Backstage Brewing

All posts tagged Backstage Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jiminy Cricket we’re late today! We blame the one who took this week off, the one who barely survived the Tata takeover at Battery Park last night (although the jury’s still out on his dignity), and the one who inexplicably went to bed at 8:30 PM last night and slept clear through until morning. We’ll let y’all try to figure out which one is which. For now, enjoy another 3,000 or so words about beer and beer event news in Atlantic Canada for the last full weekend of summer (*sob*)!!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is re-releasing their Belgian Blonde known as Grimdonk today. Described as, “elegantly crisp and golden, with balanced fruit and spice notes,” you’ll find this dry finishing beer available both on tap and in cans (for the first time, we think) at the brewery. And if you’re out and about in the area this afternoon, they’ll be tapping a special cask of this beer that’s been fortified with blackberries at 2 PM. There’s only 20 L of that version, though, so best hook off work a little early if you want to make sure to get a taste.

Staying in Fredericton with the “other” G brewery, Graystone put a new ESB on the taps late last week. Amber in colour, with a medium mouthfeel and a typically English lower carbonation level, Grizzly ESB is a 5.1% and 42 IBU easy drinker. The aroma is sweet and malty with a subtle hop earthiness, and the flavour favours mild caramel and biscuit notes and a slightly spicy finish from the traditional English hops used. It’s still listed as on tap on the brewery website so you should still be able to find it on tap for pints, crowlers and growler fills at the brewery. And in other Graystone news, one of their flagship beer, Patagonia Pale Ale is now available in 473 mL cans at select ANBL locations. See this Instagram post for the full list of locations where you can grab yourself some for the weekend!

Not to be left out, Fredericton’s lords of lupulin, Trailway Brewing have yet another new and interesting beer on the docket today. Featuring a theoretical IBU rating of 0 due to all the hops being added in the fermenter after the beer was chilled, Days Done is a crushable American Pale Ale coming in at 5% ABV. Leveraging hops from both New Zealand and the United States, it has a slight bubblegum character at the front of the palate and a rounded citrus finish. Check it out this afternoon and/or tomorrow afternoon at the brewery where they’ll also have the Gastrognomes food truck going from 3 – 8 PM. It’ll be an ideal beer for pre-gaming the Harvest Jazz & Blues Fest downtown!

Hanwell’s premier brewery, Niche Brewing, has a brand new beer out this week, the latest in their Persuasion Series (if it’s not a thing yet, maybe it is now?). Grasping hold of the last days of Summer, they have released Boysenberry Persuasion, a 4.2% ABV fruited sour. Using the same base as their Pineapple Persuasion, they added boysenberry puree during secondary fermentation, resulting in big raspberry- and blackberry-like flavour and aroma, all on a tart base. It is available around Fredericton and Moncton, including on tap at Grimross, which means you’ll be able to grab growlers of it (and their Riptide Rye Session IPA). Rejoice the weekend!

Down the road from the capital, outside Moncton in MacDougall Settlement, NB, Valonray Farmhouse Brewery has now achieved their previously stated (and lofty!) goal of producing only mixed fermentation beers! With only about 50 bottles of clean-fermented beer left on hand as of earlier this week, they’ve fully committed to mixing bacteria and yeast to produce tasty beers in the Continental style. They’re also planning six or so releases in the next few months, with some special treats already settled down for some (much) longer term aging. In the near term, though, they’ve got two releases to tell you about this week. The first is Terroir, a farmhouse ale with 70% Horton Ridge pale malt to which wheat, oats, and some sugar were added to round out the grist. The yeast used was from Escarpment Labs (although Valonray’s next fermentation goal is to use only their own yeast) along with Brettanomyces. Described as “unlike any Brett beers we’ve tasted,” it’s earthy, with a honey-like finish and little to no fruit or funk detectable. Their second new release is Farmhouse 2 which started as an experiment but turned out just fine. With 70% pale malt matched with 30% Vienna in the grist, some residual sweetness and malt body is to be expected. Fermentation-wise, this one’s a bit crazy, with 6 Brett strains, including 2 sources of Brett B, one Brett C, one Brett Q, and two wild Bretts from Terroir all in the mix along with Lactobacillus. The result is a beer where the Lacto is not prominent, so it’s not as tart as the first iteration, but there are prominent grapefruit and berry notes. Look for both of these beers to be available at select ANBL locations in the Moncton area soon.

