Big Spruce

All posts tagged Big Spruce

Here we go again, beer fans! We’re in the final weekend of NS Craft Beer Week! We hope those of you in the province have been getting out to support your local brewery and licensee. We want to sincerely thank those of you who came out and took part in our Beer Trivia Night at The Auction House last night, and big thanks to the breweries who donated so much swag that all of the teams who took part went home with something. We can’t wait to do it again, and it may be even sooner than next year! Enough gushing, on with the news!

Another week of releases for Big Spruce, this time it’s the return of She’s Maibock. A fitting release, given we’ve just entered the month of May, this is a heritage German style of lager brewed similar to a Helles, but a bit more intense in malt/ABV/hops (pro tip, “bock” means buck or ram, and these beers will often feature one on the label). Their take on the style is a 5.9% ABV copper beer, brewed using their own farm-grown hops, and lots of complex and flavourful malts, giving rise to toast and bread notes, with a light citrus character. Grab this beer on tap at the brewery in Nyanza, and at licensees around the province. And drop by HopYard Halifax this afternoon (4 – 7 PM) for the official launch of Year 3 of their Tag! You’re It! IPA, with $0.50 from each can going to Ocean Tracking Network.

Boxing Rock’s Agricola Street Test Kitchen at Local Source Market has another new beer pouring this week. Fail No More is a 3.7% ABV English Mild, keeping to the iconic style with a light bitterness and pleasant caramel and toast and roast notes. You’ll have to pop in for a taste and a growler fill soon, as these Test Kitchen releases are always quite limited!

And in more great Boxing Rock news, the culmination of their Black Box Challenge was on Sunday. This saw homebrewers given the same list of ingredients, and it was up to them to come up with a recipe using some or all of the materials. With presentations ranging from a game of Jeopardy!, to a Crazy Game of Porter, the finalists put their best foot forward on Sunday to present and “sell” their beer to the judges. At the end of the afternoon, Jana Dellapinna and her Hello Darkness Schwarzbier was crowned the winner, through a combination of scores of the beer, presentation, and song choice (The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel). Dellapina will be traveling down to Shelburne to brew up a full size release of the beer, for wide distribution. And some of her fellow finalists may receive the same call, given the quality of the entries in this year’s competition!

Backstage Brewing will be releasing their first Red Ale (aka American Amber) this weekend in time for the main festivities (read: Full House). Simple Man was brewed with Pale malt, CaraMunich, Carafa and Roasted Barley (likely in moderation, to help provide colour). Hopped lightly to 20 IBUs with Willamette from Fundy Hops, the brewery is describing the final beer as “smooth, malty, and simple”. In addition to pouring at Full House, it’ll be on tap at the brewery.

Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is celebrating the opening of their new location in Bridgewater, King Street Beer Co. Not surprisingly, this brewery and taproom is located at 463 King Street in the town, and features a pilot system that they are using for special on-premise beer releases, LaHave River Beers. The first of these hits the taps at 6:30 PM this evening. Silvercat Legendary Canamerican Pale Ale (that’s a mouthful!) is a 5.5% ABV, 39 IBU, Maple Pale Ale, brewed with local homebrewer Don Graham. No word on the origin or amount of maple used in the beer. As with all the brews on this pilot system, it is in very short supply (under 40 litres!), so pop down this evening to avoid disappointment! And drop by both King Street and Saltbox this weekend as they are hosting the Highway 103 Tap Takeovers, featuring breweries from up and down the 103 Highway on the province’s South Shore.

To help celebrate NS Craft Beer Week, Tanner & Co. Brewing is releasing the latest beer in their Sauvage series, with 2019 Sauvage. This Saison features a malt bill built entirely around grain from Horton Ridge, including Pale malt, Vienna, and Wheat. Hopped to 20 IBUs with EKG and Mt. Hood, it was fermented – like last year – with Big Spruce’s pin cherry yeast isolate. All about the yeast character (as a good Saison should be!), it’s showcasing “tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, citrus, and a bit of lemon rind on the finish”. It clocks in at 6% ABV, it’ll be pouring at the Full House event this weekend, with bottles at the brewery as well.

Coupla new hoppy beers coming from the Upstreet family for this weekend, starting with an early sneak peek of Great Day Session IPA. Brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, Wheat, and Golden Naked Oats, they hopped the beer with Cashmere, Amarillo and Mosaic, for aromas of “pear, white grapes, melon, and coconut”. Light-golden in colour, with a smooth body thanks to the addition of the oats, it lives up to its name at 4.8%, and finishes only mildly bitter (25 IBUs). It’s officially launching at tomorrow’s Full House, and will also be on tap at the BBQ Brewhouse for pints, growlers, and crowlers this weekend. Look for draught and cans to follow on PEI next Thursday.

Upstreet’s other hoppy offering is Neon Friday 2.04, the latest in the ongoing series. With the addition of some Honey malt and Melanoiden to give the beer a “gentle, warming sweetness”, as well as a reddish colour, it was hopped with Amarillo, Southern Cross and Sorachi Ace (to 45 IBUs), providing the 6.5% American IPA with aromas of “orange peel, lemon, pine, and a hint of dill”. This one is debuting on the Island today at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner (on tap and in cans), with a few cans making their way to the Nova Scotia private stores as well.

Landwash Brewery, out of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has lots going on this weekend, including the launch of a brand new beer. Might as well start there! Another Shore is releasing in cans and on tap at the brewery today at 4 pm, and it’s a very specific take on the classic Kolsch style. Brewed with malted barley and wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, it was fermented cool and allowed to condition at low temperatures. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with Amarillo and Sabro, and then went further by adding “a whole whack” (that’s a lot!) of fresh lime zest. You can probably imagine in your head how this 4.2% ABV brew is tasting… we’ll leave you to it. In other Landwash news, they’re holding their first Cask Night at Toslow in St. John’s, tonight, where they’ll be tapping Coconut Hazures Rock (and they’ll have a keg of Another Shore, too). Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new batch of One Wave Blonde Ale coming out soon.

