Buttered Bliss

All posts tagged Buttered Bliss

It’s looking like a mild-ish weekend coming in most of our region and what better time to venture out of your lair to stock up on beer? We’ve got lots of news about what’s new and notable at your local breweries this weekend along with the official launch of another New Brunswick brewery, the goings-on this weekend in Halifax at the 2 Crows 2nd Anniversary party and a few other items that might catch your eye and inform your beer drinking and/or social calendar this weekend and beyond. Let’s get to it!

We’ve got great news for those in the Capital region of New Brunswick. 3Flip Brewing, which we told you about late last year, is now officially open for business! Located in Douglas, just a few minutes West of the Northside of Fredericton, they are brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in a residential area. 3Flip is focusing on supplying the local bars and restaurants, keeping them flush with great beer. You can be among the first to try their beer tomorrow night at The Joyce at the Crowne Plaza on Queen Street. From 7 – 9 PM, drop in for samples and pints of their Anonymous Amber Ale, Oat Cold Oatmeal Stout, and Pretty Fly for a White IPA, and of course meet the 3Flip crew. More details are available on their FB Event page. Congratulations to Nick and Alicia, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for more beer releases around the capital region, and as they expand their tap accounts. BTW, we updated their Profile with the full details on their launch beers, maybe not a bad time to check it out again/for the first time? 🙂

2 Crows is turning two, and of course they had to go and plan a big party and release a crapload of new beers that someone gets stuck writing up and NO I’M NOT BITTER, OK? All good, it’s all good. And in all seriousness, this party – happening tomorrow – is going to be pretty kick-ass, and the beers are sounding spectacular. Let’s start off with those beers, shall we? All six of these will be released tomorrow at opening:

  • Hollywood (4.6% ABV, 4 IBUs) – Brewed with Pilsner malt and three forms of wheat, this beer was very-lightly hopped with Calypso. Soured with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres (with both Sacch and Brett strains), it was conditioned for 4 months before they added 150 kg of blood orange puree. They also threw in some Tonka beans, which are highly-coveted, “aromatic seeds of a giant tree from deep in the Amazon rainforest”. Yikes! Along with the character from the blood orange, the beans give notes of “vanilla, marzian, cherry, and almond” to this beer.
  • 408 Months (4.9% ABV, 15 IBUs) – Collaboration with Calgary’s Annex Ale Project, the wort of Pilsner, Spelt, and flaked oats was hopped with two Southern Hemisphere varieties, Enigma and Nelson Sauvin. Fermented in stainless with a white wine yeast strain, it was then fermented again, in a foedre, with a blend of Sacch and Brett strains. Once fermentation was complete, 200 kg of grape pomace (from Benjamin Bridge and L’Acadie Vineyards) was added, giving some tannic character to this bright, funky, slightly tart beer.
  • Brettango (7.9% ABV, 66 IBUs) – This one is a Brett IPA with mango (you may have actually been able to guess that one!), with a grist of Pale malt, Oat malt, CaraVienna, and flaked barley. Heavily-hopped in the hopback with Belma, Hallertau Blanc, and Citra, it was then fermented with Amalgamation, a blend of six different Brett strains. Then came the mango puree, all 225 lbs of it, before a heavy dry hop of Vic Secret and Citra. As expected, it’s tasting very tropical and juicy, with some light funk. It’ll be on tap Saturday, and for sale in cans.
  • Showtime (4.7% ABV) – Another collaboration, this time with Newfoundland’s The Third Place Cocktail Co. The base wort was hopped lightly with Calypso and Bramling Cross, then soured in 2C’s gin barrels with Lactobacillus, and fermented with, you guessed it, a blend of Sacch and Brett strains. After four months, the barrels were blended and transferred to stainless, where TPCC tonic – featuring cinchona bark, citrus, lemongrass, lime leaves, cardamon, lavender, and green tea – was added. Bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two months, it’s tasting “tart, lively and fun, with subtle juniper, pine, and herbal notes, a light quinine bitterness and a bright lime and citrus kick from the tonic”. Available in bottles, as well as on tap Sunday.
  • Chime (4.9% ABV) – The barrel-aged sour fun continues with Chime, who’s wort made up of a base of Pilsner malt, Spelt, and oats was not boiled. Instead, a touch of Azacca and Galaxy hops were added for a brief, warm whirlpool session, before it was all transferred to stainless for fermentation with a blend of Lactobacillus, Brett, and Sacch strains. Once complete, the beer made its way to Sauvignon Blanc barrels for five months. Fresh lemongrass and pink Himalayan sea salt was added, and then the beer made its way back to stainless again for packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast, where it was allowed to condition for two months. With a surprisingly-full mouthfeel, it’s “lively, fresh, with big Sauv Blanc notes, reinforced with a subtle lemongrass brightness”, and some minerality thanks to the sea salt. In bottles tomorrow, and on tap Sunday.
  • Silence (5.8% ABV) – This beer is a bit of a turn (even for 2 Crows), as it’s a Golden Sour… that is uncarbonated. Aged in one of their foedres, samples taken over time were tasting so good with no carbonation that they decided to package it (in 750 mL wine bottles) just like that. Fans of Belgian styles will recognize that many Lambic beers aren’t carbonated (if you’re thinking of high carbonation, you’re likely thinking of Gueuze, a blend of different years of lambics that is definitely very lively), and will likely be drawn to Silence, which is showing “an assertive tartness, complex minerality, with lemony and herbal notes”. A grand total of 204 bottles will be available tomorrow, and it’ll be on tap Sunday.

