Backstage Brewing

All posts tagged Backstage Brewing

Here we go again, beer fans! We’re in the final weekend of NS Craft Beer Week! We hope those of you in the province have been getting out to support your local brewery and licensee. We want to sincerely thank those of you who came out and took part in our Beer Trivia Night at The Auction House last night, and big thanks to the breweries who donated so much swag that all of the teams who took part went home with something. We can’t wait to do it again, and it may be even sooner than next year! Enough gushing, on with the news!

Another week of releases for Big Spruce, this time it’s the return of She’s Maibock. A fitting release, given we’ve just entered the month of May, this is a heritage German style of lager brewed similar to a Helles, but a bit more intense in malt/ABV/hops (pro tip, “bock” means buck or ram, and these beers will often feature one on the label). Their take on the style is a 5.9% ABV copper beer, brewed using their own farm-grown hops, and lots of complex and flavourful malts, giving rise to toast and bread notes, with a light citrus character. Grab this beer on tap at the brewery in Nyanza, and at licensees around the province. And drop by HopYard Halifax this afternoon (4 – 7 PM) for the official launch of Year 3 of their Tag! You’re It! IPA, with $0.50 from each can going to Ocean Tracking Network.

Boxing Rock’s Agricola Street Test Kitchen at Local Source Market has another new beer pouring this week. Fail No More is a 3.7% ABV English Mild, keeping to the iconic style with a light bitterness and pleasant caramel and toast and roast notes. You’ll have to pop in for a taste and a growler fill soon, as these Test Kitchen releases are always quite limited!

And in more great Boxing Rock news, the culmination of their Black Box Challenge was on Sunday. This saw homebrewers given the same list of ingredients, and it was up to them to come up with a recipe using some or all of the materials. With presentations ranging from a game of Jeopardy!, to a Crazy Game of Porter, the finalists put their best foot forward on Sunday to present and “sell” their beer to the judges. At the end of the afternoon, Jana Dellapinna and her Hello Darkness Schwarzbier was crowned the winner, through a combination of scores of the beer, presentation, and song choice (The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel). Dellapina will be traveling down to Shelburne to brew up a full size release of the beer, for wide distribution. And some of her fellow finalists may receive the same call, given the quality of the entries in this year’s competition!

Backstage Brewing will be releasing their first Red Ale (aka American Amber) this weekend in time for the main festivities (read: Full House). Simple Man was brewed with Pale malt, CaraMunich, Carafa and Roasted Barley (likely in moderation, to help provide colour). Hopped lightly to 20 IBUs with Willamette from Fundy Hops, the brewery is describing the final beer as “smooth, malty, and simple”. In addition to pouring at Full House, it’ll be on tap at the brewery.

Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is celebrating the opening of their new location in Bridgewater, King Street Beer Co. Not surprisingly, this brewery and taproom is located at 463 King Street in the town, and features a pilot system that they are using for special on-premise beer releases, LaHave River Beers. The first of these hits the taps at 6:30 PM this evening. Silvercat Legendary Canamerican Pale Ale (that’s a mouthful!) is a 5.5% ABV, 39 IBU, Maple Pale Ale, brewed with local homebrewer Don Graham. No word on the origin or amount of maple used in the beer. As with all the brews on this pilot system, it is in very short supply (under 40 litres!), so pop down this evening to avoid disappointment! And drop by both King Street and Saltbox this weekend as they are hosting the Highway 103 Tap Takeovers, featuring breweries from up and down the 103 Highway on the province’s South Shore.

To help celebrate NS Craft Beer Week, Tanner & Co. Brewing is releasing the latest beer in their Sauvage series, with 2019 Sauvage. This Saison features a malt bill built entirely around grain from Horton Ridge, including Pale malt, Vienna, and Wheat. Hopped to 20 IBUs with EKG and Mt. Hood, it was fermented – like last year – with Big Spruce’s pin cherry yeast isolate. All about the yeast character (as a good Saison should be!), it’s showcasing “tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, citrus, and a bit of lemon rind on the finish”. It clocks in at 6% ABV, it’ll be pouring at the Full House event this weekend, with bottles at the brewery as well.

Coupla new hoppy beers coming from the Upstreet family for this weekend, starting with an early sneak peek of Great Day Session IPA. Brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, Wheat, and Golden Naked Oats, they hopped the beer with Cashmere, Amarillo and Mosaic, for aromas of “pear, white grapes, melon, and coconut”. Light-golden in colour, with a smooth body thanks to the addition of the oats, it lives up to its name at 4.8%, and finishes only mildly bitter (25 IBUs). It’s officially launching at tomorrow’s Full House, and will also be on tap at the BBQ Brewhouse for pints, growlers, and crowlers this weekend. Look for draught and cans to follow on PEI next Thursday.

Upstreet’s other hoppy offering is Neon Friday 2.04, the latest in the ongoing series. With the addition of some Honey malt and Melanoiden to give the beer a “gentle, warming sweetness”, as well as a reddish colour, it was hopped with Amarillo, Southern Cross and Sorachi Ace (to 45 IBUs), providing the 6.5% American IPA with aromas of “orange peel, lemon, pine, and a hint of dill”. This one is debuting on the Island today at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner (on tap and in cans), with a few cans making their way to the Nova Scotia private stores as well.

