Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge

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Happy Friday folks! If you’re anything like us, you’re nursing a headache/prepping your liver for the fun happening in New Brunswick’s capital city this weekend, as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival celebrates its 7th year. There are still a few tickets available for Saturday afternoon session (grab ‘em here), and be sure to say hi if you see us with a beer in our hand (or waiting for one). We’ve got lots of great news and new beers to kick off the weekend, including a whole bunch of awesome beers and events celebrating women in the industry, as today is International Women’s Day. So raise a pint to all of the brewsters and other women and femme-identifying folks working in the industry around the region, and let’s dive right in!

Port Rexton is among the breweries who have brewed up a special beer in honor of International Women’s Day. Designed and brewed by the women of PR, Early Rise is an American Pale Ale with a twist, namely all the Earl Grey Tea that could be procured from the Bulk Barns in the St. John’s area (or at least 1.5 KG)! Every other ingredient in this beer was selected specifically to complement the special ingredient, from the malt to the hops. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, look for a light and spicy malt sweetness and a lingering orangey hop character. You can grab this one starting today at the taproom during their IWD Celebration starting at 4 PM (including IWD-themed trivia at 8 PM with registration at 7:30). It’ll also be on the taps at the Port Rexton St. John’s Retail Shop while supplies last.

2 Crows is focusing solely on the hops with their latest release, Perfect Recreation, the newest in their series of NEIPAS. Like the other entries, the grist has been kept fairly simple (Golden Promise, Wheat malt, and flaked oats), to allow the huge amount of hops to come through nicely, while at the same time keeping the mouthfeel of the beer smooth and pillowy. Plenty of Citra and Simcoe were thrown into a hopback addition (after the boil, on the way to the chiller and fermenter), with the beer then being fermented with a “super juicy yeast strain”. Of course, there were more hops added after fermentation, with two dry hop additions – both including more Simcoe and Citra, as well as Vic Secret and a bit of Centennial. The result is a 6.1% ABV beer described by 2C as “super lush, soft, and absolutely exploding with tropical hop aromas of mango, passionfruit, and guava.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery today (cans and on tap), and at select 2C tap accounts over the weekend… and maybe it’ll even pop up at tomorrow’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Finally, a big congratulations to head brewer/co-owner Jeremy Taylor and his wife, Elaine, on the birth of their new baby girl!

Speaking of NEIPAs, straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes the latest in that style from Niche Brewing, one they’re calling Make it So. Also built on a grist of primarily Golden Promise and also featuring wheat (flaked), oats (also flaked) and chit malt, it’s almost enough to make you wonder if Niche and 2 Crows brewers occasionally might talk a little bit… or at least read the same blogs 🙂 Hops in this one include Citra, Chinook, and Columbus as very late kettle additions, with more Citra and Galaxy comprising the massive dry hop. Fermented, per their usual, with one of their favorite NEIPA-geared strains, it’s described as “super fruity and juicy,” while displaying the characteristic haziness and medium bitterness one would expect. You’ll find this one pouring at Niche’s usual tap accounts, at Halifax’s Stillwell in the near-ish future, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, at the evening session of the FCBF tomorrow night!

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk, a beer they’ve been conditioning for awhile now. Overdosse (rough English translation would be “idiot” or “loser”… note that the FB post for this beer was accompanied by a picture of the current U.S. president) is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt. Hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the wonderful Duvel yeast strain (with temperatures allowed to rise as high as they could go). Conditioned in the fermentor for a few months, it’s now ready for you, and is exhibiting lots of Belgian phenolic and ester characteristics on the nose and palate. Look for it on tap at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole, at the ANBL Vaughan Harvey growler station, and at FCBF.

Looks like Spindrift is moving forward with more experimentation in brewing, with the introduction of the first entry in their latest series, Future Thoughts. Lemon to a Knife Fight falls in the Witbier style, and is more-specifically billed as an “Imperial Blueberry Lemon Witbier”, if you’re picky (which we are!). The grist is made up in the traditional sense for a Witbier – with Pilsen malt and a blend of both malted and flaked wheat – but at a grander scale, resulting in a 7.5% ABV beer. Hopped lightly with Herkules and Cascade to 18 IBUs, fresh lemon zest (from 200 lemons!) was added, along with a dose of Indian coriander. As for the blueberry portion, puree was added during fermentation, as well as a bit of blueberry extract after fermentation was complete. The finished beer is tasting estery, slightly boozy, with aromas of blueberry mixed with lemon. This one is a draught-only release, with most of it available exclusively at Spindrift (although a keg or two may make it to a couple of local licensees). Future entries in this series may be bottled; only time will tell.

We think we’ve got the details on that special beer from Secret Cove Brewing we briefly mentioned last week, which was brewed for their Grand Opening party. Hop a Ryed in My Dory is a different take on your traditional DIPA; while at first this 7.4% ABV brew seems fairly typical, featuring late hop additions to give flavours of “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”, they threw in an addition of Canadian Rye malt to give the beer a “spicy complexity”. by the brewery in Port au Port East, Newfoundland to grab a pint and judge for yourself.

Is the high alcohol in all of those DIPAs, Winter Warmers, etc. getting you down these days? If it is, Tatamagouche Brewing has the cure for what ails ya with Dekorum (English translation: “behaviour in keeping with good taste”). Truly keeping the “light” in Light Lager, this 2.9% ABV beer still manages to pack in some crisp, refreshing flavours, while still allowing you to enjoy a few without having to worry about calling a cab (although that’s subjective, so still, enjoy responsibly!). You can find cans and growlers of this one at Tata, and we know for a fact it’s already popped up on tap in the HRM. Cans will also be hitting shelves at your local NSLC in the not-too-distant future.

