Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

Happy Friday the 13th! Oh, stop complaining, it’s just a silly superstition (knocks wood, tosses black cat over left shoulder). Plenty going on in the world of Atlantic Canadian beer news, as usual, including the opening of two new breweries in our region, one in PEI, and one in Dartmouth. So let’s get into it so we can all go about the rest of our day (read: waiting for the weekend to officially start).

We hinted last year about Summerside, PEI getting their own brewery, thanks to the work of Alex Clark, owner of the OpenEats restaurant in the downtown area. Well, it looks like all of that planning and preparation has worked out, as Evermoore Brewing just opened their brewery and taproom this week at 192 Water St. Featuring a 10 bbl (1200 L) brewhouse from DME, the brewery’s taproom will be open Sunday-Thursday from noon-8 pm, and Friday and Saturday noon-10 pm. They’re currently filling growlers of their first two beers, Summerside Light and Hoppy Lager, and you’re of course welcome to stay onsite to enjoy a pint! Summerside Light is a 4.0% ABV light and easy going lager, while the Hoppy Lager weighs in at 6.0% ABV and features solid citrus and grassy flavour and aroma, with a hoppy aftertaste. Look for food service to be available later in the year. We hope to have more info and a Profile of Evermoore, including specific details on the beers they hope to have in the future, very soon.

After some major renovations at 91 Alderney Drive in downtown Dartmouth, New Scotland Brewing Company is opening their doors tomorrow. Brewing on a 4 BBL (500 litre) system, their beer will be available in the taproom for flights and pints, as well as to take away in growlers. Keep an eye on their social media for musicians (and maybe even the owners and brewers, musicians in their own right!) to take stage in the taproom. Unfortunately, details on what beers will be pouring are scarce, and we haven’t been able to get hold of them for contact. We hope to have more (is this a trend?) in the near future.

While not a brand new brewery, it is certainly worth mentioning that St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has opened their new location in the newly expanded Departures level at the St. John’s International Airport. The restaurant and bar is open from early until late (6AM until 11PM) to satisfy both the early business flyers for breakfast, and the rest of us looking for a pint and decent meal before leaving the Island. The restaurant continues the tradition set at their downtown locations of offering freshly-prepared pizza and a full menu, as well as casual bites. Borrowing from the aesthetics of their building at the corner of Water and George Streets downtown, the 150 seat bar and lounge features historical wood and stone features throughout. And, now for what you’re really interested in knowing: what about the beer? They will be pouring their core group of four beers, Yellowbelly Pale Ale, Wexford Wheat, St. John’s Stout and Fighting Irish Red, as well as a brand new beer, the YYT Cream Ale. Their Crooked as Sin cider will also be pouring. They will also be pouring a rotating line or two from other Newfoundland and Labrador craft breweries, as available, showing their love and support for the great shift happening in the province in the past few years. These will be announced on social media as they are tapped. Also available for sale will be YellowBelly merchandise and local treats, and there may even be the possibility of packaged beer available to go in the future (we’ll let you know when that happens!). Congratulations on the launch of the new location, it certainly proves that local beer in Newfoundland is taking off!

Tatamagouche Brewing is bringing back a favourite brew of theirs that first debuted at the start of 2018, their Crack of Dawn. This Breakfast Porter features a Horton Ridge Pale malt base, along with Chocolate Wheat and Oats to offer roast character and mouthfeel. The pièce de résistance is the addition of a cold brew preparation of barrel-aged coffee, this time around featuring Ethiopian green beans aged in a Bulleit Bourbon barrel before getting a light roast treatment from Tata’s neighbours at Meeting Waters Roastery just a few doors down Main Street. The resultant beer is 8.4% ABV, with significant coffee roast and barrel character complementing the full-bodied base Porter. This version, as well as the original release, was brewed with assistance and guidance from homebrew guru Brian Harvey (aka 1029Brewing) and our own acbbchris (former homebrewer, full time drinker). Due to the batch size, this version will only be available on tap, including at the brewery this weekend, as well as Battery Park and Stillwell in HRM, and at Tata’s tent at this weekend’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival.

