Bad Apple Brewhouse

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Happy Friday, Beer Fans! Well, you did it, you survived Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! Hopefully you made it out to some of the events sponsored by the CBANS, and drank more than your share of the good stuff. Let’s keep the good vibes going to let you know what and where to enjoy some more tasty bevvies this weekend and beyond.

The final event of NS Craft Beer Week this year was the Stillwell Open, hosted by the long-time local-beer-boosters at Bar Stillwell. Four teams from across the province (North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth) competed to create their best Single Hop beers in four categories (English, Session, Standard, and Double IPA). The drinking public voted on their favourite, and after the dust settled, First Place in the IPA category, and overall, went to the winning brew from Team North. Big Spruce Brewing teamed up with the soon-to-open Church Brewing Company and multi-award-winning homebrewer David Pepper. Named $$$$ (named after/sung to the first line of The O’Jays – For The Love of Money), due to the overwhelming amount of the very new, and not even named yet, HBC 692 hop. Pouring a hazy straw colour, with aromas and flavours of grapefruit and tangerine, it ticked all of the boxes for the crowd that day. Good news for those who missed out Sunday, this is a full release with the beer available at the breweries and better beer locations around the province.

Other finalists in their category were the Session IPA, Karate Lazer, brewed with Ekuanot by New Scotland Brewing, American IPA Shipwreck IPA brewed with Mosaic by Breton Brewing and Brathair Brothers homebrewing collective, and English IPA It’s a Boy! with Bramling Cross by homebrewer Glen O’Keefe. Both commercial brews mentioned are also available at their respective breweries and will see local distribution as well. Congratulations to these medal winners!

There were twelve other beers debuting on the wall Sunday, many of them also seeing distribution throughout the province. For the first time ever, Shipwright Brewing graced the chalkboard at Stillwell, with Secret HOPeration, a 4.6% ABV Session IPA featuring Vic Secret, which is also pouring at their taproom and Grand Banker. Hop notes of pineapple and grapefruit complement the light grain profile with a light bitterness. This entry was brewed with local homebrewers Matt and Isaac Hachey.

Propeller Brewing teamed up with own acbbchris to continue the love with another Gottingen Street Small Batch. This year’s effort was Sabro Double IPA, featuring a s**t-ton of newer hop Sabro added generously early, late, and after the boil (including during active fermentation), for a melding of coconut, pineapple, mango, and papaya, for a pina colada with a bit of a bitter kick. It is available now at both Propeller locations for growler fills, with pints also pouring at the Gottingen Street taproom. Drop by tomorrow during Open City to check out their brewery, and for the first time ever, the Propeller Arcade is open to all ages from noon to 4 PM.

Let’s skip provinces for a moment, where after months of delays (the most recent opening was planned for mid-October of 2018), the Gahan House has officially opened their Moncton location, Gahan House Hub City. The 160-seat restaurant (located at 55 Queen St. downtown) will also feature a 60-seat seasonal patio and a 5 bbl (~600 L) brewhouse, with three 5 bbl fermentors. As with other Gahan locations, you’ll find the standard PEI Brewing Co./Gahan line-up on tap, along with one-offs and seasonals brewed at the Hub City location, as well as other Gahan breweries in Atlantic Canada. Naturally, we’ll keep you updated on these beers, but we can give you a sneak preview of the first beer brewed at Hub City… it’s a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade and Huell Melon.

And while on the subject of Gahan, we might as well take the opportunity to mention that the first beer from the Saint John Barrel Room series will be released at the Saint John and Fredericton Gahan locations on May 17th. Sour Saison was fermented initially with a Saison strain, the beer was then moved to Pinot Noir barrels with a blend of Brett, Lacto, and Pedio for six months. Bottle-conditioned for three months before its release next week, it finished off at 6.4% ABV.

If you’re into this new trend of hazy IPAs that all the kids are drinking (and who isn’t??), you may be interested to hear that Port Rexton Brewing has added a new rotating beer series, Continuum, to their line-up. This series of hazy IPAs will focus on different hops with each batch, and the first, Continuum w/ Vic Secret, was mainly hopped with the lovely Vic Secret variety from Australia. With large amounts thrown into the whirlpool and dry hop additions (along with some Azacca to complement), the beer has “bright tropical, stone fruit, and floral aromas and flavours, with undertones of piney bitterness”, all in a smooth, soft body with a dry finish. You’ll have to make a trip out to the brewery this weekend (now open 7 days a week, 12 – 10 PM) to grab this 5.6% ABV beer, but the trip will be worth it for the berg-watching, a walk along the Skerwink, and/or to attend their Mini Market tomorrow from noon until two, with crafts and goods by local entrepreneurs.

