Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

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.

Wow, it’s December already! Time flies when there’s so much beer news to collect and share across our region! This week’s news is a mix of new and returning beers, some holiday-themed events, and hints of new breweries set to open in the New Year. Crack open that Advent Calendar beer or chocolate, and let’s dive right in.

• We lead off with lots of new beer news from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing, who actually sent all this info in days ahead of the post going up (we’re still a bit dizzy with shock)! To start off, they have a new brew on tap at their tiny taproom, a Saison named Sylvan Specter. Featuring some noticeable malt flavours thanks to the use of Munich and Melanoiden malts in the grist on top of a base Pale malt, as well as some Wheat malt to boost the mouthfeel, this 4.9% ABV was hopped with Enigma and Saaz at the end of the boil, for “a blend of earthy, fruity, and herbal components”. Fermented with two Saison strains (Farmhouse Ale and French Saison), expect a very dry beer with some spicy phenolics, in addition to the flavours mentioned above.

• Continuing with the rest of the Tidehouse news, they have brewed three other new beers to celebrate the opening of new restaurant aFrite, which opens tomorrow at 1360 Lower Water St. in Halifax. They are the following, with each designed to pair with specific plates: Bishop’s Porter, a 6.2% ABV “Raspberry American Porter”, the raspberry presence is fairly light to pair with aFrite’s sous vide Side of Beef with Frites and Bernaise sauce; Salter Saison, a 5.4% ABV amber-coloured Saison hopped heavily with Perle and Tettnanger featuring lots of herbal notes, to pair with their Donair Gnocchi; and Morris Ale, a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Citra, with fresh lime zest also added, paired with Fried Cauliflower in curry sauce (featuring cilantro, cumin, ghee, and lemon).

Roof Hound has a new Sour that incorporates a different approach to the souring method, compared to previous releases of theirs in this style. They actually made their own yogurt with a bacteria culture used by a local Nova Scotian family for close to 100 years, according to owner/brewer Les Barr. Built up over several weeks in coconut milk, the resulting coconut yogurt (therefore dairy-free) was added directly to the wort to lower the pH (to just barely above 3). Shredded coconut had also been added to the mash, and the whole thing was fermented with a blend of five yeast strains. Named Dooflicker Tropical Brown Sour, the resulting 5.3% ABV beer hits you “with a jaw-cramping mouth pucker, followed by a good remaining body, and a slight chocolate and coconut finish”.

• The crew at Port Rexton Brewing has had a busy fall, and are ready to unveil several new and returning beers this weekend. At this evening’s 12 Beers of Christmas in St. John’s (more details below), they are debuting Rewind Saison, which is a take on their previously-released Mixed Opportunity mixed-fermentation Saison. The Rewind, however, is fermented solely with Sacchromyces yeast (no Brett here), for a different profile. Light-to-medium in body, with a mild sweetness with herbal notes in the flavour, and fruity esters and spicy phenolics on the nose, the beer ends up at 5.5% ABV. If there’s any left after this evening’s event, it will be available tomorrow at the brewery. Speaking of which, for the next four Saturdays (Dec 2, 9, 16, and Tibb’s Eve), the brewery will be open 2-10PM for all of your sample, pint, and growler needs.

• Also available this weekend at the brewery will be a trio of their beers in cans, following their successful, and sold out, release of Blazing Sun NE-DIPA mid-November. Baycation BlondeT-Rex Porter, and Chasing Sun NEIPA will all be available at opening, and the only spot to grab them is at the brewery.

• And debuting next Thursday, December 7, is a fundraising collaboration in support of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. The beer was brewed with the folks from the Aquarium, as well as Motion Bay Brewing Company, opening next year in Petty Harbour, as well as the folks from Jack AxesOceans & Orchards is a truly Axe-perimental brew, as the base beer (grist of 2 Row, Oats, Honey, Vienna and a touch of Crystal 60 malts) features 50 litres of fresh-pressed apple juice courtesy of Newfoundland Cider Company (debuting their ciders in 2018 as well). The resultant 4.5% ABV graf (that is, beer/cider hybrid) features notes of honey and apple, enhanced by the El Dorado and Huell Melon dry hopping. O&O is debuting at the December 7th event at 7PM at Jack Axes on Water Street, for an evening of throwing axes and sipping on this and other beers, all while benefiting the new aquarium in PH. More details are available at the FB Event page.

• Ashdale Nova Scotia’s Meander River has a new cider available this weekend, in celebration of their expanded production space. Two 2,000 litre fermenters, and one brite tank, all dedicated to cider production, have been added to their brewery, so as not to inhibit their brewing pipeline, and increase their cider availability. The fermenters have already been filled, so stay tuned for those releases in the New Year. In the meantime, the latest release is Perry Noel, a 5.5% ABV perry cider, made with 100% Nova Scotia pears from Davison Farm in Falmouth. A light and dry cider (no back sweetening used), aromas of earthiness and tropical fruit are present on the nose. Available at the brewery today for growler fills, kegs have been delivered to bars and restaurants in Hants County and HRM, so keep an eye out as you make your way around the area.

