Battery Park

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Happy long weekend! Whether you have your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday or Monday, early afternoon or evening, deep fry your turkey or roast it, we can’t think of a better way to lead into it than beer! We’re not saying one absolutely needs a beer or three before sitting down with multiple family members to stuff yourselves full off tryptophan-laden food… but it certainly helps (especially if the conversation veers towards politics… Canadian OR American). Our usual reminder about holiday weekends bears repeating: check your favorite brewery’s hours before planning your supply run, especially on Sunday and Monday; brewers have families too!! With that being said, read on for the latest goings-on in the Atlantic Canadian beer world… and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Nackawic, New Brunswick’s Big Axe will soon be celebrating the official opening of their brand new taproom, with a party scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Along with live music, free tours, and food trucks, they’ll also be launching a new beer for the event, Hops and Sickle Pale Ale. Brewed with Pale and Honey malts, fermented with an American Ale strain, and hopped with a blend from Darlings Island Farm – which appears to mainly feature Dr. Rudi – the final beer has aromas of pine, citrus, stone fruit, and spice. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available at Big Axe during their celebrations (along with several other of their beers), and throughout the following days, while supplies last.

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing in Hanwell (pronounced “Fredericton” by most people), NB, just can’t help themselves. They’ve got yet another new beer for us this week to whet our appetites for their tap takeover at Stillwell next weekend. Listed as a Brett IPA, this one is likely to be quite a bit different from the last, as it uses a Brettanomyces strain from the Yeast Bay hitherto unknown to Niche (and possible the rest of Atlantic Canada). Purported to bring a character that is “reminiscent of Sweet Tarts” candy, that’s pretty much exactly what it did, providing a slightly tart finish and a fruity palate with plenty of funk on the nose. Because this is Niche, and because it’s an IPA, there were also a lot of hops involved, including Azacca and Galaxy, which amped up the fruity character even more. Dubbed Space Oddity, it’s 5.6% ABV and hazy as hell; you can find it soon at The Joyce and the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton, and Peppers Pub, Lock Stock & Barrels, and the Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, and it might (possibly, potentially, maybe) be available at the Stillwell next weekend as well (see below).

There’s a refreshing, salty new beer pouring at the Port Rexton taproom right now… and if you guessed Gose, you’d be exactly right! Drifter is the brewery’s 4.1% ABV take on the sour, German Wheat beer, with salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company added in the boil. As is usual for the style, coriander was also added, with the final beer exhibiting the perfect balance between sour and spice; don’t let anyone tell you Gose is just a summer beer, as these low-alcohol, refreshing brews are perfect throughout the entire year! Best to drop by Port Rexton ASAP to give it a try, as there is a limited amount of kegs available – half of the batch was transferred to a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, along with a pitch of Brett D (we’re looking forward to hearing how that turns out!).

North Brewing is hoping that you like beers that are hard to pronounce, maybe, ‘cause they’re releasing Des Pêches Rooib today. Don’t let the name intimidate you, as it sounds plenty tasty! The base beer was aged for 7 months in one of the brewery’s neutral oak barrels at Battery Park, where it was conditioned on Peach Rooibos tea from the World Tea House. After bottling, the 5.4% ABV beer was allowed to condition further for another 5 months, and now it’s finally available for sale! Peachy, effervescent, and with a light amount of oak character, there’s about 700 bottles available at both North bottle shops; maybe grab a couple for Thanksgiving dinner?

We’re used to seeing a variety of wet-hopped beers this time of year, but how often do you see a wet-hopped Belgian Pale Ale? That’s what Tatamagouche Brewing has done with Hopback Hustle (4.4% ABV), their latest beer that is currently on tap at the brewery. Featuring Cascade and Crystal hops grown at the brewery’s farm in Malagash, both varieties were added at several stages of the brew – in the mash, the kettle, and hop back (twice!). Fermented with a dry, Belgian ale yeast, the beer has a nice balance of light, spicy yeast character, combined with “bright, floral, earthy aromas” from the hop additions. A few kegs will likely be popping up in the HRM, but the majority of it will be found at Tatabrew for pints and growlers. And while we have you here, now’s a good time to mention that Blue Bales, Tata’s wheat beer conditioned on 350 lbs of organic blueberries, is back on tap and in cans, and Deadeye DIPA, their Imperial IPA hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc (and a little bit of Nelson Sauvin in the dry hop) will return this weekend, also in cans and on tap.

