Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge

All posts tagged Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge

 

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.

Another Friday is upon us in Atlantic Canada and as usual, we’ve got as much news as we could dig up about beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events throughout the region. So grab yourself an appropriate beverage (perhaps you’d consider a beer?) and we’ll get right to it.

• Today, Red Rover will be releasing the second cider in their new Summer Series, which focuses on different seasonals and Reserve blends from the past, but in 750 mL bottle form. Barrel Reserve #1 is a dry, still cider (7.2% ABV) that has been oak-aged and conditioned in Bourbon barrels for over 6 months. A very limited supply of 250 bottles (which have been corked and wax-capped for aging) will be available at the Cider House and Farmers Markets. Look for Barrel Reserve #2 to follow in the near future.

• Over in Cape Breton, Nyanza’s Big Spruce just brewed up a new seasonal in their “Conspired” (Conspiratorial?) series. Brewed in collaboration with the Ocean Tracking Network, out of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Tag! You’re It! is a “light-bodied, super juicy” American IPA featuring large post knockout additions of the wonderful, tropical Citra and Mosaic hop varieties; look for this one to come in at about 6.5% ABV. This beer will be canned, with 50 cents from every sale going towards research at the OTN, which will help protect endangered ocean species. We’ll let you know when this beer becomes available to the thirsty public.

• Summer officially started a few weeks ago, and the weather has finally improved, so Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery will be releasing a Witbier, Summer Break, today or over the weekend. One of the tastiest of the warm-weather beer styles, it was brewed with Maritime Malt and Wheat malt, and also features the traditional additions of coriander and orange peel. Fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast to add spicy phenolics and fruity esters to the contributions from the coriander and orange peel, this 4.9% ABV, pale and hazy brew will be available in kegs only, at the brewery’s taproom and select accounts. And if you’re lucky enough to live near the brewery, stop by this Friday for a visit… not just to try Summer Break, but to watch the brewers brew up some test batches of their Pumpkin beer on the brewery patio (yes, Pumpkin beers are approaching already…sorry).

Petit-Sault has brewed up a brand new beer that will be released to lucky participants in next month’s 12th Annual Roch-Voisine/Knights of Columbus celebrity golf tournament, held for the La Fondation Bob Fife, on August 7th and 8th at the Fraser Edmundston Golf Club. Named, appropriately, Bob Fife, this Pale Ale base beer had 100% locally-sourced and produced Haskap berry juice added, providing a pleasant, refreshing tanginess. At just 4.25% ABV, it should be the perfect golfing beer! If there’s any left after the tournament (only a very small batch was made), look for growlers to be available at the brewery only.

• Ontario’s Beau’s continues to brew beers with other breweries in the country to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday… and next up is a collaboration with Unfiltered! Appropriately named, EPH Bomb is a “Northeast DIPA” brewed with Pilsner and acid malt, oats, and wheat, and hopped (intensely, no doubt) with Wai-iti and Azacca. The result is lots of grapefruit, pine, and papaya in the aroma, followed by a “fruity sweetness” in the flavour, “balanced by a medium bitterness and mild alcohol warmth” in the finish. Weighing in at 9% ABV and 75 IBUs, this is a limited release, and will be available at the NSLC in early-mid August. As well, look for it on tap at the Beau’s Tap Takeover at the Stillwell Beer Garden on August 10th, and at the Beau’s booth at the Seaport Beerfest (August 11th and 12th).

• Lots going on at Good Robot over the next little bit… first off, they’ve released their third SMaSH beer, adorably named SMaSH Meowth. Brewed with 100% Maris Otter, hopped with Rakau, a New Zealand variety, and fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast, expect notes of plum, citrus, melon, and pear in this 5.5% ABV, 45 IBU brew. And today is Friday, meaning there’s a new entry in their Cask in the Sun series – Goseface Killah with organic peach and nectarine. Finally, we have some info on their next Beta Brewsday release this coming Tuesday. Sour Mumma Bloomfield was brewed by loyal employee Erica Fraser (who is responsible for sending us beer info every week… thanks for that!). This “hopless, malt-forward herbal beer” was soured from the addition of locally-harvested herbs, including  rose, yarrow, thyme, lavender, sage, rosemary, and marigold. But that’s not all! Some roasted dandelion root, nettle, and a tea blend prepared from herbs harvested from the Mother Oak Permaculture Co-op were also added. Tart, with an apple pie-like character in the taste, drop by the brewery next Tuesday to give this 4.8% ABV brew a try.

