FirkinStein Brewing

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If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

Happy Friday, beer lovers, and welcome to a warm weekend! Whether it’s freezing out or everything is beginning to thaw, there’s always plenty to report on beer news in our region, and this week has been no exception. Let’s get right to it…

• Starting off with some brewery expansion news, Bruce Barton, owner/brewer of Riverview, New Brunswick’s Celtic Knot Brewing, has confirmed that he will be increasing production, from the current 80 L system to a 3.75 BBL (~435 L) within the next couple of months. The current Celtic Knot brewery is located within Bruce’s home, but the new system will be in a separate location in Riverview, where you will be able to drop by to have growlers filled of your favourite CK beers! We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.

Tidehouse will be releasing another of their one-off beers today – Oaked Island is an American Pale Ale, solely and heavily hopped with Centennial, and fermented on French oak (previously soaked in Russian vodka). This unique combination results in flavours of “citrus, pine, and floral notes” from the Centennial, with a “soft, subtle vanilla character” thanks to the oak. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV, it will be available at the TH retail shop on Salter, as well as on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and Water & Bone. Look for future one-offs to be released on Fridays in the future – this is a change from previous releases, which have occurred on Wednesdays. Hey, we definitely benefit from that!

• The gang at Good Robot has some news and new beers for us this coming week, but also slipped a new beer onto the taps the other day. Dubbel Trubbel came about when Kelly Costello and a co-worker were inspired by a recipe in a homebrew magazine that included star anise and dates. Leveraging GR’s unofficial beer knowledge program that allows employees to try out brewing for themselves, they put the recipe into action, albeit minus the star anise and the dates. Featuring Pilsner, Aromatic, Munich, Vienna, Special B, and Cara-Munich malts, along with Belgian Candi sugar, the beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV. It was fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, so a little outside the traditional Dubbel style. Brewed on their Beta System, be sure to drop by right away to avoid missing this limited release.

 

• The big news for Good Robot this week is that they’ve found themselves an assistant brewer. Jake Charles DeWolfe is now on the scene, and to celebrate there will be a twin pack of new releases in the GR taproom on Tuesday. The first is DeWolfe of Wall Street, in the American Pale Ale style, a complementary beer to brewmaster Doug’s Burban Legend, mirroring the yin Jake will bring to Doug’s yang. We presume. With a simple malt bill of 2-row, Pilsner and Vienna underpinning a hop schedule that includes Cascade for bittering, Mount Hood for dry hop and both for aroma during a whirlpool, this 6.3% ABV pale comes in high and hard with citrus hop flavours and a dry, crisp finish, but only 29 IBU. Joining that beer will be a BetaBrewed Mexican Lager for which a suitably Good Robot name has not yet been determined. At a very light 4.7% ABV and a barely there 14 IBU, it’s built around pale malt, flaked corn and Vienna for a touch of biscuity flavor, and agave nectar, all paired with the noble Tettnang hop variety, and fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast. This one is likely to be dangerously crushable and reminiscent of a summer day at the lake.

• Over in Burnside, Spindrift has some releases in the coming months that they’re teasing on social media. The Killick is labeled as a “session lager” but has been referred to elsewhere as a Munich Helles, a classic German style that is fairly low alcohol, light-bodied, malt-balanced and designed to go down easy. This will be their first packaging in 355ml cans and it will be available in six packs from the brewery sometime around mid-March and then the NSLC later on. Spindrift are also going to have a seasonal single serve slot at the NSLC and the first two offerings will be the Blueberry Chai Pils we mentioned last week from April to June (also available a the brewery in mid-March) and the Blood Orange India Pale Lager from July to September. We’ll surely have more details for you about these beers and their availability as their official release dates approach.

• Digby’s Roof Hound has brewed up an interesting new beer, which will be the first in their upcoming Dive Bar Classic Cocktail series, where all the beers will be inspired by well-known cocktails. This first brew is a Mojito Sour – “partially kettle-soured” (meaning half the batch was soured, and then blended with the non-soured half), it will be dry-hopped with Cascade and Centennial, and also feature the addition of fresh mint, and lime zest and juice. The official launch party for this brew will be held on Saturday, March 4th; we’ll keep you updated on the official stats for this one when they’re confirmed.

• Word hit the street last week that Greg Nash has brought his Russian Imperial Stout, Commissar to Unfiltered. Last seen during his time at the Hart & Thistle, many have lamented that it was on tap when that establishment closed and the last batch was never properly finished. This time around, the beer was aged on oak for months and fortified with J.D. Shore Black Rum from Halifax Distilling Co.. Promising a slightly sweet flavour with lots of dark fruit and hints of bitter chocolate, it is said to be reminiscent of rum cake. It will be available as of noon today at the brewery for growler fills, Charm School for pints, and both the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar for bottles ($16/500ml). This one is likely to get even better with age, so definitely consider grabbing a couple bottles for your cellar when you pop in for your first taste. But be aware, at 11.6% ABV and full of rum, this one is likely to have you throwing rocks at your own house if you’re not careful!

Red Rover has a new, very-limited batch cider pouring at the Cider House in Fredericton. Just released earlier this week, Blood Orange is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider infused with blood orange juice. Tart and crisp, yet balanced by the accompanying sweetness, it’s available for pours only (no flagon fills) due to the limited supply; however, if feedback is quite positive, there’s a good chance a larger batch will be made in the future. Look for it on tap at James Joyce and Graystone, as well.

• Look for a new beer to be released from FirkinStein very soon – Project Orange is described as a “light, easy-drinking ale with a slight orange tang” by the brewery, despite weighing in at a fairly hefty 7% ABV. With a slight citrus hop presence in the background thanks to the addition of Cascade, there was also plenty of orange juice added. It will be making its debut at tomorrow’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, and should also be pouring at Battery Park shortly afterwards.

Big Tide and Picaroons have joined forces to brew a collaboration beer, a Doppelbock named The Uphill Battle. The recipe was concocted between the two breweries, and the beer mashed-in on Big Tide’s system (featuring a grist of Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, CaraMunich and Carafoam). Half of the resultant wort stayed at Big Tide, and the other half was transported to the Picaroons General Store location; both were then boiled, hopped (with Magnum and Perle), and fermented at their respective homes with a dry Lager yeast. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, this malty, toasty brew will be going on tap at the Big Tide brewpub and the General Store tomorrow.

• Big news in Halifax from what will be one of the smallest breweries in the region by design – brought to you by the folks behind Stillwell Beer Bar, Stillwell Brewing will be focused on small-batch mixed-fermentations and oak barrel aging, and might possibly be the first brewery of its kind in Canada. Taking up some space in the back area of Propeller Brewing in the North End of Halifax, expect very small scale, periodic bottle releases, and very rare keg tappings (most of which will happen at SW and their Beer Garden). We’ll keep you updated on this exciting bit of info as it develops! In the meantime, follow Stillwell Brewing on Instagram for some pics on behind the scenes activity.

• The NSLC released their third quarter financial results covering the three months ending December 31st, 2016, and the news for Nova Scotia Craft Beer continues to be good. While overall beer sales were down 0.4%, craft beer sales continued to grow, with a 29.5% increase to $2.5m over the same quarter in the previous year. Though this increase isn’t quite as large as seen in first (48.4%) and second (39.7) quarters, it shows the industry still has room to grow. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Q4 shows a continuation of this trend and also whether additional shelf space for craft beer will carry the trend into the next fiscal year.

There’s a whole whack of events going on over the next few days, especially in the HRM… take your pick from below and be sure to head out over the weekend!

Tonight, the Stubborn Goat will be holding a tap takeover with Charlottetown, PEI’S Upstreet, in the Flight Night at the Goat. Eight Upstreet beers will be on tap, including Smoked Porter from their One Way series. There’s no cover; just show up for plenty of beer, plus food pairings and flight specials! All of the Upstreet crew will be there, anxious to meet you and chat about everything beer!

• Been too long since the last <insert amazing brewery here> tap takeover at Stillwell for ya? Well, it really hasn’t been that long at all, but good news! Tomorrow, February 25th, they’ll be hosting a Le Castor takeover, with 12 amazing beers pouring all day. One of Quebec’s highest-regarded breweries, they’re bringing some real winners, such as Colorado (a “dry-hopped Wild Ale”) and Sanctuaire (a Tripel aged in red wine barrels with Brett). No charge to attend, just show up and pay by the pour!

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a Big Spruce tap takeover tomorrow, February 25th, which should last all weekend. Their collaboration with Bishop’s, Anaphylactic Choc – a 5.5% ABV “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” that features Nutsmith organic peanut butter added in the boil and that was aged on organic cocao nibs – will be pouring. Drop by in the afternoon between 1-4 pm, and don’t forget to bring your growlers! In addition to the new brew, they’ll be have Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout and Liquid James Brown Milkshake IPA available for fills, with samples of some special one-offs while your jugs are being filled.

• Also tomorrow, February 25thHell Bay is holding Cocoa & Malt, a special pairing of dark beer and hand-crafted chocolate desserts and sweets. Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, it had to be postponed due to weather… and luckily, there’s still some spots left! It’s $25+tax per person; reserve your spot by calling 902-356-3556.

• Halifax’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is currently holding a Bad Apple Brewhouse and Propeller tap takeover, which will continue until this Sunday, February 25th. With eight beers from BAB (including their wonderful Mosaic DIPA), and seven from Propeller (including a cask of their ESB), it’s pay-as-you-drink all weekend. BAB’s owner/brewery Jeff Saunders will be on hand for beer questions/chatting tonight, and Propeller’s brewer/sales manager Pat Robichaud will be available on Saturday night. Check out the full tap list here.

