Big Spruce

All posts tagged Big Spruce

Batten down the hatches! Grab your storm beers! We’re in for quite a weekend because of unwelcome visitor Dorian, who has already carved a path of destruction through the Caribbean Sea, hitting The Bahamas especially hard. If you are looking for a way to help out those affected the worst, instead of sending beer, partner with some legitimate charities with people on the ground assisting, such as the Red Cross. We don’t think the storm has anything to do with it, but this week is much-noticeably lighter on beer news for Atlantic Canada; we’re pretty sure brewers are taking a very slight break after the craziness of July and August. And we’re not complaining! There’s still some new beers to chat with you about, so take a break from prepping your home for Dorian and have a read…

(Editor’s Note: Despite their recent popularity, at least in Nova Scotia, this post contains zero spicy beer memes)

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a new release this week, focusing on family, community, and togetherness. Named Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family, this is a pale-coloured kettle sour featuring pineapple and toasted coconut, two fruits found throughout the Hawaiian islands. And in a unique twist, an addition of Hawaiian lava black salt lends a light salinity to the brew to help temper the tartness and increase its refreshing character. With the tropical fruit reminiscent of pina colada, this 5.4% ABV beer will help to extend those summer vibes. Grab a pint with your family, however you define them, across Fredericton, Saint John, Sussex, and Moncton, as well as Stillwell in Halifax.

Portland, Maine is home to many a fine brewery, and one of those is Lone Pine Brewing, in operation in the city since early 2016 (they also have a tasting room in Gorham, ME). They recently travelled up to Canada and teamed up with Halifax’s own Good Robot to brew S’Kettin’ Dark, a “summer stout” that weighs in at a very reasonable 5.2% ABV. While the beer has the expected roasted aromas and flavours, they also added a “restrained” amount of blueberry and cranberry, to take it in a slightly different direction from your normal stout. The result is a brew that tastes “like a dark chocolate bar, with a hint of dried fruit”. Grab it on tap at the GR taproom this weekend (or the beginning of next week, if you’re staying at home!). 

Over in Newfoundland, the BonRexton Grandondo – a 133 km cycling route around the Bonavista Peninsula – is still scheduled for tomorrow (as of this posting). This year’s race will be ending at Port Rexton Brewing, which has naturally brewed up a special beer just for this event! Headwind is a hop-forward APA that features Galaxy, Mosaic, and Columbus, all in a 4.9% ABV package. With “dank stone fruit, pineapple, and subtle floral notes” in the aroma, backed up by all that goodness – plus a little pine – in the flavour, it’s the perfect, easy-drinking beer to enjoy after a long (and hopefully mostly dry) bicycle race. Don’t worry, you don’t have to bike in order to enjoy this one, as it’s currently on tap exclusively at the PR taproom as of yesterday (growler fills are also available). And while you’re in Port Rexton, keep an eye open for notices of the great events on the go for next weekend’s Port Rexton Pride! With events kicking off next Thursday, we heard from a little birdie (ok, it was Instagram!) that Queer Beer NL teamed up with the PRBC crew to put together a special beer for the weekend, to pair well with the karaoke, their Amazing Race competition, or bands playing Saturday evening.

Elsewhere in the province, Bootleg Brew Co. has a new beer of their own, Pils ‘N’ Acid. Brewed with a simple grist made up of Pilsner and Acidulated malt (hence the beer’s name), the beer was dry-hopped with Huell Melon, Enigma, and Mandarina Bavaria. Billed by the brewery as a “Session Ale” (it’s 5% ABV, so begin your arguments now!), the dry-hop addition provides a “delicate hop profile, with subtle notes of honey dew melon and a slight grassiness on the nose”. Basically a beer brewed for those looking for something light and easy-drinking – without delving into Lager territory – you can find it at the brewery right now for pints, growlers and grunters. 