• A couple of blocks over, at Agricola and North, Chain Yard Urban Cidery has a new cider available that incorporates gin for a riff on one of the most classic cocktails of summer. Ginx is, at its heart, a dry cider made from a blend of Northern Spy and Jonogold apples. It was then conditioned with gin from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery along with the juice of organic limes. The result is a dry cider with plenty of juniper on the nose, a balance between the cider and spirit components, and a clean and refreshing finish. Chain Yard’s cider maker, Jay Hildybrant, developed Ginx both to prove his belief that a dry cider and gin would play nicely together, but also as a way to incorporate another local product into a fun summer drink. It’s available for 12 oz pours and growler fills at the cidery (although we’ve heard a rumour that some may make it into stubbies in the future), but tread carefully: at 9.5% ABV it’s going to pack a bit of a boozy punch as well!

• And to complete our little tour of North End Halifax this week, we head up to Gottingen Street, where Propeller has some new and renewed things on the go. First is a beer that was released last week in the California Common style, a medium-bodied ale, traditionally fermented with a lager yeast strain that can withstand the higher temperatures favored by ale yeasts. Propeller’s version of this classic is called Sacramento Common and it’s 5.5% ABV, with a rich amber color and 39 IBUs provided by Northern Brewer hops, which are also traditionally the only hops used in this style. Toasty and caramel notes from the malts mingle with light fruits and lingering bitterness from the hops to yield a slightly malty and sweet but not-too-heavy beer.

• Next, released this past Wednesday, is a beer in a very modern style that sees the clove and banana characteristics of German-style wheat beers meet heavy late hopping with modern hop varieties a la a West Coast IPA. The term for the style is also the name of this new beer from Propeller: Hopfenweisse. Generously late-hopped with dank Simcoe and wine-y Nelson Sauvin, you’re apt to taste passion fruit and gooseberry with some tropical fruit and banana. Medium bodied and carbed up nice and high, it’s a hazy golden yellow color. Although pushing 48 IBUs, you should find the mouthfeel and fruity tropical flavors mitigate the bitterness of this refreshing, 5.8% ABV beer. Both of these beers are available at the taproom for pints and, we presume, growler fills as well.

• Moving on, as part of the rollout of their updated brand, Propeller has revisited the recipe for their stalwart Double IPA. Now in 650 mL bottles for 30% more beer, we’re also told they’re adding dry hops at 300% of the old rate! It’s already available in Propeller’s bottle shop and we expect you’ll see it in the same places you saw the original version, including select NSLC locations and the private stores in Halifax.

• Finally (!), during last weekend’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, Propeller held the Brew Patriot Love competition, and they are happy to announce that Brew-Deau Canadian Cream Ale from Trider’s was voted the most Canadian beer. A fun contest, where the beers were judged not solely on taste, but on the story, packaging, and “Canadian” qualities, Brew-deau beat out a dozen other beers to take the title. Congratulations to Trider’s, and learn a bit more about the event here, and if you dispute the results, get ready to brew your own for next year’s event, to coincide with next May’s Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax.

• Along with the return of crowd favourites Hu John Hops and Luster earlier this week, Fredericton’s TrailWay also released another new entry in the ever-growing hoppy lineup. Apeel is a supremely sessionable (4% ABV) brew marketed as a contrast to Luster. With more malt character than most of their highly-hopped beers (and a dark tan colour in the body as a result, which definitely is a change from the pale yellow colour we expect from many TW beers!), there’s still plenty of hops popping, thanks to large additions of Ekuanot and Ella, giving “an amazing depth of fruit, berries, and orange peel”. Available on tap everywhere, and in cans at the brewery only (depending on stock, some may pop up at a few ANBL stores).