• It’s another busy week coming up for Good Robot, starting with their participation at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow night, followed by an after-party luau featuring beers and buddies from Upstreet Brewing back at the taproom, with Koconut Kings providing musical entertainment. As mentioned above, Tuesday, February 28th, will see the debut of beers from Jake DeWolfe, Assistant Brewer, paired with a Mardi Gras Cajun menu from Black Sheep and a soul playlist on vinyl from Black Buffalo spun by a live DJ. Thursday, March 2nd sees a tap takeover at the taproom by North Brewing, with 8 taps, possibly the most ever for that brewery in a North end pub. The favour is returned the next night, on Friday, March 3rd when 14, count’em 14 Good Robot brews go up at Battery Park in Dartmouth. The most. Ever. Anywhere. We expect to hear more about that this week, so look for more details in next week’s wrap-up.​

That’s the news we’ve got to share this week! Have a great weekend, and be sure to enjoy some of that unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having! Before we head out for good…

– Last night was the first Brew Ha-Ha at the Company House, featuring Tidehouse Brewing and the comedy of Andrew Vaughan, Dan Hendrickson and Frank Russo. We’ll find out more about what sounds like it might be a regular event, and let you know.
– The Craft Beer Cottage Party is tomorrow night at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market at 7pm. Although the VIP passes have sold out it looks like there are still some general tickets available. Come on out to dream of summer and sample the wares of 30 breweries from the region.
– Today, Garrison is welcoming Dave Martin, winner of the 2016 Home Brew-Off, to brew his Chamomile IPA on the Garrison system; the beer will be released at this year’s gala on March 23rd. Judging for this year’s competition is actually happening tomorrow, with almost 40 entries for the Wee Heavy style.
Grimross now has their Pugnacious Porter (6.2% ABV) available in cans; joining their Maritime Pale Ale, it’s available at the brewery and should be following in ANBL stores, soon.
– The Hammond River Blackberry Berliner Weisse we reported on earlier this month is now available on tap; Ram Jam comes in at 3.2% ABV and is circulating on tap around HR accounts.
– March 1st marks one year for Nine Locks Brewing. They’ll be celebrating with draws and in-store specials. If you haven’t been out to see them, it’s probably a good time to rectify that.

 

Happy Friday folks, we hope that digging out wasn’t too much of an ordeal for those of you who got snowed on last night. We’ll warn you now that this is a ridiculously long post; you may want to plan a second lunch to finish reading it. Possibly one that includes a beer. We’ve got some suggestions below as to how you might make that happen along with some new brewery news and some options for those who might want to center their Valentine’s Day around their love for beer. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

• South Shore’s FirkinStein Brewing has released their first foray into the Double IPA style, with Cut of Our Jib. Weighing in at 8.6% ABV, it was hopped exclusively with Cascade and Citra throughout the boil, and into the dry-hop, for a solid 100 IBU bitterness, but with plenty of citrus aroma and flavour. Grab the beer at their Farmers’ Market stall in Lunenburg on Thursdays, and by appointment at the brewery in the evenings (but be sure to reach out via Facebook or Twitter first). It may even make it on tap on the South Shore or HRM; keep an eye on their social media feeds for the latest information.

• Heads up west-island Newfoundland beer drinkers: a pair of fellow beer fans are looking to open a brewery this summer, and would love to get you involved! Bootleg Brew Co has announced that they are in the process of getting their licensing and brewing system, with the plan to open a location in Corner Brook in the next six months. While working in the food industry, Matt Tilley and Morgan Turner tried their hand at homebrewing, and were extremely pleased with the results, and after encouragement from family and friends, are looking to turn it into a business. Planning on a 3.5 hl (3BBL) system, they have turned to crowdfunding to assist with some of the costs. Check out more details in a recent CBC article, and check out their IGG campaign, on until March 1st. We’ll share updates as they progress in their transition to professional beer producers.

• Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is releasing a brand new beer today, Fathom Double IPA. The name may sound a bit familiar, but it is a brand new beer, based loosely on Rockbottom Brewpub Fathom IPA, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2016 ACBAs in the IPA category. The hazy orange Double IPA clocks in at 8.0% ABV, and has a hefty 90 IBU, derived from Centennial, Citra, El Dorado, and Summit added throughout the brewing and conditioning, for notes of citrus and melon on the nose, and orange and stone fruit flavour. Grab it in growlers and cans at the brewery at noon, and in cans at the private stores, including at Cristall Wine, where they will be pouring samples of it today from 4-6pm.

Moth Lane Brewing, in Ellerslie, PEI, has recently released a Hefeweizen, the iconic unfiltered wheat beer, originating in the Bavarian region of Germany. Refreshing and juicy thanks to the yeast clove and banana characteristics, Weizen Up B’ye is 5.0% ABV, with a light 11 IBU bitterness. Grab a pint or growler this weekend at the brewery, including tomorrow evening, when The Galley Food Truck will be set up slinging food, and there will be an open mic/jam session in the brewery taproom.

• There’s a new Belgian Dubbel available from Petit-Sault, Colonel John Baker. This is a different beer altogether from their first Dubbel, Simone Hébert, which was originally released in the fall of 2015. Brewed with lots of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to give the classic-Dubbel notes of “dark fruit and mild chocolate”, some Chocolate malt was also used in the grist to accentuate these characteristics. Described as “rich, malty, and fruity, with a surprisingly-dry finish”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. It’s available for pints and growler fills at the brewery in Edmundston, and should be available at all ANBL growler stations this weekend. Look for it to pop up in bottles, soon!

• Fredericton’s Grimross has just released the first beer in their new Scratch series, which will be a realm for the brewery to experiment with new recipes and one-offs. Scratch #1: Lager is the brewery’s first venture into Lager territory, with a “simple, clean-yet-flavourful Lager”. With all-Pilsner malt in the grist, it was hopped with Magnum, Saaz, and New Brunswick-grown Cascade, and fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain. It pours with a pale straw colour, and a “slightly grainy and honey aroma with a crisp, dry finish”, according to owner/brewer Stephen Dixon. Supremely drinkable at 4.7% ABV, it’s available on tap now at the brewery taproom. Expect to see their next release in this series, Scratch #2: Belgian IPA, soon!

• Staying with Fredericton, there’s a couple of new beers out from Graystone this week, and we have a few details on both of them. First up is Bushwhack Bitter, their take on the sessionable English style, Ordinary Bitter (aka Standard Bitter). Ordinary in name only, this is meant to be an easy-drinking, fairly-bitter beer with some pleasant malt complexity. Bushwhack Bitter was hopped to 30 IBUs with U.K. Fuggles and New Brunswick Goldings, and comes in at 3.9% ABV. Next is their Single Track Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs American Pale Ale hopped primarily with Citra, an American variety well known to beer geeks everywhere. Described by the brewery as “light, refreshing, and flavourful with citrus and peach flavours”, it’s available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and crowlers, along with the new Bitter.

• Graystone is also re-releasing their White IPA, Mont Blanc, today. This collaboration with soon-to-open Gore Farm Brewery (out of St. Stephen), was originally released in late December, and is returning due to popular demand. Check out our previous post here for more details on the beer, and the Gore Farm link above for a Q&A we published with the brewery, yesterday.

• Over in Moncton, Tide & Boar Brewing continues to experiment with new beers. They have just tapped Mute Saison, their first take on the classic Saison, a wonderful Belgian style that is open for multiple interpretations by brewers. Hopped with New Zealand Wakatu and U.S. Lemondrop, it finishes very dry, with “floral and lemon notes”, and at 6.8% ABV may sneak up on you, so sip wisely! T&B have also released version 2 of their Lemondrop IPA, an American IPA hopped entirely with, yes, Lemondrop. Look for both on tap at the brewpub. And if you’re in Saint John and are aching to try some T&B beer, good news – the Cask & Kettle has a keg of their Forum Pale Ale, a new version fermented with a Vermont yeast strain.

• Meanwhile, at the Université de Moncton’s Bar Le Coude, Acadie-Broue has two beers that were just tapped last night. Let’s start with Tricole – a Belgian Tripel, it was named after the Acadian term to describe someone who staggers/stumbles from having too much alcohol. Fittingly, it’s a strong beer at 8% ABV, which is typical for the Tripel style. Made with all Pilsner malt (many Tripels are brewed with the addition of sugar) and hopped with German Hersbrucker, it was fermented with a high gravity Trappist yeast, resulting in a very dry beer with “candy-like and pepper” qualities, and is quite drinkable despite it’s high ABV.

• Next up from Acadie-Broue is another strong one, Kazakh, inspired by the Russian Imperial Stout style. Named after another Acadian expression, synonymous to “daredevil”, it was brewed with plenty of specialty malts, including Chocolate, Crystal 120 L, Victory, Midnight Wheat, and Oats, to give a dark, roasty beer that will leave you plenty warm, thanks to its 8% ABV. Hopped with Magnum for a bittering charge only (to 50 IBUs), it was fermented with a neutral American yeast strain. This is actually the 3rd batch for this beer, as demand has greatly exceeded the brewery’s expectations!

Roof Hound Brewing and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for their first collaboration brew, Chocolate Sauced, brewed at Roof Hound a couple of weeks ago. This is a big beer at 9% ABV, and was brewed with four different types of chocolate (!): dark Chocolate malt, Chocolate Rye, and Chocolate Wheat in the mash, and cocoa added in the kettle (along with some lactose powder and Dark Candi Sugar). Both RH and TataBrew will be releasing the beer at their breweries tomorrow, with both holding special launch parties featuring live music to celebrate this “Chocolate Imperial Stout”.