While in St. John’s, why not stop by YellowBelly and try Deadly, Missus, their 2019 International Women’s Day brew. It’s being referred to as a “Belgian India Blonde Ale” (!) that was hopped with the Pink Boots Society hop blend (Loral, Glacier, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Sabro). Designed and brewed by head brewer Nardia McGrath, it’s tasting “spicy, funky, and earthy”; it clocks in at 7.1% ABV. And hey, you’re there, so you might as well give their latest cider, Iceberg Cider, a try. Made entirely with iceberg water (natch), it’s 5.5% ABV and on tap now; bottles should follow next week in local NLC stores.

Speaking of cider, the PEI Brewing Company has a new one of their own available, 6 Hours of Sun. Made with a “special blend of apples”, it was fermented with Champagne yeast to give a crisp, fruity, refreshing cider. Semi-dry with a semi-sweet finish, it’s 5% ABV and can be found right now at the PEIBC taproom in Charlottetown; you’ll be able to find it at all Gahan locations soon, as well as in cans at PEILCC stores.

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales, Flat Earth IPA. Hopped copiously with varieties from North America (Cascade and Mosaic) and Australia (Ella), you can probably expect a beer full of tropical, juicy goodness. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and can be found at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole. And stay tuned for their next beer, Down With Vaccinations Pale Ale. Too soon?

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is releasing their first Lager tomorrow, May 4th. A Schwarzbier, we’re slightly confidant you could take a crack at what the name was going to be, knowing the date… and if you guessed May the Schwarz Be With You, you would be correct! This black Lager was brewed almost entirely with German malt and German hops, it was fermented cold with a dry Lager yeast. Fairly dark (24 SRM), and pretty easy-drinking at 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, it’s showing aromas of espresso, milk chocolate, and caramel, and a medium-light body with chocolate and caramel on the palate. They’re releasing it initially at the brewery on tap and in cans; look for it to follow at tap accounts later next week, and it should be on at ANBL growler sites later in the month. Drop by the brewery tomorrow from noon, where they’ll be holding a launch party, featuring beer (of course) and food from Gastrognomes.

Plenty of things going on in the region this weekend and into next week, check them out! And of course keep an eye on the NSCBW Calendar we put together so that you’re never late for an event.

Tomorrow, Propeller’s Gottingen Street taproom will be the site of their celebration of all things Star Wars, with their May the Fourth celebration.They’ll be featuring two casks, both hopped with out-of-worldy hops, like their Galaxy IPA hopped with an extra dose of (Millenium) Falconer’s Flight, and a cask made with their brand new canned (also draught) release, Sasquatch Pale Ale. This 5.2% Pale Ale features a wholly-Canadian hop, Sasquatch, grown in BC, and used throughout the brewing process to impart a tropical and juicy note to the beer. Also back this week is their Stone Fruit, which will be hitting the shelves of the private and NSLC stores soon. Back to the taproom, the Propeller Arcade is open all day (from 10AM), and they’ll have Star Wars-themed Vandal Doughnuts to pair with your pint. And if you’re wearing some Star Wars paraphernalia, your first pint is just $5! Pop by on your way to…

The Full House Beer Fest is also tomorrow, with forty breweries from across Nova Scotia pouring the newest and best beers at the Halifax Forum Multipurpose Centre (entrance is from the Young Street parking lot). From Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Musquodoboit Harbour, breweries from all over are coming together for the biggest celebration of #NSCraftBeer. Tickets for both the afternoon and evening session are still available, and we will certainly be there taking it all in. One of the new releases you’ll be able to enjoy is Annapolis Brewing’s Port Royal Pilsner, which was fermented low and slow (over a month!), for a smooth finish, with the Saaz used giving a hint of herbal notes. (It will also be available for pints and growler fills in their taproom this weekend)

If you wake up woozy and disoriented in Halifax on Sunday morning, Good Robot has your hookup to maybe soothe your self-inflicted wounds with a taste of the tropics. The Limestone Group will be hosting a brunch featuring food inspired by sunny climes (and based on the weather forecast a little imagination might be required there). How does coconut crusted French Toast sound? And if lovely food isn’t enough to get you over the hangover hump, there will, of course be beer. The brunch runs from 10 – 3 PM, so there’s plenty of time to drag your sorry self out of bed and get down to Good Robot and partake.

Also going down on Sunday is an annual event that’s near and dear to our hearts here at the ACBB (well, the empty places where our hearts used to be anyway), the 2019 Stillwell Open at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington Street. Now in its 5th year, this event pairs homebrewers and breweries together to develop beers for a blind tasting competition that ultimately crowns a champion beer based on the voting response of the public. To up the ante a little in terms of bragging rights, once again the province has been divided into geographical regions, North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth, with a title going to the team with the best overall showing. This year’s theme for beers is single-hop IPAs. Each team will bring four beers in the Session IPA, American IPA, Double IPA, and English IPA (served on cask) categories, all made with but a single variety of hop. Beers are expected to be one offs for the competition or production batches that will debut at the competition, so 100% brand new, never sampled, sipped, or swigged before beers will be available. Our own Chris McDonald is captaining Team Halifax, with Les Barr of Roof Hound heading up Team South, Spindrift’s Kyle Jeppesen helming Team Dartmouth, and Jeremy White of Big Spruce once again leading the charge for the two-time (TWO-TIME!) defending champions, Team North. If you attend you may need to plan to balance your blood lupulin levels next week with some crispy Pilsners and fruity mixed ferms, but Sunday is all about the hops. The blind tasting starts at 12 PM with the field being cut in half based on votes after 90 minutes and again in half every 30 minutes until 3 PM when the category winners, the winning Team, and the overall champion beer will be revealed. So come on down and see if you don’t find yourself bleeding green afterwards!

