Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards

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ACBA Beer Event Logo 2019

The 2019 edition of the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards were announced at a gala event earlier this evening, in front of a full house at HopYard Halifax. 58 breweries and cider houses from across the Atlantic provinces took part, with a total of 400 beers and ciders entered for consideration in 15 different categories. 31 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: Spindrift Brewing – Beaufort 10
Silver: Bannerman Brewing – Safe Bet
Bronze: Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault – La Kedgwick

2) German Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Bogside Brewing – Lighthorse Lagered Ale
Silver: Uncle Leo’s Brewery – Altbier
Bronze: Bogside Brewing – Wheat Kings County
Honourable Mention: North Brewing – Gus’ 65m Ale

3) UK Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Breton Brewing – Red Coat Irish Red Ale
Silver: Graystone Brewing – Into the Woods Brown Ale
Bronze: Trider’s Craft Beer – Rod’s Red

4) North American Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Giantess Barleywine
Silver: Copper Bottom Brewing – Centennial Stock
Bronze: Big Spruce Brewing – Bitter Get’er India
Honourable Mention: Boxing Rock Brewing Company – Dark as Keji

5) Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Gold: Upstreet Craft Brewing – FireWorks Farmhouse Saison
Silver: Les Brassers du Petit Sault – John Baker
Bronze: Grimross Brewing – Abbey Dubbel
Honourable Mention: Upstreet Craft Brewing – De Novo IV

6) North American Style Amber / Red Ale
Gold: Bogside Brewing – Brudenell Brown
Silver: Quidi Vidi Brewery – 1892 Traditional Ale
Bronze: Boxing Rock Brewing Co. – Temptation Red Ale
Honourable Mention: Hill Top Hops’ Brewhouse – Red Tail Red Ale

7) Fruit & Field Beer
Gold: Good Robot – El Espinazo Del Diablo
Silver: Nine Locks Brewing – Harvest Pumpkin
Bronze: Boxing Rock Brewing Company – Arnold’s Apricot Wheat

8) Pale Ale
Gold: Graystone Brewing – Patagonia Pale Ale
Silver: Trider’s Craft Beer – Scotian Pale
Bronze: PEI Brewing – Vic Park Pale Ale
Honourable Mention: Roof Hound Brewing Co. – Ear to the Street ESB

9) Stout / Porter
Gold: Spindrift Brewing – Neat
Silver: Big Spruce – Cereal Killer
Bronze: Big Spruce – Blood Donair
Honourable Mention: Grimross Brewing – Pugnacious Porter

10) India Pale Ale
Gold: Copper Bottom Brewing – Parkman Ave
Silver: Propeller Brewing Company – Galaxy IPA
Bronze: Lunn’s Mill – Purple Grain

11) Experimental Beer
Gold: Moosehead Breweries – Small Batch Rauchbier
Silver: Bogside Brewing – Pitcher in the Rye Roggenbier
Bronze: Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Bisset’s Fancy
Honourable Mention: Tatamagouche Brewing Company – Feronia

12) Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer
Gold: Nine Locks Brewing – Barley Wine – 2018 Whisky Barrel Aged
Silver: Big Spruce Brewing – Ra Ra Rasputin – 2019 Whisky
Bronze: Nine Locks Brewing – Russian Imperial Stout – 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged

13) Sour Beer
Gold: Landwash Brewery – Brackish
Silver: Tatamagouche Brewing – Spring
Bronze: Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Backyards
Honourable Mention: North Brewing – Breakwater Mango Sour

14) Standard Cider and Perry
Gold: No Boats on Sunday – Original Cider
Silver: Sober Island Brewing Company – Army Cider
Bronze: Saltbox Brewing Company – Old Orchard Cider
Honourable Mention: Riverdale Orchard Ltd. – 2 Scots 3 Apples

15) Specialty Cider and Perry
Gold: Gagetown Distilling and Cidery – Hopped Cider
Silver: Red Island Cider – Ghost Ship Wild Briar
Bronze: Chain Yard Urban Cidery – Hopped Up
Honourable Mention: Saltbox Brewing Company – Haskap Cider

Brewery of the Year
Bogside Brewing (Montague, PE)

New Brewery of the Year
Bogside Brewing (Montague, PE), with a shoutout to Landwash Brewery (Mount Pearl, NL)

Cider House of the Year
Tie between No Boats On Sunday (Truro, NS) and Gagetown Distilling and Cidery (Gagetown, NB)

New Cider House of the Year
Red Island Cider (Charlottetown, PE)

Beer of the Year
Gold: Small Batch Rauchbier – Moosehead
Silver: FireWorks Farmhouse Saison – Upstreet
Bronze: Neat – Spindrift

Cider of the Year
Hopped Cider – Gagetown Distilling and Cidery

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2019 Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards by the numbers:
346 Beer entries from 44 Breweries and Brewpubs
54 Cider entries from 8 Cider Houses
31 BJCP National, Certified, Recognized, and Novice Judges
8 dedicated stewards behind the scenes
16 hours of judging
1750 cups of beer and cider sniffed, swigged and sampled

