Breton Brewing

All posts tagged Breton Brewing

Here we are on another Friday, with the official start of Summer just a week away – though maybe keep bringing your plants in at night, mkay? – bringing you the latest in beer news for the region. It’s a bit of a quiet week compared to some of the craziness of the last couple of months, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s nothing exciting to tell you.

• Let’s lead off the news with a good story from Nova Scotia, which was made public by the NSLC and CBANS yesterday. Big changes are being implemented July 1st for NS breweries: those breweries who hold a hospitality license (which is many of the smaller spots) will have the option to pour in glasses larger than 4oz, saving glasses countless trips through the washer. The change comes just months after engagement with the Premier and other members of government during a “Meet Your Brewery” event attended by members of all parties, and the divisive beer brewed by Premier McNeil with one of the most vocal members of the province’s brewing industry, Jeremy White of Big Spruce. It really *is* all about engaging those in power, as well as the general population. Here’s hoping this change is only the beginning, as there are plenty more archaic rules in place that could be eased to further help the brewing industry in the province (and the whole region).

• One Nova Scotia brewery that is most-certainly ecstatic about this recent change is Halifax’s Tidehouse. They’ve been waiting for this day, and now that it’s finally here, they just so happen to have a brand new beer to serve you pints of in their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room! Pitcher’s Perfect Pineapple NEIPA was brewed with multi-hate-wearing-employee Mike Pitcher, and is indeed a NEIPA (at 6.3% ABV) brewed with Pale, Oats, Wheat, Munich, and Acidulated malts. Hopped at the end of the boil with Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial, and then more Citra and Amarillo a couple of days into fermentation, the juice factor was upped even higher by the addition of real pineapple in the fermentor at the tail end of the beer’s completion. Tasting like “hoppy pineapple juice”, you’ll be able to find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery, starting at opening (2PM) today.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock and Halifax’s Chain Yard have collaborated on a new beverage, possibly the first packaged example (or at least the first local example) of the classic beer/cider mix known as a “snakebite” to be available in NS. A 50/50 blend of Boxing Rock’s Hunky Dory Pale Ale, which features citrus zest and green tea, and Chain Yard’s Foundation cider, known for its tropical notes and light tannins, Snakebite is a 5.7% ABV product that features the best of both worlds. While it will be available in limited quantities at both Boxing Rock, who have some pre-filled growlers and a keg for 4 oz (or MORE?!) samples, and at Chain Yard, who have it on tap as well as in cans, the prime channel for acquiring some for yourself will be select NSLC stores across the province.

• We don’t know whether many people outside the area are aware, but the location of Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is very close to a spur of the old Halifax to Yarmouth H&SW rail line – Halifax and South Western, which locals repurposed to “Hellish, Slow & Wobbly” based on the travel experience. This line, whose bed has since been repurposed as a recreational trail, is symbolic of a beer brewed at Saltbox in collaboration with Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas, ON. Railway City’s brewer is Amanda Fehr, sister of Saltbox’s own brewer Jeremy Fehr, and the siblings came together during the week of the Canadian Brewing Awards to brew a New England IPA. Called The Last Spike, this easy drinking 5.8% ABV beer features big citrus and pineapple flavors with very little bitterness. Perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon on a patio, possibly while watching some soapbox races…Speaking of which, a reminder that the Saltbox Soapbox Derby is tomorrow down Clearway St. in Mahone Bay with all proceeds going to Bayview Community School Breakfast Program. There are 28 entrants across the 4 classes this year with participants ranging in age from 4.5 to 67 years old!!

• Our friends at Tatamagouche Brewing have been gearing up for their big 4th birthday celebration this weekend, and one of the ways they’re celebrating is with a new beer release, Salt Water Cowboy. This one is a Gose that was soured with a co-pitch of a Kolsch yeast strain and a strain of Lactobacillus, and fermented in tequila barrels. The 4.4% ABV beer was aged in the barrels for four months, and then an additional period on lemon peel, to play up the tequila, salt, and citrus character. With a subtle flavour on all fronts (including the barrel character), it’s meant to be easy-drinking and refreshing, as all good Goses should be! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Tata tomorrow, with bottles being released sometime over the coming weeks. And a reminder since last week’s post, they’ll have Route 6 Food Truck onsite all day, live music, social media contests and real-life games, plus a Nothing But The Hits taplist pouring (sorry, still only in 4oz glasses for now!): Amrita, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, Guava Heist, Lagerhosen, and the aforementioned Salt Water Cowboy.

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has another brand new beer dropping this week, Into the Wild. Fermented solely with Brettanomyces Claussenii (Brett C rather than Saccharomyces), this IPA straddles the line between “clean” and “wild”, with both the hops and yeast working together for a fruity tropical and juicy beer. In the boil, and again in the fermenter, Azacca and Vic Secret were used to impart citrus, mango, and pineapple flavour and aromatics, which is further enhanced by the pineapple and a touch of funk from the yeast. The 6.6% ABV beer has a soft and smooth mouthfeel and finishes rather dry, setting you up for your next sip (or pint!). The Niche crew have sent the beer to the bars and restaurants in the area, so keep your eyes peeled for its tapping. In Fredericton: The Snooty Fox, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce Pub; in Saint John: Peppers Pub, Lemongrass Thai Fare, and Saint John Ale House.

• The Good Robot new beers continue, with their latest Beta batch being Rosemary Was A Boy, a 5.5% ABV Witbier. Brewed with graphic designer Margot Durling, the simple grain bill of 2-row and Wheat malt was rounded out with boil additions of Mittelfrüh hops, coriander, orange peel, and, of course, rosemary. Expect your typical Witbier experience – fruity and spicy, light and refreshing – with a touch of rosemary character to complement; check it out next Tuesday.

