Big Spruce Brewing

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Another week of wild weather in our region, with snow and recording-breaking cold throughout the Maritimes, and a wayward iceberg in Ferryland, Newfoundland. Rest assured warmer weather is on its way, so put off going outside a little longer by reading today’s beer news…

• After launching a few months ago with two flagship beers, Think Brewing (located in Harvey, New Brunswick) has a new brew circulating at their tap accounts in the province. 150 Red IP-eh is, as you’ve probably guessed, a Red IPA brewed in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. With the goal of being “balanced and drinkable” with a bit of roast flavour, this reddish-coloured ale was hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Columbus (with the focus on Citra), providing some citrus and tropical notes to complement. Weighing in at 6% ABV and 53 IBUs, you should be able to find it on tap at the James Joyce, Isaac’s Way, and Hilltop in Fredericton, as well as Lemongrass and Cask & Kettle in Saint John.

• Today, Garrison will be releasing their latest collaboration brew, Mon Cerise. Brewed with Halifax’s own Good Robot, North, and Spindrift, this “Cherry Belgian Lager” is made up of 2-row, Munich, and Crystal malt, and was hopped with Brewers Gold to just 12 IBUs. Aged on sour cherries, the beer is reddish-amber in colour, and has a “slightly tart, mellow cherry aroma, with a  sweet maltiness”, according to Garrison. Effervescent, clean, and crisp, it weighs in at 5.4% ABV and will be available on draft only, at Garrison, Good Robot, Spindrift, and Battery Park.

• In Fredericton, Mama’s Brewpub has re-released their Great White Ale, a crowd favourite of the brewery’s attempt to perfect the Belgian Witbier style. With a grist comprised of 2-row and Wheat malt, as well as a touch of Crystal malt thrown in for color and flavour, the beer is lightly hopped with Perle to 16 IBUs. Plenty of fresh orange zest and ground coriander was added towards the end of the boil; as well, this batch had a new addition – 11 lbs of lactose powder, also at the end of the boil. Brewer Ryan Kingston says the lactose was added to provide a “smooth, silky sweetness” that elevates this batch above others in the past. At 4.3% ABV, this easy-drinking beer is selling fast; it’s still available at the brewpub for pints and crowlers.

• Also in Fredericton, Red Rover released a new cider yesterday, Blossom. This 7% ABV, semi-dry cider was created in collaboration with Flourish Fest, a Fredericton-based music and art festival running from April 20th-23rd. Featuring additions of hibiscus, coconut, pineapple, mango, and lemon, you can definitely expect some interesting flavour experiences with this one! Developed as an exclusive for festival venues (including the Cider House and Capital Complex), it will also be appearing on tap at Graystone, as well as Halifax’s Stillwell, in the near future.

2 Crows released a special brewery-taproom-only beer yesterday afternoon, sure to kick soon if you’re not careful. Crosswired is a straw-coloured, 5.3% ABV and 27 IBU hazy brew, with a grain bill featuring pilsner malt, along with malted oats and wheat. Columbus was used for first wort hopping, with late- and dry-additions of Citra and Hallertau Blanc, lending serious citrus, fruity, and floral aromatics. The real fun comes from the yeasts used to ferment the beer, as a hybrid of beer and wine yeasts were employed to get the job done: Sacch Trois and Lalvin 71B (Narbonne). Sacch Trois is a Sacchromyces yeast formerly thought to be Brettanomyces, based on the acidity and unique funky, mango, and pineapple aromatics that can develop. The classification was corrected after the producer, White Labs, did further genetic testing, and concluded that while the yeast displays many Brett-like characteristics, it was in fact Sacchromyces. Lalvin 71B is a wine yeast, isolated by the INRA in Narbonne, France, and is particularly well-suited for use in Pinot Gris, Rosé and Riesling wines, due to its high and long-lasting ester (fruit aroma) production. The resulting beer has plenty of wild “funky” character to it, with light floral and earthy notes as well. Do not wait to try this beer, as the only 20 litre keg of the beer is on now at the taproom, available for enjoying onsite only.

• 2 Crows is also bringing back one of their early launch beers, Brettango Mango. This 7.5% ABV, 64 IBU IPA was fermented solely with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, a strain originating from Brussels, Belgium, and classically found in lambics and other “wild” beers. After primary fermentation, mangoes were added to the fermenter, as well as a big blast of Citra for more citrus character. The batch size was ramped up from their initial release, but at only 300 litres, it won’t be around for too long. Look for the announcement on their social media this weekend, with a Saturday evening/Sunday afternoon most likely.

• Finally in 2C news this week, they have brewed up a beer with The Barrowdowns, an alt-folk band from Halifax. The 6.3% ABV American Pale Ale features a load of West Coast hops, including CentennialChinookCitraColumbus, and Simcoe, but at a light 43 IBUs. The only way to grab a pint of the beer is at one of The Barrowdowns shows, the first of which is tomorrow, at the Seahorse Tavern. The first 40 people through the door will receive a pint of the beer with their cover charge, and will also have a chance to name the beer. The winner will receive tickets to their May 19 Album Release Party, the next time the beer will be available, plus a copy of the album. More details on the tomorrow’s lineup are here.

Pump House has released their first new beer in a while, Albert County Maple Ale. Marketed as a “malty amber ale with a twist”, this one features the addition fenugreek seeds and locally-produced dark maple syrup. Coming in at 5.2% ABV and 8 IBUs, the brewery describes it as having a “medium mouthfeel with a smooth, clean finish”, with hints of maple. It appears to be available on tap only, so drop by the brewpub in Moncton today to give it a try; it may pop up at select PH accounts as well.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is bringing out the second entry in their series of Dive Bar Cocktail-inspired beers. Back in March they gave us a preview of summer with their Mojito Dry-hopped Sour and now they’re giving us the other barrel of seasonal longing with the Fuzzy Navel IPA. Featuring a tropical burst from the Australian hop variety Vic Secret played against fruit flavours from peach purée and pomegranate juice, this is a juicy and hazy IPA in the New England style. With fruit flavours and hops reminiscent of summer, the 6.25% ABV is likely to sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You’ll find it this weekend at the brewery and also in the city for fills at Bishop’s Cellar and on tap at Stillwell, Good Robot and 2 Crows, with Stubborn Goat expecting to have it next week. A perfect opportunity to give the Fuzzy Navel a try will come tomorrow night at Roof Hound’s Night of Colour event. The Sounds of Colour will be entertaining from 9pm – 12am while artist David Gorman will do a live painting that is destined to grace the walls at Roof Hound on a permanent basis. Admission is $5.

• And if you’re considering working in the beer or beer-related hospitality industry and you’re local to Digby, NS, Roof Hound might want to talk to you. After less than a year in business, Les and company are more than doubling their brewing production and nearly doubling their seating capacity. They’ll also be bottling their beer in the near future. To make this expansion possible, they’ll be needing to supplement their staff with part time workers (19 years of age or more) to fill positions as Brewery Assistant, Kitchen Assistant, Dishwasher and Beverage Room Server. If you’re interested, hit up the Roof Hound web page and send a message via Facebook, Instagram or Email.

• In Shelburne, Boxing Rock brought out a new beer this week to celebrate the pending launch of Finest Kind Food, a new mobile food trailer set to take up regular residence at the brewery this summer. Sheila Bird, who has been making bread from Boxing Rock’s spent grain for several years, will be officially opening the window of her mobile trailer for business on Open Brewery Day, May 6th, featuring a menu of simple, healthy, local and fun food. Food that pairs nicely with Nova Scotia craft beer. Nova Scotia craft beer like the new Finest Kind Pale Ale (note: Finest Kind, two words) brewed as a collaboration with Sheila. At 5.3% ABV and 35 IBU, it sits solidly in the sweet spot for the American Pale Ale style and features biscuity malt from Horton Ridge providing a solid counterpoint for a tropical, piney and citrusy blend of new world hops. So give it a try, and look forward to enjoying a few beers accompanied by spent grain pretzels and pizza (and more!) on the Boxing Rock deck this summer.

• Today, TrailWay is re-releasing their very popular D’under, a 5.5% ABV seasonal American Pale Ale brewed with loads of Australian hops. This release will be the first time this beer is available in cans, with a small portion also being kegged for licensees. This first batch was a small one, so be sure to drop by the tasting room to pick up some cans of this tropical beauty! And don’t worry, we can expect even more TW beer soon, as they’ve recently added another 30 BBL (3500 L) fermentor to the brewery.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a popular seasonal of their own on the shelves these days, their Russian Imperial Stout. This 8.5% ABV roasty, chocolately, full-bodied beer won a Gold medal at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards. As a member of their Giant Beer series, this beer is packaged in 650ml bottles, and available now at the brewery. And joining the RIS this week is the latest batch of their Deadeye Double IPA, a 8.0% ABV, 90+ IBU American-style IPA. Featuring lots and lots of Hallertau BlancCascade, and Chinook hops, the yeast has returned to its original american ale strain, after a foray into Vermont territory. This full release means the beer is available for growler fills at the brewery (and maybe at some Halifax-based private stores), as well as cans. Look for it to hit the taps at Tata’s licensees this weekend. Or, better yet, drop by the brewery tomorrow for some sampling, and check out the Tattoo Brew event going on all day. Rolling Sea Tattooery will be setting up their chair and bringing their ink guns to help people (permanently) declare their love of Tata Beer. Eager clients have snapped up all of the spots, but the possibility of cancellations or quicker-than-anticipated tats means you could still grab one. Check out the options available on the FB events page, and drop by 11-6pm to check out the action (and beer!).

