Boxing Rock Brewing

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Happy mid-January! Now that the spill-over cheers (and hangovers) from the Holidays have subsided, it’s back to business as usual for the breweries in our region. That means more new beer releases and catching up on the crush of folks buying beer as gifts for family, or drinking to avoid them. Let’s kick off this week’s round up in Newfoundland this week, which we assure you has nothing/everything to do with acbbchris taking a visit to the Rock and getting to meet up with some of the friendliest people anywhere!

Let’s kick off the Newfoundland Beer News with a visit to Port Rexton Brewing. They are debuting their second-ever lager this week, and are keeping with a simple name, Craft Lager. Crispy lager fans unite, as this one ticks all of the boxes: herbal and earthy notes from Northern Brewer in the boil and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh in the whirlpool, on a dry and refreshing base built with pale malts, fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager yeast. This is the same yeast that PRBC used in their Long Trek Helles, released last month. This 5.1% ABV crushable beer is currently on tap at the brewery taproom (reminder that it is open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the winter, 4 – 10 PM), as well as their St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road this weekend. And in upcoming PRBC beer news, they are deep in plans for the latest brewing of their Next Generation 2019 beer, a collaboration with the Class of 2018 Newfoundland breweries. Look for this beer to be released late Winter/early Spring. And in future-future plans for Port Rexton, they are looking to increase their brewing operation in Port Rexton significantly, by opening a second production facility. With their current brewery maxing out their space, a second brewhouse just off of Highway 230 in Port Rexton will allow them to keep up with demand at the brewery, retail location, and now NLC, where they have 6 products across the province. Construction and opening is still months away, but a real sign of the success of local business and breweries in the province!

Good news for those of you in Mount Pearl, or nearby: Landwash Brewery on Commonwealth Drive is restocked with cans and growlers this weekend. One Wave Blonde Ale and That Much Ocean New England IPA are available in both growlers and cans, with growlers (and cans soon) of their Brackish Sour Ale also available. All three, plus their Hazure’s Rock Stout with coffee are available at their taproom for enjoyment onsite. And with the Saucy Mouth foodtruck set up in the brewery, there’s not much need to go anywhere else! And to help keep up with the great demand for beer, Landwash is hiring a full-time production assistant. Packaging assistance, cleaning, equipment maintenance, cleaning, stocking shelves, cleaning, ingredient preparation, and more cleaning are the key tasks for this position, with the possibility of moving to the production side in the future. Experience in the industry as well as a valid forklift license are assets to keep in mind. Reach out with a cover sheet and resume via email to start/continue your job in the brewing industry!

And great news for beer fans in Conception Bay South, as Ninepenny Brewing on the CBS Highway near Manuels River is chugging along, getting closer and closer to opening their brewery and taproom. As the finishing steps are being completed in the taproom, they are looking to hire staff to come aboard and help open the doors. They have job openings right now for an Assistant Brewer and Front End Staff. The Assistant Brewer will help with the beer production, packaging, maintenance and troubleshooting, as well as all of that aforementioned cleaning! Front End Staff will be responsible for working in the taproom tending bar, filling growlers, merchandise, etc. Postings for both positions are open for the next week, and should be responded to with a resume and cover sheet via email.

