Benjamin Bridge

All posts tagged Benjamin Bridge

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!

Here we are one week into December and the breweries of Atlantic Canada decided to drop a veritable cornucopia of new beer releases on us. There’s lots of big-ass winter sippers, some holiday-themed beers, along with some less season-focused fare. It’s all a reminder that our scene is burgeoning and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. You’re not going to get through this in a trip to the can (not without risking nerve damage anyway), so we encourage you to pour yourself a beer, sit down somewhere quiet, and take some time to go through it all.

Let’s kick off with a reminder that Landwash Brewery is now officially open, pouring their first pints to the public yesterday. Drop by their taproom at 181 Commonwealth in Mount Pearl this weekend for samples, pints, and then grab some cans/growlers of their four core beer and first seasonal. Available now are One Wave Blonde Ale, That Much Ocean NEIPA, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout (with oats and coffee), Brackish Gose, and Home and Away Pale Ale. The taproom and retail spot is open Thursday and Friday 4 – 10 PM, Saturday 12 – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM. To get you thirsty for this evening’s visit, check out the Profile of Landwash we published earlier this week.

Hey, if you happen to be checking out Landwash over the next couple of days for their opening weekend, you may notice a brand-spanking-new beer from Port Rexton Brewing, which should be pouring on one of their guest taps. Long Trek is the brewery’s first lager, a clean, refreshing, crisp, 5% ABV Munich Helles. Fermented with Isar Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer has a “grainy-sweet, malty backbone” with “subtle, earthy, herbal hop notes”. It took about 6 weeks for this brew to be ready for packaging, and it sounds like the wait was probably worth it! If you can’t quite make it out to Mount Pearl, fear not… Long Trek is also available at PR’s taproom for growler fills, as well as at the brewery’s retail shop in St. John’s starting tomorrow. And cans will be showing themselves over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open for those.

A couple of tasty new releases from our friends at North Brewing this week, along with a big announcement! Let’s start with the beers, shall we? Yesterday brought us Blanc, a 4.5% ABV Grisette that was fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge vineyards (located in the Gaspereau Valley on the Bay of Fundy). Buying cans of this beer won’t just satisfy your need for delicious beer, but will also go towards supporting the new North Brewing Conservation Initiative, “a fundraising effort to acquire ecologically significant land in Nova Scotia in partnership with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust”, with $0.50 from each can (available at the North bottle shops only) going towards the NSNT. How’s it tasting, you ask? Well, the brewery is describing it as “very vinous, tart, light, and with a little lemon and funk”.

Not to be satisfied with only one new beer this week, today they’re also releasing MR. Funky Time. This 5.2% ABV brew was fermented and aged in a single neutral oak barrel (with some grown-up bottle dregs) before being filtered through a blend of mango and raspberry black tea from local World Tea House. As you may have guessed, the mango and raspberry teas really come through with this beer, to complement the touch of funk and tartness from the fermentation character. A limited release of only 220 bottles, you’ll be able to grab yours starting today at both North bottle shops.

Finally, in other North news, they’ve announced that they’re going all-in on Dartmouth, and will be taking over a larger production space located at 899 Portland St. They’re not giving us too many details yet, but it’s safe to say that this move means more North beer, and their very own taproom to boot! Congrats to the entire North team, and we look forward to what 2019 will bring!

Those who pay close attention to branding will know that the logo for Tatamagouche Brewing features a two-headed bull symbolic of a two-headed calf that once came to the town (its skull is in a local museum!). Their latest beer, Polycephaly, makes further reference to this, as it means, “more than one head.” The beer itself is a milkshake IPA at 6.7% ABV and 40 IBU, starting simply with a grist of 2-row barley and oats, then heavily hopped with a world-ranging variety of hops: German Huell Melon, American Azacca, and Australian Galaxy. Add to that the requisite lactose for some sweetness, and fruit in the form of strawberry and plum purees added in the secondary, and you’ve got a hoppy, fruity, somewhat sweet beer with additional hop aroma from dry-hopping with more Galaxy and Huell Melon. A final conditioning on vanilla beans ties it all together with a characteristic smoothness. Growlers and pints are available now at the brewery, with kegs going out to select licensees in the near future and cans expected to be available at the brewery and the private stores in Halifax sometime next week.

If you just so happen to be in the area of MacDougall Settlement, NB (that’s just outside Shediac, btw), this weekend, you might consider stopping in at Valonray Farmhouse Brewery who have a couple of limited releases available as well as a sale on some of their previous releases. The limited releases are two Belgian styles, a Belgian Quad and a Belgian Dubbel, both aged on Brettanomyces for 6 months. The Quad is 10% ABV, with a prominent stone fruit character, and the Dubbel a lighter 7% ABV, with notes of caramel. Both of these are in extremely limited release (less than 100 bottles each). If you head over to get your hands on these, you can also pick up bottles of their earlier batches of Farmhouse Ale, Terroir, and 100% Brett IPA at 2 bottles for $15, and you’ll also be able to grab their latest Farmhouse Ale (batch #3, dry-hopped with Hallertau) and Terroir (batch #2, dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc). Bear in mind they’re only open on Saturdays throughout the Winter.

