Big Axe Brewery

All posts tagged Big Axe Brewery

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope you’ve all recovered from your turkey, ham, or whatever food you used to celebrate Thanksgiving on the weekend. The brewers certainly had a good rest, because they’ve got a metric crap-ton of new beers and events to keep you satisfied this weekend. Let’s skip the small talk and get right to the good stuff!

In case you missed our heads-up post, the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse brewery and restaurant opened in Burnside yesterday. Sporting a 10 BBL (1200 litre) brewhouse, and a full BBQ pit straight from the South, the Upstreet crew teamed up with Chef Inspired (of the Cheese Curds and Habaneros restaurants) to do a One-Two punch on food and beer. Drop by daily (except Monday) from 11 AM for food and beer to enjoy there or takeaway. Speaking of beer, there are a pair of new releases from Upstreet on the shelves and taps in Dartmouth and Charlottetown this week. Launching yesterday was the Major Tom Sour, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped sour, featuring a grapefruit citrus aroma and flavour thanks to New Brunswick-grown Centennial and Chinook, with a refreshing underlying acidity. Bottles are available in Dartmouth, as well as the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown. And launching today is the twelfth in their Neon Friday series, Tropic IPA. This 6.0% ABV 40 IBU IPA features Amarillo, Citra, and Ekuanot hops for heavy tropical notes of orange, papaya and mango, with a touch of floral aroma from the hibiscus added to the beer. While it begins with a sweet flavour, it has a dry finish and high carbonation, clearing the palate quickly (and inviting you back for another sip!).

We have a few big news items to tell you about Berwick’s Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse. First off, last month they released cans of their extremely popular Box Cutter IPA. This 6.9% ABV ode to hops has been winning awards in the region for years, but this was the first time available outside of draught or growler-if-you-visit-the-brewery format. And not only is BC now available in an easy-to-grab format, it is also available at NSLC locations all across the province. 3 pallets of the good stuff was distributed from Yarmouth to Sydney, and should be found at your local shop (if not, ask the manager to bring it in!). And we’ve heard it’s been super-successful on their shelves, and they’ve requested another delivery from Bad Apple.

And in perhaps even bigger news, if you’ve spotted a new apple-themed bar just off Main Street in Wolfville, your eyes are not deceiving you! The Core by Bad Apple opened on the weekend, with a small pilot brewery onsite, sit down taproom where flights and pints can be enjoyed, and retail beer to go. Eschewing the standard glass growlers, and always innovating to new highs (or lows?), they are instead offering fills in their Bottle Rockets, a reusable high density 2 litre plastic bottle (complete with BAB-stamped paper bag). Drop by their location at 3 Elm Avenue daily from 12 – 8 PM (closed Mondays).

Quidi Vidi brewing in St. John’s, Newfoundland continues their renaissance with three new beers hitting the taps this week. Up first is Open Saison on Rhubarb, a beer with a wittily self-explanatory name. In the saison style, this pale gold beer is said to be “strangely reminiscent of a Jam-Jam.” Grainy-sweetness balances with rhubarb tartness on the palate, while you’ll note red berry and biscuit on the nose. A sharp bitterness and a dry finish complete the picture for this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBU beer. Next is the Metal Kettle Sour, a Berliner Weisse-style sour that might have you longing for the summer just past. Highly-carbonated, light and crisp, there’s still plenty of flavor in this very sessionable beer. With a flavor that is “almost cider-like,” there’s a definite apple tartness along with notes of lemon and sourdough bread. You’ll be able to have a few of these too, as it comes in at a paltry 3.2% ABV and 9 IBU. And finally is Femme Fatale, a beer brewed in collaboration with the St.John’s International Women’s Film Festival running in town from October 17 – 21. A coffee stout, it’s dark as night, with a long lasting cappuccino-toned head, mocha and toasted grain aromas, and burnt caramel and café au lait flavors on the palate that yield to a smooth coffee finish. At 5.7% ABV and 28 IBU, this one won’t knock you over with heat or bitterness, but is more likely to make its mark subtly and sensually. Look for all three of these beers starting today at the brewery with the Open Saison on Rhubarb also available in bottles to go from the brewery, NLC, and some convenience stores.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery continues to roll out the new hotness since opening their digs on Portland Street. You may recall that part of the plan for the expansion out of the garage and into their own facility was the addition of packaging to the mix. Hitherto only available in growlers, at tap accounts, and then pints at the brewery, Brightwood beer is now available in cans thanks to their new canning line! To this point they’re still working out the kinks and they’ve only processed Made Me Blush, their Belgian IPA with rosehips and hibiscus, but the plan, of course, is to put more of their beers into cans, with the The Big Lift American IPA and Portland St Porter likely the next to be packaged. We’ll be sure to let you know when that happens. For now, if you’d like to experience the novelty of Brightwood Beer in a can, you can grab one with your meal at Stone Pizza or pick some up to go from the brewery and enjoy it in the comforts of your own home. We expect once they get rolling you’ll be able to find their products at the private stores in Halifax as well.