We mentioned last week that Garrison is finishing up their annual Oktoberfest this weekend, with Das Big Party happening on Saturday, October 6th. We can now confirm that they’ll also be releasing a new beer for the event, a Marzen named Gettin’ Ziggy. This 6% ABV German Lager was brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt, and hopped with Hallertau to 21 IBUs. Malty and clean, you know the drill with this style of beer… it’s meant to go down easy, and go down often, preferably in large quantities, with lots of people around and live music playing. Hey, sounds like it fits the party where it’s debuting! Meanwhile, the gang at Garrison happened upon an unexpected discovery in their cellars this week: a trove of Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Autumns past. A scant 32 of the 2016 and 35 of the 2017 vintages will be available on Saturday at the brewery, so if a strong pumpkin ale with a little age on it is your thing, you’d best get there early.

Let’s move over to Dartmouth, where New Scotland Brewing has two new beverages out for our enjoyment, a beer, and a cider. We’ll start with the cider, so we don’t make ourselves look TOO biased. Blueberry Apple Cider doesn’t have an “official” name yet, but we’re ok with that, because it kinda speaks for itself right now, no? Made using apples from Stirling Fruit Farms, and blueberries and honey from Glenmore Farms, it was fermented with the naturally-occurring yeast on the apples, before the addition of commercial yeast to take it the rest of the way. Unfiltered, this dry, English-style cider has a dry, tannic, wine-like flavour, and weighs in at 6.2% ABV.

New Scotland’s beer is Heads Will Roll, a Red IPA. Brewed with a grist made up mainly of Maris Otter, and a touch of Pale Chocolate malt, it was late-hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria, to provide plenty of fruity and citrusy character to the beer. This fruitiness was bumped up even further by fermenting the beer with Vermont ale yeast, which brought the beer to 6.5% ABV. At just 35 IBUs, the finishing bitterness should be in the moderate range.

Halifax’s Chain Yard has us moving right back into cider territory with their habanero-infused Hot Mess. Looks like this one is actually a blend of several other Chain Yard ciders, including Foundation, Intrepid, Highway Strobbery, and Drunken Cherry. The final blend was then dry-hopped with Cascade, and steeped with habaneros. Those of you with any type of hot pepper experience will know that habaneros are right up there with some of the hottest peppers readily-available; luckily, the final product isn’t too crazy, with Chain Yard describing it as a “subtle but intensifying heat”. Sound doable? Maybe have some bread nearby, just in case! It’s 7.5% ABV and currently on tap at their taproom.

Way down near the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is Tusket Falls Brewing, and they’ve got a new beer to tell you about this week. Called District 34 after the local lobster fishing grounds (Lobster Fishing Area 34 – Southwest NS), the timing for it is just right, as the fisherman are just getting ready for this year’s season. An American Porter, the grist was composed of pale and caramel malts along with roasted barley and oats. Bittered with American hop varieties, it features toffee aromas and roasted coffee flavors while maintaining a full body and a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, this 7% ABV beer is dark brown with a coffee-colored head, and though it’s available at the brewery now in cans and at select tap accounts in NS, it will also be part of the Maritime Beer Box that will be found at Harvest, Rockhead and WestSide in Halifax later this fall (and, perhaps, also as a single). And if you’re interested in learning more about Tusket Falls Brewing, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein your intrepid podcasters embark upon a jaunt down to the brewery and discover it to be a most welcoming place.

