Big Axe Brewery

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Well, we knew crowing last week about how much it had slowed down would come back to haunt us… and haunt us, it has (just think how much more clever that would have sounded if Halloween was today instead of earlier in the week)! With news and events bringing us into the world of 4,000+ words again, there’s a lot for all of you to get caught up with, including news on two breweries opening their doors. Get comfortable, grab something to sip on, and let’s get to it!

• The Gahan House has officially opened their newest location, Gahan Port City, in Saint John, NB. Located at 87 Prince William St., the 7 bbl (~800 L) brewhouse came to the city from the now-closed Rogues Roost brewpub in Halifax. With three 7 bbl fermenters and three direct draw serving tanks, the aim for the brewery is to have three seasonal taps pouring, with a wide variety of brews available, to complement the standard PEIBC/Gahan brews. While the brewhouse is not yet online, we expect the SJ-brewed beers to be available in December. Experimentation will be key! Expect collaborations with local businesses and other breweries as well. We’ll keep you up to date on all of their future endeavours, including a Q&A with Head Brewer Spencer Gallant once his beer is flowing.

• In more newly-opened news, Copper Bottom Brewing, located on Main Street Montague, PEI, officially opens today at 4 pm! Their beautiful new taproom will be open for growler fills and pints, with their first two core beers pouring: Centennial Stock Blonde Ale and Broadside APA. Centennial Stock is a 4.9% ABV, entry-level beer brewed with a simple grist of equal parts 2-row and Maris Otter, and hopped with some late-addition Centennial to just 13 IBUs. Broadside is heavily-hopped after the boil is complete, and dry-hopped, to lend some “citrus, grapefruit, and pine” flavours. From Saturday on, Copper Bottom will be open daily from noon to midnight, with live music playing a central role every Saturday. Their first musical event will start tomorrow, with musician Dave Gunning performing at 7:30 pm (get your tickets here). Look for their official grand-opening party to occur later this month. More news to come, but in the meantime, you can check out our Profile of Copper Bottom!

• Those who’ve been waiting with bated breath for news of the first mixed fermentation release from Stillwell Brewing got a pleasant surprise yesterday when it was announced via Instagram that the upcoming Bar Stillwell 4th Birthday Party on November 18th would feature the first pours of Stillwell Four, a tart and effervescent 6.2% ABV farmhouse ale that was matured in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. Even better, the day after that party you’ll be able to head down to the brewery (located at the back of Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location) and purchase bottles to go. And even more better than that, the following weeks will see three additional bottle releases. The Four isn’t expected to be available anywhere outside of the bar and the brewery, so you’ll maybe want to make some plans to head to Gottingen Street on November 19th. And meanwhile, if you’re looking for a feast for your craft beer curiosity, look for East Coast Crafted, a book written by Bar Stillwell and Stillwell Brewing guy Christopher Reynolds and Halifax-based editor, journalist and craft beer fanatic Whitney Moran, to make the city on or about November 28th. We’ll have more details as that official availability date approaches.

• A lot has changed for Hammond River Brewing since they opened almost four years ago, but their homebrew competition continues! The Fourth Annual Homebrew Competition is now open to all homebrewers in the Maritimes, and they’re looking for your best European beer. That’s right, any European style can be entered, ranging from Continental Pilsner to English IPA, Berliner Weisse to Altbier, and beyond! With a registration fee of just $10, you can enter up to three different beers for judging by certified BJCP judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three beers, with the gold-winning beer being brewed on HR’s new 15 bbl (~1750 L) brewhouse (with you assisting, of course!). Full competition details can be viewed here; if you’re interested, fill out your form and have your beers sent in by February 2nd; judging will take place on February 4th. And speaking of competition winners, last year’s winning beer in the HR comp is now available on tap at the brewery. Black River Milk Stout is a 6.8% ABV Milk Stout that was originally brewed by Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, who recently helped owner/brewer Shane Steeves replicate the recipe on his system. Drop by the brewery today to give it a try!

• Let’s keep rolling with the homebrew competition theme with one with a bit of a twist: Noble Grape is once again offering up their annual cider group buy, which gives home makers a bucket of freshly-pressed apples from a local producer. This year, they are partnering with the folks at Bulwark to allow customers a chance to use a special blend designed by Bulwark’s Alexandra Beaulieu. If you follow the included ingredients and instructions, you will end up with a dry sparkling cider. However… the crew from both Noble Grape and Bulwark are encouraging folks to flex your creative muscles and get a bit crafty. For those who take part in the purchase, using some or all of the ingredients provided (and you may add your own), they can choose to be entered in a friendly (but serious) competition for the most creative and unique cider possible. Pre-orders for the cider close Thursday, November 9th, with pickup of the cider November 22-23 (don’t miss this, as this unpasteurized cider may start to ferment if not dealt with promptly). Your entries (no entry fee, by the way!) for the competition are not due until February 2018, so you do have a bit of time to plan and implement your entry. And fret not, if you want to keep all of your cider for yourself, there’s no requirement to enter!

• And finally in homebrew competition news, we have the details on Garrison’s 10th Annual Home Brew-Off Challenge we first mentioned a few weeks ago: the deadline to submit your Kolsch (2015 BJCP 5B) is February 12th, and should be accompanied by the brew sheet and your $15 entry fee (which gets you entry to the March 22nd gala, a commemorative glass, and a Growlito and its first fill). Take a look here at their page for a bit more details.

• There’s plenty going on in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia this week, with TataBrew releasing a new beer, and bringing back a couple of favourites. In the new category, they’ve finally brewed up a dry-hopped Sour to go along with all of their other tart releases over the past months. Jitney is a 4.5% ABV kettle-soured beer brewed with 2-row, Oats, Wheat, and a touch of Acid malt. After bringing the pH down with a pitch of Lactobacillus, the beer was heavily dry-hopped with a combination of El Dorado and Mosaic, as well as a smaller amount of Azacca and Citra. Fermented with Foggy London (a strain suggested for NEIPAs) from Escarpment Labs, it finished off at a quaffable 4.5% ABV, with “lots of lemon and grapefruit upfront, and a sweeter stone fruit character in the background”. Kegs and cans will be distributed out as well, with cans even making an appearance at your local NSLC!

• And over to their re-releases, Tata has brought back their Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter, a 10% ABV monster that was aged for 9 months in second-run Glenora barrels. Brewed with lots of Horton Ridge Pale malt, and some Roasted Barley and Chocolate malt, it was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain to keep the beer as clean as possible, allowing the spirit character from the whiskey barrel to shine through. Warm – but not hot – thanks to the high ABV, expect notes of graham cracker, rich dark chocolate, and dark fruit… a perfect beer for the quickly-approaching colder weather! Available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery only (for now), it’s also on tap there for samples, and a couple of kegs may make appearances elsewhere for special events. And finally, their Blue Bales Blueberry Wheat is being re-released at the brewery this weekend. A 4.6% ABV beer, it’s the same recipe as the last go-around (featuring 250 lbs of organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm), but was fermented with a different yeast strain this time, bringing it closer to a Hefeweizen than an American Wheat. Look for cans and kegs to appear in the HRM next week.

• With quite a bit of beer news coming out of Horton Ridge lately, it’s understandably sometimes easy to forget that first and foremost, their main job is providing malt for other breweries in the Maritimes! They’ve recently begun malting some Newdale 2-row grown by Fred Dollar of Kentdale Farms (Winsloe, PEI), and decided to take some of it and make a new SMaSH brew (hey, what better way to get to know your product?). Fred’s First Ale was hopped entirely with Pacifica, a floral, citrusy varietal from New Zealand; at 6% ABV and 20 IBUs, you can find this malt-forward ale at the HR taproom in growlers and pints.

• Winning all those awards at the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards a couple of weeks ago hasn’t slowed down Big Spruce one bit, as they continue to release new brews. Their latest is Muddled Mule, a Witbier aged on organic strawberries from Wings of Dawn Farm (Masstown, NS). Coming in at a very-approachable 4.3% ABV and 12 IBUs, the beer also features the addition of locally-grown house-candied ginger. On tap at the brewery now, expect it at your usual haunts that pour Big Spruce beer.

2 Crows just called… to say… I Love You (sorry, the jokes get worse as the day goes on). Really, though, it’s a beer! A Saison brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, Rye, and oats, it was hopped lightly with Bramling Cross and Calypso. Then it starts getting a bit complex: a portion of the wort was actually left unhopped and was inoculated with a Lactobacillus strain (most strains of Lacto are not hop-friendly); once the desired acidity was reached, this portion was blended back in with the rest of the wort. The brewery then used their house Saison strain to ferment the brew, along with an experimental Brettanomyces strain (TYB 207). Once conditioned, the resulting beer was dry-tead (no, I don’t think that’s a word) with Lemon Verbena from Halifax’s World Tea House, and then dry-hopped with Huell Melon. Phewf! Described as “funky, bright, lemony, and tart”, I Love You comes in at 4.9% ABV and 17 IBUs and will be available tomorrow in cans and kegs.

• After several weeks of no new Alpha beer releases, those lazy buggers at Good Robot have got off their collective asses and brewed up Falstaff, a 4.7% ABV, 43 IBUs American Pale Ale being released later today. With a grist of 2-row, Red X, Caramel, Rye malt, and Flaked barley, it was hoped early and late with the “Good Robot blend” hops, as well as more late additions, of Amarillo and Cascade. More hops were thrown in the dry-hop, including more Amarillo and Cascade, as well as Azacca and Jarrylo. Malt presence is low with this one, with plenty of citrus coming through thanks to all those hops, along with a bit of pine. And don’t worry, those of you who tune in weekly just for the BetaBrewsday release news! Next Tuesday will see “Quite an Enigma” Black Ale, brewed by Kim Hart Macneill and Kelly Costello. “Nutty, roasty, and light-bodied”, with some balancing hop bitterness from the Enigma and Summit additions, it weighs in at 4.5% ABV and 51 IBUs.

• In other benign automaton news, they’re also excited to release their first Barrel Aged beer today. You might remember the big old barleywine Mississippi Goddam that they released back in April. Well, there was more where that came from, and it spent the last 6 months or so soaking up the goodness of fresh Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, which have imparted woody, vanilla, toffee and candied fruit flavours to the beer. You’ll find bottles of Barrel-aged Mississippi Goddamon for sale today starting at noon at the Good Robot store, the taproom, and possibly other private retailers in the HRM (check first!). And oh, by the way, for the second year running, Good Robot has won both the Best Brewpub and Best Craft Brewery awards in The Coast’s annual Best Of Halifax, thanks to their loyal (and vocal) fans! Congratulations are in order, we think.

• Edmundston’s Petit-Sault is helping to celebrate the first official activities of the town’s new Jean-Daigle Centre by releasing Snap Dickie, a “Sport Ale” named in honour of the local hockey legend, who played for the Edmundston Eskimos in the 1930s. Actually falling in the Cream Ale style, the beer is available on tap now at the Jean-Daigle Centre and at the brewery taproom, it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV and 15 IBUs. Depending on the response, it could possibly be bottled in the future.

• We have news on the latest hoppy offering from TrailWay2 Jackets, to hit this week. This one is an American IPA hopped with the brewery’s “all-time favourite hops”: Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Mosaic. As expected by anyone familiar with these hop varieties, the beer is full of “citrus, intense juiciness, and some spice”. Releasing today at noon, 2 Jackets will be available in cans at the brewery only, along with pints and growlers. Of course, a few spots in Fredericton will likely have it on tap in the near future as well.

• Alma’s Holy Whale Brewing is releasing a frightfully good beer this weekend, inspired by the changing seasons and cooler weather. Medusa’s Milk Stout is 5.7% ABV, and instead of venemous snakes added to the boil, a tincture of vanilla beans and coca was added post-fermentation. As always, the best place to grab a pour of HW beer is at the brewery taproom in Alma, at the Buddha Bear Cafe. You can try it on nitro, as well as the standard CO2 faucet. And even better, they’ve recently implemented a “Positive Pints” program, where $0.50 from each pint goes to a partnering not-for-profit organization. Check here for more details.

• Fredericton’s Coastliner Cider will be releasing a couple of new ciders in bottles, for sale at some ANBL stores this week. Castaway, a 5.4% ABV cider featuring the addition of Tropical Hibiscus, was originally on the ANBL growler program last month, and Hop on Board, a new cider (5.4% ABV) infused with New Brunswick-grown Goldings hops. As of publishing, they were not yet listed on the new ANBL site, but should be showing up shortly, and will be on the shelves over the next couple of weeks.

Propeller‘s popular Coffee Porter (5.9% ABV, 35 IBUs) – their deep-brown coloured, coffee-forward ale – has returned at both Prop Shop locations in both growlers and 650 mL bottles. Brewed with hefty amounts of specialty malts and Java Blend Fog City coffee beans, it has “subtle hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt” too complement the coffee character. You’ll be seeing it on tap over this weekend, and a cask will be pouring exclusively at Stillwell; more bottles will be available at the NSLC after Remembrance Day. And tonight’s Propeller Cask Night will feature their IPA dry-hopped with Laurel; be there at 5 pm when the cask is tapped!

• Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has a new beer that should be making rounds to Think tap accounts over the weekend. Churchill is a 6.7% ABV, 35 IBUs “British Strong Ale” (likely similar to an ESB) that has some caramel malt character with a touch of sweetness, and a little bit of chocolate in the flavour. Balanced by a moderate bitterness in the finish, it has a little alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove released a special beer/wine hybrid last night during their Thursday Growler Night. First Crush is a 5.9% ABV Saison-base with Pilsner and Wheat malts, fermented with saison yeast from Bootleg Biology. After fermentation was complete, L’Acadie blanc and Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (grown onsite at their own vineyard) were added to the tank. The resultant beer is light and effervescent, finishing quite dry, but with pleasant fruit flavours from both the yeast and grapes. For those who missed out on last night’s release, fear not, it will be available in growlers tomorrow at their table at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, and a limited number of kegs available soon, and half of the batch has gone into French oak barrels (via the Napa Valley) for release at a future date.

• Back over to Newfoundland, St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub is pouring their new Seaside Sparkling Ale, an “Australian version of a Cream Ale, with traditionally higher carbonation”. Available on tap and in growlers, it has “bready malt flavours” upfront, balanced by some “herbal hop bitterness”. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, as always with these one-offs, it’s available only at the brewpub.

• And one more piece of St. John’s new beer news with YellowBelly, who announced that they will soon be releasing a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA”. A NEIPA hopped with plenty of Citra, conditioned on 45 kg of blueberries, and fermented with the wonderful Funktown yeast blend, it should hopefully be kegged by late next week. At last glance, they were still looking for some name suggestions for this beer, so hop on over to their Facebook page and give them your best shot!

It’s not just beer and brewery news that’s heavy this week, as there’s plenty of events going on this weekend, as well as the near (and distant!) future. Get caught up with a large handful of them below:

• St. John’s Quidi Vidi Brewing is bringing back their Fogtown Lager with a Release Party at the brewery tomorrow, November 4th. While the taproom opens at noon, with Fogtown on tap all day, the real party begins at 7 pm, with live music, food, merch for sale, and a Fogtown Barber & Shop pop-up. Only $5 at the door, the event will kick off the weekly Fogtown Fridays at QV, featuring happy hour from 4-7 pm with $5 Fogtown pints… the perfect way to end your work week! A reminder that this beer is brewed every fall as a fundraiser for Movember, raising funds to support men’s mental and physical health research and programs.

Roof Hound is tickled stink (see? I warned you about these bad jokes) by their ACBA Gold medal win for their American IPA, The Big Stink, so they’re hosting a Big Stink Party tomorrow, November 4th to celebrate! Drop by the taproom for some free live music, starting at 9 pm, and order a pint of the winning beer (and some of their other offerings on tap) to toast their win. Kitchen closes at 9, so if you’d like some food, best show up early.

• If you’re participating in tomorrow‘s Run the River in Nackawic, Big Axe will be waiting for you at the finish line! Well, maybe not right at the finish line, but they’ll have warm soup and plenty of beer pouring at their Beers, Soup & Music Jam, the perfect reward for all of your hard work. And if you’re musically-inclined, bring your instruments to jam with your fellow runners and beer-drinkers for the rest of the day; it all starts at 11:30 am at the brewery on Otis Dr.

• The Moncton Craft Brewer’s Collective is excited to announce that they’ll be hosting their second tap takeover next weekend, Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th. The primary venue will be the Laundromat Espresso Bar and there you’ll find a huge collection of local beers and ciders from Acadie-Broue, Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, Pump House, Scow and Tide & Boar. In addition, they’re partnering with Notre Dame de Parkton on Thursday and Friday to have draught beer available to go with beer-friendly food like wings, nachos and more! So if you’re at the Laundromat and you’re feeling peckish, you can hop a couple doors down for a bite and keep the beer flowing. And if you’re at Notre Dame de Parkton you can order up some tasty local beverages. This is the largest selection of Moncton-local beer and cider products available anywhere! Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe is hosting a Brewer’s Dinner on November 10th, featuring Yarmouth’s own Heritage Brewing. Featuring appetizers, a three course meal, and a pint of beer chosen to accompany each plate, there will also be live music, it is sure to be a fine night out. You can find out the full food and beer pairings here. Reservations are a must, and can be made via email or phone (902-307-2250).

• The Cape Breton Beer Fest is returning December 2nd, and tickets are now available. Featuring twenty breweries and food vendors, the CBBF is taking over the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (aka The Big Fiddle) from 7-9PM (VIP tickets will get you in an hour early) that evening, for plenty of beer, food, and fun. The fest is kicking off their partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation and Families for Families Toy Drive today with an event at Breton Brewing today at 5PM. Learn more about it, and enter for a chance at free Fest tickets by dropping by. And throughout November, the CBBF will be giving away pairs of tickets to the Fest every Friday. All you need to do is tag your friend, and @capebretonbeerfest on IG and Facebook (@beerfestcb on Twitter) and use the hashtag #whodeservesabeer, and you’re entered! Check the full list of breweries here.

• After a hiatus last winter due to some truly weird weather (remember? It went something like this: snow, rain, freeze, repeat), NB HopSpiel is returning to Fredericton in 2018! The all-day event will be held on Saturday, January 27th, and you can start signing up your team now! Tickets are $60/person or $240/team, with each team participating in 2-3 curling games. Tickets also include coffee and other hot beverages, lunch, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (with three complimentary beers). Plenty of prizes will be awarded after the event, and it’s always a great time! Remember, it’s outdoors, so dress accordingly! Grab your tickets here.

A couple more notes today:

– For fans of Dark & Stormy Night (4.8% ABV), Picaroons‘ take on a Dunkelweizen that was discontinued a while back due to an ongoing legal feud, it has returned as Cease & Desist. Still the same recipe as before, it’s on tap now/soon at all three Picaroons locations, and other licensees in the Maritimes. And their Halloween-themed Black IPA, Best BiTer, has been renamed Walk In The Dark, to avoid confusion with their Best Bitter.
PEI Brewing Company has announced the return of a pair of barrel-aged beers. Hell Street is their 8.1% ABV Doppelbock, which is available at the PEIBC and PEI Liquor storesIce Boat is their barrel-aged Imperial Stout, which will be making its return in the coming weeks, as well as the launch of a new beer, Shortest Day, a 5.3% ABV Spiced Milk Stout, coming November 16th. We’ll have more details on those beers when available.
– In Moncton, Pump House once again sees the return of their gourd-filled beer, now named Glenn’s Pumpkin Ale and sporting 5.5% ABV.
– Gander’s Scudrunner Brewing is coming along nicely, with the delivery of their 10 BBL (1200 litre) last week. Take a peek at a few pictures of the progress here. And as they prepare for a late-2017 opening, they are expanding their crew. No brewing experience is required, they’re just looking for some motivated folks to join their team. Contact Sam via email or FB message.
Unfiltered in Halifax has brought back their paean to unfair (illegal?) taxation, the Mosaic-heavy RSMA, a classically NASHian DIPA at 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU and bursting with tropical hop flavors.
– PEI’s Upstreet Brewing‘s Black Tie Affair, the sweet and roasty stout with hints of chocolate, vanilla and tart cranberry, hits the shelves again today in advance of the PEI Symphony Orchestra’s Black Tie Evening featuring Atlantic String Machine.

Easter egg: this post is 4000 words.

Good morning, and welcome to what feels like the first official Friday of fall! We’re a little late getting your weekly dose of beer news to you, but sometimes life outside of beer gets in the way of beer, so we’re quite sure you’ll understand. So, with that being said, let’s get right to it!

Annapolis Brewing Company, located in historic Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, is now open and selling growlers to the public. Brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litres) system in a historic building at 438 George Street, they currently have four beers available for purchase: McCormick’s BlondeAcadian Honey BrownKing George Porter, and Ceasefire IPA. We’ll have a full profile of with the ABC crew next week, and in the meantime watch their FB and Twitter pages for updates. Welcome to the local beer scene, Annapolis Brewing!

• And in the “Coming Soon” category for breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House will be opening in Lower Sackville, NS, in the coming weeks. Owner and brewer Keith Forbes has been involved in the homebrewing community for almost a decade, an avid member of the Brewnosers club. Forbes is currently brewing on a 120 litre home-built system in his basement, and eyeing expansion next year. Kegs at local bars and restaurants will be the primary way to try the OBB beer for this year, with growlers thereafter. We’ll have a full Profile with Forbes closer to launch date, with all of the details on his history, beers he’ll have available, and his journey to opening. Cheers!

• Up by the Isthmus of Chignecto, Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has joined the ranks of the pumpkin pushers with their Pumpkin Ale-ixer an ostensibly amber ale with a seasonal twist. Make no mistake about its provenance, however, this is a true-blue pumpkin beer featuring freshly harvested pumpkin that were hand-roasted with just the right amount of brown sugar before being added to the boil. Hopped entirely, but lightly, with UK variety Fuggles for an earthy, herby hop character, and then dosed with a secret tincture of fresh organic spices, this beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 10 IBU. It’s available now from the brewery in 500 mL bottles and there are twenty or so kegs that will make their way to tap accounts around the region. Cheers to Samhain!

• Returning for the season is Roof Hound Brewery‘s KelticDevil Pumpkin-Spiced Latte Strong Porter (say that 3 times fast!). Featuring pumpkin, vanilla beans, 2 kg of coffee from local roaster Sissiboo Coffee, and lactose (milk sugar) for that full PSL appeal, the tongue in cheek name is an ode to local beer-tographer and -fan Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and his dis-love of all things pumpkin. Roof Hound will be celebrating the release tonight with a showing of the cult classic “Friday the 13th” from 1980. The beer launches today, with the movie starting at 9PM. And speaking of KelticDevil and his co-horts Kyle and Tony, their 902 BrewCast October Tasting episode was released this morning. This month’s episode features a chat on all things glassware with visiting Certified Cicerone® Crystal Luxmore. Grab it here, or check your favourite podcasting app.

• After opening their brewery back in August, the folks behind Half Cocked Brewing are introducing their first new brew. Appropriately named First Harvest, it’s a DIPA that was first-wort-hopped (a process where hops are added as the wort runs off from the mash, before the boil has begun) with Columbus and Warrior, with “massive” late and whirlpool additions of freshly-picked Cascade, along with some Centennial, Chinook, and Galena. Double-dry-hopped with more Columbus, the resulting 8.3% ABV beer is dank and grassy, and should be on tap at the brewery for growler fills any time now (if it’s not already!).

Big Spruce released two new beers last Friday, literally minutes after our post went out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t update you on them now! First up is Guava Get Me Some IPA, an American IPA featuring lots of late hop additions (we tried to find out which ones, but they ain’t tellin’!), as well as organic guava, expect plenty of tropical aromas and flavours in this one. Secondly is Wild Wild Wit, a Farmhouse Ale fermented with Big Spruce’s proprietary wild yeast. After the yeast completed their job, the beer was racked into Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay barrels for 2 months. “Smooth, floral, and easy-drinking” at just 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, drop by the brewery for a taste of this one (and the other!), or search around Halifax, where some lucky spots have them on tap.

• Attesting to the growing popularity of the style, there’s more and more New England IPAs being brewed across the Maritimes, and Big Axe has just released their take, Roll in the Hay IPA. Brewed with Pale malt and Flaked Oats, it was hopped-heavily with Lemondrop, a new-ish variety that boasts the character that you’re probably expecting from the name! Along with the lemon aroma, the brewery says a big blast of papaya, creating the classic juicy characteristics of an NEIPA. Weighing in low for the style at 5.2% ABV, drop by the brewery in Nackawic for a taste or growler (and check out their expansion progress!), and seek it out at your favourite Big Axe account.

• And speaking of Lemondrop, let’s move over to Yarmouth, NS, where Heritage Brewing is releasing a test batch of a Lemondrop single-hopped beer, Lemondrop Pale Ale. With a simple malt profile, the Lemondrop hops come through perfectly with a “subtle, lemony-citrusy-floral aroma”. Quite drinkable at 5% ABV and only 18 IBUs, it is available at the brewery now for samples and growler fills. It joins their other recent release, Zero Kilometre Cream Ale, a 5.4% ABV quaffer. A light and refreshing complement to their Blonde, it features a mild hop character and light malt profile. Also available now at the brewery, it was also pouring at friendly-brewery-friend Hell Bay in Liverpool earlier this week. Speaking of which …

• Hell Bay has announced that for their Oktoberfest, happening next Saturday, Oct 21, they will be launching a special one-off beer. A dark Witbier, it is brewed in the style of a traditional Belgian Wit (think half Wheat malt, orange peel and coriander added), but with an addition of Chocolate malt for a darker colour and light chocolate and roast flavours. The best way to guarantee a taste of the Fest-bier is to head to the brewery from noon to midnight on Saturday, though there may be some left for those of you unable to attend. There will be plenty of beers pouring, as well as special food available all day, with music throughout the day. The event is indoors and out, with a big tent to keep everyone dry in case of inclement weather.

• We hinted at a new fruit beer coming from TrailWay last Friday, and that beer has now been released. It’s the latest iteration of their 3.8% ABV fruited kettle-sour, El Generico, with this batch featuring the addition of almost 200 lbs of blackberries and rhubarb. It just dropped yesterday in cans, growlers, and pints at the brewery, and as always with this brand, it’s a limited release, so drop by soon to make your purchase. A few kegs will also likely pop up at licensees around Fredericton.

