Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

Welcome to October 2019! While the temperature has dropped across the region, that’s only spurred on activity from our brewers. We’ve got plenty of great news from around the horn today, including two important openings happening this week in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Let’s get to it!

Let’s kick things off with Roof Hound Brewing, whose brewery and taproom are located just outside of Digby. With the acquisition of a new space in the heart of Kingston, they are expanding their operations east along the 101 Highway, bringing great beer and food to the folks in the Greenwood area. The new spot features a full kitchen, with the same diversity of offerings that fueled the Digby location, with nachos, burgers, tacos, and loaded fries on the menu. Beer-wise, the location features twelve taps of Roof Hound goodness, along with a full retail of bottles and growler fills. RHK (Roof Hound Kingston) will also be the site of their new barrel program, with beer aging in red and white wine barrels in the facility (and spirit barrels coming later). The first beer going into these barrels is a Brett and Sacch pale beer, which will sit for a spell before release. There is no brewhouse onsite, as the wort will be prepared in Digby and brought to Kingston for fermentation. Speaking of Digby, that location is closed this week as it undergoes a facelift, and will re-open next week with a new menu, with the much-anticipated return of pizza! During Fall and Winter, RHD will be open Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 PM. Roof Hound Kingston is located at 573 Main Street in the village, and is open daily 11:30 – 8 PM (closing at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday). Congratulations Roof Hound team!

Further East in the Annapolis Valley, you’ll find that the town of Sheffield Mills, famous for its Eagle Watch held every winter, now has a year-round attraction to entice visitors off the highway. Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing, which opened in 2007, is now expanding 10 minutes up the road to 9146 Hwy 221, between Sheffield Mills and Canning. This new location is the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, the province’s first estate brewery, with 22 acres of malting barley (yielding 38 tonnes of grain), as well as hops grown on-site. They are brewing on a 24 hectolitre brewhouse (20 barrel), which is coming online shortly, and including cider in their offerings in the future as well. Millstone Harvest features a taproom with twelve taps, and a retail space fully stocked with the canned offerings. While there is no kitchen onsite, there are some snacks available, and local food delivery or BYOF is encouraged. And fear not, their Port Williams location will remain open, featuring their retail spot with the full complement of canned and growler offerings, and the home of their Pilot brewery to experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Millstone Harvest is open this weekend for soft opening “Happy Hours”, 3 – 6 PM today, and 2 – 6 PM Saturday, and we encourage you to visit their new spot to check out their location and see their plans for the future!

Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing has been up and running since early this year, and now that the busy months of summer are behind us, they’re releasing their first seasonal since July. “Gourd”on’s Wharf Autumn Ale was named after the local Gordon’s Wharf, and as you may have guessed from the name, is a Pumpkin Ale. A toasty, malt-forward brew that features additions of pumpkin, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice late in the boil, it comes in at 5.8% ABV and 20 IBUs. You can find it on tap now at the Apero Lounge in Miramichi. 

If you like fruit IPAs, Big Spruce’s newest beer, Hopsitality, is the beer for you! This 7% ABV American IPA was hopped with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Nugget, and has an addition of organic pineapple juice concentrate. The colour of “ripe mango”, the beer has a strong aroma of pineapple (of course!), as well as “mango, fuzzy peaches and warm pine”. Moderately bitter in the finish, the flavour is strong with more pineapple, in addition to some grapefruit. But that’s not all from BS this week, as they’ve also released It Gose Without Saying, a Citra dry-hopped Gose. Tart, and with a light salinity, this 4.2% ABV Gose has aromas of “fresh cut lemon zest and ocean air, with meringue-like foam and the taste of fresh lemon curd”, according to the brewery. Both beers are available on tap at the brewery, and most-likely some of your favourite Big Spruce accounts as well. Finally, there’s a fresh batch of their NEIPA, Death Cookies, available, so you can hit some of that up, too!

We are also thrilled to announce the details of this year’s Home Brew-Off, the seventh year Big Spruce has hosted their homebrewing competition. This year’s theme is Kveik The East!, with the competition open to all beer styles, but they must be fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, provided by Escarpment Yeast Labs. Registration is now open, and you can get the ball rolling by emailing for an entry form, and to find out the details on where to pick up the yeast. Entries must be received by November 22nd, with the judging and awards ceremony taking place at Wooden Monkey Dartmouth November 24th. As always, the winning brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe for release at the Eat. Drink. Local. Event in January 2020. Best of luck to all entrants!

PEI’s Upstreet recently hosted Summerside native Tanya Davis for a three-week stint as their artist in residence where she produced a new collection of text-based work with a theme of “Climate/Change.” While we missed the boat last week in telling you about the Artist Talk she did at the Upstreet Taproom in Charlottetown, we’re not too late to tell you about the beer that the brewery released in concert with that work. Climate/Change is a bright and tropical IPA that “pairs well with existential questions.” Featuring notes of citrus and stone fruit, this 6% ABV and 40 IBU golden-coloured brew is refreshing and juicy. As of last week it was available at the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, and at the Pour Authority in Founders’ Hall in Charlottetown. Hopefully that’s still the case for those who haven’t had a chance to try it yet!

