Big Spruce Brewing

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Welcome to our first Friday Wrap-up of 2019 (Whoot! Got the year right!!). Although we took last week off, it’s clear that the breweries in our region did no such thing, giving us plenty to catch up on from the holidays as well as news of a few new releases hitting the taps and the shelves this weekend. We’ve also got a couple new breweries open in Nova Scotia and the sad news of the demise of Fredericton’s stalwart craft beer destination, the King Street Ale House. So have a read and plan your purchases for the weekend; it’s fixing to be a snowy one in much of Atlantic Canada, so maybe grab a couple extra this afternoon to help soothe yourself after any shovelling that needs to be done. And breweries take note! Entries are now open for the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards. This year’s event will be in Toronto, but judging takes place in April. Atlantic Canadian breweries had a strong showing at last year’s event; hopefully we’ll see some of the fantastic brews being produced out East continue that trend in 2019!

Let’s kick off the news with the details of two new breweries opening in Nova Scotia since our last Wrap-up…

Hill Top Hops has operated as a hop farm in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia, since 2016, supplying hops for two  Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery annual harvest brews (Hants County Wet Hopped Pale Ale in 2016 and Annapolis Hop Field Pale Ale in 2017). Now, the family behind the farm have opened a small brewery to showcase their hops and love of the industry. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 in Newport, their brewery and taproom is now open for pints and growler fills. Operating on a 2 BBL (240 litre) brewhouse, they have currently have six beers available: Blonde Ale, Cream Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Red Ale, as well as a full complement of merch to show your HTH pride. They will be celebrating their Grand Opening January 19th from noon, and until then, the taproom and brewery is open on a “by chance” status as they complete small renos and brew. Best to check with them on social media (Fb / IG / Tw) or by phone (902-791-0776) to be sure. They are currently operating by cash/EMT for the moment, and will update their social media when that changes. Congratulations to the Peters family on the opening, and we look forward to sharing a full Profile with them soon.

Congratulations also go out to the crew at Shipwright Brewing who opened their doors in Lunenburg on December 30th. Owner Adam Bower has long been a fan and promoter of local beer while managing, and then buying, the Grand Banker at 82 Montague Street in Lunenburg. Shipwright Brewing is located in the same building, and Brewer Kellye Robertson is using a 1 BBL (120 litre) system to create their own beers. The brewery and taproom is open 12 – 10 PM daily, and they are currently serving three beers to enjoy onsite or to take away in growler or crowler fills. They can also be enjoyed at the Grand Banker, who recently expanded their all-local draught offerings. Cutwater is a 4.8% ABV and 18 IBU traditional German Kolsch (hybrid of lager and ale), First Sail Banker Roast is a 4.5% ABV and 21 IBU Blonde Ale with coffee beans added, and Icebreaker is a 5.3% ABV and 40 IBU New England Pale Ale. Congratulations to Adam, Kellye, and the entire Shipwright family on their opening! Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / IG / Tw) for more updates.

Let’s get caught up with a few beers that were launched over the last two weeks…

Brightwood Brewery released John’s Punch at their brewery taproom last Friday. This 7.5% ABV NEIPA was generously hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon, and is full of citrus and juicy bright notes on the nose and palate. It is currently on tap at the Brightwood Market, with kegs on their way to The Auction House, Battery Park, and HopYard, with cans coming later this month.

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co released a pair of new beers late last year (we can say that!) that should still be around for your liquid enjoyment. First up is Gin & Spruce, a 5.0% ABV kettle sour, dry-hopped with Citra. However, the real fun is in the other ingredients added to the beer, which were spruce tips and juniper berries, soaked in gin from the Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clarke’s Beach. They followed that release up with another the following day, a style they’ve nicknamed “Snowball Stout”, after the eponymous cookies. In keeping with the rap theme, this one is named Untitled 02 | 12.28.18. The 5.0% ABV stout was brewed with plenty of cocoa powder and coconut to match the baked treat’s flavour profile, on a creamy smooth base. Look for these on draught at their taproom, and keep your eyes peeled in St. John’s at your favourite good beer spot.

Speaking of stouts, Quidi Vidi Brewing released their own back in December, which is back now in a limited re-release. Cappuccino Stout is a 6.5% ABV stout featuring 2-Row and Crystal malts, accented with Flaked Barley, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley for a smooth mouthfeel and dark brown appearance, but brought to the next level with the use of lactose (milk sugar) and coffee from Trinity Roastery. These extra ingredients balance each other with sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and nutty dark roast, like a well pulled and blended capp. The beer is available at the brewery now, and at NLCs this weekend.

Earlier in December, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing released Beaufort 10, a 10% ABV, Doppelbock. This traditional German style is malt-forward, taking advantage of the roast, bread, and dark fruit character of the malts used in the mash, while keeping it lightly hopped to just over 20 IBU. A long fermentation period followed by more than a month of lagering lead to a smooth and deceptively easy-drinking beer for the alcohol level, a solid choice for these colder months. Beaufort 10 is available at the brewery and HRM private stores in cans.

Chester’s Tanner & Co. released a new beer over the holidays that’s actually a bit of an older beer, but in a good way. Bottle-aged Wheat Wine is similar to a barleywine in style, big and boozy, but with 50% wheat malt in the grist. Fermented with an American Ale yeast strain, the result is a 10% ABV bruiser with plenty of molasses, caramel and toffee character. Brewed way back in February of 2018, it was bottled and set aside until now, giving it some time to smooth out and for the flavors to come together. There wasn’t a ton of this one available to begin with and it was released just before Christmas, so you might want to check with the brewery before heading down, as that’s the only place to grab this one.

After that wrap-up of previous releases, let’s share some brand new releases with you…

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing has a new beer called Third Place that has nothing to do with winning a bronze medal. When talking about the places in your life, your first place is home, your second place is work, and your third place is “that special haunt where you come together with your community.” Released on January 1st, this beer celebrates those special places that we all (hopefully) have in our lives. An Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV and 60 IBU, it boasts aromas of mango, clementine and peach, with a distinct piney note thanks to hop additions of Ella, Ekuanot, Azacca, and Simcoe. Look for it both in bottles and on tap at Craft Beer Corner and the Upstreet Taproom, on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse and select tap accounts, and in bottles at select PEI Liquor stores. And if you’re at the taproom or CBC, you should check out the available bottles, currently including DeNovos I, II and III, and, from their Million Acres series, Bourbon Barrel-aged Apple Brett Blonde, Chocolate Salted Lager, Spruce Tip Wee Heavy, and Chardonnay Barrel-aged IIPA with Belma, Imperial Saison with Nelson Sauvin, Peach Cream Witbier, and Apricot Cream Witbier.

Halifax’s Good Robot has some big news this week as it has been officially announced that they are getting their first listing with the NSLC. El Espinazo del Diablo Mexican Lager is a fan favorite beer for the brewery with an ABV of 5.7% and 14 IBUs and featuring lime and jalapeño peppers on top of a grist that contains a “perfectly reasonable” amount of flaked corn. Like getting your salsa and your chips in a glass. Look for it at NSLC locations across the province and don’t be surprised if you see it joined by other Good Robot beers as 2019 rolls on.

Meanwhile, back at the farm on Robie Street, there’s plenty in the hopper for the first couple weeks of the year, starting with yesterday’s release of the latest in the Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs. Creature Feature III was hit with Columbus, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin hops for an assertive bitterness and a dank aroma. It’s 6.4% ABV and 51 IBUs and available now in the taproom. The first BetaBrew of the year will be released on Tuesday, January 8th, and it’s one made by GR staffer Drella and her father, Tim. An homage to their family’s Russian heritage and love of spicy things, it’s a chili stout they’re calling A Chili Night in Minsk. Big and bold at 7.5% ABV and 32 IBU, it’s rich, roasty, and spicy thanks to an addition of Bird’s Eye chilis after primary fermentation. And two days after that beer is tapped you’ll see another new one hit the lines at GR: The Humans Are Dead is their latest India Pale Lager with a twist of New Zealand hops, namely Azacca, Rakau, and Topaz. A calculated IBU level of 60 provides firm bitterness to this 6.8% ABV beer. Will it be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite binary solo and/or dancing the Robot or the Robo-boogie (which will be the only remaining dances in the distant future)? Affirmative!

A short distance away, on Gottingen Street comes the latest in the Propeller Small Batch series. A black lager in the Schwarzbier style it is called, most appropriately, Schwarzbier. It’s light in body, but with a flavorful punch of chocolate and toasted brown and finished off with noble hops for a subtle earthiness. Moderately dry, with a crisp and clean finish, it’s 5% ABV and is available in limited quantities for pints and growler fills only. Also in limited supply from Propeller is their El Dorado Brett IPA, which has been aging for the past nine months in red wine barrels. A mixed fermentation of classic ale yeast and Brettanomyces Claussenii have created a beer that is complex, funky, spicy, and a little earthy. Finished with a healthy dry hop of El Dorado for a tropical burst, it’s 6% ABV. We’ve confirmed that some of the very few kegs of this have gone to Hopyard Halifax, Stillwell and Battery Park, so keep an eye out for it at those places. Propeller also intends to tap a keg at their own tasting room on Monday (pints only). And lastly, the team has installed a beer engine in the Tasting Room that’ll be perfect for a traditional cask experience! So it makes sense that tonight’s Friday cask will be twist on a British style, their ESB aged on oak. Look for it to be tapped at 5 PM and to keep pouring through the weekend, as long as it lasts, anyway.

Unfortunately, we close out the news portion of today’s Wrap-up with some sad news. It was announced yesterday that Fredericton’s iconic beer-centric restaurant King Street Ale House, has closed. Opening 10 years ago as the Garrison District Ale House, Doug Williams and then-partner Shane Fraser saw that there was a big hole in the market for beer-focused establishments, and curated an impressive tap and bottle list well before the craft beer explosion hit our shores. After a fire destroyed the GDAH in January 2013, they rose from the ashes on King Street that November, with a renewed focus on local beer and great food. Having poured over 400 different beers from the Maritimes and beyond, the Garrison District and King Street Ale Houses were many first people’s introduction to well-made local beer. In fact, it’s where Shawn and Chris first met all of those years ago; we’ve conducted trivia nights during Fredericton Craft Beer Festival for several years; met countless other beery friends there over the years, and so we sincerely thank Doug, Shane, and the entire crew there for the many years of great beer. We wish them all the best in their next endeavours. For more details, check out this CBC article.

Only a couple of events to mention this week, but they’re a couple of doozies:

There are a handful of tickets still available for next Thursday’s, Jan 10th, Eat. Drink. Local. event at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Formerly known as the The Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration, this is an all-inclusive evening of local beer and cider, with fresh and innovative food pairings from local restaurants. The event also serves as the launch to several new beers in our region, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew-Off, this year’s will be Ian Wheatley’s Hefeweizen. 30 different stations of food and drink, along with live music all evening, will surely keep you happy. Grab your tickets now before they disappear!

Do try to keep your wits about you after Thursday’s event, as you’ll definitely want to pop up to Bar Stillwell on Barrington Street for their Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday, January 12th. From noon, the Stilly crew will be pouring Lambics, Saisons, Flanders Red, and a bevy of style-breaking beers from one of the best beer-making regions in the world. A full dozen taps, as well as more than double that in bottles, will give any novice or veteran beer fan something to fawn over. Check out the full list here, and we’ll see you there!

A few more notes before we leave you today…

Boxing Rock released a new beer brewed in their Halifax Test Kitchen in mid-December. Knitwise is a Christmas Cake- Inspired Scotch Ale, weighing in a 7.5% ABV. It was brewed with Kim Hart Macneill, a home brewer and beer writer for Halifax Magazine. Brewed with Nova Scotia cranberries, blueberries and raisins to enhance that Christmas Cake character. It’s on tap for pints in Shelburne and growler fills at their Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax!

Distillerie Fils du Roy released a new beer in December, in a style they are calling “Sour Mash Brut”. At 10% ABV, Biere Brut is a heavy hitter, and started using the sour mash technique usually reserved for whisky. Also fermented with whisky yeast, and finished extremely dry, at 1.000 gravity. Described as hazy, with a sourness reminiscent of green olives, light body and high carbonation. Bottles are available at the brewery in Petit-Paquetville.

Sussex Ale Works has a new beer pouring in their taproom these days. Piccadilly Pale Ale is a 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale with notes of citrusy Chinook and Cascade hops. Grab a sample or pint at their spot this weekend!

St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has released this ode to the season with Twelfth Night Porter. This 6.5% ABV porter features traditional English ingredients such as Bairds Crystal malt and Thomas Fawcett Roast Barley, along with East Kent Goldings used in the boil and dry-hopping. As described by the brewery, it is “spicy, earthy, warming, roasty, and full bodied with a slight hint of phenol/smokiness”. On tap at the brewery restaurant, in growlers at the YB Takeaway, and in bottles shortly.

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.

Welp, we’re definitely in the thick of winter now, with all four provinces in the region now officially getting snowfall this week. We suggest putting off the inevitable hard work and hellish drive home for just a few more minutes and join us in getting up-to-date with the important beer news in the region. Here we go!

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this weekend the good folks at Stillwell are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary in style. Their celebratory annual beer release continues with Stillwell Five, produced at their sister Stillwell Brewing on Gottingen. The beer started with a grist of Vienna and Pilsner malts, with Oats and Wheat added, and hopped with primarily Tettnang in the kettle. Brewed in Summer 2017, it was fermented in a puncheon (700 litres) that had recently been emptied of Pineau de Charentes, a french appertif/vin de liquor. The wort was fortified with honey as it was transferred, and the Stilly House Blend™ was pitched, giving rise to a light, dry, and tart final beer. After 10+ months in the first-use-post-spirit wood, it has picked up some serious wine and spirit notes, as well as light notes of honey, rounding out the full drinking experience. Since fermentation completed this spring, it has been bottle conditioning for six months, and is ready to enjoy now. As with all of the Stillwell Brewing releases, the best way to get a bottle is by visiting the brewery around back of 2015 Gottingen Street, during their weekly bottle sale tomorrow, 12 – 4 PM. You can pick up 500 mL bottles of the 6.9% ABV at that time, and then scoot on over to Barrington St to put your name in a hat to win the opportunity to buy one of the few magnums (1.5 litre) of Five that were prepared.

So, about the party… Also kicking off at noon tomorrow, the Stillwell crew is celebrating with a full complement of beer from some of their favourite breweries and ciderhouses across the province, country, and world, with options that will satisfy lovers-of-good-drinks of all stripes. Plus free cake! Local DIPA, funky stuff, Quebec Saisons, perhaps the world’s best Gueuze (Cantillon), Pet Nat Applewine, etc, etc. You get the idea: when Stillwell throws a party it’s definitely not half-assed. If you must, here is the opening taplist. There will no doubt be some fun and cool beers on the handpump and flowing from bottles as well, plus Chef Ruppel and crew will be busy out back with some special accompaniments. We’ll see you there to toast this major driving force to the enjoyment and promotion of Good Beer.

The celebratin’ continues as Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing is turning one this week! And is there a better way to celebrate an anniversary/birthday than with a new beer? Apparently not, because they’re launching two of them this week! First is Ken’s Stout, the brewery’s latest seasonal. Co-owner/head brewer Ken Spears had dreamed up and brewed this Oatmeal Stout back in the very early stages of the brewery (as in, pre-opening), and apparently couldn’t be happier with the final result, so now gets to share it with the rest of us. Brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate malt, Munich, Flaked Oats, and Roasted Barley, the 5% ABV beer was hopped lightly with Columbus (to 25 IBUs). Dark, rich, and full-bodied, with “notes of chocolate and lightly-roasted coffee”, the oats add a silky mouthfeel, increasing the beer’s drinkability. This one will be available all winter long; look for it in cans, growlers, and on tap around the Island over the next couple of weeks.

Next up from Copper Bottom is Birthday Beer, which we assume needs no explanation as to its intentions! This one is a Brut IPA, brewed entirely with Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops. As with many beers in this ever-growing-in-popularity style, amylase enzyme was added in order to dry the beer out even further. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer is “ultra pale and effervescent, with big notes of blueberries, stone fruit, and a bit of mango”. It’ll have a limited run in cans, and will join Ken’s Stout on tap at the brewery’s big birthday party – 1 Year of Beer – happening tomorrow, November 17th, in Montague. It’s a full-day party, with live music, a food truck on-site, tarot card reading, and beer by the boatload! Be sure to drop by and raise a pint to the fine folks at Copper Bottom!

Another weekend approacheth, which normally means new 2 Crows beer… among other things. And don’t worry, they’re not letting us down this week! Two new beers are about to reach your eager little hands, one a “big” release, and the other a limited, draught-only beauty. The full-batch beer is Lil’ Miguel, a 5.6% ABV, 39 IBUs “Aztec Stout”. Inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate, this isn’t your grandpappy’s Stout – it includes additions of lactose, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and a “blend of various hot peppers”. Not only does this one sound really tasty, they’ve canned it…. in 355 mL cans! Say it ain’t so! Wait, that’s not it… it was canned ON NITRO. Beer nerds, you may commence squealing. Cans and nitro draught pours will be available at the brewery today at noon; it’ll also pop up on tap around the HRM with regular CO2 carbonation (pfft!).

As for that draught-only beer, it’s a NEIPA named Maybe Tomorrow, concocted by Assistant Brewer Grant. With a grist comprised of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats, the wort was very-lightly-bittered with Columbus at first wort, followed later by a heavy addition of Galaxy, Simcoe, and Azacca in the whirlpool. These same hops were then used for two separate dry-hop additions, giving a final beer with “a touch of grapefruity bitterness, washed away by bright tropical and citrus notes”. Only 40 L of this one exist, so grab a pint at the 2C taproom today (assuming it’s lasted this long) when you’re picking up your Lil’ Miguel cans!

Big congratulations are in order for the winner’s of Gahan’s Maritime Home Brew Challenge, announced last Saturday. From a field of 50 entrants, the top beers in the Lager/ Pilsner, Hoppy, and Saison categories, as well as Best Name, Bravest Beer, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Rookie of the Year were crowned, plus an overall winner, whose beer will be scaled up and canned for enjoyment across the Maritimes, was announced. The full results are available here, but kudos to Brathair Brewing, the Orange Tub Brewing Collective, and Derek Wood for taking top honours for their beers. Look for Wood’s D-Rocks Dunkel to be in wide release, including cans!, in the coming months.

And while you’re in a Gahan type of mood, grab their Shortest Day Spiced Milk Stout, now available across the region in cans and on tap. This 4.3% ABV beer features vanilla, coffee, lactose, and a variety of spices to keep you warm in these colder months. For some, it came just in time for this week’s first snowfall! Available at Gahan locations, as well as the liquor stores in PEI, NB, and NS.

Speaking of homebrew competitions, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has released the full details and registration forms for their upcoming Home Brew-Off. This year’s style is Dunkles Bock, a malty German style originating in Einbeck, and later brought back to life in Munich. Check out the BJCP Guidelines for 6C here for more details on recipe development and final tasting notes, plus the Brewnosers Home Brew Club has started a thread for folks to share ideas on how to tackle the recipe.

Plus we have two new beers from Garrison to tell you about. Last week saw the full release of their Lucky Punk Sour IPA. First debuting in the Summer, this 5.5% ABV, 50 IBU hybrid of the hazy IPA and kettle sour is now also available in bottles around the region. Featuring “aromas of grass, peaches, and tart pineapple”, the kettle souring technique provides a refreshing mouthfeel and zing to complement the beer.

And new on shelves from Garrison today is All Lit Up, a Festive Strong Ale. Clocking in at 7.0% ABV, and a relatively low 20 IBU, the star of the show is the malt (2-Row, Munich, Caramel with a touch of Roasted Barley) and spicing, courtesy of Cinnamon, Cloves, and Demerara sugar. Grab your cans (which glow in the dark!) from the brewery today, and from your local good beer emporium soon.

Looks like Propeller Brewing has another of their Gottingen Small Batch beers coming out today. Saison is named after the style it emulates, naturally, and has a range of flavour characteristics, including “subtle, spicy tones of clove and black pepper than complement citrus peel and subtle fruit characteristics”. Carbonated high as the style demands, it finishes moderately dry and refreshing. It’s pretty drinkable at 5.5% ABV, and is available at the Gottingen taproom for pints and growlers. And for those of you who love their Cask Fridays, today’s cask will be their Pilsener with peach and hibiscus, enhancing the base beer with stonefruit, floral, and a lovely pink hue. Drop by from 5 PM for a pour!

Following up on releases earlier in the month, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has released a pair of bottles from their barrel-aging program, both of which were many months in the making. The first is Golden Brett Beer – Dry Hopped, a variation on one of previous debuts. As a reminder, this 6.2% ABV beer was finished with Brett Brux Vrai in a red wine French oak barrel, with this portion of the beer dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. An extremely limited run of just 100 bottles of this beer were released at the brewery yesterday, and we don’t expect them to last very long. Joining this beer is Champagner Hell, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles beer, with some light dry-hopping from Czech Saaz. Bottle conditioned to a very high carbonation level, akin to Champagne, just 220 bottles of this beer were released yesterday. And returning after a hiatus is their Riptide IPL, a 6.5% ABV India Pale Lager. Borrowing the high hopping from the IPA style (using Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hell Melon late in the kettle and again with two rounds of dry-hopping), the fermentation was done low and slow with a lager yeast to keep other characteristics in check. Cans are available at the brewery and private stores in NS, with growler fills at the ANBL this weekend.

TrailWay Brewing has another new hoppy brew releasing today, one that tips its hat to “the hop that started a beer revolution”, Cascade. Veja Du was hopped entirely with this classic American varietal, this 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with the intention of giving a medium-bodied, and slightly-drier beer, compared to most of the other hoppy releases from TW. With “notes of juicy citrus, and floral”, you can grab some cans or growlers at the brewery when they open at noon; it’ll also be making its way to other tap accounts, including the Stillwell 5th Anniversary party we talked about earlier. We should also mention that Parallel, the brewery’s “winter hoppy session ale” is back for the season. This 4% ABV Session IPA has a “sweet and slightly toasty male profile”, with a “hop-forward, tropical fruit and berry hop character” to follow along the TW line.

If you happen to be travelling around the Moncton area over the weekend, you’ll have a good opportunity to pick up some of Grand Monk’s latest beer, Hop Fin Vice. For those of you more familiar with German beer styles (and their pronunciation), it may be fairly obvious that this beer is the brewery’s take on a Hopfenweisse. Pilsner and Vienna malts were used in the grist, along with a large portion of Wheat malt. Hopped in the boil with Czech Saaz, and then moving over the Atlantic with some Cascade and Columbus at knockout, the wort was fermented with a Kolsch yeast strain (as opposed to the regular use of a Weizen strain). Dry-hopped with more Cascade and Columbus, the final clean, “lager-like” 6.6% ABV beer is “very citrus-forward in aroma, with a bit of breadiness from the wheat”. It’s currently on tap at the Pump House Fill Station for growler and crowler fills, and if it isn’t on at the Laundromat already… it should be very soon!

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing has a new beer available from their pilot system. Test Pilot No. 2 Winter Warmer is a rich and malty beer with additions of seasonal spices, including cloves, ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. Tipping the scales at a healthy 7.0% ABV and a gentle 18 IBU, it’s no doubt the kind of beer that would be very welcoming on a wintry day (oh look, you’re in luck!). Being a small batch, it’s only available at the tap room.

Halifax’s littlest brewery that could has another bottle release for us this week on Salter Street. Tidehouse is releasing In on the Kill Taker today at 2 PM. A double-dry hopped black IPA, it’s extremely bitter, almost discordantly so, and a reminder of the days when craft breweries routinely engaged in IBU wars. Described by 902BrewCast’s Tony as, “like licking a beer tree,” you would be well-advised not to look for balance in this one. Built on a base of flaked grains, 2-row, Carafa II and Midnight Wheat, the hops in the kettle included Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe so look for a dank, piney, and resinous presence underlying the 100+ IBUs worth of bitterness. A thoroughly irresponsible double dry hop using Cryo hops completed the process, although there’s some question amongst the brewers as to whether it was Simcoe or Ekuanot that was used. Coming in at 7.3% ABV, it’ll kill your straight edge cred, and it’s a minor threat to burn out your tastebuds, but it ain’t no fugazi — this one’s the real, bitter, deal. You can learn more about this beer, plus listen to the ranting of 4 madmen and one sane woman, in today’s 902 BrewCast release, which sees the East Coast craft beer podcast celebrating their second anniversary. Congratulations, buds!

When breweries collide, sometimes fine things can happen, and the brewing minds behind Hammond River and Maybee Brewing are hoping that has happened with their first collaboration! They’re officially releasing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice today at Maybee, and despite the name (am I the only one that thinks Mickey Mouse?), this ain’t no little beer. It’s a “Double Belgian Stout with Salted Caramel”, which was brewed at both breweries (yep, same recipe). This very dark beer is a firm 9% ABV for the Maybee version, and even a bit higher (10%) for Hammond River’s. With aromas of “salted caramel, toffee, and clove”, as well as “plum, raisin, and some malt sweetness and general spice”. Medium-bodied, with high carbonation, expect “raisin, plum, and prune, along with toffee and caramel, with a hint of salinity” on the palate. The beer debuts at Maybee today at noon, on tap, with the Hammond River brewers on hand (thank you, weather!) for a release party starting at 4 pm. Drop on by for a pour and a chat! If you plan on doing more than sampling, it may not hurt to plan ahead for a drive home, know what I mean? The beer will be hitting other tap accounts across New Brunswick over the next week. As for the Hammond River version, which is named Sultans of Sweet, you’ll be able to grab it on tap at their taproom, as well as local accounts in the province. They plan on bottling some of their batch next week as well, and there’s even about 450 L currently aging in whiskey barrels!

Annapolis Cider Co. is following up their successful tap takeover at Stillwell from a couple weeks ago with a brand new entry in their Something Different series, Wine & Blackcurrant. Fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice with blended with the juice of two grape varieties – Leon Millot and L’Acadie Blanc – to undergo a “co-fermentation”, creating what Annapolis is calling a “unique cider-and-wine blend”. Blackcurrant juice was added afterwards to give a deep, red hue, along with some tannin presence. Finally, the blend was infused with bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and winter savoury, giving a medium-bodied cider “with subtle herbal aromatics and bright notes of tart blackcurrants”. As always, this 7.2% ABV cider is available at the cidery; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Enactus Acadia University.

The guys and gals at Upstreet in Charlottetown have been churning out the hoppy beers in their Neon Friday releases for several months now, and they’ve decided to release a “VIP pack” of their four favourites. Hitting shelves today, the collection includes DDH IPA with Azacca, West Coast Session IPA, NEIPA with Simcoe, and DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7; you’ll be able to purchase the packs at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner), as well as select PEILCC stores. These will also be on tap at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse! They’re also planning to celebrate with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight at the Upstreet taproom, from 10pm-2am. The fun will include a Neon Friday tap takeover, DJs, neon lights (of course!), and lots of other neon-themed decorations! No charge to attend, just pick out your brightest clothes and drop in to cut a rug (kids still say that, right?).

The weekly, shaming, last-minute-entry award for November 16th goes to… Good Robot! Rather than scold, however, we’ll just tell you about their latest beers (we’re good like that!). Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Frostenweizen, a hoppy Hefeweizen brewed with Rockbottom’s Ian Kean. Cryo hops were used in this brew, including Mosaic, Simcoe, and Loral (as well as a tasty dry-hop addition of Citra), giving a beer that they describe as “like floating away on a tangerine cloud, while snacking on mango and peach” (gotta admit, probably more eloquent than we could have done). It’s 4.3% ABV and 22 IBUs; seek it out early next week. As for next week’s Alpha Brew, it’s a special collaboration for the upcoming FemmeBot celebrations. Jana and Meg from Tatamagouche Brewing made the trip to Halifax to help brew The Witching Hour, a red ale with cranberry and lemon. The ABV and IBUs are still MIA, but rest assured it will be released next Thursday, with its Tata counterpart coming out sometime in the next few months.

Here’s what’s happening around our region over the next few weeks!

Don’t forget to drop by Maritime Express Cider tomorrow evening to help celebrate their Grand Opening. While they’re open all day, the fun kicks off at 8 PM with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest taps devoted to beer)! More details on their Facebook Event page above, including special stuff on the go by their neighbours in the railway hotel.

Do you live in/near Moncton? Are you a fan of The Bruery, from Orange County, California? If you’re both of these things, the Tide & Boar has some very good news for you – they’re holding a Bruery Tap Takeover on Saturday, November 24th. We probably don’t need to tell you this, but this is a brewery who have been releasing tasty, fascinating beers for quite some time, and to have 15 different ones on tap – yes, 15! – at one time, in New Brunswick, is kind of a big deal. Check out the event link for the full taplist; it’s going to include several barrel-aged options, as well as sours, hoppy beers, and more. Oh, and definitely plan on cabbing/walking/whatever-that-isn’t-driving home… a lot of these beers are 8% ABV and higher! The T&B will also be serving up food from a special “Californian-inspired” menu (eating is a good idea; did we mention many of these beers are strong?). They open at 11 am sharp, and the beer will be flowing all day. There’s also a concert that night, at 10 pm, which will require a cover charge if you plan on heading there late.

Quidi Vidi Brewery is launching a truly Newfoundland Beer project later this month, with some very special partners. Bog and Barrens is a true collaboration between QV’s Brewmaster Einer Holtet, and local chefs and restaurateurs Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia, of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern. Foraging wild ingredients from across the Newfoundland and Labrador, Holtet has created a trio of unique beers: Imperial Bake Apple Gose, Pineapple Weed NEIPA, and Smoked Alderberry Porter. The Gose features sea salt from Bonavista Bay, and bakeapples from Labrador, and is set for release in cans in a fortnight. The other two beers are in extremely low quantity, and will only be available on draught. To celebrate these releases, there will be three beer pairing events held at Raymond’s and Merchant Tavern, paired with other ingredients and game who forage on these iconic plants and herbs. On Tuesday November 27th, Raymond’s is hosting a five-course meal to pair with these beers. Tickets are now available by calling Raymond’s at 709-579-5800, only 60 available. At The Merchant Tavern, there will be a special tasting menu to pair with these beers from November 28-30th, available while supplies last. No tickets required, but we strongly suggest making resos to guarantee your seat at the table. Call 709.722.5050 or visit OpenTable. More details on the beers and pairing are available here. And we’ll remind you about the Bake Apple Gose when it’s released in cans!

Winter may be approaching/already here, but don’t let that make you think the beer festivals have dried up in our region. In fact, the 3rd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is coming up fast, happening on Saturday, December 1st, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. There’s over 15 breweries that will be on-site pouring their tasty beverages, from 7:00-9:30 pm (VIP ticket holders get entry at 6:00 pm); check out the current list of vendors here. There are still general admission tickets available, for $55 + tax; you can purchase them online.

A few more things to leave you with before you break out the shovel today…

Start making your list, and check it twice… Big Spruce will once again be doing its Holiday Delivery mid-December, where you can receive to-the-door delivery of your favourite bottles and/or cans. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for ordering and delivery details.

Hell Bay has brought back the seasonal Tannen Bomb (yep, it’s time for Christmas-pun beers!), a 5% ABV, 19 IBUs Blonde Ale infused with honey and balsam fir. It’s currently available at the brewery, and select NSLC stores.

In other seasonal beer news, Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has re-released their Holiday Cheer, a Red IPA. Described by the brewery as “malt-flavoured, and full-bodied”, it should be available in bottles now at the Oromocto ANBL, with other select stores in New Brunswick receiving stock over the coming weeks.

Lazy Bear Brewing wants to remind you that the seasons shouldn’t necessarily dictate what you drink (and they’re right!), and they released a new beer last week to doubly remind you! Louis is a 5.4% Wheat Beer, brewed in celebration of Louis, their “beer loving helper” from Trinidad who spent the summer in Smiths Cove. It is available at their regular Thursday night growler/pint nights, as well as the Annapolis Royal Market tomorrow.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewery has sent out another wave of their Single Origin Coffee Stout to the local bars and restaurants, so fans of the dark stuff will soon get their fix again. And keep an eye out at these same spots for a brand new kettle-soured beer to be hitting the taps late next week. Moonage Daydream features a nice level of dry-hopping, and with the addition of hibiscus, a lovely floral note and beautiful pink hue. Keep an eye on their Social Media for when it’s tapped, it may even be available for growler fills!