Bad Apple Brewhouse

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February is now in full force and it’s another week with lots of news about beer releases and coming events in our region. Have a read and figure out what tasty treats you’re going to put in your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Basket! Because there’s nothing more romantic than beer, right?!

• Despite winning a gold medal at last year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards for their American IPA, Big Stink, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has boldly and bravely gone back to the drawing board to improve on the beer and bring it to the next level. Taking in comments from the judges, they made several procedural changes – including a new carbonation technique – along with some slight recipe adjustments (decreasing the amount of specialty grains), and one “big, bold change” that they’re keeping a secret. It’s still hopped heavily with Mosaic and Columbus, but the brewery is confident that Big Stink 2.0 is better than ever, yet still recognizable to fans of the original. Kegs are going out now to select tap accounts, including for the growler program at Harvest Wines, Rockhead, and WestSide. Bottles will be arriving at those three stores in the near future as well.

• Today, Nine Locks will be releasing the second beer in their Signature Series, Simply A Märzen. As you may have guessed, this one was brewed in the Märzen (aka Oktoberfest) style – a malty, smooth, clean Lager. Head Brewer Jake Saunders brewed this one with malt and hops sourced from Germany, and lagered the beer for six weeks to clean up the beer and allow the flavours to gel. Pouring a copper-red colour, this full-bodied brew has a biscuity aroma and a “rich, elegant malt flavour”, with a restrained hop bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and is available

• Twillingate, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing brought out a new seasonal beer last weekend, their first in the New England IPA style. With a generous amount of oats and flaked wheat in the mash to promote mouth feel and, no doubt, the characteristic New England haze, Lightbringer was fermented with the famous Vermont Ale yeast. Hopped heavily at the whirlpool, active fermentation and dry hop stages with Cascade, Amarillo, and loads of Citra, you should expect plenty of juicy citrus and stone fruit flavours to complement a soft and smooth mouthfeel and some distinct apricot flavours. Designed to be easy drinking, it’s got a “touch” of bitterness and weighs in at 6.4% ABV. You’ll find it at their Stage Head Pub where you can grab a fill or order a pint and raise a glass to the prince that was promised.

• Slowing down a bit after their big 1st Anniversary bash a couple of weekends ago, 2 Crows has nonetheless put a new small-batch beer on tap at their taproom. Universal Mind is a Belgian Pale Ale that was brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles on the brewery’s pilot system. With a grist of Vienna, Wheat, Oats, Spelt, and a little bit of Honey malt, it was hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc to 30 IBUs, giving flavours of “bubblegum, pineapple, and spice”. Fermented with the brewery’s house Saison strain to up the fruity esters and spicy phenolics even more, it comes in at 5.8% ABV. Drop by the brewery ASAP to give it a try, as there’s only a couple of kegs available!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is keeping the new beers flowing in their own right, with their sixth release in just seven weeks, hitting the taps in Fredericton this weekend. Ruby Tuesday is their first foray into the Sour Realm, using a pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum (Lacto for short) in the unhopped wort for 36 hours, before boiling to stop acidification and adding a light dose of El Dorado. Fermentation was completed with Amalgamation (a blend of six different Brettanomyces variants), with hibiscus flowers added during the conditioning phase after. The resulting beer features a bright red colour, with floral and berry character in both aroma and flavour, with the tart acidity from Lacto shining through. The beer will debut tomorrow evening at the James Joyce, and will certainly see wider distribution in the province (and beyond?) beginning next week.

TrailWay is back to American IPAs this week, with the release of a new iteration of one of their more popular beers. DDH Green Island is, as you may have guessed, a double dry-hopped version of the 6% ABV Green Island. Hopped with Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, the new version is even more fruity and aromatic than the original, according to the brewery. Releasing today, you can stop by the brewery to pick up your cans for the weekend; it’ll also be available for pints and growlers.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has just released their first Double IPA, Gemini. Weighing in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, there’s lots of bitterness in this package, at a calculated 100 IBUs. Hopped with plenty of the classic Columbus, Simcoe, and Centennial, expect a dank, piney, fruity beer, with a dry, bitter finish. It’s available at the brewery now, and keep your eyes open for it at your favourite Backstage licensee; we can confirm that a keg was sent to Battery Park this week.