Let’s head back to the mainland and Saint John, New Brunswick, where Loyalist City has launched their first new beer of 2019, Trap Setter. An 8.7% ABV, 68 IBUs Winter Warmer, it was brewed with a variety of both British and Belgian malts, giving the beer a “wonderful fruity aroma of raisin and dark plum”, to go with a touch of floral hops, as well as flavours of “sweet malt, and subtle toasted notes”. Full-bodied, with a light carbonation, expect a bit of warmth from the high alcohol as it’s going down, typical for the style. Grab a pint of this mahogany-coloured brew at your favourite LC tap account; you’ll even be able to take home a growler in the near future, when kegs hit the ANBL growler program.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has another funky beer hitting the taps today, after the great success of their El Dorado Brett IPA we told you about earlier in the month. Golden Brett is a 6.5% ABV pale farmhouse beer, that started with a simple malt bill, including lots of wheat to enhance the grain/cereal flavour. A secondary fermentation with Brett Vrai yeast leads to a complex beer with plenty of barnyard, earth, and spice character, with a dry finish. Grab a sample or pint at the Propeller tasting room today! And in the basement of their Gottingen location, Propeller is opening the first “brewcade” in HRM. Propeller Arcade features more than a dozen classic pinball and arcade games in a cozy space, perfect for passing an afternoon or evening reliving the glory days of the bowling alley arcade. A full complement of Propeller beers will be pouring to keep your whistle wet. The Arcade is slated to open next weekend, with a Halifax Pinball-sponsored knock-out event kicking off the opening. Stay turned to PA’s Instagram for all of the details!

Just outside Fredericton, NB, in Hanwell, Niche Brewing has another beer to bring you, a mixed-fermentation pong to last week’s hoppy ping. Zeste was fermented with Niche’s own house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains before aging for 2 months in stainless steel and then finishing on a blend of lemon, lime and grapefruit zest. Bright and tart, with aspects of the fruit shining through, this is a low-ABV in the saison style, coming in at 4%, perfect for a light and refreshing break from the heavier beers that tend to dominate in the winter months. So if you’re looking for a break from the barleywines, Russian imperial stouts and winter warmers, you’ll want to seek this one out. Look for it soon at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Sussex Ale Works, Au Bootlegger, and at the Radisson in Hanwell. And Nova Scotia Niche fans take note, a keg of this one is expected to get to Stillwell along with a keg of their Patersbier, Enkel.

The folks at Off Track Brewing are happy to share the news on their first DIPA, Let’s Dance. Before we get into the nitty gritty details, a warning that this was an experimental batch, with only a few kegs packaged… meaning that it’s gone already. However, they’re brewing more of it next week, so let’s tell you about it for when it’s available again! The simple grain bill (featuring a portion of Maris Otter to give “slight bready notes”) allows the blend of Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra hops to bring forth their mighty flavours of citrus, tropical fruit, and pine. Quite bitter at 93 IBUs, they kept the ABV low, at 6.8%, meaning arguments are sure to ensue about whether it’s an IPA, or DIPA. Have at it!

Back to Fredericton, where TrailWay is releasing a souped-up version of one of their past American IPAs, Seeing Citra. As you may have expected, Seeing Double Citra is the DIPA take on the first beer, coming it at 8% ABV and with higher hop rates, according to the brewery. If you’re a fan of the Citra hop (and we assume that most of you hopheads are), this is the brew for you, as it’s a single showcase bonanza of the American variety, featuring lots of “pungent, tropical mango”. As always, available on tap and in cans at the brewery, starting today, with some local accounts pouring it over the coming days.

If all the new Winter Warmers, big Stouts, and other “winter-friendly” beers has got you overwhelmed, we’d like to point out that Chester’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a refreshing counter-punch that they’ve got hitting taps and shelves this week. Helles is a Munich Helles, a malt-forward Lager that has more flavour than your typical American Light Lager, but with not too much more alcohol. T&C’s version is light-gold coloured, “mildly hopped” to just 18 IBUs, and weighs in at 5.4% ABV. They fermented it cool, giving the beer enough lagering time to allow it to condition properly, resulting in “a clean bread and light biscuit flavour, balanced by a touch of bitterness”. It’s on tap at the brewery, and should be available in bottles now, as well.

The number of Scratch beers from Grimross has been on the rise lately, with #17 hitting taps this week. Scratch #17: Multigrain Farmhouse Ale was brewed with a blend of Spelt, Golden Naked Oats, as well as flaked and malted Rye, Wheat, and Barley. Hopped with noble varieties, and fermented with the brewery’s house Farmhouse yeast, the final product is “warming and floral, with a balancing hop bitterness, and aromas of citrus, stonefruit, and pepper”. It comes in at a fairly-hefty 6.7% ABV (and 28 IBUs), and is on tap right now at the brewery for pints and growlers. Cans should be available for sale next week (at Grimross and select ANBL stores), and kegs should be hitting local accounts soon as well.