They’ll be giving away 100 special anniversary glasses to the first hundred of you that drop in. Lots on tap, three beers for can/bottle pours at the bar, and live music starting at 2 pm and continuing all day (five bands!). Of course, if you plan on hanging around for awhile and having some beers (we hope so, anyway), you’re going to need food. Luckily, Luke from Luke’s Fried Chicken and Highwayman will be on site from 1 pm, serving up four different non-liquid options for your stomach.

In fact, celebrations aren’t just happening Saturday; on Sunday they’ll have some surprise bottle sales (read: some of your favourites from previous releases, so you have a chance to grab some more), and a whopping 13 sour beer on tap. Buttered Bliss will also be around from noon, giving you another chance to grab some tasty munchies. Congrats to 2 Crows on two years of success!

In Amherst, Trider’s Craft Beer is making a habit of keeping three taps on the go featuring beers made in small batches in the 20 – 40 L range, with a new one going on every month or so. Right now they’ve got three such brews on tap and we’ve got the details on all of them. First up is Brewtaur, a Brown IPA weighing in at 5.8% ABV and 55 IBU. With an earthy, “brown” hop profile coming from Willamette and Centennial hops, the brew team focused on making sure that the malt profile of the beer is balanced with the hops, a critical factor for the style. Second, they’ve got Foreign Extra Stout, described as a close relative of Guinness Foreign Extra. At a beefy 7.7% ABV, it’s quite dry, but it’s still got plenty of body. Look for plenty of roasty character and a bit of a boozy kick. And the third small batch tap is currently populated by Saaz Hands, a nice light Czech Pils at 3.9% ABV and 35 or so IBU. As you probably suspected from the name, it’s all Saaz hops from start to finish, lending it a classic Bohemian character. That these small batch beers are available on tap at the brewery only, so if one or more of them tweak your “I gotta try that” bone, best make your way to Trider’s while they last! And keep an eye on their social media (Ig, Tw, Fb) to find out what is going on tap next and when.

Shipwright Brewing Company, Lunenburg’s shiny new little brewery tucked in all cozy cozy with the Grand Banker restaurant, is already starting to make a variety of brews available. This week has already seen a new beer in their First Sail series of very small batches that give the brewers an opportunity to tweak recipes, try new ingredients, and otherwise have some extra fun in the brewery. Lumberjack Dry-hopped Ale was made with Canadian 2-row barley and Simcoe hops before being finished with a dry hop of a new Canadian hop variety called Lumberjack from BC Hop Co. First Sail beers don’t last long and it’s tough to say if this one’s still around, so keep your eyes on SBC’s social media (Ig, Tw, Fb) so you know what they’ve got coming up next in case you fancy a pint or a crowler. And if you’d like to know more about the brewery, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein our intrepid podcasters braved the wilds of the South Shore to get the goods on Lunenburg’s latest hidden gem. You’ll even be able to learn about the latest of their beers to hit the taps yesterday, Tight Quarters IPA, a weighing in at 6.1% ABV and 50 IBU.

Next week’s Betabrew from Good Robot is different than “normal”, at least in terms of the beer’s brew day… it was brewed solo! That’s right, GR’s Kelly Costello had the pilot system all to herself, and brewed up a “Black Ale” named (just to confuse you a little) White Whale. With a grist of 2-row, Chocolate malt, and Flaked Barley, it was hopped with Summit, Vic Secret, and Cascade, to 65 IBUs. Fermented with San Diego Super Yeast, it still comes in at a very-manageable 4.9% ABV, with hints of roast and tropical fruit. Grab some next Tuesday at the taproom. And for Alpha, they’ll be releasing a fresh batch of their Vienna Lager, Infinite Saturday (5% ABV).

