Bishop’s Cellar

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Welcome to the first full weekend of fall in Atlantic Canada! As is usual for this time of year, wet-hopped beers brewed after harvest a few weeks ago are starting to appear, we’re seeing continued pumpkin ale encroachment, and Oktoberfest celebrations are going on. Meanwhile, there’s also lots of new releases that have nothing to do with fall, traditionally or otherwise. We note that we’re quite a bit earlier than usual with this week’s post; we suggest you don’t expect to get used to that!

Let’s start this week in Dartmouth with Brightwood Brewery. Now well-ensconced in their new digs on Portland Street, they’ve released a new beer that we think marks them as the only brewery in the region (at least in recent memory) to have released two beers in the California Common style. Described as an homage to surfing in Cow Bay, Minutes takes the healthy body and crisp finish traditional to the style and marries it to some white wine character courtesy of a dry hop with nouveau German hop variety Hallertau Blanc. At 5.5% ABV we suspect it will be an interesting contrast to the traditional European styles like Märzens and Festbiers that are prominent at this time of year. You can find it in the taproom for tasters, pints, and fills. Meanwhile, if you’ve been missing getting your Brightwood fix at the Alderney Market since they started their expansion project, we’ve got some great news for you: they’ll be back this coming Saturday for growler fills in their swank ceramic growlers (or, y’know, your tired and boring brown glass)!

On the other side of the bridges, in the Burnside Industrial Park, Spindrift has a couple things on the go. Of course one of them is the American Pale Ale currently being revealed slowly on social media with a contest, so that one will have to wait a week. The second is a little bit of yin to that one’s yang, an American Lager with 10 IBU and 5% ABV in a light-bodied beer with an “unpronounced bitterness” and a fairly high carbonation level. Made with a moderate percentage of adjuncts, namely rice and wheat, expect it to be very easy drinking, especially when served very cold. Called Toller, it will be available exclusively at Harvest, Rockhead, and West Side, in 8- and 24-packs of 355 mL cans. And after last night’s debut at the Hopyard Halifax takeover, you can start looking for their new DIPA, Hurricane Juan, in stores tomorrow, September 29th, on the 15th anniversary of its namesake storm.

Rothesay’s Long Bay has their first new beer out in some time, and it sounds like a beauty! Full Pleasure is the result of months of experimentation with sour beers; kettle-soured with Lactobacillus to a Baby Bear level of tartness (just right!), the wort was then fermented with the brewery’s house Belgian strain, and given an addition of passion fruit puree. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with two marvelous varieties, Galaxy and Mosaic, before packaging. With lots of fruity hop flavour, complemented by the tartness from the Lacto, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. Look for bottles and growlers to be found at the brewery now, as well as bottles and kegs at select ANBL stores and licensees over the next week.

Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer out this weekend that will help you harken back to summer even though fall has definitely arrived. A Berliner Weisse featuring rhubarb and raspberry, the recipe was developed by Lunn’s Mill partner and chef Chantelle Webb. Girl, Hold My Earrings has a pinky-orange color and a sparkling effervescent character to match with a tart Berliner character and sassy fruit presence. At 4.4% ABV and a measly 4 IBU, you’ll no doubt be able to slosh back a few of these before you find yourself entangled in a good old scrap. Only available at the taproom it will make its debut at Lunn’s Mill’s second annual Oktoberfest event this evening starting at 5:00 PM. A cover charge of $10 will get you a stein to drink out of (and take home, if you can manage it) and the chance to enjoy a special food menu and the four bands that will be playing on the patio. More information is available on their Facebook Event Page.

We told you about the hop harvests around the region a few weeks ago and it looks like Shelburne’s Boxing Rock have managed to be the first to bring their 2018 wet hopped offering to market (or at least the first one we heard about). Now in its sixth iteration, Many Hands has always been a collaboration beer between Boxing Rock and North Brewing in Halifax, and this year is no different. Released this past Wednesday, this year’s model is a Pale Ale brewed with organic malt from Horton Ridge Malt House and a pile of fresh hops from Wallace Ridge Hop Farm in Malagash, NS. Look for it to be a smooth and easy drinking ale with a malty base and floral and herbal hop notes. You can find it at the retail store in Shelburne and at Local Source, Harvest Wines and Bishops Cellar in the city, along with Liquid Assets at the Stanfield International Airport.

It’s another week chock-full of new beer and re-releases from Big Spruce, who isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Beginning with the new beer, A Marzen Grace, which is released just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations across the world (have you ever known a country/city/town to refuse the chance to celebrate with beer?). Billed by Big Spruce as “100% classic and traditional”, it was brewed with all German malt, German hops, and German Lager yeast. Conditioned and lagered for a period of time, as the style calls for, it’s malty and crisp, and even at 6% ABV is meant to be consumed in healthy quantities, if you can! As for returning beers, put your drinking caps on, because there’s a few: Fake News!, a 5.6% APA hopped entirely with Idaho 7, and fermented with the Foggy London Ale strain; Tag! You’re It!, a fresh batch of the brewery’s immensely popular 6.5% ABV NEIPA, with a “hugely late” hop addition (we’re going to assume that means a huge addition, late) giving boatloads of tropical fruit character; and, in truly bittersweet fashion, the last run this season for The Silver Tart, easily one of the brewery’s biggest crowd-favourites, a 4% ABV kettle-soured beer conditioned on organic raspberries. It’ll most assuredly be back next year, but maybe stock up before it’s gone for 2018! And finally, cans of Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout are now more easily found, as NSLC stores finally have them in stock; you can even get it in New Brunswick, as select ANBL locations are also carrying the beer.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new entry in their Neon Friday series of hoppy beers hitting the taps today. Brut IPA with Hallertau Blanc may have a matter-of-fact name, but it’s no plain-jane beer. Manifesting the new “Champagne” or “Brut” style of low-bitterness and extremely dry (minimal residual sugars) IPAs with high carbonation, this one was hopped with Hallertau Blanc, a modern hop variety known for imparting a white wine character along and notes of grapefruit and lemongrass. It’s 7.0% ABV and a paltry 5 IBU and you can find it on tap starting this afternoon at the Upstreet Taproom and at Craft Beer Corner, both for pints and for growler and crowler fills.

