Boxing Rock Brewing

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Welcome to February, beer lovers. It’s bastard cold today in much of Atlantic Canada, with a high percentage chance for continued bastard coldness through the weekend. Probably a good idea, then, to stock up on some beer to at least make yourself feel warm, and there’s plenty of new stuff coming this week from our region’s breweries to help you do that. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Niche Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps this week, plus their first much-anticipated bottle release. Let’s start with the new beer, Coalescence. What they describe as a Sour Grapefruit Milkshake IPA began with souring of the wort with Lactobacillus plantarum for a refreshing and clean acidity, before boiling to stop that process, and adding in lactose. Fermentation was completed with a low-flocculating (aka hazy) yeast strain often used in New England IPAs, and generously hopped with Citra, Azacca, and Vic Secret. Completing the “milkshake” theme of the beer with vanilla beans, an addition of grapefruit puree was also added, for a citrus and fruit base to complement the tropical, pineapple, and passion fruit aromatics from the hops, on top of the acidic yet lightly sweet beer. Look for it on tap in Fredericton at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen, Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Peppers Pub and Saint John Ale House in Saint John. Pop into the York Street ANBL growler station to get your fill of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout, pouring this weekend (though we’re sure it won’t last long!).

Evolution is Niche’s first bottle release, and will soon be available at ANBL stores in the Capital region and beyond. Almost a year in the making, this beer started with a malt bill of Pilsner, Rye, Wheat, and Vienna malts, lightly hopped with Huell Melon. Instead of going in their stainless fermenters, this beer went straight into a single Chardonnay barrel, where it was fermented and conditioned with their house culture of yeast strains (a mixture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces). This process was allowed to continue for 6 months, before bottling still (flat), and conditioning with Champagne yeasts since late last year. The result is an effervescent beer with notes of grape must, a touch of oak, and plenty of funky goodness. If you cannot find these 500 mL bottles at your local ANBL, ask them to place an order, as they’ll be happy to bring it in!

The Church Brewing Company will soon be opening their brewery at 329 Main Street in Wolfville, but in the meantime, their on-site restaurant is now open for food and beers. Located in the deconsecrated St. Andrew’s United Church, the stone building was built in 1914, and had been underused for years before construction of the brewery and restaurant began. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 AM until late, with a varied menu of breakfast/brunch options, ramen, sandwiches, entrees, and more. While they await their own beer to be pouring, they have a variety of Valley and Nova Scotian beers available. You can keep up on their brewery progress on their social media (FB / IG / Tw). And this is where you can make a difference. The Town of Wolfville is making some amendments to their regulations regarding craft beer and cider, and are holding the first reading of that on Monday, February 4th, at 6:30 PM during a special Town Council meeting at Town Hall (359 Main Street). There has been a slew of mis-information surrounding Church’s brewery, including brewing volume, water usage, wastewater disposal, and traffic and parking concerns. We encourage you to learn more about how breweries are helping to bring jobs and visitors back to small towns throughout the region, and maybe even drop by Monday to listen and take part in the public hearing. For those unable to attend, check out the town’s Facebook page, where they livestream all of the council meetings. We will be there lending our support to growth of the industry and of the economy of small towns in Nova Scotia. Big kudos to our buds at the 902BrewCast for raising awareness of this issue and promoting local breweries. Check out their IG page for a contest they’re holding right now, promoting #NSBeerTravel.

It’s not that often that a week of Good Robot Alpha and Beta releases actually jive with one another, but next week will be one of those weeks. It all started with their Alpha release, Tom Waits For No One, one of their flagship – and still one of their most popular – beers, a 7.9% ABV, 58 IBUs Imperial Stout. While transferring the wort for this beer to the boil kettle, it suddenly dawned on the brewers that there was likely a fair amount of sugar still left in the grain bed. This resulted in their choice to go with a parti-gyle – adding another batch of water to the same grain, using the second runnings to create a lower-ABV beer… in this case, Tiny Tom. Same grist as its bigger brother, but fermented with a Lager yeast, it comes in at a more-manageable 4.5% ABV and 14 IBUs. Only one way to find out the taste difference, so you’d better drop by the taproom on Tuesday if you’re curious.

