Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia

All posts tagged Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia

Okay folks, this will be your COVID-19 joke-free zone for the day, we promise not to make any below. What we will say on the subject is that some breweries are adjusting their growler policies during this time, to reduce the chance of infection of employees and patrons alike, so don’t be surprised by those when you go in looking for a fill this afternoon (some are halting completely, others will only be doing exchanges, both of which we think are smart moves). And with some members of the public going a little over the top in hoarding and needless self-isolation, this could be a trying time for your favourite brewery taproom (not to mention local bars and restaurants), so do continue to support them how/when it makes sense. Perhaps now’s the time to buy yourself or a pal a giftcard for later use? Or take advantage of those breweries that offer online shopping? Here’s what caught our eyes this week, and worth checking out!

After a quick glance through all the info we have for this week, it looks like there’s a lot of hazy-and-hoppy releases, so let’s start off with Big Spruce, because why not? They’ve just released Shrediquette, a 7.6% abv NEIPA hopped entirely with experimental hop HBC-692. There’s quite a few aroma and flavour descriptors for this variety floating around the internet (such as grapefruit, stone fruit, floral, woody, pine, and cream), but Big Spruce is describing this beer as extremely orange-y, with “a subtle, pithy bitterness lingering behind”. Guess you’ll have to taste it and make your own decisions! Look for it at the brewery, or your favourite BS tap accounts, including Auction House, Battery Park, HopYard, and Stillwell in HRM.

Continuing on with hops over in Newfoundland, where Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a Double IPA pouring, Sample Port. Hopped with extremely-high amounts of Amarillo and Chinook throughout the boil, it was dry-hopped with more of the same, plus Mosaic. Medium-bodied and dry, with a hefty bitterness thanks to hefty use of hops (think West Coast style and proud of it), this 7.8% ABV brew got its name from its popularity with the brewing staff, who enjoyed the beer so much that they continued to return to the tank’s sample port for repeated samples. Still on tap at the brewery (until staff gets off for the day!), it is also pouring at Gander Airport’s Union East & Drinks (who are doing a great job showcasing taps from a great variety of the province’s breweries), and should be making an appearance at a couple of the better beer bars in St. John’s before too long. And back after a brief hiatus, and sporting their new house English yeast strain, is ABBA (aka Alli’s Big Brown Ale), their 5.6% ABV Brown Ale. Available at the brewery as well, those of you in St. John’s may have had a chance to try it at the Guv’nor Pub this past week.

Let’s take a break from hops for a moment, but stay on the Rock, East to Quidi Vidi Brewery. Delving into darker territory this week, QV has three of them out in time for next week’s St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. Let’s start light with their Dry Irish Stout. At 4.2% ABV, this beer is brimming with character from the Midnight Wheat, Pale Chocolate and Roasted Barley, complementing the base malts with notes of roast, coffee, and chocolate, with just a touch of balancing bitterness. A medium-light body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and a light finish. At the other end of the spectrum is their Russian Imperial Stout, a 10% ABV brute of a beer featuring many of the same dark and roast malts as its little brother, but amped up. Aromatics of dark roast coffee, and sweet dates from the esters and a touch of alcohol, follow to a full, smooth, mouthfeel with more coffee and chocolate on the tongue. And finally, they’ve got the Imperial Coconut Porter, a 9.0% ABV beer with, you guessed it, toasted coconut added to the brew, in addition to cacao nibs for extra chocolatey goodness, as well as vanilla for a touch of sweetness. Chocolate and Pale Chocolate malts colour and flavour the brew, giving the very dark brown beer a lovely beige head, with notes of toast and nuttiness to complement the adjuncts. All three beers are available on draught in the taproom and in cans in the QV Hops Shop now, and keep your eyes open for them on the shelves of select NLCs in your ‘hood.

With their full Tap Takeover at Stillwell happening tomorrow, Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing more beauties than you can shake a stick at, including four new releases on the taps.

