ANBL

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We’re well into the meat of the winter season now in Atlantic Canada, with it colder than a polar bear’s claws through most of the region and a “bomb cyclone” (sounds menacing!) descending on St. John’s. The good news is that our region’s beer and cider producers are still hard at work ensuring that you’ve got a spectrum of new and familiar potables to get you through, ranging from fireside sippers to reminders of summer. So have a read and make a plan to both stock your fridge for the coming weekend and check out some of the cool beer happenings that are coming this weekend and beyond.

If you’re still on a hazy-and-hoppy kick, Garrison Brewing is keeping up with your needs (well, your beer needs, anyway) with the recent release of No. 1 Squeeze IPA. This NEIPA was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Oat malts, and hopped heavily with Mosaic, Azacca and Comet (to the tune of 40 IBUs). The result is a beer jam-packed with aromas and flavours of apricot, tangerine and passion fruit, “with a smooth and restrained citrusy finish”. Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this batch will only be available on tap, exclusively at both Garrison locations in Halifax. 

In ciderland, Halifax’s Chain Yard has just released something new at their taproom – Rubintette is a small batch, single apple variety cider. Featuring the Rubinette apple (apparently a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin), the batch was slow-fermented, giving it a “vinous and woody character, with summer fruit flavours”. Pretty hefty at 8% ABV, drop by sometime this weekend for a taste, as it likely won’t be around for very long. And they’ll be hosting a Nova Scotia Snakebite Competition mid-February, in a celebration of the cider-beer blend popular in the UK. Check that link for details on the participating partners.

As we’ve mentioned once or twice over the last couple years, the rural community Hanwell, NB, is the home of Niche Brewing and thus carries a pretty weighty rating if you’re measuring fine beers per-capita; and we suspect this week’s release will only improve that ratio. Speed of Life isn’t a first for Niche; it’s not their first session IPA and certainly isn’t their first beer named for a David Bowie tune. What it definitely is, though, is hazy and juicy, the former owing to hefty amounts of flaked wheat and oats along with some chit malt in the grist, and the latter thanks to plenty of Amarillo and Ekuanot in the kettle and more of the same along with Galaxy at dry hop. Medium-low in bitterness, you can expect plenty of stone fruit and citrus character in a beer that you’ll likely wish you were enjoying on a hot summer day. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine while you drink your pint, though, as it almost certainly won’t be around that long (this batch, anyway). Look for it to appear first at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle, Sussex Ale Works and the Laundromat. And there are still a few bottles of their Evolution available at ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, but they certainly won’t be around for much longer.

Brand new barrel-aged beer in their Weird Beer series coming at you from Tatamagouche Brewing this week! Ceres is a 4.2% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with a 60/40 blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt. After being kettle-soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria, the wort was fermented in stainless with an American Ale yeast strain, and Brettanomyces in the form of Berliner Brett from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, the beer was moved to barrels for aging, and was then blended and refermented on yellow plums from Malagash Cidery. Aged on elderflower for a couple of days before packaging in 500 mL bottles, it’s finally ready! Pouring a hazy, goldenrod colour, it has aromas and flavours of “tart lemon meringue pie”. Accompanying on the nose is “yeast, black tea, and lychee”, as well as “underripe yellow plum, wheat cereal and white pepper” on the palate. Sounds pretty complex to us! The best way to truly experience this beer is, of course, to snag some yourself. How, you may ask? Well, you can find bottles directly at the source (read: Tatabrew), or they can ship them to you via their online store; Ceres should also pop up on the shelves of Bishop’s Cellar sometime in the near future. 

Even more news in the world of hops (does it ever end?) with Tidehouse, who is releasing a new bottled beer today that puts the “Imperial” in Imperial IPA. Big Yacht Money is a 10.5% ABV “DDH Milkshake Triple IPA”. Hopped with very heavy amounts of Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado, lactose was also used in the boil to give that touch of sweetness that goes with Milkshake IPAs. This style of beer is usually fruited as well, and this particular brew was fruited to the extreme, with mango, strawberry, and orange zest, accompanied by an addition of vanilla. As you may imagine, the final result is juicy and boozy, with the fruit quite prominent and complemented with notes of vanilla. Bottles likely won’t last long, so may be a good idea to drop by the brewery today to start your weekend off right.

It’s always nice to see local breweries taking on classic beer styles that are exhibiting a sort of resurgence, and lately, Lagers are gradually coming back. Big Spruce just kegged and tapped Honza’s Boho, their take on the classic Bohemian Pilsner (aka Czech Pilsner). They apparently worked closely with a brewery from the Czech Republic to ensure that they were treating this style with the utmost respect, and brewing it as authentically as possible. With a grist made up almost-entirely of imported Pils malt from continental Europe (a bit of Carapils was thrown in, as well), and hopped with Saaz, it was fermented with the Urquell yeast (that refers to one of the classic examples of the style, not Family Matters) (or even better, this!) from Escarpment Labs. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, and if you’re curious as to how it’s tasting, you can try it at the brewery, or at one of your favourite BS accounts. And check our Events listing below for more info on new beers from them debuting next week…

Not to be outdone, Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has launched a Bohemian Pilsner of their own (after all, they’ve been expanding with the purchase of new tanks, so why not brew some new beer?). Their beer is named Flora, and was brewed with PEI-grown floor malt and Saaz hops, before lagering for five weeks. Now that it’s been packaged (cans and kegs), this crisp, 5% ABV beer is available and pouring bright and crystal-clear. You won’t be able to try it until tomorrow when the brewery officially reveals it at a launch party, UNLESS you were lucky enough to be at last night’s edition of HopYard’s Battle of the Breweries, where Copper Bottom took on Moth Lane). If not, it’s off to Montague with ya!