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is marking their 3rd Anniversary this weekend, and have reached another important milestone recently, with the brewing of their 200th batch of beer. Naturally, they decided to brew up something brand new, which is being released today. M is for Mosaic is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) kettle sour, featuring a grist of Pilsner malt, and dry-hopped entirely with the lovely Mosaic variety. Soured with Lacto plantarum and fermented with an English Ale yeast strain, the 4.7% ABV, 8 IBUs beer has aromas of “lemon, orange, tangerine and passionfruit”, along with more of the same on the palate, with “hints of dough/bread” and an acidic finish. It’s draught-only for now, and will be available at the brewery as of noon today, and at select tap accounts over the next few days. And about that Third Birthday Bash, drop into the brewery tomorrow evening for a big bash including live music, food from GastroGnomes, and tons of fun planned. Montgomery Street Band and YORKS will be jamming from 7 PM until late, $10 cover.

In downtown Fredericton, the Gahan Riverside has a pair of new one-off brews at their location this week. First up is a dark and weighty beer, Russian Imperial Stout. It’s just that, a RIS that was fermented cool (to keep the alcohol heat as low as possible for this 8% ABV beer) and given a “long, cold aging process” to allow the flavours to develop further. “Intensely malt-forward with a supporting bitterness for balance”, it has “pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate” with a touch of caramel. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, and 63 IBUs, it’s the kind of beer meant for gently sipping during these horribly cold days. The second new release is of the newer Brut IPA style. Known for being extremely dry, it can be seen as a contrast to hazy/juicy IPAs, which tend to have perceived sweetness from the hops and residual sugar. Gahan’s take is 7.7% ABV, and a light 23 IBUs, with notes of melon, berries, and stone fruit. Both new beers are on tap right now at the brewpub’s location on Queen St.

There’s a new Gottingen Small Batch hitting the taps today at Propeller, Coconut Extra Strong Stout. Indeed quite strong at 8% ABV, the coconut flavours combine with “layers of complex, dark fruit, and roasted coffee” to give just a hint of the tropics. While it will be on tap for growlers and pints at the brewery’s tasting room, they’ve also sent some to New Brunswick to go on tap at some of the ANBL growler stations; look for those to appear over the weekend. And as for tonight’s Cask Night offering (tapped just after 5 PM), it’s their Common, dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra. Why not grab a pint and check out the new Propeller Arcade while you’re at it: they opened to the general public for the first time last night and will be providing a place for you to get your classic pinball and arcade game fix Thursday to Sunday nights (Thu/Sun 4 – 10 PM, Fri/Sat 4 PM – Midnight).

And in other Propeller news, but really Granite Brewery news, word came out this week that Granite would be taking up residence as the third brewery getting cozy in Propeller’s Gottingen Street location. So in addition to Propeller’s own small batch ministrations and Stillwell Brewing’s mixed fermentation madness, Granite will be pumping out their classic beers from the same facility for a while. Why, you ask? Turns out their Stairs Street building was sold by its owner recently, and efforts to secure a new location have so far not panned out. While Granite continue their search for a permanent home, Propeller has stepped up to make sure that fans can continue to get their fix. Look for Granite beers to continue to be on tap at places like Henry House, Stillwell, Lion’s Head Tavern, Obladee, and Tom’s. If you’re not familiar with Granite (hint: you should be) they are the oldest craft brewery in the region and actually were the first brewpub in North America east of the Rockies, when they started brewing their own in 1985. They have also been a very big part of breaking down many of the barriers to opening and operating breweries in Nova Scotia (and probably beyond). Featuring predominantly characterful English-style beers fermented with Ringwood yeast, a pint of Granite’s Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special, Peculiar, Keefe’s Irish Stout, or Traditional IPA is a bit of beer education in a glass. Possibly even better is when Stillwell has a cask of the Best Bitter on the handpump. We encourage existing fans of Granite as well as those who have somehow managed to miss them to show support for the brewery by seeking out their beers at the locations listed above and those listed on their website. Granite has advised us that they’ll be trying to be more active on social media (Fb, Tw) to let folks know where to find their beers (including where it might be possible to grab a growler) and to keep everyone up to date on their hunt for a new home. And much respect to Propeller for showing that camaraderie and looking out for your peers is still very much alive and well in the Nova Scotia craft beer scene!

