Backstage Brewing

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What a difference a week makes! From dreary drizzly weather, to beautiful 20C+ weather in all 4 Atlantic provinces, this is definitely the weekend to get outside and enjoy it. Whether that means hitting a local taproom patio, or grabbing cans, bottles, or growler fills from your local brewery and hitting the lake, we hope you have an awesome safe beer-filled weekend!

Gahan’s Halifax location opened on the weekend, in the downtown Nova Centre at Argyle/Prince/Market/Sackville streets. After closing their Harbourfront location in the spring, they upgraded the brewing equipment with some sweet new brewhouse gear (increasing capacity from their former cramped location), as well as some 1,000 litre foeders from PEI’s own New World Foeders. While the ‘fax-brewed-beers haven’t hit the taps quite yet, they are pouring the full complement of Island beers from their core lineup, beers from the other Gahan locations in PEI and New Brunswick, as well as guest taps. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / Ig / Tw ) and here, of course, for updates on their next big releases brewed by roving Gahan Brewer Spencer Gallant. One of those releases is the return of Sin Bin, their 4.4% ABV German Kolsch in celebration of the PEI Mudmen Rugby Team, of which Gallant is a member. Look for the beer on tap and in cans at the PEIBC locations on the Island, and further afield soon, no doubt.

Speaking of Mr. Gallant, we have great news to share on his plans to branch out (pun intended). Gallant is teaming up with friends and business partners Jared Murphy and Dillon Wight to bring another Island brewery to life later this year. Lone Oak Brewing Company will have its home base in Borden-Carlton, at 103 Abegweit Blvd in the Gateway Village, with a brewery, taproom, and retail location opening in the fall. As their name implies, wood will be a big component of the beers available, with their barrel-aged line set to be released in Spring 2020. In the meantime, peep their progress on all of the media (Fb / Ig / Tw ) and ready yourselves to a new place to stop on your way to, or from, the Island.

It’s pretty grand cider weather out there lately, and Annapolis Cider Company has released the latest entry in their Something Different series, just in the nick of time! This latest cider is Cherry & Coriander, which is made from a blend of their flagship Crisp & Dry (featuring fresh-pressed juice from Northern Spy, McIntosh, and Cortland apples) and the juice of Montmorency cherries (a sour cherry variety). This 7.3% ABV blend was then cold-steeped with crushed coriander seeds, contributing “lemony citrus aromas” to the final product, which also has notes of tart cherry, citrus, and spice. And as with all Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill goes towards a local charitable recipient; this cider’s contribution will support the Wolfville School Activity Park

Attention, Milkshake IPA fanatics! Big Spruce Brewing is pouring fresh samples of their latest, I Scream, You Screamsicle, a 7.2% ABV IPA sweetened with lactose in the boil, hopped and dry-hopped with high levels of Nugget, Mosaic and El Dorado, and featuring an addition of vanilla and organic blood orange concentrate. Swing on by the taproom this weekend while touring beautiful Cape Breton, grab yourself a pint of this silky smooth brew, and take in the citrus and vanilla flavours… and the view! If you can’t make it to the brewery, we kinda sorta understand, and fear not: kegs will also be making their way to some of your favourite Big Spruce licensees. Also, good news for those of you who missed the limited run of The Hour of Sour when it was released back in March, as this mixed-fermentation sour conditioned on organic raspberries is back on tap. At 6.3% ABV, they like to describe it as The Silver Tart’s “cool grown-up Aunt” – funky, lots of raspberry, with a subtle lavender presence.

Now that it’s finally getting hot out there, you’ll probably notice an increase in fruity, refreshing, “summery” beers from the breweries in our region, and Dartmouth’s North Brewing is no exception. Today sees the release of Nordic Tea Saison, an interesting-sounding beer that was brewed with a small amount of honey, and fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik Blend from Escarpment Labs. The finished beer was also conditioned on fresh lemon and grapefruit zest (with the emphasis on lemon), and received an addition of an Earl Gray tincture, made with tea from the World Tea House. Coming in at 5.4% ABV, you can grab cans at the North bottle shops, and seek it out on tap at several North accounts, including Battery Park, Stillwell, and the Board Room Game Cafe.