Also doing cool stuff in Dartmouth is New Scotland Brewing. Continuing to differentiate themselves in the HRM market with meads, they’ve got two hitting the taps this weekend, one that’s coming back for a second go-round and one that’s all new. The return engagement is their Slippery Slope, a Root Beer mead that folks requested so much they couldn’t help but make another batch. At 6.6% ABV it packs some punch and, we can’t help but presume, a significant root beer flavor as well. The brand new one is called Steep Curve, which they’re referring to as an “autumn-inspired spiced mead.” Light and drinkable, but carrying a hefty 7.4% ABV to warm you up in the cooler days of October, it features a special blend of teas and spices courtesy of Phil from World Tea House (that guy is everywhere in the NS brewing scene these days!!) Look for both of these meads to hit the taps tomorrow afternoon at the brewery.

Like many smaller breweries in the region, we didn’t hear much from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia’s Heritage Brewing over the past couple of months, as they no doubt were up to their eyeballs keeping up with summer demand, but this week they’ve come out of the woodwork with not one but three things for us to mention. The first, appropriately enough, is a beer. Hopfenweizen is a traditional German wheat beer (Hefeweizen) punched up for the modern palate with plenty of hops. Heavy late and dry hop additions of two modern German varieties, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria were designed to give fruity and citrus aromas to complement the traditional banana and clove yeast profile. Look for this 5% ABV and 15 IBU brew on tap at the brewery this weekend. Next up is the news that Heritage is another brewery that is getting into the canning game with product soon to be hitting the shelves at the NSLC. And how do we know this? Well, that’s the third bit: Heritage are the brewery featured in the 902BrewCast episode that dropped this past Tuesday. Check out the episode with your favorite podcast app and hear more about the brewery, their beer and their plans for the future.

Halifax’s North Brewing Company is completing their trifecta of sour beers known as the Breakwater Series this week with the release of the third and final installment. Breakwater Pineapple Lime Sour is a summery kettle sour that was tarted up with the Lactobacillus blend from Escarpment Labs. In addition, lime zest and, you guessed it, pineapple were added as well. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV, and with artwork by Josh Horner, you’ll be able to find cans in singles and 4-packs as of this afternoon at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops. Come get a last little fruity, tart and refreshing taste of summer before the cold weather sets into your bones.

Still in Halifax, and still in the north end, Propeller has a new beer in their Small Batch Series coming out this afternoon, one that’s been a while in the making. Citra Pale Lager is a golden lager that was brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped up with Citra cryo hops for notes of melon, grapefruit and passion fruit. Cold-conditioned for an extended period to achieve a smooth and crisp finish, it will only be available for growler fills and pints in the Propeller Tasting Room. And as we mentioned last week you can also look for Nocturne Black IPA during Saturday night’s Nocturne. They’ve got a handy-dandy mobile-friendly guide website with a map that will help you locate the beer between your visits to the various exhibits around the city. Nocturne will also be featured at this evening’s Cask Night feature, pouring from 5 – 10 PM at the Gottingen Street taproom as a Nocturne Eve celebration. And lastly if you’re in the “pumpkin beer is awesome” camp and especially if you like Propeller’s version, they’ve let us know that this year’s version has been extremely popular and that they’re expecting to be out by Halloween. So if you haven’t gotten your gourd on, you best be making your move; cans are almost gone already, but six packs of bottles are still in fair supply.