Picaroons has brought back their seasonal pumpkin-spiced brew, Gourd Browny, featuring a “new and improved recipe”. A medium-bodied, 5.6% ABV Brown Ale, it was spiced with “modest” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Released late last week just in time to pair with Thanksgiving meals, it should still be on tap at both Picaroons locations in Fredericton, as well as bars and restaurants in the city.

• If you’re in St. John’s, keep your eyes open for an upcoming new beer from YellowBelly. An IPA brewed to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Crow’s Nest, a formerly-private club in the city that has been transformed into a military museum, it was brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan, and hopped with East Kent Golding and Bramling Cross. With one dry-hop down, and presumably another to go, look for this one – currently unnamed – to pop up on tap at the brewpub within a couple of weeks.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows has a couple things on the go this week, in both large and small batch formats. First, on the small side, brewery assistant Nick Ogden devised a cunning beer called Oceanspray, a saison that features a couple of locally-foraged ingredients. Starting a fairly standard (for 2 Crows, anyway) malt bill of Pilsner, wheat, rye and, of course, oats, the beer was fermented with their house saison culture, before conditioning on pineapple weed and juniper berries. Keg conditioning took place with champagne yeast for extra effervescence. Now, you probably know what juniper berries are, but we’re guessing you might be wondering what pineapple weed is. Google image search it, folks, and consider how many times you’ve stomped on it growing between the cracks on a sidewalk. It certainly earns its name as you’ll discover if you try this beer. Pineapple-y, slightly earthy, and featuring some pine and resinous notes, this is a tasty little beer at 5.4% ABV and 21 IBU. Only two 50 L kegs were produced and it’s only available by the glass at 2 Crows.

• And on the large side, tomorrow marks the release of Bonanza, a massive beer in the wheatwine style that’s been aged 3 months in one of the locally-famous 2 Crows Calvados foedres. At 11.4% and 64 IBU, this is not a beer for the faint of heart. The grist was largely composed of (a lot of) wheat malt, with Pilsner, Vienna and oat malt (of course) providing interest. It was hopped during the boil with modern European Hallertau Blanc and classic American Centennial and initially fermented with an English yeast before being fed both a wild yeast and a wine yeast to finish. Dry-hopping included more Hallertauer Bland along with Simcoe and a touch of Citra. It features a sweet and round nose, with fruity esters, a mouth-filling and velvety body, and barrel character that presents on both the nose and the palate. Warmth and patience bring out the hops. It will be available in cans tomorrow at the brewery; we suggest grabbing at least two: one for now and one to put away for a little while to see how it mellows; we suspect the answer will be, “quite nicely.”

• Time for your weekly update on next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday from Good Robot: Don’t Call Me Wit was brewed by Matt Chapple and Kelly C., with a grist of 2-row, Wheat, Black Patent, and Midnight Wheat. Bittered with Galaxy, Summit, and Vic Secret to 35 IBUs, it was dry-hopped with more Summit and Vic Secret. Obviously not your typical Witbier (the two dark malts alone should give that away!), expect a “piney, fruit flavour and aroma, with a clean Wit body”.

• Are you ready to rumble? Upstreet is releasing their third collaboration with Boxing Rock just in time for the weekend, as Rumble in the Alley III is hitting tap accounts in PEI and Halifax. For this iteration, they’ve brewed up a SMaSH Belgian IPA, with Pilsner malt and Azacca hops being the stars of the show, along with “a newly available Belgian yeast” that is new to breweries in our region, according to Upstreet. With a ripe stone fruit hop profile, some fruity esters from the yeast, and a very dry finish, this 6% ABV, 30 IBUs brew is the perfect way to celebrate two local breweries working together. Look for it at the breweries and growler stations in both the HRM and PEI.

• With this year’s Nocture: Art at Night set to kick off tomorrow, Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is once again releasing a beer to celebrate. Taking a slight detour from the Dark Lager of old, this year’s batch is a Black IPA. Nocturne Black IPA is a 6.7% ABV, 78 IBU, featuring a rich chocolate and coffee flavour, with the generous dry-hopping of Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight for plenty of tropical fruit and pine aromatics. The beer is available on tap for pints and samples at their Gottingen location, with growlers and 650 ml bottles available in both Halifax and Dartmouth. 100% of the profits from Nocturne Black IPA are donated directly to the festival. From Propeller, “So buy more beer and help bring art to the masses”. Looking to plan your tour of Nocturne, check out their interactive map (good on both desktop and mobile).

• This evening’s Cask Night at Gottingen Street will be tapped at 5PM, and is their Pumpkin Ale, aged on cedar wood. The fun kicks off at 5PM, and the folks from Humble Pie Kitchen will be onsite to keep you well fed while you enjoy a pint of two. HPK will be partnering with Propeller for future Cask Nights as well.

• And finally in Propeller news this week, they will be releasing their latest Gottingen Small Batch beer tomorrow, to coincide with Nocturne. It will be the first release of their Propeller Hop Collection, “an experimental series designed to showcase unique hop varieties from around the world.” The initial beer is Citra IPA, a Brown IPA (colour thanks to Blackprinz and Munich Malts), generous dosing of Citra gives citrus and tropical aromatics, which complement the pine and earth notes from Simcoe, also found in the brew. Launching Saturday, this small batch will only be available on tap for growlers, pints and samples at Gottingen, and for growler fills at Windmill next week.

Sober Island Brewing and ShipBuilders Cider are releasing a special hybrid experiment at Battery Park tomorrow. Featuring a 50/50 blend of SI’s Oyster Stout and ShipBuilders’ Cider, this bevvy will be available at both retail locations, Farmers’ Markets, and bottles at Petite Riviere and Sheet Harbour. The two producers are celebrating the Halifax Pop Explosion, running October 18-21, and will have discounted HPX tickets available for purchase at tomorrow’s launch, as well as ticket give-aways starting at 2PM. Drop by for your first taste and to take part in the fun!

• And grab your taste’s of Sober Island’s first release in the Foraged Series, their Chanterelle Mild Ale this weekend as well. The Forest Festival at Memory Lane Heritage Village will be hosting the Sober Island beer trailer and many more visitors, including axe throwing hosted by Timber Lounge Halifaxe.

• For those of you professional brewers out there that are currently packaging your beer in kegs and growlers only, we have some great news – Craft Coast Canning is about ready to open! Located in Fredericton, the company offers the rental of their mobile canning unit to breweries throughout the Maritimes. When hired, they bring the canning unit to your brewery, along with the pre-labelled cans (you can work with them beforehand to get your design on the shrink sleeve; they even offer graphic design services if needed), and two technicians. With a single-phase, 5-head filler, they can churn out 35 cans/minute (both 12 and 16 oz cans are available), and are able to can up to 6000 L/day. All operations are completed by the technicians; your only job at the brewery is to receive the cans at the end of the line, and package them as you see fit. The business will officially open this Monday, so if you’d like to have your beer canned, now is the time to reach out to them!

• This past Wednesday it was announced on social media that Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, in partnership with the Biology Department at Acadia University, has been awarded a research and innovation grant by Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) towards the “creation of specialized yeast strains to make unique Nova Scotia craft beers.” In the release Saltbox also pledged their intent to share this research with other NS breweries through the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Given the success achieved locally by Big Spruce with the yeasts they’ve isolated and developed in Cape Breton as well as the work being done by small yeast labs throughout North America, this is a welcome development that will hopefully help Saltbox and other Nova Scotia breweries further develop one of the essential components of a terroir for beer in our province.

A few things on the go this weekend and next week:

• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is hosting their The People’s Cider event tomorrow. From 10 AM to 4 PM. Drop by their New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 with your own home-grown apples to be pressed and made into a cider to be released later this year. If you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

• The New Brunswick-produced beer documentary, Beerocracy, is having another screening on Thursday, October 19th at Big Tide Brewing in Saint John, at 6 pm. Entry is by donation, and Big Tide will have beer and food specials on as well. Look for more screening dates and locations to be announced soon.

One last thing(s):

North Brewing‘s Malternate Reality New England-style IPA is now available in cans at both of their retail locations (and may be headed to the private stores as well).
Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cask this Friday is actually a cider, dreamed up by brewer Leigh. Valley Apple Cider is made from all local apples, and like all of these releases, will not last long!
Sea Level has brought back their New Scotland Heather Ale, and it is currently available in cans and growlers at the brewery, and on tap from the Valley to Halifax. This 5.0% ABV beer features local heather and hops.
– After their launch last week, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing will once again have growler fills available at the brewery. Drop by from 11AM-4PM for fills of their Chai Stout and Roggenbier, as well as the new Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 20 IBU) and Hefeweizenish (5.5%, 12 IBU). Learn more about them in last week’s Profile.
– And all great things must come to an end… We’ve heard that the Stillwell Beergarden will be closing for the season at the end of service Saturday. So get out and see some art, grab a pint and sausage, see some art, drink, art, repeat.

Maybe it was the unseasonably warm September, but October seems to have come out of nowhere and slapped us around a little with fall temperatures, wet hopped and pumpkin beers, and Oktoberfest celebrations. Those themes definitely continue this week as we slide into the long weekend. Here’s an update on some of the new beers you might want to consider bringing to your Thanksgiving dinner, and the events you might slip away to when the pressures of “family time” get to be too much.

• It is a near-weekly occurrence recently, but we never get tired of writing it: we are happy to announce that Crooked Feeder Brewing will be joining the Atlantic Canadian Beer scene in the near future. Located in Cormack, just outside of Deer Lake, Newfoundland, the 3 BBL (375 litre) brewery is located in a disused lumber mill. Three homebrewers are taking their passion to the next level and will be offering their beer to the wider public in the coming months. In the meantime, they have launched an Indiegogo campaign, giving you a chance to grab some Crooked Feeder swag ahead of their official launch. Hoodies, hats, t-shirts, and growlers, there’s plenty to choose from the perks. Take a look at the offerings, and keep an eye on their social media pages (and here) for more details on when Crooked Feeder’s first beers will be available.

• The PEI Brewing Co. has released the latest entry in their After Hours Series, Winola, a “German-inspired IPA”. A collaboration of sorts with their brewing friends from Stone City Ales out of Kingston, ON, this is a new-school IPA made up of 100% German ingredients. Pale ale and Wheat malt straight from Germany made up the grist; the beer was then hopped with Huell Melon, Magnum, and Mandarina Bavaria in the boil (to ~40 IBUs), and dry-hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc, and more Huell Melon. Fermented with a Kölsch yeast, this hazy brew weighs in at 6.2% ABV and has aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, white grape skins, dried orange peel, and some spice”, with a medium bitterness in the finish. You can find it on tap now at various PEIBC accounts, as well as on tap at many ANBL growler stations over the weekend.

• Staying on the Island for the next new beer, Moth Lane Brewing has released a beer inspired by a childhood family pet. Owner Eric Wagner’s Aunt had purchased a monkey from a bloke at the Bloomfield Legion in the 1960s (how’s that for a setup?). While playing, Louie the monkey jumped on Wagner’s shoulder and got comfortable. When Wagner began to descend the stairs, the monkey circled his head and neck a few times, the leash getting caught and holding back the monkey. Thinking Wagner was the one restraining him, Louie wrapped himself around his head and bit him on the cheek! Monkey Bite is a Belgian/German-inspired IPA, with 50% Wheat Malt, fermented warm for plenty of banana and bubble gum, to 4.8% ABV. Taking a turn from the traditional, however, is the high hopping rate, weighing in at about 90 IBUs. This beer with bite is available at the brewery, and check out their market stall this weekend.

Hammond River Brewing has released some early details on the HRB Beer Club, which should be going live in roughly two weeks. There are a ton of advantages to joining the yearly club: a free 5 oz HRB pour for every pint purchased in the taproom, a free growler fill with every 10 filled, a 15% discount on all HRB merchandise, a bottle of beer for any new beer that the brewery bottles, free flight on your birthday, a HRB-branded Belgian chalice, your choice of a HRB-branded ball cap or toque, and insider info on tastings of select special beers before they’re released to the public. Wow! For only $50 a year, that seems like a pretty sweet deal to us! If you’d like to sign up in advance, drop by the taproom today.

• Earlier this week, TrailWay released their latest new hop-bomb, Keejay. Like many TW beers, this one was heavily-hopped – this time with Cashmere, Idaho 7, and Mosaic – but also features the addition of lactose powder, to up the mouthfeel a bit, providing a “pillowy, creamy, juice-like body”. Extremely sessionable at just 4.2% ABV, the bitterness is kept low, like many TW beers. It’s available now at the brewery only, for a limited run of pints, growlers, and cans. As for next week, they’ve provided a sneak peek as to their next new beer, and it’s looking like another fruit beer (likely… grape?)… we’ll have more details next Friday.

