Boxing Rock Brewing

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It’s damn near October; how the heck did that happen?! We’ll let you ruminate on that one whilst you peruse our weekly round-up of beer and beer events news in the region. Plenty of new beers on the go this week as breweries continue their transition from, “dear god make it stop,” summer production to, “let’s have some fun in the brewhouse again,” fall shenanigans. Meanwhile, plenty of Oktoberfest events are still going on or yet to come, and though we didn’t have any submissions this week, we know the pumpkin beers are still flowing. Grab one (…or maybe a Pilsner, if that’s what you prefer) and read on!

Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin has packaged a beer released earlier this month, strongly influenced by one of Brewer Dan Tanner’s favourite wines. Pinotage is one of South Africa’s signature grape varietals, a cross of the Pinot noir and Hermitage varietals, developed in the first half of the 20th century. The wines made with Pinotage are dark red, with smoky and earthy flavours, and sometimes having banana, tropical fruit, and possibly acetone/solvent notes (though these are discouraged and avoided when possible). Starting from their base Porter beer, Tanner aged the beer in highly charred barrels that once held Ironworks Dark Rum, with extra fruit notes from Black Raspberry puree, kicked up with fresh Blackberries and Blueberries. With contribution from the base beer, barrel, and fruit additions, look for vanilla, caramel, light smoke, roast, chocolate, with deep berry character. The 6.3% ABV Porter [Oak Aged & Berry Addition] is available at the brewery and farmers markets now in bottles and limited growler fills, and may be one of the offerings at their Chester taproom, poised to open at the end of October. Tanner & Co on Duke will be located (coincidentally, right?) at 59 Duke Street in the Village of Chester, and feature 20 seats, with a whole bevvy of their own beers, complemented by guest taps from the region, and plenty of excellent wine once the licensing is in place. Another of their beers which *may* still be around at the time of celebration is their Double IPA, back in the lineup after a six-month hiatus. Maxing out their larger system this time around, this 8.0% ABV beer features a dry finish, accentuated with lots of kettle and dry hops (their biggest ever!) to the tune of 60 IBU, with Amarillo, Centennial, and Citra throughout, for a citrus bomb with additional floral and earthy notes. Available now at the brewery as well!

We mentioned it was coming last week and now that it’s out we’d like to double-down on a recommendation that you give it a listen. September’s 902BrewCast tasting episode has the gang blind tasting 8 (no wait, 9!) Czech- and German-style Pils(e)ners from around the region (and one from beyond) and documenting their experience as they went. We think it’s an excellent introduction to the practice of throwing away your preconceived notions and tasting blind with others, describing what you’re sensing and talking it through. Whether you’re a budding beer geek or an old palate, it’s an excellent exercise for your senses, your descriptive abilities, and your tasting mindset. It’s also a bunch of fun as you can tell from listening to these jokers do it!

Last Friday Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook put on a new beer before closing their doors for the week on Sunday night to head to town for a series of 6 pop-ups on Tuesday at locations around St. John’s. So we’re not entirely sure this beer is still available, but we’re going to tell you about it anyway – if it didn’t sell out, you can go try it, if it did sell out, you know it’s a straight banger and you’ll want to keep an eye out for the next time it’s available. Old Hat is an honest and gimmickless American Pale Ale hopped with Amarillo, Idaho 7, and some BC-grown Cascade. Expect a classic floral, citrus and piney hop character in flavor and aroma, a lowish bitterness and a light body, all in a fairly sessionable 5% ABV package. Only available at the brewery, definitely for fills, possibly for pints.

The bad boys of Niche Brewing in Hanwell have emerged from the summer madness and now seem to be back on the road of new and interesting releases. This week they’ve got one called Colours of Shade hitting the taps, a mixed-fermentation Saison with black currant. As you might expect, this one was fermented with Niche’s own house culture of Saison and Brettanomyces strains, meaning that at some level it’s going to taste like a “Niche beer,” but the very nature of such a blend of microorganisms means that it’s likely to express itself a little differently every time it’s used, so some of the magic is seeing how each beer is different. In this one, the yeast and fruit come together to provide a pleasant tartness, with some Brett funk to complement. The color is a beautiful purple thanks to the addition of black currant puree late in fermentation. Aged briefly in stainless, it comes in at 6.2% and would be a great choice for fruity/funky beer fans and wine lovers alike. Coming soon to  The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Stillwell, The Auction House, Graystone Brewing and the Laundromat Expresso Bar (Marky’s), with a couple of kegs also making their way to the ANBL growler station at their Moncton North store. And if you’re at one of those places you might also find one of the last few kegs of their Intergalactic NEIPA on tap as well! 