• Over in PEI, Montague’s Copper Bottom is ready to release the collaboration beer they brewed a few weeks ago with L’Espace Public, a Montreal taproom with a brewery in-house. Patio Beer is a 4.5% ABV kettle sour that was brewed with a grist made up of only 2-row malt. Soured with a pure pitch of Lactobacillus, the wort was then boiled and hopped very lightly with Centennial. Later in the process, they added a plethora (such a great word!) of juices, made up of equal parts strawberry, cranberry, tart cherry, and wild blueberry juice. The brewery describes the beer as “light on the sourness” with a present-but-not-overpowering juice presence. Head on over to the taproom tomorrow for a taste; it’ll be available in pints, growlers, and cans. They’ll also be serving up oysters from Chef Robert Pendergast from 4-8 pm to celebrate.

• Meanwhile, in Charlottetown, Upstreet will have cans and kegs of their latest Neon Friday release, Oat Cream IPA with Cashmere. These beer names pretty much describe themselves, meaning less typing for us! But if you’d like us to be clear, it’s an American IPA with Oats in the grist, and lactose powder in the boil. Double-dry hopped with Cashmere (an American variety that exhibits lemon, lime, and melon characteristics), they’re describing the final product as having “an easy-drinking sweetness that’s juicy and clean”. As always, it’ll be available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner.

• There are three new beers available from Off Track this week, proving that they’re not planning on slowing down with experimenting in the near future. Here are the Cole’s Notes for all of them: Pull the Pin IPA (5.5% ABV, 57 IBUs), an American IPA hopped entirely with Centennial; Base is Loaded (5% ABV, 37 IBUs), an easy-drinking APA hopped with Cascade, Falconer’s Flight, and Belma; and Cherry-BOMB (4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs), a “Cherry Chocolate Kolsch”. This last one was attempted after the release of their Coconut Kolsch for the Stillwell Open in May, with the cherry adding a slight tartness. And there’s more that just beer news going on at Off Track – their patio is now open for the season, they’ve paired up with On the Wedge to offer food options, and they have stainless steel growlers now available for purchase. Finally, this Sunday they will be donating $1 from every pint, grunter and growler fill towards a Father’s Day charity.

Last week we mentioned the Toast the Coast event happening next Thursday at the Stillwell Beer Garden, and we’ve been able to gather a bit more intel to pass along. Here’s what we have on a few of the beers that will be pouring….

This Beer is Toast! (Garrison) – The grist for this one features Pale Ale and Wheat malt… and bread. Yes, 25% of the grist is made up of “fresh-but-past-code” bread from some local bakeries. Hopped with Hallertau and Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison has “light malt, bready-dough and toasty flavours, with a dry and effervescent finish”. A portion of all sales will go to Feed Nova Scotia.

Sorry (Good Robot) – Speaking of bread, Good Robot teamed up with Stone Hearth Bakery to brew this one, adding some of their toasted, light rye bread that was slightly past its date. The bread went into a second mash, after the first with Pilsner, Flaked Barley, Vienna, and Flaked Oats. Hopped with Ekuanot and Magnum in the boil, they also added some lactose and carob powder. Once fermentation was complete, they went further, and threw in a little coconut, more chocolate, and coffee beans. We’re not really sure if this beer has an official “style”, but it weighs in at 6% ABV and 55 IBUs, and pours  a “pale orangey colour”. A portion of sales will go to Bryony House.

Wheatly Edition (Off Track) – This 4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs American Wheat Ale was hopped with Belma and Huell Melon to “highlight the tropical, honey dew flavours”, and also has notes of pineapple. A portion of sales will got to SPCA Nova Scotia.

You’ll also see products from Propeller, Spindrift, Brightwood, and Boars Back Cider, all supporting other local charities.

There’s a couple of events going on in Nova Scotia over the next couple of weeks that we’d like to point out:

• There are still some tickets left for Garrison’s Backlot Bash, happening tomorrow, June 16th, at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. This fundraiser for the Ecology Action Centre will feature beer and cider, axe throwing, food trucks, skate demos, and plenty of live music. Tickets are $39.10, and can be purchased here.

• Sydney’s Breton Brewing is throwing a big party they’re calling Under the Breton Sky on Saturday, June 30th. Featuring Matt Anderson & the Bona Fide, Dave Sampson with Band, Slowcoaster, The Jordan Muycsyn Band, and The Carmen Townsend Band as well as, no doubt, plenty of Breton beer. Early bird tickets have come and gone, but General Admission are still available at $55 and will also be available the day of the event at $65. If you’re really enthused by the bill, you might consider the VIP Package at $75, which includes access to the beer patio, tap room, and the front of the stage. All tickets are available on-line and be aware that those prices are irrespective of taxes and fees.

And lastly, before we let you go:

Halifax’s Spindrift has been subtly tweaking their core brands (Killick Session Lager, Knotty Buoy Pils, and Coastal Lager) and are encouraging consumers to visit the brewery to try the new versions while they’re fresh for comparison. The new batches are currently being sent to stores, as well. Both Killick and Knotty Buoy are available now, with Coastal Lager appearing on July 4th. Also, look for Keller-Hell, Keller-Pils and Keller-Amber available on draught at the brewery and select bars and restaurants.
TrailWay is releasing their latest American IPA, All Can Phil (6.5% ABV) today at the brewery, featuring some of their favourite hops (no specifics on which ones). They describe it as having a “big, juicy/clean citrus front and a tangerine sweetness to finish it off”; available in cans and on tap at opening today.

Alright folks, this is the big one! For the first time in several years (since Fredericton in 2014, to be precise), our region is once again the epicentre of the Canadian beer scene for the weekend, as Halifax hosts the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Already kicking off last night, the talks and sessions continue today and tomorrow, with the Awards Gala being held tomorrow night. You have to be in the beerbiz to attend, but you can follow along with the Awards results online during the stream, and we will be sure to keep a live feed of all of the Atlantic Canadian winners. We already flooded you with the new collaborative releases from 2 Crows, North, and Propeller last week, and you’re well served to get to their respective retail locations to pick them up before they are gone. Let’s concentrate on the newest info we have regarding another onslaught of releases hitting the taps and shelves now.