Propeller’s experimental brews have taken them into the “White Stout” territory with their release of Flat White, hitting taps today. As you undoubtedly know by now (or may have even guessed, if you hadn’t already tried this style), a White Stout is a pale beer that manages to exhibit aromas and flavours that would normally go hand-in-hand with a darker beer… namely, roasted and chocolate characteristics. Flat White was brewed with lots of flaked oats to boost that body, and with the addition of fresh, cold-brewed Java Blend coffee (and cocoa nibs), the chocolate and mocha flavours abound. It comes in at 5% ABV and 30 IBUs; check it out at one of the Prop shop locations (and likely at a few licensees). And good news for those lovers of Prop’s Stone Fruit, it is back now, and returns as a full-time part of the lineup. Cans will continue to be available in the Prop Shops as well as private stores and NSLC. And today’s cask is their Galaxy IPA, with an addition of Black currant, lactose, and vanilla. That, and pies from Humble Pies, are available from 5 PM.

Although Jeremy has run to the other end of the country, no doubt to avoid Dorian, Big Spruce is still putting out new beer. Of course they are, they don’t seem to stop! This week’s release is a Hawaiian-themed number they’re calling Tiki Freak, no doubt after the idol that nearly killed off the Brady Bunch (we’re showing our collective age with that one, aren’t we?). A mixed-fermentation pineapple sour bearing a fairly hefty 6.3% ABV, it’s highly carbonated and refreshing, with a dry finish, a little bit of funk, plenty of tartness, and lots of pineapple flavor. If the gang won’t let you put pineapple on your pizza, this would be a fine workaround. Available for pints at the Spruce-tique, of course, and possibly on tap in the city; if single-serve packaging has taken place you’ll no doubt find it at the places where you usually find Big Spruce’s beers.

If you’re a fan of very bitter DIPAs, Heritage Brewing has the beer for you. Golden Horse is an Imperial IPA brewed with a blend of three hop varieties high in the alpha acid department (no specifics on which three, sorry!). All three were used in early boil additions to impart plenty of bitterness (130 calculated IBUs for this brew), as well as lots more at the end of the boil, and in the dry hop, to give dank, pine, and citrus flavours in the final product. Light, hazy, and 7.6% ABV, look for this one at the source in Yarmouth.

Between keeping up with a busy summer schedule, and launching their new taproom in downtown Shelburne, the fine folks at Boxing Rock have still found time to continue their small-batch brews at their Test Kitchen location in Halifax. Partnering with Local Source Market on Agricola, these batches are all about innovating and pushing the limits. To that end, the latest release on tap is White Hot Whitbier, a 4.8% ABV Belgian-style wheat beer featuring habanero peppers and using the cooling citrus of lime to help put out the fire. As with all of their Test Kitchen releases, this is only available for growler fills, so you’ll want to act quickly to grab it before it is done. And keep an eye out for their next small batch release, a lemon verbena tea-infused IPA, pairing tea and lemon notes with a hazy NEIPA style brew. Peep their social media for the latest news!

Summer is wrapping up, which is bad news for those of you in Dieppe who have been enjoying the beer and atmosphere at the town’s newest beergarden, Le BarBu. On the bright side, however, they are now set up just outside of Moncton at Belliveau Orchard (makers of Scow cider). They’ll have nine taps, four dedicated to Belliveau, and five rotating, and featuring craft breweries in the area. Keep an eye on their social media for their taplist, which will be updated before each weekend. They’ll be at this location until the end of October, when they’ll finally have to take a break until next summer. 

Just one upcoming event to mention this week:

The Rotary Club of Hampton, New Brunswick is hosting the Hampton Hops Festival next Saturday, September 14th. Featuring breweries and cider from across the province, the concentration will be on local, with Foghorn, Gridiron, Hammond River, Hampton Brewing, Long Bay, Loyalist City, Sussex Ale Works, Yip Cider, as well as the Moosehead Small Batch Brewery taking part. Your $45 ticket gets you in the door and sampling the products, along with some snacks. Beer Daddy BBQ will also be onsite, for those needing a little more sustenance to keep them going. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Rotary Club on Facebook, and/or via email.

