Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

 

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.

Another Friday is upon us in Atlantic Canada and as usual, we’ve got as much news as we could dig up about beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events throughout the region. So grab yourself an appropriate beverage (perhaps you’d consider a beer?) and we’ll get right to it.

• Today, Red Rover will be releasing the second cider in their new Summer Series, which focuses on different seasonals and Reserve blends from the past, but in 750 mL bottle form. Barrel Reserve #1 is a dry, still cider (7.2% ABV) that has been oak-aged and conditioned in Bourbon barrels for over 6 months. A very limited supply of 250 bottles (which have been corked and wax-capped for aging) will be available at the Cider House and Farmers Markets. Look for Barrel Reserve #2 to follow in the near future.

• Over in Cape Breton, Nyanza’s Big Spruce just brewed up a new seasonal in their “Conspired” (Conspiratorial?) series. Brewed in collaboration with the Ocean Tracking Network, out of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Tag! You’re It! is a “light-bodied, super juicy” American IPA featuring large post knockout additions of the wonderful, tropical Citra and Mosaic hop varieties; look for this one to come in at about 6.5% ABV. This beer will be canned, with 50 cents from every sale going towards research at the OTN, which will help protect endangered ocean species. We’ll let you know when this beer becomes available to the thirsty public.

• Summer officially started a few weeks ago, and the weather has finally improved, so Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery will be releasing a Witbier, Summer Break, today or over the weekend. One of the tastiest of the warm-weather beer styles, it was brewed with Maritime Malt and Wheat malt, and also features the traditional additions of coriander and orange peel. Fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast to add spicy phenolics and fruity esters to the contributions from the coriander and orange peel, this 4.9% ABV, pale and hazy brew will be available in kegs only, at the brewery’s taproom and select accounts. And if you’re lucky enough to live near the brewery, stop by this Friday for a visit… not just to try Summer Break, but to watch the brewers brew up some test batches of their Pumpkin beer on the brewery patio (yes, Pumpkin beers are approaching already…sorry).

Petit-Sault has brewed up a brand new beer that will be released to lucky participants in next month’s 12th Annual Roch-Voisine/Knights of Columbus celebrity golf tournament, held for the La Fondation Bob Fife, on August 7th and 8th at the Fraser Edmundston Golf Club. Named, appropriately, Bob Fife, this Pale Ale base beer had 100% locally-sourced and produced Haskap berry juice added, providing a pleasant, refreshing tanginess. At just 4.25% ABV, it should be the perfect golfing beer! If there’s any left after the tournament (only a very small batch was made), look for growlers to be available at the brewery only.

• Ontario’s Beau’s continues to brew beers with other breweries in the country to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday… and next up is a collaboration with Unfiltered! Appropriately named, EPH Bomb is a “Northeast DIPA” brewed with Pilsner and acid malt, oats, and wheat, and hopped (intensely, no doubt) with Wai-iti and Azacca. The result is lots of grapefruit, pine, and papaya in the aroma, followed by a “fruity sweetness” in the flavour, “balanced by a medium bitterness and mild alcohol warmth” in the finish. Weighing in at 9% ABV and 75 IBUs, this is a limited release, and will be available at the NSLC in early-mid August. As well, look for it on tap at the Beau’s Tap Takeover at the Stillwell Beer Garden on August 10th, and at the Beau’s booth at the Seaport Beerfest (August 11th and 12th).

• Lots going on at Good Robot over the next little bit… first off, they’ve released their third SMaSH beer, adorably named SMaSH Meowth. Brewed with 100% Maris Otter, hopped with Rakau, a New Zealand variety, and fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast, expect notes of plum, citrus, melon, and pear in this 5.5% ABV, 45 IBU brew. And today is Friday, meaning there’s a new entry in their Cask in the Sun series – Goseface Killah with organic peach and nectarine. Finally, we have some info on their next Beta Brewsday release this coming Tuesday. Sour Mumma Bloomfield was brewed by loyal employee Erica Fraser (who is responsible for sending us beer info every week… thanks for that!). This “hopless, malt-forward herbal beer” was soured from the addition of locally-harvested herbs, including  rose, yarrow, thyme, lavender, sage, rosemary, and marigold. But that’s not all! Some roasted dandelion root, nettle, and a tea blend prepared from herbs harvested from the Mother Oak Permaculture Co-op were also added. Tart, with an apple pie-like character in the taste, drop by the brewery next Tuesday to give this 4.8% ABV brew a try.

