Bootstrap BrewPub

All posts tagged Bootstrap BrewPub

We’ve got lots of new news for you this week, including a trio of breweries who have opened in the last seven days, tickets for two great festivals are on sale now, plus close to a dozen new beer and cider releases in the region for you to enjoy. Let’s skip the formalities (we know we’re late!!), and get right to it!

Hampton New Brunswick just got a bit more beery, as Matchstick Beer Factory opened their doors this week. Operating in a private residence close to the former Flewelling Saw Mill and Match Factory in town, they are brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system, and supplying kegs of beer to local restaurants and bars. They have launched with Matchstick Pale Ale, a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale features lots of late- and dry-hopping of Mosaic, Amarillo, and El Dorado for tropical and citrus notes, and their Fired Up Red, at 8.0% ABV, features a solid malt backbone with a touch of Rye malt spice, and finished with an English Ale yeast. Keep an eye on their social media (FB/Tw) for the latest news, and drop into the Match Factory Cafe in Hampton, Bootstrap BrewPub in Quispamsis, and/or Sussex Ale Works to grab a pint this weekend. We’ll give you the full Matchstick story early next week. Congratulations Luke and family!

Drive 300 km due North from Hampton, and you will reach Bathurst, New Brunswick. It is the home to 13 Barrels Brewing, which opened its doors for the first time this week. Built from the ground up at 830 Harbourview Blvd, the 5100 square foot brewery and taproom overlook the Baie de Chaleur. They launched yesterday with their Pabineau Pale Ale, and five guest taps of beer and cider, and will be adding more to their own lineup very shortly. Keep up to date with them on social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll be publishing a Profile with 13 Barrels soon!

From Bathurst, you’ll want to head 625 kilometres Northeast to reach Cormack, Newfoundland, the site of the third brewery opening its doors this week. Crooked Feeder Brewing is located just North of the town of Deer Lake, and is not currently open to the public. The best place to grab their beer is at Newfound Sushi in Corner Brook, where kegs of their Bonne Bay Blonde have been dropped off and are pouring. Look for more releases on their social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll try to pin them down for a Profile very soon!

From brand new breweries, to one that opened a few months ago, let’s turn our attention to New Scotland Brewing, located in downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They are launching a brand new beer this weekend, brewed with plenty of local ingredients (and love!). Slowburn is a 6.1% ABV Chocolate Porter, that saw the use of locally-grown chilli peppers added during the boil, and later in a pair “dry-peppering” additions over the course of four weeks. The result is a medium/full bodied beer with hints of spice and vanilla, building to chocolate and black cherry, with a building heat as the peppers take hold. Served on nitro, the smooth beer is perfect for enjoying in a cozy nook with friends, and watching the snow fall outside. Slowburn is launching at opening Saturday at the brewery, so drop by for a pint! They’ve got live music by Willie Stratton tonight, and Rob Wigle will be jamming in the taproom Sunday afternoon.

Over in the land of Big Tide Brewing (that’s Saint John, for those of you who aren’t aware), they’ve release their very first New England IPA. The Dickens – hopped in the kettle and during active fermentation (taking advantage of biotransformation) and dry-hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo, Azacca, and Cascade – is currently on tap at the brewpub for pints and growler fills, and is showing off tons of juicy, tropical, and citrusy hop flavour and aroma. It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 50 IBUs, and since it’s new (and an IPA… all the rage with the youngins these days!), you best drop by sooner rather than later if you’d like to give it a try. And with the cooler months ahead, look for loads of new and returning faves from Big Tide in the coming weeks, including Boiling Point Honey Ginger Saison, Indian Beach Nut Brown, and Sandpiper Pilsener, brewed with Ultra hops from nearby Darlings Island Farm.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock brewed up a beer especially for their Tap Takeover last week at Battery Park but if you missed it there, you’re in luck because there’s still a chance to try it! Head on over to Local Source Market and you can get yourself a growler fill of Hell Bat, a Licorice Imperial Stout. A big, 8.2% ABV beer, it’s got plenty of bitterness and spice from hops that’s balanced by roasty chocolate malt. Add to that a hit of anise aroma and flavor from additions of both real licorice root and star anise, and you have a smooth, complex and substantial beer to work your way through. And in other Boxing Rock Imperial Stout news…we told you last month that the brewery was offering folks the chance to pre-purchase cases and half-cases of their annual release of U-889 Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla at a discount. That deal is in effect for one more week (pickup is November 30th) so if you’re interested it’s time to pull the trigger. Regular price on a bottle is $10.50, but you could be paying closer to $9/btl on 6 for $55 or even $8.33/btl on 12. Pickup can be arranged at the brewery in Shelburne or at Local Source in Halifax. Contact the brewery to place your order; their contact info can be found at the bottom of their web site.