• Today at noon marks the return of two favorites from Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing. Striking while the iron is hot after their star-turn (as in, the transcript is full of *’s) this week on the 902 Brewcast (Blue-cast?) Greg Nash and Andrew Murphy made the magic happen to bring back both Front Line Rocker and Daytimer Berliner Weisse ahead of schedule. Still the fastest-selling beer in Unfiltered’s history, the Front Line Rocker is a massively juicy and mind-shatteringly hoppy DIPA that comes in at 8% ABV and 100+ IBU. At the other end of the spectrum is the Daytimer, a summer favourite in Haligon for the past couple of years, an extremely light 3.4% ABV brew that pairs a thirst-quenching sourness with a blast of tropical aroma from a healthy Mosaic dry-hop. And don’t think for a second that the boys rushed these out the door: listen to the episode via iTunes for their unvarnished take on several topics, including particularly pertinent words about the importance and value of a brewery’s reputation.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a busy weekend ahead of them. Buoyed by the return of Whackity Schmackity Brew!, their American Wheat Beer, and imminent return of Tom Waits For No One Stout (most likely Sunday), there will also be a pair of events (and accompanying releases) in the next couple of days. Tomorrow is a Day of Beer and Vinyl, celebrating National (did we ever figure out which nation this is?) Record Store Day. Hitting the taps will be Mississippi Goddam, a five-month-old 11.0% ABV Barleywine, which is “dark, rich, vinous, with a super caramel-fruitcake nose”, according to the brewery. Hitting the taps Sunday, celebrating the day after Earthy Day, is Work With Whatcha Got Gruit Earth Day Ale, made with 100% Horton Ridge Malt (both the summer and winter maltings), Nova Scotia-grown hops (Centennial and Chinook) from Fundy Hops, with maple sap and maple buds, as well as toasted paper and yellow birch from HRM. Grab this, along with Organic guest taps from Tatamagouche (Hippie Dippie Pale Ale) and Big Spruce (The Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale) from noon during their Earth Day Hangover.

It’s a busy weekend ahead for us thirsty beer fans in #AtlCanBeer land!

• The 2 Crows crew are at it again, with a Tap Takeover taking place tonight at The Stubborn Goat. From 7pm on, look for 10+ 2C beers to be flowing, with special pricing available for flights of their beer, so you can try them all (and then grab a pint of your favourite!). Folks from 2 Crows will be there to chat beer, brewing, this crazy weather we’re having, whatever you want! And when you do grab that flight, you’ll receive a ballot to win tickets to the next day’s Brewer’s Brunch. Jeremy Taylor of 2 Crows has paired up four of their beer with four dishes from the Goat, for a great hangover cure. The ticketed event runs 1-3pm on Saturday, and can be reserved via email or in person.

• Those looking for a bit of a different event this weekend may enjoy checking out Saltscapes East Coast Expo at the Halifax Exhibition Centre. Running today until Sunday, the event showcases crafts, destinations, and food and drink made in the Maritimes. There will be ten breweries and distilleries in attendance providing plenty of samples, so at $14.50 (or less with this coupon), it could be the cheapest inadvertent beer fest you hit up this spring! One great reason to visit will be to help Sober Island Brewing celebrate their First Anniversary! They will be pouring the Oyster Stout, Bitter, and launching a new core beer, their Blonde, all of which are early batches from their massively-expanded brewhouse. At 5.0% ABV, this “gateway beer” features a twist on the theme, using a dash of Honey Malt in the grain bill, which carries through to a pleasant flavour in the finished beer. Lightly hopped to 20 IBU with Cascade and Mount Hood, it is sure to be a great summer sipper. In addition to samples of all three beers, visitors can buy crowlers to go, as well as plenty of merch. Happy birthday SIBC!

• The newly-formed Moncton Craft Brewers Collective is holding a Tap Takeover at Tide & Boar tomorrow, April 22nd, all day. There’s no ticket required, and in addition to full and half pours, flights will be available for purchase. For a full list of breweries attending and beers they’ll be pouring, take a look here. And if you’re anxious to talk beer, many of the brewers themselves will be attending, and are happy to chat! And if they’re not, feel free to keep bugging them until they are. 😉

Picaroons is releasing Dooryard, their popular seasonal Wheat beer, tomorrow, April 22nd, with an accompanying Launch Party to boot. Held at the brewery from 2-7 pm, there’ll be lots going on, including washer toss, music, snacks, and plenty of Dooryard on tap for sampling and purchasing. It will also be available on tap at the other Picaroons locations in the province, and will start shipping out in bottles (with a newly-designed label) on April 24th. For more info, check out the link above.

• Agricola Street’s Lion & Bright is holding their annual Earth Day Celebration this weekend, culminating in a Tap Takeover Party featuring Big Spruce beers. With live music from Saturday at 9pm from The Modern Grass, $1 from each pint of beer will be donated to the Ecology Action Centre. In addition, L&B will be donating $0.50 from each taco sold all weekend long, Check out the FB event page for a bit more information.

• In addition to their beer release this week, Boxing Rock will also be at White Point Beach Resort tomorrow (Saturday, April 22) with representatives from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada , Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site and Friends of Keji for an event entitled Boxing Rock Serves Up the Stars. Starting at 4pm, Boxing Rock’s Emily Tipton will host a beer tasting that features a sneak peek of their yet-to-be-released Dark as Keji Black IPA that they’re dedicating to Kejimkujik as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. This beer will be officially launched on May 20 at Keji, with samples at the sky circle there. A portion of the proceeds from each 6-pack sold will be donated to the Friends of Keji to support education programs related to the Dark Sky Preserve. This weekend you’ll be able to get a taste of that and other Boxing Rock brews as Emily gives a virtual brewery tour. After that, and a few words from RASC and Keji about the partnership with Boxing Rock, some RASC volunteers will lead a family-friendly evening program about the night sky and stargazing.

• On April 29th and 30th, expand your beer knowledge with the next installment of the Certified Beer Server course, presented by CAPS Atlantic. Tuition includes the cost and facilitation of the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam, along with four lectures, text book, brewery tour, and daily tastings. The lectures will be presented by Garrison Brewmaster Daniel Girard, and CAPS President, Certified Beer Server and Sommelier, Peter Goneau. To sign up and learn more, check out the training webpage.

• A reminder that the Fredericton Poutine Festival is happening next Saturday, April 29th, at the Crowne Plaza. This is the 6th time the event has been held in the city, and as always there are three sessions: a family one from 11:30 am-1:30 pm, and two 19+ sessions (2:15-5:15 pm, 7-10 pm) that feature beer, cider, and mead! Participating breweries include Grimross, Maybee, and TrailWay, as well as Red Rover, York County Cider, and Sunset Heights Meadery. There are different ticket options, including a VIP one for the latest session, that gets you in at 6 pm; be sure to check them out here. Tickets are still available, so be sure to get yours soon!

• Friend to local beer, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker will be hosting their fifth Winemaker vs Brewmaster dinner April 29th, featuring Hanspeter Stutz, of Grand Pré Wines taking on Emily Tipton of Boxing Rock. The two local alcohol makers will be choosing the best of their beer or wine to pair with each of the five courses being served that evening. Guests will try both drinks with each dish, and vote for the best pairing with either a wine cork or bottle cap. After the dinner, the winner is crowned based on the number of caps or corks collected. Tickets are still available for the evening.

• Cinco de Mayo is approaching fast, and if you’re in Fredericton, you don’t have to travel to Mexico to celebrate! On Friday, May 5th, Maybee Brewing is holding their Cinco de Mayo celebration, and there’s lots going on! Starting at 5 pm with with happy hour drink specials (till 7 pm) and Milda’s Pizza onsite, a special “Mexican-inspired cask” will be tapped at 6 pm. At 7 pm, a ticket will be required to continue with the fun ($10 each, available here), including piñata smashing, live music, and more beer. A free shuttle will be making several trips from the brewery to downtown, from 11:30 pm-1 am.

• A unique event is coming to the South Shore May 20th, Sip, Savour and Cycle Tour. Riders choose their ride length of choice, whether it be 25, 60, or 104km, and make their way from Mahone Bay at 10am, grab lunch in Lunenburg, and back to Mahone Bay for a wrap-up party. Along the way, stop into Saltbox Brewing, Ironworks Distillery, and more, at your own pace. For lots more information (including the exact route), and to sign up, visit the event’s webpage.