St. John’s, Newfoundland’s new brewery on the block, Bannerman Brewing, has wasted no time getting into the collaboration game with a beer coming out this week that they brewed with the fine folks from Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery. Dream Time is being called a Lactose DIPA, no doubt thanks to an addition of lactic sugar. Hops-wise this one features a “healthy amount” of Galaxy and Sabro, which should provide aromas and flavors of tropical fruit and coconut, a perfect complement to the sweetness of the sugar. They celebrated the release of this one at the brewery by inviting the gang from Landwash down for a tap takeover last night with 6 Landwash brews and 6 of Bannerman’s own taps running, and some Brackish cask action. Hopefully, if you were in the St. John’s area yesterday evening you took advantage of an awesome chance to try some beer from two of Newfoundland’s newest! Otherwise, maybe think about heading down today and seeing what leftovers might be pouring! And for those looking for even more, Landwash will be releasing their version of this home-and-home collaboration shortly, with a full can release to boot.

On the other side of the Rock, in Port au Port East, Secret Cove Brewing also has a new beer on tap this week. Described in style as a “Devoted Pale Ale,” Oat to Newfoundland is inspired by Newfoundland’s official anthem, which is usually publicly performed by singing the first verse and the last; this beer is intended to be delicious from the first sip to the last. At 4.9% ABV you’ll be able to have a few and still sing clearly. It’s got a smooth and silky mouthfeel, a distinctive orange color, and has been triple dry hopped with classic American varieties perfect for a light and hoppy summer ale. You’ll find it on tap at the brewery now alongside the return of their Hard Case in Your Face DIPA.

In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing has announced that their bottle program will officially kick off today with the release of El Tipico. Similar to their draught/can beer El Generico, El Tipico will be an ever-changing sour beer series. Unlike EG, however, ET is not a kettle-soured brew, meaning that while it was indeed soured with Lactobacillus (in this case, a blend from Escarpment Labs), the wort was not boiled afterward in order to kill the Lactobacillus before fermentation. Instead, it was fermented with the brewery’s house ale yeast, and then allowed to age on tart cherries for four weeks. The beer was then carbonated via CO2 (although it did pick up some natural carb thanks to the refermentation from the fruit addition) and packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles. The final product exhibits “an increased complexity and softer acidity”, compared to EG, according to the brewery, along with plenty of citrus fruit on the nose and palate, with a “refreshing, smooth sour/tartness” in the finish. Bottles are available at the brewery as of 11 am this morning, and it’ll also be pouring on tap for pints (no growler fills). 

Hold on, TW isn’t content to stop there this week! They’re also bringing us a brand new canned beer to help you through these hot summer days, Fandango. It’s a 4% ABV brew that was dry-hopped with a new-to-TW hop combo (including a new hop that they’re keeping a secret for now… although we have a good guess!), and then hit with an addition of mango puree. Showing notes of “coconut, tangerine, mango and papaya”, it’s hitting taps/shelves at the brewery at the same time as El Tipico. Finally, TW’s Citra-only American IPA, Seeing Citra, is also freshly available, so you’ve got a wide variety to keep you interested when you drop in this weekend. 

Hopping back over to Nova Scotia, or more specifically, Stellarton, where Backstage Brewing Co. has a new Session IPA out to help you beat the summer heat. Stiff Hopper Lip was brewed with a hefty portion of oats in the grist, helpful in low ABV beers (in this case, 4.3%) to boost the mouthfeel and add a silkiness that demands another sip or six. Hopped in the whirlpool with Centennial, Columbus, Citra and Simcoe, it was then dry-hopped with all four varieties, as well as some Amarillo. Fermented with two different IPA yeast strains, you can probably expect all sorts of fruit/citrus flavours, and maybe even some dank in there, too. If you’re out for a drive this weekend and passing by the brewery, we suggest dropping in to pick some of this one up!