Landwash Brewery, out of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has lots going on this weekend, including the launch of a brand new beer. Might as well start there! Another Shore is releasing in cans and on tap at the brewery today at 4 pm, and it’s a very specific take on the classic Kolsch style. Brewed with malted barley and wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, it was fermented cool and allowed to condition at low temperatures. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with Amarillo and Sabro, and then went further by adding “a whole whack” (that’s a lot!) of fresh lime zest. You can probably imagine in your head how this 4.2% ABV brew is tasting… we’ll leave you to it. In other Landwash news, they’re holding their first Cask Night at Toslow in St. John’s, tonight, where they’ll be tapping Coconut Hazures Rock (and they’ll have a keg of Another Shore, too). Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new batch of One Wave Blonde Ale coming out soon.

While in St. John’s, why not stop by YellowBelly and try Deadly, Missus, their 2019 International Women’s Day brew. It’s being referred to as a “Belgian India Blonde Ale” (!) that was hopped with the Pink Boots Society hop blend (Loral, Glacier, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Sabro). Designed and brewed by head brewer Nardia McGrath, it’s tasting “spicy, funky, and earthy”; it clocks in at 7.1% ABV. And hey, you’re there, so you might as well give their latest cider, Iceberg Cider, a try. Made entirely with iceberg water (natch), it’s 5.5% ABV and on tap now; bottles should follow next week in local NLC stores.

Speaking of cider, the PEI Brewing Company has a new one of their own available, 6 Hours of Sun. Made with a “special blend of apples”, it was fermented with Champagne yeast to give a crisp, fruity, refreshing cider. Semi-dry with a semi-sweet finish, it’s 5% ABV and can be found right now at the PEIBC taproom in Charlottetown; you’ll be able to find it at all Gahan locations soon, as well as in cans at PEILCC stores.

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales, Flat Earth IPA. Hopped copiously with varieties from North America (Cascade and Mosaic) and Australia (Ella), you can probably expect a beer full of tropical, juicy goodness. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and can be found at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole. And stay tuned for their next beer, Down With Vaccinations Pale Ale. Too soon?

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is releasing their first Lager tomorrow, May 4th. A Schwarzbier, we’re slightly confidant you could take a crack at what the name was going to be, knowing the date… and if you guessed May the Schwarz Be With You, you would be correct! This black Lager was brewed almost entirely with German malt and German hops, it was fermented cold with a dry Lager yeast. Fairly dark (24 SRM), and pretty easy-drinking at 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, it’s showing aromas of espresso, milk chocolate, and caramel, and a medium-light body with chocolate and caramel on the palate. They’re releasing it initially at the brewery on tap and in cans; look for it to follow at tap accounts later next week, and it should be on at ANBL growler sites later in the month. Drop by the brewery tomorrow from noon, where they’ll be holding a launch party, featuring beer (of course) and food from Gastrognomes.

Plenty of things going on in the region this weekend and into next week, check them out! And of course keep an eye on the NSCBW Calendar we put together so that you’re never late for an event.

Tomorrow, Propeller’s Gottingen Street taproom will be the site of their celebration of all things Star Wars, with their May the Fourth celebration.They’ll be featuring two casks, both hopped with out-of-worldy hops, like their Galaxy IPA hopped with an extra dose of (Millenium) Falconer’s Flight, and a cask made with their brand new canned (also draught) release, Sasquatch Pale Ale. This 5.2% Pale Ale features a wholly-Canadian hop, Sasquatch, grown in BC, and used throughout the brewing process to impart a tropical and juicy note to the beer. Also back this week is their Stone Fruit, which will be hitting the shelves of the private and NSLC stores soon. Back to the taproom, the Propeller Arcade is open all day (from 10AM), and they’ll have Star Wars-themed Vandal Doughnuts to pair with your pint. And if you’re wearing some Star Wars paraphernalia, your first pint is just $5! Pop by on your way to…

The Full House Beer Fest is also tomorrow, with forty breweries from across Nova Scotia pouring the newest and best beers at the Halifax Forum Multipurpose Centre (entrance is from the Young Street parking lot). From Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Musquodoboit Harbour, breweries from all over are coming together for the biggest celebration of #NSCraftBeer. Tickets for both the afternoon and evening session are still available, and we will certainly be there taking it all in. One of the new releases you’ll be able to enjoy is Annapolis Brewing’s Port Royal Pilsner, which was fermented low and slow (over a month!), for a smooth finish, with the Saaz used giving a hint of herbal notes. (It will also be available for pints and growler fills in their taproom this weekend)

If you wake up woozy and disoriented in Halifax on Sunday morning, Good Robot has your hookup to maybe soothe your self-inflicted wounds with a taste of the tropics. The Limestone Group will be hosting a brunch featuring food inspired by sunny climes (and based on the weather forecast a little imagination might be required there). How does coconut crusted French Toast sound? And if lovely food isn’t enough to get you over the hangover hump, there will, of course be beer. The brunch runs from 10 – 3 PM, so there’s plenty of time to drag your sorry self out of bed and get down to Good Robot and partake.