For those of you in Nova Scotia, keep your eyes open for the expanded local beer availability at your local NSLCs, including 2 Crows, Downeast Beer Factory, North, and Trider’s. Here are a few more things that have popped up this week:

Mill Street St. John’s has released Right Off the Hop Double IPA this week, a beer we first mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The 7.5% ABV SMaSH beer features loads of El Dorado, to the tune of 68 IBU, and lots of fruity aromatics. Grab a pint or growler today!
– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has brought back their Loyalist beer, a 6.7% ABV English-inspired beer, featuring complex malt notes including caramel, coffee, and toffee, with a hint of citrus from the hops. Grab it, plus their other beers (maybe some of their Jam Session Batch 83 Raspberry Pi beer, if it’s still around) at the brewery this weekend.
– A reminder of Stillwell’s busy weekend, starting with the To Øl Tap Takeover Saturday, with 12 taps of Danish Metal pouring from noon. And while tickets for Sunday’s tasting with Stephen Beaumont are sold out, we have it on good authority that there may be a few leftover goodies to enjoy at its conclusion at 4pm.
YellowBelly Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their Brewis Hard Tack Ale, made with day-old bread from their neighbours at Rocket Bakery. The light-bodied beer is on tap now, and will be available in bottles shortly. Though we do not have confirmation of the exact recipe and breads used, check out our description of the beer when it was released in April 2016, for an idea of the finished product.

A happy Bon Jovi Friday to all our readers who are working today. The holiday tomorrow has breweries and taprooms around the region all going their own way in terms of opening or not or adjusting or not adjusting their hours, and we’re getting out in front of the madness by posting today. So read on for the usual coverage of beers, events and other beer-related items in Atlantic Canada this week.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest had another successful run last Saturday, and now that the dust has settled, one of the special one-offs brewed for the event is available for those of us not able to attend. Big Tide brewed Crystal One FifTEA with Pilsner and Wheat malt, and added both Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey tea, from New Brunswick’s King Cole Tea, in the boil. These tea additions complement the 5.9% ABV light-golden ale with “delicate and citrusy flavours”. Late-hopped to 12 IBUs with Crystal and Saaz from Darlings Island Farm, this “light and refreshing” beer is currently on tap at the brewpub for a limited time.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a delicious-sounding beer newly released in the province. Chasing Sun falls into the ever-growing-in-popularity style category of a New England IPA (hazy, wonderfully hoppy, smooth, lower bitterness). With a grist featuring a “healthy dose of wheat and oats” to provide a smooth mouthfeel and soft finish, plenty of hops – Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook – were added late in the boil, to help boost those fruity, juicy aromas and flavours, while cutting back on the higher bitterness expected in your typical (but not so typical anymore?) American IPAs. Fermented with the Vermont Ale yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, even more hops were added in the dry-hop, to turn the hop experience up to 11. It should be on tap at PRB accounts in St. John’s soon, as well as at the brewery’s seasonal taproom when it re-opens in the near future. And why not drop by this weekend? They’ll be open this Friday 4-10pm, and Saturday from 2pm, and Oh My Cheeses serving up grilled cheese sammies both days.

• In other hazy, hoppy beer news, North Brewing released their own take on the “style” yesterday, Malternate Reality. Brewed with spelt, oats, and wheat to really guarantee haziness/cloudiness and a smooth mouthfeel, the beer was fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Funktown Pale Ale, a blend of a Vermont Ale yeast strain and a “wild” Saccharomyces strain. Dry-hopped with Azacca, Belma, and Columbus, expect a juicy-tasting beer with notes of peach, pineapple, and passion fruit. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 51 IBUs, you can find it at both bottle shops in swing tops and growlers, and will likely pop up on tap at Battery Park and other licensees over the weekend. And next time you’re at your local NSLC store, keep your eyes open for North’s Gus’ 65m (available in bottles the last couple of weeks) and Priority Pale Ale (coming to NSLC shelves soon).

• Scudrunner Brewing, a brewery in development in Gander, NL, provided a progress update this week. They’ve secured a location and will be taking possession on June 1 and, fortunately, are not expecting to have to do a whole lot with the space to turn it into a brewery and taproom. They’ve got their equipment picked out and their suppliers set up, and they’re working on getting their design and branding completed. As they wait for their home to be ready they’re continuing to brew test batches and believe they’ve nailed down their selection for launch day, but they invite folks to continue to provide feedback on their Facebook page and let the team know what styles the public would like to see. We’ll keep you posted with further updates and we’ll look to do a complete profile as their opening day approaches.

• In Truro, the Nook & Cranny is rebranding the brewery part of the operation to Salty Dog Brewing Company. While the beer will still be brewed on the system in the brew pub, it will now bear the new name in house, for local licensees, and at the brand new retail location they’re building next door. Soon, hopefully by mid-to-late May, you’ll be able to taste their offerings and purchase cans or have your growlers filled. They’re also taking advantage of this opportunity to provide a wider lineup, including Vanilla Porter, White IPA, Coffee Stout and Cider, as well as a couple of house favourites like the Blueberry Wheat and the Pale Ale.

• Those fine gents over at 902 BrewCast have done a public service by releasing their monthly tasting episode a day early. Available as of this morning, this podcast will take you through the line of beers being poured for the 2 Crows Tap Takeover at Battery Park this afternoon. And who better to do that with than Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor, the special guest for the session? Have a listen through the day and plan your flight(s) ahead of time! Rumour has it you might (MIGHT) hear news of an upcoming 902 BrewCast/2 Crows collaboration beer. And mark your calendars for next nine-oh-Tuesday (April 18) when the guys sit down with local brewing legend Greg Nash and his non-silent partner at Unfiltered Brewing, Andrew Murphy! We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that headphones may be in order when you’re listening to that one.

Just a few new events to let you know about this week, as we prep our May 5-14 NS Craft Beer Week Event Calendar for a near-future release:

• Tonight at 7pm, Upstreet is hosting Art + Craft, a roof-top rock show, plus walk through an art installation. Perched on top of Confederation Centre Mall on Grafton Street, Stabbing Joy will be playing a set, before attendees will grab their flashlights and walk The Goblin Path to Upstreet, keeping an eye out for monsters along the way. Assuming everyone makes it there safely, they’ll be able to celebrate with Upstreet’s latest release, Go Devil IPA.

• Late addition to the blog, today: Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing are holding another Growler Day tomorrow at 11, featuring the return of their Peach Shake Ale, the Milkshake IPA (lots of late hops with lactose and vanilla) with 10 kg! of peaches added to the brew, and Method IPA, their hazy Citra bomb. Joining those are two new beer: Stowe IPA, featuring their standard grain bill but with AmarilloColumbus, and Simcoe; and Porter, featuring lots of roast and chocolate character from the dark malts used in the grain bill.

Good Robot has a new Beta Brew in the works for next weekend’s Earth Day celebration. They’ll be doing a Day of Beer & Vinyl event on actual Earth Day, April 22nd, and this beer will be tapped the next day at their Earth Day Hangover event on April 23rd. A gruit-style ale that features only organic summer and winter pale 2-row malt from Horton Ridge and only Nova Scotia hops (Centennial and Chinook from Fundy Hops). It’s also packed full of other ingredients foraged by GR’s own Eri Mycelia, including red maple sap and buds and white and yellow birch bark (both toasted). Scottish Heather tips round out the mix. While you’re sipping on a pint of this wholesome brew, you’ll be able to pet goats brought in by Moo Nay Farms, experience the magic of charging your phone with a solar charger from If You Build It, take part in a plant exchange, and more! Check the event out on Facebook for a complete list of activities and the day’s schedule.

• Down in Windsor, Schoolhouse Brewery is finally ready for their Graduation! They will be opening the doors to their new location at 40 Water Street in Windsor later this month, on April 29th. Regular retail hours will be 3:20pm (when school lets out) to 8pm on weekdays (closed Mondays) and 11am-8pm on weekends. Expect to find their regular offerings like the Principal Ale Pale Ale, Chequers Ale Robust Porter and Scotian Export Scottish Export to be available for growler fills and 650ml bombers. You might also find Skratch Plaskett Electric Tambourine Ale (developed as a collaboration with Good Robot last summer) available for growler fills, and Big Red Schoolhouse in bombers. There will be a soft opening of the retail store on April 26th and 27th from 7-9pm. And stay tuned for an announcement of the opening of Schoolhouse’s brand new tap room, where you’ll be able to sit and have pints of your favorites and no doubt some new brews, come May! Keep your eyes on Schoolhouse’s Facebook Page for events to be posted in the next few days that you can slot into your calendar.

• On April 29th, the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre is hosting an East Coast Dinner Party, featuring a 3-course meal prepared by Son of a Sea Cook, paired with Nova Scotia beers, chosen by brewer Karen Allen, formerly of Gahan House Harbourfront, and frequent collaborator with Boxing Rock. Warren MacIntyre will provide some musical entertainment to enhance the evening. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to grab yours today, either online or at MacKeigan’s Pharmacy.

A few more mentions from around the region:

Big Spruce is buttressing their forces for the upcoming busy season, and looking for full-time Sales Desk staff from May to September. It’s always busy on Yankee Line Road in the summer, so consider getting in on the fun! Drop them a note with your résumé to apply and/or learn more.
Good Robot has new batches of both their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn beer available now at the brewery, and to enjoy on their Gastroturf.
– Hoping to kickstart spring, Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde Ale, a 5.0% light-bodied and crisp Blonde Ale, dosed with lots of deconstructed (aka smashed) fresh watermelons added in the mash, as well as after primary fermentation, for a pleasant hint of aroma and flavour to the warm weather style. Look for it at the brewery in Dartmouth, at the private stores, as well as select NSLC locations now. And for our readers on The Rock, 9L has just sent over a pallet of beer to the NLC, so expect it to hit shelves of the core locations around the end of the month.

