Breton Brewing

All posts tagged Breton Brewing

Welcome to spring! Haha, nice try, winter, we’re onto you. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me eleven times, well…. I’d be a complete moron, is what. Anyway, that concludes the obligatory blurb about the weather. It’s time for beer news!

• Today, Upstreet is releasing the next entry in their Million Acres series of one-offs, Bourbon Barrel Chocolate Salted Lager. This is a very dark brown Lager aged for a year in a Buffalo Trace barrel (Bourbon), and it’s a heckuva strong one at a whopping 10.5% ABV. With flavours of raisin, caramel, toffee, and light vanilla, it finishes with a “smooth, mellowed cocoa bitterness, and balanced bourbon aftertaste”, according to the brewery. You can pick it up in cork-and-cage 750 mL bottle today at the brewery, with a limit of 4 per person (this one was definitely brewed with the intention of aging).

• The folks at Tanner & Co. are mourning the loss (i.e. running out) of their Belgian Tripel in the proper way… by releasing a new beer! American IPA is just that, and built on a grist made up of mostly Maris Otter, along with some Caramel malt to provide some colour, mouthfeel, and sweetness. The brew was hopped in the boil with Citra and Simcoe (to 50 IBUs), and dry-hopped with more Citra to give aromas of “ripe peaches, tropical fruit, and citrus”. Balanced by a firm bitterness in the finish, it comes in at 6.9% ABV and is available now at the brewery for growler fills.

• New Brunswick’s Bogtrotter, located in Rusagonis, is releasing a new beer this week, their first new release in many months. Wonky White is a White IPA, hopped primarily with late additions of El Dorado, giving candy-like, fruity characters in the aroma and flavour, to go with the bitter finish (60 IBUs). Coriander seed was also added during the brew process, to give that classic spice character expected in this cross between a Belgian Witbier and American IPA. It should be on tap shortly at the James Joyce, and will also be available for purchase in 500 mL bottles at several ANBL locations.

Breton Brewing re-released their Valentine’s Day-inspired beer earlier this week, Cocoa Envy. A Robust Porter featuring the addition of chocolate extract sourced from organic cocoa beans, it sports a creamy mouthfeel and “just the right amount” of chocolate flavour to back up the touch of roast and coffee character. At 6.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, this one is available on tap only; you can find it at the brewery right now, and at select accounts by sometime over this weekend. In addition, the brewery will be tapping a special cask of the beer today, which has been sitting on Peruvian cocoa nibs.

• In other Valentine’s Day beer news, YellowBelly released their own, Sheila Na’Geira, a 5.5% ABV American IPA named after an Irish noblewoman involved in “one of the oldest love stories in Newfoundland”. As for the beer, the grist incorporated a small amount of rice as an adjunct, and it was hopped and dry-hopped with a mixture of Topaz, Mosaic, and Citra to give plenty of citrus character on the palate, along with aromas of “berry, citrus, tropical fruits, and dank resin”. It’s still available now on tap, for growler fills, and in bottles.

• Halifax’s Propeller has been working on their Barrel Aged Series, and has finally released the first beer, Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. Taking their crowd-favourite, award-winning RIS and aging it in oak bourbon barrels, the result is a big beer (8.5% ABV) with dark fruit, dark caramel, and roasted malt in the flavour, along with notes of vanilla and bourbon. Bound to have some alcohol warmth going down, it’s a great style to sip on this winter, as well as age and enjoy over time. It’s available in 330 mL bottles right now at the brewery, meaning that it’s not quite so daunting to open one up on your own, maybe even on a weeknight! Look for bottles to be available at all of the private stores by next week, along with the NSLC at the Port.

Good Robot has the usual mix of Alpha and Beta goodness this week. Starting with the BetaBrew to be released this coming Tuesday, Dewey Dudes was brewed by Kelly Costello with local educator Shelby MacGregor. In the Altbier style, it features a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts and Perle and Magnum hops, but cheats just a little bit with a Kölsch yeast. Overall it’s a malty and slightly bitter, but smooth German-style beer weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 31 IBU. Still on the Beta side if you didn’t make it down to GR for last week’s Treat Her Like a Lady from the sisters Costello, fear not, because you didn’t miss it! Owing to a CO2 mishap at the brewery, the beer wasn’t tapped on Tuesday and is being held in reserve for a future event. Over on the Alpha side of the house, Dewolfe of Wall Street is back, but it’s namesake is sallying forth. Jake is moving on from GR, but this 6.2% ABV APA hopped with Cascade and Mount Hood will stand as a testament to his time at the brewery. Look for it at the taproom and GR tap accounts around Halifax.

TrailWay‘s weekly Friday release is the first of what they’re dubbing as an American Fruit Ale. Starblast is brewed to be more fruit-forward with a background hop character, instead of the other way around as exhibited in several of their other beers. Hopped with El Dorado, over 400 lbs of mango, papaya, and kiwi puree were added to the brew, giving plenty of tropical fruit juice characteristics. This 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery today in cans and on tap, and will most likely show up at a few TW tap accounts around the Fredericton area, soon.