So dedicated to keeping us informed is Kelly of Halifax’s Good Robot that she was even kind enough this week to let us know that nothing’s going on! Fear not, gentle soul, we’re sure there is plenty of the usual work-a-day mirth to be had at the taproom, but we are honor bound to advise that there will be no BetaBrewsday release this coming Tuesday, owing to GR being closed for a staff day. Later in the week will also see the return, after a brief hiatus, of Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale which is once again being lovingly packaged in cans. And we think we caught an Instagram photo of Kelly brewing a beer with Emily Tipton a few blocks away at Boxing Rock’s experimental small-batch brewery at Local Source. We’re sure there’s a story (and a beer!) behind that photo and we hope to have it for you in the coming weeks.

Quick! Beer nerds! Off the top of your head do you know what a bière de coupage is? We didn’t either, but it turns out it’s the result of the time-honored technique of blending some old (“mature”) beer into quite a bit more young beer. Practiced quite extensively in Europe, where Flanders Reds and lambic and even farmhouses are often produced using this technique, it was also common in the UK in times past for porters and stouts (and, depending on who you believe, a form of it is still used to produce Guinness). Why are we telling you this? Because of course a local brewery is releasing a beer that leverages this technique, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Stillwell Brewing. Make 1, 2 started with a batch of fermenting Easy, which comprised 3/4 of the volume, to which a barrel of very old sour beer was added. The coup de grace on this bière de coupage was a dry hop with a floral and spicy variety just prior to bottling. You’ll find the resulting concoction on sale this weekend at the usual spot on Gottingen Street behind Propeller Brewing.

If you happen to be in the Ashdale area of Nova Scotia this long weekend, why not drop by Meander River, where they’ve released a new, small batch cider, Blueberry. This dry cider was blended with local, fresh blueberries, giving it a purple colour and “fleshy, ripe blueberry flavour with a crisp apple finish”. Sounds like a good pairing with a certain annual dinner involving turkey, no? It’s available right now in 500 mL bottles, but in a very limited quantity and only direct from the source.

The email came in just in the nick of time, allowing us to give you all the info on the latest Something Different release from Annapolis Cider Co. Spiced Plum is a 6.3% ABV sparkling cider made up of a blend of cider (from Northern Spy and Paula Red apples) and perry (from Flemish Beauty pears). This blend was then cold-steeped with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, sliced fresh ginger, whole nutmeg and allspice (do some of these spices make you think of your favourite pie?). Finally, fresh juice from locally-grown golden Shiro plums was added for balance, and to give a hint of tartness. Sounds like a fantastic cider for Thanksgiving! As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 of every fill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s Nourishing Community Food Bucks Program.

There are a few events coming up that we think you might be interested in hearing (more) about:

We mentioned the Niche Brewing takeover at Stillwell above and we’re happy to report that we’ve now got a list of what we’re likely to see next Saturday on October 13 from 4 PM (note the later opening than usual for Stillwell on a Saturday). If you weren’t already excited about the event, this should get you over the hump, and if it doesn’t, we’re not entirely sure why you’re reading this. Here’s the twelve taps that are expected to open the afternoon:

  1. Tafelbier – Mixed-fermentation Table Beer, 3.6%
  2. Lucid Dreams – Mixed-ferm Saison w/ pineapple, pink guava, and apricot, 6.3%*
  3. Cilantro Lime Gose, 4.2%*
  4. Boysenberry Persuasion – Kettle sour w/ boysenberry puree, 4.2%
  5. Ruby Tuesday – Kettle sour w/ hibiscus, 4.4%
  6. Hold Fast – Dry-hopped Sour (El Dorado & Citra), 4.2%*
  7. Evolution – Barrel-aged Saison, 6.3%*
  8. Space Oddity – Brett IPA hopped w/ Azacca & Galaxy, 5.6%
  9. Mahalo – Pineapple Milkshake IPA, 6.4%
  10. Day Tripper – Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
  11. Receding Darkness – Dark Brett beer, 6.4%
  12. Wake-up Call – Sweet Stout w/ barrel-aged coffee and vanilla bean, 5%*