Good Robot is also pleased to announce the opening of sign-ups for their third annual FemmeBrew Brewing Competition. Open to all women and woman-identifying home brewers in the region, including first time brewers, the style for this year’s competition is the full BJCP Style #25B category, Saison. That means entrants can brew up a table, standard, or super-strength beer that’s light or dark, and herbs and/or spices can be used as long as they work in harmony with the yeast and other characteristics of the beer. You can check out the full description of the style in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines here. If you’d like to enter, you need to fill out this form by February 20th. You’re then free to brew your best beer and supply a minimum of 4 labeled 341 mL bottles to the brewery by March 2nd. Winners will be announced at the FemmeBot Tap Takeover on March 8th.

TrailWay is sticking with their one-hop Seeing series this week, after just releasing Seeing Double Citra last week. Their latest iteration features Summit, an American hop variety that has been around for about 20 years. A high-alpha acid hop know for its citrus aromas, it was likely used in abundance in Seeing Summit (it is a TrailWay beer, after all), a 6.5% ABV American IPA that the brewery describes as being “full of citrus and stone fruit, but with a solid background of spicy dankness”. It’s in cans at the brewery and a few ANBL stores right now, and should be on tap at the brewery as well, later today.

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks is in a German kinda mood this week with the release of Bock, their take on the Dunkles Bock style, a dark, strong, malty German lager. A variety of malts were used in the brewing of this 6.3% ABV beer, bringing aromas of “fresh-baked bread, with slight fruit overtones”. Copper in colour, it’s medium-to-full bodied, according to the brewery, finishing clean, with enough hop bitterness (25 IBUs) to help the beer from coming across as too sweet. You can stop by the brewery for cans and/or growlers, if you’re so inclined. They’ve also got some of the latest batch of their Pale Ale (5.5% ABV), which has some recipe tweaks to make it “bright, light, and extra refreshing”, with aromas of orange zest and flavours of “grainy malt, orange pith, and a subtle tropical note”.

Plenty of beery things going on in the next couple of weeks in Atlantic Canada; here’s a few you might want to check out:

It’s FROSTival time in Fredericton, a 2 & ½ week period with a wide assortment of events that celebrate winter (wait, what?). But don’t worry, it’s not all about ice sculptures and snow forts (actually, a lot of it isn’t), there’s also a beer/bowling/burger event scheduled by TrailWay for Saturday, February 2nd. Bowling, Beer & Burgs will be held at the brewery’s Bowl-a-Drome; sign up your team of four for $100, which gets you three strings of bowling, a pint of TW beer, and one of several burger options. There are two time slots available (5:30 pm and 9 pm); reserve your spot by calling 506-472-2361.

And continuing with the winter-themed events in Fredericton (what is wrong with these people?) the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are putting on an event a week from tomorrow that they’re calling the 2019 Beer Winter Olympics (we suspect the focus there is more on the “beer” part than the “winter” part). From 12 to 3 PM on Saturday, February 2nd, entrants will have the chance to compete in a series of fun, yet challenging events for which Gold, Silver and Bronze placings will be awarded. Even better? Beer is involved! The minimum entrance fee is $40 per person, which includes 3 beer, but the fee is actually a donation to Type One Diabetes Research. Raise more money, get more beer. A cap has been placed on the number of entries, so if you’re interested you might want to get a move on. You can buy a “ticket” here or email frederictonbeer@gmail.com for more details.

Nova Scotia’s South Shore will spend the first two weeks of February celebrating Nova Scotia’s favorite crustacean with the second annual Lobster Crawl. While there will be plenty of events from February 1st to 18th, including Groundhog Day with Lucy the Lobster and the 2019 Best Lobster Roll Challenge, of particular interest to beer lovers will be the Lobster Crawl Craft Beer Festival (Fb) taking place in Bridgewater at the Lunenburg County Lifestyles Centre on February 9th. Three levels of tickets are available, VIP, General and Designated Driver, with VIP ticket holders getting to hit the floor an hour earlier. Organizers have lined up at least 18 breweries, including all your favorites from the South Shore and some from other parts of the province as well. You’ll also find plenty of cider, food options, and some fun and games. Tickets can be purchased online and range in price from $30 to $55. We’d also encourage you to check out the Lobster Crawl site for information about places to stay, restaurants to check out, and all the other events that will be going on over this two-week celebration of everything the South Shore has to offer.

We’re pretty sure we don’t have to tell you that time flies, but when we realized that Hammond River Brewing will be celebrating their 5th Anniversary next month, it hit home even more. To celebrate this milestone, they’re throwing a party on Friday, February 8th at the taproom. As always, there will be plenty of HR beer pouring, but they’re also combining all of their weekly beer specials into the one day, which includes plenty of savings for those of you lucky enough to attend (all beers 50 IBUs+ for $6/pint, all flights $8, etc.). The partying will go on all day and evening, and there will also be live music from 5 pm on. Congrats to the entire Hammond River crew!

