902 BrewCast

All posts tagged 902 BrewCast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, Christmas is right around the corner, so you know what that means: oodles of new releases from breweries, followed by a brief hiatus as everyone takes a much-needed break. That break translates to one for us as well, so this is your last read of the ACBB for 2019 (holds Chris away from the computer). We highly recommend you check out your favorite breweries’ social media pages over the holiday season before venturing out on a beer run; hours are likely to be highly variable over the next week or two, so plan ahead!
And as we close out our seventh year of the blog, we’d like to thank all of you readers, and the rest of the beer community, for letting us tell your stories. And when we hit the ground running in 2020, look for plenty more tales of new breweries, beers, events, and the people behind your favourite beverages. 

Another group of chaps sharing the stories behind the beer of our region is the 902 BrewCast. They’ve released their December Tasting Episode, and last one of the year, this morning. Our own acbbchris managed to sneak on for a taste of PEI, with beer from Bogside Brewing and brand-new Lone Oak, as well as Gahan House Port City in Saint John. Topics from favourite beers of the year, to what they’re looking forward to in 2020 (and how to get it), plus a healthy dose of shoutouts and callbacks, naturally! Grab the episode today for your commute home, or while you brave the stores this weekend, to drown out the 1000th playing of All I Want For Christmas

We’re not pulling any punches for the first beer of the day, let’s jump in and embrace the season! St. John’s Bannerman Brewing released Yuletide last weekend, and we think it would be a perfect beer for sharing with turkey dinner. A 5.0% ABV kettle sour with Pils and Wheat malts, it was conditioned on loads of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry purees, for a tart, fruity, and lightly savoury beer that complements and cuts through meat and potatoes and all the fixings. Grab it on tap at the brewery now!

The Big Spruce gang up in Nyanza is out to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for beers for the holidays with two new ones out this week. First up is Mele Kveikimaka, an IPA which features the Ebbgarden strain of Kveik, considered by some to increase the perception of bitterness, which should be perfect for the style. Hazy and rich, with a lovely head, this one no doubt features tons of hops and comes in at a pretty stiff 7.4% ABV. Also on the go is a new wine-influenced beer (seems all the cool kids are doing that these days) called Saviour Complex. Aged in a grape pomace barrel, this one is nominally a sour, but also features Brettanomyces. With sourness, funk, pomace, and barrel character all competing for palate space, we suspect this one lives up the the word “complex” in its name. At 7.2% ABV you probably didn’t want to slam this one down anyway. Neither of these beers is scheduled to be packaged, so you’ll have to make your way to one of the fine establishments serving them on draught. For Mele Kveikimaka, that’ll be Battery Park, Hopyard Halifax, Studio East, Boardroom Cafe, and Maritime Express. Saviour Complex will be found at Battery Park and Maritime Express. And if you contact them *right now* you may still be able to get on their Holiday Home Delivery to HRM tomorrow. Check out the FB Event for availability details, and then call them at 902-295-ALES!

On the West side of PEI in Ellerslie, Moth Lane Brewing has a brand new beer they’re excited for folks to know about, and for which they’ve gone all out on the pouring side. Na Zdravi is a Czech-style Pilsner named for the Czech version of the phrase “Cheers!” Expect this one to be clean and slightly sweet, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming bitterness and plenty of biscuity and bready character. It’s pouring from traditional side-pour taps imported from the Czech Republic and into traditional glassware for a maximally continental experience. Even better, the beer will also be pouring down the road in Tyne Valley at Backwoods Burger just as soon as they get their matching side-pour tap installed!

From one Island to another, let’s head East to Cormack, Newfoundland, where Crooked Feeder calls home. They are pouring a new Hefeweizen (German-style Wheat), featuring Newfoundland-grown wheat. Grown on Rideout’s Farm, just a few kilometres from the brewery, this is one of the first times grain from the province has been used in beer. Ausrittweizen (German for “rideout heat”) is a 5.0% ABV hazy beer, featuring loads of banana and bubblegum character thanks to the yeast chosen, and is pouring now at the brewery, as well as their Gastropub in Corner Brook.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing is knee-deep into their Christmas Countdown right now, where they’ve had daily specials on everything from beer to merchandise. Day one, however, marked the launch of their newest barrel-aged beer, Chocolate Whiskey Stout. Aged for over a year in Glenora whisky barrels with cocoa and coffee, this 7% ABV dark brew is exhibiting a blend of whisky, chocolate and coffee, with notes of oak. Smooth and warming, the entire batch was bottled, and there was only a limited amount – 500 – available when they released it. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer. And keep an eye on their IG account for the latest news and specials.