It’s been a bit of a spell since we’ve seen a bottle release from Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, but luckily, our wait is over! That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is an extremely-limited release, so you best jump on it if you’re interested. The beer is And You May Find Yourself, a “Pastry Stout” that was brewed with maple syrup and cocoa nibs, all conditioned on an “insane” number of vanilla beans. Billed as low-carbonated and sweet, this is a big beer at 11% ABV, and is meant to sip on as a dessert beer of sorts (they also recommend to consume this one fresh… no aging!). You can buy tickets to purchase this beer here; if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle, you can pick it up at the Duo Cafe next door to T&B (or ask for it directly at T&B); have your idea and ticket with you. And by limited release, we DO mean limited.. only 40 bottles are available for purchase. Though we have it on good authority that if you ask nicely at the FCBF, they may have it pouring from their jockey box. And be sure to pop by their table at the fest tomorrow, as Chad and crew are sure to have something special on the go. Those of us who’ve done that previously got to try their unique Peach Ale Shake, served through by a slushie machine!

If you’re in the area of Tusket Falls Brewing this weekend, and feel like you have a bit of a sour tooth, you may want to drop by the brewery to see if they have any of their latest one-off left, Passionfruit Sour. This 4.5% ABV kettle sour has lots of passionfruit on the nose and palate, according to the brewery, finishing with a “pleasant tartness that complements the juiciness well”. It won’t last long, as their experimental beers tend to move quickly. They’ve also started canning their Beyond the Haze NEIPA (5.8% ABV), so grab some of those while you’re there! Those will also be hitting the shelves of the private stores and NSLC very soon.

The brew crew from St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery took a trip down to New York City last month, to brew up a special beer with Five Boroughs Brewing. Celebrating the Come From Away Broadway show, and the story of town of Gander during September 11, 2001, they lent their hands Newfoundland-style, to brew up a collaboration beer. Come From Away is a 6.0% ABV “Islander Pale Ale”, featuring tons of Amarillo, Cascade, and Cashmere hops added at every step of the brewday and beyond, and has plenty of citrus and tropical fruit character. While this beer is only available in NYC for the time being, a little birdy told us that YB will be brewing the same recipe on their system on Water Street soon, so soon we can all be singing and dancing along to this great beer.

Attention Home Brewers! It’s that time of year again, as Boxing Rock has announced that registration for their super-popular Black Box Challenge is now open. As a reminder, this is a different type of brewing competition, as brewers are not aiming for a style, per se, but starting from the same ingredients (and only those ingredients, except water), and the end result is totally in their hands. Previous winners have been a smoked cinnamon beer, a kettle sour with orange peel, and a American Brown Ale with ginger. There are only a few spots left, grab your tickets here, and pop into HopYard in Halifax to pick up your box of ingredients starting today. This year’s competition features a new twist that reflects Hop Yard’s involvement, where each contestant must pair a record (as in vinyl) with their entry. Beers are due mid-April, and the live judging (including a presentation by each finalist explaining why they selected that particular record) and crowning of the winner will be at HopYard April 28th.

The big events that have our attention this weekend (beside the FCBF) are the great Femme-focused events happening at Good Robot in Halifax this weekend.

  • Today from 6 PM, Cheers for Lady Beers. Female-brewed beers from across the province (and beyond!) will be taking over their taps, with many of those brewsters on hand to chat and answer questions. Lots of beers we’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks will be pouring, including Good Robot’s own Big Witch Energy, Garrison Brewing’s Susannah IPL, and the Propeller x Ladies Beer League Call Me Blondie collab. The winners of the FemmeBrew competition will be announced during a private party before the public event (4 – 6 PM).
  • Tomorrow from 12 PM, Women in Entertainment. A panel of women in the entertainment business will be sharing their knowledge, stories, and advice for those looking to get involved or further their career. Doors open at 10 AM, with food served and beer pouring from that point.
  • Tomorrow from 9 PM, Dance Through the Pain-triarchy. A dance party in a safe space, open to everyone!
  • Sunday from 7 PM, RobieScope: The Help. A female-strong period drama, BYO-PJs.

And tickets for their Brewster Fest, being held April 27th, are now available. Celebrating women-owned breweries and female-brewed beers, they have breweries from across the province and beyond pouring at the Mayflower Curling Club that day. Click the link to see the brewery list and grab a ticket!

Before we let you go this week….

Boxing Rock has brewed up a beer for the Good Robot Femmebot Tap Takeover taking place today. Catarina Sour is a 5.7% ABV kettle sour brewed with pineapple and mango brewed with their “Femmebot friends”, Jana and Patricia; it’ll also be on tap at Boxing Rock.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Grimross has teamed up with Fredericton’s Ladies Beer Connection to release two special casks – Strawberry Champagne and Pomegranate Cheval D’Or – at tomorrow’s FCBF. One of each cask will be tapped at the beginning of each VIP session.

Up in Village-au-Poirier, NB, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur is happy to let folks know that their Nigogue Pale Ale is now available at several ANBL locations including Bathurst, Miramichi (both locations), Shippagan and Tracadie. You’ll also find their other two beers, Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Winter Beer at the Pleasant Street location in Miramichi.