Moving across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia, Annapolis Brewing Co. has a brand new small batch specialty beer available this week. Called Calientide, the key ingredient was 4 pounds of honey provided to the brewery by the Halifax Honey Company. But this wasn’t just any honey, this is what they call “Stingin’ Hot Honey” which is their chili-infused product. Added to the kettle at flameout, it made for a rather spicy wort initially, but ended up producing a subtly spicy and slightly hot beer. The heat and spicy character were also boosted by the addition of the chilis that had been used to infuse the honey to the secondary fermentation vessel along with some roasted jalapeños. The result is a 4.7% ABV beer with 21 IBUs that features light peppers on the nose and a subtle spiciness on the finish. Look for this one at the brewery and very possibly tomorrow morning at their market stall.

From the Valley into the City, we’ll start on North Street with Unfiltered Brewing who have brought back a beer not seen for many months, Play With Fire. At 7.5% ABV, this Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier is jet black, and features smoke flavour and aroma, perfect for the waning warm days and cool nights of late summer. Drop by the brewery and Charm School taproom to grab a pint and growler today.

Around the corner on Robie Street we turn to Good Robot who have their usual two releases this week. Tuesday’s release for Beta Brewsday is the result of a visit from Marci of Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, who, in a shocking turn of events, brought her own malt to the party! Using organic rye and 2-row as the base with a little bit of roasted barley, the intention was to turn out a Rye IPA, but brewer Kelly Costello couldn’t bring herself to mask the lovely rich malt flavours with the planned dry hop. So Pretty Fly for a Rye Guy will be listed as a Rye Pale Ale with an ABV of 4.0% and a low/medium bitterness that still features hop flavors from late additions of Vic Secret, Enigma, and Saphir hops. On the GR Alpha system this week we have the return of their Gose-inspired Goseface Killah, a sour german wheat ale featuring Sorachi Ace hops. At 4.8% ABV and 11 IBU, this tart and refreshing beer with coriander aroma and lemony acidity might be just the thing to help it keep feeling like summer as the temperatures start to drop.

And two streets over, Propeller has a new Gottingen Small Batch on the go today, to go along with their usual Friday cask. Which isn’t their usual cask. We can explain. The small batch is called Tropical IPA and it features both some very tropical hops in the form of orange-y and grapefruit-y Citra and passionfruit-y and pineapple-y Galaxy, along with additions of real fruit, including peach, apricot and mango. The result is a 6.2% ABV beer with a complex tropical fruit character that still manages to sport a crisp finish. This one is on tap at the brewery for fills and pints and is also already on tap at all ANBL Growler Stations. As for today’s cask, in lieu of a beer they’ll be sporting a Shandy instead! From late afternoon onwards, come down to the brewery and try a take on a classic concoction comprised of beer (Propeller’s classic ESB in this case) blended roughly one-to-one with lemonade (hand-pressed by Assistant Brewer Denys Ploughman). No growler fills of this one, so you’ll have to sit and have a pint. Rough life, wha?

Around back from the Propeller tap room in their small batch brewery / warehouse, Stillwell Brewing is releasing the second batch of Solo tomorrow. With a base recipe of PIlsner, Wheat, and Oats, it was hopped in the kettle and barrel with German hops, and fermented with Stilly’s house blend of yeasts and bacteria. This batch of Solo was brewed at the same time as the first (which was released in February), and has been bottle conditioning for an extra few months. LIke batch 1 (and you could probably guess from the name), Solo b2 is a single-barrel beer, as opposed to a blend of several barrels. The barrel character comes through a bit more in the final beer, as well as a little additional bitterness, as compared to batch 1, but still expresses the delicate and funky yeast character. Drop by the brewery 12 – 4 PM tomorrow to grab your bottles, around the back of 2015 Gottingen Street.