Robie Street in Halifax is home to Good Robot Brewing, which means it’s home to two new beers in the coming week, as per usual. The BetaBrewsday release (as always, scheduled for Tuesday at 4 PM), is called Bittersweet Cocoaphony, an ESB with a little verve in the form of cocoa powder added after fermentation. Formulated and brewed by Andrew Seth and Beta Baroness Kelly Costello, the grist was comprised of 2-row, Cara 30, Cara 120 and CaraAroma, while the hop side was a light dusting of classic UK Fuggles and its American descendant Willamette. Easy drinking at 4.5% ABV, even though it’s not too bitter at 25 IBU, we still suspect it will be extra special.

Meanwhile, from the Alpha system comes a collaboration brew done up just in time for the Halifax Pop Explosion! Lizard Queen was brewed in concert with Garrison and Gahan using flaked wheat, oats and barley along with good ol’ 2-row for a solid ale malt presence with enhanced mouthfeel. Hopped with some very big modern varieties, Simcoe, El Dorado, and an especially large dose of Mosaic, expect it to have a heavy tropical fruit presence and be danker than the air outside the Seahorse. Look for this very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU beer to appear next Thursday, October 4th, as the city gets ready for HPX later in the month.

New Brunswick’s Picaroons is joining the Oktoberfest fun with a new beer they’re calling Oom Pah! Pah! Oktoberfest Ale. Amber in color, it’s a crisp ale with a bready character matched with earthy and floral hop notes that were kept on the subtle side no doubt to allow the malt shine. It hit the taps on Tuesday at the Picaroons Roundhouse and the Picaroons Brewtique in Fredericton, on Wednesday it showed up at the Picaroons General Store in Saint John, and look for it starting today at the 5 Kings Restaurant in St. Stephen. You’ll also be able to grab it at all ANBL locations as of tomorrow. We’ll warn you though, although it’s widely available, only one batch was made, so when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has a new and special treat on the go, a plum wine that they made with shiro plums harvested in Nova Scotia. Shiro is a sweet and juicy yellow variety that can often be harvested well before other plums are ready. Plummet saw Chain Yard taking the juice from these plums and doing both wild and Brettanomyces fermentations before dry-hopping the result. A “session” wine, it’s a very light 4.3% ABV with no sulfur dioxide and it’s still fermenting a little bit, which should mean a touch of sweetness is still there to be enjoyed. A very limited run is available by the pint only at the tap room on Agricola Street.

Bootleg Brewing in Corner Brook is displaying their Newfoundland sense of humor again this week with a new beer they’ve dubbed Tits Up. Also displaying their disregard for classic beer styles, they’re calling this one an Imperial Session IPA, which, as oxymoronic as it sounds, makes some sense in context. Extremely light in the body, and without the big bitterness you might expect from an IIPA, it prominently features big tropical fruit aromas. Meanwhile, it also prominently features a leg-wobbling 7.8% ABV. So while it drinks like a session ale, it packs the punch of an imperial. It’s been available on tap since last Friday. Be careful, though, the warning label on this one says, “if you start a day boil with this one you probably will end up Tits Up in da rhubarb.”

You may recall that in fall of 2017 Sober Island Brewing on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia hosted a homebrew contest that focused on locally-foraged ingredients. The winning beer in that competition was called Raspberry Beer, Eh! and it was entered by Andrew Deveaux. Like many homebrew comps, one of the prizes for the winner is the brewing of a commercial batch of the winning beer. Well they finally did that, and the result is available! A Raspberry Wheat Ale using 95% Horton Ridge Malt and local raspberries will be on tap this weekend for crowlers at the Alderney Market and Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers Market. Congratulations again to Andrew on his winning beer!

At Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing, the hops, they’re still a-flowin’, with two hoppy brew releases today. The first is a brand new beer, Almost Nuclear, an American IPA hopped with Mosaic T-45 pellets. Differing from their more commonly seen, less-concentrated T-90 pellets, the T-45s are supposed to give even more hop aroma and flavour. Looks like TrailWay is standing by that, describing the beer as “super fruity and tropical, with a big berry-like aroma”. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, look for cans and pours of this one at the brewery at opening. The second beer is the latest re-release of Emerald, a 5% ABV New Zealand Pilsner. Fermented with a Czech Lager yeast strain, hopped with Southern Cross and Eureka, it also has an addition of fresh lime zest and lime juice, adding even more lime character to that from the hops. Cans and pints/growlers of this one at the brewery as well, starting today, with cans seeing distribution to ANBL stores next week, as well.

We thought maybe 2 Crows was taking it easy with new beers this week… ha, how foolish we were to let our guards down! Sometimes we suspect maybe they’re just doing this to make us work harder. ANYhoo, of course they have two new beers, so let’s get to it. First up is Dare to Dream, a dark Saison brewed with Vienna malt, Wheat, and a combination of crystal and roasted malts. Dark Belgian Candi sugar was added in the boil, as well as some Sterling and Bramling Cross hops (to 21 IBUs). A combination of spices – including coriander, orange peel, cardamom, lime leaf and black lime – were also added at the very end of the boil; the wort was then fermented at warm temperatures with 2C’s house Saison yeast. The end result is a beer with “dark fruit, prune, and plum notes, a smooth and full body, with moderate roast and a very subtle spice profile”, to go with the classic Saison fruit esters. It comes in at 5.4% ABV and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery tomorrow, and at bars/restaurants in the HRM.

