Darlings Island Farm

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Happy long weekend! Whether you have your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday or Monday, early afternoon or evening, deep fry your turkey or roast it, we can’t think of a better way to lead into it than beer! We’re not saying one absolutely needs a beer or three before sitting down with multiple family members to stuff yourselves full off tryptophan-laden food… but it certainly helps (especially if the conversation veers towards politics… Canadian OR American). Our usual reminder about holiday weekends bears repeating: check your favorite brewery’s hours before planning your supply run, especially on Sunday and Monday; brewers have families too!! With that being said, read on for the latest goings-on in the Atlantic Canadian beer world… and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Nackawic, New Brunswick’s Big Axe will soon be celebrating the official opening of their brand new taproom, with a party scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Along with live music, free tours, and food trucks, they’ll also be launching a new beer for the event, Hops and Sickle Pale Ale. Brewed with Pale and Honey malts, fermented with an American Ale strain, and hopped with a blend from Darlings Island Farm – which appears to mainly feature Dr. Rudi – the final beer has aromas of pine, citrus, stone fruit, and spice. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available at Big Axe during their celebrations (along with several other of their beers), and throughout the following days, while supplies last.

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing in Hanwell (pronounced “Fredericton” by most people), NB, just can’t help themselves. They’ve got yet another new beer for us this week to whet our appetites for their tap takeover at Stillwell next weekend. Listed as a Brett IPA, this one is likely to be quite a bit different from the last, as it uses a Brettanomyces strain from the Yeast Bay hitherto unknown to Niche (and possible the rest of Atlantic Canada). Purported to bring a character that is “reminiscent of Sweet Tarts” candy, that’s pretty much exactly what it did, providing a slightly tart finish and a fruity palate with plenty of funk on the nose. Because this is Niche, and because it’s an IPA, there were also a lot of hops involved, including Azacca and Galaxy, which amped up the fruity character even more. Dubbed Space Oddity, it’s 5.6% ABV and hazy as hell; you can find it soon at The Joyce and the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton, and Peppers Pub, Lock Stock & Barrels, and the Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, and it might (possibly, potentially, maybe) be available at the Stillwell next weekend as well (see below).

There’s a refreshing, salty new beer pouring at the Port Rexton taproom right now… and if you guessed Gose, you’d be exactly right! Drifter is the brewery’s 4.1% ABV take on the sour, German Wheat beer, with salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company added in the boil. As is usual for the style, coriander was also added, with the final beer exhibiting the perfect balance between sour and spice; don’t let anyone tell you Gose is just a summer beer, as these low-alcohol, refreshing brews are perfect throughout the entire year! Best to drop by Port Rexton ASAP to give it a try, as there is a limited amount of kegs available – half of the batch was transferred to a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, along with a pitch of Brett D (we’re looking forward to hearing how that turns out!).

North Brewing is hoping that you like beers that are hard to pronounce, maybe, ‘cause they’re releasing Des Pêches Rooib today. Don’t let the name intimidate you, as it sounds plenty tasty! The base beer was aged for 7 months in one of the brewery’s neutral oak barrels at Battery Park, where it was conditioned on Peach Rooibos tea from the World Tea House. After bottling, the 5.4% ABV beer was allowed to condition further for another 5 months, and now it’s finally available for sale! Peachy, effervescent, and with a light amount of oak character, there’s about 700 bottles available at both North bottle shops; maybe grab a couple for Thanksgiving dinner?

We’re used to seeing a variety of wet-hopped beers this time of year, but how often do you see a wet-hopped Belgian Pale Ale? That’s what Tatamagouche Brewing has done with Hopback Hustle (4.4% ABV), their latest beer that is currently on tap at the brewery. Featuring Cascade and Crystal hops grown at the brewery’s farm in Malagash, both varieties were added at several stages of the brew – in the mash, the kettle, and hop back (twice!). Fermented with a dry, Belgian ale yeast, the beer has a nice balance of light, spicy yeast character, combined with “bright, floral, earthy aromas” from the hop additions. A few kegs will likely be popping up in the HRM, but the majority of it will be found at Tatabrew for pints and growlers. And while we have you here, now’s a good time to mention that Blue Bales, Tata’s wheat beer conditioned on 350 lbs of organic blueberries, is back on tap and in cans, and Deadeye DIPA, their Imperial IPA hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc (and a little bit of Nelson Sauvin in the dry hop) will return this weekend, also in cans and on tap.

We mentioned last week that Garrison is finishing up their annual Oktoberfest this weekend, with Das Big Party happening on Saturday, October 6th. We can now confirm that they’ll also be releasing a new beer for the event, a Marzen named Gettin’ Ziggy. This 6% ABV German Lager was brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt, and hopped with Hallertau to 21 IBUs. Malty and clean, you know the drill with this style of beer… it’s meant to go down easy, and go down often, preferably in large quantities, with lots of people around and live music playing. Hey, sounds like it fits the party where it’s debuting! Meanwhile, the gang at Garrison happened upon an unexpected discovery in their cellars this week: a trove of Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Autumns past. A scant 32 of the 2016 and 35 of the 2017 vintages will be available on Saturday at the brewery, so if a strong pumpkin ale with a little age on it is your thing, you’d best get there early.

Let’s move over to Dartmouth, where New Scotland Brewing has two new beverages out for our enjoyment, a beer, and a cider. We’ll start with the cider, so we don’t make ourselves look TOO biased. Blueberry Apple Cider doesn’t have an “official” name yet, but we’re ok with that, because it kinda speaks for itself right now, no? Made using apples from Stirling Fruit Farms, and blueberries and honey from Glenmore Farms, it was fermented with the naturally-occurring yeast on the apples, before the addition of commercial yeast to take it the rest of the way. Unfiltered, this dry, English-style cider has a dry, tannic, wine-like flavour, and weighs in at 6.2% ABV.