Let’s turn our gaze away from NS Craft Beer Week for a moment, and look elsewhere… Namely, the fact that Hanwell’s very own Niche Brewing will be holding a Meet the Maker Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 4th, at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. Those crazy cats decided to brew and keg up 16 different beers for this event, with almost half of them being one-offs and debuts. One of those is Into the Great Wide Open, a Saison dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo. The Takeover officially begins at 7 PM, so be sure to drop by and meet the brewers behind the beer, and try the many offerings on tap. The full list of beers for the evening is available on the FB event page.

HopYard Halifax is holding a Battle of the Breweries every Thursday, where they’ll be dedicating three taps each to a number of breweries who will be fighting to the death… or, bragging rights, I suppose. Round 1 will be stretched over four Thursdays (starting yesterday) with three breweries for each day… ten from Nova Scotia, one from PEI, and one from NB. The brewery who has sold the most beer for each day moves forward to the next round, so you’re essentially voting with your wallets! Show up to support your favourite(s)!

And a couple last things before you get your plans together for the weekend:

Garrison is re-releasing Lemondrop, their dry-hopped kettle sour, this weekend at the brewery. Hopped entirely with Lemondrop after the boil was complete, this 5% ABV sour is tart and lemony, and will also be available at NSLC and private stores. You should be able to find it in other provinces this summer, too.

TrailWay is bringing back Good Times in the Fridge today, their 6% ABV American IPA brewed with a rotating hop schedule. This batch features Southern Cross, Wakatu, Enigma and Loral, giving a beer that is “dank, pungent, fruity, pineapple, spicy, and herbaceous”. You can find it at the brewery starting today.

Drop by Unfiltered today at noon if you’re a fan of Warning Label, their super strong (10% ABV) and super hoppy DIPA; it’ll be available on tap and in cans.

What a week! We’ve had wild weather across the region, big news from the Nova Scotian government on personal alcohol importation limits (good news at that!), and more than a dozen brand new beers pouring in the region. Let’s get right to it, so you can get out the door and pick up those gifts for the beer-lovers in your life (but start with yourself first!).

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen a new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing (the last was Five, brewed to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bar Stillwell), but thankfully they’ve got a brand new one dropping for us all tomorrow. The high majority of Stillwell’s beers require time and patience on the brewery’s part, but tomorrow’s beer, Auld, takes that level of waiting even further. An Old Ale, the beer was brewed in early June of 2017. Fermented with their house culture, and aged in their smallest former-Cognac foeder for one year, it was then packaged and bottle-conditioned for another six months. Sure, it’s a strong one (at 9.5% ABV), but all this time has smoothed out the beer wonderfully. They’re describing as having “lots of oak, balanced acidity, some pleasant oxidized notes [ed: yeah, you definitely want that in an Old Ale!] and a big malty nose and palate”. It still finishes nice and dry, making this the perfect evening sipper for these brutally cold nights we’ve been experiencing. Think of this one as a combination of English and Belgian traditional beers. Still a bit unsure how to approach this one? We highly encourage you to read the BJCP description of the style (skip to page 30), and swing by the brewery tomorrow from 12-4 to pick up a few bottles (you know they’ll age spectacularly)!

While on the topic of delightful Halifax bottle releases, let’s move over to Brunswick St., where 2 Crows has their own tasty brew coming out tomorrow, Blackberry Collins. Brewed 9 months ago with a grist of Belgian Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus plantarum. Lightly hopped in the boil with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in freshly-emptied American gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains. It was allowed to sit in the barrels for six months before being transferred onto 128 kg of blackberry purée (yep, that’s a lot) and “a couple of cases” of lemon zest and juice, where it conditioned for three more months before packaging. Finally, it was bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two and a half more months, and is now tasting “super jammy, rich, bright, and lively, with nice juniper aromatics and a great level of acidity”. We’ll take it! Like we said, available in a limited supply in 375 mL bottles at the brewery tomorrow as soon as they open.

North Brewing, the Halifax/Dartmouth bridge-spanning brewery, has hit us with not one, not two, not even three, but four new releases this week, making your choices for beer purchasing either much easier, or infinitely harder. Released earlier this week in cans is Soleil Saison, a 5.0% ABV mostly-traditional Saison brewed with 2-Row, Wheat, and Torrified Wheat malts, and hopped with Saaz, for a melding of Noble hop earth and spice, complementing the crisp, zesty, and light citrus and spicy notes from the Old World Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Released yesterday were the one-two punch of their continuing wine/beer collaboration with Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley, NS. The 2017 Barrel-Aged Saison de Pinot was limited to about 200 litres of last years beer/wine hybrid, which spent an extra 11 months in a BB Pinot barrel, before being packaged and allowed to bottle condition before release. Think tart, dry, a little funky, and with an extra bit of je ne sais quoi from the barrel contact since last year. We suggest trying this bottle with that of the original 2017 release to compare and contrast. Be sure to grab yours today, as they will surely sell out over the weekend, due to the limited volume. Also released yesterday was this year’s version of the collaboration, Saison de Chardonnay. 200 litres of Chardonnay must was added to the beer, fermented with Saccharomyces Trois, a yeast known for providing many of the “wild-like” funky and fruit characters more commonly attributed to Brettanomyces strains. The change of grape must was two-fold: playing with the different flavour profile of a new liquid, and the unfortunate fact that the Pinot crop was negatively affected by early frost, severely limiting this year’s yield. The 7.4% ABV beer features some spiciness on the nose and palate, with orange and floral notes coming through as well. These bottles are perfect for enjoying (or gifting) now, and will continue to develop in the bottle, so be sure to lay one down for enjoyment with the inevitable barrel version to be released next December. And finally, hitting the fridges at both locations today, is the latest in their Twinkle Pony series, Twinkle’s Chocolate Orange. Think of the traditional English sweet as you sip this one, as the 7.0% ABV beer features loads of chocolate malt, and a ton of fresh orange zest (RIP their elbows and forearms from all that work!). We strongly suggest dropping into Battery Park today to grab a glass of one or all of these, as they were pouring during BP’s Third Anniversary Tap Takeover yesterday (congratulations folks!).