On the Avalon Peninsula, where we’ve been told you can spot some icebergs as well, you’ll find Landwash Brewery. And out in Mount Pearl, they’ve released a brand new take on their Brackish Gose, this release conditioned with some juicy Guava for an extra kick of acidity, and of course some bright tropical character. As always, sea salt from Newfoundland Salt Company plays an important role in mouthfeel and “zing”. On tap at the brewery for samples, pints, and growlers, as well as limited number of cans, pop in this weekend to enjoy this 4.8% ABV taste of the tropics. Their website is always up-to-date with their Availability, so be sure to keep an eye out there too. You’ll soon see yet another new beer hit the taps at the brewery, as well as the Admiralty House Museum, a hint of what’s to come can be found here.

On Newfoundland’s West Coast, pop into Bootleg BrewCo in Corner Brook for a taste of their Hawai’i Four-O American Session Ale. Full of fresh pineapple added to the conditioning tank, plus juicy tropical hops to complement, this 4.0% ABV refresher of a beer is light, smooth, and perfect for the warmer days sure to arrive any week now…

And speaking of Corner Brook, there will soon be another local brewery location in the city. Crooked Feeder Brewing, located in Cormack, will be taking over the Gitanos’ restaurant space in the Millbrook Mall, and opening Crooked Feeder Gastropub. While keeping their brewing operations in the former mill just north of Deer Lake, they will be bringing the look and feel of their quiet brewery location to CB. We expect that will feature plenty of work by The Tin Man, the local fabricators who have worked with Crooked Feeder to manufacture their brewhouse and fermentation vessels. With an expected seating capacity of over 100, the food menu will feature both meal and small-bite options, for those just coming in for a flight or pint, or staying a while to enjoy the live music and entertainment. They will also have a retail counter where growlers and merchandise to show off your Crooked Feeder pride. The Gastropub will be opening next month, but they’ve got plenty of beer to share with us in the meantime. Their Ohh Baby Brut IPA debuted at the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival last month, and they are filling growlers in Cormack currently, and keep an eye out for a late-May release of their Best Coast Bitter, a Best Bitter in the traditional English style.

In Fredericton, TrailWay has been busy with the upcoming warm weather, meaning patio season, and more beer drinking! This week, they’ve got a new beer and two returning ones to suit those thirsty days. First up is their latest American IPA, Inception, a 6.5% ABV brew hopped entirely with Falconer’s Flight, an ever-changing blend of American ‘C’ hops. Plenty of citrus and tropical fruit abounds, no doubt, and if you’re at the brewery to have a pint or pick up some cans, bonus points if you do so with your totem in hand… but remember, don’t let anyone else touch it! (No, we’re not being dirty, sickos… watch the movie for cryin’ out loud!)

As for returning favourites, their seasonal Beyond Reality, a 4.6% ABV dry-hopped Raspberry Wheat, is back on tap and in cans, for those of you who need a hop break (homebrewers, see what I did there?). But if you love the hops (and if you’re going to TrailWay, we’re pretty sure you do), they’ve also brought back DDH Green Island, the double-dry hopped version of their standard Green Island IPA. This one is also available on tap and in cans, albeit at a very limited supply.

Out in Hampton, New Brunswick, Matchstick Beer Factory has launched a new beer. Darlin’ of an Amber is being touted as a heavily-hopped American Amber Ale that features a simple grist of Maritime Malt and Crystal 40, with the hops being split between Liberty and Newport (added to the tune of about 40 IBUs) sourced from local Darlings Island Farm. Fermented with a neutral American Ale yeast strain, the hop flavours are complemented by the maltiness of the beer. Coming in at 6% ABV, look for kegs to be pouring at Sussex Ale Works, the Cask and Kettle, Saint John Ale House, and Match Factory Restaurant.

Drop by 2 Crows this Saturday at noon if you’d like to get your bottle fix, as they’ll be releasing Five Petals, the latest in their ever-expanding lineup of barrel-aged sours. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, and Wheat, no hops were added to the wort before it made its way to the wonderful world of oak. Fermented with a blend of the brewery’s Lacto, Brett and Saccharomyces cultures, it spent about 4 months in Sauvingon Blanc barrels, where it was then transferred back to stainless. Here, it was further conditioned on fresh lemon zest and juice, along with an addition of elderflowers, before bottling. Tasting “very bright, fun, lively and fresh, with a strong lemon presence, firm minerality, and a delicate touch of elderflowers’ floral/lychee presence”, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV.