And a final public service announcement: Some breweries and taprooms will be closed or running with modified hours tomorrow and/or Sunday due to Easter weekend, so be sure to check before venturing out. And others will be opening their patios (Saturday is looking particularly nice), so a quick scan of social media will set you up for a good day out.

If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

Happy Friday, beer lovers, and welcome to a warm weekend! Whether it’s freezing out or everything is beginning to thaw, there’s always plenty to report on beer news in our region, and this week has been no exception. Let’s get right to it…

• Starting off with some brewery expansion news, Bruce Barton, owner/brewer of Riverview, New Brunswick’s Celtic Knot Brewing, has confirmed that he will be increasing production, from the current 80 L system to a 3.75 BBL (~435 L) within the next couple of months. The current Celtic Knot brewery is located within Bruce’s home, but the new system will be in a separate location in Riverview, where you will be able to drop by to have growlers filled of your favourite CK beers! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.

Tidehouse will be releasing another of their one-off beers today – Oaked Island is an American Pale Ale, solely and heavily hopped with Centennial, and fermented on French oak (previously soaked in Russian vodka). This unique combination results in flavours of “citrus, pine, and floral notes” from the Centennial, with a “soft, subtle vanilla character” thanks to the oak. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV, it will be available at the TH retail shop on Salter, as well as on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and Water & Bone. Look for future one-offs to be released on Fridays in the future – this is a change from previous releases, which have occurred on Wednesdays. Hey, we definitely benefit from that!

• The gang at Good Robot has some news and new beers for us this coming week, but also slipped a new beer onto the taps the other day. Dubbel Trubbel came about when Kelly Costello and a co-worker were inspired by a recipe in a homebrew magazine that included star anise and dates. Leveraging GR’s unofficial beer knowledge program that allows employees to try out brewing for themselves, they put the recipe into action, albeit minus the star anise and the dates. Featuring Pilsner, Aromatic, Munich, Vienna, Special B, and Cara-Munich malts, along with Belgian Candi sugar, the beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV. It was fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, so a little outside the traditional Dubbel style. Brewed on their Beta System, be sure to drop by right away to avoid missing this limited release.

 

• The big news for Good Robot this week is that they’ve found themselves an assistant brewer. Jake Charles DeWolfe is now on the scene, and to celebrate there will be a twin pack of new releases in the GR taproom on Tuesday. The first is DeWolfe of Wall Street, in the American Pale Ale style, a complementary beer to brewmaster Doug’s Burban Legend, mirroring the yin Jake will bring to Doug’s yang. We presume. With a simple malt bill of 2-row, Pilsner and Vienna underpinning a hop schedule that includes Cascade for bittering, Mount Hood for dry hop and both for aroma during a whirlpool, this 6.3% ABV pale comes in high and hard with citrus hop flavours and a dry, crisp finish, but only 29 IBU. Joining that beer will be a BetaBrewed Mexican Lager for which a suitably Good Robot name has not yet been determined. At a very light 4.7% ABV and a barely there 14 IBU, it’s built around pale malt, flaked corn and Vienna for a touch of biscuity flavor, and agave nectar, all paired with the noble Tettnang hop variety, and fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast. This one is likely to be dangerously crushable and reminiscent of a summer day at the lake.

• Over in Burnside, Spindrift has some releases in the coming months that they’re teasing on social media. The Killick is labeled as a “session lager” but has been referred to elsewhere as a Munich Helles, a classic German style that is fairly low alcohol, light-bodied, malt-balanced and designed to go down easy. This will be their first packaging in 355ml cans and it will be available in six packs from the brewery sometime around mid-March and then the NSLC later on. Spindrift are also going to have a seasonal single serve slot at the NSLC and the first two offerings will be the Blueberry Chai Pils we mentioned last week from April to June (also available a the brewery in mid-March) and the Blood Orange India Pale Lager from July to September. We’ll surely have more details for you about these beers and their availability as their official release dates approach.

• Digby’s Roof Hound has brewed up an interesting new beer, which will be the first in their upcoming Dive Bar Classic Cocktail series, where all the beers will be inspired by well-known cocktails. This first brew is a Mojito Sour – “partially kettle-soured” (meaning half the batch was soured, and then blended with the non-soured half), it will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial, and also feature the addition of fresh mint, and lime zest and juice. The official launch party for this brew will be held on Saturday, March 4th; we’ll keep you updated on the official stats for this one when they’re confirmed.

• Word hit the street last week that Greg Nash has brought his Russian Imperial Stout, Commissar to Unfiltered. Last seen during his time at the Hart & Thistle, many have lamented that it was on tap when that establishment closed and the last batch was never properly finished. This time around, the beer was aged on oak for months and fortified with J.D. Shore Black Rum from Halifax Distilling Co.. Promising a slightly sweet flavour with lots of dark fruit and hints of bitter chocolate, it is said to be reminiscent of rum cake. It will be available as of noon today at the brewery for growler fills, Charm School for pints, and both the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar for bottles ($16/500ml). This one is likely to get even better with age, so definitely consider grabbing a couple bottles for your cellar when you pop in for your first taste. But be aware, at 11.6% ABV and full of rum, this one is likely to have you throwing rocks at your own house if you’re not careful!

Red Rover has a new, very-limited batch cider pouring at the Cider House in Fredericton. Just released earlier this week, Blood Orange is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider infused with blood orange juice. Tart and crisp, yet balanced by the accompanying sweetness, it’s available for pours only (no flagon fills) due to the limited supply; however, if feedback is quite positive, there’s a good chance a larger batch will be made in the future. Look for it on tap at James Joyce and Graystone, as well.

• Look for a new beer to be released from FirkinStein very soon – Project Orange is described as a “light, easy-drinking ale with a slight orange tang” by the brewery, despite weighing in at a fairly hefty 7% ABV. With a slight citrus hop presence in the background thanks to the addition of Cascade, there was also plenty of orange juice added. It will be making its debut at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, and should also be pouring at Battery Park shortly afterwards.

Big Tide and Picaroons have joined forces to brew a collaboration beer, a Doppelbock named The Uphill Battle. The recipe was concocted between the two breweries, and the beer mashed-in on Big Tide’s system (featuring a grist of Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, CaraMunich and Carafoam). Half of the resultant wort stayed at Big Tide, and the other half was transported to the Picaroons General Store location; both were then boiled, hopped (with Magnum and Perle), and fermented at their respective homes with a dry Lager yeast. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, this malty, toasty brew will be going on tap at the Big Tide brewpub and the General Store tomorrow.

• Big news in Halifax from what will be one of the smallest breweries in the region by design – brought to you by the folks behind Stillwell Beer Bar, Stillwell Brewing will be focused on small-batch mixed-fermentations and oak barrel aging, and might possibly be the first brewery of its kind in Canada. Taking up some space in the back area of Propeller Brewing in the North End of Halifax, expect very small scale, periodic bottle releases, and very rare keg tappings (most of which will happen at SW and their Beer Garden). We’ll keep you updated on this exciting bit of info as it develops! In the meantime, follow Stillwell Brewing on Instagram for some pics on behind the scenes activity.

• The NSLC released their third quarter financial results covering the three months ending December 31st, 2016, and the news for Nova Scotia Craft Beer continues to be good. While overall beer sales were down 0.4%, craft beer sales continued to grow, with a 29.5% increase to $2.5m over the same quarter in the previous year. Though this increase isn’t quite as large as seen in first (48.4%) and second (39.7) quarters, it shows the industry still has room to grow. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Q4 shows a continuation of this trend and also whether additional shelf space for craft beer will carry the trend into the next fiscal year.

There’s a whole whack of events going on over the next few days, especially in the HRM… take your pick from below and be sure to head out over the weekend!

Tonight, the Stubborn Goat will be holding a tap takeover with Charlottetown, PEI’S Upstreet, in the Flight Night at the Goat. Eight Upstreet beers will be on tap, including Smoked Porter from their One Way series. There’s no cover; just show up for plenty of beer, plus food pairings and flight specials! All of the Upstreet crew will be there, anxious to meet you and chat about everything beer!

• Been too long since the last <insert amazing brewery here> tap takeover at Stillwell for ya? Well, it really hasn’t been that long at all, but good news! Tomorrow, February 25th, they’ll be hosting a Le Castor takeover, with 12 amazing beers pouring all day. One of Quebec’s highest-regarded breweries, they’re bringing some real winners, such as Colorado (a “dry-hopped Wild Ale”) and Sanctuaire (a Tripel aged in red wine barrels with Brett). No charge to attend, just show up and pay by the pour!

