores sometime next week.

Happy long weekend! Whether you have your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday or Monday, early afternoon or evening, deep fry your turkey or roast it, we can’t think of a better way to lead into it than beer! We’re not saying one absolutely needs a beer or three before sitting down with multiple family members to stuff yourselves full off tryptophan-laden food… but it certainly helps (especially if the conversation veers towards politics… Canadian OR American). Our usual reminder about holiday weekends bears repeating: check your favorite brewery’s hours before planning your supply run, especially on Sunday and Monday; brewers have families too!! With that being said, read on for the latest goings-on in the Atlantic Canadian beer world… and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Nackawic, New Brunswick’s Big Axe will soon be celebrating the official opening of their brand new taproom, with a party scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Along with live music, free tours, and food trucks, they’ll also be launching a new beer for the event, Hops and Sickle Pale Ale. Brewed with Pale and Honey malts, fermented with an American Ale strain, and hopped with a blend from Darlings Island Farm – which appears to mainly feature Dr. Rudi – the final beer has aromas of pine, citrus, stone fruit, and spice. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available at Big Axe during their celebrations (along with several other of their beers), and throughout the following days, while supplies last.

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing in Hanwell (pronounced “Fredericton” by most people), NB, just can’t help themselves. They’ve got yet another new beer for us this week to whet our appetites for their tap takeover at Stillwell next weekend. Listed as a Brett IPA, this one is likely to be quite a bit different from the last, as it uses a Brettanomyces strain from the Yeast Bay hitherto unknown to Niche (and possible the rest of Atlantic Canada). Purported to bring a character that is “reminiscent of Sweet Tarts” candy, that’s pretty much exactly what it did, providing a slightly tart finish and a fruity palate with plenty of funk on the nose. Because this is Niche, and because it’s an IPA, there were also a lot of hops involved, including Azacca and Galaxy, which amped up the fruity character even more. Dubbed Space Oddity, it’s 5.6% ABV and hazy as hell; you can find it soon at The Joyce and the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton, and Peppers Pub, Lock Stock & Barrels, and the Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, and it might (possibly, potentially, maybe) be available at the Stillwell next weekend as well (see below).

There’s a refreshing, salty new beer pouring at the Port Rexton taproom right now… and if you guessed Gose, you’d be exactly right! Drifter is the brewery’s 4.1% ABV take on the sour, German Wheat beer, with salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company added in the boil. As is usual for the style, coriander was also added, with the final beer exhibiting the perfect balance between sour and spice; don’t let anyone tell you Gose is just a summer beer, as these low-alcohol, refreshing brews are perfect throughout the entire year! Best to drop by Port Rexton ASAP to give it a try, as there is a limited amount of kegs available – half of the batch was transferred to a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, along with a pitch of Brett D (we’re looking forward to hearing how that turns out!).

North Brewing is hoping that you like beers that are hard to pronounce, maybe, ‘cause they’re releasing Des Pêches Rooib today. Don’t let the name intimidate you, as it sounds plenty tasty! The base beer was aged for 7 months in one of the brewery’s neutral oak barrels at Battery Park, where it was conditioned on Peach Rooibos tea from the World Tea House. After bottling, the 5.4% ABV beer was allowed to condition further for another 5 months, and now it’s finally available for sale! Peachy, effervescent, and with a light amount of oak character, there’s about 700 bottles available at both North bottle shops; maybe grab a couple for Thanksgiving dinner?

We’re used to seeing a variety of wet-hopped beers this time of year, but how often do you see a wet-hopped Belgian Pale Ale? That’s what Tatamagouche Brewing has done with Hopback Hustle (4.4% ABV), their latest beer that is currently on tap at the brewery. Featuring Cascade and Crystal hops grown at the brewery’s farm in Malagash, both varieties were added at several stages of the brew – in the mash, the kettle, and hop back (twice!). Fermented with a dry, Belgian ale yeast, the beer has a nice balance of light, spicy yeast character, combined with “bright, floral, earthy aromas” from the hop additions. A few kegs will likely be popping up in the HRM, but the majority of it will be found at Tatabrew for pints and growlers. And while we have you here, now’s a good time to mention that Blue Bales, Tata’s wheat beer conditioned on 350 lbs of organic blueberries, is back on tap and in cans, and Deadeye DIPA, their Imperial IPA hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc (and a little bit of Nelson Sauvin in the dry hop) will return this weekend, also in cans and on tap.