• Let’s kick off the week with the first brewery opening in a few weeks, O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe. Brewing on a 1 BBL system means they end up with about 120 litres of beer per batch, so this is a truly small operation. But being small has its benefits, as owner Patrice Daigle is able to stay nimble and brew a wide variety of beers. The first beer to be available is Route 117 NEIPA. Named after the coastal highway that connects Kouchibouguac and Miramichi, this hoppy and hazy 6.5% ABV brew features loads of Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops throughout the brewing and fermenting process. In addition, Daigle is launching with an American Pale Ale and Saison, though details are a bit short on those for now. So, how can you try the O’Creek beers this weekend? Easy! Just drop by their booth at this weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, held at the Moncton Coliseum. If you don’t already have your tickets, you are in luck, as they are still available for this evening, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. Check out O’Creek on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news, and tune in to the blog early next week, as will have a full Profile with them, with more details on their brewing history and ethos, and what other beers you can expect from them in the future (and where to find them). Congratulations!

• We’ve got lots of news from Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery, so let’s get you up to date. First off, the latest in their kettle sour series is now available, Fall From Grace. This 4.3% ABV sour is the first beer to be completely designed and brewed by Roof Hound Assistant Brewer Ben, and features notes of rose water and lychee to match and offset the beer’s acidity. Look for it on tap at the brewery and in HRM now. Also available now is Roof Hound’s collaboration with Guelph’s Escarpment Yeast Labs, SafeWord Pineapple Milkshake IPA, which debuted at yesterday’s event at Battery Park (if you’re lucky, some of these will still be on tap today!). This 6.0% ABV IPA was late- and dry-hopped with a massive amount of Azacca hops for tropical notes on top of the vanilla and lactose added to complete the milkshake vibe. Escarpment’s Foggy London Ale yeast was used to keep the beer with a smooth mouthfeel and hazy as heck. In addition to BP, kegs have been delivered to Stillwell and growlers fills will be available at Harvest Wines.  And finally, owner Les Barr has announced that “The Dog House” is open for the season. This two-bedroom rental property is just a few minutes walk from Roof Hound’s brewery and taproom, and is decorated with the same touches as the brewery itself. Folks can learn more and book their stay on Airbnb. No word if Barr will tuck you in, or bring you a coffee in the morning, but knowing his hospitality, we wouldn’t be surprised! And a bonus for early birds, if you are one of the first to book your stay, there are big savings to be had.

• Let’s talk about another beer that debuted at yesterday’s Escarpment x Battery Park event, from Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing. Brett, Actually is a 7.7% ABV IPA, co-fermented with both Cali Ale yeast and Brettanomyces drei and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra for a big hop presence. You’ll find this one available for pints and growler fills at the brewery, as well as at tap accounts around the Province. Also out this week from Big Spruce is another mixed fermentation beer they’re calling Lucky Pucker, which was hit with both Old World Saison yeast and Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Conditioned for 6 months in Chardonnay barrels, before being bottled and conditioned in glass for another 4 months, this beer finished up at 6.3% ABV and 12 IBU, making it a strong Berliner Weisse. Tart and fruity, it’s only available in bottles, both at the brewery and at the private stores in Halifax. And that’s not all from Jeremy and Co this week, as they’ve got another one they’re calling Hugs Bunny that was brewed in collaboration with Merit Brewing out of Hamilton. It seems Merit and Big Spruce like to make Gose, this is a similar beer to the Gose of Christmas Past from last month, with Indian Coriander and sea salt and landing at 3.8% ABV. In lieu of a barrel treatment, though, hugs bunny got a big ol’ dry hop with Citra for a lemon and citrus aroma. Look for it to appear at the Sprucetique and possibly a few tap accounts as well.

• Even with all of those delightful-sounding collaboration beers released by North Brewing yesterday (which we addressed in detail in last week’s post), they still went ahead and launched another new beer for the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s close to being sold out already, but we’d like to share the info anyway, in case you’re lucky enough to find some! Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale was brewed with Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe Cryo hops. With lots of citrus throughout, the beer is quite refreshing and definitely lives up to its “sessionable” description, coming in at just 4% ABV. Hopefully there’s still a few cans left at the brewery, and it’ll likely still be available on tap at accounts in Halifax.

Tanner & Co in Chester Basin has a pair of new beers available just in time for the weekend, so start planning your visit now. The first is Sauvage Gose, their take on the sour and lightly salty style originally from Goslar, Germany. After a round of kettle souring to impart some acidity, the beer was fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast, which was originally isolated from a Pin cherry on the Big Spruce farm and propagated up by Escarpment Labs. Featuring lots of tart citrus and notes of tropical fruit, there is only one keg of this beer available, on tap at the brewery for growler fills. The second release is Dampfbier, a German Steam Beer. While this beer was one of their first at launch in the fall, this release is the first on their larger system. As per the style, this beer is brewed with all malted barley, and with a Weissbier yeast, usually used in Hefeweizens, the iconic German wheat beer. The result is a beer featuring pleasant clove and banana characters from the yeast with a nice malt finish. As with the Gose, the best place to grab a taste of Dampfbier is at the brewery, so drop by this weekend!

• In Sydney, Breton Brewing has their first kettle sour available. Sour Sessions with Guava & Passionfruit is the first in a series of sour, low ABV, summer beers that they’ll be releasing over the coming months under the Sour Sessions banner. This edition comes in at 3.2% ABV and 5 IBU and is flavored, as you probably guessed, using additions of passion fruit and guava. Tart and thirst quenching, you’ll find it at the brewery for pints and growler fills this weekend.