Our first Oktoberfest beer this week, as Big Spruce launched Schnitz & Gigglez, their take on the malty-yet-dry amber Lager. Brewed with 100% German malts (including Pilsner, Munich and Vienna) and hopped lightly with GR Magnum and Tettnang, the wort was fermented with Escarpment Lab’s Biergarten (“sourced from a venerable Munich brewery”) and then lagered for about 8 weeks before packaging. With aromas of toffee and brown bread, and “hints of dried apricot and candied orange”, the beer is full-bodied, with a lightly-sweet finish. It weighs in at 6.3% ABV (at the upper end for the style), and is available right now on tap at the Sprucetique in Nyanza (and soon at some of your favourite Big Spruce accounts).  

In Edmundston, Petit-Sault is leaning towards the hoppier side of things with their latest release, Double Vision. This is the brewery’s first crack at the Double IPA style, and it’s a big one at 8.8% ABV. Intensely hopped with Vic Secret, Azacca, Columbus and Mosaic, the beer has plenty of malt backbone to balance, and finishes firmly bitter (60 IBUs). There is only a limited supply available, and it IS in cans… however, the only way to get it is at the brewery, so either get ready for a road-trip, or maybe call in a favour or two to friends/family who live around that area of New Brunswick!

Testify! Stillwell Brewing has announced that their barrel-aged sour beer with peaches, Preach, is being released today. This year’s version is their most peach-saturated batch yet, featuring a whopping 300 g/L of whole peaches. The “base” beer is a blend of four different barrel-fermented Saisons (who gets to decide which Saisons to use in these blends, and is Stillwell Brewing looking to add people into that role? Asking for a friend…), and went through a refermentation on the peaches (that’s 600 lbs!) and continued aging on the fruit for about five months, before bottling at the beginning of the year. They’re describing the final product as “bright, fresh, soft and fun”, and if it’s similar to the last batch, we can confirm that this is accurate! Grab it on tap and/or in bottles at Stillwell today from noon. And with their Beergarden still closed due to the crane issue during Dorian, be sure to drop by and show them some love at HQ.

Few new/returning beers coming out of Propeller today, proving that they’re continuing to stay very busy at the brewery. Returning is Nocturne, their 6.7% ABV Black IPA that is brewed in celebration of Halifax’s Nocturne, “an evening of art and wonder” in mid-October that Propeller sponsors. Luckily they release the beer weeks ahead of time, giving you many chances to consume a pint or two. Speaking of the beer, it is dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight, giving “complex tropical fruit and pine hop aromas” to go with the flavours of dark chocolate and coffee. Also out today is a tasting-room only beer, Lagered Ale. The name gives you an idea of what this one will be: “easy-drinking, balanced and refreshing”, according to the brewery, and at just 4.5% ABV, it definitely seems to fit the mould. Expect hints of “sweet melon, stone fruits and citrus” in this one. Finally, tonight’s cask is Pumpkin Ale with Vanilla (4.5% ABV), which will be tapped at 5 pm as usual.

Not too far away, Garrison Brewing has a couple new releases of their own, both brewed in celebration of, yep, Oktoberfest. Let’s start with their Oktoberfest/Marzen, Gettin’ Ziggy. Malty and clean, this 5.5% ABV Lager has “grainy and toffee flavours and a quick and soft bitterness”, and pours a reddish-copper colour. Next is a Wheat Ale named It’s a Wienerful Wheat, which they brewed in collaboration with local radio station Jack 92.9. This 4.6% ABV, 12 IBUs golden-coloured brew is light and crisp, with aromas and flavours of “sweet malt and bready wheat, with spicy notes and a mild, citrusy finish”; each can sold will see $0.50 go to the SPCA. Both beers are available now, at the Garrison taproom and private liquor stores in the HRM.

Lots of news from Tatamagouche Brewing this week, with the return of their Lagerhosen as well as two bottle releases on the go. For those who aren’t familiar, Lagerhosen is an amber lager that Tata has been making for quite awhile (our first mention of it was in 2014). Timed for release in the fall during Oktoberfest season, there are two variants, a regular and a dry-hopped. Running at just about 5% ABV, it’s brewed with Hallertauer Mittelfruh hops for spicy and floral notes. The dry-hopped version features additions of both Strisselspalt and Czech Saaz for an even more intense noble character. Find both of these in cans at the brewery for sure, and hopefully also your other favorite locations for grabbing Tata brews. Or, if you’re planning to be at the 40th North Shore Oktoberfest this weekend you’ll definitely find it there!