50 Awards

1 Great Industry Worth Celebrating!

We certainly had some bracing weather this week in and around the region and wouldn’t you know it, more than a couple of our breweries seem to have just the beers for cold weather coming out right around now. Add to that a couple of openings (one brewery, one taproom), and a slew of events and you’ve got a recipe for a long read today (sorry; not sorry). So without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

In case you missed our Profile of Tire Shack Brewing last Friday (ahem, click here now), we can now confirm that they are open and serving beer! Located at 190 John Street in Moncton, the onsite brewery features a large taproom. They have five beers currently on tap to enjoy in their space, which are: The Specialist Blonde Ale (5.0% ABV), Secret Society Toasted Marshmallow Stout (5.5% ABV), Realignment Juicy Pale Ale (6.0% ABV), Full Service Double IPA (7.5% ABV), and Zenith Libation Cardamom Wit Beer (5.5% ABV). While they await the completion of their Retail Space, growlers can be filled at the bar, and cans of The Specialist, Secret Society, and Realignment are available as well. Their kitchen is scheduled to be fully operational in the New Year, so grab take-out from nearby, or order something to be delivered, and check out their new spot! Tire Shack is open 7 days a week: Sun 12 – 10 PM, Mon – Tues 11 – 10 PM, Wed – Thurs 11 – 11 PM, and Fri – Sat 11 – 12AM. Congratulations once again to Alan, Jerica, and Henry!

And speaking of openings, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is officially opening The Oxford Taproom today! This new location is located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford, in the space formerly occupied by the Oxford Theatre. The interior is an ode to the former tenant, featuring the original movie projector and plenty of movie-themed design elements. The main level features the pilot brewery with 3 BBL (330 litre) of fermentation capacity (details on future pilot experimental and community releases coming when we have them!), full retail store, and taproom with seating for 60. Upstairs features a quieter space with lounge seating and a boardroom. The taproom features 16 draught lines of Garrison goodness, with the full complement of core and seasonal offerings, including their Brewhouse Cider (a collaboration with Bulwark), and a nitro tap. While they will not have a kitchen, patrons are encouraged to grab something from one of the dozens of nearby restaurants and enjoy it in the Oxford. The taproom and retail is open from noon daily (including today!) until 10 PM, and until midnight Friday and Saturday.

It’s not only new locations for Garrison this week, as they have the return of two bigger spirits-aged beers just in time for the cooler weather. In “the description is right in the name” news, their Barrel Aged Grand Baltic Porter is a 11.0% ABV Baltic Porter aged in rum barrels from Ironworks & Glenora, enhancing the dark fruit and roast character from the base beer with lovely molasses and spirit notes from the barrel. And To Prussia With Love, which is also 11.0% ABV, and is a blend of their Baltic Porter and Barrel Aged Barley Wine, combining for a complex beer. Both beers are in 650 ml bottles, so we suggest finding a friend (or 3) to share the bottle, or else you may find yourself in the hold of a ship headed to Eastern Europe if tackling these alone! And on the lighter side, they have launched a Holiday Mingler 4-pack of tall cans, with Tall Ship, Pucker Up!, Deja Moo, and Irish Red to their retail spots as well as the NSLC, and is currently the only way to purchase cans of the latter two, if you so desire.

St John’s Bannerman Brewing has a pair of new beers on tap this week that we are excited to tell you about. Dial Up is a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light-malt base of Pils, Oat, and Wheat Malts, and dry-hopped heavily with Galaxy and Simcoe for big notes of stone fruit, mango, and citrus. And just released Thursday afternoon is Scenic Route, a 5.0% ABV sour dry-hopped with Mosaic hops, and conditioned with blueberry puree and fresh mint. Both beers are on tap now in the taproom, and available to go in growler fills and cans.