• Speaking of Tatamagouche, they released the latest of their Giant Beer Series this week, Quad.  Their take on the Belgian Quadrupel style, this 10.3% ABV beer features a base of Pilsner malt, with Vienna, CaraAroma, and Chocolate for some complexity, with Dark Candi Syrup for the iconic colour and dark fruit component to the aroma and flavour. A modest 35 IBU (for the ABV) is achieved using Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfruh, to partially offset the high alcohol and body. The beer was bottle conditioned in 650mL bottles, and is available exclusively at the brewery now (with a very small part of the batch available in kegs soon). They will be pouring a special casked version of the Quad, aged on Muscat grape skins Saturday, during the Chocolate Sauced launch event.

• Tata has also released Deadeye Double IPA, with a few tweaks since last year’s release. It now features Vermont Ale yeast, resulting in a slightly hazy beer. It still showcases lots of Hallertau Blanc hops, for a light grape and passionfruit and pineapple aromatics, with Cascade and Chinook lending their hand to the recipe. Kegs have been delivered to their HRM accounts, and the beer will be available on tap and in cans beginning today at the brewery, and at the private stores very shortly.

TrailWay has released their Black IPA in cans for the first time. Black Hops (yes, the “1” has been dropped from the name) has been changed slightly from its last release, with an adjustment to the grain bill to allow for a “softer chocolate flavour”, as well as… more hops! Lots of Citra and Mosaic were added to boost the citrus and tropical flavours and aromas, it comes in at 7% ABV. Available at the brewery now, and in select ANBL stores soon.

• And while on the topic of TrailWay, we forgot to mention the results of their 1st annual Homebrew Challenge last Friday… sorry ’bout that! Local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon took the top spot in the American IPA contest, with his Hoppy McHazy winning out among close to 30 entries. This 7% ABV IPA is hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe; Pierre will be brewing his beer on TW’s system next week. When released, a portion of the beer will be available in cans, so be prepared to stock up! Congrats, Pierre!

Flying Boats will be releasing this year’s take on their Lover’s Quarrel IPA next week… a little later than planned, thanks to one of the lovely ice storms we’ve been receiving. With a grist that includes some Flaked Wheat to boost the mouthfeel of the beer, several late boil additions of both Galaxy and Citra hops provide a “floral, citrusy aroma”. This should come in at 6% ABV and close to 60 IBUs; look for it to be released late next week, with 16 kegs being sent to the Dieppe ANBL growler station for Thursday… just a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. With beer, as with love, better late than never!

• Today, Garrison is launching their newest Star Trek/CBS release at the brewery. Red Shirt Ale is an American Red brewed in honour of the many Star Trek crew members unlucky enough to be fitted in a red tunic… usually a good sign that they would be meeting an untimely, violent death. With a “deep copper colour and rich malt flavour”, the beer was hopped with Citra, El Dorado, and Millenium. You’ll be able to find Red Shirt Ale at Garrison and Halifax’s private liquor stores as of this weekend, and NSLC stores later this month. It will also be popping up at ANBL growler stations in two weeks’ time. And for our homebrewing readers, be sure to submit your Wee Heavy this weekend!

• Gahan House Harbourfront in Halifax put a new beer on tap this week. Captain Falcon’s IPA is a SMaSH brew that sees big citrus hop flavor from generous late boil and whirlpool additions of Falconer’s Flight meet the fruit flavor of real blackberries added in the secondary. It’s got a hazy, purplish pink color and is a very dry brew with a fairly light bitterness (for an IPA) at 40 IBU and a very reasonable 6% ABV – the Falcon Punch is in the flavor, not the weight.

• In the valley, a new cider in the Something Different series became available this week at Annapolis Cider Company. Muscat Infusion weds apples and grapes to produce a 7.1% ABV sparkling cider with a copper colour, apple tartness, and tropical and floral aromas from Nova Scotia’s most aromatic grape variety. The skins of Muscat grapes were added during active fermentation, and a technique known as “punching down” commonly used in red wine fermentations ensured flavor, color, aroma and tannin extraction. Finished with freshly-pressed apple juice to balance it before packaging, it is available at the cidery in Wolfville where $0.50 of each bottle fill will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Annapolis Valley.

• What do you do when one of your business neighbours leaves your street for a newer, bigger spot a few blocks away? If you’re North Brewing you celebrate your friend’s achievement with a special beer. White Lightning is the nickname of Renée Lavallée, chef of The Canteen, formerly a lunch counter on Ochterloney Street and now a restaurant on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. It is now also a kettle sour from North that’s been dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo, coming in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBU. The label received North’s Artist Series treatment with Renée’s likeness rendered in comic book style by Rob Hansen. White Lightning is available in 650ml bottles from the North bottle shops and private liquor stores in HRM and you should expect to see kegs of it appear in bars and restaurants in the coming days and weeks.

• North is also joining with another neighbour this week, this time on the Halifax side, where they’ve lent their expertise with Belgian styles to a new Tripel from the gang at Good Robot. Moo Nay is a tribute to the farm that reuses Good Robot’s post-brewing spent grain, Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie. Although the body is well in line with the style, with Pale and Pilsner malts and some sugar to dry it out, the twist this time is the use of a very non-traditional hop, namely the New Zealand variety Nelson Sauvin, known for its fruity, white wine-like character. Big and boozy at 8.5% ABV, but not overly bitter at 30 IBU, late hop additions bring a New World aspect to a decidedly Old World beer. Moo Nay will be available at Good Robot as of today, both in the tap room and the store for growler fills.

• Those who don’t remember the days before NASH started slinging hop bombs at Unfiltered might not be aware that he’s got a full slate of styles at his disposal, but this week’s release should make that abundantly clear to all and sundry. Play with Fire is a Smoked Imperial Schwarzbier, featuring tons of dark fruit, roasted malt and smokey phenols. At only 34 IBU, it’s not a bitter bomb, but it will certainly pack a wallop at 8% ABV. Growler fills and pints will be available as of noon today at the brewery and Charm School Pub, respectively. As they say down on North Street, get on it!

• The latest episode of the 902 BrewCast went live earlier this week, where the beer chums sat down with Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cam Hartley. They went into the history of Schoolhouse, where it is now, and where it’s heading next. Learn all about it by downloading and listening to the episode today!

Port Rexton Brewing on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula will be releasing their first bottled offering next week. Named the Ten Eighty Series, the annual small run of bottles will make their debut in winter, and lean toward higher ABV, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. The inaugural release is Belgian Tripel, an 8.2% ABV beer featuring the iconic clove aromatics and light spiciness, with a dry finish. This run of only 800 bottles will be available exclusively at the brewery, so reach out to them today to pre-order and get yourself on the list!

Check out these events for the weekend…

• As mentioned above, both Roof Hound and Tatamagouche are celebrating the release of their collaboration Chocolate Sauced tomorrow, February 11th. In Digby, drop by at 9pm for the first pours of the new beer, and at 10pm, enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wright and Tide and Timbre ($6 cover). In Tatamagouche, the fun kicks off at 7pm, with Eric Fresia playing while you enjoy the new beers they are featuring, with chocolates paired with CS, shucking oysters to pair with Oyster Cloister, and that special cask of Quad. Your $5 cover gets you your first sample of Chocolate Sauced for free.

• Good Robot has a fairly full slate planned for the taproom next week, with three events in the works. Monday will see another Goodwill Bot event, where $1 of every beer sold goes to a local non-profit cause. This week it will be Halifax Cycling Coalition, who will be celebrating Winter Bike Week and crafting Valentine’s Day cards. On Tuesday you’ll find Blue Valentine , “a sad and sexy Valentine’s Day event.” Get there before 6:30pm and enjoy $5 pints and a Tom Waits playlist. After that, enjoy local artists and businesses as they take the floor to talk about sex. Look for participation from Ballonicorns , Turn Me On Podcast , Venus Envy and The Coast. And on Wednesday grab a book, head on down to Good Robot, grab a beer and shut the hell up for the return of Silent Reading. As always, no phones, no talking.

• Next Thursday, February 16th, the Cask & Kettle will be hosting a Maybee Brewing Tap Takeover, with all of their taps being turned over to the Fredericton brewery from 4 pm-close, including Maybee’s newest, currently unreleased beer, a DIPA (more on that next week). There will be, of course, food and Irish music to accompany the many beers pouring, with no charge to attend; just show up and pay by the pint!

• The Craft Beer Cottage Party returns to Halifax’s Seaport Farmers’ Market February 25th. With 30 breweries from the Maritimes in attendance, it is sure to be a blast of summer in the dead of winter. Washer Toss, live music, and plenty of chairs to lounge on, the summer vibes will be strong during the event. Tickets are $60 +fees ($75++ for VIP access), and are available now. Check out our Calendar for more details, including the full brewery list.

A few more things this week…

Mil Street St John’s brewed North American Brown Ale earlier this week, featuring El Dorado hops. The 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU beer is named after Black Bart, a pirate who terrorized Newfoundland, starting in the 17th century. Look for the beer to be released at the end of the month, or early March.
Picaroons has re-released their Valentine-themed Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale, a 5.2% ABV dark beer brewed with chocolate, chili peppers, ginseng, and licorice root. Look for it at all Picaroons locations, and select establishments throughout NB.
TideHouse Brewing invited in local home brewer Ian Wheatley to brew on their system last week, to be released next month. The brew was a kettle sour, low in ABV, but with plenty of lactic bite. We’ll have much more on the beer closer to its release, around March 10th.