Note that the beers marked with an asterisk (*) are special editions brewed specifically for this event and the Mahalo is a brand new beer. This will also be the first (and only) appearance of Evolution before the rest of the batch is eventually bottled. But WAIT, there’s MORE!! We’ve also got a list of the beers lined up as replacements when (not if) the above kegs kick:

  1. Single Origin – Coffee Sweet Stout, 5%
  2. Constellation – Dark, sour Saison w/ black currant, 4.7%
  3. Ethos – Mixed-ferm saison, 6.3%
  4. Island in the Sun, Grisette w/ Galaxy hops, 3.6%
  5. Moderation – Passion Fruit Milkshake IPA w/ Enigma & Mosaic, 5.5%*

We suggest gameplanning for this one, folks, as we think you’re going to want to try all of these. And meanwhile, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be putting out some special treats from the kitchen with a bit of an Asian flare, including a Tandoori Chicken Wrap (mint raita, smashed cucumbers, iceberg lettuce), Tuna Crudo (blackberry-jalepeno conserva, smoky puffed rice, raddichio), General Tso’s Eggplant (Vegetarian, possibly Vegan, with kimchi fried rice and shoots), and Gulab Jamun with green and black cardamom syrups for dessert. Also, a reminder that Shawn and Rob of Niche will be on hand to answer all of your questions about their brewery and their beers and to wax poetic on the subtle minutiae of mixed fermentations. Or maybe they’ll just get loaded and tell naughty jokes. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining!!

Windsor, NS, will be the site of the 20th annual Pumpkin Regatta a week from Sunday, on October 14. And for the 2nd year in a row, Schoolhouse Brewing will be hosting a Pumpkin Regatta Beer Garden. Take advantage of a vantage point along the waterfront where you’ll be able to relax in dry comfort with a beer in your hand as the regatta entrants navigate across Lake Pesaquid in their hollowed out gourds. Toast them in style with a pint of Schoolhouse’s gourdian Pumpkin Paddler, or one of their many other offerings. The taproom will open at 11 AM and the beer garden will be in full effect from 12 – 8 PM, with live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s no cover and there will be food specials on the menu. Look for more info on the regatta and other events in town this weekend at the Windsor Pumpkin Festival Website.

There seems to be quite a few multi-brewery tap takeovers going on in the region these days, doesn’t there? We can’t help but think that this is an excellent way for folks to get a taste of the wares from a couple of different breweries, while still being able to try a nice variety from each and maybe see a little bit of friendly competition. Coming up October 18 – 21, Halifax’s Garrison and Dartmouth’s Nine Locks will be taking over all 16 taps at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth for the weekend in another Double Header Tap Takeover. Starting with Thursday for wing night, leading into their usual TGIF Friday night with folks from Nine Locks in the house, Saturday afternoon Ceilidh and Saturday night Kitchen Party when personnel from Garrison will be on hand, and who knows who might show up for Sunday’s finish when the winner is revealed?

And lastly, a few quick mentions of a various and sundry nature:

– Looks like Breton Brewing has again brewed one of their popular summer beverages, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Look for this 4% ABV, pinkish-red kettle sour to be available in the not-too-distant future.

Lunn’s Mill wants to let you know that they’ve restocked their shelves with cans of Lager Driver and Anvil Porter; in addition to being available for purchase at their taproom, some of these cans will also be available at the private liquor stores in the HRM sometime next week.

– Two returning beers this week from our friends at Propeller Brewing: Nocturne Black IPA, a 6.7% brew dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight (on tap and in cans); and Tropical IPA, a 6.2% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy to boost the tropical fruit aromas (growlers and pints at the tasting room, only).

– In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is releasing the third iteration of Starblast, their “American Fruited Ale”, today at the brewery. This batch was conditioned on over 300 lbs of strawberry and kiwi purée, and was lightly hopped with El Dorado. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans.

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, as a celebration of International Women’s Day March 9, 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.

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!

Guess what? It’s Friday again! And what does that mean? Plenty of news on the great beers now available in our region. We figure you don’t need an excuse to drink IPA, or “beer”, so we skipped right over those days and hope you drank whatever the heck you wanted to. And with most of us having Monday off, we encourage starting your long weekend now!