• After being closed for renovations, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing is back open for business, starting today. Their new business hours are Tuesday to Friday (4-6 pm), Saturday (10am-2pm), and Sunday (4-6 pm); you’ll be able to drop by during these hours for growler fills. They hope to have five taps flowing by the end of the month, quite the increase from the previous set-up. Look for their beers to start popping up at bars and restaurants across New Brunswick, as well.

• Next week’s Good Robot Betabrew, Treat Her Like A Lady, is all set to go for its release on Tuesday. Brewed by Kelly Costello and her sister, Hilary, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter brewed with both Honey malt and real honey (from Fox Hill Market), and hopped to 30 IBUs with Fuggles to balance the sweetness and roasted malt flavours. Also, Steambot Willie, the brewery’s 5.5% ABV, 32 IBU California Common, has returned as of yesterday, and can be found at the brewery’s taproom and other GR accounts.

Tatamagouche Brewing is bringing back their Oyster Cloister Oyster Stout this weekend, and are throwing a party to celebrate! This Saturday evening, they are holding their own Oyster Cloister party, featuring live music, plenty of oysters from Bay Enterprises (the farm in Malagash that supplies the oysters for this beer), and the launch of the beer. *Tickets are now sold out*, but look for the beer to be available across the rest of province this weekend as well. And keep an eye out for the return of their RR#2 Lager, this year’s batch features hops from their own private hopyard, also in Malagash, with Mount Hood making up the majority of the hopping. And in blatant self-advertising, one of only 2 pins of Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter (brewed at Tata with acbbchris and 1029Brewing) is in the fridge at Battery Park currently, ready to be put on their nitro tap. This special pin has been aging on bacon for a little bit, to really round out your full breakfast experience.

• More beer in cans seems to be the trend in our region (and probably elsewhere, but we can barely keep up with the local scene at this point!). We saw evidence this week that Bad Apple Brewhouse is packaging their Tom’s Smoked Porter, Propeller their London Porter and Garrison their Pucker Up (this one just in time for Valentine’s Day), all in shiny silver cylinders. And in other packaging news, both Tipsy Toad and Malty Muskrat from Bogtrotter are sporting slick new labels. And the Gahan line from PEI Brewing Company is also getting a brand refresh, modeled after the label change sported for last year’s release of Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, continuing to their 1772 IPA.

• We received word this week from Spindrift in Dartmouth that they’re on the lookout for another brewer to join Brewmaster Chris Downey on the brewery floor. While an experienced brewer with formal training is preferred, what they are really looking for is an individual who is passionate about both the craft of making beer and the industry. Interested parties are encouraged to peruse the official job posting and submit a résumé.

Lots of new events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Hammond River Brewing is celebrating their 4th Anniversary today at the brewery’s taproom in Rothesay. They’ve come a long way in four years… heck, the difference in the last year particularly has been striking! Join them as they’ll have $6.50 pints all day long, $2 off flights and 1 L growlers, and $3 off all large growler fills. Finally, they’ll be tapping a surprise beer at some point during the day as well. Be sure to drop by and toast their success!

• Just a reminder that Niche Brewing will be holding their official Launch Party tomorrow, February 10th, at the James Joyce Irish Pub at 7 pm. They will be pouring five of the first six beers released by the new brewery (including the brand new Ruby Tuesday that we mentioned above, exclusive to the JJ for the launch); all their beers will be on for Happy Hour prices, and of course flights will be available. Rob and Shawn will be on hand, happy to discuss their beers and their plans for the near future, and merchandise – including glasses, T-shirts, and toques – will be available for purchase. Finally, there will be a draw for two VIP tickets for the afternoon session of this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival; if you plan on attending the launch, be sure to enter online before the party!

• The 902BrewCast will be doing something a bit different for February’s Tasting Episode, and they want you to be part of the fun! This episode will feature a panel of women involved in the NS Beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of an audience. The live show will take place at Garrison Brewing February 19th, at 6pm. There are no tickets needed to attend, and the taps will be open during the event ($5 will get you two 12oz pours), so that you can drink along with the hosts and panel. Expect to hear from women involved in all aspects of the beer biz, from brewer to sales folks, to those who just love to drink it! And for those unable to attend, the episode will drop later that week as part of their regular release schedule.