Garrison painted the town pink this week with the Valentine’s Day release of their kettle sour Pucker Up in cans. Featuring pomegranate, cranberry, hibiscus and rosehips, we expect you’ll be seeing its bright pink branding around the city for weeks and months to come. To celebrate, they’re holding an online contest to see how you \#PuckerUp. Prizes include a flat of cans, a brewery tour for 10, a 20 L party keg and two tickets to the 2018 Garrison Backlot Bash. The contest runs until 11:59 PM on Monday, February 19th. Full details can be found in this here Instagram post. Also from Garrison this week is the return of their Grand Baltic Porter. The Yin to Russian Imperial Stout’s Yang, the Baltic Porter style is one of the biggest beers, known for its rich malty sweetness paired with dark flavors such as molasses and dried fruit, caramel, and occasional notes of liquorice, all atop a clean lager character. This year’s version has come in nice and heavy, at 9.5% ABV; look for it in 500 mL bottles at the brewery and private stores. Lastly, a mea culpa on our part. Last week we reported that the Garrison Home Brew-off Challenge Gala had been moved to Wednesday, March 28th, when in reality the correct date is Thursday, March 29th. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

• For complicated reasons that have been well-covered by mainstream news sources, it’s been awhile since we’ve brought you any new beer news from Quidi Vidi in St. John’s, but they’ve gone and bought themselves a shiny new 3 BBL (360 L) pilot system and have gone back to their experimental roots! Looks like they already have a few news beers in the pipeline; we don’t have the fine details yet, but can provide you with at least a bit of a tease of what they’ve been releasing. Their first beer released on this new system was their Crab Apple Saison, which featured the addition of 300 kg of locally-picked crab apples to give a bit of tartness to the beer. There are several kegs of this one available so look for it to pop up over the next while. They also brewed up Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bag Belgian (should that be Big BAD Belgian? No idea!). Unfortunately no details at all on those two. 😞We’ll keep bugging them for more on future beers!

We’ve got some updates on beer events over the next few weeks; here’s what’s going on in our region for the next little while:

• Speaking of Quidi Vidi, As part of the Clarenville Wintertainment festivities up the road from St. John’s in Clarenville, NL, White Hills Resort will be hosting Brewtine this Saturday night, February 17th from 7 PM to 10 PM. There you’ll find six different poutine variants, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Dinner, Chicken & Waffles, Pulled Port, Port & Meat Pie, and Donut, each paired with a 5 oz craft beer from Quidi Vidi or Port Rexton Brewing. Live music will be provided by 3 Shades of Grey, and there will be a shuttle service from the event centre picking up at 6 PM and returning after the event. Tickets are $59 + fees & taxes and can be purchased online.

• And also going down on the Rock this Saturday night, but on the west side of the island, Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. is hosting a Craft Beer Tasting from 9 PM to 12 AM as part of Corner Brook Winter Carnival. Although Crooked Feeder aren’t quite ready themselves, with renos and permitting still in process, they’re going to get people together at Swirsky’s to talk and taste beers from Bootleg Brew Co., Yellowbelly Brewery and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Live music will be provided by GIRLS. Only 100 tickets are available for this event, so act quickly if you’re interested; $20 gets you 4 6 oz samples, with additional glasses available for $5 cash. To get tickets you can message Crooked Feeder on Facebook, or visit Country Road Convenience, Empire Atlantic, Village Music Inc. or Newfound Sushi.

• One last reminder on the live Tasting Episode scheduled by the 902BrewCast this Monday, February 19th, at Garrison Brewing. The panel will include women involved in the NS beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of… you! Just show up (it all starts at 6 pm), with no tickets needed. The taps will be flowing, so feel free to have a beer or two! If you’re not able to attend, look for the episode to be available online later in the week.

• Have you been thinking to yourself lately that it’s been a while since those layabouts at Stillwell have done anything to make you sit up and take notice? Well it’s that time again: if you’re into American Farmhouse Ales, especially ones that are all-Brett fermented, sour, blended, aged in wood, and/or fruited, you might want to block off next Saturday, February 24th from Noon until you can drag yourself away – Denver, Colorado’s Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will be in full effect, featured on all 12 taps and with bottles besides. And, as always, special snacks dreamt up specifically for the event will be wending their way out of the kitchen. Do you appreciate brewing artistry? This is where to find it. Look for the complete tap list (and perhaps bottle list as well) to be posted on social media this week.

• For the warm weather lovers amongst us who are already looking forward to summer, the annual Savour Food & Wine Craft Beer Cottage Party is just around the corner. This year they’ve got an impressive 35 participating craft breweries and cideries from around the province and a few from beyond our borders. The event is now two weeks away, on March 3rd, from 7 to 9:30 PM at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Beer-friendly food will be available for purchase from Shwarma Stop and Bramoso Pizza, a live band will be playing up on the mezzanine, and you’ll find some classic games around the place. Tickets are $65 + taxes and include all your beer samples. So grab your favourite plaid, comb your beard, and get ready for a good time with beers and ciders from: 2 Crows Brewing, Alexander Keith’s NS Brewery, Big Spruce Brewing, Bishop’s Cellar, Boxing Rock Brewing Co., Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Chain Yard Urban Cidery, Elderkin Cider Co., Firkenstein, Garrison Brewing Co., Good Robot Brewing Co., Granite Brewery, Hell Bay Brewing Co., Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, Meander River Farm and Brewery, Granville/Creemore, Nine Locks Brewery, North Brewing, Picaroons, Propeller Brewing Co., Pump House Brewery, Roof Hound Brewing, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewery, Shipbuilders Cider, Sober Island Brewing, Spindrift Brewing Co., Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Tidehouse, Trider’s Craft Beer, Uncle Leo’s, Upstreet Craft Brewing, and Wayfarer’s Ales.

