Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards

All posts tagged Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards

Oh hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Already. Given that many of you folks will probably be spending time with family and friends this weekend, don’t be surprised if the staff at your favorite breweries and/or taprooms are given some time to do the same. As always, check social media before you make any special trips to get beer lest you find yourself disappointed. Provincial liquor authorities will definitely be closed on Monday, so if your plan includes one of them, plan to stock up by Sunday afternoon. We should also mention that with two of our three authors away on vacation for the next two weeks (and the third consumed by seething resentment at the other two), chances are extremely high that we won’t be posting much, if at all, on the next two Fridays; these posts are definitely not a one person job! Breweries who have big news that they really really want to share are welcome to contact us and we’ll do our best to provide a bump via social media. Cheers!

This weekend is the 2nd Anniversary for Tanner & Co. Brewing (2 years already, when the hell did that happen?), and that pretty much means in this industry that you’ve got to release a special beer for the occasion! Enter Reserve Sauvage, a special version of their Sauvage, a “Nova Scotian Ale” that is most-closely aligned with a Saison. Brewed with local malts from Horton Ridge (Pale, Vienna, and Wheat), and fermented with NS yeast from Big Spruce in Chardonnay barrels, where it was aged for about three weeks. The beer is giving notes of “pineapple, banana, buttery Chardonnay, and a bit of spice and straw in the finish”. It’ll be available this weekend at the brewery on tap (as well as at Battery Park with some other Tanner goodies), with bottles following sometime next week. And keep an eye on their social media for big announcements coming soon regarding their town of Chester Tasting Room!

Two new beers comin’ ‘atcha from TrailWay this week, one of which is a play on their house Pilsner, Yada Yada. This new iteration, named Yoo Hoo (Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm reference? And, go!) features a dry-hop addition of European Mittelfruh, giving the 5% ABV Lager an aroma of “subtle floral, herbs, and delicate spices”, according to the brewery. Their next beer is yet another iteration, being the next entry in their rotating Kveik IPA, Oculus. This time around they decided to employ Citra, Cashmere, and Idaho 7 hops, lending lots of tropical fruit and citrus character (which is upped even more thanks to the warm fermentation with Kveik yeast). This one comes in at 6% ABV; cans/pints/growlers of both beers will be available at the brewery as of today, and look for cans of Yoo Hoo to start appearing at various ANBL locations.

If you’re in the mood for something fruity, jammy, and sour this weekend, 2 Crows has got the cure for what ails ya. Paradise is their latest foedre-aged sour, brewed with Barley, Wheat, Spelt, and a touch of Rye malt. Lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvin (to just 6 IBUs) and some aged noble hop varieties, the wort was fermented and soured in one of their foedres with a blend of their house cultures. After conditioning for several months, they added a whole whack of raspberries (560 lbs), and a lesser amount of passionfruit (210 lbs, keeping in mind that a little passionfruit can go a long way). Once the secondary fermentation (thanks to all the sugar from the fruit) was complete, they packaged the beer in 355 mL cans, where it was allowed to carbonate naturally over two months. Tasting “super jammy, lush, bright, and lovely”, it has a strong tartness, a touch of funk, and a bit of mineral character. The raspberry comes through in the extreme, with the passionfruit backing it up. Super drinkable at just 4.7% ABV, you can drop by the brewery this weekend to pick up some cans; it’s also available on tap, and will likely be popping up at a few better beer establishments in the HRM.

In Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing is releasing a new IPA this week that reaches back a little bit to a time before IPAs were hazy and juicy. Described as more of a “West Coast” IPA, North Park features a classic American hop profile, with citrusy notes of grapefruit and orange meeting a bit of dankness thanks to the liberal use of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The ABV is up a little (6% ABV) and bitterness is moderate (45 IBU), and specialty malts bring the maltier character that one would expect from a beer in this style. Find it soon, if not already, at  The Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, CAVOK Brewing Co., Tide and Boar Gastropub, Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub, Peppers Pub, and at Stillwell in Halifax.

Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing is switching from a Continental-heavy first half of October (with their German-inspired Lagerhosen and Daybreak Kellerbier released over the past two weeks) to an English release this week. English Dark Mild features the use of complex malts in the brew for a wide variety of toast and biscuit character, complemented with yeast-derived esters reminiscent of jam and currants. Light residual sweetness keeps this 3.6% ABV from being too thin, and is the perfect accompaniment to a quiet evening by the fire in a cozy pub. Look for it on tap at Tata now, and around the province this weekend.

Propeller is once again getting a little funky with it, with the release today of their newest beer, Harvest Brett Saison. This 6% ABV mixed fermentation brew – featuring a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeast strains – is described by the brewery as having “complex spice, dried red fruit and citrus flavours, balanced by subtle earthy and funky Brett characteristics”. It finishes very dry, as any good Saison should, with a slight tartness. This is one of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, meaning you can find it at both Prop shops for growlers, pints, and flights (no bottles/cans, sorry). And P.S., tonight’s Friday cask is ESB w/ Coffee, tapped at 5 PM to kick off your weekend with a jolt!.

Two new beers from Yankee Line Road just outside of Nyanza to tell you about this week. Big Spruce has a hop farm onsite, and are releasing their ode to the hops harvest, and hops harvester, this week. Passion of the Chris is named in celebration of landscaper and hopyard guy Chris, who spends many an hour trimming, weeding, training, and overall caring for the plants during the growing season. The hops using in PotC were picked and then promptly added to the boil, with nary a minute to allow for any of that fresh hop goodness to escape. The resulting 7.9% ABV Harvest IPA features a wide blend of hop varietals used, and the aroma and flavour reflects that, with orange and lemon zest, floral notes, fresh pine, and cut grass. The beer is full bodied and light in bitterness, remaining well balanced. This beer is only available at this time of year, so be sure to grab a growler or pint wherever you run across it!

Big Spruce is also debuting a second beer this week, decidedly on the lighter side of things. Festival Club is a 4.2% ABV Session Ale, light-bodied, displaying a touch of haze, and finishing dry. Wild flowers and grass dance on the nose and palate, finishing in a crisp fashion, encouraging a second sip (or pint!). Festival Club is on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers, as well as in cans, perfect for grabbing for a hike or taking you to your next kitchen party.

And for those homebrewers interested in this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge that we told you all about last week, the Voss Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs that’s being used exclusively for the competition beers this year has landed at both the brewery and Everwood Ave Brewshop in Lower Sackville (registration fees must be paid in order to get yeast). If you can’t make it to one of these locations to pick it up, go ahead and contact the brewery and they’ll help you figure something out.

One of Newfoundland’s newest breweries, Bannerman Brewing on Duckworth Street in the city of St. John’s, has a new beer pouring, their first in the Porter style. Late Shift is a 6.0% dark ale featuring a blend of caramel and roasted malts for sweetness and a bit of roasty bite along with plenty of flaked and malted oats that no doubt lend a soft mouthfeel and smooth body. Described as “thick and creamy with notes of coffee and chocolate,” you should be able to find it on tap at the brewery. And stay tuned for news of another beer in the works, as Mike “Hogie” Hogan, of Upstreet Brewing fame, was spotted at the brewery this week wearing his brewing overalls (although to be honest we’re not sure he doesn’t wear those everywhere…). We’ll be sure to tell you all about that one as soon as we know more!

One of St. John’s most-regarded seafood restaurants,  The Adelaide Oyster House, is celebrating their 5th Anniversary this month, and have teamed up with Port Rexton Brewing (a brewery that the restaurant has supported since their early days) to concoct up a birthday beer, Mango Guava Sour. The beer, a 5% ABV  kettle sour, features additions of mango and pink guava puree, giving a mixture of fruit punch and “sour cocktail” notes. It’s available now, exclusively at the brewery’s taproom in Port Rexton, and at TAOH, naturally. And great news for those patiently awaiting their return: cans are now available for sale at the brewery and the St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road, so be sure to grab some before you head to your turkey dinner Sunday (or Monday!). And big congratulations to PRBC team members Terra and Nicole, who were awarded scholarships for the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone®︎, as awarded by the Canadian Brewing Awards. Only a handful of folks across the country were selected, clearly there’s something special in the water in Port Rexton!