Apparently, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing has had many requests for a “red beer” to be available at their taproom. They’ve finally given in, but it may not be quite the style of beer that most were expecting, but it sounds plenty tasty, nonetheless! Red Beer is a “Red Table Saison” brewed mostly with Red X blended malts, along with a bit of Munich, Wheat malt, and kilned Amber malt. Fermented with a Saison strain, the beer is showing some slight malty/bready character in the aroma, along with some dried fruit. Finishing crisp and dry, this 4.7% ABV brew is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, but it’s got a lot more going on than a lot of your American Amber Ales that some may have been expecting. Currently pouring on tap in Corner Brook!

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new beer come out of Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax. But that itself is nothing new; would you believe they’ve released “only” about 30 beers since they opened in mid-2015? That’s exactly the way NASH said it would be, of course, and he’s managed to stick to it and, near as we can tell, still sell plenty of beer. So if you’re the type to get excited about a new beer release from Unfiltered, you may do so, with Edgy hitting the taps for the first time today. The sixth beer (we think, but we never claimed to be good at math) in NASH’s inimitable SMaSH DIPA series, this one features Centennial hops in great quantity for plenty of citrus and herbal character in the tried and true 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU format. Pints, fills, and cans available at noon.

In the “beer coming soon” category, and plenty soon at that, is an intra-provincial, cross-bridge collaboration between Nova Scotia’s Spindrift Brewing and PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing. A solid friendship between the two Head Brewers was formed as they both spent time brewing for Gahan Brewing, and the bon ami continues now that they are at the helms elsewhere. Silver Fox is a 5.5% ABV Export Lager, featuring uniquely PEI-sourced ingredients. Shoreline Malting near Summerside provided the Pilsner and Munich Malts, with Island Hop Company supplied the Ultra hops (a descendant of the very-Noble Hallertau and Saaz varietals). Bready malt notes, zesty and floral components from the hops (aided by a hard water profile to accentuate), along with a crisp finish thanks to the two months of lagering, which also allowed it to be unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for Silver Fox to debut at both Spindrift and Lone Oak next week, just ahead of LO’s Grand Opening on the 25th.

And in more collaboration news with Spindrift, they brewed with another island brewery, from a different island, Newfoundand’s Dildo Brewing Company. Coming to both the NSLC and NLC at the end of the month is Altbier, a 5.3% ABV ode to the classic German style, which saw the wort first fermented cool with a German Ale yeast, and further lagered for a month before canning. All German ingredients, from Munich, Caramel Munich and Carafa malts, and hopped generously with Hallertau Mittelfruh for a “spicy, herbal hop character”. The official release will be at both breweries on Friday, January 31st, with the beers at the provincial liquor stores in the future.

Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has a new beer on tap these days, their first foray into the farmhouse/Saison side of things. The Old Mill is 6.2% ABV Saison, and is available for pints and growlers in their taproom now, as well as at Horton Ridge Malt’s taproom for pints as well. This is their first, but by no means last, look at the style, so stay tuned for more iterations as they play in this wheelhouse. And keep an eye out for several other new styles in the coming weeks and months, including an Extra Special Bitter and a Berliner Weisse with cranberries. One or both of those may be out in time for their Cask versus Keg night on Friday, February 24th, comparing a cask of their Double Dry Hopped Rye IPA (aka Keep it on the Rails) to their W & A Railway Rye IPA on draught. Lots of fun and education on the go that evening, and all winter! Keep an eye on the latest news on their Social Media (Fb/IG/Tw).

Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville had a major release this week, with seven new ciders dropping yesterday. Their 2018 Pet Nat cider is a low intervention and naturally carbonated cider over a year in the making. They also released six new entries in their Forager Small Batch Series, with Barrel-Aged Applewood Smoked Crabapple, Barrel-Aged Partridgeberry Perry, Orchard and Vine, Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry, Newfoundland Honey Mead, and New England Style on Blueberry Skins. All of these, as well as their Scrumpy are available at the Cider Shop at 24 Balbo Drive in Shoal Harbour, as well as at the Howley Estates NLC in St. John’s.

Big congratulations to Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur who are celebrating their first year of operation today. And whaddya know, they got *us* a present! Loup de Mer Dry Stout is 4.2% ABV, and features a smooth body, dry finish, and plenty of dark chocolate and coffee character. Look for bottles on the shelves of your local ANBL from Bathurst to Moncton, including in MH-B’s own Acadian Peninsula. Details here!