Staying on the Island, Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a few new beers available in their taproom and retail space. Pitcher in the Rye is a 5.4% ABV Roggenbier, a German style known for its healthy use of rye malt in the grist. Working as a complement to their Wheat Kings County Hefeweizen, Pitcher uses a Weissbier yeast style to bring out banana and clove character, with the rye (making up a third of the grist) enhances that spicy flavour on the palate. Available on draught now, and cans shortly, it can be found at better beer bars around the island. And debuting more recently is a Double IPA brewed up as a collaboration with Tatamagouche co-owner Matt Kenny. Bogside’s Mark Patriquin began his brewing career at TataBrew, which later saw him attending VLB Berlin, and working for Central City and Four Winds in British Columbia, before returning home to the Maritimes. Celebrating that return is Holiday Island, an 8.3% ABV, 83 IBU DIPA, featuring loads of Galaxy and Mosaic for a taste of the Southern Hemisphere right here in Canada. It is available on tap in Montague and Charlottetown, with cans coming post-haste to their retail shop. May’sell pop by for a feed, drink, and grab some bacon and cans to go this weekend! 

And in “Coming Soon” news from Bogside, very soon will be Bogside’s first foray into cider, using their own crusher and press to see the whole process go down from fruit to glass. Next weekend should see the release of their newest beer, a Champagne/Brut IPA hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon, which we’ll tell you more about next week. And keep your eyes on their social media for news of another beer that is just a couple of weeks from release. Lighthorse Lagered Ale is brewed in the classic Kolsch style, and is being released October 19th in celebration of the PEI Light Horse Regiment, the first on the island. $1 from each pint sold will go towards the Last Post Fund, and there will be plenty of fun to be had from 4 PM on the 19th, so be sure to drop by! 

Two of Nova Scotia’s highest-regarded breweries, North and Tatamagouche Brewing, have teamed up to brew a beer for those of you not quite ready to let go of summer, yet. Cool Melon, a Watermelon Kolsch,  is a light, easy-drinking 4.5% ABV beer that incorporated over 800 lbs of pulped watermelons (oddly, that doesn’t sound like a fun job to us!), and was hopped with Huell Melon. They’ve packaged this one in cans, which you’ll be able to find at both North shops starting today, and at TataBrew as well (word is they also have it on draught, there). This won’t be the last North/Tata collab you’ll be seeing; keep your eyes open for some fun blending and aging projects in the future!

Sticking with TataBrew, they’ve actually got a couple of new beers of their own launching this week. One is a traditional Lager brewed to squeak in to officially make it during Oktoberfest, Daybreak Kellerbier. Literally translating to “cellar beer”, Tata’s take on this ancient style (many speculate it originated in the Middle Ages) is a 4.8% beer that has “an intense gold to ripe mango colour”, with malty aromas of “sweet scone,  biscuit, white bread, and toast”. All of this malty goodness translates over to the flavour, along with hints of woodiness and grassy herbal notes, with a little lingering bitterness in the finish. Tata also has Haskap Berliner Weisse for us, a 4.3% ABV Berliner with an addition of organic Haskap berries from Sweet Earth Farms. Hazy and mauve-coloured, expect “bursts of blueberry and tart cranberry” to go with flavours of wheat in this crisp, sour, refreshing beer. 

There’s been a very odd lack of new release from 2 Crows over the past several weeks… but don’t worry, turns out they’re still alive! And we can prove it, with details of their latest beer, Old & New. The brewery’s newest Wild Saison, it was brewed with a 50:50 blend of Wheat and Pilsner malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. Hopped in the boil (to 20 IBUs) with Citra, Enigma, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was open-fermented (a first for 2 Crows!) in one of their foedres, with a blend of house Saison cultures (along with some yeast they grew up from a recently-opened Brett beer from the US). Conditioned for four months, the beer was finally dry-hopped with Galaxy, Loral, Azacca and Tradition, and then packaged in cans where it was allowed to carbonate naturally. The final product is 5.4% ABV, and is tasting “super bright and lemony, with a pithy bitterness, a bit of new world tropical (mandarin orange, guava) notes and a great herbal backbone”. Sounds great to us! In addition to being available in cans at the brewery, they’ll also have it pouring on tap. 

Back to Oktoberfest beers with Brightwood’s latest, Siegestor. Their take on the Märzen style, it was brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner, Biscuit, Amber, and cherry wood Smoked malt. Hopped with Hallertau and Bramling Cross, this amber-coloured Lager has a good amount of bready character on the nose and palate, with “a hint of smoke” from the smoked malt addition. It finishes clean and crisp, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It’s currently pouring at the brewery for pints and growlers, and should be available in cans sometime next week as well.