And our last hop (hah!) in Halifax this week is to Tidehouse Brewing downtown on Salter Street where they’ve got a brand new bottled offering. BIG Bruiser IIPA is a double/imperial IPA weighing in at a brawny 10% ABV. Medium to light in body and with a deep orange color, it was hopped entirely with Cryo hops, specifically the Simcoe and Ekuanot varieties. To finish, the Japanese citrus known as Yuzu was added for an extra kick. Dank, boozy, and hoppy, it’s available at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasting Room in 340 mL bottles (maximum 6 to a customer) and 4 oz samples only, no growler fills. Probably for the best, this one’s going to hit like a brick.

Heading down the 102 from Halifax and then swinging onto the 104 at Truro will eventually get you to Stellarton, where Backstage Brewing has put together a couple of variations on a theme. Last week we told you about The Edge, an IPA featuring Simcoe, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops. This week they’ve upped the ante with fruit! The Edge Volume 2 is that same beer after having sat on pineapple for a while and ditto for The Edge Volume 3 except swap in mango. These extra-tropical bad boys are available only by the glass at the Backstage taproom and we suspect that where they were released on Wednesday they may not last much longer; so if you’re lucky enough to be close by, maybe swing by Bridge Ave for a taste!

And lastly for Nova Scotia, following the 104 to Cape Breton and opting for North on the 105 will eventually get you to Nyanza, where Big Spruce Brewing will be waiting with open arms and a brand new beer. Can You C’est Brut IPA is BS’s entry into the 1.000 Final Gravity fray, the defining characteristic of the Brut- or Champagne-style IPA that’s come out of nowhere in the last few months. Featuring “bonkers aromatics” from the use of large amounts of El Dorado hop hash (don’t worry, this hash is legal even before October 17th), it comes in at 7.0% ABV and an almost mild (for an IPA, anyway) 24 IBU. Bone-dry, crisp and effervescent, we remind you that it’s beer, so maybe forego the sipping from a flute and head straight to the swilling from a real glass. Pinky extension is negotiable. If that’s not your thing, with the hop harvest just finishing, you can no doubt expect another new beer from Big Spruce in the coming weeks featuring their homegrown fresh hops, and keep your eyes open as we’ve heard hints that a new batch of all-hyper-local One Hundred is on the way. Or just check back here for news, because, as always, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s hop the ferry to Newfoundland to round out the new beer news of the week! Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a new beer on tap this week, the bigger and hoppier brother to their popular Gateway IPA. Oathkeeper IPA features the same base malt recipe, but fermented on their English yeast strain, leading to a beer with more body and a touch of residual sweetness at the same 6.4% ABV. As is the case with many of our favourite IPAs, though, this one is all about the hops! Cascade, Amarillo, and Citra come together to give you a ton of great hop flavour and aroma, with citrus, specifically grapefruit, shining through.Oathkeeper is on tap at Stage Head Pub in Twilingate now, but we’ve been told it may hit one of the great Nfld-beer-friendly spots in St. John’s as well. Keep an eye on their social media to see.

Port Rexton Brewing has a brand new beer available, and the only place to find it is at their brewery taproom. 9:30 Knockout is a new style for them, a Hopfenweisse. Think of it as a hopped-up of German Weissbier, featuring the iconic wheat and yeast aromas of banana and clove, along with great stone fruit and tropical hop notes, courtesy of Enigma, Mosaic, Chinook, and Simcoe. In case you were wondering, the 9:30 Knockout name comes from the fact that the mash rest of this beer, while typically 60-90 minutes in length, was 5 hours long, pushing their usual knockout time (when the boil is stopped and the wort is cooled and transferred to the fermenter) to 9:30 PM, rather than their usual 4:00. Talk about a full brew day! Get yourselves out to the brewery to toast the hardworking women and men of PRBC. And as summer closes out, please note that their Retail Shop on Torbay Road in town has shifted their hours to Fridays 4 – 8 PM and 12 – 6 PM on Saturdays. Drop by this afternoon for fills of their Horse Chops West Coast IPA, Chasing Sun New England IPA, and T-Rex Porter.