Sticking within the Rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing has completed a collaboration brew of their own. They recently teamed up with Ontario’s Muskoka Brewery to brew Chocolate Orange Kveik, which… kinda tells you a lot from the name. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole lot of details for this one, but we can tell you that it’s a hazy beer was fermented with a Kveik yeast strain, and weighs in at a pretty-hefty 8% ABV. Exhibiting “roasted notes of chocolate swirled with zesty orange”, it definitely sounds to be on the interesting side! Best way to get it is probably dropping by this weekend at QV.

And switching to NL cider from NL beer, Newfoundland Cider Company up in Clarenville, NL, is releasing four, count’em FOUR, new small batches of cider this weekend that would seem to suggest they’ve got a real appreciation for seasonal flavors and some serious foraging skills (or know someone who does). The ciders in question are: Strawberry + Chuckley Pear, Gooseberry, Pin Cherry, and Chuckley Pear. What’s a Chuckley Pear? We don’t know either, but Wikipedia says it’s a family of shrubs and small trees in the rose family that’s also known by many other names, including Saskatoon Berry. All feature the same base cider, and then the berry additions, a perfect way to see the expression those offer. If you’re in the area and like cider, this sounds like quite a lineup to try (and note that they also have their Honey Cyser, Old Tilt and Hopped Cider available to go). Also, this weekend will be your last chance to enjoy their taproom before they close for the season; they’re open Saturday from 2 – 7 PM, with five different ciders pouring. But don’t worry, their retail shop will still be open Mon-Sat, 11 – 4:30 PM, all winter, with a rotating selection of 8 on the go right now.

Though at this point it’s probably more pertinent to breweries than to the region’s beer drinkers, the registration process for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards is now in full swing. Breweries are welcome to submit pretty much as many beers as they like (the official scale goes from 1 to Big Spruce), although they must limit themselves to a single beer in each official sub-category. Registrations will be accepted until October 25th at which point the door will be closed and let the best beers win! Judging will take place on November 2nd and 3rd, with the gala awards ceremony happening at HopYard Halifax mid-November. As always, we’ll do our level best to get the results to you as soon as possible after they’re announced. If you’re a brewery from Atlantic Canada and you’re interested in entering, check out that first link, or shoot an email to suzanne@withzest.ca

Some beery things happening this weekend and beyond:

Halifax’s Stillwell never ceases to disappoint with their seemingly-endless number of brewery tap takeovers, ranging from local breweries to those that are decidedly *not* local! And starting tomorrow, October 12th at noon, they’ll be featuring one of Maine’s finest craft breweries, Oxbow Brewing, from Newcastle (although it should be noted they also now have locations elsewhere in the state, in Portland and Oxford). For those of you lucky enough to be able to drop in tomorrow, you can expect six taps and ten different beers in bottles, several of which are debuting at Stillwell! While not a complete takeover, exactly, we’re fine with it! Don’t miss out, Oxbow has been brewing some delightful Farmhouse Ales since they opened years ago, and this is a great excuse to give a bunch of them a try! 

The original Hopyard – that’s the Charlottetown, PEI location, for those of you not in the know – has always done an excellent job of not only serving up the best beers on the Island, but also bringing in excellent beers from NB and NS that are otherwise not readily-available to Islanders. Next Friday, October 18th, they’re going even further in Atlantic Canada with their first ever Newfoundland Tap Takeover. Nine taps will be dedicated to Port Rexton (4 beers), Quidi Vidi (3) and Landwash (2) when they open at 11 am. In addition to these fine beers, there will be a special Newfoundland food-themed menu from Chef Jane Crawford, as well as live music in the evening. And mainlander beer fans, fear not! The Halifax location will be hosting their own Newfoundland Tap Takeover on November 2nd, with the same great variety of breweries being represented.