Church Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps and shelves of their Wolfville taproom and retail shop today, their first containing fruit. Til Death Do Us Tart is a 5.9% ABV Framboise, namely a Pale Belgian Ale with raspberries. Using a clean Belgian yeast, the tart character of the beer is all thanks to the large addition of fruit. Restrained use of Magnum and Perle lend a light earthy and spicy note, complementing the yeast character, and taking a backseat to the raspberries. It is available today (and all weekend!) in both cans and crowlers at their retail shop adjacent to the brewery. And keep your eyes peeled for Saltwater Joys, a 4.4% ABV Gose, brewed with Pink Himalayan Salt and coriander, and fermented with Voss Kveik yeast after a partial souring with Lactobacillus. It will be released next Friday, the 11th, at the taproom for flights and pints to enjoy onsite, and cans and crowlers to take away.

Let’s head back into HRM to Propeller, where they are launching just the second beer in their very limited bottle release series. Today’s release is Farmhouse Saison, a Saison that was fermented with a blend of yeast strains: a Saison yeast, and two Brettanomyces strains (B. anomalus and B. bruxellensis). The beer was aged in red wine barrels for 8 months before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s exhibiting aromas and flavours of fruity esters, spice, and tropical characteristics thanks to the Brett strains. There are only 280 bottles available, so there will be a 3 bottle per person limit. They go on sale today at both Prop stores, so don’t wait to pick yours up! Keep in mind that this type of beer will age and evolve beautifully, so you may want to grab more than a single. As an aside, tonight’s cask night beer is Porter w/ Coffee and Chocolate

Over in Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing has yet another new iteration of their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, releasing at the brewery today. Those of you who are big fans of banana will be excited for this one, as it features an addition of close to 300 lbs of banana puree. They also threw in 25 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as the usual additions of lactose powder and pure vanilla extract. “But what about the hops?”, you may be asking (rightfully so, this IS TrailWay, after all). One of the newest, popular varieties out there, Sabro, was used to help bump the coconut character. The final result is a beer with huge banana aroma, and coconut and vanilla lurking in the background. They also wanted to make it clear that this beer is not hazy/murky like other Velvet Fogs* (see what we did there?), with “the banana addition aiding in flocculation tremendously”. You can find your cans, growlers, and pints of this 6.5% ABV brew at the taproom!

* For the record, Mel Tormé, the original Velvet Fog, was neither hazy, nor murky.

With fall in full swing and bigger, the bigger, darker beers are starting to make their appearance in the region. Cue Halifax’s Garrison Brewing who have once again brought back their Grand Baltic Porter, a beer they’ve released on a pretty consistent basis for quite a few years now. Big and burly, at 8.5% ABV, it’s got enough bitterness (37 IBU or so) to balance the rich and malty sweetness. With plenty of dark fruit, molasses and caramel, you should find it quite smooth thanks to the use of lager yeast, which is typical for the style. Find it in bottles at the brewery and, we expect other places where you normally get your Garrison fix. We’ve also had word that there’s a barrel-aged version of this one afoot, we’ll get the details of that to you once we have them.

Over in Good Robot land, they’ve got the latest in their Creature Feature series, Creature Feature VII – The Storm Beer. Luckily, it was actually brewed BEFORE Dorian hit, but the power was knocked out shortly after, meaning the beer/wort was left without temperature control during fermentation. Temps did get a little high, allowing the yeast to produce some “ripe fruitiness”. It was then dry-hopped with Rakau to give even more tropical character; look for this one – 5.3% ABV, 50 IBUs – on tap now. And we can fill you in on next week’s beer, Go Kart Jack Ass. A Scottish Ale brewed with some Scottish friends, it’s amber-coloured, with “low, subtly-spicy hop character, and a slight honey aroma”; 4.8% ABV, 19 IBUs.

Lots of beery events going on in the next couple of weeks in the region, with a pretty big emphasis on tomorrow! Check ’em out:

One of New Brunswick’s oldest and largest breweries (of the craft era, anyway), Picaroons, is starting a new fall tradition with their first annual Cst Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest. Festivities will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, October 5th, at noon, with a Fun Walk/Run to raise funds for the Cst Robb Costello Memorial Fund, a charity set up in his name to provide scholarships within the community and support both ongoing Police training and first responder families in crisis. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already it’s too late to sign up for the run event and there is no registration available at the event. But it’s NOT too late to support the cause and have some fun by purchasing tickets for the Oktoberfest celebration being put on by Picaroons. Hosted at the brewery in Fredericton, going from 2 – 6 PM tomorrow, tickets for the event itself are $30 (plus fees) and are available online through Eventbrite. While you’re purchasing, you’ll also have the opportunity to donate $20 or $50 (or an amount of your choosing) to the memorial fund. Your ticket gets you a commemorative stein, 2 beers and a sausage, with addition food and beer available for purchase on site. Pics has also brewed up a special batch for the event that they’ve canned with Craft Coast Canning, entitled Cst. Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest, a 5.7% fest-style lager. You can rest assured that beer will be pouring all afternoon, but given the packaging, we’d expect it will also be available for purchase at Pics locations and, hopefully, elsewhere.