• After a summer hiatus, Tide & Boar is bringing back their Growler Fill Day tonight from 5-7 pm. Three beers will be pouring at the brewpub, and it looks like all of them are new. We don’t have a lot of details on the beers, but we can tell you they are Blaster IPA, Herbie’s Lumberjack Stout (brewed with coffee and maple syrup), and Peach Muffin Sour (we’re pretty sure the name gives away the ingredients for this one). As always, all growler sizes will be accepted, and you can order pints as well, in the bar/restaurant. Keep an eye on their social media sites for updates as to beer availability.

Picaroons has brought back their seasonal Harvest Ale, a series-of-sorts of beers that feature local grain and local hops. While the grist remains the same, different batches feature freshly-harvested hops from different hop farms in the Maritimes; just check the batch number on the bottle, then visit this link to learn more about what varieties were used, and where they came from. More batches will be added to the website over the coming days as they become available. And speaking of availability, the eighth in their Double IPA series of beers is available now. PIVOT 8 features local Sorachi Ace (from Moose Mountain Hops), plus Warrior, and Azacca as a dry-hop addition. Weighing in around 8% ABV, this batch is a little drier than previous in the series, as well as notably more bitter. Light floral with cirtrus and tropical hop notes are the name of the game with this beer.

• We have more details on the Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge: your yeast is now available for pickup! Drop by the Noble Grape in Burnside, or contact Big Spruce owner Jeremy White to pick up your yeast at the brewery. You must have registered and paid to be able to pick up the yeast (due to its limited nature), but fear not, there are still some spots open! Send an email to Jeremy to grab a registration form, and check out the yeast specs and homebrew chatter on Facebook and The Brewnosers.

• Up in Lyon’s Brook on Nova Scotia’s North Shore, Uncle Leo’s has a new beer to share, another traditional German style, this time a Schwarzbier. One of the darkest lagers, it usually features dark, but not necessarily roasty flavors in an easy-drinking package. And Uncle Leo’s new NACHTical Illusion certainly fits that bill, at 5.0% ABV, expect a quaffable brew with notes of chocolate, coffee, and maybe even some vanilla. It’s available now from the brewery, but also as part of an excellent 4-pack of German styles that Uncle Leo’s has put together for the fall. Featuring the Schwarzbier along with the Ceilidh Ale (Kölsch), the 2016 ACBA Gold Medal-winning Altbier and Silver Medal-winning Vohs Wiezenbier, all in 473 mL cans, you’ll also get some information about where in Germany these styles originated and Brewmaster Karl Whiffen’s particular takes on each style. It’s selling for $16.60 at select NSLC stores until November 19th (or while supplies last), and Bishop’s Cellar will be carrying it as well. And you can certainly also pick up a pack at the Brewery if you’re in the area!

• In St. John’s the folks at Mill Street are pouring a new beer for the season. Hailing from the Koln (Cologne) region of Germany, Kölsch is a great style for the fall, known for a lovely yellow straw color, grainy malt character, a slightly fruity presence and a smattering of noble hops. Mill Street’s version, called Cabot Kolsch is being featured in 1 L steins at the bar and limited release in growlers. It’s got a golden straw color and a soft mouthfeel, coming in at 5% ABV and 26 IBU. Prost!!

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing has released their annual community brew, United Hops. Featuring plenty of hops donated by the public, plus bumped up with El Dorado and Idaho 7, this 6.2% ABV and 80 IBU beer is on tap at the brewery now. For every pint, crowler and growler sold, Graystone is donating $1 to the United Way.

• There’s a tasty-sounding new cider pouring over at Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville – Currant & Cardamom is an unfiltered, sparkling cider made with early-harvested apples, including Vista Bella, Paula Red and Jersey Mac. A 6.8% ABV dry cider that was fermented at cool temperatures, it was blended with fresh blackcurrant juice and green cardamom pods. As you might expect, the resulting product is quite purple in colour, with “notes of tangy blackcurrant and subtle aromatic autumn spice, with a hint of bitterness in the clean, dry finish”. Available at the cidery now, 50 cents from each fill will go to support the Valley Hospice Foundation.

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing released their Wet Hop Pale Ale yesterday. Only 180 L of this one were made, so act fast if you want to try it. It contains fresh hops from the Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth used within hours of harvesting. Fitting nicely into the pale style, with a light grain presence to show off the hops and a sessionable 5% ABV, it was bittered to a hearty 50 IBU. You can expect fresh floral and citrus aromas from the wet hopping. Heritage is open tonight from 4-8 PM and tomorrow 11 AM to 5 PM for you to come in and grab a taste or a fill (or sample some of their other offerings). And stay tuned in the coming weeks for details on three more new beers they’ve got on the way!

• Moving back to Newfoundland, YellowBelly has Yes B’y, a new small-batch brew, pouring at the brewpub. An American IPA brewed with Wheat and Oats in the grist, it was hopped in the kettle with Columbus and El Dorado, then dry-hopped with more El Dorado, as well as some Citra. Copper-coloured, with a firm bitterness in the finish, this 5.9% ABV, 60 IBUs brew was brewed, as mentioned, as a small batch only, so won’t be making it into bottles. Which really means, get down to the brewpub now before it’s gone!

• If you’re into cider and maybe just a little sick of everything-pumpkin, York County Cider has you covered! Head to the cidery on 418 York St. in downtown Fredericton to pick up some Can’t Catch Me, a “gingerbread-inspired cider”. Their base cider was infused with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and “the right amount of molasses” to provide all the aromas and flavours you require to remind you of a sassy gingerbread man who kind of gets what’s coming to him when he decides it’s ok to use a fox as a boat (I’m not the only one who feels that way, right?).

• And in Halifax cider news, Chain Yard Cidery is pouring their new Cherry 3.14, a blend of two fermentations: the wild version of their foundation cider and a wild-fermented cherry. At 5.5% ABV it should be easy drinking, a blend of refreshing crisp cider meeting a big cherry flavor with accents of spiced cherry pie. It’s available at the cidery now.

• While “harvest season” to beer usually means wet hops or pumpkins, to Nackawic’s Big Axe it means cucumbers! While in the beginning stages of their expansion, they’ve brewed up Cucumber Saison, a pale orange, light-bodied beer brewed with New Brunswick-grown cucumbers. Bittered with noble hops to give a bit of spiciness, the cucumbers offer a “freshness” to the beer that complements the pepper character (we assume from the fermentation). Look for this 5.6% ABV Saison at your favourite Big Axe tap account, or right at the source in Nackawic (which very well may BE your favourite Big Axe tap account… makes sense, no?).

• Things may be a tad slower in the brewery at Good Robot this week, as head brewer Doug is off cavorting in South Africa (see, just become a brewer if you want to be a rich jet-setter!), but that’s not stopping next week’s BetaBrewsday from happening! Stingy Jack Coffee Pale Ale was brewed by Julian Carvery and Kelly C, and features a grist of Pilsner, Crystal 15, and “Toasted malt”. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Willamette, and fermented with an American Ale yeast strain, a special coffee roast from Low Point Coffee Co. was added in secondary. Pretty easy-drinking at just 4.4% ABV, you know when and where to find it (ok, Good Robot, next Tuesday)! And if you’ve been waiting for Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common, it should be back on tap next week.

• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery has released their first IPA, and they’re going hazy! Using tons of Citra and Mosaic hops during the boil and in the dry hop, this big and juicy New England-style hop bomb is sure to satisfy your hop cravings. Currently unnamed (as they say, “It will have to earn one!”), it weighs in at 7.0% ABV and 60 IBUs. It is available now for growler fills and kegs, only at the brewery. However, we understand that LB may begin bottling soon (maybe even this beer), which will mean wider availability to grab their brews. Of course, we’ll get you up to speed when that happens!

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is looking to add to their crew, with a job posting for a Brewer. This full-time position is for those who already have brewing experience, and are able to work independently to get the beer flowing on time, while keeping quality high. More details are available on ProBrewer.

Plenty going on this weekend, including the launch of Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin (full details here), plus, there are not one, not two, but three Oktoberfest celebrations in our region tomorrow!

• First we have the OktoBEERfest at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS that we first tipped you off about back in September. It will feature two new brews, a true-to-style Vienna Lager that finished just in time and a Hefeweizen that features the characteristic notes of banana and clove the style is known for. They’ll also be serving their Berliner Weisse with (or without!) locally grown and homemade Sweet Woodruff Syrup. And several of their usual beer lineup as well. Tickets are $45 and are available from their website. They include a commemorative glass, a meal, your first pour, and live music. There’s also a shuttle running from Bridgetown to Middleton from 3-5 PM to get you there and again from 7-10 PM to get you home.

• Meanwhile, the Lunenburg Oktoberfest will take place at the Lunenburg Community Centre, from 6-11 pm. Tickets are $25 each, and include entry, a special Oktoberfest glass, and your first 5 oz pour. Food and additional beers may be purchased onsite, of course ($2 per 5 oz ticket); local breweries Boxing Rock, FirkinStein, Hell Bay, North, and Saltbox will be pouring their beers. Live music and dancing is also included with your ticket, with all proceeds going to the Boxwood Festival Society. Tickets can be purchased online through the event link above.

• Last but not least, the Cape Breton community of Marion Bridge will be celebrating with their own, Marion Bridge Oktoberfest, tomorrow. Entry is just $5 at the door, with the event offering live music, a variety of sausages and other German-inspired food for purchase, and Big Spruce beers (including their Oktoberfest Ale Spruce Bringstein Amber) on tap.

• If you’re more into beer than wine (and we assume if you’re reading this, you must be), and don’t feel like attending the Fredericton Wine Festival in two weeks’ time, why not take part in Fredericton’s Wine-NOT Beer Tour? Held on the same day – Friday, October 20th – ticket holders will hop on a bus leaving from the Delta Fredericton at 6:45 pm. You’ll be taken to both TrailWay and Maybee over the next couple of hours, for 4 samples at each taproom, before ending up at the King Street Ale House for a full pint. Tickets are $46.50 each and can be purchased through the link above.

• Moving along with even more Oktoberfest news, Horton Ridge is putting on their own Oktoberfest in Hortonville on Saturday, October 21st, from 11am-8pm. The all-day event will feature live music, ranging from polka to rock, with plenty of food available for purchase, including sausages and sauerkraut. As well, Horton Ridge will be releasing their very first collaboration beer, brewed with Sea Level Brewing. We’ll keep you updated on that beer as the date approaches.

Just a couple of things left to tell you about:

– The beer brewed by Garrison under license from the Federation of Beer for Hal-Con this year, Borg Ale, is now generally available. A 5.6% ABV black ale prominently featuring Munich and black malts and hopped with Hallertauer Tradition to 25 IBU, you’ll find it at the brewery now and in the private stores in Halifax soon.
Petit-Sault has brought back their Oktoberfest, La Padrix (5.6% ABV, 25 IBUs), just in the nick of time; it’s available right now on tap at the brewery and licensees, and at ANBL growler stations this weekend.

Well, it’s official…September is here. Unofficially, summer is over, the days of Pumpkin Ales are upon us, and wet-hopped beers are approaching soon! If you’re not a fan of one of these (or both), don’t worry…while this week may be a bit slower in the new beer department compared to the last few, there’s still some interesting brews newly released or coming soon that we’d love to get you caught up on…

• Charlottetown’s St. Paul’s Church will be celebrating their 250th Anniversary in 2019, and they’ve partnered up with Upstreet to have a special beer brewed as a means of fundraising for this important milestone. Head brewer Mike Hogan decided to brew a beer similar in style to one you’d see in England in the 18th century…hence, Red Stone Stock Ale was born. The grist is made up of English Pale malt, Medium Crystal, and Chocolate malt. A 60 L grain-soured starter was whipped up, and added to half of the 30 BBL (3500 L) batch, resulting in a pH drop that gave some, but not too much, sourness. After boiling the wort and hopping it with English Fuggles, this half was then blended with the other, non-soured half (brewed with the same hop schedule), and the resulting wort was fermented. Afterwards, house-toasted PEI oak cubes were added, with the final product exhibiting an “oaky and sharp finish similar to the aged beers of the time”. This brew will be released on September 17th, on tap at the brewery and a few select accounts, and in bottles, with all proceeds going to St. Paul’s.

• There’s a new beer flowing at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay, an Extra Special Bitter named after its proud brewer, Andrew Estabrooks. Esty Special Bitter is a 5.5% ABV, 38 IBUs beer hopped with three new-to-Foghorn varieties: Challenger, Target, and Olicana. Fermented with, of course, an English yeast strain, expect a dry, slightly fruity brew that goes down easy. Available now for pints and growlers, it’s also popping up at a few tap accounts in Saint John.

• More breweries in our region are working with Escarpment Labs – a company in Guelph, Ontario, that produces liquid yeast cultures for breweries – to develop their own unique cultures for fermenting wort. Tatamagouche Brewing has joined this list, with the release of a new Saison, Edel, yesterday. The grist of this new beer is comprised of 70% Pilsner malt, and 20% raw wheat and 10% raw Rye from Horton Ridge, to 5.2% ABV. Hopped with organic French Strisselspalt to 21 IBUs, the wort was fermented with a special blend of yeast that Tatabrew worked on with Escarpment, that incorporates both a traditional Saison yeast, and a North American Brettanomyces strain. The resulting beer was split into two batches; the first, being released today, was dry-hopped with more Strisselspalt, while the second has moved on into Tempranillo wine barrels and will be getting an addition of wine must this fall (look for this half to be released next spring). Edel is a keg-only beer, so look for it at the brewery for growlers and pints, as well as on tap at both Stillwell locations, and Battery Park. Next spring’s barrelled version, however, will also be released in bottles. We’ll be sure to remind you when it’s available!