We hinted at a new American Pale Ale from Spindrift a few weeks ago, and you may have noticed their campaign both online on social media and in the real world via more traditional formats, but next week will finally see the release of the beer. Dubbed Free Trade, it’s a deep gold and moderately carbonated brew made with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat and Crystal malts and hopped with Magnum, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. Look for pine, grapefruit and floral notes from the hops balanced against a solid malt backbone. Packaged in 473 ml cans, expect this 5.5% ABV, 40 IBU tribute to one of the pillar styles of North American craft beer to be available at NSLC locations around mid-week next week.

In cider news this week, Halifax’s Chain Yard has another new one. Brett to be Determined is more than just a clever name, it’s a wild-fermented Brett cider made using two varieties of apple: Jonagold and McIntosh. Dry, with a tropical fruit nose and a clean finish, it’s been left unfiltered and tips the scales at 6.1% ABV. You’ll find it only at their location on Agricola Street for pints, as part of flights, and for growler fills.

In Fredericton, Trailway is at it again packing as much fruit and hop character as they possibly can into beer before releasing it to a frenzied public. This week’s release is the return of Hopical Trop, their heavily fruited and heavily hopped DIPA. Described by the brewery themselves as the result of “[taking] this beer further than [they’ve] ever taken it,” massive amounts of apricot and mango puree were added in addition to damn near illegal levels of El Dorado hops, yielding a thick and hoppy tropical fruit bomb with a 8% ABV that will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You can grab it at the brewery starting at opening today, but if you do, be sure to drink it right up while the fruit and the hops are at their absolute peak; this beer isn’t meant to be aged!

Way way up in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Split Rock have released a new beer this week as well. 6-String Session IPA an easy-drinking 4.3% ABV beer packed with plenty of hop flavor. Leveraging five hop varieties, it’s easy to see where that flavor comes from, as Magnum, Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook and Mosaic all saw action in the making of this one, but they also added a sixth hop source, in the form of some local wild hops that were also included in the mix! With a citrus and grapefruit aroma leading to a dominant grassy flavor, look for a big hop bite throughout. And with such a low ABV you can maybe have a couple and really take some time to savor all the flavors coming from those hops. 6-String is on tap now at the Stage Head Pub.

On the South Shore of NS, specifically in Chester Basin, Tanner & Co. Brewing has some news for us as well. First off is the first of their fall beer releases, Dunkel Weizen. Translated from the German as, literally, “dark wheat,” this is a (surprise!) dark wheat beer! Featuring the traditional characteristics of clove and banana esters from the yeast paired with a doughy presence from the wheat, there are some non-traditional things going on as well due to a complex grain bill that brought some roastier malt character and even a touch of rye spiciness. At 5.5% ABV and 14 IBUs, expect an easy drinking but complex beer with plenty of yeast character. The other piece of pertinent news from Tanner is that they’re getting into packaging as well, in the form of bottles. To date they have two of their regular offerings, Nelson Saison and Lemon Lavender both available at the brewery with more in the works over the next couple of weeks. Look for them to possibly appear at the private stores in Halifax over the coming weeks as well; we’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.

In the bustling beertropolis that is the Kennebecasis Valley of New Brunswick (seriously, there’s breweries everywhere up there!) Hammond River Brewing has already started to package their first run of this year’s Imperial Vanilla Porter. That 8.2% ABV beauty is seeing kegs and should start to be available at tap accounts in the near future. Just like always, owner and brewmaster Shane Steeves will also be doing a version of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter with Maker’s Mark bourbon that will be released somewhere in the environs of 9.2% ABV. In a bit of a departure this year, we’ve also been advised that he’ll also be doing versions using Bulleit and Tin Cup bourbons as well. But wait, there’s MORE! Shane will also be putting 225 litres of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter into a Glenora Whisky Barrel for a while, which will yield Glenora Barrel-aged Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter. You won’t be saying that three times quickly, especially after you’ve had a glass or two. Look for firm release dates for these on social media, especially HRB’s Facebook page.