PEI Brewing Company is holding their inaugural Okto-beer-feast event this weekend, putting their own spin on the traditional German event. The celebrations begin today with a “beer stein hoppy hour”, German-inspired food stations, food demonstrations, live entertainment and activities. It also marks the release of their newest seasonal, Scarlet Race Helles Lager, which attendees will be the first to try. Tomorrow’s event continues with happy hour, food trucks in the parking lot, photo booths, and more. There are games and competitions on the go throughout, with gift cards up for grabs! The weekend culminates in a live concert by Hoolerado at 9 PM. Tickets for the event are $10, or $15 for a “Beer Lovers Ticket”, which includes the first fill of your 32oz beer stein. Grab your tickets here!

If you’re in Halifax and itching to get your Oktoberfest this weekend, don’t worry, Garrison has you covered. Das Big Party takes place tomorrow, Saturday, October 5, at their Seaport Hall facility near the Halifax Seaport Market, which will be transformed into a Bavarian Biergarten. A family-friendly event, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be lots of beer. Admission is free to all and they’ll have live music starting with oompah music from 2 – 5 PM and followed by Kids Losing Sleep and Rain Over St. Ambrose starting at 6 PM as well as food for purchase from Asado Wood Fired Grill.

And Halifax’s Stillwell ain’t gonna let no dangling crane ruin their annual Oktoberfest celebrations! While this year’s event obviously can’t happen at the Beergarden location, it will still go on at Stillwell HQ on Barrington St. tomorrow, October 5th. The all-day, no-tickets-necessary party will feature steins of some of the finest Lagers and Lager-like beers available locally and beyond. But of COURSE it’s not going to stop just at beer… expect oompah music, and special food items from their wonderful kitchen, including currywurst and fries, schnitzel sandwiches, and pretzel bites with mustard and cheese sauce. It all starts at noon!

If you’re in the Annapolis Royal area this weekend and looking for a party, we’ve got one for ya! Annapolis Brewing is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, October 5th, and they want you to drop by to join in on the fun. The party starts at 3 pm – of course there will be plenty of beer flowing (with a free glass per person for the first 100 pints sold), in addition to axe throwing from 3-5 pm, and live music by Callehan from 8-11 pm. 

If you’re in Moncton on Sunday, October 6, you’ve got the opportunity to attend an Oktoberfest event that’s maybe a little different from the traditional big lederhosen-laden bash. Euston Park Social, New Brunswick’s newest Beer Garden, is hosting noted food, drink, and travel writer Evan Rail for a guided tasting of 6 beers and 6 Oktoberfest-style food pairings from Euston Park’s chefs, Gene Cormier and Manny Brison. Beers will be courtesy of New Brunswick breweries Grand Monk, Flying Boats, Holy Whale, Brasseux d’la Cote, CAVOK, and O’Creek Brewing. Tickets are $55 (plus fees) and can be purchased online through EventBrite up until tomorrow.

The Ladies Beer League of Halifax is putting on an event bringing together crafting and beer for a good cause. In concert with Kind Krafts and Garrison Brewing, and benefiting the Prescott Group, Crafty Fall Bevvy on October 10th from 8 PM to 10 PM at Garrison’s Seaport Hall will give you the chance to make some handmade cards, leather coasters, and/or bracelets while you socialize and sip some of your Garrison favorites. Admission is free and all crafting materials are provided. At the end of the session you’ll have the choice of purchasing your coasters and bracelets or donating them to be sold by Kind Krafts to benefit the Prescott Group, their charity of the season. Prescott Group operates vocational, personal development and employment programs for individuals with an intellectual disability. A worthy cause indeed. Check out the event page to sign up for your ticket (again, free, but a limited number of spaces are available).

And a few last quick mentions before we leave you to your Friday afternoon:

Chain Yard Cider is putting a call out for any apples that you may have (sexy or gross, doesn’t matter!), which they would like to use to brew a special “community cider”; a portion of the proceeds from this cider will go to Feed Nova Scotia. If you’re interested in participating, drop them a message on Facebook or email info@chainyardcider.com, and they’ll take it from there! 

Heritage Brewing has a new beer this week, Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour, a 5% ABV kettle sour that was conditioned on strawberries and rhubarb (you probably guessed that!). Tart and refreshing, you can find it on tap now at the brewery. 

Hill Top Hops has released Harvest Ale (5% ABV), a wet-hopped beer for the season and de rigueur, we think for a brewery with its own hopyard; available at the brewery.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has brought back the beer that launched them two years ago, and one that makes a frequent appearance on their brew schedule. Single Origin is a 5.0% ABV Coffee Sweet Stout, featuring Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, as well as lactose power for a light sweetness. Find it at better beer bars in New Brunswick.

Think Brewing has rebrewed their American IPA, Train of Thought, but upped it to a DIPA that is bigger in both ABV (9.3%) and hops. Heavily dry-hopped with a dose of El Dorado and several other American varieties, it has tropical fruit, resin, and pineapple on the nose. Look for it at your usual Think tap accounts; it’s also on at the growler station at the York St. ANBL in Fredericton. 