It gives us no pleasure to remind you that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but… well, there it is. If you’re not into the typical ways to celebrate Love Day (read: go-karts and petting zoos, or gifts that include items such as Lord Huggington), might we recommend a beer and chocolate pairing? The Ladies Beer League is hosting just that with I Heart Beer at Garrison Brewing on Thursday, February 14th, where there will be five Garrison brews with five carefully-chosen, hand-crafted chocolates from Rousseau Chocolatier. It all starts at 7 pm; tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the event link above.

And, as is tradition, a few items of a brief nature before you get on with your Friday:

Moncton’s Grand Monk has brewed up something new and special for the FLASH festival, happening February 15-16th. In the meantime, you can catch a sneak preview of Grand Monkster Flash, a Kolsch, which will be debuting on tap tonight at the Pink Flamingos Cabaret/Lounge.

If you’re in the Oromocto, NB area and looking for more morALE Brewsters beer in your life, stop by Mingler’s Pub tonight for the brewery’s debut there on tap. Along with beer, they’ll have live music and prizes for the winning.

Niche Brewing has brought back Single Origin again, their Coffee Sweet Stout with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from local roastery Jonnie Java. At 5% ABV, it’s dark, smooth and slightly creamy, with just enough sweetness to balance the coffee. You’ll be able to find it at regular Niche tap accounts and we’ve heard that a keg is also going to be at Stillwell in Halifax in the near future (along with Zeste and Enkel).

Port Rexton has brought back Mixed Opportunity, a 5.8% ABV Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. The beer is then conditioned with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, resulting plenty of “fruity, spicy, Farmhouse flavours”. Look for the beer in cans at both the brewery and St. John’s retail shop, and on tap at the taproom.

Propeller has somehow managed to find some space in their Gottingen Street location to include an old school arcade and they’re pleased to announce its grand opening next Thursday, January 31st! Featuring some sweet pinball tables and cabinets, both new and old, we’re happy to say it appears to run on quarters — no stupid tokens or ridiculous swipe cards here. It’ll be open Thursday to Sunday nights on the regular, with league nights on Mondays. You can see a sneak preview video and get more info on the Instagram page. Craft beer and pinball; you can’t go wrong.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox has a new beer out today, a Scotch Ale just in time for Rabbie Burns Day. Called Whiskey Jack, we’re not sure of the ABV, but we can tell you that it’s been sitting in a Glenora Distillery single malt whisky barrel for some time, lending it notes of vanilla, toffee and caramel, with peat smoke and oak rounding out the sensory experience. There’s a limited amount on tap, but they’ve also packaged this one for sale in 750 mL bottles, perfect for grabbing one (or more) to take home and pair with your haggis.

Up in Sussex, NB, Sussex Ale Works has a brand new NE IPA kegged this week. Hop To It was made in limited quantities and was tapped on Wednesday, so if you’re looking to get a hop fix for the weekend best make your way there in short order.

Unfiltered has Danko returning today; their Simcoe single-hopped DIPA weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and is chock-full of all of those delicious piney and dank Simcoe-derived flavours that you know and love. Available at the brewery today for pints, growler fills, and in cans.

Here we are on another Friday and November is coming to an end. We’ve got a big bunch of news from Newfoundland this week, but don’t worry, the rest of the Atlantic Provinces are also well-represented. And we’re somewhat on time this week after last week’s debacle. Huzzah!

There was some big and rather unfortunate news in the regional beer scene this week as it was announced in a joint statement by PEI’s departments of Workforce & Advanced Learning and Economic Development that Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) has entered receivership by order of the Supreme Court of the Province. DME has fitted out some 1,600 breweries in 70 countries over the past number of years, including quite a few in Atlantic Canada. Though we don’t know any names for sure, it is almost certain that there were brewhouses in development whose futures are in question based on having orders in with the company, and it stands to reason that some of those would be in our region. DME has manufacturing facilities in Charlottetown as well as Abbotsford, BC, and South Carolina under the Newlands banner that in total employ over 300 people. There has been speculation that the merger with Newlands had a part to play in this reversal of fortune, however financial details of that transaction are unknown. It has been reported by the CBC that efforts are being made to complete in-progress orders, that the provincial Government is becoming involved in efforts to prevent the demise of the firm, and that the receiver, Alvarez & Marsal intends to attempt to find a buyer. We very much hope that strategy pans out and we can report in the coming weeks and months that DME is back up and running with all of its employees back at work. It is, however, a sobering reminder that even in a booming industry like craft beer, things can go wrong in a hurry.