  • Eventide, that midway point between day and evening, is also the name of their latest lager, an amber-coloured 4.6% ABV Vienna Lager. With notes of bread and toast on the nose, and following through to the palate with touches of apricot, Eventide is a showcase of the malt variety from Vienna, rich in character but still manages to finish dry, without too much sweetness. Hops take a back seat in this brew, and the lager yeast keeps the beer crisp and refreshing. On draught now, and in cans very soon.
  • Debuting tomorrow is Tata’s Grisette, a 3.4% ABV “small Saison”, which was carbonated naturally in the keg (and bottles, soon). Dry-hopped with Callista, it features bright and fresh aromatics of mandarin with earthy undertones and light floral notes. This one was kept in Stainless Steel during the process, whereas…
  • Remused is a second take on their Muse Flanders Red-inspired beer released in the Fall. Another batch of the sour Red Ale spent another four months on the same cherries as the initial release. Look for bottles of Remused in the next couple of weeks.
  • And finally, it will also mark the debut of the Stilly X Tata collaboration Staffy Kveik Pale Ale, brewed late last month. Featuring the new and exclusive Samba hop (as well as Huell Melon), this juicy Pale Ale with everyone’s favourite Norwegian Farmhouse yeast, is a lesson in tropical and citrus character in a bright and fresh package. After tomorrow’s debut, look for a wider distro of this one, with a canning run happening next week as well.

And with any takeover, you know that Stillwell goes all out with the food, so look forward to fried clams, haddock tips, smoked mackerel dip, and scallop ceviche on the menu. All day.

Ok, back to hops! We’ll dial it back a bit with Roof Hound, who were looking for a beer with lots of hop presence, but less alcohol than your IPAs and DIPAs. Of course, that means Session IPA, so they created a recipe and named the beer Gimme a Hint. Brewed with both Citra and Mosaic hops, they upped the fruit character even more with an addition of fresh orange zest. But this isn’t your “typical” Session IPA… when we think of the style, something in the range of 3.5-5% ABV usually jumps out. Gimme a Hint comes it at an extremely-low 1% ABV, which we guess is why Roof Hound is actually referring to this beer as a “Micro IPA”. This beer isn’t exactly available yet, but look for it late this month directly at the source (we understand if you’re weirded out that we are giving you advance notice on a beer… we’re a little freaked about it, too).

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has their latest hoppy beer hitting the taps this week after a debut last weekend. Hop Altered is a hazy NEIPA featuring a grist of 2-row, Golden Promise and Munich malts, with flaked wheat and oats providing the requisite protein component. Plenty of Mosaic and El Dorado hops were used in the kettle, with more of the same plus some Enigma in a very healthy dry hop. The picture is completed by the use of the Foggy London yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Described as “pretty darn juicy” you can expect some tropical notes, a slight dankness and not too much bitterness on the finish of this 5.2% ABV easy drinker. Look for it first at The Joyce and Peppers Pub but we’re sure it’ll be hitting other Niche tap accounts shortly.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has been tearing it up since they opened, with the taproom full most of the time (y’all are thirsty!). Not to let any slumps sneak up on them, they’re releasing a whopping FOUR new beers this weekend! We’ve got a few light details to share with you now, just to get you in the mood to head there right after work, or maybe tomorrow:

  • Dickie Dee – they’re billing this one as an “Orange Creamsicle Dry-Hopped IPA”, so expect a hoppy, slightly sweet, very orange-flavoured beer. Smooth and creamy, and 6% ABV, it has additions of orange and lactose, and was hopped mostly with Ekuanot. Shoutout for the Eighties kids on that name!
  • Weisse Squad – a German Dunkelweizen (think dark Hefeweizen), the use of Weizen yeast for fermentation has added your typical banana and clove flavours, and the use of some specialty malt helps balance with notes of caramel and toast. Just 4% ABV, so definitely safe to have one or two before responsible activity.
  • Rainy Days – a style along the lines of “je ne sais quoi”, they’re describing this as unique, and “a London Fog recreated in a pale beer”. Lots of lactose and Earl Grey tea were added, and it comes in at 4% ABV; better try this one yourself!
  • Hip Hop – the first in a series, this beer is a double-dry-hopped, hazy New England DIPA; coming in at 8% ABV to keep you firmly in your seat, they hopped this one exclusively with Mosaic. Juicy, juicy, and more juicy, don’t pound back too many of these, despite their easy-drinking nature.