It’s that time of year again soon, when many of Nova Scotia’s breweries throw open their doors and let in massive crowds of adoring fans. Ok, maybe there was a little embellishment there, but next Saturday, October 19th is NS Open Brewery Day! Hosted by the Craft Brewers Association of NS, all breweries affiliated with the organization have planned or are planning events to occur throughout the day, ranging from brewery tours to free samples, special beer releases to small batch brews for you to take part in, live music to food trucks, etc etc etc. We could list everything that is going on, or you could just check out the event link above! We’re going to go with the latter, as we’re already running late here.

And just a couple little newsbites before the long weekend begins!

As we mentioned last week, Good Robot has two new beers on the go this week, the latest in their Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs, and number VII for those keeping track, subtitled, The Storm Beer (5.3% ABV, 50 IBU). Also out is their Scottish Ale brewed with some appropriately Scottish friends, Go Kart Jackass (4.8% ABV, 19 IBU). Check them out at the GR taproom.

Your intrepid beer-swilling pals at the 902BrewCast have released their October Tasting Episode this week, with lots of chat between the guys about beer-related topics like rolling cans, dregs, and their long-promised packaging torture test, as well as some not-exactly beer-related topics including politics. But don’t let that scare you away, check it out at their site or your favorite podcast provider.

The 2018 edition of the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards were announced at a gala event earlier this evening, in front of a full house at the Stubborn Goat. 52 breweries and cider houses from across the Atlantic provinces took part, with a total of 376 beers and ciders entered for consideration in 15 different categories. 26 judges from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tackled the enormous variety of entries, with the following beers and ciders recognized for their performance. In case you’re wondering how you can get a sweet gig like that next year, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program, and sign up to be part of a study and exam group, run through the Brewnosers homebrew club. Now, on to our winners!

1) North American & European Style Lager
Gold: Grimross – Braunschweig Pils
Silver: Pump House – Oktoberfest
Bronze: Grimross – Apres Lager
Honourable Mention: 2 Crows Brewing – Refresh

2) German Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Uncle Leo’s – Altbier
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – North Shore Lagered Ale
Bronze: North Brewing Company – Little Beast

3) UK Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Trider’s – Rod’s Red
Silver: Garrison Brewing Co. – Irish Red
Bronze: Pump House Brewery – Barley Wine Ale
Honourable Mention: Schoolhouse – Scotian Export

4) North American Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Giantess Barleywine
Silver: Tatamagouche – Dry-Hopped Lagerhosen
Bronze: Alexander Keith’s – Oland Export

5) Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Tatamagouche – Square One
Silver: 2 Crows – House Funk
Bronze: Brasseurs du Petit-Sault – Col. John Baker Dubbel

6) North American Style Amber / Red Ale
Gold: Gahan – Island Red
Silver: Four Rivers Brewing – Havre St-Pierre
Bronze: Boxing Rock Brewing Co. – Temptation Red Ale

7) Fruit & Field Beer
Gold: Upstreet – Rhuby Social
Silver: Big Spruce – Guava Get Me Some
Bronze: Petit-Sault – Bonhomme Sept-Heures Pumpkin Ale
Honourable Mention: Alexander Keith’s – Hortonville Pumpkin Ale

8) Pale Ale
Gold: Breton Brewing Co. – Seven Years Pale Ale
Silver: Alexander Keith’s – Cornerstone Edinburgh Pale Ale
Bronze: Big Spruce Brewing – Kitchen Party Pale Ale
Honourable Mention: Lunn’s Mill – Lunn’s Pub Ale

9) Stout / Porter
Gold: Breton Brewing – Cocoa Envy Chocolate Porter
Silver: North Brewing – Twinkle Pony Tiramisu Stout
Bronze: Big Spruce – Cereal Killer Stout
Honourable Mention: Pump House – Muddy River Stout

10) India Pale Ale
Gold: Uncle Leo’s – Encore IPA
Silver: Nine Locks – Fathom Double IPA
Bronze: 2 Crows – Second Situation
Honourable Mention: PEI Brewing – Snowbird

11) Experimental Beer
Gold: Tatamagouche – Feronia
Silver: North Brewing – Des Pêches Rooib
Bronze: Crows – Dare To Dream
Honourable Mention: Big Spruce – Thrice