We mentioned last week that Garrison is finishing up their annual Oktoberfest this weekend, with Das Big Party happening on Saturday, October 6th. We can now confirm that they’ll also be releasing a new beer for the event, a Marzen named Gettin’ Ziggy. This 6% ABV German Lager was brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt, and hopped with Hallertau to 21 IBUs. Malty and clean, you know the drill with this style of beer… it’s meant to go down easy, and go down often, preferably in large quantities, with lots of people around and live music playing. Hey, sounds like it fits the party where it’s debuting! Meanwhile, the gang at Garrison happened upon an unexpected discovery in their cellars this week: a trove of Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Autumns past. A scant 32 of the 2016 and 35 of the 2017 vintages will be available on Saturday at the brewery, so if a strong pumpkin ale with a little age on it is your thing, you’d best get there early.

Let’s move over to Dartmouth, where New Scotland Brewing has two new beverages out for our enjoyment, a beer, and a cider. We’ll start with the cider, so we don’t make ourselves look TOO biased. Blueberry Apple Cider doesn’t have an “official” name yet, but we’re ok with that, because it kinda speaks for itself right now, no? Made using apples from Stirling Fruit Farms, and blueberries and honey from Glenmore Farms, it was fermented with the naturally-occurring yeast on the apples, before the addition of commercial yeast to take it the rest of the way. Unfiltered, this dry, English-style cider has a dry, tannic, wine-like flavour, and weighs in at 6.2% ABV.

New Scotland’s beer is Heads Will Roll, a Red IPA. Brewed with a grist made up mainly of Maris Otter, and a touch of Pale Chocolate malt, it was late-hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria, to provide plenty of fruity and citrusy character to the beer. This fruitiness was bumped up even further by fermenting the beer with Vermont ale yeast, which brought the beer to 6.5% ABV. At just 35 IBUs, the finishing bitterness should be in the moderate range.

Halifax’s Chain Yard has us moving right back into cider territory with their habanero-infused Hot Mess. Looks like this one is actually a blend of several other Chain Yard ciders, including Foundation, Intrepid, Highway Strobbery, and Drunken Cherry. The final blend was then dry-hopped with Cascade, and steeped with habaneros. Those of you with any type of hot pepper experience will know that habaneros are right up there with some of the hottest peppers readily-available; luckily, the final product isn’t too crazy, with Chain Yard describing it as a “subtle but intensifying heat”. Sound doable? Maybe have some bread nearby, just in case! It’s 7.5% ABV and currently on tap at their taproom.

Way down near the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is Tusket Falls Brewing, and they’ve got a new beer to tell you about this week. Called District 34 after the local lobster fishing grounds (Lobster Fishing Area 34 – Southwest NS), the timing for it is just right, as the fisherman are just getting ready for this year’s season. An American Porter, the grist was composed of pale and caramel malts along with roasted barley and oats. Bittered with American hop varieties, it features toffee aromas and roasted coffee flavors while maintaining a full body and a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, this 7% ABV beer is dark brown with a coffee-colored head, and though it’s available at the brewery now in cans and at select tap accounts in NS, it will also be part of the Maritime Beer Box that will be found at Harvest, Rockhead and WestSide in Halifax later this fall (and, perhaps, also as a single). And if you’re interested in learning more about Tusket Falls Brewing, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein your intrepid podcasters embark upon a jaunt down to the brewery and discover it to be a most welcoming place.