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new beers on the go as well as the results of their contest to name the beer they’re dedicating to the Tall Ships visit in mid-August. That winning submission was the appropriately nautical Three Sheets Cream Ale and, quite coincidentally, it was suggested by one Harry MacDonald, who also happened to be Boxing Rock’s very first paying customer four years ago! Look for that beer to make its appearance very shortly before the ships sail into port.

• Meanwhile, the two other beers on the BR docket this week are brand new releases that arose out of this year’s Black Box Challenge. The winning beer, Brian Harvey’s Grafted has already come and gone, but as we mentioned in our report on the event, Henry and Emily told us several of the finalist beers were impressive enough to be considered for production batches. First is Grand Mariner, a Belgian IPA by Kelly Costello. You may recognize Kelly’s name as she currently reigns over Good Robot’s BetaBrew system and is cranking out small batches of unique and tasty treats for their taproom on the regular. The original version of this beer actually had the highest tasting score in the Black Box Challenge event. It’s lower than most IPAs on the ABV side, at a sessionable 5.0%, and it features Bravo and Wild Turkey hops, the latter being a wild cultivar sourced from a hop farm in Ontario. The beer has also been “dry-hopped” with an addition of sweet orange peel after primary fermentation for a perfume of citrus. The second new beer comes in a style we’re not sure has been seen in Nova Scotia, or even Atlantic Canada, at least not any time recently. Tropic Thunder, brewed in collaboration with Jason Currie, is a Tropical Stout, a style that grew up in hot climates where darker beers are found to be quite refreshing. The style is known for marrying roasty dark malt flavours with sweetness and fruitiness while keeping the bitterness well in check. Tropic Thunder delivers all that in a 6.0% ABV package, along with a citrus note from sweet orange peel to finish it all off. Both of these winning beers have been bottled in 650 mL bombers and will be available at the brewery and the private stores in Halifax.

• And rounding out the Boxing Rock news for this week, be sure to listen to the 902 BrewCast which dropped on #902sday this week, when Kyle, Phil, and Tony visited the Shelburne brewery to learn about their beginnings, struggles and successes, and even tease a new brand beer coming in the next couple of weeks.

• Lazy Bear, located in Smiths Cove, NS, has released a brand new beer this week named Punch. Featuring plenty of tropical hops, namely El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Olicana, the beer is big on taste, but small in alcohol, weighing in at 4.6% ABV. Yeast from Imperial Yeast was chosen for this beer, resulting in a hazy juice-bomb. Punch is available at the brewery for their Thursday night events, and will be at their stall at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market this weekend. Look for it on tap shortly at Battery Park too!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing Co has a new beer pouring in the city this weekend, Stonehammer Saison. Brewed in the traditional French style, using a simple Pilsner and Wheat malt bill, fermented with an iconic yeast, the spritzy and naturally spicy and fruity beer was complemented with a double round of Mandarina Bavaria dry hopping for extra citrus character. Drop by one of LCBC’s Uptown licensees for a pour, or visit the ANBL growler fill locations to grab it to go, possibly for enjoyment at the Stonehammer Geopark just outside of Saint John.

• Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has announced that they will soon begin filling growlers. From noon to midnight each day, a variety of their year-round and seasonal beers will be available to take away in the popular format. We’ll have more details when available.

• In a late addition to the blog, we are thrilled to announce that the first beer to age in the foedres installed at 2 Crows Brewing in Halifax will be available tomorrow. Crosswired, the 5.3% hazy and pale beer, fermented with both wine and beer yeasts, has been hanging out in the Calvados barrel for a couple of months, and is now ready for prime-time. Cans of the beer will be available exclusively at the brewery beginning tomorrow at noon, and are in short supply, so you are well-advised to get to the brewery this weekend to avoid disappointment. To learn more about Crosswired, check out our post on it from its release in April, and about the foedres from a post in May.