And lastly, a one bite brownie of a newsbites section:

TrailWay has two returning favourites this week, both of ‘em American IPAs. Ellipse (6.5%), one of their “oldest” recipes, is hopped with lots of Amarillo, giving lots of orange juice notes; available at the brewery on tap and in cans, and cans will also be showing up at ANBL stores across NB. Urban Sabrero (6%), one of their newer beers, features the pretty-new Sabro hop, already well-known for providing beers with interesting coconut flavours and aromas. In cans at the brewery only, and on tap there and at a few bars in the area.

Once again it seems that our local beer producers know when we’ve got a writer on vacation and have gone out of their way to make our lives difficult. Or maybe there’s  just a summer long weekend coming and it’s totally normal for Chris to abandon us to the wolves. Sigh. But Happy Canada Day anyway!! It seems that breweries are maybe not quite into their traditional July/August panicked production mode as there are a TON of new releases coming this weekend. And whether or not we have info below on a specific Canada Day event at your favorite local, you can likely rest assured that they’ll have something going on. But our usual warning for long weekends applies: be sure to check social media for events we missed, modified hours, or slackers (we kid!) who are taking the holiday off!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a new small Saison available this week, Danger Zone Light. At 4.3% ABV, this is definitely in the Table Saison category, but with a New World twist. Yeast-driven notes of orchard fruit and banana, and loaded with Sterling hops added after fermentation for bright and grassy notes. Step inside the Danger Zone and grab a pint today!

Plus it’s the return of their ESB, the 4.6% ABV Drunken Muppet. A malt-forward pale ale, featuring notes of toffee, caramel, toast, and biscuit, balanced with light hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Pop in this weekend Fri, Sat, and Mon for flights, pints, and growler fills, and keep your Canada Day party going Tuesday night with live music Youngtree & The Blooms from St John’s, taking the stage at 9 PM. 

All sorts of goodies coming out of 2 Crows Brewing this weekend, which we always like to see! Let’s start with two new beers they’ve got for us, shall we? The first release is a style that some brewers – and beer drinkers, of course! – are really digging lately, the super-low-ABV hoppy beer. Matinee was brewed with Pilsner, Golden Promise, raw wheat, and flaked oats (for those of you who don’t brew, the latter two ingredients help increase mouthfeel, a must for low-ABV beers that run the risk of coming across as watery/thin). Hopped in the hopback with a large amount of Simcoe, the wort was fermented with Foggy London (a NEIPA yeast strain) from Escarpment Labs, and then dry-hopped twice with “obscene” amounts of Galaxy, Citra, and Idaho 7. The result is “big papaya, pineapple, and tangerine notes, finishing dry with a touch of dankness and pine”, all in a supremely sessionable 3.1% ABV. What else could you ask for in a hoppy beer? More alcohol, you say? Bah, says we! This little beauty is going to be available at the brewery today, on tap and in cans (355 mL cans, at that!).

The next beer is their latest addition to their ever-growing line of barrel-aged, bottled beers (and we’re not complaining, keep them coming!). Fans of the brewery’s first bottle release, Dandy, will definitely feel their gin barrel-Spidey senses tingling with the details on Spritz, a beer brewed last November with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Soured with two strains of Lactobacillus, it was fermented in a third-fill gin barrel with many 2C house cultures, and aged in the same for over four months. The juice and zest of three cases of grapefruit and two cases of limes were then added, before bottling the 6% ABV beer with Champagne yeast, where it was allowed to condition for another two and a half months. It’s finally available as of today, and it’s tasting “bright, citrusy, and zippy, with soft gin aromatics and a firm minerality”. Might as well stop by the brewery to grab bottles and cans of both beers, and hey, they’ll also be tapping four guest kegs from B.C.’s Dageraad Brewing tomorrow at noon if you need a re-up, so they’ve got that going for them, too.