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a Big Spruce tap takeover tomorrow, February 25th, which should last all weekend. Their collaboration with Bishop’s, Anaphylactic Choc – a 5.5% ABV “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” that features Nutsmith organic peanut butter added in the boil and that was aged on organic cocao nibs – will be pouring. Drop by in the afternoon between 1-4 pm, and don’t forget to bring your growlers! In addition to the new brew, they’ll be have Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Liquid James Brown Milkshake IPA available for fills, with samples of some special one-offs while your jugs are being filled.

• Also tomorrow, February 25thHell Bay is holding Cocoa & Malt, a special pairing of dark beer and hand-crafted chocolate desserts and sweets. Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, it had to be postponed due to weather… and luckily, there’s still some spots left! It’s $25+tax per person; reserve your spot by calling 902-356-3556.

• Halifax’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is currently holding a Bad Apple Brewhouse and Propeller tap takeover, which will continue until this Sunday, February 25th. With eight beers from BAB (including their wonderful Mosaic DIPA), and seven from Propeller (including a cask of their ESB), it’s pay-as-you-drink all weekend. BAB’s owner/brewery Jeff Saunders will be on hand for beer questions/chatting tonight, and Propeller’s brewer/sales manager Pat Robichaud will be available on Saturday night. Check out the full tap list here.

• It’s another busy week coming up for Good Robot, starting with their participation at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow night, followed by an after-party luau featuring beers and buddies from Upstreet Brewing back at the taproom, with Koconut Kings providing musical entertainment. As mentioned above, Tuesday, February 28th, will see the debut of beers from Jake DeWolfe, Assistant Brewer, paired with a Mardi Gras Cajun menu from Black Sheep and a soul playlist on vinyl from Black Buffalo spun by a live DJ. Thursday, March 2nd sees a tap takeover at the taproom by North Brewing, with 8 taps, possibly the most ever for that brewery in a North end pub. The favour is returned the next night, on Friday, March 3rd when 14, count’em 14 Good Robot brews go up at Battery Park in Dartmouth. The most. Ever. Anywhere. We expect to hear more about that this week, so look for more details in next week’s wrap-up.​

That’s the news we’ve got to share this week! Have a great weekend, and be sure to enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having! Before we head out for good…

– Last night was the first Brew Ha-Ha at the Company House, featuring Tidehouse Brewing and the comedy of Andrew Vaughan, Dan Hendrickson and Frank Russo. We’ll find out more about what sounds like it might be a regular event, and let you know.
– The Craft Beer Cottage Party is tomorrow night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market at 7pm. Although the VIP passes have sold out it looks like there are still some general tickets available. Come on out to dream of summer and sample the wares of 30 breweries from the region.
– Today, Garrison is welcoming Dave Martin, winner of the 2016 Home Brew-Off, to brew his Chamomile IPA on the Garrison system; the beer will be released at this year’s gala on March 23rd. Judging for this year’s competition is actually happening tomorrow, with almost 40 entries for the Wee Heavy style.
Grimross now has their Pugnacious Porter (6.2% ABV) available in cans; joining their Maritime Pale Ale, it’s available at the brewery and should be following in ANBL stores, soon.
– The Hammond River Blackberry Berliner Weisse we reported on earlier this month is now available on tap; Ram Jam comes in at 3.2% ABV and is circulating on tap around HR accounts.
– March 1st marks one year for Nine Locks Brewing. They’ll be celebrating with draws and in-store specials. If you haven’t been out to see them, it’s probably a good time to rectify that.

 

Happy Friday everyone! What a week of weather for our region! Snow and power outages and cancellations have plagued the region for the past while, but thankfully our local brewers haven’t rested to get us the great beer we all crave. Check out the latest news, and stay warm!

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, responsible for producing malt used in breweries across the province, has announced that they will begin operating a small brewery onsite, slated to open this summer. The 120 litre (1 BBL) system would serve as a testing ground for the different malt varieties they have on offer, in order to give commercial brewers and visitors to the Malt House the chance to taste the different characteristics of their offerings. The beers would be available on-site only, in their tasting room and facility outside of Wolfville, along with other breweries’ offerings showcasing their malts. We’ll have much more on the details of the brewery closer to launch in July. You can learn more in person yourself with a visit to the Malt House for an Open House tomorrow, 2:30-4:00pm.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn recently hosted Patrick Dionne, head brewer at Petit-Sault, for a collaboration brew on their system. Well, that beer is now available on tap, and we’ve got some details to share! Epic Fume is a 5.7% ABV Smoked Porter, featuring beech-smoked malt in the grist to give gentle smoke characteristics in both the aroma and flavour. It’s currently pouring at the Foghorn taproom, and is on tap at the Five and Dime in Saint John. For those of you in the Edmundston area, look for it to start pouring at Petit-Sault sometime next week.

• Sticking with Petit-Sault, they’ll be brewing this year’s Big Boots Brew tomorrow, an annual event sponsored by the Pink Boots Society. This one will actually be a collaboration brew, as Wendy Papadopoulos, head brewer at Big Tide, will be participating, along with four other women from the area. The theme for this year’s international brew is Ancient/Historical Beer, with Petit-Sault and Big Tide deciding on a Gruit for their brew, an un-hopped style of beer that relies on the use of herbs for flavouring and bittering. The collaboration beer will be named Malobiannah Gruit, after a local legend involving a young Malecite woman who sacrified herself to save her people during an Iroquois invasion in the Grand Falls area. The grist will feature 2-row, Pilsner, and Honey malt, and a carefully-chosen mix of herbs that includes yarrow, goldenrod, sweet gale, bayberry and lavender. Some local maple syrup will also be added to the brew, which should come in at 5.2% ABV. The beer will be released on International Women’s Day on March 8th, and we can confirm that it will be making an appearance at this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 11th.

• Although they don’t have anything truly new for us this week, we’re told that Good Robot in Halifax has a batch of their Burban Legend APA coming to the taps, this one of the v2.0 variety (that’s the one dry hopped with citrussy Cascade and stone fruit Amarillo). Knowing they’d have to sweeten the pot to get us to mention that, they also spilled the beans on a special batch brewed up just yesterday with their staff. Red Moon Rising was brewed for their Women’s Day event, FemmeBot, coming up in March. It’s a Red IPA leaning heavily on Bestmalz Red X, a base malt known for imparting a deep red color. Also in the malt bill are Vienna for some toasty/biscuity notes and flaked barley for mouthfeel and body. Hops include their own “GR Blend” (think Falconer’s Flight 7C’s Good Robot-style) at bittering time and Equinox during whirlpool and the planned dry-hop for a tropical and fruity presence. It’s fermenting now on the classic Cal Ale yeast. Look for release details in the coming weeks (we’d bet somewhere around March 8th…).

• Meanwhile in Fredericton, Grimross has already released the second entry in their new Scratch series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA. This 6.7% ABV, 65 IBUs brew was hopped with Cascade, Columbus, Herkules and Amarillo, most of which were grown in New Brunswick. The brewery describes it as having “a pleasant, citrus hop profile on the nose and palate, and finishes clean and dry”. Fermented, of course, with a Belgian yeast strain to add some classic fruity esters and spicy phenolics to blend with the hop characteristics, it’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills; you may see it pop up around the city, as well. Grimross has also just brewed a collaboration with Dumfries Maples, featuring a large addition of maple syrup from the Dumfries, NB sugarbush. Details on Dumfries Maples Brown Ale are being kept a secret for now… stay tuned!

• Speaking of beers brewed with maple syrup, TrailWay also has one fermenting right now. No, this isn’t actually a coincidence – the New Brunswick government has been encouraging breweries in the province to collaborate with local maple producers to brew these beers. While we’re not sure of the exact details of this arrangement, we’ve been told there are benefits provided to breweries who do so. TW has brewed an Imperial Stout with maple syrup from Briggs Maples; expect it to come in around 9% ABV. TW has also confirmed that the beer will be packaged in cans, as well as kegs.

• The new DIPA from Maybee Brewing that we teased about a couple of weeks ago is officially being released today. Look Off DIPA is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was hopped mainly with Amarillo and Chinook (to 105 calculated IBUs). Described by the brewery as “super juicy”, it’ll be available at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and at better beer establishments in Fredericton (including the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar later today). Look for it to also be released in cans sometime next week, and be sure to take note of the updated label designs for Maybee cans at the same time.

Spindrift teased a new beer on Instagram that they’ve just brewed, based on popular casks they have brought to beer festivals in the past: Blueberry Chai Pilsner (featuring Rooibus Chai tea from World Tea House). They’re keeping quiet on the exact specs and details for now, but don’t worry, we’ll have more, soon! In the meantime, they’re taking their Abyss Schwarzbier to the next level, and bottling a batch of it that sat in barrels, on cherries, next week. It should be available for purchase sometime in mid-March.

• The taps at Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax will see a special brew this week as Erebos Porter makes its debut. Starting its life as a batch of Night Vision American Porter, it was aged extensively on figs in Hungarian oak barrels that formerly held Merlot at Bear River Vineyards. According to brewmaster Kyle, the wood and the fruit have rounded out the beer, which is normally quite dry, providing a nice dark fruit character without astringency. With only two barrels (110 litres each) available, this one’s not likely to be available for fills, so plan to hang around the pub and enjoy a pint. And this is the last call for homebrewers interested in taking part in the Home Brewer’s Challenge must contact Kyle to sign up.