As always, we’ve also got some upcoming events you might want to consider checking out!

• For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to the sold-out Big Axe Craft Beer Festival tomorrow, have fun! Registration starts at 3 pm, so be sure to get there ahead of the 4 pm start time so that you’re ready to start enjoying the multiple varieties of beer, cider, and mead that will be pouring. If you’re in the area and missed out on tickets, fear not… next week we should have details on another beer festival happening in the near future, in the town of Woodstock!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting yet another beer event, with their Nine Locks Tap Takeover on Thursday, July 20th. Looks like the official tap list has not been released yet, but rest assured you’ll be seeing plenty of goodies from Nine Locks, and the event will run all day. As usual, no charge to attend, just pay by the pint!

• A reminder that Upstreet with be releasing Year 2 of De Novo next Thursday, July 20th. Their Anniversary beer, De Novo is a light mixed-fermentation (read: blend of several yeasts, including Brett) Saison that has spent the last month bottle-conditioning and is now ready for sale. Drop by the brewery that evening for a fun event and to try both Year 1 and 2 of De Novo, and some other special beers.

• On Saturday, July 22nd, drop by Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery for the latest screening of Sociable!, the Nova Scotia craft beer film. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand to chat about the film, and the growth in the NS beer landscape since filming. And in the spirit of community, Roof Hound has invited several other breweries to bring a keg of beer to showcase their wares, including nearby Lazy Bear, Yarmouth’s Heritage, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill, and Windsor’s Schoolhouse. And while there, be sure to try their Full Circle Pizza, which features sausages made from locally-raised pork, which was raised on RH’s spent grain.

• Tatamagouche is a beautiful town and home to a fantastic brewery, so it’s only fair that they’re getting their own beer festival! On Saturday, July 29th, the first North Shore Craft Brew Expo will be held at the North Shore Rec Centre from 6-11:30 pm. There will be at least 12 local breweries and one cidery attending; your ticket price of $42.55 (+ fee) will get you entry and five 4 oz drink tickets; additional drink tickets can be purchased for $2 each. Local food vendors will be onsite, and live music will be playing throughout the night, starting at 8 pm. Tickets are available here.

Hope you all have a great weekend! A few final things before we let you go…

Maybee now has their Orion, a 11.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale with maple syrup, available at the brewery for purchase in 750 mL corked-and-caged bottles.
North has re-released Little Beast, their 4% ABV “light lagered ale”, as well as a new batch of Malternate Reality (with this version being dry-hopped with Mosaic cryohops, and El Dorado).
– If you’re a fan of the citrus bomb that is DOA from Unfiltered you’ll be happy to know it’ll be back on tap at the brewery for fills and Charm School Pub for pints and fills as of this Friday at noon.

Wow, look what happened over the last couple of days… spring/summer actually arrived! Better late than never, right? We’re sure the sunny rays have helped those of you who were lucky enough to indulge in Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week recover, so it’s now time to dive right in to the usual geyser of beer news that’s been going on over the past week…

• The YellowBelly Brewpub has a new beer on tap, released late last week in conjunction with the NLC’s Beer Expo which took place over the weekend. Ryan’s Fancy IPA was brewed with 2-row, Munich and Carastan malts, and hopped with generous amounts of “an assortment of varietals”, both in the kettle and dry-hop additions. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 60 IBUs, it has a firm supporting malt backbone, and is described as “resinously bitter” by the brewery. It’s on tap now at the brewpub.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery has one heck of a big beer out, brewed to recognize the traditions of Maritime sailors. Fog Bank is a rich, chocolatey stout that was aged for five months in rum barrels. The result is an 11% ABV monster of a beer, with vanilla and dark fruit notes, and a deceptively “smooth, mellow finish”… that should become even smoother with some age. It’s available at the brewery for 13 oz pours, and also in bottles, giving you the opportunity to pick up a few; try one now, and throw a couple more in your cellar to try again in several months… or even longer!