That’s about it for this week! Nice to see things slow down just a touch (for our sakes, anyway). Couple more things before we let you leave to enjoy your long weekend…

Niche Brewing has just re-released the first beer of theirs that hit taps in late December, Single Origin (5% ABV), a Coffee Sweet Stout). Look for it at the James Joyce and other tap accounts in the near future. They’re also sending a keg of their Hibiscus Sour Ale, Ruby Tuesday, to Stillwell today, to go on tap sometime soon.
– As we hinted a couple times over the past month, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has a new tap account, Freeman’s on Quinpool where they’re currently serving up the Saturday Night Fever IPA. Meanwhile Keith is already looking forward to St Patrick’s Day, with an apropos brew already in the fermenter.

Another beautiful week on the East Coast, with the cooler temperatures inspiring the brewers to release more harvest-themed beers, and leading into the dark and warming beers of winter. But first, we have a bit of information on a pair of new breweries now serving beer in New Brunswick:

• After several months operating as a pub (under the name Buddha Bear Cafe) serving craft beer in Alma, New Brunswick, Holy Whale Brewery is finally serving their own beer! Think of this as a soft-opening, giving them an opportunity to test out various styles and batches, including an American Pale Ale, Session IPA, and Irish Red, all of which should be pouring at the cafe by this weekend. Stay tuned for a Q&A we’ll be posting next week to give you a full update on the brewery, with a grand opening hopefully happening by mid-December. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, drop by the cafe (located at 8576 Main St.) this weekend to try out their beers!

CAVOK Brewing, located in Dieppe, NB, has their first few beers now available in the Moncton and Fredericton region. Brewing on a pilot system while they secure a location for their full-sized brewery, their Petitcodiac Rye IPA and S&S Altbier are available now at the Tide & Boar in Moncton and James Joyce in Fredericton, respectively. We’ll have a full profile with the folks behind CAVOK next week to get you up to speed on their current operations, and future plans!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has two brand new beers out in the wild right now! First up is their annual wet-hop beer, brewed with 100% organic hops from the brewery’s own hopyard. Fortune Frazer’s the Bold (6.2% ABV) is an American IPA hopped with Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and a little bit of Chinook. You may remember past year’s iterations going under the names Craig Goes Yard, and Hoppily Married. This year’s brew was named after Frazer MacGregor, a neighbour of Big Spruce who was the primary architect of the reconstruction of the brewery’s hop trellis system earlier this year. As a debt of gratitude, the beer was named after him. Next is S’il Vous Plait, a Saison brewed with 100% organic Pilsner malt from Germany, and fermented with the Old World Farmhouse Blend (which contains two Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs. A Brettanomyces strain also played a role in primary, with the 6% ABV, ~20 IBUs brew being further conditioned in stainless for 4 weeks after fermentation was complete. Find both of these beers on tap at the brewery, and at a few lucky Big Spruce tap accounts in Nova Scotia (you probably already know where to look).

• And keep your eyes peeled for the return of Big Spruce’s One Hundred, a beer produced with 100% local ingredients, from hops grown on their own farm, barley and grain grown and then malted at Horton Ridge Malt, and fermented with a yeast isolated from the fruit of a pin cherry tree. For the first time, however, the batch will be available in both draft and cans, allowing drinkers a chance to take a little piece of Nova Scotia with them wherever they go.

• And Cape Breton’s other craft brewery, Breton Brewing in Sydney, is putting more things in cans these days, with three of their seasonal brews getting the full package treatment. Already available are their summer swigger Island Time Lager, a Munich Helles that weighs in at 4.3% ABV and 14 IBU and their Storm Chaser, an oatmeal stout with added vanilla that tips the scales at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU. And next week should see the release of Seven Years, a very hop forward pale ale reminiscent of New England IPAs, but coming in at a much more approachable 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU. Obviously the new cans will be available at the brewery, but they’ll also be making their way to the private stores in Halifax, some of whom, like Bishop’s Cellar, will ship anywhere in NS (just sayin’…). While these beers will all maintain their “seasonal” tag for now, who knows what might happen if they prove to be big sellers in this run?