Upstreet is releasing a VIP 4-pack of the fan favourite Neon Friday brews from this year. Available in the brewery, and Craft Beer Corner, the four-pack features: Neon Friday 2.01: Session IPA (4.5% ABV with Cashmere, Motueka, & Amarillo), Neon Friday 2.03: Pale Ale (5.9% ABV with Waimea, Sticklebract, & Columbus), Neon Friday 2.04: IPA (7.25% ABV with Citra, Southern Cross, Amarillo, & Wakatu), and Neon Friday 2.07: Double IPA (8.0% ABV with Simcoe, Amarillo, & Ekuanot). These packs will also be available at PEILCC locations next week. Also available rotating on tap at both locations, as well as the Upstreet Pour Authority in Founders Food Hall. And you can celebrate the release at the brewery with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight! From 9 PM, the lights will be turned down low, and the glow will be turned to eleven, so come in your brightest neon outfits and rock out with DJs Ugly James Franco and Dennison.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is returning to their “Belgian-inspired” roots in a big way with today’s release of the Abbey Series, a four-pack of Belgian styles, with all but one beer being completely new brews. Let’s dive in:
Abbey Singel (5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs) – Patersbier (a style often referred to as the “lawnmower beer of Trappist monks”, i.e. this is what the monks drink when they’re putting their feet up, as opposed to actually mowing) brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt and sugar, and hopped with Slovenian Celeia, it was fermented with a Trappist strain. Exhibiting notes of “honey, coriander, and lemon”, it finishes clean and dry.
Abbey Dubbel (7.2% ABV, 20 IBUs) – The one beer in the collection that they’ve brewed before, this iteration does have some differences from earlier releases. The yeast is now a “Chimay-inspired strain”; as a result, the attenuation was higher, resulting in a drier beer. You can still expect “lots of phenols, dark fruit, and toffee character”, however.
Abbey Tripel (9% ABV, 33 IBUs) – Surprised it’s taken Grimross this long to brew a Tripel, but happy to see it! Brewed with a similar – albeit, larger – grain bill as the Abbey Singel, it was also hopped with Celeia and fermented with yeast harvested from that beer. Expect clove, citrus, banana, and some dough character, and higher carb (as is typical for the style).
Abbey Quad (11%, 28 IBUs) – No, that’s not a typo… 11% ABV (and in case you’re wondering, yes, that is the “biggest” beer Grimross has ever brewed). Fermented with that Chimay strain, you’re going to find this a “complex beer full of clove, toffee, plum, fig and banana bread notes”. This full-bodied beer IS boozy, to be sure, but apparently the alcohol is not as pronounced as you’d assume from that 1-1 number. So, go easy!
The four-pack will be available at the brewery today, with select ANBL stores receiving it over the next couple of weeks. All four beers will also be on tap at the taproom for a limited time, and you may see a keg or two pop up at certain Grimross tap accounts, as well.

Over in Cape Breton, Breton Brewing has prepped their annual holiday gift packs for the Christmas season, and they’ve passed on some information on their newest beer, which will be included in those packs. Cranberry Belgian Wit is a 5% ABV, 15 IBUs Witbier brewed with the typical additions of orange peel and coriander; however, it was conditioned on cranberries after fermentation was complete, giving the beer a reddish colour and a slightly tart finish to complement the aromas and flavours of citrus and coriander. While you can find the gift packs at the brewery and NSLC stores, the Witbier can also be found on its own on tap and in single cans at Breton’s taproom.

It’s the season of brewing with grape skins, and Tanner & Co. ain’t gonna be left behind! This week they launched Millot, a Belgian Saison that they fermented on Leon Millot grape skins from Blomidon Estate Winery (in Canning, NS). With about 70 kg of the skins used in the 400 L batch (that’s about 200 grams per litre!), the beer is showing off plenty of “blackberry, blueberry, and dark cherry notes”, with a likely-expected deep red colour. It’s tasting fairly vinous, so this is a great beer for those of you who are also into wine. Coming in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the brewery right now, and bottles should be available fairly soon as well. 

The Newfoundland Cider Company has a brand new release available in their Shop in Shoal Harbour, the latest in their Forager series. This features local wild blueberries, courtesy of Brown’s Family Farm, with the whole berries fermented with freshly-pressed apple cider. Before transfer and packaging, the blend was then allowed to age on the spent blueberry skins for a month to enhance the colour and aroma. The semi-sweet cider is 5.3% ABV, and is available in kegs as well as bottles at their Balbo Drive location, and soon at NLC locations in the area, joining several other of their offerings.

Boxing Rock Brewing in Shelburne (and Halifax) has several new releases this week, so let’s get right to the juicy details. First up is the winner of their 2019 Black Box Challenge, where amateur brewers are given the same ingredients, but are free to make whatever beer style they’d like. This year’s winning brewer was Jana Dellapina, whose Hello Darkness Schwarzbier took top honours. Dellapina made the trip to Shelburne last month to brew a full batch at Boxing Rock, and now the beer is available for everyone to enjoy! The 5.2% ABV black lager balances the chocolate and roast malt character with a soft bitterness, and a crisp refreshing lager finish. It’s available now in bottles as well as on tap (currently at the tap room in Shelburne). In “now for something completely different” news, BR has a pair of barrel-aged beers in their Fisticuffs line on the shelves currently. Barrel Aged Brett Saison is an 8.0% ABV Saison with “complex, yet approachable” notes of stone fruit and full flavour from the Chardonnay oak barrels. And in turn to the tart and sour, Barrel Aged Over the Top, their cranberry sour beer lived in a barrel for 12 months, and allowed to develop and soak in the wood and wine character. This comes in at 4.2% ABV, and along with the Brett Saison is available in bottles at the taproom as well as Local Source Market on Agricola in Halifax. There you can find the latest Test Kitchen release, Inverse, a white stout, exclusively for growler fills.