Despite the cooler temperatures and extensive snow our region received this week, the brewers are still hard at work releasing new beers and brewing up some special winter seasonals. Take a look at what’s new on tap and in bottles in Atlantic Canada!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has released the first truly Made In Nova Scotia beer this week, One Hundred. Brewed with 100% Organic ingredients grown in the province, the beer’s grain bill features barley from TapRoot Farms in Port Williams and 25% rye from nearby Stewart’s Organic Farm, both malted at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. The Golding and Willamette hops used are from Big Spruce’s very own Breton Fields organic hop farm (adjacent the brewery), and the unique yeast used to ferment it all was isolated from a wild Eastern Canadian Pin Cherry on the  property. The resulting beer has an unmistakable Belgian character, with yeast aromas and flavours enhancing the spiciness from the rye malt. The 4.9% ABV, 24 IBU beer is available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and in rotation in HRM at Battery Park, Brooklyn Warehouse, Lion & Bright, and Stillwell.

• Big Spruce and frequent co-conspirator Boxing Rock have brought back their Shame on You IPA, a 6.0% ABV beer standing up to the pseudo-“small batch” and craft-y beers that can be found amidst the beers from locally owned and operated breweries. This beer is all about the hops, featuring Bravo for a hefty bittering charge, Centennial and El Dorado for flavour, and Chinook and Citra dry-hopping for lots of aroma. A special 1.0l bottle (courtesy of local supplier Jym Line Glassware) will be available at the four private beer stores in HRM, as well as the two brewery locations in Shelburne and Nyanza. Growler fills are available as well at the Farmers’ Market locations.

• And keep an eye out for two other returning favourites from Boxing Rock – the U-889 Russian Imperial Stout will be available in bottles this weekend at the four private stores and Farmers’ Market locations, as well as a very limited run at the NSLC’s The Port location on Clyde Street in Halifax. And Over the Top!, their Sour Cranberry beer first brewed in May with local brewer Karen Allen, has made its return, also available in bottles at the private stores, and in Shelburne.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection is starting up, and looking for women interested in diving into the world of craft beer! This is a group focused on building a community for women in the Fredericton area to come together to drink and learn all about the world’s finest beverage. All are welcome, regardless of your knowledge level and experience with beer. The initial plan is to have monthly meetings at TBD locations, on the second Wednesday of every month, with the first meeting occurring January 11th at TrailWay. More details will follow (be sure to check out their link above), and at the moment there is no membership fee required to attend; we’ll keep you updated, but be sure to reach out on their Facebook page if you’re interested.

• Garrison is launching a new beer this week with a tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps extended at the world) name. Miley Citrus is a hazy New England-style Double IPA in a similar vein to their recent test batch Code Name: Juicy. Packed with flavour from all late and whirlpool additions of the unsubtly-named Citra hop variety, this time it was married to the dank and piney Simcoe and the also dank, but predominantly fruity Australian variety Topaz. Coming in on the lower end for a DIPA, but still a plenty dangerous 7.6% ABV and 66 IBU, this one shouldn’t be a wrecking ball to your palate with bitterness, but may well be with hop flavor. Described as “citrus-forward”, it features matched aromas and flavours of fresh-peeled orange, tangerine and sweet orange marmalade with a grapefruit pith finish. It’s only available on draft at the brewery, at least for now, but keep your eyes peeled as you may very well see it appear at finer establishments around the city.

• Christmas is right around the corner, and fittingly, Big Tide has brought back a couple of their seasonal favourites. First up is Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale, which is their standard Confederation Cream Ale that has been “made festive” with the addition of local cranberry and raspberry juices, providing a pleasant contrast of fruity and tart flavours. Brewed with a light grist of 2-row and Pilsner malts, it’s lightly-hopped with Magnum and Perle, and comes in at 5.6% ABV and 23 IBUs. Also back on tap is Santa’s Chocolate Porter (5.4% ABV, 25 IBUs), which features both 2-row and Chocolate malt, as well as the addition of Madagascar vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa, resulting in a brew with plenty of rich, chocolatey, and spicy flavours. Drop by the brewpub to celebrate Christmas with a pint (or growler) of both brews!

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a new beer out that beets the competition hands down! Beet This Ale is based on their Anchors Aweigh Pale, featuring a load of beets to give it a brilliant red colour and unique flavour profile. The 6.0% ABV beer features a modest Citra dry hop and bitter finish to underline the unique vegetable addition. Grab the beer at the Hubbards Farmers Market tomorrow, and the Bridgewater Farmers’ Market at Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre on Sunday.

Down on the Halifax waterfront Gahan House Halifax has a new beer slated for release next week, a Christmas Ale called Santa’s Little Helper. We’re told it’s on an Altbier base (presumably similar to the one currently pouring that we reported on last week) but with an addition of mulling spices and aged in a Hungarian oak barrel previously used to age merlot at Bear River Vineyards. The beer is currently conditioning but is expected to be put on tap as a limited release on December 20th.

• There’s a big beer currently fermenting at Maybee Brewing, a currently-unnamed Belgian Quad. The biggest beer brewed yet at the brewery, this style (also known as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale) is a complex, high-alcohol brew that is malty, fruity, phenolic, and warming. The recipe is based on a homebrew that owner/brewer Paul Maybee has brewed in the past; since it will quite likely fall in the 11-12% ABV range, it’s going to require some additional conditioning to allow the flavours to gel and alcohol to smooth out, so don’t expect to see this one until sometime next month. No details on packaging yet, but it will definitely be on tap at the brewery’s taproom and across Fredericton.

• In other Maybee news, they’re sending a cask to the James Joyce to be tapped tonight at around 7 pm. Black Forest Elevensies Stout was fermented on a bad of Vintner’s cherry puree, and then cask-conditioned with roasted cacao nibs and whole vanilla beans soaked in French brandy. Finally, they’ve also brewed up a Best Bitter (5% ABV, 35 IBUs), Slanty Shanty Best Bitter, which will be available on tap only for now. Hopped with New Brunswick Goldings, this one should be available sometime next week.

• Looks like we can expect to see another new Hammond River beer release in the near future, to tide us over until the opening of their new 15 BBL brewery this spring – West Coast Pale Ale is exactly as expected from the name, with lots of fruity and dank aromas and flavours, thanks to heavy late hopping with Summit and Citra, and even more Citra in the dry-hop. Bittered with Chinook to 60 IBUs, it weighs in at a manageable 5.7%. It’s being kegged this weekend, so expect to see it out and about, soon.

That’s not all that’s new and brewing at Hammond River – Quicksand Jesus is the brewery’s first attempt at the Russian Imperial Stout, a gargantuan, bold style big on roast, mouthfeel, and alcohol. The recipe is one used by owner/brewer Shane Steeves in his homebrewing days, featuring a base of Maris Otter malt, with Roasted Barley, Chocolate malt, Crystal 40 L, and Special B thrown in to bring in those wonderful roast characteristics, and more. Expect this one to come in at a whopping 10.2% ABV and 79 IBUs, with a portion being aged in the brewery’s resident oak barrel. Look for it to be on tap around New Year’s, with the barrel-aged version likely popping up the end of January. And speaking of big beers, HR has also confirmed that their Double IPA, Too Hop to Handle (8.4% ABV, 162 IBUs) has been rebrewed and will be re-released soon, with this batch incorporating a portion of Hop Hash from Southan Farms.

• For those of you in Fredericton who have been itching to try some of the interesting new beers coming out of Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, the James Joyce Irish Pub has some good news! The T&B are sending the JJ four kegs, the first time they’ve sent beer outside of their own location, the first of which – Peach Ale Shake – should be tapped sometime today. They’ve also received Forum Pale Ale, Robot Food IPA, and Sour Otis Cranberry. For more info on these beers, check out last Friday’s post.

• If you didn’t get a chance to contribute to the Beerocracy successful crowdfunding campaign months ago, you still have the opportunity to grab at least one of the featured perks – they’re currently selling their Beerocracy NB Craft Brewery Map in two sizes; it’s available in two sizes, and available for purchase online. And keep your eyes open for screenings, and ways to watch the film online, once the final cut is produced in the New Year.

• Now that we are soundly in the middle of winter, it’s only fitting that local breweries are celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. In New Brunswick, Picaroons are continuing their annual tradition with 12 BEERS of CHRISTMAS, where they are releasing a special one-off beer every day Dec 12-23rd. Available at their Brewtique location in downtown Fredericton (growlers only), Roundhouse location on the Northside (in-house pours only), The 5 Kings Restaurant & Brewhouse in St Stephen (in-house only), and the General Store in Saint John (both growlers and pints). With a new beer every day, you’re sure to find a few that jingle your bells!

• On Prince Edward Island, the PEI Brewing Company is celebrating the 12 Growlers of Christmas in their own right, with a new beer every day until next Friday. Check out their Facebook Event page for details on the day’s beer, and remember that once the beer is gone for the day, it’s gone!

• Digby’s Roof Hound is releasing a new wheat ale at their brewery this weekend. Average Joe is a 5.0%, 17 IBU beer, designed for those folks who want to support their local brewery, but may find stouts, IPAs, and porters a bit too far outside their wheelhouse. Named after owner Les Barr’s maternal grandfather, Joe was the owner of the original Roof Hound, Lady. An ode to Joe, as well as Barr’s first foray into drinking and brewing craft beer, wheat ales are the perfect gateway into small batch, local beers. Grab a pint or growler in Digby this weekend, and keep your eyes open as it may be on tap and for growler fills in HRM soon.

We’ve got another slew of events happening in our region this weekend, and beyond, here are a few of them we can fit in here. Be sure to consult our Calendar (which you can add to your own iCal/Google/Outlook calendar, by the way!) to keep up-to-date with them all. And be sure to let us know if we’ve missed something.

• Mikkeller Tap Takeover Day 1 is this Saturday at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell. Featuring a variety of styles, ranging from Session IPA to spontaneously-fermented hoppy beer, all the way up to a 9.2% back coffee beer, the Danish brewery is sure to have something for everyone. Check out the full tap list here, and we’ll see you from noon tomorrow. There will be a whole other dozen beers pouring at MTTD2 on January 14th, by the way!