We have big news for those brewers among you who may be looking to move (back to, or within) our region for a job, as we know of several positions that are needing to be filled:

In Montague, PEI, Bogside Brewing will be opening this winter, and are looking to hire a Head Brewer and a Production Brewer for their 1200 litre (10 BBL) system. That team will be responsible for all aspects of the production, testing, inventory, and quality control of the beer and cider they will be making. Check out the full Job Posting here and get in touch with them now!

And in Mahone Bay, Saltbox Brewing is also looking to fill their Head Brewer position. Brewing on a 1200 litre system as well, the Head Brewer will be responsible for all of the ingredient inventory, beer making, and QC at all points in the process. Check out the Job Posting for more details. Drop them a letter/resume to continue your brewing career on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

We’ve got plenty of events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Speaking of Saltbox, drop in tomorrow to help them celebrate their Second Anniversary! Who knew partying in a former service station could be so fun! Open from 10 until 10, they will be doing door prizes every hour for Saltbox gear and gift cards, and they’ll have Curry Express Food Truck onsite to keep you happy. No party is complete without some live music, and they’ve got that in spades, with The Paul Buchanan Band onsite from 3 – 5 PM, followed by Collage from 7 – 9 PM. And!! Guys!!! They are hosting Beer and a Backrub, where folks from South Shore Chair Massage will help you unwind after a long week, and you don’t even have to put down your beer. Congratulations to the Saltbox family!

We have more info on the beer list for the Grand Monk Pokes The Bear, with Grand Monk (formerly known as Bore City) taking over the taps at Buddha Bear’s Riverview location, Wednesday to Sunday (Sept 19-23) of next week. From Grand Monk:
Marécage Belgian Style Saison (7.0% ABV) – We’ve started brewing it again after a bit of a hiatus. Hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc, it has citrus/peppery notes to start and finishes dry. At 7%, it’s surprisingly light!
Vent d’âme Belgian Style Pale Ale (5.9% ABV)  – A light and refreshing ale you would find in a Belgian bar. “Vent d’âme” literally translates to “soul wind” but is an homage to the muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Dirty Black Summer (5.8% ABV)- a well balanced Black IPA with a mix of tropical and piney hops. Tons of Chinook, Vic Secret and Ella, to the tune of 80 IBUs.
Spacetime Odyssey Porter (6.5% ABV) – Our coffee infused porter brewed since the beginning. Chocolatey, roasty, coffee-y.
Koalatee Pale Ale (5.0% ABV) -Our pale ale hopped entirely with Australian varieties – Vic Secret, Ella, Topaz. Lots of hop aroma (pineapple, citrus), light bodied and completely crushable. Summer’s not over!
AND, during the Saturday afternoon party 4 – 8 PM, when the Grand Monk crew will be onsite, they hope to debut a brand new beer; that afternoon/evening, Red Stone Eatery will be onsite with food offerings.

In Halifax, Good Robot is hosting the second of their Hair of the Dog events September 22nd and 23rd. Taking over the Garrison Grounds, dogs and their people are invited to hang out to meet other like-minded individuals, drink a bit of beer, and check out the animal-centric vendors. The party goes 11 – 11 each day, and the proceeds for the event go to the NS SPCA Dartmouth Shelter and Halifax Pop Explosion. Check that first link for the list of vendors who will be onsite.

Garrison Brewing is hosting a three-week Oktoberfest celebration this year, starting next Saturday, September 22nd, and repeating again the next two Saturdays (the 29th and October 6th). They will have Asado Wood Fired Grill onsite from 11AM each day, and have live music from an Oompah band starting at 2PM. The event is free, and their spot is dog and family friendly, so your pup could take you to two events on the 22nd! And on the 6th, they’re cranking it up for Das Big Party, with Dave Sampson playing a live show in the brewery that evening, so stick around!