After a week where Good Robot not having any news for us was news enough to write about, Kelly saved us from having to figure out what we’d do if there were no GR news for a second week in a row by sending us some. First up is a beer that was released yesterday at the brewery, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale. Nominally a fairly straightforward pale ale in the Good Robot style, this 5.8% ABV and 46 IBU brew was also dosed with terpenes, which are the smelly molecules in lots of plants. Particularly certain plants we love, like hops and cannabis. Not that there’s any cannabis in this beer; that wouldn’t be legal. But there’s a mix of terpenes like there are in cannabis, and not only cannabis, but a particular strain of cannabis called Granddaddy Purp. We ain’t starting the ACWeedBlog though, so that’s where we’ll stop it with the ganja talk. We figure if you really want to you can Google “Granddaddy Purp” and find plenty of interesting things (OMG it’s so PUUUURPLE!!). To recap, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale is a beer at Good Robot that probably smells like weed but won’t get you high. Drink it anyway.

Launching today in the GR taproom, as well as around the city, is a collaboration they brewed with Gahan House and Garrison in celebration of this month’s Halifax Pop Explosion. The three breweries are co-sponsors of the October 17-20 music festival, taking place at many venues across the city. The beer fit to toast the event is Lizard Queen (cue the Simpsons references), a 4.8% ABV Pale Ale, with a light body (Flaked Wheat and Oats are included in the malt bill), featuring loads of El Dorado, Simcoe, and Mosaic near the end, and after, the boil, for massive citrus and tropical aroma and flavour, and certainly worth crowd-surfing for. It is on tap at Good Robot today, and we believe the same can be said for Gahan and Garrison, and will be available at several of the HPX venues.

Also this coming week is the triumphant return of BetaBrewsday wherein GR taps a keg of a beer brewed by Kelly with someone from the community. This time it was a gentleman named Randy who, recently retired, decided that brewing a beer might be a fun thing to do. We suspect he’s onto something there. Randy and Kelly talked lots about his grandkids while they brewed a Red Ale that came in at 6.4% ABV and 30 IBU that they’re calling Simply Red. You can try it at the brewery on Tuesday starting at 4 PM.

Halifax’s littlest brewery (don’t worry, they’ve got big attitude), Tidehouse, has two re-releases out this week at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street. First up is The Sex, an itsy bitsy huge honking Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout at 11.9% ABV. Hit with some raspberries and port-fortified, it takes on some chocolate and fruit notes along with an aged character that might make you believe it had spent some time in a barrel. With just enough hop presence and bitterness to keep it on the right side of sweet, you can buy it by the bottle (expect a bottle limit to be in effect) or sit and have a 4 oz glass on site from 2 PM today. Careful though, this one could very well creep up on you like a Russian Dictator on a horse. And previously returning earlier this week was the Cryo Me a River, an NEIPA featuring all Cryo Mosaic and Simcoe hops which were all added towards the end of the boil and in the fermenter. Expect a hazy, bright and hoppy result that you can purchase and take away in growlers or sit and enjoy by the pint or as part of a flight.

As is their yearly tradition, Boxing Rock has announced that they will once again be releasing their U-889 Russian Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla Beans this year. For the first time, however, they are offering the chance for folks to pre-order cases and half-cases and save on the retail price. Twelve bottles can be had for $100 (regular $126) or 6 for $55 (regular $63). If you’re interested you can contact the brewery to place your order and pick it up when it’s ready in late November, either at their HQ in Shelburne or in Halifax at their Local Source location.

On Cape Breton Island, in the little burg of Nyanza, Big Spruce has not one, not two, but FOUR new beers on the taps this weekend. I Love Lucy is their fresh hop offering this year, featuring hops grown right on Big Spruce’s farm. Cascade, Centennial and Chinook varieties were packed into this 7.0% ABV, 40 IBU beer that positively screams with local flavor. Bucklaw Baby is a new NEIPA that also hits the 7.0% ABV mark, but with a slightly burlier 53 IBU. Going a little farther afield for the hops, it includes Amarillo, Waimea, and Mosaic for notes of pineapple and grapefruit and a floral character as well. Rounding out the hoppy offerings is Heavy Handed, a 5.4% ABV and 38 IBU American Pale Ale that was “crammed” with Nugget, Centennial, and Amarillo. This one is expected to be a hit with those who are already fans of Big Spruce’s flagship APA Kitchen Party. And last but not least, and taking a left turn from the hop onslaught, is a collaboration brew done with the gang from Halifax brewing collective Bràthair Brewing. Mostly an authentic Gose, it’s got a twist of lemon, both figuratively, in the form of Lemon Drop hops, and literally, with an addition of fresh lemon zest. Reunited Gose Feels So Good is bright and fruity with an herbal character and a snappy finish. All four of these beers are available at the brewery right now; keep an eye on Big Spruce social media to see where kegs might pop up at tap accounts.