The other beer from 2C was brewed in collaboration with Kanata, ON’s Small Pony Barrel Works (did you get to have some of their beers at Stillwell in late May? Magnifique!). Thunderdome was brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Oats, and Aromatic malt, and hopped in the boil with a small amount of aged East Kent Goldings. The wort was soured in stainless with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then transferred to one of 2C’s foedres (over fresh lime leaves on the way, to boot!). At this point, 2C added some of their funky house cultures, along with some house blends from Small Pony (now that’s collaboration!). After fermentation and conditioning in foedre for several months, the beer had an addition of lime leaves, before carbonation and packaging. The beer is tasting “assertively tart, bright, with a fun herbal/lime character and a touch of funk”. There will be cans of this one at 2C tomorrow as well, but the supply is limited to 25 cases, so best get in early and grab stock up on both beers!

Propeller has brought back their Pumpkin Ale (5% ABV) for the season, with this year’s release showing up in cans (473 mL), as well as in bottles (341 mL). With a slightly-tweaked recipe (the same spice blend was used, as well as pumpkin sourced from Howard Dill) to darken the brew slightly, you can still expect a pumpkin-y, spicy beer. Not stopping there, they’re also re-releasing Alpha Dog, a wet-hopped Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Sea Level. Featuring locally-grown (from Fundy Hops) Galena, Willamette, and Cascade, this one will be draft only, so stop by one of the two Prop shops, or Sea Level if that’s closer to you, to grab a pint and/or growler.

As usual, there’s plenty of beer-related goings-on this weekend and beyond that we think you might be interested in:

If you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon and feel like letting your lederhosen down, consider heading down to the Stillwell Biergarten for their first (annual, hopefully) Oktoberfest event. With the turning of the season it may be one of your last chances to get a good outdoor downtown drink on in 2018. The cover charge is $7 paid in advance (available at Stillwell HQ on Barrington or at the Beergarden, weather permitting) or $10 at the door. They’ll have an Oompah band, proper steins to get sloppy with, and a German-inspired menu of snacks from Joe Martini for you to be München on (sorry, not sorry!). The tap list is all Euro-centric beers, with plenty of local entries, both brand new and well-established. Put your peepers on the menü below and plan your attack in advance:

  1. Tatamagouche – Dry-Hopped Lagerhosen (European-style Lager – 4.5% ABV – Tatamagouche, NS)
  2. Spindrift – Killick (Munich Helles – 4.7% ABV – Dartmouth, NS)
  3. Stillwell Brewing – Stilly Pils (Unfiltered Dry Hopped Pilsner – 5% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  4. Dieu Du Ciel! – Sentinelle (Kölsch – 5.2% ABV – Montréal, Quebec)
  5. Propeller – Pilsner (Unfiltered Pilsner – 4.8% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  6. Ritterguts – Urgose Märzen (Märzen-Gose w/ Hallertauer Perle, Taurus, Smoked sea salt, Swiss Stone Pine cones, and Ceylon Cinnamon – 6% ABV – Chemnitz, Germany)
  7. Boxing Rock – Märzen (Festbier – 5.4% ABV – Shelburne, NS)
  8. Big Spruce – A Märzen Grace (see above) (Festbier – 6% ABV – Nyanza, NS)
  9. Uncle Leo’s – Altbier (Altbier – 5.2% ABV – Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia)
  10. Revel Cider – Lime Apfelgose (Blended spontaneously fermented cider w/ Sea Salt, Coriander, & Lime – 6.5% ABV – Guelph, Ontario)

If you’re near Moncton and haven’t yet purchased tickets for the fourth annual Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, you may want to strongly consider grabbing some of the few that are remaining! Happening tomorrow, attendees lucky enough to buy their tickets early had the option of VIP or VVIP, which gets you in earlier, and an industry panel discussion and guided beer tasting, in the case of VVIP. But as mentioned, there are still regular tickets available, with doors opening at 7:30 pm. You’ll have 2.5 hours to sample beer, cider, and mead from over 40 local breweries, with food available for purchase as well. As in the past, proceeds will go to the United Way.

A reminder that the Guided Tasting with Stephen Beaumont is happening this Sunday, September 30th at Stillwell, and there are still a few tickets available for the first session, from 12-2 pm. Tickets are $46 (you can purchase through the event link) and include samples of some rare, world-class beers, all discussed with one of the foremost beer authors around. Beaumont will also have copies of his latest book for sale, which he will happily sign at the event.  

The annual Garrison Oktoberfest is coming up on Saturday, October 6th. The all-day event starts at 11 am at 1149 Marginal Rd with plenty of food from Asado Wood Fired Grill, live Oompah music (starting at 2 pm) and, of course, beer! There will also be a free show later in the day featuring Dave Sampson. Feel free to bring the kids (and dogs!), and drop by to take part in the fun.

We hinted at it last week and this week it was confirmed. Fredericton’s Niche Brewing will be featured in a tap takeover at Stillwell on October 13th! Brewers Shawn Meek (hey, we know that guy!) and Rob Coombs will be on hand and feeling reaaaally social and ready to answer all your questions about their beers, their brewery, and their general philosophies of life. Look for the taplist to be posted as the date approaches along with news on the special menu items that will be coming out of the kitchen that afternoon. They’ve promised some favorites from their first 9 months of operation, some newer releases, and some one-offs brewed specifically for the event. We (well, the Aaron and Chris part of “we”) are pretty excited to finally be able to try some of the beers we’ve only been able to write about since Niche started producing beer. We expect we’re not alone amongst fans of great beer in the HRM in our excitement. Meanwhile, the spoiled folks of New Brunswick will continue to be spoiled by the return of Niche’s Single Origin this week. A coffee-infused milk stout, it’s got the usual lactose addition to provide sweetness, creaminess and mouthfeel to balance the bitterness and dark flavors of the coffee. Look for it to appear on tap over the next week or so at the King Street Alehouse, The Joyce, Graystone, and Isaac’s Way in Fredericton, and Pepper’s Pub in Saint John.

And, finally, a few more quick mentions before you get back to your Friday:

Breton Brewing has their non-Pumpkin (!) seasonal back for fall, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV); brewed with Acadian maple syrup, it’s available now in the Breton taproom for pints and growlers.

– There’s a new draught-only beer from Garrison this week, Pineapple Express. A Witbier with the addition of pineapple, you can find it at the brewery for pints and growlers, and it should be available on tap around Halifax in the near future.