Nearby, in Dieppe, O’Creek Brewing has their latest NEIPA pouring, following on the heels of Route 117 IPA, their first beer. This new one is named I.P.Address, and, like the style dictates, is yellow-coloured and very hazy, thanks to copious amounts of after-boil and dry-hop additions with the emphasis on Vic Secret, as well as some Mosaic and Centennial. Expect lots of tropical fruit aromas and flavours, as well as a bit of dank in this 6.1% ABV, 60 IBUs beer. The grain bill was kept relatively simple (2-row, Wheat malt and flaked wheat, and Carapils) to really allow all that hop goodness to come through. The beer is pouring on tap right now at the Flying Boats taproom, and should be on the board very shortly at CAVOK Brewing.

There’s a new entry in the Million Acres series from Upstreet now out for purchase, Sour Abbey Ale. With a grist made up mostly of Abbey malt, there was also some CaraMunich and Blackprinz thrown in, as well as some house-made invert sugar in the boil (after kettle-souring, of course). Hopped lightly with Mount Rainier from Moose Mountain Hops to 10 IBUs, this beer was actually brewed and bottled back in February, and has been aging ever since for your enjoyment just before Christmas! It weighs in at 5.5% ABV, and is available at both Upstreet locations for purchase. And stay tuned for a future release of the sibling for this beer, which was aged in Cab Sauv barrels, and was just bottled last week.

Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, is getting a little sour and salty with this week’s brand new release. Hitting the taps now is Passion Fruit Gose, which we supposed is self-evident, but we’ve never been known for our brevity, so let us dive a bit deeper… Starting from a kettle-soured beer with lots of Pilsner and Wheat malts, it was boiled with a light addition of sea salt, very similar to the traditional Gose beers that originated in Germany more than 500 years ago. After fermentation with an American Ale yeast, passion fruit purée was added to the final beer, for a blast of tropical fruit aroma and nose, complementing the lightly tart and salty beer. The 4.8% ABV beer is pouring now, or will be soon, at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, Peppers Pub, Eighty3 Bar Arcade, Tide & Boar and Au Bootlegger.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is among the breweries bringing multiple releases this week, starting with a special edition of last year’s U-889 Imperial Stout (2017) that’s been barrel-aged and bottle conditioned. It’s coming out at the perfect time for you to grab a bottle for a share and compare with this year’s version, which is also out very soon. The 2018 vintage features notes of dark fruit, chocolate and mocha, balanced with vanilla, espresso and a rich malt character. At a burly 8.9% ABV, it should pair nicely with desserts, especially those featuring chocolate or Christmassy spices.

And in the “brand new beer” category, BR has two arriving on the shelves. First is their Patricius Irish Stout, a beer named after Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Creamy and well-balanced, and sporting an up-front bitterness with notes of nuts, chocolate and coffee, it’s 4.9% ABV. And if you’re looking for a lighter-bodied beer with some interesting ingredients, look no further than their other new release this week, The Biggest Spruce (no relation) Christmas Tree IPA, a very sessionable 4% ABV beer with lots of American hops that bring aroma and flavor notes reminiscent of spruce. But just to up the ante a little bit, the beer was also treated with a healthy dose of spruce tip-infused Centennial hops! A bit of a “Christmas Tree in a glass” it could well be the perfect accompaniment to trimming your holiday tree. Or Festivus Pole. Look for these releases at the brewery and Local Source, on tap at Boxing Rock accounts throughout the region, and, we presume, possibly at private stores in Halifax.

And if that weren’t already enough, look for some promos from the BR gang happening in December. The bottle shop at Local Source will be featuring 4×650 mL or 2×650 mL and 2 x 16oz glasses for $20; that covers all of their 650 mL stock excepting Fisticuffs and U-889. Quite a deal for stocking up your fridge for the holidays. Meanwhile, they’ve also given us a heads up that they’ve got a mixed-fermentation saison with Brett currently aging in Chardonnay barrels. We’ll give you the full details on that one for its release in 2019.

The new beers just keep chugging this week, and Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is no exception. This week they’re giving us Red Rye Ale, which as you can probably guess, is an American Amber with Rye malt in the grist. Lightly hopped with some American varieties at the end of the boil to provide a bit of fruit/citrus character, the Rye provides the typical spicy notes, to go with the malty sweetness background. You can grab some at the taproom this weekend; 5.5% ABV, 28 IBUs.

If you like supporting animal shelters while you drink beer, we have good news for you (especially if you live in Amherst)! Trider’s has brewed a new Session IPA, Gimme Shelter, whose bottle labels feature four adoptable pets from the Lillian Allbon Animal Shelter. While bound to lead to a home for these four lovable, furry beasts, they’re also donating the proceeds from bottle sales directly back to the shelter! Oh, and back to the beer, it’s 4.9% ABV and hopped with Cascade and Centennial, giving high levels of citrus and grapfruit. Quantities are limited, so drop by and pick up a few bottles… and maybe stop by the shelter on the way home for an early Christmas present to you and your family?