Tata is also debuting a brand new beer this weekend, one for the hop heads among us. Fish Hawke is an 8.4% ABV double dry-hopped Double IPA, featuring a variety of new school and old classic hops, all added after the boil is complete. Chinook and Centennial meet Azacca and Vic Secret insubstantial whirlpool and subsequent temperature-drop additions (this is the period while the wort rests post-boil, and helps to reduce the amount of trub is transferred to the fermenter). After fermentation is complete, two rounds of dry-hopping while conditioning were also undertaken with the same hop blend. Though the bitterness is tough to calculate, there will be some, but the flavour and aroma is the goal in this brew. Looks for Fish Hawke to debut on tap at the brewery and a couple of spots over the weekend, with a small number of cans being released at the brewery on Monday.

The fine folks at Big Axe Brewery have been extremely busy prepping for their second annual Big Axe Craft Beer Festival happening tomorrow (more on that in the events section below), but that hasn’t stopped them from brewing some new beers on their brand-spanking-new 10 bbl system in Nackawic! Launched this week if their Lumberjack East Coast Lager, a “Czech Amber Lager” brewed with summertime drinking in mind. Featuring a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malt, the brew was fermented with a Lager yeast strain and then allowed to lager at cool temperatures for four weeks. Richly malt, with bready and biscuity notes, it has a medium body to help support the sessionable 4.1% ABV, letting you enjoy a couple of these without feeling out of control (YMMV). On tap now at your favourite Big Axe tap account!

Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of El Generico, their constantly-changing fruited kettle sour. This time around, the 3.8% ABV beer had raspberry puree and lime juice added after fermentation, giving plenty of bright fruit aromatics, along with a high level of lime in the flavour. Look for it on tap and in cans at the brewery today at opening (11 am), and likely on tap at several licensees across the city. And in other TW news, they won a coolship (long, shallow, open-top vessel used to cool wort) at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, TN, which recently arrived at the brewery; they’ll be using this new addition to kick off their barrel-aged, sour beer program (naturally, don’t be looking for these beers anytime soon… it’s a long process!).

Heading over to Newfoundland, Port Rexton is putting two beers on tap at their taproom this weekend; while these beers aren’t new, exactly, they have been difficult to find in the past, making appearances at both Stillwell locations over the CBA weekend in May, and sporadically at Port Rexton. First up is Tyrannosaurus Brett, a Brett Porter brewed with acbbchris. Fermented entirely with Brett D, this one was aged for six months in fresh red wine barrels (one American, one French), giving aromas of “red wine, dark chocolate, berries and oak”, with fig and red grape notes as well. Finishing clean and dry, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV. Next is Brett Chops (6.3% ABV), which is the brewery’s flagship Horse Chops IPA, aged in red wine barrels (the very same used for Tyrannosaurus Brett) for six weeks with Escarpment Lab’s Brett D. The finishing beer has a light acidity, an aroma of “light barnyard funk, overripe mango, mild strawberry, and red grapes”, and stone fruit and a “pop rocks/candy” presence in the flavour, along with some wonderful Brett character. Stop by the brewery this weekend to satisfy your funk crave! Note that the brewery’s retail shop in St. John’s has extended their hours for the summer, Friday 12-8 pm and Saturday 12-6 pm.

Back over to Rothesay, where Foghorn has a new beer on tap, named after a Billy Madison reference that I was supposed to Youtube, but forgot (oops!). The Blue Duck is a dark lager brewed along the lines of a Munich Dunkel. With a grist made up mainly of Pilsner malt, along with some CaraMunich, CaraAroma, and Melanoiden, it was fermented with a dry Lager yeast strain, and then lagered for over a month before its release. Bready, with a touch of caramel, it finishes light, clean, and easy-drinking at just 4% ABV. Enough malt character to satisfy your needs, but not too heavy to scare of those of you afraid of dark beers (stop it!). On tap at Foghorn now for pints and growler fills, at a few accounts in New Brunswick, and pouring at this weekend’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival.