Hey, if you’re in the Rothesay area of New Brunswick right about now, you really should drop by the Hammond River Brewing taproom (ok, you should probably drop by there anytime that you’re in Rothesay, to be honest), as they’ve got a couple new beers pouring… well, one new, one returning favourite. The new brew is The Unforgiven, an Imperial IPA hopped entirely with the fabulous, delicious, not-so-easy-to-get, and pricey Australian variety, Galaxy. At 8.3% ABV, it’s no wee beer, but the “wonderful flavours of citrus and passion fruit” come through front and center, so it’s easy to get carried away and drink this one a little faster than you should! The returning beer is the Glenora Whiskey Barrel-Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter; this one’s coming in at over 8% ABV as well, so you’re receiving your second warning! You know you’re going to want to have both of these beers on tap – because they won’t last long – so why not get dropped off and make an evening (or day!) of it?

The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour has a brand new release this week, as they move into the big and dark beers. Dreadnought Stout is a 5.6% ABV full-bodied stout, featuring loads of chocolate and dark fruit flavour, with a smooth finish of roasted grain. Look for it on tap in the area, or better yet, drop by their brewery along Highway 7 for a taste and growler fill!

This weekend brings us/you lucky Haligonians yet another 2 Crows barrel-aged bottle release, this time in the form of Mellarium. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Aromatic malt, it was lightly hopped with Calypso, Hallertau Blanc, and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with Lactobacillus, and then fermented with a blend of several Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains (the very same blend used in the new and delicious Glamour) in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. It spent a nice long time in said barrel (6 months) before being transferred onto 60 kg of Apricot puree, as well as some honeycomb, and allowed to referment/age for another 6 weeks. Finally, they decided to dry-hop it with Saffron (dry-Saffron?) before finally bottle conditioning with Champagne yeast. Now, it’s finally ready for you to eagerly purchase, and – hopefully – drink! They’re describing it as “bright, lively, and opulent, with smooth honey notes, fuzzy peach, and floral”. You can grab these bottles (5.3% ABV, btw) tomorrow at the brewery at opening. Eeek! We heard from 2 Crows this afternoon that this release has been slightly delayed until Saturday, December 1st. So you’ll have to wait a week for that barrel-aged, sour, funky, fruity, honey goodness!!

Halifax’s North Brewing has a pair of releases we’re keen to mention today. First up is another release of their Champagne-style IPA, Alloy. Inspired by the extremely dry and effervescent sparkling wine, Brut or Champagne IPAs feature very little body, low residual sweetness (gravity readings are often at or below 1.000 specific gravity), but tons of hops, and Alloy is no different. This batch features loads of Amarillo, Callista, and Vic Secret, and a low body, to really let them show off. As in previous releases, you can grab a single or 4-pack of cans, and can also fill growlers in both Halifax and Dartmouth. And if one IPA wasn’t enough for you, grab some of their Divination today too. This is a Double Dry Hopped (DDH) American IPA, in the tropical/stonefruit/citrus vein, with a touch of dank character. This 7.2% ABV beaut is also available in cans, either singles or a 4-pack, and on both sides of the harbour.

We teased it last week, but now have more information on Niche Brewing’s Moonage Daydream. The latest in their bevvy of sour offerings, this 4.4% ABV beer is generously dry-hopped with El Dorado and Citra, and features hibiscus in the secondary for a lovely pink hue. It is available on tap in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce, Peppers Pub in Saint John, and in the Moncton region at CAVOK Brewing and at the Pump House Fill Station. If you drop by the latter location, you’ll be able to grab a growler or crowler to take home with you!