New Scotland’s beer is Heads Will Roll, a Red IPA. Brewed with a grist made up mainly of Maris Otter, and a touch of Pale Chocolate malt, it was late-hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria, to provide plenty of fruity and citrusy character to the beer. This fruitiness was bumped up even further by fermenting the beer with Vermont ale yeast, which brought the beer to 6.5% ABV. At just 35 IBUs, the finishing bitterness should be in the moderate range.

Halifax’s Chain Yard has us moving right back into cider territory with their habanero-infused Hot Mess. Looks like this one is actually a blend of several other Chain Yard ciders, including Foundation, Intrepid, Highway Strobbery, and Drunken Cherry. The final blend was then dry-hopped with Cascade, and steeped with habaneros. Those of you with any type of hot pepper experience will know that habaneros are right up there with some of the hottest peppers readily-available; luckily, the final product isn’t too crazy, with Chain Yard describing it as a “subtle but intensifying heat”. Sound doable? Maybe have some bread nearby, just in case! It’s 7.5% ABV and currently on tap at their taproom.

Way down near the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is Tusket Falls Brewing, and they’ve got a new beer to tell you about this week. Called District 34 after the local lobster fishing grounds (Lobster Fishing Area 34 – Southwest NS), the timing for it is just right, as the fisherman are just getting ready for this year’s season. An American Porter, the grist was composed of pale and caramel malts along with roasted barley and oats. Bittered with American hop varieties, it features toffee aromas and roasted coffee flavors while maintaining a full body and a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, this 7% ABV beer is dark brown with a coffee-colored head, and though it’s available at the brewery now in cans and at select tap accounts in NS, it will also be part of the Maritime Beer Box that will be found at Harvest, Rockhead and WestSide in Halifax later this fall (and, perhaps, also as a single). And if you’re interested in learning more about Tusket Falls Brewing, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein your intrepid podcasters embark upon a jaunt down to the brewery and discover it to be a most welcoming place.

So dedicated to keeping us informed is Kelly of Halifax’s Good Robot that she was even kind enough this week to let us know that nothing’s going on! Fear not, gentle soul, we’re sure there is plenty of the usual work-a-day mirth to be had at the taproom, but we are honor bound to advise that there will be no BetaBrewsday release this coming Tuesday, owing to GR being closed for a staff day. Later in the week will also see the return, after a brief hiatus, of Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale which is once again being lovingly packaged in cans. And we think we caught an Instagram photo of Kelly brewing a beer with Emily Tipton a few blocks away at Boxing Rock’s experimental small-batch brewery at Local Source. We’re sure there’s a story (and a beer!) behind that photo and we hope to have it for you in the coming weeks.

Quick! Beer nerds! Off the top of your head do you know what a bière de coupage is? We didn’t either, but it turns out it’s the result of the time-honored technique of blending some old (“mature”) beer into quite a bit more young beer. Practiced quite extensively in Europe, where Flanders Reds and lambic and even farmhouses are often produced using this technique, it was also common in the UK in times past for porters and stouts (and, depending on who you believe, a form of it is still used to produce Guinness). Why are we telling you this? Because of course a local brewery is releasing a beer that leverages this technique, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Stillwell Brewing. Make 1, 2 started with a batch of fermenting Easy, which comprised 3/4 of the volume, to which a barrel of very old sour beer was added. The coup de grace on this bière de coupage was a dry hop with a floral and spicy variety just prior to bottling. You’ll find the resulting concoction on sale this weekend at the usual spot on Gottingen Street behind Propeller Brewing.

If you happen to be in the Ashdale area of Nova Scotia this long weekend, why not drop by Meander River, where they’ve released a new, small batch cider, Blueberry. This dry cider was blended with local, fresh blueberries, giving it a purple colour and “fleshy, ripe blueberry flavour with a crisp apple finish”. Sounds like a good pairing with a certain annual dinner involving turkey, no? It’s available right now in 500 mL bottles, but in a very limited quantity and only direct from the source.

The email came in just in the nick of time, allowing us to give you all the info on the latest Something Different release from Annapolis Cider Co. Spiced Plum is a 6.3% ABV sparkling cider made up of a blend of cider (from Northern Spy and Paula Red apples) and perry (from Flemish Beauty pears). This blend was then cold-steeped with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, sliced fresh ginger, whole nutmeg and allspice (do some of these spices make you think of your favourite pie?). Finally, fresh juice from locally-grown golden Shiro plums was added for balance, and to give a hint of tartness. Sounds like a fantastic cider for Thanksgiving! As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 of every fill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s Nourishing Community Food Bucks Program.