Propeller promised us last week that they’d have a new variation of their summer-favourite Hefeweizen this week, and staying true to their word, they’ve released Azacca Hopfenweisse, their latest Gottingen Small Batch.The brewery is describing the beer as a “fusion” of Hefeweizen with a “New World IPA”; while staying at a very-drinkable 4.8% ABV, the Azacca hop is featured prominently, providing aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, to complement the typical banana and clove character found in all good Hefeweizens. Highly carbonated, with a medium-light finish, you can find it on tap at Propeller starting today, where it will be available for growler fills only.

Remember when we told you last week that Good Robot would be re-releasing their Burban Legend this week? Well, turns out they decided to hold off on that, therefore turning the ACBB into a house of lies. Being the fine, fine people that we are, however, we’ll still tell you all about their latest Beta Brew, Pink Flamingo. This “Watermelon Kiwi Radler” was brewed with Giovanni, and has fresh watermelon and kiwi added, giving the 5% ABV beverage a pink colour, and a light, refreshing tartness. An infusion of tea from David’s Tea was also added; Look for it on tap at GR next Tuesday. Look for Leave Me Blue this week as well, which will mostly be available at various Pride events.

After many months of renovations and other preparations, Alma’s Holy Whale Brewing has opened their Riverview taproom location. Located in a former shipping container along the Petitcodiac River, you can find it at 391 Coverdale Rd., in the parking lot of the Riverview’s Chocolate River station. They’ll be pouring on 12 taps, with six dedicated to Holy Whale beers, and six to guest beers, with a focus on New Brunswick craft. They’ve also taken their small, test brewery equipment from Alma and installed it in the shipping container, so expect to see some very small-batch one-offs on tap over the coming weeks! Everything sold at the location will be for consumption on-site only, where there is seating capacity for 70, including space on the boardwalk to enjoy your beer(s). They’re open Wed-Thurs 5-9, Fri 4-9, Sat 1-9, and Sun 1-6.

A few beer related things you might get up to in the coming week:

Tickets have been sold out for some time, but the 2nd Annual Big Axe Craft Beer Festival – the largest outdoor craft beer fest in Atlantic Canada – is happening tomorrow, July 14th, from 4-8 pm in Nackawic. Those of you lucky enough to have grabbed your tickets will be treated to a gargantuan (I’ve always liked that word… so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence) number of vendors pouring their tasty beers, ciders, mead, and vodka, as well as five food trucks, 3 live bands, and one mechanical bull (BYO pen to sign the waiver, and BYO neck brace!). On top of all that, there’s outdoor drinking during a beautiful day, and free boat rides from 3-7 pm. The 40 attending breweries, cideries, etc. will be from across the Maritimes, as well as Ontario and Maine. One thousand people will be attending… have a great time!

The third “In Concert With” dinner from The Carleton will be partnered with Garrison Brewing and Upstreet, and is happening on Thursday, July 19th. “Chef Dolente’s Craft Draught Showdown” will involve five courses, each paired with two 4 oz beers (one from each brewery). Both Daniel Girard of Garrison and Mike Hogan of Upstreet will be in attendance to speak about the pairings, along with Chef Michael Dolente. Those of you attending will vote on your favourite beer at the end of the night. The event also includes live music; tickets are $55 + HST and can be purchased here.