Let’s start this week off on the Rock, as we have plenty of news to share from the Eastern part of our region this week. A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned several new beers released by Port Rexton Brewing for their second Anniversary party; details were brief at the time of writing, and now we’ve got some more information regarding one of the beers, that we feel deserves mentioning! The beer in question is New-Foeder-Land, Newfoundland’s very first foeder-aged beer. Last Spring, Port Rexton received a 9.4 hL foeder from France; previously used to hold Calvados (apple brandy), it was filled by PR with a blend of beers. The first beer was brewed last fall and aged in red wine barrels for 8 months, fermented with New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Then, they brewed an “Imperial Farmhouse Ale”, blended it with the barrel-aged beer in the foeder, and pitched their house yeast blend. The result? An 8.4% ABV beer with “a light bitterness, tartness, and lively carbonation”, completed by the Calvados and oak character from the foeder. “Lots of apricot, dried peach, and a subtle fruitiness with a hint of funk”. The only way to get to try this one is to drop by the brewery, so get down there before it’s all gone!

And available now at both the brewery, and their St. John’s retail shop, is Some Day on Hops, a light bodied, touch hazy, easy drinking Session IPA, bursting with tropical fruit on the nose and palette. It joins the Blue Steel Kettle Sour and T-Rex Porter on tap at 286 Torbay Road for growler fills today, 12-8PM, and tomorrow, 12-6PM.

Yellowbelly Brewery has released a beer celebrating this week’s Royal St. John’s Regatta, named Up The Pond. This 5.0% ABV Cream Ale is a new take on their East Coast Cream Ale, this time dry-hopped with Citra and Motueka hops. Available on tap at the brewery, it can also be found in bottles, the label sporting the official artwork celebrating the 200th anniversary of one of the oldest sporting events in North America. We sure hope all of you had a blast Wednesday (and didn’t have too hellish of a Thursday morning)!

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has continued their sour beer releases with a pair of releases over the past few days. Both Sour Patch B’ys: Blueberry and Partridgeberry were both made with locally foraged fruit, with the Blueberry finishing quite dry, and with a pleasant berry-wine-like character, and the Partridgeberry, a tart berry in its own right, complementing the sour base beer quite nicely, and the fruit adding a jam character to the aroma. Sadly, as with the previous Sour Patch B’ys releases, these were in very small quantities, and have been and gone from the brewery in record time. Fear not, however, as there may be a keg of the Partridgeberry on tap at the Stage Head Pub, Split Rock’s taproom, during their birthday later this month. And for all you townies who have been sad to miss out on the recent fruited versions due to small batch size, they’ve got great news! The next Sour Patch B’ys (number 5 in the series) is due out in the next couple of weeks, and should be available in town. This release is an Amarillo dry-hopped version, no fruit this time. Keep an eye on Split Rock’s Social Media (fb/ig/tw) for the full details.

And now for “absolutely, definitely, available today at the brewery” beers, Split Rock’s Nar Day American Pale Ale is here/back. Previously released as an unnamed APA (and whose name is obvious to locals but us CFAs could definitely use some help), Nar Day is akin to saying “Wow, what a day we’re having today!”, as a nod to the beautiful weather they’re seeing currently in Central. At 5.7% ABV, this beer features lots of Cascade and Columbus hops in the boil, as well as a generous dry-hopping, on top of a dry finish and cleanly fermented beer. Grab a pint or growler from the brewery and crack it on the patio or campsite.

And finally in Newfoundland (for this week), Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. just released a new beer yesterday, albeit a very small batch. Curmudgeon is a Berliner Weisse, soured with Lactobacillus over two and a half days, before being fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison yeast. This 3.7% ABV brew has a “strong, clean lactic sourness with a weaker background of doughy, bready, and grainy wheat flavours”. Hop bitterness and flavour is negligible (typical for classic versions of the style), and the effervescent carbonation helps this light brew come across as extra refreshing. It’s available at the taproom for pints only.