• And you can learn even more about the brewing and cider plans if you listen to the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, as the gents visited Alan and Brenda Bailey (and Angus) to learn about their farm, brewery, cider production, and plans for the future. The latest episode can be streamed directly at their site, or downloaded for offline enjoyment.

• Like clockwork, our pals at 2 Crows in Halifax have got a bunch of new beers to tickle your tastebuds this week and next, so let’s get you the details post-haste. Released earlier this week is their latest small batch brew, Shoreline. A 4.6% ABV Pale Ale, with a base of 2 Row and Oat malts, and hopped with Azacca and Huell Melon, before fermentation with a blend of a dozen different strains of Brettanomyces yeasts, before dry-hopping with Vic Secret, and a final keg conditioning with champagne yeast. Phew! The resultant beer is dry, funky, and fruity, with notes of guava, tangerine, and pineapple. As with all of these small batch brews (the Attempted Murder Series name still hasn’t caught on), this one is only available by the glass.

• Tomorrow, 2C is unleashing the latest of their full canned releases, brewed by Jeremy Taylor in collaboration with a fellow former-BC brewer, and current Manitoba brewery owner, Miguel Cloutier, of Kilter Brewing. Firmly in the Milkshake IPA territory, Hawaiian Ivory has a slew of light-coloured malts at its base, including Pilsner, Wheat, Oat, and Honey, along with the heavy dose of lactose and vanilla, iconic for the style. Playing up on the milkshake idea, bananas, dried coconut, lime zest, mango and pineapple purée were added in the boil and conditioning tank. The hops chosen are also quite fruity and tropical, with AzaccaCitraHuell Melon, and Simcoe in the boil, with all but Huell Melon also added in a dry hop for another aromatic blast. Hawaiian Ivory will be available from opening at noon tomorrow, by the glass and can, and in a first, Kilter and 2 Crows fans in Manitoba will be able to purchase this collaboration in Winnipeg later this month.

• And in upcoming beer news, 2C’s Linnea Finnish Imperial Stout will be released next Wednesday, December 6th. Brewed in celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary Independence Day, the beer incorporates popular flavours from Finnish cuisine, including cardamom and salty liquorice. Taylor lived in Finland for a time, and his brother still lives in the country, raising a family. Linnea is named after Taylor’s niece. Using 95% Finnish-grown and -produced malt from Viking Malt (courtesy of local company Nordic Malz), it features Pale, Oats, Crystal, Chocolate Malts and Roast Barley, with molasses, to 9.1% ABV. Moderately hopped to 60 IBU with Columbus, and Golding (and a touch of Centennial for a light, bright, nose), it features additions of sea salt, liquorice root, star anise and cardamom pods. Drop by the brewery Wednesday to celebrate all things Finnish, and grab a pint to celebrate. And it may even be available to those outside of the province thanks to some holiday-themed boxes many folks have started opening today… Kippis!

• And we’re already behind schedule with today’s publishing, so we do not have time to tell you about the details on the next releases, but rest assured you’ll want to keep an eye out for their next canned release mid-month, as well as the beers they have cooked up for their First Anniversary in January.

• This weekend marks the third straight week of new releases from Stillwell Brewing, with the latest, Gosh, dropping first at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow, followed by a bottle release at the brewery on Sunday from 12-4. A pale Farmhouse Ale aged in a red wine barrel, Gosh is described as “bone-dry, with a tropical fruit fermentation character and grippy finish”. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to help boost that tropical fruit character, we’re sure this one will sell out as quickly as the last two, so show up early on Sunday!

• There’s two new beers coming out of TrailWay this week, with the first one being a new winter seasonal. Parallel is a “Session Ale” with a grain bill made up of 100% German Pale malt, and hopped entirely with Mosaic. The brewery describes it as “super-balanced”, with the hop-focus not being quite as strong as in many of their other beers. Indeed sessionable at just 4% ABV, expect a “rather subtle tropical fruitiness with a solid, crackery-malt profile”. It’s available on tap now around Fredericton, as well as in cans (both at the brewery and ANBL stores). The next beer, Good Times in the Fridge, is another hop bomb that released today at noon. A pale-coloured American IPA with minimal bitterness, it was hopped with Galaxy and Motueka. At 6% ABV, cans of this one are available at the brewery only.