Loyalist City Brewing has released a variety of hoppy beers since they opened last fall, and this week they launched their third American IPA, Point Blanc IPA. This is a “New England IPA” brewed with a blend of Maris Otter in the grist, which provides a “light toasted malt presence” to balance the hop character provided from large whirlpool additions of Citra, Centennial, and Mandarina Bavaria, along with a heavy dry hop of CentennialHallertau Blanc, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fermented with the brewery’s Vermont yeast strain, expect lots of citrus and grapefruit, and a high bitterness in the finish. Seek it out on tap at your favourite Loyalist City account!

Good Robot is bringing back version 2.0 of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale today; to remind you, this is the one featuring the addition of Kenyan Nyeri Gatina coffee beans, roasted by Java Blend Coffee Roasters and brewed by Low Point Coffee Co. The resultant cold brew was added to the beer, along with hop additions of Falconer’s Flight and Cascade, giving you interesting flavours of coffee, chocolate, slight fruit, and some acidity. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and, of course, other GR-friendly establishments in the HRM. Also, next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday (brewed by Robyn, Heather, and Kelly C.) will be Low Hanging Fruit Milkshake IPA (6.6% ABV, 54 IBUs)- hopped with Mosaic Cryo hops, as well as pelletized Amarillo, Citra and Columbus. It was then rested on fresh Ontario peaches for a week; the fruity notes from both the hops and fruit help balance the slight sweetness from the addition of lactose powder. And finally, note that there will be no Cask in the Sun release today.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has finally confirmed that they will be expanding their 1 BBL brewery, which has been operating since April, 2014 out of co-owners’ Peter and Tatiana Cole’s Bed and Breakfast under the same name. The Big Axe Brewery and Saloon will be housed in a “wild west-style log home”, built on the banks of the Saint John River in Nackawic. Scheduled to open in April, 2018, the 10 BBL (1150 L) brewhouse is being built by Charlottetown’s DME. With 20 BBL fermentors also being constructed, expect plenty more Big Axe beer, including bottle and can distribution. The two-level saloon will have a wrap-around deck overlooking the Saint John River; food will be served as well. We’ll be sure to update you as their progress continues. Congratulations to the Coles!

• After backing out of their original plan to open a small batch brewery in downtown Saint John early this year, Moosehead has announced that they will indeed be adding a 20 BBL (2300 L) brewhouse and taproom to the company’s original brewery at 89 Main St. West in Saint John. A 3 BBL (350 L) pilot brewery will also be constructed, with the idea behind both smaller brewhouses being experimentation, according to Moosehead. Current plans are for the new location to be up and running in May, 2018.

• And speaking of crafty (and pumpkin ales!), A. Keith’s Historic Brewery has a new batch out of their pilot system. Brewmaster Stefan Gagliardi, a self-proclaimed pumpkin head, perfected this recipe as a home brewer over many iterations and it’s one of his favorites. Ingredients include Vienna and Munich malts from Horton Ridge, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spices including fresh ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Look for malty, toasty and sweet pie crust elements to meet a full body and smooth mouthfeel highlighted by the spices. This is a small batch, with only three kegs going on the growler station at the brewery today.

• Those who have hops growing on their property are surely aware that the time is nigh for harvesting. Hop flowers, or cones, are starting to sound papery when squeezed, are going a little brown around the edges, and smell of the resinous lupulin that contains the essential oils and acids hops are known and loved for. We know that a couple of hop growing breweries in the region, including Meander River and Big Spruce, have already had their picking parties and other producers will no doubt harvest soon if they haven’t already. Most of the hops harvested in our region will no doubt be processed normally: dried with warm, moving air, before being baled or pelletized and stored cold. But some hops are destined for nearly immediate use with a special technique known as “wet hopping”, “fresh hopping” or “green hopping” – adding freshly-picked, undried hops to a batch of beer during the brewing process. For best effect, wet hops have to be as fresh as possible, ideally within hours of picking, so that they do not spoil. Cold storage and shipping, if necessary, should not exceed 48 hours before the hops hit the beer. This gives breweries with their own on-site hop farms a leg up on making wet hopped beers. Using wet hops is much more risky than processed hops; with no laboratory analysis, alpha acid and essential oil levels are completely unknown. Because of this, to keep some control over the result, some breweries will use processed hops with known alpha levels for bittering and will save the fresh hops for flavour and aroma additions. When picked, hops are ideally still roughly 80% water and aren’t nearly as potent as dried, so significantly higher hop amounts must be used in wet hopping, often as much as 5 or 10 times the dried equivalent. Meanwhile, compounds that lose their potency during the drying process are still present and can make significant, and sometimes unwelcome, flavour contributions. Wet hopped beers, at their best, present a different side of hops, earthy and somewhat grassy, with a more subtle presentation of other flavour and aroma characteristics than usual. Look for wet hopped beers, often termed harvest ales to start appearing in the region over the next month or so!

• Speaking of which, if you’ve got hops growing on your property that you’re not planning to use, and you can get them to Fredericton quickly after picking, Graystone Brewing has put out a call for hops to be used in their Harvest Ale. Proceeds from the beer with go towards the United Way of Central New Brunswick’s campaign.

A bit of a quiet week for beer events and event announcements this week:

• A reminder to those in Halifax that Stillwell is bringing one of the big (but little!) guns of American Farmhouse styles for a two-stage takeover this weekend as Maine’s Oxbow Brewing comes to town. Starting at 4 PM today some of the best Belgian-inspired beers you can imagine will be pouring at Stillwell HQ on Barrington Street. And tomorrow starting at noon the party moves on up to The Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road. The full tap and bottle list is now available for this evening’s festivities and chef Graeme Ruppel has put together a burger-focused menu that’ll melt your butter. If you’ve found yourself going into withdrawal after the Stillwell Belgian Takeover two weeks ago, if you’re curious how American Farmhouse compares to the original, or if you just like really great beer, you owe it to yourself to get out today or tomorrow. No tickets required at either session.

• If you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, or planning to be there in the next 24 hours, and you don’t already have your tickets for the PEI Beerfest (part of the Fall Flavours Festival) at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, what are you waiting for?! Tickets are still available for tonight’s 6:30 – 9:30 PM session ($48 + taxes & fees) and Saturday afternoon’s 2:00 – 4:00 PM shift ($36.50 + taxes & fees), but tomorrow evening’s session is now sold out! The brewery list is as up-to-date as it’s going to get and the live entertainment is locked-in. A reminder also that Designated Driver tickets ($13.50 + taxes & fees) are available as well to help you arrange to get home safely.

• The Maritime Honey Festival will be taking place in Fredericton in a couple of weeks, and with beer’s popularity continuing to rise, of course it has to take part! On Saturday, September 23rd, the “Bee-R Garden” will be held between 10 am – 3 pm, at the Capital Exhibit Center. At least seven different local craft breweries will be taking part, each of which has been matched up with a beekeeper, and will be brewing a style of beer different from others attending, featuring, of course, honey. Ranging from a “Brett Honey Saison” from Maybee to an “Imperial Honey Porter” from Foghorn, attendees can expect a wide variety of brews! Be sure to check out the link for the list of styles from breweries who have committed to participate. And what honey-centric festival would be complete without mead? Sunset Heights Meadery will be pouring seven different varieties of mead to satisfy your sweet tooth. Drink tickets can be purchased now – $8 for four 4 oz drink tickets, or $45 for unlimited samples – or at the door, where $11 gets you four drink tickets (no unlimited samples option).

And a few last items before you get on with your weekend…

Garrison‘s Rise ‘n Stein Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV, 13 IBUs) has returned, with this year’s batch being available almost-exclusively in bottles at the brewery and HRM private stores; a limited amount may be available on tap, so keep your eyes open.
– PEI’s Moth Lane has released a new beer, The Gorbine Double Black IPA (8.8% ABV, 85 IBUs), that is available now across the Island at Moth Lane tap accounts, and at the brewery.
Nine Locks Brewing led the pack this year with the release of their Harvest Pumpkin Ale earlier this week. It’s available now in cans at the brewery and will appear at the NSLC in October.
– Bad news for fans of Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night: due to an ongoing legal dispute with “a big name in the spirits world”, the beer has been discontinued and will not be brewed again. It doesn’t appear that it will return under a different name, so if this is a brew you’ve enjoyed in the past, you may want to grab a bottle or two if you can find it.
– In Cask Friday news, the Propeller Organic Blonde on Yuzu we told you about last week is actually going on this evening at 5 PM. Schoolhouse’s cask today is called Oaked Grog Chequers obviously their Chequers Robust Porter aged on Oak, but what’s the “grog” angle? Stop by the brewery this evening and find out!

With September upon us, a reminder that grain and hop harvests have started around the region, which means it will only be a few weeks until those Wet-hopped beers will be available. With a vibrant hop farm scene here in the region, we expect to see Pale Ales and IPAs made with fresh hops in all four provinces. Until then, enjoy the rest of the new arrivals and returning favourites below…

• Speaking of the hop harvest, Meander River Farm is calling for all hands on deck tomorrow morning at 9AM to help pick their hops. Drop by the farm at 906 Woodville Rd in Ashdale that morning to help out, and you may even earn yourself a sample or two!

• It’s also a busy time for the folks at Horton Ridge, harvesting their own rye grain, grown adjacent to the Malt House and Taproom, which will be hitting the malt floor shortly. And we imagine the trucks filled with raw grain from other farms will be headed their way shortly! Luckily, they’ve released a new beer this week to keep the delivery folks happy. PEI SMaSH is a 4.9% ABV Pale Ale, whose recipe features a Single Malt and Single Hop. The malt bill consists entirely of Queens Two-Row Barley, developed at Agriculture Canada’s Charlottetown location in the 1990’s. While not developed with malting as a priority (its higher beta glucan content undergoes the malting process a little slower than “malting grains”), but the grain thrives in our climate, making it a great choice for local farming. That slower malting process also allows Horton Ridge to take their time and work their magic. Mandarina Bavaria makes up the entire hop bill, which is used in moderation to balance the malt sweetness and add citrus aromatics, but as with all Horton Ridge beers, malt is the focus. The PEI SMaSH is also a nice contrast to their Rye’s Up Pale Ale, which features a mixed grist of 50% PEI Barley, with 25 % PEI Wheat, and 25% Rye (grown at the Malt house), showcasing the flavour profile from this special malt. As with all of the HR beers, the best place to enjoy them is at their Hortonville taproom, whose patio is still open, and you may be able to catch them harvesting the grain this weekend.

• Summer may be just about over, but it’s not too late to report on one of the latest beers from PEI Brewing Co.Sin Bin. A Witbier brewed in collaboration with the PEI Mudmen, a local rugby team, the grist contains a majority of the very-light Heidelberg malt, along with small amounts of Malted and Torrified Wheat. Hopped to 15 IBUs with Tettnanger and Mt. Hood, the wort was spiced with Indian coriander seed and orange peel, in true Witbier fashion. Outside of the norm for the style, however, the beer was dry-hopped, on Day One of fermentation, with another hop variety that they don’t want to tell you about (hint: it was used due to its similar qualities to coriander). Dry and spicy, and coming in at 5.7% ABV, you can find it on tap at several PEIBC accounts in PEI, as well as at Battery Park in Dartmouth.

• Up on Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End, Chain Yard Urban Cidery released another new blend this week. Aptly called Wild Flower, it’s a blend of apple, fruit and flowers complemented by the use of wild yeast. Cider maker Jay Hildybrant started by making a wild blueberry wine, arresting the fermentation when it reached a point where spice notes were emerging and the berry flavour was “distant”. He also created a wild apple cider base using the same indigenous wild yeast and the juice blend from Chain Yard’s Foundation (McIntosh, Northern Spy and Jonagold). From there, the cider was used to macerate lavender from Meander River Farms, just to the point before any soapy or off flavours were extracted. Lastly, the wine and the cider were blended to yield a “perfectly floral”, smooth, and easy-drinking cider that features spice and floral notes. It’s available for samples and pints at the cidery.

• There’s a new easy-drinking beer from Loyalist City hitting tap accounts in Saint John and Fredericton… Barefoot Blonde is a “New Zealand Blonde Ale” that takes your typical Blonde Ale a couple of steps further with the addition of fresh pineapple, as well as a dry-hop punch with Nelson Sauvin. A simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt provides a light, sweet malt character, backing up the pineapple and grape notes from the fruit and hop additions. With a light bitterness to round off the finish, this 5% ABV brew should hit the spot during these last warm days of summer.

• Following the releases earlier this summer of their tasty fruited Berliner Weisse series, Guava Heist (guava) and Philaroma (cherry), Tatamagouche Brewing has another fruited Berliner available for your immediate enjoyment! Rushton’s Peach is another light (3.5% ABV), tart, kettle-soured brew, but this time it’s been aged on 100 lbs of organic apricots and 300 lbs of peaches. Sound like another perfect beer for the end of summer? Even better news: like the previous two, it’s available in cans, as well as growler fills and pints at the brewery, and at Tatabrew tap accounts.