YellowBelly in St. John’s, Newfoundland has a new beer coming this week, their version of a collaboration with Five Boroughs Brewing Co. in New York City to celebrate the success of the hit musical now playing in New York (on Broadway, even!), Toronto, Melbourne, London and on tour as well, Come From Away. Unfiltered and unfined, this pale ale’s is augmented by oats and wheat in the grist for a silky mouthfeel, with a soft bitterness rated at 40 IBU and a maybe-not-quite-sessionable-but-maybe-have-another-one-anyway 6.0% ABV. The blend of Cashmere, Cascade, and Amarillo hops lends tropical, citrus, and stone fruit notes in both the aroma and on the palate. Expect it to pair well with spicy foods and creamy cheese. You can find it on tap at YellowBelly’s Pub, with growler fills expected to be available by Sunday, May 19th at the Takeaway. You can also expect to find it on guest taps around the city and possibly the rest of the province, and the NLC will have bottles within the next week! A lovely tribute to a great story of folks going out of their way to help others during an event that truly shook the world.

Late last fall, Maybee Brewing released Brut IPA, their take on the hoppy, effervescent, bone-dry style. This beer will be the focus of the first release in their barrel-aged program with Brut: Aged in Pinot Noir Barrels. Aged in Pinot Noir barrels for four months, the final product is the result of a blend of two of these barrels, plus a small amount of the Brut IPA base. Refermented in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles with fresh yeast for about 6 weeks, the bottles are now ready and will be released exclusively at the taproom next Wednesday. The 6% ABV beer is displaying aromas of “tropical fruit, pineapple, white wine grape notes, wood vanillins, earth, and spice”, with flavours of the same, along with some barrel character, according to the brewery. They’ve also kegged a small amount, which will be available for pints only, also at the brewery.

What to do this weekend? We’ve got one suggestion for you today!

Our good friends at Stillwell are holding their very first Newfoundland Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 11th, from noon until closing. They’ll be hosting three breweries from the Rock, including Landwash (pouring That Much Ocean, Hazures Rock, One Wave, Brackish, and Home and Away), Quidi Vidi (Iceberg, Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose, and Dayboil), and Port Rexton (T-Rex Porter, Some Day on Hops, Azacca NEIPA, and Drifter). And it wouldn’t be a Newfoundland anything if there weren’t some tasty home-inspired treats on hand, so they’ll be serving up fried bologna and fishcakes on the menu. No entry fee, of course, so drop by and sample some delicious beers and food!

Just a couple more before you head out for lunch…

Bad Apple Brewhouse has been experimenting with English beers lately, as an excuse to find use for their new hand pump. If you’re in Wolfville, drop by The Core (just off of Main Street) to try the new, unnamed Extra Special Bitter (4.9% ABV), which has a “balanced hop bitterness with a slight, fruity ester-like finish”.

For next Thursday’s Alpha Brew, Good Robot is bringing back Creature Feature I (6% ABV, 68 IBUs), the first iteration in their biotransformation IPA series. Hopped with a selection of North American varieties, expect a “mild honey flavour and a subtle orchard fruit aroma”.

Happy Spring Everyone! Now we just need to tell Mother Nature that! But it will be nice to see the snow eventually receding so that you have a big more time to dodge the potholes. A handful of new beers and events this week, so grab that coffee, or coffee stout, and get up to speed on the beer news. As always, if you have beer info you’d like us to share, please don’t hesitate to send it along! We’re always happy to spread the word about the great beer in our region.

News concerning collaboration beers brewed for International Women’s Day keeps trickling in; this week, we can fill you in on the one released by Petit-Sault and Big Tide. Brewed at the Petit-Sault brewery in Edmundston, Brighid is an 8.8% abv “Strawberry Brut IPA”. Hopped with Mosaic and Lemondrop, enzymes were added to help the beer dry out as much as possible, as is typical for the Brut IPA style. During fermentation, strawberry puree was added (to the tune of 300 lbs), giving the beer a hazy, pinkish hue. Tropical, juicy, and super-dry (as expected), it’s currently available on tap only, at both breweries. Look for 750 mL bottles to appear at both locations next week, as well.

One of New Brunswick’s newest breweries (for a little while longer, anyway), Hampton Brewing, dropped a new beer release in time for St. Patrick’s Day last weekend. Ol’Marley is a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, brewed with a mixture of Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts to impart plenty of roasted, coffee-like character in the aroma and flavour. The beer also features the addition of rum-soaked, organic cacao nibs, adding even more chocolatey goodness to the finished product. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 32 IBUs, it has a medium body and moderate bitterness in the finish. Look for it on tap at your favourite Hampton Brewing account.