If you’re not a fan of hops, and live in Halifax, shame on you! Oh wait, sorry, we meant to say we have good news for you. Good Robot will be releasing No-Hop-Scotch, their take on the hopless Gruit style, for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew. Brewed with Pale malt, Cara 30, Honey malt, and Peat-smoked malt, the orange-red wort was further flavoured with meadowsweet, heather tips, and lavender (herbs are used in place of hops in Gruits). Once fermentation was complete, elderflower cordial and a touch of rose water were added. You’re probably wondering what this 4.5% ABV brew tastes like… well, you only have a few more days before you can find out for yourself, right at the source! As for next week’s Alpha, that’ll be the return of Leave Me Blue (5% ABV).

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new IPA available this week. Batch #258 is a 6.5% American IPA with a wide spectrum of flavour and aromatics from the massive amount of hops added throughout the boil and in dry-hopping, including Citra, Ekuanot, and Chinook. Billed by the brewery as a slightly more bitter take on their flagship, Freezing Spray, the grist was kept fairly simple, with 2-row, Wheat, Cara 40 and Carapils, all the better to let those wonderful hop varieties shine through. Pop by their brewery taproom for a pint this weekend! And while there, check out the return of their Golden Horse DIPA, which was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs this go-around.

We’ve talked on and off over the past couple of years about Sociable!, a documentary about the craft beer business in Nova Scotia. It’s been a long time coming, but the final product is now complete, and available to watch online… for free! Featuring interviews with many of your favourite local brewers, it’s definitely worth checking out. Have a watch (or three) here, and congrats to Chris and Helen on all of their hard work!

As usual, there’s beery things going on around the region this weekend and beyond that you might wish to check out:

A quick reminder that Hill Top Hops in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, is holding their Grand Opening tomorrow. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 beside the Tidal Bore Farm Market, they will be pouring the six beers brewed onsite with the hops grown at their nearby hop farm. The fun kicks off at noon and goes all day. In case you missed it, learn more about Hill Top Hops from the Profile we published yesterday.

It’s a bittersweet time for North Brewing – while they’re no doubt excited to be moving to their new production facility at 899 Portland St. in Dartmouth, they can’t help but be sad to be leaving their first “home” on Agricola St., where their brewery has been located for the last six years. As they’re now about to leave, they’re throwing a Farewell Party for all of their North End supporters, on Thursday, January 24th, at Gus’ Pub. Starting at 8 pm, there’ll be live music (featuring two bands, each of which include a North employee), food giveaways from Taco Lina’s, specials on beer, and merch freebies! No cost to attend, just show up for a good time… and keep a stiff upper lip!

We’re not ones to simply tease events without a whole lot of info (ok, maybe we do that SOMEtimes), but the 2 Crows 2nd Anniversary Party is next weekend (January 26th and 27th). We’ve done a little chatting with them… and oh boy, they’ve got some great things planned! We have to keep mum on the finer details right now, but we will be releasing them soon (as will they, of course). Rest assured there’ll be lots of beer (including six new packaged beers, and lots of fun stuff on tap), food, live music…you get the idea. Good times! In the meantime, they’ve told us you *might* want to show up at the brewery this Sunday when they open at noon. That’s all we got for ya, sorry! Whups!! While it’s always a good idea to show up at noon on Sunday at 2 Crows to get a seat, nothing particularly special is happening this coming Sunday, just the usual lineup of excellent beers. Next Sunday on the other hand, well, you might even want to get there a little early. 😘