• Halifax’s Tidehouse emailed us (last night, even) to let us know that they’ve got a new brew on tap now at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. Impeccably named, Bruno Puntz Jones is a brown ale built from a base of Canadian 2-Row, with kiln coffee and Munich malts providing character and an auburn hue. Traditional English hop varieties East Kent Goldings and Fuggles complete the overall picture like a perfect white linen suit and matching Panama hat. At 4.4% ABV this should be a very quaffable brew, with light roast flavors underlying nutty and mocha notes, and a fruity and herbal hop character. And we have it on good authority that at some point Tidehouse will give us a Francesca Fioré beer, which is only proper – when you see Bruno Puntz Jones you know that it’s only a matter of time before Francesca Fioré shows up.

• Hold on to your hop hats, Rothesay, as Foghorn is releasing their first Imperial IPA today at the brewery! Model 21 Double IPA is kind of a souped-up version of their Constable Winchester IPA, in that it’s the same light-copper colour, with some medium Crystal malt in the grist… but the similarities end there. Model 21 was bittered with Centennial to 75-80 IBUs, with plenty of Azacca added after the boil. Naturally, a very large dry-hop addition was incorporated, featuring crowd- and brewer-favourites Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy. Coming in at a hefty 9% ABV, it’s not for the faint of heart… but we know you hop heads out there will love it! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Foghorn today, and it will most likely appear on tap at your other favourite Foghorn accounts.

• Speaking of big, hoppy beers, today at noon TrailWay is releasing their first Triple IPA, Trippa. Coming in at a massive 10% ABV (no word back on the IBUs), the brewery was – naturally – pushed to the limit in terms of malt, hops, and equipment! The hop bill was made up of copious amounts of Ella, Idaho 7, and Vic Secret, giving this big beer plenty of juicy, tropical qualities, to go with its “super silky mouthfeel and pillowy body”. Limited supplies are available, with cans only at the brewery; growlers and pints will also be pouring there, as well as at a few select licensees in New Brunswick.

• If you listened in to the latest podcast from the 902BrewCast crew, where they interviewed Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery, you would have been privy to some expansion news. Oh well, you’ll just have to get it from us, some equally-handsome devils! That’s right, Brightwood has announced their expansion to a 10 bbl (~1150 L) system, with a pair each of both 10 and 20 bbl fermentors, as well as a canning line. They’ll be opening their location (and taproom) on Portland St., sharing a space with a new cidery that will be launching. We’ll keep you updated on their progress, but in the meantime, here’s a new beer from Brightwood to hold you off: Dartmouth Commons is a “late season lawnmower beer” brewed with 2-row, Vienna, and Rye malt, and hopped with Citra and Galaxy. Basically a light, crisp lager with “lots of citrus and tropical fruit” character, it comes in easy-drinking (as it should) at 5% ABV. Look for it at the Alderney Farmers Market this weekend, with a keg possibly popping up at Schoolhouse over the next day or two as well.

North Brewing has a new release coming out today, and it sounds like a winner! Ensō is a Sour Brown Ale that was aged in four separate oak barrels, for 4 months. The beer was then bottle-conditioned (in 650 mL bottles), with the corresponding barrel number indicated on the label. With a slightly lower carbonation level than other North beers, expect a “sherry-like vibe” in the finished product, with characteristics of “stone fruit, tart pear, raisin, vanilla, and light molasses” in the flavour. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, you can find bottles at both North retail shops. Also, cans of their New England IPA, Malternate Reality, are available now!

• Over to Good Robot, where next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday will be Mordor’s Porter. Aside from a nice little reference to a fantastic trilogy, the beer was brewed with a variety of malt types (Pale, Amber, Brown and Black, along with a bit of Smoked malt) to give complex flavours of “bourbon, plums, apricots, and caramel”. Featuring some Willamette hops for 39 IBUs to balance the malt, this burnt orange-coloured, 4% ABV beer was brewed by Colin MacDonald and Kelly C. Also, you may have noticed through social media that some canning was going on at GR earlier this week; we’ll have more info for you in the next week or two (ok, it was Extra Big Ass Lager), as well as some bottling news!

• After a summer hiatus, Lunn’s Mill has brought back their Eclipse (7% ABV, 60 IBUs), a Black IPA. Dark-coloured and hop-forward, it’s still balanced by plenty of malt character, and a hint of roastiness from the addition of dark malt. And also pouring from Lunn’s Mill is a new beer launched a couple of weeks ago, Lager Driver. This one is a Vienna Lager weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs; initially released at their Oktoberfest event, it is luckily still available. Malty and dry, with a mild bitterness in the finish, the body exhibits a deep-amber colour.

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing will have a pair of new beers available this weekend, just as the temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning colour. New IPA 1.0 is, you guessed it, a brand new IPA that the HB crew has whipped up. Using a blend of three hops that lean toward the citrus and tropical end of the spectrum, this beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU. The second new brew to you is their Robust Porter, featuring plenty of Chocolate and Black malts for a solid roast flavour and aroma, but with a balancing hop charge for enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Grab the new beers, as well as their core lineup, at their Kirk Street location this weekend. And if you want to enjoy a pint of Heritage on tap outside of brewery hours, visit the following local spots: Sip CafeRC’s Restaurant & PubThe Hatfield House Culinary Experiences, and the Red Cap Restaurant & Motel.