Those Sour Lads at Sourwood Cider have a pair of new ciders out over the past couple of weeks. After opening their taproom just two weeks ago (congrats guys!), they’ve been keeping the new releases coming. Dirty Rosé is a 6.5% ABV release, starting from a blend of apples aged on Pinot Noir skins, aged in red wine barrels. Available on tap at their tasting room for a very limited time, cans very soon, and kegs are also circulating to their licensees in town. And new in bottles is Haskap, which features the locally-grown berry adding during aging also in a red wine barrel. 750 mL bottles are available for purchase at their taproom/retail spot at 5576 Cornwallis, and on tap too. And just on tap yesterday was Honey Babe, a 7.0% ABV barrel-aged sour with raw honey, with cans coming post haste. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing continues their campaign of shock and awe with releases we never would have seen coming from them a few short years ago. This week they’ve got two, both in rather limited releases. The first comes out of their Gottingen Small Batch Series, a big bugger they’re calling Imperial Haze Lord IPA. Plenty of dank hops bring a piney and herbal aroma with a backdrop of passionfruit and citrus, but, as is de rigueur for an Imperial IPA, there’s also plenty of expressive malt character. Very hoppy, full-bodied, and with a pillowy mouthfeel, this 7.0% ABV and 70 IBU beast will not be packaged, so grab growler fills on Windmill Rd or at the Propeller Tasting Room in Halifax for pints and fills, from 5 PM. And hot on the heels of last weeks’ release of Brett IPA comes another special big bottle just in time for Canada Day. Celebration Pils isn’t a new beer per se, it’s Propeller’s highly-regarded Pilsner. “What makes it special, then?” you might ask. Firstly, it’s the unfiltered version, which the gang at Bar Stillwell showed us is an extra delight when they specially requested that beer for their 4th birthday bash in 2017 (and a couple of times since). Next, it’s been bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for an extra effervescence and a mouthfeel you only get from tiny tiny bubbles. Only 200 of these beauties were filled and they’ll go on sale today from opening at both Prop locations, along with t-shirts with the beer’s logo. Once your Celebration is over, you can also return the bottle for a $2 refund. This one is a surefire hit for your Canada Day party if you can get to the brewery in time before they’re all gone!

Tatamagouche Brewing has brought back their Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, a collaborative effort with neighbouring coffee roaster Meeting Waters, award-winning homebrewer Brian Harvey, and your friendly neighbourhood blogger Chris McDonald. Starting from a big Porter base featuring Munich and Horton Ridge Pale malt, with Chocolate Wheat and Chocolate Rye malts for colour and flavour, lactose was added for some residual sweetness and to cut any harsh roast character. Green coffee beans of Ethiopian origin were aged in a Bulleit Bourbon barrel, before receiving a light roast at Meeting Waters, and the subsequent cold brew was blended with the Porter to bring it to a reasonable 8.4% ABV. Available on draft only currently (we’re told bottles coming next month!), the best place to grab it is at the brewery, or at better licensees in HRM. 

Lawrencetown’s own Lunn’s Mill is releasing their latest Berliner Weisse tomorrow, Mon Cherri. With a recipe designed by Jana Dellapinna, winner of the brewery’s Summer Patio Beer Homebrew Competition, this kettle sour was lightly hopped with Bravo (to 8 IBUs) and fermented with Cali Ale from Escarpment Labs. This 4.4% ABV beer was aged on dark, sweet cherries before packaging, resulting in a brew that’s “fruity, slightly sour, with a lingering, wheaty finish”, while staying refreshing and easy-drinking. Grab it at the brewery for pints and growlers; it’ll also be pouring at tomorrow’s Curated East Coast Craft Beer Festival in Halifax (we’ll see you there, it’s going to be a blast!). 

Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has big plans for your Canada Day weekend starting tomorrow with the release of 4, count’em FOUR beers (some people clearly don’t have any use for sleep) during a special fundraising event! Up first is Good Intentions Pale Ale, a light and easy drinking brew at 4.2% ABV that’s been primarily hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for hints of tangerine and citrus. A healthy dry hop ensures that the hops are present on the aroma as well as the palate, while a paltry 14 IBUs ensure that this one remains smooth, clean, and crisp. Then we have the Pinky Swear, another summer-beckoning beer in the form of a fruited wheat beer. With Haskap and Cherry puree providing the fruit, and Mandarina Bavaria and Citra giving a balancing citrus presence, it finishes tart and light at 4.7% ABV. For those looking for something a little on the deeper and darker side, Bounty Hunter will also be on the go, it’s a Chocolate Coconut Stout weighing in at 5% ABV but with plenty of flavor thanks to cacao nibs and lightly toasted coconut. The overall impression might remind you (in a good way!) of haystack macaroons. And lastly is Boatload of Nerve, a double IPA boasting a massive 95 IBU and carrying 7.1% ABV. Using a blend of El Dorado along with Mosaic (a favorite hop of Off Track staff), there’s plenty of pear, mango, and pine punch in both the aroma and the flavor. We would say you’ve been told! Add to that the return of Loco-Coco, their toasted coconut Kölsch and a regular tap lineup (they’ll likely be pulling out jockey boxes to handle all the beers they’ll be serving), and you’ve got the makings of a beer bonanza. Lest you think, however, that this is just for Canada Day weekend, you should know that tomorrow’s event, which will also feature fare from the Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine food truck and all kinds of live music, and more, will be for the benefit of Bedford Challenger Baseball, part of the Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball initiative, which is focused on, “an adaptive program that provides an opportunity for children and youth with cognitive and/or physical disabilities to enjoy the full benefits of participating in organized baseball at a level structured to their abilities.” One dollar from every pint sold will go directly to supporting this organization. The event runs all day, from opening at 12 PM to close at 11 PM, so head down to the brewery, check it out, and support a great organization in one of the best possible ways, by having a beer! 

Upstreet is turning four this month, which means another release of their annual Anniversary Saison, De Novo, a beer whose recipe is slightly altered each year. De Novo IV was brewed with 2-row from Shoreline Malting, as well as some Red Crystal Rye and regular Rye malt, resulting in a beer that is slightly darker in colour compared to previous iterations, and exhibits more haziness and a little more spiciness in the flavour. This year’s iteration (6.5% ABV) was also dry-hopped with Belma, giving the beer some “strawberry, earthy, and lightly herbal/dank notes.” You can grab your bottles at the brewery today, and give them a crisp, happy-birthday high five while you’re at it. You might as well pick up some of their latest Neon Friday release as well, Neon Friday 2.06: IPA with Slovenian Wolf, Calypso, Idaho 7, Hallertau Blanc (good luck ordering that one in a bar!). You can probably figure out which hop varieties they used with this batch, the combination of which contribute “aromas of orange peel, spicy mango, pear and vanilla, with a balanced, soft bitterness, and a clean fruitiness”.

Stillwell Brewing… they love Saisons, and we do, too! Therefore, we love them, in part because they keep brewing Saisons. Makes sense, no? One such Saison, Campaign, is being newly released at the bar tomorrow at noon, both on tap and in bottles. Billed as Easy’s big sister (a beer we’re quite fond of), by “big” they mean higher ABV (5.8%) and more bitterness. They’ve experimented with bitterness, actually, with this beer, crossing a threshold for their house cultures. Stillwell’s house culture features a wide range of microorganisms, including strains of Brettanomyces (fruit, funk, and a little sour) and Lactobacillus (lactic acid-forming; quite sour). But Lactobacillus are quite inhibited by hops, so by increasing hop additions in the kettle (resulting in more bitterness), the Lacto portion of the culture was inhibited enough for the resulting beer (which spent three months in one of the brewery’s oak foedres) to be less acidic than many of their other releases, and therefore more likely to meet your definition of a “classic” clean Saison. If that’s a bit confusing, best to drop by Stillwell tomorrow and taste it yourself (and take home a bottle or two)! They’ll also have some Campaign T-shirts for sale, promoting the glory that is Saison, and encouraging others to ask questions, and become informed. 

