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As anyone in the region is most certainly aware, it has been an extra-trying week at this end of the country, especially in Nova Scotia. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the unbelievably tragic events of last weekend; to have to deal with this in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is that much more brutal. We know that we can all endure and survive tribulations like these through sharing strength and supporting our neighbours and we know that that’s what Nova Scotians and Canadians will do. But we absolutely wish there wasn’t a need to do so. 

With that all said, we suspect you didn’t come here to read more about that, but to maybe take your mind off it and think of more pleasant things, like beer. And in that respect, you’re in luck, as there is plenty of news to share with you this week regarding new releases, re-releases, and everything else we could find. Read on; and stay safe!!

We continue to make updates to our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries in the region, and there were plenty this week! We also took the time to update our full list of breweries and cideries in the region, as well as our Good Beer Map, useful for trip planning when it’s time to get back on the road and support breweries in person. Until then, let them come to you (where possible)! As always, please let us know via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too) if anything is out of date.

Let’s start the week’s news on a happy note in the Hub of Nova Scotia. Truro Brewing Company opened their doors at the end of February, and were therefore hit hard by the current pandemic, being a taproom- and growler-only brewery. After pivoting, they have now brought in a single head canner and established an online store, so they once again have a way to sell to their wares. They launched this week with three brand new offerings, available for local delivery in Truro, as well as through an HRM tomorrow (so get your orders in today!), with shipping available across the province and beyond as well. First up is a special version of their Exit 14 Porter, their 4.6% English Porter, but with this version, was dosed with coffee thanks to their friends at Aroma Maya Coffee. The chocolate and roast malts in the base beer pair perfectly with the freshly-roasted beans added to the brew. Next up is the Old Barns Farmhouse Ale, a 5.0% ABV Saison, modeled after the beer given to farmhands in the Belgian and French fields. Crisp, spicy, fruity, and highly carbonated, it uses the Escarpment Labs Saison Maison yeast to achieve all of these refreshing characteristics. And finally is the Daytripper Session Ale, a 3.9% ABV sessionable ale, with low bitterness, mild flavour, and featuring a nice dose of Amarillo hops at the end of the boil, for aroma and flavour. Take a gander at Truro Brewing Company’s store for the options for delivery in your neck of the woods!.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing released their Bridget Rhubarb Sour last week, which is still available at a couple of the ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, and should be returning to DrinkNB.ca soon, but now they have another beer available to those looking to have Niche on tap at home. Those in Fredericton with kegerators or jockey boxes can order 20 litre kegs of a couple of their beers, including a brand new release, Empty Garden. This 5.4% ABV American Pale ale is hazy, juicy, and full of tropical notes, thanks to the late and dry-hopping with loads of Enigma, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin. Helping it out even more was the extra punch of warm fermentation thanks to the Kveik Ebbegarden yeast strain, for more fruity ester goodness. Low bitterness (think mid-20s IBUs) and lots of juiciness, for a great return to the modern NEIPA form for the Niche crew. To order your kegs, get in touch with Niche via email (nichebrewing@gmail.com ), or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and they’ll share the fine details with you there.

Two brand new releases from 2 Crows this week to help you keep your head up! The first was designed and brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles; Special features a grist of Pilsner, Wheat malt, raw wheat, and a touch of flaked wheat, and was hopped in the boil with aged East Kent Golding, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling. With an addition of 85 kg of warmed Nova Scotia honey in the hopback, the wort was then transferred to one of their oak foedres, where it was fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures (all sorts of funky stuff in there, we can assure you). Once fermentation was complete, 5 kg of honeycomb were added to bump up the honey notes. The beer continued to age for another four months, and was then transferred back to stainless, primed with fresh honey, and packaged in cans where it was allowed to condition. The final beer, a 4.4% ABV Biere de Miel, is tasting very floral and funky; “dry as a bone, with a soft honeycomb base, subtle petrichor and herbal aromatics.” Check in with 2C to arrange pickup of your cans, or arrange for delivery.