Not to be slowed down by the holidays, North Brewing has a trifecta of beers out for you to fill your stockings with. The first two are new iterations of their Strong Dark Belgian (Glenora Barrel Aged), one inspired by Figgy Pudding (brewed with figs, dates, and vanilla), and one by Speculaas Cookies (brewed with fresh ginger and the brewery’s special Speculaas spice blend). Both come from the original base beer, which was aged in four Glenora barrels for more than two years, before blending. This is a big beer – at 10+% ABV – the perfect style for sipping while watching your kids open their presents (kids wait to open gifts after cocktail hour, right?). The third beer is a barrel-aged version of their Grisette, Blanc. Fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge, and aged in a wine barrel for 11 months, it was then bottled and allowed to condition naturally. Lots of “funky barrel character” in this refreshing beer, the perfect counterpart to those Strong Dark Belgians you’ll be picking up. All three are available in bottles at your most-convenient North location.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a couple of new beers of their own. The first is this year’s edition of their annual Tibb’s the Saison, a Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. With aromas of cinnamon, banana and clove, you can expect “notes of spice and black pepper” to follow on the palate; it weighs in at 6.6% ABV. Next up is the newest hoppy entry in their Continuum series, Continuum – Happy HoliHaze. This iteration was hopped with lots of varieties, including Hallertau Blanc, Columbus and Galaxy, accompanied by Citra and Simcoe. Lots of juiciness and haziness in this 5.9% ABV IPA, with stone fruit character and “light herbal and pith notes”. Both of these newbies are available for growler fills at the retail shop in St. John’s, and growlers and pints at the taproom starting today. And hey, they’ve just canned a fresh batch of Mixed Opportunity, their mixed-ferm Saison, so you can take home some of those as well. And if you visit the brewery taproom on Tibb’s Eve (that’s Monday the 23rd), you’ll have a chance to try their first ever casked beer, Blue Steel with orange peel and hibiscus! Tapped when they open at 6 PM, and won’t last long, as there’s only 40 litres!

TrailWay is launching the latest iteration of Beans, their Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they open. Espresso Beans was brewed with a large amount of espresso beans from Fredericton’s Mill Town Roasters. The roast used was selected to complement their chocolate-forward base beer, with more beans being used than in previous Beans releases. They also boosted the ABV of the beer slightly to 6.8%, in order to give it more body and flavour. If you’re dropping by the brewery to pick up some cans/growlers, they’ve also re-released their Stormy Weather American IPA, hopped heavily with Vic Secret and other “supporting” hop varieties, giving lots of citrus and pineapple in the beer; also on tap and in cans. Today is a great time, by the way, to pick up your TW beers for the weekend/holidays, as half of all pint sales sold today will be donated to the Fredericton Homeless Shelter… so, stay for a pour, why dontcha?

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has launched not one, not two, but three new beers today, sure to satisfy thirsty folks out and about in the city today. Crimson Thunder is a Barley Wine, weighing in at 9.0% ABV, and features a balancing act between light alcohol warmth and malt sweetness, as well as light dried fruit character perfect for enjoying in front of the fire.Speaking of warming… Face Melter is a 10.5% ABV Wee Heavy, taking the malt base up a few notches for light sweetness, bold caramel flavours, but without any hot alcohol burn. Sounds like this will fuel many a story over the holidays! And the third release is Waffle Sauce is a “Maple Butter Tart ESB”, a Canadian twist on this English standard. The 4.7% ABV Extra Special Bitter features addition of maple syrup, rum, and vanilla, making the beer a great bevvie to warm up, or accompany your flapjacks or waffles tomorrow morning. All three are pouring at the brewery currently, with Crimson Thunder and Face Malter available to go in retro stubbie bottles, and Waffle Sauce being canned and available later on the weekend.

We always like to hear about our local breweries working together on things, and this week two downtown Dartmouth breweries have stepped up with some news in that vein for the holidays. Brightwood Brewery and New Scotland Brewing have collaborated on a new Triple IPA they’re calling Eraserhead (after the notoriously feel-good holiday movie we’re sure). At 10.5% ABV you might want to sit down to drink it, but it’s got a hop onslaught to match the booze factor, with Chinook for bittering and then “crazy amounts” of Centennial, Columbus, and the YCH Hops 2019 Pink Boots Blend of Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, and Glacier. Look for an explosion of juicy and citrusy hop flavors, and some stone fruit in there as well. This one will be on tap at both breweries as of this evening, some kegs will go out to other locations around the HRM, and cans will be available as of tomorrow.