– Looks like Dooflicker (5.3% ABV), a “Coconut Brown Sour” is pouring again at Roof Hound; drop by soon for pints, growlers, and 500 mL bottles, as supplies won’t last long.

– For those with supplies running low on their supply of lovely mixed-ferm concoctions from Stillwell Brewing, we’re afraid you’re going to have to ration what you’ve got for another week. Due to the Oktoberfest celebration mentioned above, there will be NO bottle sales this weekend on Gottingen Street. To make it up to us, though, they’ve promised a brand new release for next weekend. We’re sure we’ll have the details here next Friday.

– Our friends at Tidehouse have re-brewed their Big Bruiser, a 10% ABV DIPA hopped with cryo versions of Ekuanot and Simcoe. It’s available right now for pours at their taproom, as well as in bottles.

Wow, what a week! With wild temperatures across our region, and some wild swings (from snowing in Gander to 30C+ in the Maritimes), we figure you’re definitely overdue for a beer! We’ve got loads of new beers and news to share with you this week, so grab the nearest pint, and have a look!

We’ve got lots of news to share from Bedford’s own brewery, Off Track on Rocky Lake Drive. First off, they launched a new beer on Canada Day named The Joy’s of Summer. This 4.25% Session IPA is full of flavour despite the low ABV, with plenty of Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade hops (amounting to 48 IBUs) which is perfect for sipping all day on their new patio. Speaking of which, they’ve extended their days/hours to now be open Thursdays, so now you can get your OTBC fix all extended weekend (Thursday 12-8, Fri and Sat 12-10, Sunday 12-6). And what to pair with it? They’ve teamed up with On the Wedge at the Sunnyside Mall to provide them with lunch and dinner options Friday through Sunday (menu and hours available here). Any time, you can bring your own food, or order in from local businesses in the hood (RLP anyone?).

The gents from 902BrewCast dropped by Off Track recently, and recorded with Allan, Jon, and Matt on that new patio. They chatted about just about everything under the sun NS-beer-wise (and beyond), and broke some big news: the Off Track crew are finally brewing on their full-sized 5 BBL (600 litre) brewhouse, which means more beers in the tanks for their thirsty patrons. AND, that means a fun contest! They have already named five of their big new tanks, but need your help in naming the sixth! See if you can figure out the theme here… Newman, Puddy, J. Peterman, Bania, and Crazy Joe Davola. Tell them what the sixth tank should be, and you’ll win one of their fancy new Stainless Steel growlers (with a Phil). You can submit your answers via direct message on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook by July 14th. Get your answers in quick before some Mulva steals the best name! Listen to the podcast for more hijinx (you’ll quickly learn how Off Track got their name), and their plans for the rest of July.

We’ve got a couple of exciting tidbits concerning new beers from 2 Crows that are coming out over the next few days. First off, is the very first bottle release for 2 Crows. Dandy was brewed with Pilsner malt, Spelt, Wheat, and Oats, and hopped lightly with Calypso and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with a mixture of Lactobacillus cultures, and then fermented in two gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. After aging for a few months, the beer was moved to stainless and conditioned on the burnt zest of lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit. Bottle-conditioned with champagne yeast, the final beer is “bright, tart, lightly funky, with juniper, citrus, oaky tannins, a subtle burnt/smoky character, and a firm minerality”. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV, there will be limited quantities of this one available when it’s released at the brewery tomorrow, so do not delay in grabbing some bottles! Bishop’s Cellar will also be getting a few bottles for sale, and one keg will also be tapped at the brewery tomorrow, if you’d like to give it a try on tap.

As for the second beer, it’s a new draught-only brew named Juan Canary. This “Wild Table Beer” was brewed with malt exclusively from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, and was lightly-hopped in the boil with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc. Fermented with a blend of wild yeast strains, it was then conditioned for several months to allow that wonderful, funky yeast character to develop. It was then further conditioned on Canary melon (a type of melon that is reportedly slightly tangier than honeydew) for four weeks, before being packaged in kegs with champagne yeast. It comes in at just 3.6% ABV and 12 IBUs; you’ll be able to find it on tap by-the-glass only, at the 2C tasting room, when a tap opens up (we’re guessing tomorrow or Sunday, best to check the 2C Instagram for the latest scoop).

If you’ve been to Stillwell over the past few days, you may have noticed that they’ve been pouring a new beer from Stillwell Brewing, Easy. This one is their latest Saison fermented with their House cultures; the beer spent just two months in the brewery’s largest foedre (oak tank), making it relatively young, at least compared to a lot of other releases from SBC! They’re describing the 4.7% ABV brew as drinking “like a more-sour Stillwell 2 [ed: Stillwell’s 2nd Anniversary beer], with mostly lactic acid and a touch of quenching acetic acid”. Featuring a bright presence of hops, and tasting floral and spicy, you can get it at Stillwell HQ by the 750 mL bottle or on tap, to drink on-site; it’ll be following on tap at the Beergarden in the near future. If you were looking forward to taking some home, fear not – they will be holding a bottle sale soon, on Saturday, July 21st. We’ll remind you when that gets closer! Looks like Easy will become a regular release, as Batch 2 is already fermenting.

You may remember TrailWay Brewing releasing More Better, a Simcoe single-hopped American IPA, a few months ago. Today, they’re releasing the “big brother” to this beer, a DIPA named, naturally, Even More Better. Simcoe is once again featured prominently, but they decided to throw in a “healthy” dose of Mosaic as well, giving the beer “pleasant pine up-front, with a big juicy background”. It’s 8% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery today at noon.