• After a wildly successful Launch Weekend at Stillwell and Good Robot last weekend, Halifax’s newest nano TideHouse Brewing Company is ready to fling wide the doors to their retail location. Located at 5187 Salter Street in downtown Halifax across from the nether regions of the Maritime Center (that great big brutalist mess on Barrington Street we inherited from the 70s), the boys are aiming to help downtown beer lovers scratch the itch for growler fills. As has become de rigueur for TideHouse to this point, the first week of opening will be a somewhat informal affair, promising to be open at 1pm on Saturday and seeing where the rest of the day takes them. Additional hours before Christmas will be on a “do we have beer?” basis so you’ll have to follow along on social media (Facebook | Twitter) or contact the brewery directly for availability information. After the holidays they’re hoping to have regular hours from 2-6pm on Thursdays, 2-9pm on Fridays, 2-6pm on Saturdays and 2-10pm on Sundays. They’ll fill any clean 1.89L growler and will also be selling their own TideHouse branded pre-filled jugs (non-refundable, for now anyway). Come gaze through the glass to see Shean and Peter in their natural environment, grab yourself a couple of liters of tasty brew and help celebrate all the crazy hard work that’s been put into getting this far!

 • A reminder that the Second Annual Christmas Beer Garden at the Market is happening this Sunday, December 18th. Starting early at 10 am, and continuing until 2:30 pm, your $26 ticket (available here) entitles you to a 16 oz glass and four beer tickets; additional beer tickets can be purchased for $7 each. Food will be available for purchase from vendors at the Market and can be taken into the Beer Garden.

• There has been a lot of development at Schoolhouse‘s expanded location at 40 Water Street in Windsor. With their brewhouse now hooked up, and brewing on it starting early next week, they are opening their doors and saying “Class is in Session!”. Next Thursday and Friday (Dec 22 and 23), they are keeping their doors open from 12:00 to 8:00pm daily for growler fills of their core beers (Principal Ale, Chequers, and Scotian Export), as well as bottles of Big Red Schoolhouse. Flights and food will also be available, so be sure to stick around for a spell!

• Tickets are still available (but won’t be for much longer!) for January 12th’s Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. The premiere event of winter, 16 Nova Scotian breweries (that number may grow, we’ve been told!) will be pouring a wide variety of their beers, including one-offs and launches specially brewed for the event. It’s not only about the beer, however, as each brewery will have a local restaurant/caterer partnered with them, serving up some creations meant for pairing and enjoying. Be sure to grab your tickets today!

• Tickets are available now for next August’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival. From now until Dec 24th, you’ll enjoy a nice $10 discount off the regular price, with tickets only costing $40 (plus taxes and service charges, $51 final price). With an evening session on Friday Aug 11, and afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday the 12th, there’s plenty of opportunity to grab from the more than 300 beers and ciders on offer. Check this link for the reduced price tickets before the deal runs out next Saturday.

A few more things to check out this weekend before you put down your phone and pick up a beer:

– The latest 902 BrewCast went up early this morning, tasting through a handful of holiday-themed beers available at Bishop’s Cellar. Be sure to grab it today, and take a drink for every shout-out they give! And stay tuned to the end for some very cool news.
– The ANBL has once again expanded their growler program, with a new, 6-tap filling station opening up at the Saint John Uptown location. This week, they’re featuring all NB-based breweries, including Big Tide (Holiday Crazberry Cream Ale), First City (Double IPA), Foghorn (Winchester), Hammond River (Gammie), Moosehead (Boundary Ale), and Picaroons (The Vinyl Cut).
Big Axe has announced that their annual winter take on a flagship, Shakesbeer Chocolate Mint Stout, will be returning to taps (and growler fills at the brewery) in the very near future.
– In other winter seasonal news, Celtic Knot‘s Toque and Mitts is starting to pop up on tap across New Brunswick; this 7.8% ABV Barleywine – infused with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, oak, and bourbon – is currently on tap at the Cask & Kettle and Ducky’s. If you’re not near those two establishments, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed more batches are on the way, so expect to see this beer at other select bars/restaurants, soon.
Grimross Brewing has started a weekly cask series at the taproom in Fredericton; this week’s limited release is a cask of their flagship Cheval D’or, aged on lemongrass.
– Sea Level Wee Heavy returns to their Port Williams location. Grab it on tap at Port Pub, or in growlers and cans to go.
Tatamagouche Brewing‘s Smorter S’Mores Porter has returned for another season, with growlers and cans of this graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate creation available now at the brewery, and on tap around HRM next week. A 6.5% ABV S’mores-inspired porter brewed with the addition of cinnamon sticks, graham crackers, molasses, honey, and vanilla beans.
TrailWay has been keeping up with the canning (luckily for all of us!), with plenty of Hu Jon Hops and Luster available at the brewery and select ANBL stores. Next week, they’ll be releasing a large amount of Good Aura (their hoppy Red ale) in cans; a small number of Rascal (American Stout) cans will also be available.

Good morning, and welcome to the first Friday of November! The weather is now colder, and winter is around the corner, but the local beer continues to flow…

Propeller recently released a new winter seasonal, Coffee Porter. True to its name, it was brewed with 20 lbs of whole beans and “dry-hopped” (dry-coffeed?) with coffee grounds, also 20 lbs worth. The coffee comes from local roasters Java Blend, and is their Fog City blend – with two roast levels that give a “bold flavour, with sweet, rich tones”, expect plenty of roasted, coffee goodness. At 5.9% and 35 IBUs, it’s available now in growlers and 650 mL bottles. And grab their Russian Imperial Stout, back on tap and in bottles at both Windmill and Gottingen locations.

• Continuing on with coffee beers, FirkinStein Brewing has debuted Rock Your Boat, a Coffee Oatmeal Stout. A smooth beer thanks to the addition of oatmeal, the coffee was provided by Lunenburg’s Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters; the Rock Your Boat coffee is one of their dark roasts, and is described as “a blend of dark, mi-noir, and medium roasted Mexican beans, bolstered by full bodied Sumatra”. While the Hubbard’s Farmers Market has shut down for the season, FirkinStein can be found at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market every Thursday morning.

Big Tide has a brand new beer pouring at their brewpub in Saint John, Barbarossa’s Black IPA. Brewed with Pale Ale, Munich, “dark” CaraMunich, Chocolate Wheat, and Black malts, it was heavily hopped with Hallertau, Magnum, and Citra, to 70 IBUs. A medium-bodied, dark brew exhibiting a “toasty, biscuity malt profile, balanced well with citrusy hop flavours”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. Drop by for a pint and/or growler today! Their Barrelled Life Barley Wine is also currently pouring.

• The Boxing Rock/Battery Park/North collaboration, Battery Rock India Brown Ale, was launched at the epic Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night. For those who missed out, it is available on tap around the HRM now, and in growlers and 650 mL bottles at both Boxing Rock and North, and their Farmers’ Market stalls. With a “dark, complex, creamy malt base with notes of coffee, caramel and smoke”, it brings in the IPA side with notes of tropical fruit and citrus in the aroma. Highly drinkable at 5.7% ABV, look for bottles to appear in the Halifax private liquor stores as well, likely by next week.

• The new beers from Tide & Boar Brewing continue to flow at the brewpub in Moncton; this week has featured Strawberry Ale Shake, a style known simply as “Milkshake IPA” that has been quickly growing in popularity with North American breweries. Featuring the addition of lactose to increase the body and add a touch of lingering sweetness, real strawberries were also added, as well as heavy hop additions in the whirlpool, resulting in a fruity and murky brew. A true Double IPA at 8.1% ABV, only 3 kegs were brewed, so it likely won’t last long… if it’s even still on!

• Yesterday was International Stout Day, and Picaroons released a new one-off at Saint John’s General Store to celebrate. Brewed in conjunction with Brú Brewery Meath, out of County Meath, Ireland, Irish Canadian Stout features the addition of Canadian maple syrup and Irish whiskey oak chips, to combine the best of both worlds. Still exhibiting plenty of roasted characteristics you expect to see in a stout, it comes in at 6.2% ABV and is available on tap at the General Store only.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing will be launching two new beers this Saturday, November 5thRoof Hound IPA is a 6.4% hop-bomb, brewed with guidance and assistance from Bad Apple‘s Jeff Saunders, featuring a boat-load of Columbus and Mosaic hops. Big Brown Rum and Raisin Holiday Edition is a 7.5% Brown Ale with a holiday twist. Both beers will be flowing starting at 9pm, with live music from Tide and Timbre and Hannah Morgan starting at 10:00 PM. And while the 7:30pm seating for their upcoming Festive Supper Club on December 1st is sold out, there are a few spots available for the 5:00 PM seating. Email for more details and to reserve your spot.

• This weekend Garrison Brewing continues their association with Hal-Con, now in its 7th year as the premier sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention in Atlantic Canada, with two adult and one all-ages formulations. First, for the grownups, the Klingon Warnog Roggen Dunkel (Dark Rye) is available at the brewery once again. First brewed for Hal-Con 2014 under license from the Federation of Beer, it is fundamentally in the Dunkelweizen style. On a firm base of Munich and Wheat malts a significant addition of Rye provides spiciness, while dark Crystal malt gives it the characteristic colour of the style. Lightly hopped with Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV brew uses an authentic Weizen yeast to provide clove and banana esters to pair with caramel and chocolate notes from the malt. Also for those of legal age, and making a repeat appearance after being introduced in June of this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the original television series, Star Trek Golden Anniversary Ale has been re-released  just in time for the convention. A light and refreshing, 5% ABV, slightly sweet beer featuring only pale and wheat malts along with 20 IBUs and a spiciness provided by the noble Hallertauer hop, it’s filtered sparkling clear and has a solid, long-lasting white head. It’s available in 650 mL bombers from the brewery and at private liquor stores around the HRM area. Lastly, appropriate for both kids and the kid in all of us, is Sweet Nelson Power Soda, a Raspberry Ginger Ale featuring a suitably fantastic lime-green colour. Brewed under the auspices of Garrison division Dockside Soda Co., it is returning to Hal-Con this year after a tremendously popular introduction at last year’s event.