Summer releases continue to abound, with Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing joining in with their latest release, Summer Slam. A light-bodied American Pale Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and Honey malt, along with some malted wheat, it was hopped with El Dorado, along with a “splash” of modern German hops – Hallertau Blanc and Mandarina Bavaria – for an aroma addition. Fermented with a neutral American yeast strain, it weighs in at 5% ABV and 42 IBUs, and is exhibiting aromas of “tropical fruit, red berries, pine/resin, bread, honey, and toast”, more of the same following through on the palate, and a fairly dry finish with a lingering bitterness. It’s officially on tap and in cans at the brewery as of yesterday (with a launch party happening there today), and will be available at tap accounts (including ANBL growler stations) in the very near future. 

Good news, Saint Johners (is that a thing?)! After lots of hard work, and plenty of waiting for the proper paperwork to go through, be triple-stamped, etc., Loyalist City Brewing is finally launching their retail store at the brewery (60 Water St.) today, with a soft launch from 1 – 9 PM. Excited? You should be! For starters, you can expect to see eight taps pouring for growler fills: four Loyalist City beers, and four Hampton Brewing beers (which are still currently being contract brewed right at LC), as well as LC cans for take-away. No on-site consumption of beers yet, sorry. One of the brews you can expect is the latest version of Point Blanc IPA, which has been dry-hopped with higher-than-usual amounts of Citra, Mosaic, and Mandarina Bavaria. In the near future, they’ll be offering merch for sale, and should be carrying beers from other breweries on tap, as well as can/bottle purchases. Starting next week, their regular hours will be 12 – 9 PM, Wednesday to Friday. Congrats, Loyalist City!

If you’re moseying by the Port Rexton taproom today, you’re in for a treat, as they’ll have several barrel-aged beers pouring on tap. The first is 2019 Brett Chops; the second year this beer has been released, it’s their Horse Chops IPA that has aged in a bourbon barrel for 15 months with Brett Q yeast from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it features oak character and vanilla notes, as well as “brilliant bourbon and Brett funk in the aroma and on the palate, with notes of cinnamon and red apple”. They’ll also have another iteration of a previous beer, 2019 Oatmeal Stout. Aged for 12 months in a red wine barrel; think a merging of dark chocolate and red wine with this 6.3% ABV, rich, full-bodied beer. Two other previously-released barrel-aged beers – Ten Eighty Series: 2019 Barrel-Aged Imperial Saison and Nor-easter – will accompany the two newbies. Enjoy!

Fredericton’s Grimross has a new beer this week, a scaled-up version of an earlier small batch that hearkens back to a simpler time of Saaz hops and Bohemian Pilsner malt standing tall on their own in the Bavarian style. Although a touch of acid malt was added to adjust the pH, this beer is a straight-up representation of a classic style. Praha Bohemian Lager is very light, only 3.8% ABV and 29 IBUs, with a classic clean malt character paired with a traditional noble hop and an overall softness thanks, in part, to the natural carbonation provided by spunding before fermentation completed – no CO2 was added to this beer, it was all provided by the yeast. More tiny tiny bubbles! It’s available from the brewery in cans, for pints, and for growler fills, you can hopefully expect to see this one at Grimross tap accounts as well.