Meanwhile, those who missed out on the annual Tata Tap Takeover at Battery Park a couple weeks ago may have been kicking themselves when they read our post that week mentioning some of the special kegs that were pouring that night. Well fear not gentle reader, at least some of those beers are being packaged for wider release and the first two, both considered entries in Tata’s “Weird Beer” series, are ready to go this week! First up is a barrel-aged rye (quick! someone call Tony!) saison they’ve named Rooted. All kinds of things went in to this beer, which started with a rye saison with Brettanomyces that was then blended with a neutral Berliner-style sour for some tartness before being barrel-aged. Described as a beer that “connects you to the earth,” you’ll find plenty of flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel including some spice from the rye, plenty of tart lemon and other citrus, and a pithy bitterness on the finish. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, it pours a bright banana color, and slightly cloudy, with polka dot lacing; if you get your hands on some expect a complex and challenging experience for your senses. Find it in 750 mL bottles at the brewery and hopefully at private stores in the city as well.

And if you lean more (or also) towards the bigger beer styles, Tata’s also got you covered with their second bottle release of the week, Toro. A massive Belgian Quadrupel bourbon barrel-aged with Brett, it’s a monster at 11.2% ABV and, where it’s been packaged in 500 mL bottles we suggest you bring a friend and/or plan for a night in when you try it (as friends of the blog like to say, a “movie beer”: best enjoyed on the couch while checking out the latest superhero flick). Like the Rooted, there’s lots going on in this deep coppery-orange beer, with plenty of dark fruit flavors complemented by sweet and malty notes and maybe even a little bit of toffee and chocolate presence. Although there’s certainly some heat from the alcohol, it’s not overpowering, as it’s been balanced by the malt profile and caramel sweetness. You can also safely expect some additional oak character from the barrels and some of the notes that only brett can provide. Definitely available from the brewery, we hope it’ll be available in the city as well as time goes on.

Speaking of Oktoberfests in the region, the Mount Pearl Oktoberfest is this weekend, and several of the breweries attending have released beers they’ll be pouring at the event, as well as doing wider releases. First up, host brewery YellowBelly has offered up a Helles named Schweine fliegen (we’ll leave the translation as an exercise to the reader). At 5.2% ABV, it features a simple malt bill of Pilsner, Munich, and CaraPils malts, and hopped entirely with Hersbrucker hops. Filtered clear, as is tradition, the light beer leans towards the malt side rather than hops, though both sides shine through with pleasant biscuit notes and Noble-like earth and spice from the hops. In addition to at the Fest, Schweine fliegen is pouring now at the brewpub in downtown St. John’s.

A short taxi or bus ride from George Street is Quidi Vidi, where the brewery by the same name is fully embracing Fest season by releasing Oktoberfest Marzen.This 5.5% ABV beer is malt-driven, and supremely chuggable. While not available in 1 Litre Maß at the brewery overlooking the gut, it is being released in tall cans there and around town. So grab two and make your own Oktoberfest at home (if you can’t make it out to Mount Pearl)! 

A little further out of town is Port Rexton on the Bonavista Peninsula, who are visiting the Avalon this weekend with their own German beer, this one in the Pilsner style. German Pilsner is a 6.2% ABV crisp and clean beer, using Hallertau Mittelfruh, Tettnang, and Strisselspalt hops, and fermented with Escarpment’s Isar Lager yeast. In addition to the Craft’ernoon Experience tomorrow, it will be available in the PRBC Retail Shop on Torbay Road, keep an eye on their social media for when exactly it is tapped, so you can fill up your Siphon or Stuetzla! 

And a couple more notes about PRBC this week: they are hosting a Brewers Dinner at Peach Cove Inn in nearby Trinity East, on October 11th. Featuring 6 courses of food and an accompanying beer (or is it the other way around?), this will surely be a fun intimate environment to sit down with both chef and brewer to talk about the flavours in both food and drink. Limited to just 20 tickets, best to contact your via phone at 709-436-2069. And if working for a brewery has been on your radar, then look no further! PRBC is hiring a part-time delivery driver to join their team. Looking to fill about 20 hours worth of work, though there may be a potential for more hours in a packaging capacity at the brewery. Send Nicole your resume today, or pop by the brewery to learn more!