Tidehouse has taken their Winter Warmer and stepped it up a notch, just in time for Christmas! The recipe has a few new ingredients, namely cinnamon, rum, oak, and nutmeg, as well as a “pinch” of lactose powder for balance and body. It’s a big beer at 8.3% ABV, and they’ve bottled it in 640 mL bombers. Speaking of those bombers, they’ve teamed up with local furniture company Jampy for the packaging of this one. Known for their Seaflake ornaments, each bottle of this beer will come with its own unique Seaflake, your very own locally-crafted, wooden Christmas tree ornament! It’s two Christmas gifts in one! Or, drink the beer and gift the ornament, that works, too. Drop by the brewery today at 2 pm to grab yours.

Back in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. has released their very first Stout, Deez Nuts Peanut Butter Stout (trust us, it wasn’t easy typing that). A bit of lactose powder was added to boost the mouthfeel slightly, along with “loads” of peanuts… so suffice it to say, stay away from this one if you have a peanut allergy. They’re describing it as “full-bodied, deep and rich, with a moderate bitterness” balanced by the presence of peanut butter on the palate. It’s pretty easy-drinking at just 4.5% ABV; you can find it pouring at the taproom right now.

In Dartmouth, Spindrift has released the last of their first five beers in their Out of the Hold series of bottle-conditioned beers that we’ve been reporting on over the last month or so. Nanaimo Black Lager was barrel-aged and conditioned on a selection of ingredients that you may recognize as the characteristic elements of Nanaimo dessert bars: cocoa nibs, toasted coconut, almonds and vanilla beans. With some lactose also added to bump up the sweetness a touch, the result is “a sweet, creamy dessert beer with French oak character expressed on the finish.” It’s available sold out at the Spindrift taproom now, but you can most likely expect it to appear at the same private stores that have sold their previous releases in the series, hopefully as early as next week!

It’s not unusual to see breweries releasing a holiday beer this time of year, and Annapolis Brewing decided to go a bit further and release two! The first is a collaboration with Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, a Belgian Tripel named Deep Tripel. With a grist including Pilsner, Wheat and Malted Oats (from Horton Ridge, natch), it may weigh in at a hefty 7.9% ABV and 24 IBUs, but it’s still quite smooth, featuring “banana and apricot notes” with barely a hint of alcohol warmth… so tread lightly! Bottles (660 mL) of this one will be available at both Annapolis Brewing and Horton Ridge taprooms. Next up is Dry Dock, a beer they’re calling a “Brut-style Pale Ale”. Hopped with Mosaic, Vic Secret, Ella, and Motueka (to 20 IBUs), this 6.3% ABV beer is very dry, thanks to the addition of amylase enzymes (just like you’d expect to see in a Brut IPA). Plenty of tropical fruit and citrus, grab some bottles of this at the brewery’s taproom as well.

As if we weren’t busy enough, Nine Locks also had to go and release three new beers this week. Thanks a lot, jerks! There we go again, not using our brain-to-keyboard filter. Ok, let’s get started. The first two beers mark the beginning of the brewery’s barrel-aged program; both beers have been hand-bottled (750 mL) and dipped in wax, and are now available for purchase. The first is Barley Wine, brewed with all Maris Otter malts, and aged for twelve months in Glen Breton whisky barrels. Big and boozy at 11% ABV, it showcases “malty richness, flavours of toast, marmalade, and treacle”, along with some oak presence, and alcohol warmth (well, yeah!), with the 50 IBUs balancing some of the sweetness. The next is another big beer, Russian Imperial Stout. Also aged for twelve months, but in bourbon barrels, expect flavours of “dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dried fruit”, along with the bourbon and oak notes. Almost as strong at 10.5% ABV, it has a slightly-higher bitterness (70 IBUs) as expected for the style. Beers like these are always excellent for aging, and make handsome Christmas gifts. Finally, on the opposite end of the spectrum, their third release is Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs amber-coloured brew, featuring “a bittersweet punch of citrus and spice” thanks to hopping with some West Coast varieties. This one is available in cans, as well as on tap, and joins it’s two older brothers as being available at the brewery for purchase.

Not to be outdone by all the other breweries putting out big beers this week (or, y’know, themselves with the recent release of their Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout), Propeller is in on the fun with the release of their Barrel Aged Baltic Porter. Aged in Bourbon Barrels, this beer is dark and complex, with plenty of toffee and roasted coffee aroma and flavors of vanilla and caramel, it’s all brought together by a distinct bourbon overtone. Bottles are $7 at their locations on Gottingen Street and in Burnside, but they’ve got a deal on where you can get one of these, a Barrel-aged RIS and a bottle of their Coffee Porter for $15! And if you hit the tasting room (Gottingen) for bottles, maybe plan to pause for a little while and try a glass of a special edition of the BA Baltic Porter that’s been further conditioned with Chocolate. This one is only available by the pint; no growler fills. And if your plans are going to take you there this evening (or possibly into the weekend, as supplies last), look for a special cask of Russian Imperial Stout with Coconut to be tapped at 5 PM today.