• Do you remember when Garrison Brewing teamed up with Ontario’s Sawdust City Brewing, to brew a special collaboration beer? We didn’t either; there’s just too much going on! [Fortunately the internets never forgets – Ed.] But good news, the beer is ready and it’s being launched this week. Leroy, an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sawdust City, was initially released last fall to celebrate Halifax being named this year’s CBA host venue. Some of that beer was saved and aged in bourbon barrels for a year, giving us Bourbon Barrel-Aged Leroy Imperial Brown. A bit of salted caramel was added to the barrels as well, with the final product coming out as a massive (11.5% ABV), deceptively-smooth Brown Ale with aromas and flavours of “bourbon, salted caramel, molasses bread, and milk chocolate.” Available now in limited quantities at Garrison, in 650 mL bottles. And tomorrow, Jalapeno Ale is returning. Remember Jalapeno Ale? It’s back. In can form! At 5% ABV, it’s brewed with a mix of spicy jalapenos, habaneros, Scotch bonnets, and Jamaican hot peppers. Hope you like spicy!

Spindrift continues to remain busy, with another boatload of new beers hitting taps this week. Their one-off Seventh Wave series gives us two entries alone, so let’s get started there. The two beers are an experiment in compare-and-contrast, with America and England going toe-to-toe: Old Salt ESB (5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs) is a light-bodied Extra Special Bitter hopped with East Kent Golding and Experimental Hop #02720, giving the beer a “smooth, malty fruitiness and a sharp hop kick”, while Shoulder Parrot APA (5.1% ABV, 35 IBUs) represents the U.S., and was hopped with Saaz and Falconer’s Flight, for a “rich, pineapple-like fruit palate”. Try both and see which country you’d prefer to emigrate to!

• Moving out of the Seventh Wave series, Spindrift has a new regular that dropped this week, their first Radler. Named Wheelhouse, it’s a beer with a blend of citrus fruit juice, including grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine. Back-sweetened with Stevia to give “a perception of sweetness, without a big, cloying body”, there’s plenty of citrus character in the aroma and flavour; and at just 4% ABV and 8 IBUs, it goes down easy, which all Radlers should! This one is going to be available in 473 mL cans in all Atlantic provinces through the summer.

• Fredericton’s Niche Brewing continues to display the depth of their recipe file with another couple of new ones out this week in addition to the Cool Kid 2 Crows collaboration on tap in Halifax. First up is a summer crusher, called Margarita Gose, a take on a traditional German Gose, but with a Nichean twist (not to be confused with a Nietzschean twist that might lead you to question the existence of beer). Starting with a base beer of wheat and Pilsner that was kettle soured and to which traditional fresh cracked coriander and sea salt were added, a light hopping with Amarillo was also applied. Post-fermentation the beer was conditioned on lime rind ribbons yielding a tart and refreshing beer with an overall lemony-citrus character, notes of lime, and some savoriness from the coriander and sea salt. At only 3.5% ABV you can get away with having a few and still keep your washer toss/cornhole game strong.

• Also available this week is Fiscally Irresponsible, another Milkshake IPA, but this one taken in a different direction than the Orange Creamsicle IPA from earlier this year. Starting with a similar grist, with wheat malt and malted oats contributing body and mouthfeel, lactose powder was added for the sweetness the style is known for, and it was hopped with lots of Galaxy, Citra, and Vic Secret at the end of the boil. Rather than fermenting with an American or English yeast strain as is de rigueur for the style, Shawn and Rob opted to go funky and use the Amalgamation blend of six Brettanomyces strains. From there, the beer was dry hopped with more of the same hop varieties used in the kettle before it was conditioned on Madagascar vanilla beans (hence the beer name; have you seen the price of vanilla right now?!) and passion fruit purée. The result is a beer with “quite a bit going on.” Dominated by passion fruit, there are notes of mango, papaya and subtle vanilla. A low-medium bitterness balances with the slight sweetness and it goes down easy despite 6.2% ABV. It’s scheduled to be tapped at Stillwell HQ this weekend, but tap accounts in New Brunswick will also see it next week. And folks in Halifax who don’t feel they see enough Niche beer should keep their eyes open, as it is known that kegs of Innerstate, Receding Darkness, Pineapple Persuasion, and You Had Me At… Ekuanot are known to be in the queue at Stillwell properties (the Pineapple Persuasion is scheduled to go on tap at the Beer Garden this weekend if the weather holds).

• As if there isn’t enough to do this weekend in Halifax, NOW you’ve got to also set aside time to drop by Stillwell Brewing to get in on their two latest bottle releases. Sorry!* To be fair, they do sound delicious, as usual. The first one is Preach (5.5% ABV), which is a blend of a Saison fermented in a wine barrel, with a foedre-fermented, sour Farmhouse Ale that was re-fermented in oak barrels with 220 g/L of fresh, Nova Scotia peaches. Both of these base beers are currently over a year old, and were already tasting well-developed before blending. Now, however, there’s “oak and wine character, fresh peach skin aromatics, minty, herbal notes, and a wonderfully quenching acidity”, thanks to the blending and additional bottle conditioning time. Sounds great to us! Some of the 716 bottles will be available to drink on-site at both Stillwell locations, and some are going to Copper & Theory in British Columbia for Farmhouse Fest. The rest will be available for purchase by anyone in Halifax tomorrow (Saturday) at the brewery, from noon-3 pm. *notsorry

• Next up from Stillwell Brewing is Disco. Originally aged in a single red wine barrel until the tartness and balance of this tart Farmhouse Ale was in Baby Bear territory (read: just right!), a “modest” amount of equal parts dark sweet cherry and raspberry purée were added into the barrel to kick off fermentation again, and age for another couple of months. The 5.7% ABV beer was then bottled and allowed to condition several more months, resulting in a “well-integrated and balanced Farmhouse fruit beer that is neither cherry nor raspberry, but something where the sum is greater than its parts”. Some bottles going to Stillwell(s) for sale on-site, and the rest for sale tomorrow from 12-3 with Preach. And hey, they’ll also be selling some more bottles of Gosh 2.0! And if you’re a fan of Stilly Pils, they’ve just released their latest batch, and they claim it’s hoppier and meringuier (more-merignuey?) than ever! Look for that one at Stillwell and the beer garden, on tap only.