• A couple of blocks over, at Agricola and North, Chain Yard Urban Cidery has a new cider available that incorporates gin for a riff on one of the most classic cocktails of summer. Ginx is, at its heart, a dry cider made from a blend of Northern Spy and Jonogold apples. It was then conditioned with gin from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery along with the juice of organic limes. The result is a dry cider with plenty of juniper on the nose, a balance between the cider and spirit components, and a clean and refreshing finish. Chain Yard’s cider maker, Jay Hildybrant, developed Ginx both to prove his belief that a dry cider and gin would play nicely together, but also as a way to incorporate another local product into a fun summer drink. It’s available for 12 oz pours and growler fills at the cidery (although we’ve heard a rumour that some may make it into stubbies in the future), but tread carefully: at 9.5% ABV it’s going to pack a bit of a boozy punch as well!

• And to complete our little tour of North End Halifax this week, we head up to Gottingen Street, where Propeller has some new and renewed things on the go. First is a beer that was released last week in the California Common style, a medium-bodied ale, traditionally fermented with a lager yeast strain that can withstand the higher temperatures favored by ale yeasts. Propeller’s version of this classic is called Sacramento Common and it’s 5.5% ABV, with a rich amber color and 39 IBUs provided by Northern Brewer hops, which are also traditionally the only hops used in this style. Toasty and caramel notes from the malts mingle with light fruits and lingering bitterness from the hops to yield a slightly malty and sweet but not-too-heavy beer.

• Next, released this past Wednesday, is a beer in a very modern style that sees the clove and banana characteristics of German-style wheat beers meet heavy late hopping with modern hop varieties a la a West Coast IPA. The term for the style is also the name of this new beer from Propeller: Hopfenweisse. Generously late-hopped with dank Simcoe and wine-y Nelson Sauvin, you’re apt to taste passion fruit and gooseberry with some tropical fruit and banana. Medium bodied and carbed up nice and high, it’s a hazy golden yellow color. Although pushing 48 IBUs, you should find the mouthfeel and fruity tropical flavors mitigate the bitterness of this refreshing, 5.8% ABV beer. Both of these beers are available at the taproom for pints and, we presume, growler fills as well.

• Moving on, as part of the rollout of their updated brand, Propeller has revisited the recipe for their stalwart Double IPA. Now in 650 mL bottles for 30% more beer, we’re also told they’re adding dry hops at 300% of the old rate! It’s already available in Propeller’s bottle shop and we expect you’ll see it in the same places you saw the original version, including select NSLC locations and the private stores in Halifax.

• Finally (!), during last weekend’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, Propeller held the Brew Patriot Love competition, and they are happy to announce that Brew-Deau Canadian Cream Ale from Trider’s was voted the most Canadian beer. A fun contest, where the beers were judged not solely on taste, but on the story, packaging, and “Canadian” qualities, Brew-deau beat out a dozen other beers to take the title. Congratulations to Trider’s, and learn a bit more about the event here, and if you dispute the results, get ready to brew your own for next year’s event, to coincide with next May’s Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax.

• Along with the return of crowd favourites Hu John Hops and Luster earlier this week, Fredericton’s TrailWay also released another new entry in the ever-growing hoppy lineup. Apeel is a supremely sessionable (4% ABV) brew marketed as a contrast to Luster. With more malt character than most of their highly-hopped beers (and a dark tan colour in the body as a result, which definitely is a change from the pale yellow colour we expect from many TW beers!), there’s still plenty of hops popping, thanks to large additions of Ekuanot and Ella, giving “an amazing depth of fruit, berries, and orange peel”. Available on tap everywhere, and in cans at the brewery only (depending on stock, some may pop up at a few ANBL stores).

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new beers on the go as well as the results of their contest to name the beer they’re dedicating to the Tall Ships visit in mid-August. That winning submission was the appropriately nautical Three Sheets Cream Ale and, quite coincidentally, it was suggested by one Harry MacDonald, who also happened to be Boxing Rock’s very first paying customer four years ago! Look for that beer to make its appearance very shortly before the ships sail into port.