And just making it under the wire this week (because when have we ever been able to say “no” to anyone?) is Propeller, with today’s release of their latest beer, Sweet Orange Sour. Luckily, the name gives you a pretty solid idea of exactly what to expect – it’s a kettle-soured beer that was hit with lots of lots of citrus zest, lending a mixture of sweet and tangy flavours to go with the assertive tartness. Orange and tangerine notes abound in a 4.8% ABV brew that finishes dry. On tap only, at both Prop locations. And for tonight’s cask, their delicious Galaxy IPA, with clementine zest, vanilla, and lactose.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

If you’re a craft beer fan in the Northeast New Brunswick area and don’t find yourself getting down to the Moncton region very often, you’re in luck: Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (that’s “CAV-Oh-Kay” for those unfamiliar with aviation terms) will be in Bathurst for a tap takeover tomorrow at Au Bootlegger. Starting at 6 PM there will be at least 10 taps of CAVOK’s finest pouring; full details are available on the Fb event page, with the confirmed taps as follows:

  • Petitcoudiac Rye IPA 6.0% 60 IBU
  • Leger Corner Honey Ale 4.8% 25 IBU
  • Foxtrot 33 (Oatmeal Stout) 5.0% 33 IBU
  • Runway 11 Lager 4.3% 13 IBU
  • East Coast Pirates IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
  • YQM Pilsner 4.3% 29IBU
  • Soleil d’Été NEPA 4.5% 15 IBU
  • Echo Saison 6.0% 17 IBU
  • Apricot Belgian Stout 4.1% 23 IBU
  • Terre Rouge (Red Ale) 4.8% 24 IBU

You can check out this post for more details on each of those beers, and be forewarned that there’s been rumours of a “secret surprise beer” as well.

For the second weekend in a row, Stillwell is hitting us with a mini-event on a Saturday without much notice or fanfare even though they’re bringing some of Toronto’s finest beer – last week it was Burdock Brewery, this week it’s Bellwoods. Those who are already familiar will almost certainly head down, and those who do not know, but enjoy really good beer, would do well to join them. Though not a full tap takeover, some of the best of what Bellwoods has to offer across sour, saison, farmhouse and hoppy styles is on offer, to wit:

  • Jelly King (Dry Hopped Sour 5.6%)
  • Raspberry Jelly King (Fruited Sour Ale 5.6%)
  • Justu (Pale Ale 5.6%)
  • Roman Candle (American IPA 6.8%)
  • Farmageddon w/ Niagara Montmorency Cherries (Fruited Barrel Aged Wild Farmhouse Ale 6.3%)
  • White Picket Fence [Peach] (Blended Foedre Saison Conditioned on Peaches 5.7%)
  • White Picket Fence OG (Blended Foedre Saison 6.1%)

As always on Saturdays, doors open at noon tomorrow and the taps will commence pouring (these are all kegged beers), with the usual lovely food coming out of the kitchen as well. So head on down and get another taste of the Big Smoke without having to actually besmirch yourself by going there.

Everwood Ave Brewshop is bringing back their EverBrews Home Brewers Club this month, with their meeting next Tuesday, January 21st. Starting at 6:30PM at their store at 731 Old Sackville Road, the evening will feature social and guided tastings, club business, presentations, and a general Q&A on what form the club will take. Everyone interested in the homebrewing hobby is welcome to attend, whether you currently partake or not. 

Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be host to a Norweigian Invasion next Thursday, January 23rd, as three Nova Scotian breweries will be showing off their favourite Kviek beers for the day. Big Spruce, North Brewing, and Tatamagouche will each bring three (or more) brews fermented with the hottest thing to escape Norway since Darkthrone and Cadaver. Look for hazy pale ales/IPAs, the winner of Big Spruce’s Homebrew Challenge Winter Warmer, Nordic Tea Saison, a co-fermented Lager, and at least one barrel-aged behemoth. The pour party kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day, so be sure to drop by to taste the latest releases from these beauties!

Halifax’s Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House is hosting a Battle of the Brews Thursday evening, pitting Garrison and Spindrift against each other to pick the perfect beer to complement a six course tasting menu. Tickets are best reserved via phone or email for the event that kicks off at 6 PM on January 23rd. Grab them here: 902-428-7852 or harbourstone@marriott.com

Details are still very loose right now, but we see that there will be a Certified Cicerone exam being held in Halifax in April May Spring. The exact date has not been finalized, but if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up on the Cicerone website, sign up that you are interested, and pass the Certified Beer Server Exam.

And here be your last few mentions before we leave you to your weekend:

Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, Paint it Black, Jack, a 6.3% ABV Porter featuring loads of additions of chocolate and orange, natch, for a full on sweet, chocolate, and coffee brew. Grab it on tap this weekend!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has their Full Service Double IPA back on tap for pints and growler fills. After selling out *very* quickly upon first release, they have been able to brew up another batch and quell the demands of the masses. Juicy, hazy, and a solid 7.5% ABV, it certainly packs a hoppy punch. Look for more from Tire Shack in next week’s post, as they promise a trio of new beers out before the end of the month.

And finally, a note that the YellowBelly Brewery Takeaway location on Water St will be closing tomorrow while they search for a new location. Upgrades needed in the kitchen area have them out of commission for a while, which means growler fills and their Skip the Dishes will be paused for the time being. They promise to let us know once they are back in action!