Last weekend, Good Robot released 5th Chamber, a sour wheat beer brewed with boysenberries, black raspberries, and raspberries, at the Hair of the Dog event. If you missed the event, you should be able to find the 4% ABV Gose on tap at the brewery, starting… yesterday! Moving on to next Tuesday’s Beta brew, keep your eyes open for Orange You Glad, a Milkshake IPA brewed with local homebrewers Jeramy and Catherine Slaunwhite. With lactose in the boil, and hopped with Citra and Mandarina Bavaria, the beer also features the addition of vanilla (of course) and sweet orange peel. It weighs in at a low-for-the-style 4.9% ABV, and 56 IBUs. Finally, next Thursday will see the return of Burban Legend APA (5.9% ABV, 42 IBUs).

Let’s change gears to cider now, with lots of news to share with you this week. Agricola Street’s Chain Yard Cider has a few new blends available these days, including the first releases from their new Vault series, availalbe in 750ml bottles (rather than on tap or in cans). Pippin is a 9.0% ABV single varietal Cox Orange Pippin dry cider, five months in the making, and full of flavour. They’ve also released Pippin & Russet, using a blend of Cox Orange Pippin and Golden Russet apples, which finished sweet at 7.1% ABV. They have also introduced Cyser Sunrise, a blend of their Foundation cider and a strawberry wine. And finally, Funk 141 is a 6.5% ABV unfiltered blend, fermented with Brett for funky and barnyard aromas and flavours familiar to those who already seek them out in beers. While some of their ciders are available on tap at restaurants and bars and in the private stores around HRM, heading to the source is probably your best bet to try them all.

Although we haven’t had a chance to mention it yet, cider and mixed-fermentation mavens in HRM very well might be aware that there’s a new cidery in the city, one that’s doing things a little bit differently. Sourwood Cidery is now producing small batches of cider at 6070 Almon Street. Focused on making sour ciders and fermenting on the wilder side, their ciders are “raw, unfiltered, and funky.” They are currently selling 6 varieties at their place, all in 750 mL bottles that have been bottle-conditioned. Be aware that they’re only open Wednesdays from 6 – 8 PM for these sales, though. You can also find Sourwood ciders on the bottle list at Stillwell on Barrington and, hopefully, soon at Bishop’s Cellar and a new place opening up later this year in the Hydrostone, The Ostrich Club. Occasionally some cider will be kegged; up to this point the Stillwell Beergarden has been the destination for every one of these. Looking ahead, they’ve got some stainless in the mix now, a 10 bbl brite tank which will allow them to do a 1000 L at a time of a carbonated cider they’re calling Small World (a younger version of their Old World); it should be available in kegs and cans in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a list of the bottled ciders they’ve got on the go now; we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from this crew in the coming weeks and months (and hey, maybe we’ll get it together and do a full profile!):

  • Old World – Fermented dry with a saison yeast
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with Citra
  • Old World Sour – A sweet blend of apples fermented dry with Sourwood’s house culture of sour microbes
  • Hopwild – Sour cider dry hopped with CTZ (aka Columbus) and Citra
  • Gravenstein – 100% Gravenstein apples fermented with Sourwood’s house sour culture
  • Ginger – Sour cider steeped with ginger

And it’s not just Halifax that’s boasting a new cidery. Lake City Cider is now turning out cider in Dartmouth at 35 Portland Street, although they’re not yet open to the public at that location. Currently available every Saturday at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market in the outdoor tent as well as on tap at The Canteen, they are also on rotation at Battery Park. Look for their tap room to open soon where you’ll be able to enjoy all their products. All of the cider is produced using 100% NS apples and includes the following three core brands:

  • Nieforth Original – named for Nieforth’s, an institution of downtown Dartmouth and previous inhabitants of the space Lake City occupies. Pressed from a blend of apples, this bold cider comes in at 6.8% ABV and is packaged in 750 mL bottles
  • Darkside Dry – balanced and refreshing, this 7.5% ABV dry cider is available in 750 mL bottles and pairs well with rich foods such as scallops or grilled or roasted meat
  • District 5 – Lake City’s first canned offering is a blend of freshly-pressed 100% Nova Scotian apples intended to be a steady and sure cider that weighs in at 6.0% ABV

The gang at Lake City has also advised us that they intend to rotate through a series of limited edition seasonal ciders as well through the year. We look forward to having the chance to tell you more about Lake City in the coming weeks!

Just a couple of events to tell you about this week:

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and want to give YOU the presents! Drop by their spot at 82 Marr Road today or tomorrow, 12-8PM, and with every growler fill, you will receive a free LBB glass (or your regular loyalty discount). And if you drop by tomorrow, you’ll be able to enjoy some live music and BBQ in addition to your free gift. Congratulations Sean and Co!

The Whycocomagh Beer Festival will be celebrating its Second Year on July 21st, 7-9:30 PM. Happening at the Whycocomagh Waterfront Centre as part of the Whycocomagh Summer Festival, there will be beer from Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Garrison, North, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s all under one roof, plus wine from Jost. Tickets are just $20 at the door, and the venue has expanded to let even more folks in than last year.

We’ve got a few more news bites for you this week before we sign off…

– Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has teamed up with Capt. Kat’s Lobster Shack to release the ultimate pairing to their lobster plates. Over Aft Ale is a Cream Ale available exclusively at this Barrington Passage spot, but if you ask nicely at the brewery, they’ll fill a growler of it for you too! 🙂
– After launching late last week, Dildo Brewing Company has added a fifth beer to their rotation. Blue Eyed Buoy is a take on their Root 80 Blonde, featuring loads of blueberries added during conditioning, for a fresh and fruity presence. Grab it on tap and in growlers at the brewery today!
– After its release at The Toast the Coast event a couple of weeks ago, Garrison is releasing their This Beer is Toast! in bottles today. As a reminder, this 5.5% ABV Saison featured more than 100 kilos of toasted bread in the mash, adding to the Pale Ale and Wheat malts used. Lightly hopped to 20 IBU with Hallertau and Cascade, bottles are now available at the brewery, and at the private stores next week. $0.50 from each bottle is going to Feed Nova Scotia, to help their efforts to combat food insecurity in the province.
Niche Brewing has brought one of their first beers back to the taps this week, Mines of Wallonia. This is their 3.6% ABV Grisette, generously hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and featuring some lovely fruity esters and light spiciness from the Saison yeast. Look for it on tap around Fredericton, including the newly opened RustiCo, as well as Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and at Halifax’s Stillwell.
Propeller has brought back their summer favourite, Hefeweizen (5.3% ABV); you’ll be able to find this cloudy, spritzy, banana-and-clovey brew on tap and in bottles starting today. And check back with us next week, when we’ll have more info on a variation of this beer that will be released soon.
– Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released the latest batch of DOA Double Orange Ale SMaSH today, featuring boatloads of Citra hop through the process. Using a combination of Cryo-extracted hops (higher Alpha Acid in less vegetal material) with standard harvest, this 7.5% ABV, 100 IBU, Double IPA will have you singing out for more.
Upstreet is releasing their newest Neon Friday beer today, DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7 (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs). Brewed with Golden Naked Oats and toasted oats, it’s double-dry hopped with Idaho 7 to give “a fresh aroma of light orange and apricot”.