Also going down on Sunday is an annual event that’s near and dear to our hearts here at the ACBB (well, the empty places where our hearts used to be anyway), the 2019 Stillwell Open at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington Street. Now in its 5th year, this event pairs homebrewers and breweries together to develop beers for a blind tasting competition that ultimately crowns a champion beer based on the voting response of the public. To up the ante a little in terms of bragging rights, once again the province has been divided into geographical regions, North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth, with a title going to the team with the best overall showing. This year’s theme for beers is single-hop IPAs. Each team will bring four beers in the Session IPA, American IPA, Double IPA, and English IPA (served on cask) categories, all made with but a single variety of hop. Beers are expected to be one offs for the competition or production batches that will debut at the competition, so 100% brand new, never sampled, sipped, or swigged before beers will be available. Our own Chris McDonald is captaining Team Halifax, with Les Barr of Roof Hound heading up Team South, Spindrift’s Kyle Jeppesen helming Team Dartmouth, and Jeremy White of Big Spruce once again leading the charge for the two-time (TWO-TIME!) defending champions, Team North. If you attend you may need to plan to balance your blood lupulin levels next week with some crispy Pilsners and fruity mixed ferms, but Sunday is all about the hops. The blind tasting starts at 12 PM with the field being cut in half based on votes after 90 minutes and again in half every 30 minutes until 3 PM when the category winners, the winning Team, and the overall champion beer will be revealed. So come on down and see if you don’t find yourself bleeding green afterwards!

Let’s turn our gaze away from NS Craft Beer Week for a moment, and look elsewhere… Namely, the fact that Hanwell’s very own Niche Brewing will be holding a Meet the Maker Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 4th, at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. Those crazy cats decided to brew and keg up 16 different beers for this event, with almost half of them being one-offs and debuts. One of those is Into the Great Wide Open, a Saison dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo. The Takeover officially begins at 7 PM, so be sure to drop by and meet the brewers behind the beer, and try the many offerings on tap. The full list of beers for the evening is available on the FB event page.

HopYard Halifax is holding a Battle of the Breweries every Thursday, where they’ll be dedicating three taps each to a number of breweries who will be fighting to the death… or, bragging rights, I suppose. Round 1 will be stretched over four Thursdays (starting yesterday) with three breweries for each day… ten from Nova Scotia, one from PEI, and one from NB. The brewery who has sold the most beer for each day moves forward to the next round, so you’re essentially voting with your wallets! Show up to support your favourite(s)!

And a couple last things before you get your plans together for the weekend:

Garrison is re-releasing Lemondrop, their dry-hopped kettle sour, this weekend at the brewery. Hopped entirely with Lemondrop after the boil was complete, this 5% ABV sour is tart and lemony, and will also be available at NSLC and private stores. You should be able to find it in other provinces this summer, too.

TrailWay is bringing back Good Times in the Fridge today, their 6% ABV American IPA brewed with a rotating hop schedule. This batch features Southern Cross, Wakatu, Enigma and Loral, giving a beer that is “dank, pungent, fruity, pineapple, spicy, and herbaceous”. You can find it at the brewery starting today.

Drop by Unfiltered today at noon if you’re a fan of Warning Label, their super strong (10% ABV) and super hoppy DIPA; it’ll be available on tap and in cans.

Hi again, it’s us again. And we’re late. Again. We blame the weather. And illness. And day jobs. And too much beer news from all our friends at breweries around the region. So in the interest of getting on with things, we’ll cut this off here and wish you a happy beer-filled long weekend!!

If you caught a mention on the social media pages of Tusket Falls Brewing about a new beer called Bitter Stout, we’re sorry to tell you that this experimental batch has already sold out. Luckily, they’ve got two other new brews on tap at the brewery for you to try! One is a 6.5% ABV Brown Porter with an addition of cold brew coffee, giving aromas of “dark chocolate and fresh coffee grinds, and a creamy, vanilla cappuccino flavour”. The next is a 5% ABV Saison with hibiscus, with “Juicy Fruit gum and floral, carnation-like” notes on the nose, as well as “subtle, tart cherry and floral flavours” to complement. If these go as quickly as the Bitter Stout, you best get into the brewery to try them, quick!

St. Patrick’s Day is still a month away, but Bathurst’s Four Rivers Brewing has released their St. Paddy’s seasonal a bit early as a limited run. Raglan Red is, as you may expect, an Irish Red Ale; the name was inspired by Raglan Road, a local Irish band. The beer itself (5.0% ABV, 25 IBUs), which pours a deep red colour with a creamy, off-white head, is described as having “a slightly sweet biscuit and caramel flavour that finishes dry, with hints of Roasted Barley”. It was fermented with an Irish Ale yeast strain, which “adds a faint aroma of toffee and wildflowers”, according to the brewery. You can currently get it at the brewery on tap and in cans. Next month, however, it should be more readily available, with kegs even hitting some ANBL growler stations around the big day. Four Rivers will also be holding a St. Patricks Day party on March 15th, featuring Raglan Road, with a portion of ticket sales going to the local SPCA; tickets are $15 and are available now at the brewery.

Elsewhere in Bathurst, newly-opened 13 Barrels Brewing has released their second beer, Tall Tales IPA. We don’t have too many details to share, but we can tell you that this copper-coloured brew is a 6% ABV, 55 IBUs American IPA that the brewery is describing as “crisp and malty, with an aroma that has hints of spice and orange bouquet”. It joins their first beer, Pabineau Pale Ale, on tap for pints and growler fills, and a half-dozen guest beers that can be enjoyed in their cozy taproom.

