Backstage Brewing

All posts tagged Backstage Brewing

Howdy folks, we know you’re probably looking for something to pass the time at work when there’s nothing to do because half your office took Friday off for an extended long weekend. Well you’ve come to the right place, this is a long one (for the sake of the trees we don’t recommend printing it out). Whether you call it May 2-4, May Long, or Victoria Day Weekend, here’s all the beer info you need to know for your long weekend and into next week.

• Let’s start things off with North Brewing, who are celebrating the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference (happening next week in Halifax) in a very big way – they’ve teamed up with breweries (and a yeast lab!) throughout the country, and are releasing five (5!) new beers. There’s no easy or quick way to get through all these, and we think they deserve the attention we’re giving them, so let’s dive right in…

Aries – A long time coming, this is the first time North and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for an official beer release, and it sounds like it was worth the wait! This one features a “delicate Saison base”, which after brewing was aged in Tempranillo red wine barrels for six months, with a pitch of Belgian Sour Blend (four Brettanomyces strains, four Lactobacillus, and two Pediococcus) from Escarpment Labs. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s coming through as “lightly vinous with notes of tropical fruit, melon, berries, and a nice Brett funk”. 5.4% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles, with half going to each brewery for sales.

Hapi – This Berliner Weisse was brewed with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing; soured with Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend (L. brevis and L. plantarum), it was fermented with Brett Q (also from Escarpment), a rising-in-popularity B. bruxellensis strain isolated “from a barrel-aged sour beer from Quebec”, known for giving notes of “ripe strawberry, pear, and apple, with an underlying funk”, according to Escarpment. Conditioned in the bottle, expect it to be light, citrusy, and refreshing (like all good Berliner Weisses should be!). 3.7% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles.

Chrysomallon – With all of the yeast and bacteria they provide to North, it’s only fair that Escarpment Labs gets their own collab, no? This one is a Witbier fermented with their “Fruity Witbier” strain, and conditioned on locally-foraged and dried goldenrod from East Coast Wild Foods. “Citrusy, herbaceous, and refreshing”, easy-drinking at just 4.1% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Caltha – Heading back west, this is a Grisette brewed with Ale Architect, a brand new brewery in Edmonton. Fermented with Escarpment’s “Old World Saison” Blend (two “classic” Saison strains), the finished beer was conditioned on dried rosehips and calendula (a member of the marigold family) from World Tea House. “Tart, floral, and delicate”, super-drinkable at 3.8% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Njörðr – Yep, we copied and pasted the name of this one! Brewed with the wonderful Four Winds Brewing from Delta, BC, this is a Nordic Farmhouse-style beer, fermented with Escarpment’s “Hornindal Kveik” Blend. This is a beer style that is fermented very warm (we’re talking 25 degrees and beyond) to achieve complete attenuation, and Njörðr actually underwent a secondary fermentation with locally-foraged sea buckthorn juice and berries from East Coast Wild Foods and Newell’s Jewels, and was finally conditioned on camomile. This beauty has been bottle conditioning for a spell in 500 mL bottles, and come in at 5.2% ABV.

All five of these beers will be pouring at the Coast to Coast Tap Takeover at Battery Park from 11:30AM – 6PM Thursday May 24 (and then BP will close for an Industry Night event), and in bottles and cans at both that Dartmouth location, as well as their home on Agricola Street in Halifax at opening the same day. The colourful label designs are courtesy of local artist John Newgard. Filling out the 16 taps will be another 11 Escarpment-flavoured collaborations, several of which are with local breweries, but there will also be lots from further afield, including Toronto’s Blood Brothers.

• Also pouring at Battery Park on the 24th is Tatamagouche’s Edel Saison. If that name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back! First released in Fall 2017 as a draught-only, stainless-fermented Saison, this release received a little extra time and care to bring it to fruition. Partnering up with the Escarpment crew for the yeast blend of Saison origin and Brettanomyces, this light beer had a malt bill of mostly Pils with raw wheat and raw rye, and was hopped to 20 IBUs with Strisselspalt, which was what was available in the fall. This current release featured a portion of that original brew aged for an additional 5 months in Spanish Tempranillo barrels after blending with Muscat grape must. The resultant dry, fruity, and funky beer has been bottle conditioning since February, and will be available for purchase only at their storefront in Tatamagouche beginning Thursday (beside the very few kegs at Battery Park and elsewhere in HRM).

• Not to be outdone by North’s CBA bounty, Halifax’s 2 Crows also clearly put some serious effort into welcoming the country’s brewers with four new beers of their own, each also being a collaboration brew. Here’s the details on all four beers that are slated for release:

All In – The East Coast swing by Escarpment Labs naturally included a stop in Halifax’s home for wayward fermentation organisms. A 5.0% ABV foedre-aged Wild Saison featuring a grist of Pilsner, chit malt, raw wheat and malted wheat, it was hopped gently in the boil to 17 IBU with Sterling and Simcoe hops before being fermented in foedre with a crazy concoction of yeast and bugs – Escarpment’s Fruit Bomb Saison strain, which itself contains both a saison-appropriate Sacchromyces strain along with two varieties of Brettanomyces, a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus, and “probably a few other yeast thrown in there too.” This microbe stew chewed away at the beer for some 5 months in foedre before a transfer to stainless and a light dry hop with Loral. The beer walks the line between old world and new world with a “rustic earthiness and light herbal character” but you can also expect some citrus and stone fruit.