PEI Brewing Company has joined in on the big beer fun this week as well. A new entry in their After Hours Series, their Barrel-aged Barleywine (#barleywineislife) has been aging for months in Kentucky bourbon barrels and is now ready for general consumption. Already on the shelves as of earlier this week, it features plenty of malt character with sweet and toasty notes, paired with a fruity yeast character and herbal English hops and with vanilla and oak notes from the barrel completing the overall picture. At 10.5% ABV and packaged in 750 mL bottles, we highly recommend you find a friend (or two) to share one with lest you risk a visit by the ghost of hangovers past. You’ll find it at the PEI BC taproom and soon (if not already) at PEI Liquor stores as well. Speaking of the taproom, today will see the release of the second of their Christmas Growler Countdown beers. Island Allspice is a red ale to which ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange were added. Their last CGC beer sold out pretty quickly, so get down to the taproom if you want to try this very holiday-themed beer; it goes on tap at 4 PM for growler fills only.

Good Robot has an IPA twist for us next Tuesday, with Green’s Garden IPA. Brewed by mother and daughter team Keri and Drella, this is a “Rosemary IPA” inspired by North Carolina’s Twin Leaf Brewery. Brewed with rosemary (we’re talking sprigs, seeds, and flowers), and hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Sorachi Ace to 31 IBUs. Light and crisp, with a good amount of rosemary presence, it comes in at 5% ABV; look for it at the taproom on Tuesday. And Thursday brings us a brand new Alpha brew, a collab with Halifax’s Antojo Tacos + Tequila named La Luchadora Catrina. This Stout features the addition of house mole sauce from Chef Francisco Rabelo, and they decided to take that heat and bump it up even further by throwing in “a few more chilis”. Expect a bit of heat, maybe? At least the alcohol isn’t too high (4.7% ABV)!  

Over to Cape Breton, where Breton Brewing has teamed up again with the Brathair Brewing homebrew fellas, to brew the first in their barrel-aged Signature Series, Wild Bretton. This is a Belgian Witbier that was brewed with your classic coriander and orange peel additions, and fermented with more than your typical Witbier yeast strain – Amalgamation (that very popular blend of six Brettanomyces strains) was also pitched, before aging the beer in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir barrels. The 500 mL bottles are being released at the brewery today; grab one of each barrel variant… for science! It’s 5% ABV and 14 IBUs, and “conveys a light body and a tart lemony finish, while offering complex yet refreshing characteristics”. Look for the bottles to hit Halifax private stores sometime next week.

The Christmas beers continue (go figure!), as Petit-Sault and Brasseux d’la Côte teamed up in November to brew a “Belgian Amber Christmas Ale”, which was just released last night at both breweries. Named after St. Nick’s evil twin, Père Fouettard was brewed at Brasseux d’la Côte in Tracadie, and is showing flavours and aromas of “clove, fennel seed, orange peel, caramelized malted sugars, and a touch of smoked malt”. Finishing quite dry, it clocks in at 6.4% ABV and 24 IBUs, and is available on tap only, at both breweries.

Those crazy fellas at the 902BrewCast are continuing their roll of New Brunswick-themed episodes (did they even sleep when they were there?), with the latest featuring a visit to Rothesay’s Hammond River Brewing. Download it wherever you normally get your episodes (you’re subscribed, right?), or they’ll get mad at us!

A couple of very beery events are going on in Halifax in the next seven days that you should think twice about missing:

We told you about this 2 weeks ago, and hopheads in the region are no doubt already salivating, but if you missed it or have been living under a rock this is your final notice that Portland, Maine’s hop heroes Bissell Brothers will be doing their second takeover at Stillwell in Halifax tomorrow starting at noon. Instagram has confirmed 8 beers that will be served, including: The Substance, Swish, Lux, Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile, Industry versus Inferiority, Preserve & Protect, big small world, and Umbra. We note, however, that Stillwell has 12 taps (15 if you include the hand pumps), and Bissell has a barrel program, soooo… We (honestly!) don’t know anything that hasn’t been posted publicly, and frankly, that lineup above is obviously full of bangers, but greedy bastards that we are we’re hoping a little that maybe we get to see some additional limited releases on the wall and maybe even a touch of Bissell’s first forays into funk! And while you’re drinking the lovely brews, know that the kitchen will be taken over by another Bissell-related joint, Highroller Lobster Co. Curious how rich shellfish pairs with exquisite hoppy beers? You can find out tomorrow!

Two of Halifax’s oldest craft breweries – Garrison and Propeller – are teaming up for a tap takeover at HopYard Halifax next Thursday, Dec 13th. A Well Crafted Xmas will feature six taps for each brewery, with $1 from each pint going to Saint George’s YouthNet, a local youth organization. Lots of vinyl and beer, and a chance to win a craft beer basket – a $5 donation gets you a ballot, or even better, bring an unwrapped gift (art supplies, board games, sporting equipment, or Lego are preferred) for three ballots! It all starts when they open at 11 am.

Did you really read all the way down to here? Good on you, but we’re not done yet; here’s a few last mentions before we let you go get your beer on:

Bathurst’s Four Rivers is now canning some of their small batch brews, including their latest, British Mild. A light-bodied dark ale, with “notes of pumpernickel and caramel balanced by a slight fruitiness”, it comes in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs. Currently available at the brewery; look for other small batch can releases in the near future.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has completed their first bottling run and are now well-stocked with their core beers. Now you can get some to go without having to purchase (or remember to bring) a growler. Look for Rampant Lion IPA, St. Andrews Cross Pale Ale, and Coat of Arms Scottish Export available now.

