Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Big Axe Craft Beer Festival

Howdy howdy folks, and welcome to another ACBeerBlog Friday Wrap-up where we blather on at length about as many of the beer happenings in Atlantic Canada as we were able to get details about. This week we’ve got a new brewery announcement, some collabs, the usual fresh releases, and a couple of events to tell you about, so grab a beer and get ready. But before you read further, we’d like to give you a heads-up that next week we’ll be taking one of our (ultra-)rare weeks off from the blog, so you’ll have to do your own social media mining for beer news on Friday, July 19. We’ll be back on the 26th, refreshed and ready to bring you our usual high quality reportage.

While details are a bit light at the moment, we are thrilled to share news of a soon-to-open brewery coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Delta Force Brewing is the culmination of well over a decade of recipe development and perfection of techniques by decorated homebrewers Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart. Concentrating on “farmshed” beers (think “farmhouse”, but smaller and with a local bent), Delta Force will serve the Valley and HRM before fall. Follow along on their social mediums for progress ( Fb / Ig / Tw ), and we’ll have a full Profile with Keddy and Stewart (aka Alexander and McCoy) closer to opening, with background on their beer, brewhouse, and plans. 

Lake City Cider celebrated their Anniversary this week, marking their cidery and taproom’s first year of operation with a tap takeover at fellow downtown Dartmouth business Battery Park. One of the ciders ahem beverages debuting yesterday was Hometown Hybrid, a collaborative graf brewed with North Brewing. Graf (or graff) is the melding of beer and cider, with the starting wort and juices fermented together for the best of both styles. Hometown Hybrid is a 5.0% ABV bevvie, and is available on tap and in cans today at both host fermentories, with kegs being sent out to licensees as well. And if you’re lucky, there may still be a few ciders on tap at BP to quench your thirst today.

Speaking of downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood Brewery shares a space with Lake City at 35 Portland Street, and is releasing a new beer today, a hybrid in its own way. Pineapple Crushable is a Sour Wheat Beer, but arrived at in a unique way. Using techniques developed a couple of years ago, the Brightwood crew used a SCoBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)  from Pop Culture Kombucha to first sour the wheat-heavy wort, before halting the process by boiling (and killing all bacteria and yeast). Yeast is then used to complete fermentation, generating alcohol instead of lactic acid as in the first step. After fermentation, loads of fresh pureed pineapple and Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops were added to the fermenter to round out the beer. Pick up this tart, fruity, and refreshing 4.7% ABV beer at the brewery’s taproom today for pints and growler fills, with cans to follow next week.

Last weekend’s Beer on the Bridge festival in Fredericton saw the debut of several new beers, one of which was the latest to come out of Harvey’s Think Brewing. Train of Thought is an American IPA brewed with a grist that includes flaked oats, and malted and flaked wheat, giving the beer a smooth body and slight haziness. Hopped with Citra and Amarillo, expect juicy and tropical aromas and flavours. No need to be upset if you missed this 6.9% ABV, 43 IBUs beer last weekend – it’ll be popping up at regular Think tap accounts across the province.

Tatamagouche Brewing, conveniently located located on Main Street Tatamagouche (that was good planning!), has a new brew out this week. Holiday Honeycomb is a 5.5% ABV Blonde Ale with all malts originating from the Valley’s Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. Featuring the addition of 60 lbs of honey (20 lbs in the kettle, 40 lbs in secondary) from Holiday Inn Truro’s hives, the beer was hopped with Saaz to 25 IBUs. Grab this one on tap at the brewery, partner hotel, and at better beer spots around the province (including Horton Ridge, Battery Park, Stillwell, and HopYard Halifax).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has spent the last few months releasing new and interesting things for you to drink and they’re continuing that trend this week with their Brut Rosé Sparkling Ale. This one has been inspired by classic light and easy summery rosé wines, perfect for this time of year. A “sparkling ale” (which we assume means more highly carbonated than your average ale), it carries the brut designation, implying a very dry body and finish, and a blush color provided by pinot noir grapes and hibiscus. Very light and refreshing at 4.4% ABV and a mere 8 IBU, limited kegs have been filled for Propeller’s own locations and, most likely, licensees around the city, but it’s also been packaged in 473 mL cans, which you can pick up at both Prop shops and hopefully the private stores in the city.