Hot off their opening late last month (congrats guys!), Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a brand new beer hitting the taps. It’s a 4.6% ABV Blonde Ale, and complements their Porter, Pale Ale, and White IPA already pouring. Pop out for a pint and/or to fill a growler this weekend!

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is the latest brewery in our region to take on the “mixed drink in a can” market with the introduction this week of Sand Piper Vodka Soda. Zero carbs, zero added sugars, and all-natural flavoring in a convenient pre-mixed format. Look for more info on the dedicated Insta account for the brand and/or pick some up at the Nine Locks Retail Store, select private liquor stores in Halifax and, soon enough, at NSLC locations.

And a quick note to end the post today, thanks again to everyone who came out to take part in our trivia last night at The Joyce, and big thanks to all of the breweries who donated great swag to give away to our winners. We had lots of happy folks last night! For those breweries who missed out, we’ll be doing it all again in Halifax during NS Craft Beer Week, so reach out if you’ve got anything to share!

Well, now that the Canadian Brewing Awards are officially over, it looks like things have died down – slightly – in the beer world this week, as brewers and beer lovers recuperate from all of the celebrations in Halifax last weekend. But it IS June 1st, and this time of year means that things are going to be picking up sharply, very soon… so we know we’re going to enjoy this slight lull while we can! And there’s still a fair amount to talk about, so here we go…

Speaking of the CBAs, in case you missed our live tweeting of the results, breweries in the Atlantic Provinces had a great showing at the awards, earning 20 total medals in a wide variety of categories. The full results are available on the CBA website, and here are the local winners for your perusal:

Foghorn Brewing earned Bronze for Golden Grover in English-style Pale Ale and Bronze for Esty Special Bitter in English Bitters – Best Bitter or ESB.
Grimross Brewing earned Gold for their Apres Lager in the European Style Amber to Dark Lager, Bronze for their Pugnacious Porter in Porter, Bronze for Maritime Cream Ale in Cream Ale, and Silver in American-style Black Ale for their Maritime Black IPA.
Brasseurs Petit-Sault earned Gold for Col. John Baker Dubbel in Belgian-Style Dubbel.
Pump House Brewing captured Bronze for their Muddy River Stout in the Dry Stout category.

2 Crows Brewing earned a trio of medals that evening: Silver for their Dynamo Rustic Saison in the French and Belgian Style Saison category, Silver for Never Again (Foedre-Aged Brett Pale with Peaches), and Gold for Bonanza! (Foedre-Aged Wheat Wine).
Boxing Rock captured Silver for their Temptation Red in North American Style Amber/Red Ale.
North Brewing Company captured Silver for their Little Beast in the Kellerbier/Zwickelbier category, Silver in the Belgian Style Abbey Ale/Pale Ale category for their Gus’ 65m Ale, Bronze in American-style Brett Beer for Oh My Darlin’-Clementine Brett Pale Ale
Meander River grabbed Bronze for their Smoky Chipotle Porter in Experimental Beer.
Tatamagouche Brewing took Silver for their Giantess Barley Wine in Barley Wine-Style Ale – American-Style.

PEI Brewing Company earned a pair of awards: Bronze for their Hell Street in the Bock – Traditional German Style category and Bronze for their Vic Park in the Session India Pale Ale category.

Quidi Vidi Brewing earned Silver in the Dry Stout category for their Cry Havoc.

After some delays over the winter, Gander, Newfoundland finally has a brewery they can call their own. Scudrunner Brewery opened earlier this week on Roe Avenue right by the airport (fitting for a brewery owned by pilots!), with their initial offering of four beers being offered for samples and pints. Stop by to grab their Frequent Flyer Ordinary Bitter (3.8% ABV), Good Morning Shanwick Irish Amber (5% ABV), Scudrunner Red (5% ABV), and Test Flight #1 American Bitter (5% ABV). Growlers are in the works, but not *yet* available (soon, we understand!). The taproom is open from 11AM every day (except closed Mondays for the time being). Congratulations!

Tidehouse released a new beer last Friday, and we missed it! It actually can’t be blamed entirely on them (THIS time), as things got pretty hairy with all the CBA stuff going on, but better late than never, right? And there’s still some left, so we’re happy to mention it now! Keep Your Chin Up is an American IPA with a grain bill of Wheat malt, Vienna, and Kiln Coffee malt, that was hopped late in the boil (and in the dry-hop, of course) with Chinook. Fermented with a neutral American yeast strain, it weighs in pretty high at 7.7% ABV, and has lots of pine and spice flavours from the Chinook, along with a “slight” presence of coffee from the Kiln Coffee malt. You can find it on tap now for 4 oz pours and growler fills at the Tidehouse TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter St.

Sorry, you other guys (you know who you are!), but it looks like North Brewing is the first out of the gate with a Champagne IPA brewed professionally in Nova Scotia! Also known as Extra Brut IPA, it’s a new style that is going up against the popular hazy version, NEIPA. Incorporating the addition of extra enzymes to break the sugars in wort down even more, which allows the yeast to do their job better, creating a higher alcohol level and a very dry beer. The grist is usually very simple, and the beer should be light-coloured and very clear. North’s first attempt is Alloy, and it sounds like they’ve ticked all the boxes in the Champagne IPA category with this one. Featuring a grist of all-Pilsner malt, enzymes were added to allow the yeast to ferment the wort all the way down to a final gravity of 1.000. Whirlpool-hopped with Ariana (a new German variety that exhibits characteristics of grapefruit, gooseberry, citrus, and vanilla) and Citra, it was further dry-hopped with plenty more Ariana. With a minimal grist and a bone-dry beer, the hops – in theory – are allowed to shine even more, and the bitterness is perceived more (Alloy’s IBUs come in at 23). This 6% ABV beer is being released today in cans (at both bottle shops) and kegs (at Battery Park, and likely other accounts soon); make sure you grab a taste somewhere/somehow, as this is a style that is sure to evolve!