You probably guessed from their name that it was only a matter of time before Sourwood Cider released a barrel-aged cider… and if you did indeed guess that, you are now proven correct! While the beginning of the life of this cider occurred in a tote, it was then moved to a total of eight barrels; two of those barrels (which previously held red wine in Niagara) have produced Cherry Blaster, which is available now. As the name indicates, cherries were used in this release – 77 lbs, to be exact, all of them hand-picked from Dempsey’s Corner Orchard in Aylesford. Several different varieties of cherries were incorporated, including a type used in the making of sour pie, as well as “white/rose-fleshed sweet cherries”. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV, Sourwood is describing the cider as “naturally sour, tart, dirty rose in colour, and puckering”; overall, refreshing! Drop by their spot and Market stalls if you’d like to pick up some bottles. As for those other six barrels, as you’re probably wondering… they’ve had Haskap berries added, and will be bottled and released in the very near future!

The bottle releases continue with Halifax’s Tidehouse, with this week’s technically being a re-release. To-Wit! To-Woo! is, as you may have guessed if you’re a child of the 80s, the brewery’s little ode to Mr. Dressup… in Belgian Witbier form! Judging from the beer’s label (which you can check out here), they’ve upped the ABV this time around, to 6.1% ABV, bringing it slightly out of your classic Witbier range (but we’re ok with that!). With sweet orange peel, coriander, and Citra hops in the boil, expect aromas and flavours of all three. It’s available by the 340 mL bottle at the brewery, starting today at 2 pm.

Propeller Brewing has a brand new IPA out on the streets (well, by “streets” we mean, you know, at Propeller), Galaxy IPA. While Galaxy hops were indeed used in abundance in this beer, they were also partnered with the no-less-delicious Citra and Mosaic varieties. Since most of you reading this are likely personally familiar with all three of these hop varieties in some way or another, it may not surprise you to hear that the final 6.5% ABV product has “rich pineapple, peach, and tropical/citrus aromas”… but that doesn’t make it any less tasty! This is indeed a one-off, so get it while it lasts (cans are available). And drop by their Gottingen Street taproom tonight for a cask of their Russian Imperial Stout, which will be tapped at 5 PM.

We want to be sure all of you commercial brewers reading this know about next Friday’s Maritime Craft Malt Workshop, being held in Moncton. Organized by Chemical and Agricultural Scientists who have been bringing you the great Beer School events during the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, this event will focus on the art and science of understanding malt reports, how to maximize yield and flavour from malts, and which steps maltsters follow (and why) to provide you with the best possible product. Learn from maltsters, brewers, and the folks who analyze the product, all to help you incorporate Maritime-grown and -processed malt into your recipes. Check out the full schedule here. The session takes place next Friday, November 30th, at the Crowne Plaza in Moncton. Reserve your seat today!

We’ve got lots more events on the go to tell you about today, including tickets for a pair of favourite beer events happening next year, but are on sale now, and sure not to last!

Tickets for March 8 and 9, 2019’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are on sale today, and we highly recommend grabbing yours ASAP. With the Friday Night event, nicknamed Newbie Night last year, a smaller collective of 10-15 breweries will be pouring 50+ beers in the Convention Centre March 8th. This is a great way to ease into the weekend, as we’ve been told none of these beers will be available during the Saturday sessions. Speaking of which, there are two sessions on Saturday, 1:30 – 4:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:30 PM, where you’ll have your choice of 300+ beer and cider from 50 producers across the region, Maine, and beyond. VIP tickets are always the first to go, which offer you an early entry to get a quick lay of the land before the rest of the visitors arrive. Do not miss your chance to have a heck of a time in the beginning of March in Fredericton, grab your tickets now! Closer to the date, we’ll have more details on our Trivia Night, the Drain the Keg 5K race the Sunday morning, and the other cool events on the go leading up to the Fest.

