Big Spruce Brewing

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This has been a week of transitions in Atlantic Canada, with plenty of good news across the four provinces… We marked the opening of two breweries, New Brunswick has loosened restrictions allowing taprooms and restaurants to open for sit-down service (No Touching!), Newfoundland breweries are now allowed to do deliveries of their products (only 6 weeks after the rest of the Atlantic Provinces!), Nova Scotia has allowed taprooms to be open seven days a week now (pickup and delivery options have changed for some), and most importantly, Prince Edward Island hasn’t sunk into the ocean. Happy Victoria Day weekend! Plenty of details below, and in our Delivery/curbside pickup options page. As always, two months on, if we’ve missed something important there, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred). Take care of yourselves! 💙

The first brewery to open in AtlCan this week was Grand Falls Brewing Company, in Northwest New Brunswick. Operating a 1200 litre brewhouse at 651 Main Street, they are currently open for retail sales of cans, 2 – 8 PM Monday through Saturday. For all of the juicy details on their four three offerings (Hop Dam IPA is sold out, thanks to their thirsty local fans!), check out our Profile of them from earlier this week. Their 175 seat taproom will be opening in the coming days/weeks, once the final touches are complete, and physical distancing protocols can be maintained. Keep an eye out here or on their FB and IG pages. Congratulations!

The other brewery opening this week could perhaps be better described as a re-opening of a re-imagined brewery, in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. First opened in owner Keith Forbes’ basement in 2017, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House was definitively a nano-scale brewery, selling beer a few kegs at a time to licensees in that area. The OG OB himself was juggling a full-time job outside of brewing, and shuttered the brewery mid-2018. Now back full-time, and with business partner Chris Balcom as GM, OBB is opening tomorrow at 111 Cobequid Road. Their hours this weekend will be 12 – 8 PM Saturday and 12 – 6 PM Sunday & Monday. While the taproom is closed due to the pandemic, cans of their eight launch beers will be available to grab and go. Look for our Profile with Fobes and Balcom coming later today.

The great news keeps coming this week, with Propeller Brewing launching a new beer, opening a new location, and switching to seven-days-a-week delivery! Let’s start with the beer….
A fun melding of two tastes are coming together in their Earl Grey Pale Ale. Using Idaho 7 and Citra hops which complement the Earl Grey tea leaves in the beer, and a first on the blog, we think, with the use of Cookie Malt, for a “tea and biscuits” flavour profile. Black tea, bergamot orange, citrus, and floral, perfect for an afternoon break from whatever you’re doing. Cans of the 5.5% ABV beer are available at the Prop Shops, or for home delivery. Pinkies up!
The next big news from Propeller is that their location at The Keep Condominiums [condominia?] (6112 Quinpool Road) will be opening this Sunday, May 17th. While the taproom will remain closed until it is safe to do so, the Propeller Quinpool retail space of cans and bottles will be open for no-contact and safe distancing sales from 12 – 8 PM, seven days a week. This is the site of their 300 litre pilot system, which will be used to test the waters of some cool experimental and one-off brews, mostly for sale onsite in pints and growlers, so the first releases of those will come when it is safe to do so.
And with the NSLC requirements of Sunday closure lifted, Propeller’s three locations will be on the same 12 – 8 PM schedule, and they are expanding their delivery to every day as well. Orders placed online before 3 PM will see same-day delivery to much of HRM, with orders to Bedford, the Sackvilles, and Eastern Passage on a Tues, Thurs, Sat schedule. So plenty of time to submit an order for the Earl Grey Pale Ale, any of their hazy hoppy offerings like Galaxy and Sabro, as well as take advantage of this weekend’s deal of Commons, where you can enjoy $10 off a flat of 24. 

Newfoundland’s Bannerman Brewing just celebrated their first birthday, so happy birthday to them! Of course you can’t have any type of celebration in the beer world without launching a new beer (or if you do, you’re basically dead to us), so Bannerman has kindly given us Youthful Daze, a sour IPA. Brewed with Pilsner malt and flaked oats, it was kettle soured and then hopped with heavy amounts of Sabro, Citra, and Galaxy. They also added a small amount of lactose to the boil to make the beer “more cocktail-like”, and with flavours of “citrus, tropical fruit, and coconut”, it sounds like they may have succeeded. This 6.5% ABV tart and hoppy wonder is available right now, so do what you can to get your hands on some (we recommend checking out their online store). 

We enjoy getting news from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing, as it’s quite often more than one or two new beers that they have hitting taps… and this week is no exception! We’ve got four new beers to report on, all of which will be available from the brewery as of today. It’s easier and neater to separate them so no one gets confused:
Love at Midnight (7% ABV) – a “Pina Colada IPA” featuring additions of pineapple and coconut, to add tropical notes to those already present from the hop additions.
Hip Hop Series Vol. 2 Citra (8% ABV) – the second entry in their Hip Hop series of DIPAs, Volume 2 features all Citra hops (oh come on, you know you still love them) used both in the kettle and dry-hop, so except lots of juicy and dank flavours.
Pump Up the Jam (7% ABV) – a kettle sour dry-hopped with Idaho 7, it sports a “nice, citrusy bitterness on top of a smooth sour taste”.
Pump Up the Jam: Pink Guava Sour (7% ABV) – another kettle sour (obviously), this one had an addition of pink guava purée to give “super-refreshing and amazing tropical flavours”. This one in particular is in extremely limited supply, so that’s your warning!
All of these beers will be available for growlers and cans, with the exception of the last one, which will be growlers only. Ok, Monctonians, start your beer engines!