Back to Nova Scotia, and Annapolis Royal, for our next new release. Annapolis Brewing Company has released their first Hefeweizen, an iconic German beer style that features a hefty amount of wheat in the malt bill, and a special yeast strain. Capital Hefeweizen is 5.2% ABV, and shows off the characteristic blend of banana and clove aromatics, along with light bubble gum and vanilla flavour compounds. Lightly hopped to 11 IBU with Liberty and Nugget hops, this quaffable beer features high carbonation for an effervescent pint. The name is an ode to Annapolis Royal’s distinction of being the former provincial capital. Available on tap at their St George Street taproom, those in the current capital city can enjoy it tomorrow evening at the Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Seaport Farmers Market, joining their W&A Rye IPA and Dry Dock Dry (Brut-style) Pale Ale.

We’ve seen Bishop’s Cellar team up with local breweries to create collaboration brews before, and based on those results, we’re excited about the latest one! Bloom was brewed with our friends at North Brewing, and will be dropping tomorrow for your drinking pleasure. A 5.0% ABV Saison, it features the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Hopped with Saaz, Hallertau Blanc, and Galaxy, they decided to step things up and throw in even more of that delicious Galaxy in the dry hop. We’re guessing here, but are thinking there’ll be a good mix of tropical fruit and spice in this one, all in a dry-but-not-too-dry-finish-package. You can grab your cans at both North bottle shops, as well as at Bishop’s Cellar (natch); it’ll also be pouring at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party.

Niche Brewing just outside of Fredericton aren’t slowing down their release schedule these days, despite the crappy weather, and have a brand new beer out late this week. Counting Stars was brewed with a base of Golden Promise along with oats and chit in the malt bill, and fermented with a mix of low-flocculating yeast strains, resulting in a hazy golden-coloured brew. This 6.7% ABV New England IPA is all about the hops, of course, with Galaxy, Topaz, and Amarillo taking centre stage in the boil, with the former two also being added as dry-hops after fact, along with Vic Secret. Hop notes of tropical, fruit, and lightly dank are followed up with a firm bitterness on the palate. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media (or better yet the bar and restaurants), to see when Counting Stars hits the tap at The Joyce Pub (ed: it’s on now!), Hilton Garden Inn Fredericton Downtown, and Saint John’s Peppers Pub.

While the cats are away, the mice will play. Or in this case, while Matt and Christiane of Tatamagouche Brewing are making us jealous with their honeymooning in Europe, the rest of the crew are busy working and releasing four (4!!) beers this week. Returning is the Oyster Cloister Stout, their 5.3% ABV stout named in celebration of the annual oyster shucking party that has been a part of local tradition for years. Roasted barley and Carafa malts create a rich chocolate and roasty base to the beer, with a light dose of hops, and finally a salty kick from the Malagash oysters added in. They’ve taken the party from the kitchen, and invited the rest of us to take part, as it kicks off tonight at 7 PM at the brewery.

In the first of the brand new beer at Tatamagouche this week, the women in the brewery got together with another female-strong brewery in the province, Good Robot, and brewed up Maltriarchy. This “strong beer for strong women” weighs in at 8.6% ABV, is a Golden Strong Ale, with a light and effervescent mouthfeel, dangerous for a beer this size. Leveraging a Belgian yeast strain and Saaz hops for a fairly traditional take on the style, with some fruity esters from the yeast and a classic noble hop character.

Nelson’s Park Pale Ale is the second of the new brews out in Tata, and as the name would imply, the New Zealand hop Nelson Sauvin features prominently in the brew. This 5.1% ABV hoppy and hazy beer is named after Nelson Memorial Park, overlooking Tatamagouche Bay. Tropical and stone fruit character are complemented by the white wine notes often found in Nelson, and the bitterness is enough to balance without becoming too harsh.

And finally, we’ve got Mingle. This 4.7% ABV Ale is simply categorized as a “Hazy Organic Ale”. Details are a bit light on the one, but we’ve been assured it sports a light body with notes of apple and pear, and is dangerously drinkable. It, like all of the Tatamagouche beer we’ve mentioned today, are available at the brewery now on tap for samples, pints, and growlers, with cans available there, and at select private stores in HRM in the next week or so.

Seamount Saison is a brand new release at Mount Pearl’s newest brewery, Landwash. Admittedly released a little out of saison (season, sorry!), they fell into some good luck with a special yeast perfect for the style, and could not pass up the opportunity. Returning to the roots they set down at Folly Brewing in Toronto, this is a Belgian-inspired beer that lets to yeast blend to shine through, with zesty citrus notes, with pepper aroma and flavour. A medium bitterness and dry finish will have you ordering your second pint. This is a one-off brew, for now, as Seamount will return in the spring when the temperatures are a little warmer. But for now, grab it on tap this weekend for pints and growler fills, as well as in cans in their retail shop. Also in the shop this weekend is the return of Home and Away, the 5.6% ABV American Pale Ale they first released in late December. Showcasing Cascade and Citra, this beer is all sorts of hoppy goodness, with massive orange and grapefruit on the nose and palate, with a medium bitterness to tickle your tongue. It too is available for flights and pints at the bar, with growlers and cans to take away. If you’re ever wondering which Landwash beers are available, we highly encourage you to check out the Availability section on their site. And keep your eyes peeled in town, as we’ve seen kegs of Landwash available at better beer spots in St. John’s, including Merchant Tavern and Jack Axe’s. If you *don’t* see them at your favourite watering hole, ask the staff about maybe bringing them, wouldja?