• Apparently not tired out by NSCBW one bit, Good Robot is releasing a brand new beer, and a new iteration of another. Let’s start with the new one, the first in their new SMaSH series (single-malt and single-hop), SMaSH No. 1: Dr. Rudi. Brewed with 2-row and the Dr. Rudi hop variety (yes, that’s a thing), it was fermented with White Labs East Coast Ale yeast. With aromas of “cantaloupe, citrus, honey, and pine”, and fruity and herbal flavours, it weighs in at 6% ABV and 47 IBUs. Gluten-reduced like all GR beers, it will be available Monday-ish at GR’s taproom, and will be popping up at fine tap accounts in the HRM.

• Moving along, today Good Robot is releasing version 3.0 of their well-loved-but-difficult-to-type Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale.  This take features Kenya Nyeri Mahiga coffee beans from Java Blend, cold-brewed by Low Point Coffee Co., giving the beer “notes of cocoa, citrus and stone fruit”, according to the brewery. Aside from the coffee used, the rest of the brew is similar to previous releases; 5.5% ABV, 32 IBUs, also available at the brewery and at select tap accounts.

• The third and final beer in Roof Hound‘s Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series is now available. Harvey Wallbanger is an American Wheat Ale brewed with both Pilsner and Wheat malt, with orange and vanilla beans added during the brew process (juice at the end of the boil, and zest and vanilla bean in secondary) to give you the aromas and flavours normally associated with the classic mixed drink (traditionally made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano liqueur). Easy drinking at just 4.4% ABV and 16 IBUs, it’s on tap now at the brewery; drop by tomorrow, and you can try it in a mini-flight of all three in the Cocktail Series – joining previous releases Mojito Sour and Fuzzy Navel IPA – for just $5.

TrailWay hasn’t been slowing down with their “small-batch” (read: 10 bbl) releases, as they’ve brought back Ellipse, a crowd-favourite 6.3% ABV American IPA that was originally released early this year. Inspired by the “intense orange-citrus character” from large additions of the very popular Amarillo hop variety, some Columbus was also thrown in to provide some “dankness and spiciness” to complement. Luckily, this batch is also available in cans, which can be picked up only at the brewery taproom (along with growlers) for the time-being. Drop by today for your hazy-and-juicy fix!

• In other Fredericton news, Picaroons is launching a new beer series today, showcasing a brew with a static grain bill but ever-changing hop profile. Pivot is an Imperial IPA that will feature a simple grist of Canadian 2-row and a touch of Toasted Wheat (to 8% ABV) that will allow the changing variety of hops to be front and center. Two batches have already been brewed: Pivot #1 will be released today on tap only, at all four Picaroons locations in NB, and was hopped with Warrior, Azacca, and Hallertau Blanc, giving notes of “melon, pineapple, bubblegum, and white grapes”, according to the brewery; Pivot #2 will be released next week in bottles only, throughout the province. The #2 features Warrior and Azacca only, with a larger dry-hop addition this time around. For bottle purchases, look for the batch number on the side of the label; you can head to this site to check out which hops were used in each batch.

• After an initial release at last weekend’s Full House event for NSCBW, Lunn’s Mill is officially launching their latest American IPA, Purple Grain. A gold-coloured brew featuring a “balanced malt body with notes of honey”, it was hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Citra for “tangy and slightly spicy” flavors.  This 5.5% ABV, Prince-themed beer is available for growler fills at the brewery, but only a small amount is left, so drop by during their opening hours (or request a growler delivery)!

• We’d love to tell you about the Jade Moon APA from Tidehouse, but there’d be no point in that because it’s gone already, thanks to its presence at both last weekend’s Craft Beer Full House and the Timeraiser event at the Halifax Central Library this past Monday. While we wait to see whether that one makes a reappearance, however, the gang has two even newer beers for us this week. First we’ve got another in the APA style, ‘Insert Clever Name Here’ Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV beer with 56 or so IBU, 97% of which came from post-boil additions of pungent Simcoe and Citra hops. The grist sees 2-Row supplemented with Maris Otter and Munich, which should give it a solid malt base against which passionfruit, lemon zest and light pineapple notes will contrast. This one will be available for fills at the brewery this weekend and is also slated to be on tap at Halifax’s new noodle sensation, Water & Bone, posthaste.