International IPA Day was yesterday, and Lunn’s Mill helped celebrate the occasion with the release of a small batch of Soma SMaSH, a 6% ABV, 82 IBUs American IPA brewed entirely with Maris Otter, and double-dry hopped with Mosaic. The first dry-hop was added at the tail-end of fermentation, allowing for some bio-transformation thanks to the interaction of the yeast with the hop oils, with the second addition occurring once fermentation was complete. Both additions give the beer plenty of that Mosaic character most of us know and love: “tropical fruit, citrus, and a dank/piney finish”. It’s available now for pints and growlers in the Lunn’s Mill taproom, with a keg or two making their way to Stillwell in the very near future.

The crew at 2 Crows have been keeping themselves busy this summer, managing to keep their regular beers in rotation while continuing to release new and exciting brews pretty much on a weekly basis (at least). Included in these new releases are two that are hitting taps/cans today, making your long weekend planning just a bit easier! We’ll start with Ramble, a “Wild Table Witbier”. Brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a bit of Flaked Oats, it was lightly hopped with Sterling and Citra in the boil (to just 9 IBUs), with late additions of coriander and orange peel (as is customary for a Witbier). Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, and allowed to age to develop some funk, it was finally dry hopped with Citra (and some more orange zest), before being packaged with sugar and Champagne yeast to create a “nice, bright, and tight carbonation”. Maybe best of all, it weighs in at a supremely sessionable 2.9% ABV… the bad news is that only 500 cans are available!

The second 2 Crows release today is Wild Skies, a “Fruited Brett Sour”. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat and Oats, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then fermented with Amalgamation, a blend of six Brettanomyces strains. Once fermentation was complete, over 1200 lbs of peach, apricot, and blackberry puree were added. Once they realized they had a few dollars leftover, they decided to dry hop the beer with a “substantial” amount of Galaxy and Enigma, two Australian varieties that are equally as wonderful as they are expensive. This 5.2% ABV beer has also been canned, and is tasting “super fruity, tart, and lively, with just the right amount of funk”.

Another brewery continuing to release new beers throughout the summer is the North Shore’s Tatamagouche Brewing. After launching a new fruited sour, a new DIPA and Nova Scotia’s first (official) 12+% beer over the last couple of weeks, they’ve got another one out, one that’s probably a whole lot more subtle than those three. Patterson’s Porter arose from a desire to have an easy-drinking dark beer for the summer months. To that end it eschews too much roastiness, with only chocolate malt providing color and a light roast character to an otherwise quaffable 5.6% ABV beer. This one comes just in time for the other news out of Tata this week, namely that they’re installing a CellarStream nitrogen delivery system. Similar to the unit in place at Battery Park, this device allows the infusion of beer with nitrogen gas on its way from the keg to the glass. Nitrogen is not very soluble in liquid, as any scuba diver who has learned about the bends will know, so it will just push the beer along without dissolving in it, leaving the liquid in a beautiful cascading pattern; meanwhile it does not impart a carbonic “bite” to beer, and therefore yields a softer mouthfeel. It is generally deployed in darker beers, like stouts and sometimes porters, but over the last few years has even found favour with highly-hopped IPAs. Look for Tata to be able to fill your glass or your growler in a new way once it’s in place; and given that they can also apply nitrogen to kegs using the CellarStream, you might keep your eyes open for nitro versions of Tata beers to possibly appear at select tap accounts from time to time!

Sticking to the Northern part of NS, but moving from the Northumberland closer to the Fundy Shore, Meander River Farm & Brewery has a new small batch cider to tell us about, although from what we’ve heard it’s a small enough batch and popular enough that they’re already running shy. Rose Petal Cider is a dry cider using 100% Nova Scotia apples that have been infused with farm-fresh rose petals from the Meander River Farm, of course. Sweet on the nose, and decidedly floral (go figure!), it’s 5.5% ABV and boasts a crisp apple palate and a rosy finish. Only 400 L of this delightful elixir were made, and you won’t be able to find them at their usual Halifax Forum Farmer’s Market this week, so if you want to try it you’ll have to visit them at the farm this weekend. But our roving reporter on the street did happen to witness a couple of kegs being delivered to Battery Park yesterday, so keep an eye on their Untappd feed for when it hits the taps.