Are you a fan of offal? If you’re not, you may not be any closer to becoming one once you find out what it means. Ok, we’ll tell you – offal is the “entrails and internal organs of an animal, used as food”. But some people think of it as quite the delicacy, and they’ll likely be psyched to hear that Good Robot has paired with RumbleFish Food Co. and the Black Sheep Restaurant to present Offal Night on Monday, January 28th. Black Sheep head chef Steph Ogilvie has put together a four-course meal that can definitely be described as “interesting”, no matter your feelings on whether offal is delicious, or….. or….. I’m not going to say “awful”, that’s too Dad-like. You get the idea; check out the event link for a detailed menu. The meal is $55 + tax, and each dish will be paired with a different Good Robot beer. There will be two seatings (early evening, later evening), and reservations can be made through John at 902-293-5282 or rumblefishfoodco@gmail.com.

And a few more quick mentions before you get on with your day:

Boxing Rock has a new release from their Test Kitchen at Local Source Market, Dr Deluxe’s Apple Pie Amber Ale. Brewed in collaboration with Matthew from Local Source Market, dried apple slices were added to the secondary, enhancing the apple pie experience. Grab a growler of it today!

Garrison Brewing has a new beer debuting today in their retail shop. We told you about the A Thief in the Night event last week, and now one of the beer that attendees were able to preview is now available to the general public. The Cherry Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wintervention is a beer years in the making, as it was brewed in 2017, and has been aging in Bourbon barrels, with cherries added, for almost two years. This 11.0% ABV beer is available at their retail store now, at $15.95 for a 650 mL bottle. Keep your eyes open for more treatments of Wintervention set to hit the shelves in their 2019 Cellar Series.

PEI Brewing Company and Gahan have a new beer on tap these days, the latest in their After Hours series. Hoppy Brett is a 5.0% ABV pale farmhouse beer, fermented with a blend of Escarpment Labs’ Brett D and Brett Q, the first time they’ve fermented exclusively with Brettanomyces. Enhancing the fruit and funky flavour and aroma is a dry-hopping addition of Mosaic. Grab it at PEIBC and all of the Gahan locations, as well as a few favourite bars in the region.

And in great news for the thirsty crowd in Miramichi, new brewery Timber Ship now has their full complement of beer pouring at The Piping Plover Gastropub in town. Drop in for some food and their Ballast Island Blonde, Broken Paddle Pale Ale, Dungarvon Hopper IPA, and/or Miramichi Irish Red. Looking for a reminder on those beers and the Timber Ship story? Check out their Profile we published last week. And keep your eyes peeled here and on their social media for their Launch Party happening at the Plover next weekend.

Welcome to our first Friday Wrap-up of 2019 (Whoot! Got the year right!!). Although we took last week off, it’s clear that the breweries in our region did no such thing, giving us plenty to catch up on from the holidays as well as news of a few new releases hitting the taps and the shelves this weekend. We’ve also got a couple new breweries open in Nova Scotia and the sad news of the demise of Fredericton’s stalwart craft beer destination, the King Street Ale House. So have a read and plan your purchases for the weekend; it’s fixing to be a snowy one in much of Atlantic Canada, so maybe grab a couple extra this afternoon to help soothe yourself after any shovelling that needs to be done. And breweries take note! Entries are now open for the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards. This year’s event will be in Toronto, but judging takes place in April. Atlantic Canadian breweries had a strong showing at last year’s event; hopefully we’ll see some of the fantastic brews being produced out East continue that trend in 2019!

Let’s kick off the news with the details of two new breweries opening in Nova Scotia since our last Wrap-up…

Hill Top Hops has operated as a hop farm in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia, since 2016, supplying hops for two  Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery annual harvest brews (Hants County Wet Hopped Pale Ale in 2016 and Annapolis Hop Field Pale Ale in 2017). Now, the family behind the farm have opened a small brewery to showcase their hops and love of the industry. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 in Newport, their brewery and taproom is now open for pints and growler fills. Operating on a 2 BBL (240 litre) brewhouse, they have currently have six beers available: Blonde Ale, Cream Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Red Ale, as well as a full complement of merch to show your HTH pride. They will be celebrating their Grand Opening January 19th from noon, and until then, the taproom and brewery is open on a “by chance” status as they complete small renos and brew. Best to check with them on social media (Fb / IG / Tw) or by phone (902-791-0776) to be sure. They are currently operating by cash/EMT for the moment, and will update their social media when that changes. Congratulations to the Peters family on the opening, and we look forward to sharing a full Profile with them soon.