Picaroons has been doing their 12 Beers of Christmas growler-only releases for many years now, and they recently announced that two of their regulars in this line-up, The Blitzen Coffee Porter and Xmas Tree IPA, will be bottled for the first time; they’re available now at all Picaroons locations. Also look for the 23rd (!) entry in their PIVOT Imperial IPA series, which features Simcoe and Chinook hops.

Schoolhouse Brewery has just re-released Staffroom Coffee Stout (5.5% ABV), with a few tweaks to the recipe, resulting in a dark brown colour, as opposed to the black of last year’s release (they’re looking for roast character without the astringency). Don’t worry, there’s still coffee in it! Available on tap at the brewery for growlers and pints, and in bombers.

Today, TrailWay is re-releasing Christmas Rascal, their 8.5% ABV Imperial Milk Stout. Brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne pepper, and aged on vanilla beans, you can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery, with a few kegs heading to some local establishments.

Unfiltered has plenty of cans for you to purchase at their retail shop this week, to help you make it through some family visit, family parties… anything family, really. Look for Double Orange Ale, Riddle of Steel, Exile on North St., Play With Fire, and Daytimer; limited quantities are available.

We’ve had another big week of beers and events in Nova Scotia, thanks to the continuation of Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week. Check out our Map and Calendar to help you plan this weekend’s escapes, plus we’ll summarize them below.

• One of the consistently stellar events during NS Craft Beer Week is the Stillwell Open, where teams of breweries conspire with local homebrewers in a friendly competition for flavour domination. This year’s event was no different, with Team North taking top honours again, with their top showing in two categories. Consisting of breweries Big Spruce, Breton, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s, they teamed up with homebrewers Brian Harvey, Bràthair Collective, Mark McKay, Duncan English, and Dave Martin to produce another batch of highly regarded beers. They hoisted the cup and will hold onto it until 2019, when the Dartmouth, Halifax, and South teams will be fighting to win it. Here is a summary of the winners, plus some other honourable mentions that are now (or will be shortly) available to the public:

  • Tatamagouche and Mark McKay took top honours in the American category with their Amrita, an American IPA with Passionfruit and Mango, fermented with Brettanomyces. This bright yellow beer featured a solid hop bitterness, along with tons of tropical fruit character. Look for it at the Full House event tomorrow, and on tap around the province this weekend/next week, with 500ml bottles available at the private stores next week as well.
  • Taking Gold in the Belgian category was conspiracy between Breton Brewing and the Bràthair Homebrew Crew, Wild Bretton. This Brett Amalgamation-fermented Witbier was aged in Chardonnay barrel for a couple of months, and packaged up for limited release. We understand it will see further distribution in the near future!
  • Team Dartmouth member Brightwood Brewery teamed up with Chain Yard Cider to take Gold in the English category with a cask of Goosebite, a 5.7% ABV Porter/Cider hybrid known as Graf. The base beer and cider also featured cranberries and raspberries, resulting in a fruity and chocolate mix that the judges (aka the public) voted their favourite. We believe this was a limited release, but may pave the way for future experimentation from Brightwood and cider partners.
  • And in the German category, Boxing Rock and Tusket Falls debuted their Rauch Star, a dark Rauchbier (German Smoked beer). Malt forward with light but solid smoke flavour. At 6.5% ABV, it still features a light crisp mouthfeel and a light bittering to finish it off. Look for kegs of Rauch Star around the province, and in bottles at the private stores in HRM.

Among the other dozen beers pouring that day, there were several more available to the general public now or shortly:

  • Tidehouse went the New England IPA route with their entry, Champions Regardless, which took second place (very fitting for the name!) in the American category. Swapping into the brewhouse for this batch were co-owner Shannon Rockwell and frequent collaborator/homebrewer Ian Wheatley. Brewed with 2-row and a combination of Flaked Wheat, Oats, and Barley, they also added just a touch of Honey malt for complexity, and dextrose to help dry the beer out a bit more. Galaxy and Kohatu hops were used for the first-wort, hop stand, and dry-hop additions, with Vermont Ale yeast taking over fermentation duty. Plenty of tropical fruit deliciousness, without the high bitterness, in this 6.2% ABV beauty,
  • A collaboration brew between Lunn’s Mill and Heritage Brewing will be appearing on tap this week at Good Robot. Named Paradise Found, it’s an Imperial IPA hopped with hefty amounts of three American varieties: Chinook, Simcoe, and pretty-new-to-the-scene Tahoma. To “spice” things up a little, the breweries decided to add a “generous amount” of Grains of Paradise and Lemongrass near the end of the boil. The result is an 8.9% ABV, 89 IBUs beer with a “delightful piney punch, and a smooth, tropical finish”, with a “sharp spiciness and lemony finish”. In addition to taking over one of GR’s fine guest taps, it should also be pouring at Heritage, currently.
  • Halifax’s Propeller Brewing teamed up our very own acbbchris to brew two beers in one. Back in March, the brew crew of Head Brewer Cameron Crerar, Assistant Brewer Denys Ploughman, and Chris brewed up Doppelbock, a 6.0% ABV malty German beer, featuring a base of Munich and Pilsner malts, along with Vienna and Cara 120 for some residual sweet notes. Hallertau and Northern Brewer hops were used to offset the sweetness and offer some traditional woody notes. This Gottingen Street Small Batch is now available at the Gottingen and Windmill locations for pints and growler fills. On the day of the Stilly Open, there were a pair of Eisbock kegs available for enjoyment, created by partially freezing the Doppelbock to remove some of the water content, and upping the alcohol to 7.0% ABV and rich malt character.
  • Lazy Bear debuted their Dubbel on Sunday, which will be available in bottles shortly. This 6.7% ABV Belgian style features a complex malt bill and an iconic yeast. Inviting in students in the Industrial Microbiology program at Universite de St Anne, both brewers and students enjoyed the learning and brewing process that day, and those who missed out on Sunday’s event will soon have a chance to enjoy the final product. We’ll update with more information once we know it!