Welcome to March, when Mother Nature is making up her mind on whether to shine, snow, or rain (or all three)… Plenty of brand new beers and events to tell you about this week, spanning all four Atlantic Provinces. Let’s get right to it!

• There’s plenty going on in the world of Good Robot over this next week… so much, in fact, that we were thinking of making it a Good Robot-only post! Especially since all of the new beers being released were designed by the FemmeBots in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th. Let’s start things off with a brand new Alpha Brew, We’re Not Bitter. A Black Lager, it was brewed with Pilsner, Munich Dark, and “pure feminine rage”. Despite that, it’s described as creamy and smooth, with a good amount of roasted character. This one weighs in at 5.3% ABV and 26 IBUs.

• Let’s move on to the Beta Brews, of which there are three being released on a daily basis, starting March 6th. On that day we’ll see Blood, Sweat, and Cheers, a 5.1% ABV Blood Orange Witbier brewed by the two Kellys (Costello and Lucas). Following on the 7th is One Tuff Mother, brewed by Linda and Elaine Tuff. This one is a citrusy American Pale Ale, brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Vienna malt, and hopped “gently” with Tettnang, to 19 IBUs. After some thought, the pair decided to dry-hop the 4.6% ABV beer with Zythos, and add some Sweet Orange Peel to boost the citrus character even more. Finally, the releases culminate on the 8th with Treat Her Like A Lady, which actually made its first appearance just a couple of weeks ago. To refresh your memory, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter featuring Honey malt and real, local honey. You’ll be able to find all three of these beers at GR from March 6th-8th, but that’s not all! In further celebration of women in the brewing industry, the taproom will be pouring beers from other brewing ladies in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick! Watch GR’s social media thingies for teasers of which beers you can expect. And on March 7th, the winner of their Femmebrew Competition will be announced, so look for that result as well.

• Actually, speaking of guest Femmebot beers, we can give you some info on one of them. Tidehouse co-owner Shannon Higgins brewed up a tasty number for the event, Hibiscus City. A kettle-soured Gose with additions of hibiscus and lime, it’s a “refreshingly tart beer with a balance of saltiness, and a major blast of lime”. Very drinkable at just 4.5% ABV, there are only two kegs in existence, so make sure to check it out on tap at Good Robot! But for those of us who just don’t like to wait, there is a limited number of bottles available today at the brewery when it opens at 2PM.

• Today, North Brewing will be releasing their latest beer, a collaboration brewed with Braden Nelson and Sean Clancey of local band Moonwake, in honour of the release of their EP, “Placement”. The beer – named, appropriately, enough, Moonwake – is a 5% ABV, 29 IBUs American Brown Ale. With tasting notes that include “hazelnut, roast, cocoa, and pine”, it’s available today both on tap and in cans. In fact, those lucky enough to be at the band’s release show last night at the Carleton were treated to a sneak peak! If you plan on picking up some cans, be sure to scan the QR code on the side, which will link you to the band’s EP and play songs for you. Ain’t technology grand?

• Speaking of collaborations, you may remember us talking about a beer being brewed by 2 Crows and the fine people at Bishop’s Cellar (no, we didn’t not use the word “fine” with 2 Crows because we don’t think they’re fine, what’s wrong with you? Sheesh!). Well, that delightful beer is being released tomorrow, so no more waiting! Passion Trip really DOES sound delightful – it’s a sour beer brewed with passion fruit, lactose, and vanilla. The grist is made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat malt, with a bit of Flaked Oats and raw wheat thrown in to help boost that mouthfeel. After souring with Lactobacillus plantarum, it was then fermented very warm to help promote overripe mango flavours. Dry-hopped with Citra during fermentation, and then more Citra and Galaxy afterwards, it was conditioned with a “ridiculous” amount of passion fruit, and vanilla beans. If you’re not drooling now, there’s something wrong with you. Described by 2C as “tart, fuzzy, creamy, and smooth, with huge tropical fruit notes”, the beer weighs in at a cool 4.7% ABV… and 0 IBUs. You’ll be able to pick up cans at both Bishop’s and 2 Crows, and it’ll also be pouring at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow as well.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has a brand new beer hitting the taps, and it’s a unique one. While there have been plenty of dark beers featuring coffee in our region over the past couple years, including browns, porters, and stouts, there have only been a few that have paired that flavour with a light-bodied beer. Enter Mean Joe Bean, a light and crushable coffee blonde ale featuring Morning Mantra coffee from Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters in Lunenburg.. Although it’s yellow and “clear as anything”, it still boasts a massive coffee aroma and flavour. Truly lightweight at only 4.2% ABV, you can definitely feel free to have a couple and really savour the coffee flavour. It will make its first appearance at the Craft Beer Cottage Party (where Trider’s will be defending their Best Booth title from last year) and then will be available in bottles at their store and their usual market locations. And while you should be surprised if kegs make appearance at accounts around HRM, don’t sleep on it: only one batch has been made for now.