And while not out quite in time for the Oktoberfest in their backyard, Landwash Brewery has teased that they will be releasing a Munich-style Helles in the next few weeks. More info on that when the time is right, but in the meantime they’re still bringing the German flair this weekend with their One Wave Blonde (which features lots of German Saphir hops), as well as their Brackish Sour Ale (heavily influenced by the German Gose style). Cans of both are available at the brewery if you cannot get out to the Oktoberfest this weekend.

Today is “Meet the Motherfuckers” day at Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax as they’ve brought back their pair of aggro-named sour beers. Sour Motherfucker is a little different this time around, with no Brett or barrel-aging involved, but it’s still a tart cherry wheat beer that should be plenty refreshing and a little dangerous, weighing in at 6.5% ABV. Fruity Motherfucker on the other hand is described as a 7% ABV “apricot, pink guava and tangerine IPA,” with plenty of fruit and, since it’s coming from Unfiltered and it’s an IPA, no doubt plenty of hops! Find both of these for fills and pints and in cans at the brewery from noon today along with what’s left of the cans of DOA and also some new branded merchandise.

What’s on the go this weekend? Peep here for the fresh info!

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing is making a foray across the harbour today for a takeover at Hop Yard Halifax on Gottingen Street. Featuring 10 taps from the brewery, including Rampant Lion NEIPA, Karate Laser SIPA, Bush Berry Haskap Cider, Taken for Granted Mead, and their brand new Sound Check West Coast IPA there should be something for everyone. Head down for an afternoon pint or plan to stay for several and a meal, there will be live music starting at 8 PM.

Good Robot’s annual celebration of all things puppers is this weekend, with their Hair of the Dog event at the Garrison Grounds in Halifax. From noon daily, there is a beer garden, events throughout the day, food and dog-friendly merchandise and paraphernalia, with the highlight of Saturday night being an airing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Your $12 entrance fee gets you your first drink (beer or other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage), and access to all of the fun. One of those beers may be the brand new Hope Nation Saison, which we mentioned in last week’s post. Good news for dog Aunts and Uncles, no pupper is required, and please note that entry is restricted to those pups and people who play nice with new friends. 

Just a couple more things before we send you on your way today…

Boxing Rock teamed up with frequent collaborator World Tea House’s Phil Holmans to brew up Citrodora, a 6.5% ABV IPA with a healthy dose of lemon verbena tea. Look for that on tap at the Legendary Taproom in downton Shelburne, as well as the Agricola Street bottle shop in Local Source Market in Halifax. In case you haven’t already grabbed your tickets for the Highway 103 Tap Takeover happening tomorrow, now’s your chance to avoid disappointment!

King Street Beer in Bridgewater is releasing the latest of their Lahave River Beers, collaborations with local homebrewers and fans. Hawaiian Explosion is a Pineapple IPA, featuring moderate bitterness and tropical floral hops. Grab it from 6:30PM tonight!

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is Zagging while many are Ziggying (sorry not sorry), and releasing Pony Boy, a British Golden Ale described as “clean and malt-forward beer with a biscuit aroma”. Drop by today to grab a sample, pint, or growler of this one.

Secret Cove in Port au Port Newfoundland is going dark this week, with The Port au Porter. A 6.0% Robust Porter, think chocolate and coffee thanks to the dark German malts used. Smooth as silk, and with a name like that, how can you not take a trip out to grab a pint?!

Sourwood has an interesting new cider available this weekend: Semitone (7.1% ABV) was spontaneously fermented on blueberries that had been used in the making of their last blueberry cider, Denim. Aged on the previously-used fruit for 2 months, it’s tasting slightly acidic, with a “much softer fruiting ad colour profile” compared to the first go-around with the fruit. 

If you’ve been around the Nova Scotia beer scene for a while you know that Uncle Leo’s is known for, among other things, making some fine German-style beers. And if you’re a fan of those you’ll know that this is the time of year when they drop their mixed 4-pack! Featuring Vohs Weizenbier (wheat beer), Nachtical Illusion (Schwarzbier), Ceilidh Ale (Kölsch), and Altbier (Alt, of course!), it’s a pretty great primer for those interested in trying German styles or a treat for those who are already in the know. Find it at NSLC locations in and around the HRM already (hopefully with more around the province added in coming weeks) and, word has it, at ANBL and PEILC locations as well!

Well, we’re officially knee-deep into September now, and we have the perfect way to ring in the almost-last day of summer – the announcement of umpteen different returning Pumpkin Ales! Whether that brings you vast excitement or the urge to scream “Nooooooooooooooo……!” at the top of your lungs, there’s no avoiding it. But hey, there’s plenty of other new beers out there, too (including Octoberfests, natch), so let’s stop wasting time being smart about Pumpkin beers and just get into it, shall we?