• Also debuting this weekend is the first in a new series of beers brewed by Shannon Higgins (née Rockwell), partner of Tidehouse principal Shean Higgins. Rockwell Series vol. I is a truly big DIPA that comes in at 9%. It’s been heavily hopped (“to high heaven”) with modern American hop varieties Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra giving notes of orange, mango and peaches. Shannon also tells us it has a creamy body and thirst-quenching dry finish and it’s the beer she “wants to drink”. We suspect she won’t be alone on that one. Look for it at the brewery today and Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market tomorrow for fills for sure, and possibly on tap elsewhere, if we don’t drink it all first.

Garrison has hopped aboard the canning train after 20 years of their beers being available exclusively in bottle form (outside of kegs, of course!). One of their first beers, Tall Ship, is available now in 473 mL cans, with several more brands – including Seaport Blonde  available this weekend, and Juicy! DIPA following in the near future. Featuring new label designs, the NSLC and Halifax private stores will be the first to receive all three beers (outside of the brewery), but they will also be selling in NB and Newfoundland (and at least one brand in PEI, and parts West as well) by this summer. We asked Garrison man-about-town Jeff Green about the addition of cans to the Garrison brand, here’s what he had to share: “The people have spoken. Cans, specifically the 473ml (16 oz.) cans continue to grow in popularity and we are pumped to finally be bringing something to the party. Cans allow us to offer some favourites like Tall Ship in a second format, move certain seasonals like Seaport Blonde into a better pack for and serve up some new beauties like Juicy! in a more portable, chillable, crushable (see what I did there) package. We also get to design some cool new labels and have fun with the huge array of textures and design highlights available from the great folks at FastTrack Packaging. After 20 years exclusively in bottle format, we are SUPER excited to see what the future holds with cans!”

• Garrison is also proud to release the first of two special releases to celebrate 20 years of brewing craft beer in Halifax. Launched yesterday at the brewery, 20th Anniversary Triple IPA is a hybrid beer, lying somewhere between an extra-strong Imperial IPA and an American Barleywine. It features a simple grain bill of 100% Maritime Pale Ale Malt, with Glacier, Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado, and Crystal hops in the boil and Crystal and Centennial for dry-hop. Cold conditioned for two full seasons, it weighs in at a hefty 9% and 100 IBU. Despite the very strong malt presence, it still manages to be hop-forward, with earthy, floral, fruity hop flavors, fruity yeast esters, and sweet malt notes, including caramel flavours developed during an extended boil. This beer is available now at the brewery in bottles and you’ll also be able to find it by next week at the private stores in Halifax and, eventually, in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Nine Locks will soon be releasing Ginger Rye, a full-bodied, red-colored ale. Brewed with an unspecified amount of Rye and Wheat malt, it features “subtle caramel malts, and a restrained ginger presence on the palate”, according to the brewery. Finishing with some “assertive spiciness” thanks to the addition of real ginger in the brewing process, it clocks in at 5.6% ABV and 15 IBUs, and will be available soon at the brewery only, on tap. And keep your eyes on this space for upcoming details on their first SMaSH beer, brewed earlier this week.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn has re-released The Yellow Dart, a beer we haven’t seen since the brewery originally launched last fall. This India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) has been tweaked slightly in the hop department, now including Vic Secret, Columbus, and Huell Melon, providing lots of tropical character in the aroma. Out just in time for the hot days we’ve finally been experiencing, it’s the perfect summer slammer you’ve been waiting for. At 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it’s available now at the brewery taproom for pints and growlers; keep your eyes open on your favourite Foghorn tap accounts, as it may pop up there as well.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new releases out now, and a special launch this weekend for one of them. Dark as Keji is the Black IPA we told you about last month, and is now in wide release. The 6.5% ABV beer is available in sixpacks at the NSLC and private stores, and of course at the brewery in Shelburne. But what better way to enjoy it than under a dark sky in Keji itself? Tomorrow evening at the Sky Circle at Kejimkujik National Park, there will be samples of the beer available from 8PM, followed by a Dark Sky look at the stars at 9:30PM presented by Parks Canada, Friends of Keji, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. And for every sixpack of Dark as Keji sold, Boxing Rock is donating 50 cents to FoK.