Let’s skip back across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and visit the lovely Port Rexton, where, coincidentally, you will find Port Rexton Brewing Co. How’s that kismet for you?! They are celebrating the Victoria Long Weekend with this year’s release in their ongoing Ten Eighty series. Back in December, they brewed up an Imperial Milk Stout, starting specific gravity 1.080 (like the name of the beer series!), with plenty of chocolate and roast malt used to bring out those same flavours and aromas in the finished beer. The addition of lactose, aka milk sugar which is unfermentable by most yeasts, allows some sweetness to remain in the final beer, enhancing the milk chocolate feel of the beer, complementing the coffee and darker chocolate malt-derived flavour. After packaging in February and the lovely nap these bottles have taken for the past few months, the 8.5% ABV beer is for sale now! If you live near Port Rexton itself, you can email (sales@portrextonbrewing.com) to organize a contactless patio-side pickup, but for those not so fortunate, order up online now, and drop by their St. John’s Retail Shop for a pickup, or, for the first time, delivery this afternoon! Those within 20km of the Torbay Rd location can opt for that, with a $40 minimum order and a $5 delivery fee.

Up in Cape Breton, you wouldn’t know there was a pandemic ruining the economy by the beer flying out of Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing. And to up the ante that much higher, this week they’ve got four, yes FOUR new things for you to try plus a returning summer favorite. It’s like they think they’re 2 Crows or something… Anyways, first up is the second in their line of hard seltzers: Bliss Zesty Lime is made just like the Bliss Raspberry we told you about last week: water, malt, and a touch of hops fermented clean and then passed through an ultrafine filtration process to remove almost all color and malt flavor. Add some organic lime essence and you’ve got ZIMA! We kid. What you really get is a crisp and super clean beer-based beverage with a refreshing lime flavor; and like all Big Spruce products, it’s certified organic. We anticipate there will be lots of these downed over the course of the coming summer along with Big Spruce’s returning beer this week, Silver Tart. Don’t expect anything to have changed with this one, it’s still a sour wheat beer with plenty of raspberry essence, and it’s still, we’d wager, super easy-drinking and refreshing.

From those light and refreshing beverages we move onto the remaining three new releases from Big Spruce this week, none of which we’d recommend crushing too many of on a summer afternoon unless you’re looking for life to get unnecessarily interesting. First up is a collaboration between the brewery and Halifax homebrew maven Ian Wheatley (that guy collaborates with errybody). A Belgian ale weighing in at a beefy 9.3% ABV, it was fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Saint Lucifer strain. Called Tripel because, well, that’s what it is, you can safely expect plenty of classic stylistic character, smooth and malty with some banana bread character and a touch of citrus along with a balancing bitterness of 30 IBU or so. Available in 650 mL bottles, you might want to plan to share one; or have a nap afterwards. And continuing with the continental European bent, the next beer up is also a beast, this one from the other side of the Franco-Belgian border, stylistically speaking. Bière de Garde is known as “keeping” beer from Northern France: brewed in the cool weather of late winter or early spring to avoid off flavors from the yeast getting too warm and then “guarded” (kept) for the summer season. Plainly named like the tripel, Bière de Garde is also plenty dangerous at 9.5% ABV and packaged in 650 mL bottles. Malt-driven, but with some hop character from the French variety Aramis to the tune of 22 IBU, expect some aromas of honey and ripe apricot along with a prominent toffee character and a long finish. And if those two bruisers weren’t enough for you, perhaps something a little lower in ABV but with more bitterness and a lot more hop character would suit your needs? Enter Old School a West Coast IPA that harkens back to the early days of West Coast IPA when it wasn’t about who could blow out their customer’s taste buds with bitterness and malt was still a thing you expected to taste quite a bit of in an IPA. At 6.7% ABV and 60 IBU, expect this beer to be, above all things, balanced. That said, don’t get the idea that there’s nothing modern about this beer: the hops used, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic, certainly don’t date back to the 80s, nor does the Vermont Yeast strain (at least not in its current form), but we suspect nobody’s going to complain about that! This one has also been packaged in bombers ready for you to order for delivery anywhere in NS!

Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer in the fridge and on their virtual shelves this week, Tropical Storm Nor-Easter IPA. At 8.1% ABV it’s a commitment, but it’s also a commitment to hops, as it took a “boatload” to put this one together. In the kettle at whirlpool were Galaxy and Simcoe, followed by Vic Secret and more Galaxy pre- and post-fermentation. The result is lots of juiciness and mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and stonefruit character with a lush mouthfeel and not too much bitterness. Did you also guess hazy? Well if you did, you got it in one. Bogside Brewing is open for pickup of this beer or any of their other eleven or so canned offerings Tues – Sun, 1 – 6 PM, and The Wheelhouse in Georgetown has temporarily set up in their kitchen offering take-out options Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 – 7 PM (which means the brewery is open then too!). Check the menu here and call in your food order!