Spindrift Brewing is branching off their Seventh Wave series, those pilots beers only appearing on tap at their retail location for growler fills, with the Ride the Wave series, inviting in guest brewers to take part in the fun. The first in that series launched yesterday, and  is named Ocean Perle, a low-ABV Belgian Saison. At 4.5% ABV and 22 IBU, this extremely quaffable beer is the brainchild of homebrewer Ian Wheatley, who is familiar to our readers from his frequent work with the Tidehouse crew under the Lil’ Wheatey moniker. Named after his dog and one of his favourite hop varietals, OP is nice and dry, and highly carbonated for a refreshing and spritzy mouthfeel. As with all of the beers in this series, the only spot to grab it is at Spindrift’s Frazee Ave location, so stop by this afternoon to grab it before it sails away.

The latest Neon Friday release from Upstreet is out today, NEIPA with Simcoe. True to its name, it’s a New England IPA brewed entirely with the classic Simcoe hop, a much-loved American variety that has managed to hold onto its popularity over the years, despite the barrage of new hops being released every day (ok, maybe not that often, but you get it). At 7% ABV an 40 IBUs, it’s a pale-straw coloured, hazy brew with “notes of heavy citrus and a piney dankness”… yep, sounds like Simcoe to us! Available as of today, on tap and in cans at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner.

Two beers from TrailWay are hitting cans and taps this week, one new and one returning. The new brew comes out today, and is a 6.5% ABV American IPA released in honour of the Scrum Lurkers segment of the Jay and Dan show. Through the constant tweaking with the many one-off IPAs released by TrailWay, Scrumlurkers was brewed with a hop schedule that gives “intense tropical and citrus fruit, with a sweet candy and vanilla character that ‘lurks’ in the background”, according to the brewery. And returning is Emerald, TW’s 5% ABV New Zealand Pilsner that is hopped with Wakatu, and has “generous” additions of both lime juice and zest, giving a “dry tartness and complementary candied lime” character. Drop by the brewery today to pick up some of each, and maybe stick around for their anniversary celebration (more on that in the events section below).

For those of you who are fans of Hammond River’s ongoing series of Berliner Weisses, you’ll be happy to hear that they have a new entry that they released this week. Fragarian Fields uses the same kettle-soured base recipe, with this iteration being fruited with strawberry and mango. Coming in at their usual 3.2% ABV for this series, it pours slightly hazy with a light orange colour and is lightly fruity, refreshing, and definitely easy-drinking. Available now at the taproom for pints and growlers.

Good Robot has kindly passed on the info on next week’s new beers for us to tweak to perfection, to pass on to you! Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Wort the Weight, an American Stout brewed by Adam Boone and Emma Cloutier. Brewed with 2-row, Chocolate malt, Roasted Barley and Flaked Oats, it was hopped with Warrior, Saaz, and Hallertauer to 42 IBUs. A “dusting” of lactose powder was also added to the boil, to help balance out the hop bitterness slightly. It comes in a bit lower than expected for the style, at just 4.5% ABV, so that you can enjoy it in quantity. Following on Thursday is Yuk’em Ups, their latest experiment in biotransformation dry-hopping (i.e. adding dry hops when fermentation isn’t quite complete). This 6.6% ABV IPA has a grain bill containing 2-row, Red X, and a little bit o’ Wheat, and was hopped with Mosaic and Ekuanot to a mighty 91 IBUs. It exhibits some “pear and other orchard fruit on the nose”, with plenty of citrus character in the taste. Finally, their latest batch of Espinazo Del Diablo was kegged this week… try it and see if you notice more heat this go-around, as the seeds from the jalapenos were added to the beer. Just try not to get any in your teeth! 😉

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing have yet another beer coming early next week (does their recipe file have no end?!). Ofelia is an American Pale Ale described to us as reminiscent of many people’s favorite childhood orange drink (that the astronauts took to the moon!). Fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces strains well-geared for IPAs, it’s slightly dank with tropical notes thanks to additions of Centennial, Chinook, and Simcoe hops. At 5.4% ABV and 32 IBU expect an easy drinking light orange beer with a smooth mouthfeel and a light bitterness in the finish. If you’re enjoying one in a quiet moment, see if you can guess where the name came from – we can tell you it’s inspired by the name of one of Rob and Shawn’s favourite movie heroines, but nothing to do with Shakespeare.

After closing for a couple of months for major renovations, the bar at Quidi Vidi Brewery is opening tomorrow. While previously only open during brewery tours and their Friday night Kitchen Party, it has transformed into a full-time Tap Room space, open from noon daily. The Grand Opening Party will be kicking off at 7PM Saturday, featuring food from Mallard Cottage and live music from Dave Whitty. There will be plenty of Q.V. beers flowing, including a fresh batch of Calm Tom’s Double IPA, and we suspect some other goodies from their newly installed pilot system. Learn more by checking out their social media.