There are still a few tickets available for the Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, being held at the Moncton Lions Club on September 29th. Featuring more than 40 breweries, cideries, and mead producers, this event also raises funds for the United Way. Many of the producers will be on hand themselves, making it a great opportunity to chat with them and learn more about their products (and bend their ear to talk about new possible ones!). Grab your ticket for the 7:30 – 10 PM session here, and learn more about other events on their website.

Lastly, in Halifax, the Stillwell Beergarden will be getting a big facelift on September 29th, as they host an Oktoberfest event on Spring Garden Road. Open as usual from noon, they’ll be featuring NS-brewed German style beers, as well as some fresh brews from Germany, all to celebrate one of the most influential countries in the beer world. Of course, they will have some great Oktoberfest-inspired food, and a must-have for any Oktoberfest event, a live oompah band from 3:30PM on. There will be a cover charge for the afternoon to pay for the band, which you can pre-pay at either location to be added to the list, $7 in advance or $10 at the door. So grab your dirndl or lederhosen, and we’ll see you there. Prosit!

We start off this week with the release of the latest iteration of El Generico, TrailWay Brewing’s constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest version features the addition of both mango and pineapple purée, giving an aroma and flavour that is definitely heavy on the pineapple side, with the mango present in the background to complement. Slightly sweet due to an addition of lactose powder, to balance the tartness, the 3.8% ABV beer is available now at the brewery on tap and in cans. They’ve also got another new release hitting their taps/shelves today, Donnie Had Me Up At 4. Named after an employee’s cat’s annoying habit, think of this beer as a 4% ABV Session IPA, hopped with Idaho 7 and Southern Cross, with further additions of lime and orange zest. Refreshing and citrusy, it will also be available on tap and in cans.

Bootleg Brew Co., which opened in Corner Brook, Newfoundland at the beginning of this year, is releasing their first Gose, a style that will likely be the first time that residents in Corner Brook have been able to try a local version of. The Way She Gose was kettle soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus; after souring for 48 hours, the wort was boiled, and a pound of sea salt from the province’s Newfoundland Salt Company was added. The brewery purposely left out the usual addition of coriander, to let the salt come through front and center. At 4.1% ABV, it has a definite salinity, and a lemon-like tartness. It’s available now at the brewery’s taproom for pints.

Meander River Farm and Brewery in Ashdale, NS will be launching a returning Small Lot cider this weekend, featuring some extra special ingredients from their farm. Lavandula is a 5.5% ABV dry cider, with honey from hives on their property, as well as estate-grown lavender. This is the second year release for this expression, and last year’s was a top-seller, so be sure to pick up bottles and seek it out post haste. You can get your first tastes at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market and at the Brewery itself this weekend (Friday 4-6, Saturday 11-5, and Sunday 11-5). And when better than coming by Sunday morning (from 9AM) to help out with the 2018 hop harvest, while they brew their Homegrown Wet Hopped Ale. The taps and stories will be flowing as they process the hops grown on the property, and add them directly to the brew in progress. If can’t make it out to the brewery, keep an eye on the rotating taps at ChainYard in Halifax, as they have delivered a few kegs to the Urban Cidery.

In Chester Basin, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, you’ll find Tanner & Co Brewing, at 50 Angus Hiltz Rd. And when you drop by this weekend (open Thurs & Fri 2-8, Sat 12-8, Sun & Mon, 12-6), you’ll see a few new beers pouring to take away. You may be lucky to catch their Gose, Kottbusser (an ancient German style brewed with Barley, Wheat, and Oats, and finished with molasses and honey), Sticke Altbier, Dunkel, and Porter with Burgundian Red Wine yeast and finished with London Ale yeast. And look for the return of Nelson Saison, a Saison brewed with exclusively Nelson Sauvin hops in the boil and post-fermentation. But releasing this week is Lemon Lavender Saison. Starting with a malt bill of mostly Pilsner with a bit of wheat, lemon rind, ginger, and Lavender were added late in the boil. The lavender was grown by a neighbour to the brewery, and after a very successful test brew last year, was able to grow enough for a couple of larger batches. Fermentation was completed with a traditional Saison yeast strain, and the fruit and spices flow beautifully throughout the beer. The result is a 6.5% ABV, and 30 IBU beer, that is ready for enjoyment now, so drop by the brewery, or keep an eye at their local tap accounts to try it.