• Boxing Rock’s second release this week is the winner of their Second Annual Black Box Challenge. Homebrewer Brian Harvey, who brews under the moniker 1029 Brewing, had used the ingredients provided to put together Grafted, an Orange Peel Sour, which garnered solid marks from the judges, and took the top prize aided by his unique presentation. He visited the brewery in Shelburne last month to brew the full-sized batch, and it is now available to the rest of us. A sour mash was performed to get the beer started on the right foot, with orange peel used in both the mash and the boil for an extra citrus kick. The 5.5% ABV beer has been bottled, and is available now at the private stores in HRM, with growlers available at the Market and brewery. Grab one today to see what all the fuss is about!

Unfiltered‘s popular SMaSH DIPA, Double Orange Ale (7.5% ABV), featuring everyone’s favourite hop, Citra, is back again starting today; drop by Charm School for a pint and/or growler fill.

• Released last night at the brewery in Rose Valley, BarNone has a brand new beer out, using all Island-grown barley. Grown by the Craig family in Tryon, it was malted by Horton Ridge in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and sent back across the bridge for use. Hopped as a Pale Ale, the malt is the key in this 5.0% beer, with the subtle earthy character of the base malt shining through nicely, even giving a slight spice character. Grab Try On next Growler Night at the brewery (Thursdays from 6), and look for it at BN’s regular taps on the Island shortly.

• The St. John’s Beer Tours website went live on the weekend, and tickets are selling fast! The first tours of the season will be held Friday, June 2nd, and typically run in the afternoons of Thursday-Sunday each week throughout the summer. There are deep discounts for the first tours of the season, so be sure to snag one today. Depending on the tour type chosen (anything from Axes & Ales, Scuff & Scoff, Ultimate Townie Brew Tour, or Hoppy Highlights), participants visit different spots in St. John’s and nearby Quidi Vidi. They are also holding a contest on Facebook, to win a day in the brewery with Mill Street St John’s Head Brewer Dan Boldrini.

The PEI Brewing Co. will be opening up a new location for pint purchases and growlers-to-go at the PEI Factory Shops at Cows Creamery. The Beer Station will basically act as an extended, miniature version of the brewery’s taproom on Kensington Rd., with six taps available (featuring five PEIBC core beers, and one rotating seasonal), and a small retail section with various clothing products available for purchase. Customers can enjoy a pint on-site, as well as several food items from a limited menu, and can pick up a variety of cans and bottles (as well as growler fills) to take home. Look for the Beer Station to open by the end of this month.

• Earlier this year, Central City Brewing in Surrey, BC, brewed up a collaboration beer with a brewery from each province. Each of the 12 beers has been brewed at Central City’s Surrey brewery specially for this collaboration and embodies the region they represent. A brewer/representative from each collaborating brewery joined the Central City brewers to brew the recipe that they helped design. These have been trickling out to the stores in each province, either at the provincial stores, or private shops. Highlighting the beers produced with our local breweries, with the full list available here:  Picaroons collaborated on Restored Hop(e) ESB, inspired by the province’s motto Spem reduxit, meaning “Hope is restored”. Garrison came in with “New” Scottish Ale, a lightly peated Scottish Ale. PEI Brewing Company brought together local ingredients for Bière d’ici Honey Ale, using PEI honey and Maritimes-grown hops, a lighter take on the Bière de Garde style. Quidi Vidi Brewing Company went German for Hop To The East Hefeweizen, with new tropical-aromatic hops, for a unique twist on this classic style. To celebrate the releases, they will be holding tasting events at each of the participating breweries during the second week of June: Monday June 12th at Quidi Vidi, Thursday June 15th at PEI Brewing Company, Friday June 16th at Picaroons, and Saturday June 17th at Garrison. Look for more details on these events in the coming weeks. And look for the 12-pack of beer at your local ANBL now, and coming some to the PEILCC and NLC. In Nova Scotia, while the NSLC will not be carrying it, Bishop’s Cellar will have it for sale in June.