York County Cider has released the latest in their bottled Seasonal Reserve line; Apple Pie (8.2%) was aged for three months in Cape Breton whisky barrels and has notes of “apple, oak, whisky, cinnamon, and vanilla”. You can find 750 mL bottles at various ANBL stores in NB, and it’s also on tap at York County’s taproom in Fredericton.

Hello everyone, and hello fall! For those of you who are saying, “Thank God that all that heat is done with!”, we will try to remember to remind you on that first Friday where it’s freezing cold and there’s snow and ice everywhere that you were WRONG to complain about the heat! Don’t worry, we won’t forget! Where were we… ah, beer! Whole bunch going on this week, and luckily it’s not just all about Pumpkin beer re-releases. Let’s get to it!

Why don’t we begin in Dieppe, New Brunswick, where CAVOK Brewing (that’s pronounced “CAV Okay”) will be having a soft opening of their brand-spanking-new taproom this weekend. Located at 250 boul. Dieppe, there will be seven different CAVOK beers pouring, six of which were brewed on their 1 bbl (120 L) pilot system; these include a Rye IPA, kettle sour, Oatmeal Stout, West Coast IPA, Altbier, and Saison, all of which will be joining their flagship beer, Léger Corner Honey Ale. Expect to see some local breweries featured on guest taps; this practice will continue in the future. A limited selection of CAVOK swag will be available for purchase, and guests are encouraged to bring in/order in their own food. Swing on by to check out their new digs during the following times: Fri 5-11pm, Sat 2-11pm, and Sun 2-7 pm. And remember, keep in mind this IS a soft opening, so be patient as staff gets into the swing of things with crowds and POS operations! Their grand opening will most likely be happening sometime next month.

In what may be a first in Canadian brewery news, Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has purchased a bowling alley on the city’s Northside. And one that is still operational and currently running leagues, to boot! Located at 301 Main St, Bowl-a-Drome is located just 300 metres down the road from TrailWay’s brewery and taproom. The location will remain untouched for the rest of 2018 (as per the former owner’s wishes), allowing time for staff to prepare, and bowling leagues to finish. The Drome will close at the beginning of 2019 to perform renovations, updating the interior, and adding to the bar facilities. Once it re-opens, it will be a craft beer and bowling destination (and we hear you’ll still be able to get a damn fine White Russian), featuring TrailWay and other Fredericton breweries, as well as many from elsewhere in, and outside, the province. Keep an eye on the progress at their Facebook page. Congratulations TW, we think this will be a 7-10 split (or touchdown, hole-in-one, or Diamond Cutter, depending on your metaphors)! And in case you were wondering, there are absolutely no plans to move brewing operations from their current spot, those fermenters are super tall, y’all!

Of course, it IS Friday, which means that TrailWay also has some new hoppy beer news for us. Home is Where the Hops Is was hopped exclusively with Eureka, a fairly new American variety that was originally known as Experimental Pine Fruit… which may help give you an idea of how it comes across in beer. Expect flavours of “citrus, resin, tropical and dark fruit”, according to TW, with “aromas of grapefruit and slight tangerine”. Like most of the brewery’s IPAs it comes in at 6.5% ABV, and no doubt a low number of IBUs. Available on tap and in cans as of today.

Plenty of new/returning beers coming out of Upstreet lately, which I think makes sense to tackle in chronological order, just to make it easier on all of us! Last week saw the release of the brewery’s second foeder-aged beer, Come Pick Me Up, an 8% ABV Saison. Available on tap and in growlers only, at both Upstreet locations (and very possibly Hopyard Halifax next week), the brewery is describing it as having “nice oak, white grape, bubblegum, banana, and pepper notes”. As for today, look for the return of the Gravedigger, Upstreet’s annual fall seasonal Pumpkin Ale. At a fairly-hefty 6.5% ABV, the full-bodied beer is “generously spiced” with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, and has notes of vanilla and graham cracker. This one will be available in bottles, as well as on tap.

Moving on, Upstreet will be launching the second in their “Artist Residency” beer series, an Altbier named Abenteur. The German word for “adventure”, this beer was brewed with the help of local artist Mathieu Leger, and comes in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs. With “aromas of pine and mint”, and some “light-roast coffee, burnt caramel, and brown bread crust” on the palate, it’ll be available starting tomorrow, on tap and in bottles (featuring artwork by, naturally, the artist behind the beer). Drop by the Upstreet Artist Space (the white building beside the taproom) tomorrow at 2 pm for an ArtTalk with Leger; afterwards, everyone will head over to the taproom for some Altbier and live music, at around 3 pm.

Earlier this week, Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery launched their first new beer in some time, Freshman, a New England IPA (or Northeast, depending on your fancy). Brewed with a grist of Maritime Malt, Malted Wheat, Maris Otter, and Flaked Oats, over 25 kg of fresh, wet hops were added in the whirlpool, including Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial, all harvested from Stewiacke’s Wicked Hops Farm. The beer was then double dry-hopped with Amarillo, Chinook, and Galena, giving “loads of cloudy, crushable, and juicy freshness”, in a 5.8% ABV, full-bodied package. You can find it right now at the Schoolhouse taproom on tap; a very limited number of kegs will also be going out to local licensees. And next Friday, look for the return on draught of their seasonal Pumpkin Paddler, a 6% ABV Pumpkin Ale. Brewed with pumpkin puree, freshly-diced ginger root, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and a touch of brown sugar, it’s “reminiscent of a Winter Warmer blended with a slice of freshly-baked pumpkin pie”.