There are a few events coming up that we think you might be interested in hearing (more) about:

We mentioned the Niche Brewing takeover at Stillwell above and we’re happy to report that we’ve now got a list of what we’re likely to see next Saturday on October 13 from 4 PM (note the later opening than usual for Stillwell on a Saturday). If you weren’t already excited about the event, this should get you over the hump, and if it doesn’t, we’re not entirely sure why you’re reading this. Here’s the twelve taps that are expected to open the afternoon:

  1. Tafelbier – Mixed-fermentation Table Beer, 3.6%
  2. Lucid Dreams – Mixed-ferm Saison w/ pineapple, pink guava, and apricot, 6.3%*
  3. Cilantro Lime Gose, 4.2%*
  4. Boysenberry Persuasion – Kettle sour w/ boysenberry puree, 4.2%
  5. Ruby Tuesday – Kettle sour w/ hibiscus, 4.4%
  6. Hold Fast – Dry-hopped Sour (El Dorado & Citra), 4.2%*
  7. Evolution – Barrel-aged Saison, 6.3%*
  8. Space Oddity – Brett IPA hopped w/ Azacca & Galaxy, 5.6%
  9. Mahalo – Pineapple Milkshake IPA, 6.4%
  10. Day Tripper – Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
  11. Receding Darkness – Dark Brett beer, 6.4%
  12. Wake-up Call – Sweet Stout w/ barrel-aged coffee and vanilla bean, 5%*

Note that the beers marked with an asterisk (*) are special editions brewed specifically for this event and the Mahalo is a brand new beer. This will also be the first (and only) appearance of Evolution before the rest of the batch is eventually bottled. But WAIT, there’s MORE!! We’ve also got a list of the beers lined up as replacements when (not if) the above kegs kick:

  1. Single Origin – Coffee Sweet Stout, 5%
  2. Constellation – Dark, sour Saison w/ black currant, 4.7%
  3. Ethos – Mixed-ferm saison, 6.3%
  4. Island in the Sun, Grisette w/ Galaxy hops, 3.6%
  5. Moderation – Passion Fruit Milkshake IPA w/ Enigma & Mosaic, 5.5%*

We suggest gameplanning for this one, folks, as we think you’re going to want to try all of these. And meanwhile, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be putting out some special treats from the kitchen with a bit of an Asian flare, including a Tandoori Chicken Wrap (mint raita, smashed cucumbers, iceberg lettuce), Tuna Crudo (blackberry-jalepeno conserva, smoky puffed rice, raddichio), General Tso’s Eggplant (Vegetarian, possibly Vegan, with kimchi fried rice and shoots), and Gulab Jamun with green and black cardamom syrups for dessert. Also, a reminder that Shawn and Rob of Niche will be on hand to answer all of your questions about their brewery and their beers and to wax poetic on the subtle minutiae of mixed fermentations. Or maybe they’ll just get loaded and tell naughty jokes. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining!!

Windsor, NS, will be the site of the 20th annual Pumpkin Regatta a week from Sunday, on October 14. And for the 2nd year in a row, Schoolhouse Brewing will be hosting a Pumpkin Regatta Beer Garden. Take advantage of a vantage point along the waterfront where you’ll be able to relax in dry comfort with a beer in your hand as the regatta entrants navigate across Lake Pesaquid in their hollowed out gourds. Toast them in style with a pint of Schoolhouse’s gourdian Pumpkin Paddler, or one of their many other offerings. The taproom will open at 11 AM and the beer garden will be in full effect from 12 – 8 PM, with live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s no cover and there will be food specials on the menu. Look for more info on the regatta and other events in town this weekend at the Windsor Pumpkin Festival Website.

There seems to be quite a few multi-brewery tap takeovers going on in the region these days, doesn’t there? We can’t help but think that this is an excellent way for folks to get a taste of the wares from a couple of different breweries, while still being able to try a nice variety from each and maybe see a little bit of friendly competition. Coming up October 18 – 21, Halifax’s Garrison and Dartmouth’s Nine Locks will be taking over all 16 taps at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth for the weekend in another Double Header Tap Takeover. Starting with Thursday for wing night, leading into their usual TGIF Friday night with folks from Nine Locks in the house, Saturday afternoon Ceilidh and Saturday night Kitchen Party when personnel from Garrison will be on hand, and who knows who might show up for Sunday’s finish when the winner is revealed?

And lastly, a few quick mentions of a various and sundry nature:

– Looks like Breton Brewing has again brewed one of their popular summer beverages, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Look for this 4% ABV, pinkish-red kettle sour to be available in the not-too-distant future.

Lunn’s Mill wants to let you know that they’ve restocked their shelves with cans of Lager Driver and Anvil Porter; in addition to being available for purchase at their taproom, some of these cans will also be available at the private liquor stores in the HRM sometime next week.

– Two returning beers this week from our friends at Propeller Brewing: Nocturne Black IPA, a 6.7% brew dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight (on tap and in cans); and Tropical IPA, a 6.2% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy to boost the tropical fruit aromas (growlers and pints at the tasting room, only).

– In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is releasing the third iteration of Starblast, their “American Fruited Ale”, today at the brewery. This batch was conditioned on over 300 lbs of strawberry and kiwi purée, and was lightly hopped with El Dorado. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans.

Happy Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! The 41 Bluenoser breweries part of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia are putting their best beers forward, and hosting a slew of events and launching a ton of new beers over the next 10 days. For those of you in the province, or coming for a visit, check out the Calendar and Map we put together, and read below for a small tease of what all you’ll be enjoying.

• Looks like our friends at Propeller are dropping a new beer for the masses today. Common is, as you may expect, their take on the California Common, a lager/ale hybrid that is typically fermented somewhere between warm and cool with a unique yeast strain. Hopped with Northern Brewer, a “woodsy” hop variety quite typical for this beer style, the beer was designed to be approachable for seasoned beer geeks and novices alike. Described by the brewery as having “subtle herbal notes, along with roasted and caramel malt characters and a crisp, refreshing finish”, this isn’t just a one-off, as the beer will be available year-round in six packs of 355 mL cans. You’ll be able to find it starting today at the brewery retail stores, private stores, and the NSLC. In addition, at tonight’s Cask Night, an iteration of Common dry-hopped with even more Northern Brewer will be pouring. Naturally, you’ll be able to find it at various Propeller tap accounts across the city as well. And finally, for those of you who are fans of the brewery’s Organic Blonde Ale and Honey Wheat, we have some sad news – both brands are being dropped from the Propeller line-up. Best stock up if you can get your hands on any that happen to be left!