• If you’re feeling a bit overheated and need to get out of the sun, or just want to head downstairs for some beer and grub, the Rockbottom just tapped a new beer, The Aristocrats. A 100%-fermented Brett IPA, it combines the hop characteristics of “tropical fruit, hard candy and citrus” with the “pineapple, pear, wet hay, overripe berry, and an understated Brett funk” from the yeast. At 7% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available now at the ‘Bottom, while supplies last.

• If you missed it the first time around, Grafted, the orange peel-infused kettle sour from Boxing Rock is back. Created by Brian Harvey, this beer won the 2017 Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge. Thanks to some process tweaks at the brewery we’re promised a deeper sourness and more orange flavour in this batch, but otherwise it’s still a 5.5% ABV beer with low bitterness, a refreshing sourness and and sweet orange finish. This is a limited release of 650 mL bottles in the province, available at the brewery and making an appearance at the private liquor stores in Halifax. We’re told that later in September it will also make its way to Prince Edward Island via the PEILCC so folks can get a taste outside Nova Scotia. In other Boxing Rock news, they’re rocking an all-new website, featuring a modern and responsive design, a list of their current beers, and online ordering for their swag shop and keg club. Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing should be releasing Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat, their last summer seasonal for the year, sometime today. A light American Wheat Ale, it was fermented for two weeks before 45 lbs each of locally-harvested rhubarb and strawberries were added to secondary. Described by the brewery as being “light and refreshing, with a naturally tart flavour and a hint of sweetness”, this 5% ABV brew will be available for growler fills and samples at the brewery only. Keep your eyes peeled for a slew of other new beers from Heritage in the near future, including a single-hop Session IPA featuring Experimental Hop #07270, a new IPA with Chinook, Citra, and Ekuanot, and a wet-hopped ale.

• Sit down, and prepare yourselves – Good Robot does NOT have a new beer release this week on the alpha brew side of things. No, no one is dead (that we know of), but don’t worry, it sounds like there will be plenty coming through the pipeline next week! And there’s still a new Cask in the Sun entry for today at 4 pm: Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale (damn, that’s a lot of typing for a beer name) with Low Point cold brew, cherries, and “very, very toasted oats”. And next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday is Hard Corgi Black Lager (4.2% ABV, 34 IBUs), brewed by Drella Green-Simony and Johnny ‘Burger’ Heighton, with Kelly Costello. Fermented with California Lager yeast to keep it clean, it’s a slightly-roasty beer hopped with Cascade and Mosaic.

• There has been a passing of the torch at Mill Street St. John’s this week, with Head Brewer Dan heading off to the Toronto Mill Street location. In his place, Matt Chevrier has taken over the reigns. However, Dan’s legacy lives on with a new release this week, Tic-N-Tuff Hopfenweisse. At 6.0% ABV and 32 IBU, this hybrid German style features banana and clove from a Weisse, with a healthy dose of hops, in this case Wild Turkey, lending Passionfruit-like character. Grab a sample or pint today, and keep an eye out for its debut on the growler station this weekend.

• The NSLC recently released their first quarter financial results for Fiscal Year 2018 and the results continue to be encouraging for fans of craft beer in the province. You might be aware that the quarter being reported here corresponds to the period starting this past April when the number of Nova Scotia Craft Beer listings at many NSLC stores jumped considerably. What impact did that have? Although overall beer sales were down 1.2% to $74.6 million and volume was down 2.7%, both significant declines over the same quarter last year, NS Craft Beer sales were up an impressive 48% to $3.2 million, a growth rate matching Q1 last year. Further, this implies that NS craft beer accounted for 4.3% of overall beer sales this quarter compared to 3.3% last year. After watching year-over-year quarterly growth decline over the course of FY 2017, it will be interesting to see whether that trend is mirrored this year or whether the wider selection will have a lingering impact. The news was also good for NS spirits and cider producers, with local spirits more than doubling sales over last year and the ready-to-drink category, which is mostly ciders when it comes to NS products, up 75.7%. Hopefully this continued growth will encourage the NSLC to continue the trend of adding SKUs and shelf space for local products, and maybe soon we’ll even see them supporting the smaller, non-bottling/non-canning producers through an in-store growler program.

• Attention AtlCan Brewers: the invitations for the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards have gone out this week, so if you have not received them, let us know! Submissions are due in Halifax October 2nd-6th, with the judging taking place October 13-15th. The announcement and Gala is happening the next Sunday, October 22nd, at the Stubborn Goat.

We’ve got brand new events, as well as updates and reminders for a whole slew of them coming this month. We strive to keep our Calendar up-to-date, and you can help us by sending heads up emails or tweets our way!

• After a wildly successful Lambic-fest last weekend, the Stillwell crew are inviting the fine folks from Oxbow in Newcastle, Maine to take over their taps next Friday and Saturday (September 8 and 9). “Loud beer from a quiet place”, Oxbow launched in 2011 and has been brewing farmhouse and eccentric beers in the woods of coastal Maine (and recently at their blending location in Portland) ever since. Featuring a full twelve-tap-takeover on Barrington on Friday, and ten taps at the Beer Garden Saturday, both locations will also receive a healthy number of Oxbow bottles to complement.

• Get ready, Charlottetown… Unfiltered is coming your way! And not just a couple of beers, but the most Unfiltered beer that has ever hit PEI at one time. Starting Thursday, September 14th, Unfiltered will be taking over all 10 taps at Hopyard. And it’s not just beer you’ll be enjoying, head brewer Greg Nash has paired with HopYard master chef Jane Crawford to create a fully collaborative food menu, to go with all those tasty beverages. Tickets for the 7pm kickoff event are available now, and be sure to keep an eye on their social media pages as hints on the food and beer pairings drop. If you’re not able to make the Thursday night event (shame on you!), be sure to drop by Friday, as there will certainly be enough great Unfiltered beers to keep C’town happy for a couple of nights!

• If you’re planning your September weekends, you might want to pencil in a little time with Garrison as their annual Oktoberfest extravaganza is coming up down at the brewery. Friday, September 15th, from 6:30 PM to 11 PM is Hops ’n Brats, a celebration of Nova Scotia Craft Beer and Sausages. A $25 ticket will get you entry, 8 sample tickets, and a commemorative glass. Additional sample tickets can be purchased on-site. Designated Driver tickets are also available at the door for $10 that include a non-alcoholic beverage. Bringing their best beers will be Garrison, of course, 2 CrowsBig Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Good RobotNine LocksNorth, SpindriftTatamagouche, and Tidehouse. The next day, Saturday, September 16th, is the original all day, all night Oktoberfest celebration in Halifax. Garrison Oktoberfest Halifax starts with a day long all-ages free-entry party from 11 AM to 5 PM featuring traditional German food, 3 bands worth of oompah music (The Swell Guys, Die Brew-misters, and The Roving Steins) and, of course, Garrison beer! At 5 PM the kids go home and the ticketed portion of the proceedings start. For $16 you’ll get your first beer (12oz) and entry to the rest of the evening’s proceedings, scheduled to go until 11 PM. There will be dancing, games, and food will be served throughout the evening. And of course, MOAR BEER. Proceeds from the event will benefit Cystic Fibrosis research and care through CF Atlantic Canada.

• There are still tickets available for Newfoundland’s Craft Beer Attraction, presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Artisanal & Craft Beer Club. With Grand Tastings taking place 7-10 PM Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23 at St. John’s Curling Club on Mayor Avenue. There will be more than 100 different beers available on a pay-per-pour basis. The Premium Tour is taking place at 12:30 Saturday, hosted by Certified Cicerone Mike Buhler, and will feature 21 beers from across the world. A guided tasting of Sam Adams Utopias, and a Brewmaster’s Luncheon featuring Trou du Diable, round out the events on the weekend. Check out the full beer list and grab your tickets before they sell out!

• The Canada Beer Run is happening in Halifax on Sunday, September 24th. Held in several cities across the country, the Halifax Beer Run involves non-competitive running to four different breweries (approximately 10 km total). With a pre-drink at 11 am, runners will then proceed to Propeller, Garrison, Spindrift and Good Robot, with 20 minute breaks at each stop for some beer sampling. Sound crazy? Well, we’re pretty sure that’s what they’re going for! It costs $65 to participate, which includes a shirt and swag, race bib, brewery party favours, beer run buff, and a finishing medal. For more details on specifics, check out the link above. Registration is open now.

• The James Joyce’s first-ever sour beer tap takeover, Tarte Diem, was a huge success last weekend, with Big Axe‘s Seaberry Sour taking first place from the panel of three judges. Following up with second and third place were Acadie-Broue‘s Tête de Cochon Lichtenheiner and Unfiltered‘s Daytimer, respectively (and an honourable mention to Upstreet‘s Island Hopspitality 2017). If you missed out on the fun, don’t worry… they’ve already set the date for next year’s event, Tarte Diem II – 2 Sour 2 Acidulous, on Saturday, August 25th.

A few returning favourites, new releases, and casks to let you know before we sign off today

– As we teased last week, 2 Crows has a new beer dropping today at noon, Promiseland Double IPA. This juicy, hop-forward beer, features Citra and Simcoe late in the boil, during active fermentation (biotransformation for the win!) and during final conditioning. Grab the 8.3% ABV, 64 IBU, DIPA at 2 Crows today on tap (samples, pints, and growlers) and in cans, with cans also hitting the HRM private stores shortly.
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co has dropped a new beer today, Roadside Attraction Pale Ale. A 5.0% American Pale Ale featuring 100% Cascade hops, the lighter malt body lets the hop floral and citrus characters shine through, with medium bitterness. Grab it at their taproom today!
– Fredericton’s Picaroons has released the latest in their Pivot DIPA Series, with Pivot #6. Keeping to the 8.0% / 80 IBU specs as previous releases, this version features Mosaic and Warrior hops for tropical and candy-like aromas. As with all of these releases, they can be found at their locations in Fredericton, Saint John, and St. Andrews, with delivery to the ANBL expected early next week.
TrailWay has re-released their Green Island American IPA (6% ABV), with some slight tweaks to the hop additions, resulting in strong pineapple flavours, according to the brewery; available on tap and in cans at the brewery.
Unfiltered releases their Front Line Rocker DIPA (8% ABV) at Charm School today, for growlers and pints; look for it to pop up around the HRM on tap as well, and select establishments in PEI and NB.
Upstreet‘s seasonal Pumpkin Ale (yes, it’s that time again), Gravedigger (6.5% ABV), drops today (bottles and kegs);
– At Schoolhouse in Windsor, NS, their Cask Friday beer this afternoon is their witbier, Summer Break, with blackberries and raspberries. Sounds like a lovely beer to sip on the first day of September.
– And not to be outdone on the cask front, Halifax’s Propeller will have some of their Organic Blonde Ale aged on the Japanese citrus fruit Yuzu on tap this evening at 5 PM. But wait, there’s more! Tomorrow at 2 PM they’re tapping a special 20 L keg of their Cascade Pale Ale that will be dosed with fresh Cascade hops picked less than 24 hours before. You won’t find beer with fresher hops than that.
– And on the Rock, Yellowbelly has their East Coast Cream Ale, a collaboration with Top Shed Brewery in Goonengerry, NSW, Australia, back on tap and available at the brewery in bottles as well. Limited bottles will also be going to the NLC tomorrow. Kangamoose is on the loose!

Good day, craft beer fans! With the beautiful, hot weather upon us over the last week, things have actually slowed down – slightly, and temporarily we’re sure – in the world of local beer… but we’re not complaining! With only about 2,000 words to read this morning – we’ll have you back to reality in no time! Let’s get started…

• Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce has released a beer that’s only been seen once before. Consigliere debuted at the Stillwell Open during Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week back in May, where we seem to recall it placed second in the Pale category. Brewed in collaboration with Brian Harvey, it’s a Rustic Farmhouse Saison that comes in at 4.5% ABV. Aged in Chardonnay barrels from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, it’s been bottled in 650 mL bombers. With a characterful yeast and barrel character, you might consider buying a couple, one to enjoy now and one to set down for a little bit of aging. It’s officially only available at the brewery at this point, but hints on social media suggest that it may make an appearance in Halifax as well, at the private stores, we assume.

• For those who have been eager to see what Chris Reynolds and Kyle Jeppesen have been getting up to in their secret North End Halifax lab for Stillwell Brewing Co, the time is nigh! And for their first release to the public, they’re coming with a Pilsner?! We can hear it now, “But…but…barrels? But…but…Brett?!” but fear not, gentle beer drinker, those beers will come with time. For now they’re bringing us a different sort of different. Inspired by several beers, but most of all Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils, Stilly Pils is a deep, rugged and unfiltered Pilsner that will stand in contrast to the craft Pilsners we know and love in our region. Continental Pilsner and the tiniest touch of Melanoidin in the grist provide a clean and classic base into which copious amounts of Noble Saaz and German Hersbrucker hops were poured, first bittering to the tune of 38 IBU, then a “wallop” in the whirlpool, and finally a “hefty” dry hopping. Brewed three months ago, after primary fermentation, it underwent a long maturation process at 6°C, with a final cold lagering period before packaging. We’re told that it’s very crisp and dry, with a prominent spicy and herbaceous hop presence and just a bit of lemony citrus. This one will be a true “House Beer”, being poured only at Stillwell and Stillwell Beer Garden starting at open this coming Tuesday, July 25th and on tap just until its gone! We have no idea how much of it they have, so maybe put a push on to get out on Tuesday! We will have a full interview and profile with Chris and Kyle next week, but until then, learn more about Stillwell Brewing, and get Chris’ take on Cellaring beers (what, how, why, etc) in the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, which dropped this morning.