Vic Wild – Continuing the trend of including suppliers in the brewing fun, 2 Crows produced this beer with help from representatives from hop supplier Hops Connect. Known for their focus on quality and freshness, they’re also known as the source for many sought after Australian hop varieties; this beer reflects that, as well as 2 Crows tendency towards funky fermentation. Brewed with Ireks Pilsner and Wheat malts (also sourced through Hops Connect), this beer was kettle hopped solely in the whirlpool, with a bit of Ella and a whole lot of Vic Secret. It was then fermented warm with the Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation blend of Brett strains, with two large dry hops of Vic Secret, one during active fermentation, one after. Described as a “funky hop bomb” look for passionfruit, pineapple and a hint of pine in this extremely quaffable 5.0% ABV and 11 IBU beer. Only about 1000 liters were made and 600 cans packaged, so be quick or be disappointed on this one.

Good Air – Again leveraging their big wooden barrels, this beer was a collaboration with Block Three Brewing out of St. Jacob’s, Ontario (just north of Waterloo), that was fermented in foedre. Starting with raw buckwheat, which was cereal mashed for conversion, Pilsner, flaked barley, and some rye malt were added before a multiple step mash was undertaken to produce the sweet wort. During the boil, Golding, Sterling and Hallertau Blanc hops were added to the tune of 15 IBU and, we suspect, some flavor and aroma. The yeast in this one was harvested from a bottle of Coalesce Brewing’s Foreward and a touch of hop-tolerant Lactobacillus. After four months in the foedre, the beer was transferred to stainless steel tanks for final treatment with a dry hop of Azacca and Huell Melon before packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer that is earthy and rustic with a slight tartness, big pineapple and orchard fruit notes, and complex esters formed from the combination of Brett and compounds from the buckwheat.

Cool Kid – Last but not least is a beer brewed with Rob Coombs and ACBB’s own Shawn Meek of Niche Brewing, hailing out of Fredericton, NB (fine, “Hanwell”), and it’s a wild one. Brewed with Pilsner, wheat, spelt and a touch of rye, only Hallertau Blanc was used for hopping in the kettle. Before fermentation, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus to ensure an assertive tartness, before being transferred to a foedre where it received a pitch of 2 Crows house Saison strain, the Amalgamation blend, and Brettanomyces lambicus. A month into fermentation it was hit with 400 lbs of tart cherry purée. After refermenting and another month of conditioning, it was then hit with 400 lbs of raspberry purée. After a total of 4 months in the foedre it was transferred to stainless for packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer sporting 14 IBU that’s tart and bright with “massive” fruit flavors, both dry cherry and a jammy raspberry, with hints of marzipan and cinnamon. Sounds to us like something that is likely to taste pretty great right now, but which might also have some serious potential for tasting very nice after some time in the cellar!

All four of these beers will be available in cans at the brewery as of noon on Thursday, May 24th. All except the Vic Wild can be expected to appear at the private stores in Halifax as well. Kegs have also been packaged, but expect those to be largely reserved for the brewery and the CBA booths.

• Sticking with Niche Brewing for the moment, they’ve released another new beer for New Brunswickers (mainly) to enjoy, a 6.4% ABV dark beer they’re calling Receding Darkness. Although it may resemble a stout in the grist, with Pilsner, Wheat and Midnight Wheat being joined by Rye for some spicy character, that’s where the similarities stop. Lightly hopped in the boil with Amarillo, it was then fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being allowed to develop for nearly two months. We’re told that the result features milk chocolate flavors blend with light Brett aromatics and overripe fruit character. You’ll find it soon at the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton and the Laundromat in Moncton, and at other Niche tap accounts in the near future (here’s hoping we see some kegs make it to Halifax!)

• Late last week, Sober Island Brewing released a special beer brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Blueberry Express. Named after a track that the railway used to run on, the beer is, naturally, a Blueberry Ale. Brewed with 2-row, Carapils, and Honey malt, it was hopped very lightly with Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood, to just 14 IBUs… basically, the base beer for the brewery’s Blonde Ale. The difference is the addition of local blueberries from Glenmore Farms, which were added after primary fermentation, to keep as much blueberry character as possible in the aroma and flavour of the beer. Unfortunately, it sold out at the brewery in just two days… but this is also a good thing, as each can sale brought in $0.50 to the museum, in honour of their 100th anniversary. On the bright side, they’re currently making more, and plan on having the beer available year-round, and there may be some still available at some private stores in HRM.