Has it been awhile since a brewery around here has brewed an all-Simcoe-hopped DIPA? We’re honestly not sure, but now that we know that Backstage Brewing has released one, we’re in the mood for one! Brewed with a majority of malt from Shoreline Malting, Pour Some Simcoe On Me is a 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU beer hopped entirely with, yes, Simcoe. Ah, Simcoe… you’re actually a pretty ancient hop variety in comparison to so many of the new, cooler kids, but we still adore you! You know, like your favourite grandfather, but better-smelling! Oh right, the beer. Backstage is describing it as showing off “huge, sweet citrus and pine, with a solid bitterness”. Check it out if you’re able!

Brand new hoppy beer from TrailWay this week, an American IPA named ?. No, it’s not that we don’t know what it’s named, it’s just a question mark. Personally, we’d love to be flies on the wall of a local bar to see exactly how people are ordering this beer… but we digress. ? is hopped entirely with Enigma, with a grain bill designed to showcase flavours in the bready, spicy, and toasty areas. The beer also features an addition of raw wildflower honey in the boil, with the final 6.6% ABV product showing off “loads of juicy tropical fruit, apricot and cantaloupe, while the honey introduces complexity with a sweet, floral touch”. Currently available at the brewery, they’ve also got a fresh batch of Ooz, their 8% ABV DIPA hopped with Sabro and a mix of other varieties.

Quidi Vidi continues to push out the small batch beers, with two new releases this week, both available in their retail shop for pickup. The first beer is Belgian Pale Ale, a 4.6% ABV BPA brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, CaraVienna, Victory, Dark Munich, and Acid malt, and hopped with Sterling and Saaz. Next is another European style, Biere de Garde, brewed with a wide variety of specialty malts to give the beer its signature amber colour. It was hopped with Galena and Mt. Hood, and comes in at 6.2% ABV. Unfortunately, we do not have any tasting notes for these two, so if you’re in St. John’s, you’ll have to try them yourselves!

This week marks the Fifth Anniversary of Good Robot, who burst on the scenes ala Kramer back in 2015, bringing their fun attitude, killer taproom events, charitable endeavours, oh, and beer! While the party hats and streamers were donned and tossed remotely, plenty of good vibes are flowing. No brand new beers out for them this week, though their Creature Feature Biotransformation IPA is back in cans. 6.4% ABV, hazy NEIPA with plenty of tropical vibes. GRBC is also marking this weekend by opening their doors for retail and delivery Sundays, with their new hours Mon – Thurs, 2 – 7 PM, Fri – Sun, 12 – 7 PM. Order by 6 PM for same-day delivery. And if you want to take part in the fun with one of their neat-o-rama offerings, you can order up their The Fizz, their 4.7% ABV fermented seltzer. Use code MOREFIZZNESS at checkout to save 30% off your growler fill, today until Sunday.

Your favorite beer nerds (besides us, we mean), have a new episode out this week, and it looks like if nothing else, COVID-19 has allowed them to get back to talking to actual breweries thanks to the advent of Zoom! This week’s guest is Cam MacKinnon, one of the principal folks behind Sydney’s Breton Brewing. Tune in to hear them discuss (among other things), the impacts of the pandemic on the brewery and the beer industry as a whole; just dial up “902BrewCast” on your favorite podcast app or hit their homepage here.

A couple last things to keep you busy before beer time!

Annapolis Brewing just released Dunkel, a 5.1% ABV, 21 IBUs dark German Lager; with some sweetness thanks to the addition of specialty malts, it’s well-balanced with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Their retail shop is open Saturdays, 12 – 4 PM for bottles to go!

Unfiltered has growler fills and cans available of their latest batch of Riddle of Steel, a 7% ABV NEIPA, available as of today, so be sure to load up for the long weekend. And again Monday, as they’ll be open, in case you drink it all Sunday!

Another massive news week for you today, as breweries continue to do their best in these extremely tough situations. And with your faithful bloggers dealing with a bunch of their own stuff (read: real work), today’s post is a little late. Sorry ‘bout that, but we’re sure you’ll forgive us. 🙂
We’ve added just a few more updates to our Delivery/curbside pickup options for the region this week, including Breton’s foray into HRM delivery. As always, if we’ve missed something, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too). Take care of yourselves! 💙

We have some sad news to report this week, as Halifax’s stalwart Granite Brewery has closed their doors. Ginger’s Tavern owner Kevin Keefe opened Granite in 1985, well before microbrew/craft/local independent beer was a thing. So far before, in fact, that Granite Brewery was the first brewpub in North America east of the Rocky Mountains! It was more than ten years until the next small breweries opened their doors in the province, with Garrison and Propeller not appearing until the late 90s. After moving locations in the downtown core, Granite called Stairs Street home for ten years until the building came down due to redevelopment last year, and they shacked up on Gottingen Street with Propeller and Stillwell Brewing. Brewing traditional cask-conditioned English styles, many a pint was enjoyed at Ginger’s, Henry House, and Lion’s Head, and more recently Stillwell’s HQ and Freehouse, and the style and quality of these beers garnered a fiercely loyal following. At their best we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that beers like their Peculiar, Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special and Ringwood were some of the best traditional English Ales on this side of the Atlantic. But with the mandated closure of restaurants and bars in the past 2 months and Granite’s nature as a non-packaging brewery, their biggest customers were no longer able to sell their beer. Plenty more details, including comments from Kevin are available on the independent news site AllNovaScotia (note: subscription-based).
We’d like to say a big thanks to Kevin Keefe, his family and all his staff over the years for everything they did to bring good beer to our little corner of the world, and wish him a well-deserved retirement. Our scene will be less for having lost Granite; we can hope that another brewery (or breweries) can fill some of the stylistic holes, but we know nobody can truly replace Kevin and his brewery.