Next week, Boxing Rock will be releasing the commercial version of the winning beer in their latest Black Box Challenge, which was held in March. Brewed by the ACBB’s own Aaron Spanik, Oh, Snap! was brewed with a variety of malts, including Pale, Chocolate, Aromatic, and Medium Crystal. Belgian Dark Candi syrup was also added in the boil, and the wort was hopped with Magnum for bittering, Cascade for flavour additions in the boil, and some Amarillo at flameout as well as in the dry hop. One of the ingredients in the Black Box was “ginger-infused green tea”. Aaron wanted the ginger without the tea, so painstakingly separated the two, and added the ginger to his beer (worry not, he’s still seeking medication for this disorder). On a large scale, this practice would be, of course, insane, so Boxing Rock obtained some straight ginger from World Tea House (the original provider of the ginger tea blend), which they used to make their own ginger “tea” to add at the whirlpool stage. Fermented with the American strain US-05, it comes in at 6.1% ABV, slightly higher than the homebrew version. Expect it to drink as a fairly dry and refreshing hoppy brown, with a subtle ginger undertone, especially as it warms. Scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 6th, look for this one to hit the taps at BR, private wine store shelves, farmer’s markets, and possibly some tap accounts as well.

And speaking of homebrewers, there’s a new game in town, regionally speaking, for those into the hobby. BrewHQ came online last week with beer and cider kits, brewing equipment, and brewing ingredients available for purchase and shipping anywhere in Canada. They’ve got a BrewHQ Club where purchases earn points that can be used towards discounts as well as an area of the site, the BrewHQ Academy, with tutorials, beer history and style information. For the month of June they’ve got a free shipping promotion on orders over $75 (pre-tax total) until June 30th. Even better, they’re offering our readers 15% off from today until June 14th through the use of the code ACBB15. Check out the new site and follow their social media presence as well (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for news on upcoming promotions.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has their Summer seasonal all ready to go. Stone Fruit Summer Ale features some wheat in the grist along with additions of fruit, including peach, apricot and mango, for a light and slightly hazy 5.0% ABV spritzy summer refresher. Look for a special cask with peach purée to be tapped this evening at their Gottingen Street Tasting Room. The beer is available now at Propeller locations and will be available at NSLC stores and the private stores in Halifax as well. And for those who were fans of their Spring seasonal, the pale and hoppy XPA, the last batch is now available in super shiny cans and on tap, but only through Propeller’s stores.

In Liverpool, Hell Bay has a new IPA on the taps that they’re calling Tarnation. Coming in at a healthy 6.2% ABV, it features Millennium hops, a high-alpha variety known for imparting an herbal character. Hopped to 70 IBU, this one definitely packs a bitter punch, with a resinous and almost spicy character complementing an overall dry body. It’s available at the brewery now but will be making its way to tap accounts along the South Shore and in Halifax in the coming weeks.

There’s some news to share about Antigonish’s Townhouse Pub this week: After 6 years of ownership, Rosemary and Terry are handing over the reigns to Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa, who bring years of experience in the food and drink world to the East Coast. While the Shimozawas are sure to put their own touches into the Townhouse, we have been assured that they share the same passion for local beer as Rose and Terry, and will continue to focus their bar menu the same way. And for those of us fortunate to get to the Townhouse for a pint of Terry’s Best Bitter, fear not, he is passing along his knowledge to the new owners, so expect the house-made beers to continue flowing.

We’ve spotted a few events on the go this weekend (and beyond) that you’re not going to want to miss!

After extensive renovations over the past several weeks, the beer bar in the Crowne Plaza hotel on Queen Street in Fredericton is re-opening today. With a slight change of name to The Joyce, the number of taps with NB beer, cider, and mead has expanded to 36 plus a hand pump, to keep pace with their lofty goal of carrying something from every brewery in the province. You can be amongst the first to test out the taps if you head down today, as they’re re-opening at 12PM. Learn a little bit more from their FB Event page, and enjoy happy hour from 3PM until midnight tomorrow to keep the celebration going.

After, or before, checking out The Joyce on Queen Street today, head across the water to TrailWay Brewing’s 280 Main Street location, to help celebrate their second anniversary of being “ALL IN”. While Dan and Jake opened the brewery in December of 2014, the brewery as it is now opened in June 2016 after both left other jobs to pursue it full time. Pop in from 5-9PM for $5 pints to celebrate their success and plans for the future. Milda’s Pizza will be on hand keeping your tummy satisfied all evening.

It’s already been a year since Horton Ridge opened their brewery and taproom, and they’re celebrating next Saturday, June 9th with a Horton Ridge Turns 1! Event. It’s an all-day party, starting at noon, and will feature plenty (2500 lbs worth of plenty!) of BBQ from Asado Wood Fired Grill, beer, and a variety of live music (starting at 3 pm).

Interested in learning more about brewing science? Well, there’s always plenty to learn, and the Maritime Brewing Science Conference may be just what you’re looking for. It’s being held in Moncton on Friday, June 15th, and will feature plenty of topics and discussions throughout the day, including yeast handling and selection, brewing water, wild hops in Atlantic Canada, and Wild Beers. Your $30 ticket (available here) includes breakfast, lunch, and a wild beer tasting at the end of the day.