• There’s some people out there who say that craft beer has become too gimmicky; that someone is always looking to do the next shocking beer, add some weird ingredient, etc. Well, if you’re one of those people, Tidehouse Brewing would like to have a few words with you! Possibly unrelated, they’d also like for you to try their latest beer, Pepperoni Ghost (yeah, you see where this is going). Brewing a “pepperoni beer” has actually been on their minds since before the brewery even opened, and it was an idea that stuck, apparently (unlike that Nutmeg Bomb we’ve all been craving)! After purchasing some pepperoni from local deli Brothers Meats, they rendered the fat, dried the meat, and crumbled it into a coarse powder, which was added at the end of the boil in the brewing process. Ghost peppers were also added in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter, to add some heat. You can find this 5.3% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on tap, with a limited amount in bottles, starting today at 2 pm.

• The two Gahan locations in New Brunswick are churning out some new beers, thanks to brewer Spencer Gallant, who is currently doing all of the brewing at both locations. At Gahan House Port City (Saint John), Terpene Dreams – the latest hoppy brew to hit their taps – is a NEIPA hopped with Amarillo and Vic Secret. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has notes of stone fruit, and plenty o’ dank! This location will also soon be launching a barrel program, as they expect to be receiving six barrels (three each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the very near future, some of which will be soon housing a Saison for some aging; in addition, some spirit barrels are also expected to join the family over the next few months. Over in Fredericton, Gahan House Riverside just tapped Hoppy Lager, which was brewed with a very simple grist of Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and hopped with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic, giving “super tropical and melon undertones”; it comes in at 5.4% ABV and 24 IBUs. And on deck to be released next is Multigrain IPA, the grist of which is – as you may expect from the beer’s name – a little more complex, including the addition of Malted Oats, Flaked Rye, and some rice to go along with several barley malts. Hopped mostly with Simcoe, as well as some Azacca, the beer has aromas of peach, apricot, and a bit of coconut. Hazy, and with an “approachable bitterness” at 46 IBUs, look for this 6% ABV IPA to be on tap, soon.

• New on the scene at Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove, NS, is a cider to join their regular line of beer offerings. Exit 24, ostensibly named for where you get off Highway 101 to reach Smith’s Cove, is a dry cider made with juice from Honeycrisp, Macintosh and Cortland apples. Crisp and flavorful, is comes in at 6.4% ABV and will no doubt help you appreciate the apple blossoms starting to make their presence known throughout the Annapolis Valley and the rest of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the beer also continues to flow, as Bear Bones, their IPA, is making its return. Dry hopped with both Columbus and Cascade hops from Southan Farms in New Brunswick, it’s a citrusy, floral and fruity brew that weighs in at 6.5% ABV. You can check out one or both of these offerings at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market or, if you’re in the city, kegs have reached Battery Park and Harvest Wines in Dartmouth.

• The Good Robot Beta release for next week has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (maybe the holiday Monday is throwing them off… seems weird for a brewery open on Christmas Day, no?), and this time it’s a cask. Originally put together by the Femmebots for the Stillwell Open earlier this month, Say My Name is a dark Belgian ale that was “conditioned with Candi sugar”. Bittered to 27 IBUs with Perle to offset some of the residual sweetness, the 5.2% ABV dark brown beer is “spicy, fruity, and light-bodied”. And the next day, All-Inclusive IPA is returning after a brief hiatus. This 6.8% ABV, 74 IBUs American IPA features a “smooth, medium-light body, with a balanced bitterness rounded out by mango and pineapple hop aromas”, with the addition of Grains of Paradise giving some spice character to the beer as well. And keep an eye open for Tiny Tigers, their 5.8% ABV Saison which just hit the wall of their taproom yesterday. Check the full details in last week’s post.

• If you’re in the Wolfville area, look for the latest in the Annapolis Cider Company‘s Something Different series to be released today. Pazazz & Grapefruit was made with all Pazazz apples, a relatively new variety of dessert apple (descended from the Honeycrisp), which is grown locally in Nova Scotia and has a crisp texture, as well as a sweet and tart flavour. The 6.8% ABV sparkling cider was also infused with fresh ruby grapefruit zest, and finished with a bit of fresh Pazazz juice, making for a refreshing cider with “fresh apple notes, complemented by subtle hints of grapefruit”. For this release, $0.50 of every refill will be donated to Kentville’s Chrysalis House, which provides shelter and outreach services for women and children.

• You may recall the release of The Passenger, a Berliner Weisse from Lunn’s Mill, last fall. Well, that beer is making its triumphant return this week, with a change – it has been aging in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel since February, allowing this sour, light-bodied, German-style beer to pick up a bit of wine and oak character, and it’s tartness to develop further. Look for this 4.7% ABV, 4 IBUs beer to be available at the brewery’s taproom over the weekend.

Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland has a new beer available for the long weekend. Day Tripper is a modern, American Pale Ale with a hazy appearance. Zesty, refreshing and citrusy, it weighs in at a very drinkable 5.5% ABV, perfect for having another. You’ll find it along with their Baycation Blonde available for growler fills at their St. John’s retail store just in time for May 2-4!

• The CBA special releases continue with a collaboration between Propeller and Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON), Wild Gruit Ale. Gruits (a centuries-old style where spices, herbs, and other botanicals replace hop additions) are increasing in popularity, but you still don’t see them very often; luckily, Beau’s has been brewing the style fairly frequently, making them the perfect brewery to team up with in this case! Beau’s contributed some hand-harvested organic bog myrtle (native to Northern Ontario and Quebec), which was added with staghorn sumac that was locally-foraged in Halifax. The beer was non-traditionally hopped as well, with Warrior, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast from Escarpment Labs, the final product has a “sweet aroma and balanced bitterness, and some herbal and spicy notes” thanks to the bog myrtle, with the staghorn sumac contributing “a red fruit and citrus complexity”. The beer will be launched at a Collaboration Release Party at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom location next Wednesday, May 23rd, where it will be joined by six other Beau’s brews on tap. Lots of great beer and giveaways available, and it all starts at 6 PM!

• Today’s weekly new release from TrailWay Brewing is a collaboration with Brewers Supply Group (BSG) names Mou-ska-tere. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was hopped primarily with Moutere, a New Zealand variety that is quite new to these parts. Moutere is a high-alpha acid hop that exhibits characteristics of passion fruit and grapefruit, with notes of hay, spice, and pine, according to BSG’s description. A little bit of Galaxy and El Dorado were also used in this beer, to help boost the juicy, tropical flavours even further. You’ll be able to find cans and pours of this one at TrailWay today, with other NB licensees having it on tap as well, soon. And for those of you in Halifax, it will also be showing up at a few locations and events there next week, during the CBA celebrations.

Let’s switch from new beers to new events for the coming weeks…

Tomorrow, Big Spruce is kicking off their summer season with a big to-do at their taproom away from home, Bras D’Or Yacht Club. With six Big Spruce beers flowing from 4PM, including new beer releases and special casks, there will be live music from Asaph Deuce and Mitch MacDonald all evening, with games, door prizes, and food from Stand & Stuff Your Face made especially to pair with the beers. No word yet on which beers will be available, but a little birdie told us to keep an eye open for the return of Tag You’re It, their New England IPA brewed in support of the Ocean Tracking Network, in cans as well as in kegs.

Copper Bottom Brewing is celebrating the release of their Parkman Ave Double IPA tomorrow, with lots happening in the brewery. From 4-8PM, Sneaky Cheats will be onsite with beer-pairing-worthy food, and music from Johnny Ross, Kelley Mooney, Dion MacBeth, and Bennett Buell. At 9PM, there will be a change of pace with The Love Junkies taking the stage until close. Making life for folks from town a little easier, there will be shuttles to/from the brewery available. Find out much more at their FB event page.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider turns One on Sunday, and is holding a party all day to celebrate. From 11 AM, they’ll have drink specials, giveaways, and a seafood boil on the go from their Unchained Kitchen crew. They are also holding a contest and draw, with your chance to share your favourite of their many ciders, perrys, meads, or cysers from the past year. Fill out the form here to enter, and drop by Sunday to take part in the fun.

2 Crows and the North End Runners will be hosting a little Bluenose Marathon shindig this coming Sunday morning, May 20th. They’re calling it “Mile 26.3” (1 marathon = 26.2 miles) starting at 8 AM when they’ll have cold brew available from Low Point Coffee along with some special breakfast treats. If you’re thinking of watching the race, this would be a fine vantage point. Might not be a bad idea to stake your claim before the race is over though, as 2 Crows is likely to be viewed as an extremely convenient post-race hydration station by thirsty runners! Look for more details to be posted on 2 Crows social media as the event approaches.

There are plenty of events surrounding the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax next week, being held Thursday to Saturday, May 24-26. While the Awards and Conference are only open to those in the beer business, there are plenty of other events happening in town. We’ve already told you about the Escarpment Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday, but here are a few more:

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing will be setting up a pop-up taproom at World Tea House on Argyle during the CBAC, with a rotating selection of 4 taps pouring at any time. WTH is responsible for sourcing the ginger and green tea for their Hunky Dory Pale Ale, so it will always be available, and will be joined by some recent releases as well as perennial favourites. Pop by to grab some samplers! They may be featuring BR’s brand new High Altitude, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped lager, fermented with Escarpment’s lager strain. If not, or even if it is, you can grab bottles of it at Bishop’s Cellar now.

• Boxing Rock is also holding two Tap Takeovers at private stores RockHead Wine & Beer Market and WestSide Beer Wine Spirits. Thursday afternoon from 4PM, pop by to meet up with Emily or Henry from Boxing Rock, and grab a growler or three of their beers.