Fredericton’s Bogtrotter has their first new beer out in a while, Maroon Patch. A 5% ABV American Pale Ale, it was named after the 5th Canadian Division, recognized by the maroon patch worn on the sleeve of soldiers. The beer was hopped exclusively with Denali, a fairly new American variety that is sometimes known as Nuggetzilla (!). The description for Denali mentions characteristics of “pineapple, citrus, and pine”, with spicy notes coming through as well. Look for this one on tap around Fredericton, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.

• Breweries from three different counties in NS have teamed up for a collaboration beer, as a way to indicate their appreciation for the overall open, collaborative nature of the beer community, and to “celebrate craft brewing expertise” in the area. Trider’s, Lunn’s Mill, and Saltbox have created Tridal Bay, a 6.5% ABV Belgian IPA that was heavily hopped with Columbus for bittering, and Saaz and Triskel for the flavour and aroma. With a grist containing some Wheat and Aromatic malt, Belgian Candi sugar was also added in the boil to help dry the beer out. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, the beer came out extremely dry in the finish, while “retaining that Belgian fruitiness and citrus, heavy hop bitterness”. All three breweries are pouring the beer at their taprooms, and a few local bars may receive some kegs as well.

Today, Upstreet is releasing the next beer in their Flipside series, California Lager. Brewed in the style of a California Common, it was hopped with Polaris and Northern Brewer to 35 IBUs. Described by the brewery as “toasty, with hints of nuttiness, caramel, and chocolate without the sweetness”, and with “earthy, herbal aromas”, this 5% ABV medium-bodied brew will be available on tap and in bottles at Upstreet today, and will follow at Craft Beer Corner and PEILCC stores sometime next week.

If you managed to get your hands on one of the Red Racer Across the Nation 2018 Collaboration Mixed Packs put out by Surrey, BC’s Central City Brewing, you might have noticed that the the PEI representation was a brew done with Upstreet called Singing Sands, a salted caramel lager. In order to make sure folks in their home province got a decent chance to try it, Mike and Matt decided to do up a small batch at home. A “light dessert beer,” it weighs in at just 5.5% ABV and a slight 15 IBU, perfect for sipping after a meal. Rich with caramel flavors accentuated by aromas of honey and vanilla, a hint of salt provides balance. Look for this one at the brewery for sure, but possibly at tap accounts as well.

Moncton’s Bore City is shipping out kegs of their latest beer, one that they’ve been carefully watching and patiently waiting for several months. Saison LBC was brewed in late 2017 and was conditioning on fresh cranberries for some time. Brettanomyces was added, along with some lemon zest, at a later date, to kick off a second fermentation. Now that it’s finally ready, the aroma has notes of “lemon and light funk”, with flavours of citrus and tarness from the cranberries, and a light mouthfeel and dry finish. Look for this 6.3% ABV, 30 IBUs beer on tap at the Laundromat and Les Brumes du Coude very soon; it’ll also be pouring at the Atlantic Beer Festival this Saturday, during the afternoon session.

And as is usually the case, Halifax’s Good Robot has a bit of news for us this week as well. The release for Beta Brewsday this week is an as-yet unnamed beer put together by Alpha Dawg Doug Kehoe during Good Robot’s Dive Bar event with Afishionado Fish Mongers. It’s a Gose with Oyster Shells added to the boil that weighs in at 5% ABV and with negligible IBUs. You’ll find it on tap this Tuesday, May 29th as per usual for the Beta releases. Meanwhile, in big batch news, DeWolfe of Wall Street, the 6.4% ABV and 29 IBU fruity and hoppy American Pale Ale is making its return to the taps this week as well.

A few final mentions before we leave you to your weekend, and let you get out for a beer:

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has brought back their Apple Blossom Ale just in time for the Annapolis Valley’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. Brewed with Pilsner malt and infused with apples, it’s an ideal beer for the season!

– Up in St. John’s YellowBelly Brewing has a new beer on tap they’re calling Maritime Bitter. Hey, you’d be bitter too if you got snow in May! This is a single malt pale ale, it’s 5% ABV and runs to about 60 IBU with an intense berry character. Look for it on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming next week.

– And don’t forget that Stillwell (both HQ and the Beergarden) is hosting Grand National this weekend, with beers from all across the country pouring, in celebration of the CBAs. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest taplist. If you’re not sure if the Beergarden is open due to weather, check this link for the latest info.

– And drop by The Auction House after 3PM for the PEI Tap Takeover, featuring beers from all five Island breweries. If there’s enough beer, it will last through Saturday as well!

We’ve had another big week of beers and events in Nova Scotia, thanks to the continuation of Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week. Check out our Map and Calendar to help you plan this weekend’s escapes, plus we’ll summarize them below.

• One of the consistently stellar events during NS Craft Beer Week is the Stillwell Open, where teams of breweries conspire with local homebrewers in a friendly competition for flavour domination. This year’s event was no different, with Team North taking top honours again, with their top showing in two categories. Consisting of breweries Big Spruce, Breton, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s, they teamed up with homebrewers Brian Harvey, Bràthair Collective, Mark McKay, Duncan English, and Dave Martin to produce another batch of highly regarded beers. They hoisted the cup and will hold onto it until 2019, when the Dartmouth, Halifax, and South teams will be fighting to win it. Here is a summary of the winners, plus some other honourable mentions that are now (or will be shortly) available to the public:

  • Tatamagouche and Mark McKay took top honours in the American category with their Amrita, an American IPA with Passionfruit and Mango, fermented with Brettanomyces. This bright yellow beer featured a solid hop bitterness, along with tons of tropical fruit character. Look for it at the Full House event tomorrow, and on tap around the province this weekend/next week, with 500ml bottles available at the private stores next week as well.
  • Taking Gold in the Belgian category was conspiracy between Breton Brewing and the Bràthair Homebrew Crew, Wild Bretton. This Brett Amalgamation-fermented Witbier was aged in Chardonnay barrel for a couple of months, and packaged up for limited release. We understand it will see further distribution in the near future!
  • Team Dartmouth member Brightwood Brewery teamed up with Chain Yard Cider to take Gold in the English category with a cask of Goosebite, a 5.7% ABV Porter/Cider hybrid known as Graf. The base beer and cider also featured cranberries and raspberries, resulting in a fruity and chocolate mix that the judges (aka the public) voted their favourite. We believe this was a limited release, but may pave the way for future experimentation from Brightwood and cider partners.
  • And in the German category, Boxing Rock and Tusket Falls debuted their Rauch Star, a dark Rauchbier (German Smoked beer). Malt forward with light but solid smoke flavour. At 6.5% ABV, it still features a light crisp mouthfeel and a light bittering to finish it off. Look for kegs of Rauch Star around the province, and in bottles at the private stores in HRM.