We haven’t heard from Gore Farm Brewery – a very small (60 L), irregularly-producing brewery in Charlotte County, NB – for some time now. Well, good news, as they’ve released a new beer that is available now on tap at Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing. The brewers have been experimenting with a Saison recipe, and have scaled it up to give us La Grande Saison, an 8.4% ABV version. With a grist made up of mostly Pilsner malt, some Wheat malt and Munich, and a touch of Acid malt, Crystal, and Aromatic, it’s hopped with East Kent Goldings to 25 IBUs, with some honey, coriander, and orange peel also added at the end of the boil. Expect a combination of fruity esters and spicy phenolics, with a slightly-warming finish, thanks to the high ABV. You can only find it at Graystone, so best stop by there soon, before it’s gone.

Two new beers to mention from Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. today, although we fully admit we’re not entirely sure the first one is still available! But hey, can’t be sure, so no harm in mentioning it, right? Last Saturday, Electric Streal, a kettle-soured Session IPA, hit taps at the brewery. “Lightly kettle soured” and then heavily late-hopped with Amarillo, this one was described as “bright, juicy, and tart, with flavours of tangerine and grapefruit”… it may still be on right now, here’s hoping! And just released yesterday was Rye is it So Cold Out All of a Sudden?, an American Pale Ale brewed with a “touch” of rye malt in the grist. Hopped modestly, according to Bootleg, expect a “mild, fruity aroma, with flavours of dried apricot, stone fruit, slight malt, and a dry finish”. It comes in at 5.6% ABV, and we’re pretty confident you’ll still find that one, at least, this weekend at the brewery!

Despite coming off a busy Harvest weekend in Fredericton, the Niche Brewing gang still found time to put together another release for us this week, and it’s one of their hoppy offerings, a NE IPA they’re calling Future Nostalgia. At only 5.5% ABV, it doesn’t pack a big boozy punch, but you can be sure that the hops will smack you upside the head (and possibly steal your lunch money). Fermented with a blend of haze-friendly IPA yeast strains, before being hopped in the kettle (and heavily dry-hopped) with Enigma and Mosaic, you’re likely to note some dankness along with tropical notes like guava and passion fruit, all supported by a moderate bitterness and a mouthfeel that’s softened by healthy portions of wheat and oats in the grist. You’ll find this one soon at the King Street Alehouse, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle and Ducky’s Bar. Meanwhile we’re told that there are still a few kegs of their Rye Session IPA Riptide and their Boysenberry Persuasion out in the wild, with Stillwell in Halifax having one of each, and the latter having hit the taps yesterday afternoon. If you’re a Haligonian and a fan of Niche you might check out the pretty picture of that beer on Stilly’s Instagram and give the caption a little readthrough. Look for more information here, probably next week! (we might know a guy)

In Shelburne, Boxing Rock has a new seasonal out that’s quite…seasonal; but before you go jumping to conclusions, no gourds were harmed in the making of this Vienna Lager. Weighing in at 5.4% ABV, Marzen Oktoberfest is just the kind of beer you’d expect to drink at an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany, but you’ll have to settle for Nova Scotia with this one. Consistent with the style, you can likely expect a deep orange-y amber hue and a bready body with a bit of sweetness and a gentle noble hop character that lead to a crisp finish, perfect for pairing with sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels. Look for this one to appear by today at the brewery, their retail space at Local Source, and the private stores in Halifax.

In Good Robot world, Chris Joharchy has returned for another Beta Brew, Giantsbane Red IPA. You may recall (or not, there’s been a lot of Good Robot beers!) last year’s King in the North (End) Black IPA from Chris; well, this is another GoT-named beer, hopped with Polaris, Warrior and Hallertau. At 6.1% ABV and 43 IBUs, it exhibits a “mild honey sweetness, grapefruit zing, and a little melon in the finish”, accompanied by a lingering bitterness. Look for it at the brewery next Tuesday. And on Thursday, that week’s Alpha Brew is a brand new’un, Swearwolves IPL. This India Pale Lager was hopped with Green Bullet, Ella, and Wai-iti to 63 IBUs, and fermented with the brewery’s oft-used Mexican Lager yeast. It weighs in at 6.7% ABV, and has aromas of “melon, lemony citrus, and cherry”.