The PEI Brewing Co. has had a lot of employees over the years, so you know when they brew a beer in honour of one of them, it means something. Mike Ross, now the co-owner of both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations, was once the brewery’s Sales Manager, and is as least as much now a strong advocate for craft beer as he was during his days at the PEIBC. In a nutshell, he’s well-deserving of having his picture on cans of El Bolito De Coraje (Spanish translation “little ball of courage”). The beer is billed as a 6.2% ABV “Mexican Chocolate Stout”, and was brewed with organic cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and “a blend of spicy peppers”. The brewery tells us that the beer isn’t TOO spicy, more providing a touch of heat, while allowing the other ingredients to come through. You can find it on tap at both Hop Yard locations, and in cans at the PEIBC taproom this coming Monday, February 18th.

Halifax’s Garrison is the latest brewery in our region to explore the satellite taproom and pilot brewery concept; there was plenty of social media excitement when it was announced this week that they’ll be opening up in the Oxford Theatre building at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Streets. Although there was certainly some chagrin from the arts community that an independent cinema or performance space was not on the docket, Garrison’s plan is consistent with the stated goal by the Nahas family, who purchased the building last year, to renovate and maintain the property as a landmark and community friendly space on Quinpool Road. Plans for Garrison’s part of the facility will include a 1 BBL electric brewhouse with a couple of 1 BBL unitanks for fermentation and conditioning all on a very small visible footprint (~150 ft2). The taproom side of the mix will include 13 Garrison brews and 1 cider (Bulwark), with two additional taps for beers brewed on site. Expect 2 to 4 brews a month to be done in-house, with the team using it as an opportunity for experimentation with ingredients, techniques and recipes, as well as potentially for collaboration brews with other brewers and potentially folks from the community. Some snacks will be available, but patrons will also be welcome to order in food from neighboring restaurants, and look for the occasional pop-up or catered event as well. Set to open in Spring 2019, we’re definitely excited to see what else Garrison has in the works for this concept.

Meanwhile, in more Garrison beer news, they also have some new brews coming out today, a trio of Winterventions: Bourbon Barrel-aged Wintervention, Whiskey Barrel-aged Wintervention, and plain ol’ Wintervention are joining the Cellar Series this week, where Cherry Bourbon Barrel-aged Wintervention has been hanging out all by its lonesome for a couple of weeks. Those who’ve been around for a while know that Wintervention is a Chocolate Imperial Stout brewed to 10.5% ABV and conditioned for a month on cacao nibs. A deep dark beer for deep dark winter nights, you can now try the original formulation and/or compare and contrast the different barrel treatments. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and, we expect, you’ll see at least some of them pop up at private stores in Halifax over the coming weeks. And look for one more variant to be released before the season’s over. Oh, the suspense!!

Plenty going on in beer events over the next couple weeks and beyond:

Nothing seems to ever be able to stop Stillwell from holding wonderful tap takeovers, and we’re not complaining! Coming up this Saturday, February 16th, Toronto’s Godspeed Brewery will take over your favourite beer bar with nine beers on tap and three in cans. And we’re not talking about your daddy’s beer, here, unless your daddy is into Smoked Pilsners, Green Tea IPAs, and Peated Scotch Lagers (and if he is, can we trade daddies?). Check out Stilly’s Facebook page for a full list of what will be pouring. And because it’s Stillwell, of course there will be some excellent food to pair with all these tasty beverages, featuring sushi and appetizers from Sushi Shige. It all starts at noon, and will continue all day (based on availability).

Battery Park is continuing their run of tap takeovers by inviting Pictou County’s two most prominent breweries to line their wall with beers. Next Thursday, February 21, you’ll find the best offerings from Lyon’s Brook’s Uncle Leo’s and Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing flowing in Dartmouth. Beer will begin flowing at their usual 11:30 AM opening time. Consistent with other takeovers, we suspect it’s fair for you to expect some stone cold classics along with some new and/or limited editions in the house. Keep an eye on social media for potential hints as to the beers that will be pouring.

In case you find yourself in Vancouver next Friday, February 22, and maybe thirsting for a taste of home, you might be in luck: 2 Crows will be doing a tap takeover presented by UntappedBC at 12 Kings Pub. Brewer Jeremy Taylor and Brewery Coordinator Mitch Gilbert will be in full effect and knowing 2C, they’ll have some favorites as well as some rarities and one offs. The event starts at 6 PM (yes, that’s Pacific time). If you’re not going to be in Vancouver, but have been telling your West Coast peeps about how good you’ve got it on the East side with 2 Crows, you might let them know this is happening so they can see for themselves!

Do you like rare, delicious Belgian beer? Do you live in or around the Moncton area (or are willing to travel for good beer)? If you answered “yes” to these questions, we have some very good news for you – the Tide & Boar is getting a shipment of hard-to-find Belgian beers and they’re holding an event on Saturday, March 2nd for you to try them! They’ll be pouring bottles of Cantillon, De Cam, Drie Fonteinen, and more, and some of these will be extremely limited due to their rareness (including a single bottle of Cantillon Fou Foune); check out the event page for a more thorough listing of what beers will be available. They’ll be offering special flights of four, 3 oz pours, as well; they’re not legally allowed to post prices of the flights or any of the beers, but are encouraging you to message them directly if you’d like to know (hint: bring your wallet). T&B will also be offering a special Belgian-themed food menu for the event. We don’t see these beers around here very often (as in, hardly ever), so if some of these beers are on your lifelong must-try list, you best show up early! They open at 11 am.

