Craft Beer Corner

All posts tagged Craft Beer Corner

It’s another weekend in Atlantic Canada and that means it’s time to bring you our weekly report on the regional craft beer scene. For those who might be a little disoriented from busy work, school, and/or social lives, or maybe those who availed themselves of the NSLC’s new product offerings, this weekend comes at the tail end of wet hop and pumpkin beer seasons, and somewhat on the cusp of darker seasonal season, with big ass ale and winter warmer season still several weeks out. And with that, here’s what new and news for craft beer lovers in NS, NB, PEI and NL this weekend!

PEI’s Moth Lane, located in Ellerslie, has been sitting on a beer that they’re particularly excited to share with all of you, and it’s finally available! Named after brewer Eric Wagner’s family’s bootlegging legacy, 3 Mile Limit (the minimum distance bootleggers had to be from shore to be out of reach of the jurisdiction of local authorities) is a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. This dark, roasty brew spent about 8 months in Bourbon barrels from Glenora Distillery, and a very limited supply of 1000 bottles is available (as of late last week). It’s a whopper of a beer, naturally, at 11% ABV and 40 IBUs, with flavours of “bourbon, cherry, oak, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, and coffee”. You can grab bottles directly at Moth Lane, or at the Summerside Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 9AM-1PM. And new on tap at the brewery is Rolling Papers, coincidentally released on Wednesday for some reason ;). Pop by for a taste this weekend!

Not content to rest on the laurels of their triumphant tap takeover last Saturday in Halifax at Stillwell Beer Bar, Niche Brewing are back in Hanwell, NB, plotting the continuance of their campaign of world domination. This week manifested itself through a collaboration brewday with the fine folks from 2 Crows that we’ll no doubt be telling you about down the road (maybe a ways down the road; we’ve heard that’s going into barrels) and two new new releases. Up first is Constellation (which was actually released LAST week) that started as a Saison on the darker side of the style, which was soured with Lactobacillus before fermentation with a blend of Saison yeast strains (and, this being Niche, they pitched some Brettanomyces in there too halfway through because, well, why not?). The beer was then conditioned for a couple of weeks to let the flavors develop before black currant puree was added to the mix. The end result is a 4.7% ABV mix of various components, some roasty light chocolate from the malt, tartness from the souring, yeast character and, of course, black currant to top it off. The second new release made its debut at Stillwell but is now making its way to taps around New Brunswick. Mahalo is a 6.4% ABV IPA of the milkshake variety; it of course has a healthy, but not overpowering, hit of lactose and vanilla bean for an overall sweet impression and rounded mouthfeel. The fruit in this one is pineapple puree, which provides a soft acidity to balance the sweetness. And on top of that you’ve got hops. Lots of them. Centennial, Hallertau Blanc and Azacca added in copious quantities ensure that the “IPA” part of the style is well represented. Top it off with a solid but not distracting bitterness and you’ve got an excellent example of the style, complex and interesting, but not overwhelming. You can expect to find it making an appearance at King Street Alehouse, The Joyce, Isaac’s Way, Ducky’s, CAVOK Brewing Co., Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub and the Saint John Ale House.

The folks behind Yellowbelly Brewery have decided to up the ante less than a year after opening a location at the St. John’s International Airport departures lounge. This time, they’re taking on a whole Cathedral! As reported by the CBC, they’ll be taking over the historic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Harbour Grace, which has lain dormant since 2014 with little hope of the diocese of Grand Falls being able to raise the estimated $9 million required to make it vital again. For Yellowbelly, this is a multi-year initiative that will see not only a brewery, but a tap room and restaurant, and eventually hotel and spa incorporated. Although that goal is no doubt a few years away, it could eventually mean employing as many as 100 people in the area as well as providing a new community venue in the town of some 3,000 people roughly an hour outside the city of St. John’s. We’ll certainly let you know how the brewery part of the proceedings progresses and when you can expect to have your first pint!

Looks like there’s another new bottle release from New Brunswick’s Valonray Brewing, happening this weekend. Tomorrow, from 9AM-5PM at the brewery, they’ll be selling bottles of Brett Belgian IPA, a 6.5% ABV which was bittered to 60 IBUs with Hallertau, further hopped with Mandarina Bavaria at flameout, and then dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The beer was fermented solely with Escarpment LabsBrett D strain. The final product has notes of tropical fruit and pineapple in the flavour, along with lemon, citrus, and white wine. This one won’t be for sale at ANBL stores for the time-being, so be sure to drop by Valonray in MacDougall Settlement if you want to give it a try.

We hope you had a chance to drop by Battery Park yesterday to take in the great 2 Crows tap takeover. As mentioned last week, there were several debuts on the board, including one brewed especially for the event. For those of you who missed out, may we suggest lunch on Ochterloney to check out the beers still available? And fear not, most of the newbies will see release at the brewery this weekend. Let’s get you up to date on those right now:

Second Situation (American IPA) – Similar to their recently-released Perfect Situation, the grist is the same (Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, Wheat, and Carafoam), and the beer was also fermented with London Fog yeast. This time around, however, the beer was hopped with Simcoe and Azacca in the hopback, and then dry-hopped twice with “stupid” (read: extremely high) amounts of Azacca, Huell Melon, and Citra. “Super lush, pillowy, and juicy, with huge mango, papaya, cantaloupe, and a touch of orchard fruit throughout”, it comes in at 6.1% ABV and 44 IBUs. Look for this one at the 2 Crows taproom on draught and in cans available tomorrow at noon.