No one has ever accused Big Spruce Brewing of a lack of experimentation… or, if they have, they likely received a well-deserved smack! But with their latest beer, Slam Dunkel, they’ve even got us admitting that the “style” is one that likely hasn’t been seen before: a “Jamaican rum-barrel-aged Dunkel Wit”. This 7.3% ABV brew has a Dunkelweizen-type grist, fermented with a Witbier yeast strain. Aged for five months in dark rum barrels from Jamaica, the final beer has an aroma of chocolate-spiced rum cake, with lots of dried fruit and spice on the palate… and more rum! A touch warming in the finish, as you may expect, this dark beer is meant to be sipped on during these fine summer evenings. It’s available in kegs only, so look for it on tap at the brewery and a select few tap accounts in Nova Scotia. And in returning beer news for Big Spruce, their organic guava IPA, Guava Get Me Some (6.4% ABV), is back on tap and in cans, so grab some tropical goodness wherever you see it.

Moving westward to Amherst, where Trider’s has a brand new beer for you fans of American Wheat Ales out there. American Orange in Paris isn’t your typical wheat beer, however, as it was dry-hopped with the French variety, Triskel. While this hop is known for imparting citrus and floral character when used, the brewery decided to add a bit more punch with an addition of sweet orange peel. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it was fermented with a neutral American ale yeast to allow the hop and orange peel additions to shine. It’s draught-only for now, at the brewery tap room and maybe one or two lucky licensees.

Up in Fredericton, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go this week, the first to be designed and brewed solo by Matt Scott, secret squirrel member of the Niche team for the past few months (but not anymore!). Westfalia is a straight-up, classic Hefeweizen built on a grist of Pilsner and lots of malted and flaked wheat and fermented on Niche’s favorite Weizen yeast strain. Look for plenty of banana and clove presence from the yeast and a classic wheat-driven body in this 4.5% ABV refresher. Kegs of this are going out to The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peppers Pub, Brasseux BrouePub, and Graystone Brewing in New Brunswick, and folks in Halifax will also get a chance at this one thanks to Stillwell and The Auction House.

While it kinda feels like Port Rexton Brewing just opened yesterday, it also feels like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably just old age talking, but regardless of that, they’re turning the big 0-3 this Saturday, and you’re probably not too surprised to hear that they’ve got some celebratin’ planned! With four new beers, new glassware, and free cake – at both the taproom AND St. John’s retail shop – it’s fun times for all, guaranteed! Let’s dive into these beers and get started…

John Jacob Lichtenhainer Schmidt – Brewed with a portion of smoked malt, this is a 4.1% ABV sour beer that has “a limeade tartness” to contrast all of that delightful, smoky BBQ character

Dry-Hopped Baycation Blonde – Name gives it away, this is their regular Baycation Blonde that has been dry-hopped with Cascade and Azacca. The 5.2% ABV base beer is showing plenty of “grapefruit, peach, stone fruit and pineapple” thanks to that dry-hop addition, along with a little more bitterness than the non-dry-hopped version. 

Continuum w/ Mandarina Bavaria – The latest in the Continuum series, a whole whack of Mandarina Bavaria (along with some Simcoe) was added in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry hop additions. Hazy, bitter, and 5.6% ABV, this IPA has notes of mandarin orange and wildflower in the aroma, along with “tropical mango/pineapple, apricot and rose” on the palate. 

2019 High Fives – Some of you may recall that for their 2nd birthday bash, PRB released High Fives as a tribute to their customers (that’s you!); this year’s batch is another “thank you” to the people they love and appreciate! A mixed-fermentation Farmhouse Ale that was aged for 11 months in their Calvados foeder on their Brett-packed house culture, it’s finally ready, just in time! Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it’s showing lots of Brett character, with “undertones of oak, apple brandy, and pear” in the aroma. Expect a dry cider-like experience in the flavour, with “Champagne-esque vibes backed up by green apple Jolly Rancher/kiwi/green grape skin”.  

All of these birthday beers will be available on tap, and will be sold as 12 oz pours only… at a discount! If you get there nice and early, however (i.e. you’re one of the first 40 people through the door), you’ll be given a special 16 oz PRB birthday mason jar, which you’ll not only be allowed to take home, but you’ll also have filled at the 12 oz price all day! When the birthday brews sell out, there’ll be other PRB flagships ready to go on, to ensure the beer/fun keeps flowing. Happy birthday, PRB!

Earlier this week, Maybee Brewing released the second beer in their barrel-aged series, Maple Bourbon Elevensies. As you may have guessed from the name, this beer is their regular Espresso Stout, Elevensies, aged in Maple Bourbon barrels (more specifically, Kentucky Bourbon barrels which previously held Vermont maple syrup). The beer was fermented in stainless, then moved into barrels where it went through a brief, secondary fermentation, and then was allowed to age in the barrels for seven months. Carbonated before packaging, this dark brew has aromas of maple syrup, Bourbon, and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate and caramel, all supported by notes of oak. Both the oak and maple carry through to the flavour, with a low level of carbonation allowing the barrel character to be more prevalent. At 6% ABV and 41 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery right now in 750 mL cork & cage bottles, and is also pouring on one of their nitro taps. Look for kegs to make their way to select tap accounts across NB over the coming weeks.