Among the other dozen beers pouring that day, there were several more available to the general public now or shortly:

  • Tidehouse went the New England IPA route with their entry, Champions Regardless, which took second place (very fitting for the name!) in the American category. Swapping into the brewhouse for this batch were co-owner Shannon Rockwell and frequent collaborator/homebrewer Ian Wheatley. Brewed with 2-row and a combination of Flaked Wheat, Oats, and Barley, they also added just a touch of Honey malt for complexity, and dextrose to help dry the beer out a bit more. Galaxy and Kohatu hops were used for the first-wort, hop stand, and dry-hop additions, with Vermont Ale yeast taking over fermentation duty. Plenty of tropical fruit deliciousness, without the high bitterness, in this 6.2% ABV beauty,
  • A collaboration brew between Lunn’s Mill and Heritage Brewing will be appearing on tap this week at Good Robot. Named Paradise Found, it’s an Imperial IPA hopped with hefty amounts of three American varieties: Chinook, Simcoe, and pretty-new-to-the-scene Tahoma. To “spice” things up a little, the breweries decided to add a “generous amount” of Grains of Paradise and Lemongrass near the end of the boil. The result is an 8.9% ABV, 89 IBUs beer with a “delightful piney punch, and a smooth, tropical finish”, with a “sharp spiciness and lemony finish”. In addition to taking over one of GR’s fine guest taps, it should also be pouring at Heritage, currently.
  • Halifax’s Propeller Brewing teamed up our very own acbbchris to brew two beers in one. Back in March, the brew crew of Head Brewer Cameron Crerar, Assistant Brewer Denys Ploughman, and Chris brewed up Doppelbock, a 6.0% ABV malty German beer, featuring a base of Munich and Pilsner malts, along with Vienna and Cara 120 for some residual sweet notes. Hallertau and Northern Brewer hops were used to offset the sweetness and offer some traditional woody notes. This Gottingen Street Small Batch is now available at the Gottingen and Windmill locations for pints and growler fills. On the day of the Stilly Open, there were a pair of Eisbock kegs available for enjoyment, created by partially freezing the Doppelbock to remove some of the water content, and upping the alcohol to 7.0% ABV and rich malt character.
  • Lazy Bear debuted their Dubbel on Sunday, which will be available in bottles shortly. This 6.7% ABV Belgian style features a complex malt bill and an iconic yeast. Inviting in students in the Industrial Microbiology program at Universite de St Anne, both brewers and students enjoyed the learning and brewing process that day, and those who missed out on Sunday’s event will soon have a chance to enjoy the final product. We’ll update with more information once we know it!

• Switching gears from the Open, it looks like North Brewing has a couple of releases today, one new and one returning. Let’s start with the new, shall we? Actually, maybe we’re using the word “new” a little loosely, here, but Finite Series: Midnight is just that… their popular Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Midnight, in their limited edition Finite Series. To be more specific, they took one barrel of Midnight and added peaches, nectarines, and Shiro plums, and Escarpment Lab‘s Brussels Brett (a Brett brux strain that exhibits “plum, red berry, citrus, and red apple, alongside subtle acidity”). Aged for 8 months in the barrel, and then bottle conditioned, the brewery is describing it as “smooth, with lots of peach character, a little cherry, and a bit of toffee on the finish”. There’s just over 20 cases available, so don’t wait to grab a bottle or two! As for the returning beer, Twinkle Pony, a “Cookie/Tiramisu Stout” is back today. This 7% ABV beer was brewed with lady finger cookies, Chocolate malt, lactose, vanilla, and cold brew coffee from Manual Food & Drink Co. It’s available in cans at both bottle shops, and will be on tap at a few lucky locations (including tomorrow’s Full House event).

• Moving on to New Brunswick, Niche Brewing released the details on their latest beer, Innerstate, earlier this week. Described by the brewery as an “Amber Brett Saison”, the grist included a healthy portion of Rye malt. Fermented with Niche’s house blend (French Saison yeast and a variety of Brettanomyces strains), the beer was allowed to age for some time, in order for the Brett character to develop. Dry-hopped with Saaz before packaging, the result is a copper-coloured brew with a touch of caramel sweetness, citrus and spice from both the yeast strains and Rye malt, some spicy/floral character from the dry-hop, and, finally, a “touch of barnyard character from the Brett”. It’s available on tap now at a couple of Niche accounts, with others likely having it over the weekend.

• In other Niche new beer news, look for their first Session IPA sometime next week, which will also be the first in a series of one-hop beers. You Had Me At… Ekuanot was brewed with 2-Row, Wheat malt, Malted Oats, and a touch of CaraRed, to keep the beer light-coloured, while at the same time boosting the mouthfeel of this low-ABV (4%) beer. Hopped entirely with Ekuanot (with all additions occurring at the end of the boil, and in the dry-hop), it was also fermented with a new-to-the-brewery yeast blend meant to work best with hop-forward beers. The beer will have your typical Ekuanot characteristics – melon, orange, lime, green pepper – in a hazy, light-golden package. Look for it mid-week at your favourite Niche tap accounts.