Cideries in the HRM aren’t letting the breweries have all the fun; this week we’ve got three new concoctions to tell you about. First, at Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax we have not a cider, but a mead. Starting with a mead made from Brandt’s Bees honey, they blended with rose petal wine to produce a sparkling rosé mead with a floral nose and notes of citrus that they’ve dubbed Country Rose. Coming in at 7% ABV it’s only available in the Chain Yard taproom for 12 oz pours. Up next is Sourwood Cider, who released their Young’ster, a wild-fermented young single varietal dry cider made from Jonagold apples last week. At 4.9% ABV it was can conditioned, but without any sugar additions, meaning all fermentation would be from residual sugars remaining after fermentation. Be sure to check Sourwood’s Instagram for news on when their next sale or appearance at the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market or the Halifax Forum Farmers Market will be. And finally, Lake City Cider also released a new cider last week, The Red Head. A blend of Lake City cider maker Poet Comeau’s house made strawberry wine with their cider, it’s a hefty 8.5% ABV but complex and interesting with a “great body.” Assuming it’s still around, you can find it only at the cidery in downtown Dartmouth for fills, pints, or as part of a flight.

Can you believe that this November will mark the 6th Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge? SIXTH! Touted as a “Battle of the Wits”, this year’s challenge will feature two categories: German Weissbier and Belgian Witbier. If you’re an interested homebrewer, email jeremy@bigspruce.ca for an entry form. Your $25 entry fee allows you to enter a beer in either category, or one in each (effectively battling yourself, isn’t that fun?). Entries are due in HRM and Cape Breton November 23rd, with the announcement of winners and follow-up party at the Wooden Monkey Dartmouth on November 25th. The top 3 beers in each category will be announced, with the Best in Show brewer being invited to Big Spruce to brew their beer on the brewery’s 7 bbl system, where it will eventually be packaged in kegs and sold across Nova Scotia (including its main release at the Eat. Drink. Local. festival in Halifax on January 10th). Good luck to all entrants!

Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer is launching the first in what they intend to be a long line of small batch beers this week. The Sheriff of Nottingham gets its name, no doubt, from the use of Lallemand Brewing’s classic Danstar Nottingham yeast strain. Used by commercial brewers and homebrewers alike for years, “Notty” is known for being an English strain with very neutral characteristics when fermented cool, but brings some classic esters when used closer to the top of its temperature range. The beer is described as a “smooth ale” with “crisp green apple tones” and a fairly sessionable ABV of 5.5%. You’ll only find it on tap at the brewery for pints and flights.

Fellow local-beer advocates Kyle, Phil, and Tony of the 902 BrewCast have a brand new episode out today, their September Tasting Episode. For this one, they teamed up with another local podcast crew, The Drunk Files Podcast. Theirs is a unsolved crime/mystery podcast, fuelled by booze, by Ellen, Jaimee, and Maria, three self-admitted non-experts in the field. The six of them drank their way through a selection of Nova Scotian beers, before moving on to some new and iconic beers from the rest of the world. As with their previous Tasting episodes, the conversation is loose and hits all sorts of topics, not all of them beer-y. Fire up your favourite podcast app and have a listen! And grab the latest episode from The Drunk Files while you’re at it, all about haunted universities!

We have a few more job postings to tell you about in our region this week, to add onto those from last week:

  • We’ve mentioned that PEI’s Upstreet Brewing is launching an invasion of Nova Scotia, teaming with the Chef Inspired Group (of Cheese Curds and Habanero’s fame) to open Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth this Fall. They’re currently looking for an Assistant Brewer to help run that operation. What could be better than spending your days brewing beer? It might very well be spending your days brewing beer with the aromas of BBQ wafting around you. Check the posting here!
  • The Church Brewing Company will be opening later this year in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Ahead of that date, they are bringing on a team of folks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. They are looking to hire Supervisors, Servers, Bartenders, as well as Back of House staff. Check the list of positions, prep your cover page, and head to the Royal Canadian Legion at 310 Main Street in Wolfville on September 27 or 28 to learn more and apply.
  • Route 19 Brewing is opening this year in Inverness, Cape Breton, and have multiple job openings in- and outside of the brewery. Hit up their Facebook page for more details.
  • Two Islands Brewing is opening on Main Street in Parrsboro this fall, and are doing some hiring for retail staff at their spot and sister Rising Tides Bakery. Check out the job posting here, and we’ll have more details on their brewery soon.

Here’s what happening in our neck of the woods in the next few weeks…

Patrons Bar & Grill in Bedford is currently holding a dual brewery tap takeover, featuring a trio of beers from each of Big Spruce and Roof Hound. On until Sunday, you can get your fill of both breweries, who are bringing a combination of new beers and fan favourites for the event. Roof Hound will be pouring Big Stink IPA, Rye-It Amber Ale, and Fall From Grace Rose Water and Lychee Sour. As for Big Spruce, they’ll have two of their longest-running beers, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, as well as a brand new beer, Una Cereza Por Favor. Translated to “A Cherry, Please!”, this is an American Wheat Ale with organic cherry, which weighs in at 4.9% ABV and 10 IBUs. Staff from Big Spruce will be hanging out at Patrons on Saturday evening; if you’d like to talk about Big Spruce beer, or beer in general, they’re game! There’ll also be games, draws, and lots of brewery swag for prizes.