• The team at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS, is finally getting to do something they’ve been thinking about since the days when they were planning their brewery, a “showcase” night, pitting two variations of the same beer against each other to see how a small change can impact the perception of a beer. The beer, in this case, is a Dark Mild brewed by special guest brewer Ian Dares and is called Myld Stallyns (Excellent! ). The variation in play will be packaging and serving style; there will be one version that, in the standard modern fashion, has been force carbonated and pushed to the tap with CO2, and another that will have been put into a cask without external carbonation, pulled using a special pump called a beer engine, and served at a somewhat warmer temperature. This latter presentation, if executed to a certain standard, is known in the UK as “real ale” and, it is argued by its proponents (such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale), presents the beer in the most desirable possible way, as a living product that is unadulterated and which changes over time. Here’s your chance to see whether treatment you prefer. The Myld Stallyns Showcase is scheduled for March 2nd at 6 PM and is being touted as the “first” Showcase for Lunn’s Mill, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing more such events.

• Tickets for this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are sold out, but good news if you missed your chance! On Friday, March 9th (the day before FCBF), they’re holding their first Newbie Night, from 6-9 pm at the Fredericton Convention Centre. This event will feature breweries new to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene, who were unable to grab a spot at FCBF due to the limited number of spaces. Up to 12 new breweries will be pouring their beers, and your ticket ($57.50, through the link above) will entitle you to unlimited samples and a special glass to keep. And while we’re on the topic of FCBF, you can still vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian breweries (if you haven’t already) right here; it may be a bit tough to pick your top three, but it should only take a minute!

Just a couple more things to let you know about this week:

– Riverview’s Celtic Knot is releasing a new variant of their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. Irish Kiss features additions of cherry and chocolate to the brew, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be available in both growler fills and 500ml bottles at the brewery at 23 Biggs Drive. And those who want to celebrate Riverview Winter Carnival with locally-produced beer should drop by the brewery tonight from 8-10 for free samples and $10 growler fills to kick off the final weekend of the event.

– Great news for the folks at Bedford’s Off Track Brewing in Bedford, they have received their full-sized system this week. After brewing on sub-100 litre gear for a couple of months, their 600 litre (5 BBL) system is now on-site and being installed as you read this. Look for the first batches from the big brewhouse to debut in March, with their taproom still open as normal on the weekends (check their FB page for the latest details, of course).

Here we are at the last Friday Wrap-up of 2017; time flies when you’re drinking beer and taking names. The past 52 weeks have seen our regional scene continue to develop and evolve, with a couple breweries closing up shop, many more than that opening across all 4 provinces, and tons and tons of new beers released, from easy-drinking, lightly-hopped, low-ABV session beers, to intensely complex barrel- and foedre-aged mixed fermentations occasionally featuring fruit, and everything in between. We’ve attended some incredible events at our favourite venues, stood in line for beer releases and even had the chance to read a book about beer in our little corner of the world. And it looks like 2018 is going to bring even more of the same. Halifax will host the Canadian Beer Awards in May, we know of several more breweries in the works with plans to open in the coming year, and we’ve no doubt the regions brewers will continue to up the ante in terms of quality and innovation. Thanks to everyone who continues to read our weekly scrawl (as unwieldy as it sometimes gets when there’s 4,000 words to get through) and we’ll be sure to toast you all with some of our favourite local beers on New Years Eve.

• We’ve mentioned Hanwell, NB’s, Niche Brewing previously, and we can now announce that their beer is available to the public! Their Single Origin is a Coffee Sweet Stout, and hit the taps at a few spots across the province for the first time last night. This 5.0% ABV Stout features lactose in the recipe for a light sweetness (lactose is not fermentable by most yeasts) to enhance the roast and chocolate character of the malt as well as mouthfeel, with an addition of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Fredericton’s Jonnie Java Roasters after primary fermentation was complete, to lock in the coffee flavour and aroma. The beer is now available at Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub and Saint John’s Cask and Kettle, with Moncton’s Tide & Boar looking to tap it at any moment. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media for the latest buzz on the beer, and we’ll have a full profile with the gang behind Niche in the next day or two. Congratulations Rob and Shawn!

• A little while ago, Propeller released the latest of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, Hazelnut Oatmeal Stout. This 5.5% ABV stout was brewed with flaked oats, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, and features hazelnuts added to the recipe as well. Chocolate, roast, and nut flavours and aromas punctuate the underlying creamy semi-sweet beer. It is available in growler fills at both Propeller locations, and by the pint at the Gottingen Street taproom, and at a few spots across HRM. And keep an eye open for cans of their Double IPA and Extra Special Bitter on the shelves of an NSLC near you!