Let us take this opportunity to be the last to wish you a Happy New Year 2020! As we kick off a new year, it’s a great time to take stock of the state of beer in our region, with the number of breweries having exploded since the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog started on January 1, 2012. As we inevitably hurtle towards 200 breweries and cideries across the region, one of the stories we continue to hear is the markets outside of the big cities being served by small breweries opening there, and serving as a gathering place for locals. We hope that trend continues in 2020, as there are still many places in the region where getting a locally made pint are near-impossible.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is releasing the latest in their line of “solo hop showcase” beers (think Cascade, Azacca, and Galaxy) with their Sabro Double IPA. At 7.5% ABV and more than 100 (calc) IBU, this is a hazy flavourful ode to this newer experimental hop. A very similar beer, by the same name, saw a one-time release in May 2019, as part of the “Single Hop IPA” competition at the Stillwell Open (brewed with our own acbbchris). This beer has had a few tweaks made to it, but not many! Like last year, the beer features a massive tropical nose and flavour of pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut, with a smooth body and balanced bitterness. No fruit added to this beer, that’s all from the Sabro hops! Available on draught for growler fills (both Prop Shops) and pints (at their Gottingen Street taproom, and at licensees across the province), as well as in cans at Prop both locations, plus at many NSLC locations across the province (check store availability here). And fear not fans, unlike last year, this beer will be sticking around for a spell, at least through winter and spring.

And in case you missed it, Propeller released a very different beer last week, a Rauchbier. Focussing on the malt side of things, this features a light smoke character thanks to the beechwood-smoked malt used. Melded with a pleasant toast character from medium-dark malts, the hops are there only for a balancing act. Fermented with lager yeast means this is a clean and crisp beer without anything getting in the way of the light flavour. This is a draught-only release, with growlers and pints of the 5.0% ABV beer available now. And as if you needed another reason to visit, today’s Cask at their Gottingen Street taproom is Baltic Porter on Oak aged in rum. That is tapped at 5 PM, and lasts… until it doesn’t.

Over in Miramichi, Timber Ship Brewing has released their first new beer in several months, Peabody Porter. This English Porter (usually sweeter than their American counterparts) was brewed with Maris Otter, Brown malt and Chocolate malt in the grist, and hopped with the Fuggle variety to 27 IBUs. Once fermentation was complete (it rings it at 5% ABV), the beer was allowed to condition on vanilla beans for some time, to complement the notes of coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. Look for it on tap at your favourite Timber Ship accounts.

TrailWay is launching their latest batch of El Generico, their constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest batch – released today – features a large addition of peach puree, as well as a small amount of passion fruit concentrate. Stone fruit is obviously the center of attention here, with “an overall tropical vibe” and moderate acidity. Cans and on tap at the brewery and elsewhere too! 

And while on the subject of TrailWay, they still have two new-as-of-last-week hoppy beers available at the brewery (on tap and in cans). South Island (6% ABV)  is their newest American IPA, which was single-hopped with the very difficult to source Nelson Sauvin. This New Zealand variety is well-known for the gooseberry character it imparts in beer; South Island also exhibits grape and grapefruit. Next up is Box Theories, an 8% ABV DIPA that focuses on Strata, a fairly new hop variety that gives the beer lots of tropical fruit (especially mango and melon, according to the brewery), as well as citrus and tangerine. The beer was also brewed with small amounts of Munich and Rye malt, and flaked grain, to provide a bit more malt character than is typical for TW’s hoppier offerings. Look for this one to pop up at ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future.

Finally in TrailWay news, they rang in the New Year by making full use of their taproom beer engine by “reinventing” their cask program. The plans are to brew a new beer every month, with these beers specifically designed to be served via the beer engine. Their first release was Dry Stout, their 5% ABV take on the style of the same name. Also known as an Irish Stout, the beer is “slightly roasty and coffee-forward, complemented by some chocolate sweetness”. No word yet on the next release, but we’re all for well-made beers poured via handpump (and cool to see it served in their new 10 oz British-style Nonic glassware).

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault so enjoyed the first Brut beer that they brewed (Brighid, a collaboration with Big Tide’s Wendy Papadopoulos for International Women’s Day), they’ve gone ahead and created a completely new one. La Pêchée is a Brut IPA hopped with heavy amounts of Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, and features an addition of peach puree. Which the peach definitely comes through in the aroma, this 8.8% ABV beer is definitely not sweet; enzymes were added to help the yeast chew up any remaining sugars, so the beer finishes very dry, with a lingering bitterness. It’s only available at the brewery; you can pick it up there in growlers or in bottles.

Back in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing teamed up with their pals across the bridge at Timber Lounge to release a special collaborative brew. Long-time supporters of local craft beer, the axellent people at Timber Lounge were looking to spruce things up on their taps, and New Scotland bowed their way in to help. OK, enough of my horrible puns. Timbeer is a 6.0% ABV Spruce-infused Ale, but the name alone does not tell the whole story… Using spruce bows and bark hand selected by TL’s Darren Hudson (World Champion lumberjack), the New Scotland crew did an overnight infusion of the brewing water with the wood, before sparging traditional European malt, adding Old World hops, and fermenting it with Kveik yeast. Think Norwegian farmhouse ale, but with a Nova Scotian twist. That extra effort is worth it, as the beer is brimming with spruce character on a pale base. This is a Timber Lounge / New Scotland exclusive (and limited) release, so be sure to drop by one, or both, to grab a pint of it before it makes like a tree, and leaves. (sorry, had to do it)