Halifax’s Propeller has a couple of new beers hitting the city this weekend, one a returning favorite of sorts and the other a brand new beer celebrating Halifax Taco Week. Russian Imperial Stout was brewed with Propeller’s award-winning Revolution recipe, but is seeing distribution in cans with their modern branding style instead of the old familiar 500 mL bottles with the Soviet-era design. Still boasting a pronounced bitterness at 60 IBU and strong like Russian Bear at 8% ABV, look for a midnight-black pour with an espresso-colored head, with notes of chocolate, dark fruit and coffee and a bit of heat on the finish. And truly new this week is Lima Blonde Lager, which is exclusive to downtown restaurant Antojo Tacos + Tequila. Designed to pair nicely with Antojo’s Taco Week offering, the Maritimer, it’s a light and crisp ale at 4.5% ABV featuring fresh additions of lemon and lime zest. You’ll have to go there to get it though, as this one isn’t being packaged. Lastly, for those who like to visit Prop on Gottingen for a Friday evening tipple, this week’s Cask Friday cask is their Galaxy IPA with an addition of raspberries.

Time to re-enter the world of cider, perhaps? Well, follow us this way to Sourwood Cider, where they’ve just released Wabamo, a “Super-Duper Hopped Cider”. Seems to us that this is a constantly-evolving experiment, but we can tell you that they’re trying different juices as the base, and tweaking the hopping rates, varieties, and temperatures when dry-hopping. For now, this 6% ABV cider is tasting very juicy, with some floral notes joining in. You can find it on tap at the cidery, but if you want to take some cans home, you’ll have to grab them at select NSLC stores soon, or to enjoy with your next meal at Bar Kismet.

Port Rexton Brewing has got a brand new canned beer for ya, The One With the Citra (you Friends fans out there may squeal with delight a little bit louder than everyone else). It’s a 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that features lots and lots of the always-wonderful Citra hop, which means juiciness galore, or in their more eloquent words, “bright orange, floral, wildflower, and peach skin aroma and flavour”. Bitterness is on the light side, and at that ABV, you can enjoy a couple and not worry about stumbling over yourself too badly (YMMV). Perhaps you should stop by the taproom and grab some cans for the weekend, hmm?

2 Crows has a wide variety of beers that are aging in barrels at the brewery; each beer requires a degree of patience, as any barrel-aged beer isn’t going to have a quick turnaround. But some beers – e.g. those that are slowly soured via microbes such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus – need quite a bit of time, upwards of 18 months and beyond; but when they come out, they’re usually worth the wait (we think 2 Crows is pretty reliable, anyway). One of these beers is going to be officially released in mid-December, but is going to be making its debut at Stillwell’s Anniversary bash this weekend, so we thought we’d share the details on it now (read: someone here said that we would and now someone ELSE got stuck writing it up)! The beer is Tinto, and it’s a Flanders Red-inspired beer that was brewed in March, 2018. With a grist of Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Spelt, Special B, Special Aromatic, Crystal 65, and Oats, it was hopped in the boil with both aged and new East Kent Goldings, to 11 IBUs. The wort was fermented in freshly-emptied Port barrels with a blend of red wine yeast and the Roeselare blend of Sacch, Brett, and bacteria. After aging for 3 months, dried cherries were added to the barrel (21 g/L), where they sat for over a year. Then, in July, 2019 (~16 months total aging at this point), the beer was transferred to the brewery’s blending tank, where it was allowed to condition on fresh cherries (300 g/L) for 8 weeks, before it was packaged, mostly in 375 mL cork-and-cage bottles. After all this time, the 6.3% ABV beer is “assertively tart, with a touch of acetic character, with very rich and multidimensional cherry character, smooth and vinous”, according to the brewery. There will be a single 20 L keg available at Stillwell for their party Sunday if you’d like a taste before you can finally buy some bottles; it will also be poured from bottles during the Wild and Sour Beer Tasting event (hosted by the Ladies Beer League) at 2 Crows on Tuesday, November 19th

And while we’ve got you focused on 2 Crows, now is a good time to mention that Lil’ Miguel is back! This year’s version is bigger than ever (7.1% ABV), and they’ve increased the amount of peppers (ancho, pasilla, and chipotle) to give the beer even more spicy kick. With a “very smooth chocolate backbone, with just a touch of vanilla and cinnamon”, it has once again been canned on nitro (so pour aggressively!). The brewery is also pouring it on tap on nitro, and other 2C accounts will have it pouring on CO2, if you’re not into the whole stouts-on-nitrogen thing.