• Coupla new, small to smaller releases coming out of 2 Crows tomorrow, which simply means you’re going to have to get down there quicker than normal to give them both a try! First off is Field Hand, a Wild Ale brewed in collaboration with PEI’s Shoreline Malting. Brewed with Shoreline’s Pale malt, as well as a touch of raw wheat, it was lightly hopped at flameout with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc, to the tune of 12 IBUs. Head Brewer Jeremy Taylor fermented the beer with yeast harvested from a bottle of Forward, a Saison from British Columbia’s Coalesce Brewing. Dry-hopped afterwards with more Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc, the beer is “super light, delicate, and easy-drinking; pithy grapefruit, earthy and bright, with the malt performing beautifully”. There are only 600 cans of this beauty available, and they’ll go on sale at the taproom tomorrow; expect to see a few keg-conditioned kegs at your favourite beer-centric spot in the HRM as well. And we hope to share more information about Shoreline Malting in the next couple of weeks.

• These beers sound so delightful, we just have to split them up with a paragraph break. Next up is the smaller batch, brewed on 2C’s pilot system by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop and a special guest. A close friend of the brewery staff recently found out that his son, Jude, was diagnosed with cancer. In support, an auction in the community was held to raise money for the family, with 2C donating some merch and a brew day at the brewery. Jude’s grandfather Gord was the highest bidder, and joined Miles to help develop the recipe and brew Little Hero. Described as a kinda-mixture of Pollyanna and Bonanza! (Gord’s two favourite 2C beers), this NEIPA was brewed with Pale malt, Wheat, Malted Oats, and a little bit of Crystal 15 L. Hopped in the boil with Columbus, Galaxy, Centennial, and Simcoe, it was fermented with white wine yeast, and finished off with Sacch Trois. Coming in at 6% ABV and 58 IBUs, the beer turned out “mega juicy, with notes of peach, pineapple, passion fruit, and stone fruit; slightly sweet, and a touch funky”. Little Hero will be launched tomorrow, by-the-glass only, in the taproom. And if you don’t make it to 2C for a pint, those of us outside NS will be shaking our collective fists in your general direction.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a stacked social calendar for NSCBW and they’ve also got some fresh beers hitting the taps at the same time, starting tomorrow with a beer they brewed with longtime metro sugar bears Freak Lunchbox for their Freak Lunchbot event. Look for the brand new I Fink You Freaky Sour Cherry to be pouring along with a variety of candies designed to pair with other brews from the Good Robot stable and a bunch of other candy you’re welcome to try to pair on your own! Next up, on Tuesday, May 1st, GRBC fan Mallory signed up for the Beta Brew program looking to do up a hoppy hefeweizen, and sure enough, a Hopfenweizen was produced! With an ABV of 4.8% and an IBU level in the 45 – 48 range, this beer was based on a pretty traditional hefe grist of wheat, Pilsner and Vienna along with a classic yeast. The hops, on the other hand, took a left (right?) turn, heading south of the equator for fruity tropical goodness from Australian varieties Galaxy, Ella, and Vic Secret. Look for a soft mouthfeel and almost creamy presence to meet a big hop character as you marvel over the brilliance of the beer’s name: Weiß Grips. And on Thursday, May 3, comes yet another new brew out of the GR brewhouse, cutting straight to the heart of the summer with an unapologetic lawnmower beer they’re calling, aptly, Light Beer. At 4.6% ABV and a practically gentle 15 – 18 IBU, this beer is designed for refreshment and relaxation. Toast the season to come by closing your eyes and picturing that warm summer breeze and that hammock you’re swaying in after a long hot day in the yard.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a brand new beer flowing at their taproom on King Street these days, a beer that owners Adam and Devin swore they would never brew: a lager. The aptly-named Hypocrite Lager weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and though is fairly pale and light in colour, there is plenty of Firkin Flavour and character to the beer. Currently only available on-site, grab a sample or pint, plus a growler to enjoy at home.

Boxing Rock and Trider’s Craft Beer recently teamed up for their first collaboration, Headstrong. Described as a “Nova Scotian Ale”, the grist was made up simply of Pale malts, with a blend of Noble and Canadian-grown hops used in the boil. Fermented cool with that now-kinda-famous wild yeast isolated from a Cape Breton pin cherry (courtesy of Big Spruce and Escarpment Labs), it was brewed to “embody the spirit of Nova Scotian camaraderie”, and is described as “bright, crisp, clean and dry”. It weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, you can find it in the typical-for-Boxing Rock 650 mL bottles at their retail store, Seaport and Alderney Farmers Markets, and Harvest Wines locations in the HRM.

• Were you a fan of Cloud Shadow, the Hopfenweisse released by Tidehouse back in November? Well, good news, everyone! The 4.6% ABV brew is making a return today at the taproom, and it’s better than ever… well, according to them, anyway! Still featuring a 50/50 grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, it was fermented with a blend of Hefeweizen and American yeast strains. This time around, however, they increased the Ahtanum and Mandarina Bavaria hop amounts, allowing even more juicy, citrusy, spicy character to come through. In addition to kegs, some of the batch was packaged in 640 mL bottles (for sale at the taproom only); this portion was also dry-hopped with Amarillo. Drop by today for a growler and some bottles, for an in-depth comparison.