• Capping off the Second Anniversary celebration of their sibling beer spot Battery Park, North Brewing released the 2017 edition of Saison de Pinot yesterday. The 7.1% ABV beer/wine hybrid features a Saison as the beer base, with 220 litres of Benjamin Bridge‘s own Pinot Meunier grape must added in secondary. This year’s grape harvest lends a more notable tart acidity to the must, which does translate to the final product. Fermented using two different Sacc. yeasts (Cerevesiae and Boulardii), the finished beer was lightly dry hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and has been bottle conditioning for the past 8 weeks, and is a perfect candidate for further aging in a cellar, to enjoy the flavours and aromas that develop over time. We suggest buying a pair (or more) and enjoying one now, and another in several months when the hops will have faded (maybe even wait until BP’s Third Anniversary!).

• Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has announced that they are holding their first homebrew competition in Spring 2018. GRBC is already well-known known for encouraging those sometimes passed over or left behind by the modern brewing scene with their CommuniBrews and Goodwill Bot events, and this competition is no different. Female Brewsters are credited with promoting and keeping alive the art and science of brewing, before often being barred from activities involving the production of alcohol. To celebrate the earlier times, they are presenting the The Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition. Open to all women, and female-presenting, non-professional brewers, entrants are encouraged to dig into the past with “pre-prohibition” style recipes, choosing beer styles from before the industrialization of brewing. No “can and kilo” kits, please, an original recipe is the way to go (but modern ingredients such as malt extract are OK to enhance the beer!). There is no fee to enter, and you are asked to register online by Feb 1, with your entries (four 341ml bottles preferred) due March 1 at the Good Robot Retail Shop (aka Beer Later). This is a BJCP-registered competition, and entrants will receive feedback on their entries. For those women previously interested in the hobby, this may be just the nudge needed to try their hand at recipe development and brewing! Winners will be announced at Good Robot’s FemmeBot celebration on March 7th, and there are plenty of prizes up for grabs. If you have any more questions, please contact Kelly C for more details.

• And in new beer news at GRBC, the latest iteration of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie is on tap for growlers and pints now. Version 4.0 is a step in another direction for this Coffee Pale Ale, featuring the use of Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, prepped by the fine folks at Low Point (whoa, twice in one post??). This varietal has notes of honey and citrus, with a floral nose, helping to bring the beer closer to that eponymous “Cherry Pie” flavour, according to the brewery. To launch this latest batch, they are holding a bit of a contest, where a single cherry is hidden somewhere in the taproom every day this week: if you can spot it, you’ll win yourself a gift card for a free beer.

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has released a handful of their full time and seasonal offerings in cans recently, thanks to the Craft Coast Canning mobile unit. Now available in the handy format at the brewery (open 1-6PM daily), are: Alternate Ending, a 5.0% ABV Altbier; Black and Tackle, their 9.0% ABV Russian Imperial Stout; a 6.0% ABV Hard Apple Cider, made from local apples; Honey Wagon, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat; and Mosaic, their flagship 8.0% Double IPA. Many of these will also be available in Halifax at Bishop’s Cellar very soon.

• One of the newest breweries in Nova Scotia, in one of the oldest European settlements in the country, Annapolis Brewing Company, has some big plans coming for 2018. First, they’ve already got a production expansion in the works, with four new 5 BBL (roughly 6 hL) unitanks on their way to the brewery now to meet increased demand as the year goes on. They’re also currently looking for a location to build a new building to house the brewery, which will be even shorter on space with the new tanks. The team is also working on developing a Craft Beer Farmers Market concept for the new year, the first of its kind in the Province. It will see breweries and perhaps craft distilleries set up on the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market grounds on Sundays from May 13th to October 14th from 10 AM to 2 PM and provide a one stop shop for patrons in the area to buy beer. Tables will cost $20 per week and any breweries that are interested can reach out to paul@annapolisbrewing.com. Look for more information about the market to be publicized throughout the winter as they prepare for their first Craft Beer Farmers Market in Spring!

• In new beer news, Annapolis have a brew in the works that’s passed out of the testing phase and is scheduled to enter production in 2018. Goodwill Amber is a red-hued beer that strikes a fine balance between malty and hoppy. Vienna malt is featured on the grist side for a bready and toasty character and it’s been hopped with classic American varieties Willamette and Cascade with modern Amarillo completing the picture. Look for it to land on tap at 5.3% ABV and 36 IBU in early 2018. Also in the pipeline, although the recipes haven’t been finalized quite yet, are a Vanilla Coffee Stout and a Hefeweizen.