• The crew at Half Cocked Brewing, located in North Grant (just outside of Antigonish), have added a new beer to their repertoire this week. A 7.3% American Stout, the pitch black beer features roast and coffee aromatics on top of a rich creamy mouthfeel with hints of chocolate, finishing of in a nice bitter kick, thanks to the 60 IBU. They have decided to name this beer The Darkest One, and if you are a fan of the Tragically Hip or the Trailer Park Boys, you know why.

• The Rock’s Port Rexton Brewing has a new release with a connection back to Nova Scotia’s Big SpruceEcho Chamber is brewed in the American-Belgo style, juxtaposing yeast and grain with old world Belgian vibes against tons of new world hops. Hopped with the AzaccaHuell Melon and Amarillo varieties in whirlpool additions described as “massive”, it was then dry-hopped with even more Azacca and Huell Melon for an explosion of orange and melon aroma. The bitterness is pronounced, yet well-balanced and the finish is slightly dry. The yeast strain used was the Pin Cherry developed by Escarpment Labs for Big Spruce, which lays a base of spice notes that provide the foundation for the rest of the beer. Look for this well-balanced ale on tap at the brewery now.

• We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Horton Ridge would be holding their Oktoberfest in Hortonville tomorrow, October 21st, and we now have details on the collaboration brewed up with Sea Level for the event. An Oktoberfest (natch) named Maltoberfest, it was brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt, and hopped with local Hallertau in the mash, with more Hallertau and some Mandarina Bavaria in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham yeast and finishing at 4.8% ABV, it will be released at the event tomorrow. Meanwhile, Horton Ridge has released a new beer called Queen’s Smash, a SMaSH beer (obviously) that features a PEI barley variety called Queens after the county where it was developed. Hopped with Calypso to give it a bit of a North/South Island flair, this is a one-off, so you’ll have to head down to the brewery and malt house for a taste!

A few events to tell you about…

• The New Glasgow Farmers’ Market is hosting an All Hallows Ball, at their location next Saturday, October 28th. Featuring beer from Sober Island Brewing and Uncle Leo’s, it will also serve as the coming out party for Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing, with their first beers pouring at the event. Food from Smokinstein Food Truck will keep you happy, plus live music all evening. Costumes are mandatory, so be sure to get planning now, and there are still tickets available here.

• In other spooky event news, Maybee Brewing is bringing back their Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 28th, starting at 7 pm. Tickets aren’t quite on sale yet, but they’ll only be 5$, which gets you in to the event. There’ll be live music all evening, lots of beer for sale (including a special-release cask ale), “haunted brewery tours”, and a costume contest. And when you get hungry, Milda’s Pizzas & More will be on-site, making up some special Halloween-inspired pizzas. There’ll even be a free shuttle heading downtown at the end of the night, to make sure you get home safely… or to your next drinking spot! It’s up to you.

Rounding out the news today…

– Fredericton’s Grimross will soon be releasing another brew in their Scratch series, Scratch #6: Schwartzbier. Featuring roast character with a “light and clean finish”, look for it on tap at the brewery by next week.
PEI Brewing Co. has brought back Hell Street, their 8.1% ABV barrel-aged Doppelbock; you can pick up some bottles at the brewery, Gahan House in Charlottetown, and the Beer Station.
– We may still be having some warm days, but that hasn’t stopped Petit-Sault from bringing back their award-winning Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV)! It’s available now at the brewery taproom on tap and in bottles.
– If you like your Citra SMaSH beers, we have some good news – Unfiltered‘s highly-popular Double Orange Ale (DOA) (7.5% ABV) is back as of today at noon; growlers and pints at Charm School, and on tap around the HRM.
– A. Keith’s Historic Brewery on Lower Water Street in Halifax got some happy news this week, as their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout was awarded a Four-star Beer designation at The Beer Awards in England. Congrats to brewer Stefan Gagliardi and his team.

With the summer heat holding on across our region earlier this week, it is now beginning to feel a little more like fall. There’s a new brewery for us to announce, plus the usual tidal wave of new beers and events for you to check out. Grab a pint and settle in!

• There’s a new brewery coming this fall to the town of Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton. Niche Brewing will be operating a 2 BBL (230 litre) brewhouse, and concentrating on keg sales to licensees in the area. The two folks behind the brewery will be familiar to readers, as they are Rob Coombs and Shawn Meek, two long-time Fredericton-area homebrewers who are looking to share their award-winning homebrews with a larger audience. Their location has been secured, but most of the gear is still on its way, so look for their beers to be available at local bars and restaurants in a few months. We’ll have the full details on beer styles and where to find them, with a Q&A closer to launch. In the meantime, follow along with them at their Facebook page above (a website will be popping up in the future), as well as on Twitter and Instagram. Congratulations, Rob and Shawn! And for those wondering, acbbshawn will keep up his blogging duties (both here and on his own Meek Brewing Co. blog) for now, until he realizes he’s way overworked and smartens up, because we frankly can’t afford to lose him with all of the news in our region. 😐