• Meanwhile, the two other beers on the BR docket this week are brand new releases that arose out of this year’s Black Box Challenge. The winning beer, Brian Harvey’s Grafted has already come and gone, but as we mentioned in our report on the event, Henry and Emily told us several of the finalist beers were impressive enough to be considered for production batches. First is Grand Mariner, a Belgian IPA by Kelly Costello. You may recognize Kelly’s name as she currently reigns over Good Robot’s BetaBrew system and is cranking out small batches of unique and tasty treats for their taproom on the regular. The original version of this beer actually had the highest tasting score in the Black Box Challenge event. It’s lower than most IPAs on the ABV side, at a sessionable 5.0%, and it features Bravo and Wild Turkey hops, the latter being a wild cultivar sourced from a hop farm in Ontario. The beer has also been “dry-hopped” with an addition of sweet orange peel after primary fermentation for a perfume of citrus. The second new beer comes in a style we’re not sure has been seen in Nova Scotia, or even Atlantic Canada, at least not any time recently. Tropic Thunder, brewed in collaboration with Jason Currie, is a Tropical Stout, a style that grew up in hot climates where darker beers are found to be quite refreshing. The style is known for marrying roasty dark malt flavours with sweetness and fruitiness while keeping the bitterness well in check. Tropic Thunder delivers all that in a 6.0% ABV package, along with a citrus note from sweet orange peel to finish it all off. Both of these winning beers have been bottled in 650 mL bombers and will be available at the brewery and the private stores in Halifax.

• And rounding out the Boxing Rock news for this week, be sure to listen to the 902 BrewCast which dropped on #902sday this week, when Kyle, Phil, and Tony visited the Shelburne brewery to learn about their beginnings, struggles and successes, and even tease a new brand beer coming in the next couple of weeks.

• Lazy Bear, located in Smiths Cove, NS, has released a brand new beer this week named Punch. Featuring plenty of tropical hops, namely El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Olicana, the beer is big on taste, but small in alcohol, weighing in at 4.6% ABV. Yeast from Imperial Yeast was chosen for this beer, resulting in a hazy juice-bomb. Punch is available at the brewery for their Thursday night events, and will be at their stall at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market this weekend. Look for it on tap shortly at Battery Park too!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing Co has a new beer pouring in the city this weekend, Stonehammer Saison. Brewed in the traditional French style, using a simple Pilsner and Wheat malt bill, fermented with an iconic yeast, the spritzy and naturally spicy and fruity beer was complemented with a double round of Mandarina Bavaria dry hopping for extra citrus character. Drop by one of LCBC’s Uptown licensees for a pour, or visit the ANBL growler fill locations to grab it to go, possibly for enjoyment at the Stonehammer Geopark just outside of Saint John.

• Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has announced that they will soon begin filling growlers. From noon to midnight each day, a variety of their year-round and seasonal beers will be available to take away in the popular format. We’ll have more details when available.

• In a late addition to the blog, we are thrilled to announce that the first beer to age in the foedres installed at 2 Crows Brewing in Halifax will be available tomorrow. Crosswired, the 5.3% hazy and pale beer, fermented with both wine and beer yeasts, has been hanging out in the Calvados barrel for a couple of months, and is now ready for prime-time. Cans of the beer will be available exclusively at the brewery beginning tomorrow at noon, and are in short supply, so you are well-advised to get to the brewery this weekend to avoid disappointment. To learn more about Crosswired, check out our post on it from its release in April, and about the foedres from a post in May.

As always, we’ve also got some upcoming events you might want to consider checking out!

• For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to the sold-out Big Axe Craft Beer Festival tomorrow, have fun! Registration starts at 3 pm, so be sure to get there ahead of the 4 pm start time so that you’re ready to start enjoying the multiple varieties of beer, cider, and mead that will be pouring. If you’re in the area and missed out on tickets, fear not… next week we should have details on another beer festival happening in the near future, in the town of Woodstock!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting yet another beer event, with their Nine Locks Tap Takeover on Thursday, July 20th. Looks like the official tap list has not been released yet, but rest assured you’ll be seeing plenty of goodies from Nine Locks, and the event will run all day. As usual, no charge to attend, just pay by the pint!