We’re starting to see some new beers lately that are named in an appropriate-for-the-time manner, and Lunenburg’s Shipwright’s latest – Laid Up India Pale Lager – is no exception. Brewed with Belgian Pilsner and Biscuit malt, the wort was generously hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc. Lagered for eight weeks, the final beer is showing flavours of “citrus, pineapple, papaya, and herbaceous pine”, with a refreshing crispness in the finish. Coming in at 6.4% ABV and 42 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery in 32 oz crowlers (to-go, of course), as well as daily deliveries in Lunenburg, and Friday deliveries from Bridgewater to Chester, all accessible by a quick phone call (902-634-3300). Check out our delivery details page for more specifics.

Moving west in the province to Lazy Bear, who also have a new beer out this week. Unprecedented Pale is a 5% ABV American Pale Ale that was brewed with a malt bill made up almost entirely of Pilsner malt. Hopped with Columbus in the kettle, it was later dry-hopped with more Columbus, as well as some Southern Cross, a New Zealand variety, to add some citrus character. At 5% ABV and approximately 30 IBUs, it’s available in 500 mL  bottles and growler fills; a portion of the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a tablet for residents of Tideview Terrace, to be used for communication with loved ones. They’ve also got other beers available for local delivery and contactless pick-up, so check out their online shop to decide on your order.

On to Tatamagouche Brewing, where, thankfully for us, they’ve continued to brew up a storm and even have a couple new beers for us this week! First up is a style we all need more of in our lives, Grisette. Skiff is a 3.3% ABV representation of the style was brewed with a Pilsner malt base, along with Oats and Spelt. Hopped in the kettle with Aramis, Saaz, and Callista, it was fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison (which contains both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains) in stainless. Dry-hopped with more Callista and Saaz, as well as some Tettnanger, the final beer was conditioned in 500 mL bottles, and has “refreshing aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, and an earthy funk that brings out flavours of honey, mango, and a drying finish”.
Next up in new beer news is First Light Pilsner, a 4.8% ABV, 30 IBUs Czech Pils hopped with plenty of Saaz and Strisselspalt, and fermented with Czech Lager yeast from Escarpment. Expect a crisp, refreshing beer with a healthy amount of earthy/floral hop character; cans can be ordered from Tata’s online store as of today. And while you’re on there, they’ve also got a new batch of their Dusk Schwarzbier, as well as their popular Dekorum, the 2.9% ABV Light Lager, which is one of the newbies on sale at NSLC. Their store is open Mon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, but for those not in the Tata’hood, don’t forget about their free shipping/delivery in the Maritimes for orders over $95, and Canada-wide for orders over $150!

On North Street in Halifax, a new beer from Unfiltered is out, this one going a step further than their Hellevator from last year in exploring the maltier side of things. Like way malty. Way way malty. Like, as hoppy as a typical Nash beer is, this one is that malty. Okay, maybe not that far (you’d be spitting barley husks if it were), but definitely a change of pace for a brewery usually known for hammering in the hops. A Doppelbock, a German monastic style that falls under the general description of “bread in a bottle,” Isolator, was also aged on oak for a time, no doubt providing some tannins to balance the sweet nature of the beer. And if none of that was enough to get you interested, Unfiltered is also using this big beer (10% ABV!) to help raise funds for an important organization in our community, Adsum House for Women and Children. One dollar from every can sold will go to this very worthy cause that brings comfort and assistance to folks in their darkest times, and for many of those people the current COVID situation has only made times darker. So whether or not you know you’re a fan of big bready beers, this would be a great chance to try one and support a great cause.

Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing us two brand new hoppy beers during their Salter Street curbside pick up event tomorrow, 12 – 5 PM. Kicking it off is the appropriately named Noon Gun, a little 3.4% ABV beer packed with Vic Secret late in the boil, and bumped up with Ella at both the beginning and end of fermentation (biotransformation, anyone?). Fresh as heck but without the hop burn, hazy and juicy, and in a nice light package, this sounds like a perfect beer for enjoying on a May afternoon lounging on Citadel Hill, sufficiently separated from your neighbour, that is!
And a little bit bigger than NG is For Greg About It! Developed, brewed, and named with their pal Greg in mind, this 7.0% ABV beaut features the deadly combination of Galaxy, Mosaic (added at the very end of the boil), and Citra (added during conditioning). Tropical, dark berry, and pine meld together for a 1 Up by using the “cheat code” in hop combinations.
So, how to get your Tidehouse love? You’ve got a new option this week: call in your order this afternoon between 2 – 5 PM, and then drop by tomorrow 12 – 5 PM for a contactless grab and go. Or, if you prefer, you can call them during the pick up time to order and pay, just give them 15 minutes to put it all together for ya. Either way, 902-407-2550 is your path to success!