All of these will be on tap at the brewery, naturally. Also a note, Tire Shack will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day party next Tuesday; they’ll be opening early (11 am), with live music by Fundy Ceilidh from 7-9 pm and green beer (yep) pouring throughout the day.

We have the latest details on the newest Something Different entry from Annapolis Cider, which is going to be available today. Arctic Kiwi Perry is a blend of a dry Perry (made from Bosc and Bartlett pears) and juice from locally-harvested arctic kiwis. Not familiar with arctic kiwis? Neither were we, but luckily the fine folks at Annapolis Cider inform us that they are “grape-sized kiwifruit grown in northern climates”. (Wiki article) They taste similar to your typical “normal” kiwi, and in this particular beverage offer pleasant tropical notes, all in a medium-bodied, crisp package. As always, $0.50 from each refill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association.

Over on the Island, we’ve got news that the winning beer from this year’s Maritime Homebrew Challenge by Gahan/PEIBC was released this past Sunday on International Women’s Day 2020, perfect timing for winning brewer Chelsea Meisner! The beer itself is a stout with a somewhat untraditional ingredient: Sichuan peppercorns! Known for their ability to leave one’s tongue a little bit tingly (or full-on numb, depending on how much is used), they provide plenty of interest to this rich and full-bodied stout that comes in at 55 IBU and a healthy 7.5% ABV. “Tingles the tongue and warms the soul,” is printed on the can and, we suspect, very fittingly describes the experience. Our congratulations again to Chelsea on her winning beer! You can grab pints and cans of Tingles Sichuan Stout at Gahan and PEIBC, and it should also be available in both formats in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia locations as well.

North End Halifax’s Good Robot has, as always seems to be the case, a couple of things on the go this week. First up, the GR team is trying their collective hand at the hard seltzer game with an Alpha batch of one they’re calling, The Fizz. At 4.7% ABV and no IBUs to speak of, they tried to avoid the “boozy carbonated water” and challenge their brewing skills by making the lightest beer they could, cutting it with some water, and adding lemon, lime and lavender. You can try this low-calorie option at the taproom now!

And meanwhile, in BetaBrew land there’s a “baby beta” coming out this coming BetaBrewsday (Tuesday, March 17th) they’re calling Beerbliotheque. Brewed by Kelly and her longtime friend Amy Lorencz, they leaned into Amy’s librarian vocation (and calling) for this one. A big, rich stout, with notes of dried fruit, there’s also plenty of chocolate character. A bit of a big’un at 7.3% ABV and 26 IBU, it sounds perfect for curling up by the fire on one of our still chilly evenings with a lovely book. We also have a PSA for BetaBrew fans, Kelly has advised us that there will be but one remaining BetaBrew. We’ll definitely try to get the full story on that for you next week, but maybe start planning to make it out for the final edition as soon as we advise you when that will be.

Lastly, Kelly is also the guiding light behind the FemmeBrew Homebrewing Competition for Womxn, Trans, Femme, non-binary and underrepresented brewsters in Nova Scotia, and they’ll be celebrating that this coming Sunday at the taproom starting with a private event for entrants (and their +1s) starting at 4 PM. Winners will be announced after 5 PM and then the doors will open to the general public at 6 PM to celebrate the winners, the entrants, and everyone else involved.

Looks like there’s a couple of new beers pouring at Maybee in Fredericton; well, maybe 1.5 “new” beers? The first one is a lighter take on one of their flagship beers, Work Horse IPA. For those of you who have been longtime drinkers of this classic take on an American IPA (or even those of you who may have been newly introduced to it, now that it’s available in NB’s grocery stores), but would appreciate a lower ABV, they give you Work Horse Light. They say it has the same flavour and hop profile as the original, but “with a cleaner finish and less lingering bitterness”. At 5.5% ABV (and 55 IBUs), it’s a bit easier to enjoy a couple of pints. The other beer – Lakeview Amber – is a true newbie, an American Amber brewed in collaboration with Bangor, Maine’s Geaghan Bros. This isn’t the first collaboration between these two breweries, but this is the first to also include Lakeview Hops (out of Harvey, NB). This easy-drinking Amber was hopped with Magnum to 40 IBUs, giving a “short-lived bitterness” in the finish, after hits of “slight caramel on the nose, with notes of light pine and unripe pineapple”. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, this beer (and Work Horse Light) can be found on tap now at Maybee; good chance you’ll see both beers pop up at local accounts around Fredericton.