• A reminder that Upstreet with be releasing Year 2 of De Novo next Thursday, July 20th. Their Anniversary beer, De Novo is a light mixed-fermentation (read: blend of several yeasts, including Brett) Saison that has spent the last month bottle-conditioning and is now ready for sale. Drop by the brewery that evening for a fun event and to try both Year 1 and 2 of De Novo, and some other special beers.

• On Saturday, July 22nd, drop by Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery for the latest screening of Sociable!, the Nova Scotia craft beer film. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand to chat about the film, and the growth in the NS beer landscape since filming. And in the spirit of community, Roof Hound has invited several other breweries to bring a keg of beer to showcase their wares, including nearby Lazy Bear, Yarmouth’s Heritage, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill, and Windsor’s Schoolhouse. And while there, be sure to try their Full Circle Pizza, which features sausages made from locally-raised pork, which was raised on RH’s spent grain.

• Tatamagouche is a beautiful town and home to a fantastic brewery, so it’s only fair that they’re getting their own beer festival! On Saturday, July 29th, the first North Shore Craft Brew Expo will be held at the North Shore Rec Centre from 6-11:30 pm. There will be at least 12 local breweries and one cidery attending; your ticket price of $42.55 (+ fee) will get you entry and five 4 oz drink tickets; additional drink tickets can be purchased for $2 each. Local food vendors will be onsite, and live music will be playing throughout the night, starting at 8 pm. Tickets are available here.

Hope you all have a great weekend! A few final things before we let you go…

Maybee now has their Orion, a 11.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale with maple syrup, available at the brewery for purchase in 750 mL corked-and-caged bottles.
North has re-released Little Beast, their 4% ABV “light lagered ale”, as well as a new batch of Malternate Reality (with this version being dry-hopped with Mosaic cryohops, and El Dorado).
– If you’re a fan of the citrus bomb that is DOA from Unfiltered you’ll be happy to know it’ll be back on tap at the brewery for fills and Charm School Pub for pints and fills as of this Friday at noon.

Happy Friday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day! If being a Friday wasn’t a good enough excuse to drink, now you have two reasons! But before you reach for that beer (stay away from food colouring!), let’s take a few minutes to get caught up with our local beer news…

• The 2017 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival – the 5th year for the fest – was a huge success, and – as we can personally verify – one hell of a good time! With two sessions on Saturday, there were 58 breweries pouring over 220 beers, ciders, and meads, 5200+ L of beer served to ~1,750 people. Thanks to organizer Lloyd Chambers and 50 loyal volunteers, everything went smoothly, proving that the festival does indeed improve with every year. Several other events were also going on through the week (and even into Sunday), with plenty of beer lovers turning out to take part. This was also the first year for the Down East Brewing Awards, which had close to 140 different beers and ciders entered by commercial breweries in Atlantic Canada. The winners were announced at the FCBF afternoon session, and Fredericton’s TrailWay took home Brewery of the Year, thanks to winning three gold medals and Best of Show (check out the link for the full list of winners). Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who helped to make FCBF such a success, and we’ll see you next year, with a date of March 10th already set! And don’t forget to vote for Best of the Fest, rewarding your favourite breweries that attended this year’s event.

• Attention Newfoundland Beer Fans! Split Rock Brewing Company is coming soon to Twillingate, on the island’s Northeast shore. Allison and Matt Vincent are residents of the town, and were living and working away from home for several years. In the mid-2000s, while living in Halifax, they caught the craft beer bug, and began homebrewing. Starting with wine and beer kits, they graduated to brewing All Grain in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. Like many avid homebrewers, the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown was always in the back of their mind, but at that time, just a dream. An opportunity for Allison to move back home in 2014 brought them back to Twillingate, and, as Allison puts it, “with the tourism industry booming and many young people moving home, we knew it needed a microbrewery!” Local businesspeople Tim and Robin Vatcher share their vision to bring a growth industry back to the region, and are helping to bring Split Rock Brewing Co to fruition. Brewmaster Matt will be brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, capable of a full brewday in only four hours, with 3800 litres of fermentation capacity for a wide variety of beers on the go simultaneously. Speaking of which, they are fans of brewing (and drinking) English-style beer, and will be launching with a variety of those, including a Bitter, Red Ale (with Rye), Brown Ale, Stout, and IPA, as well as a Belgian Witbier and Cream Ale. Split Rock will be hitting the local taps late spring; stay tuned to their social media and here for the full scoop!

• Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound has taken taken one of the truly formative steps in the life of a young brewery by hiring an assistant brewer. Magen Powell is a veteran of the restaurant industry where she has worked on and off since she was 19 years of age, serving, bartending and managing. Her stint with Nova Scotia draught and tap experts BeerTech helped her develop a solid technical understanding and the skills needed to install and maintain dispensing systems. This also helps her bring another perspective to brewing in terms of how beer and other carbonated liquids behave and the influence of different gases (CO2, “beer gas”, Nitro, etc.) in dispensing. Magen’s first foray in the brewhouse is the Dive Bar Classics series, beginning with the Mojito Dry-hopped Sour that was released on March 4th. This series reflects her passion for being a “bar chef” and her interest in craft cocktails featuring local ingredients. The next in the series, Fuzzy Navel IPA was brewed this week and you can expect it to debut in April. We’ll be sure to get more details about that one as the release date approaches.

• Meanwhile, Roof Hound is also putting on something special for your St. Patrick’s day celebration today – they’ve taken their Handsome Devil Coffee Milk Porter and jazzed it up with almonds, vanilla bean and Irish Whiskey. The result is 7% ABV and there’s only one keg of it down at the brewery. So if you’re in the Digby area tonight and fixing for something dark, smooth and sweet, this one sounds like a good bet!

• In other St. Paddy’s Day beer news, Fredericton’s Picaroons just released The Leprechaunundrum, a dark, bitter, 6.5% ABV ale that doesn’t appear to fit into any particular style of beer. Described by the brewery as “dry and full-bodied, yet fruity due to the generous amounts of Galaxy hops”, it’s now on tap at all Picaroons locations across New Brunswick, and may pop up at select bars/restaurants in the near future.

Bulwark Cider’s special People’s Cider Project is ready for prime-time! We first mentioned it in October, when they put out the call for folks with hobby orchards, abandoned orchards, or just some apple trees on their property to bring apples to Ross Farm Museum for Cider Days. The original hope was simply that enough cider would be made to share with all the apple-givers who were issued People’s Cider Memberships in exchange for their apples. In the end things went a whole lot better than that and the first community-driven cider project in Nova Scotia (at least in recorded memory) is a great success. The People’s Cider has arrived and was launched this week. A rustic cider coming in at 7.8% ABV, it features aromas of apple blossom, pear, and clover honey and has a crisp, dry finish. Given the many varieties of apples it contains, some of which have surely been all but forgotten, it expresses true terroir; future versions are bound to be different, but this is your chance to taste the very first. Available in 500ml bottles, you’ll be able to find it at the private liquor stores in Halifax as well as the NSLC Port of Wines store. If you’re not in Halifax, or even in Nova Scotia, and you want to get your hands on this special batch, fear not! Bulwark has now launched an online store shipping cider and branded merchandise country-wide. This is great news for both Bulwark and cider fans across the land; now if only breweries were allowed to do the same thing…

• After a brief hiatus, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their Killick Session Lager this week, but in a big way. The 4.7% ABV Munich Helles-style beer, originally released as Kinobier last fall to celebrate Devour! Film Fest, is now available in six-pack format. The Helles (“Bright” or “Pale”) style is a traditional German style of beer, known to be supremely drinkable, and the local version does not disappoint. Featuring Heidelberg Malt as the sole grain, and a light bitterness from Herkules hops (with Huell Melon for aroma and flavour), these ingredients keep the beer authentically German. Six-packs are available now at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront, and debuting at the NSLC Monday, April 3rd. And in an update for you Blueberry Chai Pils fans (or soon-to-be fans), packaging of this beer will be happening early next week, with release mid-next-week at the brewery, and with the standard Spindrift Tall Boy cans debuting at the NSLC April 3rd.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another Growler Day today, with a pair of beers available to go. Method IPA is a hazy and juicy, orange hoppy beer with lots of citrus and peach notes, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 7% ABV, the brewery assures us it’s “new and improved”! T&B’s latest sour beer will also be pouring – Sour Otis Tangelo Oranges features, yes, tangelo, a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. The details stop there, but assuming this beer follows the trend set by the others in the Sour Otis series, it was likely kettle soured to give plenty of tartness to complement the character from the fruit addition.