Little Rodeo (Foedre-Aged Farmhouse Grisette) – Brewed with Pilsner, Rye, Spelt, Raw Wheat, and Aromatic malt, this brew was hopped in the boil with Calypso and Bramling Cross (to just 11 IBUs). Fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres with a blend of American Farmhouse yeasts (both Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces), it was allowed to condition further for several months, before finally being dry-hopped lightly with Loral and Nelson Sauvin. “Dry, earthy, refreshing and bright, and lightly herbal with notes of gooseberry and lemon zest”, it’s super-drinkable at just 4.6% ABV. Cans and pints of this one will also be available at 2C tomorrow at noon as well.

Phone Tag (Hoppy Kveik) – A collaboration brew with North Brewing, this one was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner malt and Flaked Wheat, and fermented very warm with Omega Hothead Kveik yeast. Hopped and then dry-hopped (aggressively) with Vic Secret and Galaxy, it was keg-conditioned with Champagne yeast. You read that right – this one is draught-only, available today, and is exhibiting flavours of “overripe mango, passionfruit, and papaya”; 3.5% ABV, 14 IBUs.

Battery Marc (NE Table Beer) – Also draught-only from their pilot system, this is another collab brew, this time with Marc and Fred from Battery Park. The grist for this one is meant to build up the low ABV (just 2.9%!), with Pilsner, Flaked Oats, and Raw Wheat). Hopped at flameout with Enigma and Nelson Sauvin, it was fermented with London Fog and then dry-hopped twice, with more Enigma and Nelson. “Bright, lush, with big gooseberry, red currrant, Sauvingnon Blanc, and pinot grigio notes”. Keg #1 kicked last night, and you’ll have to keep an eye on Battery Park’s social media to grab pours from the second keg, date/time TBD.

There were also two more debuts last night, with just single kegs of each, which did not last very long into the evening. You haven’t missed out completely, however, as they will make their debut – in bottles – in about a month. We’ll hold off on the nitty gritty details until they’re released then, but we can tell you that they are Mellarium (a Sauvignon Blanc-barrel-aged sour w/ apricot, honeycomb, and saffron) and Blackberry Collins (a gin-barrel-aged with blackberries and lemon).

Today, Upstreet is releasing the latest in their Million Acres series with Million Acres Chardonnay Barrel-Aged IIPA with Belma. As always with these beers, the name may take awhile to say, but pretty much tells you what you’re getting! At 9% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has aromas of “strawberry, vanilla, and floral notes” with “a light strawberry, honey candy flavour”. The oak tannins from the barrel-aging complement the medium body of the beer; due to the beer’s nature, it’s meant to be consumed fresh. There’s a very limited amount of bottles available at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner, where it can also be found on tap for pints.

Elsewhere on PEI (specifically, Montague), Copper Bottom is now pouring their first new beer in a while (hey, they had a busy summer!). Ekuanot Sour is brewed along the same lines as their Citra Sour, which debuted last March. With a grist of mostly 2-row, and a bit of Acid malt and Flaked Barley, it was kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, before being fermented and then dry-hopped with, yep, Ekuanot. With a firm tartness, it has notes of “tangerine, papaya, and orange peel”, and weighs in at 5% ABV and 10 IBUs. It’s on tap only, right now at CB, for pints and growler fills.

The peeps at Port Rexton Brewing kindly have brewed a new beer for us, Pony Chops, an American Pale Ale that is a spin-off of sorts of their Horse Chops IPA. It’s got a lower ABV (4.9%) than it’s bigger brother, but features “familiar floral grapefruit flavours, and tropical, stone fruit aromas”, all thanks to the addition of lots of the lovely Mosaic hop variety. This one will be on tap only at the PR taproom (for pints and growlers), as well as their retail shop in St. John’s this weekend (now open Thursday evenings 5-8PM, Friday 12-7PM, and Saturday 12-6PM). And they announced this week that for the first time, the taproom will remain open throughout the winter! Open daily from now until November 4th, the hours will adjust to open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4-10PM.

Might as well hang around Newfoundland, as Bootleg Brew Co. has just released their newest beer, Nightman, a 5.8% ABV Black IPA. Hopped with Amarillo and Mosaic (to about 60 IBUs), this dark-coloured brew has “aromas of tangerine, orange, and pomegranate”, with a moderate bitterness in the finish that “slowly fades into dark chocolate”. Full-bodied and perfect to sip now that the temperatures are dropping, swing on by brewery taproom to give it a taste!

And on to Quidi Vidi, who are giving us a special sneak peek of a new beer that won’t see wide release until mid-November. Cappucino Stout is, as you may have expected, a Stout with coffee; incorporating roasted grain in the grist, lactose powder was added in the boil to boost the mouthfeel and provide some balancing sweetness. Coffee was added after fermentation was complete, with the final 6.5% ABV beer smelling of “sweet cream and nutty dark roast, with earthy, hazelnut flavours and lingering coffee notes”. Mild carbonation helps increase the creamy mouthfeel. It’s available right now at the brewery for a limited time on tap for pours and growler fills; again, look for it to return next month.

In Good Robot news, we have the details on their release Beta Brewsday (aka Tuesday small batch, brewery and 1L growler-only) release. My Rituals is a beer dreamed up by GRBC’s neighbour Lianne Lessard with FemmeBot Extraordinaire Kelly. This is the first sour mash from Good Robot, and it turned out a treat! Yellow plums were added to the brew, for some lovely fruit character, and its own tart character, enhancing the overall experience. Described as “comforting and enlivening, like a brisk walk in crisp autumn air with the promise of warmth at home”, grab a pint of this 4.6% ABV brew early next week when it debuts. And then drop by again later in the week for the release of Creature Feature I, another in the series of their bio-transformation IPAs. This technique of hopping during active fermentation, with the yeast altering the terpene and other flavour compounds in the hops. For this beer, Amarillo, Citra, and Cascade were used in serious quantities, with notes of mago, peach, and pineapple shining through. This 6.4% ABV beer will see wider distribution late next week, so keep an eye out at your favourite bar or restaurant for it as well.