• On Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Sober Island has a few new things on the go. The first is the Harvest Rye we told you about a couple weeks ago, a 7.4% ABV and 40 IBU amber-colored brew featuring spicy rye and an assertive hop presence. It will make its first appearance at Cavicchi’s Meats for the Fall edition of their Bangers & Beer event from 4 – 8 PM this evening that features live music, sausages, beer and a campfire. After that it will be found at the brewery in growlers and at the usual Sober Island Farmers Market locations. Next up is a small batch beer only available at neighbouring Henley House: Belgian Single was brewed with a couple of malts (Maris Otter and Vienna) from a new provider in the region. These malts, paired with classic Czech Saaz hops and the Belle Saison yeast, produced a 4.7% ABV beer with 25 IBU. Look for a noble character from the hops, a fair amount of maltiness from the malt selections and a definite yeast presence. Only 40 L was produced and it’s all at Henley House, so go there if you want to try this beer. Lastly we have another beer designed to test out that same Maris Otter malt, British Golden. Similar in specs to the Belgian Single, the hops in this one are the classic English East Kent Goldings and the yeast used was the very British S-04. Look for a spicy and citrus hop character with floral undertones as well as some fruity yeast esters. There will also no doubt be a detectable malt presence, although this is a lighter beer at 4.5% ABV with a solid bitterness of 30 IBU. We’re not sure how much of this one there is, but we do know it’s on tap at the Henley House right now!

• If you’re able to pop down to the 2 Crows tasting room today (and why wouldn’t you? Who are you to waste that opportunity, huh?), it’d be a good idea to follow through on that, as they’re releasing another brand new small batch beer as we speak. Rookie Move is the brainchild of brewery coordinator Mitch Gilbert, but don’t let the beer name fool you… this is no simple beer recipe, here. Brewed with Pilsner malt, with some malted and rye Wheat thrown in, it was hopped to 20 IBUs with Calypso, and then fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house Saison culture, along with an “experimental Brett strain”. After fermentation was complete, the beer was further conditioned on a “healthy dose” of yellow plums for one month, before being keg-conditioned with a Champagne yeast strain. Described by the brewery as “bright, funky and effervescent, with notes of barnyard, bright plum, and earthy tea”, it weighs in at just 5.1% ABV, making it the perfect pour for you to enjoy on a mid-work-on-a-Friday kind of day. Heck, maybe even have two! (Disclaimer: we would never condone drinking during a work day; who do you think we are, anyway?)

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing has a new brew out for the dog days of summer with their recently released Crush, a German-style Hefeweizen brewed with over 150 lbs of blood oranges. Built off of their base Weizen recipe, Württemberg Weissbier, blood oranges aren’t the only star, as an additional several pounds of orange zest were also thrown in. Hopped lightly with Summit to 15 IBUs, this 5% ABV brew is hazy-orange in colour, with lots of fresh orange flavour thanks to the combination of the blood oranges and zest. With a touch of clove from the fermentation with a Bavarian yeast strain, it’s sure to refresh your palate as summer continues to linger. On tap now at your local LC licensee.

• Coming off their presence at last weekend’s HalCon, Garrison made a couple of announcements this week. The first is that their pumpkin beer, the venerable Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, is back as of today, exclusively at the rewery and private liquor stores in Halifax. Packaged in 650 mL bombers, this is one of the bigger pumpkin offerings in the region, coming it a 8.0% ABV. Complex and nutty on the malt side, the body is augmented with Cinderella pumpkins from the Dill family farm in Windsor. Pumpkin pie spices and hopping with Millennium to 30 IBU complete the picture, and it arrives just in time to pair with the crisp fall air. Homebrewers following Garrison’s Facebook page surely took note earlier this week when the style for their upcoming 2018 Home Brew-off was revealed to be Kölsch. Though the dates of the competition have not yet been decided, classically the entry date is in late February/early March. Why reveal so early? With the Kölsch style, developed in Cologne, Germany, timing is everything. Generally top-fermented at warm temperatures with an ale yeast, it is then lagered at cooler temperatures to achieve a characteristic crisp finish that balances its soft, rounded palate. Best served fresh, this style challenges the brewer to bring a fairly light, but characterful ale that displays some characteristics associated with lagers. Plus, this extra time will give keeners the chance for a test batch or two to nail down a recipe and technique. Check out the Kölsch Style Guidelines for inspiration. And finally, if you’re looking for something to do (read: warmup beers!) tomorrow afternoon in the lead-up to the Cask Beer Throwdown, head on down to Garrison’s SeaPort location and bring your Wiener Dog (if you’ve got one). In support of the Atlantic Canadian Dachshund Rescue, you’ll find the Wunderbar Wiener Dog Rally going on, with fun, games, and a BBQ. Oh! And don’t forget the home-and-home tap takeovers Garrison and Breton are doing this week. Tonight at the Stubborn Goat in Halifax expect to find a bevy of Breton brews and coming up next Thursday, look for Garrison to bring their wares to Governor’s Pub in Sydney. Both events start at 6 PM and go ’til late!

• Speaking of Pumpkin beer, Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing has released their Pumpkin Ale, brewed with plenty of home-grown ingredients. Featuring pumpkins from Fullerton Farms in Kingston, and hops from Darlings Island Farm in Darlings Island, this 6.3%, 28 IBU autumn seasonal is truly a taste of the Kennebecasis Valley!