• If your appetite for pumpkin beers doesn’t quite justify a growler fill, or you’re just curious about how the other half lives, the Nine Locks Brewing fall seasonal Pumpkin Ale is now available in cans at the brewery. Still 5.2% and 12 IBUs and still featuring a malty backbone and full mouthfeel balancing the crisp spicing, this amber ale will surely give way soon to a winter offering, so get it while it lasts. Meanwhile, not resting on their gourds, Nine Locks is also releasing another beer this week, Scotch Ale. Inspired by the Scottish ales of the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s a strong beer at 7.5%, and is dark with ruby highlights, and deeply malty. Typical of the style, it comes in at a fairly low 22 IBUs while dark grains and a crisp finish complete the picture. This one will be available in the next couple of weeks for growler fills and in cans, both at the brewery.

Upstreet has teamed up with Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. for a very worthy cause – to help build the first women-owned and operated brewery in Rwanda. Until November 17th, $2 for every pint and growler sold in the Upstreet taproom will go to help this project. For more information on the Rwanda brewery, and to donate yourself directly, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

• There’s a couple of new beers from Graystone on tap for growler fills and pints: Into the Woods Brown Ale, a 5% ABV, 26 IBUs “medium-bodied ale with caramel and chocolate flavours”, and Pitch Stout, a 4.5% ABV American Oatmeal Stout that is full-bodied, “with notes of chocolate and a moderate roast character”.

• Beer lovers in Sackville, NB (aka Bagtown), will be able to enjoy beer brewed in their town in the new year. The just-announced Bagtown Brewing Company is a student project at Mount Allison University, which sees students go through the steps of investing and opening their own business. While still in the licensing phase, they do have a location for their nano-sized brewery, which will set up in the newly-opened Sackville Commons. Follow along on their progress on Twitter and Instagram, and we’ll be sharing more details shortly.

November is a busy month, with loads of newly-announced events in the next few weeks:

Good Robot was recently voted Best Brewery and Best Brewpub by readers of The Coast, and they’re celebrating with a crazy event – a tap takeover at their own taproom, today. A total of 11 different GR beers will be available, the most they’ve ever had on at one time. Check out the event link for full beer details! This self-serving event – 😉 – will continue all weekend.

Stillwell is holding a special all-cider event tomorrow on Saturday, November 5th, featuring Ontario’s West Avenue Cider Company. A bevy of special ciders will be pouring all day (check out the full list here) starting at noon, with no tickets required to attend. In addition, a special food menu has been put together that will optimally pair with all these tasty beverages; be sure to drop by for an epic sampling!

Red Rover is once again teaming up with the James Joyce for another Guy Fawkes-themed event, Saturday, November 5th. Plenty of Red Rover cider will be pouring, including three special releases, two of which are “James Joyce specialties”, and a mystery cask. It all starts at 8:30 pm; as usual, there is no cover charge.

• There are a plethora of events at various bars, restaurants, and breweries on Tuesday, November 8th, to “celebrate” Election Day in the U.S., when we can finally say, for better, worse, or worser, that this election has finally (hopefully) come to an end. There’s too many to list, but check out Facebook and you won’t have a problem finding one near you. Beer makes bad things better!

Breton Brewing is holding a tap takeover next Thursday, November 10th, at Halifax’s Lion & Bright. There will also be live music from Dave Sampson and Colin Grant. The boys from Breton will be bringing in a full complement of eight beers to pour for you, and the kitchen at L&B will be whipping up Cape Breton-inspired snacks. Look for their core lineup, as well as seasonals Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, Celtic Colours Maple Lager, and Tart’an Juicy Grapefruit Pale Ale. Plus, a brand new beer, MacAskill’s Revenge Black IPA, which launched last evening. At 7.0% ABV and 80 IBUs, you best stay on MacAskill’s good side!

• Local homebrewer Keith Forbes has been busy brewing up a storm at Good Robot over the past 6 weeks, and will be holding one heck of a party at the GR Tap Room November 15th. The first of their BrewBot – Homebrew Tap Takeover series will feature five beers brewed on GR’s Sabco Brew-Magic system. A very active member of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club, Forbes will be showcasing some award-winning beers, including his Gold Medal-winning Funktown American Pale Ale, and Muddy River Brown, a favourite with family and friends. The party kicks off at 5:00 pm.

• While their beer has been available in Moncton for over a month, Beckwith Road Brewing is taking a breath, and finally holding their Launch Party later this month. Being held at 400 St George St, 7:00 – 11:00 pm, November 26th. Advanced tickets are available now online, or can be purchased in person that evening (subject to availability). Your $10 ticket gets you 2 pints, while the $15 ticket also includes a take-home glass. Additional pints will be available for purchase as well. Keep an eye on the details on their Facebook Event page.

Before we sign off for the day…

– As we mentioned last week, the ANBL new growler station at Moncton North is launching this weekend; be sure to drop by for growler fills of local beers that include Bore City Mondo IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA, and Pump House Scotch Ale, while supplies last.
– Rothesay, New Brunswick’s Foghorn Brewing looks to be launching soon, as they’ve been teasing pictures of filled kegs (we assume!) on social media… if you’re in the area, your wait is almost over!
Hammond River has released the latest iteration of their single-malt-and-single-hop beer, The Vegas SMaSH; this ones features the always-wonderful Citra hop, so be sure to ask your local watering hole if they carry it!
Hell Bay‘s Black IPA, Black Flag IPA (6.1% ABV, 55 IBUs), is now available in 12 oz bottles at the brewery; look for it to pop up at liquor stores in NS in the near future as well.
Meander River is releasing a small run of bottles for events they’ll be attending the next couple weeks. Look out for Homegrown Wet Hop, Shack Wacky Cider, Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout, Smokey Chipotle Porter, Ashdale Honey Brown, and Surf & Turf Scotch Ale in 500 ml bottles. Meander River will be at the Christmas at the Forum this weekend, and The Guy Show and Saltscapes shows next weekend.
– Winter Warmer season is upon us, which is a bittersweet thing. This means, of course, that Petit-Sault‘s Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV, 29 IBUs), is back for the season. You can find it in growlers and six-packs at the brewery now, and in sixers at select ANBL locations.
– Picaroons Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back as well, on tap at both the Brewtique and General Store, select bars/restaurants, and in bottles.
– This year’s edition of the Pump House Stonefire Ale is now available, in a limited number of four thousand 750 mL bottles, at the brewery and soon in ANBL stores. This marks the third year for this 6.5% ABV beer, which was brewed by heating the wort through the addition of extremely hot rocks, as per an ancient German method.
– Saltbox Scottish Ale (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) is back on tap this week, but in a very limited quantity, so be sure to drop by and pick some up!
– Today is the last day for the Sober Island Brewing Kickstarter campaign; be sure to check out the link, and their many options for pledges and rewards!

And finally, best of luck to all entrants in this year’s Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, taking place in Halifax this weekend! We’ll be sure to give the list of winners next week, including the People’s Choice, whose online voting closes tomorrow.

Happy Friday! After some great weather on the Canada Day weekend, we are back to the reality of Atlantic Canadian weather, so best to grab a growler, can or bottle, and stay inside to read the latest beer news from our region.

Red Rover released a new fruit cider earlier this week – Dragon Slayer is named after Saint George, well-known for his dragon-slaying abilities and Targaryen-thwarting. The cider was co-fermented with locally-sourced cranberries, giving it a crimson hue. Subtly sharp and rather tannic, as described by the cidery, it finishes quite dry and weighs in at 7% ABV. It’s available at the Cider House and farmers’ markets for growler fills, and should be on tap at a few select bars/restaurants in New Brunswick, including 540 Kitchen & Bar and Snooty Fox in Fredericton, and Ducky’s in Sackville.

Gahan House – Charlottetown has taken their Belgian Blonde Ale, Belgium Blue, and tweaked it a bit for some lucky New Brunswick beer drinkers! They added a special roast of local Receiver Coffee sourced from Tomila, Columbia, resulting in Coffee Belgian Blonde. The coffee is described by PEI Brewing Co. brewmaster Chris Long as “juicy, acidic, and fruity, with a mild chocolate flavour”. The original beer is light enough to let the coffee flavours shine through, “but complex enough to enhance the amazing aromas of this particular batch”. Clocking in at ~7.5% ABV, it’s available at all five ANBL growler stations this weekend. If you’re in Charlottetown and feeling left out, fear not – a couple of kegs were also sent to HopYard.

• And in other PEIBC news, the brewery has installed a used 7 BBL (~800 L) fermentor that will serve a dual purpose: growing up different yeast strains for seasonal batches, and for experimenting! Look for several new beers to be test-brewed over the coming weeks, including a dry-hopped version (with Ella and El Dorado) of their Sir John A’s Honey Wheat, a double-dry-hopped 1772 (Cascade first, then Simcoe and Mosaic), and a Saison dry-hopped with Goldings. And to celebrate their recent four Gold medals at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, they have released The Gold Pack at the PEILCC, featuring cans of their Rogues Roost IPA, Setting Day Saison, Sir John A’s Honey Wheat, and Vic Park Pale Ale.