Let’s move back to Brut IPA territory; specifically to Smiths Cove, NS, where Lazy Bear Brewing has released their very own. Simply named Brut IPA, it was dry-hopped with Ariana, Callista, and El Dorado; we’re going to assume no hops were added during the boil, as the brewery lists the IBUs as “very low to none”. The beer comes in at 7% ABV and finishes very dry (again, thanks in part to the addition of enzymes); it’s available on tap at the brewery during the Thursday Growler Evenings and the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, with kegs possibly being sent elsewhere soon.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing has a new beer out this week that hopefully will put you in mind of warmer days to come. A grisette, In Limbo was brewed with primarily Pilsner malt, with plenty of spelt and both flaked and malted wheat rounding out the grist, and it was hopped lightly with classic noble Saaz before being fermented with Niche’s house culture. The result is a beer with a light body and a pleasant lemon presence that’s definitely on the funkier side of the style, but which certainly doesn’t bash you over the head with yeast character. Easy-drinking and refreshing, at 4.2% ABV you can have a few and without worrying you might dart out in front of an oxcart during the festival of the vernal equinox! Look for it at Niche tap accounts around NB and, if the folks in Halifax are lucky again, maybe some will come to that city as well.

We warned you a month ago to keep your eyes out for a beer featuring carrots, and sure enough, it has come to pass as those crazy kids at Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS, have pushed the boundaries yet again with 14 Carrot Gold. This beer is a collaboration with Square Roots, a brand that encompasses a pair of projects under the aegis of Enactus SMU that aim to help reduce food waste and eliminate food insecurity in our communities. One way to address the former is to find uses for the less pretty produce that might not be sold if it were put on the shelf. So this beer isn’t just full of carrots, it’s full of ugly carrots, carrots that might roll a rabbit in a dark alley, carrots that you wouldn’t bring home to meet your Mom, but carrots that taste just fine. The juice of these carrots was added to the mash, joining a grist that included some honey malt to encourage some balancing malt sweetness. Into the kettle the wort went, to be hopped up (sorry*) with Calypso, Magnum, and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. The overall result is a clean and refreshing rather orange pale ale that is herbal and slightly spicy, but which also definitely tastes of carrots. You can find it already in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, Boxing Rock Bottle Shop at Local Source and private liquor stores in Halifax, and it will also be on the shelves at NSLC locations starting April 1st. Maybe grab an extra to put out for the Easter Bunny to enjoy? And speaking of the bottle shop, thanks to the associated Test Kitchen, they’ve also got a brand new one on the taps: FLEX IPA clocks in at a hefty 7.3% ABV and sports plenty of Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. Stop by to grab a growler if you’re in the North End.

* totally not sorry

Spindrift Brewing has their latest entry in their Out of the Hold series bottled and available for sale, FIKA. This one is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout that was fermented in stainless, and then transferred to a French oak barrel for months of aging. Once it was ready to be packaged (in 500 mL bottles), the beer was infused with espresso beans, vanilla, and cardamom (in essence, now making it an Imperial Coffee Stout). Wondering about the beer’s name? Well, “fika” is apparently the Swedish word for “coffee break”, and the espresso beans were bought from IKEA (which we’re sure we do not have to explain to you what that is). You can pick up your bottles at the brewery’s taproom right now; check out the HRM’s private liquor stores in the near future as well. Note that this beer was brewed with lactose, just in case you’re intolerant of such things!

Halifax’s Garrison brewed up a special collaboration with the staff of Agricola Street Brasserie that made its debut last week at their beer dinner at that restaurant. How Dairy?! is a one off draft-only release available for now at the brewery for samples, pints, and growler fills, although it’s expected to be sent out to a few tap accounts as well. A stout weighing in at 4.7% ABV, it was built on pale ale and Munich malts, with oats, crystal malt and roasted barley rounding out the grist. Hopped to 32 IBU with Millennium, it also contains lactose, which very well might take it into the sweet stout or milk stout category. You can make that determination for yourself if you head down and give this smooth and full-bodied beer with notes of coffee and chocolate a try.

Bryan Carver, certified Cicerone, former Brewmaster at PEIBC, and former employee in the technical services department at DME Brewing, will be opening his own brewery – Modern Brewer’s Village Green – in Cornwall, PEI, this summer. Located at 1 Cornwall Rd, the building currently houses a dentist’s office which is relocating at the end of this month. While his equipment has not been ordered yet, as he’s waiting for the building to be rezoned, Carver plans to brew on a 2 bbl (240 L) system, to concentrate primarily on serving the 25-seat taproom. Locals can expect to try beers that they may not have tried before, as Carver plans to focus on styles that may not be easily-accessible to the area. We will have much more with Carver on Village Green as the project progresses.

We’ve got a few events to tell you about this week, definitely worth leaving the March Madness behind for a few hours, we reckon!