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is continuing their Seventh Wave Series with a tidal wave of two new releases this week. Red Sky At Night is another in their foray to Ales, namely an Irish Red. Featuring a full body and clean finish, specialty malts in the form of Double Roasted Crystal from Simpsons and Chocolate Rye Malt (paging TonyW) lend some toasty/sweet notes to the beer. This beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV and a light 21 IBU. Also pouring this week is Piece of Gear, a 5.1% ABV Blonde Ale. Featuring Lemondrop hops (18 IBUs), it’s a crisp and refreshing beer with a nice citrus kick. As with all of their Seventh Waves, these are only available for growler fills at the brewery, so drop by today before they sell out.

• Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing has brought back their seasonal The Acadian Cross, but made some major changes to the recipe. This Extra Pale Ale weighs in at 5.5% ABV, built from 100% Floor-Malted Maris Otter malt, and hopped in the kettle with Idaho 7. After fermentation, they hopped it further, but with Ahhhroma Hopzoil, a purified hop oil from Montana, made from freshly-harvested cones, for intense aroma and flavour with no bitterness. The Ahhhroma hop is described as having an aroma of Pina Colada, which blends with the Idaho 7 character for a citrus and tropical beer.

• Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has dropped a new beer this week, Jonny-A-Go-Go. Featuring a Wheat Ale base, the addition of mango to the beer brings it up a few tropical notches to be a perfect summer sipper (the 4.5% ABV doesn’t hurt either!). As always, the best place to grab your Off Track fix is at the brewery on Rocky Lake Drive.

• Switching gears away from Nova Scotia, Saint John’s Big Tide has a brand new beer on tap, their first non-collaborative kettle sour, and very positive customer feedback has already ensured it won’t be their last! OH Blackberry Sour was brewed with 2-row, Pale malt, Wheat malt, and a little Carared, and hopped in the boil with Crystal from Darlings Island Farm to just 15 IBUs. When primary fermentation began to slow down, blackberry purée from Oregon Fruit was added to give the beer a light purple hue, and notes of blackberry that pair nicely with the pine, citrus, and spicy elements from the hops, according to the brewery. Easy-drinking at just 4.5% ABV, you can grab some at the brewpub right now (pints and growlers), but it likely won’t last long! Also, a big congrats to Big Tide for winning Gold in the People’s Choice at the Saint John Beer Fest earlier this month, with their Tool Shed Root Porter (also still on tap at the moment).

• And speaking of kettle sours from New Brunswick, Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has one to share as well. Also featuring a fruit addition from Oregon Fruit, Pineapple Persuasion started with lactose powder added in the boil, providing a base sweetness to the wort. It was then fermented with the familiar Amalgamation Brettanomyces blend that has graced several of the brewery’s offerings so far and which is sure to have imparted some tartness and a bit of funk. Once the beer was cooled, Madagascar vanilla bean and pineapple puree were added, yielding an easy-drinking brew that features subtle hints of vanilla and lots of pineapple character in a 4.7% ABV package. Look for it on tap at accounts in Fredericton and Saint John, and maybe, just maybe, showing up in Halifax at some point in the next month or so…

• We told you about the goings on in St. John’s last weekend at the BrewFest, this week we’re reminding you that the Western side of the island cannot be ignored as Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is continuing to bring it, starting with a new one available for your enjoyment. Dubbed F*#% Off Winter! they’re calling it a Spring Belgian Wheat that’s lemony, grassy, zesty and refreshing. With an ABV of 6.7% and 25 IBUs, this isn’t a light summer quaffer, but a bigger, bolder kiss off to a Winter that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. Featuring the fairly uncommon hop Sorachi Ace that’s known for its ability to impart a distinct lemon character with herbal overtones, but also for occasionally making beers with a distinct dill note, it’s available now in the Bootleg taproom. They’ve got some more new beers planned as well, including an oaty session ale, a series of SMaSH beers, and some more summery light beers in the works. We’ll have more details on those as they become available!

• There’s a new brew about to appear at Maybee Brewing, after a slightly-early debut a few days ago on cask only. Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza is the brewery’s first Black IPA. Hopped entirely with Cascade and Chinook from NB’s Moose Mountain Hops, the beer has “pronounced chocolate, coffee, and a toasted malt profile, with a resinous, piney, and slight citrus hop accompaniment”, according to the brewery. At 7% ABV, this batch will be available in kegs only, for purchase by the pint at select licensees, as well as pints and growlers at Maybee’s taproom in Fredericton.

TrailWay Brewing‘s weekly Friday release for this week is More Better, an American IPA showcasing the wonderful Simcoe hop, the first time the brewery has used this unique, piney, citrusy American varietal. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, they’re describing the beer as having “a pleasant pine front, with a soft, tropical finish”. You can find it in cans and on tap at the brewery only, starting today.

• After a several month hiatus, Half Cut Brewing is back on the New Brunswick scene, with their Tickle Fight IPA flowing once again. Previously brewed at the Picaroons Brewtique on Queen Street (where the initial batches of Grimross were brewed), owner Matt Corey has struck up an agreement with Petit-Sault in Edmundston to brew and package his beer. In addition to the 6.1% IPA, look for his Alter Ego Altbier to be available in the province in the coming weeks. Currently only available in kegged format, Half Cut kegs are now at several bars and restaurants in Fredericton, including 540, James Joyce, King Street Alehouse, and Snooty Fox.

We’ve got plenty of events to the go this weekend, as part of the NS Craft Beer Week, which kicks off today with the Cape Breton Full House, NS Craft Beer Week Pub, and Highway 101 Tap Takeover at Schoolhouse Brewing, as well as the continuation of the Cape Breton Double Header Tap Takeover at Jamieson’s. Tomorrow is the Rotary Pizza Fest and TAPPED! Beer Fest in Truro. Hopefully we’ll see you at Sunday’s Stillwell Open, and again at our Beer Trivia Night May 2nd at The Auction House (Prizes! Fame! Beer! Drawing for tickets to Full House!), and head back up to Schoolhouse for the May 3rd airing of Sociable!. Be sure to check out the stand-alone post for the full details.