Out of the bustling metropolis of Hanwell, NB, comes a welcome re-release from our friends at Niche Brewing. If you love you some hops but are looking for a bit of a break from the ultra hazy, super juicy, low bitterness, soft mouthfeel NEIPAs that are currently dominating the market and are waxing sentimental for a good old West Coast IPA, then Niche has you covered. First released a few months ago, North Park harkens back to a time when nobody suspected anyone of putting flour in their beer. Piney, fruity, and a bit dank, owing to the use of some classic American hop varietals (Simcoe and Columbus in the kettle, more of the same plus Citra in the dry hop), it weighs in at 6% ABV. Not a candidate for the IBU wars, this one’s still plenty bitter at 45 IBU. Look for it at the usual Niche tap accounts as well as the ANBL Moncton North Growler Station (which is also scheduled to have their Day Tripper Belgian Tripel real soon now). And in other Niche release news, this time on the packaged side, version 2 of their barrel-aged saison, Evolution, will be available next week at select ANBL stores. Featuring the house culture that they’ve been nurturing and using since they opened, it was aged in the same Chardonnay barrel as version 1 and Golden Flair for about 6 months. Super dry, extra bubbly, and slightly tart, it comes in at 6.8% ABV. And stay tuned for more bottled Niche news as they’re pledging to package more this year and even if that doesn’t work out (bottling sucks, folks), we happen to know that the one they’ve got coming up next is pretty special.

Sober Island Brewing in Sheet Harbour has officially opened their taproom, and are continuing the celebrations this weekend and next, with the space open Saturday and Sunday afternoon, 2 – 5 PM. They are then switching to full winter hours, which means more access to their taps and crowlers on Thursday and Friday, when they are open 4 – 9 PM both days, and are featuring Trivia each Thursday night beginning at 7 PM. Those hours begin on Thursday the 16th, and will continue until they open up 7 days a week in the summer, after all of their renovations, improvements, and expansions are complete, which includes doubling their taps to eight. Pouring now are their Beth’s Black Oyster Stout, Marigold Blonde, and a fresh batch of their IPA. And they’ll soon be pouring an Old Ale that we’ll fill you in on when we have more information.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing released a pair of new beers over the last two weeks, on decidedly different ends of the spectrum. Due South Pina Colada Milkshake IPA features the addition of raw coconut and fresh pineapple, along with some lactose (milk sugar), complementing the massive hops addition, resulting in a 7.2% ABV, 80 IBU beer. And on the other end, Rum Row is a 9.9% ABV, 40 IBU Imperial Stout, that was aged on cranberries from Terra Beata farm and Ironworks Distillery Bluenose Rum-soaked oak cubes. Rich dark malt, tart cranberry, and dark rum notes blend together in this beer. Both should still be available on tap and in crowlers at the brewery, and also at the Grand Banker.

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing released their inaugural brew in their Field Trip series, featuring different fruit featured in kettle sours. The first release is Field Trip: Pomegranate, jam packed with the eponymous fruit, complementing the tart and sessionable underlying beer. This 5.0% ABV beer is still on tap at the brewery and available to go in cans.

Is it already getting to be FCBF 2020 time? Eek! Here’s the pertinent info on another related event going on in Freddie that week:

With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival two months away (still a few tickets left for the Friday night session as well as Saturday afternoon), the other events surrounding the fun weekend are coming into focus. One of which is the Down East Brew Conference, happening on Thursday and Friday, March 5 & 6. Aimed at those in the brewing and distilling industry, or those looking to get into it, there are two full days of talks on all aspects of the craft. From malt and hops history and analysis, how to treat and test your yeast, as well as trademark and tap room operations, attendees will be sure to learn a thing or two. Speakers are coming from across the country, as well as the US, and there will be plenty of time for socializing and networking. The conference will also feature a Tradeshow floor with booths from suppliers and producers. Tickets (and the full agendas) for attendees are available here (don’t forget to use code DEBC20 to save $30 off admission if you are a member of any of the provincial brewery/alcohol associations).

And, as usual, here’s a couple more quick newsbites before you get on towards your first weekend of 2020!

Big Spruce’s Conniption Fit, a 4% ABV Golden Ale, has only been around for a very short time, but cans are already hitting NSLC stores across the province. Crisp and refreshing, it was brewed with the word “sessionable” in mind, and now it’s even easier for you to get it into your home (and then your stomachs)!

Flying Boats has a “Brewer’s Test Recipe” batch exclusively on tap at their taproom in Dieppe; Mango Wheat Ale (5.3% ABV)  was brewed with mango puree to give plenty of tropical flavour.

Our regular schedule of Friday afternoon posting has some downsides and one of them is that sometimes a small batch of special beer is released earlier in the week and we can’t tell you in time. Such is the case with CAVOK Brewing’s Alpha Canis Majoris, Cuvée 2019, a Sirius (hah!) 4.5% ABV mixed-fermentation beer with Brettanomyces and dark berries (dark cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) that was aged for some 4 months before packaging. Only 80 bottles were available when it was released on the 31st of December and we’re told that there were only a few left as of yesterday morning so we don’t suspect there are any remaining at this point, but we thought we’d let you know so you can keep an eye out for more interesting releases from CAVOK in the future (Cuvée 2019 does sort of imply that there might be a Cuvée 2020, now, doesn’t it!).