We mentioned it a few weeks ago, but here’s your reminder that this year’s Péché Day will be happening tomorrow and folks in our region are lucky enough to have two options available: Stillwell in Halifax and Tide & Boar in Moncton. Péché Day celebrates Péché Mortel, a Imperial Coffee Stout from Dieu du Ciel! that continues to be one of the finest beers in the country year after year. There will be seven variants on offer this year, all boasting an ABV of 9.5%:

  • Péché Mortel – the original
  • Péché Mortel Bourbon 2018 and 2019 – two different vintages aged in bourbon barrels
  • Péché Mortel Cerise – brewed with cherries
  • Péché Mortel Coconut – matured on toasted coconut
  • Péché Mortel Islay 2019 – aged in Islay Scotch barrels
  • Péché Mortel Moka – brewed with cacao

If you’re at all a fan of big, dark boozy beers, especially those featuring wood aging or other additions, you might want to find a way to check it out. You might also want to strongly consider 5 oz tasting glasses if you want to run to try them all!!

Last week we gave you the full rundown on the Flavabot: Rake ‘n Scrape event being thrown down on Sunday by the Lime Stone Group at Good Robot in Halifax, but we thought it prudent to give you a little reminder that there will be four brand new beers available, all with a Caribbean influence:

  • Rake ‘n Scrape – 6.9% ABV Tropical IIPA with mangoes & pomegranate, 70 IBU
  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – 4.5% ABV, Blackberry Amber Ale, 30 IBU
  • Pineapples & Coconut … Bro – 5.6% ABV, Pina colada Wheat Ale, 27 IBU
  • Passion Bliss – 5.5% ABV, Passion fruit Pale Ale, 50 IBU

Brunch starts at 10 AM but the party goes ALL DAY. That said, only the Rake ‘n Scrape is a full-size Alpha batch, so if you want to increase your chances of tasting the other three best get there early.

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is celebrating the release of a brand new beer Sunday, a collaboration with the Hopped Up Gaming East (HUGE) podcast. Button Masher is a 7.0% Cherry IPA, featuring loads of Citra hops for a hazy, aromatic and bitter IPA, that was then “juiced up” with black cherries. Keeping with the mutual love of video games and beer, the teammates will be launching the beer at the Board Room Cafe on Barrington Street in Halifax. From 7 – 9 PM, there will be Video Game Trivia, with the beer pouring all evening. Drop by to grab the first pints and take part in the fun, and then look for it on tap around Halifax, with bottles of Button Masher coming next week.

Next Saturday, March 30, White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL, will be celebrating BrewSKI 2019! With Beer Yoga kicking off the day at 10 AM, to a fun ski & snowboard race at 12 PM, to the BrewSKI Craft Beer Fest starting at 7 PM, there is a whole day of fun to be had on the ski hills. The evening’s festival will feature beer from 8 Newfoundland breweries and cideries: Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co (Conception Bay), Bootleg Brewery (Corner Brook), Landwash Brewery (Mt Pearl), Port Rexton Brewing Co (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi Brewery (Quidi Vidi), Split Rock Brewery (Twillingate), YellowBelly Brewery (St. John’s), plus the Newfoundland Cider Company (Milton). There will be live music by 3 Shades of Grey and The Dimaggios, and food from Oh My Cheeses. Tickets for the day’s events are available now, grab them and find your best retro snowsuit to fit right in with the crowd.

Just a few more notes to pass along this week!

We mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post with His Excellency Pavel Hrnčíř, the Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Canada, but wanted to remind you that the 902 BrewCast has dropped their March Tasting Episode today, and it covers all things Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. In addition to that interview, they spoke with Geaghan Brothers, Holy Whale, and O’Creek Brewing. Listen in!

Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery has brought back their Brackish, a 4.8% ABV Sour Ale that features Newfoundland Sea Salt, their take on a German Gose. With draught, growlers, and cans available at the brewery now, we suggest popping by to grab some. And to celebrate its return, the folks at Landwash have a couple of fun things on the go. They actually brewed a second full-sized batch, and added mango puree to it, and so Mango Brackish is pouring (and available to go in growlers) at the brewery now. And, also, too, they’ve cask conditioned 20 litres of the unfruited Brackish, and swapped out the standard sea salt for Newfoundland Salt Company’s Juniper Smoked Salt, for a floral and herbal cousin of the original. This one is in short supply (and we’re not even positive it’s still available!), so if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to pop by the brewery today when they open at 4 PM.

Propeller Brewing has brought back a favourite from the fall, their Galaxy IPA. This 6.5% hoppy, hazy, and juicy IPA feature a ton of the great Aussie hop Galaxy added in the kettle and fermenter, for tropical, citrus, and stonefruit character. Back now on tap and in cans, with four-packs available at the NSLC for the first time next week.