• On the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a few new beers on the go these days. Up first is a small batch of their Hefeweizen, this time a little lighter at 4.6% ABV with lots of clove presence and some banana and bready notes. Next up and available is their Milk Stout, a big one at 7.7% ABV with a full mouthfeel and creamy texture. Described as “very filling,” It features aromas of coffee, vanilla and chocolate, with prominent espresso, vanilla, and even a bit of cigar character on the palate. And still available is their Saison, at 6.8% ABV, dry, and with prominent notes of lemon and black pepper. The brewery is considering keeping it in production throughout the year.

What’s going on this weekend???

• Sunday is New Year’s Eve, so expect plenty of extra drinking going on…. just about everywhere. Meanwhile, if you’re in Mahone Bay, drop by Saltbox Brewing for live music from the Eclectic Garage Band. The brewery will also be launching two new ciders on NYE, one made with Russet apples, and the second (being released at midnight) with Burgundy apples.

Hammond River Brewing in Rothesay is also ringing in the New Year with a Beer Dinner, pairing six courses of food with with six of HR’s own creations (plus a pint of your choosing to start the evening). Brewmaster Shane Steeves and Executive Chef Colin McCarten will be on hand to chat about each course and pairing. With only 30 tickets available, it is sure to be an intimate event. The fun kicks off at 6PM, and you can grab your ticket at the Hammond River taproom, or call ahead to reserve yours today. Check Facebook for the full menu.

• With New Year’s Day comes several Levee Day events in Atlantic Canada, which always amounts to several hours, or even up to a full day of drinking, eating, and celebrating… what better way to bring in the New Year? In PEI, both the PEI Brewing Co. and Upstreet are holding their own activities on Monday, January 1st. PEIBC will be serving up beer and live music from noon-2 pm, and has their PEIBC Levee Bus picking up and dropping off at several locations (check their FB page for exact times and where to be). Over at Upstreet, they’re re-releasing Top Stamp, their crowd-favourite Amber Lager, while celebrating Levee Day with their 2018 Kick-Off, a full day of live music, brewery tours, staff-priced pints, brunch, and beer cocktails. They open at 10 am, with music starting at noon.

• Not to be outdone over in Halifax, Stillwell is holding their own Levee Day Celebration, starting at noon. With special beers pouring all day – including the second release of Stilly Pils, as well as Lambic by the glass – expect a special menu featuring new tasty treats to pair with whatever you have in your glass.

Happy New Year! Have a safe and beer-filled evening on Sunday. Before we go, a couple last things…

Ol’ Biddy’s has released their newest American IPA that we reported on two weeks ago; look for Saturday Night Fever (6% ABV) at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Mount Uniacke Pub.
– The latest iteration of TrailWay‘s ever-changing Kettle Sour, El Generico (3.8% ABV), is available as of today. This one was brewed with orange juice concentrate, lactose and vanilla, and was conditioned on fresh orange zest; slightly acidic and reminiscent of an Orange Creamsicle, it’s available in cans and on tap at the brewery.

 

It’s another big weekend for beer in our region, with a beer release that’s very pertinent to our interests here at the ACBB, a sudden (and welcome!) rush of canned products we totally didn’t see coming, and some killer events going on in the downtown core of Halifax. So we’ll skip the traditional commentary on the weather this week and get right into it…