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is releasing the latest version of Velvet Fog, their 6.5% ABV Milkshake IPA, today at the brewery when they open. This time around, the beer was hopped with El Dorado, and fruited with “massive additions” of raspberry puree and orange zest. Complemented by lactose powder and vanilla, to cap off that milkshake feel, the beer is “massive and round with juicy hop complexity, sweet raspberry, a bright citrus streak and a candy-like vanilla sweetness”. With the exception of a few tap accounts, you’ll likely only see this one at the brewery, where you can pick it up in cans and on tap for pints and growlers. And while there, pick up some cans of Good Weather, their returning 6.5% ABV American IPA hopped with Vic Secret and Citra.

In Fredericton (although we are contractually obligated to point out that the beer is brewed in nearby Hanwell), Niche is releasing another carefully crafted mixed-fermentation small beer for you to ponder during this impossibly hot couple of weeks. At an eminently sessionable 3.6% ABV, this beer features a very simple grist fermented with Niche’s house blend of Brettanomyces and Saison yeast strains. Aged for a month in stainless, it was then conditioned with pomegranate puree for a light tartness on the finish. Called Tafelbier, which translates to “table beer” or a low alcohol beer generally served with food, we suspect this golden-colored beer’s gentle and subtle tart and funky nature probably bears consideration on its own. You can find out for yourself at tap accounts in Saint John and Fredericton.

If you’re in Halifax and in a Black IPA kinda mood, drop by Good Robot next week for their Beta Brew release, Easy to Love. Brewed with 2-row, Cara 60, Flaked Oats, Black malt, and a touch of CaraAroma, this Black IPA (aka Cascadian Dark Ale) was hopped to 50 IBUs with Cascade, Centennial, and Polaris. Fermented with California Ale, a neutral ale yeast strain, it comes in at a relatively-low-for-the-style 5.8% ABV, and will be pouring at the source starting Tuesday. And two days later, their latest batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, a 5.7% ABV Mexican-style Lager with jalapenos and limes, will be available (don’t worry, lots of summer left!).

One of Picaroons’ long-running beers has been Best Bitter, their take on the Special Bitter English style. This week, they’ve released Extra Special Best Bitter, representing the Extra Special Bitter (ESB), the next up in line for the English Bitter series. Brewed with Maritime malt “from the NB potato belt”, and hopped with local Centennial from Southan Farms, it’s a dark amber-coloured brew, with a “strong hop bitterness balanced by a robust malt backbone”. The 6% ABV beer is available in bottles now, with 32 different labels circulating; each represents a different vintage postcard from New Brunswick. Available at all Picaroons locations, and select ANBL stores.

From one of the oldest and largest breweries in our region, and to one of the newest and smallest, let’s cap the post with a new release from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that darker beers need get short shrift. That’s the idea behind The Tay Porter, their take on a “Summer Porter”, named after friend of the brewery Taylor P. A 4.6% ABV dry porter, featuring Pale Chocolate, Midnight Wheat, Oats, and Wheat Malts, with East Kent Golding as the most prominent hop. On tap for samples and pints at the Tiny Taproom now, be sure to drop by and toast the beer fans and community that keeps the industry alive and vibrant.

Lots on the go around the region this long weekend, and be sure to check the schedule of breweries and stores before dropping by Monday…

Avon River Days is happening this weekend in Windsor, NS, area and Schoolhouse Brewery is in on the fun again this year. Starting on Friday evening with a Patio Party featuring live music from The Miths from 8 – 11 PM, the fun continues into Saturday when Schoolhouse will be hosting an Avon River Days Beer Garden starting at 7 PM and carrying on until the wee hours. With more live music from Tye Dempsey, Elektrik Boogaloo and The Basement, there will also be plenty of beer to be (responsibly) consumed. Cover is $5, but a crisp $20 bill will pay your cover and also get you your first beverage and a swank limited edition Avon River Days 2018 stainless steel pint glass. Schoolhouse will also be in effect on Sunday for the Hood Automotive Avon River Days Car Show from 10 AM – 4 PM. There’s lots more family friendly events going on, check them out at the Avon River Days website!