And New Scotland also has a pair of their own beers on tap at the brewery on Alderney Drive, available today. Blunderbuss 1839 is an ode to the home of IPAs, Burton-on-Trent in England, famed for their water profile and generous use of hops. Using a historical recipe, and “Burtonizing” the brew water (lots of minerals and salts like Calcium, Bicarbonate, and Sulfate), they’ve achieved a 6.0% ABV brew with well over 100 IBU of bitterness. Choosing UK floor malts and a long boil allow the malt to provide a sturdy backbone to support the hops. The second release is a return of Slowburn, a Chocolate and Chili Porter, featuring chilies grown in Annapolis Valley. Added both in the kettle, as well as twice during the conditioning phase, the heat grows throughout the drinking, as the notes of chocolate and vanilla give way to a pleasant spicing level. Both Blunderbuss 1839 and Slowburn are on tap at the brewery now, and should be available at licensees elsewhere in HRM (but sorry, no cans!).

Down the 101 in Wolfville, Church Brewing continues to favour European styles, as is their wont. This time out is a Dubbel they’re calling The Luxury. On one hand, it’s a traditional style brewed by Trappist monks, on the other, boy is there a lot of variation in that style, ranging from pale to dark, 10 – 30 IBU, and 4 – 12(!)% ABV. This one rests on the darker side, smack dab in the middle for IBU at 21, and i hearty, but not insane 7.0% ABV. Leveraging a pile of Franco-Belge continental malts along with some Munich malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, Belgian Candi sugar was also added to enrich the color and mouthfeel. Overall chestnut in colour with some coppery highlights, it’s got a dense off-white head on the pour. Aroma- and flavour-wise, expect yeast character in the form of clove-y phenols paired with deep sweet flavours of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. A dry finish leaves a clean impression. Look for this one for sure on tap at the brewery, and we’ve been told to expect it to be canned as well, so there’s some potential for this one to be available in the city over the holidays..

Not to let something like Christmas Eve slow them down, Good Robot is still releasing a Beta Brew next Tuesday. A Black IPA they’ve named The Night Before… Black IPA, it was hopped with Chinook, Amarillo, and a bit of Citra. With a malt profile that focuses on dark chocolate, the hops provide a bright, fruity characteristics to this dry beer. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, it was brewed with Krista Collier-Jarvis. And if you come back on Boxing Day, you’ll find The New Original Kentucky Common (4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs) back on tap.

Propeller has brought back Baltic Porter, their 6.7% ABV take on the eponymous style. Fermented with a Lager strain, the full-bodied beer has aromas of “dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, with hints of raisin and vanilla”. It’s available as of today, on tap now at the Gottingen Street taproom. Pair it with a bottle of last year’s version aged in barrels, which was released late last month. Also, today’s cask beer (tapped at 5 PM at their Gottingen taproom) is Schwarzbier with vanilla, and next week’s will be Porter with chocolate and clementine zest. And they’ve teamed up with Compass Distillers on Agricola Street to bring you the latest in their Windmill Craft Cocktails family, Rhumb Line. Using Compass’ Spiced Rhumb, and a blend of cola with a hint of lime, they’ve constructed a tasty Cuba Libre perfect for wherever your next travel takes you. Available at the brewery and distillery retail shops, as well as Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport.

Late addition to the blog today (sorry!), is the full release of 2 Crows‘ Tinto, their Flanders Red inspired beer that was first released for Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary party in November. Using a complex malt bill, and lightly hopped with EKG, the beer has been 18 months in the making. Check for the full details in our previous post, to wet your whistle for bottles at the brewery tomorrow at noon. And in the meantime, you can enjoy Graduation, a 5.5% ABV mango and raspberry sour ale brewed in 2018 by the Prud’homme beer sommelier course attended by many in the NS Craft Brewery community, including 2C’s own Kelly Huizink. Light malt bill, just a touch of Nelson Sauvin and Enigma ops, before fermentation by kveik yeast and then soured in the fermenter with a blend of LactobaccillusFurther fermenting was done with a blend of bugs from favourite beers from around the world, before the addition of fresh mangoes and raspberries. Natural carbonation by champagne yeast in the keg, and now available on tap. We’d say that earns the crew an A+! Grab Graduation only on tap at the brewery now, no bottles or cans of this one!