• After the dust of Craft Beer Week settles, the folks at Horton Ridge have a series of events on the go in May. On four subsequent Mondays, beginning with the May 14th, will see the Malted malt-focused dinner being held at the Malt House. After a tour of the facility, Chef Christine Fancy of Yesteryear Baking will be serving up several different preparations of Horton Ridge’s malt (hey, it’s not just for beer!), including sweet and savoury items, and malted drinks. Advance ticket purchase is required, and you can learn more on their FB Event and own pages.

• Horton Ridge is also hosting a series of talks on Wednesdays, beginning May 23rd. Dubbed Meet Your Brewer, drop by at 7PM to learn from brewers in the Annapolis Valley to hear their stories and taste their beers. On May 23rd, Cam Hartley from Schoolhouse will be on site, May 30th will have Randy Lawrence from Sea Level, and June 6th will see Horton Ridge’s own brewer Steven Mastroianni join head maltster Alan Stewart for the evening. A few more details are on their FB page, and tickets should still be available here.

• Nova Scotia can’t have all the fun with the events, New Brunswick is certainly pulling their weight! Tickets for the May 25 and 26 Atlantic Beer Festival in Moncton are now available, with more than 150 beers from 70 breweries across the country available for your enjoyment.

• Saturday, June 2nd will be the 2018 edition of Northumbeerfest at Pictou Lodge. Celebrating its Fifth year, beers and brewers from Backstage, Big Spruce, Sober Island, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s will be on hand and available, along with live music and the Lodge’s own food all evening long. Your $50 ticket pays for your first 12 ounce pour from each of the vendors, with more available after you do the tour. Pictou Lodge is also offering a $115 accomodation package that includes a night’s stay and ticket to the event, based on double occupancy. Check June 2nd rates online for that option. You can also email or call in your request.

And a few last quick mentions before you go get yourself a(nother) beer:

Big Spruce has pulled out all of the stops for the Craft Beer Week, and will have all 5 variants of the 2018 edition of Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Coffee Stout available for sale at Bishop’s Cellar tomorrow. Drop by at 3PM to grab a taste of the Glenora, American Bourbon, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Cognac, and Nicaraguan Rum barrel-aged expressions, and pick up a bottle or two of your favourites. You’ll also be able to grab cans of The Silver Tart Raspberry Sour, as it has officially landed for the season. And for more fun, head to Battery Park Sunday at 5PM for the launch of the beers on draft, with at least a couple special kegs you’ll only be able to enjoy that afternoon. More details here.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, you may as well camp out there, at Lucas Mader is holding his latest Brews with Lou Saturday from 1PM, where Mader will share some of the latest beers to hit their shelves. And if you ask nicely, he may even crack open something else you’ve been eyeing up, but wanted a taste before committing to a full bottle. Be sure to tell him ACBB sent ya!
– Our beer-podcast-compadres Kyle, Phil, and Tony from the 902 BrewCast did a full tasting of the Ra Ra Rasputin, including bottles from 2016 and 2017. Sharing the “burden” of the tasting was local beer guru Jeff Pinhey, along with our very own acbbaaron (hey, now we’ve all been on the podcast. Next stop, Hollywood!). Tune in to get their take on the difference a little wood can make, the history of the Brewnosers, and Beer Judge Certification Program in the region. If after listening you’re interested in learning more, hit us or them up on social media, we can help you out!
Breton Brewing has brought back their Imperial IPA Crazy Angus, the big brother to one of their flagships, Black Angus. The malt bills are very similar between the two (albeit it larger for Crazy Angus, bringing it to 7.4% ABV), but the IIPA has higher citrusy hop characteristics. It’s pouring right now at the Breton taproom while supplies last.
Grimross Brewing has released a brand new beer yesterday, featuring maple syrup from Tree Hugger Maple in New Denmark. At 5.5% ABV Tree Hugger Maple Ale is available at the taproom for pints and fills and also in kegs. Act fast, they don’t expect this one to last long.
– The folks at Port Rexton were, luckily for us, slightly ahead of the return of nicer weather, and brewed up a new batch of their orange peel-infused kettle sour, Blue Steel (4.7% ABV), which is ready just in time to enjoy in the warmth! You can drop by the brewery to pick up some cans, along with their T-Rex Porter and Chasing Sun NEIPA.
– Today at noon, Unfiltered will once again be re-releasing their Front Line Rocker, an 8.5% ABV, super juicy DIPA, on tap for growler fills and pints at the brewery.

 

After a brief lull in the new beer releases last week (we figure the brewers in Atlantic Canada may have needed time to fully recover from the holiday festivities), we are back with a full complement of news in the region, ready to fill your growlers and glasses with the best beer going.

• Fredericton’s Grimross has the ninth entry in their Scratch series available for pints and growlers at their taproom on Bishop Drive. Scratch #9: Golden Ale is “light, earthy, and dry”, and was hopped with all-Maritime-grown hops. Dry-hopped with Chinook to give some spice and pine to go with the floral notes, the brewery describes the beer as well-balanced between malt and hop flavours. Coming in at just 4.7% ABV, like all Golden Ales it’s meant to be enjoyed in quantity.