• We’ve got lots of news to share about Sober Island Brewing, who are putting the final touches on their major expansion at their brewery (new building, and a 820 litre (7BBL) brewhouse, up from 50 litre). They expect to be brewing on the system before the end of the month, which means an April launch. In the meantime, however, they will be adding a brand new beer to their core lineup, a Blonde Ale very soon. Described as a “bread and butter sort of beer” by owner Rebecca Atkinson, the easy drinking brew uses a different yeast than the rest of their year-round offerings, low in hop profile, but with plenty of character. The approachable beer is meant to introduce local drinkers to the wonderful world of small batch beer. First sips and samples will be available at the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

• This week’s edition of The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly, is beer-centric, so be sure to grab it to learn about what local brewers are drinking, an interview with Propeller Brewing’s John Allen, and some suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day drinking from the 902BrewCast guys. Speaking of which, they have released their March Tasting Episode this morning, so be sure to grab that in your favourite podcasting method.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is coming up fast (Saturday, April 8th), and Flying Boats will be attending with a brand new beer in tow. Brewed in collaboration with local beer writer Craig Pinhey, it’s being stylized as a “hybrid Amber Ale” brewed to feature the Special B malt. Known for imparting raisin-like, dark fruit characteristics when used in brewing, Special B is more often seen in dark, Belgian-style ales. Flying Boats’ beer also has NB-grown Cascade hops added for bittering and flavour, and will come in at around 29 IBUs and 5.5% ABV. If you can’t make it to the SJBF – there are a few tickets still on sale, by the way – fear not! This one will also be on tap at Flying Boats accounts.

• The NB maple beers continue to flow, as Foghorn just released their take on the style. Described by the brewery as a “Maple Rye”, Xylem has a subtle maple flavour thanks to the addition of 20 L of maple syrup from local producer Briggs Maples. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Southan Goldings, giving a moderate bitterness in the finish. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and is available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom; keep your eyes peeled, as it may pop up on tap at your favourite Foghorn licensee, soon. And keep an eye out for more Maple Beers, launched as a Tourism NB partnership between maple producers and brewers. Also on the list is Distillerie Fils du Roy‘s Monseigneur Paquet collaboration with their Pacquetville neighbours, Sucrerie Chiasson.

• In Nackawic, you’ll find Big Axe putting out their Maple Bourbon Porter, a 5.4% ABV brown porter with a light to medium body and a mild bitterness. The maple syrup for this beer came from Dumfries Maples across the river. Bourbon-soaked oak chips were added to the secondary along with a second shot of maple syrup. Continuing the maple theme, Big Axe will also be doing their annual Maple Wheat Amber as soon as the sugaring season starts, with their usual partner Stone Family Maple Products providing the syrup for that one. We’ll update you on that one as the season goes on.

• And speaking of Fils du Roy, they will be releasing a new beer next weekend, as part of an event in Bathurst. Capt. Craig Brown Ale is a 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU beer named after famous/infamous Capt Craig, a maurader in the Baie de Chaleur, and whose phantom ship is thought to sail the Baie to this day. Le Soiree Noir & Blanc is a fundraising supper happening in Bathurst Mar 25th, in support of food security and assistance for the region’s youth. After the launch, bottles of the beer will be more widely available at the region’s ANBL locations.

In addition to today’s excuse to grab a few pints at your local, we’ve got a few more reasons to celebrate local: 

• Happy One Year Anniversary to Fredericton’s York County Cider! Drop by their retail location at 418 York Street this afternoon from 4-7pm for free sampling, snacks, and prizes.

• Wolfville’s La Torta Pizzeria will be hosting a very special event tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, their first (we think!) tap takeover, as Tatamagouche Brewing comes in from the North Shore. Twelve, count ’em, 12 taps will be flowing with Tata’s signature brews starting at 2pm. There will be door prizes, swag, live music featuring Steve Lee, and no cover charge. The tap list has been slowly revealed this week via social media, with taps 1-4 showcasing the lighter side and taps 5-8 banging the hops. Taps 8-12 are yet to be revealed; check Tata’s Twitter throughout the day for the announcement. And plan to bring an appetite, as La Torta’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired oven will be in full swing.