Lastly, a couple more quick ones that might influence your weekend beer plans:

Breton Brewing has just kegged the second beer in their Summer Sour Series, Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour (4.2% ABV). It’s available now in their taproom for pints and growler fills, and should be hitting tap accounts in the HRM sometime next week.
Lake City Cider has officially opened their taproom in downtown Dartmouth, at 35 Portland St. They’re open every day from 10am-8pm, so drop by to grab some cider-to-go, or to enjoy a pour at their new location.
Niche Brewing has brought back their “Hibiscus Sour Ale”, Ruby Tuesday (4.4% ABV). This fruity, tart, bright red beer will be pouring at select locations in Fredericton and Saint John, as well as at tomorrow’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival.
Upstreet is now selling packaging two of their flagship beers, Do-Gooder and Rhuby Social, in 12 oz cans; the two join their other flagship, Commons, which they started canning a couple of months ago.

 

We’re now one week into December with holiday decorations up and Christmas music pretty much everywhere. Thankfully the region’s brewers are doing their part to help us ease the stress of the holiday season by continuing to pump out new beers and bring back some seasonally appropriate seasonals. So without further ado, here’s what going on in Atlantic Canada beer news!

Tusket Falls Brewing Company will be opening their doors next Saturday, December 16th. Located at 20 Slocomb Crescent in Tusket (mere seconds off the 103 Highway), their taps will be full with 4 of their core beers, available in flights and pints for enjoyment onsite, as well as to takeaway in growlers (and maybe even cans if everything comes together in time). We will have a full profile with the TFBC crew early next week, with all of the important information on their brewery, beers, and plans for the future.

Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown is launching a new family of beer this week called Million Acres. Named in acknowledgment of PEI’s nickname as a “Million Acre Farm”, this line is definitely a departure from their Upstreet beers, often featuring mixed yeast/bacterial fermentation, primary fermentation and aging in barrels, hyper-local fruit and other ingredients, that can only be achieved on a small scale. The first MA release is Twice Hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook, the first beer brewed with PEI-grown barley (specifically, 2-row malt) from Spring Valley Farms in Kensington. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus culture started from a handful of the Spring Valley Farms grain, the beer was kettle-hopped and dry-hopped (at double the rate of any previous dry-hopped beer at Upstreet) with Centennial and Chinook from New Brunswick hop growers Moose Mountain and Southan Farms. Packaged in 750 mL corked bottles, the resulting beer is “pleasant and punchy in aroma, with a quenching and complex tartness”. The beer is officially being released today: you can pick up bottles at Upstreet, and there will be a limited amount on draft popping up here and there; bottles should be making their way to New Brunswick sometime next month.

• Just a stone’s throw from Upstreet’s Allen Street location is Charlottetown’s Atlantic Superstore at 465 University Avenue. While not normally beer-news-worthy, it is the site of a brand new retail location for PEI Brewing/Gahan House, opening today/this week (after a slight delay from its planned Wednesday opening). Visitors to “The Beer Store” will be able to purchase all of Gahan’s core brands, as well as a selection of seasonals, including Shortest Day. Bottles, cans, and growler fills of the brews will be available. While the Superstore is a 24/7 operation, the Gahan shop opens at 11AM daily, and operates until 7 or 8 (hours are still being determined). And speaking of PEIBC’s retail location, their “Beer Station” on Milky Way (adjacent to the Cows Ice Cream factory) has recently adjusted to winter hours, meaning it will be open 12-7PM Thursday through Saturday. Their selection will be similar to that of the Beer Store.

• In PEIBC beer news, their winter seasonal Ice Boat is available again this year after a hiatus in 2016. With a Stout as the base, the beer spent several months of aging in fresh Tennessee Whiskey barrels to impart vanilla, caramel, and spirit notes, while allowing the roast malt character to shine through. Bottles of the 6.9% ABV beer are available at the Taproom currently, and at select PEILCC locations shortly. And the brewery is continuing their holiday-themed Growler releases today, with The Christmas Growler Countdown. Releasing today at 4PM at the PEIBC Taproom, each week features either a new beer, or a small batch seasonal take on a current favourite. Last week’s Beach Chair Cran-gerine sold out in one day, and we expect the same from this week’s offering, Candy Cane Red, which is their Island Red with a blend of spearmint and peppermint added. Remember these are in growlers only, so pop by after work to grab it for the weekend’s festivities.