Congratulations also go out to the crew at Shipwright Brewing who opened their doors in Lunenburg on December 30th. Owner Adam Bower has long been a fan and promoter of local beer while managing, and then buying, the Grand Banker at 82 Montague Street in Lunenburg. Shipwright Brewing is located in the same building, and Brewer Kellye Robertson is using a 1 BBL (120 litre) system to create their own beers. The brewery and taproom is open 12 – 10 PM daily, and they are currently serving three beers to enjoy onsite or to take away in growler or crowler fills. They can also be enjoyed at the Grand Banker, who recently expanded their all-local draught offerings. Cutwater is a 4.8% ABV and 18 IBU traditional German Kolsch (hybrid of lager and ale), First Sail Banker Roast is a 4.5% ABV and 21 IBU Blonde Ale with coffee beans added, and Icebreaker is a 5.3% ABV and 40 IBU New England Pale Ale. Congratulations to Adam, Kellye, and the entire Shipwright family on their opening! Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / IG / Tw) for more updates.

Let’s get caught up with a few beers that were launched over the last two weeks…

Brightwood Brewery released John’s Punch at their brewery taproom last Friday. This 7.5% ABV NEIPA was generously hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon, and is full of citrus and juicy bright notes on the nose and palate. It is currently on tap at the Brightwood Market, with kegs on their way to The Auction House, Battery Park, and HopYard, with cans coming later this month.

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co released a pair of new beers late last year (we can say that!) that should still be around for your liquid enjoyment. First up is Gin & Spruce, a 5.0% ABV kettle sour, dry-hopped with Citra. However, the real fun is in the other ingredients added to the beer, which were spruce tips and juniper berries, soaked in gin from the Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clarke’s Beach. They followed that release up with another the following day, a style they’ve nicknamed “Snowball Stout”, after the eponymous cookies. In keeping with the rap theme, this one is named Untitled 02 | 12.28.18. The 5.0% ABV stout was brewed with plenty of cocoa powder and coconut to match the baked treat’s flavour profile, on a creamy smooth base. Look for these on draught at their taproom, and keep your eyes peeled in St. John’s at your favourite good beer spot.

Speaking of stouts, Quidi Vidi Brewing released their own back in December, which is back now in a limited re-release. Cappuccino Stout is a 6.5% ABV stout featuring 2-Row and Crystal malts, accented with Flaked Barley, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley for a smooth mouthfeel and dark brown appearance, but brought to the next level with the use of lactose (milk sugar) and coffee from Trinity Roastery. These extra ingredients balance each other with sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and nutty dark roast, like a well pulled and blended capp. The beer is available at the brewery now, and at NLCs this weekend.

Earlier in December, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing released Beaufort 10, a 10% ABV, Doppelbock. This traditional German style is malt-forward, taking advantage of the roast, bread, and dark fruit character of the malts used in the mash, while keeping it lightly hopped to just over 20 IBU. A long fermentation period followed by more than a month of lagering lead to a smooth and deceptively easy-drinking beer for the alcohol level, a solid choice for these colder months. Beaufort 10 is available at the brewery and HRM private stores in cans.