Although they may have been slightly out-crazied by Off Track’s four beer weekend, Tusket Falls Brewing way down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore are game to prove themselves no slouches either with 3 small batch releases hitting the taps for this weekend. First is Ramped Up (*working title), a porter that will see a full 20 BBL batch released later this month. Light, as the style goes, at 5.5% ABV, it boasts plenty of roasty and dark chocolate character along with a slightly savory note in both aroma and flavor. Leveraging brown, chocolate and black specialty malts against a base grist of slightly sweet Golden Promise, hop presence is provided by Willamette. And continuing Tusket’s exploration of the NE IPA style is A Bit of Citra, another beer on the lighter end of its respective style, coming in at 5.2% ABV. Lime, lychee and grapefruit rind on the nose and palate come courtesy of Citra and Galaxy hops. Pilsner malt provides the base, with plenty of oats to give the characteristic haze and creamy mouthfeel one would expect, though the beer finishes clean and crisp with a slightly bitter aftertaste. And last, but not least, comes a summery brew, a raspberry sour they’re calling Raspberry Dreams. Smoothed out with additions of lactose and vanilla beans, but still tart and refreshing, this 4.5% ABV beer will make sure you’re tasting summer this weekend even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Look for all three of these beers on tap at the Tusket taproom this weekend.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing has a new and interesting beer on tap this weekend, one that reflects the history of the local area and gives you a chance to taste something that very few folks have in quite a long time. Mystery Hop Pale is aptly named, given that it uses an essentially unknown hop. Most likely a German variety planted way back in the 19th century, relatives of the farm family have said that the hops were likely added to the wort to introduce wild yeast and kick off fermentation. Family lore also suggests one member was a teetotaller and attempted to eliminate the hops, but they were rescued and replanted in the woods elsewhere on the property where they’ve been growing ever since. How’s that for terroir? The beer itself is a SMaSH featuring only the mystery hop and Maris Otter malt and comes in at 5.3% ABV. Only two kegs have been made as a test to see what the hop is like, and if you can get down that way this weekend you can be one of the first to find out! Also on release this weekend is a big batch of a lesser-known style, Kottbusser, from the city of Cottbus in the northeast part of the country. Although Tanner’s research indicates a wide range of interpretations of what a Kottbusser is, the main characteristics they’ve chosen to work with are the use of wheat in the grist (the style predates the Reinheitsgebot) and additions of molasses and honey (both locally sourced) to provide some additional fermentables and complexity. Fermented with a German ale yeast, the result is a fairly light beer at 5.6% ABV and 20 IBU. You’ll find this one at the brewery in bottles, with some kegs hopefully hitting Halifax in the next week or two.

In addition to the Canada Day goings-on noted above, you can pretty much be sure that most of the breweries in the region will be celebrating the long weekend somehow. Here’s a couple more we have details on this weekend and an exciting takeover coming next weekend: 

If you haven’t been down to The Auction House in a while you might be pleasantly surprised by their renewed dedication to local taps. They’ve also been putting on some excellent beery events, including our own ACBB Trivia Night during NS Craft Beer Week back in May. This weekend they’re continuing that trend, bringing a whole other bunch of fun by teaming up with Propeller for a Pop-up Arcade. Two pinball machines, some arcade classics, and a whole bunch of consoles will be available to play, with plenty of Propeller (and, no doubt, other local beer) on tap. This event will be going all weekend, giving you a chance to come down at your leisure and check out the games and beers on offer. Meanwhile, things will still be going strong at the Propeller Arcade HQ on Gottingen, including a rare Monday opening starting at 2 PM (normally Mondays are reserved for league play).

Quidi Vidi Brewing is among the breweries throwing a bash for Canada Day with a brand new beer on tap to help celebrate. RDL (Rain Drizzle Lager) will make its debut at this event, which starts Monday at noon. There will be live music and other entertainment all day, plenty of beers on tap, and Quidi Vidi Fish & Chips will have you covered for laying down a solid base.