Just a bit more before we go…

– If you missed their debut at last weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, fear not – kegs of O’Creek Brewing’s Route 117 (a 6.5% ABV NEIPA) are now pouring at Marky’s Laundromat and Tide & Boar in Moncton.
Unfiltered is bringing back their Warning Label, a 10% ABV monster of a DIPA, today at noon. This batch was aged on Spanish cedar, so expect a slightly different profile than what you may be used to.
Big Spruce has a new one pouring called Reboot Ginger Beer, brewed as a witbier with 100% Cape Breton grown ginger in the the boil and as well as in the dry hop, which also included “huge” amounts of Mosaic.

 

Another week of wild weather in our region (hey, it IS still winter), but that hasn’t slowed down the beer news one bit. Plenty of new and returning favourites this week, and some events to give you an excuse to shake off the snow and ice and get out for a local beer. No matter who you’re rooting for in this weekend’s Big Game, we figure you’ll find something in this week’s Wrap-Up to celebrate.

• After a brief hiatus, Stillwell Brewing is (thankfully) back with not one, but TWO new bottles releases tomorrow starting at noon. Let’s start with Solo, a 4.7% ABV Farmhouse Ale (think Grisette-like) that was brewed last March and fermented in a Chardonnay barrel. Bottled as-is in July for another 6 months of aging, it is very light, and lightly-carbonated… “a pure expression of our house yeast cultures at work in one barrel at one time” according to the brewery. Next is Dang, a 7.2% ABV Saison hopped generously in the kettle with Sterling, and fermented with the brewery’s house cultures in French Oak white wine barrels. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was blended from select barrels and dry-hopped “massively” with more Sterling, and Saphir, resulting in a final product best described by the brewery as “zesty”. Both beers will be available for purchase from 12-4 pm at the rear entrance behind 2015 Gottingen St. , along with Stilly Pils T-shirts. Oh, and it definitely bears mentioning that they’ll also be selling the last few cases of their other hoppy Saison, Saazbier… and really, if you haven’t tried this beer yet (and even if you have!), you owe it to yourself to pick some up. You’ll also be able to enjoy Solo and Dang at Stillwell-proper from Saturday at noon as well (bottles on-site only).

Foghorn Brewing recently brewed their 100th batch, and decided to tackle something special to mark the occasion – their first New England IPA. Brewed with 2-row, Oats, and Wheat malt, Tabula Rasa was bittered to only 20-25 IBUs with a small addition of Topaz. The high majority of the hops were added late in the brew, where lots of Azacca and Mosaic were added for the whirlpool addition, with even more in the dry hop, along with Citra and Galaxy to give even more tropical fruit, mango, and pineapple on the nose. With a big juicy flavour and low bitterness, this 7% ABV will go down dangerously easy. Best to enjoy this one fresh, so hop over to the Foghorn taproom now for a pint or growler; you can also find it on tap at a few select establishments.

• Speaking of New England IPAs, Niche Brewing has just released their first as well, coincidentally named Apt Pupil. Brewed with a fairly simple grist that includes a good portion of Malted Oats, the hop stars for this beer are Galaxy, Simcoe and Equinox, which were added late in the boil, mainly in the whirlpool. Two large dry-hop additions were thrown in (one when active fermentation began to slow), with the emphasis on the Galaxy, resulting in lots of “passion fruit, mango, pineapple, and tropical fruit” in both the aroma and flavour. Finishing with a fairly-firm bitterness at 65 IBUs, this 7.0% ABV one-off is available now in Fredericton at the Palate and James Joyce, with one or two other tap accounts joining suit next week. And if you’re in Halifax and missed out on the opportunity to give this new brewery a try last weekend, a keg of Apt Pupil and Orange Creamsicle IPA (the brewery’s Milkshake IPA) will be dropped off at Stillwell later today.

• Next week’s Good Robot Beta Brew will be a dark Saison named Spice In My System. []Community member Dina Lobo joined Kelly Costello in the brewhouse, and the two drew inspiration from Lobo’s heritage as a half-Syrian and half-Indian woman, choosing ingredients and flavours used in the food and drink of those cultures. Lightly-hopped (to just 8 IBUs) with Saphir and Wai-Iti to give a mild, citrus aroma, the beer was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain that contributes “banana bread, mild clove, and funk” to the nose. Toasted coconut was added to smooth out the mouthfeel in this 4.5% ABV brew, which finishes with a “subtle, curry warmth”, according to the brewery. As with all Beta Brews, it will be tapped Tuesday afternoon. In GRBC Alpha news, Dave & Morley has returned, the brewery’s 6.0% ABV Coffee Porter brewed in collaboration with Low Point. This batch features Ethiopian Guji coffee, which brings “mild cherry and blueberry notes” to the beer, on top of the toasted caramel and malt flavours.

• In celebration of Sports Ball Game Sunday, Garrison has two new draft-only releases to consider for your game day planning. Six Rings is a 5.8% ABV New England APA that was heavily dry-hopped to give lots of “grass, pineapple, stone fruit, and lemon” in the aroma and flavour; and It’s Always Hoppy in Philadelphia is an American Amber. Both beers are on tap at the brewery for both samples, growlers, and specially-priced party kegs ($90/20 L or $200/50 L, taxes – and a sleeve of cups – included); Bishop’s Cellar will also be taking both beers for their growler program, and Six Rings should pop up on tap at a few licensees in the HRM.