So dedicated to keeping us informed is Kelly of Halifax’s Good Robot that she was even kind enough this week to let us know that nothing’s going on! Fear not, gentle soul, we’re sure there is plenty of the usual work-a-day mirth to be had at the taproom, but we are honor bound to advise that there will be no BetaBrewsday release this coming Tuesday, owing to GR being closed for a staff day. Later in the week will also see the return, after a brief hiatus, of Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale which is once again being lovingly packaged in cans. And we think we caught an Instagram photo of Kelly brewing a beer with Emily Tipton a few blocks away at Boxing Rock’s experimental small-batch brewery at Local Source. We’re sure there’s a story (and a beer!) behind that photo and we hope to have it for you in the coming weeks.

Quick! Beer nerds! Off the top of your head do you know what a bière de coupage is? We didn’t either, but it turns out it’s the result of the time-honored technique of blending some old (“mature”) beer into quite a bit more young beer. Practiced quite extensively in Europe, where Flanders Reds and lambic and even farmhouses are often produced using this technique, it was also common in the UK in times past for porters and stouts (and, depending on who you believe, a form of it is still used to produce Guinness). Why are we telling you this? Because of course a local brewery is releasing a beer that leverages this technique, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Stillwell Brewing. Make 1, 2 started with a batch of fermenting Easy, which comprised 3/4 of the volume, to which a barrel of very old sour beer was added. The coup de grace on this bière de coupage was a dry hop with a floral and spicy variety just prior to bottling. You’ll find the resulting concoction on sale this weekend at the usual spot on Gottingen Street behind Propeller Brewing.

If you happen to be in the Ashdale area of Nova Scotia this long weekend, why not drop by Meander River, where they’ve released a new, small batch cider, Blueberry. This dry cider was blended with local, fresh blueberries, giving it a purple colour and “fleshy, ripe blueberry flavour with a crisp apple finish”. Sounds like a good pairing with a certain annual dinner involving turkey, no? It’s available right now in 500 mL bottles, but in a very limited quantity and only direct from the source.

The email came in just in the nick of time, allowing us to give you all the info on the latest Something Different release from Annapolis Cider Co. Spiced Plum is a 6.3% ABV sparkling cider made up of a blend of cider (from Northern Spy and Paula Red apples) and perry (from Flemish Beauty pears). This blend was then cold-steeped with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, sliced fresh ginger, whole nutmeg and allspice (do some of these spices make you think of your favourite pie?). Finally, fresh juice from locally-grown golden Shiro plums was added for balance, and to give a hint of tartness. Sounds like a fantastic cider for Thanksgiving! As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 of every fill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s Nourishing Community Food Bucks Program.

There are a few events coming up that we think you might be interested in hearing (more) about:

We mentioned the Niche Brewing takeover at Stillwell above and we’re happy to report that we’ve now got a list of what we’re likely to see next Saturday on October 13 from 4 PM (note the later opening than usual for Stillwell on a Saturday). If you weren’t already excited about the event, this should get you over the hump, and if it doesn’t, we’re not entirely sure why you’re reading this. Here’s the twelve taps that are expected to open the afternoon:

  1. Tafelbier – Mixed-fermentation Table Beer, 3.6%
  2. Lucid Dreams – Mixed-ferm Saison w/ pineapple, pink guava, and apricot, 6.3%*
  3. Cilantro Lime Gose, 4.2%*
  4. Boysenberry Persuasion – Kettle sour w/ boysenberry puree, 4.2%
  5. Ruby Tuesday – Kettle sour w/ hibiscus, 4.4%
  6. Hold Fast – Dry-hopped Sour (El Dorado & Citra), 4.2%*
  7. Evolution – Barrel-aged Saison, 6.3%*
  8. Space Oddity – Brett IPA hopped w/ Azacca & Galaxy, 5.6%
  9. Mahalo – Pineapple Milkshake IPA, 6.4%
  10. Day Tripper – Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
  11. Receding Darkness – Dark Brett beer, 6.4%
  12. Wake-up Call – Sweet Stout w/ barrel-aged coffee and vanilla bean, 5%*