• You might remember last year’s Collaboration Ale, a product of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, brewed last spring to celebrate the convivial atmosphere of craft brewing in Nova Scotia and released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week. Well it’s that time of year again and sure enough another beer is being brewed – #nscraftbeer social media was awash on Wednesday with photos of the brew day at Tatamagouche Brewing where a collection of brewers from across the province brewed a beer called Made Here By Us. Few details have been released to this point (we all love a little suspense) but we do know that it’s being fermented with the unique Scotia Sauvage yeast strain isolated at Big Spruce. The beer will be available at the NSLC and all profits will go towards funding NS craft beer initiatives. We’ll have more information as release approaches or whenever we can get someone who participated drunk enough to talk!!

• Up in Fredericton, or just outside in Hanwell if we’re being pedantic about it, Niche Brewing is releasing another new brew, a showcase of their love for farmhouse ales. Ethos was made in the classic Saison style, but also features the characteristics of a Brettanomyces fermentation thanks to the use of the Amalgamation 6-strain culture to a classic French Saison yeast. This 6.3% ABV pale-hued beer saw late-hopping with Huell Melon in the kettle and a “light” dry-hop of German Hallertauer for a whiff of cantaloupe alongside a balanced presentation of spicy phenolics and fruity esters, all buoyed by a light barnyard character and culminating in a dry finish. You’ll find this one at tap accounts in Fredericton and Moncton, and don’t be surprised if a keg is tapped at one of the FCBF sessions (our magic eight ball suggests the evening session would be good bet).

• Sticking with New Brunswick’s capital, and why not, seeing as how that’s where all the fun is going to be next week, Trailway has another new release today, this one a fruit-forward Double IPA they’re calling In the Mist. Over 100lbs of pink guava went into this beer alongside some fresh lime zest, and we’ve been advised that the result is extremely flavourful. Tropical El Dorado hops provide background complexity to a dangerously smooth beer that packs an 8% ABV punch. Look for it in cans and available for fills and pints at the brewery as of opening today. And speaking of Trailway, they’re on the hunt for a cellarperson; if you’re into Atlantic Canadian craft beer and are considering making your career in the industry in this region, check out the job posting here.

Maybee Brewing is following last week’s new beer release with another one, Brett de Mars. Fans of European beer styles will almost certainly recognize the name as a play on Biere de Mars, a sub-type of probably the most well-known French style of beer, Biere de Garde. While Biere de Garde was traditionally brewed in early spring and kept cellared at cool temperatures for consumption in warmer weather, Biere de Mars was brewed in March (Mars) to drink relatively fresh. Maybee took a different spin altogether with their interpretation, fermenting it with a Saccharomyces strain, as well as a Brettanomyces strain. Fairly strong at 7.2% ABV, it has “notes of banana, bubble gum, a noble hop spice, and clove, with a punch of fruity and earthy Brett funk”, and finishes quite dry. It’s available on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming sometime next week.

Upstreet is releasing another entry in their Million Acres series today, Wild Blueberry Imperial IPA. The focus here is on, as you may have expected, blueberries. Local, wild blueberry juice was added to the beer, which was hopped entirely with the blueberry-forward Mosaic. Pouring a “golden blue” colour, expect aromas of “blueberry, grapefruit and pine”. Highly carbonated, it finishes dry and fairly bitter, with perhaps a touch of alcohol warmth thanks to the 8.5% ABV. It’s being released today at the brewery at noon, where it will be available on tap for pours, or in bottles to go.

• From one Island to Another, the Port Rexton Brewing retail spot on Torbay Road will be open once again this afternoon, distributing cans and growler fills of their Chasing SunT-Rex Porter, and Baycation Blonde, as well as a brand new collaboration release, Next Generation. Brewed with Twillingate’s Split Rock, this 5.4% Saison was brewed with lots of Strisselspalt hops in the boil, and then dry-hopped with two rounds of Citra, for a citrus, floral, and lightly spicy Belgian beer. Future releases under the Next Generation moniker will feature fellow Newfoundland breweries that have opened in the previous year, sharing stories and “promoting positive vibes all around”. Grab cans today from 4-8PM and tomorrow 12-6PM.

• The folks at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co are celebrating a collaboration brew of their own this weekend, brewed with the North Shore’s own Tatamagouche Brewing. Atlantic Pale Ale is in the American Pale Ale style, featuring 100% Atlantic-grown grains (both barley and rye), malted onsite at HR. With classic American hops Amarillo and Chinook throughout, and finishing at 5.9% ABV. Celebration for the launch of the beer will happen tomorrow at the Horton Ridge taproom, during an event called Weekend at the Shore. From noon, drop by for pints (and for the first time, cans) of APA, as well as three other Tata beers on tap (with enough stock to last the whole weekend, we’ve been advised!), plus snacks from the shore courtesy of Select Seafood (who will also have fish for sale). And from 3-5PM, the Space Bog Paddy People will be entertaining the crowd with their Irish music.

• Homebrewers in the region will be excited to hear of a brand new brewing competition being held by Horton Ridge in partnership with Noble Grape. Horton Ridge has a brand new very aromatic malt they’re calling “Newdale” and they want to give home brewers the first crack at turning it into delicious beer. The Horton Ridge Malt House Open is $25 to enter and welcomes amateur competitors to enter beers containing at least 70% Newdale malt, with no more than 50 IBU, and with no sour or wild fermentations allowed. These guidelines will ensure that the entered beers will truly showcase this new malt variety. This will be a BJCP certified competition with the winners announced at an awards ceremony on May 12th. According to the contest info, Newdale malt is available for purchase at the Burnside, Oxford Street, Bayers Lake, Kingston, Coldbrook, and Fredericton Noble Grape locations, but we highly recommend calling ahead to ensure your preferred store has some in stock before heading over. Homebrewers, start your brew kettles, and submit your beer by April 20th!