Pump House has brewed up a new beer in support of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and it’s available on tap right now at their locations in Moncton. Fundy Forager Sage & Elderberry Ale includes the addition of, yes, sage and elderberries, both of which that were locally sourced in the Biosphere. Subtle hints of both are noticeable in the brew. The beer is available on tap at the Brewpub on Orange Lane, as well as at the Pump House Fill Station on Mill Road, where it is also available for Growler and Crowler fills.

And a few more beer releases to round out today’s news…

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has debuted a new beer this past week, the latest in their rotating smaller releases. Scratch 12: Hop Blonde is a hoppy hybrid of German and North American engineering, with the former lending malt to build the base to 6.0% ABV, while juicy American hops top it off, with notes of citrus, lime, and tropical fruit. On tap, and in a limited number of cans, grab it today before it disappears. And as a public service announcement, cans of their Maritime Black IPA have hit the shelves, and are sure to sell out quickly, so be sure to grab those this weekend.

What incredible timing! With a bit of snow blowing around, and the temperature dipping below freezing, Halifax’s North Brewing has brought back their sweet and flavourful pastry stout, Twinkle Pony Tiramisu Stout. Using actual lady finger cookies in addition to Chocolate malt, lactose, and vanilla cold brew coffee from Manual Co (Ardi beans ℅ Java Blend), the beer weighs in at a robust 7.0% ABV. With single and 4-packs of cans available now at their two retail locations, kegs will also be distributed to better beer bars in the region.

Winning the prize for, “Sending us stuff at (literally) the 11th hour,” this week is Garrison, who are planning to release a new stout tomorrow. Using a classic grist of 2-row, Munich, Oats, Crystal, and then Roasted Barley for that deep dark color that the style requires, the beer was hopped in a decidedly modern way with Mandarina Bavaria and Cascade. Differentiating itself from other stouts in the local market with a fuller-body, and bringing a truly dark beer back to Garrison’s portfolio, look for flavors of strong coffee and dark fruit in this 6.0% ABV and 38 IBU beer.

Welcome to the first full weekend of fall in Atlantic Canada! As is usual for this time of year, wet-hopped beers brewed after harvest a few weeks ago are starting to appear, we’re seeing continued pumpkin ale encroachment, and Oktoberfest celebrations are going on. Meanwhile, there’s also lots of new releases that have nothing to do with fall, traditionally or otherwise. We note that we’re quite a bit earlier than usual with this week’s post; we suggest you don’t expect to get used to that!

Let’s start this week in Dartmouth with Brightwood Brewery. Now well-ensconced in their new digs on Portland Street, they’ve released a new beer that we think marks them as the only brewery in the region (at least in recent memory) to have released two beers in the California Common style. Described as an homage to surfing in Cow Bay, Minutes takes the healthy body and crisp finish traditional to the style and marries it to some white wine character courtesy of a dry hop with nouveau German hop variety Hallertau Blanc. At 5.5% ABV we suspect it will be an interesting contrast to the traditional European styles like Märzens and Festbiers that are prominent at this time of year. You can find it in the taproom for tasters, pints, and fills. Meanwhile, if you’ve been missing getting your Brightwood fix at the Alderney Market since they started their expansion project, we’ve got some great news for you: they’ll be back this coming Saturday for growler fills in their swank ceramic growlers (or, y’know, your tired and boring brown glass)!

On the other side of the bridges, in the Burnside Industrial Park, Spindrift has a couple things on the go. Of course one of them is the American Pale Ale currently being revealed slowly on social media with a contest, so that one will have to wait a week. The second is a little bit of yin to that one’s yang, an American Lager with 10 IBU and 5% ABV in a light-bodied beer with an “unpronounced bitterness” and a fairly high carbonation level. Made with a moderate percentage of adjuncts, namely rice and wheat, expect it to be very easy drinking, especially when served very cold. Called Toller, it will be available exclusively at Harvest, Rockhead, and West Side, in 8- and 24-packs of 355 mL cans. And after last night’s debut at the Hopyard Halifax takeover, you can start looking for their new DIPA, Hurricane Juan, in stores tomorrow, September 29th, on the 15th anniversary of its namesake storm.

Rothesay’s Long Bay has their first new beer out in some time, and it sounds like a beauty! Full Pleasure is the result of months of experimentation with sour beers; kettle-soured with Lactobacillus to a Baby Bear level of tartness (just right!), the wort was then fermented with the brewery’s house Belgian strain, and given an addition of passion fruit puree. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with two marvelous varieties, Galaxy and Mosaic, before packaging. With lots of fruity hop flavour, complemented by the tartness from the Lacto, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. Look for bottles and growlers to be found at the brewery now, as well as bottles and kegs at select ANBL stores and licensees over the next week.

Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer out this weekend that will help you harken back to summer even though fall has definitely arrived. A Berliner Weisse featuring rhubarb and raspberry, the recipe was developed by Lunn’s Mill partner and chef Chantelle Webb. Girl, Hold My Earrings has a pinky-orange color and a sparkling effervescent character to match with a tart Berliner character and sassy fruit presence. At 4.4% ABV and a measly 4 IBU, you’ll no doubt be able to slosh back a few of these before you find yourself entangled in a good old scrap. Only available at the taproom it will make its debut at Lunn’s Mill’s second annual Oktoberfest event this evening starting at 5:00 PM. A cover charge of $10 will get you a stein to drink out of (and take home, if you can manage it) and the chance to enjoy a special food menu and the four bands that will be playing on the patio. More information is available on their Facebook Event Page.