• Halifax’s Ladies Beer League has teamed up with Lunn’s Mill to add yet another collaboration beer to their ever-growing list. Hopper’s Bazaar is a Belgian Dubbel brewed with Pilsner, Amber, Dark Munich, Special B, and Chocolate Wheat malt, with an addition of Dark Belgian Candi sugar. Hopped lightly with Saaz and Tettnang, they even threw in a late addition of Garam Masala, an Indian blend of spices, for good measure. This very dark Belgian Ale comes across as “rich, semi-sweet, and spicy, with hints of cumin and cardamom”, and weighs in at 6.7% ABV. It’s available right now at the brewery, and select licensees for pints.

• While it may feel a heck of a lot warmer now than it did a few days ago, no mistake, it’s still winter! Which means you can still enjoy Trider’s newest beer, an 8.5% ABV Winter Warmer called Hibrrnation. Described as a “deep chestnut brown”, the beer was brewed with demerara sugar and unfiltered local honey, to give it extra sweetness to go with the warmth from the alcohol. Hopped with earthy Willamette to prevent it from getting too sweet, this is a one-batch wonder until next year, so grab it while you can!

• We have a new beer alert for this week for Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House, as they will be releasing their Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red. Brewed with Pale malt, Melanoiden, Crystal 30 and 60 L, and a bit of Black Malt for colour adjustment, the beer was hopped to 28 IBUs with Columbus and Willamette to help balance the sweetness from the malts. Coming in at 4.0% ABV, this reddish-coloured brew is medium-bodied with a “caramel, biscuit, and light roast finish”. Look for it to hit the taps at Battery Park and Stillwell very, very soon. New batches of Orange American Bastard and Funktown APA will also be popping up at local tap accounts, as well as Disco Inferno Red IPA and Saturday Night Fever IPA within a couple of weeks. And for OBB fans in Halifax, look for them to be available at another location before the end of January, we’re hoping to reveal exactly where that is next week.

• Your favourite Halifax brewery named after a duet of birds (that would make a great trivia question) is releasing a brand new beer tomorrow. That’s right, 2 Crows launches Forever Young on Saturday, a beer brewed with Pilsner, Wheat and Vienna malt. Hopped in the boil with Sterling and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in their cognac foedre with their house Saison culture, along with TYB 207, an experimental Brettanomyces strain. Further conditioned for 3 months on local rosehips, the beer was then transferred back to stainless for further conditioning on a small amount of rosewater, and then finally carbonated and packaged. Cans of this 8.5% ABV, 29 IBUs beauty will be available at the brewery and private stores, and a few kegs will be popping up at Stillwell (and probably a couple other lucky places). Described by the brewery as “earthy, floral, lightly funky and dry”, don’t miss out on your chance to try this one!

• Hanwell, NB’s recently opened Niche Brewing is releasing their third beer today, but actually the first one they brewed, and one of their expected flagship brews. Called Something Different, the name acknowledges that this isn’t a style we see a lot of in our region: the table beer. Low in ABV and considered excellent for accompanying a meal, this is a classically Belgian style that is usually balanced towards the malty side. Niche’s offering takes the style in a slightly different direction, using the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains from the Yeast Bay to provide a citrus and slightly funky character to a fairly dry beer accented by Hallertauer Blanc in the kettle and a small dry hop of Amarillo.  At 3.6% ABV and 20 IBU you’ll be able to have a few without too many effects, which should give you plenty of opportunity to savour the interesting combination of yeast and hop characters. It’s available to Niche licensees as of today, with the Saint John Ale House already confirming that they’ll be taking a keg.

• Northern Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing has a couple of new beers to tell you about this week that each feature a different unique ingredient. First is Mussed Up, a Double IPA in the Northeast style. Starting with a grist of pale malt from Horton Ridge and some oats and hopped with Enigma and Hallertau Blanc, this beer was dosed with the must of Petit Milo grapes after two days of fermentation. Although the hop varieties were chosen specifically to drive the wine character of this beer, they also add plenty of pineapple and other tropical notes characteristic of the style. At a hefty 7.9% ABV and 60 IBU, it’ll pack a punch in more ways than one. Look for it at the brewery for pints, fills, and in cans, at tap accounts in NS and some in NB, and next week in the private stores in Halifax. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a ticket, you’ll also find it being served next week at the Halifax Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration!

• Tata’s second new beer announcement this week is on the other end of the spectrum, a “breakfast” Porter called Crack of Dawn. Coming in at 8.4% ABV and 35 IBU, this is a big beer built on a solid base of Horton Ridge pale malt and plenty of oats, with color, character, and mouthfeel provided by chocolate rye and chocolate wheat malts. It was hopped with Chinook and with some lactose added in the kettle for a balancing sweetness, but the feature ingredient of this beer is cold-brewed barrel-aged coffee. The gang took 150 lbs of green Ethiopian coffee beans and aged them in a rye whiskey barrel for 3 months before taking them down the road to Meeting Waters coffee, where they were given a dark and smooth roast. The coffee was then cold-brewed to maximize flavour and smoothness and keep the bitterness under control; this cold brew was added to the finished beer before packaging. The resulting brew is big-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel providing counterpoint to the acidity and roastiness of the coffee and the darker malts, with definite notes of whisky and fruit from the coffee aging process. Our own Chris McDonald and homebrewer extraordinaire Brian Harvey were part of the prototyping process for this beer, assisting with the process of figuring out the coffee dosing level and also helping brew the production batch (ed: no really, we did work!). Look for kegs of this one to start appearing late next week, with 500 mL bottles on their way as well, after its debut along side the Mussed Up at the aforementioned event next week (in cask, with an additional special secret ingredient added for the evening’s festivities).

• Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing just put a new beer up on the board today, a New Zealand Pilsner named Captain Cook’s Goat. A crisp, 5.5% ABV lager hopped with New Zealand (of course) hop varieties including Rakau, Motueka, and Pacific Jade to 20 IBUs. In case you’re wondering about the name, our Foghorn source says it was inspired by the story of a Captain Cook who supposedly brewed the first beer in New Zealand, but more importantly, traveled the world with his beer-drinking (we assume) goat companion. If that’s not worth a beer name, we don’t know what is! It’s on tap at Foghorn right now, and will be at licensees sometime next week.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has brought back a pair of beers this week, at the two ends of the flavour and ABV spectrum. Their Hopyard American Pale Ale has returned, melding the hoppy focus of a West Coast IPA (thanks to Amarillo and Cascade hops in both the boil and dry-hop) with an East Coast/British-influenced sensibility (featuring Maritime Malt with 2 Row and Carastan). The 5.5% ABV beer is available for the next few months in six-packs at the brewery and NSLC stores across the province. And launching today is the next in their Cellar Series (big and bold beers that are usually wood-aged and worthy of enjoyment now or in a few months/years), Rum Barrel-Aged Spruce Beer. Last year’s release of this historically-inspired beer spent 12 months in Ironworks Rum barrels, picking up plenty of spirit character, combining with the bold flavours of spruce, and touch of molasses. This barrel-aged edition also picks up a significant amount of alcohol from the wood, increasing from 7.5% ABV for the standard release, to 11.0% ABV for its bigger sister. 650mL bottles are available today at the brewery, with a $15.95 price tag.

• We’ve got Alpha and Beta news from Good Robot Brewing Company this week. First off, Extra Big-Ass Oktoberfest Camacho Lager is once again available on tap for pints and fills (and, no doubt, making appearances at GR tap accounts). Just remember to order it (respectfully, mind) in ALL-CAPS. This week’s Beta Brewsday, on the other hand, is a feelgood brew dreamt up and brewed by Kelly and Glee Club member Rebecca, along with Rebecca’s brother Joseph. Dubbed Cuddle Up, this coconut porter started with a grain bill of 2-row barley, flaked oats and Vienna malt, with both roasted and black barley for color and deep roasted flavour. Bittered to 26 IBU and very lightly kettle hopped with East Kent Goldings before being fermented with London Ale yeast to preserve a malty character, toasted flaked coconut was added for a lingering coconut flavour. Everything about this 4% ABV beer was designed to be comforting, so if that’s your jam, grab your favourite blankie and head on down to Good Robot this Tuesday when it’s tapped.

• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has announced that they will officially be releasing their third flagship beer, The Rabble Rouser Red, next Thursday. Brewed “with a rich malt profile in mind”, this 5% ABV, 25 IBUs American Amber Ale has a grist made up of five different malts, giving a flavour of slightly-toasted malt, “with a residual sweetness to round out the body”. Check out their Facebook page for the back story on where the name came from, and plan to drop by the taproom on January 18th, from 6 – 10 PM for the launch party, which will feature live fiddle music and Sneaky Cheats BBQ, with a custom-created food menu to pair with the beer.

Horton Ridge Malt & Grain in Hortonville, NS, has another new beer coming out next weekend, brewed on their small system. Beer of Fundy celebrates the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Valley by being made with malt, hops and water that are all from that region. The barley (75%) and rye (25%) were grown and malted by Horton Ridge and the hops used were Galena and Centennial sourced from Fundy Hops down the road in Berwick. At 6% ABV and 63 IBU, this beer is admittedly the hoppiest to come out of Horton Ridge and treads “perilously close” to IPA territory. This is a nod to Fundy Hops, who will be at the malthouse and brewery to celebrate the launch of this beer a week from tomorrow on Saturday, January 20th from 2 PM, at an event that’s being called Songs and Suds of the Valley. Look for lots of musical entertainment from Space Paddy Bog People and artists featured on This Place, Songs from the Annapolis Valley, along with lots of beer, of course!

Hammond River Brewing has teamed up with Josh Mayich from Darlings Island Farm to brew their first Bohemian Pilsner. Currently unnamed, it features Bohemian Pilsner malt and Carapils, and was bittered with Magnum to 43 IBUs, followed by three later additions of Saaz. As you likely expected, both hop varieties are from Darlings Island. Look for this one to finish at about 5.6% ABV; since it naturally needs to undergo a lagering period, look for this one to hit taps around mid-February. And meanwhile, HRB’s Shane Steeves and Darlings Island’s Josh Mayich are hosting a “Hop Seminar” to talk hops and beer. Want to know which hops match well with which styles of beer or maybe which hops grow well in our region, but especially New Brunswick? These are just the gentlemen to tell you about that! Look for it to happen at the HRB Beer Bar on Sunday, January 21st, at 1 PM: grab a pint and learn a little about what’s in it and where it came from!

And one last mention before we go, you may have heard that Loblaw’s is giving away $25 gift cards as a measure of “atonement” for their bread price-fixing scandal. You may also have heard that there’s been a groundswell of support for collecting those cards and getting them to organizations who can put them to good use. You may not have heard, though, that our pals at the 902 BrewCast have taken it upon themselves to help this process, calling it the #RobinHoodChallenge. Over the past couple of days they’ve been enlisting breweries from across NS to agree to be drop points for the Loblaw’s gift cards, which will help the process by making it easy for the folks who can afford to do so to donate their gift cards, knowing that those cards will make their way to an important organization like Feed Nova Scotia. Be sure to check the 902BrewCast Instagram and Twitter feeds for more details and information about which breweries are participating. And big kudos to the Kyle, Phil and Tony at 902BC for organizing, the breweries for taking part, and everyone who takes the time and makes the effort to help out with such a worthy initiatve!