Lots on the go these next couple of weeks, here’s a few details:

• A reminder that Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill is hosting their first Showcase Night this evening, starting at 6PM. Featuring a friendly head-to-head of Myld Stallyns, a Dark English Mild brewed with local homebrewer Ian Dares, the beer will be available in kegged format as well as cask-conditioned, an ode to the traditional serving format of the style. And when you drop by, be sure to wish the Lunn’s Mill crew a happy birthday, as they opened March 2nd, 2017. And continue the LM love by downloading the latest episode of the 902BrewCast, as Mark and Sean sat down with the boys for a chat.

• As has been their wont one weekend in late winter/early spring over the past couple years, Big Spruce is doing a tap takeover at Bishop’s Cellar this weekend, and amongst the bounty they’re bringing is a brand new beer. Brewed as a collaboration with the folks from Tool Shed Brewing in Calgary, Six Borders was described to us (ironically? we couldn’t even tell) as “tropical pineapple yum sauce”. It’s a Northeastern IPA featuring the Waimea, Mosaic and Citra hop varieties, including a massive dry hop. Tipping the scales at 6.3% ABV and 40ish IBU, it’ll be vying for belle of the ball honours from 1 – 4PM both Saturday and Sunday alongside Thrice Wild Ale, Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale, Chamba Cherry Vanilla Milkshake IPA, and Blood Donair Imperial Stout with Raspberries. They’ll also be sampling cans of Better Git’er India Black IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Tim’s Dirty IPA.

• As we wrote about a couple weeks ago, and have alluded to a couple of times here in today’s post, tomorrow is the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia‘s annual Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Seaport Market on the Halifax waterfront. As we understand it, some tickets are still available for unlimited samples from 35 breweries and cideries from NS (and a few from beyond our borders). Live music, great food and plenty of beer are on the menu, so put on your best “dreaming of summer” face on and come out to play with the plaid-clad crew.
• Only one week to go till the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, March 10th! While tickets for both the afternoon and evening sessions are sold out, there are plenty of events going on in Fredericton during the days leading up to the main event:

Tuesday, March 6thLet’s Talk Beer, held at the King Street Ale House at 7 PM, will be a general kick-off to the week. Stop in to chat beer, with Niche Brewing on tap for Happy Hour prices all evening. There will also be FCBF swag for sale, so you can pick yours up ahead of time!
Wednesday, March 7th – the James Joyce and the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection are hosting Island Invasion!, a tap takeover with all five PEI breweries participating. It starts at 6 PM, with no cost to attend… just pay by the flight or pint.
Thursday, March 8th – back to the King Street Ale House for the Down East Tap Takeover & Trivia Night. Starting at 5 PM, 32 taps at the bar will be dedicated to breweries from Nova Scotia and Maine. And starting at 7 PM, your friends at the ACBB will be hosting yet another year of trivia! We promise great prizes (in the form of brewery swag), hard-to-hear and sometimes overly-difficult questions, and just a general blend of overall goodness. It’s fun! While you don’t need tickets to attend the tap takeover or trivia, you CAN pre-purchase tickets ($27.39 each) for the tap takeover, which gets you ten 5 oz sample pours.
– Thursday, March 8th – if you’re not into trivia, you just don’t think you can handle a couple hours of Chris’ handsomeness, or you’re going but you’re not ready for your night to be over after flexing your beer knowledge, also on Thursday night there will be a tap takeover by PEI Brewing Company & Gahan at The Snooty Fox. They’ll be featuring $5 pints from 12 taps, with Keith Hallet providing live music from 9 PM to 12 AM.
Friday, March 9th – if you missed out on tickets for FCBF, or just want to spread the party out more, you can still buy tickets to Newbie Night. Held from 6-9 PM at the Fredericton Convention Centre, your $62.20 ticket will get you a glass and unlimited samples from up to 12 of the newest breweries in Atlantic Canada.

• For those of you in Newfoundland unable to attend the FCBF, the fine folks at White Hills Resort (just outside of Clarenville) are hosting BrewSKI next weekend, March 9-11. A full weekend of #NfldCraftBeer events, including an ’80s Night on Friday, Beer Yoga, Cooking with Beer, Beer 101 all on Saturday, and a Brewer’s Breakfast Sunday morning. Of course, the highlight of the weekend is Saturday night’s Beer Festival, with beers flowing from six Newfoundland Craft breweries: Bootleg Brew Co (Corner Brook), Port Rexton (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi (St. John’s), Split Rock (Twillingate), Storm (Mt. Pearl), and YellowBelly (St. John’s). Your $59 ticket will get your first 12 samples, a souvenir pint glass, and live entertainment all night. Or you can opt for the all-in weekend pass for just $119. Either way, grab your tickets here!

A few more beers and news items before you head out:

Garrison Brewing has released the 2018 edition of their Ol’ Fog Burner Barleywine this week, and the 11.3% ABV beer is available in 650ml bottles at the brewery now.
– In addition to the tasty treats listed above, Good Robot also released another beer this week, one that’s possibly equally bad for your arteries and your liver: All You Can Eat Coconut IPA. Get those saturated fats into ya!
– Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new beer pouring this week… Hoppy Wheat is a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, lightly hopped with Mosaic, concentrating on tropical and fruity aromas, rather than bitterness, as the goal.
Meander River has brought back their Black IPA, known as Shiner. Look for it at the brewery in bottles and available for fills.
– Those who look forward every year to the release of PropellerIrish Red need wait no longer; the beer is now available for fills and pints at both locations. Look for bottles to appear in the next week or so and also at the FCBF next week. If you’re a lover of this beer you’d best act fast, though, only a limited quantity has been produced.
Spindrift Brewing in Burnside came with not one, but two beers in their 7th Wave series this week. Assuming they didn’t disappear yesterday afternoon, look for Show Me the Honey Ale, an amber that features a sweet malt body and smooth finish, and Lukey’s bOatmeal Stout, a smooth-bodied, bold and dark beer with a major roasted character, and a crisp, medium bitter finish.
– And finally, yesterday Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax made it known that they’re not taking the court’s decision laying down. They’ve announced their intention to appeal the decision against their case that the Retail Sales Markup Allocation is an unconstitutional tax levied by an arm’s-length agency with no mandate to tax.