We told you about the hop harvests around the region a few weeks ago and it looks like Shelburne’s Boxing Rock have managed to be the first to bring their 2018 wet hopped offering to market (or at least the first one we heard about). Now in its sixth iteration, Many Hands has always been a collaboration beer between Boxing Rock and North Brewing in Halifax, and this year is no different. Released this past Wednesday, this year’s model is a Pale Ale brewed with organic malt from Horton Ridge Malt House and a pile of fresh hops from Wallace Ridge Hop Farm in Malagash, NS. Look for it to be a smooth and easy drinking ale with a malty base and floral and herbal hop notes. You can find it at the retail store in Shelburne and at Local Source, Harvest Wines and Bishops Cellar in the city, along with Liquid Assets at the Stanfield International Airport.

It’s another week chock-full of new beer and re-releases from Big Spruce, who isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Beginning with the new beer, A Marzen Grace, which is released just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations across the world (have you ever known a country/city/town to refuse the chance to celebrate with beer?). Billed by Big Spruce as “100% classic and traditional”, it was brewed with all German malt, German hops, and German Lager yeast. Conditioned and lagered for a period of time, as the style calls for, it’s malty and crisp, and even at 6% ABV is meant to be consumed in healthy quantities, if you can! As for returning beers, put your drinking caps on, because there’s a few: Fake News!, a 5.6% APA hopped entirely with Idaho 7, and fermented with the Foggy London Ale strain; Tag! You’re It!, a fresh batch of the brewery’s immensely popular 6.5% ABV NEIPA, with a “hugely late” hop addition (we’re going to assume that means a huge addition, late) giving boatloads of tropical fruit character; and, in truly bittersweet fashion, the last run this season for The Silver Tart, easily one of the brewery’s biggest crowd-favourites, a 4% ABV kettle-soured beer conditioned on organic raspberries. It’ll most assuredly be back next year, but maybe stock up before it’s gone for 2018! And finally, cans of Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout are now more easily found, as NSLC stores finally have them in stock; you can even get it in New Brunswick, as select ANBL locations are also carrying the beer.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new entry in their Neon Friday series of hoppy beers hitting the taps today. Brut IPA with Hallertau Blanc may have a matter-of-fact name, but it’s no plain-jane beer. Manifesting the new “Champagne” or “Brut” style of low-bitterness and extremely dry (minimal residual sugars) IPAs with high carbonation, this one was hopped with Hallertau Blanc, a modern hop variety known for imparting a white wine character along and notes of grapefruit and lemongrass. It’s 7.0% ABV and a paltry 5 IBU and you can find it on tap starting this afternoon at the Upstreet Taproom and at Craft Beer Corner, both for pints and for growler and crowler fills.

Robie Street in Halifax is home to Good Robot Brewing, which means it’s home to two new beers in the coming week, as per usual. The BetaBrewsday release (as always, scheduled for Tuesday at 4 PM), is called Bittersweet Cocoaphony, an ESB with a little verve in the form of cocoa powder added after fermentation. Formulated and brewed by Andrew Seth and Beta Baroness Kelly Costello, the grist was comprised of 2-row, Cara 30, Cara 120 and CaraAroma, while the hop side was a light dusting of classic UK Fuggles and its American descendant Willamette. Easy drinking at 4.5% ABV, even though it’s not too bitter at 25 IBU, we still suspect it will be extra special.

Meanwhile, from the Alpha system comes a collaboration brew done up just in time for the Halifax Pop Explosion! Lizard Queen was brewed in concert with Garrison and Gahan using flaked wheat, oats and barley along with good ol’ 2-row for a solid ale malt presence with enhanced mouthfeel. Hopped with some very big modern varieties, Simcoe, El Dorado, and an especially large dose of Mosaic, expect it to have a heavy tropical fruit presence and be danker than the air outside the Seahorse. Look for this very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU beer to appear next Thursday, October 4th, as the city gets ready for HPX later in the month.

New Brunswick’s Picaroons is joining the Oktoberfest fun with a new beer they’re calling Oom Pah! Pah! Oktoberfest Ale. Amber in color, it’s a crisp ale with a bready character matched with earthy and floral hop notes that were kept on the subtle side no doubt to allow the malt shine. It hit the taps on Tuesday at the Picaroons Roundhouse and the Picaroons Brewtique in Fredericton, on Wednesday it showed up at the Picaroons General Store in Saint John, and look for it starting today at the 5 Kings Restaurant in St. Stephen. You’ll also be able to grab it at all ANBL locations as of tomorrow. We’ll warn you though, although it’s widely available, only one batch was made, so when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has a new and special treat on the go, a plum wine that they made with shiro plums harvested in Nova Scotia. Shiro is a sweet and juicy yellow variety that can often be harvested well before other plums are ready. Plummet saw Chain Yard taking the juice from these plums and doing both wild and Brettanomyces fermentations before dry-hopping the result. A “session” wine, it’s a very light 4.3% ABV with no sulfur dioxide and it’s still fermenting a little bit, which should mean a touch of sweetness is still there to be enjoyed. A very limited run is available by the pint only at the tap room on Agricola Street.

Bootleg Brewing in Corner Brook is displaying their Newfoundland sense of humor again this week with a new beer they’ve dubbed Tits Up. Also displaying their disregard for classic beer styles, they’re calling this one an Imperial Session IPA, which, as oxymoronic as it sounds, makes some sense in context. Extremely light in the body, and without the big bitterness you might expect from an IIPA, it prominently features big tropical fruit aromas. Meanwhile, it also prominently features a leg-wobbling 7.8% ABV. So while it drinks like a session ale, it packs the punch of an imperial. It’s been available on tap since last Friday. Be careful, though, the warning label on this one says, “if you start a day boil with this one you probably will end up Tits Up in da rhubarb.”

You may recall that in fall of 2017 Sober Island Brewing on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia hosted a homebrew contest that focused on locally-foraged ingredients. The winning beer in that competition was called Raspberry Beer, Eh! and it was entered by Andrew Deveaux. Like many homebrew comps, one of the prizes for the winner is the brewing of a commercial batch of the winning beer. Well they finally did that, and the result is available! A Raspberry Wheat Ale using 95% Horton Ridge Malt and local raspberries will be on tap this weekend for crowlers at the Alderney Market and Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers Market. Congratulations again to Andrew on his winning beer!

At Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing, the hops, they’re still a-flowin’, with two hoppy brew releases today. The first is a brand new beer, Almost Nuclear, an American IPA hopped with Mosaic T-45 pellets. Differing from their more commonly seen, less-concentrated T-90 pellets, the T-45s are supposed to give even more hop aroma and flavour. Looks like TrailWay is standing by that, describing the beer as “super fruity and tropical, with a big berry-like aroma”. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, look for cans and pours of this one at the brewery at opening. The second beer is the latest re-release of Emerald, a 5% ABV New Zealand Pilsner. Fermented with a Czech Lager yeast strain, hopped with Southern Cross and Eureka, it also has an addition of fresh lime zest and lime juice, adding even more lime character to that from the hops. Cans and pints/growlers of this one at the brewery as well, starting today, with cans seeing distribution to ANBL stores next week, as well.

We thought maybe 2 Crows was taking it easy with new beers this week… ha, how foolish we were to let our guards down! Sometimes we suspect maybe they’re just doing this to make us work harder. ANYhoo, of course they have two new beers, so let’s get to it. First up is Dare to Dream, a dark Saison brewed with Vienna malt, Wheat, and a combination of crystal and roasted malts. Dark Belgian Candi sugar was added in the boil, as well as some Sterling and Bramling Cross hops (to 21 IBUs). A combination of spices – including coriander, orange peel, cardamom, lime leaf and black lime – were also added at the very end of the boil; the wort was then fermented at warm temperatures with 2C’s house Saison yeast. The end result is a beer with “dark fruit, prune, and plum notes, a smooth and full body, with moderate roast and a very subtle spice profile”, to go with the classic Saison fruit esters. It comes in at 5.4% ABV and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery tomorrow, and at bars/restaurants in the HRM.

The other beer from 2C was brewed in collaboration with Kanata, ON’s Small Pony Barrel Works (did you get to have some of their beers at Stillwell in late May? Magnifique!). Thunderdome was brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Oats, and Aromatic malt, and hopped in the boil with a small amount of aged East Kent Goldings. The wort was soured in stainless with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then transferred to one of 2C’s foedres (over fresh lime leaves on the way, to boot!). At this point, 2C added some of their funky house cultures, along with some house blends from Small Pony (now that’s collaboration!). After fermentation and conditioning in foedre for several months, the beer had an addition of lime leaves, before carbonation and packaging. The beer is tasting “assertively tart, bright, with a fun herbal/lime character and a touch of funk”. There will be cans of this one at 2C tomorrow as well, but the supply is limited to 25 cases, so best get in early and grab stock up on both beers!

Propeller has brought back their Pumpkin Ale (5% ABV) for the season, with this year’s release showing up in cans (473 mL), as well as in bottles (341 mL). With a slightly-tweaked recipe (the same spice blend was used, as well as pumpkin sourced from Howard Dill) to darken the brew slightly, you can still expect a pumpkin-y, spicy beer. Not stopping there, they’re also re-releasing Alpha Dog, a wet-hopped Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Sea Level. Featuring locally-grown (from Fundy Hops) Galena, Willamette, and Cascade, this one will be draft only, so stop by one of the two Prop shops, or Sea Level if that’s closer to you, to grab a pint and/or growler.

As usual, there’s plenty of beer-related goings-on this weekend and beyond that we think you might be interested in:

If you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon and feel like letting your lederhosen down, consider heading down to the Stillwell Biergarten for their first (annual, hopefully) Oktoberfest event. With the turning of the season it may be one of your last chances to get a good outdoor downtown drink on in 2018. The cover charge is $7 paid in advance (available at Stillwell HQ on Barrington or at the Beergarden, weather permitting) or $10 at the door. They’ll have an Oompah band, proper steins to get sloppy with, and a German-inspired menu of snacks from Joe Martini for you to be München on (sorry, not sorry!). The tap list is all Euro-centric beers, with plenty of local entries, both brand new and well-established. Put your peepers on the menü below and plan your attack in advance:

  1. Tatamagouche – Dry-Hopped Lagerhosen (European-style Lager – 4.5% ABV – Tatamagouche, NS)
  2. Spindrift – Killick (Munich Helles – 4.7% ABV – Dartmouth, NS)
  3. Stillwell Brewing – Stilly Pils (Unfiltered Dry Hopped Pilsner – 5% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  4. Dieu Du Ciel! – Sentinelle (Kölsch – 5.2% ABV – Montréal, Quebec)
  5. Propeller – Pilsner (Unfiltered Pilsner – 4.8% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  6. Ritterguts – Urgose Märzen (Märzen-Gose w/ Hallertauer Perle, Taurus, Smoked sea salt, Swiss Stone Pine cones, and Ceylon Cinnamon – 6% ABV – Chemnitz, Germany)
  7. Boxing Rock – Märzen (Festbier – 5.4% ABV – Shelburne, NS)
  8. Big Spruce – A Märzen Grace (see above) (Festbier – 6% ABV – Nyanza, NS)
  9. Uncle Leo’s – Altbier (Altbier – 5.2% ABV – Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia)
  10. Revel Cider – Lime Apfelgose (Blended spontaneously fermented cider w/ Sea Salt, Coriander, & Lime – 6.5% ABV – Guelph, Ontario)

If you’re near Moncton and haven’t yet purchased tickets for the fourth annual Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, you may want to strongly consider grabbing some of the few that are remaining! Happening tomorrow, attendees lucky enough to buy their tickets early had the option of VIP or VVIP, which gets you in earlier, and an industry panel discussion and guided beer tasting, in the case of VVIP. But as mentioned, there are still regular tickets available, with doors opening at 7:30 pm. You’ll have 2.5 hours to sample beer, cider, and mead from over 40 local breweries, with food available for purchase as well. As in the past, proceeds will go to the United Way.