HRM’s Propeller Brewing is continuing to play with packaging cans with nitrogen. This week their stalwart Irish Red Ale became available in nitro cans. If you’re interested but not familiar with beers packaged this way, maybe have a boo at Prop’s social media for information on how to best take advantage of this novel packaging (short form: crack it and dump it into your glass with a quickness, but make sure your glass is big enough for a whole pint!). Nitrogen tends to make beers smoother and “creamier,” which should pair nicely with the malty and earthy notes of the style. Still 5% ABV and 25 IBU as always, look for it in cans and on tap at Propeller locations, and they’ve advised us that a few kegs are also available to taprooms that have nitro capability. We’d also like the opportunity to hint that we think it would be awesome if the next beer they tried this with is their classic ESB

We mentioned back at the end of February that Garrison Brewing was brewing up an all-female developed beer for International Women’s Day 2020 and then failed to remind everyone about it in our post last week (yes, we feel appropriate shame). But we’re hoping to make up for that by reminding you about it now and telling you it’s available at both Garrison taprooms (Seaport and Oxford), as well as private stores in the HRM. A Honey Wheat Ale with honey from Meander River Farm, it’s 5.2% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can safely expect an easy-drinking beer with a doughy character, some melon notes, gentle bitterness, and some honey sweetness. And remember that every can and keg sold means donations toward the Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC (which will be more than $1300 once the batch is sold), so maybe take an opportunity to stock up on a few for a good cause, share them around, and celebrate womxn in the brewing industry!

In addition to the events we already mentioned above, just one more that we found on the calendar this weekend…

Wolfville’s Church Brewing Company is taking over the taps at Halifax’s Boxcar Social Saturday evening. From 5 PM until close, they’ll be pouring their super-refreshing Congregation Pilsner, Sanctuary Enkel (think Belgian Singel), Married to the Sea German Porter, Eight Bells Belgo Pale Ale, The Luxury Belgian Dubbel, as well as the very last keg of their Best Kind Kveik Pale Ale, their collaboration with St. John’s Bannerman Brewing. And because one can never have enough variety, they’ll be rounding out the offerings with cans of Mayflower White IPA, and Til Death Do Us Tart Framboise. To amp up the fun even more, Sun Parka will be playing from 7 PM, so be sure to drop in for a pint or two and stay a spell.

And in not-great, but entirely understandable news, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has made the hard decision to cancel the March 21st Nova Scotia Craft Beer Fest. Those who had purchased tickets will receive full refunds. No change to the other events planned in April for #NSCraftBeerMonth, and we’ll have lots more info on those plans in the coming weeks.

Oh hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Already. Given that many of you folks will probably be spending time with family and friends this weekend, don’t be surprised if the staff at your favorite breweries and/or taprooms are given some time to do the same. As always, check social media before you make any special trips to get beer lest you find yourself disappointed. Provincial liquor authorities will definitely be closed on Monday, so if your plan includes one of them, plan to stock up by Sunday afternoon. We should also mention that with two of our three authors away on vacation for the next two weeks (and the third consumed by seething resentment at the other two), chances are extremely high that we won’t be posting much, if at all, on the next two Fridays; these posts are definitely not a one person job! Breweries who have big news that they really really want to share are welcome to contact us and we’ll do our best to provide a bump via social media. Cheers!

This weekend is the 2nd Anniversary for Tanner & Co. Brewing (2 years already, when the hell did that happen?), and that pretty much means in this industry that you’ve got to release a special beer for the occasion! Enter Reserve Sauvage, a special version of their Sauvage, a “Nova Scotian Ale” that is most-closely aligned with a Saison. Brewed with local malts from Horton Ridge (Pale, Vienna, and Wheat), and fermented with NS yeast from Big Spruce in Chardonnay barrels, where it was aged for about three weeks. The beer is giving notes of “pineapple, banana, buttery Chardonnay, and a bit of spice and straw in the finish”. It’ll be available this weekend at the brewery on tap (as well as at Battery Park with some other Tanner goodies), with bottles following sometime next week. And keep an eye on their social media for big announcements coming soon regarding their town of Chester Tasting Room!