New Scotland Brewing has not one, but two new releases this week, both of which are officially launching today. First up is a dry-hopped cider, On the Brite. Semi-sweet and unfiltered, the juice was fermented with a Saison yeast; they then dry-hopped the cider with Centennial and Columbus. “Light-tasting and refreshing, with lots of citrus notes”, it comes in at 6.9% ABV. Next is Angus, a Brut IPA that was triple-dry-hopped with the tropical American variety, Azacca. With a bone-dry finish, yet an “unexpected amount of body”, this 7.1% ABV brew shows off “an intense blast of tropical fruit flavour”. Both beers can be found at the brewery at noon today.

Today marks the first El Generico release of 2019 for TrailWay; this iteration of their ever-changing fruited kettle sour features a mixture of plum and raspberry puree (with the emphasis on plum). Always sessionable at just 3.8% ABV, this release is showing “a big, juicy, plum front, with a raspberry background, tasting like a mouthful of sour candies”, according to the brewery. You can find it at the brewery today when they open, on draught and in cans. They’re also releasing a new cask today, a double dry-hopped version of last week’s new release, Seeing Summit (Summit single-hopped American IPA).

Sober Island teamed up with The Harbour Brewing Company to brew Scotch Squall Scotch Ale, a 7.4% ABV “malty, spicy” beer that will be served exclusively on tap at Battery Park; it launches there tonight. The color is described as “rusted penny” and the flavor profile leans heavily towards the malt side, with malt sweetness up front and a spicy finish from all English hop varieties. Very smooth for its weight, this should be a great one to help warm you up on these cold winter days.

Newfoundland’s newest brewing addition, Landwash Brewing in Mount Pearl, has a brand new beer on the go this week. Inspired by German Kölsch, an ale style that undergoes a lagering period, Shining Smiling Land was fermented with a strain from Escarpment Labs. Czech Saaz and German Saphir hops impart notes of spice and citrus to this clean and crisp-finishing refreshing beer. This one is the first batch out of their biggest lagering tank (30 BBL) so they’re hoping it lasts for a little while, but the goal is certainly for it to sell out while it’s still fresh. Look for batches of this one to be available at least into Spring, when they’ve hinted we might see them treat the island to a Northern German Lager.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co have a couple brand new beers on the go this week, the first being Brut IPA, a 6.1% ABV in the (surprise!) Brut IPA style. Leveraging extra enzymes to ensure the beer fermented out almost completely dry, Galaxy, Mosaic and Amarillo hops are the stars of this one, giving aromatic notes of grapefruit, lime zest and orange. The grist, interestingly, contains a mixture of Pilsner malt, corn, wheat, and a bit of Munich malt. Expect a very dry beer with hop flavors and aromas taking center stage. Brewer Dan Tanner says he’s excited about the style, so even after this one goes it’s probably safe to hope it won’t be the last Brut IPA from the brewery. And speaking of beer excitement, Tanner is also releasing the first in a series they’re calling Assemblage, reflecting Dan’s two passions, wine and beer. Starting with a beer that’s best described as a Munich Helles, Planters Ridge Winery Chardonnay and Mead were blended in, allowing the fermentation character of both to intermingle with the beer, giving character that cannot be gained from fermenting with beer yeast on grape pomace or honey. With the aspects of the wine and the mead presenting predominantly on the nose in the form of pear and apple from the wine and honey and floral character from the mead, the cereal malt character of the beer side of things blends nicely with the residual sweetness from the mead resulting in a 7% ABV beer with plenty of character. Dan Surette, Assistant Winemaker at Planters Ridge gets credit for the idea of adding mead to the mix. This one is growler fills and pints at the brewery only, as only 2 kegs are available. Look for more interesting beers in the Assemblage Series to appear as we get further into 2019.

Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a brand new beer this week, hoping to up-end what they see as craft beer’s departure from “traditional” beer. Instead of a complex malt or hop bill, they are releasing an uncomplicated, but still flavourful, beer. Eschewing descriptors like dank, juicy, tropical, or hazy, they are embracing the crisp, clear, and drinkable characteristics from a lagered ale. With aromas of white bread and caramel, with light honey, cereal, red apple, and lemon on the palate, with a smooth finish. The New Normal is 4.9% ABV and is seeing a wide release in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and their Test Kitchen on Agricola Street in Halifax, as well as the private beer stores, plus growler fills and kegs to licensees. And keep an eye out later this month for the return of their Rive du Sud Biere de Garde, available shortly.

This week’s winner in the shamefully late email sweepstakes goes to Garrison, who are releasing (earlier than expected, apparently) a new beer just in time for your Superb Owl Sunday beer drinking needs. Georgia Fuzzy Peach is a refreshing pale ale packed with peach flavor, no doubt owing to the heavy use of Huell Melon and Cascade hops. Coming in at 30 IBU and a sessionable (in the modern sense, anyway) 5.0% ABV, the grist is a fairly simple blend of Pale malt, Oats and Wheat. It hasn’t been packaged, so it’s on draft only at the brewery, but you’re welcome to bring a growler or two and get a fill to go! You’re likely to also see it pop up on taps around Halifax as early as this weekend.

Some fun things coming up this weekend and in the next couple of weeks as well:

If you’re one of the few beer fans who haven’t yet tried your hand at making your own beer at home, we have just the event for you! Pop into Brightwood Brewery on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth Sunday afternoon (12 – 2 PM) for a presentation and demo of how to get started. The fine folks from Everwood Ave Brew Shop will be in there to answer all of your questions, and get you excited about crafting your own soon enough. This is Part 1 in their Learning to Brew Series, and we’ll keep you in the loop with the other events as they come up.

Speaking of home-brewing, a friendly reminder to our homebrewing brethren and sistren that registration and beers are due Monday Feb 4 for the 11th Annual Garrison Home Brew-Off. Be sure to get your Dunkles Bock to your local Noble Grape, or Garrison itself, in time for judging, and we’ll see you at the Gala on Feb 28! Details here, Registration/Recipe Form here.

Tickets are now available for Halifax’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, taking place at the Halifax Seaport Market February 16th. With more than 30 breweries and cideries from Nova Scotia and PEI, there will be a wide assortment of offerings pouring that evening. There are sure to be some new releases, and plenty of washer toss, cornhole, and other cottage activities, as breweries dress up their booths to fully embrace the theme. Live music all evening, and food will be available for purchase. Grab your tickets now!

Though we’re still a few months away, tickets for the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival are now on sale. They are doubling down this year, with events on both the West and East coasts of the island. First, on April 6th, they will be taking over the Corner Brook Civic Centre for the evening, for a full evening of beer, live music, food, and fun. Grab your tickets here. And the following weekend they are in the Royal Canadian Legion at Quidi Vidi for two nights, April 12 and 13, to bring the same fun to the East coast. Tickets are available here. All events have VIP tickets available for an hour-earlier entrance. No brewery/beer list available yet, but look for a great mix of Newfoundland, Maritimes, Canadian, and maybe even US and European beer to be flowing in the first couple of weeks of April.

And here be your final bits of beer news; have a great (beer-filled) weekend!!

Stillwell Brewing will be back selling beer at the back door of Propeller’s Gottingen Street location tomorrow from noon to 4 PM. New this week is the latest batch of Easy, their house saison, that’s been napping for quite some time in bottles after 2 months in their biggest foedre. While you’re there grabbing that one, you’ll also have the chance to get your grubby paws on Auld (old ale), Make 1,2 (bière de coupage) and Five (saison with honey fermented in a Pineau des Charentes puncheon).

If you were kicking yourself for missing Kiskadee Sour Porter with Strawberries from Tatamagouche at Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event in early January, as we mentioned in our wrap-up the next day that beer was bottled and kegged and is now generally available for your drinking pleasure. Two years in the making, it’s a big ol’ beast at 9.8% ABV with notes of chocolate, spirits and tart strawberries. Available now at the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax, and, we suspect, kegs will go out to tap accounts as well.

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.