Speaking of Tide & Boar, they – along with Halifax’s Stillwell – have been selected yet again to be one of a handful of bars in the world to host Peche Day on Saturday, March 23rd. For the two of you unfamiliar with this event, it’s a celebration of one of Canada’s most-loved beers, Peche Mortel, from Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel! Bars lucky enough to take part will have 6-7 kegs of different variants, as well as the original, of this beer available, and usually offer flights of each to customers for purchase. If you live near either T&B or Stillwell, we highly suggest you drop in on the 23rd to give one, two, or all variants (and the original!) a try.

And a final few mentions before you go:

Tracadie’s Brasseux d’la Côte has two new beers pouring at their brewery, a Brut IPA (quite low at just 4.6% ABV) and Tuba (even lower at 2.6%) a “refreshing, light beer low in alcohol, calories, and gluten.

No Beta brew next week for Good Robot (boo!), due to a staff function causing the brewery to be closed on February 19th. However, they are bringing back Bingo Bronson (hooray!) on the following Thursday; it’s their 6% ABV, 25 IBUs Chocolate Porter (psst… it’s also their highest-rated beer on Untappd out of 160 listed beers, if you’re into that sort of thing).

The Harbour Brewing Co. has released Fred, a 5.6% ABV, 48 IBUs, amber-coloured IPA hopped and dry-hopped entirely with Citra; it features a “big malt body with a hint of sweetness, combined with grapefruit and citrus flavours” from the hops.

Propeller wants us to let you know that they’re bringing back a couple of fan favourites, including XPA (which should be released shortly), and Dark Berry Sour (which is now a spring seasonal release, so will see wider distribution compared to its initial release). And if you’re heading there for their Friday Cask this evening, we can let you know that it’s their Porter, hopped with Simcoe.

Spindrift just released two more beers in the Out of the Hold series, Neat and Peanut Butter Inside. Both are Imperial Stouts that were barrel-aged in French Oak, and they both weigh in at a hefty 10% ABV. No other details at this time, but bottles are now available at the brewery for purchase.

Parrsborro’s Two Islands Brewing just launched two new beers for Love Day, so they should still be available. Drop by the brewery to give Chocolate Porter and Mango Weisse Ale a try.

Well, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards have finally been wrapped up, and now that it’s been almost a week, we’re going to assume that most of you who were in attendance have fully recovered (although, it’s kinda likely that maybe one or two of you have NOT). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our list of all of the winners, announced at last Sunday’s gala. Now that everything is relatively back to normal, let’s start off this rainy Friday by getting caught up with everything that’s new in the wonderful world of beer in our region! So grab whatever Halloween candy you have left (might we recommend little bags of Doritos, and miniature Kit Kat bars, if they’re available?), and a big old Stout (hey, it WAS International Stout Day recently… or something), and read away!

Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new beer pouring on Bridge Ave. Little Sister is a West Coast IPA packed with plenty of hop character from large additions of Simcoe and Mosaic and featuring the bracing bitterness typical of the style at 75 IBU, while still managing to be soft and smooth. Tipping the scales at 5.9% ABV, right in the IPA sweet spot, expect dank and tropical notes from the hops with a solid malt backbone to balance. Maybe it won’t keep vampires away, but they’ll surely appreciate your taste in beer as they draw you into their world. Look for it on tap at the brewery’s taproom and at tap accounts in the big city in the days to come (and if you don’t see it, be sure to ask for it!). Also, if you’re a fan of Backstage’s all-Citra IPA, Headliner, look for it to be back on tap as well.

In Dartmouth, Spindrift has announced a brand new series of beers which they’ll be calling Out of the Hold. All beers released under this brand will be bottle-conditioned, with many being fermented and/or aged in barrels, in a variety of bottles sizes; some will be one-offs, some will be in regular rotation. While all of the beers will be available to purchase at the brewery, naturally, one can expect many of them to also pop up at the private stores in the HRM. The first two beers in this series – Cherry Brett Beer and Golden Brett Beer – hit shelves yesterday. Both were brewed with Pilsner as the base malt, and both were aged “extensively” in French red wine barrels and highly carbonated during packaging. The Cherry Brett, at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and conditioned for months on dark, sweet cherry puree. Conversely, the Golden Brett, also at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis Vrai. Look for more Spindrift bottles to follow in the near future, with two releases planned for two weeks from now, and another two in mid-December.

Boxing Rock’s venture into Halifax has yielded another small-batch beer from the Test Kitchen, this one brewed by Emily Tipton with Good Robot’s Queen of the Beta Batch, Kelly Costello. Zombie Mule takes cues from the time of year and also the Moscow Mule cocktail, as it features additions of lime and ginger. Exclusive to the Local Source bottle shop where you can pick up growler fills, and Lion & Bright, where you can grab a pint, like all Test Kitchen batches this 5% ABV beer is in limited supply, with only 4 kegs produced. So whether you’re a beer fan who enjoys an occasional cocktail or a cocktail fan who appreciates an occasional beer, or hey, just someone who’s looking for something new to try, you’d best act fast as this one’s not likely to be around long!

We mentioned the launch of 9zero2 Brewing last week, the foray into beer for the Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig. They’ve released another new beer this week, the amber JJs Ale. Named after Joey and Jackie Smith, who were former owners of the land upon which Steinhart and 9zero2 rest, and had a love of farming, gardening, and of course, enjoying a well-made dram or pint. Their eponymous beer is an easy drinking 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, with notes of tangerine, and a very smooth finish. The best place to grab a taste of this new release, as well as their other beers, is at the taproom in Arisaig, or hit them up on FB as they are offering a delivery service for those in the region.