Well, here we are in December, and while the weather hasn’t been too terrible, there’s still a great argument to be made for stocking up on beer for both the holidays and for après shovelling, sledding, skiing, and other wintertime activities that are fun and/or necessary. The good news around that is that our region’s breweries continue to step up with new and interesting beers that will make building up a collection fun and interesting, if not easy (how do we choose?!). And not only that, but we’ve got some news about a couple breweries expanding, which can only mean more beer and/or more space to drink it in! Read on for details on those and for the rest of your weekly dose of beer news from across the Atlantic Provinces.

Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl opened their doors December 6th, 2018, and to celebrate their First Anniversary, today they are releasing an appropriate beer to celebrate, Burn Your Boats. This 9.0% ABV deep dark beauty is an Imperial Stout that spent several months in Bourbon barrels before canning. Major dark roast and coffee notes are paired with the lovely vanilla and notes of spirits. BYB is available at the brewery at opening today at 3 PM, by the glass and in a limited run of cans too (ISO!). And while you’re at the brewery, check out their wide selection of glassware that they’ve had shipped in from Jymline, plenty of options for whichever beer you’re drinking, from 1 litre Maß to a small Arome glass. Keep an eye on their IG account for more details on their Anniversary Party and their plans from now until the end of the month (we can tease that there is another Merb’ys collaboration coming out next week, a Key Lime Pastry Pale Ale!, and Cake Tray, a Cherry Pound Cake Pastry Pale Ale joining it. More detes next week. Congratulations to the Landwash family!

The folks at Propeller have been playing with their small batch program, and have brewed up three pilot brews that have all been fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast strain. The first of these beers has just been released today, Schwarzbier. Named, of course, after the style that is commonly referred to as a “Black Lager”, the grist contained a portion of debittered black malt (huskless malt that provides that dark colour and some roasted character, without the acrid flavours that can accompany darker malts), giving the beer a deep, black colour. Hopped to 30 IBUs with noble varieties, the beer has a “subtle, earthy backdrop” to complement. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is light-bodied and moderately dry, with a clean finish. If you’d like to give it a try, best to drop by one of the Prop shops to find it. And while you’re there, you can grab this year’s edition of their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (note that this version is marked as 2018, as the beer went into Bourbon barrels in December of last year).

The folks at recently-opened Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton are starting to run some experiments on their pilot system, which should be welcome news to those who are able to get to the brewery to try them. There are 3 small batches going on the taps right now for folks to try. First up is a coffee saison, St Caroline, at 6.0% ABV and using coffee sourced from local organic roaster Sunny Brae Coffee. This one still maintains a light color thanks to the use of cold brew on the coffee side. Next up is a gose they’re calling Duck Duck Gose, that they describe as “very balanced” and which also weighs in at 6.0% ABV. And last, but certainly not least, is a Piña Colada Milkshake IPA dubbed Love at Midnight. With flavors of pineapple and coconut, as you’d expect in anything bearing the descriptor “Piña Colada”, there was also an addition of lactose for a sweetness to enhance the fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This one is already in short supply though, so if you want to try it you’d best make your way to Tire Shack this weekend! But wait, there’s more! Just because they’re tapping the pilot system doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the big one. Resistance is Fruitile (*groan*) is a black raspberry sour that’s described as “Christmas in a Glass” owing to its red color. Look for this one to see a limited canning run over the next week or two.

Bedford’s Off Track released a new IPA late last week out this week, Jersey IPA. Named after a loyal customer’s recently-deceased Boston Terrier, Jersey, both of whom would often frequent the taproom. Jersey IPA is of the American variety, and was brewed with a fairly simple grist, and hopped with a blend of Mosaic and Cascade. Golden-coloured, with lots of tropical and citrus notes from the hop additions, it’s just about sold out already. Luckily, they do plan on brewing a larger batch of this 5.5% ABV, 63 IBUs brew; however, you may still be able to get one of the last pours from the final keg if you get over there soon!

Fredericton’s Red Rover Cider has a new release hitting their shelves today, a cider three years in the making. Starting from a blend of Spartan apples and Dolgo crabapples, after an initial 6-month cool fermentation, this dry cider was aged on oak for over two years before packaging. The full aromatics from Spartan (even when fermented bone-dry), along with the acidic character from the Dolgo make this a blend made in heaven. Le Brut is a 7.6% sparkling cider, and is available now at their CiderHouse location on Queen Street, Fredericton Farmers Market this weekend, and soon from their online store. The handsome bottle seems like a great option to pop open at midnight in a few short weeks…

Let’s stay in Fredericton (well, in Fredericton-adjacent Hanwell) for the next new release, from Niche Brewing. Celebrating their 100th batch (congrats, guys!), they decided to push the envelope in a different direction this time, brewing and fermenting their first Lager. The Bear is a 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, featuring Pilsner and Munich (natch) malts, a light bittering addition of Magnum hops, and fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. Bold malt flavour, but not sweetness, a touch of floral hop, and dry finish are what to expect in this beer, perfect for new- and old-school craft drinkers alike. Sharing the nickname of the father-in-law of co-owner Shawn Meek, The Bear is one that we think he’d be proud of. Grab a pint at one of their licensees around the Capital city, and those in Halifax will soon be able to enjoy it on tap at Stillwell HQ.