Stillwell Beer Bar, and the just-opened-for-the-season Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden (#BGonSG), have been collecting and curating some of their favourite beers to showcase during the 3 day celebration of beer, for an ongoing event they’ve dubbed Grand National. The number of beers and breweries is too long to list here, but trust us that there will be plenty of great stuff flowing through their 22 shared taps, with lots of it pouring on the yEast Coast for the first time. You can get a little excited by checking out their Facebook event page for some more details. As always, tune into their social media pages for the latest info.

• Halifax’s The Auction House is hosting a Prince Edward Island Tap Takeover on Friday, May 25, with all five PEI breweries represented: Barnone, Copper Bottom, Moth Lane, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. Look for old favourites and new releases to be flowing on Argyle that evening from 3PM, with a few brewery staff on hand with giveaways and to chat beer.

We know your coffee break (or lunch?) was over 10 minutes ago, but there’s a few more things to tell you:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Creedence Coconut Revive-Ale features copious quantities of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops along with a bunch of late-addition toasted coconut. A tropical experience like summer in a glass, you’ll find it at their taproom on Bridge Avenue.
Bulwark Cider has a new entry in their Fruit Series hitting NSLC stores soon, Strawberry Lime. Juicy and fresh, it’ll no doubt be a go-to summer refresher. Yesterday they also announced the launch of Bulwark Ciders at Wishbeer Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand!
– After releasing their Tickle Fight IPA a few weeks back, Half Cut has now put kegs of their Alter Ego Altbier back into the wild. Brewing at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, these releases are available on draught only, occasionally on growlers in the region as well.
– Making the most of a horrible situation due to flooding at their Roundhouse location, Picaroons has released was able to salvage a batch of their Irish Red by dry-hopping it with Azacca while working in less-than-ideal conditions. The 5.0% ABV Flood Red is available at the brewery and Brewtique now, as well as Picaroons’ other lcoations outside of Fredericton.
– On Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Rockbottom Brewpub has released Peaches & Cream Ale, a light, sweet and easy drinking north american style cream ale sweetened with all natural peach extract for a pleasant fruit finish.
– Tickets for this year’s Seaport Beerfest are on sale as of 11AM today. On August 10 & 11, more than 100 producers will be sharing more than 300 beers from across the Atlantic Provinces, the rest of Canada and the US, and, for the first time, there will be an Icelandic Beer pavillion, with just shy of 20 beers from the island nation. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon tickets are $45 (+fees and taxes), while Saturday evening tickets are $50++. VIP access is available for all sessions, which includes early entrance (an extra hour!) and a special tasting glass, which is yours to keep. Grab your tickets today!
– Dartmouth’s Spindrift has another pair of 7th Wave brews on tap this weekend at the brewery: Baby Whale, a hazy and fruity 6.5% ABV New England IPA and Palm Springs Guava Pale Ale a 6.1% pale that was flavoured with guava purée. Also, their new Hurricane IPA is now available at NSLC locations around the province.
Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax has cans available again as of noon today, featuring the return of Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, their 7.5% ABV Citra SMaSH DIPA. Also available will be Hoppy Fingers APA, Exile on North Street IPA, and Front Line Rocker DIPA.
– PEI’s Upstreet has announced the availability of their Commons Pilsner in sixpacks of 355 mL cans available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner just in time for the long weekend! Look for distribution to widen to PEI Liquor locations by next weekend and hopefully beyond PEI’s shores after that.

 

Eek! We’re late this week. Why? Partially because we have these pesky day jobs. But also because our region Will. Not. Stop. with the new breweries, new beers, beer re-releases, and beer-related events. Also, somethingsomething about the weather. Enjoy!!

• After a full year of construction, brewing, aging, blending, and bottle conditioning, Valonray Farmhouse Brewing in MacDougall Settlement is ready to share the fruits of their labours with you. Celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow 10 AM – 4 PM, visitors can drop by the brewery for a tour, sample some of their initial offerings (five will be available), and grab a bottle or two to go. Available will be their flagship Saison, a Single and a Tripel, Blonde, and Pale Ale, all in the Belgian style. Learn more about Valonray in the profile we published last month, to get you excited for their opening and big plans for the future. Going forward, the brewery retail will be open every Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM, with the hours expanding in the summer. While the plan is for their beer to eventually be at local ANBL locations, it is only available at the brewery for the next while.

• After many months of planning and hard work, Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is finally just-about-ready to open their new brewery (15 bbl – 1750 L – vs. their original 1 bbl brewery) to the public. They’re holding a soft launch this weekend, starting today from 11 AM – 7 PM, and continuing tomorrow from 11 AM – 5 PM, at their new location at 700 Malenfant Blvd. They’ll have seven of their beers on tap to start, and will be filling growlers (which can be purchased there, or of course you can bring your own), pouring pints and flights, and also selling 473 mL cans of their Dixie Clipper IPA and Empress Irish Red Ale for you to take home. More beers will be popping up over the next few weeks, and they’ll be updating their taproom hours once they officially open.