Might as well dive in with one of those Oktoberfest releases, as the actual Oktoberfest in Germany starts tomorrow, and will run for a little over two weeks. That means Bannerman Brewing is releasing their Oktoberfest/Marzen, Safe Bet, just in time. This 5.5% ABV lager was brewed with a blend of Vienna, Pilsner, and Caramel malts, giving a copper-coloured beer that is “full-bodied, with a pleasant malt sweetness and nutty finish”. You can drop by the brewery in St. John’s to get your fix, where it’s available for pints and growler fills. 

Not to be outdone over in Nova Scotia, Boxing Rock has brewed up Equinox, a “classic Bavarian Lager”. With a grist made up of Pilsner malt, the wort was hopped in the boil with German hop varieties, keeping the beer as close to traditional as possible. After a lagering period at near-freezing temperatures, the final beer is now ready for purchase. Sporting “toasted bread flavours, and a soft spiciness”, as well as herbal notes thanks to the hops used, it finishes clean and dry and is mighty drinkable at 5% ABV. Available on tap and in bottles at the brewery in Shelburne, with bottles following at your local NSLC later in the fall. Also, the brewery’s Kolsch, Puck Off, is back, with their latest batch being released in six packs, each of which comes with a Boxing Rock hockey puck.

If you tend to lean towards the darker side when it comes to beer styles, and maybe you’re just a little over-hopped by all those IPAs and such that continue to be popular at the bars, you’ll be happy to hear that Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken a break from hoppy ales to release their first Stout in some time. Not your everyday stout, Snak-Pak was brewed with banana, chocolate, and vanilla! To be more specific in the details, once fermentation was complete, banana puree, Cholaca (a form of pure liquid cacao) and pure vanilla extract were all added, at different stages. This 5.5% ABV dark beer is “well balanced, but all three flavours can be picked up individually”. Curious? Drop by the brewery today when they open, and grab a pint/growler/cans to render your verdict. 

Elliston, Newfoundland’s fall festival, Roots, Rants and Roars, is happening today and tomorrow, and two of the province’s breweries have teamed up to brew a collaboration beer to celebrate! This “co-fermented” Kveik Ale, named Cellar Season,  was designed with festival organizers and Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi, and features a blend of PRB’s house Kveik (Ebbegarden) and QV’s house Kveik (Voss), both of which are from Escarpment Labs. This light-bodied Kveik beer came out with plenty of yeast character, including “banana, melon and clove on the nose, with spice, berry, melon, and orange on the palate”. Sounds pretty delicious to us! It weighs in at a moderate 5.4% ABV, and will be available at the festival this weekend. You’ll also be able to grab it on tap at the PRB taproom as of today, if you can’t make it to the festival (but you should!). 

Clarenville and Shoal Harbour are located just off of the Trans-Canada Highway where the Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista Peninsulas meet, and for those heading to the Roots, Rants, and Roar festival from St. John’s, a perfect stopping point. As such, the Newfoundland Cider Company located in the community has teamed up with the RRR festival to release the Roots, Rants and Roars Beet Cider. With Elliston being the root cellar capital of the world, it only makes to play on that and choose a veggie that is found in cellars across the province, and nation. The apple cider base underwent a wild fermentation, and was aged in oak barrels for 3 months. The matured cider was then infused with locally-grown (and -stored) beets before packaging. The result is a lovely rosé coloured cider with a semi sweet and balanced flavour. It is available at the Clarenville bottle shop as well as at the Festival. Be sure your Road to RRR includes a stop by NCC’s bottles shop or tasting room this weekend!

Upstreet has thrown down the gauntlet by announcing that today’s Neon Friday release will be the last new beer in their hoppy series of the year, so they’re under pressure to make it a good one! It IS their biggest Neon Friday to date, as Neon Friday 2.07: Hazy Double IPA is, well… a hazy DIPA. Guess the name kinda stole the blog thunder. But still, it IS a big beer at 8% ABV, and was mega-hopped with Cryo Simcoe, Ekuanot, and Amarillo, giving a very juicy brew with aromas of “fresh-cut pineapple, honeydew melon, and soft mint, as well as flavours of orange, lime, and banana”. Available right now at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in all forms, and pints only in Nova Scotia. 