Flying Boats has comfortably settled into their new location – with a much-expanded 15 bbl brewhouse and taproom in Dieppe – and they’ve released a new beer to join their flagships on tap. A Session IPA, Coastal Good Life was bittered with Magnum, with Galaxy making up the rest of the hopping schedule for both knockout and whirlpool additions, as well as in the dry-hop. With a simple grist to allow the Galaxy to shine, expect aromas and flavours of passion fruit, with a dry finish. Coming in at just 4.8% ABV, it’s just the sort of beer to enjoy a pint of in the afternoon… although, the evening works perfectly fine as well! Drop in at the brewery today for a taste and/or growler fill.

• Now that Spindrift‘s Seventh Wave series is officially back, they’re upping the ante and aiming to have two different batches available each week. For this week, they’ve succeeded with that goal! Let’s start with Full Steam Ahead, a Steam beer (natch), aka California Common. Golden-coloured, with a “slight caramel toast presence, backed by an assertive, yet complementary hop program”, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and 34 IBUs. Thousand Ships Wildberry Wheat is next, and was brewed with patio weather in mind, with notes of “tart cherry, smooth strawberry, and thick blueberry” coming through in this reddish-coloured beer, thanks to the a blend of cherry, strawberry and blueberry purees (at 50:25:25, respectively). At 4.2% ABV and 7 IBUs, this one is available right now, along with Full Steam Ahead, at the brewery for growler fills. We’ve been warned that both are in very short supply due to a busy Thursday apres-work crowd, so we suggest getting to their retail location at 21 Frazee as soon as you can! And keep your eyes peeling to their Twitter and Instagram Thursday morning for the latest release details.

Schoolhouse has brought back their summer thirst-quencher, Skratch Plaskett, an American Wheat Ale. Staying true-to-style, they’ve altered the recipe slightly and increased the amount of Wheat malt in the grist (to 33%), keeping the colour of the beer a very-light golden colour, with the emphasis on the malt character as you’d expect. Bittered with Warrior to just 18 IBUs, with a “healthy splash” of Galena at knockout for a touch of citrus character, it comes in at 5.2% ABV and is available now on tap and in bottles.

• Further down the 101 Highway is Paddys Irish Pub, who have several new beers on the go, as well as the return of their seasonal cider. Foote’s Cider is a truly local cider, made with fresh-pressed apples from Foote’s Farm in Centreville, who also handled the fermentation there at the Farm. It was blended with Paddys’ own Hard Cider, which is quite dry, for an expression that is balanced, delicious, and weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

• On the beer side of things, there are a pair of new beers also available currently at their Wolfville and Kentville locations (and hopefully pouring at this weekend’s Full House Fest). Their first Sour IPA started as a light-bodied and -coloured base, and was inoculated using Organic yogurt to get the Lactobacillus bacteria necessary for the acidic kick. After completing the fermentation with a clean yeast, the beer was dry-hopped with a blend of Mosaic, El Dorado, and Citra hops, resulting in a lemonade tart character with plenty of grapefruit-like hop character, in a 6.6% ABV package. And continuing the IPA theme is the bigger brother of the Sour IPA, but without the kettle sour treatment. This clean IPA features the same blend of hops, and will hit the taps shortly for plenty of chances for comparing and contrasting. You can also keep any eye on Paddys’ Facebook for details and teases on a few more Spring beers, including a Light Domestic Lager, Maibock, and a Blonde Ale, with a Saison coming soon.

Big Spruce has paired up for yet another collaboration brew, and as usual, they’re not letting us down when it comes to producing an interesting take on a classic style. Inter-Provincial Bureaucracy was created along with the fine people of Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing and Wolfville’s L’Acadie Vineyards, and is being described as a “Red Wine Barrel-Aged Co-Fermented Wild Tripel” (told ya!). Let’s get a little deeper in details of this one, because that’s a lot to wrap your head around. The beer was fermented with two of Big Spruce’s wild yeast strains in stainless; once complete, fermented red grape skins, seeds and stems from L’Acadie’s 2017 Passito vintage were added for conditioning. Finally, the near-finished product was moved into red wine barrels for some further oak aging, before being packaged. Described by Big Spruce as being “funky, full of NS terroir, and altogether a unique hybrid beer”, the only bad news is that it will be available on tap only, at the Sprucetique in Nyanza and a very select number of BS tap accounts in the province. So, if you have the chance to taste it… get it!

Good Robot‘s Adjunct Lager, El Espinazo del Diablo, is making its return next Thursday (May 10th). With the addition of lime peel and jalapenos during conditioning, this isn’t your father’s Lager… it’s spicier! As for Tuesday’s Beta Brew, being tapped May 8th, we don’t have a lot of details this time around, but we can tell you it’s a “Coffee Kolsch” named Ground Skor. Local businesses Low Point Coffee Co. and Dilly Dally Coffee Cafe teamed up for the brew, concocting a pale, cold-brewed coffee added to the Kolsch base. The beer was brewed with GR’s own Katie Whitlock, and comes in at 4.7% ABV and 20 IBUs. And apparently tomorrow, there’s a “special surprise treat” coming out at the brewery… we assume it’s a beer?

Unfiltered has a brand new beer released today at noon for you lucky Haligonians, and it’s the first beer officially brewed by Assistant Brewer Emily Keeler. Sunday Morning is best described as a New England Pale Ale, meaning that you can expect a hazy beer big on hop aroma and flavour, without necessarily a lot of bitterness to go with it. The ABV with this one is kept quite low (4.5% ABV), meaning that you can experience all of that hop deliciousness (with an emphasis on orange/orange pith) and still be coherent (depending on the person) afterwards. No details from the brewery on which hop variety/varieties was/were used for this one, so you’ll just have to try it yourself and take a guess or three! Available at the brewery for pints and growlers.