• Earlier this week, Heritage Brewing released Under the Patio Imperial IPA, a beer whose recipe originated in the planning days for the brewery. Named after the turkey fryers used on homebrewing days on their back patio, the brewery has a soft spot for this beer, as it is one of the first recipes that excited them… meaning they knew it would, eventually, be brewed on their professional system. Hopped with Cascade, Chinook, and Citra, this 7.5% ABV has notes of citrus and fruit on the nose and palate. Drop by the brewery today for a growler.

• Saint John’s Loyalist City has brought Craft Coast Canning into their brewery, and now has three of their brands packaged and ready for sale! Sixteen oz cans of Black 47 Stout, Point Blanc IPA, and Three Sisters American Pale Ale can now be purchased at Hammond River‘s taproom, and all Picaroons locations in New Brunswick, and at Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay. All three breweries were kind enough to give Loyalist City an outlet to sell their cans, while they patiently wait for the ANBL to provide them with a listing so that cans can be sold at their stores. While they continue to wait, be sure to drop into the nearest Picaroons or HR location near you!

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released their take on the Scottish Wee Heavy style this week, named Broken Bagpipe. A collaboration with local homebrewer (and Scot) Jason McDougall, this 7.5% ABV beer is decidedly malt-focused, featuring rich mouthfeel, full body, and flavours of caramel and toast, with a light floral note from the East Kent Golding added sparingly in the boil. The beer will be on tap around the province shortly, with growlers available at the brewery and Farmers Market stalls, and bottles at the brewery and private stores. Speaking of McDougall, Oban Heather, another of his collaborations with Boxing Rock will be returning later this month.

• So, do you want to join the likes of McDougall, and other Nova Scotian homebrewers, and brew with Boxing Rock? Now’s your chance, as their third annual Black Box Challenge has just been announced. Starting out from the same ingredients provided to all entrants, this is the perfect way to flex your recipe-making muscles and coming up with a great beer. While you don’t need to use *everything* in the box, you must limit your starting materials to those provided (plus water). Previous prize-winnings beers include Where There’s Smoke (a smoked beer with cinnamon), Grafted (orange peel Sour), Tropic Thunder (tropical stout), and Hop Springs Eternal (White IPA). Sign up today, grab your ingredients next week, and drop off your beer mid-March, in time for judging. The live finals will take place at Stillwell March 25, when the top 6 finishers will give a presentation on their recipe, brewday, beer, and equipment. These presentations are always exciting and a great way to share more creativity with the judges (and fellow homebrewers). Full rules and dates are available here. There are only a couple of entry spots left, so act NOW to avoid disappointment!

• Port Rexton Brewing‘s retail shop is sure to be a busy spot again this weekend, as they debut another new beer today. Blue Steel is a 4.7% ABV kettle sour, their first of the style. After mashing, the wort is kept warm in the kettle while Lactobacillus work their magic over a day or two, producing lactic acid, before the mixture is boiled to stop the reaction. The wort is cooled, and yeast is pitched like a standard beer, and allowed to ferment and finish. This initial foray into the style features an addition of orange peel for a moderate citrus character to match the acidity and refreshing base beer. Due to the small batch size, there is a 2-can limit of Blue Steel, to ensure there’s enough to go around. And for those who drop by, there are still some cans of Mixed Opportunity available, their 5.6% ABV mixed-fermentation Saison (first with Escarpment Labs Fruit Bomb Saison, and then with a special blend of Brett strains). Joining these two are cans of their Horse Chops IPA, and growlers of Horse Chops and T-Rex Porter. Located at 286 Torbay Rd, the retail shop is open today from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM (or until they run out of beer).

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has a pair of new brews to share this week, two brand new reasons to check them out at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. The first is Eagle Energy, an IPA in the American Amber style, where malty notes from Vienna and crystal wheat malts combine with a touch of roast and deeper color from kiln coffee malt to balance bold bitterness and tropical and piney hop flavors. Four different hops, Azacca, Columbus, Cascade, and Amarillo were all added to the kettle post-boil. Amarillo and Azacca were additionally joined by Citra during the dry hop. Second we have Mosey Along, a Saison featuring a hazy straw color that comes from a simple malt bill of Canadian 2-row and Vienna. The Mosaic and Hallertauer Blanc hop varieties used are likely to provide a tropical and gentle white whine character as counterpoint against the French Saison yeast strain, known for drying out a beer while still providing a sense of body. Described as “fruity, spicy and refreshing,” it’ll give you a reason to mosey along to Salter Street.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has announced the return of a beer for which they received a Gold Medal at the 2016 Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards. Then part of their One Way Series, it is being re-released in bottles as part of their Flipside Series, and continuing to go by the simple Black IPA moniker. Very slightly higher in ABV this time at 6.7%, but still coming in at 65 IBU, it pours deep black with an off-white caramel-coloured head. Plenty of hop bitterness is balanced by coffee and chocolate notes from the specialty malts used in the grist. Look for it to appear where other entries in the Flipside Series have appeared, at the very least at the brewery beginning today. In other Upstreet news, we reported recently on their plans to open a “Craft Beer Corner” retail space and taproom and those plans are forging ahead — they’re looking for taproom managers and have posted a pair of positions. So if you’re looking for work in Charlottetown or prepared to move there, have service industry experience, and craft beer is your jam, you might consider sending in a resumé.