Western Newfoundland Brewing has announced that their beers are now available in packaged format to grab and enjoy at home (or one of the amazing trails in nearby Gros Morne). While their brewery retail shop is not quite open full time, visitors can drop in Thursday and Friday from 12-7PM to grab crowlers of their beer. Currently available are the Killdevil Backcountry Pale Ale, and Stout. Drop by the back entrance at Unit 8 at 23 Stentaford Ave to check out the brewery and buy a few cans for later.

• Do you find yourself constantly hanging out at Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing, ordering pints, filling growlers, and just enjoying the atmosphere? Well, you might as well join the new KV Beer Club! For just $30 you get a t-shirt, free growler fill, a members-only mug, and $1 off all pints until 2018. Sound good? Well, there’s only 50 spots available, so you best get down to the brewery to sign up, ASAP!

Breton Brewing has brought back two of their fall seasonals, just in time for, well, fall! The first beer is a style that is always expected aplenty this time of year, their Pumpkin beer, Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs). Brewed with over 100 lbs of roasted, locally-grown pumpkins, it was also spiced with their secret blend to pump up the pumpkin presence (I did that on purpose). Joining this beer at the taproom is their other fall favourite, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs), brewed with local maple syrup. Both of these beers are available now at Breton for pints and growler fills, for a limited time only.

• Down at the gateway to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in Windsor, Schoolhouse continues to pump out the beer from their expanded 10 BBL system. The latest version of their Vice Principal ale is currently fermenting, this time a harvest version featuring a wet hop of 6 kg of Zeus grown on Bremner Farm, very close to the original Schoolhouse location in Falmouth. Also in the works is a new entry in the local hop series, keeping the name The Big Red Schoolhouse. It’s an imperial red ale that will have lots of locally grown Centennial, Cascade, Magnum, Brewers Gold and Zeus. We’ll have more information on that one when it hits the taproom in the late October/early November timeframe. This week’s Cask Friday beer with be the Scotian Export with a dry hop of East Kent Goldings available from 4 PM today for tasters, pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a few things on the go this week (seems to be a theme this week, actually). First, DeWolfe of Wall Street, their “alternative” APA is back in their taproom. They’ve also let us know what they’ll be pouring at tomorrow’s Cask Throwdown: they took the base beer for their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie, a mix of Pilsner, Red X, rye and flaked barley, and to it added various combinations of wild-foraged and other off-the-beaten-path ingredients, including roasted dandelion root, elderberry, ginger and freshly-picked rose petals. They’ll have 5 different variations pouring in all. Next, we’ve been advised that the wackiness we told you about last week known as Golden Goomba did eventually make the taps and is still available. It ended up with a pile of fresh ginger to go with the Yuzu juice, sour culture and two different yeasts we described last week. And this week’s offering for Beta Brewsday is called Reclaiming My Time. Brewed, as always, by Kelly C., this time with help from Evelyn White, it’s an attempt to recreate one of Evelyn’s favourite beers, Mackeson Milk Stout, a beer first brewed in Hythe, Kent, in 1907. It’s heavy on the chocolate and honey malts, with some dark crystal, all on top of a base of 2-row barley. The hopping is Willamette for early additions and Vic Secret in very limited amounts later in the boil. Cold-steeped malt was added in the fermenter to punctuate things. Coming in at 4.5% ABV, this should be a very sessionable beer, likely to be dark, sweet and roasty, with a bitterness in the 25 IBU range. It will be tapped in Beta Brewsday tradition, this coming Tuesday.

• Continuing to bring some truly interesting cider experiences to Halifax, we have more information on a blend we mentioned briefly last week. Chain Yard has another interesting offering available this week. Orange is the New Wild started with a wild fermentation of juice mixed apple blend. Noticing “pleasant floral notes…with a citrus element” developing during fermentation, the cider makers encouraged further development of these aromatics through a nutrient strategy. Close to the end of the fermentation, orange blossom water was added to highlight the aroma before a temperature drop was applied to slow the final stages. In the end, a crisp and refreshing, easy drinking, high-ABV (7.7%) cider was produced.

• Making its debut at last night’s Tap Takeover is a brand new beer collaboration between Tatamagouche Brewing and Battery Park Beer BarPfiel-Mund is a 5.3%, 23 IBU Dunkelweizen, brewed with Wheat, Munich, Horton Ridge 2 Row, and a touch of Chocolate Malt for colour. Traditional German Hallertau and Tettnang hops were used for a light bitterness, and Escarpment Lab “Weizen 2” yeast completes the authentic package. The resultant amber beer shares a distinct banana and clove aroma with its pale Hefeweizen cousin, with a bit more malt flavour and character from the darker malts. This weekend, the beer will see wider distribution, hitting tap accounts in HRM and at their own brewery on Main Street Tatamagouche.