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has a brand new beer returning to the taps in New Brunswick this week. Huh? Let us explain: during their Tap Takeover at Bar Stillwell in October, they prepared a single one-off keg of Moderation, a Milkshake IPA with passion fruit. It went over well (really well), and thankfully the stars have aligned and they were able to sell off enough body parts to afford the vanilla beans (and passion fruit!) to brew a full batch, so that Moderation could see wider release. This 5.9% ABV beer features the aforementioned real Madagascar vanilla beans as well as lactose for the base Milkshake IPA style, with Enigma and Mosaic in the kettle and dry-hopping. Adding in lots of passion fruit puree kicks it up several notches, for a tropical fruit, lightly floral, smooth mouthfeel and low bitterness beer. Look for it on tap at your favourite watering hole in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

The bottle releases at Tidehouse seem to be pretty consistent lately, and this week is no exception with the release of a Belgian Tripel, Hey Abbot! They’re referencing this name as an homage to the Mel Brooks movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but our astute acbbaaron has correctly pointed out that THAT reference is actually an homage to the classic comedy team Abbott and Costello (Google it, it’s probably easier than trying to explain it all). Anyway, the beer. Coming in strong (as Tripels should) at 8% ABV, it was hopped with Saaz and Tettnang, giving some spicy/floral notes to accompany those provided by the Belgian yeast strain. With a thick white head and high carbonation, it has “just a touch of clove/banana” and finishes dry, with a light bitterness. No kegs of this one, so you’ll have to stop by the brewery starting today to pick up some bottles.

Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing has been known to dabble with flavoured kettle sours in the past, and they’re continuing this tradition with the release this week of Blackcurrant Sour (not to be confused with Black Currant Sour, a beer they brewed in the summer of 2017 that actually had a blend of blackcurrants and blackberries). Soured with the brewery’s house Lactobacillus blend, it was fermented with a “fruity yeast strain” and conditioned on 16 kg of black currants. They’re describing the final product as having aromas of “fuzzy peach, with a blend of citrus and cherry, offset by earthy notes of black currant”, to complement the tartness. Pretty darn drinkable at 4.8% ABV, this release will see bottles heading to various ANBL stores in the very near future.

Back in Fredericton, TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of their rotating Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog. Conditioned on vanilla beans as usual, and dry-hopped very highly – also as usual – this one features the addition of both peach and cherry (peach>cherry), both of which burst through on the nose and palate. Accompanied by the aromas/flavours from the hops and vanilla, expect a smooth mouthfeel in this 6.5% ABV beer, thanks to the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Cans of this one will be available at the brewery only, starting today at 11 am, with kegs also on hand there and at local pubs and restaurants.

The team at Port Rexton Brewing continue to experiment with their latest new brew, Salted Sour Pale Ale. You probably have a pretty good idea of what this beer will be like based on the name, but let us help you expand that a little bit. They took a Pale Ale base and kettle-soured it with Lactobacillus, before boiling it and adding plenty of hops (including Belma, an American variety that has been popping up over the last several years). Salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company was also added in the bottle, blending nicely with the aromas and flavours of “strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, tropical mango, melon, and pineapple” (that’s a lotta fruit goodness!) from the hops. Looks like they plan to continue experimenting with this beer, so don’t be surprised if you see some different iterations in the future. As for this batch, it’s on at tap at the brewery and St. John retail shop this weekend.

If you’re a Nova Scotia native, or even a long-term resident, or heck, even a well-informed visitor, perhaps you’ve heard of Blueberry Grunt, a classic (so I’m told) NS baked dessert. Well, Heritage Brewing has created their own eponymous beer-version! Blueberry Grunt is a 5% beer that includes the addition of locally-grown blueberries, giving a mixture of sour and sweet, along with flavours of “baked biscuit, to emulate the crust flavours in traditional Grunt”. They also added a bit of salt tie the flavour profile together. If you’re into beery desserts, drop by Heritage to give this one a taste.

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing a very special beer today, in celebration of someone very dear to the Nova Scotia beer family. Allie’s Fearless is a wet-hopped Kveik yeast-fermented IPA, brewed in memory of Olivia Jollota, part of the Jymline Glassware family. Olivia passed away in 2015, and the Olivia Jollota Memorial Trust has been set up in her name, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students based more on their community and social work than academics, celebrating Olivia’s passion for helping her fellow students, community, animals, and making the world a better place. This limited bottle release features Olivia’s signature tree logo, and is available at the brewery in Somerset and The Core in Wolfville, as well as on tap at a few bars and restaurants, including Stillwell and Jamieson’s Irish Pub, with the proceeds supporting more scholarships and outreach events for years to come.

Halifax’s Good Robot has quite a bit going on over the next week before things quiet down over the holidays. Yesterday marked the canning of another big batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style lager with jalepeño peppers. Look for it at their retail outlet and onsite at the taproom and the Mousetrap. On Tuesday, look for another spicy beer, their collaboration with Antojo Tacos + Tequila that we told you about last week, La Luchadora Catrina, to be available at the restaurant before it goes on tap at Good Robot the following day. Also available next Wednesday, December 19th, will be a BetaBrew called Sugar Boots. Brewed with Sara Panchaud from GR’s design team, the idea in mind was a “Neapolitan Stout” featuring flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry reminiscent of the original three-flavor ice cream. Using real strawberries for real strawberry flavor, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.6% ABV and 28 IBU. And lastly, fans of GR’s Tom Waits for No One American Stout will be happy to hear that they’ve kegged another batch of that one for release on Thursday, December 20th.