There’s a new entry in the one-off After Hours series from the PEI Brewing Co. that you may want to check out if you’re on the Island (or heading that way!), Cryo Hop IPA. Brewed with a fairly simple grist of 2-row, Vienna, and Red Wheat, it was mashed “intensively”, with the intention of the yeast finishing the beer off low, to keep it “dry and crisp”. Hopped with the fairly new Cryo hop pellets (cryogenically concentrated hop product to maximize flavour and aroma), the brewery went with equal amounts of both Cascade and Citra. It’s a combination of old-style IPA and new, as it finishes quite bitter (80 IBUs), but big on hop aroma/flavour. It weighs in at 7% ABV, and is available exclusively on tap, right now.

Feels like it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a hop bomb-type beer from 2 Crows… oops, it has been, I just checked Untappd. Well, don’t worry, because tomorrow they’re releasing what may just be their hoppiest beer yet! Perfect Situation is a New England IPA brewed with a simple grist of Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Hopped in the whirlpool stage with lots of Simcoe and Vic Secret, it was then fermented with the English strain, London Fog, from White Labs. Of course, that wasn’t the last of the hopping, as the beer was finally dry-hopped with a very high amount of Vic Secret and Idaho 7. The result is just what you want in this style: a soft and fuzzy mouthfeel thanks to the yeast, and aromas/flavours described by 2C as “super fruity, lush, tropical, pillowy, and juicy, with massive notes of pineapple, passion fruit, apricot, red grapefruit, and papaya”. Sounds pretty good to us! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon, where it will be available on tap and in cans. And if you stick around till 2 pm, Luke’s Fried Chicken will be on hand to help you find something to pair with all that delicious beer!

Moving over to Saint John’s Loyalist City, who are releasing their own new beer this weekend on tap in the city (and likely beyond). This one is called 50/50, and is a hoppy American Wheat beer brewed with equal amounts 2-row and Wheat malt. Hopped plentifully with both Centennial and Ekuanot (also equal amounts!), two well-loved American varieties, the hazy, golden yellow beer exhibits a “blend of tropical fruit, apple, floral, and citrus hop aromas, and a sweet, bready malt character”. Medium-bodied, with a residual sweetness thanks to the Wheat malt and high mash temperature, get out this weekend to your favourite Loyalist tap account to try a pint!

Elsewhere in the city, Hammond River Brewing continues to experiment with their small batch brewery (the 1 BBL system originally used when the brewery opened in 2012), as they just put Pretty Fly For A White Rye on tap earlier this week. A “White Rye IPA” hopped entirely with the Aussie Vic Secret variety, expect plenty of tropical, fruity flavours in this 6.6% ABV, 66 IBUs brew. As usual for the small batch beers, it’s available on tap at the HR taproom only, for a limited time.

Tap accounts in Fredericton and Saint John will have the latest Niche Brewing beer on tap very shortly (if not already!), Riptide. This Rye Session IPA comes in at 4.2% ABV, and as the name implies, features a healthy dose of Rye malt in the grist bill. Together with Wheat, these two malts help to boost the mouthfeel of this smaller beer, and enhance the flavour profile. Hopping of Chinook and Mosaic were performed late in the boil (plus a large addition of El Dorado for the dry-hop), extracting more oils (for flavour and aroma) than acids (bitterness), resulting in hearty citrus and fruity flavours, and a blast of tangerine on the nose.