York County Cider in Fredericton recently celebrated their second anniversary, and used that as an excuse to release their latest seasonal cider blend, Smoky Maple. As the name implies, the base apple cider is enhanced by additions of maple syrup for an iconic taste of spring in our region, as well as light smoke to complete the full “outdoor maple boil” of this 6.3% ABV cider. This cider was primarily available during their anniversary celebrations and now only three kegs are left until next year! That said, the YCC crew is happy to let us know that their Strawberry Ciderita is now on the shelves of the local ANBL locations. This strawberry and lime cider is 5.8% ABV, and crisp and fruity. Drop by Ed’s Garage (aka, the taproom) at 38 Main Street to grab your taste of their full line-up today.

Port Rexton Brewing brought back their annual Ten Eighty Series last week with the release of Imperial Saison. This single batch is the brewery’s take on a traditional style, taking the typically-mid-strength Farmhouse Ale and dialling it to 11… or, more accurately, 9.6. Yes, it weighs in at an impressive 9.6% ABV, coming through as crisp, effervescent, and warming. Fermented with the fruity and spicy French Saison yeast strain, the beer was dry-hopped lightly with Mandarina Bavaria. There are still a few bottles left at the retail shop at 286 Torbay Road (open today from 4 – 8 PM and tomorrow from 12 – 6 PM), be sure to pick some up if you’re in the area… as we mentioned, this is a single batch only, and they won’t last long!

• And debuting at the PRB retail location today is SeaWind Saison, made with Sorrel, a Jamaican preparation of hibiscus flowers, and orange peel. At 5.4% ABV, SeaWind offers floral aromatics, low bitterness, and a light bubblegum character from the Belgian yeast. It is available exclusively in growlers at the retail spot, where you can also pick up some PRB merch. And good news for those who’ve been waiting for an excuse to go for a visit, the brewery will be opening for the season May 4th.

• The latest in PEI Brewing Company’s After Hours series is now available at their taproom and retail shops. Perseverance is a 7.0% ABV malty Belgian ale, first fermented with saison yeast, and then transferred onto three strains of Brettanomyces for several months to develop a complex blend of aroma and flavour. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with German Tettnanger, packaged and bottle conditioned, and now ready for your enjoyment! Rather than packaging with Brett to condition in the bottle, the beer has already developed a full complement of secondary flavour and aromatics, drying out the bigger body, and is ready to drink right now. Mark your calendars for the April 12 official-re-launch of the After Hours series, where several more beers will be pouring at the brewery taproom, and a great way to taste several of them at once, more details below.

• As has become usual for them, Good Robot has news of two brews this week, an Alpha and a Beta batch. From the Alpha system a Chocolate Porter this way comes, with origins in the last chocolate porter brewed at Good Robot. Still boasting a “rich taste, exquisite mouthfeel, and tantalizing aroma” this time it’s got a brand new name: Bingo Bronson. Coming in at a very drinkable 6% ABV, it was made with classic English Maris Otter malt, flaked oats and flaked barley, chocolate and coffee malts, and some Vienna to boot. Hopped with Belma, of all things, don’t go looking for a big hop presence, but expect an impact from the carob powder, cocoa powder and chocolate extract used to provide chocolate flavor. This one should be available for growler fills at the brewery as well as pints in the tasting room. And coming out on Tuesday next for Beta Brewsday, Beta system Queen Kelly Costello teamed with Allana Dalrymple to concoct a low-ABV Scottish Ale leaning heavily on Golden Promise malt with some CaraAroma, Crystal 60 and Roasted Barley for character. High-alpha acid Warrior hops battered the brew and some Perle provide aroma. Finished on Caldera whiskey-soaked oak chips before being racked to a cask, look for this 3.9% ABV and 20ish IBU treat to top the bar this coming Tuesday!

YellowBelly Brewing in St John’s has a new take on an old favourite beer back on tap these days. First released as a home-and-home collaboration with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery (located on Australia’s East Coast), Me Ol’ Trout (formerly East Coast Cream Ale) is back at the brewpub, as well as bottes at local NLC. At 4.8% ABV, and less than 20 IBUs, the Cream Ale style can often be considered a boring (for both brewer and drinker), so Brewmaster Liam McKenna was sure to make the style his own, opting for a significant dry hop rate to raise the hop aromatics. Grab a pint or bottle today, and those across the country will be able to enjoy the beer starting in May, as Me Ol’ Trout will be available in the Central City “Across the Nation” collaboration mix pack.

• And speaking of YellowBelly, they are teaming up with Semintha Nutraceuticals to hold a birch beverage competition, with the goal of producing a tasty and healthful drink with Birch sap at its base. Interested folks are encouraged to reach out to the Newfermenters homebrew group for more details, including sharing their recipe and technique to produce a beer, mead, or cider, or even non-fermented drink, using Semintha’s sap. Check out the Facebook group for more details, and submit your plan via email before May 1st.