Foghorn in Rothesay, NB, brought back their Imperial Porter with local honey, The Monk, in late November, but it’s still around for you to try. At 7.5% ABV and 40 IBU, it’s got some weight to it and, we presume, some honey character. Meanwhile, Foghorn is the latest brewery to enter the gluten-reduced space with their new JJ Pattycake. Leveraging Clarity Ferm, an enzyme known to prevent long-chain proteins like gluten from forming during fermentation. Brewed in support of a friend of the brewery who has discovered a gluten sensitivity, the lab results aren’t back yet, but the brewery is hoping it tests low enough for him to drink it. A pale ale at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU, it was dry-hopped with the Falconer’s Flight hop blend for a classic American hop profile. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Big Spruce will be making the rounds in Halifax tomorrow for those who ordered beer for holiday delivery and one of the beers that will no doubt be delivered is their Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, Complexified. Meanwhile, they’re releasing a new beer called Simplified. If you’re wondering whether those names indicate that the two beers are somehow related, you can go ahead and treat yourself to a beer: Simplified is the same beer without the barrel treatment. Still big, bold, and smooth, it’s a hefty 10.9% ABV. It made a brief appearance at Battery Park this week and is now available in bottles at the brewery (and hopefully soon at the private stores in Halifax). And seeing as how Complexified is also available, this would be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the beers and get a feel for what some time in a barrel can do.

With things finally slowing down a little for the holiday season we don’t have any big beer events to highlight this week, but do check out your favorite brewery’s website and social media to see what they might have on the go. Meanwhile, here’s a final few mentions to lead you into the weekend:

In terms of Nova Scotia Craft Beer traditions, Garrison’s Spruce Beer has to be considered part of the old school, which is fitting, considering that Spruce Beer is one of the oldest beer styles in North America. Featuring locally harvested spruce tips from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s blackstrap molasses, it comes in at 7.5% ABV with a fairly gentle bitterness at 35 IBU. Look for it at the brewery in 650 mL bottles and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks at some of the private stores in the city.

Sticking with our longest-running regional craft breweries, Propeller continues their Black Cask Month today with another special treat. Porter with Chocolate & Orange is just that: their porter with orange and chocolate flavors added. Reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a classic Christmas confection, it will be tapped earlier than usual today at 3 PM to accommodate Propeller’s holiday party. Also of note to fans of Propeller, starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th, the tasting room and retail shop on Gottingen will be open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!

For those of you living in Saint John that are fans of local brewery Loyalist City, they mentioned some good news earlier this week… they’ve finally got a taproom! The brewery has partnered with the Bunkhaus Hostel down the street; the two have opened a taproom/cafe at 36 Water St. over the past few days. They’ve started with four taps dedicated to Loyalist City, with more to be added shortly afterwards, as well as several guest taps.

The fairly-new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth is releasing a new brew today, Sailor’s Dream. We don’t have a lot of details on this one, but we can tell you it’s a dry-hopped Lager, “light with a mild sweetness, with a subtle fruity aroma and a finish of melon”. Find it on tap at that location this weekend, where they’ll also be launching their Mug Club there tomorrow… grab one of the 150 memberships available for all sorts of discounts and exclusive club events and promotions, plus your own personal hand-made mug, of course!

Here we are on another Friday and November is coming to an end. We’ve got a big bunch of news from Newfoundland this week, but don’t worry, the rest of the Atlantic Provinces are also well-represented. And we’re somewhat on time this week after last week’s debacle. Huzzah!

There was some big and rather unfortunate news in the regional beer scene this week as it was announced in a joint statement by PEI’s departments of Workforce & Advanced Learning and Economic Development that Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) has entered receivership by order of the Supreme Court of the Province. DME has fitted out some 1,600 breweries in 70 countries over the past number of years, including quite a few in Atlantic Canada. Though we don’t know any names for sure, it is almost certain that there were brewhouses in development whose futures are in question based on having orders in with the company, and it stands to reason that some of those would be in our region. DME has manufacturing facilities in Charlottetown as well as Abbotsford, BC, and South Carolina under the Newlands banner that in total employ over 300 people. There has been speculation that the merger with Newlands had a part to play in this reversal of fortune, however financial details of that transaction are unknown. It has been reported by the CBC that efforts are being made to complete in-progress orders, that the provincial Government is becoming involved in efforts to prevent the demise of the firm, and that the receiver, Alvarez & Marsal intends to attempt to find a buyer. We very much hope that strategy pans out and we can report in the coming weeks and months that DME is back up and running with all of its employees back at work. It is, however, a sobering reminder that even in a booming industry like craft beer, things can go wrong in a hurry.

In a decidedly happier note, brewing and selling beer in Newfoundland will soon be a little bit less expensive, thanks to some changes being implemented by the provincial government January 1, 2019. The remission paid to the NLC (akin to the RSMA charged in Nova Scotia) is currently the highest in the country, sitting at more than $1.50 per litre, three times the next closest provincial rate. The local producers are currently eligible for a 33% reduction on the first 1 million litres, down to roughly $1.10 per litre. The new levels will see an improvement to 50% discount in the remission rate for beer sold at their own facility (taproom or retail), and 40% discount at retail stores (NLC and corner stores), bringing the levels to $0.85 and $1.00 per litre, respectively, for the first 1 million litres annually (roughly 8200 BBL, or much more than the craft breweries are currently producing). The reduced levels are still the highest in Canada, but are at least closer to the rest of the country. Local distilleries, ciderhouses, and wineries will also see further reduced rates in the new year. This will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced fees annually that the breweries will be able to reinvest in their equipment, labour, and infrastructure, in order to better serve the local beer drinking community. These changes are in no small part to the hard work of the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Brewers Association, formed earlier this year, lobbying lawmakers in the province. And for future/amateur brewers, the introduction of U-Vint/U-Brew at the local homebrew shops is now legal with relaxation of that prohibition. The province has also promised a full review of the positive economic impact the craft alcohol producers are having in the province, and have set a November 2019 timeline for that release. With a dozen independent breweries and cideries now operating in the province, and two or three more set to open before January 1st, things are certainly looking up for the Newfoundland Beer Scene! Check out the full details of the reduction in the press release above.