Back in July, we wrote about Port Rexton celebrating their second birthday with a number of new beer releases; at this time, we only lightly touched on one of these beers, High Fives, a foeder-aged, Brettanomyces kettle sour. Well, there’s a few kegs left that are currently pouring at the brewery, so this is the perfect time to dive into the details! The second beer from PR’s Calvados foeder, it was fermented with the brewery’s house culture (a blend of Saison and Brett strains), and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The result from the combination of both is a beer with “an evolving fruity, funky, and delicious flavour profile”, and a “lemonade-y tartness and delicate white wine and gooseberry notes”. We don’t think you’re going to want to miss out on this 5.4% ABV beauty, so get down to Port Rexton now for a taste!

Stellarton, Nova Scotia’s musically-inclined Backstage Brewing has a new beer for y’all, The Edge IPA (see, we told you they were musically-inclined). Brewed in the American IPA style, and hopped heavily with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Mosaic, we think you can expect a whole lotta fruity, citrusy, piney, and dank goodness in this 6.1% ABV, 75 IBUs beer… and likely a firm bitterness to finish it off, as well. Drop by Backstage to give ‘er a go.

Brasserie Retro Brewing is opening this afternoon, after a brief hiatus to re-stock their fridges. Their retail location at Motel and Campground Colibri on Blvd des Acadiens in Bertrand is open today 4-9PM, tomorrow 1-6PM, and Sunday 1-5PM. They will have their three core beers available to take away, namely the Tapisserie Laide Pale Ale, Tricycle Rouge Amber Ale, and Arcade 2001 IPA. For a refresher on Retro, their location, and beers, check out our Profile with them from early August.

We’ve got a multi-province home brewing competition to tell you about this week, hosted by the Gahan House locations across our region. It’s the Maritime Home Brew Challenge, and is may be one of the most ambitious yet. Open to amateur brewers in PEI, NB, and NS, they are looking for entrants to put together their best beer in 3 wide categories: Lager/Pilsner, Hoppy Ale, and Saison. As the names imply, these are open to interpretation however the brewer would like. The entries will be judged on the beer itself, the name, the “level of ambition”, and will receive bonus points for using local hops and malt. Entries are due at the local Gahan locations in Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, and Halifax by October 27th. The winning beers will be announced in early November at the PEI Brewing Company, with the winning beer taking home $1000 cash, and the knowledge that their beer will be brewed and canned for release. There are plenty more details on the other prizes, and schedule of the “Brewers’ Feedback Session”, where you can chat with the Gahan brewers about your entry and ask for help, on the competition website, so don’t delay!

Good Robot has a pair of new releases coming next week, plus an invite to other breweries to take part in an innovative event, so let’s get to those details now! Next Tuesday, for their Beta Brewsday, multi-talented homebrewer Matt McNair and friend Cory Cauvier brewed up a lightly dry-hopped farmhouse ale, named The Bee’s Needs. The beer features a malt bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Rye, and Oats, and was hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Saaz. Just as the boil ended, during the whirlpool phase, dandelion petals and honey from Cauvier’s own hard working bees were added to the wort. Fermentation was performed using a house culture that McNair has been curating, with a secondary fermentation kicked off with yeast and bacteria isolated from Cauvier’s honey. The beer then spent some time on oak cubes and a little more hops were added before being packaged. For the launch event at 4PM on September 11, Matt, Cory, and friends from Hivetronics will be bringing live bees to the taproom to educate the public on these extremely important animals. Don’t worry, they’ll have them in special people- (and bee-) safe enclosures!

On Thursday, September 13th, they will be releasing the latest batch of Tom Waits For No One, their 7.9% ABV American Stout. Full of dark roast, coffee, and chocolate flavour, on a full-bodied base, the 58 IBUs from American hops help to keep it easy-drinking.