Off Track Brewing is getting closer to commissioning their larger brewhouse, but in the meantime, they’ve got several new beers pouring at their taproom in Bedford. Diving right in with Wheat in the Knees, an American Wheat Ale hopped lightly with Belma and Huell Melon; at just 4.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, it’s the perfect beer for what they refer to as “soon-to-be summer”, but we’re highly skeptical today! Regardless, an easy-drinking beer with a touch of citrus, meant to be enjoyed in quantity. In the same mold, Raspberry Wheat is another wheat beer, but with fruit. An experimental batch, look for others in the “series” to follow suit, with Cherry Wheat and Mango Wheat coming soon… as in later this weekend! These are all single kegs only, so be sure to drop by for your taste.

• And in non-Wheat beers, expect to see State Capitals for $500 from Off Track this weekend. An American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, it’s described by the brewery as “very melony and fruity”; it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 43 IBUs. Finally, expect to see Pull the Pin IPA on tap as well, a 6% ABV, 58 IBUs IPA hopped mainly with Centennial, giving the beer aromas and flavours of light fruit, as well as some spicy and floral character.

• We have the details on the latest release from Brightwood Brewery, an interesting beer they’re referring to as a Rosé IPA. Dartmouth Blush is a Belgian IPA hopped with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc late in the boil, and at flameout, to maximize the aroma and flavour characteristics of both varieties. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, and Hibiscus and Rose Hips were also added to give the final product a pink hue.

• In Halifax, 2 Crows has two new small batch taproom-only releases to share this week put together by staff members Graeme and Nick. First, from Graeme, is another obscure Dutch ale (he was also responsible for the Dutch Bokbier late last year), this time a Luyks Bier, whatever that is. Built on a grist of predominantly spelt, with Pilsner, wheat and some flaked oats, it was bittered with Magnum and hopped with a combination of Columbus and Goldings. Fermentation with Omega Labs Hothead yeast makes Peace Train a full-bodied 5.7% ABV and 34 IBU beer that features notes of grapefruit and clementine leading to a dry, slightly bitter finish (and Cat Stevens ringing in your ears). Next up is Nick’s Blithe, a Belgian Pale Ale featuring the middle eastern spice Sumac. At 5.9% ABV and 29 IBU, it was brewed with pale malt, spelt, malted oats, and a bit of Munich malt. Hops included the spicy/fruity British hybrid Bramling Cross and the citrus/floral/fruity American Calypso. Fermented with the 2 Crows house saison culture, the sumac (sourced from East Coast Wild Foods) entered the picture during conditioning. The beer is described as “bright, fruity, floral and dry” with some yeast-based funk and some bitter orange flavors from the sumac. You’ll find both of these brews only available by the pint on Brunswick Street at the 2 Crows tasting room.

• New Brunswick’s heaviest hoppists, Trailway Brewing in Fredericton have yet another IPA dropping this Friday. Featuring one of the industry darling hops of the last year or two, Ekuanot, alongside so-new-we-had-to-look-it-up Loral (HBC 291), Imagination is a 6.5% ABV super-refreshing brew with a hint of green pepper from the Ekuanot and a very soft and floral, yet fruity finish from the Loral. You’ll find it at the brewery and possibly over the coming weeks at ANBL locations. Watch Trailway social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) for more on that.

• On Agricola Street in Halifax, urban cidery Chain Yard has a new batch on the go they’re calling Mallow Yallow. Leveraging malolactic fermentation where bacteria other than yeast are introduced to convert malic acid to lactic acid, and, in doing so, soften the acidity of the final product, this cider was also put into oak barrels for 4 months to condition. The result is a dry cider at 6.4% ABV, with a crisp, light carbonation, some sweetness, and featuring notes of caramel, whiskey and French oak.

Beerocracy, the independent documentary on New Brunswick craft beer (how the NB beer industry started and where it’s headed, as well as what challenges could hamper its growth), is finally viewable online for the world to see! Anyone interested in the story of beer in NB can go to Vimeo to either rent the movie for less than the cost of a fresh pint, or buy it to watch anytime, anywhere. Check it out here!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new session pale ale on tap this week. Called Night Moves, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV, 35 IBU beer that hopped with Citra and Mosaic. And a reminder that the taproom on Bridge Avenue is open for business and the guest are now in full force. The dozen beer currently pouring includes offerings from the Eastern Shore’s Sober Island, Antigonish’s Half Cocked, and others. So if you’re in the PC, AJ and his band have your craft beer fix; give a thought to heading down and checking it out!

Here are the events we’re excited about in the coming weeks:

• Back in 2013, Picaroons released their Plaid to the Bone, an English Pale Ale brewed with Heather tips. Don’t be too confused, but they’re releasing a new beer, named Plaid to the Bone – Scotch Ale, to continue the Scottish theme. A big (8.6% ABV), malty brew, this one-off has been bottled and will officially be released at a Launch Party today at the Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton. The fun starts at 4 PM, with lots of beer available in bottles and on tap, served alongside haggis samosas and Scotch eggs, with live fiddling music to jig to (or you can just sit and listen).