Speaking of Newfoundland breweries, let’s give you a tease on one of the handful that are opening very soon. Like, very, very soon! Landwash Brewery is located in Mount Pearl, and will be opening their beautiful taproom at 181 Commonwealth Drive next week. We’ve got a full Profile with them lined up for early next week, but in the meantime, you can hear co-owner Chris Conway speaking with VOCM about the positive changes to the remission rate, as well as hints of their starting lineup of beers. Their Brackish Gose, One Wave Blonde, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout, and That Much Ocean NEIPA will be available to enjoy by the pint and flight onsite, to go in cans and growler fills, next Thursday from 4 PM.

On the other side of the Island, you’ll find Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook. They’ve released a brand new beer this week, in the relatively new “Milkshake” style. Juice Arse is a 5.0% Milkshake Pale Ale, featuring loads of Amarillo and Simcoe hops, fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs (a favourite of hazy IPAs), with small additions of lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla bean, to complete the Milkshake experience. As with all of their beers, the best place to grab a sample, pint, or growler is at their 92 Main Street location, but keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw)to see where their beers are being tapped across the province.

After launching last week with kegs at local restaurants and breweries, Crooked Feeder in Cormack, NL, has begun selling growlers. Located at 351 Veterans Dr, about 15 minutes North of Deer Lake, the brewery is only open a few afternoons each week, so it’s best to contact the brewery to ensure they are open (FB/IG/Tw). Visitors will be rewarded with one (or more) of the six beers brewed on their system: Bunker “C” Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (7.1% ABV, 35 IBU), Big Falls Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Bonne Bay Blonde (4.9% ABV, 21 IBU), Western Brook Wheat (5.4% ABV, 44 IBU), Spillway IPA (6.4% ABV, 66 IBU), and Rideout Red (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU).

Heading back across the Island to St John’s, where YellowBelly Brewery has released their annual Mummer’s Brew. The 2018 edition is a light-coloured Winter Warmer lager, featuring two special Canadian ingredients: the malt is an Albertan heirloom Barley named Olli, and features the brand new Sasquatch hop, which started as a wild varietal North of Vancouver, and now grown in BC, ON, and QC, under license by Hops Connect. The 6.8% ABV beer features some soft berry character from the malt, with citrus, melon, floral and earthy hop character (to the tune of 30 IBU). The beer is now available at the brewery for pints and growler fills at the Take Away Shop, and in 1 litre bottles at several NLCs in the area. Grab yours today before donning your costume and braving the weather!

In other Sasquatch news, Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing their own beer featuring this Canadian variety. Sam-Squamptche (enjoy ordering that one at the bar!) is an American IPA that has been hopped entirely with Sasquatch, which we’ve already told you about just above us! TrailWay’s beer comes in at 6.5% ABV, and they’re describing the flavour profile as “uniquely citrus, with an underlying sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch or honey, resulting in an overall juicy character”… definitely sounds a bit different than your typical hop variety. This beer has a light body, to help the drinker focus on the hops. As always with TW’s Friday releases, you can grab it at the brewery immediately upon opening today (growlers, pints and cans), with a few nearby bars and restaurants tapping it likely over the weekend.

After the Antigonish Townhouse changed hands earlier in the year, the future of their on-site brews was up in the air. We are thrilled to note that those have continued, with a steady supply of Terry’s Bitter supplying their taps, but there’s always room for more! Owners Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa have tapped her father, David Macfarlane, to take over the brewing duties. The latest new beer from their onsite 50 litre brewhouse is available on tap now. Caitlin’s IPA is a 5.0% ABV malt-forward English IPA, brewed using Fuggles and Goldings hops, with three hop additions during the boil. The carbonation level is on the lower side, and coupled with pouring from a stout faucet with Nitrogen, the beer is quite quaffable and perfect for a session in the pub. No word how long this batch of Caitlin will last, but good news that there is another batch fermenting now, and will return to the Townhouse in December.

There’s another beverage pouring over at Meander River, and it ain’t beer! It ain’t cider either, if that was what you were thinking. It’s Perry, and a “true” Perry at that… that is, it was made entirely with pears (many Perry producers blend pear juice with a certain quantity of apple juice). Featuring of blend of Annapolis Valley pears, Perry Noel is a drinkable 5% ABV, and the brewery describes it as “sparkly and delicate”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles starting today at the brewery, at this weekend’s BOTTLED Wine and Spirits Festival in Truro, and soon at Little Oak in Halifax; 750 mL bottles will also be appearing at Bishop’s Cellar in the near future, and they’ll even have kegs pouring on one of the guest taps at Chainyard! If you can get to Meander River itself, try to do so, as they’re currently running a campaign where $1 from every growler fill will go to fighting Period Poverty in Nova Scotia (by purchasing menstrual products for local food banks).

Let’s travel back to Halifax, where Tidehouse has two beers they want us to tell you about this week, one new, and one returning favourite… and both of them named in homage to songs. The new one is Oh! My Darlin’ Lemon Thyme, a Saison brewed with Pilsner, Oats, Dextrin, Wheat, Vienna, and Acid malt. Hopped minimally with Saaz, it was fermented with a Saison strain, with thyme and lemon peel added as fermentation was winding down. The thyme comes through first in the aroma, with the lemon making itself more apparent the more you sip. Very dry in the finish, and 6.4% ABV; this one is available on tap only, at the Tidehouse tasting room, by the flight, pint, or growler. And returning is their NEIPA, Cryo Me A River, hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Ekuanot hops (of the cryo form, naturally). Pretty much all of the hops were added late in the boil and in the dry-hop, so expect low bitterness to go with all of that “tropical fruit and papaya/berry, followed by a pinch of pine”. On tap, of course, but it’s also been bottled for the first time, so you can grab some of those to take home with you as well.