• Coming in just under the wire (again!), Tidehouse would like us to let you know that they’ll be launching a new “Belgian-inspired Ale” at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room over the coming weekend. Franco is best-described as a Belgian Amber, and was brewed with 2-row, Munich, Wheat malt, and a touch of Chocolate malt to darken the colour Post-boil-hopped with Ahtanum, Azacca, and Citra to add some tropical and citrus notes, the 6.3% ABV brew was fermented with both a Saison and a Witbier strain, giving plenty of clove character. “Autumnal as all get-out”, according to the brewery, drop by this weekend to give it a try (and maybe firmly suggest they don’t email us at 10:34 am on Friday morning?).

• To celebrate the birthday of Alexander Keith, the Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery will be releasing a new beer, Peated Blueberry Ale. With a grist that includes a small portion of Peated malt, locally-harvested blueberries from Glenmore Farms were also added at various stages of the brew, including in the mash, kettle, and aging tanks after fermentation was complete. The result is a blend of “smoky, earthy woodsy character with the moderate-intense wild fruity blueberry notes”, with a tart finish. At 5.3% ABV and 10 IBUs, this dark purple beer will be released at the brewery’s party on October 5th.

• It was only a matter of time before this happened in our region, but it still feels like a bit of a surprise. This week saw the demise of Downeast Beer Factory in Burnside. Although their website is still operating, Halifax Retales noted yesterday on Twitter that the doors have been locked for several days and there are no signs of life inside. We were able to confirm independently later in the day that the brewery is finished. Though some other breweries in Atlantic Canada have had some hiccups and at least one is on hiatus, this is the first brewery to close permanently since Rogue’s Roost in October of 2015, and, before that, the Hart & Thistle in February of 2014. But both of those establishments had long term runs of 5 years or more, whereas Downeast had only been operating since May of last year. While it is likely that misfortune in the form of equipment failure during the initial startup had a hand to play in the closure, and while there are certainly some fairly well-publicized concerns surrounding the brewery’s ownership and operations, the fact remains that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a business model there. Attempting to put a brewery in an industrial park and make it a destination for food and drink is not a strong play in 2017. Coming to market in a city with more than a dozen established breweries (and more in the works) with a limited and somewhat uninspired product line (blonde, Irish ale and IPA) does not sound to us like a good idea even if the beers are top quality. It is unfortunate that a local business has failed and that, as a result, people are out of work. At the same time it is a reminder that our craft beer industry is maturing. In a previous era Downeast may have been able to limp along for more than a year, possibly even overcoming some of the obstacles it had set for itself. But in today’s market, with the level of competition (however friendly) rising, there is less runway and less margin for error. We wish the staff of Downeast all the best and hope to see their brewer running a mash tun and boil kettle somewhere else soon. But we certainly also feel that there are some important lessons to be learned here for prospective brewery owners. To be clear, this isn’t any kind of tipping point for craft breweries in the province and we’re not expecting any others to fall any time soon, but it’s definitely a signpost on the road to a truly mature industry: the margin for error on starting a brewery in Atlantic Canada has definitely narrowed.

Another busy weekend ahead with both the Cask Beer Throwdown and Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest on Saturday, plus a bunch more new events coming soon!

• The crew from Boxing Rock are visiting HopYard in Charlottetown this week, with a full Vinyl and Tap Takeover. Pouring 10 different BR beers yesterday and today, the visit to the island may also signify the possibility of a return in the Rumble in the Alley series of collaborations between Boxing Rock and Upstreet. Drop by Kent Street today to grab a pint and meet the BR folks!

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is taking over the taps at Lion & Bright tomorrow during MOJO – Indie Dance Night with DJ Loukas Stilldrnk. From 9:30 till late, the 8 taps at L&B will be pouring a wide variety of Roof Hounds beers, including their new Oat of My Mind Double IPA, and at least two sours. Always the overachiever, there will actually be 9 beers flowing, so don’t be afraid to grab a full pint or two of your favourites, as there are reinforcements waiting in the wings!

• A reminder that the second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run (5 and 10 km) is going down tomorrow at Castle Fredericks Farm. You’ll find beers from Schoolhouse and Roof Hound alongside Sid Cider and Davison’s (non-alcoholic) as well. And look out for the Schoolhouse team in the 19th Annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor on October 15th! They’ll have an outdoor beer garden from 1 – 8 PM in a great spot to watch the race with lots of great beer including their own Pumpkin Paddler Ale. There will also be food trucks, a corn boil and live music from 3 – 7 PM. Meanwhile a team from the brewery will be participating in the race.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has announced their next event, set for Wednesday, October 11th. This social will be held at Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex downtown, from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a flight of beers to sample, for just $9.50. As always, you’re welcome to hang out afterwards and continue chatting – and drinking! – with your fellow beer lovers. If you’d like to secure a spot, you can RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com.

And just a couple more things before we let you get back to work…

– The Pumpkin Ales won’t be ending with the ones we’ve mentioned this week; Hammond River has just brewed up their Pumpkin ale, La Maitresse, which should be appearing on tap at the brewery, and at licensees, within the next few weeks.
– The North / Boxing Rock collaboration, Many Hands 5.0, a wet-hopped Gruit/beer hybrid that we mentioned last week, is now available; you can find it in 650 mL bottles and growlers at both North bottle shops and at Boxing Rock.