In a decidedly happier note, brewing and selling beer in Newfoundland will soon be a little bit less expensive, thanks to some changes being implemented by the provincial government January 1, 2019. The remission paid to the NLC (akin to the RSMA charged in Nova Scotia) is currently the highest in the country, sitting at more than $1.50 per litre, three times the next closest provincial rate. The local producers are currently eligible for a 33% reduction on the first 1 million litres, down to roughly $1.10 per litre. The new levels will see an improvement to 50% discount in the remission rate for beer sold at their own facility (taproom or retail), and 40% discount at retail stores (NLC and corner stores), bringing the levels to $0.85 and $1.00 per litre, respectively, for the first 1 million litres annually (roughly 8200 BBL, or much more than the craft breweries are currently producing). The reduced levels are still the highest in Canada, but are at least closer to the rest of the country. Local distilleries, ciderhouses, and wineries will also see further reduced rates in the new year. This will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced fees annually that the breweries will be able to reinvest in their equipment, labour, and infrastructure, in order to better serve the local beer drinking community. These changes are in no small part to the hard work of the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Brewers Association, formed earlier this year, lobbying lawmakers in the province. And for future/amateur brewers, the introduction of U-Vint/U-Brew at the local homebrew shops is now legal with relaxation of that prohibition. The province has also promised a full review of the positive economic impact the craft alcohol producers are having in the province, and have set a November 2019 timeline for that release. With a dozen independent breweries and cideries now operating in the province, and two or three more set to open before January 1st, things are certainly looking up for the Newfoundland Beer Scene! Check out the full details of the reduction in the press release above.

Speaking of Newfoundland breweries, let’s give you a tease on one of the handful that are opening very soon. Like, very, very soon! Landwash Brewery is located in Mount Pearl, and will be opening their beautiful taproom at 181 Commonwealth Drive next week. We’ve got a full Profile with them lined up for early next week, but in the meantime, you can hear co-owner Chris Conway speaking with VOCM about the positive changes to the remission rate, as well as hints of their starting lineup of beers. Their Brackish Gose, One Wave Blonde, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout, and That Much Ocean NEIPA will be available to enjoy by the pint and flight onsite, to go in cans and growler fills, next Thursday from 4 PM.

On the other side of the Island, you’ll find Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook. They’ve released a brand new beer this week, in the relatively new “Milkshake” style. Juice Arse is a 5.0% Milkshake Pale Ale, featuring loads of Amarillo and Simcoe hops, fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs (a favourite of hazy IPAs), with small additions of lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla bean, to complete the Milkshake experience. As with all of their beers, the best place to grab a sample, pint, or growler is at their 92 Main Street location, but keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw)to see where their beers are being tapped across the province.

After launching last week with kegs at local restaurants and breweries, Crooked Feeder in Cormack, NL, has begun selling growlers. Located at 351 Veterans Dr, about 15 minutes North of Deer Lake, the brewery is only open a few afternoons each week, so it’s best to contact the brewery to ensure they are open (FB/IG/Tw). Visitors will be rewarded with one (or more) of the six beers brewed on their system: Bunker “C” Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (7.1% ABV, 35 IBU), Big Falls Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Bonne Bay Blonde (4.9% ABV, 21 IBU), Western Brook Wheat (5.4% ABV, 44 IBU), Spillway IPA (6.4% ABV, 66 IBU), and Rideout Red (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU).

Heading back across the Island to St John’s, where YellowBelly Brewery has released their annual Mummer’s Brew. The 2018 edition is a light-coloured Winter Warmer lager, featuring two special Canadian ingredients: the malt is an Albertan heirloom Barley named Olli, and features the brand new Sasquatch hop, which started as a wild varietal North of Vancouver, and now grown in BC, ON, and QC, under license by Hops Connect. The 6.8% ABV beer features some soft berry character from the malt, with citrus, melon, floral and earthy hop character (to the tune of 30 IBU). The beer is now available at the brewery for pints and growler fills at the Take Away Shop, and in 1 litre bottles at several NLCs in the area. Grab yours today before donning your costume and braving the weather!

In other Sasquatch news, Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing their own beer featuring this Canadian variety. Sam-Squamptche (enjoy ordering that one at the bar!) is an American IPA that has been hopped entirely with Sasquatch, which we’ve already told you about just above us! TrailWay’s beer comes in at 6.5% ABV, and they’re describing the flavour profile as “uniquely citrus, with an underlying sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch or honey, resulting in an overall juicy character”… definitely sounds a bit different than your typical hop variety. This beer has a light body, to help the drinker focus on the hops. As always with TW’s Friday releases, you can grab it at the brewery immediately upon opening today (growlers, pints and cans), with a few nearby bars and restaurants tapping it likely over the weekend.