Back to cider this week with a late addition from Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company, with the latest of their Something Different releases. Haskap & Pear is a blend of the signature dry cider, along with juice from local Haskap berries as well as three varietals of pears, Bartlett, Bosc, and Flemish Beauty. The tart haskaps, similar to blueberries, lend some sharpness to the blend, as well as a lovely rose tint to the 7.0% ABV sparkling cider. As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 from each fill goes to a local charity, this time they are supporting Clean Foundation, whose goal is to create a more sustainable society in Atlantic Canada, through work towards clean water and a cleaner climate.

This past Saturday PEIBC announced the winners of this year’s Gahan Maritime Home Brew Challenge competition, an attempt to find the best home brewers in the Maritimes. Entries came from all over the region, with some 60 beers facing final judging. The big winner this year was Chelsea Meisner, brewing under the moniker Lady Scotia Brewing, whose Tingles Sichuan Stout took 1st place in the Stout category and then went on to take the Grand Champion title (and also “Bravest Beer”). Chelsea takes home the top prize of $1,000 and will see her beer brewed in a production batch for public release. Other category winners were Armadillo from the Green Willy Collective (Jonathan Green, William Panting, Clayton Harding, and Tyler Gallant) in the Mixed Fermentation/Sour category, and Brahair Brother Eric Gautier’s Alien Barbarian in the IPA category. You can find the full list of award-winners at the competition website here. A big congratulations to Chelsea and a promise that we’ll be sure to let you know when her beer becomes available for you to try. Meanwhile, we’d like to acknowledge how cool it is to see another win by a woman in a major regional home brew competition.Though the hobby has a reputation for being male-dominated, this is another reminder that female brewers are on the rise and are kicking ass with creative and tasty brews.

Lots on the go for you this weekend, including the Atlantic Canada Brewing Awards Gala Saturday at HopYard Halifax (tickets available and open to everyone), and Bar Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary on Sunday. Here are some more things to get you excited (and visiting your local spot)!

It’s the month of anniversaries related to beer, and Copper Bottom is in the mix, as they’re celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, November 16th with their 2 Years of Beer event at the brewery in Montague. They’re continuing what they started last year, and launching Birthday Beer 2, a 7.5% ABV Brut IPA dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria (last year’s edition was Mosaic). First tastes will be at the party tomorrow; expect “big notes of tangerine and citrus” in a highly-carbonated and dry package. The brewery opens at 3 pm, and that’s when the party starts, with live music scheduled all day. Obviously there’ll be plenty of beer options as well, and food options will include fresh oysters from 4-8 pm, and birthday cake handpies all day/evening.

There’s another brewery birthday going on in Nova Scotia tomorrow as well, with Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider celebrating their first year in business. All day long from opening you’ll find $5 ciders from 10 taps, including Oaked Russet, Sparkling Perry, some experimental batches and, of course, their fan favorites. If you’re planning on stopping by to help them celebrate, bring an appetite, as there’s a good chance there will be some special items coming out of the kitchen as well. Check out the Fb event page for more info!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce is bringing their beer to another special night of food pairings in Halifax with an event entitled “An Organic Evening” going down at the Agricola Street Brasserie (part of their Intimate & Interactive series of events) next Thursday, November 21st at 6 PM. Only 20 seats are available for this celebration of all things organic (including the beer!), so if you’re interested you’d best act quickly. For $100 (includes taxes and gratuity) you’ll get 5 courses from the kitchen, each thoughtfully paired with a beer from Big Spruce. More information can be found on the EventBrite page, where you’ll also be able to secure your tickets.

The Algonquin Resort in Saint Andrews, NB, is holding a Craft Beer Event next Saturday night, Nov 23, featuring breweries from New Brunswick and PEI pouring their best for guests. Breweries on hand will be: Think Brewing, PEI Brewing, Long Bay Brewery, Big Axe Brewery, Picaroons, Trailway Brewing, Hammond River Brewing, Off Grid Ales, Pumphouse, Graystone Brewing, Cross Creek Beer, and Grimross Brewing. Your $45 ticket gets you your first ten 6 ounce pours, a souvenir Stein, light snacks, and live music throughout. You’ll also have access to discounted room rates to make a full weekend of it. Check out this link for tickets, rooms, and more.

It’s that time of year again, with the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival once again hosting their 12 Beers of Christmas fests. Don’t let the name confuse you, there are many, many more than twelve beers available at the fest, with breweries from across the island, and Canada taking part. The West Coast edition of the fest takes place next Saturday, November 23rd at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, while the East Coast edition is a two-day affair Friday Nov 29 and Saturday the 30th at the St John’s Farmers Market. Tickets for both are selling fast, so if you haven’t yet picked them up, delay no longer!

Just a few more things on our desk this week, and then you’re dismissed!

Big Spruce is no stranger to big beers and this week marks the availability of one of their biggest. Coade Word: Snowmageddon 2019 was aged in maple-soaked bourbon barrels (as opposed to the whiskey barrels used in 2018) and features ginger and vanilla. At 10.3% ABV, this winter warmer might be the perfect beverage to soothe your aching bones after a hard shovelling session (or, if you want to raise the difficulty of shovelling, have one before!). As always, brewed in appreciation of meteorologist Peter Coade, who boasted the longest career in the profession as confirmed by Guinness themselves (the record book, not the brewery). Look for it starting this weekend at your favorite place to buy Big Spruce beer.

In Twillingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that they’ve packaged some of their beer in cans. Available now at the brewery are Red Sky Red Rye and Nar Dar APA. In coming weeks, with any luck, you’ll also start seeing these both around town and in other parts of the province.

In Pictou County, Uncle Leo’s has brewed up a special beer for the season: Odin’s Winter Ale was made in the Norwegian Farmhouse Ale tradition, with juniper and kveik yeast being key to its production. You’ll find it in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown Box available at certain private stores in Halifax (hopefully we’ll get some more details on that for next week). But if you can’t wait for the Advent season to try this one, head on down to the brewery or attend the Christmas at the deCoste event going on in Pictou this weekend!

We’ve got another week chock-full of new and returning releases, as well as another new brewery opening in the region. A reminder that with Remembrance Day Monday, the provincial liquor stores will be closed, and many of the private stores will be as well. Breweries and taprooms may be adjusting their hours, to allow their employees time to observe the day, so please keep an eye on their social media to avoid disappointment.

For the second time in less than a month, we are thrilled to announce the opening of a new brewery in Newfoundland and Labrador! RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company is opening their doors today in St Anthony, in the Northwest region of the island. Located at 223-227 West Street, the brewery features a taproom where you can enjoy a sample, flight, or pint, and then fill up a 0.95 or 1.89 litre growler for further enjoyment at home. Four of their own beers will be complemented by four more from their closest brewery neighbour, Crooked Feeder located in 400 km south in Cormack. And to keep you happy and able to go all day/night, the Northern Wings food truck will be serving burgers, wings, and a few other snacks. The taproom will be open today 2 PM – 12 AM, and open again for the rest of the weekend, keep an eye on their FB page above for details. Congratulations to the RagnaRöck family! This brings the number of breweries in the province to 16, with a couple more slated to open before the end of the year!

Hot off the heels of their tap takeover at Battery Park last night, we have further details on two new releases from Propeller Brewing this week. First up is a Propeller-only beer, NZ Pils. You’ve probably noticed a few different beers in Atlantic Canada popping up over the last year or two with the style name “New Zealand Pilsner”, and this is one of those, hopped entirely (and heavily, compared to your poppy’s Pilsner) with New Zealand varieties… in this case, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. These wonderful hops have topped up this beer with lots of gooseberry, white wine, and fresh citrus in the aroma, with a “light malt body” to balance. Clean and refreshing, it comes in at a pretty-sessionable 5.2% ABV, and releases today at both Prop Shop locations in cans and on tap. It should be appearing in the private stores in the HRM shortly, as well as at NSLC The Port next week. Finally, NZ Pils will also be making an appearance at Propeller’s cask night at 5 pm today, accompanied by an extra Nelson Sauvin addition.

Continuing with Propeller, their next beer is a collaboration with North Brewing, Wing & Ding Lithuanian Pale Ale. This one is a 5% ABV Saison brewed with Shoreline Pale malt, hopped with Amarillo and El Dorado, and fermented with Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast, which has given the beer “aromas and flavours of passionfruit, orange zest, and guava, with a light Farmhouse funk”; they’re also describing it as “a fusion of tropical fruit and spice, with a lightly tart finish”, which sounds pretty good to us! Now, while you can find cans of this baby at both Propeller and North retail shops, North will be selling theirs under the name of Ding, and Propeller under Wing. Confused? Well, there’s a method behind their madness: there is a code on the can labels for you beer-lovers to crack, and you’ll need both cans to decode it. The first person to do this and DM either Propeller or North will win a prize pack from both breweries. The beer releases today, so get cracking!

Keeping up with collaboration news, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with Brasserie Artisanale de l’Anse of St.Pierre-et-Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France located near Newfoundland (just 25km!). Port Rexton believes this may be the first France-Canada craft beer collab, and we’re going to defer to them, because the thought of researching that right now is exhausting! The beer is named French Pale Ale, and was brewed with French Pale, Pilsner, and Biscuit malts. Hopped with French hop varieties (Strisselspalt, Mistral and Bouclier), the final beer has “notes of rose, melon, herb and grass with subtle spicy/floral undertones and a lingering bitterness”. Available on tap and in cans at the taproom, this 5.1% ABV brew was released yesterday; you’ll also be able to grab cans at the brewery’s St. John’s Retail Shop. And in other PR news, you should be able to find some of their beers in cans at select NLC stores across the province; availability will be limited, of course, and styles will vary from week to week.