And staying in Pictou County, across the causeway from Stellarton (or down the 104 and up Highway 376 if you like the alternative inland scenic route), Uncle Leo’s Brewery has a new beer pouring in Lyon’s Brook that they just tapped yesterday. Although largely known for their classic American and German styles, this one has its roots in another European country. The aptly-named Odin’s Summer Ale is a table beer in the Norwegian style, leveraging the (very) warm-fermenting Kveik yeast that’s been all the rage lately along with some traditional juniper, in ground form. Ultra-light, at just 3.8% ABV, this coppery-colored beer with spicy and fruity notes is a perfect patio beer for this weekend’s heat wave. Come by the brewery and grab a growler (big or little), as it’s not in cans yet, but will be shortly. And while your there, by all means grab a few of Uncle Leo’s other award-winning offerings – their Ceilidh Kolsch and Sunburst Pale Ale are both lovely summer crushers as well and Encore IPA will make any hophead sit up and take notice.

The fine folks behind Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar have been involved in several collaborating brews since they opened sixteen years ago, and today marks yet another notch in their collab cap with a release from Garrison Brewing. Boardwalk Empire is being billed as a hoppy Hefeweizen, and was brewed recently with the staff from Bishop’s. With a classic Weizen grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, it was hopped not-so-classically with decent amounts of German varietals Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, and Mandarina Bavaria (to 14 IBUs). Another great summer sipper, it’s showing aromas of banana, clove, and bubblegum (expected in a Weizen), as well as melon, pear, grapefruit and pine (maybe not expected!), all supported by a “lingering earthy, resinous, and peppery bitterness”. Sound tasty? Well, the 5.5% ABV beer available as of today in 473 mL cans, exclusively at Bishop’s Cellar and Garrison now. 

Down in Lunenburg, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Shipwright Brewing continues to put out new stuff on a fairly frequent basis, especially for a small operation. Slipway Brut IPA is exactly what it says in the name, an IPA brewed to dry out almost completely. For additional interest, though, brewer Kellye Robertson applied two yeasts: first, a primary fermentation with Northwest Ale and then a krausening with the Belgian Ardennes strain, a technique bound to provide some extra complexity in a beer designed to be light in body. Also a hop showcase, it was hopped solely with Hallertau Blanc, known for white wine characteristics that should be complemented nicely by the extra yeast character. With notes of banana, lemongrass, gooseberry and passionfruit, the beer comes in at 6.6% ABV and 30 IBU with a dry finish and a “bright, but balanced bitterness.” Find it on tap at the Grand Banker and for pints or to go (Crowlers & Growlers) from the brewery itself.

Upstreet has teamed up with the Inn at Bay Fortune – a long-running restaurant/inn located in Bay Fortune, PEI – to brew a special beer, FireWorks Farmhouse Saison. Brewed with “fresh flavours from their farm and fires”, it features Herkules and Calypso hops, was fermented with a custom yeast blend of Kveik and French Saison from Escarpment Labs, and was based on a grist of 2-row barley malt and wheat malt from Shoreline Malting along with some Golden Naked Oats and rye malt. But wait, there’s more! Locally foraged elderberries and sumac, sea salt produced at the Inn, and some applewood from the Inn’s property and toasted on-site provide all kinds of complexity to this well-carbonated brew. You might notice any or all of apple, pear, banana, soft black pepper and white bread on the aroma, and flavors of orchard fruit, and zesty black pepper, with hints of vanilla and golden toast rounding out the palate. Hazy, very lightly bitter at only 10 IBU, and boasting a 6% ABV, it will be available in bottles only at the Inn, as well as Upstreet’s taproom and the Craft Beer Corner, starting tomorrow

If you’re of a certain age in Nova Scotia (not sure about the other Atlantic Canadian Provinces), you might have memories of a product called Golden Glow. Well, let’s be really really honest about it, if the name “Golden Glow” means something to you, any associated memories are probably EXTREMELY hazy at best. Originally produced from the 1930s (yes, you read that right) to the 80s by Chipman Wines in Kentville, NS, it was a (very) hard cider coming in at 15.5% ABV. The last pressing took place in 2007 under the banner of Andres, who bought the brand in 1983 and moved production to Truro. We like to think there’s some bottles of the original still out there, immune to the ravages of time and ready to spice up somebody’s evening in a dramatic way. But even if there’s not, Bad Apple Brewhouse has come to the rescue! Claiming to have finally cracked the code and developed an apple blend that is worthy of the name. Somerset’s Golden Glow Revival is a new hard cider with a taste of the past. Available in small and sleek cans from The Core in Wolfville and, we expect, the brewery in Somerset, we don’t have an ABV listing on this, but given the clear reverence they’ve got for the original (and their decision not to provide growler fills), we’d be surprised if it wasn’t in the same neighborhood as its forebearer. Grab a couple and remember what you forgot!!