12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: 2 Crows – Forever Young
Silver: North – Midnight-Glenora Aged Strong Dark Belgian
Bronze: Garrison – Barrel-Aged Wintervention
Honourable Mention: Propeller – Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter

13) Sour Beer
Gold: Tatamagouche – Bliss Mixed Fermentation Saison
Silver: 2 Crows – Cool Kid
Bronze: Tatamagouche – Soaked
Honourable Mention: Big Spruce – Hugs Bunny

14) Standard Cider and Perry
Gold: Riverdale Orchard Cidery – 2 Scots 3 Apples
Silver: Casa Nova Fine Beverages – 1606 Good Cheer Craft Cider
Bronze: Casa Nova Fine Beverages- Buddy’s Original Craft Cider

15) Specialty Cider and Perry
Gold: Chainyard – Ginxberry
Silver: Meander River – Small Lot Rose Petal Cider
Bronze: Yip Cider – Blueberry Picnic
Honourable Mention: Chain Yard – Frostbite

Brewery of the Year
Tatamagouche Brewing (Tatamagouche, NS)

New Brewery of the Year
Four Rivers Brewing (Bathurst, NB)

Cider House of the Year
Tie between Riverdale Orchard (Bonshaw, PEI) and Chain Yard Urban Cidery (Halifax, NS)

New Cider House of the Year
Riverdale Orchard (Bonshaw, PEI)

Beer of the Year
Gold: Forever Young2 Crows Brewing (Halifax, NS)
Silver: AltbierUncle Leo’s Brewery (Lyon’s Brook, NS)
Bronze: Encore IPAUncle Leo’s Brewery (Lyon’s Brook, NS)
Honourable Mention – Seven Years Pale AleBreton Brewing (Sydney, NS)

Cider of the Year
2 Scots 3 ApplesRiverdale Orchard (Bonshaw, PEI)

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2018 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards by the numbers:
338 Beer entries from 44 Breweries and Brewpubs
36 Cider entries from 8 Cider Houses
26 BJCP National, Certified, Recognized, and Novice Judges
6 dedicated stewards behind the scenes
14 hours of judging
1250 cups of beer and cider sniffed, swigged and sampled

50 Awards

1 Great Industry Worth Celebrating!

Crikey! It looks like the celebrations and shenanigans associated with this past weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Gala and Reception (check the list of winners here) might have finally taken the edge off the local beer scene for a week, allowing your faithful beer bloggers to catch our collective breath. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything exciting going on, just that there’s a little less to talk about this week. Enjoy the relatively short read (only 2000 words!); we don’t figure it’ll stay this way for long!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing reached a milestone this week, finally opening to the public and selling beer! Wednesday and Thursday of this week saw AJ Leadbetter with two of his own beers, Daydreamer Pale Ale and Headliner IPA, available for grunter (900 mL) and Growler (1.89 L) fills. They’ll be open again today from 2 – 6 PM for the same, but do note that until their point-of-sale system arrives it’s cash-only. Grunters are $7 for a fill and Growlers are $12. If you don’t have any to fill, grunters and growlers are both available for purchase, as are a selection of swanky Backstage branded fauncy paunts beer glasses, including the Rastal, the Belgian tulip, the Spiegelau IPA, and the Teku 2.0. Congrats to AJ and Beth and everyone who’s worked so hard to make the brewery a reality! Peep our Profile with AJ for a reminder of their beer and learn more about going Backstage…