Niche Brewing, located in the New Brunswick Capital region, has gone hazy and sweet again this week, with the release of Lush. Their latest in the Milkshake IPA theme, the 6.5% ABV Lush features lactose powder and vanilla beans, fermentation with a hazy IPA yeast strain, and conditioning on mango purée before packaging. Fruity and tropical from both the hops and fruit addition, vanilla and milk sugar keep it a bit sweet to complete the milkshake experience. Look for it on draft at The Joyce and Graystone Brewing in Fredericton, Saint John Ale House, Peddler’s Creek, and Ducky’s elsewhere in the province, The Auction House in Halifax (along with the recent batch of Niche’s Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout), and at ANBL Moncton North for growler fills

We’ve got some news on the latest beer comin’ out of Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, a Rye IPA named Rye’T Some Good IPA (the rye beer puns are never ending, eh, Tony?). As you probably figured, there’s a good portion of Rye malt in the grist of this one, and the classic Simcoe hop variety was used in abundance to provide aromas of grapefruit and pine, which always pair well with this style of IPA. There’s a bit of sweetness upfront as well, along with moderate bitterness and “a cleansing stone fruit counterbalance”. You can only find this one at the brewery (pints, growlers and crowlers), so those of you who are Rye IPA fans, get in your cars! Or on your horse, if you have a horse and don’t mind longer road trips.

We know that pretty much all of you don’t want to hear it, but sorry, Bootleg Brew Co. is going to remind you with their new beer… CHRISTMAS IS COMING (anyone got one of those handy Ned-from-Game of Thrones memes hanging around?). Anyway, the beer. Tis the Saison is a 5.5% ABV Farmhouse Ale that they’ve spiced with nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. On the nose, expect “apple/orchard fruit Saison characteristics” with a touch of spice; the spices do come through more prominently on the palate, however, along with the orchard fruit and a bit of bubblegum. Available at the brewery right now on tap and in bottles, so drop on in (Santa costumes optional). 

Have you been itching for a new supremely-hoppy beer from 2 Crows Brewing? If the answer is a resounding “Of course YES so just get to the damn news about the beer already!”, then FINE, EXCUSE US FOR TRYING TO MAKE THIS A LITTLE LESS THAN MONOTONOUS. Anyway, the beer is Another Iteration, brewed with Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Hopped with puh-lenty Simcoe and Ella in the hopback, they fermented it with an English yeast strain and then dry-hopped it twice with puhhhhhhhhh-lenty Enigma, Vic Secret, and Huell Melon (16 g/L, to be specific… and for those of you who aren’t familiar with brewing specifics, that is a lot of hops). It came out pretty juicy and tropical, as you might imagine, “with big stone fruit, passionfruit, and tangerine vibes”. Grab this 6.1% ABV beauty on tap and in cans at the tasting room starting tomorrow; fresh is best!

With Remembrance Day happening on Monday, Tatamagouche Brewing has just released a Flanders-inspired beer to honour those who have given so much in sacrifice for our country and our freedoms. Muse is a 6.5% ABV blend of sour red ales that was refermented and aged on cherries for four months. Bottle-conditioned (in 500 mL bottles), the beer has tart blackberries and crabapples in the flavour, “tempered by a slight sweetness evocative of sour candy”. Finishing with a lingering dryness, this is a fine way to enjoy now, or age for further development. Looks like you’ll have to swing by the brewery right now to get it, but let’s hope some bottles see some wider distribution, soon! Plus, look out for cans and draught of their Blue Bales, a 4.8% ABV Wheat Ale absolutely filled with early harvest Organic blubes from North of Nuttby Farm.

Halifax’s Good Robot never really stops and they’re always kind enough to let us know what’s going on during any given week. This time around they’re on a journey into darkness. First up is reminding folks that their Summer Stout brewed in collaboration with Portland, Maine’s Lone Pine Brewing Company is still pouring at the tap room for the moment, although they’re down to their last kegs. But if you happen to miss that, there’s also the impending return of Bingo Bronson, their 6% ABV, 25 IBU smooth, dark and rich Chocolate Porter. And coming back next week is a favorite of many, their Tom Waits for No One American Stout, which returns next Thursday. A big ‘un that’s been around since they opened their doors, it’s a beefy 7.9% ABV and 58 IBU.

Up in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Route 19 Brewing is on the hunt for a brewmaster. Ideally they’re looking for someone with plenty of experience in the industry and is ready to take on a wide variety of tasks in their shiny new brewhouse, including recipe research and development, ingredient selection and purchasing, inventory management, and production. If this sounds like you and you’re interested in working in a quiet, but beautiful part of the region, you’ll want to check out the full job posting and send in an application. And they’re also searching for a Salesperson, to help move all of the beer that new Brewer will be making, so check out the job posting here, and send your enquiries to evan@route19brewing.com for either opening.

We’ve got a few events to tell/remind you about today, including the Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, happening tomorrow at the Moncton Coliseum. Grab tickets/sign up/mark your calendars, and we’ll see you out there!