Two new beers comin’ ‘atcha from TrailWay this week, one of which is a play on their house Pilsner, Yada Yada. This new iteration, named Yoo Hoo (Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm reference? And, go!) features a dry-hop addition of European Mittelfruh, giving the 5% ABV Lager an aroma of “subtle floral, herbs, and delicate spices”, according to the brewery. Their next beer is yet another iteration, being the next entry in their rotating Kveik IPA, Oculus. This time around they decided to employ Citra, Cashmere, and Idaho 7 hops, lending lots of tropical fruit and citrus character (which is upped even more thanks to the warm fermentation with Kveik yeast). This one comes in at 6% ABV; cans/pints/growlers of both beers will be available at the brewery as of today, and look for cans of Yoo Hoo to start appearing at various ANBL locations.

If you’re in the mood for something fruity, jammy, and sour this weekend, 2 Crows has got the cure for what ails ya. Paradise is their latest foedre-aged sour, brewed with Barley, Wheat, Spelt, and a touch of Rye malt. Lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvin (to just 6 IBUs) and some aged noble hop varieties, the wort was fermented and soured in one of their foedres with a blend of their house cultures. After conditioning for several months, they added a whole whack of raspberries (560 lbs), and a lesser amount of passionfruit (210 lbs, keeping in mind that a little passionfruit can go a long way). Once the secondary fermentation (thanks to all the sugar from the fruit) was complete, they packaged the beer in 355 mL cans, where it was allowed to carbonate naturally over two months. Tasting “super jammy, lush, bright, and lovely”, it has a strong tartness, a touch of funk, and a bit of mineral character. The raspberry comes through in the extreme, with the passionfruit backing it up. Super drinkable at just 4.7% ABV, you can drop by the brewery this weekend to pick up some cans; it’s also available on tap, and will likely be popping up at a few better beer establishments in the HRM.

In Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing is releasing a new IPA this week that reaches back a little bit to a time before IPAs were hazy and juicy. Described as more of a “West Coast” IPA, North Park features a classic American hop profile, with citrusy notes of grapefruit and orange meeting a bit of dankness thanks to the liberal use of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The ABV is up a little (6% ABV) and bitterness is moderate (45 IBU), and specialty malts bring the maltier character that one would expect from a beer in this style. Find it soon, if not already, at  The Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, CAVOK Brewing Co., Tide and Boar Gastropub, Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub, Peppers Pub, and at Stillwell in Halifax.

Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing is switching from a Continental-heavy first half of October (with their German-inspired Lagerhosen and Daybreak Kellerbier released over the past two weeks) to an English release this week. English Dark Mild features the use of complex malts in the brew for a wide variety of toast and biscuit character, complemented with yeast-derived esters reminiscent of jam and currants. Light residual sweetness keeps this 3.6% ABV from being too thin, and is the perfect accompaniment to a quiet evening by the fire in a cozy pub. Look for it on tap at Tata now, and around the province this weekend.

Propeller is once again getting a little funky with it, with the release today of their newest beer, Harvest Brett Saison. This 6% ABV mixed fermentation brew – featuring a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeast strains – is described by the brewery as having “complex spice, dried red fruit and citrus flavours, balanced by subtle earthy and funky Brett characteristics”. It finishes very dry, as any good Saison should, with a slight tartness. This is one of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, meaning you can find it at both Prop shops for growlers, pints, and flights (no bottles/cans, sorry). And P.S., tonight’s Friday cask is ESB w/ Coffee, tapped at 5 PM to kick off your weekend with a jolt!.