Garrison Brewing has released the latest in their test batch series, with Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy 2 today. This hazy East Coast Double IPA comes in at 8.0% ABV and 65 IBU, featuring loads of late hopping featuring CitraCometEkuanot, and Mosaic, for citrus, pineapple and tropical aromatics and flavour, resulting in a, you guessed it, juicy beer. Compared to the first test batch, this one features a softer mouthfeel, suitable for an extended session of enjoyment. Juicy 2 is available now for growler fills and bottles at the brewery, on tap at select bars around town this weekend, and early next week in bottles at the private stores.

• As was reported this week by a legitimate news source (as opposed to three guys with a blog), Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyon’s Brook is the latest brewery in the region to purchase a canning line. Citing their existing bottling setup as a source of inefficiency in their system, the line from Calgary (no doubt from the fine folks at Cask Brewing Systems) is expected to help them output an additional 1,000 litres per week and take the packaging process from 2-3 days down to a couple of hours. The installation of the line in May will allow them to meet orders for two new listings with the NSLC in addition to their IPA, namely their Sunburst Pale Ale and a rotating slot. One item in the article of particular note is the comment by co-owner Rebecca Whiffen that the funds to lease the line are to some extent coming from the savings seen in the reduction of the RSMA this year by the Provincial government. While the overall validity of the RSMA can still be debated (or serve as the basis for a lawsuit), it is certainly telling to see how quickly its reduction has made a positive difference to at least one brewery in the province.​ We won’t be surprised if it’s not the only one.

• Cunning schemers that they are, those crazy kids at Stillwell are already planning for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week in May. As they announced on twitter Valentine’s Day (feel the love, people), they’re committing to pouring the best NS Craft Beer Taplist possible all week long during Craft Beer Week. What’s “the best NS Craft Beer Taplist” you ask? Why, it’s the one assembled from YOUR votes! Fling your interweeb device over to this page right here and cast your votes in the four categories provided. Stillwell will apply patented algorithms and serious business to generate a top 12 which will grace the wall at the start of the week. From there cult favourites will rotate in. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what that wall looks like come May.

For those of you fully shovelled out, we’ve got a few events on the go that are worthwhile checking out:

• This Sunday, February 19th, up in Nyanza, Big Spruce will be hosting an information session for FarmWorks, an Investment Co-operative founded in 2011 that operates as a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). The time has come for another round of investment and this is a chance for you to learn how the organization works to support food-related businesses in the region. Meanwhile, beer samples and snacks will be served and you’ll have the opportunity to tour the new Big Spruce Brewery! More information is available here.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has scheduled their next event for Wednesday, March 8th. This one will be held at Grimross Brewing from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a brewery tour, a discussion on Grimross and the beers they brew, and of course a tasting flight, with additional pours available for purchase afterwards. It only costs $8.75 to attend; send an email to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot.

• Good Robot has a couple events on the go this week. Thursday, February 23rd sees the latest in the Good Robot Tiny Pub Concerts series, with Villages, Kim Harris, and Daniel Walker (of Owen Meany’s Batting Stance) coming out to give you an intimate night of Celtic, folk, soul and banter. “Less of a kitchen party and more of a Saturday night at home with friends.” Then on Saturday, February 25th, look for the GR gang at the Craft Beer Cottage Party and consider heading down to the taproom afterwards for their luau after-party with the fine folks from Upstreet Brewing and the dulcet tones of Hawaiian-influenced steel guitar swing band Kokonut Kings.

And before we head out for the weekend…
– There is a new beer from Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery, Nor’Easter Cascadian Dark Ale. At 7.7% ABV and 100 IBUs, it features Cascade and Chinook hops from Moose Mountain and Columbus from Southan Farms, both located along the Saint John River in New Brunswick. It is available at the brewery on Lower Water Street. And look out for a Nitro version of their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout, available at Lower Deck locations across the province.
– Although we reported on the release of Fathom from Nine Locks last week, it only showed up on tap and for growler fills, not in the promised cans. But keen eyes noticed the good word on Facebook this week that Fathom hit the canning line. Look for it at the private liquor stores around HRM in the near future.
– We previously mentioned a new blackberry Milk Stout from North Brewing being released for Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party that started last night and goes until Sunday. The 5.7% ABV beer was aged in the tank at Battery Park and will be available in 650ml bottles at both North bottle shops and the private stores in Halifax. Look for in on tap as well at Battery Park, including two nitro kegs.

Welcome to the last Friday Wrap-Up of January. Plenty of new beers to tell you about, and a slew of events coming up too. Let’s get right to it!

• The judging the first annual TrailWay Homebrew Competition took place last weekend; close to 30 entries in the American IPA category were evaluated by six judges (including our very own acbbshawn). The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, but in the meantime, TW’s newest DIPA, Hop Stains, will be released at the brewery today at 4 pm. Hopped heavily with Azacca, Citra, and El Dorado (with the emphasis, of course, on whirlpool and dry hop additions), expect a smooth IPA with a creamy mouthfeel, with lots of fruit throughout, and a bit of bubblegum. Not too bitter at ~60 IBUs, it clocks in at 8% ABV. A limited number of cans (40 cases) will be available, with the rest going into kegs for lucky tap accounts.

• There’s a brand new beer available now from Port Williams’ Sea Level BrewingCallahan’s Crosstime Irish Ale. The brewery is calling it a “malt-forward, smooth Irish Ale”, but it takes a different direction than the norm, thanks to the addition of Galaxy hops (to 30 IBUs), giving a “sublime, tropical fruit aroma”. Horton Ridge Pale Malt is included in the grist, with the beer coming in higher than your typical Irish Ale, at 7.3% ABV. Available in cans, 1-L growlers, and on tap at select accounts across the province.

• After a tease last Saturday at Ducky’s, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest addition to their Giant Beer series. Barrel Aged Barley Wine features a recipe variation from last year’s Giantess Barley Wine, as it now uses Horton Ridge malt as the majority of the grist. According to Brewmaster Matt Kenny, “This change adds some spice and a little more body, which we felt worked well with the spirit and barrel character”. Speaking of which, the beer was aged in freshly-emptied Single Malt barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery, picking up plenty of complexity during the process. The 10.5% ABV beer is well-balanced and ready to drink now, or will age gracefully for a new experience. Available exclusively in bottles at their Main Street Tatamagouche location, drop by today to grab a couple (one to enjoy now, and another to enjoy in a few months or a year, if you can keep it that long!). And while you’re there, you’ll be able to spy the expansion underway, as Kenny and Co look to double their fermentation and conditioning capacity to keep up with demand, and have a more permanent solution for their canning line. The building, and resultant improvements, will be online to help with the upcoming summer rush.

• Those in attendance at Stillwell for the debut of Tidehouse Brewing back in December know very well that the India Saison made specifically for that event was a banger and have been eagerly awaiting any hint that it might come back into production. Those people have not been waiting in vain, as that beer has returned with a shiny new name: Enigmatic (“it’s kinda weird).  Dryer than the original version, leading to a significant bump in ABV up to 6.8%, there’s  a whole lot of hops in there, specifically the Ahtanum, Azacca and Amarillo varieties. You’re encouraged to consider an IPA crossed with a Belgian/French yeast profile. If that sounds like something you’d like, or even just something you might like to try, you’re further encouraged to get yourself down to Tidehouse and get some while it’s still around (hint: it won’t be for long!). Shean and Peter also remind us that they’ll fill any size of (clean!) growler you care to bring them. And be sure to grab their interview with the 902 BrewCast guys that dropped earlier this week. Learn about some crazy beer experiments and punny beer names that maybe coming your way soon…

• Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax saw two beers hit the taps this week. Monday was the release of a new beer, the English Golden Ale that features ingredients sourced entirely from the UK. Technically a SMaSH (but not simply for the sake of being a SMaSH), the eminently British Maris Otter is the lone malt, providing a doughy character with honey overtones, while the hops are all Fuggles, a classic for British styles, bringing herbal and floral notes. At only 16 IBU and a fairly light 4.5% this should be an extremely easy-drinking ale with a fairly full flavour profile that belies its weight.

• And on Wednesday, the latest variation of the Crosscurrent American Pale Ale debuted, this time venturing afield of the all-American hop varieties featured to this point. Using Magnum (largely for bittering, we presume) and “a lot of” Dr. Rudi, a New World variety from New Zealand known for bringing a refreshing combination of pine, dry lime and lemon aromas and flavours. Still clocking in at 5.5% ABV and still featuring a malt bill of primarily pale malt with some flaked oats and flaked wheat, the IBUs are a tad lighter on this batch at 32, but we suspect the hops are much more evident in flavor than in bitterness. Both the English Golden Ale and the new Crosscurrent are available for pints and growler fills. And be sure to sign up for their Home Brewer’s Challenge before the Feb 17 deadline by email; they are looking for your best Trappist Single. Check our previous post for more details.