A reminder that the Guided Tasting with Stephen Beaumont is happening this Sunday, September 30th at Stillwell, and there are still a few tickets available for the first session, from 12-2 pm. Tickets are $46 (you can purchase through the event link) and include samples of some rare, world-class beers, all discussed with one of the foremost beer authors around. Beaumont will also have copies of his latest book for sale, which he will happily sign at the event.  

The annual Garrison Oktoberfest is coming up on Saturday, October 6th. The all-day event starts at 11 am at 1149 Marginal Rd with plenty of food from Asado Wood Fired Grill, live Oompah music (starting at 2 pm) and, of course, beer! There will also be a free show later in the day featuring Dave Sampson. Feel free to bring the kids (and dogs!), and drop by to take part in the fun.

We hinted at it last week and this week it was confirmed. Fredericton’s Niche Brewing will be featured in a tap takeover at Stillwell on October 13th! Brewers Shawn Meek (hey, we know that guy!) and Rob Coombs will be on hand and feeling reaaaally social and ready to answer all your questions about their beers, their brewery, and their general philosophies of life. Look for the taplist to be posted as the date approaches along with news on the special menu items that will be coming out of the kitchen that afternoon. They’ve promised some favorites from their first 9 months of operation, some newer releases, and some one-offs brewed specifically for the event. We (well, the Aaron and Chris part of “we”) are pretty excited to finally be able to try some of the beers we’ve only been able to write about since Niche started producing beer. We expect we’re not alone amongst fans of great beer in the HRM in our excitement. Meanwhile, the spoiled folks of New Brunswick will continue to be spoiled by the return of Niche’s Single Origin this week. A coffee-infused milk stout, it’s got the usual lactose addition to provide sweetness, creaminess and mouthfeel to balance the bitterness and dark flavors of the coffee. Look for it to appear on tap over the next week or so at the King Street Alehouse, The Joyce, Graystone, and Isaac’s Way in Fredericton, and Pepper’s Pub in Saint John.

And, finally, a few more quick mentions before you get back to your Friday:

Breton Brewing has their non-Pumpkin (!) seasonal back for fall, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV); brewed with Acadian maple syrup, it’s available now in the Breton taproom for pints and growlers.

– There’s a new draught-only beer from Garrison this week, Pineapple Express. A Witbier with the addition of pineapple, you can find it at the brewery for pints and growlers, and it should be available on tap around Halifax in the near future.

– Looks like Dooflicker (5.3% ABV), a “Coconut Brown Sour” is pouring again at Roof Hound; drop by soon for pints, growlers, and 500 mL bottles, as supplies won’t last long.

– For those with supplies running low on their supply of lovely mixed-ferm concoctions from Stillwell Brewing, we’re afraid you’re going to have to ration what you’ve got for another week. Due to the Oktoberfest celebration mentioned above, there will be NO bottle sales this weekend on Gottingen Street. To make it up to us, though, they’ve promised a brand new release for next weekend. We’re sure we’ll have the details here next Friday.

– Our friends at Tidehouse have re-brewed their Big Bruiser, a 10% ABV DIPA hopped with cryo versions of Ekuanot and Simcoe. It’s available right now for pours at their taproom, as well as in bottles.

Happy first day of Summer and longest day of the year, you’ve got more daylight today than any other day of the year during which to enjoy the fine beers of our region’s producers and it looks like the weather in most of Atlantic Canada is cooperating. So give a read below to see what might be new and interesting in your particular geographical corner of our burgeoning beer scene and get thee to a patio!! (Although if you’re in Newfoundland, maybe bring a sweater? Sawwy).

Starting up on the Rock, waaay up in Twilingate, where Split Rock Brewing has plenty on the go. First is the latest iteration of their Gateway, a 7.1% ABV India Pale Ale that’s been getting successively hoppier as batches have gone on in a possibly not-so-subtle effort to gently introduce modern IPAs to their local market. Featuring plenty of Cascade and Amarillo in both late additions and dry hops, they’ve now gotten it to where they want it, at least for the time being. Also released this week was Razzin’ Around, a Raspberry Wheat beer made with lots of real raspberry puree for aroma and flavor. Tart, but not sour, it still manages to have a crisp finish, making for a refreshing summer beer with a pleasant fruit kick. Lastly, but definitely not least, this weekend Split Rock is kicking off what is planned to be a series of sour beers, each of which will feature something different added to the base, which is a kettle sour using Pilsner and wheat that has been soured with a pure pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum. These beers will come in under the moniker of Sour Patch B’ys and the first has been dubbed Sour Patch B’ys: Citra, for the generous addition of Citra in the dry hop stage. Pale yellow in colour, this medium-sour beer has a lemony-lime tang and overall citrus flavor. You’ll find all three of these beers primarily at their brewpub, the Stage Head Pub (hours on their Facebook page), but some will no doubt make it to other parts of the province, most likely St. John’s (we can confirm that the Gateway IPA is on at Jack Axes and Razzin’ Around is at Fort Amherst Pub in Churchill Square).

Speaking of St. John’s, YellowBelly Brewery has a new beer pouring, a black IPA they’re calling Gravity Base, an homage to the many Newfoundlanders working in the oil and gas industries at sea and on land. This 5.3% ABV and 60 IBU brew is big and toasty, bready and bitter, with Pacific Gem, Citra and Topaz hops added in the boil and a dry hop of Motueka providing a fruity balance. Look for it on tap on site, pouring for pints and growler fills, and bottles to come this week.