And new to their webstore this morning is Carica, another walk on the wild site from the dual corvid crew… Starting from a complex malt base including Vienna, Wheat, Special Aromatic, Biscuit Malt (from Red Shed Malting), as well as Caramel malts, for a darker-coloured wort. Primary fermentation was done directly in a Port barrel, with a blend of their house yeast and Lactobacillus cultures. After 9 months (!!), 15 kg of dried Mission figs were added to the barrel, soaking up the beer and giving the bugs some more sugar to munch on. After that fermentation was complete, 10 kg of freshly-roasted black walnuts were added for an additional wait time, before packaging in bottles still (flat), and undergoing a final conditioning and carbonation. Phew, that was a mouthful! This dark sour has plenty of jammy fruit notes from the fig and port formerly in the barrel, and “bright and zippy” kick from the yeast and Lacto culture, plus earthiness from the walnuts. As mentioned, this joins Special, and almost a dozen more beers, now available for pickup or delivery Canada-wide, on the 2 Crows webstore.

For fans of Garrison’s Pucker Up series of “flavoured kettle sour” beers, they’ve got a new one out this week, Pucker Up Citrus. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, the soured wort was fermented and then infused with a blend of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange extract. Also, some green tea, hibiscus and Stevia were added. This 5% ABV brew has no bitterness (no hops!), and is meant to be a refreshing beer with aromas of all four fruit additions, as well as a touch of vanilla, with “bold citrus flavours and a tart finish”. Look for cans and one-way growlers at both Garrison locations (as well as home delivery) starting today; cans will also eventually show up at the NSLC, as well as ANBL and NLC outside the province. 

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing continues to pursue a market segment not usually targeted by craft breweries with this week’s addition to their Toller family of affordable American-style Lagers. Beer-wise, Toller Gold comes in at 5.0% ABV and 12 IBU, leveraging malted barley and corn on the grist side, and a smattering of Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh for hops to yield a golden-colored, slightly sweet yet still crisp brew. Price-wise, it comes in at about $23 for a 12-pack, which is actually cheaper than many huge multi-national brands that you’re familiar with! Get it now from the brewery or look for it starting May 4th at NSLC locations around the province. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up at certain private stores in Halifax as well. Also, we’ve had word from the brewery that they’re moving their core brands away from single serve to exclusively multi-packs for the foreseeable future; so if you’re big on playing mix ‘n match with Spindrift tallboys you might have to sideline that for a little while.

Fellow Dartmouth spot Brightwood Brewery has launched a new beer this week as well, an ode to the great hops grown in the Maritimes. Backyards is a 4.5% ABV hazy Pale Ale, a zesty and light-bodied beer with great tropical notes from the Centennial, Columbus, and Cashmere hops. The plan for Backyards is to continue to showcase the hop growers of the region, so the hop bill may change with availability, with the ultimate goal being all-NS supplied. This is the first Pale Ale for Brightwood, and are excited to play in that format, with plenty of fun ideas still to come. Cans of Backyards are available for window-pickup at their Portland Street shop, as well as for delivery through their webstore, along with a trio of other beers, including their dry-hopped Pilsner, now renamed to Pillowy Pils. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?

Good Robot has brewed up a new beer as a way of showing thanks to all of you working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Aptly-named FrontLiner, it is a 6.0% Belgian Golden Ale. Taking a bit of a left-turn from traditional is the additional dry-hopping step, helping to expand upon the yeast and malt character, bringing it bright tangerine and peach notes in the aroma. Good Robot is pairing with My Home Apparel, they are donating 50% of all proceeds to the QEII Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which will help purchase necessary medical supplies for patients and healthcare providers. Available in grunters and growlers only, check out their online shop to see how you can order Frontliner, and others, for pickup or delivery.

Recently-opened Hardisty Brewing, in Colby Village, Dartmouth, has a new beer available for ordering this weekend. Rye IPA is a 5.0% ABV India Pale Ale, featuring a nice addition of Rye malt to the bill, for a bit of spicy character, and built with a nice 35 IBUs of bitterness thanks to Northern Brewer and Willamette hops. Rye IPA joins Block Party SMaSH as available for delivery in the Colby Village area, check their website and Instagram for the latest info.