Stillwell is continuing their trend of tap takeovers by out-of-province breweries with another one coming up on Saturday, July 6th. As is well known amongst those who’ve been lucky enough to get to Left Field Brewery in Toronto, or lucky enough to have friends bringing back their brews from trips to the Big Smoke, Left Field has been making some very fine beers and rocking a delightful baseball motif in the Leslieville neighborhood since 2013. Starting, as usual, at 12 PM, the tap list for the takeover looks mighty fine:

  • Glorioso – Italian-style Pilsner
  • Sun Delay – Grisette
  • Bang Bang – Sour Ale
  • Squeeze Play – Black Currant Sour Ale
  • Lo Visite – Mojito Sour Ale
  • Greenwood – New England IPA
  • Whip – Piña Colada Smoothie IPA
  • Laser Show – Double IPA
  • Eephus – Brown Ale

That’s no Mudville 9, that’s a bona fide All-Star team! And if that weren’t enough, there will also be plenty of relief coming out of the bullpen in the form of additional beers in cans. Ballcaps optional (but when in Rome…)

And the hits just keep on coming; a few final mentions to inform your beer buying and beer drinking over the next three (or maybe more!) days:

Nyanza’s Big Spruce is finally answering the prayers of many of their fans by putting their long-running Regatta Red in cans. Although we know that Irish Red Ale doesn’t exactly meet a lot of people’s definition of “exciting” (side-eye shoutout to the 902BrewCast gang, who dropped a new tasting episode this week; go listen!) it’s pretty obvious from the social media response that there are plenty of people who are excited about this one. The jaunty red can is also timely for your Canada Day celebration. Available at the Sprucetique now and out of the fridge at the Halifax Seaport Market this weekend. Also of note, if you’ve been missing the Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout at your local NSLC, you might want to have a good look around as it’s now being sold in 4-packs instead of singles.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock continue to carry the standard for brown bottles in the age-old beer industry battle between aluminum and glass. And to (gently) push that agenda a little further, they’re undertaking a bit of a repackaging and rebranding exercise, with a fond goodbye to their iconic white boxes. The first two beers to get this treatment are the hoppy Temptation Red, now in a bright red 6-pack box and matching label, and the debut of their Double IPA Vicar’s Cross,in 6-packs (for the very first time) with a very orange look. No more eying that big bomber on a weeknight and wondering if you should! We’ve also heard that there’s some bigger news in the works for the brewery in terms of physical space; we hope to have all the details for you in the coming weeks.

Garrison is continuing to put out beers in their new-this-summer Hop Trip series and though we don’t have details on all of them, we know that the Brut IPA has been seen in the wild. Extra dry and bubbly, with an ABV of 6.2% and 24 IBU, it features Mandarina Bavaria, Simcoe, Ekuanot and Mosaic hops. Available in 4-packs of 355 mL cans from the brewery and possibly other places in the city. We hope to catch up with the rest of the Hop Trip offerings, as well as a collaboration they’ve got on the way, in the next few weeks.

Good Robot isn’t bringing a new beer this weekend, but they are bringing a big batch of a previously Beta-sized brew. Brewer Gio’s ode to the national bird of his native Bahamas, Pink Flamingo, is a pale pinky-orangey radler at a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV and a barely-there 15 IBUs, featuring watermelon and kiwi. Perfect for a sunny day on the Gastroturf.

Niche Brewing in (for all intents and purposes) Fredericton, NB, has their Pineapple Persuasion back this weekend. A kettle sour with a touch of lactose and plenty of pineapple puree, it’s 4.2% ABV. Kegs of this one are going to tap accounts in NB (including the ANBL growler stations in Moncton North and Saint John Wellington) and we have it on fairly good authority that Stillwell has spoken for a few, mayhaps destined for the BG on SG.

Cape Breton’s Route 19 Brewing will be putting their new Dog Daze on tap this weekend. At 5% ABV and plenty tart, this kettle sour features passionfruit and a bit of mango, just the kind of beer your summer needs.

We’re not sure how long it was gone, but if you were already missing DOA at Unfiltered in Halifax, fear not, it’s back today at noon, with cans, fills and pints all available. And if you happen to be reading this from Europe, specifically Germany, and worrying that you’re missing out, you should hop on over to The Muted Horn in Berlin for their Canada Day bash where you’ll find Unfiltered beers (and a number of others from Canadian craft breweries, including Stillwell Brewing) pouring!

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.