After the Antigonish Townhouse changed hands earlier in the year, the future of their on-site brews was up in the air. We are thrilled to note that those have continued, with a steady supply of Terry’s Bitter supplying their taps, but there’s always room for more! Owners Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa have tapped her father, David Macfarlane, to take over the brewing duties. The latest new beer from their onsite 50 litre brewhouse is available on tap now. Caitlin’s IPA is a 5.0% ABV malt-forward English IPA, brewed using Fuggles and Goldings hops, with three hop additions during the boil. The carbonation level is on the lower side, and coupled with pouring from a stout faucet with Nitrogen, the beer is quite quaffable and perfect for a session in the pub. No word how long this batch of Caitlin will last, but good news that there is another batch fermenting now, and will return to the Townhouse in December.

There’s another beverage pouring over at Meander River, and it ain’t beer! It ain’t cider either, if that was what you were thinking. It’s Perry, and a “true” Perry at that… that is, it was made entirely with pears (many Perry producers blend pear juice with a certain quantity of apple juice). Featuring of blend of Annapolis Valley pears, Perry Noel is a drinkable 5% ABV, and the brewery describes it as “sparkly and delicate”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles starting today at the brewery, at this weekend’s BOTTLED Wine and Spirits Festival in Truro, and soon at Little Oak in Halifax; 750 mL bottles will also be appearing at Bishop’s Cellar in the near future, and they’ll even have kegs pouring on one of the guest taps at Chainyard! If you can get to Meander River itself, try to do so, as they’re currently running a campaign where $1 from every growler fill will go to fighting Period Poverty in Nova Scotia (by purchasing menstrual products for local food banks).

Let’s travel back to Halifax, where Tidehouse has two beers they want us to tell you about this week, one new, and one returning favourite… and both of them named in homage to songs. The new one is Oh! My Darlin’ Lemon Thyme, a Saison brewed with Pilsner, Oats, Dextrin, Wheat, Vienna, and Acid malt. Hopped minimally with Saaz, it was fermented with a Saison strain, with thyme and lemon peel added as fermentation was winding down. The thyme comes through first in the aroma, with the lemon making itself more apparent the more you sip. Very dry in the finish, and 6.4% ABV; this one is available on tap only, at the Tidehouse tasting room, by the flight, pint, or growler. And returning is their NEIPA, Cryo Me A River, hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Ekuanot hops (of the cryo form, naturally). Pretty much all of the hops were added late in the boil and in the dry-hop, so expect low bitterness to go with all of that “tropical fruit and papaya/berry, followed by a pinch of pine”. On tap, of course, but it’s also been bottled for the first time, so you can grab some of those to take home with you as well.

Our friends at Niche in Hanwell, NB, are back again this week with another new beer. After last week’s release of a sour, they’re returning to their other wheelhouse this week with a hoppier offering. A NE IPA featuring nothing but Australian hops, Aussie Aussie Aussie is packed with three different varieties, namely Vic Secret, and Enigma, which they’ve used liberally before, and Topaz which is a new one in the Niche brewhouse. Very juicy and boasting plenty of tropical fruit flavors, it has the requisite low bitterness and easy drinking nature fans of the style have come to expect. Coming in at a quaffable 6% ABV, you’ll find it at The Joyce Pub and King Street Ale House in Fredericton, and at Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub in Saint John, with more accounts to follow soon. Fans of Niche in Halifax will also be happy to hear there are kegs on the way to Stillwell and Hopyard as well. Oi Oi Oi!!

Back in Halifax, Boxing Rock’s Test Kitchen on Agricola Street (in the Local Source Market) has a new release hitting the taps today. Banana Hopsicle is a hybrid beer, bringing together the traditional German Hefeweizen style with the modern Session IPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Rob North of Great North Aleworks in Manchester, New Hampshire. North grew up in Halifax before moving south, and had another career before brewing took over his life, first as a highly lauded homebrewer, and now as owner of Great North. The beer features loads of late- and dry-hopping additions of Ekuanot and Huell Melon, fruity hops to complement the banana and clove from the Weiss yeast. And while you’re getting your fills of Banana Hopsicle, check to see if they have any of their Hell Bat, the Imperial Licorice Stout brewed with Battery Park left. It won’t be around much longer! Don’t forget your orange growler!