What’s going on this weekend (and next month)? Here’s the scoop!

St. John’s favourite Inn / Restaurant / Bar, The Guv’nor on Elizabeth Avenue, is hosting a Newfoundland Craft Beer Tap Takeover this weekend, kicking off today at 4 PM. Featuring ten taps from ten Nfld breweries, this is the perfect opportunity to taste your way across the island without leaving home. Find out more details here, including how you can win yourself a stay and breakfast just for supporting your local pub and breweries!

Fredericton’s Beer on the Bridge returns this weekend, and they certainly picked a perfect date for the fun! Tomorrow, Saturday July 6, from 6 – 9 PM, more than 30 Maritime breweries, cideries, and distilleries are taking over the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, pouring their best for you. Tickets are still available here, so grab yours now to avoid disappointment! 

A quick heads up that will have Newfoundland beer fans looking forward even more to next month’s Royal St. John’s Regatta. It was announced that the Newfoundland Craft Brewers Association will be running the beer tent at the Regatta on August 7th. And earlier this week, almost all of the breweries in the province, plus several who are planning on opening later this year, came together at Landwash Brewery to brew up a collaborative beer. This Mexican Lager will be hitting the tents next month, so keep your ears peeled for more details then!

Just a coupla more things today…

Good Robot has re-released their collaboration with the Limestone Group, Flavabot: Pink Flamingo. This watermelon kiwi Radler was originally brewed to honour the national bird of the Bahamas, and at 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, is great for summer sipping.

Hammond River Brewing has just released Enkel Tom’s Cabin, a Patersbier (aka Enkel or Belgian Single) that is basically the Belgian form of a lawnmower beer. This refreshing, pale-coloured, hazy beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 14 IBUs, and was the winning entry in this year’s annual HRB Homebrew Competition. Originally designed by Fredericton’s Matt Stever, who was on hand for the brew day at HRB, you can find it on tap now at the brewery, as well as local tap accounts.

Bridgewater’s King Street Beer Company (a partnership with Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company) are coming through on their promise to invite local homebrewers in to brew a beer on their system under the Lahave River Beers banner. Gillian Crouse and Gillian Varner put together a recipe for a Belgian Blonde Ale infused with Mangoes that they’re calling Man-Goes Wild (see what they did there?). That beer goes on tap tonight at 6:30 PM at the brewery where you can sit on the patio and enjoy this light and refreshing brew. 

Niche Brewing has brought back a lighter beer to beat the heat this weekend, the Grisette they call Mines of Wallonia. At just 3.6% ABV, leaning on a grist of Pilsner, spelt and malted oats, and fairly hoppy thanks to Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the French Saison yeast strain. Look for it on tap wherever you’re used to seeing Niche beers.

Nine Locks released their politest beer yet yesterday, an “East Coast IPA” named Frig Off (6.7% ABV, 30 IBUs). Brewed with oats and wheat in the grist and dry-hopped to “massive” proportions, its hazy, silky, with a light bitterness in the finish, and a whole whack of citrus and tropical hop flavour. Available exclusively at the brewery on tap and in cans. 

Petit-Sault has a brand new brewery-only beer pouring for the weekend, a hazy Session IPA named Rock Ways. Dry-hopped with Ekuanot and Azacca, it comes in at a supremely-sessionable 3.3% ABV. Growlers and pints right now!

Rockbottom has their first new beer on tap in awhile, Nova Anglia. A New England IPA that was hopped with lots of Huell Melon and Ekuanot once the boil was complete, this hazy, bright yellow beverage is tasting very juicy, with lots of that lovely, fruity hop flavour that you’re constantly craving.

Tusket Falls released Watch Me Work Now, a 4.2% ABV Gose brewed with additions of grapefruit rind, in early June. Well, it’s back again, and this time there’s plenty of cans headed out to NSLC stores across the province. Tart and refreshing, there’s tangerine, lime, and grapefruit on the palate.

New beer pouring at Yellowbelly, an Amber Lager named Float Your Boat (5.3% ABV, 30 IBUs). Designed by brewer Dave Hale, it’s available for pints and growlers. 

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.