Hammond River just brewed a new beer last night, and it’s one we’re confidant in saying hasn’t been attempted in these parts before! Rum Raisin Belgian Dubbel was brewed with a grist of Pilsner, Munich, Special B, Crystal, and Aromatic malts, and lightly hopped to 24 IBUs with Tettnang. Eight pounds of raisins were soaked in Eldorado 12 Rum, and then pureed and added to the end of the boil, along with plenty of Chapmans vanilla ice cream and dark Belgian Candi Syrup. Wait, there’s more – Madagascar vanilla beans will also be added during secondary fermentation. The targeted ABV is 7.1%, and on top of everything else, some of the beer may end up being barrel-aged! Look for the beer to be released over the next few weeks; we’ll keep you updated!

Tatamagouche Brewing just canned and released their Cellar Slammer ISA, a new Session IPA brewed with the crew from Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Hopped with Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc and a small addition of Amarillo, look for lots of tropical fruit aromas and flavours in this 4.7% ABV summer sipper. It is available in growlers and cans at the brewery, and in cans at Bishop’s Cellar now.

TrailWay has recently re-released two hoppy ales that they haven’t had out for awhile. First up is their American IPA, Hugh John Hops; heavily hopped (with Mosaic in particular) to come in “dank, fruity and piney”, it comes in at 6.8% ABV. Next is the return of Patio for the first time since its initial release last summer. An American Wheat Ale hopped entirely with Topaz – with almost all of it being added at flameout and the dry-hop, to give a huge blast of tangerine and citrus, without a lot of bitterness – it’s very sessionable at 4.7% ABV. Both beers are available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery, as well as on tap at select accounts across Fredericton.

FirkinStein Brewing just released a new beer yesterday at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Anchors Aweigh Pale Ale. Described by the brewery as “light and refreshing, with a crisp, mild hoppy taste, and mild bitterness in the finish”, it weighs in at 6% ABV. It should be available at tomorrow’s Bridgewater Farmers’ Market in growlers and grunters, with 500 mL bottles  following next week. They will also be attending tomorrow’s Food Truck Rally at the Hubbards Barn & Community Park, from 4-8pm.

Propeller Brewing is bringing out their latest One Hit Wonder today, Citrus Pale Ale. Brewed with a grist of Pale and Wheat malts, this beer features a big citrus nose and flavour, thanks to generous addition of Curaçao orange peel and Ahtanum hops added during the whirlpool phase (after boiling is complete). Cascade and Centennial hops help to balance the malt, with the final beer details coming in at 5.8% ABV and a light 25 IBUs. The beer will be available on tap and in growlers at the Gottingen location this afternoon (drop by after work), and on Windmill later this evening, or first thing tomorrow. As always, a few of these OHW kegs do make it into the wild at select bars, so if you spot it, grab a pint!

• Halifax’s Good Robot has teamed up with Falmouth’s Schoolhouse Brewery to release a special beer ahead of this weekend’s Evolve FestivalSkratch Plaskett – Electric Tambourine Ale is a light-bodied 5.8% ABV Pale Ale, featuring a set of American and Australian hops: Warrior for bittering (contributing to most of the 25 IBUs), Cascade in the whirlpool for some flavour and aroma, and Summer as a dry hop for an Aussie aroma of stone, tropical, and citrus fruits. Skratch Plaskett is the result of 8 test batches and iterations, as the characteristics were honed in on their desired recipe for a crushable beer with lots of character. Much like the name implies, it is a true collaboration of a beer! The beer will be available at the Evolve Festival (happening near Moncton), as well as on tap/growlers at Good Robot and Schoolhouse’s market location shortly.

• And in more Good Robot news, keep your eyes peeled for the return of The Shocking Pink, their Gose blended with pink lemonade and hibiscus tea, as well as Burban Legend American Pale Ale v6.0, dry-hopped with currently-unnamed experimental hop 342 from Hop Breeding Company. This hop lends a floral, citrus, and melon characters to the beer. And for those loved, or missed and wanted to try, the New Zealand IPA Beta Brew that debuted at the Tap Room this week, the single keg is all gone, but will be returning in another iteration soon.

Maybee Brewing has started canning another of their flagship beers – Stone House Tripel is now available in 500 mL cans for purchase at the brewery in Fredericton; they also should be for sale at the Picaroons General Store in Saint John by sometime next week. Also note that Maybee recently doubled their number of taps to 12, which means more new beers in the future, as well as several taps dedicated to other NB breweries for taproom purchase.

• Unfiltered has released another batch of Front Line Rocker, their 8% Double IPA brewed with the famous Conan yeast. It’s back on tap at the brewery and Charm School, at noon and 4pm today, respectively, and will be delivered to local bars very shortly. Be sure to drop by Charm School tomorrow afternoon for an Indochine Bahn Mi pop-up. Featuring Pork Belly marinated in Unfiltered’s Flat Black Jesus American Stout, they will be serving from 4-9pm (assuming the tasty treats last that long)

• Congratulations to the winners at last weekend’s Newfermenters Brew-Off! Bill Burton took Best-in-Show out of the 25 submissions, and will have a chance to brew his winning recipe with the crew at Port Rexton later in the summer. And speaking of which, PR has brewed the first beers on their new system, and are aiming to open in the next month or so!

As for what’s going on in the events section over the coming days and weeks…

Annapolis Cider Company is throwing their grand opening party this weekend (Friday to Sunday), and to help celebrate, they’ll be offering tasting paddles – three 3 oz pours – of their three currently-available ciders for only $3. They’ll also be giving free tours of the cider cellar all three days, at 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm.

• A final reminder that the second annual Tasting NB event happens tomorrow (Saturday, July 9th) in Fredericton at the Capital Complex, from 7-10 pm. Featuring 17 different producers of beer, cider, mead, spirits, and wine, your $55 ticket (if purchased in advance; $60 at the door) gets you unlimited samples for the evening.

• The Moncton Beer League is holding their second Urban Beer Hike on Saturday, July 23rd. The downtown walking tour will begin at Marky’s Laundromat at 1:45 pm, with several stops at various craft beer destinations in the city, before finishing at the Pump House brewpub around 5:30 pm. Each stop will feature beer and food samples, along with info sessions. Tickets are $49+fees, and are available online. Also note that ticket holders will receive $5 off their ticket for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest (Saturday, September 24th).

• It’s a few months away, but the date has been announced for the 2nd Annual Fredericton Cider Festival: Saturday, October 1st, on the Brewbakers covered patio. Tickets are on sale now, with two options available: regular tickets are $56.50 each and get you a custom sampling glass and unlimited 4 oz samples from 1:00-3:30 pm, while the $65 VIP ticket gets you the same, plus early entry at noon. Both local and larger cideries will be pouring, with over 25 different types likely to be available to sample.

A few more notes before signing off this week:

Big Spruce has re-released their Meek Thy Maker, a Red IPA hopped with Amarillo, Columbus and Citra (which is replacing Cascade this time around). It’s on tap at the brewery now, with growlers available at supplied Farmers’ Markets, and many tap accounts in Nova Scotia.
Railcar has brewed up another batch of their Smoked Molasses Porter; it’s available now at the brewery, and will be hitting the Fredericton ANBL growler station (Prospect St.) at the end of the month.
Petit-Sault brewed up a SMaSH beer yesterday, featuring ingredient sourced nearby: Pale malt from Malt-Broue South-East Quebec and Cascade hops from nearby Aroostook Hop in Northern Maine. Look for it to hit the taps at the end of July.

Despite the weather, enjoy your weekend! In closing, Atlantic Business Magazine is running an online poll where you can vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian brewery; it runs until July 29th, and the winner will be featured in the September edition of the magazine.

Another weekend, another snow storm! Let’s celebrate the lovely season that is winter with some local news on our favourite beverage…

Big Spruce recently announced that they have received a bottling machine, and will begin releasing some special beers this way. Their first bottled offering will be a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, Ra Ra Rasputin. This beer started out as an 8.5% Imperial Stout, brewed with loads of black and dark malts, and kicked up with Just Us! organic coffee in the boil to lend some bitterness and roast aroma to the beer. After fermentation, the beer spent two months in 14-year Single Malt Glenora barrels. The finished brew is 10.5% ABV, with some lovely caramel and vanilla notes. Due to the low volume available, it is in very short supply; there are only four kegs of the beer available (one of which will be heading to Battery Park shortly), so be sure to grab a glass if you spot it. For those interested in buying bottles, they will only be available for purchase at the Nyanza brewery, beginning late next week, so keep an eye on social media for the official announcement.

• In other Big Spruce news, Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax will be dedicating all five of their growler taps to them this weekend. Beers pouring will include Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Read Between the Pines, and two surprise beers rotating through (sorry, we can’t tell you what they are!). There will be two free tasting sessions (Saturday 11 am-4 pm, Sunday 12-5 pm) with Big Spruce owner/brewmaster Jeremy White; remember to bring your empty growlers! Bishop’s is also holding a separate tasting event tonight from 5-7 pm; the $20 ticket price (available for purchase online) includes samples of a variety of beers on their shelves, along with several appetizers. And be sure to sign up for BC’s Behind the Tap beer-centric monthly mailing, for the scoop on sales and events.

• After having their beer on sale at the ANBL and on tap around town for a few weeks, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing location will be officially opening their doors today at noon. Growler fills and cans of their Roseway Red and Work Horse IPA will be available, as well as a limited amount of their newest release, Belgian Tripel, an 8.5% ABV Belgian Golden Strong. Drop by their 559 Wilsey Road location for a sample (they are not yet licensed for pint sales) and fill up on their offerings; they’ll be open 12-8 pm both today and tomorrow. Congratulations to the entire Maybee family!