Unfiltered is bringing back their Fist of God DIPA again, a “fruity, tropical, soft, and delicious” 7.5% ABV hop bomb. Available today at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans. So is their Citra bomb DOA which came back last week. If you love some hops, you know where to go.

In a case of a community doing the right thing, the Town of Wolfville agreed Tuesday to amend their Land Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to explicitly allow breweries to operate and sell beer off-site. This is great news for Church Brewing, who continue construction of their on-premise brewery at 329 Main Street in the town, to complement the already thriving restaurant. If struck down, it would have severely handcuffed them from the start, and had the unintended consequence of hurting other craft alcohol producers in the same zone, including Annapolis Cider Company, Bad Apple Brewhouse, and Paddy’s Pub.

What a week! We’ve had wild weather across the region, big news from the Nova Scotian government on personal alcohol importation limits (good news at that!), and more than a dozen brand new beers pouring in the region. Let’s get right to it, so you can get out the door and pick up those gifts for the beer-lovers in your life (but start with yourself first!).

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen a new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing (the last was Five, brewed to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bar Stillwell), but thankfully they’ve got a brand new one dropping for us all tomorrow. The high majority of Stillwell’s beers require time and patience on the brewery’s part, but tomorrow’s beer, Auld, takes that level of waiting even further. An Old Ale, the beer was brewed in early June of 2017. Fermented with their house culture, and aged in their smallest former-Cognac foeder for one year, it was then packaged and bottle-conditioned for another six months. Sure, it’s a strong one (at 9.5% ABV), but all this time has smoothed out the beer wonderfully. They’re describing as having “lots of oak, balanced acidity, some pleasant oxidized notes [ed: yeah, you definitely want that in an Old Ale!] and a big malty nose and palate”. It still finishes nice and dry, making this the perfect evening sipper for these brutally cold nights we’ve been experiencing. Think of this one as a combination of English and Belgian traditional beers. Still a bit unsure how to approach this one? We highly encourage you to read the BJCP description of the style (skip to page 30), and swing by the brewery tomorrow from 12-4 to pick up a few bottles (you know they’ll age spectacularly)!

While on the topic of delightful Halifax bottle releases, let’s move over to Brunswick St., where 2 Crows has their own tasty brew coming out tomorrow, Blackberry Collins. Brewed 9 months ago with a grist of Belgian Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus plantarum. Lightly hopped in the boil with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in freshly-emptied American gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains. It was allowed to sit in the barrels for six months before being transferred onto 128 kg of blackberry purée (yep, that’s a lot) and “a couple of cases” of lemon zest and juice, where it conditioned for three more months before packaging. Finally, it was bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two and a half more months, and is now tasting “super jammy, rich, bright, and lively, with nice juniper aromatics and a great level of acidity”. We’ll take it! Like we said, available in a limited supply in 375 mL bottles at the brewery tomorrow as soon as they open.

North Brewing, the Halifax/Dartmouth bridge-spanning brewery, has hit us with not one, not two, not even three, but four new releases this week, making your choices for beer purchasing either much easier, or infinitely harder. Released earlier this week in cans is Soleil Saison, a 5.0% ABV mostly-traditional Saison brewed with 2-Row, Wheat, and Torrified Wheat malts, and hopped with Saaz, for a melding of Noble hop earth and spice, complementing the crisp, zesty, and light citrus and spicy notes from the Old World Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Released yesterday were the one-two punch of their continuing wine/beer collaboration with Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley, NS. The 2017 Barrel-Aged Saison de Pinot was limited to about 200 litres of last years beer/wine hybrid, which spent an extra 11 months in a BB Pinot barrel, before being packaged and allowed to bottle condition before release. Think tart, dry, a little funky, and with an extra bit of je ne sais quoi from the barrel contact since last year. We suggest trying this bottle with that of the original 2017 release to compare and contrast. Be sure to grab yours today, as they will surely sell out over the weekend, due to the limited volume. Also released yesterday was this year’s version of the collaboration, Saison de Chardonnay. 200 litres of Chardonnay must was added to the beer, fermented with Saccharomyces Trois, a yeast known for providing many of the “wild-like” funky and fruit characters more commonly attributed to Brettanomyces strains. The change of grape must was two-fold: playing with the different flavour profile of a new liquid, and the unfortunate fact that the Pinot crop was negatively affected by early frost, severely limiting this year’s yield. The 7.4% ABV beer features some spiciness on the nose and palate, with orange and floral notes coming through as well. These bottles are perfect for enjoying (or gifting) now, and will continue to develop in the bottle, so be sure to lay one down for enjoyment with the inevitable barrel version to be released next December. And finally, hitting the fridges at both locations today, is the latest in their Twinkle Pony series, Twinkle’s Chocolate Orange. Think of the traditional English sweet as you sip this one, as the 7.0% ABV beer features loads of chocolate malt, and a ton of fresh orange zest (RIP their elbows and forearms from all that work!). We strongly suggest dropping into Battery Park today to grab a glass of one or all of these, as they were pouring during BP’s Third Anniversary Tap Takeover yesterday (congratulations folks!).