Note that the beers marked with an asterisk (*) are special editions brewed specifically for this event and the Mahalo is a brand new beer. This will also be the first (and only) appearance of Evolution before the rest of the batch is eventually bottled. But WAIT, there’s MORE!! We’ve also got a list of the beers lined up as replacements when (not if) the above kegs kick:

  1. Single Origin – Coffee Sweet Stout, 5%
  2. Constellation – Dark, sour Saison w/ black currant, 4.7%
  3. Ethos – Mixed-ferm saison, 6.3%
  4. Island in the Sun, Grisette w/ Galaxy hops, 3.6%
  5. Moderation – Passion Fruit Milkshake IPA w/ Enigma & Mosaic, 5.5%*

We suggest gameplanning for this one, folks, as we think you’re going to want to try all of these. And meanwhile, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be putting out some special treats from the kitchen with a bit of an Asian flare, including a Tandoori Chicken Wrap (mint raita, smashed cucumbers, iceberg lettuce), Tuna Crudo (blackberry-jalepeno conserva, smoky puffed rice, raddichio), General Tso’s Eggplant (Vegetarian, possibly Vegan, with kimchi fried rice and shoots), and Gulab Jamun with green and black cardamom syrups for dessert. Also, a reminder that Shawn and Rob of Niche will be on hand to answer all of your questions about their brewery and their beers and to wax poetic on the subtle minutiae of mixed fermentations. Or maybe they’ll just get loaded and tell naughty jokes. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining!!

Windsor, NS, will be the site of the 20th annual Pumpkin Regatta a week from Sunday, on October 14. And for the 2nd year in a row, Schoolhouse Brewing will be hosting a Pumpkin Regatta Beer Garden. Take advantage of a vantage point along the waterfront where you’ll be able to relax in dry comfort with a beer in your hand as the regatta entrants navigate across Lake Pesaquid in their hollowed out gourds. Toast them in style with a pint of Schoolhouse’s gourdian Pumpkin Paddler, or one of their many other offerings. The taproom will open at 11 AM and the beer garden will be in full effect from 12 – 8 PM, with live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s no cover and there will be food specials on the menu. Look for more info on the regatta and other events in town this weekend at the Windsor Pumpkin Festival Website.

There seems to be quite a few multi-brewery tap takeovers going on in the region these days, doesn’t there? We can’t help but think that this is an excellent way for folks to get a taste of the wares from a couple of different breweries, while still being able to try a nice variety from each and maybe see a little bit of friendly competition. Coming up October 18 – 21, Halifax’s Garrison and Dartmouth’s Nine Locks will be taking over all 16 taps at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth for the weekend in another Double Header Tap Takeover. Starting with Thursday for wing night, leading into their usual TGIF Friday night with folks from Nine Locks in the house, Saturday afternoon Ceilidh and Saturday night Kitchen Party when personnel from Garrison will be on hand, and who knows who might show up for Sunday’s finish when the winner is revealed?

And lastly, a few quick mentions of a various and sundry nature:

– Looks like Breton Brewing has again brewed one of their popular summer beverages, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Look for this 4% ABV, pinkish-red kettle sour to be available in the not-too-distant future.

Lunn’s Mill wants to let you know that they’ve restocked their shelves with cans of Lager Driver and Anvil Porter; in addition to being available for purchase at their taproom, some of these cans will also be available at the private liquor stores in the HRM sometime next week.

– Two returning beers this week from our friends at Propeller Brewing: Nocturne Black IPA, a 6.7% brew dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight (on tap and in cans); and Tropical IPA, a 6.2% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy to boost the tropical fruit aromas (growlers and pints at the tasting room, only).

– In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is releasing the third iteration of Starblast, their “American Fruited Ale”, today at the brewery. This batch was conditioned on over 300 lbs of strawberry and kiwi purée, and was lightly hopped with El Dorado. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans.