Big Spruce Brewing

All posts tagged Big Spruce Brewing

Alright folks, this is the big one! For the first time in several years (since Fredericton in 2014, to be precise), our region is once again the epicentre of the Canadian beer scene for the weekend, as Halifax hosts the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Already kicking off last night, the talks and sessions continue today and tomorrow, with the Awards Gala being held tomorrow night. You have to be in the beerbiz to attend, but you can follow along with the Awards results online during the stream, and we will be sure to keep a live feed of all of the Atlantic Canadian winners. We already flooded you with the new collaborative releases from 2 Crows, North, and Propeller last week, and you’re well served to get to their respective retail locations to pick them up before they are gone. Let’s concentrate on the newest info we have regarding another onslaught of releases hitting the taps and shelves now.

• Let’s kick off the week with the first brewery opening in a few weeks, O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe. Brewing on a 1 BBL system means they end up with about 120 litres of beer per batch, so this is a truly small operation. But being small has its benefits, as owner Patrice Daigle is able to stay nimble and brew a wide variety of beers. The first beer to be available is Route 117 NEIPA. Named after the coastal highway that connects Kouchibouguac and Miramichi, this hoppy and hazy 6.5% ABV brew features loads of Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops throughout the brewing and fermenting process. In addition, Daigle is launching with an American Pale Ale and Saison, though details are a bit short on those for now. So, how can you try the O’Creek beers this weekend? Easy! Just drop by their booth at this weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, held at the Moncton Coliseum. If you don’t already have your tickets, you are in luck, as they are still available for this evening, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. Check out O’Creek on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news, and tune in to the blog early next week, as will have a full Profile with them, with more details on their brewing history and ethos, and what other beers you can expect from them in the future (and where to find them). Congratulations!

• We’ve got lots of news from Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery, so let’s get you up to date. First off, the latest in their kettle sour series is now available, Fall From Grace. This 4.3% ABV sour is the first beer to be completely designed and brewed by Roof Hound Assistant Brewer Ben, and features notes of rose water and lychee to match and offset the beer’s acidity. Look for it on tap at the brewery and in HRM now. Also available now is Roof Hound’s collaboration with Guelph’s Escarpment Yeast Labs, SafeWord Pineapple Milkshake IPA, which debuted at yesterday’s event at Battery Park (if you’re lucky, some of these will still be on tap today!). This 6.0% ABV IPA was late- and dry-hopped with a massive amount of Azacca hops for tropical notes on top of the vanilla and lactose added to complete the milkshake vibe. Escarpment’s Foggy London Ale yeast was used to keep the beer with a smooth mouthfeel and hazy as heck. In addition to BP, kegs have been delivered to Stillwell and growlers fills will be available at Harvest Wines.  And finally, owner Les Barr has announced that “The Dog House” is open for the season. This two-bedroom rental property is just a few minutes walk from Roof Hound’s brewery and taproom, and is decorated with the same touches as the brewery itself. Folks can learn more and book their stay on Airbnb. No word if Barr will tuck you in, or bring you a coffee in the morning, but knowing his hospitality, we wouldn’t be surprised! And a bonus for early birds, if you are one of the first to book your stay, there are big savings to be had.

• Let’s talk about another beer that debuted at yesterday’s Escarpment x Battery Park event, from Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing. Brett, Actually is a 7.7% ABV IPA, co-fermented with both Cali Ale yeast and Brettanomyces drei and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra for a big hop presence. You’ll find this one available for pints and growler fills at the brewery, as well as at tap accounts around the Province. Also out this week from Big Spruce is another mixed fermentation beer they’re calling Lucky Pucker, which was hit with both Old World Saison yeast and Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Conditioned for 6 months in Chardonnay barrels, before being bottled and conditioned in glass for another 4 months, this beer finished up at 6.3% ABV and 12 IBU, making it a strong Berliner Weisse. Tart and fruity, it’s only available in bottles, both at the brewery and at the private stores in Halifax. And that’s not all from Jeremy and Co this week, as they’ve got another one they’re calling Hugs Bunny that was brewed in collaboration with Merit Brewing out of Hamilton. It seems Merit and Big Spruce like to make Gose, this is a similar beer to the Gose of Christmas Past from last month, with Indian Coriander and sea salt and landing at 3.8% ABV. In lieu of a barrel treatment, though, hugs bunny got a big ol’ dry hop with Citra for a lemon and citrus aroma. Look for it to appear at the Sprucetique and possibly a few tap accounts as well.

• Even with all of those delightful-sounding collaboration beers released by North Brewing yesterday (which we addressed in detail in last week’s post), they still went ahead and launched another new beer for the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s close to being sold out already, but we’d like to share the info anyway, in case you’re lucky enough to find some! Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale was brewed with Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe Cryo hops. With lots of citrus throughout, the beer is quite refreshing and definitely lives up to its “sessionable” description, coming in at just 4% ABV. Hopefully there’s still a few cans left at the brewery, and it’ll likely still be available on tap at accounts in Halifax.

Tanner & Co in Chester Basin has a pair of new beers available just in time for the weekend, so start planning your visit now. The first is Sauvage Gose, their take on the sour and lightly salty style originally from Goslar, Germany. After a round of kettle souring to impart some acidity, the beer was fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast, which was originally isolated from a Pin cherry on the Big Spruce farm and propagated up by Escarpment Labs. Featuring lots of tart citrus and notes of tropical fruit, there is only one keg of this beer available, on tap at the brewery for growler fills. The second release is Dampfbier, a German Steam Beer. While this beer was one of their first at launch in the fall, this release is the first on their larger system. As per the style, this beer is brewed with all malted barley, and with a Weissbier yeast, usually used in Hefeweizens, the iconic German wheat beer. The result is a beer featuring pleasant clove and banana characters from the yeast with a nice malt finish. As with the Gose, the best place to grab a taste of Dampfbier is at the brewery, so drop by this weekend!

• In Sydney, Breton Brewing has their first kettle sour available. Sour Sessions with Guava & Passionfruit is the first in a series of sour, low ABV, summer beers that they’ll be releasing over the coming months under the Sour Sessions banner. This edition comes in at 3.2% ABV and 5 IBU and is flavored, as you probably guessed, using additions of passion fruit and guava. Tart and thirst quenching, you’ll find it at the brewery for pints and growler fills this weekend.

• Do you remember when Garrison Brewing teamed up with Ontario’s Sawdust City Brewing, to brew a special collaboration beer? We didn’t either; there’s just too much going on! [Fortunately the internets never forgets – Ed.] But good news, the beer is ready and it’s being launched this week. Leroy, an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sawdust City, was initially released last fall to celebrate Halifax being named this year’s CBA host venue. Some of that beer was saved and aged in bourbon barrels for a year, giving us Bourbon Barrel-Aged Leroy Imperial Brown. A bit of salted caramel was added to the barrels as well, with the final product coming out as a massive (11.5% ABV), deceptively-smooth Brown Ale with aromas and flavours of “bourbon, salted caramel, molasses bread, and milk chocolate.” Available now in limited quantities at Garrison, in 650 mL bottles. And tomorrow, Jalapeno Ale is returning. Remember Jalapeno Ale? It’s back. In can form! At 5% ABV, it’s brewed with a mix of spicy jalapenos, habaneros, Scotch bonnets, and Jamaican hot peppers. Hope you like spicy!

Spindrift continues to remain busy, with another boatload of new beers hitting taps this week. Their one-off Seventh Wave series gives us two entries alone, so let’s get started there. The two beers are an experiment in compare-and-contrast, with America and England going toe-to-toe: Old Salt ESB (5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs) is a light-bodied Extra Special Bitter hopped with East Kent Golding and Experimental Hop #02720, giving the beer a “smooth, malty fruitiness and a sharp hop kick”, while Shoulder Parrot APA (5.1% ABV, 35 IBUs) represents the U.S., and was hopped with Saaz and Falconer’s Flight, for a “rich, pineapple-like fruit palate”. Try both and see which country you’d prefer to emigrate to!

• Moving out of the Seventh Wave series, Spindrift has a new regular that dropped this week, their first Radler. Named Wheelhouse, it’s a beer with a blend of citrus fruit juice, including grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine. Back-sweetened with Stevia to give “a perception of sweetness, without a big, cloying body”, there’s plenty of citrus character in the aroma and flavour; and at just 4% ABV and 8 IBUs, it goes down easy, which all Radlers should! This one is going to be available in 473 mL cans in all Atlantic provinces through the summer.

• Fredericton’s Niche Brewing continues to display the depth of their recipe file with another couple of new ones out this week in addition to the Cool Kid 2 Crows collaboration on tap in Halifax. First up is a summer crusher, called Margarita Gose, a take on a traditional German Gose, but with a Nichean twist (not to be confused with a Nietzschean twist that might lead you to question the existence of beer). Starting with a base beer of wheat and Pilsner that was kettle soured and to which traditional fresh cracked coriander and sea salt were added, a light hopping with Amarillo was also applied. Post-fermentation the beer was conditioned on lime rind ribbons yielding a tart and refreshing beer with an overall lemony-citrus character, notes of lime, and some savoriness from the coriander and sea salt. At only 3.5% ABV you can get away with having a few and still keep your washer toss/cornhole game strong.

• Also available this week is Fiscally Irresponsible, another Milkshake IPA, but this one taken in a different direction than the Orange Creamsicle IPA from earlier this year. Starting with a similar grist, with wheat malt and malted oats contributing body and mouthfeel, lactose powder was added for the sweetness the style is known for, and it was hopped with lots of Galaxy, Citra, and Vic Secret at the end of the boil. Rather than fermenting with an American or English yeast strain as is de rigueur for the style, Shawn and Rob opted to go funky and use the Amalgamation blend of six Brettanomyces strains. From there, the beer was dry hopped with more of the same hop varieties used in the kettle before it was conditioned on Madagascar vanilla beans (hence the beer name; have you seen the price of vanilla right now?!) and passion fruit purée. The result is a beer with “quite a bit going on.” Dominated by passion fruit, there are notes of mango, papaya and subtle vanilla. A low-medium bitterness balances with the slight sweetness and it goes down easy despite 6.2% ABV. It’s scheduled to be tapped at Stillwell HQ this weekend, but tap accounts in New Brunswick will also see it next week. And folks in Halifax who don’t feel they see enough Niche beer should keep their eyes open, as it is known that kegs of Innerstate, Receding Darkness, Pineapple Persuasion, and You Had Me At… Ekuanot are known to be in the queue at Stillwell properties (the Pineapple Persuasion is scheduled to go on tap at the Beer Garden this weekend if the weather holds).

• As if there isn’t enough to do this weekend in Halifax, NOW you’ve got to also set aside time to drop by Stillwell Brewing to get in on their two latest bottle releases. Sorry!* To be fair, they do sound delicious, as usual. The first one is Preach (5.5% ABV), which is a blend of a Saison fermented in a wine barrel, with a foedre-fermented, sour Farmhouse Ale that was re-fermented in oak barrels with 220 g/L of fresh, Nova Scotia peaches. Both of these base beers are currently over a year old, and were already tasting well-developed before blending. Now, however, there’s “oak and wine character, fresh peach skin aromatics, minty, herbal notes, and a wonderfully quenching acidity”, thanks to the blending and additional bottle conditioning time. Sounds great to us! Some of the 716 bottles will be available to drink on-site at both Stillwell locations, and some are going to Copper & Theory in British Columbia for Farmhouse Fest. The rest will be available for purchase by anyone in Halifax tomorrow (Saturday) at the brewery, from noon-3 pm. *notsorry

• Next up from Stillwell Brewing is Disco. Originally aged in a single red wine barrel until the tartness and balance of this tart Farmhouse Ale was in Baby Bear territory (read: just right!), a “modest” amount of equal parts dark sweet cherry and raspberry purée were added into the barrel to kick off fermentation again, and age for another couple of months. The 5.7% ABV beer was then bottled and allowed to condition several more months, resulting in a “well-integrated and balanced Farmhouse fruit beer that is neither cherry nor raspberry, but something where the sum is greater than its parts”. Some bottles going to Stillwell(s) for sale on-site, and the rest for sale tomorrow from 12-3 with Preach. And hey, they’ll also be selling some more bottles of Gosh 2.0! And if you’re a fan of Stilly Pils, they’ve just released their latest batch, and they claim it’s hoppier and meringuier (more-merignuey?) than ever! Look for that one at Stillwell and the beer garden, on tap only.

Fredericton’s Bogtrotter has their first new beer out in a while, Maroon Patch. A 5% ABV American Pale Ale, it was named after the 5th Canadian Division, recognized by the maroon patch worn on the sleeve of soldiers. The beer was hopped exclusively with Denali, a fairly new American variety that is sometimes known as Nuggetzilla (!). The description for Denali mentions characteristics of “pineapple, citrus, and pine”, with spicy notes coming through as well. Look for this one on tap around Fredericton, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.

• Breweries from three different counties in NS have teamed up for a collaboration beer, as a way to indicate their appreciation for the overall open, collaborative nature of the beer community, and to “celebrate craft brewing expertise” in the area. Trider’s, Lunn’s Mill, and Saltbox have created Tridal Bay, a 6.5% ABV Belgian IPA that was heavily hopped with Columbus for bittering, and Saaz and Triskel for the flavour and aroma. With a grist containing some Wheat and Aromatic malt, Belgian Candi sugar was also added in the boil to help dry the beer out. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, the beer came out extremely dry in the finish, while “retaining that Belgian fruitiness and citrus, heavy hop bitterness”. All three breweries are pouring the beer at their taprooms, and a few local bars may receive some kegs as well.

Today, Upstreet is releasing the next beer in their Flipside series, California Lager. Brewed in the style of a California Common, it was hopped with Polaris and Northern Brewer to 35 IBUs. Described by the brewery as “toasty, with hints of nuttiness, caramel, and chocolate without the sweetness”, and with “earthy, herbal aromas”, this 5% ABV medium-bodied brew will be available on tap and in bottles at Upstreet today, and will follow at Craft Beer Corner and PEILCC stores sometime next week.

If you managed to get your hands on one of the Red Racer Across the Nation 2018 Collaboration Mixed Packs put out by Surrey, BC’s Central City Brewing, you might have noticed that the the PEI representation was a brew done with Upstreet called Singing Sands, a salted caramel lager. In order to make sure folks in their home province got a decent chance to try it, Mike and Matt decided to do up a small batch at home. A “light dessert beer,” it weighs in at just 5.5% ABV and a slight 15 IBU, perfect for sipping after a meal. Rich with caramel flavors accentuated by aromas of honey and vanilla, a hint of salt provides balance. Look for this one at the brewery for sure, but possibly at tap accounts as well.

Moncton’s Bore City is shipping out kegs of their latest beer, one that they’ve been carefully watching and patiently waiting for several months. Saison LBC was brewed in late 2017 and was conditioning on fresh cranberries for some time. Brettanomyces was added, along with some lemon zest, at a later date, to kick off a second fermentation. Now that it’s finally ready, the aroma has notes of “lemon and light funk”, with flavours of citrus and tarness from the cranberries, and a light mouthfeel and dry finish. Look for this 6.3% ABV, 30 IBUs beer on tap at the Laundromat and Les Brumes du Coude very soon; it’ll also be pouring at the Atlantic Beer Festival this Saturday, during the afternoon session.

And as is usually the case, Halifax’s Good Robot has a bit of news for us this week as well. The release for Beta Brewsday this week is an as-yet unnamed beer put together by Alpha Dawg Doug Kehoe during Good Robot’s Dive Bar event with Afishionado Fish Mongers. It’s a Gose with Oyster Shells added to the boil that weighs in at 5% ABV and with negligible IBUs. You’ll find it on tap this Tuesday, May 29th as per usual for the Beta releases. Meanwhile, in big batch news, DeWolfe of Wall Street, the 6.4% ABV and 29 IBU fruity and hoppy American Pale Ale is making its return to the taps this week as well.

A few final mentions before we leave you to your weekend, and let you get out for a beer:

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has brought back their Apple Blossom Ale just in time for the Annapolis Valley’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. Brewed with Pilsner malt and infused with apples, it’s an ideal beer for the season!

– Up in St. John’s YellowBelly Brewing has a new beer on tap they’re calling Maritime Bitter. Hey, you’d be bitter too if you got snow in May! This is a single malt pale ale, it’s 5% ABV and runs to about 60 IBU with an intense berry character. Look for it on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming next week.

– And don’t forget that Stillwell (both HQ and the Beergarden) is hosting Grand National this weekend, with beers from all across the country pouring, in celebration of the CBAs. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest taplist. If you’re not sure if the Beergarden is open due to weather, check this link for the latest info.

– And drop by The Auction House after 3PM for the PEI Tap Takeover, featuring beers from all five Island breweries. If there’s enough beer, it will last through Saturday as well!

Howdy folks, we know you’re probably looking for something to pass the time at work when there’s nothing to do because half your office took Friday off for an extended long weekend. Well you’ve come to the right place, this is a long one (for the sake of the trees we don’t recommend printing it out). Whether you call it May 2-4, May Long, or Victoria Day Weekend, here’s all the beer info you need to know for your long weekend and into next week.

• Let’s start things off with North Brewing, who are celebrating the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference (happening next week in Halifax) in a very big way – they’ve teamed up with breweries (and a yeast lab!) throughout the country, and are releasing five (5!) new beers. There’s no easy or quick way to get through all these, and we think they deserve the attention we’re giving them, so let’s dive right in…

Aries – A long time coming, this is the first time North and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for an official beer release, and it sounds like it was worth the wait! This one features a “delicate Saison base”, which after brewing was aged in Tempranillo red wine barrels for six months, with a pitch of Belgian Sour Blend (four Brettanomyces strains, four Lactobacillus, and two Pediococcus) from Escarpment Labs. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s coming through as “lightly vinous with notes of tropical fruit, melon, berries, and a nice Brett funk”. 5.4% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles, with half going to each brewery for sales.

Hapi – This Berliner Weisse was brewed with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing; soured with Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend (L. brevis and L. plantarum), it was fermented with Brett Q (also from Escarpment), a rising-in-popularity B. bruxellensis strain isolated “from a barrel-aged sour beer from Quebec”, known for giving notes of “ripe strawberry, pear, and apple, with an underlying funk”, according to Escarpment. Conditioned in the bottle, expect it to be light, citrusy, and refreshing (like all good Berliner Weisses should be!). 3.7% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles.

Chrysomallon – With all of the yeast and bacteria they provide to North, it’s only fair that Escarpment Labs gets their own collab, no? This one is a Witbier fermented with their “Fruity Witbier” strain, and conditioned on locally-foraged and dried goldenrod from East Coast Wild Foods. “Citrusy, herbaceous, and refreshing”, easy-drinking at just 4.1% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Caltha – Heading back west, this is a Grisette brewed with Ale Architect, a brand new brewery in Edmonton. Fermented with Escarpment’s “Old World Saison” Blend (two “classic” Saison strains), the finished beer was conditioned on dried rosehips and calendula (a member of the marigold family) from World Tea House. “Tart, floral, and delicate”, super-drinkable at 3.8% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Njörðr – Yep, we copied and pasted the name of this one! Brewed with the wonderful Four Winds Brewing from Delta, BC, this is a Nordic Farmhouse-style beer, fermented with Escarpment’s “Hornindal Kveik” Blend. This is a beer style that is fermented very warm (we’re talking 25 degrees and beyond) to achieve complete attenuation, and Njörðr actually underwent a secondary fermentation with locally-foraged sea buckthorn juice and berries from East Coast Wild Foods and Newell’s Jewels, and was finally conditioned on camomile. This beauty has been bottle conditioning for a spell in 500 mL bottles, and come in at 5.2% ABV.

All five of these beers will be pouring at the Coast to Coast Tap Takeover at Battery Park from 11:30AM – 6PM Thursday May 24 (and then BP will close for an Industry Night event), and in bottles and cans at both that Dartmouth location, as well as their home on Agricola Street in Halifax at opening the same day. The colourful label designs are courtesy of local artist John Newgard. Filling out the 16 taps will be another 11 Escarpment-flavoured collaborations, several of which are with local breweries, but there will also be lots from further afield, including Toronto’s Blood Brothers.

• Also pouring at Battery Park on the 24th is Tatamagouche’s Edel Saison. If that name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back! First released in Fall 2017 as a draught-only, stainless-fermented Saison, this release received a little extra time and care to bring it to fruition. Partnering up with the Escarpment crew for the yeast blend of Saison origin and Brettanomyces, this light beer had a malt bill of mostly Pils with raw wheat and raw rye, and was hopped to 20 IBUs with Strisselspalt, which was what was available in the fall. This current release featured a portion of that original brew aged for an additional 5 months in Spanish Tempranillo barrels after blending with Muscat grape must. The resultant dry, fruity, and funky beer has been bottle conditioning since February, and will be available for purchase only at their storefront in Tatamagouche beginning Thursday (beside the very few kegs at Battery Park and elsewhere in HRM).

• Not to be outdone by North’s CBA bounty, Halifax’s 2 Crows also clearly put some serious effort into welcoming the country’s brewers with four new beers of their own, each also being a collaboration brew. Here’s the details on all four beers that are slated for release:

All In – The East Coast swing by Escarpment Labs naturally included a stop in Halifax’s home for wayward fermentation organisms. A 5.0% ABV foedre-aged Wild Saison featuring a grist of Pilsner, chit malt, raw wheat and malted wheat, it was hopped gently in the boil to 17 IBU with Sterling and Simcoe hops before being fermented in foedre with a crazy concoction of yeast and bugs – Escarpment’s Fruit Bomb Saison strain, which itself contains both a saison-appropriate Sacchromyces strain along with two varieties of Brettanomyces, a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus, and “probably a few other yeast thrown in there too.” This microbe stew chewed away at the beer for some 5 months in foedre before a transfer to stainless and a light dry hop with Loral. The beer walks the line between old world and new world with a “rustic earthiness and light herbal character” but you can also expect some citrus and stone fruit.

Vic Wild – Continuing the trend of including suppliers in the brewing fun, 2 Crows produced this beer with help from representatives from hop supplier Hops Connect. Known for their focus on quality and freshness, they’re also known as the source for many sought after Australian hop varieties; this beer reflects that, as well as 2 Crows tendency towards funky fermentation. Brewed with Ireks Pilsner and Wheat malts (also sourced through Hops Connect), this beer was kettle hopped solely in the whirlpool, with a bit of Ella and a whole lot of Vic Secret. It was then fermented warm with the Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation blend of Brett strains, with two large dry hops of Vic Secret, one during active fermentation, one after. Described as a “funky hop bomb” look for passionfruit, pineapple and a hint of pine in this extremely quaffable 5.0% ABV and 11 IBU beer. Only about 1000 liters were made and 600 cans packaged, so be quick or be disappointed on this one.

Good Air – Again leveraging their big wooden barrels, this beer was a collaboration with Block Three Brewing out of St. Jacob’s, Ontario (just north of Waterloo), that was fermented in foedre. Starting with raw buckwheat, which was cereal mashed for conversion, Pilsner, flaked barley, and some rye malt were added before a multiple step mash was undertaken to produce the sweet wort. During the boil, Golding, Sterling and Hallertau Blanc hops were added to the tune of 15 IBU and, we suspect, some flavor and aroma. The yeast in this one was harvested from a bottle of Coalesce Brewing’s Foreward and a touch of hop-tolerant Lactobacillus. After four months in the foedre, the beer was transferred to stainless steel tanks for final treatment with a dry hop of Azacca and Huell Melon before packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer that is earthy and rustic with a slight tartness, big pineapple and orchard fruit notes, and complex esters formed from the combination of Brett and compounds from the buckwheat.

Cool Kid – Last but not least is a beer brewed with Rob Coombs and ACBB’s own Shawn Meek of Niche Brewing, hailing out of Fredericton, NB (fine, “Hanwell”), and it’s a wild one. Brewed with Pilsner, wheat, spelt and a touch of rye, only Hallertau Blanc was used for hopping in the kettle. Before fermentation, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus to ensure an assertive tartness, before being transferred to a foedre where it received a pitch of 2 Crows house Saison strain, the Amalgamation blend, and Brettanomyces lambicus. A month into fermentation it was hit with 400 lbs of tart cherry purée. After refermenting and another month of conditioning, it was then hit with 400 lbs of raspberry purée. After a total of 4 months in the foedre it was transferred to stainless for packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer sporting 14 IBU that’s tart and bright with “massive” fruit flavors, both dry cherry and a jammy raspberry, with hints of marzipan and cinnamon. Sounds to us like something that is likely to taste pretty great right now, but which might also have some serious potential for tasting very nice after some time in the cellar!

All four of these beers will be available in cans at the brewery as of noon on Thursday, May 24th. All except the Vic Wild can be expected to appear at the private stores in Halifax as well. Kegs have also been packaged, but expect those to be largely reserved for the brewery and the CBA booths.

• Sticking with Niche Brewing for the moment, they’ve released another new beer for New Brunswickers (mainly) to enjoy, a 6.4% ABV dark beer they’re calling Receding Darkness. Although it may resemble a stout in the grist, with Pilsner, Wheat and Midnight Wheat being joined by Rye for some spicy character, that’s where the similarities stop. Lightly hopped in the boil with Amarillo, it was then fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being allowed to develop for nearly two months. We’re told that the result features milk chocolate flavors blend with light Brett aromatics and overripe fruit character. You’ll find it soon at the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton and the Laundromat in Moncton, and at other Niche tap accounts in the near future (here’s hoping we see some kegs make it to Halifax!)

• Late last week, Sober Island Brewing released a special beer brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Blueberry Express. Named after a track that the railway used to run on, the beer is, naturally, a Blueberry Ale. Brewed with 2-row, Carapils, and Honey malt, it was hopped very lightly with Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood, to just 14 IBUs… basically, the base beer for the brewery’s Blonde Ale. The difference is the addition of local blueberries from Glenmore Farms, which were added after primary fermentation, to keep as much blueberry character as possible in the aroma and flavour of the beer. Unfortunately, it sold out at the brewery in just two days… but this is also a good thing, as each can sale brought in $0.50 to the museum, in honour of their 100th anniversary. On the bright side, they’re currently making more, and plan on having the beer available year-round, and there may be some still available at some private stores in HRM.

• There’s some people out there who say that craft beer has become too gimmicky; that someone is always looking to do the next shocking beer, add some weird ingredient, etc. Well, if you’re one of those people, Tidehouse Brewing would like to have a few words with you! Possibly unrelated, they’d also like for you to try their latest beer, Pepperoni Ghost (yeah, you see where this is going). Brewing a “pepperoni beer” has actually been on their minds since before the brewery even opened, and it was an idea that stuck, apparently (unlike that Nutmeg Bomb we’ve all been craving)! After purchasing some pepperoni from local deli Brothers Meats, they rendered the fat, dried the meat, and crumbled it into a coarse powder, which was added at the end of the boil in the brewing process. Ghost peppers were also added in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter, to add some heat. You can find this 5.3% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on tap, with a limited amount in bottles, starting today at 2 pm.

• The two Gahan locations in New Brunswick are churning out some new beers, thanks to brewer Spencer Gallant, who is currently doing all of the brewing at both locations. At Gahan House Port City (Saint John), Terpene Dreams – the latest hoppy brew to hit their taps – is a NEIPA hopped with Amarillo and Vic Secret. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has notes of stone fruit, and plenty o’ dank! This location will also soon be launching a barrel program, as they expect to be receiving six barrels (three each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the very near future, some of which will be soon housing a Saison for some aging; in addition, some spirit barrels are also expected to join the family over the next few months. Over in Fredericton, Gahan House Riverside just tapped Hoppy Lager, which was brewed with a very simple grist of Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and hopped with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic, giving “super tropical and melon undertones”; it comes in at 5.4% ABV and 24 IBUs. And on deck to be released next is Multigrain IPA, the grist of which is – as you may expect from the beer’s name – a little more complex, including the addition of Malted Oats, Flaked Rye, and some rice to go along with several barley malts. Hopped mostly with Simcoe, as well as some Azacca, the beer has aromas of peach, apricot, and a bit of coconut. Hazy, and with an “approachable bitterness” at 46 IBUs, look for this 6% ABV IPA to be on tap, soon.

• New on the scene at Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove, NS, is a cider to join their regular line of beer offerings. Exit 24, ostensibly named for where you get off Highway 101 to reach Smith’s Cove, is a dry cider made with juice from Honeycrisp, Macintosh and Cortland apples. Crisp and flavorful, is comes in at 6.4% ABV and will no doubt help you appreciate the apple blossoms starting to make their presence known throughout the Annapolis Valley and the rest of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the beer also continues to flow, as Bear Bones, their IPA, is making its return. Dry hopped with both Columbus and Cascade hops from Southan Farms in New Brunswick, it’s a citrusy, floral and fruity brew that weighs in at 6.5% ABV. You can check out one or both of these offerings at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market or, if you’re in the city, kegs have reached Battery Park and Harvest Wines in Dartmouth.

• The Good Robot Beta release for next week has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (maybe the holiday Monday is throwing them off… seems weird for a brewery open on Christmas Day, no?), and this time it’s a cask. Originally put together by the Femmebots for the Stillwell Open earlier this month, Say My Name is a dark Belgian ale that was “conditioned with Candi sugar”. Bittered to 27 IBUs with Perle to offset some of the residual sweetness, the 5.2% ABV dark brown beer is “spicy, fruity, and light-bodied”. And the next day, All-Inclusive IPA is returning after a brief hiatus. This 6.8% ABV, 74 IBUs American IPA features a “smooth, medium-light body, with a balanced bitterness rounded out by mango and pineapple hop aromas”, with the addition of Grains of Paradise giving some spice character to the beer as well. And keep an eye open for Tiny Tigers, their 5.8% ABV Saison which just hit the wall of their taproom yesterday. Check the full details in last week’s post.

• If you’re in the Wolfville area, look for the latest in the Annapolis Cider Company‘s Something Different series to be released today. Pazazz & Grapefruit was made with all Pazazz apples, a relatively new variety of dessert apple (descended from the Honeycrisp), which is grown locally in Nova Scotia and has a crisp texture, as well as a sweet and tart flavour. The 6.8% ABV sparkling cider was also infused with fresh ruby grapefruit zest, and finished with a bit of fresh Pazazz juice, making for a refreshing cider with “fresh apple notes, complemented by subtle hints of grapefruit”. For this release, $0.50 of every refill will be donated to Kentville’s Chrysalis House, which provides shelter and outreach services for women and children.

• You may recall the release of The Passenger, a Berliner Weisse from Lunn’s Mill, last fall. Well, that beer is making its triumphant return this week, with a change – it has been aging in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel since February, allowing this sour, light-bodied, German-style beer to pick up a bit of wine and oak character, and it’s tartness to develop further. Look for this 4.7% ABV, 4 IBUs beer to be available at the brewery’s taproom over the weekend.

Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland has a new beer available for the long weekend. Day Tripper is a modern, American Pale Ale with a hazy appearance. Zesty, refreshing and citrusy, it weighs in at a very drinkable 5.5% ABV, perfect for having another. You’ll find it along with their Baycation Blonde available for growler fills at their St. John’s retail store just in time for May 2-4!

• The CBA special releases continue with a collaboration between Propeller and Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON), Wild Gruit Ale. Gruits (a centuries-old style where spices, herbs, and other botanicals replace hop additions) are increasing in popularity, but you still don’t see them very often; luckily, Beau’s has been brewing the style fairly frequently, making them the perfect brewery to team up with in this case! Beau’s contributed some hand-harvested organic bog myrtle (native to Northern Ontario and Quebec), which was added with staghorn sumac that was locally-foraged in Halifax. The beer was non-traditionally hopped as well, with Warrior, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast from Escarpment Labs, the final product has a “sweet aroma and balanced bitterness, and some herbal and spicy notes” thanks to the bog myrtle, with the staghorn sumac contributing “a red fruit and citrus complexity”. The beer will be launched at a Collaboration Release Party at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom location next Wednesday, May 23rd, where it will be joined by six other Beau’s brews on tap. Lots of great beer and giveaways available, and it all starts at 6 PM!

• Today’s weekly new release from TrailWay Brewing is a collaboration with Brewers Supply Group (BSG) names Mou-ska-tere. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was hopped primarily with Moutere, a New Zealand variety that is quite new to these parts. Moutere is a high-alpha acid hop that exhibits characteristics of passion fruit and grapefruit, with notes of hay, spice, and pine, according to BSG’s description. A little bit of Galaxy and El Dorado were also used in this beer, to help boost the juicy, tropical flavours even further. You’ll be able to find cans and pours of this one at TrailWay today, with other NB licensees having it on tap as well, soon. And for those of you in Halifax, it will also be showing up at a few locations and events there next week, during the CBA celebrations.

Let’s switch from new beers to new events for the coming weeks…

Tomorrow, Big Spruce is kicking off their summer season with a big to-do at their taproom away from home, Bras D’Or Yacht Club. With six Big Spruce beers flowing from 4PM, including new beer releases and special casks, there will be live music from Asaph Deuce and Mitch MacDonald all evening, with games, door prizes, and food from Stand & Stuff Your Face made especially to pair with the beers. No word yet on which beers will be available, but a little birdie told us to keep an eye open for the return of Tag You’re It, their New England IPA brewed in support of the Ocean Tracking Network, in cans as well as in kegs.

Copper Bottom Brewing is celebrating the release of their Parkman Ave Double IPA tomorrow, with lots happening in the brewery. From 4-8PM, Sneaky Cheats will be onsite with beer-pairing-worthy food, and music from Johnny Ross, Kelley Mooney, Dion MacBeth, and Bennett Buell. At 9PM, there will be a change of pace with The Love Junkies taking the stage until close. Making life for folks from town a little easier, there will be shuttles to/from the brewery available. Find out much more at their FB event page.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider turns One on Sunday, and is holding a party all day to celebrate. From 11 AM, they’ll have drink specials, giveaways, and a seafood boil on the go from their Unchained Kitchen crew. They are also holding a contest and draw, with your chance to share your favourite of their many ciders, perrys, meads, or cysers from the past year. Fill out the form here to enter, and drop by Sunday to take part in the fun.

2 Crows and the North End Runners will be hosting a little Bluenose Marathon shindig this coming Sunday morning, May 20th. They’re calling it “Mile 26.3” (1 marathon = 26.2 miles) starting at 8 AM when they’ll have cold brew available from Low Point Coffee along with some special breakfast treats. If you’re thinking of watching the race, this would be a fine vantage point. Might not be a bad idea to stake your claim before the race is over though, as 2 Crows is likely to be viewed as an extremely convenient post-race hydration station by thirsty runners! Look for more details to be posted on 2 Crows social media as the event approaches.

There are plenty of events surrounding the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax next week, being held Thursday to Saturday, May 24-26. While the Awards and Conference are only open to those in the beer business, there are plenty of other events happening in town. We’ve already told you about the Escarpment Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday, but here are a few more:

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing will be setting up a pop-up taproom at World Tea House on Argyle during the CBAC, with a rotating selection of 4 taps pouring at any time. WTH is responsible for sourcing the ginger and green tea for their Hunky Dory Pale Ale, so it will always be available, and will be joined by some recent releases as well as perennial favourites. Pop by to grab some samplers! They may be featuring BR’s brand new High Altitude, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped lager, fermented with Escarpment’s lager strain. If not, or even if it is, you can grab bottles of it at Bishop’s Cellar now.