• St. John’s YellowBelly launched a new beer, Downtown Brown, late last week. Described by the brewery as a “Fennel Brown Ale”, it is exactly that, as roasted fennel bulbs and a vodka-based tea of fennel seeds were both added to the Brown Ale base beer. At 5% ABV, it has “strong notes of chocolate and biscuit, and a subtle, lingering black licorice finish”. You can still find it on tap at the brewpub now, with growlers and bottles also available for takeaway at their Shop down Water Street.

• On Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Melanie of Hell Bay and Amanda of Firkinstein decided they’d like to do a beer together. Raising the level of difficulty on that plan was that Amanda doesn’t really like beer, but she wanted something with strawberries that was creamy. Tapping Melanie’s greater experience with beer, the pair decided on a strawberry cream ale, a light-colored beer to which a large amount of strawberries were added. A very large amount. A “shit ton” even. But for some reason they didn’t quite make it through to the taste, so they’re calling it, Hell, We Firked Up! Strawberry Cream Ale. Lightly hopped, expect this to be a refreshing cream ale coming in a 6% ABV; and you’d be forgiven if you thought perhaps maybe you might possibly be tasting a slightly strawberry flavor!

• You may recall last year when Dartmouth’s Low Point Coffee took the opportunity provided by 2 Crows to age some coffee in their Calvados foedres. This year, with 2 Crows recently coming into possession of a whole lot more wooden vessels formerly used to age wine and spirits, they again offered Low Point the chance to put some green beans in a barrel before roasting. Available at the Halifax Crafter’s Spring Market tomorrow and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM, you’ll find two such coffees: Invicta! a Colombian Tolima aged in Port barrels, and Quetzalcoatl! which is a Mexican Tapachula Chiapas that spend time in Tequila Barrels. If it’s anything like the last batch, there’s not a ton of this to go around, so best make plans to act on it if you’re interested. And if you’re wondering why we’re including this in the beer blog, consider that we know of at least one commercial beer and one batch of homebrew made with the last barrel-aged coffee from Low Point and let’s just say we’d like to encourage that to happen again!

• We have some early news from Montague’s Copper Bottom concerning a new beer which will likely be brewed sometime next weekend. Parkman Ave DIPA will feature a grist of mostly 2-row, with a little Carafoam and Acid malt, allowing the brewery to focus on what should be focused on in an Imperial IPA… hops, baby! In this particular case, lots of Ekuanot will be used at knockout, with a very heavy dry-hop of El Dorado, Mosaic, and even more Ekuanot. Expectations are for an 8% ABV, 70 IBUs beer with lots of tropical, orange, and citrus notes throughout. Follow along with CB’s social media for details on the release party for this one. And in other good CB news, they’re now officially canning their beer! All three of their flagships are available for takeaway at the brewery and select PEILCC stores; the Parkman Ave DIPA will also be canned when it is ready for packaging. And finally, a big congratulations to the brewery for making the list of this year’s Beer Advocate’s 50 Best New Breweries, along with Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing!

This is the last weekend of NS Craft Beer Week, so be sure to get out and support the more than 40 breweries, and supporting bars, restaurants, and stores that carry their products.

• Day 2 of the Origins and Evolution of NS Beer is happening today at Battery Park Beer Bar, with 20 beers embodying where beer in the province is now, and where it will be going. Several of the Stillwell Open beers will be there, for those who missed out, as well as other small-batch brews.

Propeller Brewing is hosting a May the Fourth Cask Day today at their Gottingen Taproom, featuring all things Star Wars, including a cask of their ESB (you get the connection, right?) fermented with Empire Yeast from “a galaxy far far away”. Kicking off at 5pm, there will be Star Wars pinball, Humble Pies, Star Wars doughnuts from Vandal Doughnuts, giveaways, and plenty more fun. It will also be a great excuse to drop by for a taste of that great Doppelbock we told you about (hint, hint!). And keep an eye here for details on the rest of May’s Cask Nights, as they will be featuring different treatments of Prop’s iconic ESB with a variety of different hopping and yeast choices.

The Grand Banker is hosting their Fourth Winemaker vs. Brewmaster this evening, pitting Benjamin Bridge vs Uncle Leo’s. Alex Morozov, of Benjamin Bridge and Karl Whiffen of Uncle Leo’s Brewery, will each receive the 5 course menu in advance, with the mission to put their best pairing forward for each course and present them to the guests! Tickets are still available for this fun beer, wine, and food event, which starts at 6:30PM.

• Tomorrow marks the culmination of NS Craft Beer Week, with the Full House Craft Beer Fest, at the Halifax Forum. 39 breweries from across the province are bringing their favourite beers to share with their fans, and it should prove to be another fun event. Tickets are still available for both the afternoon and evening session, but do tend to sell out before go-time.

• In Newfoundland, today is the day that many beer fans have been waiting for: Port Rexton Brewing has opened their brewery taproom again for the season! Located at 6 Ship Cove Rd, their taproom will be open 12-10pm daily for the summer, and are taking this weekend as an opportunity to welcome their fans to come out for a boo. Today they are toasting the great news by releasing a brand new beer, Firehouse Red Ale. Brewed in collaboration with the Port Rexton Area Fire Department, this 4.7% ABV Red Ale features some sweet caramel notes, with a fresh toffee and moderate malt aroma. The beer will also be a fundraiser to help in the PRAFD efforts in acquiring safety equipment to better serve the region. In addition to the beer itself, those wanting to help can take part in tomorrow‘s Cutthroat LEGO Competition, with 4 teams of three compete and sabotage to build the best models from the blocks given. Register your team at 7:30pm sharp, and enjoy the evening! There will also be pop-up shops on site all day tomorrow, with East Coast Glow and Two Whales selling their wares.

• For those who can’t make it to the brewery, fear not, their retail store is open today and tomorrow. Take note, however, that this is the final day for cans until the fall, so if you were waiting for a sign, this is it! Horse Chops West Coast IPA and Chasing Sun NEIPA are both available in cans, with growler fills of discomHOPulated and T-Rex Porter both available. And fear not, the retail shop will remain open all summer, but only for growler fills and merchandise sales.