There’s a couple of events going on in Fredericton tomorrow, August 3rd, one involving exercise, and one involving beer! Don’t worry, they’re meant to go together. First up is the annual Fredericton Beer Run, which begins at 3 pm (registration from 2-3 pm); with various options available for distance (ranging from 0.5 km all the way to 12 km), your $57.50 ticket includes your running bib, run, water stops, and a custom beer glass with unlimited samples at the Down East Brew Festival, which follows directly from 4-8 pm. This is the first year for the outdoor event, which is being held on Carleton St. There will be roughly 25 vendors pouring a wide variety of beer, cider and mead, and the good news is if you’re not into running, you can still attend the festival! You can purchase your ticket through the link above, which gets you your own glass and unlimited samples.

A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming Austin, TX brewery Jester King to take over their Barrington Street location Sunday afternoon starting at 2 PM. There will be tons of great beers flowing, including a handful from their Spon series, blending several vintages of spontaneously-fermented beers, akin to the wonderfully complex Lambic beers of Belgium, as well as other beers not otherwise available in the region.

Next Friday and Saturday marks the annual Seaport Beerfest, making its 12th appearance on the Halifax waterfront. With more than 300 beers and ciders from across the world, there is surely something to satisfy any fan. With a healthy bunch of Atlantic Canadian breweries in attendance, there will be beers from across the country, and beers also sent over from Ireland, and for the first time, an Icelandic pavilion featuring 16 different offerings. And they’ve increased the gluten-free options again this year, so those who aren’t able to handle that can still have fun. Tickets for all three sessions are still available (Friday 7-9:30PM, Saturday 2-4:30PM and 7-9:30PM), with VIP offerings getting you in the door an hour early with a special tasting glass. And to reward our faithful readers who keep track of the news every week, we’re able to offer a pair of tickets to one of the sessions for you! All you need to do is post a picture of your favourite #AtlCanBeer on twitter or instagram, and tag @ACBeerBlog and @seaportbeerfest. The contest is live now, and we’ll end it with a random draw on Tuesday at 8PM. Good luck!

They’re still ironing out the final details, but Upstreet has scheduled their fourth annual Upstreet Block Party for Saturday, August 18th. The day-long party is always a great way to celebrate the local community, with plenty of beer, food, live music, games, brewery tours… and even a barber shop! It’ll be held at the brewery in Charlottetown as usual, with no cost to attend. Just show up and pay by the beer, haircut, whatever! Keep up with their social media pages for the specifics on bands, vendors, etc.; we’ll be sure to let you know if they have a special beer or two planned for the event as well.

Just a few more things to with this week:
– If you’re angrily wondering why it’s August and a heat wave in Halifax and there’s been no sign of Unfiltered Brewing’s summer crusher of a kettle sour Daytimer, you can stop your cursing and head down to the brewery; fills and pints as of noon today (and, actually, in this case, it’s probably best you keep up with the cursing.)
North Brewing is bringing back the second in their Breakwater series, Breakwater Mango-Lime Sour. It follows up the Coconut-Lime that hit the taps and shelves last month, with a new pairing fruit. It will be available on tap and in cans from noon today at both the Agricola and Ochterloney shops. It will be joined soon by cans of their collaboration with Propeller, the Whip It! Lemon Meringue Sour (also available at Prop’s shops, of course).
– After a slight delay, The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour opened this week, at 7955 Hwy 7. Samples and growlers are still available, with their hours being 12-8 pm Thurs-Sat, 12-5pm Sun and Wed. Drop by this weekend to welcome them to the family!