Maybee Brewing dropped a new beer shortly after noon yesterday, Brut IPA. As you probably guessed, this is the brewery’s take on the Brut IPA style (which continues to gain momentum, based on how many breweries in Atlantic Canada have brewed it the past few months!). It was hopped very minimally in the bittering addition (20 IBUs), with most of the American and European hop varieties being added late in the boil and in the dry-hop. Fermented with a neutral yeast strain, enzymes were added to the brew to bring out the dryness even more, with the final product showing off a long-lasting head, aromas of “bright tropical fruit, herbal/grassy notes, some spice and a hint of floral, white wine and honeydew melon”. With a thin body and high carbonation, it has lots of tropical fruit on the palate, with a very dry finish. It weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available on tap only – you can find it at Maybee, various tap accounts in the province, and at the ANBL growler stations next Thursday, December 6th.

Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is pouring a brand new IPA to join their other 11 offerings currently pouring on tap. Norseman is a NEIPA “with a twist”, as it was fermented with a Norwegian yeast strain… specifically, the Voss Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs. These Kveik strains can be fermented at very warm (ok, downright hot compared to what you usually see with fermentation) temperatures. The grain bill for Norseman is made up simply of 2-row, Wheat malt, and Oats, and it was hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo, and Mosaic (all of which was added either in the whirlpool or dry-hop additions, keeping the bitterness low). Lots of fruity flavours and aromas with this one, so why not pop into the brewery’s taproom to give it (and the other beers!) a taste? And hey, they’re also filling growlers now, so they’ve got that going for them, too!

Since Good Robot opened several years ago, they have been consistently adding Clarex to every batch, an enzyme that reduces gluten to levels below 20 ppm (the international threshold for brewing considered “gluten free”). For next Tuesday’s Beta Brew, however, they’ve gone all the way and brewed a “completely gluten-free beer”, First Draught. By using sorghum syrup, buckwheat, and rice, they’ve produced a light beer (4.3% ABV) that still has plenty of hop presence, thanks to the additions of Citra, Cascade and Simcoe (to 37 IBUs). It should be noted, for those of you who are extremely sensitive to gluten, that this beer was brewed on the brewery’s pilot system, which has most-assuredly had glutenous products in its realm throughout its life! In Alpha news, next Thursday welcomes the return of Infinite Saturday, their Vienna Lager (5% ABV). Oh, and we should also mention that they’ve added seating in their upstairs space, meaning it may be a bit easier to actually have a seat in one of Halifax’s hottest taprooms from now on!

Last weekend the 6th annual Big Spruce HomeBrew Challenge wrapped up with the judging and announcement of winners. This year’s competition revolved around styles featuring wheat, namely German Weißbier and Belgian Witbier. The top three beers in each category were named and then an overall top three was selected from those six. This year’s big winner is a name you’ve seen in this blog on several occasions, as he’s brewed beers with Tidehouse and on Spindrift’s pilot system, and, in a “boy is that ever on the nose,” moment, he goes by the brewing moniker “Lil Wheatey.” Yes, Ian Wheatley took first place overall for his hefeweizen (1st place weißbier) and third overall for his witbier (2nd place witbier). George Arnott’s wit (1st place witbier) came in second overall. Additional category nods went to Devin Delaney in 3rd place for wit, Mark McKay in 2nd for weißbier, and David Pepper (2016’s overall winner) in 3rd place in weißbier. A big congratulations to all those who placed and a big thanks to Big Spruce for continuing to support the homebrewing community; look for Ian’s winning hefeweizen to debut at this year’s 10th Annual Eat. Drink. Local. Fest on January 10, 2019 (tickets are already on sale).

And in other Big Spruce news, just like last year, Jeremy is looking to load up the Sprucemobile and play Santa Claus, delivering beer to folks in Cape Breton and the HRM. Big Spruce Holiday Home Delivery will take place on December 15th (that’s a Saturday), but you’ll have to put an order in. Minimum order is 1 case of cans (24) or bottles (12) and, with mixing allowed, that gives you plenty of options. You can also add all manner of Big Spruce swag to that order, including their house-made edibles. Check the Facebook post for details on which beers and other items are available and be sure to get your order in soon.

After celebrating 11 years in business on the weekend, Port Williams Nova Scotia’s Sea Level Brewing has announced that they have broken ground on a brand new brewery, which will be located in Sheffield Mills (about ten minutes-drive away from their current location). Together with local farms, they are forming Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, to create Nova Scotia’s first “Estate Brewery”. Well on their way already, the new facility is slated to open in the spring. They’ll be brewing with their own farm-grown hops and malting barley, and the new location will house a tasting room and retail store. Fear not, the current location in Port Williams will still be operating as usual during this transition, and will remain open as a pilot brewery/retail location after the new brewery opens. The expansion will also allow the brewery to start selling their canned beers in the NSLC, greatly increasing their availability to other areas of the province. And for a sneak peek of the great beers to come, keep an eye out for their High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, using some of the same malt and hops that will be gracing their new releases in the spring.