• Now that Fredericton’s Bogtrotter is back to full-brewing mode, they’re releasing a brand new beer this week. Cranky Crab Coconut Porter is a 5% dark ale brewed with toasted coconut (added in the mash, boil, and secondary) and chocolate nibs. Also featuring hints of vanilla in the flavour (thanks to the addition of pure extract in secondary), it weighs in at 5% ABV and will soon be available on tap at the James Joyce and Cask and Kettle.

Rockbottom Brewpub on Spring Garden Road in Halifax has a new beer available, an American Wheat that was dosed with raspberries they’re calling Witty Pun. With his feet now firmly under him in RB’s cramped brewing quarters, brewer Ian Kean is starting to exert himself on the beer menu more and though it might not seem “seasonal” in November, this beer is certainly accessible, with a solid wheat presence underlying a lovely raspberry aroma and flavour. Clean American yeast yields an otherwise fairly dry finish to this 5.0% ABV beer, which also sports 12 IBU worth of balancing hop bitterness. As of yesterday, it was available for growler fills and pints at the pub.

Good Robot released a new Alpha Brew, Steambot Willie, earlier this week. With a grist made up of Maris Otter, Amber malt, Carapils, Red X, and Rye, it was hopped with Mt. Hood, Perle, and Magnum to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with more Perle, and Tettnang. Fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, think of this one as an Ale-Lager hybrid, similar in a way to a California Common. At 5.5% ABV, and described as an “earthy, malty Lager with a bitter finish”, it’s available on tap now at GR, and will likely pop up around the HRM. And for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew release, we have Alien From Next Door, an American Pale Ale brewed by Kelly C. and Lianne Lessard. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, Red X and Crystal 30, Polaris was used for bittering (to 27 IBUs), with later hop additions including Galaxy and Willamette, and then a dry-hop with more Polaris. And finally, note that cans of GR’s Extra Big ASS Lager and bottles of Barrel-Aged Mississippi Goddamn can now be purchased at the Halifax private liquor stores.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House in Lower Sackville continues to round out their line of easy-drinking beers with a light wheat ale they’re calling Orange American Bastard (we’ve no idea what, or who, that name could be referring to). Boasting orange peel, both sweet and bitter varieties, along with coriander, all added late in the boil for a Belgian flair, it was fermented (we think) on an American yeast for a clean ester profile. This 4.7% ABV beer is built on a base of wheat and pale malts with a little bit of Vienna for character. Crisp and clean with a nice mouthfeel, this is, according to brewer Keith Forbes, “a Summer beer heading into Winter.” It’s available now, but only on one of the guest taps at Good Robot on Robie Street in Halifax.

Heritage Brewing has a follow-up to their popular Citra Session IPA, meaning if you like hops, you should have no problem with this one! White Sands Milkshake IPA was brewed with a “touch” of lactose and ample amounts of Ekuanot and Citra hops, giving lots of “fruity, citrusy, and tropical” aromas and flavours. Available now, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 60 IBUs.

• Darmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing has announced that they have a new brewer working alongside Head Brewer Jake Saunders. Connor MacLeod is originally from Bridgewater, and has studied in the Certified Brewmaster course at the prestigious VLB Berlin. Previously working at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, he brings several years of experience of homebrewing and passion to his commercial work, which started in part thanks to his father, who is also a beer fan. Welcome aboard, Connor! And perhaps to celebrate their new arrival, 9L has brought back their Vanilla Porter, a 5.0% ABV porter with a touch of vanilla for a light sweetness and aromatic meld with the chocolate and dark malt character. Available in cans and growler fills at the brewery today!

• Last weekend was the party and announcement for the Sober Island Brewing Foraged Homebrew Competition, at the brewery in Sheet Harbour. From 15 entries, Andrew Deveaux’s entry Raspberry Beer Eh! took top honours. Brewed with 95% malt from Horton Ridge, Deveaux’s beer featured late-season raspberries foraged from his own backyard added to a Wheat Beer base. Congratulations to Deveaux, and we expect to see a full release of the winning beer once raspberries make their return next year. In the meantime, look for SIBC’s Winter Rye to debut this month.