Inverness’s Route 19 Brewing recently celebrated their 1st Birthday, and while the official celebrations may be over (and in these current times, were likely less exuberant than they should have been), they’ve still got new beer for us, with this week bringing Supernova, a New England IPA. Double-dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado, it’s a 6% ABV hazy brew with lots of citrus and tropical fruit, a soft mouthfeel, and aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, according to the brewery. You should be able to find it at NSLC stores in Cape Breton now, and it will be available further afield at the private stores and a few more NSLCs in HRM and environs later this month; $0.50 of each can sold in May will be donated to the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund. And while you’re shopping for Route 19, their Dog Daze Passionfruit Sour just hit the shelves of the HRM NSLCs, and is coming soon to the private shops.

With sightings of American juggernaut hard seltzer brand White Claw in Halifax, and no doubt to follow if not already present in the other provinces here in Atlantic Canada, lots of breweries are taking steps to fend off the potential glut of these fruity and super easy-drinking beverages. While our craft providers have managed to hold their own against lots of similar ready-to-drink products in the last couple of years, given the current situation any deterioration in market is going to be dangerous. So it’s not surprising that we’ve started to see breweries enter that market, with examples so far coming from Trailway, North, Good Robot, and Hell Bay, all of which have brewed with grains and then used techniques to keep “beer” flavor low. Enter Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing, who have stepped up the technical side of things by implementing a proprietary nano-filter resulting in something that they are referring to as a UFO: Ultra-filtered, Fermented Organic beverage. Still “beer-based,” starting with 100% Horton Ridge Pale malt and using clean-fermenting yeast, after the filtering process raspberry essence is added and the result is carbonated yielding a super-crisp and clean fruity bevvie coming in right at 5% ABV. Throw a couple ice cubes in the glass and pour some Bliss in and you’ve got yourself a recipe for relaxing in the sun. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but we’re not into beverage shaming. We are, however, definitely into pointing folks towards a local option where possible, and this certainly fits the bill. And with Jeremy & Co. promising more flavors coming, we’re happy to keep pointing to Bliss and other local products over megacorporate malternatives.

Back to the mainland, and Garrison Brewing, for a big release of their own this week. Playing off their very popular Juicy Double IPA, but easing back on the alcohol a touch, they have brought us Lil’ Juicy. At a still-solid 6.0% ABV, what it may be lacking in booze, it still keeps up with tons of flavour and aroma from generous hopping from a quartet of lovely hops, namely Citra, Comet, Mosaic, and Simcoe. These meld together for tropical notes, reminiscent of citrus, peach, and pineapple on the nose, and OJ, mango, complemented by a touch of malt sweetness on the palate (that’s 2-row and Oat malt in the grist). Nicknamed the “scrappy little brother” of Juicy, it is available now at their Seaport and Oxford retail locations, delivery in HRM and beyond through the brewery directly, and will be at the NSLC and private stores very soon.

Speaking of Garrison, Sydney’s Breton Brewing teamed up with them for their third annual spring collaboration brew. This year’s entry is West Coast Pale Ale, a 5.4% ABV ode to the classic North American style, featuring bold pine, citrus, and fruit flavours thanks to a ton of classic NA hops Cascade and Simcoe. Breton’s Head Brewer Iain Sutherland, a West Coaster himself, took the lead on this brew, which ended up with “an aggressive bitterness”. In addition to brewing partner Garrison’s shops, Breton is carrying it in their own retail shop on Keltic Drive, as well as through their delivery options in both the CBRM, and now, within HRM! Both are next day delivery, Mon – Fri, with a 12 can minimum (and a discount $0.50 per can discount when ordering more than 24!). The full details are available here!

Looks like there should be two new canned beers freshly available at Tusket Falls Brewing for this weekend. They’ve got a classic Czech Pilsner they’ve named Once Blind, Now I See Clearly; brewed with Czech Pilsen malt and hopped entirely with Saaz, it’s 5% ABV and tasting just like a classic Czech Pils should. The other newbie is While You’re Waiting, a “Peach Mint Sour IPA”, a 6.5% ABV kettle sour that we’re betting you can guess a) some of the ingredients in this beer, and b) what it may taste like. This Sour IPA was hopped with Galaxy and Citra, to add lots of tropical notes to the peach character, thanks to the addition of peach puree. Fresh mint was also added as a dry-hop (“dry-mint”?) to complement. Check out their online shop for delivery options if you can’t make it by the brewery.

For those of you in St. John’s looking for an easy-drinking beer, Quidi Vidi has you covered with American Wheat. Featuring a relatively simple grist of 2-row, Vienna, Wheat malt, and Acid malt, it was hopped with Cascade and Lemondrop to add a touch of citrus character to go with the light wheat presence. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV, you can find it now at their retail shop in the city, and at NLC and convenience stores by this coming Monday. 