Chester’s Tanner & Co. released a new beer over the holidays that’s actually a bit of an older beer, but in a good way. Bottle-aged Wheat Wine is similar to a barleywine in style, big and boozy, but with 50% wheat malt in the grist. Fermented with an American Ale yeast strain, the result is a 10% ABV bruiser with plenty of molasses, caramel and toffee character. Brewed way back in February of 2018, it was bottled and set aside until now, giving it some time to smooth out and for the flavors to come together. There wasn’t a ton of this one available to begin with and it was released just before Christmas, so you might want to check with the brewery before heading down, as that’s the only place to grab this one.

After that wrap-up of previous releases, let’s share some brand new releases with you…

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing has a new beer called Third Place that has nothing to do with winning a bronze medal. When talking about the places in your life, your first place is home, your second place is work, and your third place is “that special haunt where you come together with your community.” Released on January 1st, this beer celebrates those special places that we all (hopefully) have in our lives. An Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV and 60 IBU, it boasts aromas of mango, clementine and peach, with a distinct piney note thanks to hop additions of Ella, Ekuanot, Azacca, and Simcoe. Look for it both in bottles and on tap at Craft Beer Corner and the Upstreet Taproom, on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse and select tap accounts, and in bottles at select PEI Liquor stores. And if you’re at the taproom or CBC, you should check out the available bottles, currently including DeNovos I, II and III, and, from their Million Acres series, Bourbon Barrel-aged Apple Brett Blonde, Chocolate Salted Lager, Spruce Tip Wee Heavy, and Chardonnay Barrel-aged IIPA with Belma, Imperial Saison with Nelson Sauvin, Peach Cream Witbier, and Apricot Cream Witbier.

Halifax’s Good Robot has some big news this week as it has been officially announced that they are getting their first listing with the NSLC. El Espinazo del Diablo Mexican Lager is a fan favorite beer for the brewery with an ABV of 5.7% and 14 IBUs and featuring lime and jalapeño peppers on top of a grist that contains a “perfectly reasonable” amount of flaked corn. Like getting your salsa and your chips in a glass. Look for it at NSLC locations across the province and don’t be surprised if you see it joined by other Good Robot beers as 2019 rolls on.

Meanwhile, back at the farm on Robie Street, there’s plenty in the hopper for the first couple weeks of the year, starting with yesterday’s release of the latest in the Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs. Creature Feature III was hit with Columbus, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin hops for an assertive bitterness and a dank aroma. It’s 6.4% ABV and 51 IBUs and available now in the taproom. The first BetaBrew of the year will be released on Tuesday, January 8th, and it’s one made by GR staffer Drella and her father, Tim. An homage to their family’s Russian heritage and love of spicy things, it’s a chili stout they’re calling A Chili Night in Minsk. Big and bold at 7.5% ABV and 32 IBU, it’s rich, roasty, and spicy thanks to an addition of Bird’s Eye chilis after primary fermentation. And two days after that beer is tapped you’ll see another new one hit the lines at GR: The Humans Are Dead is their latest India Pale Lager with a twist of New Zealand hops, namely Azacca, Rakau, and Topaz. A calculated IBU level of 60 provides firm bitterness to this 6.8% ABV beer. Will it be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite binary solo and/or dancing the Robot or the Robo-boogie (which will be the only remaining dances in the distant future)? Affirmative!

A short distance away, on Gottingen Street comes the latest in the Propeller Small Batch series. A black lager in the Schwarzbier style it is called, most appropriately, Schwarzbier. It’s light in body, but with a flavorful punch of chocolate and toasted brown and finished off with noble hops for a subtle earthiness. Moderately dry, with a crisp and clean finish, it’s 5% ABV and is available in limited quantities for pints and growler fills only. Also in limited supply from Propeller is their El Dorado Brett IPA, which has been aging for the past nine months in red wine barrels. A mixed fermentation of classic ale yeast and Brettanomyces Claussenii have created a beer that is complex, funky, spicy, and a little earthy. Finished with a healthy dry hop of El Dorado for a tropical burst, it’s 6% ABV. We’ve confirmed that some of the very few kegs of this have gone to Hopyard Halifax, Stillwell and Battery Park, so keep an eye out for it at those places. Propeller also intends to tap a keg at their own tasting room on Monday (pints only). And lastly, the team has installed a beer engine in the Tasting Room that’ll be perfect for a traditional cask experience! So it makes sense that tonight’s Friday cask will be twist on a British style, their ESB aged on oak. Look for it to be tapped at 5 PM and to keep pouring through the weekend, as long as it lasts, anyway.