Two new beers from Yankee Line Road just outside of Nyanza to tell you about this week. Big Spruce has a hop farm onsite, and are releasing their ode to the hops harvest, and hops harvester, this week. Passion of the Chris is named in celebration of landscaper and hopyard guy Chris, who spends many an hour trimming, weeding, training, and overall caring for the plants during the growing season. The hops using in PotC were picked and then promptly added to the boil, with nary a minute to allow for any of that fresh hop goodness to escape. The resulting 7.9% ABV Harvest IPA features a wide blend of hop varietals used, and the aroma and flavour reflects that, with orange and lemon zest, floral notes, fresh pine, and cut grass. The beer is full bodied and light in bitterness, remaining well balanced. This beer is only available at this time of year, so be sure to grab a growler or pint wherever you run across it!

Big Spruce is also debuting a second beer this week, decidedly on the lighter side of things. Festival Club is a 4.2% ABV Session Ale, light-bodied, displaying a touch of haze, and finishing dry. Wild flowers and grass dance on the nose and palate, finishing in a crisp fashion, encouraging a second sip (or pint!). Festival Club is on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers, as well as in cans, perfect for grabbing for a hike or taking you to your next kitchen party.

And for those homebrewers interested in this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge that we told you all about last week, the Voss Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs that’s being used exclusively for the competition beers this year has landed at both the brewery and Everwood Ave Brewshop in Lower Sackville (registration fees must be paid in order to get yeast). If you can’t make it to one of these locations to pick it up, go ahead and contact the brewery and they’ll help you figure something out.

One of Newfoundland’s newest breweries, Bannerman Brewing on Duckworth Street in the city of St. John’s, has a new beer pouring, their first in the Porter style. Late Shift is a 6.0% dark ale featuring a blend of caramel and roasted malts for sweetness and a bit of roasty bite along with plenty of flaked and malted oats that no doubt lend a soft mouthfeel and smooth body. Described as “thick and creamy with notes of coffee and chocolate,” you should be able to find it on tap at the brewery. And stay tuned for news of another beer in the works, as Mike “Hogie” Hogan, of Upstreet Brewing fame, was spotted at the brewery this week wearing his brewing overalls (although to be honest we’re not sure he doesn’t wear those everywhere…). We’ll be sure to tell you all about that one as soon as we know more!

One of St. John’s most-regarded seafood restaurants,  The Adelaide Oyster House, is celebrating their 5th Anniversary this month, and have teamed up with Port Rexton Brewing (a brewery that the restaurant has supported since their early days) to concoct up a birthday beer, Mango Guava Sour. The beer, a 5% ABV  kettle sour, features additions of mango and pink guava puree, giving a mixture of fruit punch and “sour cocktail” notes. It’s available now, exclusively at the brewery’s taproom in Port Rexton, and at TAOH, naturally. And great news for those patiently awaiting their return: cans are now available for sale at the brewery and the St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road, so be sure to grab some before you head to your turkey dinner Sunday (or Monday!). And big congratulations to PRBC team members Terra and Nicole, who were awarded scholarships for the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone®︎, as awarded by the Canadian Brewing Awards. Only a handful of folks across the country were selected, clearly there’s something special in the water in Port Rexton!

Sticking within the Rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing has completed a collaboration brew of their own. They recently teamed up with Ontario’s Muskoka Brewery to brew Chocolate Orange Kveik, which… kinda tells you a lot from the name. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole lot of details for this one, but we can tell you that it’s a hazy beer was fermented with a Kveik yeast strain, and weighs in at a pretty-hefty 8% ABV. Exhibiting “roasted notes of chocolate swirled with zesty orange”, it definitely sounds to be on the interesting side! Best way to get it is probably dropping by this weekend at QV.

And switching to NL cider from NL beer, Newfoundland Cider Company up in Clarenville, NL, is releasing four, count’em FOUR, new small batches of cider this weekend that would seem to suggest they’ve got a real appreciation for seasonal flavors and some serious foraging skills (or know someone who does). The ciders in question are: Strawberry + Chuckley Pear, Gooseberry, Pin Cherry, and Chuckley Pear. What’s a Chuckley Pear? We don’t know either, but Wikipedia says it’s a family of shrubs and small trees in the rose family that’s also known by many other names, including Saskatoon Berry. All feature the same base cider, and then the berry additions, a perfect way to see the expression those offer. If you’re in the area and like cider, this sounds like quite a lineup to try (and note that they also have their Honey Cyser, Old Tilt and Hopped Cider available to go). Also, this weekend will be your last chance to enjoy their taproom before they close for the season; they’re open Saturday from 2 – 7 PM, with five different ciders pouring. But don’t worry, their retail shop will still be open Mon-Sat, 11 – 4:30 PM, all winter, with a rotating selection of 8 on the go right now.