• The rising trend that is the NEIPA (North East IPA, or New England IPA) continues on, with Tatamagouche Brewing throwing their hat in the ring with Fog Lights. Their very first stab at the cloudy, juicy, super-hoppy style involves a grist of 2-row, Horton Ridge Pale malt, oats and spelt, and hopped (at the end of the boil) with copious amounts of Amarillo, Azacca and Huell Melon. Fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer was dry-hopped with all three varieties during and after active fermentation, giving aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and dankness, with a smooth, soft mouthfeel. Sound good? Well, if you want some, it’ll be on tap only at the brewery and their regular accounts, with deliveries hitting Halifax yesterday. Go out and find some quickly!

• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery will soon be releasing their special collaboration beer – Le Tigre – that they brewed recently with the Ladies Beer League. Brewed with Midnight Wheat malt to darken the color and add some roastiness (but, being a dehusked malt, it doesn’t add much in the way of acrid flavors), the beer was hopped with Galaxy, Green Bullet, and Mandarina Bavaria to around 40 IBUs. Blood orange peel was also added to the beer, making it taste like, according to the brewery, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (yeah, like you really needed that link!). At 5.5% ABV, look for this one to be kegged and released to select accounts sometime next week.

• Next week is the PEI Pride Festival, and Charlottetown’s Upstreet is releasing a new beer to celebrate. Brewed in collaboration with Pride PEI, Rainbrew is a “Strawberry Lavendar Saison” that was brewed with a multitude of ingredients, each representing a color in the Pride flag: red (freshly-picked and pureed PEI strawberries), orange (malt), yellow (French Saison yeast), green (hops), blue (water) and purple (lavendar). Only a very limited amount of this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs Saison will be available; it will officially be released at this Monday’s Upstreet Pride Beer Launch at the brewery, from 7-10 pm. On tap at the taproom will be the only way to get it, so make sure to stop by for a pint!

• And in other Upstreet news, after a brief delay their 2nd anniversary beer, De Novo II, is now available on tap at the taproom, and for takeaway in 750 mL bottles (perfect for aging). For more info on this beer, check out our post from last month. And for you non-beer drinkers out there (wait, why are you reading this?), Upstreet has launched a line of non-alcoholic soda, Day Drift Craft Sodas. Available in three flavours: Strawberry Rhubarb Basil, Apple Ginger Elderflower, and Spiced Malt Cola, they can be purchased at the brewery, and at restaurants and retailers across the Island.

• During last weekend’s hugely successful Big Axe Craft Beer Festival, host brewery Big Axe launched two new beers, both of which include an interesting ingredient – glitter. Co-owner Tatiana Cole did some research and located a source of edible glitter, and incorporated it into both beers. First was Northern Lights Glitter Stout (5.8% ABV), which is their flagship Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout without the chocolate; the goal was to create a fun beer for the festival that would look good in the sun. Next is the Firefly Pale Ale, an APA brewed with Maris Otter and Light Munich and hopped with Amarillo. At 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, the addition of glitter certainly helps this one live up to its name. If you missed out on the festival, you can still find both beers on tap at the taproom in Nackawic; there is the possibility that they will be available on tap elsewhere in the future.

• We’ve got your weekly Good Robot updates right here (do these people actually sleep?)! They now have a third iteration of their Shocking Pink on tap at the brewery: while still a Radler version of their Goseface Killah (with pink lemonade and organic teas added), this new batch also incorporates another pink ingredient: unsprayed beets (shredded and cold-steeped) from Elmridge Farm. Drop by the brewery for a taste, pint, or growler. For next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday, Dominique Jure and Kelly C. have brewed up Wit’s Up Doc?, a Witbier with Pilsner, Wheat malt, Flaked Oats. Hopped lightly with Tettnang to 14 IBUs, this super-sessionable (3% ABV) Belgian-style ale also features… carrots! Grated and added at the end of the boil, the brewery guarantees your vision will actually be improved by the time you leave the brewery.* And finally, today’s Cask in the Sun will be Rhubarb Elderberry Goseface Killah – no description is necessary.
* Not a guarantee

• Back in late May we put out the word that Garrison was looking for folks to bring in their rhubarb in exchange for future considerations at the brewery. The response was excellent and once again a beer has been made to feature all those lovely tart stalks. It’s Rhubarb Saison! is in the Saison style, weighing in at 5.1% ABV and absolutely no IBUs. It’s got “a pale orange hazy colour and juicy acidity” that should match nicely with hot weather. You’ll find it at the brewery today for samples and fills, and hopefully you’ll also be seeing it at some licensees as early as this weekend.

Nine Locks launched a brand new beer at their Battery Park Tap Takeover yesterday, SMaSH and Grab. The Wheat (Single Malt) and Amarillo (Single Hop) beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and features a hazy blonde appearance and a nose of citrus and grapefruit, with a light characteristic wheat note. If you were not able to Grab the beer on tap yesterday, fear not, as it is available at the brewery currently, and will see release to licensees and private beer stores.

Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) has a pair of new beers available on tap today, courtesy of Brewmaster Kyle Jeppesen: Belgian Tripel is a 9.4% ABV golden beer, brewed in the traditional Belgian style, using Pilsner and Wheat malts, and a characteristic yeast. Lightly hopped to under 40 IBUs, this beer may be high in alcohol, but because of the high carbonation and lighter body, it is quite refreshing. The second beer to hit the taps may have a familiar name, but is a brand new beer. Today’s release of Crosscurrent Pale Ale was fermented using a Belgian Ale strain of yeast, offering a lower finishing gravity (and drier finish) and iconic yeast spiciness. The base recipe, consisting of pale malts with flaked oats and wheat, and hopped to 32 IBUs with Magnum and lots of New Zealand hop Dr. Rudi, remains the same, but the difference between the two versions is certainly apparent. Both the Tripel and Crosscurrent are available on tap at Gahan today, with the CC on tap at their outdoor Beer Bar patio, and both are also available to take away in 0.95l crowlers (can X growler cross).

What’s happening in our region this weekend? Check it out!

This weekend is Port Rexton Days, with a slew of events taking place Friday to Sunday in the Bonavista town. Part of that celebration is to mark Port Rexton Brewing’s First Anniversary! The brewery will be open all weekend, and taking part in events Saturday, namely an all-ages Street Fair adjacent to the brewery from 1-5pm, live music at the brewery from 5pm, plus axe throwing, a new beer release or two, and plenty of other fun. There may even be a few tickets available on the Axes & Ales Tour Bus, organized by St. John’s Beer Tours, leaving from the big city that morning.

• A reminder that Sociable! is being shown at Digby’s Roof Hound brewery and restaurant tomorrow evening at 9:00, with filmmakers Helen and Chris on hand to chat about the NS Craft Beer scene, as well as filmmaking. To celebrate, Roof Hound has invited the brewers from Heritage Brewing, Lunn’s Mill, and Schoolhouse Brewery to take part in the fun, and pour a keg of their beer. Your $5 cover fee will go directly to the filmmakers, so support local beer and art in a fun night!

• Earlier in the year, we told you about a new series of events where craft beer meets comedy. Brew Ha-Ha! has taken place at The Company House in Halifax a few times now, each time featuring the beers of a different local brewery. Now they’re taking the show on the road, with comedian Frank Russo and his special guests doing three nights in a row in the Annapolis Valley, first at Schoolhouse Brewery next Friday, July 28th at 8:00 PM, the following night, Saturday, July 29th at 8:00 PM, at the Port Pub & Bistro in Port Williams, and Sunday, July 30th at 3:00 PM, at L’Acadie Vineyards in Wolfville. Ticketing and specifics vary for each, so check the Facebook event pages for more details. Brew Ha-Ha! will also be returning to The Company House a week later, Saturday, August 5th, to feature Schoolhouse beers and a night of comedy in Halifax. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (DD tickets available for $10), and include 3 8oz pours of Schoolhouse beers and a chocolate pairing along with the show.

Just a pair of news bites to leave you with this week…

Long Bay, Rothesay’s newest brewery, has only been open for a few weeks, but look for bottles of their first two beers – Bantam APA and Chalice Belgian Ale – to be available at local ANBL stores hopefully by sometime next month.
Picaroons has released the latest beer in their Pivot DIPA series, Pivot #4 (8% ABV); this batch features Citra and Simcoe hops. It can be found both on tap and in bottles.
– We have more details on Pump House Brewery’s Growler Fill station that we first mentioned last week. Their 131 Mill Road location has a retail store now open from noon to midnight daily, filling 1.89L growlers and 0.95L crowlers of any and all of their current offerings, plus 6- and variety-packs of the bottled and canned offerings.

Happy Summer, folks! It sure felt that the warm weather was never going to come, but with temperatures reaching well above 20C in all four provinces this week, we’re finally able to dust off the patio furniture for real, and work on those farmer tans. Let’s get right to the beer(s) you should be drinking!

Lunn’s Mill Beer Company has added a new brew, Anvil, a Porter, to their list of offerings in Lawrencetown, NS. Described by the brewery as being closer to the American Porter style (as opposed to British), it’s smooth and dark, with “hints of roast, chocolate, and dark fruit”. With a moderate bitterness in the finish to balance the malt flavours, it weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. It was released late last week at the brewery, so only limited amounts are likely still available. But fear not! They’ll be brewing it again soon, and their tasting room has extended their hours (Thursdays 3:30-6:30 and Friday 12:00-6:00). And with three new 5 bbl (580 L) BIACs (Brew-in-a-Conical) arriving, there’ll be a big increase in production at the brewery any day now!

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Urban Cidery has released a brand new blend this week, Yard Berry. The base cider of Jonagold and Northern Spy apples was blended with NS High Bush blueberries that underwent an arrested fermentation (aka, stopped short of finishing too dry). The final product features notes of sour cherry, cranberry, and of course plenty of blueberry, with a heavier weight, but clean finish. Drop by their location at North & Agricola and enjoy a glass on their patio.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has had a busy spring, brewing up some test batches at their Pasadena location. They currently have three of these smaller batches in rotation (as well as their Killdevil Pale Ale and Wild Cove Cream Ale) at their officially-unofficial taproom, Galliott Studios in Woody Point, located inside Gros Morne National Park. On tap currently is The Hoppin’ McIlroy, a Pale Ale brewed using wild hops from Norris Point, across Bonne Bay from the Studios. Also rotating through are Oat Pale Ale, featuring oats for a creamy mouthfeel and lots of late-hopping for a pleasant citrus and fruit flavour, and the preview for an upcoming wider release, Stout River (formerly Stout #1). Take a drive into the Park, grab a pint and sit on their beautiful wharf, and watch the humpbacks and minke whales that frequent the Bay.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing an all-new beer today, the aggressively named Sour M.F. This is a wheat beer, kettle-soured and weighing in at 6.2% ABV. And here we depart from the typical text of an Unfiltered beer release because there’s no IBU number to report, nor are there any hop varieties to name. This ain’t a hoppy beer, it’s a sour, and in typical NASH style, it was rather unsubtly re-fermented on a metric fuckton of tart cherries for a big cherry bouquet. It’s described as acidic, refreshing and bright with a light spicy finish. Probably a beautiful beer for your patio drinking needs on a hot day. Available from noon today for fills at the brewery and pints next door at Charm School Pub.

• Those of us who’ve were lucky enough to share in the beers of Peter Lionais over his homebrewing career have reason to be excited, as there’s a new beer coming out of Tidehouse and it finished at a specific gravity of 1.003. A beer that dry can mean only one thing: Peter’s been into the saison yeast again! Using a blend of two strains, 2 Many Birds is firmly in the saison style, with a balance of earthy and citrus characters from the yeast. A grist of largely Pilsner malt with some Vienna added for character yields a rounded mouthfeel despite the dry finish. Hops in this batch were a blend of the old school Perle, the American darling Amarillo and the Southern Hemisphere newcomer Pacific Jade, for a floral and orange-grapefruity hop presence. The lion’s share of this batch was shipped up to Stillwell‘s Beer Garden on Spring Garden, so look for it to appear there soon, with the balance likely to find a home across the water at Battery Park and for a severely limited number of fills at the retail space on Salter Street.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing put their thinking caps on and developed a “100% Canadian beer”, utilizing ingredients from all four of our favourite provinces. Big Cod Mountain Ridge uses PEI malt (floor malted by Horton Ridge) in the grist, Cascade hops from Moose Mountain Hops in NB, and pineapple weed (tea-infused) harvested in NL by Cod Sounds. Finally fermented by Big Spruce‘s pin cherry-harvested yeast (with some help from Escarpment Labs), the beer – probably best described as a Saison – comes in at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs and exhibits a “Belgian feel”, and finishes very dry.