• In Fredericton, hop savants Trailway have yet another new one out, taking a step in a truly different direction for them while still playing to their strengths. Abstract Clouds is what they’re calling a “Euro-inspired” IPA, built on an all-German grist and hopped (heavily, make no mistake), with German Hallertauer Blanc and a new experimental French variety known as GJ2. Together they produce a big citrus presence with pineapple, floral, herbal and melon notes underpinned with a spicy character from the yeast. You’ll find it at the brewery and nowhere else starting today.

• As you may be aware if you’ve consumed any amount of media in the last couple of weeks, there’s a Superb Owl this weekend; and, as is tradition for many, such an event calls for beer. Some of Nova Scotia’s craft breweries have decided to help you out with that by featuring discounts on some of their products to help enable your Magnificent Strigiform celebration (or just your enjoyment of independent local beer). First up is Dartmouth’s Spindrift, who are featuring their easy-drinking Killick Session Lager at $40 for a flat of 24 cans until end of day on Saturday. Meanwhile, across the water in Halifax, Garrison has deals on party kegs (contact the brewery for details) and is selling cases of 24 bottles (341 mL) this weekend for $50, letting you mix and match whatever they’ve got on hand. And up the North Shore, Tatamagouche Brewing has a deal on their summer seasonals, with Sunrise Trail session IPA, Lagerhosen traditional European lager, and Philaroma Berliner Weiss with Cherries all available while supplies last at $3.50/can (500 mL) or a case of 12 for $36. We’d suggest assuming tax is extra on any of these great deals and, if you’re going out of your way, maybe checking ahead with the brewery about availability.

We’ve got events all around the region to keep you busy this weekend:

• Dartmouth’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is holding a Double Header Tap Takeover this weekend, featuring eight taps each from Boxing Rock and Upstreet. The official launch is today, and it runs all weekend, with live music on Saturday at 7:30 pm, and brewery personnel will also be present that evening to chat all things Boxing Rock/Upstreet. Check out the event link above for a full tap list and schedule.

• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is turning the big 2, and celebrating with a birthday party tomorrow, February 3rd. Join them at the brewery from 7 pm on for live music (starting at 8 pm), plenty of Maybee beer, an on-site food truck, and a free shuttle to take you back downtown when you’ve had your fill. Cost to attend is $10 at the door.

• Back to tap takeovers, as Garrison is holding their own at Battery Park on Thursday, February 8th. They assure us that they’ve been planning their tap list for the past year, so expect some special beers to be flowing. The doors open at 11:30 am sharp, with all 15 taps dedicated to Garrison, with plenty of employees sure to be on-site joining in the fun.

• With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just five weeks away (March 7-11), they are adding a few more volunteers to their roster, to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you are interested in taking part, check out this page for the tasks and schedule for when you could assist. There are plenty of perks, above and beyond a free beer or two, so check it out and sign up today! And in case you didn’t realize, there are still tickets available for the Thursday Trivia & East Coast Tap Takeover at King Street Ale House, Friday Newbie Night, and the Saturday Afternoon Session.

A couple more nibbles before you head out the door:

– Saint John’s Big Tide has released a new IPA, combining the best hops from both sides of the country. Using Magnum from Darling’s Island Farm (who also lent their hops to Loyalist City’s Black 47 mentioned previously) and CascadeChinook, and Triple Pearl from Topp’s Hops in Abbotsford, the Best Coasts IPA is 6.8% ABV, and a juicy 67 IBUs. Grab it on tap, or to go in a growler, at the brewery today.
– For those of you entering the Garrison Home Brew-Off Challenge, just a quick note to let you know that the Gala date has been changed to Wednesday, March 28th Thursday, March 29th (we originally got that wrong, SORRY!!). And remember, entries are due by end of day, Monday, February 12th.
Grimross has released a pair of new cans this week, making your favourite lagers a bit easier to enjoy at home, or on the local frozen lake in your shelter while you fish: Braunschweig German Pilsner and Crabbe Mountain Après Lager. Both are available at the brewery now, and will be hitting the regional ANBL shelves soon. And speaking of the brewery, they are looking to add a Taproom Server to their family, so check out the job posting and drop by to apply.
Hammond River Brewing has brewed up a couple of old favourites: Nut Your Everyday Red Ale, an “English Red”, and Imperial Breakfast Stout, which includes the addition of chocolate, coffee beans, and homemade Applewood-smoked bacon. Look for both on tap in the near future (and note that the Imperial Breakfast Stout was brewed on their 1-bbl pilot system, so kegs will be limited!).
Picaroons has brought back their beer for lovers just in time for February 14th. Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale features roasted cacao nibs, chili peppers, licorice and gingseng root, on top of a 7.0% ABV base. Bottled for the first time this year, find bottles at the Brewtique and across the province beginning today. Worry not, it’s also available on draft.
– Halifax’s Rockbottom has a new kettle sour on tap at the brewpub, Sour of Love. Soured with Lactobacillus until nicely tart, the beer then had cherry and rhubarb puree added, giving it a bright, reddish-pink colour, and a “pleasant, fruity aroma”.
– Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing are debuting the latest entry in their Small Lot series, Belgian Tripel. At 9.3% ABV and 37 IBU, this is sure to keep you warm on these cold winter nights. Find this and a quartet of other beers in growlers at the brewery at 50 Angus Hiltz Rd 12-5PM both Saturday and Sunday.
Unfiltered is bringing back their Hops and Dreams (7.5% ABV) – a SMaSH beer brewed with 2-Row and Amarillo hops, today; look for it at the brewery and at Unfiltered tap accounts in the Maritimes.