And rounding out the Newfoundland news, over in the Southwest portion of the island in Corner Brook, Bootleg Brew Co. has a brand new beer on tap themselves. Drunken Muppet is an Extra Special Bitter ale aimed solidly at non-hopheads. Only 20 IBU and a fairly sessionable 5.0% ABV, it features hints of cocoa and coffee to accompany a light malt toastiness. Available only by the pint at the brewery.

Heading south to Nova Scotia, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released another in their lineup of Black Box Challenge winners, Bursted! IPA. Brewed by Truro’s Derek Wood (known as Woody amongst the local homebrewing community), his runner-up entry took a different turn than the already-released Oh Snap! Ginger Snap Brown. Focusing on the plethora of hops provided in the box, he used Mosaic late in the boil, Cascade and Amarillo at flameout for a 30 minute whirlpool, and tons of all three in the dry-hop after the fact, extracting more aroma and flavour than bitterness and elevating this pale-coloured beer to new heights. As well as on tap and in growlers, look for bottles of the 6.5% ABV Bursted! at the brewery, their market stalls, and at the private stores in HRM this weekend.

Now that we’re officially into summer, Annapolis Brewing Company is ramping up their energy level to keep the thirsty Valley- (and Visiting-) folk happy. Now that their taproom is open at 302 St George Street, they have a pair of beers coming out in the next several days. Debuting this weekend is a brand new Session IPA named Cool Calm & Collected. “CC & C” also covers the hop side of the beer nicely, with Cascade, Chinook, and Citra coming together to provide a solid hop presence to a very sessionable 4.1% ABV beer. Expect this one to be a hoppy refresher for the deck or the dock this summer. And speaking of summer beers, expect to see Blockhouse Blonde back on tap early next week. Brewed with a combination of 7 malts and hopped with modern Ella and classic East Kent Goldings, it weighs in at 5.3% ABV.

In the big city, Stillwell Brewing has yet another double release happening tomorrow from 12 – 3 PM at their usual spot behind Propeller on Gottingen Street. If you’ve been enjoying the Poptones released two weeks ago but have been musing to yourself, “I say, this is a delightful farmhouse pale ale, but I do wonder what it might taste like if someone were to have aged it in oak barrels for a while,” you’re in luck! Adjust your monocle, good sir/madam, and peep the Poptones Remix. This beer went into Burgundy-style white wine barrels at the same time the OG Poptones was first put into bottles, so while it’s the same age, it grew up in a different part of town, so to speak. Still light and refreshing, but with some oak character, a deeper acidity and funkier flavors overall, it’s 5.3% ABV and displaying herbal and lemony notes with hay and funk. Also up on the block tomorrow is version two of Sport, which was a much bigger batch than the original, allowing more flexibility and variety in the blend. At 5.6% ABV, it’s light and refreshing, if a little heavier than last year’s version, and it once again features lime zest and sea salt to complement the subtle coconut character provided by the barrels. And if you want to get into these beers quickly without cracking into bottles, you’ll also find both on draught today at Stillwell HQ on Barrington, the first time they’re featuring Stillwell Brewing oaked farmhouse beers on tap!

Halifax nano Tidehouse is re-releasing their Cloud Shadow hopfenweisse again, this time in smaller bottles (340 mL vs 640 mL), but still packed with the same flavor. A hoppy wheat beer with Mandarina Bavaria and Ahtanum, expect citrus, tangerine and floral aromas and flavors balanced against a solid malt bill of 50/50 wheat and pale malts. There’s a bottle limit of 6 per person and you can only get them at the brewery on Salter Street starting today at 2 PM. And while you’re there, you might consider asking the helpful barperson for a pour (still only 4 oz, sadly, but only for 10 more days!) of another Tidehouse new release, a strong hoppy saison they’re calling Houndstooth. We’ll have more information on that one as its bottle release approaches in a couple of weeks, but you can get yourself a preview today!

A stone’s throw (OK, maybe a long drive on the fairway) up and over from Salter is Brunswick Street, where you can find a pair of new beers from 2 Crows Brewing’s fermenters. First up is a special collaboration with Coady and Griffin from Dartmouth cocktail and foodie hotspot The Watch That Ends The Night. Inspired by mixology, specifically a cocktail called the Last Word, and expressing brewer Jeremy Taylor’s love of gin (and giving him an excuse to walk over to TWTETN for “research”), Last Word started with a basic grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, with some raw wheat for character, and was lightly hopped in the boil with Halltertau Blanc and Calypso. From there it was fermented warm to encourage earthy and pithy grapefruit yeast character from the Brettanomyces strains used. This became the base for additional machinations centered around the various elements of the Last Word cocktail, namely gin, lime, chartreuse and maraschino, each in its own way. The gin is represented through the addition of juniper berries, coriander and orange peel, the lime by 5 cases worth of lime juice and zest, and the chartreuse by bay leaves and lemon verbana. The maraschino was creatively reflected by the use of mahleb, a spice made from cherry pits, that brings marzipan (sweet almond) and light cinnamon notes. Lastly, a small amount of sour beer was blended in for a bit of zip and to accentuate the lime character. For packaging the beer was keg conditioned with Champagne yeast to provide a tight effervescence. The result is definitely a beer, but one with a lot of subtle reminders of the cocktail. Lime is the dominant flavor, but there is also earthiness, the zip of the gin botanicals, some herbaceous notes, and a slight marzipan sweetness. You’ll find this one of a kind beer only on tap at the brewery and, of course, at The Watch That Ends The Night for now, with kegs possibly going out to other places in coming weeks.