• First poured at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last month, the Tide & Boar Gastropub is releasing their Sour Otis – Peach Barrel Edition tomorrow, April 7th at 11 AM . Spontaneously fermented and aged for 7 months in a Pinot Noir barrel, this limited edition beer will be available in short supply to enjoy at the T&B, and to take home. Only 125 bottles will be available for purchase, with the remaining 57 bottles going on sale to drink in-house at the brewpub. Look for another one of their beers to be on the growler filling station at Duo Cafe as well.

• A reminder that Revel Cider from Guelph will be taking over the taps at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow from noon, with a dozen of their fun and funky ciders available all day. Check out the tap list here to get an idea of what you’ll be tasting. Fans of mixed fermentation and spontaneous beers will enjoy their offerings, and for those who don’t… fear not, there’ll be plenty of cool bottles from Stilly’s fridges and cellar available for tasting and comparing!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has quickly lined up their next brewery-featured event, with one of New Brunswick’s newest breweries – Holy Whale, out of Alma – bringing their beers for all to enjoy! Call Me Ishmael – A Holy Whale Micro Tap Takeover will take place tomorrow, April 7th when the pub opens at 3 PM. Holy Whale is bringing four of their beers – Whitney IBUston (Witbier), Medusa’s Milk Stout, Pale Ale, and Keller Whale (Kellerbier), which you can order by the pint or flight. No charge to attend, just show up to give them a try!

• A few days later (Wednesday, April 11th) the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection will be holding their next Ladies n’ Beers Social, at TrailWay. Join them in the TW taproom at 8 PM for a flight of beer and some beer education; just RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot (cost is $9 to attend). As always, feel free to show up beforehand or hang around afterwards, to enjoy an extra beer or two and socialize some more!

PEI Brewing Co. is celebrating their After Hours series with a launch at the brewery April 12, 5 – 7 PM. You will be taken on a guided tour of the production area, sample some future releases straight from the tank, and hear from the brewers about the inspiration and brewing process of each beer. It will also mark the return of Patience, the dry-hopped Brett Saison first bottled and released last year. Learn more about the event here.

• They’ve been open since last fall, but Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has never had an official launch party. Luckily, they’ve found the perfect excuse to have one now, in conjunction with their upcoming tap takeover at Freeman’s Little New York, at their Sackville location. The joint event will take place next Saturday, April 14th at 552 Sackville Dr., with Ol’ Biddy’s bringing 8 beers, including the last keg of their Salty Fog, a toasted coconut Porter with pink Himalayan salt, and the latest release of their Sackvegas Sour.

• Tickets are still on sale for the Friday session of St John’s BrewFest, April 20th at Club One on New Gower Street. From 6 – 10 PM, sample your choice of more than 100 beers from across North America, with most not already available in Newfoundland. Joining the local breweries will be Brooklyn’s Other Half, as well as Canadian breweries Half Hours on Earth, Blindman Brewing, and Left Field. Plus regional favourites TrailWay and Hammond River. Secure your tickets today to avoid major FOMO that weekend!

• Early Bird Pricing is ending this Monday for the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24 – 26. The biggest gathering of brewers from across the country, there are sessions and presentations and plenty of fun events surrounding the weekend, which we’ll be sure to share in a handy-dandy gCal and map. The Keynote Speaker is Emily Tipton, co-owner and -brewer at Boxing Rock, and the President of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. While entry to the CBAC is restricted to brewery employees, there are volunteer positions available to keep everything running smoothly. Sign up today to help make the weekend a success!

A few News Bites today:

Gahan House on the Halifax Waterfront has tapped a new cider made with fresh apples from Windsor, Nova Scotia. Hazy, pale and dry, Harbour Valley Cider finishes with “just the right amount” of tartness and is listed at 6.4% ABV.
– We mentioned last week that The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, NS, has announced that they’re opening a craft brewery called Shipwright Brewing. This week they announced that their Brewmaster will be a local Lunenburger coming back to her roots, Kellye Robertson! We’ll have more details to share about the plans for the brewery in coming weeks.
Unfiltered in Halifax has their extremely popular Citra SMaSH, DOA, back on tap for fills in the brewery and pints at Charm School as of noon today: 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU. Rumor has it there are also still a few cans of other offerings from their last canning run available at the brewery.
Upstreet in Charlottetown has a small amount of their popular sour, Million Acres Twice-hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook back in a limited re-release today starting at 11 AM at Craft Beer Corner. 200 bottles, limit 4 per person.

Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.

• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!

• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!

• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.

• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).

• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.

• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.

• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.

• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.

• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.

• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.

• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.

• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.

• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.

• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.

• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar.  $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.

What’s on the go this weekend?

Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.

• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.

• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!

Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.

A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!