North Brewing is releasing two beers today, one of which is new, the other, a returning favourite. The new brew is Little Beast, brewed for the North End Runners, a community of local runners who meet every Wednesday at 6 pm at North Brewing for a 6 km run. A 4% ABV “lagered ale”, it was hopped with Huell Melon to 10 IBUs, and features an addition of salt to the boil. North wants you to think of it as a “post-run recovery beer”… sounds right to us! Returning is White Lightning (4.8% ABV), a dry-hopped kettle sour. This time around, the beer is slightly more tart, thanks to the use of a different Lactobacillus starter, and was hopped with Azacca, Huell Melon, and Wai-Iti. Both beers will be available as of today at both North locations, for growler and swing-top fills, as well as in 650 mL bottles.

TrailWay has their brand new automatic canning line up and running, which means more cans for all of us, and less work for the TW crew! It also means new label designs, and packaging dates indicated on each can. Beyond Reality (raspberry Fruit beer) is already out with its new look, and their Rye Pale Ale, Rype, will be available as of today. Finally, the winning American IPA in the first TrailWay Homebrew Challenge is available again (probably for the last time); Hoppy McHazy was brewed by Pierre Gagnon, and features plenty of Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, for a huge blast of tropical, fruity goodness.

• And the circle of life is complete as we heard from a little birdie this week that the canning line Trailway replaced with their new whizzbang automatic dealio is on its way to Sober Island on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. While we let you consider what that’s going to mean for Rebecca Atkinson and her crew, or, more to the point, for you, gentle beer drinker, we’ll tell you about their latest release, dubbed Kirby’s Canoe Rye Pale Ale. The grist features 11% rye, which will almost certainly provide a spicy note on the finish. We also know that it was dry hopped with both Willamette and Bramling Cross hops, with the Bramling being the focus. This should provide a bright berry character. It’s straw-yellow in colour, with a solid 5.7% ABV and 30 IBU, if you really want to figure this one out, look for it in crowlers at the brewery, on tap at The Henley House in Sheet Harbour and Battery Park in Dartmouth, and appearing at the New Glasgow and Musquodoboit Farmers Markets.

• Heading Southwest along Nova Scotia’s coast, FirkinStein in Bridgewater has their latest experiment on tap and ready for prime time. Sassamanana is a 7.0% ABV Pale Ale, featuring the addition of cranberries and banana to the beer. While the techniques they used are secret (trust us, we asked!), they promise that the light tart character from the berries, and creaminess from the banana will make for a great experience. The beer is debuting at tomorrow morning’s Bridgewater Farmers’ Market. And keep an eye out for the news of their King Street satellite brewery/taproom/retail location, which is poised to open before the end of the month.

• And back to the city, on the waterfront in Halifax, Gahan Harbourfront is now serving up a batch of Flavour of the Monk which was the winning beer in their first annual homebrew competition. Devised (and named) by Ian Wheatley, who you may remember from March’s Lil’Wheatey Tap Takeover at Tidehouse Brewing earlier this year, it’s a Belgian beer in the Trappist Single style, with a pillowy white head and moderate bitterness. The hops used are classic Czech and German noble varieities, giving a floral and spicy nose to balance against the classic peppery and fruity Belgian yeast character. It’s a fairly easy-drinking 5.4% ABV and 35 IBU. Meanwhile, Gahan has quietly become the second brewery in NS to offer crowlers. These 32oz cans let you take beer pretty much anywhere in a convenient package, or let you sock it in the fridge for up to a month. Only Gahan beers are available (no PEIBC or guest taps) and they’re available for $8 from the fridge at the restaurant entrance. Currently available in this format are their Crosscurrent APA, Impatience Sour Brown and Captain Falcon’s IPA.

Maybee Brewing is releasing Old Growth, an Extra Special Bitter, sometime today. The slightly-bigger brother to their Slanty Shanty Best Bitter that originally came out last December, the malt and hop profiles have been tweaked slightly. Horton Ridge floor-malted Organic Pale Malt makes up the majority of the grist, with New Brunswick Goldings hops bringing the IBUs to 44. Exhibiting “hints of honey and caramel”, and nicely-balanced with a firm bitterness, this 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and cans. Look for cans to likely appear at select ANBL stores in the future; local tap accounts will also be receiving kegs.

• St. John’s YellowBelly Brewpub celebrated the changing of the seasons this week with the release of Summer Solstice Crystal Wheat. A nod to Wexford Wheat, one of their core beers, this beer features a simplified malt bill with just 2-Row and Wheat malts. Unlike WW, it is filtered, resulting in a bright, crystal-clear straw coloured beer. The hops are also unique to this release, with Pacific Gem and Sorachi Ace used in the boil, with more Sorachi and a second hop during dry-hopping. At 5.3% ABV and 18 IBUs, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser on their patio this weekend at the corner of George Street, or to take-away when bottles make an appearance next week.

• Dropping today is YellowBelly’s latest cider, this one is a blend of dry apple cider fermented with Champagne yeast and sweetened with a touch of unfermented cider, then blended with 6% cold-pressed cranberry juice from the Island’s West Coast just prior to filtration. At 6.0% ABV, the resultant cider is juicy and tart, and thirst quenching for the warm weather (enjoy it over ice to extend the pleasure). On tap today, it should also see release in bottles at the Brewpub next week. And for a hint of what’s to come this summer, YB is currently on the look-out for an experience manager for “YellowBelly Take-Away”, to open at 264 Water Street in the coming months. Contact them via email for more details.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery has been busy crafting up some new sour beers, after the success of their kettle-soured Partridgeberry Sour and Sumac Sour. Coming up next is their next entry, Strawberry Sour. Initially fermented with a “collection of Brettanomyces and bacteria”, a neutral Ale strain (read: Saccharomyces) was used to finish things off. Real strawberries were then added during secondary fermentation, resulting in a “sourness complemented by a strawberry and citrus aroma” in this hazy, light-copper-coloured brew. Easy-drinking at 5% ABV, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at the brewery, as well as in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Cider House. Next week should also see the release of Seaberry Sour, an amber-coloured kettle sour brewed with NB Sea Buckthorn berries, resulting in lots of citrus aromas, according to the brewery. This very-limited release will pop up at a few tap accounts.

• We have some great news for you New Brunswick Mead fans out there! Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has a very large shipment of bottles heading to more than 30 different ANBL locations across the province, starting this coming Monday, June 26th. After a few releases at four locations over the past months, the high demand was apparent; the current numbers hitting stores is ten times the amounts from before. Look for plenty of bottles of Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, ChaChaChaga, and Latifah to be hitting shelves very soon, with another release scheduled for sometime in early September. You can check the ANBL location list here.

Big Tide has announced that they have a beer coming out soon, LaTour, their entry in the Acadian Nut Brown style being seen more and more in New Brunswick (check out our mention of it in last week’s post for more info). The 2 Row base malt is accented by plenty of CaraMunich and Chocolate Wheat malts for a medium-bodied, malt-forward, 6.5% ABV Nut Brown. Hopped to 27 IBUs with Fuggles for a mild bitterness and earthy aroma. A little past the June 9th official launch date, but that’s ok! It’ll be available at the brewpub for pours and growler next week. And grab a pint or growler of their 4.5% ABV Zippy Pale Ale, as it is sure to run out this weekend.

• Last week we told you a bunch of stuff about Good Robot that turned out to be a week too early (we blame contrails and the Illuminati). To save us some typing, you can catch up on that stuff right here (CTRL-F “robot” <enter>). We have it on good authority this week, that you will finally see the Cream Team cream ale appear this coming Tuesday, June 27th. This will mark the first of the Tuesday Beta Brew releases, heretofore and forever known as BetaBrewsDays. Also heading for Tuesday next, assuming kegs can be cleared in time, will be #2 in the SMaSH Pale Ale series, now officially known as Hey Now (you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play). And lastly, but not leastly, today will see the debut of the Cherry Goseface Killah, so head on down to Robie Street and get yourself some sour, salty brew with a fruit kick.

• Breton Brewing in Sydney, NS, has a brand new summer refresher out, the cleverly-named Miami Weiss, a weizen-style beer mixed with 100% organic grapefruit juice to create a Shandy. At a very light 4.0% and barely there 12 IBU it’s likely to be extremely crushable and perfect for a sunny afternoon on a patio somewhere. It’s already available at the brewery for pints and fills and you should see it make taps in the big city within the next couple of weeks. They’ve also got a third batch of the Stillwell Open-winning Seven Years Pale Ale just brewed and have put down their second lager for aging into early July. We’ll have more information on availability for the former and details on the latter in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you’re in Sydney this weekend and you love beer, why not swing by the brewery and check out Breton’s 2nd Birthday Party, which has been in full swing since kicking off last night. The festivities continue tonight with a Music on Tap event from 4 – 10 PM before tomorrow’s 10 hours of live music, food trucks and cake! Check out the Breton Brewing Birthday Bash Facebook event page and plan accordingly!

• Down in the old A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, a new beer is on the horizon, this one being labeled Highland Scottish Pilsner. Taking advantage of the similarities (water-chemistry wise) between the Halifax Pockwock water supply and the classic brewing liquor of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, this brew sees light and grainy Pilsner wed to the round sweet maltiness of Scottish Golden Promise. This will no doubt provide the beer with somewhat more body than a truly classic Pils, while preserving the dry and crisp finish characteristic of the style. The hopping also sees an uncommon marriage, with the classic Saaz combined with its descendant variety from New Zealand, Motueka. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, you’ll find it available for growler fills at the brewery.

• Despite our best efforts, we’re always finding out we’re not quite as on top of things as we like to think we are. Case in point, this week we heard about The Groundswell Inn, located on the Fleur-de-lis trail in D’Escousse on Isle Madame, NS, on the south side of Cape Breton. A bed and breakfast with an attached British-style Pub, they’ve been since last year and feature 8 craft beer taps, one of the largest selections of craft beer, if not the largest, in Cape Breton! We’ve added them to the Brewnosers Good Beer Map on this site, but certainly if you’re planning to be in the area or looking for accommodations or a place to have a pint near Isle Madame, check out their website and look for info on their coming events on Facebook and Twitter!

• Those of us patiently waiting for Big Spruce‘s Silver Tart to be available in cans in Halifax, rejoice! After a run on the cans yesterday, we’ve been assured that there are a few hundred more being delivered to Bishop’s Cellar this morning, in time for your post-work pint. Keep an eye on BC’s twitter feed, as they’ll be sure to announce their arrival. Or, why not make a run up to Nyanza, where you can also enjoy some food, live music, and relaxation courtesy of some Beer Yoga.

Looking for a few things to do in the next few weeks? We’ve got lots to keep you busy, no matter where you are!

• The tap takeovers at Charlottetown’s HopYard continue in full force today, June 23rd, with an Upstreet/North Takeover all day. All taps will be dedicated to the two breweries – check out the event link for a full list – including a new collaboration between the two, Northern Light, a 3.5% ABV, 15 IBUs Session IPA brewed with equal amounts 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Cashmere and Mosaic. Launching at this event, Northern Light will also be on tap at the Upstreet taproom in Charlottetown and Battery Park in Halifax, as well as select tap accounts in both cities.

Horton Ridge is holding the Grand Opening of their brewery and taproom tomorrow, June 24th, starting at 11 am. A selection of NS craft beer will be on tap for purchase, including – of course – several of the releases from Horton Ridge, which are only available at the brewery/malt house. Singer/songwriter Caleb Miles will be performing at 6 pm, and the Let’s Eat Beer food truck will be serving up some beer-infused items all day (all proceeds will be going to Atlantic Canadian charities). Games, tours, and door prizes will be rounding out the day, so drop by and bring the family!

• Back to Upstreet, who will be having their 2nd Birthday next week, and like last year, will be celebrating with the launch of a new beer in their annual De Novo series. De Novo II is a Belgian Saison brewed with Maritime malt, New Brunswick Goldings hops, and fermented with a Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces blend. The result is flavours of “light candy and funk”, backed lightly by a dry finish and hop bitterness. This already-dry beer will get more so over time, as the Brett continues to chew away at residual sugars, increasing the amount of funk character in the beer (and, quite possibly, carbonation… you’ve been warned!). The De Novo II Release Party is next Thursday, June 29th, at the taproom, from 6-10 pm. There’s no charge to attend, just drop by for some music, cake, and pick up some hand-bottled De Novo II while it’s available!

• All year, Propeller Brewing is celebrating their 20th Anniversary, with several initiatives and collaborations and events planned. The details of their official Anniversary Party have been announced, taking place July 8th. From 2-8PM, they are taking over the parking lot of their neighbours Seven Bay Bouldering, and inviting some great local bands to play free concerts all day, also featuring games for young and old alike, beer specials, and plenty more surprises. After the day’s fun, the party moves a few feet down the block to the Marquee, where Skratch Bastid and friends will be playing starting at 10PM. With tickets priced at $20, this is a steal of a deal, but even more so when realizing that 100% of profits will be going to the North End Community Health Centre, just down Gottingen from Propeller, and their favourite charity. Check out the FB Events page for more information, and grab your tickets for the show at the Marquee before they sell out.