The second of the pair is a pilot brew from Assistant Brewer (let’s be honest, these guys and gals do all of the hard work in breweries) Miles, and Assistant to the Brewer Nick. Retrograde is hoppy and hazy New England-style Pale Ale, available now at the brewery, only by the glass. The malt bill started out as one destined for a Saison, featuring Pilsner, Wheat, Rye, and Spelt, but this dynamic duo decided to cross the Atlantic mid-way through the boil and used loads of Azacca, Ella, Hallertau Blanc, and Loral hops, and fermented it with the darling of NEIPA beers, London Ale III. With more of the same hops added on the cold side, the flavour and aromas shoot through the roof, showcasing peach, pineapple and pear notes on a soft and pillowy base. As mentioned above, this 5.5% ABV beer is only available at the brewery by the pint, so don’t delay your visit to grab it!

Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, has released a new Belgian-inspired beer this week, but setting aside the wild and funkier side for a classic and clean one. Day Tripper is a Tripel, with a malt bill of primarily Pilsner malt, with a little Aromatic and Wheat malt as well, and hopped with the very traditional Saaz varietal to 24 IBUs. Using a traditional Trappist yeast strain which exhibits fruity esters, it melds well with the spiciness from the Noble hopping. With the light sweetness often found with Pils-heavy beers, it transitions to fruity and spicy, and finishes dry with a touch of alcohol warmth from the 8.4% ABV. It can be found around Fredericton at Graystone, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce, and kegs may be available further afield soon.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has dropped the latest beer in their Scratch Series, this being release #11. 100% Brettanomyces is, you could probably guess, fermented solely with our favourite wild-but-domesticated yeast Brettanomyces. The straw-coloured base was lightly hopped (to 20 IBUs) with locally-grown Hallertau and Magnum from Darlings Island Hop Farm, before fermentation. The resultant beer is quite dry, with bright tropical fruity notes and a touch of funkiness from the yeast. As with the rest of these Scratch releases, this is a draught-only beer, so drop by the brewery, or check out the local haunts for your next pint.

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing is finally releasing a beer they say has been 548 days in the making (but who’s counting?). Part of their Million Acres series of barrel-aged farmhouse and sour beers, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Apple Brett Blonde Ale was brewed on December 21, 2016 and bottled some 9 months later in September of 2017. It’s been aged in those bottles for an additional 9 months, which brings us to today and its availability at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner. Blurring the line between farmhouse and orchard, expect an overall easy drinking beer, but with notes of interest from apples, Brettanomyces and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon barrel. Although quantities are definitely limited, you might consider grabbing two of these and salting one away to see what another 9 months (or even 18) might bring to it. You can also try a glass on tap at both locations while it lasts.

Unfiltered Brewing on Halifax’s North Street has released their first bottled beer in a spell, Mise en Garde. This 10.8% ABV stunner is a Barleywine fermented with both American and Belgian yeasts, before being aged on oak. Today’s release is available in 500mL bottles (perfect for adding to the cellar), as well as on tap and in growler fills, but as the name implies, proceed with caution.

Good Robot on Robie Street has a pair of new beers hitting the taps next week, hot off the heels of their Halifax Beer North and South Double IPA collaborations, and the perhaps-aptly-named Sorry from the past week. On Tuesday the 26th, they’ll be releasing their latest Beta Brew, Four Freddy Beaches. Assistant Brewer and Beta Brewster Kelly Costello grew up in Fredericton (aka Freddy Beach), and recruited three high school classmates Jenni, Leah, and Ally to brew this one. This 5.3% ABV hoppy Pale Ale has a base of 2 Row, with some Cara Aroma, Red X, and a touch of Rye malts, and hopped in the boil with Warrior and Vic Secret, and dry-hopped with Belma.

On Thursday the 28th, GRBC will be releasing their latest big batch brew, Pterodactyl Song. A 4.8%  American Wheat named in honour of comedian Maria Bamford, the malt bill consists of 2 Row and Wheat, along with Vienna, Red Wheat and a bit of Honey Malt. Hopped to 23 IBUs with Warrior and Falconer’s Flight, this beer also received a dry-hopping treatment of Belma after fermentation.

And mark your calendars for their Hair of the Dog event at the Garrison Grounds (think the edge of Bell Rd at Sackville St) June 30th and July 1st. From 11-11 each day, this dog park/beer garden combination will be full of dogs and their owners playing fetch, rolling in the grass, and sniffing each others butts (mostly the dogs, we reckon). Pints of Good Robot will be available for purchase, plus there will be plenty of dog-related vendors as well as food trucks/tables. While admission to the grounds is free, donations and pint sales proceeds will be going to support the Nova Scotia SPCA and Halifax Pop Explosion. And in case you were wondering, no dog is needed to come hang out and pet the friendly mutts.

A couple more new and re-releases to tell you about, before you hit the nearest beer garden, patio, campground, or dock this afternoon

– Spindrift continues their Seventh Wave Series with Pineapple Pear, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles this week. Lightly flavoured with pineapple and pear, the underlying beer is still the star of the show, giving a fine base for the fruit aroma and flavour. As always, these are only available at the brewery, and in short supply, so be sure to drop by today for a fill.
– North Brewing has a fresh batch of their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale available at both their Halifax and Dartmouth locations, in both cans and on tap. This 4.0% ABV beer is full of hoppy goodness, but is all flavour and aroma with very low bitterness. The oats in the grain bill help to keep the beer from being too thin, despite its dry finish. And check out the Launch Party tomorrow night at Lion & Bright in celebration of East Coast Surf School.
– PEI Brewing Company is continuing their Growlers of Summer with Hopscotch Lager today. Think New England IPA, but fermented with a lager yeast, the beer features plenty of late- and dry-hopping on a base of light malts and oats to enhance the mouthfeel. Drop by at 4PM for your fill to start your weekend.
– Tanner & Co in Chester have a brand new beer on tap at the brewery this weekend. This Double IPA is a big one at 8.9% ABV, and features loads of Citra and Simcoe in the boil, and at multiple times during the dry hopping phase, ending up at 75 IBUs. Take a trip down Angus Hiltz Road this weekend to grab a growler.