• Sticking with Gahan (and Homebrewing), but skipping across the Northumberland Strait, Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub has released the winner of the PEI installment of the Home Brewer’s Challenge, Green Willy Solstice, a 7.9% ABV Winter Warmer. The winning team of Jonathan Green, Clayton Harding, Will Panting, and Jaime Venturini joined Brewmaster Trent Haynes for the day, using molasses and a blend of spices for a warming profile to the beer. Grab a pint on tap at Sydney Street now.

• Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing a special beer next week, featuring a unique local ingredient. Bunchberry Orange Kolsch is a 4.5% ABV German hybrid beer (hybrid of ale and lager yeast, more temperature-tolerant), with oranges grown in Nova Scotia. Bunchberry Nurseries were the folks who grew the Poncirus trifoliata, also known as Japanese or Chinese Bitter Orange, a cold-tolerant citrus tree. To celebrate this first for the province, Lazy Bear are holding a public tasting of the beer at Bunchberry in Upper Clements, February 3, 7:00-9:00 pm. To honour the unexpected combination, there will be a beach theme to the evening, and it will feature local food. The beer is in very short supply, so be sure to drop by that evening to avoid disappointment. If there does happen to be any left, it will be available at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market the next morning.

 • Ontario’s Beau’s Brewing is brewing a series of collaboration beers in 2017, to celebrate the 150th birthday of our country. Their first in this series was conceived with the Fogo Island Inn, located on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. Described by the brewery as a “Myrrh-Smoked Gose”, this one is definitely different! Along with Pilsner, Acid, and Carafoam malt in the grist, Wheat malt that was smoked with myrrh collected from the Island’s pine, spruce, and fir trees was added. The saltiness typical to the Gose style was obtained by the addition of island-foraged sea salt, and Newfoundland partridgeberries were added for tartness (as opposed to the usual practice of introducing Lactobacillus bacteria). This is a higher-ABV than usual for a Gose, at 6.7% ABV; it was hopped with Strisselspalt and Simcoe to 35 IBUs, also high for the style. Beau’s describes the beer as hazy orange, with earthy and woody aromas mingled with mild fruitiness, and smoky and tart flavours. Named 49° 54°, it’s going to be available only at the Inn, with $1500 in sales being donated to the Shorefast Foundation. For more info on this beer, check out Beau’s full description. And be sure to follow along with Beau’s future collaborations, as some more Atlantic Canadian terroir beers are sure to pop up!

In terms of events, we’ve also got plenty to tell you about this week, as brewers and restaurants start to get ahead of the snow and ice…

• In case you missed yesterday’s post, Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors at 1932 Brunswick Street tomorrow, from noon. Check out the full details in the Profile, but be sure to drop by for the special tap room-only Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and Mango & Brett IPA, as they will be sure to sell out quickly (and are not available elsewhere).

• After (or before) a stop for that pint and growler fill tomorrow, drop down to Bishop’s Cellar for a co-tap takeover of their growler filling station with Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery and Sheet Harbour’s Sober Island Brewing. The crews from both spots will be on hand from 1:00-3:00pm to chat and pour samples, before you dive in for a growler filling.

• And while you’re in the downtown core tomorrow, be sure to drop by Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington for pours of three special beers from Toronto brewery Bellwoods. The Plum variant of their Jelly King, a dry-hopped Lacto sour; Jutsu, a Vermont-inspired 5.6% ABV Pale Ale; and Farmhouse Saison, fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus. These will be on from noon, when you can also take advantage of their “Bottle of the Day”, where they are offering up a bottle from their cellar for pours from the glass, rather than having to spring for the whole shebang.

Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another of their Beer to Go days tomorrow, January 28th, from 10 am-6 pm. Two beers will be available for growler fills: Killington IPA, a 7.6% ABV Northeast IPA featuring plenty of Citra and Mosaic hops, and a new take on their Sour Otis Grapefruit, which has been rebuilt from the ground up, according to brewer Chad Steeves. Twenty-four grapefruits per barrel were added to the beer, making it more acidic than ever. Only a limited supply of these beers (2 kegs each) will be available, so get over early!

New Brunswick Beer Tours is holding their FROSTival Brewery Tour next Saturday, February 4th, and there’s still a few tickets left! They’ll be following their usual itinerary of four brewery stops (this time around, Graystone, Maybee, Mama’s, and TrailWay), before a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint with Off Grid Ales‘ Randy Rowe; each brewery stop includes four sample pours. Tickets are $68.50 each, and include – of course – transportation between all stops.

• Sick of winter yet? If you’re in the Fredericton area, Maybee Brewing is offering a cure – of sorts – with their Beat the Winter Blues, scheduled for next Saturday, February 4th. A night of live music and beer (from 7 pm-1 am), your $12 advance ticket ($20 at the door) gets you admission to two live bands, The Tortoise The Hare & The Millionaire, and Keith Hallett. Of course, there will be plenty of Maybee beer on tap, as well as a guest brewery or two, for purchase. A food truck will be on site, and a free shuttle to downtown will be available between 12-1:30 am.

• After a wildly successful debut at TrailWay, the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection have got their next event scheduled at Maybee Brewing February 8th at 6:30pm. $14 will get you a flight of beer, tour of the brewery, and insightful chat with fellow beer lovers (and those looking to learn more). Check out the FB Event page, and be sure to RSVP in advance.

• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is scheduled for Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go, but be warned, this is a big beer!

• Speaking of March 11th, the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is fast approaching! While the evening session did sell out quickly, there are still afternoon tickets available, which offers the option of a slightly-more-relaxed experience… and the option of continuing afterwards with Péché Day at the KSAH! If you’re an alumni (have attended the last four festivals) and haven’t yet picked up your tickets, be sure to do so with the special alumni code emailed to you by FCBF organizers – aside from all the great local craft beer, you also get a T-shirt, custom glassware, and more!

A couple more things before we let you go this week:

– The crew from Bishop’s Cellar drove up to Nyanza this week to brew up a collaboration at Big Spruce Brewing. Coming next month will be Anaphylactic Choc, a peanut butter and chocolate porter, featuring organic peanut butter added right to the boil, for a blast of nutty goodness. We’ll share more details when the beer is released on February 25th, at a Takeover of Bishop’s growler filling taps.
Breton Brewing has brought back Crazy Angus Double IPA, the amped up brother to their Black Angus IPA. At 7.4% ABV and 85 IBU, it’s sure to cure that hop itch many of us have! Grab it on tap at their taproom, and accounts around the province.
Gahan Halifax will be hosting their first Brewmaster’s Dinner on February 21st, featuring four courses from the chef specifically paired with beers from Kyle Jeppesen’s brewhouse. More details are in the offing and we’ll bring them to you as they become available.
Garrison Brewing is holding a contest on Instagram, celebrating their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA. Take a picture of why you love the town, and tag @garrisonbrewing and use the #LoveThisDirtyOlTown hashtag. They will regram all entries, and the one with the most likes by February 9th will win a brewery tour for 10 people.

We’re firmly into 2017 and we’ll all hopefully be able to stop typing 2016 any day now. Though the we haven’t quite reached the dead of winter, the beer scene in the region is still showing plenty of signs of life and it’s not looking like that will slow down any time soon. Read on for all the news on new beers, re-releases, and beer- and brewery-related events throughout our corner of the country. And don’t forget, the first kegs from Harvey, NB’s Think Brewing will be available this weekend. We have confirmation that they will be on tap at the James Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen in the next day or two. To learn more, check out Tuesday’s Profile with Think. And now on to the rest of the beer news!

• A little over a year ago, Flying Boats released Double Oatmeal Stout, an easy-drinking beer with plenty of oatmeal and roast character. Recently, owner/brewer Marc Melanson has changed the recipe, with the result being Station Master Stout. Over 10% of rolled oats, along with specialty malts including Chocolate and Roasted varieties, makes up the grist, giving “slight chocolate, coffee, and roastiness” in the flavour, along with a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hopped with East Kent Goldings to 28 IBUs, expect this one to weigh in at approximately 5.2% ABV; look for it at Flying Boats tap accounts sometime within the next couple of weeks.

• Saint John’s newest brewery, Loyalist City, released another of their flagship beers for the first time late last week. An American Pale Ale, Three Sisters Pale Ale (6% ABV, 60 IBUs) features a blend of three popular American hop varieties – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – to give “an assertive mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma”. The high majority of the hops were added in the whirlpool, after the boil was complete, to maximize the deliciousness of these varieties, without adding too much bitterness in the finish. The grist was kept simple, with a mix of two base malts, to complement the hops but not overpower them. Fermented clean with an American Ale yeast strain, more Mosaic was included in not one, but two, dry-hop additions, resulting in even more tropical fruit in the aroma. For historians, the beer was named after the Three Sisters Lamp, which was erected in 1842 at the end of Prince William Street “to welcome visitors to the Saint John Harbour by guiding them safely into port”. Look for Three Sisters on tap at select accounts in the city, including Cask & Kettle and Five & Dime, and at the ANBL Growler program starting Jan 26 at the three SJ-region locations. Details are thin, but look for LCBC’s Extra Special Bitter to hit the taps this weekend, we’ll share more details when we have them.