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has a brand new beer returning to the taps in New Brunswick this week. Huh? Let us explain: during their Tap Takeover at Bar Stillwell in October, they prepared a single one-off keg of Moderation, a Milkshake IPA with passion fruit. It went over well (really well), and thankfully the stars have aligned and they were able to sell off enough body parts to afford the vanilla beans (and passion fruit!) to brew a full batch, so that Moderation could see wider release. This 5.9% ABV beer features the aforementioned real Madagascar vanilla beans as well as lactose for the base Milkshake IPA style, with Enigma and Mosaic in the kettle and dry-hopping. Adding in lots of passion fruit puree kicks it up several notches, for a tropical fruit, lightly floral, smooth mouthfeel and low bitterness beer. Look for it on tap at your favourite watering hole in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

The bottle releases at Tidehouse seem to be pretty consistent lately, and this week is no exception with the release of a Belgian Tripel, Hey Abbot! They’re referencing this name as an homage to the Mel Brooks movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but our astute acbbaaron has correctly pointed out that THAT reference is actually an homage to the classic comedy team Abbott and Costello (Google it, it’s probably easier than trying to explain it all). Anyway, the beer. Coming in strong (as Tripels should) at 8% ABV, it was hopped with Saaz and Tettnang, giving some spicy/floral notes to accompany those provided by the Belgian yeast strain. With a thick white head and high carbonation, it has “just a touch of clove/banana” and finishes dry, with a light bitterness. No kegs of this one, so you’ll have to stop by the brewery starting today to pick up some bottles.

Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing has been known to dabble with flavoured kettle sours in the past, and they’re continuing this tradition with the release this week of Blackcurrant Sour (not to be confused with Black Currant Sour, a beer they brewed in the summer of 2017 that actually had a blend of blackcurrants and blackberries). Soured with the brewery’s house Lactobacillus blend, it was fermented with a “fruity yeast strain” and conditioned on 16 kg of black currants. They’re describing the final product as having aromas of “fuzzy peach, with a blend of citrus and cherry, offset by earthy notes of black currant”, to complement the tartness. Pretty darn drinkable at 4.8% ABV, this release will see bottles heading to various ANBL stores in the very near future.

Back in Fredericton, TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of their rotating Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog. Conditioned on vanilla beans as usual, and dry-hopped very highly – also as usual – this one features the addition of both peach and cherry (peach>cherry), both of which burst through on the nose and palate. Accompanied by the aromas/flavours from the hops and vanilla, expect a smooth mouthfeel in this 6.5% ABV beer, thanks to the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Cans of this one will be available at the brewery only, starting today at 11 am, with kegs also on hand there and at local pubs and restaurants.

The team at Port Rexton Brewing continue to experiment with their latest new brew, Salted Sour Pale Ale. You probably have a pretty good idea of what this beer will be like based on the name, but let us help you expand that a little bit. They took a Pale Ale base and kettle-soured it with Lactobacillus, before boiling it and adding plenty of hops (including Belma, an American variety that has been popping up over the last several years). Salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company was also added in the bottle, blending nicely with the aromas and flavours of “strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, tropical mango, melon, and pineapple” (that’s a lotta fruit goodness!) from the hops. Looks like they plan to continue experimenting with this beer, so don’t be surprised if you see some different iterations in the future. As for this batch, it’s on at tap at the brewery and St. John retail shop this weekend.

If you’re a Nova Scotia native, or even a long-term resident, or heck, even a well-informed visitor, perhaps you’ve heard of Blueberry Grunt, a classic (so I’m told) NS baked dessert. Well, Heritage Brewing has created their own eponymous beer-version! Blueberry Grunt is a 5% beer that includes the addition of locally-grown blueberries, giving a mixture of sour and sweet, along with flavours of “baked biscuit, to emulate the crust flavours in traditional Grunt”. They also added a bit of salt tie the flavour profile together. If you’re into beery desserts, drop by Heritage to give this one a taste.