Our friends at Niche in Hanwell, NB, are back again this week with another new beer. After last week’s release of a sour, they’re returning to their other wheelhouse this week with a hoppier offering. A NE IPA featuring nothing but Australian hops, Aussie Aussie Aussie is packed with three different varieties, namely Vic Secret, and Enigma, which they’ve used liberally before, and Topaz which is a new one in the Niche brewhouse. Very juicy and boasting plenty of tropical fruit flavors, it has the requisite low bitterness and easy drinking nature fans of the style have come to expect. Coming in at a quaffable 6% ABV, you’ll find it at The Joyce Pub and King Street Ale House in Fredericton, and at Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub in Saint John, with more accounts to follow soon. Fans of Niche in Halifax will also be happy to hear there are kegs on the way to Stillwell and Hopyard as well. Oi Oi Oi!!

Back in Halifax, Boxing Rock’s Test Kitchen on Agricola Street (in the Local Source Market) has a new release hitting the taps today. Banana Hopsicle is a hybrid beer, bringing together the traditional German Hefeweizen style with the modern Session IPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Rob North of Great North Aleworks in Manchester, New Hampshire. North grew up in Halifax before moving south, and had another career before brewing took over his life, first as a highly lauded homebrewer, and now as owner of Great North. The beer features loads of late- and dry-hopping additions of Ekuanot and Huell Melon, fruity hops to complement the banana and clove from the Weiss yeast. And while you’re getting your fills of Banana Hopsicle, check to see if they have any of their Hell Bat, the Imperial Licorice Stout brewed with Battery Park left. It won’t be around much longer! Don’t forget your orange growler!

Maybee Brewing dropped a new beer shortly after noon yesterday, Brut IPA. As you probably guessed, this is the brewery’s take on the Brut IPA style (which continues to gain momentum, based on how many breweries in Atlantic Canada have brewed it the past few months!). It was hopped very minimally in the bittering addition (20 IBUs), with most of the American and European hop varieties being added late in the boil and in the dry-hop. Fermented with a neutral yeast strain, enzymes were added to the brew to bring out the dryness even more, with the final product showing off a long-lasting head, aromas of “bright tropical fruit, herbal/grassy notes, some spice and a hint of floral, white wine and honeydew melon”. With a thin body and high carbonation, it has lots of tropical fruit on the palate, with a very dry finish. It weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available on tap only – you can find it at Maybee, various tap accounts in the province, and at the ANBL growler stations next Thursday, December 6th.

Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is pouring a brand new IPA to join their other 11 offerings currently pouring on tap. Norseman is a NEIPA “with a twist”, as it was fermented with a Norwegian yeast strain… specifically, the Voss Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs. These Kveik strains can be fermented at very warm (ok, downright hot compared to what you usually see with fermentation) temperatures. The grain bill for Norseman is made up simply of 2-row, Wheat malt, and Oats, and it was hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo, and Mosaic (all of which was added either in the whirlpool or dry-hop additions, keeping the bitterness low). Lots of fruity flavours and aromas with this one, so why not pop into the brewery’s taproom to give it (and the other beers!) a taste? And hey, they’re also filling growlers now, so they’ve got that going for them, too!

Since Good Robot opened several years ago, they have been consistently adding Clarex to every batch, an enzyme that reduces gluten to levels below 20 ppm (the international threshold for brewing considered “gluten free”). For next Tuesday’s Beta Brew, however, they’ve gone all the way and brewed a “completely gluten-free beer”, First Draught. By using sorghum syrup, buckwheat, and rice, they’ve produced a light beer (4.3% ABV) that still has plenty of hop presence, thanks to the additions of Citra, Cascade and Simcoe (to 37 IBUs). It should be noted, for those of you who are extremely sensitive to gluten, that this beer was brewed on the brewery’s pilot system, which has most-assuredly had glutenous products in its realm throughout its life! In Alpha news, next Thursday welcomes the return of Infinite Saturday, their Vienna Lager (5% ABV). Oh, and we should also mention that they’ve added seating in their upstairs space, meaning it may be a bit easier to actually have a seat in one of Halifax’s hottest taprooms from now on!

Last weekend the 6th annual Big Spruce HomeBrew Challenge wrapped up with the judging and announcement of winners. This year’s competition revolved around styles featuring wheat, namely German Weißbier and Belgian Witbier. The top three beers in each category were named and then an overall top three was selected from those six. This year’s big winner is a name you’ve seen in this blog on several occasions, as he’s brewed beers with Tidehouse and on Spindrift’s pilot system, and, in a “boy is that ever on the nose,” moment, he goes by the brewing moniker “Lil Wheatey.” Yes, Ian Wheatley took first place overall for his hefeweizen (1st place weißbier) and third overall for his witbier (2nd place witbier). George Arnott’s wit (1st place witbier) came in second overall. Additional category nods went to Devin Delaney in 3rd place for wit, Mark McKay in 2nd for weißbier, and David Pepper (2016’s overall winner) in 3rd place in weißbier. A big congratulations to all those who placed and a big thanks to Big Spruce for continuing to support the homebrewing community; look for Ian’s winning hefeweizen to debut at this year’s 10th Annual Eat. Drink. Local. Fest on January 10, 2019 (tickets are already on sale).