Details are being kept secret right now, but we did want to mention that those of you living in Miramichi, NB, who have been wondering when exactly the craft beer scene was going to improve in your area, have no need to wonder any longer! Timber Ship Brewing, a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, should be opening in the area in the near future. They’re realistically aiming for early 2019, and will be producing a variety of beers for sale in kegs to local establishments. We’ll have more information, including a standalone post, for you very soon. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to follow along with their progress.

This week’s shamefully late message about a new release come from Tatamagouche Brewing who are releasing a Bourbon Barrel-aged version of their Russian Imperial Stout. Built on their base RIS recipe with a little extra chocolate wheat added, the beer was then racked into barrels from two different distilleries. Bottles and pints are available already at the brewery, with kegs going out next week.

A few things to remind you about this weekend, plus a tease of what’s coming in January…

After a bit of a tease last week, those crazy folks at 2 Crows are releasing their latest barrel-aged, bottled beer, Mellarium, tomorrow at noon. No, really, we guarantee*. We’re not about to do them the huge favour of typing out all the info on the beer again (or even cutting and pasting for that matter, we don’t get paid for this, you know!), but here’s a link to last week, where you can check it out there! Buttered Bliss will also be on site from 2-7pm, serving up some delightful fried chicken sandwiches.

*Not a guarantee

Propeller Brewing is kicking off a month of “Black Casks” at their Gottingen Street tasting room, with the first hitting the bartop tomorrow at 3 PM. The first is their Russian Imperial Stout, cask-conditioned and served via gravity, rather than carbonated after the fact/on draught (though they will have this version as well, so we encourage you to get both and compare!). And they will be celebrating throughout the month of December with more interpretations of their Russian Imperial Stout and Porter, with the following offerings being tapped at the next four Fridays: Dec 7: Russian Imperial Stout with coconut, Dec 14: Porter with orange and chocolate, Dec 21: Russian Imperial Stout with smoked black tea, and a special cask on Dec 28, yet to be announced. Take note that beside tomorrow, all of the casks are tapped during their usual Cask Friday timeslot, at 5 PM. And for those of us who can’t get enough of the good stuff, they are raiding the cellar and releasing the last of their 2017 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. First released back in February of this year, the 8.5% ABV beer hung out in Bourbon barrels for a few months, picking up both wood and spirit character, complementing the roast and dark fruit character of the underlying beer. Grab a bottle or two to enjoy yourself, or gift to a special someone. And keep your eyes peeled here for the details on another release in the same vein, coming next week…

If you were perusing Instagram stories a couple of days ago and happened upon the right account, you might have gotten a heads-up that Bar Stillwell is planning another Belgian Celebration to take place (tentatively, we expect) on January 5th, 2019!! Thanks to the ephemeral nature of Instagram stories the details of the beer list are no longer available, but amongst those of us who saw it the general reaction was something along the lines of, “Holy Shit!” and/or “Hellz yes!” We’ll have more details as they are released, but for now, maybe block off that afternoon in your calendar, mmkay?

And here we are at the end of the line for this week, but there are a couple last things to mention before we let you go.

It’s not often that their bottles are available outside of the brewery, so we figured we’d let you know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar has received a shipment of goodies from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery. They are hitting the shelves at opening tomorrow morning (that’s 8 AM, so grab a coffee to stay warm in line). With two versions of their Jelly King fruited sours (Pineapple Tangerine Grapefruit [also available online at 8 AM], and Sour Cherry), as well as Skeleton Key 2018 and Barn Owl #16. For those who want to be the first in the know, subscribe to their Behind the Taps mailing list, which hits your inbox about once a month, and highlights the latest beer arrivals and tastings they are hosting. Edited: Only the Jelly King PTG will be available online, BC has altered the distribution of the other 3 due to availability.

We mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but just a last reminder that the Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 1st in Sydney. Looks like there’s still some general admission tickets remaining; you can purchase those right here.

Those who remember the saga of the Beer Garden on the Halifax Waterfront might be interested to hear that a new tender opportunity has been announced by Develop Nova Scotia. Vendors interested in running a food and beverage operation at Summit Place during the summer months (May 15 – Oct 15) for a three-year period from 2019 to 2021 have been invited to submit their proposals no later than December 19, 2018, with the award expecting to be settled by January 18, 2019. The tender document mentions creativity and innovation, although we note that there’s only 10 points available there, whereas the financial portion (i.e., “How much are you willing to pay for the privilege”) gets 25 points. Color us unsurprised. The tender document can be viewed here. It will certainly be interesting to see whether it will remain with the incumbent Stubborn Goat or whether another interest will submit a successful bid.