2 Crows released one of their coveted small batch brews yesterday, Mountain Sounds, a Hopfenweisse brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop. With a malt grist of Pilsner malt, Wheat malt, and raw Wheat, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain to give the banana and clove notes we all expect in the style. Being a Hopfenweisse, however, demands hops, so Miles dry-hopped the beer “judiciously” with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. The end result features “huge notes of fruit salad, tinned peaches, banana, and pear”, accompanied by a full mouthfeel. Pours only for this one at the tasting room, so get down there quick! And as a bit of a heads up, they will be sporting a new release next Saturday (November 4th), I Love You, a Brett– fermented Saison, infused with lemon verbena, care of Phil Holmans of World Tea House. We’ll have all of the nerdy details next Friday.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has an au courant brew ready for All Hallows’ Eve and, perhaps, reminiscing about classic Halifax haunts from the 80s. GothStout is an American Stout, featuring citrusy Centennial hops added at both the beginning of the boil, for bitterness, and towards the end, for a flavourful hop presence and aroma. The body is dark and roasty from the use of roasted barley, kiln coffee and pale chocolate malts. Said to pair well with Bauhaus or The Cure, we’ll wager it also wouldn’t go amiss with a little Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees either. Head on down to the Tiny Tasting Room and see whether GothStout is really as black as your soul. And while this beer will have come and gone by the time it opens, the TH family have announced that they will be filling the three beer taps at aFrite Restaurant on Lower Water, when it opens in late November.

• Continuing on the popular release of their DDH Luster in late summer, TrailWay is releasing DDH Hu Jon Hops today at the brewery. Their flagship 6.5% ABV American IPA, HJH is typically packed full of hop flavour and aroma, and TW promises an experience at the next level with this double-dry-hopped version. A second dry hop with Citra and Mosaic was added, giving a flavour of “saturated hop juice”, coming across as “very fruity with some dankness”, according to the brewery. Available today at noon at the brewery on tap and in cans, and likely a few kegs will pop up around Fredericton, as is usual for these limited releases.

• Erica and Kelly C. continue their exploits on the Good Robot pilot system with another new BetaBrewsday release next Tuesday. Falling on Halloween, they were reminded of Dia de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”, a multi-day, annual holiday in Mexico; Erica was lucky enough to attend the celebrations in Oaxaca a few years ago, and was introduced to a wide variety of molé sauces, with her favourite being molé negra. With chocolate and spices working so well in certain beer styles, she created (with help from Kelly C. and Maria Josey) Holy Molé, a 5.3% ABV Brown Ale brewed with 2-row, Crystal 120 L, Wheat malt, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Wheat malt. Hopped lightly with East Kent Goldings to just 11 IBUs, of course the ingredients didn’t rest here – a small amount of thyme, cumin, cinnamon, clove, and sesame were added in the boil, with fire-roasted peppers and avocado leaves being thrown into the fermenter.

• Be on the lookout for Sober Island Brewing‘s small (relatively speaking) cans to be hitting the shelves next week. 473 ml cans of their Blonde Ale (renamed Marigold) and Oyster Stout (now known as Beth’s Blackout) will both be found at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar beginning November 2nd. They will be running a tasting that afternoon from 4-6pm, where you can grab a taste before grabbing a can (or two). They are still using the crowler format for on-demand fills, but the smaller format will allow them to have packaged beer more readily available in the HRM area.

• As part of this weekend’s Devour! The Food and Film Fest, the 2017 Taste of Nova Scotia Awards were announced yesterday, with all of the winners sharing close ties to the cider and beer world. Congratulations to Product of the Year Something Different from Annapolis CiderRestaurant of the Year The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, Server of the Year Nicole Raufeisen of Little OakCulinary Ambassador of the Year Chris and Melissa Velden of The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery , and Producer of the Year Benjamin Bridge.

• And a big congratulations to Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills of Port Rexton Brewing, who were recognized with the Trailblazer Award by Newfoundland And Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Opening a brewery in a small town more than 3 hours from the closest city takes a special passion that these two entrepreneurs are demonstrating. Building both their local community in Port Rexton, and the community of breweries opening in other small towns in the province, their win is much-deserved. Celebrate with the entire PR crew this weekend at the brewery, as they celebrate the end of the season. The bar is open 2-10PM today, 1-10PM Saturday, and 11AM-6PM Sunday, for you to enjoy samples, pints, music (Saturday night), and then grab a few growlers to enjoy at home during the week. Costumes are highly encouraged!