And in other Big Spruce news, just like last year, Jeremy is looking to load up the Sprucemobile and play Santa Claus, delivering beer to folks in Cape Breton and the HRM. Big Spruce Holiday Home Delivery will take place on December 15th (that’s a Saturday), but you’ll have to put an order in. Minimum order is 1 case of cans (24) or bottles (12) and, with mixing allowed, that gives you plenty of options. You can also add all manner of Big Spruce swag to that order, including their house-made edibles. Check the Facebook post for details on which beers and other items are available and be sure to get your order in soon.

After celebrating 11 years in business on the weekend, Port Williams Nova Scotia’s Sea Level Brewing has announced that they have broken ground on a brand new brewery, which will be located in Sheffield Mills (about ten minutes-drive away from their current location). Together with local farms, they are forming Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, to create Nova Scotia’s first “Estate Brewery”. Well on their way already, the new facility is slated to open in the spring. They’ll be brewing with their own farm-grown hops and malting barley, and the new location will house a tasting room and retail store. Fear not, the current location in Port Williams will still be operating as usual during this transition, and will remain open as a pilot brewery/retail location after the new brewery opens. The expansion will also allow the brewery to start selling their canned beers in the NSLC, greatly increasing their availability to other areas of the province. And for a sneak peek of the great beers to come, keep an eye out for their High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, using some of the same malt and hops that will be gracing their new releases in the spring.

Details are being kept secret right now, but we did want to mention that those of you living in Miramichi, NB, who have been wondering when exactly the craft beer scene was going to improve in your area, have no need to wonder any longer! Timber Ship Brewing, a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, should be opening in the area in the near future. They’re realistically aiming for early 2019, and will be producing a variety of beers for sale in kegs to local establishments. We’ll have more information, including a standalone post, for you very soon. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to follow along with their progress.

This week’s shamefully late message about a new release come from Tatamagouche Brewing who are releasing a Bourbon Barrel-aged version of their Russian Imperial Stout. Built on their base RIS recipe with a little extra chocolate wheat added, the beer was then racked into barrels from two different distilleries. Bottles and pints are available already at the brewery, with kegs going out next week.

A few things to remind you about this weekend, plus a tease of what’s coming in January…

After a bit of a tease last week, those crazy folks at 2 Crows are releasing their latest barrel-aged, bottled beer, Mellarium, tomorrow at noon. No, really, we guarantee*. We’re not about to do them the huge favour of typing out all the info on the beer again (or even cutting and pasting for that matter, we don’t get paid for this, you know!), but here’s a link to last week, where you can check it out there! Buttered Bliss will also be on site from 2-7pm, serving up some delightful fried chicken sandwiches.

*Not a guarantee

Propeller Brewing is kicking off a month of “Black Casks” at their Gottingen Street tasting room, with the first hitting the bartop tomorrow at 3 PM. The first is their Russian Imperial Stout, cask-conditioned and served via gravity, rather than carbonated after the fact/on draught (though they will have this version as well, so we encourage you to get both and compare!). And they will be celebrating throughout the month of December with more interpretations of their Russian Imperial Stout and Porter, with the following offerings being tapped at the next four Fridays: Dec 7: Russian Imperial Stout with coconut, Dec 14: Porter with orange and chocolate, Dec 21: Russian Imperial Stout with smoked black tea, and a special cask on Dec 28, yet to be announced. Take note that beside tomorrow, all of the casks are tapped during their usual Cask Friday timeslot, at 5 PM. And for those of us who can’t get enough of the good stuff, they are raiding the cellar and releasing the last of their 2017 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. First released back in February of this year, the 8.5% ABV beer hung out in Bourbon barrels for a few months, picking up both wood and spirit character, complementing the roast and dark fruit character of the underlying beer. Grab a bottle or two to enjoy yourself, or gift to a special someone. And keep your eyes peeled here for the details on another release in the same vein, coming next week…

If you were perusing Instagram stories a couple of days ago and happened upon the right account, you might have gotten a heads-up that Bar Stillwell is planning another Belgian Celebration to take place (tentatively, we expect) on January 5th, 2019!! Thanks to the ephemeral nature of Instagram stories the details of the beer list are no longer available, but amongst those of us who saw it the general reaction was something along the lines of, “Holy Shit!” and/or “Hellz yes!” We’ll have more details as they are released, but for now, maybe block off that afternoon in your calendar, mmkay?

And here we are at the end of the line for this week, but there are a couple last things to mention before we let you go.

It’s not often that their bottles are available outside of the brewery, so we figured we’d let you know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar has received a shipment of goodies from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery. They are hitting the shelves at opening tomorrow morning (that’s 8 AM, so grab a coffee to stay warm in line). With two versions of their Jelly King fruited sours (Pineapple Tangerine Grapefruit [also available online at 8 AM], and Sour Cherry), as well as Skeleton Key 2018 and Barn Owl #16. For those who want to be the first in the know, subscribe to their Behind the Taps mailing list, which hits your inbox about once a month, and highlights the latest beer arrivals and tastings they are hosting. Edited: Only the Jelly King PTG will be available online, BC has altered the distribution of the other 3 due to availability.

We mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but just a last reminder that the Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 1st in Sydney. Looks like there’s still some general admission tickets remaining; you can purchase those right here.

Those who remember the saga of the Beer Garden on the Halifax Waterfront might be interested to hear that a new tender opportunity has been announced by Develop Nova Scotia. Vendors interested in running a food and beverage operation at Summit Place during the summer months (May 15 – Oct 15) for a three-year period from 2019 to 2021 have been invited to submit their proposals no later than December 19, 2018, with the award expecting to be settled by January 18, 2019. The tender document mentions creativity and innovation, although we note that there’s only 10 points available there, whereas the financial portion (i.e., “How much are you willing to pay for the privilege”) gets 25 points. Color us unsurprised. The tender document can be viewed here. It will certainly be interesting to see whether it will remain with the incumbent Stubborn Goat or whether another interest will submit a successful bid.