And rounding out the news this week is more news on the exciting project from Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing and Acadia University. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from NSBI, they are continuing a research project looking at indigenous yeasts. Working with Drs. Russell Easy and Allison Walker of Acadia University, the team collected more than 300 samples from across the province (including some notable landmarks that we’ll tell you about soon!), before isolation and testing to ensure they can ferment wort, are alcohol- and hop-tolerant, and taste good! The research is ongoing, so we’ll update you on the project once more information is available. And for a taste of local hops, their Bluenose 1850 wet-hopped beer is available now in the taproom. Brewed with hops from High Tide Hops Farm, look for lots of green and citrus aroma and flavour thanks to the fresh hops.

Let’s check out the beer events happening in our region over the next little bit…

Nackawic Big Axe Brewing is celebrating the Grand Opening of their new brewery and taproom this weekend. Haddies Fish and Chips will be onsite starting today, but the big party kicks off tomorrow. With a 1PM ribbon cutting, plus brewery tours at 2, 3, and 4PM, and music as well (Oland Monteith starts at 3PM, Crosscut at 8PM). Check the full details on their Facebook Event Page for more info. Congratulations!

Also celebrating their Grand Opening is Halifax’s HopYard. From opening at 11AM tomorrow, they will be slinging some awesome beers from around the Maritimes, thanks to the great breweries on their To Call list. And this is the last weekend of their Fan Favourites menu, so be sure to load up on those dishes you’ve tried before and missed, or want to enjoy for the first time. More details here.

One final reminder that Niche Brewing is taking over the taps at Stillwell on Barrington Street tomorrow. Starting at 4PM, the Cool Kids from Hanwell will be on hand to chat beer, how damn expensive vanilla has become, and the minutiae of Fredericton geography. Check last week’s post for the full taplist (including substitutes as the first kegs are emptied). Great food will accompany, thanks to Chef Graeme Ruppel and Co in the kitchen.

Next Thursday is the latest Tap Takeover in Battery Park’s arsenal, this time from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. Starting at 11:30AM on October 18th, 2C is taking over their 18 taps with kegs of many core beers, past one-off and seasonal favourites, as well as the debut of at least five new beers. We won’t spoil the fun as to what you can expect (in all honesty, we don’t know yet either!), but we can assure you it WON’T be the new beer they brewed on the weekend. They took their pilot system on a bit of a trip to the great outdoors, where they brewed up a traditional lambic-style wort, including Pilsner and raw wheat, and aged hops (used for their preservative qualities more than anything else). Left overnight, it was spontaneously inoculated, with wild yeasts doing the job a lab pitch would normally do. And in keeping with traditional methods, the beer will ferment and condition for many months (maybe even a few years), as the different yeast and bacteria do their job. We’ll be sure to let you know when *this* one is coming out!

Later in the month, on October 30th, Dolma Food in Moncton is hosting an evening of beer knowledge with Patrice Godin of Acadie-Broue. Godin has been brewing on a small scale since 2010, and Acadie-Broue was the first of the nanobreweries (sub-100 litre) in our region. Using knowledge from both professional and brewing life, he will be sharing his insights on the brewing process, how to get started with homebrewing (and scaling up to commercial), as well as tasting through a flight of beer (Godin is also an accomplished BJCP judge). Tickets are available online now, or in store.

Just a couple more things before we let you go this week:

Garrison Brewing has announced the style for their upcoming 2019 Home Brew-Off Competition, the 6C Dunkles Bock. This is the 11th year for this competition, whose winning entry will be brewed on their system and see wide release across the Maritimes. Entries won’t be due until next year (probably mid-February), but we wanted to let you all know so you can start your recipe trials now!

– In Sydney, Breton Brewing has released version 2.0 of a beer in their refreshing and low ABV series of sours: Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Sessions has a hint of up front sweetness and a sour kick at the finish and in between will have you thinking of Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb jam. Available at the brewery only for pints and fills.