In Dieppe, NB, Flying Boats has just launched the latest in their Test Pilot one-off series, Test Pilot No. 6: New England IPA. The grist included a percentage of flaked wheat and oats, which help to add haziness, as well as boost the mouthfeel of the final beer. All hop additions were added in the whirlpool and dry-hop stages, and included large amounts of Vic Secret, Citra, and Mosaic. With 43 calculated IBUs, the beer has lots of tropical fruit flavours and aromas, and comes in at 6% ABV. Available at the brewery taproom in pints, growlers, and cans. 

While we’re in New Brunswick, let’s check in with another brewery that is releasing their take on the seasonal Oktoberfest style. Fredericton’s Grimross is today debuting their Oktoberfest Märzen-bier, a beer they’ve been lagering over the summer to have ready just in time for your home Oktoberfest celebrations (hey, drinking good beer at home is reason enough to celebrate, amirite?)! Brewed with a base of Munich malt, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager strain, it was packaged after a 2 month lagering period. It’s showing off some “rich, toasted malty notes, with old world herbal hop flavour”, while remaining highly drinkable. Available at the brewery on tap and in cans, it comes in at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs. 

Speaking of Grimross, they are currently hiring for the position of Head Brewer. You can check out the full job posting here; of course, brewing experience at a senior level is a requirement. 

Before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in our region a couple of weeks ago, it caused major destruction and loss of life in the Carribean, with the Bahamas being particularly hard hit. With many Bahamians living, working, and going to school here in the Maritimes, there are many stories of tragedy of family and friends back home. This is very true for Gio Johnson, a brewer at Good Robot. In support of him and all those affected by the storm, Good Robot is dedicating their next release to raise awareness, and funds, for recovery efforts. Hope Nation Saison is a light-bodied Saison hitting the taps next week, featuring a bright lemony spritziness, a bit of spicy zing, and light fruit character. For those looking to contribute over and above the portion going from drinking a pint or filling a growler, the Rotary Club of East Nassau and Red Cross are two groups working tirelessly to rebuild the islands after the destruction.

From one of Halifax’s littlest breweries (motto: “we used to be smaller!”) comes a really big bastard of a beer this week, with Tidehouse releasing Mars. Featuring plenty of 2-row and Pilsner malts as a base, “massive” portions of chocolate, pale chocolate, standard and dehusked roasted barley, roasted wheat and flaked barley rounded out the malt side. While there’s a ton of dark specialty malts there you would expect to impart roasty and especially chocolatey flavors, we figure at least some chocolate flavor would also have come from the 198 Mars bars that were added at the end of the boil! But that’s not even all! Non-fermentable lactose was added to bump up the sweetness and the beer was finished with blackberries added at the end of fermentation. The result is an 11.5% ABV beer that’s darker than dark, with a slightly dry, tart and fruity finish to balance the sweetness. You’ll find it available on tap at the brewery starting today (but likely only for a little while), or take it to go in the traditional 650 mL bombers or much more reasonable “single serving” sized 340 mL bottles (yay!)

Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend on Southeastern PEI to check out the 70 Mile Yard Sale. This year’s event takes place this weekend, and what better excuse do you need to release a new beer? Montague’s Copper Bottom has created the way to toast the day’s great finds with 70 Mile Yard Ale, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale. Brewed with 2-row, wheat, and acidulated malt, it was lightly hopped to 15 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, and Centennial. Light-bodied, refreshing af, and thanks to the addition of orange peel, bright citrus notes shine through as well, to complement the aromas of bread dough. The beer will be launching tomorrow at the 70 Mile HQ at Wood Islands Village, as well as at the taproom with a kick-off event beginning at 3 PM. Mellow Dough will be on hand slinging donuts, PEI Pop Stand will have their gourmet popsicles, and DJ Logan Roche will be spinning some tunes to soothe while you count your new treasures. Download the booklet to plan your attack of the yard sales in the region! After the release, it will be available on draught and in cans at the brewery, as well as at bars around Charlottetown.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s favourite brewery has brought back a local favourite that is sure to sell out before you know it. Niche Brewing has been playing in the New England style with plenty of hazy and hoppy offerings, and they’ve got a fresh batch of Intergalactic back on tap in the Capital region, and beyond, this week. At 4.9% ABV, the alcohol may not be high, but the flavour is, thanks to massive additions of Citra and Mosaic added late in boil, and then dry-hopped with more Mosaic as well as Galaxy. Tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus shine through, with the hazy-friendly yeast blend keeping the smooth mouthfeel and restrained bitterness in check. We’ve seen that it’s now pouring at The Joyce in Fredericton and soon at Pepper’s Pub in Saint John, with more kegs hitting the taps in the near future.