• The “Nut Red Ale” brewed by Hammond River last month is now at select accounts in New Brunswick. Nut Your Everyday Red Ale was brewed with a good portion of specialty malts, to give the beer lots of “toasty, biscuity, and nuttiness both in the flavour and on the nose”, according to the brewery. It was bittered with the Nugget variety, and further hopped throughout the boil with Hallertau. Think of it as an easy-drinking (5.1% ABV, 33 IBUs) English-style Red Ale; sounds like this one may become a regular brew for HR!

• In more HRBrew news, their Imperial Breakfast Stout is currently in the wild in the River Valley: Barrel’s HeadBourbon Quarter, and the James Joyce in Fredericton. It’s an 8.0% ABV Imperial Stout, with additions of oats, local coffee from Java Moose, cacao nibs, and home-smoked (Applewood) bacon. Look for a special oaked version of the IBS to be pouring at the evening session of the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And the winners from last month’s Wee Heavy Homebrew Competition will be brewing up their winning recipe, Tilted Kilt, on the weekend, which should be making its debut at the FCBF.

Railcar brewed a new beer this week, their first Red IPA. The grist is made up of several specialty malts (including Crystal 40 and 60 L, Munich, and Chocolate) to go along with the Pale base malt, to provide notes of toffee sweetness and caramel. Hopped in the boil with Northern Brewer and Columbus, the beer will be dry-hopped with Amarillo after fermentation is complete. This amber-coloured ale should come on the higher end of the spectrum for this style, at ~8.5% ABV, and with 62 IBUs. Look for it to show up on tap at the brewery within a few weeks. Also, Fredericton’s Prospect St. ANBL will be launching Railcar’s Artisan Brown Ale in bottles tomorrow, where it will join their previously released Cafe Buzz Porter. The brewery has also announced another expansion, as they will be receiving two additional 50-gallon fermentors within the next two weeks.

Good Robot has just released a new beer, a Smoked Ale named Samsquamptch!. At 5.2% ABV and 27 IBUs, the beer features a healthy dose of Cherrywood-Smoked Malt (about 15% of the grain bill), Rye, Caramel and Vienna on a 2-Row base, for a smokey and spicy brew; it was bittered with German Magnum and Tettnang hops. As with most of their beers, it has been gluten reduced to less than 20 ppm. Never ones to hold back from a good idea gone bad, they attempted to reproduce the same effect by smoking hops. As in, pipe smoking hops… Exploiting the quasi-relationship between hops and Cannabis, which are both members of the Cannabinaceae family. Rumoured to share the relaxing properties of Cannabis when smoked, hops do lack the “psychoactive properties” of the drug. You’ll have to watch the video for yourself! As for the beer, it is on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and their adjacent taproom.

• On February 12th, the Good Robot taproom is hosting a New York City food and beer day. Starting at noon, they are hosting Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties for some NY-style sandwiches. In addition to their own taps, they will be pouring bottles of several Brooklyn Brewery beers, including the perennial favourite Lager, as well as Black Chocolate StoutLocal 1, and Sorachi Ace. Grab a lean at the bar, lower (or increase, depending) your expectations for politeness, and bend an elbow or two. More details here.

• Next Monday, Feb. 8th, Picaroons will be re-releasing their Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale. A dark, full-bodied beer featuring the addition of chocolate, cayenne pepper, ginseng root and liquorice root, it’s released every year just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be on tap at the Brewtique, and at better beer bars across New Brunswick.  They’re also holding a Winter Warmer Party tomorrow at Crabbe Mountain, where all of their taps will be pouring Picaroons beers, with live music from The Backyard Devils. Finally, the brewery has announced that they’re now hiring for their Picaroons General Store, to open in Saint John. If you’re interested, fire them an email.

• With the explosion in the number of craft breweries in New Brunswick over the last couple of years, it’s no surprise that there’s a documentary currently being filmed on the subject. Produced by Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff, Beerocracy will examine the current craft beer surge in the province through interviews with both brewers and beer event organizers alike. Filming is currently underway (Chase and Vietinghoff have been in Fredericton for interviews with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival‘s Lloyd Chambers and Grimross‘ Stephen Dixon), with a projected completion sometime this Spring. You can follow their progress through their Facebook link above; more news to come!

Upstreet Brewing will be holding a special event Feb 14th, For the Love of Beer. This Valentine’s Day event will feature a brand new beer release, a Scottish 80/ (aka Scottish Export) named Eighty Bob. An amber-coloured beer that is definitely on the malty side of the spectrum, Upstreet’s take involves a grist made up of Pale Ale malt as the base, with a mixture of Crystal malts and Chocolate malt. Phoenix and EKG hops were used in small amounts to keep the bittering low (20 IBUs) and add just a touch of flavour to the malt character. According to the brewery, the beer has “toffee, caramel, raisins, and a little bit of nuts”, just as a complexly malty brew should! It weighs in at an easy-drinking 4.5% ABV. The launch event, held from 12-4 pm at the brewery, will feature a special brunch menu, live music from Salt Licks, and a special open mic with brewer Mike Hogan, who will be on hand to successfully (?) answer all of your relationship questions! Disclaimer: BYO Divorce Attorney.

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will also be holding their own Valentine’s Day event. A four course prix-fixe menu (with optional beer pairings) will be on that evening, featuring ceviche, pork loin or lobster bisque, oxtail roulade or seared local halibut, plus gingerbread with spent grain ice cream. Seating is by reservation only (either by phone or email). Full details here. And on the Friday before (Feb 12), they are one of the stops on a Downtown Dartmouth Food Crawl, featuring 15 stops. Running 5-7 pm, people can visit as many of the cafes, restaurants, and bars as they wish, enjoying some locally-sourced and -prepared food and drink. Details are available on their Facebook page.

• Attention readers in the GTA: Thanks to a recent visit from Brewmaster Greg Nash, Bar Volo’s taps will soon be pouring Unfiltered beer! During a recent visit to Toronto, Nash joined together with House Ales brewer Dan Beaudoin, and the rest of the Bar Volo team, to brew a small batch of Twelve Years to Zion DIPA. The beer will be released today at 4pm, so leave work early to get on the good stuff! (We had incorrectly indicated Exile on North Street was being released, apologies for the error)

• The boys at FirkinStein in Mount Pleasant, NS will be releasing their newest beer in the next week. Anchors Aweigh is a big American Pale Ale, very light in colour, and with a nice crisp flavour. Though it weighs in at 8.5% ABV, the hopping is relatively light, with a pleasant Cascade-based citrus aroma shining through. Look for it to be available at their Lunenburg Farmers’ Market stall next week (Thursday the 11th), and for their weekly deliveries, and on tap shortly as well.

• Things are coming along nicely at the Horton Ridge Malt & Grain in the Annapolis Valley. While not quite malting yet, they are getting ever closer to that point, with production launch expected next month. Ahead of that, they have opened up a second round of CEDIF offering, after a very successful first round of almost $400,000 raised in 2015. The goal of round two is $200,000, with the funds planned to be used to pay down the mortgage on the building. Potential investors are welcome to visit the Malt House Feb 13 for an Open House to learn more about the CEDIF offering, and check out the great progress made so far. By investing in a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF), residents may be entitled to an initial 35% Provincial tax credit, in addition to other benefits going forward.

• Another CEDIF offering currently open is from FarmWorks Investment Co-op. They have enabled at least three local microbreweries (Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, and Meander River) and the list of farmers, food producers, restaurants and others keeps growing. In loaning startup funds since its creation in 2011, it currently has over $1 million at work around the province, investing in food production and distribution to increase access to sustainable food.  Deadline for investments with this offering is March 15, 2016 and this can be used for RRSP tax deferral.

Propeller Brewing is releasing their newest One Hit Wonder today. Black Heart is a 6.3% ABV Black IPA, heartily hopped to 90 IBUs. It is on tap now at their Windmill location, Gottingen later today. As always, their OHW releases are growlers and draft only, due to the smaller batch sizes. They have also announced details on their next Cask Night: it will be held on Friday, Feb 26th at 6 pm at the brewery on Gottingen St., and will feature a food “mash-up” from The Other Bean and Rinaldo’s to pair with the multiple beer samples. Tickets are $30, and available now at the link above.

Have a great weekend! Before you move on, here’s a few last blurbs/reminders…
Bad Apple Brewhouse has released Alternate Ending, a 4.8% ABV Altbier. Brewed with Mike Orr and Keith Forbes, two members of the Brewnosers Homebrew club, it is currently available at the Somerset brewery, as well as on tap at Good Robot’s taproom, Primal Kitchen, and Stillwell (including a special cask). This is a small batch, so be sure to grab it when you spot it on tap!
Boxing Rock has re-released Unobtainium, a beer best-described as a 5% ABV Red IPA featuring Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo, and Nelson Sauvin (for more info on the beer, click here).
– The Maritime Black IPA, Grimross’s newest beer that we just mentioned last week, is now available. Drop by the brewery for growler fills, and check out their regular accounts to try it by the pint.
– Look out for a new beer from Schoolhouse in Falmouth, their first Lager. An experiment of sorts, they wanted to do a small test batch to test the recipe and technique, before brewing it on their expanded brewhouse later in the year. Look for it on tap at the Spitfire Arms, as well as their Wolfville Farmers’ Market stall Saturday.
– This week’s limited 7th Wave release from Spindrift will feature a cask of The Fix, which is their Schwarzbier (The Abyss) cold-conditioned on Espresso and vanilla beans (4.2% ABV, 25 IBUs); as always, this is a small batch, growler only beer, available today at the brewery at noon.
Tatamagouche’s Oyster Cloister Stout has returned. A 5.3% stout, brewed with local hops and oysters for a bit of a subtle character. It is on tap at the store right now for growler fills, and will be returning in cans very shortly.