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing a very special beer today, in celebration of someone very dear to the Nova Scotia beer family. Allie’s Fearless is a wet-hopped Kveik yeast-fermented IPA, brewed in memory of Olivia Jollota, part of the Jymline Glassware family. Olivia passed away in 2015, and the Olivia Jollota Memorial Trust has been set up in her name, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students based more on their community and social work than academics, celebrating Olivia’s passion for helping her fellow students, community, animals, and making the world a better place. This limited bottle release features Olivia’s signature tree logo, and is available at the brewery in Somerset and The Core in Wolfville, as well as on tap at a few bars and restaurants, including Stillwell and Jamieson’s Irish Pub, with the proceeds supporting more scholarships and outreach events for years to come.

Halifax’s Good Robot has quite a bit going on over the next week before things quiet down over the holidays. Yesterday marked the canning of another big batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style lager with jalepeño peppers. Look for it at their retail outlet and onsite at the taproom and the Mousetrap. On Tuesday, look for another spicy beer, their collaboration with Antojo Tacos + Tequila that we told you about last week, La Luchadora Catrina, to be available at the restaurant before it goes on tap at Good Robot the following day. Also available next Wednesday, December 19th, will be a BetaBrew called Sugar Boots. Brewed with Sara Panchaud from GR’s design team, the idea in mind was a “Neapolitan Stout” featuring flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry reminiscent of the original three-flavor ice cream. Using real strawberries for real strawberry flavor, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.6% ABV and 28 IBU. And lastly, fans of GR’s Tom Waits for No One American Stout will be happy to hear that they’ve kegged another batch of that one for release on Thursday, December 20th.

Foghorn in Rothesay, NB, brought back their Imperial Porter with local honey, The Monk, in late November, but it’s still around for you to try. At 7.5% ABV and 40 IBU, it’s got some weight to it and, we presume, some honey character. Meanwhile, Foghorn is the latest brewery to enter the gluten-reduced space with their new JJ Pattycake. Leveraging Clarity Ferm, an enzyme known to prevent long-chain proteins like gluten from forming during fermentation. Brewed in support of a friend of the brewery who has discovered a gluten sensitivity, the lab results aren’t back yet, but the brewery is hoping it tests low enough for him to drink it. A pale ale at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU, it was dry-hopped with the Falconer’s Flight hop blend for a classic American hop profile. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Big Spruce will be making the rounds in Halifax tomorrow for those who ordered beer for holiday delivery and one of the beers that will no doubt be delivered is their Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, Complexified. Meanwhile, they’re releasing a new beer called Simplified. If you’re wondering whether those names indicate that the two beers are somehow related, you can go ahead and treat yourself to a beer: Simplified is the same beer without the barrel treatment. Still big, bold, and smooth, it’s a hefty 10.9% ABV. It made a brief appearance at Battery Park this week and is now available in bottles at the brewery (and hopefully soon at the private stores in Halifax). And seeing as how Complexified is also available, this would be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the beers and get a feel for what some time in a barrel can do.

With things finally slowing down a little for the holiday season we don’t have any big beer events to highlight this week, but do check out your favorite brewery’s website and social media to see what they might have on the go. Meanwhile, here’s a final few mentions to lead you into the weekend:

In terms of Nova Scotia Craft Beer traditions, Garrison’s Spruce Beer has to be considered part of the old school, which is fitting, considering that Spruce Beer is one of the oldest beer styles in North America. Featuring locally harvested spruce tips from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s blackstrap molasses, it comes in at 7.5% ABV with a fairly gentle bitterness at 35 IBU. Look for it at the brewery in 650 mL bottles and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks at some of the private stores in the city.

Sticking with our longest-running regional craft breweries, Propeller continues their Black Cask Month today with another special treat. Porter with Chocolate & Orange is just that: their porter with orange and chocolate flavors added. Reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a classic Christmas confection, it will be tapped earlier than usual today at 3 PM to accommodate Propeller’s holiday party. Also of note to fans of Propeller, starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th, the tasting room and retail shop on Gottingen will be open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!

For those of you living in Saint John that are fans of local brewery Loyalist City, they mentioned some good news earlier this week… they’ve finally got a taproom! The brewery has partnered with the Bunkhaus Hostel down the street; the two have opened a taproom/cafe at 36 Water St. over the past few days. They’ve started with four taps dedicated to Loyalist City, with more to be added shortly afterwards, as well as several guest taps.

The fairly-new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth is releasing a new brew today, Sailor’s Dream. We don’t have a lot of details on this one, but we can tell you it’s a dry-hopped Lager, “light with a mild sweetness, with a subtle fruity aroma and a finish of melon”. Find it on tap at that location this weekend, where they’ll also be launching their Mug Club there tomorrow… grab one of the 150 memberships available for all sorts of discounts and exclusive club events and promotions, plus your own personal hand-made mug, of course!