YellowBelly Brewpub in downtown St John’s has released a new cider this week, featuring partridge berries. Twenty kilograms of the extremely ripe fruit were used for a subtle sweetness and tannic tartness. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “It’s like our regular cider with a bit of pink lemonade and the merest hint of wintergreen, methinks.” Grab a pint at the pub, and look for bottles at a few St. John’s NLCs next week.

• Still on the Rock, Mill Street Brewpub has been serving a beer since late 2016 that we seem to have missed the boat on. St. John’s ESB is in the English Pale Ale family, with a balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness enhancing its drinkability. It comes in at a very reasonable 4.8% ABV and 27 IBU with biscuit, caramel and lightly toasted malt notes and floral and earthy hop flavours. Look for it the next time you’re by for a pint or a growler fill.​

• Fans of Moncton’s Bore City Brewing can look forward to their first new beer release in a while, a currently-unnamed “lower-ABV Belgian style Ale” (think roughly along the lines of an Abbey Single or Table Beer). With a grist of mainly Pilsner malt and Munich II, it was hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, White Labs’ Belgian Golden Ale. This one should come in around 5.6% ABV; it won’t be ready for another few weeks, according to the brewery, but we’ll have more information to release before then!

Graystone Brewing has their first Lager on tap at their taproom and elsewhere in Fredericton. The North is a Pilsner that was “amply hopped” with two varieties, German Perle and Czech Saaz, giving distinctive floral and spicy notes to the beer. Fermented cool at 13 C with a European Lager yeast, the beer was further lagered at cold temperatures for six weeks. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 40 IBUs, and is available now for pints, and crowler/growler fills.

• Graystone also released another new beer yesterday, Shiver Stout, to coincide with this year’s Shivering Songs Festival. With an addition of a cold-brewed medium roast blend from Whitney Coffee Company added directly to the beer, there’s plenty of smooth coffee flavour (without any harshness) in this one. On the lighter-ABV end for a stout (4.7%), it clocks in at 30 IBUs; while exploring around Fredericton for the festival, be sure to seek this one out!

• Continuing with Fredericton, Bogtrotter has a new beer popping up around the city. Drunken Newt Red Rye Ale was brewed with Rye malt in the grist, with nutmeg added late in the boil. This deep red-coloured beer comes in at 5% ABV, and features “aromas of fresh rye bread, caramel malt and hops”, according to the brewery. Expect flavours of caramel, toffee, and a hint of, naturally, nutmeg. It’s available on tap around Fredericton, and is also in 500 mL bottles at the York St. and Oromocto ANBL locations.

• Now firmly in the middle of winter, it’s time for the return of one of last year’s favourites, Big Spruce Brewing‘s Coade Word: Snowmaggedon, an ode to local meteorologist Peter Coade, who retired in September 2016, after a record-breaking 54 year career. This Winter Warmer is 7.4% ABV, and features Gila Squash grown at their brewery farm. It was oven roasted with organic cane sugar before being added to the mash, extracting some extra sweetness and complexity. After primary fermentation, the beer was conditioned with a dark rum tincture of local ginger with organic cinnamon and vanilla. This release is draft/growler only, while the next release will be aged in barrels and will be available on draft, and in bottles.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing has released their first Double IPA, Make and Break. Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, the beer features Amarillo and Millennium hops, to the tune of 60 IBUs, balancing the sweet, malty aroma. Grab a pint or growler fill at the brewery, and look for it at their tap accounts shortly.

• Be sure to grab today’s episode of the 902 BrewCast, with Kyle, Phil, and Tony tasting through a selection of Nova Scotian and New Brunswick IPAs (including a look at the medal winners of the 2016 ACBAs). They even invited along our very own acbbchris for a nerdier approach to the whole thing. Be sure to share your feedback on their social media feeds, or in a comment below.

• Attention large AtlCan breweries! The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is taking a handful of Canadian breweries on a tour of five US cities next month, and the opportunity to sign-up is now open. Visiting Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami Feb 27 – Mar 2, brewers will have the chance to meet local vendors, check out the potential markets, and learn about the benefits (and potential) drawbacks to doing business abroad. More details can be found here, including contacts on how to sign up before the application window closes January 25th.

A few events have popped up on our radar; check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods:

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar are holding another Growler Pop-Up today, 10-6pm (or when the beer runs dry). Look for the return of Herbies Oatmeal for Breakfast Stout, Sour Otis Fruit Cake Kettle Sour, as well as two new IPAs: Calling Method IPA (featuring Citra) and Nelson IPA, single-hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The first few folks through the door will receive a free T&B growler (empty) – the early birds get the worm!

• A reminder of tomorrow’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Ducky’s in Sackville. In addition to their core lineup, and special beers that they’ve been saving, it will serve also as the sneak preview of their Barrel-aged Barleywine, being released next Thursday. We’ll have more details on that beer next week. In the meantime, learn more about the evening, and live music, on the FB Event page.

• Join Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL next weekend, January 27th and 28th, for Eat the Hill. Pairing their beers with plates from several different chefs, there will be plenty of food, beer, and cheer to go around after a day on the slopes. Tickets are available now.

Mill Street is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner at the brewpub on February 8th. Hosted by Joel Manning, Head Brewmaster for the Mill Street family, and Dan Boldrini, Head Brewer at the St. John’s location, it will feature five of beers paired with five courses from the kitchen. The event will take place the evening of Wednesday, February 8; tickets are $60 and are apparently going fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors next Saturday, January 28th, for a soft launch of their beers and tap room. Featuring their core line-up on tap, as well as several special tap-room-only beer produced on their pilot system, the fun kicks off at noon. Take a gander at this week’s The Coast newspaper for an article with Kelly, Mark, and Jeremy, and we’ll have a full profile with the crew early next week, to whet your whistle.

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be holding a Nano Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring four of Nova Scotia’s smallest craft breweries, on Thursday, February 9th. All sixteen taps will be dedicated to beer from Brightwood, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, and Tidehouse. Drop by from 2:00 pm to taste the beers from these small operations, including a few special one-offs casks, and meet the folks behind the beers.

• On February 16th, Battery Park is hosting Pop-Up Love Party, an event with live performers expounding on love, paired with local beer and a menu designed by Daniel Burns. It also serves as the launch of just the second beer brewed at North‘s Dartmouth location (in BP’s foyer), Zuppa Symposium. It is a Milk Stout aged on local blackberries and cherry wood, and will be available on tap (both standard and nitro versions), and in bottles. More details are available here, and tickets here.

 • Like to drink beer and curl? Or even just drink beer and slide around on the ice with a broom? Well, good news! Good Robot is holding their 1st Annual Tournament of Broken Hearts on Saturday, February 18th at the Mayflower Curling Club. Teams of four can sign up here ($80 per team), with all participants receiving GR toques, plenty of GR beer on tap, prizes to the winners, and an after-party. The fun starts at 1 pm and will continue all day and evening.

• It’s a ways away on May 27th, but early bird tickets are already on sale for the first annual Yarmouth Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at the Rodd Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, it will feature breweries from around Nova Scotia. There will be two tastings, in the afternoon at 2:30pm and in the evening at 7:30pm. The $30 package includes a commemorative glass and 5 sampling tickets, with additional sampling tickets available both online when you register and at the event itself. VIP and Designated Driver packages are also available: the VIP is priced at $45 and includes 10 sampling tickets, access to a VIP lounge and early access (30 minutes) to the tasting; the DD package gives 5 sampling tickets for food and non-alcoholic drinks and access to the VIP lounge and is priced at $15. Early bird registrants (until February 15th) save $5 on any package, while late registrations will see prices $5 higher. More information, including participating breweries will be available as the event gets closer.

• The YBF will also feature the first annual Hop Run. This event marries drinking beer and running and features both individual and relay formats. Individuals will run between 1 and 3 miles, with a beer at the starting gun and another after each mile completed to a maximum of three laps and four beers per person. The relay will see teams of three each running one lap and drinking 4 beers. Included in all registrations is a Hop Run pint glass and a finisher’s medal for each runner. Pricing for individuals is based on number of miles ($45/50/55 for 1, 2 and 3 miles, respectively), while relay pricing is $150 for the team. Again, early bird and latecomer pricing is in effect. So if you know you’re interested, get your registration in early and save a few dollars.​

And finally today:

Big Tide currently has an “extra-strong” batch of their Karnival Kölsch on tap at the brewpub; weighing in at 6.3% ABV (vs. its usual 4.5%), it also features Hallertau hops from Darlings Island Farm.
Boxing Rock Carbon-14 is back, Professor Jason MacDougall’s second-place winner from the first Boxing Rock Black Box challenge last year is available once again. It’s a big beer, a strong dark Belgian that should be perfect for a cold winter night.
Unfiltered: Deity SMaSH DIPA is back! The same blast of hoppy juiciness with spicy, herbal notes from the Columbus hops as the first time ’round. 7.5% ABV 100+ IBU 10 SRM
– Johnny Jacks Brewery in Oromocto has a new beer headed to local ANBL shelves soon, Pond Hockey Winter Ale. The 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU beer will be released in 750 ml bottles.
Hammond River S’mores Graham Cracker Imperial Stout is kegged and will be popping up at local tap accounts this weekend.