We’ve got tons of news from Robie Street, Halifax’s, Good Robot Brewing this week, so prep yourself before you wet yourself… First up is Li’l Creature aka Creature Feature VIII aka Baby Yoda, the latest and littlest in their line of biotransformation (aka, hopping during high fermentation) IPAs. At 4.5% ABV, you can still enjoy all of the tropical and citrus notes from a bigger IPA, but without the hangover. Next is C.R.E.A.M. – Cats Rule Everything Around Me, a new released dreamed up to hit the taps at the HaliMac Axe Throwing locations in Halifax and Kentville. Look for this light drinking Cream Ale the next time you’re tossing the ol’ hatchet around.

This week’s release of their first Beta Brew in a while (The Absolute Unit Belgian Tripel, thanks to their Sabco system being back up and running) wasn’t a one-time thing, as next Tuesday sees the launch of Stabby Geoff. Brewed with Brendan Martin, they’re describing it as a 5.3% ABV Wheat Ale hopped with Warrior, Ella and Summit in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Not being finished there (it IS a Beta Brew, after all), they also threw in some Queen of Tarts tea, and Grains of Paradise. Following hot on the heels of that brew will be their next newest beer, Et Tu? Brut IPA, a couple of days later on Thursday, Dec 12th (gotta admit, clever segue with the beer names there!). Naturally a Brut IPA, this 6.4% ABV, 22 IBUs brew has “bright flavours of orange and lemon citrus, as well as some white tea”, and finishes expectantly dry.

In St. John’s, this Monday saw the annual release of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (2019). This year’s batch is a 7.3% ABV Mocha Porter brewed with Oats, Wheat and Flaked Barley, along with Midnight Wheat, BlackPrinz, and Roasted Barley. These latter specialty grains added plenty of roasted character to the brew (along with a black colour, of course), but not too much so that the other wonderful flavours don’t come through. Specifically, we’re talking about the “deep, beautiful, nutty and malty” notes from the addition of Brazilian coffee beans (roasted by local Darkstar Coffee Roasters). The brew was hopped (to 25 IBUs) with Sasquatch and East Kent Goldings to add a bit of earthiness and a surprising licorice presence, according to the brewery. You can find it on tap at the brewpub and in bottles for takeaway; the bottles should be landing at NLC stores later in the week.  

Looks like there’s a new hoppy beer coming out of North Brewing this week, and it’s also the second release in the brewery’s 2019 collaboration with Benjamin Bridge. Musqué Double IPA was co-fermented on Chardonnay musqué grape skins (provided by the winery, naturally), and dry-hopped with the Australian Vic Secret variety. This 8% ABV hybrid DIPA is showing “notes of pear, mango and grape”, with a delicate acidity, and is dangerously easy-drinking. It launches today, and you can grab it in some fancy-lookin’ cans if you’re in the area. And why not pick up some Blanc while you’re there, which made its return last week? This year’s batch of the 4.5% ABV Grisette was fermented on some skins of its own… specifically, Sauvignon Blanc skins that were also provided by Benjamin Bridge. Like last year, $0.50 from each can sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share concerning North. Recently, their good friend and business partner, Leo Christakos, passed away unexpectedly. Leo was involved in creating Battery Park, and was always thoroughly involved with every aspect of the business, ranging from customer service to the nitty gritty details. Long-time fans of craft beer will undoubtedly connect him to the Brooklyn Warehouse, a restaurant that Leo opened, that was one of the first restaurants in the city to give craft beer top billing. His death is a huge loss to the craft beer community, and our condolences go out to his family and everyone touched by his loss… which are many, indeed. 

Fresh off their big win at the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards last month, Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has branched out and released their first cider. Fizz the Season is a 6.0% ABV blend of all Island apples, processed and pressed right in the brewery. Featuring a blend of holiday spicing (think cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice), Fizz is a nice complement to the crispy lagers and ales they’ve been releasing (and winning awards for!). And coming out next week is the beginning of their SMaSH (Single Malt And Single Hop) series with Shoreline Malting, with a new malt being used to create its iconic beer recipe. First up will be a Munich Dunkel, hitting the taps and retail next week. Joining it will be another new cider blend, this time using fresh local cranberries, bringing a decidely tart character to the finished product. We’ll have lots more on those releases next week, of course!

Down in Shelburne, NS, Boxing Rock has both a new beer and a returning favorite this week. On the new side is Inverse a “white stout”. Reminding everyone that “stout” means “strong”, not necessarily “dark”, this beer looks like a pale ale, but has plenty of the coffee, and chocolate flavors you’d associate with a darker beer in the stout style. Featuring additions of cold-brewed espresso to boost the coffee notes and vanilla to provide a background sweetness and smooth mouthfeel, it comes in at 6% ABV. Also returning to the fold is a beer first released in March of this year, Patricius Irish Stout, a 5% ABV stout that IS dark. “Refreshingly dry,” and intended to be an easy drinking beer for the winter months, it’s light enough in ABV that you won’t have to worry about having a couple on a snowy afternoon. Keep your eyes out for these beers, along with their barrel-aged series, Fisticuffs, wherever you get your BR fix. And if you’re interested in trying those big beers, but not sure you want to commit to a big bottle, you also have a chance to try them paired with cheese and cookies at Boxing Rock’s two upcoming customer appreciation events, the first at Local Source in Halifax on Thursday, December 12, from 4 – 6 PM and the second at the taproom in Shelburne on Thursday, December 19, from 5 – 7 PM.