As we mentioned above, this is the time of year when we start to see one of the most polarizing phenomena in the brewing industry: pumpkin (spice) beer. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, you can’t deny the simple fact that if these beers didn’t sell nobody would make them. This week we had word of at least 4 (tasty treats/abominations) hitting the taps and/or shelves, all of them return engagements. We thought we’d put them all in one place so it’s easy to (get the news you really want/skip the section). We know the 902BrewCast guys will appreciate that; in fact, let’s call this The 902BrewCast Pumpkin Beer Roundup!! And be sure to check out their September Tasting Episode coming this Tuesday when they feature a totally non-polarizing style, Pilsner! So without further ado, here’s the first batch from the pumpkin patch:

  • A long time favourite for fans of the gourd is Propeller Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. Using real pumpkins (from Howard Dill’s world famous variety from the Valley), the blend of seasonal spices accent the brew to be a true pumpkin pie in a glass. The 5.0% ABV beer is available at both Prop Shops and the private stores this week, and at the NSLC in the next little while.
  • Nine Locks have been making their Harvest Pumpkin Ale for quite a few years now, and this dark, full-bodied amber ale is a favorite with their customers. Both pumpkin and pumpkin spice are paired with a malty backbone and a crisp finish that’s perfect for Autumn. Available at the brewery for sure, we also see an NSLC listing, although we’re not sure if that’s from last year or for this year, so be sure to check ahead before making any plans to procure it from there!
  • Brasseurs Petit Sault way up in Edmundston has their Bonhomme Sept-heures back on tap this week. A big’un at 8.5% ABV and featuring a suitably seasonal spooky label, this coppery-colored amber ale has hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit sweetness to go along with the familiar pumpkin spices. Get a pint at the brewery or take a bottle (or more!) to go, it will also see distribution in select ANBL stores over the coming weeks.
  • Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing has their Pumpkin Paddler back as well. Named for the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta, which sees participants paddling giant hollowed-out gourds from the Dill Family Farm across Lake Pisiquid. Unfortunately, due to a terrible growing season and Hurricane Dorion, there weren’t enough 6 – 800 lb pumpkins to hold the regatta this year, but there was enough of a crop to make the beer! Featuring both real pumpkin and the brewmaster’s secret pumpkin spice blend, you’ll be able to wax poetic about Pumpkin Paddles past while enjoying one. Find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery and at select private stores in the city.

The Brewnosers homebrew and beer appreciation club has been around since 1986, advocating for better beer and respect for beer, before some of us were even born. What started with four guys in a kitchen sharing beers has evolved into a group of hundreds who are still sharing beers and homebrew recipes, and advancing the state of good beer in the region. Saturday, September 21st, marks the group’s Hoptoberfest event, where members get to show off their latest brews in a relaxed and fun environment. And it is open to the public! In addition to the beer (so much beer!!), there will be hop- and beer-infused sausages from Cavvicchi’s meats, as well as veggie and vegan snacks (and you are encouraged to bring your own). It is taking place at a private residence on the Halifax peninsula (please check out the forum link for further details). There is no cost to attend, a donation for the meal is requested. If you are looking to chat beer, try some great homebrew, and have a fun evening (pop by any time after 4 PM), we can think of no better place to be! And for those who do make it out for a visit, Hammerhead Hops, a local hop supplier, will be graciously donating a pack of 2019 Canadian Cascade hops for your next brewday!

Old school gamers rejoice: this weekend the Propeller Arcade Levels Up! As we mentioned last week, for one weekend only they’ve expanded the arcade out onto the brew floor, bringing in lots of extra cabinets and games not otherwise on site. Open from 4 PM today and tomorrow, and for the first time, noon Sunday for a Family Day, with food from Hopyard Halifax. We’ll see you there! And don’t forget that Propeller holds a Cask Night every Friday, where they tap a small-batch experiment that the brewers have tried. This week’s new one is their Tropical Sour truly cask-conditioned, allowing a milder carbonation to finish the beer. 