Though at this point it’s probably more pertinent to breweries than to the region’s beer drinkers, the registration process for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards is now in full swing. Breweries are welcome to submit pretty much as many beers as they like (the official scale goes from 1 to Big Spruce), although they must limit themselves to a single beer in each official sub-category. Registrations will be accepted until October 25th at which point the door will be closed and let the best beers win! Judging will take place on November 2nd and 3rd, with the gala awards ceremony happening at HopYard Halifax mid-November. As always, we’ll do our level best to get the results to you as soon as possible after they’re announced. If you’re a brewery from Atlantic Canada and you’re interested in entering, check out that first link, or shoot an email to suzanne@withzest.ca

Some beery things happening this weekend and beyond:

Halifax’s Stillwell never ceases to disappoint with their seemingly-endless number of brewery tap takeovers, ranging from local breweries to those that are decidedly *not* local! And starting tomorrow, October 12th at noon, they’ll be featuring one of Maine’s finest craft breweries, Oxbow Brewing, from Newcastle (although it should be noted they also now have locations elsewhere in the state, in Portland and Oxford). For those of you lucky enough to be able to drop in tomorrow, you can expect six taps and ten different beers in bottles, several of which are debuting at Stillwell! While not a complete takeover, exactly, we’re fine with it! Don’t miss out, Oxbow has been brewing some delightful Farmhouse Ales since they opened years ago, and this is a great excuse to give a bunch of them a try! 

The original Hopyard – that’s the Charlottetown, PEI location, for those of you not in the know – has always done an excellent job of not only serving up the best beers on the Island, but also bringing in excellent beers from NB and NS that are otherwise not readily-available to Islanders. Next Friday, October 18th, they’re going even further in Atlantic Canada with their first ever Newfoundland Tap Takeover. Nine taps will be dedicated to Port Rexton (4 beers), Quidi Vidi (3) and Landwash (2) when they open at 11 am. In addition to these fine beers, there will be a special Newfoundland food-themed menu from Chef Jane Crawford, as well as live music in the evening. And mainlander beer fans, fear not! The Halifax location will be hosting their own Newfoundland Tap Takeover on November 2nd, with the same great variety of breweries being represented.

It’s that time of year again soon, when many of Nova Scotia’s breweries throw open their doors and let in massive crowds of adoring fans. Ok, maybe there was a little embellishment there, but next Saturday, October 19th is NS Open Brewery Day! Hosted by the Craft Brewers Association of NS, all breweries affiliated with the organization have planned or are planning events to occur throughout the day, ranging from brewery tours to free samples, special beer releases to small batch brews for you to take part in, live music to food trucks, etc etc etc. We could list everything that is going on, or you could just check out the event link above! We’re going to go with the latter, as we’re already running late here.

And just a couple little newsbites before the long weekend begins!

As we mentioned last week, Good Robot has two new beers on the go this week, the latest in their Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs, and number VII for those keeping track, subtitled, The Storm Beer (5.3% ABV, 50 IBU). Also out is their Scottish Ale brewed with some appropriately Scottish friends, Go Kart Jackass (4.8% ABV, 19 IBU). Check them out at the GR taproom.

Your intrepid beer-swilling pals at the 902BrewCast have released their October Tasting Episode this week, with lots of chat between the guys about beer-related topics like rolling cans, dregs, and their long-promised packaging torture test, as well as some not-exactly beer-related topics including politics. But don’t let that scare you away, check it out at their site or your favorite podcast provider.

Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.

• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!

• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!

• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.

• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).

• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.

• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.

• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.

• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.

• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.

• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.

• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.

• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.

• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.

• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.

• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar.  $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.

What’s on the go this weekend?

Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.

• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.

• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!

Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.

A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!