Unfortunately, we close out the news portion of today’s Wrap-up with some sad news. It was announced yesterday that Fredericton’s iconic beer-centric restaurant King Street Ale House, has closed. Opening 10 years ago as the Garrison District Ale House, Doug Williams and then-partner Shane Fraser saw that there was a big hole in the market for beer-focused establishments, and curated an impressive tap and bottle list well before the craft beer explosion hit our shores. After a fire destroyed the GDAH in January 2013, they rose from the ashes on King Street that November, with a renewed focus on local beer and great food. Having poured over 400 different beers from the Maritimes and beyond, the Garrison District and King Street Ale Houses were many first people’s introduction to well-made local beer. In fact, it’s where Shawn and Chris first met all of those years ago; we’ve conducted trivia nights during Fredericton Craft Beer Festival for several years; met countless other beery friends there over the years, and so we sincerely thank Doug, Shane, and the entire crew there for the many years of great beer. We wish them all the best in their next endeavours. For more details, check out this CBC article.

Only a couple of events to mention this week, but they’re a couple of doozies:

There are a handful of tickets still available for next Thursday’s, Jan 10th, Eat. Drink. Local. event at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Formerly known as the The Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration, this is an all-inclusive evening of local beer and cider, with fresh and innovative food pairings from local restaurants. The event also serves as the launch to several new beers in our region, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew-Off, this year’s will be Ian Wheatley’s Hefeweizen. 30 different stations of food and drink, along with live music all evening, will surely keep you happy. Grab your tickets now before they disappear!

Do try to keep your wits about you after Thursday’s event, as you’ll definitely want to pop up to Bar Stillwell on Barrington Street for their Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday, January 12th. From noon, the Stilly crew will be pouring Lambics, Saisons, Flanders Red, and a bevy of style-breaking beers from one of the best beer-making regions in the world. A full dozen taps, as well as more than double that in bottles, will give any novice or veteran beer fan something to fawn over. Check out the full list here, and we’ll see you there!

A few more notes before we leave you today…

Boxing Rock released a new beer brewed in their Halifax Test Kitchen in mid-December. Knitwise is a Christmas Cake- Inspired Scotch Ale, weighing in a 7.5% ABV. It was brewed with Kim Hart Macneill, a home brewer and beer writer for Halifax Magazine. Brewed with Nova Scotia cranberries, blueberries and raisins to enhance that Christmas Cake character. It’s on tap for pints in Shelburne and growler fills at their Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax!

Distillerie Fils du Roy released a new beer in December, in a style they are calling “Sour Mash Brut”. At 10% ABV, Biere Brut is a heavy hitter, and started using the sour mash technique usually reserved for whisky. Also fermented with whisky yeast, and finished extremely dry, at 1.000 gravity. Described as hazy, with a sourness reminiscent of green olives, light body and high carbonation. Bottles are available at the brewery in Petit-Paquetville.

Sussex Ale Works has a new beer pouring in their taproom these days. Piccadilly Pale Ale is a 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale with notes of citrusy Chinook and Cascade hops. Grab a sample or pint at their spot this weekend!

St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has released this ode to the season with Twelfth Night Porter. This 6.5% ABV porter features traditional English ingredients such as Bairds Crystal malt and Thomas Fawcett Roast Barley, along with East Kent Goldings used in the boil and dry-hopping. As described by the brewery, it is “spicy, earthy, warming, roasty, and full bodied with a slight hint of phenol/smokiness”. On tap at the brewery restaurant, in growlers at the YB Takeaway, and in bottles shortly.

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.