• One of Nova Scotia’s newest breweries, Tanner Brewing has a bunch of news for us this week, catching us up with what they’ve been doing down in Chester Basin. First off, although they have previously told us of their plans to use their own grapes in some of their beers in the future, focus this year has been getting the brewery up and running and not so much on the vineyards. In the spirit of exploring grape flavor profiles in beer without actually using grapes, brewer Dan Tanner is doing up some batches where he focuses on assembling a recipe reminiscent of a particular grape variety. The first one of these batches will be a dry Saison that reflects Nova Scotia Muscat grapes, with their grapefruit, orange, rose and pine notes. Look for this one to be ready and available in the coming weeks and for more beers in this vein to appear over the next year.

• Already pouring at the brewery is Tanner’s Roggenbier, a German style featuring rye malt for a spiciness to contrast an otherwise malt-balanced beer and also the phenolic, clove-like characteristics of the Weizen yeast used to ferment it. We’re told it’s not the clearest beer ever made, but if you can get past its somewhat murky appearance it’s a tasty brew. And coming soon are a couple more news brews, the first a Spiced Weizen (wheat) beer reminiscent of a Hefeweizen, but given more of a winter flair through the use of spices, including allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to complement the clove phenols from the yeast. And also coming is a Sticke Alt, a hoppier and maltier brew than a standard Altbier, that boasts a clean malt character and a stiff bitterness at 50 IBU, finished with a dry hop of noble Tettnang. Lastly, a couple notes on beers that will be available outside the brewery. The Belgian Blonde Ale is being released this week; at 6.3% and 30 IBU, it has to this point been one of their most popular pilot brews. And their Pale Ale will be sent out in kegs next week. Described as, “English Pale meets American Pale,” the first run came in a little higher than the pilot batches at 6% ABV due to efficiency differences on the larger system, but it still shows a happy marriage of English malts with citrusy Amercian hops. Look for it and the Belgian Blonde at tap accounts with some reserved for sale at the brewery.

Backstage Brewing has released Black Dog, a Coffee Stout brewed in collaboration with Stellarton’s local coffee shop, King of Cups. Hopped with Chinook, the addition of espresso from Nova Coffee gives the beer notes of “coffee, chocolate, roast, with a clean finish”, according to the brewery. Coming in at 5% ABV, it’s available at the brewery now, and will likely show up on tap at a few select accounts in the province.

Bulwark Cider from New Ross, NS, has two charitable drives going on now: From now until December 21st, every bottle of People’s Cider 2016 sold will trigger a 10% donation to Feed Nova Scotia. That means for every bottle you buy, FNS can supply a meal for a person in need. Pick up yours today at the ciderhouse, or private stores in HRM. Extending their good deeds to our animal companions, Bulwark has released bottles of their Oak-aged Cider to support the Nova Scotia SPCA. Featuring 12 unique labels, each featuring an adoptable cat or dog, chosen to raise awareness of the many animals available for adoption in the provinces shelters. The 7.5% ABV cider inside is Bulwark’s signature five-apple blend and spent 6 months in American oak barrels. From Bulwark, “The result is a smooth and clean cider with all the best qualities of oak: earthy with warm notes of pear, vanilla and cloves.” Bottles (and cases of bottles featuring all 12 distinct labels) are available at private stores, as well as the NSLC, and a portion of sales is going towards the NSSPCA.