Continuing the spirit of multi-brewery takeovers, Governor’s Pub in Sydney is hosting Rock the Lot, featuring live music from 8 bands starting Saturday the 22nd at noon, and plenty of great beer pouring outside in the parking lot courtesy of Big Spruce, Garrison, and Tatamagouche. Think of it as the best musical three-way tap takeover you may ever get a chance to attend! There will be four food stations set up as well to keep you rocking and bopping all day long. There are no tickets required, just pay as you enjoy.

Quidi Vidi Brewing is launching a new beer this weekend, to celebrate the launch of everyone’s favourite calendar, the MerB’ys. The brainchild of the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard and Moustache Club, this is the second year for this fun and charitable endeavour, this year benefitting Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador. Calendar’s are available for order now, or can be picked up this Saturday at the QV Taproom. From 12-4PM, the MerB’ys will be in the taproom, signing calendars and posing for pictures, and there will be MerB’y-friendly vendors in the area as well. More details are available at the Event’s Facebook Page. And what about the new beer for the event? Salt of the Sea is, as you may have guessed, a Gose. Hazy, golden-coloured, and tart, the beer shows a “sourdough freshness on the nose”, and with the addition of coriander and Newfoundland sea salt, a bright, lingering, dry lemon finish. In a word… refreshing! Also, very drinkable at just 4.6% ABV and 8 IBUs.

And while you are visiting Saturday to take part in the fun, bring in a bag of crabapples harvested from your tree to be a part of a future Quidi Vidi brew. Coming November 1st, QV is releasing a trio of fruited Saisons: Blueberry, Raspberry, and Crabapple. The brewery is looking to add to the crabapples they’ve already collected, and need you to bring in your good quality tree (or, you know, borrow from your neighbour). You will be rewarded with a ticket to the launch party (and this is the only way to get in to the event!) and one of the very limited Open Saison branded growlers. Check out the FB page for more details, and get picking (the deadline to drop off your fruit is October 5th)!

Coming up next Thursday, September 27th in Halifax is a launch party by Spindrift for their newest beer, Hurricane Juan DIPA. Let’s talk about the beer, first, before diving into event details (it’s only fair!). Spindrift’s first DIPA to be packaged outside of a keg, Hurricane Juan is a pale-coloured 8.2% ABV, 55 IBUs DIPA, hopped heavily with Bru-1, El Dorado and Galaxy, lending “dominant notes of pineapple and melon, with hints of stone fruit” to the beer. Brewed to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Juan, cans of this big brew will be released on September 29th, the same day that that monster of a storm slammed into the Maritimes in 2003. As for the event itself, it will be held on the 27th at HopYard Halifax, and will feature a whole slew of Spindrift beers, as well as the star of the show. These beers include Coastal Lager (a tweaked version, less bitter than previous releases), Clarity of Intent (a 4.8% hoppy Pilsner, this is Knotty Buoy dry-hopped with Saaz and Hersbrucker), Nanaimo Adjunct Black Lager (barrel-aged Abyss, aged on cocoa nibs and toasted coconut, with lactose and vanilla, 5% ABV), Coastal Lager w/ Coffee & Oak (aged on Nova Coffee French Roast whole beans and oak), and Smokin’ in the Buoy’s Room (Killick blended with a 100% Rauch malt Rauchbier, 4.7% ABV). That’s a lotta new beer! The party starts when the bar opens at 11 am, and continues all day while there’s beer to flow!

The Ladies Beer League is hosting an evening at the Dalhousie TRoom October 4th, called How to Engineer a Beer. Featuring speakers Emily Tipton of Boxing Rock and CBANS, and Professors Alex Speers and Allan Paulson of Food Science at Dalhousie, there will be information on equipment and recipe development, plus all of the fun things like brewing and cleaning ;). Tours of the research brewery on campus, as well as live music from Ian Keane, plus beer pouring, will make it a fun evening for all. There are no tickets required and being a member of the LBL is not necessary (but you should join!), just show up at 6PM for the event.

And a few last mentions before your weekend begins:

– Pumpkin Ales are returning throughout the region, and Breton Brewing is no exception, as they’ve recently re-released Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV); brewed with over 150 lbs of real pumpkin, as well as a blend of pumpkin spices, it’s available now in pints and growlers.
– The Pumpkin beer is flowing in Dartmouth as well, as Nine Locks has released their Harvest Pumpkin Ale this week. At 5.2% ABV, the malty base beer supports the blend of spices (plus real pumpkin) added for the festive seasonal beer.
– We’re a bit early, but look for a new Belgian IPA from Grimross Brewing next week, Bishop Belgian IPA (6% ABV, 50 IBUs), featuring a “complex old world spice, and a balance of bold hops and yeast”.
– Gypsy brewery Half Cut has re-released their Jackhammer APA (5.3% ABV); slightly hazy, with “citrus and mild grass” in the aroma, you can find it on tap at most Half Cut accounts in New Brunswick.
Unfiltered has RSMA (Ridiculously Superb Mosaic Ale this time, allegedly), their 7.5% ABV DIPA, pouring again; hopped entirely with Mosaic, it’s always a delicious treat, with a whole whack of tropical fruit flavours, thanks to that wonderful hop variety that we love so much.