Lots on the go this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

As a reminder and follow-up to our piece earlier this month, Sober Island Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 22462 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour. Seating for 50, kiddos welcome, and those in the Sheet Harbour area can pick up their own specialized growler to show off to friends and visitors. Drop by today 4 – 9 PM, Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday 2 – 7 PM, before they take a break for Christmas. Congratulations to the SIBC family!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing is hosting Deer Lake’s newly-opened Rough Waters Brewing with a Rough Waters Brewing Pop-Up today, starting at 7 pm. All four of the brewery’s flagship beers will be available, including Selkie (American Wheat), Scallywag (American IPA), Signaler (American Porter), and Sou’Wester (Kettle Sour).  While they’re currently only packaging in bottles, Bootleg will be serving the beers in full pints, half pints, and 5 oz tasting glasses. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for sale, and the Rough Waters crew will be on-site to chat beer! And for those thirsty for Rough Waters on the East Coast, we highly recommend getting into Toslow this weekend for your fix. We’ve also heard they may have a keg from a new/not-yet-fully-open West Coast brewery pouring, but it won’t last long!

Picaroons and the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest are hosting a Christmas Cask Event at their Roundhouse location Sunday afternoon, 1 – 5 PM. Your ticket gets you in the door, a sampling glass to keep, and pours from the almost 20 casks pouring. In addition to the host brewery, try casks from Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, PEI Brewing, Upstreet, as well as Pollen Angels and Red Rover. Wear your favourite Ugly Sweater for a chance at a prize. This may be the first time to check out the collaborative beer from Pics and the FCBF, Double Vision Imperial IPA, out now (soon?) in cans.

Both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations will be holding an Alberta beer tap takeover event directly after Christmas, starting Thursday, December 26th and running into the weekend. With breweries like Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Grizzly Paw, Outcast, and Troubled Monk participating, there will surely be something for every taste. And in true HY fashion, special food items will be available during the event. Specifically, the Halifax location will have an Alberta-themed menu, while in Charlottetown, local chef Nigel Thompson of Sneaky Cheats will be hosting a pop-up. Stay tuned to HY’s social media for updates on the breweries/beers as they become available.

Upstreet will be continuing their New Year’s Day annual partying with The 2020 Kickoff, happening – of course – Wednesday, January 1st. The all-day event (starting at noon) will be jam-picked with activities, including live bands, beer cocktails, happy hour pricing for the entire day, and a special brunch menu from 11am-3pm (as well as tacos and pizza-by-the-slice from 3pm-10pm). As always, it’s free to attend, and the beer will be flowing like wine, so drop by and help ring in 2020!

Some quick newsbites before we sign off today…

Hell Bay has teamed up with a “guest brewer” – Johnny Oickle – to brew Johnny O’s IPA, a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBUs brew with “citrusy hop flavours upfront, finishing with a bitter bite”. Available now at the brewery.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing have brought back their Belgian Tripel this week, Day Tripper. Light in colour, and finishing quite dry, it hides a pleasant 8.0% ABV in its spicy and fruity finished product, thanks to an iconic Belgian yeast. Kegs have been delivered to Capital Region licensees, including The Joyce and Ringo’s Bar & Grill, with a few more spots sure to be pouring it over the weekend.

Route 19 Brewing is pouring Cranberry Pine Winter Ale, a lightly-hopped, 5% ABV brew with aromas of citrus and flavours of, yes, cranberry and pine. Lightly bitter in the finish, it’s available on tap and in cans at the brewery in Inverness. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back a favorite DIPA for the Holidays, Fist of God is available now for fills and in cans as well as on tap at Charm School next door. You’ll also find 12 Years to Zion, Inducement, Sour Motherfucker, Hoppy Fingers, Exile on North Street, and Flat Black Jesus in cans, but you might not want to wait to long on some or all of those as you’ll likely not be the only one stocking up on hoppy goodness. Also, Unfiltered has very proactively put up their holiday hours on social media, so as alluded to in our intro today, you can’t say you weren’t warned!!

And finally this week, we’ve seen that the much-anticipated Painted Boat Beer Company now has product to sell. Produced at their Stellarton location at 230 Foord Street, which they share with Nova Scotia Spirit Company, and where they’ll be opening a taproom in the new year. PBBC launched at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market earlier this week, and promise to pop-up at the Seaport Market tomorrow, but beyond that, we can’t help you! If you happen to know anything, drop us a line!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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