Brand new bottle release from Halifax’s Tidehouse this week, a 7.5% ABV Double IPA named It Was All A Dream. A tropical, juicy brew hopped heavily with El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Ella, it’s available exclusively at the brewery. You can purchase some 650 mL bottles to go, or stay for a visit in the taproom and sip on a glass. Growler fills are available as well, but limited to the 1 L size.

Congratulations are in order, as homebrewer Derek Woods’ winning D Rock Dunkel has been released. Gahan House in Charlottetown hosted Woods as he won the Maritime Home Brew Challenge in the fall, with his 5.7% ABV Dunkel taking top honours. Woods reports that the experience was great, and “Brewmaster Trent Hayes let me get my hands dirty on brew day and the Gahan team gave me a healthy dose of Island hospitality”. Cans of the brew are currently available at the host brewery in Charlottetown, as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, and the three Gahan locations in New Brunswick (Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton). Fingers crossed that it will also be available at the Nova Centre location soon. And if you want the chance to brew up a full batch with Hayes in 2020, check out the details of this year’s Challenge, submitting your best IPA (any style), Mixed Fermented/Sour, or Stout by October 27th. Check out their website for more information.

And speaking of homebrewers, and those looking to transition away from amateur brewing and making it a career, The Capital Complex in Fredericton is adding a 4 BBL (500 litre) brewhouse to their portfolio. Take a look at their Assistant Brewer job posting on Indeed, package up some of your homebrews to share. They are focusing on easy-drinking Pale Ales to start, with expansion of the offerings to come later.

We don’t have a whole lot of events to report on this week, or at least we didn’t manage to find out about a whole lot, but as always, check your favorite breweries’ social media pages to see what they’ve got going on.

We’re a little late to be mentioning this one, as online ticket sales have ended, but this weekend marks the 3rd edition of the Big Axe Beer Festival in Nackawic, NB. Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in Atlantica Canada, it’s taking place near the World’s Biggest Axe on the shores of the Saint John River. Taking place tomorrow, July 13th, from 4 PM (gates open at 2 PM), attendees are welcome to roll on up via the river, by car, or by one of the several buses they’ve got running from Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John/Quispamsis, and Moncton. More than 35 producers, mostly of beer and cider, but with some mead as well, will be pouring, with representation from all Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the State of Maine. Tickets are still available for the Friday Night Kickoff Party featuring Denum tonight starting at 6 PM.

Thanks to the brewers in our region, we in Atlantic Canada can celebrate the IPA style all year round, but as some may know, there has been a movement, started by Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. in 2011, to designate the first Thursday in August as International IPA Day. This year #IPADay falls on August 1 and Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has decided to celebrate it in style at The Carleton in Halifax. Chef Dolente will be on-hand introducing his five-course dinner menu paired with five unique beers in the India Pale Ale style from Propeller, with beer sommelier Pat Robichaud providing insight into the pairings. Only 20 tickets are available for this intimate dinner, so if you’re interested it’s best that you act quickly; cost is $60 per person plus tax (gratuity included) and tickets can be purchased online on The Carleton website.

And, as is our wont, we end with a few final items to inform and possibly influence your beer buying this weekend:

Good Robot is pouring Nova Scoby at their taproom this weekend, which is a blend of Pale Ale with Goodmore’s Black Sage Lavender Kombucha. At 4% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s refreshing and easy-drinking… and maybe good for your belly!

Grimross has brought back Grimdonk (6.5% ABV, 17 IBUs), their award-winning (from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards) Belgian Blonde. “Golden, crisp and dry, with balanced fruity and spicy notes”, it’s available now on draft and in cans at the brewery, with cans heading out to ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future. 

As a follow-up to last week’s mention of Dream Time, the DIPA collaboration between Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl, Landwash is pleased to announce the release of the version of that beer that they brewed on their system, packaged in cans. Look for it at the brewery as soon as they can get the labels on to ‘em!

And on the West Coast of the Rock, Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Newfoundland Light & Sour, a 3.8% ABV Berliner Weisse with loads of local Marsh Berries. Grab a pint or fill at the brewery in Port Au Port, and you may be lucky enough to see it in Central or the Avalon too!

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.”