Good news, Woodstock (NB) beer drinkers: the 3rd annual First Town Craft Beer Festival is happening tomorrow, September 21st. This year’s event is one evening session only (6:30-9:30pm), and will be held at a new location, at 205 Tamarack St. They expect to have around 25 vendors on site to pour their products, which include beer, cider, mead, wine, spirits, and coolers. Your ticket will get you unlimited pours for the evening, and there will also be food trucks on site, as well as plenty of games to take part in while you’re imbibing. This year’s festival will also include the debut of Carleton County’s own Cross Creek Brewing, who will be launching with five beers, all of which should be available at the event; be sure to drop by their booth to be one of the first to try their brews! Tickets to the event are still available; the VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier, and also gives you free admission to the After Party with Wisecracker, which includes a cash bar and continues until 1 am (pace yourselves!).

The annual PEI Beer Festival is happening next weekend, September 27th & 28th, in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel. With 35 vendors attending, there will be a wide variety of beer and cider to suit your “needs”. There are three sessions: Friday evening 6:30-9:30pm, and two on Saturday (2-4:30pm and 6:30-9:30pm); check out this link to go over your ticket options and prices (note that there are designated driver tickets available as well). While you can buy tickets at the door, there is a strong possibility that some or all sessions will sell out in advance, and tickets are slightly cheaper if you purchase them beforehand. There will also be food available for purchase at the event (including oysters), to keep your tummies full to absorb some of that sweet, sweet alcohol.

Not to be outdone by their peers along Highway 101 who have now done two Highway 101 Tap Takeover events, the brewers and breweries of Highway 103 have announced their own event, the Highway 103 Tap Takeover and Tailgate, happening next Saturday, September 28th, from 4 PM to 8 PM at Boxing Rock’s new taproom on Water Street in Shelburne. Featuring the fine folks and beers from the hosts along with Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing Co, Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing, Mahone Bay’s Salt Box Brewing Co, Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing Co, and Tusket Falls Brewing Co out of Tusket, the party will be tailgate style in the parking lot. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 if you wait and pay at the door) from the Boxing Rock web store and entitle you to 8 four ounce samples and a commemorative tasting glass. There will also be food available for purchase, games, live music, and more!

Now that Newfoundland is approaching a critical mass of craft breweries, it seems only fitting that we’re starting to see more beer-related events popping up there. Next weekend will see a whole weekend’s worth of events going on at the 1st Annual Oktoberfest.NL event presented by the City of Mount Pearl along with YellowBelly Brewery and taking place at the Reid Community Centre. Starting with the Craft’ernoon Experience on Saturday, September 28th, from 2 PM to 5 PM you’ll find beers from Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co, Dildo Brewing, Landwash Brewery, Ninepenny Brewing, Port Rexton Brewing, Quidi Vidi Brewing, and, of course, YellowBelly as well. Tickets are $29.75 (plus taxes and fees) per person and entitle the bearer to four 5 oz samples and a soft pretzel. Later Saturday evening and into the night is Rocktoberfest, starting at 7 PM, where YellowBelly brews will be pouring along with wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages while Miss Conduct and 709 take the stage to provide live music. Prizes will also be awarded for the best Oktoberfest costume. Tickets for this event are $24.75 (plus taxes and fees) and include one 16 oz YellowBelly brew. And Sunday morning, if you’re not too done in from the afternoon and evening before, starting at 11 AM and going to 2 PM is a family-friendly brunch prepared by YellowBelly and with entertainment from The Swinging Belles. Brunch is included in ticket prices ($19.75 for adults, $9.75 for children, plus taxes and fees) and bar service is available. All tickets, including some combos (Craft’ernoon + Rocktoberfest, Craft’ernoon + Brunch, Rockoberfest + Brunch) are available online.

We have been spouting the community and economic benefits of breweries and cideries revitalizing smaller communities for years, with too many shining examples to mention here. In all four provinces of the region, there are stories of brewery owners moving to (or moving back to) a small town with other businesses, and residents, growing around them, supporting and growing each other. This is seeing amazing effects in Newfoundland especially, with breweries on both sides of the island, and soon Labrador, spawning new businesses, jobs, and vitality. As part of the Sustainable Communities Conference, put on by Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and North Atlantic Forum, there will be a public panel event with members of the brewing and distilling community, as well as those researching and assisting with funding, discussing the impact of these businesses in small towns. Held at The Stone Jug at 232 Water Street in Carbonear, the “Craft Breweries & Distilleries as Drivers of Rural Development” panel takes place 1:00 – 2:45 PM on Thursday, October 3rd. The event is free to attend, though the organizers do request registering in advance. It will be a casual environment, with local beer available for purchase, and a lively discussion and Q&A. And giving those in the region a good excuse to get out of town for some sight seeing around the Bay (and the many breweries in the region!).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just one upcoming event to mention this week:

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

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

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