Remember to check ahead if your local beer store or brewery is open for this long weekend. We suggest stocking up early and often, just to be sure…

• There are no solid details available as of publishing time, but we have it on pretty good authority that Stillwell‘s Beergarden will be opening this weekend. Before you start beating down their door, however, peep an eye to their Social Media page, as well as the Beergarden page on their site, the banner will proclaim the good news. As it is an outdoor spot, it is very weather-dependent.

• Saint John’s Grannan’s Seafood is holding a special tasting with Picaroons on Wednesday, May 24th. Featuring six courses paired with six Picaroons beers – hosted by Chef Johnny High and Picaroons’ Ian Covey – the opening reception starts at 6:30 pm, with dinner starting at 7:00. Tickets are $50 (+ tax and tip), and can be reserved by calling 506-634-1555.

Lion & Bright is holding a Cider Tap Takeover next Thursday, May 25th, from 6-10 pm. Six cider-makers (Annapolis Valley, Bulwark, Chainyard, Meander River, Planters Ridge, and Red Rover) will be pouring a total of  at least 12 different ciders; “fresh bar bites” will be available, with a live DJ providing your tunes. Early bird tickets are $15 each, and include eight 3 oz samples (additional drink tickets will be available at four for $8); during the first hour, and also allow you entry at 6 pm for a one hour meet and greet with representatives from each cider producer. If you don’t pre-purchase tickets, no worries! You can still drop by after 7 pm to buy drink tickets as you go.

• On Thursday, May 25th, the 85th Annual Apple Valley Blossom Festival will be holding Blossom Brew Night at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market from 5-9 pm. Your $25 ticket (buy now online; $35 if purchased at the door) includes a souvenir glass and your first six beer tickets, with more available for purchase at the event. A variety of local breweries, cideries, and distilleries will be pouring. Food will also be available for sale on-site.

• There are still tickets available for next weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, at the Moncton Coliseum. Friday, May 26th 7:30-10PM, and Saturday 2:30-5PM and 7:30-10PM. Your $55 ticket (only $45 for the Sat afternoon session) gets you unlimited sampling of 150 beer from 70 breweries across the Maritimes and beyond. Grab yours today.

Mill Street St. John’s is hosting their Spring Brewmaster’s Dinner May 31st at 6PM. They have invited Mill Street Ottawa’s Brewmaster Tim Hulley to join in the fun, and he will be bringing two new beers with him from the nation’s capital. Tickets are $69.99, and can be reserved by calling 709-383-7070.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar got their hands on a bottle of this year’s Samuel Adams Utopias (the white whale 27% ABV beer), and they are holding a tasting of said beer on Saturday, June 10th at the brewpub. At 10:45 am, before the pub opens, they will be passing out 18 tickets (one ticket per person, first come, first served), which will entitle you to purchase a 1 oz pour of Utopias for $11. When the bottle is empty (which will be shortly after 11 am, when the T&B opens), all tickets will be entered in a draw; the winner will receive the bottle as a souvenir.

• Ticket’s for this year’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival have gone on sale this morning, being held August 11 & 12. Featuring sessions Friday and Saturday 7-9:30PM and Saturday 2-4:30PM (with VIP tickets available for an extra hour before the event opens), there will be more than 300 products from around Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the world. Brewery details are a bit thin at the moment, but last year’s list should give you an idea on what to expect. The VIP sessions always sell out, so if you’re so inclined, grab those today! Add too a bonus $5 off the entry price if purchased before the end of May.

Looks like that’s “it”… have a great long weekend!