If you follow TrailWay Brewing on social media, you may have noticed their mention a couple of weeks ago of a collaboration they did with Quebec’s Lagabiere brewery. The beer was De L’Autre Boutte to Here, a double-dry-hopped American IPA that they brewed at the Lagabiere’s location in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Luckily for their NB fans, they came back to Fredericton and brewed the same beer in their own brewery, and it’s being released today. At 7% ABV, it was hopped with almost twice the typical-for-TW amount of hops for their IPAs (which we’re guessing is therefore a crapload, for lack of a better term). The hops used were Motueka, Simcoe and Citra, so expect lots of juicy, tropical fruit character. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery starting today. If you stop by, you’ll also notice that their Simcoe-focused American IPA, More Better, is also back; this one will also be hitting ANBL growler stations in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve got two bits of big expansion news to tell you about today, one in Nova Scotia, and one in New Brunswick.

Since opening their doors in 2016, Sober Island Brewing has been bringing great beer to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Currently brewing in their own space at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, they have announced that their own taproom will be opening next door in a couple of weeks. Located at 22462 Highway 7 (the former Three Sisters storefront), the taproom will have room for 50 guests, in a common area as well as side room that can be closed off for private events, or opened to accommodate thirsty visitors. Thanks to their manufacturers permit, they are able to welcome kids as well as adults, so no need to tie Junior up outside while you have a wee swally. With beer on tap, cider in the bottle, and some non-alcoholic bevvies to start, they’ll be expanding to an 8 tap draught system with beer, cider, and mobucha flowing. Their spot will also feature a retail space, with cans, crowlers, as well as growler fills, for the first time ever. Local flair is abundant in the space, with a live edge bar top, stone accents, and boards from an old barn. Local craftsman George Child has been a great asset to the design and build, still working harder than most, despite celebrating 80 years of age. So, when can you visit?? It won’t be long now, as they will be opening their doors Tuesday, December 17th, and celebrating with the launch of new merchandise and a new batch of IPA. From then until December 22nd, they will be welcoming guests in the new space, and then taking a break over Christmas. They will then be opening again for a New Year’s Day levee potluck, to celebrate the new year and big things to come in 2020 (including some short-term rental rooms above the taproom for the full SIBC experience). We’ll have lots more details to share with you as the space comes into its own over winter, and the Sober Island team is excited to offer a space that is open year-round, as well as partnering with neighbouring Henley House during its open season.

In other big taproom and expansion news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has announced that they will be opening a brewery and taproom location in the New Year. Currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in the basement of their Main Street restaurant of the same name, they will be exiting into the light, and expanding brewing operations significantly. Located 15 minutes walk down Main at 1355 Main Street, the new location is just a 3 minute walk from the new Avenir Centre. The 15 BBL (1800 litre) system will offer the ability to serve not only their restaurant, but the new tap room onsite and more regular growler fills and canned offerings. The location will also have a kitchen onsite, which may mean more access to their High Fives pizza offerings. As they work hard on renovations and opening their doors this Spring, they’ve launched a new website to let you see behind the scenes, as well as pick up some great deals perfect for sharing with your loved ones (or not, no sharing!) over the holidays. Peep their deals on the Mug Club, Growler Club, Pizza Party and others here. Congratulations on the big news to Chad and the rest of the T&B crew.

Only one event in the hopper this week, but if you haven’t been to the Garrison Oxford Taproom yet, this would be a fun way to get an introduction:

If you’re in Halifax and looking for an excuse to get away from all your Christmas shopping this weekend (or if you just want to get away from your family, we won’t judge), the Ladies Beer League has you covered. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a December Bevvy at the Oxford Taproom from 2-4 pm. Hang out in the loft and drink some Garrison beers; they’ll even have some merch available for purchase, so you can take care of a bit of shopping at the same time, you efficient bugger you. They’ll also be collecting donations for Feed Nova Scotia, and if you donate you’ll be entered to win a gift basket with treats from the LBL and Garrison. 

And a few last mentions before we send you on your way:

With Foghorn’s recent expansion comes great responsibility… no wait, sorry, a new canning line! They’ve recently canned and released some of their regulars, including Golden Grover (English Pale Ale), Bumble (APA), and Constable Winchester (IPA). You can find them at brewery’s taproom in Rothesay, and at ANBL stores across the province.

Maybee Brewing released a new DIPA last week, Clockwork. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, it has “rich stone fruit and citrus notes, a clean and balanced malt profile, and a light caramel finish”. Find it at the brewery, and at select licensees.

The PEI Brewing Co. has begun their Christmas Growler Countdown, where they release a new, small batch beer for growler fills, every Friday leading up to Christmas. This week’s release is English Mild with Brett; it goes on tap at the brewery starting today at 4 pm.

Secret Cove Brewing has teamed up with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi to brew The Rice is Right, a 4.8% ABV Session IPA. The beer is “crisp and smooth”, and features the addition of gelatinized Japanese rice.