Moving on to New Brunswick, where Grimross Brewing has just released their first new beer in awhile, Gose German Wheat. Their first take on this German, salted, sour style, they’re calling it an evolution of their Scratch #18: Session Sour, a kettle sour originally released a year ago. This time around, it has the additions of salt and coriander that are typical for the Gose style, all in a 4.5% ABV refreshing package. Available now at the brewery, you can call them for contactless pickup.

While on the topic of Newfoundland, just a quick note that Bannerman has brought back State of Emergency, their 7.2% ABV American IPA that is heavily dry-hopped with Citra, and conditioned on mango puree. Sounds tasty, no? This batch should also be available in the new, “smaller format” cans (read: 750 mL), for those of you looking to reign it in a little bit. Keep an eye on their online store for full pick up details and availability.

Brightwood Brewery has an early summer crusher for you, Mojito Crushable. They’re calling this one a “Kombucha Sour”, as they used the SCOBY probiotic from kombucha to kettle sour the wort, before fermenting it to 4.7% ABV. With an addition of pureed fresh strawberry and mint, it’s got the best of both worlds, if the worlds we’re talking about are fruit and Mojito minty goodness. It’s available as of today, so be sure to grab some for the weekend.

While Good Robot may be taking a hiatus from their Beta Brews, it doesn’t mean we can’t expect to see new releases every now and then from their alpha brewhouse. This week they’re bringing us Infinite Saturday, a 5% ABV Vienna Lager. Not many notes on the recipe, but they’re describing it as a smooth, malty brew, with “honey sweetness, herbs and rye, with a nutty smokiness”. They’d also like to pass on that starting next month, expect to see more cans coming, as they’ve decided to can more varieties of their beer so that it’s a little more accessible to the public. Stay tuned!

Roof Hound in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley has opened their Kingston location for food take-out, to complement their beer offerings. Starting today, and running Thurs – Sat, 2 – 7 PM going forward, call in your order of one of their burgers, sandwiches, or tacos in advance, to pair with their wide variety of beers on offer. Check out the full menu of both food and beer here, and then call 902-765-0102 to get the process started!

And rounding out the news is a late entry from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing (so you can blame the time of this post on them!), but it sounds like it may have been worth the wait. Their newest beer is a limited batch of a “Brett Pilsner” named Different Kind of Dance. Starting off as a fairly traditional German-style Pilsner, it was hopped with Huell Melon, Saphir, and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast. The beer was lagered for nine weeks, and then took a fairly-traditional 2 Crows turn when they inoculated it with the 261 Brett strain from The Yeast Bay. It was allowed to condition for a further 6 months for this secondary fermentation, and was then bottled and conditioned for 5 *more* months. It’s ready to go now, and is tasting “dry, lemony, and herbal, with classic barnyard funk and a bit of zippy guinep [that’s Spanish lime] and a touch of white grape”. They’d also like to point out that the carbonation is extremely lively, so be sure to chill your bottle for a good 24 hours, and have your glass nearby when opening! Only 400 bottles are available (it’s on the webstore now) so grab ‘em while you can.

May the Fourth (be with you) was a big day in Nova Scotia, as it is the launching day for a new round of products in the NSLC. There were no fewer than 50 new beers and ciders from small independent producers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island hitting the shelves for the first time this month. For a quick hit of what’s new, click these links for beer and cider. While certainly not our favourite retailer and licensing monopoly, their reach and popularity is undeniable, so we’re glad to see more shelf space for local producers, to get more eyes on good products.

As anyone in the region is most certainly aware, it has been an extra-trying week at this end of the country, especially in Nova Scotia. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the unbelievably tragic events of last weekend; to have to deal with this in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is that much more brutal. We know that we can all endure and survive tribulations like these through sharing strength and supporting our neighbours and we know that that’s what Nova Scotians and Canadians will do. But we absolutely wish there wasn’t a need to do so. 

With that all said, we suspect you didn’t come here to read more about that, but to maybe take your mind off it and think of more pleasant things, like beer. And in that respect, you’re in luck, as there is plenty of news to share with you this week regarding new releases, re-releases, and everything else we could find. Read on; and stay safe!!

We continue to make updates to our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries in the region, and there were plenty this week! We also took the time to update our full list of breweries and cideries in the region, as well as our Good Beer Map, useful for trip planning when it’s time to get back on the road and support breweries in person. Until then, let them come to you (where possible)! As always, please let us know via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too) if anything is out of date.

Let’s start the week’s news on a happy note in the Hub of Nova Scotia. Truro Brewing Company opened their doors at the end of February, and were therefore hit hard by the current pandemic, being a taproom- and growler-only brewery. After pivoting, they have now brought in a single head canner and established an online store, so they once again have a way to sell to their wares. They launched this week with three brand new offerings, available for local delivery in Truro, as well as through an HRM tomorrow (so get your orders in today!), with shipping available across the province and beyond as well. First up is a special version of their Exit 14 Porter, their 4.6% English Porter, but with this version, was dosed with coffee thanks to their friends at Aroma Maya Coffee. The chocolate and roast malts in the base beer pair perfectly with the freshly-roasted beans added to the brew. Next up is the Old Barns Farmhouse Ale, a 5.0% ABV Saison, modeled after the beer given to farmhands in the Belgian and French fields. Crisp, spicy, fruity, and highly carbonated, it uses the Escarpment Labs Saison Maison yeast to achieve all of these refreshing characteristics. And finally is the Daytripper Session Ale, a 3.9% ABV sessionable ale, with low bitterness, mild flavour, and featuring a nice dose of Amarillo hops at the end of the boil, for aroma and flavour. Take a gander at Truro Brewing Company’s store for the options for delivery in your neck of the woods!.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing released their Bridget Rhubarb Sour last week, which is still available at a couple of the ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, and should be returning to DrinkNB.ca soon, but now they have another beer available to those looking to have Niche on tap at home. Those in Fredericton with kegerators or jockey boxes can order 20 litre kegs of a couple of their beers, including a brand new release, Empty Garden. This 5.4% ABV American Pale ale is hazy, juicy, and full of tropical notes, thanks to the late and dry-hopping with loads of Enigma, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin. Helping it out even more was the extra punch of warm fermentation thanks to the Kveik Ebbegarden yeast strain, for more fruity ester goodness. Low bitterness (think mid-20s IBUs) and lots of juiciness, for a great return to the modern NEIPA form for the Niche crew. To order your kegs, get in touch with Niche via email (nichebrewing@gmail.com ), or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and they’ll share the fine details with you there.

Two brand new releases from 2 Crows this week to help you keep your head up! The first was designed and brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles; Special features a grist of Pilsner, Wheat malt, raw wheat, and a touch of flaked wheat, and was hopped in the boil with aged East Kent Golding, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling. With an addition of 85 kg of warmed Nova Scotia honey in the hopback, the wort was then transferred to one of their oak foedres, where it was fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures (all sorts of funky stuff in there, we can assure you). Once fermentation was complete, 5 kg of honeycomb were added to bump up the honey notes. The beer continued to age for another four months, and was then transferred back to stainless, primed with fresh honey, and packaged in cans where it was allowed to condition. The final beer, a 4.4% ABV Biere de Miel, is tasting very floral and funky; “dry as a bone, with a soft honeycomb base, subtle petrichor and herbal aromatics.” Check in with 2C to arrange pickup of your cans, or arrange for delivery.

And new to their webstore this morning is Carica, another walk on the wild site from the dual corvid crew… Starting from a complex malt base including Vienna, Wheat, Special Aromatic, Biscuit Malt (from Red Shed Malting), as well as Caramel malts, for a darker-coloured wort. Primary fermentation was done directly in a Port barrel, with a blend of their house yeast and Lactobacillus cultures. After 9 months (!!), 15 kg of dried Mission figs were added to the barrel, soaking up the beer and giving the bugs some more sugar to munch on. After that fermentation was complete, 10 kg of freshly-roasted black walnuts were added for an additional wait time, before packaging in bottles still (flat), and undergoing a final conditioning and carbonation. Phew, that was a mouthful! This dark sour has plenty of jammy fruit notes from the fig and port formerly in the barrel, and “bright and zippy” kick from the yeast and Lacto culture, plus earthiness from the walnuts. As mentioned, this joins Special, and almost a dozen more beers, now available for pickup or delivery Canada-wide, on the 2 Crows webstore.

For fans of Garrison’s Pucker Up series of “flavoured kettle sour” beers, they’ve got a new one out this week, Pucker Up Citrus. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, the soured wort was fermented and then infused with a blend of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange extract. Also, some green tea, hibiscus and Stevia were added. This 5% ABV brew has no bitterness (no hops!), and is meant to be a refreshing beer with aromas of all four fruit additions, as well as a touch of vanilla, with “bold citrus flavours and a tart finish”. Look for cans and one-way growlers at both Garrison locations (as well as home delivery) starting today; cans will also eventually show up at the NSLC, as well as ANBL and NLC outside the province. 

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing continues to pursue a market segment not usually targeted by craft breweries with this week’s addition to their Toller family of affordable American-style Lagers. Beer-wise, Toller Gold comes in at 5.0% ABV and 12 IBU, leveraging malted barley and corn on the grist side, and a smattering of Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh for hops to yield a golden-colored, slightly sweet yet still crisp brew. Price-wise, it comes in at about $23 for a 12-pack, which is actually cheaper than many huge multi-national brands that you’re familiar with! Get it now from the brewery or look for it starting May 4th at NSLC locations around the province. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up at certain private stores in Halifax as well. Also, we’ve had word from the brewery that they’re moving their core brands away from single serve to exclusively multi-packs for the foreseeable future; so if you’re big on playing mix ‘n match with Spindrift tallboys you might have to sideline that for a little while.

Fellow Dartmouth spot Brightwood Brewery has launched a new beer this week as well, an ode to the great hops grown in the Maritimes. Backyards is a 4.5% ABV hazy Pale Ale, a zesty and light-bodied beer with great tropical notes from the Centennial, Columbus, and Cashmere hops. The plan for Backyards is to continue to showcase the hop growers of the region, so the hop bill may change with availability, with the ultimate goal being all-NS supplied. This is the first Pale Ale for Brightwood, and are excited to play in that format, with plenty of fun ideas still to come. Cans of Backyards are available for window-pickup at their Portland Street shop, as well as for delivery through their webstore, along with a trio of other beers, including their dry-hopped Pilsner, now renamed to Pillowy Pils. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?