• Switching gears from the Open, it looks like North Brewing has a couple of releases today, one new and one returning. Let’s start with the new, shall we? Actually, maybe we’re using the word “new” a little loosely, here, but Finite Series: Midnight is just that… their popular Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Midnight, in their limited edition Finite Series. To be more specific, they took one barrel of Midnight and added peaches, nectarines, and Shiro plums, and Escarpment Lab‘s Brussels Brett (a Brett brux strain that exhibits “plum, red berry, citrus, and red apple, alongside subtle acidity”). Aged for 8 months in the barrel, and then bottle conditioned, the brewery is describing it as “smooth, with lots of peach character, a little cherry, and a bit of toffee on the finish”. There’s just over 20 cases available, so don’t wait to grab a bottle or two! As for the returning beer, Twinkle Pony, a “Cookie/Tiramisu Stout” is back today. This 7% ABV beer was brewed with lady finger cookies, Chocolate malt, lactose, vanilla, and cold brew coffee from Manual Food & Drink Co. It’s available in cans at both bottle shops, and will be on tap at a few lucky locations (including tomorrow’s Full House event).

• Moving on to New Brunswick, Niche Brewing released the details on their latest beer, Innerstate, earlier this week. Described by the brewery as an “Amber Brett Saison”, the grist included a healthy portion of Rye malt. Fermented with Niche’s house blend (French Saison yeast and a variety of Brettanomyces strains), the beer was allowed to age for some time, in order for the Brett character to develop. Dry-hopped with Saaz before packaging, the result is a copper-coloured brew with a touch of caramel sweetness, citrus and spice from both the yeast strains and Rye malt, some spicy/floral character from the dry-hop, and, finally, a “touch of barnyard character from the Brett”. It’s available on tap now at a couple of Niche accounts, with others likely having it over the weekend.

• In other Niche new beer news, look for their first Session IPA sometime next week, which will also be the first in a series of one-hop beers. You Had Me At… Ekuanot was brewed with 2-Row, Wheat malt, Malted Oats, and a touch of CaraRed, to keep the beer light-coloured, while at the same time boosting the mouthfeel of this low-ABV (4%) beer. Hopped entirely with Ekuanot (with all additions occurring at the end of the boil, and in the dry-hop), it was also fermented with a new-to-the-brewery yeast blend meant to work best with hop-forward beers. The beer will have your typical Ekuanot characteristics – melon, orange, lime, green pepper – in a hazy, light-golden package. Look for it mid-week at your favourite Niche tap accounts.

Flying Boats has comfortably settled into their new location – with a much-expanded 15 bbl brewhouse and taproom in Dieppe – and they’ve released a new beer to join their flagships on tap. A Session IPA, Coastal Good Life was bittered with Magnum, with Galaxy making up the rest of the hopping schedule for both knockout and whirlpool additions, as well as in the dry-hop. With a simple grist to allow the Galaxy to shine, expect aromas and flavours of passion fruit, with a dry finish. Coming in at just 4.8% ABV, it’s just the sort of beer to enjoy a pint of in the afternoon… although, the evening works perfectly fine as well! Drop in at the brewery today for a taste and/or growler fill.

• Now that Spindrift‘s Seventh Wave series is officially back, they’re upping the ante and aiming to have two different batches available each week. For this week, they’ve succeeded with that goal! Let’s start with Full Steam Ahead, a Steam beer (natch), aka California Common. Golden-coloured, with a “slight caramel toast presence, backed by an assertive, yet complementary hop program”, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and 34 IBUs. Thousand Ships Wildberry Wheat is next, and was brewed with patio weather in mind, with notes of “tart cherry, smooth strawberry, and thick blueberry” coming through in this reddish-coloured beer, thanks to the a blend of cherry, strawberry and blueberry purees (at 50:25:25, respectively). At 4.2% ABV and 7 IBUs, this one is available right now, along with Full Steam Ahead, at the brewery for growler fills. We’ve been warned that both are in very short supply due to a busy Thursday apres-work crowd, so we suggest getting to their retail location at 21 Frazee as soon as you can! And keep your eyes peeling to their Twitter and Instagram Thursday morning for the latest release details.