Port Rexton Brewing has a new release this week at both the brewery taproom and their St. John’s Retail Shop. The One with Citra is a 4.9% ABV American Pale Ale, dry-hopped with a small fortune of Citra hops, punching well above its weight/ABV in terms of tropical and citrus aroma and flavour, which featuring a medium body and dry finish. Grab a growler fill at both locations, plus here’s what else to expect at 286 Torbay Road: Firehouse Amber, T-Rex Porter, Baycation Blonde are all in growlers, with limited numbers of cans of Baycation and T-Rex, as well as a trio of IPAs Chasing Sun NEIPA, Blazing Sun NEDIPA, and Horse Chops IPA available.

We know that the gang at Niche loves to name their beers with musical references, so we can only assume that this week’s new offering is a tribute to pop icon Madonna’s first US top ten hit. Borderline is Niche’s first black IPA and though colorwise it may be on the lighter side for the style, it still packs plenty of roast and chocolate notes along with a solid hop presence. Featuring dank and citrusy hops, namely Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Citra, it’s also got plenty of bitterness to complement the darker malt flavors at 45 IBU. Although the 5.8% ABV won’t make you feel like you’re going to lose your mind (unless you have too many of them), it’ll have your tastebuds dancing to it’s irresistible beat. Look for it at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Tide & Boar Gastropub. And if you find yourself at one of those locations or any of Niche’s other usual tap accounts, look for the return of Ethos, their house strain-fermented Brett Saison, sometime next week.

Sticking in the Fredericton area, TrailWay has just released Bliss, the little brother to their Fuzzy Bubbles IPL. Yes, they’re billing Bliss as a “Session India Pale Lager”, as it comes in at just 4% ABV. Hopped with a “unique blend of American hops”, and fermented with a Czech Pilsner yeast strain, the beer was then lagered at 0º Celsius for 8 weeks before packaging. TW is describing the beer as “extremely clean, hugely juicy, fruity, soft and smooth, yet crisp and effervescent”. You can grab cans at the brewery right now, where it’s also available on tap for pints and growler fills.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is still putting the final touches on their big brewery on Main Street, but in the meantime, they are still busy releasing beers from their pilot system at 19 Kirk Street (open Thursday and Friday evenings for growler fills and flights). The latest is their Hopfenweizen, released in celebration of Oktoberfest. This hybrid of styles has at its base a traditional German Hefeweizen, with a wheat-and-pilsner malt base, and fermented with a yeast strain to highlight the iconic banana and clove characters iconic for the style. However, they used plenty of hops late in the boil to bring a new layer of complexity, to impart some fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, complementing the underlying beer. Grab a growler this evening, and/or a pint at their 250 Main Street location. While the brewery may not be quite operational (therefore no growlers just yet), their taproom currently has seven of their own beers on tap, plus another 9 guests. Be sure to catch their Wet Hop Pale Ale before it is done for the year: using local hops, there was only enough to brew one batch!
And big congratulations to the Heritage Brewing family on winning the Rising Star of the Year award from the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce! And congratulations to Dawn and Josh of WIne and Beer Tours of Nova Scotia on their recognition in the Tourism Business of the Year category.

Quidi Vidi Brewery has brought back their Open Saison series with Open Saison on Crabapple. This 6.5% ABV beer was first brewed on their pilot system last year, but this batch was brewed on their larger system, and is seeing distribution to several NLC locations. Crab apples from across the province were gathered and used to enhance the base tart saison. Look for it on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and in 6-packs in retail locations all over. Don’t wait to grab yours, however, as this release is the last of it for 2018!

The Church Brewing Company will be opening their doors within the next couple of months, so they are looking to bring on a few good folks to help keep their taproom running smoothly. They are looking for managers, bartenders, servers, bussers, prep cooks, and loads more. Fire them an email at info@churchbrewing.ca for more details!

The crazy kids of Tidehouse have brought back one of the scariest beers in the region this week just in time for Hallowe’en. Pepperoni Ghost starts with a light smoked porter base that sees the famous pepperoni from Brothers Meats (defatted and dehydrated) added to the cauldron in the last five minutes of the boil. For an extra kick, super duper spicy ghost peppers are also added towards the end of fermentation. This was a limited batch available by the bottle at the brewery since Wednesday, and there’s already not much left. Further, they’ve promised that this is the Last Batch Ever™ (although we suspect that’ll have all the finality of killing Jason or Freddie Krueger) so if meat and heat are your jam when it comes to beer, get yourself down to Salter Street in Halifax with haste! But if you have to make a stop on the way, make it a stop at Canadian Blood Services. CBS needs your blood and Tidehouse wants to encourage you to give it. While you’re donating a pint or two of your finest, grab a selfie to show at the bar and upon presentation you will be rewarded with a gift card that you can immediately exchange for either a 1 L growler fill to go or a 16 oz glass at the bar (metric vs imperial: FIGHT). Step 1: Bleed. Step 2: Get beer. It’s not rocket surgery.