A bit of a return to the norm on the blog this week with our “Newsbites” section returning (aka beers we don’t know enough about or are returning and we think you’d like to know about them)

  • Big Spruce’s Tag You’re It! 2020 edition, is back, featuring, as always, a new can design (this time a righteous Right Whale) and also, as always, brewed to help support the Ocean Tracking Network ($0.50 from every can sold). We’re going to speculate that also, as always always, it’s a tropical juice-bomb in the NE IPA style and that if you’re a fan of hoppy beers it’s worth your time to check it out.
  • Dartmouth’s New Scotland released the latest in their Small Batch Series this week, a 9.5% ABV Double IPA named Pink Boots. Using the Pink Boots hop blend available from Yakima Chief, with some of the proceeds going to support the Pink Boots Society, with the goal to “assist, inspire, and encourage women beer professionals through education”. Berry, fruit, and herbal flavours come through, it’s a classic Double IPA, golden in colour with some nice bitterness. As the name implies, it’s a small batch, so it looks like it may already be sold out, but you can catch a half-dozen more in New Scotland’s online store for pickup or delivery, including another batch of their Fresh Start IPA. Ed note: edited with more info after publishing.
  • North Brewing in Cole Harbour (still feels kinda weird typing that) has a couple of faves returning to the shelves this week. Their Sparrow German-style Pilsner and their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale. The former is a rather faithful take on a classic European-style, while the latter is definitely more of a modern North American jam. Each has their place but they’re both pretty damn tasty. Hit the brewery up to get yours!
  • Those who love it know that this is the time each year when Propeller in Halifax brings out their tried and true seasonal Irish Red. Previously seen a few weeks ago in a sort of pre-release with a small run of nitro cans, this is a non-nitro version for the traditionalists amongst us. Also of note out of Prop is that not only is their local favorite NE IPA Galaxy available once again, but it has now been promoted to the status of “core brand,” which means you should now be able to find it year round! If you’re a fan of one or both of these beers, you can expect to find them at the brewery now.
  • Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s Brewery has brought back their Odin’s Summer Ale, in the hopes of seeding that idea with Mother Nature. Let’s hope it works! Their Sunburst Pale Ale is also newly available, and these can both be ordered via phone, email, or direct message. Full details here.

A few more notes to close on today, all coincidentally from New Brunswick:

Saint John’s Uncorked Tours is working hard to get their SJ City Market storefront ready before the tourist season begins, whenever that may be, but they certainly have not been slowing down their online presence in the meantime. They have been running great live Virtual Brewery Tours on their Instagram page that we encourage everyone to check out, and there are more than a dozen available for replaying here. They are now offering you a way to taste your way around the city, and province, from home as well. Firstly, they have created a Taste of the City Market “picnic basket”, with cheese, cured meats, breads and other goodies, delivered to your home in Saint John (for now, hopefully expanding the region soon) each Thursday. Order by 8PM Wednesday evening to secure your spot. As well, they are fully embracing the current situation by running some live beer tastings via Facebook Live/Zoom. Saturdays at 8 PM, drink along with Gilliane as she enjoys beers from across the province. They have also teamed up with DrinkNB to make it easier to get those beers in your hand, so don’t be shy and order them now (or in time for next week’s). The Uncorked NB Facebook page is the best way to keep up with everything happening (plenty more we couldn’t fit in here!), so you can still feel connected to the producers in the province. And if you’re able, and appreciate the content, there is a Tip Page that would help out.

The ANBL is attempting to alleviate one of the major pain points with reduced hours and the need for physical distancing at their locations, and is implementing a curbside pickup option for orders. Look here for the full details, but in short, you can now submit an order via phone (1-877-779-7878) or email (e-Commerce@anbl.com) using the product’s catalog number, wait for confirmation, and then pick up in person without needing to enter the store or wait in line.

And finally, the NBCAPA, the New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers have selected a new Executive Director. Christine Comeau will be doing advocacy work on behalf of the producers in the province, to increase the awareness of the province’s breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, to the government (yay!), in the region, and to those looking to visit when it’s safe to do so. Congratulations Christine!

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!).