Schoolhouse has brought back their summer thirst-quencher, Skratch Plaskett, an American Wheat Ale. Staying true-to-style, they’ve altered the recipe slightly and increased the amount of Wheat malt in the grist (to 33%), keeping the colour of the beer a very-light golden colour, with the emphasis on the malt character as you’d expect. Bittered with Warrior to just 18 IBUs, with a “healthy splash” of Galena at knockout for a touch of citrus character, it comes in at 5.2% ABV and is available now on tap and in bottles.

• Further down the 101 Highway is Paddys Irish Pub, who have several new beers on the go, as well as the return of their seasonal cider. Foote’s Cider is a truly local cider, made with fresh-pressed apples from Foote’s Farm in Centreville, who also handled the fermentation there at the Farm. It was blended with Paddys’ own Hard Cider, which is quite dry, for an expression that is balanced, delicious, and weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

• On the beer side of things, there are a pair of new beers also available currently at their Wolfville and Kentville locations (and hopefully pouring at this weekend’s Full House Fest). Their first Sour IPA started as a light-bodied and -coloured base, and was inoculated using Organic yogurt to get the Lactobacillus bacteria necessary for the acidic kick. After completing the fermentation with a clean yeast, the beer was dry-hopped with a blend of Mosaic, El Dorado, and Citra hops, resulting in a lemonade tart character with plenty of grapefruit-like hop character, in a 6.6% ABV package. And continuing the IPA theme is the bigger brother of the Sour IPA, but without the kettle sour treatment. This clean IPA features the same blend of hops, and will hit the taps shortly for plenty of chances for comparing and contrasting. You can also keep any eye on Paddys’ Facebook for details and teases on a few more Spring beers, including a Light Domestic Lager, Maibock, and a Blonde Ale, with a Saison coming soon.

Big Spruce has paired up for yet another collaboration brew, and as usual, they’re not letting us down when it comes to producing an interesting take on a classic style. Inter-Provincial Bureaucracy was created along with the fine people of Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing and Wolfville’s L’Acadie Vineyards, and is being described as a “Red Wine Barrel-Aged Co-Fermented Wild Tripel” (told ya!). Let’s get a little deeper in details of this one, because that’s a lot to wrap your head around. The beer was fermented with two of Big Spruce’s wild yeast strains in stainless; once complete, fermented red grape skins, seeds and stems from L’Acadie’s 2017 Passito vintage were added for conditioning. Finally, the near-finished product was moved into red wine barrels for some further oak aging, before being packaged. Described by Big Spruce as being “funky, full of NS terroir, and altogether a unique hybrid beer”, the only bad news is that it will be available on tap only, at the Sprucetique in Nyanza and a very select number of BS tap accounts in the province. So, if you have the chance to taste it… get it!

Good Robot‘s Adjunct Lager, El Espinazo del Diablo, is making its return next Thursday (May 10th). With the addition of lime peel and jalapenos during conditioning, this isn’t your father’s Lager… it’s spicier! As for Tuesday’s Beta Brew, being tapped May 8th, we don’t have a lot of details this time around, but we can tell you it’s a “Coffee Kolsch” named Ground Skor. Local businesses Low Point Coffee Co. and Dilly Dally Coffee Cafe teamed up for the brew, concocting a pale, cold-brewed coffee added to the Kolsch base. The beer was brewed with GR’s own Katie Whitlock, and comes in at 4.7% ABV and 20 IBUs. And apparently tomorrow, there’s a “special surprise treat” coming out at the brewery… we assume it’s a beer?

Unfiltered has a brand new beer released today at noon for you lucky Haligonians, and it’s the first beer officially brewed by Assistant Brewer Emily Keeler. Sunday Morning is best described as a New England Pale Ale, meaning that you can expect a hazy beer big on hop aroma and flavour, without necessarily a lot of bitterness to go with it. The ABV with this one is kept quite low (4.5% ABV), meaning that you can experience all of that hop deliciousness (with an emphasis on orange/orange pith) and still be coherent (depending on the person) afterwards. No details from the brewery on which hop variety/varieties was/were used for this one, so you’ll just have to try it yourself and take a guess or three! Available at the brewery for pints and growlers.

• St. John’s YellowBelly launched a new beer, Downtown Brown, late last week. Described by the brewery as a “Fennel Brown Ale”, it is exactly that, as roasted fennel bulbs and a vodka-based tea of fennel seeds were both added to the Brown Ale base beer. At 5% ABV, it has “strong notes of chocolate and biscuit, and a subtle, lingering black licorice finish”. You can still find it on tap at the brewpub now, with growlers and bottles also available for takeaway at their Shop down Water Street.

• On Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Melanie of Hell Bay and Amanda of Firkinstein decided they’d like to do a beer together. Raising the level of difficulty on that plan was that Amanda doesn’t really like beer, but she wanted something with strawberries that was creamy. Tapping Melanie’s greater experience with beer, the pair decided on a strawberry cream ale, a light-colored beer to which a large amount of strawberries were added. A very large amount. A “shit ton” even. But for some reason they didn’t quite make it through to the taste, so they’re calling it, Hell, We Firked Up! Strawberry Cream Ale. Lightly hopped, expect this to be a refreshing cream ale coming in a 6% ABV; and you’d be forgiven if you thought perhaps maybe you might possibly be tasting a slightly strawberry flavor!