This week’s winner in the, “Really, you emailed us at 11 AM on Friday? Jeez buddy!” sweepstakes is 2 Crows in Halifax. We’ll forgive them (mostly) though, as, frankly, we’re excited about the beer. Dropping tomorrow at noon, and with an extremely limited run of roughly 400 bottles, Glamour isn’t just brewer Jeremy Taylor’s favorite D&D spell (perfect for a Goblin Bard), it’s a Sauvignon Blanc barrel-fermented and bottle-aged sour. Based on a grist of Pilsner malt, wheat, spelt and oats, it was hopped lightly with Hallertau Blanc hops on brewday and then soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and fermented in a freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrel with a blend of clean and funky critters. Conditioned for six months before transfer, it was dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops in stainless steel before being bottled with Champagne yeast and allowed to condition for an additional two months. It’s 5.1% ABV, and the tasting notes specify that it’s bright, tart and lively, with notes of gooseberry, lemongrass, and light oaky tannins. With such a limited quantity available, you’d best not hesitate. Y’know, like Jeremy did with emailing us about it. Seriously, though, if you’re a fan of sour beers and/or 2 Crows, this one is likely not to be missed; these folks did win Beer of the Year last week after all…

There are some excellent events in our region this weekend where beer and cider take center stage. Check them out below and plan accordingly!

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is taking over the taps at St. John’s Merchant Tavern this evening. Featuring six taps, this will be the first time several of these beers are available on draught outside of HRM, so be sure to drop by and meet the Spindrift crew! Look for: Abyss Black Lager, their redesigned Coastal Lager, Free Trade APA, Hurricane IPA, Killick, and Knotty Buoy.

Although the Annapolis Cider tap takeover was announced a couple weeks ago now, the tap list was a mystery up until a few days ago when it was posted to social media, and it’s safe to say fans of local cider who make their way down to Stillwell this Saturday are in for a treat. Twelve different ciders will be pouring, running the gamut from Annapolis’ core brands to some of the more outré offerings from their Something Different series. As always, you can also expect some special snacks dreamed up just for the event to be coming out of the kitchen. While you plot your strategy around the list below, maybe open up your favorite podcasting app and throw on the recent 902BrewCast episode featuring Annapolis Cider’s Sean Myles. It’s an incredibly informative session not just about the cidery and their approach, but about cider and cider making in general as well.

  1. Wine & Strawberry – dry cider, red wine, strawberry blend – 5.9%
  2. Earl Blue – dry cider and blueberry blend w. Earl Grey tea – 6.8%
  3. Sour Cherry – dry cider, sour cherry blend – 7.1%
  4. Geneva Crab Rosé – crabapple cider with Geneva Red & Golden Hyslop – 8.6%
  5. Arctic Kiwi – dry cider, arctic kiwi blend – 7%
  6. Mixed Berry & Pear – strawberry, blackcurrant, bosc pear and dry cider – 7%
  7. Pazazz & Grapefruit – single variety Pazazz w. grapefruit zest – 6.8%
  8. Rhubarb Ginger – dry cider and rhubarb blend w. fresh ginger – 6.7%
  9. Honey Blossom – dry cider w. elderflower, purple lilac blossoms and local wildflower honey – 7%
  10. Muscat Mojito – dry cider w. Muscat grape skins, mint and fresh lime – 7.1%
  11. The Classic – semi-dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 5.6%
  12. Crisp & Dry – dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 7.7%

If you happen to be in the Moncton area, the Tide & Boar is hosting a special event, the SPCA Tap Takeover, tomorrow, November 3rd, from noon to close. Several breweries from NB and NS will be participating, and pouring some of their favourite beers. The list includes Tide & Boar Brewing (Method IPA and Mosaic IPA), Grand Monk (Lion’s Cut NEIPA), Celtic Knot (Enigma Salted Caramel Porter), Big Spruce (Fake News! and Tag! You’re It!), Niche Brewing (Constellation), and 2 Crows (Wild Skies). They’ll also have a keg of Zwaaien & Zwieren, a 12.6% ABV Imperial Stout from Brouwerij de Molen (Netherlands); this is the 2015 vintage of this beer, so needless to say it’s a rare one! For every pint sold, $1 will go towards the Greater Moncton SPCA. But that’s not all! A single bottle of the much-coveted Samuel Adams Utopias will be available for 1 oz pours starting at noon, with all proceeds benefiting the GMSPCA. Your purchase of a 1 oz pour will also give you the chance to win the Utopias bottle (once it’s empty… sorry!), as well as a gift package donated by Big Spruce. Be sure to show up on Saturday, drink some delicious beers, and support a good cause all at the same time!

And a few more quick mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:

For the second time in a month or so, there will be no Beta Brewsday at Good Robot this week. Something something about Kelly actually taking time off (can she DO that?!). But all is not lost, GR favorite Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie is back to tide you over. Yes, it’s a pale ale, but yes, it’s also flavored with coffee; 5.1% ABV and 32 IBU and very easy drinking.

Also back for a seasonal appearance (a bit earlier this year) is Propeller’s Russian Imperial Stout. This burly 8.0% ABV brew is smooth and supple and packaged for the first time in 473 mL cans, but you can also grab one of a very few 650 mL bottles if you’re looking to put one down in the cellar for a while, or you can grab a glass on tap at the tasting room.

Available today at noon, Upstreet is bringing back their formal winter seasonal, Black Tie Affair. This 5.0% ABV Stout features the addition of cranberries for a lightly tart flavour, and finishes with a hint of sweet vanilla. It is available on draught, as well as growlers, crowlers, and bottles at both the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, as well as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, as this was a simultaneous brewday in both Charlottetown and Dartmouth.