• Boxing Rock is also holding two Tap Takeovers at private stores RockHead Wine & Beer Market and WestSide Beer Wine Spirits. Thursday afternoon from 4PM, pop by to meet up with Emily or Henry from Boxing Rock, and grab a growler or three of their beers.

Stillwell Beer Bar, and the just-opened-for-the-season Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden (#BGonSG), have been collecting and curating some of their favourite beers to showcase during the 3 day celebration of beer, for an ongoing event they’ve dubbed Grand National. The number of beers and breweries is too long to list here, but trust us that there will be plenty of great stuff flowing through their 22 shared taps, with lots of it pouring on the yEast Coast for the first time. You can get a little excited by checking out their Facebook event page for some more details. As always, tune into their social media pages for the latest info.

• Halifax’s The Auction House is hosting a Prince Edward Island Tap Takeover on Friday, May 25, with all five PEI breweries represented: Barnone, Copper Bottom, Moth Lane, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. Look for old favourites and new releases to be flowing on Argyle that evening from 3PM, with a few brewery staff on hand with giveaways and to chat beer.

We know your coffee break (or lunch?) was over 10 minutes ago, but there’s a few more things to tell you:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Creedence Coconut Revive-Ale features copious quantities of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops along with a bunch of late-addition toasted coconut. A tropical experience like summer in a glass, you’ll find it at their taproom on Bridge Avenue.
Bulwark Cider has a new entry in their Fruit Series hitting NSLC stores soon, Strawberry Lime. Juicy and fresh, it’ll no doubt be a go-to summer refresher. Yesterday they also announced the launch of Bulwark Ciders at Wishbeer Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand!
– After releasing their Tickle Fight IPA a few weeks back, Half Cut has now put kegs of their Alter Ego Altbier back into the wild. Brewing at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, these releases are available on draught only, occasionally on growlers in the region as well.
– Making the most of a horrible situation due to flooding at their Roundhouse location, Picaroons has released was able to salvage a batch of their Irish Red by dry-hopping it with Azacca while working in less-than-ideal conditions. The 5.0% ABV Flood Red is available at the brewery and Brewtique now, as well as Picaroons’ other lcoations outside of Fredericton.
– On Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Rockbottom Brewpub has released Peaches & Cream Ale, a light, sweet and easy drinking north american style cream ale sweetened with all natural peach extract for a pleasant fruit finish.
– Tickets for this year’s Seaport Beerfest are on sale as of 11AM today. On August 10 & 11, more than 100 producers will be sharing more than 300 beers from across the Atlantic Provinces, the rest of Canada and the US, and, for the first time, there will be an Icelandic Beer pavillion, with just shy of 20 beers from the island nation. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon tickets are $45 (+fees and taxes), while Saturday evening tickets are $50++. VIP access is available for all sessions, which includes early entrance (an extra hour!) and a special tasting glass, which is yours to keep. Grab your tickets today!
– Dartmouth’s Spindrift has another pair of 7th Wave brews on tap this weekend at the brewery: Baby Whale, a hazy and fruity 6.5% ABV New England IPA and Palm Springs Guava Pale Ale a 6.1% pale that was flavoured with guava purée. Also, their new Hurricane IPA is now available at NSLC locations around the province.
Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax has cans available again as of noon today, featuring the return of Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, their 7.5% ABV Citra SMaSH DIPA. Also available will be Hoppy Fingers APA, Exile on North Street IPA, and Front Line Rocker DIPA.
– PEI’s Upstreet has announced the availability of their Commons Pilsner in sixpacks of 355 mL cans available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner just in time for the long weekend! Look for distribution to widen to PEI Liquor locations by next weekend and hopefully beyond PEI’s shores after that.

 

Another Friday, another day chock-full of beer news for Atlantic Canada. The sun has been shining for a few days, and, thankfully, water levels are finally starting to recede across New Brunswick… although, there’s still a ways to go, and a heck of a lot of work ahead. In the meantime, we invite you to take a break from your work day and catch up one what’s going on in the wonderful world of beer… at least, in our region.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new blend last week, pairing apples, rhubarb and honey together in a tasty beverage. After arresting (stopping short) the ferment of a rhubarb wine (with fruit from Terra Beata Farms), they blended it with a mead made from honey from Brandt’s Bees in Wolfville. That was then blended with their Intrepid cider, which is created from their Northern Spy apples, and allowed to condition at cold temperature. The resultant cyser (mead/cider blend), Rhubee Cyser, weighs in at 8.0% ABV and features plenty of honey and fruit flavours up front, followed by earthy notes in the middle, with some sweetness and floral flavours on the finish. Grab a glass at their Agricola Street location today, or check the cider and food from Unchained Kitchen tomorrow during Open City (more details below).

Tanner & Co. in Chester Basin has a brand new beer that should be available at the brewery tomorrow, Sauvage Saison. At 6.3% ABV, this Saison features a light-bodied and -coloured malt bill of predominantly Pilsner with a touch of Wheat and darker malts, and light hopping from traditional English hop East Kent Golding. The wort was fermented with the wild Pin Cherry yeast harvested from Big Spruce‘s farm in Nyanza, Cape Breton, nicknamed Scotian Sauvage. Due to the nature of this experiment, there’s just a single keg of Sauvage Saison available, so be sure to visit Tanner & Co this weekend to enjoy it. And with it being Open Brewery Day in Nova Scotia, we think it’s the perfect time to do so! And keep an eye out over the the next few weeks, as there will be more from the Scotian Sauvage yeast, as well as Tanner’s GSB release, but we’ll tell you more about those next week.

• More barrel goodies are coming our way this weekend, as Stillwell Brewing has two releases – one new, one returning – for us tomorrow. The “returning” beer is the second blend of Gosh, a Mosaic dry-hopped Saison. First released late last fall, the original beer came from a red wine barrel; in contrast, tomorrow’s 6.2% ABV beer is a blend of multiple white wine barrels. With lots of fruity aromatics (from the fermentation character, as well as the Mosaic), it was brewed in May of 2017, and bottled in January, 2018. As for the new beer, Deluxe is a tart Saison that was brewed in April, 2017, and aged in a single white wine barrel. Five months later, over 50 kg of overripe apricots were added, ultimately resulting in a “highly complex, fruity, dry beer with lots of beautiful barrel character” that was bottled in January, and weighs in at just 4.9% ABV. Both will be available for purchase from 12-4 pm tomorrow, at the back of 2015 Gottingen St.; both beers, especially the smaller-batch Deluxe, will go quickly, so don’t be late!

• There’s a whole lotta beer news coming from Spindrift this week, so we should stop wasting time and dive right in! First up is a brand new beer that will be joining the brewery’s core brands – Hurricane IPA is an unfiltered, West Coast-style IPA. The simple grist was boosted slightly with light additions of Crystal 45 L and Munich malt, giving the beer a light orange/copper colour. Hopped extensively with Amarillo and Comet (to a total of 60 IBUs), this 6.2% ABV brew features flavours and aromas of “fresh cut grass, pine, ripe melon, zesty grapefruit, and Tim Horton’s peach juice” (now that’s specific!), with a dry finish. You should be able to find it on tap and in 473 mL cans at the brewery now, and quite possibly at some NSLC stores by publishing as well.

• Spindrift also has two new Seventh Wave releases this week. Let’s start with Just Boats Brown Ale, a 4.9% ABV Brown brewed with Pilsner, Wheat, Chocolate Wheat, double-roasted Crystal, and Roasted Barley. Hopped with Magnum to 31 IBUs, and fermented with an English ESB strain, the beer focuses on the malt character, with notes of light roast and chocolate. Second is Mosaic SMaSH Ale, which debuted at last weekend’s Full House Craft Beer Fest. Focusing solely on Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops, this is a newer batch that the brewery claims has a fuller body, with lots of “berry, tropical, and citrus” packed into a 5.5% ABV, 26 IBUs package. Hopefully both of these are still pouring at Spindrift, so you’d best check it out ASAP to be sure!

• Speaking of busy breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse is yet another one, as we’ve got news on not one, not two, but three new beers hitting taps in the very near future. Honey, I’m Home is a Honey Brown Ale that was brewed in collaboration with Freeman’s Pizza, a frequent supporter of Ol’ Biddy’s. Brewed with Pale, Chocolate, Honey, Carapils, and Crystal 60 L malts, it’s a malt-forward, medium-bodied beer with notes of “chocolate and caramel, with a touch of residual sweetness”. Hopped with Columbus to just 17 IBUs, it’s easy-drinking at 5.1% ABV; look for it to be on tap soon at the Freeman’s Sackville location, as well as Battery Park. Moving into more-hop-friendly territory is Boogie Nights IPA, featuring a simple malt bill and plenty of Columbus, Huell Melon, and Azacca. Slightly bitter in the finish (63 IBUs), expect lots of melon in both the aroma and flavour of this 6.3% ABV beer. Look for this one to be tapped over the next few days at the earliest; keep up with Ol’ Biddy’s social media pages to find out exactly where it lands. Finally, we have a sneak peek at the first beer of a new series for the brewery, Sackvegas SMaSH: Azacca/Pilsen. This one was designed to be an easy-drinking summer beer, and should come in at 4.9% ABV and approximately 27 IBUs. Featuring all Pilsner malt and Azacca hops, it won’t be released until the end of the month, but we’ll remind you when it comes out!

• Today marks the fourth release in Upstreet‘s Neon Friday series of hoppy beers, but this time around they’re taking it a step further, and releasing the beer in cans… the first time any beer from Upstreet has been packaged this way. The beer is NEIPA with Mosaic and Galaxy, which does a pretty darn good job of explaining itself! So, yeah. Hazy, lots of Mosaic and Galaxy tropical, fruity goodness, in a 6.5% ABV, 40 IBU package. Available in four-packs in very limited amounts: 100 packs going to the Upstreet taproom (opens at noon), and 100 going to the Craft Beer Corner (opens at 11 am). They’ll likely go pretty fast, so it would be a good idea to get downtown early!

• Next week’s Good Robot releases are locked and loaded, proving that NSCBW didn’t have quite a serious enough effect on staff. Next Tuesday’s Beta brew is Hands Off Maibock!, a collab with a couple of women that Kelly C. met during her Ladies Beer League days. This Maibock was brewed with Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts, giving it a “toasty finish, and pleasant residual sweetness”. Hopped to 27 IBUs with Hallertau to give some low floral/spice character, it weighs in at a reasonable 5.8% ABV. As for Thursday’s larger-scale release, it’s a new beer named Tiny Tigers. A kinda-lighter-ABV Saison (5.8% ABV), the grist was made up of Pilsner, 2-row, and some Crystal 30L to keep the colour light. Hopped with Columbus and Citra to 31 IBUs, it has a “smooth spice and subtle citrus aroma” thanks in part to the fermentation

• In Fredericton, as the water is finally starting to go back where it belongs, TrailWay Brewing has two releases this week. The first is the return of Good Weather; an American IPA that originally was released in March, it’s now joining the TW regular summer line-up. With a slightly-tweaked hop schedule, it should be otherwise similar to the first batch, with a “bright, tropical, citrus, peach juice” combination of characteristics. Aside from being available at the TW taproom, it should be showing up in cans at ANBL stores as well. Also returning is Hopical Trop, the brewery’s rotating “Fruited DIPA”. This time around, the 8% ABV beer was conditioned on dark cherries, giving “massive, sweet fruit character with a vanilla-like quality”. This one is in cans at TrailWay only, as well as on tap for pints and growlers, with a few kegs likely to be pouring at select licensees.

Big Spruce has another just-in-time-for-summer beer out for us, which – in our humble opinions – is one of THE best styles for warm weather out there. Hugs Bunny is a Gose – a sour, low-ABV, German style – brewed with sea salt and Indian coriander (both of which are classic additions to the style). The great thing about a Gose is there are a lot of directions you can take it afterwards, and Big Spruce didn’t hesitate to go down one of those roads, dry-hopping it with lots of Citra. Light, slightly-salty, tart, with lots of citrus and tropical fruit on the nose… all at only 3.8% ABV. Get it now on tap at Big Spruce, and at some of the finer tap accounts in Nova Scotia.

• Recently, Annapolis Brewing Company teamed up with Horton Ridge to brew Oatta the Valley Pale Ale, and that beer has just been kegged and ready for tasting this weekend. Brewed with all Maritime-grown malt and hops, the recipe creation was a true collaboration, in a fun and different way. We’ll let the crew from Annapolis describe it, “The makeup of the recipe was somewhat of a card game. The Annapolis Brewing Company started the recipe with the base malt and sent it back to Horton Ridge for the next malt addition. Once they added their malt choice, they, in turn, sent the recipe back to us for the next addition. We did this with the hops as well. It was truly a 50/50 collab from recipe makeup to brewing. We love working with Horton Ridge and most of all…brewing with their malt!” The final grist consisted of 2 Row, Rye, Munich, Vienne, Wheat and Oat malts, and the hop bill, grown at Fundy Hops, were Centennial and Galena. You can find Oatta the Valley on tap at Horton Ridge today! And keep your eyes open for Annapolis’ beers at Liquid Assets, the all-NS private liquor store at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Their Goodwill Amber, Big Shot Black IPA and Acadian Honey Brown are available in 355ml stubby bottles to grab when you go visiting, or when returning from a trip. And we’ve heard that the LA folks will even meet you outside of security if you’re just passing through!

• On the South Shore of NS, in Mahone Bay, Saltbox Brewing has two new styles to share, both on the deeper, darker side of the spectrum. The first is Bette Davis Eisbock, a beer that would have started fairly big in the usual bock style, but which also underwent a freezing process to remove some of the water content yielding a beer with a final ABV of 10.6%. Strong and full-bodied, there’s a moderate bitterness for balance, but a definite sweetness present. This is a traditional German style that would be served from December to April, but we’re getting it a little later here this year, matching our late spring. And somewhat lighter but still nowhere near pale is Lou Keyte’s Brown Ale, a collaboration with Sea Level Brewing up in Port Williams. It’s named after a Chicago conman (the “Bernie Madoff of the Roaring Twenties) who hosted big parties at his hunting lodge near Kejimkujik before being extradited home, where he chose to avoid a long term prison sentence by scarfing a whole box of chocolates (he was diabetic). Happy for us, he inspired this beer, which is deep brown in color, with a creamy tan head, and featuring hints of caramel and chocolate on the palate and a soft roasted finish. Lighter than you might expect from the color, it comes in at 6.2% ABV, perfect for sipping on its own or pairing with food.

• A couple of quick mentions from the Rock today, first, starting way way up in Twilingate, we’ve got news of a new beer from Split Rock, another entry in their IPA family. Reminiscent of their Gateway IPA but featuring Citra hops, Dream of Spring is a 7.1% ABV American-style IPA. Available at the Stage Head Pub, expect a solid body and a firm bitterness. And on the west coast, in Corner Brook, Bootleg Brew Co also has a new beer available as of last night, one they’re referring to as a “summery session ale”. Class Act was designed for day drinking, a crisp, hoppy, refreshing, and sessionable pale ale made with oats. Zesty, with hop-derived notes of orange, pear and lime, it’s 42 IBU and a super quaffable 4.2% ABV.

• We’ve previously mentioned the Cider Club at Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company and for those who missed out and wish they hadn’t, we’ve received word that there’s a very limited number of additional memberships available. If you’re interested in a regular 10% discount, 6 special bottles twice a year, guided tastings of special releases and participation in discussions about future releases, check out the details on their sign-up page. A reminder that you need not be local to Wolfville – you can have your cider shipped to you anywhere in the 10 Provinces of Canada!

• Halifax’s Garrison has released another new hoppy beer, this one taking the New England IPA style down a notch in terms of ABV, but definitely not in flavor. Wicked Good is being called a New England Pale Ale and features a grist of Maritime pale malt, oats and wheat paired with classic Cascade, new hotness Huell Melon, and some other hops that will remain nameless, at least for now. Juicy, hazy and unfiltered, it’s a reasonable 30 IBU and a very sessionable 5.0% ABV, all the better to let stone fruit and citrus aromas and melon and pear flavors to shine through. Look for it in cans at the brewery (and, we expect, the private liquor stores at some point) as well as at Garrison’s Open City / Open Brewery Day Event tomorrow (see below)!

Here’s what’s going on for beer-related events in the region this weekend and over the next week or two:

• Taking a page from I Love Local Halifax, the community of independent Halifax businesses, breweries across the province are holding Open Brewery Day tomorrow, May 12th. From Shelburne to Nyanza taking part, there is sure to be something in your neighbourhood, or worth traveling for, tomorrow, so be sure to get out and visit. To make life a little easier, we’ve put together a map of all the events we could find. If we’ve missed something, let us know and we’ll add it!

2 Crows, Halifax, 2-5PM: Live band from 2-5PM with $1 off pints and growler fills during that time
Big Spruce, Nyanza, 12-6PM: Live music and wood fired pizza!
Boxing Rock, Shelburne, 11AM-7PM: Free tours all day, try your hand at axe throwing, live music from 2-4PM. Samples and flights, and food courtesy of Finest Kind Food.
Chain Yard Cider, Halifax, 11:30-?: Enjoy $2 samples of cider on their patio, plus Unchained Kitchen will offer a $6 shrimp/mussel boil.
Garrison, Halifax, 11AM-6PM: The Cake Lady and The Shuck Stop! will be set up, serving pastries and bivalves to pair with their beer. Plus the release of Wicked Good New England APA in cans.
Meander River, Ashdale, 11AM-5PM: Visit the brewery for a tasting and tour, chat with the brewer and owners, grab some beer, cider, and other farm products to go.
Nine Locks, Dartmouth, 11AM-6PM: Nine Locks will have brewery tours starting at 11 am and run until 4 pm, running at the top of the hour. The tour is limited to 12 people each tour. You can sign up in advance by contacting the brewery directly.
Propeller, Halifax, 10AM-2PM: Drop by all day and see first hand how beer is made. They will be brewing an American Wheat, which will be dry-hopped and released in a few weeks.
Saltbox Brewing, Mahone Bay, 12-9PM: Backoos Korean Food Truck on-site. Prize draws and live entertainment. Staff are avail to sample and discuss their beer.
Schoolhouse Brewery, Windsor, 12-6PM: Drop by at 3:30pm for a brewery tour by owner Cameron Hartley and to meet your local brew crew!
Stubborn Goat, Halifax, 11AM-close: The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden opens for the season, and both locations will be serving up $5 snacks.
Tanner & Co, Chester Basin, 12-5PM: Brewery tours and other fun!
Tatamagouche Brewing, Tatamagouche, 10-5PM: Brewery tours start at 10AM, and run every half-hour. There will be live music in the brewery taproom from 2-5PM. Dogs are welcome/encouraged/required.

• If two wheeled locomotion is more your speed, tomorrow is the inaugural ride of the Nova Scotia chapter of BrewDog Chain Gang. Using Off Track Brewing on Rocky Lake Drive in Bedford as the start and end to the ride, the group will be traveling out to Goffs and back, a 70km ride. A world-wide bike club sponsored by Scottish brewery BrewDog, the goal of Chain Gang to encourage camaraderie with other cyclists, and use breweries and beer bars as the homebase for refreshment and conversation after riding. Look for more rides throughout the summer, and check out the event details for more information.

May 13th is the inaugural day for the Craft Beer Farmers’ Market, being held at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, 10AM until 2PM. Featuring 8 vendors of beer, cider, spirits, and kombucha, with more expected to join (including wineries), the market will be held every Sunday until October 14th. Bring your empty growler and sample what the following vendors have to offer: Annapolis Brewing Company, Casa Nova Fine Beverages, Horton Ridge, Lunn’s Mill, Meander River, Roof Hound, Solas Kombucha, Still Fired Distilleries, and Wayfarers Ale.

Saltbox is holding a Soapbox Derby on June 16th from 9 AM – 3 PM in Mahone Bay. Although this is quite a ways away now, registration is due by Friday, June 1st. Further, it’s limited to 40 entries across 4 divisions and is quickly nearing capacity! The four divisions are Kids 6 – 12 (starting halfway down the hill), Ages 13 and Over, Open Class (anything goes except engines), and Corporate. Castle Building Supplies is making cart kits for all divisions except Open available. There are prizes for the race winners, of course, but also for originality, cart decoration and more! If you’re interested you’ll want to move fast (and then you’ll want to move fast on race day!!).

And as usual, a few last mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:

– Liverpool’s Hell Bay has re-released their Privateer Pilsner a little early this year; get this easy-drinking 4.7% ABV lager while it lasts!
Picaroons is up to entry number 15 in their Pivot DIPA series, this latest featuring the CTZ and Chinook hops from Southan Farms in Wicklow, NB.
Hammond River has now bottled a batch of their Blueberry Ale, which will be available at the Hammond River Beer Bar and coming to ANBL stores as well!
Tidehouse did up a special brew featuring local Haskaap Berries for the inaugural AFX: Animation Festival of Halifax. Brewed with local Haskaap berries and hopped with Mosaic, Magical-ale Lantern was a big hit at the opening ceremonies and will re-appear at the event’s wrap party on Saturday. You can find this pinkish/peachish-hued 4.7% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street.