• With Christmas fast approaching, beer lovers in St. John’s can rejoice with the realization that this year’s iteration of Mummer’s Brew from YellowBelly will soon be flowing at the brewpub. The 2017 version is being billed as a “Blackcurrant Milk Stout” reminiscent of a Midnight cocktail (combination of a port and Stout), according to the brewery. Featuring a complex grist of Pale malt, Flaked Oats, Roasted Barley, Pale Chocolate malt, and Carastan, there were, of course, several other ingredients. The extras include apple cider concentrate, lactose powder, and black currants, and the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with Bramling Cross, Cluster, and Nugget. You should be able to find it at the brewery by early next week; expect aromas of roast, chocolate, and “slight smoke augmented by the currants”, with the tartness of said currants blending with a roasty, malty sweetness from the use of specialty malts. Bottles of this 6.5% ABV brew should be available shortly after its release on tap. Be sure to grab some before or after tomorrow’s Mummer’s Parade!

• Friday in Fredericton usually means another new beer release from TrailWay, and today is no exception, with the launch of Emerald occurring at noon. The brewery’s take on the New Zealand Pilsner – a mid-strength, well-attenuated-but-not-extremely-dry, drinkable Pilsner featuring NZ hop varieties – Emerald features a grist of “complex Pale malts” and was hopped with Motueka and Wakatu. Conditioned on lime zest, the beer has an “upfront juicy-candied-lime character, with a tropical fruit element”, making it “reminiscent of a key lime pie”. Very drinkable as per the style at 5% ABV, as usual cans will be for sale at the brewery only, as well as pints and growlers (with a few accounts in Fredericton getting a keg or two as well).

• If you’re in Halifax, we naturally assume that you’ll be heading to the book launch for East Coast Crafted at Stillwell on Saturday (more on that in the events section below); if you didn’t need another reason to head that way, here’s another – the fourth in as many weeks new beer launch from Stillwell Brewing will take place on Saturday as well! SAAZBIER is a blend of two hoppy Saisons fermented in white wine barrels over the summer (making SAAZBIER SB’s first beer fermented entirely in oak). Both beers used in the blend were hopped mostly with Sterling, with some Magnum and Tettnang joining the party. After aging, they were both dry-hopped with a healthy dose of – you guessed it – Saaz hops. The beer was then bottled and conditioned for several more months before its release, where it will finally be ready for your eager mouth (or pie-hole, whichever you prefer). Described by the brewery as “bitter, aromatic, and lightly tart”, and “very aromatic with the yeast and hop aromas”, think of this one as similar to Stillwell 3, but barrel aged. Like the recent releases you’ll be able to buy it by the bottle at the brewery on Sunday. Luckily, they have more bottles of this release than their previous beers, but it’s still a good idea to get there on Sunday to pick your bottles up!

• With the Tidehouse Tap Takeover tomorrow evening at Tom’s Little Havana to celebrate the brewery’s One Year Anniversary, of course one of the eight taps would include a new beer! The brewery got experimental and created Idea of Nord, a “Norwegian Farmhouse Ale”. Brewed with a grist of all-Vienna malt, and hopped with Northern Brewer, they followed the Norwegian tradition of steeping all of their brewing water with juniper boughs. Fermented with the Yeast Bay’s Sigmund’s Voss Kveik strain, the beer has some spicy, herbal flavours, as well as a “pronounced orange flavour” that is common with that particular yeast strain. The rest of the lineup of the Tap Takeover is also now available through the event’s Facebook page, so take a gander and plan your attack!

• Yesterday’s Big Spruce Tap Takeover at Battery Park was a massive success, featuring 15 taps and one cask, with a mix of old favourites, seasonals, new releases, and teases of what’s to come. Their popular Blood Donair made its return, a 7.1% ABV Stout that featured several kilos of donair meat in the brew, and then aged on raspberries. Not related, except by name, is a new small release of Blood Juniper, a 6.0% ABV IPA featuring Blood Orange and Juniper for an extra citrus and piney kick. A small batch Experimental Sour Brett Saison also made its debut yesterday, and details are currently murky as to when it will see wider release. The latest batch of their tribute beer, Coadeword: Snowmageddon Winter Warmer, was pouring from a cask through a handpump, and will be released soon, and a tease of 2018’s Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was available on nitro as well. Look for several of these to be available today at opening in case you missed out, and in wider release in the coming weeks.