• You may recall last year when Dartmouth’s Low Point Coffee took the opportunity provided by 2 Crows to age some coffee in their Calvados foedres. This year, with 2 Crows recently coming into possession of a whole lot more wooden vessels formerly used to age wine and spirits, they again offered Low Point the chance to put some green beans in a barrel before roasting. Available at the Halifax Crafter’s Spring Market tomorrow and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM, you’ll find two such coffees: Invicta! a Colombian Tolima aged in Port barrels, and Quetzalcoatl! which is a Mexican Tapachula Chiapas that spend time in Tequila Barrels. If it’s anything like the last batch, there’s not a ton of this to go around, so best make plans to act on it if you’re interested. And if you’re wondering why we’re including this in the beer blog, consider that we know of at least one commercial beer and one batch of homebrew made with the last barrel-aged coffee from Low Point and let’s just say we’d like to encourage that to happen again!

• We have some early news from Montague’s Copper Bottom concerning a new beer which will likely be brewed sometime next weekend. Parkman Ave DIPA will feature a grist of mostly 2-row, with a little Carafoam and Acid malt, allowing the brewery to focus on what should be focused on in an Imperial IPA… hops, baby! In this particular case, lots of Ekuanot will be used at knockout, with a very heavy dry-hop of El Dorado, Mosaic, and even more Ekuanot. Expectations are for an 8% ABV, 70 IBUs beer with lots of tropical, orange, and citrus notes throughout. Follow along with CB’s social media for details on the release party for this one. And in other good CB news, they’re now officially canning their beer! All three of their flagships are available for takeaway at the brewery and select PEILCC stores; the Parkman Ave DIPA will also be canned when it is ready for packaging. And finally, a big congratulations to the brewery for making the list of this year’s Beer Advocate’s 50 Best New Breweries, along with Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing!

This is the last weekend of NS Craft Beer Week, so be sure to get out and support the more than 40 breweries, and supporting bars, restaurants, and stores that carry their products.

• Day 2 of the Origins and Evolution of NS Beer is happening today at Battery Park Beer Bar, with 20 beers embodying where beer in the province is now, and where it will be going. Several of the Stillwell Open beers will be there, for those who missed out, as well as other small-batch brews.

Propeller Brewing is hosting a May the Fourth Cask Day today at their Gottingen Taproom, featuring all things Star Wars, including a cask of their ESB (you get the connection, right?) fermented with Empire Yeast from “a galaxy far far away”. Kicking off at 5pm, there will be Star Wars pinball, Humble Pies, Star Wars doughnuts from Vandal Doughnuts, giveaways, and plenty more fun. It will also be a great excuse to drop by for a taste of that great Doppelbock we told you about (hint, hint!). And keep an eye here for details on the rest of May’s Cask Nights, as they will be featuring different treatments of Prop’s iconic ESB with a variety of different hopping and yeast choices.

The Grand Banker is hosting their Fourth Winemaker vs. Brewmaster this evening, pitting Benjamin Bridge vs Uncle Leo’s. Alex Morozov, of Benjamin Bridge and Karl Whiffen of Uncle Leo’s Brewery, will each receive the 5 course menu in advance, with the mission to put their best pairing forward for each course and present them to the guests! Tickets are still available for this fun beer, wine, and food event, which starts at 6:30PM.

• Tomorrow marks the culmination of NS Craft Beer Week, with the Full House Craft Beer Fest, at the Halifax Forum. 39 breweries from across the province are bringing their favourite beers to share with their fans, and it should prove to be another fun event. Tickets are still available for both the afternoon and evening session, but do tend to sell out before go-time.

• In Newfoundland, today is the day that many beer fans have been waiting for: Port Rexton Brewing has opened their brewery taproom again for the season! Located at 6 Ship Cove Rd, their taproom will be open 12-10pm daily for the summer, and are taking this weekend as an opportunity to welcome their fans to come out for a boo. Today they are toasting the great news by releasing a brand new beer, Firehouse Red Ale. Brewed in collaboration with the Port Rexton Area Fire Department, this 4.7% ABV Red Ale features some sweet caramel notes, with a fresh toffee and moderate malt aroma. The beer will also be a fundraiser to help in the PRAFD efforts in acquiring safety equipment to better serve the region. In addition to the beer itself, those wanting to help can take part in tomorrow‘s Cutthroat LEGO Competition, with 4 teams of three compete and sabotage to build the best models from the blocks given. Register your team at 7:30pm sharp, and enjoy the evening! There will also be pop-up shops on site all day tomorrow, with East Coast Glow and Two Whales selling their wares.

• For those who can’t make it to the brewery, fear not, their retail store is open today and tomorrow. Take note, however, that this is the final day for cans until the fall, so if you were waiting for a sign, this is it! Horse Chops West Coast IPA and Chasing Sun NEIPA are both available in cans, with growler fills of discomHOPulated and T-Rex Porter both available. And fear not, the retail shop will remain open all summer, but only for growler fills and merchandise sales.