In Nova Scotia, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has announced the dates, and ticket availability for their Full House Festival, the signature event of NS Craft Beer Week. Being held May 4th, 2019 at the Halifax Forum, more than 30 breweries from across the province, along with food vendors, will be slinging drinks and bites to the thirsty crowd. The afternoon session is 1:30 – 4:00 PM, and the evening session is 7:00 – 9:30 PM, with VIP tickets allowing you entry 30 minutes early. Pick your session, and grab your tickets today, while early bird pricing is still in effect!

Now that you’ve grabbed your tickets for future events, let’s get back to the present with a “Home and Home” Tap Takeover by Halifax and Sydney breweries, Garrison and Breton. Tonight, Breton will be visiting Halifax and joining Garrison in taking over the taps at Stubborn Goat in Halifax, with eight beers from each brewery pouring. And they’ll be doing the same at Retro 67 in Sydney, next Friday, November 30th. At each event, folks from both breweries will be there to chat and give out swag. And debuting tonight is Rye’d or Die IPA, a collaboration between the two breweries. A 6.0% ABV American Rye IPA, it features 50 IBUs thanks to Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Aroma of pine, citrus, and a touch of grain, lead to a solid bitterness with a touch of spice from the Rye malt.

Those in the region familiar with the great beer scene in Portland, Maine, will no-doubt know about the killer beers available from Bissell Brothers Brewing. They began life in the Portland Industrial park (one of a half dozen breweries that have called One Industrial Way home over the years), and now have their own space in Thompsons Point. And Peter Bissell, one of the aforementioned brothers, has more recently launched Highroller Lobster Co. on Exchange Street. Why are we telling you all of this? We promise, not just to tease you with some serious FOMO. We mention this because the Bissell Brothers and Highroller crews will be taking over the taps and kitchen at Stillwell Beer Bar on December 8th. A dozen bangers from Maine will be available on tap, and we’re sure that there will be some real magic going on in the kitchen that day thanks to the melting of minds (that’s a butter joke). No tickets necessary, but you’ll definitely want to show up early to avoid missing out!

And a few last notes to inform your beer- and cider-acquisition plans for the weekend:

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, is happy to report that they’ve canned their Timbership Milk Stout and that those cans will be available this weekend at ANBL stores in major centres across the province. This 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU American-style stout with lactose has a clean and easy-drinking flavor with notes of freshly roasted coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Available on Nitro in the taproom as well.

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has announced that they’re going to be doing some limited bottle runs of some of their most creative and ambitious small batches and fan favorites. Only one hundred 750 mL bottles are available of each and they’re only available at the retail store on Agricola Street. The first two to be released are Country Rose Mead (Rose wine and mead which was on tap in September), and Brett To Be Determined (blend of Jona Golds & Mac’s, dry , unfiltered wild ferment and second ferment with brettanomyces which is also on tap now).

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar had some big news hit the wire this week. They’ve announced that they will be expanding into the 1,400 sq. ft. space next door, almost doubling their size! This will allow them to provide an even better selection (hard to imagine!) of beer, wine, cider and spirits, including more products from afar, more cold beer storage, and more tasting room. Look for the expansion to take place after the holiday season, with a grand opening by Spring, 2019. Until then, you can continue to take advantage of their already awesome selection on Lower Water Street.

Unfiltered on North Street in Halifax has once again undertaken a canning run. This time, however, it wasn’t done on a mobile canning line it was done on their own machine. What does this mean? MORE CANS MORE OF THE TIME!! As of this weekend you’ll be able to get the previously announced Riddle of Steel along with Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, Playing With Fire, Hoppy Fingers, and Flat Black Jesus. Bow down to your new aluminum overlords.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Good Robot has, as always, some beer news to share. This Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday release is called The Black Barrel and it’s a big ol’ bugger at 9.2% ABV and 53 IBU. Imperial Stout is the style, with lots of dark chocolate flavors. Be careful with this one! And on the Alpha side, Creature Feature is back, an IPA in the New England style, hoppy, hazy and juicy without a whole lot of bitterness. It’s 6.2% ABV and 46 IBU and will be available come next Thursday.

Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.

• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!

• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!

• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.

• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).

• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.

• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.

• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.

• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.

• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.

• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.

• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.

• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.

• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.

• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.

• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar.  $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.

What’s on the go this weekend?

Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.

• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.

• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!

Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.

A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!