We have two exciting developments in “coming soon/not-so-soon” beers in our region:

• In planning for months, a collaboration between artist and breweries will come to fruition next month. Artist Erin McGuire is the man behind “By The Numbers“, a piece of art he created inspired by The Tragically Hip. Being a beer fan from the South Shore, McGuire reached out to Boxing Rock (who in turn wanted to collaborate with Garrison) to turn his art into a beer label, with a portion of proceeds of the beer going to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The collaborative beer, Courage (for Gord Downie), will be a 6.0% Amber Wheat Ale, with a limited run of just 2000 bottles, coming in late November. For those Hip and beer fans looking to pay tribute, and help fund brain tumour research before then, prints of “By The Numbers” are available through McGuire now.

• In the not-so-soon department, the crew from North Brewing took the first steps of a multi-month (multi-year?) journey last weekend. After preparing a low-ABV-potential, high-wheat wort using the turbid mash method (put on your beer goggles, take a deep dive and prepare to lose a few hours while researching!) at their Agricola Street location, they trucked the wort to the vineyard at Benjamin Bridge Winery. At that point, the still-hot wort was pumped into a shallow metal container named a coolship. The vessel’s large surface area and shallow depth allow for a quick cooling (normally requiring lots of water and a heat exchanger). At this point, yeast would normally be added by the brewers, but in taking advantage of the wild yeast and flora growing on the grapes and leaves in the vineyard, the wort was allowed to spontaneously ferment (or innoculate). An overnight process to ensure enough yeast found their way through the cheesecloth (to keep any insects or other nasties out!), the beer was then pumped into Benjamin Bridge barrels, and brought back to HRM. The beer will now ferment and condition over the course of many months, and could potentially lead to a multi-year blend of future brews (think Gueuze, from Brussels). We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with this beer as it develops

In addition to your own Halloween-themed parties this weekend, here a few others to keep in mind in the coming weeks!

Horton Ridge will be hosting a special event for Halloween this year, featuring one of the Gold Medal-winning beers from this year’s ACBAs. Hortonville’s Pumpkin Ale, which we told you about a few weeks ago, was brewed by Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery brewer Stefan Gagliardi using hefty amounts of Horton Ridge organic Vienna and Munich malts as well as home-smoked pumpkin and plenty of spices. The beer will be available for pints and as part of flights on Tuesday Oct 31 from 1 – 9 PM while supplies last. Of course there will be other Horton Ridge-brewed and guest beers on tap for this event.

Lion & Bright will be hosting Charlottetown’s Upstreet for an 8-tap takeover next Thursday, November 2nd. Featuring some of their core beers, plus plenty of special and one-offs, there will be food and drink deals from 5PM. Come and meet the Upstreet crew, jam on some tunes, and have a fun night out!

• Not quite getting your fill of New Brunswick beer? The James Joyce in Fredericton has been a strong supporter of breweries in the province over the past couple of years, but on Friday, November 10th, they’re pushing the envelope – and adding taps! – to try and have beer available from every brewery in New Brunswick. The event is currently unnamed, but they’re doing all they can to ensure every brewery is able to participate, including adding lines, jockey boxes, and kegerators! The last time they attempted this it was a bit easier, with only 18 breweries open in the province; now, it’s over 30. There’s no charge to attend, just show up when they open at 11:30 am, and pay by the pint or flight!

Just a couple more things before we send you off:

Grimross has released Scratch #7: Skinny Pale Ale at their brewery in Fredericton; they’re describing it as a 5.8% ABV mix of a “Belgian meeting a California Pale Ale”. Scratch is available now, and/or drop by on Saturday for a taste, when they’ll also have their Schwarzbier on cask, featuring additions of orange peel and Citra hops.
– We teased a few weeks ago that Rothesay’s Long Bay would be bottling soon, and that day has come! One of their flagship beers, Bantam APA, is the first to be available in bottles, which you can find for sale at the brewery, as well as KV and Saint John ANBL stores (check inventory). Look for their first Belgian beer, Chalice, to follow suit over the next couple of days.
– While Uncle Leo’s mixed 4-pack of German Ales is still available at select NSLC stores in the region, it looks like the next local variety pack will be a 6-pack featuring two bottles each of three different ciders from Bulwark, going on sale as of November 20th.