• There’s a cool new beer being released tomorrow from 2 Crows, a collaboration brewed with some pretty awesome guys… us! Named Amateur Hour (well, I guess that put us back in our place), the beer features a light-coloured primarily Pilsner grist with healthy amounts of Wheat malt, Malted Oats and Spelt, and heavy whirlpool-hopped with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. Thanks to two dry-hop additions of those same varieties (during active fermentation, and again during conditioning), you can expect notes of orchard fruit and melon, further accentuated by a light funk resulting from fermentation with the Yeast Bay’s glorious Brett Amalgamation, a combination of six Brettanomyces strains. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, we’re thinking of this as a Brett Session IPA, or even a Brett Session Ale. Available on tap and in cans (check out that label by Midnight Oil Print & Design House!) at the brewery tomorrow, expect to see it around Halifax at the private stores shortly after. And a big thanks to Jeremy, Miles and the rest of the gang at 2 Crows for inviting us to participate in brewing a beer!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing is sporting a rockin’ new logo this week and they’ve also got a new beer available today, one that goes to eleven. Nunmoar is a Black IPA, big and bitter, that’s been heavily hopped with Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe. Tipping the scales at 6.5% ABV and a hefty 75 IBU, expect it to marry a distinct roastiness to a prominent hop presence. How much more black could it be? NUNMOAR BLACK. Meanwhile, AJ and the gang have settled on opening hours for the brewery – for the foreseeable you’ll be able to visit for growler fills and merchandise Wednesdays from 2-6 PM, Thursdays 12-6 PM, Fridays 12-8 PM and on Saturdays from 11-5 PM. Even better, they’re now able to accept debit and credit transactions and the dreaded “cash only” sign has been taken down. Expect those hours to shift and hopefully expand a little once they’ve got all the permits in place for their taproom. And, speaking of growler fills, also available right now are the 5.1% ABV Pale Ale known as Daydreamer and two, count ‘em two, versions of the Headliner IPA. The first batch, where efficiency was better than expected, clocks in at 7.3% ABV and the second, matching the original specs for the beer, is 5.9% ABV. Maybe sample them both and let AJ know which version should top the marquee.

• After launching their new Takeaway shop last week, YellowBelly also released a pair of brand new bevvies. We already told you about their Blueberry Hill Milkshake IPA last week, and now we can share more details on their latest cider on tap. Bakeapple Cider is a 7.0% ABV blend, featuring a base of apple cider with the elusive bakeapple (aka cloudberry, aka if you want some, you’d better know someone!) added for a lovely crisp and tart fruit blend. Back-sweetened ever-so-slightly with some of the original cider to reduce a bit of the dryness, the cider is on tap now, and should see limited release in bottles too. And speaking of their Takeaway location a few doors down Water St from their home base, in addition to bottles and 1.89 L growler fills (new for YB), you can stay a while to enjoy samples and pints, as well as pizza from their kitchen.

North Brewing is releasing the Fall 2017 edition of their Canadian Brewing Awards Gold Medal-winning Midnight today. They took a batch of their Strong Dark Belgian and let it sit in barrels from Glenora Distillery straight from the source (i.e., still wet and with plenty of single malt whiskey flavour and aroma to go around) for the past several months, before packaging recently. Look for a melding of Belgian Abbey flavours (fruity esters with a light toasted bread character) with the barrel and whiskey character (vanilla, caramel, wood), resulting in a 10.5% ABV fireside sipper. Midnight marks the first in a series of several special Barrel-Aged bottles releases coming from North, which will featuring some beers in the coming weeks with funkier beginnings and unique aspects.

• Up in Amherst, NS, Trider’s Craft Beer has released their newest offering, Chaga-Lug Brown Ale. Focusing on local ingredients, this earthy and crisp beer in the Northern English Brown Ale style boasts additions of honey, Chaga and hops that were all sourced locally. Fifteen pounds of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) were harvested by Shawee, a real life lumberjack; this provided the beer with its distinctive deep brown color. Wildflower honey (over 100lbs) from nearby Nappan, NS, was added during the whirlpool for a slight tartness. And the hops came from Jeff Smith, a member of the Brewnosers homebrew club from the area, who provided roughly four pounds of backyard-grown Cascade, Galena, CTZ and Centennial to this 5.1% ABV brew. Bitterness was kept low to allow the character of the other special ingredients to shine through. It’s available for growler fills now with 500 mL bottles in the works.

• A few weeks ago, TrailWay hinted that they would soon be releasing their first Milkshake IPA, and the day is today, with the launch of Velvet Fog. Brewed with plenty of oats in the mash, to enhance the haziness of the beer (although, really, when have they ever had a problem with that?), as well as the mouthfeel, the addition of a “healthy dose” of lactose powder boosts the body even more, and adds just a touch of residual sweetness. Hopped entirely with El Dorado, the brewery also threw in some peach and apricot purees, as well as some vanilla, to bring everything together with aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, peaches, bubble gum, and vanilla”. Cans, pours and pints at the brewery starting at noon, and this one will also be pouring at their Tap Takeover at Stillwell today.