PEI Brewing Co. will be holding a special Tap Takeover at HopYard on Saturday, March 25th, where they will be launching their dry-hopped Brett Saison. Aptly named Patience, this beer was brewed almost six months ago. With a grist of 2-row, Munich malt, and wheat, it was fermented with a Saison strain, as well as the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which can continue to develop funky flavours and aromas when given enough time. Once it was about ready, it was then dry-hopped with the tropical Citra and Mosaic varieties, and primed (carbonated) in the bottle for several weeks. This is the first Brett (and bottle-conditioned) beer for PEIBC, so be sure to grab a few bottles when you can! Aside from the PEIBC tap takeover, the event will feature lots of live music, as well as a limited edition menu collaboration with Chef Jane Crawford and Chef Adam Loo. Bring your appetites! It all starts at 4 pm, with no cover.

• On April 2nd (rescheduled from March 25 due to shipping issues), Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting a BC Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring 3 heavy-hitters from the West Coast: Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Four Winds Brewing from Delta, and Dageraad of Burnaby. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Changeling Raspberry Sour, Four Winds’ Featherweight Session IPA, and Dageraad’s Sri Lanka Dubbel. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon. For the full taplist, check out the Brewnosers Forums for the salivating details.

• Now that FCBF is over, it’s time to start planning for the next beer-themed Fredericton event – Poutine Fest! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, like past events it will feature three different sessions, with two of them (late afternoon and evening) pouring over 12 different beers, ciders and meads. There are different ticket options which determine the number of drink tickets you receive (click out the link for details); of course, all tickets include all-you-can-eat poutine, with 12+ different varieties being available! Tickets go on sale today at 11 am; the event has sold out every time since its initial launch, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.

• And if summer doesn’t feel too far away for you, we have news on a new festival coming up! The first Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will be held in downtown Nackawic, NB on Saturday, July 15th from 4-8 pm. Organized by Peter and Tatiana Cole of Big Axe Brewery, exact details are still being ironed out, but there will be 20+ breweries from NB, NS, PEI and Maine on hand, as well as live music (including David in the Dark), and food vendors offering “an assortment of foods grown and sourced in NB”. Tickets are already on sale, and are $50 each; there is also a limited-availability $65 option, which includes a bus ride to and from the festival from Fredericton or Woodstock. Breweries confirmed so far include Grimross, Maybee, Hammond River, Picaroons, Sober Island, Foghorn, Upstreet, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Portland, Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Be sure to buy your tickets ASAP, before they’re gone!

And before we go this week…

Good Robot will have their Dave & Morley Coffee Brown back on tap as of today in version 2.0 form, this time featuring Rwanda Kanzu (from Java Blend, of course) as the coffee component. So pull up a stool, order one up, and maybe lift your glass to the late, great Stuart McLean, who inspired this brew. Meanwhile, the gang has installed their Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels and will shortly be pouring things into them; we’ll let you know what when the appropriate time comes.
Mill Street St John’s has brought back their Jigger’s Delight Cali Common (5% ABV, 14 IBUs), a hybrid between lager and ale that is described as “fresh and zingy, with medium body and toasty caramel notes”.
– Needing a Nine Locks Fathom fix? Good news, it’s back in cans again! This 8% ABV DIPA recently won a medal in the Down East Brewing Awards, so stock up while you can!
– Picaroons has announced that they’re looking to fill two brewing positions, one at the Saint John brewery, and one in St. Stephen. Both breweries are 2.5 hL in size, double-batching into 5 hL. For a full list of qualifications and contact info, check out this link.
– The region’s Homebrewers, especially those in the HRM, will be excited to hear that Everwood Avenue Brewshop is relocating out of owner Dave Gillette’s basement and into a retail space in Lower Sackville. This will mean regular retail hours six days a week, and only closing on Mondays. The space is roughly twice as large and will allow the shop to expand its product lines and better cater to different market segments. We’ll have more details before the expected opening on April 5th, but for now can tell you that they’re looking for a full-time employee for the new space. You can find the details of the position posted on the Brewnoser’s forum.