• Last Sunday saw an excellent turnout at the Dartmouth location of the Wooden Monkey for the 5th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge. As announced back in September, this competition was wide open style-wise, as it was instead entered around the use of the “Pin Cherry #1” yeast strain harvested from the property of Big Spruce in Nyanza, Cape Breton. This yeast was identified to have somewhat of a Belgian character, in the Trappist vein of being somewhat spicy and phenolic, with a medium flocculation and attenuation. As organized by ACBB’s own Chris McDonald, 39 entries fermented on the yeast were evaluated and scored by 12 judges, with the assistance of 4 stewards, over the course of the afternoon, culminating in a Best of Show round where the 9 favorites were slowly winnowed down to a top 3 with an honorable mention. Top prize went to Justin Clarke’s Split Personality a North American Saison that was fermented with both the Big Spruce yeast and a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being aged on wood chips. The variety of beers entered was vast, with classic Belgian, North American and even English styles competing against more outré beers featuring additional ingredients as varied as lime zest and tomatillo, habanero peppers, pineapple and coconut, peach and sage, and applewood tea. There was even a mead entry from local meadmaker Nancy Hartling that was not able to be accepted into the competition but which was tasted at the gala and turned out very nicely. The overall quality, according to the judges, was top notch, especially considering the range of beers and the fact that not a single brewer had previously used the yeast. Congratulations to all those who entered, and especially those who placed, and many thanks to Jeremy and the team at Big Spruce, and all those involved in helping reach the result. Sláinte. We look forward to tasting Justin’s winning entry when a production batch is brewed sometime in the future. And don’t forget the Big Spruce tap takeover at Battery Park this coming Thursday, November 7th!

• The Murphy Hospitality Group – owners of the PEI Brewing Co. / Gahan House – have announced that they will be opening yet another Gahan House Restaurant & Brewery location, this time in downtown Fredericton. They have purchased Vault 29, a restaurant/bar at 426 Queen St., for the new brewpub, which will have a 120-seat dining room, oyster bar, two seasonal patios, and a 5 bbl (600 L) brewhouse onsite. The plan is for the brewpub to open sometime in the spring, making it the fifth Gahan location (Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, and soon-to-open Moncton). The full press-release can be read here.

• As we’ve mentioned previously, the ambitious “East Coast Crafted” was released earlier this week, and is available for purchase at book stores across the region, as well as many of the breweries featured in the book. Learning more about the 80+ breweries in our region, authors Christopher Reynolds and Whitney Moran interviews and visited many of these spots to speak face-to-face with those behind the breweries we talk about weekly. The book also features dozens of photographs by Jessica Emin. Don’t forget that the authors will be celebrating the book with a launch December 9th at Stillwell, with beers from all four Atlantic Provinces pouring, where you can meet the authors and many of the brewery folks featured in the book.

Another weekend full of events for you to enjoy across our region:

• As mentioned above, the 12 Beers of Christmas is taking place this evening in St. John’s. At Club One on New Gower, from 7:30PM, attendees will be greeted with a full glass of beer, plus tokens to enjoy samples of the other 11 onsite. In addition to the debut of Port Rexton’s Rewind, Mill Street YYT is debuting their Crooked Cow Latte Stout, and you will be able to enjoy many beers not otherwise available in the province (Big Spruce Cereal Killer, 2Crows Pollyanna, Upstreet Eighty Bob and White Noize, and Maybee Stone House Tripel. Check this page for the full list of what will be pouring. After you’ve tried them all, you can purchase more tokens for samples or full pours of your favourites. Grab your tickets now, dust off your ugly Christmas sweater, and head out for a party!

• Good news, thirsty Cape Bretoners! The 2nd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 2nd, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still some general admission tickets available ($55 + tax, each), which gets you entry into the festival at 7-9:30 pm. A special glass and unlimited beer samples are included, and many local breweries will be on hand to pour their creations, and chat beer! Note that Designated Driver tickets ($15 + tax) are also still available; all tickets can be purchased from the event website above.

Tidehouse Brewing is turning one, and are celebrating in style with a Tap Takeover at Tom’s Little Havana next Saturday, December 9th. All eight taps will be dedicated to Tidehouse, which they’ll be filling with some of their best beers brewed over the past year. The fun starts at 5 pm and will continue until close; stay tuned to their event page for a full taplist release next week.

• Christmas is just around the corner, with Boxing Day of course right behind it; if you’re in the Fredericton area, what better way to celebrate Boxing Day than a Boxing Rock Tap Takeover? Being held on Tuesday, December 26th at the King Street Ale House, there’ll be tons of BR beers pouring, starting at 5 pm. You can just show up and pay by the pint, but if you reserve your spot now for $15, you’ll get a flight of beer and a pound of wings. Sounds like a good deal to us! Tickets can be purchased on the event page.

And a couple more returning favourites this week:

– Following last week’s release of Midnight, their Glenora Distillery Barrel-aged Strong Dark Belgian beer, HRM’s North Brewing has teed up the non-barrel version. Dark Sky is available today in 650 mL bottles at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops.
– And down the road on Gottingen Street, Propeller has a new cask for us this evening, a version of their Double IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7 and Ekuanot hops. They’ll be cracking into that at 5 PM as usual.
Red Rover has brought back their festive Jingleberry Cider, featuring additions of wild blueberry, cardamom, and nutmeg paired with notes of caramel, you’ll find it at the Ciderhouse and ANBL locations around the province.