Firkinstein has a new beer, one that features the addition of fresh ginger. Added to a Pale Ale base for a unique twist, Root Pale Ale has just a subtle hint of ginger, with a light malt backbone and a minimal hop presence. At 6% ABV, you can find it now wherever Firkinstein beers are sold. The brewery is also now applying for a beverage room licence, so expect to see them able to sell pints of their own beer (as well as guest taps for other breweries) in the not-too-distant future.

• In our weekly “heads up for the Tuesday’s Beta Brew” Good Robot blurb, we’ve got an Irish Extra Stout dropping on the 21st. Extra Sass is a 5.8% ABV brew featuring 2-Row and Vienna with Caramel 30 for sweetness and Caramel 120, Roasted Barley and Black Prinz for colouring. The balancing bitterness, to the tune of 53 IBU, is thanks to East Kent Goldings and Summit hops. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are punctuated by a light addition of Sarsparilla root. As always, the Beta Brews are only available at the taproom for enjoyment onsite, so drop for a taste. And if you’ve got a killer idea for a beer, be sure to let them know, they’d love to have you in the brewery! No brewing experience required.

• And in other Good Robot news, after several weeks of conditioning, their first canned offering is hitting the shelves today. We’ve mentioned Craft Coast Canning, a mobile canning business based in Fredericton previously, and it’s this new business that has made this new format possible. Extra BIG-ASS Beer is the first GR beer to get the treatment, their 5.2% ABV amber Marzen/Oktoberfest style beer (and recent ACBA medal winner). Featuring Vienna, Coffee, Flaked oats and a touch of memoirs malt on a 2-Row base, the hopping is from traditional German Perle and Willamette varietals. This won’t be the last canned offering from Robie and the Robots, as they’ve hinted that more of their lower-ABV/approachable/crushable beers will soon be available this way, including their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common. Cans are available at noon at the brewery (single and four-packs), and at private stores around HRM.

• It’s also a big weekend for Bad Apple Brewhouse, as they too release their first canned products. And why not shoot for the stars, as their first two beers to get the silver bullet treatment are the Mosaic, their award-winning, and charity-benefiting, Double IPA, and their also award-winning Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout. Showcasing its namesake Mosaic hops, the Mosaic is an 8% bitter and aromatic brew that has been an off-and-on favourite for years, whenever owner Jeff Saunders can get his hands on those hops. All sales from Mosaic go towards Down Syndrome Nova Scotia, who make possible the Maritime Down Syndrome Family Camp at Brigadoon Village. These organizations are close to Saunders’ heart, as his son Hunter lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome. On the deep and dark side, Bad Apple’s Black & Tackle, which has won awards as both a “regular” Russian Imperial Stout and in a barrel-aged variation, is also now much more portable, so you can it lots of places and enjoy its big roast presence and 9+% ABV as winter approaches. Cans of these beers are available this weekend at the brewery in Berwick Somerset, and are also headed for the private stores in the HRM. Follow along on their social media for the exact availability details. We’ve also seen hints on Bad Apple’s social media accounts that canning these two beers is just a start and other tasty things are on the way in that format in the coming weeks.

• And lastly, but perhaps most uncanny of all (not even sorry), Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing made a splash on social media yesterday when it was revealed that they’ve gone ahead and put four of their beers into cans now available at the brewery and very soon (as in very possibly this afternoon) at Bishop’s Cellar. The flagship IPA Exile on North Street and DIPA 12 Years to Zion are joined by fall/winter seasonal Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and everybody’s favorite Citra bomb Double Orange Apocalypse Ale in a hoppy quadfecta. Interest was immediate from folks far and wide as the prospect of shippable Unfiltered became a sudden and unexpected reality. We suspect few will breach the borders of the province or even HRM, at least at first, as having these beers unbound from growlers will be a novelty that takes some time to wear off.

• Last week we told you about the Garrison and Boxing Rock collaboration Courage brewed in honor of Gord Downie. The response to that bear was pretty impressive, with both brewery locations and the private stores all selling out within 24 hours or so! To date, just shy of $11,000 has been raised for two charitable causes: Brain Tumour Research and Indigenous People’s Reconciliation. And hopefully that number is only going to grow, as the beer will be available in 11 NSLC stores by next week (want to know which ones? Go here and click “Check Store Availability”). It will also be hitting PEI LLC this week, and ANBL and NLL stores soon after that. And in other Garrison beer news, their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA has been canned and will be available at the NSLC and private stores shortly and their fall/winter seasonal Winter Warmer will be at the NSLC in bottles very soon as well.

• Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has a new beer of their own on the go this week, called Northumbeerland. Brewed partially as a trial for a new local malt, this beer is in the saison style, and the grist is a single pale base malt. In the kettle, Warrior hops were used for bittering while Saaz were added at the end of the boil and later, post-fermentation, for a dry-hop. The saison yeast strain used was selected for its ability to dry the beer out, and it has, while also yielding subtle hints of hay and berries along with a slight tartness. This is a very sessionable beer at 4.1% ABV and you’ll find it for growler fills at tiny tasters at the brewery’s operation on Salter Street.

A few events to tell you about this weekend and beyond, with a clear concentration of activity in downtown Halifax:

• A little bar named Stillwell opened on Barrington Street in November, 2013, and has been helping to grow the enthusiasm (and number) of breweries and drinkers alike in Halifax. They’re celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with a weekend full of events. Today from noon, the beers (and people) from Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing will be taking over, with a full dozen beers available on tap. Old favourites and new releases (including the Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA mentioned above) will be pouring; there will be free glassware for the first 100 to show up, and the full taplist can be found here. Saturday will see the annual Stillwell Birthday event, featuring an absolutely ridiculous tap, bottle and cask selection that celebrates the best of local offerings, highlights from other parts of Canada and the U.S. and very special treats from Europe. The full list can be found here (try not to drool) and it also includes the first public pourings of Stillwell Four, the first bottle release from Stillwell Brewing Co. which, as a matter of fact, will also be available the very next day for sale at the brewery’s warehouse around back at 2015 Gottingen Street. We’ve been advised that the Four is in somewhat short supply, so there will be a signup sheet at the bar during Saturday’s festivities so you can ensure you don’t miss out. We’ll should also warn you, especially those from out of town, if you’re planning to hit the birthday celebration on Saturday, that the 22nd Annual Parade of Lights is going on downtown that evening. It has been called a “traffic apocalypse” and “the worst traffic of the year”; things start getting nutty at about 4:30 PM and really don’t start to clear up until close to 9 PM or later. So maybe plan to take a bus or cab downtown, get good and settled in, and really explore what’s on offer.

• We mentioned that Montague, PEI’s newest-and-first brewery, Copper Bottom Brewing, would be holding their official grand opening soon, and looks like “soon” is even sooner than we thought! The Grand Opening is happening tomorrow from noon-close, there’ll be live music going on all day, a TBA food truck will be onsite, and lots of other fun stuff throughout the day, including kick-the-keg prizes, brewery tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm. And if you’d like to get out to the party without having to commit to driving, the brewery has teamed up with a local company to bring you the Copper Bottom Brew Bus, which leaves from the Peakes Wharf in Charlottetown at 5:15 pm, and departs Copper Bottom at 10 pm; contact Sonya or Loralei at 902-213-5177 if you’d like a ticket, which is just $15 round-trip.

• Yes, it’s months away, but we really need to let you know that tickets for the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival officially go on sale next Friday, November 24th, at 11 am. This event, which is being held on Saturday, March 10th, 2018, continues to grow in breweries represented, beers poured, and overall excellence every year, so we can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be next March! And did we mention that Maine’s Orono Brewing will be pouring? Have this ticket link all ready to go next Friday at 11 sharp, especially if you want to get your hands on VIP tickets (which sold out in something like 2 minutes last year… no, we’re not joking). We’ll have lots more information on the event as the date approaches!

And a couple of last mentions before we let you get started on your weekend:

– A reminder that the launch party for 100 from Big Spruce, their beer made with 100% Nova Scotia-produced ingredients, is taking place at Horton Ridge Malt House tomorrow at 2 PM. Big Spruce beers will also will be taking over the guest growler taps during this kitchen party-styled event. The 100 is now available now in cans at Westside in Halifax, where a Big Spruce 5-tap mini-takeover of their growler station (including fills of the 100) started last night and is likely to continue into the weekend.
– Halifax brewpub Rockbottom has a new beer on the menu this week, an American Pale Ale dubbed Mostly Maris for the use of the venerable British malt called Maris Otter. It lends a biscuity note and a sweetness that should pair nicely with the very American hop schedule that includes Cascade, and Columbus. This beer is balanced to the hoppy side of the spectrum and comes in at 5.5% ABV and 55 IBU.