Good Robot has brewed up a new beer as a way of showing thanks to all of you working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Aptly-named FrontLiner, it is a 6.0% Belgian Golden Ale. Taking a bit of a left-turn from traditional is the additional dry-hopping step, helping to expand upon the yeast and malt character, bringing it bright tangerine and peach notes in the aroma. Good Robot is pairing with My Home Apparel, they are donating 50% of all proceeds to the QEII Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which will help purchase necessary medical supplies for patients and healthcare providers. Available in grunters and growlers only, check out their online shop to see how you can order Frontliner, and others, for pickup or delivery.

Recently-opened Hardisty Brewing, in Colby Village, Dartmouth, has a new beer available for ordering this weekend. Rye IPA is a 5.0% ABV India Pale Ale, featuring a nice addition of Rye malt to the bill, for a bit of spicy character, and built with a nice 35 IBUs of bitterness thanks to Northern Brewer and Willamette hops. Rye IPA joins Block Party SMaSH as available for delivery in the Colby Village area, check their website and Instagram for the latest info.

A bit of a return to the norm on the blog this week with our “Newsbites” section returning (aka beers we don’t know enough about or are returning and we think you’d like to know about them)

  • Big Spruce’s Tag You’re It! 2020 edition, is back, featuring, as always, a new can design (this time a righteous Right Whale) and also, as always, brewed to help support the Ocean Tracking Network ($0.50 from every can sold). We’re going to speculate that also, as always always, it’s a tropical juice-bomb in the NE IPA style and that if you’re a fan of hoppy beers it’s worth your time to check it out.
  • Dartmouth’s New Scotland released the latest in their Small Batch Series this week, a 9.5% ABV Double IPA named Pink Boots. Using the Pink Boots hop blend available from Yakima Chief, with some of the proceeds going to support the Pink Boots Society, with the goal to “assist, inspire, and encourage women beer professionals through education”. Berry, fruit, and herbal flavours come through, it’s a classic Double IPA, golden in colour with some nice bitterness. As the name implies, it’s a small batch, so it looks like it may already be sold out, but you can catch a half-dozen more in New Scotland’s online store for pickup or delivery, including another batch of their Fresh Start IPA. Ed note: edited with more info after publishing.
  • North Brewing in Cole Harbour (still feels kinda weird typing that) has a couple of faves returning to the shelves this week. Their Sparrow German-style Pilsner and their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale. The former is a rather faithful take on a classic European-style, while the latter is definitely more of a modern North American jam. Each has their place but they’re both pretty damn tasty. Hit the brewery up to get yours!
  • Those who love it know that this is the time each year when Propeller in Halifax brings out their tried and true seasonal Irish Red. Previously seen a few weeks ago in a sort of pre-release with a small run of nitro cans, this is a non-nitro version for the traditionalists amongst us. Also of note out of Prop is that not only is their local favorite NE IPA Galaxy available once again, but it has now been promoted to the status of “core brand,” which means you should now be able to find it year round! If you’re a fan of one or both of these beers, you can expect to find them at the brewery now.
  • Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s Brewery has brought back their Odin’s Summer Ale, in the hopes of seeding that idea with Mother Nature. Let’s hope it works! Their Sunburst Pale Ale is also newly available, and these can both be ordered via phone, email, or direct message. Full details here.

A few more notes to close on today, all coincidentally from New Brunswick:

Saint John’s Uncorked Tours is working hard to get their SJ City Market storefront ready before the tourist season begins, whenever that may be, but they certainly have not been slowing down their online presence in the meantime. They have been running great live Virtual Brewery Tours on their Instagram page that we encourage everyone to check out, and there are more than a dozen available for replaying here. They are now offering you a way to taste your way around the city, and province, from home as well. Firstly, they have created a Taste of the City Market “picnic basket”, with cheese, cured meats, breads and other goodies, delivered to your home in Saint John (for now, hopefully expanding the region soon) each Thursday. Order by 8PM Wednesday evening to secure your spot. As well, they are fully embracing the current situation by running some live beer tastings via Facebook Live/Zoom. Saturdays at 8 PM, drink along with Gilliane as she enjoys beers from across the province. They have also teamed up with DrinkNB to make it easier to get those beers in your hand, so don’t be shy and order them now (or in time for next week’s). The Uncorked NB Facebook page is the best way to keep up with everything happening (plenty more we couldn’t fit in here!), so you can still feel connected to the producers in the province. And if you’re able, and appreciate the content, there is a Tip Page that would help out.

The ANBL is attempting to alleviate one of the major pain points with reduced hours and the need for physical distancing at their locations, and is implementing a curbside pickup option for orders. Look here for the full details, but in short, you can now submit an order via phone (1-877-779-7878) or email (e-Commerce@anbl.com) using the product’s catalog number, wait for confirmation, and then pick up in person without needing to enter the store or wait in line.

And finally, the NBCAPA, the New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers have selected a new Executive Director. Christine Comeau will be doing advocacy work on behalf of the producers in the province, to increase the awareness of the province’s breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, to the government (yay!), in the region, and to those looking to visit when it’s safe to do so. Congratulations Christine!