• Alma’s Holy Whale and Buddha Bear Cafe have launched their latest beer, a kellerbier. Keller Whale is 5.3% ABV brew that has been conditioning for quite a while (keller is “cellar” is German), smoothing out any harsh character and dropping clear without the use of filtering. Drop by their spot for a taste today, with $0.50 of each pint being donated to The Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

• Pre-ordering on Red Rover’s website is available today for a line of cider/spirit collaboration with Distillerie Fils du RoyThe Spirits of Christmas. Available for the next three Saturdays, Past, Present, and Future, are ciders and spirit blends from these two craft alcohol producers. Check out their brand new online store for more details!

Another round of events coming up in the region!

Tomorrow is the launch of East Coast Crafted book at Stillwell, and there will be a full complement of fun to be had! A fully Atlantic Canadian tap list with many breweries pouring for the first time outside of their home province, and many of the brewers and other folks (*cough* *cough* even us) interviewed for the book will be on hand to chat beer, sign babies and kiss books. There are no tickets necessary for entry, but buying the book there will get you your first drink and snack for free! And the first ten folks to take advantage deal will receive a bonus branded glass, t-shirt, and coaster. Check the full taplist and other details here, it all kicks off at noon. See you there!

• Tickets for next summer’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will go on sale this Sunday, December 10th. Last summer’s inaugural event was a huge success, with plenty of breweries and beer drinkers descending on the town of Nackawic for the outdoor festival. They’re promising next year’s (which will be held on Saturday, July 14th from 4-9 pm) to be even better, as they’ve already confirmed close to double the number of beer and cider vendors at the fest. As well, there are more options for getting to and from the festival next summer, as there are various ticket options that include bus rides from Woodstock, Fredericton and Saint John, and back again after the festival is over. We’ll have more details over the coming months; in the meantime, be sure to grab your tickets ($50 regular admission, $65 for admission + round-trip bus transportation) on Sunday, here.

• Tickets are still available for Winter’s big event in Halifax, the Fifth Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. Being held ThursdayJanuary 18th at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, 16 breweries from across Nova Scotia will be paired up with restaurants and food suppliers to bring you an all-inclusive evening taking over several rooms of the hotel, effectively the entire first floor! Take a gander at the brewery and vendor list here, and pick up your tickets today!

• The following weekend will see a special night for the new breweries and cider houses in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore getting together at one of their own. South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night will be held at Roof Hound Brewing January 24th. From 6:30, beer from Annapolis Brewing CompanyHeritage BrewingLazy Bear, and Lunn’s Mill will take over the taps for the evening. Your $30 ticket includes an appetizer and your first flight of all ten beers on tap (2 from each in attendance), live music from David Chamberland, and a fun meet and greet with this gaggle of brewers. Grab your tickets at Roof Hound today, or email them to get the ball rolling.

And a few more notes before we let you go:

– Next Tuesday’s release of Good Robot‘s Beta Brew will be Rebel Destiny, a 7.6% ABV Double Black IPA hopped with Enigma and Galaxy. Also, DeWolfe of Wall Street is back on tap at the brewery’s taproom, and they’ve just canned their second round of Extra Big Ass Camacho Lager.
Hell Bay has brought back their Tannen Bomb, a 5% ABV “Honey Blonde Ale” infused with balsam fir, for the holidays. It’s on tap at the brewery now, and will be released in bottles sometime next week.
Horton Ridge Malt and Grain has released their latest beer, Kings & Queens SMaSH. From the brewery: “It is a tale of two counties. The barley was developed and grown in Queens County, PEI by Lester Craig; the Centennial hops were grown in Kings County NS by Fundy Hops. A nice light beer, at 4.2% ABV, it has become popular with our taproom regulars. Available in pints/tasters at the Malt House, and in growlers to go.”

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.