And in a heads up to Maritime breweries, on April 27, 2019, Good Robot is launching FemmeBot Beer Fest. Highlighting Women-Identified Brewers in the region, they are looking for 15 breweries to join them in Halifax for this event. Beers brewed by female brewery employees, and/or with female members of the public is the focus of this event. The Fest will be held at the Mayflower Curling Club, and have two sessions on that Saturday: 2-5PM and 6-9PM, with 200 attendees per session. More information on taking part at the FemmeBot Beer Fest can be found here. And we’ll share ticket details once available. [ed note: adjusted date]

Here are the next big events coming up in our region:

The Third Annual Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover is happening at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, September 13. From 11:30AM, TataBrew will be taking over the 18 taps with lots of their current releases, favourite kegs held especially for the event, and several new releases. One of which we can tell you about today, Cahoots! This is a Tart Saison that is a blend of two batches that have been aged in wine barrels: one 16 months old, and one 4 months old. Using a healthy dry-hop of Nelson Sauvin, the wine barrel character is front and centre, and works well to enhance the base beer acidity and Brett funk. In addition to its release on tap, bottles of Cahoots will be available at the brewery that same day. Tata (FB, Tw, IG) and BP (FB, Tw, IG) will be releasing the rest of the tap list over the next week, so be sure to check their social media in order to plan your beer enjoyment.

For the sixth year running (according to our extensive records), the 2018 PEI BeerFest will be taking place in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel on the weekend of September 22. As always, the event is part of the annual PEI Fall Flavours Festival, celebrating the best of food and drink on the island, and this year’s lineup has 31 confirmed breweries and cideries from all over Eastern Canada and some from beyond. There will be three sessions, starting with an evening session (1830h – 2130h) on Friday, September 21, followed by two sessions, one afternoon (1400h – 1630h) and one evening, on Saturday, September 22nd. Tickets are available on-line through TicketPro and include a Designated Driver option, which gives access to a DD lounge with free (non-alcoholic, of course) refreshments. Come down and sample the over 100 beers and ciders that will be pouring at this year’s event.

Grand Monk Artisan Ales (formerly known as Bore City Brewing) is pairing up with Buddha Bear Riverview to hold their first tap takeover, a multi-day affair, from Wednesday, September 19th until Sunday the 23rd, with Grand Monk Pokes the Bear! While not a complete takeover, there will be at least several taps dedicated to the brewery, known for brewing a multitude of styles (with the focus on Belgian and hoppy). They’re not quite yet ready to share the list of beers they’re bringing, but follow along with their social media pages, as they’ll be posting more details sometime next week. And on Saturday the 22nd, from 4-8 pm, the entire Grand Monk team will be attending, and they’re always happy to chat beer, so don’t be shy! They’ll also be selling glassware, so bring some cash! If you’re hungry, Red Stone Eatery will be on site to suit your needs.

Elsewhere in New Brunswick on Saturday, September 22nd is the second annual First Town Craft Beer Festival. Held in Woodstock at the Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Centre, this year’s indoor/outdoor event will have a single session in the evening. Tickets are still available, with regular admission ($50 + taxes and fees) from 6-9 pm, and VIP ($60 + taxes and fees) getting you in an hour earlier, at 5 pm. Ticket prices include a sampling glass to keep (with the VIP glass being larger), and unlimited samples throughout the event. Note that there are also $15 designated driver tickets available. They’ll be pouring beers from a variety of breweries/cideries/meaderies from across the Maritimes, and live music will be playing throughout the festival. Food will also be available for purchase. Proceeds from the event will help support the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Beer author and overall expert in the craft Stephen Beaumont is returning to Stillwell on Sunday, September 30th for another series of Guided Beer Tastings. Last year’s tasting was a huge success, so this year they’ve kindly added a second session! The first one will be from 12pm-2pm, and the second from 3-5pm; both will feature the chance to drink some “rare, world class beers” with Stephen, who will both entertain and educate with his knowledge and experience. There will also be copies of Stephen’s newest book, Will Travel For Beer: 101 Remarkable Journeys Every Beer Lover Should Experience, on hand for you to buy and have signed. Tickets are $46 and can be purchased here; don’t hold out on picking yours up, as the event is essentially guaranteed to sell out!