As the local beer cognoscenti are aware, the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards were judged last weekend, but the results have been encrypted and hermetically sealed and are quietly awaiting revelation. When will we find out which beers are big winners this year? Next weekend, in fact. HopYard Halifax will be hosting this year’s ACBA Awards (presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers – Atlantic Canada Chapter) Gala on Saturday, November 16th, from 6 – 9 PM. Changing it up from previous years, this will be a “stand-up mingling occasion” without the formality of a sit-down dinner and allowing the drinking public to attend rather than just brewery and industry folks. Tickets are $57.50 and are available through EventBrite. Come on down and find out whose beer reigned supreme in our region this year!

If one of your personal markers for November is Stillwell’s annual Birthday Party, congratulations, you’re probably beer-obsessed. But that’s okay, so are we! Going down on Sunday, November 17 from noon ‘til late, Stillwell turns SIX. You can, as always, expect tasty goodies on tap from breweries both within and without our region including some debuts. Add to that some lambic bottle pours and some cask conditioned treats as well and you’ve got a recipe for a good time. But wait, there’s more! Food-wise, pig head poutine is going to be a thing, a hoagie platter will be around to share with friends or punish yourself (or maybe both), and to the utter delight of one AC Beer Blogger, Trinidadian Doubles (with proper pepper sauce, we’ll warrant) will be coming out of the kitchen. Also, oyster happy hour from 4 – 7 PM and FREE CAKE! This is a non-ticketed event and we expect the joint to be hopping, so plan your appearance wisely. And while there’s no date yet publicized, keep an eye on social media for opening details of The Stillwell Freehouse, Team Stilly’s English Pub-inspired location opening soon on Agricola Street. Think even more beer engines/handpumps, cozy nooks and benches, and pies and pasties and even some bartop games. We’ll have lots more to say real soon, too!

Are you one of those beer drinkers who doesn’t get the attraction of wild and/or sour beers? Or are you the type who sees that certain breweries are releasing a new one and put the release date and time in your calendar? Somewhere in-between? If you’re into learning more about such beers, where they came from, how they’re made, and why you may be missing out if you avoid them, the Ladies Beer League in Halifax has an event for you. Wild & Sour Beer: A guided tasting with Jeremy Taylor is happening on Tuesday, November 19th from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at 2 Crows. As brewmaster at 2C, Jeremy has been making some of the region’s finest beers in this category since the brewery opened (and before that at other breweries) and has a wealth of knowledge to share. For $30 you’ll have a chance to glean some of this info from him as you sip 4 samples, each with cheese pairing, and a full pint from the taps. We don’t know how many tickets there are, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a ton, so if this event interests you head on over to EventBrite and grab yours ASAP. As with all of the LBL events, this is open to everyone cool, no need to be a member.

Just a few parting words before we dismiss you today. Check out the last few new and returning beers, and a heads up for some new ear-candy coming Tuesday.

While we can’t provide you with a link to the episode as it isn’t up yet, you should set a reminder to visit the 902BrewCast page (or your favorite podcast provider) this coming Tuesday, November 12. You remember earlier this fall when they did their blind tasting of local Pilsners? Well they’re doing the same thing with another style, NE IPAs. Tune in for more mirth and merriment, and Kyle talking about rolling cans (seriously, people do that?). Social media posts suggest that once again the results were a bit of a surprise to the gang themselves, which no doubt will make for an entertaining and educational listen.

Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing has a couple of beers returning this week, one dark and one light. The latest iteration of Beans, their oatmeal coffee stout, has been dosed with cholaca for an additional hit of chocolatey goodness. And the first batch of their winter session ale, Parallel, is also available, with a (for Trailway) subtle hop character of berries and stone fruit sitting pairing with a honey sweetness from a high-quality German Pils malt side. Look for both on tap and in cans shortly, with the latter going to ANBL distribution soon.

And over on PEI, in Charlottetown, Upstreet is having a release party for this year’s Black Tie Affair at the taproom tonight, from 7 PM onwards. Although not strictly black tie, you’re encouraged to dress up for this candlelit soirée where h’ors d’oeuvres will be passed around and background music will be played on piano by Brielle Ansems. Of course you’ll have the chance to enjoy some beer, including the eponymous brew, a sweet and roasty full-bodied stout coming in at 5% ABV and 15 IBU, made slightly tart by an addition of cranberries.

And lastly, staying on the Island, PEIBC has a new beer coming out in their After Hours series of limited edition one-off beers, this one entitled Dry-hopped Sour. With high-quality wheat and Pilsner malts ensuring a crisp and clean base for the sourness and hops to shine, it features citrus and tropical overtones. Low in bitterness like most sours at 14 IBU, it’s 5% ABV and will be hitting the taproom shelves today with full PEILCC distribution coming later. Meanwhile, we’re expecting the results of their Maritime Homebrew Challenge to be announced this weekend; keep an eye on the website and PEIBC and Gahan social media for news on that front!